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Third Rate
Posted by News Fetcher on June 08 '11 at 09:30 AM
By Tycho from Penny Arcade:
Seeing first-run movies - without slurping them from the Web as a succession of isolated datoids - is something that doesn’t really happens.

When we got in the day before for the Tournament, then, and there was nothing to require our grim attentions, I saw not one but two movies because God Dammit there are movies out, and I’m fi’in to watch up on some of them. I saw Bridesmaids after dinner, a movie which should and must be seen; I saw X-Men: First Class not one hour after we landed. I did not like it, but I can’t say that I didn’t enjoy it. I don’t know if I’ve laughed harder at any time this year.

That sounds churlish, and I ain’t wanna be churlin’. I’m genuinely grateful for any opportunity to feel joy, and if I happen to have found that in the sheltered place between their intentions and their execution, I’m no less obliged. There are many great individual moments, a genuinely well-drawn relationship at the core, and then a lot of “what” and occasionally some “i don’t even.”

The writing process for this strip was fraught with peril. When I suggested a character called Hindsight, Gabriel suggested that I was returning to the Hindsight Well; I’m not sure such a well exists. I also suggested a fourth hero, The Visible Man, whose "ability" is that he is incredibly easy to see. Like, really easy. He said no. It is in this way that a great house approaches dissolution.

Trying to seize the tiller on this E3 news has all the danger and excitement of wrestling a firehose to Earth. We are trying to absorb it, even as we rapidly approach saturation, and still we return. I can tell you what I think is most interesting, so far:

< article continued at Penny Arcade >

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Third Rate
Posted by News Fetcher on June 07 '11 at 11:15 PM
From Penny Arcade:


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Rein It In, Maybe
Posted by News Fetcher on June 05 '11 at 11:15 PM
By Tycho from Penny Arcade:
Seizing on the incredible density of industry folk just before E3, Jamie constructed the First Annual Child’s Play Invitational Golf Tournament. Our policy is essentially to look real hard at the kind of thing an actual charity would do, and then do that, in the same way that wearing daddy's coat makes one indistinguishable from a grown-up.

Gabriel was &ldquo;Varsity&rdquo; in Golf when we were in high school, something I always take great pains to announce, his varsitaity, even though I have no idea what it actually means to be Varsity. I know there is a Junior Varsity, and that theirs is surely a scrabbling and threadbare sort of existence, but that’s it. As for Gabriel: I saw him put the ball in the ball-hole thingy, the cup, at seventy yards once.

It’s a long ways. And the balls they use in this game are incredibly small.

No seventy yard drops yesterday, but there were ridiculous feats and the associated derring-do. Chipped-in &ldquo;birds&rdquo; and putts beyond any reasonable expectations of success were not uncommon. We did not win the tournament, but our clan showed virtue throughout. We were partnered with an elite cadre of golfomancers that I am proud to call brothers: Shieldbearer, Trap Addict, and... Ken, who never got a nickname. Not because he didn’t deserve one. He was just very... I mean, you know. He was just very Ken about everything.

< article continued at Penny Arcade >

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The New Kid!
Posted by News Fetcher on June 03 '11 at 01:15 PM
By Gabe from Penny Arcade:
If you follow my twitter than you already know the exciting news. If not, then get your ass ready for some exciting news!

Yesterday it was announced that our comic idea &ldquo;The New Kid&rdquo; has been optioned by Paramount with the intention of turning it into an animated feature length movie! I got a lot of questions yesterday via the Twitters and honestly I don’t know much more than that. Here’s what I can say:

-Tycho and I worked very closely with Gary to flesh out the world of the New Kid and develop a movie plot.

-Gary is a friend of ours and a very talented writer. This is not the first time we have trusted him with one of our babies. You might remember that he wrote an amazing Automata storyline not too long ago.

- This does not mean that you will see the New Kid in theatres next summer. Paramount has it now and they will decide if and when to make the movie. Obviously this is a HUGE deal for us and my fingers are crossed that this thing picks up steam right away but you never know. Don’t worry, I’ll keep you guys updated.

-Gabe out

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New Penny Arcade Television
Posted by News Fetcher on June 03 '11 at 10:15 AM
By Tycho from Penny Arcade:
Here is Episode One of young Fehlauer’s Bachelor Ritual. As weekends go, this one ranks pretty high.

