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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.
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.
As of September 2014, Penny Arcade Expo’s Twitter account has gained over 170,000 followers and its Facebook page has gained over 80,000 followers. In 2009, redditor cyricsmith created the subreddit r/PAX. As of September 2014, the subreddit has gained over 4,000 readers.
On September 2nd, 2005, MTV 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 reported Wil Wheaton would speak at the 4th annual expo. On September 2nd, 2010, The Atlantic 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 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 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 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 and g4tv.
Search interest for San Diego Comic Con spikes every August when the main conference is held.
The Laughing Squid – Penny Arcade Expo 2007, A Giant Three Day Game Festival
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