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News - MAILBAG!
Posted by News Fetcher on December 31 '15 at 03:45 PM
By Gabe from Penny Arcade:
It’s been a while since I checked my Penny Arcade email address so I thought I’d dive in there and see what you all have to say!

FIRST MAIL HERE WE GO!



Hmm.

That’s probably enough Mailbag for today.

-Gabe out

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News - Our Store Has Rad New Shit
Posted by News Fetcher on December 31 '15 at 02:30 PM
By Tycho from Penny Arcade:
I’m not kidding. Three new rad things, plus Push Fight and DSBs (the latter of which might be gone by the time I hit post) are back in limited quantities. Item 1: Fukubukuro Item 2: New Year’s Pin Item 3: Video Games Sweatshirt I feel confident that Brian would like to tell you more, and he will do so, in the special Brian Quarantine Pen I have designated below. —:— Last year, we rang in the new year with our take on Fukubukuro. We printed some custom bags and filled them to overflowing with PA merch and memorabilia. Standard Fukubukuro tend to be a value play, filled with left-overs from the year that you can pick up at a discount in a blind format. And to be sure, the core of our bags hold true to this concept. I can tell you that we have you order your bags by size because we’re going to include some shirts. And some of those shirts ARE overstock. But we take the “Lucky Bags” concept to heart and anyone who purchased a bag from us last year can tell you that our shirts tend to be fun and are drawn from a lot that includes rare and out of print shirts as well. We’ll be packing in some special items; some available only in these bags and even some super rare items. The New Year’s Pin is also a New Year’s Eve Day tradition for us. It always has glitter and this year has an adorable baby. The Video Games crewneck is an obvious shirt. We were shocked to discover that a unadorned shirt that just said “Video Games” did not already exist. So we made it. Dabe customized a font that we printed nice and thick for a retro “favorite sweatshirt” kind of feel. We also put a PA tag on the hem that has a secret message just for you and the PA logo for everyone else. Finally, a couple of notes on the DSBs and Push Fight. Both are sure to move pretty quickly. I’ve set the DSB order limit to 5 instead of 12 to help ensure more people who would like to grab a few will have a chance. But we only have 400 available (we were out of boxes!). And if you want to know more about Push Fight, I think Tycho’s excellent post is a great place to start. —:— Thank you, Brian. That’s sweet. Anyway, for real, though. Dabe’s Video Games sweatshirt thing is rad and it was too funny not to try and print a few. They’re really, really nice. If you got a gift card for Christmas, time to dig that mothertrucker out. (CW)TB

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News - My Favorite Games of 2015
Posted by News Fetcher on December 30 '15 at 04:15 PM
By Gabe from Penny Arcade:
I have no idea what Tycho is talking about but I think we agree. If you asked me why I thought Undertale was stupid I’d just tell you it looked like shit and made no fucking sense. It is the videogame equivalent of the nonsense symbols crazy people draw on their walls with shit. Maybe you super like it? That probably just means you’re cooler than me. Luckily there’s tons of other rad games to play.

I’m not a professional games journalist so I can’t say for sure that these are the “BEST GAMES OF 2015” with the same sort of moral authority that they can. These are just the games I had the most fun playing this year in no particular order:

Monster Hunter 4

This was the very first MH game I got into. I finally figured out how all the armor and weapon crafting work and that was the key for me. I really loved hunting monsters for all the teeth and bones I needed to craft my next hat or whatever.

The Order 1886

Reviewers shit on this game but I loved it. It’s absolutely fucking stunning and a damn fun shooter. I liked the story I liked the characters and thought it was just the right length. Not every game has to give you 80 hours of gameplay to be worth $50.

Ori and the Blind Forest

Another beautiful game that also happens to be a fantastic platformer. It eventually gets hard as hell but remains charming and surprisingly moving throughout.

