PAX East 1.0 – Friday

PAX East was absolutely amazing. Three days of geeking out at the Hynes Convention Center in Boston. There were some very interesting characters in attendance (as in my photos posted yesterday), I only wish I caught more with my camera.

Of course, the intentional (and somewhat more “real”) stars of the Penny Arcade Expo were Gabe and Tycho and the other speakers and panelists, and of course, the geek god Wil Wheaton. 

After failing to arrive early enough for the Wil Wheaton keynote I hit up three panels on the opening day (Friday). It was too bad that they had to turn people away from the keynote and I think if there were video monitors showing it people would have watched from anywhere rather than mill around the Expo floor. I’ll be prepared for next year I guess and show up as early as possible.

For all who missed it, or couldn’t attend PAX East, YouTuber Cheshyr was able to record the keynote and post it in six parts. I’m certainly thankful for his work and for Wil giving the OK for this distribution.

First for me on Friday was “Puppet Masters – The not so Invisible Hands of Video Game PR.” The speakers were public relations experts representing video game companies as freelancers, consultants or in-house staff. The walkaway message here was that sometimes they need to promote games that are bad/unfinished/niche and sometimes critics confuse these categories. They have tough jobs and can’t please everyone while still remaining objective. Having a background in market research, I can understand this position; you need to develop contacts in the industry but can’t give them a glowing review if the company or the products made aren’t actually good.

“Storytelling in the World of Interactive Fiction” sounded interesting but was way over my head. As someone who last played text games as a kid in the 90s this was hard to relate to. This was not a very enjoyable panel if those who didn’t love interactive fiction and the panelists had a holier-than-thou attitude towards there genre, which was too bad.

Next on the docket was “Traversing the Twitterverse, and Beyond!” with @fourzerotwo @majornelson and MacheteBetty of @xboxsupport. This is what I was expecting PAX to be like; it opened with MacheteBetty singing a song to the tune of Portal’s “Still Alive” with the lyrics changed to be twitter and Xbox Live Support related. That got a lot of laughs and set the mood.

Unlike the first two panels, this was almost entirely question and answer with the audience. All three were upbeat and funny and it felt very congenial despite the physical separation between the audience and the panelists on stage. It was a good final panel for the day and we the audience got to hear about the behind the scenes of Xbox Live support, and personally, having used the old system, it was frustrating. I’m not anxious to contact them on Twitter, but having a team dedicated to respond quickly is music to my ears.

Next up: PAX Saturday

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