Wil Wheaton Keynote Address @ PAX 07


Jack Thompson can suck my...

Here is the summary of the absolutely awesome keynote by Wil Wheaton. It has been rephrased, but here is the summary. The complete audio file is available for download in the article, as well. Wil Wheaton–probably best known for playing Wesley Crusher on Star Trek: the Next Generation–but now known as a prolific blogger and gamer. I am seated in the front row, thanks to my OCMS celebrity, and the fact that I got there 30 minutes early.

As the crowd starts to fill in, a beachball is tossed around through the crowd.

4:13 PM: Thunderous applause as the lights dim.

There is an opening video. What the hell is going on? There are two voices talking, and one is Wil Wheaton’s. “I was wondering if you could help me write my keynote speech?” “When is the keynote?” “Today?” “Okay.”

4:15 PM: On how to jump-start a keynote speech. “How about the Wii-remote-in-the-pocket gag?” “Oh, I love that. Better not.” “How about the restraining order?”

The curtains open, and fiery-red lights spew beneath the slit, and out emerges Wil Wheaton. He walks up to the microphone and profoundly states the following:


4:19 PM: After speaking a short while, he seems to almost start over and begin again: “My name is Wil Wheaton, and I am a gamer. […] I have lived through two home console crashes. […] I have played Nightwatch on Sega CD. I own every Atari 2600 game […] and I keep them on this USB keyring.”

4:21 PM: Wil says:

I’m going to throw out some gaming references, to see what generations of gamers are here:

  • It is very dark. You are likely to be eaten by a grue.
  • Would you like your possessions identified?
  • Our princess is in another castle!
  • They don’t really want you to play Freebird. They’re just mocking you.

Wil Wheaton tells the story of the first time he saw Asteroids–in a cabinet in a liquor store, as opposed to on his dad’s “Sears machine.”

The kenote address takes everyone down memory land, and is rather elegant, mixed with comedy and “two-percenter” references. Two-percenters are jokes that only 2% of the general audience will get. People still laugh, though.

“As a child actor who was running all over California, going to several auditions a day, videogames were his reward and his collateral. If I had finished my homework, my mom would give me a roll of quarters. I had a mental rollodex of all the good games and where they were.” He lists all the video games he played, where they were in relation to each other, and which stores they were in.