Two big events usually loom over Seattle’s downtown neighborhoods during Labor Day weekend: Bumbershoot, the little Seattle Center music fest that became a mega Seattle Center music fest and now is taking some time off to reimagine itself, and PAX West, an epic gaming convention that invites video game professionals, cosplayers, and streamers to party at the Seattle Convention Center. Since Bumbershoot is still getting some beauty sleep, PAX West is the focus of our calendar this week. The nerds win!
PAX has been around since 2004, when the Penny Arcade web comic created a convention in Bellevue that focused exclusively on gaming. Comics and animes were already well represented in the geeky convention industrial complex, so PAX caught on and grew, expanding to multiple locations in 2010. It’s now a global gaming convention, with locations in Seattle, Boston, Melbourne, Philly, and San Antonio. It focuses on video games but also tabletop gaming, cosplay, and streamer culture.
This year’s four-day line-up is hugely stacked. I sat at a bar over the weekend and spent around 45 minutes scrolling through it. Some of the highlights that bubbled up for me, and this absolutely just barely scratches the surface:
✌️ A panel about the psychology behind Pokemon
🎮 Tourneys for SSX Tricky, Tony Hawk’s Pro Skater, Final Fantasy 7 Snowboarding, Luigi’s Mansion, etc etc etc etc
🍄 A panel claiming it will convince you that the 1993 Super Mario Bros movie is actually a good movie
⚔️ Casey Mongillo, the voice actor for Shinji Ikari in Netflix’s Evangelion dub and the protagonist in Shin Megami Tensei V, is making an appearance
And, of course, the main event: the Omegathon, a mega-tournament that crosses games and genres and crowns a champion on the fest’s final day.
See you out there, nerds.
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