A Goodjer's Guide to PAX Prime 2010

Penny Arcade Expo logo

Penny Arcade Expo is on its way. If you're joining us and the 60,000 or so of your odder fellows in downtown Seattle over Labor Day weekend, you've got a great time in store.

We've done our homework, and we've got info to help you make the most of your trip.

GWJ is going to be on hand in full force.

  • Check the schedule for our luminaries showing up as panel guests. Julian Murdoch will be at Rookie Years: Stories from First Projects on Sunday from 12:30 PM - 1:30 PM at the Serpent Theatre. Several of the podcast crew will be running around, too, so keep an eye out.
  • The Official GWJ Slap and Tickle will be held on Saturday, September 4th at the Rock Bottom Brewery. See this thread for details, and I hope to see you all there.
  • There are unofficial gatherings, too—peruse the forums and come hang out!
  • You fellow forum-goers are going to be all over, and to make it easier to find each other, we have chosen a symbol to identify ourselves—Stan! Here’s a link to Stan in all his radiant, 300dpi glory for your printing pleasure. If you forget or can’t print it or whatever, I will also be printing out 100 blank ones to bring with me and I have real badge clips this year so we don’t have to punt. Find Momgamer or Amoebic for one and sport your Stan in style!

Important show information:

There are going to be a metric bunch-teen of people around, and events spread out all over downtown Seattle. A few notes to help you plan:

  • Houseapes are welcome, but there are a few things you should know. If you’re planning on bringing little kids, please be aware there are many places in the convention center proper where you cannot use a stroller due to fire codes. That includes, for example, the Expo Hall and all the Trade Center theaters. I don’t have specific rules for Beneroya but I’m assuming they’re similar; five blocks can’t make that much difference to the fire marshal. Please plan ahead for tag-teaming with someone who can stay with the stroller in one of the free areas, or you might want to think about a baby carrier or backpack or something. Oh, and please consider how you’re going to keep track of little ambulatory ones in some of the ridiculous crowds.
  • Please remember there’s no coat check. If you bring it or get it on-site, you have to haul it around. If you’re bringing kids or lots of equipment/pen-and-paper paraphernalia/tiny metal troops/etc. or plan on any epic swag gathering, you might want to plan ahead with a backpack or a way to stash stuff in your car.
  • They did a pretty good number on the Nerd flu/conSARS problem at PAX East. Getting people to keep their hands to themselves with that Iron Guard salute and some pretty heroic sanitation protocols in high-contact areas like Console Freeplay kept them from spreading anything too interesting, and that was with a norovirus outbreak going around the local colleges at the time. These precautions (and more) are going to be in place at PAX Prime. Please help by watching out for yourself, too, with frequent hand washing and/or use of the Purell dispensers all over the place. Especially if you are going into or going out of high contact areas, such as the Freeplay areas and the Expo Hall.

How NOT to have to call "Medic!"
Believe it or not, it is possible to have fun and still take reasonable care of yourself. Keep The Four H’s in mind:

  • Hydrate: It’s summer. It’s going to be hot. Getting dehydrated under these circumstances is a bad idea. Caffeine is a diuretic, so make sure to drink at least as much of something like Gatorade or just plain water as you do Red Bull or Coke. There are water coolers all over the place in the Washington State Trade and Convention Center.
  • Hygiene: You’re in a large building rubbing elbows and flux capacitors with a whole heck of a lot of people. If you’re clawing your way to the top of the standings in the Warhammer tournament, the last thing anyone needs is to be stuck downwind of someone who skipped a few steps from their toilette this morning. And you don’t want to be that guy, either. Showering and liberal use of deodorant is a necessity.
  • Health: Remember that large crowd I mentioned above? Even if they’re not stinky, they’re not germ-free. Ditto for planes and trains and automobiles. Your immune system is your friend, so eat something real once in a while. Red Bull, Pocky and Ramune are not in any food group. And don’t forget to stay on any medication regimen you use in your regular life. Good shoes and new socks are another good idea; those travertine floors are murder after you’ve beat feet on them all day.
  • Hibernate: I know zombies are cool to see on a movie screen, but it’s not nearly so cool when you are one. If you haven’t slept for two days you’re going to feel pretty awful. And that’s not fun at all.

For a quick rule of thumb, at a minimum take one shower, eat two REAL meals, and get four to six hours of sleep per day. If you want to be proactive, right before you go to bed drink a full glass of water and take two Tylenol (or other NSAID). Do the same with breakfast. It can make a huge difference in how you feel by the end of the day.

We'll see you there. Remember Wheaton's Law, and remember to have fun!

Comments

Just don't go with that blazer idea while you are there. Sweaty nerds + unbreathable fabrics = eeeeugh. If you want to look dressy just do a dress shirt with jeans or slacks. You can wear a gamer shirt underneath for that hip mid-30s cool gamer look!

