Posts Tagged ‘Reckon Crew Outings’

QuakeCon, the Reckon Crew, and a Cheerleading Convention

Tuesday, August 9th, 2011
QuakeCon 2011

If anything had happened at the Hilton, the world's IT departments may have never recovered...

It seems odd to think that being based in Texas, the Reckon Crew has never been out to QuakeCon. I know, I know, we’re horrible people. Fortunately, the newest addition to the Reckon Crew, photog extraordinaire Jim Brown, made it his personal mission to get us there.

Now we’re kind of sorry he did.

Not because it wasn’t awesome. Seriously, with the computing power in the BYOC, we probably could have opened a portal through time and space and wireless streamed games… from the future.

And it wasn’t that there wasn’t a lot to see. Between the keynote where John Carmack got on stage and demonstrated to us that his brain was considerably larger than our own and getting to get our hands on Rage (only four hours of playtime), there was plenty of firsts for us.

It wasn’t that we didn’t fit in. Honestly, if there were ever a place where the Reckon Crew fit in, it was the liquor drenched halls of the Hilton Anatole where QuakeCon 2011 was held.

Ventrilo ponied up a sweet looking truck (worth a measly $70,000) in a drawing. The entire weekend, people competed in the events id was hosting for a chance to get into the drawing.

QuakeCon 2011 Rage Truck

We didn't want the damn thing anyway! *sniffle*

There was the small glitch in scheduling that had us sharing a floor with cheerleaders from all over the U.S. And not the cool kind of cheerleaders where you can stare for a few minutes and just be normal for checking them out but the young kind (prostitots as one of Jim’s friends advised us they were called) with their creepy little faces done up in makeup and with only the energy that someone that the young can have without being put on medication.

But even that couldn’t mar the satisfaction we felt at finally making it to the premier Texas gaming event.

However, I am fairly certain that small bits of our soul and spleens were left in Dallas after having to come back home.

This is the sort of thing that can make you realize that you aren’t alone out here in the gaming world. It’s a reminder that no matter what you enjoy playing, there is someone out there who would love to throw down in the game with you, with or against, and you can walk away from that experience a better player and with a new friend.

It’s also a good example that Gamettes exist. Not just on our site but out there in the real world. I watched with no small satisfaction as the ladies were able to put a hurt on the boys there that would do any gamer proud. And yes, the boys (including us, we’re not immune) are still prone to staring and forgetting they’re gamers as well as women. It’s always good to have your point of view so soundly proven in that type of atmosphere.

We were loud, we were rambunctious, we drank too much, we stayed up too late. And all the while, we were amid like minded individuals who were doing the exact same thing.

Pedobear and the girls from Charisma+2

Pedobear does exist and he's checking out your girlfriend...

Somehow, during all of the drinking, cavorting, and ingestion of entirely too much caffeine, I was able to make my way to the IGDA Charity Event and play cards for a good cause. I lost early on but I met some interesting people and tried not to make eye contact with Pedobear when he sat down next to me. No, that last part was not an alcohol induced hallucination. Pedobear actually sat down next to me.

The lovely ladies from Charisma+2 were on hand to offset most of the ugly walking around at the Con… okay, so most of the ugly was me walking around the Con but you get the picture.

Somehow we made it home with our livers relatively intact and despite a mishap with my laptop that prevented me from posting this sooner, we managed to make it home with all of our electronic devices as well. No, the thing that made us regret having been at QuakeCon was that it was over and that it would be another whole year before Dallas would see this type of gathering again.

We’ll be there again next year… with more booze.

We might even challenge you to a drinking contest if you’re (un)lucky.

QuakeCon 2011 IGDA Charity Event

Wanna bet how much Gatorade there *wasn't* in that bottle?

Gritskrieg – End of Line

All photos contained in this post were taken by Jim Brown and then nearly lost in a game of Strip Battleship to the Editor of this site so as cool as they are, you’ll have to ask for permission to use them.

