Not the meaning that might first come to you!

I went to PAX on Saturday. Penny Arcade Expo, the largest gaming oriented gathering in the US. It was at the Seattle Convention Center.

Most of you know I don’t game. I went because Journey Quest, a webisode movie, was getting its first screening there, a sneak peak at the first 3 episodes.
 Journey Quest is brought to us in part by The Dead Gentlemen, the same fine folks who brought us The Gamers and Dorkness Rising. It is also (ahem! Parental brag warning!) co-produced by my daughter Kat Ogden. So we obtained passes and went up to view the preview, and to tour the convention.

Regarding the convention: I am OLD! Incredibly old. I was probably almost the oldest person there. The demographic was about 65 to 75 percent male, and went from teens to 30’s, for the most part. They were dedicated gamers, and there was a ravening horde of them. It was a veritable anthill of gamers. I will also mention that they seemed to be a notch up in courtesy from the more recent cons I’ve attended. People waited in line patiently, chatting and gaming on their phones and other devices. They took turns without complaint. They assisted clueless people (like me!) It was a very enjoyable gathering.

Gamers, I observe, are much more singled minded than the fans at SF conventions. There were some gaming related costuming, but not much. I saw one rack of wooden swords for sale. T-shirts and hats were swag, and lots of buttons. But by and large, the whole gathering was about games. Tabletop games, computer games, LARP’s, console games, on-line games, gaming in every possible form. It was going on everywhere, in every available space. I had my 5 year old grandson with me, and he was intent on trying every game that he was allowed to try. So he did KUNG FU LIVE! In which they mapped his body, and he appeared as himself on the screen, leaping and kicking and punching the bad guys.   The stunning young woman and the fellows running the booth were very good-natured about the difficulties of body-mapping a five year old in an area seat up for adults.  My grandson quickly caught on to striking the forms so the mapper could find him.  And then the fight was on.  He did, of course, conquer the bad guy, to a great deal of good-natured cheering from on-lookers in the area. He walked away feeling as if he were 7 feet tall.

Then we went on to test drive the new Sonic game. There, he was having a tough time with an unfamiliar controller. No one got impatient. Instead, a young man leaned over and without attempting to take the controller from him, walked him through the moves so that he could complete the level. How cool is that?

And PAX had a great DS area for winding down. It was a large lobby, carpeted with beanbag chairs. Bring your own DS, hand over your grandmother’s driving license as collateral, and try out any DS game they had there. Great fun and a wonderful way to know which games to buy.

As Journey Quest was a late addition to PAX, the showing was not in the exposition booklet. So we had hundreds of postcards to hand out that not only advertised its debut but its upcoming release FREE on the internet. So as we wandered about, we were accosting people and thrusting postcards at them and saying, “Free movie tonight! It’s not on the schedule! Wander up to the Unicorn room at 9.”

At 8:30, we went up to the Unicorn room. I was nervous that we wouldn’t have any viewers,but 300 people showed up! The preview went very well, there was much laughter in all the right places, and my grandson was extremely proud of ‘my mom’s movie.’ (Of course, in his mind, she did it all, you know.) And afterwards, there was a panel for question and answers. People were interested, the session was lively, and I managed to spirit my grandson away before he collapsed from exhaustion.

Plus, I had the final pleasure of running into an old friend that I hadn’t seen in 16 years. It was great to see that Tracy is doing well and is a real, live grown up, with a 16 year old of his own now. So, that was the frosting on the cake that was PAX.

My younger daughter and one of her close friends attended PAX and gave it very high marks in all areas. They are both enthusiastic gamers and found the expo very much to their liking. I undestand that PAX EAST will be in Boston soon. If you game at all, I suspect you would greatly enjoy it. The energy and vitality of the gathering was contaigious,even to someone like me. It made me aware, yet again, that gaming is something I’d love to do . . . if I dared!

I had to firmly remind myself that I already had an obsession, and that mine comes with deadlines!


10 Responses to PAX

  1. Almost everybody is old compared to this young gamers, so I wouldn’t worry to much about it. 🙂

    As for gaming as an activity, I am too afraid to even give it a try, knowing how fast I become an addict of whatever fascinates me…

    Btw, this is why I do not start any of your trilogies until it is finished, for I couldn’t rest satisfied until I get to the very end of it. 🙂

  2. Woohoo! Thank you for sharing this story with us! You mention so much about your grandson enjoying the games but what about yourself? Please tell us you didn’t go to a gaming convention without trying at least one game!

