PAX Prime kicked off over the 2012 Labor Day weekend, and thousands of developers, gamers, cosplayers, and general attendees swarmed the Washington State Convention Center, rendering it one of the most crowded convention I have ever been to. Being a Seattle local and missing the previous two PAX Primes, I decided to get the badge roughly one hour after the sale began, which was a lucky shot as the massive traffic literally crashed the system within hours, and the badges were sold out shortly after the system resumed. It certainly goes without saying that this convention is extremely popular, and surely there was a lot to see. Without further ado, here is my PAX Prime convention report.
On arrival, one can quickly see that many rooms outside of the main areas are packed with games of different sort: cards, boards, miniatures, arcades, PC…you get the idea. One can easily spend hours watching and/or play these games with other convention attendees. In addition to these gaming rooms, there are some small booths setup alongside the hallways, as well as a couple big statues that would certainly make very good home decoration, if you have the room, that is.
Further into the convention center one can find even more booths and areas for people to enjoy more types of gaming. I did not investigate each and every booth specifically, but did spend a few moments being awed by the sight of the sea of people laying on bean bags gaming away. Due to time constraint I did not investigate events at other venues (indeed, PAX Prime extended beyond the convention center into other buildings in the surrounding areas), but suffice to say there were plenty of activities for attendees to feel that they simply did not have enough time in a day to enjoy all that PAX has to offer.
I began exploring the exhibitor hall the 2nd day as soon as I arrived at the convention center. With so much going on in such a huge open area, it would be much easier for me to just list what I saw: people, booths, shops, people, games, statues, cosplayers (technically cosplayers are people too), screens, miniatures…did I say people? Indeed, going from one end of the exhibitor hall to another can prove quite difficult at times, but not entirely impossible. It was also easy to tell that League of Legends (LoL) was the main theme at PAX Prime this year, as I will detail later that many cosplayers dressed up as LoL characters and the main stage on the 6th floor was fully decorated with LoL stuff due to its North America Regionals championship event. However Firefall also got a fairly large area in the exhibitor hall, with Crystal of Precious Cosplay and Lee drawing lots of attention from the PAX attendees. It was quite an experience to see cosplayers as booth babes (and hunks).
There were a whole lot more to see and experience at PAX Prime, and this is barely scratching the surface of what PAX has to offer. Maybe that’s why the badges were sold out so quickly, and the demand was so high, that some individuals even offered to resell badges at an outrageous price just days before the convention. If you are into games, PAX Prime is without a doubt one convention you should definitely considering checking out.
While I am also a gamer myself, playing demo games or winning swags never really interested me. However, my experience from the past two PAX Prime that I was unable to fully attend showed me that, while the convention is primarily gaming-focused, there are still cosplayers aplenty, and the quality of cosplays on average is much higher as well.
I had the opportunity to do photoshoots with a group from Portland. Rikkugrape, spicey-seasoning, and angiechuu were among the few that I had the pleasure of working with. Later in the evening on Friday I did a brief photoshoot with The Cosplay Heroes as well. Saturday I also had the opportunity to work with many cosplayers all over, such as Zerina and Missyeru , just to name a few. Over the weekend I also had the opportunity to meet many other cosplayers: Jean Fioca, Brittany Cox, Neko Nariko, Jenny Harris, skirtzzz, rifa, and ligers-mane, just to name a few. As you can see, this convention is without a shortage of fantastic cosplayers.
Overall, from a gamer perspective,PAX Prime is without a doubt one convention that any gaming enthusiast would not want to miss. One downside most people encounter is the difficulty of acquiring badges, though while there are limitations, I am optimistic that the organizers are always looking for ways to increase the capacity of the convention and allow more people to come enjoy one of the best gaming conventions in the world.
From a cosplay photographer’s point of view, PAX Prime is quite worthy of a visit, contrary to popular belief. The cosplays were so good, that I think it is more than worth it to go to this convention with no other intention other than doing photoshoots with cosplayers. All that PAX Prime primarily offer, like games, panels, shows, and parties? They can just be nice bonuses.
Last but no the least, don’t forget to check out our Facebook page for more coverage photos!