Pax Prime 2012 - Enforcer applications are open!

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Registration is back up.

Official links:

Registration
Hotels

Informational links about PAX and conventions in general:

Let's Go Out to the Convention
A Goodjer's Guide to PAX Prime 2010
Conventions with children advice from momgamer

I'll update this post with more info (events, S&Ts, etc) as the time comes.

Update from momgamer on 7/12:

momgamer wrote:

Just throwing this out there, but Enforcer applications are open for PAX Prime 2012.

See http://prime.paxsite.com/enforcers for more information and a link to the application form.

If you have any questions, feel free to contact me.

Update from docbadwrench on 8/20:

docbadwrench wrote:

Okay, so this is the official thread. Good to know. So, who wants to start Friday with breakfast with an optional jog to the convention center?

Also: Let's add the Sunday at Edwin & Clover's house for tabletop gaming and general drunken carousing.

They know - and they're on it.

momgamer wrote:

They know - and they're on it. ;)

Haha, I'm sure.

Not this year, but maybe next..

Registration is back up, just bought my pass.

muttonchop wrote:

Registration is back up, just bought my pass.

Got mine too. Looking forward to it.

Well, I didn't do PAX East, but maybe prime... Have to think about it. I've got no vacation plans this year, yet. Maybe a trip to the Seattle/Vancouver area is in order.

NSMike wrote:

Well, I didn't do PAX East, but maybe prime... Have to think about it. I've got no vacation plans this year, yet. Maybe a trip to the Seattle/Vancouver area is in order.

The weather will be amazing here then. If you were ever going to visit the area, around Labor Day would be the time.

Ok, I'm registering as soon as I can! This will be my first, so go easy on me.

Awwwww yeah.

"But Gravey, you're going to have a six-week-old baby then."

Awwwww no.

Better talk this one out with my wife, and fast. Someone save me a 3-day pass (maybe)!

PAX Site[/url]]Registration Update
Here's where we're at:

#1. We tried a new registration vendor this year. It....didn't work out. We are going back to our previous vendor and registration should be set up next week.

#2. For those of you who have successfully registered, we'll shoot you an email next week to confirm your registration.

#3. We're really sorry about this =(.

Crap, hopefully I wont miss the next window of opportunity.

Eldon_of_Azure wrote:

PAX Site[/url]]We are going back to our previous vendor and registration should be set up next week.

Phew, time to negotiate!

It's all right. It doesn't sell out like overnight - there is a bit of breathing room. Just don't wait until July and wonder what happened.

Watch the official Twitter feed (@Official_PAX)and they'll keep you informed.

I think I have my wife convinced to go, and to bring the girls.

Just need to confirm that my Mom will come too, so that we can have a babysitter for a few hours so that I can sneak away and geek out.

Momgamer - would it be totally out of place to bring a 2.8 yr and 10 month old for a few hours?

Not at all. Just make sure you have a way to keep a hold of the toddler (as stone-age as they sound, leashes in these crowds are a good thing), houseape-entertainment because adults are boring as all heck, bring snacks because food lines are ridiculous, and be aware there are places in the Trade Center like Main Expo you can't take a stroller so plan for tag-teaming or something. Oh, there are a couple big fountains that would be pretty easy for her to end up in up to her neck to watch out for.

momgamer wrote:

Not at all. Just make sure you have a way to keep a hold of the toddler (as stone-age as they sound, leashes in these crowds are a good thing), houseape-entertainment because adults are boring as all heck, bring snacks because food lines are ridiculous, and be aware there are places in the Trade Center like Main Expo you can't take a stroller so plan for tag-teaming or something. Oh, there are a couple big fountains that would be pretty easy for her to end up in up to her neck to watch out for. ;)

What I am trying to work out is for my mom and step-dad to come for the weekend too, so that we can expose the kids to nerd-dom and then hand them off to the grandparents while my wife and I geek around. Also to have a baby sitter so that we can go have a few beers with goodjers.

That works, too, and if I was in your situation that's what I'd shoot for. It was hard enough to keep track of my gang in there when they were 12! But if they want to come along it can be managed. You won't be the only one with a baby in one of those front-pack things and carrying a diaper-bag.

