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No Quarter
Posted by News Fetcher on October 12 '12 at 09:45 AM
By Tycho from Penny Arcade:
I knew Gabriel when I was an X-Com enthusiast, certainly; I’ve known him since the Earth’s crust was still warm to the touch. We hung out a lot then, but he didn’t approve of my weekly spirit journeys and, if it is even possible, he approved of my tactics games even less.

I pitched Robert a show once where I installed the ancient shit I like (with all the necessary accoutrement) and demanded that Gabriel enjoy them also. If he did so, that would be rad, but these games are the digital equivalent of cave paintings. 320x200 is not a lot of two hundreds, any way you slice it. And there’s none of the inherent woogitude that smoothed over old console games on a television. Those pixels are just there, in all their serrated glory, sawing through his optic nerve.
The new X-Com is the raw, crystalline manifestation of what I was talking about before: evocation versus invocation. I don’t want him to do what I did, I want him to feel what I felt. You don’t get there by accident, not with twenty years of attenuation. Just like Hellgate - which, similar to Horse Armor, is an unassailable rhetorical device - you can’t simply “build up” from the earlier concepts. X-Com as a series is almost an object lesson in the dangers of building up, with a steaming side-order of the dangers inherent in chasing “today’s” elusive “gamer” at every turn.
< article continued at Penny Arcade >

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No Quarter
Posted by News Fetcher on October 11 '12 at 11:15 PM
From Penny Arcade:


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Thornwatch and Cryptozoic!
Posted by News Fetcher on October 11 '12 at 11:00 AM
By Gabe from Penny Arcade:
Yesterday I had the chance to demo my Thornwatch game for some friends from Cryptozoic. In case you don’t know, these are the guys who make the World of Warcraft TCG, our Penny Arcade deck building games and are also responsible for the totally fucking amazing Lookouts comic book. Cryptozoic makes a lot of great games and I figured if I really wanted to know if Thornwatch had potential, I needed to show it to some professional game makers.

To say that I was nervous was an understatement. I ran them all through a simple encounter against some vampires. As I’ve mentioned before Thornwatch is a card based game. Each character has a deck and a hand of cards that they play their powers from. Each card in their deck is associated with a skill type. There are six types of skills in Thornwatch and each character is a combination of two usually. In the Thornwatch the skills are:

SPIRIT

You know the songs and ways of the secret Gods. You have walked alongside the invisible spirits who shape the Eyrewood and you can call upon them to help or harm. You can communicate with the denizens of the wood and sense the motives of beast and human with incredible clarity.

MIND

All your life you have been drawn to the study of books and scrolls. You have cultivated a sharp mind and you wield it like a blade. Ancient Puzzles and devious riddles unravel under your gaze. You are perceptive and mindful of your surroundings and no detail escapes your scrutiny.

STRENGTH

< article continued at Penny Arcade >

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Jambalaya
Posted by News Fetcher on October 10 '12 at 10:00 AM
By Tycho from Penny Arcade:
We were lucky enough to receive copies of Dishonored before release, but I am afraid we may not have been terribly good investments thereof; neither of us were particularly taken with it. For Gabriel, that’s it. He’s comfortable having opinions on things. Apparently every person on Earth loves the game except for the two of us, though, and that has made me incredibly curious.
I don’t doubt for a moment that this is precisely game they intended to make. Intention isn’t supposed to matter, of course: how one “feels” at any given moment is the sum total of human endeavor, a custom religion, and to deny your primacy in the universe is the Ur-Crime tantamount to suicide. There is no past, and no future, just momentary stimuli which much be responded to. But I make things too, on occasion, and so for me there are nested aesthetics here: we have craft, and we have taste. I can recognize that seawater sorbet is an interesting, intentionally elemental food without wanting to eat it. And I can see the particular coordinate of Dishonored, and appreciate its pluck and lineage, without especially wanting to go there.
The grab-bag setting really bothered my cohort; I found it charming. For Gabriel, it never got beyond pastiche. I chose Jambalaya on purpose: the difference is all in whether you like the flavor.
< article continued at Penny Arcade >

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Jambalya
Posted by News Fetcher on October 09 '12 at 11:15 PM
From Penny Arcade:


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Calling the Thornwatch
Posted by News Fetcher on October 08 '12 at 03:45 PM
By Gabe from Penny Arcade:
Working with Jerry is pretty great. I can say something like “how do people call the Thornwatch” and five minutes later he comes up with tying a wreath of thorns around a birch tree. He then cooks up a system of knots that tell the Thornwatch what the mission will be. Oh and a poem.

Twainward for burdens that no man should carry,

Bent Bow for battles you can’t fight alone,

Wagon-Wise for when the Watch must not tarry,

Crow’s Loop for travelers far from home.

It was so cool I just had to draw it. This little girl has just finished her wreath and pricked her finger on the knot.



