PAX '08

PAX 2008 Wrap-up


This year, the Gamers With Jobs crew descended on the Penny Arcade Expo in force, with over 25 members in attendance. Each day was filled with dozens of sessions, tournaments, impromptu gaming and more. After a great Friday night Slap & Tickle at the Elephant & Castle pub, we continued our real-life meet-ups with a D&D session expertly led by Kingmob, a Rock Band tournament appearance, interviews and, of course, tons of game coverage. Even our representatives within the PAX Enforcers crew were able to grab some time to join in on all the fun. Read on for our impressions of the games of the show.

*UPDATE* We're back with a new batch of game impressions from our very own momgamer! Mirror's Edge, Need For Speed: Undercover, Crysis Warhead and more after the jump!

Battle Forge [PC]
Battle Forge is an online RTS with a dash of card game metaphor. When you play a card, you see it's effects on the screen and then your armies respond. If I had to make a comparison, I'd say it reminds me of a combo of Eye of Judgment and an old Xbox game called Goblin Commander.

The game comes with a 200 card "deck" that you can choose from to deal out the 20 cards use to play a game. Despite the swag packs of card replicas they were handing out, there are no physical cards required to play the game.

On top of the usual adversarial maps, there is also going to be a cooperative mode to allow multiple players to work to accomplish objectives in a persistent world. Besides the online play, there will also be an integrated marketplace to buy new cards and trade for others.

The developer said a reasonable machine and graphics card (GE7000-ish) can run it. It will also support anything up to DX 10.1. Scheduled for shipping in early 2009.

Colleen "Momgamer" Hannon

Crysis Warhead [PC]
Warhead is a standalone story, and you can play the two games in any order. If you've played the original, you may remember at one point in the story one of your teammates heads off and sort of vanishes for a while and shows up near the end with an alien body. This game is his adventures off on another part of the island.

The previous version of this game was a poster child for system spec creep, so I was a bit concerned that the sequel would be even worse. Hard system specifications are supposed to come out next week, but the demo box they were running it on was silky smooth even with a single processor. According to the demonstrator, this one will require no upgrade to the hardware to run the original game, and it will run on even lower requirements.

The price point was the real shocker - it's going to come in at $29.99. On September 16th, if you've got a decent rig you might want to take a look.

Colleen "Momgamer" Hannon

Facebreaker [Multi-platform]

Looking for a fighting game that isn't just for kids, but doesn't take itself quite so seriously? Facebreaker might be just what the doctor ordered.

The name isn't just a marketing ploy. The game is cartoony in look and feel, and the characters take cartoony damage as you play, too. Even if you win, by the end of a bout your guy will look like he did three rounds with one of those cartoon anvils.

Customization is where it's at here, with controls to fine-tune your character to be just what you want. As an interesting twist, when you beat someone you win their head. The game hangs it on a wall in a trophy room. It's not just for show; you can then apply that head to your own characters and use it yourself. The controls are accessible to new players, but with combos adding some depth and tactical maneuvering that can keep more advanced players interested. Both kids I had with me liked the system. One is a button-mashing queen and the other is my hardcore fighting game fan.

Add a T rating, local multiplayer that can handle up to six players (with King of the Hill and Round Robin tournament types), and a large online component, and this one will work well for a game night with the gang.

Colleen "Momgamer" Hannon

Lord of the Rings: Conquest [Multi-platform]
Pandemic, the developer who brought you Star Wars: Battlefront, brings you the marquee battles from the Lord of the Rings epics from a different angle. There are four character types for each side -- a warrior, an archer, a scout, and a mage -- and you can play the campaign from either the good or bad side.

You start off from the standpoint of a foot soldier of each type, but as you play you can unlock the main characters. Instead of a nameless Rohirrim or Gondorian, you can choose Aragorn as your warrior, Legolas as your archer, Faramir for your scout, or Gandalf for your mage. This is also true for the bad side. You start off as your generic goblin, but can unlock the big baddies like Sauron, Saruman, the Witch King, the Balrog, a Nazgul, or Lurtz (he's that Uruk-hai you saw being born in the films). This is by no means an exhaustive list.

It's all not just hacking your way through. Use the whole battlefield and everyone on it. Ride wargs and horses. Stride an Ent up to a Troll and drop the gloves. Call in an air-strike by the Eagles, or a Nazgul.

