My First PAX East Experience

Saturday, April 23rd meant a lot more to me than most will ever know. Not only was this my first in-person gaming event, it was my first PAX East and first major gathering I’ve attending since the COVID-19 outbreak in 2020. Fellow writers from the Boss Rush Writing Team and friends from the Dinosaur Machines Podcast also were traveling there. With the hype of seeing my friends in person, I wondered if PAX itself would live up to the hype, especially after E3’s announcement of forgoing any event, physical or virtual, this year.

PAX East was held at the Boston Convention Center at the Seaport district. People crossed the busy streets in droves, some had costumes while other wore gaming paraphernalia. I wore my Link shirt. When PAX East illuminated on the digital billboard, my heart swelled. This event allowed for people with specific hobbies to come together and play games, buy merch, and chat about their passion.

Because this was my first PAX event, I quickly learned that its fanbase is split primarily between video gamers and table top gamers. Because I dabble in Dungeons and Dragons from time to time, I checked out some merchandise and oogled at the hundreds of people playing card games live.

Cosplayers were alive and well. Some of my top costumes were: Hollow Knight, all the main iterations from the Assassin’s Creed Franchise, a Metapod knight, several Links, and Chun Li.

There were endless amount of demos to play, from the little know indie trying to make a name for itself, or a hyped up title like Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles: Shredder’s Revenge. A fellow Boss Rush Writer got to demo Shredder’s Revenge and said it played like a dream. I personally wasn’t able to play any demos because I arrived on one of the busiest days and times. Lines wrapped around booth several times, and I wanted continue to experience everything.

There are an abundance of creativity at PAX as well. BryceKhoDraws was there with his breathtaking illustrations, and Artovision sold these amazing 3D artwork based off retro-video games and movies. I splurged on a Street Fighter II bomber jacket by Nerds Clothing. The design and quality of the product instantly sold itself to me, and the best part was that I was able to pick up a free Nerds T-shirt that was boxed in an old retro gaming cartridge design.

I spent most of my money on games and swag once I hit up some of my favorite developers and companies: Finji, Devolver Digital, and Limited Run Games. I purchased a Tunic pin, Gato Roboto pin, Devolver Digital shirt in a Dunkin Donut style, and Chicory: A Colorful Tale shirt. It was game over when I stopped by Limited Run, VGNY, and PM Studios. I bought Celeste (PS4), Return of the Obra Dinn (Switch), Ever Forward (Switch)–which came with the OST, and Gris (PS4). I also walked away with two Amiibo to expand my Zelda collection.

Overall, the event was a smash. The indie developers and fans were the ultimate winners here, and it was all done in a smooth and safe way. The Boston Convention Center cleared entrants by checking for vaccination status and masks. And while the event held no major announcements like you would expect at E3, I consider PAX East a celebration of all things gaming. It brought community together, and in my opinion, supported the smaller businesses too.

I definitely will return next year. The only thing I would do differently is to attend for more than one day. I would like to go on a weekday to test games and use the weekend day for shopping!

Missed out? Here are some people/businesses you should check out on Twitter: @NERDSclothingCo, @LimitedRunGames, @VGNYSoft, @Artovision3D, @DevolverDigital, @PMStudiosUSA, @BryceKhoDraws

Did you attend PAX East this year or have a desire to attend one in the future? What’s your favorite part of PAX? Share your thoughts on this on our Boss Rush Facebook group or Discord Channel by scanning the QR code below.

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