PAX East: Rock Reflections

Okay, so we didn’t write a rock musical about our PAX East experience but if we had more time we totally would have. Anyway, after sharing our findings among each other we thought we’d share them with you, too. In short, people are still pretty great. Read on for PAX East ruminations from the PopCap crew manning the booth this year.

Mark B. – Studio Artist, Plants vs. Zombies

I had a total blast but oh my gosh did it wipe me out. Between what seemed like hundreds of boxes of swag to get out, running the “Test Your Strength” machine, keeping the booth tidy, and trying to contain Wall-nut hat mania, it was hard to find time just to get a bite to eat. Saturday afternoon, in the chaos, my lunch order didn’t come through. It was 2 or 2:30, and I was STARVING! Jeff saw the situation and came over, “Hey man, you can have half my sandwich.” Then, Philip came in and shared his lunch as well. I had a lot of fun being on panels, seeing all the amazing cos-players, and mingling with people who love PopCap games. But a small act of kindness when you need it the most, it stays with you. Thanks for having my back guys. It was awesome to have the opportunity to be at PAX East with ya.

Dana S. – Customer Service Content Manager

First of all, I sustained some major hits on this trip. I came back with a touch of con crud, and I got so dehydrated throughout the weekend that my hands cracked and bled, and then my nose started bleeding as well. On the way back to Seattle, I broke a tooth on airport food, and when I picked up my suitcase at baggage claim, it looked like this:

American Airlines customer support is awesome though, so I got a new bag. However, my Batman belt was lost along the way. Circle of life.

So, all that said, it really says something that I am so completely happy with my PAX East experience! I loved every minute of it (in retrospect, I guess — I mean, in the moment, I do remember never wanting to hear that hammer strike/bell ding sound combination again). I made some awesome new friends, saw a couple of cool panels, brought home a pile of card games to start playing, and best of all, hung out with the coolest group of friends I could have hoped for.

I also especially dug getting to talk to Peggle fans, as ever. Between the Peggle Master plushies we were giving out and the free Peggle download offer, that game was on everyone’s mind, and I love that. Extreme Fever forever!

Tara T. – Community Manager, Core Franchise

Couldn’t agree more with Mark. You were all so fun, amazing, and wonderful to work with. Even in the frustrating, starving, tired moments.

My favorite memories of the booth were the kiddos for sure. Each lil’ smile just from a simple plushy was worth every effort! The magic show was a highlight for me too. He brought a nice crowd and was super engaging. The strong man never-ending line was the biggest surprise for me. The popularity of that activity was crazy cool! The worst part of the whole event were the greedy folks who took 10 of everything without thinking twice. Seeing the inflation on ebay today is just slightly annoying. I’m still exhausted and sore, but all in all I can’t wait for the next event and can only hope we have a group as great as this one was! Thanks so much, everyone!

The gang's mostly all here!

Philip S. (hey, that’s me!) – Copywriter

Quick impressions: super noisy and I can’t believe how popular our decidedly analog High Striker hammer game was. Beyond that, I didn’t get out of our own booth too much (except to escort our zombie to and from his Kissing Booth) so I missed most of what I’m sure was a lot of great stuff on the floor. But what I took away from the whole event was that there are tons of great people in this business. From the groovy cats on my own team who worked hard and stayed loose the whole weekend, to the thousands of fans who stopped by to grab some swag or just to say ‘hey’ and ‘thanks,’ plus the two indie developers I ran into repeatedly in the break room (what up Ackk Studios and ClutchPlay Games?), and the dynamite crew of Enforcers including our most-awesome “XA” (Exhibitor Assistant) Laura, who was traffic cop, civil engineer, valet and den mother, and who we all agreed should come home with us. I spend a lot of time online where some days it seems like endless negativity. It was great to be face-to-face with so many fans and colleagues and to see how much passion and enthusiasm still exists in our industry. Oh, and the back-room swag deals with other developers was fun and sort of hilarious.

We killed it good.


Stephanie B. – Community Manager, Plants vs. Zombies

This was sent to me via the PvZ page yesterday:

Dear PopCap,

I just wanted to thank you for being the coolest booth at PAX East. I visited your booth often over the weekend but I had the best experience on Friday. I noticed people lining up to ring a bell with a mallet; I’m not sure if that game has an actual name. I’ve personally never tried those types of games before due to not having a lot of upper body strength. I normally wouldn’t attempt hitting anything with a mallet but I saw you were giving out Disco Zombie Figures and I knew I had to have one. I saw many girls fail to push their upper body strength to hit the bell and they were walking away with an energy drink. I really didn’t want an energy drink so I knew I had to give it my all for the figure! After waiting in line I got up to the green mat… and failed miserably. After three attempts I handed in my mallet. It was sad; I was sad. The guy said “Nice try” and I sighed. I was almost angry because I felt this game was really unfair for the average girl unless she had the extra muscle or had a hulky boyfriend. I didn’t have either of those things. However, after I walked away one of the the PopCap guys ran after me to give me a figure. I thanked him and I was really happy, even though I was still sad on the outside. So please thank whoever was giving out the prizes that Friday afternoon for running after the girl who was incredibly unhappy she failed at ringing the bell.     –Jennifer

Everyone did such a fantastic job. Seriously. Awesome. I heart all of you for the hard work at the event and PAX always reminds me of why I love my job and our fans. You all should feel super proud you pulled off a fantastic show! Everyone loved our booth and my favorite part was all of us working together and becoming better friends because of it.

Jeff G. – Nobody Really Knows What He Does Around Here

Other than our own booth, which we are contractually obliged to say was the best thing ever, I had a few other favorite moments at PAX East, including: Learning how to play Cards Against Humanity, being relieved that my daughter wasn’t with me while playing, attending the always hilarious Giant Bomb panel, and not breathing one molecule of clean air for three days. No, wait. That last one was awful. But overall the show was awesome, as it always is! By far my favorite gaming show, every time. And hanging out with PopCap friends outside of the office? Priceless.

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