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A PAX Primer - and, of course, Wil Wheaton
September 22, 2011 9:39 AM   Subscribe

PAX Primer in The Morning News. MeFi's own Matthew Baldwin of Defective Yeti fame offers up a thoughtful review of the Penny Arcade Expo (PAX) in The Morning News.
posted by BigHeartedGuy (22 comments total) 6 users marked this as a favorite

 
That picture of gobs of dice is like oooooooh.
posted by Wolfdog at 9:43 AM on September 22, 2011 [1 favorite]


Matthew is a funny dude.

The PA guys seem pretty cool as well. The fact that they have been able to do all of the things that they have done is pretty freaking amazing.
posted by Windopaene at 9:55 AM on September 22, 2011


"By 1999 the creators, writer Jerry Holkins and illustrator Mike Krahulik, were publishing the strip thrice-weekly on penny-arcade.com, and supplementing the comics with blog posts."

Wasn't PA published MWF + Sunday in 1999?
posted by jedicus at 9:59 AM on September 22, 2011


Funny thing about Penny Arcade: no matter how many huge & popular conventions they run, no matter how much money they raise for charity with Child's Play, no matter what kind of humor and/or insight they bring to gaming, folks here at Metafilter will never ever let them live down that one dickwolves thing.
posted by echo target at 10:25 AM on September 22, 2011 [5 favorites]


I actually watched that D&D session live on my iphone during the hurricane while my house had no power.

Yes, I am that much of a nerd.
posted by empath at 10:27 AM on September 22, 2011 [1 favorite]


Very nice piece, thanks for posting!

I wonder what would have become of Penny Arcade without Robert Khoo. I don't think there would be a PAX or Child's Play now. How is he not a complete egomaniac yet? Or maybe he hides it well.

echo target: Not to tart a fight, but before you fanned the flames those "folks here at Metafilter" was exactly 1 comment.
posted by pishposh at 10:33 AM on September 22, 2011 [1 favorite]


[A few comments removed. Please do not make every thread that mentions PA be about that crappy old episode, thank you.]
posted by cortex at 10:38 AM on September 22, 2011 [3 favorites]


From watching PATV, I'm pretty sure that Robert Khoo is among the most capable and, infuriatingly, most likable people on the planet.

Without him, I am sure Penny Arcade would have gone the way of Megatokyo.
posted by 256 at 10:39 AM on September 22, 2011 [7 favorites]


I wonder what would have become of Penny Arcade without Robert Khoo. I don't think there would be a PAX or Child's Play now.

Holkins' and Krahulik's PA anniversary book is actually a really good read into the incredible dangers of having unprecedented success without anyone willing to help them manage it. They mention in detail that they pretty much exist because of Khoo. Prior to his arrival their largest financial accomplishment was accidentally losing the print publication rights to their comic, closely followed by almost losing the rights to the strip and its name entirely in a disastrous failed-website scam. One of his first notes to them when he started was that they were undercharging for ad space on their site by about 400%. There's also a story of PAX arising after a larger, more popular gaming convention at the time essentially tried to exploit the PA guys and Khoo kicked them out of the office and, for all intents and purposes, created PAX just to prove they could.

Holkins and Krahulik have been very vocal about their near-total lack of personal business acumen and as [COMMENT DELETED] well-thought out decisions. I volunteer at an improv theatre where's there's also a split between the back-office business managers and the on-stage talent. I think of it the same way: professional children need to hire a professional adult to manage them.
posted by XQUZYPHYR at 10:55 AM on September 22, 2011 [8 favorites]


How is he not a complete egomaniac yet? Or maybe he hides it well.

Not that I have anything against the guy, but are we watching the same PATV? I get that vibe just from watching the job interview segments alone.
posted by ODiV at 11:02 AM on September 22, 2011


Quick question: if I were to budget for just one transcontinental trip to a big nerdy con, should it be PAX or SDCC?
posted by thecjm at 11:07 AM on September 22, 2011


Oh, and fun review, thanks! I don't think I'd like to ever go to PAX*, but I'm kind of hoping some mefighters could scrape together enough to get a corporate table at the Child's Play Charity Dinner Auction.

