PICKS OF PAX – Australian Expo Edition


The Best Things About PAX Aus!

PAX Australia 2014 was a brilliant expo that showcased both the amazing talent we have here in Australia of those making games, and the nationwide community that enjoys them. For three days fans descended upon the Melbourne Exhibition Centre to play the best in Indies and AAA titles, as well as chill out with board games, panels and good food.

Picks of PAX is my way of looking back on the great weekend I had, chronicling the best of the Expo and games from my time at the event.

First, the Expo itself.

DSC_0616

The Signs

‘Welcome Home’. Before you even walked in the doors of PAX, the Melbourne streets around the Expo had taken upon the feel of it. Signs hung around the venue with messages like “why your IT guy is out sick” and “we’re back, with less tents”. These little signs made me chuckle more than once and were widely shared across social media, it was great to see that the organisers put this extra effort and community touch into their promotion, making it fun and enjoyable before PAX even began.

DSC_0605

The Panels

If there’s something I wish I could have seen more of at PAX, it would be the panels. The couple I visited were really well put together and provided a lot of thought provoking discussion. I heard a lot of good reports from others, but between clashes and media appointments I missed a fair few. You could attend PAX and just hop panel to panel for the three days, barely touching the show floor, and still have an amazing time. Lucky for me, and for those of you who didn’t end up at PAX, a lot of the panels were streamed on Twitch and available to watch right now right here, on PAX’s Twitch channel.

The Booths

The big hitters on show at PAX had equally huge booths, ranging from League of Legend’s stage to showcase local matches and Oceanic finals to Ubisoft’s maze of screens and AAA titles. This year booths were given to a huge range of companies, with even Harvey Norman and the Australian Classification Board (mostly unmanned for the weekend) getting their own stands.

One of my favourites was Wargaming’s booth, filled with a tank, a stage and plenty of computers to play on. Another of the cooler ones was Media Molecule’s booth in the Indie area, decked out in all sorts of papercraft creatures in true Tearaway style. All in all, the booths managed to be really different and despite the crowds I never had too much trouble navigating them!

DSC_0610

The Cosplay

For a convention without a cosplay competition, there sure was a lot of cosplay. It was really impressive to see so many people decked out as their favourite characters on the show floor. Thanks to the large presence Riot Games had at the expo, a vast majority of the outfits were characters from League of Legends. Similarly, Borderlands cosplay were not in short supply, thanks to the presence of Randy Pitchford and the recent release of Borderlands: The Pre-Sequel. The cosplay was one of those awesome things that served to really amplify the atmosphere of a convention. Wherever you went around PAX you saw characters you knew and loved, be that in the hallways, outside or even in the Crown food court nearby!

DSC_0584
The Handheld Lounge; Clear your Streetpasses or even take a nap!

The Community

In my opinion, the best part of the entire convention was the community. From the exhibitors to the developers, the con-goers to the cosplayers, PAX has to be the most positive show I’d ever attended. Kotaku published an article on why PAX was the perfect antidote to the negativity and clashes going on in game culture, and I couldn’t agree more. Everyone was friendly, accepting and enjoying the wonderful world of games, tabletop and indies together.

The Diversity Lounge, a place that really helped foster this atmosphere, contained several booths including one for the charity group ‘Medic‘, working with Special Effect, a group who help disabled people to enjoy games, in the UK. It also showcased games that encouraged diversity, with one of my favourite indie games ‘Never Alone’ on show there. They even had panels and tournaments running in there during the expo, creating a really encouraging space that I feel symbolised a lot of what PAX was about.

All in all, PAX Australia was an incredible experience. From playing tonnes of fun and interesting games to meeting new people and bonding over shared loves, the show was really something special. I’d like to thank everyone involved in organising, exhibiting and even attending for making PAX Aus such a memorable expo. I can’t wait to do it all again next year!

Jayden Perry ©2014

Evolve: Can Four Hunters And One Monster Reinvent Multiplayer?


evolveValve and Turtle Rock lift the lid on their new co-op shooter

Today Game Informer showed off their latest cover showcasing Valve and Turtle Rock’s new game, Evolve. The game is a multiplayer shooter where four players take on the role of hunters, and one becomes the Goliath, each aiming for the destruction of the other.

The inevitable clash of the two forces takes centre stage in the “Hunt” game mode, based around a simple but effective storyline. The four human ‘hunters’ are tasked with protecting various planet’s population and resources from wild beasts and monsters. Enter the Goliath, a creature that can feed on wildlife to ‘level up’, growing in power and physical size. At its final level, the Goliath takes the form of a 30ft monster capable of huge destruction. Oh, and it can breathe fire, too.

Game Informer's Evolve Cover
Game Informer’s Evolve Cover

Continue reading Evolve: Can Four Hunters And One Monster Reinvent Multiplayer?

The Steam Machines of CES 2014


SteamHead

The Steam Machines of CES 2014

Valve’s huge Steam Machine lineup for 2014!

by Jayden Perry

At the 2014 Consumer Electronic Expo, Valve and its partners have revealed thirteen Steam machines alongside the Steam Box, currently in beta for three hundred testers. These new machines vary in specifications and cost; from next gen console comparable models to absolute powerhouses, all running Valve’s new Steam OS.

All of these models will be available by the end of 2014 according to the product developers.

Open up the Steam Boxes here!

