Interesting fact: It took Josh and I about three hours to record this hour-and-a-half conversation. Then I split it into to parts, and it took about an hour to edit each half. Then it took Gale some unknown interval of time to listen and make a transcript of the whole thing. Then it took another hour and a half (per segment) to gather up the screenshots and links for the final post.
The upshot is, these two posts combined represent about eleven hours of work, plus whatever Gale put in. I mention this because Josh and I had a conversation about how doing a podcast would be the easiest way to cover PAX.
Man, everything is easy until you do it. Anyway. Here is part 2. Thanks again to Gale for this transcript.
J: Hey everyone, I’m Josh.
S: And I’m Shamus.
J: And we’re throwing tea into the Boston harbour.
S: Actually, we’re supposed to be talking about what we saw. Although. . . . We’re actually going to start off by talking about a game we didn’t see, which is Monaco.
J: We kinda saw it.
S: Yeah, at a distance.
J: But we didn’t spend any time with it.
S: You can’t get near this game. It is always busy. It’s a four person, cooperative-based game, and you just can’t get near the machine. There’s four people playing, and behind them are four other people blocking your view, so you just gotta stand at the back and hop up and down. So that’s all I know about Monaco: it looks like the back of a dude’s head.
J: It was at PAX 2010, and now it’s here, and it’s still not out. Still looks cool, still looks really fun, but I still don’t think it has a release date.
S: Isn’t this what indie games were supposed to solve? Indie games weren’t supposed to have this problem. You should not keep showing up to conventions centres. Y’know, these booths are expensive. According to one site I read â€" the guys who put out Organ Trail â€" the smallest possible booth costs $1,400. So I hope those guys that are making Monaco are just swimming in cash, because going to PAX like five times and having nothing for sale. . . . It just seems like a really bad idea to me. I hope they have lots of money.
J: I have a card from the booth here. All it says is Monaco, and www.monacoismine.com. And that’s it. Nothing else on it, no release date, no information. No promotional material. It’s a nice card, at least.
S: Yeah, it’s glossy, on the back it’s got some weird watermark of the characters. This is a fancy thing! They paid to have stacks of these made, to advertise a game that they don’t even have a release date for. You can do that when you’re a triple-A publisher, but indie’s supposed to not do this.
J: It’s basically an index card-sized business card. It would be cool if that game came out, sometime this century.
S: Moving on: swuhtor. Star Wars: The Old Republic.
J: We are just starting this off so well, with all these cool games that we saw, and totally did stuff with, aren’t we?
S: [Laughs] I know! They weren’t showing it. The Old Republic area was a bunch of couches. It was actually a bunch of stools, is what it looked like to me. A bunch of square sitting things.
J: Well, yeah, but they were leather, so that was cool.
S: They were leather.
J: They actually had a few stations with the game on it, but they were off in the back somewhere, and they had some merchandise. They had a little stage, and I guess they were doing cosplay stuff, or whatever. Some kind of hourly show. I don’t know. I don’t care.
S: Yeah, all I know, is that there wasn’t much going on, and there was nothing to do, and there weren’t many people there. Kind of like the game itself! Zing!
J: [Laughs] It’s a good thing that we don’t have a bunch of Old Republic fans on your site.
S: I know. I’m sure nobody will complain about that comment. Really, I was grateful for the Old Republic booth, because that was a great meeting place, and a great place to sit down. “Oh, I’ll meet you at the Old Republic booth.” That was an awesome thing. I wish in every show they would have, in the middle of the floor, an open area with some benches or something. Where people could sit, and kinda be a rally point for groups when they break up. This is something you need to do, Penny Arcade. That’s what we used the Old Republic booth for, so I don’t have anything to say about the game.
J: That was the sole Bioware presence on the show floor. They had their two panels, but there was nothing about Dragon Age 3 there. Although, given how bad Dragon Age 2 turned out, or at least. . . . I actually didn’t finish playing Dragon Age 2, ‘cuz I was bored with it, but given how everyone else raged about Dragon Age 2, I’m not even sure people are anticipating Dragon Age 3 anymore.
S: They’re actually making a spin-off title called The Deep Roads.
J: [Laughs] Yes!
S: That’s all it is. Just endless deep roads.
J: Because that was sequence I remember when I think, “Yeah, Dragon Age 1 was cool”. Fifteen hours in the deep roads.
