Hello everybody, SlimKirby here, and it has been awhile since I’ve given you guys a proper update from my front. I really wanted and tried to give more updates, but there was just so much going on and I don’t really know where to begin! Thankfully though, only one aspect of this past month will be important to you guys, and that is the part I will be talking about in this post; PAX East 2014!
No Stranger to PAX
For those who have been following my channel for awhile, you guys should know that this wasn’t the first time I attended PAX East. I went to the convention back in 2012, and while I did have some good times, there was also some personal trauma that accompanied that trip. I’m not going to get into all of the details of what went down, but safe to say, I did make some mistakes that ended up ruining the trip for me. Because of that, and some valuable hindsight I received from a person who is very close to me, I didn’t even attend PAX East 2013. It was a personal decision I made and stand by, and because I didn’t go for that trip, I was able to save my resources for two trips to Europe in the same year; two trips that ended up being way more worth it. In 2014 though, I felt a lot more comfortable attending the convention, especially since I was attending event with my girlfriend and two very close friends of mine, and as a result, I was en route to Boston before I knew it!
The Dorkly Four
There was another big happening amongst the gleeful chaos that was PAX East. This was also the first time, in ten years, that FiyahKitteh (my girlfriend) was going to be visiting the United States. She lives in Germany and is not able to afford very many trips across the pond that is the Atlantic Ocean, which is a shame because a large majority of her friends live over here in the USA, so this was a very special trip for her as well. Not to mention, this was also her first American gaming convention, so I was very interested in seeing/hearing her thoughts and impressions. Alongside us, we also were attending the convention with Youtube users PowerToMario and ThePastaKing, both veterans of the Crystal Star Studio cooperative channel that I collaborated on for a few years. We had discussed this arrangement for months prior to the convention, had a very organized schedule of what we would do during the weekend (including what panels to attend and where we would eat our meals), and were even staying in the same hotel room. Also, as a group of four, we are all really close and have gone through many hardships together, often helping each other out during the course of those hardships. Safe to say, we were all looking forward to meeting and spending time with each other, and by the end of the weekend, I can safely say that we all got closer.
Underwhelming Chaos at the Convention Center
For months leading up to the convention, people were saying that this particular PAX East was going to be the biggest and busiest event so far, and my god, in terms of people, they were not kidding in the slightest. The show floor was packed and the League of Legends section alone had people stacked on top of each other like totem poles. Back in 2012 when I went, there was still a massive crowd of people, but at least I felt like I could actually move around without being pushed around by the people behind me. It also didn’t help that a lot of the stuff that I really wanted to see wasn’t present in the slightest bit, or if it was, not to the extent that I was hoping. This is why I say that the convention was chaotic, yet underwhelming at the same time. It was just a mess of people and booths and there just wasn’t a lot for me to personally enjoy. Because of this, kitteh and I actually left the convention center pretty early on Friday because I just wasn’t feeling it…in fact, it quite literally made me feel ill. The fact we had to walk (although it was more like rushing) to the convention center didn’t make it any easier either.
Saturday of Satisfaction
Saturday went a lot better than what Friday did. Friday just felt like chaos in every way, shape and form, and on Friday, the group and I at least had a general plan for what we were going to do and what we wanted to see. It also really helped to see Tommy (PowerToMario) in his cosplay (Apollo from Smite) all day because that guy really knows how to have a good time when he is in the zone, and he was seriously in that zone the entire time he was dressed up as Apollo. There were also a bunch of other really awesome moments that happened on this day, but I’ll get into them in the future sections of this article.
