As far back as I can remember I have always wanted to attend a video game convention. Okay, maybe not that far back, but it was while watching TechTV, now G4TV, that I first heard of E3. For a number of summers, almost religiously, I would soak in every ounce of videogame industry goodness. Never did I know that years later I would be writing reviews for and have the opportunity to attend a convention in my home state. Enter PAX East 2012 – Boston, Massachusetts.

Friday morning, so early my memory is foggy at best, the SitSam crew and I departed for the Boston Expo and Convention Center. To my chagrin we arrived a full hour before the door to the convention centered even opened! It was early and cold as we clamored from the taxicab, and to my shock, we were around the 300th in line. Jittering around in the morning chill, I watched the line grow and begin wrapping around itself. The ever-present PAX “Enforcers” in their red shirts paced the line calling out for “Omeganauts to the front of the line.” The “Omegathon,” I would later learn was a contest for randomly chosen PAX guests to compete in various games for some awesome prizes. Eventually, the doors would open and we would file into the building for sweet, blessed warmth.

The main lobby overlooked the exhibition floor, which wouldn’t open for another two hours, but like kids at the zoo, we all had our nosed pressed to the glass just for a glimpse of the booths below.

To anyone who has not been to the Boston convention center, the place is beyond enormous. The bottom level is the exhibition floor, where most of the action was located that weekend. The ground level floor, on top of housing the main lobby, wrapped around the exhibition floor. The top floor housed mostly convention rooms and some quiet sitting areas, but the same meeting rooms were on the lower two floors as well. Depending on the arrangement, it could take someone twenty-minutes just to walk from one panel to another.

As media, we were allowed onto the exhibition floor an hour before it opened to the public. My colleagues and I jogged along the same giant queue from outside that was already reforming for the main floor. I could feel the anticipation in the air, like a pressure on the skin. We slid onto the floor through a side entrance. That’s when I got my first view of the floor. Banners and lights soared high into the air. Developer and game logos blinked to the pulsing beat of wordless techno. While my colleagues dashed off to Assassin’s Creed 3, Borderlands 2 and Max Payne 3. I just basked in the electric glow.

Now, I could go on. I could tell you about the big developer booths, the import vendors and the multitude of indie titles. On the same floor, I met R. A. Salvatore, famed Wizards of the Coast author and creator of the legendary Drizzt Do’Urden. I could regale you with tales of the Tabletop Workshop and how I entered a Magic: The Gathering tournament. But I won’t. It’s more important to leave the rest to your imagination. Hopefully, someday you’ll get to attend your PAX East and realize that sometimes a dream and little work can really pay off.

Written by Andrew

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