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Postcards From PAX

Hey, do you like games? You should go to the Penny Arcade Expo! Take a brief look at part of our own personal journey this past weekend.

There was a good decade there when E3 seemed like an unflappable institution, the only annual game industry event that mattered. How times have changed. The video game trade show--or convention, or expo, or whatever you call it these days--has been in a weird place since the ESA let E3's relevance lapse the last few years. We in the press have come to rely on international shows like Leipzig and TGS, and--more importantly--individual publisher-run events to get early exposure to the games you want to know about.

But shows like the Penny Arcade Expo aren't even for us. They're for you, the public, just a bunch of dudes and dudettes who live and love games a little too often and too much. PAX has a great positive vibe, like you can feel it in the air that everyone who's there really wants to be there. There were these flashes of nerdy brilliance all around us. You'd never see an impromptu Game Boy-driven sidewalk noise show at an event like E3, but that kind of thing seemed to be commonplace at PAX. It's awesome enough that for $30 you can show up and check out stuff like Fallout 3, Left 4 Dead, Starcraft II, and LittleBigPlanet, but to see all the concerts, films, thoughtful panels--in essence, a gigantic celebration of gaming culture that was nearly 60,000 strong this year--is truly invigorating. For nerdy video game nerds. It's okay, I am one too.

Here's a few random pictures I snapped here and there while we were wandering around doing whatever it is we do at these things.


Nobody was an instant winner. Stupid Scrabble game.
Waiting for registration, day one.
Snaaaaaaaaake!
Memories of Ziff Davis employees past.










A bit of the hubbub from the main show floor.
Blurry Phoenix Wrighters about to play Guitar Hero.
Don't worry, some people played Rock Band 2, too.
Hey Ken, here's your picture!










1UP Yours did a live podcast for their panel...
...and a few people showed up.
Captain Falcon getting his intergalactic mack on.
A fraction of the people waiting to hear Ken Levine speak.










Rich Gallup took this picture!
Some people like Blizzard.
Fruit Fucker stops for no man!
LAN parties aren't dead yet.









Another line of people waiting for...something.
View from the stage just before our own panel.
The PAX people must be kicking themselves by now.
You know what this is.










Behind the camera: Matthew Rorie, man of intrigue.
Crowd!
The PAX-sanctioned opium den/Nintendo DS lounge.
Harmonix dudes give interviews while constantly headbanging.










Brad Shoemaker on Google+
30 Comments
Posted by Brad

There was a good decade there when E3 seemed like an unflappable institution, the only annual game industry event that mattered. How times have changed. The video game trade show--or convention, or expo, or whatever you call it these days--has been in a weird place since the ESA let E3's relevance lapse the last few years. We in the press have come to rely on international shows like Leipzig and TGS, and--more importantly--individual publisher-run events to get early exposure to the games you want to know about.

But shows like the Penny Arcade Expo aren't even for us. They're for you, the public, just a bunch of dudes and dudettes who live and love games a little too often and too much. PAX has a great positive vibe, like you can feel it in the air that everyone who's there really wants to be there. There were these flashes of nerdy brilliance all around us. You'd never see an impromptu Game Boy-driven sidewalk noise show at an event like E3, but that kind of thing seemed to be commonplace at PAX. It's awesome enough that for $30 you can show up and check out stuff like Fallout 3, Left 4 Dead, Starcraft II, and LittleBigPlanet, but to see all the concerts, films, thoughtful panels--in essence, a gigantic celebration of gaming culture that was nearly 60,000 strong this year--is truly invigorating. For nerdy video game nerds. It's okay, I am one too.

Here's a few random pictures I snapped here and there while we were wandering around doing whatever it is we do at these things.


Nobody was an instant winner. Stupid Scrabble game.
Waiting for registration, day one.
Snaaaaaaaaake!
Memories of Ziff Davis employees past.










A bit of the hubbub from the main show floor.
Blurry Phoenix Wrighters about to play Guitar Hero.
Don't worry, some people played Rock Band 2, too.
Hey Ken, here's your picture!










1UP Yours did a live podcast for their panel...
...and a few people showed up.
Captain Falcon getting his intergalactic mack on.
A fraction of the people waiting to hear Ken Levine speak.










Rich Gallup took this picture!
Some people like Blizzard.
Fruit Fucker stops for no man!
LAN parties aren't dead yet.









Another line of people waiting for...something.
View from the stage just before our own panel.
The PAX people must be kicking themselves by now.
You know what this is.










Behind the camera: Matthew Rorie, man of intrigue.
Crowd!
The PAX-sanctioned opium den/Nintendo DS lounge.
Harmonix dudes give interviews while constantly headbanging.










Posted by Coltonio7

That Companion Cube is craaaaazy big

Posted by Weltal

Awesome. I'd love to attend an East Coast PAX.

Posted by Agent_Lost

ah i want a 1 to 1 size companion cube, but still amazing

Posted by rckbikes

Snake has an "O" face

Posted by Driadon

LOL@headbanging.....is that Alex....?

Posted by elbow

I'm sure but I have to say this... anyone would be stupid NOT to have been to the Giantbomb panel, the group behind the golden days of Gamespot (sans Greg) was together for the first time in over a year, seriously someone had to have recorded this panel, just had to have!

Posted by AndrewGaspar

My friend and I plan on going to the new PAX in Boston (because that's where he used to live) in its first year the summer before we go to college.

However, you have to be 18 to go and he'll still only be 17. Can he go? An answer on a bombcast soonish would be awesome.

A PM would be fine.

Posted by ThomasJKunsman

Where the f is the bombcast?!

Posted by ThomasP

Jeff's a nerd?

I thought he was a geek.

Nerds FTW.
Posted by MasterSplinter

Haha Brad's guest appearance on the 1up Yours panel/podcast was hilarious. As is Ryan's face in the first picture...

Posted by SuperJoe
that big boss costume has to hurt that guy's nuts
Posted by Terrell

So yeah im probably going to Boston in 2010 for PAX, finally the east coast gets some love!

Posted by Terrell

So yeah im probably going to Boston in 2010 for PAX, finally the east coast gets some love!

Posted by Absurd

Lol, Cool pics

Posted by Lies

Aw man, looks fun. I'll make it to PAX one of these years...

Posted by imayellowfellow

yesss improved coverage

Posted by GalvanizedNails

do you seriously have to be 18 to go to pax? I had my mind set on gong in 2010. oh well. East Coast PAX 2012 here I come! Looks like you guys had a crapload of fun, and wow, tons of people at the 1up yours live broadcast. It was nice to hear brad bable on it for a few.

Posted by PabloDiablo

So, is this a substitute for this week's podcast?

Posted by GalvanizedNails

no I don't think this is taking the place of the bombcast. Can we get a confirmation from the staff? And don't expect this podcast to be 2 hours or anything.

Posted by TheGTAvaccine

Man, I wish I could've been there. :(

Posted by CleverLoginName

Is ryan choking?

Posted by HatKing

I would consider going to something like this.

Posted by Firrae

looks awesome, I wish you guys were able to do some sort of video podcast on PAX. hopefully i'll be able to go to a PAX sometime in the future...

Posted by ImperiousRix

I need to go to PAX so bad.  Next year, maybe.... next year.

Posted by Classic_Gs

Looks like fun!

Posted by ouvintes

you guys need to eat better food ! :)
cool pics, too bad these conventions are so far away from Brazil...nothing close to that down here...

Posted by SuperMooseman

Ryan looks like he ate something bad in the first picture!

Posted by TomA

i was in one,the panel audience one leaning against the pillar.

Posted by mawfu

You whore of a cube. I knew their was someone else.