Bloodborne

This isn’t my sort of game but for some reason I pushed through the insane learning curve and got pretty good at it. It’s a punishing experience full of frustrating moments but the feeling you get when you finally beat a boss makes up for all of it.

Armello

Can you tell I like pretty games with amazing art? Armello is a smart and fun digital board game.

Mad Max

You can shoot a harpoon from your car into another car impaling the driver and then yank him out and drag him around the wasteland.

Tearaway Unfolded

< article continued at Penny Arcade >

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News - Early Onset Coot Disease
Posted by News Fetcher on December 30 '15 at 11:30 AM
By Tycho from Penny Arcade:
Undertale is the New Game You Have To Like Or You Don’t Get It. These sanctified vessels are selected by an organization that is either lofty or subterranean, I haven’t decided, and one of the cool things about being old is that I don’t care. These hyper-earnest teens I got on my block are way into this stuff. I’m glad that someone is teaching them new words. But I can sense a kind of invisible maze go up when they start this conversation - they want to know if I can be trusted. If I’m like the others. They want to know if they can tell me the secret, and they will, provided I already know it. So I lied. I lied and lied and lied. There is a popular mode now I have taken to calling Double Reverse Irony, where things are real but not real but no they’re actually real, that is just one step beyond where I’m interested. My policy when the next generation “does them” is informed by 2pac’s I Ain’t Mad At Cha, and I only get mad when people transform works into litmus tests. In the case of Undertale, I can’t abstract it enough to even look at it: I can’t hold it far enough away. The thing it is dismantling is too close to me. Parody can be revelatory of weakness in the subject, but it can also reveal strength; it can reveal what’s left after the softest parts are washed away. Even when done in love, it has a caustic quality. An extended look at metals extraction probably isn’t appropriate for this paragraph, but I’m thinking about gold cyanidation and toxicity. The game is gleeful in its cannibalism of the medium, there’s blood all over its face but it’s smiling. It’s intimate with the tropes it has on display, and at this precise moment in time I’m discomfited by what it does with that familiarity. It is insufficiently reverent, and does not perform the proper obeisances. Others like it for precisely these reasons. I’m delighted by the iconoclasm intellectually and repulsed by it viscerally; if nothing else, it’s providing an intense psychological workout. (CW)TB out.

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News - All Through The House, Part Four
Posted by News Fetcher on December 28 '15 at 12:00 PM
By Tycho from Penny Arcade:
That’s a wrap for All Through The House. Like any of our other “babies” - weird story things which are not primarily about dogs eating a man’s balls or exploding dicks - this one has the occasional suitor. One of these is going to get all the way to a screen someday, and I don’t mean because we did it ourselves. I mean somebody’s gonna make one of these a “real boy,” and it could launch on the same day as a new Star Wars and I would still be pleased. Star Wars is pretty good, I’ve seen it a couple times so far; it’s got problems but you can’t talk about them without someone calling you names. And not like the regular names people call each other, names which impute nefarious action on the part of your opponent, like whether or not they fuck moms or their nuanced position on cocks. The way it works now, what you might call the New Old Fashioned Way, is that there is no position of any kind that isn’t laced up with a position on some Question Of The Age. There are character arcs in Star Wars that are truncated and inexplicable, but like a total dork I have come up with reasons for why it’s fine. This is a pretty common nerd pastime, and I’m good at it. But even expressing moments of doubt about that which has been considered sanctified - doubt, you’ll recall, being a distinctly human emotion; dogs do not doubt - creates the preconditions for exile. If this is what it means to have your culture integrated into the mainstream, I don’t care for it. It’s… Church, everything has been transformed into Church, and I hate Church. Every action must be slathered with a kind of pious frosting, a greater moral dimension, even if you’re talking about laser swords. It’s vital not necessarily to do good, but to be seen as good, which isn’t really the same thing. If this weren’t my job, I would stop doing it. (CW)TB out.

