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Where bloggers fear to tread

By Carson Barker, March 2, 2007, Screens

Let the madness begin. On March 10 at 3pm, a subconscious alarm heard only by the joystick-inclined will sound, signaling the start of ScreenBurn 2007, the arm of South by Southwest Interactive devoted to gaming. At that moment, gamers with eyes like cracked Easter eggs will rush the Austin Convention Center searching for the next trend in the rapidly evolving gaming industry. The industry folks get to promo their newest games and dish out news and ideas via panels; consumers get first glimpses of new games, compete against one another, and meet people they should get to know. Go to, and prepare yourself for the onslaught only previewed here. The extravaganza runs from 10am to 6pm for four days, so remember not to stare at the screen too long.

ScreenBurn Arcade

March 10-11, noon-6pm

Why wax philosophical about gaming all day? Take a break, and enjoy the fruits of the industry's labors. Brush up on your button pressing, and hobnob with professional and amateur gamers. It's all about sensory overload, just like SXSW, except this is free and open to the public. Here are the highlights:

Seagate Technology

With video games demanding more digital power each year, Seagate has a head start.

The well-known hard-drive company will offer gaming kiosks beefed up with the latest gear. Imagine a futuristic telephone booth with enough power to handle your supercharged hand-eye coordination.


Not only are they releasing six new games this March, but the makers of Splinter Cell will demo a surprise Nintendo DS release at ScreenBurn that they claim is for "people of all ages who love music … and making their own!" That's pretty much everybody at SXSW.

"Ashen Empires'

The newest release from Pixel Mine Prod-uctions is a 24/7 massively multiplayer online game in the vein of World of Warcraft and God of War. Start an account for free, and be their guest … until they kick you out at 6pm.

Frag Dolls

The all-girl gaming team (see right) stole the show at a Rainbow Six 3: Black Arrow battle, where they beat out all other teams, and that was their first public appearance. Attendees of ScreenBurn will get the chance to compete against the female supergroup in a game of Ghost Recon Advanced Warfighter 2 for prizes.

Killer Network Interface Cards

Sometimes the electronic world's best assassins need more than fully automatic weapons and hordes of ammo to raise their body counts. They need computer cards. Bigfoot Networks will demo their latest aid to killing machines in various systems, so ScreenBurners can mass-murder without slowing down.

Evo Championship Series

Evo will challenge ScreenBurners to compete for cash prizes in games like Mario Golf and more. Winners will be given the prize money instantly, along with the possibility of competing in the Evo World Finals in Las Vegas.

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