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Tycho / 3 weeks ago

Gotham is just a weird show.

One of the problems at the corner of Becoming Decrepit and Being A Creator is that when someone attempts the functionally impossible and fails to accomplish it I’m sorta like, “Well, yeah” but I don’t get too mad.  Understand that I don’t mean “impossible” to mean “can’t be done.”  I have done several things over the course of my incarnation as an Internet Demigod which I would have considered impossible.  I use “impossible” more like a success threshold in a roleplaying game.  It’s a big roll, but it’s still a roll.  There’s also an Impossible Girl, obviously.  Every other value of impossible is more or less a function of time.  You are literally reading these words on an impossible device.

So, making the show they are making right now is Impossible in that sense, and righting the ship is also Impossible, but stranger things have happened; I know a lot of Agents of SHIELD fans who are pretty happy these days.  I think the show could be much better if they allowed it to develop an identity as an excellent procedural with an amazing backdrop as opposed to a place where novel references are always swanning around.  It’s always hard (“impossible”) to set the slider on that.  But it’s got to be set.  It has to be stable before you can start adding weight.

I’m not a comics nerd; this was proven most recently, perhaps, by my inability to parse the alternate Earths of the Marvel Universe.  I like them but I sort of eat around the core; I rely on the kindness of strangers and the occasional random success to figure out what I like.  But Alias and Powers have really good ideas about how to portray characters who exist on the fringe of comic universes, what it’s like for a regular person to be set against them.  I’m not super surprised Sony picked it up Powers for a series.  But if you want another take on how to do Gotham specifically, like, this specific show, I really liked Gotham Central.  When they first announced it, I assumed this is was what they were doing.  It never did super well as a comic as I understand it, but the procedural “form” has a very strong tradition on television, and we live now in an era where things that were leprous fringe culture are morphing into Prime Time fare.  I would love to talk about what that means, sometime - when one person’s culture becomes another person’s hobby.  I’ll give it a decade or so, and get back to you.

(CW)TB out.

Gabe / 3 weeks ago

The Top 3 Games I Played This Weekend.

I played a lot of games this weekend. I got an early code for the new Smash Bros. on 3DS and had a hard time putting it down. I’ve always enjoyed Smash although I’ve never been especially good at it. I can’t believe how good this portable version looks and plays. I burned through some of the single player content and unlocked five or six new characters. Then I decided to try out the online play. The only people playing right now are in Japan but still my games were incredibly smooth. There’s so much stuff packed into this game that sometimes it can be hard deciding how/what to play. That’s honestly the worst thing I can think to say about it.

I also hit level 20 in Destiny over the weekend. I think I’m the only person in the office who likes this game. I forced Dabe and Kiko to play it with me last week and I don’t think they have any desire to come back. I was trying to figure out why I enjoy playing it and I think it comes down to this. Destiny is very easy to pick up and play. It’s comfortable and relaxing and I find myself playing it at night usually before I go to bed. I’ll often do a couple missions in Destiny to sort of wind down after a stressful evening of League of Legends. The rest of the family is in bed, I turn off the lights, put my headphones on and just sort of chill out until it’s time to hit the sack. Like I said, I only just now hit level 20 so I’m not exactly tearing through the content. I would describe my Destiny play as leisurely.

My wife and I also wrapped up the Avengers play set in the new Disney Infinity. I’m not sure how many hours it took us all together but it felt on the short side to me. There’s still a bunch of challenges and collectables to keep us coming back but the main storyline is finished. We ended up starting the Spider Man play set and choosing some new superheroes to play as. I was a little nervous when she grabbed Spider Man that I’d be stuck with someone boring but I have to say Iron Fist is really fun. They have really done a great job of making each character feel fun and unique.

After reading some reviews I’m even more excited for our Shadow of Mordor live stream today. This is a new type of Penny Arcade presents project. Essentially it’s going to be Tycho and I on a couch with Michael de Plater from Monolith.  We’ll be playing through a bit of the game and chatting with folks in the stream.  It starts at 2:30 Pacific time and you can watch it right here on my Twitch channel.

-Gabe out

Tycho / on Fri, Sep 26 2014 at 12:01 am

Lust for League of Legends has reached such a boil now that I can hit our voice server virtually any time I want to and get a game going.  Except last night, for some reason.  It was almost midnight by the time anyone popped in, and I was genuinely surprised to hear a voice when they did because I’d forgotten I was even connected.  I am always hoping this will be the night my computer achieves sentience.  Alas.

