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Bowski477 goes to PAX East

PAX East 2018 was one for the books, and even though your Xbox Ambassador Team couldn’t be there, we were happy to have a trusted Xbox Ambassador there. Bowski477 tells us all about her time at PAX East in this special guest blog. Thanks, Bowski!

PAX East 2018 has come and gone

There’s something special about an enormous number of gamers flocking to one city for one amazing annual event. Penny Arcade Expo (PAX) was born in 2004 and confined to Seattle, Washington until 2010. That’s when the convention spread its wings and started showing up in Boston, Massachusetts every spring. It’s since spread even further to PAX South in San Antonio, Texas, PAX AUS in Melbourne, Australia, and PAX Unplugged in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. Gaming is at the heart of all these conventions—from tabletop all the way up through AAA titles—you can find it all at PAX.

This was my ninth year attending PAX East. I’m lucky enough to live within driving distance of Boston that I haven’t missed a single one since it started happening here. Similar to a trip to a theme park, there are a lot of lines to deal with at PAX starting with the one to actually get in to the Expo Hall. It’s never a dull moment standing a PAX line though. In the morning you’re apt to see plenty of beach balls (or giant inflatable whales) bouncing through the crowds. In all lines you’ll see people playing mobile games, handheld games, card games, mind games, you name it. Even if you’re there alone, you’re bound to strike up a conversation with someone you’re stuck in line with for hours on end.

The Expo Hall is really what I live for at PAX. Once the massive queue of people is released at 10 AM, it’s a race to get to the best booths. My first day always starts with the merch booth before it sells out, but my second day had me speed walking (no running allowed) straight to the Xbox booth. Besides the fact that I’m a giant fangirl, I was eager to get my hands on State of Decay 2. I got to spend 10 minutes smashing zombie faces and was rewarded with a cool pin for my efforts.

Next to the Xbox booth was Mixer where you could find our old buddy Steinekin shout casting his way through some Fortnite matches. I scored a silky-soft Fortnite/Mixer t-shirt just for playing a few rounds. As I made my way back through the show floor, I stopped by the PUBG drop zone. It was awesome to see 100 PCs set up to play PlayerUnknown’s Battlegrounds. While I’m terrible with a keyboard and mouse, I managed to survive into the top 10 at ninth place!

While the Expo Hall is my favorite place to explore during PAX, the panels are also something worth checking out. I always manage to find something that peaks my interest. Day one had me listening to a panel of five ladies talk about the reality of being a female streamer. They described the harassment and bullying they’ve had to deal and how new streamers and content creators can keep themselves safe online. I admired their bravery and openness when they told some of these deeply personal stories.

I was also lucky enough to sit in on the PlayerUnknown’s Battlegrounds live panel. PUBG’s Creative Director Brendan Greene and Xbox Live’s Major Nelson were joined by deadmau5 for some Q&A while playing the game itself. Greene announced that a new map, Miramar, would be coming to Xbox One in May. PC has had the map for some time now, so I was excited to hear that it would finally be coming to the Xbox One.

The cosplay is always a sight to behold at any PAX. From the simple costumes you might find at a store on Halloween to the elaborate works of art painstakingly crafted over many months. Sure, you might get whacked in the head by a passing Mercy wing, but you must admire the effort that goes into some of those outfits. Not to mention the fact that they choose to walk around all day wearing it.

At the end of the weekend my feet were sore, my back ached, and I was exhausted, but every minute of PAX is always worth it to me. Gamers are a special group of people. When we get together it’s always a party. Bring on PAX East 2019!

A special thanks to Bowski for writing this blog and allowing us an incredible insight into the wonderous happenings of PAX East. If you were at PAX East, tell us your favorite moments in the comments below. Or, tell us your favorite moments from any PAX you’ve been to!

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