(click for a nice big version)

I’m still working hard on Thornwatch. I have a big play test coming up Wedesday. I’ll make another post about the game after that.

-Gabe out

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The One-Oh-Furst, Part Two
Posted by News Fetcher on October 08 '12 at 10:45 AM
By Tycho from Penny Arcade:
We were trying to figure out what “thing” we would be unable to process as society marched forward, what would possess some configuration which would render it unable to be absorbed by our aging brains, in the way that “rap” or “rock & roll” once found themselves in the twilight between exile and ubiquity.
It’s difficult to tell what cultural offers will be elevated, granted Big League status; whatever it ends up being will be wholly inexplicable. By us, anyway. We won’t even have the words to contain our disapproval, and we won’t recognize it as disapproval. It will be a function of these Damn Kids and how they don’t approve of the world we made for them. I’m ready now to love my raccoon son; I’ll stroke his phantom fur while he dozes in his sleeping crate, and leave the lid on the garbage can a little loose. Not too loose, of course - I don’t want to rob him of the little victories that make life so sweet. And I need to prepare him for a world characterized by rugged, stubborn lids.
But what’s it going to be, I wonder - the real one. What will make me beg, beg, beg to have sired an aardvark? Amateur magnet surgery? Spinnerettes? Nose removal? There might be a link for that somewhere, I’m choosing not to look. If I could imagine it, I could prepare for it. I flex my imagination constantly! I make worlds while I’m waiting for my gyro to arrive. If it’s something I can’t imagine by definition, I’m appropriately terrified.

< article continued at Penny Arcade >

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The One-Oh-Furst, Part Two
Posted by News Fetcher on October 07 '12 at 11:15 PM
From Penny Arcade:


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The One-Oh-Furst, Part One
Posted by News Fetcher on October 05 '12 at 10:30 AM
By Tycho from Penny Arcade:
I am a “good boy” when it comes to the vast majority of correct opinions. Some I believe because they are right, some I make peace with because they are inevitable, and some I honestly can’t believe we’re still arguing about, but that’s what’s it’s like when you live in a world filled with evil people who will not, can not be wished away. They stay, defiantly, even when you’ve put in a firm request with natural law that they evanesce.
If my son came home from high school one day and told me tearfully, haltingly, that he was double gay, I would love him twice as much. I don’t give a shit about that. If he was a llama or something I guess don’t have a bin for that yet. It seems like if I have to put up with a notoriously ill-tempered packbeast, I should be able to get wool and milk at a minimum. At a minimum. I assume shearing and milking your son is a form of abuse, but I don’t actually know if that’s true. Do you see what I mean? This is the wild-ass motherfucking frontier. Nobody knows the answers yet. I already have a hobbit for a wife, and a “pirate princess mechanic” for a daughter. I don’t need no proto-cameloid for son besides.
In our inimitable way, we tried to imagine our polymorphic, highly granular, identity performance culture occurring in or at any time but now. You’re welcome to be insulted by it, but we actually fell in love with this man, so much so that we wrote two strips about him when we intended to write one. I know where it goes from here - think graphic novel/Hitler in a fursuit - but this may not be a real genre. Two strips is probably plenty. One strip may be too many!
Welcome to Penny Arcade.
(CW)TB out.
<a>the finest words you ever said to me</a>

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The One-Oh-Furst, Part One
Posted by News Fetcher on October 04 '12 at 11:15 PM
From Penny Arcade:


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Pac Man Meets Art History.
Posted by News Fetcher on October 03 '12 at 11:45 AM
By Gabe from Penny Arcade:
I honestly thought today’s comic would not appeal to people outside the target “people who are me” demographic. So I was pleasantly surprised to see my Twitter blow up with readers asking for larger versions of each panel.

Enjoy!

This one was supposed to be Van Gogh but I think a case could be made for Munch.



(click it for the big)

This is my Picasso or may PACasso? Sorry.



(click it for the big)

I’m most proud of this Salvador Dali one.



(click it for the big)

-Gabe out

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Pac-Men
Posted by News Fetcher on October 03 '12 at 10:15 AM
By Tycho from Penny Arcade:
Namco Bandai is shopping around different looks for a new Pac-Man game, which is interesting, until you get to their fourth new look and you freak the fuck out. That shouldn’t be real, but it is real. It’s apparently for a “casual” game. Don’t care. Gabriel flipped his shit and wanted to do nothing but render the iconic character in the manner of famous artists throughout history. His voice had a strange timbre; refusing him seemed… unwise.
The brandwidth of this yellow fucking sphere is beyond space and time. What it even more shocking, aside from its malleability, is the fact that - alongside the wholly safe, expected manifestations - they’re still wringing actual juice out of that little orb. Pac-Man Vs. was fascinating back on the GameCube, just fascinating. But when they managed to enslave broad swaths of my social circle with the barely contained madness of Pac-Man Championship Edition, you didn’t have much time to get bent out of shape about being manipulated by ancient brands or whatever. It was just… great. Again, somehow.

