Wednesday, September 5, 2012

PAX 2012: My Weekend At Video Game Mecca

In any relationship, there are sacrifices made by both parties for the betterment of the union.  My sacrifices usually involve video games in one form or another.  With great anticipation (he practically vibrated with it), my boyfriend and I went to PAX 2012 this past Labour Day Weekend.  For the uninitiated, PAX (the Penny Arcade Expo) is the biggest non-industry video game conference in North America held every year in Seattle.  Since its humble beginnings, PAX has now expanded, with a second conference in Boston called PAX East and a third in Australia.  The appeal of PAX is that it gives video gamers the ability to try video games before they are released to the public and allows them to interact with developers.  Swag is another bonus.  

Needless to say, I am not a fan of video games and cannot stand it when my boyfriend sits in his favourite comfy chair, pressing buttons for hours on end.  There are some notable exceptions, like Assassins Creed, which has a cinematic quality and an engaging story, but for the most part, the dialogue is forced and the storylines are far-fetched. This being said, when a person's significant other is a passionate lover of the medium, then you learn to make the best of it.  In this spirit, I got up early to get in line and jogged towards the Halo 4 display when the doors opened, because that is what you do for those you love. Standing around in lines and people watching, became surprisingly amusing.  Despite all the studies which say that video games promote violence, I must say that the gamers I came in contact with were all very friendly, swapping opinions and tips.  The costumes were also very interesting as well, though I had no idea which game they were associated with.  

My favourite part of the conference was attending the panels that included game developers talking about their creative process.  The similarities are quite striking between writing a book and producing a video game, and I found the connection to be very interesting.  I went to a panel discussion which focused on games which were cancelled or otherwise not released to the public.  Like in literature, some ideas are never fully realized for various reasons, and seeing the mixed successes of video game developers fascinated me in particular.  Often times, it takes many revisions to produce the final product and thus there is a lot of crossover between video games and other artistic mediums.  

Though you won't catch me wielding a fake wooden AK-47 (on sale this year in the Skybridge kiosk) at next year's conference, I do admire the passion and creativity that gamers display.  If only I knew what they were talking about.