I’ve just come back from a trip to Melbourne, half of the purpose of which was to attend PAX Australia. PAX is short for Penny Arcade Expo, as it started of as a convention by the creators of the web-comic “Penny Arcade”. There are now many of these in various locations a year. These events are entirely gaming focused.
The first day I didn’t arrive until the afternoon, but that meant I could walk straight in with no lines. First on the agenda was the Exhibition Hall wherein all the gaming companies had their booths. At PAX AUS there were several big gaming companies, gaming retailers, indie booths and student games.
I went straight to the Nintendo booth and waited in line to play Super Smash Brothers Ultimate. On the outside the wall had the character spread that you see in directs on the wall. It looked amazing. This was probably the fastest moving line, as it’s the shortest demo and four people were on a station at a time. I played with a friend a two other people. I tried Inkling, whose animations are really cool. The roller attack is one of those that doesn’t stop until you cancel it, so it’s quite easy to fall off the edge. The second round I picked Zelda, and won. Spamming projectiles, and picking off people worked pretty well. I didn’t get any photos of my games because I was playing. I did get a shot of someone else’s.
The biggest reason I attended was because Jane from the YouTube channel OutsideXbox and Luke and Ellen from OutsideXtra were guests. On the Friday was a Q&A session, which was pretty funny. I discovered that despite the jokes Ellen isn’t so tiny, as she is a bit taller than me. Due to some other people’s questions I got some more perspective in what got them to their current careers.
After that I waited in line to play the Diablo 3 Nintendo Switch demo. They had to restart the demo because it wasn’t working right. It looks to play the same, we had level seventy characters so it was very easy. They were holding a Quest for Treasure. The first step of which is to play a demo, the second to take a photo with their official cosplayers and use their hashtag. Finally you had to speak to the Red Cross people as Diablo 3 was doing a Blood Drive for the event. After that you earn an entry to win the Diablo 3 Nintendo Switch, and get a Pinny Arcade Diablo pin.
The Saturday was extremely packed, the lines to get into the exhibition hall were something else. Thankfully they were allowing people who already had their badges and heading to panels to go straight to the theaters. First thing I went to was a panel called “How to Choose a Video Game School” which was pretty good. I didn’t have to ask a question about study options for regional people, as they brought it up themselves.
After that I did a bit of wondering around the shops, as asides from all the gaming and computer setups there were quite a few table top games sellers. As I flew over I couldn’t get anything big, but I picked up Get Bit Deluxe, and Tentacle Bento.
Saturday was the day I also cosplayed, and I dressed up as a Bunny Girl from Dragon Quest VIII/XI. I met a person dressed as Sylvando, and it looked fabulous darling! We were both excited to see someone from the same game.
Next I queued in line an hour early for a signing from the Outside crew. As it was in the queue hall the line wasn’t a straight line so there was a bit of pushing. Eventually I got in, I decided to bring an Autograph Bear, so that I could use it for future signings. While waiting for the others to sign Luke talked to me a bit, I said I won Smash playing as Zelda, so he said she was “the professional’s choice” (in a non serious manner).
He also asked if the bear had a name, so I said he could name it. Though he passed that onto Ellen, who named it Bearilwen, after her D&D character Merilwen. So now I’m going to have to dress it up. When I was leaving PAX to go to dinner at five thirty they were still signing! I suppose they mightn’t have expected so many people to show for it.
After all that I queued in line for Untitled Goose Game, and learned that it is not only an Australian developed game but also publicly funded. It is a sort of puzzle action game. In it you play as a goose with a checklist of things to do, that generally involves harassing people. It also comes with a dedicated honk button, which really is all you need to know. Unfortunately I was only allowed to play five minutes, of the ten minute demo. Which feels worse after waiting over an hour in line.
In the line I played my imported copy of Taiko no Tatsujin, when they were showing off the upcoming Western release on the main Nintendo screen. Confusing a couple of onlookers until I explained.
The other reason I went to PAX AUS, was to meet my Discord friends, so on the Saturday we had a meetup dinner. Of which I only attended an hour before heading to the PAX Movie Night. This was hosted by the Outside guests, and the two choices had been made by a poll on YouTube. First was Super Mario Bros. (1993), which I hadn’t seen before. I was aware that it is “bad” and has a very liberal take on the Mario world and characters. Despite that I quite liked it for an older children’s movie. Seeing the few things that were taken straight from the games compared to the alternate dimension dinosaur city they created was interesting.
