Review: PAX Australia 2016

14955932_10154112722212517_8193398885298967600_nMy very first PAX Australia weekend is done and dusted!

I am exhausted and sore today, going back to the daily grind is a struggle. But I look back on my incredible weekend with great memories and grateful for the experience.

The entire weekend, I embraced my inner child and ran around like a little kid. It was amazing and that is what I will remember the most. The fact I laughed so much with friends – new and old.

I love the set up at PAX, there’s a lot of room to walk around and not feel crowded. At no point did I feel like my personal space was invaded or that I was being pushed/shoved around. The enforcers do a great job in keeping people moving and not standing in the walk ways.

14947787_10154110430512517_6827498669680877057_nThe stands were great, I was hooked at the Buy Somewhere stand where I proceeded to ‘stalk’ down people with treasure chests on their heads for dice cards. Securing all the properties and getting my limited edition pin and token was such a great feeling. I think I did a little dance with an enthusiastic Lleyton Hewitt-esque ‘C’MON!’ cheer when I won!

I loved visiting the Nintendo stand, meeting Mario & Luigi and posing with a pokeball and the Zelda sword.  The 10 year old Nintendo player in me was so excited by all of this and more.

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The freeplay areas were super cool,  in the tabletop area, I got to play a few games (Dreary Hamlet and Betrayal at the House on the Hill), the latter I loved and pretty sure I am gonna grab it at some point. I forgot how much fun it was to sit down, learn a new game and play. Makes me excited for when I finally secure my own place and plan out gaming nights! In the console free play area, got to play some Super Smash Bros and just loved being able to try out the game.

I was so impressed by the Diversity lounge and the AFK lounge. Two places that were safe spaces for gamers and fans that may feel overwhelmed and support a section of the gaming community. I went to visit the Diversity lounge and were struck by how welcoming and wonderful the community was! I just love that this level of support and awareness for gamers is out there.

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I am now utterly addicted to the Pinny Arcade pins, all of which is completely Grant’s fault! Some pins like the Childs Play and the Diversity pin were donated to their causes, others were limited edition pins.  But it was so fun visiting all of the booths, collecting the pins and then trading with people at the end of the weekend. I can see that this will be my weakness in future PAX’s!

Next year, I know for sure to plan out my weekend heaps better (I didn’t get a chance to check out the classic games and learn how to play Magic the Gathering!), and I don’t think I will be so wide eyed and ‘OH EM GEE’ like I was this year.

All in all, I had an incredible weekend. I got to experience some games that I never played before, I got to enjoy the company of friends (new and old!), I got to learn about some new games that are about to join us and importantly, I just have this overwhelming feeling of gratitude that events like this are on offer to enjoy. The staff were friendly, the vibe was incredible, relaxed and most of all, I had the most memorable weekend in a long, long time.

I was really unsure going into the weekend, whether I’d enjoy it. I could not have been more wrong, I am not unbelievably excited for next year, have plans on what I could do and who else I can corrupt into coming with me.

Below is some happy snaps from the event, enjoy!

Newbie Survival Guide: PAX Australia

img_0428I recently did a call out on Twitter about the tips and tricks needed for a first timer heading to PAX. With the event less than a week away, I can’t help but feel as though I am under prepared and I have completely underestimated the event all together!

Lucky for me, the kind folks at PAX Australia RT-d me, and I was inundated with tips, tricks and advice from fellow gamers that I have collated to help everyone else as well!

 

1. Wear comfortable clothes and shoes

This was a recurring piece of advice, comfortable clothes and shoes are a must. There’s a lot of walking around, and finding your comfort sweet spot (especially in the shoes department!) is highly recommended.

2. Water, water… WATER!

Another one that came up a lot – bring your own water and keep hydrated. The venue can get quite warm with everyone walking around and so water is a must.A small stack of snacks is recommended also (nuts, jelly beans etc).

3. Take advantage of the AFK room if needed

I love that PAX Australia has a room like this – and I know sometimes when I get a bit overwhelmed or just need a time out, rooms like this are perfect. You can regroup, take a moment and destress. Means that you are collect your thoughts before heading back and having some fun – again!

4. Plan ahead

Use the PAX app (now available at the iTunes Store / Google Play) and plan your day. Gives you the ultimate opportunity to know where you want to go and what you want check out. If you have a one day pass like me – you can cross off all the things you ‘HAVE’ to see.

5. Have fun! 

Play games – makes sure you have fun! Try what you can and play as many games as you can.

