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Gabe / on Fri, Mar 29 2002 at 1:12 am

Use the force…uh…Lando.

(Editor’s Note:  The new strip can be found here.)

**WARNING**I LIKE STAR WARS WAY TOO MUCH! **WARNING**

Before any of you get on my case let me state for the record that I really like Jedi Knight II. In fact I am in love with the single player game. However I think the multiplayer is not only a disappointment but an absolute waste of the license.  Raven had the entire Star Wars universe to play with and we get Quake multiplayer with force powers. Seeing a stormtooper and Lando Calrissian battle it out with lightsabers makes the star wars fan inside me cry like Luke Skywaker after Darth Vader cut off his arm and revealed his dark secret during the climactic battle at the cloud city of Bespin. This is not what a multiplayer Star Wars action game should be. It doesn’t take an astromech droid to figure out that what is needed here is mission based multiplayer matches along the lines of RTCW or Medal of Honor. Just take a second and imagine the wealth of possibilities. One of the multiplayer levels could drop you into the battle of Hoth. You would have rebels on one side imperials on the other. If you joined the rebellion you would play as a rebel trooper.  Your objectives would be to defend echo base and protect the escaping transports.  If you joined the empire you would play as a snow trooper in the Imperial death squadron. Your objectives would be to infiltrate Echo base and destroy the transports. There would be no Gamorreans running around using force jump. You would either be a rebel soldier or a snow trooper and you would have the appropriate weapons and abilities. You don’t even have to stick to battles from the movies if you don’t want to. How about a mission in which the rebels have to destroy a new advanced tie fighter that is located at some imperial testing facility. The mission objectives are endless. You should also limit the number of Jedi on each side. The way the current multiplayer is setup you’d think you could buy lightsabers in bulk at Costco along with thirty rolls of paper towels and a cinnamon churro. Everyone and their tauntaun has one! The jedi are special and that should be carried through into the game. Imagine playing on a team of rebel troopers, you’re pinned down by stormtroopers in some imperial facility. Then your team’s Jedi moves out deflecting blaster fire and cutting you a patch to your objective. They are the heroes of the goddamned republic! There was absolutely no care taken to fit the multiplayer in Jedi knight II into the Star Wars universe. It was tacked on and in my opinion does more harm than good. What we need is for mod makers to step up to the plate and deliver the kind of mission based multiplayer experience that Raven either couldn’t, or wasn’t willing to do. 

I know there are plenty of people out there who are having a great time with the multiplayer and I think that’s great. Safety Monkey seems to think it’s the best thing since those Marky Mark underwear ads that he loves so much. And honestly I can appreciate the fact that you can have a good time playing it. My point though, is that it’s a kick in the balls to hard core Star Wars fans and a slap in the face to anyone who is used to the compelling multiplayer modes of other current games.

My plan for today is to play a shit-ton of Jedi Knight and take breaks every so often to read bits of the latest New Jedi Order book. Wish me luck.

-Gabe out

Gabe / on Wed, Mar 27 2002 at 11:35 am

Sweet Potato Pai

So, today’s comic strip is a big one I know. See I thought it would be cool to color the comic strip to make it look like and old comic book. Once I get one of these bright ideas in my head there is no getting it out. I spent the better part of the day trying to figure out how to do it. Now that I think back there is probably some built in “old comic book” filter if I had just looked in the fucking manual. Anyway, I devised a system of layers, selections and channels that seemed to do the trick. Take a look at this image and you will see what I mean. Needless to say I was feeling pretty fucking smart at that point and I continued to create the panels for the strip using my special technique. Then as I began to assemble the panels together into the page I noticed that I was going to have to shrink them down quite a bit. Once I had shrunk it and saved it out I realized that all my hours of work creating those tiny dots was now lost to the Gods of 256 color optimization. I still think it looks okay, just not like what I had originally intended. I’ll always have this image though to look back on and remember what could have been.

The official Metal Slug 4 website has a new video up showing off some actual Gameplay. The video shows off some really cool new stuff. Just the first part where they are sliding down a snow covered mountain on a huge log while shooting guys and helicopters is enough to win me over. What they need to do is take the Metal Slug license and make a game for one of the Next Gen systems. I know the word on the street is that their next game Metal Slug 5 will do just that but I am worried they are gonna fuck it up. Will they feel the need to make it fully 3D? Is it gonna turn into some kind of 3rd person action adventure game? God only knows what could happen to it. I can see it working in 3D if it were done like say Klonoa 2 or the old game Pandemonium on the PSX. Essentially give it 3D backgrounds but keep the gameplay 2D. The best option of course would be to keep it a 2D game and just make it high res but the chances of that happening seem slim.

I had some people ask for more information about my Kumite record in Virtua Fighter 4. So here is the breakdown:

Ring Name-Sweet Potato Pai
Rank-1st Dan
Wins/losses-50/31
Win Ratio-61%

I also had a lot of people write in and tell me that they too are getting their asses kicked at the 1st Dan level. It seems like they crank the difficulty way up. If someone ever comes over to my house and brings a 7th Dan VF4 character to play, I’d change my name and move to Mexico.

