PAX East 2011

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PAX East 2011
Part of series PAX
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PAX East is an annual convention, this year running from March 11 to 13, put on by the team at Penny Arcade. You should go. Last year rocked.


Just like last year, we will have an IF Hospitality Suite (Room 846 in the Westin). This will be open noon-midnight on Friday, noon-midnight Saturday, and noon-3pm Sunday.

In addition, we will have an IF function room (also in the Westin) on Saturday only. (See Dave's notes below.) We'll schedule our larger events there.

Both rooms will be open to the public, and will not require a PAX badge.

Official PAX events

(Complete PAX schedule)

PAX has confirmed the following two events on their schedule. (These events will require a PAX badge.) Neither is IF-specific, but these are the ones including IF people:

  • "How to fund your game development project with Kickstarter" (Friday - 12:30 pm - Cat Theatre) -- Cindy Au, Andrew Plotkin, Joshua Newman, Evan Balster
  • "Interactive Drama: Dialogue as Gameplay" (Friday - 2:00 pm - Cat Theatre) -- Jonathon Myers, Stephen Dinehart, Evan Skolnick, Emily Short, John Gonzalez

Also note:

  • Parsely Games (from the designer of Action Castle): (Friday - 3:30 pm - Merman Theatre) -- Jared Sorensen
  • IGDA Writers SIG meetup (Sunday - 10:00 am) -- Jon Myers, Clara Fernandez-Vara

Events hosted by us


  • We all go out to eat before PAX (Thursday, 7 pm, Tavern in the Square, Central Square, 730 Mass Ave, Cambridge).
    • We currently have 26 people scheduled to attend the dinner. We have seats for at least 30, so there's still plenty of room.
    • To sign up, send an email to mhilborn-at-biggles2k-dot-com
    • Mike (and probably Zarf) will arrive around 6:30pm - 6:45pm to open up the room with the restaurant personnel. To find us, you can ask the host(ess) for "Mike Hilborn" or the "Interactive Fiction" dinner. Or you can wander in and find us--when you walk in, you'll see two bars: One to the left, another to the right. Head past the bar on the left, make a left, then another sharp left into the room.

Friday, IF suite (Room 846 in the Westin)

(The two PAX panels noted above are early Friday afternoon. IF suite events will be in the afternoon and evening.)

  • "Non-gamers gaming" (4:30-5:30 pm) How do you design challenges for gamers who haven't played the last thirty famous entries in the genre? What about readers and writers who do not identify as gamers? What do they want? What do they *not care about* that we take for granted? (Caleb Garner, Tim Crosby, Heather Albano, Sarah Morayati, Andrew Plotkin)
  • "Meet the IF community" (7:30-9:00 pm) One of the Boston game people suggested that we should pick a time and say "If you're busy at PAX, but you want to stop by the IF suite and meet people at least once, *this* is a good time to do it." Just to avoid diffusion.
  • "Tunnel Tour" (9:00-10:00 pm) Due to casual discussion of the possibility, after the meet & greet was over about twelve people took the T to MIT to take a tour of the campus and especially the tunnel system, led by Nick Montfort & Flourish Klink. (Note - this was an informal event.)

Saturday, Alcott Room

All Saturday events will be in the Alcott room, because that's when we'll have it.

  • Speed-IF launch (1:00-1:45 pm). Madlib-style topic selections. Games are "due" at 10:30 pm. David Cornelson
2011 Pax East Alcott Room Panel
  • "Setting as character in narrative games" (2:00-3:00 pm) -- I proposed this as a PAX panel. It wasn't accepted (probably because Irrational is doing "Building Game Worlds As Main Characters"), but that's about Bioshock Infinite and this will be about every other game in existence. (Andrew Plotkin, Rob Wheeler, Stephen Granade, Dean Tate (Harmonix)).
  • An IF play event. (4:00-6:00 pm) We play Jim Munroe's Everybody Dies as a group. The game will be projected up on the big screen; people take turns reading and typing; anybody can shout command suggestions from the audience.
  • A lightning introduction to Inform 7. (7:00-7:45 pm) (Andrew Plotkin, Jason McIntosh)
  • IF Demo Fair. (8:00-10:00 pm) (Emily Short.) A showcase of new and interesting demonstrations in the IF world. (New types of NPC interaction, new UI formats, and so on.) During the fair, we'll set up the projects and let viewers explore the exhibits they want to see. There is an official announcement.
  • Speed-IF game play (10:30-11:30 pm). We play whatever people have got. David Cornelson

Sunday, IF suite (Room 846 in the Westin)

  • Curveship (1:30-2:30pm). Nick Montfort presents his experimental narration-centric IF development system.

