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The First 15

There is a new First 15 today that ended up being pretty funny I think. We played a game called Omega Quintet and I can tell you with 100% certainty, that Tycho and I are not the core demographic for this game.

-Gabe out


Tycho / 1 week ago

Batman: Arkham Knight is overwhelming.

There have been multiple occasions now, within a relatively short period of time, where I have felt compelled by some omnipresent force to punch the arm of my compatriot and say something along the lines of “God Damn” or “Jesus Is Lord.”  The game doesn’t really deal with themes of divinity, those are just the phrases that leap to the fore.  There’s too many thoughtful touches, too many moments that don’t need to be there and nobody else would do.  That they managed to keep one of these secrets secret as long as they did is amazing, given today’s Internet Hive Mind Spoiler Engine.  It’s not the secret you’re thinking of, either.  It’s a completely different secret you didn’t even know was a secret.

I dunno; we really like the Batmobile.  Rocksteady is clearly in love with the car.  They want you to drive this fucking car when you aren’t even in it.  They want you to drive the car to yourself so you can get inside and drive somewhere else.  Most people talking about how bad the car is have played it way more than us, so who knows.  It’s slippery for real, especially in Battle Mode, which is basically another game altogether…?  And if you like what Batman is, and how Batman is - something Rocksteady has mastered beyond mastery, they can put no more points in - then I think I understand what they mean.

There are several legitimate games inside this game; it’s like one of those Robotech missiles that splits and then even more missiles come out.  The combat is legendary, obviously.  Everybody is trying to leverage that potent stock in their own titles, with varying levels of attenuation from the source.  But everything they’re asking me to do here is credible.  These puzzles would be impressive, definitional puzzles in a puzzle game.  Then they have you doing puzzles with you and the car, platforming, whatever the fuck.

You can talk about Batman: Arkham Knight and think you’re talking about one thing, and be talking about another.  For example, the same three words also refer to an incredibly fucked, alternate universe version of the game I was just talking about before.  The precise nature of this fucking seems to depend on the machine, but it’s so bad that Warner “Bros” is ashamed to sell it.

I tend to have negative experiences with PC ports of big console releases in general; I think I just assumed, the PC being what it was, that I was an edge case.  Playing games on a computer occasionally has an undertone of midnight necromancy.  I am a sucker for the “nVidia Effects Video” which often drops before release, I get tantalized on cue, so I occasionally make choices I regret.  Like if they show a physics operable, like, tapestry or something.  I find myself nodding vigorously, so vigorously that I strike my head on the desk, and when I come to it has already been downloaded and I am through the tutorial.

Any time spent online with one’s eyes open reveals that this kind of thing happens all the time.  But the PC as a dumping ground for slipshod ports engineered to skim the cream off enthusiast gamers may be over: between the barbed lash of Lord Twitter and Steam Refunds, that powerful nexus, the deal has been altered pretty substantially.  The conversation we were supposed to have about Refunds was about short indie titles or narrative games, at any rate that’s the one news sites told us was important, but Batman: Arkham Knight is much more instructive and frankly much more likely than the punitive refund scenario.

It was weird that you had no recourse before.  Let me emphasize that a second time: it was weird that they could sell whatever they wanted and you had to keep it.  And we’re only beginning to see the effects.


Tycho / 1 week ago

Elan Lee Is Kicking Off PAX Dev

You might recall the name from the explosive Exploding Kittens Kickstarter, but he’s been around: Industrial Light And Magic, Microsoft Game Studios, and 42 Entertainment just to get you started.  He’s seen a lot, and knows a lot, and he’s coming to PAX Dev to tell you about it in his “Really Big Stories” panel.  Tickets for that show are available, you know.  Just by the by.


This news post should have gone up on Father’s Day. Sorry it’s late.

