Friday, September 3, 2010

PAX: Day One

You truly know its here when you have trouble sleeping the night before, roll over endlessly in your bed, waiting for the sun to rise and the fun of tomorrow to begin. No, this isn't Christmas, though close enough for some. Santa's little venture at the end of Summer.

This was waking up for Pax. Even though the rest of my family was up just as early for the birth of my new niece in about 5 hours, I was focused elsewhere. Even then, when my ride came calling, I wasn't fully dressed, and my packing job was left a lot to be desired. I didn't know what to do, if I should bring this food or that, these cloths or those, what I would need and how much of it. We tucked into the little black ride and went to the meet. The pax goers, the pax group, some having been there every year since High School, others a little newer. Hotel money was collected, cars were organized, and we were off for the long drive to Seattle.

The long drive was made even longer by the crowded streets of Seattle. A zig zag of one ways and uncooperative GPS lead to white knuckles, Pax was close, and few obstacles hung in our way. Valets and bag checks concluded, it was time for the first stage of pax: lines.

We did good this year. Every year Pax begins with a huge line of nerds and nerdettes outside the building, waiting for the hall to open. Within the last few years, this line actually became a line for the exposition hall, where new games were shown and swag was given away. Anyone who was anyone knew that if you waited 30 minutes after the expo hall was open, the line would be gone, and you could just walk in normally for the rest of the day, so we skipped that line completely, to go to another line. This one for the theater, which was a five or so minute walk away, and had already reached Space Mountain-like proportions. It actually circled the building a full time, and those like us, waiting for the Keynote at the end of the line, were stuck looking through windows at those at the very FRONT of that queueing debacle.

So we left, somehow managing to skip one line, wait in a line, yet get no benefit out of either.

Women and Men swarmed the building, dressed in every color and shape of dress imaginable. Outfits society would imagine should bring shame; like a hooker in short shorts and stockings, some were dressed for the job. In under a minute I saw Poo from Earthbound, Vega from Street Fighter, and a girl wearing fishnets and a mini-skirt who just seemed to like her legs.

We made it to the Expo hall though, packed to the wall with new games, retro games, big games and Indie games. People waited in more lines, experiencing things they before trusted to the words of underpaid game journalist. I saw games that made my mouth water, drilled at my ear drums, and nearly burned my eyes out. The floor was hot with as many anticipated titles as I could hope for, and held a few surprises as well.

I moved through the smell, a scent varied by location and not altogether unpleasant, to start on my mission. There were objectives, few and easy to achieve, but each was required to fulfill the journey that was Pax. Games that needed to be played, and swag that needed to be obtained.

Day One is coming to a close, one objective is already complete, and the nightly concerts are about to begin. These sweaty, digital raves are both a godsend and a hell of their own, creating a bath of energy that cannot be resisted, escaped, yet is not always likened to joy.

I cannot wait for Day Two. 

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