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Tycho / 21 hours ago

The last time I played Fantasia: Music Evolved, my apparatus was not tuned for assessment.

Or, and we should entertain this also I suppose, I was optimally tuned.  Alcohol is not only good for sanitizing wounds it turns out.  I have a firm policy as regards this elixir, and I have maintained it in an unswerving fashion: I only drink the stuff if its there.  Or, if I can get it within the space of an hour.  Or if I have to make it from the rinds that have collected under the bag in the garbage can.  So if you are somewhere and motherfuckers just want to give it to you, and if you don’t take it you’re wasting their time, it creates a kind of feedback loop that results in you playing Fantasia: Music Evolved in a way that is indistinguishable from doing a Karate on ghosts.

Now it’s at my house, though.  The real game wants you to do some kinda campaign, and I might get around to that at some point, but last night I just kind of wanted to play with my toy so I turned on Party Mode which lets you do shit immediately at the expense of progression.

It’s a little tricky to know what it thinks of as successful interactions at the very beginning, but I got it pretty quick.  I love timing as a gameplay thing, even outside of Rhythm as a genre, so punch/hold/sweep interactions work give me that Elite Beat Agents vibe.  There are going to be times where you have to do something very specific: for example, on the Vivaldi track, you punch with both hands and trace a specific sigil.  Most other times, the game is simply asking for “this motion” as opposed to “this motion, with this hand.”  So there’s room for you to find your version of the song, which is good but it is especially good if you are playing with people who are not adherents to our storied order.  The music can be heard in other parts of the house, and those that hear it are drawn in.  If they can then stay, all the better.

My favorite thing about Frequency was remixing songs, something they never got around to in Rock Band for about a thousand fucking reasons, and in Fantasia that is basically the core of your interaction with the songs.  Obviously, there’s the previously mentioned Karate.  But that’s primarily a ritual you undergo in order to rejigger songs at the molecular level, and it’s potent.  It has a variety of interactive toys you can play with to add your own sounds to the mix, and they work alright; if you really fuck with them I think it’s possible to get some neat stuff in there depending on the song.  But the major shifts in instrumentation are the magical part of the game.  That’s the part that you feel pulling you into the screen.

Kara is a firm proponent, which I can tell from a chain of her Achievements a mile long on my feed, but Gabriel had to get the Xbox One out of a closet so she could even play it.  It’s not even hooked up normally.  That’s such a gruesome state of affairs that I don’t know how to quantify it.  For a while, it was just the Kinect that was exiled.  Then, it was the entire spear of Microsoft’s initiative.  It’s hard to imagine a metaphor that can contain such a reversal of fortune, but I’ll try: it’s like they put the sword back in the stone.

(CW)TB out.

Limited Edition Carl Pin!

Automata: Silverside launched officially today. We’re still wrapping up the end but it’s looking like it will be around 11 pages. It’s been a lot of fun re-visiting the world of Automata and writing for Sam and Carl again.

To commemorate the occasion we will be releasing a limited edition Carl pin this Thursday.

This pin is a limited run of 1500 pieces and it will go on sale in the PA store Thursday afternoon at 2:00pm PST. It will run $14.99 and if Carl is anywhere near as popular as Hanna was, he will probably be gone in a few hours.

This is one of my favorites. I think I’m gonna try and pocket a couple and bring them down to Australia for trading.

-Gabe out

Automata Silverside

We’ve posted the cover for this project today. Actual pages will start going up tomorrow with a new one arriving every Tuesday and Thursday. For as long as the story is running you’ll be able to find the latest page right up there at the top of this page, occupying the far right slot next to Camp Weedonwantcha.

If you’re unfamiliar with Automata, you can read the very first story Tycho and I did right here. You can read the follow up story done by Gary Whitta and Ben Caldwell right here.

There’s some stuff I’m really proud of in Silverside, I hope you guys enjoy it.

-Gabe out

Pin Quest

Pin Pals, here is your Pin Quest for PAX Aus 2014. You can grab the PDF right here. Bring it with you to the show and check off the pins as you acquire them! Good luck!

-Gabe out

Tycho / 3 days ago

Shadow of Mordor has a Photo Mode now, and our first question was along the lines of “how would an Uruk use Instagram.”  Until it occurred to us that they would use Instagram in precisely the same way everyone else does.

I used to ask if you had found a Final Game - specifically a videogame you could always return to, conceivably, a game-as-life-practice.  I was going to posit that League of Legends ticks a few boxes I think might be crucial to the enterprise, but I am so angry at everything to do with that entire continuum that I don’t want to relive its horrors.  The lessons are still there, I guess, even if the game makes me want to eat my own lips.

It was that kinda night.

Whatever the game is, it almost certainly must reside on the PC.  It’s a realm that grants games a kind of immortality “in a world” where enforced annuality and the console arms race transform platforms into quicksand.  It needs contemplative and immediate polarities of interaction.  I am legitimately starting to wonder if the idea of a stable map - such as Summoner’s Rift, in The Game That Shall Not Be Named - that allows for endlessly iterable gameplay isn’t also necessary.  Something that mirrors the “field” of a sport or the “board” of a game and constitutes a base of approach.  I find algorithmic levels interesting for a time but, ironically I guess, I get bored of them must faster than I do a single thoughtfully made place.  I like intention, I guess.

I don’t think it can have a set story, but I’d love to be wrong about that; I read 1984 every year, and it’s new every time.  That rule may simply be an artifact of a specific period of games writing.  For all the life human players can inflict on a system I think multiplayer is optional.  I think ongoing content can simulate deep novelty but isn’t required.  Back in the day I thought World of Warcraft was the Ur-Game, or an Ur-Game, but I don’t think it can have a subscription.  I’m always going to like games that exist outside of this, but I’m not going to play The Witcher again when I’m sixty.  But I’ll still be playing XCOM.

We have once again issued our Penny Arcade Scholarship, which as I have stated in the past always feels kind of Bad-Good.  I feel more like I un-chose everyone else when I select a winner, because having a few ounces of personal correspondence and assorted surveillance on these lives makes you feel it.  I wasn’t able to attend college at all on account of money, so when I read letters from people re: the debt load they’re taking on it’s something I hear with clarity.  But we can help a little bit, right?  We can return to them a couple moments each day which they can put toward their destiny.  This time, we chose Anthony Scott.  Go get ‘em, man.  And stay in touch.

(CW)TB out.

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