Showing posts with label Star Trek. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Star Trek. Show all posts

Upcoming Awesomeness in 2016!

Happy New Year everyone! I hope that 2016 is already treating you well and that the year is off to a great start. Composing this post has become a fun tradition in itself both because it elicits a little nostalgia when I look over similar posts from previous years (speaking of, here are the entries for 2015, 2014, and 2013) and looking ahead to all the forthcoming awesome is always fun. So let's get to it, shall we?

New Site Stuff in 2016

It's no secret that the pacing of new posts has slowed in the past few months and that's something I think we can all agree isn't the best. The goal is to change that, but, not gonna lie guys, that's going to be tough to do in 2016. A good chunk of this upcoming year is going to be devoted to studying for (and taking) a handful of professional certification exams. If all goes well and I pass all the exams on the first try then this will be the only year that gets consumed in this not-so-fun way. Fingers crossed!
That's not to say that the Care and Feeding of Nerds is going on ice. Not at all! There will definitely be plenty of novel content and, hopefully, a few contests coming your way. It's just that there will likely be a bit less of both in 2016 when compared to previous years.

But there will be goodness! We'll be bringing you coverage from at least two conventions: PAX East 2016 and the Boston Festival of Indie Games. There's a very good chance that we may add a few conventions that have never been covered on the site before, which we're really excited about.


The past two years have seen some pretty massive upheavals in the comics world, but 2016 is shaping up to be a bit more tranquil as most major publishers appear to want to enjoy their new status quo. Here are 5 upcoming titles that we can look forward to in the very near future and a whole heap more spanning the comic, manga, and graphic novel realms.


January/February are often rife with mid-season premieres and introductions of fun new programs. Here's what we can add to our viewing queues in the next few weeks (premiere dates and times may vary based on your location and cable provider). Ahhhh...X-Files....Venture Bros!!

The Shannara Chronicles: (MTV) January 5th 
Colony: (USA) January 14th
The Flash: (The CW) January 19th
Agent Carter: (ABC) January 19th
Arrow: (The CW) January 20th
Supernatural: (The CW) January 20th
DC's Legends of Tomorrow: (The CW) January 21st
The X-Files: (FOX) January 24th
The Venture Bros: (Cartoon Network) February 7th
The Walking Dead: (AMC) February 14th


As with most recent years, the trend in 2016 will be lots of reboots and sequels, with a bit of novel content tossed in here and there.

The 5th Wave - The Earth is devastated by successive waves of alien attacks. One girl asserts herself and bands with fellow survivors to reclaim the planet.
Ip Man 3 - Donnie Yen returns to the title role and takes a stand against a band of crooked property managers and cruel gangsters.
Synchronicity - A physicist invents a time machine only to have his work fall into the hands of a femme fatale.
Pride and Prejudice and Zombies - The film treatment of the wildly popular adaptation of the Jane Austen classic.
Deadpool -  The Merc with a Mouth gets to incite havoc on the big screen.
Allegiant - The cinematic version of the Divergent young adult novel series continues with this third installment. The content of the book bearing the name of the movie will be divided into two films, akin to what we saw with the Hunger Games.
Batman v. Superman: Dawn of Justice - The Man of Steel and Gotham's Knight square off first against one another, then against a novel Earth-threatening foe.
Gods of Egypt - An ordinary thief finds himself drawn into a divine conflict.
The Jungle Book - The classic Rudyard Kipling tale will be the latest of Disney's animated films to get the live-action treatment.
The Huntsman Winter's War - Chris Hemsworth returns to the role of the Huntsman and faces the wrath of not one, but two evil sorceress queens.
Ratchet and Clank - The beloved title characters leap from the console to the big screen as they race to save the galaxy.  
Captain America: Civil War - The tension wrought from the developments seen in Age of Ultron boils over into open conflict and threatens to tear the Avengers apart.
X-Men: Apocalypse - The world's first mutant, Apocalypse, intends to obliterate all life on Earth; the X-Men band together an an attempt to stop him.
Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles: Out of the Shadows - The heroes on a half shell are back to defend New York City from a new threat.
Warcraft - The monolithic video game franchise expands to a new medium.
Independence Day: Resurgence - The extraterrestrials that first threatened humanity 20 years ago have spent the past two decades preparing for and plotting for their shot at vengeance.
The BFG - Roald Dahl's beloved tale is brought once more to the big screen.
Ghostbusters - This revisiting of the 80s franchise features a mostly female cast.
Star Trek Beyond -  The next installment of the rebooted movie series has JJ Abrams' thumbprint all over it.
Suicide Squad - Some of Gotham's most notorious criminals are recruited to undertake black ops-esque missions in exchange for clemency.
Pete's Dragon - A remake of the 1977 original in which an orphan flees from his abusive adoptive parents to the company of his pet dragon.
Spectral - Supernatural beings have taken over New York City and a very special team of operatives are brought in to restore order.
Patient Zero - After humanity is decimated by a horrific pandemic that renders most of humanity into violent rage monsters, a lone survivor finds he's able to communicate with them.
Gambit -  Not to be outdone by Deadpool, the Ragin' Cajun will get his own movie.
Doctor Strange - Benedict Cumberbatch assumes the title role as a ruined surgeon whose life is forever changed after encountering a sorcerer.
Moana -  The only daughter of a chief of a South Seas tribe sets off to explore the wilds of the Pacific.
Rogue One: A Star Wars Story - The first of the Star Wars spinoff films focuses on a group of Rebels seeking to steal the structural plans of the Death Star.
Passengers - A spacecraft careens through the depths of space on a journey to distant planet when one of its stasis chambers malfunctions, causing a passenger to wake 60 years too early.
Assassin's Creed - Michael Fassbender stars in this movie adaptation of the wildly popular video game series.

