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Gallery: Penny Arcade Expo Is Geek Gamer's Paradise

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Gallery: Penny Arcade Expo Is Geek Gamer's Paradise
: Photo: Stephen Brashear/Wired.comSEATTLE, Washington -- What is a "gamer?" Ask ten different Penny Arcade Expo attendees and you'll get ten different answers. Around 50,000 videogame fans have descended on downtown Seattle for this weekend's Penny Arcade Expo, all looking for a different experience.
Some are here to show off their hand-crafted costumes of videogame characters. Some are here to compete in tournaments for thousands of dollars in cash prizes. Some are here to perform videogame music and some are looking to hook up with game publishers and score the job of their dreams. All are here to meet up with like-minded peers from all over the world.

Click through the gallery to see the zaniness of PAX so far. Also check out Wired.com's entire PAX 2008 coverage. Left: Victor Carino poses for a photograph as Captain Falcon from the game F-Zero on the first day of the Penny Arcade Exposition at the Washington State Visitor and Convention Center in Seattle, Washington, Friday, Aug. 29, 2008.
: Photo: Stephen Brashear/Wired.comJack Waterman, left, and Paul Owens perform "chip tunes," using their Nintendo Game Boy systems as electronic instruments on the first day of the Penny Arcade Expo. Owens directed "Reformat the Planet," a documentary about chip tune artists who create original music using ancient videogame hardware, which is being screened at PAX.
: Photo: Stephen Brashear/Wired.comYou don't see as much cosplay on the PAX show floor as you do at events like Comic-Con, but there are still plenty of gamers in disguise. Kristopher Benson, left, of Seattle dressed up as Pit, aka Kid Icarus, from the game Super Smash Brothers Brawl. His friend, Hilary Kotzke of Seattle, is dressed as Yuffie -- she's a character from the Final Fantasy series of games, but this particular costume is how she appeared in the Disney/Final Fantasy crossover Kingdom Hearts. Cosplayers are a very specific sort.
: Photo: Stephen Brashear/Wired.com The "Omegathon" is one of the most brutal videogame tournaments ever devised. A pool of twenty competitors is slowly whittled down to just two finalists, over six grueling rounds spanning the three days of the show. "Omeganaut" Jo Urbanksy of Litchfield, Ohio, awaits his fate while playing Boom Blox on the Nintendo Wii (during the final match of round two of the Omegathon competition). Urbansky's aim was true, and he moved on to the next round.
: Photo: Stephen Brashear/Wired.com Dana White, left, of Seattle says she dressed up as a ninja because she is a ninja. Conversely, Megan Cummings, of Seattle, dressed up as a pirate because she wanted to fight the ninja. (Are they thinking about this game?)
: Photo: Stephen Brashear/Wired.com Dungeon Master Sage Kurtz of Portland, Oregon, presides over a game of Dungeons & Dragons. Some gamers come to PAX just to game for three days, whether sprawled on a beanbag chair playing Nintendo DS and trading Pokemon with new friends, or holed up in the tabletop gaming rooms waging pen-and-paper campaigns.
: Photo: Stephen Brashear/Wired.comThe first two nights of PAX play host to the nerdiest concerts ever. The OneUps, a videogame music cover band, kicked off Friday night's show, which was headlined by Jonathan Coulton, a singer/songwriter who penned "Still Alive," the theme song to last year's cult hit game Portal. Pictured: OneUps guitarist Tim Yarbrough, left, and violinist Greg Kennedy.
: Photo: Stephen Brashear/Wired.comWarmachine player Matt Birdsall of Arlington, Washington, rolls the dice while playing Hordes at the Privateer Press exhibit.
: Photo: Stephen Brashear/Wired.comTim Riggs of Spokane, Washington, competes in a Starcraft tournament. PAX's PC gaming room is the stuff of legend: It's sponsored by Intel, and Penny Arcade says it's one of the largest LANs in America. There are 330 computers that attendees can play on, and 300 spots where attendees can set up their own custom rigs. All of those spots had sold out before PAX even began.
: Photo: Stephen Brashear/Wired.comAs so many years of E3 proved, gamers will do almost anything for swag. To win a the newest version of Brothers in Arms, Kenny Repine of Tumwater, Washington, shaved his head and allowed "HELL" to be painted on his scalp.
: Photo: Stephen Brashear/Wired.comThere's no Dark Knight videogame that we know of, but that didn't stop Stephanie Lindner and Scott Falkner of Renton, Washington, from dressing up as Harley Quinn and the Joker.
: Photo: Stephen Brashear/Wired.comDaniel Smolentsev, right, of Portland, Oregon, and teammate Robert Bosch of Gresham, Oregon, celebrate winning a match in a Team Fortress 2 tournament.
: Photo: Stephen Brashear/Wired.com Freezepop vocalist Liz Enthusiasm performs. Freezepop isn't a videogame band per se, but member Kasson Crooker is a senior producer at Harmonix, the creators of Rock Band, and Freezepop's songs have appeared in many of the company's games.


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