GameSpot Theatre returns to PAX Australia this year, with a swath of panels to inform and entertain. We've got panels featuring devs from Sonic Mania, Horizon Zero Dawn, Netherealm Studios, and Square-Enix, covering topics like the art of video game photography and the touchy territory of microtransactions!
If you're in Melbourne, come visit us! The theatre is located by the main entrance on Level 1, next to the Take This AFK Room.
If you're not lucky enough to be at PAX Aus in person, you'll be able to watch all the action via livestream and on-demand video right here on GameSpot, so stay tuned!
- Friday, October 27 (All Times Are AEDT)
- 10:30 AM - So, You Wanna Be A Games Journalist?
- 12:00 PM - Expanding Horizons: Exploring Open World Gaming
- 1:30 PM - Are We Having Fun? Playing Games Critically
- 3:00 PM - Platform Paradigms: What Does the Future of Console Gaming Look Like?
- 4:30 PM - Photo Mode: Turning Games into Art Galleries
- 6:00 PM - What Makes a Fighting Game Good?
- Saturday, October 28 (All Times Are AEDT)
- 10:30 AM - Game Journos Read Mean Comments (And Talk About Dealing With Online Abuse)
- 12:00 PM - A Dummy's Guide to Watching Esports
- 1:30 PM - Fakin' It: Game Reviews
- 3:00 PM - World of Tanks: Staying Strong for Seven Years and Beyond
- 4:30 PM - Stationeers: Blending the Survival and Simulator Genres
- 5:30 PM - Blast from the Past: How Yesterday's Heroes Became Today's Icons
- Sunday, October 29 (All Times Are AEDT)
10:30 AM - So, You Wanna Be A Games Journalist?
Games journalism is notoriously difficult to break into but there are more paths than you expect to get there and more ways to work in it than you might think. Five games journos are here to answer your questions about the industry frankly and (hopefully) helpfully!
PANELISTS: Jess McDonell [Video Host, GameSpot], Luce O'Brien [Entertainment Editor, IGN], James O'Connor [Games Journalist, Hyper, VG247, Waypoint], David Milner [Editor, Game Informer Australia], Dan Crowd [Video Producer, GameSpot]
12:00 PM - Expanding Horizons: Exploring Open World Gaming
Recent AAA titles have introduced us to the most expansive open worlds we have ever seen in video games. Will game environments continue to grow? At what point is big too big? We look at how titles like Zelda: Breath of the Wild and Skyrim have successfully balanced huge open world without distracting from amazing gameplay and story.
PANELISTS: Nic Healey [Breakfast Host, 2SER 107.3FM], Mark Wilson [Game Designer, Bioware, Team Bondi, Riot Games], David Gaider [Creative Director, Beamdog], Tim Stobo [Principal Quest Designer, Guerrilla Games]
1:30 PM - Are We Having Fun? Playing Games Critically
We’re developers, researchers, lecturers, and critics… but what inspired us to join the games industry in the first place? Did we play games for fun, once upon a time? Analysing games when they’re supposed to be ‘just for fun’ is sometimes frowned upon online, but it’s also how we can encourage positive change in the games industry. We talk about what it really means to think critically about games, the benefits it has, how we still manage to enjoy the games we play, and how you can too.
PANELISTS: Alayna Cole [Founding director, Queerly Represent Me], Rami Ismail [Business & development guy, Vlambeer], Dakoda Barker [Lecturer, critic, and developer, University of the Sunshine Coast], David Hollingworth [Digital editor, Next Media], Jess Zammit [Senior writer, Select Start Media]
3:00 PM - Platform Paradigms: What Does the Future of Console Gaming Look Like?
How are consoles like the Switch changing the way we play games? What will console cycles look in the future? Where do we draw the line on handheld? After motion, voice input and second screens, what comes next for controllers? Are we saying goodbye to generation jumps and hello to iterations? Our panellists will look at how modern trends in console gaming have opened new doors and what they think is coming next.
