Revelation . . . as I sit here dreading spending the next two days at PAX East I have come to the sudden realization that the reason I am dreading it is because I feel like a complete outsider. My son is now almost 14 years old, an intelligent, independent young man who is completely into gaming culture. These days he spends all his free time playing Minecraft, Battle Block Theater, Team Fortress 2 and watching videos on You Tube about these games. I am realizing that these people who make and post these videos have celebrity status among fellow gamers. While I have heard some of the names tossed around by my son, many are unfamiliar. So while my son gets dressed in his Hattie Hattington costume and prepares for the most exciting weekend of his year; I feel completely old and obsolete because I wouldn’t know Markiplier if I tripped over him. I will suck it up and deal and spend this weekend feeling like an outsider because I love my kid.
Revelation part II . . . maybe my son, and other gamers, feel like outsiders for the other 362 days of the year? When you have such specific and intense passion for a culture, it is hard to find others who share this interest level. My son is fortunate to have a few friends who understand and share this interest with him, but I think overall, most people, most kids, do not relate to the level of gaming culture into which my son is involved. I see him going to school, boy scouts, orchestra rehearsal, participating in the “real world”, but struggling to connect with people who understand him. I’ve said it before, attending PAX East is like he is visiting his home planet where everyone understands him. It never occurred to me before how alien he may feel the whole rest of the year.
IMHO, my son is not yet old enough to attend this type of event without some adult supervision. So today, and tomorrow, I will be the alien. I will be the dorky, non-cosplaying mom (side note – I did offer to wear a costume but the teen wanted to be a solo cosplayer) getting a tour of this strange gamer planet called PAX East.
I come in peace!