Day 2 of PAX East was even better than the last as today I was joined by my lovely wife Danielle (author of Getting Fit in MA; of which this is the official companion reader). Today we played some fun games, learned some interesting facts about the industry, and shared many laughs at the late-night game shows. I just wish we could figure out which vendor booth was selling chicken fingers… it definitely wasn’t on the map.
Pixel: Are You Squared? – Ridiculously billed as a “Competitive Educational Puzzle Platformer Shooter,” but the game amazingly earns each label with style and thankfully it has color blind options for those of us that have trouble between shadings.
Lovers in a Dangerous Spacetime – A cooperative multiplayer (or highly frantic single player) experience where a tightly-staffed spaceship is piloted and defended by two small characters. The player will man turrets, set up laser fields, and drive the ship around the level searching for pickups, all the while fighting off enemies and being sure not to crash into any walls.
Telepath Tactics – A tactical strategy game in the vein of Fire Emblem and Shining Force with the benefit of destructible environments, as well as the pleasant option to turn off permadeath.
Affordable Space Adventure – A fun sidescrolling spaceflight sim with a less than optimal vehicle; this game will have you toggling several different meters to keep the engines running and craft in one piece, bringing humor into the play experience entirely through gameplay.
Chariot – A drop-in/drop-out cooperative game where two players (or 1 player and AI) take control of some medieval pallbearers that escort a rolling King to his crypt. Each character has unique abilities that will aid in maneuvering the King, although these abilities are situational and terrain gets interesting once there are surfaces only players, or only the king may cross.
Awesome Video Game Data 2015 – Geoffrey Zatkin of EEDAR put some hard numbers up on the screen to showcase trends and analysis over the past 15 years, and sectioned out some really interesting data points to do with mobile devices and Steam Greenlight. I don’t know if I entirely agree with his theory that sales are increasingly less dependant on review scores citing games like Destiny and Titanfall (as these games had the benefit of being key releases during a launch window to render them too big to fail regardless of score), but the level of analysis and clarity present in his charts was fantastic to see – I’m hoping he’ll email me the presentation soon so I can have these numbers for myself!
At Some Point, We May Actually Play The Damn Game! – This panel featured a number of (primarily MMO) developers who talked about the extended value of games beyond the games themselves, be it fan fiction and art, modding, cosplay, and really anything players can come up with. I think a great point was brought up during the audience Q&A about how the internet being too readily sought out for solutions and how it’s factoring into puzzle-solving with wikis and FAQs and people even decoding the game to pull out information they would’ve otherwise needed to search for (it’s shocking how many times I’ve seen people admit to using guides followed by a complaint of how the game is too easy), but from the developer’s standpoint, they all feel that it’s ultimately the player’s decision to play the game as they see fit… how liberating.
Game Show Night – Susan Arndt led the annual game night; first with a Price is Right styled challenge with a video game slant (ie, how much is a bottle of Blue Fire in Ocarina of Time), followed by a comedic version of Match Game that questioned the completeness of Assassin’s Creed, the “chicken-y-ness” of KFC chicken, and the title of the most outstanding never before possible llama simulator from Peter Molyneaux where you can interact with the llamas IN REAL TIME.