When I entered the Boston Expo and Convention Center to attend PAX East, I was blown away by the many crowds of people. While some wore your everyday attire, others decided to cosplay as their favorite characters. I had never seen this many gaming fans all gathered in one venue, so I felt a bit lacking in comparison to the many people attending.
For context, I’m someone who doesn’t play many games, only mainstream ones. Attending PAX East allowed me to venture into different genres of games and exclusive sneak peeks into upcoming ones. Some areas allowed people to try their brand-name headsets and computer monitors. PAX East is a convention that specializes in EVERY aspect of gaming, including its equipment.
There were a few familiar booths, for example, Nintendo and Pokémon, so if any of the booths seemed overwhelming, you could always revisit the classics. If you do not know at all, then that’s fine too! Many booths around PAX East aren’t afraid to offer you tutorials for their games and inform you about the processes that went into producing the said game. Heck, PAX East also had an entire area dedicated to tabletop free play where people could just sit down and interact with one another. A fellow TiPster, Lily Castello, showed me around different shops that sold custom dice for tabletop gaming. To my surprise, many of the custom die sets were gorgeous, but I made the mistake of not bringing enough money.
Obviously at PAX East, you’d need to bring money, whether it’s through credit card or physical cash. I made the mistake of not bringing physical cash, so I missed out on buying cute keychains I had landed my eyes on. There are also plenty of shops that sell mostly keychains, posters, and pins of familiar gaming series like Persona, Terraria, and Life is Strange.
Another unique twist to PAX East is its panels and meet-and-greets. I had the opportunity to line up and meet a few voice actors who star in one of my most played games of all time. It was my first time meeting people I’ve followed for a while, so much so that I splurged around 100 or more dollars just for their prints and autographs, crazy right?
But what truly struck me was the social atmosphere. Despite there being nearly seven thousand people in the building, the whole event felt incredibly laid back and chill. People were friendly, talkative, and overall just wanted everyone to have a good time. From one attendee that carried around a supportive sign (as pictured above), to the enthusiastic cosplayers that took photos with us, to the stallkeeper who set aside a pin after one of us mentioned wanting it, people were overwhelmingly kind and thoughtful.
All in all, PAX East is a wonderful convention to attend if you’re looking to dive further into different types of games, meet new people, buy merch, or just have a good time! You don’t need to be a hardcore or experienced gamer to attend, all you need is a desire to have fun.