When Jerry Holkins and Mike Krahulik of webcomic Penny Arcade hosted the first Penny Arcade Expo, or PAX, in Seattle in August 2004, they couldn't know that the 3,300 attendees was just a taste of things to come. But PAX has grown consistently in the nearly a decade since, and this celebration of gaming and gamers — be they video, computer, card, board, or role-playing — is now held every spring in Boston and fall in Seattle, attracting up to 70,000 fans from around the world.

The third annual PAX East was held in Boston over the weekend of April 6. Kicking off with a keynote speech by Prince of Persia creator Jordan Mechner, the show offered an extensive expo hall in which publishers showed off their upcoming hits for 2012; dozens of panels, speeches, and workshops for gamers interested in learning more about the industry; competitions and tournaments; a bean bag-filled handheld gaming lounge; arcades of both coin-ops and Kickstarter-funded indie games; and more.

For highlights from the show, check out the below image galleries of PAX East 2012.

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PAX East 2012

Making appearances at PAX East 2012 were Robert Boyd of Zeboyd Games (Breath of Death VII, Cthulhu Saves the World, Penny Arcade: On The Rainslick Precipice of Darkness), Margaret Weis (Dragonlance), Kathleen DeVere (LoadingReadyRun, Desert Bus for Hope), coin-ops from the American Classic Arcade Museum at Funspot, Lolth the Spider Queen of Wizards of the Coast's Dungeons & Dragons setting of the Forgotten Realms, Gearbox Software's Borderlands 2, Square's Theatrhythm Final Fantasy, and more. Cosplayers included Sheik, Pyramid Head, Solid Snake, Master Chief, Chrono, and a Shy Guy.