PAX and Tribeca Festival Game Updates

Over the past few years, I’ve been lucky enough to attend a number of festivals and conventions and tell you all about many of the cool games and experiences I saw there. Most of the games I’ve highlighted were slated for future release at the time of my writing about them. In the intervening months, quite a few of them have been released. I’m here to bring some of them back to your attention now that they are fully available for everyone to enjoy.

I should mention that I haven’t played all of these games yet. Cellophane shame and its digital video game equivalent are real things! But that doesn’t change the fact that every item on this list is worthy of a second look now that they’ve been released.

Virtual Reality

Pixel Ripped 1978

Woman in a green dress with a pink belt wearing an 8-bit helmet and gauntlet in an 80s-like room with an Atari console.

The third game in the Pixel Ripped series, this game released only a few days after my visit to the Tribeca Festival earlier in 2023. The demo took me through the first full level which had me control two characters in two different settings: first, the developer creating the in-universe game and then a character inside the in-universe game. This shift in perspective is a major feature of Pixel Ripped 1978, which was made as a tribute to and in partnership with Atari. Pixel Ripped 1978 is available on Steam VR, Meta Quest 2, and Sony PlayStation VR2.

A Knight in the Attic

A standout for me at PAX East 2023, A Knight in the Attic is a charming and cozy dexterity game in the vein of Labyrinth. Based on some of the characters from the legends of King Arthur, you play as Guinevere on a quest to rescue Arthur. All of this happens by solving puzzles as you roll around various challenging maps. For a fuller explanation of the game, you can read my full review of A Knight in the Attic. A Knight in the Attic is available on Steam VR and Meta Quest devices.

Board Games

Isla Nublar

Jurassic Park is an iconic movie franchise, and I’ll never forget seeing the first installment in theaters. So when I came across a booth advertising Isla Nublar, a legacy game set in the world of the franchise, at PAX Unplugged 2021 it was a no brainer to back it on Kickstarter in early 2022. The game has since been delivered and I played through the tutorial scenario. Even though it was just the introductory level, it was still fraught with danger and tough decisions. I haven’t had a chance to delve into the full game (many of you know the level of dedication it takes to get into a legacy game) but the tutorial was good enough to put Isla Nublar near the top of the pile of games to play. Isla Nublar is available on Amazon.

The Shivers

Pop up of a victorian parlor with pop up furniture and characters investigating.

The Shivers had been on my radar for a long time, having first laid my eyes on it at PAX Unplugged in 2019. I was immediately hooked by the mystery element and the pop-up book style rooms the game was played in. When it launched on Kickstarter, I treated myself to the deluxe edition. It arrived in early 2023 and it was a great addition to my collection. I have yet to play all of the included scenarios, but you can read my impressions of the introductory campaign and the game in general in my review. A second Kickstarter campaign is in the works to fund the next series of scenarios. You’ll need the base game to play them, though, and you can get it at the official Shivers website and Amazon.

Video Games

Stray Gods: The Roleplaying Musical

Stray Gods was a featured selection at the 2023 Tribeca Festival, and it was certainly a unique experience. A visual novel with a heavy focus on music and singing, Stray Gods is set in a modern world where Greek gods walk among us. Decisions matter a lot in this game as you guide the main character in her quest to discover who murdered her predecessor. Stray Gods released on August 10 on PC and all the consoles.


Photo of a screen promoting the game Immortality at Tribeca 2023 depicts a series of posters burning.

Immortality tells the engrossing story of Marissa Marcel, the fictional starlet that starred in three movies – none of which were ever released. After the third movie, Marcel mysteriously disappeared. The player’s job is to uncover the mystery around Marissa Marcel by scrubbing through film clips of the movies to find additional clips as well as backstage footage and interviews. The unusual gameplay mechanic of examining and interacting with full-motion video made for compelling (and award-winning) gameplay. Immortality is available on Steam, GOG, and XBox.


I have a soft spot for games about food and cooking, and when I saw Venba at Tribeca Festival 2022 I was immediately interested. A narrative game about an Indian family who immigrated to Canada in the 1980s, Venba tasks its players with solving food-based puzzles as a way for the characters to connect with the home they left behind. Venba released on July 31 on Steam and all the consoles.

Oxenfree II: Lost Signals

Oxenfree II caught my attention at Tribeca Festival 2022 with its interesting time manipulation mechanic but more importantly the very natural sounding dialog options I could choose from. I had never played the original Oxenfree, but the buzz around the game series pushed me to try it out. Oxenfree was a joy to play and had a lot of narrative depth and an interesting take on replayability. Now that the sequel is out, I expect Oxenfree II to build on the quality of the first game, and I look forward to exploring the world of Oxenfree even more. Oxenfree II: Lost Signals released on July 12 on Steam, Nintendo Switch, PlayStation 4/5, and on mobile devices for Netflix subscribers.

Chants of Sennaar

A beautifully lit room with a series of couch/ screen setups where people can play game demos.

Okay, I’m cheating a little bit with this one. As I write this, Chants of Sennaar has not been released. But it is slated to drop on September 5, and I figure that’s close enough for a game that really caught my attention. The few puzzles I had to solve in the early part of the demo were not anything mind bending, though I do expect them to get more involved as the game progresses. However, it was the language translation aspect that really grabbed me. NPCs talked to me in glyphs that I could not initially understand but repeated exposure to them combined with environmental exploration helped me to discern their meaning through context. I then used that knowledge to solve puzzles and further explore the game world. Chants of Sennaar will release on September 5 on Steam, Nintendo Switch, Playstation 4, and XBox.


Indie Megabooth 2.0

In my article recapping PAX Unplugged 2021, I bemoaned the lack of a shared space for small escape game publishers. And while I don’t see a solution on the horizon for that particular issue, I am happy to see that Indie Megabooth is back in action after going into “hibernation” throughout the covid pandemic. The Indie Megabooth is a sort of collaborative hype engine for only the best curated indie video games. Instant classics such as Dead Cells, The Stanley Parable, and Celeste have been featured in the past. Indie Megabooth 2.0 is back online and getting ready to put more great games on our collective radars.

These are only some of the games that I’ve highlighted, and there are many more coming on the horizon. Stay tuned for more release updates and more highlights from future conventions. I’m already looking forward to PAX Unplugged 2023 to be able to bring you another round of the best new analog games. Consider this your invitation to join the REA team in Philadelphia again this year!

Have you played any of these games yet? What did you think? Let me know down in the comments.

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