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August Sticker Pack Preview!

It looks like Club PA members are starting to get their July sticker packs! This pack included the stackable ice cream as well as Motorcycle Helmet Tycho. I’m excited to get into the holiday months this Fall because I have lots of ideas for Halloween, Thanksgiving and Christmas sticker sheets. In the meantime I've been hard at work on the August sticker pack and I wanted to share some progress pics with you guys. 

 

Descenders

Steam has a running tally of Gabriel's accomplishments in The First Descendant, and I don't doubt that they represent true valor in the war against whoever that guy was in the intro I played. I'm not a hundred percent sure what some of these things mean, though; it says he's completed ten Void Intercept battles, which seems like a nice round number. He's also combined modules seven times? That seems like a good, you know, number of… times. I was gonna describe the conversation we had about it, but I guess we did make a comic strip that depicts the general arc.

Tales from The First Descendant

It’s true I’m still hooked on The First Descendant but I haven’t actually tried to push it on any of my friends or family. I think it’s a game you have to come to on your own and decide for yourself if you like it or not. I only played it because it was free and because I like to at least try as many games as I can since you never know where a comic strip idea will come from. This is a game I went into expecting to hate but ended up loving. That’s a hard trick to pull off. 

 

 

Agrimatrix Zero One

I recall Etsy being a realm where one could get a handmade thingy, or even a doodad. Brenna had a store on there for a while; I would link it, but it eventually got so demoralizing it was removed. She is a seamstress with decades of experience, having worked professionally in a variety of theatres, but the dynamics of that place are such that trying to make money on handmade goods charging what they were actually worth was essentially impossible. It was like operating a sweatshop where you are the cruel man on a mezzanine, looking down at your only employee on the shopfloor, who is also yourself.

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Fuck Etsy

By Gabe – July 12, 2024

I have never sold anything on Etsy but I’ve certainly purchased things from the site. A few years ago Kara and I wanted to get new wedding bands that reflected our love of games and we found an incredible jeweler on Etsy. I’ve also ordered prints from artists I like and handmade gifts. I always thought of it as a sort of Farmer’s Market or Artist Alley where I could directly support creative people making cool stuff. With their latest announcement that AI shit will now be allowed on the site they have created a space that is actively hostile to the exact sorts of people Etsy was theoretically designed to promote. 

 

Zenless

Zenless Zone Zero, I mean… it seems like only food words could possibly suffice. It's luscious. Now, the first time I typed that, an errant pinky had hit the caps lock key and the words "it's luscious" looked a lot more excited than you might expect. Here's the thing: it would be true, even in caps. The game is nutballs, world class in every particular, with supernatural art and animation, a very weird but cool cyberpunk urban fantasy hybrid setting and action gameplay that stands up tall. Music is excellent. I've also never felt less equipped to engage with a game's underlying systems - the dense thicket of custom lingo, mystery resources, and shibboleths designed to obscure that free-to-play games are gig work - they are jobs that you pay to work at.

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My Zenless Zone Zero and First Descendant Reviews!

We have a heat advisory here in the Seattle area with temperatures up into the 90’s. To avoid the heat I stayed inside and played games but let’s be honest, that’s what I would have done had the temps been in the 70’s.  I decided to investigate the two big new free to play titles Zenless Zone Zero and The First Descendant. I bounced back and forth between both games all weekend and now I have…Opinions!

 

 

 

Spirit-World Entrepreneur

Mork told me that Kunitsu-Gami: Path Of The Goddess was supposed to be some kind of sleeper hit, that's what he'd read around and also literally seen on Steam - the very definition of a tough crowd. But he also could not figure out what was going on in it - not that the gameplay wasn't clear, but because all the trappings underneath it had no reference to anything he understood. I grabbed the demo, played through it, and saw that it referred to itself as a Kagura Action Strategy Game. I knew the last three words, but the first one stood out. You don't need to understand what Kagura is in order to play the game, which is pretty cool and is essentially derived from tower defense and features dancy combat. But if you want to know what's happening, which I suspect would be absolutely clear to any Japanese person? You might want to know that Kagura means something like "entertaining the gods."

A few recommendations

By Gabe – July 4, 2024

It’s true that most of the books I tend to read are science fiction but I occasionally branch out into history and other non fiction. I wanted to recommend an interesting book I just finished called The Gross.

 

The First Shall Be Last

The main thing I know about The First Descendant - although I do occasionally get the name wrong - is that there is a woman who is also a rabbit and occasionally a robot. She is a dangerous robot rabbit ("robbit") woman and it seems like her cyber-bikini is very tight. Purely as an aesthetic matter, I think it's okay to represent sensuality. I was under the impression broadly that it was naughty to do so, because this is what I am constantly being told. What I've learned is that if someone thinks I would like something it's a foul index of my ethical substrate but if they like it then legitimately grotesque leering constitutes a liberatory project. The first half is what I learned at church, so I'm already dialed in.  

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Jobophage

It's important to understand at some level what the frothy valuations of AI related shit are about: they are about the delta between jobs and not-jobs. That is the "opportunity." nVidia makes the substrate for it, and its vendor implementations are laser focused on flensing knowledge and creative workers. Sometimes, you have to get down into the weeds to understand this stuff - the big players in this space all happen believe things about other people's intellectual property that are orthogonal to human flourishing. It appears to be endemic in their spaces. Other times, we don't have to work so hard. For example: Perplexity literally duplicates other people's work on its own site. Then, it will generate a podcast based on the uncredited work. They want the same thing as Google's Gemini, in that you'll come to it for a search experience that's owned end to end - powered by your own uncredited work. This isn't an exaggeration. It's barely editorial. I probably didn't need to use the word "flense" but also, you know… I kinda did. ( ͡° ͜ʖ ͡°)

Commissions Are Open!

That's right, I have decided to try offering commissions. This is something I have not done before outside of the Child’s Play Charity Auction. If you would like to see your D&D character (or whatever RPG system you’re running) drawn by me, now you can. I am starting small with just 4 commission slots as I test out a new platform called Artistree

 

 

Age of Sigmar is VERY GOOD #NewAoS

I feel like I play wargames very seriously, but if you look at the bright lights of the space, I barely play them at all. Plus, the hardcore of this realm play in tournaments which sounds very scary. Imagine the overall dynamic, thus: they are members of the FGC. Evo types. I say this not because all that is bad, but because it is true: the community for every game exists in a continuum and I am decidedly not at the apex. Most aren't; that's what makes it the Apex. In comparison, I play Tekken with my friend on the couch. I tried playing Warhammer at a store once, against a stranger with my printed out army list, and it was the most harrowing experience of my gaming career.  It's just not who I am.  I suspect the vast majority of us aren't.

Alibini

True secrets online are quite rare, so when nobody could figure out what was going on with Dr. Disrespect's ban - and then it continued to be a mystery essentially forever, in Internet Time - it was genuinely shocking. When it was ultimately revealed to be about sexting minors via Twitch Whispers, it set off a bunch of secondary detonations. Ejected by the studio he co-founded. Dropped by Turtle Beach, FanDuel, NBA 2K24, and somehow, also, known sports team The San Francisco 49ers? He's also been demonetized from YouTube, the place he went when Twitch kicked him out. As exiles go, it's quite robust.