So by now you probably have the PAX app on your phone, tablet, notebook, kindle, and latest invention from Amazon you’re not supposed to talk about.
That said, here are my Top 12 for what may be of interest to the QUILTBAG community once you’ve grown tired of tournaments and lines, or are just anxiously awaiting the next gaming event.
1) FELICIA DAY. No, you’re not worthy. She’s having autograph sessions at noon on Friday, 2:30pm on Saturday, and 11am on Sunday. Also, she’s doing Major Nelson’s podcast on Saturday at 4pm, and an EFFING MAGIC: THE GATHERING TOURNEY at 5pm! Hoards of people will be lined up for our Geek Goddess celebrating her second or third week on the New York Times Best Seller list.
2) The Power of Games: Influence Our Lives for the Better. Panel at noon on Friday. This is a positive-vibe oriented discussion aiming to understand how gaming affects us and shapes us as individuals, from childhood onward. How can we build a better gaming community amongst ourselves? And how can we combat gaming stigmas? Enjoy the discussion.
3) Cosplay Advanced! Taking Your Cosplay to the Epic Level! For those of you who truly enjoy cosplaying/crossplaying, this forum will help you actually win all of the costume contests you’ve dreamed of. (Especially for the TONS of parties outside PAX!) Get tips, tricks, and suggestions from fellow cosplayers on how to level up your character-becoming action. See your sexy selves there! 12:30pm on Friday.
4) The Couple That Games Together. Discuss what it’s like to be in a couple, and how gaming affects your relationship. Do you interact cooperatively, or is it more fun to be competitive with each other? How do you play together in larger groups? Get some tips from pro couples on how to level up your relationship in the gaming world, together.
5) To be honest, women can feel pretty left out of this realm. No matter how progressive Seattle is, and no matter how much nerd media strives to change the “Boy’s Club” for the better, the female gender will most likely feel a bit ousted at times, even at PAX. That’s why I’m pleased there’s a panel called, “Women in the Gaming Industry.” There are already powerful women in the industry, creating new games and teaching themselves how to code. It’s part of why we hail Anita Sarkeesian and Felicia Day. Hear from some of the women from Microsoft, BlondNerd.com, Motiga, 3D Realms, and Lady Planeswalkers Society. Get an inside perspective on the struggles we face, and how we can move forward from the likes of GamerGate. 2pm on Friday.
6) Another win for inclusivity! Press XY Presents: Trans Against Insanity, Prime Cuts Edition. This is a panel that uses the popular Cards Against Humanity format to humorously discuss what it’s like to be trans in the gaming community and industry. I know some of you have been to Raygun or Phoenix, and hopefully you’ve had fun experiences. An audience member may compete with the panelists in the Press XY custom game, and may win a little something! Friday at 3pm.
7) Queering Up Misconceptions: LGBT Game Industry Life is at 11am on Saturday! Five panelists give you some inside scoop on what it’s like to be queer in the gaming world. Can you be out? Who’s more accepting than others? Share some stories and let your eyes be opened! (Not so much that you stop blinking, though. Blinking is good.)
8) And now, for the panel I’m MOST excited about…Flagged for PvP: Examing Culture, Identity, and Bullying! 2:30pm on Saturday, join panelists Megan Spurr of Dorkadia along with Stacey Weber, M.A., and Joshua McNeal, M.A., to analyze the gaming commnity at large. (And coming from the likes of Dorkadia & Friends—which is awesome and you should totally follow it—you know there are some hardcore talking points.) How did GamerGate actually become a thing, when there are so many other examples out there of close-knit ties among cool people? Why do some people resort to threatening behavior and bullying when we know it’s possible to foster fun atmospheres? Offer your thoughts respectfully, and hear what some sound research has to say. Learn something!
9) Foreplay: Romance in Games explores how we love and dream of our favorite characters. No, it’s not wrong to crush on someone fictitious! My first crush was Prince Lotor on Voltron, admittedly. The panelists get to geek out with you on behind-the-scenes stuff and some of their personal fantasies (perhaps). 6:30pm on Saturday.
10) Women in Geek Media is hosted by *gasp!* actual women! On Sunday at 11am, hear from fellow females on what it’s like to combat mysogyny, make our voices heard, and how to get started as gaming journalists. Because, you know…it’s about “ethics in journalism.” (cough)
11) More winning from Press XY! Trans Game Characters, Real and Respectful is on Sunday at 3:30pm. Six panelists discuss the need for trans representation in games and media, and what it takes to create those characters. Share your ideas if you have some, and make yourself aware of the struggle many trans people face to be respected in our beloved game-o-sphere.
12) Last, but not least, I’ll spread my feminist agenda. Monday at 12:30pm is Damsels and Distress: Exploring Tropes in Gaming. Because seriously, I’ve had enough, haven’t you? Let’s let the panel description speak for itself: “Sexy vs. objectification, fantasty vs. reality, power vs. victimization: the list goes on and on. Join a panel of women from the gaming industry as they discuss their diverse feelings on sexuality and commonly used tropes in games…” Yup. Go. Listen. Learn. Because Mondays are for learning.
That’s a wrap, folks! PAX is a shit-ton of fun, and I hope you have sufficiently prepared yourself! See you there!