Board Games/RPGs

As mentioned in a couple of our round-up posts, most board game developers, even the largest ones, operate on a quarterly schedule for their forecasts and releases with the latter generally coinciding with major conventions. However, if all goes well we should see several of the games we got a chance to try during Gen Con 2015. Also, the always-excellent folks at BoardGameGeek have put together this compendium of what's slated to hit our tables in 2016.

Video Games

Video game releases tend to be a bit more precise than their tabletop brethren in terms of their release scheduling, but the volume of titles that will be available for PCs and consoles is gargantuan. Game Informer did a commendable job of gathering up all those dates into this comprehensive list.

It's already shaping up to be an excellent year! Here's to a very happy and healthy 2016!
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This Week in Geekdom

Happy weekend everyone and sweet dreams to everyone who's finishing Extra Life 2015. This year's gaming marathon has raised nearly $6.4 million USD and counting! So many kudos to everyone who participated this year, now go get some much-deserved rest. And rest is definitely needed, as this upcoming week is chock-full of much-anticipated releases. For those of you still conscious, let's get down to the week in geekdom.


Did Snoopy ruin the Peanuts?


Need a little post-apocalyptic pick-me-up to get you through to the release of Fallout 4? You got it.


It's official: Star Trek is coming back to the small screen in January of 2017. Caveat: everything subsequent to the pilot episode may be tough to come by.

We're approaching the t-minus one month mark in the countdown to Episode VII. If a month is still too much to bear, Den of Geek has put together this massive compilation of all the posters, trailers, and assorted images that have been released to the public.

Every James Bond gadget ever.

Peter Capaldi is NOT happy about the way that the current incarnation of Doctor Who has played out on the BBC.

In happier BBC news, the network has greenlit an 8-part series based on Phillip Pullman's His Dark Materials.

Oh hi there World of Warcraft trailer


A team of researchers comprised of participants from UC San Francisco, the University of Michigan, and Washington University at St. Louis have identified a compound that, when applied as an eye drop, may clear up cataracts in humans. Their findings can be found in the latest edition of Science

That same edition of Science also contains this research from the University of Toronto that may upend everything we thought we knew about how blood is made and maintained in the human body.

There are myriad examples in film and, increasingly, in real life wherein humans show more than a bit of disdain for AI programmed to be 'friendly' or otherwise helpful. As this sort of technology becomes more integrated into our lives, how will our behavior impact the way we relate to other humans?

NASA's JPL and the University of Texas at Austin have been working together to use satellites in order to observe patterns in the Earth's ocean currents. What they've found so far does not bode well in terms of the potential impacts of climate change.

This past Wednesday marked the exact centennial of Albert Einstein's historic, gravity-redefining lectures at the Prussian Academy of Sciences. Here's the story of how none of this would likely have come to pass were it not for the school of thought/obsession with a fictional planet. 

How is it that supermassive black holes are capable of of flaring? Thanks to NASA's Explorer mission Swift and the Nuclear Spectroscopic Telescope Array, we may be closer than ever to answering that question.

Image credit: NASA
Here is the brief, spirally history of the Strypi-type rocket. 

We've been following the development of a potential EM drive as best we can and, allegedly, there have been a few new details released into the interwebs concerning this physics-defying device.

Happy 15th birthday to the International Space Station!

If you think the Hubble is the be-all and end-all of telescopic prowess in the universe, check out what gravity itself is capable of.

General Awesomeness/Feats of Nerdery

These two 17-year-olds, communicating only through Facebook and Gchat, may have just paved the way for interstellar travel.

