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Tycho / on Mon, Jun 13 2016 at 1:58 pm


First, a visual aid.  This is from ten years ago.  Check out Robert, reppin’ the brand:

The story goes that Robert mailed us years and years ago, and asked us about promoting something.  We did not respond; understand that we were difficult young men.  Then he offered to buy us lunch and we responded immediately.  File this information away if you ever need anything from me, I guess.  But that story is true.

There’s no reason I should remember it, but the product was called Cenozoic Zerocup.  Or Zerocups.  I don’t know how many cups it was - ironically, not zero.  I’m just stalling now, aren’t I.

Robert resigned a little while ago.  I know I don’t have to worry about him, he’ll be okay.  I’m not super okay right now!  Crying at work is not the goal.  Me and him are tight, though.  But I do wonder whose life he will change next.

I didn’t really understand what Mike and I were making with Penny Arcade, at first.  Robert understood it.  In many ways, he understood it first.  He taught us so much.  We know what we want to be when we grow up, now, and it’s this.  My goal now, and going forward, is to make him proud.


Tycho / on Mon, Jun 13 2016 at 11:36 am

Occasionally, a Charles opportunity presents itself.  This struck as a Charles Opportunity.

We just consumed the Xbox briefing, which I guess was really an Xbox and PC briefing, seeing as they’re working the cross-play angle now.  The biggest news of the show, maybe not to us, but to the world in general, is the fact that the walls between a bunch of the different versions of Minecraft are coming down, and you’ll be able to connect to a dedicated Realms server and play across platforms.  That’s functionally speaking a mic drop scenario; it’s seismic.  But I don’t really play Minecraft unless my son makes me.  So.

Maybe I can get him into Sea of Thieves.

I don’t have any idea what Microsoft or Platinum is getting at with Scalebound.  I even want to like it, just out of some residual affection for Platinum, but that might be impossible.  It’s like a version of Monster Hunter,  where you hunt Monsters on a Monster, in an unparalleled feat of xzibitian recursion.  It seems like that should be an easy sell, but every time I’ve seen it running, I keep thinking there has to be something I don’t know about it - something they’re saving.  I’m of two minds on it, now.  I’m open to the idea that there is no other thing.  It’s just a product that doesn’t have any overlap or ramifications for my life.  If there is something, though, they need to show it fast.  At this point, I don’t really want to see the game again.

In any event, I can quite safely avoid the remainder of the briefings - news of the show is that Gwent is going standalone.  The only thing that kept Gwent from overrunning the world like a malevolent mist, settling into every crevice of the earth and making living creatures its slaves was that you had to pretend to be a magical albino detective for sixty hours before you could really enjoy it.

(CW)TB out.

Tycho / on Fri, Jun 10 2016 at 12:21 pm

I think most of the numbers I know are correct, but in the frozen mists that precede an E3, you hear all kinds of shit.  For example, I felt fairly certain this show was gonna be a head to head hardware slugfest, Neo v. Scorpio, which sounds thoroughly WWE.  But no.  Which means the Neo probably isn’t coming out this year.  I wouldn’t have called that either.  Now it’s all wheels within wheels, Game of Thrones type shit.  But it’s fine if they don’t show it.  They’re basically running it at this point; they don’t have to do shit.

On the information tip, though, and it’s long enough ago that it probably doesn’t matter at all, but all the weird shit I heard about the Xbox One had a bunch of twists in it that were far more interesting than what they eventually shipped with.  Most of it got axed when they were liquefied publicly.  I understand that morale was low.

So much of their plan had to do with this digital property initiative, where everything was digital even if you bought it on a disc - the disc in their regime was like a single-use cartridge, essentially.  They must have understood at some level that people would find it weird, and in real terms represented a diminished value of the product, as it could not be exchanged - so the original plan (along with being able to lend games to friends) involved not only the ability to rent games, or to trade them in digitally for credit, but also - this was the weird one, probably woulda been a tough sell - was to drop the price of games to something like forty dollars.  I’ve never heard this stuff since, and some of it is really cool.  But I file most rumors I hear alongside those.  I still enjoy them, don’t get me wrong.  I love science fiction.  The reality is that this image of digital ownership is far more robust than the one we have now.

I gotta make sure you know about Acquisitions Incorporated: The Series.  Gotta.

Right now, new episodes go up on Wednesdays, you can trust that part.  I talked to Van, our filmy-type dude, about getting the audio as a Podcast also and he says that’s no biggie.  I’ll try to figure out what that would look like from our end, but Acquisitions Incorporated started as a podcast, and it is sometimes said that the old ways are best.

(CW)TB out.

