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Aug 30 2012

PAX is almost here!

As you probably know, I’m a huge gamer and geek. I also live in Seattle. Which means over the next three days, I will be in absolute glee at the Penny Arcade Expo. I’m going to try my luck in the Mario Kart: Double Dash tournament and have a  blast checking out all the new and indie games. I might pass on the Pokemon League this year, since I’m not sure if I want to get my ass handed to me yet again. A lot of the panels seem interesting too. There are two – two! – panels on transgender gamers and game characters, a sex and gaming panel, a harassment panel, and I’ll be sure to check out “On God and Gaming.” Maybe I should make a protest sign along the lines of “BUT RELIGION BY DEFINITION HAS NOTHING TO DO WITH VIDEO GAMES! SPLITTERS!”

Is anyone else going to PAX? Make sure to say hello if you spot me there!

31 comments

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  1. 1
    BrianX

    I wanted to go to PAX East but couldn’t make it because of money and scheduling.

  2. 2
    Josh J

    I’m totally going to be there. I have my sails set for awesomeness!

  3. 3
    Raging Bee

    Are you sure there won’t be Reavers there?

  4. 4
    Loqi

    Couldn’t make it this year. I took a friend to PAX East last year, and a group of us were going to do PAX Prime this year, but too many scheduling conflicts. I has a sad :(

  5. 5
    Rawnaeris, Lulu Cthulhu

    Would if I lived anywhere near Seattle…

    Have fun!!

  6. 6
    leftwingfox

    Cool, I wonder if the “Extra Credits” folks will be there.

    Definitely nice to see an increasingly sustained commitment to tackling harassment and the toxic elements of gaming culture these days.

    Have fun, and happy ass-kicking in the Double Dash tournament. :D

  7. 7
    Gregory in Seattle

    Are you going as an attendee or as a panelist?

    I’m going to try to be there, probably on Saturday.

  8. 8
    Gregory in Seattle

    Link, if anyone is interested.

  9. 9
    MadScutter

    So jealous. I’ve yet to make it to either Prime or East (I keep waiting for one to come to the Midwest).

  10. 10
    Ace of Sevens

    Isn’t that run by men who have occasionally made a sex-related joke? I thought you were supposed to hate those people.

  11. 11
    Emburii

    Ace Of Sevens, it is run by people who made a point of saying that they’d be wearing triggering t-shirts that equated to ‘Team Rape’, and said that anyone who asked for a refund over that decision would essentially be put on a blacklist against future PAX attendance. Nor did they bother to speak up about the abuse a rape survivor was getting for speaking her mind until it touched their families; at that point they were all for civility when before they couldn’t be arsed to rein in their fans or actually apologize for their terrible handling of the situation. Some of us still remember it all quite clearly.

  12. 12
    Emburii

    Though, to be fair, that was years ago and they haven’t done anything like it since. But it is still a sore point with some people.

    Anyway, Ms. McCreight, have fun at PAX!

  13. 13
    16bit heretic

    I live about 2 hours away but by the time I read about PAX it was pretty much sold out, so no dice.

    I’m betting the transgender panels will be run or at least feature shidoshi from the WAHP podcast (wish that podcast would be updated more frequently, good stuff if you like games from Japan)

  14. 14
    Lance Armstrong

    I’m missing PAX and DragonCon : (

  15. 15
    Smhll

    Aww, I used to play Mario Kart with my son when he was littler. Have a great time!

  16. 16
    snackcake

    @Emburii #11, those things happened, and they don’t reflect well on the PA guys. Your post, however, selectively leaves out the context, which is quite dishonest. Their comic mentioned rape as a clearly evil behavior, and used its prevention as an obvious minimum baseline of ethical behavior. They did that in the context of a joke. They were attacked and accused of being rape apologists and making jokes about rape by a number of people who (maybe willfully) misunderstood the comic. Their response was to act in the way you described.

    If rape is evil (which it clearly is), then accusing somebody of supporting it is a serious accusation. Making that kind of accusation, publicly, against two family men, who presumably love their wives very much, is a serious step. So, while their behavior was bad, it was done in stunned self defense against an unwarranted attack. It isn’t fair to just leave that out.

  17. 17
    snackcake

    In other words, Jen’s A+ cred is in no danger by having a great time at PAX. Have fun!

  18. 18
    Jen

    @16: Thank you for clarifying the situation for everyone else – the original description was incredibly biased. Glad you did it so I didn’t have to.

    Can I add that when people apologize for doing or saying something problematic…we should actually eventually forgiven them instead of demonizing them forever? This is about educating people and improvement, not making permanent enemies.

  19. 19
    Jay

    @16 and 18. I agree. Since that time they’ve grown a lot. They’ve done a lot, or at least it seems like they have, to support women and minorities in gaming. Maybe making a mistake in the way they reacted to the backlash helped them learn, maybe having daughters helped. Maybe they’re just a few years older. Either way it seems like they’ve grown since then.