The second movie was the original Lara Croft: Tomb Raider (2001) with Angelina Jolie. Ellen said that she loved it when she was younger but cautioned that it was “very early noughties”. Which I could tell when watching it by the music choice, which is perfectly to my taste. Something like Tomb Raider is a little easier to adapt as they were able to make their own plot line. Keeping already established things like the Croft Manor.
On Sunday morning I had one goal in my mind, to play Pokemon Let’s Go. The prior days the line had kept getting cut off before I could play it. Of course it was cut off first thing in the morning. That allowed me to get a final look at the stores while I waited for another friend of mine to show up.
I tried out New Super Mario Bros U Deluxe, and got to play as Toadette to Peachette. I hadn’t bought the original on the Wii U as I was seeking out the coveted green cover for Super Luigi U. At least for this one my sister has dibs on Nabbit so we aren’t fighting to play the same girl character again.
Then I went and tried Lego DC Super Villains which had released earlier this month. After which I went to the PAX EB Mega Store to pick up the Deluxe Edition. As it was a couple dollars cheaper than the regular version outside of PAX.
I went to wait in queue for the Live Show of The Weekend, which was at the main theatre. My friend finally showed up. I thought it was weird there was no queuing tape, or a lot of people coming for it. When it was ten minutes till we saw the digital sign saying it was sixteen percent full which confused us more. Eventually we asked someone just charging their tablet in the wall and they told us the Main Theatre entrance was downstairs. Those doors were actually for the balcony seats which no-one used. Thankfully we managed to get in and get good seats. There were cameras on so we could see better as well but I hope that means it was recorded. The played the Square Off mini-game mode and there were a couple good upsets.
The End of PAX
By that point I had to get to Pokemon before they shut off the line and my chance was gone forever. I finally made it in, while my friend went to play the Kingdom Hearts 3 demo. While waiting I played a bit of my new Lego game. Sadly this Pokemon demo was only five minutes long. I didn’t learn much new about the game but I got a feel for the controller. For the most part as it did have a tether on it. There were some things I couldn’t do as there was only an A and B button. The throwing and petting motion controls worked well. I did keep moving the ball around in my hand meaning I would start going another direction. Hopefully that’s partly due to the tether or I’m going to have trouble with it.
The last thing I managed to do was play the Devil May Cry 5 Demo. It looked absolutely gorgeous, except for the demons they are intentionally hideous. I didn’t manage to beat the boss, dying pretty close to finishing it. Partly because I had ran out of arms. I’ve never played a Devil May Cry game before that, the closest thing I have is Bayonetta. Apparently, there is a dodge, which is a side step move, but as far as I’m aware the demo didn’t each it. Also in comparison to Bayonetta so far there was only one melee attack button not counting the special arms. So I was mostly switching between that and shooting. I’m looking forward to playing it when it releases.
So much to do, so little time…
I missed out on a lot of the other things I wanted to do. Nintendo were giving out a couple of pins and badges for doing certain things. Bethesda had a very nice display for the upcoming Elder Scrolls Online Summerset Isles expansion. A couple of ladies had offered me a chance to play Elder Scrolls Blades but I had to make my way to the signing queue.
There were some other game demos I didn’t end up playing such as Hitman 2, which apparently had a forty minute demo. They were offering people a chance to “shave off some time” in line by having all their hair shaved off like Agent 47. No friends of mine were willing to take any money from me to get them to do it sadly. Also playable were some interesting looking student games I didn’t get my hands on. There were whole tabletop free-play areas. My friends spent a lot of time out with tournaments, playing Jackbox Party Pack in the handheld lounge and Just Dance. One of them came second place in the Bomberman tournament despite never playing it before, making me really wish I went. I didn’t even step foot inside the massive retro section!
There were also many giveaways and competitions I didn’t enter. As I only learned of them the last day with not enough time to finish them.
I hope that PAX AUS won’t change locations next year as is being rumored. If it isn’t however I do hope to attend the next one, preferably with my boyfriend and brother. I would definitely try to get all of my demo’s out on the first day so that have more time to see what ones I missed, and try out tournaments, free play and other giveaways.
I would say that my only disappointments with PAX is that some demos were far too short for the line time, having a sign up for a door we couldn’t enter and no artist’s alley. Being able to not only see some YouTubers I really like but also play special game demos before release made it very much worth the trip, despite how much I dislike cities.
If you can only afford one day to PAX depending on your schedule I’d suggest a Friday or Sunday as they are just that bit less busier than the Saturday.