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Tycho / on Wed, Aug 5 2015 at 11:13 am

Removing Peter Dinklage and using Nolan North going forward in Destiny is something I can’t readily find an analogue for.  It’s the sort of thing hundreds of developers would do, if they could; a do-over.  What I say in the strip is true, though:  I will miss the original in a weird way.  The structure of Destiny means that you go back through content all the time, and its success is in creating a kind of mantra out of its gameplay.  When Gabe and I are in a mission, we say the lines along with him, or we respond to him like it’s a conversation - it’s Rocky Horror Picture Show in space, with guns.

I met a dude named Jake a long time ago, when his company 17-Bit sent a cake to the office that had a code for Skulls of the Shogun written on it in frosting.  I think his wife did it?  I really liked that game.  And not just on account of the cake.

Is there a term for these unforgiving, unrelenting grudgefuck games that are so hot now?  Think about From Software’s recent output, Darkest Dungeon, that kind of stuff.  If there isn’t, I nominate “grudgefuck.”  I was surprised to see that Galak-Z had become a game of this type since I played it last, but then, what I saw had just pecked its way out of the egg.

A couple years ago, I tried unsuccessfully to play Galak-Z in what is styled the “Indie MEGABOOTH,” back when I spent most of my time at the show there.  It had a warping, writhing cloud of people around it, swirling like something between a migratory flock and raw motion capture data.  In a way, it was good: they were right across the lane from Aztez that year, an unreleased game I still think about every couple days, and I might never have seen it if I’d just went right to the spaceship game.  I wasn’t able to play Galak-Z until much later, which is where it became clear exceedingly quickly that they had committed themselves to a kind of demon hybrid of Halo and Time Pilot, or, for the young, Halo and Luftrausers.  What I played was simply the proof that they had something when I was circle-strafing a space bug while getting shit talked by space jerks.  I bought in fully to its Firefight in space dealio.  It wasn’t a “roguelike,” not yet, and I remember collecting mats to craft shit but he says that wasn’t in there.  I don’t believe him.  In any case, handmaking levels after that one was right out.  From there, it apparently got procedural for real.

I’m only now getting started with it, and wow.  I died - died died - in real Galak-Z on level 1-3.  This isn’t a fuck around type game.  You can earn an ur-currency that persists between playthroughs that allows a re-do, but it’s so precious that you’re loath to use it.  I had to set the controller down and have a think.  You have to play through an entire five level season to “save,” in the classic sense, in the same way you have to Link a fire in Dark Souls or Light a lantern in Bloodborne.  And that’s how I’m going to have to think of it, the underlying structure, even though to look at it there are bright colors and lots of shooty shoots.  Like Super Time Force, which seems to be a retro nostalgia platformer but is not, it’s fun to see what happens when people blast their bedrock influences into dust, add water, and spin them on a wheel.


Gabe / on Wed, Aug 5 2015 at 9:50 am

Hearthstone Card!

I have a card in the new Hearthstone expansion The Grand Tournament, and it just got announced today. Check out the Master Jouster!

(Click for a big version!)

It’s always a thrill to get to work with Blizzard, although being destroyed by cards I drew sucks. Here’s my original sketch for this one. 

Head over to the official site to check out the other cards that got announced today and read about the new Joust mode.

-Gabe out

Jamie / on Tue, Aug 4 2015 at 5:15 pm

Penny Arcade Scholarship 2015

Applications for the Penny Arcade Scholarship are now open! Each year Penny Arcade recognizes one student with great potential to impact the game industry in some capacity with a $10,000 academic scholarship. Applicants come from many walks of life and disciplines, but they share the same passion for games and the games community. There are a few requirements:

-Must be a full time student attending an accredited college or university in the United States during the 2015-2016 academic school year (you must be currently enrolled in a program to be eligible; high school seniors are not eligible)
-Must have the intention to enter the game industry in some capacity (Major: any field)
-GPA: Minimum 3.3 on a 4.0 scale.

All of the requirements and the application form can be found at: Submissions must be postmarked no later than September 10th

Tycho / on Tue, Aug 4 2015 at 11:13 am

Kickstarter Hoodie Design

Dabe did it up, I handled some Clocktalk for the arm, and you can see it on the official Kickstarter page.  It’s pretty fuckin’ rad.  Only six days left to go on this thing!


Tycho / on Mon, Aug 3 2015 at 11:51 am

I think I already talked about it, but then, I’ve been talking to you here for the better part of twenty years; I’ve already mentioned a lot of things.  Having been to Australia a couple times, the time difference seems bad but in practice it’s so fucking bad that it only ends up being a couple hours.  Scotland is not like that.  It just puts you in exactly the wrong part of Pacific Standard Time and now you’re fucked.

I travel enough to know all the “tips” for dealing with these things.  Cajole a dog into sleeping for you is the tried and true classic I’ve leveraged previously to tremendous effect.  None of the regular shit is working this time, which makes me wake up at one o’clock in the fucking morning ready to mow the lawn or some other daytime thing.  As a practical matter what it’s done is condense another six hours of Witcher Time per day right out of thin air.

Adjacent to the matter of shopping for clothes before the invention of the changing room is the fact that I just don’t ever want to do anything else when I sit in front of the computer.  I could initiate The Final Witching at any time, there’s a big switch I could flip (presumably with the use of the Aard sign) but I can’t bring myself to do it.  I’m not a completionist in any way; many forces conspire to make this so.  My time isn’t entirely my own; that’s an important distinction that must be made right at the outset.  One of the main things is that content for content’s sake tends not to be of fabulous quality.  When I perceive that my time is being wasted, I run a quick ROI calculation and compare the value to how much goodwill the game has earned thus far.  It then begins to deplete rapidly, like a Super Bar, sparkling as it does so.  Hopefully it lasts until the end of the game, but even if it doesn’t, it’s always been hard to argue with the dollar-per-hour value of the medium.

It often has a box-ticking, house cleaning quality that is unlike valor in the classic sense.  The thing going on here is that a lot of my favorite things in the game are tucked into the margins, little bits falling out of the pages of a book.

I think Djikstra is a real person.  When I said something in this vein before, I was using it as a construct, a way of approaching it.  Now I mean it literally: I can’t leave him in the lurch.  I’ve known Roche forever, and if I can help him even accounts, I will.  The only thing providing any other source of gravity is that they just added Co-Op to Card Hunter, so.  If anything was going to get me out of this iron loop of reaving and revelation it would of course, of course, be another, different kind of card.


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