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Fibocracy
Posted by News Fetcher on October 28 '11 at 09:45 AM
By Tycho from Penny Arcade:
Everybody is screwing around with Fitocracy at the office it seems like, or the beta of it, which Gabriel managed to wheedle an invitation for. It’s a social/gamification engine designed to incentivize physical activity. As I’ve suggested many times, I’m deeply invested in the idea that I exist discretely from “the husk.” I am often deeply uncomfortable with the ineluctable fact of my body. That will either sound crazy to you, or it will sound like something you might think yourself in the secret vaults of your own mind. Making time to move this thing around and get to know it has made consciousness far more bearable.
Fitocracy associates experience point thresholds with various exercises, that’s the game part, and being a game, the compulsion to game can be overpowering.
Speaking of ineluctable, in order to play Battlefield 3, you must pass between Scylla and Charybdis - the treacherous browser-based frontend called Battlelog. Sometimes in the electronic entertainment continuum, opinions differ. You sometimes hear that: “opinions differ.” Opinions don’t differ on Battlelog. Battlelog is universally reviled.
< article continued at Penny Arcade >

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Fibocracy
Posted by News Fetcher on October 27 '11 at 11:15 PM
From Penny Arcade:


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PAX D&D Live Video
Posted by News Fetcher on October 26 '11 at 09:30 AM
By Tycho from Penny Arcade:
We did it again! We made Dungeons and Dragons into a stage show at the last PAX, which you can see here. Many thanks to Wizards of the Coast, particularly our DM Chris Perkins, who is seen here in rare form. And also to Paul and Storm, who agreed to troubadour the event. Troubadour may not entirely be a verb.

(CW)TB

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Polygon Au Chocolat
Posted by News Fetcher on October 26 '11 at 09:30 AM
By Tycho from Penny Arcade:
What they’re doing visually in the PC version of Battlefield 3 often, often borders on ridiculous. I will sometimes just shake my head the screen, the nearly silent “oh, fuck you” tucked below Ventrilo’s voice threshold. My experience with the beta wasn’t especially positive; this wasn’t one of those “betas” which are sometimes released, with the quotation marks firmly affixed. Performance concerns and general anxiety about its stability made me wary, but I’d already preordered it. Indeed, it was my preorder that gave me access to a beta that made me uneasy about my purchase! I was caught in a chronoloop. And then, after I’d secured the real thing, it wouldn’t let me join any games ever, which made me snarl and stamp my hoof.
Ultimately, I fell back on my training.
Whatever demonic seal kept me from joining games was broken when I restarted my machine, and when I finally emerged from their browser joiny Battlelog thing, Facebook For Murderers, the game behind the deathless trailer assault, the prophecies, and years of expectations on simmer unfolded in front of me and I had to remember that breathing is a thing. I should do it.

Gabriel never took the Bad Company detour, even when I cranked the Persuador all the way up and set COAX to maximum. Underneath all the foofaraw, it was clearly a progression of the old ethos. Now, I might have liked Battlefield 2’s six-person squads, its Chain of Command stuff, and its meta elements personified in a human Commander. But I always like that stuff, and I’m apparently the only one. The series has been in a slow process of distillation, generally for the better. Collapsing the Assault and Medic classes has been fascinating, for example.
< article continued at Penny Arcade >

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Polygon Au Chocolat
Posted by News Fetcher on October 25 '11 at 11:15 PM
From Penny Arcade:


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The Menagerie
Posted by News Fetcher on October 24 '11 at 10:00 AM
By Tycho from Penny Arcade:
Gabriel has continued his descent into Skylanders-inspired madness, and he would be farther down this particular hole if he could find a store that actually had product on hand. Apparently this “physical DLC” approach is working for them: whenever he goes somewhere to purchase additional toys, the place looks like it’s been reclaimed by nature.
We were discussing the distinction between this and the Catwoman DLC that apparently has people up in arms. At least there, you’ve got a path to the entire game with a retail purchase. You put in your code, it grabs a couple hundred megs, and you’re done! With Skylanders, everything is literally on the disc; you just need an army of little totems to reveal it, one tablespoon at a time.
How fascinating is that “HD Textures Pack” for the Xbox 360 version of Battlefield 3? In 2007, when early versions of Modern Warfare had that foreboding “storage required” emblem we hoped might represent a platform coming to terms with reality, this is the kind of thing I hoped for. It didn’t happen, not yet, but I’d lo9ve for this to become a trend.

Every now and then, it’s been possible to have a local data cache: Microsoft’s own Forza 3 allowed for a megainstall of its automotive roster, an in Earth’s forgotten history the bulk of the Final Fantasy XI client lives on there. You can choose to “install” any disc on a 360, of course, but that’s not what we’re talking about here: I don’t mean identical data. I mean more data, a concession that DVD is becoming almost… quaint, like transmitting information on a necklace of inscribed coins or baking it into cakes.
< article continued at Penny Arcade >

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The Menagerie
Posted by News Fetcher on October 23 '11 at 11:15 PM
From Penny Arcade:


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Penny Arcade: The Series, Season Two DVD Preorder
Posted by News Fetcher on October 21 '11 at 11:15 AM
By Tycho from Penny Arcade:
Just like last time, everybody here will sign all the Season 2 preorders. There are several ways to get it: you can preorder the set itself, which is fresh, and looks like this.



