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 Papa’s words, children – and you may yet escape PAX East 2017 unscathed.
There is a deadly (not really) bug that happens at all big conventions, video game-related or otherwise, that comes from huge swaths of people sharing air and germs for an entire weekend. The strain I’m referring to has been affectionately dubbed the “PAX Plague” or “PAX Pox”, and I’m about to teach you how to defend yourself against it. I got my ass royally kicked by the PAX Plague on my first year attending way back in 2010, but I have since learned some essential tips for survival in the years that followed. Here they are.
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 tens of 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.
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 (even if you’re not sick), 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.
GO THE FUCK TO SLEEP
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 campsites. They’ve got the right idea. Get some rest each night, because PAX may seem like it’s all fun and games (it mostly is), but I’ve seen it claim the souls of lesser men who thought themselves hardy enough to take it on without rest. 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… Maybe don’t do that.
VENTURE OUT FOR FOOD/DRINK
I fucking love Boston, one huge reason being for the incredible variety of food dotting every street in the city. You’re going to Boston for PAX East, so get some of that culture in your life. Don’t spend $17 on a fucking bologna and cheese at the convention center – it’s a trap. Walk down the street to Whiskey Priest and get a FAT burger and a local IPA for the same price. Craving seafood? Barking Crab is like another 5 minutes down the road. Plus, fresh air is good for you (especially if you’ve spent all day on the stuffy show floor). So if you’re tryna get full or get your buzz on, do yourself (and your wallet) a favor and venture out.