Our picks for what to do and where to be at PAX AUS 2015

The most important three days on the Australian gaming community calendar are here again at last. Now in it’s third year, PAX Australia has become the nation’s premiere festival for every corner of the gaming hobby. From tabletop to virtual reality, if you love games then PAX loves you. If you’re having trouble deciding what to do or see at this year’s show, we’ve put together a few of our must-see events to help you out.

Friday, October 30

Rocket League – 16 Round Tourney
ESL Arena, Expo Hall
Who doesn’t love Rocket League? The little game about cars playing soccer that could comes to PAX with a 16-round tourney live at the ESL Arena in the Expo Hall. Rocket League is one of the best spectator sports in gaming right now and this event is sure to deliver world class thrills.
Story Time with Warren Spector
Main Theatre
If car soccer isn’t your thing then head directly to the main theatre. The man who created Deus Ex, System Shock, Thief and Wing Commander delivers the PAX Aus 2015 keynote address, kicking off the show in grand style. This should be a great session with one of the gaming industry’s most celebrated legends.

Penny Arcade Q&A
Main Theatre
Starting right after Warren Spector’s keynote, writer Jerry Holkins and business director Robert Khoo (filling in for artist Mike Krahulik who is at home ill this year – get well soon, Mike! We’ll miss you!) from Penny Arcade, creators of the PAX convention, will answer your questions. These are usually super funny panels and provide great insight into the thrice-weekly online comic strip that gave rise to a burgeoning company empire.

Deus Ex: Mankind Divided – A Window to the Future
Wombat Theatre
Wanna see what the new Deus Ex will look like up close and personal? Eidos Montreal’s Mary DeMarle, exec narrative director on the new title will be on hand to take fans through the world of the upcoming action-RPG and the thought process behind it.

Rooster Teeth
Main Theatre
Coming to our shores with a convention of their own next year called RTX Australia, the boys and girls from Rooster Teeth will take to the main stage completely unprepared and try to make you laugh. From humble beginnings making an online TV show using the original Halo’s multiplayer mode, Rooster Teeth is one of the most successful online gaming sites in the world.

Good Game – Ask Us Anything
Main Theatre
The team from the wildly popular ABC2 review program Good Game will hit the Main Stage for the first of two Q&A’s ths year, fresh from recording a live episode of their Good Game: Spawn Point program aimed at younger gamers. The roster expands this year with hosts Stephanie “Hex” Bendixsen, Stephen “Bajo” O’Donnell, Gus “Goose” Ronald and producer Janet “Sydski” Carr returning to chat about the show, along with the hosts of the show’s two new online shows, Nich “Nichboy” Richardson from Good Game Pocket and Michael “Hingers” Hing from Good Game Well Played.

The 1st Annual PAX Food Fight
Main Theatre
This is going to be a weird one but we’re looking forward to it. Stephanie Bendixsen, Tripod’s Scott Edgar, Kotaku Australia’s editor Mark Serrels and cosplay extraordinare Eve Beauregard will make their favourite gaming snacks live on stage. May the bset snack reign supreme. (Hex’s snack will be so healthy and we’re all going to be like UGH) (Love you, Steph)

Insert Coin and Big Head Mode present Bonus Stage
Main Theatre
Bonus Stage is an Australian live gaming talk show that features industry guests. Adopting the late night format and reworking it to fit the Australian gaming enthusiast, tonight’s live show is hosted by Carlo Ritchie and Ben O’Brien and will be joined by guests Rae Johnston, Avalanche Studios’ Roland Lesterlin and Omar Shakir, CD Projekt Red’s Mateusz Tomaszkiewicz and musical guest Axis of Awesome.

Saturday, October 31

The Future of Gaming: What’s Next for the Way we Play?
Main Theatre
If you’ve got an interest in VR, this is going to be the panel for you. VR is coming and learning about the ways it is already changing our industry will be vital for understanding where it can take us next. From the Oculus Rift to the Microsoft HoloLens, this panel will cover it all.

Boss Level: Meet the Brains in Charge of the Aussie Games Industry
Kookaburra Theatre
A debate between industry luminaries including Interplay’s Tony Reed, Greens senator Scott Ludlam, iGEA’s Ron Curry and Film Victoria’s Jenni Tosi, host Nichboy will take us through what it takes to get a game off the ground in Australia and how we can help improve the local dev scene going forward.

Just Cause 3: Choose Your Own Chaos
Wombat Theatre
Avalanche Studios has brought Just Cause 3 to the show and they’d like to wow you with some crazy stunts and explosions! Who are you to refuse an offer like that? This panel promises to be a lot of fun.

28 Plays Later with Kris Straub and Paul Verhoeven
Wombat Theatre
The gaming podcast that’s been taking the scene by storm will record its first ever live episode at this year’s PAX event. If you’ve never heard 28 Plays Later before, do yourself a favour and check it out. Hosted by Australian writer/radio/TV personality Paul Verhoeven and cartoonist Kris Straub, it often features lengthy, bizarre, hilarious converstations and deconstructions of the games the two hosts are currently playing. It’s genius local content, come along and support it.

Saturday Night Concerts
Main Theatre
One of the hallmarks of any quality PAX experience are the concerts on Saturday night. This year features an amazing line up including The Doubleclicks, Axis of Awesome and the amazing MC Frontalot. If you’ve never seen any of these acts live, do yourself a favour and get along to the show. They’re all fantastic and if you like ‘em, pick up a CD or a shirt and show them some love.

Sunday, November 1
Naughty Dog presents Uncharted 4: A Thief’s End
Main Theatre
This panel is going to be one of the most popular of the whole show, we’re calling it now. Hosted by Arne Meyer from Naughty Dog, fans will be treated to their first up close and personal look at the upcoming Uncharted adventure. Arrive early if you want to get in!

Child’s Play Charity Auction
Wombat Theatre
Child’s Play is an amazing charity set up by Penny Arcade to provide children’s hospitals and domestic violence shelters around the world with video games and game consoles to help keep minds active and spirits up. The auction will see the sale of a number of one-of-a-kind items and the proceeds go directly to the charity and the kids and adults who need them most. Should be an amazing, life-affirming experience. Hosted by Penny Arcade’s Jerry Holkins, Kris Straub and Child’s Play’s Kristin Lyndsay and Erick Blandin. This is the first time we’ve ever had a Child’s Play auction in Australia so please come out and support it! When gamers give back, amazing things happen.

CD Projekt Red presents Quest Design for The Witcher 3: Wild Hunt
Wombat Theatre
Lead quest designer Mateusz Tomaszkiewcz will take fans of this year’s monster RPG hit The Witcher 3 through the process of creating quests for the game. If you’re in any way interested in the nuts and bolts of game design, particularly when it comes to narrative integration, this will be a must-see panel.

Omegathon: Final Round and Closing Ceremony
Main Theatre
No PAX weekend is complete without seeing the conclusion of the Omegathon, the gaming tourney spread across all three days of the show. The game to be played in the final round is always a mystery – last year’s game was Combat on the Atari 2600, 2013’s game was Giant Jenga. What’s in store for 2015? Will this year’s remaining Omeganaut be able to take down the reigning champ (and noted villain) Edgemaster who has now claimed the throne two years running or will his reign of terror continue? Close out your weekend with edge-of-your-seat thrills.

Author was flown to PAX Australia 2015 in Melbourne courtesy Tiger Airways and stayed at Pullman on the Park Melbourne, courtesy Accor Hotels.


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David Smith

David Smith is the games and technology editor at The AU Review. He has previously written for PC World Australia. You can find him on Twitter at @RhunWords.

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