Pax East, day 1

I learned something important today. When you’re 5 months pregnant at a huge convention, a problem exists: you’re 5 months pregnant. Toting around swag and walking for hours straight doesn’t feel so great. After only a couple of hours, my feet and back feel like they want to run away from my body. Don’t even get me started on my OCD and public restrooms. This made me realize how I should approach my weekend special for Pax: no one talks about being a parent at a gaming convention nor does anyone mention being pregnant and walking around swarms of people.
This is mine and my husband’s 3rd year here. This year, we decided our 9-year-old was old enough to appreciate this experience. This posed a problem for us, as now we had to adapt a new plan and accept that there were certain things we would have to miss that we enjoyed. (I miss you “Make a Strip” panel.) Certain things aren’t kid friendly.

I just rocked the old people's socks off.

This gave us a new perspective on this event. We kept our eyes opened for things our son would enjoy. Then, we saw the “Paint and Take” booth. Perfect! My husband and our son sat there together painting happily together. When they were completed, they proudly showed off their work.

My figurine is awesome. This is my proud face.

Look what I can do!

We also remembered a joy when our son discovered the Classic Console room. While we proudly showed our old age talking about how “the NES was our first game system as kids” and explaining the evolution of games to get to the Wii and Xbox he enjoys today. We showed him how Golden Eye 64 was far more awesome than his Wii version, and then watched him beat us at it. Yes, we were proud. I have a feeling we’re going to spend a lot of time there this weekend.
Another room was also a place of great awe and amazement for our 9-year-old adventurer: the ACAM too. It was filled with classic arcade machines that were free to play. The room was dark, with laser stage lights like arcades should look like. With a backdrop of 80’s music, our son looks at this pinball machine like he’s never seen one in real life, asking “wasn’t Tommy a pinball wizard?” My poor husband’s knee though, he crouched down using his legs as a step stool so our short son could see the screens. This is another place we’ll probably end up spending our weekend.
The agenda for tomorrow is simple. First, we must track down Jonathan Coulton so our son can get an autograph and meet his beloved JoCo. Then more family friendly activities including another visit to the painting booth and classic consoles. Finally, the Saturday night concerts so we can enjoy Video Game Orchestra and Jonathan Coulton.
For you expectant mothers, I do have advice: granola bars or the like are your friends, as are bottles of water. Also taking breaks as often as possible makes you not feel so dead, you know your body. Lastly, a pair of comfortable shoes and airy clothing prevents the overheat and just makes you feel less discomfort.
For now though, we’re calling it a night. My feet have swollen up to a freakish size and my muscles feel like giving up. Tomorrow I’ll know better. Have fun Pax people who are still partying down.

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Con-Time!?

Much to my excitement, Convention season seems around the corner. Geeks of all sorts flock to their own little worlds to meet people just like them. There’s always a little something for everyone, where they form bonds and enjoy the fact that while at home, they are lonely, but now they have 3000+ people who have the same interests. No doubt these people bond with each other because unlike in their normal lives, people here get it.

In October, we have Blizz-con. Every year I stream it, because $50 to watch it seems much easier to swallow than the obscene cost of actually attending it for 3 days. I never understand why I watch it. Sure, the pet is cool enough, but the emotions I have watching it infuriates me. Oh look, a new expansion to the game! Exciting! New things… oh and then they ruin it. Oh Diablo III, everyone wants to play that. Three years, and it’s still not done? Suddenly, I’m not so excited. Then, the next year, I watch it again. That has become my guilty pleasure and my vicious cycle of gaming cons.

Yarrggg...

The highlight of this for me is springtime in Boston to attend Pax East. At first, I’ll admit I didn’t want to go. This was my husband’s thing. I’m not a hardcore gamer, I didn’t think this would be something I’d want to do. Plus, there’s that whole “I’m surrounded by people thing”, which I’m not so cool with. It meant a lot to him, so off we went. Walking from booth to booth, I didn’t get it. I took in all the sights, and I felt more out-of-place than I ever thought I could. Then I saw the classic console room, and that’s when I started to have fun. It hit me that this place wasn’t just for people whose lives revolve around Magic or DnD, it was also for people like me. The best part was, everyone felt like they had a place there. When Sunday rolled around, I didn’t want to go back. But I’m sure other attendees felt the same. I’d also note, I bet my husband regrets this because now I’m really into games of all sorts; not just Warcraft and Sims.

The following year, I went in more “gamer”. I realized a love for board games like Last Night on Earth and The Game of Thrones, and a continued love for assorted other games. Additionally, after the previous year, I started reading Penny Arcade more religiously and watched every episode of PATV. Toss that in with having more friends attend with you, it was a blast. We also found new areas we missed last year, including an area to free play board games and card games. We also ended up with a list of games we couldn’t wait for their released and a few new games to play when we got home. The concerts also never fail to please, with my personal favorites of Video Game Orchestra and Jonathan Coulton. Last year was the most fun I had experienced

Showing Off at the Duke Nukem booth.

in a long time.

This year, like many other people, I’m counting down until they’re back in Boston and preparing for another incredible weekend. Attending a convention about things you love with other people who love the same things, makes you feel like you’re part of a culture, and not some loner who likes to read fantasy books and play games endlessly in your spare time. In fact while you spend half your time hiding the fact you love Magic, or that you’re the Game Master of your group, you are with other people who hide it too! Imagine that.