If it’s August, and you’re a gamer, that can only mean one thing: PAX Prime. What started out as a humble Bellevue gamer con has grown into a massive gaming juggernaut, comprised of no less than four worldwide gaming conventions. Still, PAX Prime is the granddaddy of the Penny Arcade Expo machine, drawing what’s been rumored to be more than 100,000 folks to the Washington State Convention Center annually for gaming, cosplay, socializing, and the odd case of pinkeye.
It’s been sold out for months, of course, so if you don’t have a ticket already you’re probably out of luck. But even those without tickets can take advantage of a whole bunch of PAX-related events happening that same weekend.
Whether or not you have a ticket, it’s a great weekend to be a gamer. And, more and more, both onsite and off, it’s a great weekend to be a queer gamer!
Here is the scoop on some of the queer themed gaming events and panels happening during PAX Prime weekend. Events that require a PAX Prime badge are marked with .
Thursday, August 27
8PM: 5th Annual Unofficial Pokemon PAX Kick Off Party
500 East **CANCELLED**
This event has been cancelled. According to the organizers, all pre-purchased tickets will be refunded, and 500 East will still host some form of gaymer party.
9PM: Pre-PAX Countdown Party
Seattle Geeks along with Gordon Bellamy (a game developer who organizes a Facebook group for LGBT game professionals) have put together a pre-PAX party at Neighbours, featuring top 40, geek mashups with DJ Freddy King of Pants, dancing, cosplay, an industry lounge, performances, prizes and some fun gaming-themed drinks. Tickets are available in advance at no cost.
Friday, August 28
3PM: Press XY Presents: Trans Against Insanity, Prime Cuts Edition
Join our panel of game developers and journalists for a live game show that asks and answers questions about being transgender and involved in the game industry. Using a format similar to Cards Against Humanity, our panelists will find fun answers, but also propose serious solutions. Lucky audience members will be invited onstage to play Press XY’s custom card game alongside game-industry celebrity panelists, and compete for valuable prizes!
Panelists: E. Meyer Flowers (media producer and film maker), Caspian Priebe (concept artist), Jennell Jaquays (chief creative officer, Olde Skuul), Rebecca Heineman (founder, Olde Skuul), Mollie L. Patterson ((executive editor, EGM Media).
9PM: All Your Dance Are Belong to Us
Join DJ Morgue Anne on an adventure through the musical worlds of beloved video games. Dance to the best in chiptunes, nerdcore, geekstep and beyond in a night combining a love for video game culture and dance music. Costumes are encouraged and prizes will be given out to the best dressed. This event takes place at Club Contour at 807 1st Ave, for ages 21+, with themed drink specials and a $5 cover. This is not a queer-specific event, but all of Morgue Anne Presents‘ events are inclusive and there’s a zero tolerance policy for harassment and hate speech.
10pm: Insert Coin – Mortal Kom-PAX
Insert Coin is back for a special PAX edition, hosted by Tyler Rush, with music by DJs Nark and Krot at the Seattle Eagle (314 E Pike St), co-presented by Nark Magazine and brought to you by Queer Geek! Seattle. Play all the Mortal Kombats, hang with your friends and dance away at this LGBT-centric game party. 21+ and there will be a cover payable at the door.
Saturday, August 29
11AM: Queering Up Misconceptions: LGBT Game Industry Life
A fun and candid discussion of LGBT life and careers in the game industry! What’s it like? How do you balance identity and fitting in? Queer vets from all facets of the craft share their experiences from the inside!
Panelists: Bryanna Lindsey (FX Artist, Volition), John Gavin Polson (Business Development, Humble Bundle), Daniel Lingen (Sr. Conversation Manager, Electronic Arts), Chris Wright (CEO/Founder, Hangry Studios), Gordon Bellamy (Visiting Scholar, USC Games).
2:30PM: Flagged for PvP: Examining Culture, Identity, and Bullying
When communities get as large and diverse as ours, things can get… complicated. We’ve all experienced what it feels like to have player vs. player challenges in and out of games. But why is it that some of our interactions manifest in bullying and misogyny, while others can foster tight-knit camaraderie? Join us, as we reflect on the research while exploring the complex social dynamics that arise within gaming culture and what we can do to make it better.
