The Penny Arcade Expo (PAX) is a semi-annual gamer festival held in Seattle and Boston. PAX was created by Jerry Holkins and Mike Krahulik, the authors of the Penny Arcade webcomic, because they wanted to attend a show that gave equal attention to console gamers, computer gamers, and tabletop gamers.
Created in 2004, PAX has been hailed as a weekend-long celebration of gamer culture. Defining characteristics include an insider keynote speech, game-inspired concerts, panels on game industry topics, exhibitor booths from independent and major game developers and publishers, after-hours parties, tournaments, and freeplay areas. Every PAX also features the Omegathon, a weekend long tournament of randomly selected attendees competing for a grand prize. The final round makes up the show’s closing ceremony; past games for the final round have included Tetris, Pong, Halo 3, and Skee ball.
Jerry Holkins has said that the effect of PAX and Child’s Play on gaming culture will outlast that of the Penny Arcade webcomic, “substantially.”
After many successful years of PAX, in 2010 the first PAX East was held in Boston, MA, with attendance levels that rivaled those of PAX 2009. From then on, the Washington conventions were referred to as PAX Prime in order to avoid confusion between the two.