For those who’ve never attended a PAX before, figuring out what do and see during the three-day gaming convention can seem like a monumental task. Worry not, friend, for at PAX Aus there are very few wrong answers. Here’s a few ways we’d recommend spending your PAX as a first-timer.
Storytime with Major Nelson
Storytime, or the keynote address if you’re fancy, is considered the convention’s opening ceremony. A talk on the state of gaming by one of the industry’s biggest luminaries, last year’s Storytime address was delivered by the great Warren Spector, the creator of Deus Ex. This year’s address will be by long-time Xbox Live Director of Programming Larry Hryb aka Major Nelson. What the Major will be speaking about is anyone’s guess, but if you’ve seen his frequent webcasts you’ll know you’re in for a good time.
The Expo Hall is where a great many PAX punters spend their time. Like an E3 for the people, the show floor is filled with booths from all the biggest publishers and offer previews and substantial hands-on time with new and upcoming titles. The booths are manned by dedicated PR staff who frequently arrange giveaways and competitions for those sticking around.
The Big Three (Sony, Xbox and Nintendo) are always well represented on the show floor, as are publishers EA, Ubisoft, Bethesda and Activision. But that’s not all that’s there — check the PAX Arena for awesome live tournies, Riot Games always have a huge presence with non-stop League of Legends competitive play and there’s so much sweet merch to check out.
The panels are PAX Aus’ other significant facet. Taking place in the Convention Centre’s many theatres, the panels offer further insight into an industry that seems to be permanently in flux. Developers, publishers, journalists, streamers, cosplayers and even the creators of PAX themselves hit the stage to talk about various important topics.
CD Projekt Red are demoing GWENT in the Wombat Theatre at 5pm on Friday, 4th Nov and you’re going to want to get along to that one. If you’re hanging around into the evening, make sure you check out Sex and Modern Geek, also in the Wombat Theatre, hosted by Lucie Bee and Jimmy Reilly at 10pm. On Saturday, make sure you check out The Science of Violent Games in the Galah Theatre and on Sunday hit up the Legend of Zelda history panel in the Dropbear theatre!
For those who can’t keep that competitive streak locked away, PAX offers a full range of game tournaments across a variety of platforms. Games new and old take the stage as contestants battle it out for prizes and bragging rights. If you think you’ve got what it takes, head over and sign up.
Not enough competition for you? Then consider signing up for The Omegathon.
The Tabletop area is one of the largest areas of the PAX Aus show floor and offers the chance to spend time with hundreds of board games, card games, wargaming and role playing games. Don’t know how to play? No worries, group tutorials are running all weekend.
Recommendation: If you’ve never played a game of D&D before but would love to try, this is where you’ll want to be. Same goes for Magic: The Gathering. Or maybe you just want to check out some sweet indie board games? You cannot lose here.
While they’ve never done as well at PAX Aus as they have at the PAX events in the States, the Concerts remain a vital part of the Saturday night PAX Aus experience.
Recommendation: This year includes local electropop legends 7bit Hero who, after blowing us away with their interactive mid-gig phone app, are promising a big VR component to their act. You’re not gonna want to miss this.
For more on what’s on at PAX Aus 2016, head over to the schedule page. You can also download the official app for iOS and Android, tell it what you’re interested in and it will remind you before each event!