Tomorrow, I’ll be speaking at PAX Dev. Two days later, I’ll be on a panel at PAX Prime.
In 2004, I attended the first PAX in Meydenbauer Center. I wasn’t in the games industry then; if I remember correctly, I was a banker in a call center. But I was a gamer who wanted to experience a gathering of the like. I waited my turn and played Halo 2. I got in a game of Guillotine with some strangers while we all waited in line for the concert. I saw the Minibosses. And I went home sure that this was my community.
The next year, I signed on as an Enforcer, a role I was proud to hold till 2011, when work demands at ArenaNet took me away. Manning a booth at PAX was different than volunteering, but it was still a connection. I don’t think I’d be happy if I wasn’t doing some small part to put on PAX. Last year, when ArenaNet didn’t have a booth and I was too late to sign up for Enforcer duty, I worked for a day in the Ska Studios booth, showing people the joys of Charlie Murder (now available on Xbox 360).
This year, I’m speaking, and it feels…awesome. I won’t deny the extrovert’s delight at being onstage, but there’s something else. When I was a kid playing Moon Patrol on my Apple IIC, making games meant copying Basic programs out of 3-2-1 Contact magazine. When Curtis and I came up with an idea for how to improve Final Fantasy by adding sports, it wasn’t more than a fun thought experiment (with rad doodles).Even that first year of PAX, I didn’t wander through the exhibition hall thinking, “One day, I’ll make these.” There’s a satisfaction that comes from fulfilling a dream, but there’s a different kind of excitement that comes with achieving something you never dared to dream.
I get to design games for a living and that’s obscenely lucky. That I can also enter into conversations about the industry’s direction and help put on a great show for the fans of those games, well, that’s a no-brainer. You don’t get lucky and keep it to yourself; this isn’t that kind of community.
I know people who are bothered by signs reading “12 items or less” or “Slow children.” Most of the time, I chuckle and nod. Yes, those signs are grammatically incorrect or lacking punctuation, but they’re perfectly understandable. No one is going to be confused about the meaning. Except, this morning, I was confused (for a few seconds) by a sign I’d seen hundreds of times:
"How am I driving?"
“Man, I don’t know, using your hands? I’m sure a foot is involved and maybe your eyes. Is this a trick question?”
Robert broke a build today by misspelling “juggernaut.” But the more we thought about it, we came to believe it wasn’t a misspelling at all; he just created the word “juggernaught.” Let me throw some definitions at you:
juggerknot (n): a mass of interlaced ropes that frustrate anyone trying to untie them
juggernot (n): a very small force incapable of impacting anything
juggernaught (n): nothing…and a whole lot of it