The Stranger weekly billboard in Infamous: Second SonMILD SPOILER WARNING: This article contains specific visual details about locations in Infamous: Second Son but does not discuss gameplay or story.

There's a unique thrill to seeing your hometown onscreen, be it in a movie, TV show, or game.

Sucker Punch Productions (based just outside Seattle in nearby Bellevue, Washington) takes that thrill nearly to 11 with Infamous: Second Son, a sloppy wet kiss to the Emerald City.

Of course, as with any work of art that attempts to evoke a real-world location, there are plenty of WTF?! moments for the people who actually live there. One of the games that came closest to faithfully re-creating a specific place was Test Drive Unlimited, and its take on Oahu was still a far cry from the real Hawaiian isle - as we found when we visited a few years back. But it's remarkably close.

Second Son, on the other hand, doesn't seem to aspire to replicating the real Seattle all that closely - most likely to compress locations into tighter quarters to reduce the player's travel time and cut the cost of licensing pricey brands and landmarks. Herein, I have collected some of our favorite Seattle scenes, from popular locations to obscure touches of local color.

But let's start with some of the things that make us Seattleites go "Hmmmm."

 

I-90 Bridge relocated several miles north, becomes the 520

Does this image look familiar?

Mount Baker Tunnel on I-90

Once you manage to get across what's left of the "520 Bridge" in Second Son, you encounter a tunnel that seems identical to the Mount Baker Tunnel (one of the first things we saw upon entering Seattle for the first time when we moved here in the mid-1990s).

There's just one problem: That tunnel is part of I-90, a second floating bridge a few miles to the south of the real-world 520 bridge.

Why not just name it I-90 and be done with it? Someone at Sucker Punch knows, but they aren't telling. Maybe they were too busy coming up with bizarre impossible exits like the Bellevue/Kirkland one that's right before Seattle's "City Center."

520 signage in Second Son

For the record, Bellevue and Kirkland would be BEHIND you when facing downtown. This exit itself is a bit forgivable, as it's at least got you headed in the right direction. Alas, you would find a similar sign a few miles down the road on another highway that 520 dead ends into: I-5 South.

 

Tourist traps we love, but pretend not to

Locals love to deride the downtown attractions. Most of the vitriol is hurled at Seattle Center, home to the Space Needle, Pacific Science Center, and several large entertainment venues. If you've seen a picture of the Seattle skyline, you've seen Seattle Center. If you've managed to avoid our city somehow, well, consider this your introduction to our top attractions.

 

The Space Needle

The top of the Space Needle changes periodically, but it was orange during a significant part of Second Son's development period.

The real Space Needle

The tangerine glow paid homage to the Space Needle's original color during the 1962 World's Fair. I'm pretty sure that "Space Needle roof painter" is right up in there in "jobs worse than whatever you do for a living." Unless you're the painter, in which case, rock on.

The Space Needle in Second Son

The Second Son version of Seattle's iconic tower retains the orange hue, which is more visible once you ascend to the top of the Space Needle. Those spiny scales leading up the side were added for the game, however. I do wonder if it looked something like that during its construction in the 1960s, however.

 

The Pacific Science Center

Despite what Second Son might suggest, the Pacific Science Center is not a military zone.

The Pacific Science Center in Second Son

That's nearly the only thing they got wrong in their digitized model, which is a spitting image of a place we spend many days a year. From the always empty but oddly damp shallow pools to the giant dinosaur statues every visitor wants to climb, this beloved children's museum has been lovingly recreated. (Well, there isn't a giant dinosaur model in the back; in its place, you'll find the "Pac Sci" - as we call it - abuts a busy thoroughfare called Denny Way.)

The real PacSci at night

Fun Fact: The Pacific Science Center buildings were originally the United States Science Pavilion, built for the 1962 World's Fair. The Pacific Science Center arches were home to the World of Science. Today, the arches are like giant mood rings, lit to reflect the successes and sorrows of the city.

 

Pike Place Market

To outsiders, Pike Place Market is "where those guys throw the fish." Go deeper into the market, and you'll find an incredible Italian market, fresh-from-the farm fruits and veggies, and what is typically much better (and generally cheaper) seafood.

Pike Place Market

The less trafficked lower levels hide magic stores, bookshops, peek-a-boo walls, and enough reputed ghost activity to keep Spengler and Venkman busy for years.

Seattle Fish Market in Second Son

The "Seattle Fish Market" in Second Son is a smaller, sadder version of our vibrant market. I was disappointed to see Seattle's expansive, vibrant, iconic space reduced to little more than a few fruit barrels (which reminded me of the markets in Dead Island: Riptide).

I guess all those militarized checkpoints in Second Son's Seattle killed the farm-to-table movement?

 

The Monorail

The Seattle monorail, also built for the World's Fair, extends above a mile of 5th Avenue.

The real Seattle Monorail

Its primary purposes are to alternately 1) break down in the summer, and 2) thrill tourists traveling between the Seattle Center and Westlake Center, itself a short walk to Pike Place Market (and an even shorter walk to the open air crack market across the street).

The Monorail in Second Son

The in-game monorail has been converted into a closed loop around the city's central hub, providing a nice thrill ride if you can manage the jump onto the roof of the train.

In real life, your trip is short and limited – but you will see a good chunk of Belltown. Plus the train drivers will usually let you sit up front if possible. (Ask nicely – and locals, let the tourists have first shot!) Try to contain your excitement as you pass Tom Douglas row, and be sure to check for you all your belongings before you exit.

 

Seattle Icons you probably didn't realize were real... but are!

Seattle has a history of bizarre creativity in its local retail and public art. Sadly, our local color is disappearing faster than you can say "Ballard condos." There are still pockets of whimsy (and questionable taste) here and there, though. Here are just a few of the odd details sprinkled throughout the game.

 

Lincoln's Toe Truck statue

Let us take a moment to remember Seattle's fallen hero, Lincoln Towing's Toe Truck statue.

The real Lincoln's Toe Truck

The bane of grammar fans and bad pun haters alike, the statue stood proudly on a popular commuter route. It was big. It was pink. It was tacky as Hell. But it was ours, dammit. And now, it's gone...

...to the Museum of History and Industry, where tacky Seattle icons go when they get booted to make room for progress (or Amazon.com offices.) And now it's immortalized in Second Son.

Lincoln's Toe Truck in Second Son

Lincoln's Toe Truck, we salute you. May you keep on truckin'.

 

Elephant Super Car Wash

There are about a dozen Elephant Super Car Washes in the Seattle/Tacoma corridor. While they are not particularly prominent, they do tend to stick out at night when their iconic neon elephants are lit up. By far the most famous – and infamous – location is at Denny and Aurora Avenue, just on the tip of downtown.

