Sultryminxzoe's Blog

PAX East 2010: NVIDIA GeForce GTX 400 Series April 4, 2010

As I waited patiently in the queue line for the NVIDIA Presents panel at PAX East 2010, staff came around to pass out 3D glasses. If nothing else, I knew this panel would be interesting. Drew Henry, GeForce General Manager at NVIDIA, took the stage to introduce the newest GPU series for PC gaming. The GeForce GTX 400 series graphics cards offer 3D Vision to provide a fully immersive gaming, photo and film experience. The improved technology and processing power provides smooth, realistic effects and the interactive ray tracing really amps up the photo-realism.

The crowning achievement in the GTX 400 series is the GTX 480, which boasts as many transistors as 4 Intel Quad-core i7 processors and 2x the performance of the previous GTX 200 series graphics cards. Game releases that will be optimized for 3D Vision include Battlefield: Bad Company 2, Need for Speed Shift, Metro 2033, Mafia 2 and Just Cause 2. The folks at NVIDIA are proud of this latest improvement and are happy to make gaming for the PC more enjoyable for gamers who like to blow things up. With such a large presence at PAX East, they coined this year’s motto: CRANK THAT S#!T UP!

To prove they are more than hype, NVIDIA shared game demos for Battlefield: Bad Company 2, Metro 2033 and Need for Speed, as well as World of Warcraft, to show off the 3D Vision technology. The GPUs will also ship with two built-in games to allow consumers to see what the graphics processor is capable of. Supersonic Sled allows players to set up and destroy a train test track. Zoom in and out of the landscape; create obstacles or shoot things with chickens; players can even view the track construct in a blueprint mode. Also shipping with the GPU is Design Garage, which allows players to create custom cars. Design Garage will show off the astounding detail and accuracy the GTX 400 series cards provide. The GeForce GTX 400 series GPUs will be available for purchase in mid-April 2010. Visit the NVIDIA website for more information about the GeForce GTX 400 series GPU.

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PAX East 2010: Game-play from the Show Floor

Last weekend I was one of the lucky 50,000+ gamers to attend the first PAX East event. Held at the Hynes Convention Center in Boston, Massachusetts, PAX East created a community, no, a home for like-minded geeks who like to play games. PAX East is a gaming convention, so the biggest draw was the game-play.

The 1-1/2 hour line to play the demo, clearly made Red Dead Redemption the most anticipated game of PAX East. The third person western shooter from Rockstar Games looks to redeem the disappointment players felt with Red Dead Revolver. Immediately players will be drawn in by complete and expansive landscapes. The beautiful landscapes come fully inhabited with wildlife such as coyotes, rabbits, horses and bears, all of which you can hunt, but be warned, they can hunt you too. One of the new features is Deadeye, letting the player slow time and mark targets to improve accuracy and create adrenaline-pumping shoot-outs. Look for Red Dead Redemption to be released May 18, 2010 for Xbox 360 and PS3.

Another game with a large presence was Prince of Persia: The Forgotten Sands from Ubisoft. I know what you are thinking . . . another video game/film tie-in. No need for concern, the game has no ties to the upcoming movie release. The third person adventure is reminiscent of the original Prince of Persia game and combines aspects from original game players will appreciate, such as acrobatics and classic wall-run movement, with a more powerful gaming engine and the ability to control nature for some interesting game-play. Prince of Persia: The Forgotten Sands is scheduled for release May 18, 2010 on Xbox 360, PS3 and Wii.

Perhaps war games are more your speed. Atomic Games has you in mind. With roots in creating military simulations, the company looks to put you into the action with Breach. A first person, multi-player shooter where you play as an elite member of a CIA field team – the kind the government sends in when no one can know. This game uses real world tactics. One of the most exciting features is that just about anything you can use for cover in the game, you can destroy. Shoot through brick to create the perfect sniper position, punch through ceilings to get the drop on enemies, Breach will have you looking at FPS action in a whole new way. Breach will be available exclusively for download on Xbox Live Arcade beginning July 1, 2010.

