Tuesday, 7 September 2010

The Interesting Bits of PAX (And Stuff That Happened in Broadly the Same Timeframe)

Words feel like a finite resource today. You know those days, where Yahoo eats ten years worth of emails, including those cringey ones from when you were sixteen? Yeah. But since when did PAX need an introduction anyway?

5. Colonial Marines is back on
Maybe sort of with some very naff screens. Aliens as an interactive franchise is great because it's one of few film licenses that actually converts well to the medium staple of men with big guns; and yet it's a franchise which, at least in sporadic iterations, has shown immense intelligence and ambition. Perhaps more exciting, though, is the thought that if Colonial Marines can come back from the dead, so can Obsidian's RPG.

4. Portal 2 co-op screens
I'm not really keeping up with Portal 2. I'm gonna play it. Any information I glean between now and then is just spoilers. But they're SO CUTE.

3. Telltale's Back To The Future Eps
The adventure genre's right. The writing team is right. The license is ripe. The important actor's back. Will it recapture the feel of the movies entirely? No. Is Back to the Future, as a property, one of the most interesting mainstream adaptations out there? Definately.

2. Outerlight's long awaited dificult second album
Scottish dev Outerlight did something incredible. Four years ago - at a time when medium budget and high concept were somewhat more mutually exclusive - they released an innovative multiplayer game. Even today, that's a rarity. It's unclear how much Bloody Good Time will riff on The Ship's fragile espionage mechanics, but when your other most anticipated mutliplayer title is really just a modern indie take on X-COM you realise this might well be something worth watching.

1. The Witness: First Footage
Not really a competition, I'll be honest. Kotaku has the vid and write up of Jonathan Blow's next project (pictured in the surprisingly gorgeous header image), demoed anonymously amongst the other indie offerings. It looks to be a game of naturalistic exploration and puzzle solving. More importantly I love that despite (seemingly) superficial points of familiarity, The Witness might be the sort of thing that we could dream up if we'd not been hemmed in by forty years of Space Invaders and someone said, "What do you think you can do with this?"

Some other things that happened were a new Dwarf Fortress visualisation from Tim Denee (not as loveable, to my mind, as his previous one, but still a lovely way for ASCIIphobes like me to appreciate the game); and Fluidity (which I was mostly interested in because someone compared it to a cross between Wetrix and LocoRoco, which reminds me of being twelve and loving Wetrix because it was like what would happen if you turned Tetris upside down and poured water on it.


  1. Can't say how interesting The Witness is looking - that Kotaku vid is essential viewing.

    Does anyone have anything I've missed?

  2. I tempted by you saying the Witness video is "essential viewing" but I'm going to hold off for the same reasons you are with Portal 2 (which I'm likewise avoiding). I already know I'm going to buy it and I'm pretty sure this game has more to say than most and has a lot of meaning hiding under the surface of its experience so I think I'm going to leave that as untarnished as possible. I consumed a lot of the preview media in the run-up to Braid's release but naturally also found out a number of the mechanics in advance, which was half the joy of the experience so I think I might avoid it this time.

    Other games? Have you seen the footage of 'Bastion'? It's doing some interesting stuff with the narration which responds really immediately and dynamically to your actions and the narrator will be a character you meet in the game as well so it will be interesting to see how that all plays out.

    :) I remember playing Wetrix at a friend's house one afternoon. It was quite fun.

  3. Ah, yes, this is the debut from the 3 man ex EALA/C&C guys. Looks beautiful.

    Press release here:

    Vid here: