Pinny Arcade | PAX East 2024

There are plenty of things to do at PAX, from gaming of all sorts to panels and concerts. But hidden behind all of this is an entire world that many have yet to even venture in: the world of collectible pins.
I’ve been going to Disney for several years now and am familiar with Pin Trading, but it never occurred to me that pin trading is also a big deal at PAX. For those new to this, you typically buy a “starter pack” of pins and place them on your lanyard. Official Pinny Arcade Pins are required for trading; random pins won’t do. Most booths sell pins, but only a select few are official Pinny Arcade pins.

This year’s Starter Pack featured two PAX East 2024 pins, one with the new logo and the other with the classic logo. It also included a 20 Years at Home pin and another pin with the Boston Convention & Exhibition Center with falling meteors over it. The Limited Edition Pin was available for sale, but every day was capped at just about 200 of them. People waited each day for over 2 hours to get this pin. Lastly, the Kemper Present and Merch 12 pins were free if you spent $85 and $120 in official merch.



While walking around the con, if you see someone else with pins, all you need to do is ask nicely if they’re willing to trade. Some people may have some high-value pins on display, on one side, and those willing to trade on another. Others may just show off their trade pins. PAX has added an additional element to this where they have a specific “trade set”. It is technically “free” however it is yours by trading for it only. Historically there have been seven pins in this set, six “common” and one “chase” or “rare” pin.

This year was the 20th anniversary of PAX. To celebrate, they gave us cake slice pins as the six commons, and a “PAX 20” balloon pin as the chase. Besides trading with someone, you can earn these pins at PAX trade stations by playing a game.

Most of these stations allowed for you to do two trades every hour, although they didn’t bother scanning badges like they did last year, I don’t know how they would be able to tell if you just kept going from one station to the other to trade with the number of people they deal with, but I digress. You offer up to two pins to the person working the booth and then you play one of two games. Either a blind box, where they have 20 mini-boxes to select from, each holding one of the seven pins you’re trying to get. No matter what, you’ll get a pin from the Trade Set. The other game was just a spinning wheel, whatever it lands on is what you get. This year was a little weird though, on Thursday they had a tablet doing the wheel spin instead of a physical wheel, however from personal experience, I can say that the digital version favored the rare pin as I ended up with three balloon pins after two friends I asked to spin for me as they aren’t into collecting pins. After Thursday though, I only saw the physical wheel being used. 


Next to the Trade Set, the next pins are part of the “Quest”.  These are pins that can only be found by exploring the expo floor. 

To get these pins, you visit the booths. Often the booths will have them for sale, but some companies will give you the pin for just playing their game(s) or for completing a challenge, like getting a certain score in their game. For me, these are selective, I love the Child’s Play charity so I always purchase these. From what I noticed, they are also the only company who every year I can count on having a pin, the others are likely random or selected by the PAX team based on the exhibitors in attendance. Pokemon was the next must-have for me. All I had to do was play their card game. Pro Tip in the event they attend next year… just play the mobile version! Do the tutorial, and you’ll be in and out of there in less than five minutes, of course, if you truly want to learn to play the game, you should do so, but I am familiar with the TCG and just wanted to get the pin.

One of my favorite accounts on X (formally known as Twitter) is the @pinny_arcade account as they have all of the news for these pins. This year user @thx42 posted a picture of the pins next to each of their location on the PAX NAV official map, so if you had a specific one to hunt down, this would have saved you some time! So if you’re interested, be sure to follow them for next year!


This year, I completed the Trade Quest in under 15 minutes with the help of my friends. They traded some of my older pins for three balloons right away. I then traded one of the balloons for three of the cakes I was missing. Finally, I went to the pin traders area next to the official PAX merch in the main lobby to see if I could find a pin I was missing last year. I offered the trade to one of the traders, and they accepted! I got the Golden Mixtape from last year and I completed both sets in a single visit! Can’t wait to see what next year has for us!



Hosted by
Oscar Ventura

Oz plays Rocket League and is very bad at it, but at least he tries. As long as there are games to talk about, he's in his happy place.

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