< article continued at Penny Arcade >

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Pac-Men
Posted by News Fetcher on October 03 '12 at 06:45 AM
From Penny Arcade:


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Gyroism
Posted by News Fetcher on October 01 '12 at 11:00 AM
By Tycho from Penny Arcade:
Looking over the FAQ for the City of Heroes shutdown reminds me of the time I found (and subsequently consumed/obsessed over/used as the template for a grim new religion) the documents which obliterated my parents’ marriage. It is an utterly, cruelly, unsentimental, unsparingly frank assessment of the things people never, ever talk about until it’s time to close the store.
Before I died so many times in rapid succession that my XP Debt functionally entombed my main, the time I spent in City of Heroes was characterized by wonder and amusement. It was Cosplay: The Videogame in a lot of ways - I’ve never seen people take their characters so seriously, and invest so much. Regular servers were the equivalent of any other game’s dedicated RP shard. The peoplewatching was unparalleled, and you were almost guaranteed a reward for looking at someone’s profile. I saw my backstory field as an opportunity to reward such Trick or Treating, and I did my best to treat liberally while keeping tricks to a minimum.
Not everybody played it, or understands “what the deal,” and since character creation is locked down they probably never will. It seemed like it couldn’t possibly be expensive to maintain it, but I’ve had it explained to me that it’s not about maintenance costs; it’s about turning that money, the people behind it, and the equipment sustaining it toward something new. That is no comfort, of course; people rarely think of their loved ones as fungible organic compounds. But, there you have it.
< article continued at Penny Arcade >

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Gyroism
Posted by News Fetcher on September 30 '12 at 11:15 PM
From Penny Arcade:


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Collaboration
Posted by News Fetcher on September 28 '12 at 10:00 AM
By Tycho from Penny Arcade:
I wasn’t at the last Thornwatch playtest. I made the mistake of relaxing for one second last Friday, one Goddamn second, and PAX finally caught up with me and laid me out. I understand that it was… a thing.
Watching a game materialize is fascinating. I’ve written games, certainly; that’s the axis I feel like I have something to contribute in. But I have avoided “design” quite on purpose. I’m an editor, at heart. If I were being uncharitable, and that’s sort of in my wheelhouse, I would say that it was an effort to avoid responsibility - cowardice, essentially. That would be fine with me. But I also don’t want to design games, and when the first barriers arise I run from the hills. I don’t have the thing underneath the thing, the mania for it. But you need somebody around to tell you when you’re off the rails, because it’s very hard to see. You need an asshole, essentially. Well, another one. An external one. This is something I’m good at.

Because he decided to set it in Lookouts, there’s a lot of lore that needs making. We need to know this stuff anyway, so it’s a lot of fun writing poems and building it out. Right now I’m just going full blast in an attempt to be useful, we’ll see if that designation ultimately applies to any of this stuff. I did make a bit for the rule of thumb people use to remember how to call the Thornwatch though, which he seemed to like. These are all knots, and yes, I know how they look:

Twainward for burdens that no man should carry,

Bent Bow for battles you can’t fight alone,

Wagon-Wise for when the Watch must not tarry,

Crow’s Loop for travelers far from home.


< article continued at Penny Arcade >

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Collaboration
Posted by News Fetcher on September 27 '12 at 11:15 PM
From Penny Arcade:


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Transfer Of Title (Preliminary)
Posted by News Fetcher on September 26 '12 at 07:30 AM
By Tycho from Penny Arcade:
I know there’s a typo in the strip; I’ll fix it when I get in. I had a super convoluted method of trying to resolve it that didn’t work, which has only compounded my anxiety. For awhile, Gabriel would leave typos in to punish me, to shame me, but that’s my secret. I’m always ashamed.

(That wasn’t real talk! We’re not real-talking. That is an Avengers reference. I have no idea what shame is; look through my archive.)

(CW)TB

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Transfer Of Title
Posted by News Fetcher on September 26 '12 at 07:30 AM
From Penny Arcade:


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PAX AUS
Posted by News Fetcher on September 25 '12 at 11:15 AM
By Gabe from Penny Arcade:
In case you missed it we announced PAX Australia at PAX Prime this year. It’s scheduled to lauch next year and we’ll be announcing all the details in the next few weeks. If you want to stay up to date on the latest happenings with PAX Down Under there are a couple places to watch.

First off you should follow the official PAX Australia Twitter Feed and second you can keep an eye on the official Facebook Page.

If you’re hungry for all the PAX Australia info you can get your hands on then I recommend this interview that Ploygon did with our own Robert Khoo.

I’ve never been to Australia before but I’ve always wanted to go. I plan on trying to stay for a few days after the show so that I can get an honest to God vacation out of the trip.

-Gabe out

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