The sun has set on the third and final day of PAX Aus 2016. As the the last punters streamed of the Final Round of the Omegathon in Main Hall, there was a genuine sense of glumness mingled with satisfaction in the air. PAX is over for another year and we’re deeply bummed about that, but at the same time we’re glad we came and we already can’t wait for November next year to do it all again.
The day kicked off with The Great Debate in the Wombat Theatre. This year’s topic: Is VR better than real life? We came for everyone’s favourite curmudgeon Mark Serrels and stayed for the surprisingly cogent arguments for and against.
While this was going on, upstairs in the Galah Theatre the Rolling with Attacks of Opportunity: CON Check panel was underway, featuring a panel of long-time Dungeon/Game Masters taking a moment to complain about crazy player decisions in pen-and-paper RPG’s. Olivia Barlow, who played player advocate, landed the joke of the panel with “… it’s a bit fun,” when asked why players enjoy messing with their GM so much. Exceedingly entertaining and a great insight for players into what life is like behind the screen.
Popular gaming podcast 28 Plays Later held a raucous live episode in the Wombat Theatre, entertaining long-standing fans and winning droves of new ones. The heady combination of Paul Verhoeven and Kris Straub’s virbrantly weird senses of humour made for one of the best hours of the show to date.
Another popular podcast followed 28 Plays — Dragon Friends, in which a group of comedians imrpov their way through a game of D&D with chaotic and incredibly entertaining results. We’ll be digging into the podcast for the flights home.
Finally, the Omegathon closed out in typically grand fashion with the year’s mystery game going to VR title Cowbots and Aliens. Contestants Banner Fall and Arknym became the first all-female final round of the competition, and single-handedly convinced this writer that VR eSports is capable of delivering world-class thrills. You can watch that incredible competition, including the few moments of awkwardness as the tech team finds getting both contestants in the same server a bit of a challenge, in the embed below (skip to 7:38:00 if it doesn’t begin at the Omegathon for you).
The foot traffic eased somewhat today, particularly toward the end of the day when the three-day pass holders began to cave in to their exhaustion and aching feet and the Saturday crush had been removed from the equation. Tabletop held full dominion to the very last with players and shoppers alike sticking around until finally being ejected by the Enforcers.
On the subject of Enforcers, we’d like to take a second to thank this year’s incredibly efficient, kind and knowledgeable crowd of volunteer security staff. Every last one of them appeared to be having a ball and gave up their own PAX to make sure that everyone else could have a nice time. True-form support mains every last one of them and we can’t thank them enough for their hard work.
It’s been said by multiple people already this year and we’d like to echo the sentiment: Four years in, PAX Aus is finally a well-oiled machine. This year was, without doubt, the best the convention has ever been from an organisational and content standpoint. The panels were wonderfully far-reaching and filled with diverse voices, the crowd were incredibly well-behaved and brought such a wonderful vibe to the whole affair (we pledge fealty to the First Church of the Holy Sweet Roll, formed in the Queue Room this very morn, and swear to honour the Pastryarch).
PAX Aus, you are our favourite. You rolled a Natural 20 this year but we knew that from the moment we walked into the MCEC because you left the d20 right there in the hall to prove it. We love you, we miss you already, and we’ll see you in 2017 (which will apparently be before the Melbourne Cup next year because Mike said so and now you can’t take it back).
Accommodation in Melbourne provided by Fraser Place Melbourne. For rates and information, click here.