Sunday, April 8, 2012

Undercover in the Fantasy Universe

I went to PAX East.  If you don't know, it's the largest video game expo on the east coast.  70,000 attendees over three days.

That's what they tell me.  This photo was one third of one side of the expo hall, taken from the level above.

This was a chance for the video game industry to show off what's hot, and what's coming.  For example, the folks at Harmonix have a new update of the Rock Band franchise coming out, they call it Rock Band Blitz, and there were folks going up on stage, trying out the demo.  None of these well-intentioned folks is ready for the Rock and Roll Rumble, but so what?  This is how they do it.

For video gamers, it seems like it's Halloween in April.  Many of the attendees are worried about getting their taxes in on time, but most are hoping they really did pull off the look of their favorite character.
This really is a special gathering for these folks.  No one is hiding their geekdom.  There are fantasy fans of every size, shape, color, gender.  This is a vibrant market, as proven by the huge number of exhibitors in the show.  These weren't just people with tables selling old videos, though there was some of that.  The attendees are willing to spend a lot of cash on their passion, and there is no shortage of companies willing to help separate them from their cash.

Along with all the video offerings, which were mostly VERY cool, there was also some good old board games.  Magic the Gathering (the only one I've heard of) and others.

But mostly, it was the people.  The characters.  And oh, there were many. Some of these people are paid performers, I believe, but the majority of them seem to just like playing dress up.

My son, a video gamer in his own right, wanted to get to this show, and I'm glad I was able to take him.   As easy as it is to poke a little fun, these folks should not be laughed off.  They're the wave of the present. It isn't cheap to have this kind of a hobby.  These aren't just layabouts living in their parents' garages.

By the way, the food I had at this event was expensive and not very appealing.  They should open a McDonald's in there.

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