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Tycho / 2 days ago

Pokemon Legends: Arceus hits on the 28th, which means it's time to ritually cleanse our decrepit equipment and prepare ourselves mentally, physically, and spiritually. It's such a whacked out interpretation of the series I genuinely wonder how people are gonna take it. On the one hand, it's hard to imagine a lightning mouse as controversial. On the other, people have played these games their whole life and the developer appears to have made Breath of the Wild. I'm just saying, there's sides to this thing.

In the deepest, most isolated portion of the pandemic, the thing I missed most was Mensousai Mugen. It's a ramen shop in a Melbourne, Australia laneway that I found a few years back at PAX Aus that I would I would try to fit into the trip an annoying number of times (sorry, Kiko). They are always projecting Seven Samurai directly onto the wall in the basement, and it's dipping ramen, and… if there is a subject I am truly expert at, it's eating at this restaurant.

The other thing that I missed was boardgaming in general and wargaming in specific. They do the same thing for me, in either case. It's a structured but surprising mode of social interaction that also clearly indicates when it's fucking over! Most interactions can barely hit one of those.

My friend Eric and I used to play in the garage, with the door open on a fold-out card table with masks, seated on opposite sides. It felt like we were both working on an antique clock. I'm sure this is something I'm doing wrong: I guess I'd rather win than lose, but I mostly just want to play. The game is telling a weird little story down there and you can hear it if you bring your ear down close. I think that being a canny opponent makes for a better story and I care about that way more than winning.

Anyhow, I had a chance to try out a new list - this is what a dork calls their specific army configuration - in a place that was being built around us as we played, Waystone Wargaming Speakeasy, which is a lot of words I've never seen together before. I'd heard about it over at Mox Boarding House, which is a place I'd put up against any game store in the world. Somebody there was mentioning that a couple employees had left the store to do their own thing, so we got hold of them to see how things were shaping up. They're promoting it on Kickstarter, which I've seen a couple other young venues do; if you're local and you like to throw handfuls of plastic at your friends it might be something you find of use. I'd love for this world to be a place where such a gentle, precious creature could survive.


Tycho / 5 days ago

This Boba Fett show can't figure its shit out. First episode, show hadn't started yet. Second episode, okay, now I sorta get it and I like it even if the end was kinda abrupt. I feel like if you end the show during a flashback it's a little disorienting, but whatever. This third episode was like the first two put together - really cool stuff, some nostalgia, commingled with truly bizarre decisions I'm still trying to puzzle out.

Genre-wise, it's become a fruitcake. Dense here, chewy there, almost wet in others. Distribution of candied fruits is uneven. Even when the idea is right, the execution is sometimes just incoherent. I genuinely can't figure it out, because we already know from The Mandalorian that it's possible to pull this off. They're starting to make me wish that I'd never wished for this - the troubled inverse double-unwish scenario, always a danger, fraught with causal loops. There's no way to undo it now without putting my own timeline at risk. How many more of these am I gonna choke down?

Dabe and I are gonna be back on our brawlshit via Storybook Brawl from 10-2 on the Twinch, he's gonna start solo because I'm writing Monday but I'll be in as soon as I can for the rest. It's Auto Chess plus Cards, which is to say, it's got an incredibly high glycemic index. This shit hits your brain and it starts shivering like something is going to hatch out of it. After our last stream, the devs gave us some codes for Fairy Dust you can use to buy new chartacters so for the last two hours I think the plan is to play directly with Chat so come get - come earn - what is rightfully yours.


Tycho / 1 week ago

I was reading about the TV Meta, where millionaires watch television shows on stream and then get banned, and it sounded like a lifestyle I wanted to be a part of - so I consulted with an artist friend of mine about what it would take to get that shit poppin' in our neck of the woods. It's not impossible, but it's also not super possible either. We could do it, but he would have to draw twenty-four hours a day for over a year. By that time, hopefully the meta will switch to artists livestreaming themselves killing their writers because we will be well positioned to take advantage of it.

