Though I did have a handful of issues with last year’s venue for PAX, this year is a substantial improvement. The Melbourne Convention Exhibition Centre is a perfect location for an event like this with plenty of floor space and dedicated theatres for the panels.
The advantage of this has allowed the organisers to better arrange the areas and keep the queues away from the main thoroughfare of the main area which became a major bottleneck last year. A bonus is that almost everything is now accessible under the one roof; good for Melbourne’s sometimes fickle weather. Even though we enjoyed a sunny 30 degrees celsius day it’s still nice to be prepared.
Apart from the keynote and Q&A that were previously mentioned, the other big session for me was seeing Chris Roberts talk about everything from Wing Commander to his latest game Star Citizen. I had backed the game from the Kickstarter days but had yet to dive into it. However after seeing the latest version of the Arena Commander module in action, I’m downloading that sucker now and playing it. It is a phenomenal looking game. He can be found at the Cloud Imperium Games booth so I’m hoping he might sign a couple of old games for me. The FPS module for the game was to be unveiled at a special event on Day Two.
There are more impressive booths this year too. Microsoft had a large one for Xbox as did Nintendo. Wargaming.net and League of Legends continued their extensive presence as did Ubisoft. The Oculus area was a constant line throughout the whole day; if you wanted to wait an hour for a couple of minutes of game that was the place to be.
For Xbox fans there were lines for both Sunset Overdrive and Halo: The Master Chief Collection. There was even a panel during the day covering the ID@Xbox program, for which many of the games were available to play on the show floor.
Cards Against Humanity delivered a booth as irreverent as their game; it was hard to miss amongst the more subdued palettes used elsewhere. Stiltwalkers and a marching band tended to attract some attention too. They also sold an insane number of Australian versions of the game so business was good for them here.
I think it’s always a case that the first day is a bit of a rush as you figure out where everything is and attempt to get into a few panels early. As PAX continues over the following days, it’ll be a little less rushing and a little more enjoying the great atmosphere. Game on. 🙂