So I’ve written all about one of the best attractions of PAX Aus, the indie titles on display, and those you might have missed. But PAX Aus is such a big place that a few indie titles are not the only thing you could have missed out on, so what else is there? Well, we all know the expo hall and its beautiful free loot/video games/obnoxiously loud DJ’s is the main attraction. But if you were to take a wander outside, you could find so much more that makes PAX Aus a truly unique convention.
So let’s take a look at a few spaces you might not have noticed and what they’re about!
This is one of my recurring favourite spaces every single dang year. The diversity lounge champions… Well, diversity! It represents a space for gamers of any background to come together and enjoy games of both the tabletop and the video variety. LGBT+, gamers of different ability, mental health, the diversity lounge covers it all and manages to create a safe space for nerds to have fun. It also shows off various diverse exhibitors such as Melbourne Gaymers, Minus18 and Checkpoint Org.
During my time ‘researching’ this space, I sat down and played a bunch of neat games and also got to introduce neat games to other people. Whether it’s newer titles like Horizon Zero Dawn or older, niche titles like Xena: Warrior Princess: Talisman of Fate, there’s something for, quite literally, everyone. As well as sessions to learn to play tabletop games like Dungeons and Dragons or Magic The Gathering.
It was also running its own schedule of events through the day, with tournaments, play sessions for LGBT+ groups, talks from various developers on the subject of diversity and, my personal favourite, trivia events. As you can see in the photo above. Mostly because I managed to make it in (I’m the one in the Handsome Jack cosplay). We may not have won, but getting to sit on a team with the amazing Lauren Clinnick was an experience to treasure.
The AFK Room is an initiative run by Checkpoint Org. and Take This, and is another recurring event for PAX that focuses more on con-goers mental health. If you’re anything like me, conventions can be overwhelming. PAX is a heck of a big convention with a heck of a lot of people which means it’s pretty easy to get overwhelmed and burned out. So what happens in this case? You take a break.
And the AFK Room is just the space for it.
It’s full of everything you need to take a breather, enjoy a break and get those spoons back to head on out into the wilderness of the convention floor. It’s staffed by volunteers who are happy to offer advice on how to perk back up and free water to re-hydrate. There’s also various activities to occupy your mind and chill out with, from colouring in right through to various 3DS’ on offer and even a Switch (which, as a Switchless individual, I appreciated a lot).
Though it’s a large space, it is very much out of the way which I’m hoping will be remedied in future PAX Aus events. I had to walk quite a way, nearly getting lost as I navigated hallways before finally stumbling upon my destination. Though I did get quite an amazing view of the expo hall which made up for it. But something this important definitely needs a better, more easily accessible space because we all need to be looking after our mental health.
The XXXhibition from Blushbox (nsfw link) is a newcomer to PAX Aus and something I actually didn’t know would be showing up. I stumbled on it quite accidentally as I was making my way to the Diversity Lounge. And out of the corner of my eye, I see a sign promising lewd games and, naturally, being a game journalist, it’s my responsibility to check out this little space and see what it’s all about.
Talking about this space and what it contains, exactly, is a little difficult because I’m trying to keep this entire article at least a little family friendly. But I’ll do my best and see how I can talk about this whole thing.
Although it’s more than just lewd games. A lot of these games contained commentaries on LGBT+ issues, as well as issues revolving around sex, intimacy, identity, social issues, all kinds of things. And some of them were also just downright lewd, but very fun.