How to make the most of your time at PAX Aus 2022

PAX Aus 2022 is right around the corner. Ahead of the show, check out our handy guide for maximising your time.
pax aus 2022 show

PAX Aus 2022 is set to take place from 7-9 October 2022, after a long three-year wait for the return of the in-person show. There’s plenty of excitement surrounding PAX, particularly for people unfamiliar with one of Australian gaming’s biggest events of the year – but it’s easy to get too excited or overwhelmed, and miss out on all the goodies PAX has to offer. There’s a lot going on, and it’s frankly impossible to see it all – but you can use your time wisely to great effect.

If you’re looking to make the most out of your time at the show, whether you’re turning up for one day or all three, there are plenty of tips and tricks you can deploy. For guidance on the best uses of your time, from a fellow PAX enthusiast, read on. These are all the tips and tricks we have for enjoying your time at PAX Aus 2022

Please, wear a mask at PAX Aus 2022

I get it – everyone is sick of hearing about coronavirus. It’s been two years, yadda yadda. But while we might be done worrying about the disease it’s not done worrying about us – and a large-scale convention like PAX is the perfect breeding ground for transmission.

If you can, please wear a mask on the show floor. As we all should know by now, this isn’t just about self-protection, it also helps others, and creates a safer environment for everyone.

In a similar vein, if you feel sick ahead of PAX, please reconsider attending. The show will be back next year, and the one after that. You shouldn’t risk your health, or the health of others.

How to make the most of a single day at PAX Aus 2022

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Image: Devolver Digital / Doinksoft

If you’re heading to PAX Aus 2022 for a single day, it’s best to try a little bit of everything – like snacking on a nice serving platter. Line up as early as possible – the show floor opens around 10:00 am AEDT each day, with lines beginning well before this. If you need to pick up a badge, or you’re anxious about maximising your time, go early.

In terms of what you actually visit and interact with, make sure you’re not spending too long on one activity. Limit yourself to a few panels, for example – 2-3 that stand out. These tend to last around an hour each, and can take up precious time away from wandering the show floor and discovering new things.

Read: The biggest panels you should see at PAX Aus 2022

Game demos can also be lengthy, between 30 minutes to 1 hour each. Some of these will be available to play privately at home – some as part of events like ACMI’s Big Game Night In or the MIGW 2022 Steam Festival – so limit the time you spend checking out individual games, and keep an eye on your watch as you explore. Pick a few of your favourites to play, and make a note of the rest for later. If you’re keen to play bigger games, like Sonic Frontiers, know that you’ll need to line up for usually an hour or two before you get let in.

In the spaces between game demos and panels, the best use of your time is wandering the show floor – checking out each booth, and analysing where you want to go next. There’s plenty on the floor that is hard to advertise on social media, so have a look around at everything. Something will likely catch your eye, once you’re in the midst of wandering.

When you’ve seen everything there is to see on the show floor, be sure to wander outside this main arena. Littered around the halls of the MCEC, you’ll find various gameplay lounges, exhibitors, cosplayers, and other installations. There’s plenty to look at, and even more on the upper floor of the convention centre, which tends to be quieter, but filled with interesting panels and hangout spots.

Read: Everything you need to know about PAX Aus 2022

PAX Aus usually closes around 6:00 pm AEDT – though many panels run later than this – so you’ll have a full day of wandering – and that should be plenty of time to check out everything you want to see. Make sure you take rests and food breaks, and your day should go swimmingly.

Making a checklist will likely also help if there are particular things you want to do. Keep to the list, mark off your tasks, and spend the rest of your time soaking in the ambience.

How to make the most of the entire PAX Aus 2022 weekend

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Image: PAX Aus

Three full days of PAX Aus 2022 is more than enough to see everything on the show floor, attend every panel you like, and play through game demos to your heart’s content. If you’re efficient about it, you can usually clear every corner of the main show floor on the Friday of PAX – leaving room to spend the rest of your time playing games, meeting new people, and learning new things at panels.

Personally, I like to get my ‘tasks’ out of the way on the Friday – these are the activities I really want to do at PAX, including playing any game demos, chatting to local developers, and purchasing board games or merchandise. The reason I do this on the Friday is because the weekend is often busier, and it’s always good to know you’ve got your plan sorted and you’re making progress.

It’s not good missing out on certain things – PAX badges, for example – because you left it until it was too late. Anything urgent, do first. If you’re not sure you’ll have time to get a Sonic Frontiers demo, line up as soon as possible. If you want a seat at a particular panel, make time to line up early (reasonably, as directed by the lovely PAX managers).

If you don’t get everything done at once, don’t panic. There’s plenty of time to check out the show floor and the surrounding exhibits throughout the weekend. The MCEC tends to get quiet after 4:00 pm, so if you’re not keen to battle crowds, you might be able to sneak in more demos or shopping in a quieter atmosphere.

Above all else, look after yourself while you’re on the show floor. Three days battling crowds and walking around is tough, so make sure you’re well-supplied and well-fed. Keep water on you, wear comfortable shoes, take breaks when you get overwhelmed, and bring snacks with you – or make sure to find time for lunch in the surrounding Melbourne area.

Whether you’re a newcomer or a PAX Aus veteran, there’ll be plenty to discover at this year’s show. Take your time, look around, and follow your instincts. If you’re keen to pre-prepare a plan before the show, you can check out the full schedule via the PAX Mobile app, or the official PAX website. Make a list, check it twice – but above all else, make sure you relax and have fun!

If you’re visiting from out of town and need some recommendations on what to eat, drink, and do in Melbourne while you’re visiting, be sure to visit the Gamer’s Guide to Melbourne, which features recommendations from local game developers.

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.