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PAX East: Friday Schedule

By Shamus
on Monday Apr 2, 2012
Filed under:



This weekend, Josh and I are going to meet for the first time at PAX East. I’m going to be appearing on a Q&A panel hosted by the Escapist, along with MovieBob and some of the Loading Ready Run crew.

Here is how PAX works:

The main attraction is the show floor. In the middle of the convention center is a massive (airplane hanger sized) area where different companies have booths for showing off their goods, games, demos, previews, and otherwise vying for attention from the press and gaming public. Some of these “Booths” stretch the definition of the term, and are more like self-contained marketing theme parks. In particular, Xbox has enough territory to declare themselves a sovereign nation and field an army to defend it. People are saying they might even have enough space for two people to play with the Kinect. The mind reels.

Around the edges of this mayhem are tiny booths owned by starry-eyed indie developers and middle-aged guys selling overpriced T-shirts, buttons, posters, and other gaming culture accoutrements.

Elsewhere in the convention center are other ongoing attractions: An arcade, a beanbag lounge, a PC lounge, etc. These are quiet places to get off your feet and recharge yourself, your Nintendo DS, or both.

In the outer rooms are “panels”. These events can encompass a lot of different things. Movie screenings. Presentations. Interactive question & answer events. Some are aimed at the press, or developers, or the public, or certain gaming demographics. Read the schedule before you go and see if you’re interested in any of them.

Last year I didn’t have a game plan, and this resulted in a lot of spine-destroying hiking around. This year, I have a careful plan.

For the curious, here is my schedule for Friday. If an event isn’t here, it doesn’t mean I don’t care about it. It probably just conflicts with whatever else I’ve got going on.


Gamers With Jobs Presents: Gaming For Grown-ups
Manticore Theatre, Friday 12:00pm – 1:00pm
Rationale: Possibly interesting look at mature gaming. It’s a bit early in the day, and we’re likely to still be walking the show floor collecting swag, but if we need a break, this is where we’re going.

Stuff Your Criticism, I Want A Review!
Wyvern Theatre, Friday 3:00pm – 4:00pm
Rationale: Good topic near to my heart. This is actually the subject of my column last Friday: Reviews as consumer advice vs. artistic criticism. The panel includes my friend Susan Arendt.

Educating Through Play: The Future of American Education
Arachnid Theatre, Friday 4:00pm – 5:00pm
Rationale: James Portnow and a Valve rep are on the panel. Heather and I are very interested in education, and how people learn. However, this panel begins when the previous panel ends, so I don’t know if we’ll make it.

The Blankety Blank Panel!
Manticore Theatre, Friday 6:00pm – 7:00pm
Rationale: I don’t like games shows, and this panel is apparently a live version of a “Match Game” show I’ve never heard of. HOWEVER… Susan Arendt, Russ Pitts, LRR, and MovieBob are panelists.

Extra Credits
Naga Theatre, Friday 7:00pm – 8:00pm
Rationale: Entire crew of EC will attend. I love those guys, although this panel is probably too close to the The Blankety Blank Panel for me to attend both.

The Escapist Movie Night
Wyvern Theatre, Friday 10:30pm – ??:??am
Rationale: I AM ON THE PANEL. MY ATTENDANCE IS MANDATORY. If you’re looking to meet me, this is the place to do it. I’ll be bringing some copies of The Witch Watch with me for sale, which I can also sign if you like. I’ll also be available to sign whatever other stuff you want signed. Stop by, shake hands, take pictures, etc.

ALSO: If you’re an indie and you’re going to have a presence on the show floor, please let me know. I’ve got a mailbox stuffed with crap from the big publishers, but not much from indies. It’s a big show, and easy to overlook stuff. You want to show off your project, and I want to see it. Tell me about it!

Comments (67)

  1. JPH says:

    Man, why does PAX East have to be all the way over there?

    • Eschatos says:

      If only there was a PAX on the other side of the country. Maybe they could call it PAX Left? Or PAX Other? Something to make it stand out.

