Last week I had the opportunity to visit Australia’s first Penny Arcade Expo, or PAX. The event was a huge success and a great experience. In this article I’ll give you a taste of what I got to see and play there!
The event showcased everything from tabletop games, indie titles and developers right up to major titles such as Assassin’s Creed IV, Saint’s Row IV and League of Legends. There were also many accessory and hardware manufacturers there showing off their latest headsets, gaming peripherals and super powered PCs. A whole host of international developers and companies showed up for panels and Microsoft even presented their Xbox One with live demos on stage.
The standout booths from the show were the World of Tanks and League of Legends stands, taking up a massive amount of space and drawing huge numbers of gamers. The League of Legends booth was packed full for all three days, hosting the first major Oceanic tournaments.
The expo featured a few other major gaming booths from Ubisoft, Nintendo and a Rome Total War 2 theatre – each showcasing new demos and game presentations for many upcoming titles such as Assassin’s Creed IV, Watch Dogs, Rome Total War 2, Saints Row IV, Splinter Cell Blacklist and The Legend of Zelda: A Link Between Worlds.
There was a huge focus on indie titles in the main arena – One of the highlights was Freedom Fall, which I previewed and reviewed before the event here. Their booth had a great atmosphere and some brilliant cosplay to publicize the game
Other indie titles of note included Antichamber, Black Annex, Fractured Soul and InFlux. To see the very best of PAX Australia’s indie showcase, view the showcase page here.
One of the best features of PAX Australia, in my opinion, was the huge freeplay and tabletop arena. This big hall held hundreds of consoles ready to run tournaments and also to let people relax and play a game with friends and strangers, creating an awesome atmosphere of community gaming. It also had both a large area for handheld gaming and a large tabletop area, populated mostly with Magic the Gathering games and how to lessons for beginners.
Presentations over the weekend were very exciting – from game developers to media presentations and how-to’s. Famous cosplayers, journalists and big name developers such as Gearbox and Bioware put on presentations and Q&A’s that were full up hours before they began – very popular panels.
Microsoft also took PAX Aus as it’s first opportunity to show off the Xbox One in Australia, drawing record numbers into the main theatre. They presented live demos of a few launch games and walked us through the new controller and kinect.
The last major part of PAX is arguably one of the most exciting – Cosplay. Seeing talented individuals out in awesome costumes was one of the best parts of PAX and there certainly were some incredible ones. Highlights included the huge number of League of Legends cosplays, Borderlands 2 Vault Hunters (and a clap-trap!) and even the Luteces from Bioshock Infinite!
Overall the expo was a great success and I’m very much looking forward to the coming years – bigger booths, bigger venue and bigger games, but for the first time this Expo has been in Australia it was very impressive.