A Most Elusive Perspective on PAX Prime

This weekend, I attended PAX Prime 2010 for the first time. Although I certainly consider myself a geek, I’m not really a gamer, and I wasn’t sure what I’d think of a convention with that as the primary focus. Sure, I play Sims 3, write in a Harry Potter play-by-post RPG, and handicap my roommate into losing many levels of New Super Mario Wii with my terrible playing. Still, I don’t really consider myself more than a casual gamer as I geek out in such a large variety of other ways. So I wasn’t sure that PAX would be enjoyable for me. I really wondered if I’d just spend the whole weekend feeling completely out of the loop and in a perpetual state of confusion.
A view of the initial crowd at the keynote in Seattle in the Benaroya Theater

Luckily, that was not at all what happened. So, I’m sure you’re wondering what did someone like me, a non-gamer, take away from my first PAX? Lots! Read on to see my list.

Developing a Personal Connection to the World of Gaming: So I will admit that I read the PAX site and Penny Arcade wiki articles while waiting for my plane to Seattle hoping for a crash course in what was to come. I had never really looked at Penny Arcade before as I thought it wasn’t aimed at me, the non-gamer. After attending PAX, I realize that I do have a connection to gaming, and though it may not be the traditional one, it is still valid. I now am ready to explore gaming more and have a new feeling of comfort in this area.

Learning New Games: Not being a part of this culture, there was a lot for me to learn. Luckily, because game playing is so diverse and PAX celebrates it all, everyone was willing to teach me. I played Zombie Dice and Chthulu Dice, Zombie Fluxx, and a fun new puzzle game called Pajaggle for the first time. This aspect, though obviously a part of the experience, was way less intimidating then I had expected and was really fun!

Expanding My Musical Horizons: I learned that there is a whole genre of music for geeks and that it can appeal to a wide variety of sensibilities. I am not known for my musically diverse tastes. I like what I call an eclectic variety of showtunes. Still, I really found myself appreciating the theatricality of Protomen and the intelligence of MC Frontalot’s lyrics as well as the pure entertainment of his showmanship. There were also metal groups and chiptunes to appeal to others.

Gaining New Academic-Minded and Career Oriented Inspiration: I love entertainment and technology, and their combination is a serious passion of mine. Usually, I focus on theme parks and how to make them even cooler, but PAX made me realize that there are other really interesting areas and intersections of technology to be explored. I’m excited by this, so expect future articles about these from me.

Bonding Moments: PAX provided me with tons of new insight for bonding with gamers of various interests. Also, all of those hours in line really bring you together with the geeky people you attended with. For me, that was with my sisters Rosalind and Dawn, so it really meant a lot to me.

My conclusion is that PAX is a great show for all kinds of geeks, even non-gamers. It is a great introduction to this impressive geekdom due to its variety and desire to showcase so many types and aspects of gaming. I am really happy I attended and that I now have been introduced to a whole bunch of new and intriguing geeky interests to explore!


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September 2010
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