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Tycho / 2 days ago

People often talk about the “dadification” of games, which I suspect is at least partially a function of a workforce that is aging and a medium that is aging with it.  I mean aging in the sense of a casked liquor.  I don’t mean aging in demonstrable progression of decrepitude sense, but know this: the grave awaits us all.  Purely in terms of time spent there, it’s not even a contest; the tomb is the truest home of man.

Along with this dadification comes various representations of young people, which is a very tough business.  It’s not impossible to do, but it’s almost never the case that a writer is tasked with this while they have any idea what fucking kids are like from the perspective of a kid.  You forget this right away, some alteration in the structure of the brain, when you take your place on the frontlines of our perpetual, generational wars.

I have occasionally seen well-behaved children in the wild, civilized creatures, at whose feet the gutted Earth is restored.  I assume they have very firm parents.  Not that I’m not firm; I’m just firm in ways that create problems for me later, with jeremiads about unaccountable power and distrust of arbitrary authority that erode my own rhetorical position.  We have more thoughts on this topic in the strip.

The game is excellent, but the way.  We lucked out pretty hard that the dude sending out the review copies was somebody we’d known over at Atlus originally, and Gabe has been gnawing on it with great hunger and ferocity.  I would say it was hot as Hel, kinda work the Norse thing in there, but the Norse didn’t conceive of Hell as hot - they conceived of it as cold.  The joke doesn’t work at all

Cory Barlog, the Director on the new God of War, posted a video of himself checking the Metacritic for the game.  It’s like an unboxing video, but for the potential of the human spirit.

I had a sense what the video would actually be about before I started it, and ultimately time would prove it correct: it’s not personal in any way.  it’s the relief of having lead people through a very hard place and, with the number in front of him, having independently verifiable proof that their trust had not been misplaced.  He did not lead them astray.  Until he saw that, he didn’t know himself.

(CW)TB out.

Tycho / 4 days ago

AcqInc: The “C” Team Returns April 25th

I have the last four pages of Nurse Normal‘s Jonaari opus, Never Mind That for you right here.  Pages 1-6 and here, pages 7-12 are here, and pages 13-16 are below:

Very excited to get back on my shit next Wednesday.


Tycho / 4 days ago

We actually wrote this comic  before it was announced that the guided missile was being shelved indefinitely.  They have a pretty aggressive schedule over there.

I was talking to Jeff Kalles, who you might remember as Jeff No-Magic from Acquisitions Incorporated, about it yesterday.  The man is a Project Manager just, like, in his blood, and to hear him tell it managing the kind of seismic success a game like Fortnite is experiencing is an incredibly sophisticated challenge.  There’s always gonna be the “Good problem to have,” wink-nudge contingent, and certainly it can be effectively argued that wealth is superior to destitution.  No doubt a tasteful chart would help drive this point home: the bars could be made up of, like, dollar bills or something.  The one for Destitution could be very small, only a few pixels in height.

But the manic pace of the updates was always going to result in an algae bloom type scenario.  Personally, I like this mad energy.  As somebody who makes things I want to know that people who share this drive are able to transform this opportunity into a canvas where this desperate energy - and I mean that in the best possible way - has a venue of expression.  But that doesn’t mean that every idea is good for the game.  Hearing that the guided missile was on time-out made me happy because it indicated that it’s not simply raw inertia over there, even in this heady context, somebody’s still driving even if it means curating out a feature that has delivered untold viral reach.

But yes, success as disease.  Compared to their initial contemporaries, Player Unknown’s Battlegrounds was ridiculously responsive - and then they were alone, functionally without equal, on a high roost atop a spur of volcanic rock.  PUBG’s own explosive success created the preconditions for what looked like lethargy externally, particularly in the face of a ravenous young competitor.  Their response was a fair bit of time coming, but it’s begun to reflect a new dynamism from philosophical shifts in the collapsing circle to entirely new modes with respawns.  There’s enough room for both of these games and they’re making each other better every day.   

