PAX, or the Penny Arcade Expo, has now closed its doors for 2009. I've never attended this annual celebration of gamer culture since its 2004 inception, due primarily to the time and cost involved: the video game industry is no longer my line of work, and hauling myself from Boston to Seattle is a difficult expense to justify.

Fortunately, the philanthropists behind PAX, Penny Arcade, and Child's Play have seen fit to bestow their good graces on us remote fans. PAX East, the first ever PAX outside the Seattle metro area, will descend upon Boston on March 26th for three days of glorious gaming. Registration is now open and is priced even more affordably than their Web site suggests: a three-day pass is only $45, cheaper than two individual one-day passes.

Registration for PAX East comes with a free one-year membership with the Entertainment Consumers Association, a group I'd not previously heard of. Curious, I accepted the offer and will send an inquiry to the Massachusetts chapter to learn more.

I attended enough E3 events to grow weary of them, but none was aimed at my gamer self or was as accessible as PAX East promises to be. With four dozen dollars and a half-hour drive within my budget, I find myself looking forward to partaking of Gabe and Tycho's bounty — followed a month later by ROFLCon II, where a geek can be a geek. There's never been a better time or place to be one.