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This past Labor Day weekend, while most of America was busy with picnics and barbecues, morethan 58,000 gamers flocked to downtown Seattle for the fourth annualPenny Arcade Expo (PAX), North America’s largest gaming festival. PAX rivaled last month’s E3, with more than 70 exhibitors — including bigwigssuch as Nintendo, Sony, and EA — packing the convention floor. I was onhand to soak up the geek frenzy and to play a bunch of upcoming titles. Check out the highlights from PAX2008:

Little Big Planet: I think I can safelysay that LBP is the cutest game I’ve ever played. It is thesole reason I will finally be purchasing a PS3, and I can’t wait tospend hours upon hours customizing my SackBoy, playing through themore than 50 (adorably detailed) levels and constructing my own world for himto explore. Oh, and did I mention that one of the outfits is the neon-green Borat thong? In stores October 21.

Fallout 3: The BioShock of2008. Fallout is definitely not for the casual gamers out there. Butfor those looking for a truly engaging storyline and near-cinematicexperience while blasting away post-apocalyptic mutants, it’sdefinitely a game to lose yourself in for weeks. In stores October 28.

A sneak peek at more games after the jump…

Mirror’s Edge: You might think that running around ametropolis, jumping from rooftop to wall to drainage pipe, would inducevertigo or nausea, but Mirror’s Edge is nothing but a pure adrenalinerush. A first-person action game with no weapons? How refreshing. In stores November 11.

Left 4 Dead: The family that slays together, stays together. Finally, a zombie killing gamewhere I can just run around screaming while my friends do all thework! L4D takes the best elements of Dawn of the Dead and 28 DaysLater, and immerses you and your friends in a game of survival thatrivals the best zombie flicks you’ve seen. In stores November 17.

Velvet Assassin: The English Patientmeets Metal Gear Solid. This stealth action game puts you in theshoes of a British secret agent, who relives her missions through aseries of morphine-induced flashbacks while laying in her hospitalbed. The atmosphere and environments are breathtaking, as is theprotagonist Violette Summer, who is based on real life agent VioletteSzabo. In stores January 2009.

Getting a chance to test out new gameswas definitely not the only draw for PAX attendees, for tournaments,concerts, panels, movies were aplenty during the three-day event. Thereal highlight of my weekend was hanging out with my online gamerpals from Destructoid. With all the scrutiny that the videogamecommunity gets from politicians and mainstream media, PAX is an incredibly positiveevent that proves gamers are truly fun, supportive, and socialpeople.

Did any of you PopWatchers make it out to PAX? What games are you looking forward to the most?