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Tycho / on Wed, Apr 7 2004 at 8:53 am

Twisp & Catsby in: The Crocotillian

The ersatz Reader Appreciation Month continues, apparently, with the return of

href="http://www.penny-arcade.com/comic/2004/04/07">Twisp and Catsby.  I’m not

exactly sure what happened, but at some point we must have realized that we have a penchant

for creating characters that resonate with people and then promptly forgetting they exist.

I have a suspicion that the recent Everquest 2 coverage is designed to staunch the flow of possible defection from their own monstrous timesink to a timesink of slightly more cunning manufacture.  It has never stopped being fashionable to ridicule Everquest, jokes of this kind are always well received - but I do respect the lineage.  It’s been out for a long while, seen many expansions, and retained a large playerbase through the use of Pavlovian conditioning techniques.  It is a game so addictive that you will let your baby die while you work toward your next level.  There’s just something pure about that.

I also have to wonder if these guys are seriously thinking about some of these screenshots before they release them.  God dammit publishers, we have offered time and time again to look at your screenshots and tell you if they are offensive in some way before you expose us to their toxins.  This would cost you a hundred thousand dollars if you went to a consultant, they’d look them over and then they’d tell you they were all great and hold open their palm for the money.  One company has taken us up on this offer, and saved themselves a world of grief.  When you put out a shot like this one, I just shake my head.  We gave id what they deserved with their flying jetpack head devils, but to that shot’s credit it did not include any fantasy hermaphrodites.  Gamespot’s quote beneath this shot is “You’re In Their World Now, And It Looks Fantastic.”  First, that’s one of two times you directly quote the slogan of the company without irony.  I need you not to do that.  Second, no it doesn’t.  Lest you think I’m being selective, here is the entire screenshot archive.  You’ve got a few shots that would have passed muster, and a few shots distributed like the red constellation of a herpes infection.  Gamespot might be referring to the spell effects, which aren’t themselves offensive - but they certainly couldn’t have been referring to the shot right over the quote.   

The issue with the shots isn’t technical - this is an engine that flexes the juice in DirectX

9 in ways that we don’t often get to see.  A few nice landscapes and bump maps are plainly

visible, one could think to themselves that this is something they could gaze upon without

injury.  The issue is a grievous imagination deficit.  They look as though every original

element has been painstakingly stripped away, until reaching some predetermined, inoffensive

generic void.  On technical merits, the engine easily bests WoW.  There’s no contest.  On

vision, on the manifestation of artistic vision scale which I have just invented, you can’t

even see World of Warcraft from where they are.  World of Warcraft is in a harvest field

wading through golden, chest-high wheat.  They are in a cold place shivering as they

wait for a morning that never comes.

(CW)TB out.

i’m sorry it’s like this


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