      • krellen says:

        Those of us in the middle of the country are equally abandoned either way.

        • JPH says:

          Yeah, and all we got here in Texas is Quakecon. Way less interesting.

        • swenson says:

          Every year I complain bitterly about how I can’t go to these things because nobody has conventions in the Midwest; PAX East is the nearest convention of that type to me and it’s still over a day’s driving (or one day, I guess, if it’s a reeeeeally long day)… and I don’t have the money to spend on plane tickets.

          This year, however, I’m actually going to be just two hours away. Unfortunately, I’ll be visiting my sister, and I don’t think she’d be too happy if I took off for the entire weekend!

          • It’s a 12 hour drive for us, if that is any comfort.

          • Deadyawn says:

            I feel like I have more of a right to complain here considering I live in Australia. Do you know how many game conventions they have over here? None. Not a damn one. Seriously. It sucks.

            • Jakale says:

              Check out my comment above this one for the link. Australia appears to have a decent spread throughout the year. No idea about where those cities are, though.

              • Tuck says:

                Australia has nothing even remotely like PAX. The cons in the list you linked to are relatively tiny affairs (most of them don’t even have wikipedia articles!), and are focused on very specific subject areas.

                AVCon, for instance, is purely Anime and Japanese video games.
                Arcanacon is roleplaying (not video games), as is Cancon.

                To be fair, I’m sure it’s the same for most of the US cons listed as well. But there’s no PAX in Australia!

          • ccesarano says:

            The only reason PAX East can really succeed as it does is the fact that Boston has a number of major gaming companies there. Both VGXPO and GameX tried in the Philadelphia area, but failed for various reasons. One of the big ones: there aren’t any major developer studios in the Philly area, and no one wants to make that much of a hike if they don’t have to.

            I imagine most of America is the same way. Most of the developers are concentrated all over the West Coast in Washington and California, scattered throughout the rest of America with some minor focal points on the East Coast in Boston and Raleigh.

            I’d love to see another gaming convention this side of the states at least, though, and Raleigh would be the place to do it. It’s just doubtful that anything will pop up in the middle of America unless Publishers suddenly decide to have their set-ups “tour” America from convention to convention (which would rock, but is highly unlikely).

            • Ambitious Sloth says:

              Actually I have to say that in Philly there are a bunch of indie studios that all have varying degrees of success. No big name studios though… oh-well.

              • ccesarano says:

                That’s the thing, there’s a ton of Indie studios, sure. But that’s not going to drag people to a giant event like PAX. I still remember after both VGXPO and GameX in…2009? there were complaints all over the place of a lack of industry presence. ESPECIALLY at VGXPO. People left early because they wanted to play the upcoming AAA releases.

                Myself, I was actually thrilled to try a bunch of those indie releases. I don’t do much indie gaming, but it allowed me to see what’s going on in the area.

                VGXPO had Bayonetta and Dante’s Inferno, and that…was about it in terms of big name games.

                I looked up other website coverage, both big and small, of both events, and VGXPO REALLY got the shaft. GameX at least managed to wrangle a few minor celebrities and featured a major presence from The Escapist, who helped sponsor. Evidently the guy who set GameX up, however, was pretty skeezy and there were some financial issues with the show. Hence why it hasn’t happened again.

                I think there is certainly room for smaller gaming events, but everyone seems to want E3. Hopefully someone will get something going again, however. I really did enjoy GameX and VGXPO and would love to see something like that again.

        • Falcon says:

          *cough* Chicago *cough*

          You’d think with being such a big city there would be more here, but nope. The few we do get are a little too focused on anime, and not enough on board/ video games.

    • Arvind says:

      Tell me about it. I live on the other side of the globe, where a convention for gaming is as rare as….it never happens, ok :(

    • Eärlindor says:

      Yeah, for the millionth time, I wish PAX would come to the Midwest…

    • Bubble181 says:

      You”d think living in driving distance of London, Paris, Cologne, Brussels and Amsterdam, I’d occasionally see a con…Still waiting :-P

      EDIT: London’s 2h15 by train, Paris 1h30, Cologne 1h30, Amsterdam 2h, Brussels 5 minutes. I know there’s a sea in between but nobody cares :-P A 12h drive would put me somewhere in Spain or Poland, I’m constantly surprised by distances outside of Europe.

