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RPS@PAX 2022: A deep dive into PAX's Pinny Arcade community

Some pinteresting conversations

We did a lot of cool things during our time at this year's PAX East. We attended a wonderful talk by "Skyrim Grandma" Shirley Curry. We gawked at the coolest booths on the show floor. I got nightmares after looking at a super cursed baby. My personal highlight, though, was talking to the Pinny Arcade collectors during the show's official trading event.

I’ll admit, before I went to PAX I didn’t really appreciate how big Pinny Arcade was. I’d definitely seen photos of colourful metal pins depicting characters from various video games fly across my screen as I browsed Twitter, but I had never thought much about them beyond that. I was shocked, then, to arrive at PAX and realise just how integral this collectable is to the show. Merch booths sell starter packs, individual demo stations flog game specific rarities and avid fans adorn their lanyards with their favourite pieces. It turns out, Pinny Arcade is huge.

Curious to find out more, Katharine and I went along to the trading meet-up to see if we could talk to some super fans, hoping they’d shed some light on the allure of this hobby. Despite the relatively drab space set aside at the back of expo hall, the energy in the room was electric. Some had laid out piles of pins in front of them like ragtag market vendors. Others had plonked themselves onto the floor, a selection of their rarer pins stuck neatly to a foam board. Most were simply wandering the room, hoping to discover the one pin they needed to complete a portion of their collection. Everyone, however, was having fun. The air was thick with laughter, exclamations of joy as friends reunited with one another for the first time since the pandemic began as well as the general background buzz of a large group excited to be engaging in a hobby they love.

In the video above, we briefly discuss the history of Pinny Arcade before hearing from some of the collectors themselves. They told us how long they’ve been collecting for, which pin is their favourite, and why they enjoy being a part of this thriving community. There’s also some advice on how to get started yourself as well as some footage of the most glorious coat you’ve ever seen in your entire life.

If you’re looking for more PAX stuff, we also had a lovely chat with the creator of upcoming golf-rogue-like Cursed to Golf as well as the CEO of TinyBuild. Alternatively, head on over to our dedicated RPS@PAX page to have a nosey at everything we’ve made so far.

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Liam Richardson avatar

Liam Richardson

Video Producer

Liam is RPS’s vid bud. When he’s not obsessing over the finer details of digital cities and theme parks, he’s probably getting very excited about a colourful indie game that stars a nice frog. A huge fan of everything PC gaming-related, Liam has a particular fondness for classic 90s shooters and Team Fortress 2.

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