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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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News - Just Cuz 3
Posted by News Fetcher on December 04 '15 at 10:00 AM
By Gabe from Penny Arcade:
I’m having a blast with Just Cause 3. It’s a sandbox game with a heavy emphasis on the “sandbox”. Like a real sandbox, I’d say that the amount of fun you have in Just Cause will be determined by how much of your own imagination your bring to the game. You can sit in the sand and complain that there’s nothing to do, or you can make your own fun. I feel like Just Cause 3 is pretty much the same. The tools they give you like the grappling hook, the wing suit, the explosives and all the crazy vehicles are there but it’s sort of up to you to decide what you want to do with them. I’ve spent nights assaulting bases and blowing shit up. I’ve also spent nights attaching cows to cars. The physics are pretty goofy but they emphasise fun over realism which is fine with me. I say give it a try, or at least watch some streams of it because some of the shit that happens in this game is totally bonkers.

If you liked the Lookouts piece from earlier this week you can now purchase a print of it. This particular piece was based on a poem by Patrick Rothfuss and all proceeds from the print sales are going to his awesome Worldbuilders charity. You can get it here and it’s even signed!

-Gabe out

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News - Call For PAX South Enforcers!
Posted by News Fetcher on December 03 '15 at 02:30 PM
By Tycho from Penny Arcade:
One of the the things that make PAX the best show of its kind is the Enforcer corps - a elite cadre that makes the event possible. PAX South is a new show, there has only been, you know, one of them, and we need more Enforcers down there to help it while it grows. Does that sound like you? Sign up and let us know.

(CW)TB

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News - Child’s Play Strip, By Patrick Rothfuss
Posted by News Fetcher on December 02 '15 at 12:30 PM
By Tycho from Penny Arcade:
We’re working through a backlog of Child’s Play strips bought at auction, and Pat’s got dialed in first. Pat, as rendered here, is our friend Patrick Rothfuss, whose book arrived in the mail one day and I have been a fan ever since. I judged that book by its cover, The Name Of The Wind, and was well served. Pat has also undertaken many excellent turns as Viari, noted sub-employee of Acquisitions Incorporated. I think someday we’ll do something big together. For now, we’ve got this!

Pat actually knew more or less what he wanted, and it went through a couple edits, but when Gabe started drawing the middle panel he fell in love with it and only wanted to layer on more detail. The original script went like so:

Frame 1:

Tycho: What were you thinking of for your Child’s Play comic, Patrick Rothfuss?

Pat: [ Holding a couple pieces of paper] Well, I’m a big fan of Lookouts. And… I had an idea for a story, I’ve written some script….

Tycho: Oooh.

Frame 2:

They both look over the pages while Pat reads:

“Bring your best tools. Iron and fire.

Call upon your oldest lore.

You will seek what you desire.

Deep beneath the forest floor.”


Pat: You know? Something like that.

Frame 3:

Gabe: How about I draw you as a goat instead?

Pat (as a goat): Goats are cool.
—-

So, now you know.
Let’s take a second to really consider how insane the new Rainbow Six is.

< article continued at Penny Arcade >

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News - Cyber Monday, Quote Unquote
Posted by News Fetcher on November 30 '15 at 02:45 PM
By Tycho from Penny Arcade:
We launched a whole bunch of new stuff on Thursday. Pins, tees, hoodies, etc. I believe I made a decree to that effect.

But we already HAD a bunch of delicious stuff on the store. And I don’t want to you to forget about those. So… Cyber Monday!



The full First Party line, our fanciest stuff, is on sale for 30% off. It’s worth noting that this is your last chance to get the First Party notebook in its current iteration.

Also, we slowly released a full line of new mug designs this year. They’re all available now and are all 25% off.

There’s also some scarfs that are 50% off and the PAX Poster set - a travelogue, really - available for under $20.

All of these supreme deals will go away at midnight PST tonight. Hashtag Cyber Monday, etc.

(CW)TB

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News - Littler
Posted by News Fetcher on November 30 '15 at 11:30 AM
By Tycho from Penny Arcade:
He has different problems at his house than I do. It’s funny, if you let it be. It is hard to. But you can see, with your physical eyes, the moment a person learns that what they say doesn’t have to be connected with real events.
They’ll lie about any Goddamn thing. They’ll lie about things you just saw them do! They’ll lie about previous lies. They’ll lie about lying about lying. And they don’t seem to understand a hundred percent that it’s happening, either. They seem just as surprised as anyone else that language has the power to describe unreal events. They’re still grappling with the idea of permanence. For example, teeth are permanent. Well, technically, only some teeth are, but yeah. And Ronia, I know you haven’t brushed your teeth because your mouth smells like ground beef.
Like some ground-ass, motherfuckin’ beef.

