Things to do at PAX East 2017

Once more unto the breach, dear friends! PAX East in Boston is next week, and the ASTRO Gaming Crew will be at our booth holding court. You can check out the full rundown of booth events & signings here.

With every PAX experience there is always more than meets the eye. We seek to shed some light on some of the hidden gems found in and around each PAX event. As with PAX South in San Antonio this past January, we’re stoked to bring you some great things to do when you’re at the show as well as after hours! Click the links below to jump around. Onwards!


We’ve curated a small sample of panels during PAX East that we think are pretty fantastic. While we know no mortal human can possibly attend all the panels, sometimes deciding which one can be a bit daunting. You could stare blankly at the Schedule, or you can check out what we’ve selected down below.

Cartoon Network: Going Indie With Steven Universe & OK K.O.! Let’s Be Heroes
Get a first look at the new Steven Universe and OK K.O.! Let’s Be Heroes adventures coming soon from Cartoon Network! Join the CN Games team and developers Capybara Games, Grumpyface Studios, and Wake Robin Games to learn how these inventive indies are working with the creators of some of your favorite Cartoon Network shows to bring these unique worlds to life in new and exciting ways. We’ll also chat about Cartoon Network’s first-ever Game Jam and what you can expect from the future from CN Games.

Wait, Wait That’s A Bad Idea
Everyone has an idea for a game. Some of those ideas are good but some of those ideas are – wait, wait – bad. And, we all know that even some of the good ones never make it.

Mario Teaches Nothing
We all have a game we love because we learned something from it, yet public perception is that games are the antithesis of education. The solution isn’t edutainment; it’s hiding in the entertainment games we love. What is it that we learn from video games and how do games teach us while still making us want to continue playing? Join a three-time PAX presenter as we learn what videogames have to offer both on the couch and in the classroom.

The Hate is the Hobby: How Did We Get Here?
You see it in forums, on social media, on Tumblr and YouTube: people are angry. At games, movies, comics, each other. What’s worse, is it seems like they’re enjoying being angry. Join a panel of journalists, psychologists, and community representatives to discuss how and why hate has become the everyday go-to for conversation about the things we supposedly love and what, if anything, can be done to fix it.

Being an Artist in the Game Industry and How to Get There
Are you an aspiring artist that loves video games? There are a lot of paths towards becoming a game artist. Everyone on this panel was like you not that long ago. Video games employ dozens to hundreds of artists on any given project and it has never been a better time to make art for board games.

How to be Successful at YouTube Gaming
Come chat with your favorite YouTubers and get a chance to learn about their path to success. Then, of course, banter about the ever so popular world of Let’s Plays, Funny Moment Montages, Minecraft and the future of gaming content on YouTube.

Inner Demons: Anxiety and Depression in Gamers
Anxiety and depression are inner demons you can’t always vanquish, but you can learn to keep them at bay. You are not alone in this fight! Join tabletop game designer Brian Liberge as he and industry guests share their mental health stories and strategies to beat them back.

Podcasting: From Amateur to Pro Caster
You have a lot to say about games, television, film, and nerd culture, but making the leap from occasional commenter to powerhouse podcaster is daunting! Learn how to continually push yourself to produce the best podcast, find your audience, produce your show, and learn when to switch it up! Serious advice mixes with hilarious tales from creators at Destructoid, TheSwitchCast, the Hadron Gospel Hour, and the PokeProblemsPodcast.

Video Games Are Dumb, and We Love Them For That
We all adore video games as an artform. Experiences like Journey and The Last of Us are utterly
unforgettable. But at the same time, video games can also be just the absolute dumbest. From setting bears on fire in Far Cry to the janky mess of a Bethesda game, let’s talk about why video games are dumb and why we love them for that.

Going Retro in 2017: The Challenges of Yesterday and Today
What do we think of when someone in 2017 says “retro”? Square pixels, low-fi sound effects, and primary colors? We don’t often think of those things as a once unavoidable limitation. So where do modern tools come in when trying to recreate a retro experience? Lets go back to a time when the words “anti-aliasing” didn’t exist. In this talk, 2 developers discuss the design approach to their game and how they balanced “going retro” with the advantages of today’s technology to achieve their vision.

