Friday, September 2, 2011

Insights from PAX

So this past weekend I had the fortunate pleasure of attending PAX on Friday. I didn't do much. I saw David Jaffe's keynote which was interesting and full of colorful language. After that we failed to see Wil Wheaton and so wandered the exhibit hall, went to a panel on how to publish your table top PRG, an experience which would have made steam come out of RPGPundit's ears. This was followed by dinner and then off to see if we could get into some tabletop games (we couldn't), and then got bored by the VGO. We then went to the PC freeplay area and watched Starcraft 2 patch while actually playing Alien Swarm and Team Fortress 2.

While some con-goers might count my experience as a fail it was made fun because I was spending time with a local friend and some friends out of town that I don't get to see much of anymore. That being said I found as I wandered through "game land" that I couldn't help thinking that this is where all the D&D players went, and most likely will continue to go. Also it seems that one FPS is pretty much like another with slight variations- zombie games are the same. Sports, racing games, sidescrollers etc. etc. to do the same.

The two big takeaways though were:

1. That while people keep remaking D&D, they also seem to keep remaking the same video games... I saw digital versions of fantasy heart breakers, FPS heartbreakers, RTS heartbreakers, etc, etc... I felt like I was walking by the same game over and over.

2. The other was that D&D is pretty much everywhere in the video game world. This makes sense as computers lend to running a game that can get as complicated as D&D can, and that D&D was an early influence on the medium. It makes sense that many would be D&D players end up playing video RPGs rather than pen and paper ones.

Wandering through the convention center everywhere I looked I could see the fingerprints of D&D. In the art and concept for a fantasy side scroller, to Skyrim, to the first person shooters and their percent based armor. The D&D influence was pervasive and palpable for those who knew where and how to look for it. I have pretty much concluded that people stopped playing D&D in pen and paper form because weather they really know it or not they are playing it in video game form.

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