(CW)TB

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Now With More Death
Posted by News Fetcher on June 03 '11 at 10:15 AM
By Tycho from Penny Arcade:
We were tremendous fans of the original Darksiders, and wanted a sequel very much, with the knowledge that we would never get one more or less an assumption. Absorption rates for its gleeful pop-apocalyptic gumbo varied substantially - it had a strange voice and a grab bag of &ldquo;greatest hits&rdquo; type features that were either, again, gleeful or evidence of some worrisome deficit.

Imagine our surprise, the elastic snap of our returned vigor, when we saw there was another one en route. This information was punctuated with a Game Informer cover that (like everything else Joe Mad) is essentially balls-out and fully how-ya-like-me-now. It’s fucking insane, and I authorize you to enjoy it. I’m not entirely sure it can be parodied, but that didn’t stop us from trying.

The CoD Elite thing from Wednesday put me in mind of the Rockstar Pass, which I thought was beyond fascinating and might even be genius. It’s only genius because of where it happened, though: on a box what’s fer playin’ them vidyagames. In any other context, a business model where you offered consumers a volume discount would simply be... well, it would be what happens all days.

< article continue at Penny Arcade >

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Now With More Death
Posted by News Fetcher on June 02 '11 at 11:15 PM
From Penny Arcade:


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New Shirt!
Posted by News Fetcher on June 02 '11 at 10:00 AM
By Gabe from Penny Arcade:
We have a new T-shirt available in the store. The new design has Gabe making what I like to call his &ldquo;hipster-douchebag&rdquo; face. In the comic he was talking about free-range pokemon but we’ve given you some blank spaces to flaunt your own indie cred.



I got a mail last week from Paul of Paul and Storm and he directed my attention towards a recent tweet of his.



They decided to fill in the blanks themselves implying that we stole the shirt idea from them. They even went so far as to suggest that we &ldquo;suck it.&rdquo; In his email he goes on to say:

&ldquo;Just playin' with you guys...&rdquo;

I certainly appreciate him starting some shit and I am more than happy to "play" along. However I’d like to point out that I’ve been starting shit on the Internet since before they made their first Weird Al cover band.

So your twitter was cute but here is how a pro does it:

First of all I want to thank Paul for sending me an email with a link to his twitter (I can never remember, is he the one that doesn't talk?) . I think that sort of defeats the purpose of twitter but to be fair, I would not have seen it otherwise. If you insult someone on your twitter and they don’t read it does it make a noise?

Obviously we didn’t steal the idea from Paul and Storm but that doesn’t really matter. They are upset and I think an apology is owed. So here it is: Dear Jonathan Coulton, I am very sorry for angering your pet musicians.

-Gabe out

< article continue at Penny Arcade >

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Hunted
Posted by News Fetcher on June 01 '11 at 03:15 PM
By Gabe from Penny Arcade:
Tycho and I have been playing through L.A. Noire here at the office. Initially we were both blown away by the technology and the story. After wrapping up the homicide desk and moving up to Vice I was getting a bit bored. I began to look at the game much like a real detective might look at a desk full of open cases and imagine the hours he will need to spend interviewing lying assholes. I have to say this Rockstar game kept me playing much longer than any other but eventually I got tired and gave up, just like I did with all their previous titles. It feels like I am given an incredible open world and then asked to do the same thing over and over again. Oh well, I still consider it a great game and I feel like it was worth my time and money.

The only reason I mention that is I think it might have something to do with why I like Hunted: Demon’s Forge so much. I think it’s functioning as a sort of palette cleanser. It’s a light game that goes down easy and doesn’t leave any after taste. The combat is fun, I like the way they handle loot, the magic system is well designed, and it’s occasionally very funny. Visually Hunted looks good pretty much all the time and actually looks great every once in a while. It’s got some clever puzzles and a ton of hidden areas to find and explore.

I’m playing it by myself so I can’t talk much about the co-op side of it. Tycho and I gave split screen a try here in the office and found the game too busy to really play in such a small window. I will say that even with the A.I. partner the ways the game lets you work together in combat are really fun. Having the warrior send all the enemies around him up into the air with a spell and then picking them off with the archer is a real treat. I imagine this stuff is even cooler when it’s your friend helping you out rater than a computer.

< article continue at Penny Arcade >

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Sorry About The Links
Posted by News Fetcher on June 01 '11 at 12:15 PM
By Tycho from Penny Arcade:
We've got a new backend on the way, and our current backend is jealous. It inserts backslashes in places that backslashes aren't required.

(CW)TB

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Archaeology
Posted by News Fetcher on June 01 '11 at 10:30 AM
By Tycho from Penny Arcade:
Gamestop is prepared to honor your prehistoric Duke Nukem receipts, printed (as was common at that time) upon strips of chewed papyrus. Assuming these documents have not disintegrated entirely or been shredded along with other incriminating evidence, there may still be substantial dangers involved in their recovery.

