Your guide to PAX Australia 2017

Category: Features, Gaming

It’s the most wonderful time of the year…

PAX is here boys and girls! That’s right, kicking off next week on Friday, October 27th Australia’s (and the southern hemisphere’s for that matter) largest gaming celebration arrives for the fifth time!

Housed again at the Melbourne Convention Centre the show continues to grow from strength to strength and this year is no exception. The show floor is bigger than ever, the number of people attending gets larger and larger and we have amazing new panels and guests including, for the first time ever, Acquisitions Incorporated live on stage at PAX Aus.

With that in mind and things bigger than ever we thought it prudent to bring back an updated version of our ever-popular PAX mini guide to help you get the most out of your show experience! Enjoy!

Plan. Your. Show!

Just like a sweaty Steve Ballmer shouting “developers, developers, developers” drum the word “planing” into your skull. There is a lot to see at PAX Aus and the last thing you want to have happen is be in a queue for something you just happened to notice and totally miss your favourite streamer on a panel at the other end of the exhibition hall!

Thankfully the good folk that put on this joyous event for us all have already made everything you need to begin your planing now!

Over on the brand new PAX Australia website you’ll find a full schedule covering all the panels and events for the three days. This is a great starting point but I suggest you download the PAX Aus app (available for iOS & Android) to use and have with you while you’re at the event. The app allows you to favourite and sort items of interest to then produce a timetable for your day.

Maps of the events are available to download. The maps are in the app too but I prefer to print one out so I can write or circle points on it. Having one printed is also really handy when your phone inevitably runs out battery.

Finally, if you are a fly-by-the-seat-of-your-pants kinda person and want to just wing it glossy printed PAX show guides will be handed out to those attending as you walk in the doors. These guides include the same information as well as some nice photos and make great souvenirs. I always grab two, one to keep and one to scribble in and dog ear the pages.

 

Pack that charger!

Speaking of your phone dying, let me assure you it will. If you normally carry a portable charger around for your phone or DS or Switch, then bring two!! You’ll need it!

If you’re lucky and have a keen eye you might find places to plug in your wall-charger but definitely don’t rely on that.

Worse comes to worst vending machines littered throughout the convention centre sell portable charging packs but you’ll be paying a premium for them.

Follow these twitter accounts

Whether you tweet or not one of the best sources for information about what’s going on at PAX is Twitter. Each PAX show has a series of Twitter accounts with up to the minute info on panel queues, events, table top gaming and giveaways.

  • @paxaus – The main Twitter account for the show. Expect updates to its progress, sightings of celebrity guests, competitions and general information to be found here.
  • @paxaus_lines – A running commentary of the length of lines to various talks and performances. If you’re unsure whether or not there’s any point in running to the other end of the convention centre to queue up for a panel this account will tell you if needn’t bother or not.
  • @paxaus_tt – All things table-top happening at PAX Aus. One of the largest and most important areas of the show needs its own Twitter account just to keep you abreast of everything that’s happening in the great TT hall.

The PAX Aus app does have a Twitter feed as a part of it but I’ve always found them much easier to follow and use in the standalone Twitter app.


Play a board game

The table top area of PAX has a massive following and with good reason. It provides you with an opportunity to walk in, borrow and of hundreds of titles available, and just play! Better still, many of the games with a steep learning curve have experts wandering the floor to help you get things going.

If you’re flying solo or don’t have a group to fill every slot, that’s no problem either. PAX being PAX you’ll find that many of the tables are actively looking for people to come join them to make up numbers. Don’t be afraid of walking up to a group and asking them if you can sit in. You’d be surprised just how welcoming and friendly everyone is and it’s one of the best ways to try out a new game.

I can’t recommend giving the area a go enough. Even for those of you coming purely for the video game side of things table-top can be really fun and a great way to make some excellent new friends.

The indies are where it’s at

I’ve looked at the map, I can see there’ll be giant stands from Xbox and PlayStation and Ubisoft and Nintendo and more and you know what, that’s just plain awesome! BUT and yes that’s an all-caps but… there is so much more hiding not too far away in a little area of PAX dedicated to indie developers.

In here you’ll find the “PAX Aus Indie Showcase” and “PAX Rising” participants. Some of the best, hand-picked indie games from around Australia and New Zealand to show off to the world.

Dedicate some time to have a wander through and try a few of them out. You’ll be really surprised with some of the gems hidden away there. Plus as an added bonus 99% of the time you don’t have to queue for any of them! Just jump right in and talk with the actual people who made the game!

Rapid-fire tips

Merch
If you want to grab some of that sweet, sweet PAX Aus march jump in and buy it early. Sizes and items sell out FAST! I totally understand you don’t want to lug it around all day with you so I’ll let you in on a little secret. There’s a cloak room hidden around near the South Wharf entrance of the Melbourne Convention Centre. Buy your gear, take it around there and give them a gold coin donation to store it all day! Winning!

Enforcers are friendly giants
The heart and soul of any PAX the Enforcers are a group of volunteers that help run the event. They’ll guide you if you’re lost, they’ll help you with any query and they’ll do it all with a smile on their face.

Hey there’s an outside too!
PAX Aus is honestly held in one of the most amazing and well positioned venues of all the PAXs around the world. On the bank of the Yarra river there is a whole world of food, drink and entertainment literally at the doorstep of the Melbourne Convention Centre so get outside and enjoy it!

Queue at yee own risk
It’s unavoidable that you will have to wait in line for something at some point, but what is it costing you? If you’re going to have to queue for three hours to play a game that is launching next week, maybe you’d be better off exploring the convention and seeing what else is out there instead? It all harkens back to developers, developers, developers planning.


Enjoy yourself!

PAX is an incredible event that’s created in such a different and amazing way to other conventions. It makes a point of focusing everything around the people that attend it and that’s truly special.

Have fun, meet new people, catch up with old friends and make the most of it because before you know it it’ll all be over and it’s a long wait to the next one!

Oh and I’ll be there. If you see me (Raj) come up and say hi!