*apologies – this one is coming in hot with limited editing, but it needs to be said*
There’s been a few of these promoted by the official @PAXAus twitter account, but I feel they’ve all been somewhat lacking. In fact I can condense their multi page advice into two simple points:
1) Have a shower. Wear clean clothes. Brush your teeth.
2) Conventions are big, tiring and Melbourne in November can be hot. Hydrate.
So, we’ve got those essential life tips out of the way. Let’s move on to some actual advice that will probably help a lot of you.
3) Lines are bullshit. Don’t do it.
I stood in precisely one line last year and that was almost too much. I dumped my carefully planned schedule when I realised that my convention was going to be a never-ending queue. Is what you’re seeing really going to be that important? There will be friends on panels this year who I want to go see. Maybe there’ll be something that is super relevant to me, I might go to that. But that hour (or two, or three) in a line and an hour in a panel that will probably be on a podcast later or is a re-hash of some E3/GamesCom footage isn’t worth all that lost time. Go and take part in something rather than being an audience member. See if there’s a spare slot in a tournament bracket starting soon. Sit at a random boardgame table with people you don’t know. Go and find an indie dev who has no one playing their game and spend time with it and ask them questions about it. It will almost certainly be a better experience than the passive experience of queues and a panel.
4) Swag/showbags/tchotchkes. Not even once.
Stop. Put it down. Think.
Do you actually need this?
Will it improve your life?
How long until it’s landfill?
Do you want to carry it around ALL DAY?
Do you want to be the arsehole who has to wrangle showbags and giftbags and poster tubes and all your other assorted crap and delays everyone at every turn with all your putting it down and picking it up?
5) Cosplayers are people.
You see that cosplayer? Strike that, I know you see her. Because how can you not? It’s an awesome costume and she looks stunning in it. Great effort. OK. You can stop looking now. STOP. STOP IT. I’m sure cosplayers appreciate your enjoyment of their work. But the moment it turns to leers and unfortunately lingering gazes, you can guarantee you are wrecking their day.
Q) How hard it is to be genuinely kind, polite and friendly to other people?
A) It’s not. It’s not hard at all. Be aware of your behaviour. Be aware of how it affects others. Modify it. Apologise for it if necessary.
I know someone is going to be thinking to themselves “but those women are wearing those skimpy cosplay outfits, surely they want this attention?” Maybe they are. You don’t know. IT’S NONE OF YOUR BUSINESS. And anyway, it’s not like there’s a huge sexualisation of females in games and other popular media represented at PAX – women aren’t exactly swamped with non-sexualised icons to base costumes on. Actually this policy can be applied to everyone at the show. They’re other human beings. It’s not that hard.
6) Don’t let bullshit go.
If you see something, say something. I called out Sennheiser and Wargaming last year, including to Mike Krahulik when I had the opportunity. I was supremely disappointed with the lack of response from PAX to the crap that both these exhibitors were pulling. As Lieutenant General David Morrison put it: “The standard you walk past is the standard you accept.” The shameful behaviour of segments of the gaming community make it clear time and again that being a passive, non-evil member of the community isn’t enough anymore. You have to be willing to confront what’s wrong in order to fix it.
- If you see an exhibitor with boothbabes or any other objectionable material, report it to the organisers.
- If you see someone acting inappropriately, report it to the enforcers.
- If you see someone who needs help, help them. And don’t expect anything for it. Do it because it’s the right thing to do.
7) Don’t be an arsehole.
Do you know who goes to PAX? Men, women, children. Wives, husbands, boyfriends, girlfriends, sons, daughters. It’s not your place to judge any of them. You are not more important than any of them. You are not more deserving than any of them. There are no fake gamer girls. There are no casual gamers. Do you know what there are? Arseholes.
Don’t use words like: rape, retarded or any other slur or insult. There’s no need. I don’t care that you’re playing Cards Against Humanity with your friends, this is meant to be a public, inclusive place. You can at least pretend to be better than you actually are.
You have the awesome and terrifying potential to ruin someone’s entire experience/day/life with a single word or action. So don’t do it. If you don’t think you can go a few hours without reverting to being a repugnant, hateful, bigoted, fiendish being of indifference and hate, then for fucks sake, don’t come to PAX. In fact, don’t go anywhere until you’ve reconsidered your life and choices.
Also, 7b): think about your choice of shirt. You, as a parent, may find it acceptable to walk around with a massive d*** on your front*, but not everyone has to agree, especially at a child-friendly convention.
*The person I saw wearing one last year had a small child in tow.