Tuesday, June 5, 2012

PAX East 2012

PAX East was my first convention for 2012. It was also my first time at PAX East and I was totally overwhelmed. Knowing the MA area well, I thought I was smart enough to be able to get to the Boston Event and Convention Center (BECC) with no problem but I got stuck in traffic at South Station and my car crawled all the way from the Turnpike off ramp to the BECC's alternate parking garage. The alternate garage wasn't too far away from the convention center. It was a 10-15min walk (which was a lot faster than driving in traffic). There were shuttle buses but, being a nice crisp, chilly New England day my group and I decided to walk instead. It was sunny, some wind, a bit nippy... spring was in the air...

... and the convention season begins for me. PAX East was bewildering to say the least. The size of the convention itself was smaller than New York Comic Con but it was big enough to get lost in physically and mentally. There were a lot to see and to do at PAX East. I feel like I'd only skimmed the surface with attending only on Friday. It's definitely a 2 day exploring venture. PAX East happened on the same weekend as Anime Boston and Easter. Being on the Easter weekend did not affect me at all but, I did have to choose between Anime Boston. I decided on PAX East for Friday and Anime Boston for Saturday. Since, mostly because a lot more Cosplayers tend to come out to Anime Boston on Saturday (also the PAX East Saturday passes were sold out).

After entering the BECC, I was confused as to where to go for my registered swag and the lanyard for my Pass (the Passes were delivered in the mail without a lanyard). The main lobby had booths for press badges and unregistered guests but nothing for the people whom registered online. We asked for directions and found out that we had to walk all the way into the center of the BECC? Or was it all the way to the back of the convention center? I'm not sure, it was confusing. Once we got there we just got a bag with some useless swag. Well, the bag was kind of cool but the rest of the swag was meh... Actually, I'm not being fair. My friends later told me that the Magic Cards and the full game that came in the bag was worth something.

Alright, I'll stop moaning and groaning. In truth, PAX East was pretty awesome! After getting the swag, I walked to the showroom and there were a ton to see! I saw the Capcom area and made a bee line for it. I stood around to watch some of the Street Fighter X Tekken tournament. I was too intimidated to join in. Plus I'd never played the game before. I'm not sure how the mechanics work, is it more Street Fighter or more Tekken? I'll leave it to the younger kids. I did play some Operation Raccoon City and had no idea what I was doing. It was fun though. At a corner of the Capcom area, there was a booth to "Street Fighter" yourself. I don't know what that was all about but, there was a cute Capcom representative there so I stuck around to watch people "Street Fighter" themselves (I still had no idea what was happening).

After that I did some more walking and I didn't actually participate in most of the things offered to tell you the truth. I lingered around the Sega area for a bit, then to the League of Legends area. There was also the X-Box 360 area and Felicia Day was there! I wanted another autograph from her but decided to get it later. Bad idea! Because a couple of minutes later, I tried to get in line and I was the very first person the X-Box 360 rep turned away. He told me to feel free to stand in front of her and I can stare free of charge. Yeah buddy, you can stare at my middle finger and his twin free of charge too! Well, I didn't say that but, I did already admire her earlier. Not in a creepy way... ahem... anyway....

There were more walking around to do... I stopped by  Roger Barr's (of I-Mockery) booth. He's the creator of Abobo's Big Adventure. If you haven't already played the game, I highly recommend it. It's a love letter to all the old NES games. Here's a link to it:

What? You haven't clicked on the link yet? It's much better than this article! Here! This video will convince you:

I hope you came back after checking out the game. Back to PAX East. Where were we? Right... then my friend stumbled upon a small booth with a very cool looking game called Mark of the Ninja. Here's a video:

I'm trying to remember what else I saw in the showroom. Sega had a life size replica of a Power-Loader from the Aliens movie. I think they were promoting an Alien game?

There was also Nyan Cat the game.

I really don't remember much...I was on sensory over load (also I'm writing this a month after the convention). I remember getting a pretty cool pin... and my friend wanting to try out the Warner Bros. Dungeons and Dragons Magnetic Wall but, the reps running the booth had to break for lunch so, my friend was put on a list and had to go back later.