(At 3pm we chase everybody out and start deconstructing the room. Anyone still around for dinner, we'll meet up.)

Alcott Conference Room for Saturday

We have a meeting room reserved at the Westin for Saturday from 12 noon until 12 midnight, connected to the convention. It's 1,035sqft (41ft x 29ft) and seats up to 100 people. We'll have a theatre (rowed seats) layout, plus five six-foot-long tables at the back of the room.

(To get there: cross skywalk to Westin; look right past escalators, mezzanine level)

Internet Connectivity

Individual Wi-Fi codes can be purchased for the day at $50 on Saturday, but they need to be requested early. As the day gets later, they won't provide new codes. There is a slight delay as codes are created. If anyone wants to pre-order Wi-Fi access, let me know.


We cannot bring any of our own food or beverages into the meeting room. There's a union rule that bars outside food. There may be signs in the room saying "No Food or Beverages Allowed". The cost of hotel menu food is prohibitive.

Demo Fair

Time yet to be determined: playthrough on a projector of the works submitted to the IF Demo Fair.

Speed IF

The Speed-IF is over!

Topic List included:

  • A character whose name starts with the letter 'M'
  • Sending Jim and Kevin on a mission to locate something
  • The Tomb of the Unknown Tool
  • A 100 year old typewriter
  • Pluto
  • Braintree or Alewife
  • One of the titles on the poster of made up titles (online version of the poster:
  • Chicken fingers
  • Explosions
  • Vacuum

Download the games from!

Swag and other supply plans

  • The Automatypewriter (Jonathan M. Guberman, Jim Munroe)
  • How-to-play-IF cards (Zarf)
  • Left over from last year: "say hello" nametag stickers, ">" badge stickers, "frotz badge" badge stickers. (Zarf)
  • Hadean Lands promo buttons. (mark musante)
  • Munchies for IF suite


  • A video projector. (Zarf is bringing this -- it has VGA and S-video inputs)
  • Extension cords, power strips (Zarf, but more wouldn't hurt)
  • From last year: sharpies, paper, magic blue tape (Zarf)
  • Two ancient Linux laptops -- text-mode IF terps only (Zarf)
  • The traditional Myst sound environments (Zarf)

Posters for Rooms

We've ordered posters for the PAX rooms.

  1. The Shadow in the Cathedral - Textfyre (4 posters will be given away somehow at the Alcott Room)
  2. Jack Toresal and The Secret Letter - Textfyre
  3. Parchment - Dannii
  4. Hadean Lands - Zarf
  5. The IF room itself (I'll put it on a tripod outside the door) (preview) - Zarf
  6. IF Name Generator - Nitku
  7. Escapade! - Nitku
  8. IF Demo Fair - Emily

Room-watching shifts

This is for the IF Suite only. (The Alcott room will be thoroughly inhabited on Saturday, so I don't think we need signups for it.)

We need people in the Suite from noon-midnight Friday, noon-midnight Saturday, noon-3pm Sunday. Two-hour blocks. Yes, this means somebody will have to miss each event in the Alcott room -- sorry about that. I'd prefer to keep the Suite open through Saturday, even though it will probably be low-population. (It will be the quiet room with the snacks.)

You are signing up to stay in the Suite, watch the stuff, and make sure nobody walks off with anything or pours soda on the bed or anything stupid like that.

This is an Excel Googledoc of the current schedule. If you add yourself here, add yourself there for those of us who are 'visual learners.'

If you can help with Sunday cleanup that would be awesome!

Val Grimm - 8-10 Friday, 11-1:45 & 4-6 & 8-10 Saturday, Sunday open-cleanup.

M. Flourish Klink - 2-4PM Friday, noon-2PM Sunday. (Can also take some other shifts if necessary.)

Kevin Jackson-Mead - 6-10PM Friday, 2-4PM Saturday, 6-8PM Saturday.

Jacqueline A. Lott - 12-2PM Friday

Sam Kabo Ashwell - 12-2PM Saturday

Carolyn VanEseltine - 10 PM-midnight Friday

Doug Orleans - 4-6PM Friday

Note: Overlap is not a bad thing. Where we don't have it, that's fine too.

IF Fans Who Attended


Blog Posts



  • MIT basement tour (and some hotel gaming) by Marius Müller: 1 2 3 4 5 6