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PAX East 2016 – All the lines…lines…LINES!!!

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“The Penny Arcade Expo (PAX) is an annual gamer festival held in Washington. PAX was created by Jerry Holkins and Mike Krahulik, the authors of the Penny Arcade webcomic, because they wanted to attend a show that gave equal attention to video gamers, computer gamers, and tabletop gamers. No such show existed, so PAX was born.” – Wiki

Another year, another PAX East concludes. After a 2 year hiatus from conventions, I decided to return to PAX East this year to enjoy the latest games, get my networking chops flowing again and to absorb the feverish energy that filled the showroom amidst a sea of 100,000 + humans. Gamers from all walks of life, all age groups, came together this weekend to experience what is ahead for gaming. Since I hadn’t attended in a few years, I was a bit surprised at some of the changes this convention has gone through.

First, the attendance. I arrived at a flood of people waiting in lines across multiple directions. This was new to me, but I had heard about the attendance growing in number each year.

There were metal detectors, bag checks and search dogs at the ready to search us then corral us like the cattle that we were. Didn’t expect all of this to be outside of the front doors to the convention center, though.

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Once inside, I headed straight for the showroom floor. This is where developers and publishers congregate to show fans their latest work and generate a buzz for their upcoming products. All of the big names were in attendance, many with queues an hour or more long. I’m looking at you, Uncharted 4 Plunder hogs.

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Also in attendance were several local and eastern-based game shops such as Game Underground, Replay’d, Video Games New York and more. You could purchase anything from plush dolls to comics and wall scrolls, homebrew reproduction carts, specialty headphones and gear and even Anime love pillows. I should have gotten one of those.

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There were multiple game tournaments taking place as well. League of Legends and Street Fighter V being two heavily-populated spots for gamers. Top-level players from all over came to compete this year, and Twitch did a great job streaming most of the coverage throughout the weekend.

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The indie scene was very well-represented via the Indie Megabooth and Minibooth. I spent a bunch of time here as there were so many promising titles on display. Here are some standouts:

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20XX (Batterystaple Games) – A co-op 2d action platforming game that looks and plays sort of  like the Mega Man X sequel we all hoped Capcom would eventually give us. Batterystaple Games started making 20XX in the middle of 2013. They are huge fans of the Mega Man X series and wanted to reimagine a modern version of the game with procedural, roguelike gameplay and multiplayer co-op. It’s in the early stages of development currently, but it’s shaping up to be a fine homage to our beloved blue bomber. A 2016 release is on track currently for the PC.

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Burly Men at Sea – (Brain&Brain) – Brain&Brain is David and Brooke Condolora, a husband-and-wife game dev team with a love for quiet adventure. “Burly Men at Sea is a folktale about a trio of large, bearded fishermen who step away from the ordinary to seek adventure. Set in early 20th-century Scandinavia, the game’s story branches through discovery in a series of encounters with creatures from folklore. You play as storyteller and Wayfinder, shaping the narrative around the characters through interaction with their environment.”

This title afforded me quite a few laughs with its dialog and impressed with its nice character animations and art direction. A 2016 release is scheduled for PC and MAC.

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Black Witchcraft (Quattro Gear) – A two person development team based in South Korea has created a Gothic RPG with great animations and a very slick art style. Not too much is known about this title yet, but the playable build felt pretty solid.  A 2016 release is scheduled for PS4, XBOX ONE and PC.

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CRYPTARK (Alientrap Games) – Toronto developer Alientrap Games brings a roguelike 2D sci-fi shooter with lots of strategic depth. Decide your plan of attack, set your equipment and take out the central core. It’s a blast to play, pun fully intentional. CRYPTARK is on Steam Early Access now.

