PAX East – By the Fans, For the Fans!

Hi all!  Mako-chanand Ranma are back again to tell you about the terrific experience we had at PAX East.
Mako-chan: I volunteered as driver, so we started our voyage at 2am, did our pickups, shopping, and pit stops, to arrive at the hotel, which was the connecting hotel to the expo center.  Happy day, no walking back and forth in possible crappy weather!  The major plus was Ranma finding an extremely cheap parking area not too far from the hotel so paying the same amount for the whole weekend to park as most people were paying per day was a terrific find.

Once we were checked in and badges picked up we hit the Exhibition Hall.  Now let me tell you, I have a huge problem with large crowds of people, but the way things were set up, and just the huge expanse of space in the main expo hall, the only crowding was the lines waiting to get into some of the larger demos or viewing areas.


Ranma: Now about the Exhibition Hall… We arrived around 9am, in hopes to check in right away… Nope.  There was an hour wait.  During that time I figured it be best to pick up my badge since I waited too late.  I get there and the wait time was about 90 minutes.  So I went back, met up with one of our peeps Dymatrex.  We went to a closer parking lot, and were finally able to then check in and rest.

Lemme tell you… If you want to avoid the long line of badge pickup and get in early, do not wait until two weeks before the con. Because you can goto the Queue Room, grab a swag bag with your lanyard and go.  If not… Well if you don’t mind waiting, it’ll be around 11am or so before you can head down, grab your badge and stroll in.
Mako-chan: We relied heavily on the Guidebook App for the map of the Exhibition Hall in order to make sure we got to everything we needed swag wise, but otherwise just walked and explored.  There was so much to see.  The unfortunate thing was that the main expo hall closed each day at 6pm.  On the plus side, there were a lot more anime cospalyers here that I originally expected.
Ranma: What makes PAX different from most anime conventions is that it’s very low key on events and panels.  If you’ve ever been to a comic con, you’ll understand.  Once I arrived, we met up with Ninja Sista and Pandalicious.  We talked, chilled, and wandered around.  We went back to the Exhibition Hall where we saw the Video Portal to Anime Boston.  We stood there, pointing and laughing.  Then we went to the WB booth where I played The Watcher 2.  It was interesting.  The game play reminded me of Dragon Age.
Mako-chan: After resting in the room and having dinner, we trekked back out to explore the other areas of the convention center.  There was so much to see.  An open area for Dance Central, and a separate area for Rock Band.  A full lounge area with beanbag chairs for portable gaming took over the end of one full hall in the building.  A back area was set up for table top and card gaming and had a table for borrowing games to play as well.  The area was huge and every table was full, even as late on Friday as it was.  The third floor was fully set up for the concerts happening on Friday and Saturday.  Right outside of the concert was a big area where people could gather and play games and still see the concert, and all the TVs in the expo hall were streaming the concert so no matter where you were or what you were doing you could still listen to the music and see the performances.
Ranma: I didn’t stay long for the concerts because I had a headache.  But for as long as I could stay, I rocked out with Metroid Metal and The Protomen.  I did grab their albums.  Metroid Metal is pretty much Metallica covering all Metroid songs.  The Protomen has a post-apocalyptic rock sound to it.