(CW)TB out.

Tycho / 6 days ago

Inspired by true events.

My Xbox Live account and at least one of my Uplay accounts are all tied to an ancient Hotmail, which I think is now just some inward lump of Outlook, slowly shriveling like a parasitic twin.  It has a folder called Junk Mail, and this folder currently “haz” forty-five mails in it, but even a cursory glance at the “mail” folder will tell you that every mail in there for the last several years is spam.  Something like a game reserve, where spam might run free.

(I used to use an Outlook plugin called “SpamBayes” back in the day that was the most effective tool I’d ever seen for managing Spam, but aside from its incredible efficacy it also called non-spam email “ham,” a designation I’m more pleased with than is probably warranted.)

I took a different plane home than everybody else from hashtag PAX East, meeting the fam and Brenna’s parents in Hawaii.  I’m not very good at Paradise; my idea of a good time is doing what I’m doing now - writing in the dark.  This is why creating people without your hangups is kind of handy.  Sometimes you do something else, something you might not have otherwise, and you bring those things with you back into the dark room.

I did briefly experience a savory new condition that was like a mixed plate of agoraphobia and claustrophobia which was so ridiculous I was eventually able to think my way out of it.  It’s like, what is this horseshit?  No, mind.  You only get one.

When I arrived, Brenna had already purchased a ukulele for Ronia.  I spent the next, like, four days playing it.  Songs just fall out of these things.  There is a hole right in the front where songs condense and then precipitate.  The only challenge, really, is deciding which of the songs you’re gonna finish.  But this is a rad problem and I’m not mad.

The main takeaway is that I finally figured out the linguistic role of the word “one” in Pidgin.  It wasn’t very hard and I don’t know why it took me so long.  In another ten years, hopefully I’ll be able to systematize the word “kine,” which is so versatile it’s less a word and something like a grammatical mortar.

(CW)TB out.

Tycho / 1 week ago

If I’m going to commit to a Wargame, it has to present itself to me as a place where stories happen.

It’s not purely a function of lore, or “fluff,” the story doesn’t have to be a literal story but so many Wargames have so much great fiction underneath them that I can’t be the only one who really wants to buy in to something like this.  What I mean is that the systems that apportion time, define units, and regulate interactions have to render these abstractions in a way that feels narrative.

Infinity is a game that’s especially good at both.  The shit they’ve got going on with the Nomads, a rootless starfaring faction whose ships are defined by their unique cultures, is just incredibly well thought out.  But the game itself manufactures little portents everywhere.  Reacting to your opponent with actions on their turn is an assumption, in addition to a dice system that is engineered to extract the most drama possible - one that lets the scrubbiest kind of motherfucking scrub murder kings, if the stars allow.  It all works to bring that galactic scale down a few desperate models.

There’s a couple things in Star Wars: Legion that I think might lend themselves to interesting moments from my look over the manual.  I might be butchering this a little, but I’m new:

Every one of your units - a fleet of speederbikes, a Sith Lord, a squad of Snowtroopers - have a token associated with the class of unit they are.  You start the Round by drawing a card, and these cards allow you to issue orders to the number of units indicated on the card along with any other function asserted by the text.  That’s not super crazy.  Here’s where it gets novel: when you issue an order, you place that unit’s token near to it.  You can choose to activate that unit when you want to.  The rest of the tokens?  For everybody else you control?  Those get placed face down and when you go to activate one of those units, there’s no guarantee you’re going to get what you wanted.  Call it Fog Of War, call it Plans Not Surviving Contact With The Enemy, but that fragility of the command structure when forces meet is modeled in there.  You can plan, but not completely.  I find that interesting.  There’s more, too; but man.  I think I’m done reading.  I think I’m ready to roll some dice.

If you’re kind of a nerd, and given what site you’re currently reading it’s not a completely ridiculous assumption, you might be the sort of person who reads rulebooks for fun.  Well, they’re all up on the site if you wanna be that motherfucker.

(CW)TB out.

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