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PAX East is coming back to Boston

With the first Penny Arcade Expo on the east coast finished and in the record books we have already news of its return to Boston, but this time it will be in a different place.  PAX East 2010 was held at the Hynes Convention Center in the Prudential building complex and while this is an advantageous area of the city the Hynes ended up being too small for what was to occur this past weekend.  Speculation was abound that Penny Arcade’s first foray on the east coast would only attract around 30,000, and even Jerry Holkins (one of the co-creators of the Penny Arcade web comic) had fears as to whether or not the turnout would be thinned due to the convention’s move to the other side of the country.  The fans would not disappoint.  Approximately 60,000 people showed up for the inaugural PAX East, selling out the expo and packing that particular area of Boston for three days.

With such a turnout it has already been decided to move the next expo to the Boston Convention & Exhibition Center, which is a much larger venue.  However, there are some problems with this move to come.  The Boston Convention Center is located near Boston Harbor, and is somewhat isolated from many of the shops and restaurants of Bean Town.  Even so this seems to be a necessary trade off, as attendees and exhibitors both felt very cramped in the restricted space of the Hynes.  In fact many of PAX’s panels where scheduled closely together simply because the Hynes Convention Center did not provide enough space to feature them with only four rooms actually available for the panels.

The next two Penny Arcade East Expos slated for 2011 and 2012 appear to already be locked in at the Boston Convention & Exhibition Center.  I attended PAX East for the three days that it was in Boston, and I can honestly say that the change is needed.  Traffic flow among the crowds became such an issue that it could take quite some time just to get down a hallway.  In addition to this two of the rooms in the Hynes, the Wyvern and the Naga, as they were dubbed for the expo, were so small that people had to line up quite well in advance to get into the particular panels being conducted in them.  Even the exhibition room appeared to be cramped as there was just not enough space for publishers, and it really seemed to be lacking for what one would expect to see at a PAX convention.  I managed a few moments to speak with Jerry Holkins on this issue concerning space, and due to the turnout the Penny Arcade staff already went to look at the Boston Convention & Exhibition Center while in town.  The decision to move appeared to have already been made by the time I had a chance to talk to Jerry on the third day of the convention.

So rejoice denizens of the east, the return of PAX promises to be even grander than what we experienced this time around.

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