PAX Aus is approaching so fast at the moment and for those who have been there before they probably have everything planned out and know exactly what to expect when the event launches on October 27 and finishes on the 29th. It can be an absolutely amazing experience for anyone attending the event, but for first-timers, it is something a little bit more special. I still remember my first year and the crazy adventure I had that weekend. Below I am just going to list my top five things that you really need to do while you are at PAX Aus this year to make the most of the event.
1 Attend a Panel that you are interested in
The schedule is now live on the PAX Aus website and you can even download the app to your phone which will have all the panels listed for you. A panel is an event in a theatre where a group of people discuss a particular topic for about an hour. There is such a great source of knowledge as some of the industry leaders will on stage to share their wisdom on the decided topic. The Highlight this year will be “Storytime with Burnie Burns” on day one but there is really one to suit almost every interest. You can learn how to make a board game, or how to become a games Journalist, How to approach potential sponsors, watch a Bethesda Trivia contest or even learn how to get yourself speedrunning. There are so many options and they are always a great way to spend an hour sitting down and being entertained.
2 Enter a Tournament
It really doesn’t matter what your skill level is it is always fun to try your best against others in a game you love. While you won’t be able to get up on stage in the arena to compete there is always a tournament happening somewhere in the centre that anyone can join in on. Usually, they are held down in the retro gaming area in the exhibition hall and seriously at any one point in time there can be 15+ events going on somewhere there. You can compete in every field imaginable from a miniatures Painting class to Tekken 7, Point Blank, Hearthstone, Ms Pacman, Starcraft, Pokemon sun/moon to Rocket League. While most won’t reward a prize, just the chance to compete with others and see where your skill level lies. Also, this is a great opportunity to meet some new people that share the same interested you do, so don’t be shy at these Tournaments and have some fun.
3 Grab a bargain
Not only are all the latest games on show at PAX Aus but there is a not of technology and merchandise scattered throughout the hall. This gear is usually straight from the supplier so can be discounted to prices you just can’t get even on the internet. So have a look around at some of the deals on offer as I am sure you will get a great price on that new hard drive, monitor or even gaming rig that you want to get anyway. You will also be able to grab Merchandise like clothing, statues and artwork that you just can’t get anywhere else. Please have some spare cash ready when you walk into the exhibition hall this year and some spare room in your luggage. This is also a great chance to talk directly to suppliers and give them feedback or wishes for future products or just hear exactly what makes their product stand above the crowd. If you are in need of Technology and Merchandise there is just nothing like PAX Aus.
4 Meet an Indie Dev and discover a great homegrown game.
It is not easy to make games and it is even harder to get your game noticed on the big stage. This is even truer when you make a game while based in Australia. There is, however, a really great game development scene happening in Australia at the moment with indie games. These teams need our support and there are truly some gems to be found in the PAX indie showcase. Last year I had the honour of spending some time with the Party Golf developers, Giant Margarita and discovered the super fun title, Forts, by Earth Work games. This is one of the best chances for Australian Indie developers to get their games seen and from what I have seen leading up to this year’s show, there will be some gems to be found for sure. You really do need to have a walk around this area on the hall and don’t be shy, say hi to the development team and chat to them about their game.
5 Attend a meetup and meet new people.
There are so many like-minded people at PAX Aus that it is a great place and time to socialise. Your new best friend, clan mate or just a friend to help when you need a space filled could be right there in front of you. The best way to do this is to keep an eye out for one of the many fans organised meetups that will happen at and around the convention centre over the weekend. Last year I was lucky enough to attend the Final Fantasy XIV meet up on a Thursday night, which just happened to turn into the biggest party of PAX that Thursday night, but the friends I meet for the first time there have stayed with me and grown over the past 12 months. These meetups are easy to find, just think of something you are interested in, look on facebook, twitter or an official website for a group and see if they are having a meetup while at PAX. You could always ask around at the venue as well but no matter if it is Pokemon Go, Final Fantasy, Magic the Gathering or just a fan of a podcast then it is likely there will be a time and a place to go celebrate that.
Overall, there is so much to do at PAX Aus that you will never be short of fun no matter where you look. I have not even mentioned the gaming bars around Melbourne, Bartronica or GG EZ Bar, or the Twitch Party which had lines around the block to get in last year. Also, the opposite end of the hall to the exhibition end sees things like the board games, card games and retro consoles which on there own are a great way to spend some of your days. There are also chill out rooms if it all gets a bit much, handheld beanbag areas which are so comfy and so many of your favourite homegrown content creators to meet and greet while you are there. If you are into gaming or any kind of nerdy culture PAX Aus is the place to be and to make the most of it be social and don’t be afraid to give something a try. See you there!