My name is Jenni, I live in Chicago, and I think my city deserves a kick-ass gaming convention. We need a PAX. Why? Because PAX Prime and PAX East aren't enough, and there's a large segment of gamers here in the United States that need an event to make their year.
Sure, Chicago has plenty of conventions for general geekery. There's always C2E2 in April, Anime Central in April or May, and Wizard World come August, but those aren't really events for gamers. We may get a few cursory panels or experiences, but it's not nearly enough to satisfy the needs of thousands of Midwesterners who want to take part in tournaments, talk about games, or maybe participate in a good campaign or two.
The Midwest needs a Penny Arcade Expo, and it's a travesty that Australia managed to get one before we did.
Not that I'm ragging on you, Australia. You usually get the short end of the gaming stick, what with Australian Classification Board issues, high game prices, and numerous delays (if the game even makes it there at all). You deserve some love, but the fact is, those of us in the Midwest need it too.
As terrible as it sounds, when PAX Australia 2013 was announced, I might have remarked to a friend that Penny Arcade should take care of gamers in the United States before it starts trying to expand to other countries. I'm a terrible person, but you have to understand that it's coming from someone who's been eying PAX events for almost 10 years, hoping for the chance to attend one, and never getting that opportunity because they're just too far away.
Right now, PAX has both the East Coast and the West Coast covered, but there's this huge expanse of Midwestern gamers who have been left behind. We're all situated, congregated in the middle here, with no major convention to rally behind. We want to hear new game announcements, play new games before they've launched, take part in tournaments with the pros, and make new friends. We just don't have that outlet, though, and a PAX Midwest would make a world of difference.
It doesn't even have to be in Chicago. I was just throwing that out there as a matter of hometown pride. That, and Chicago has a number of convention centers, such as McCormick Place or even the Donald E. Stephens Convention Center, that could properly house a PAX. Also, it is the largest city in the Midwest. It doesn't have to be here, though. There are plenty of fantastic locations Penny Arcade could pick that would bring joy to those of us smack dab in the center of the country.
For example, PAX could set up shop in Iowa. The America's Center Convention Complex is huge, and it could easily host all the eager gamers who would gladly flock to St. Louis for a PAX Midwest. It's a nice area and well situated. I'd prefer Chicago, naturally, but St. Louis is just as deserving and would be as gracious a host.
Or, if Penny Arcade really wants to make some Midwestern gamers' day, take PAX to Nebraska. I've driven through Nebraska, and all I remember is staring at a flat expanse occasionally broken up by huge fields of corn. Imagine the excitement and joy if a PAX Midwest was set up in Omaha, Nebraska at the CenturyLink Center. It may not be as big as the other convention centers I've mentioned today, but I'm sure it'd be a happy home to a whole new PAX. Not to mention, Nebraska is right in the heart of the Midwest. It'd be pretty easy for anyone in the region to road-trip their way there.
Really though, location doesn't matter much to those of us in the center of the country. We'd just like one chance to not be left out while others easily flock to PAX Prime or PAX East. Give us something special, an event we can look forward to attending. I've been racking my brain, and the only convention for gamers I can recently recall in the Midwest is the Midwest Gaming Classic in Milwaukee, and that only drew just over 7,000 attendees in 2013. Penny Arcade has a huge fanbase, and they need to do something special for those of us here in the heart of the country.