I am not at PAX, nor am I at PAX dev. This kind of sucks. I mean, it sucks a little bit less than not being at Gencon because it's at least _possible_ for me to go the Gencon without punching a huge hole in my life, but all the same? Sucks.
In fairness, much of this grumpiness stems from how awesome PAX East was. Yeah, I know PAX is primarily a video game con, but as I gushed at length, it was one of the best all-purpose gaming (and really general celebration of the tribe) cons I've been to, and in my mind, PAX offers more of the same.
Anyway, if you're going to be going, you should know two things:
1) I hate you.
2) Take some time to swing by Games on Demand. You can find out more here and here, but what you really need to know is that it's free and it's the place to get any amount of awesome gaming in. You know those rooms where they set up all the consoles so you can just walk in and play cool stuff, old and new? Imagine it like that, only with Pen & Paper RPGs. As with other walk-in rooms, it's just as suitable for someone curious to check out one thing as it is for the person who wants to spend the whole con soaking in this particular brand of nerdery.
Now, here's where I admit an ulterior motive. The PAX guys run a tight ship, and they only include programs if people use them. If Games on Demand does not see much traffic, then the PAX planners will probably decide that next time around they'll use the space for something else. I can't blame them for that, but I wouldn't want to see it happen for several reasons. Yes, G.O.D. is awesome, but that's almost secondary.
See, one of the things I liked about the PAX vibe was that there were lots of people there who were willing to consider RPGs a normal part of things without viewing themselves as RPG gamers. That's incredibly healthy and reassuring, and it's something I'd like to see get the opportunity to grow, and things like this are how it happens.
And, more selfishly, if it's a success, there's more of a chance we'll see it at PAX East.
Anyway, if you're not at PAX this week, feel free to join me in my bitterness. If you are, please feel free to ignore my death rays of envy and have as awesome a time as possible.