Gaming Matters: Wil Wheaton at PAX East

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Hey, isn't that GeekDad Assistant Editor Matt Blum with some unshaven guy?Hey, isn't that GeekDad Assistant Editor Matt Blum with some unshaven guy?

Hey, isn't that GeekDad Assistant Editor Matt Blum with some unshaven guy?

While I’m fairly certain that most GeekDads and GeekMoms are already well-stocked with argumental ammunition when it comes to taking on anti-gamer stereotypes, Wil Wheaton handed out some nice power-ups in his keynote Friday afternoon at PAX East in Boston.

For almost an hour, the GeekDad-supported and Paul & Storm-designated Secretary of Geek Affairs himself talked about what he got from gaming as a kid, and what it’s brought him as an adult and parent as well. He touched on everything from discovering, through gaming, the social support of like-minded friends – “I didn’t have the internet or PAX to let me know that it wasn’t weird that I carried character sheets with me wherever I went” – to the power of creativity gaming can encourage.

“When you play a game – any game – you are using your imagination to bring a world to life” Wil noted. “And that is special.” (He excerpted this particular section of the keynote on his blog Friday, too.)

He went on to note – as several GeekDad writers have also discussed – the inter-generational bridging that games can make possible, and in an example that really hit home with me, pointed out that playing The Beatles: Rock Band gave his son “context for The Beatles’ music in a way that me talking about it never could.”

Techland has the entire address on video (embedded below) – I’d be surprised if Wil doesn’t make an audio version available sometime soon, as he did with his 2007 PAX keynote – and if you’re a completist, episode 25 of his Radio Free Burrito podcast includes a reflection on his own game creation which was cut from the PAX East speech.

Grab the dice, fire up the consoles, dust the keyboards, sharpen the pencils and shuffle the decks. It’s important.

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