PAX Australia lives up to expectations as the best video games convention in the Pacific23 July, 2013 by Ben
Being a fan of the Penny Arcade webcomics, getting to attend the first ever PAX show in Melbourne, Australia, was truly a dream come true. Being surrounded by fellow gamers and cosplayers, and also to be immersed into such a culture for even just a day was simply incredible. Despite it being quite a gloomy, rainy day, the hype and the mood for PAX was far from that. Before the doors opened at 10am, the lines had already extended far beyond the entrance to the queue room and continued to grow. It was stunning to see the amount of people socializing with one another, not to mention the amount of StreetPass hits on my 3DS got as soon as I walked in the door!
The first stop was the Expo Hall. Here, many distributors and publishers such as Ubisoft, Nintendo and Riot Games (just to name a few) showcased new and upcoming games with many hardware companies such as Alienware, Sennheiser and Intel showing off their wares designed specifically for gamers. Madman Entertainment and King’s Comics also had their own stalls, selling all kinds of anime, manga, comics and merchandise.
If you are a big League of Legends fan, then the center stage of Riot Games would have drawn your attention, as they were chatting and throwing out prizes and giving away freebies throughout the whole weekend. World of Tanks also drew a big crowd, giving gamers the chance go head to head with one another in the gaming arena.
If neither of those two titles tickled your fancy, then there was plenty of other things to admire, such as Ubisoft’s Splinter Cell Blacklist and Assassin’s Creed IV: Black Flag, or previews of Nintendo’s upcoming new releases on the Wii U and the 3DS. If you felt competitive, there were many gaming tournaments to take part in under The Big Top, from Half-Life 2, to Minecraft, to Mario Kart 7, all the way to Call of Duty, Assassin’s Creed and Halo 4, and more.
If you were simply there to play some casual games, they had a whole library of video games to pick from for you and a few mates, and if you weren’t into video games, they had a place for role-playing and board games. Nintendo even had their own “hang-out” area, where people could fall back on a beanbag and play with anyone around them.
But the highlight of the day (for me) was being able to witness a live presentation of Microsoft’s next-gen console, the XBox One. The show went for only about 45 minutes, but the things they showcased really captured my attention. They demoed several games: Ryse: Son of Rome, Battlefield 4 and Killer Instinct, with also a behind-the-scenes look at how some of the games were made. They also showcased the many new improvements of XBox’s Kinect, and how it will revolutionize the way players will interact with future games.
Overall, the experience at PAX Australia was nothing I’ve ever gotten to experience before. The atmosphere was electric, and there was so much to do and so much more to see. I walked home at the end of the day with plenty of cool freebies to remember the day by, and it will definitely be one I will not forget. By the looks of the turnout the event got this year, it will be no surprise that they bring it back next year, and I for one, will definitely return. Bring on PAX 2014!