Just a day and a half remains until PAX East 2012 descends upon my fair city of Boston (seriously – it’s mine), and I, for one, am looking forward to it. I’ll do what I can to post little pseudo-updates on cool stuff I see and do, but since no one picked me up as a freelancer this year, I’ll be there pretty much solely for fun, so I ain’t promising shit.
If, however, you’re at PAX and want to play a game of Carcassonne, Fluxx, or just want to grab a drink, feel free to hit me up, either via twitter or just leave a comment below; I’ll get it via email. I’ll be around.
If you find yourself wondering “what the hell should I do in the Boston area Friday night? What’s the cool new dance night in town?” the obvious choice is to head on over to An Tua Nua (just outside Kenmore Square on Beacon St.) for JiveBoston, the premier of what will be one of the coolest nights this town has seen in years. It’s going to be awesome; seriously. Be there.
Here we are; Mass Effect 3 has finally arrived. I have a bacon and pineapple pizza; I have a gin & tonic the size of my head; I have absolutely nothing to do for the rest of the night. Sorry, Skyrim, you’re on the shelf for a bit. We’re gonna watch Earth die. Let’s do this.
It’s true; Skyrim is evil and all-consuming. I apologize to everyone, most importantly my girlfriend. I knew ahead of time. I knew what it would be like, but I played it anyway, and I’m sorry. It will end. I promise.
Like tomorrow, when I pick up Mass Effect 3. At that point, all gaming is Shepard-related, save for what is work-related. That’s just the hard truth, and you know I always hand out hard truth (sort of).
You wanna know what else is the hard truth? I have a new article about the Mass Effect series as a whole up on FPSGuru.com; you should go check it out. Really, go check it out! Shoo! I’m off to go play the last bit of Skyrim that I can before who-knows-when. Dragons to kill!
I have made it through yet another day without purchasing Skyrim. This is getting more and more difficult.
I am beseiged on all sides with people wondering my problem. “It’s arguably the best single-player RPG ever,” says one friend. “It’s going to get Game of the Year,” says another. “WHY,” says a third. I’m reminded of an exchange I saw between two friends on facebook, in which one friend urged another “you should really get Skyrim,” to which the other replied “that’s kind of like saying ‘Hey dude – you should really get a divorce.’” Even without playing, I see the sad, realistic humor in this.
So what has kept me from trying out this gem of RPGs, this oasis in a sea of lesser games? First, I have a confession.
I never played Oblivion. [cue dramatic chipmunk]
I know, I’m a leper-outcast-unclean for this. How dare I even begin to write about single-player RPGs, yadda yadda yadda. Come on, it’s not like it’s the Jesus H. Christ of games (obviously that’s Ocarina of Time – arguments can be shut down in the comments; bring it). Seriously, though – I never played Oblivion (at least not past the character creation screen) and as a result, I feel like I should maybe play it before I get involved in Skyrim. Is that so?
I mean, here we have a really, really fleshed out world – full of life, death, monsters, plotlines, histories, magic, dragons, and war. I played Fallout 3; I know that full-on worlds can be totally amazing. Is it really that different? Is it really that unique? Please, tell me – I need to know.
I do own Oblivion, I’ve just never gotten around to actually playing it. Do I pop it in and get my ass in gear in preparation for Skyrim? Do I skip Oblivion and move directly on to Skyrim? I mean, I do plan on playing Skyrim at some point; too many people I know have practically forsaken their social lives for it (at least temporarily) to avoid indefinitely. Thus far, however, I’ve managed to hold out in hopes that I’ll distract myself enough with other games/activities long enough to make it to the magical point at which it drops in price from the initial $60 retail price to a more accessible level. This shouldn’t be hard, so long as I can hold out for another month. With March 6th being the drop date for Mass Effect 3, that should keep me occupied for a while, no?
That’s not a real question. Of course it will. It’s going to be boss. Hell, I should check my ME2 save game and make sure it’s where I want it to be, all ready for importing. Now that I think about it, I might have to replay ME1 just to get everything where I want it to be in ME2. Add in all the DLC that I have for ME2 (read: all of it) and my general lean toward being a completionist, and you have a sizable chunk of time. All this from someone who still never finished Alan Wake (what’s up with that talk of more from that world?). Maybe I’ll get to it – we’ll see.
Speaking of the beginning of March, I feel really bad for the upcoming Ubisoft Shanghai action/adventure game, I Am Alive. This thing has received very little press (as far as I’ve seen, anyway) and looks awesome (here, have another while you’re at it), but they’ve made the poor decision to drop March 7th, the day after BioWare‘s Mass Effect 3. What were they thinking? I’ll definitely be getting ME3, and at some point, I’ll get I Am Alive as well, but how much later? Who knows; that really depends on BioWare. Good luck, Ubisoft Shanghai.
All of that said, it’s looking like we’ve at least got a few good games coming up on the horizon. What games are in your Most Awaited list right now?
I’m not dead. Really. I’ve just been very, very busy.
