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SXSW Highlights from Austin, TX |

  • Free Stuff: I have disposable income, but there is a certain charm about being given so much stuff for free. I didn’t pay a single dime during my whole three day SXSW experience. (Most of the panels and presentations require badges, which cost a *LOT* but there is tons to see and do for free). The PlayStation lounge had a free open bar (kind of surprising): any liquor, beer, or mixed drink was completely free. Pepsi had an area with free ice cold sodas and some creative free food (spiced sliders and some deliciously spiced corn on the cob). Mozilla Firefox gave out some inventive combination ice cream cookie sandwiches. The guys at the GroupMe booth actually made me download their Android app before giving me a free grilled cheese sandwich (which I tossed).
  • Best Game: Resistance 3. I am feeling shooter fatigue; the shooter genre has been filled with so many amazing but similar games that my interest has been wandering elsewhere. Resistance 3 looked way better than I expected. The multiplayer looked like it had lots of interesting abilities and depth, the campaign play looked like it had fun objectives and avoided the trap of feeling overly scripted, and the graphic tech is definitely up there with the Killzones, God of Wars, and Uncharteds.
  • Best (free, no badge) tech talk: Google presented some really nice APIs. They announced a new 2D geospatial indexing system (for developers) called S2. They also had a variety of other novelties (free bar, steampunk art, google photo booth, mindstorm battlebots), but the venue was too small for the crowd.
  • Sony’s “Meetup”: Sony’s Meetup was in a trendy bar, but really there wasn’t anything to see beyond the same Insomniac games that are also at Insomniac’s booth (on Sunday night, they featured Socom 4, which I missed). Sony should have have shown more titles. They have other near final titles ready that have been demoed in other mediums such as Motorstorm Apocalypse. BTW, R&C:A4O looked good and was fun from the piece that I played, but I would need to play it for a longer period of time to form more meaningful impressions. Also, I wish they had a more organized queueing system to try the games: people were hogging the games for extended periods of time and the only way to try them was to get to the controller first when someone voluntarily left.
  • Mortal Kombat: They had a truck with four HDTV/PS3 setups that seated eight players. The lame part was they offered the exact same PSN demo that PS+ subscribers got last Tuesday and everyone gets this coming Tuesday. I’m shocked they didn’t have the full game to show (the booth attendant said they don’t trust the booth people with an unreleased game like that). The attendants were super nice, although they didn’t seem to believe me that the game supported stereoscopic 3D (I have played the demo at home in 3D – only the backrounds are in 3D). I’m surprised that there is such a large fan base for the classic-era 2D figher genre.
  • Oly

    I want disposable income! 😆
    “The PlayStation lounge had a free open bar ” they had one at E3 last year as well, with tons of free food.. Good times.

    I didn’t even know this event was going on, but glad to see we had a presence there! Good stuff

  • Beastxjason

    Free is always a good thing. Must be your Karma paying off!

  • pedro

    Is “disposable income” a good thing or a bad thing? I really didn’t get it.

    Nice freebies by the way.

  • Should have let me know you where going. Might have be able to have you meet up with Jeff Rubenstein since he was there. Ah well ..

  • Darrin

    Wow, that would have been fun. SXSW Interactive is still running through tomorrow. I live in Austin…

    • Guess he’s still there today. I’ll ask if he’ll be there tomorrow.

    • Guess he’s heading back tonight Darrin. Check it out.

  • God @Darrin way to drop the ball! Next time before you do anything check with us!

  • ATX! Man I miss Austin. And SXSW, for the matter. And ACL.

  • Darrin

    Too bad. Would I have gotten to see some extra games in a back room or something?

    • Now we’ll never know.

  • Jay

    lol @ the date in the image

  • what exactly is sxsw?

  • Baba0Booey: what exactly is sxsw?

    south by southwest in austin, texas. it’s predominantly a music festival, but it increasingly has film and interactive media components.