Valve Announces SteamOS


Steam Header

Valve Announces SteamOS

Valve new OS to run on existing PC hardware

by Yvan Zivkovic

©2013 Yvan Zivkovic

STeamOSA few days ago, we put up a story regarding a teaser page Valve had put up. A lot of people assumed that it might have been the first big reveal of Valve entering the hardware business with what people are calling the ‘Steam Box’.

Today, Valve unveiled the first of their three announcements, but it’s not hardware, it’s software, an operating system to be exact, which they’re aptly calling ‘SteamOS’, a Linux based OS and would be available as a free download to be put on new or existing machines used in the living room. SteamOS would run on a device pulled into your TV, allow access to your current Steam library, play online with friends, and more. Here are some of the announce features for SteamOS:

In-home Streaming – You can play all your Windows and Mac games on your SteamOS machine, too. Just turn on your existing computer and run Steam as you always have – then your SteamOS machine can stream those games over your home network straight to your TV!

Music, TV, Movies – We’re working with many of the media services you know and love. Soon we will begin bringing them online, allowing you to access your favorite music and video with Steam and SteamOS.

Family Sharing – In the past, sharing Steam games with your family members was hard. Now you can share the games you love with the people you love. Family Sharing allows you to take turns playing one another’s games while earning your own Steam achievements and saving your individual game progress to the Steam cloud.

Family Options – The living-room is family territory. That’s great, but you don’t want to see your parents’ games in your library. Soon, families will have more control over what titles get seen by whom, and more features to allow everyone in the house to get the most out of their Steam libraries.

Valve claims that currently, hundreds of games available through Steam are compatible with SteamOS, with more AAA games to be available in the future.

The next of the three announcements from Valve is set to be unveiled on the 25th of September at 10AM PT.

©2013 Yvan Zivkovic

Call of Duty vs. Battlefield: How Gamers Ruin Both… and Gaming


article

Call of Duty vs. Battlefield: How Gamers Ruin Both… and Gaming

When competition ruins appreciation

by Michael Gilbert

© 2013 Michael Gilbert

BAttlefield-4-oxcgnAs gamers, we often come to establish what we think of a game based on our previous experiences.

This shooter is realistic because head shots kill people in one shot, this racer is awesome because my Camaro sounds really loud (just like Dad’s—for those of us with dads that have Camaros), this Mario game is fun because it makes funny sounds and I laughed my ass off (LMFAO for you more apt readers).

We also make comparisons based on games we did or didn’t like before.

Halo is better than Quake because the graphics are better, or, for a more ignorant comparison, World of Warcraft is the worst game ever “’cuz only nerds play that game. YOLO. Swagg.”

But what we fail to do is recognize the smaller accomplishments that actually construct a game’s ‘personality’, as I like to call it.

Something that comparing a game to another simply just can’t do.

Is competition ruining modern gaming?

What’s Next for Call of Duty?


feature_cod modern warfare redo

What’s Next for Call of Duty?

The future examined

by Kent Sobey

©2013 Kent Sobey

Call of Duty: Black OpsBack in 2011, just after Modern Warfare 3 had been released, I took a crack at what I thought would be the next Call of Duty game.

Well, it’s about that time of year again since they seem to do their announcements around April or May, so I thought I would give it another shot.

I came close last time (granted, I used the scatter gun approach by guessing several different options) but it might be a little trickier this time because the Modern Warfare franchise has come to an end (or has it?).

So, what are the options?

What does the future hold for Call of Duty? Find out…

Thief 1 vs. 2. vs. 3 vs. 4 Screenshot Comparison


FEATURE_Thief screenshot comparison

Thief 1 vs. 2 vs. 3 vs. 4 Screenshot Comparison

A look back and forward

by Nicholas Laborde

©2013 Nicholas Laborde

thief 4 screenshots oxcgn #8The gaming world collectively freaked out earlier this month when the fourth Thief title was announced after a very, very long wait.

Eidos Montreal, the talented team behind Deus Ex: Human Revolution, will be handling the game, and it couldn’t be in better hands.

Considering the age of the series (the first title, Thief: The Dark Project, released in 1998), I thought it was time to do a screenshot comparison to showcase the giant leaps in visual fidelity that the series has seen since its initial release many moons ago.

Below, you will find screenshots ordered from left to right, with the oldest ones on the left. The order is as follows: Thief: The Dark Project and Thief II: The Metal Age on the first rows, and Thief: Deadly Shadows and Thief 4 beneath.

Note that Thief: Deadly Shadows and the newest Thief title do not have numbers in their titles, but I referred to them as 3 and 4 respectively for continuity.

See how Thief has aged!

Assassin’s Creed IV: Black Flag: Everything We Know, and More As We Find It


ARTICLE_Assassins creed 4

Assassin’s Creed IV: Black Flag

Everything we know, and more as we find it

by Nicholas Laborde

©2013 Nicholas Laborde

assassins creed 4 black flag box artUnless you live under a rock, you’ve undoubtedly seen the salvo of Assassin’s Creed IV information floating about.

Yes, it’s about pirates, and as it turns out, we predicted it yet again. No big deal!

Now, you may be experiencing a bit of sensory overload because of the information being scattered about all over the place.

Fear not! OXCGN has you covered.

In this article, we have pieced together everything we know about Assassin’s Creed IV: Black Flag, and we will continue to update this article as we find more.

Shiver your timbers this way!