To the powers behind PAX Australia, and Australian conventions in general, here's a free tip.
Gamescom is a bloody big show, no two ways about it. You know the size of the expo hall and the board gaming/freeplay section? Now take those two, and add another nine halls on top. It's ridiculous.
So it makes total sense that people might want to sit down and relax for a while. And if you've been carrying bags full of swag the whole time - or lugging around a backpack filled to the brim with equipment, like yours truly - then a massage might be just the trick.
And that's what Renuova Massage, a service based in England and Austria, basically does. They rock up to conventions, trade shows, music festivals, sports fairs, promotions and more, offering deep tissue massages to weary and tired folk.
The catch isn't even that bad. The massage goes for about 15 to 20 minutes, and at the end of it you simply pay what you think the massage was worth. Most people paid between €15 ($23) and €40 ($63), although the obvious purpose of suggesting a range is to help guard against arseholes who only fork over a fiver at the end.
It was especially helpful for me, since I'd thrown my shoulder out something severe earlier in the week. It was actually so bad that shifting my right arm forward caused me to physically wince, and some hopeless attempts at rectifying the problem myself didn't really help. (Apologies here to the Forza Horizon 4 developers, who had to watch me muck about with my shoulder - I figured that was a better option than crying out in physical pain during the hands-off demo, which might have sent the wrong signal.)
After a quick discussion about any particular back pain or aches - the message gets underway and you get a nice respite from the din of a convention. It was just what I needed, and at the end I paid €25: being in the creative industries myself, I've got a strong preference towards paying people for their time. (Also, $40 - after the currency conversion - for roughly 20 minutes seemed pretty fair.)
So as a kind suggestion to the folk who run conventions, like PAX Australia, Comic-Con and so forth, please consider doing something like this. I imagine there's an Australian service that does something similar, and it's a much nicer way of treating yourself mid-convention than buying another bit of merch that will just end up hidden in a drawer somewhere.
And for the record: no, I did not get a massage from Swedish Wolverine.
The author travelled to Gamescom as a guest of Nvidia.