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Pax East 2012: The Exhibition Hall Part 2

By Shamus
on Wednesday Apr 11, 2012
Filed under:
Video Games


Our adventures at PAX East 2012 continue. Here are some of the titles I visited on the expo floor. Note that these are not listed in any meaningful order. (Mostly they’re listed in the order of the business cards and handouts I’ve got got stacked beside me.)


Sibord x Siborceru

Wait a second… according to the website this thing is called “Sword & Sworcery”? Okay then. I guess there’s no accounting for elaborately over-designed fonts.

The most interesting thing about this game is the conversation I had with the presenter, who is credited with concept, art, writing, co-lead design & direction for the game. (Ha! On a AAA title that would be like, fifty people.) I used the word “retro” to describe the graphics, and he challenged me, “Is it really retro?”

An interesting question. Yes, the design style is built around massive, massive pixels, but there’s not much “retro” about the game otherwise. It has particle effects, alpha blending, reflections, smooth scrolling, and a deep color palette. A single screenshot of the game looks strangely familiar as a type of pixel art we haven’t seen in a quarter century, but it’s not really like those old games in gameplay or presentation.

I’m sure nearly everyone is familiar with Starry Night:


If I rounded up the old-school painting supplies that Vince used in 1888 and used them to paint (say) a bit of pop-culture ephemera:


Is this really retro? Is it modern? Ironic? I dunno. It depends if you’re talking about the tools, the medium, the subject matter, or the final product. We can haggle over what is “new” and “old” all day, but the point is: This visual look wasn’t possible back in the 80’s when pixels were this big.


This game has its own ideas about style and presentation. It reminds me of the feeling I had when I played Another World for the first time and I couldn’t figure out if the visuals were old or cutting-edge. It seems to transcend the normal distinctions we make about the “tech level” of a game.

It’s described in terms of being an “adventure” game, but I’m pretty sure that’s a loose description. I don’t think it has the sort of inventory puzzles where you have to use the acorn on the hobo so he’ll give you the key to the trombone case where you can get the crowbar that you can use to break into the gas station so you can water the ficus plant so that why the hell am I still playing this game? This is more of an environmental exploration and experimentation sort of deal.

Sword & Sworcery is available now on various mobile devices, but you mobile-type people would know more about that than I do. For those of us in the PC realm, the game is slated for an April 16th release date. (Steam.)



For the second year in a row, I couldn’t play this game because I couldn’t get anywhere near the damn thing. Every time I elbowed my way over to Monaco there were four people playing, without any indication of how long their turn was, or if there was any sort of formal turn system at all. Behind them were usually four more people, who were ready to pounce on the game if the first four ever relented, and kept themselves busy in the interim by making sure their heads remained between the screen and my eyes at all times.

It’s a 4-player co-op game about pulling off heists. It has one of my all-time favorite game mechanics, which is line-of-sight based perception. This always drives home just how much you can’t see, which is good for building tension. However, I don’t know for sure. I still haven’t played it. The best I can say about Monaco is that other people seem to really, really love it.

Borderlands 2


Borderlands 2 was the darling of the show. The line for Borderlands 2 was so long that there was a line off to one side of people waiting to get into the main line. THAT line filled up the available space, and so then there were people sitting at tables who were waiting for space to open up in the secondary line area so they could get into the line to wait in line. It was madness. I think it was upwards of two hours to get to play the game for ten minutes. The line for Borderlands easily dwarfed the line for every other game, including Spec Ops: The Line, ironically enough.

Spec Ops: The Line: The Line.
Spec Ops: The Line: The Line.

I didn’t get around to playing Borderlands 2. The massive line was off-putting, and the demo machines were consoles. This was understandable, but it would have been more frustrating than fun to try and figure out how to play the game with a dual shock style controller. See, I have just shy of 300 hours clocked on Borderlands for the PC, and those hours of muscle memory would have been working against me while using thumbsticks.

Also, this is Borderlands 2 we’re talking about. It’s pretty much like the original Borderlands, only moreso. I didn’t think it was worth waiting for two hours to play a familiar game on a foreign controller.

On Sunday there was a panel for Gearbox software, and I had planned to get my Borderlands 2 fix there. For most panels, you get in line a half hour before it starts. I arrived an hour early, just to make sure. When I got there, the place was already at 100% capacity, and had been so for a long time.

