These are my final thoughts for PAX East 2023. For the PAX East media thread, which offers tons of more insight on my daily experience, I encourage readers to check it out first before reading further!
Good morning beautiful gamers! As the woeful embrace of Monday wraps their hairy arms around our normal every day life, it's exceptionally felt on this particular Monday. The PAX East weekend was one of the best weekends I've ever experienced from an expo, period. From the vintage VHS cassette tape aesthetic that one would find during the 1980s and 1990s to modern agencies, PAX East was well over twice the size of last year's event by a mile.
This was a challenge that the hundreds of PAX Enforcers took to the sticks and achieved a high score, as my personal experience with the con was a pleasant one. It's thanks to the many staff members and volunteers that makes each year a safe and enjoyable one for everyone as best as they can.
This year I foregone attending as many panels and instead focused more on events outside of the convention building. Attending Balance Patch on Friday was easily the highlight of my weekend. Seeing the New England FGC reciprocate the love and support towards 1 UP Infinite as I've intended to show for the scene re-solidified a lot of why I do all of this. We don't make much profit from these trips but it was never just about the money, at least for me. If there's no passion, why wake up in the morning to attend a mass scale event like PAX East?
The same could be said for running several fighting game tournaments at once. I didn't properly give credit at the time, but players who are in the Boston area should definitely check out what Lucky D and the rest of what the Travelling Controller team is doing. To my knowledge, they've been around for over half a decade, perhaps even longer. It's not just Tekken either, but hosting multiple fighting games on time successfully is not an easy task as my fellow TO friends will know.
Final Fantasy 14 fans are some of the biggest supporters of their games, as they will come out in waves to support not just the game, but the developers as well. While some may fall on the level of "parasocialism," (if that's even a word) it's genuinely heartwarming to see the relationship that Yoshi P and Koji Fox has with their fanbase not just online but offline. The success story of Final Fantasy 14 is cemented into gaming history as a rare example of grassroots saving a AAA title from shutting down.
It is that transparency with the players and the commitment to ensuring that the developer's product is to the general player's liking. While developers can't please everyone, they can at least listen to everyone and accommodate accordingly. The Final Fantasy 16 panel, with its humorous "Burning Questions" segment was an example of such a scenario and over time, I trust that the final product will be improved upon further.
Overall, it's amazing whenever four days go by like a blur and it's impossible to be there for every single occurrence within a convention filled with tens of thousands of people. Despite this, there was always something to do inside and outside the convention. I would like PAX East in the future to highlight more of New England's organic gaming scene. While PAX is more on a global scale than local, it'll be up to media like us to ensure that readers understand how rich each local's scene is. Gaming is universal but it always begins with grassroots.
Thank you so much once again to ReedPop, the PAX East media team for always accommodating, the enforcer team for ensuring others are safe, and most importantly to each of the fans who help make events like these important. In an era where it's constantly a question on whether "offline events are still worth it," the cosplayers, meeting fans, and being comfortable in a space meant for us, always makes this worth it. Until next year!