I have gotten a lot of positive feedback from Club PA members regarding part one of our behind the scenes look at Penny Arcade. There is still plenty of time to join this month if that sounds like something you would be interested in.

We are going to try a new feature here at the Arcade.  LOVE & HATE : with Kara and Jew! is an answer column written by, you guessed it Kara and Batjew.  They need your questions to get this thing started though. So please feel free to share your most embarrassing problems with them so that later we can all have a good laugh at your expense. Kara, being the kind nurturing person that she is will endeavor to provide you with actual real world solutions to your questions. Batjew being the sick bastard that he is will probably… honestly I have no clue what Jew is gonna do and it kinda scares me.

-Gabe out

Tycho / on Wed, Mar 27 2002 at 3:07 am

After dabbling in a bit of Freedom Force - which I would follow up later with rather a lot of Freedom Force - we wanted to do something along these lines.  The game has these great backstories for each character, like proper comics should - you can check out the one for the melancholy “Man-Bot” on the official FF downloads page.  When I’ve played more of it, I’ll have more to tell you - but at the moment, I’m completely infatuated with it.  And hey, the EB website was wrong - the Bonus CD I got for pre-ordering came with three new models, not just skins.  Max Sneddon (from Irrational Games Australia) intimated that new meshes and skins may be available soon, which is cause for celebration.  I think of the models I have currently as a palette for inventing new personalities, so anything that broadens that gradient is welcome indeed.   

Talking to Scott earlier today (we were exchanging Freedom Force tips, if you must know), he said he’d be doing a few comics on the game as well, so you may want to give PvP a looksee this week if it isn’t already in your schedule.

Got a few mails from people about Gabe’s Gunvalkyrie comment in the last comic, taking that to be The Official Position of Penny Arcade or telling me I suck at videogames for thinking it difficult.  As for the accusations of sucking, I can dig it.  Gunvalkyrie is the kind of game that makes you say brash things about your abilities, because being good at it actually means something.  As regards the supposed Official Position of Something or Other, it’s just not true.  I love GV.  I can pull off shit in that game that would fuck your brain.  I suppose a comic where I say “Gunvalkyrie is a good game, but it’s an acquired taste” and then Gabe says “So is Poop” (or something to that effect) might have better captured our relative positions, but for my bit I wanted to write about the game directly instead of writing dialogue about the game.  That’s my prerogative.  Watch out, I might do it again.

You know the drill.  The following items can be found on the Internet.

  • Color Consoles: Apparently, a favorable review from IGN has given them more work than they could ever hope to accomplish - so I place this link here for future reference.  They install region switches, stylish new LED’s, or apply any one of a hojillion colors to your system.  It’s pretty neat.  By themselves, those services may not have garnered them the link - particularly when they seem to be closed, for the moment.  When I read that they would be installing Portable Monopoly’s Afterburner product, I was like, yeah.  This needs to go up.

  • Lik-Sang:  Hell, these guys can do you one better.  For a hundred and ten bucks, you can guy a GBA with the Afterburner already installed.  A word of warning: Don’t go to this site right after you get paid.  They will take you for every cent as surely as they had mugged you in the street.  Along with absolutely everything you have ever wanted in your whole life, they also have the GP32.  Yes, that’s right.  The handheld gaming system they give you in heaven.

  • The Parlor:  The Parlor is bad-ass.  It is also a short film.  Those of you who have already seen it, I don’t care.  Those of you who haven’t seen it yet, you’re in for a treat.  They say bad words and talk about bad things and some of the people are from Spokane.  Rub some dirt on it and watch the Goddamn movie.

  • Jjukil’s Open Letter To Enix:  If you were looking forward to the release of Dragon Warrior IV Remix for the PS, but now you’re mad because they aren’t going to put it out anymore, maybe you’ll know what he’s talking about.

  • At the recent Game Developers Conference, Penny Arcade reader Chris Port was able to secure the following - from Warren Spector and to yours truly:

Who does he love, again?  I’ll give you a hint:  It’s me.

(CW)TB out.

you don’t own the situation, honey

anon / on Mon, Mar 25 2002 at 12:38 pm

MoH:AA, Shitheads, and You

(UPDATE: To everyone who went to the SK Forums… you are all my children, with whom I am well pleased.  I’m especially pleased with everyone who thought to mention Clan (PP), also known as the Prancing Ponies.  That’s some funny shit, man.)

It’s a little ironic, actually… I stayed up late last night writing my own vitriolic rant regarding bitches that can’t stop whining about the weapon they were killed with, and when I go to the site this morning to upload it, Gabe’s got a virtually identical bit.  Still, if you want to read my thoughts on this irritating issue, please head to the ranting page on my personal site without delay.  I think you will find that although Gabe and I are in agreement on the subject of shitheads, my words are superior, and you will immediately recognize that I am the stronger, more intelligent, and more attractive of the two of us.