The only thing I really cared about was, “Is the PC version going to have proper multiplayer, or are you going to outsource it to the horribly broken, sad, frustrating, dated, annoying, clumsy, and feature-poor Gamespy again?” I’m pretty sure I know the answer to that one, but I’d love to be proven wrong. Maybe I can send the devs some links to the various free networking solutions available on Sourceforge. There’s just no reason that PC multiplayer games should work better in 1997 than in 2012. Ludicrous.

Still, Borderlands 2 was the belle of the ball, and I know I’ll end up tolerating that ridiculous Gamespy nonsense just like everyone else.

Which I suppose makes me part of the problem.

Also, the Cookie Brigade is a group of people who go around the show floor, giving away cookies. You can donate if you like, and all the proceeds go to charity. Here are Josh and I with a member of the cookie brigade:


Comments (136)

  1. JPH says:

    Considering the amount of criticism they received for the PC port, and that they’ve already made Borderlands 1 Steamworks-enabled, something tells me Borderlands 2 is going to do its mutliplayer via Steam rather than Gamespy. That’s just my guess, though.

  2. Eric says:

    For all the money they spent on that Borderlands 2 display, Gearbox could surely have implemented a better online system than Gamespy. They recently put out a statement that they were going to put a lot more work into the PC version, but they said that for the first game, too.

  3. Victor says:

    You know, you seem to have put quite a lot of effort into “artistic photo composition” for PAX. Did you have some sort of pre-convention photo-trolling game plan, or did you come up with all of these on the fly?

  4. Dante says:

    Shamus, you’re a horrible tease.

  5. McNutcase says:

    My contention that Josh looks like me, but with shorter hair, remains valid! Although I’ve seen no evidence that Josh is bespectacled.

  6. Daemian Lucifer says:

    But isnt the definition of retro graphics when you use modern tools to emulate the graphic style of the olden days?Sure it may have bling blanging,but its the style that matters,not the technology behind it.

    • Sumanai says:

      I think it depends on what is meant. Which is kind of a problem since language exists so you can tell others what you mean.

      It could be meant as a “it uses visual styles akin to games of yore” it can still mean several things. 2D sprites? Sure. Alpha blending? Likely, but necessarily. 2D particle effects? Depends on who you ask.

      For you it’s definitely retro. Me? I don’t know. I just call that pixelated and hope no-one starts an argument over how “pixelated” actually means taking a high resolution picture and downscaling it to low resolutions or something.

      • Exactly. In this case it was pretty much ONLY using pixel art rather than all the other aspects of games of yore. As an artist it was very interesting to talk with this guy and see what his perspective was. He was actually very much into aesthetics (even had a ton of focus on the music and having the music on a record album rather than one of those new fangled shiny discs you children use these days.)

        • Sumanai says:

          Ooh. For a reason I haven’t been able to pinpoint I really like records. If I had the space I’d get a record player. The only available flat space is on top of an amplifier (don’t know if that’s the correct word for it) and it gets pretty hot even with nothing on it.

          I meant to say at that one point: “Likely, but not necessarily.”

          • We might possibly have 2 record players. I collected for years and worked for a record/tape resell shop prior to CDs. Still love my old records though honestly I am just waiting to get them all as mp3 as I am tired of lugging them around. My real thing with them is the cover art…kind of obsessed with it really or was for a very long time.

            • Sumanai says:

              I just remembered one thing. A few years back I had to fix a record player from the library. The culprit was likely this idiot who used it for scratching a public library record. When caught he said “it doesn’t damage the vinyl”, which raises the question of if true, why didn’t he buy his own and use that?

              Anyway, a couple of days later someone tried to use it and it didn’t work. A rubber band inside the player that was between the turntable and the motor had broken.

              As a bonus I got to test it and ran into this classical album containing violin concertos. And all was good.

          • Lalaland says:

            It’s all that lovely uncompressed bass that you do so love. Redbook audio (CD audio codec) is pretty hard on low end frequencies which is why electronica continues to be a vinyl based scene. MP3 is even worse in this regard.

            I also loved the album art that the larger format of vinyl covers allow, my parents owned a fair few original prog rock albums (Court of the Crimson King, The Wall, etc) and damned if I wasn’t fascinated by them as a child. The better electronica acts still release good vinyl editions with all that album art goodness but really the artform died with the CD. Even the smaller singles had some great stuff, the Beatles ‘Magical Mystery Tour’ EP has a brilliant funny little book and the vinyl sleeves have an awesome advertisement comic for a hair dryer.