As always, best wishes for an excellent week ahead!
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This Week in Geekdom

I'm so incredibly excited guys. Yesterday was the 2015 Boston Festival of Indie Games, one of our all-time favorite conventions. It'll take us a couple of days to go through all our notes and draft a full round-up of the event but, in the meantime, you can relive some of the best parts of BFIG via our Instagram postings. What, you say you need more distractions until the round-up is finished? Well then, let's get down to the Week in Geekdom!


Happy 30th birthday to one of the most iconic characters in gaming: Mario.


We have a few potential contenders for the role of Captain Marvel in the Marvel cinematic universe.

Once Captain Marvel is cast, however, you won't be seeing her in Guardians of the Galaxy 2 (nor will you get a glimpse of the Hulk there).


Researchers at the University of Arizona believe they have located an enormous slab of ice resting just below the surface of Mars, further hinting that there may have once been life on the red planet (and raising the possibility for its future habitability by humans).

Also out of the University of Arizona is this research indicating that Jupiter's most volatile moon, Io, may consist of underground oceans of raging magma.

New Horizons has sent us back a new set of images from Pluto and they are some of the clearest, most vivid pictures of the dwarf planet that we've seen to date.

Have we been going about our search for extraterrestrial life all wrong?

We may currently take for granted the ubiquity of Starbucks and other coffee shops, but, it turns out, our addiction to caffeine may be even more long-standing than we previously supposed.

Check out this comic from 2012 that predicted Microsoft's invention of the Surface (and Apple stealing the credit for it).

Engineers at Deltares Research Institute in the Netherlands are now capable of creating the largest artificial waves on Earth.

General Awesomeness

Are you a fan of Star Trek? The Smithsonian needs your help!

Anthony Bourdain commissioned a cooking knife to be crafted from a chunk of melted meteorite. Here are some of the images from that incredible process.

Stormtrooper-themed Dodge Chargers. That is all.

This is possibly the greatest air show in the history of ever.

As always, best wishes for an excellent week ahead!
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This Week in Geekdom

It's Sunday again? Seriously? Well alright then. Now that we're 30 days out from Gen Con 2015 my days have pretty much been all costuming all the time. You guys will get to see the fruits of those labors and get the details of how everything has come together in the very near future, I promise. However, for now, let's get down to the Week in Geekdom.


Image Credit
It's official, Miles Morales will be Spider-Man in the upcoming post-Secret Wars run featuring the webslinger. 

Top Cow Productions has confirmed that Witchblade will be coming to an end this October.

A day in the life of Admiral Ackbar.


After over two decades on the market, Settlers of Catan will be getting a new look and a new name with the release of its fifth edition.

Can't wait until November to get your fix of Avalanche's Mad Max game? They were kind enough to give us this trailer to help tide us over.

Take one part SpaceChem and one part absurdity, then add a heaping helping of felines and you've got The Cat Machine.

Apparently Rocksteady learned nothing from the experiences of Ubisoft as the former has temporarily suspended sales of Batman: Arkham Knight to address the myriad of issues that have been plaguing the much-anticipated PC version of the title.

Table flipping has now passed from ubiquitous psuedo-meme to a live, playable arcade game.

One intripid Redditor attempted to pre-order Fallout 4 by shipping over 2,200 bottlecaps to Bethesda. This week, the company decided that was a fair exchange.

Do you feel that Doom is too violent a game! Really? Bethesda has this to say to you.

Want a jetpack in Grand Theft Auto V? Fear not, for modders have given you exactly that.


Some of the biggest names of the cast of the new Star Trek films have signed on to return for at least two more sequels.

We're going to see Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. shift away from its current trajectory in season 3 in order to tie-in more closely with the comics.

Here's why you won't see Will Smith in Independence Day: Resurgence. You will, however, see Jeff Goldblum.

Hawkgirl will be the next character from the DC universe to get her own TV series.

We have an official trailer for the live-action Attack on Titan.


Londoner Nicky Ashwell was the recipient of the "BeBionic", what's been touted as the world's most precise and anatomically accurate prosthetic hand.

Meet MoDe:Flex, Ford's eBike that can alert you to potholes in the road and break down to fit in your trunk.

Did Lexus really just give us a functional hoverboard?

Researchers now feel that vaccines made in the 1960s made those who received said inoculations more susceptible to getting chlamydia. Now they believe they've solved the mystery as to why that was the case and what it could mean for the development of future medications.

Novartis, the makers of Excedrin, have teamed up with Oculus Rift to create a simulation that will allow 'players' to experience what it's like to suffer from migraines.

The latest edition of Ecology Letters includes this contention that Darwin's finches have reached genetic equilibrium.