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News - All Through The House, Part Three
Posted by News Fetcher on December 25 '15 at 12:15 AM
By Tycho from Penny Arcade:
AW SHIT! It’s gettin’ kinda hectic. They closed “the pass” just before our trip over and just after, and I’m starting to wonder if we’re going to be stuck over here. In case I have left any doubt as to my position on these matters, that is not what I want. I should have strategized harder about this trip. The time I spent creating apocalyptic Spokane imagery is time I should have spent decanting boardgames into a compact form for travel. The Spokanite is a hard creature, to be sure, but they are not immune to the mournful whistle of a Mexican Train; I could have doused them with Camel Up and set them ablaze, or introduced them to one of the many manifestations of Lord Chvatil</s>, The Thousand Faced one - probably <a href="https://boardgamegeek.com/boardgame/178900/codenames">Codenames. The next time I’m summoned to this Satanic bunghole I shall endeavor to be more pragmatic. Merry Christmas, everybody. And if you customarily have a Happy Christmas, try a Merry one just to see if you like it. I’ll go with a Happy one, and next year around this time we’ll compare notes. (CW)TB out.

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News - All Through The House, Part Two
Posted by News Fetcher on December 23 '15 at 09:45 AM
By Tycho from Penny Arcade:
One of the “delights,” which I guess I don’t 100% mind but whatever, is that before I can get a newspost typed up over here I typically have to spend a half an hour or so fixing the computer I’m working on. I wouldn’t even know how to compare the machines my parents own to my own machines or computers in general. I’m not surprised that people hate computers if this is their experience with them. Just as a point of reference, when I click the mouse on my computer, shit happens. Forces are marshalled and great engines roar. On my mom’s laptop, there is a mouse attached, but it does nothing, like a vestigial tail. Her house looks like some kind of aperture widened up between our world and the Pinterest dimension, and their denizens have emerged in force to seize territory. Snowmen and reindeer upcycled from precious bottlecaps flank wine bottles also dressed as reindeer or inexplicably wearing sweaters. I was able to barricade the door to her room with some tasteful Pier One wickered spheroids and now I am waiting for the police to arrive. When we first talked about Nightlight, it describes how some fathers are shields, but others are swords! With an Exclamation Point! And then for that and the next storyline with Grace we only talk about Swords. All Through The House is about how the other side works. (CW)TB out.

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News - PAX South Tabletop Indie Showcase
Posted by News Fetcher on December 21 '15 at 05:15 PM
By Tycho from Penny Arcade:
We offer free booth space to game developers at the conventions, but it takes a little different shape depending on where you go: PAX 10 was the original “indie” showcase, at East it’s similar but focuses on mobile, and the newest show in San Antonio focuses exclusively on tabletop offerings.

And what a crop this year! Good lord. Don’t forget to check some of the official sites: a couple of these games already have Print & Play options, so you don’t even have to wait.
(CW)TB

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News - All Through The House
Posted by News Fetcher on December 20 '15 at 10:00 PM
By Tycho from Penny Arcade:
Running a total of four strips, Nightlight: All Through The House is a four strip Nightlight story about, you know. Things that permeate houses, I guess! You’ll know when you see it.

The 3DS is back in rotation hard with Pokemon Picross, which is like a Picross game where you make pictures of Pokemon which you also then collect. It would be nefarious even if it weren’t free to play.

For some reason, many of the people I talk to at a given PAX don’t seem to know about Picross. This sucks, not just because their lives haven’t been enriched by Picross, but also because I have some metaphors I’m fond of that require a working knowledge of the game. It’s supremely inconvenient to lead with a penetrating Picross themed insight and then have it just glisten there on the epidermis, wholly unabsorbed. It’s not clear to me how one of the best puzzle forms has somehow eluded universal worship. It’s like Sudoku, but fun and cool. And when you’re done, there’s a little picture, instead of a bunch of numbers. I’m sure that Robert appreciates a big pile of numbers but if I had to choose between Charmander and some numbers I’mma go with the Lizard Pokemon.
< article continued at Penny Arcade >

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News - I Am Not Your Father
Posted by News Fetcher on December 18 '15 at 01:30 PM
By Tycho from Penny Arcade:
It is really weird that there is a new Star Wars movie out! And they are just going to keep coming now. “There is another” hitting around next year around this time. I barely know what to do with this information, and even the information I do have is porous. I know that in The Force Awakens there is some kind of lightsaber person and one of the robots is round. That’s basically the state of play. It doesn’t seem like a lot to hang a movie on, but who knows.

