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Tycho / 1 week ago

Beat-the-shit-out-of-players survival games are a thing, an entrenched thing, and making players naked and terrified is just an outward manifestation of the mechanical goal, I suppose.

I played through the customary first fifteen of Nioh when we were Twitching First 15s, and I hope it’s not a spoiler to say that the first fifteen minutes of Nioh - maybe as much as the first hour - aren’t representative of the game in any way.  To the extent that, like, I don’t even know what it’s doing there.  Maybe it’s one of these things where it bubbles up later or something, who knows.  Like Let It Die, there’s so much going on in this game that the launch phase ends up with this odd, staccato cadence.  Like Let It Die, Nioh it’s completely worth it, but these teetering intros in either case washed Gabe completely out.  His philosophy is that “if you have something good, let’s fuckin’ see it.”  My doom now, and always, is to understand everyone’s point of view while thinking they’re all basically wrong.  I must catalog it constantly.  Sleeping is difficult.

I’m about to get seriously back into Dungeon Mastery, and so of course the Wyrmwood Magnetic Game Master Screen was dangerously, perhaps even despicably well-timed.  I heard about it because of Tweeter.  Now: also on Tweetro, a lone voice was heard crying out, saying “Wouldn’t It Be Cool If I Could Get The Acquisitions Incorporated Sigil On Them Woods,” and we totally agree.  Plus, we know those guys, I see them at PAX all the time.  So, let’s do it.

The way they’ve got it set up on the Kickstarter, you can get Kiko’s super cool logo on any piece you want just as an add-on.  Take a look!

(CW)TB out.

Tycho / 2 weeks ago

The ritual one undertakes unlocking heroes in Fire Emblem Heroes creates a kind of dangerous, addictive momentum.  Each time you go to expend your Orbs and summon stalwart allies, you draw an initial hand of five “stones” that you can choose from to become a character.  But.  Each new stone you turn over is cheaper than the last one, so not turning over all five is as difficult as not eating an entire cylinder of Pringles.  For me.  Maybe you can do that: maybe it’s possible for you to pop, and then, having popped, stop.  I’ve never been able to.

The characters you reveal all have a Star Rating, which is typically lower than you want.  Eventually that’s all you see when you’re grinding through orbs, and maybe for some time after.  It’s possible to raise the Star Rating of these scrubs but at the higher tiers it requires the equivalent of a blood ritual.

I’d seen an article by Gita Jackson over at Kotaku of the heartbreaking variety, titled “Thieves Steal Playstation 4 From Children’s Cancer Ward.”  This was in reference to an article called “Thieves steal bolted-down PlayStation from children’s cancer ward,” which seems even worse.  It’s the sort of thing that makes a person want to found a noble order and swear an oath.  But we did that, or something like it, back in 2003 when we started Child’s Play.

The boy in the story was using the device to ease the time spent in therapy.  This is something we have expertise in: the equipment we (as in, you and I) place in hospitals is often used by kids undergoing chemo or dialysis, sometimes, it’s the thing that makes them go at all.  So we know about this.  We are also, as a function of your generosity, well equipped to fix it.

Something you and I know that a mainstream audience might not really understand is that they stole the box, which is abject villainy, but he was building a Minecraft world during his treatments, which means they stole his time.  They stole time from him and the other kids in that ward.  No doubt this equipment has been replaced many times over; this is the sort of thing that trips the Internet’s immune system.  We have acted also, overmatching their need with a definitive application of charitable force.  It would be impossible to fully steal what we, collectively, have enabled for them I think.  Thieves would need trucks, plural, and they’d have to work in shifts.

(CW)TB out.

Tycho / 2 weeks ago

Good God; I always wondered what would happen when Nintendo went hard on mobile, and we’re starting to see it.  Super Mario Run and Fire Emblem Heroes couldn’t be more different in terms of their relationship with the platforms, but they represent a kind of flanking maneuver on phones that increases not only damage but chance to hit.

