Arts and Culture

Wheaton Takes on PAX East in Boston

This year, a number of Wheaton students attended the PAX (Penny Arcade Expo) East convention in Boston. PAX is a video game convention where independent game developers, large game companies and critics alike attend to meet and see new developments in the industry.

“It was a lot of see different games that are currently in development. I wish I had time to play more games in the morning before the lines got too long,” Alexandra Welden-Ivanoff ’20 said. “It was great talking to all the people at the event. It was like an adventure,” she added.

Not only did Wheaton students attend PAX, but some professors did as well. Filmmaking professor Patrick Johnson attended the convention with his film and new media senior seminar.

“Professor Josh Stenger and I played a versus game where we ran around as little gnomes and other people had to attack us and place us into a waffle iron,” Johnson said. “I was overwhelmed by all the lights and sounds as well as the whole industry of gaming,” he added.

Johnson was not the only person from Wheaton who found the convention overwhelming. Kyra Lefebvre ’20, a student in Johnson’s senior seminar, shares the same sentiment.

“PAX was overwhelming, but in a good way. I’ve never seen so many people so passionate about a particular creative field all in one place,” Lefebvre said. “Everyone was so high energy and enthusiastic about the games and events going on,” she added.

Some students, though, felt differently about their place at PAX given their lack-of knowledge about video games. 

“I honestly felt like an outsider in the gaming world at PAX East,” Orianna Camara ’20 said. “Despite that, it was incredible to experience and witness the community of developers on such a large scale,” she added.  

Not only was the convention overwhelming and exciting for attendees, but also independent game developers, both for video games and card games. Card game Heroes of Levendale creator Parker Coppins brought his new creation to PAX for industry leaders, critics and general attendees to play.

“There are a lot of different people here, so PAX is a great opportunity for me,” Coppins said. “Though the amount of people does make the place smelly,” he added.

Coppins games are currently seeking backers through a Kickstarter campaign. Heroes of Levendale is one of the many games at PAX that is still in development. For example, Retroainment Games – a video game company that makes new games for old gaming consoles – set up a booth where they showed attendees a game that is already finished called Haunted Halloween ’86 and their newest project Full Quiet that has not been released yet.

Similarly, PAX was an opportune event for Wheaton students to network in the video game industry. Since there were so many professionals hoping to life their projects off the ground, students were able to discuss future job prospects with almost any independent game developers they met.

“It was a hub of everyone in an industry that I want to be a part of. So, finding people I wanted to talk was easy,” Nikkita Selivan ’20 said.  “I just had to be friendly and initiate conversation. Everyone seemed to be willing to help me find my way into the industry and with my next steps,” she added.           

Cosplayers, industry executives, creatives and Wheaton students seemed to all enjoy PAX alike. Next year, future students can look forward to playing games and networking just as this year’s seniors did as well.