Penny Arcade: Make-a-Strip
Quick question: Do you want to see hilarious man-babies dancing on stage for your entertainment? Well, get here early and buckle up, because it’s honestly going to be the best thing you will ever see in your entire life! Gabe and Tycho are going to make a Penny Arcade comic live, in front of an audience! These two jokey jokesters are going to joke out Monday’s joke comic. Jokemic? Eh, sure.

Kinda Funny Embarrasses Your High School Bully
OK, chances are your high school bully won’t be at our PAX panel, but if he or she is, we’ll give them the business. Outside of that, we’ll do what we do best—podcast and be crazy with our Best Friends. Join Greg, Colin, Tim, and Nick from—the GameOverGreggy Show, PS I Love You XOXO, etc.—as we record a live show, answer your questions, and mock Kevin.

Why It’s Awesome Being an LGBTQ Ally
Alumni of the successful “Ladies Panel” series (and a new addition to the team) come back in 2017 with a new goal: bringing folks together and speaking on the importance of being an LGBTQ ally. With a straight ally moderating and a panel touching on all bases of the LGBTQ spectrum, this panel hopes to educate, motivate and answer all questions the community may have.

It Gets Better: The Power of Online Gaming Communities
Online gaming and the advent of Twitch has formed living, breathing communities of like-minded individuals who go on to form meaningful relationships. These online gaming communities can be vital resources for youth who feel as though they cannot find a community to reach out to in the physical world. Join us as we discuss the role that online gaming can play in not only spreading the message that It Gets Better, but also helping make it so.

What We Talk About When We Talk About Games’ Healing Power
In our industry’s storied history, video games have sometimes gotten a bad rap. The violence, the sex, the drugs: sometimes mainstream media only covers the more salacious elements of gaming without knowing the truth—that games are forces of healing and community. With our world thrown into turmoil, it’s more important than ever to remember what games have and can do for us, from accessible escapism for those with disabilities to building everlasting bonds. Join us for an hour of good feels!

Roll Selection: The Art of Choosing Which Board Game to Play
There are over 87,000 board games in existence, with thousands more released each year, but your friends really just want you to pick one. How do you do it? Join some of the leading voices in board game media as they share, and debate the merits of, their preferred techniques.

Hidden Gems: Discovering the Undiscovered at PAX East
PAX East is filled with games from wall to wall, and it’s nigh impossible to see everything. We’ve taken it upon ourselves to find the unique, the eclectic, and the unknown. Each of our panelists will choose a single game from off the beaten path and use their collective knowledge of game development, user experience design, and virtual reality development to highlight, analyze, and discuss surprises on the show floor you may have otherwise missed.

Parties & Crawls
“What’s going on tonight?” Ah yes. The eternal question everyone asks following the close of a full day at PAX. Sometimes, finding things to do after-hours may be a bit tricky. While this list is by no means comprehensive, we think we’ve done a fairly decent job at hand-selecting activities to keep you busy when you aren’t standing in line waiting for demos.

Wednesday, March 08
Capcom & iam8bit’s Resident Evil Escape Experience
Several Times Daily @ Location TBD
Info: Several slots open daily through February and March
Tickets: $35 Eventbrite

Thursday, March 09

WestinWorld Pre-PAX Boardgame Night

Capcom & iam8bit’s Resident Evil Escape Experience
Several Times Daily @ Location TBD
Info: Several slots open daily through February and March
Tickets: $35 Eventbrite

Game Maker’s Guild: Pre-PAX Networking & Playtesting
6-11:30PM @ MIT Gamelab, 32-124, 32 Vassar St, Cambridge, MA 02142
Info: Several slots open daily through February and March
Register: MIT Gamelab website

Free Cosplay Workshop: PAX East Prep 2017
6:30-9:30PM @ Artisan’s Asylum, Inc, 10 Tyler Street, Somerville, MA 02143
Info: This session is held once a week on Thursday nights from 6:30-9:30pm leading up to PAX East 2017
Registration: Free Eventbrite

Pax East 2017 Pre Party! At Bit Bar Salem
7-10PM @ Bit Bar Salem, 50 St Peter St, Salem, MA 01970
Info: Facebook | Organized by George from PAX EAST FOREVER and Mike from HOWINERD.COM
Tickets: Free Entry