S: Yes. That is the defining thing about this game. That’s what people want. They can’t get enough deep roads. What people were saying to Bioware was: “I just want a game where I fight darkspawn. Nothing but darkspawn. In the same-looking tunnel. For hour after hour. That’s what I want.”
S: Underground. Moving on, The Secret World. We both wanted to know more about this game. They had a huge booth, carpeted, lots of game stations, but no information!
J: It’s a secret!
J: You shouldn’t laugh at that.
S: It’s an MMO, put out by â€" who’s putting it out? Why can I not remember? Oh, Funcom.
J: Funcom. Which is why we couldn’t sign up for the beta, because we had Funcom accounts that existed, and they didn’t have a bit that said “Hey! Sign up for the beta with your existing account!”. You had to make a new one.
S: It was so dumb. I was so frustrated. “Great! I got a Funcom account!” “No, you can’t. . . .” What, I can’t be in the beta? Because I already have a Funcom account? That doesn’t make any sense! that was very frustrating, because I wanted to check this game out. Now, it looks like a pretty traditional MMO, very World of Warcrafty. Y’know, stand still, do your cooldowns timers. This isn’t a thing like TERA or Guild Wars 2, where you’re going to be moving all over the place, and doing a lot of action. But even at that, it’s a modern day MMO, which I thought was a nice touch. I wanted to see it because of that.
J: I’ve heard maybe a little more about it than you have. Not very much, though. Apparently it’s heavily anticipated by some people, but I don’t. . . . It’s set in the modern day, and all conspiracy theories and myths are true, and there’s the illuminati. . . .
S: And templars. And cerberus. And dragons. Not cerberus. Well, maybe just a rogue cell.
J: “I swear I didn’t know about the dragons that are fucking up your shit, Shepard.” Because that’s totally how The Illusive Man talks. Imagine that, in Martin Sheen’s voice.
S: It looked very interesting to me.
J: Yeah, and it looked very atmospheric, for an MMO. Most MMO art styles are not the greatest. Although, I say that, but TERA has a really nice art style, really clean, crisp, colourful. The Secret World kinda reminded me of Alan Wake. All the stuff that we saw, the demos people were playing, were set during night time. I don’t know why that happened, maybe we’d just gotten lucky, and the day/night cycle happened to be on night when we were there. But it looked really nice. Maybe not from a technical standpoint, it’s not like “Oh, this is Crisis 2 level of â€" uh, or no, Crisis 1 level, because Crisis 2 wasn’t. . . .”
S: No, it definitely was not technically amazing, but artistically pleasing.
J: Art style-wise, yeah. I guess you get to have various mythologically-related powers, I suppose depending on what class you pick, or whatever. I think we saw some guy who had vaguely werewolf-ish powers. I don’t know, we need to do more research.
S: Alright, Civ 5 expansion, Gods and Kings. We actually got in to see this one. This is also not one of our favourite â€" uh, this is not our most favourite, but this is another one we were pretty happy with, that we thought was pretty interesting.
J: What were you saying there, Shamus? “We hate Civ 5!”
S: I was happy with it. They could’ve made it into a shooter.
J: “As Genghis Khan, you must fight Oda Nobunaga with your bow!”
S: “And rocket launcher.”
J: That was actually an April Fool’s joke, they pretended that they were going to release Civ 5 as a fighting game.
J: 2K had the most floor space of anybody else. They actually dedicated some of their massive floor space to a line, to get into a line, to get into a line, to go play Borderlands 2.
S: This is not an exaggeration. That is an actual thing that happened at PAX East 2012. There was a line for a line for a line.
J: Yeah. It was pretty crazy. And they had some theatres, where Firaxis‘ stuff was, and Civ 5 was one of those. And by theatres, I mean they set up a box room that you couldn’t see into, that had Civ 5 motif stuff on the outside. There was a line to get inside to watch a presentation by one of the devs. This struck me as maybe a little strange, ‘cuz an expansion for Civ 5 isn’t something you’d expect to roll out the red carpet for, but we got in there, and that was the single best area of space in the entire convention centre. I mean, they had air conditioning, theatre seats, carpet, statues. . . .
S: Oh, they were so comfy.
J: It was great.
S: OK, so the big thing with the Civ 5 expansion, is they’re introducing a new resource to manage, which is faith. And they’re adding this whole religion gameplay mechanic.
J: Yeah, they’re bringing back religion from Civ 4.
S: Now, I think it’s weird, because we already have culture. Was culture in Civ 4? I didn’t play it.
