After a nine-hour bus trip back to DC from Boston at 10:00PM I was so happy to see my wife passed out in bed. The calls from her every night around eleven made me miss what was going on back in DC, and yes, I got teary-eyed at one point. Even with my wife�s persuading words, urging me to just come back home, she understood that I just plainly had to geek out with other nerds. It was an amazing three-day convention that I hope to enjoy again next year with my fellow gaming brothers and sisters. Though next year I will come a little more prepared.
Fatal Error 1: Not bringing my Nintendo DS to party when everybody in the known universe had brought theirs. There were plenty of moments when I slapped myself in the face upon noticing that someone in line with me for a panel had their DS. Nowhere in the convention itself was safe from the DS. DS in the bathroom, DS in the cafeteria, DS in the portable lounge, DS on the bus. It was a missed opportunity to meet a new friend at every corner, all because I did not bring my DS. It was my biggest blunder for the convention, but it didn�t bring down the experience of my first PAX Eastl.
Fatal Error 2: Not going to enough of the small meet ups at bars and at the convention center. I spent most of my time in panels and at the classic arcade, which were lots of fun, but not great for meeting new people. Most of my socializing was in line for panels or just goofing around at the arcade. Next year, I will come with a clear game plan for smaller meet-ups at bars or just host my own around the convention center. I am a big Super Meat Boy fan and I wish I had set up my own Super Meat Boy meet-up to talk to some fellow meatheads.
Fatal Error 3: Not bringing enough snack food to the convention. The convention food burned through my wallet even faster than buying video games. $3 sodas, $7 salads, and $7 ice cream just made me a poorer man than I already was. Next time I go to the convention I am just going to bring a case of Lara Bars to tide me over as much as possible. Another key item to tote is a water bottle, since filling up water from the water fountains is three dollars cheaper than buying bottled water each day.
What I have learned from PAX is that gamers all come to PAX for a variety of reasons, but at the end of the day we are all gamers. Even with the massive crowds of people you would expect people to be rude, but realistically everyone is happy to see other gamers. I hope that gamers don�t stop being social when PAX is over, but continue to reach out to other gamers in their area. It has inspired me to start up my gaming group in the DC area again, because drinking with gamers is an amazing experience. Will you continue to spirit of PAX, or will you let it die? The choice is in our hands and hopefully other gamers will take up the challenge.
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