Like many gamers from the east coast, I was super excited about PAX East. The Penny Arcade Expo is hailed to be superior in many ways to E3 and GDC and we can actually get in. The concept is amazing, a gaming trade show for gamers. While most people were excited to go see and play new games, my excitement was for the panels. I love podcasts. I love to hear the writers I enjoy push their opinions and rant about the industry. It humanizes them. I now read reviews and articles by author rather than just by whether or not I am interested in that specific game. I am attached to the writers and their work, so when the opportunity to meet them arose, all I needed to know was how to sign up. The panels I went to were interesting, informative, and quite funny. Often after the panels were over, people went up to talk to the panelist to tell them that they were a fan of their work and that they spoke eloquently about the issue at hand. I always got up there and talk to the panelists. I could not help but feel bad for the speakers, though, for they were on the receiving end of this madness.
People surrounded game makers, writers, journalist and bombarded that with questions and kind words. For the most part I think the speakers loved it. These panels showed them just how important their work was; that they had a lot of fans that did want to meet the man or women behind the voice. I spoke to Jeff Green, formally of 1up, about how I enjoyed his work and podcast. I saw Shane Bettenhausen, now of Ignition Entertainment and asked him what he had been play now that he could finally just play games for fun. Everyone I talked to was great. By the second day, I could see the fatigue in many of their eyes and smiles. These people were not celebrities for a reason and they do not want to be. You could see people like Shawn Elliott, of Out of the Game podcast, did not want to talk to people after his panel. He obviously appreciates the listeners to his podcasts, but I think it was an awkward situation to him. He likes the fact that tons of people love his work, but he did not want to get surrounded and not be able to see friends he had not seen in a while. It made me feel bad. I saw N’gai Croal walk into a room and it must have took him 20 minutes to get from one side to the other. I ran into John Davison of GamePro and asked him about his new podcast and what was next from the project. He was nice and told me about the upcoming Splinter Cell episode, but I notice towards them end that we was looking around and noticed he was trying to meet up with Jeff Green. My friends and I went to a Destructoid meet up and I saw Podtoid podcasters Topher Cantler and Adam Dork. They were quite humble and let us talk their ears for an hour or so. Still though I felt like I was taking up there time. They have friends that had traveled from all over to Boston to see the show. The whole experience was wonderful, but I felt like a vulture in most of these cases.
We all were there for the chance to meet people we admire. These are people who are working on keeping this industry alive when it does not pay well and many think it is dying. They live on incredibly little to do something they love. So I thank them all for their time and the few words I had with them and hope one day to be in similar shoes. In turn I say that as fans, we let them roam among us. We thank them in passing, but let them enjoy themselves as well.
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