My son is “on the spectrum,” and there are a bunch of letters doctors have told us to use when describing him, but one of the things that isolates him from other people is that in order to live in our society (and maybe other societies, I dunno) you have to lie 24/7 just to get by. He has a hard time figuring out some of these nuances. People lie and call it being “nice” or “diplomatic” or some other little tiara we place on the good lies. There is also a class of behaviors which are not lies exactly, but abrogations of self, though it still feels like lying. People smell gross and you can’t notice. People are wrong about, you know, Ambystoma Mexicanum sometimes and you must make peace.

< article continued at Penny Arcade >

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News - Merchandise: FINAL FORM
Posted by News Fetcher on November 27 '15 at 10:46 AM
By Tycho from Penny Arcade:
Kiko and Brian and given me this Alpha-Q level commerce communique. Let’s dig in:

Ready or not, it’s time for all of the Holiday Shopping Season messages. Let’s do one too!

We have new things for the holidays. Other things are on sale for the season. And some items are even holiday exclusives. Plus we’ve got our seasonal reward items that you earn as you buy more of our things. Here’s what we’ve got!

HOLIDAY REWARDS



-Buy $35 of things: Get this year’s Holiday Card

-Buy $65 of things: Get a Last Christmas Board Book

-Buy $100 of things: Get a Merch 3.0 Pinny Arcade Pin

WHAT’S NEW



Merch and Fleshreaper Mugs




Christmas Pin Set




Enfu Pin Set




Lookouts Graphic Novel




Push Fight




Streamer Tee


HOLIDAY EXCLUSIVE ITEMS

< article continued at Penny Arcade >

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News - Ghost World
Posted by News Fetcher on November 27 '15 at 10:32 AM
By Tycho from Penny Arcade:
In another comic strip ripped from the headlines, our Gabriel has decided to involve a neutral third party in order to mediate between himself and another, different part of himself. I would never presume to tell you things he hadn’t told you in a comic, or hadn’t authorized in some other way - not unless I had performed a calculation and determined you would be more amused than he would be angry. But I have my own problems, certainly, and I can tell you that being an introvert who is constantly, violently thrust into the public eye is perhaps not an infinitely scalable state of affairs.
At the last PAX Prime I talked with the creators of Darkest Dungeon, who were at that time in midst of one of these Two-Minutes Hate things the Internet is always getting into and that some (as we have so recently discussed) are financially incentivized to create. Something wasn’t working the way the developers had intended it to; what some players saw as an optimal strategy was seen internally as a reductive failure state, a kind of stagnation. So they had the temerity to change something in their unreleased game and became that week’s honorary Satan.

They were trying to absorb all this new data, but they wanted to know how I had managed such things. They knew that I had some experience in these matters, and yet I stood before them quite alive. Here is what I told them: that I came to believe I had died, that my enemies had killed me, and I had to invent a new person to be. I don’t know if that helped them at all. But it’s something I felt like they should know.

< article continued at Penny Arcade >

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News - Holiday Merch Preview
Posted by News Fetcher on November 25 '15 at 05:00 PM
By Tycho from Penny Arcade:
Brian is gearing up hard down in the warehouse. He asked me to post this, and I agreed, because he had the look of a deranged and dangerous animal:Tomorrow kicks off the so-called “Holiday Season.” A period of noted commerce and great savings.

Come noon on Thanksgiving, we’ll have a bunch of stuff up on our fancy new store: New pins, tees, a hoodie, new mugs, a book and even a new board game. We’ll also have a fresh batch of our coveted Double Secret Boxes and a few “Black Friday” deals that will start a day early and run through the weekend.



As is traditional, we’ve got our Holiday Reward tiers running. Here’s what you can get this year:

-Buy $35 of things: Get this year’s Holiday Card

-Buy $65 of things: Get a Last Christmas Board Book

-Buy $100 of things: Get a Merch 3.0 Pinny Arcade Pin

If you are the eager type, it is worth noting that the Holiday Rewards are already up and running, so even orders made today will qualify for seasonal recompense.

(CW)TB out.

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News - Intervention
Posted by News Fetcher on November 25 '15 at 10:34 AM
By Tycho from Penny Arcade:
I think it’s fair to say that, on certain axes, my companion has exceeded me in his affection for Fallout. Specifically, I would say his obsession with Jangles The Moon Monkey. Also, uh, his bottomless appetite for chems.
I’ve tended to avoid chems in general, if I can get away with it. Addiction as a concept is so scary to me that I don’t even entertain it in a simulation. But, in an incredible throwback, Gabriel literally peer pressured me into using virtual drugs! No word yet on whether I will soon need to use Jet twice just to get the same high.
I feel a lot of complicated ways about this game. I’m enjoying the comparing notes aspect quite a bit, which I usually only get with Bioware games; Grob has been to places and decapitated people I have never even met! That is one of the hallmarks of a broad system:
1. Anyone can be decapitated, and

