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The Daily Wildcat

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The Daily Wildcat

The Daily Wildcat


    Washington’s Penny Arcade Expo a gamer’s dream

    Tens of thousands of people mill around the floor of the Washington State Convention Center while looking for a piece of gaming culture to indulge in, making the floor look as though it’s alive from an overhead view. It’s hard to move and it smells a little off, but everyone is far too distracted to notice. This isn’t a claustrophobe’s nightmare; far from it. It’s the Penny Arcade Expo, the brainchild of Jerry Holkins and Mike Krahulik, authors of the popular web comic “”Penny Arcade.”” And honestly, it’s much better than it sounds.

    The Expo, which is called PAX for short, took place this Labor Day weekend and is a celebration of all things gaming. Both tabletop and video games had a place and there were dozens of panels on subjects ranging from serious, meaningful panels like “”MMO’s Empowering the Disabled, Enriching Lives”” to a comedic play titled “”Of Dice and Men: The Play.””

    What’s more, since its creation in 2004, PAX has become so important to the gaming community that big-name publishers drop news on the latest games there each year. This year, even the creators of the event were surprised by what was revealed at their show.

    The best example of jaw-dropping news involved something that the gaming community had long since dubbed impossible and joked about. There is, or was, only one game that went from production to cancellation and back again a thousand times: “”Duke Nukem Forever”” the legend, the meme, the game. After roughly 13 years, it was revealed to be due sometime in 2011.

    Gearbox Software, makers of “”Half-Life”” expansions and “”Borderlands””, picked up the project and had a playable demo at PAX, impressing most. Duke is the same as always, with ridiculous lines of dialogue and guns that exceed all logic. If any of you remember playing the other games in the series, prepare to be pleased. If not, prepare to fall in love again.

    Aside from that bombshell, “”Portal 2″” had a nice demo at PAX with four mind-bending Cooperative mode maps that looked fantastic. “”Killzone 3″” also had some time to show off, proving that it will be one of the best first-person shooter games to come out for the PS3 in some time. There was also a handful of screens from “”Fable,”” showing a drastic change in style that looks quite nice. In all honesty, without the “”Fable III”” watermarks, it would have been difficult to tell what the screens were for.

    The most intriguing game to make an appearance was actually “”Star Wars: The Force Unleashed 2,”” and more specifically the Wii version. LucasArts revealed to everyone their offline multiplayer mode and ended up raising a lot of eyebrows. The reason? It looks and seems to play exactly like “”Super Smash Bros.,”” but with Star Wars characters instead of Nintendo ones. According to the creative lead, James Clarendon, “”Smash”” wasn’t his inspiration, but even if it was that would be OK. The multiplayer mode looks like a blast.

    Because it’s open to the public unlike E3, PAX continues to offer the everyday gamer an insider’s look into the world of gaming and to give enthusiasts a glimpse of what’s to come.

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