Pax as a convention for gamers:
As a convention PAX is blatantly geared towards one audience: gamers. Be it tabletop, PC, or console games, PAX is the place for them all. This trait shines through in every aspect of the convention. The list of exhibitors was impressive to say the least. This lead PAX to have a trait that I always look for in a convention to return to next year: Too much to do and too little time to do it in. The last thing you want when you go to a convention is to go around on day 1 and see everything there is to see. I think that PAX could have been 5 days long and I still would not have been able to do everything I wanted. The panel line-up was a great mix of industry and consumer, with a little bit of something for everyone.
As far as the exhibits go it was obvious that the companies and studios in attendance pulled all the stops for PAX. From Gearbox's Duke Nukem Forever booth which was lined with paintings of the star of the game to the TRON booth which consisted of 9' tall glowing letters and a full scale lightbike, the exhibitors hall was a feast for the eyes. As I said before there was plenty to do to keep busy, and I wasn't bored for a single minute that I was there. It seemed like every exhibitor had something new and exciting to show their fan base at PAX. Sony and Polyphony Digital had Grand Turismo 5, Nintendo had Metroid Other M, and Microsoft had Halo Reach and their new Kinect motion system.
Although I didn't have time to visit any of them, PAX also had a large number of free play rooms to accommodate its attendees. From LAN party rooms to the massive tabletop games rooms, they all seemed to be getting plenty of use each time I passed one.
If PAX had one fault this year, it was the planning for their musical performances. The line-up was amazing and included nerdcore bands such as The Protomen, The Minibosses, and Anamanaguchi. However, whoever was in charge of the planning of the concerts dropped the ball big time. A few weeks before the con itself the concerts were moved off site of the convention center to a theater in downtown Seattle. The walk was not that bad going there, as it was all down hill, but going back to my hotel after the concert was a good workout to say the least. Once I arrived at the venue I ran into yet another problem. Since I didn't have a priority wristband (which were given out in the mornings as people cued up for the con) I had to wait in line for secondary seating for the concert. The problem was that the con staff didn't know what to do with the people who didn't have the wristbands. At first they told us we couldn't even line up. Next was to line us up outside, and then finally inside. In the end it was worth all of the chaos as The Protomen put on an awesome performance.
All in all PAX offered a lot to a gamer who attended and delivered on all fronts.
Now for the less important part of this, but I feel the need to write it none the less.
PAX and costuming
As a convention PAX itself is not geared towards the costuming community. However, it is a unique opportunity to wear and exhibit gaming themed costumes. That being said, I was disappointed at the lack of costumes I saw at PAX. There were a few here and there, some of which were very impressive, but it seemed like there just weren't that many people who wore a costume. I can understand the want to just go to enjoy the convention (which along with airline regulations is why I didn't bring any of my costumes) but I feel like with such a large community as the gaming one is there should have been a bit more love for the iconic characters. That being said, the quality of the costumes that I did see were great. There was a subject delta from Bioshock 2 that was stunningly accurate, along with the main character from Dead Space. Hopefully next year there will be more costumes to see and enjoy there.
In conclusion PAX 2010 was an amazing experience with its pros greatly outweighing the cons, and I'll be attending again next year for sure.