J: Yeah, culture was in Civ 4. Culture actually had a bigger role in Civ 4, because you could take over other civ’s borders by spamming culture.
S: Well, this I thought was really weird, because in vanilla Civ 5, your religion is just an aspect of your culture, there’s a whole tree dedicated to your religion. I forget what it was called. Piety, or whatever?
J: Piety, yeah.
S: And they’re not diminishing that. But they’re making this other system, which is the same thing running along in parallel, which is faith. The idea being that you can found new religions, and spread your religion around that way, and it affects your diplomacy. It looked really interesting.
J: Yeah, religion is a lot more complex and involved than it was in Civ 4, where it was basically a diplomacy tool. Y’know, you would pick a religion to be friends with guys who were also that religion, and enemies with guys who weren’t, and you’d get some minor happiness bonuses, and stuff like that. Nothing that interesting. In Civ 5, it has a similar impact that grabbing culture trees does, if you’ve played the game. You’ll be able to found a religion, and choose different bonuses, and choose more bonuses as you continue to unlock slots for your religion. It seems interesting, in that aspect. Maybe a little confusing, because culture is a completely separate thing. There was some evidence that culture trees interact with faith, so they’re probably going to revamp basically everything in that game, to work with religion. Other minor stuff they added. . . . They added espionage, which again, back from Civ 4: Beyond the Sword.
S: Espionage looked really interesting to me. I like that better than the religion stuff. This whole parallel-running game, with units that aren’t on the board. You don’t have to move your spies around, which I didn’t like. In an earlier iteration of Civ â€" I can’t remember which one had spies that did that â€" I always found that annoying.
J: Civ 4: Beyond the Sword added espionage. It was kinda silly, because if you pumped espionage, you could basically see the whole map all the time, and you could see what everyone was doing. It kinda got really overpowered. Civ 5 is a lot different from that. Now you have a certain number of spies, you can have them do whatever you want. You can have them steal tech from the AI, or figure out what an AI is doing, or rig elections in a city-state to try and increase your influence with them. And that sounds really interesting. They’ll gain experience and level up, and there’s a risk versus reward element to it, where the more risky stuff you do, the more likely he is to die, and then you lose everything you’ve built up on that spot, and have to start out with a rookie spy. That seemed like it could add a lot more depth to Civ 5’s fairly middling diplomacy system, although at the same time, it might just make the AI even more schizophrenic. The one thing they didn’t mention at the Civ 5 thing, and they didn’t have a question and answer thing so I didn’t get to ask the developer there about it, either, is something that really bothered me about Civ 5. There doesn’t seem to be any kind of focus on the multiplayer whatsoever. You can’t play mods, you can’t play scenarios, you can’t have simultaneous turns turned off, there’s no wait timer between actions going on, so any wars in multiplayer just turn into “Quickly click everything that you can before your opponent does, and hope that a worker doesn’t grab your camera and drag it across the map to ask WHAT SHOULD I BUILD NOW, DUDE”. So I’m hoping that they’re going to improve multiplayer at least somewhat.
S: Alright, I think we’re going to skip a few of these, here, because we’re running low on time again. Do you want to say anything about Skulls of the Shogun?
J: Skulls of the Shogun looked interesting. Another indie game we didn’t get a chance to look at, or play. It was pitched as a fast paced turn-based strategy game. Which sounds hilarious. It’s a mobile game, that’s also on the PC, so it has a mobile game art style, and a mobile game brevity to it. It looks pretty interesting. I can’t really comment on the gameplay, because we didn’t really give it five minutes, but it looks like it could potentially be very fun.
S: OK, Assassin’s Creed 3.
J: Assassin’s Creed 3, yeah.
S: [Sighs] I can’t say anything really super bad about it, but it’s all set during the revolutionary war, and I was more disappointed with the game for all the things it wasn’t. I can’t fault any of the things they’re putting in the game, they’ve got some new weapons for you to use, but it’s the American revolutionary war, and you’re fighting while the American revolution is going on, but you’re running around mostly in the wilderness, in this game. That can’t compare to Florence, to me, there’s just no way. I mean, the rest of the games have been just seeing these magnificent works of architecture, and now it’s, y’know, trees. Now, you can climb the trees, they’re cool, but I don’t know. I feel like a lot of the personality of the game has gone away.
