The Penny Arcade Expo (PAX) East 2012 has begun, and fans from all over the world are gathering to take part in the huge community event.  It’s been sold out for some time, with only a few select day passes left, but Prima Games is here and we're going to bring you show coverage throughout the weekend. 

For those who don’t truly understand what it’s about, let's start with a breakdown of what to expect from the huge three-day event.


A huge assortment of panels are held every year at the PAX events, both Prime and East, that showcase not only developers talking about the joy of what they love making (primarily Gearbox Software, who are a huge draw with Borderlands 2 releasing in September), but also specialists who talk about their love for the community.  Well-known gaming personalities like Xbox’s Larry “Major Nelson” Hyrb and his team, several podcast runners who tape live shows, and specialists who work outside the usual media circles will all conduct panels at this year's PAX East.  

Even the Penny Arcade team is here (obviously). You’ll have a chance to sit down and talk with them, celebrating everything about the show as Gabe and Tycho, the stars of the hit comic strip, talk about their work.  We're going to sneak into a couple of these panels and bring you the scoop later on this weekend.

Games, baby!

Every year, more and more game companies are jumping into the PAX bandwagon to show off their latest products.  Microsoft is a big headliner, bringing several of its upcoming games for Xbox 360 and Xbox Live as well as a bunch of third-party releases.  We expect a huge Steel Battalion showing for Kinect along with Bloodforge and several other games.

Nintendo will also bring a boatload of hardware and software to the floor, including recent releases Kid Icarus Uprising and Spirit Camera, both for Nintendo 3DS.  Mario Tennis 3DS will also make a pre-release showing, and Nintendo has already told us they will be giving away PAX-exclusive AR cards for Kid Icarus to attendees.  (We are definitely snagging some of those!)

Several third party developers are also stepping up.  Ubisoft will have several games, including the upcoming Assassins Creed III (with exclusive game footage shown to the public for the first time), the much-anticipated sequel Far Cry 3 (complete with free mohawk haircuts and tattoos), and Tom Clancy’s Ghost Recon: Future Soldier, among others.  They’re even bringing their Frag Dolls team along to compete with others.

Other publishers include Sega, Warner Bros. Games (Lollipop Chainsaw and Lego Batman 2), Rockstar Games (with its upcoming Max Payne 3), and 2K Games, with its X-COM and Borderlands 2 offerings. Several others are also in attendance, making this a huge event for those that are looking forward to how the gaming scene is evolving over the next year.

Celebrating the classics

PAX East is a huge event when it comes to community, and you merely need to step out on the show floor to see how that’s happening.  A huge section of the floor is dedicated to the tabletop scene, in which several hardcore players show off their skills with soldier placement and dice rolls, proving they have what it takes to master the battlefield.  There’s also a classic gaming section, in case you want to prove your worth against others in Super Smash Bros., or go flying around in StarFox.

Tournaments, anyone?

The Omegathon is a huge draw with each PAX show, as players compete from all over the world through a number of games, including a few surprise picks, that truly test their worth as gamers.  And with big prizes on the line and plenty of notoriety to go around, there’s more than enough reason to enter these contests and prove that, yes, you can hold your own against the best of the best.  You might just walk away champion.

Live entertainment

PAX East is also a great place to see bands like the Minibosses, the Megas and other video game oriented bands who know how to keep a crowd going.  And, of course, there are the several after-parties taking place throughout Boston, with plenty of folks performing for the crowds and lots of fun to be had.  If you can catch one of these shows, we certainly recommend doing so. 

Enjoy the show, no matter what.  If you happen to live in the Boston area, try to make it out for at least one day. If you just can’t make it this year, we’ll be updating throughout the weekend with some of our favorite moments from PAX East 2012, so be sure to come for more!