Oh, that's another thing to remind people - there is no coat check at the WSTCC, so make plans for carrying any phat lewtz you get/little metal armies you bring along. A good backpack is a good thing (or a sherpa or Nodwick-style minion).

I dug up my old convention advice articles. I'll have more info when we get closer:

Let's Go Out to the Convention - general advice
A Goodjer's Guide to PAX Prime 2010 - this is where the section on kids was (it's pretty much what I said above)

Those articles would be excellent to have in the OP, wink wink

momgamer wrote:

It's all right. It doesn't sell out like overnight - there is a bit of breathing room. Just don't wait until July and wonder what happened.

Watch the official Twitter feed (@Official_PAX)and they'll keep you informed.

I don't know, didn't they sell outta 3 day passes in under a week last year?

Oy, flights are expensive, and flights on well-reviewed airlines are even more expensive...

Um, all I know is they didn't completely sell out until May 31st. I don't know the date the 3-days were gone.

Thanks for the great kid advice Momgamer. As much as I'd like to bring my little munchkin, I think we'll wait until she's a bit older. My partner has no interest in going, and keeping track of a 4 year old at the con seems daunting.

I was able to snag a three day pass before the registration system went belly up. Here's hoping I actually get a pass.

I'm booking my flights from New Zeland today, I am going to be so pissed if I miss out on my passes though!

SpaceDog wrote:

I'm booking my flights from New Zeland today, I am going to be so pissed if I miss out on my passes though!

I think you'll be fine mate.

I bought mine for PAX East about 2-3 weeks after they opened... I seem to recall they were still available early this year (like early january)

PAXEast is different than Prime. The facility is very different, and there is a much larger local crowd. I would definitely get a move on with this if you can.

Aries wrote:

Those articles would be excellent to have in the OP, wink wink :)

I'll set up a nice OP when I get a minute today.

I do need to edit part of one - I realized it's so old it lists volunteers a having black shirts and we don't anymore. They're blue at Prime and Red at East.

Or, here's something I wrote up in 2008 for GamingwithChildren that covers all ages of children. It was written with the WSCTC in mind (this was before PAXEast).

---------------------------------------------

I've gotten several emails and a comment at GamingWithChildren from people who want to attend PAX but have very small children. The advice I'd recently posted is aimed for the non-gamer parent who had been dragged through the doors by their teen/tween and didn't know what to do.

My gang is way past the age of having to worry about, and my solution when they were that age was to stay home. That said, they were that age back in 1990 or so and things have changed a bit since then. I have some very general advice but I put out a call to some experts, the Penny Arcade Enforcers, and got a few pointers.

General Notes:
- Bringing snacks is recommended. There's a Subway and several other restaurants in the building and around it but most of them are not really geared towards children.
- The main methodology for getting from floor to floor is escalators. Please help the little walkers to be careful. That goes for all of the kids and the grownups too, actually.
- The facility itself isn't really geared towards kids. There are art installations on many walls and free-standing emplacements. There are also water features inside the building that are a beacon to an adventuresome four-year-old. There's a huge, deep fountain on the top floor by the registration area, and another smaller one at the bottom of the main escalators.
- Some areas of the WSCTC are publicly accessible. The con isn't off by itself or in any way closed off, and there is a park with road access directly outside the top floor. It isn't a good idea to leave children unattended.
- This is an adult event, and others may not be as careful with their use of the language as you are. I don't think anyone's out to be a jerk, but you might want to have a good strategy in place to deal with your little one picking up a new magic word that he just loves to use at the top of his lungs because it makes Mommy go semi-ballistic.
- The events run well past a little person's bedtime. You'll need to have plans for how to cope with that and naptimes.
- All the volunteers wear long-sleeved black t-shirts with the word “Enforcer” written on the back in big white letters. Edit - volunteers wear bright blue shirts at Prime, and bright red at East now
- On a slightly happy note, there are fold-down changing tables in most of the restrooms I was in.

