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PAX 2018 Review by PikaPi

Recently I had the absolute pleasure of heading over east to PAX Australia 2018. For those who are unaware, PAX Australia is the annual gaming event that showcases all things tech and nerdy. There was even some Gunpla on display too! PAX began its humble beginnings in 2004 when the penny arcade community of Washington decided they wanted a convention dedicated to all things gaming. Since then, PAX has hit cities all over the world and developed into the number 1 iconic international gaming and technology showcase we know it today.

This year was my 4th year at PAX Australia in Melbourne. Each year there are a number of amazing things to discover. With an enormous number of panels to see, pre-release games to trial, and developer’s goods to browse and try, you can’t possibly be bored at PAX. My personal favourite part of PAX is the cosplay. Unfortunately, I did not take my Banshee cosplay over there (as its super difficult to transport). However, there was an amazing array of cosplay from anime to games and superheroes, although no Gundam cosplayers.

My personal highlights of the event include trialling Nintendo’s new Smash Bros Ultimate and new Pokémon Let’s Go games for the Switch. Although there was a small wait in a queue, as expected of Australia’s most popular games show, it was definitely worth it. I cosplayed as Twilight Princess Zelda and the positive response from the community was as welcoming as always at PAX.

Big developers such as Ubisoft, Bethesda, Microsoft, Nvidia, Logitech, MSI Gaming, HyperX, and more had their greatest games and tech on display and ready to play. Most of them ran some kind of give away or competition with many attendees battling it out on PCs, PlayStations and Xbox for awesome prizes. One person even walked away with a fully decked out PC build worth over $2500! One really awesome competition run by Logitech had attendees try a skill test. This determined your response time based on a bunch of mini reaction time tests. I was actually really surprised at my personal response time given I don’t do the best at first person shooter games!

Another highlight was the awesome variety of indie game developers showing off their newest game developments. I tried quite a few really awesome games. Apart from the ‘Untitled Goose Game’ coming to the Nintendo Switch, my favourite game was actually a mecha rhythm-based dungeon crawler called Soundfall. Developed by a split off company from Epic Games called Drastic Games, you play as a mecha girl with laser weaponry and work your way through dungeons. Your attacks are stronger based on your musical accuracy and attacking to the beat of the music playing. The game is still in development, but it is set to release late 2019.

Aside from the tech side of PAX, there is also the enormous section for tabletop games. Everything from DnD accessories, board games and miniatures painting to handheld retro consoles and trading card games was on display there. Although last year I entered and won the miniatures painting competition, this year I spent most of my time in the tech area so I didn’t interact much with the tabletop area. I did however see the most interesting Settlers of Catan-like game. I cannot recall the name of it, but instead of building roads and cities, you build bamboo for your panda forest. There are definitely some interesting things to see in the tabletop area!

Overall, PAX Australia 2018 was an awesome experience and I would highly recommend it to anyone who has interests in gaming, tech or tabletop. The community is always super inviting and the like-mindedness of the attendees opens the opportunity to meet new people and make new friends. Melbourne is the city of food and culture, so there is heaps to do before and after the convention itself. Melbourne also has quite a few hobby and Japanese figurine shops that sell Gunpla including Hearn’s Hobbies and Gundam Universe, so be sure to check those out if you plan on heading over east any time soon.


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