It feels strange that the Penny Arcade expo is on again. Plenty has changed in that time, plenty has stayed the same.
My strategy this year is more oriented towards a blitzkreig. Taking the early Friday morning flight, I went straight to the MCEC. There’s something customary about lining up for the keynote and subsequent PA Q&A. Apart from this, I think starwars has been the only other thing I’ve intentionally lined up for for more than an hour. In this case it was worth it.
Warren Spector, iconic figure of the gaming industry, was on stage this morning delivering the keynote. He points out, quite rightly, that it’s rare to be involved with the establishment and development of a new communications medium. Games are the only two-way form of entertainment (us gamers have known it for years) and it’s been exciting to watch the industry develop. He also ran a few clips of failed projects – video locked away in personal archives never to see the light of day… except at events like PAX, which is what makes it so sweet.
Mike is sick. So the Gabe and Tycho duo are not present this year. It made me wonder (not for the first time) if I’d still attend if the guys didn’t come along. The short answer is I probably wouldn’t. That said, Robert Khoo is the one member of the PA team I’ve always wanted to hear more from, so when they announced that he’d be filling in for Mike, I was keen. The Q&A session this morning was traditional. The usual host of questions were asked. Snippets of insight into their personal lives were offered. The answers are sometimes the same – but always updated and always worthwhile. I make note of the discussion surrounding security and privacy. A fan noted the difficulty (impossibility) of finding the physical addresses of the company. Jerry made mention of some of the more violent and concerning messages they’d received over the years (threats towards his daughter). Bearing in mind that these guys publish a free happy-go-lucky comic about video games, that may seem strange, even out of place. But then you remember that this is the Internet.
This year there looks to be an IFPA endorsed pinball tournament. Pinball has been chronically underrepresented at PAX over the last three years but given its resurgence in general it’s perhaps not surprising to see. I will enter and most likely be knocked out in short oder, time to find out…
Voice acting in video games. It can be awesome, it can be terrible. The panel this afternoon highlighted both, and gave some insight into the occupation. I think even now, in 2015, it’s not the most stable career choice. But why? I didn’t end up getting a chance to ask the question but someone raised it anyway. I was going to ask specifically about Dominic Armatao. You’ll know him primarily from The Curse of Monkey Island. The humour of Ron Gilbert, the art of Bill Tiller and the voice of Dominic Armato made for the ultimate cinematic combination. I always thought it could easily become a Disney movie, then Disney bought our George Lucas…
#paxfoodfight – I was excited about this! Which should be unsurprising. On stage were Hex, tripod etc. they shared their “favourite” gaming recipes and then cooked then to varying degrees of success. I enjoyed being able to tweet along and I would really, really like to see this continue. I’m sure the gaming community is hungry for better food. I got excited during the session and tweeted out two full recipes from my book, perhaps they’ll be put to good use….