Well, it turns out that the Poogie I was eyeing at the Capcom booth went for like $US40, so I settled for all the free stuff you see here. You tell me — did I make the right decision?
Actually, not all of the PAX swag this year was completely "free". To net the majority of the T-shirts, PAX-goers were asked to wait in lines to sit through demos. Only then were they able to walk away with a shirt. This is the reason why I don't have as big a haul as in years past (hey, those lines got long!), and sadly I missed out on the Star Wars shirts because of a mismanaged time schedule.
The Good I like the All Points Bulletin shirts, the C.O.P. The Recruit magnet that I mistook for a bumper sticker and the inflatable Dragon Age: Origins swords. The NOS energy drink contains scary ingredients, but it was useful during the 3pm hour when lunch had worn off and there was still a ways to go before the 5pm panels started. And all the comic books and magazine really came in handy for those long waits in line when I wasn't willing to bust out my DS. Pro Tip: Mouse pads and assorted video game buttons make excellent stocking-stuffers.
The Bad I'm not as fond of the orange shirt that came standard with the default PAX swag bag because I find it insulting. The Intel shirt also gets poor marks because of the process I had to endure to get it: An Intel rep handed out big blue buttons to people in line. She told us to walk around PAX with them on and "someone" would find us and give us a little card with a barcode on it. Then we had to take the card to a booth and a teller would trade it for a prize. I imagine I would have been less annoyed at being a free billboard for Intel if I'd won a laptop—but since all I got was a shirt crammed into a plastic mould in the shape of a shirt, I say bah.
The WTF The funny thing about that Brink shirt is that the game was probably one of the most interesting on the show floor, but it's easily the least interesting design for a video game shirt. Not as funny, but twice as clever was the Assassin's Creed II advertisement where you sever a guy's head by opening up a booklet. Too bad you only get one use out of that one, though.
Ten points to those who can spot the hidden cat toys in the picture below: