PAX Prime-- the original incarnation of Penny Arcade Expo, which now has several offshoots around the world-- is a massive convention for gamers of every type, held every Labor Day Weekend in Seattle. Video games are the primary subject, and indeed, the expo hall is packed with well-funded video game companies previewing new releases, holding competitions, selling and giving away merch, doing interviews, etc.
It's not all video games, though. Board games and tabletop RPGs are also well-represented. Just like with ECCC, I was there with the folks from Go To Games, who had pretty much a whole room to themselves, demonstrating, playing, and selling all manner of board games, dice games, and card games. They shared the room with Verne & Wells (kind of like a local country club for geeks), who were also very nice and awesome people.
The cosplay at PAX was, overall, less dense than I've seen at some cons-- most people were there for the games, obviously. But what cosplay I did see there was extremely well-done, including some sets of armor that were absolutely stunning in their construction and design. The expo hall itself was too dark, crowded and chaotic to stop anyone for photos, so as a result, I don't actually have many pictures of the expo hall-- most of my pictures from the surrounding areas, the atriums and hallways (which are quite numerous at the mazelike Convention Center) where the pace slowed enough that I could actually get some photos of folks-- even if the crowds still made it occasionally difficult. Apologies to everyone I accidentally backed into or whose toes I stepped on while trying to get a picture this weekend.
Admittedly, PAX is not my favorite convention of the year-- it's fun, but a little too large and "corporate" for my tastes. The sheer amount of money that goes into the booths drives home how huge the gaming industry actually is, and sometimes overwhelms the passion of the individuals, which is really my favorite thing about geeky and fannish cons in general. But PAX isn't really a convention-- it's an Expo. And the passion and talent is still very much present, it's just well-moneyed and coated in advertising.
Having been in Oregon all week prior to PAX, coming home and then leaping right into the convention meant I was a little tired all weekend. Luckily, living only six blocks from the convention center meant I could go home and sleep in my own bed every night. And despite my fatigue, it was a fun weekend, hanging out with the Go To Games, seeing what there was to see, and taking photos of some awesome cosplayers. Thanks to all the Enforcers who helped things run smoothly, and thanks to everyone who attended for a great time!