Saturday, March 12, 2011

PAX East is Ridiculously Huge

After attending six different Penny Arcade Expos in three different venues, first at the tiny little convention center in Bellevue, then the much larger Washington State Convention Center in Seattle and the trial run East location, Hynes Center, I am still in awe at just how enormous the Boston Convention and Exhibition Center is in comparison to all three. The Expo Hall, Tabletop Freeplay area, the Queue Room and a giant food court are all the size of a small airplane hanger each, but still manage to be sunk into the same area on Level 0. While the space is cavernous, the 64,000 attendees are still managing to fill it quite nicely, making traversing the Expo Hall a bit of a challenge. Lines wrap around the booths, with thousands of like-minded people waiting for tidbits of upcoming games such as LA Noire, Portal 2, Child of Eden, Duke Nukem Forever and many others. I haven't had a chance to fully absorb all there is to offer in the Expo Hall as we only scouted the land briefly on Friday before heading up to the Irrational Games panel, but we plan to head back in to root out some of the Indie games and give them a try today.

Yesterday was amazing and tiring. We attended Jane McGonigal's keynote, the PA Q&A, the Bioshock: Infinite panel and the Friday night Protomen concert while still managing to squeeze a couple of board/card games in between. It's possible that I am getting too old to sit on the ground for long stretches of time, so I am happy to have Saturday solely devoted so far to wandering, soaking in the ambiance and playing some tabletop games with friends and strangers alike as opposed to waiting in snaking, squished together lines. I hope to get more time with actual video games, but the wait times look a little daunting and there is so much more to see and do. And as you can see from the first picture, the tabletop freeplay area can hold about a bajillion people, so it's a lovely way to pass the afternoon if fighting the crowds milling about the ever-crowded Expo Hall is not your cup of tea.

All three of these photographs were taken from the perspective of the sky bridge connecting the east and west halls of the center.

See you soon!

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