The real Elephant Super Car Wash

Sucker Punch did a nice job of capturing the environment. Business meets sketchy during the day, and a different kind of commerce after dark.

The Elephant Super Car Wash in Second Son

 

The Lenin Statue

This genuine Lenin statue was purchased from the former Soviet Union and imported to Seattle's Fremont neighborhood, the self-described "Center of the Universe" - but nowhere near the downtown location where it's featured in the game. Lenin has been a controversial figure here through the years. Anonymous protesters have painted his hands red numerous times, while outraged locales have demanded that he be removed completely. Recent events in the Ukraine have renewed calls for Lenin to be deported from Fremont.

The real Lenin statue

The statue may leave Seattle one day, but a cheeky version that casts Lenin as a fisherman will live on in Second Son's "Lantern District."

The Lenin statue in Second Son

Lenin is one of the more notable relocations in the game, but it makes sense. Fremont is far away from downtown, which is the heart of the game. His new home is a heavily fictionalized and, perhaps, somewhat sanitized version of Seattle's Chinatown-International District.

Second Son's Lantern District

 

The Post Alley Gum Wall

This is the one thing that no one believes until they see it for themselves. But I'm here to tell you children, it's real – and all those dots you see in the photo are real gobs of gum that people have chewed and then slapped on a public wall.

The Post Alley Gum Wall

That window-shaped area below the red sign? That's a real ticket window for Unexpected Productions. And yes, it's covered in gum. Ishy bugle. That said, I have to give mad props to Sucker Punch for...

The Port Alley Gum Wall in Second Son

...The Port Alley Gum Wall. New name, same disgusting idea. I don't want to touch it in real life, and I have to say, I wasn't in a hurry to press up against it in the game, either. If you were wondering how realistic the graphics are in this game, get up close and personal with the gum wall. You'll be reaching for the Purell within seconds of touching it.

 

Local business shout-outs

Seattleites will recognize homages to regional businesses that have been given a slight twist. It has a new name, but there's no mistaking the vaguely alien-like logo on the side of the Metropolitan Market grocery store in lower Queen Anne. You'll see The Stranger alternative weekly logo everywhere, from the familiar newspaper boxes to the occasional billboard. And just like Seattle, Starbucks is everywhere – disguised with a blue variant on the coffee giant's globally familiar and - no doubt - expensive-to-license seafaring logo.

Not every Seattle business has been fully disguised, though. A handful of local businesses have been sprinkled around the game for ambiance. Here are a few you might not recognize.

 

Dick's Drive-In

Dick's Drive-In is a Seattle institution known for cheap eats, good pay and scholarships for employees. It's also famous for its "You get what you get" mentality. No substitutions. If you don't want it on the burger, remove it yourself. At these prices, poor college students and teens aren't going to argue.

Dick's Drive-In

OK, technically Dick's does not appear in the game - but the Burger Mann chain sure looks familiar. Note the use of orange, the 1950s-style design, and the sign shape.

Burger Mann in Second Son

All that's missing is the "Congratulations Graduates" banner that hangs in front of the store each May, and the hordes of teens and college students surrounding the stores every night.

 

Sonic Boom

Sonic Boom is a hyper-local record store chain that brings to mind High Fidelity.

The real Sonic Boom

You just know the people who work there are judging you for your incredibly bad taste. That said, most people aren't there to buy Miley Cyrus records. This is where the Seattle music cognoscenti go to discover new sounds and buy records you won't find anywhere else, except perhaps on eBay. This is where you'll want to be on April 19 (Record Store Day).

 

Sonic Boom in Second Son

I'm fairly certain there are more Sonic Booms in Second Son than in Seattle, but that's not a bad thing. I like to think that music stores will survive anything, even the militarization of Seattle. Nice job on the neon, too.

 

Gone but not forgotten

That's just a small list of the things any good Seattleite will identify as they dash around the city. We didn't even discuss the mountains, ever-present construction cranes (nice touch, Sucker Punch!), the Pioneer Square Pergola, the vamped-up Crocodile nightclub, and countless other small touches. There are a few things I wish they would have included for selfish reasons, though.

I would love to spend some time bashing on the EMP/SFM, a giant Frank Gehry-designed blob of colors on the Northeast corner of the Seattle Center. To this day, I still think it looks like the Space Needle threw up, particularly when viewing it from above.

The EMP/SFM seen from above

It would have given me great joy to destroy a digital version of this violation against architecture. I also wouldn't mind doing some damage to the Chihuly Garden and Glass Museum and the tourist-ridden Ride the Ducks amphibious tourbus/boats, too. Basically, the entire northeast corner of the Seattle Center.

Can you say, "Sequel?" Your move, Sucker Punch. Just next time, try to capture a bit more of the Seattle flavor. For us locals.

http://www.busygamernation.com/podcast/

Backyard Battles is an indie turn-based strategy game coming soon(ish) from Naked Sky Entertainment, the folks who brought you Roboblitz, Star Trek D·A·C, and more recently Max Axe.

This little passion project was just starting to take shape when we spoke to the company's CTO and co-founder Josh Glazer at PAX Prime 2013. It's now in closed beta, which you may be able to get in if you sign up at blog.backyard-battles.com.

You can download Busy Gamer Nation on iTunes, Zune, or our own RSS feed.

It's embarrassing how long it's taken us to work through our PAX Prime coverage from last year, but the interviews have held up well and we hope you'll give them a listen. There's just one more to go: Our preview of Dying Light is coming soon.

After that, we have a few quick reports from Geek Girl Con and then we'll be developing new audio gaming adventures. Likely topics include I Love Bees (from the Halo universe) and South Park: The Stick of Truth if we can figure out how to keep it G-rated!

http://www.busygamernation.com/podcast/

Agent P Doofendash is a free-to-play endless runner available now. We spoke with Majesco about this game and their other free-to-play mobile title, Romans from Mars, at PAX Prime 2013.

Get a taste of the gameplay before you take on Dr. Doofenshmirtz as Perry the Platypus and other agents from TV's Phineas and Ferb. 

You can download Busy Gamer Nation on iTunes, Zune, or our own RSS feed.

We're (finally!) closing in on the end of our PAX Prime 2013 podcast interviews. Here is what's coming up next:

  • Backyard Battles
  • Dying Light

After that, we'll dig into our interviews from Geek Girl Con in Seattle:

  • Project Spark
  • Monster Kingdom 2

And we're developing even more audio gaming adventures that you won't want to miss. South Park: The Stick of Truth seems a likely target, if we can figure out how to keep the podcast G-rated!

