Timeframe: 10am – 6pm
Nighttime Guide (6pm – Midnight-ish)
With PAX Prime rearing its head for August 28th-31st, it might be time to start getting your Airborne ready and figuring out what to do for PAX this year. For those that aren’t familiar with what goes on in and around the convention center, this is probably relevant to your interests.
The Washington State Convention Center is in the heart of Downtown Seattle. This means that traffic is normally bad without the convention traffic and almost impossible with the convention traffic. The convention center can and will be packed to capacity with over 70,000 attendees and that can complicate things.
It’s easy for your health to go downhill during the con. With over 70,000 in an enclosed space touching controllers, lowered immune systems, and general bad hygiene, it’s easy to pass germs around and contract PAX Pox or H1 Con-1 from somebody inadvertently.
Make it a habit to start with the Airborne or Emergen-C for a few days before, during and after the con to help combat this. Not to mention the hand sanitizer that you can find walking about.
Also, try to get enough sleep and eat/drink regularly so your immune system doesn’t shut down during the con. It’s normal for people to forget to bring a water bottle with them and forgo lunch because it means leaving the con for an hour but there are plenty of options and opportunities to still make getting food something to look forward to.
You’re in Downtown Seattle, so there are plenty of places to eat within walking distance. You’ll find normal chains like Johnny Rockets, Serious Pie, Yard House, Potbelly Sandwich Shop, The Daily Grille and Rockbottom only a few blocks away so if you’re not in the mood to try something completely new but something that is still satisfying it’s not a far off venture to do so.
If you want food more local to the city and to make it a more “Seattle experience,” then you have plenty of places in Pike Place Market like Beecher’s for an amazing grilled cheese or mac and cheese, or Pike Place Chowder but this pretty touristy so expect a line at most times of day here. For a less touristy vibe, there’s also Le Caviste, Lola, Tango. I really hate that I’m giving anybody good places to eat. It makes it hard for me to get a seat whenever I’m in town.
For larger groups eating together, it’s best to go to the bigger chain places since they have the space to accommodate the larger groups.
At the Con
Rule 1, carry a waterbottle. You’ll get thirsty without realizing it because there’s just so much energy around you with so much to do and plan for and remembering to drink is something that you’ll forget to do until the stress headache sets in.
The showroom is littered with Video Games to demo from both AAA studios and indie developers as well as Board/Card games to try out and collect.
Most AAA games are overcrowded so it’s best to pick the game that you’re most interested in early on because at peak times the lines can last as long as 2-3 hours. Your best bet for a short line will always be at showroom opening because peak lines start at noon. Friday and Monday are also the days with the fewest people in line (on average) so it’s best to get the busy games in on these days.
The lines for the indie games are always shorter than the AAA games, so if you really want to get your hands on more games in a short amount of time during the con, you should spend some time giving indie devs some love. The Indie Megabooth can be found somewhere in the convention where they handpick a few of the shining indie games of the past/upcoming year. (Post about a few Indie Megabooth games that I was interested in)
Panels, Autographs and Meetups (All Day)
If there’s a game company you’re interested in, YouTube personality that you’re interested in, or topic about the game industry that you’re interested in, then there are plenty of opportunities to listen in or meet up with people interested in similar topics. As of writing this, the official schedule hasn’t been posted yet but it should be up on the official PAX site before the convention starts.
There is typically a line that starts forming during the beginning of the previous event’s start time so you may need to get in line about roughly an hour and a half before the start of your panel to guarantee a seat, but not all of the panels fill up to capacity. @PAX_lines is the proper Twitter account to follow for to-the-minute information about these lines.
The topics that you’ll find can range from getting started as a Let’s Player, stories from Game Industry Journalists, Animators and Cartoonists, Sales Data Analysts with interesting stories on trends, Gender Diversity in Acceptance in the Gaming Community and many more. I’m just pulling up panels from memory since I can’t speak to the actual schedule yet. Don’t judge.
Cosplay (All Day)
There are plenty of people cosplaying all day so you’ll have plenty of photo-ops with the exceptional ones that you may come across. There’s a great place for photoshoots in the rear of the convention that you’ll typically find the copslays happening so just keep your eye out when walking by.
Three things for you to remember though when dealing with Cosplayers. The first is that Cosplayers are there for you to take a picture of, but you need to ask before taking a picture of them. Some of them are striving professionals so they can and should be picky with which photos get out of them because it can affect their image.
Secondly if they aren’t in the mood for pictures, it’s best to try again later on in the con. Keep in mind, some cosplayers are in their get-ups for many hours during the con sometimes carrying 30-40 pounds of material and props throughout and they do need a rest break at some point. Yes, they are there to show off their cosplay and for everybody else to want to have their picture, but that doesn’t mean that they are able to or have the energy to keep it up during the whole convention. For their mental wellbeing, try to respect their need for a break when it comes up.
Last is that you can’t make obscene requests just to have a fetish picture for yourself. They are people after all and should be comfortable in their hobby, without judgement, shame, or fear of persecution.
That is why we pick certain hobbies after all.
Arcade and Tabletop Gaming (All Day)
There are a few places to get your game on in a more private space without the long lines though you’ll be playing games of years past. There is an Arcade onsite as well as the Gameworks located just outside of the convention center. Dimly lit, but always crowded with staples like The Simpsons, Ninja Turtles, Mortal Kombat, and NFL Blitz. Easy to lose an hour or two trashtalking your friends or random people.
The Tabletop Gaming section is also a great place to either try an old game with friends or to play one of the games that you picked up during the convention. Pick up a game, ask others to join if they are interested and maybe a game of Superfight or Settlers of Cattan can help build some new bonds.
Stuff to Bring:
- PAX Badge
- Airborne – for the H-1-Con-1
- Nintendo 3DS – For the endless supply of streetpasses and lines.
- External Battery for your phone and N3DS.
- Water Bottle
- Sneakers. You’ll be walking and standing a lot. Best to stay comfortable
Edit: download the guidebook app for you phone to get the schedule and stay up-to-date on news about PAX Prime 2015 http://m.guidebook.com/guide/40130/
Night Time Survival in a different post.
Blaugust Day 16