Classical MPR at PAX East 2013

by Emily Reese, Minnesota Public Radio
March 26, 2013
From L to R: composers Jason Graves, Kevin Riepl, Inon Zur, Greg Edmonson and Jack Wall. (Emily Reese) Panelists for "Behind the Music to Blockbuster Video Games" from L to R: Jason Graves, Kevin Riepl, Inon Zur, Greg Edmonson, Jack Wall and Emily Reese. (Emily Reese) The 800+ audience members who attended "Behind the Music of Blockbuster Video Games" gathered here before ushers (called PAX "Enforcers") brought them to the main hall. (Emily Reese) Audience for "Behind the Music of Blockbuster Video Games" at PAX East 2013 (Emily Reese) Composer Greg Edmonson & Top Score host Emily Reese (Emily Reese) Composer Jack Wall with Top Score host Emily Reese (Emily Reese) Composer Kevin Riepl & Top Score host Emily Reese (Emily Reese) Composer Inon Zur & Top Score host Emily Reese (Emily Reese) Emily Reese & Jason Graves at PAX East 2013 (Jason Graves)

ST. PAUL, Minn. — The PAX conventions are a blast. Gaming enthusiasts numbering in the tens of thousands head to either Seattle (PAX Prime) in the fall, Boston (PAX East) in the spring or the newly-added Melbourne, Australia (PAX Australia) this summer. Which perhaps is winter there.

In any event, PAX East just wrapped up. I had the opportunity to moderate a panel titled "Behind the Music of Blockbuster Video Games," featuring composers Jack Wall (Call of Duty: Black Ops II, Mass Effect 1 & 2), Greg Edmonson (the Uncharted series), Kevin Riepl (Aliens: Colonial Marines, Gears of War), Inon Zur (Fallout: New Vegas, Dragon Age 1 & II) and Jason Graves (Tomb Raider, the Dead Space series).

More than 800 people filed into the Naga Theater, one of many spaces within the impressive Boston Convention Center, to hear the composers talk about things like "What's your favorite scene you've ever scored?" and "What is a composer's role in setting an emotional tone for the characters in a game?".

Perhaps the best part, however, comes when I personally stop asking questions and the audience asks their own.

One fan, frustrated because she couldn't find any sheet music from video games for her middle school band students to play, asked if it was okay that she spent hours to transcribe and write out parts herself.

The answer was that legally, it's a no-no, but please, continue! Her students will be proud.

Another fan simply wanted to know "What are your favorite instruments?".

After the panel concluded, we gathered just outside the hall for an autograph signing.

Speaking broadly of all the attendees to the PAX event in Boston, they wait hours upon hours to see the panels they want to see, they do the same to have a chance to play the newest games for 10 to 15 minutes, and they do it all with the utmost respect to those around them.

Video game and sci-fi fans truly are the warmest, kindest, most appreciative fans on the planet.

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