PAX East 2013

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The Gaming Hajj

22 - 24 March 2013 | Written by Maxxum

When I hear the phrase "Mecca of ..." applied to an entity, I view it as an acknowledgment that said entity is a focal point for something important. PAX East 2013 is the first event I would suggest embodies the literal meaning of the saying; both a center for gaming and geekery, it is as overwhelming and sensational as the Hajj millions make each year to the actual city of Mecca.

Look familiar?

Started in 2004 as the Penny Arcade Expo in Seattle, Washington with 3000+ attendees, the event has expanded into Boston (PAX East), Melbourne, Australia (PAX AUS), and a second Seattle event, PAX DEV. Tens of thousands now attend each year, and partake of most things associated with gaming, ranging from video games (PC & Console), to table-top gaming, music, cosplay, and gaming development throughout the Boston Convention & Exhibition Center.

PAX Enforcette Praying to their video game god Table-top gaming area Music Jumbo Jenga

Top-tier gaming companies maintain a substantial presence on the showroom floor, and it's easy to get carried along with the crowd from one major studio booth to the next, a mistake I made last year. Without the bright lights, and life-sized models of game character, it's easy to overlook smaller gems from independent game developers, and concessions stands.

League of Legends HAWKEN, produced by independent studio Adhesive Games Classic gaming The man is serious about his ears

After 8 hours on the showroom floor, the next chapter in the daily overdose of gaming starts... the night concerts. The crowd is a little older, late 20's to 30's, as opposed to the mostly 20-somethings on the showroom floor. In conversations with people in the gaming industry, it's common for me to hear that someone grew up listening to only gaming music, and that they felt somewhat isolated from their peers who listened to mainstream music. The only concerts I've ever attended have all been gaming concerts; it's a cathartic moment when you're in a room and realize that you can pick someone at random who will probably understand your nerd references. And, speaking of...

End of line.

The music arena MC Frontalot JoCo

Photos by Maxxum