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Tycho / on Wed, Apr 10 2002 at 7:34 am

We hadn’t done a strip on the G4 Network yet, and with the announcement of their actual line-up it seemed like a good time.  Gabe has optimism but realistic fears, which he will no doubt elucidate in a few hours’ time.  The only thing I know for certain is that they need a Penny Arcade show.  I’ve never been more sure of anything in my life. 

Instead of doing a strip about it - which I don’t think is really the proper approach - let’s just talk about Tribes: Fast Attack in more detail.  Even after I wished upon him grave physical harm, Alex “Marweas” Rodberg wrote me up with the digits saying we should talk about shit.  This is actually the proper response:  I don’t say things like that because I actually think his spine would be better as two separate lengths, I’m calling him out.  I carried on an extended conversation with Kelly Flock, long after the strip in question, and found that people secure in what they’re doing don’t really have a problem with the things we do at Penny Arcade.  Alex was the same way - congenial but direct, he is of the opinion that T:FA is the proper direction for the franchise to take, and it is (in fact) his job to make those decisions.  And, I respect him even if I’m not crazy about his Tribes philosophy.  Myself, I am of the opinion that a year of concerted bitchery - the whiner’s choir of the TribalWar forums - has finally secured for themselves the Tribes 2 they wanted to begin with.  Well, they can have it.  I was never one for community reindeer games, which is why I have my own site and they have a handle on some fucking message board.

The seeds of Tribes: Fast Attack and Tribes 2 are both present in the original, it’s just that each selects (in the evolutionary sense of the word) different characteristics to be dominant.  There will always be those who claim to hate Tribes 2, but from a game perspective, it is in every way a sequel.  Better graphics.  More vehicles.  More emphasis on teamwork.  Richer armor configurations.  Larger maps.  More robust defensive options.  The much-maligned slowness of T2 is there by virtue of expanded tactical depth.  I asked Alex if, going forward, he thought of Tribes: Fast Attack as their selecting an evolutionary branch to carry into Tribes 3.  He said that he’d like to see future products have something that everyone can enjoy.  That struck me as a bold move.

It’ll never happen, but I’d like to have seen Tribes 3 even bigger than Tribes 2.  Larger, enclosed vehicles to transport troops, with automated or manual arms to fire on fortified enemy positions.  Detailed, believable structures.  License a third-party engine right out the gate, to spend the entire development cycle working on content and gameplay.  Larger individual servers, or metagames that take place across several.  Cinch up the Starsiege universe with a return to Earth, or the Cybrids - introduce the ancient war machines, to scale against the armored Tribes.  I’m sure T:FA will be fine.  I’ll just have to take your word on it.   

Regarding the Triple Threat - that invincible trio of fabulous contests - I’ll announce the victors this Friday coming up.  Many of you asked why I chose to use a Hotmail account as the contact for it, especially after the Hotmail account broke into little pieces and would no longer contain mail.  Well, the simple fact is that more often than not, your species doesn’t take full advantage of my exciting offers.  I suppose that the last contest - which basically involved breaking your arm as you lay on an entire cake - might not be the best concept to drive participation, but I was truly shocked when the mongrel hordes surged over the ramparts of my flimsy, free e-mail account for all three of the prizes.  I accepted mails that came to my account, and did not take affront to their being there - what the hell else were you supposed to do?  Anyhow, I think I’ve already got another 3T lined up, might even be later this month.   

Six quick links to arrest your productivity:

  • Eric Harshbarger’s Lego Site:  His medium is legos, his world is the world of bricks.  Gobs of legomaniacal links, along with ample sample portraits of his sculptures will fascinate young and old.  It’s understood that (for any of the gift holidays) even at the ripe old age of however old I am the gift of lego is one that will be well received.

  • $95,000 Adventure:  I actually don’t care if this is true or not.  I think of it as light-hearted, feel-good fiction like you might find in My Boot.  It’s got some kinda Hallmarky crap in it, but on the whole it’s a good read.

  • Cedric Henry’s Aesop:  The strip I link to here is in response to our nefarious fur-related antics, but it is my opinion that you’d be well-served by his stuff in general.

  • A Mechanical Horror:  A friendly reader suggested this steel monster might make for an acceptable Robo-Croc, and I am likely to agree.

  • NothingArena:  Reader Farbs sent in this marvel, a mutator for Unreal Tournament that excises the pesky weaponry.  He claims that when the mod is in effect, the bots just glare at each other and then go their separate ways.

  • I Almost Forgot:  I snapped a shot of Brenna’s new tattoo, done by family friend Owen Connell from the Pound Gallery.  I really like his stuff.