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Moon Hunters (Kitfox Games) – “Moon Hunters is a 1-4 player RPG about building your hero’s mythology. Adventure through a fantastical ancient Mesopotamian world that’s different every time to find what’s happened to the missing moon, showing your personality and creating a reputation that becomes your legend. In 2014, Moon Hunters earned $178,000 on Kickstarter, enabling Kitfox to grow the game to include online multiplayer and PlayStation platforms.”

A moral action-RPG of sorts, where your answers/choices determine the fate of your world and the moon. Another gaming publication that I won’t bother naming had (perhaps unfairly) labeled this title as a combination of Gauntlet and Diablo. Yes, there are some inspirations present, but one shouldn’t make the mistake of going into it thinking it’s going to be anything like those two. I’m greatly looking forward to playing this one more. Moon Hunters is available now on all GOG supported platforms, with a PS4 and Vita release planned.

 

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Push Me Pull You (House House) – “Joined at the waist, you and your partner share a single worm-like body as you wrestle your opponent for control of the ball. It’s a bit like a big hug or playing soccer with your small intestines. With every action affecting both you and your partner (and mandatory shouting) Push Me Pull You combines the best parts of co-op multiplayer with the worst parts of your last breakup.”

This one had me in tears. It’s co-op Sumo Soccer, and it’s really really hilarious. With the players having to work together using this unique and awkward (at first) control scheme, the booth was full on laughter and screams of excitement. Look for it on Steam as well as a scheduled May 3rd release for PS4.

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Thumper (Drool) – Drool is the two-person team of Brian Gibson and Marc Flury. They have contributed to a long list of games, including Rock Band, Guitar Hero, Dance Central, and Fantasia: Music Evolved. Thumper is a rhythm violence game. Hit notes in time to the beat while traveling at blistering speeds to some quality music and visuals that are certain to come with a seizure warning. I adore music/rhythm games, and with a PC, PS VR and PS4 release on the way, Thumper is sure to provide a new visual music experience.

 

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Klang (Tinimations) – Last but certainly not least, Klang. From one rhythm game to another, Klang is a platforming music game. Since the developers couldn’t share much regarding the story, I’ll instead discuss the gameplay. You control Klang, an “Elite Rave Warrior on a quest to free himself from the shackles of Soundlord Sonus”  who wields a tunefork sword and as you move, the notes move with you. You must jump along walls, over various hazards and reflect the notes back at each opponent to inflict damage.

It’s got one hell of a learning curve and plenty of replay value to attain better scores and grades, which are essential for unlocking secrets. It’s visually intense as well, with speakers and explosions all over the place. Klang features fast and euphoric rhythm-based gameplay, a beautiful neon aesthetic, Music and sound by the legendary EDM composer bLiNd. I remember bLiNd from his OC Remix days. Quality stuff. Klang will hit the PC sometime this year.

Of course, I had to hit up the Nintendo booth to check out the upcoming Wii U and 3DS offerings.

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Pokémon celebrates its 20th anniversary with a special Pokéwall (mine, you may borrow) for people to take fun and silly pictures in front of. They also provided prizes for players that competed in Pokémon TCG Online and Pokkén Tournament sessions.

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Also on display were Starfox Zero & Starfox Guard (Wii U) – Plenty of gamers gathered for the latest installment in the Starfox franchise. Even though “Booth Babes” are mostly a ghost of gaming conventions past, Starfox cosplay was on-point at the booth this year. Check out Goomba Stomp’s own Taylor Smith’s review for Starfox Zero here

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Capcom showcased Monster Hunter Generations for 3DS complete with a giant egg above its booth, and some cool stickers for visitors. Capcom also noted during the event that this game would have a collaboration with Fire Emblem and Okami soon in regards to items. Be on the lookout for this one in the summer.

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My personal favorite at the Nintendo booth, Kirby: Planet Robobot (3DS) – While the demo was short, it was certainly a good time. So much so that I’ve ordered the import version of the game because I’m impatient and need this in my life. It’s the classic Kirby gameplay we’re all familiar with, but with a new steampunk theme, armor suits that you can ride in, new abilities, tons to collect, a surprisingly deep storyline, and much more. Be sure to check back here at Goombastomp.com for a video review of this one soon.

