New England Road Trip 2016: Day 3 (Part 2) – PAX East 2016

(Date: April 23, 2016)

After walking around the city of Boston during the morning, I was on my way over to the Boston Convention and Exhibition Center (BCEC) located in south Boston to attend PAX East, a huge video game convention/expo held annually in Boston (usually every March or April). The same group who puts on the convention, Penny Arcade, also puts on conventions in Seattle, Washington; San Antonio, Texas; and Melbourne, Australia. PAX East has many great features from a huge expo floor where video game companies (the major ones such as Sony, Nintendo, Square Enix, and Capcom as well as independent developers) promote different games, game freeplay areas for different games (console, tabletop, and PC), panels, and many attendees cosplaying as different video game characters. Anyway, I made it over to the convention after a long walk!

I made it inside, and it was just as crazy as it was in previous years. I had previously attended PAX East in 2012, 2013, and 2014 with some friends who I have met online over the past several years. I also have YouTube videos from all three of those events as well as from this trip. I did not hesitate to go down to the main expo floor. After missing out the previous year, it was great to be back in the huge crowd as I walked passed the many booths. The expo floor feels like a maze as you slide between hordes of people checking out video games as well as trying out demos. I wanted to try out the demos of the new Star Fox Zero game over at the Nintendo booth, but the line was extremely long.

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After walking around the expo floor for a good 20-25 minutes, I went back up to the main floor (the expo floor is technically in a lower level) as I was going to meet up with a couple friends of mine near the console freeplay area. Several minutes later, I met up with my good friends Tom (PowerToMario) and Eric (ShadowMarioXLI). It was really great seeing them that day. I saw Tom earlier that year at another convention/festival called MAGFest, held in National Harbor, Maryland), however, I had not seen Eric in two years when I last attended PAX East. I also got to meet a couple other people for the first time as well: Alex (TheTwiKing) and Dennis (Seal). Once we were all together, we went into the retro console freeplay room (they have separate rooms: one for modern console games and one for retro console games) to play the very first Super Smash Bros. game for the Nintendo 64. Although I did not do very well (Eric is a beast at the game), it was still really fun to play!

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In photo from left to right (Tom (PowerToMario), Alex (TheTwiKing), Eric (ShadowMarioXLI), and me)

After playing some Super Smash Bros., Eric and Alex went off on their separate ways, and Tom & I headed back to the expo floor. We checked out more of the smaller and indie games as there were some cool games we checked out as well as played: Orcs Must Die Unchained, a tower defense multiplayer online battle arena (MOBA) game, and Stash, a tabletop-based MMORPG where you have the choice to battle in turn-based combat or explore the world and sell items as you build your home base. I really enjoyed checking out Stash, made by indie developer Frogdice, as it was very addicting. I feel that the game can really become something. What was awesome was that Tom was promoting the game throughout the weekend, and he did a great job with that!

After a great afternoon checking out different games, Tom and I checked out a concert by Professor Shyguy for about 10 minutes. We caught the very end of the show, but he did a great job. At the very end, video game rapper MegaRan also did a duet with him as they covered Blackstreet’s “No Diggity”. They were both really awesome!

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As it was starting to get dark, it was time for us to leave PAX East. Although Tom would be going back for one more day before flying home, it would be my only day there as I would be continuing my road trip the following day. Tom and I walked back into the city over to Quincy Market. Although I had the clam chowder and Poland Spring Water earlier that day for lunch, I had to get it again as they are that irresistible! After we chowed down on the chowder, we got some ice cream and we watched a couple of street performers outside of Quincy Market. Although it was starting to get cold, the show and the ice cream were both cool!

After we ate our ice cream, we had to part ways as Tom was going back to where he was staying, and I had to get back to where my car was parked at Alewife station. We had a difficult time at first finding the train station for the Orange Line, but we eventually found the State St station. It was getting quite cold, and we both did not have jackets with us. We were glad to get inside. Once the Orange Line got to Downtown Crossing, I said my farewell to Tom (he was staying on the Orange Line to Back Bay), and I moved over to the Red Line to take the train back to Alewife (although we had to use the shuttle from Harvard to Alewife due to the subway line being closed for maintenance that weekend as I mentioned in my previous entry). I got back to the car, and I drove back up to my hotel in Woburn.

It was really great seeing Tom and Eric that day as well as meeting Alex and Dennis. I had a lot of fun that day, and I highly recommend PAX East for anyone who is interested in video games. When tickets do go on sale, they do sell out very quick as the event is very popular! I would like to give a special thanks to both Tom and Eric for meeting up that day, and I hope I seem them again in the near future! Thank you for reading, and this is Scott signing out!

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