PAX East 2015 Survival Guide

PAX East 2015 Survival Guide


If you’re anything like me the realization that PAX East is a mere two days away and the scramble to begin packing has begun. Luckily for me I’ve done this dance before and learn some valuable tips for making the most out of my favorite five days of the year. Here are a few thoughts that can help you squeeze the maximum amount of fun from your visit to Boston this weekend.

When packing for PAX, or any convention for that matter, I always toss in a few extra pairs of socks and undershirts. Changing socks midday goes a long way towards keeping your feet happy for the duration of the show. As for the undershirts, it’s freezing outside and warm on the show floor, sweating is going to occur. Just like the socks, a midday change will help you feel fresh all day. Also, I’d be remise if I didn’t remind you to lather on the deodorant generously before heading down to the show floor for the sake of the other 60,000 people in attendance. Other great items to pack include card or dice games that can be played while in line, snacks, gel shoe inserts and hand sanitizer. One final though on packing, be sure to leave a little free room in your luggage, there will be swag.

Now that your bags are packed, let’s talk about apps for your phone. There are a couple of apps that can make your life much easier while exploring the convention and Boston (yes, it’s okay to take a little time to see the city.)

PAX East 2015 Guidebook – Guidebook is the quintessential app for your smartphone or tablet. It has a map of the show floors, shuttle schedules, panel listings, a handy scheduling feature that allows you to setup reminders for events and panels that you want to attend, general show information and an exhibitors list. The best part about this app is that it’s available for pretty much every smart device on the market, yes even the Blackberry Playbook.

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MBTA Apps – The transit authority has a great collection of apps to make city traversal as simple as possible. Our favorites are MATransit and MBTA mTicket. MATransit is your complete guide to the subway system and it’s arrival/departure schedule. The MBTA mTicket app lets you skip messing with the ticketing kiosks and allows you to purchase passes and fares directly from your mobile device.

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myBCEC – The Boston Convention & Exhibition Center’s myBCEC app is a great companion for the PAX East 2014 Guidebook. myBCEC show you the nearest restroom, shipping center (yeah this is a real need, try taking that 1:1 scale Game of Thrones King Slayer sword on the plane ride home with you.), coffee bar, actual bar, and first aid centers.

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Twitter – Twitter is a great resource for keeping up-to-date leading up to and during PAX East 2014. The team at Penny Arcade does a great job relaying important information throughout the show. Want to know what the lines are like for a particular panel? Head over to @PAX_Lines.Want to see how the show is going or if there have been major changes? Check out @Official_PAX. Want to stay current with who’s dominating the tournament scene? Follow @PAX_Tourney and @PAXOmegathon. Finally, for the latest entertainment updates, keep an eye on @PAX_Entertainer.


While planning your PAX East experience, it’s important to manage your expectations. PAX is huge and there is a ton of things to see and do, more than likely you’re not going to accomplish everything. Panels are a huge draw at the convention and if you are planning on attending any of the very popular ones, you’ll be waiting in line for a good bit. My best advice is just to lean in to it, break out the aforementioned games you packed and make a few new friends while waiting in line. I also recommend taking a stroll through the board game area. On the edges you’ll see some of the more mainstream games, but if you walk in to the heart of the area, you’ll see some fascinating and complex games you may not see elsewhere.

A few other places of highlight to visit include the Arcade Room, the Console Room and the Indie Mega Booth. The Arcade Room is chalked full of vintage arcade cabinets and they are all set to free play. The Console Room has a wide assortment of consoles and games that you can check out for free and enjoy some good old fashion retro gaming. The Indie Mega Booth is loaded with talented indie developers showcasing their games. There is always at least one game hidden away in here that steals the show, don’t be the person that missed out because you spent three hours in line to see some big budget game’s trailer in their cramped theater.

The food at the convention center is meh at best and most certainly overpriced. Walk a few blocks in any direction and the prices with plummet and the quality will quickly rise. There is a great deli a short walk from the convention center that makes a great sandwich for a very reasonable price. As for the city as a whole, jump on public transit and explore. There are beer tastings and tours, historic sites, great restaurants and a lot of parties. Our crack staff has put together a curated list of the hottest parties being thrown by PAX attendees, publishers and developers.

Overall, just have fun. There is certain to be some twists and turns during your PAX experience, just roll with it and see where your adventure takes you.