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Harmonix Music VR could supplant Audiosurf for me photo
Harmonix Music VR could supplant Audiosurf for me
by Darren Nakamura

Audiosurf is more than seven years old now (wow), but it still holds a place as a desktop icon on my computer. I still play it regularly. The thing is, I almost never play it on any setting other than Casual with Mono. It is the thing I go to when I want to turn off my brain for a bit and just enjoy some music along with some pretty colors.

I got a chance to try out Harmonix Music VR at PAX East this past weekend, and it looks like it could fill that role perfectly. There is even less to concentrate on, but the step into virtual reality makes it more engrossing. I could see myself coming home from work, putting on the headset, and just chilling with it to decompress.

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11:00 PM on 03.11.2015

Did Social Justice Warriors Win PAX East?

Mere seconds ago, I discovered that I am on the original list that inspired the development of a game called Social Justice Warriors. There is even an attack in the game based on some of the specific wording found ...

Jonathan Holmes

8:00 PM on 03.11.2015

The best thing I saw at PAX was not on the show floor

Let me set the scene: Day 1 of PAX has come to a close, or at least the show floor has. My friends and I have just finished dinner and are on our way back into the convention center to check out the Super Smash Bros. tou...

Patrick Hancock

6:00 PM on 03.11.2015

Dad by the Sword features limp, floppy swords

Dad by the Sword is iOS developer Rocketcat Games' first entry into the PC market and boy howdy, is it a doozy. Part sword-fighting simulator, part long-running dad joke, all demented loveliness. Rocketcat's design expe...

Rob Morrow



Cosmochoria is a perfect blend of serenity and chaos photo
Cosmochoria is a perfect blend of serenity and chaos
by Patrick Hancock

Cosmochoria is a Kickstarter success story that is now about to see the light of day. It's a mix of exploration and tower defense all wrapped up in a warming, yet occasionally stressful package. There's a strong sense of wonderment to the randomly generated universe, and the art style is totally cute.

My time with Cosmochoria at PAX East brought a huge smile to my face, and if it wasn't for an upcoming appointment, I would have played for probably an entire hour or so!

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1:30 PM on 03.11.2015

D&D meets bullet-hell shooter in Enter the Gungeon

During my time on the show floor at PAX East 2015, I had the pleasure of sitting down with Dodge Roll Games to get a hands-on demo of its new gun-fighting dungeon crawler, Enter the Gungeon. When you think gun-centric games, ...

Rob Morrow



Tumblestone is the most intelligent 'match three' game I've ever played photo
Tumblestone is the most intelligent 'match three' game I've ever played
by Patrick Hancock

The first impression of a game matters a lot at PAX. If people aren't intrigued almost immediately, they may never play the game at all. My first impression of Tumblestone was "oh cool another match-three game." I don't play many of them, so I barely had any interest.

However, knowing that Tumblestone and The Bridge, a brilliant indie puzzle game, share the same developer, I just had to give it a chance. Thank goodness I did, too, because it was easily the most intelligent game on the show floor.

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Samus wants to be in Shovel Knight photo
Samus wants to be in Shovel Knight
by Jonathan Holmes

When we last checked in with Samus, she was trying to score an interview with Tim Rogers, co-creator of Videoball. Despite the fact that she's been appearing in videogames for over 25 years, he still didn't know who she was. That wouldn't have bothered her at all under normal circumstances, but life hasn't been too good to Samus lately. Nintendo stopped celebrating her birthdays. She hasn't had a game of her own since 2010. Kids today don't know why she can't crawl. It's gotten so bad that she's been forced to share a house with a washed up former last boss and a deceased painting instructor from public television

It makes sense that she would turn to Sean Velasco, co-creator of Shovel Knight, for aid in this time of crisis. He and the team at Yacht Club Games recently announced plans to help Battletoads hop back into the spotlight, after having been shunned by their makers for even longer than Samus has. On top of that, plenty of fans have been asking Sean and company to allow Samus to be a special guest character in Shovel Knight on Nintendo consoles, and Yacht Club is known for making its fans happy.

While he knew that the fans wanted Samus in Shovel Knight, I don't think Sean expected to have the real live Samus Aran approach him about a cameo, but who better to represent Metroid fans than the star of the series herself? After watching this video a few times, I'm still not sure if Sean went for the idea or not. The only thing I know for sure is, Sean has some pretty awesome ideas on how a Shovel Knight Vs. Tingle boss fight would work. He told me all about it after Samus cleared out. As much as I love Samus, I think Tingle might be the right choice on this one, assuming that Shovel Knight ever ends up with guest Nintendo character at all. 

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Harebrained Schemes nails it once again with Necropolis photo
Harebrained Schemes nails it once again with Necropolis
by Rob Morrow

As I explored the opening area of Harebrained Schemes' third-person action roguelike Necropolis at PAX East 2015, I discovered an inviting treasure chest. Upon opening it, I realized too late that I wasn’t alone in that first room. While my back was turned, a shadowy, crystalline figure called the Grine had seized the opportunity to launch a flurry of attacks at my unprotected rear; all the while, my character stood there helplessly locked in place throughout the chest’s opening animation.

