The Highlights of PAX Aus 2017

Jeremy Ray
Indie Games PC Gaming
Indie Games PC Gaming Games

There was a lot of cool stuff at PAX Aus 2017, and it was definitely one of those shows where you couldn’t see it all in one day.

But damned if we didn’t try. Here’s some of our highlights.

Master Chief Proposing to His Girlfriend

There was this important question being popped on the show floor, as someone agreed to be the Cortana to their lover’s Master Chief.

I’d personally have made him remove the helmet first. I mean, that could’ve been anyone.

‘Crossy Road’ with Crazy Controllers

PAX’s big gaming competition, the Omegathon, unveiled its final game as Crossy Road. Very cool!

But wait! There was a twist. To control the game, they had to use custom controllers made by Rudeism. The Youtuber/streamer is famous for his dastardly, impractical inputs, and this time had figured out how to control the game using a Wii Balance Board.

Well. That… That’s harder.

‘Detroit: Becoming Human’ Had Androids

It might not look like it, but that’s a real person behind the glass. To promote Detroit: Become Human, these poor souls had to act like androids in a glass box all day.

This of course led to everyone seeing how much they could mess with them, or trying to make them laugh. The androids performed admirably in the face of such larrikinism, remaining stone-faced like some kind of Buckingham Palace guard.

All Dat Cosplay

PAX Aus Predator cosplay

This warrants a whole post of its own, so keep an eye out for that. But cosplay was definitely one of the highlights of PAX Aus 2017.

For those who care about the cosplay scene, the good news was that a lot of the best cosplay you’d see on the show floor was paid for by the booths. It’s good to see the hobby’s value being recognised, and it’ll help cosplayers do what they love for even longer.

The ‘Street Fighter V’ Finals

Esports had a big place at PAX Aus, but a lot of it was just exhibition matches. Not so for Street Fighter V. The winner of this competition would have a proper title outside of PAX, even if it’s with the fairly new Throwdown organisation.

It was also nail-bitingly close.

BKSAMA’s Urien was enough to take down ROF’s Birdie, but not before ROF took him to the final stretch of the final match.

There was some highly strategic and technical play throughout the entire competition, but it’s awesome when a final is suitably climactic.

VR Was Everywhere

VR PAX Aus Vive Rift PSVR

VR might not be everyone’s thing. But how can you tell if you haven’t tried it? While Youtube and Twitch has made it easy to show gameplay, VR is one of those areas where we still largely rely on our words to describe the experience. It can be a hard thing to communicate, and ultimately you’re never going to know if you like it until you’ve had a go.

There were several different areas where you could just walk up, don a headset, and try out different kinds of games. A Vive, a Rift, or PSVR. A mech game, a racing game, or something weirder.

Undoubtedly some people would walk away thinking it’s not for them, but it’s awesome that so many people were able to try it out. If you were interested in VR before PAX, this was great value.

‘Horizon Zero Dawn’s Art Exhibition

Horizon Zero Dawn photo mode exhibition
Part of the exhibition was from Guerrilla developers

We wrote up a little something on the art exhibition that was placed between the show floor and panel areas. It was the perfect spot for passersby to notice out of the corner of their eye and wander over.

Featuring the best shots from community members and developers using Horizon Zero Dawn‘s photo mode, there was quite a lot of creativity on display. Not only that, but some of the pieces were technically impressive too. The artists may not have had to deal with the intricacies of operating a camera, but the game world has its own rules for lighting and physics to play with.

All Those Indies

Hand of Fate 2 booth at PAX Aus

Lastly, it’s a matter of Australian pride that the indie area has a strong showing of local talent. There were a few repeat booths from previous years, but lots of cool new stuff as well.

It’s usually in this space that you see the innovative ideas that will eventually get picked up by triple-A games three years down the track. As well as ideas that are too crazy to be commercially viable, even if it’s awesome that someone still made it.

You can check out some of the cooler indie games here.

Jeremy Ray
Managing Editor at FANDOM. Decade-long games critic and esports aficionado. Started in competitive Counter-Strike, then moved into broadcast, online, print and interpretative pantomime. You merely adopted the lag. I was born in it.
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