PAX Australia 2023. The most important gaming conference in Australia just lately celebrated its ten-year anniversary. It’s a large accomplishment for the PAX organisers, and Thomas Richards and I needed to rejoice this anniversary by attending the present in particular person this yr. We additionally thought it will be a good way to point out off all of the superior indie video games popping out of Australia to the Sofa Soup neighborhood. Personally, I believed it will be nearly as good an excuse as any to spend every week in Melbourne and play video video games.
In fact, it wasn’t as straightforward as rocking up in Melbourne a day earlier than the conference, all sunshine and rainbows… primarily as a result of the Melbourne climate forgets what sunshine seems like three-quarters of the yr. Step one was making use of for the media go and ready nervously to listen to again. As soon as we bought the approval again, then got here the press emails… my god, the emails. Fortunately, Thomas dealt with a lot of the articles, discussing all of the press launch objects within the emails whereas I edited them and added in my two cents, which helped scale back the stress considerably. As soon as all of the pre-show build-up was executed, all that was left was the anticipation, nerves, and pleasure of the occasion itself. Queue a three-hour airplane flight from sunny Western Australia to wet, boring Melbourne, enthusiastic about all of the cool video games I’d get the prospect to play over three days.
Smash minimize to 3 days later, and I’m amassing my media go from the desk and getting into PAX Aus 2023 as a fully-fledged media member. One of many perks of being media, other than the candy badge, was an hour early entry to the present flooring on Friday… which I promptly spent taking part in the brand new Tremendous Mario Bros. Marvel (poorly) and standing in line for the Sonic Superstars whereas they had been experiencing technical difficulties. Whereas it was irritating, after seeing the large strains for each Nintendo and Sega over the three days, I used to be glad I bought these out of the best way early.
One false impression that I had about PAX getting in was that there could be greater than sufficient time to get all the pieces executed. On the finish of day one, that also felt true. Then, over the subsequent two days, I used to be swiftly dissuaded from that notion. A few panels, some filming, and recording for social media stuff, then unexpectedly, it’s half an hour earlier than closing on the ultimate day, and also you’ve nonetheless bought a listing of video games you need to try. Should you’re planning on protecting PAX, I’d suggest having greater than two individuals so you possibly can have individuals engaged on the social media aspect of issues whereas others are getting clips, taking part in the video games, and interviewing individuals.
My spotlight of the conference? Effectively, it’s too arduous to place it right down to only one. Assembly a fellow Sofa Soup contributor within the flesh was a pleasant second after three and a bit years of Zoom conferences and emails. It was additionally a blast getting the chance to satisfy Peter Burns and Stephanie Bendixsen from Back Pocket (previously Good Sport) and with the ability to play so many superior video games and chat with the builders behind them. On a private word, it’s all the time been a lifelong dream to put in writing about video video games and attend gaming conventions, and I didn’t suppose I’d ever be capable to attend one.
It wasn’t all enjoyable occasions in online game land. The pre-convention build-up was hectic, extra so for Thomas, simply to ensure we had been protecting all the pieces in sufficient element with out short-changing something. There was additionally a bit of hysteria in the course of the occasions, ensuring we had been capable of get all the pieces we needed whereas nonetheless having time to benefit from the occasion. Additionally, after every week of residing off quick meals, I can’t stand the sight of the golden arches.
Would I do it once more? Completely.
In fact, that is all coming from a large eyed beginner of the conference scene, what would a stalwart veteran of the conference circuit take into consideration all that which I discovered to be so thrilling and glossy? Fortunate for me, this wasn’t Tom’s first rodeo so let’s hear from the person himself…
Tom: As a so-called veteran of PAX Aus, I already had an thought of what to anticipate on the present flooring this yr. After the comparatively lackluster present final yr, with the larger publishers nowhere to be discovered, I used to be eager to see the return of Nintendo. I used to be additionally to see the ever-growing PAX Rising part, which is all the time crammed with loads of indie video games. I additionally spent a good period of time within the tabletop space, which is all the time a enjoyable time.
Beginning with the exhibitors, I used to be excited to see Nintendo again at PAX Aus. In earlier years, they’ve all the time gone additional with their cubicles, and this yr was no exception. I cherished what they did for Tremendous Mario Bros. Marvel with a warp pipe and the large surprise flower hanging above the sales space, including some much-appreciated allure. I additionally completely adored their part devoted to the Pokémon Scarlet and Violet DLC, which was my favorite show of your entire present. There was additionally SEGA’s sales space, which had Sonic Superstars and Like a Dragon Gaiden playable, which had been each enjoyable occasions. The remainder of the present flooring was fairly commonplace, with a lot of the common suspects like Kings Comics and a bunch of PC corporations current. All in all, The present flooring was a step up from final yr, and I can’t wait to see what they do subsequent yr!
The tabletop space has all the time been part of PAX that I get pleasure from. I like going round and making an attempt out completely different board and card video games. This yr, they even had a scavenger hunt the place you accumulate stickers from taking part in varied board video games to win prizes. Sadly, I didn’t full it in time, however it was nonetheless a enjoyable expertise, and I bought to attempt a variety of video games I wouldn’t have in any other case. I ended up going again to the Cardfight!! Vanguard sales space after making an attempt the sport final yr and ended up shopping for a booster field to get much more playing cards. Talking of playing cards, I additionally tried out the Aethermon: Acquire, which, whereas a bit complicated, has so many cute monster playing cards that I simply had to purchase it as properly.
Now, to the precise writing half, pricey god, there was a lot writing. As Rohan talked about, there have been a variety of emails and press releases main as much as the occasion. I’ll admit, I dreaded every new electronic mail as they got here in as a result of it meant one other evening was taken up with going over a press launch and cobbling one thing collectively. It did get a bit of draining in direction of the top, however it was nonetheless in the end a enjoyable expertise, even when I might imagine twice about doing it once more.
It was enjoyable to satisfy up with one other contributor and collaborate in particular person for a change. I had gotten so used to on-line chats that I had forgotten what it was prefer to work collectively in particular person. Whereas it was a bit demanding with some last-minute purchases simply to get the tech to work, I’d like to have the chance once more to work with fellow contributors.
PAX Aus 2023 was a step up from final yr, and with the conference seemingly on its approach again to the heights of pre-COVID time, I’m excited to see how the present will form up subsequent yr.
Did you attend PAX Aus? Are you planning on attending PAX in 2024? What are you wanting ahead to essentially the most? Tell us down within the feedback under.