Between developer booths on the show floor, various fan cosplays, and opportunities to meet influential people in the gaming industry, the PAX West 2018 convention in Seattle, Wash., is exciting for gamers. I attended last Saturday, Sunday, and Monday on behalf of Windows Central, and with my homemade Overwatch Reinhardt helmet in tow, I dove into the experience.

Saturday: Overwatch cosplayer meetup, and Halo HQ

Photo credit: Michael Groah

After arriving at the convention center around 10 am, my first step was to familiarize myself with the various exhibit halls and ballrooms that contained all of the event's booths. There were six full floors of space in total, so this task took about an hour. Once I was finished, I began to wander the full show floor to see what PAX West had to offer. I ended up purchasing a copy of The Art of Fallout 4 before heading to a special Overwatch cosplay meetup.

More than 200 people ended up arriving at the meetup by 1 pm, and I got the chance to take several pictures with several crafty men and women who are significantly better at cosplay design than I am (see images above). I hung out with these wonderful people, then I left the convention center and made my way down to 343 Industries' headquarters in Redmond for a special tour of the Halo museum.

Filled to the brim with toys, art, books, and clothing from 2001 all the way to 2018, the Halo museum is a testament to how much of a legacy Xbox's flagship franchise carries with it. It's incredibly interesting and enjoyable to see the history of Halo right before your eyes. I also got to speak with 343 Industries employee Jeff Easterling and got the chance to play Fireteam Raven, Halo's new arcade experience.

Sunday: Games, games, games!

My goal on Sunday was to get to the convention center at the earliest possible time and play as many games I could. As one of the first attendees through the door, I was able to have first-crack at Dauntless, an upcoming cooperative monster hunting game on PC with controller support. I also got a chance to check out SpyParty, which is a two-player game where one person has to hide in a crowd while the other has to try and spot them and take them out with a sniper rifle.

After these two, the lines for all the games started to get pretty long. However, I did manage to test out more titles, including Resident Evil 2, Darksiders III, and several of the indie games being shown off by various Polish developers. All in all, each and every game was pretty fun in its own way, though I think my favorite of the bunch was Darksiders III.

After the convention, myself and other Halo community members did something awful...

Monday: PAX has wares, if you have coin

On the final day of PAX West, I focused on checking out the merchandise booths found all throughout the venue. There was a wide variety of quality items available, ranging from ballcaps to backpacks, but I ultimately found that Fangamer and Glitchgear had the best offerings. Fangamer specializes in merch based on popular indie games, while Glitchgear mostly focuses on classic gaming hits like Borderlands 2, Team Fortress 2, or Half-Life.

As I hung out with my friends that night to say goodbye, we got a surprise visit from the legendary Marty O'Donnell himself, who composed the iconic soundtracks for most of the Halo games. I had never met him before, so it was very cool to finally shake the hand of the genius behind several of gaming's most cherished scores (and take the above image with him).

Your thoughts on PAX West

Did you travel to PAX West this year? If so, what did you think of the event? If not, do you plan to go next year? Let me know in the comments.

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