Two years ago a Dutch artist was charged with coming up with a way to dampen ambient noise levels surrounding Amsterdam Airport Schiphol. This is the solution he came up with.

General Awesomeness

Do you love Disney princesses? Did you see Jurassic World and now you can't get enough dinosaurs? Behold, the Velociprincesses.

Captain Jean-Luc Picard dance mashup. Enough said.

Feats of Nerdery

This incredible Starcraft 2 fan film just might give you pause the next time you unleash a Zergling rush on a Terran outpost.

Speaking of Starcraft, check out this record-breaking Minecraft 'tapestry' made by artist Thorlar Thorlarian from 1.1 million of the diminutive digital blocks.

It took over a year and $10,000 USD worth of materials to build, but this fan-built rendering of Scrooge McDuck's money vault is gobsmackingly, insanely accurate.

A Japanese Mad Max fan wanted to share the film with his son, but the 5th grader is too young to be admitted to the theater. Solution: build a Doof Wagon model completely out of Lego.

As always, best wishes for an excellent week ahead!
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This Week in Geekdom

Hi everyone. Hope you're all having a great weekend thus far. The GIR and I are still a bit giddy after our first foray into 5th Edition D&D yesterday. It felt so incredibly good to be back at a table again. We've done a handful of online-based games, but there's definitely something to be said about gathering friends around a screen and physically rolling our dice. But enough reminiscing; let's get down to the Week in Geekdom.


The big buzz this week centered primarily around the release of Age of Ultron. If you or your friends were inspired by the movie and want to dive into the source comics, this is an exeellent primer to help you do so.

Check out these extremely cool custom manga covers on the Japanese translations of the Song of Ice and Fire series.


The PC version of Grand Theft Auto V may be only days off the proverbial release block, but Rockstar Games has allegedly already put the kibosh on the development and use of mods.

Four years after it was released in alpha, Kerbal Space Progam touches down in the annals of in PC Gamer.


One of the most fun and enjoyable scenes in Age of Ultron is the fight between the Hulk and Tony Stark wearing the Hulkbuster version of his Iron Man armor. If the trailer or the movie has you wondering just how hard Tony had to hit the Hulk in that scene, this is your answer. 

Speaking of Ultron, the Blu-Ray release of the film will include extended footage and an alternate ending.

News out of Dimension Jump Convention included this confirmation that the classic sci-fi series Red Dwarf will be making a comeback. Not one, but two new incarnations of the show will be appearing on the UK's Dave network in 2016 and 2017 repectively.

Director Josh Trank would like to set the record straight concerning his departure from the Star Wars franchise.

This may be our first look at Will Smith as Deadshot in the upcoming Suicide Squad movie.


40 years ago NASA scientists began gathering satellite images of the Earth. These are some of the time-lapse videos that came out of that collecting and they provide us with some stunning video clips illustrating the footprint that we've created on Earth's surface.
Artist's rendition of MESSENGER's last moments

Speaking of NASA, earler this week they bid farewell to MESSENGER, their Mercury orbiter, after the latter ran out of fuel and smashed onto the surface of the diminutive planet.

As the agency turned its eyes away from the center of our solar system and looked out to the farthest reaches of the latter they were met with what appears to be a polar ice cap on the most controversial of the dwarf planets.

They're also allegedly working on an ideal way to get from point A to point B by edging closer to making a functional warp drive.

IBM appears to have solved one of the most persistent problems plaguing quantum computing.

Duolingo, the free app designed to help familiarize users with another language, has added Klingon to its list of teachable tongues. 

Have you ever wanted to hack a Tesla? You may get your chance this summer at Defcon. 

Researchers at the University of California at San Diego are hard at work developing sustainable plastics from oil products derived from algae. Their first commercial-level results? Surfboards.

Meet the latest weapon in the global fight against Tuberculosis: highly trained giant African rats.

You can also get acquainted with Chilesaurus, the newly discovered so-called 'platypus dinosaur'. 

The latest edition of PLoS Computational Biology includes this study indicating that the current rule set concerning the drafting of scientific abstracts may be missing the mark.

Researchers at the Salk Institute believe they have breached new ground with regards to the human ability to 'edit' mitochondrial DNA.

General Awesomeness/Feats of Nerdery

There's loving Legos and then there's remodeling your house to accommodate your love of building with plastic blocks. Seattle architect Jeffrey Pelletier did the latter to astonishing organized and comprehensive effect.

She'll do the bedtime run in less than 12 parsecs. One particularly crafty and nerdy father built this amazing bed shaped like the cockpit of the Millennium Falcon for his (hopefully grateful) son.

Tony Stark, you may have some competition in the near future from this guy, who made a fully functional Iron Man glove.

