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Tycho / on Mon, May 24 2021 at 12:01 am

I haven't played Overwatch in years, I don't think; it's been two, maybe. I don't have any particular enmity for it, I'm just profligate and I comport myself in a Caligulan manner. It's never even been installed on the machine I'm typing this on because I would rather engage in 24/7 dalliances with Deckbuilter Roguelites. Gabe still plays this game with his entire family in tow, so I think he was more attuned to the announcement that even in the original Overwatch, they're moving to 5v5.

It's a pretty fundamental change, but they've made all kinds of changes essentially the whole time - that's something we call out in the strip. They used to let you stack as many of the same character as you wanted! They were hedy days. But this is the most I've thought about Overwatch in a long time, so maybe that fulfils some objective they had?

I basically spent the weekend playing Knockout City, and I consider the investment optimal. As soon as I'm done with this post I'm probably going to play another round. It's beyond excellent. It's on Game Pass, even on PC, but there's a couple scenarios on Windows where your linked accounts can paint you into a corner that require something akin to Divine Intervention in order to resolve. After I figured out how to fix it - what you might call the Metagame - I bought it anyway, just so it would materialize somewhere on the spreadsheet Electronic Arts looks at to determine if they made a good call. Because they did.

Ultimately, Knockout City is about throwing and catching - and it has done this, perfectly. It feels good to do it. And when you or an enemy catches the ball, it gains "charge," which means it goes faster, which means it's harder to catch. By the time you've dueled someone to five or six catches, it's like trying to catch the slug from an orbital railgun. So far, I've only talked about regular tosses - but I can also lob it at you to hit you behind cover, or spin and toss it around cover. In every case, the game's bedrock insistence on the physicality of the whole things holds sway: these arcs need clean approaches, but you don't need any special skill to interpret them. You just look around, and the game behaves the way you expect. I like games where, when I lose, I know why. I trust what this game is telling me when I lose and I use it to win next time.

There is a special kind of ball called a Multiball whose use is accompanied by incredible pinball sounds; essentially, it lets you throw three balls one after the other. That means you can also catch them one after the other if they're being directed at you. When you do this, you feel like fuckin' Daigo. The special balls in general just change how the game works. Because any ball can be caught, they aren't like Power Weapons in Halo or something - ways to get back on top. They just change the rhythm of the game. Like I said, you can catch any ball. But you might not want to catch a Bomb Ball. Except… you might catch it anyway, because your every instinct is tuned to that response. You want to dodge here. But not into it, like you might ordinarily, to bounce it away. You want to avoid it, because it's a bomb.

Or maybe you throw a ball that puts an enemy into a small, ball shaped cage they can't get out of. It can be real bad, especially if one of their friends then picks you up and throws you into a chasm. This is probably the biggest "fuck you" since chainsawing an opponent from behind in Gears. But it is just as likely that one of your allies picks you up and uses you as a ball - such balls knock out an opponent in one hit, where it usually takes two. Shit, for that matter, you can just roll up into a ball Samus style any time you want and your friends can use you like this. Risky, though; and getting knocked out by having your own ally thrown back at you definitely has a palpable shame to it. You can also charge your friend up by holding the throw button, and then they fly into the air and land like artillery? I can't stress this enough: the game is free to play right now, and you should play it.

Like Demeo, the fundamentals are so considered and so robust that in a world where quality and execution matters at all we'll get the chance to see them investigate the incredible work they've done here. The game is on PC, Switch, Playstation, and Xbox and it's all crossplay.

(CW)TB out.

Tycho / on Fri, May 21 2021 at 12:01 am

Pax Online East Panel Submission Ends at Midnight!

Attendees have always formed the greatest portion of the show content, and it's no different in our Online Excursions. People have been getting together with friends and colleagues more or less from the jump, and revealing what's important to them about this medium is something we're proud to offer a stage for. Because doing this kind of panel in real time can be kind of a pain, with various challenges above and beyond trying to do cool shit, we encourage pre-recording your panel - which, in my opinion, actually makes it available to more people. As someone who (in the World Before) was routinely thrust on stage, I understand entirely why being live on camera ahhhh is spooky and I invite you to make a play for one of our spots. Here is the panel submission thingy, and as firmly established in a larger font above, the deadline for submissions is this very night.


