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Tycho / on Wed, May 29 2019 at 11:44 am

Gabriel has described Sea of Thiefs as a “costume trunk,” which I think is apt, but it’s also a kind of free-range madhouse where ravening packs of youths can be teens without the justice their wayward acts should rightly accrue.  Just so it’s clear: I bear no authentic ill-will against teens.  I have one of your number in my home and I’m quite fond of him.

Please don’t burn down my house.

And besides, I doubt such acts are the exclusive domain of the moistened pupa.  It’s a place, an ecosystem, a simulation, a woven basket of verbs and nouns with relationships to one another.  Sometimes you just want to snap them together just to see what happens, and videogames - I’d say particularly a game grown on a substrate of piracy - is a better venue than most.  Gabe and Kara invited friends out onto their boat, their virtual boat I should be clear, the only one they have, where they collectively had an experience and I was surprised to learn that the newcomers were not dissuaded by it.  Amy’s actual line, one we experimented with in the strip before settling on the current construction, was “I want to go back, kill them, and eat their skin.”  Even with Sea of Thieves’ dedication to physicality, it’s not something players can do.  Currently.

Oh!  And it is Wednesday, which means that our pulpiest of pulp sci-fi turns continues on tonight’s Acquisitions Incorporated: The “C” Team.  We get started at 4pm PDT if you want to join us live.

(CW)TB out.   

Tycho / on Mon, May 27 2019 at 11:22 am

As we suggest in the strip, bad contracts and professional myopia are phenomena we know something about.  Let me start with the first part, which is to say that you straight up, flat-out don’t know how to read contracts.  This is just what I was thinking about when it comes to something like the Tfue stuff, but he’s already a multimillionaire and this was all pretext anyway.  Social media enables a kind of mystical, extrajudicial space and there’s no guarantee that’s going to be extended to you in any way you’re gonna like.  Better to make sure your wards are in place ahead of time.

You can be a fucking lawyer and miss shit, based on differences between state law or because you’re stupid, so don’t think that you’re gonna be the one who cracks this code.  Because they’re seizing the fruits of something inherent to you, something you do with your own mind and hands, you can have business deals that feel like injuries.  Not paying a lawyer to look at something is not “saving money.”  The kind of money you can lose on a bad contract is… hm.  The kind of “money” you can lose on a bad contract is the best, most productive years of your life.

It’s not like you and whoever wants to wring you out exist on some infinite abstract plain as pure equals, each turning a mystic key and launching your career.  That is why this strip is named what it is.  As media has become ever more atomized, the sole Creator has never been more powerful - but there’s going to be times where working with someone else, maybe early on, still makes sense.  Such deals should be very short.  And you aren’t being “hard to work with” when you ask to be co-equal in your own business dealings, however they might try to make you feel.  You need to be okay walking away from a bad deal.  You will learn a lot about your “partner,” very quickly, the moment you are anything other than a mark.

(CW)TB out.   

Tycho / on Fri, May 24 2019 at 12:40 pm

I can remember when Gabe was telling me about Dauntless, a game we’d never heard of in a booth we’d never seen before at PAX South.  Gabe spent most of his time there, and the promise seemed to be a free to play Monster Hunter.  And that’s more or less what they did.

In terms of play arc, it’s Monster Hunter in its basic shape.  You fight rude behemoths of various elemental polarities in order to make clothes out of their guts.  Outside of that, everything else is either streamlined substantially or just… broken off.  Monster Hunter has a ton of things which some might consider sophistication and others consider busywork, but I’ll always have a soft spot for demonstrative chefs who are also, you know… cats, the roasting of a juicy haunch, those things which help to build a weird subculture of shared experiences.  If you like to Hunt Monsters you might like the Dauntless take on it, or you might long for those rings of lacy embroidery it has done away with, but having tried and failed to get Gabe into various Monster Hunters over the years Dauntless lets us get close.

Plus, multiple platforms can play together, so (like when we were playing Star Trek: Bridge Crew) he can play on PS4 if he wants and I can play on PC and it’s fine.  Well, until three platforms worth of players all want to play at the same time and now there’s a queue.  Gabe plays more than I do, and he says there’s been bumps, but if you gotta have a problem...

We’re gonna try to play some Dauntless this afternoon at 2pm PDT on the stream, if we can beat said queue - I think he and I are relatively close in power, so we should be able to grind up a couple beasts and squish them into armaments.  And then, we’ll start the cycle anew.

(CW)TB out.   

Tycho / on Wed, May 22 2019 at 10:45 am

Gabriel and I tend to approach things so differently that we can often accurately predict how the other will feel about something, simply by modeling our own position at a high level of detail and then inverting it.  One thing we do agree on is that, if we are really enjoying a game, we will often stop somewhere near the end.

It’s not, like… a good plan on the surface.  It’s the opposite.  Liking a game is one thing, but getting sucked into a game and living in there is something so rare that we naturally prize it, apportion it, even ration it.  So he’s back into Days Gone after a break, and we discussed how for some reason in games weird cults have fuckin’ relentless brand identity and an uncanny knack for message discipline.  If you’re being driven by a singular psychic or biological entity, I’ll follow you there - though a lot of the hive’s time does seem to be invested in troubling knick-knacks.  But if you’re just some dudes that think shit is way fucked there’s gotta be somebody, some Middle Management Layer, that cluckingly prunes the behaviors of those arranging things so they burn correctly in that hot curtain of blessed, cleansing fire.

New Acquisitions Incorporated: The “C” Team dropping tonight at 4pm PDT, as per usual - back in the airbrushed Nautical Space Fantasy of the old Spelljammer stuff.  And, don’t forget!  The Shadow Council - those mysterious acolytes that make up the enthusiasts of the show - can put their spin on events with my quests in Idle Champions Of The Forgotten RealmsGive it a try!

(CW)TB out.   

Tycho / on Mon, May 20 2019 at 1:18 pm

I was all kindsa ready to get down on this Rage 2 stuff, the id Software/Avalanche combo has the texture of a summer mixtape, and every video up until now was deeply weird in a way that made me appreciate whoever had decided to pay for all this - a sequel to something that felt more like Engine than Game, for which I bear them no ill will.  Why you would do it, and then how it could then manifest this kind of manic energy, is the kind of impossible horseshit that I naturally gravitate toward.  It had that indie, auteur patina.  We loved Mad Max, even when stupid people said it was bad.

And, you know, Rage 2…  it’s fine.  That’s Gabe’s review, and he played way more than me.  I’m on some Jean-Luc shit - there’s fewer days ahead than behind, people3.  I gotta think about how I’m spending my motherfucking time.

The intro isn’t weird, it’s incoherent.  It’s one of the more half-hearted introductions I’ve played recently.  It looks like there’s something wrong with it.  Borderlands is harder than it looks, guys - you can’t just not give a shit, because then you end up with something like this, where it feels like you didn’t give a shit.  I definitely didn’t spend enough time with it, but nobody’s paying me to play through this.  If anything, I’m out money - the question at this point is complex.  Do I spend more time - that phenomenon instinctively recognized as the ur-currency - trying to get value out of the sunk costs?  I mean, last night, the choice was to watch the most depressing movie I’ve ever seen in my life or play Rage 2 and I went with the movie.  I put my soul in a tomb instead.

If you’re looking for company this afternoon, consider joining us in the studio for our 2pm PDT playthrough of Phoenix Wright - I’ll be joined by Ryan Hartman, Amy Falcone, and the returning Kris Straub playing a cast of…  well, of about ten.  It’s something people people seem to enjoy, and we include ourselves in that number.  See you then.

(CW)TB out.   

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