Midnight Rant: This is PAX

David Jaffe Keynotes PAX Prime 2011

It is the eve of PAX and Seattle is surprisingly quiet. Of course, I'm not a Seattle native, so perhaps Seattle is typically quiet most of the time. Still, the point I'm trying to make here is that PAX isn't your typical convention.

Instead of the extravagant overspending that you'd find at, say, E3, with its Kinect circus act or Activision's ridiculous rock party. Instead of that you find quiet corners of hotels, bars and Starbucks filled with small groups of gaming nerds and geeks plotting and playing into the late hours of the night.Already I've wandered past groups playing Dungeons and Dragons, the Munchkins card game, and a variety of board games (likely European) that I'll never learn to play. The arcade across from the convention center held small congregations of Street Fighter 4 players and an assortment of retro games that quickly eat your coins. Each of these activities held their participants fully captivated, briefly distracting them from the show floor and panels coming the next day.

These, for the most part, are your simple day-to-day gamers. They've come to PAX to play games, talk about games, and hopefully be spoiled by the game companies they sponsor. It's a fun and honest atmosphere that's a breath of fresh air.

Of course, it's totally awkward too, but that's more of a symptom of gamer culture than anything else. I met with a group of acquaintances from an internet community today, and while all were friendly, conversations were nigh impossible to maintain. In spite of that though, there's sympathy among everyone. What we can't say in words we convey via an innate understanding.

This is PAX, even though PAX has yet to begin.

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