One of these days, I am going to have to do one of these shows just as a gamer.
PAX East was last weekend, and there is something special about consumer facing shows. Yes, in any large crowd there will be a healthy dose of rudeness, weirdness and schadenfreude, and maybe an audience born on the internet will have more than the normal amount. Still, going to PAX is a reminder that the games audience looks very little the game development or games journalism communities. Size, shape, race, sex…it was very America only with more cosplay.
I really like PAX East. I went to the inaugural one in 2010 and it was an event that still stands out for me in a lot of ways. And there were a few eerie parallels this time around. I had fun, though.
I spent most of the show tied to a booth showing off two Paradox published titles – War of the Roses (Fatshark Games) and Showdown Effect (Arrowhead). No prize for guessing which game I was assigned. My role was to shuffle people through the never-ending-line to play the game, talk to them about War of the Roses, and answer their questions. I also did a few media appearances, but saw few of my old media friends for very long. Glad that those who stopped by did. (Now you know what PR does at these things. If you want to know the other stuff we do, read my boss’s article on the corp blog.)
I didn’t get to see much, of course. I was working, and except for a quick run of the floor to check the vendors on the final day, I saw zero panels or cool games. So if I go as a fan, I get to do those things. But I also don’t get paid for going.
Anyway, despite the fact that nothing ever runs perfectly, the Paradox team was in good spirits through the event and I would like to think it was a successful one for them. They remain a lot of fun to hang out with.
It was more fun, though, to see Julian Murdoch and Rob Zacny, two good friends I haven’t seen in a couple of years. There was boardgaming, there was drinking, there was a commitment for me to get to Rabbitcon this year. The Gamers With Jobs people are uniformly nice and adult, as fits their name, and there was some great food at the final dinner. And Zacny knows his cocktail bars.
We had our panel on the final day of the show and attendance was surprisingly good. I was sure we’d get no more than 30 or 50 people. We had well over a hundred guests. The panel (Me, Julian, Rob, Rob Daviau, Jon Shafer and Chris King) was a lot of fun considering how little any of us really had prepared. The show was recorded and will be Episode 164 of Three Moves Ahead. We will definitely do it again next year, but I’ll moderate and let Rob Zacny rant. We need to take turns at this.
I can think of probably a half dozen ways my weekend could have been better, and gel inserts are number one on that list. Maybe number two… But that doesn’t mean I didn’t enjoy myself or feel productive. It was a worthwhile professional event and a great personal time.
Hope to see more of you next year.