Category: Video Game News

The Penny Arcade Expo (PAX) came and went, but my, what a wonderful time it was. This will serve as an exclusive look into how I spent my PAX weekend.

Going in, I had two primary goals. Network as a content creator, and have fun as a consumer. It’s often hard to find a balance between the two, but without the pressure of being an exhibitor I was able to achieve that.


The show floor in its glory!

The show floor in its glory! A true celebration of Game Culture!

The good thing about these sort of conventions/expos is that you always get a feel for the sort of climate and direction that this industry faces. For instance, this year at PAX East two very prominent themes were virtual reality and multiplayer.

For VR, it’s obvious that with consumer versions of the Oculus and HTC Vive now being available, developers are getting all over the new medium. Even my school, Southern New Hampshire University (SNHU) had an HTC Vive demo available to play. The Playstation booth had appointment only sessions with Playstation VR. Unfortunately, with limited time and quite a bit of ground to cover, I had to miss out on that experience.

From left to right, Jeremy, Myself, D.Va, James, Tracer.

From left to right, Jeremy, Myself, D.Va, James, Tracer.

If there were ever one company that you could say honestly knows how to take PAX by its horns and ride it for miles, it’s Blizzard. Every year they do something spectacular and attention drawing, and this year was no different. On many fronts, Blizzard exhibited some super interesting projects in the works, as well as keeping the emphasis strong on their pre-existing titles such as Hearthstone and World of Warcraft. One panel I went to was actually focused in its entirety on the upcoming Warcraft film. We got a special inside look at the upcoming film, and got to have a Q&A with the director where we were able to figure out his direction, as well as his sense of very deep obligation to keeping the franchise’s sanctity while still following his instinct as a film creator. At the end we got a never before seen trailer which really showcased these beautiful sets and incredible action sequences. I had never seen anything quite like it, and after attending that panel, I am fully convinced that Warcraft may be the first truly amazing video game movie. It’s a large cross to bare for certain, but if that goal could be achieved, it would pave the way for generations of fantastic film storytelling for games.

Elder Scrolls Legends made its debut at this stunning booth.

Elder Scrolls Legends made its debut at this stunning booth.

Perhaps the biggest thing Blizzard had going for them this year was the Overwatch booth. For those who weren’t crazy about long lines, with a lot of ground to cover, there was immediate satisfaction in seeing the incredible Blizzard sanctioned cosplay of many of Overwatch’s unique characters. But that’s not all. They managed to cram two huge decked out cars into the show floor as well. Their booth was simply incredible. Some friends and I actually got to chat with the cosplayer for Tracer for a little bit towards the show’s closing time. After that discussion it was clear to me, that Blizzard above all else, knows their audience, and has a marketing team most companies could only dream of.

Blizzard aside, Bethesda actually had quite a bit going on too. Showing off Doom, which has been a title of excitement for many dating back to last E3, though hype died down quite a bit after the multiplayer beta. Perhaps the more exciting game was Elder Scrolls: Legends, which had just been unveiled a mere day or two prior. This Elder Scrolls spinoff title seems to be heavily inspired by Hearthstone. Despite this, the game seems to be foregoing the deceptively simple marketing approach and wishes to create a complex digital card game experience using the Elder Scrolls IP.

Of course, I wouldn’t be me if I didn’t stop by the Nintendo booth. There were many interesting titles there, from Metroid Prime: Federation Force, to Kirby: Planet Robobot, and the new Star Fox. Star Fox Zero was the main title of the show, given that it launched that very weekend. Perhaps my most interesting Nintendo game from the show was actually Tokyo Mirage Sessions #FE. Shin Megami Tensei X Fire Emblem has reached its final form in this musically themed RPG. It was without a doubt one of the most unique games at PAX this year.

Rocking my Luigi hat between Kit and Krysta from Nintendo Minute!

Rocking my Luigi hat between Kit and Krysta from Nintendo Minute!

My experience at the Nintendo Booth was much more exciting than I expected however! While waiting in line to play Tokyo Mirage Sessions, I was asked to be on Nintendo Minute. Which for me, was a really big deal! I got to answer trivia questions about Nintendo IP’s such as Kirby, Star Fox, and Metroid. Some of the questions were genuinely tricky even for an aficionado like myself. I also won a cool Mario lanyard. I don’t know how they guessed I was a Nintendo fan. To see me on Nintendo Minute, click here.

Now onto the indies! I saw three titles in particular that I’m interested in highlighting.

Moon Hunters, which I plan to write a full article on, is an RPG personality test. That’s right. I just said that. The game brings you through trying combat scenarios and guages your personality based on the way you resolve conflicts. Hands down the most interesting game I played.

Bacon Man, which I already highlighted in a previous article. If you’d like to read more on Bacon Man click here.

Another game I got to see was Due Process. I actually got to talk with the lead animator about this game, and it was incredible. While I’m not much for tactical shooters myself (I lack the coordination) I found the games concept to be very unique. So much goes into planning each phase of combat, making it arguably one of the more intellectually demanding shooters I’ve seen.

That about concludes the exciting stuff I got to see and do at PAX! For more exclusive coverage of events like PAX, keep reading, and stay tuned for more from the GAME ROOM!!!


Skymap Games has been developing the independent title “Bacon Man” for some time now, and with the game nearing its completion, Neal Laurenza agreed to be interviewed by me, Mustapha Price, to afford him the opportunity to highlight some of the game’s defining traits, as well as share some insight on the development process and the team’s overall experience.

