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Tycho / 23 hours ago

One function of age is that you have the “opportunity” to perceive cyclic phenomenon.

You might have noticed that videogames are bad again, something we’ve seen once already just in the lifespan of the site.  My perception is that these events are occurring closer and closer together, like Spider-Man Reboots, because these eruptions result from communication which we have more of in raw terms.

What I am trying to say, and not well, is that Joystiq folding (”being folded into Engadget,” which was my theory slash hope) can’t help but remind a person who’s been around awhile of the pruning and blooming they’ve already seen.  I have to say: it’s feeling pretty 2001 around here.  And I think there’s still plenty of momentum in this scythe.

We saw the rise of community news, which existed alongside the digital arms of print publications, and ultimately supplanted both their digital arms and their physical counterparts.  In the middle place - and this is starting to sound a little like scripture - were founded the Blogs, which serve the same ecological purpose as carrion birds.  We exist in this continuum, also.  But it’s important to remember that, whatever their perceived scale, these creatures were scrappy at their outset in comparison to the entrenched force.  It’s just that the entrenched force, the one they warred against, is no more.

Once you have read Trust Me, I’m Lying it can’t really be unread.  Something you will derive from this book is a high resolution diagram of what we already suspect to be true: that the incentive structure for online news essentially demands that you troll your readers 24/7.  Joystiq rarely, rarely took the bait.  They endeavored primarily to entertain and inform their readers, which shouldn’t be noteworthy but it is.  They were an elegant weapon, for a more civilized age.

(CW)TB out.

Gabe / 23 hours ago

Some Random Stuff

Joystiq was the last gaming news site I still maintained a bookmark for. I don’t have much to say about it except that I hope the folks there land on their feet.

A while back I was involved in the Reading Rainbow Kickstarter. It was a real honor to be asked to participate. I was asked to contribute a piece for the calendar. Well the calendar is shipping out to folks now, in fact I actually signed one at PAX South. I figured since it’s out in the wild now I can probably share my contribution.

There are a million games that have you matching gems to fight monsters in an RPG sort of context. Every once in a while one of these games rises above the rest and hooks me. Hero Emblems is an example of a game that takes the formula and just knocks it out of the park. A big part of its draw for me is probably the presentation. Everything from UI, to music, to art is just killer. It’s such a beautiful/fun little game I have a hard time putting it down. If you’re a fan of matching things in order to fight other things you gotta pick this one up. The best part is that it’s not freemium so there’s no bullshit micro payments. It’s just a game you can play, how novel!

My renewed focus on drawing has meant some changes in my evening routine. It used to be that once the kids were in bed I played games. I still do that a couple nights a week but most of the time once they are sleeping I’m drawing. My home setup has gotten a bit more robust to accommodate all the extra work. I still use the Surface Pro 3 for drawing while traveling or if I want to chill on the couch and knock out a strip. More often though I’m using the Surface to drive a Cintiq. I’m continually impressed by this little machine’s power. I’m working on some massive 600DPI posters with tons of layers and the Surface doesn’t skip a beat.

I’ll leave you with some stuff I’ve been working on recently. I’ll have another big sketch dump on Monday.

-Gabe out

Tycho / 3 days ago

So I think I need to transform into IT Dad and start controlling some access at the Router Level; a week without regular sleep transformed my son into some kind of marmot.  I solicited tactical advice from others in the caretaker continuum, and learned that not all advice is equally useful.

So, a PAX show isn’t really over until my phone connects to my home wireless network.  That’s the actual line.  So now it’s over, and the Long Project of cataloging it may begin.  I saw a couple trends manifest on the showfloor that I’d already been watching, and it was a pleasure to be so close to what constituted a roaring indie furnace; I warmed my hands over their youthful enthusiasm.

Much like Boston, all the flights out of San Antonio back to where we are from happen more or less at night.  So there’s a weird, lully, occasionally surreal portion of these trips where you try to pass the time by doing something other than chronomancy or just wishing really hard for time to go.  So, with only an hour before we were all supposed to meet, a group of us ended up out at a shop called Dragon’s Lair that I was well pleased by.  We needed a set of games that would be easily packed and stored, because there was no place to put a…  let’s say, a Power Grid.  So I grabbed Cthulhu Gloom, after my prior (ironically) positive experience with Gloom, Yardmaster, because I saw someone smiling as they played it at PAX, and Samurai Spirits.  But then we only played Samurai Spirits.  For hours.