            • Shamus says:

              “Long Distance Traveler” by the Moody Blues is still my favorite album cover of all time. I must have spent hours staring at that thing. I prefer the convenience of modern music delivery, but I’ll always miss those vinyl covers. Not all of them were great, but when they were good they were really good.

            • Victor says:

              That reminds me of Queen’s “A Night at the Opera” album cover. For some reason, it always stuck in my mind, since I was 7 or 8 and I first saw it.

            • ccesarano says:

              Excellent album art isn’t dead. It’s just focused more on non-pop based media where imagery is an important aspect of the music.

              Similarly, Vinyl actually seems to be getting a bigger following these days. Slowly, but it’s getting it. I got my friend a vinyl album for Christmas because it has the best sound quality overall, and evidently each record of the album had an image printed on it. So while they’re always sort of “limited release”, special care is taken in them.

              Evidently there are also some hardcore death metal bands that ONLY release in vinyl, and the record will come with a download code to get it on MP3.

              • Sumanai says:

                There was a Finnish band that played a sort of old style Estonian/Karelian/etc. music (even the band members had a difficulty nailing it down) in a local bar here once and they had vinyls of their album with them. I cursed at the fact that I was tight on cash and without a player so only bought a CD.

    • Alex says:

      That’s a good point, actually. I mean, graphics weren’t “retro” in the Super NES days. Those were state-of-the-art for the time. I suppose if it’s just a term we apply to anything outdated, then all things are retro.

      Which, I guess means that someday light bloom and brown will be considered an antique novelty of a bygone age.

  7. MichaelG says:


    “Sibord x Siborceru” took your advice Shamus:

    “I noticed the pixels in your game are really tiny. Have you thought about making them bigger? Like in some newer games?”

  8. Deadpool says:

    To be fair, the Borderlands booth was pretty disappointing. Not the GAME mind you, it was pretty awesome. The booth set up.

    There was no set up. You’re in the middle of a map, half way through a quest with no context or anything. None of the cute, funny things that the game is so well known for.

    The game was set up in groups of two and not four, which made no sense to me. Loot drops were mild (i.e. normal) which meant the game showed off little of the bazillion of guns.

    Only complaint in gameplay I had was Phaselock was kinda short… Seems great when you have four players DPSing an enemy, but if playing alone it seems barely useful… Oh well…

    PS: Unrelated but…


    I would LOVE to read your analysis of that game…

    • Lovecrafter says:

      I would love to see Dark Souls as a season on Spoiler Warning. Think of the stuff Josh could pull off with his game-breaking talent.

      • Kdansky says:

        There is a fair amount of bugs in Dark Souls, and you just can’t feel bad about abusing them if you happen to profit (I killed at least two bosses with a bow + hundreds of cheap arrows from a spot where their pathing didn’t get to). There are also some where the bug results in YOU DIED.

        Though the only bug that *really* bothered me was when the PS3 wireless controller lost a few packets, and my character dodged half a second after me pressing the button. That also results in YOU DIED in most cases, as you first get hit (because you’re standing still) and then you dodge right into the next attack.

      • Victor says:

        Yes! That would be great. Or we graduate from “Stop shooting me!” straight to “Stop killing me!”. Either way, it would be really interesting.

        • Deadpool says:

          Funny as THAT would be, I think a week of Dark Soul highlights (like the Amnenisia special) would be best. There isn’t much to talk about in the game… Not the most engaging game to WATCH y’know…

    • Kdansky says:

      There is nothing masochistic about Dark Souls. It’s a huge enjoyment throughout. People who claim that have no idea what they are talking about.

      • Deadpool says:

        Oh I LOVED Demon’s Souls, one of my all time favorite games. Dark Souls is just more of the same.

        It’s just SO very different from anything Shamus has ever talked about that I have no idea how he’d feel about it, hence the curiosity.

        • SolkaTruesilver says:

          The best definition I would give is “Harsh, but fair”.

          Meaning that the mechanics might really screw you at time, but they will equally screw the AI in return if you can play well.

      • SougoXIII says:

        I haven’t played Dark Souls for the reason that I hated Demon Souls. Actually, the only one thing I hate about Demon Souls is its death penalty. It is the most ridiculous example of ‘Do it again stupid!’ that I can think of. So if Dark Souls’ death penalty was anything like Demon Souls then I would have to say: ‘Yes, you’re probably a masochist.’

