The guys behind Penny Arcade, Jerry Holkins (Tycho Brahe) and Mike Krahulik (Jonathan “Gabe” Gabriel) know games and gaming culture. Years ago when disgusted with what E3 had become, a bloated glitzy media only conference, they decided that gamers should have their own event. They dubbed it the Penny Arcade Expo or PAX for short and it was a huge success. Years have passed and it has become the most popular consumer gaming expo in the world, so popular that it has spanned an East cost variant called PAX East.
This is PAX East’s second year and based on how great last years event was, the expectations this time around are very high. The three day event is running from March 11th to 13th and has a keynote speaker who truly gets the gaming culture. Jane McGonigal, a respected game designer, author, and Ted speaker–as well as a major advocate for the positive aspects of gaming– is kicking off the event.
PAX East is designed by gamers, for gamers, and it shows. The event is open to developers and vendors but it is a public show and everyone can come by and try out new games and hardware. The who’s who of the gaming industry will be on hand to show off their latest and greatest products and to answer questions from the fans.
PAX East isn’t just about video games though, there is also a huge focus on pen & paper and CCG games variants. There are whole wings of the exhibition space dedicated to roleplaying experiences of all types, with chances to sit, play, and literally try out the systems you may know and others you would like to experience.
PAX East is also special in the fact that there are literally dozens of panels throughout the event. The panels range from live game demos of blockbusters like Rage and Deus Ex: Human Revolution to panels discussing community moderation and how to enter the industry. These panels offer an insight into the gaming industry and geek culture in a way that no other expo can compare with.
Blogcritics will be at PAX East again this year so keep coming back to see a wide range of coverage. There will be liveblogs of major events, previews of the hottest games, and maybe even a transcript of a live D&D Encounters session in which I will be taking part. If anyone will be at PAX East, feel free to drop a note in the comments and we can potentially meet up at the show.