Brenna and I attempted to catalyze a lifelong fascination with Stellar Conflict last Friday, with a preparatory viewing of what young people parsed as Episode Eye Vee, and halfway through it my son was begging me to let him go upstairs and read. Obviously, I can’t be mad at him for that. But what might have seemed languorous or exotic about the pacing of the first movie just seems slow to people growing up now; even their ringtones are invigorating.
Gabriel The Younger is still resistant to the
old ways, a dynamic I tried to illuminate for his father earlier. He will no doubt endure it to please his parents, and it will have all the thrills and emotional resonance of a child interminably practicing cursive. Gabriel the Elder suggested that for kids today, their Star Wars is actually Guardians of the Galaxy, which I thought depicted an interesting phenomenon. Maybe each Generation has a “Star Wars” that isn’t necessarily “Star Wars,” though I’m sure Disney would prefer a certain level of standardization.
< article continued at Penny Arcade >

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News - I Am Not Your Father
Posted by News Fetcher on December 18 '15 at 11:15 AM
By Tycho from Penny Arcade:
It is really weird that there is a new Star Wars movie out! And they are just going to keep coming now. “There is another” hitting around next year around this time. I barely know what to do with this information, and even the information I do have is porous. I know that in The Force Awakens there is some kind of lightsaber person and one of the robots is round. That’s basically the state of play. It doesn’t seem like a lot to hang a movie on, but who knows.

Brenna and I attempted to catalyze a lifelong fascination with Stellar Conflict last Friday, with a preparatory viewing of what young people parsed as Episode Eye Vee, and halfway through it my son was begging me to let him go upstairs and read. Obviously, I can’t be mad at him for that. But what might have seemed languorous or exotic about the pacing of the first movie just seems slow to people growing up now; even their ringtones are invigorating.
Gabriel The Younger is still resistant to the
old ways, a dynamic I tried to illuminate for his father earlier. He will no doubt endure it to please his parents, and it will have all the thrills and emotional resonance of a child interminably practicing cursive. Gabriel the Elder suggested that for kids today, their Star Wars is actually Guardians of the Galaxy, which I thought depicted an interesting phenomenon. Maybe each Generation has a “Star Wars” that isn’t necessarily “Star Wars,” though I’m sure Disney would prefer a certain level of standardization.
< article continued at Penny Arcade >

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News - Post Traumatic Spokane Syndrome
Posted by News Fetcher on December 16 '15 at 12:30 PM
By Tycho from Penny Arcade:
According to The Compact struck between Brenna and I, we must venture over the frozen Devil’s Teeth every other year to the hated Spokane, a corruption of Sa Pako Chaon which in the Bureaucratic Mode of the Mid-Hell tongue means “That Place Which Is Arguably Worse Than Other Places.”

At the Perimeter of that cracked and accursed rectum, men with three-eyed, hope sniffing dogs on leashes of cold iron prowl up and down the line of cars, for the second jaw of these “dogs” - the Dream Jaw - is never satisfied. It doesn’t open so much as it unfurls. They can use it to eat the part of a child that still believes in Santa.
I think I tried to soften it last time for some reason, no doubt as the result of some surplus holiday cheer, or the cloudy, tan liquor they ferment in the heat of their own mouths. There are probably worse places, but I don’t know of them. I’m just allowing for the possibility.

