A fine read just got posted over at Gamers with Jobs, and it echoes my own beliefs on the dearth of human interactivity at PAX.
The problem is that PAX brings together people who think they share the same passion, who believe they are all part of a collective culture that they have defined individually. Then they encounter each other for three days in lines, in restaurants, in panels, and in game rooms and discover something intensely alienating: they can’t stand each other.
In the “Lasting Impression” subsection of my two-parter PAX 2010 recap post, I lament this very issue. Socially, PAX is the convention-grade equivalent of a deck-building card game. At its core, the convention is like a whole mob of people playing solitaire in the same room, and only within the PAX “expansion sets” (mostly the non-video-gamey hidden side rooms) do you really partake in any level of actual human interaction – aside from the booth people who are trying to sell you things, anyway.
If PAX is representative of any so-called “gamer culture,” I have yet to absorb any of it in my two years of attendance, both as con-goer and vendor alike. The majority of its attendees seem to share many personal traits, including a deep enthusiasm for the things they love and (frequently) nigh-worship, but what they predominantly lack is any developed personal medium for the transmission of thoughts about these traits and passions. The identities exist and are proudly portrayed via costume and fan-wear, yet few of them actively share those identities with one another.
That being said, I’ll see you again at PAX 2011.