Geek Girls Rule! #101 – PAX

PAX was interesting.  Our friends Kate and Aron who run the Dreaming here in Seattle had secured some tables for RPG demos.  I only ran one game, because after my game I did a turn through the expo hall and came back sort of stunned. 

People were, for the most part, very well-behaved and polite at PAX.   There were a few cos-players, but not as many as I’d feared, and mostly young guys showing off their HALO armor.  There were a couple of Waldos (of Where’s Waldo? fame), several Mario and Luigis, and a scattering of Moogles, I think someone called them, from Final Fantasy.  For having 75,000 nerds crowded into a four block radius, the crowds were exceptionally well-mannered. 

So, after running a game of 1,001 Nights, which went very well, and having lunch with some friends, I decide that I need to check out this here expo hall I keep hearing about.

The expo hall is like a cross between a nightclub and a battlefield.  It’s dark.  There’s loud music and flashing lights, and the press of many, many bodies, and, periodically as you pass certain booths (and calling some of these set-ups booths is a vast understatement) gunfire sounds right next to your ear.  I wandered up to Kate at the Dreaming’s table, and I must have looked absolutely stunned.  She laughed and said, “What do you think?”
“I think this is an ADD nightmare,” I answered.  “I can’t fucking think.”

The majority of the booths were for videogames, videogame consoles, or computer game companies.  I did get to see Diablo III.  Eeeeeeeee!!!  Didn’t play the demo, the lines were kind of long.  I also got to play around with the Warhammer MMORPG a bit.  Thought very seriously about picking up a PacMan necklace from the Namco booth.  But mostly I just wandered around in a daze.  I did get a demo of the Hello Kitty MMO, which I am so very, very tempted to load up and play, just for the sheer absurdity.  A friend of mine was one of the beta testers for it, and she says it’s actually pretty fun. 

My friend Rachel, who goes to San Diego Comic Con, said that PAX was far nicer.  People were more polite.  There were far fewer booth babes.  She didn’t fear being sexually harassed.  And PAX has an anti-harassment policy printed in big letters in their programs. 

 The PAX Enforcers, who act as security and guides for the clueless, are all very able, polite people.  They are incredibly helpful and have a surprising amount of agency.  They are encouraged to act first, and ask for forgiveness from management after defusing a situation or resolving a problem, rather than having to track someone down first.  In fact, as we packed up the gaming stuff from the room the Dreaming ran demos in, we just flagged down a random Enforcer who helped us load stuff into the storage closet across the way. 

I only went the one day, because I do not have a temperament that can handle those kinds of numbers for more than one day in a row.  The Husband What Rules, however, went back on Sunday and ran Mouse Guard and Lady Blackbird all day.  Oh, and I finally got to meet Luke Crane, the creator of Burning Wheel and the Mouse Guard game. 

I’d like to congratulate the Penny Arcade guys for running a damn fine convention, particularly considering the scope of it.  And to congratulate the Enforcers for being genuinely nice, helpful people. 

Oh yeah, I did find time for one round of Rock Band, in the Rock Band lounge.  A group of us did Ratt – Round and Round.  It was kind of fun, if nerve-wracking.

5 thoughts on “Geek Girls Rule! #101 – PAX

  1. Kind of off subject, but since the post is about a gaming convention, I figured I’m not totally off-base in asking here: I bought a Nintendo DS a few weeks back, because I’m addicted to Mario Kart and have no other gaming system on which to play it, and the DS is the cheapest. I’m not much of a gamer, I mostly played Tetris and old-school Mario Bros. on my siblings’ Gameboys back in the day.

    I’m trying to find a few other games that I might like, but am having a hard time. I love Mario Kart, and I have Brain Age, which I mostly use to feed my Sudoku habit, but I’ve not been a fan of anything else I’ve tried so far. I bought Super Mario 64, but took that back, then decided to go the puzzle route and bought Professor Layton and the Curious Village, but haven’t had much success with that either. I’m looking for diverting games, something to pass the time when I don’t have a book on me. Any suggestions?

  2. I really enjoy the Lego games, Lego Batman and Star Wars. I love Animal Crossing. Honestly, Animal Crossing’s kind of like WoW or Diablo, without the pretty violence. You collect and gather things.

    I really like the My language coach games. I have My French Coach, and while some of the translations aren’t great, they aren’t going to get your ass kicked in a bar in Paris either.

    If you like the Puzzle games, several people have recommended Puzzle Quest. Also, I have several friends who are seriously into the JRPG The World Ends with You, which I can’t find for love nor money right now.

    I just sold my copy of Spore for the DS. I guess the PC version is way more fun, but I found the DS version too limited.

    What other sorts of games do you like apart from Mario Kart and Sudoku?

  3. I’ve thought about the My Language games; I keep trying to learn another language but never make it too far!

    I don’t have too much experience with games in general. I enjoyed N64’s Starfox, but the DS version looks more strategy-minded than I like. I’m addicted to Tetris, so I hope to find that game at some point. I think the Original Mario Bros. is the only other game I’ve played. I’ve heard DS Zelda is pretty good. I think I played that game a couple of times on Gameboy and liked it. I’m not much on the violency stuff–more into the collect and gather stuff you mentioned.

    Thanks for the suggestions. I’ll look into them.

  4. I kinda wish I’d spent more than one day at PAX. We curtailed our trip down to just one day, and really that was spent waiting to see Wil Wheaton. (Got in line an hour and a half in advance, the panel was another hour and a half. Totally worth it, but that was most of our Sunday.) So I didn’t do much in the gaming rooms but wave to people I knew and didn’t spend much time at any booth.

    I know what you mean about the crowds. I forget how claustrophobic they can make me until I’m someplace like PAX. I wouldn’t realize how tense and freaked out I was until after I left and felt myself shaking and sobbing as I decompressed. So much cool stuff, but so uninterested in waiting in lines for it. =P

    I’m glad there was a harassment free zone. I spent a lot of time loitering in the Geek Chic booth while a couple friends dropped an absurd amount of money. Right across from us was the booth for (I think) Champions Online. I felt really bad for the booth bunny over there. She looked uncomfortable and miserable. (Not to mention absurdly young.) I don’t know if she normally looked uncomfortable or if she’d gotten in over her head, but I just felt so awful every time I spotted her.

  5. The Hello Kitty MMO is real? I’ve only ever heard jokes regarding it. For instance while waiting in line to pick up the Wrath of the Lich King expansion, we would tell people wandering by that we were there for Hello Kitty. The joke even made its way to the cashier, who would ask us if we were there for Hello Kitty.

    I’m holding out for a Hello Kitty/Warhammer crossover, myself.

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