IF Gathering at PAX East 2012?

Hello all. I am new to this forum. I have enjoyed IF as a player for a long time, and I also enjoy creative writing. Recently, I have been thinking about writing an IF story. I signed up to go to PAX east with the hope of meeting other IF enthusiasts and learning a thing or two from some authors. Will there be IF activities at PAX East this year? Can anyone tell me when and where? I have looked around the net, and could not find anything, but I am still new to all this. Thank you for any help.

There are no IF events planned at PAX East this year. (After the previous two years, in which the same set of people shouldered the bulk of the organisation, I think they deserve a break; and there’s been a general feeling that PAX isn’t the greatest match for the IF crowd anyway.)

If you’re in Boston anyway, there’s always http://pr-if.org/ meetups.

The Purple Blurb symposium (hosted by Nick Montfort’s group at MIT) is having an “Open Mouse / Open Mic” event the day after PAX:

Monday, April 9; 5:30 pm; MIT room 6-120

“Please join us for an open mic featuring D1G1T4L WR1T1NG for a variety of platforms, from immersive projections by Ari Kalinowski to generative fiction for the iPad by Alexandra Chasin… Bring video art, interactive fiction, SMS poems, hypertext fiction and poetry, text generators, and any form of electronic literature you’ve got up your sleeve! This event is co-sponsored by the Electronic Literature Organization.”

(Original post: nickm.com/post/2012/03/purple-bl … ke-canada/ )

That will be a good place for IF fans to meet up; we can have dinner afterwards. I intend to bring something (not necessarily IF) to present for the event.

As for PR-IF, we have not yet scheduled our April meeting. It’s likely to be later in the month, though.

Thanks for the replies. This is disappointing. One of the biggest attractions of PAX was the IF events that I noticed the last couple of years. Unfortunately, I do not live in Boston, and need to be back at work on Monday. The April 9 event sounds great. If I had only known, I might have skipped at day at PAX and taken Monday off. Thanks anyway. What about more informal meetings at PAX with people who are enthusiastic about IF? Does that go on at PAX and does anyone know how it would work? This is my first year attending.

You might try posting on our mailing list to see if anyone is hanging out at PAX East or whatnot.



Aww. That is sad news. I went to PAX East in 2010 but missed most of the IF events because I simply wasn’t aware of them at the time. However, I did manage to attend one discussion, and enjoyed it enough that I’ve been looking forward to more ever since. I was unable to attend PAX East in 2011 for financial reasons. I have a membership for it this year, but have been on the fence as to whether or not I’ll actually go. The idea that there might be IF events was a huge part of the draw for me. I guess that makes the decision easier, but still… :confused:

Is the burden of organization mentioned upthread the major reason for things not happening this year? How can others help, for future? I’m not very in-the-know or well-connected in the IF scene, but I’m willing to do what work I can. (I realize it’s too late for this time around.) Alternately, if PAX East is not the right venue for an IF gathering, is there another event that people think would work better? (Are there enough people willing to attend to have our own event? I’ve helped run cons for small groups before, in the 20-60 person range, and had them work out, so long as expectations were appropriate and lots of people within the group were willing to volunteer time/effort or run panels.)

PAX East is not the right venue. I’ve been convinced of that since the last one, so we’ve been looking for alternate events to hang out with.

We are currently looking at noshowconf.com/ . Planning is in the early stages still, however.

I get the impression from the website that No Show Conference is aimed at game developers only – that players who aren’t also developers and/or designers (or involved in said process) would be out of place there. Is that something people think is desirable in a venue for an IF track?

The nice thing about an event smaller than 30000 people, is that 30-ish IF people are a significant fraction of the group and have a significant voice in what goes on.

Is what I figure.

I do not expect a ruling at the door that only game-industry people are allowed inside.

I think it depends on your goal.

For “a meeting of the IF minds,” i.e. maximizing attendance of the double handful of people already committed to future of IF, you’d want a game developers’ conference. Presumably, some number of these folks would be already making plans to attend for professional development/networking, and you’d just try to make sure as many key IF stakeholders as possible would go.

