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Gabe / on Fri, Mar 29 2002 at 11:40 am

Is it retarded in here or is it just Monkey?

Thank you to everyone who mailed me in response to my little rant above. I was surprised at just how many of you agree with me. Of the hundred or so e-mails I got, only two of you felt like I was in the wrong. Since it seems like so many of us are in agreement on this subject I’ll just do what we all do in real life. Ignore what Safety Monkey said and continue our conversation as if he’d never spoken at all.

Many of you offered ideas to improve upon my multiplayer concepts. One idea that came up more than once was a solution to having only one or two Jedi on each team. There would of course be more than one or two people who wanted to play the Jedi. Many of you suggested that the role of the Jedi be given to the highest scorer on each team. Others thought that people should rotate through that position. Points could also be given for completing mission objectives and you could earn the right to wield a lightsaber by having the most points. All of these are fantastic ideas and I think any of them would work well in a game.

Josh Marotti is ready to get started right now on a mod like the one we have talked about here, for Unreal Tournament. He would like anyone interested in working on it to contact him. I think it’s a great idea and I look forward to seeing what they come up with. It seems to me like a mod for JKII though is what’s needed. All the models are basically there already. I’m sure it’s jut a matter of time before some industrious group of mod makers delivers the game we all want to play so bad. Hell I would even love to see Raven release it. They could do something along the lines of Quake 3 Arena if they wanted to. Make it a commercial release with new maps and new mission based multiplayer modes. I know I’d pay for that.

In other news the first installment of Love and Hate: With Kara and Batjew is now online. I think it is safe to say they were overwhelmed by the response they got. I’d say they recieved about a hojillion e-mails just in the first day.

Hah Hah check out these guys!

-Gabe out

anon / on Fri, Mar 29 2002 at 9:00 am

Ignore the man with the wookie bedsheets

I never thought it was possible for someone to like Star Wars too much, until now.  I feel like I’ve got to take counter-point here, because JKII is an uncommonly good game, and deserves to be recognized as so.

As far as I’m concerned, LucasArts made some excellent decisions with this title.  They didn’t waste time and money developing their own proprietary engine, instead taking existing, proven technology.  They also gave their game to Raven, who have repeatedly shown themselves to be capable of making amazing Quake-based games, and who have also shown to be respectable stewards of other peoples’ intellectual property.  To that extent, I also feel that Raven did just about everything right with this title, and I’m mighty glad they did.  Gabe & I both agree that the single player is a lot of fun, so I won’t waste time trying to elaborate on that.  Suffice to say, however, I found the gameplay and level design to be interesting, and the story thus far has been pretty compelling (admittedly, I’m only a few hours in).  The single-player is worth the price of admission.

The multiplayer, however, is where we differ.  Gabe refuses to play it, because he considers it blasphemous to see a stormtrooper with a lightsaber named “Wookiekilla”.  I also think his ideas for an objective-based Star Wars action game are pretty cool (who knows, maybe this is accomplishable in an expansion?)... but dammit, this game is NOT a “kick in the balls to hard core Star Wars fans”, nor is it a slap in the face of any kind.  I feel that kind of attitude is essentially sacrificing fun for the sake of idealism.  If you’ve ever wondered how a pitched battle between Jedi might be appropriately represented in a video game, now’s your chance to find out.  Saber fighting has been drastically improved in this outing, and I’d go so far as to say it must have been the focus of the developers, because it is TIGHT.  There are a variety of new attacks and moves depending on your stance, which direction key you’re pressing, and your relative position to other players and objects.  There are even 3 different saber styles (light, medium, heavy), that have their own moves, speed, and damage.  The other weapons are balanced, the levels are extremely well done and a lot of fun to run around in, there are a variety of gametypes, the force powers are easy to manage and change in-game… I could go on and on.  Trust me on this:  You have not lived until you have stopped an escaping flag-carrier by grabbing them with the Force, and dropping them into a VERY deep pit.

I don’t feel that every single gametype and every single match in a Star Wars multiplayer game needs to be official canon… sometimes, it’s fun to just whip out a lightsaber and hack at each other.  Hence, I’ve had a lot of fun with this game in only one short day, and I think you will too.  Raven and LucasArts have done a great job, and I hope that this game enjoys the commercial success it deserves.  This is exactly the type of game that needs to succeed before something even more compelling and original can exist.

(PP)Safety Monkey out.

Tycho / on Fri, Mar 29 2002 at 2:40 am

I Rhyme With Pink

And I contain hypertext references.  What am I?


  • I Got This In Some Spam:  And it ended up being sort of interesting.  The Multisensit Transform Engine purports to break down your raw text into its sensory and emotional components.  It seems to think I’m tense and agitated, which makes me feel tense.  And agitated.

  • I Guess His Xbox Broke:  Apart from my fiendish Internet Connection, I have had very good luck with consumer electronics.  I don’t post this link because I think that it represents some point on a graphed epidemic, but it is interesting, and has words of advice for certain owners.

  • EarthBound Petition:  Starman Dot Net needs help building the thirty thousand signatures they need to make a statement to Nintendo.  Who knows if the Gods will hear their plaintive cries, but I guess it can’t hurt to wave your arms around and say “Notice me, Notice Me.”  I like to be contrary to things like this, as my rational mind does not consider this brand of Gamer Activism particularly efficacious, but I just have a soft spot for them.

  • Broadband My Ass:  Thomas P. Reidy III used to contribute strips to our old site The Bench a lot, only his comics didn’t have any Benches in them, let alone Squirrels or Gabes.  I thought they were pretty great, and he’s been telling me for over a year he was going to start up a site and do it on his own.  I like to reward perseverance!

  • Kingdom Hearts Preview:  The GIA never fails to please, Gabe and I devoured this hands-on info earlier today.  Though it - and by it, I mean this “Square/Disney collaboration” - seems like something borne of a lost bet or something, by this account they’ve accomplished something rather remarkable.

Man, I’m not even touching this Star Wars thing.  I mean, I’ve played the multi - I had a blast.  Do I think story-based mission modes - with discrete classes, weapons, and abilities - would be better in every way, and hold better to the license?  Yes, I think that too.  But my momma always told me to eat what was on my plate, so I’ve got my fork out.


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.)


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
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

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