Panelists: Joshua Neal, M.A., LMHCA (psychotherapist, Capitol Hill Therapy), Megan Spurr (managing editor, Dorkadia.com), Stacey Weber, M.A., LMHCA (psychotherapist, Face the Sea)
4:30PM: Dragon Age: Past, Present and Future
Join members of the Dragon Age team for an open discussion about the series, a chance to participate in Q&A with the team and, as a special treat, a worldwide reveal of new content for Dragon Age: Inquisition. (This is included in this list because Dragon Age, and particularly Inquisition, have featured strong LGBT characters and romance options.)
6PM: Official Pink Party Prime 7 Pre-Party
Gamma Ray Games is putting on a pre-party for Pink Party Prime 7 that same night! The Official Pre-Party takes place at their Raygun Lounge (http://www.gammaraygamestore.com/) at 501 E Pine St. The event is free and all-ages, no ticket needed, and you could potentially win tickets to the Pink Party Prime.
9PM: Pink Party Prime 7 featuring voice actor Troy Baker
Jetspace and Queer Geek! Seattle are hosting Pink Party Prime 7 at Neumos, with special guest voice actor Troy Baker (known for his work on Bioshock Infinite, The Last of Us, Shadows of Mordor and countless others). It will also feature DJs Krot and Futurewife, go-go dancers Bolt and Tyler Rush, and a $1,000 cosplay contest. The event is 21+. Tickets are $15 for general admission and $30 for VIP. VIP tickets offer a dedicated gaming space and a VIP lounge where you can chat with Troy Baker. Tickets are available here or at the Neumos box office.
Sunday, August 30
3:30PM: Press XY Presents: Trans Game Characters, Real and Respectful
Our panel of designers, artists, filmmakers and journalists will discuss the need for transgender characters in games and media, the process of bringing such characters to life, and how to avoid problematic issues in design and execution.
Panelists: Caspian Priebe (concept artist), E. Meyer Flowers, Elayne Wylie (media producer / filmmaker), Jennell Jaquays (chief creative officer, Olde Skuul), Rebecca Heineman (founder, Olde Skuul), Mollie L. Patterson (executive editor, EGM Media).
8PM: GGPAX 2015
Monday, August 31
11:30AM: We’re Not NPCs: It’s a (Straight White Cis) Man’s World
Fiction media typically treats being a straight white cisgendered man as the “default” for a character. What effect does this have on us as a society, and how does it affect those of us who don’t fit this narrow mold? As people who are not straight white cisgendered men, we’re here to tell you what it’s like to consistently be depicted as Non-Player Characters.
Panelists: RaeRae Sachs (unicorn, Time Wars), Bijhan Valibeigi (supreme commander, Time Wars), Mia Gipson (goddess, MIA Games), Les Banks (chronomage), Godfrey Harris (Adonis)
1PM: Loving What You Hate: How to Engage with Problematic Media
Every fan knows what it’s like to love something that doesn’t love you back. Often, games require a certain amount of denial and frustration when it comes to portrayals of gender, race, and sexuality. It’s okay to like problematic things, but how do we interact critically with
content we love – while still allowing ourselves to relax and have fun?
Panelists: Hannah Kane (project manager, Digital Future Lab), Aina Braxton (assistant director, Digital Future Lab), Elliott White (project manager, Digital Future Lab), Cora Walker (QA lead, Digital Future Lab), Simone de Rochefort (on-camera host / video producer, Pixelkin), Emmett Scout (design lead, Digital Future Lab)
PAX Prime Diversity Lounge
The Diversity Lounge, now in its second year, offers an inclusive place for gamers to hang out, meet up, and find out about a variety of diverse gaming organizations. It’s located on the sixth floor, near the Expo Hall and Chicken Theatre.
Benjamin Williams, one of the founders of Queer Geek, organizes the lounge, which has expanded to more booths and beanbag seating this year. Featured groups include GaymerX, GeekGirlCon, OrcaCon, Press XY, Planeswalkers for Diversity, GeeksOut, Northwest Press, Toronto Gaymers, Take This, Able Gamers, Jeffrey Veregge, and Kirkland Geek Gala.
You can unlock achievements there as well, such as: Become an Ally, Meet Your Community, and Gaming is for Everyone.
If you know of anything that should be added to this list, feel free to comment below. This list may also be updated if additional happenings pop up.
It’s gonna be a great weekend! Can’t wait to see you all there!