Off to a Strong Start
Melbourne — Penny Arcade Expo Australia is off to a strong start. Day 1 of the event, and the windy winter weather didn’t seem to deter gamers from showing up in full force.
Located a short tram ride from the CBD, the Melbourne Showgrounds is a completely different venue from your traditional convention center. It’s an indoor/outdoor park, connected by temporary tents, and barn sheds. They basically took PAX and put it on a farm ready for an Aussie rodeo.
That’s not to say that the venue doesn’t suit PAX. It actually works quite well, in a weird way especially the ‘Big Tent’ which is the location for PC and Console Freeplay, Table Top gaming, Handheld Tournaments, Retro gaming area, and food cart alley, to name a few. All under one circus tent. Though certain areas like the PC freeplay did seem noticeably smaller compared to PAX Prime. The rest of PAX is separated into pavilions where panels, concerts and presentations take place.
The Expo Hall features headliners like Nintendo, Ubisoft, and Riot Games, vendors like Sydney’s Kings Comics, as well as a large section devoted to Australian game developers. There is definitely a noticeable difference in scale, and less number of big name exhibitors at PAX Australia. Maybe flying ‘Down Under’ didn’t appeal to too many international developers.
Overall, Day 1 definitely hit all the marks that we’ve come to expect from PAX, albeit in a unconventional venue.
Check out the gallery below from the event.