Ever imagined what it would be like if Frodo had failed? Well, they've got an idea. As you play through the campaign you can actually continue on past the battles at the Black Gate and lay waste to Middle Earth.

Add in local split-screen cooperative mode, online multiplayer with up to 16 people, and cooperative and versus modes on top of all this campaign goodness.

This is headed out on every platform that will stand still for it (including the DS) during the 2008 holiday season.

Colleen "Momgamer" Hannon

Mirror's Edge [Multi-platform]
I only got to play a limited part of this title, and only for a few moments but I was definitely intrigued. The story of an elite courier who does this sort of run is a common trope in dystopian sci-fi, but I've never seen it attempted from the first person perspective.

My main impression was of the title was of the vertiginous scale of the movement. We've been crawling up and down the tops of buildings in many games, but this was the first time I honestly felt I might be hurtling over the edge.

It’s probably not a constructive criticism, but I hope someone mods this with a Matrix skin and has you running from Agents.

Colleen "Momgamer" Hannon

Need for Speed: Undercover [Multi-platform]
We're back on the wrong side of the tracks in this latest installment in the series. You're an undercover cop trying to get in with some local street racing gangs to eventually work your way up the chain to take down a big syndicate. Wonder where we've heard this story before?

The game is actively going for a cinematic feel, rather than a simulation. The Heroic Engine that's driving the game brings the feeling of those big silver-screen moments to the game rather than concentrating on reality. Cars take visible damage, but it doesn't affect performance unless it would be integral to the accomplishment of the objective. The example I got from the dev I spoke to was a mission that involved stealing a car and delivering it to a chop shop. If you thrash it too much on the way there, the mission fails.

The world is absolutely huge. Take the city in Underground, and make it three times as big with a huge free-ranging highway loop connecting them. There are several new mission types to help fill out the old standbys.

It felt like the game was going back towards the series' roots, and as a fan I'm glad of it.

Colleen "Momgamer" Hannon

Twin Skies [PC]
Meteor Games hit the casual game space like a bomb with Neopets, and now they're taking aim at a slightly more ambitious project.

Twin Skies is a hybrid game that combines a classic 3d MMO, a casual MMO, and a community/socialization platform. Think of it as one world, with several ways to interact with it. The story is an original, with a sort of fairy-tale gone wrong feel. An in-house writing staff is on hand to keep it fresh and expanding.

You can load up the 3d world and go around kicking it with your guild. Or you can log onto the casual website from work and play mini-games, chat, or interact with the game. One intriguing example I got was a case where in the 3d game users would be trying to get through a valley with lightning striking, but the lightning would be being controlled by people logged into the website and the two groups would be able to interact. You would also be able to log into the community website to setup your characters and interact with auction/economics of the game. Later on cell phone integration is planned.

The game is aimed at socializing, and has features built in to help motivate users to get out of the Balkanized guild rut you can get into with other MMO's. There is plenty of ways to foster your friend group, but it also encourages getting out of your shell and making new friends.

The plan is for a quiet, viral sort of release in Q1 2009 with free accounts followed by a launch of a $5-$8 a month Premium level account structure. The free accounts would not go away, but the paying account would get aesthetic upgrades and expanded community features.

Colleen "Momgamer" Hannon

Pirates of the Burning Sea [PC]
I saw this game last year, and enjoyed the ship-to-ship battles and the world (and I proudly wear my "Getting Booty since 1720" shirt to work). Now that this seafaring MMO is live and in living color, there's even more pirate goodness to love. That is, unless you're the poor guys who were setup within t-shirt cannon range of the Flying Labs booth.

The capital cities all have new art to give them a shine. PVP features are easier to access, ad-hoc battles easier to find, and new features like insurance make it less risky to go out and mix it up.

Now battles are up close and personal. Once you've holed 'em between wind and water and brought the dastards to bay, board and storm operations and face-to-face dueling let you really swash and buckle your way across the main.

They'll be putting out a 2-week free trial in early September so you can set sail with Captain Morgan and see for yourself.

And on a geekier note, if you'd like to get your hooks into what's really cooking, they've offered programmers an API that allows you to access data from the game. Head over to this article at and read up to find out what you can get to and how.

Colleen "Momgamer" Hannon

Strongbad's Cool Game for Attractive People [PC and Wiiware]
Telltale games brings us another point and click adventure to enjoy. Strongbad, Homestar Runner and the whole gang give us episodic hillarity on the PC and over Wiiware.

