There has been a disturbance in The Force. I am unsure whether the “mainstreaming” of gaming is simply people becoming accepting or a fault line opening up within the industry. Is gaming culture becoming accepted, or have game developers learned how to craft their games and market them in a way so they aren’t perceived is such a negative light?
Today I had the pleasure of being escorted into the Mass Effect panel called Mass Effect Trilogy: A Retrospective. It was in the largest room at PAX East and for good reason. If capacity is true, a few thousand people were ushered into the room to witness the creators of one of the largest sci fi epics in gaming history wistfully discuss the project they loved and have now left. Yes there are more Mass Effect games, but no it will not be the same. I wish I had breaking news about what that next game will be, but for now only a few folks in Montreal know for sure.
For me these panels are always a little bittersweet. I am not a hardcore gamer. Sure I imagine I have dumped a lot more time into gaming than your average folk. I definitely have spent a large portion of my life discussing, dissecting and reviewing games, but I never really considered myself “hardcore”. My logic is that I know people that I consider “hardcore”. Their knowledge and passion for gaming knows little bounds. I share a podcast with a few of these people as well as interact with a whole slew of them on our twitter account. I respect their ability to play games and dedicate time and effort to them. They grow passionate bonds with these titles. It’s these people that I think about when I sit in a room of 4000 all yelling inside jokes and favorite characters at their creators. Everyone laughing and having a good time when “I should go” gets mentioned. I think it is amazing that a world as broad as Mass Effect can draw so many into it’s web and never let them go.
There are the cos-players who spend their hard earned money and probably short amount of free time building exact replicas of armor sets and weapons. Crafting from raw materials the things that artists and technicians have poured over minor details to create. The people creating the costumes that they so proudly and sometimes brashly wear to conventions broadcast their love for these titles. I am always amazed that not only do they have the guts to wear these sometimes revealing costumes, but they have the bravado to embody the character wholly down to their facial movements and poses.
It is people like these, the ones that will wait for hours to get an autograph from a voice actor, or will spend countless nights crafting costumes in their homes, these people that sadly make me reflect on whether I’ve ever loved something this much in my life. I think back on being a teenager and spending all of my money on Vampire the Masquerade cards and X-Men comics. I think about how many hours I spent attempting to recreate humongous fantasy settings to then show them off as a DM for my friends. I think about the comedians I, sometimes unintentionally, emulate after memorizing their acts. I think back to the moment 3 Octobers ago when Ash, Scott and myself were sitting in Scott’s living room and one of us murmured the words “nerd appropriate”, and that is what makes this site great for me. All of you have loved something enough in your lives and you choose to share those moments with us and in turn we get to share our moments with the things that we love with you. Regardless if I am a hardcore gamer or a comic book nerd or a movie buff, we can all come together and bask in each others joy over properties with which we have had special relationships.
PAX always makes me a little wistful, a little hopeful about what may come around the corner for us and in turn you guys. It blows my mind every time we get a comment on an article, a retweet or reply and yes a review on a podcast (You guys are OK at what you do). I can promise you that we aren’t running out of the love for the things we are passionate about and this site will continue to grow as long as that love lingers on. To all the people I’ve met at PAX, know that you make this all worth it, and to the one’s I’ve yet to meet, there will be plenty more chances. Let’s keep the love going.