PAX East 2016 - Day Two

Day Two started slightly strange. After being fortunate enough to snag one of the few bed spots last night, I awoke this morning to find a completely different person in the bed with me from when I went to sleep. Hurray for the majestic wonder of sleeping eleven to a room!

Anyway, I had to leave early this morning because I was volunteering with Take This in the Diversity Lounge. If you didn’t catch it from my PAX South write-ups, Take This is an organization that attends events like PAX to educate people on mental health issues in gaming and try to dispel the associated stigmas. The name of the organization ccomes from the iconic “Take this, it’s dangerous to go alone” text from The Legend of Zelda and encourages those struggling to feel empowered to seek out help.

Take This also runs the AFK Room at PAX events, a quiet room where anyone can go to clear their heads or step away from the show floor if they’re feeling overwhelmed or need a break. I was volunteering at their Merch Booth selling shirts, pins, their new Box of Hope (a small wooden shield with a sword burnt into the wood replicating their logo), and answering any questions people might have about the organization.

After working the three-hour shift solo (typically they schedule two to a shift but my second did not show – well…she kind of showed but said she’d switched her shift for something tomorrow and then left), I handed off the job to the father/daughter team who took over for me and went to find friends.

After checking the show floor for a bit, I met up with Kaylie, Xyger, and Joe, who were looking to find fellow Kinda Funny Best Friend Graham, who was on the show floor showing off his mobile title Hecticube. That was really cool to see Kinda Funny fans supporting other Kinda Funny fans.

Brief Panels Overview

From there, we headed out to lunch but ran into Grimecraft on the way and a few people grabbed some of his merchandise. Then we walked down the way to Chipotle, got our food, and headed back to the Convention Center to wait in line for the “How Video Works” panel featuring the likes of Greg Miller, Anthony Carboni, Andrea Rene, Neha Tiwari, Bruce Greene, and Max Scoville. I’ll go into this more during my panels round up but Greg took the time during the panel to call out Alex O’Neill from Irrational Passions and I as the next generation of content creators, following in the footsteps of one of my personal favorites Brittany Brombacher (aka Blondenerd) who are coming to PAX and collaborating to make it in the industry. Even writing about it now, hours later, I find myself tearing up at how touched I was that one of my best friends and I would be considered in such company.

Following the panel, I wandered the floor a bit more looking over games that I might be interested in if I’m able to finally manage the time to focus on the show floor. I mostly meandered around until the time came to queue up for the IGN panel focused on important gaming anniversaries. Many members of the core group opted to head over to the Kinda Funny party, while Alex and I and chose to work on developing out networking contacts. Attending the IGN panel, meant he and I wouldn’t have been able to attend the Kinda Funny party, but we had already made the decision to attend the IGN party. Both of us will be back in San Francisco in a month for Kinda Funny Live 2, so tonight we opted to mingle with various IGN staffers about life, PAX, E3, randomness, and potential opportunities.

Going into tonight, I have been as excited for the possibility of Alex getting work as I would be even for myself. Because I know if either of us manage to get an in, we’ll move heaven and earth to help the other one out. And a lot of our conversations this week in particular have revolved around the potential of doors opening.

IGN Meet-and-Greet

For fear of jinxing any potential anything, I won’t really go into to specifics but we both had evenings filled with amazing life-affirming conversations with people we admire and respect. We’re both building upon relationships we’ve fostered, through various meetings as well as digitally. We learned in the vaguest of terms that one of Alex’s friends landed a job in the industry that will go public in the next few weeks. I received invitations for potential opportunities for future PAX trips. And we both learned that we’re most definitely on assorted radars. And we both spent the rest of the evening freaked out by how amazing our lives have become.

As one final example, I got introduced to a gentleman at the party who almost immediately recognized from having been on the Gamescast. And I don’t know if it was out of instinct or from the kind of “training” that has been imbued upon me by Greg Miller but I immediately started trying to make this guy comfortable by engaging with him and asking if he’s been having a good PAX, what his favorite moments of PAX have been, what he likes about IGN, what he likes about Kinda Funny, etc.?

I absolutely missed not being around so many of my friends at the Kinda Funny party, but I take pleasure in the realization that I’ll see them all in a month in San Francisco during a week dedicated to spending time with them. And by the time Alex and I got back to the room, most of them had gone to sleep so I’ll have to hear about their exploits tomorrow.

Thank you for helping to make my life an absolutely incredible one.