In my son Noah’s room there is a little door about four feet high. It leads into a tiny room with a sloped ceiling that was probably just storage space but at some point it got finished and carpeted. When the room belonged to my son Gabe it was called the “Gabe sized room” but he got bigger and eventually Noah got that bedroom. Now it’s the “Noah sized room” but eventually he’ll get too big for it too and I’m not sure what we’ll call it at that point. It’s a strange little door and so I’ve been checking it for monsters for about six years now. Last week I was checking it for the billionth time as Noah stood out in the hallway. “I’ll wait for you back here Dad” he told me as he peeked around the door. I made a show of opening the door slowly and looked suspiciously into the dark. As I did, I wondered to myself

what if I see something?

Thankfully the room passed monster inspection and Noah got to sleep. I kept thinking about it though and the next day I brought it up to Tycho. “What if there was stuff in there, but only Dad’s could see it?” I asked. I watched him stop typing and he just stared out the window. I had him.

We talked a bit about it and as we did I drew this sketch. We talked about our Dad’s and I related a story to him that I had not thought about it a long time.

I was about 10 years old and snooping around for Christmas presents in my parents room. I looked under the bed and saw a thick wooden dowel. It was about 3 feet long and probably three inches in diameter. I couldn’t figure out why it was there and then it clicked. I will never forget that moment. It was there so that if someone broke in to our house, my Dad could fight them. It was my Dad’s job to protect our home from monsters.

Once Tycho had the sketch it didn’t take long for him to start writing this story. I had the text for this page in my inbox by the end of the day. At that point it was just a matter of drawing it. My goal was to get it done for last Friday but as I worked on it, I realized I was rushing and the project was too important to me to do that. So I took a couple extra days and did it right. I’m really proud of the finished page and excited to learn more about this world. We’re focusing on Dad’s specifically but honestly the role of a home’s monster hunter can fall to anyone really. I kinda want to meet that big sister.

So in the world of Nightlight, the Monsters are real. They hide under beds and lurk inside closets. They wait in the odd shaped rooms and dark corners of your house. Dad’s must defend their homes from these beasts and they have to do it without letting the rest of the family know. That’s the “elevator pitch” I suppose. Let us know what you think of the world and if it’s something you’d like to see more of.

-Gabe out

Tycho / 1 week ago

Gabriel (“Makrak Khalilulelo”) tried to finish this page Thursday Night, but he had to fly out to a wedding.  We were both up very late as he tried to wrap it up, which had the character of our earliest efforts and I enjoyed it even though I felt bad that he had committed to the impossible.  Ultimately the realization that certain properties of linear time made his task very frustrating (if not simply incompatible with reality) caused him to kill it, but when he got back into the office from his trip it was all he wanted to do.  Occasionally, one must let one’s artist tug a bit on the reins.

It was a very cool wedding though, as I understand it; the person he based Annarchy on had never been married before, and yet she was already very good at it.  The traditional father/daughter dance devolved into a choreographed lightsaber battle, apparently - no doubt “Insta” was ablaze with it.  I attended a wedding also, and though no sabers were drawn and no galactic fates decided the hors d’oeuvres banged like a cue ball in a dryer.  Eventually, it was some Scylla and Charybdis shit; if I had it in my mind to avoid the open bar, I was thrust into the arms of the chimichurri chicken skewers.  If I chose to give the shaved meats a wide berth, I was invariably plunged into an icy bin dense with microbrews.  It was fraught, kid.

Oh!  But, Nightlight.  Maybe this will be an annual thing; as a Father’s Day thing it would certainly be on brand.  I could work with that, because now I want to do all the rest of it.  I know where it goes next because that’s my thing: Gabe shows me a picture and tells me an idea he’s got and then the slack capacity of my nanofoundries shift into operation.  It is very good that we found each other because the alternative is unthinkable.  I would not be writing this to you, now.  I would be eating what was left of an opossum while yelling at people who were also trying to eat the same opossum I was.

I do sometimes wonder if we’ll have a chance to stick around on one of these projects at some point.  I mean, we have a few things in the works right now to try and do that, for a few of them at least, but still.  I would love to stay and actually colonize one of these Goddamn worlds sometime.


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