The way I explained it to Grab’s dad was that it was The Seven Samurai played as a game of co-operative Blackjack.  Well, I said The Magnificent Seven, because fathers of that generation are almost universally obsessed with The Magnificent Seven.  That made sense to him.  But to you, I will say that each character in the game has their own value for “Blackjack,” and the game is about living long enough to help your friends achieve it.

Dabe grabbed it because he’d seen a review of it on Shut Up & Sit Down, a collective with which I agree with far more than I disagree, and for a mercurial chaos wizard such as myself that is a novel quantity.  We snatched a “watch it played” video from Watch It Played while we punched out chits, and then proceeded to get ground the fuck up in its brutal gears, without even pausing between games.  There was never a question about whether or not we were playing it again.  Before we knew it it was time to head to the airport, and in an inversion of expectations there was a part of me that resented the fact.

(CW)TB out.

Post PAX Depression

I had a pretty busy week what with PAX South and all but I still managed to do some sketching on the flight down here to Texas. My goal is to post sketches every Monday so here’s a look at some Daughters I drew on the plane.

(click for larger versions)

I did these in Sketchbook Pro on the Surface Pro 3 since I didn’t have an actual sketchbook with me.

PAX South was a fantastic show. Thanks to everyone who came out and made this first year so incredible. Today’s comic strip was drawn during our Make-A-Strip panel on Saturday. You can watch the entire thing on Twitch right here. All of our panels and lots more are actually available on the official Twitch PAX site. I’ve seen some clips and stuff on YouTube but if you want the real deal watch the full panels on Twitch.

I’m flying back home tomorrow night. I intend to use my last couple days here in San Antonio to remember the Alamo and sample some barbecue. I hear the moose knuckles are especially delicious.

-Gabe out

Tycho / 5 days ago

When I was first in Rome, like 12 years ago, people spoke Italian constantly.  Basically all the time with the Italian.  I expected someone to wink at me eventually and be like, aw, we’re just joshing.  Come on everybody, let’s all speak the sweet English that we secretly crave.

Don’t be too mad; I told you that precisely because it was so ridiculous.  There was a position higher up in the scaffold of my consciousness that was, like, of course they’re speaking Italian.  This is Italy, dude; fuckin’ keep up.  But you need to actually see these things to make a cubby for them in your mind, a place for them to be properly filed.  In the Northwest, I have lived in places that either wished or thought they were Texas, satellite colonies, and so it had only ever been a pose or a reflection.  They had tiny moons on their heads designed to reflect the Texas sun.  But the hats down here are fucking reaaaal.

A friend of mine sent me a text about halfway through the show, saying:


to which I responded:

“The fractal is retained!!!!!”

because the weird curl of the show, the one we began in 2004, has again been planted in a new place and everyone already knows how to do it.  Most of the people at this show had never been to a PAX, or maybe to any kind of con, but it felt exactly right - just as it did in Boston, just as it did in Australia.  And that’s not to say that we can’t improve them, just as we did in the other cases.  But there is a whirling mystery at the core of this thing around which faerie lights swim.  Our job is to stay out of your way at these things, and when we do, a wild PAX inexorably appears.  So, thank you.  I hope we’ll see you again next year, at this place, around this time.

After I had some dinner last night, I was rambling back to my hotel room with the intention of dumping all the lotions, liquids, and washes I had been hoarding all week into the tub.  Then, I was going to roll around in this slurry and molt, restoring my lost youth.  But I saw someone on my way to the elevator whose face I remembered from their Twitter icon, or maybe it was her; I tried to do a mental transform of this face to match the known angle.  And I felt bad, because I thought I’d saw her before that day, and I looked a little too long and then I had to pretend I was looking at a sign very intently.  So I apologized, but it was her!  I said that I would stay down there, if I hadn’t given away my copy of Paperback to a young man earlier.  The guy had seemed like a real dork in the best possible way, in the way that I am a dork, so I knew that Paperback - a combination of Scrabble and Dominion - would be an apt riposte to the Michael Chabon book he had given me.  But then a man within earshot said that he had a copy of Paperback up in his room, and I felt the feeling one gets in their stomach when they are at the top of the rollercoaster, and they are about to go down.

Then Nika Harper brought over a copy of Gloom and, um, some Vodka, and with our new friends we put together a story about a subtle, frankly hilarious war between old families and the Salmonites, a fish-worshipping cult founded on the visions derived from slightly off barbecue.  It was about one in the morning when I got back to my room, and it occurred to me that I had just been to PAX, understood why others might attend also, and shared in the grief of its culmination.

(CW)TB out.

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