Age Recommendations:
I'm breaking it into three age groups:

Newborn-Kindergarden: This is a tough age. It's really not geared for them. The convention is loud, and there are crowds everywhere. Little babies might not like the noise and the bustle. I thought about it, and I imagined it would be a lot like taking a kid that age to a movie for three days and trying to watch it yourself. You're going to have to decide for yourself, but here's some helpful points to consider.

They need to be in a backpack or sling. There are no real places/clearances for strollers in the events or in the Expo Hall. There is no coat/bag check area to leave stuff in. That means you're hauling them and all their stuff on your back Keep that in mind as you pack.

If you are dealing with the older end of this age group, some method like a leash to keep you two together is important. You will need to keep them with you at all times. The staff will do their best, but they're not trained in dealing with Code Adam.

Something for them to do while you are attending events is also key. As fascinating as you or I will find that panel on podcasting, all they're going to hear is Charlie Brown's parents yattering on. Bring plenty of books and quiet toys and games; whatever you would use to help them get through a long car ride.

I think a lot here depends on the kid. My gang would sleep through a bomb going off and loved being with people. I would probably have taken them for short stints with multiple adults to help take care of them if they needed to be taken out of an event or something. If your little one is shy, or sensitive to crowds, I'd keep the sessions very short or find a sitter.

1st Grade through Sixth: This group can at least get around on their own, but keeping them occupied while you're trying to go to events becomes even more important.

There are some activities on the schedule they would find fun, but you're going to have to supervise. The Console and PC Free-play areas would be great for you and them to spend a half an hour gaming together. (A little birdie tells me the PC Free-play computers are going to have the newest Nancy Drew game on them.) Have them bring a DS or PSP and play along in the Handheld Lounges. The boardgames over in the Tabletop Gaming area are a treasure trove for this age - just be certain to check the suggested age for the game before choosing one. Short stints in the Expo Hall to see all the new stuff and get swag is fun, but be aware of the long lines to get into the really interesting stuff.

Events to avoid would be the concerts (due to the noise), and the M-rated game demonstrations.

If I was in this position, I would go, but I'd have multiple adults to help and we'd setup a schedule to allow the grownups to trade off kid-activies and event attendence. Be certain to bring plenty of their favorite quiet activity toys and games, too. Their attention span is just not going to last as long as yours. And don't forget when it's your turn to take the kids through the Expo Hall to scout out the lay of the land and plan your attack for when it's your turn to go it alone.

7th grade through Graduation: This is a lot easier, but not trouble-free. I would recommend that at least one adult is on site with this age group regardless of how many assurances of "We'll be fiiiine, Moooom!" you hear. This is doubly true if you've got your kids and a couple of their friends running around. It is ok with this age group to allow them to go off for a bit on their own, but I would advise check in times and the Buddy System.

Penny Arcade Expo has a website with a huge schedule on it. Print that sucker out the night before and make sure everyone has a copy. Having people mark their preferred activities and agreed upon check-in times is also going to be helpful during the rush when everyone is running around. Get a hold of an event map and make copies of it too. Make sure you scope out the Information Booth, the places to get food/drink, and the big events. It’s also a good idea to mark rendevous points for check-ins and for going home, and making plans for parking.

Having some way of getting in contact in case of an emergency or plan change is important. Have your cell phone, and make sure they have theirs charged up and ready to go.

Taking kids to any convention is a lot of work, but if you're prepared it can be an awesome experience for you and for your family.

momgamer wrote:

I do need to edit part of one - I realized it's so old it lists volunteers a having black shirts and we don't anymore. They're blue at Prime and Red at East.

I'll be buying them as soon as they go online, I'm just scared they will all sell out while I sleep due to the time zone differance lol.

I've got friends who have bought plane tickets already and are starting to sweat over the delay on passes being available. If someone notices that they are back on sale please post in this thread. Thankye.

Dax wrote:

I've got friends who have bought plane tickets already and are starting to sweat over the delay on passes being available. If someone notices that they are back on sale please post in this thread. Thankye.

Don't worry, I'm keeping an eye.

Another idea is to tell your friend to Follow the Official PAX Twitter feed (@Official_PAX). An announcement will go up there the same time as it goes live.

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