I was hesitant about going to a convention, but thanks in large part to their vaccines and masks required messaging, I headed up to Seattle for PAX West 2022…. and I had a very interesting time.
The Show Floor
I was a bit overwhelmed when I walked onto the floor at PAX West. Actually, scratch that, I was majorly overwhelmed. For those who haven’t been here before, the show takes place at the Seattle Convention Center, primarily on its fourth floor. The main exhibition area is actually two huge rooms, with a sky bridge between them. The sky bridge itself had a few board games and tons of vendors on display. Specifically, there were loads of dice. In fact, there were dice everywhere. I was probably never more than 20 feet away from a D20.
There is also a smattering of exhibition areas above and below, but people spend most of their time moving back and forth between the two parts of the exhibition floor.
The thing that struck me first when I walked in was that the show floor is incredibly dark and incredibly loud. The loudness makes sense, with every single exhibitor doing their best to blast their music to attract attendees. The darkness seems weird. Yeah, you are spending a lot of time staring at screens at PAX, so in a lot of ways it doesn’t matter, but for someone with anxiety who hasn’t been around a crowd in two years, making the space dark made it feel more oppressive. That’s probably just a “me” issue, but it was an issue.
What to Play?
Even though most games were available to just walk up and play when I first entered the floor, I went into such a sensory overload that I just sort of wandered instead of actually playing anything. I zigg-zagged my way through one hall, which had a huge castle dedicated to Baldur’s Gate 3 at the entrance, then called my wife from the sky bridge and talked to her while I wandered through the other.
Finally, I snapped out of it and realized that I was at PAX and I could be playing the games I was gawking at. Of course, that’s when the decision paralysis kicked in. I decided to just walk straight to the nearest booth regardless of what it was, and that’s how One Piece Odyssey ended up being the first game I played at PAX West 2022.
I’ll be posting thoughts on all of the games I get to check out (starting with One Piece Odyssey) along with all sorts of other PAX thoughts over the next several days. Keep an eye on this space for more, or reach out on Discord if you want to chat about my experience!