An elite contingent (a capable mid, top, and ADC) had been otherwise occupied.  They were savoring the fruits of this storied Loot Cave in Cosmodrome, essentially a firehose of rare-ass engrams and idiot space mutants, so rich that you literally shoot them until your bullets run out.  It’s the only reason to stop.  It’s the only reason to ever stop.  We need to entertain the idea that it’s the only way you can stop.

They basically had to shut it down.  It was short circuiting the entire game; it was reaching up under the dash and yanking out handfuls of wire.  But…  people loved it.  It was like a snowglobe version of Destiny, you could just shake it a few times and see the broad arc gleam before you.  That’s what was bad about it too, of course.  The shape was too beautiful, its wind-tunnel optimized curves made engaging with the experience in other ways feel suboptimal.

People loved it, though.  I keep thinking back to that.  That doesn’t mean it’s an optimal design or that it’s healthy for the game as a living service.  Sometimes you discover things by accident, though, and the weird little culture that surrounded this indicates value.  Now that we know it, is there way to gate that rush?  Is there a way to fold a version of that experience into the game proper, and still retain control?

(CW)TB out.

Gabe / on Thu, Sep 25 2014 at 11:48 am

Penny Arcade Presents Middle-Earth: Shadow of Mordor Stream!

We have a really cool PA Presents live stream coming up this Monday. We will be playing Middle-Earth: Shadow of Mordor! It will be a day before it hits stores and you can watch it all right here on my Twitch channel. Tycho and I will be joined by a few of the developers so they can field questions as we run through a bit of the game. I’ve been looking forward to this one and I’m really excited to check it out. It will happen on Monday the 29th at 2:30 Pacific time right here on my Twitch page.

-Gabe out

Gabe / on Thu, Sep 25 2014 at 10:36 am

Video Games!

As Tycho mentioned yesterday, we are both playing the new Theatrhythm: Curtain Call for 3DS. He lamented the lack of a cooperative multiplayer mode but I have to say the new competitive multi is ridiculously fun. I had been avoiding it because while I enjoy rhythm games, I’m not especially good at them. So the idea of playing against another person was a bit intimidating. I gave it a shot though and once I started I was hooked. You play a Battle Music Sequence (BMS) against another person and you’re trying to get the higher score in order to win. However as you’re playing you can inflict all sorts of crazy status effects on your opponent. These really mix up the gameplay in some fun ways.

If you have not played Theatrhythm, it’s similar to a lot of other rhythm games. Icons scrolling across the screen must be tapped when they reach a specific zone. There are taps, holds and flicks that all must be accomplished with precision in order to get the best score. The attacks in multiplayer are all designed to screw with your ability to do this. There’s stuff you expect like speeding up the scrolling so that you need to act faster. There’s also crazy stuff like hiding the type of icon so you don’t know what sort of interaction it is until a split second before it hits the trigger zone. There are nine of these crazy effects and each time you attack the game chooses one for you at random. It makes the multiplayer a blast. The only problem I’ve had is finding an opponent. It can take a while to get a game going but that’s not such a big deal.

I spent about an hour last night playing Destiny with Kiko and Dabe. We farmed the Lootcave all night and had a surprisingly good time. In fact I’d say it was the most fun I’ve had in Destiny. I streamed the evening so if you’re curious what Lootcave is all about you can watch it right here. You just shoot into a cave of endlessly spawning monsters until someone in the group runs out of ammo. Then you run in, collect all your loot and repeat. It’s sort of like fishing. Sitting in a boat with your buddies. Just chatting and cracking jokes while you reel in your haul. This is supposedly a bug but I’d be pretty disappointed if Bungie patches it out. I’d much rather see them trick it out. Maybe a big neon sign that says Lootcave! Maybe create a local chat space there so you can talk with the other folks who show up. Give the enemies goofy costumes and game show sound effects?

After we Lootcaved last night Dabe jumped into League of Legends with Tycho. They had a pretty great game that resulted in the opposing team surrendering at 20 minutes. After the game there was some pretty intense shit talking and Dabe snapped a picture. for me.

Our team is getting laid into for daring to play as Cait. Tycho who is “Falderal” responds with some very specific shit talk. I guess this guy was playing Quinn and Tycho makes a pretty rude comment about his relationship with his bird. Personally I think it crosses the line. So Lyte, if you’re reading this, please consider this a formal complaint. I think Tycho is toxic and needs to be slapped with a 30 day chat restriction. Thanks.

-Gabe out

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