I Did CES 2012 Today

11 01 2012

I debated whether to write about my quest to CES 2012 today because of my lying and deceit I had to do to get there.  Being a Las Vegas local it wasn’t difficult getting my hands on a badge and would rather not divulge the details on how I got my grubby hands on them.  But, I thought it would be a worthy cause for the blog so I grabbed my buddy Greg and today we would be Yvonne and Jeffery.  Since I have longer hair I chose to wear around the Yvonne badge.  Next, the Hilton was charging $30 for CES attendees to use their parking garage, good thing I was there to bet on football *wink wink*.  With our badges around our neck and free parking behind us we entered into the multiple humungous warehouse size rooms of CES.  Without making eye contact with anyone checking badges we joked and laughed at made up stories as to not raise any suspicion.  CES is a tech geeks wet dream, I mean there is literally everything tech.  TV’s, robots, cell phones, vacuums, vibrating chairs, games, and accessories to go with everything.  I was there for one reason and one reason only, games.  Microsoft was easy to find and found myself playing the new Alan Wake and I Am Alive unopposed by anyone.  No one in lines and no one waiting to play after me.  It was rather strange since all I know is PAX and the lines that come with it.  Greg and myself are men, and as such were very opposed to reading anything that even resembled a map, so stubbornly we walked around the wrong two floors of the wrong building for two hours looking at cell phone accessories instead of finding the Sony booth.  We finally started to read maps and quickly learned Sony was not where we thought it was and began our long trek back through countless booths and security check points to arrive in a small corridor we had past several times before.  There it was, one of the largest booths in CES, Sony.  TV’s, PSP’s, Playstation 3’s, and even PS Vita’s were abound.  Sony had really outdone themselves, with Starhawk, Journey and Twisted Metal all available to play, I had yet again an unopposed time limit to demo these upcoming titles.  Six hours quickly passed and with the booths closing up shop, Jeffery and Yvonne decided to call it a night and head home.  CES is gigantic, I don’t know how you could possibly see everything even with all the time allowed.  I’m glad I got to experience CES, but I’m glad I only spent one day there.  And I don’t know if I could handle the anxiety of walking around with those badges for much longer.

Burke

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RAGE Hands On at PAX Prime

5 09 2011

A week after PAX Prime and I’m still writing about everything I was smart enough to take notes on.  Unfortunately this is my last post regarding PAX, and although I was impressed with Mass Effect 3 and Star Wars: The Old Republic, I just didn’t have enough hands on time or hard information on either of them to post anything substantial.  So instead I bring you a game that still made a very impressive showing, Rage.  Truthfully Rage was almost not on my agenda, but I chose it over Skyrim primarily because I could see myself more likely playing Rage, and the line for Skyrim was so ridiculous. But I’m glad I made it over to the Rage booth because it didn’t disappoint.    

After a while you come to expect great things from id Software, but truthfully I had my doubts about Rage from day one.  Those doubts have all been silenced after I actually got to experience this beautiful game.  At PAX they actually had three playable demo’s.  

  1. Campaign: You start from the beginning of the game, and learn the ropes.
  2. Authority Prison:  You’re a quarter of the way through the game, you get to sample a variety of different weapons, and it’s a tad bit more difficult.
  3. Bash TV: Lastly the horde mode essentially. 

 

It’s difficult to grasp that Rage can be a beautiful game with a drab desert landscape and ugly mutated creatures trying to kill you, but trust me when I say this, the engine used for Rage makes it look insane.  The environments are crisp, the movements are clean, and each enemy has amazing detail.  I chose the campaign mode hoping to learn a little bit about our “hero” and get a feel for how the games quest and mechanics system will work. 

You start by being released from from a cryo type slumber in an underground ship called an Ark years after a meteor has hit earth, your awoken by nanotrites released into your bloodstream and realize your Ark has malfunctioned and you’re the only survivor left.  Like a familiar vault dweller you’re thrown into a harsh environment with deadly mutants and hostile humans.  Luckily a man by the name of Dan Hagar rescues you from your first encounter with these unwelcoming mutants and takes you back to his camp.  id throws in a little humor with Hagar’s dune buggy, sporting a Doom bobble head on it’s dash.  Your rescue comes with a price, saving you has brought attention to Hagar and his camp, so he tells you to head over to the mutant encampment and kill them…all of them.  An ATV awaits you as transport to the mutant compound in Hagar’s garage.  The driving aspect of Rage was a large point of concern for me, games tend you be lax on the controls and it ends up taking away from the overall strength of the game, but the ATV had easy controls and handled surprisingly well.  I slay plenty of mutants with the gifted pistol from Hagar which fired like what I think a post apocalyptic pistol would, but my inexperience in this new world finds me dangling from a trap and ultimately leads to my death.  Or what you think is your death.  Rage brings in a brilliant concept of “restarting” your heart after death via an implanted defibrillator that shocks after you synchronize command prompts on the screen.  I successfully revive myself, surprise knife my murderer and kill every mutant I can in an attempt to escape the worst first impression of a life time.  I spot a zipline and without missing a beat grab hold and come ever closer to freedom.  This is where I’m told to stop, I remove the headphones, put down the controller and leave with the feeling that Rage is going to be something special.





