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The Mantle
Posted by News Fetcher on April 22 '11 at 09:15 AM
By Tycho from Penny Arcade:
If you played Bulletstorm, specifically on the 360, you have probably checked out Gears of War already. I'm fairly critical of Gears precisely because I do love it, and want it to be better, so that people will see what I do. Ultimately, this will have the side effect of making me feel less crazy. It's a long-term play.

The playercount in Gears was eight, which they bumped to ten for the sequel, which means there’s no systemic tolerance for nonperformance. I’ve taken great care to surround myself with competents, and when I play games with them, they perform in the capacity they were selected for: they keen and gnash and slay. Gabriel is a threat at medium and close range. Robert governs the field. Kiko is an incredibly savvy duelist. I’ve described my role generally as a Force Multiplier, and it works.

Generally.

My rules don’t work in Gears, the ones I’ve crafted and subsequently distilled, the ones which allow me to succeed vicariously without commitment. There aren’t enough players for me to remain ballast. What this means is that I must fight, every second, against all foes, always. It reveals the extent to which I’ve chosen the role of observer even in an ostensibly interactive medium.

There are other games with low playercounts, but they generally don’t place as much weight on individual spawns: Team Deathmatch in Gears has a total of twenty lives per team, and I still feel the sensation, but the modes I tend to favor are all single spawn in the mode of Counter-Strike. Couple this with the often terrifying and punitive Cobra Kai hazing that goes on with its executions and I’m always in situations that I would prefer to avoid.

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The Mantle
Posted by News Fetcher on April 21 '11 at 11:15 PM
From Penny Arcade:


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Child's Play Golf Tournament!
Posted by News Fetcher on April 20 '11 at 10:15 AM
By Gabe from Penny Arcade:
So it&rsquo;s no secret that I am a huge golf nerd. When I was a kid I played Washington Junior golf and then ended up on the golf team in high school. Growing up, golf and art were the two things I did. I remember getting dropped off at the local golf course at six in the morning so I could play a round before school .Then on the way home, the bus would actually drop me off at the same course and I&rsquo;d just keep playing until my mom came to pick me up around dinner time. Eventually it got to the point were I wanted to start putting more time into my art and less into golf. Pretty soon golf fell off to the side and I was only playing a couple times a year. I still LOVE the game though and every year I tell myself &ldquo;this year I&rsquo;m gonna play more!&rdquo; but so far that has not happened.

This year will be different though.



Something I&rsquo;ve been pushing for a long time to get is a Child&rsquo;s Play Charity golf tournament. Well it&rsquo;s finally happening and I could not be more excited. So since I don&rsquo;t want to look like a jack ass at this thing I&rsquo;m going to try and get out and practice. I won&rsquo;t bore you non golf fans with too many details here. If you&rsquo;re interested in playing you can find all the info you need right here. We&rsquo;ve scheduled it around E3 down in LA so all you industry types who are down there anyway can catch a complimentary shuttle over to the course. If you want to come play golf with us, we&rsquo;ve got room for a little over a hundred people so I recommend signing up as soon as you can. Remember it&rsquo;s all for a good cause!

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On Kombat
Posted by News Fetcher on April 20 '11 at 10:15 AM
By Tycho from Penny Arcade:
Robert considers Mortal Kombat his "game," in the way that some might consider Empire State Of Mind their "jam." He's been busy repairing the business we are perpetually trying to destroy, so he hasn't had a chance to come in and see it. I'm not an expert, like some people; we tend to play the fighters of the mysterious East, though this is at least partially because those are the fighters which exist.

Being able to perform a Fatality (or, indeed, any -ality) was akin to Alchemy in the arcades and pizza parlors of my youth, I've never really been able to muster it; the new one lets you go right into the menu and look at the commands, with your eyes, which communicate the needed inputs to your brain, and I am still unable to do so.

After a marathon session yesterday, a friend of mine (on the PS3) and I (mounted on my brutal Fear Engine) wrapped up the co-operative portion of Portal 2. We managed to break the tutorial in about seven minutes, generating an intractable scenario that required us to start again, but whaddya do. Ultimately, we gave up on the cross-platform voice chat as well. It's one thing if you both have the same shit, and can compare notes; solving computer problems is a kind of game, and I don't mind playing it. I didn't really know where to start on this one though, and I didn't particularly want to, because Portal 2 was out and I wanted to play that instead. I made a Party on Xbox Live and we just used that, partially because it would be quick, and partly so we could incorporate yet another platform.

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On Kombat
Posted by News Fetcher on April 20 '11 at 09:00 AM
From Penny Arcade:


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Book 7 Cover!
Posted by News Fetcher on April 18 '11 at 01:30 PM
By Gabe from Penny Arcade:
I just wrapped this up.



-Gabe out

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Merch News
Posted by News Fetcher on April 18 '11 at 01:30 PM
By Gabe from Penny Arcade:


Our Keep Calm and Respawn shirt has quickly become our most popular shirt ever. We&rsquo;ve also created a series of prints based on the same idea.







You can grab them individulay via the above links, or get all three in one pack.



