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05 October, 2022 | 03:44 AM

The First Timer’s Guide To PAX Aus

The First Timer’s Guide To PAX Aus
Heading to your first ever PAX Aus this year? Not sure what to expect, or where you need to go? Have no fear. Kotaku Australia has been to the show every year since it first landed in Aus back in 2013, and we’ve picked up a thing or two in that time. How to PAXFirst things first: find out about the show! PAX Australia is a three-day show, held every year over one weekend in October. The first day of the show is always a Friday, and it carries on over the following Saturday and Sunday. Doors usually open after 8am so people can collect badges and start lining up. You will need to be wearing your badge at all times while you are inside the Melbourne Convention and Exhibition Centre! This will grant you access to panels and the Expo Hall floor. The Convention and Exhibition Centre are two separate buildingsHere’s something not a lot of people know: the Melbourne Convention and Exhibition Centre are two separate buildings joined by several walkways along the main thoroughfare. The Exhibition Centre is the larger of the two buildings, and is the gigantic room where you’ll find the Expo Hall and Tabletop. The best way to enter the Exhibition Centre is from the Collins St end opposite Crown and South Bank. The Convention Centre is a smaller building full of theatres – this is where all the panels are held. When someone mentions one or the other, they’re referring to these specific buildings. When we talk about the Melbourne Convention And Exhibition Centre (or MCEC) we’re talking about the whole, gigantic complex. You’ll be walking a lot. Wear comfortable shoes.I don’t know if you know this, but the Melbourne Convention and Exhibition Centre is big. Really big. And PAX Aus consumes a solid chunk of it. Make sure you wear comfortable shoes, because you’ll be putting in thousands and thousands of steps across the weekend. Keep your clothes light and comfortable, but make sure you have a jumper for when you need to go outside. The weather in Melbourne is famously variable, but inside the MCEC, comfort is king. Bring your own bottle of water, refill it oftenThe MCEC has plenty of stations for refilling water bottles, and you should absolutely bring your own. One of the biggest unforced errors a PAX rookie can make is paying extortionate convention prices for a bottle of water. Make sure you’re drinking often — with all the walking you’ll be doing, you’re going to need to keep your fluids up. Download the PAX App on your phone before you get to the Convention CentreBe prepared! Make sure you have the PAX app installed and set up on your phone before you arrive at the MCEC. The PAX app contains information on every single event happening at the show across all three days and will help you better plan your weekend. Build your own schedule, set up reminders and flag your favourite panels or things you think might be interesting. There’s also a map of the MCEC so you can better get your bearings. Always know where your badge isOne of the major bummers of the PAX convention is that there is no such thing as a replacement badge. Upon arrival at the show, you are issued a badge to wear on a lanyard around your neck, and there it must stay the entire time you are at the event. Single-day passes will only grant you entry to panels and the Expo Hall on their respective days. Three-day passes will get you in all weekend long. Losing your badge is a bit like losing cash out of your wallet: it cannot be replaced. Always, always, always know where your badge is. If you take it off for any reason, put it in your bag or secure it in your pocket. Many panel theatres are named according to the floor they’re onPAX Aus’ organisers are a funny bunch. A tradition the show has maintained since its first year at the MCEC in 2014 is naming its theatres after native Australian fauna. But there’s a hidden system! Theatres on the ground floor are named for animals that live on the ground, which is why the Wombat Theatre is right in front of you when you enter the Convention Centre. On the upper floors, you’ll find theatres named for animals that live in the trees — historically, we’ve had the Dropbear and Ibis theatres on these floors. On the top floor, you’ll find theatres named for flying animals, like the Kookaburra and Fruitbat Theatres. So there you go! A shortcut! If you look at your guide and you see your next panel is in the Kookaburra Theatre, you’ll know you need to head upstairs.The corollary to this, of course, is that not all theatres are named for animals! Some aren’t even in the Convention Centre! Take the NBN Theatre, for instance! This year, the NBN Theatre is at the other end of the Exhibition Centre complex. The EnforcersYou’ll see a lot of people milling around at PAX Aus dressed in yellow shirts. Sometimes these people will be standing guard, sometimes they’ll be directing foot traffic, or managing lines, or just keeping people entertained as they make their way around the show. These beautiful people are the Enforcers, and they are your new best friends at PAX Aus. If you have a question, like where to find a specific theatre or where you can find a tap to refill your water bottle, ask an Enforcer. If you’re lost and aren’t sure where you’ve wound up, ask an Enforcer. If you’re in distress, need help, or are feeling ill, grab an Enforcer. Despite their authoritative name, the Enforcers are caring, friendly people, and they make the show go round. There’s an army of them on-site at all times throughout the show, so just look around — there’ll always be someone in a yellow shirt nearby. There’s an AFK Room available if you need itThe AFK Room is a fixture of the PAX Aus experience, a quiet space just off the Expo Hall for people who might a place to take a breather. It’s the perfect spot for a break if you struggle with anxiety or find the sensory blast of loud noises and bright lights to be a bit much. There’s always someone on-hand in the room who can look after you if you’re not feeling 100%. PAX is for everyone, and that means we look out for everyone. The Diversity LoungeIf you’re a queer person heading along to PAX Aus for the first time and you aren’t quite sure where to find your people, look no further than the Diversity Lounge. A staple of PAX conventions for many years, the Diversity Lounge is where you’ll find games, developers, panels, and discussions centred on the queer experience. Ask for Alice, and tell her we sent you — she’ll take good care of you. If you aren’t leaving the CBD, the trams are freeFor those of you visiting Melbourne from out of town, there’s every chance that catching the tram from your hotel to the MCEC won’t cost you anything. The Melbourne CBD is a free tram zone, and the outer edges of this zone are clearly marked. For most people staying in the city, you should be able to get to and from PAX without it costing you a cent. You won’t even need to buy a Myki card — just use the PTV Melbourne or Tramtracker apps on your phone to find the correct line(s), hop on the tram, and go. The city is full of PAX-adjacent eventsThe benefit of holding an event like PAX in a city like Melbourne is that there’s a ton on around it. We’re packed with gamer bars (like Bartronica, GGEZ, Fortress Melbourne, and others), there are arcades, and even events like Bethesda’s big MIGW party happening all over town. Our good mates over at GamesHub have an excellent guide to making the most of your time in Melbourne during the show. Definitely check that out. The post The First Timer’s Guide To PAX Aus appeared first on Kotaku Australia.