PAX Australia is the final PAX convention of the year, taking place over the Halloween weekend in the heart of Melbourne’s business district. Overlooking the Yarra River, the Melbourne Convention and Exhibition Centre played host to the convention. Developers from all over the world flew in to represent all sectors of the gaming industry in one of the largest games expos on the continent.
And what visit to any gaming expo is complete without visiting the Nintendo booth? While many of the games at Nintendo of Australia’s booth were already in stores — some of them being incredibly new releases — they still represented a rather strong showing of Nintendo’s 2015 line-up with small previews into the new games releasing during the upcoming holiday season. The booth itself was lively, welcoming and always full of people, and there were events and competitions going on throughout the day.
Allow us to take you for your own private tour through Nintendo’s booth via pictures.
One of the more impressive displays wasn’t related to Zelda, but instead Animal Crossing. Whether you’re a fan of the recently released Animal Crossing: Happy Home Designer or not, seeing the sheer number of Animal Crossing Amiibo up for grabs was a sight to behold. The majority of them weren’t the full-on figurines primarily produced for Super Smash Bros. and the Mario universe, but the cards instead. The Animal Crossing figurines are also nice additions to any Amiibo hunter’s collection.
Zelda Universe’s The Missing Link (top, as Luigi) and Sabbo (bottom) playing Tri Force Heroes.
Of course, the star of Nintendo’s PAX Aus booth — at least as far as the Zelda enthusiast is concerned — was Tri Force Heroes. Nintendo presented a rather strong demo showing several of the game’s levels that players could vote upon. The game showed off well, and it was fairly easy to see that this game isn’t a simple cakewalk, especially when you get paired with random players over a wide set of skill levels. And despite the proximity of everyone, communication still felt limited — comparable to an online experience — due to the noise of the expo hall and us not being face-to-face with one another.
One of the biggest demos of the Nintendo booth was Level-5’s Yo-kai Watch, which was just recently published in North America with releases in Australia this December and Europe next year. This marks the first game of the series to finally eke its way out of Japan. The game seems a hybrid of Pokémon and Ghostbusters in that a young child explores the city in search of spirits and then either capturing, battling, or otherwise coercing them to leave the denizens of town alone. A manga was concurrently created alongside the video game, and that will be released alongside the game.
The main event of Nintendo’s booth was the big screen, where they hosted competitions of various Nintendo titles over the course of the weekend. Pictured is a glimpse of the Super Smash Bros. team Amiibo challenge, where four teams consisting of a human player and his or her most powerful Amiibo in an eight-player melee for supremacy. Even if you weren’t armed with an Amiibo, it was easy to just pull up a beanbag and watch the fun from the sidelines, especially when it came down to a final Amiibo-versus-Amiibo contest to win the match.
On display were Nintendo’s new additions to the Skylanders franchise. Bowser looked incredibly tough donning the extra armor and a giant mallet, and he seemed right at home atop Donkey Kong’s barrel trike. DK, for his part, also looked jazzed up for their appearance in the third-party title, soaring in Bowser’s clown car airplane.
Super Mario Maker is one of the best games Nintendo has published on the Wii U, and so it was no surprise to see this title in Nintendo’s booth. The primary attraction was the 10 Mario Challenge to teach players the art of level creation along with the level creator. While not at the Nintendo booth itself, one of the PAX Australia panels involved a Super Mario Maker Make-off challenge, and of course Super Mario Maker had its share of time on Nintendo’s big screen.
The Dovahkiin (a.k.a. Zelda Universe’s Shona) warps in from Skyrim.
Outside of the main expo hall, in the center of the corridor, was this little beauty. Nintendo set up this diorama of sorts to celebrate the release of Super Mario Maker. The Goombas, Koopa Troopas, and other paraphernalia were able to be moved on a magnetic background, so you could construct the scene of your choice. To no one’s surprise, many attendees and cosplayers alike would stop and crouch within the warp pipe to take a picture, and there was often a line of people waiting for their turn. It even got the royal treatment as well when a certain king of a foreign land dropped in for a quick photo op.
That old Goomba’s no match for the King (The Missing Link).
In all, PAX Australia was a fantastic experience for Nintendo fans and video game fans in general. No doubt next year it will be just as memorable.