Tuesday, September 02, 2008

PAX 08 : Power Overwhelming.

There really is a dizzying array of crap, vying for attention like a gaggle of refugee children reaching out imploringly to a UN peacekeepker because, they, you know, need their insulin or something. All sorts of hyper niche games and gaming.

There's table top gaming, which is kinda like board games on steroids layered on top of a complexity of rules that have width, depth, and actual Newtonian mass. A vast complexity of rules. I think orc and tanks play key roles. In the more popular table-top games, an orc-tank hybrid is almost the entirety of the game mechanic. From what I can understand, it's fun.

And then there are the console games, many of which really hardcore gamers turn their noses up at, games like Madden 09 or That One Shooter In the Sci Fi Or World War Two setting that's really eXtremE! You can lump in here the movie tie-ins, the Ideas Ripped Off Of Smaller Developers by a Megalithic Behemoth. Also known as Frat Boy Fair. It's the “2 Fast, 2 Furious” to a hardcore gamer's “Glengarry Glen Ross”.

There are casual games that are so quirky that a pink octopus who sells cupcakes to send their children, represented by some sort of semi-sentient mushroom, on a field trip to the center of the OceanVerse to explore their colour dimensions is seen as derivative and a 'safe bet'.

And, last but not least, there are the HARD CORE GAMES. Shooters, RPGs, RTSes. Games with tech trees and advanced HUD overlays and intra-dimensinal load-out screens. Games that push the meta-narrative and make frantic stabs at Foucault. Games that have screens that make you think “Dear god, that looks like WORK, except... harder.”

There are some games that I do have an interest in, but the vast, vast majority of it are just pretty colours and neato graphics that I will never see outside of the convention. A man only has so much time during the day, only so much of the family budget that they can divert towards next-gen cutting edge consoles.

But the highlight of PAX wasn't the expo, it wasn't the multi-million dollar corporations selling the Next Big Thing in Electromagorical Edutainment. It was the fellow nerds. Nerds and geeks and social cast aways who totally 'got it' when you would say in the most sardonic voice, "Moo moo, moo moo mooo moo moo moo... MOOO!". Fellow gamers who wore ironic shirts that were weighed down by the amount of inside jokes they contained. 

It was nice to be part of the nerd herd. If only once a year.

1 comment:

The Nighthawk said...

Not much to say except, "Sorry I missed it." I was glad to hear the wife gave permission for you to geek out. :)