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PAX 2008, the Penny Arcade Expo, is the true gamer’s paradise. Pulling in 58,500 attendees this year, PAX boasted an exhibition floor packed to the brim with developers and publishers displaying working builds or demos of their upcoming games; rooms full of consoles, PCs, and handhelds for gamers to play; and Rock Band and Guitar Hero marathons.
Big names in the industry attended to speak their minds at panels, from Ken Levine, who gave the keynote address, to Hal Halpin of the ECA, N’Gai Croal of Newsweek Technology, and Wil “Don’t be a Dick” Wheaton. And, of course, Tycho and Gabe, the benevolent founders of Penny Arcade.
With all of the console and PC love we found exuding throughout the Expo, we wondered if there was any love left for the Mac. (You know, assuming there was any there in the first place.) Not to worry, we found it, bubbling right below the surface.
Fallen Empire Legions is a first-person shooter played entirely online over InstantAction. A Mac-compatible InstantAction is in beta now.
We dropped by the GarageGames booth for some Mac InstantAction. Yes, the closed beta for the Mac by the developers of the 3D multiplayer gaming on the Web was available for play. Ian Tornay of GarageGames gave us a quick demo of the current games available (Rokkitball, Fallen Empire Legions, Marble Blast online, Think Tanks) and assured us that more were on the way. The open beta is set to launch in a matter of weeks, and the site to fully launch at the end of fall.
Amar Govanni of Hudson Entertainment showed us some of their recently released iPhone games, such as Bomberman Legend, Puzzle Loop, and Aqua Forest. They intend to get more iPhone titles out at a rate of once a month, ranging from free to $9.99.
We want s'more Spore! This shot is from the Civilization stage -- check out our review here.
No one at the EA booth could get enough of Spore, which we think could be a gaming phenomenon on the order of The Sims. We also saw two other Windows games that would look great on the Mac. For Dead Space, think gritty, Alien-like FPS. Mirror’s Edge is more an anime-style, bright colored, action/adventure shooter.
Blizzard held a marathon of StarCraft II (aka Warcraft III in space…oops, did we say that?) with Blizzard staff. And the latest build of World of Warcraft: Wrath of the Lich King was available for play. Unfortunately, there was no mention of Diablo III, not even concept art.
Wrath of the Lich King looks pretty cool so far.
We also stopped at the Destineer booth, owner of the MacSoft label. Destineer showed off their Wii and DS games, such as Iron Chef America: Supreme Cuisine and Little Red Riding Hood’s Zombie BBQ (really, is there any better title than this?!). Jeremy Zoss of Destineer could not give us any hard and fast responses regarding these games for the Mac, but did seem particularly interested in the possibility of iPhone ports. Stoked, the successor to Drop Point Alaska, was displayed, but unfortunately the response to a Mac port was "No comment."
In fact, this was echoed by many developers and publishers we spoke to, such as Bethesda when we checked out Fallout 3; NetDevil, who showed off their MMO Jumpgate Evolution; and Bioware, who demoed their latest build of Dragon Age: Origins. Some, such as Bioware, expressed an interest in bringing their games to the Mac, but could give no other confirmation than that.
Others said, "If you want it on the Mac, go into our forums and tell us." We spoke to many smaller companies, such as Klei Entertainment, showing off Sugar Rush; Meteor Games, showing off Twin Skies; and D3 Publishing, showing off Puzzle Quest: Galactrix, and they all echoed the same thing. They are willing to try a Mac client (in the case of D3 Publishing, the original Puzzle Quest has both a Mac and iPhone client), but they need to hear from you first.
Want to see RPG Twin Skies on the Mac? Let the publisher know.
And last, but not least, we did hear a very strong rumor from the show floor that a certain ubershooter, whose sequel Microsoft displayed at the show, would be hitting the Mac in less than two months. It didn’t take us long to conclude that the sequel was Gears of War 2. Epic’s Mark Rein initially announced Gears of War for the Mac in July 2007, but nada has been heard since. Could it finally be time? We hope so…
Gears of War 2 looks amazing, but we poor Mac Lifers are still waiting for Gears of War.
Did anyone else go to PAX this year? What were you the most excited about?