What’s that? Ah yes, the PAX Plague. I’ve heard of it. You youngsters with a glint in your eye and Cheetos dust on your fingers.. I remember my first convention. But more so, I remember the aftermath. Coughing, sneezing, sickness beyond imagination. I wouldn’t wish that bug on the worst of my enemies. Heed my words children, and you may yet escape PAX East 2014 unscathed.
PAX East is one of my favorite times of the year. Being from Boston, I never get to make the trip out to San Diego or Seattle for some of the bigger conventions, and the convention center is a short 10 minute drive from my house. Also, I get to see lots of the friends I’ve met through these hallowed internets, and reunite with buddies I’ve met in previous PAX years. That being said, there is a deadly (not really) bug that happens at all big conventions, this strain being affectionately dubbed the “PAX Plague” or “PAX Pox”. I got my ass royally kicked by the PAX Plague on my first year attending, back when I was a lowly booth slave (read: booth babe) for Ubisoft and the Frag Dolls in 2010. I have since learned some essential tips for survival in the years that followed, and I will share them with you now.
I cannot stress enough how important it is to take advantage of the beautiful invention that is hand sanitizer. There are usually sanitizer dispensers scattered about the convention center, but I would definitely keep a small bottle on you just in case. You’ll be shaking hands, high fiving, and touching controllers that thousands of other people have touched, so be prepared. The convention center is a pretty clean place, and PAX in general is a well-organized event, but step one in avoiding germs is to keep yourself clean. Also, don’t eat the con food. It’s expensive, and you’re more likely to shove a $20 sandwich in your mouth without washing your hands if it’s right there in front of you. This is your standard health potion for PAX East.
One big lesson I learned the hard way my first PAX is that you’ve got to keep your fluids up, and you’ve got to make sure you’re getting enough Vitamin C. Products like Emergen-C and Airborne are great ways to bolster your body’s defenses, and to ward off germs floating in the air at the convention center. If you already forgot some, hit up the 7/11 by the convention center and pick some up. Also, Halls Defense drops are great to take throughout the day, just in case you figure that your cup of fizzy orange elixir in the morning wasn’t enough. This is your defense potion for the weekend. You can thank me later.
Oh you thought rest wasn’t important eh? You’re wrong. Over the course of the weekend you’ll see many weary gamers taking #PAXNaps, with their belongings and swag bags strewn about like small nerdy heroic campfires. They’ve got the right idea. Get some rest each night, because PAX may seem like a fun and relaxed mistress, but I’ve seen it claim the souls of lesser men who thought to tame her. Obviously I am overreacting, but seriously, get a solid amount of sleep each night. Go out, enjoy your meet and greets and after parties (I know I will), but give yourself some time to recharge. Coffee and Red Bull alone won’t get you through the weekend, but let me tell you – that first night’s sleep after PAX East is all over is a great one. I’ve even seen some PAX-goers bring their own pillows. No joke.
I hope you enjoyed this friendly survival guide for the incredible weekend that is PAX East 2014. The convention is lots of fun, and is even more enjoyable when you can end the weekend without being sick as a dog. Pass this guide along to a friend, and make sure that this weekend is as enjoyable as possible! These tips can apply to any big convention, and pretty much just to life in general. Now, go out there and kick the PAX Plague’s ass. And if you see a friend or fellow gamer stricken with the PAX Plague… Just remember, double tap. It’s the only way.
Got any more tips for PAX East 2014 survival? Let us know in the comment section below, or on Twitter at @DomMahoney. I’ll RT the best ones for all to see, and round them up for a follow-up article over the weekend! Thanks for reading, and have a great PAX!