Each episode gives us a story to work through, as well as an "awexome" mini-game you may recognize from the website. The first episode gave us Snake Boxer 5, and if you found the collectables, you could unlock the snake character for your side which makes it even more fun.

The first episode released on August 11th, with the second one coming along here later this month.

If you're a fan of Strongbad and his style, then you're going to have a good time with these.

Colleen "Momgamer" Hannon

Chrono Trigger DS

Square-Enix didn't have much to display on the show floor, but some time with Chrono Trigger on the DS brought waves of nostalgia for the 16-bit classic. The port is a from-the-ground-up rewrite of the entire code base, and the portion I played was solid and sported quick load times. Due to the DS's non-interlaced display, the already-gorgeous sprites popped with detail and animated smoothly. Other new features include a slick auto-map that fills-in as dungeons are explored, a robust bestiary, the PS version's extra dungeon and cutscenes, and an as-yet unseen competitive wireless multiplayer mode.

The Chrono Trigger port is entirely playable using a control scheme that involves simply dragging the stylus to the various edges of the screen. You can also quickly access your inventory, skills, character status, general options and the bestiary through convenient representative buttons on the touch pad. When moving Chrono and his companions around the top screen, these buttons slide out of view to make for a clean control experience. Once engaged in combat, additional buttons appear for the various actions available. The control scheme felt a little odd at first, but after a few minutes with it, I started to see it's potential - especially for a player like me, whose hands tend to cramp at the thought of the DS's directional-pad. If the new control mode doesn't sound appealing, the entire game is playable using the standard d-pad and buttons. The title will even sport a "Purists mode" that reportedly removes new helpful features such as the auto-map, touch controls, etc.

-- Jeff "doogiemac" Beeman

Far Cry 2

While Far Cry 2's visual tech has impressed me since it was announced, I've yet to see anything really captivating out of a game with the "Cry" brand. Having not paid much attention to the title's development history, I expected little out of the demo. I watched a long, hands-off Xbox 360 demo and, as I picked my jaw up off the floor, I slowly realized that it had stolen the show for me.

There are plenty of highly detailed previews that you can read for a full run-down of Far Cry 2's features, so I'll keep it brief. In terms of gameplay mechanics, what pulled me in and wouldn't let me go were the possibilities of the dynamic story system. Everyone can be killed, and the story is constantly being updated to reflect your choices and actions, drastically altering the experience. The procedurally generated/animated fire is not only gorgeous, but serves a deep gameplay purpose outside of its visual whiz-bangery, as it can be used to lure, flush-out, or otherwise distract (and, of course, attack) enemies.

Finally, Far Cry 2's multiplayer map editor is amazingly robust and is so easy to use that a fully featured map was created on a 360 in under 10 minutes. Using a paint-brush metaphor similar to Photoshop, maps can be created in minutes containing mountains, valleys, rivers, jungles, houses, vehicles and more. Vegetation, ambient noise, clouds, the day-night cycle... are all procedurally generated so changing a jungle scene to dried brush is a simple palette swap. Want to preview your map? At the push of a button you are seamlessly dropped in, and just as quickly taken back out of, the world you've created. I'm incredibly interested to see what sorts of maps the community creates with the editor once it's released.

-- Jeff "doogiemac" Beeman

Dragon Age: Origins

Taking a few passes by the ridiculously long line wrapping around the miniature fort Bioware had erected on the show floor, I finally decided to just brave the wait. After 45 minutes of pain courtesy of the Sing Star demo from Sony's neighboring booth, I was granted entrance to the Dragon Age: Origins demo.

The presentation began with an explanation of Bioware's desire to return to its roots with Dragon Age. They certainly appear to be headed in the right direction. The atmosphere of the early game oozes the style of Baldur's Gate with a focus on complex storytelling, great music, and beautiful architecture. Menu options for "Downloadable Content" and "Other Campaign" caught my eye and these, along with the announced mod toolset, hint at a similar level of dedication to the mod community as Bioware showed with Neverwinter Nights.

While Dragon Age certainly looks to be exactly what Bioware fans have been waiting nearly 7 years for, everything we've seen so far has been hands-off, so I'm cautiously optimistic.

