Mary P. Traverse

Mary P. Traverse is an artist, designer, loudmouth and nerd.


The Order: 1886


The Order play roomThe Order: 1886 is GORGEOUS. The characters are as close to human as I’ve ever seen in a game, and the atmosphere is a cool, steampunky aesthetic. The trailer playing in the booth showed what looked like a cross between a zombie and a sentient werewolf, so that’s awesome, too. All that being said, the gameplay didn’t feel ground-breaking. Admittedly I don’t have a ton of experience with PlayStation and it’s also possible that the fact that I was sitting six inches away from an enormous screen skewed my perceptions. But while I bet I’d love to watch someone else play through, this wasn’t enough to convince me I need to get my own PlayStation.

I did come away with a sweet tee shirt and pin, though. A dude waiting right outside the booth immediately begged me for the pin, offering his World of Warcraft pin in trade… given my LTR with WoW it seemed like a good deal to me.

The Order: 1886 comes out in February of next year.


Assassin’s Creed: Unity and Rogue


Assassin's Creed booth at PAX Prime 2014

I didn’t realize ’til we watched the exclusive trailer here at PAX that Assassin’s Creed has TWO games coming out. “Unity,” which has been discussed all over the place (including here on Nerdhole) is for the next-gen consoles, but “Rogue” is for the Xbox 360 and PS3. Neither the PAX presentation nor some quick Googling explain why they’re being released this way, so I’m not sure what that’s about.

“Rogue ” is the story of an Assassin who begins to hunt others in the brotherhood. It appears to be more in line with traditional AC gameplay, with the return of naval battles as in AC “Black Flag.” According to a Q&A on Twitter  you can play the two games in any order and it won’t affect your understanding of the overarching AC storyline. Check out the “Rogue” gameplay trailers here and here.

The AC booth also had a sweet collection of costumes from the series along with the opportunity to snap a photo of your favorite one and tweet it for the chance to win some swag.


What Can I Say About WoW?


If you’re new to World of Warcraft, or returning after a long hiatus, it’s a really great time to get in to it. The game is better than ever with more advanced tech and art. Plus when you pre-order the expansion, Warlords of Draenor (coming November 13), you get an automatic boost to level 90 for either a new or existing character which means you can skip the daunting slog of leveling and jump directly into the new content.

If you’re already a player, you’ve probably been keeping up with the minutia of the expansion, so I won’t go into detail here. And anyway I’m not sure how much I was able to learn in playing 10 minutes of demo that I hadn’t already seen in YouTube videos of the beta. I made a toon, started building a garrison, and killed a few beasties, but it’s hard to get a real feel of storyline and gameplay in such a short burst. (Plus without my addons and key mapping I was stumbling a bit.) Still, it was pretty cool and I’m even more charged for the release.


Revisiting the X-Files with Kumail Nanjiani


Kumail Nanjiani's The X-Files FilesAs you wait for all your genre shows to return from break in this late-summer lull, why not stop searching Tumblr for #cosima and #superwholock and watch The X-Files, which is streaming for free on Netflix and Amazon Prime? And if nostalgia isn’t a good enough reason, you have an ambassador to guide you through the very best and most important episodes: Kumail Nanjiani.

You may know him from Portlandia; or Silicon Valley; or his video game podcast, The Indoor Kids, which he co-hosts with his wife Emily V. Gordon; or his hilarious, nerd-tinged stand-up (which you should REALLY check out if you haven’t yet). Now he’s hosting a new podcast called The X-Files Files where he and a guest discuss select episodes of The X-Files.

Nanjiani, an enthusiastic fan of the show, has curated a list of must-see episodes and he explains why on the second installment of the podcast: “This show is for two kinds of people: one, people who have never watched The X-Files and for them I’m guiding them through the good episodes of The X-Files… for them I’m helping them skip the ones that aren’t that well done.” He goes on, “The second group is people who have already watched The X-Files and are re-discovering it, well then you don’t need me to talk about the episodes I don’t like because you’ve already watched them and you have your own opinion of them anyway.” He’s gotten some grief from his growing fanbase about this decision, but I think his reasoning is solid.

One of the most interesting parts of the podcast is that he delves into ancient X-Files message boards, revealing the beginning of the internet as we know it today: a place where some people obsess and argue and speculate about their favorite shows and other people troll them. Also fascinating is that The X-Files was one of the first shows to have the kind of direct contact with fans that we take for granted today. On one episode of the podcast, guest Dean Haglund (aka Lone Gunman Richard Langly) revealed that the show’s creators visited these boards often, interacting with the fans and taking note of the discussions.

I’m a huge Kumail Najiani fan (and I love The X-Files) so I was already on the hook before I even heard one episode. But whether you’re a long-time fan of The X-Files, or watching for the first time (or not watching it at all), the podcast is delightful. The commentary from Nanjiani and his guest, the behind-the-scenes trivia, and the archeology of the early internet all make for a rich experience. I give it 5 out of 5 Erlenmeyer flasks.

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