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Tycho / 3 days ago

I guess we’ll find out to what extent this selling Minecraft stuff is real, or which parts of it are real, in the next few days.  I saw Notch at PAX once, years ago, a fact that has cemented my role as Cool Dad for eternity with my son and his fellows.  The last time I said anything to Notch was after he was dealing with the fallout from the EULA changes, to offer words of comfort from someone who has experience being Internet Satan.  I think that had to get tiring for him.  I think doing the best you can, the best that can be expected of any finite entity, and still getting fucked in the eye-hole is a hard business.

Two billion dollars, the number they’re throwing around, isn’t really money anymore.  It has a Dynastic quality.  Two billion dollars might as well be The Spice they talk about in Dune.  I would love to have that!  I know exactly what I’d do.  But it’s only partially the Product that is being purchased, only partly the growing services platform.  If you don’t hang around with Children Of A Certain Age, you might not know exactly what is being bought here.  They’re functionally purchasing a generation.  Two billion dollars starts to look like a steal.

People are worried that this means Minecraft won’t exist anywhere but the PC or the Xbox, which is reasonable I think, but everyone who would be making those kinds of decisions over there is still relatively new to their job.  They’re in a position to show that This Is A Different Microsoft than the monolithic, witless Ettin that crashed around in The Nineties and what are sometimes called The Oughts.  I think that Sun Tzu would say that True Victory means being indispensable on your competitor’s platforms.  It’s completely possible to do this right, if they want to.

(CW)TB out.

Tycho / 5 days ago

Titanfall had “hype” behind it, but I don’t think it compares to the Destiny hype.  The pitch to Activision must have been blissfully short: “We will make you a Halo MMO.”  I try to imagine the acquisitions manager opening their briefcase so fast that papers fly everywhere, and they’re trying to read them in mid-air to find the right one, and they’re swiping at them like a cat in a kind of slow motion, billion-dollar snowglobe.

The game must certainly sweep the Unlikely Helmet Awards.  Everybody’s face looks like the Jedi Training mask in Episode IV (I said Ep. 3 before because I am a mutant and a heretic).  My helmet even as a larval Guardian is already complete nonsense which could only theoretically contain a head.  And I’m a robot anyway, so when I take off the weird-ass, alien brainbox there is another equally strange shape beneath it.  Just try to imagine the surprise inside the hangar!  If you are a dork.

I played Destiny a long time ago, and I’m fairly certain I signed a document that said I could not tell you what I had played.  Let me see how I can say this.  You are not playing what I played before.  It coulda gone a lotta ways.  That’s always the case with software, obviously.  But I think they found the path.

I got it when you did, so I don’t know much more than you do and I probably know less.  Gabriel and I grabbed a few levels, gained access to the multiplayer Crucible, and generally saw a familiar face reflected as though by an odd mirror.  The thought generally was that they were attempting to swerve toward Borderlands, but I don’t think that’s it: Borderlands is a first person Diablo.  Loot sprays from slashed enemy jugulars in that legacy.  You get loot here, but the game is not about loot.  The game is about a combination of curated and algorithmic shotgun interactions with faces.  It’s a shooter first.

I haven’t engaged with the fiction at all yet, and I feel somewhat disincentivized to do so by Peter Dinklage.  Gabriel suggested that someone phoned it in for him, but I countered in the moment yesterday that phoning it in (whoever happens to have dialed) suggests that he didn’t care.  I submit that he is reading this script with active, smoldering contempt which - if nothing else - suggests an expenditure of agency.

I’ll try to keep you up to date with our progress.  We are hoping to have Onyxia on farm by Friday.

(CW)TB out.

YOU WON’T BELIEVE WHAT THIS ARTIST THINKS OF DESTINY!

I spent a good chunk of yesterday with Destiny. It’s definitely got some solid RPG hooks. The desire to go back in for one more mission is strong. Someone during my Twitch stream yesterday asked if it lived up to the hype and the honest answer is “no I don’t think so.” but to be fair what game could? I’ve been playing games a long time and I cannot remember a game with this much hype surrounding it. It is not the second coming of Christ. It’s just Halo by way of Phantasy Star Online and that’s pretty cool.

