What is PAX East?

PAX Image 2 Ecran Partage

A few weeks ago was held in Boston, USA, Penny Arcade Expo East, better known as PAX East.

This event is a kind of video game comic-con, a big party where players can come and meet the developers of their favorite games, discover the new titles they are working on, and meet other enthusiasts.

What exactly is found at PAX? Who is the event for? Is it worth preparing your passport for the next edition?

We answer all your questions here!

Penny Arcade Expo, a tradition

At its core, Penny Arcade is a webcomic (a series of online comics) created by Mike Krahulik and Jerry Holkins. The two creators began publishing their comics very early in the history of the Internet, in 1998, which made them precursors and staples of the medium.

In 2004, they announced the very first PAX, which was held in Bellevue, just outside Seattle. Over the years, the event became so popular that it split into several editions: the original edition, which is still held in Seattle, is now called PAX West.

Starting in 2010, an edition of PAX was held in Boston, which was renamed PAX East. The event was immediately a huge success, and if the organizers no longer reveal the number of visitors, we know that the two events, West and East, are of comparable size.

There is also a version of PAX in Australia (PAX Australia) and since 2015, PAX South, an event that takes place in San Antonio, Texas.

Finally, PAX Dev is aimed more specifically at members of the industry, while PAX Unplugged focuses on table games.

What can we do at PAX?

The showroom

PAX Image 1 Share Screen
PAX Image 1 Share Screen

PAX (whether PAX East or West) is a gaming event in general, whether it’s table games, board games or video games.

The main attraction of PAX is the showroom. On a huge floor (the exhibition hall of the Boston Convention and Exhibition Center is about 4.8 hectares) are piled up kiosks of all kinds.

There are video game publishers and developers who come to present the games they have recently launched, or the projects they are working on, giving players a unique chance to try games first. There are industry giants such as Nintendo as well as very small independent developers.

By the way, if you want to get a glimpse of the variety of games that can be seen at PAX, you can read our article on the games we tried during our visit.

PAX Cover Shared Screen

There are also publishers of board games and role-playing games, merchants who sell accessories of all kinds, from videogame-themed t-shirts to wooden tables to play Dungeons and Dragons.

There are spaces to set up your computer and take part in games, spaces to play card games, a competition area where professional players participate in tournaments, in short, the offer is very varied.

Conferences, concerts and other activities

But the showroom is far from the only attraction for fans cramming into PAX; Many panelists come to make various presentations. This year, one of the most popular presentations was on the history of Nintendo’s Gamecube, as we saw a Q&A session where two WWE wrestlers, Xavier Woods and Tyler Breeze, came to talk about their video game channel and answer questions from fans.

PAX Image 3 Screen Sharing
PAX Image 3 Screen Sharing

There are also video game music concerts, parties organized for fans… The program is varied.

Finally, several participants travel to show their cosplays, costumes of Japanese video game and anime characters, and to participate in the various competitions.

How much does it cost to get to PAX East?

So, you want to try the experience? You may have fun, but you still have to plan and budget.

First of all, there are the tickets. The event lasts 4 days, and you can buy an individual ticket for each of the days, or buy a ticket that will give you access during all 4 days. The price varies depending on the year, but we usually talk about sixty dollars USD per day, or $ 250 USD for the 4 days.

The pass gives access to all activities, but still remember to plan a budget for meals. Restaurants offer on-site meals, but they can be a bit expensive.

And since the event takes place right in downtown Boston, surrounding hotels are expensive, and often filled well in advance. It will therefore be necessary to book early, or rent a room or an AirBNB a little further from the city center.