Whenever a news item arose suggesting that someone had traded in their Playstation 3 for an Xbox, it was often met with incredulity. Certainly, it seems like an overreaction. You and I probably don’t know many people for whom this response is likely, but let’s not make the classic error, where we assume that every person, everywhere is anything at all like ourselves.

There are those for whom an Xbox is merely a medium through which they experience Halo; it is, in every respect, a Halo Machine, the way a Toaster is a Hot Bread Machine. If you owned a toaster, and this device suddenly refused to make bread hot, you would throw it in the fucking garbage. You don’t want Schrodinger’s Toaster. You would get a machine that you could put bread in and know it was getting hot. And Halo is small potatoes compared to Call of Duty.

< article continue at Penny Arcade >

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Archaeology
Posted by News Fetcher on May 31 '11 at 11:15 PM
From Penny Arcade:


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Inquiring Minds
Posted by News Fetcher on May 29 '11 at 11:15 PM
By Tycho from Penny Arcade:
If I actually had stopped the car, no doubt this scenario would have come to pass. Occasionally, I make good decisions! Good might be a stretch. Latley, I’ve been making a concerted effort to go for &ldquo;somewhat less bad.&rdquo;

I asked Paul Taylor, Joint Managing Director of Mode 7 Games to tell me, well, anything he could about Frozen Synapse, their new simul-turn tactoid, which is a term I just made up. I like it, though, and I shall retain it. In any event: whither FS?

You're sitting outside a pub with one of your best friends, having a beer, celebrating the release of a game.

Finally, you've got a clear moment to yourself...that kind of time is, naturally, always when you get The Call.

An email on your phone: Tycho wants you to write about Frozen Synapse for Penny Arcade.

This happened to me.

In the midst of opposing planes of reality arcing together, I pondered, if I were to take up this impossibly wonderful challenge, whether or not I would be permitted to deploy the italics or if, like some fiercely arcane ballista, their tight-wrenched springs could not be manipulated by the enfeebled hands of men.

That's out of my system now, let's get on with it.

Frozen Synapse is really not my game: like all games, it truly belongs to its designer.

Ian Hardingham is the friend in the pub, the kind of man who can inspire others to follow him on a quest to create a monstrous seething hybrid of Laser Squad Nemesis, contract bridge and Spelunky. I think he's probably a proper, actual genius but I would definitely never tell him.

He germinates the ideas and does design and code. I write words and music, do art direction, fill in the gaps and run the business. The third member of our core team, Robin &ldquo;Bin&rdquo; Cox, does level design and testing.

< article continue at Penny Arcade >

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Simultaneous Execution
Posted by News Fetcher on May 27 '11 at 02:30 PM
By Tycho from Penny Arcade:
I was thinking about this a lot today, and if I recall correctly Laser Squid Nemesis managed combat in this way as well. That is to say, Laser Squad Nemesis did. Oh, Play By Mail. Dear, sweet Play By Mail.

(CW)TB

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A bunch of stuff
Posted by News Fetcher on May 27 '11 at 09:45 AM
By Gabe from Penny Arcade:
Our print on demand service has been busted for a couple of months now. The fix for this is coming but it is being worked into a whole new back end for our site as well as a fancy new design. So it could be a little while before you can order prints of specific comics.

In the meantime we’ve decided to offer more pre-printed packs. We are kicking things off with my three favorite comics from this year. You can get my print pack in the store right here. We’ll be adding more of these soon with favorites from Tycho and a bunch of other people from the PA crew.



I drew the poster that you get if you pre-order Assassins Creed:Revelations. You’ll need to go to a Gamestop in order to get it and from what I understand the &ldquo;supplies are limited&rdquo;. I’ve been a long time fan of the series and so getting to draw all three assassins was pretty fun.



Tycho and I are both hooked on L.A. Noire right now. I love the look of the game so much that I had to draw a little doodle of detective Phelps the other day.



If you’re looking for a new book to read I highly recommend the latest offering from Jhon Scalzi, Fuzzy Nation. It’s a super funny read that reminds me a lot more of Agent to the Stars than some of his more recent stuff.

< article continue at Penny Arcade >

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Page 234, Table 29-A
Posted by News Fetcher on May 27 '11 at 08:30 AM
By Tycho from Penny Arcade:
Sometimes, I’m proud to say it: &ldquo;This strip is a transcript of an actual conversation!&rdquo; has a kind of eureka element, a found culture vibe that makes it easily to feel as though I am living my life submerged in undiscovered art. This comic is also a transcript of a real conversation, however, which is substantially less ennobling.