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Bravely Second: End Layer (3DS) – Lots of attention was given to this follow-up of 2012’s smash hit RPG, Bravely Default. (with an excellent developer panel here) It’s currently on the eShop and in stores. Another million seller, no doubt.

Metroid Prime: Federation Force (3DS) – The Now with a confirmed release date of August 19th this year.
Tokyo Mirage Sessions #FE (Wii U) (with added US release censorship!) – This crossover RPG featuring characters from the Fire Emblem and Shin Megami Tensei (mostly the Persona era though let’s be honest) series’ has had fans clamoring for a release. That release comes to us on June 24th this year.

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Aside from the main showroom, the conference rooms on the above floors were loaded with tabletop tournaments, console free play, a penny arcade, a chiptune concert (with playable Typing of The Dead on the big screen!) and more. Panels from various Youtube and Twitch talents were greeted with lots of noise and mostly packed rooms. The photo above is from a room with 50+ monitors, the majority of which either had Street Fighter V, or Super Smash Bros. Wii U being played. Quite a sight to see and an energy to feel.

 

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The big attraction every year is The Omegathon. A three-day elimination tournament. Twenty Omeganauts are chosen from those who pre-order PAX passes, and compete in games from every category (tabletop, console, PC) culminating in a live championship match on the big stage during PAX closing ceremonies. The combatants this year played Lift It! a board game in which you construct according to cards and you can’t use your hands. Starwhala 2-4 retro space battle involving narwhals, and more. Congrats to NotSoup and Gemst for winning the finals!

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Let’s wrap things up with some quick P’s & C’s  (and showings of respect) for this year’s event.

Pros:

Community. People were very cool, friendly and engaging as usual. The developers were happy to meet fans and people were very helpful. Much less pushing and shoving this year.

The Enforcers. These folks help you find directions, and will even walk with you to get you there. Even met a cool enforcer that gave me tape for my blisters. His name escapes me. I am an ass.

The staff. How seemingly less than 50 of you did bag checks for that many people while remaining relatively calm is beyond me. I commend you all.

The tabletop growth. The last time I attended PAX East, the tabletop section was relegated to a smaller corner of the gaming showroom. This year, however, it’s practically half the size of the room. I was pleasantly surprised by all the new games available. Long live tabletop!

Soda Drinker Pro. It’s got pro in the title. ‘Nuff said.

Entertainment value. There was something for every game lover here. Card games and puzzles? Check. PC Games? Got em. Console and Arcade more your fancy? You’ll find it in another room 3 doors down. (pun not intentional) Want to learn how to promote yourself, improve your game streaming or apply to become a game tester? It’s a gaming convention, workshop, and a job fair. Can’t go wrong.

Cons:

The attendance is still growing. It had to move to a larger venue once before, and it may have to again at this rate. The showroom itself is becoming increasingly difficult to navigate. This further makes getting around for the handicapped and for young children tedious as well.  Because of this, a large majority of the more popular games had insanely long queues.

Swag Bags. They were being given out for those that could endure the line. I was not one of those people. It was confusing because many people were continuously sent to opposite ends of the line as it seemed some of the enforcers weren’t sure where the line actually began.

Swag was minimal. I like swag, I really do. So I was a bit disappointed to see that what were once usually free goodies (pins/stickers) have become priced and t-shirts were mostly given away via contests. I did get a sweet keyring for the new Doom, though, so there’s that.

I had a painful and exhausting experience in my return to PAX East this year. That’s because I had the ol’ convention rust to shake off. Personal old bones stories aside, I also was reminded of why I’ve loved games so much my entire life. It’s the passion, the smiles, the loud shouts of excitement and the energy that soars through these conventions that keep my love of games alive and stronger than ever. Oh PAX East. You hurt me, but I can’t quit you. To butcher a quote by a great Reggie, next year, my body will be ready.