As always, best wishes for an excellent week ahead!
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This Week in Geekdom

The calendar says it's Spring, but our surroundings make us inclined to disbelieve. Can you guess it's snowing again? Seriously winter, you had your make like a landspeeder and move along. Lingering House Stark mottos notwithstanding, we're working on all sorts of good stuff for you guys here behind the scenes. The coming weeks will see more fun games, the return of cosplay-related posts, and at least one (hopefully fun) contest. All that goodness is on its way, but, for now, lets get down to the Week in Geekdom.


The final novel in the late Terry Pratchett's Discworld series will be published this coming October.

Image: Archie Comics

Archie Comics, after revamping both Sabrina the Teenaged Witch and Afterlife with Archie, will be introducing a new all-horror imprint.

This past week there was much gnashing of teeth and internet screaming concerning a certain variant cover for Batgirl. If you missed out on this here's a summary of what went down.


The feud between Kojima Productions and its publisher, Konami, looks like it's reaching an ugly head. Earlier this week the publisher confirmed that Kojima would be leaving Konami's purview after the release of Metal Gear Solid 5.

Valve's Gabe Newell talks about his company's new VR headset and the likelihood of them ever making Half-Life 3.

Speaking of VR, it's no secret that the technology is on the cusp of breaking into mainstream video gaming. If Valve's forthcoming headset isn't enough to get you excited, here are 10 VR games poised to make off with all your free time.

It's getting increasingly difficult to be able to play older PC games and, in this article by Escapist, we learn why this issue is only going to get more pervasive over time.

There's no shortage of examples of video game Kickstarters that have yielded vaporware or colossal flops, but here is the story of Harebrained Schemes (makers of Shadowrun: Hong Kong), one of the few crowdfunded studios that seemingly has done everything right. 

If you are both a Star Trek fan and a player of the mobile game Family Guy: The Quest for Stuff then the next month or so will be filled with awesome as the latter features a special all-Trek event.


A few very driven fans of Archer may have uncovered one of the most complex easter eggs of all time.

Joseph Gordon-Levitt will be producing and starring in a Fraggle Rock movie.


This past Wednesday was the 50th anniversary of the very first spacewalk.

Our sun was remarkably active this week and said nuclear storminess produced some impressive auroras. If you missed out, no worries, here are some of the best pictures of these geomagnetic light shows.

Nvidia has developed a $10,000 USD computer that allegedly can teach cars to drive.

Online retail megagiant has been given the all-clear by the Federal Aviation Administration to begin testing of their package delivery drones.

The Ig Nobels, deliverers of some of the best weird science we humans can come up with, turn 25 this year.

Google has sunk nearly half a billion dollars into the project and we can finally get this glimpse of the work produced by its augmented reality start up, Magic Leap.

It's a subject that has fascinated humanity for eons: what happens during a near-death experience?

The current issue of Nature Medicine includes a report that indicates Type 2 diabetics may be able to control their insulin levels with the help of a common over-the-counter cough suppressant.

What's (potentially) the best way to fight leukemia? Turn the cancerous cells into immune cells.

It's a frustrating phenomenon that almost everyone has experienced: you definitely know the word or concept needed in a given situation, but you can't for the life of you recall what it is. What causes these 'brain farts'? Here comes the science.

It may be a giant when compared to most of its biological counterparts, but this Octopus is no kaiju.

Microsoft really, really wants you to switch over to Windows 10 when it launches this summer. It wants this so badly that you can reap the benefits of the free upgrade even if you're currently running a pirated copy of another version of Windows.

Ever wonder what happened to GeoSites, Netscape, or Lycos? Well wonder no more.

Researchers at the Carnegie Institution for Science have detailed their discovery of not one, not two, but five distinct types of transitory silica in the latest edition of Nature Communications.

What does flying a kite have to do with exploring the surface of Mars? Potentially quite a bit.

Crowdfundables For Your Consideration

Neon Sanctum is a fast-paced, richly realized RPG set in a post-apocalyptic cyberpunk universe. Players use a set of custom cards to track their various abilities, allowing for fluid gameplay while also making the game highly digestible to new players. The Kickstarter for Neon Sanctum is live now and will run until April 19th.

Loot and Recruit aims to be 'a new breed of deck-builder'. In this quick and beautifully illustrated game, players are goblins seeking to lay claim to the goblin throne during the course of a fairly rambunctious festival. The campaign for Loot & Recruit is running until April 9th.

General Awesomeness/Feats of Nerdery

How much would it cost to build the Millennium Falcon? According to DeAgostini Model Space, nearly 3.2 billion GBP. If that's a tad rich for your blood, you can always go with this far less expensive 1:1 scale model.

Speaking of the Falcon, check out this incredibly detailed all-paper model that was four full years in the making.

