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Ten highlights from this weekend's Gearbox Software Community Day 2012

Yes, I managed to throw down a good amount of cash to attend the Gearbox Software Community Day event in Dallas, Texas this past weekend, but there were plenty of good reasons behind it – the primary one being that I've been a fan of the company for various years, and finally wanted to meet a lot of the folks who were there.

But the event was more along the lines of just having fun with members of the community, and getting more than my fill of the recently released Borderlands 2, along with the forthcoming Aliens: Colonial Marines.

So, with that, instead of just doing a boring old recap, I've decided to put together a list of my ten favorite highlights from the event, spanning from Friday night's charity poker game all the way through Saturday evening's Extravasplosion launch party.  And there were plenty of good moments to go around…

The Charity Poker Tournament

Gear

Put together to benefit the Videogame History Museum, the Charity Poker Tournament brought out a number of premium players and celebrities who bluffed and betted to their heart's content, while bidding on a number of items, including a cool hand-drawn Borderlands 2 picture and a custom rifle.  At the event, there were also some classic kiosks around, so we managed to get our fill of Street Fighter II, even after we lost all our chips.  It was definitely a fun evening.

The Gearbox Tour

As part of the "Ultimate" package that I dropped a load of cash on, I had the opportunity to tour Gearbox's awesome three-floor studio in the heart of Texas.  And while I can't discuss what the team is working on at the moment, I can say that this place is very classy, filled with a bunch of snacks ripe for the picking (we cleaned them out of beef jerky, nice!) and a custom pinball room.  Everyone should work here…and if you go to http://www.gearboxsoftware.com/jobs, you just might…

The Bonus Swag

Attendees of all sorts got to collect some prime goodies at the Community Day event, including Borderlands shirts, Aliens collectible Facehuggers (some even perched them ON THEIR HEADS!), bags and other stuff.  These items were very cool, and definitely a must for collectors.  And if you needed even more stuff, you could buy additional goods, like shirts and an awesome seven-foot poster.  And yes, we bought "Wub Wub" shirts.  Don't judge us.

Borderlands 2…And Lots of It

Gear

Gearbox Software dedicated an ENTIRE room to their forthcoming Borderlands 2, with a number of playable kiosks, a live Twitch.tv feed, Nvidia set-ups, a photo booth, and a bar stocked with snacks galore.  If you didn't have the opportunity to play the game before, this was the place to do it.  Granted, we can all play it NOW, but on Saturday, we couldn't…right?

Aliens: Colonial Marines – Can You Beat Alien Developers?

In a smaller room in the Palladium, the Gearbox developers were challenging players to step up as Marines and take on their Aliens all-star team with Aliens: Colonial Marines in both team deathmatch and Escape modes.  Needless to say, there was a good time had by all, and the dev team even let me try out the game on the Aliens side.  Impressions of that play session should be up soon, if they aren't already.  But, yeah, playing as an alien and bitch-slapping Marines definitely has its advantages.

The Gearbox Panel

Gear

Adam Sessler hosted the Gearbox team panel, which took place later in the day, where Randy Pitchford and his cohorts discussed day-to-day stuff with the company, as well as talking (briefly) about the next Brothers In Arms and the new project that was previously Furious Four, which will be unveiled down the road.  They also mentioned that it'd be great to work with Duke Nukem again, though nothing was confirmed.  The main highlight?  Randy Pitchford pulling out a Christmas trophy of sorts, featuring two squirrels in a humping position.  Oh, Randy…

The Aliens: Colonial Marines Panel

The Aliens team took the stage first over the course of the day, with Xbox Live's "e" providing hosting duties and talking up a storm about every aspect of the production with the team.  Though no major new tidbits were revealed, the fans saw just how much love they had put into the project.  Plus there were some great stories involving Lance Henriksen and Ridley Scott.  Yes, Henriksen's in the game.  You're welcome, fans.

The Borderlands Panel

Launch

The final panel of the day involved the Borderlands team, and this was definitely the most packed of the bunch.  Fans clamored at the return of their favored franchise, and Morgan Webb of G4's X-Play headed up the discussion, talking about little facts about the game and what players can expect.  The team also debuted the world premiere launch trailer at the event, which drew the crowd into a frenzy, as well as a limited edition Hello Kitty Tool Chest…which, yes, everyone tried to steal for eBay.  Good ol' Dave Eddings was on guard, though!

The Borderlands 2 Launch Party

Border

If there's one thing Gearbox is damn good at (besides making games), it's throwing a heck of a launch party.  The Extravasplosion was everything we could've expected it to be – and more – featuring the likes of DJ Jazzy Jeff, The Heavy and Satan's Cheerleaders amongst other entertainers.  What's more, the event provided cool t-shirts, temporary tattoos and a whole bunch of alcohol for the buying.  It truly was phenomenal, and has us tempted to return for Gearbox's 2013 event.

This Guy

Guy

Seriously.  This guy was the life of the party after he passed out.  It was hilarious.  And Epic Games' Cliff Bleszinski couldn't help but take advantage…

Cliff

Till next year, Gearbox, stay classy!

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Robert Workman
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