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Harmonix at PAX East 2014!

PAX East is rapidly approaching, one of our absolute favorite video game conventions every year. And what’s great about this one is that it’s right in our backyard! Though we won’t have a booth on the floor this year due to timing with our games, we’ll still be out in full force walking the floor, hosting panels, and maybe a few other things that we’ll have information on later. Below is a full run down of panels. Some will even be in rooms with streaming, so even if you can’t make it to the show this year, be sure to tune in when you can!


Storytime with Alex Rigopulos

We’re pleased to present the opening session of PAX East 2014, Storytime with Alex Rigopulos! As the CEO and Co-Founder of Harmonix, Alex has been… instrumental… in creating cult classics such as Frequency and Amplitude to the modern day staples of Rock Band and Dance Central, so we can’t wait to hear what stories he’ll have to share!

Friday, 4/11 –10:30am-11:30am – Main Theatre

The Audacity of #Hype: The Do’s, Don’t’s & WTF’s of Modern Social Media

Social Media is a noisy world for brands and individuals alike. Whether it’s Twitter or YouTube, Facebook or Google+, there’s a whole world out there waiting for your brand, website, or thoughts. Join folks that work behind the scenes for Activision, Deep Silver, Gunnar Optiks, Harmonix, Sprint, and Ubisoft for a conversation on how to build and manage your brand, work with customers, balance personal accounts in the public eye, and avoid the pitfalls in the hectic social media sphere.

Panelists: Dan Amrich [Community Developer, Ubisoft], Aubrey Norris [Director of Marketing & PR, Deep Silver], John Drake [Director of Publishing and PR, Harmonix], Dan Hevia [Social Media Care Specialist, Sprint], Dave Oshry [Director of Marketing Strategy, Gunnar Optiks], Andrien Gbinigie [Community Developer - Assassin’s Creed Initiates, Ubisoft], Jake Baldino [Internet Video Personality, Pretty Much It]

Friday, 4/11 – 3:30pm-4:30pm – Arachnid Theatre

Break On Through: The Future of Music Games

Ever since Parappa the Rapper told you to punch and kick, Rhythm Games have been awesome. But dance dance revolutionaries grooving on giant buttons know something that Ulala never reported on: playing rhythm games is following a script. Other video games have decisions and tradeoffs-is playing with music merely pressing when told? This panel of designers pioneering new music gameplay would argue no! Players can conduct music with gestures. Players can control the game with rhythm. Players can generate levels from their own music. Rad! Join designers behind Harmonix’s Fantasia, Disco Pixel’s Jungle Rumble, Dejobaan’s Drop That Beat Like an Ugly Baby, and Brace Yourself Games’ Crypt of the NecroDancer for a discussion of the radical bleeding edge of rhythm games.

Panelists: Trevor Stricker [President, Disco Pixel], Jim Toepel [Senior Designer, Harmonix], Ichiro Lambe [President, Dejobaan], Ryan Clark [Founder, Brace Yourself Games]

Friday, 4/11 – 7:30pm-8:30pm – Bumblebee Theatre

The Harmonix Podcast – LIVE!

Join the Harmonix Publishing Team for a live recording of their award winning* podcast! 2014 will be a big year for Harmonix, and there will be plenty of discussion about their exciting new games, and the future of the studio. Rest assured, you’ll still be able to ask them all about their fan favorite titles Rock Band and Dance Central, or come yell “MOAR MUSE” at them, which they love! There will be free DLC giveaways for everyone that attends, as well a few surprises that they totally have planned, and definitely won’t just make up the day before the show. A good time will be had by all*! *Not really, but it should be. like Chroma, their music-driven first person shooter *Please don’t do this thing to them. THEY ARE BUYING YOUR LOVE. **No promises.

Panelists: Aaron Trites [Manager, Community Development, Harmonix], Annette Gonzalez [Another Manager, Probably?, Harmonix], Christine Kayser [Web Something Something, Harmonix], Eric Pope [Proud Papa Bear, Harmonix], Jessa Brezinski [Jazz Hands, Harmonix], John Drake [Mostly Diet Coke, Harmonix], Nick Chester [Lone Wolf, Harmonix]

Saturday, 4/12 – 10:00am-11:00am – Dragonfly Theatre

How to Pitch a Great Gaming Story

There’s only so many times you can listen to somebody say they have this great idea for an article or a video series, and then listen to a rambling incoherent mess of words and sounds, before you realize not everyone has master the subtle art of “Pitching”. But it’s not hard to convince an editor or a boss to latch onto your idea as long as you follow some simple guidelines. Beyond sharing some truly awful experiences we’ve all encountered along the way, this panel of illustrious editors and industry professionals will cover the best practices for pitching your ideas - both in person and over email. Hopefully when we’re done, you’ll walk away with some tips you can use in all walks of life, but at the very least you’ll have some good stories to tell.

Panelists: Greg Tito [Editor in Chief, The Escapist], Susan Arendt [Managing Editor, Joystiq], Julian Murdoch [Freelance Writer], Rob Daviau [President, Ironwall Games], Nick Chester [Publicist, Harmonix Games]

Saturday, 4/12 – 3:0pm0-4:00pm – Bumblebee Theatre

Game Art: From Passion to Profession

Now you might want to sit down for this…

Love to draw? Love games? Want to combine those two into a career? Come to this panel to hear the story of how six Hamonix artists made their way from doodling in a sketchbook to making games. Get advice on places to go to school, portfolio tips, how to grow as an artist and some dos and don’ts of breaking into the industry.

