You can't delve into the origins of the PAX (Penny Arcade Expo) without first excavating the history of the webcomic known as Penny Arcade. Penny Arcade is a webcomic written by Jerry Holkins and Mike Krahulik based around video games and video game culture. The comic originally debuted in 1998 on the website loonygames.com. Jerry and Mike have since established their own website at Penny-Arcade.com which is updated with a new comic strip every Monday, Wednesday, and Friday. The comics are accompanied by regular updates on the website's blog.
The Penny-Arcade.com website receives over 2 million page views a day and I can say without hesitation that I am quite green with envy- almost as green as Kermit the Frog. After spending a lot of time on their website, I can see what all the hype is about. Not only does the comic have engaging artwork and characters but the references to everything in nerd culture cause me to laugh out loud at my desk at work which in turn causes my co-workers to fire looks of confusion and disdain in my direction which cause me to become distracted and write run-on sentences like the one you have just completed. If their comic can do that, it can accomplish anything- even time travel without a flux capacitor. Here's one of my favorites:
Jerry and Mike are two of a handful of artists able to make a living off webcomics. Originally Jerry and Mike supported their artistic endeavor with donations through their website, now they have switched to providing advertising and merchandise to support their ongoing comic. In addition to the comic the two nerds have launched a slew of other projects including Child's Play (a children's charity), 2 games - Penny Arcade Adventures: On the Rain-Slick Precipice of Darkness episodes 1 and 2, and of course the now famous PAX.
PAX is essentially a throng of excited tabletop and video gamers intent on spending three days completely plugged in to console and computer video games and tabletop RPGs. In addition there is an inside keynote speech, game inspired concerts, panels on game industry topics, game publisher exhibition booths, tournaments, free-play areas, and after-hour parties. PAX also features the Omegathon, a weekend long tournament of randomly selected attendees competing for a grand prize! The final round of the tournament makes up PAX's closing ceremony; past games have included Pong, Halo 3, Skee ball, and my absolute hands down favorite- Tetris! PAX is a semi-annual festival that takes place in Seattle and Boston.
For a real look into what PAX is all about check out this video:
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".
NERD TREK has requested media passes to attend PAX 2011 and will be covering all 3 days of the festival with a team of 6 of our nerdiest journalists. Stay tuned to NERDTREK.com for full coverage of PAX Seattle 2011.