        • Deadpool says:

          I get that but…

          D-Souls is a game where every single feature is in there for a single purpose. From the combat, to the death penalty, to the online features, to the story, EVERYTHING is there to create this lonely, scary, opressive atmosphere…

          It’s a game that gets ambience and immersion down to an art form…

          The death penalty is a nescessity. It’s hard to be scared when death only sets you back five seconds…

          • SougoXIII says:

            I certainly agree with your point. The problem with the death penalty is that the game pretty much require you to die at some point. After a while it seems that the game was just putting up hurdles between me and the thing that killed me.

            At that realization, Demons Souls cease to be challenging or oppressive to me. It was just downright frustrating.

            • Deadpool says:

              Actually, once I learned that I had to be careful and paranoid at every turn, I died a LOT less often.

              Also, between the shortcuts and the corpse runs, most deaths aren’t as punishiing as most people think. Sure, I’ve had 100,000 soul losses, but those were rare… And generally involved my rushing and being less careful.

    • ccesarano says:

      I think the better question is whether anyone has the patience for Dark Souls. I plugged five hours into the game and still couldn’t beat the first boss (that Taurus guy) because I kept getting tangled in his feet or some crap.

      People say “harsh but fair”, but I say “Jesus Christ power these guys down a bit, please”. It’s fun, sure, but it’s easy to get bored of it if you’re not the stubborn sort. I’ll get back to it, but for now, I’m playing other games instead.

      Games that don’t actively want to kill me.

    • burningdragoon says:

      I so second Shamus playing/analyzing/cursing at Dark Souls! Although it would mean wrestling with GFWL as well and we know how he feels about that. Kinda fitting really, in a meta way.

      Seriously Shamus, I love Dark (and Demon’s) Souls so much, I would buy you a copy if you were interested.

  9. Tuck says:

    Note that Josh is NOT wearing a suit, as appeared to be the case from the last photo. So he is not Vincent Vega after all. :(

  10. Chad says:

    All this focus on Josh, and all I want to know is “What is Shamus holding?”

  11. CalDazar says:

    Will we be seeing progressively more of Josh as these articles go by?

  12. Uberphish says:

    Just a quick note, but there has been some word that Gearbox is making Borderlands 2 much more PC-friendly, as detailed by this lovely love-letter sent to the PC Gamer community (as a single entity) by the ever-talkative Claptrap:


    No telling whether or not they’ll live up to it, but it was a funny attempt regardless.

    • Kdansky says:

      There is also a “feature list” that goes with this letter. It contains a long list of features, like “configurable controls”, “configurable FoV”, “able to join matches in progress”, “works on 4:3 screens” and so on…

      You know, Quake 1 easily satisfies about 15/20 bullet points on that list, mostly because the other 5 have not been invented then, such as achievements or push to talk.

      • Sumanai says:

        I haven’t really bothered with the list itself, since it’s really just marketing at this point. There’s no point in believing they’ll actually follow through even if the talk about them promising these things for Borderlands 1 are false.

        The only thing that interests me is that it seems like an efficient piece of marketing and that they didn’t seem to be promising “configurable Claptrap annoyance levels”. But maybe I should check the list just in case it is there.

    • robo9 says:

      Here’s a link to that “love letter” on the actual Borderlands 2 site:


  13. Hal says:

    By “multiple mobile platforms,” you must mean “iPhone,” because it’s not available on Android. Not that their webpage is any help. Yeesh.

    Re: The Line picture
    “Hey baby, wanna ‘cross the line’ with me?”

    • CTrees! says:

      Hey, that includes iPhone, iPad, and iPod Touch!

      Less sarcastically, a quote from their website: “Sorry, there are zero plans to support any non-Apple touchtronic machinery. Note: This is not an ideological decision – open platforms are totally cool, after all – this decision is purely a question of logistics.”

      Sooo… um… they’re porting to PC and to Mac OS already, but Android, with it’s ultra-low barrier to entry/impulse-buy-centric purchase system is… somehow unrealistic? I honestly don’t understand this.

      I wanted it for Android, would have settle for PC, but given this, I’m seriously annoyed enough that I’m going to not buy it for PC. I don’t care if it’s an indie trying something new, I’m PO’ed

      • X2Eliah says:

        Sooo… um… they're porting to PC and to Mac OS already, but Android, with it's ultra-low barrier to entry/impulse-buy-centric purchase system is… somehow unrealistic?