Panelists: Dawn Rivers [Artist, Harmonix], Kristin Palach [Artist, Harmonix], Shawn Witt [Artist, Harmonix], Lauren Saint Onge [Artist, Harmonix], Brian Evans [Artist, Harmonix], Nate Wright [Artist, Harmonix]

Saturday, 4/12 – 4:30pm-5:30pm – Bumblebee Theatre

We didn’t start the DLC fire, but we fed the monster. Now what?

If the Internet is to be believed, we should pay once for a “full game.” We rage against the various alternative revenue models publishers have concocted over the years, but our money is making more of them. Money flows and the marketing creativity increases. From Horse Armor downloadable content (DLC), to on-disc DLC, to F2P, to Freemium, to paid betas and buy in-alphas. The idea of paying $60 for a product and receiving the full content is dead and we’re all to blame. So let’s discuss if we like it. If “yes,” how do we improve it? What is too far? If “no,” how do we fight the future?

Panelists: Michael Futter [News Editor, Game Informer], Alexander Sliwinski [News Content Director, Joystiq], Pete Hines [VP of PR and Marketing, Bethesda Softworks], John Drake [Director of Publishing & PR, Harmonix]

Saturday, 4/12 – 7:00pm-8:00pm – Badger Theatre

Royal Rumble on the N64! 30 Players! LIVE!

Retro gaming throwback? An argument for the efficacy of local multiplayer? Or just an excuse to get 30 of the coolest people we know in one room to play a wrestling game and yell at each other? No matter how you slice it, it’s a live play through of the Royal Rumble in a classic THQ game on Nintendo 64. There will be thrills. There will be chills. There will be spills. Come cheer for the faces, boo the heels, and marvel at the 15+ unannounced special guests. LIVE, only at PAX East.

Panelists: Aaron Trites [Harmonix], Eric Pope [Harmonix], Abbie Heppe [Respawn Entertainment], Alex Navarro [Giant Bomb], Andrea Rene [The Escapist], Bobby Loertscher [Zen Studios], Dave Lang [Iron Galaxy Studios], Eric Neustadter [Xbox], Jeff Gerstmann [Giant Bomb], Jeff Green [AARP], John Drake [Harmonix], Nick Chester [Harmonix], Pat Baer [Upright Citizens Brigade Theatre], Phil Tibitoski [Young Horses], Rich Gallup [Disruptor Beam], Jon Carnage [Twitch], Sean Baptiste [Fire Hose Games], 15 Special Guests TBA

Sunday, 4/13 10:30am-11:30am – Albatross Theatre

Level Up Your Kid: Parenting Through Games and Game Design

Can game design make us more effective parents? How can we use games and game elements to promote growth and learning, create good gameplay and maintain our values as Guardians of Little Humans? This all-star panel of Game Designer Parents have ideas for you! Come get inspired and share anecdotes of gaming with your kids.

Panelists: Jason Wiser [Creative Director, Yaya Play Games], Chris Foster [Game Designer, Harmonix Music Systems], Albert Reed [CEO, Demiurge Studios], Irena Pereira [UI Designer, Blizzard Entertainment / 38 Studios], Les Nelken [Game Designer, Turbine / WorldTribe Media], Eric Klopfer [Director, MIT Education Arcade], Oren Klopfer [10-year-old Victim of Game-Oriented Parenting]

Sunday, 4/13 – 12:30pm-1:30pm – Condor Theatre

404ing It: Breaking (Down) the Internet

Too busy to keep up with all the things that make the Internet so awesome? 404ing It: Breaking (Down) The Internet is the show that does your homework for you. This monthly Upright Citizens Brigade Theatre comedy show features a panel of comedians that break down the best the Internet has to offer: Funny photos! Amazing videos! Memes! It’s everything you love about the Internet with none of the jerky YouTube comments. For one night only, host Pat Baer (UCB Theatre) brings the show to you at PAX East, for free, with guests Jeff Gerstmann (Giant Bomb), Eric Pope (Harmonix) and Max Temkin (Cards Against Humanity).

Panelists: Pat Baer [Performer, UCB Theatre], Jeff Gerstmann [Founder, Giant Bomb], Eric Pope [Community Manager / Writer, Harmonix], Max Temkin [Trouble Maker, Cards Against Humanity]

Sunday, 4/13 – 1:30pm-2:30pm – Albatross Theatre

Games User Research: Studying games for science!

Have you ever wondered how Halo maps are not just created, but balanced? Or how the information you provide during betas or playtests impacts the design of a game? Join us as we explore these and your questions to help shed some light on how studying players makes better games, what games user research is and is not, and why it’s an important process in game creation.

Panelists: Jonathan Bergeron [HCDE Masters student, UW Seattle], Anatole Chen [Usability Researcher- Natural User Inteface, Microsoft Xbox], Matthew Studovan [Associate Producer, Harmonix Music Systems], Jennifer Ash [User Researcher, Bungie]

Sunday, 4/13 -- 2:00pm-3:00pm -- Arachnid Theatre

Stay tuned for more information about Harmonix happenings at PAX East!