For “IF outreach,” I’d think you’d want the largest pool of warm bodies to draw from, i.e. a fancon. You don’t have to try to influence the content and scope of the whole enchilada (good heavens), just make sure that IF has a corner, well signposted. The IF track would be a tiny absolute percent of all attenders, but a miniscule proportion of a ginormous con can still be a healthy number

My personal bias is towards the latter. I’d rather focus limited resources on broadening IF fandom and hoping that IF leaders develop organically from the pool, rather than trying to further cultivate people who are already committed to gaming on a professional level.

I’ll defer to the wisdom of the organizers if the consensus is that PAX East was Just Not the Right Venue. But that doesn’t necessarily mean all large “lay” gaming conventions would be similarly organized.

Granted, this is just N=1 from a peripheral participant, not an IF stakeholder.

The first of these is actually several distinct functions: ‘hanging out with people who are our friends but we rarely get to see’ is one, ‘having a theory / design / future-of-IF talking-shop’ is another, ‘actually doing work on producing games’ is a third.

PAX is the largest convention-for-videogame-fans that I’m aware of; that’s not quite the same thing, but as a pool of possibly-IF-interested warm bodies I think it was the best shot. Result: it did not do that job. By far the majority of the people in the PAX IF rooms were people who were already interested in IF. And the newcomers, largely, were people I knew from the Boston game-dev and game-studies community.

My conclusion is that hanging out at a game-developer convention is IF outreach. If you’re interested in IF by itself, well, I hope you’d show up to the event no matter what it’s associated with.

The second is what I was picturing mentally. The first doesn’t necessarily need a conference to make it happen (although it’s pleasant when it does); friends can be an intrinsic draw, often at the expense of participating in the “real” conference (“we were up too late chatting to make the 7A panel…”) As for the third, you’d have to convince participants they could produce something substantial in a 2-day conference (not counting speed IF and PUtPBaA) that they couldn’t produce just as well by Internet collaboration asynchronously.

I guess I see this more as the relative strength of a personal invitation from/relationship with you, as opposed to intrinsic evidence that PAX was a poor venue choice. Certainly, I’d expect most newcomers to be there because they had some personal/professional connection with someone else who said, “I’m going to this IF Thing, and you would like it, so you ought to come.” Who wouldn’t respond more favorably to a buddy than a flyer?

Making converts of people who don’t already have a personal connection with an IF principal or IF (a narrower definition of “outreach” than yours, I suppose) is challenging. Worse, making “sticky” converts (people who are still part of the community 3-5 years later) seems to need a relationship to give it staying power. I still think it can be done, but I couldn’t say whether PAX is the right medium.

If there’s a decent number of IF people who are going to be at PAX anyway, we could maybe have an unofficial “hang out and talk about IF” meetup. Of course, if it’s mostly just going to be the usual PRIF suspects, there’s not much point, but if there’s more than just the one IF-type person coming in from out of town, it might be worthwhile.

I’ll definitely be there from out of town. I’m not sure if that’s a plus or a minus. :slight_smile:

Is the implication here that this is what happens at PAX East? Just curious as I have no clue what happens at PAX East.


PAX East is definitely a fan con. 99.9% of the attendees are not developers (which suits me fine, since I’m also not a developer.) It’s worth noting that the IF stuff in 2010 wasn’t actually at PAX East. It was just at a hotel across the street at the same time. You pretty much had to be in the know to even know it was there; I know that I only found out in time to attend one thing. The IF-related stuff that was actually at the con (The Get Lamp screening, Emily Short’s panel on storytelling) was exceedingly well-attended. I wasn’t at PAX East in 2011, so I don’t know if they handled things differently then or not.

This was in response to questions about No Show Conference being for game developers only, not anything to do with PAX East.


Thanks for pointing that out Kevin.

I heard I missed out last year. The what seems to be pretty hard. At this point I think the questions are where and when?

What about a group play session? Personally I’d like to play some IF with some people.