Quick PAX AUS 2016 rabble

Today I went to my first PAX event! While some will know that getting out and going to things is something I’m not that great at (a story for another day), today I was encouraged by a friend to come on down to the Melbourne Convention and Exhibition Centre (MCEC) to check out PAX! This quick blog will showcase a few pics I took along with some of the things I got to see.

I’ve always seen and heard cool things about PAX — not only the PAX events over in the U.S. but also the PAX event here in Melbourne too. Grabbing my badge was nice and easy even even though I didn’t order early enough for it to be posted. Just wandered on over to MCEC and hopped in a swiftly-processed line to pick it up.

I only grabbed a pass for Saturday, but there still seemed to be badges available up until the week of the event, though I believe the full 3-day passes sell out quite quickly.

After wandering in through the queuing area, you’re brought into the world of booths and showcasing areas. Big name brands are there right up front, ranging from components brands to larger-scale game publishers/developers. I started my journey by wading through the crowds of people adorned with their favourite gaming paraphernalia to the Freeplay and Classic area.

There were some awesome classic games to play, including old Mario games and Donkey Kong. Cutely cuddled up with the classics were a bunch of pinball machines with young and old having a roll, it was really interesting to see. While we’re on the topic of weird “social” quirks about today I want to make a particular note of something.

On the way from Spencer Street station to Jeff’s Shed (MCEC) it was quite funny to see the different trains of people. Going towards MCEC were large hordes of nerds dressed casually, while walking towards the station and onto the platforms were the suited Stakes-Day goers. It was rather funny opposing forces moment.

Astride the classic gaming and merchandise areas were the gaming freeplay areas of Console and PC, and the Tabletop brethren. It was like those pictures of parks where there are chess tables everywhere, but this time it was stuff like Red Dwarf and various tabletop battle games like Warhammer.

I slowly shuffled through the indie area and other intriguing looking games like Desync, Element, Wildfire and the hilarious-looking Mini Metro. This was the area I was most interested in, and it didn’t disappoint. There are way too many to list but there are some fantastic indie/small-dev games there that are definitely worth a look.

I had a quick snap with one of the best cosplayers AU and wandered around some of the showcases from Nintendo, MSI and others. There was heaps to have a look at there too, including demos and long-lines to check out some of the upcoming big hit games. One of the funnier parts there was the Harvey Norman booth, which seemed to be a mix of a few simple games to play along with some specials/sales on a few gaming items.

Strangely enough Bank of Melbourne had a little section there, where you get to play a little game on an ‘ATM’. Cute idea, seemed a little strange but I guess if you get your name in there it’s still marketing.

We went to the Science Loves Videogames: Gaming for Good discussion panel, which was very cool. Featuring Tim Young, Megan Pusey and Phill English this focused on the role that gaming and gamification can play in learning (a topic I love hearing about) and the role gaming can also have in science itself.

After a quick bite to eat at the fantastic Boat Builders Yard we checked out the More Than A Game: Playing for Mental Health & Connection panel, which took a look at the affect gaming has on mental facets (both good and bad), and how gaming can help us connect with people overall outside of our normal boundaries.

All-in-all, a great experience this year for me, next year I’ll definitely be going and more likely all three days, and perhaps I’ll even organise a little lunch with some of you folks from the interwebs too. You can find the full photo album here.