Recently my son and I went to PAX South for his 10th birthday. We just went for Sunday because that was his actual birthday, and because his ticket for the day was only $10. Instead of me doing a write-up similar to other cons I’ve attended I thought I’d interview him to get his take on his first con experience.
Some quick info about PAX South for anyone who doesn’t know. PAX South is hosted in San Antonio, TX at the convention center, which means you have the River Walk and mall nearby as well as easy access to lots of hotels. While South is not nearly as large as other PAX events, it’s on the larger side compared to the board game conventions I attend (the first PAX had “only 4,500” attendees). There weren’t any “AAA” developers (Nintendo, Sony, or Microsoft), but there were quite a few independent game developers.
What were some of the things you could do at PAX South?
VR, rent old consoles to play, buy video games, clothes and board games in the expo hall, watch people play games in PAX Arena, borrow games to play on PC, listen to talks, and compete in tournaments.
Did you have a favorite event?
Trying out VR. I played Beat Saber and really enjoyed it.
Were there any new games you got to try that you really enjoyed?
Everspace 2. It’s a fun space game with cool starships. We also tried Luigi’s Mansion 3 for the Nintendo Switch and I’m now saving up money to buy that.
Were there any old games you got to try that you really enjoyed?
Pokemon Stadium for the N64. I like Pokemon and it was fun to play this tournament-based Pokemon game.
What’s one thing you’d like to do differently next time?
We didn’t get to try out the PC rental area. It would be fun to see what that’s like.
There’s a tabletop area, where you bought a game, and we looked at the library, but we didn’t play anything over there. And a lot of people dressed up as video game or other characters and that was cool to see.
All in all this was a great con to take my son to for his first con experience. The numbers were large, but not overwhelming. Most importantly, there were things there he was interested in (old video games, VR, and new games he wanted to try), even though he went in directions other than what I would have picked for us. If you want to try out a convention with your children I highly recommend finding one that sells a one day pass so you can get a taste of the con together without the pressure to make it through multiple days just in case. There are plenty of cons out there so you should be able to find something nearby almost anywhere in the “Lower 48”. If you’re interested in finding local board game cons, here’s a great resource from BoardGameGeek with cons around the world.