Note: I meant to get this PAX article done before the end of 2016 but life got in the way. The 2017 article will be done on time I promise.
The Penny Arcade Expo (Otherwise known as PAX) has been a showcase for all levels of video games and technology for the last 3 years in Australia. For us, this is like E3 rolling into town. While Australia has a thriving convention scene for pop culture, comic books, TV shows and movies; the video game side of things is very underrepresented. So PAX fills this hole nicely. Luckily for me, I have been able to attend all of the events as media for various outlets both personal and business.
It’s an amazing experience to walk through the Melbourne Exhibition and Convention Center and see big publishers like Sony, Microsoft, Square-Enix, Capcom and others sharing the floor with tech giants Razer, HyperX, Dell and others; then finally there’s the large independent section which features both local and international developers trying to get their big break… And that’s only one quarter of the show. There’s still the panels where all sorts of people share opinions and ideologies while having fun. If that’s not your thing, then you can go play classic consoles, arcade machines or even your own games on PC if you brought it. Finally, if you want to get away from all the digital buzzing, you can go play a game of Magic the Gathering or some board games for free. PAX is the ultimate gaming paradise that caters to just about every type of gamer.
For me, PAX is about making connections. The media gets an hour before doors open to walk the floor of PAX and play some of the games before the horde of people flood the floor and create hour plus lines at every booth. We get a chance to catch up or meet some of the PR people that we’ve only talked to through email for the past year. We can record footage for interviews without needing to do heavy audio editing later on or capture game footage directly from the booth itself. In this hour, PAX is like my personal playground. I got to see all the booths, confirm times for interviews, catch up with PR people and Twitch personalities, and give out a lot of business cards. As you can see in the footage above,
As you can see in the footage above, PAX is a HUGE event and takes a long time just to walk the video game side of things, let alone the whole building. But I wouldn’t have it any other way. Even when the doors open and the horde of people flood the floor, it’s still a magical place where you never know who will get you to see something that you never thought you’d see. Quite often I’d be walking past a booth and suddenly I’d have a developer come over to me and ask if I would check out their new game, and I’d give them a chance. Sometimes it was a VR gaming experience, or some Augmented Reality game that involves throwing big blow up dice in some weird version of Monopoly, or just some immersive game that you’d spend 10 minutes on and feel like you’ve been there all day. That is the magic of
That is the magic of PAX!
One of my main “Oh shit” moments from PAX was seeing Tekken 7: Fated Retribution available to play. Now while I could have just gone into the arcade mode and played a few games, but the story mode was available to play! So what do you think I would do? I jumped right into the story mode and recorded the results. Now from my experience with Tekken and Street Fighter, I found it very weird playing Akuma.
Since I saw my favorite Street Fighter character on screen, I instantly went for the Heavy Punch and Heavy Kick buttons which were not there, costing me hits in the fight. Also there are some specific things you need to do in the story that you don’t get promoted to do, which led to me getting my ass handed to me. Yeah, so I sucked at it this time, but once the game comes out later this year I’m sure I’ll redeem myself. I’m coming to beat your ass Heihachi!!
So with the fun time over, it was time to get to business. First up was my interview with Michael Teng, the Public Relations guy for HyperX. Together we toured the HyperX booth and went through all the new and current HyperX products that they have out on the market. Now I personally can attest to the greatness that is the HyperX FPS Alloy keyboard and the Cloud Stinger headset as I have and use both products. You can see the whole interview and booth tour in the video above.
Next up was the Razer booth. The black and green machine is doing a lot of great things with everything from keyboards to headsets to whole desktop and laptop computer systems. Razer has their fingers in everything to do with the technology game and there looks to be no stopping them. I’d recommend looking at the tour view and interview above. I look forward to seeing what Razer has in store for the gaming world in 2017… Though I would love to get my hands on all that recording equipment and one of those laptops. So pretty.
Lastly in the technology game was ROCCAT. This new and upcoming company that is getting into the computer accessory market. They have a lot of great ideas where it comes to making the keyboard and mouse portable with their SOVA unit. It’s a great way to use your keyboard/mouse from the comfort of your bed or couch, which I would love to have right now since I am going crazy playing Overwatch on a controller on my PS4. ROCCAT also has an amazing keyboard called SKELTR (Pronoucned Skeletor, but with different spelling due to copyright) which can read your smart phone via bluetooth and allows you to reply to texts via an application on your PC. Amazing stuff that is innovative and should sell well. ROCCAT will have their official Australian launch in March and I wish them the best of luck in becoming a force in the computer accessory market.
One of the other things I do every year is make my way to the Board and Card games area and spend some time there. I mostly go to play Magic the Gathering in this section and catch up with my friends who represent Bushiroad card games in Australia, but sometimes I’ll spend time with a game that is interesting and different. One year it was El Luchador Fantastico Grande, a card based wrestling game that was a great amount of fun. This year I was lucky enough to stumble across Vaxcards, an educational card game about Viruses and vacations made by a card game creator and a doctor. Started as a Kickstarter project (as seen in the video) with a $10,000 goal, they raised over $21,000 and now have the game available on their website. After watching the video below, jump on the website and get a set yourself, or better yet, get your local school involved and get them a few sets for their science classes.
Over 3 days PAX Australia is a sight to behold. From video games to board/card games and more, PAX Aus is more than just a convention, it’s an experience. I spent time running around recording anything I could and talking with everyone I could. I saw games I can’t wait to get my hands on, games I never thought I’d ever play, and I even learnt something about viruses and stuff. It was an amazing time of the year that I always look forward to. Now while it does cost me weekdays, it’s something I’d gladly do again even if it means missing a few paid work days. I love everything about this event from the games to the businesses involved, to the people who were there just to chill and steam things. Yeah, Twitch had a huge booth there and I got to spend time hanging out with a few Twitch streamers I know from local events and some that I’ve only had the chance to watch on the site. I wouldn’t trade these experiences for anything, even the latest sold out under-produced Nintendo product.
For those of you who are interested in a little bit of extra badly recorded footage, I have the apartment I rented for the time at PAX. For a last minute rental, it was a great view of the Yarra River and the Crown Entertainment Complex and Casino. Not to mention it was only 5 minutes walk from PAX, which was a huge bonus. So there’s that piece of footage below if you are interested.