More than 80,000 gamers will descend upon the Boston Convention and Exhibition Center this weekend for PAX East 2018.
The annual event, which kicks off on April 5, is a multi-day celebration of everything that has to do with gaming culture, from tabletop to arcade and video games. Now in its ninth year, PAX East has expanded into a four-day affair for 2018 to help accomodate the always growing number of fans who'll be in attendance.
This weekend's festivities are actually just one of several under the PAX umbrella, which originally launched in 2004 under the name "Penny Arcade Expo" in Washington before expanding to other cities. Director of events Ryan Hartman tells Metro that the Boston fest has quickly become the largest event for the PAX team.
"It's not an easy thing to grow a show to this size," Hartman says. "We love Boston, and Boston's embraced this show."
For people who haven't attended a PAX event before, Hartman describes it as a true celebration of all things gaming, and is basically a party for fans and members of the industry. Many gamers from across the country save up each year to make the trek to the Hub in order to meet with friends they usually only get to hang out with online.
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"Our unwritten motto is 'welcome home,' and that's an idea that encapsulates what we do," Hartman says. "There are a lot of people who save up all year and then they make pilgrimages to the show. This is their Disney trip."
And like Disney, there's always a ton of fun stuff going on to keep attendees entertained throughout the weekend.
Guests who want to get their game on can take part in tournaments or sit back and watch the pros do their thing. Free play areas will be available as well for console, PC, virtual reality and tabletop fans, while a lounge area has been set aside for handheld games. Other highlights include panels, nightly concerts, an exhibit hall and even an appearance by Major League Soccer, which should delight esports and "FIFA" fans.
Attendees will also get the chance to take part in the Omegathon – a competition that occurs in the background of the show. Anyone who buys a ticket and checks the appropriate box will be considered for the Omegathon, which will feature 20 randomly selected fans who'll take part in different challenges and secret games for an opportunity to win a trip to any future PAX event around the world.
If you go:
April 5-8, Boston Convention and Exhibition Center, 415 Summer St., Boston, $53, east.paxsite.com