The biggest panels you should see at PAX Aus 2022

There's plenty of excellent panels happening at PAX Australia 2022. Here's a few highlights from GamesHub.
strangerville sims pax aus

PAX Aus is finally back, in-person, after several years as a digital-only event. Not only does that mean getting to wander a glittering show floor, catching up with friends, and checking out a range of upcoming indie games from local developers – it also means attending in-person panels.

This year, there’s a range of excellent-sounding panels set to take place, with some focussing on the local games industry, some deep diving into niche topics or video games, and others being quiz-filled bonanzas where you can snap up cool prizes with your trivia knowledge.

There’s a little something for everyone at the show, and it’s a great opportunity to learn more about gaming – whether your interest lies in development, community, or just discovering something new.

If you’re keen to find out more about everything coming to PAX Aus 2022, you’ll need to download the official PAX Mobile App, where you can scroll through every panel and choose your schedule for yourself – but if you’re just keen for some of our highlights, read on.

Here are the biggest and most exciting panels coming to PAX Aus 2022, curated by GamesHub.

The Dark Underbelly of The Sims

Time: Sunday, 9 October 2022 – 2:00 pm AEDT
Location: Kookaburra Theatre

This PAX Aus panel, helmed by myself and GamesHub managing editor Edmond Tran, will dive deep into the history and lore of The Sims – including its strange timeline, and weird handheld spin-off games. It might be tooting our own horn, but we’d certainly recommend coming along.

Here’s the official panel description:

‘This panel will explore the deep lore of The Sims, from the handheld games to the PC spin-offs. We’ll explore everything, from the time Tank Grunt was shrunken down to bug size, to when the Cowplant was first born.’

What’s Next for VR Games and Immersive Media?

meta quest 2 vr gaming device review
Image: Meta

Time: Sunday, 9 October 2022 – 3:00 pm AEDT
Location: Galah Theatre

This PAX panel will explore the future of VR technology, through the eyes of several Australian game studios. If you’re keen to hear more about the evolution of VR experiences, this is the panel for you.

Here’s the official description:

‘VR has been steadily growing over the past decade, and 2022 has seen a milestone where VR consoles are starting to reach similar sales figures to their current gen “flat screen” counterparts … 2023 is shaping up to be VR’s biggest year yet and joining this panel are experienced VR developers from around Australia. If you’re interested in experiencing VR or developing for this new frontier, what are the things to look out for? How do you get off the ground with your VR idea?”

Game Development: Industry Pathways

Time: Sunday, 9 October 2022 – 11:00 am AEDT
Location: NBN Theatre

This panel will provide insight into how keen game developers can cross the divide between player and game worker. Several disciplines will be well-represented here, and it should yield great insight into the local industry.

Here’s the official panel description:

‘So, you’ve finally decided to take the plunge from playing games to making them! Here are several important questions you need to explore. Who better to answer them than a panel of industry experts from a variety of backgrounds. We will explore the roles that exist in studios, focusing on what entry-level positions exist and what attributes companies look for.’

How to Pitch Devolver

Cult of the Lamb Julian Wilton Massive Monster Melbourne Gamer's Guide
Image: Massive Monster

Time: Saturday, 8 October 2022 – 12:30 pm AEDT
Location: Fruitbat Theatre

This PAX Aus 2022 panel features an all-star Aussie cast of developers discussing the ins and outs of working with a company like Devolver Digital, and successfully pitching them for your game.

Here’s the official panel description:

‘Devolver have taken on a few Aussie game devs in the last 18 months, including Massive Monster (Cult of the Lamb), Team WIBY (Phantom Aybss) and All Possible Futures (Swords of Ditto and Plucky Squire). Come hear what it takes to join the fold of one of the biggest and most innovating publishers in the gaming world.’

Jamming with First Nations: The Music of Innchanted (Part Deux)

Time: Saturday, 8 October 2022 – 12:30 pm AEDT
Location: PAX Together Theatre

This panel will explore the musical score of Innchanted, an upcoming tavern management simulator, that is heavily inspired by Indigenous and First Nations culture. Not only will this panel explore the game’s music, it also sounds like it’ll give a real insight into the collaborative game development process, and the importance of representing Indigenous voices and culture in Aussie games.

Here’s the panel description:

‘With the Innchanted score in its final stages, an updated talk about the process of composing, improvising, and collaborating with the three incredible First Nations artists on the soundtrack – Allara Briggs-Pattison, Kiernan Ironfield, and Eric Avery … turns out the real Innchanted score was the friends we made along the way.’

Transgender Victoria: Gender exploration through gaming

Time: Saturday, 8 October 2022 – 3:00 pm AEDT
Location: PAX Together Theatre

This panel will explore the trans experience, and how it relates to gaming – specifically, how representing the trans experience within video games can help foster understanding, particularly of gender identity and expression.

Here’s the brief panel description:

‘Join us for a candid conversation about trans experiences of gender through gaming – the highs, the lows, and the huhs.’