One of the things the Penny Arcade crew feels is important is giving independent game developers a voice. One way they help is by sponsoring the Indie Showcase. Indie game developers get space on the exhibit floor to demo their games as a way to get their games in your hands. With enough people talking about their games, the hope is the interest and the demand will grow.

One such game is Comic Jumper: The Adventures of Captain Smiley from Twisted Pixels. Have you ever wanted to play the superhero in a comic book? Here’s your chance. Accompanied by your snarky costume and your lovely sidekick, you will fight and shoot villains as they threaten the peace of your city. Wreak havoc on hordes of ladies as you make your way to face off against your arch-nemesis, Brad. Comic Jumper brings back a bit of nostalgia, is funny and fun to play.

Shank is another indie game that everyone, including myself, is excited for. Developed by Klei Entertainment, this is a no-holds barred, 2D, side-scrolling bloodbath. Parents, I do not recommend this game for children. If you like a hack-and-slash game, this is for you. There is not a whole lot of information out there about the lead character, but here is what you need to know. He has a score to settle, there are a lot of guys he has to kill and he is very good at killing. As far as the weaponry goes, he has pistols, a chainsaw and knives. Truly, you do not need any more, you can create more than enough damage to quench your blood thirst. The game-play is gory and fantastic. The art is simple, yet gorgeous. Shank proves you do not need over the top graphics to make a good game. Unfortunately, I did not get a released date, but keep your eyes out for Shank to be released for Xbox Live Arcade, PlayStation Network and PC.

There were, of course, many more games that graced the exhibit hall. This article is only a quick overview of the games I got to experience hands-on. One thing is sure, no matter what kind of gamer you are, there is a game being developed for you. So far, 2010 has me excited to spark up my console and upgrade my gaming PC.

 

PAX East 2010 Keynote: “Welcome Home” March 31, 2010

Players along the east coast, descended upon Boston last weekend for PAX East 2010. In the largest event of gaming solidarity to hit the east coast, gamers came together to share a common bond, frag one another in game-play, get a hands-on feel for some of the latest technology and experience for themselves soon to be released titles.

Who better to open the inaugural PAX East event than a man recognized throughout the gaming community as an Ambassador of Geekdom, Wil Wheaton. Best known to mainstream audiences as an actor and writer, Wheaton has been a gamer most of his life. As he began his speech, he recounted some of the gross misrepresentations faced when politicians and the media demonized games and the gaming industry. He also highlighted the industry’s triumph as gamers refused to sit and be silent.

In his keynote, Wheaton helmed a trip down memory lane, detailing the many faces of  games as they have evolved over the years. Sharing his own love affair with games, he emphasized the importance gaming plays beyond entertainment.

“Game are important. Games matter. PAX is where we come together to celebrate that.”

Many players are met with confusion and ridicule when outed to friends and family members that do not play, particularly those of us over the age of 25. Those that do not play games, do not understand the appeal. They do not see how the imagination is sparked, how critical thinking skills can be honed and emotional bonds can be formed simply by sitting in front of a gaming table, or console, or PC. We become the Freaks, the Geeks and the Outcasts to the “normal” people.

Wheaton’s keynote was a call to arms, a call to be inspired. His words fostered pride in our identity as gamers and strengthened the bond that players attending PAX events will share always.

“When you create something together, you are building bonds with your fellow gamers that could last you entire lives.”

Never have I heard the passion felt by gamers and the virtues of games so well extolled. For that, I thank you Wil Wheaton.

With reports coming in of attendance in excess of 50,000 gamers, not all of us could squeeze into the Main Theater for the keynote. Thanks to YouTube user Cheshyr, everyone can watch Wil Wheaton’s keynote (10 minutes at a time).

For more information about PAX East, check out the website.

If you do not currently read Wil Wheaton’s blog, do yourself a favor and go!