PAX Prime 2013: The Final Countdown

Happy Tuesday, everyone. It’s my final day in Seattle, after a great PAX long weekend.

As always, I spent quite some time in the Indie Mega Booth, a part of PAX dedicated to indie games. If you came to PAX East this year, you probably saw Disruptor Beam as part of that booth. It was great to see so many Boston indie companies represented at PAX Prime this year: Codename Cygnus, Dejobaan Games, and a bunch of others. If you’re in Boston, you can see us joining those companies and more at the Boston Festival of Indie Games. Disruptor Beam is both a Friend of the Festival and showing Game of Thrones Ascent at our booth. If you’re attending, drop by and say hi to the team!

This year’s theme of PAX was new technology and new platforms. I had a chance to sit down with the Oculus Rift kit and play some Hawken. I’m not convinced that VR has come far enough yet to be mass market, but it is quite cool to pilot a mech through a VR headset. I’m looking forward to the commercial release and initial reviews. Across the convention center, Sony and Microsoft were showing off their new consoles and the new technology they enable. Even indie companies were getting into the next-gen systems, showing off games on the PS4 and XBOX One as well as Steam. New online games Final Fantasy XIV and The Elder Scrolls Online both looked gorgeous, taking full advantage of NVIDIA and ATI’s newest cards.

PAX Prime’s talks were an interesting mix, as always. One of the themes of this year’s PAX was the better inclusion of women and people of color in video games, and of consciously breaking stereotypes for players. There were about a half-dozen talks on women in games, and plenty of others that were focused on broadening games’ appeal and maturing the medium. At Disruptor Beam, we try very hard to show many sides to each issue, and our Lead Designer is very conscious of the design decisions and gender diversification in our game. The focus on more serious themes in game design showed in games across the show floor, with the standout being That Dragon, Cancer. Inspired by the emotional journey that families go through to deal with cancer, it’s still haunting me days after I watched it.

My talk, which I will go into detail on in a later post, was very well received. I counted about 150 people at the panel, and the panel actually went over by about 20 minutes. Afterwards, a bunch of us chatted and swapped stories until the wee hours of the morning. Since then, I have seen posts and comments from people saying they enjoyed the panel and found it a nice change of pace. I’m very glad and quite proud to have given it, and I hope to continue speaking to our fans and friends in the future.

Keep looking in this space for my talk, both for my write-up and, hopefully, a video of my talk. Thanks for reading, and I hope to see you all at Boston FIG, our event at King Richard’s Faire, or PAX East 2014!