PAX'S Co-Founder On The Game Industry's Best And Worst

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PAX'S Co-Founder On The Game Industry's Best And Worst

At PAX West 2017, I talked with Penny Arcade legend and PAX co-founder Jerry Holkins aka Tycho Brahe about his favorite games, the phenomenon of PAX, his favorite developers, and the gaming landscape of the last decade. Chatting with Holkins was a blast, and I hope you enjoy it too – read on for some surprises!

GI: Let’s start off hot, what’s your favorite Penny Arcade strip of all time?

JH: There’s so many. So many strips like thousands of strips now and it’s like I can’t claim to like all of them equally. So which is the one I want to leave all my wealth to? There’s one from a very long time ago about the Earth having been taken over by a space-faring race of malevolent dogs called the Caynid (sp?) and I have a soft spot for that one. But there are so many I could name…The dark truth is that generally speaking I forget a strip as soon as we’ve done it, I’m always thinking about the next comic.

A Video Tour Of Destiny 2's More Robust Endgame

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A Video Tour Of Destiny 2's More Robust Endgame

One of the biggest issues with Destiny 2 at launch was the lack of a meaningful endgame. After beating the main story line in the games original incarnation, players were doomed to grind the same limited number of Strikes over and over again in order to prepare themselves for the first raid. It was a slog, honestly. Destiny 2 does a lot of alleviate that problem.

Ben Reeves and I took a quick tour of everything there is to do in Destiny 2 after you beat the main questline and decided to film it. Between Strikes, Post-credits questlines, Patrols, Lost Sectors, The Crucible, and more, you should have a pretty clear, varied path to the raid when it hits next week. You can also spend some of your hard-earned cash on Bright Engrams, but we're not totally sure they're worth it.

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Opinion – Tacoma Takes Interactive Storytelling In A Promising Direction

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Opinion – Tacoma Takes Interactive Storytelling In A Promising Direction

Because of their interactive nature, video games open up unique possibilities for storytelling. The player directly impacts the action, which introduces an enthralling kind of agency. Tacoma, an adventure game from the makers of Gone Home, takes this ideology a step further. It opens new pathways for video game narrative by reshaping concepts from an interactive theater production.

Tacoma’s space station setting is far from unique in the realm of science fiction, and despite a captivating story, it hits familiar beats. But that’s not what makes Tacoma stand out. Instead, it’s how Tacoma tells its story that is most fascinating. Taking heavy influence from immersive theater productions like Sleep No More, Tacoma puts the player in a more passive role where they act as a fly on the wall – and it works wonderfully. 

You spend your time watching holographic simulations of a crew who inhabited the space station a few days prior, before destruction hit. These holograms appear as simplistic colored blobs, and you watch them undergo their daily lives as they visit the gym, phone loved ones back on Earth, and bicker amongst each other when perilous events unfold. Despite appearing as vague blobs, these holograms feel like real people, and I was strongly invested in their plight.

What You Need To Know About Destiny 2's Microtransactions

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What You Need To Know About Destiny 2's Microtransactions

You won't be able to access Destiny 2's Eververse Trading Co. storefront until you reach level 20, but once you do, you might be tempted to expand your wardrobe and augment your weapons rack by purchasing bright engrams using real world money. Suriel Vazquez, Ben Reeves, and Leo Vader explore Destiny 2's microtransaction system and talk about whether or not its a fair to all players.

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RPG Grind Time – SNES Classics I'd Love To See Remade

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RPG Grind Time – SNES Classics I'd Love To See Remade

It’s no secret that the 16-bit era was influential in shaping me as an RPG fan, especially games on the SNES. Secret of Mana ranks highly on my Best-RPGs-of-All-Time list. It was one of the first games that affected me with its storytelling, and I’ll always share a special bond with my grandpa over playing it. That’s why I couldn’t be more excited for a remake. I know a lot of fans have trepidation with remakes. What if they don’t capture the essence of the original, or make changes for the worse? Those are valid concerns, but I enjoy being able to experience my favorite games with a fresh coat of paint and some tweaks, especially as technology continues to improve. It also allows a younger generation who missed out on the originals a chance to experience these classics – often with refinements that make them more user-friendly. With the Secret of Mana remake official, it got me thinking of other SNES RPGs I’d love to get the same treatment. Here are my top three.

