PAX East is just days away and whether it’s your first time attending or your tenth, we’ve put together a survival guide to help you navigate PAX East. It’s dangerous to go alone, so be sure to follow our tips and tricks on how to enjoy the very best of PAX East 2019!
Attack PAX with a Plan
I’m a habitual planner, or maybe a compulsive ‘I need to have a plan with several emergencies plans and maybe even a fail-safe plan in case everything else goes to hell.’ It comes in handy when I go to events like PAX but I recognize that not everyone plans for the worst like I do. But that’s what I’m here to help you out with taking your in-game questing to IRL.
The first step to turning PAX into a quest is to download the PAX app to check out the floorplan, the panels, and all the events that are taking place. The first time I attended PAX East I didn’t and I felt overwhelmed. With all the booths and the people and the events, I lost hours just trying to figure out what I wanted to do. This will not be you! I find it handy to at least make note of the bigger booths (EA Games, Nintendo, the Indie MegaBooth, etc.) so that when I’m on the floor I can navigate myself using those booths as my coordinates. Instead of using North, East, South, West on your compass, using huge booths to help you navigate. I’m not joking. One year I used the giant T-Rex at the Ark booth to know where the escalators were.
After that, I try to make sure that I set a plan out for each day – Thursday is my explore day, Friday is my hit all my favorite booths day, Saturday is my run around and attend panels (also just play games on the EXPO floor) day, and Sunday is my relax day.
I then figure out which games are going to have the longest lines and strategically plan to hit them at certain points throughout the day. This means NOT going to the super popular booth just after lunch or on a Saturday which is historically always sold out. If you’re not going for all the days, don’t fear! Just loosely figure out what you want to do, determine what you can get done in a day, and loosely make a schedule. You’ll want to make sure you take planned breaks, like a lunch break, so you don’t destroy your body or go without coffee for too long!
Ultimately, think of PAX East like a quest from Fallout 76 or World of Warcraft and set out a plan of attack.
I could hear my mother’s voice when I typed that but I stand by my statement – you’ll save your feet, back or shoulders from killing you after your first day! PAX East is huge, like astronomically huge, and you’ll easily rack up 10-20k steps in a day without ‘breaking a sweat’. You will break a sweat and it’s why you’ll see people tweet everywhere about wearing deodorant.
This is why comfort over “fashion” is key. This doesn’t mean showing up in sweatpants and your favorite gaming sweater without showering. This means wearing walking shoes and clothes that are easy to run, walk, jump, high-five or take a quick nap in. Or climb a T-Rex like I once did. People who were stupidly painful shoes regret their decisions very quickly or bring a backup to change when their feet start to hurt.
Be smart! Shower, dress appropriately, bring a good bag that won’t kill your back, and take breaks when you need it. I once got chased around the entire EXPO hall by Team Rocket when I was in a Vaporeon cosplay one year. You want to be prepared for anything and know that you won’t be restricted from running away from Team Rocket if the moment arises.
PAX East is my favorite event, I know I’ve said this before many times, but it truly is. It’s one of the few times where you can geek out as hard as you want with literally hundreds of thousands of people. But with crowds that huge, you want to make sure that you are treating everyone with respect. Don’t cut lines, don’t push people out of the way when you hear that a booth is giving away free gaming chairs, don’t harass or pester any of the cosplayers, respect the enforcers (they seem big and scary but they are just there to keep the peace and make sure the event runs smoothly), don’t steal, and don’t be a bully. Essentially, remember the rules in kindergarten that you were taught? Employ them and you’ll breeze through PAX East without an Enforcer having to stop you!
PAX East is just days away and I hope that our Survival Guide has given you some great tips on how to make PAX East 2019 the best it can be for you! I’ll be wandering the Expo floor so if you see me, or my Legion cosplay on Sunday, be sure to say hi and let me know if the guide helped you!