Super Late PAX Post

PAX Prime was over a month ago, but I know several of you guys want to know what it was like. I have more time than I did in September, but I'm still short on it, so I'll do what I can.

As I've said before, I had never been on a panel, or even seen a panel, or even been to a convention before. I knew about PAX, of course -- even when I was separated from all things games, I still read my beloved Penny Arcade and witnessed the birth of their Gamer's Mecca -- but I had no idea what to expect.

But a Gamer's Mecca is pretty much what it is. Hundreds of thousands of geeks pile into Seattle for the weekend. Cosplayers are everywhere. Nearly every Uber to and from the convention is a Mad Max vehicle. Some weird tentacley thing is bursting out of the convention hall annex. Even miles away from the convention center, you might be going to dinner at a nice sit-down place and see Harley Quinn or Fire Emblem's Mia walk out.

It's pretty amazing.

And because everyone's there for a shared love of games (and many of them are introverts too), everyone's super nice. I played games and even had conversations (gasp!) with total strangers while waiting in line for other things. I spent the weekend with my brother and his friends -- also game developers -- and we talked RPGs, industry chat, card game design, and a thousand other topics that I never get to talk about at home.
Other highlights and comments:
  • The difference between AAA exhibitions and indie games is staggering. Watching Bethesda's animatronic Fallout robot or the Dark Souls fountain made me realize just how much more money these guys have than we on Torment do.
  • I discovered I'm much more attracted to the styles and innovations of indie games than the flash of AAA (not that I dislike the flash, mind you, I just found myself hanging in the Indie Exhibition Hall a lot more). Here was one of my favorites: Ultimate Chicken Horse.
  • I got to hang out with (and in many cases meet for the first time) a bunch of awesome game devs, including but not limited to Chris Avellone, Brian Mitsoda, Adam Brennecke, Monte Cook, Shanna Germain, and all the folks on my panel.

  • I had lunch with Pat Rothfuss. Our e-mails crossed paths, so we had only good intentions, but no actual plans to meet. But when my brother and I were in line for PA's live D&D show, I saw a notable bearded man walk past and -- in a truly non-introverted moment -- ran up to him, introduced myself, and made plans for lunch. I know. I'm super proud of myself, too.
The panel itself was both terrifying and really, really fun. Honestly, I would have loved to just sit and talk RPGs with Annie, Mitch, Swen, and Josh without all those people watching. Sounds like an awesome afternoon to me. We talked for an hour about RPGs and the difference between old-school and modern RPGs (and why we tend to like the former), as well as answering some very good questions from the audience.

In case you missed it, the audio for that panel is here.

I would love to go to PAX again, though honestly I don't know what I would have done if I didn't have my brother to hang out with. He and his friends were a huge part of what made PAX awesome for me (heck, half the stuff I said on the panel was stuff that I had said to them in our own conversations).

But who knows? Maybe one day I will.


Cap'n Heine said...

You definitely made my PAX experience far more enjoyable as well! Glad I got to be there for your first convention and your first panel!

Matthew MacNish said...

Two things:

1) My daughter is a huge Rothfuss fan, and the fact that you and Colin both "know" him, and that I know you, is pretty darn cool to her.

2) Let me know if you go again. I could easily be in Seattle at the same time, even if I don't attend the convention.

Adam Heine said...

For sure, man. Maybe next trip, we can accost Rothfuss together!