E3 was hugely disappointing... one tiny room for all the games, no banners, no buzz; I know that I used to complain about the old E3 but that was the one week of the year when videogames were the center of entertainment and pop culture. This year's E3 made you depressed to be in videogames.
PAX redeemed that all, bringing back the excitement without, miraculously, the sleaze and cheese factor that E3 sometimes dripped with. What I've always loved about PAX is that it is so authentic -- it's for the fans; there's no bullshit. And I love it for that.
It's growing so massively, too. The first year I attended, which was 2005 (PAX's second year), I think there were about 4-5,000 attendees. Last week's show had 50,000 pre-registered, with many more tickets sold at the door. I'm excited by the growth and it's great for the folks who run PAX, but I do miss the nerdy intimacy of three years ago.
Still, I think PAX has the potential to become a homegrown Leipzig -- a split consumer/trade event. What would be neat is if the trade folks had a couple of days before the show, like they do at TGS, so some of the suits can clear out before the fans arrive Friday afternoon. You don't need the corporates milling about on the weekend. (...I say, being one, technically, myself.)
No matter what happens, though, I'll always have a huge soft spot in my heart for PAX and the folks who run it and make it all work. It's a miracle! So, thanks, Jerry, Mike, Robert, Kristin, Jeff, and other folks I don't yet know. Thanks for a really good time.
Plus, any time I get to hang in Shorty's is all right by me. ;)