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Tycho / 2 weeks ago

One day there may be an apparatus designed to fully articulate the moment a trend becomes a genre.  Recall that shooters were called Doom Clones, for example.  Until this machine is constructed, perhaps from a sliver of replicating extraterrestrial alloy, let’s try this: a trend becomes a genre when the “clones” start getting really, really cool.

Realm Royale is another one from Hi-Rez, a company which has a knack for approaching genres as they are red-hot and finding a way to spin them.  I liked their take on Tribes, also.  Both of them.  Also: Paladins Strike just chirped on my phone, inviting me in for a game.  I might take them up on it, when I’m done here.  I don’t play Smite, but I watch Smite. When did they come to own so much of my time?

You sort of know what Realm Royale is from the jump:  it’s a battle royale game.  Like we say in the strip, it removes building and adds classes in the manner of a “hero shooter,” with some RPG frostin’ like armor going in specific slots and class abilities, all tied into the genre’s incredibly engaging loot phase. The game is so much about class interactions that they don’t even have a solo queue.  It also has the most varied, most interesting map I’ve seen in the style thus far.

Josh tried to jump in and found it jank, and I understand what he means.  This is an alpha that came out yesterday.  This is an information bundle that communicates the same kind of information as warning stripes on a venomous insect.  The game in this youthful state is like a glass frog, you can see everything right through the skin: there’s a grayed out Battle Pass menu item right when you load it up.  Every aspiration is exposed.

These ideas are already great, the game is already fun, and I’ll say the same thing I did about Fortnite before Drake played it, before it was anything but Exhibit A in a conversation about the morality of cloning a design: this game can be as big as they want it to be.  It has that in there.  Now it’s simply a question of what they’re willing to undertake.

(CW)TB out.

Tycho / 2 weeks ago

I’ve mentioned it before, but it’s pertinent so you’ll have to endure it again:

One of the dudes that worked with us making the first two On The Rain-Slick Precipice Of Darkness games told me about a hobby of his, one I’d never heard of, even though I get into some really dorky shit and I’m okay with it.  He was an Air Traffic Controller for people playing Flight Simulator.  I don’t know which portion of the Hotline Bling meme applies here: does it inherit the shame-palm, or the ecstasy?

All I know is that I can see that person from here, where I fit on the geek hierarchy; I love them, and I respect them.  I don’t gotta do what they do, but there’s no profit in denying it.  Our root structures are commingled.

I could be much, much more aggressive with how I police spam in my tycho@penny-arcade.com folder, and there was a time when I was, but now I think of that folder along the lines of a spontaneous fermentation chamber.  Just last week, somebody was trying to offer me a “hands free” sex toy so I need never stop gaming.  It provided a non-zero mirth value.  House Flipper, same thing.  I saw that in there first.  I saw a video called Bus Simulator 2018 which tantalized, for a variety of reasons.

First is the idea that it has a year attached, like fucking Madden.  I don’t know if municipal bussing changes that much year to year.  Come get a bite of this trailer:

Gabriel spent a not insignificant amount of time trying to reverse engineer the mental processes of a person who would engage in the kind of bus-worship required to recreate a photorealistic, interactive bus.  Gabriel assumed the whole thing was simply an elaborate exercise in trolling, but that’s because the trailer he’d seen was the multiplayer trailer.  I’d, uh…  Hmm.  Take a look.

I described the Millennial Rooftop Cults in the Switch ads as “aspirational,” but the fact of the matter is that I’ve literally seen people do exactly what they’re doing in those sun-dappled scenes.  This is a whole ‘nother level.  I can’t imagine a universe where somebody knows three other people who all want to drive buses, like… at the same time, but I kinda want that to be true.  I suppose it’s possible there’s something about this scene I don’t know.

(CW)TB out.

Tycho / 2 weeks ago

I’m as surprised as anybody: Solo is good.  I wasn’t even gonna go see it; I have shit to do, and after The Last Jedi watching a Star Wars movie during its theatrical run isn’t a guarantee anymore.  I’ve adopted something like the rigor of Cold War Deterrence when it comes to that: unless I get the okay from two friends, I’m not going.  They aren’t owed my money but more than that they aren’t owed my time.

