Tag Archives: Sony

PAX Australia 2016: The PAXpocalypse

PAX Australia 2015 proved to be the best PAX Australia so far. My memories of PAX Australia 2015 mostly consist of drinking with industry people, meeting Paul Verhoeven, and being a panelist for the first time. Sadly, I won’t be able to attend PAX Australia 2016, but that doesn’t mean I won’t be helping you navigate the biggest convention of the year.

Travel

The closest international airport is the Melbourne International Airport, which is located in Tullamarine. To get to your hotel, you’re able to hire a taxi or rental car. However, there is a wonderful service called Skybus which operates 24 hours a day, 7 days a week including public holidays. Skybus departs every 10 minutes and travels to the city centre.

PAX Australia will be held in the Melbourne Convention and Exhibition Centre, along the lovely Yarra River.

Melbourne has some great public transport and it got better for out-of-towners this year. Through Zone 1, there are free trams which won’t require a Myki card. The free travel zone is clearly marked and the tram conductors will announce when they approach the boundaries. Information about the free travel zone is available here, which has a downloadable map.

Hotels

PAX Australia has changed its date! Instead of being held over Halloween weekend and directly before the Melbourne cup, PAX Australia now goes from.Friday 4th, November to Sunday 6th, November.

This doesn’t mean hotels won’t be limited this close to both events, so if your accommodation hasn’t been sorted out, you should probably get on that. Look to combine your accommodation with your friends to save some money and keep the party going all weekend long.

If your hotel is booked and ready, confirm your details with them a week or two prior. Make sure you ask what time you can check in and what time they want you to check out. If it’s a late check in, you might be able to leave your luggage with your hotel and explore the city until your room is ready.

Tickets

At the time of writing, 3-Day passes are 98% sold! If you’re quick, you might be able to score the best value ticked for the weekend. International 3-Day passes are still available, if you’re coming from overseas, as well as Friday, Saturday and Sunday tickets still in supply. So if you miss out on the 3-Day combo pass, but still want to go all three days, maybe pick up the tickets now. You can grab those here and then you can pick them up at the convention on the day.

What to Wear

Melbourne is notorious for its insane weather. It’ll swing widely from blistering hot to brain-numbingly cold and every variation in between at the drop of a hat. Here are a few tips to plan your outfit accordingly.

Shirt: Your favourite nerdy t-shirt is going to be comfortable and easily customisable for the weather. You might even make a new friend if you display your fandom with pride.

Pants: Unless you’re a cosplayer, you have to wear pants. Luckily, you’ve got a couple of options for your leg traps:

  • Jeans are your obvious selection; comfortable and easy to move in.
  • Skirts if you’re keen. I’d suggest a maxi skirt so you’ve got a little more clothing to keep you warm in case the weather turns on you.
  • Leggings/Tights. A popular choice with retailers like Living Dead Clothing, Black Milk and KittyHawk Clothing having styles and fandoms a-plenty. Like jeans, they’ll be easy to move around in when you’re busting a move at the Just Dance! booth.

Jacket/Jumper: This is where you need to be smart. You want something that will keep you warm, but won’t be too bulky to carry around or put into backpack. Keep that in mind when packing your comfy as heck, but huge N7 jumper.

Shoes: Whatever isn’t going to make you want to amputate your feet after 20 minutes of walking around. There is going to be opportunities to sit down (panels, lunch, randomly sitting down on the floor refusing to move), but you’re going to be walking around a LOT. Pack some comfortable flats or some sneakers, but just make sure they’re broken in properly first. Nothing ruins your day like blisters the size of dollar coins. (take it from me!)

 

**NOTE TO COSPLAYERS**

Same rules apply to weather and stuff. Rug up so you don’t turn into a cos-popsicle.

PAX has some rules about what cosplay weapons you can and can’t bring into the convention. Information is available on the official website, and the Penny Arcade forums, but I’ll stick the guidelines here too:

All prop weapons brought to the show MUST be approved at the Info Booth as soon as you arrive. We will be looking for the following criteria:

  • It cannot fire any sort of projectile. (Nerf guns are only allowed if they have been deactivated and cannot fire.)
  • It cannot be an airsoft weapon. (Yes, even if it’s deactivated.)
  • It cannot be sharp or pointy enough to cut or pierce someone with moderate pressure. This includes all real swords, daggers and knives. It also includes ceramic blades, needles, syringes and anything that can pierce (for example, a Little Sister syringe made of wood would not be allowed)

 

Upon approval, your weapon and badge will be tagged and catalogued.

The organisers also say “Cosplaying attendees may be asked to alter or modify their costume if it is considered to be overtly sexual.” More information about this is available on the official PAX website, under the “Booth Babes” heading. These rules are to make sure that the event is enjoyable for everyone, since PAX is still a family event.

Cosplay is a huge part of these events, but please remember, cosplayers are people too. If you want a photo, ask the cosplayer first. Cosplayers are generally pretty happy to have photos with people and they appreciate it when people ask before taking a happy snap. If you admire the costume, let the cosplayer know if a polite and courteous way, but don’t touch anything without permission. You don’t know if the bit you’re about to touch is held on securely or not.