See How Much Borderlands Changed By Reading Our Original 2007 Cover Story

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See How Much Borderlands Changed By Reading Our Original 2007 Cover Story

10 years ago to the day, Gearbox and G.I. teamed up to reveal the developer's RPG shooter hit, Borderlands. Join us for a look back at our original story, complete with an updated cover from Gearbox.

A lot about Borderlands changed between our initial 10-page cover story reveal and the final release, to the point where you might not even recognize the game from our 2007 cover. Borderlands' most obvious and oft-discussed transformation was the art style, but a lot of other elements that former G.I. editor Bryan Vore discussed in the original cover story changed as well, from A.I. characters that you could customize and command, to procedurally generated loot caves. Brick, the punch-happy melee character, hadn't even been planned yet, and Roland and Lilith went through some major design changes as well (interestingly enough, Mordecai remained almost exactly the same).

What didn't change, however, was the core concept of Borderlands: mashing up the intense, fast-paced action of the first-person-shooter genre with the endless loot and progression of RPGs. The story spells out what that experience would and wouldn't entail – a reminder that the now commonplace "shooter RPG" subgenre wasn't really a thing back then.

Unboxing The Destiny 2 Collector’s Edition

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Unboxing The Destiny 2 Collector’s Edition

Along with the surprise opening of the Destiny 2 servers, we’re finally getting our own hands-on chance to check out the collector’s edition of the game. Like the digital deluxe version, the collector’s edition includes several in-game bonuses, including eventual access to the first and second expansion to Destiny 2, access to a legendary sword, a legendary emote, and a Cabal Empire-themed emblem. 

In addition, the collector’s edition (which retails for $249.99, if you can manage to track down a copy) includes several physical items to help fill out your Destiny collection.

The outer slipcase and main box look great, with start black exterior housing all the embedded items. Everything fits well in its own spot, which should appeal to fans who have a thing for organization.

11 Spoiler-Free Things You Should Know Before Starting Destiny 2

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11 Spoiler-Free Things You Should Know Before Starting Destiny 2

The game hasn’t even technically released, but we’ve already spent more than 20 hours exploring Bungie’s universe in Destiny 2. We walked away impressed. Here are some of the things we learned during our hands-on time you might want to know if you’re still on the fence about purchasing this massive time-sink.

1) Destiny is still one of the best console shooters – Bungie has always excelled at delivering a mechanically solid shooter.

2) The music is also still great – The music in the first Destiny was iconic, and dare I say, the music for Destiny 2 might actually be better.

Introducing You To the Next Generation Of Monsters Coming To Pokémon Go

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Introducing You To the Next Generation Of Monsters Coming To Pokémon Go

We're still waiting for Mewtwo to show his face in Pokémon Go (and for the game to stop crashing), but developer Niantic continues to work on its popular, augmented reality monster hunter. A recent patch improved the game’s raid system as well as the Pokémon Go Plus accessory functionality. However, a group of dedicated dataminers have uncovered hidden files that reveal Niantic is working on adding the third generation of Pokémon into the game.

Pokémon Ruby and Sapphire released in the U.S. in 2003 for the GBA, and introduced fans to 135 adorable new Pokémon. They definitely aren’t as iconic as many of the pocket monsters from the first generation, but some of them are pretty cool looking in their own right (I'm not talking about Probopass). Almost all of the 135 new Pokémon have no relation to either of the previous generations (excerpt for for Azurill and Wynaut), which gives this generation a unique feel. However, Gen III helped balance out the Pokémon types overall, as it significantly increased the amount of Dark and Steel Pokémon and introduced a lot of new Pokémon with dual types.