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Gabe / 3 weeks ago

If you missed it…

You can watch our entire Shadow of Mordor stream right here. As you can see we had a lot of fun playing this one. I was especially impressed with the Nemesis system. It made the game feel incredibly alive. Anyway, it’s out now so if what we’re playing looks like fun you can just go grab it.

-Gabe out

Gabe / on Mon, Sep 29 2014 at 9:51 pm

PAX Contest!

We’re running a contest this week and you could win PAX passes to one of our upcoming shows! It’s a fill-in-the-word-balloons contest using the following 3 strips:

(just pick one)

(click on the thumbnails to get the high-res artwork)

Thematically, in celebration of PAX Aus, (PAX Aus is October 31st - November 2nd) the entry must be “Australia or New Zealand” themed.

We will take a look at all the entries and pick our favorites. Winners will receive a pair of weekend badges to any ONE PAX in the next 12 months. So that’s Aus 2014, South 2015, East 2015, or Prime 2015.

There is no limit on entries, however, the deadline is Tuesday, October 7th at midnight.

To enter, submit your JPEGs to [email protected]


-Gabe out

Tycho / on Mon, Sep 29 2014 at 10:52 am

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 / on Mon, Sep 29 2014 at 10:43 am

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.

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