Friday, March 10
Ascend’s Party with Your Friends @ PAX East
10pm – 2am March 11 @ Ascend Nightclub 295 Franklin Street Boston, MA 02110
Tickets: $14-$18

Capcom & iam8bit’s Resident Evil Escape Experience
Several Times Daily @ Location TBD
Info: Several slots open daily through February and March
Tickets: $35 Eventbrite

Made In MA at PAX East 2017 Party
6-10:30PM @ District Hall, 75 Northern Avenue, Boston, MA 02210
Info: Mass DIGI
Tickets: $10 Eventbrite

Saturday, March 11
Capcom & iam8bit’s Resident Evil Escape Experience
Several Times Daily @ Location TBD
Info: Several slots open daily through February and March
Tickets: $35 Eventbrite

NECA (New England Cosplayers Association) at SkyZone
3-6PM @ Liberty Tree Mall, 100 Independence Way, Danvers, MA 01923
Info: Tickets buy you an hour pass to jump, socks to use for the trampolines, and pizza with soda.
Tickets: $20 Eventbrite

PAX East Bar Citizen
8-11PM @ Jacob Wirth Restaurant, 31-37 Stuart Street, Boston, MA 02116
Info: New England Bar Citizen would like to invite you to a Star Citizen meetup during PAX East!
Registration: FREE on Eventbrite

RT Community PAX East After Party
8-11PM @District Hall, 75 Northern Avenue, Boston, MA 02210
Info: This event is for people of the RT Community looking to hangout after PAX, chat, snack, drink, and get to know one another.
Tickets: $20 Eventbrite

Sunday, March 12
Capcom & iam8bit’s Resident Evil Escape Experience
Several Times Daily @ Location TBD
Info: Several slots open daily through February and March
Tickets: $35 Eventbrite

Monday, March 13
The Protomen, MC Frontalot, Bit Brigade
7PM @ Royale Nightclub, 279 Tremont St, Boston, MA 02116
Info: Website | Facebook | League Podcast & Rock On! Concerts are proud to announce The Protomen returning to Boston
Tickets: $20 Ticketweb

Playing Tourist
Finally, no adventure would be complete without inspecting the local surroundings. After all, the more knowledge you have, the better off you’ll be! Right? So, why not make a game of it? There’s loads to do in Boston and whether you’re willing to go it alone or in a group there’s something for everyone.

PAX East Walking Tour: Road to Freedom
Ah, smells like freedom! Follow in the footsteps of the “Sole Survivor” and explore the real life locations that serve as inspiration for Fallout 4’s Freedom Trail. Not going to lie, I’m rather upset I can’t attend this. Ugh. “Work.”

PAX East 2017 Magical Mystery Tour of Boston!
You, me and your future friends take on the two days before PAX: Wed 3/8 and Thurs 3/9. Traditionally runs from 9am to 5pm but you don’t have to do the whole thing. Visit interesting places in and around Boston. Click the link to see the schedule!

Harpoon Brewery Tour – 21+ OVER 
If you’re not over 21, this need not apply. For those of you who are old enough & enjoy a good beer no trip to Boston would be complete without a brewery tour! 

Samuel Adams Brewery Tour – 21+ OVER
Once again: if you’re not 21, so sorry friend. However if you’re old enough, like beer AND enjoy getting some history lessons while you meander, this is a place you should not miss. 

Harvard Museum of Natural History
From lectures to exhibitions on climate change and extinction, everything for your natural history nerd (yes, we’re out there) is found under one roof here. 

Freedom Trail
Come see where America began. The Freedom Trail walks you through some of the most fateful parts of Boston from meeting houses & museums to churches and churchyards. Bring walking shoes!

USS Constitution Tour
Learn how a wooden hull helped earn the nickname Old Ironsides and learn how she has remained undefeated since being launched in 1797. Alright, old stuff!

Franklin Park Zoo
For a little real wildlife, zoos are always delightful (and yes, educational.) If your eyes or brain needs a soothing break, why not try the zoo? 

Skywalk Observatory
The one-of-a-kind city view, combined with the Dreams of Freedom Museum give visitors an appreciation for Boston’s storied past, its remarkable architecture and its rich global culture.


Got any ideas? Something we don’t know about? Let us know in the comments! We can’t wait to see the ASTRO Family in Boston! Come on by and say hi!


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