    • Eruanno says:

      I know, right? And all that water between me and the US… urgh…

  2. Chris says:

    Sorry I couldn’t make it this year guys. Maybe next year!

  3. anaphysik says:

    Be sure to take a picture of Josh while you’re there, so that our dreams may be crushed when it inevitably turns out that he looks nothing like Reginald Cuftbert nor Teddie Roosevelt.

  4. ccesarano says:

    Being a “GWJer” (pronounced “Goodjer”) and bordering-total-nerd-fanboy-stalker-type, I’m going to have to give a very hefty “Hell yes!” to the Gamers with Jobs panel. Best community on the Internet. I’m serious about that. You know this comic? That’s GamersWithJobs.

    I actually made a spreadsheet for myself with my schedule and color-coding for location or type of event. Reading your small schedule, it reminded me how much I had to cut out. I really want to see that “Stuff Your Criticism” panel, but I’m instead opting for the Bioware panels on Dragon Age and Mass Effect. I’ll definitely be attending the Extra Credits and Escapist Movie Night panels, though.

    It would be awesome to meet you again this year so I can buy your book, as well as have an actual conversation beyond “Ohmigawd I luv ur writans!”

    I’ll do my best not to stalk you. You gloriously beautiful stud you.

  5. Mailbox says:

    Woo! Save a book for me! Haha. See ya there.

  6. Deadpool says:

    Been to Pax East since the first one, bet your ass I’ll be there this year… I even agree with some of your panels, but this is the girlfriend’s first Pax East ever, so will probably give her some of the decision making as to where we go… Will be there with her Witch Watch copy to get some signatures most likely.

    Ashamed to say, she’s read more of your printed work than I have…

  7. Jeremiah says:

    I know your schedule will probably be packed, but I recommend checking out Indie Games on Demand in the tabletop gaming area. I know some of the people that organize it at various cons (especially GenCon) and they’re all super awesome people and they’ll be organizing all sorts of fantastic rpg’s. Even if you don’t have time to play something (slots are typically 2 hours) you might still check out some of the games. I really think you’d enjoy some of the games people will be playing.

  8. Elilupe says:

    Shamus/Josh, if you meet a 17-year-old kid followed by two other 17-year-kids who asks for your autograph, that’s me!

  9. Fang says:

    I need to go to PAX East one day… and soon. Just blow off High School and make my way up to it.

  10. Samuel says:

    Shamus, is there any chance of getting to meet you Saturday?

  11. RoJ says:


    I will be unavoidably in another area during your panel. Are you okay with being lightly stalked for a book signing? It seems like that’s basically what this list is for, but I don’t want to ruin your Friday if you’d like to avoid being ambushed by fans outside of pre-designated ambush areas.

  12. Volatar says:

    Try and swing by the Arcen Games booth if you can. They will be showing off their brand new game “A Valley Without Wind”. I know how much you like procedural generation Shamus. :)

  13. ccesarano says:

    Quick Question: I know you’ll likely be in demand, but I was curious if you were aware of some gatherings happening. For example, Extra Credits is doing a meet-up at the Atlantic Beer Garden Saturday around 4:30pm.

    I’m not sure what your thoughts on some of that stuff is, but it’s one of the things I know I’m looking forward to. If you’re around the Westin Thursday night, there’ll be plenty of people with board and card games as well.

  14. Lochiel says:

    Glad to see you’ll be at PAX:East! I’ve been to PAX:Prime 5 times now, this is my first East. I’ll be one of the ones wearing a Red Shirt and with a black badge.

    I’m hoping I’ll get a chance to meet you and get you to sign my copy of your book.

    Enjoy PAX:East!

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