PAX is one of my favorite times of year, primarily because up and until recently, it’s where all of my real-life interaction with game industry folks happened, and every year it manages to reinvigorate my love of games and the people that make them. This year was no different.

I won’t give you the play by play and painstaking details, but I’ll give you some of my favorite parts in roughly chronological order.

  • Game audio meetup at the Pine Box: A bunch of folks that do audio work in games just meeting up to hang out for a bit Friday night.
  • All the indie games: I virtually ignore the AAA presence at PAX. The giant booths with trucks and giant headphones and 3-hour lines… not all that appealing. The indie games are where it’s at; especially the Indie Megabooth, which was more packed than ever. I’ll let you take a look at the games that were in there this time around.
  • Maestros of Video Games: A panel headed by Emily Reese formerly of the excellent podcast Top Score. This year it featured Gareth Coker, Sarah Schachner, Jason Graves, Cris Velasco, and Grant Kirkhope. Fun and interesting!
  • Meeting a TON of new people: Throughout the weekend I got to meet so many folks that I admire working in games, from fellow hopefuls to experimental niche game devs to mid-tear studio heads to AAA composers. Best of all, each and every one of them was extremely nice, even when my dumb mouth said dumb words (e.g., that time I might have called The Netherlands “Dutchland”… (facepalm x 1000)).
  • The Art of Video Game Music: A very fun panel featuring David Erick Ramos, Sebastian Wolff, FamilyJules7x, Lauren Liebowitz, and Carlos Eiene. I’m working with Sebastian and over a hundred other musicians on a cover album of Final Fantasy VII, so it was awesome to meet him and have lunch with him and a group of other fine folks.
  • Seattle Indies Expo: Outside of PAX, this is a fantastic little event featuring mostly local developers making a rad variety of games. This year was as fun and diverse as ever.
  • Make Games, Be Happy: A panel featuring three of my favorite people in games, Akash Thakkar, Ryan Ike, and Jacob Pernell, talking about one of my favorite topics (and one that I rarely see talked about in games): personal development and well-being. Plus, I actually got to talk a bit with Akash and Jacob, which I hadn’t had the opportunity to do much before in the meatspace.

I think my favorite part of PAX this year is I’m starting to push myself out there enough and getting to know enough people that I’m starting to actually being able to hang out with people at PAX; in previous years, I was basically by myself the whole time. I don’t mind that so much when I’m browsing the games, but in the in-between time it was nice to continually run into friendly faces and recognize people.

My one regret: I didn’t take any pictures of the aforementioned lovely people. Next year, I’m going to have to get over my fear of public/group selfies and actually document the good times and the rad people.

Next stop: perhaps GDC…?