PAX East 2010: The IF videos (mostly)

Here is the video my Flip camcorder shot of three of the IF-related PAX East-ish events. I apologize for the wobbly quality; I didn't arrive at PAX with plans to record anything, but found myself deputized into a videographer role after I was noticed fooling around with my brand-new camera-toy. As such, I (and other individuals I roped in to help me) struggled to figure out how to best use the device even while shooting these videos.

Two of these videos cut out prematurely, because it turns out that the Flip doesn't offer much in the way of a battery-life indicator. On the plus side, the audio is as good as you can hope to get from a little box located yards away from the subject. So: not very good at all, actually, but at least it's audible. Next time I do something like this, I'll plan ahead and bring both a real camera and mic setup, and more of a clue as to their use. (Taking, perhaps, a page from Ben Collins-Sussman, who took some great photos of PAX's IF activity.)

Nonetheless, these videos are filled with smart people saying interesting things about interactive text games, so please do enjoy them! If you're well-behaved I'll end this post with related videos shot on better equipment by someone more skilled.

Dispelling the Invisibility: IF Outreach

IF Outreach panel - PAX East 2010 from Jason McIntosh on Vimeo.

This took place in the IF Hospitality Suite (a.k.a. Zarf's room in the Hilton) on Saturday evening.

Panelists, from left to right, include Andrew Plotkin (author), Chris Dahlen (journalist), John Bardinelli (critic), and Jason McIntosh (me). The moderator, seated in the middle, is Harry Kaplan. Fellow PR-IF member Jake Eakle operated the camera. The video ends abruptly when the camcorder runs out of storage (it's a long discussion), but the panel wound down soon after.

My bite-sized followup: It's only natural that the topic slid from "How do we increase IF's audience" to "how can we make money from IF", but in retrospect I regret not pushing back against this reframing more than I did. Making IF lucrative is an interesting subject, but it's an entirely separate one from the one in the panel's title.

My standing answer to the money question since PAX weekend is: Who cares? Those two words unpack into many more, but that's not what you're here to see. Maybe I'll get into it more in a future post.

No Hints, Please: Adaptive Difficultly Strategies

IF Hints panel - PAX East 2010 from Jason McIntosh on Vimeo.

Another IF Suite panel, this one on Sunday afternoon. From left to right: IF authors Jim Munroe, Dave Gilbert, and Aaron Reed.

Sadly, this video cuts out after 20 minutes because it suffered the most from my hard-way learning about the Flip's battery limitations. But, you can still see what Zarf was describing in his writeup about how the topic inexorably morphed into an extension of the previous day's panel's conversation on the balance between evangelizing IF as an art form, and profiting from it by way of game sales.

Purple Blurb: Interactive Fiction

Purple Blurb - Interactive Fiction readings from Jason McIntosh on Vimeo.

Hosted by MIT's Nick Montfort, part of his regular series of guest presentations on digital writing. On Monday evening, IF authors Jeremy Freese and Emily Short read from their works (Violet and Alabaster[1], respectively). The "interactors" providing the text input are Jenni Polodna and Kevin Jackson-Mead, and all four sit down for some Q&A after the readings. (Not long after, alas, it once again cuts out suddenly due to the camcorder batteries giving way.)

The on-screen text is a little hard to follow at first, as I try to get both it and Jeremy in-frame, with the result of making Jenni's input invisible. I give up and focus on the screen after a few minutes, and it becomes easier to follow thereafter.

GET LAMP post-premiere panel

Finally, a little bonus content: Jason Scott has posted the following footage from the panel he held after screening GET LAMP, his IF documentary, on Friday evening (one of the two IF-related events on the official PAX schedule that weekend). Panelists, left to right: Dave Lebling, Don Woods, Brian Moriarty, Andrew Plotkin, Nick Montfort, and Steve Meretzky, all of whom appeared in the film. (Lebling, Moriarty, and Meretzky are all IF authors from the medium's golden era, and Woods is co-author of Colossal Cave Adventure, the game from the 1970s that started it all.)

GET LAMP Pax Panel: Part 1 (Rough Cut) from Jason Scott on Vimeo.

GET LAMP Pax Panel: Part 2 (Rough Cut) from Jason Scott on Vimeo.

I am not aware of any online footage from Friday evening's "Storytelling in the world of interactive fiction" panel (the other official-PAX one). If it's out there somewhere, let me know, and I'll gladly add it to this post.

[1] While Emily led and managed Alabaster's development, the final work was additionally co-authored by John Cater, Rob Dubbin, Eric Eve, Elizabeth Heller, Jayzee, Kazuki Mishima, Sarah Morayati, Mark Musante, Adam Thornton, and Ziv Wities.

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2 Responses to PAX East 2010: The IF videos (mostly)

  1. Johan says:

    Hi, Jason! I just want to let you know I'm grateful for your three videos. Though I live in the Netherlands, Boston and PAX now don't seem that far away. And seeing and hearing all these IF connoisseurs and makers is a real treat. Thanks again.

    Johan Herrenberg, in Delft

  2. Mike says:

    Though I live in the Netherlands, Boston and PAX now don't seem that far away. And seeing and hearing all these IF connoisseurs and makers is a real treat. Thanks again.

    Mike West
    Author of Dog Leash Training

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