I finally understand what people mean when they talk about the post-pax blues. Returning to ‘real life’ after four days of gaming celebration is quite jarring! In June I was asked by a good friend if I would join his panel called ‘How We Find Positivity Through Gaming’ — the part of video games I am most passionate about — naturally I jumped at the chance! I soon found myself on a plane to Seattle, heading to my first ever PAX convention experience.
I was lucky to be able to spend Friday to Monday at PAX West (formerly known as PAX Prime). And what a weekend it was! The show floor was brimming with gamers excited to get hands on with the latest titles, passionate indie developers showing off their creations, and more gaming swag to buy than I have ever seen before. There were also a ton of diverse panels to attend, and every single one I went to was fantastic. But, the part of PAX I enjoyed the most was catching up with friends, hanging out with people I previously knew only by their screen names, and meeting so many awesome people I didn’t even know existed. Everyone was at PAX to celebrate their love of gaming, and celebrate we did!
It was difficult for me not to compare PAX with E3. Having attended E3 the past 3 years, and this being my first PAX, everything seemed like an opportunity for comparison which I quickly learned was irrelevant. The two events couldn’t be further apart in terms of the impression they left on me as an attendee. E3 is so focused on getting the latest gaming news into the hands of the media, whereas PAX is much more concerned with the players, the community attending the convention, and the connections they make over the weekend.
Our Positivity in Gaming panel went really well. It was awesome to hear more from Stack-Up and AbleGamers, and to openly celebrate the positive influence gaming is able to have on so many people’s lives. The common thread running through the panel was about having a person, or people, around you that ‘speak your language’ and are able to support you. Everyone seeks support and friendship in different ways, and we’re all on the path to finding and growing our own tribe. It was awesome to speak about how Leaping Tiger can operate as a tool to bring visibility to these great causes, get conversations going, and make gamers aware of all the awesome things other gamers are doing around them. The discussion section of our panel got really emotional as audience members shared their stories of how gaming has had a positive impact on their lives — through recovery, inclusion, and connection to their community. Thank you so much to everyone who shared a story!
My heart was so full by the end of the weekend, because I could see a future where our team will be able to create more frequent experiences like PAX, on a smaller scale. No longer will you only get to see your internet friends at conventions — imagine a world where you can discover and meet up with friends like you do at PAX all year round. That’s our vision for Leaping Tiger! The awesome vibe that you get from a gaming convention is what we are trying to build at Leaping Tiger. A welcoming, friendly, inclusive community where everything we do celebrates positivity in gaming.
This post was originally published over on the Leaping Tiger blog.