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Tycho / on Wed, May 7 2008 at 12:01 am

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Kids Today

For the longest time, I labored under some pretty fanciful ideas about genitalia.

I would be ashamed to tell you precisely how my younger self perceived that mysterious geography, just know that it was radically different from the genuine article in at least two key areas.  We were talking yesterday about this very thing, the sharp deficit between reality and our bizarre extrapolations thereof, and wondered if this sort of naivete is even possible now.  The location of these particulars is the least one could discover with a few moments, flexible digits, and an active terminal.  You couldn’t throw a rock now without it striking a vagina.

As men trying to raise young men of our own, we’re conflicted.  This is… bad, right?  I assume giving them high fives would be inappropriate.   

I went over some of the basic ideas in The World Ends With You in the hopes that you might get curious enough to play it and learn the rest yourself, but now I can’t stop thinking about how delicious they are.  I hope you will tolerate another detour into that game’s strange cosmology.

I mentioned before the different ways its collectable “pins” project into many different systems, but I have to take a moment to specifically address the idea of MPP, or the experience points you receive from other players.

Tracked distinctly from “Battle PP” (the kind one receives from old-fashioned murder) and “Shutdown PP” (a type of experience you get from not playing, strangely enough), Mingle PP is generated anytime your system comes into contact with another DS.  Mingle is a mode you earn, and once you have it, you can set your system to this mode.  At this point, any DS wireless signal is going to dish up this special sauce, which is required by some pins to evolve.  You get more PP if the other person is in Mingle Mode themselves, but any advancement you get just by walking around is better than a poke in the eye.

I need to express how completely I love this mechanism.  There are other games that have this “bark mode” functionality, but this is a tight integration with real systemic meat.  Because only the pins you have currently equipped gain the benefits, you have new decisions to make now: what pins do I want to refine, while I’m away?  Sitting at my desk with the system open, it feels like the electronic version of spontaneous fermentation.  Just so we’re clear, that’s a good thing.

As you play the game in single player, you enter different shops and meet different shopkeepers.  An interesting aspect of Mingle Mode is that you can set your system to have its own shopkeeper, in any shop you want, with any music you want, who will sell a portion of your inventory to other players.  They’ll even sell things that you worked really hard to get, weird things, like those which would ordinarily require rare materials.  These stores are listed in your “Friends” menu, and if your friend makes a purchase from your store you’ll get paid next time you see them.  Seriously, I’m not fucking kidding.  I love this game.

You can also contact “Aliens” while you’re mingling, mysterious creatures who dish up a comparatively ridiculous amount of PP.  At first I assumed Aliens were another kind of signal, but I think now that Aliens are a cool way to make the entire game available to players who don’t have a crew they can farm experience with.  They’re essentially random drops, lucky rolls, and their extraordinary reward coupled with their funny descriptions always equal joy.

The last way you earn MPP is by playing “Tin Pin Slammer,” a four player minigame you can buy in a shop.  It’s like a bad-ass version of Marbles, loaded up with crazy stats and special moves.  I unlocked this right about the time I thought the game couldn’t get any better.

(CW)TB out. 

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the
assaulter from the altar


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