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PAX East 2011 Experiences

March 19, 2011

The first thing I did when I arrived back in the office last Monday, was write up my PAX East 2011 report for my office. The report I turned in and the report I’m writing now are very different. One seen through the eyes of someone working in the industry for a specific game, the other seen through the eyes of a gamer. Okay, so the pro report and my personal feelings, which, as always, don’t necessarily reflect my company or game.

Today on Twitter, I managed to get into some discussions regarding PAX vs Gen Con, Exclusive vs Inclusive and the perceptions of both. It is difficult to carry on a conversation about it over Twitter, to really dig deep into so many of the questions which were thrown my way. Tack on that I was feeling horrid, I just didn’t have it in me. I blame them for motivating myself to tell my stories. Hah! I persevere, you vile PAX POX! /NyquilDosing At any rate, I’m going to talk about PAX itself and how I felt about it and then do a separate blog about how the game industry ignores women. This post will be /mostly/ related to tabletop (RPGs, Minis) and some video games. But for now, just the plain PAX East post.

After not enough sleep from attending the Game Developers Conference, I managed to make my way to Boston.

Minis I want. Alas, no one actually talked to me about them. Also, Ghost Busters cosplay.

I won’t get into the nitty gritty, but I was to arrive around 7:30pm but didn’t make it to my hotel until 11:30pm. I had been in Tweets with my buddy, Xany, who I had previously met in-person at Gen Con. I first “met” Xany on a Rush community and he recognized my icon in the #GenCon on Twitter. Turns out, he’s staying in my hotel and was sitting in the bar! Score! I didn’t have to leave to see a friendly face! He introduced me to his new buddy, Chris, who was attending his first PAX. They’re both from Florida so had lots to talk about. Shortly after, Dane, Community Manager at WB in Seattle, walked in and we caught up. We all agree Troy is a poopy head for missing yet another great convention. We love you, Troy!

On Thursday, I managed to schlep thousands of Gods & Heroes: Rome Rising beta keys from the hotel to the convention. They had a free shuttle, but after brekkie, we ended up waiting 30 minutes or so for it. I didn’t make it to the convention center as early as I wanted. I did run into my some of my BioWare pals who pointed me to the Expo Hall. I was lucky, as I was pretty close to the entrance where the Geek Chic booth was located. Once I saw them, I knew I was close to where I needed to be.

Some photos I took from the main entrance escalator.

The lovely folks from Massive Online Gamer, Wizard 101 and Guild Launch were kind enough to let me crash the booth. I was there to hands out HEAPS of beta keys and promote the Massive Online Gamer Gods & Heroes Correspondent Contest (Seriously. Enter. Free Trip. Get paid to write.) They were all incredibly supportive, kind and very nice. We talked many great topics about games, booth babes, whether or not it truly is a family show, numerous conventions and plotting which I cannot talk about. Yes, I have a nice halo, thanks.

Me, holding up the Massive Online Gamer pages with the Gods & Heroes articles. Also, prize wheel & prizes.

While all this is awesome, I kept thinking something was missing. I’m quite the lover of PAX Prime after attending my first in 2006. I’ve always felt welcome, hosted my own private beer tasting party. I’ve coordinated fan events, worked in booths, been a speaker…all over the place. The spontaneous gaming, singing, dancing and assumption that everyone is a gamer? Not so much at PAX East.

Watching the Star Wars: The Old Republic “Deceived” trailer and my haul from the Cookie Brigade.

It was, at times, like pulling teeth to get people to talk to us. Some of the Enforcers were friendly faces I’d seen before and were totally on the ball. Some of them? They looked shell shocked and didn’t really notice a lot which was going on around them. The presence of booth babes, after numerous assurances that they were not welcome at PAX, kinda peeled back that inclusive vibe I’ve always experienced at PAX. I’d wander around the convention, trying to get ANYBODY to interact. That is, anyone who I didn’t already know. I visited many booths full of people I know, so they don’t count towards my feelings that…

I no longer belong at PAX.

I walked into big booths and small booths. I visited shops, tried to get the attention of people, but alas, no dice. (No pun intended. Seriously.) I was asked to point out some of these companies who do this, but instead, I’m going to spotlight the companies who were AWESOME.

  • Robot Entertainment’s “Orcs Must Die” booth. Every time I stopped to watch the game, one of the people in the booth asked me if I wanted to try the game out or had any questions. These folks are passionate about what they’re doing and they want everyone to play. While I do know Justin, Robot Ent.’s Community Manager (and keeper of The CM List he wasn’t around all the times I stopped by.
  • Spy Party booth. I have been wanting to get my hands on this since I saw this article on Kotaku. When I finally could see it, they were full up. I was told to “RTFM” *snicker* as the very nice chap gave me a flyer. I loved the humor in this booth.
  • Kinect booth. I didn’t really want to stop but the young lady showing the roller coaster game in the Kinect Carnival was so sweet, I stopped to watch anyway. I was dog tired, but she perked me up, happily showing me the game.
  • Fantasty Flight. I was asked numerous times whenever I walked by if I wanted a demo. I did, but didn’t have the time. what was important is that they /asked/.
  • Utilikilts. I think there must be a secret code, much like the “jeep wave” for people who wear kilts. Both blokes working the booth were friendly and outgoing, even if I wasn’t interested in buying a kilt.

If I didn’t name a booth, it’s because I didn’t stop for any amount of time (or it was completely staffed by people I know (*cough* BioWare *cough*). Or I just didn’t make it. I was sad that I found zero help in the miniatures area. I guess I”m so spoiled with knowing so many Privateer Press and Wyrd Games people, that I kinda figured it was a “We’re all in this together” kind of thing. Alas, it just brought back my feelings of Not Being Included Because I am a Girl. To be on another post tomorrow.

The view from our booth. “Yeah, you can find us behind PokeAss”. Also, Mr. T cosplay. He was awesome.

I did pick up a new game. I’ve been a big fan of Lisa Steenson and her Gut Bustin Games. Trailer Park Wars & Red Neck Life are very funny. When I saw Oh, Gnome You Don’t, I had to pick it up. See, I play a lot of board and card games with people who don’t know how. Whilst I believe this review to be spot on quite a bit, it would be a great game to present to my non-gamer fiends, just like Trailer Park Wars & Red Neck Life. Saturday night, I gave up on the parties and some of us decided to do dinner and play games. We played Cthuhlu Dice, Poo and Oh, Gnome You Don’t. And it was all good times.

The game board and pieces tickled me greatly.

Uh oh. The PAX POX is starting to catch up and the Nyquil wearing off. Must re-dose and go to bed. I’ll leave you with this.

Categories: Main, Women Gamers
  1. March 19, 2011 at 10:37 pm

    Thanks for the shout out to my review of Oh Gnome You Don’t. I agree, it’s probably going to be a very good game for non-gamers. Looks like you had a great time!

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