The atmosphere at the Boston Convention Center was enthusiastic between Thursday and Sunday, as it played host to a major convention. PAX East, one of the largest gaming-related conventions on the entire continent, hosted its 13th event in Boston this past week. The convention center was packed to the brim with stands, concessions, monitors, screens, and most of all, people. The Blue and Gold was there on Saturday, viewing firsthand the chaotic order of a massive convention.

PAX is a relatively old event by the standards of Malden High — the first convention took place in 2004, when large portions of the senior class were barely even a thought in their parents’ minds. In addition, the first convention was nowhere near Boston; it was halfway across the country, in the Seattle area. However, the explosive success of the convention led to them deciding to create a second venue on the East Coast, and the first PAX East convention was held in 2010.

Panorama of the Boston Convention Center, hosting PAX East. ALL PHOTOS BY GABRIEL FESEHAIE

Approaching the Boston Convention Center, one could already see staggered groups of people attending the convention from 15 minutes away. Approaching the convention center, you can finally make out its truly massive size – the entrance alone could probably stretch a thousand feet. The entrance hall was wide and red, and jam-packed with people in the morning. However, the entrance is nothing compared to the interior. Once you pass through the entrance area, what you see is astounding.

Descending from the entrance into the first convention hall, you can see row upon row of stands from various exhibitors. Big names stick out at the viewer: Intel, Nintendo, Pokémon. The entire hall sticks out beyond you. Passing through the large exhibitors, you reach the smaller booths indicating the indie studios and projects. The art and game concepts behind the booths are unique and interesting, and they entertained a decent amount of people throughout Saturday.

Descending into the first convention hall.

Between the second and third convention halls, there is a concessions area: several food trucks with lines stretching back for over 50 people! A food truck showed up from as far away as New York City, while local names were also prominent; Richie’s Italian Ice had multiple stands throughout the venue. However, the food was fairly expensive, as could be expected from such a large convention.

In the third convention hall, there lies row after row after row of tables, used for tabletop gaming. People broke out their DnD games, played a game of Magic, and swapped trading cards. Next to that was a massive PC freeplay area — people were able to use a PC tricked out with over 20 games pre-installed, and amazing specifications

An aerial view of the tabletop gaming area.

Above the main convention hall was the second floor. This is where you had a very large amount of freeplay rooms for all types of equipment. There was an entire room filled with nothing but medium-sized TVs, Xbox Ones, Playstation 4s, and Playstation 5s. With another room on the side dedicated to console rentals, you and a friend could rent an old PS4 game, pop the disc into the console, and play for over an hour.

The convention also played host to theater after theater — hosting signings, Q&A sessions, or Meet and Greets with prominent figures in the gaming industry. These theaters hosted many events throughout the day, attracting thousands of participants inside, and creating massive queues outside. A single queue on Saturday was able to stretch for well over one thousand feet!

Tournaments were also present at the convention in a very big way. A very large amount of tournaments happened every single day — this not including the promoted tournaments that would end up being streamed live to hundreds (if not thousands) of others on the internet. In a single tournament room, over 10 tournaments could be held over the course of a single day at the convention.

For those people involved in the gaming scene, PAX East is one of the biggest events in  Boston, and its close proximity to Malden makes it a good destination for a day trip into the city.  Malden residents, especially those who consider themselves gamers, would appreciate the opportunity to be part of one of the largest events in gaming.

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