-- Jeff "doogiemac" Beeman

Prince of Persia

Ubisoft's new Prince of Persia (no sub-title this time) is a series reboot that follows a new prince's tale. This was a another hands-off demo, but the title appears to be sporting some conceptually interesting gameplay mechanics. The first is the addition of a secondary character in Elika who, unlike her sisterhood of secondary female characters, does not seem to be a helpless princess. Elika appears to be completely integrated into the gameplay, particularly the platforming and combat pieces, in a way that should breathe some fresh air into the series. She is a helper, giving a twist on the traditional double-jump mechanic; a guardian, providing assistance in combat; and an occasional savior, acting as an active save point. The animation and art style are, of course, quite impressive.

Equally as interesting to me as the addition of the secondary character was the display of some artwork from the Penny Arcade-created Prince of Persia comic. The panels had a style Penny Arcade rarely explores, and showed potential to be quite interesting.

-- Jeff "doogiemac" Beeman

Sam & Max

It's been well over a year since it was originally reported that we'd see Telltale Games' Sam & Max on the Xbox 360, but little has been said about the port since then. When I asked about the 360's missing crime fighters, a developer reported that their tech works on the 360 just fine (see CSI: Hard Evidence for an example), but couldn't go into much more detail. After I pushed him a bit harder, and pleaded that I'd love to enjoy the game both in hi-def and from the comfort of my couch, he hinted at a possible reason for the delay, saying he'd love to see Sam & Max playable with direct control of the characters using the analog sticks, addressing the issues inherent in bringing a point-and-click adventure to the console. Price point and download size over XBLA appear to be issues, as well, so here's hoping that with two seasons of the series behind them, they may be able to put something together, even if it comes in the form of a retail release.

-- Jeff "doogiemac" Beeman


NC Soft's booth prominently featured Aion, an expectedly pretty (it's built on the Crytek's CryEngine) player versus player-focused MMO. From my brief time with the game, it felt heavily influenced by Guild Wars, both in visual style and gameplay. As a former Guild Wars player, it's hard to see how Aion adds much, if anything at all, to NC Soft's catalog. Aside from a nifty flying mechanic and a fairly intricate character model customization system, I came away from the demo thoroughly uninspired.

-- Jeff "doogiemac" Beeman

Chrono Trigger DS
Far Cry 2
Dragon Age: Origins
Prince of Persia
Sam & Max


You're a one man army, thanks Jeff!

I don't think I ran into anyone who I knew was a GWJer there, but for some reason I kept seeing Adam Sessler every time I got drunk.

For those of you inspired to attended next year's PAX, Docbadwrench's excitement got the best of him, and we've now got a thread running to plan for it (no firm dates yet). Deadend, we're already talking about having some better ways to find each other, so hop into the thread if you've got suggestions.

I have to say, Dragon Age was unimpressive.

Left 4 Dead and Little Big World, however, were looking awesome.

Thanks for the link, Doogie. Yeah, I was really hoping to play Left 4 Dead while I was at PAX, but watching was still an amazing amount of fun. It seems I have a strong disinclination to wait in line for an hour to play a game for five to ten minutes. I came away from PAX having played a fair amount of DS demos, though.

Among those I have to say that Lock's Quest was very engaging. It's a tower-defense game where you spend some time building up defenses and then defend against oncoming baddies, repairing structures along the way, and doing as good as you can until the timer expires. The story is weak - and irrelevant, so far as I'm concerned - but the gameplay (in the demo, at least) is solid.

I went to the Dragon Age toolset panel (I saw Gaald and KingMob in line for that too) and the editor looked really robust and relatively easy to use to create basic scenarios but with scripting support for folks who want to create deeper, more complex adventures. I'm not sure I'll take advantage of it if I buy the game but it's good to know it's there for dedicated modders.

doogiemac is correct about Far Cry 2 looking incredible. It was completely off my radar before I saw the demo.

King's Bounty was at the show and playable. From the few battles I played it seemed really fast and fun. You're limited to your hero and 5 units and the battlefields are small so the battles don't take long. Some of the units have special abilities that add depth; bears can run across the whole battlefield and tackle an enemy for massive damage in a single turn, little-shop-of-horror type plant units can plant spores on dead bodies to create new little-shop-of-horror type plant units, etc. I didn't run around the overworld map much so I can't comment on how that plays.

Demigod was playable at the Stardock booth. I'm not sure how I feel about it. It looks great and could have staying power but mainly for those who really get into the multiplayer. The different gods have very different and imaginative special abilities, the Rook (the castle god) has the passive ability to suck bricks and material out of enemy structures to damage them and heal himself for example. I know I won't have the time to get/stay competitive with it if I pick it up. But Brad Wardell was at the booth and I got to meet him, that was cool.