        Yes, because it doesn’t matter what Android is for the customer, it matters what Android is for the dev. Maybe porting over to Android is too much trouble.

        • Sumanai says:

          It does matter what Android is for the customer, even to the developer. Customer’s experiences with a platform affect their purchase habits on the platform itself and therefore affect the sales of content and services put on the platform. This “what is good for the customer is not in anyway related to what is good for the company” thinking needs to go.

          I can’t really get into specifics in this particular case since I haven’t followed the mobile market much. From CTrees comment it sounds like they’re not porting to Android or WP7 because they’re simply not interested, but don’t have the honesty to come and say it.

          The real reason could be that they need people working on another game or porting to the PC, but they could’ve just as easily prioritised Android/WP7 versions over the PC.

          Edit: I think the real reason is that no-one in the group has any experience with non-Apple smartphones.

          I don’t know. It just sounds like marketing BS instead of an indie saying what the situation is.

          • CTrees! says:

            “It just sounds like marketing BS instead of an indie saying what the situation is.”

            This is exactly what it sounded like to me. The paragraph immediately following my cite of their site was pre-coffee mumbling, but my last paragraph… It’s the “marketing BS” feel that’s irked me enough to decide not to get the game. Come on, guys, you’re an indie developer. If you don’t have people experienced in developing for Android, tell us! Don’t vaguely note market logistics when you’re already going to three different environments and started mobile.

          • Stranger says:

            . . . isn’t Android a little problematic?

            From what I recall hearing (and this is all just stuff I had explained to me, mind you, by people who know more) . . . Android vs iOS is a problem as such – iOS updates across products at a fairly even pace, and there is only one company and one hardware manufacturer to decide how it is implemented between software/OS and hardware.

            Android has half a dozen at the least. Each handheld unit which uses Android may not (or more likely, cannot) upgrade unless the company who produced the device says so. It is more likely for something “released on Android” not to work across a slice of devices due to this rather than “released on iOS” not working.

            The tale I recall is someone very vocally complaining that they bought a new smart-phone, and a month later there was an Android version update which wasn’t offered for that model of phone. When he asked at his service provider, they passed him on to the manufacturer. After doing research, he related most of the above to me and decided phone apps are for suckers.

            “If you want mobile gaming, either iPad or laptop.”

            • CTrees! says:

              Er, yes, I’ve actually been annoyed by a variation of that. I have a tablet running Ice Cream Sandwich, which actually breaks some apps which work under Honeycomb. So I can use them on my phone, but not the VASTLY more powerful tablet.

              which would be a perfectly reasonable thing to for the developer to tell us

              • Stranger says:

                . . . isn’t that what they said, though? I mean, that’s the thing that came to mind when I read the statement.

                Mind you, I own an iPad so you are free to discount my opinion :) (Though I’ll append a note: I did not purchase it, did not choose to purchase it, it was a gift and so I learned more about it and iOS as much as I could stand.)

                I’m still sort of peeved at ArenaNet for deciding Mac OSX wasn’t something they wanted to support for their games :P I also can’t play Terraria unless I Boot Camp. The door does swing both ways, on OS branding.

                • Sumanai says:

                  Since you might not notice that I’ve responded below:

                  That’s not what they’re saying. It might be what they meant, I could easily believe that since it can be interpreted like that, but it’s still not what was being said. PR is tricky, people get paid for it for a good reason.

                  One of the reasons why you didn’t take it badly could be because you’re not “hurt” by it. You can play the game on your chosen platform, so you’re reading it in an indifferent state of mind instead of disappointed or otherwise negative mood.

                  That’s just one possible reason, but if I get into coming up with more of them I might end up sitting here for two hours writing them down.

                  • Sumanai says:

                    I did buy Sword and Sworcery, however. People do this sort of thing constantly (wording things badly) when no-one else is around to keep them in check. Since there’s only one creator, something “bad” was bound to happen.

                    I mean, he’s no Phil Fish.

            • Android’s open platform leads to a huge variety of software/hardware configurations in active service. Android is spread across Froyo, Gingerbread, Honeycomb, and Ice Cream Sandwich, on an even greater range of hardware. On my Gingerbread-running HTC Incredible, lots of software labeled “compatible” fails to run, runs poorly, or crashes my phone, all due to something different about my hardware or the software I’m running.

              Apple’s mentality of abandoning the old to focus on the new means that it’s perfectly acceptable to develop for only iOS5. The limited hardware options similarly means there is little variation, and it’s easier to account for what differences there are.