It’s a complete paradox. There are a lot of really singular people there, just top drawer human stock, but the town which has accreted around them is evil. There’s something wrong with it that can’t be enunciated but is instinctively recognizable. I meet people who are from there also, and eventually escaped, and there’s a look you pass each other in that moment of realization; a second where you see their spirit flicker out.
Hey! So, we sold through the Push Fight stock we had on hand, and we have more coming, but Brian was worried that trying to do some kind of presale this close to Christmas would just be stressful for all parties. So! They’ll be going back up on New Year’s Eve if you want to come in at the end of an incredibly weird story.
(CW)TB out.

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News - @ Jerry Holkins
Posted by News Fetcher on December 16 '15 at 12:30 PM
By Gabe from Penny Arcade:
Merry Christmas.



(Big Version)

I’d prefer we not speak of this.

-Gabe out

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News - Cliff Bleszinski At PAX South
Posted by News Fetcher on December 14 '15 at 02:16 PM
By Tycho from Penny Arcade:
One index of the esteem I hold Cliff Bleszinski in is that I can spell his last name without looking it up. He has been making games of one kind or another since basically forever. And, having spent more than a decade now in one long, perpetually interesting time, we’re going to check in with him at the PAX South Storytime and see what’s going on with him these days.

I’ll see you down there.

(CW)TB

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News - Exposition
Posted by News Fetcher on December 14 '15 at 11:45 AM
By Tycho from Penny Arcade:
I mean, yeah; from a purely numerical standpoint the Child’s Play Charity Dinner And Auction was a roaring success, with just under two hundred thousand dollars raised in a night. This must be considered a joy spigot. But upon the completion of our noble labors, it occurred to Gribz that he might wring out a few more bucks from people by having me remove my coat and perform a little dance that has been called “by turns sad and terrifying” and “the Fifth Horseman of the Apocalypse.”

A long time ago, I came into the possession of a fairly nondescript white box with a sticker on it that said Push Fight. I knew that it was a dedicated effort, because there was an exclamation point at the end of Fight, surely an indicator of business at a certain threshold of seriousness.

I think the game’s substrate was made out of pressboard, oddly shaped, possibly having arrived in a prophetic vision. It was so special, though. It’s a two player game, and both light and dark in this equation have two pieces with a round ball and three pieces with cubes on top. Your turn consists of two parts - you move twice, and then push with one of the cubed pieces. once you push, you place an “anchor” atop the piece that pushed, and it becomes unpushable terrain. If you manage to push off a single opponent piece, you win. Okay, but seriously. Check out this awesome, earnest video from the creator, clearly transferred to YouTube from an ancient VHS tape:


< article continued at Penny Arcade >

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News - Validation Syndrome
Posted by News Fetcher on December 11 '15 at 11:00 AM
By Tycho from Penny Arcade:
Something I have been trying to figure out for a while is this weird inferiority complex some people who write about games seem to have about games. I’ve been thinking about it for ten years or so, and I only figured it out last night.

What made it confusing was that I was missing data. I don’t suffer under the yoke of Validation Syndrome; I am glad when people like what I do, but it is no impetus. And I certainly don’t wring my hands over a barrel fire, wondering what people who don’t know me think. I don’t particularly desire rehabilitation to a fashionable mean. That is not to say people have not tried, with occasional success, to impart this idea. I have every intention to make up for lost time.
There are people who walk on eggshells out of fear, but there is a second type of person who literally distributes eggshells for other people to walk on. Try to imagine how I feel about this second person, who is the negative space around which the exploratory, human work of creativity is allowed to take place.
This is what I would tell you, and you can take this advice or not take it. Its truth is not dependent on your willingness to believe it, so your reaction isn’t super relevant. But goes like this: you will be an observer - that is to say, not a creator - forever, until the day you find a way to stop using creative people as a proxy for your own stunted drives. You can emerge from this cocoon you’ve made, or you can die inside it, half-formed.
(CW)TB out.

