PAX East officially came to a close this evening, following three solid days of gaming insanity. The Penny Arcade Expo originally started as a small gaming convention on the west coast in 2004 has grown in to an unstoppable juggernaut that is by far the convention to go to if you’re a gamer. The entire event actually has a fairly interesting history behind it, especially considering its meager beginnings with only a few thousand attendees. But, like most things Penny Arcade touches, (such as the Child’s Play charity) it’s not entirely surprising what a runaway success the event has become.

PAX East is a spinoff of the main west coast PAX (affectionally referred to as “PAX Prime”) and as such, was a much more intimate event. This didn’t stop anyone from having a great time, whether you’re in to pen and paper RPG’s, card games, board games, handhelds, or console and PC gaming, PAX East had something to offer. If you’re an iPhone developer, there are much better events to go to such as GDC or WWDC, but if you’re a gamer of any kind, you really owe it to yourself to at least give some serious consideration to attending the nearest PAX.

Space Miner is getting a substantial update. We absolutely loved the game in our review, forum members are crazy about it, and it’s one of the few iPhone video games I’ve played in a very long time that I enjoyed so much I immediately restarted on the next higher difficulty upon completing the game.

If you’re like me, and have almost extracted everything possible out of Space Miner, you’ll be happy to know that they’re expanding the end-game to include more licenses, weapons to buy, new alien tech to find, and new Plus+ awards to earn. They’re calling this a “HD update”, as in addition to the gameplay tweaks, they’ve also implemented new shaders and other graphical effects to make the game look even better.

But wait, there’s more. If the included difficulty modes weren’t enough for you, they’re also implementing a HardcORE perma-death mode. While there’s no doubt that perma-death gameplay modes aren’t for everyone, I really like the thrill that comes from the potential of losing everything from dying, and judging by the popularity of iPhone rogulikes, I doubt I’m alone on that.

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