Also with the release of Portal 2 imminent, we&rsquo;ve knocked 5 bucks off of all our Slide Forever shirts. That's mens and ladies!

-Gabe out

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The End Times
Posted by News Fetcher on April 18 '11 at 09:45 AM
By Tycho from Penny Arcade:
The Wii2 rumors are getting pretty dense up in this piece. Microsoft proved that you can get pretty far dropping a new platform before everyone else is ready, to the extent that if you can do it, you should. We've aggregated the most far-out content from blogs, newswebs, and dotcoms, boiling out the excess moisture until all that's left is a kind of dense cake.

I'm incredibly curious about the Steam integration on the PS3 - not the particulars of it (it's Steam on the PS3) but whether or not this is something people want. People use platforms and like platforms, and they play games where they like to play them. How often do they resent the yawning gulfs between them? Is this like creating a vegan menu for lions?

I explained the functionality to Gabriel, who reclined in his customary fashion, entirely unimpressed, and quite possibly asleep. He didn't even know who he would play with on the PC should he choose to purchase the game on the PS3, when the whole point of the conversation was that he could play with me. You will either understand completely or not at all: if I can play a game on the PC, I will. This thing is a Goddamned monster, a nightmare horse always pawing its burning hooves at the dirt. It must feed! etc. Because we live in the actual universe, there are sometimes caveats:

1. My friends occasionally choose my platform for me.
2. If the Digital Rights Management is exceptionally fruity, I may opt for a console version.
3. If it's not day and date.

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The End Times
Posted by News Fetcher on April 18 '11 at 09:15 AM
From Penny Arcade:


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PAX Prime & PAX Dev
Posted by News Fetcher on April 15 '11 at 02:00 PM
By Tycho from Penny Arcade:
Registration for PAX Prime just opened, PAX is that videogame convention we do sometimes, and it tends to sell out so now is as good a time as any to register. i can remember reading somewhere that we were trying to manipulate people with this kind of language, and I can assure you it isn't the case! Every, every, every ticket gets sold before the doors even open. That also means that we need all the help we can get, so if you are interested in volunteering for the show - colloquially known as Enforcing, the application can be found here.
We're also announcing a second show, one that occurs just before the other, and is limited exclusively to developers: PAX Dev. We've been asked to set this up for awhile, by all kinds of developers for all kinds of games, who want a zone to talk exclusively about craft without a media circus atmosphere. Well, we're doing that, and we're sorry it took so long.
(CW)TB

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I Need 50 CCs Of Bubblegum Kush
Posted by News Fetcher on April 15 '11 at 09:45 AM
By Tycho from Penny Arcade:
Every time a shop closes near our office, within the space of a week it is transformed into a dispensary. Italian Soccer Bar? Dispensary. Custom Engraving? This is now a dispensary also, though you can get things engraved while-u-wait. Our state decided a long time ago that it wanted Medical Marijuana to be a thing, but they never thought much about what that would actually look like, and in the absence of a legal framework what it looks like is that every time a shop closes near our office, within the space of a week it is transformed into a dispensary.

This is the passage of time, I suppose; you become an old person without realizing it, and the world grows wooly and strange. I understand that blowjobs are now a casual greeting among young people, and you can get high without having to hang out in a weird person's living room for five hours watching Rainbow Brite.

You're always born too late.

The two things I want to talk about the most I can't, because I've signed papers to that effect, which means that the remainder of my brain is focused on something I can't have, which is Portal 2.

I've been following the ARG associated with its launch, and potentially its early launch, in the observational way I "play" most ARGs. I'm not smart enough to penetrate those puzzles, or to even recognize that a puzzle is being presented. I come in after the fact and skim off the story stuff and spend a little time in the nimbus of their cleverness, feeling more clever thereby.

The last phase, though, is Brute Force - and that is something I can do, and it is something I can ask you to help with, and we can crank open the aperture on this muhfuckin' Victory Spigot. We can make the game launch early, on PC at any rate, and that's something I think we should so.

< article continue at Penny Arcade >

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I Need 50 CCs Of Bubblegum Kush
Posted by News Fetcher on April 14 '11 at 11:15 PM
From Penny Arcade:


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A Quaint And Curious Volume
Posted by News Fetcher on April 13 '11 at 10:45 AM
By Tycho from Penny Arcade:
There is a new Kindle in town, the "Kindle With Special Offers," which I would definitely have named something else.

I might also have priced it something else, but if they'd made the thing an even hundred bucks no-one would buy any of the other ones. Advertisements roil beneath the surface of your purchased books, ready to leap the moment it's put into sleep mode or to slide in unwanted when absorbing your gothic horror.

Gabriel will occasionally surprise you, and not just with his unhinged, borderline carnivorous ability to discern human weakness. For example, I'd forgotten that he had committed the entirety of Poe's The Raven to memory, which he quothed throughout the process of writing the strip. I asked him if he'd ever read The Gold-Bug, an adventure story which is about cryptography as much as it is anything else, and he said no. I can remember reading it on the bus home in high school, and being so utterly transported by the text that I missed my stop.

It was cool, though; I didn't mind.

