I’d like to think that I’m somewhat of a casual video game player, but I suspect that anyone who entered my apartment would progbably disagree with me. If the big pile of Rock Band instruments sitting in the corner of the living room or the closet full of assorted retro consoles (well, sort of retro anyway, I don’t have anything that really goes much further back than 16-bit era at this point) here in the den aren’t enough to make that argument sound thoroughly unconvincing, then I suspect the full size arcade game in the den here would have no trouble doing so on its own. Yes, I have to admit that I’ve got a fair bit of video game stuff around here, even if most of it doesn’t get played much these days. I suppose that also, by default at least, makes me something of a video game junkie. Those who know me would not be surprised by this.
That said, up here in the Seattle area we’re lucky to have the Penny Arcade Expo, which is just about the largest gaming-related show in America that isn’t E3 (and E3 isn’t open to the general public either.) It’s not just a bunch of people sitting around playing video games for three days either (although there’s plenty of that.) There’s also significant representation of tabletop and pen-and-paper gaming, and a lot of stuff related to the general culture (such as it is) which has developed around these things. The expo, now in its sixth year, continues to grow, and has this year completely sold out of tickets nearly a week before the actual show. I have been lucky enough to have been able to attend all of them so far. I’ve had the chance to watch the show grow From the first one which took up about half of Meydenbauer Center in Bellevue where about 4,000 people showed up, (I actually managed to get in to that one for free by letting the organizers borrow my copy of SoulCalibur 2 for the tournament,) up to the 2009 show that begins today at the Convention Center in Seattle, taking up the whole place with 75,000 people expected to attend over the course of the next three days. With attendance continuing to increase, and greater demand, there will also be an East Coast PAX next year in Boston. This is an event people literally travel halfway across the country to attend, and here in the Seattle area we’re lucky enough to have it in our backyard.
For all of the PAXes I have been to previously, I have gone only for one day, which is the Saturday of the weekend that PAX takes place on. On one hand, I generally think that one day is plenty to see everything there, but on the other hand, there’s also plenty you could do to fill another day up if you were so inclined. This year, I will be attending for two days, and it was pretty much by accident that it happened. About a week ago, I went to get my tickets (at all of the ones I’ve attended in the past tickets have generally been available up until the day of the show, and usually at the door) and found that Saturday tickets had sold out. Having not expected this, I decided to get a Friday ticket as a plan B (those ended up selling out a day later) and put out a couple of requests to see if I could come up with a Saturday ticket. I didn’t have much expectation of actually being able to come up with one (after all, the “tickets wanted” requests on Craigslist were showing some rather high prices,) but I happened to luck into one from someone I knew who wasn’t going to be able to attend. Thus I ended up with tickets for two days. The timing works out well too, because after the way this last week at work has gone, I could use a good excuse to flee screaming from the building (I do have to go to work for a few hours in the morning but get to take the afternoon off.)
There’s plenty to see here, and I’m sure there will be plenty to Blog about at the show as well. Unfortunately, I’m not exactly well equipped for moblogging these days, so most of the stuff will be showing up here after the show is over. I will also be twittering (see the sidebar for that), and will probably post some grainy cameraphone pictures as well. Now to go check the drawers to figure out where my geek shirt collection went…