J: Plus the white assassin suit now looks completely ridiculous. It’s gone from making sense in context, in Assassin’s Creed 1, to kind of making sense in Assassin’s Creed 2, to just completely. . . . What the fuck is he doing wearing a completely white sheet as a costume, as he walks around in a battlefield? He’s wearing something that just says “Please shoot me”.
S: Yeah, there’s the rebels, which of course are wearing blue, and the British, who are wearing red, and then there’s you, who’s running around in white. I mean, that would just make both sides assume you’re an enemy, and get them both to shoot at you. They didn’t have rules of engagement, back then. If they see a dude, running around on a battlefield, armed, they’re not gonna assume you’re a civilian. They are going to shoot you! In the demo, they showed you walking up beside some rebels, none of them questioned what this civilian was doing, dressed in a hood, wandering around the battlefield. Then you just went up with them, and climbed some trees and some rocks, and assassinated some dudes. It felt weird.
J: Yeah, it felt strange that nobody was going “What the fuck are you doing here?” Maybe it makes sense in context, like you’re working with those people, whatever, and they’re all totally fine. They had the first scene in the trailer, was the infamous speech at Bunker Hill, with the “Don’t fire until you see the whites of their eyes” thing, which was said by. . . . I can’t even remember the guy who said that.
S: Oh, it was one of the guys in the trailer that we watched.
J: Right. That’s where the historical quote comes from.
S: [Laughs] Yes. Yes it did.
J: Citation needed. The way they adapted the Assassin’s Creed mechanics to non-urban environments looks pretty interesting. The trees look fairly organic, they don’t look artificial, the cliffs look good. And they seemed to be putting some emphasis on keeping combat mobile, which is good, because a lot of Assassin’s Creed 1 and 2, and the other Assassin’s Creed games, pretty much have been “Stand around and wait for some dumbass to attack you so you can counter attack”. And then in the later games you can use that counter attack to trigger an execution chain, which let you kill everybody with a stab. Which looked no more ridiculous than standing around with eight guys surrounding you and trying to kill you, and then countering them one-by-one.
S: Yeah. Again, I can’t fault the game, and I don’t want to say that any of this is absolutely wrong, but the demo they showed just felt a little. . . . It seemed to be missing some core part of Assassin’s Creed 3. And it’s early in development, maybe that will come together. Maybe you’ll spend some time in, say, Boston. Y’know, in some of the bigger cities.
J: I’m sure you’ll spend some time in Boston, and Philedelphia. I can’t imagine them doing without those.
S: But even, those places are just not going to look as spectacular as Florence. So. . . . I don’t know. I’m having a hard time seeing how this is going to work, but, well, maybe they’ll pull it off.
J: And we were sitting on wooden crates, while watching that. That was their idea of a chair.
S: I did not like that. That was so, “Oh, we finally get to go into this theatre and sit down”, and then we got in there, and it was literally wooden crates. Especially after we’d been to the Civ 5 panel, and they had those theatre chairs. It kinda sucks sitting on wooden crates. Like, my back hurt. It would be better to just sit on the floor, but y’know, everybody else was on the crates, so you wouldn’t be able to see. So that was kinda frustrating.
J: Obviously a lot of work went into the booth. Very interesting booth, very nice. Had like museum-style stuff on the walls, which we could read. But we were sitting on wooden crates, and that was maybe taking the immersion a little too far. Also they gave out inflatable tomahawks.
S: So silly. So silly! Inflatable tomahawks. The girl presenting it was like “Oh, for watching this demo, you’ll get an inflatable tomahawk, just like the one Connor uses in Assassin’s Creed 3”, and I was like “Wait a minute, he uses an inflatable tomahawk in the game? How does that work?”
J: So we decided that the box art for Assassin’s Creed 3 should just be the box art for Assassin’s Creed 2, except the hidden blades have been replaced with inflatable rubber tomahawks.
S: Yeah, they should auto-inflate, like he pulls a little string, and they pshwooof, fill up.
J: [Laughs] And he just goes to town with them.
S: He goes to town donking you on the head with this inflatable toy. That’s exactly how the game should play. You know what, let’s wrap this up, because I want to have enough time to talk about this game. Our big favourite. Of the whole show. The one game that ran away with the show for me.
J: We’re not going to talk about Children of Liberty?
J: I guess you kinda already talked about that. OK. So, winner of PAX East 2012.
S: Yes. The winner. They win PAX.
J: I think most people. . . . Well, I won’t say most people there, but a lot of people there would agree with us â€" and this isn’t going to come as a surprise to anyone â€" is XCOM: Enemy Unknown.