On Tuesday lunar pioneer Buzz Aldrin gave us this epic photo of Stonehenge.

It's an amazing shot of Loch Ness, but not for the reason you may think.

It's beer brewed with yeast that went to space. Enough said.

As always, best wishes for an excellent week ahead!
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PAX East 2015 Round Up

Wait, PAX was a week ago? How is that possible? I’m going to go ahead and blame daylight savings. Losing an hour of sleep is guaranteed to make almost anyone a little disoriented. Diurnal editing aside, another PAX is in the books and we have all the highlights for you. 

PAX ran up against quite a few obstacles this past weekend, the fact that said weekend was an hour shorter than most being one of them (mercifully, snow was not one of these). The fact that the first day of the con coincided with the last day of the Game Developer’s Conference was very much another. While no companies overtly (or publicly) elected to have a presence at GDC versus PAX, West Coast versus East, there were distinctly fewer publishers/ developers in the main dealer hall than we’ve seen in previous years. This may also have been a symptom of another sort of convention fatigue, as the inaugural PAX South wrapped up only five weeks earlier. If it turns out that the latter issue kept game makers away, then next year may provide some relief as PAX East 2016 is slated for late April (the 22nd-24th according to the MCCA). Consequently, the main concourse of PAX was primarily populated with hardware names. 

At several points during the convention we asked ourselves if, “Is Studio XYZ not here or did we just not see them?” In most cases, the answer was that the studio in question had no dealer hall presence. Riot Games, who have been scaling back their convention presence in general, tried to atone for their absence by hosting a lounge for individuals cosplaying as characters from League of Legends while many other devs/publishers used the Firaxis technique and hosted one or more panels. Related aside: it'll be interesting to see what Riot does in the next few years with regards to con attendance. We honestly wouldn't be surprised if they tried to create a RiotCon.

The main dealer hall may have been light on AAA studios, but that was arguably a boon to the many unaffiliated developers that occupied the Indie Megabooth. Given the lack of big-name competition and PAX exclusive headlines, the Indie Megabooth did a lot of the heavy lifting so to speak. In keeping with our other convention round-ups, we’ll summarize those impressive indie titles along with the offerings from the bigger studios below, then follow those synopses up with our impressions of PAX as a whole.

Blizzard Entertainment – Blizzard clearly enjoyed being one of the few truly big-name studios on the floor and garnered a quantity of foot traffic rivaled only by the Twitch booth (as the latter broadcast LoL matches during the con). With two highly anticipated titles floating in the beta-verse, it was not hard to discern what all the fuss was about, even if Blizzard saved all the big announcements for its own convention. The publisher announced that its MOBA, Heroes of the Storm, will be getting another character in the form of Sylvanas, who seems to be rogue-ish and DPS-y, as well as another playable map: Tomb of the Spider Queen. Blizzard's other forthcoming MOBA, the arena combat first-person shooter Overwatch, will also be getting new characters: the gunslinging McCree and the tanky Zarya. Neither title has a definite release date, but Heroes of the Storm is said to be available later this year while Overwatch is supposed to hit the market in 2016.  

Denneton Games - Denneton found itself unable to continue its practice of hiding in plain sight during the course of the con, as too many gamers crowded around their booth in order to catch a glimpse of the fully finished Hotline Miami 2: Wrong Number. That title went live on March 10th and is now available for purchase on Steam. 

Disruptor Beam - We had high hopes for this local studio. They had an engaging booth smack-dab in the middle of the main dealer hall and they had two games themed on two incredibly enduring franchises: Star Trek and Game of Thrones. Unfortunately, neither of their titles, Star Trek Timelines and Game of Thrones: Ascent seemed like they were at all ready for a playable alpha, nonetheless a live demo for tens of thousands of gamers. We queued to try out each game, but every attempt was thwarted by either network issues (in the case of Game of Thrones) or massive fatal bugs (as was the case with Timelines). It was at this booth that we learned an iPad does, in fact, have a blue screen of death. Hopefully Disruptor can shore up these issues, but neither game was particularly compelling even without the problems.

Image Credit: Dreadbit
Dreadbit - It was complete happenstance that we found Dreadbit in the Indie Megabooth, but we were very glad that we did. This British studio may be small of stature, but their game, Ironcast, was deceptively broad and deep. The title bills itself as match three meets FTL and it certainly has elements of both of these things, but is also so much more. Players are transported to an alternate history that boasts both visually stunning steampunk imagery and mechs. You are the pilot of your mech and engage in a series of duels with rival pilots. Combat takes place via a modified match-three type interface, with the player and the AI alternating interactions with said interface akin to Demiurge's Marvel Puzzle Quest. Instead of swapping tiles to make chains of three or more like colors, you must look at the board and try to draw the longest possible chain of any given color. As in Puzzle Quest, the colors aggregate and enable specific abilities. Success on the field of battle allows players to make repairs or equip their mech with more advanced gear. It's a wholly addicting title and a welcome addition to the genre. Ironcast will be available on Steam on March 26th.