Yellow Light of DeathEveryone's heard of the Red Ring of Death on the Xbox 360 (and we've suffered more than our share), but we learned the hard way recently that the PlayStation 3 has its own nasty LED hardware death symptom: the Yellow Light of Death.

We'd never heard of this particular system failure symptom and were thrilled that our PS3 lasted some 6 1/2 years since we got one back in July 2007.

Now it's only fair to disclose here that we consult for Microsoft. We adore our "Xboxen" but we're absolutely not fan boys (or girls). We have pretty much all of the consoles (dating back to the Nintendo 64) and we do very much love PS3. For years, it's been our cornerstone for movie entertainment. Even now, it's our sole Blu-ray player with 3D capability and an active gaming machine thanks to top-notch Sony exclusives such as Ratchet & Clank and The Last of Us. We even preferred the PS3's Netflix app until the Xbox One came along and took the upper hand with its voice control.

But we still use our PS3 regularly. And I was just checking out the amazing 3D on the movie Gravity when it abruptly died.

 

Preventative care

Before we get deep into the Yellow Light of Death, it's worth noting that our PS3 lasted probably longer than it reasonably should have. And I bet it would have gone another year or more if we'd taken extra precautions. And we'll be more mindful of these things going forward for all of our hardware. Regardless of your console - this gen, last gen, or several generations ago - there are some things you can do to help prolong its life:

  • Keep it cool. Your console should be well ventilated. Heat can melt metal solders that keep things connected to the system motherboard and cause parts to fail. If you must keep it in a cabinet, make sure the doors are open during use and that air can circulate around it. You may want to look into adding a fan - either an attachment, if one is availahle for your console, or a small external one. If it's out of warranty, there may be some third-party cooling solutions you (or more likely a repair shop) can add or replace inside the case - a thermal pad replacement on your PS3, for instance. Also, don't cover the unit with discs, peripherals, or other consoles that may block the vents.
  • Don't blow, suck. One preventative measure we should have taken was to vacuum out our consoles every month or so. It's super easy to grab an air can and just blow the dust around, but that may drive it deeper into your console casing. Keep the dust off the console as much as possible and then use a vacuum to extract any dust that's made it inside.
  • Back it up. If it all possible, archive your most prized game saves and other digital possessions to an external drive, memory card, and/or the cloud.

All systems eventually fail, but this may help you beat the odds for longer and recover more quickly and painlessly when the inevitable finally occurs.

We were less than prepared.

 

Moving on

Apparently years of dust accumulation and so-so ventilation took its toll and our PS3 overheated, destroying one or more solder points on the motherboard.

PS3 MotherboardI did some research and found that this problem is reasonably common and, once it happens, the repair generally only lasts a few months before the console fails again. (Your mileage may vary. But it's a risk.)

On top of that, out-of-warranty repair by Sony costs in the vicinity of $130-150 plus tax and shipping. I could try to do it myself with one of the myriad how-to videos out there, but I'm not all that handy. There are places that would do it cheaper, including Edge Tech in Seattle which can fix the YLOD (as it's called) for about $50 same day. But I was concerned that a repair would buy me only a little extra time, and I needed a hard drive upgrade anyway (the 60GB drive I had filled up years ago, and we were missing out on tons of PlayStation Plus content).

Based on that, I decided the bite the bullet and pick up a PS3 Slim. It'll take at least another a year to fill up the 500GB hard drive. Bonus: The latest bundle includes The Last of Us, which we beat with a Gamefly rental but wanted to play again for the new DLC expansion.

My first thought was that I could simply pull the old hard drive and pop it into the new PS3. It's a good thing I did my research because doing so apparently would have wiped the hard drive! It seemed at first that our best bet would have been a backup, but I didn't have a backup drive connected to our PS3 and it was too late for that anyway. I did see some suggestions to get a cheap USB enclosure for the PS3 hard drive but, as I learned from doing my homework, restoring from a backup or external drive to a new PS3 doesn't always transfer all of the content and some game saves may be locked off from getting any new trophies.

After some deliberation, I realized my best bet was to pay for the repair on the old PS3 so that I could do a proper one-time transfer from it to the PS3 Slim.

 

Before you transfer

As promised, Edge Tech turned around the PS3 repair in record time - less than 2 hours! The unit came back on with no yellow or red flashing lights at startup and, while my first instinct was to do an immediate backup (Amazon sells a 500GB portable USB drive designed specifically with the PS3 in mind), the tech who fixed our console recommended just skipping to the Ethernet transfer. The backup would be incomplete, while the transfer would likely be much faster and copy over absolutely everything (except maybe some SingStar content - but we don't have any of that). He did recommend backing up my saves to the cloud, just in case.

Alas, this - and the rest of the steps required for console data transfer - proved to be far from intuitive. Let me walk you through it.

If you have PlayStation Plus, you may think that you enabled cloud saves simply by turning on nightly backups when you were first prompted. Alas, no saves will actually copy to the cloud unless you manually add them first. Also, it's worth noting that only family members who have their own PlayStation Plus subscriptions can use the cloud save feature - so you'll likely only be able to back up those saves belonging to the primary user of the console.

Still, best to save whatever you can to the cloud - just in case.

First, go to the Game section and select Saved Data Utility – PS3. When you see your saves, select one and press the Triangle button. Use the Copy Multiple option to Select All. It may take a little while to copy, depending on how many saves you have. You can always cherry pick the ones you care about most but I did them all - a couple hundred - and didn't fill up my available space.

In addition, I had played one game - Gran Turismo 6 - on the Slim before getting the old PS3 fixed - so I backed that save up to the cloud from the new console. I should have sync'd trophies as well, but I missed that step and ended up having to re-earn an easy trophy in the game. Also, I made the mistake of redownloading a ton of games to the Slim on the first night that I had it, but the transfer process wipes the destination drive completely and then copies everything - installed games, saves, settings, apps, and videos. So this was wasted effort and Internet bandwidth.

When you kick off the transfer process, it will tell you to shutdown both consoles, direct connect them to each other via an Ethernet cable, and then reboot. DON'T DO THIS YET. You'll need to keep your old console connected to the PlayStation Network while you perform two crucial steps.

1. Deactivate your system. Go to Account Management and then System Activation. One at a time, choose both Game and Video content and select Deactivate for each. This is pretty important since it can be hard - maybe even impossible - to deactivate a dead or wiped console. If you can't resurrect your old console, I'm guessing that Sony support can do it.

2. Sync trophies to server for each profile. Login to each profile, one at a time, and go to Game, Trophy Collection and choose Sync to Server. Note that any accounts that do not have a PSN account associated with them will need one before you can sync. I had to create one for my 11-year-old, which took a number of extra steps using my parent account - but he got to keep his trophy progress. If you use PlayStation Home, you should apparently sign in there too just in case any rewards are pending. (I deleted Home a long time ago to make room for games, so I wasn't concerned.)

