[Make It So takes a look at our favorite games and suggests additions, subtractions, and areas to improve upon for the sequel or next entry in the series. This one is more community focused, but you get the idea.]
Video game fans were treated a couple of weeks ago to yet another successful PAX East. The team at Twinfinite was really well-represented with seven members of our staff in attendance. By all accounts it was a hell of a fun time and, exhaustion notwithstanding, everybody was eager to do it again. At PAX East, there was an announcement for PAX South which is slated to take place in San Antonio, Texas in January 2015. This is great news for people who aren’t able to make it to Boston or Seattle, which are at extreme ends of the United States, and I hope it’s a big hit so its organizers can create one more event during the calendar year: PAX North. Where? Where else, but Canada. Here are a few reasons why PAX North could be a great idea.
It Would Reach a Big Chunk of the Continent
One of the challenges of being Canadian is that I’m only able to realistically attend one of the big conferences each year, and it’s a bummer because each event offers a different kind of experience. If something like PAX North were actually a reality, it would address the desire of a large number of fans not only from Western and Central Canada, but from the Northern US region as well, to be able to easily attend. Let’s face it; the most hardcore attendees and press will go to PAX no matter where it is, and I am certain those of us up north will definitely make the pilgrimage especially if it’s in our neck of the woods. If they hold it then people will come, so why not spread the love?
PAX North Can Be a Big(ger) Fish in a Small(er) Pond
Places like Seattle, Boston, Los Angeles, and San Antonio are lovely cities. They are also however large centers where there’s always something big going on. One of the biggest challenges the video game industry faces is getting mainstream attention on the positive, community-focused aspects of our hobby. This can be a real pain when having to compete each year with international cultural or sporting events, so why not have it in a lower-profile city where PAX North can be the biggest news in town? I can all but guarantee that an event of PAX’s magnitude would be the talk of the town in cities such as Victoria, Edmonton, Calgary, or Winnipeg over the Summer months.
Canada is Home to a Wide Variety of Developers
While it’s not on par with the USA or Japan, Canada is one of the world’s most diverse and vibrant countries for video game development. Arguably the best known is Edmonton’s own BioWare, but across the country there are tons notable developers both large (most EA Sports developer, Relic, and Ubisoft to name a few), and small (Superbrothers, Infinite Monkeys, and heck even Phil Fish could be invited). An event like PAX North would be not only a great venue for larger studios to show off their home-grown talent, but also as a showcase for a thriving creative scene.
Wi-Fi is Fantastic Up Here
One staple of the convention circuit is having to deal with absolutely lousy Wi-Fi. This is particularly bad for press who are feverishly trying to get articles posted or even break that hot bit of news before any of the larger outlets. Most Canadian cities have great Wi-Fi however, thanks to having first-class infrastructure and one tenth the population of the United States. Also, did you know that (shameless plug in 3, 2, 1…) public libraries in Canadian cities have free computer/Internet access? Not only that, but they are all designated Hotspots as well so headaches with getting online would be pretty much non-existent.
It’s a Big World – Explore It
While there’s something to be said for the convenience of having an event in the same place each year, it is kind of boring to go to the same old convention center, stay at the same old hotel, and eat at the same old restaurants. We are video game fans — by our very nature we are adventure-seekers, so imagine the thrill of not only checking out the latest video games but also experiencing a new city (or country for that matter) and making cool new friends. PAX itself feels like a strange social game anyway, so PAX North could be its cool DLC.
What do you think about an event like PAX North? Do you think there’s room in the convention schedule for it? Leave a comment and let us know what you think.