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Gabe / on Tue, May 7 2002 at 1:19 pm

Ridge racer Type H-O-T!

I would just like to say how happy I am that Namco is working on GameCube titles. I am sure Star Fox will be fantastic considering how good Starblade was. However, of all the games mentioned the one that has me drooling is their unnamed racing game. When they mention that it will be the “next evolution of Ridge Racer” I get all warm inside. I think that Ridge Racer Type 4 for the PSX is the greatest racing game ever made. No other racing game before or since has been able to grab hold of me the way R4 did. I spent months with that game trying to shave fractions of seconds off my lap times.  I think that ridge racer V on the PS2 was more of a shitty technology demo than a game and so I don’t really consider it a part of the series. If Namco is able to bring back all the great stuff from Type 4 like the story mode and the wicked cars then I will be one happy camper. I’ve got my fingers crossed.

-Gabe out

Tycho / on Tue, May 7 2002 at 5:17 am

Six Of One, Half A Dozen Of The Other

  • Ant City:  Sent in by Ian from XenGamers, he said it was probably worth about five minutes of fun.  Maybe if you play it once, it is.  Like the proverbial Pringles brand snack chip, once one has initiated the popping process it is difficult (if not impossible) to halt the procedure.

  • The Parking Lot Is Full:  I actually found out about Plif and Jerkcity on the same day, instructed thus by the inimitable Monk-e on the Penny Arcade IRC channel.  You can only imagine what that day was like.  No matter.  The Parking Lot Is Full is being put to sleep, has been I should say, so head over to the morgue and ogle the corpse with the others.

  • Project Solinari:  These guys review games - mainly ones that could be considered classic, which is typically a euphemism for “very old.”  Nostalgia trips galore.

  • A Glimpse Of Our Terrifying Cyber Future:  I don’t know what Sony could possibly be thinking, mass-producing these vicious robo-youngsters.  Time was, you could just push a robot down and they’d roll the credits while you got your chaste mack on in ninteen-fifty.  Not so, anymore.  These little bastards will turn on the juice and burn your whole head, they don’t care.

  • Save The Pak Mann Arcade, Goddamit:  I don’t live anywhere near here, but I was sent this by someone who does.  So save it, already!

  • Save Internet Radio While You’re At It:  Feel free to save the other thing first, if you’re in the middle of that.  I don’t want to be a bother.  But as I’ve been putting plans together for our radio station (Ping Radio, yes, named after the wayward duckling), I’d become aware that the concept of Internet Radio is sort of on the ropes.  Now, for what we plan to do, we probably wouldn’t have to pay a lot - we were never going to run twenty-four seven, like a regular station might.  The idea that Internet Radio would be even remotely injurious to artists (read: labels) is, to my mind, an avaricious yarn spun from pure fancy.  The issue is too much in the margin to have its ramifications understood by those who will be asked to arbitrate it, so I fear we can chalk this one up to Team Fucker.

  • (CW)TB

Tycho / on Tue, May 7 2002 at 5:15 am

Without warning, vile continuity struck in the night. 

I want to talk about Morrowind some more.

Because I was in the thick of it, I neglected to mention something that might have been better said earlier:  I had to backrev my drivers to get the game to load, let alone run.  I haven’t had trouble with my other games because of it, but they tend to be Quake 3 based, and nVidia is always the compatibility king for those anyhow so I didn’t much expect it.  The game itself whisked me away from the moment I got the proud wheels turning, so it’s a credit to Bethesda that I had to actively remember it being broken.

I found a naked man (in the game), and he said that a witch he’d been with cast a spell on him and stripped him buck nekkid, and then took his magic axe, and was I going to help him find her or not?  Having had a similar experience in high school, I was happy to help him handle his girl problems.  Except, when I find her, she says she had to paralyze him because he kept trying to introduce her to a friend of his, which he referred to as “Mr. Frisky.”  I have to say that I was not in the mood for any of this.  This isn’t Loveline, and I’m not Doctor Fucking Drew.  I’m a Goddamn, six-and-a-half foot, bipedal tiger who thinks your whole species looks delicious.  I stuck the both of them with my long sword, took the axe for myself, and chalked up two for sensible discourse between the sexes.  Welcome to cat country.

I killed somebody else for her boots, and I can’t even wear boots.  My legs bend in the middle.  I only wanted them because they were shiny.

I never do this kind of stuff, I’ve been virtuous in practically every game I’ve played, all the way up to age twenty-six.  I don’t know what it is about Morrowind that makes me a bad kitty, but I crave it now.  The more I play it, like I said, the more the seams of the experience will start to show - I’ll relate those here.  But so far, the only problem I have with the game isn’t something in there, it’s something left out.  After AC, AO, and DA, I get so lonely playing a game like this by myself.  Now, this loneliness is something they’ve tried specifically to create in this game, because your character (regardless of how you construct it) isn’t from there.  But it’s more than that.  Like System Shock 2, no one character can possibly excel at every one of the rich careers - but they’re so complementary that you can’t help but imagine a few paired classes raising hell.  If I weren’t enjoying the game so much, it wouldn’t matter.  It would be on and off my platter before the data had time to fragment.  But when I have something this good, it is my natural instinct to share it.  I just wish they would let me.       

I’m overjoyed.  A few weeks ago, I linked to John Scalzi’s Whatever column, fortified as I was by his suggestions on how to write him better hate mail.  Imagine my surprise when he asked to sponsor a week of Penny Arcade with two of his writing projects.  First and foremost, he’s finished his novel Agent To The Stars, which he’s chosen to release as shareware - you know the drill, if you like it, drop the man a couple bucks.  On the strip page, he’s also flashing his indie music review site, Indie Crit.  I’d be lying if I said I’d heard of ninety-five percent of those bands.  I just like the way he writes. 