3. Make sure both PS3s have the latest system updates.

PS3 Transfer UtilityOK, done with all of those steps? Now you can turn off your PS3s, hook up the Ethernet cable to directly connect them, and turn them both back on.

You will need a method to switch between the two consoles either by using a switch or connecting them to different inputs on your TV or receiver. Be sure you always know which one is which! You might want to label the controllers with pieces of tape or something, just to be safe.

Go to Settings, System Settings, Data Transfer Utility and follow the instructions carefully. My transfer only took about an hour but systems with larger hard drives will take a bit longer.

 

Back in business

When you're done, your old console will NOT be wiped. Check your new console to ensure that everything is there and working. Once you're satisfied, you can erase the contents of the old console from System Settings by choosing Restore PS3 System. I did the full wipe, which took 4 hours, but there is a quick format option if you're in a hurry and aren't paranoid about someone recovering your personal data.

On your new console, be sure to login to PlayStation Network with all accounts (have your passwords ready) and then go to Account Management and then System Activation to reactivate your Game and Video content with your primary account.

Some of the apps that copied over from the old console ran on the new PS3 without issue or even a login prompt: notably CinemaNow and Amazon Instant. Others, like Netflix and Hulu Plus, required a fresh login. Vudu gave me the most trouble; it absolutely refused to work, citing a serial number mismatch, but offered no remedy. I finally uninstalled it and redownloaded it. That did the trick. Whatever you do, don't uninstall CinemaNow if you have it. It does not appear to be available any longer in the PlayStation Store and did not show up among my past downloads for re-download.

I did have to re-enable PlayStation Plus nightly backups but generally, so far, the process has been relatively painless (except to my bank account). I wish that PlayStation Plus offered seamless family cloud saves and the ability to rapidly recover from a failed system, but that's never going to happen - at least for this generation.

Let's hope that our gaming data is safer and more easily backed up and recovered in the new gen.

http://www.busygamernation.com/podcast/

Developer Robert Busey explains the origins and evolution of Sword 'N' Board in our interview from PAX Prime 2013.

This charming little puzzle RPG is fully funded on Kickstarter and due later this year on Mac, PC, and Linux followed by ports to iOS, Android, and Wii U.

You can download Busy Gamer Nation on iTunes, Zune, or our own RSS feed.

Here are the remaining PAX Prime 2013 podcast interviews before we complete our coverage. Here is what's coming up next:

  • Backyard Battles
  • Dying Light

After that, we'll dig into our interviews from Geek Girl Con in Seattle:

  • Project Spark
  • Monster Kingdom 2

And we're developing even more audio gaming adventures that you won't want to miss.

http://www.busygamernation.com/podcast/

This podcast makes me a little sad. 2K Drive looked like a potential hit when we saw it at PAX Prime 2013, but it lacked two key elements that we thought were misses.

Time seems to have borne this out: without free-to-play or controller support, 2K Drive still appears to be a pass with huge potential. Perhaps it could still be salvaged?

You can download Busy Gamer Nation on iTunes, Zune, or our own RSS feed.

Here are the remaining PAX Prime 2013 podcast interviews before we complete our coverage. Here is what's coming up next:

  • Backyard Battles
  • Sword 'N' Board
  • Dying Light

After that, we'll dig into our interviews from Geek Girl Con in Seattle:

  • Project Spark
  • Monster Kingdom 2

And more audio gaming adventures you won't want to miss. Enjoy, and if you like what we're doing, post a comment and share us with a friend!

http://www.busygamernation.com/podcast/

You probably couldn't find an odder named game than Dragon Fin Soup at PAX Prime 2013.

We were a little concerned about the lack of apparent progress since our interview, including the lack of a beta sign-up form on the official site, but we contacted Grimm Bros and were assured that "we actually are super busy at work and have some nice big updates to share fairly soon!"

In the meantime, you can learn all about the game including how it's being designed, in part, with busy gamers in mind. As well as for the core gamers who just want to be punished. Something for everyone, it seems.

You can download Busy Gamer Nation on iTunes, Zune, or our own RSS feed.

Here are the remaining PAX Prime 2013 podcast interviews before we complete our coverage. Here is what's coming up next:

  • 2K Drive
  • Backyard Battles
  • Sword 'N' Board
  • Dying Light

After that, we'll dig into our interviews from Geek Girl Con in Seattle:

  • Project Spark
  • Monster Kingdom 2

And more audio gaming adventures you won't want to miss. Enjoy, and if you like what we're doing, post a comment and share us with a friend!

http://www.busygamernation.com/podcast/

Our fourth podcast in nearly as many days gets all "hands on" with Contraption Maker, a game from the creators of The Incredible Machine. If you're new to games or too young to remember much of the early '90s, this Rube Goldberg-style puzzle series was once state-of-the-art entertainment.

And now, with the incorporation of the latest technology, this sequel appears to be poised to innovate again with improved physics and a new co-op puzzle creation mode.

You can download Busy Gamer Nation on iTunes, Zune, or our own RSS feed.

Just a few more PAX Prime 2013 podcast interviews and audio reports before we complete our coverage. Here is what's coming up next:

  • Dragon Fin Soup
  • 2K Drive
  • Backyard Battles
  • Sword 'N' Board
  • Dying Light

We also have a few interviews from Geek Girl Con in Seattle including Project Spark. And more audio gaming adventures you won't want to miss. Enjoy, and if you like what we're doing, post a comment and share us with a friend!

http://www.busygamernation.com/podcast/

Want to know what Harmonix' upcoming Disney-themed rhythm game, Fantasia: Music Evolved, is all about? Give this podcast interview recorded at PAX Prime 2013 a listen.

We even include some snippets of the movie/game music to give your ears a taste of what's to come. And, yes, there really is Queen remixed as chamber music.

You can download Busy Gamer Nation on iTunes, Zune, or our own RSS feed.

Just a few more PAX Prime 2013 podcast interviews and audio reports before we complete our coverage. Here is what's coming soon:

  • Contraption Maker
  • Dragon Fin Soup
  • 2K Drive
  • Backyard Battles
  • Sword 'N' Board
  • Dying Light

And, after we finish with PAX, we have some interviews from Geek Girl Con in Seattle including Project Spark. And more audio gaming adventures you won't want to miss. Enjoy, and if you like what we're doing, post a comment and share us with a friend!

http://www.busygamernation.com/podcast/

Infamous: Second Son is probably the most anticipated PlayStation 4 title, due to release on March 21. Here's your chance to listen in on what took place in the closed off demo booth at PAX Prime 2013.

