PAX Prime 2014 – Seattle and Day One

This was our first year attending the Penny Arcade Expo, more commonly known as PAX.

We hadn’t been to Seattle as tourists before, so we went a day early to explore. We saw Pike Place Market, the Aquarium, the monorail, and the Space Needle. It was awesome, but we ended up walking about five miles, which was a mistake in hindsight.

Space Needle, Monorail, Flowers in Pike Place Market, Seattle skyline
Space Needle, Monorail, Flowers in Pike Place Market, Seattle skyline

Friday was the first day of PAX. We absolutely did not know what we were getting into. There don’t seem to be official attendance numbers, but according to the Wikipedia page, it was 70,000+ in 2011. There were people everywhere. And the lines. We expected a certain amount of waiting in line, because that’s what happens at conventions. PAX wildly exceeded those expectations. Err… yay?

We spent the first part of Friday picking up our swag bags and starting on the Expo floor. Imagine two entire floors of a giant convention center dedicated to gaming companies and you have the Expo. It was packed, both with people and with booths. It’s a multi-day event, especially if you want to play any of the games.

A tiny slice of the Expo floor
A tiny slice of the Expo floor

Friday’s standout was Borderlands: The Pre-Sequel. I love the Borderlands franchise, and this game seems like a solid entry. We had to wait a ridiculously long time to play (probably close to an hour), but it was fun. On a side note: We tried multiple times to play Tales from the Borderlands (a mobile game based in the same universe), but the line was always closed and two+ hours. Nothing is worth waiting two hours for, sorry.

After Borderlands, we went to our first session. It was presented by Intel on the Future of PC Gaming. It was more like a shareholder presentation than a presentation to a bunch of dedicated gamers. Alienware did unveil their new PC design (spoiler: it’s a triangle), but that was about it. It wasn’t really worth the five-block walk to the main theater.

The afternoon passed in a blur of more Expo, then we went to the Friday night concert, which was fantastic and totally worth the walk to the main theater.

The first act was Triforce Quartet, a classical string quartet (two violins, a viola, and a cello) that played video game music. They were followed by The Doubleclicks. They were sisters: one played the cello while the other switched between guitar and ukelele. The final act was Paul & Storm, who we’ve seen before but who are always awesome.

We returned to the hotel after midnight and collapsed.

Friday’s walking distance: 5.2 miles (11,246 steps)

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