Yesterday, we spent most of our time on the main floor of PAX Prime; today, we pushed our way through to the back of the wardrobe, to find PAX's fabled Narnia, the sixth floor (heard more than once: "there's a sixth floor?"). If you're at PAX, it's worth the trip, for the old-school Meydenbauer vibe, plus the highly cute Digital Game Museum, and—most especially—the PAX 10. Here's what we learned, on the sixth floor and elsewhere:
- Fez is fucking awesome. A 2D person has woken up and discovered he/she lives a 3D world. Equal parts charming and clever, Fez has definitely earned its spot on the PAX 10. Big ups to its developer for 1) being French-Canadian (socialism was involved in the game's rocky road to funding) and 2) having excellent taste in teevee. At his panel, developer Phil Fish quoted The Wire w/r/t the need to Eat Shit, as learned by Tommy Carcetti and many other long-suffering People Who Give a Shit. Blessedly, Fez will be coming to Xbox Live this winter. We'll definitely post more about it as we learn more.
- Our other favorito out of the PAX 10 was Antichamber, a game created by an iconoclastic Australian madman with a raspberry-sherbet suit. An "exploration puzzle game set in a non-Euclidean geometry" that plays like a philosophical dream sequence, Antichamber is an experiment in fucking with your mind, but the results are hell of satisfying. Cheers to that.
- Here is an actual STD exclusive, earned over free booze: TinkerHouse now has release date for their upcoming super-cute kids game Monster Orchestra: September 30 on iOS.
- Magic always has the best party. We were at the Showbox for the BIG REVEAL (essentially, double-sided cards with no backs, see MTG Daily for details), but were otherwise feted to a great time along with (literally, approximately) a thousand other fellow nerds. The new expansion, Innistrad, is Magic's first Gothic-horror, wholly-impending-dread-inspired expansion, which draws on penny dreadfuls and movies like Nosferatu for inspiration. You'll see just about every goth horror trope there is, including Magic's first serious foray into werewolfdom.
- Spelunky is super-cool—a modern riff on Spelunker with cool-ass, randomly generated levels— and you should watch for it on Xbox Live.
- D&D Live lives up to its hype. Penny Arcade founders Jerry Holkins and Mike Krahulik played another session as "Acquisitions, Incorporated" with PVP's Scott Kurtz and nerd icon Wil Wheaton (all in costume!). While the sound was muddy on the periphery, what we heard was funny, funny shit. The dungeon was well and fully mastered by Wizard of the Coast's celebrity-DM Chris Perkins, who happens to have hypnotically perfect teeth. If you think watching D&D sounds like a uniquely horrible torture, you're at least half wrong. Check out the archives online (extremely NSFYW—these nerds are dirty dogs). This photo might not quite capture the madness of the line, which closed off Ninth Avenue for over an hour, but all these fans filled the Paramount:
- Tom Marshall
- So... the Paramount regularly sells out. How do they do that without closing a street?
- Baconcat sighting! Or actually, he sighted us (and initiated a perfectly lovely impromptu Slog meetup), demonstrating his elite detective skills. Hey, let's make this Slog nerdup happen. Schmader and Traverse? Dinosaurs must be involved.
- Weirdly, several publishers thought it would be clever to promote their games with personality tests. We felt like we were being groomed for financial extraction by Scientologists, but it all worked out in the end. Or...did it?
- We heard a rumor that the supposedly dead game series Penny Arcade: On the Rain-Slick Precipice of Darkness was coming back to life, powered by the 16-bit geniuses behind Cthulhu Saves the World, but confirmation is tantalizingly just out of reach.
The Stranger Testing Department is Rob Lightner and Paul Hughes.