PAX Aus is back and in person for the first time since 2019, and it’s not just a day for people to get hands-on with games and tech, it’s also a day that sees communities from all over the country come together.
Showcases and panels by industry experts are open to those searching for something new or looking for inspiration, as well as thousands of Independent local game creators raring to show off what they’ve been working on.
Australia’s largest video game convention is on in Melbourne this weekend, with 80,000 people expected to walk through the gates.
And while the major gaming companies like Microsoft and Playstation didn’t have the most significant presence at the event, there was still plenty to do.
Day One saw thousands of people flood the Melbourne Convention and Exhibition Centre, with colourful videogame-themed costumes and props.
Non-Fiction Gaming went along to check it all out.
Gaming and panelists
PlayStation’s Shuhei Yoshida headlined the panelists for day one, with a storytime discussion on indie game development.
Yoshida says this was his first time back in Australia in over 30 years and shared his passion for Indie games, including Melbourne’s own Cult of the Lamb, which drew a stellar crowd at their booth near PAX Rising.PAX Rising is the prime location for small studios and independent game developers to show off their work.
If you are heading in to PAX 2022 over the weekend I urge you to head on over to PAX Rising and check out the fantastic locally- developed games. Even if you can’t get there yourself – PAX is sold out for the weekend – you can check out all the local games on the PAX Rising web page. Our region of the world really does have some talented developers.
Many of the game studios on the PAX Rising show floor are from Melbourne, including Massive Monsters, Things For Humans, Catchweight Studio, DragonBear Studios and Piotr Rochala.
I had a great time sitting down with the team behind Miska.
In Miska, you play as a woman returning to an Australian National Park that she used to visit with her family. The Park has fallen into disarray; you will spend the game picking up rubbish, restoring the Park to its former glory.
It feels like a great calming experience in a setting that we don’t see often, the Australian forrest.
The highly anticipated SEGA video game, Sonic Frontiers, had a hands-on exhibit, allowing gamers to get a good look at the game before it launches on November 8.
While over at the Lenovo Legion booth gamers could get a sneak peek of horror game Alone in the Dark. Also at the Lenovo booth, a string quartette performed the Halo: Combat Evolved theme song live.
Indie game publishers Devolver Digital had one of the comfiest setups in the main hall, allowing gamers to sit down on a couch with their friends to play many of their upcoming games, including Anger Foot and Gunbrella.
Gaming giants Square Enix has an epic Final Fantasy Online display, with their team running Battle Challenges to defeat the Ifrit and Zodiark Trials.
There’s a beanbag heavy zone to rest your legs, and a stage area to see some hardcore gamers show off their speed running skills.
Many other gaming industry professionals are holding talks, offering gaming advice and sharing stories, in various theatres across the expo.
Tech and exhibitors
It’s not just video games, there was plenty of tech on show too.
ASUS ROG (Republic of Gamers) has a mega showcase on the main floor, where gamers and tech lovers can check out the brand’s latest gaming laptops, like the ROG Zephyrus Duo, as well as other gaming accessories and merch.
Wacom is showing off its latest tablet for digital design, they had character artist Pablo Munoz Gomez and concept designer and artist Simon Scales on hand to demonstrate the tech.
HTC Vive has a virtual reality space set up to allow people to get a look at the latest VR technology.
A retro arcade has been installed at the Aussie Broadband booth, while all the classic consoles can be found in, you guessed it, the Classic Gaming section of the expo.
There was also an entire zone dedicated to Twitch streamers.
You know we love the tabletop section here at Non-Fiction Gaming.
Up the back of the main hall was a zone dedicated to card and tabletop games, with retailers loading up their booths with the latest in Magic the Gathering, Pokemon TCG and Warhammer – just to name a few.
There’s no shortage of things to see at PAX Aus this year, it’s running across the weekend with some tickets still available for Sunday.