* I like games, but hate crowds. Similarly I like music, but won't go to concerts anymore.

"Hey assholes I'm not here to listen to you sing along off-key."
posted by ODiV at 11:07 AM on September 22, 2011


Old? Cortex, that "crappy old episode" was just last year, and was still being talked about all this year. It was discussed at PA's Comicon panel, and the subject of a previous FPP, ExtraCreditz, had to handle concerns of fans and discuss how they reconcile their progressive stances with being hosted by Penny Arcade. The write up on PAX goes into PA's history, and the Dickwolves incident is a part of that history, and affected a lot of fans, present and past. It's kind of noticible by its absence.
posted by ShawnStruck at 11:08 AM on September 22, 2011


I get that vibe just from watching the job interview segments alone.
Heh, the job interview stuff might be the only episodes that I never fully watched, thanks to my second-hand embarassment problem. That poor silent guy!

Yeah, he enjoys making people squirm, but that doesn't make him Donald Trump.
posted by pishposh at 11:18 AM on September 22, 2011


Old? Cortex, that "crappy old episode" was just last year, and was still being talked about all this year.

Old as in "not what this post is about basically at all", not in a "doesn't/didn't matter" sense. I have plenty of opinions about that whole episode and they are nothing like fundamentally supportive of the PA guys, but kicking PA-related threads off with YEAH BUT DICKWOLVES type comments like happened in here originally is a really crappy way to be and needs to not reflexively happen.
posted by cortex at 11:21 AM on September 22, 2011 [6 favorites]


Nicholson Baker's article in the New Yorker ("Painkiller Deathstreak") that Matthew linked to in a defective yeti post about his PAX article is the best "outsider tries out video games and describes them" story I've ever seen in a mainstream media outlet.
posted by straight at 11:27 AM on September 22, 2011 [2 favorites]


I'd just like to add that even if you don't follow Penny Arcade at all or aren't much of a gamer, I think you'll find their PATV series quite entertaining.
posted by d1rge at 11:31 AM on September 22, 2011 [2 favorites]


That's a very nice article. I take issue with his description of the Omegathon as PAX's glue - I think the con is too big for any one thing to be its centerpiece, and most of my crew haven't gone to an Omegathon event in years - but I can definitely see how that's the draw for a first-timer. It also makes for a good through-line for the article, so hey.

But I would definitely say that tabletop gaming is the unsung behemoth of the con. I've gone every year since the first and seeing tabletop take over more and more of the con has been very interesting to observe. It's definitely a gaming convention and not just a video game convention.
posted by Errant at 11:50 AM on September 22, 2011


Hey, thanks!
posted by Shadowkeeper at 12:00 PM on September 22, 2011 [1 favorite]


Ahhh PAX. I've long been a geek with no geek friends (not really, any way) and my non-geek wife would never let me steal the funds from the budget required to attend PAX (or even PAX east, really). I *wish* the boys would come up to Toronto for a "PAX North" - I'd drag a couple of my more geek-leaning friends along, to try to build up a D&D group. :) Just the Acquisitions, Inc stuff alone is enough to make ME want to play, but none of my friends seem to be taking the bait.
posted by antifuse at 12:11 PM on September 22, 2011


This is a beautifully constructed article, from the Omegathon through-line, to the little 'hybrid game' callouts. Even the comments are really sweet.
posted by Sebmojo at 2:48 PM on September 22, 2011


San Francisco Bay Area-ites should note that BigBadCon is coming soon -- Oakland, Oct. 7-9. RPGs, board games, LARPing. And Coulton/TMBG at the Fillmore in San Francisco Nov. 12-13. And Weird Al at the Fox Theatre in Oakland Nov. 6. This has been your Bay Area geek social calendar minute.
posted by Zed at 11:26 PM on September 22, 2011


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