              There is also the fact that Android users, generally speaking, buy far less than iOS users. The free, open platform has in this case lead to more free apps and more piracy. So that could also easily discourage a developer.

              • CTrees! says:

                Though you know… if they’re porting to Windows? The number of versions, hardware configurations, screen resolutions, etc. blows the variation in Android out of the water. I just have some trouble buying this argument when I see it, because, Windows.

                • Lalaland says:

                  But the raw power of the PC platform allows the developer to ignore a lot of issues relating to screen size, resolution, etc. The limited power on tap in a smartphone is divvied up six ways from Sunday and even minor variations can really screw with your compatibility.

                  When it comes to mobile performance you either fix your target on a single platform (iOS) or you work with Android only to discover that you’re really dealing with several environments at once. I don’t own any iOS devices myself but I’ve worked on promoting another mobile platform and heard these issues from developers first hand. They’re not kidding for a small team of a dozen or so people Android is just too much of a headache as alas was the platform I was promoting (but for other reasons).

                  I’ve squeezed Android 4.0 (aka Ice Cream Sandwich) onto my HP Touchpad via those awesome people at CyanogenMod and even with that I struggle to find apps that are A) designed for tablets or B) scale well.

                  • Sumanai says:

                    Couple of things: One, what about Windows Phone 7? And two, it would’ve still been better that they would’ve avoided executive jargon and just said in plain English that they don’t have anyone who is capable of porting the game to Android or WP7.

                    No talk about how hard it is to make an Android version since that is a surefire way of getting people to think you’re just whining. Even, or especially, if it’s true.

                    I have two HTC phones, Hero and Desire Z (or something).

                    Hero is all around crap, not the least because I had to install CyanogenMod for it and that particular version of it is buggy. I had to install it because Hero is so old you can’t get a newer version of Android on it elsewhere and the one provided by CyanogenMod is the most used one by software.

                    Desire Z is okay. It also happens to have a buggy version of CyanogenMod, but that’s because I haven’t gotten around to either updating it or changing to another one.

                    Yet I haven’t had a lot of difficulty with software. I don’t know how they fare against the Iphone. Maybe they “just work” so much of the time that an Android phone would feel clunky afterwards, but I’m cynical. I’ve heard enough complaints about Apple’s quality control regarding the Appstore that I suspect a lot of it is a matter of image.

                    • Sumanai says:

                      Oh, right: HTC Hero has a trackball. It’s kind of nice. I don’t like fondling balls (his words) as much as Stephen Fry, but it was nice.

              • Hal says:

                Are we talking about operating systems or dessert?

                Also, isn’t anybody else amused by the guy hitting on the clearly uninterested lady in “The Line” picture?

                • Sumanai says:

                  I’ve seen guys take that stance when talking with their girlfriends, friends, sisters, cousins etc. I think it’s a sign of the dude being overprotective. So he might not be hitting on her.

      • Wolverine says:

        As I understand it, game development for Android (and especially porting from iOS) is tricky in that there are number of possible resolutions, aspect ratios, controls etc. while iOS is more or less unified. Depending on the implementation, it could require rewriting of entire code to make it work on Android…

        • Sumanai says:

          I’m pretty sure you can’t just compile iOS code for an Anrdoid, but I don’t think you can do that for Windows versions either. So a rewrite would be on the cards anyway.

          But as was mentioned, the issue is that what they’re saying comes off as insincere, not that they’re not making an Android version.

          • Sumanai says:

            Also you need to consider various resolutions and aspect rations for Windows version as well. Of course you can just letterbox things, but I don’t really see why you couldn’t do that on the Android.

            Now that I’ve thought about it I’m feeling kind of worried about the Windows version, since if the varying screen sizes and rations are the reason why there won’t be an Android or WP7 version, that means having a fixed resolution for the PC. And I’m not too thrilled about that.

            I doubt controls are an issue in iOS-Android shift since most games only really use the touchscreen and most, if not all, current Android phones have multitouch.

            • Sumanai says:

              Bought and played the first session (part, segment, whatever) and from what I can tell the varying screen resolution was not the problem. Also it only uses the mouse, from what I can tell, which isn’t surprising since Apple’s devices don’t really have usable buttons either (got to test the new Ipad some time ago).

              From what I can tell the only reason Sword & Sworcery is not coming to Android or WP7 is because the creator has no experience with either and no time or interest to learn. So it’s a pity he didn’t just say that from the get go.

