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Tycho / on Fri, Feb 15 2002 at 12:00 am

Lame Boy Advance

Around the time we signed, sealed, and delivered the Lameboy Advance strip, we mentioned a site called Portable Monopoly.  A place to discuss the relative satisfaction of consumers with Nintendo’s (in many respects) excellent machine, it also focused on devising a true, elegant, and replicable solution to the problems of glare and visibility.  Taking their most recent updates into account, they have engineered a kit - soon available for thirty-five dollars U.S. - that will allow GBA owners to perfect their handhelds.  Today’s comic fast-forwards to a dark future, where people who couldn’t be trusted to transform Optimus Prime from a semi into a robot are suddenly skewering their palms on soldering irons.  As for our representation of the Big N: truth be told, though we probably aren’t supposed to say, we’ve been to Nintendo, and it’s not all that bad.  Everyone we met was really nice, except for the (like) twenty guys that came in to gangbang us at Super Smash Brothers.  We hate those guys.  But everybody else was fine. 
I don’t know if you downloaded that Star Trek: Bridge Commander demo or not.  It’s hard to know what to make of it, and I’ve played through it a couple times.  It’s exactly what you think it is.  I mean, you’re the Captain of this massive thing, and you look all around and talk to people.  There were zero surprises for me in the demo, none at all, which begs the question:  is it because there’s nothing here, or because they did absolutely everything right?  It’s like I imagined the way the interface would work, and it just does that.  I already knew how.  Obviously, not everybody wants to sit in a chair, even if it’s a Space chair, and there are plenty of keys to let you manage everything manually, but I have a feeling that the more naval pace of the combat might not appeal to those fond of the experiences Totally Games is widely known for. I wish I had more than what’s available in the demo to go on, as it’s made me very curious.

ModernTales, as it is currently conceived, is an idea that Monkey and I had when we were eating burritos over a year ago.  The burritos could have had this idea.  Everybody’s had this idea.  Aggregating content - and then, once you’ve aggregated enough, charging a subscription for that content - is hardly even an idea to begin with.  It’s like peeling a fucking orange.  No Bothans need to die in order to get the schematics of that motherfucker.  Getting the intermediary, inedible shit off of something that tastes good is a reflex.  Selling collections of desirable products falls in the same category:  perhaps you’ve heard of “magazines.”  They’ve shown very good taste in their content, though, which elevates this venture beyond a mechanical process - Scott Kurtz and rstevens are on board, for starters.  I mean, look at the Wedlock picture that’s up on PvP right now.  That’s the most vibrant, vital thing I’ve ever seen him draw.  I’ll pay two dollars to have Scott Kurtz kick my ass every month, hell yes.  And their rubric for revenue sharing is also worth a look - I doubt we’re looking at the future here, or whatever, but it’s better than the present, which has a lot in common with a Goddamn nightmare.  These elated visionaries never contact us when they roll out this kind of shit, which is great, because it allows us to maintain this blackguard thing we’ve got going.

A couple site related thingies to relate, and I don’t mean a new cup or some shit, you want to look at this:  BioWare‘s David Chan sent in his introduction for the Industry section, one rarely gets to hear from the “Sound Guy” at a company, which is a bitter irony.  Pulling hard on the bridle, I steered Safety Monkey’s hulking frame into the shameful servitude that is his rightful place - the result is his Warcraft III Beta Diary, which pleases me.  Also, and this might be fun, our ridiculously indulgent masters at HomeLAN just set up a PA Wolf server.  We took out that motherfucking MP_Castle, put in Destruction and Trenchtoast, and limited it to two respawns just as a test.  Obviously we’ll change it if it’s no fun that way, but I’m curious to see if you could introduce the tension of a CS or MoH into the Wolfian arena.  Lastly, for a guy who says he hates Spokane so much, I can’t seem to stay away - Scott Vaio in tow, I’m spelunking that hellhole’s non-Euclidian mazes to finally remix the last of the Fine Print stuff.  Please, please, please don’t e-mail me.  I’m probably going to come back to over a thousand messages, yes, but if I only have to drag nine hundred messages to the trash, you’re saving me valuable clock cycles. 

That was sarcasm. 

Don’t be mad at me.

(CW)TB out.

i’d sacrifice two
to get that slave out of you

Tycho / on Wed, Feb 13 2002 at 12:00 am

This Valentine’s Day, we wanted to tell a few special people in the gaming industry how we really feel.  For the record, that is indeed my raw scrawl present in the amorous missive to 2015 - they’re practically Goddamn hieroglyphics, seriously, and I’d like to thank the advent of Personal Computers for my atrophied penmanship.  I’ve said all I’m going to say about Medal - you hope - but having had the chance to while away a Saturday with Gabe playing a game where you run a Golf Course, for Chrissakes, I found myself surprised at how much fun I was having.  A good game is simply a good game, a concept we’ve already discussed - but allow me to be surprised at how good.

