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Race Night

It's Penny Arcade league Race night! The Pit Crew will open up on Twitch tonight at 7:30PT for warm up and the race will start around 8:30PT. Stick around after the race for C.S.iRacing, where we look at wrecks and assign blame. Then we cap off the night with the livery parade where everyone gets to show off their custom paint jobs, tonight's theme is "Sportsball". See you in the Pit Crew!

-Gabe Out

Tycho / 1 week ago

I want to apologize for my ill-considered foray into teen nutrition. And also necromancy. I regret the necromancy. That is to say, I apologize if you were offended by my necromancy. Right? I mean… isn't life, just… Death? Man, I hope this works!

One of my favorite developers, Zachtronics - who I guess are local to me, but the Internet makes everyone simultaneously local and distant in an odd way - just put out a weird, free game on Steam called NERTS Online.  Maybe it's not that weird. It's solitaire, but multiplayer, which I guess sounds sort of like a joke. Lost Cities is one of the best games of all time, and it borrows a lot from the idea of "multiplayer solitaire," but Nerts is a bit more literal - except for the truly genius addition of a Pokemon TCG, Prize Card-like section called the Nerts pile. But since Nerts is based on Racing Demon, a game from the 1800's I suspect the prize card pile itself is borrowed from here. Here's what makes it brilliant, in either game: you don't have access to your entire deck. That means you have to work to get it, and in Nerts that means a shared set of aces for all players, creating something like an upmarket, artisanal Slapjack situation in real life but mediated somewhat here in the digimal realm. Also in either game, you win once you've gone entirely through that special pile.  Those are the basic ideas.  You'll get it very, very fast.  

My friend Sam wrote about it on Ars Technica, but you can also grab it and play it with ease, and even just send people links to join your lobby. They've actively tuned the game for smaller playercounts in a recent patch, and worrying about where you're gonna come up with a red 10 might be a nice, temporary reprieve from what you are actually worried about. 

(CW)TB out.

Tycho / 2 weeks ago

Connected to the idea that you might now be more conscious of your backlog than you have ever been, there's whole platforms full of partially gnawed games interred beneath cargo shorts or in the garage maybe, waiting to be awoken by the wall adapter, provided you have the right one because there was a period there on Nintendo handhelds where it changed. If you had a WiiU, you might get a little extra use out of the adapter for the big slate controller thing in this case. As soon as these systems started being able to host all their own software, as opposed to a rotating cadre of carts, finding one has all the dynamics of buried treasure. And maybe it is! Or maybe you buried it for a reason.

God dammit; I was so keen to emphasize the looping nature of the process that I completely missed "Buried Leisure" as a name for the strip. In my defense, it only really rhymes in some forms of English.

I can't imagine what it's like to grow up in this world. In some ways, it is like growing up any time. I found the process quite frustrating, and I've endeavored to remember that feeling whenever my children express their own version of it. But one of the things that is fairly normal I think for them is that they live in this Kuiper belt of whirling detritus modern life casts out; they can find what just twenty years ago would be the equivalent of mystical artifacts. I might have found an old record or something, but things have changed because the pace has gone up. An old iPod, even the comparatively fat steak of an ancient iPhone might be somewhere. Further back, mix CDs or even (God help us) Compact Discs. We've been listening to old cassettes Brenna had from college with accents she needed to learn. My bedside table has at least one DS or 3DS cartridge in it every time I look, and it seems to be a different one every time.

I think it probably helps to have a weird dad if you really want to maximize this kind of harvest. A combination of my allergy to organization and my longstanding worship of the medium means that a young person can, with minimal effort, literally forage for technology.

(CW)TB out.

Tycho / 2 weeks ago

I'm not even sure which one it's said to be exactly, I would have to ask in more detail and my eldest definitely did not want to discuss it at length. They were clearly in pain; it was that admixture of shame and indignation that arises from reckonings of this kind, the call to action set against someone your psychological reward structure tells you is an ally. They've… lost a friend, essentially, in a way that feels absolutely real. I grew up with online services, even before the Internet; the c64 service Quantum Link, progenitor of AOL, was something like access to the astral plane. My mother had to contend with the twin scourges of Rap and Heavy Metal, but the parenting environment I've inherited is one where amiable phantoms waft in and out of your children's lives and occasionally they are revealed to be rapists.

We are changing topics.

The reason I don't hold forth on politics isn't because I think it will hurt my business or something. It's okay if someone thinks that; very few people actually know me, by design. There's a couple reasons I don't generally do so. The main one is that I don't have the kind of opinion about myself that says "you have such robust, meaningful positions on matters of import that you simply must be heard." The character I play, the Smug Intellectual, is just that. I became known by accident at the dawning of the consumer internet, and I'm mostly here to show off my word collection. I'm comfortable saying you should generally scroll past me, and I would be ashamed to offer myself as a source of wisdom or a model for emulation. But let me tell you something I haven't done: I haven't tried to lead an insurrectionist movement in the United States. So, maybe I'm better than at least one motherfucker.

Here is my position, to the extent that anybody wants it: I think that if you start calling fundamental democratic norms into question, and then literally foment a Goddamn rebellion, you've entered into such profoundly fuck you territory that the response must be absolute - unless we want to set our watches by this kind of shit. It's an attack on such fundamental social machinery that the person responsible for it needs to be extracted from power itself. Now. Because if there aren't consequences for this, actual consequences, and frameworks put in place to inoculate our government from it then we're governed by a kind of circus. Otherwise, Donald Trump is just a quirky member of some elite club, alternately a clown or a devil, as opposed to someone gnawing at the roots of the tree that holds the nation up. Everybody I know is running as hard as they can just to stand still. It would be a profound comfort to know there was such a thing as Law.

(CW)TB out.

Tycho / 2 weeks ago

Michael Keaton returning to the role of Batman after passing through a metaphorical looking glass in Birdman is almost too much. Like so, so much now, the arc feels written. There's an unsettling level of symmetry I would say generally but specifically here. I don't know how many times art has to imitate life has to imitate art before we understand that these things are just synonymous. If you ever wonder why people want desperately to control art, it's because consciously or unconsciously this is a recognized phenomenon.

I didn't know until today that Ben Affleck was also going to be in it; The Flash often gets into parallel universe shit, so knowing that, it's possible Keaton manifesting in the movie will be like honoring Lynda Carter in WW84 - a fun nod. But they'd be silly not to investigate it. WB doesn't really seem to have what it takes to manufacture the Marvel Cinematic Universe they covet, but I think we could all be pretty happy if they just made a bunch of good movies that look into it in ways that level of control doesn't allow, expanding where necessary. Joker is a good model.

(CW)TB out.




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