Rather than a department by department run down like I did for PAX East, I thought for West I would do a recap of the show in the order I experienced it. So…starting with day 1:
The first thing I do at every PAX is BYOC set up. This year was no different, and as is the norm for PAX Prime/West the BYOC and PC freeplay areas are set up in the annex of the convention center on the 2nd floor, just below a portion of the Expo hall. The turn out at the BYOC this year was excellent, with tournaments running throughout the show, and lots of people to meet and game with.
After set up it is always the trip over to merch lite to get the show shirts and other PA specific merch for myself and the people I am at the show with. For the second year in a row this was in the Sheraton, rather than the convention center, and I think that it is actually a wise choice on the show management’s part to put it slightly offsite. The hotel is just across the street from the center, so it is not difficult to get to the booth if you are looking to shop, but it keeps the lines for the limited edition pins and so forth separate from the crowds of people trying to get into the expo hall each morning, which seems like a good idea to me. This year they set the store up as sort of a walkthrough area as well, which as new and actually really useful since it meant you could actually get hands on things like T-shirts before you bought them which can be helpful to ensure you get the correct sizes etc.
After that it was Expo, and what an expo it was this year. There is no way I can really do it justice in this type of re-cap, so it will get its own post later, but it was quite impressive and chock full of nifty games and peripherals to discover.
I also made it over to bandland, which is not an area I tend to frequent. However, Bill Amend (the creator of Foxtrot) was there and had Quincy pinny arcade pins, so I had to go get mine!
After the expo hall closed I made it over to the PAX arena for the second installment of a battle for the watch! This time Gabe and Tycho each had teams to face off in Gears of War 4. The arena looked great this time, complete with a gorgeous display wall and set up. While I was a bit disappointed to see Tycho lose again it was fun to watch and there were some great matches. Plus they did a bit of a demo of horde mode, which was also neat to see.
My last stop for the day was the Grand Hyatt to spend some time in the classic arcade. This was the first year that the classic arcade was in the Grand Hyatt, having been displaced from the 6th floor to make room for more expo space, but I think it was a better fit for the department. They had two full ballrooms of cabinets, and 10 pinball tables all set of free play. It was the largest collection of pinball tables I have seen at any show other than MAGFest and I was quite content to get to spend some time playing.