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A Quaint And Curious Volume
Posted by News Fetcher on April 12 '11 at 11:15 PM
From Penny Arcade:


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Spiral Knights
Posted by News Fetcher on April 11 '11 at 04:45 PM
By Tycho from Penny Arcade:
That's the game I was talking about before. I actually thought I was mentioning it too much, that's how obsessed I am with it, everywhere I look there is another Spiral Knight. I could have edited the original post to put it in, but I think it's so weird that I managed to talk around the fucking thing for three paragraphs that I kind of want to leave it. Anyway, if you were made curious, there you go.

(CW)TB

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The Wise Man's Fear
Posted by News Fetcher on April 11 '11 at 03:15 PM
By Gabe from Penny Arcade:
People have been asking me what I thought of this book for a while. Minor spoilers ahead I guess.

I loved The Name of The Wind so much that I actually bought it as a Christmas present for most of the people in my family. From the minute I finished it I was hungry for the next book in the series to come out.

I was lucky enough to get an early copy since we happen to know Patrick but even though I got the book back in March, I just finished it a few days ago. The Wise Man&rsquo;s Fear is a great book and a satisfying continuation of the story but I gotta say the pacing of it is a bit slow for my taste. The reason it took me so long to read isn&rsquo;t that the book is about a million pages long, it&rsquo;s that I read a bunch of other books while I was reading this one. I needed to take breaks but I never lost my interest and so I kept coming back to The Wise Man&rsquo;s Fear.

I love Kvothe the most when he is out slaying bandits and being rad. The few times that happens in the new book had me literally shouting out loud as I read but I could have done with a lot more. Tycho loves knowing how much money Kvothe has and likes reading pages of Sympathy theory. I want action and while all the sexing in this book was cool, that&rsquo;s not the sort of action I&rsquo;m after. I still loved it though and I&rsquo;ve been dying to draw Kvothe since the first book came out. I had intended the art to be funny but at some point I realised I was just drawing my own sexy Kvothe fan art like the shit I make fun of on DeviantArt. Sorry about that.

So while I was reading The Wise Man&rsquo;s Fear I also read a few other books:

Dreadnaught - Fun steam punk/alternate history book set during an American civil war that never ended.

< article continue at Penny Arcade >

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When Larry Met Mary
Posted by News Fetcher on April 11 '11 at 10:30 AM
By Tycho from Penny Arcade:
We called up Pat Rothfuss, who was wasting away at some kind of romance convention, to show him our new strip before it went up. It was important to us that he know it came from a place of love. Gabriel wanted to warn people about spoilers for those who have yet to read A Wise Man's Fear, or The Name Of The Wind for that matter, but I told him - correctly - that if a person hasn't read these books yet, they are villains, and we need not concern ourselves with their writhings.

I have a well-known fetish for Free To Play weirdness, and I'm always delighted when I "have to" play one to see if it's worthy of our advertising space, but I tend to jump around a lot with free games. It's similar to the policy I have for candy sampler boxes, in that I will take a bite of each one, and then throw the box away. I thought it was because I just wanted a taste, and that's not untrue, but what I really like is tasting.

I like being dropped head-first into some batshit Korean whooziwhatsit and trying to figure out why we're golfing within the burning heart of an active volcano, or to what extent a lacy fan constitutes a martial weapon. This here is another kettle of fish, though: a cooperative action game, underpinned by crafting, a weird take on "player content," and incredibly appealing art. I always wondered what Three Rings would do when the time came to make their paean to the mainstream, and I was right to. It's horrifying.

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When Larry Met Mary
Posted by News Fetcher on April 10 '11 at 11:30 PM
From Penny Arcade:


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The Opposite Of Riches
Posted by News Fetcher on April 08 '11 at 10:15 AM
By Tycho from Penny Arcade:
Gabriel just returned from something called a "Great Wolf Lodge," which sounds like a half-way house for troubled young lycanthropes. But it's not! And apparently there are many things there, things both wolven and lodgy, but the big takeaway is apparently MagiQuest which is like if they had RFID at Hogwarts.

If you want to play it correctly, and that's obviously what we should be shooting for as a free people, you can apparently run up a pretty good tab. Correctly in this case means a cloak. For starters.

Dragon Age II is firmly, deeply situated "in the bag" at this point, completion time thirty six hours or so, and the experience has been completely bizarre. As the resident Lore Hound, and indeed, for any person who knows what a Thedas is, there is a substantial quantity of aged narrative beef present. Cultural stuff barely hinted at by Origins' inclusion of Sten takes center stage, bolstered by ecstatic writing (that's ecstatic, definition 2) that has an entire alien culture as its payload.

I don't know how successful the original Dragon Age was, but given its interminable development cycle "success" as humans perceive this phenomenon may not have been possible. I don't think the climate at EA allows for that kind of build anymore, I don't think even BioWare can get away with something like that when it isn't attached to an ongoing payment structure. Something had to give, somewhere, and it's not hard to see where.

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The Opposite Of Riches
Posted by News Fetcher on April 07 '11 at 11:15 PM
From Penny Arcade:


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