The inaugural PAX EAST 2010 is now over! This was our beloved GAMBIT Game Lab's very first public exhibition at a US game conference and all in all it was an excellent experience. That said, after all of the kiosks have been rapidly dismantled and all of our Mac Minis have been stowed away, I feel the need to share some of the best and worst of what can happen at such an event... So, as I am glass is half full kind of person lets begin with:
A) The PAX POX GAME: GAMBIT created a game over the semester specifically for this PAX EAST conference that was a huge success. A game about infection vectors and hygiene set in the temporary community that formed around the PAX East 2010 attendees, PAX POX was commended by PAX officials for helping to create an identity for this conference. "Wii-Coli" and "Dance Dance Restless Leg Syndrome" carriers went through the hall infecting game fans of all ages with stickers of their respective diseases.
B) The PAX ENFORCERS: So hardworking and proactive while being cheerful and resourceful, these PAX EAST volunteers saved us countless times by getting us everything from extra ethernet cables to a bizarrely needed PS2 keyboard (don't ask) to helping us fight off the forces of evil (more on that later). Much praise to all of them, especially Ryan (the pirate pictured here), Nakki (aka Lisa) and Jonah!
A) WELCOME TO FRAT ISLAND: If your island is next to a large shiny road trip van, packed with loud fraternity rejects and "booth babes" who appear to sign their paychecks with crayons then you may want to contact the head of the event and have them stopped before they start up. Everything from throwing objects onto your island from the roof of their van to hearing "More Than a Feeling" blasted ten times louder than any classic rock song should ever be heard, these dinosaurs of a medical trade show from 1973 should not be invited back to PAX if they (PAX) expect to taken seriously by the modern game community.
B) STORAGE, ANYONE?: We just didn't have enough storage space so bags and coats and even skateboards filled the back of our island which didn't make for a good look and nearly impossible to get in and out of our sole cabinet where our PAX POX giveaways were kept. Next time we will work in some kind of fake power generator that is actually a locker in disguise.
C) STATIC ELECTRICITY IS NOT A MAD SCIENTIST PROP: IT'S REALLY ANNOYING!: Was it the padded carpet? The dormant Van De Graf generator? The LEDs in our lab coats? Well, whatever it was it was driving us insane. For the three days at PAX, touching a computer, a cupcake or a coworker became some new kind of bizarre weird torture. Frankly, that should be the next UROP project here at GAMBIT, "grounding the static electricity at your game island".
D) THE BATTLE FOR BEING HEARD: Regardless of the above mentioned "Frat Island", PAX was a loud place! So, getting your voice heard while explaining a game was difficult above the glam metal, screaming crowds and giveaway raffles. How do we remedy this? Not sure but maybe fighting fire with fire may have been appropriate. Basically, GAMBIT could've been just a tad louder.
Good, bad or otherwise, PAX EAST 2010 was a great experience; one that tested the cohesiveness and resolve of our lab and gave the gaming community their first public glimpse into all that is GAMBIT.