Staple! and the Reckon Crew, the Aftermath

Monday, March 7th, 2011

The ladies were a hit with the crowd at Staple!

This past weekend, the Busy Gamer Reckon crew attended the Staple! Independent Media Expo. Hosted at the Marchesa Hall & Theatre, the Staple! Expo was held on Saturday and Sunday and is one of the favorites on the Crew’s list of events we visit, year after year.

The Staple! event was created by local Austin artists and saw a humble beginning as a congregation of like-minded individuals meeting in coffee shops to compare works, learn from one another, and generally just share their love of art. It has grown over the years to an event that spans two days, sees artists from all over the world attending, and has become the event of the year for new and established
artists to exhibit their works.

Staple! has seen some famous attendees and speakers (infamous in the case of the Crew) such as Danielle Corsetto of “Girls With Slingshots”, Scott Kurtz of “PvP Online”, Stan Sakai of “Yojimbo”, and James O’Barr, creator of “The Crow”. This year we were seated alongside the likes of Monica Gallagher of “Lipstick Press” and Brian Cleveinger of “8-bit Theater” and “Atomic Robo” fame.

Saturday night, the Staple!’s attending artists put on a live art exhibition at the Club Deville in downtown Austin where they showed off their talents in front of an audience. Once they finished their pieces, they were put up for auction for the charity of keeping KOOP radio, an Austin co-op radio station, up and running. It’s an admirable goal and one that the Crew supports wholeheartedly by purchasing the pieces and drinking heavily at the exhibition… we’re not actually sure how the heavy drinking helps them but we’re doing our part. For charity.

We're fairly certain this is one of the coolest con pics ever...

Sunday saw most of the attendees a bit hungover. There was a lot of charity going on the night before… a lot. We don’t judge. But for the most part, the energy from the prior day was recaptured and everyone was able to enjoy themselves for a second day of the event.

There was plenty of swag to be had at the Crew’s table. The yearly koozie made its appearance and we had sci-fi trivia questions for those who were brave enough to pit their knowledge against ours with a t-shirt as the prize. Hats off to the winners… if I’d been thinking about it, I would have gotten their names to send out some congratulations but I’m certain they will wear their shirts as a badge of honor.

After all was said and done, a good time was had by all. Some of the ladies who honored the Crew’s table were first timers to Staple! and to conventions in general but reported enjoying themselves immensely which is testament to the power of Staple! as opposed to our hosting talents.

We’d like to thank Chris “Uncle Staple” Nicholas for having us out again and to all of our fellow exhibitors for coming out and making the first two day expo one of the best we’ve attended.

Gritskrieg – End of Line

Staple! Aftermath

Monday, March 8th, 2010

Dena Deathwish poses with the Reckon Crew at the Staple! Pre-Party

The Reckon Crew made its way to the Monarch Convention Center in Austin, TX on Saturday to set up for Staple! and spirits were high. Joining us for her first event (hopefully of many) was Deathwish Dena who was the beauty to our beasts. The t-shirts were rolled, the table was set, and when the doors opened, we were off and running as Staple! 2010 got underway.

The majority of the day was spent giving our pitch, telling people what we do here at BusyGamer.com, showing off the merchandise while handing out the free swag, and taking a bit of time to get to know our neighbors. We also managed to make our way about the event to check out the artists present and say hello to some established favorites. And what event would be complete without us making a few purchases to add to our growing collections of memorabilia.

Throughout the day, we talked our fool heads off and if we were to judge the event by the amount of swag we gave away, it was a very successful day. We snapped photos, made fun of one another, and even repurposed Terry Parr’s portion of the table for an… unusual kind of Q&A. Fortunately, Terry and fellow artist Halo arrived and set up before we could alienate too many of the guests.

This was surprisingly popular...

Once the doors had closed and we had packed our wares away, it was time to grab a quick bite and make our way to the after party. Hosted at Shangri La on 6th Street, the artists wasted no time setting up and getting started on the pieces that would be sold in the charity auction. Once again, we braved the crowds to hand out some of the ever popular Reckon Crew Koozies to the attending audience and managed to clear out the last of our stash.

