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Well, made it to and from PAX East safe and sound thanks to a friend with a spare ticket and a pretty sweet room location. It was a good time. I’ve done cons before, but this was probably the biggest event I’ve visited. All in all, I kind of want to say more tabletop and card games caught my eye than actual video games, oddly. It didn’t really feel like a giant, bustling venue was the best place for me to really soak in anything I tried, and I couldn’t eavesdrop on the players in tabletop to see how fast they picked up the rules. (Usually if the guy running it has to stop someone and explain something past a certain amount of times, I start to doubt I would have much luck with my own copy and a handful of friends with increasingly precious time.)

I’d particularly like to shout out Zephyr, who brought a combining robot tactical card game to the show- the poor guys’ table blended in with the crowd and as of Friday, their domain had expired so *hopefully* I can find a legit way to point people at them. I got a business card, that help?

Of course there were plenty of regular old video games to catch my eye too. I played a few rounds of, and sucked horribly at Capsule <something, can’t find the business card.> They really nailed the graphical vibe of an early 90s Japanese retro game, but the actual game got kind of old fast with only 1v1 matches. It’s a little like Nidhogg, only your goal is to ride a moving platform to your opponent’s goal rather than swording your way on foot. VA11-HALL-A is a text heavy cyberpunk bartending simulator (which also feels pretty 80s, come to think of it.) Most of the other stuff I liked has probably already been pretty widely covered elsewhere, but Curses and Chaos was looking mighty fine in its faux arcade cabinet, and I actually had no idea‘s World of Tanks had blossomed into spinoff games for naval and air combat too. Guild Wars 2 had its Heart of Thorns demo prominently shown off, which I would be more excited about if I participated in WvW and our guild was active enough to make the most of the new strongholds being added. Splatoon looked cool. Can’t say much about Codename S.T.E.A.M., really- I went in expecting something close to Valkyria Chronicles and wound up finding the demo kind of like a janky version.

But, real talk here- I go to these shows to hang out with friends and shop for geek stuff without worrying about shipping. It’s a shame wargames are so expensive, I saw a lot of sweet miniature based games as well as vendors with terrain. There were a couple spots trying to offset the expense a bit, one producing characters on double sided transparencies in particular seemed like a great way to bring down the cost of character figures while not looking completely chintzy. (At a glance, I thought they were fantasy themed Shrinky Dinks.)

Got to meet up with some Talking Tyrants, too. Sounded like not many showed, so plans were hard to nail down, but I got in a little quality Power Stone time with them before everyone wound up doing their own things.

Also in the interest of full disclosure, I actually typed all of this on the plane home partly because my 3DS ran out of juice and partly because I probably won’t have a hell of a lot of steam left when I get there. So, uh, if I do crash, would someone kindly fix the “made it safe and sound” part at the beginning and save me some posthumous embarassment?

Ungaaaah, what am I even gonna draw? Why didn’t I do it while I was at Logan waiting?
Ha, actually wound up screwing with the sketch app on my phone. It works a lot better for sloppy ‘painting’ than as a ‘sketch’ tool.

Demo Demo Panic! Banzai Pecan-Chan

Demo Demo Panic! Banzai Pecan-Chan published on 1 Comment on Demo Demo Panic! Banzai Pecan-Chan

Well, we have a special treat for this installment of Demo Demo Panic. Long-time readers may recall a time that I dedicated a month or so to indie games, and within that month, I made contact and became friends with the head of Serious*Impact Works, who made a bunch of Sonic and King of Fighters fan games back in the day and was planning to start doing some original game work soon after.

Pecan-chan eludes her nemesis, Wile E. Coyote

Well, he’s been doing just that ever since, and the demo for their first original title is live now. Well, it was on Valentine’s Day, but I’ve been trying to fix my stupid PC gamepad since my first run through. There has been an earlier demo build, but we like to pretend it doesn’t exist now. Especially since all the original data was lost to a PC crash and lo, did their little pet project rise from the ashes and was restarted from the ground up with bigger, juicier sprites and a new engine. So, without further ado, I give you Banzai Pecan-Chan: The First Strikes.

Uh, what? You don’t do all the reviewing around here. You’re supposed to be playing through [REDACTED] to prep for your next episode.

I think I have this one covered. I’m not going to go saying this is the greatest game ever made just to make my friend happy. I have a little bit of integrity. Besides, it’s a game about hitting. You’re pro-hitting, right? You can stick around and wat-

O… kay then. Have fun with the [REDACTED] in [HUMOROUSLY CENSORED TO AVOID SPOILERS] then.

Banzai Pecan-chan is a side scrolling beat-em-up that takes a lot of cues in play fromĀ  2D fighting, without the super-complex control motions, anyway. A gamepad is strongly recommended, though, since there are going to be a lot of enemies on screen and you need to be pretty quick with your fingers on a keyboard to handle them. Hell, I still had trouble dodging when my virus scanner decided to run its daily run in the middle of a session and slowed everything down to frame by frame. It’s a bit like a simplified version of GodHand- slapstick, unforgiving, but not impossible. The effort behind this build of BPCC really shows, particularly in the “feel” of the hits and the incorporation of aerial combos, wire juggles, and quick recovery moves. The spriting was done at a much higher resolution as well, making it look a bit more in line with a Guilty Gear rather than a 16-bit brawler. There’s even some voice work thrown in here and there.

Plot-wise, we’re looking at a scenario along the lines of Sailor Moon by way of Fist of the North Star. Pecan must save her boyfriend from Koopa with boobs the Sexilicious Seven using her powers of vaguely defined but divinely granted ass-kickery. Along the way, she’s going to trade blows with succubi, evil twins, and hordes of bunny girls. You’ll get gameplay hints from her government-issued Magic Girl Best Friend Flan on the Game Over screen, which you’ll probably see a lot of if you’re anything like me.

Really, the only issues I’ve got with this particular demo are with the difficulty, but I can’t decide if that’s more me or the game. I was having to make do with the keyboard, which didn’t help matters. The stun-gun move the grunts use seems a tad powerful for something bottom-rung enemies should be toting around, but then again on the other hand, yes, a stun-gun hurts. I hit something of a brick wall in level 1-2 involving 4 of the bunny girls at once alongside a miniboss I’ve affectionately dubbed Tallbitch. She shrugs off damage (but does flinch after a few blows) and deals a powerful punch that bounces you off the wall for a wire combo by the mooks. The AI isn’t super aggressive, so I doubt you’re going to fall into an infinity loop or something, but there is a recovery move for when you hit the ground or wall if you have the timing. Overall, Pecan-Chan is a really polished game for what a handful of people put together for kicks, and even though I basically suck, I enjoyed it. I look forward to the final release, whenever it comes.

Get the demo here.

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