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News - Scarytown
Posted by News Fetcher on December 09 '15 at 12:15 PM
By Tycho from Penny Arcade:
I realized, with some horror, that we had not covered Gabriel’s perspective on Rainbow Six, which is that it is “bad” and also “not good.” What’s more, perpetually descending into fortified lairs is not, for him, a scenario correlated with relaxation.

What’s strange for me is that I hear every one of his arguments on the topic - the shooting is not especially slick, it doesn’t really look that great - and not even disagree with them. It’s just that in the overall mix, assessed with a kind of Ludic Spectrometer, these aspects are rigorously deprioritized.

Just as I suggested in the strip, Portal is actually the touchstone for me here. Remember that Rainbow Six as a franchise didn’t even used to show you your fucking gun. Shooting here is like the period at the end of an elegantly constructed sentence; it is simply the demarcation between this and that, without any claim to its own state or properties. Apologetics, to be sure. I get like this when you show me something I haven’t seen or even considered before. I’ve been looking at this shit for a long time. That’s getting harder to do.
No, somehow these warlocks have made a kind of competitive puzzle game, a spatial one, that pretends to be about the GIGN or whatever when it’s actually about manipulating Euclidean space. It’s about physics and communication and tactics before it’s about submachine guns. This is the closest thing to a competitive IQ test I know of.
< article continued at Penny Arcade >

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News - We Need PAX South Q’s!
Posted by News Fetcher on December 08 '15 at 10:15 AM
By Tycho from Penny Arcade:
Otherwise, it’ll be the shortest Q&A ever. Here is Robert’s magical form you can fill out!

(CW)TB

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News - Internecine
Posted by News Fetcher on December 07 '15 at 11:15 AM
By Tycho from Penny Arcade:
Most of the Heroes of the Storm we played happened in the Alpha, and then the Beta, beginning when it didn’t really have anything like a unified interface. The general rule is that Blizzard doesn’t release something as a Beta unless another company would release it at retail, and I think that mostly held true here also.

Cho’gall is a new character that you already know about, I’m sure - I got in late. He’s the “one dude that two players embody simultaneously” guy. I decided that I couldn’t do HOTS and everything else I wanted to do, and judging by the last couple days I got fucked by that policy. I’m starting to think that I should instead exclusively seek out the things I’m afraid to play, because I think they will be dangerous, or because I think they may be safely avoided, like Vermintide. I think that if I institute - consciously or unconsciously - a policy that involves me playing fewer games, the moment it’s discovered I need to, you know, deinstitute it or whatever.
< article continued at Penny Arcade >

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News - Cow Attachment Syndrome
Posted by News Fetcher on December 04 '15 at 11:00 AM
By Tycho from Penny Arcade:
Just Cause 3, the game that launched a thousand streams, hasn’t really been on our radar. There is always more than one game out when a Just Cause drops, which is inconvenient, and we’ve always been playing the other ones. But God Damn. I think Gabriil has more to say, but if you were wondering what his play loop could possibly look like, here you go.
I wanted to play Rainbow Six: Siege a couple nights before I said anything more than the most general, top level things. There’s plenty to cover, though, even there.
I don’t expect the game to be a success from a financial perspective, which I think we can all agree is one of the more crucial perspectives. The last time Ubisoft did something like this was probably Splinter Cell, which is to say they made new game and called it the name of an old game. I don’t know if it Conviction “worked” as a retail artifact, by which I mean as a contributor of revenue, but I also don’t care because it was a fascinating refraction of the original ideas. Rainbow Six has many traditions, going back to the first, some of which are mirrored in a modern form here. I expect it to be divisive both for series stalwarts and newcomers, which is to say, I expect a lot of blood in the ledger. Vegas made big changes, too, but all of them within the accepted shooter milieu, and with what I still maintain is the best cover system in any game, ever.
< article continued at Penny Arcade >

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