PAX: In a nut-shell

PAX was pretty amazing.

Seriously. Where else can you be in a line with hundreds of other people in sight for two hours and have everyone remain patient? When else have you looked down on the floor of a theater to see more than three quarters of the audience fiddling with their laptop, PSP, DS, or phone while waiting? People who weren’t messing with some form of electronics before a show or panel looked out of place.

I began the weekend with my wish-list of panels. I picked all of the panels that I wanted to see, then eliminated panels that overlapped (of course, giving preference to any that may enlighten me about getting into the industry or what it is like working in the industry).

I was left with a list of panels for Friday that was packed so full that even if there were no lines, I wouldn’t be able to make all of them. I knew this, and I accepted the reality that I would be lucky even if I got into half of them. My “wish list” for Saturday and Sunday was nowhere near as full, but still had some very intriguing panels.

After all of my planning, I didn’t actually attend any of the panels that I’d planned on.

I’m always a bit embarrassed that I know very few names of people who are legendary in the industry I want to work in. Warren Spector is one of those names. Until a friend gave me a hard time for not knowing who Warren Spector is, I was clueless. After I was enlightened, I decided that I should go to the keynote.

On Friday, I got in line bright and early. I sat and chatted with Alex from New Jersey and Adrian from Texas while we waited in line and again during the keynote. Adrian and Alex were great fun and I regret not swapping contact information with them.

The keynote was spectacular. If you are passionate about gaming, work in the industry, or want to work in the industry, I highly recommend listening to a recording. All of the recordings that I’ve found have poor sound quality and video that isn’t worth watching, but are still worth listening to. A couple options are here and here.

After the keynote, I stayed for the Penny Arcade Q&A. It was amusing, but I think I would have preferred to spend that hour walking around the show floor.

On Saturday, Hubby and I met up with friends and sat in line for Acquisitions, Inc.; a live game of D&D with Mike Krahulik and Jerry Holkins (the Penny Arcade guys), Wil Wheaton, Scott Kurtz (PvP Online), and Chris Perkins (who I have heard is a legendary DM). After sitting in line for about 20 minutes, an Enforcer came by and told everyone that our section of the line was the end, and we should turn away everyone who came after. We waited another hour before the doors opened, and in the end our section of the line (about 200 people) weren’t able to get in. There had been a mis-count. I was super bummed, mostly because of the hours wasted waiting to get in (and knowing that we would) when I could have been seeing games!

Saturday morning we met a friend for breakfast (most expensive bowl of oatmeal ever). At the table across from ours Warren Spector was having his breakfast and reading. Even though I’d only learned who he was a few days before, I was a bit star struck.

The rest of Friday and Saturday we socialized with friends and wandered the convention center. I never actually played any games, since it takes me way longer than the 15 minutes to decide if I like a game. I loved watching the Rock Band free play stage; it was fun seeing people cheer more for performers who tried and sucked than they did for performers who were just mediocre. The Saturday night concert was great fun. Paul and Storm were great. I would love to see them live again.

Hubby wasn’t feeling well on Sunday, so I was on my own. I explored all the areas that I hadn’t seen yet, and then I walked through the entire expo floor again so that I’d know where I was going.

Sunday was the day I was going to put my cards to use. I was going to introduce myself to people at the various MMO booths, talk to them about how they got into the industry, and ask them for advice. But that dreaded shyness took over, and I just couldn’t talk myself into bugging people when they were obviously busy. I did end up talking to a couple of people who work at MMO development companies. I’m pretty disappointed in myself for not being more outgoing.

In all, it was a great weekend and I can’t wait until PAX Prime 2011.

(Edited 10/14/10: Because I’m a dork and like to believe that PAX continued until Monday. Corrected references to things happening on Monday to reflect Sunday.)

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