Motrin or Naprosyn/Naproxen are the NSAIDs you're looking for.

AnimeJ wrote:

Motrin or Naprosyn/Naproxen are the NSAIDs you're looking for.

But Excedrin has caffeine!

If anyone has a Sunday badge that they won't be using, or a 3 day they won't be using on Sunday, shoot me a PM, I'd be happy to buy it from you. I suddenly find myself free on Sunday, but I've missed the registration window.

Thanks for the timely guide aptly named mom.

Indeed we will be kicking around Seattle and PAX all weekend. Despite my gruff, hairy exterior, I tend to be a pretty approachable guy. If you see me at PAX and you're a GWJer don't hesitate to represent.

Also, know that Persimmon is my "safe word" so if I shout it suddenly and dash away like a spooked gazelle, that's what that's all about. Nothing personal.

Thanks mom!

1. Lines for food in and around the convention center will be LONG, especially around mealtimes. You should plan to wait in line for a long while, pack your own food, or walk a little more distance to a food place that won't be as crowded.

You fellow forum-goers are going to be all over, and to make it easier to find each other, we have chosen a symbol to identify ourselves—Stan! Here’s a link to Stan in all his radiant, 300dpi glory for your printing pleasure. If you forget or can’t print it or whatever, I will also be printing out 100 blank ones to bring with me and I have real badge clips this year so we don’t have to punt. Find Momgamer or Amoebic for one and sport your Stan in style!

2. These tags are great but can still be very easy to miss in the crowds, in the dim lighting of the expo hall, or when you're distracted by boothbabes & cosplaying hotties. Your best bet is still to pre-arrange meetups

3. Bring spare batteries. If you can find any in the convention center, they'll be outrageously overpriced.

4. You don't have to see everything. Pace yourself. Unwind with some boardgames with your fellow goodjers.

5. Don't get between Jonman and liquor.

Just wear one of these: IMAGE(http://codingpad.maryspad.com/wp-content/uploads/2009/03/fedora_hats.gif)

Question: How far in advance do I need to line up for the keynote and Q&A?

I am very sad I will miss Jonman's Epic House of Debauchery on Sunday. Boo!

As far as I know, the lines at both the Trade Center and Beneroya start at 8am. But I know people who are going to be lining up starting at 6am. It's your call on how you want to manage that.

Thanks mom!

momgamer wrote:

As far as I know, the lines at both the Trade Center and Beneroya start at 8am. But I know people who are going to be lining up starting at 6am. It's your call on how you want to manage that.

So showing up at 9/9:15 would be bad? Or would I still get in?

Haven't been to PAX before, but I've been to other cons where space is very limited. I'd love to be able to grab a seat, however far away. But if it means standing in line for several hours? Not so much.

HedgeWizard wrote:
momgamer wrote:

As far as I know, the lines at both the Trade Center and Beneroya start at 8am. But I know people who are going to be lining up starting at 6am. It's your call on how you want to manage that.

So showing up at 9/9:15 would be bad? Or would I still get in?

Haven't been to PAX before, but I've been to other cons where space is very limited. I'd love to be able to grab a seat, however far away. But if it means standing in line for several hours? Not so much.

Yeah, I'm equally curious/concerned about line-ups. My erstwhile enthusiastic panels-to-see list has been pared down drastically the more I think about PAX, to the point where it's now: Warren Spector, Idle Thumbs. And at that I'm not sure about the keynote line-up.

-----

Someone mentioned this in one of the other PAX threads, via Gabe's Twitter, a free iPhone app called The Conventionist that you can download all the PAX info to, like schedules and maps. Could be worthwhile, I grabbed it since I'll otherwise be relying on periodic/unreliable hotel and WSCC wifi for updates.

Business casual is all you should be wearing at these things. Wearing a gamer or nerdy shirt seems redundant, as you are already at the convention, thereby noting your nerdiness.

Slap and Tickle? What was so wrong with Meet and Greet?

Quintin_Stone wrote:

1. Lines for food in and around the convention center will be LONG, especially around mealtimes. You should plan to wait in line for a long while, pack your own food, or walk a little more distance to a food place that won't be as crowded.

Seriously - throw a couple of granola bars in your bag/pockets to tide you over should your start to wilt. It'll be the best $2 you spend all weekend

burntham77 wrote:

Business casual is all you should be wearing at these things. Wearing a gamer or nerdy shirt seems redundant, as you are already at the convention, thereby noting your nerdiness.

GTFO

burntham77 wrote:

Slap and Tickle? What was so wrong with Meet and Greet?

Ye Olde Slappe n Tickle has been handed down to us through the ages by our forefathers. Are you an anti-traditionalist?