    As a fervent gamer myself, I’ve always wanted to attend a game convention but they are always located too far away for me to even consider travelling to. My curiosity as to what happens at these conventions was totally satisfied by reading about your experience. Thanks!

    I will be sure to check out your daughters production if I get the chance. Best of luck to them!

  3. Robin – Can you please ask your publisher to be a little bit more reasonable with the pricing of your books in digital format? They apparently think we’re all ready to buy a bridge. Thank you and love your work! 😀

  4. In all honestly I just log on to your website for the very first time.

    Just like the rest of your writing even reading a post about a gaming convention just drew me in and had me reading on.

    Its so wonderful to hear about you and youra having a wonderful time.

    (Ahem.. From one of the werido’s that dresses up at those functions)

    I logged one in the first place to find out how your latest trilogy is going. Im stand with the above ‘poster’ I like to start reading your books when I KNOW I can have all three in front of me.

    Id seen the second already realeased in stores and craved to read it but Iwas waiting. Then in the blink of an eye one day everything changed, my body minced and mashed beteween a motorbike and a car. Some people came in to see me at the hospital and asked me if I wanted to read and “yeah, there is one” I said to them.

    Now im ready for the thrid. Cant wait.

    Thank you Robin, Marie.

  5. Hi Becky!

    I’m afraid the pricing is outside the authority of the author.
    One thing that is happening with e-books, I think, is that they are starting to bear some of the costs of creating the book. At one time, I think they were seen as an extra, something that was marketed after the hardback and the paperback. Now they come out at the same time and ‘compete’ with the other formats for the book sales.

    All books have costs beyond ink-and-paper, or pixels in a stream. The offices in New York, the eidior (see why I need oen!), the copy editor, marketing, layout, cover art (even if you don’t see it on the e-book) etc. So as e-books have become more popular and now come out the same day as the hardback, they now have to share the costs of earning back all those initial expenses to create the book.

    I know that doesn’t make it any more affordable to hear that! But many readers still think of e-books as side products that should be much, much cheaper than the dead tree books. The higher cost is part of having them available on the same day that the hardbacks are.

    Thanks for being interested and for bringing up the topic.


  6. Being nearly squished excuses you from worrying about spelling at all! I do hope you are recovering well. You don’t say if you were on the bike or were a pedestrian caught in the mash, but it sounds dreadful either way.

    I’m hard at work on another Rain Wilds book. In the meantime, the next book to appear will be a collection of shorter works by Robin Hobb, as well as some of the Lindholm stories. I hope you’ll enjoy them as well.

    Best wishes for a speedy recovery,


  7. Hi Robin,
    I am totally new to your name and books. As of this minute I have yet to read even one of them. I am an avid reader and now retired so have much more time to do of course or listen as the case may be and am always looking for new material and new authors that I have not met as yet.
    I love audible books as well as digital and those written on paper so have all 3 forms. Audible in Scifi helps with pronunciation.
    I use and so will start with your very first as Robin I guess and hope I will be busy for a long time with all your books. See what fun I have ahead of me?
    I loved reading your blog so now you have become a real person to me already.
    Thanks in Advance

  8. M’lady, may I please come be your neighbor?? I have been hopelessly devoted to you since 1996 upon meeting wee FitzChivalry Farseer. And then I just read your post about PAX and being a gamer… God, I live in NH, but I’m deeply considering leaving my family and moving to Washington state. I love that you enjoyed Dorkness Rising (“Bards suck!”), and I’m curious how you game. Love you!!!

  9. Oh, I wish I could boast of being a gamer, but I’m afraid that for years I was more likely to be providing the table, food and crash space. That was back in the time of ‘old school’ D&D, when many of the campaigns were held at our house.

    I love games, but other than indulging in PS2 Lego bouts with my grandson, I have to keep my computer game free. If I didn’t I’d never get my work done. Even solitaire can engulf me for an hour if I let it. I suspect the on-line games would be particularly dangerous for me!

    But you’re more than welcome to come and be my neighbor.

    I should mention that the webisode series Journey Quest looks like its going to be just as much fun as The Gamers or Dorkness Rising. Instead of being a DVD release, it will be free on the Internet in just a few more days. Having seen the first few episodes, I’m looking forward to the release!