4:30 PM - Photo Mode: Turning Games into Art Galleries
Over recent years, the emergence of the Photo Mode feature has given players a new way to explore and visualise their gaming passion. And with games such as Horizon Zero Dawn pushing the boundaries on what can be achieved, the increasing popularity of game photography is set to explode. Embark on a Photo Mode safari with our panel of professionals and enthusiasts, featuring art curator Helen Stuckey and Guerrilla Games developer Tim Stobo, as we explore where game world photography is at, why it’s attracting so much interest, what the future holds and why you should get involved… (if you’re not already!)
PANELISTS: Helen Stuckey [Curator, Historian and Game Program Manager, RMIT University], Tim Stobo [Principal Game Designer, Guerrilla Games], Madeleine Beer [Winner of Guerrilla Games Horizon Zero Dawn Photo Mode Community Competition Winner], Jennifer Scheurle [Game Design Lead, Opaque Space], Drew Taylor [Game World Photographer and Communications Manager, Surprise Attack Games]
6:00 PM - What Makes a Fighting Game Good?
Most gamers can watch appreciate the skill behind a 20-kill streak in Overwatch or COD, but the sacred art of the fighting game is more arcane. Join special guests from NetherRealm Studios and Australia’s CouchWarriors fighting game community to talk about the magic of a good ol’ fighting game.
PANELISTS: Derek Kirtzic [Netherrealm Studios], Daniel "BerzerkDC" Chlebowczyk [Couchwarriors], Yousseff Faddoul [Sydney FGC Manager], Abi Adegbola [Tekken competitor], Darren Taing [Melbourne FGC Organizer]
10:30 AM - Game Journos Read Mean Comments (And Talk About Dealing With Online Abuse)
If you want to watch games journalists read out mean comments internet strangers have written to them, you’ve come to the right place! Stick around for a few laughs and find out what it’s actually like to deal with internet insults on a daily basis.
PANELISTS: Jess McDonell [Video Host, GameSpot], Dan Crowd [Video Producer, GameSpot], Eddie Makuch [Associate Editor, GameSpot], Lucy O'Brien [Games & Entertainment Editor, IGN], Joab Gilroy [Esports Editor, Red Bull]
12:00 PM - A Dummy's Guide to Watching Esports
Have you just started watching esports and have no idea what’s going on? Our panelists are here to help you learn to appreciate a variety of different games and genres! From Overwatch to StarCraft, SMITE to Street Fighter, you’ll learn how to get the most out of spectating so you can cheer at the right times and learn something in the process.
PANELISTS: Dan Crowd [Video Producer, GameSpot], Daniel "dethSC" Haynes [Commentator, StarCraft], Alexander "HughZ" Hughes [Commentator, SMITE], Kevin "Burnout" Kim [Community Manager, Xsplit & Street Fighter Commentator, CouchWarriors], Stacia Grooby [Community Manager, Gfinity]
1:30 PM - Fakin' It: Game Reviews
Four professional game reviewers attempt to defend utterly rubbish games, and here’s the twist: one of the panelists actually likes each of the games. Can you pick which panelist likes which awful game? 1/10 games, 10/10 hilarity.
PANELISTS: Nic Healey [Breakfast Host, 2SER 107.3FM], Lucy O'Brien [Games & Entertainment Editor, IGN], Joab Gilroy [Esports Editor, Red Bull], Edmond Tran [Editor, GameSpot]
3:00 PM - World of Tanks: Staying Strong for Seven Years and Beyond
With annual gaming franchises the norm, how do you keep the momentum behind a game for more than seven years? Join the global Wargaming team as they discuss the journey they’ve been on with the hugely successful World of Tanks franchise, how the game has evolved since it was released, and what’s next for Aussie fans.
