It’s Off to PAX I Go

Last year, I went to my first Penny Arcade Expo (PAX) as a regular videogame fan — nay, a Super Fan. This year is different. I am working for a videogame developer and instead of attending PAX to have carefree fun as a fan, I’m attending to work and have a different kind of fun. The kind of fun you have when you’re in the trenches, so to speak, working long hours and being in presentation mode all the time. I’ve worked at fandom conventions (several with 20 000+ attendees) in a variety of capacities, from guest and public relations to coordinating gofers, for 10 years as a volunteer convention staffer. Little did I know that I would have a hand in planning events on the exhibitor side as part of my day job.

I doubt I will be able to attend any of the panels that I’m interested in, which is a little disappointing. My schedule during the day is just too full. I don’t even know if I’ll be able to see the OneUps play again like I did last year, what with all the interesting parties going on at night. Possibly, possibly, if I have some free time, I could perhaps wander outside of
my company’s booth to check out other cool stuff in the exhibit hall. If I have time for that, I really want to check out:

  • Aion: The Tower of Eternity — Not because the company that owns my company is developing and publishing this game. I’ve been keeping tabs on Aion since February 2007, and I’m really excited about seeing demos.
  • Rock Band 2 — I’m not interested in playing it at PAX, because it will be too loud to focus, and I know the queues will be too long and I won’t have time for that shit. I mainly want to see the new drum kit in action.
  • The Sony booth in general, but SingStar specifically — Yes, I already own SingStar. I just got the PlayStation Underground newsletter, and it says that there’s going to be a stage there where you can play, and (I hope) win some prizes. If there are prizes involved for SingStar, I may try to win on Easy mode. I’m also interested in how Sony presents SingStar to the hardcore gaming crowd that will be in attendance. I honestly don’t know how big SingStar is amongst the traditional gamer demographic. I do know that the SingStar official forums are full of obsessive fans who are willing to ride out any possible impacts on their credit records and get new credit cards just to find a way to purchase songs from the European SingStore. Seriously, Sony, get your act together. It looks like these people will do almost anything to give their money to you.
  • Dragon Age — Looks vaguely interesting.

I’ve been so busy with work that I honestly don’t know what else is going on at PAX in the exhibit hall.

I also have mad parties to consider attending, seriously.

There’s an informal, unofficial NCsoft community gathering on Friday night, which was organised by a City of Heroes player. I’m definitely going to this party as I want to meet up with some of the NCsoft community types. The Turbine party is also happening on Friday night, and I am vaguely interested in that one. I do have an active Lord of the Rings Online account, after all. At some point I’ll get around to having an active character. There’s a hotel party being hosted by gamerDNA, too, but I think I may skip that.

The ArenaNet is party on Saturday night, and my attendance is required (because I’m planning it). The White Wolf/CCP is on Saturday night as well, but I don’t know if I’m going. I’m really interested in the World of Darkness MMORPG, but I doubt I’d actually be seeing or learning anything at the party. Honestly, after I heard about what kind of party CCP threw at the Game Developers Conference in 2008, I’m less inclined to attend this one at PAX because I don’t think it’ll be my cup of tea.

Since I live in the area, I’m not staying in Seattle during the con. I’ll be commuting to and from home. The commute kind of puts a damper on late night party plans and generally staying out late and attending the con, unless I decide to throw my sleep schedule out the door. I have a 20 or 25 minute drive ahead of myself, rather than a short walk to a nearby hotel, before I can turn in for the night.

I’m really looking forward to meeting up with my friends from my former company, Xfire. Most of them are going to be working — representing in full force, covering the show, and doing Live Chat events. The others are just there for fun. Note to self: Artaxs has challenged me to a Puzzle Quest duel, bring DS!

This weekend, I will be spending my days working PAX and my nights balancing social events (or possibly attending the con?) with conserving my energy for the next day.

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