I'll need to just take some time and break this all down. To speak first about my research experience. I've thrown around the term "overwhelmed" quite a bit. At the risk of sounding like Vizzini the Sicilian from "The Princess Bride" I have to say again, this was an overwhelmingly positive experience. The number of people who took my study was far more than I had originally considered. I ran out of buttons on Saturday and so had to end taking participants. Even though people weren't able to get anything for their participation I was still stopped a number of times on Sunday both on the show floor and even just checking up on my table. Folks wanted to learn more about my research, and generally just wanted to thank me for what I was doing. This was incredibly validating. You see, I talk alot about gaming and geek related topics. I include it in ethics presentations, and infuse it into my lectures when I'm teaching. The typical sort of feedback I get from my peers is polite disregard at best, and at worst I get outright challenges. Now, this is unfair to the handful of folks who either let me know my work has changed their opinions, or were fellow geeks/gamers and are also thankful of what I'm putting out there. However, you can imagine that having so many people who were so friendly and greatful is just something I hadn't expected.
Additionally, the feedback I was getting from people was extremely useful. People, after they completed a study packet, would stop and share their own experiences with me. So many stories about gaming benefitting people, or thoughts for further studies. People also shared about instances where they felt discriminated against as gamers/geeks, but too discussed how they felt a sense of community in associating with other gamers/geeks. This was all wonderful to hear, and I hope to continue with those discussions.
In the following series of posts I'll describe some of the things I ran into at PAX, and I'll be uploading pictures as my associates Al and Greg (who I owe a great deal of thanks for helping me with the studies) add their pictures to mine. Thanks as well to the guys at ReedPop for helping me get set up with a booth, Bill and Kyle. As well thanks to Tycho and Gabe for starting Penny Arcade in the first place. Lastly, to my family and friends whose support allowed me to get this all together, and particularly Sue and Kelli who put up with my gaming/geeky activities and study more often than most.