Give me a P. Give me an A. Give me an X. What does that spell? PAX…you dyslexic sucka duck! YES, the much-anticipated, annual, nerdfest PAX East (a la Penny Arcade) in Boston came, went and totally took advantage of the prime real estate that is my body. I need a breath mint, deodorant and massage from a small Vietnamese woman with mighty – yet gentle- hands (and is up for expected happy ending). For those of you scratching your heads wondering what the hell is PAX East?! First, I’d like to slap you upside the head for being an ignorant douche-canoe. This is our culture. How do you not know about this?!?! OK, here’s a quick run-through: PAX East, is like a smaller E3, but intended for consumers rather than developers. See, they get a bunch of video game hot shots to show off their hardware, software and um…in some cases hot chicks in tall boots
Then, they invite the public to hang out and fall in love with all kinds of the latest, greatest gear and games on (or about to enter) the video game scene. Attendees can play games, attend panel sessions about all kinds of cool stuff, see live music and even compete in video game tournaments! Exciting, right? YES! Especially if you like shiny bags of SWAG, the occasional hot chick in costume, new technology, and inspiring speeches.
So now you have a pretty solid idea of what goes on in general. What might not be entirely clear to you is the feeling of “home”. *cue the violin for sappy time* Let’s face it, we as gamers are strange and weird. We typically don’t mesh well with the world outside our own. The acceptance in ordinary society is growing quite rapidly, but how many people in your life truly appreciate and understand your pleasure, your obsession, your escape? While we’re predominantly having too much fun to care, wouldn’t it be nice to be embraced by a collective mutuality? After all, you know gamer friends are the perfect circle of people you always want to hang out with. Why not a sea of thousands, all singing to the tune of “Let’s Play”? Simply put, PAX is your haven. Your heaven. Your home.
Now, onto swamp ass, girls and games.
Last year was the first East Coast edition which drew well over 50,000 attendees to the Back Bay of Boston – pretty much exceeding the capacity of the Hynes Convention Center where it was being held. This year, in order to accommodate another sellout capacity expected to be well above last year’s, they moved the event to the Boston Convention Center which is significantly bigger in size to the prior venue. OK, it’s fucking huge and overwhelming. Walk the labyrinth once over and your bound to discover a pasty, smelly substance in the groin region of your pants. Otherwise known as “swamp ass”. Luckily, in the sea of unbathed, non-deodorant using mouth breathers, it’s not noticeable 😉
Before I discuss my experience I should note that while the conference deals in video games, board games and card games, I was only interested in the video game portion. Specifically console games as I am not a PC gamer. So, in my travels of the expo floor I was able view and get my hands on a few high profile games; including Portal 2, Mortal Kombat 9, Duke Nukem Forever, Kingdoms of Amalur: Reckoning and Star Wars the Old Republic. The latter being the only PC game that caught my attention. I even got to finally feast my eyes on the Nintendo 3DS. Below are my thoughts on these games.
But first, I want to make quick mention at how many hot chicks there are at PAX.
Gamer girls are growing in numbers, and they’re getting hotter. Good God almighty, it was a titty-ocalypse down there. BEWBZ left and right. It was magnificent. And, to boot I encountered nuttin’ but the fun and flirty. Perhaps because most gamer dudes are socially inept to females. Girls can treat them like they’re their gay friend. [Note: check out the gallery of sexy girls in cosplay on the NB facebook page]
Duke Nukem Forever– 12+ years in developmental hell, but it has finally arrived. The original succeeded on guns, gore and raunch. Does the sequel live up to the expectation? I got time to play 1 of 2 levels. The level I played started out in a stadium under attack. Well, I skipped a bit; you actually start off facing a urinal. The first command you learn? Piss is Right Trigger. That right there, lets you know the over-the- top, sophomoric, dirty, vulgar humor is apparent. The Duke is Back! And, so are the babes, mutants, guns and ridiculous action. Now, the graphics were decent but not great. Considering what the games been through, it’s serviceable. The game-play, at least in this demo, was not particularly fun. It was difficult to navigate around and nearly impossible to aim with an Xbox controller. Overall control system was a bitch, too goddamn frustrating. The antics of Duke Nukem may or may not make up for it.
Final Word: It’s humor, babes and raunch is amusing, game play not so fun. Either rent it, or let a friend buy it and just watch him play.
This ain’t no lie folks as finally, and I mean finally, Duke Nukem Forever will be on store shelves on May 3rd, 2011.
Mortal Kombat 9 – The MK franchise has been stale for years, slowly diluting with each incarnation. I can’t say I was vested in yet another release, but after playing a couple of rounds, I’m happy to report that the new MK is a great mix of old-school and modern fighting conventions. Ed Boon and his creative team went back to MK’s roots. Back to the time of 2D arcade fun. The game play grabs the feel of Mortal Kombat 2. Gone are the ridiculous combos or long input strings. Just simple commands that surprisingly leave for a good back-and-fourth battle. The games animation, sound and graphics are top notch! The game just looks and feels good. Oh, and the fatalities are brutal and gory as ever. The most obscene and ridiculous yet. Team up mode and online play are also worthy of a mention.
Final World: Great fighting reminiscent of the classic arcade days with an up-to-date finish.
The official world wide launch date is set for April 19th, 2011.
