The PAX Australia Panels You Can't Afford To Miss

My favourite part of PAX Australia is the panels. You get to hear smart people talk about video games, geek culture, all that stuff. That's good.

So I thought I'd do a round up of the panels we're all excited about, and the panels you can't afford to miss.

The Big Ones

These are the panels you can't miss. The panels there will most likely be queues for. Big names, big audiences.

Storytime With Warren Spector Friday 30 October, 10:30am The 'Storytime' keynotes are always worthwhile, regardless of what PAX you're at. Warren Spector is an amazing public speaker and always has interesting things to say. You can't miss this one.

Penny Arcade: Make A Strip Saturday 31 October, 10:30am Regardless of your feelings toward Penny Arcade as a comic strip, this is always entertaining.

Naughty Dog Presents: Uncharted 4: A Thief's End Sunday 1 November, 10.30am It's an exclusive look at the game with someone from Naughty Dog. You can't miss this one.

Mark's Personal Favourites

Here are a few panels I'm personally excited for.

How Can We Save Australia's Early Games History? Saturday 31 October, 12:00pm This features Helen Stuckey, who is really the expert when it comes to how we preserve video game history. I think this is important and worthwhile. Super keen.

The Future of Gaming: What's Next For the Way We Play? Saturday 31 October, 12:00pm Sucks that I'm going to have to choose between these two panels. But this has a good line-up — people from Twitch, people working on Hololens. Also : Nic Healey is a super suave presenter with really nice hair.

Boss Level: Meet the Brains in Charge of the Aussie Games Industry Saturday 31 October, 1:30pm This is probably the one 'can't miss' panel for me personally. Senator Scott Ludlam, Tony Reed, Ron Curry talk the Australian games industry. Hosted by Bajo and Hex from Good Game. I'll be watching.

Alex's Personal Favourites

Well, I guess both myself and Mark will be going to the Aussie Games industry panel!

Actually, It's About Ethnics in Games Journalism Friday 30 October, 8pm Wins the award for best named panel of PAX Australia, and gets extra points for having the word Actually in the title. I’ll be interested to hear the personal experiences of those on the panel and how that could be incorporated into gaming in a meaningful way.

Boss Level: Meet the Brains in Charge of the Aussie Games Industry Saturday 31 October, 1:30pm This is the panel with Green Senator Scott Ludlam. He mentioned at Senate Estimates recently that he’d go into greater detail about what could be done for the industry, and I’m expecting him to have some things to say here.

Ron Curry’s always interesting to listen to as well; he’s a good, warm panellist and having Tony Reed and the Good Game crew alongside them should make for a more than enjoyable hour.

Who Wants to Watch People Play Games Anyway? Saturday 31 October, 4:30pm I’ve been asked more than my fair share about why people watch Twitch or had to stand there listen to someone explain to me why they think watching other people think spectating video games is dumb.

The answer is usually that it’s an interactive medium, but what intrigues me are the social events like Barcrafts and viewing parties that are really trying to capitalise on the nature of that. This panel is going to explore that more in-depth, and it’ll be good if you have an offsider at PAX who “doesn’t quite get” the whole Twitch/streaming phenomenon.

Panels Mark Is Appearing On

Hey, if you want to see my glorious face and listen to my incomprehensible accent, I'm going to be featuring on a few panels this year. I'll even be making porridge live on-stage. I look forward to your heckling.

Aiming for Equality: Why Games Should Be For and By Everyone Friday 30 October, 1.30pm I'm actually the least interesting person on this panel. Features people from Film Victoria, Hipster Whale, Defiant Development. And me for some reason.

The 1st Annual PAX Food Fight Friday 30 October, 5:00pm I am making porridge live on-stage with Hex from Good Game, Scott Edgar from Tripod and Eve Beauregard. My reputation as a master of porridge is at stake. I look forward to "THAT'S NO HOW YE MAKE PORRIDGE" chants from the audience.

What Do You Do When the Internet Turns on You Friday 30 October, 7.30pm The internet is a scary place. This is advice for what to do when you're feeling swamped by it.

What if King Koopa Orders Pizza: Good Games Make Bad Movies Sunday 1 November, 10.30am This about bad video game movies and why they are bad. I HAVE THOUGHTS ON THIS. Looking forward to being hosted by Nic Healey's hair.

Panels Alex Is Appearing On

Secrets of Free to Play. How F2P is Driving the Future Friday 30 October, 9:30pm So I’m hosting a panel about free to play games, why should you come?

There’s a guy from Hi-Rez who undoubtedly will talk Tribes Ascend at some point, a shooter which you should all be ashamed for not loving. Max Chuvalov from Wargaming spent over a year heading up the company’s expansion to China and it’s a fascinating story hearing how a Russian company convinces the West to get on board the free-to-play train, and then makes that compatible with a region who was already on board with the model well before then. And Matt Hall is arguably one of Australias’s most successful developers, but he’s been working on games well before Hipster Whale and Crossy Road came along – the man has plenty of wisdom to share about the value of free-to-play, development in Australia and games in general.

It’ll be fun. Late, but fun. Bring a beer. (And something drinkable for me, thanks.) I’ll see you there!

What panels are you guys and girls planning to check out? Let us know in the comments below.


    Will there be a write up of any of these? I'm keen in particular to see what comes out of the one Senator Ludlum's on


      You're not alone. I have to keep telling myself this as well...

    Drawing a strip will be interesting considering Gabe isn't in Australia.

      I think Kris Straub was stepping up, so will still be worth seeing

        Hopefully he'll do something creepy, like Broodhollow.

    At PAX Aus 2014 the queues to get into any panels or talks were way too long. I didn't go there to stand in a box marked out on the floor with tape. I'm going this year, but not making any plans to go to panels.

      I thought the lines for panels last year was pretty good, didn't have to wait long and didn't miss out on anything. If you thought 2014 was bad, you should have seen 2013's lines, couldn't get into anything unless you got in the line first an hour before the event.

        How long were they roughly?
        When I went in 2013 you had to be there at least an hour before to get into anything.

          I don't think I went to all the super popular panels, but all the midsized panels you could just rock up 10 mins before it would start and you would still be guaranteed a seat.

    Wait, I thought the food fight was 5:30pm. I'll have to check that schedule again...

      Sorry it was typo. 5:00pm for the food fight!

        Best of luck. Your porridge recipe is sensationally good!

    I hope I get the chance to tell Mark I love him!

    @markserrels Hey, just wanted to shill for a little bit and get some attention to the Swinburne Games Lab booth at PAX. It'll be present for all three days at booth 3016 near the Indie Pavillion and will be showcasing the final-year projects us games students have been developing over the course of the year. There is a mix of co-op, competitive and single player games ranging from vehicular combat to point-and-click adventure. We've been working really hard on these games and it would mean a lot to us if you guys would come check us out. Thanks a bunch.

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