About the Panels
So not only was there an expo floor that had various booths featuring the latest creations from popular gaming developers and indie developers alike, but there were also panel discussions that were held in the various conference theaters throughout the convention center during the weekend. I will go ahead and say right now that I didn’t attend any of the huge panels like the RoosterTeeth panel or the “Thrown Controllers” event hosted by TheRunawayGuys. I actually attended panels that were more important and relevant to me and the type of work I do on Youtube. For example, the first panel I attended was called “Why No One Will Game With You,” a panel discussing the difficulty in finding gaming partners and groups for multiplayer games. This topic really spoke to my group and I because we are all really interested in the MOBA Smite and we’ve all had problems in finding people to play with so we could have a fully functional team that can cooperate and work together. I also attended a panel with kitteh about podcasting. We had done podcasts and discussions before, but not very frequently, and we have been interested in doing more stuff in that realm. The panel was very helpful in giving us information about what we should aim for and try to do when it came to making our podcasts a regular thing. We also attended a panel about pitching a gaming story to game developer. Although this was not necessarily in my realm of work, this was something Nima (ThePastaKing) was interested in watching and kitteh and I were actually more interested in watching another panel that was going on at the same time, but since it filled up before we could get inside, we decided to go with Nima instead, since the topic was kind of interesting. It was a good replacement though and was definitely not a waste of time, even in the slightest bit. Overall, the panels we attended were actually really informative and fun to listen to and can be a good way to relax after the unavoidable pain your feet will experience as you walk around for hours.
Meeting New People and Seeing Old Friends
Another big highlight of the weekend was getting acquainted with new people and becoming reacquainted with old friends. I had shared a room with Tommy when we attended PAX East 2012 and have spent several months with kitteh when I visisted her in Europe, so there were no surprises when it came to those two. However, this was the first time I met Nima though and meeting him was quite the thrill for me. He is honestly a really great person to be around and can be the life of the party when he is in that comfort zone, and he must have been really comfortable because for the life of me, I couldn’t stop laughing and having fun when he was around. We had played some games together during the event and he was always fun to play and compete with. He is definitely a guy I would love to spend more time with. Although I spent the majority of my time with those three, I did run into some faces from my past, including Natalie (MadameToadstool), Allison (Littlefu68), Autumn (GaiaCrusher9), Scott (scottman895), and Eric (ShadowMarioXLI). It was really cool seeing them all again and talking to them for a bit, as it had been awhile since I last had contact with them. I even briefly got to talk to Bethany (MadameWario), but it was quite literally for only a minute when we were leaving the airport on our return-trip home. It’s always a shame when people start disappearing from your life due to the different directions you will undoubtedly take, but it’s cool to see and talk to them again, even if it is for just a moment. As for other new people, I finally got to meet Kyle (Odinspack33), Alicia (Xenonia11), and Jamsie (Skinl3y19), but these meetings were so brief that it was almost kind of sad that I didn’t get to spend more time with them, especially Kyle and Skinley because they are people I would really like to work with and collaborate with on a regular basis on Youtube. Here is to hoping we will be able to hang out more during other conventions!
One very important detail I left out of the Saturday adventure was a particular booth I got to visit. Frogdice, the creators of “Dungeon of Elements,” a game I have been showcasing on my channel every now and then, had a booth on display on the show floor. Because of this, I was determined to meet with them and see if they had anything cool in the works. I had been in discussion with Frogdice before, in fact, one of the reasons why I decided to show off Dungeon of Elements was because I was in a casual discussion with the president of the company after he told me that his daughter was a fan of my channel. After a bit of talk, he told me was an indie developer and was working on promoting his company’s game. After taking a look at it, I was honored to showcase it on my channel. At PAX, I got to meet him and his wife (who was the vice-president of the company) and give them one of my “merch-packs” to give to their daughter. I also stuck around and got to take a look at their newest game, Reign Maker, which looked pretty awesome. I’ll have to cover it on my channel someday, in some fashion. I also got to meet some other fans of mine who were looking forward to meeting me at the convention. I really only got to meet two people in this fashion, as I wasn’t there very long on Friday and Saturday I was all over the place. I hope you guys enjoyed the “merch-packs” though! =)
