PAX East 2011 Highlights

PAX East 2011 Highlights

PAX East 2011 came to a close this past sunday, three days of amazing gaming goodness. For those of you who don’t know, PAX is of course the Penny Arcade Expo, a convention that celebrates all avenues of gaming, from upcoming video games to D&D and card games. There are two, PAX Prime in Seattle, and now in its second year, PAX East in Boston.

This years show brought 70,000 participants, the expo floor was packed, with some waiting hours to play games like Duke Nukem Forever, and Star Wars the Old Republic.

LA Noire

The standout of the convention for me has to be L.A. Noire. The latest from Rockstar is going to be hitting stores this May, but they had a full 25 minute demo for us that really blew me away. The game essentially is a James Ellroy novel come to life. They’ve recreated Los Angeles circa 1948, and you’re a rookie detective making your way up in the ranks. The developers used actual motion capture on the actors in the game, giving you detail and emotion never before seen in a game.

Duke Nukem Forever

Considering I’ve been waiting the release of this game since the 1997 cover story, it was the first game I ran to at the opening of the convention. The demo was the same that was at PAX Prime, and honestly, I was a bit underwhelmed. I found the controls to be wonky, and the AI dated. However, the nostalgia factor certainly earns the game points, and I have to admit, I can’t physically NOT buy this game. I do however feel that the next title in the series (hopefully it won’t take another 15 years) will be more the sequel we deserve.

Nintendo 3DS

There is a lot of hype surrounding Nintendo’s latest handheld. While I do feel that the hardware is underpowered as is all of Nintendo’s platforms, I was definitely curious if it would make up for its stereoscopic 3D screen. I played Street Fighter IV, as well as Steel Diver, and I have to say, a few more really good titles, and I’m on board. The device feels great, the 3D is cool (and if it does give you a headache you can switch it off).


The demo of RAGE was really impressive. Rage of course being the new game from iD software using their new iD Tech 5 engine. Talk about impressive graphics, the game was demoed on an xbox 360, and that had to be the best graphics I’ve seen on an Xbox 360.

Other standouts, SOCOM 4 I really enjoyed, Gears 3 felt like Gears with a little bit more color, and the indie games I played were really impressive. So those are my thoughts on PAX. Now I’ve got to go back to playing Pokemon.

Cool Stuff Friday! Inception NES Game

Cool Stuff Friday! Inception NES Game

Check out this cool NES artwork made by artist Jeff Bartell, if only it were a real game!

Have a great weekend!

Verbinski to Helm ‘Bioshock’ Quits ‘Pirates 4’

This will be it. I know it! Finally, a director who might be able to undertake the seemingly unproven task of making a good movie out of a video game. Gore Verbinski has left the helm of ‘Pirates 4’ and focus on ‘Bioshock,’ an adaptation of the best selling video game.

No word on how his leaving ‘Pirates 4’ will effect that production schedule, which was slated to hit theaters in 2010.

‘Bioshock,’ was one of the best games of 2007, and has some of the best story found in a video game, ever. I truly do believe, if any video game movie had a chance of being good, this is the one. It has the right story, and the right director.

Here’s hoping.

Benjamin Button Effects Artist Plays WoW

WoW Insider, a blog for the famous MMO World of Warcraft is reporting that Steve Preeg, a visual effects artist who picked up an Oscar for Benjamin Button on Sunday night is a guild leader on World of Warcraft. Who says MMO players have no life? Just thought it was an interesting little news item. And, a good opportunity to repost a behind the scenes video from a few months back, the visual effects that were used were truly amazing, and this video is worth a second look:

‘The Force Unleashed’ Sells 1.5 million copies

Despite less then stellar reviews, LucasArts latest ‘Star Wars’ themed video game ‘The Force Unleashed,’ has sold 1.5 million copies in its first five days.

The multi-platform release (everything from Xbox, to PSP, to iPhone) still doesn’t beat ‘Grand Theft Auto IV’s’ sales records, but is on track to be one of the top games of the year.

LucasArts is seriously pushing the title for the upcoming holiday season, standing behind it with a huge marketing push that includes toys and book tie-ins. They’ve shipped 4.3 million units to stores anticipating strong sales.

Arad Options ‘Mass Effect’

Arad Options ‘Mass Effect’

Mass EffectThe former CEO of Marvel Studios has optioned the rights to Bioware’s hit RPG video game ‘Mass Effect’ The game which was released exclusively to the Xbox 360 and PC last year sets the player into the role of elite human soldier Commander Shepard, in the year 2183. [Read more…]

Blizzard Announces World of Warcraft Expansion Release Date

Finally, the date has been set for the new World of Warcraft expansion! ‘World of Warcraft: Wrath of the Lich King’ is set to be released November 13, 2008.

Mark Morhaime, CEO and cofounder of Blizzard said “We’re Looking forward to launching Wrath of the Lich King, and finally giving World of Warcraft players a chance to take on Arthas and his minions…Until then, we’ll continue to refine and playtest the expansion content to make sure it provides a highly polished experience.”

In the past few months (thanks to friends, and excellent documentary Second Skin) I’ve found myself playing World of Warcraft. The game is for PC/Mac (Blizzard is one of the few companies that release their products multiplatform right away instead of waiting months to port), and is a subscription based MMO.

Read the whole press release here.

EA Withdraws Bid for Take-Two

This next one will come to relief to many, EA has withdrawn its very public battle to take over Grand Theft Auto publisher, Take-Two.

EA was looking to integrate many Take-Two brands into its slate for the holiday season. EA is notorious for its quick releases, and yearly retreads (read: any of the companies sports releases, Madden, NBA etc) with little or no innovation.

EA was looking to buy at $25.74 per share. Take-Two believes EA grossly undervalued the company, and his unfortunately still open for negotiations.

Buying Take-Two would also eliminate EA Sports’ biggest competitor, the oldest trick in the book, if you can’t keep up, just buy the competition.

id Software Talks ‘Return to Castle Wolfenstein’

id Software Talks ‘Return to Castle Wolfenstein’

wolfenstein.jpgid Software head Todd Hollenshead has been vocal about film adaptations of his video game properties this week. He confirms that Roger Avary (The Rules of Attraction) is currently working on the script for a film version of ‘Return to Castle Wolfenstein’ [Read more…]

[Video] Weird Moments in Gaming History

It’s Monday, why not start it off with a video? Masters of Hyrule have put together a video of some strange moments in Video Game history, I’m sure there are plenty more of this, some are a bit funny, some are downright immature, but hey, what else was Youtube made for?