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Tycho / on Wed, Dec 23 2015 at 9:21 am

One of the “delights,” which I guess I don’t 100% mind but whatever, is that before I can get a newspost typed up over here I typically have to spend a half an hour or so fixing the computer I’m working on.  I wouldn’t even know how to compare the machines my parents own to my own machines or computers in general.  I’m not surprised that people hate computers if this is their experience with them.  Just as a point of reference, when I click the mouse on my computer, shit happens.  Forces are marshalled and great engines roar.  On my mom’s laptop, there is a mouse attached, but it does nothing, like a vestigial tail.

Her house looks like some kind of aperture widened up between our world and the Pinterest dimension, and their denizens have emerged in force to seize territory.  Snowmen and reindeer upcycled from precious bottlecaps flank wine bottles also dressed as reindeer or inexplicably wearing sweaters.  I was able to barricade the door to her room with some tasteful Pier One wickered spheroids and now I am waiting for the police to arrive.

When we first talked about Nightlight, it describes how some fathers are shields, but others are swords!  With an Exclamation Point! And then for that and the next storyline with Grace we only talk about Swords.  All Through The House is about how the other side works.

(CW)TB out.

Tycho / on Mon, Dec 21 2015 at 5:00 pm

PAX South Tabletop Indie Showcase

We offer free booth space to game developers at the conventions, but it takes a little different shape depending on where you go: PAX 10 was the original “indie” showcase, at East it’s similar but focuses on mobile, and the newest show in San Antonio focuses exclusively on tabletop offerings.

And what a crop this year!  Good lord.  Don’t forget to check some of the official sites: a couple of these games already have Print & Play options, so you don’t even have to wait.

(CW)TB

Tycho / on Sun, Dec 20 2015 at 9:45 pm

Running a total of four strips, Nightlight: All Through The House is a four strip Nightlight story about, you know.  Things that permeate houses, I guess!  You’ll know when you see it.

The 3DS is back in rotation hard with Pokemon Picross, which is like a Picross game where you make pictures of Pokemon which you also then collect.  It would be nefarious even if it weren’t free to play.

For some reason, many of the people I talk to at a given PAX don’t seem to know about Picross.  This sucks, not just because their lives haven’t been enriched by Picross, but also because I have some metaphors I’m fond of that require a working knowledge of the game.  It’s supremely inconvenient to lead with a penetrating Picross themed insight and then have it just glisten there on the epidermis, wholly unabsorbed.  It’s not clear to me how one of the best puzzle forms has somehow eluded universal worship.  It’s like Sudoku, but fun and cool.  And when you’re done, there’s a little picture, instead of a bunch of numbers.  I’m sure that Robert appreciates a big pile of numbers but if I had to choose between Charmander and some numbers I’mma go with the Lizard Pokemon.

So, if you don’t know about Picross, their digital store has loads of it.  If you aren’t down with free to play, which we’ll come back to later, grab one of the ones in the Picross E series for six bucks straight up and sink down into this inviting brain syrup.  It’s like, um…  Sudoku Minesweeper.  The game offers you a grid with a series of numeric clues alongside each row and column, so if you have a ten by ten grid and the clue is “9,” you know that the middle eight squares are filled in.  Then you use the crumbs of information you have to infer greater and greater relationships.  There can also be more than one number in the clue - something like “1 8 1,” which means that there is one filled in block, followed by eight filled in blocks, followed by one block - each discrete entry separated from the others by at least one blank.  Those blanks are just as important as the filled in squares when it comes to the “greater inferences” I mentioned before.  The feeling of it - the brain feeling - is exquisite, because you can actually sense the crystals of awareness forming and spreading out.  If you want to feel like Sherlock Fucking Holmes every ten minutes or so this is a game you should have.

How much you can play is mostly governed by a resource called Picrites, because of course they are.  Right?  Every one of these things has to cook up some clever name for its whippin’ switch.

The amount of Picrites you get as a matter of course probably won’t support binge playing of the game.  I have time, or I don’t have it; as much as I don’t like what feels manipulative about the genre, my life is a pretty good fit for free to play.  Unless I really, really love a game, I never bump up against the energy or currency limitations.  I’m about to bump up against them here, but…  it’s possible to pay for an essentially unlimited volume of their currency for about thirty bucks.  You aren’t supposed to let people buy their way out of the trap, it’s a complete F2P no-no, but they let you do it.  Nintendo’s approach to F2P - which they call Free To Start - has a shareware vibe to me, so long as you can still Get Out Of Jail at a certain price.

I just grabbed SteamWorld Heist, too - a turn-based strategy game, rendered from the side - and it’s fucking shit hot.  It’ll be nice to have it with me in Spokane, of course; something to do while I’m in line for our holiday ration of Hate Grubs.

(CW)TB out.

Tycho / on Fri, Dec 18 2015 at 10:53 am

It is really weird that there is a new Star Wars movie out!  And they are just going to keep coming now.  “There is another” hitting around next year around this time.  I barely know what to do with this information, and even the information I do have is porous.  I know that in The Force Awakens there is some kind of lightsaber person and one of the robots is round.  That’s basically the state of play.  It doesn’t seem like a lot to hang a movie on, but who knows.

Brenna and I attempted to catalyze a lifelong fascination with Stellar Conflict last Friday, with a preparatory viewing of what young people parsed as Episode Eye Vee, and halfway through it my son was begging me to let him go upstairs and read.  Obviously, I can’t be mad at him for that.  But what might have seemed languorous or exotic about the pacing of the first movie just seems slow to people growing up now; even their ringtones are invigorating.

Gabriel The Younger is still resistant to the old ways, a dynamic I tried to illuminate for his father earlier.  He will no doubt endure it to please his parents, and it will have all the thrills and emotional resonance of a child interminably practicing cursive.  Gabriel the Elder suggested that for kids today, their Star Wars is actually Guardians of the Galaxy, which I thought depicted an interesting phenomenon.  Maybe each Generation has a “Star Wars” that isn’t necessarily “Star Wars,” though I’m sure Disney would prefer a certain level of standardization.

As someone who explicitly determines what I like based on how many other people like it and how far it has encroached into the Universal Consciousness, this kind of full court press - which I understand is term derived from sport - mirrors the immortal Force, in that I feel both surrounded and penetrated by it.

Star Wars-ism this time around, as a function of its integration into every frame of every advertisement on Earth, is making the needle writhe and ping in the hype-ometer.  I even like this shit and there are concerns about the density.  I don’t doubt that there is some kind of Star Wars tampon available, right by the Cool Ranch or Zesty Nacho tampons.

Maybe those aren’t kinds; I don’t use a lot of tampons.

(CW)TB out.

Gabe / on Wed, Dec 16 2015 at 12:13 pm

@ Jerry Holkins

Merry Christmas.


(Big Version)

I’d prefer we not speak of this.

-Gabe out




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