Oh, one more thing.

New hat.

(CW)TB out.

the sheep are styrofoam

anon / on Mon, May 6 2002 at 9:13 am

Please Excuse The Rambling

I’ve spent a good amount of time hitting my favorite hardware sites recently.  I don’t do it too often—getting hit with hardware lust is a lightheaded, tingly sensation, and the only cure is a multi-hundred dollar purchase—but I’m back in the cycle again.  I’m sure you all know how it is:  a game like Morrowind or Jedi Knight comes out, and you see it running on a friend’s GeForce 3 or 4 versus your own, pussy GeForce 2 (or, God forbid, a Radeon), and you immediately start concocting get-rich-quick schemes.

There are a handful of sites I frequent during these bouts:  HardOCP, AnandTech, ArsTechnica, etc etc.  They consistently do a fantastic job of doing incredibly in-depth hardware reports and reviews, which is why I feel guilty saying that I don’t enjoy reading said reviews.  Why?  Easy:  There’s too much information there.

I consider myself a moderate hardware enthusiast.  I’ve got a beefy machine, and a giant heatsink, and sometimes I even overclock my machine a bit.  There’s a glass ceiling, though:  The most extreme thing I’m ever going to do hardware wise might be to cut a hole into an old case that I wouldn’t mind losing due to a fuckup.  It is unlikely that I’m ever going to run a peltier-based water-cooling solution, nor am I going to build a case from scratch, nor am I going to spend hours tweaking my drivers to get an extra 0.7 frames per second on a Quake3 benchmark.  When I read a review of a new piece of hardware, it’s because I want to know whether or not this hardware is worth a purchase, but there’s actually a limited set of information I want to know.  I don’t need a 12 page dissertation on the structural layout of the motherboard chipset.  I want to know how many features that this product has over it’s competitors that I will actually NOTICE.  As it stands now, when I read a hardware review, I skip directly to the last page, I read the benchmark summary and the conclusions.  I know I can’t be the only one.

Now, before I get legions of emails with brackets around all the H’s, I’m not ragging on the concept of in-depth reviews… there is a time, place, and audience for that sort of thing.  I fully recognize, respect, and support the PC modification/hot-rodding scene, that’s all groovy with me.  I’m simply saying that for Joe Average the PC gamer, maybe something else might be in order?

Allow me to share with you my vision of a Gamer’s Hardware Review™.  This review is only one page long, perhaps two if we’re being generous with our verbage.  The review has an extremely brief description of the product in question, noting anything super-spiffy.  There will be no lengthy discussions of any single point on the card, no shots of the stock heatsink and fan being removed and dissected, no pictures of the chipset… you don’t need this because the hardware lives inside your case.  The review contains something as simple as a spreadsheet to report scores and compatibility issues on a wide battery of games… not just framerates in first person shooters, since sometimes weird glitches show up in turn-based games, for example.  All of the tests will revolve around current games, no SysMark 2D or WinStone BusinessMark bullshit, because it doesn’t really matter to us.  There would be a composite score, and a graph showing how competing products scored on the composite.  There’s a tidy conclusion, and set of links to more in-depth reviews, forums for the product in question, and perhaps even places to buy it.

What does anyone else thing about this?  Am I smoking crack, or is there some merit to this idea?  It seems like there should be some kind of giant market for this sort of extremely simple, easy-to-swallow service.  I’m interested in hearing all your thoughts, but I’m especially interested in hearing from small-to-medium sized hardware resellers… is this the sort of thing someone would be interested in sponsoring?  Let’s do lunch, as they say.

In unrelated news, if you or someone you know, love, or have power over is an employer in the Puget Sound area who has need for an extremely intelligent physics graduate, it is imperative that you contact this man.  I have it on good authority that not only will he whore himself out on the cheap, but he’s potty trained, to boot.

(PP)Safety Monkey over and out.

Gabe / on Mon, May 6 2002 at 9:12 am

Even Toontown isn’t safe

As Tycho mentioned our Import Gaming 101 feature is now online. Please keep sending me your import gaming questions. I have already spoken to Travis about it and he would be happy to continue answering your questions in this manner. If you do decide to try importing games you should defiantly do it through his shop, I have dealt with them on quite a few occasions now and they certainly get the Penny Arcade seal of approval.

Some of you might remember the MMORPG from Disney called Toontown. Well it’s back. Kara is hooked on it again which isn’t surprising given her affinity for all things Disney. She had left to do something yesterday and her character went into sleep mode. I happened to look over from my computer to see a rabbit pushing her character into the combat area of the game in an effort to kill her. I went over and woke up her character and the rabbit ran off. This is amazing to me. Even in Mickey’s Toontown people have to try and fuck with your game. I see characters walking around in Donald’s dock with their clan tags or stupid Jeff K. shit in their name. It makes me think that maybe this whole internet thing wasn’t such a good idea.

Congratulations to Lowtax on getting hitched. Our little Lowtax is all grown up now I guess. Why, it seems like just yesterday he was working for eFront and now here he is taking the leap into married life. I’ll admit when I met him at E3 last year I thought to myself “Here is a kid who will never know the touch of a woman.” He proved me wrong though and I couldn’t be happier. Well unless he fell down a well full of sewage and hungry raccoons or something. Then I’d be happier, but hardly anyone ever falls down wells anymore what with all the goddamned “safety precautions”.  So the chances of that happening are probably pretty slim. Oh well.

-Gabe out.

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