Gotham City Imposters and it’s After Party

1 09 2011

There were a helluvalot of games at PAX Prime this year, Borderlands 2 blew me away, but Gotham City Imposters was the game that had me laughing my ass off while begging for more.  I stepped in the line out of complete curiosity before my failed Joust tournament on Friday, I had read a little about GCI and even signed up for the beta prior to PAX,  but none of that could have prepared me for what I was about to play. 

GCI is a class based FPS with a twist, you’re wannabe batman heroes and villains using weapons and abilities unique to your character and class.  We were playing a 5 vs 5 domination type game where you had to control 3 points until the time expired or your team reached 100% domination. I naturally chose the Medic class since I knew no one else would, and started on my merry way shooting fake jokers and healing my allies with my…Megaphone?  Yes a megaphone.  Effing genius, I couldn’t hear it, but I was told by one of the developers next to me that my Medic was pumping his fist while spouting out “Positive reinforcement”.  I was immediately in love…with the game, not the dev…but I couldn’t figure out why while moving around I wouldn’t just stop, I would kind of continue in whatever direction I moved the joystick, that was until I overheard something about roller skates.  I quickly turn to the dev behind me and ask, “I’m on roller skates?” and am answered with a grin and nod, yes.  I let out a girly little squeal of joy, win the game, grab my free swag, and get a VIP invitation from the dev for  the WB after party.

We arrived 30 minutes to this before the doors opened to the WB After Party at Gameworks in Seattle.  Luckily the VIP pass given to me by the dev earlier put me where I’m taking this pic, the front of the line.  The WB after party was comprised of Gotham City Impostors, Lord of the Rings Online, and D&D.  This was going to be a good mix.  I wasn’t expecting much, I just wanted to play some more GCI, and maybe pick a few more developers brains about GCI.  But WB treat their fans right, once we got inside we were given a LOTRO messenger bag, raffle tickets for prizes and two drink tickets for the bar.  So I’m all ready pretty stoked that we’re actually at this party, when it had to go and step it up a notch with free food.  If you know me, you say there’s free food and I’m there. 

I demolish the free food and head over to the 8 screens they have GCI playing on, pick up the 360 controller and start playing my beloved Medic class again.

As I’m enjoying myself way too much, a gentleman stands next to me and begins to watch.  I’m playing fairly well and decide to make small talk, “I’m on roller skates.” is all I said to him.  He laughs and replies “I could have come up to any person, but I get you and the first thing you say is ‘I’m on roller skates’.  I commend you sir.”  we shake hands, have a few more laughs and he hands me his business card introducing himself as a 2K producer, saying I should email him sometime next week.  We part ways and I make small talk with one of the devs asking if they are going to add taunts, he’s unsure, but says the idea has been tossed around.  We drink a lot more, eat a little more, and win nothing from the raffle drawing.  We may not have won any prizes, but we returned to our hotel room with some great stories and unforgettable memories.





Joust Fail

31 08 2011

For my second year at PAX I decided to broaden my horizons and sign up for one of the many console tournaments being held on Friday.  The game I chose is one of my personal favorites among arcade machines and one I “think” I’m actually good at, Joust

For those of you not familiar with Joust and are reading this because you thought this post was going to be about renaissance fair mishaps, Joust is an arcade game that was released in the fantastic year of 1982 and has the brilliant concept where you play as a knight saddled on an ostrich flying around and attempting to dismount other knights from their ostriches.  Joust is timeless and never grows old.  I get the opportunity to play Joust often at Insert Coins, a bar in Las Vegas that has arcade machines in it, and score usually in the top 5 on my first credit.  But the PAX tournament was going to be player vs player, a game type I never get to actually play.  That should have been the first sign of my imminent failure.

The tournament consisted of 32 players, single elimination, last man standing wins, and was scheduled to begin at 6 P.M.  I signed up early and planned all my demo lines so I knew I would make the tournament on time.  I manage to finish Gotham City Impostors right on time and head upstairs.  The tournament was poorly planned to say the least, some people didn’t show up, the moderators didn’t know where to send people,  others were unfamiliar with the rules, and some didn’t even know what Joust was.  But after a few minutes of attendance and shuffling people around, the 32 person single elimination bracket was forged.  Four screens sat ahead of me, eight players competed before me, and only four left victorious.  I wasn’t too nervous and I could feel my excitement rise as my name was called.  I sat down, picked up the Xbox controller and introduced myself to my opponent.  Soon after the match begins we each start pecking away at computer AI and every so often each other.  Around the 4th wave my opponents strategy becomes apparent, he has planted himself on the bottom of the level where apparently no enemy AI would venture, allowing me to fend off wave after wave enemies.  I die a few times defending myself but manage to kill so many enemies that I accrue two free lives.  But it wasn’t enough, my final life is taken by the white knight, not my human opponent, who sat…literally sat, unvanquished at the bottom of the level.  I was furious inside and knowing I couldn’t punch him in the face, I only managed to mutter, “I can’t believe I lost to the computer.” as I shook my cowardly opponents hand.  Feeling like I failed at life I didn’t finish watching the tournament and returned down to the exhibition hall a broken man.  I don’t know if I’ll be trying another tournament next year…





It’s Super Monday Night Combat! HAYO!