You can also order both seasons together! You can order it with Erika’s awesome new Season One Spoilers shirt and the now-iconic PA mug if you want to (click here if you want to)!
Anyway, lots of stuff.
(CW)TB

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Priority Override
Posted by News Fetcher on October 21 '11 at 09:45 AM
By Tycho from Penny Arcade:
Batman: Arkham City exists, and roun’ these parts it’s getting play for real. We detail what I’m sure is a common problem in today’s sequential offering, as there’s like four hundred of these fucking things and they’re every-Goddamn-where. I have to say, though, that I have a very hard time flying right over this game’s plaintive cries; they’re authentically chilling, in the vein of Red Faction: Guerilla’s awful interrogation. I don’t know how they got these sounds out of a person without applying a literal pipe to those areas of the body least able to withstand it.
I want the trophy, It’s like, yeah, man. No problem. I’ll flap down there and press X a couple times, sure.

There was a great article on game-ism awhile back about who the actual “boss” of Batman: Arkham Asylum is, something they’ve elaborated on a bit in the sequel. I’m not sure you can entirely argue with it: the Riddler is the parentheses that contain the entire story. They found a way for him to be a presence, an infusion, and it works.
We played Arkham Asylum through from beginning to end, the lion’s share of it together, and if you can rig something like this up for the sequel I’ve got to recommend it. We’re up to our randomly chosen height indicator with work, all of it interesting, the kind of work a worker craves, but it’s going to keep something like that from happening this time. Somebody should do this, though! Might as well be you.
< article continued at Penny Arcade >

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Priority Override
Posted by News Fetcher on October 20 '11 at 11:15 PM
From Penny Arcade:


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Twofer
Posted by News Fetcher on October 19 '11 at 10:31 AM
By Tycho from Penny Arcade:
The “rumor” is that the protagonist of the last three Assassin’s Creed games - Ezio Auditore de Firenze - will be making an appearance in Soul Calibur V without a trip into the character creator. I only maintain this “rumor” narrative because I know all about them ‘shops, but he’s a perfect fit and it would be crazy not to have him in there. They did Link for Chrissakes, and he’s not even from our planet.
Soul Calibur IV was only just unseated by Ultimate MVC2 in the office, it was played forever, to something approaching a stalemate. We used to go to an arcade called Wonderland in Spokane to play Soul Edge, the progenitor of all this madness. Somebody bought it and changed the name, but I don’t remember what to - we called it The Cyber Java Monkey Hut because the new owner couldn’t figure out what kind of a business he wanted to own, even though he had ostensibly just purchased one. We spent so much time there that Gabriel drew one of their mascots on a lark, and when he brought it in with us one day, the owner-entity offered to let him paint it on the wall. The payment he offered for this service was that Gabriel would be allowed to paint it on the wall.
We declined.
Until the next time I see fit to discuss it, this is the last time I will discuss Review Copies. Maybe it will be the last time for reals! That would be nice.
< article continued at Penny Arcade >

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Twofer
Posted by News Fetcher on October 19 '11 at 08:15 AM
From Penny Arcade:


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Skylanders
Posted by News Fetcher on October 17 '11 at 11:30 AM
By Gabe from Penny Arcade:
I was interested in Skylanders as soon as I heard about it. I love toys and the whole concept just seemed cool to me. With that said I was still surprised by the marketing assault I found at our local Toys “R” Us or TRU as those of us who used to work there called it. I took Gabe down there who is seven now and smack dab in the middle of what I imagine their target demographic to be. When he saw the wall of Skylanders toys and accessories he actually started drooling. I took what might be the worst photo ever. Nice job auto focus.



The display has one of the “magic” Skylander portals set up with a television. You can take any of the figures off the rack and place it on the portal to get a preview of what they are like in game. It’s hard to stand in front of that display and not get excited. We ended up grabbing the game along with the Pirate Seas adventure pack and four of the single figure packs. Each of the figures was eight bucks while the Pirate Seas adventure pack was thirteen but includes a whole new level, a special power up and a new character. The prices seemed reasonable to me but that’s coming from someone who has already accepted the idea of paying for this content and trust me I understand that is a stretch.

< article continued at Penny Arcade >

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The Heresiarch
Posted by News Fetcher on October 17 '11 at 09:45 AM
By Tycho from Penny Arcade:
It’s been a while, but I have every faith that I’ll be able to manage it. Don’t call it a comeback! Call it a lethargic, days-long emergence from a waxen sac.

I have tried on more than one occasion to explain why Doctor Who is something a person would watch on purpose, and not just for the duration of the orphaned frame you might see while changing channels. He doesn’t get it. I supplied him with a curated Mega-season from Eccleston on, all easily slurpable via Netflix, but it did not penetrate the epidermis.

Part of the trouble is almost certainly that he took a detour through Torchwood. I’m not down on Torchwood in absolute terms. But it must be consumed with careful precision, like blowfish.