    I know when that comic came out I didn’t understand how it could be offensive. After all this stuff has happened in the last year I randomly went back and looked at it and now I do. I’m assuming I’m not the only one like that and I’m glad I had people like Jen and the others blogging about these topics or I might not have.

    Back on the original topic: I wish I could have gone years ago, I feel like I’m too old to go and have fun at something like PAX anymore. I’d just be cranky about all those dang kids.

  20. 20
    Emburii

    snackcake, I realize that the comic strip was taken badly, and I personally think unfairly so; I run into the same callousness as a pen-and-paper player and ST. That’s why I didn’t say anything about the strip itself. I DID comment on their choice of t-shirt, however, and their shaming and blacklisting of people who didn’t feel comfortable with their handling after the fact, because that part was just plain nasty. In terms of A+ cred, as you put it, no one accepts that Ask An Atheist dude’s hurt feelings over being criticized as a reason to accept his deliberate triggering. And generally people on FTB, including Ms. McCreight, are pretty quick to point out that a slur does not justify using problematic terms in return; why is it that suddenly a pretty horrible action, not just word, with lots of splash damage (the blacklist) is worth excusing at the time it was done, even, rather than at least pointing out that it hasn’t been repeat behavior? Yes, I’m biased as I still have friends who remember it all badly, but I submit that you are biased as well and that your comment has a slant all its own; just because you like them doesn’t mean what they did was okay.

    Of course, this whole situation was some times ago, years as I believe I said, and they haven’t done anything terrible since. In fact, they’ve done some (very) mild calling out on things like that problematic new Tomb Raider game. I posted the addendum mentioning that that this was a past incident without repeat offense right before wishing her a good time, even! How evil! Clearly being passive-aggressive is the way to go, from Ms. McCreight’s first paragraph!

    I have forgiven them, but I know survivors who still feel triggered even just by being reminded of PAX or Tycho and Gabe. I also know someone who erases such experiences and pain by claiming ‘humor! PC police!’ (they’re a Tosh fan as well, natch) and Ace Of Seven’s comment seemed like unpleasant reminder of such a recent conversation.

    I do honestly wish you a fun PAX, Ms, McCreight, and I hope that for instance those panels you mentioned are a sign of that progress and education that we BOTH want from potential allies.

  21. 21
    KLMNO

    In case you haven’t noticed, transgenderism and harrasment has nothing to do with video games either.

  22. 22
    Proxer

    PAX is an amazing event – I’ve been twice and had a great time both times. I wish I’d attended more panels and lectures the first time, though, especially the ‘create-a-strip’ panels. Plus, Jerry’s an atheist – maybe you could do an interview with him :).

    Oh, and as far as the whole comic/feminism debacle, I think that whole episode should be a case study in feminist disaster. Before the comic came out, Mike and Jerry had already banned ‘booth babes’ at their show – demonstrating both an awareness of gender issues and the willingness to take positive action. During the episode they clearly felt like they were being attacked by nutjobs, and in some cases they were, which, as usual, makes people less inclined to listen to the non-nutjobs. Long after the whole debacle, Jerry came to understand the problems with their response comic, while Mike was still hung up on the idea that some people objected to the original comic.

    My biggest take-away was that nobody’s first exposure to feminism should be shakesville. That’s like introducing someone to the internet by taking them to 4chan.

  23. 23
    Mister Red Lantern

    The Penny-Arcade guys did not advocate wearing “Team Rape” shirts. That was a nasty band of assholes on Twitter who reacted like a buncha morons to people criticizing PA. What Mike said he would wear was his Team Dickwolves shirt. Which is probably only better by degrees depending on who you ask. I’m not entirely sure whether or not they ever officially denounced the Team Rape people, but I seem to recall Mike tweeting something angrily at people harassing the Team “Don’t Be a Dickwolf” folks.

    Either way Mike and Jerry’s reactions were the biggest problem with the whole thing. I hope they can continue to do better than they did.

    Anyway, I went to PAX East last April, and it was a blast! Next PAX we should try and get a FTB meetup going or something. Maybe over a game of Catan or twelve?

  24. 24
    Tim

    I won’t be there, but definitely have fun. I the guys behind my new favorite card game (Sentinels of the Multiverse) are there this weekend, and their game is a lot of fun. With luck, they’ll even have copies available to purchase. They ran out almost immediately at Gen-Con.

  25. 25
    siveambrai

    I’m confused about why people are saying this is in the past (a la Dickwolves). Just this summer PA supported funding a game that was booted from Kickstarter (Tentacle Bento) because it involved raping women. One of the rewards was to have your girlfriend/wife turned into one of the women who was raped. The game would have disappeared if Gabe hadn’t taken up the call for it and helped them to get funding support outside of Kickstarter. I mean I know that two points don’t make a trend but really I don’t think they’ve learned anything or reformed their opinions. Anytime discussions of harassment and women come up PA has come down pretty hard on the side of “bitches need to be shutting up.”

