Laura and I are going to be perusing the games, panels, and booths of PAX East for the next few days. If you’re going to be there, let us know! Here are a few of the panels we’re excited for:
Storytelling in the World of Interactive Fiction
Text adventures have been quietly experimenting with narrative gaming for thirty years. Five authors from the amateur interactive fiction community discuss the design ideas in their games — reordered storylines, unreliable narrators, deeply responsive NPCs — and how they apply to other kinds of games.
Panelists Include: J. Robinson Wheeler [JRW Digital Media], Robb Sherwin, Aaron Reed, Emily Short, Andrew Plotkin
Indies Will Shoot You In The Knees – Why We Don’t Play Fair
Everyone is talking about Indie games — titles like World of Goo, Braid, and AaaaaAAaaaAAAaaAAAAaAAAAA!!! — A Reckless Disregard for Gravity are making press and making money. But they’re fighting against games with $200 million dollar budgets and 100+ person dev teams. How do Indies compete? Three Boston-based Indie developers will check their water-guns at the door and tell you why and how Indie games are kicking more ass, taking more names, and chewing more bubblegum than their AAA rivals. You will hear from the Ichiro Lambe (IGF Finalist Dejobaan Games, Aaaaa!), Scott Macmillan (Macguffin Games, All Heroes Die) and ex-Bungie AI wizard Damián Isla, founder of the new indie Moonshot Games. The panel will be moderated by Eitan Glinert, founder of Fire Hose Games
The Death of Print
It´s no longer a secret: Print is a dying medium. The past few years have been brutal for print media in the game space, but the plummeting sales and editorial team layoffs came to a head in 2009. It´s no surprise many of the key players at those institutions have moved on to web-based ventures, but has the industry as a whole ultimately lost something or gained something? In this 60-minute panel, Russ Pitts, Editor-in-Chief of The Escapist speaks to several journalists who were deeply involved with the events of the past year about the run-up to the decline of print, and the effects on game journalism – and games. Panelists: John Davison, Editor of the new Gamepro Jeff Green, formerly of Games for Windows Magazine, Julian Murdoch, Freelance Writer.
But Thou Must: Choice in Games
Role-playing games need choice to propel the plot and motivate the player. The methods can vary from smoke and mirrors to extreme branching reactivity – what is the right balance to strike in a game? This panel dissects SEGA and Obsidian’s Alpha Protocol, the issues involved with introducing choice into a real-world spy genre, and presenting the consequence to the player – along with the consequences it had for the development team.
Panelists Include: Joseph Bulock [Cinematics Designer, Obsidian Entertainment], Shon Stewart [Lead Cinematics Animator, Obsidian Entertainment], Matt MacLean [Lead Systems Designer, Obsidian Entertainment], Chris Avellone [Lead Designer, Obsidian Entertainment]
Forcing Your Way In & Coming Out On Top: The Game Industry in Rainbow Color
Many of the friends and writers of the GayGamer.net community are a mixture of people that work or have worked in various fields within the gaming industry from big-time producers to lowly QA grunts. We’re back again, with our east coast crew to impart our wisdom of what the industry is like for anyone trying to get a foot in the door as well as what it can be like for someone doesn’t quite fit the status quo. Flynn DeMarco, Chris Schroyer, David Edison, and Helen McWilliams will divulge how we made it into programming, production, marketing, and media, impart war stories we’ve collected from the trenches, discuss the multitude of issues that can arise in the ever expanding ecosystem that is the game industry, and show how the game industry is growing with everyone in mind and in action.
Sequelitis Snake Oil: Quack Medicine for the Video Game Industry
Why do passionate gamers treat the word “sequel” as a pejorative while often bestowing their highest praise upon those very same sequels? This panel will seek to diagnose the video game industry’s purported “sequelitis” and – by way of discussion from thoughtful panelists, including Irrational Games’ Ken Levine; Harmonix’s Dan Teasdale; Giant Bomb’s Jeff Gerstmann; and moderator Chris Grant, from Joystiq – debunk the quack medicine that’s identified video game sequels to be symptomatic of the industry’s creative bankruptcy.
Sounds fun, right? You can find the full list of panels here.
We will also get a chance to check out the games in the Boston Indie Showcase that PAX selected for the event:
Miegakure (Marc ten Bosch)
AaaaaAAaaa…A Reckless Disregard for Gravity (Dejobaan)
Dearth (MIT Gambit Game Lab)
Waker (MIT Gambit Game Lab)
Turba (Keith Morgado)
Slam Bolt Scrappers (Fire Hose Games)
If there’s anything you’re particularly interested in hearing about, don’t hesitate to leave a comment or drop us an email. Watch this space for the next week or so for thoughtful coverage of the event. Hope to see you there!