Within five hours, every badge and pass for Penny Arcade Expo 2013 was sold out. Complete four day passes sold out in just 23 minutes. It's just that popular.
Now in its ninth year, PAX -- now called PAX Prime, because the creators have started Expos in Boston and Australia to help temper the high demand for attendence -- draws tens of thousands (there isn't a firm count, but 2011 was the first year when it was confirmed to reach more than 70,000) of gamers and cosplayers to Seattle's Convention Center. They wait by their computers to try to get passes. They wait in line for hours to get inside. Then, once they get inside, they wait for a chance to play the latest games.
"We waited until the day of the sale -- right when we saw the tweet that it opened up -- and by the time we were in the queue, four day passes were already sold out," said Matt Benson, of Port Angeles, who told me he'd been waiting in line for three hours with his friends.
It hasn't always been this huge, though.
"Back when I came for the first time, five years ago, it was so much smaller -- it was just that little area on the other side of the sky bridge," Benson explained, but added that "it's much better organized and now. This is better."
The exposition was started by the creators of the Penny Arcade web comic, locals, Jerry Holkins and Mike Krahulik, who wanted to attend a convention that was about both video games and tabletop games. So, in 2004, they created one.
Now, scores of out-of-towners come from across the country and even beyond the U.S.'s borders compete in game play, purchase items for tabletop and video games, test out new games, and, most importantly, to be there when the biggest announcements in gaming happen.
Like on Friday morning, when Max Tempkin and Ben Hantoot, the creators of one of the extremely-popular Kickstarter-funded card game, Cards Against Humanity, were fervrently attempting to launch their newest product from a MacBook in a hotel lobby.
A box. To be specific, The Bigger Blacker Box, which is "just a box to hold your cards in."
"It's the stupident thing we've ever made," laughed Tempkin, "but the launch is exclusive to PAX and it's got some secrets."
Immediately, the convention-goers were abuzz.
"Are they talking about us?" Hantoot asked as some excited PAX attendees walked by, very clearly having seen the tweet sent just seconds prior. And by the time they made it back to the Cards Against Humanity booth, there was a line with boxes already purchased, ready to have them signed.
But for the attendees, all of the waiting is worth it.
"This is why we come," said one attendee who didn't want to give her name, "so that we can be first."
Penny Arcade Expo runs Friday through Monday at the Washington State Convention Center.