Saturday, 11 September 2010

A small request

So I don't want to seem like an attention whore but could I ask people something who have a look at this page - please leave comments I always welcome feedback and would like to hear what people think of my writings. Cheers!

PAX talk - part 3 - post PAX talk

Time for the final part of this epic post, so I’m now back home in the UK and it’s been 2 days since I arrived back in the UK (I’ve used these to have some form of recovery since I had a few hours sleep on the plane home but the previous few days had caught up with me and so I slept for 13.5 hours but was SO refreshed afterwards!). Anyhow to finish of the games commentary:

F1 2010 – so this is the game that many F1 fans have been waiting for. This game is unlike any driving sim I’ve ever played since there have not been that many F1 games made. So to start I had a go at the game and one of the people from the booth comes over and this is how the conversation went:
“So what do you think?”
“Yeah it looks great and feels really realistic but this whole auto-brake thing is getting to me as I like to race.”
“Ok so let me just tweak this and this and there you go.”
“Holy crap!! This is a whole new game and so much more realistic.”
“So you thinking of buying it now?”
“Erm yeah I’m into the F1 and now I know it’s so much more I no doubt will when we see it in Europe”

KillZone 3D – so this would be one of the only games to be demoed at the event with both a 2D and 3D version of the game. So people who know me know that I’m not a huge fan of the whole 3D fad (yes I call it a fad as I am sure Hollywood will find a new toy to play with soon) and when it comes to watching movies I tend to prefer to 2D experience. Anyhow back to the game, so it’s on the PS3 and I’m still getting used to the controller but the whole game felt smooth (even though it was an early alpha build) and looked stunning and right away I was into the game (note this is only in the 2D form at the moment while I wait for a 3D station to come free). So the 2D version plays great, now onto the 3D version – while the game loses some of that that HD shine that the 2D version had the added depth to the game was a refreshing change I even found myself beginning to duck (yes physically move into cover) and dive around as I wandered around the level. So basically in 3D is doesn’t have the shine of 2D but it has the imersive experience that what the hardcore gamer craves.

So one thing about walking around the hall floor is that many of the exhibitors have free stuff to hand out to promote their games, and you need a good bag with you to store this during the day. I’ve come back home with twice as many t-shirts than when I left (and I only bought 3 of them). I didn’t manage to collect all of the pieces that were available (there just wasn’t time) but there are so many other things to pick up such as a free Disney sketch at the Nintendo booth to promote Epic Mickey, Duke Nuke’Em t-shirts and mints (disguised as steroids), Assassins Creed Brotherhood shirts (only when you pre-order so useless for us in Europe), Dragon Age 2 shirts (they’d all gone when I got there), Guild wars 2 stuff (so much stuff!!), Marvel vs. Capcom 3 shirts (you had to win 3 games I didn’t manage 1 as I got triple play combed in the fight), the list goes on as this was just on main hall floor as there was a whole 2 / 3 other floors for board games, card games, and RPG games.

One thing I have heard (over the twitter wire) is that some people are experiencing the PAX Plague - not me! I took anti-bacterial gel with me and used it all the time, but mainly after I would play a game or shake hands with someone (and they don’t take offense at it (in fact Wil Wheaton wont shake hands with people to avoid the whole plague)). So if you’re thinking about going then I would advise taking some to help defeat the bugs, oh and another thing that may have helped was showering 2 - 3 times a day (how can people not shower when you’re in a hot room like that - mind you they say that the smell of PAX is eau'd sweaty geek - erugh!)

