I was always nervous about speaking at PAX, because I'm 35, I don't play FPS or MMORPG games, and the younger gaming generation has probably never heard of me, other than via the mob at Digg, which isn't the best introduction in the world.
I thought I was talking to a crowd with an average age of 31-32 at PAX, though, so I wrote a keynote specifically to that generation. They are slightly younger than me, and would get all of my cultural references to things like arcades, and the other 80s gaming stuff I'd planned to talk about.
Then I found out this afternoon that, in fact, the average age will be more like 26.
That's nearly a decade younger than me.
That's just a few years older than my kids.
Watch me go from "relevant" to "out of touch" faster than you can say "Xbox Live" or "get off my lawn."
I scrapped the entire thing, and restarted. Now I plan to talk about the NES, console gaming, and how the Wii and Guitar Hero make gaming a social experience again . . . I hope. I don't know if I can pull this off, but the plan is to talk about the common threads in gaming that tie us all together and hope for the best.
It's incredible -- and quite disconcerting -- that I can go from confident to terrified so quickly, but having spent nearly two decades dealing with people who hate me, you'll understand that I'm a little gun shy about speaking to an audience who likely have no idea why I am there instead of some dude who worked on Halo.
The original plan for me was to goof off and play games all weekend long, and enjoy the con. However, if this goes the way I'm terrified it will go, I'll be sneaking home with my tail between my legs on the first flight out Saturday morning, massively hungover.
The next two days just went from relaxing to panicked. I'm pretty sure I'm going to crash and burn and they're all going to hate me.