  26. 26
    Nathair

    This is about educating people and improvement, not making permanent enemies.

    If only that were a universal opinion.

  27. 27
    Jim

    “Maybe I should make a protest sign along the lines of “BUT RELIGION BY DEFINITION HAS NOTHING TO DO WITH VIDEO GAMES! SPLITTERS!””

    Oh cool, so you totally don’t understand the main objections to A+ then. Or do get them and are misrepresenting them. (If I’m wrong, try to find someone who says A+ is a problem simply because it involves a topic other than atheism)

    On that panel on god and gaming, are they going to suggest that FPS atheist gamers make their own group with an ambiguous label, and then say that they don’t have any interest in working with atheist RPG gamers? Or infer that FPS atheist gamers are decent human beings (No, we’re not saying that RPG gamers aren’t decent human beings). Or that FPS gaming is a logical consequence of atheism and RPGs aren’t?

    I guess its not a very good analogy then is it?

  28. 28
    Lance Armstrong

    Jim@27:

    Your analogy abstracts this split out to a matter of mere disparate interests, which makes it seem trivial. At the center of all of this is the moral question of whether marginalized groups will face the same discrimination, intimidation, and dismissal from atheism that they already receive from society as a whole.

    Our answer is no, they should be treated as the equals they are, and we recognize that since we are part of a society that marginalizes them, that we must take explicit corrective actions to recognize and undo those injustices in our group and in ourselves. (Not everyone who wants to fix the problem wants also to be part of Atheism+, and that is ok.)

    Conversely you have people who don’t want to fix the problem, some of whom are expending their energy to argue against fixing it, or to actually block fixing it. Reasons may vary:

    Some agree that equality is good in theory but do not agree that there is any systemic problem to be dealt with, and loudly oppose correcting unfairness which they deem to be imagined.

    Others are preserving the status quo by arguing that these are societal concerns, and that even if they should be fixed, we should not be fixing them here.

    Some are deliberately being monstrous.

    Whatever the reason for arriving at your answer, the question is not morally neutral. Recognizing and fixing discrimination is not morally equivalent to preserving or ignoring it. One of these choices is better than the other.

    It’s possible, if you are oblivious to the damage being done, that you don’t recognize the moral implications, but they still are there. I can understand why, if you do not even see a moral choice, you would be incensed at being told that you have made a morally bad one by default. Deliberate harm and unintentional harm are not the same thing, but they’re both bad, and to the person being hurt the difference might not seem so large.

  29. 29
    zzwarszz

    5000 whining atheists vs the Great Prophet

    how the divine pen of Michel N. crushed the international atheist movement

    skepticforum.com/viewtopic.php?f=16&t=18660

    youtube.com/watch?v=s3lwG4MytSI

    one applicant right here…

    get the POINT, Randi….

    for lies on top of lies

    youtube.com/watch?v=bbmXpNEFipE

    do you think you can threaten my right to FREE SPEECH?

    what if I told you that I am not who you think I am….

    Not Dennis Markuze – but a FAN!

    youtube.com/watch?v=nvatDdOWcLw&lc

    you’re not the center of the universe!

    youtube.com/watch?v=3yRpSNIOwA4

    a dishonest liar

    ____

    youtube.com/watch?v=ruQFh_TkPto

    WHINE WHINE WHINE

    ——-

    BRING IT ON!

  30. 30
    Azkyroth Drinked the Grammar Too :)

    Can I add that when people apologize for doing or saying something problematic…we should actually eventually forgiven them instead of demonizing them forever? This is about educating people and improvement, not making permanent enemies.

    Maybe this will be the next line along which DEEP RIFTS form. One can hope.

  31. 31
    warchimps

    youtube.com/watch?v=gHbYJfwFgOU

    which WORLD-VIEW will not exist, sh*thead?

    ___________

    5000 whining atheists vs the Great Prophet

    how the divine pen of Michel N. crushed the international atheist movement

    skepticforum.com/viewtopic.php?f=16&t=18660

    youtube.com/watch?v=s3lwG4MytSI

    one applicant right here…

    get the POINT, Randi….

    for lies on top of lies

    youtube.com/watch?v=bbmXpNEFipE

    do you think you can threaten my right to FREE SPEECH?

    what if I told you that I am not who you think I am….

    Not Dennis Markuze – but a FAN!

    youtube.com/watch?v=nvatDdOWcLw&lc

    you’re not the center of the universe!

    youtube.com/watch?v=3yRpSNIOwA4

    a dishonest liar

    ____

    youtube.com/watch?v=ruQFh_TkPto

    WHINE WHINE WHINE

    ______________

    BRING IT ON!

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