Penny Arcade Expo

Penny Arcade Expo

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Penny Arcade Expo (or PAX) is the video game conference held annually in Washington state. The name was taken from a web comic Penny Arcade created in 1998 by Mike Krahulik and Jerry Holkins. Since its creation the conference has expanded to multiple cities and seen an expansion in cosplay.


On November 18th, 1998, Penny Arcade published its first strip about long loading time. The web comic was created by illustrator Mike Krahulik and writer Jerry Holkins. The webcomic continued to update regularly throughout the late ’90s and early 2000s.

The original Penny Arcade Expo, organized by Krahulik and Holkins, occurred on August 28th and 29th, 2004, in Bellevue, Washington.[5]

Notable Development

Expansion Into Other Cities

On September 7th, 2009, expo creator Jerry Holkins announced an expo would be held in Boston, Massachusetts in 2010. Called Penny Arcade Expo East, the conference occurred between March 26th-March 28th, in the Hynes Convention Center. In 2013, a PAX conference was held in Melbourne, Australia. In January of 2015, Pax South will be held in San Antonio, Texas.

Online Presence

As of September 2014, Penny Arcade Expo’s Twitter account[1] has gained over 170,000 followers and its Facebook page[2] has gained over 80,000 followers. In 2009, redditor cyricsmith created the subreddit r/PAX.[6] As of September 2014, the subreddit has gained over 4,000 readers.

Media Coverage

On September 2nd, 2005, MTV[9] published an article titled “An E3 For Everybody: Penny Arcade Expo Doubles In Second Year” which reported in the expo’s second year attendance reached 10,000 people. On August 20th, 2007, the Laughing Squid[10] reported Wil Wheaton would speak at the 4th annual expo. On September 2nd, 2010, The Atlantic[15] published an article titled “Penny Arcade Expo: 60,000 Gamers Press ‘Start’” which covered the the work that goes into organizing the expo. On August 30th, 2014, Motherboard[8] published an article titled “The Penny Arcade eXpo Tries to Grow Up, With Awkward Results” which covered the expo’s sometimes unsuccessful attempts to be more inclusive of all genders, sexual orientations and races.

Swine Flu Outbreak

On September 8th, 2009, Boing Boing[12] reported an attendee at the 2009 Penny Arcade Expo had test positive for Swine Flu, according to those behind the expo. The following day Wired[11] reported almost 100 attendees had come down with the flu, causing hashtags such as #nerdflu and #paxflu to circulate on Twitter. The same day the outbreak was covered by Kotaku[13] and g4tv.[14]

Search Interest

Search interest for San Diego Comic Con spikes every August when the main conference is held.

External References

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Top Comments

Dr. Free Cake Needs More Cowbell!
Dr. Free Cake Needs More Cowbell!

My opinions about the comic and people behind it are completely neutral, but I still don’t understand how two guys who make a webcomic managed to somehow create a huge, well-known convention that spans the globe where game industry giants unveil their newest creations. Could someone with more knowledge on the subject explain to me the story of how this all came to be?


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