The Vacation–Part 2: PAX is Dead
I am not an entirely distant individual, there is still part of me that relays alongside the rest of humanity. It is this part of me that knows full well that PAX will survive for many years to come and perhaps decades. However the thing that PAX once was is no longer.
When I first started going to PAX it was still young, it hadn’t moved into Seattle and it was actually somewhat empty. The companies there were excited to see you, they had prizes for visiting and if you so wished you could even win more stuff by trying out their new games. It was a land of welcome and of dreams.
Once being here was more exciting than Disneyworld.
Over the years I have watched PAX gain weight, it has grown obese with popularity and the thing that it once was has slowly been dragged to a halt. The arteries of the venue that once ran smooth are now clogged to the point of bursting and the creature shows no signs of regressing. It will continue to grow until it finally ruptures, similar to E3. PAX has transformed from what felt like a collection of happy gamers and their craft into a large commercial.
I have a closet full of clothing and had, until recently, bags upon bags of memorabilia. I would enter into PAX and know that I wouldn’t be put through hoops. If I wanted swag, I could get it. This created a situation of jubilation which made me want to play the games people had available. Not only that but it was a place that was much like a Casino, it was so fun and stress free that it even stimulated buying. I’ve purchased things every year prior, each year slightly more hesitantly than the last. This year was entirely purchase free, I couldn’t have forced myself to grab anything. No longer are you put into a loot and atmosphere induced gaming Eden, instead you are tested and stressed at every corner.
These corners being far out of reach about 90% of the day. Over time I have watched as the “alleys” of PAX went from manageable to mosh pits. I was literally hit, shoved, and bumped during my short stay in PAX this year. People would stop in the center of alleys, or walk straight at you, or push on you to get by. It creates an unending drama of irritation and stress.
Were you one of the people who waited in a long line to take a test for a Bioshock Infinite Shirt? Well the joke is on you if you came on the first day. For a good portion of the morning their test was literally impossible to win. It wasn’t until a person complained to someone that they actually double checked their work and I’m told they eventually fixed it.
I personally missed two questions on the survey, the impossible one, and a question about colors. Colors? Really…Fuck all for anyone color blind I suppose. Otherwise all the lore questions and all the questions that anyone could reasonably remember I did quite fast, I even aided the guy next to me. However neither of us would get the shirt because of that broken poll.
I suppose if anything PAX is dead for people like me. Someone who likes games but doesn’t fantasize about them. I don’t scour the internet looking for the latest release news of Skyrim, though I am excited to play it. There are likely millions of people who do do this, so for them PAX is a wonderful place to be.
There is more to be mentioned, from the disorganized nature of this years PAX, to the hackeyed presentation, but in the end it would just sound like further ramblings of a broken fan.
This was the first stop on the Vacation and it was a place I wanted to leave as soon as I got there. To watch something I used to love so much fall so far it is disheartening. Luckily this would be basically the last low of the trip.