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Tycho / on Mon, Apr 18 2016 at 11:45 am

New Welcome To PAX Videos

Got two for ya, here’s Welcome to PAX: Panels…

And here’s Cosplay!

Also, just so you know, tickets for PAX South (the show featured in these videos) go on sale May 17!  Mark your calendars.


Tycho / on Mon, Apr 18 2016 at 10:36 am

We went on Vacation!  And now we’re back.  But Penny Arcade always exists, and in precisely the correct amount.  Penny Arcade cannot be created or destroyed.

Last Summer, Card Hunter released an update that allowed players to go through the entire campaign in co-op, and it basically reset the clock on my infatuation with it.  I loved it from the jump, essentially; a hand-made dungeon crawler with glorious art, its tongue installed firmly in the pocket of the cheek, where you build decks just by equipping the loot you earn.

It wasn’t long before it occurred to me that my party - a cleric, a wizard, and a warrior - could be mapped quite well to Acquisitions Incorporated.  And I knew that they had costumes and stuff on there, so I sent them a mail to see if they would want to do some costumes.  Here, I’ll include the text of the mail I sent to Jon Chey at Blue Manchu.

  I have a weird idea, and maybe it is dumb, and if so, then it’s okay if you don’t like it.  Nobody likes dumb ideas!  Okay.

We perform Dungeons and Dragons as live theater, and have for coming up on Ten Years, under the name Acqusitions incorporated.  Our main party is a dwarf warrior, a half elf cleric, and a human wizard.  You see where I’m going with this?  Is this too dumb, or is it cool?

And here’s what he sent back:

I like it, Acquisitions Inc is very cool and the characters are a great fit for CH. Would love to release that Tycho figure too.

I have a weirder idea, which probably *is* dumb. What if we did a Acquisitions Inc themed expansion pack - full adventures instead of just figures?

Eh, now that I think about it, probably not feasible. Still, just doing the figures would be awesome.

But he was WRONG because I completely wanted to do that.  I wrote the fuck out of this thing.  There are a couple different stories for Acquisitions Incorporated on the site, Vault of Winter or Acquisitors, but this was a chance to do a longer, weirder story that I could trick you into reading because it was also a game.  It’s got three stories, with three battles apiece.  It’s literally what is best in life.  They made a trailer for it I thought was really funny based on some of the intro text.

If you haven’t played Card Hunter before - I play it on Steam these days, but it plays fine in a browser -  some of the twists in the expansion won’t be apparent right away.  A lot of its mechanics are twists on the expected from the base game.  The first time you play through the new stuff, you play as preconstructed character decks for Binwin, Jim, and Omin - voiced by Scott, Mike, and I respectively.  If you beat them, you can come back through with your own characters in a Hard Mode that lives up to its name.

Occasionally, in a film or show, a person will say something to the effect of “do you know who I am” and often the person doesn’t know who they are or doesn’t care.  When it happens, we’re supposed to feel a combination of pity and schadenfreude for them known “pschadenfroidity.”  Except I’m the one who needs to be reminded who I am in this case.  There are times, like this, where I can marshal incredible resources and collaborate with interesting people to make something really cool.  And this is really cool.

(CW)TB out.

Tycho / on Fri, Apr 15 2016 at 12:01 am

My house is full of “incredibly advanced technology” which the term no longer applies to.  I don’t know if it is quite garbage yet, but it is - bare minimum - garbage adjacent.  Some of it is, no doubt, adjacent to the garbage can.

One of my prized possessions is a USB cable Robert got me in Japan.  From a single USB plug, fully four unique device charging cables emerge.  Imagine packing for a trip and knowing that if this one cable was in there, you were set for your PSP, your phone, and a couple different Nintendo handhelds.  I still treasure it, for his thought of me while harvesting Akihabara, but also because it is essentially transience taken physical form.  None of the ports it charges are in any kind of modern use.  It was designed to connect to everything and now this little cable is all alone.

Gabriel was telling me about the Gear 360, a little Samsung camera with a 195 degree lens on both sides of it that can be used to snap full, 360 degree “photorbs.”  We wondered just how permanent these would be, what they would even mean to another generation.  Would they be more or less useful than our own grandparents’ photo albums?  I think its trout, essentially; it’s all fucking trout.

If you have no part of you given over to these fascinations, what cultists we must appear.  Our little perishable gods, our transitory sacraments, and secret accretions of profoundly temporary power.

(CW)TB out.

Tycho / on Wed, Apr 13 2016 at 2:42 pm


You might have heard - either from me, or my dastardly opposite number Grobriel - that, having made the watch from the strip for reals, we immediately felt compelled to battle for it.  Primed by years upon years of gruesome comic imagery we warred for days without ceasing on the lip of an active volcano until we realized we could not finish the other.  It was then that we chose our allies, and the shape our conflict would take.

Sure.  It may look to all outside observers as though we’re running a campaign of some kind for Overwatch.  It may even be true (it is true).  But it’s also a manifestation of an ancient conflict between opposing poles with ramifications that fork into every human endeavor.  My team is as follows:

Dabe Alan

He’s got a super low resting heart rate, which is what you need on the point.  Dabe Alan made the awesome Overwatch: For The Watch poster on the Overwatch: For the Watch site.  He chose to make me “Tantric” Tycho on there, which is what I would have suggested, but he also put it in quotes, which seems like it might diminish my vigor somewhat but it’s fine.  It’s fine!  We started playing MOBAs together a ways back, enough to know he’s got an incredible mind for the big picture, and his instincts as a support are second to none.  We’ve got some combos set up that are straight bullshit and I can’t wait to drop it on their fucking heads.

