The weekend featured too many giant PAX parties to countWhite Wolf took over Neighbours, the Frag Dolls rented out Trinity, and Wizards of the Coast filled the Showbox, all seemingly conspiring to sabotage Sunday morning's panels and competitions with thousands of densely packed hangovers. But the show must go on, and it quickly became clear why zombies are forever.

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We'll get to the good stuff after the jump, but if you missed out this year, you should really think about going next year—or even trekking out to Boston in the spring for the second PAX East, if you're going to Burning Man and have a limitless travel budget. Registration is nowhere near ready to go (we'll let you know), but this thread just started for folks to discuss what they want to see and do next time.

The Stranger Testing Department's Super Lo-Fi Booth Award went to Frozen Codebase, which looked something like a coder cubicle, full of cryptic handwritten pieces of weirdness, an eccentric marching band leader/producer/VP, and the fiercest booth babes of this show or any other: the Rat City Roller Girls. Tucked into a corner was a Wii playing a demo of Jam City Rollergirls, the first ever flat-track roller derby video game, which looks like awesome off-season fun and features teams from Seattle, NYC, Texas, and beyond. We make fun of the Wii maybe a bit too much around these parts, but this could be just the thing to change our minds. It comes out "late this year."

The STD's Bad-Ass Swag Award goes to Fallout: New Vegas, with a post-apocalyptic NCR shirt that was free at the Bethesda booth:

Its funny because pre-apocalyptic bears only have one head.
  • It's funny because pre-apocalyptic bears only have one head.

Microsoft was showing off—along with Kinect, Fable III, Halo: Reach, and a million other things—the arrival of Xbox Live on Windows Phone 7, set to launch over the holidays. The integration probably won't blow you away at launch (e.g., there's only asynchronous, turn-based multiplayer, although true multiplayer is planned), but the initial lineup of games looks highly decent, including fun iPhone racer Jet Car Stunts, a cute and clever new puzzler called ilomilo, and quite a few console companion apps. The coolest of those might be Crackdown 2: Project Sunburst, a Crackdown-themed tower-defense game that uses your location in Bing Maps for game maps—so you can defend your home or work from zombies (a.k.a. "freaks," in Crackdown patois) that actually follow the roads and traffic data(!) from Bing Maps.

The Behemoth is back. After teasing us hard last year, they've announced the release of Battleblock Theater, an action puzzle game that's got the same sugar-fueled cartoon moxie as previous Behemoth hits Castle Crashers and Alien Hominid. It also features way more minigames, co-op and competitive multiplayer options, and customizable avatars. Check out the trailer:

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LEGO Universe is—of all things—an MMO for LEGO fans. So that means World of Warcraft, but primarily for 8- to 10-year-old boys. The gameplay looks extremely slick, with a nutty amount of features in players' Viva Piñata-style home bases (you can build anything, using every brick in every color in LEGO existence, including those crazy primitive-programming-language LEGOs). The developers are vocal about parental security features, which isn't surprising: the top security feature is the price ($40 plus $10/month—take that, cheap perverts), and only parentally approved "best friends" can chat, with a chat tool that uses a whitelist, blacklist, and graylist. So, for example, the words "what's," "your," "phone," and "number" all work, but not in that order. We can't wait to see what new language of filter-confounding LEGO swears kids inevitably invent.

Finally, big nerd props to everyone who ponied up D&D character stories in Saturday's comment thread. Someone at Wizards read them and swooned, so it looks like we'll get a couple more red boxes to give away. Contest ends at midnight!

The Stranger Testing Department is Rob Lightner and Paul Hughes.

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