PAX AUS 2015 Day One

After last years seemingly gargantuan post covering all three days I’ve decided to do myself a favor and at least make an effort to break this thing down into smaller chunks. Day sized chunks, to be specific. Three of them, to get right down to the math. So from the relative serenity of the warpkey hotel room desk, behold, the PAX AUS 2015 day 1 post!

Lets get this show on the road.

We¬†started the day trekking in beautiful Melbourne weather to the con center and walking beneath the hallowed entry sign – yes, welcome home – grabbing a couple of alienware lanyards and hooking on the three day passes. Thus equipped, we ventured forth into the relatively sparsely populated hallways to commence paxing, day one. I say ‘relatively sparsely’ only because I’ve seen this thing in full Saturday swing last year, and ‘relatively’ means just that. Friday is still busy as all heck, but there was elbowroom in the main halls and little danger of being trampled by hordes of cosplaying lemmings or Master Chiefs – I’m sure that’ll come with the packed crowds tomorrow.

First up – we didn’t even touch the main exhibition hall yet. There’ll be plenty of that to come on the weekend and I’m super keen in particular to chat with some indy devs like we did last year, but today we focused on touring where everything is and catching a few panels.

Merch Merch Merch.
Merch Merch Merch.

First thing we headed into the latter half of the hall, picking up programs and wristbands from the enforcers on the door, and checked out the merch stand. I have some cool shirts from PAX 2013 and 2014 including the green retro styled one from last year, and I’m not surprised to see the ‘Dark Mantle‘ hoodie making its return this year (as its just a god-damned awesome piece of gear), but somewhat disappointingly there doesn’t seem to be any really new and/or stand out items this year that make me want to take them home in the same way previous years have delivered.
So the bonus of that is, looks like we’ll probably be saving some money on merch this year.

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A mound of games.

Next stop was the tabletop area, up, around and between the vendor booths with pretty much any variety of board or card game you can get. I’m reminded that Christmas approaches fast and these things make great¬†gift fodder, so maybe I shouldn’t speak too soon on the ‘saving money’ front.

 

The Tabletop Game Loan Library. Comprehensive.
The Tabletop Game Loan Library. Comprehensive.

Decided to make more effort to adorn the lanyards with free badges this year and picked up a raft of them through the first sweep around, checking out a bunch of cool looking card games along the way. Stuff like Game of Phones, Exploding Kittens, and Letter Tycoon. Gazing sternly at these colorful newcomers, Cards against humanity loomed against the corner wall like a dark overlord. Good stuff.

A brief rest and a couple of sandwiches later (packed lunch FTW) we headed to the main theater to catch the newly minted Khoo & A. Khoo? As Gabe is indisposed this PAX (vomit fountain), Khoo has stepped in for the Q & A. He did a great job and we heard some pretty cool stories from both him and Jerry, ranging from the secrecy of the PA HQ underground bunker location to Roberts proclivity for Rice Cooker and Tay-tay related items.

Khoo & A in full swing.
Khoo & A in full swing.

Next we headed over to check out the Gamers for Equality panel but the line stretched into the adjacent dimension and it looked doubtful we’d get in, so the next stop was the Omegathon Round one just around the corner. It was well worth it: I’d never seen Beautiful Katamari played before but it looks crazy. The premise is you’re a little green character rolling a sticky ball around the interior of a candy shop which appears to have just been tumbled around in an earthquake; eg the contents are all over the place. This is A Good Thing as you want to roll your increasingly sized ball of crap over all the other crap so it can get bigger than the other omeganauts balls of crap in the same amount of time. Sounds simple but there was a fair degree of variation in how sucessfully the competitors did it.

One thing I did notice was theres seemed to be an advantage depending on where the player randomly spawned in the level, higher levels seems to have more initial crap to get the ball rolling so to speak, so maybe they had an advantage? I don’t know, I’m not a Karamari scientist. Just seemed, is all.

Omegathon Round 1 ran a bit late, so we popped out with about enough time to grab a coffee and go on a hunt for QR-codes for the PAX-XP game. Filed in a bunch of those and headed to the Nano-Jam Game Design panel. This was insanely popular judging by the line length, so much that the hall filled up without enough room for the last fifth of the line; seeing this sad future in the process of unfolding future we bailed and headed down to the *drum roll BOM BOM BOMMM* First Annual PAX Food Fight.

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First annual PAX Aus food fight.

I wasn’t sure what the heck this was either at first but it turned out to be worth going. The panel organiser had cooked up (sorry) an idea to have a selection of well known gaming community people prepare and present on stage their favorite gaming-related culinary creations. This could have gone either way but it turned out to be pretty entertaining, thanks to the antics of the participants; Scott Edgar from Tripod, Steph ‘Hex’ Bendixen from Good Game, Mark Serrels from Kotaku, Eve Beauregard, and the organiser, Tristan Lutze from Geekplate.

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Nutritional experience may vary

They all prepared something interesting, most notably Scotts ‘Punch in the face’ cashew chilli-lemon-salt mix and Hex’s high calorie blueberry-cherry-grape-peanut butter-banana thickshake. Yeah it actually sounds kind of awesome.

 

 

Omegathon Round 2
Omegathon Round 2

We swung by the second omegathon round which for us consisted of Mario Kart with a generous sprinkling of technical hiccups before we bailed and headed down to see Penny-Arcade and friends in the main theater, another experimental show which turned out quite well.

Tycho, Kris Straub, MC Frontalot and Angela and Aubrey from the Doubleclicks played a series of games of Quiplash live on stage. The audience could participate online by voting on the answers, and a fair amount of hilarity ensued. Jackbox Games were also kind enough to provide steam codes to everyone for Quiplash after the session.

Quiplash go
Quiplash, engage

After that was time to wrap up for the evening and get some dinner – so that was PAX AUS 2015 day 1, until tomorrow!

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