Meet the new main character, Delsin, and listen as he wields his destructive powers at one of our favorite Seattle landmarks, the iconic Pacific Science Center located at the base of the Space Needle.

You can download Busy Gamer Nation on iTunes, Zune, or our own RSS feed.

We have just a few more PAX Prime 2013 podcast interviews and audio reports before we (finally!) complete our coverage (it's no fun being Busy Gamers!). Here is what's coming soon:

  • Fantasia: Music Evolved
  • Contraption Maker
  • Dragon Fin Soup
  • 2K Drive
  • Backyard Battles
  • Sword 'N' Board
  • Dying Light

And, after we finish with PAX, we have some interviews from Geek Girl Con in Seattle including Project Spark. And more audio gaming adventures you won't want to miss. Enjoy, and if you like what we're doing, post a comment and share us with a friend!

http://www.busygamernation.com/podcast/

Romans From Mars is a free-to-play endless wave shooter that impressed during a PAX Prime preview - and now it's available for iOS, Droid, and Windows Phone.

During the interview we discuss "white knuckling" free-to-play games without making a purchase vs providing a developer "tip" for a game you really enjoy. You'll also hear Pikachu Fan freak when he's suddenly dropped into the frantic action of Level 117.

You can download Busy Gamer Nation on iTunes, Zune, or our own RSS feed.

We have just a few more PAX Prime 2013 podcast interviews and audio reports on the way, including:

  • Infamous: Second Son
  • Fantasia: Music Evolved
  • Contraption Maker
  • Dragon Fin Soup
  • 2K Drive
  • Backyard Battles
  • Sword 'N' Board
  • Dying Light

And, after we finish with PAX, we have some interviews from Geek Girl Con in Seattle including Project Spark! And more audio gaming adventures you won't want to miss.

Child's Play Charity Auction 2013 You would think that a 10th anniversary would be cause to blow out an event that up until now has been as amazing as the Child's Play Charity auction dinner. We've attended every single one since the start (2004, 2005, 2006, 2007, 2008, 2009, 2010, and 2012 - we didn't write up 2011), and this was our least favorite by far.

Now it would be hard to top last year for us, which included that impromptu Valve tour (photo gallery) thanks to an overachieving Valve employee who saw our prototype inflatable Wheatley win and offered to take us through the offices. We even met Jeri Ellsworth, now the mastermind behind the CastAR augmented reality glasses, who generously gave us her lemon grenade for our Portal-obsessed son. An official Valve tour this year went for $3,500 in the live auction!

But all that aside - we really didn't expect lightning of that sort to strike twice - this year's event was a bit of a snooze and seemed to vastly underperform in its intended task of raising mad money for Children's Hospitals around the world and - starting this year - domestic violence shelters as well.

Inflatable Companion Cube prototypeThe silent auction appeared to have retracted a little, though there were still lots of goodies to be had. There wasn't much that we were specifically interested in but we did manage to snag another Portal-themed inflatable prototype, the Companion Cube.

The main auction was the bigger disappointment. First, there was the change in hosts. Founders Mike Krahulik and Jerry Holkins didn't even make an appearance on stage to introduce the event, and their auctioneering skills were greatly missed. Scott Kurtz and Kris Straub were trying so hard up there, but just couldn't fill their shoes (or, on occasion, even remember the active bid amount).

The bigger tactical error was the lack of wine on the tables. Alcohol helps fuel the crazy bidding wars - if you can't get wine donated, it would be well worth the expense to boost the event's drama and resulting take. Long lines at the bar meant you had to choose between the auction or booze, and most seemed to stick to more sobering refreshments: water and coffee.

We also still believe that smaller token items that everyone can afford - like the music sampler offered for a $10 donation several years back - would also boost the numbers and provide everyone with a chance to contribute, even if the bigger items they wanted were bid outside of their budget. In the these days of digital game fulfillment, companies could donate codes for a minimum bid that equals or exceeds the cost of the title itself, particularly for prereleases. We'd have paid $20-30 for an advance code for Peggle 2, which launches next week on Xbox One and we've noticed is already getting passed around for free to personal friends and colleagues of PopCap employees. Missed opportunity.

Here are the highlights from the main auction:

  • Booker and Elizabeth statueOne of the nicer auction lots went for a song, at least by Child's Play standards. The life-sized Booker and Elizabeth from BioShock Infinite was won by PopCap Games for $5,800. In past years, we'd have seen such a prize go for $10,000 or higher.
  • A gold and diamond Pokeball pendant brought in $1,250.
  • Mike Krahulik's personal sketchbook landed $6,400. (Though, as we've learned, it was bought by his partner Jerry - so this was apparently just a bit of theater with the journal never actually in play.)
  • An personalized voicemail message by Nathan Fillion (aka Mal from Firefly) went for $6,000 to the top two bidders, becoming the biggest single fundraiser of the night with $12,000 total.
  • A Bungie studio tour that includes early access to the Destiny beta and other goodies landed $5,000.
  • How much would you pay for a complete set of Pinny Arcade pins? The winner took them for $6,000.
  • Being a character in a Patrick Rothfuss fantasy novel cost someone $8,000.
  • An employee-only white Xbox One that came with several bonuses including a character in the next Halo game based on the winner enticed a $7,900 winning bid.
  • The rare moment of drama played out when Mike Krahulik, sitting far back in the audience, bid $3,000 on the appearance in his own Penny Arcade strip - but it eventually closed out at $7,000 and brought an early end to the event. We were done before 9 p.m.

We didn't get a total at the end of the evening (they usually provide this!) but overall, going into the live auction, we learned that Child's Play has raised more than $20 million over the past decade and $2.5 million already this year, fueled largely by outside efforts including Humble Indie Bundles and Desert Bus. Here's hoping the next decade can maintain this momentum and continue to make a difference to children all over the world.

It's not too late to donate - check out the big map and see what your favorite Children's Hospital needs.

http://www.busygamernation.com/podcast/

If you enjoy strategy, XCOM: Enemy Within wowed PAX Prime 2013 boothgoers with some new twists on a popular turn-based formula. This expansion pack is out now for PC and Mac and available for PS3 and Xbox 360 in the XCOM: Enemy Within Commander Edition.

You can download Busy Gamer Nation on iTunes, Zune, or our own RSS feed.

