OMG, but was it ever crowded! Not just the convention floor, but the panels, the handheld lounge, and the console freeplay rooms. I think the shortest wait we had all weekend was in the classic console room where my son joined some young men playing WarioWare Mega Party Game$. We arrived an hour in advance for the Runaway Guys: Thrown Controllers panel and the line was already full so we were placed in an offshoot room to wait. Fortunately we still got in and had pretty decent seats. If you aren't familiar with these very popular youtuber's you can check out their channel here: https://www.youtube.com/user/TheRunawayGuys. This is the only panel we attend each year; and it's not so much a panel as a game show for, well, gamers.
After the panel, the Runaway Guys had an impromptu autograph session. Even that was crowded, but the kid wanted to wait and get autographs (for the 3rd time, mind you). I found a corner in which to hide and charge my phone while the boy held court doing his Hatty Hattington routines. Couldn't get a decent video, but I think this photo says it all:
You will note that he is surrounded by gamers of all ages, enjoying and appreciating his performance.
And that my friends, is my final takeaway from PAX East 2015. It is quite possibly the most accepting environment I have ever experienced. People of all ages, genders, and game preferences interacting without prejudice. Despite being the tag-along mother, everyone I met, from teen gamer to indie developer was friendly, kind, and patient. As a parent, I appreciate how easily and willingly my son was accepted by everyone he approached. The group of 20-somethings playing WarioWare could have easily dismissed him, but instead passed him a controller and welcomed him to their group. I am proud to say that my son did the same if others wanted to join a game he was playing.
Really, it is a shame that the world doesn't work this way. Accepting everyone for exactly who they are and what they can contribute to your "game". Everyone has something to teach and something to learn. Who knows, maybe gaming is really the way to achieve world peace? At least for one weekend a year, I can believe it is possible.