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Tycho / 3 days ago

The story is true, unfortunately.  Unfortunately for him.  For the rest of us, we get bloomed-out, nostalgic imagery to enjoy.

We have a lot of strips that feature doctors of various kinds.  This one was five years ago, and lead to a host of startling outcomes.  His particular weak point in this context is specifically The Dentist, a context I have only positive associations with.  Brenna and I schedule them for the same time so we can go to the dentist together and then we have lunch.  It’s a whole thing.

But this was a dental visit that involved needles, needles going into your gums, and that’s not for me.  Needles are my Dentist equivalent.  I can’t even imagine that sort of thing happening in real life: I think this is what happens in The Empire Strikes Back to Han Solo after the weird robot goes in and the door closes very, very quickly.  When needles get involved, I experience something like a stretching of space and time - I feel as though there is a tiny version of me operating this massive body and it’s so big that the signals I send to control it are attenuated.  The nurse tried to steal my blood about five times and I kept reaching out involuntarily to “defend” myself.  Eventually somebody else had to come in; I laid back on the bed-thing and talked about how much I liked PAX Aus for awhile and then it was over.  It doesn’t seem to have anything to do with the act, it’s the anxious sheath that contains the whole thing.

Anyway, if you didn’t throw up all over yourself and two other people and then get a root canal while covered in vomit, maybe today went okay.

(CW)TB out.

Tycho / 4 days ago

I know intellectually that I like Splinter Cell.  I always have.  For your use, my favorite Splinter Cell games are Chaos Theory and Conviction.  But I didn’t remember being fucking insane about it, possibly because it’s been gone so long.  But I might be.  I might be cuckoo for a very particular brand of Cocoa Puffs.

I chose my handle because the man was full of incongruities, ones you have to contend with - you have to muck around in the gullies between them and fashion little bridges here and there to hold him in your mind all at once.  There’s something like that going on with this game: there’s installments I don’t really think about, it’s got installments that - depending on the platform - are completely different games.  There’s moments I think about, often, more than a decade later.

Splinter Cell reinvented stealth and then reinvented it again.  Conviction had to be remade from the ground up - but you’d be hard pressed to find an action game at Ubisoft since then that wasn’t informed in some way by the course they charted.  I thought SC at E3 was more or less a done deal after the Walmart Canada leak, the leak that brought the gamer so much, to the extent that when I saw some green lights on stage I audibly gasped.  I knew I liked it, but I don’t think I understood the actual threshold until that sharp intake of breath.  I need more and they’re the only ones legally able to give it to me.  It’s sick but this is who I am.

We spent a decent amount of time playing Paladins on the Switch Yesterday, and even though the current version loads kinda slow and previews for characters aren’t real snappy, the game itself plays…  I mean, this is Paladins.  This feels like the game I was playing the night before, at home.  I’d say go grab it, but the only version they have available right now is the pay version that comes with all the characters and you might prefer to try out the free version they’ll release later.  But my experience with it there tells me that The Switch is going to be an incredible home for this game, this genre, and this developer.

We were gonna try Fortnite on there also, the Switch I mean, but Gabe couldn’t access his Battle Pass and all his shit from the PS4 because when you link your Epic account to your PSN account it affects its portability to the Switch as a platform.  He’s not going to play and not get anything.  Unlinking it doesn’t even work.  It’s like when you make a decision early on in an RPG, like… to steal a rug or something, and then you get all the way to the end and you find out the enemy is made of rugs or some shit and he’s been pissed off the whole time.  You might have made a different choice, if you’d known, metaphorically, about the metaphorical rug.

Microsoft has every reason to be amenable to a kind of digital Shenghen Zone, they’ve taken a beating with the Xbox One and can only benefit from access to a larger competitive community.  Sony has nothing to gain, and so they’ve maintained the walled garden that before this generation was the expectation.  I knew this policy would affect matchmaking, to be sure.  But it never once occurred to me that it might affect the ability to access a third party account.

It’s not even clear who is responsible, exactly; all we know is that everybody else plays nice.  People are assigning it to Sony’s stated policies on this kind of thing, which is not unreasonable, and it’s the first time in a very long time we’ve seen Sony take a black eye on anything.

(CW)TB out.

Tycho / 1 week ago

It was like five minutes into the start of this E3 shit that we found out about Battle Royale coming to Battlefield V, but it’s like…  Battlefield’s inherent virtues mean that it has something to say here.  Powerful vehicles, classes, and destruction are going to flip this thing on its head.  For a Royale game, tech wise?  DICE started on third base.

It’s like I said about Realm Royale - this is a genre now, so, you know.  Good timing for them I guess.  It’s like when everybody had to have Capture The Flag or some shit.  I have to be honest with you - I don’t play much Call of Duty these days, a little Zombies maybe, but Blackout has me intrigued.  Ryan, Mike, and I do have an over/under for Royale announcements, but I won’t put up the bets until after the show.