Yeah, so Friday, we’ll do the prize thing and investigate more of the Game Detective storyline.  We do hope you will attend! 

(CW)TB out.

‘cause i’m honeydew bunsen

Tycho / on Mon, Apr 8 2002 at 11:45 am

Addendum To The Addendum

I’ve received this LA Times “Playola” article from a few people - Gabe mentions it in his post, but it might be worth focusing on for a second.

Verant gave out RAM along with their Shadows of Luclin expansion - we dealt with that in a strip a while ago.  It seemed to freak people out.  In the post, I put forth that the reviewer receives the game too, and that seems to be totally okay.  I understand that it looks bad, but when you’ve been reviewing games for two years or more, I’ll bet everything looks like absolute shit. 


Gabe / on Mon, Apr 8 2002 at 11:22 am

I am the rocket man

I know that some of the people we refer to in today’s comic actually read Penny Arcade from time to time. **Cough**ClanTDO**Cough** I think it is important that they understand exactly what their constant bitching gets them. You see, I don’t even really like the rocket launcher, except for maybe on the Hunt. I am an SMG man for the most part. However when I see the other team start to complain about Kara using it or Tycho I immediately pull out the big dog. I’ll use it on every goddamned map if that’s the way they wanna be.  Then, inevitably they get the brilliant idea to take rocket launchers themselves. One especially brain dead group of Axis actually said that they were going to “fight fag with fag.” Of course that strategy never works. They almost always end up killing themselves before they ever get a shot at one of us. The thing that bothers me is this kind of shit happens EVERY NIGHT.  We hear the same shit over and over again. “The RL is a no skill Weapon.” “They use the shotgun because they are pussies!” “Try using a real weapon!” I think our mod will solve some of the problem but it seems to me like what is needed here some kind of giant mechanical killing machine that can seek out these retards and devour them.

I hope you all got a chance to check out the press release for the mod spoken of in today’s comic strip. We actually sent that out to most of the major news sites. I mean all they do is cut and paste PR shit anyway. I’ll never understand how someone who just links to other people’s news articles can be considered a journalist. I mean you don’t open up the Seattle Times and see an article about a great story in USA Today followed by a section of funny links. They are all probably out riding snowmobiles with Brad Pitt anyway.

It never ceases to amaze me when Tycho decides to give away more shit. Whenever he gets two of something he just assumes he has an extra one. It never occurs to him that people might be sending one for him and, oh I don’t know maybe ONE FOR ME!

Through one of those crazy six degrees of separation deals I was able to get some original artwork from Brian Basset of Adam@Home and Red and Rover fame. It turns out a friend of mine who works with junior high kids knows Mr. Basset’s son. Evidently young Trevor Basset is quite the Penny Arcade fan. Trevor was cool enough to talk his dad into sending me a couple drawings. You can see them here and here. So I’d like to say thank you to Trevor and his dad for the hook up. As anyone who was around me when I got them will testify, they really made my day.

I heard a rumor that members of Club Penny Arcade receive fantastical powers, inhuman strength and immortality. Or they might just get a special behind the scenes look at the making of PA.

Oh, and here is a TMNT drawing for you. Sorry it’s not all of them.

-Gabe out

Tycho / on Mon, Apr 8 2002 at 11:19 am


While playing Jedi Outcast yesterday with my esteemed colleague S. Monkey, mongrels could be heard to say “o no, i guess this server is full of grip whores.”  Just so you know, Grip is when Darth Vader lifts you off the ground and chokes you, even though he is a across the room.  Suffice it to say, it’s a Jedi Thing.  Jedi do it.  There’s ways out of it.  But it begs the question:  Could a Jedi be a saber whore

You, in the back.

“Medal of Honor weapons are inherently imbalanced.”

What, can only one side get them or something?  Everybody gets their weapons from the same menu, there isn’t some special menu for other people that includes the sniper rifles, rocket launchers, and shotguns which your own selection omits.  Go ahead, take them.  There’s no shame in it, you may be assured that your opposition does not share your quaint perspective on warfare.  I guarantee that - within your first five matches - you’ll see situations where those weapons are at a distinct disadvantage. 

That’s all beside the point, though.  Investing your rage in the these real or imagined disparities while the server is still live is akin to pointing at the ground with a stern finger in order to scold gravity.  Tell me how that works for you.   