Surprisingly, there were a lot of booths dedicated to xbla and cell phone games. Some weren't surprising, like Castle Crashers, but most were very forgettable. I don't know if the profit margins of these kinds of games warrants the cost for the floor space. A version of Pac-Man for the cell phone had its own booth!

Enough brain vomiting for now. PAX was awesome.

They doubled the floor show space this year, and it was much better in terms of crowd flow compared to last year. Great time, wish we could have had 2 GWJ get-togethers, so we could have compared notes from the show floor.

I managed to play a little bit of Champions Online. They had it running on the PC, but they were using Xbox 360 controllers, to demonstrate proof of concept. It was a limited experience, given that the questing area was small, and the inventory system was essentially disabled, but it had a very cool cartoon look with cel shading and nice effects. They mentioned to me that although they were mixing 360 and PC players in the office, they weren't planning on having mixed populations at launch.

I also managed to get a demo of Magic: The Gathering for XBLA from WOTC. They're planning for an early 09 release. Smooth looking interface. You'll be getting pre-built decks for play, and you can unlock more cards for each deck by playing the single player version. Multiplayer is built in, in the form of team play, and you can even tackle the single player mode with a team of 2, local play included.

Things I didn't get to play that looked amazing: Spore, Left 4 Dead, Fallout 3, Little Big Planet. No surprises in this list, but i'm psyched for every one even more now.

Things that looked very cool: King's Bounty, Battleforge.

I'll echo the Hype for FarCry 2. It looked great. Crysis: Warhead also looked excellent, with Crytek touting major engine optimizations and a lot more player freedom. Project Origin also looked very good.

The show-stealers for me were LittleBigPlanet and Dead Space. I did hands-ons with both. LBP left me giddy, and Dead Space looks like it could be incredible. Left 4 Dead was also awesome - I played the 360 version. I chatted with Chet Falsizek for a bit, and it sounds like Valve has some pretty cool plans for add-on content.

The new Prince of Persia just might be the most beautiful game I've ever seen.

I avoided the Fallout booth, as I'm on a personal media blackout for that game. I was highly tempted, but forced myself to not to hearken to the siren song of is LCD screens

The crowds were nuts this year, though they seemed very well-managed.

I had to just make a "me too" post, but Far Cry 2 also probably made the biggest impact on me of anything at the show. I guess it was partly because I sort of avoided the stuff I was most interested in (Fallout, LittleBigPlanet, Left 4 Dead, etc), partly because much of the other stuff seemed to just be the same content I had seen on video out of E3 or Leipzig (Mirror's Edge, Prince of Persia), and partly because I had written Far Cry off in my head as "pretty but unoriginal" from the trailer I had seen. However, the demo that was given on stage wasn't exactly a typical pre-arranged, vertical slice sort of thing, and instead the developer just loaded save games from a near final production build and attempted to run a few missions, so it really did a good job of conveying the feel of the gameplay and the scope of the world. Also, the fire propagation technology which they have spent so much time talking up really did impress in a way that justified (for me at least) how much attention they have been giving it.

Oh, and as Doogiemac said, the way they've designed their map editor is simply brilliant and was super impressive to see in action.

Thanks for the writeup, Doogiemac. It was great playing with you and the other goodjers that joined me for the Sat morning game. Glad I was able to get you guys to keep putting off when you were going to go...

By the way, I know Demiurge didn't like King's Bounty. Did anyone get a chance to look at Obsidian's NWN2 expansion, Storm of Zehir? It looked great and I loved the new overworld map. Wasn't that the game they created the map for, or was it Mask of the Betrayer? If anyone owns these expansions, I'd love to hear their impressions of the NWN2 series - I never finished the first game, but I've heard those two expansions are well worth playing.

Here's a few games I played at PAX:

Jumpgate Evolution
Contrary to popular belief, I do not hate fun. And this is the kind of fun I rather like: evading fire and shooting enemies in space with a mouse and keyboard, X-Wing / Wing Commander style action, and then returning to your base to turn in quests and sell / purchase new guns and missiles. From the fifteen minutes I played the game, I could tell this was the kind of addictive, repetitive game play that would draw me in and keep me blowing up space ships for hours.
By the way, I think it's pathetic that people would compare this to EVE, just because there are so few space shooters these days. Imagine a world with so few games about medieval warfare someone would compare Baldur's Gate with Stronghold.

