I know I finished my PAX East 2013 wrap up last week (read: here, here, and here), but there was one final story I realized I’d left out, which is a shame because in a lot of ways it actually epitomized my whole experience.
On the flight back to Montreal I found myself seated next to a rather talkative young man on his way back to Toronto. As it turns out, he had also spent the weekend at PAX East, but as we chatted away the flight (yes, we were those people) I soon realized that our experiences could not have been more different.
As I babbled about the thrill of publicizing a one-man indie game I believed in, he countered with acronyms and tales of meeting professional gamers. It turns out he was an enthusiast of competitive gaming (his words, I guess I’m not the only one who thinks “e-sports” is a ridiculous misnomer created in a pathetic attempt to garner ESPN coverage) and most of his points of reference were totally lost to me. Where I thrilled to attend panels with indie journalists, he was most concerned about the quality of the free t-shirts on offer this year.
But the most interesting thing was, we both had had a great time. I teased him about his youth when he mentioned that Skyward Sword was his favourite Zelda game, and we both had to explain a lot of our references, but our conversation was driven by the incredible rush we were still riding from three full days of gamer fandom.
Which I realized is what makes PAX such a great experience. Despite Twitter wars about Triple A versus indie, PAX is a place where the dungeon masters, the cosplayers, the card gamers, the arty-farty indie gamers and the hard-core military shooter enthusiasts can come together and all feel safe and welcome. Which a pretty awesome thing, and something I sometimes wish there was a little more of in cyberspace.