I purchased a game fully one year ago that just came out yesterday. I’m kind of a sucker for buy now/get the beta offers; in fact, I may just be a sucker in general. But I’m a mark doubly so for tactical games, and Frozen Synapse is definitely that. I’m obsessed with the idea of simultaneous actions, which you’d think would make me an RTS devotee, but I still want turns: I want to deliberate. I want to stroke my chin. I want to hover my index finger tentatively over the left mouse button, remove it slowly, and then put it back.

The first (only?) simultaneous-turn combat system I can recall is from Mars Saga, whose manual describes it as &ldquo;one of the most interactive ever established on a microcomputer.&rdquo; Today, we usually think of interactivity as being a function of inputs per second. No matter their granularity or sophistication, I don’t know that we’d ever use the term &ldquo;interactive&rdquo; to describe a game where you aren’t in active, moment-to-moment control of anything.

I’ve invited one of the developers to talk about the game here in the post on Monday, and I think he’s going to do it. It’s just very strange: an indie tactics manifesto, four years in development, sustained by a kind of ambient matchmaker thingy slash replay museum? I want to know where something like this comes from, who would make it. Hopefully I’m not alone in that.

< article continue at Penny Arcade >

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Page 234, Table 29-A
Posted by News Fetcher on May 26 '11 at 11:15 PM
From Penny Arcade:


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Rift
Posted by News Fetcher on May 25 '11 at 11:00 AM
By Gabe from Penny Arcade:
A few weeks ago I decided to give Rift a try and I’ve been having a lot of fun. I’m playing it casually by myself whenever I have some free time so I’m only level 11. Rift does pretty much what you expect an MMO to do these days. It has a few tricks though that make it a unique and worth checking out.

First of all I’m really enjoying the soul system. At the beginning of the game you are asked to pick an archetype like Mage, Rogue or Warrior. Each of these choices is just the foundation for your character though. Based on your choice you get access to a bunch of different &ldquo;Souls&rdquo; each with their own skills and powers. You can slot any three of these souls to build your own custom class.

For example I chose Mage during character creation and then for my three souls I picked Necromancer, Dominator and Stormcaller. Each of these souls has its own skill tree full of abilities. The Necromancer soul is a pet based class that has me summoning an undead warrior to fight for me. The Stormcaller is very DPS focused with a bunch of cool direct damage spells. I tossed the Dominator in to give me some crowd control and support spells. So far it has been a great mix and a lot of fun to play.

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Witchin'
Posted by News Fetcher on May 24 '11 at 11:15 PM
By Tycho from Penny Arcade:
I installed The Witcher 2 on the PC we have in the office here so that Gabriel could see with his own eyes some of the things I’ve been telling him about. While I was home this morning teaching my daughter which berries are to be avoided, he was here playing through the game’s nominal &ldquo;tutorial,&rdquo; a sequence of retrospective vignettes that can be played in any order. When I got in, he told me that he had died twelve times at the same spot and then quit. I knew the spot he was taking about; I’d died there myself.

Forty-seven times.

He didn’t believe me when I said &ldquo;forty-seven,&rdquo; but I started counting it. It’s partly my fault. I wanted to see if something was possible, and it wasn’t! It really, really wasn’t.

I’m not sure what they were thinking with this stuff, I honestly don’t; this dogged refusal to help the player. If I had to guess, it is this way because they didn’t want to do some boring, typical tutorial sequence that insults the player and makes their titular warmaster out to be some concussed dipshit, taking part in some remedial course for monster slayers. That’s certainly something I can understand. What’s happened in the absence of a true &ldquo;booster phase,&rdquo; though, is that people who want to play the game but lack psychic ability are forcibly driven out.

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Shoes
Posted by News Fetcher on May 23 '11 at 04:00 PM
By Gabe from Penny Arcade:
If you wear shoes and you like Penny Arcade then you are the target demographic for our new product. The Penny Arcade shoe is a shoe that you can wear on your feet, but beyond that it is also a shoe that has Penny Arcade stuff on it.



If you lost your shoes or you just want some new shoes then these are the shoes for you! Trust me when I tell you that these shoes have all the features you expect in a modern shoe. From thick rubber soles to hollow space to put your foot. They even have laces that you can tie in order to secure them! I’m telling you man, these shoes have it all!

If you want to buy these shoes you can. You can buy them in whatever size fits your feet. Head over to the Tweak website now and take a look.

-Gabe out

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