Sugar Rush
Jumped in, played this free web game for a few minutes, won a session, and left real quick before anyone could beat me at the game. This is a simple beat-em-up for four players with a limited control scheme, powerups, and respawns. Kind of fun but where is the depth? Not sure how they'll balance earned stuff for experienced players in order to keep them playing without allowing them to overwhelm new players.

Mirror's Edge
I'm not sure if this game will live up to its hype, honestly. Innovation aside, is it really that much fun to run from roof to roof, etc. for most of a game? For me this is the chase sequence from the beginning of Half Life 2 repeated for an entire game, punctuated by occasional martial arts sequences.

Champions Online
The characters and enemies were cel shaded in a way I haven't quite seen anywhere else. Of course this build was too early to comment on graphics, so I'll move on.
When I first arrived at the booth, I was looking over the shoulder of a game journalist as he demonstrated using brawling abilities to mow down bad guys. With a 360 controller. When my turn came I put down the controller and tried to use mouse, keyboard, and number keys as you would in a standard MMO. The game became much more clunky. Because Champions is geared to have your character mowing down two or three mobs at a time, the brawler-type gameplay worked much better for the situations I was facing. This made me sad, but was it because they made a mistake, or because I wanted to be playing a different game?
I found the variety of character abilities interesting, but I'm not sure whether this game might be too fast paced for my oldster nerve endings.

In a word, disappointing. This large, dark character with a mighty sword on his back and the ability to sprout ghostly wings in order to glide, and he's in an environment that looks like every God of War game ever made. I liked the look of this game, but it felt an awful lot like a step back.

Schizoid, The Maw, Castle Crashers
I'll dispense with these in one heading because I've having a bit of impotent PS3 owner rage right now, thank you very much. Why can't we own such beautiful, clever games? Oh and of course Galaxy Wars Evolution but everybody in the world has already talked about that. And Braid but seriously leave me alone, I need a moment.
Schizoid is a cooperative game in which you control a blue ship and your pal controls a red ship. Blue ships destroy blue enemies, red ships destroy red enemies. The game gets more complex from there... each level is a new puzzle and experience, you and your partner develop strategies as you move along, the checkpoint system is a joy and rarely makes you annoyed even when you're struggling, the enemy AI is excellent for an arcade game, this is a great game to purchase if you have a friend. If you're playing alone, you can try to control both ships by yourself but this is impossible so just don't try.
The Maw is an adventure / platformer in which your alien leads along a portable maw, an adorable little mouth filled with teeth, on a leash. You lead him to things he can eat, he destroys obstacles in your way, later on in the game I believe he transforms into cooler things. This game is adorably violent, much like the next.
Castle Crashers has had a lot of hype recently but unfortunately the hype is true. With each player added to this four player co-op, you multiply the amount of fun you're having. This rpg-lite brawler doesn't seem to have a lot of depth, but there are plenty of cute and disgusting enemies for the Knights to slay, and different environments to explore (from left to right, of course).

OK, I'm sure I saw some more games at the con but that's enough for today. Oh right, I had a lot of fun playing Rock Band with the RB2 controllers, I totally don't regret ordering the version of RB2 with the instruments now.

Also saw Rock Band 2 in large format, Friday night at midnight. Scheisse, Cory Banks can sing.

Yeah, I want a recording of him singing "Man in the Box." Rob, let's make this happen, next podcast, stat! Hm, you already recorded tonight's cast... how bout next one?

I just realized I didn't hit a Coldstone once while I was out there. Very disappointing.

KingMob wrote:

Yeah, I want a recording of him singing "Man in the Box." Rob, let's make this happen, next podcast, stat! Hm, you already recorded tonight's cast... how bout next one?

I unfortunately didn't Cory singing on tape, not once. I have no idea why! However make sure you check out this weeks Podcast.

I have high hopes for Jumpspace evolution. I long for a good, updated space shooter. Freespace is so far in the past. Some mates of mine have set up a Freelancer server running the balance mod and we've been having fun doing a bit of Diablo in space while waiting for this one to arrive.

PAX was indeed a good time.

Not a show stealer by any means, but I caught Major Nelson's presentation of the new Xbox 360 interface. First. it not only incorporates themes, they actually look good and are not intrusive now. He showed off themes you can get on Live right now, so they are compatible.