Enjoy more photos below. Special thanks to Christian Rodriguez for shooting in this sea of madness!

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Koru is a video game stuff person, Pro-Wrestling junkie, computer technician and a moderately attractive wise-ass.Growing up in Boston, Koru had a goal of working in the gaming industry, so he began his own game review show, found a few journalism jobs along the way, and continues to learn and grow in the industry he loves. You can check out his work at youtube/KoruProductionsOr play him online!Wii U: Koru-of-KGR3DS: Koru-KGRFightcade: Koru-KGR

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Watch Ninja On An Episode Of Family Feud

Don’t miss the moment Steve Harvey meets Ninja for the first time.

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Tyler ‘Ninja’ Blevins is heading up a team on Celebrity Family Feud this weekend, but it’s not the first time the famed Fortnite streamer has appeared on the show.

Long before he reached household name status in the gaming community, Ninja appeared on the televised game show Family Feud in 2015, when he and his family went on a three-day winning streak before losing to the Beams family of Hendersonville, Tennessee.

With Blevins now appearing on an upcoming episode of Celebrity Family Feud, we thought it would be fun to revisit those earlier episodes which have now all been uploaded online.

Regardless if you like Ninja and/or the show, you’ll get a kick out of watching his introduction when he tells host Steve Harvey that he’s a professional video game player who travels across the country and competes, playing video games. The reaction on Harvey’s face is priceless since nobody at the time could have ever guessed how popular Ninja, not to mention streaming video games, would eventually become.

Watch the videos below. Enjoy!

[via Dexerto]

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Check Out the Explosive First Gameplay of ‘Kerbal Space Program 2’

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Kerbal Space Program 2

Gamescom 2019 brought with it a host of surprising game announcements and updates on existing games. One of the most unexpected announcements was the reveal of Kerbal Space Program 2, the sequel to the viral, totally accurate space simulator that first released on PC back in 2011.

Now, shortly after its initial reveal, Gamespot has gone live with the first gameplay of this much-anticipated sequel. Fittingly enough, the footage showcases all the spectacularly explosive spaceships, interstellar exploration, and intrepid Kerbal explorers that the series has become known for.

It should be noted that the footage is pre-alpha, so although the gameplay does show some issues with frame rate and graphics, those should be polished up before the game’s full launch on PC, PS4, and Xbox One in 2020.

Here’s the full description of the game, courtesy of its official website:

With the original Kerbal Space Program having become one of the most beloved games of all time and now bigger than ever, Kerbal Space Program 2 has been fully redesigned from the ground up to meet the demands of modern and next-generation space exploration, all while maintaining the monumental foundations of the first game. Build a space program, construct powerful spacecraft, design resource-gathering colonies, and much more to uncover the secrets of the galaxy. A plethora of exciting new features will captivate veteran and returning players, as well as usher in a whole new wave of Kerbonauts to the ingenious and comedic world that has entertained millions of players.

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Netflix Releases Teaser for ‘El Camino: A Breaking Bad Movie’

The Netflix Television Event will launch globally on Friday, October 11

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It was on September 29, 2013, that Breaking Bad came to an end with the final episode of that series, “Felina” in which Walter White evades a nationwide manhunt in order to return to New Mexico and deliver the remaining profits from his illegal methamphetamine empire to his family. Knowing cancer will soon kill him, Walt revisits his former acquaintances to settle his affairs and prepare himself for the conflict and his death. When the credits rolled, audiences believed it would be the last time they would see many of these characters and while we did get a spinoff show in Better Call Saul, one character who hasn’t returned in any other show as of yet is Jesse Pinkman. That’s about to change…

Netflix announced on Saturday that it will release a new Breaking Bad movie that will center on Pinkman (Aaron Paul), who was last seen in the TV series speeding off in a stolen Chevrolet El Camino to parts unknown.