30 08 2011

During my walkabout around PAX I bumped into the Uber Entertainment booth and had a very pleasant conversation with one developer of the upcoming arcade title, Super Monday Night Combat.  This conversation probably would not have been spurred had the dev not recognized my Fiance from last years PAX.  My Fiance is short, sweet, and attractive, none of which were the reason the dev remembered and recognized her.  No, at last years PAX Fiance blatantly told, who she didn’t know were the devs at the time, “I hate that game.“  Her hatred for the game is completely my fault, for the simple fact I can’t play it without complaining.  But I digress, the dev was understanding and very willing to speak about Uber’s next big hit.  

Super Monday Night Combat is planned to be Free to Play, but he states that really isn’t possible on XBLA (Xbox Live Arcade), for logistic and legal reasons.  The news is still very promising for PC owners who will be almost guaranteed a decent title.  He introduced 3 new classes, and wanted to emphasize that the game is changing directions to a more role based platform, rather than the old MNC class based.  An example is given that a Tank will actual take damage as they are supposed to, and the Support will be almost an entirely designated healer. The three new classes revealed were:

Gunslinger, a sniper type class that uses a pistol sidearm and has special AOE shots that slow down multiple targets.

Combat Girl, has taken the reigns of the Support role by using a heal gun and having the ability to throw down multiple turrets that can also stick to walls.  

The Veteran was described as a close quarter brawler who can charge, slam, and has a grab move that pulls distant enemies within range of his attacks.

Super Monday Night Combat will be bigger, will not have one shot kills, hopefully be bug free, and has an ambitious release date of early 2012.  And of course we bought some swag and got a few MNC posters signed by the artist of them before we left.  Hi Ho SPORTS FANS!





YAY Felicia Day!!!

30 08 2011

Felicia Day made a surprise stop on Saturday of PAX, seeing all the sites and taking time to sign at the Wil Wheaton table.  My star crush was looking gorgeous as expected and was super enthusiastic and nice to everyone she conversed with.  We talked about our feelings of marriage and I’m sure she was taking in my vibe since we had so much in common, I almost scooped her up and started running away, but in an intelligent split second decision I chose the photo op instead.  Until we meet again…





I’m baaAAAAAccck!

29 08 2011

I just got arrived back to reality yesterday from PAX Prime Seattle.  I was there for Friday and Saturday and it was just INSANE!  So much more than even last year.  One thing I’m slowly beginning to learn from PAX is, you can’t do everything.  Even with a three day pass, PAX is so incredibly busy and packed full of so much juicy goodness, Game demo’s and videos, great panels, competitive tournaments, and just nerd socializing is running rampant like a twisted machine, it just isn’t possible to see and do everything.  As I slowly learned this from last year and early into Friday morning waiting in the swag bag line, I began to prioritize events.  But my journey into the PAX weekend can’t possibly begin in the swag bag line, so let’s back it up to my flight from Las Vegas to the emerald city, Seattle.

It starts with me waking up in my underwear on the couch after a night of drunken exploits, steamrolling through the house packing my bag with what I think I need, and dropping Hugo (my dog) off at the pet boarding in a bold attempt to make my flight on time.  I did make the flight, but my quickly packed bag from my frantic pack job that morning did not.  Apparently Southwest has a “Late Check” policy that goes in affect 45 minutes prior to departure…so what if I cut it that close.  My flight arrived in Seattle Thursday at 1 P.M., my bag wasn’t so lucky, being delivered by Southwest to my mothers home at 3 A.M. Friday morning.  We arrived at PAX on time, got our hotel room, and heading towards the PAX opening swag bag line that ran out of swag bags an hour into our wait. 

PAX is massive, floor upon floor of gaming.  Over the next few days I will blog about what I got to see and experience.  But just to give you an idea of how giant PAX is, I compiled a list of games and panels I just didn’t have time to play, watch, or even wait in line for.

I didn’t get to play:

  1. Batman: Arkham City
  2. Uncharted 3
  3. Resistance 3
  4. Skyrim
  5. Guild Wars 2
  6. Battlefield 3

Modern Warfare 3 as a booth was not at PAX, only being shown on 4 screens at the Turtle Beach booth.  Not good considering Battlefield 3 was there in force doing a playable demo, having a multiplayer tournament and being one the favorite of many PAX attendees. 

Games I didn’t get to see:

  1. Bioshock: Infinite
  2. Aliens: Colonial Marine
  3. Prey 2

Panels I didn’t get to attend:

  1. Guild Wars 2
  2. Irrational Games
  3. Skyrim
  4. Gearbox Softwear
  5. X-Play
  6. Star Wars: The Old Republic

I missed all of those because there is just too much to do.  But I did manage to sneak in a few things here and there.  Keep your eyes pealed here because I’ll have information on Borderlands 2, Super MNC, Gotham City Imposters, Rage, and more in the days to come.