I don’t get out much these days. I’m currently working on a ton of writing projects as well as in the process of moving and making time for friends and love ones.

But when Andrew and Mr. Green couldn’t make it to a recent Sony Playstation Spring Showcase event… I must admit I kind of jumped at the chance to check it out.

Playing unreleased video games all afternoon while dining on sliders and these awesome little spring roll things? How could I resist.

This particular day was focused mainly on Canadian studios and Canadian built games… well except for one rather large title. So let’s take a look, shall we?

Game of Thrones

I’m a huge fan of the tv series but I haven’t read the books at all. The game itself takes place towards the end of the first book/season, so Sean Bean doesn’t live, but the story itself was developed with studio Cyanide and George R.R. Martin.  I’m not a huge rpg player but this game sounded great, looked great… and had rather clunky controls.  It took me a long time to get used to being able to switch between the main and support characters. It took even longer to get used to the combat system and even when I did, the controls still felt sluggish.

Little Big Planet Karting

The new PS3 answer to Mario Kart is on it’s way and even in it’s early build stage (the rep said it was around the half way point, maybe further) might actually be better then Mario Kart.  Taking a lot of knowledge from both Mario Kart and Modnation Racers, Little Big Planet Karting is as fun as those games but with the customization of Little Big Planet. As in EVERYTHING can be customised. I made a leopard print sack boy with a cyclops eye driving a skull wagon with wooden water wheels. He also weilded a spatula to smack other players with. While not available to the build, there will be significant level editors just like Little Big Planet. In fact, the game itself feels like a huge dlc or another disc to Little Big Planet 2; the game launch screens, the level selection, the graphics all have that LBP feel to them.  The graphics are exactly what you would expect from a Little Big Planet game (at this stage in the build) and if you’ve be jonesing for a fun racing game for your PS3, this will probably do the trick. Oh and 4 player split-screen play will be available which is awesome.

Lights, Camera, Party!

Frima Studios is best known for games like Zombie Tycoon (they announced at the press event that Zombie Tycoon 2 was on it’s way), mini games for the PSN network and such.  But they’ve stepped up their game a little with Lights, Camera, Party! – A collection of party games centred around a tv network. Usually party games are not my thing. They have a tendency to be a bit repetitive or just thrown together on the cheap.

Frima has obviously taken time and some care with this title. The variety of games in this title is pretty solid (the rep mentioned somewhere around 75) and the fact that you can play up to 8 people at home is a welcome bonus. My particular favourite game is the one where I got to hit flying frogs with a shovel.

Retro City Rampage

A PS Vita title from Vblank Entertainment (also available on pretty much everything else PS3, Xbox Live, PC, etc), Retro City Rampage is pretty much as it’s title makes it sound. It’s old school GTA mixed with a bit of Robotron/Smash tv combat.  The graphics are incredibly retro (mirroring many a Nintendo game) as is the game play. While I’m not so sure how this would go over in consoles, as a portable Vita game, it’s pretty addicitive. Run around, jack cars, shoot tons of people, it’s perfect for the portable system. A game I can have fun with, put down for a bit and then get back on the subway and continue my rampage.

Papa & Yo

Out of everything I saw at the showcase, Papa & Yo is the game that completely blew me away. From Minority Media, this PSN title is fantastic, even at this stage in the build (they are looking at late 2012 release). Quico is a boy in an unnamed South American city. He has two imaginary friends, a giant monster addicted to frogs and a little backpack sized robot. Quico’s quest is to cure the monster’s addiction. How this connects to the puzzle game I played… I’m not quite sure but the game itself was great.  Basically the entire game is set in the little boy’s head as he wanders the city. The puzzles come out of the walls and ground and pretty much everywhere else.  One such puzzle involves you moving boxes that then move houses into a bridge so you can cross a huge ravine. The puzzles are simple but challenging and get bigger and more difficult as the game moves along. It’s fun and addictive. What also stands out is the look of the game. The city looks like a South American city (with some liberties of course) and is just so different from a majority of the games out right now. Now I was told Minority was still polishing the game, in which case, it’s going to look really good. There were only a few frame rate issues that I noticed (the fact the main character’s tie stuck out bugged the rep), but I’ve seen bigger release titles look worse on completion then this game looks now.

Filled with gaming goodness and sliders, I left and I must say, Sony’s got a pretty strong Canadian line up headed our way and a few that are worth geeking out for.

And if you’re gonna geek out, GEEK HARD!