If you weren’t able to make it out this year, never fear. In one year’s time, Staple! 2011 will be upon us and you can bet real money on the fact that the Busy Gamer Reckon Crew will once again be in attendance. Our thanks once more to Chris “Uncle Staple” Nicholas for putting together another successful event and for being gracious enough to allow us to attend. We’re already looking forward to the next one!

Gritskrieg – End of Line

Pre-Staple! Schtuff

Saturday, March 6th, 2010

The Reckon Crew gets together to talk about the Pre-Staple! party and plans for tomorrow at the actual show.

Relax – BG Goes to Hollywood

Tuesday, January 26th, 2010

Crutchboy, Gritskrieg, Hailey Bright, Rob Welkner & Timothy Danger - On the set of Coin-Op TV Live

This past Thursday, the BG Reckon Crew hopped on a plane and visited the City of Angels out in California and we were fortunate enough to visit the studios of TheStream.tv and appear on Coin-Op TV for their first show of 2010. The trip had three purposes, the first being to present the lovely Hailey Bright with her title of 2009′s Gamette of the Year and the second was to appear on the show while doing so. The third was a little less business oriented and led to some bar hopping in Santa Monica with Rob Welkner and Hailey, the hosts of Coin-Op TV.

We presented Hailey with the trophy on Coin-Op’s live broadcast, their 326th episode, and their first show of the year after the holiday break. Rob and Hailey were gracious hosts and put up with the Reckon Crew’s antics during the broadcast while I fielded questions about the site and our plans for 2010. There was, of course, alcohol involved where the Crew was concerned but Rob was kind enough to make sure I didn’t look like a complete fool on the air.

Hailey Bright receives BusyGamer's Gamette of the Year Award

We were also pleased to make the acquaintance of Brian Gramo, the founder of TheStream.tv and producer for the Coin-Op TV show and we want to thank the whole crew of Coin-Op for having us on the show and putting up with the pre-show heckling of Crutchboy and Timothy Danger while Rob prepped me to be on the air.

We had to do some touristy things while we were out west and managed to spend some time on Hollywood Boulevard on Friday even though the weather was a bit on the horrid side. But the sun did come out on Saturday and managed to make us forget about how cold and wet it had been while we took a second trip to Hollywood to partake in some of the sites that had been a bit less inviting while the sun was behind the clouds.

And while we were out and about, we managed to catch a movie at the famous Grauman’s Chinese Theatre and visit the tech savvy uWink Bistro in the Hollywood and Highland Center where we played games and made fun of one another’s scores before calling it a night. The rest of our time was spent taking in the lights of the Boulevard and snapping a pic or two of the Stars on the Walk of Fame. And dodging street performers dressed like Chucky from Child’s Play…

So if you missed the show on Thursday, you can catch it in its entirety here, complete with the interview I did during the show. I think I rocked but opinions may vary. And make sure you bookmark the Coin-Op TV site and TheStream.TV so you can always go back and check out future shows that don’t feature us. I know, disappointing, but you’ll survive, I’m sure.

So thanks again to Rob, Hailey, and Brian. We had a blast. Maybe one day we’ll see you guys out here in Texas…

Gritskrieg – End of Line

BusyGamer Reckon Crew Recap 2009!

Monday, January 4th, 2010

2009 WAS A GREAT TIME FOR THE RECKON CREW!
THANKS TO ALL WHO KICKED IT WITH US!

PAX ’09 Coverage: Left 4 Dead 2

Friday, September 18th, 2009
Left 4 Dead 2 is a bit more wide open than its predecessor

Left 4 Dead 2 is a bit more wide open than its predecessor

It’s almost impossible to mention having been at PAX without someone familiar with the event asking if we were able to play Left 4 Dead 2. It seems to be on a lot of minds lately. Some of the most common questions I hear when I say I did in fact have the opportunity to play the demon are things like, “Is it all new characters?” or “Shouldn’t this be DLC for the original?”  Fortunately, not only did we play the game but had the opportunity to speak with Chet Faliszek, writer for Left 4 Dead.

