Penny Arcade is a Webcomic that started in 1998. The Webcomic focused on Videogames and Videogame culture. It was written by Jerry Holkins and illustrated by Mike Krahulik. In 2004 the people at Penny Arcade decided to honour Videogaming with its very own convention. So in 2004, in Washington, the first Penny Arcade Expo was born in front of 4,500 people. Penny Arcade Expo, or PAX for short, focused solely on the culture and community that is gaming and has seen nothing but growth since. PAX then expanded to six shows including Australia in 2013, making PAX Aus its first International show. PAX Aus will be held at the Melbourne Convention Centre, from Friday the 4th of November till Sunday the 6th of November.
The panels that PAX provides are one of my favourite parts of the event. A panel is held in one of the Theatres at the Convention Centre and has a number of high profile guest speakers that get to discuss a topic in front of the crowd. These panels cover a wide variety of topics but are always entertaining or informative. Some of the biggest names in the industry get together in these panels, which outside a convention like this, is very seldom seen. Panels are first in best dressed for guests wishing to attend and the bigger panels draw major crowds so lining up for half an hour before start time is recommended.
The first panel of the event will be “Story time with Major Nelson”. Larry “Major Nelson” Hryb is the Emmy Award-winning Director of Programming for Xbox Live. He also runs a long running, extremely popular, weekly podcast called “Major Nelson Radio”. This panel is a great way to kick off the event and is a big deal for PAX Aus to have the likes of Major Nelson even attending the event. If you’re at the event on Friday morning then this panel is a must attend as Major Nelson has such a huge insight into the gaming industry, especially from an Xbox viewpoint.
There is a number of panels that I am really looking forward to attending while at PAX Aus this year. Friday afternoon will see “Changing Nature of Games Media” in the Gamespot Theatre, which will be hosted by a number of media personalities including friend of Ultra Super Mega, Jessie James (GeekGamerGirl). I am very interested to see where these industry heavy weights believe the future of games media is heading. In the same vein our very own Jack “Huddo” Hudson will be a host along side Jessie in a panel on Sunday morning called “Being a good Social Gamer” in the Kookaburra Theatre. With the Internet sometimes becoming such a negative place at times it will be good to hear what all the hosts have to say on the matter.
Panels do come in a range of topics and not all so serious. Some of the other panels that I am really looking forward to attending are things like “Rooster Teeth Live” where Michael and Lindsay Jones are apparently getting up on stage and just “winging-it” for an hour. Also “Bethesda Trivia” will be a bit of fun in the Dropbear Theatre where the local Bethesda team and some special guests will test the audience on all things Bethesda to find who is the trivia champion. For the collectors out there please get in line early for “ Geek Trash or Treasure? Finding Collectibles with real value” panel and learn some tips to help you along your way.
Some of the other Panels to keep an eye out for include;
- Trailers, so hype or too Hype?
- Penny Arcade Q&A #1
- Playing on Hard mode: The psychology of Dark Souls
- The influence of Influencers
- The Virtual Reality Hype train: VR Developers Getting real
- Thinking about running a charity stream in Australia
- Doom: Behind the music
- Being a gamer youtuber/ streamer in australia
- Cultivating Safe & Inclusive Nerd Spaces
- No man’s sky: a dissection from various perspectives
- How Geekery saved my life and made me who i am
- Why is 7/10 a bad score
- Sexy Stats: Making Sense of your numbers
- Aussie indie showcase panel
When you have some downtime from the panels and you really want to show off your talents, PAX Aus has a number of tournaments for you. Doesn’t matter if you’re a champion at the latest games on the market or some of the old classics you should be able to find a way to show off those skills. The tournaments also cover Tabletop games and collectible card games. This is just a small collection of some of the tournaments you will see at PAX Aus this year;
- Mario kart 8
- Overwatch 6v6
- Fifa 17 2v2
- Tekken Tag Tournament 2
- X-wing dogfighting miniatures
- Mario Kart 7 (Handheld)
- Magic the Gathering
- Speed Painting Contest
- Puzzle Bubble
- Super Smash bros
- Monster Hunter X
- Pokken Tournament
- Forza 6 – Time Trials
- Animal Crossing
- Minecraft Building competition
- Crash team racing (4p Head to head)
- Point Blank
If you’re at the other end of the skill spectrum then there are a lot of classes to teach you how to play certain games like table top or card games. Some of the “Learn to play” classes that you can attend of the weekend include;
- Robo rally
- Miniature games
- Pinball classics
- Miniatures painting class
- Dragon Ball z
- X-wing miniatures Dogfighting
- Joking hazard
So all these are really cool parts of PAX Aus but the reason people travel from across the country to attend the event are the exhibitors. The show floor is chocked full of companies showing off their games, gadgets and other cool gaming gear. The usuals will all be in attendance like Playstation, Nintendo, Xbox, Alienware, Ubisoft, Razer and Logitech. All of these companies will have their new and upcoming products for you to try out and even buy at special prices. Other exhibitors I am looking to catch up with include a lot of Australia’s indie development teams in the PAX Australian indie showcase. This is your chance to see what amazing games are being made right here in our own backyard. The best place to find the full list of exhibitors is on the PAX Aus 2016 app that you can download from the respective app store.
Community has always been a major focus for PAX wherever it is held around the world. A lot of gamers and gaming communities use the event as a catch up each and every year. This event is the one time a year i get to meet people face to face that I usually only ever chat to through the internet. What this means for the event is it is a great place to socialise and meet fellow gamers. It is such a laid back and friendly show that it is hard not to have fun and meet new people. I have not even mentioned the Cosplay, handheld lounge, retro lounge or the eSports Arena that will all be great parts of the show. All of it adds up to a show that you really don’t want to miss. If you can’t make it this year start planning for next year at least. Tickets are still on sale now however Saturday tickets are starting to run low. For more information on the event or tickets head to the website now.