We’re back from PAX

…and it was absolutely exhausting. After rushing around on my feet for three days in a row, lugging a heavy sleeping bag around on my backpack and standing in lines for hours at a time, I felt like a hobo must feel after fleeing a natural disaster: dirty, tired, and psychologically destroyed by forced proximity to a vast, threatening, and uncontrollable natural force (in this case, seventy thousand gamers). Unlike a vagrant disaster survivor, however, I left with profoundly positive emotions. So. There’s that!

Kent and I spent most of the weekend attending panels and taking brief trips into the main Expo floor to play the indie games, mostly: there was the Boston Indie Showcase, as well as Joe Danger, Battleblock Theater, and, amusingly, a stand featuring some of the worst XBL Indie Games I have ever seen in my entire life (more on this later). At one point we stopped by Turbine’s Lord of the Rings Online booth to play a unique, two-person form of the game: Kent operated the keyboard and I screwed around with the mouse until we fell in a moat. A Turbine rep showed up and asked us what we were doing, and we ended up getting into a long conversation about how tough QA is. It is very tough! We attended one panel about breaking into the games industry which the speakers really ought to have titled “QA: the ass end of the games industry.” They all seemed to agree that working QA for a company which promotes from within is an excellent way for complete non-coders and non-artists to maybe possibly obtain probable and vague games industry jobs at some point in their futures, a proposition which the fresh-faced audience accepted with nervous hesitation.

It was only then that I began to feel grateful that I aspire to merely write about games. If you can’t do, you write, and if you can’t write, you… teach physical education, or something like that? I think that’s how it goes.

At any rate, we played Joe Danger, Battleblock Theater, the new Prince of Persia, and a few other games that I cannot recall at the moment, as I have misplaced my journalistic Steno pad with all my notes on it. Writeups will come in the future! We also attended a number of panels. Because we are totally obsessed with games writing, we found the ones about games writing—there were two—to be the most interesting, and we each have personal responses that we’re working on writing up. We also attended the 1UP Retronauts podcast, where we were astonished by the panelists’ apparent disposable incomes—they spoke for an hour about the crazy amounts of money they gleefully pay for terrible old games. There is apparently an appeal to this which I personally cannot understand. We also attended a panel about the history of General Computer Corporation, the company of MIT dropouts who developed Ms. Pacman and a number of Atari products: another enjoyable hour spent in the lecture theater. All in all, I think I learned more about the history of gaming in these two panels than I have ever learned in my entire life. Very fortifying for the soul and the mind, yes.

All I can say is that I hope they relocate to the larger convention center near the airport next time, as fitting seventy thousand people into Hynes was an incredibly foolish idea. Though the other convention center isn’t as convenient, it is so large that the Silver Line goes through its basement. Yes.  It contains multitudes.

Stay tuned for GAEMS JORNALIZM

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