PAX West - Day One

PAX West started solid. Thanks to some amazing friends, I kicked off my PAX West experience with a 9AM entrance, taking advantage of the exclusive media hour. In an effort to take full advantage of the hour, I made a beeline for the Final Fantasy XV booth. I’ve written a lot in recent weeks against this game. I’ll write up full impressions later but the over-arcing thoughts were as follows:

  • The combat is more engaging than I anticipated.
  • The world is more empty than I would prefer.
  • The game appears to be finished. I popped about half a dozen trophies on the “User” Profile in my hour or so with the game.

Once the show floor opened up to the masses, the lines got really long, really quick. So I made the rounds on the floor to see where things were and say “hi” to some friends. Wandering both floors of the Expo Hall. Having attended PAX South, PAX East, and now PAX West, this certainly seemed to be the largest of the shows.

The Importance of Lanyards

Pro-tip: Always. Wear. Lanyards.

With my media badge in tow today, I enjoyed walking up and down the show floor for a few hours. But I failed to obtain a lanyard and was instead holding my badge in my coat pocket. Grabbing a lanyard was eternally on my mind as my biggest fear became losing that badge.

And then at some point, I reached into my coat pocket and couldn’t find my badge.

Shit.

After a brief period of panic, I resigned myself to the likelihood that I would need to just bite the bullet and grab passes from a scalper for the remainder of the weekend. But as a last ditch effort, I returned to the will call booth to explain the situation. Emphasizing that this was entirely my screw up and that I wouldn’t at all fault them if they couldn’t help me out, I was given a new badge against all odds.

My day went from being incredible, to potentially horrible, and back.

With the calm restored, I took a break from the convention in order to meet up friends for brunch. So I joined some of my friends for a visit to the local delicacy: Biscuit Bitch. By the time I arrived, they already had their food long since ordered so I just enjoyed the conversation rather than step in and order food.

Panels

After lunch, the rest of the gang headed over to the Convention Center to made their debut at PAX. I decided to hop in line for the Rise of the Tomb Raider panel, hosted by Greg Miller. I enjoyed the game well enough on Xbox One. And the designers involved in today’s panel encouraged me to consider re-purchasing the game in its 20th anniversary form.

Following that panel, I immediately hopped back in line to attend the debut of Tim Gettys experience hosting a PAX panel as he drove the South Park: The Fractured But Whole panel for Ubisoft. Tim did a great job and even though I didn’t learn too much in the way of new details for the title, we all had a great time supporting him.

Details on both panels will exist in future posts (I took notes and everything).

Party Time

Easily, the highlight of the day came in the form of the evening’s festivities: the Kinda Funny/Deus Ex GO party. As a 21+ event, Xyger and Frank had to make plans of their own while the rest of us went to the Hard Rock Café a couple hours in advance to get in line. Visiting with other guests in advance of the event, some of the best moments in line for the event game from enjoying a brief conversation with Gio Corsi and Adam Boyes. James Fitzpatrick and I showcased our personalized pins for the once and former Sony powerhouses and I greatly appreciated their awe and excitement.

Once inside the party, I made my quick obligatory (and always lovely) photo opportunity with the Kinda Funny guys before the lines got too long. Then, while others were getting their moment with the guys, I had the absolute pleasure to chat with the “hostess with the most-ess,” Genevieve of SquareEnix Montreal. Recognizing that she seems to know me well as a KF supporter on Twitter and whatnot, she gave me the honor of a coveted VIP bracelet, which meant free drinks and exclusive access.

I got to have amazing conversations with other inspirations in the industry like Alexa Ray Correa as a result. And in one of my favorite moments of the night, I was afforded the opportunity to provide Brittney Brombacher (aka Blondenerd) with a copy of Theme Park for the original PlayStation. She tweeted out last week that she longed to add the game to her collection and I just so happened to have a copy that I was willing to provide. Britt was also incredibly supportive of my own personal gaming endeavor and graciously was taking me under her wing for the event and introducing me to industry friends.

It’s going to be really tough to top a night like tonight. I was surrounded by people I admire in the industry and so many of them were incredibly warm and welcoming. Their kindness will continue to drive my aspirations of breaking into the field for years to come.