Brenna and I emerged from The Force Awakens trying to figure out when we could get the kids into the theater to see it all together.  We emerged from The Last Jedi with no such plans.  Indeed, we spent about an hour trying to figure out what we’d just watched, languorous and depleted.

Solo is the kind of movie you want more of.  It was like a silo of Pringles, whose fruits gave out before my desire for them had been satisfied.  I want to shake the can and let the shrapnel fall in and around my waiting craw.  There is much ink in the exiled Expanded Universe given over to crime syndicates, many of the games have explored this as well, and I’ve been fairly dogged in my assertion that I’d like to see the parts of the universe that aren’t actively being carved up between factions of space wizards.  I got it.  God Dammit, I got a movie that feels pulled right from the old books, where people could really play around with the setting.  Play is the term.  This movie is fun and everybody in it is having fun.  And this Lando.  Give me six seasons and a movie.

A Sci-Fi Heist Movie with what I would describe as precisely the correct amount of callbacks, masterful pulp tone, a rich score that includes a major key rendition of the Imperial March in an extremely clever bit, this is something you want to show up for.  And, because it’s got the pulp serial vibe, I’m drumming my fingers waiting for a sequel to a movie that may never get one, through no fault of its own.

(CW)TB out.

Tycho / 3 weeks ago

Gabriel has described this comic as a Public Service Announcement.  It’s a public service announcement from an alternate universe where people drink medicine out of magic holes.  Look!  I don’t know about it yet.  I just tried to help him.

We’ve seen Dauntless at a couple PAXes over the last year, the main reason I know about it is that Gabe kept pointing me toward it, and when something in that Exhibition Hall environment can defeat both

1. The cavernous din, and
2. His robust defensive matrix

I’m going to pay attention to it.  The last of these Takeaways was Trailblazers, something like Wipeout Meets Splatoon, which just came out.  But he’s been fucking with Dauntless night after night on his new PC, completely solo as far as I know, and there are so many elements about this that intrigue me.

We should probably establish that Dauntless is Monster-Hunterian in nature.  At least insofar as Hunt Monsters and wear their guts.  There are many other aspects of Monster Hunter aside from the expected, actions with less ennobling titles, and it it those other, bookkeeping style interactions that Dauntless seems to eschew.  It seems like a conscious effort to tighten the loop; to pass Go and Collect $200 more frequently.  They have a Founder’s Pack and I’m buy-curious.

My friend Morak and I are gonna try this shit out on the stream today during our usual slot at 2-4pm PST.  It wasn’t, like, planned or anything, Josh threw it on the boxes back in the studio though and I’m glad, because I hate monsters.

(CW)TB out.

Tycho / 3 weeks ago

I showed Gabe the House Flipper trailer because I thought he would find it novel, but instead he was enraged.  This sort of thing is the Anti-Gabe: it’s almost completely about intrinsic motivations.  That’s not gonna cut it for him.  People want different shit from their entertainment, this isn’t some kind of a dig: if he gives someone twenty dollars, what he doesn’t want is for them to give him a job earning his money back.  He wants to get in the cart, pull down the heavy bar until it clicks, and ride.

I’m down for whatever, you know me.  I’m always ready to gulp a tall, room temperature glass of vinegar.  I respect his position more, frankly, because I think he is more careful with your time than me.  I don’t even wait for the helicopter to land; I’m in the underbrush with a machete trying to discover or, some would say, invent value.  I think House Flipper is “jank af” but it’s also quite meditative after a period of play.  You get out what you put in, which frankly sounds like a house flipping credo.  How deep does this thing go?!

Gabe showed the trailer to Kara, and the end result is that he was downstairs eating a freezer pizza in the kitchen while every other member of his family worked on their own imaginary homes upstairs.

As a metaphor, that’s a little amateur.  You’d think Reality would have this down by now.

(CW)TB out.




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