Recent Articles: PAX East 2013

Riding Penny Arcade 4’s Demon Train With Zeboyd Games: An Interview

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Zeboyd Games resurrected the Rain-Slick series last year with Penny Arcade’s On the Rain-Slick Precipice of Darkness 3, and the team, Designer/Programmer/Writer Robert Boyd and Artist Bill Stiernberg, couldn’t be happier about the response they received. With the release of Penny Arcade’s On the Rain-Slick Precipice of Darkness 4 just a few days away, we sit down with the developers to chat about where they’ve come from, where they’re going, and what it’s like to punch a demon train in the face. (more…)

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Beatbuddy Hands-On Preview: A New Approach to Rhythm Gaming

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Beatbuddy is a super adorable side-scrolling rhythm game made by a small German company named Threaks. It was on the show floor at PAX East, and after seeing their adorable plushy mascot on backpacks all over the expo floor, I needed to find out what this game was all about. Not only do they have a great little fellow to promote their game, they’ve also got fantastic gameplay to back it up. I was more than happy with Beatbuddy, and I was ready to stand there and play it for another hour, if they’d let me. (more…)

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Secret Ponchos Interview: Dueling With Yousuf Mapara and Jose Lopez

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One of the games we were most excited to see at PAX East 2013 was Secret Ponchos, the intense twin-stick arena fighter set in the world of a Spaghetti Western. Contributor Anthony Amato, Senior Editor Nicole Kline, and Editor-In-Chief John Scalzo met up with President and Creative Director Yousuf Mapara and Art Director Jose Lopez and had a fantastic conversation with them while trying out the game. Nicole got her butt kicked by an eight-year-old, but that didn’t mar our first impression of the game, which was: we want more as soon as possible. Read on for the full interview we conducted with the incredibly talented guys at Switchblade Monkeys. (more…)

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Secret Ponchos Hands-On Preview: These Outlaws Will Steal Your Heart (Literally)

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Secret Ponchos is a top-down, twin stick arena shooter stylized as a Spaghetti Western – characters, locations, music, and all. Developer Switchblade Monkeys has taken their love of those old Italian movies and married it to twitch-reaction arena mechanics, creating a game that took PAX East 2013 by storm. After seeing the trailer, it was on the top of my list of must-play games that weekend, and I was not disappointed by my experience. (more…)

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Transistor Hands-On Preview: Speechless

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Supergiant’s first game, Bastion, was an action RPG in the Legend of Zelda mold that didn’t tread on any new gameplay ground. But its narrative voiceover (provided by actor Logan Cunningham), and the way it integrated music into the story, moved Bastion beyond being just an enjoyable XBLA title and pushed it into Game of the Year contender territory back in 2011.

The developer’s second game, the sci-fi action RPG Transistor, made its worldwide debut at last month’s PAX East show. Using a similar isometric view, it’s clear that Transistor shares a fair bit of Bastion’s DNA, but it is also so much more. It’s almost like Bastion turned up to 11. (more…)

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Dead Island: Riptide Hands-On Preview: Wasting Away in Zombieville

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Dead Island: Riptide is a sequel to Dead Island, which was released to middling reviews and disappointment after a strong advertising campaign in 2011. Deep Silver’s marketing for the sequel has already stirred up controversy with their plan to include a “bloody torso” statue in the UK special edition. The game itself will be out this month, and was playable on the show floor at PAX East. The developers were showing off a cooperative mode, allowing you to work together with other players to fortify an area and keep the zombies out. But between collision issues, terrible graphics, and hysterical ragdoll phyics, the game was a jumbled mess.

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Watch Dogs PAX East Impressions: Hack the Planet, or Maybe Just Chicago

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Ubisoft didn’t have Watch Dogs playable on the show floor at PAX East, but the game still had an enormous presence. The publisher showed a special behind-closed-doors presentation of the game, which included a special Watch Dogs lanyard as a giveaway (and if you were wearing it on the show floor, you may have gotten a surprise visit from a Frag Doll with a free t-shirt). I would have much preferred being able to play the game myself, but what I saw on the screen was a somewhat impressive, if disappointingly short, display of the capabilities of main character Aiden Pearce. (more…)

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Shadow PAX: The Hidden Games of PAX East 2013 You Probably Didn’t See

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It’s easy to get overwhelmed when you first enter the PAX East show floor. With over 200 exhibitors showing off over 500 products (at a minimum), there’s no way to see it all. In fact, it’s possible to seclude yourself in your own little piece of the Boston Convention and Exhibition Center and not realize that entire other worlds exist within the greater PAX East experience.

The “Three PAX Theory” is the belief that PAX East is actually three different conventions all smashed together. On the north side of the show floor, you have “Triple-A PAX.” That’s where your Nintendos and your Microsofts and your Ubisofts create massive booths, and a game like The Last of Us has a four-hour line. On the south side is “Indie PAX,” which houses the Indie Mega Booth and a huge number of small developers who operate booths that are barely big enough for a TV and a few buttons. Finally, on the extreme south side of the BCEC is “Tabletop PAX,” where it’s all dice and cards and there’s nary a video game in sight. I wish I had come up with it, but all credit for the “Three PAX Theory” must go to @jakeninja.

However, there’s also a fourth side to PAX East that a lot of people don’t see. It takes place in the dark corners of the convention center and in gamer-gathering places all across the city after the Expo Hall closes for the night. I like to call this “Shadow PAX.” (more…)

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