Gabe also linked to the Satanic Knights Clan, which was going to be my little treat for you this morning.  These chuckleheads actually challenged us to a clan match, despite the exponential difference in our respective scores.  We told them to meet us at a given IP address in an hour for the big showdown; but the IP address was for the server we were already on, and then we all just logged off and went to bed.  At any rate, I would be delighted if as many of you as possible would register on their shitty forums, and tell them how much hackey-sack sucks.  It’s too complex to explain WHY you need to tell them that hackey-sack sucks, you’ll just have to trust me on this one… but I can guarantee the inane rage you will drive them into will make the ordeal more than worth your time.

Last but most certainly not least:  I think someone is trying to kill me.  I mean it.  Exhibit A:  The EBX release list for the coming week.  Heroes of Might & Magic, Freedom Force, and Jedi “Jesus Fucking Christ” Knight II, all on one week?  What the hell am I supposed to do?  Even if I broke up with my girlfriend, quit my job, stopped eating and only slept 2 hours a day, I wouldn’t have time to play all these titles.  Truly, these are dark times… let the rending of garments and the gnashing of teeth begin!

(PP)Safety Monkey out.

Gabe / on Mon, Mar 25 2002 at 10:48 am

MOHAA madness!

I have a list of things I wanted to talk about in my little update here. I have some games on there and some Penny Arcade related stuff. I’ll get to all that stuff in a minute though. Right now I have something more important to discuss.

“The worst part about multiplayer games is that you have to play them with other people.”
-Gabriel

The PA crew plays Medal of Honor every night. It’s safe to say that we are all quite in love with it. However lately I have been getting more and more frustrated during our extended MOHAA evenings. Not because of anything in the game but because of the absolute dick heads that seem to occupy most servers. I am referring to those players who bitch about the Rocket Launcher and the Shotgun. Things like “ROCKET PUSSY!” and “SHOTGUN WHORE!” are totally common. Not a night goes by without some mouth breathing monkey fucker complaining about our choice of weapon. The fact of the matter is that people who take the rocket launcher are not only sitting ducks much of the time, but tend to blow them selves up along with their targets. It is not an easy weapon to use. The person on your team who takes it needs plenty of support from other players with close range rapid fire weapons. As for the shotgun it too has it’s weaknesses. It’s worthless at a distance and leaves it’s owner wide open during the reload sequence.  However people would rather bitch about getting killed than take the time to actually learn how these weapons operate and then attack accordingly. We will of course be playing again tonight and I would like to ask a special favor of some of you. If you are one of these people I spoke of, who bitch and moan about the RL or the shotgun please do us all a favor and throw your computer in the garbage. Buy yourself a light bright and pretend your playing online games with it. You will probably have more fun since you won’t get your ass handed to you all the time, and the rest of us won’t have to put up with your inane jibber jabber.

Okay, now on to the good stuff.

Andrew Park has a great new gamespotting article up about the Neo Geo. I know exactly where he is coming from. My first really expensive home cart purchase was Last Blade 2. Just try explaining to your wife why the video game you want costs $300. It was at that point that I decided to focus my collection on the arcade software. Games for the Neo Geo arcade machine were produced in much larger quantities and are therefore quite a bit cheaper. Your sill gonna have to drop big money on games Like Mark of the Wolves and Metal Slug but over all it’s a much cheaper way to get into the Neo. Of course you do need an arcade cabinet to play them in but chances are you can get one for almost the same price you would pay for a mint home system.

Virtua Fighter 4 continues to amaze me. I have been playing Kumite with my character Pai and am now a 1st Dan. The competition at this level is insane though and I have already lost my rank and gained it back a few times. I have earned some fancy new jade bracelets as well as a necklace to wear into battle. I have also come to the conclusion that Dural is the reincarnation of Christ and cannot be killed.

Safety Monkey and I beat Jedi Starfighter yesterday. We played the entire game cooperatively and had a blast doing it. I know I try and present myself as a hardcore Star Wars fan and in reality I like to think I am. However I do have one question about this game. Now I love using force lighting to destroy a group of ships, if fact I giggle each and every time I do it. But isn’t force lighting a dark side power? And if so why is it being used by Adi Gallia? Speaking of Star Wars the latest book in the New Jedi Order series comes out this week and I couldn’t be happier.

While looking for pictures of a grizzly bear to draw today’s comic I found this site. I have to admit I find their work a bit unsettling. I have no idea where you would put a life size grizzly bear chasing a wolf in your house. Does that sort of thing go in the living room or the den? Also I made this funny picture.

We have added a new gift to Club PA this month. Current members for the month of March should already have received it. Part one of our new special behind the scenes look at how the comic strip is made is now available to members. If you have ever wondered how we make our special magic here at the arcade, now is your chance to find out.

Think I am exaggerating how stupid some of the people in MOHAA are? Take a gander at these winners.

-Gabe out.




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