S: Yeah, not XCOM the shooter, that they’ve been working on, that we’re suddenly not hearing about. This is a remake, or sorta re-imagining of the original X-COM. And everything they did at the show was just right. It was so amazing. They had a nice showroom, they had a nice theatre, they came in, they showed us about, I don’t know, fifteen minutes of gameplay. And then they had a Q&A session. The PR guy, or the developer, or whoever was answering the questions, was very good. He knew exactly where the line was. A lot of people don’t think about how hard this is, but letting the audience know where the line is? So you don’t end up just saying “I can’t say. I can’t say. No comment. Can’t answer that.” He was really good at doing those without just shutting people down and frustrating us, and letting us know what areas we should ask about and what areas we shouldn’t ask about. Which meant that the questions that were asked were really productive, and we got to find out a lot more about the game than was shown in the demo. This is a hard thing, and this guy handled it just right. It was very exciting.
J: And the way he said the “We’re not talking about it” thing, almost sounded to me like a tongue-in-cheek confirmation of whatever was being asked. Like, “We’re not talking about it but that’s totally in the game!“
S: Yes! Sometimes he would do that. Like someone said, “Will they have terror missions?” and he just said “We’re not talking about that!” Y’know? You could tell. You could tell, “OK, yeah, it’s XCOM, of course we’re gonna having frickin’ terror missions, but we can’t like, promise that, we’re not going to discuss them, or how they work, or anything” so he just steered the audience away from those questions. Now, obviously this is a re-imagining, the game is not exactly the same. And my big fear is, of course, dumbing down. There are some things that are simplified, or changed, but every single thing that was simplified or changed, they had a really good gameplay reason. It was never like, “Oh, we were afraid it would be too complicated for people”, or “We were afraid this might put some people off”. It was never reasoning that sounded like they were worried about some demographic. They always had good reasons. Like your maximum squad size is six, now. In the old one, you could have like twenty, and you could just zerg the enemy with your rookie rush. And they said yes, you could do that, but that leads you away from the core mechanic of levelling up, it takes the value of your individual soldiers away, and it kind of nerfs the most important aspects of the game, and it drags battles down because you’ve gotta move twenty guys. At the same time, you’re incentivised to act that way, to protect your good guys, to just basically sacrifice a bunch of rookies to protect your good fighters. So they took that out, both to make the game more interesting, and so you wouldn’t have to move like fifty guys. That was a totally valid answer to me, even though it was about taking out functionality.
J: In fact, you said to me, after we saw that â€" I remember this vividly â€" that everything they mentioned they were going to remove, or change, was all stuff that had bugged you personally, about X-COM’s original gameplay mechanics.
S: Right. I didn’t like being incentivised to do rookie rushes, it was kinda frustrating, and dumb, and silly to move these twenty guys to flush out the enemies so you could pick them off with your good guys. Just having that taken out of the game just focuses it on what I wanted to do, which is make a squad of dudes. The other thing they removed is time units. I hated having to count squares. I want to get to this doorway, and then turn to the left, but then you get there, and you don’t have enough points to turn to the left. So then you can’t see what you wanted to look at, and it’s all frustrating. So you spend a lot of time counting, and doing math on time units. Now, it’s move, and shoot. Every turn.
J: Yeah, it’s move-move, or move-attack, is the way they describe it.
S: Right. Or, well, there’s also full-round attacks, ‘cuz there’s things like suppressing fire, I think. Or maybe the sniper’s attack is a full-round attack.
J: Yes, the sniper’s attack is a full-round attack, I think. So you could only move or attack, with the sniper.
S: And there are some other things, I think, that are a full-round action. You could move into position, or you could do a big attack, or you could move really far. And that gives you most or all of the functionality that you had in X-COM, without having to fuss around on the stupid grid and count time units. Instead, as your guys are upgraded, you can just move further. Which is really what you want! So I thought that was a great change.
J: I was really impressed by what they were doing with the camera. ‘Cuz in the original X-COM, it was just isometric top-down, but now that it’s 3D, they’re taking advantage of the fact that they can just move the camera all over the place, wherever they need it to be to show off a cinematic action, or whatever. And of course, since it’s a turn-based game, that doesn’t really matter. It doesn’t matter if the player loses control over the camera for a few seconds, when they’re not on the clock. When you go to do an action, to attack an alien or whatever, the camera zooms in to over-the-shoulder of your selected guy, and kinda points at the target that you’ve got selected. If you move in such a way that allows the alien to make an attack on them, you’ll go into kind of a bullet time, you’ll go into slow motion, and you’ll watch the bullets fly past or fly into your guy.