To summarise the whole trip, the people are awesome and so chatty (weather its being stuck in a queue for a panel or a game or just going into the event), the food is great with many great places to eat out for breakfast, lunch (oh my word there is a place on 7th and Pike which does epic sandwiches – that is all) and evening meals, the event itself is massive and 3 days is just not enough to do it all (and that leaves you wanting more), and as for the city well its fantastic to wander around. In all I’m going back next year since the whole experience was awesome and I met so many people who I want to see again just to catch up with

PAX talk - part 2 - the games and the floor

Afternoon from a very muggy / clammy terminal in NYC. So where was I? That’s right the show floor, so I sort of skipped over the table top and card game areas of the convention as it’s not something that I am into (not saying never but just not this time) and hit the main expo floor. Within the hall contained one (of what I can imagine has caused many a games journalists to chew hat) games which was Duke Nuke’Em Forever (DNF as a joke) of which sadly I missed due to the immense line which surrounded the booth. Also on the show floor (which I didn’t also play) was Medal of Honour, Mortal Kombat, Gears of War 3, Halo Reach (funny point here – this had the longest queue of the Microsoft booth and its only 2 weeks away can some people just not wait?), and both Kinnect and the Sony Play. Now to the games that I managed to get my hands on.

Dragon Age 2 -this was only the first 15 minutes of the game (stuck in a loop and of course I was one of the few to hit the loop) and felt like an early build of the game. So the game now runs a lot smoother and looks better thanks to an improved graphics engine. The story has been tweaked to last longer (in game time only not on play time since the game sits around the 30 hr mark already), and the dialogue seemed to borrow from Mass Effect 2 in the way you selected. Yet by far the biggest improvement was in the combat as you now are able to attack straight away instead of what felt like the roll of a dice – not something you think about till you play 2. All in all a good improvement but I still prefer Mass Effect.

Six Strings – ok this is another music game for console (but only being made in the US for the moment) but this one has a unique twist. It comes with a full band set but the guitar is an actual electric guitar which can be plugged into any amp and you can strum away on the 6 six strings. The game itself has a massive learning curve if like me you’ve never played a guitar in the real world before. Songs we solid and mechanic was slandered.

Fable 3 – yeah so this is all on finished and was a practically finished version. Not much needed changing from 2 anyway since it was already a solid game. Unfortunately none of the new features were shown so it looks and feels better but the new features I can’t pass comment on.

Other games – so while there was also a tonne of games at the show (too many to name) there was some unique MMO takes out there with a 3rd person shooter take, and an RTS take both of which caught my eye.

So PAX games and talks were awesome, and while your their the people are truly awesome as you can stand in line and chat away with very like minded people (hence the convention) of which many of whom are on Twitter – note that at a show like this where everyone is a tech geek wifi and twitter are a must since no phone signal can be obtained.

Right so time to pause again as I need to cool off.

PAX talk - part 1 - the Seattle story

So good morning from Seattle! Well Sea-Tac (Seattle Tacoma airport). So it’s time to fly home now and I have to say that this holiday (I NEARLY put vacation there – need to switch back to English mode) was absolutely epic and I doubt that it could be topped.

So Seattle is such a fantastic city, it’s quite similar to a medium sized European city such as Manchester, in the sense that it is quite compact with what it has within it while at the same time having quite a number of tall buildings within this compact space. The views from the Space Needle were truly epic as you even see as far as Canada in one direction and to Mount St Helens in the other (yeah I know I’m from a place with a similar name sake there). So people thought I was odd for walking from what was one end of Seattle (where the Space Needle and Sci-Fi/Music museums are located) to the other end (where Qwest field is) but then again walking doesn’t bother me.

From exploring the city to exploring PAX or Penny Arcade Expo, where geek culture comes to exchange tales, play games (and transfer bugs it seems as some people found out with the PAX-plague – not me I planned ahead with anti-bacterial gel hand wash). While at the convention I attended many talks including the key note given by Warren Spector (the guy who gave us Deus Ex, Thief, and soon to give us Epic Mickey). The key note speech provided the audience with questions about its future position within society as we move forward in the 21st century, this mainly was around how gamers would have to evolve and accept new forms of gaming such as social media gaming into the fold in order to be accepted into the main stream and taken seriously as an art form such as Movies.

