Last week, for three days, the Melbourne Convention Centre played host to PAX Australia 2014- a game expo with a difference.
Game Console’s Darren Price was there taking in the sights and sounds of what is probably Australasia’s greatest festival of gaming culture.
Born from the video gaming-related online comic-strip by Mike Krahulik and Jerry Holkins, the Penny Arcade eXpos have traditionally only been held in the US.
The US hosts three PAX shows a year, PAX Prime in Washington (the show’s original location), PAX East in Boston and for the first time this year, PAX South in San Antonio. Last year’s Melbourne show was the first PAX to be held outside of the US.
Unlike most gaming expos, PAX Australia accommodated fans from every corner of game playing, including card games like Magic the Gathering, traditional role-playing games like Dungeons & Dragons, tabletop war-gaming and board games such as The Settlers of Catan.
There was also a whole area with bean-bags for visitors to chill out and play their own hand-held consoles. There where also areas for PC LAN matches and modern console tournaments.
EA Games were there with Dragon Age: Inquisition, playable for fans, and also regular live demo presentations with the game’s developers from Bioware.
Hugely popular outfits like World of Tanks publisher Wargaming.net and the fantasy multiplayer online battle arena game, League of Legends had massive stands with professionally commentated tournaments and shows all weekend.
PAX is as much about the culture of gaming as it is about the games themselves. Over the show’s three days numerous panel discussion were held with local and international guest speakers discussing aspects of the games industry from storytelling to writing game reviews.
Organised cosplay groups were also at the show, including the local Mandalorian Merc Star Wars Costume Club.
And the good news is that PAX Australia will be back in Melbourne next year. So, if you are a keen gamer it’s well worth a trip across the Tasman for a look.