We have just a few more PAX Prime 2013 podcast interviews and audio reports on the way, including:

  • Romans From Mars
  • Fantasia: Music Evolved
  • 2K Drive
  • Infamous: Second Son
  • Contraption Maker
  • Dragon Fin Soup
  • Sword 'N' Board
  • Backyard Battles
  • Dying Light

And, after we finish with PAX, we have some interviews from Geek Girl Con in Seattle including Project Spark!

http://www.busygamernation.com/podcast/

Right on the heels of the PlayStation 4 launch, we have details on one of its more mysterious launch titles: the dark platformer Contrast - free for now on PlayStation Plus and also available on Xbox Live Arcade for Xbox 360 and PC via Steam. You'll also find it on the PS3 in a matter of days.

You can download Busy Gamer Nation on iTunes, Zune, or our own RSS feed.

We have more PAX Prime 2013 podcast interviews and coverage incoming soon, including:

  • XCOM: Enemy Within
  • Romans From Mars
  • Infamous: Second Son
  • Fantasia: Music Evolved
  • 2K Drive
  • Dragon Fin Soup
  • Sword 'N' Board
  • Contraption Maker
  • Backyard Battles
  • Dying Light

And, after we finish with PAX, we have some interviews from Geek Girl Con in Seattle including Project Spark!

Maze of cablesEvery few years, I get the crazy notion that technology has surely evolved by now to a place where I can just plug in all of my entertainment devices into one A/V receiver and get them to output at the best possible picture and sound quality anywhere that I want them to go.

With the PlayStation 4 and Xbox One on the way, this seemed like a good time to get ready for a bit more high definition in our lives. For years, we muddled by without HDMI at all and then - back when we got a 3D TV - we switched to HDMI output just on the PS3, leaving our cable box and Xbox 360 relegated to sub-par component and optical outputs.

Alas, each time I dream what shouldn't be such an unrealistic dream, I'm sorely disappointed and end up jury-rigging awkward workarounds that make it near impossible for anyone in the household but myself to operate the TV. GrrlGotGame often jokes that I do it on purpose so she'll keep me around. We've even had babysitters who were forced to read a book while waiting for us to return home from an evening date.

 

The project

This year, I still didn't exactly get my wish for an A/V utopia but - with some work - I was mostly successful in getting the desired result. Eventually.

This was my goal: Plug in my cable TV box, Xbox 360, PS3, Wii U, the two new consoles, and assorted other devices such as older consoles and an ancient but recently repaired laserdisc player, and have the newer devices play at 1080p with 5.1 sound in the living room. The older devices should just serve up whatever they can deliver - but connect through HDMI to our main TV regardless of their maximum output capabilities.

But that's not all. I want them to mirror what's airing in the living room to a kitchen TV and speaker setup via a rather long set of component video and stereo wires we had our contractor run years ago through the basement ceiling and up through the counter next to where we do dishes and food prep.

We didn't quite get to 1080p all of the time - so it's a small hassle to play 3D movies - but after many weeks of struggles we have everything more or less working to our satisfaction. Here's how:

 

The equipment

Back of Marantz NR1604

Marantz NR1604 - This receiver had overall solid reviews. It even offers AirPlay, so our iOS devices can talk to it without being plugged in with a wire. But alas that feature is audio only, so you'll have no luck bouncing a YouTube video from your phone for playback on your TV. (Their official answer? Get an Apple TV. And while that's probably Apple's fault for not sharing their toys, it's just one more ridiculous limitation. So we just tag the video using Watch Later and call it up on the YouTube app via Xbox 360 or PS3. But I digress.)

There's also only one HDMI output; Marantz models with two outputs cost twice as much or more! (Buying a much costlier receiver was the official Marantz Twitter's official suggestion when I called them on this.)

Finally, as with pretty much every other receiver on the market, it won't down-convert to component. (Marantz also agreed that down-conversion wasn't happening.)

To be fair to Marantz, they are the company whose product we purchased. No doubt, the support experience for every other A/V receiver manufacturer would have been similar. I imagine that somewhere in each company is a frustrated engineer going, "But it would be so damn easy to include down-converted outputs! No one else is doing it! We'd be printing money!"

As best I can tell, this is all due to pressure from the entertainment industry, which fears that quality down-conversion from HDMI would lead to rampant piracy. In their minds, we'd all sprout eye patches and parrots on our shoulders, and then start selling illegal dubs of hit movies from the trunks of our hybrids and minivans.

Whatever. I just want to watch whatever's going on in the living room - whether it's live TV, DVR-recorded programming, Blu-ray disc, or streaming show or movie on Netflix, HBO Go, Vudu, Hulu Plus, or Amazon Instant - while I cook and clean dishes.

Yes, I reallly do cook and clean. Is this really so much to ask in the name of household entertainment efficiency and domestic bliss?

Apparently, yes.

But more on that in a bit. Let's look at what else I needed to engineer a better than passable entertainment miracle.

KanaaN HDMI Matrix 4 Input/2 Output Splitter Switch

KanaaN HDMI Matrix 4 Input/2 Output Splitter Switch - After trying fruitlessly to devise a solution that split the Marantz receiver's HDMI output between the living room TV and down-converted component/stereo to the kitchen (lots of audio issues and it seemed to always mess up the PS3's 1080p auto-detect sniffer), I figured out that I really needed to do the splitting BEFORE the receiver. This means giving up two of the Marantz' six HDMI inputs in favor of the four inputs this switch can take. Cable, Xbox 360 (for HBO Go), Xbox One, and PS4? Yeah, we'll be OK - though we'll need to revisit and reprioritize which devices get a space on the switch over time. And non-HDMI devices like the laserdisc player? Forget it. We can plug other entertainment appliances directly into the Marantz and enjoy them in the living room only, which is fine for - say - Wii U. I guess we should feel lucky that any of it works at all.

Front and back of ViewHD 2 Input HDMI to RGB Component/VGA Switch Converter

ViewHD 2 Input HDMI to RGB Component/VGA Switch Converter - This seemed at first glance like the answer to our prayers. We only needed one of the two inputs (no switching required) but the key feature here is that it down-converts the signal from HDMI to component. It also promises to handle 5.1 surround output but, as we learned, NOT VIA THE STEREO OUTPUTS. We were going to return it, thinking that it was defective, but the seller - J&R Galaxies - set us straight that the audio conversion only works with 2-channel sources.

Well, hell. Since we don't have optical running to the kitchen (just standard 2-channel RCA audio cables) we found out the hard way that the stereo outputs won't work. J&R was nice enough to steer us toward the fix for this, another gizmo. So we also needed:

ViewHD Digital to Analog Audio Decoder

ViewHD Digital to Analog Audio Decoder - This magic little box converts optical audio down to stereo and mixes it neatly down to two channels. This is important since otherwise many 5.1+ programs drop all or most of the dialogue, which is often pushed to the center channel. We found this works great except for one odd issue we encountered with the PS3, but it's not really the decoder's fault and we'll get to that.