Even as an enthusiast, I don’t know that I entirely understand the appeal of Doctor Who. I have always suspected that I missing some vital continuum of data on account of my yanketude. There are episodes of the show which are objectively bad by any system of measurement. They sometimes (often!) change the LEAD ACTOR and all their friends so that you must to learn to like the show all over again.
< article continued at Penny Arcade >

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Please Tell Me You Know
Posted by News Fetcher on October 16 '11 at 11:15 PM
From Penny Arcade:


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Maybe Not Every Toy
Posted by News Fetcher on October 14 '11 at 10:30 AM
By Tycho from Penny Arcade:
Here is the strip.

We were at GDC for something or other a few years ago, and the same dude kept winning awards - over, and over, and over. It was approaching comical levels, and the affection from the throng increased with each distinct victory, until he very nearly broke down. He started to talk about what was possible where games and people intersect, and then light started to shoot out of him. I couldn’t believe his energy - it wasn’t pure optimism, with its hint of naivete. It was something more like… faith. He is Andy Schatz of Pocketwatch Games, and he has the floor.

OK, so Tycho asked me to write a post for him a few days ago. “When do you need it?” “Uh, how about Wednesday.” So yeah, this is what you get when you ask for my finest prose with a two day deadline. Something that sounds like Jesse Pinkman writing on your facebook wall, yo.

Anyways, you may not know me, that’s because I’m one of those indie dudes that made a game that won the IGF in 2010 THAT STILL ISN’T OUT YET (Monaco must be the hipster game of the decade: “Oh, you haven’t played Monaco yet? You must be a Skyrim fan.”)

What kind of asshole enters his game in the IGF before it’s done and then decides to delay release for 2 years?



->This kind of asshole<-


And now I’m facing the twin demons of high expectations and wrathful impatience.

< article continued at Penny Arcade >

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Maybe Not Every Toy
Posted by News Fetcher on October 13 '11 at 11:15 PM
From Penny Arcade:


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The Line
Posted by News Fetcher on October 12 '11 at 09:45 AM
By Tycho from Penny Arcade:
The strip is here. We like it. But you also might need it for… something else.

Meet Elonka Dunin. Longtime game developer at Simutronics Corp, creator of GemStone, DragonRealms, CyberStrike (“Game Of The Year!”), Facebook’s Fantasy University, and HeroEngine (which powers Bioware’s Star Wars: The Old Republic). Simutronics’ newest game just hit the App Store - Tiny Heroes, which I can easily recommend. I met Elonka at a booksigning in St. Louis, where she gave me a copy of her Mammoth Book of Secret Codes and Cryptograms. She’s a world expert on unsolved codes, such as the Kryptos sculpture at the center of CIA Headquarters; and helped author Dan Brown with code research for his latest novel, The Lost Symbol, to the point where he inserted a character in the book which is an anagram of her own name. We mail on occasion, and she’s such a specific combination of interesting skills I wanted to ask her a question: When did you know your brain worked differently from other people?


Ahem. My, er, brain? Seems to be about the same size and shape as most other humans of my demographic. I do get a lot of questions about how I got into crypto though, so here’s the best I can offer.

(Oh yeah, gotta start with this: 28-1 10-2 10-3 6-4 18-4 43-1 36-3 9-2 43-4 32-9 41-2 1-1 2-1 45-1 42-3 33-2 3-4)

< article continued at Penny Arcade >

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The Line
Posted by News Fetcher on October 12 '11 at 09:45 AM
From Penny Arcade:


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Demographic Mismatch, Part Two
Posted by News Fetcher on October 09 '11 at 11:15 PM
By Tycho from Penny Arcade:
New strip’s here. Part One of James’ PAX story is here. Part Two begins… now!

That’s why, at 2:55 PM on Saturday, August 27th, I was more nervous than I’d ever been in my whole life. With a big crowd behind us, cameras rolling, Michelle and I started a new game of Charlie Murder. I brought up the debug menu. My head was spinning. I started overthinking the process of launching the level. The intro scene played some death metal. Is the music going to keep going like this? I thought, death metal is not appropriate proposal music—oh right, it’ll stop. I made sure it stops. Just click the button! I’d done it a hundred times before; this was quite possibly the most meticulously tested sliver of gaming at PAX this year.



The camera panned over. “It’s a Murderfly,” said Michelle. Murderflies are special to us. We hatched the idea of a butterfly with a giant knife at PAX 2009 when we met, then we went on to make our own versions of what a Murderfly should look like. Mine became a boss in The Dishwasher: Vampire Smile and hers adorns the coffee mug on my desk right now. I remade both versions for Charlie Murder; they’re part of the in-game crowd that watches in-game us. There are also a bunch of characters she drew for Charlie Murder and a cameo from the heroes of Vampire Smile. I realized that I was in tears.

In-game me dropped to one knee and pulled out a ring. Real life me, thankful for the cue, dropped to a knee. We were both in tears then. I told her I was so in love with her. “Michelle, will you marry me?” I asked.

She nodded furiously, “Yes!” She was insanely beautiful.

< article continued at Penny Arcade >

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