Kingdoms of Amalur: Reckoning– Former Red Sox pitcher/ mogul Curt Schilling and his founded 38 Studios, along with Big Huge Games, in a world exclusive, showed off their fantasy action game to the PAX masses (a la panel presentation). The 3rd person, open world action-rpg, demo began with the player awakening in an underground cave with amnesia. At the start of the game you die, but a very short man has been working on something called the Well of Souls that brings you back to life. Now, you’re the only one in Amalur without a destiny, and have the ability to shape your own rather than face the one given to you. The demo continued with 38 studios showing off the combat system, which is akin to Fable of God of War. Look, I’ll be honest. I fell asleep for the rest of the demonstration. Not that the game bored me, but because I was tired, cranky and hungry. For what I was awake for, I got the impression the the world feels huge, yet familiar. A potential play time of 200 hours in this game, so you can imagine the sheer size and detail of the world. The crowd offered enthusiastic and positive reactions to the various game features on display.
Seemingly imaginative narrative, fluid combat system, elegant animation, and a massive world with endless content to explore, KOA does seem like a promising title.
Final Word: Quote: “We want this game to kick ass.” – Curt Schilling
Date release is TBA, but sometime in 2012.
Portal 2 – Sadly, no playable demo. Just a 6 minute clip, which featured some character intros, and an appearance by J.K. Simmons (Jonah Jameson in Spider-Man, Juno’s Dad in Juno) as new main character Cave Johnson, Aperture Science founder and CEO. Our friends and at Piki Geek were able to capture some of this footage. The shaky-cam video doesn’t contain story spoilers, unless you consider the game’s humorous tutorial or the existence of J.K. Simmons a spoiler.
Final Word: Though I was bummed out not getting a chance to play a demo, I’m really lookin’ forward to the sequel. All the footage we’ve seen of Portal 2 looks amazing so far, hell, even mind numbingly hard in spots. Throw in co-op action, funny characters and you have a sequel that’s sure to please.
The game will hit store shelves and Steam on April 21, 2011
Star Wars The Old Republic – The Old Republic marks BioWare’s first entry into the MMORPG market, and it’s the second Star Wars MMORPG after Star Wars Galaxies. There has been a lot of information released by Bioware, such as the classes, advanced classes, personalized ships, Starfox-like battle sequences, but very little of actual gameplay. BioWare continued its presentation of SWTOR with the release the Taral V flashpoint demo. Since I don’t play MMO’s (fuck me) I stood back and watched 4 reputable nerds, in a team of four, as level 32 characters, with predetermined classes, take out the leader of the Tarval V Imperial research facility, as well as his jungle beast pet, Ripper. All I can say is, it looks like Star Wars, but plays like WoW. Never the less, it appeared engaging, interesting, with the right blend of gameplay.
Final Word: Bioware may have a real winner in their first foray into MMOs. If you’re a fan of the general World of Warcraft playstyle but not necessarily fantasy elements then The Old Republic will be right up your alley.
Star Wars: The Old Republic is coming to PCs later this year, who knows when, but I’m guessing summer.
Nintendo 3DS– Nintendo brought Pokemon White and Black and Mario Sports Mix, but nobody gave a shit. All hands were on the 3DS, the 3D handheld follow-up to the DS and DSI. LEGO Star Wars 3, Super Street Fighter IV: 3D Edition, Kid Icarus: Uprising, The Legend of Zelda Ocarina of Time 3D, Steel Diver, Pilotwings Resort, and one of the AR (Augmented Reality) Games, where the games of choice. I only got my hands on two of which, not playing enough of either to form an opinion on them. Regardless, the 3D element is what I wanted to see. Briefly, it’s amazing yet also disappointing. Nothing really “jumps out” off the screen in your direct line of sight. It’s more of a layered 2D image. Immersive never the less. The 3D element along with the devices 2 cameras (1 in front and 1 in back) impressed me the most, creating together a really fun experience. You can basically play games layered over the world around you in real time. I found the augmented reality ridiculously fun.
Whether you have the 3D Slider (button on side to adjust 3D perspective, or make game in 2D) turned off, you are still getting a powerful handheld. 3.5 inch screen (top screen), subscription free wifi, Downloadable Content, software updates while you sleep, backwards compatible, 360 degree control stick, glossy 2-colored shell..etc, It’s a beautiful machine.
Final Word: 3DS is effectively a knockabout, playground machine for all ages. It’s astounding and outstanding.
The 3DS will be available on March 27th with the hefty price of $249.99
OK, so those were the main big-guns in gaming I thought worth mentioning, but there was certainly an abundance of different and exciting games exhibited.
I did spend some time on the floor doing other stuff, but that’s hard to recap. More or less just moved around and enjoyed my surroundings. It was a fun, easy-going crowd that was just there to experience everything they could, and I got swept up in it too.
PAX EAST 2011 summed up? Writing a review of PAX East is a nearly impossible task. If you know about PAX, you know just how unspeakably amazing the whole shindig is. An abundance of decent, like minded individuals (65,000+ this year) and a plethora of places to go and things to see. Good peeps, good games and good times. A gamernerd’s mecca.
I had fun… a lot of fun, but I was there as media and certainly missed out on a lot. I’ll leave the comment system below for you, the reader, to tell me what I missed and what you think some of the best moments were. Please share your experience below.