Drinkbox Studios - Two PAXes ago the name on everyone's lips was Guacamelee and Drinkbox was looking to follow-up their debut success with the introduction of their new title, Severed. The first-person light RPG puts gamers in the body of the protagonist, a woman who has lost an arm and potentially her family to fantastical monsters. Players journey through the game's lush and stunning environments in an attempt to learn what brought the protagonist to her present state and battle many, many monsters along the way. While the premise is certainly interesting and the art direction/soundtrack were incredibly rich, we're wary of Severed's touch-based controls and the fact that it's going to be a PS Vita exclusive (at least for the near-term). Drinkbox has Severed slated for release during the summer of this year.  

Gearbox Software - The story for Gearbox was all about Borderlands: the Pre-Sequel. The title will be getting some new DLC on March 24th with the release of Claptastic Voyage. As the name indicates, this new chapter centers on Claptrap with the entirety of the game taking place in his mind and from his vantage. Gearbox also confirmed that the Ultimate Vault Hunter Upgrade Pack 2 will be the final add-on for the season pass of Borderlands: the Pre-Sequel. Claptastic Voyage and the Upgrade Pack will be sold as a bundle (for $10 USD) or, for you pass-holders, will be included with the purchase of a season pass ($30 USD).

Robot Entertainment -  One of the single longest lines in the Indie Megabooth was populated with gamers itching to demo Orcs Must Die Unchained, Robot's upcoming foray into the world of MOBAs. The game is coming up on the beginning of its closed beta, which is scheduled to go down on March 24th. There's still time to try and get a slot in said beta, which you can do by registering here.

Up North Indies - Some of our favorite moments from the convention came from this collective of 15 Canadian developers. Aside from producing impressive games, Up North ran their booths very efficiently and were true to the stereotype of being incredibly all-around nice. It was tough to even narrow down our top choices from these guys, but the titles below were what rose above their peers.

Dark Nexus Arena (Whitebox Interactive) - In  a sea of new MOBAs, it was a tall order to try and make your offering to the genre stand out, but Whitebox managed to do so with some clever mechanics and the benefit of getting Warhammer 40K licensing from Games Workshop. Dark Nexus lives up to its name, presenting two teams of five players each with a dank and unforgiving field of combat. While the overarching experience is similar to that of most MOBAs, we were drawn to the requirement for a high level of precision in combat and the point-based conditions for victory (specifically the ability to deny your opponents points by executing your own downed team members). You'll be able to dispense justice in the name of the Emperor beginning in the third quarter of this year. The game will be free to play and you can sign up for early access here.

Jotun (Thunder Lotus Games) - This was, hands down, our absolute favorite game of PAX. This 2D action-explorer is set in the bleak, ice-laden landscape of purgatory. You play as Thora, a viking maiden who has died an inglorious death and now must prove herself worthy of entrance into the hallowed halls of Valhalla. Aside from clean and simple, but challenging mechanics, the game boasts a soaring musical score and some of the most beautiful art direction we've seen in years. The entire thing, start to finish, is 100% hand-drawn animation, which still astounds me even just typing that out. Jotun is coming to Steam in September of this year and is definitely not to be missed.

Viking Squad (Slick Entertainment) - Vikings were one of the bigger themes of this year's PAX and if it brings us things like Jotun and Viking Squad we'll be totally ok with that. This 2D side-scrolling team brawler will have you recalling all the best parts of Castle Crashers while introducing innovative, RPG-like elements to that time-honored formula. Though there's no formal release date associated with Viking Squad, the game will be available on Steam (for both PC and iOS) and PS4. Bonus kudos to Slick for attending GDC, then hustling out to PAX East!

Given that PAX East is only in its fifth year (and its fourth year at the BCEC), it’s to be expected that we’ll see some organizational changes with each iteration until PAX staff feels satisfied with how everything works. This year’s alterations to the overall layout of the con resulted in an odd sort of overall experience. That’s not to imply that odd = bad, just that some of the some of the layout raised questions, like "Why is the PC freeplay area inside the tabletop freeplay area?" While some facets raised eyebrows, other decisions, like that which resulted in food stations being located throughout the con instead of shunting everything off to one far end, seemed to work out pretty well.