I’m currently installing Rage, the newest game from iD (the crew who brought us such games as DOOM and Quake). Look forward to a review very soon.
I’ve also got a Burning Man article coming (eventually) as well as a half-written discussion on LA Noire and sandbox games in general (there will be charts!), but again, it comes down to finding (or making, as the case may be) time. A little more patience, and I should be back in business soon. Thank you, please drive through.
I realize it’s been a long time since my last update. My apologies; sometimes it turns out life gets totally and completely amazing, and things like non-paying gaming news blogs fall on the backburner over things like, y’know, working on things that actually pay me, prepping for Burning Man, and generally having the time of my life. You understand.
It being the Fourth of July, I’m of course writing this in my swim trunks on the shore of Newfound Lake in New Hampshire, sipping on a Corona in the shade. I hope all of you in the US are enjoying your holidays, and all of you outside of the US are wishing you were here, blowing shit up and being patriotic. Suck it.
That said, there have been a lot of developments in the gaming world, and I’ll do what I can to at least touch up on some of them real soon. In the meantime, here’s a snippet from a review I had sent in to The Escapist for publication after PAX East that didn’t get printed. No idea why. Oh well.
Either way, if you have an iPad, check out this game – it’s pretty awesome.
It ain’t easy being an indie game developer. Even with major strides being made in terms of digital distribution, there is still the question of market exposure. With a massive event like PAX East, it’s common and understandable for major industry players to dominate the scene. They have the money and the sway to purchase vast display booths in prominent locations, as well as the marketing clout to seed the minds of the general public, and thus exert a certain level of control to guarantee at least some press coverage.
In recognition of this, I made sure to check out the various indie games abound at PAX East this year. In doing so, I managed to find some of the more clever and enjoyable games I’ve seen up for release this year.
One of my favorites was New World Colony, an iPad turn-based strategy game coming from Cambridge, MA-based 82Apps. It’s considered a mash-up of Settlers of Catan, Risk, and Civilization, drawing on the unique benefits of all three to fill in the holes left by each. The board is a randomly generated hex pattern of land types, and the tiles are arranged in such a manner that no player will guarantee themselves an opening advantage. Each turn, players will seek to obtain and defend various resource types and then use said resources to build establishments (granaries, mines, shipyards and the like), defend, and attack.
The game contains a fairly interesting Market system, in which players can barter their own resources in exchange for others. The kicker in this is that the system is a starvation economy – there are only so many of any given resource available in the game. True to supply and demand, the less of a resource there is, the more expensive it becomes – going so far as the per-trade level. This allows a clever player to starve out his opponent of a given resource, possibly turning the tides in a battle.
The game is playable on a single iPad, and will recognize player orientation around a table and adjust its display according to who’s turn it currently is. “I want it to feel like a board game,” says Erik Asmussen, developer and founder of 82Apps. It can also be played online via game center integration.
New World Colony has three game modes – Normal, Pacifist, and Warlord, each catering to a different playstyle. 82Apps is tailoring Player Vs. Computer games to be somewhere between 20-30 minutes, with a little leeway with solely human players.
All told, the game looks engaging and promising. My only complaint, as expected, is that I can’t get it on the Android platform, and as a result, I can’t really play it (I don’t see myself buying an iPad anytime soon).
New World Colony is purchasable from the iTunes app store for $0.99.
Portal 2 is out! Review incoming, just as soon as I spend the next God-knows-how-many days of my life playing through it. Stay tuned!
Oh, and if you’re one of the lucky ones who purchased the entire Potato Sack and found all of the Potatoes, grats on your new complete Valve Collection! And by grats, I of course mean die in a fire.
Here we are, at the end of another PAX East, alive and whole (well, save for that little empty space in our heart of hearts that we feel at the end of PAX). I have a lot of thoughts to unload, but to form them in a reasonable and legible fashion tonight would be an effort in futility, so you’ll all have to wait.
“But wait,” you may ask, “for what are we waiting?” (See what I did there? Bite me, dangling prepositions.) Well, today I decided to approach the day (with the exception of checking out the Portal 2 video) from the angle of seeing, playing, and learning about games that I didn’t know about before PAX. I hit up a lot of the indie and/or first-release games on the floor, completely forsaking the Sunday panels. A few highlights:
- Super Giant Games‘ enchantingly beautiful role-playing action game Bastion
- Trapdoor‘s hilariously bloody Warp
- Does Nintendo’s 3DS work with people with Strabismus?
- Retro Affect‘s clever and addictive Snapshot
- 82 Apps‘ lovely Civ-meets-Catan-meets-Risk-like iPad game, New World Colony
- last but certainly not least, Owlchemy Labs‘ Smuggle Truck, an iPad physics/accelerometer game about smuggling immigrants into the US (no shit.)
I look forward to filling you all in on what went down over the weekend, uploading pics, and getting some discussion going. In the meantime, what were your favorite parts about PAX this year? Least favorite? Why? Let me know!