Cosplay isn’t consent. Please don’t harass or assault cosplayers at events, as you could very well be escorted from the event and banned from returning.

It makes the day unpleasant for everyone.

Organising Your Weekend

This is going to be what makes your breaks your weekend. The great thing is that the PAX Australia schedule is released about a month before the event, so you’ve got plenty of time to plan where you need to be.

The Guidebook app will also come in handy. It’s available on Android, iOS, Windows and Blackberry so everyone is covered. The MCEC also has information available on their website about opening and closing times, plus maps of the centre. If you’re prone to getting lost like I am, having a copy of the map on your phone or a physical copy will save you. (Or just ask an Enforcer!)

My pick of things to do:

  • Check out Storytime with Major Nelson. Major Nelson has been an integral part of the Xbox landscape since 2003! You’ll also often see him in interviews at industry events, launches and other shows.

Mana/Health/Stamina

The most important thing about enjoying the weekend is making sure your stats are up. Making sure that you’re getting enough food and water through the day will guarantee that you’ll be able to experience all three days the way they were meant to be enjoyed.

The MCEC has a variety of food stalls around the place with sandwiches and snacks available, but this might be a little pricey. You can always pack your own snacks and lunch to save a little money (or give you more money to spend on con loot.)

PAX Australia also happens to be held along the Yarra River where the South Wharf Promenade boasts a collection of bars and restaurants for you to chill out during the weekend.

Your mental health is as important as your physical health. Take This are a non-profit charity which run the AFK Room at the PAX events in the US and this year, they bring the concept to Australia. From their website,

More than a quiet room, the Take This AFK Room is a safe space for people who need it, staffed with volunteers and clinicians who can answer questions and offer support for people who are stressed out. Some visitors simply need a break from the excitement and stimulation of a large event. Others seek conversation about mental health related issues.

The 4-2-1 rule is a great guide to keeping yourself alive during this monster weekend:

  • 4 hours sleep (it’s a LONG weekend.)
  • 2 square meals a day (actual meals, not snacks or something)
  • 1 decent shower WITH SOAP (for the sake of everyone)

Finally

Have fun. Take photos, meet people, go to panels, play games, eat, drink and be merry. That’s what these events are about.

If you’ve missed any important information, here’s some great advice on the “Safety & Security” page on the PAX website, which is linked through this article.

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I Picked The Wrong Next-Gen Console.

I picked up a PS4 a few months ago when Destiny finally launched as a full game. I was excited about Destiny after playing the beta with friends on my Xbox 360.

A white PS4 with Destiny and The Last of Us: Remastered from Dick Smith (where I work) for cheap? It was too good to be true. I’m starting to regret my decision, now.

My first console was a PlayStation. Many hours were wasted on 40 Winks, Crash Bandicoot, Croc: Legend of the Gobbos and Spyro. I moved on to the PlayStation 2 and the brilliant library that came with that console.

My love affair with the Xbox started with a second-hand Xbox when I was 13 or so. I can’t remember why my Mum bought it for me, but I got Halo 2 and a few other games with it in a deal EB Games had going at the time.

It was instant, life-long love and I’ve never really looked back. My first Xbox 360 was so well “loved”, that the disc drive failed. A common fault, but for a relatively old Xbox 360, surviving the 7 years that it did was a great feat. My second Xbox is slowly gathering dust until I can be bothered to connect it to my bedroom TV. Its place in the lounge room was replaced by the PS4.

The Destiny hype suckered me into buying the PS4. My friends suckered me into buying the PS4. The price I got from work suckered me into buying the PS4.

It sits quietly on the shelf above the TV, making friends with the Blu-Ray player I bought my parents a few years ago. My PS4 is unloved. I think my PS4 was a brilliant investment, don’t get me wrong. It’s something that I think will get plenty of use in the future, but looking back on my choice, I would have waited and picked the Xbox One.

I own the Titanfall Xbox One controller, I’m considering picking up the Halo: Master Chief edition without owning the console because my dedication to the Halo series runs so deep that I’m pretty sure my blood is khaki. I want an Xbox One, but spent my money on a PS4.

Giving up the PS4 isn’t an option with plenty of quality games coming out on it in the future, but in the present, all I want is an Xbox One, Halo, Sunset Overdrive and a weekend off so I can play video games until my hands form Xbox One-shaped claw hands.

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Review: The Last of Us.

The Last of Us has me at a loss for words. When I first saw the trailer for this post-apocalyptic world, I was excited. It was amazingly pretty, the characters had depth and the live gameplay was impressive. Unfortunately, after a few weeks and a whole bunch of new trailers coming out, I promptly forgot about The Last of Us. After playing it, how I managed to forget is astonishing and I think this game is one that will stick with me for a good, long while.

