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Tycho / 1 week ago

As the newest show, PAX South has such a cool energy.  And its still so young that people are always asking me if we think it’s gonna be back next year.  I don’t know a hundred percent of everything that happens, or is going to happen, but PAX South is a real show.  We made a logo, and everything!  I love coming down there, I love being handed huge bags of beef jerky, and I love getting radically different and profoundly contradictory barbecue advice.

I also like being reminded, on occasion, that people actually like what we do.  I do it because I like it, but it can be easy to get the impression that one has achieved permanent Satan status, such that other people get to determine what is written on one’s tombstone.  People gave me compliments this year I don’t even know how to contextualize.  I can’t really absorb them most of the time; I just hold them in my hand like a little sparrow until they fly away.  But they were nice to have, for a little while.

We have said on many occasions that we are spectacularly ill-suited for the role which has accreted around us, partly because we aren’t dishonest, craven, and manipulative enough for public life, but also because our minds have certain characteristics that make the job more difficult.  Luckily, our defense mechanism involves making entertainment for you.  It’s the kind of weird-ass adaptation you would see on nature shows, I guess.  But it works!

I want to thank Rugpisser and Palpitatertot for delivering unto us a truly marvelous spectacle in the final round of the Omegathon, in the long awaited GoldenEye.  The game is legendary for a reason, but it was never part of my own curriculum vitae - I was far more of a PC gamer then, and shooter culture between the two sharply diverged.  There’s always been that parallel track - I was late to Halo also, just because that’s not where I did my shit, but these two definitely knew what the fuck was up, - trading points, and then whole games, as the Old Wisdom returned to them.  After winning a game apiece, the last game went 9-9, with the tenth and winning point going to Palpitatertot.  There’s a dramatic arc here, because Rugpisser was actually the returning runner up from last year, and we’ll see him again next time around.  People have come back twice like that and gone on to win.  It happens.

All in all, the show was simply a supernatural phenomenon.  We rent the venue, the Enforcers form the spine of it, and then you bring PAX; not a bad system, really.

(CW)TB out.

Tycho / 2 weeks ago

I changed the person’s handle a very, very small amount, not enough to change the pronunciation, but this is almost the exact conversation we had re: that evening’s Randrew Jackson.

Even if I can’t parse somebody’s handle in an explicitly rude way, I always assume it’s super bad and wrong, I just don’t know exactly how.  I assume that most of the words in those dense bricks are different things it’s possible, though not entirely legal, for people to do to moms?

Gabriel saw, like, a “Bill Murray 430” type handle, and got excited because he didn’t know Bill Murray was on PSN.  I told him it probably wasn’t Bill Murray, which is just a nice way of saying it’s not fucking Bill Murray man, but the fervent wish to be near this astonishing figure thumps in the breast of all sentient beings.

To my mind, just straight up calling yourself Bill Murray as a handle is in abrogation of the Handle Accords, which state that you need to have religious iconography or obscure astronomers in there somewhere.  But there’s two scenarios for the numbers, both terrifying in their own way.  One, it’s possible that there are four hundred and twenty-nine other Bill Murrays on PSN, not including Bull Murrays or even Bill Moray, the famous eel.  The other is that they weren’t able to get 420, so they went for 430, which I think we can all agree is a different number.  I’m sure I could hit up Urban Dictionary and get a definition of some kind, but every configuration of letters in the English language has some ribald, specious definition there.  In my experience, if you show up at 430, you’re too late.

PAX South is today!  I will be there, with an explicit charter to meet people and make merry, so if you roll through let’s make it a point to be friends.

(CW)TB out.

Tycho / 2 weeks ago

The Witness!  I don’t know, man.

As a young person, by which I mean a much younger person, I wondered what adventure games would look like when fidelity crossed a certain threshold, and the “pixel hunts” of that era were replaced by something more like finding an actual needle in a real, non-metaphorical haystack.  And maybe we’re there, now.  I am playing a game where I don’t authentically know where the “game” begins and ends.  I don’t know what pertains to me.  Which I think might be the underlying point?

I’ll just tell you what you need to play it.  First, you’ll need your mind.  Give it a thorough cleaning, so the drawers open with no squeak.  Then, have a pencil, some graph paper, and some regular paper.  If you’re playing alone, like I am, use headphones - but I’m doing it wrong, so don’t do that.  Find a person with their own mind, orthagonal to your own, someone who can be endured and (optimally speaking) likes the same kind of soda, and get them where you are.

