Last night I finally got back to the real world after a detour into Paxville. What I mean by that is that Thursday through Sunday I was hanging out in San Antonio for Pax South. This marked the third year of attending for myself and the third year of the South branch of Pax as a whole. The only problem with this whole situation is that in my haste to pack I forgot to grab my laptop. This mean I was largely disconnected from the world during the entire show. I had every intent of getting up Friday morning and knocking out a blog post… and while I could have commandeered my wife’s laptop… I simply opted to roll with the whole disconnected thing. Sure I had my phone but the first rule of Pax is that internet rarely works at all from the vicinity of the convention. The first day we were coordinating over a slack channel, but that died during the evening… and from there we had to fall back on text messages that while slow eventually did arrive at their intended target.
I failed miserably at the whole meeting up with folks aspect this year… that is if you were not already in the group of people that I had the ability to text message. I know that MidahHiker was there, but it is sheer madness trying to find anyone in the crowd. I also know WallSavvy from Tequila Mockingbird my Destiny Clan was around… but he spent most of his time hanging out at the Overwatch tournament which was this giant ball of humanity… that ended up so packed that they made folks give up their seating to cram more people into the giant mosh pit that was the audience. I spent most of my time roaming around with Ashgar and Paragon… with occasional visits from Rae when she wasn’t off doing stuff with her brother or watching the Overwatch tourney herself. I also managed to connect with the Cosplay duo of Maovis and Exale… who brought his wife and super chill baby to meet me while I was standing in the hour and a half long line for Dauntless.
Speaking of lines… lets talk about what I didn’t get to play. The Nintendo Switch was the announcement that probably sold more tickets to Pax South than just about anything. However quite literally… if you were standing in line to play Zelda Breath of the Wild… then that was probably just about all you were going to do that day. When I first got to the convention I managed to enter in a trajectory that took me past the Nintendo Booth and it was this swirling quagmire of humanity that I got stuck in for about fifteen minutes until I could chart a course through it. Even on Friday the line reached out of the booth, around the corner and down two other booths lengths along a sheltered corner of the exhibition floor. I mocked up an image from the convention floor layout to attempt to show the line… it was double length next to the Nintendo Booth and then stretched along the entire length of the Nexon booth and was capped somewhere around the Rooster Teeth booth. There was supposedly a shorter line for Mario Kart and ARMS but I did not even attempt it… because time slowed to a standstill anytime you were near the Nintendo area. There were simply too many people for me to handle.
The show as a whole was significantly larger than the previous two years, with it moving into an entirely brand new area of the convention center. The only negative there is that I could no longer get up above the floor and take cool aerial shots. The weirdest part about this PAX experience is that the show as a whole consumes three floors of the convention center, with a fourth floor down at riverwalk level taken up usually by press appointment suites. I never actually left the main floor, because there was more than enough there for me to do both Friday and Saturday. I also spent a significant more time playing in the tabletop area this year than I had in past years. The other new thing that happened this year is that I gave up on parking and took Lyft into the convention both days. This made the whole experience so much more enjoyable because instead of getting up super early and trying to fight traffic in order to get one of the limited parking spots downtown… I chilled out in the hotel, ate a peaceful breakfast, and then hailed a rideshare. There was never a point where I waited more than five minutes, and the ride in itself was no more than 10 minutes…. so within 15 minutes I could be on the show floor pretty reliably. Three of the four trips were amazing… the final trip however the guy got lost a few times and wound up with a much bigger bill than I should have. I talked to Lyft however and they almost instantly sent me a refund for part of the cost, which was pretty damned cool. I am absolutely going this route in the future because it gives me the best of both worlds… easy access to the convention but a hotel with access to the various shopping areas for my wife to hang out in.
As far as the hotel goes… these images do not do it justice. I am used to having a bedroom of sorts with a sitting room attached, but largely in one big open floorplan. Instead of that we had literally three separate rooms. The living room was way deeper than the photo shows and had recliner, sofa with pull out bed, television, extra dressers, and a relatively comfy desk with a ton of plugins available from the top. The “kitchen” area was a full wet bar with cabinets below, sink, and microwave with a fully enclosed roomy bathroom to the left side of it. The bedroom had your normal fare but what I noticed is… my wife could be listening to the television in the livingroom area and I could be watching something completely different without any bleedover. They served a huge breakfast each morning where I largely chose sausage, eggs, breakfast potatos with country gravy. My wife however had a wider mix of things. They also served dinner each night so one night they had Taco fixings, and another night they apparently had something pasta oriented but I was not around for that one. All in all it was a great trip… and the icing on the cake is that we realized the massive Half Priced Books Dallas flagship store is less than a block off the route that we take home making it super easy to stop in and hit that during the trip. Over the next few days I plan on talking about individual games I played so I reserved today mostly as a sort of overview post.