PAX is a lot of different things to a lot of different people. Regularly the show and its Boston counterpart (the one PopMatters was nice enough to send me to) attract attendees in the tens of thousands. Each show has been larger than the previous one to the point that they no longer bother keeping track. Among all those masses of people are an equal number of varied experiences, some quite similar and others so fundamentally different they don’t even start at the same place. Their interests, their goals, their purposes and day-to-day, minute-to-minute desires are all fundamentally different. And somehow PAX finds a way to cater to them all.
Now this is true of any convention large enough to need police to corral people into the correct lines at the start of the show. And thanks to my press badge, my experience was going to be fundamentally different to the vast majority of people in attendance. PAX East is a fan convention, and while it may have started as a way for Penny Arcade to create a convention dedicated to all the things that site’s proprietors love, it really has moved beyond them. There’s a good chance that if you talk to a random person at the show that they wont know what Penny Arcade is or anything about it, only that they loving gaming, and that this is a convention hosted in their town or, as in my case, on their coast as a celebration of gaming. That part of PAX has remained the same.