The Quirky visual style is one of Bacon Man's many highlights.

The Quirky visual style is one of Bacon Man’s many highlights.

When asked to highlight features that Bacon Man offered that gamers could not find elsewhere, Laurenza confidently delivered those three things without hesitation. “Bacon Man offers a sense of humor that dates back to Ren and Stimpy…a lot of games can be funny, but not in a way that is subtle and maniacal.”

“Bacon Man” is an action-platformer where players control the wide-smiled Bacon Man as he travels the land hoping to reclaim his stolen throne. The complex platforming style of this game calls back to such familiar classics as “Mega Man X” and “Super Mario Bros” while also managing to forge a unique style of its own. Laurenza says, “Bacon Man will offer complex controls, but will not hold your hand. Bacon Man encourages the unique combination of exploring the world, and exploring mechanics.”

Neal Laurenza of Skymap Games with the Bacon Man booth at PAX East.

Neal Laurenza of Skymap Games with the Bacon Man booth at PAX East.

Another unique aspect of “Bacon Man”, is that the developers at Skymap chose to forego the option to add online multiplayer. Local multiplayer will be included as an all but primary feature in the game. When asked about the decision to remove online play, Laurenza said, “There is a disconnect when you cannot turn to your friend and see their teary eyes. We’re big believers in keeping that competitive element.”

Being at the heart of the Penny Arcade Expo (PAX) season, the stressful yet rewarding process of preparing a booth is all too familiar to the developers at Skymap. In preparation, Laurenza gathered a group of Southern New Hampshire University Game Design students to test the demo, and track down in game glitches and bugs so they can be removed in time for the expo.

“A successful PAX is a lot of things to a lot of different people,” Laurenza says. His team will be trying to find a healthy medium between media attention, and the approval of the consumer. They are also exploring the middleground element that makes up consumer media, such as YouTube and other social media platforms.

“Bacon Man” is going to launch in 2016 on Steam, Xbox One, and one other platform that has yet to be announced. Stay tuned for more details. Special thanks to Neal Laurenza for taking time to interview with me! For more EXCLUSIVE indie interviews and more coverage stay tuned for more from the GAME ROOM!!!

Even before the Electronic Entertainment Expo (E3) gamer hype is at an all-time high during the summer. This is due to high profile launches, that a lot of industry analysts would call “system sellers” as they can drive home console sales in ways that most other titles simply cannot. The following are some must-buy games launching over the summer to keep you occupied and having a great vacation.

This starts on May 10 with the launch of “Uncharted 4: A Thief’s End”, which will utilize the unique yet somewhat traditional development style of Naughty Dog, to create an immersive 3rd person adventure experience, starring Nathan Drake.

This title, intended to be the final game in the critically acclaimed series, is an effective example of interactive storytelling and immersive world-building despite being in an already realistic and established setting.

Drake returns for one last adventure by Naughty Dog!

Drake returns for one last adventure by Naughty Dog!

A mere three days later on May 13 Bethesda launches the long awaited title “Doom” which is a first person shooter action game that reboots the genre’s pioneer series. This action game puts a major emphasis on destruction, cathartic violence, and fantastical gore. While these elements may be a turnoff to some players, others will find solace in a game that stays true to its roots with a trusted developer like Id Software keeping everything in order.

On May 24, Blizzard Entertainment, the developer behind the “Warcraft” franchise will be releasing their first person shooter “Overwatch”. “Overwatch” combines the team elements found in a game like “Team Fortress 2” with the over the top antics that can sometimes be associated with Blizzard. All in all this is shaping up to be one of the summer’s biggest releases. The open beta took place over the course of the last week, and reception was so strong that Blizzard extended the beta by an extra day. This over the top shooter had an incredible presence at the Penny Arcade Expo (PAX East) and reception has been all but unprecedented.

Overwatch's Tracer strikes an awesome pose!

Overwatch’s Tracer strikes an awesome pose!

Also on May 24, the long awaited sequel to the first person parkour-esque platformer Mirror’s Edge will arrive. Mirror’s Edge Catalyst will take things to the next level with new technology and hopefully even more fresh and progressive storytelling. Originally set to release in February, this game’s delay can only mean that the developers took the right amount of time to see to a truly polished final product.

Jun. 10 brings a new installment to a popular series. “Kirby: Planet Robobot” is a side scrolling action platformer for the Nintendo 3DS that will make use of amiibo functionality as well as the 3D visuals to make for a truly deep game, that requires a lot of critical thinking and well timed combinations to see players through its many challenges. The game will launch with its own series of amiibo custom made to truly emphasize the cute and charming visuals of the “Kirby” series that we have all come to know and love.

On Jun. 21st, the long awaited indie space exploration game known as “No Man’s Sky” will finally take center stage, introducing one of the largest explorable worlds in video game history. While this game will operate on realtime online multiplayer at all times, it is truly a single-player experience. While you share the world with others finding specific friends is close to impossible. This game truly replicates the vast void of space but fills the world with enough to keep any curious mind occupied.

These are the highlight titles that can be expected over the summer, and with E3 coming up, we can expect even more great announcements. Be it more information on Nintendo’s new console, the NX, or more information on Playstation VR, the world of games is as fast moving as ever, with the summer being a great time to go out and start playing. And a great time to stay tuned for news from Mustapha’s GAME ROOM!!!