Published on November 4th, 2016 | by Andrew Bistak

PAX AUS 2016 … words and pictures (Day One) @PAXAus

Welcome back to another jam packed three days of gaming, gaming and more gaming at the Melbourne Convention and Exhibition Centre. That’s right, PAX AUS has returned for 2016 that not only features the big names such as PlayStation and XBox but also video game developers like Ubisoft and Bandai Namco plus an amazing assortment of indie developers showcasing their latest game.


Add in VR (it’s really bigger this year), freeplay areas, table top gaming, classic consoles, including pinball machines, the latest hardware, merchandise, panels plus celebrities and visiting PAX for the first time can be a daunting experience.


So where do you start?

The first place is to check out is the website and make sure you have a copy of the PAX magazine on the day which is like a tome of what’s what at this gaming convention plus useful maps. If you’re still in a little lost, there are PAX Enforcers in awesome yellow t-shirts to help you with any questions or concerns you may have and of course keep order at the event. Thankfully it’s a well run and professionally organised event so you really should have no issues.


Another interesting feature of PAX AUS 2016 is that it coincides with the Melbourne International Games Week that not only celebrates this amazing interactive medium but puts one of Australia’s best cities first and foremost… sorry Sydney. So when the doors finally opened to PAX, the media do get a sneak hour before the official opening, I was actually pleasantly surprised at how orderly and accessible everything was. Even with the amount of attendees on the first day, it didn’t take long to get through the cues.


Then there’s the great panels which include information, humour and all sorts of entertaining forums and discussions. Some of the highlights from the panels included Story with Major Nelson that an insightful talk by XBox Live Director of Programming Larry Hryb who gives us a great look into gaming from a Microsoft point of view to the Alienware 20th anniversary panel which not only celebrates this company’s achievements but they discussed the future of technology, including a VR perspective and of course live-streaming.


Speaking of live-streaming Twitch was there in full-strength and you never know who you’ll pump into at their booth. Another fun panel was about being a YouTuber and a Streamer that is another in-depth look at this phenomenon. So with three days of panels, there’s quite a bit to discover at PAX this year but my only gripe is that some of these panels overlap which unfortunately does force your hand to choose one over the other. Then there’s merchandise from the latest video graphic cards, video games, hard drives and even some very impressive gaming chairs thanks ZQRACING.


What about video games you may be asking? OMG! There are so many with so much diversity from Triple A titles to some very and I do mean VERY awesome indie titles. We had the chance to play the upcoming Tekken, the new Kingdom Hearts plus some very cool indie titles called Armed with Wings and The Artful Escape of Francis Vendetti. Besides a handful of Triple A titles which were very cool, the highlight of this PAX was the high calibre of indie titles and best of all, you can actually have a chat with the developers behind it. E-Sports seemed a little smaller this year but nonetheless if that’s your thing, then you’ve come to the right place.


Exploring is also a feature of PAX because you never know what you might see or whom you might see that include amazing cosplayers, even celebrities such as Nich Richardson and Jeremy Ray. However in the furthest corner of PAX where the free play area is based is an amazing space dedicated to classic consoles, pinball machines and all things old school which definitely brought a smile to this old gamer. Commodore 64 you say? Then there’s water cooled systems and even a Tie Fighter computer case… I kid you not!


Final Thoughts?

PAX Australia is a true gaming institution that is filled with everything and anything gaming related. Best of all, it’s an interactive exhibition that is not only family friendly place but ensures that all ages are catered for. It’s not only well run but will keep you amused, entertained and informed about this amazing hobby that we all love. PAX AUS 2016 should be on your yearly bucket list and with two days to go, I’m going to continue my exploring and who knows, I might even catch a Pokemon.

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About the Author

When he's not trying to save the world, Andrew enjoys travel (although loathes turbulence), going to the movies, reading and being a dad to his two dogs (and now twins) with his wife.

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