on Apr 2, 2012
Here is how PAX works:
The main attraction is the show floor. In the middle of the convention center is a massive (airplane hanger sized) area where different companies have booths for showing off their goods, games, demos, previews, and otherwise vying for attention from the press and gaming public. Some of these “Booths” stretch the definition of the term, and are more like self-contained marketing theme parks. In particular, Xbox has enough territory to declare themselves a sovereign nation and field an army to defend it. People are saying they might even have enough space for two people to play with the Kinect. The mind reels.
Around the edges of this mayhem are tiny booths owned by starry-eyed indie developers and middle-aged guys selling overpriced T-shirts, buttons, posters, and other gaming culture accoutrements.
Elsewhere in the convention center are other ongoing attractions: An arcade, a beanbag lounge, a PC lounge, etc. These are quiet places to get off your feet and recharge yourself, your Nintendo DS, or both.
In the outer rooms are “panels”. These events can encompass a lot of different things. Movie screenings. Presentations. Interactive question & answer events. Some are aimed at the press, or developers, or the public, or certain gaming demographics. Read the schedule before you go and see if you’re interested in any of them.
Last year I didn’t have a game plan, and this resulted in a lot of spine-destroying hiking around. This year, I have a careful plan.
For the curious, here is my schedule for Friday. If an event isn’t here, it doesn’t mean I don’t care about it. It probably just conflicts with whatever else I’ve got going on.
Gamers With Jobs Presents: Gaming For Grown-ups
Manticore Theatre, Friday 12:00pm – 1:00pm
Rationale: Possibly interesting look at mature gaming. It’s a bit early in the day, and we’re likely to still be walking the show floor collecting swag, but if we need a break, this is where we’re going.
Stuff Your Criticism, I Want A Review!
Wyvern Theatre, Friday 3:00pm – 4:00pm
Rationale: Good topic near to my heart. This is actually the subject of my column last Friday: Reviews as consumer advice vs. artistic criticism. The panel includes my friend Susan Arendt.
Educating Through Play: The Future of American Education
Arachnid Theatre, Friday 4:00pm – 5:00pm
Rationale: James Portnow and a Valve rep are on the panel. Heather and I are very interested in education, and how people learn. However, this panel begins when the previous panel ends, so I don’t know if we’ll make it.
The Blankety Blank Panel!
Manticore Theatre, Friday 6:00pm – 7:00pm
Rationale: I don’t like games shows, and this panel is apparently a live version of a “Match Game” show I’ve never heard of. HOWEVER… Susan Arendt, Russ Pitts, LRR, and MovieBob are panelists.
Naga Theatre, Friday 7:00pm – 8:00pm
Rationale: Entire crew of EC will attend. I love those guys, although this panel is probably too close to the The Blankety Blank Panel for me to attend both.
The Escapist Movie Night
Wyvern Theatre, Friday 10:30pm – ??:??am
Rationale: I AM ON THE PANEL. MY ATTENDANCE IS MANDATORY. If you’re looking to meet me, this is the place to do it. I’ll be bringing some copies of The Witch Watch with me for sale, which I can also sign if you like. I’ll also be available to sign whatever other stuff you want signed. Stop by, shake hands, take pictures, etc.
ALSO: If you’re an indie and you’re going to have a presence on the show floor, please let me know. I’ve got a mailbox stuffed with crap from the big publishers, but not much from indies. It’s a big show, and easy to overlook stuff. You want to show off your project, and I want to see it. Tell me about it!