PAX East 1.0 – Saturday

Learning my lesson from the day before I arrived quite early Saturday to hear Bill Amend talk about his FoxTrot comic in “Greetings from a Dead-Tree Dinosaur Cartoonist v1.1.” Bill Amend in person is just as funny as FoxTrot. His presentation was part autobiography and part Bill showing off some of his favorite strips. He is a nerd of the highest degree; from Dungeons & Dragons to Myst and Wolfenstein (the 2D version). This was probably the highlight of the weekend for me as it was a real look into how his own interests flow into a comic about a family. Jason is his crazy gamer side multiplied a thousand times. Listening to him talk about the process of trying to “slip in” ever nerdier jokes to “2% of the population” and with his background in physics, jokes that are understood by “2% of the 2%” of his nerd readers.

“The Death of Print” featured game journalists talking about their magazines and the digital revolution that is putting print out of business. Between online publications and Metacritic the print magazines are being attacked on multiple flanks and the Internet delivers information faster and cheaper than print ever can. The panelists didn’t seem to realize that print is not inherently better than online distribution and it’s the content that matters not the medium. Anyone can create a website or blog or twitter stream or Facebook page or YouTube video. Jeff Jarvis has talked about this with the concept of the hyperpersonal news stream where small, local, niche voices are the sources of our content rather than one large generic horn of a TV or newspaper. The panelists themselves are the reason print it dying – they refuse to adapt.

“Get Ready For Love: The Joystiq Podcast LIVE!” was a strange and new experience. I had never listened to the podcast before attending the live recording and had no idea what I was in for. But those guys (Justin McElroy, Chris Grant and Ludwig Kietzmann) are hilarious. There were some inside jokes I needed explained to me (Blueberry Muffin Top cereal is apparently a topic of much interest in the podcast) but overall it was a laugh a minute. Again, they were reaching out to the audience with a giant screen showing tweets with the #joystiqlive tag, prizes and BBMT (Blueberry Muffin Top) wristbands for everyone in attendance. Plus the guys walked through the audience high fiving people. There was a back and forth between questions and tweets from the audience that made us part of the show. Did they convert me to the podcast? Probably not, but I didn’t regret going to the live podcast rather than the concert scheduled for the same time.

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