Game convention survival guide

March 10, 2013

In less than two weeks, I will be attending Pax East for the second year in a row with my boyfriend and my best friend. I am beyond excited. Last year was our first year attending Pax East, or any game convention for that matter. Because we weren't entirely sure what to expect, we made a lot of stupid mistakes that ended up causing a lot of unneeded frustration and wasted money.

If you or someone you know is planning on going to a game convention, make sure that they do the following:

  • Pack snacks

The price of food at game conventions is astronomical. Last year, my boyfriend paid $8 for a cheeseburger, and it wasn't even good. One of the best things to bring is the classic peanut butter & jelly sandwich. Stuff some in your purse or bookbag before you leave for the convention; you will thank yourself later.

  • Bring extra money

Sometimes things come up that require you to spend money. Normally, it's the little things you forget about, like parking, bus fare, and food. To make sure you're safe, bring at least $100 "emergency" money. It's always good to carry cash as well as a credit or debit card. You will feel a lot safer knowing that you have extra money just in case anything comes up. (Plus, if nothing comes up, then you have extra money for game con swag).

  • Wear comfortable clothing

Unless you're planning on cosplaying, make sure you wear comfortable clothing. Don't worry about what you look like; this isn't a fashion show. Wear sneakers, a t-shirt, and your favorite pair of pants (or, for the ladies, your favorite comfy skirt and leggings).

  • Carry a copy of the schedule of events

At game conventions, much like music festivals, there are many things going on at once. It's impossible to attend everything, so highlight the things you'd most like to go to and plan around that. I missed a few panels that I really wanted to go to last year because I didn't keep up with the schedule and time got away from me.

  • Have fun!

Try not to stress over little things. If you use these tips wisely, you will avoid a lot of common mistakes made by game con attendees. Enjoy yourself; going to game cons is an amazing experience that a lot of people miss out on.