Other things that seemed to make out pretty well were board/tabletop games. Despite the weird layout of the board gaming portion of the hall, it seemed as though most developers and publishers garnered a lot of attention. Aside from a considerable presence in the main hall, board games comprised a large percentage of the panels offered during the con (which included ours!).

It'll be interesting to see how PAX East continues to develop, particularly as other conventions do the same in parallel. While it was great to see all the indies get a chance to shine, it may be tough from a business sustainability standpoint to not have many AAA studios present.

From a personal standpoint, this PAX was entirely different experience than any other convention I've attended. Between preparing for, then participating in, the panel and trying to demo as many games as possible it was all media-mode all the time. Though I'd refurbished my Red costume from last year, I ended up deciding to play games and meet developers instead of cosplaying. It was exhausting, but so very awesome.

Until next year PAX. See you in 2016!
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This Week in Geekdom

Oooh boy. Convention exhaustion is such a bizarrely good feeling. Your feet are aching, but so is your face after so many hours of consecutive smiling. We also collectively have something of a soft spot for PAX, as it's partially the reason you're reading this now. This post might be a bit on the short side, as we're in the process of gathering up as much convention goodness as we can while the doors are still open. We'll have a formal, comprehensive PAX East 2015 round-up ready to go in the next few days but, for now, we'll just get down to the Week in Geekdom.


Intrepid YouTuber ThomasHuntFilms compiled all of the Star Trek films into a single video featuring just the clips of the various Federation starships.

General Awesomeness

Last fall, Machinima brought us a Super Power Beat Down pitting Darth Vader against Batman. We now have an alternate ending to this epic matchup:


It's one of the most anticipated games of the year. Here is the often odd and twisting evolution of Blizzard's Heroes of the Storm.

On Wednesday, Valve announced that their Source 2 game engine will be available to developers for free. 


It's one of, if not the singularly most famous equation in existence. But what if you had to explain E=MC2 without the math? This very well written article not only does exactly that, but indicates that a qualitative exploration yields very interesting facets of Einstein's work.

Speaking of Mr. Einstein, physicists from Heidelberg University, with the help of the ESA's Planck satellite mission, are putting some of the famous theorist's conclusions regarding dark energy to the test.

NASA is also out exploring the cosmos with its own unmanned missions, including the Dawn probe which is now in orbit around the dwarf planet of Ceres. 

It was a big week for NASA. On Tuesday, the agency celebrated its 100th birthday! 

Why is gravity so completely different from all the other known forces in the universe?

The January edition of the journal Nature Physics details the detection of the Higgs boson in a superconductor entirely separate from the Large Hadron Collider. 

While scientists are keen on any and all new evidence of the Higgs, others are marveling at the fact that Homer Simpson correctly predicted the mass of the elusive particle over a decade ago.

It's a concept that often gets treated like a joke: that using smartphones actually makes us dumber. This study from the University of Waterloo in Ontario (published in the most recent edition of Computers in Human Behavior) may be the first proof that this phenomenon is indeed real.

We've talked a bit about capacitive fabrics and the many applications for this high tech cloth. Well, U.S. Naval Academy researchers are bringing this concept one step closer to reality.
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New York state is getting aggressive about how solar power will be produced and distributed. Their efforts thus far not only appear successful, but may just provide other states with a blueprint of how to integrate new power sources into their existing utility grid.
It's a tower, it's tentacles, it's...a wind farm?

The city of Stockholm is also keen to invest in alternative energy sources, though their ideas may prove to be a bit more offbeat than what New York has deployed. If city planners have their way, Stockholm may be home to an enormous vertical wind farm powered by colossal turbulence-capturing tentacles. 

Mercedes would like you to know that Google is not the only company out there trying to get self-driving cars on the road. Here is their insanely futuristic-looking autonomous prototype.

Drones: they deliver packages, take pictures, and serve in our armed forces. We can now add 'discoverers of lost civilizations' to that resume.

Smart watches may be getting all the buzz right now, but Monohm would like to introduce you to their alternative. Meet the Runcible, a smart pocket watch. 

Crowdfundables for Your Consideration

We mentioned it last week, but there's still plenty of time to get your own copy of extreme cuteness in the form of Adorable Pandaring by Asmadi Games. It's fast, engaging play with all the pandas you can handle (including red pandas!) The Kickstarter will be up and running until April 9th.

There's only three days left to lend your support to the very first Singaporean game to appear on the Care and Feeding of Nerds. Hitman Holiday, the hidden roles game of 'sunshine and death' is on the cusp of being fully funded. You have until March 12th to back the Kickstarter and snag your own copy.

There's a bit more time to explore the campaign to bring more chapters of Regeria Hope to life, but only a bit. The gavel will fall on the Kickstarter for this visual novel on March 25th.

As always, best wishes for an excellent week ahead!
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