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 this 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.
- Your fellow forum-goers are going to be all over at the convention, and to make it easier to find each other, we have chosen a symbol to identify ourselves - Stan! See the PAX forum thread for an awesome example and a link to a printable PSD. Print one, add your forum name, and wear it with pride. Just don't hang it in front of your PAX badge.
- Check the schedule for our luminaries showing up as panel guests. Why not heckle Podunk at the Serpent Theatre on Sunday from 4-5pm? He'd like that. We're sure.
- The Official GWJ Slap and Tickle will be held on Saturday, August 27th at Kells Irish Restaurant and Pub. See this thread for details, RSVP here, and I hope to see you all there.
- The 2011 Post-PAX Party will be held Sunday night at docbadwrench's house. See this thread for all the deets and to RSVP. Please keep in mind this is his house. Bring snacks, watch the noise, and carpool if you can so we don't turn his neighborhood into a parking lot. ;)
- There will be unofficial gatherings and ways to meet up all weekend -- peruse the forums or keep an eye on Twitter, watch for the Stan, and come hang out!
Important show information:
- Please take a look at the PAX homepage. The official schedules are out, along with the exhibitor lists and concert lineups. If you want to get a jump on planning out your fun, it’s all there for you.
- Tabletop gaming is a huge part of PAX, and the fine folks who organize it were kind enough to put together a handy summary sheet for all the special workshops and locations of various special events. This is especially helpful if you're trying to figure out how to get started in boardgames or minatures gaming. I'll also have some printed ones available at the site. For even more good information, hit Tabletop Headquarters in 204.
- Changes for venues. There are some serious departures from last year’s setup. The “Main Theater” stuff is going to be at the Paramount Theater. There are several off-site satellite theaters and events at the Sheraton. Some of the tabletop is at the Annex across the street. The main registration desk is also off-site. For the first time, we also have part of the first floor of the building. These all come with attendant changes in how lines and stuff work. Hit the website and take a look. This is crucial info if you’re going to attend big events like the keynote, concerts, etc.
- To help with some of the lines into the bigger events, many Main Theater events are going to be echoed to the big screen in Wolfman Theater. If you don't want to face the line in front of the Paramount, this is a great new option. Check with them for scheduling and access information.
- There will be internet access on-site, but experience has shown that it will be stomped on a scale that cannot be described without charts and an easel. For anything crucial, I’d scope out a local Starbucks or check into your hotel’s offerings.
- If your cell phone service is on a 3g network, that will also be incredibly over-loaded. Switch your phone to 4g-only, if you can.
- There were issues at PAX East with people selling counterfeit badges. If you’re buying sight-unseen, do not accept a PDF of the barcoded order printout in lieu of the actual plastic card. Contact [email protected] with any questions you have, especially if you bought your badge through unofficial channels.
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 the Paramount 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 note that there is no coat check. If you bring it or get it on-site, you will 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.
- We've done a pretty good number on the Nerd flu/conSARS problem this last few times and we want to keep it that way. 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 help keep people from spreading anything too interesting. 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 are 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, drink a full glass of water and take two Tylenol (or other NSAID—Ibuprofen is probably better if you're already abusing your liver) right before you go to bed. 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!