The last weekend of October saw adventurers from far and wide travel from worlds apart to the Melbourne Exhibition Centre for the annual PAX Australia Convention. From fantastical places to dystopian, the foyers and halls of the convention centre were lined with incredible cosplays. Between large builds of armour and beautifully sewn garments, it was easy to get lost in the beauty of each and every cosplay creation. Venturing outside, you found yourself immersed in a whole different world amongst the trees and concrete walls, each providing a stark contrast and beautiful photography locations.
PAX has always been one of the best when it comes to prop checks and regulations, and this year saw and even bigger improvement when it came to the courtesy and care each and every single one of their enforcers working prop check had. Being a cosplayer in a costume that requires a big prop is always daunting when it comes to getting the tick of approval to move around the con floor in them. The enforcers should be given a gold star for how they carefully handled every prop upon inspection, and how they asked where each and every cosplayer would like the cable ties placed on the prop. This was a great help for many when it came to photos, as they had the ability to hide the ties, so that it didn’t ruin the illusion of the character that they were embodying. It also helps as the photographers don’t need to photoshop the ties out, and they don’t ruin a perfect shot, because honestly, the worst thing is crafting a beautiful weapon or meticulously selecting props only to have it ruined by a cable tie that’s placed in a ridiculous spot.
The booths at PAX this year did a wonderful job with getting some of the best cosplayers in Aus to represent their games. They stood out from the crowd with their exceptional cosplays and warm and welcoming personalities. The highlight definitely for me getting to go and see Henchwench and Scrap Shop Props and the AMD booth over the weekend. Both of these cosplayers were lovely to chat to, as well as being dressed amazingly. Ubisoft had two assassins running around, Cosplay Chris (Alexios) and Yeliz Cosplay (Kassandra) from Assassin’s Creed Odyssey. After getting to run around with those two lovely humans, you were able to move onto the Diablo III booth where there was a collection of cosplayers from the series, who were also promoting the blood drive that was sponsored at PAX this year.
Moving around the con this year with a bulky costume was surprisingly easy, with the exception of the outside wall (which is to be expected with game lines being redirected there to avoid congestion). There were large open spaces where you could easily congregate without fear of someone running into you, although I do think people need to sometimes be a bit more mindful of large cosplayers, as I nearly took someone’s eye out a couple of times with my shoulder armour. The repair station was also there, and was frequently visited by my group on the Saturday. The room was big enough to fit a group of people, and had every tool you could need as a cosplayer, or a variation you could make do with (Hammering rivets with the end of scissors? Yeah it works!). They also provided much needed water and sugar, which is important for people like me who forget to drink water while wandering around taking in all the awesomeness that is PAX! The outside door was opened Sunday afternoon, and I think that this needed to be done from day one (to avoid cosplayers who were broken having to manoeuvre through crowds to get to the repair station) but that’s the only improvement that needs to be made!
Looking back, the only issue that arose throughout the weekend was one that happens every convention… Photos being taken without the permission of the cosplayers. This year especially seemed to cause tension, with a couple cosplayers yelling at passers-by who had phones and cameras out, yelling at them to put them down or ask for a photo. Now, as someone who has done videography for a page before, you have a camera out and film bits and pieces without a specific subject all weekend. It’s the best way to capture the true essence of a con. To have this happen, really puts a bad name on the community. I understand how annoying it is to be snapped by someone without my permission, but there is absolutely no point in causing a scene over it. Also, don’t argue with someone if they say they aren’t filming or taking a photo, and don’t keep it going on for ages if they say the same thing over and over… It’s honestly not worth the drama.
Now, back to the positives. The con overall really was an incredible experience. Seeing such diversity in the community, and such love and care that cosplayers had towards each other, really reminded me as to why PAX is my favourite convention. Even without knowing your character, people would still walk up to others and compliment them, followed by a quick ‘Who are you cosplaying?’ out of genuine curiosity. This wraps up my con season for the year, and it has ended on a really wonderful note. It’s so important for the community to band together, both experienced and newer cosplayers. It makes it so much more welcoming, and I will always suggest PAX as a great con to start a cosplay journey. The respect and dedication shown is something that needs to be present at all cons. Not to mention that non-gaming cosplays are just as welcome as gaming ones, which I think is a really important note to add.
Between amazing and respectful photographers, and equally as amazing staff, PAX have really outdone themselves this year. I had nothing but praise last year, and those thoughts still stick with me this year. Definitely a must go to con, for both cosplayers and gamers, and forever a real favourite and joy to attend!
I'm a Sydney based cosplayer and gamer who can usually be found drinking cups of coffee while hunched over a new cosplay or game. I work with foam and am an expert procaffeinater (NOTHING gets done until coffee is in my hand!)