It was at this point in the Necropolis demo that the game made complete sense to me. In that singular moment I felt as though I’d been here many times before. Not here in the literal sense of playing the demo beforehand, of course, but here in that the game’s unspoken rules were so familiar to me that it felt like coming home. And what a treacherous home it is.

It’s become passé to compare titles to the Souls games, but in this particular instance, I feel the comparison is completely justified. Anyone familiar with From Software's work will know, almost instinctively, what will be expected of them when they pick up the controller. The control scheme (light and heavy attack buttons, shield, jump, and evasion) and stamina system are very much in line with what we're used to in those titles, with a couple of notable deviations.

Necropolis doesn't feature a parrying system, for starters. Instead, your character can use their equipped shield to perform a bash maneuver as well as block incoming attacks. However, stamina is drained when doing so and should be used sparingly in battle. For example, if you try to hold off enemy attacks with the shield indefinitely, you'll soon wear yourself out as your enemy lands each attack, thereby leaving your character susceptible to taking damage.

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12:00 PM on 03.10.2015

Steam Controller and FPS: PAX East 2015 impressions

One of what was seemingly the better-kept secrets at PAX East 2015, the Steam Controller, was available for hands on at the Alienware booth connected to the company's Steam Machines. I was able to test the previous iteration...

Jed Whitaker



Who had the sexiest Nintendo cosplay at PAX East? photo
Who had the sexiest Nintendo cosplay at PAX East?
by Jonathan Holmes

Sexy Nintendo is inevitable. Some will try to fight it, or even mock it. In doing so, they are choosing to live on the wrong side of history. I know how they feel. I scoffed along with the rest of them back when the burgeoning "Sexy Luigi Brother" lingerie genre first hit the scene, but that was years ago. Since that time, Sexy Luigi has gone from being a exotic fetish to a cultural institution. It's gotten to the point where oftentimes, being Sexy Luigi isn't enough anymore. At PAX East 2015, Sexy Luigi had to become Sexy Zombie Hunting Luigi in order to make a difference. That's how bad the Sexy Luigi over saturation situation has become. 

Thankfully, Sexy Layton hasn't had to bend to our culture's current zombie fixation in order to stay fresh. Despite becoming the stuff of animated gifs and Kotaku news posts, he's still the same humbly thrusting, puzzle-loving professor he was the last time that we saw him. Only one thing about Layton has changed. He and Sexy Luke are no longer a pair. Now they're part of a threesome of uninhibited, logic-and-lust fueled erotic icons, thanks to their new sexy bowtie wearing pal  Emmy. Many have said that monogamy is the greatest emotional puzzle that any consenting adult will ever face. Leave it to Layton and company to solve that problem with style. 

You can vote for Layton, Emmy, Luke, Ness, Misty, Red Pikmin, Zelda, Mario, Isabelle, Fusion Suit Samus, Zero Suit Samus, The Pikachu Pimp, and multiple other participating Nintendo cosplayers here in the comments. The winner gets a surprise!

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Severed is full of one-handed vengeance photo
Severed is full of one-handed vengeance
by Caitlin Cooke

There’s something serene about exploring a desolate place for the first time. Too often in games I find myself dropped into an environment, expected to pick up the pieces quickly to achieve a goal and left with little time to absorb. 

Severed is the opposite of that. Despite playing a demo version, I felt like I lived in a different world while I walked through a desert into the remains of a home and out to a haunting forest where enemies appeared more like riddles and less like a forced mechanic. This is the kind of world I like to play in.

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Affordable Space Adventures is the Wii U experience I imagined in 2012 photo
Affordable Space Adventures is the Wii U experience I imagined in 2012
by Darren Nakamura

When Nintendo first unveiled the Wii U, my mind raced with ideas for games that could be created with the two-screen interface. A lot of the cool stuff that the DS did could be transferred to the big screen. Better yet, titles like those that made use of Game Boy Advance-to-GameCube connectivity could surface in a more accessible format.

In practice, it has taken a while for developers to do really interesting things with the GamePad. A lot of the most lauded titles would work fine without the second screen. Affordable Space Adventures is one of the few Wii U titles that feels like it could not be done on another platform. It plays to the console's strengths, finally producing the type of experience the Wii U was made for.

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3:00 PM on 03.09.2015

There was almost ice skating in The Witcher 3

Let's take a moment to imagine Geralt ice skating in The Witcher 3: Wild Hunt. Ahh, sweet bliss. Over the weekend, senior game designer Damien Monnier told a crowd at PAX East about CD Projekt RED's canceled feature. "It was ...

Jordan Devore

10:30 AM on 03.09.2015

The Kinect's best game may come to PC, compliments of Swery

We'd seen the tweets hinting at it before, but over this past weekend at PAX East, Dark Dreams Don't Die on PC became a reality, at least for a few days. Swery, creator of Deadly Premonition and Dark Dreams Don't Die (D...

Jonathan Holmes

4:00 AM on 03.09.2015

Headbutting for goats in Toto Temple Deluxe!

For better or worse, sometimes you just have a hankerin’ to steal a goat. Those of us at PAX East with said craving headed over to Toto Temple Deluxe, which delivered goat-stealing gameplay in a fast-paced keep-away bra...

Caitlin Cooke