What's wrong with a little S&T? Too close to S&M? Not close enough? Wait until you meet Wordsmythe.

burntham77 wrote:

Slap and Tickle? What was so wrong with Meet and Greet?

Tickle me and you'll find out.

Woot Woot. Can't wait!

Jonman wrote:
Quintin_Stone wrote:

1. Lines for food in and around the convention center will be LONG, especially around mealtimes. You should plan to wait in line for a long while, pack your own food, or walk a little more distance to a food place that won't be as crowded.

Seriously - throw a couple of granola bars in your bag/pockets to tide you over should your start to wilt. It'll be the best $2 you spend all weekend

Costco is amazing too.

I might/might not be easy to spot since I'll be dressed as Maxwell from Scribblenauts. To make it easy, here's a picture. But for the S&T I'll probably be in regular clothes.

That turned out awesome, Dominic. TweedleM is doing a pirate-thing. I think I'll be reprising my serial killer costume (we look like everyone else).

You rock, Momgamer. I might make my son read this. He hates making preparations for stuff, but PAX is a different beast.

I want to second (third?) the idea of bringing your own food; the lines for the few food vendors in the convention center are atrocious.

If you need to eat out, a few blocks away is Westlake center. Top floor is a food court. It's pretty decent. It's where a lot of the local business workers go for lunch during the week. Bubble tea and crepes, too.
IMAGE(http://img.photobucket.com/albums/v243/Liolai/westlake.jpg?t=1283312670)

Wow, I can't believe you had to remind people to shower. Then again, I do have a teen-age boy at my house so I know the drill!

burntham77 wrote:

Slap and Tickle? What was so wrong with Meet and Greet?

It was too creepy.

Amoebic wrote:

If you need to eat out, a few blocks away is Westlake center. Top floor is a food court. It's pretty decent. It's where a lot of the local business workers go for lunch during the week. Bubble tea and crepes, too.

Yes, I went there for lunch during PAX07 when I wanted to get away from the crowds. Lots of choices, minimal lines.

My boss has given me the choice of either taking some work home over the long weekend or pulling a half-day on Friday (I work in the game industry so he's sympathetic about me going to PAX). I'm torn because I want to experience PAX on a day where it won't be so crowded. On the other hand, if I have to wait in long lines to get my badge, I might as well go to work and then show up middday.

Has anyone been to PAX opening day? How bad are lines in the morning? And am I fooling myself in thinking that lines to see the hot games will be much better on Friday than Saturday?

Do I infer from your post that you are not getting your badge in the mail? If it's through will-call, then I suggest to browse the "Changes for PAX 2010" forum thread http://forums.penny-arcade.com/showthread.php?t=123927 Registration is at the Sheraton Hotel now.

Expo Hall:
My assumption due to the Main Stage change that your best bet to get your game in is either Saturday or Sunday at opening. I haven't got an assessment yet as to which of the three days is the least attended, especially since more and more people seem show up each year to PAX. Of the fraction that have to work Friday I don't know. One would assume it would be the better day to go play the new games.
Expo Hall map:
http://www.paxsite.com/paxprime/expohallmap.pdf

PAX lines Friday:
There shall be two lines in the morning before opening. One to the conference center and one to Benaroya Hall which is the "Main Stage" now. The Keynote speech will happen at the Main Stage at opening.
PAX Prime 2010 schedule:
http://www.paxsite.com/paxprime/schedule.php

jdzappa wrote:

My boss has given me the choice of either taking some work home over the long weekend or pulling a half-day on Friday (I work in the game industry so he's sympathetic about me going to PAX). I'm torn because I want to experience PAX on a day where it won't be so crowded. On the other hand, if I have to wait in long lines to get my badge, I might as well go to work and then show up middday.

Has anyone been to PAX opening day? How bad are lines in the morning? And am I fooling myself in thinking that lines to see the hot games will be much better on Friday than Saturday?

jdzappa wrote:

My boss has given me the choice of either taking some work home over the long weekend or pulling a half-day on Friday (I work in the game industry so he's sympathetic about me going to PAX). I'm torn because I want to experience PAX on a day where it won't be so crowded. On the other hand, if I have to wait in long lines to get my badge, I might as well go to work and then show up middday.

Has anyone been to PAX opening day? How bad are lines in the morning? And am I fooling myself in thinking that lines to see the hot games will be much better on Friday than Saturday?

Your decision may have already been made for you. Do you have your badge already purchased? If not, you'll have to scalp one. All badges are sold out - there are no onsite ticket sales at all.

As far as the lines go, it's all catch as catch can. I can say in my experience lines will not be shorter on Friday than Saturday.

I should have clarified - I bought my badge but need to pick it up at Will Call.

On another note, are any GWJers getting together Friday evening?