IMPORTANT: There are cheaper devices that look just like this, but they won't down-convert surround sound to 2-channel stereo. Thanks J&R Galaxies for catching this while there was still time to cancel my order for the wrong item and get the converter I really needed!

We also needed:

Amazon High-speed HDMI cable

  • Lots of HDMI cables of varying lengths. Don't skimp - make sure they are all High Speed so they can support all of the latest features such as 3D. Amazon makes 'em cheap but solid.
  • Room to plug each of these extra gizmos in since they are all powered devices. I recommend a metal-encased power strip since the plastic ones wear out faster and can even be a fire hazard if not replaced every year or so.
  • Patience. Weeks of trial and error to figure this all out.

Fortunately, you can learn from our mistakes and get there a whole lot faster. And if anyone needs a 1x2 HDMI splitter with 4K support for any reason, we ended up not needed it after all. We'll give you a good price. But you won't need it for this solution.

 

Putting it all together

So the first step is to plug in the receiver. It doesn't have to be the Marantz. To be fair, the receiver we bought delivers a really amazing sound field through our 5.1 speaker setup, now that everything is working as it should. But there are plenty of good choices. Read lots of reviews and get what best meets your needs. Two HDMI outputs aren't required and, apart from the cost, might cause unintended problems. (I can't be sure since we haven't actually tried it that way.)

Here's what worked for me:

Plug HDMI cables from your four top devices into the 4-Input/2-Output HDMI Switch. These are just the ones we expect to favor - choose whichever gadgets with HDMI outputs that you want to use:

Step 1: Plug devices into HDMI Switch

Take the first output from the switch and plug it into your first HDMI input on your receiver. Connect your receiver's HDMI out to your HDMI TV:

Step 2: Plug HDMI into receiver then out to TV

Boom. Room 1 is done.

But that part is easy. You probably wouldn't need this article if that's all you wanted. Here's the tricky part.

Back to the HMDI Switch for Room 2. This is where it gets interesting (as defined in the movie Serenity!). The other output goes to the HDMI to RGB Component Converter:

Step 3: HDMI Switch Output 2 to Component Converter

Plug your long, second room component cables into the component out from the converter:

Step 4: Connect long component cable to Second Room TV

If it's really long, you can get a component in/out signal booster to reduce signal degradation (not pictured).

Now plug an optical (TOSLink) cable into the Component Converter's optical out and connect that to Digital to Analog Audio Decoder:

Step 5: Connect optical out from converter to audio decoder

The stereo output from this can either go directly to the other room or, as we've depicted, it can be used with an audio A/B switch to permit you to quickly toggle between your down-converted audio and the pure stereo output from your receiver (not down-converted but good for 2-channel sources such as AirPlay and radio).

In our kitchen we have a small TV with component inputs and an RCA to miniplug converter that goes to a mini amp with bookshelf speakers connected:

Step 6: Take decoded audio to second room (A/B Switch optional)

 

You could just plug it right into the TV and let the built-in speakers play your sound. The choice is yours. We just happened to have another set of small speakers that fit neatly in our kitchen, and we had this part all rigged up already from our previous setup. It's a "nice to have" in this scenario.

All said and done, that wasn't an obvious solution - but it works! Now Room 2 is complete.

Finally, a universal remote is recommended to tie it all together and reduce the fumbling for the right remote or, worse, using a game controller to watch movies or TV shows. Training our Harmony One to handle the HDMI switch proved problematic but we've gotten it to where it definitely changes the source for the HDMI Switch's first output every time and sometimes gets the HDMI 2 output to match. When this doesn't happen, we use the shiny little silver remote they included with the KanaaN to correct what’s displaying in the kitchen.

And there are times when this lack of synchronicity is a boon... We're getting to that.

 

How it works (and sometimes doesn't)

Most of the time, this system works like a charm. The only times it doesn't seem to be related to how the PS3 handles automatic TV detection.

For some reason, you can't just set your PS3 manually to 1080p for 3D movies and games. If you do this, 3D won't work. You need to let the console auto-detect the TV's capabilities. Additionally, the ViewHD converter only handles up to 1080i - so when it's actively receiving the PS3 signal, the PS3 won't acknowledge the TV's 1080p capability through the switch and receiver. I think it's something to do with the lowest common denominator connection being the one it accepts.

So if you have the PS3 on in the living room and simultaneously bounced via the switch to a second room, it will only detect 1080i. But if you change the second output to another device and then ask your PS3 to auto-detect - voila, it works! As an added bonus, sometimes when we switch on the PS3 and the switch doesn't flip the second output to the same thing (which is often), the PS3 will detect the TV and offer to switch to 1080p. You can always say no and it will stay at 1080i for second-room mirroring.

So, yeah, there's no 3D in the kitchen (not even audio), but we didn't expect or really need that. But the little dance we have to perform sometimes to get 3D to work is a minor pain.

Important safety tip: When you are done with 1080p, be sure to have the PS3 redetect the HDMI audio settings as well as video when you have both switch output sources set to PS3. Otherwise, you'll find that 5.1 content in your other room lacks the down-mixing and you'll get that no center channel thing I mentioned earlier. You'll know it when you can hear music/score but little to no dialogue or singing. This little wrinkle took me an extra week to figure out! I was sure it had either never worked (I'd somehow chosen only programs that had different mixing that masked the problem) or, more likely, something had broken. I checked and rechecked my connections far too many times to count. But in the end, I figured out it was a simple technology snafu.

One more improvement to consider: Remember how the Marantz (and, I'd imagine, many other brands of receiver) can only handle audio-only AirPlay? It would be cool if you could blast that to your second room as well, right? Alas, with this arrangement your second room only gets sound from the HDMI switch BEFORE the receiver.

So here's a quick fix. Get a simply RCA audio A/B switch. (If it has yellow ports for video, you can just ignore those - they won't work since your receiver won't down-convert video signals and we're just worried about audio here.) Plug the audio from your ViewHD 5.1 decoder into A and the 2-channel stereo output from the receiver into B.

Now whenever you want the audio from your receiver in your second room, just push B on your switch. If you're like us, you'll only need this once in a while but it sure beats going behind the TV and swapping cables each time.

Here's the full flow chart of my setup (click it to view a higher resolution version):

BusyGamerNation-AVSetup-Nov2013

Have your own awesome A/V setup? Solve this problem another way? We'd love to hear about it!

Ellie and JoelThe Last of Us is a lush, gorgeous stealth game masquerading as survival horror.

You may have heard there are zombies. There are. Just not a lot. This is not Dead Island, Left 4 Dead, or Dead Rising. Your zombie encounters are sporadic but intense.

