Videogames, Etc.

20 Sep

The other weekend, Dan and I headed up to Seattle to attend the Penny Arcade Convention, or “PAX.” It’s pretty much the biggest convention in gaming, a glorious three-day celebration of all things geeky and gamey.

We stayed with Annie, who also writes for Melodico, and had a freakin’ BLAST. While I was there, I was also on assignment for Paste. The piece I wrote for them just went up, and I’m really happy with it. Thanks to Jason Killingsworth for the great editing and to Annie for letting me use the groovy pictures she took.

More than any one thing I saw, I was struck by what the convention said about the current state of gaming culture. There’s this conflict there, the conflict that lies at the heart of both craving mainstream acceptance and wanting to remain special. It’s the same thing that happens to any art form when it begins to mainstream, and it was really apparent at PAX.

I’m not sure why I’m paraphrasing something that I wrote myself, so if you’d like to know what it’s about, this paragraph from the second page sums it up:

…if we must revel in our specialness while also welcoming newcomers, surely there is going to be some conflict between the two. Videogames traffic in personalized fantasy, so it’s not a surprise that some of us have a hard time opening them up to the rest of the world. Is there anything harder to share than one’s fantasies?

So yeah, give it a read! I hope you like it, and more to the point, I hope that gamers can continue to open their doors to newcomers and let everyone else in on the fun. If the size and energy of PAX was any indication, there’s plenty to go around.

Another cool thing – I was recently asked to contritube to Michael Abbott’s The Brainy Gamer Podcast. Hard to explain just how awesome that was, but… well, Michael’s was one of the first sites I found after realizing that there was a whole world of adult, critical, highly intelligent game writing out there, and he remains one of the absolute best. He was one of my inspirations for starting Melodico, and more broadly for flying my games-are-awesome flag out in public, and I just love the way he thinks and writes about games.

It’s been really cool getting to know him since we first met up in San Francisco at GDC earlier this year, and I was beyond honored to appear on his show. It was also really neat to get to talk with Rob LeFebvre, whose site Games Are Evil is good times and who is a hell of a nice dude (with good taste in beer).

So, go check out the podcast! It’s available in a variety of forms, all of which are linked to on Michael’s site.

The pic at the top of this post is from Adam Richardson’s series “Invaded Space”, in which he uses photo manipulation to combine images of marines in Afghanistan with Space Invaders – it’s a trip. Also, I just started riding a bike, so the image seemed appropriate.

I’ll hopefully do some more regular-ish and music-related posting around these parts, if only because I’ve got some new albums that I want to recommend. In the meantime, y’all be good.

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