With growth of PAX, crowd size becomes an issue


Annie Ricotta

Fans of games like Dungeons and Dragons play the games they recently purchased with other attendees of PAX South in San Antonio.

Annie Ricotta, Opinions Editor, Graphics Editor

PAX South’s was a enjoyable event, running much smoother than some other cons.

Though this was only the third year of PAX South, held at the Henry B. Gonzales Convention Center in downtown San Antonio, there was a lot going for it. Indie games made by everyday people such as Attack on Kitten were featured alongside big name games like Resident Evil 7: Biohazard and Hyper Universe. There were several affordable art/gaming design schools showing off and trying to recruit. The booths had items from a wide selection of games and were all friendly and open. The panels were fairly informative. There was even an area dedicated exclusively to tabletop gaming.

Even though PAX South quite a few things going in its favor, there were still problems that could have been easily fixed that seem like rookie mistakes.

By far the biggest most glaring problem was the poor use of space on the main convention floor. From the entrance there was a large area sectioned off for the lines to get onto the main floor in the morning that never had the rope sections cleared out. As soon as you entered where the booths began, the booths were stacked close enough that some spaces were hard to navigate. However, as you got further and further away there were more empty spaces, leaving the impression that the placement was not well thought out.

The Nintendo Switch was such a highly anticipated attraction that everyone wanted to see it at some point. I assumed that it would be one of the largest booths, but in reality the booth itself was not only too small for large numbers to really experience it, but the entire display was squeezed in against the Hyper Universe players area, making the whole experience cramped and uncomfortable. People waiting in line for the Switch and Hyper Universe could touch elbows without much difficulty, leaving little space for anyone to navigate through. The crowded space made the display uninviting,turning people away from the whole area around the two booths.

The tabletop gaming area had nearly a quarter of the total convention floor, but the tables themselves were pushed close enough together that two people could barely push out their chairs without running into each other. This left huge areas of nothing but clear floor in odd patches around the convention floor. The tabletop gaming area being so large it pushed the stage where games such as Overwatch were being played into the farthest corner away from the entrance behind a section of partial walls that made finding it difficult.

The panels being almost exclusively about the making of games seemed to exclude anyone who didn’t want to make games. Having a broader stroke of different panels will attract more guests.

These problems distracted from the overall experience, but they did not make going to PAX regrettable. Usage of space is an easy problem to fix when you have as much open area as it did so my hopes are even higher for next year.