Wonder no more, as I have grouped the list of 114 panels into categories to help us all better see the overview of what, exactly, we talk about:
Descriptions of each category follows below.
Game/Company (13 panels, 11.5%)
Panels that are specifically about an upcoming game or set of games from a particular developer or publisher.
Examples: Welcome to Reach, A Live Demonstration of RAGE, Star Wars Games - REVEALED
How-To (16 panels, 14%)
Panels that benefit those who dream of working in the gaming industry.
Examples: Game Design 101, The Various Roads to Becoming A Community Manager, SO I HAVE THIS WEBSITE
Internet Productions LIVE (27 panels, 23.5%)
Panels that consist of internet personalities recording their show/podcast in front of a live audience or showing something otherwise produced on the internet.
Examples: Raid Warning Live; GameTrailers.com Presents: Bonus Round LIVE!; The Escapist Presents: Movie Night
Artistically Talented (7 panels, 6%)
Panels that display the artistic talents of musicians or playwrights tangental to the video game community (i.e., not artists IN the industry, doing it FOR the industry).
Examples: Of Dice And Men: The Play, Friday/Saturday Night Concerts, OverClocked ReMix: Video Game Music Community
Gabe, Tycho, Wil or Bill (9 panels, 8%)
Any panel that features Gabe, Tycho, Wil Wheaton, or Bill Amend (aka Famous People).
Examples: Anything Penny Arcade; Acquisitions Incorporated: D&D Live!; Further Greetings from a Dead-Tree Dinosaur Cartoonist
Informative (20 panels, 17.5%)
Panels that discuss serious or intellectual issues surrounding the gaming industry.
Examples: MMO's Empowering the Disabled, Enriching Lives; Game Mechanics and Mechanism Design; Legal Issues in the Games Industry
Other (7 panels, 6%)
Panels that did not fit into the other categories easily.
Examples: The Community Manager Challenge; The PAX 10 Panel; ChatterBox TreasureBox
Memoirs (14 panels, 12%)
Panels that consist of a person or a panel of persons talking about past gaming industry experiences.
Examples: PAX Prime Keynote; Memoirs of a Triple Agent; Rookie Years: Stories from First Projects
My personal opinion on this lineup? I thought you'd never ask.
What I'd like to see less of:
I was floored when I saw how many So-and-So LIVE! panels there are. 27 panels worth of them, most of which will end up re-treading the same material about how awesome PAX is, only with different hosts and a different audience. Do PAX-goers really want to watch that many? Do we even care about those internet personalities? The schedule sure makes it sound like I should know who all these folks from G4 or GameTrailers.com are by name, but I don't. I don't consume that media for the hosts. I consume it for the gaming news, which I can get just by being at PAX.
Surely there had to be a few more panels with a wider reach than some of these more obscure names in internet games journalism. I love blogging and podcasting as much as the next girl, but this seems like a waste and an incredibly overfilled niche. Why not let the internet personalities host their own meetups instead and leave the panel space for something else?
What I'd like to see more of:
There sure aren't all that many game or company-specific panels. I suppose this is because most of them also have booths out on the show floor, but I'd like there to be more panels with developer-gamer interaction and live demonstrations of key features. Not everyone wants to wait in the sometimes hours-long line on the crowded, sweaty show floor for a hands-on. A panel is a great alternative way to provide familiarity with an upcoming title, and the lines for panels are often more out-of-the-way.
What's great just the way it is:
I think it's great that people are using PAX to network and learn about opportunities in the gaming industry. There are a lot of folks out there that would love to make the jump from hobbyist to professional, myself included, and panels like these at a convention I already enjoy is just an added benefit.
What about you, Pretty Gamers? What would you have liked to see on the PAX panel list? What do you see way too much of?