The one button is better then we have now. You an get to your friend's list just as quick as you do now, but you can get to everything else just a quick.

Eight person parties will be a really cool feature. You can set up a group of eight that can play together, or different games, but still be in chat with all. It will be very easy to use that as a party for all of your online games, and it will be be compatible with all current games.

He couldn't show off the avatar creation, but it looks like it will be something to rival Home, but you won't be walking around a some virtual world.

Your gamerscore will now have a "thermostat" that will not only show how many achievment points you have, but of what percentage of points you could have.

Overall, it looks like a very good upgrade over all, and Major Nelson emphasized that speed is a priority.

I have some of it on video from my camera. I haven't looked at it yet, but will post some pix and video if the quality is any good. Don't hold your breath.

I caught a brief demo of Magic on XBLA and it looked pretty solid... well, as solid as it could look to someone who's never played it before. I didn't have the heart to tell the demo guy that I had never even touched a Magic card after he talked so excitedly about it. I will definitely be giving it a shot when it launches, though. He said the game comes with all the cards available to play (i.e. there won't be any "rare" cards) and they are unlocked through single-player play. He didn't go into much detail, but when I asked if there's some sort of "campaign" mode, he acknowledged there would be.

The Maw and King's Bounty, while wholly different titles, both had incredibly promise. I have a feeling I'll be losing dozens of hours to King's Bounty come October...

great write-up...thx

As a first time poster and refered to this site by one of your own at PAX i feel it only fitting to post in this forum first:

Two games I didn't see talked about yet that I thoroughly enjoyed were:

X-Blades: A very linear Hack and Slash with some RPG and character development features. The games combat can be repetitive, but overall it was alot of fun. (PC/PS3/360)

Rise of the Argonauts: This is more of a linear action RPG / Hack and slash, however this could very well be the best Hack and Slash, that i have played to date. The combat looks like it was done incredibly well and the story line seems well thought out and diverse. (PS3/360)

Out of all the games that i saw at PAX i am now most excited for Rise of the Argonauts and Aion. Even though Aion reminded me of Guild Wars in its art styling. The game play and world seems to be much better than GW. Supposedly it is going to be 95-99% persistant open world with some instancing in the lower levels, similar to Lord of the rings online. Even though I will be heavily heavily vested in Warhammer Online, I will definately be trying to fit Aion into my gaming time.

Love the site.



Fallout 3 Trailer


Playable Starcraft 2


Rock Band 2 stage


Sins of a Solar Empire


Brothers in Arms recruiting center


This dude just scored a free copy of Brothers in Arms


World of Warcraft Diorama


World of Warcraft Miniatures Game

AHHH Crap, I just realized I had the Advent woman do a show intro for us and forgot to include it during the editing! DAM!

Maybe I had too much to drink but didn't some of you GWJ Cats descend on GenCon also? (I take it you were never able to recover the audio files?)


BC the Cylon.

Gaald wrote:

AHHH Crap, I just realized I had the Advent woman do a show intro for us and forgot to include it during the editing! DAM!

AW DUDE! That would've been geekTASTIC.

You are obligated to post that somewhere somehow.

Bad Chris wrote:

Maybe I had too much to drink but didn't some of you GWJ Cats descend on GenCon also? (I take it you were never able to recover the audio files?)


BC the Cylon.

I heard that Cory Demiurge Banks got drunk and did terrible, unspeakable things to the recording. Now it won't even answer the phone when the crew calls, let alone come over and coalesce into a podcast.

That may just be a rumor, though.

A few more PAX pictures i put up.

wordsmythe wrote:
Bad Chris wrote:

Maybe I had too much to drink but didn't some of you GWJ Cats descend on GenCon also? (I take it you were never able to recover the audio files?)


BC the Cylon.

I heard that Cory Demiurge Banks got drunk and did terrible, unspeakable things to the recording. Now it won't even answer the phone when the crew calls, let alone come over and coalesce into a podcast.

That may just be a rumor, though.

Be fair: Dressed like that, the recording was begging for it.

jonnypolite wrote:

A few more PAX pictures i put up.

I have a theory, but what the hell is going on here?

We need to hear your theory first.

Tribbles are trouble.

Demiurge wrote:
jonnypolite wrote:

A few more PAX pictures i put up.

I have a theory, but what the hell is going on here?

I was there for that. Good times.