4:30 PM - Stationeers: Blending the Survival and Simulator Genres
Dean Hall (DayZ) and RocketWerkz Developers discuss the progress of Stationeers, their upcoming multiplayer space station construction & simulation game. The panel includes an exclusive reveal of Motherships, a significant development milestone for the science systems-based game, as well as Q&A from the audience.
5:30 PM - Blast from the Past: How Yesterday's Heroes Became Today's Icons
As video games come of the age that allow us to talk about the "good old days", we look at how the games and characters that entertained and inspired us in our youth are making a comeback! Sonic, Crash Bandicoot and of course our favourtie Italian Plumber, Mario. What makes these characters so timeless? What makes them appealing to the new generations of gamers? And what characters do our panelist want to see make a return to our consoles?
PANELISTS: Nic Healey [Breakfast Host, 2SER 107.3FM], Eddie Makuch [Associate Editor, GameSpot], Alex Boz [Co-Founder, Editor-In-Chief, Ausretrogamer], Skye Hall [Contributor, Weird and Retro], Christian Whitehead [Developer, Sonic Mania]
10:30 AM - A panel for ANTS?!? Pro coaches total amateur at miniature painting
Come watch a master miniature painter attempt to teach a total novice the ancient art of painting miniatures. One of them can drybrush and wash with the best of them. The other has the fumbling hands of a three-year-old. Whatever the result, you’ll learn pro tips on getting your miniatures battle ready, from painting basics to expert hacks that make those fine lines and shadows a breeze.
12:00 PM - Cosplay 101: A Maker's Guide to Cosplay
What does it take to turn an on-screen avatar into a real-world cosplay masterpiece (aside from a lot of duct tape)? We grill cosplay experts Henchwench and Scrap Shop Props’ Cain Halliwell on designing, constructing and finessing the perfect cosplay creation. Do you need to be a serious seamstress or pro painter, or can you get started with the basics and build from there? Come along for practical advice, design ideas and tips to make your cosplay legit enough to make the mainstage.
PANELISTS: Claire Reilly [Senior Editor, CNET], Clare McCutcheon [Henchwench], Cain Halliwell [Scrap Shop]
1:30 PM - Press Start: Learning to Make Games
What are the pathways to creating video games, from both industry and educational perspectives? How do you break into the games industry? Is it valuable to study game development at a degree level? Can anyone create a game? These questions and more will be deliberated by panellists with combined decades of experience.
PANELISTS: Jordan Browne [Senior Lecturer at Media Design School, Pixel Barons], Himanshu Khanna [Media Design School at Torrens University Australia, Program Director], Ellen Jurick [Game Designer and Producer, Blowfish Studios], Amanda Schofield [Senior Producer, EA Firemonkeys], Katie Stegs [Co-Founder, Lumi Consulting], Josh Birse [Producer, EA Firemonkeys]
3:00 PM - Microtransactions Are Great (Or Are They?)!!!
Love them or hate them, microtransactions are in many of the games we play today, from smaller titles up to the AAA products from big-name companies. And they aren’t going anywhere. This panel will provide a look into why controversial microtransaction systems exist with expert insight from developers and journalists.
PANELISTS: Eddie Makuch [Associate Editor, GameSpot], Luke Dicken [Principal Data Scientist, Zynga], Artem Safronov [Executive Publishing Producer, Wargaming], Matt Hall [Co-Founder, Hipster Whale], Clara Reeves [President, Hipster Whale]
4:30 PM - 30 Hour Games In 3 Minutes: The Story Arc Speed Test
Franchise fanatics explain complex game story arcs in three minutes. Well, they try to. I mean, how long could it take to explain what happens in Final Fantasy anyway?
PANELISTS: Dan Crowd [Video Producer, GameSpot], Adam Perry [Community Manager, FFXIV], Jess McDonell [Video Host, GameSpot], Joab Gilroy [Esports Editor, Red Bull Australia], Daniel Van Boom [Asia News Editor, CNET]