PAX East 2013: A Gadchick Recap

In contrast to industry events focused on the media like E3 and more general cultural conventions where video games are just a fraction of events like SDCC, the Penny Arcade Expo is a celebration of everything
gaming related and a playground for people who call themselves gamers. From tabletop role-playing games to the latest offerings from AAA Gaming studios, anyone whose Steam account is always out of control or who has very strong feelings on handheld gaming devices can feel completely at home at one of the PAX Events. While they run multiple different events a year internationally, I had the privilege of attending the PAX East convention in Boston this March and found myself surrounded by a world of amazing cosplay, great gaming news, and friendly touches you won’t find at any convention equal in size.

Some of my personal highlights from the weekend:

1. Free-Play Gaming Areas
There are a few things you can expect at most conventions: Vendor area, panels, and lots of fans. One thing that PAX offers is countless free-play gaming areas from fully loaded PCs to a retro room that has
almost any console you can remember. The best parts of being a gamer is the camaraderie you feel with fellow fans and offering the ability to sit and just play was very unique to PAX and lended to the environment
that you are all just hanging out in a very large living room. For consoles, they offered rooms full of XBoxes, PS3s, and Wiis (U and Original Flavor) complete with a library of games. I was given the opportunity to not just test the Wii U but play with it for over an hour and decide that I need one in my house. I was also given the chance to test drive two games I had been interested in: Resident Evil 6 and Gears of War: Judgment. Both games are now on my must-buy list. 

2. Great Gamer Cosplay
From Grumpy Cat to countless characters from JRPGs I didn’t recognize, PAX East had excellent and entertaining cosplay. One of my largest regrets of PAX would be not having taken a picture of Pee-wee Herman and Mr. T hugging while in costume.

3. Mass Effect Retrospective
If you’ve read my previous articles you know that I am a fully obsessed and proud Bioware fangirl thus anything related to their games will make my must-watch list. As always, the Bioware staff offered a great lineup of events for fans and this special panel looking back at the Mass Effect series. While I still wait for news for Dragon Age 3, this panel reminded me of everything I love about their games and how much I will
miss Commander Shepard.

This brief list can’t encompass everything I loved such as the Borderlands 2 vending machine and the amazing chiptune extravaganza.  But while I did miss out on some of the panels I was hopeful to see related to girls in gaming and romance in games, PAX East made a big enough impression on me that I will hopefully be back next year. Will I see any of my fellow Gadchicks there?


  1. I'd love to go. I just went to first convention and i feel so left out. This one looks great, and not as crazy crowded as comic con.

  2. It was really a nice smaller scale experience that literally has volunteers walking around selling cookies for charity! The show floor was crazy crowded, but when I went one room over, it was quiet and had tons of free play options. Plus, they really make a point to foster a community which is hugely evident from the big handheld bean-bag area and interactive panels. As a mega-introvert, I really appreciated the chances for private downtime.

  3. Hello!I was googling my panel Foreplay: Romance in Games to send someone our program description and I came across your site. We actually recorded the panel and it was broadcast as an episode of the Nerd Appropriate Podcast. If you're a Bioware fangirl you especially have to listen since we talk about Bioware games AND we had a surprise panelist: Raphael Sbarge. He even does the Kaidan voice for a moment. You can hear it all here: http://www.nerdappropriate.com/2013/03/26/rated-na-98-foreplay-romance-in-games/ Glad to hear you had fun at PAX. It's always one of the highlights of my year for sure!xo, Miellyn (twitter: @MiellynB)