PAX Prime 2011 has come and gone. Like most of you, I sat at my computer, overflowing with petty, jealous rage directed towards the attendees. I long for the day in which I step foot on the convention floor and become the target of your hate. It feeds me!

It’s been a good six years since the wee Penny Arcade Expo emerged from the creative womb of Jerry Holkins and Mike Krahulik and the event has grown to rival even the mighty E3. Developers flock from all over the world to tout their wares. There are always games that I’m hoping to see at these conventions. I loved hearing about Borderlands 2, Bioshock Infinite, and, while I hate to admit it, I am a bit excited about the future of Halo. However, what excites me more are the games I’m not anticipating, the ones I know nothing about. These are the PAX surprises that have me the most excited.

Penny Arcade Adventures: On the Rain Slick Precipice of Darkness: Episode Three

While the first installment of the series didn’t necessarily blow my mind, I liked it well enough, and as a fan of Jerry Holkins’s writing, I completely fell in love with the narrative. After Hothead Games announced that they wouldn’t be making Episode Three and Holkins confirmed that the series was dead, my heart sank for the Penny Arcade duo and I never even took at a stab at Episode Two.

Luckily, news from PAX tells us that not only will the third installment see the light of day, but Breath of Death VII and Cthulu Saves the World developer Zeboyd will be at the helm. As if that’s not exciting enough, the game will be done in Zeboyd’s traditional 16-bit RPG style.

Minecraft’s Mega Update

I’m an absolute Minecraft fanatic and, as a decent human being, I am absolutely ashamed of the amount of time I’ve sunk into various virtual worlds. The game is currently in beta and I’ve been playing since the alpha, so updates are frequent. Update 1.8, which is next in the pipeline, was known to be pretty substantial. However, nobody knew just how substantial it would be.

Not only are new items being added to the game, but actual features are being tweaked such as the health and combat systems. There will be increased user control over lighting (hey, I think it’s exciting!), an expanded world-creator mode, quests – so much stuff is being added that it’s likely to be split into two updates. If you don’t see any more articles from me once the update hits, don’t be surprised.

War of the Worlds

There’s a reason that people like independent developers so much. Without the big bucks at their disposal, they’re forced to get innovative and because of this you see a lot of indie gems. Other Ocean Interactive, whose last release was a DSiWare game, is adapting the H.G. Wells science fiction classic The War of the Worlds. While most developers would probably churn out another first-person shooter, Other Ocean, like Zeboyd with Penny Arcade Adventures, is looking to the past for inspiration. The War of the Worlds will be done in a rotoscoped 16-bit style similar to Flashback and Out of this World, two games that I hold very fond memories of.

There was so much more wonderful content at PAX that I couldn’t possibly list it all. Aliens: Infestation looks fantastic, Lollipop Chainsaw, while I grow weary over the lighthearted treatment of zombies, has my interest simply because of Suda51’s involvement. And then there’s Uncharted 3, which looks to be even greater than its predecessors – a feat I thought impossible.

What games are you most looking forward to?

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