A big thank you to all the folks on Twitter that shared their expertise, here is a small sampling of the replies below:

 

 

Review: AMC Expo 2016 (Melbourne)

img_0223I ventured to the AMC Expo over the weekend with my partner in crime, HolyBatGirl (HBG).

I had a slow, sluggish start to the morning. I didn’t end up getting there until just before 11am (almost a whole hour after I was suppose to meeting HBG!) and it was then I realised… I’d missed the Daniel Davis photo session.

I was so mad at myself, but bless the crew at AMC – they had a chat with Daniel, his minder, and the photographer – and secured me a session at 4pm! I was completely blown away by how wonderful and lovely every single volunteer and employee that worked at AMC. Because let’s face it, everyone could have said to me – ‘Too bad so sad.’ but the fact everyone was so accommodating, so lovely and so friendly – made this con one of my most fave cons I’ve been to this year. Pleasant interactions go such a long way with me!

Meeting Daniel was awesome – anyone that has met me, knows that I am just such a huge fan of 90’s television and The Nanny is near the top of the list! He was very friendly, chatty and talked about how much he loved Australia. He was last here in 1997, where he presented at The Logies. Not even going to even attempt to convey how much I popped for The Logies mention!

The atmosphere at AMC was completely different to any of the other Melbourne cons I had been to in 2016. It was so relaxed – it wasn’t as busy as any of the other cons (really not a bad thing! It was so hot in the place and I like being able to really take my time to walk around without bumping into people!) and I think I am getting to the point of identifying which con caters to which audience and which one I prefer more.

img_0241HBG and I bumped into some friends, and I think it’s safe to say we are now building a ‘con family’.

Can we just appreciate for a moment the incredible cosplay work of Stacey (Ghostbusters cosplay)  & Bianca (Cersei cosplay)? Witnessing how patient they were with all the people that wanted photos and posed happily. So rad! Was also super rad to meet ‘HeelSimba’ for the first time (well properly, I am sure our paths have crossed many times before that! haha)

The other thing that I really liked about AMC is the free play console gaming area (what a rad idea!), the colouring station (just to chillax!) and the free play board game area. I am beginning to get a deeper appreciation for board games as I am getting older.

All in all, AMC Expo was a huge success. Caught up with friends (new and old), met someone who I thought was totally rad and got to have an awesome adventure with my bestie. WINNING!

Here are some pictures that I absolutely loved of some of the cosplay from Jesse Singh Photography. More can be found on his Facebook page, all photos have been used with his permission.

 

Review: AVCon 2016 (Adelaide)

IMG_9225I spent the weekend in Adelaide and went  to my very first AVCon! Now for those that aren’t familiar with AVCon, it’s Adelaide’s Anime & Video Games Festival.

I was a bit unsure at first if I was going to enjoy myself, my knowledge on anime is basically zero. But I was pleasantly surprised and had such a blast!

Firstly, I was so impressed that there was a ReachOut room on site, to give those that may get overwhelmed with the high energy or the crowds a place to have a time out. Super highly impressed.

IMG_9241Secondly, there was a section of where ‘The Big Game Theory’ facilitated a board game library of where you could try an array of games with friends (or even join a game with strangers) and be able to have some time to hang out. That was pretty awesome, and really made the ‘Weekend Pass’ that I had completely worth it. It meant I could spend one day of really taking everything in (the stalls, the cos play and the other parts of the convention) and then take my time learning a new game, ‘Super Fight’ with friends.

IMG_9207Thirdly, there was a whole section dedicated to indie games. By that, independent game inventors could bring their games and inventions to the convention and live beta test them with the crowd. I met one person who invented a basketball game on a Commodore ’64 and I got an opportunity to play it with him. It was super cool, and I was so impressed that people used their free time and passion in such a constructive way. Not to mention, the quality of the games BLEW MY MIND!

IMG_9247The cosplayers were in fine form again, and I absolutely loved how respectful and polite everyone was to each other. I am sure it’s because the Convention centre is so spacious, at no point did I ever feel claustrophobic or being shoved to one side. Everyone around was constantly putting Pokemon Go lures down, and whenever a good Pokemon would appear, everyone would exclaim and help each other out.

The other thing I was impressed with it were the lanyards. Everyone wore a ticket lanyard which sported the mascot for the year and made the entry flawless – especially if you picked up your passes on the Friday!

All in all, I had a brilliant time. I cannot wait for next year, I’ll so be back!