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PAX 08: Ken Levine Keynote Address

The first keynote address of the day was none other than Ken Levine’s. The man behind Bioshock talked about how he struggled to be a nerd thoughout his whole life. He started off by saying how ashamed he was to  be reading comics and how his classmates would make fun of him for doing so, referring to himself as a “closet nerd”. He didn’t want to like the things he liked, saying he wanted to smoke cigarettes, listen to Deep Purple, like sports like his brother, and fit in.

As he started to veer away from comic books, he got heavily into Dungeons & Dragons along with video games. While he was riding the bus home from school one day, he heard the two kids in front of him talking about D&D. Ken asked the two what campaign they were playing through and they quickly became good friends, or “finding his tribe” as he called it.

As Ken and his friends grew older, life-styles changed, girls entered some of their lives, and their D&D days were numbered. He started to wonder how he would ever find that “tribe” again since he was so much older then. Levine used his writing skills to make up a vampire horror movie. Companies laughed at him for that, but decided he should write a romantic comedy, which was no success. His agent left him and was now looking for that right “tribe” again.

Around this time, video games were getting huge. Ken found out from a magazine that there are actually jobs that involve making games. He hopped on an opportunity to be a game designer. When he walked into the office he saw people yelling at each other while playing Soulcalibur, a group playing Magic, and people eating popcorn while watching Blade Runner. He said he found his “tribe” once more.

Levine’s final words were “What brings us all together at PAX is we’re a giant bunch of fucking nerds.”

Originally posted on Endsights, August 30, 2008

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March 5, 2009 - Posted by | Feature

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