As well as the key note I attended other panels such as the Penny Arcade Q+A (1st session only), Roosterteeth, Major Nelson, Xbox Enforcement, Totally Rad Show Live, and a talk by Wil Wheaton. Many of these are just a panel of people who address the audience around a topic (with some even being recorded) and then having a chance for a Q+A with the panellists. I have to say I never went to a bad panel and I even had the courage to stand up on the microphone and ask a question at the Major Nelson panel (I say courage as the entire show was recorded live, and on listening back to the audio (found at I do sound terribly British and all stiff upper lip – I don’t sound like that do I??). Some of the panellist will hang out after the show for a chance to meet the fans and take photos so I did just that and met all of the presenters from the Revision 3 show The Totally Rad show – all of which are totally rad guys!

Outside of the panels there is the expo hall, and within this there so many areas which cater for different things from table top gaming, to card games, to RPG’s, to video games. There is also a place where many of the fans (like me) can go to buy merchandise of certain things. In my case this was from the Roosterteeth guys who also work on their booth to sell the stuff, but it is also a chance for them to meet their fans and for them to meet the team – so yeah I met most of the team such as Joel, Gus, Brandon, Geoff, and Jack who were all awesome.

Beyond the merch booths there was a small area where many of the bands who were playing at the evening concerts (such as Paul and Storm) would be selling stuff as well as signing it, there was a table where signings could take place and on Saturday I got to meet one of the most awesome dudes in Geek history – Wil Wheaton (you know the dude who played Wesley Crusher in Star trek and is the villain in shows such as The Big Bang Theory and The Guild) and I even had a photo taken with him which was epic and I totally went blank and gibbered but I guess that is to be expected when you meet someone as well respected in the geek community as Wil frigging Wheaton!!!

So going to take a break here as they are calling the flight now – next stop NYC!

The post PAX review

Right so the next few posts will be my post PAX review and have been written at different times so to show you my thoughts as they were at the time I'm going to split them up into 3 parts so bear with me while I try to think of epic titles

Friday, 10 September 2010

PAX Warning

Right so at the moment I am in the middle of writing a post-PAX report and just need to find 5 minutes to complete it - so something is coming so bear with me please!

Wednesday, 1 September 2010

Hello from JFK over in NYC (beware the ackn are gt'n wrse)!!

Right so I’m going to kill some time while here in at JFK airport over in New York (t-minus 1.45hr’s to boarding as I write this). Flight over this morning / afternoon was interesting since this is the first flight I have ever taken on my own. This in turn led to its own fun when I have my own take on the Al Murray sketch (you know the one I mean – I’m the one guy on the plane going “please god let this plane take off”) this also crept back in when we hit some turbulence over Iceland which we had to fly over (well increase our altitude from 34,000 ft to 38,000 ft).
As for the in flight entertainment well I can only say this – Please can American Airlines get with the 21st sodding century and install custom screens in the back of the seats on international flights? I mean come on – it’s not fair to subject an entire flight to The Bounty Hunter (I’m not going to justify a commentary on it!!!) – I mean come on please let me have some choice to what movies I watch? If this is the case on all of the American Airlines fleet then next time I’m flying on a British carrier!
So JFK is well dull I mean it’s an airport – you’re not meant to hang around here your meant to pass through, so right now I’m sat with American’s all around me wittering on (its funny that word it is rather English, isn’t it?) while I sit here all modern drinking my Mango smoothie (yes I’m drinking a smoothie its a sugar boost) which packs a hell of a kick I have to say and puts the one I have in the cinema to shame. I’ve eaten (not trusting Airline food after earlier on where it was Hawaiian chicken (not bad but I’ve had better) followed by a cheese and ham sandwich (stone cold and what’s the deal with this sandwich can i just get some normal ham sandwiches that I’m unable to bludgeon someone to death with please? I mean is it too much to ask???).
Well that’s killed about 10 minutes, guess I’ll go read Twitter, or Facebook, or even the news (don’t get me started about the US so called news) to pass some more of the time. Oh well there is only this flight between me and Seattle now then 24 hours later its PAX time!