PAX East 2013: The Calm Before The Storm

PAX East 2013: The Calm Before The Storm
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“Hey can I speak to a manager?”

Silence.

“Or a supervisor, whatever.”

I’m not supposed to be here. But I’m here regardless. At PAX East I was informed that media got the run of the show floor from 9am till 10, when the doors opened for real and upwards of 60,000 people spawn forth like a biblical flood of flesh and Blizzard t-shirts.

I got here at 8am, way too early. Someone else told me that media was allowed in from that time. 30 minutes from now I’ll discover that isn’t the case but, for now, this security guard has just checked with his supervisor and he’s going to let me in anyway. According to his sheet the media can enter the hall.


I open the doors and I’m in. An hour before the rest of the world’s media, two hours before the public.

It was pretty crazy. Having been to a fair few gaming expos, your E3s, GDCs, EB Expos, et al – I’m used to walking in and getting the ‘experience’ as it was designed to be ‘experienced’ – the lights, the crowds, the noise. This is the first time I’ve witnessed the calm before the storm.


So I took some photographs, mainly because I found the whole experience fascinating – the last minute rush to get booths ready, people using vacuum cleaners, empty hallways instead of impossible-to-maneuver hordes of humanity. In a way it felt quite calm, but also a little hectic in a completely different, more focused way.

“30 minutes to Media.”


Those words blasted over the tannoy. It was 8.30am. Strangely enough, it was only then I realized for real that I wasn’t really supposed to be there. I chose not to disturb anyone, or ask any stupid questions. At this point people seemed overwhelmingly busy and I did my level best to not get in the way.

“Five minutes to Media.”

I looked, from the outside, at the gargantuan queue of media types waiting to storm the trenches. Pretty intimidating.


Then, the doors were breached. They poured in like a stampeding herd, barely in control, rushing the show floor like leaping gazelles. I turtled up, into survival mode.

This was the storm. The calm was long gone. Roughly one hour later, the show floor looked like this.

Yep.

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