The tagline of the official site reads “Explore an abandoned island,” which really gets right to it.  The island is already one of my favorite game spaces of all time, it’s meticulous and sprawling, and I believe that it is a one to one model of Jonathan Blow’s synapses.  But there’s one more thing about it: the place is studded with some legitimately nefarious…  well, mazes, I’d call them.  The challenges I know about, at least, are all mazes - at least on paper.  Sometimes the walls of the mazes are literal, but more often than not the real walls are logical ones whose secret grammar you must discover and then become conversant in.  Gabriel plays games to discover new art, and I play them to learn new things, and so this is one of those rare games that is perfect for both of us.

If you’d like to know how it innovates, let me count the ways.  This is a brand new thing for the genre: I’m now stuck on, I think, five different puzzles simultaneously.  One puzzle is emblazoned with a set of symbols I can’t comprehend.  One puzzle I solved once already, by accident, and I can’t re-solve it - I feel confident I’m going to need to know this, so I’m trying to figure it out.  One puzzle looks so simple that you’d think it would be impossible not to solve, but I have found a way.  One puzzle can’t be solved in our universe, just because of how reality is.  And one puzzle might not even be a puzzle.  Which would, I guess technically, bring me down to four.

(CW)TB out.

Gabe / 2 weeks ago

Our PAX Schedule

If you’d like to interact with us in some way during PAX you are more than welcome. Here’s a quick look at where we’ll be each day to make our rendezvous more likely.

Friday

Tycho and I will have a Q&A in the morning from 11:30 to 12:45 in the Main theater.

Tycho and I will have an autograph signing session in the Queue room 1:30 to 3:00.

You can find me later that day on the Thornwatch panel in Cactus theater from 4:00 to 5:00.

Saturday

The two of us will be doing the Make a Strip panel in the Main Theater from 10:30 to 12:00.

Tycho and I will be at the Pinny Arcade pin trading event in the Queue room from 1:00 to 3:00

Tycho will be at the Quiplash event in the Main theater from 4:00 to 5:00

Sunday

We will both be at the Gabe and Tycho Q&A from 1:30 to 2:30 in Main theater.

We will end the show with the round of the Omegathon in the Main theater from 5:30 to 6:30

In addition to all this stuff, I’ll be around doing pin trading and checking out the Thornwatch playtests on Friday and Saturday night 7:00-8:45 and 9:00-10:45. If you see us at the show say hi.

-Gabe out

Gabe / 2 weeks ago

Thornwatch at PAX South

We will be bringing a brand new version of Thornwatch to PAX South this week and I’m really excited for you all to see it. You might remember that at PAX Prime last year we announced a collaboration with the folks over at Lone Shark Games. The scope of the game immediately changed from a single game focusing on the Thornwatch, to a series of games based on Thornwatch, Lookouts and the Daughters of the Eyrewood. We revealed the new Eyrewood Adventures plan during a panel and you can watch the entire thing right here if you like:

In the months since that panel we’ve all been hard at work on the game. It’s crazy, I had an idea for a game and I did what I could to build that game but now I’m working with honest to God legends when it comes to tabletop games. I’m surrounded by a team of incredibly talented folks at Penny Arcade and Lone Shark, but at the heart of it all I am working with Mike Selinker (Pathfinder Adventure Card Game, Betrayal at House on the Hill) and Rodney Thompson (Lords of Waterdeep, D&D 5th edition) and in case you’re curious, yes it’s incredibly intimidating.

It’s also exhilarating though. It’s inspiring and exciting in a way that is hard to describe. These guys are so good at what they do and just watching them work has been an incredible treat. Collaborating with Rodney and Mike over the last few months has been a thrill and the game is so much better for it. It’s like I built a car and then took it to a team of professional mechanics. Certainly I’d driven plenty of cars but that’s not the same as making one. For my first car I’d say it was pretty awesome but now these guys are going through the engine and it’s nerve wracking. Sometimes they go “this is perfect we’re not touching this!” and other times they break some piece off, look at me and say “what is this?” This is when I shrug, “I don’t know” I respond. “Well it’s not doing anything.” they will exclaim and then the question they ask me is “okay, well what do you WANT it to do?”

That’s such a fun question.

When you see Thornwatch at PAX South this year it will not look like the Thornwatch you saw last year. This is, in many ways a new game because what you’re going to play would not have been possible without Mike and Rodney. The heart and what I consider to be many of the core components of the game are still front and center. Wound cards, the Momentum deck, synergies and skill cards. It’s all still there, but it’s also so much more now. Thornwatch is still very much my baby, and now I’ve got a couple of the best babysitters in the business.

The Thornwatch Panel is Friday 4:00-5:00 in Cactus theater.

Thornwatch playtesting will happen Friday and Saturday 7:00-8:45 and 9:00-10:45

I asked Mike Selinker how one might get to participate in this playtest and he said, “If you want to playtest on Friday, I encourage you to be in line early for the panel”.
Here’s a little peek at what’s in store for playtesters:

So there you go. See you all in a few days!

-Gabe out




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