  14. Mumbles says:

    I played Monaco once. I punched a guy in the face in the middle of it.

  15. SolkaTruesilver says:

    It kinda make sense no online picture of Josh have to exist. Otherwise, he’d be too easy to track down by the Terminators and he would never be able to give birth to John Connor.

  16. Airsoft says:

    In their pc love letter didn’t they say no gamespy? and i love how much effort you went to too get pictures of josh without his face, classic.

  17. ccesarano says:

    I didn't get around to playing Borderlands 2. The massive line was off-putting, and the demo machines were consoles. This was understandable, but it would have been more frustrating than fun to try and figure out how to play the game with a dual shock style controller. See, I have just shy of 300 hours clocked on Borderlands for the PC, and those hours of muscle memory would have been working against me while using thumbsticks.

    Interesting. One of the reasons I didn’t give Natural Selection 2 a try (even though it looks totally awesome) was the fact that I saw all the keyboards and mice and I just thought about how uncomfortable it looked. I suddenly remembered all the times I played at LANs at my College and while the games were fun, I was always haunted by the fact that I just did not find the keyboard and mouse were comfortable.

    I honestly regret it now, as it was actually a game I was looking forward to trying. I didn’t pass by until Sunday, though, and by then I was getting rather tired of lines, especially since I wanted to use my time as best as possible before I had to catch my train.

    • burningdragoon says:

      Was Natural Selection 2 the one about Dinosaurs vs Humans or the other one with Dinosaurs (other than Dinosaurs Go Home or w/e the indie game was)? Either way that’s pretty much how I felt about pretty much all of the keyboard games. I had a chance to play the Dinosaurs vs Humans one but didn’t because of that. I played one indie keyboard/PC game and I was so terrible at it I felt a little embarrassed.

      • ccesarano says:

        There was some sort of dinosaurs game there, yeah, but I had no idea what it was. Natural Selection was more along the lines of big aliens against humans. I don’t really know how to describe it better than that. Evidently it allows some people to play Commander like it’s an RTS. Right next to it was a station that looked like Custom Gaming PC’s, and that seemed to be demoing some sort of game where people were running around as dinosaurs.

  18. burningdragoon says:

    I played Monaco for a amount of time. It was fun… I think. None of us really knew what we were doing. One of the beginner/practice levels gave us guns. I don’t remember if it was me or someone else who was the first to straight murder a guard for no reason, but that was amusing. “Oh look a guar- *BLAMMO*”

    I didn’t play BLT either, but I did get to say hi to Mikey Nuemann.

    Also, they must of emphasized “The Line” so much on purpose. How could you not see how funny that would be?

  19. Drew says:

    Shamus: Next time at PAX, follow @pax_lines. That way, you’ll know when you’re going to need to hustle to get to a panel. They give updates on lines that are filling up and when so you have an idea of what you need to know.

    For the Gearbox:

    1:33 PM – Now lining up Gearbox at the Manticore. Spots are going to fill very quickly! Starts at 4:30
    2:07 PM – Still plenty of space for the Gearbox panel at the manticore…
    2:42 PM – Gearbox at the Manticore is half full!
    3:03 PM – Gearbox at the Manticore has about 250 seats left. Head there if you want to attend!
    3:33 PM – Manticore 4PM Gearbox panel is now full!

    Now there’s some inconsistency there about what time it started, but at any rate, @PAX_Lines is totally useful. It lets you know when you have to hurry somewhere, but also when you don’t have to hurry somewhere, which is also pretty useful.

  20. X2Eliah says:

    The only thing I really cared about was, “Is the PC version going to have proper multiplayer, or are you going to outsource it to the horribly broken, sad, frustrating, dated, annoying, clumsy, and feature-poor Gamespy again?” I'm pretty sure I know the answer to that one, but I'd love to be proven wrong. Maybe I can send the devs some links to the various free networking solutions available on Sourceforge. There's just no reason that PC multiplayer games should work better in 1997 than in 2012. Ludicrous.

    And not spending 2 minutes on google before ranting is not ludicrous? Ehh..
    Sigh, whatever, I already said something to just that effect a while ago and you blasted me about it.
    Anyway, glad to see you are at least keeping consistent, Shamus ;)

    • Shamus says:

      I explained to you why it wasn’t as simple as that, and you acted like you suddenly couldn’t read what I wrote, so I’m glad you’re being consistent too.