Game Writing Challenge!

path of exile game
Image: Grinding Gear Games

Time: Saturday, 8 October 2022 – 3:30 pm AEDT
Location: Kookaburra Theatre

If you’ve ever wanted to experience games writing for yourself, check out this frantic, interactive panel that tasks keen writers with punching out a narrative framework within a set timeframe.

Here’s the panel description:

‘Dive into the wildest creative experience at PAX! This fast and furious, interactive panel gives attendees ridiculous, timed writing assignments based on actual industry challenges. A panel of narrative designers will cycle volunteers through exaggerated but authentic game writing prompts, and then discuss the results with the audience while the next group of volunteers has at it.’

Press Start’s What The Wiki Game Show Extravaganza

Time: Saturday, 8 October 2022 – 6:30 pm AEDT
Location: NBN Theatre

PAX Aus 2022 always includes some form of trivia – and this year, it’s once again our pals at Press Start Australia that are bringing the big guns (and big prizes). If you’re keen to flex your knowledge, head on over to this panel.

Here’s the official description:

‘The Press Start team returns to the PAX stage to once again hold its big game show extravaganza including our weekly podcast favourite What The Wiki. There will be loads of prizes to be won, and endless fun to be had including audience participation.

The Dark Room with John Robertson

pax aus the dark room
Image: John Robertson

Time: Saturday, 8 October 2022 – 9:00 pm AEDT
Location: Main Theatre

John Robertson is hosting his award-winning show The Dark Room at PAX Aus 2022. If you’ve yet to experience this spooky, global phenomenon – make room for this show at PAX.

Here’s the official description:

‘YOU AWAKE TO FIND YOURSELF IN A DARK ROOM! Come play the world’s only live-action text adventure – will you A. Find Light Switch? B. Go North? Escape and win $1000. Fail and YA DIE and win crap prizes. Award-winning interactive gaming stand-up from Mr John Robertson “NOT TO BE MISSED” (Guardian) as seen on Twitch global front page, sold out Edinburgh Fringe, a “cult hit” (Kotaku).

Resume Writing

Time: Friday, 7 October 2022 – 10:00 am AEDT
Location: NBN Theatre

Don’t underestimate the power of a good resume. In this jobs-focussed panel, you’ll learn why a resume can be the most important tool in your job-seeking arsenal – and why it could nab you a job in games.

Here’s the panel description:

‘Your resume is one of the most important tools you have to land that next perfect job. No matter your level of experience, qualifications a good resume can make a huge difference to your career opportunities. Taking the time to work on your resume and understanding what industry is expecting is important. During this session you will hear from industry professionals on what they look for in a stand out resume and some tips and tricks to remember when you are going through a recruitment process.’

Tell Us We’re Dreamin’: Making Games Driving By Values (And Spite)

Wayward Strand Gamer's Guide Melbourne pax aus
Image: Ghost Pattern

Time: Friday, 7 October 2022 – 12:00 pm AEDT
Location: PAX Together Theatre

This panel will feature the developers behind Wayward Strand discussing the creation of the game, as well as how good values can drive game development – and aid communication, collaboration, and decision-making.

Here’s the panel description:

‘As a developer, demonstrating your values isn’t just about defining what goes into a game, but about being mindful about how you make games, too. Our values drive the ways we communicate, collaborate, and make decisions, and rather than limit us, they empower and motivate us. Join the team behind the heartfelt narrative game Wayward Strand, to dive deep into the whole story of wholesome games.

Pen Is Mightier Than The Joystick: Writing For & About Games

Time: Friday, 7 Octoebr 2022 – 1:00 pm AEDT
Location: NBN Theatre

This panel will explore the career of narrative design, as well as games journalism – both facets of a growing industry.

Here’s the official description:

‘Do you want to write games? Have you ever wondered what a Narrative Designer does? Is it your dream to write features and reviews as a games journalist? Our panel of professionals share the ins and outs of their positions and experience writing in games, with key advice, tips, and tricks for getting into the industry.’

How to Pitch for Paid Work in Games Journalism

Time: Friday, 7 October 2022 – 4:00 pm AEDT
Location: NBN Theatre

In this panel, GamesHub’s Edmond Tran, alongside a host of other Australian game journalists from sites like Press Start Australia, Byteside and Stevivor, will explain how pitching articles works in the local industry – and how to get paid for your writing.

Here’s the panel description:

‘It’s harder than ever to get paid to write about video games in Australia. But if you know where to look, and know how to craft a great pitch, there’s still room for freelancers to get stories commissioned. We talk with editors who are paying for good freelance writing and writers who know how to find an angle that gives an editor what they want. Plus, the soft skills you need to nail to get asked to write more.’

There are hundreds more panels coming to PAX Aus 2022, each grander than the last. If you’re keen to browse the full range for yourself, download the PAX Mobile App – now available on iOS and Android devices.

Leah J. Williams is a gaming and entertainment journalist who's spent years writing about the games industry, her love for The Sims 2 on Nintendo DS and every piece of weird history she knows. You can find her tweeting @legenette most days.