We have two strips about it, this is one of them, and details Gabriel’s inability to honor and nourish the incredible relationship we have which is marked by almost two decades of startling works.  What Gabriel has told me about Fire Emblem Heroes is that it is a Free To Play Game that is Free To Play but also a Game, which has historically been difficult.  We have described F2P as a genre, a classification that rests heavy on the systems they define, exerting a warping effect on the experiences they compress.  It has a psychologically potent method of unlocking heroes, which I’ll go into on Friday, but if you like Fire Emblem there’s actually enough Fire Emblem in there to recognize.  When games undergo that state change from platform to platform, it doesn’t always work that way.

Hey!  We’re going to try something different with this afternoon’s stream - some live roleplay, which is a thing I understand some people do.

We’re gonna hit up Dusk City Outlaws, a game being Kickstarted right now.  It’s a Rodney Thompson jam.  He’s designed all kinds of stuff, the roster is pretty ridiculous: D&D 5e, Lords of Fucking Waterdeep, Dark Sun 4e, the old Star Wars line they had at Wizards, he’s also a Senior Designer at Bungie in addition to being the one of the people we trusted to finish, and retain, Gabe’s vision for Thornwatch.  He’s looking to drop his first independent game now, this Dusk City Outlaws thing, which is basically Fantasy Ocean’s Eleven.  I want to know what that looks like.  Do you?  Then swing by around 2pm PST.

(CW)TB out.

Tycho / 2 weeks ago

It’s my actual, real birthday today, which is a little scary, because from a perceptual standpoint I feel like I just did all this shit.  Partly because of how the PAX half of the year is constructed, and partly due to the ossification of my brain with age, the second half of every year is the going-down-very-fast portion of the roller coaster and I often find myself waking up here in February or so, blinking as though at a bright light.  I put it this way last year, and I have no qualms with that presentation - it still feels more or less true, from the harrowing draconic imagery up to the heartfelt thanks enunciated at its culmination.

You might have seen the profound Acquisitions Incorporated shirt “collab” between Gavin and Gabriel at PAX South, where these artifacts were available for purchase.  I have been asked innumerable times (okay, maybe like a hundred or so times) if the shirts would be available on the store, and they will!  For reference, I’m talking about these shirts:

Yes, those shirts.  They’ll hit the store on Valentine’s Day, at 9am PST.  And, because our Merchandise Manager Lidija is always looking for ways to honor and delight you, she had these rad Valentines made.  We’ll drop one in your order!

Getting Acquisitions Incorporated to PAX South was the first manoeuvre in a sequence of sophisticated plays that have, as their purpose and design, the recognition that people like Acquisitions Incorporated and we should be taking that affection seriously.

(CW)TB out.

Tycho / 3 weeks ago

Gabriel got home from PAX South a day before I did, so he had a chance to dig into Astroneer.  I don’t have time or inclination anymore to play everything that Steam decides is important; I’ve had a very similar experience with what rises there, over and over and over, the bizarre, strappy, masochistic fetish gear that runs rampant in that space which reliably delivers experiences of the form:

1. Fail to find a server 2. Find a server, but get disconnected 3. Get connected but spawn into the world having already died

It’s like, look.  I’m an advocate.  I advocate.  It’s my whole role in the social perpetual motion machine we’re operating over here.  But your inventory UI looks like a broken windshield and two or three vital player interactions aren’t even bound to anything.  I’ll be back.

My time with Astroneer was very much in the “first blush of romance” phase, where my associate (CW)Gabe sailed down into my world in a pod, and then we proceeded to discover how these worlds work.  No Man’s Sky is definitely in here genetically, but No Man’s Sky (like Skyrim, let’s say) is a game that makes me long for companionship.  I know that’s not universal; I have friends for whom a simulation of solitude is a welcome psychic lilypad.  But learning systems, with a friend, in real-time, is why I play videogames.

We gotta film a bunch of First 15s today, and Josh’s new plan is that we do those on the stream, which makes the whole thing way more fun, then we can choose one of those to play a bit more.  Looking forward to getting back on the couch, stop by around 2 PST if’n you need company.


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