Tycho / on Mon, Apr 8 2002 at 4:39 am

I wish these people would just forget how to breathe, and die clawing at their carpets - writhing in the useless air like some doomed fish.  In Tribes, precious, forward-thinking Tribes, it was very simple matter to mute an idiot when he begins to broadcast the true extent of his stunted faculties.  Today’s strip just collects our frustration - we can certainly understand why someone might not enjoy the losing, but like the Warbling Chattybitch the strained noises they make have no bearing whatsoever on anything.  There is no politeness for your opposition; World War 2 was not some kind of Axis Vs. Allies bake-off.  If I feel like taking a gun that shoots grenades, that the creators of the game saw fit to include, I’m going to Goddamn well take the gun that shoots grenades. If you don’t like that, it’s a pity I can’t carry two.  Try not to suck so much.               

We are indeed working on the mod we describe today - we’ve even got a press release to prove it.  If you’ve got a press release...  I mean, that’s some serious shit right there. 

People send me shit all the time - actual, wond’rous, wholly tangible things.  When the bolts come loose on your own beloved project, and the number that represents “viewers” becomes a number you can no longer take seriously, people are going to start sending you things, too.  Some of them do it because they’re in a position that lets them give something back to you.  Some crave your readership.  If you, like me, only feel truly conscious once every two or three months - and then, only for enough time to admit that you are overwhelmed by your own life and immediately resume your delicious coma - you won’t feel very deserving of these items, no matter what circumstances brought them your way.  And if you, like me, are me, you’ll try to generate a karmically valid approach to the situation you’ve found yourself in.  And here it is. 

I’m just going to give it away.  When I accrue three thingies, three thingies get sent out.  It’s the best solution I can think of.  Each section will have a link to enter the contest, use that link and that link only to enter.  Anything that goes to my main mailbox regarding this stuff will just get thrown away.

  • Jadeclaw:  If any fur enthusiasts still read the site, listen close.  Jadeclaw is an extremely cool pen-and-paper RPG, set against a fantastical Ancient East inspired backdrop.  Ninja Dragons?  Contemplative turtle monks?  That’s just for starters.  I want to give you one of these, but you need to write me a 5-7-5 form Haiku about the changing of the seasons, and mail it to me here.  I want to know this excellent game - nearly four hundred pages, and filled with original art - is going to a good home, and your submission will prove that you exemplify the martial spirit.  Sanguine Productions (the game’s authors) even threw in a set of dice, which I will also provide to the author who radiates the most calm power.

  • Exploding Dog Book, “Wish For Something Better” :  Exploding Dog doesn’t really have anything to do with dogs, let alone exploding dogs, so I don’t know why it’s called that.  It doesn’t matter.  Humans send him little snips of sentences, and he turns those into comics.  Really interesting comics.  Comics I like a lot.  For some reason, he sent me a copy of his new book, two of them actually, and one of you gets one.  I’ll be sending out the limited edition (numbered and everything) piece of art that comes along with, so if you were already a fan (or became one just today) it’s something you might be very proud to own.  Drop me a line if you’re interested, and I’ll mail you back if you won.

  • Rallisport Challenge:  I’ll never know quite how we landed this one, but I’m not one to look a gift PR guy in the mouth.  I’ve talked about Rallisport before, my brother-in-law Josh and I played it until our hands ached.  We’ve got five of these sonsabitches to give out it looks like, and all you have to do to get one is tell me what you have to do to get one.  If we’re going to be giving more stuff away like this, I’ll need a steady stream of hackneyed hoops to march people through - making you create the contests as well strikes me as a sort of metahoop, which brings me no end of pleasure.  I’ll try to use your contest ideas in future Triple Threats.  Also - They sent along a couple great cheats, for those of you who already own it, or for those you about to: make a driver named WheelToWheel to unlocks Expert mode, or TheGoodStuff to get your hands on Classic.

I think this is going to be pretty cool.

We were thinking of doing a strip on the Tribes: Fast Attack announcement, and we still might - it’s hard to read that interview at IGN and not feel a little strange about it.  I’d like to hear what the creators of Tribes themselves have to say about these revelations, and some have kept in touch with us, but I’m willing to bet they signed something that details very clearly just how much they can’t say about the current management structure.  In a nutshell, I don’t agree with anything I read and I hope that Alex Rodberg trips and falls down the stairs.  Sierra pissed all over Tribes 2, and now they seem to be complaining that it smells like pee.  I stopped playing what I considered one of the best games of all time because I couldn’t count on them not to fuck it up.  This isn’t just histrionics from some guy who doesn’t like shit.  They had patches just to take off other patches.  It’s too early to tell if their new (or, some might say old - Tribes 1 old) ideas are going to make for a better game, a more accessible game, a shot in the arm for the franchise, or whatever - but it doesn’t sound a hell of a lot like my Tribes.

(CW)TB out.

i’ll bury you bastards

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