2. Romance options for inanimate objects.

Until I can fuck the hinge of a kitchen mixer, we aren’t prioritizing the right things.
So, that stuff is all good. I like to ante up by vaporizing an enemy’s right arm, which tends to tamp down further aggression. But the dialogue - any dialogue, really - isn’t memorable. Not as an interactive system, and not as content. I’m used to my character build having broader, clearer ramifications in this space. This is a gruesome loss; I still remember dialogue from the older games, which were released as the primal Earth was still cooling. It’s possible I’m not playing the right quests yet, but I haven’t seen much texture to the verbal space here. There’s no room for expression in it, or novel interactions. Coming off Pillars of Eternity, where there are unique dialogue trees about what you had for lunch yesterday, I miss it.
< article continued at Penny Arcade >

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News - Fallout 4
Posted by News Fetcher on November 23 '15 at 10:00 AM
By Gabe from Penny Arcade:
Fallout 4 is the very first Fallout game I’ve ever played. I’ve talked a bit before about how these open world games tend to paralyze me. I wander around feeling like I’m missing tons of stuff. I worry that I’m missing some important thing because I went left instead of right. I used to feel like if I was not “progressing the story” I was wasting time. What I finally realized is that everytime I sit down to play, I’m progressing MY story. I stopped thinking about what the game wanted me to do and just did what I wanted to do. Now I’m having awesome adventures every night!

I also finally figured out junk. I used to be overwhelmed when I walked into a room full of stuff. My squirrel brain made me feel like I had to pick up every ashtray and manila folder. Last night things really clicked for me and I found myself behaving like an honest to God wasteland scavenger. Now I can tear through a space pushing aside newspapers and grabbing duct tape. I imagine myself weighing the tin can in my hand and then tossing it over my shoulder and reaching for the desk lamp thinking “Screws!”. Last night was also the very first time I ever picked up a piece of junk and said to myself “ooh this would look nice on that shelf in my hideout.” So that’s terrifying. Also I’m hooked on Jet.

Here’s a text message I sent to Tycho last night:



< article continued at Penny Arcade >

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News - Lifelikeness
Posted by News Fetcher on November 23 '15 at 12:15 AM
By Tycho from Penny Arcade:
I’ve never been able to get Gabriel on board for earlier Fallout games, even the first Bethesda one, and I’ve never been able to bring him along on anything contained somewhere within an Elder Scroll, so from a nuts and bolts perspective Fallout 4 was always gonna be a rough fuckin’ climb</i>.

There are some Fallout specific things in there, certainly - or things meant to honor its legacy - but there’s a lot of generally just sort of Bethesda stuff in there. So, so much that I tried to explain to him: “Bethesda” constitutes a coherent genre of which Skyrim and the new Fallouts are manifestations.
The main thing he had to do in order to settle into the game - by which I mean the subset of Fallout with which he, himself resonates - was to throw every idea about “proper” play in the garbage. Open-World Paralysis Syndrome (OWPS) is real, and when you aren’t super up on some of the basic laws of a system you can feel like you’re missing even more.

There is a kind of clock that starts for him the same time he starts a game, it has to roost in him by the end of it, and this timer is short. That’s not how I could do it, but it’s something I respect; he is always precisely himself, and I always assume I’m wrong. But! He had to say “no” to a few things just to maintain momentum. For example, by the time he was really getting into it, he hadn’t really set up much of a town. I don’t know if that is ever going to be a big part of the game for him, but if you ever want to feel like you’ve had a productive Tuesday, or whatever, clearing out five or six rusted cars and a big pile of tires can scoot a day over into the win column.
< <a href="http://penny-arcade.com/news/post/2015/11/23/lifelikeness">article continued at Penny Arcade
>

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News - Parabolic
Posted by News Fetcher on November 20 '15 at 11:00 AM
By Tycho from Penny Arcade:
Lightly paraphrased from the original.

There was a period of time, not even that long a period of time in the grand scheme, where a kind of collaborative back-scratching arrangement was in operation between publishers, the developers in their charge, and the enthusiast press. It has not been dissolved utterly, but you can tell from the increasing percentage of in-line ads for not games that something key has changed. Coupled with the fact that the real action from a promotional perspective is concentrated in a single, scruffily adorable Swede and the spine of the thing is laid bare.
For years, I could never make heads or tails of the access granted to outfits whose primary contribution is aggression either towards the creators or the users of games. One some level, the agents of multinational brands want to be “liked,” for business reasons but also for the regular human reasons, but that couldn’t have been all of it. I think it was mostly just inertia: these are big ships, and they’ve been moving in a certain way for a long time. They were like British Soldiers, lining up dutifully for war against a guerilla force.
< article continued at Penny Arcade >

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