We flew down on Tuesday and spent Wednesday and Thursday with my folks, who still live in San Antonio. We drove up to my home town to see the new Public Library they've built there and it was gorgeous. As a Children's Librarian my wife was more than a little excited by their Childrens and Teen facilities. While we were there we also strolled through the Wilderness Trail that was my "hang-out" as a teen, by the house I grew up in, had lunch at the ancient bakery/cafe on Main St, and generally appreciated how a small, old town in the Texas Hill Country has found ways to be more sustainable and progress than most people would be inclined to suspect.
Fast forwarding to PAX! and my results were a little mixed. It seems like PAX South is becoming the spot for more indie games and a generally quieter PAX and I'm quite content with that. There's plenty of laughs and cosplay and generally geekiness and that's all that we'd want from the convention.
But by the second day I'd noticed that the vast, vast majority of attendees were white males. There were a few minorities here and there but they were recognizable simply because they were unusual in the crowd. If the 20 randomly selected contestants for Omegathon could be considered representative then the convention was about 15% female, 85% male/~90% Caucasian. Since I noticed this it's made me really uncomfortable about PAX in general. I was expecting it to be more egalitarian, and the booths certainly seem to be (a la the whole room devoted to Diversity) but the attendance clearly isn't. And that really, really bugs me but I can't imagine a way anyone could directly affect it.
Aside from all that we managed to attend a few panels that were pretty informative. #LVLupCraft gave me some good ideas on how to refine the shop's brand and maybe even some new items to list. We also attended a panel on introducing parents to gaming, mostly since it's directly relevant to the wife's work. One of the attendees asked for tips to discourage kids who are overly interested in playing games inappropriate for their age. The panelists recommended going to the ESRB page for that game and having the kid read off all the reasons the game has the rating it does to their parent (with possible definitions for awkward terms). That sounds like a marvelous idea to me and certainly something I'll keep in my toolkit.
Overall, we're both pretty glad we went. I appreciate that I can take one trip, visit my folks, catch up on my "roots", and get doused in geekiness for a couple days. Hopefully we'll be able to do the same next year!