SlimKirby: The Cosplay
This was also my first attempt at “cosplaying,” but I’ll go ahead and say that my efforts were pretty casual as a first timer and there was nothing incredibly complicated about what I was going for. You see, the original plan was for me to go as a companion to accompany kitteh’s “Tenth Doctor” cosplay that she was wearing on Saturday. As a result, I didn’t exactly have to wear anything super complicated because the companions always wear very casual clothing. However, I got a pair of blue suspenders over Christmas to help with my pants falling down (after losing over 100 pounds over the last year, my pants are suddenly too big me XD), and whenever I wear a red or green shirt alongside these suspenders, people always tell me that I look like the Mario Bros. I took this opportunity to cosplay as Super Mario on Friday, but with a slight twist. Because I needed a red cap of some kind, and because “SlimKirby” wears a red cap as well, I did a double cosplay of both Mario and SlimKirby as I brought a pair of sunglasses too. To be honest though, the cosplaying didn’t do very much for me and almost seemed like more effort than it was worth. It could have been because my cosplays were very minimal in execution, but even then, I was pretty uncomfortable in extremely casual wear and would have much rather wore something else. On the flip side though, Tommy’s Apollo cosplay was completely badass, and I still have very heartwarming thoughts of kitteh’s “FiyahKitteh” cosplay that she wore on Friday. I have to say…that FiyahKitteh is one beautiful gal, especially when she is dressed up! =3
Overall Thoughts: The True PAX Experience
Now that I’ve covered a lot of of the small things that went on during my PAX adventure, how did I feel with the trip overall? Overall, I had an amazing time, but honestly, very few of the best moments could really be attributed to the convention itself. I honestly had more fun hanging out with my group of friends than actually attending the convention. In fact, the convention actually kind of took away from the experience because we were separated from our group for a large percentage of the time, and getting prepared for the convention and traveling to the convention ate up a lot of unnecessary time as well, especially on Friday (although Friday was a really weird day as it was). However, I think that is what ultimately makes the conventions as fun and as hyped as they are. It gives groups of friends a chance to meet-up and hang out at a place where they can embrace their inner-video game passions. The conventions aren’t really even that necessary as you can honestly schedule a cooperative trip amongst a group of friends whenever you want, wherever you want, but with the way these conventions are set-up, particularly for people like me, kitteh, Tommy, Nima, and the others, this is a perfect opportunity to meet up with everyone, do some networking at the convention itself with other gamers, and have everything going on at pretty much one place.
There were some really great moments at the convention though, don’t get me wrong; watching Tommy walk around like a rockstar in his Apollo cosplay. Meeting the president and vice-president of Frogdice was another moment that I’ll remember forever. Spending some quality time with kitteh at the top of the skybridge, looking down at the convention and watching life and time pass us by was also a really sweet, cool and memorable moment. And then, meeting some friends of mine from the past was also extremely awesome, being able to catch up with those who I have not talked to for what felt like ages! I can’t say that the convention did “nothing” for the trip, but there were definitely moments that stood out a little more for me.
The parts of this weekend that really stood out for me though were spending time with kitteh, Tommy and Nima; exploring the Boston area, playing video games in our awesome Jr. Executive hotel room, eating some really excellent food, and having some really awesome talks and laughs along the way. That’s the stuff that really stood out for me and were the things that made this weekend as awesome as it was. And you know, I think that is the beauty of the PAX conventions….by themselves, they don’t really do a whole lot, but the people you meet and you go with, that is what stands out the most. In other words, if you plan to go to a convention all by yourself and have no plans to meet up with anybody, I think it’s going to be really hard to enjoy yourself. I’m sure there might be a few people who will disagree, but at least for me, that is what it feels like.
What would I do for next PAX? Well, I would try to schedule a little extra time for me and my friends, maybe even an extra day or two that we can use just to enjoy ourselves and have a little more fun. As for the actual convention itself….I’d do a lot more street passing on my 3DS. Seriously, every year they give you more and more puzzle panels and more street pass games…it’ll take me forever to complete those at this rate. X_X
But seriously, I look forward to what future PAX conventions (and maybe just gaming conventions in general) will bring. But until then, this is SlimKirby, signing out!