By Exodus Gonzalez 

The annual gaming convention PAX East wrapped up last weekend in Boston and it was another great event that showcased all levels of gaming. With open floors dedicated to TTRPGs and video game demos, hallways running tournaments, speed runs, and theater rooms for in-depth game discussion, there was a bit of everything for all gamer attendees.

There were issues though: on the spender side of things, PAX East has yet to integrate an Artist Alley along with their Vendor Hall. Most of the offerings there were menial tchotchkes and an oversaturated selection of overly similar dice. The selection could have been improved on with a dedicated section for artists as well as developers. 

Numerous game studios showcased demos for their upcoming projects, including noteworthy presentations from AAA developer and indie developer Bandai Namco Entertainment with “SandLand” from the late Akira Toriyama and BIGMODE GAMES featuring “Animal Well.” Grasshopper Manufacturer unveiled the new Shadows of the Damned remaster, accompanied by a surprise appearance from game developer Suda51 who engaged attendees in chats and blackjack challenges. Nintendo was a last-minute addition to the PAX Exhibitor lineup. 

Alongside all those attractions’ ups and downs, a great convention is not complete without its dedicated fanbase of cosplayers of fan-favorite characters and this year’s crowd was no slouch! The attention to detail and love put into their cosplays was evident and inspiring. Tje community came on strong as diverse franchise characters came to life through and various characters took photos with one another. At PAX East a positive and welcoming atmosphere has been created for this community. 

As I talked with many cosplayers, it was endearing to hear who they cosplayed and why. With answers ranging from “Just cause I like this character” to more sentimental takes, such as how it feels empowering to look in the mirror and see they have taken on the mantle of their favorite video game hero for the day. With so many aspirational motivations, a group cosplay meet-up at PAX East with like-minded attendees can feel surreal. A few  attendees were debuting a new cosplay and sometimes could not afford a photographer – I’m glad as a member of the ComicsBeat team, I was able to capture these moments through cosplay photos, providing a lasting memory for each cosplayer as well.

Overall, the PAX East was a fun experience that I highly recommend to any gaming enthusiast. The atmosphere was great, the activities were engaging, and the community was welcoming. I can’t wait to attend again next year and capture more moments like these:

All photos ©2024 Exodus Gonzalez.