PAX South in San Antonio: Opening Day

Photo credit: The Eggplant via / CC BY-ND

Today marks the opening day of PAX South, which is a gaming festival that was created in 2004 by the authors of Penny Arcade to provide a show exclusively centered around gaming. This year, San Antonio is the home of PAX South from Jan. 27-29 at the Henry B. Gonzalez Convention Center, while PAX West, PAX East, PAX Aus, and PAX Dev are all hosted in other cities throughout the United States in various months throughout the year.

The history of PAX is a story of growth. What started as “a small 4,500 person event in Bellevue, Washington, focused on the culture and community that is gaming,” has now turned into a massive event that continues to double in size each year.

Photo credit: The Eggplant via / CC BY-ND

With opening day already under way, there’s plenty of time to head out to the event and explore everything PAX South has to offer. As you prepare to attend the event, remember the 6 PAX fundamental rules:

  1. Drugs are bad.
  2. Don’t steal.
  3. Don’t punch or kick people.
  4. No cheating.
  5. Don’t harass anyone.
  6. Don’t mess with things that aren’t yours.


Beginning in the very first year of PAX, concerts have always been one of the main features of the show. The creators of the show have strong emotional ties to the music, stating:

“We were fans of the Minibosses and MC Frontalot, and from there we expanded both our knowledge and lineup of the genre. At the time, having that many people in a room listening to nerdcore music wasn’t ‘a thing.’ In fact, nerdcore music was barely ‘a thing.’

Fast forward a decade later, and we’re excited to see the genre grow along with the sizes of our main theatre crowd, always filled to capacity with thousands of fans listening to and participating in these acts. A big part of PAX is connection, and we’re proud to say we’re a niche show with fans that treat these niche acts like the rockstars they are.”

There will be two concerts series at this year’s event, one Friday (opening night) and one on Saturday. The concert schedule is listed below:

  • Friday, Jan. 27 at 8pm: SuperMES, Urizen, and Descendants of Erdrick
  • Saturday, Jan. 28 at 8pm: OneUps, Viking Guitar, and Bit Brigade


Another core element of PAX are the panel discussions and keynote speakers. PAX focuses on bringing in speakers who vary between “your favorite webseries or a lecture from the developer you love,” and the panels always provide “knowledge or entertainment for gamers of all types.”

This year’s list of PAX panelists include:

  • Penny Arcade’s creators – Gabe and Tycho
  • Principal Story Designer for Wizards of the Coast (legendary home of Dungeons and Dragons) – Chris Perkins
  • Rooster Teeth – Chris and Aaron
  • New York Times Bestselling author – Patrick Rothfuss
  • Acquisitions Incorporated: The Series—live – Jim Darkmagic (Mike Krahulik), Omin Dran (Jerry Holkins), Viari (Patrick Rothfuss), and a very special guest
  • Jackbox – Jerry Holkins, Kris Straub, Nika Harper, Graham Stark, and Kathleen De Vere

And many, many more. For a full list of panelists, visit the PAX South Schedule.

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Console Freeplay

If you’re heading to PAX, then there’s one thing we know for sure: you love gaming. Lucky for you, PAX South brings hundreds of the latest gen (and classic!) consoles along with all of the newest games you may have missed throughout the year. According to the PAX South site, using the ShoatEngine5000, the organizers have created a free, easy-to-use checkout system for all PAX attendees.


You won’t want to attend PAX without paying a visit to the main exhibit hall. Publishers, developers, and follower gamers show off their newest and most innovative creations, including brand new unreleased games and hardware. PAX creators have said, “With over a hundred thousand square feet of show floor and all genres, platforms and styles of games represented, this area makes for one of the highlights to the PAX experience.”


20 randomly selected preregistered contestants. Six rounds of single survivor game play. One grand prize winner. This is Omegathon, and this is one of PAX’s most anticipated events! According to PAX rules, “each of the games played are publicly announced weeks before the show, but the secret final round is always a surprise.”

This year’s games have already been announced and the six-round schedule has been set:

  • Friday, Jan. 27 at 1:30pm – Round 1: Fruit Ninja
  • Friday, Jan. 27 at 6pm – Round 2: Tsuro
  • Saturday, Jan. 28 at 1:30pm – Round 3: Bug Butcher
  • Saturday, Jan. 28 at 6pm – Round 4: Screencheat
  • Sunday, Jan. 29 at 11am – Round 5: Evolution: The Beginning
  • Sunday, Jan. 29 at 5:20pm – The Final Round: TBD
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Tabletop Area

Similar to the console freeplay area, the Tabletop area provides “hundreds of freeplay tables and the ability to checkout games like you would books at a library, this area could easily keep you occupied for the entire weekend.” Gamers all of ages and skill levels should feel welcome to play.

Various Tabletop Tournaments will also be held throughout the weekend, including tournaments for 7 Wonders, Ascension, 7 Blunders, Smash Up, The Resistance, Power Grid, and plenty more . Check out the full Tabletop Tournament Schedule for more information.

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PC Area & Handheld Lounge

If tabletop and console games aren’t really your thing, not to worry, PAX has something in store for every kind of gamer. At this year’s PAX South, you’ll find both a PC area and a Handheld Lounge. At the Handheld Lounge, you’ll find “hundreds of beanbags for your use, these organically created meetup areas allow those with 3DS’, PSPs and Vitas to congregate and play to their hearts content.”

If PC games are your area of expertise, you’ll be happy to find the PC area that the organizers have created to include “hundreds of high-end PCs for your enjoyment. Laugh at those poor developers struggling to squeeze everything they can from console hardware made years ago, as we’re catering to you- the PC gamer that is satisfied with nothing but the MOST gigs and the HIGHEST resomolutions.”

Photo credit: Colony of Gamers via / CC BY-NC

For more information about the entire three-day event, visit PAX South.