March 30, 2010
Posted: 04:05 PM ET
Everyone remembers the first time.
Whether it’s the first time you drove a car or the first time you kissed a girl, it was probably important.
That was how it felt at the first East Coast Penny Arcade Expo or as it’s better known, PAX East, which wrapped up Sunday. The annual west-coast gathering of gamers, started in 2004, had become so popular that, finally, it made the jump across the country country.
For gamers, this was an important event - not just because we got to go out with our "geek flags" flying high, but also because we felt the camaraderie and shared love of gaming that we can't always find without an Internet connection.
The Hynes Convention Center in Boston was packed with people carrying gaming PCs, consoles, and even pouches full of dice. No style of gaming or gamer was excluded. Everyone was accepted and most likely, found a ton of people that were into the same type of games.
It was definitely the place where you got to pick your poison. If you were into "Dungeons & Dragons" there was a room for you. If you wanted to play "Magic: The Gathering," not only were there rooms filled with people eagerly shuffling their decks, but games spilled out into the halls.
Retro arcade gaming was represented in full force, taking everyone back to the quarter-hoarding mindset or our youth - or, for younger gamers, of legend.
There were even rooms set up with dozens of PS3s, Xbox 360s, and Nintendo Wiis ready for action. All you needed was a game and the courage to play it in front of other people.
Once you were done getting your butt kicked by a 13 year-old, there were plenty of panels discussing new trends in gaming and the evolution of today’s games.
Actor, blogger and geek superstar Wil Wheaton kicked off the convention with a keynote address about growing up as a gamer and how relationships forged in the crucible of imagination have become some of his strongest friendships.
Jerry Holkins and Mike Krahulik, the founders of PAX and creators of the "Penny Arcade" webcomic, took questions from the audience and even showed people how they make a strip.
No gaming topic was overlooked. Panels discussed every aspect of the gaming community, from game development, criticism, marketing and even creation. New games were demoed, "Prince of Persia: The Forgotten Sands" and "Split Second" were playable and they haven’t been released yet.
This convention was a gamer's dream.
Back in 2004, when Holkins and Krahulik started the convention in Washington, they wanted to bring gamers together. And they've succeeded.
If the reaction in Boston is any indication of the future, Mike Krahulik may get his wish of one day starting a Euro PAX.
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