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Are we running up against the namespace limitations on game titles?  “Sniper: Ghost Warrior 3” is practically fridge poetry. So, I lashed out.  And I’m sorry.

Does anyone else find it difficult to discover demos on PSN?  I’m not singling it out - I don’t think the store experience on Xbox One is much better.  You’d think that having a direct channel to users, one that allows them to harvest full retail price by leveling their datacenters at customers and firing a stream of bits at them thereby circumventing grotesque reality, would incentivize them to manufacture precision weaponry.  Maybe it’s the opposite.

  I’m asking because I couldn’t find the demo for Prey on there for a while.  The “free” category generally means Freemium, not demos.  I’m advocating for a Demo section.  They aren’t common these days, but when they do come out, make it easy.  Anyway, eventually I found it inside the main Prey item by pushing down twice, which is not something that would have occurred to me.  At the top where they have a nice thing that says “buy,” and then “buy with PS Plus,” they should put “Demo” as well.  Also, the PC is a real platform!  It’s a real place where people play games, so if there’s a demo on “all platforms” it’s like, I don’t expect it to be on graphing calculators or whatever but I would expect that to include the PC.  Alright!  Done.

Anyway, Prey is way, way fucked.  As in, I was ready to stop after a couple minutes and that never happens to me.  I played for one more minute and now it’s all I can think about.  They’re playing around with some really old school PC stuff here, which is why that’s where I want to play it.  And I’m 100% not doing this wrench melee shit against tiny opponents with an analog stick, no way.  But:

You’re going along, and it’s doing its shooter thing, what I now realize was a kind of editorial on the “shooter thing,” and then it gets interesting.  More than that, at a certain point I got too close to a bench.  Like, right up on it.  With a familiarity.  And a red lariat of text indicated that I could move the bench, if I were stronger.  That’s when I preordered it.

    (CW)TB out.

Puyo Puyo Tetris

Puyo Puyo Tetris dropped for the Switch this week and it’s fantastic. I’ve been playing it on my own, with my family, online with strangers and just today I brought it in to play with Jerry. The amount of “game” here is just bonkers. Obviously you have both Puyo Puyo and Tetris but then you’ve got a bunch of different variations on those games as well. You can also play Swap mode which has you switching back and forth between both games during a round. There’s even a mode called Fusion where you play both games at the same damn time! I ended up poking around online looking for some tips and found this incredible series of videos over on the Sega YouTube channel.

There are 11 of these videos on the site. They introduce some of the different game modes but they also tell you how to pull off trick maneuvers and killer combos. Jerry and I were watching them and were blown away by how much we DIDN’T know about Tetris and Puyo Puyo. Do you know what an “air T-Spin double” is or that it is referred to as an “albatross”? I sure as shit didn’t! We immediately fell in love with the announcer for these vids and had to find out more about him. Turns out the person giving all these tips is S2LSOFTENER and he’s got a Twitch channel you can check out where he uses this amazing arsenal of tricks to decimate his competition.

I love seeing people play a game that I think I am familiar with, at such a high level that it feels like a different game. Even if you didn’t pick up a copy of Puyo Puyo Tetris, we all know how these games work and it’s pretty cool watching them played with this level of skill.

-Gabe out

Tycho / 3 days ago

Even the demo of Puyo Puyo Tetris hit hard around here.  Gavin had a literal Millennial Rooftop Party with this shit; it’s nuts.  When Mario Kart 8 Deluxe hits on Friday it’s all gonna happen again.  A portable with a little kickstand you always have two controllers for is… look.  I’ve said it before.  But when something actually works like it does in a commercial, a technology that projects into social space, I have to make a note.

In addition to being the game behind my favorite Pinny Arcade pin of all time, What Remains of Edith Finch is a game I think about all the time even though I’ve never played it.  Whenever I sit down to the computer right now it’s hard not to play Playerunknown’s Battlegrounds, which I think might be the exact opposite of What Remains Of Edith Finch.  Even still.

