I recently went to the first ever PAX Aus, which is also the first PAX outside of the US. Since Ive never been to a PAX before, I just got a one day (Saturday) pass so I could check it out and see what I thought. I can safely say that after my one day there this year, I already want to go at least two days, maybe even all three next year.
I go to many cons in Melbourne each year, Supanova, Oz Comic Con, Armageddon etc, and I can safely say that PAX was the most well organized convention I have ever been to, and probably the most fun Ive ever had in one day at a con. The biggest difference I can point out between those other cons and PAX, was that while PAX had a limited amount of tickets which sold out, the other cons usually allow on the day arrivals to get in, which means the convention centre ends up over packed and crowded to the point of being uncomfortable with ridiculous lines.
PAX on the other hand was quite spread out and felt a lot more relaxed. Sure there were some lines, especially for panels and Occulus Rift, but overall there was space to breathe and move, which is refreshing for a convention. Even the food lines werent very long in the middle of the day.
The Expo Hall was great fun, and I loved checking out the indie developer section as well as the massive LoL stage in which live tournaments were being held all day. While Nintendo had a large section, I wish Sony and Microsoft also had a presence there. Microsoft did have a glass case which supposedly housed the Xbox One at some points, but I never saw it in there and it wasnt even playable. Maybe next year we can hope to see more from these two other giants of gaming.
The console and PC freeplay areas were also really well organized and I had a lot of fun in there playing a few games with my friend, including some games that Ive never played before. I also didnt expect to leave PAX with an interest in TCG or tabletop gaming, but now I have 5 decks of Magic: The Gathering and am very eager to learn about the game, despite never really playing card games before.
My only real complaint for PAX is the fact that they underestimated just how popular some panels would be. At one point I heard an organizer say "we didnt expect it to be this popular, so we put it in a small venue" which seemed to be the case with many panels. I only managed to get into one panel, which was the Good Game panel. I lined for about 3 hours and only just made it in with a terrible seat up the back, while many others couldnt get in at all. Good Game especially is a panel that could have filled the biggest hall, yet they had us all squashed into a tiny room.
Things like that are to be expected for the first ever Australian PAX though. These issues will be ironed out over the years as the organisers get a better idea of how PAX Aus works and what the people want. As for me, Im already excited for next year.