Tycho / on Wed, Jun 8 2016 at 11:25 am

Grob’s review of the new TMNT is that it was “non-toxic,” which seems…  Generally that’s a good property in things you consume.  Right?

My primary mode of interface with Mutant Ninja Turtles - specifically, Mutant Ninja Turtles in their adolescent phase - was in Palladium’s Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles & Other Strangeness, a roleplaying game that was not Dungeons & Dragons, which meant that I could actually play it without going to hell.

This was when I believed that there was a hell, understand.  What’s funny about this was that even when I thought there was an incredibly hot place you could be sent to forever simply because you’d never heard of a specific book, or for pretending to be a dwarf, or whatever my church was saying then, I still played Dungeons and Dragons.  I’m not sure that’s the best tradeoff.  I mean, I like D&D or whatever, but the ROI on that deal doesn’t entirely work out.

In what must certainly be a contender for Segue Of The Year (SOTY), our own D&D show Acquisitions Incorporated: The Series just debuted.  It would be remiss of me not to mention that the word “debuted” makes no fucking sense.  Look at it, and say it, what the fuck is even going on there.  But put that behind you:

Thanks to Vantage Point Productions, thanks to the cool little motorized thingy that carried the camera back and forth and made us look like professionals, thank you Mike Fehlauer for the use of an authentic, real basement, as is good and proper.  Thanks to Wizards of the Coast for giving us such a cool toy to play with.  Thank you to my friends Mike KrahulikScott Kurtz, and Pat Rothfuss for sitting around the table with me.  This adventure leads up to the big game at PAX West, so make it a point to absorb its many signs and portents.

(CW)TB out.

chop an ivory tower to piano keys

Tycho / on Mon, Jun 6 2016 at 9:49 am

The sucker in this strip is actually me; I can’t go to shit like this anymore because if I see an earnest motherfucker operating a micro-cidery from inside of a haunted-ass dumpster, I’m going to buy as many reclaimed cat skulls full of cider as they have on hand.

I have been to every PAX, so I am not unfamiliar with crowds; I was at PAX 2006, at the Meydenbauer Center, when the crowds became a single organism and began to worship a ball.  It was scary, as it is whenever one is present at the genesis of a cult, but it was a kind of scary that I could tuck into my existing understanding.  Somehow, the crowds which occupy those market streets like an invading, artisinal army are distinct from the undulating ur-creature described before; the movement of the individual entities is erratic, and unknowable, to the point where I think it’s actually a scale model of some nanoscale phenomenon.

In any case.

My favorite thing is to learn something new.  This is something games provide with regularity.  Part of the reason I’m not as detailed as I could be here is that I don’t want to take that from you.  But I think I might be wrong: for one, I may value the initial electrical arc of new information differently.  For two, maybe learning it from me gives you that sensation anyway.  I wish I could give you a third thing.  That would really round this shit out.

I saw a round of a wargame called Infinity played over the weekend, and I’ve been thinking about it a lot in the interim.  The next time I get on a table, it’s most likely gonna be Warmachine Mk III, but…  God Damn.  I’m thinking about this shit right now.

I will say that it, uh, needs a lot of tokens.  Like, a lot.  I would say that it requires a comical amount of tokens.  But what kind of game does it enable?

Kiko had a unit in his Warmachine army that could interrupt your shit.  He would say “SHOT” when you were playing and it was annoying.  Generally, it’s a game where one person goes and then the other person goes, like checkers, if the checkers were wizards with axes.  The takeaway as an Infinity neophyte is that Infinity has a much more iunteresting simulation of time - actions called AROs define how opponents can react to your actions, and the ones I saw on the table were getting resolved by opposing rolls.  I shoot at you, but you don’t just sit there and get perforated while you iron a doily.  You shoot back.  Not with the full force of an action on your turn, but you respond in kind.

And depending on how that goes, you might interrupt my original shot altogether.  When I attack, I need to roll my target number or below to succeed.  But I want to roll as close to it as possible, because if I need a 16 or lower, and I roll a 12, you need to roll between those to beat me.

Maybe the numerical range of your skill doesn’t allow for a good chance at that threshold.  You might still crit, that is to say, roll your actual target number.  If I have all hits on my dice, but no crits, you beat me.

They’re like movie gunfights, setpieces; that dude with the sidearm, the dude I brought because he’s a kind of Wi-Fi sorcerer and not because he’s good with guns, maybe it’s his day.  Maybe he’s the guy when he hits that target number, and the drama plays out with such an incredible elegance.  What I love about game systems in general is how they endeavor to retain the texture of larger, gross motor systems, but small, very small.  The shape, and the resonance, is maintained.

(CW)TB out.

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