A few Penny Arcade fans with little grasp of basic human decency and even less grasp of basic grammar and spelling have really been making for an unpleasant week. The last linkspam has related links if you’re curious. It’s not pretty.
BUT… I actually have tickets for PAX East. I decided to go long before this whole debacle because I’ve enjoyed PAX prime in the past, and a friend of mine has had an incredibly rough year so a bunch of us planned the trip partially as a present to her. She’s much more important to me than a bunch of jerks are, so backing out is not an option for me.
Rather than let the actions of a few people ruin something I enjoy, I’m going to step away from that part of things and talk about why I’m still excited about the trip.
- Jane McGonigal is a keynote speaker! She’s done some amazing work on gaming and how it can be used to make more real-world impact, and when I was still teaching game design, I’d often talk about her work with my students. She’s an awesome female game designer and an inspiring speaker. I’ve watched her TED talk, and I’m totally stoked about seeing her keynote.
- Angry Birds! My friend and I have been crocheting angry birds and greedy pigs from the game Angry Birds to use for playing line games with strangers. We’ll set up some structures with the pigs and offer up birds to knock them over. Or maybe we’ll just make angry bird noises and toss them into crowd to see what happens (we’re hoping to have a bunch to give away!) Line games are a real feature at PAX, since you do spend a lot of time waiting in line, and in previous years my group has had a ball meeting strangers next to us in line and playing DS games or just chatting. Honestly, I’m not usually a fan of waiting, but it makes a break from the noisier show floor and a great excuse to meet people who are at least interested in the same panel.
- Okay, I’m not done with the Angry Birds thing yet. Check out this partially finished amigurumi cutie I made while hashing out a pattern for smaller birds!
He’s too little to be angry!
Actually, I’ve been having way too much fun making geeky amigurumi lately. Check out kirby’s epic yarn yawn and the lemmings I made for my mother (who is totally a hardcore gamer when it comes to Lemmings.) And I even mailed a friend a bob-omb. (“Can I have your new address?” “Are you going to send me a bomb?”) I tend to wing it a lot when making things, but Nerdigurumi is a great place to start if you want geeky patterns.
- Awesome friends! I’ve got a nicely-sized gang of friends going, so if I’m feeling shy I don’t have to talk to anyone I don’t know. I’m particularly looking forwards to vacationing with this year’s party, and I expect those of us travelling together will have a total blast in transit too.
- Concerts! With geeky music! I love live music, but often shows are marred by drunken morons. However, on top of not allowing booth babes, PAX also has all-ages evening shows all ages so there’s no booze. Yeay for feeling safer and not having to deal with drunks who bash into me! Plus thanks to the popularity of music games, you can’t beat a gamer crowd for ability to clap in time and sing in tune. (It totally freaked me out the first time I heard everyone *actually* clapping in unison.) And I’m still amused by the Nintendo DSes being used in place of lighters/cell phones:
- New games! I love getting to try new demos and poke around games I maybe wouldn’t have tried except that there happened to be a controller free. I often wind up with some beta keys to share, too, so I can do things like check out the big lego massively multiplayer game in my own time and even with friends. And it’s not just computer and console games: I love walking into the board game rooms and immediately having someone flag us down to try something out. “You’ve got to try this game! It’s called ‘We didn’t playtest this at all!’” (turns out it’s a fun, quick, if exceptionally silly card game!)
- Swag! I got a dozen T-shirts at PAX prime in 2010, and some of them even fit me beautifully! Other favourites include posters, fun buttons, cute plushies and even an amazing artbook from the Guild Wars 2 team. Last time I brought back a paper zombie cone (from Plants Vs Zombies) to give to a young girl who I know loved the game.
safety cones plus zombie safety cones
- Costumes and gamer geek wear! We probably aren’t going to have any big costumes ourselves this year, but it’s a great excuse to wear goofy hats, and I love seeing what other people have done. Check out the koopa backpack I made for last time:
It’s neat to see people showing the world what games they enjoy.
So there’s a few reasons and I’m feeling better already. Anyone got any upcoming events you’re excited about? Anyone planning to go to the first GirlGeekCon in the fall which promises to be a potential alternative for women who (understandably) might prefer to give PAX a miss? Anyone been making neat amigurumi or other geeky toys and want to share? Let me know.
NOTE: I’m really serious about wanting this post to be about fun stuff: a unicorn chaser to this week for me. So please, you want to be negative, try another post. The latest linkspam may be an appropriate place for such things. They will not be published on this post.