To answer one of the questions, yes, it is completely new characters. From what I could gather from the demo, the second tale of the zombie apocalypse appears to be based on several individuals from a high school. There’s the gruff gym coach, who I played as, and what may be three students. It was hard to determine the history behind the new characters from the level we played through but there appears to be very little mention of the previous characters, if any, in the sequel.

In regards to the fact this will indeed be a seperate game and not DLC for the original, Chet had this to say:

“We wanted to do a different cast of characters so we could give a different perspective on the infection. We’re in a different place, we’re in Savannah, we’re down south, we’re heading across the southern part of the States. It wouldn’t make sense for the other four to be here, they’ve already experienced the zombie apocalypse from before we meet the new characters and been through it and now we’re seeing it from a fresh cast so we can experience through their eyes. The old characters aren’t dead yet.”

From playing the demo and Chet’s comments, it’s a safe bet that we haven’t seen the last of the original four zombie survivors but those hoping to make more fun of Francis’ name may just have to wait a while. And while we enjoyed playing as the new characters, we also asked Chet about if there would ever be “customizable” characters, player created models to shoot our way through the game with:

“One of the things is that each character has about three thousand lines of audio that’s created specifically for that character based on the attributes of that character, where they’re from, how they interact with other people. The characters are a really important part of these games. There are games that are more wide open in general but this is more scripted. You could make new models but to do the characters is a ton of work.”

"All we wanna do is eat your brains..."

"All we wanna do is eat your brains..."

There are also new special infected to contend with, among them the Charger who has a nasty habit of catching lagging players off guard, tackling them and driving them away from the group. While waiting our turn to play the demo and watching another group, one player was caught by a Charger and pushed into a mass of undead around a corner away from his teammates. The resulting carnage was impressive to say the least. Beaten nearly to death before being rescued, the Charger had proven his effectiveness.

Another special infected is the Jockey. While small and rather easy to kill, the Jockey often came out of nowhere and landed on one of our backs and then attempted to either steer us away from the group or into a much meaner, nastier special infected. Our group had the unfortunate experience of having one teammate steered into a witch who then proceeded to trash the party. Not easily dispacthed once he latches on due to his small stature and the danger of hitting a teammate while trying to shoot him of, the Jockey proved nasty comes in small packages.

The third new special infected was the Spitter. As the name suggests, he spits venomous phlegm that will continue to burn a player unfortunate enough to get hit as long as they stay in the area the spit covers. Shooting a spitter also results in a large splash of acidic goo which can often be fatal if done too close to the group. While we didn’t have much trouble with this one, I can imagine the implications of the Spitter in versus mode.

I've been trying to tell people clowns are evil for years now...

I've been trying to tell people clowns are evil for years now...

Speaking of versus mode, Chet confirmed there return of it in the sequel as well as the usual co-op, survival, and an as yet unannounced game mode which will be revealed some time in October. With the addition of new weapons, including melee weapons, new unique infected aside from the special infected, and new environments, it’s going to be hard to say that L4D2 should have been DLC for the original game.

Before leaving, we asked Chet who we owed an ass-whooping for what we here at Busy Gamer consider to be the insanely difficult Lighthouse level. He merely laughed at us and called us n00bs. Thanks, Chet.

Gritskrieg – End of Line

PAX ’09 Coverage: Dungeon Fighter Online

Wednesday, September 16th, 2009
Dungeon Fighter Online makes your DPS bigger.

Dungeon Fighter Online makes your DPS bigger.

One of the our favorites at PAX ’09 was a game called Dungeon Fighter Online by Nexon America. And it wasn’t just because our friends from Coin-Op TV, Rob Welkner and Hailey Bright, were doing the presentations for the game. This is a relatively new concept for a game in North America and has the potential to be a new Busy Gamer favorite.