The film, titled El Camino: A Breaking Bad Movie, was written and directed by Vince Gilligan, the creator of Breaking Bad, and will be released on Netflix on Oct. 11. The film is also expected to be broadcast at a later date on AMC, the cable network where the TV series was originally shown from 2008 to 2013.

Official Synopsis:

The Netflix Television Event El Camino: Breaking Bad Movie reunites fans with Jesse Pinkman (Emmy-winner Aaron Paul).  In the wake of his dramatic escape from captivity, Jesse must come to terms with his past in order to forge some kind of future.  This gripping thriller is written and directed by Vince Gilligan, the creator of Breaking Bad.  The movie is produced by Mark Johnson, Melissa Bernstein, Charles Newirth, Diane Mercer and Aaron Paul, in association with Sony Pictures Television.

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Watch the Trailer for ‘The Mandalorian’ the First Live-Action ‘Star Wars’ Series

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Thanks to the arrival of the D23 Expo, Disney has revealed the first trailer for its long-awaited Star Wars original series, The Mandalorian.

Created by Jon Favreau (Iron Man), the series is set after the events of Return of the Jedi and follows Pedro Pascal as a mysterious, gun-slinging Mandalorian bounty hunter who navigates the seedier side of the Star Wars universe.

Along with Pedro Pascal, The Mandalorian stars Gina Carano, Nick Nolte, Giancarlo Esposito, Emily Swallow, Carl Weathers, Omid Abtahi, Werner Herzog, and Taika Waititi. The first season of episodes will be directed by filmmakers like Dave Filoni, Taika Waititi, Bryce Dallas Howard, Rick Famuyiwa, and Deborah Chow.

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Here’s the official description of The Mandalorian:

After the stories of Jango and Boba Fett, another warrior emerges in the Star Wars universe. The Mandalorian is set after the fall of the Empire and before the emergence of the First Order. We follow the travails of a lone gunfighter in the outer reaches of the galaxy far from the authority of the New Republic.

The Mandalorian begins streaming on Disney+ on November 12, 2019.

Check out The Mandalorian trailer below.

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Jordan Peele’s ‘Us’ Soundtrack Gets a Vinyl Release

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While we don’t publish music news or music reviews here at Goomba Stomp, we are huge fans of vinyl and since we cover film, we figured this announcement would interest some of our readers.

Back in 2017, Jordan Peele’s Get Out topped our list of the best films of 2017 and while the year isn’t yet over, there’s a good chance his follow-up Us, will land somewhere on our best of the year list as well. There are many reasons why we love Peele’s ambitious sophomore film including for the suspense, cinematography, performances, and direction, but one thing that doesn’t get enough praise is the soundtrack by Michael Abels. And if you like us, love the original score, you’re going to love this bit of news.

After giving his Get Out soundtrack a vinyl release last year, Jordan Peele is now doing the same for the soundtrack to Us.

WaxWork Records announced the news earlier today and if you’re planning on buying a copy, you don’t have to wait since it is now available to purchase through the label’s website.

The soundtrack, which received a digital release earlier this year, features composer Michael Abels’ score, in addition to songs from Janelle Monáe, Minnie Ripperton and the “Tethered Mix” of Luniz’s “I Got 5 on It” that appeared in the film’s first trailer. The album artwork was created by illustrator Edward Kinsella and features an interactive die-cut mirror board back cover, a heavyweight art print and an exclusive essay from UCLA Professor, scholar, and activist Shana L. Redmond Ph.D.

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Freelance Film Writers

Goomba Stomp is the joint effort of a team of like-minded writers from across the globe. We provide smart readers with sharp, entertaining writing on a wide range of topics in pop culture, offering an escape from the usual hype and gossip. We are currently looking for Film, TV, Anime and Comic writers.

Contact us: Editor@GoombaStomp.com

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