Of the 3 California shows, I personally like PAGG, and CAX better. I want to make sure this is understood though: PPE IS AN AWESOME SHOW. I just enjoy the other 2 more.
Each show has its own personality, so it is not a slam liking a show for whatever criteria you go to a show for.
I look at PAGG as a get together of pinheads. Really laid back type of gathering. Feel like your helping out charity by playing pins. Flea market in the morning. BBQ in the parking lot. The smallest of the 3, but the most intimate. Really like the feel of this show. For me, it is the start of summer.
CAX is the full on arcade experience. Not just for pinheads, but anybody that hung out at an arcade. Retro laser disk music, unique vids, and pinballs. Gives me the biggest nostalgia feel. Stayed up until 2:00 playing Centaur, JJP, NGG, then jumped on a game of cocktail Warlords with my buddies. Chocolate + Milk, Peanut + Butter, Jessica Alba + Scarlett Johanson, Pins +Vids, 2 is always better than one.
PPE is the historical show. Older wood rails, exhibitions, seminars, etc.... I was playing an older pin and a group of people were following a curator that was explaining the significance of the pin I was playing. Definitely something you would not see at the other shows.
I think people that come from out of town should know what each show is like, especially if they can only afford one show. I don't see the problem liking one show over the other as they are different.
And, THANKS TO ALL THAT HELP MAKE THEM HAPPEN!!!!!!!!!!!!!