The Penny Arcade crew had invited Thompson to the 2007 PAX, at their expense, to take part in a debate with a high-profile member of the videogame industry, such as Entertainment Consumer Association President Hal Halpin, or International Game Developers Association Executive Director Jason Della Rocca. Behind-the-scenes negotiations had been ongoing, but the parties were unable to come to an agreement over how to promote the event. Penny Arcade wanted to leave the debate as a surprise, in large part to avoid the massive overcrowding that would inevitably accompany such an event; Thompson, on the other hand, insisted on putting out a press release to publicize his appearance, and refused to appear otherwise.
Thompson eventually issued a press release describing his refusal to participate without a press release, in which he questioned Penny Arcade’s motives and accused them of hypocrisy. “For Penny-Arcade to take the position that there must be a news blackout on this strikes me and others as hypocritical to the max,” it said in part. “You guys are the ones who think that even adult entertainment materials should be marketed and sold to children because of ‘freedom of expression,’ and yet I am not allowed to tell media and others of this debate? Come on, how transparently double-standard-bound in your machinations can you all be?”
While it remains possible that Thompson could participate in a debate at PAX 2007 despite these events, it seems extremely unlikely given the inherent difficulties in dealing with the man.
The Penny Arcade Expo 2007 will he held in Seattle, Washington, from August 24-26, and will feature games, concerts, a contest for a trip for two to the Tokyo Game Show, and keynote speaker Wil Wheaton. More information, as well as schedules, registration and hotel information, is available at the official PAX 2007 site.