A First-Timer's Guide to the Penny Arcade Expo in Seattle (PAX West)

Hello, readers! My name is Jeremy Lim and I write music for video games.

Each September, over a hundred thousand gamers take over Seattle to celebrate the Penny Arcade Expo - fondly known as PAX West (and formerly known as PAX Prime). From table top classics to tomorrow's virtual worlds, PAX is a celebration of all things gaming. With countless activities, shows, and games to play, it's easy to get overwhelmed. That said, there are many ways to get the most out of your time, so here's a checklist to get you ready.

Schedule, Schedule, Schedule

The truth about PAX is that there's no way to do everything. You'll have a better time focusing on what's most important to you. Take inventory what you like and schedule your time around those events; plan for food, travel, and line-up times if you're waiting for game demos. You can print out the official schedule, but I prefer the mobile app [iOS / Android / Windows Phone / Blackberry] for its reminders and its ability to plan on the fly.


Register for Parties Early

The parties may be plentiful, but they sell out FAST. Watch for notifications from the PAX Parties Facebook Group and make sure you lock down your spots!

Hurry Up and Wait

PAX is notorious for its lineups. If there's something you're excited for, get there early. Each day begins at 10:00AM, so memorize the exhibitor maps, be there when the doors open, and beeline for your number one picks. Not only will you be the first to demo, but you're more likely to get swag. Hurried in and still got stuck in line? Strike up a conversation with those around you; if they ran in with you, they're probably just as passionate and could make for some good friends.


Bring a Bag for Carrying Food, Water, Clothes, Spare Batteries, and Swag

When moving around, I try to carry as little as possible, but a bag prepared with food, water, spare clothes, spare batteries, and enough room to keep expo swag is a must.

Restaurants and stores in downtown Seattle slow to a crawl with the influx of attendees. Again, minimize line times by coming prepared! Just one bottle of water will do as most venues will have water stations. If you can swing it, a poster roll (I wish I didn't have to fold my Street Fighter V poster) or a rigid folder is huge if you're planning on taking home soft paper products.


Bring Hand Sanitizer

The PAX plague is real and boy does it hit hard. You're going to be handling devices touched by thousands of others. Keep your hands clean between sessions!

Book Hotels Early Near the Seattle Convention Centre

With doors opening at 10:00AM and parties lasting late into the night, you might be in it for the long haul. Staying close by means you can be the first in line and the last to leave. Also, stepping away for midday naps can be huge for keeping the train running.


Make Time for Travel

PAX is sprawling. Not only is the expo space huge, but the convention extends to satellite venues that reach as far as 15-20 minutes away by foot. If you're catching an event that's outside of the main halls, make sure you budget enough time to get there and a little extra for any spectacles that may pop up.

Avoid the Rush Hour Gridlock

If you're driving in, avoid the morning rush hour by showing up early. If you don't have a choice, skip the major traffic arteries and park further away; you'll be much faster on foot. The alternative is to show up after the rush, but you'll find few places to park and miss out on the morning's activities.


Save Cash Using BestParking

Parking in downtown Seattle is expensive, especially during the weekdays (Friday and Monday). Use BestParking to find the best rates around the convention area. Note that many lots have early bird specials, and that some of the office buildings will have heavily discounted weekend rates for Saturday and Sunday attendees.

Wear the Right Shoes

When you can’t walk anymore, your day is over. (Once, I had to turn around in my hotel lobby because I was limping.) Keep your day going with a comfortable pair of shoes and/or insoles. If you don't own a pair, it's an investment that will pay dividends far beyond PAX.


Get Mobile Data

PAX is a whirlwind. Having data is a huge boon for staying in touch, keeping abreast of convention news, and finding your way around town. (Also, Pokemon Go.)

If you're American, you're likely all set, but for the rest of us, roaming is crazy expensive. Thankfully, Roam Mobility (disclosure: Roam sponsored my US data in 2014-2015; affiliate link) offers up to 15GB of LTE data for $4.95 CAD per day. While you can buy them from stores in Canada, they also ship SIM cards internationally, so be sure to order one early so it arrives in time.