From the moment you start the game, you’re thrown directly into the action. You’re as confused as Joel and his young daughter Sarah are and you want to know what’s going on as much as they do. Within the first 25 minutes of the game, I’d already felt guilt, panic, fear and heartbreak and the emotions continue to freely flow.
Trying to break down my favourite part of this game is hard. I’m not sure if it’s the hauntingly beautiful soundtrack from Gustavo Santaolalla that you don’t notice until it hits you and it overwhelms you or if it’s how Neil Druckmann has crafted the characters into people you care for and you want to protect but it all melts into a story with a gorgeous backdrop. Whether you’re running through the barren cities overrun with nature or trying to silently pass through a broken building trying not to alert the Clickers, the detail that has gone into this game is immense and very little has been overlooked.

In fact, even when talk about the monsters in this game, the developers have taken from real life inspirations. On the night of Joel’s birthday, a Cordyceps-like infection breaks out and spreads across the United States. The infection is based on Ophiocordyceps unilateralis which is a fungal infection that infects ants and alters the way they behave and eventually the infection uses them to spread spores to infect others. Ophiocordyceps unilateralis turns ants into zombies.

In the game, there are varying levels of infection which range from relatively tame to stomach-churning. While they aren’t your typical gruesome zombie with decaying flesh and missing

Last_of_us_infected

limbs, the infected in The Last of Us make you terribly uncomfortable. The Clickers (which I mentioned above) are completely blind because physical, fungal growths have formed on their faces. Clickers eventually become bloated and die at which their bodies will start producing infecting spores, like the real life infection.

Non-infected enemies are even more difficult to encounter. Naughty Dog developed a new AI-System called “Balance of Power” where enemies act more like real people. Enemies will take cover, call for help and try to flank you with their reinforcements and even take advantage of weaknesses. During gameplay, I’ve been taken by surprise when trying to reload and had someone grab me from behind. Thankfully, I’ve got Ellie.

Ellie is a masterpiece all of her own. This fowl-mouthed 14-year-old isn’t just a character in a game that’s essentially a game-length escort mission; she’s a fully-fleshed personality who takes care of Joel and herself. She’s a major catalyst for change with Joel, too.

Ellie was born after the Cordyceps infection spread and she’s never known a world where there aren’t military, checkpoints and infected so her personality is mature for her age, but she’s willing to take on so much more than you think she’s capable of. When Joel is being attacked, Ellie can help by attacking his attacker. Once or twice, she’s helped my Joel by stabbing his attacker in the neck! When she sees the outside world for the first time, she’s blown away by how beautiful it is.

the-last-of-us21

When I was first introduced to Ellie, she was just another person I had to protect and just someone else to get in the way but when you go through these events with her, she grows on you and you genuinely care for her well-being. I’ve found myself saying, “Excuse me, Ellie” when she’s blocking a doorway or wondering where she is during an attack because I want her to be safe.

The only ‘problem’ I’ve found (and I say ‘problem’ because I’m really just nit-picking at this point) is that sometimes I could put the controller down and not want to play for a while. It’s definitely not a bad thing, but I’m able to just stop where I’m at, save the game and come back to it later.

The Last of Us lives up to the hype. It’s been called ‘perfect’, a ‘masterpiece’ and some are calling it a significant title for the current generation of consoles. Everything about The Last of Us from the writing, the sound, the characters and the graphics works together and compliments each other. It’s scary, breath-taking, edge-of-your-seat kind of game play that you need to be a part of.

Naughty Dog have done something amazing with this game and I’m genuinely looking forward to see what they have in store for us next.

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Sony Vs Microsoft. Who Won? #E3 #SonyE3 #XboxE3

Sony just destroyed Microsoft at E3, although Sony has a pretty average selection of games on launch. Both prices have been confirmed and are as follows:

PS4:
Console: $549
Controller: $99
Games: $118

Xbox One:
Console: $599
Controller: $99
Games: $118

Microsoft did announce a redesigned Xbox 360 which is smaller and quieter than the current models, that your Xbox Gold sub will go across to Xbox One and that you’ll be able to download two free games per month. Also has a partnership with Twitch.TV so you can broadcast your games live.

Sony announced that there won’t be any restrictions on used games, no online authentication and that online multiplayer will now require PlayStation Plus. PS4 is region free. They announced the console would be priced at $399 in the US. Anyone notice the $150 mark up in Australian Price? That’s right, Australian Tax strikes again.

 

Update: EB Games confirms that the $118 price tag on PS4 and Xbox One games is only a placeholder.

[tweet https://twitter.com/EBGamesAus/status/344337172855402496]

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Happy E3! Sony PlayStation Press Conference Wrap!

This year, since I can’t report from E3 like I’d hoped, I’m in the internet bleachers! For those who don’t know, E3 is a yearly video game conference where developers come together and try to pimp their wares for the next 12 months.

PlayStation brand logo

Since E3 (Electronic Entertainment Expo) started in 1995, it has become one of the major expo’s for developers of software, hardware and their fans to come together and experience the innovation coming from the biggest names in gaming such as Sony, Microsoft, Ubisoft, EA and others. It’s also a time for smaller, indie developers to meet distributers and fans. Everyone tends to have a wonderful time rubbing shoulders with the industry bigwigs. Continue reading
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