Sunday, February 1, 2015

PAX South 2015

PAX South 2015
Photo by Liz Locksley
For the #PAXSoufSC challenge -- a twofer, a selfie and my badge! 😍 #PAXSouth

I don't self-identify as a gamer. I play games, but I tend to play "casual" games like Animal Crossing and The Sims, and I don't like a lot of the associations that come along with being a gamer.

So when PAX South came to town, I wasn't sure if I would attend. PAX was the first convention expo aimed at gamers, and it has a totally different vibe than an anime, comic, or pop culture convention. I was also nervous because Penny Arcade has left a bad taste in my mouth a few times -- did I really want to go to a convention with Penny Arcade supporters in the wake of not-so-great gaming happenings?

Between several internet friends attending the convention, being invited to be on a panel, and learning how much the convention itself embraces diversity, I decided to give it a shot. Long story short, I'm so glad I went and gave the convention a fair shot. I'm pretty sure I'll be a regular attendee!

PAX South 2015

PAX South 2015
Photo by Liz Locksley
The expo itself was mostly based around industry-related events, game demos, and more. Compared to the average convention I attend, there was far less fan-run content and far more industry guests and professionals. It was sort of unreal to be in the same room as companies like Twitch and Nintendo.

Because of the different vibe, I didn't cosplay myself. It was a relief not to have to worry about costumes! There were some cosplayers present, but the large majority of people were in street clothes.

PAX South was the smallest PAX so far, but it has plenty of room to grow. I think the timing was a little off -- some big players in the industry didn't announce that they were attending until a week prior. Even though it was small, it was still one of the most organized events I've been to.

The only strange part was the gender disparity -- there were definitely more men than women present. Even though PAX itself was very accepting -- the diversity lounge was AWESOME! -- it was a little weird to be so far in the minority. I know gaming is kind of a boy's club still, but I expected a more even split at the expo itself.

PAX South 2015
Photo by Liz Locksley
THANK YOU for the full house at our Women in Geek Girl Media panel! ❤️ #PAXSoufSC #PAXSouth

Women in Geek Girl Media Panel

I was so happy to be a part of this panel and meet these lovely ladies in person. The panel went really well -- we had a totally full room! We even had people talk to us after the panel to ask questions on how to get started creating content and how to be inclusive of others. It was a fantastic experience and I hope to do more panels soon.

You can watch the panel in its entirety below, and be sure to check out my fellow panelists!


Game Demos

Like I said, I'm not a big gamer, especially not with the more popular games, like first-person shooters. I was pleasantly surprised by the variety of games at PAX South. I love creative indie games, but there were also bigger companies like Nintendo, tabletop classics and newcomers, and more. Here are some of my favorites that I recommend and you should definitely check out!

PAX South 2015
Photo by Liz Locksley
  • Capsule Force. I'm a little biased because my friend Jelfish is on the dev team, but Capsule Force is chaotic fun with retro, anime-inspired graphics. Fight against your friends to get to your side of the map and win. It's available now on Steam and PS4.
  • Just Shapes and Beats. This is a co-op rhythm-based game with awesome music. You are a shape fighting against music... or something? It's awesome and I definitely want to play through the game when it's out.
  • Gigantic. Gigantic reminded me of Team Fortress 2, but more robust. You pick a character from a variety of classes and play against another team. It's only in alpha testing for now, but I can't wait to play the full version.
  • Fibbage. Fibbage is like Cards Against Humanity, but everyone fills in the blank of a given sentence and tries to trick other people into thinking their answer is the correct one. It's great for literal people, so Liz and I really enjoyed it.

The Majora's mask replica by @likovacs was absolutely BEAUTIFUL in person! #takemymoney #PAXSouth #PAXSoufSC

Convention Swag

All my convention purchases were painfully practical this time around. I guess that's how you know you're getting older! Oh well.
  • A companion cube sweater. I love We Love Fine and Valve, so when I saw this, I knew I had to have it! This counts as a practical purchase because I own very few sweaters.
  • Gunnar Optiks glasses. I can't pretend they don't look dorky on me, but I'm hoping that these computer/gaming glasses will help protect my vision. I spend so many hours on the computer every day; it seems unreasonable not to try and protect my vision! Liz and I bought matching pairs because we're total nerds.
  • Disney tsum tsums. Okay, this doesn't count as a convention purchase or a practical purchase. After the convention on Sunday, we visited the mall right next door specifically to buy tsum tsums. The cuteness is unavoidable. I got a medium Marie and a small Minnie and Daisy.

My #PAXSouth swag: this cute companion cube sweater from @welovefinetees! #PAXSoufSC

Overall, I was impressed by the quality of PAX South! I will more than likely become a regular attendee. If you are into gaming or gaming culture in any respect, I definitely recommend that you check out a PAX near you! 

Finally, Liz made an awesome video that really captures the scale and fun of PAX -- check it out!

Do you consider yourself a gamer?

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