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’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.
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!
Quick post from the PAX East media room – Day 2 has gone smashingly well thus far. A quick list:
- Got some good interviews in (keep your eyes peeled!)
- Didn’t come close to getting into the Rage demo (damn you, insane lines!)
- played Ubisoft‘s new Kinect-centric Child of Eden (beautiful)
- saw some really great cosplay (super cool stuff, really)
- didn’t get enough food (need to remedy that soon)
- snagged an invite to the Bioware meetup (heading to that in mere minutes)
I’ll keep updates coming as I have them! Stay tuned! Also, if you’re at PAX East and want to meet up/get drunk/know of a good party, add me on Twitter and say hi!
Is anyone else as in love with Monday Night Combat as I am? It’s odd; I sheepishly admit that not only did I avoid playing DoTA at all back in the day (nothing personal against it, I just never got into it; I dunno), but I also have never been very good at FPSs, and as such, never really got into Team Fortress 2. I have many friends who swear by it, and I’ve always wanted to sit down and learn it, but I admit that I hate the multiplayer learning curve of “get facerolled and teabagged for days of playtime until you learn the maps and figure out how to play” that is, in essence, the basis of all FPSs on the market. It’s just not how I roll.
On top of that, we’ve seen an increase in games that are primarily multiplayer-based, ranging anywhere from the solo-hero-centric Halo to the group-focused Modern Warfare and Team Fortress 2, which on the one hand will increase the “team factor” and make every player relevant in their own right (at least in theory), but on the other hand only increases the distress afflicted on new players to perform well not only generally but specifically, to master their roles immediately and fully understand all maps, all game and class mechanics, all aspects of wall hacking and the avoidance thereof, to make themselves impenetrable to the veritable slings and arrows of outrageous fortune, or at least in this case, the trials and tribulations of the onslaught of the sharp learning curve that is the multiplayer FPS industry.
With all of that going on, it’s hard for me to muster up the energy and effort required to learn a new game, let alone a new style of play. I enjoy playing team games with my friends, but the task of finding a frequent and mutually agreeable timeframe in which to play team games with my friends is something that I often find nearly impossible. I think this is the primary reason that I never really got into Left4Dead; I had a lot of friends who played it, but when combining my schedule with theirs, I found it shockingly difficult to find a time in which we would all be around and able to play, which kills the “playing with friends makes the learning curve easier to handle” angle right off the bat. As a result, it never really took to me.
I’m currently fortunate in regards to Monday Night Combat in that I have a crew of friends who play it on a fairly regular basis (read: 3-4 nights a week), and what with Wrath of the Lich King truly winding down as everyone prepares for the 4.0 patch and begins serious prep for Cataclysm, I’ve found that my normal Monday+Wednesday raiding schedule is a lot more open (ok, there’s actually a lot more than the end of WotLK keeping me from raiding, but I’ll post about that next – hint: it involves awesome things happening because of that whole RealID thing – it’s so awesome, just you wait). This has allowed me to actually get some good xbox live time in with my friends, which has done wonders for my entry into this crazy-awesome team-based 3rd person shooter/escort game.
Is anyone else playing this game? Drop me a line!