Pax Australis

I got my tickets for PAX almost a year ago. Jumped in with both feet. I booked a room at my “usual” hotel for work travel well in advance as well.

Resting in our Room
Resting in our Room

The Grand is just across the river from the Melbourne Conference Centre; an easy 10 minute walk from our room to where all the fun is. I managed to get a nice room locked in early by using my frequent work visits for leverage… some of the front-desk staff greets me by name unprompted when I am around.

Bats(?) circling the Buildings
Bats(?) circling the Buildings

There were a couple of days for Abbey and I to settle in before PAX would start.

Entrance to PAX
Entrance to PAX

The Photojournalist

Since Abbey wasn’t going to cope with being on her feet all weekend, we managed to get a wheelchair for the occasion. Without she’d be dead to the world after an hour. With, she managed to get about 4-6 hours into each of the three days.

Queue to get in at 10am
Queue to get in at 10am

One of the benefits of being in a wheelchair appears to be that we got whisked into the Expo before the long long queues got the enter. “Press entry?”, “No, we’re not press”, “Today you are… *waves through*”.

As a result we got some shots of the Expo floor eerily quiet.
No visitors, just press.

The Panels

I got a lot of value out of the panels; some better than others, but none outright terrible. On topics of gaming, cosplay, equality, design and politics. Once again, being at a conference pulls at something inside me wanting to present. I’m going to have to do something with this drive.

Panel on playing female characters
Panel on playing female characters

I attended great panels on Winning Games and Losing Games. The panel on playing female characters had a brilliant mix of speakers, and I wish they had had more time to dig deeper. And I finished my last day with a panel by the producer of TableTop.

Cosplay Panel; Dave's cosplay was awesome
Cosplay Panel; Dave’s cosplay was awesome

The Playing

We played a few games along the way too. Formula E was an interesting spoof of Formula D.

Racing with Elephants
Racing with Elephants

We were also hunting for Pinny Arcade pins for Ab’s brother, and we were “forced” to play Magic the Gathering for one of them. We scored five starter decks in the process… yay freebies!

The Periphery

During five nights in Melbourne we had some opportunities to sample a few bits of the city as well. There was much more I wanted to show Abbey, but we ran out of time and energy before I got to it all.

Watching the Pigeon Roasters
Watching the Pigeon Roasters

The timing, every hour on the hour in the evening, didn’t seem favourable, but in the end we managed to get onto a bridge just in time for the spectacle. The big full blasts of fire were amazingly hot, even at 30 metres distance, even on an already hot evening.

Cookie the Scott
Cookie the Scott

You never quite know what you are going to find walking along the river in Melbourne. In this case, Cookie Monster was playing bagpipes for Halloween. Naturally. He had a few fragments of the Star Wars theme. It didn’t seem like he realised that’d be his best bet on this particular evening.

Water Creatures
Water Creatures

We had four delicious and decadent dinners… and one Nando’s failure that I’m going to pretend never happened. Dessert in the hotel is spectacular; the chocolate mousse comes with delicious slivers of pineapple drenches in delicious sweet nectar.

Chocolate Mousse++
Chocolate Mousse++

Friday night I also stumbled into a Tripod concert that was more fun than I was anticipating. I had heard their songs before, but I had forgotten how funny they are. It would also seem that the PAX audience got a lot more of their references… they had an incredibly funny song about character creation in Skyrim.

Tripod
Tripod

The People

Another must-see element of PAX is the Cosplay. I wasn’t sure how much to expect; I had expected perhaps a few people half-trying, a few handfuls of serious attempts, and maybe a “pro” or two.

I think about a quarter of the attendees was wearing some form of costume, even if it was just a cap with a Sims diamond attached. But there were so many more incredible outfits. I only captured a few, but there were hundreds of awesome characters.

The Pins

And then at the end of the weekend… emptiness…

Convention hall, empty as people get signatures
Convention hall, empty as people get signatures

And nothing but 41 pins to remember the event by.
Jerry (not me!) was very organised at the pin swap, and we got some help from the Penny Arcade staff picking good pins.

Pin collection
Pin collection

I think I want to do this again next year.
It never feels long enough.