Mako-chan: Saturday was more of the same, at least for Ranma.  The crazy schedule from the day before had me a bit too tired to do too much, and since he had to borrow my badge to do the picture thing, I happily slept and rested most of the day. I did hit up one panel though, Nerdcore Hip-Hop hosted by MegaRan, MC Frontalot, and Kyle Murdock, aka K-Murdock.  Great info about the beginnings of Hip-Hop and the nerd invasion of the genre and what it took to have these three gentlemen get into the music scene.
Ranma: Oh yes the Nerdcore Hip-Hop Panel.  I went last year and thoroughly enjoyed it.  The difference was that this year it was focused between panelists MC Frontalot and MegaRan, whereas last year it was just MegaRan.  Each panelist briefly discussed how they got into the art of nerdcore and how much they have pushed the genre.  BTW, if you want to know more about nerdcore, go check out “Nerdcore Rising“.  It’s a great documentary about it, featuring MC Frontalot.
Also, if you ever watched Food Network’s Great American Food Truck Race, one of the contestants, and also local Bostonian, Roxy’sGrilled Cheese was there to hand out free grilled cheese sandwiches to local attendees.  There was the plain grilled cheese and one with bacon.  Guess which one I stood in line for that was the longest… Yup.  Great tasting grilled cheese with bacon. I will so find this truck if and when I come back to Boston on non-convention business.
Mako-chan: After a quick stop into the classic arcade area, I went back up to the hotel to rest before we walked into Chinatown for dinner.  That night everyone else in the room went out to one of the industry parties that PAX attendees were all invited to, while I tried to rest up for the trip back on Sunday.
Ranma: Friday, there was a guy handing out flyers for an afterhours party on Saturday at the Seaport Hotel. It was for Cursed. A few podcasters went, as did me and Dymatrex.  Along the way, we ran into Suda 51, Tina Lam (who made it to the finals of the Omegathon, go you!), and a few other friends who were just there.  We get there and wow! Top shelf drinks, dancing, arcade machines!  I really enjoyed it!  It reminded me of a normal con rave, but this was 21+ only.
Mako-chan: Sunday was pack up day and a last time to get through the expo hall before heading back home.  Played a few more demos, got a bit more swag, before finally saying goodbye to PAX East and Boston.
The demos I played included Double Dragon Neon, Mortal Kombat for Vita, and Sonic the Hedgehog 4 Episode II.  Double Dragon is a great game.  All the throwbacks to the original and the 80’s vibe and colors make a great nostalgic game that everyone should enjoy. 
Mortal Kombat has updated character skins and graphics along with some great new features for bringing the ick factor up in the game, including shots of breaking bones depending on the moves done.  I’m not excited about the new character skins, but of course there is download content to fix that.
Sonic is so fun and with the updated game play I’m kind of upset that this is looking to be the last episode.  Tails joins Sonic and the team up game play is more than just the random saves from previous games.  Player 1 can completely control Tails pick up saves, and even use him to fly to higher hills.  They also combine to do a stronger spin attack.  Great demo and I really can’t wait to play it again.
Ranma: Sonic 4 Episode 2 was fun.  But the controls didn’t feel natural, but then again I was playing it on PS3.  I also had a hand at Double Dragon Neon.  The graphics were cell shaded, I would have liked to have heard the music to it tho.
But before that, I joined up with Electric Sista Hood, Boston Bastard Brigade, and a few other podcast groups and we did a joint recording of PAX East.  I was sad that I couldn’t make it last year, but this year, I was thrilled to be a part of this and throwing in my input.
Mako-chan: All in all a fantastic weekend and I can’t wait to go back next year!
Ranma: I enjoyed it.  Going to about ten anime cons in a year, hitting up a gaming con such as this is a great break from the norm.  If you like going to cons and having a laid back setting, this is the place.  But I do know people that hit up anime cons a lot more and didn’t have as that great of a time at PAX.
PAX is more laid back.  This is a con where everything is laid out where you’ll have the time to do everything.  PC, console, tabletop gaming… It’s all here.  Hell, I found myself sitting with a bunch of other people playing Cards Against Humanity, during the middle of the day!  That couldn’t happen at an anime con until the evening because of how fast paced it is during the day and big events at night.
You owe it to yourself to hit this con up for one day.  Even if you come out saying that you didn’t like it, you’ll be like “Well it certainly is different… And I had a great time nonetheless!”  PAX… See you in 2013.

DJ Ranma S

DJ Ranma S is cosplay veteran. He has won numerous performance awards with his friends over the years. He has staffed conventions in the past, ran panels, judged a couple of masquerades, a jack of all trades. He's worked dealer's room too! Running this site is his way of giving back to the cosplay community. He feels that it's his turn to give a future cosplayer their fifteen minutes of fame.

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