      I actually googled a LOT of stuff for the above article. Something like this takes hours. Some facts seem obvious, some points seem obvious, so I don’t google those. 99% of the time I’m right, and the other 1%, people are usually nice enough to correct me without being indignant and entitled about it.

      • Shamus says:

        I still can’t find a definitive yes / no on Gamespy. This is the closest I’ve come:


        Of course, the first game “used Steamworks” for cheevos and such, but was still saddled with Gamespy for the actual multiplayer connection.

        We looked at the new Civ V expansion at PAX. The first thing on the screen was “Powered by GAMESPY”. As I said in the article, I’d love to be proven wrong here, but as far as I can tell it’s all hints and guesses. If someone has a final word I’d be happy to update the article.

        • Sumanai says:

          I don’t think anyone has a final word before the game is actually released. And that includes Gearbox, since there’s no particular reason to trust them.

          That is, as a consumer I shouldn’t take everything said by a company as fact until after there’s proof, unless the company has a history of honesty and reliability.

          I know that if they do use Gamespy I’m not buying. I might try it single player at a friends place, but nothing beyond that. I spent enough time cursing at networking problems with Magicka, I don’t need to spend more with Borderlands 2.

          Edit: That includes using VPN. I’m not installing Hamachi again, and I don’t know of any other that tends to work without issues.

      • X2Eliah says:

        Glad we’re both consistently classy, then. Not sure what else there is to say – we just have different opinions on this and that’s that.

  21. Ransim says:

    Hey Shamus, glad to see you ran into one of our elusive brigadiers at PAX. That is VThornHeart, our fearless leader. We raised over 13k+ at PAX East this year.

    Couple questions:

    1. Can I re-post the picture with a link back on our Google + Page?

    2. That link you posted for the Brigade is sadly old and we haven’t been able to convince the older member to take it down. The correct URL is http://www.cookie-brigade.com, would you mind updating it?

    We also have an entry on the PAX Community Wiki, and we’re active on twitter @cookie_brigade.


  22. Ravens Cry says:

    Speaking of retro, I was amused by a Flash retro clone of Asteroids. It had some nice touches like ye olde electronica sound effects and a sound of a coin been dropped in a slot when you pressed start.
    What was funny was that it emulated that blocky raster graphics style that tells people ‘It’s retro!’, when the original Asteroids arcade game used vector art, which was much, much smoother looking.
    It was emulating a past that didn’t exist, at least for the arcade game.

  23. elias says:

    Jeez, why don’t you change the blog title to “Photos of Josh” already.

    : P

  24. Jokerman says:

    My screen is too dark i think, but is Shamus putting his hand in josh’s pocket? You can out grenade pickpocket the master…silly Shamus.

  25. noahpocalypse says:

    I see that smug little grin there, Shamus. You planned this. Your expression and stance, and the look on the cookie dude’s face- you did this on purpose. You… you monster. (<– read in Glados voice)

    Frickin' genius.

  26. LunaticFringe says:

    That’s not Josh, that’s clearly the lower half of Will Whedon’s face.

    • Syal says:

      You have effectively convinced me that the real Josh is actually directly behind the Cookie Brigade guy.

      This resurrects my hypothesis that Josh is in fact a Demon Knight.

      • LunaticFringe says:

        I currently subscribe to the ‘Josh is actually just a figment of Shamus’ mind brought on by multiple personality disorder’ theory. Josh represents Shamus’ inner urge to completely break games and defy all logic. He also used to have one called ‘Randy’ that vanished after the doctors changed his medication. I know what you’re thinking, how can Shamus and Josh talk at the same time in videos? Simple, Shamus is a ventriloquist. It all makes sense.

        • Bubble181 says:

          Josh is standing right next to Shamus, on his right. In front of that “line starts here” board. Unfortunately, he’s a vampire of the non-sparkling variety, and cannot be captured on film.

    • Peter H. Coffin says:

      I was, not 20 minutes ago, listening to a couple of Wil interviews at various events. Josh and Wil…. don’t sound all that different when just shooting the breeze. I wouldn’t rule out the possibility that you won’t see the two of them in the same room.

  27. Nic says:

    Just finished playing Sword and Sworcery on Steam. Loved every minute of the 4 hours it took. And the soundtrack comes free with the download!

    And to answer your completely rhetorical question, an oil painting of Duke Nukem Forever would be modern art… and pretty insufferable modern art at that :-P.

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