The Penny Arcade Expo has come and gone from San Antonio, TX and while a few thousand miles prevented me from attending, my brother Tim was fortunate enough to check things out. I typed up a few questions for him to get his take on what the show had to offer. With any luck I’ll be able to live vicariously through his answers. Check out the link below for the full interview and be sure to check out my brother’s Twitch channel at twitch.tv/piratemushroom.
Q: This was the first year for PAX South in San Antonio. How was the city/venue?
A: I’ve been to the city before, but yeah this was my first time at PAX or any convention like it. I thought the city was perfect for something like this. If you had a hotel that was on the River Walk you could walk anywhere that matters in the city including the convention center. It was a nice plus to never mess with traffic or public transportation.
As far as the actual venue goes. The convention center was awesome as well. Lot’s of walking, but that’s as expected, plenty of room for everything. I will say this, they could have set it up just a bit different for walking traffic but it wasn’t a huge issue. Tons of bathrooms, never had to wait in a line for them once. I could see them picking it again next year.
Q: You went to PAX South with your girlfriend Morgan, what were some of her thoughts on the weekend?
A: I’ll let her answer this… Considering I am not a habitual player of any type of game, it was an interesting experience. One thing that really shocked me was how reasonably priced the merchandise was. I was surprised at how much fun I had painting the figurines for some type of game (I don’t recall). I thought the expo was cool in the sense that it included all ages and types of people. Everyone was respectful and courteous to one another. I thought the lines at the booths and panels was a little ridiculous, but I can’t think of a better way to filter that traffic than by having you register for certain booths and panels before you attend PAX, which would take the fun out of the freedom you have to go explore. I also really liked watching people dance to DDR. Overall, interesting and fun experience.
Q: What were some of the best booths on the floor?
A: There were so many so I’ll break it down to my top 3 in no particular order.
The Magic the Gathering set up was really nice. They had the largest area reserved for tabled and everything. Had a tournament set-up, the actual booth itself, and a place just for new players wanted to learn the game and they provided you with decks you could take home.
Twitch had the best cosmetic booth. It was also attached to the Hearthstone booth. So you had that plus the stage for their stream and the meet and greet area for streamers. Though when i mentioned earlier that they could have changed some things for walking traffic, this was the booth and came to mind. It was almost the first one you saw and walked past but it was also the booth that attracted the most people so it quickly became a high traffic zone with spectators plus everything just trying to walk into the venue. On a side note, they had carpet which was the comfiest carpet in the building.
Third but not least, I’d say Nintendo had a nice set up with the New 3DS, sadly the only chance you had to play is if you stood in line for hours and I wasn’t about to do that.
Q: Biggest surprise?
A: I would have to say the panels being very meh was a surprise. I went to three or four of them and I chose them based on more interesting conversation rather than just the fun ones. Guess that wasn’t a bad move. You had to get to the rooms so early just to get in plus the panel time it was 2 hours gone by the time they were finished. I think next time they should have some way of preregistering for panels or a way to where people don’t have to sit in line for an hour.
Q: Any good free stuff or other merch?
A: Yeah I came home with a lot of freebies. As I mentioned earlier Magic the Gathering gave away a lot of starter decks, twitch gave away from collectible cards of streamers and the rest is basically what you expect. A lanyard here a free game code there. No real “exclusive” merch though, maybe a t-shirt that just said “PAX South” which was somewhat underwhelming. I was hoping for something more but I’ll take free stuff all day.
Q: What was the best cosplay you saw?
A: I saw many but hands down these two who dressed up as some ODSTs from Halo. They had lights, a voice box to make it sound like it would talking through armour and even extra guns for people to hold while taking pics.
Q: Is there anything you didn’t have enough time to do or see?
A: Yeah there were a few games I didn’t get a chance to play and some of the bigger panels I didn’t see and that’s mainly because of the really long lines. The place was only open 10am-6pm and I didn’t feel like spending 3 hours in a line to play a game that comes out in two weeks.
Q: Any closing thoughts?
A: Not a whole lot, it was an awesome time and I’m for sure going to go to something like this again.