The bigger enemy here is a realistic one that would have pleased Sartre: other people. Some zombie games augment the action with psychos. The Last of Us is a psycho game that occasionally throws some zombies your way.

You mainly play as Joel, a gruff man who loses his family to the zombie apocalypse in the first act. Fast forward 10 years, and the world is now a giant, crumbling jungle. Joel gets stuck with the world's worst escort mission: taking 14-year-old survivor Ellie across the United States so she can be studied. You see, Ellie was bitten by a zombie three weeks ago... and somehow hasn't turned. To be fair, Ellie takes care of herself, much like Elizabeth in BioShock Infinite. But don't get too excited. Unlike Elizabeth, Ellie doesn't find stuff for you to "catch, Joel."

Surviving the game requires an extreme level of patience (at least for me - I love to just slice and shoot stuff) and at least moderate competence with stealth. Bullets are rare, and you only get one melee weapon at a time - usually a weak-ass piece of wood or steel bar (upgradeable, for what it's worth). There's also a series of NPCs who tag along and occasionally block you from, say, RUNNING AWAY FROM THE REALLY FAST ZOMBIES.

I love melee, hate stealth, and almost exclusively use my Xbox 360 for console gaming. There is pretty much no reason why I should have enjoyed this game.

In fact, I was ready to bail after an early "clear the zombies" level. But I stuck with it, occasionally consulting the Internet for help with strategy and, more importantly, the PS3 controls. The last PS3 game I spent any real time on was Infamous, years ago. So not only was I overcoming my urge to run in and zombie bash, I was having to constantly look down to figure out where the damn Square button was.

I don't know that I would say I loved the game... but it's definitely a competitor for my Game of the Year right now. I respect The Last of Us. There were moments that took my breath away - both literally and figuratively. The storyline hit me in the parental gut so hard, I just had to finish it.

And that's where my problem sets in.

BIG, FAT, MAJOR SPOILER WARNING: From here on out, we're going to discuss, in detail, the end of The Last of Us. As in the finale. As in the very last thing you do in the game. If you haven't beaten it yet and care: DO. NOT. READ. Got it? Get it? Good. Because I recently finished The Last of Us, and there are some things I need to get off my chest.

http://www.busygamernation.com/podcast/

It's the week of Halloween, and there's a new zombie game on the block. And we have the inside scoop on Zombie! Zombie! Zombie! HD, the free-to-play match-3 action title from Big Fish Games.

You can download Busy Gamer Nation on iTunes, Zune, or our own RSS feed.

We have more PAX Prime 2013 podcast interviews and coverage incoming soon, including:

  • Fantasia: Music Evolved
  • 2K Drive
  • Infamous: Second Son
  • XCOM: Enemy Within
  • Contrast
  • Dragon Fin Soup
  • Sword 'N' Board
  • Contraption Maker
  • Backyard Battles
  • Romans From Mars
  • Dying Light

We have another Halloween treat on the way. And, after we finish with PAX, we have a couple of interviews some from Geek Girl Con in Seattle.

http://www.busygamernation.com/podcast/

The Drone from Evolution Controllers is one of those unexpected gems we found while wandering the expo halls at PAX Prime 2013. We almost didn't stop, but the shiny little Bluetooth devices caught our eye and felt even better in our hands.

We immediately wanted to buy one but held off - and we're glad we waited. Because now they're even cheaper: just $59 instead of about $72 with the 10% PAX discount. The catch? Their creators launched a Kickstarter to fund the initial production run. The good news is that it's almost fully funded and will very likely make its $30K goal; it's already at nearly $22,000 with 26 days to go.

The other possible gotcha is lack of support for the iOS7 native controller standard. We hope this will get addressed, but in the meantime it works with most devices including PC, Mac, and even Ouya plus iOS iCade-compatble titles and Droid including Kindle Fire.

You can download Busy Gamer Nation on iTunes, Zune, or our own RSS feed.

We have more PAX Prime 2013 podcast interviews and coverage incoming soon, including:

  • Zombie! Zombie! Zombie!
  • Fantasia: Music Evolved
  • 2K Drive
  • Infamous: Second Son
  • XCOM: Enemy Within
  • Contrast
  • Dragon Fin Soup
  • Sword 'N' Board
  • Contraption Maker
  • Backyard Battles
  • Romans From Mars
  • Dying Light

And we even interviewed some people about games at Geek Girl Con in Seattle last weekend, including Project Spark. What would you like to hear next?

http://www.busygamernation.com/podcast/

In our third podcast in less than a week (go BGN!), we talk to Josh Jeffcoat from Gearbox Software about the upcoming Halloween-themed T. K. Baha's Bloody Harvest, the first of several Headhunter Packs for Borderlands 2

We also discuss what's included in the just released Game of the Year Edition of the game in case you were thinking about picking it up.

And then there's the spoilery but thorough briefing we received on how to take down the big Bloody Harvest boss, Jacques O'Lantern. Don't worry, we save it for last and warn you beforehand so you can skip this part if you want to figure it out for yourself.

You can download Busy Gamer Nation on iTunes, Zune, or our own RSS feed.

We have more PAX Prime 2013 podcast interviews and coverage incoming soon, including:

  • Drone controller
  • Fantasia: Music Evolved
  • 2K Drive
  • Infamous: Second Son
  • XCOM: Enemy Within
  • Contrast
  • Zombie! Zombie! Zombie!
  • Dragon Fin Soup
  • Sword 'N' Board
  • Contraption Maker
  • Backyard Battles
  • Romans From Mars
  • Dying Light

We're almost halfway done with our PAX coverage. What would you like to hear next?

http://www.busygamernation.com/podcast/

The Wolf Among Us launches tomorrow, so we dug through our PAX Prime 2013 interview log - and there it was. A great little chat with the game's co-director, Nick Herman.

This episodic game has a lot of texture and flavor, so we've captured as much as we could in the podcast along with Nick's insights into developing the comic Fables into an episodic adventure series while remaining true to canon.

You can download Busy Gamer Nation on iTunes, Zune, or our own RSS feed.

We have more PAX Prime 2013 podcast interviews and coverage incoming soon, including:

  • Borderlands 2 Headhunter Pack
  • Drone controller
  • Contrast
  • Fantasia: Music Evolved
  • 2K Drive
  • Zombie! Zombie! Zombie!
  • Infamous: Second Son
  • XCOM: Enemy Within
  • Dragon Fin Soup
  • Sword 'N' Board
  • Contraption Maker
  • Backyard Battles
  • Romans From Mars
  • Dying Light

Two in one week! And the next two are already in progress. Stay tuned for more great short-but-sweet podcasts!

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