For the last three years or so I have had a policy of avoiding massive previews. It has improved my gaming experiences greatly. Going into games not knowing exactly what to expect has been a real treat. It was hard to avoid Destiny stuff just because it was everywhere but I still managed to not know about the PvP. I thought you could play Destiny single player or Co-Op and that was it. Yesterday while I was playing, I unlocked PvP and was really surprised. I had no idea it had traditional “multiplayer” in that sense. I dove in and ended up having a ton of fun. Taking my custom character with all my skills and gear into a deathmatch sort of environment was a blast. It really is similar to battlegrounds in World of Warcraft in that you are matched with players around your level and then you get to bring your custom shit to the fight. If you’re a console gamer who hasn’t played an MMO my guess is this feels pretty incredible.

Speaking of consoles I chose the PS4 to play Destiny on. I did that for a couple reasons but the biggest one was the Vita. Bungie went out of their way to include a custom control scheme for remote play on the Vita and it works great. I know a lot you are wondering why the hell I’d want to play a game like Destiny on a little tiny screen but as a Dad I have to say this is a killer feature. The fact that I can sit on the couch and play Destiny while my four year old is watching Spongebob or just playing with his cars in the living room is awesome. Normally I’d probably wait until the kids were in bed to go hard on a shooter like Destiny but with the remote play I don’t have to. This was something I loved about playing the old Call of Duty on the WiiU and it still holds true. The custom control scheme is fantastic and doing a mission in bed before I go to sleep is pretty cool.

Overall Destiny is super solid and feels very polished. I’d say The dialog from the Ghost is probably the worst part of the game. I know that’s been beaten to death since the Beta, hell they even made a shirt, but holy shit that is some terrible voice acting. Tycho suggested Peter Dinklage was phoning it in but honestly I think he had someone phone it in for him. I don’t think he could even be bothered to pick up the phone. It is especially bad when compared to Cortana and it is impossible not to be constantly comparing it to Cortana because you are essentially playing Halo. I don’t think it’s a bad thing, I mean these are the folks that created Halo and fine tuned that “feel” over the years. There’s no reason that work shouldn’t be present here. The reality is I bet there are a lot of Playstation fans who have never played a Halo game and those people are in for a fucking treat because I think Destiny is the best Halo yet.

-Gabe out

Tycho / 6 days ago

Some 3-Day PAX AUS Badges Available

We refunded a few 3-Day passes for the show, which means that they’re now available for purchase.  A few other varietals are also available.

(CW)TB  

Tycho / 1 week ago

Earlier iterations of ourselves spent a lot of time worrying about this or that webcomic or the scenesterism which was (and perhaps continues to be) whatever the fuck it is.  This sort of thing always made Robert exceedingly angry.  “I don’t care about that,” he would say.  “That’s not where it’s going.”  He said that if we ever felt like worrying about something that was actually substantial, just for a change of pace, we could worry about Rooster Teeth.  He said this like ten years ago, and if you are looking at the actual world, Robert probably had it right.

When we were told that The Internet, proper noun, was going to revolutionize media it was easy to see how that might be.  It took a physical process and, functionally speaking, turned it into what might as well be a mystical one.  We invented the oracle.  So when fleet little carnivores came in to roost in the old flesh, I sorta thought, well, there you go.  Revolution over.

Except they were only comparatively fleet.  Communication is getting progressively more mammalian with each round, and this one is down virtually to the individual.  There’s a kid on my block who came to PAX, and she was despondent that she’d come on a day when CaptainSparklez was not there.  I nodded, but I don’t actually know who that is.  She literally had to tell me about the Z at the end, just to give you an index of my profound irrelevance.  There were a ton of incredibly high profile “YouTubers” at PAX and I didn’t know them from Adam.  This is where people are investing their trust, now.

Reddit is part of that atomization, also.  People often ask me what news sites I read, and implicit in this is the idea that they’re looking to shift an allegiance.  But I don’t read sites out of allegiance, and it barely matters what they have written - and not just because most of it is insulting or aggressively stupid.  It doesn’t matter because I just strip it off the wing bone in one quick pull.  I need a button for my jacket that says “I’m Only Here For The Organic Compounds.”  I process their text like a Perl script, shucking nonsense, and then I make pixel sculptures out of them with my best friend.  My needs may be different.

Much of the content on “the big news sites” is simply reposts from Reddit, encased in their acrid saliva.  Once you realize this, you can’t really read them in the same way.

(CW)TB out.




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