Being the special time of year it is, I’ve got a pretty fantastic reason to pop my head in and write some words: next week is the return of PAX Prime. As you know (because chances are, you are me), PAX is the reason tens of thousands of gamers and game industry professionals descend on the city of Seattle for three days of geeking out and confusing local residents.
Besides being my only excuse in adult life to grow a creepy mustache, I’ve been looking forward to PAX Prime 2012 for lots of reasons. Here are just a few…
First and foremost, Seattle is my hometown. I already love wandering around Downtown with no particular plans, so getting to hang out in Seattle for an event like PAX is just icing on the cake. This year PAX is more meaningful to me than ever, because it’s no longer a 2-mile walk from my apartment on Queen Anne hill; it’s a 1,000-mile flight from Los Angeles. Since moving to LA with my very patient girlfriend back in October 2011, I’ve spent countless hours on my new career and new surroundings, but far fewer on friends and family. PAX brings me back into that familiar fold to spend some quality time with new games and old friends. More on LA in a future post.
For any consumer industry with a heavy dependence on technology, I think it’s fair to say the people and communities around it tend to be more digitally connected than your average citizen (at least in the US, but I imagine that’s true elsewhere.) In other words, game industry folk are all up on the Twitters. Keeping up with what game journalists and developers are tweeting is one of my favorite pastimes, but shit gets real when PAX season rolls around. Every year I make an effort to meet face-to-face with someone I’ve “met” in the digital realm, and every year the results get better (Does that sound opportunist? I just mean I’m eager to “offline” more of my awesome interactions from the web). Anyway, I can’t think of a better place to network and socialize with industry heads than PAX, and PAX Prime 2012 is no different!
Of all the reasons to get excited for PAX, the one shared by all attendees is, of course, the games. I’ll save my most anticipated PAX titles for another blog post, but if you’ve kept up with gaming news of late you probably already know most of them. This year’s PAX lineup is sure to induce all manner of extreme facial expressions including, but not limited to, me gustas, sweet jesuses, epic wins, mother-of-gods, and puking rainbows.
Here’s hoping I can go five for five this year.
Hi-Rez Studios delivered the goods at this year’s QuakeCon in Dallas, TX. Tribes: Ascend is the upcoming free-to-play edition of the classic jetpackin’ FPS series of yesteryear, and it was playable for the masses at the convention. A diehard Tribes 2 player back in my high school days, I naturally spent the week of QuakeCon drooling over the first shakycam uploads I could find. The below video is about 2 weeks old now, but try to enjoy it and my Joyce-like meanderings anyway.
Yesterday evening, reddit pulled me from whatever important task I was engaged in at the time (as is reddit’s wont) and presented me with an intriguing diversion: GTA IV San Andreas. It’s a mod for the PC version of Grand Theft Auto IV that ports the world of San Andreas over to the Rockstar Advanced Game Engine (RAGE). Having just gone into public beta, there are understandably some kinks to be worked out. I’ve recorded a short and sweet glimpse of one of the more humorous of these and embedded it below. Join CJ as he fails to follow the damn train, instead plummeting endlessly beneath a blood red San Andreas sky while doing an uncanny Niko Bellic.
Having just returned from an epic two-week vacation in Indonesia and Thailand, my typing fingers are relaxed and ready for action. (Or perhaps stiff and ready to ossify. Time will tell.) As I was saying: marvelous locales, Indonesia and Thailand. One of my favorite places was a small beach near Krabi, Thailand called Hat Tham Phra Nang, or “Holy Princess Beach,” or just Phra Nang Beach. Here’s a photo, followed by the parts actually relevant to gaming:
Unless you’ve been living under a rock – no, that wouldn’t do it – you’re probably aware that long-awaited sci-fi FPS Crysis 2 came out this week on PC, Xbox 360, and PS3. I’ve taken a break from sneaking around snapping a neck or twenty to catch up on the status of Crysis: Legion, the simultaneously released book adaptation of Crysis 2 penned by the #winningest author in hard science fiction: Peter Watts. Charlie Sheen, arbiter of literary excellence, would surely approve.
I was pleasantly surprised to learn the following two things yesterday:
- Peter Watts is doing a four-part guest blogging series at Suvudu.com in promotion of C:L. The subject? Nanosuit 2.0, explained in far more technical detail than you’ll get in the game itself. Lorehounds take note.
- Del Rey Spectra have released the first 50 pages of Crysis: Legion for your viewing pleasure. I’ve embedded it handily below. You’re welcome.
If you find Watts’ take on the Crysis universe to your liking, pick up the paperback for $10 at Amazon. A final caution: “liberal” fails to adequately capture Watts’ use of the f-bomb. Having read the 50 pages, all I can say is this: Welcome to hard sci-fi.
Turning the tables constructively on this vocal majority, Swedish indie developer The Bearded Ladies have launched Gamocracy – an experimental game design project that puts creative responsibility in the hands of average gamers across the globe. In collaboration with Sony’s Official PlayStation Community, Gamocracy invites players to submit original ideas for a 2-D action platformer (think Super Mario Bros.) to be developed for PlayStation 3 and PSP by The Bearded Ladies. Check out this quote from their Facebook page after the break.
First ragecomic… got mostly blank stares posting this on r/gaming. But it was fun to make, even if it doesn’t make sense. Derp!
Look familiar? As soon as I saw the subdued gray and olive green of “Emire” (WordPress’ 54th most popular theme, a-thank-you) I knew it had to be mine. Here’s my inspiration:
The original color palette of Valve’s Steam software really resonates with me. I remember my friend’s gleeful anticipation during auto-updates of Counter-Strike 1.6. Before the added depth of Friends lists and Community features, before the pocket-emptying Midweek Madness and Holiday sales, Steam was not so much a service as a tool. A means to an end.
That simplicity has become somewhat diluted now. I often find myself loading Steam just to chat with people, or checking it reflexively at work to monitor my Gameplay Stats. It’s still an amazing service and offers more pure entertainment value than I could use in 10 lifetimes of 24/7 gaming (oh sweet benevolent zombie Jesus, if only) … but my fondest memories of Steam were those of gray and olive green, of sharp window corners, of that iconic progress bar…
Here’s to you, old Steam.