Penny Arcade Expo was launched by Mike Krahulik and Jerry Holkins, the authors of the Penny Arcade Webcomic dedicated to video games and video game culture. Currently, all five editions of the PAX festival (PAX West, PAX East, PAX South, PAX Dev, PAX Australia) are managed and produced by ReedPOP, a department of Reed Exhibitions responsible for fan conventions. Some of the best known events run by ReedPOP include New York Comic Con, Chicago Comic & Entertainment Expo, and Emerald City Comic Con.
The launch of PAX Australia was announced on the first day of PAX Prime (now known as PAX West) in August 2012. The first PAX show in Australia was held in Melbourne from July 19–21, 2013. It became the first Penny Arcade Expo event held outside the United States. As of 2016, it remains the only non-US edition of PAX. The keynote of PAX Australia 2013 was conducted by Ron Gilbert, American video game designer, programmer and producer. Gilbert is best known for his work on several classic LucasArts adventure games.
In 2014, the convention was moved to late October which is the middle of spring in the Southern Hemisphere. It also moved from the Melbourne Showgrounds to the Melbourne Convention and Exhibition Centre. PAX Australia is a three-day event. Its program is similar to that of other PAX conventions. It features presentations and demos of upcoming games, console and video game tournaments, live music and more.
One of the convention’s main attractions is Omegathon. Omegathon is the signature event at all PAX conventions. It is a three-day elimination gaming tournament between randomly selected attendees. Participants compete in games from different categories (PC, console, tabletop). The tournament culminates in a live championship match that takes place on the main stage during the closing ceremony.
Photo by Alice Corkill, aus.paxsite.com