PAX Australia is the largest convention dedicated to all things gaming in the entire Southern Hemisphere. Originally a spin-off of the American Penny Arcade Expo’s, PAX Australia is now a must attend yearly event for diehard gamers from Australia and beyond.
Our gang of video game enthusiasts converged on Melbourne from different corners of the country for an awesome opportunity to experience yet to be released games as well as dabbling in the classics.
Our first day at PAX was spent largely in the main exhibition hall trying our hand at many of the latest releases – collecting pins from the exhibitors along the way. Back in the day PAX was known as an opportunity for independent developers to showcase their new products but these days it has expanded to included the big players in the gaming industry such as Sega, Nintendo and more. As such, excitement abounded as members of our group were able to have a crack at yet to be released Sonic the Hedgehog and Super Mario Bros: Wonder games.
We also spent time on the Friday enjoying playing some retro gaming consoles including machines that were particularly dear to our retro-gamer contingent such as the Neo-Geo.
On Saturday we decided to venture further afield into Melbourne’s CBD to suck in the atmosphere of the city that now lays claim to being Australia’s most populous. We checked out some gaming and culture stores in Bourke Street Mall before cruising down Hosier Lane and spending the afternoon at the ACMI.
The ACMI is a museum dedicated to Australia’s film and television history including a large dedicated video game section complete with real, playable arcade machines. An absolute highlight was when one of our gamers drew a crowd as he served beat-down after beat-down to challengers on Street Fighter II.
On Sunday we were back at PAX for one last time. This time the group split up between those who wanted a final fix at hands-on gaming and those interested in panels and discussion on the technical aspects of gaming consoles and game development.
Our Sunday night dinner at the Hotel South Melbourne was bitter sweet. We were overjoyed by the experience but looking forward to getting home to share stories from our trip with our friends and loved ones.