S: Yeah. So it gives you the best of both worlds, where it gives you an action game, but it doesn’t interfere with the strategy turn-based thing.
J: And the other thing that struck me about that, was everything we saw with the game demo, was done on a console. They were like, “Press Y to Do Stuff”, it was very much the console version of the game.
S: And it worked.
J: I wonder if it was intentional for them, to demonstrate that “Yes, we didn’t have to dumb down the game to put it on a console”. Everything about the game feels so smooth when you watch it, and yet it’s being done on a gamepad, a controller.
S: I couldn’t even figure out what buttons he was pushing, I don’t know how it was working. But it was working. I didn’t see them lacking any functionality, in the game. It was all there. Everything was there! You could command your guys to move around, and take cover, and do this turn-based stuff. That’s normally mouse focused, and it worked with a dualshock controller.
J: Which is crazy, for X-COM. When you think of X-COM, you think of a monumentally complex interface, and that very much has been streamlined, which is a good thing. One of the things that bugs me so much about going on to GoG, and buying an old game, and playing it, is that interface design has really come a long way in the past fifteen years. And it’s really, really, really hard to go back to playing an old game, like a mid-nineties game. The amount of actions versus the amount of clicks, the ratio has really changed in favour of actions, over clicks. So I think that’s really very interesting. And they made it clear, during their panel, that they weren’t just making this as a console game, and that they weren’t going to just hand it over to some other team, to port it to the PC badly. [Coughs] Bioware. A PC team working in tandem with the console team. It wasn’t going to end up being this crazy disconnect between the two versions, where one of them was better because that was the native platform it was designed on.
S: That’s another thing. They had a panel. On top of the demo, which we went to see on the show floor, they had a panel with their lead designers, where we talked about some of the design decisions, where we got the sense that these were not PR flacks, these were not marketing guys. These were the core designers, and they talked about what they were doing, and they had an immense amount of respect for the original game, and took all of it seriously. None of them ever said “This is dumb”, or “Oh, we can definitely do better!” When they did change something, they were very careful to know what they were doing before they changed it, and not be dismissive with anything. Even things that seemed kinda broken about the original. And they were open to suggestions! One player â€" pff, one player, one person â€" came up during the Q&A session, and said “Will the flat-top haircut be in the game?” Which was a funny thing that the original game had a flat-top haircut on your characters, and it looked ridiculous. And it was so ridiculous that it stood out, and so people started to associate it with the game. And they sorta said, “Sure! I guess! We’ll talk about that!” Like, they were willing to put that in. During this meeting, we were finding out about what they were doing, but they were finding out what we expected to see in the game. It was very much an exchange, it was really, really healthy.
J: I think, after the debacle of the other XCOM game, which may or may not still be coming out, 2K did probably the best move possible, by giving that to Firaxis. We know Firaxis, they can make games. They can make good turn-based games. So I have every bit of faith that this game will be good, now that I’ve seen it.
S: I am very much looking forward to it. I think the people working on it have their heart in the right place, and I love the transparency they have, their openness, and their willingness to listen to the fans. I think it’s incredibly healthy, and sort of inspiring to see this. Y’know, that games aren’t always going towards the devs being isolated from the fans, like we see from more and more big AAA titles. That we can still have that open dialogue between the artists and the audience. It was just great to see. I would’ve been excited to see this even if I didn’t care about this game. I would’ve loved to see this exchange, just because I would’ve thought that this is how it should be more often. I was just very excited by it. Very good. Thumbs up to Firaxis games, they’re great.
J: So yeah. 2K Games won PAX, as far as I’m concerned. Which is not what I expected to be saying, when I got to Boston. I did not expect to see such a strong showing from 2K games.
S: Neither did I. But yeah. They won.
The Death of Half-Life
Valve still hasn't admitted it, but the Half-Life franchise is dead. So what made these games so popular anyway?
A Telltale Autopsy
What lessons can we learn from the abrupt demise of this once-impressive games studio?
Crysis 2 has basically the same plot as Half-Life 2. So why is one a classic and the other simply obnoxious and tiresome?
Secret of Good Secrets
Sometimes in-game secrets are fun and sometimes they're lame. Here's why.
Grand Theft Railroad
Grand Theft Auto is a lousy, cheating jerk of a game.