Today was my first full day of PAX Aus 2017, and it was a huge day. Somehow, I survived.
We started the day to a cooked meal of Bacon and Eggs, taken care of by the wonderful Joey, while Mat complained about some kind of heavy construction work that kept him awake for most of the night. Honestly, I think he might have been telling a fib – I certainly didn’t hear anything.
At around 8am, after the three of us had eaten and gotten dressed up into our brand new Ultra Super Mega shirts, we wandered down to the Melbourne Entertainment and Convention centre where PAX Aus is being held. I gotta, say, walking through those doors and seeing a giant sign that says “Welcome Home” certainly pulled on the old heart strings. I was finally attending my very first PAX.
Due to their late arrival into Melbourne last night, Mat and Joey still needed to grab their Media passes, so we wandered up to the media room to grab these. It was only half past 8 by this time, so we decided to get some caffeine into us and sit outside while we waited for Wilko to arrive and the Media entry to open at 9am. We were all a bit tired and excited to be here, so we thought the best way to show this was to take photos of our best Spanner faces, and post them on Twitter. Seriously, if you see us over the weekend, please give us your impression of your best Spanner face. I really want the tag #showusyourspannerface to trend this weekend.
Wilko arrived at about 8:50, and as we started to wander down to the Media Entry we ran into the one and only Pez. Somehow, after asking about Mat all day yesterday and when he was going to arrive, he didn’t recognize the man when he was standing right beside him and instead thought that it was me. I know that it was still early, and the caffeine probably hadn’t kicked in yet, but come on Pez; I’m the good looking one.
Then, at 9am, an hour before General Admission, the Media were let loose into the Exhibit Hall. Walking through those doors and looking at the amount of amazing stands spread out before me, I gotta say i felt a little overwhelmed. There was just so much to do! Luckily, I had a little bit of a plan in the back of my head
The first stop was the PlayStation booth, with Monster Hunter World. Now, I have never really been as much of a fan of the serious that Mat is, but I gotta say I think this is a game I’m going to have to get. They have a number of PlayStation Pro’s set up with a demo of the game, so Mat jumped on to give it a spin with me watching over his shoulder and taking some photos. Standing back and watching a few of the screens, I gotta say I couldn’t get passed how good this game looked. The environments all felt so vivid and alive, and each screen seemed to show something different. As Mat was running through a desert chasing a massive beast, the player to his right was hacking his way through a jungle, while on the wall across from him someone was exploring what seemed to be a coast line. Finally, after a long battle, Mat killed his prey and the demo ended.
As I said earlier, today was a huge day, and not just because it was the first day of PAX Aus. This little game that I have been waiting for also released today, called Super Mario Odyssey. As soon as we stepped out from the Monster Hunter World booth, I saw the Nintendo stand to my right and shot towards it like a bat out of hell. I wanted to get my hands on this game as soon as possible, and there were a number of free Switch consoles sitting there with the game loaded up. I won’t go into too much detail, but I loved the time I spent with it. So much so, that I made a mental note to walk over to the Harvey Norman booth and buy the damn thing so I could play it on my own Switch this weekend.
While I was at the Nintendo Booth, Mat and Joey had made their way over to the Bandai Namco Booth, so I headed that way. I gotta say, walking around behind the PlayStation Booth and passed the Detroit: Become Human are freaked me out a little bit. I swore I thought those actors were manikins, but bloody hell they did a great job.
I finally made my way to the Bandai booth, only to see Mat and Joey going head to head on Dragonball Fighterz. Now, both of these two fools are massive fighting game nerds, so I knew that all they would say to me was that the game was great. I noticed a free console, so I jumped on myself for a bit of a go. Just a quick note – Bandai had a number (I think it was about 12?) of fight sticks set up for this game, and I had never really used a fight stick, so I knew I was in for some challenges. With that said, I found the game surprisingly fun. I didn’t spend too much time with it, but the one game I did play made me want to pick it back up when it is released, so I guess that’s something.
When I finished at Bandai, the announcement came out across the loudspeakers that PAX Aus 2017 was now officially open, and the long lines on punters flooded into the hall. I thought I was overwhelmed when I first walked in, but when you add a crown of that size, the show becomes a whole new beast.
With the masses coming through the doors, I decided it was probably time for me to head over to Harvey Norman and grab my copy of Mario. On the way, I passed by the Ubisoft booth and jumped in for a quick sneaky turn on both FarCry 5 and Assassins Creed: Origins. Again, I didn’t play either game for an extended period of time; just enough to decide if it was something I wanted to spend more time with. I died pretty quickly in FarCry, but that’s what happens when you run guns blazing into a group of 10 or so hostiles. I was really more interested in picking up Assassins Creed, to be honest. I have been a fan of the series, but the last few installments just felt a bit repetitive. The movement felt clunky, and the storyline wasn’t something that grabbed my attention. From the short amount of time I spent in Origins, it felt like movement and parkour was much smoother, with the surroundings offering a breath of fresh air into what is an old franchise.
After leaving Ubisoft, I made a beeline for Harvey Norman, and grabbed my copy of Mario for what I am sure is a damn steal at $58. There is no way in hell I would have picked this game up for that price anywhere back home. While I was standing at the register paying for Mario, I happened to look across and saw they also had Assassins Creed in stock, for another ripper price at $68. I just couldn’t say no, and picked that up as well.
By the time I had picked up my two games, and wandered around a bit more, it was time for my first ever PAX Panel. I made my way from the main Exhibit Hall all the way over to the Fruitbat Theatre for the PAX Orientation, AKA How to PAX. Hosted by Liam Esler, Kelsey Gamble and Jordan Raskopoulous, the PAX Orientation is a must see for all PAX Newcomers. Essentially, the panel is all about meeting new people, and learning some essential tips and tricks from the hosts. I got cautioned to beware the dreaded PAX Flu, consider fist-bumping instead of hand-shaking with introductions, and to ensure I keep hydrated. Most importantly, the hosts stressed that all us newcomer’s were in a welcoming environment, surrounded by people that essentially loved all the things we love. It was a great way to start the day, and I recommend everyone checks it out on their first year.
After a quick bite of some nutritious and wholesome Con-Food, it was time for my first interview for the day. I made my way down into the PAX Rising area of the Exhibit Hall to meet with Dave Bleja from Volnaiskra, a Melbourne-based Indie games studio. Dave is down there showing off his first game, Spryke, which is a fast-paced hard-core platformer that has some seriously pretty graphics and fun gameplay. Keep an eye out over the next few days, as I will be getting my full interview with Dave up on the site. What I will say is that everyone should head down and have a go of Spryke, it is insanely fun.
By this time of the day, I was feeling a bit worn out, and my feet were killing me. With that in mind, I headed off into a quiet corner to sit down for a bit, and pulled out the Switch to play some Super Mario Odyssey. I will be working on a review for this game after PAX, so expect that to hit the web page in November. After I had recovered, I caught back up with Mat and the team from AteBit to go have a few beers before my last booking for the day.
It wasn’t long before I had to leave to head towards that booking, over into the Main Theatre for Acquisitions Inc. Now, I have played a bit of DnD and Pathfinder in my time, and watched a bit of HarmonQuest, so I was really looking forward to this show. It did not disappoint. The Acquisitions Inc. team had the crowd in stitches for pretty much the whole show and I loved every second of it. It was seriously a great way to cap off an already amazing day.
I had such a great time for my first day of PAX and I know tomorrow is going to be more of the same. If you see any of the Ultra Super Mega team walking around the show, be sure to stop us and say G’Day! We would love to meet all our readers!