Ryan Hartman

Ryan Hartman works hard making PAX shows what they are, so I wasn’t sure I’d be able to get him, but I got him.  He’s also the most competitive person I know.  The amount of salt this motherfucker generates has made me seriously consider desalination strategies for the match.  The hope is that this competitiveness will create a fear of failure that I can twist into a kind of psychic dagger - one I can wield against the opponent.  He’s talking some nonsense about playing with a fucking gamepad, for which I called him a mutant and a heretic.  But there’s always a method to his madness.

Nika Harper

You already know Nika Harper, and you love Nika Harper.  She tweets here, but you’re already a follower so whatever.  Used to rock it over at Riot, a thousand years ago, and now she legit writes fiction and maintains a con schedule I can’t even comprehend.  I was talking with her about some normal stuff once, like you do, and all of the sudden she dropped science on how to really connect and engage with people four years ago that I’m still trying to digest.  I knew our paths would cross at PAX East, and what’s more, I knew that her mercurial energy would stymie the foe.  Slytherin as fuck.

Graham Stark (no relation)

Well before Graham Stark delighted audiences in Strip Search, he had already founded the LoadingReadyRun comedy cult collective and raised a bajillion dollars for charity via Desert Bus For Hope.  I knew his mercurial energy would…  No, I used that for Nika.  Hang on.  Let’s go with something like, “I knew the same mind that collaboratively created an empire from nothing could help me manufacture a mausoleum for Gabriel and whatever hideous, half-dead menagerie he has managed to pile up.”

Joshua LaTendresse

He is essentially a kind of technofetishist ronin; a Josh Of All Trades, and master of several.  We met him when he worked for Monster Cable, after he took our comic about them with such good nature.  Since then, he’s been fucking busy.  He wrote for us, Games Radar, PC Mag, and probably someplace else.  He did the Astro A40(!!!), the Plantronics Rig, most recently the Corsair VOID, and now he’s at SteelSeries as the “Senior Product Manager For Controllers And Emerging Technologies” which he assures me is a real job and not some kind of Employment Fridge Poetry.  He’s a PC gaming stalwart and here’s what’s up: he’s going to punch a hole in these people and every important fluid - the fluids they like best - are going to shoot out everywhere.

One of the conceits of Penny Arcade is that Gabriel is the bad one and I am the good one, or if not good I can at least be reasoned with.  None of that is true.  I am the bad knot in the shoelace; I am the lottery ticket whose every number is adjacent to the winning ones.  And I super, super hope he plays a character that spends a lot of time in the air, so I can snatch him out of it and drag him down into a hole in the Earth - a hole intended for the dead.  A dead-hole, if you will.  I’m going to drag him down into a hole they don’t even have a word for.


Tycho / on Wed, Apr 13 2016 at 12:01 am

It’s been so interesting to watch the Gear VR become a daily use device for Monsieur Greebs.  He talked about it a little while ago, and it’s still true.  He talks to me as much about his face-phone as he does about the other games he’s playing.  Sure, occasionally he disappears or whatever, but maybe he’s just watching a 3D version of The Martian while sitting on the moon.  Which is a real thing he did.

I got to the point very quickly with VR that I arrived at during the end of the PS2/Xbox era, which is that I like what I’m doing but I get “lonely” for lack of a better term and I want other people to be there also.  It isn’t as isolating as I expected, because (as you will see, or have seen) pretty much everybody wants to see what you’re doing and has a lot of hot tips re: what you should be doing now.  It’s a pretty fun way to play; Keep Talking And Nobody Explodes even brings those outside into the mechanics.  But they’re on the other side of the glass.

Just when I’d determined that I liked puzzle rooms, there’s a few approaches to them in VR.  What we’ve learned is that the technology is very good at simulating an uncanny, believable reality, except it’s generally a reality that’s been scoured of all human life.  I just want to put some people in there.  I want to help someone solve a puzzle in a room adjacent to me by putting an object they need in a pneumatic tube and sending it to them.  I want to pull the plastic film off a 120” television with another person from opposite sides and kiss in the middle.  Only then will the promise of virtual reality be made flesh.

There are multiplayer games - Raw Data, HordeZ and Hover Junkers are the ones that leap most readily to mind - but they’re all shooters of various stripes.  I have precisely zero problem with shooters, don’t get me wrong.  But I want to play Light Repair Team #4 with someone, like I did in Prism or A Virus Named Tom.  I suspect that everything we have in our minds to encourage social behavior and cohesion, that is to say good feelings, is all up and running in VR without any additional hardware.  I want to feel that.

(I have to mention something about Hover Junkers real quick: just reloading the weapons in Hover Junkers is the best game of 2016 so far.  I’ve barely played the game at all because I feel like playing it without a friend along is doin it rong, and I was murdered more or less instantaneously the first time I went in there, but nobody had to teach me how to load guns in there it and that is the cool thing about the technology in general.  Hang on, let me get out of the parentheses.  I don’t even know what I was doing with these.)

(CW)TB out.

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