Industry events were, for a very long time, something I had to quietly observe from the outside. Coming from an ineptly poor family I never really saw myself getting the chance to ever attend one, it just never seemed feasibly possible. In fact, the only time I got close was Pax Prime several years back, but that was not meant to happen as my mother at the time was in a rehab center recovering from a brain aneurysm. Two days before I was supposed to fly out her insurance decided to not cover the rehab center anymore and she had to vacate. Since I was homeless at the time and sleeping on a friends couch I couldn’t just have her move in, so I did what any loving son would. I used all my convention money to put her in a hotel for a while and quietly backed out of the event. I felt horrible, I knew I had done the right thing by my family but I couldn’t shake the feeling I was letting the Gamer Assault Weekly team down.

So when my boss Vanessa told me a coworker of ours named Christine had the idea of starting a Go Fund Me to raise the money to get me to San Antonio for Pax South I was originally hesitant to go for it. It was an amalgamation of things bouncing off the hollow walls of my skull. Phrases like, “You flat out don’t deserve that” and “No one would donate to something like that” came to my mind frequently. I tentatively gave the go-ahead to set it up and much to my surprise we had about half the money in just over a day. I was humbled, to say the least.

Shock and Awe

Walking into the convention center for the first time was downright awe-inspiring. While some of the attendants considered this a smaller event and to my understanding, a few booths backed out last minute, I was still struck by the sight of the show floor ahead of me. The massive dragon over the Monster Hunter booth, the loud and dominate Mixer/Darwin Project booth, the Smash Bros tournament, Brawlhalla, not to mention the sweet sweet merch booths. There was a moment I was at the top of an escalator overlooking the convention floor and I couldn’t help but think ” Who the hell could hate video games, look at how many people this medium has brought together”. Developer, streamer, consumer, cosplayer we were all there in unison shamelessly enjoying our hobby. It was also nice seeing Mixer and Twitch streamers in the same capacity getting along and kind of setting aside the platform they work for to just hang out.

Speaking of Twitch I did get temporarily giddy when I ran in to a few of my favorite streamers on the floor; Friskkmkay, Austen Marie, and VernNotice. They were all nice, and easily approachable people that showed nothing but love for their content consumers.

My Mind Was Racing

To be totally honest, I was worried about networking and conducting interviews in general. I wasn’t sure how much prep I would have to do, should I preemptively make questions, would it look bad to be reading questions from paper (decided to play it by ear and just work off the top of my head). My mind went a mile a minute while I was getting ready to travel. One of the games I saw was Memories of Mars and since that was under NDA and was completely unannounced there was no real way to prep for that so I was not sure what to expect at all. The game ended up being one of my favorites from the show and aside from a few questions over team speak while in-game I was given more than enough information to take back and work with. By the time I got ready for my first solo interview of the event with Scavengers Studio I had been at the convention for several hours and had almost completely unwound. I didn’t feel tense, my normal quiet demeanor was gone and replaced with a decent amount of confidence in my abilities to conduct an interview and gather information for content. It also helped that the gentleman I interviewed from the studio, Simon, was insanely easy to talk to. I could see the passion in his eyes for this project and how proud he was to show it off and it was infectious, to say the least. Before I knew it almost an hour had gone by and my team was waiting for me outside the booth, not going to lie I was tempted to just wave them off and keep playing.

This isn’t from Pax South but this was one of my favorite teams to interact with during the event.

Gift of a Lifetime

The memories I have coming from this event will always bring a smile to my face. From my team and I gorging ourselves on bounties of the best Mexican food I have had in my life, to meeting members of various game studios and then constantly running into them in random places and greeting each other. That’s a very simple gesture that goes a long way with me. Not only did it sort of help cement in my mind this event was a step in the right direction career-wise, but it also felt great simply being around like-minded professionals. No one undercut each other, no one acted like who they were made them better than anyone else in the room. We were just passionate people in the same place enjoying what we love and making new friends. I seriously can’t put into words what this weekend meant to me, or how appreciative I am to have even had the opportunity to attend.

I Couldn’t Have Done It Without You

At the end of it all I couldn’t have had this opportunity without a plethora of people. To everybody who donated to the Go Fund Me, thank you for making one of my lifelong dreams a reality. I would also like to thank our Community Manager Christine, to my understanding it was originally her idea to try a fundraiser to get me to Pax South. My boss Vanessa for being insanely understanding of the problems in my personal life and taking a chance on me when I was a teenager and hiring me on to the site. John for being a wonderful guide my first day on the con floor and kind of showing me the ropes to doing interviews. PAX South was an eye-opening opportunity and a career-affirming event for me. The games industry is where I belong.  Whatever I have done in life and wherever I have gone gaming has always been the constant in my life. I am hoping in the future I can attend more events and be a bigger part of the industry I love. From the bottom of my heart thank you all.

Side note, it was humbling to meet someone I consider a mentor to me on Twitch and have her recognize me just passing each other on the street. Thought I was hearing things when I heard ” SKITZO!!! ” outside a Whataburger of all places. It was great getting to meet and spend time with Scarlett Hellion.

About The Author

Allen S
Editorial/Reviews Team, Manager

I started gaming when I was seven years old. I started my own game studio when I was twelve, went to school for game design. Now I work here and also on my own YouTube channel