So, we decided on getting lunch too. Here's a tip about food. The BECC is located at the Seaport area in Boston and the food there is almost non-existent since the area is still being developed. Check out the Desctructoid interview with Keith Apicary below and you'll get an idea on what the surrounding area looks like. For affordable food, there's the 15-20min walk to South Station. Which isn't far but, being a chilly spring day with sore tired legs a 10 min walk can feel like a 10 mile walk. Sure the Convention Center offers food; if you feel like paying $11.50 for a sandwich and drink combo or $8 for two slices of pizza! The restaurants in the Seaport area near the BECC offers excellent food. If you are willing to spend $20 per person, I do recommend them (I'm not being sarcastic). I'd been to the restaurants in the area a couple of times. My favorites being Legal Seafood's Test Kitchen, No Name (Seafood) and the Restaurant inside the Seaport Hotel. Well for lunch I had that $11.50 sandwich and soda at the food court and for dinner we decided to walk over to Chinatown but, we couldn't make it. We were too tired so we stopped at South Station and got some affordable decent food. I am not knocking South Station's food. It's actually pretty good and they don't seem to over charge. A lot of the convention goers ended up at the South Station food court as well.

PAX EAST 2012 Friday Concert
After dinner we headed back to PAX East for the Friday Night concert and it was pretty damn good. It was worth the hour and half wait in line. Supercommuter started off the show with some chip tunes about the daily woes of commuters.

Then the rocking Nintendo cover band, the Minibosses played after:

Following was Metroid Metal and my mind was completely blown by this Metroid centric band. They showed videos along with their performance:

The last band of the night was Protomen. I heard they were pretty awesome. Even though I was there, I could not remember much from their performance. I was exhausted, my ears were ringing and my brain was liquified by Metroid Metal. I need to check out Protomen again when I get a chance:

PAX EAST 2012 Overall
I tried to do everything at PAX East on that one Friday visit and it was impossible. Especially with a late start. I didn't get to do a few things that I wanted to. Like saying "Hi" to Ms. Felicia Day again or go to certain panels or seeing Brentalfloss. I also wanted to see Keith Apicary but his panel was on Saturday. I later found out that Keith got kicked out of PAX East because of his antics at the Rooster Teeth panel. This happened before the Keith Apicary Panel so he wasn't able to stay at the convention for long. Warner Bros. commissioned cosplayer for Lollipop Chainsaw, Jessica Nigri was kicked out on Saturday as well because of her sexy alternate cosplay as Juliet Starling. Now I have a better sense as to why PAX East doesn't have any booth babes.  Here are two articles from Kotaku on Keith Apicary and Jessica Nigri:

Man Booted OUt of PAX For Dropping His Pants

Skimpy Outfit Gets Lollipop Chainsaw Cosplayer Asked to Change or Leave Pax Show Floor

Here's an article written by Burly Adopter on the skimpy outfit issue which raises some interesting points:
New Required Booth Babe Uniforms For PAX

I did get to see Jessica Nigri's Juliet Starling up close and personal when she was in the cafeteria area. That was pretty cool and pretty cool meaning, uncontrollable drooling hot! We also ran into Rana McAnear as Samara from Mass Effect. I didn't realize it was her at first and I said out loud to my friend, "Wow! She really looks like the actress!" Then someone replied, "It's because she IS the actress!" Psshhh... I knew that! I was just testing you! I wish I took a better picture of her.

Overall PAX East was an awesome time! I hope to do it again next year and maybe I could take my time with it. There were one too many conventions happening at the same time during that weekend. A cool thing though, Anime Boston and PAX East had a shuttle bus transporting people between the two conventions. If I had known earlier, I would have bought a weekend pass to both conventions. Another cool thing with PAX East is that they had a vintage arcade room with old games in their original arcade cabinets like Pac-Man, Centipede, Galaga... if that wasn't enough, there were also two huge rooms where you can check out and play with any video game system from any era (you have to surrender your ID as collateral). Pretty cool! I easily spent a couple of hours playing the original Castlevania on the NES, Virtua Fighter 2 on the Saturn and watched a couple of people playing Samurai Showdown 2 on the Neo Geo which was displayed on the wall with a projector. Pretty awesome! Aside from some of the convention drawbacks, I had a great time! I'd definitely attend PAX East again next year and hopefully, I'll have more time to explore.

PAX EAST 2012 More Videos

Commander Shepard of Mass Effect interviewed at 4:14 is Holly Conrad. She was featured in Comic-Con Episode IV: A Fan's Hope:

Destructoid interviews Keith Apicary about the PAX East incident:

PAX EAST 2012 Cosplays
The cosplays are easily my favorite part of the convention scene. I love the creativity and the enthusiasm each cosplayer brings to the event.

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