28 August 2007

PAX Day 1

OK, I failed at blogging while on a B&P trip (business & pleasure?)... can you blame me? I didn't feel like lugging my laptop around the con to make use of the free WiFi, nor did I feel like overpaying for service at the hotel. I tried Starbucks the morning after - Verizon customers only. Library down the street - not open yet. My efforts to blog were thwarted. This weekend was the first time I truly desired an iPhone. Think about it. I could have used it to get directions in an unfamiliar city, find nearby restaurants, call a cab, check my e-mail wherever, and even live blog from PAX! If the mobility of my job ever picks up, I will seriously consider buying one.

Anyway, on to PAX - day 1.

After a five hour flight to Seattle, which passed quickly thanks to the narrative prowess of Philip Pullman and the His Dark Materials series, I arrived at the Washington State Convention & Trade Center with a co-worker from GameTap. What's the first thing I see as I enter the building? A dude dressed in the best Princess Peach costume ever. Needless to say, I was concerned about the flavor of the weekend to come. It was amazing to see this guy walk down the hall and receive nothing more than a friendly smile nine times out of ten. The tenth guy lol'd.

We stopped by the GameTap booth to check in with the rest of the gang, although I didn't have to start manning the booth for an hour. The exhibition hall was a good size. Not large enough to get lost or take significant time to traverse, yet accomodating 30,000 attendees so that we weren't shoulder-to-shoulder. It's also important to comment on the atmosphere of the hall. This was not the main hall of E3, trumpets blaring and sirens beckoning witless young men to lavish booths of electric sex and video game glamour. As I entered the hall, I had a strange realization: I could hear the people around me talking at regular volumes. I wasn't assaulted with neon lights or cleavage. The enviroment of this exhibition hall was oriented towards weaving gamers around the exhibitors and putting controllers in their hands. What a concept! Kudos to whatever force produced this experience, be it man or coincidence.

After a brief once-a-round of the hall, I snarfed a banana and an apple turnover and started my shift at the GameTap booth. Sadly, I'd say 80% of the attendees missiled by, snatching up our Tomb Raider Re/Visioned poster and dog tags swag, without so much as identifying us. This was to be expected given the volume of booths to see, swag to collect, and other events to attend at the convention. The rest kept us busy though, asking questions about GameTap, inquiring about Re/Visioned and our collectible dog tags, or taking a break to fire up their favorite game in our lounge. Check out some pics of our booth and PAX in general.

After the exhibition hall closed to attendees, some catering rolled in for a pleasant surprise - exhibitor party! Woot! Scored some free drinks and roast beef fresh off the bone. The GameTap crew met up at the hotel that evening and we went out to eat at an upscale surf & turf called "Brooklyn". It was crazy expensive @ $30/plate, but on Turner's dime I can't complain! Not much else to report on day one. Retired to the hotel and crashed in a hella compfy bed. Day two blog will come tomorrow!

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