Visit the Indie, Board Game, Classic Console, and Other Specialty Rooms

The main floor is very exciting, but there are plenty of gems in its periphery. If you're ready to slow down, set up camp in one of the board game rooms, or if you're feeling competitive, find the home consoles for some impromptu tournaments. Prefer new games, but would rather skip the lines? Visit the Indie Megabooth and the separate indies section for a veritable smorgasbord of great games and merchandise.


In Closing

I hope that helps! Sadly, I'm not able to attend this year, but if you'd like to connect, please do say hi on Facebook, Twitter, Soundcloud, or YouTube. I hope you all have a blast, and if you have any more tips for the community, please leave them in the comments!

Blind Six

Blind Six feat Rina Pellerin

Blind Six is a dance short by Jarmain Productions featuring the ever-talented Rina Pellerin - and music by yours truly. As always, Philip Jarmain assembled an all-star crew for this production and they all deserve some love!

DP / Creative - Philip Jarmain
Dancer - Rina Pellerin
Wardrobe - Shiva Shabani
Hair - Johanna Libbey
Make-up - Kelsey Fitzpatrick
Set Painter - Emily Helsdon
Illustrator - Ian Judson
Colourist - Randy Egan
Editor - Jordan Taylor
D.I.T. - Kezia Nathe
Music Composer - Jeremy Lim

I'm still figuring out an extended version of the track, but hopefully, you'll be hearing this again soon in the coming year!

Lost and Longing - Jeremy Lim

Lost and Longing

A year ago, life went sour, and I lost much of my digital life. Photos, documents, music, memories - all of it evaporated overnight - including my Japan-inspired EP, Mizu. I remember laying on the floor, numb; I don't know for how long. Today, only Mizu's album art survives, so in its memory, we have Lost and Longing.

The song's a chillstep piece that is very much like Uncharted. It prefaces something bigger, and coincidentally, it also shares Uncharted's key and instrumentation. In the back of my head, I've been wanting to upgrade the Into Ether EP sound, so it's funny how that came together.

Like it? Then I have a favour to ask! I'm working on growing YouTube and Spotify, so if you enjoyed Lost and Longing, it'd mean a lot for this song to be a part of your likes, favourites, playlists, and/or collections. If streaming isn't your thing, is also available over at iTunes and Bandcamp.

As always, thanks so much for your kindness and support, guys!

P.S. As an aside, if you own sensitive data, please look into buying an uninterruptible power supply and off-site data backups; I use a CyberPower CP1500PFCLCD and CrashPlan. Stuff blows up - literally - and it HURTS when it does. Local backups aren't enough.

Tap My Katamari: "Katamari on the Swing" feat Katelyn Isaacson

Growing up, Katamari Damacy​ was a big part of my childhood, one that I loved for its quirks and especially its soundtrack. Thanks to the folks at BANDAI NAMCO Studios​, I got to be a small part of the latest in the franchise, Tap My Katamari! Teenage me would be squealing right now.

Big ups to Katelyn Isaacson for lending her vocals on the project! Katamari on the Swing was my favourite song from the series, and I couldn't have done it without her.

Whether you're a star-making veteran or you'll be rolling your first ball, be sure to give Tap My Katamari a download! The development team captured much of the series' charms, and there are lots of great nods to the game's forebears. Watch out for the Noby Noby Boy cameo!



It's finally out! Obliteracers is an award-winning, same-screen party racer where up to 16 players duke it out for supremacy and I had the honour of joining on the soundtrack. Thanks to The Otherworld Agency for bringing the ensemble of composers together for the project. We all rooted in electro swing, but quickly branched out to play on the many different environments of Obliteracers.

Care to give it a whirl? The game's available now on Steam with PS4 and Xbox One releases coming in Q2! On the music side, visit us on iTunes, Spotify, Bandcamp, and Loudr to grab the soundtrack!

Thanks for listening and hope to see you in game!