This past weekend, I attended PAX East 2013. We took a road trip up to Boston (though technically we stayed in a seedy motel in Sharon, MA… good times!) and spent 3 days in Gaming Bliss. It was our first time at PAX and we definitely want to go again next year. Here’s a brief recap of what we saw and did during the weekend!
We arrived at the BCEC (Boston Convention and Expo Center… I think lol) bright and early on Friday morning to get started on our weekend of fun! Since we got there around 8AM, we were able to park in the parking lot of the convention center, meaning a short walk away from the entrance. There were a ton of people gathered around, but thankfully there were no huge lines like we experienced at NY Comic Con back in October.
We assembled early to get our PAX Badges. You can imagine how psyched I was when I got my hands on my badge, which proudly proclaims that I was to be a SPEAKER! Yep, that’s right. I was to represent my growing StreetPass Group, called StreetPass Long Island (or SPLI for short) and talk about how 3DS and Nintendo fans can start up their own StreetPass Groups in their local areas. My expertise lies in Social Media Marketing and Networking, so that’s what I focused on in my part of the panel. We had a great turnout at the StreetPass Panel, over 100 people were in attendance. Our colleagues at StreetPass Princeton had gone above and beyond creating free Nintendo perler bead necklaces for all who came to the panel, which was a nice bonus. In addition to me and SP Princeton’s Nick and Rob O., the other panelists were Isaiah “Triforce” Johnson, and Ryan Morrison from Island Officials.
I really felt that the panel went well, the people seemed genuinely interested in listening to what we had to say (gauging by the amount of people nodding in agreement as I spoke and the number of people who asked pertinent questions during the panel) and I especially hope that we helped to encourage more people to start up StreetPass Groups. It’s a great thing for Nintendo (not to mention free marketing, advertising and PR of their products in a variety of demographics and regions) and a lot of fun for the rest of us! If anyone reading this was at our StreetPass Panel, thank you so much for coming! I’m working on a video of the Panel, but it’s about an hour long so I have to cut it down into segments. As soon as it’s ready for the public I’ll definitely post the videos here so you can hear what I had to say. I wish I didn’t have to work all this week, or I’d have it done sooner! 🙂
The rest of the day on Friday was spent looking around at all the different booths and vendors. We had tons of SPLI business cards and stickers which we handed out when we saw people playing 3DS. Speaking of which… can I just say, going to events like this is like a StreetPass BONANZA! I highly recommend to all of you 3DS owners to try and attend a big gaming event at least ONCE. You get SO many StreetPasses, it’ll make your head spin! It’s a great way to catch up on your Puzzle Pieces and Find Mii game.
We’d heard a rumor the day before at the Nintendo Booth that there would be Pikachu 3DS XL consoles on sale at PAX, a day before it hits shelves in stores nationwide. (Same goes for Luigi’s Mansion 2: Dark Moon and Pokemon Mystery Dungeon: Gates to Infinity.) Since my birthday is coming up, I decided to buy the Pikachu XL at PAX! I also decided to wear my Pikachu costume that day, to be extra festive. Originally the plan was to get up super early and be the first in line, to ensure it wouldn’t sell out. Unfortunately, Boston’s annoying tunnel system had other plans for us, we got kinda lost and we didn’t actually get to the BCEC area until after 10AM. That meant that we also had to park in the overflow parking lot and wait for a shuttle bus to take us to the convention center. You can imagine our concern about waiting in huge lines and potentially getting sold out of the exclusive items. Despite our fears, we rushed to the Nintendo Booth and got set up in the increasingly long line to purchase the new products a day early. Just when we thought our luck had run out, everything changed when I saw Pikachu.
Of course when I saw Pikachu I had to get my photo taken with him. Apparently this caused a bit of a stir, as a Nintendo Rep approached me about a Pokemon Cosplay Contest going on later that day. We got to talking, told him about SPLI and gave him our card. A few minutes later, a different Nintendo Rep and a Photographer asked us to step out of the line and go with them. I asked, “Will we still have our place in line?” They assured me not to worry and we followed these official Nintendo Reps. Once we got closer, they informed us that they were going to let us skip the hour wait on line, and let us buy our Pikachu XL’s then and there, and take a photo of me doing so! We were SO EXCITED!! Of course we agreed and posed as best we could. As far as I can tell, the photo of me buying the XL has not surfaced on the internet. But whatever, I still got to skip the line!!
After that amazing surprise, of course we had to check out the Pokemon Mystery Dungeon: Gates to Infinity Gaming Lounge where the Pokemon Cosplay Contest was to be held. It was really cool! They had beanbag chairs all set up, along with tons of 3DS XL’s with Mystery Dungeon playable demo’s. It was packed! As it got closer to Contest time, we saw more and more cosplayers showing up. I knew I wouldn’t stand a chance in the contest, but I wanted to participate just for fun. Here’s a picture of the Lounge:
On the third and final day of PAX, we had to catch up on whatever we might have missed. And to us, that meant going hard at the Nintendo Booth to check out as many game demos as possible. There were a TON! I admit I didn’t even get to see everything I had hoped to see. There was just SO MUCH TO TAKE IN!!
One game I was happy I did get to check out was Pikmin 3. I’ve never played a Pikmin game before, other than the mini-game that is in Nintendo Land (which RULES, by the way!). But after seeing Nintendo Direct videos showing the sheer beauty of the HD graphics in the photo-realistic world environment, I was very excited to check it out first hand. The graphics are so vivid, and the game is a ton of fun! We were using the Wii Remote & Nunchuck during the gameplay demo, but I believe you can also use the Wii U GamePad to play Pikmin 3. We played a boss battle against a giant, mean, armored Centipede type thing – it was intense and awesome! I seriously cannot wait for Pikmin 3 to come out this May!
While not playable for the public, another demo I had to check out was Animal Crossing: New Leaf (of course). It was so nice to see the dialog in English! I have to admit, I think I knew more about ACNL than the Nintendo Rep who was doing the game demo. I probably should have tried to volunteer to work at this booth! While the live demo was going on, I pulled my JP 3DS out of my bag and started playing my ACNL game. I noticed I had Maikochan in my town (the little girl kitty who wants to visit other towns) and I asked the Nintendo Rep if I could visit his town and drop off the kitty. He apologized and said that what he was demo’ing was not a full retail version of the game, and I couldn’t visit. What a shame! lol
I’ll admit, we did check out some other booths that were not Nintendo related. However, since they weren’t Nintendo, they really weren’t cool enough for me to take photos and write long reviews about them. MUAHAHAHA! But the Capcom booth did have a fun Photo Booth where you could take three photos for free, and they were playing a Mega Man cartoon on loop. The Ubisoft booth was giving away t-shirts to people who tried their game demos, so that was cool too. There were a TON of vendors selling cool stuff; I got a couple of Pikachu toys. Too bad I didn’t have a lot of money to buy merch, since a plate of chicken fingers costs $12 at PAX lol!
So that’s my brief recap of the fun we had at PAX East 2013! We hope to do a similar panel next year, or at the very least we’ll definitely attend again next year. (But yeah fingers crossed to get a panel again!) I definitely recommend that you check it out if you can. So many games in one Expo! There’s something for everyone! Thank you, Penny Arcade!
PS: Check back soon for some game reviews! I’ve been playing Mystery Dungeon and Luigi’s Mansion and they are both awesome! More specific reviews to come lol!