Let's try a little experiment: I'm going to say a phrase, and I want you to blurt out the first thing that comes to mind. Ready?
Okay, how many of you shouted out "lines"? I know I did. Because for all of the wonderful community interaction at PAX, for all of the boozing and nerding and gaming and generally having the time of my life, the thing that looms largest in my memory of PAX is the lines.
You couldn't avoid them — not with 60,000 people crowding the Hynes Convention Center. There was a line to check into the hotel. There was a line to get a jelly-filled donut at the Dunkin' Donuts near the convention entrance. There were lines to play the games that no one cared much about and really long lines for the games people did — I ran into one Bitmobber who moved about 10 feet in 30 minutes waiting to play Red Dead Redemption.
Most of all, there were lines for the panels. People began lining up for the "Penny Arcade Draws a Strip" panel four hours before it started. Because of other commitments, I ended up missing a good number of the panels I wanted to attend. Red-shirted volunteers turned me away, the lines having already stretched to capacity.
That said, I can't complain too much. While it would have been nice to get into panels or play some games without an hours-long wait, when I was in line, I was in line with friends. Friends I don't get to see in person often, if at all. If I had no choice but to wait in line for everything at PAX East, I'm glad I was with them.