It’s been running for a few weeks now, and it seems to function as intended, so I’m ready to invite everyone else into the new Club PA.

Because the old backend was simply a creature of its time, a noggin-fogged beast that was constantly forgetting people’s addresses, I tasked our Technomancer with the manufacture of a new backend.  After looking into it, he suggested that he’d be making something very similar to Patreon, the only difference being that Patreon would offer better rates for transactions.  Then it was like a rom-com, meet-cute thing, only it was between me and some transactional middleware.

There are two tiers, just like last time, and you might ask your doctor which tier is right for you.  Highlights of the lower tier are exclusive pins, a monthly comic and more art from Mike, but you might look at that list and say “Honestly, I’m more intrigued by the store coupon” and that’s fine.  Highlights of the higher tier are quarterly, exclusive roleplaying streams and merchandise drops, but again, you might say, ‘If I’m being frank with you the highlight of the upper tier is really the roleplaying podcast ‘This Old Lair’ by Jerry Holkins and Eric Benson, where I can get answers about roleplaying or worldbuilding tips for my own campaign’” and that’s also fine.  If you like what we do here, and you’d like more of it, we have created a mystical conduit with that in mind.

(CW)TB out.

Tycho / 1 week ago

One day there may be an apparatus designed to fully articulate the moment a trend becomes a genre.  Recall that shooters were called Doom Clones, for example.  Until this machine is constructed, perhaps from a sliver of replicating extraterrestrial alloy, let’s try this: a trend becomes a genre when the “clones” start getting really, really cool.

Realm Royale is another one from Hi-Rez, a company which has a knack for approaching genres as they are red-hot and finding a way to spin them.  I liked their take on Tribes, also.  Both of them.  Also: Paladins Strike just chirped on my phone, inviting me in for a game.  I might take them up on it, when I’m done here.  I don’t play Smite, but I watch Smite. When did they come to own so much of my time?

You sort of know what Realm Royale is from the jump:  it’s a battle royale game.  Like we say in the strip, it removes building and adds classes in the manner of a “hero shooter,” with some RPG frostin’ like armor going in specific slots and class abilities, all tied into the genre’s incredibly engaging loot phase. The game is so much about class interactions that they don’t even have a solo queue.  It also has the most varied, most interesting map I’ve seen in the style thus far.

Josh tried to jump in and found it jank, and I understand what he means.  This is an alpha that came out yesterday.  This is an information bundle that communicates the same kind of information as warning stripes on a venomous insect.  The game in this youthful state is like a glass frog, you can see everything right through the skin: there’s a grayed out Battle Pass menu item right when you load it up.  Every aspiration is exposed.

These ideas are already great, the game is already fun, and I’ll say the same thing I did about Fortnite before Drake played it, before it was anything but Exhibit A in a conversation about the morality of cloning a design: this game can be as big as they want it to be.  It has that in there.  Now it’s simply a question of what they’re willing to undertake.

(CW)TB out.

Tycho / 2 weeks ago

I’ve mentioned it before, but it’s pertinent so you’ll have to endure it again:

One of the dudes that worked with us making the first two On The Rain-Slick Precipice Of Darkness games told me about a hobby of his, one I’d never heard of, even though I get into some really dorky shit and I’m okay with it.  He was an Air Traffic Controller for people playing Flight Simulator.  I don’t know which portion of the Hotline Bling meme applies here: does it inherit the shame-palm, or the ecstasy?

All I know is that I can see that person from here, where I fit on the geek hierarchy; I love them, and I respect them.  I don’t gotta do what they do, but there’s no profit in denying it.  Our root structures are commingled.

I could be much, much more aggressive with how I police spam in my tycho@penny-arcade.com folder, and there was a time when I was, but now I think of that folder along the lines of a spontaneous fermentation chamber.  Just last week, somebody was trying to offer me a “hands free” sex toy so I need never stop gaming.  It provided a non-zero mirth value.  House Flipper, same thing.  I saw that in there first.  I saw a video called Bus Simulator 2018 which tantalized, for a variety of reasons.

First is the idea that it has a year attached, like fucking Madden.  I don’t know if municipal bussing changes that much year to year.  Come get a bite of this trailer:

Gabriel spent a not insignificant amount of time trying to reverse engineer the mental processes of a person who would engage in the kind of bus-worship required to recreate a photorealistic, interactive bus.  Gabriel assumed the whole thing was simply an elaborate exercise in trolling, but that’s because the trailer he’d seen was the multiplayer trailer.  I’d, uh…  Hmm.  Take a look.

I described the Millennial Rooftop Cults in the Switch ads as “aspirational,” but the fact of the matter is that I’ve literally seen people do exactly what they’re doing in those sun-dappled scenes.  This is a whole ‘nother level.  I can’t imagine a universe where somebody knows three other people who all want to drive buses, like… at the same time, but I kinda want that to be true.  I suppose it’s possible there’s something about this scene I don’t know.

(CW)TB out.




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