The Celebrities of PAX East and Just Who The Hell Are They?

Your celebrities are all here at PAX East. Most people just haven't heard of them, and that's okay.
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A few hours ago, I sat down in a room of thousands of people to listen to one guy talk about games. He talked for an hour, and every time he mentioned a popular game, the audience cheered. Every time the man said anything, a member of the audience whooped, prompting others to do the same. After he was done speaking, people ran up to the podium asking him for autographs, and police had to escort the crowd out, where they merged with even more moving crowds.

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From the outside, people might believe I’m talking about the President of the United States, or some A-list actor giving an interview to a stone-faced journalist. I am describing a mob, but probably none that you have heard before. 

Vague descriptions aside, this man is Ken Levine, Creative Director at Irrational Games and the main face behind Bioshock Infinite, and this is PAX East. 

Levine is more than just a celebrity in the video game world, he is the celebrity. There are only a handful of these businessmen that are recognizable by face–Gabe Newell, Hide Kojima– and most of the populace has no idea who they are. They look like average people. They’re not especially attractive (sorry Ken), or striking, or do they physically stand out in a crowd. 

However, they are our generation’s creators. They have shaped the face of the media industry, and their word is holy. Their plans are scrutinized by the media, and their ideas have enough power to cause people to experience intense emotions that are almost scary.

Decades from now, when historians record the most influential artists of the early millennium, they’re going to say Ken Levine, who created the Bioshock franchise–one of the most artistically-innovative museum-worthy pieces of video game art–or Gabe Newell, who runs one of the biggest and most successful gaming conglomerates in both the console world and the product world, or even Satoshi Tajiri, which is a name synonymous with the mass marketing and creation of Pokemon. Blizzard is here, and so is Capcom, and whether or not you agree with their business choices, their word is so highly anticipated that it drives games journalists crazy. 

 This is where it all starts. PAX East brings everybody together to explore, interact, and meet up with their own personal celebrities. If I mentioned that I saw Ken Levine speak in person to my parents, they would not understand, but any of these nearly 70,000 attendees would writhe in jealousy at that missed opportunity.

PAX East is where all of these people go to meet their favorite celebrities. It’s just none that you have ever heard of. To be honest though, we’re kind of okay with that.

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