I’ve gone over to see What Remains every time it was at a PAX, but there have always been people attached to the game in each instance - via the controller, or some other ethereal thread.  But I wanted to kick out a mention in the strip because of all the great memories I have regarding their game about memories, which has had an effect on me, even though I’ve only ever seen it over an engrossed person’s shoulder.  If you’re wondering where this one fits on the Tycho to Gabe scale, it’s squarely in my domain, though I feel confident he would feel compelled to offer a italicised, sotto voce appreciation of the game’s art.

    (CW)TB out.

Tycho / 5 days ago

Gabe was telling me about a terrifying event that he had witnessed on television, via a show which is ostensibly about children’s toys but is also about adult ambitions.  It was very difficult to watch.  I felt like my teeth were trying to escape my gums and crawl to safety.  We started to discuss the sorts of products we might offer in this context, which ultimately lead to the scoping, scripting, and ultimately the manufacture of this comical strip.

Broodax first “emerged” on the scene in 2007, ten years ago I guess, which is another way of saying I’m old.  There was a follow-up immediately after, and then also some kind of Jack Thompson thing.  I remember when Jack Thompson called Mike on the phone and yelled at him!  I could hear it across the room, and it wasn’t on speaker.  I remember when he contacted the police about us, and maybe the FBI, but it was a long-ass time ago.  He had an idea that there existed some kind of collusion on the part of the entire “Gaming Industry” to defame him, when the truth is just that the Internet does that sometimes.  Sometimes a lot people agree at once.  It’s like those old cartoons, where a swarm of bees becomes a giant fist and then hits a person.  It’s a process I have a familiarity with, as the fist, and also as the recipient.  Every day, we uncover the strange laws of our new social physics.

  Hey!  Last Thursday was a “very special” Episode of Acquisitions Incorporated: The “C” Team, including as it did our friend Patrick Rothfuss.  Typically he joins us as Viari, but he rolled a bit differently this time.  We had a blast.

Also, if you’d like to listen to an author go hard on what’s considered quality narrative in games, you might also enjoy the episode of Table Talk that happened right after.

(CW)TB out.

Thornwatch Art Update!

Thornwatch is in the home stretch now and the pace is picking up for me. This game needs a lot of artwork and I can’t do it all on my own. I wanted to introduce you to the other artists helping me out on this project and share some of their work with you.

Nick Trujillo

Nick is probably familiar to those of you who watched Strip Search back in the day. He’s super talented and he’s working on all the map tiles for Thornwatch. These are beautiful little paintings that show off the magic of the Eyrewood.

The rest of these artists are all working on storyboards. These are the comic book style pages that will guide you through your adventures in the Eyrewood. They help set up the story and layout all the rules you’ll need for a particular encounter. We’re still working on the text elements and layout but here’s an example.

The game will have a bunch of these storyboards and as much as I’d love to draw them all, there’s just no way. So I have a handful of other artists helping me out:

Aviv Or

Aviv is an artist that I met through Mike Selinker. She is a talented illustrator and sequential artist who has worked with Lone Shark in the past. I’m watching her work come in and really loving her take on the Eyrewood.


Garrett Hanna

Garrett is an artist whose work I discovered via the game Wildstar a few years back. His incredible illustrations were initially what drew me into that game. I’m thrilled beyond words to have him working on Thornwatch. It’s like having one of your favorite bands play your birthday party.

Ben Caldwell

Some of you might know Ben from the Automata series he did along with Gary Whitta called Blood and Oil. Ben is a comic book pro and I’ve been a fan of his work for years. The reality is that every chance to work with Ben is just an opportunity for me to learn a ton of stuff. I’m excited to see what his Eyrewood looks like.

Lar DeSouza

Given that I have known Lar since back in the San Diego Comic Con days, it’s odd that we are only just now working together. He is a fantastic cartoonist and I’ve always been jealous of his caricatures. This was another magical connection made possible by Mike Selinker who seems to know everyone and be their best friend.

Art is a huge part of game experience for me. I know that with this group we can make a beautiful game and I can’t wait for you all to see it.

-Gabe out




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