Getting banned and coming back to greater numbers is a venerable technique at the upper tier. I have a hard time believing that they're doing it because they genuinely don't understand what's happening or why you shouldn't. The whole thing has a Napster tang to it I can't shake. Watch Parties have a very constrained bank of content to choose from, and I wonder if this is simply a business before its model has been established. The issue is that there's not much of an incentive to build that model that allows for it, because the only players left are so big there's no value in collaboration anymore. Netflix should just let you do it for them, through them. They're moving into gaming already, and they have a huge audience, every one of which already has an account, plus they own most of the content. They also know something about streaming.  You know?  Anyway.

The Occam's Razor version is that it's hard to fill the kind of time they need to and other people's work is a great way to do that. The only theory I've heard that makes any sense is that this is some way to get a backdoor out of some kind of onerous exclusivity contract. It sounds crazy to say that achieving inconceivable wealth at the apex of a new medium has a downside, but everything has a downside. I think it's really fun to do, but I can't imagine clocking the kind of hours they do at it. That life - one of unrelenting surveillance, performance, and judgement - is the sort of thing you do to enemy combatants when you're trying to get the launch codes. I don't envy them for a second.


Tycho / 1 week ago

It's absolutely true that there is still an Xbox 360 with a Kinect hooked up in the living room. How else do you expect me to watch my Two Towers Director's Cut on DVD? Hang on, I gotta change the disc.

Double Fine Action Theater, and its sequel Kinect Party, might rule the stats for the venerable machine. Aside from Minecraft, I'm not sure there's another game that lasted as long as this one in the house. We played it so much that when other people come over and have never fucking heard of it - because it's a ten year old game that uses the Kinect - I'm always a little surprised, so deeply woven into our home culture it is. It's synonymous with some of the most carefree times in my life. I look back at that man, and I envy him, but think on some level that he doesn't think enough about the jaguar threat. It's possible that this new version of me thinks about them too much, but I wouldn't have to do that if jaguars weren't so inscrutable and omnipresent.

(I apologize for being who I am. It might help to know that I use the term Jaguar to describe the unrelenting animal terror the modern mind feels that is completely decoupled from the actual threat. These systems, designed to shield us from the evolutionary masterclass that is the large hunting cat, have been rerouted to things that feel like deadly existential but are not, like talking a little too much at a party.)

Dabe and I keep playing Storybook Brawl, because it is impossible to stop. Dabe couldn't help himself after Friday's stream and went super hard making an edit of our stream, complete with the "rad streamer preview," like so:

It's mostly me laughing when things go well and playing the skulking Wormtongue to Dabe's Theoden King. But! They must have heard of it, because they got hold of the channel and gave us some Fairy Dust to give away next time we stream. "Fairy Dust" doesn't mean cocaine in this context. But they also gave us some cocaine.


Tycho / 2 weeks ago

The first episode of The Book of Boba Fett was fine, but - like The Mandalorian - the first two episodes combine into the Actual Thing and now I'm in. This is pretty fun. It also seems like the people making it think Star Wars is kind of cool and don't feel ashamed of that, but they aren't so enthralled by it that they won't explore the margins of it and contribute. Dream job shit.

If you read Star Wars novels as a shrieking larva, you've always held a little faith that you'd see this show happen. It's still a little surprising that it has! I don't want to go into any particulars in case you haven't seen it, but there's some shit in this second chapter that is such a succor to the people who kept this setting alive. I think Boba Fett has potential, but it's the embroidery around him in this episode that really has hold of me. Ultimately though, what allowed him to escape the Great Pit of Carkoon was not martial prowess or unwavering mental strength but something a bit more cosmic.

I was out with Dabe last night, and it was then that we hatched the plan to play Storybook Brawl on stream. The truth is, we have been streaming it, but he just streams it to me over Discord and we talk over the plays. Well, now we're going to do that with our transmit beam pointed outwards. He's gonna start at ten a.m. Pacific, I'll wrap up the strip writing with Mork as soon as I can and join him on stream.

(CW)TB out.

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