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Tycho / on Fri, Mar 23 2007 at 12:57 am

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Our Old Tricks

Like former ESA head Doug Lowenstein, I think that even referring to Jack Thompson empowers him, potentially even summoning him, not unlike Candyman.  But he’s appended us to his latest hijinx for some reason - that is to say he started it.  This is (as our foes will tell you!) "fabulously unwise."

Having obliterated him and donated to charity in a single profound act, we are usually content to endure his most recent eruption - confident that the "nice lady" will arrive soon, in possession of the "happy needle."  But seriously: racketeering?  That’s giving me some credit. 

We detest and confound you because you’re an asshole.  There is no greater conspiracy - or, if there is, we are not party to it.  I love the idea that we act as media hitmen for hire, I love the drama and the romance of it.  But it’s not mystical or sinister:  it’s what you might call "media physics."  You put out something we disagree with, and then (as by some natural inclination of the universe) we respond to it.  It’s still legal to disagree with you, right?  I sometimes forget which country I live in.   

Today’s strip is the latest in a long line of "word strips," which we have repeatedly been told are not welcome, the most egregious of which is probably our homily on hominy.  My favorite product of this genre is probably the one re: The Witcher.  I was able to track those down with supreme ease using Pennypacker, an extension for Firefox that lets you collaboratively index strips.  It is perhaps a billion times more robust than our own solution, which might not actually be a solution, and is perhaps an insult to the reader. 


Like many of you, I lost some portion of this week (and potentially my mind) to that Puzzle Quest demo.  I’ve made it a focus since seeing it featured in an interview at 4cr, and the gameplay works well:  fundamentally it’s Bejeweled, but the "match 3" interactions accrue mana, attack power, experience, and so forth.  You play as a character that advances according to RPG traditions, with a handful of classes that interact with the board differently.  Crafting and other activities in-game utilize the same puzzle metaphor, calling to mind the celebrated Puzzle Pirates.  The full name of the game is Puzzle Quest: Challenge of the Warlords, and not for nothing:  developed by Infinite Interactive, it can trace its lineage back to the legendary Warlords series.

  Strangely, the demo that has everyone so hooked can’t be converted into a sale - the game isn’t even announced for the PC, the platform is simply being used to promote the two official releases - one for the PSP, and one for the DS.  Unfortunately, I think the PC version has probably spoiled players with its comparatively lavish screen real estate:  screens from both portable platforms look cramped by comparison, trying to tuck in all the metadata that makes the game unique.   

(CW)TB out. 

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