Monday, August 25, 2008


This weekend, Seattle is Mecca for gamers. The metaphor might not extend to people actually praying in the direction of Seattle (although I wouldn't rule that out) but it is true that gamers of every kind--from casual console players to hard-core boardgame geeks--are traveling from around the world to attend the Penny Arcade Expo, a.k.a. PAX.

PAX is the largest gamer festival in the U.S., the spiritual successor to the now-more-corporatized E3, and it's just a mad-crazy three-day lineup of "freeplay" games, huge LAN combats, exhibitor demos, a variety of tournaments and competitions, panels, movies, and even concerts--from H.P. Lovecraft tribute band Darkest of the Hillside Thickets to nerdcore godfather MC Frontalot.

So what does all this have to do with books and writing? Well, there's actually some reading going on amidst all the gamer craziness. The latest edition of D&D and many of the creative minds behind it will be well-represented, but here are a few even better (and more traditionally narrative) examples:

  • A reading and a panel with actor--and now accomplished writer--Wil Wheaton, who has been called "an almost Mark Twain for the geek crowd." (What, you don't read his blog?)
  • Panels on "Game Criticism and Old School Journalism," "How to Make the World Notice Your Video Game Blog," and "Writing for Games." (Love the description for that last one: "Bowser takes Peach, Mario chases after Bowser, Bowser falls into some lava, The End. It wasn’t long ago when writing and storytelling were at the bottom of the priority list, but as these industry pros will tell you, the tide has changed and compelling story arcs and tight dialogue are all being used to create and sell games.")

  • Many chances to meet and hear from Gabe and Tycho, the genii behind the very sharp and literate Penny Arcade comic (anthologized for your convenience if you need to catch up).

(Cross-posted to Omnivoracious.)

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