Dungeon Fighter Online is a side scrolling dungeon crawler with the flavor of an old school brawling game. Combining some of the favorite features of MMOs with the action of a brawler may not seem within the natural progression of online RPGs but DFO blends them together perfectly. Associate Producer Louis Reyes was kind enough to help us run through a dungeon and describe some of the key features of DFO that will set it apart from the existing MMOs.

The back story for DFO is simple and understated, allowing players to focus on the gameplay rather than the lore behind the adventures one will have in the world. An evil has come into the land called Arad, demons have taken residence in dungeons, and it’s up to you to help hold back the tide. There’s not going to be a whole lot here for people who like to learn the lore behind a game but plenty for those who want to play the game.

Gameplay is easy enough to pick up. Choose a character class, familiarize yourself with the controls, get into a dungeon and start kicking butt. For those who have been turned off by the complexity of learning an MMO but enjoy the RPG facets of a game, DFO may well be the place for you.

While the graphics may be 2D, there’s a very catching art style to them that are pleasing to the eye. Character models are well rendered, the beasties are appropriately intimidating, and the dungeon bosses can look downright scary.

The initial choices for character classes may seem limited at first (there’s 5 classes at first level) but as players level up their characters, they are offered the opportunity to choose from four sub-classes (three in the case of the priest, at least at the moment) which define their character as time goes on. An example would be the Slayer class. Using demonic powers and a sword to fight the baddies, at level 18 a Slayer can choose to become a Blade Master, a Soul Bender, a Berserker, or an Asura. Each of the subclasses offer a different set of abilities and powers to wreck the evil that’s come into the world and does so with flair.

Once you pick up the controls, you’ll find the means to start combos which can increase your “Style” rating as you travel through the dungeons of Arad. Aside from doing more damage to creatures, combos mean a higher style rating which in turn boosts the experience you gain from defeating a dungeon. Personally, I like the thought that defeating a boss in “style” means bigger rewards. Defeating a dungeon with a high enough rating may unlock a new difficulty for that dungeon so it’s in the players’ best interest to complete the dungeon with as high a rating as possible.

Play as a team or against one another. DFO doesn't care if you make your friends mad.

Play as a team or against one another. DFO doesn't care if you make your friends mad.

Dungeons can be explored in groups or solo. Running through a dungeon solo can be a bit dangerous and upon dying, players may have to restart the dungeon from scratch. Fortunately for those who want a bit of solo play, Nexon offers “tokens” which can be used to resurrect at the point of death allowing players to continue to hack their way through the dungeon.

Playing in groups allows for a mesh of character skills and powers and certain groupings may mean an easier means of defeating a dungeon. That isn’t to say that any particular combination of character classes is going to be a sure thing but as is true with any game, the more friends you have with you, the better your chances of survival.

And for those who want to engage in PvP, never fear, Nexon has you covered. Bouts can be set up among a group of friends or total strangers and in true brawler style, players duke it out old school. There’s a last man standing mode that’s sure to please the gamer looking to serve up some butt whoopings to his friend and family.

Dungeon Fighter Online will us the free to play model but will offer micro transactions which will allow players to purchase new outfits for their characters, additional resurrection tokens for those particularly rough dungeon runs, as well as other items of interest.

The Early Access Beta for DFO began yesterday, 9/15/09, and you can get a key at the Gamespot or at 1Up.com websites. So if you happen to see Gritskrieg the Slayer running around, say hi. I may even say hi back.

Gritskrieg – End of Line

PAX ’09 Coverage: Wet

Monday, September 14th, 2009
Rubi Monroe is... kinda hot.

Rubi Monroe is... kinda hot.

While at PAX ’09, we made sure to stop by the Bethesda booth for a demo of Wet and to speak to Avi Winkler, a senior game designer from Artificial Mind and Movement, the developers of Wet. For those of you who have been following the game’s development, you may remember that it almost didn’t see the light of day when the bottom fell out of the project over at Blizzard Activision. Fortunately, Bethesda swooped in to make sure the ideal behind Wet came to fruition.

