Diversity Lounge coming to PAX Aus

In it’s second year, the giant gaming festival PAX Australia has already announced a raft of new features. There’s a bigger venue (with bigger theatres), Tripod and the Melbourne Symphony Orchestra playing on the Friday night as well as a PAX Aus Diversity Lounge.

PAX has always been about celebrating games of all kinds – and so the diversity lounge aims to celebrate gamers of all kinds. We spoke to Alice, the co-curator of the diversity lounge: ”It’s just a fun space for people to come and learn about our lovely community groups and the issues they face, and to relax and make some friends while playing games.”

The design intent is to create a fun social space that is inclusive and maybe even a little educational. Alice explains that everyone is welcome and encouraged to come in and take a look around. “Games are a medium where we can be and do anything, and yet we keep being basically the same straight, white, brooding guy who is shooting people in his quest to avenge the death/maiming of his girlfriend/wife/daughter/ sister. The Diversity Lounge is here to showcase that there’s more than that.”

On walking in, you’ll see a row of consoles ranging from Nintendo 64 through to XBox One, card gaming tables and board gaming tables. The games there have been curated to ensure they feature diverse leads and supporting characters.
The first Diversity Lounge debuted at PAX East earlier this year. When people first heard out about it prior to the convention, it drew a lot of media criticism. But after actually attending the PAX East Diversity Lounge, Kotaku, Polygon and Gay Gamer all had some tentatively positive things to say – as well as ideas on how it could be improved upon. “We definitely looked into those articles and took some advice, and we listened to what the organisers of PAX Aus had to tell us about what they’d seen with the organisation of the previous lounge. What we do will be a bit different to what was done in America.”
“Our ultimate goal would be for people to come away saying ‘I’d never thought about games that way, and now I have new friends.’ Or at the very least, that they’d had a good time.”
We’d like to do a follow up on this if possible. If you want to share your PAX Aus Diversity Lounge experiences, shoot us an email after PAX Aus.
Article art is from the game, Spy Party.
Disclaimer: The author works as a casual at MCEC. All information in this article comes from Alice, Yug and available online information.