PAX Australia has started with a bang, as thousands of video gaming fans descended on the Royal Melbourne Showgrounds in windy weather to indulge in their beloved hobby. The show gave punters a chance to socialise with other like minded enthusiasts, dress up as their favourite characters, compete in video game tournaments, and view the latest offerings from big publishers and independent developers.
It was also a chance for the big names in the industry to present panels on the important issues in pop culture and gaming. It had appearances from studios such as Ubisoft and Microsoft, as well as Internet gaming-personalities such as the popular gaming-comedy team behind Rooster Teeth. Whatever your game was, there as one thing for certain: this show rocked!
Inside the exhibition room, avid gamers could check out the latest big titles coming for release in the near future. This author was privy to some amazing exclusive game play demonstrations for some great looking independent games, as well as the upcoming Ubisoft titles Splinter Cell: Blacklist, Watch_Dogs and the Caribbean themed Assassin's Creed IV: Black Flag. Sega also showcased their upcoming strategy game Total War: Rome II in an extravagant Roman themed tent display.
There was a demonstration of the hotly anticipated Oculus Rift, as well as a displaying of the upcoming Xbox One; confirming to us exactly how big it was (honestly, it looks the same size as the Xbox 360), and what we will be able to plug in the back of it:
PAX Australia was also the venue of choice for the League of Legends tournament, which kicked off today. The winners that come out of this competition will be heading to Gamescom in Germany for some serious cash in the grand finals.
Gamers could also browse lengthy merchandise stores with an awesome array of paraphernalia; perhaps you have always wanted the Portal gun, or the cleaver from Gears of War, or a figurine of Miranda from Mass Effect? Well, it was all here, provided you had a wallet or credit card that could take the punishment.
In one corner of the Expo, players could take a trip down memory lane with a fully functioning piece of gaming hardware from each generation, all the way back to the days of the Commodore 64, Amiga and ColecoVision.
The event also hosted a complete section dedicate to just tabletop gaming, including sections for both new and vintage board games, as well as insanely popular card games, such as Magic: The Gathering (which has recently just had a digital edition released: Magic the Gathering: Duals of the Planeswalker 2014).
If I had one complaint, it was that the exhibition room was too packed, and food catering was too sparse. In addition, we waited in line for an hour for a popular panel before deciding we had enough and left. In that case, people weren't even being ushered into the hall at the designated start times, and people were becoming agitated. However, as is the case with these events, the organisers usually learn from their first gig and hopefully use the experience to ensure next year's event runs much smoother.
PAX Australia continues into the night, and will be firing on all cylinders as it continues throughout the weekend. If you missed out, take heart because the show has been confirmed to return in 2014.