Paige Young - Director of Corporate Communications for Lithtech, Incorporated - was very polite when she asked me to clarify and “change some of the language on our site” regarding their product.  When it didn’t happen that day, she wondered why - that one’s easy.  It wasn’t Wednesday.  Aside from the fact that I couldn’t guarantee you’d actually see it if I altered the post in the middle of the day, the heavy, holy hand of God would be required to budge the firm Mon/Wed/Fri tradition.

Many readers told us the same thing she did, and it’s sensible enough:  is it right to blame the tools that were used for shoddy workmanship?  Well, no, not exactly - but that isn’t the data I’m attempting to correlate.  Because they have positioned their product (I refer here to the “Lithtech Engine”) as a tool for those with “modest budgets,” they have created a market for themselves empowering companies to cheaply position licenses and produce games that never should have been made.  So, no, the tools themselves did not produce the monstrosities we associate with the LithTech engine - and while a game like NOLF proves that an extraordinary team can make the exact technology used a mere footnote, every half-assed offering that employs their technology dilutes the vigor of their brand, and their “low-ball” bid in the engine department provides fertile ground for this process of erosion to continue.  It’s like some Red Light District - it’s not inherently evil, in a brick/sidewalk/streetlight sense, it merely provides a ready context for tawdry acts to flourish.  So no, the tools aren’t to blame directly for the bad games.  But it’s not like they didn’t help.     

I received an extra copy of the Warcraft III beta you hear everybody talking about, and who in hell knows why, but (in a moment of uncharacteristic benevolence) I awarded it to one S. Monkey.  Though Gabe and I played Warcraft II many a night and had a lot of fun doing it, Starcraft was really our game.  We weren’t very good at that either, now - employing it as more of an elaborate Starship Troopers simulator - but we weren’t ashamed to play it on, for example.  In the end, though, it’s like the car thing I was mentioning on Monday.  Though I have a fondness for RTS - superceded, of course, by a love for turn-based strategy - there is an echelon of talent that I never seem to reach in the genre, and as such I’d feel more comfortable leaving a tactical assessment of War3 to someone who has both been there and done that.  Luckily, this describes Monkey to a T.  In exchange for this valuable beta, I have demanded content on this topic for us to read - content which must be delivered no later than Friday.  I’m given to understand that he and his partner Vrtrasura made quite a name for themselves at a LAN center called “Virtual Realms” over in Boise, and it is my hope that he can parley that into making a name for himself giving me what the fuck I asked for.  As for some brief impressions, the main thing I want to communicate is that for all the talk about New Genres and Role Playing Strategy and whatever else, proponents of the classic Warcraft series will be very familiar with this package.  Obviously, I’m not able to speak to the single player campaign, which may make more use of these elements - but I want to minister comfort to those who think Blizzard is trying to fly the franchise into the ground or something.  Based on what’s there for me to judge, I believe they have been good stewards of your trust.     

(CW)TB out.

it’s seven plus one from here
to where i want to be

Gabe / on Mon, Feb 11 2002 at 4:00 pm


I have tried on countless occasions over the past few days to talk to Tycho about his decision to accept Canada in trade for his book. I have explained to him that this person who e-mailed him probably does not have the authority to give Canada away. I have also tried to tell him that even if this person did have that kind of authority Canada is not such a hot deal. I mean he had people offering him Virtual boys and Classic arcade machines and he chooses a frozen wasteland where the people talk funny and smell like bacon. I’m not saying he’s an idiot I’m just saying that he is the stupidest person that has ever lived, or will ever live in the history of the entire universe.

Today’s comic strip makes heavy use of Fonts from Blambot fonts.  I don’t give nearly as much credit to these guys as I should. Many of the bad ass fonts you see at Penny Arcade come from this very talented group of guys.

Also as many of you know I tend to hang out in the forum a lot. I have been talking for a long time about new forum software. Well it is finally happening. Our Web mistress extraordinaire Emma, is hard at work on our new forum right this minute. You will now be required to register in order to post on the forum, but I think this will cut down a lot on trolls and nonsense posts. We also plan to have a special forum accessible only to members of Club PA. So that should be fun.

Confidential to Tycho- You’re a cockjockey and I am sick of your cockjockery.

-Gabe out

anon / on Mon, Feb 11 2002 at 3:30 pm

This goes out to all the pretty girls…

A few years ago, I was at a Spike & Mike’s Sick and Twisted Film Festival (sorry, no link… everything I can find points to, and I saw a clever little short entitled “Ah, L’Amour”.  Seeing as how many of you may be sad, lonely bastards this coming Valentine’s Day, I thought I’d give you all a little cheer, at least until you all flood the site and break it.  Enjoy!

[DM]Safety Monkey out.

Tycho / on Mon, Feb 11 2002 at 2:55 pm

Residents of Tychonia

Royal Cartographer Braum Meakes has finalized this new map of our proud nation, I’d appreciate it if you’d just toss the out of date ones.

That is all.


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