Sep 182014

What’s up with Pinny Arcade Pins?

Not much – or at least I thought so, at first.

the newest members of the family

the newest members of the family

Let’s start at the beginning. Penny Arcade Pins are a collectable, tradable item concocted by the creators of PAX itself after Gabe (Mike Krahulik)  discovered the joy of Disney Pin Trading. They’re mostly all done in a similar style-a small metallic pin with a border, sporting the artwork of a video game, person (Penny arcade staff members, developers), random charactertures or the Gabe and Tycho themselves in some sort of weird fashion (this year, 80’s Gabe and Tycho).

So what’s the big deal?

That’s the very question I asked myself the day i picked up my first Pinny. I could never forget the day. I obtained it for free at the Sony booth after trying Infamous: Second Son. I held the piece of metal in my hand, glimmering in the low lights of the Expo hall. I stuck it on my lanyard and thought that was that.

That’s when it began. Every now and again I’d look down at my lanyard, see my prize glimmering so brightly. I liked the looked of it, I really liked the look of it. I tried to put it out of my mind once more.

the INFAMOUS first set ehh

the INFAMOUS first set ehh

When I stopped at the merch booth to grab a tee-shirt I saw another pack of Pinnys. Ones that kind of caught my eye – Behemoth ones, a developer I’m quite fond of. Specifically, the pins are done in the style of BattleBlock Theatre. I can’t get enough of it’s cutesy devilish art, the small beady eyes of the characters who, during the game, bop you on the head and throw you into a pit of spikes for glory. They were, respectively, Hatty Hattington, a viking and Davy Crockett . I bought them, added to my collection.

Something in me changed the moment that happened. Our hands exchanged money and I felt something spark. A need, a drive to find more. I found myself checking out other friends lanyards, looking up what Pinnies would be offered at what Penny Arcades, waiting in the ever long line to trade with Gabe and Tycho’s infinite loot pile.

Now there’s a place for people like me, with forums, trading events, pin quests, a list of pins and more.

I’ve never been much into collectibles. Once you start collecting, things pile up, you start having to make room for it, it seems never ending. At the same time, I can understand the appeal-the satisfaction of finding a really hard to find item. But at the same time, I never found an item I cared enough about to have a ton of it lying around my house.

But it’s different with the Pinnys. I enjoy having a piece of PAX to take home with me every year. Often that comes in the form of a T-Shirt or a Poster. But my wall space runs low and my t-shirt collection grows outside of what I can realistically wear on a day-to-day basis, Pinnys make a great alternative. Pinnys are different. Pins give me the chance to not only take home a piece of PAX, but take home a piece of that art, the love for a game, developer, interest, in a compact and easy to put place.

Sure, I might get pins I don’t care as much about, and they – like any other item, will start piling up. But that has been solved by trading events. People gathering together to exchange items, helping each other find their “unicorn” …pin.

the collection grows...

the collection grows…

No, Pins are different…and judging by the amount of people on the forums, I’m not the only person who feels this way.

So if you see me on the street or bump into me at PAX (see you all next year!), feel free to ask what I’ve got. Check out the full list here.

Happy Hunting!