Tycho / on Fri, May 21 2021 at 12:01 am

Twitch doesn't show me Hot Tub streams. It knows that I want to see Kate doing GTA RP and itmeJP or CohhCarnage doing whatever they're doing at the time. The only reason I know that there is such a thing as a Hot Tub Stream is that people are mad about them, and then other people are mad that they're mad, and that's more or less how the Internet works now: as an aggressively monetized - and therefore increasingly puritanical - algorithmically reinforced bed of nails.

Because Gabriel did not drink as a younger person, when a younger person should, he has taken it up now and for some reason he started with rich, thick diesel fuel, with no ramp up to where some baseline tolerance might be a strength. This is how our precision tuned instruments of racing superiority leave the paddock with twenty-seven laps of fuel in them.

I know what you're thinking: "But Jerriford! Don't F1 cars leave the paddock full of fuel?" and the answer to that is yes. But that's not a rule in our league, which means we are the only ones doing it. It turns out that fuel is quite heavy! But Hong "#HongStrong" Liao was by some witchcraft - that is to say, the talent and savvy of the Pit Crew - was able to grab P4, from which the podium was plainly visible. Let's call it Victory Adjacent. But given what he was up against, it was a frankly incredible feat and I'm prepared to celebrate it. Imagine what we could accomplish with the right amount of fuel from the very beginning! Let's try and find that out today at 2pm PDT.

(CW)TB out.

Gabe / on Thu, May 20 2021 at 12:01 am

Racing in VR!

Tonight is race night and the Penny Arcade iRacing league is heading to Daytona. We’re going to try some new stuff with the stream tonight and I’m about 75% sure it will all work. First of all we’re starting the stream earlier than usual. The Pit Crew will open up at 7:10 PT tonight and anyone in the Twitch channel will be able to play Stream Racer until the "real" racing starts at 7:30. You don’t need to download anything just show up and type “!boost” in chat to give your car the goose juice! 

Once the race starts we have more surprises in store. I’ll be attempting tonight’s race in VR! I’ve upgraded my hardware and that combined with Dramamine has helped me play for much longer periods of time without getting queasy. I’m not doing the VR rollercoaster shit but I can play Demeo for three hours with no problem. I’ve done some tests with iRacing and I have not vomited. My guess is that because I am seated in my rig with a wheel, it just feels like the real world matches up better with what I’m seeing in the headset. Tonight will be the real test though in an actual race with lots of other cars on the track. Either I’ll be fine and the night will show off the power of VR or I’ll get really sick and that should be fun to watch too. 

I also don’t know how alcohol will affect me in VR. Hmmm, perhaps I should have done more testing.

After the race I will attempt to do C.S.iracing and the livery parade but I will still be in VR and I don’t know exactly how I’m going to manage that yet. 

Fuck it we’re doing it live!

The Pit Crew opens at 7:10PT with our Stream Racer pre-show! 

-Gabe out

Tycho / on Wed, May 19 2021 at 12:01 am

We left this one in the writing doc for a couple weeks so that by the time we did it, any sting from the spoiler content would be minimized. The strip also has a perspective on the Sting Itself! It's a robust document.

The only scenario under which a movie like Mortal Kombat could be released and not immediately cast into the lake of fire, and I recognize that this is unlikely bordering on the darkly surreal, is if the globe were plunged into isolated dissolution by let's say a once in a century plague that kept people indoors and made movie theatres functionally illegal.  It's bloodless - not without blood in the visual space obviously but without life, more of a definition three type deal. I've seen a couple movies like this over the past year that make me wonder if movies are okay.

Onward: Gary Whitta is bad! That's the takeaway. And playing golf against him 1v1 on Twitch at 2pm PDT is going to improve matters generally - you might even see the effects in your own life. It's not really a complete philosophy, but it's one I've found great success with. It's starting to look like Will's Wednesday schedule may have shifted permanently, so I gotta try to figure out when the best time to maintain this storied rivalry is gonna be. I'll keep you posted.

(CW)TB out.

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