To begin, the game looks and sounds beautiful. Inspired by 70s grindhouse movies, there’s a gritty look to the backgrounds and characters that has to be seen to be fully appreciated. There’s a timeless quality to the game and the era in which the story takes place is never stated. The music sets the tone for each of the scenes and stays true to the overall feel of the game. And the voice acting… Well, more on that here in a moment.

The game plays out in true movie fashion. Doing away with a HUD, there’s only one way to monitor your character’s health. As you take damage, the “film” begins to stutter, like a movie projector with a lopsided reel. The more damage you take, the more the effect takes place until eventually, the film stops and begins to burn from the heat of the projector. It’s a very nice touch and easily one of the best means of eliminating on screen health indicators that I have ever seen.

The voice acting for the game is top notch. The main character Rubi Malone is aptly and beautifully voice by the lovely Eliza Dushku of Buffy and Dollhouse fame. Her voice fits the character perfectly and, as Avi Winkler put it so well, adds a very gruff kind of sexy to Rubi. Malcolm McDowell lends his signature voice as the chief bad guy, Rupert Pellum. As far as voice talent goes, this game has it in spades.

wet-2

It doesn't just look awesome, the wall run *is* awesome.

In regards to the gameplay, there is enough here to keep even the most jaded shooter fan on the edge of their seat. Rubi can stand still and shoot her two pistols or hack away with her sword but it’s when the player begins to learn how to use her acrobatic moves that the game truly becomes interesting.

Rubi isn’t content to run in a straight line or duck behind cover to shoot at her enemies. She slides on her knees across the floor, runs up walls, flips, and swings from anything solid enough to hold her weight. Each acrobatic move automatically begins a slow motion sequence that allows the player to aim Rubi’s second gun at another enemy, allowing for maximum carnage as the levels progress. More stylish moves extend the slow motion sequences while still allowing the player the option to move and shoot without the acrobatics.

The acrobatics are key, however, for several reasons. To begin, there are usually too many enemies to allow for precision, shoot from behind walls or cover play. Avi demonstrated to me how to have Rubi wall run, leap from the wall, and while soaring through the air over my enemies’ heads, pump round after punishing round into their midst. When I was finally successful in performing the maneuver myself, I felt giddy as I hit the ground and managed to slide a few extra feet to extend the slow motion scene, picking off one last enemy before sliding to a stop.

There were several modes to play through at PAX. The standard run and gun which makes up most of the game, a Rage mode which bears a more thorough description, and finally a car “surfing” scene where the player must follow the on screen button indicators to move from car to car all the while shooting at the villians in the other cars.

Rage mode will make you feel like you're playing through a Tarantino movie.  Without all of the dialogue.

Rage mode will make you feel like you're playing through a Tarantino movie. Without all of the dialogue.

In Rage mode, Rubi goes berserk and the screen changes from the vibrant colors present in other levels and change to the primary colors of red, black, and white. The carnage in this mode is brutal and beautifully animated. Rubi leaps from enemy to enemy, shooting and slashing her way through them as blood sprays from her fallen foes. At the end, when the last foe fell to the ground, I realized how proud the folks at Artificial Mind and Movement must be to have finally completed this game. There will be those who say it is too violent, too bloody, too over the top for the general public but there is art here. A savage, beautiful art that has most assuredly caught my interest.

Wet is available in demo form on Xbox Live Marketplace and should be hitting stores for the 360 on September 15th.

Gritskrieg – End of Line

BusyGamer at PAX, Day 1

Friday, September 4th, 2009

Crutchboy and Gritskrieg took a moment from wandering the Expo to record thoughts about the convention so far, for posterity’s sake of course. We talk about World of Warcraft: Cataclysm (ed. note – Gritskrieg says the new Alliance race is the Wolvar when it’s actually the Worgen, his bad), Diablo 3, Starcraft 2, Wet, Brink, and Dungeon Fighter Online. There’s a lot to see so we’re headed back to the floor to try out some more games and score some interviews so stay tuned…

-BG Crew










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