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Gabe / 12 hours ago

Disney Infinity’s Marvel Toys Are Looking Great!

I just happened to see this article over on Kotaku about the new Disney Infinity Marvel toys looking “a bit rough”. Just as a counterpoint I figured I would share my experience. Fahey suggests that perhaps he got a bad batch and I think he might be right. He posts his Nova as an example of the sloppy paint jobs. Here’s a shot of mine for comparison. I think he looks awesome.

I am sure I received a very similar box to Fahey and when I cracked open all the figs I was really impressed. They certainly seem to be of similar quality to the original 1.0 figures I own and in some cases I felt like the sculpts were significantly better. The Hulk, Spiderman and Drax stick out in my head as being especially awesome looking toys.

And they really are toys in my opinion. These are not hand painted collectibles they are mass produced toy figures. This is how my four year old plays Disney Infinity.

My kids love these toys. My guess is they get played with just as much in the real world as they do in the virtual one. If you’re one of these people that buys toys and then puts them up on a display shelf that’s cool. I’m a nerd about a lot of stuff but that’s not one of my things. I think toys should be played with.

It sucks that the free toy Fahey got had a scratch on it but don’t let that worry you. These are awesome toys that you and your family are going to have a blast playing with.

-Gabe out

Tycho / 17 hours ago

I knew that once The Tracksuit had weighed in on Destiny, the conversation would get interesting.  And it has.

Much of Halo’s most savory material has been in the margins of the actual core products: books, hidden journals, and forums devoted to parsing it.  My favorite Halo story - that is to say, the best Halo story - was, technically speaking, an advertisement.  Even before the release of the original Halo, it had already passed into legend: angular, hostile communiques from some kind of Sentient established a frankly intoxicating set of parentheses around a game which was at that time about driving a jeep up a hill.  That isn’t here.  And there is a lot to talk about, regarding whether or not you can Go Home Again.  I would argue as others have that you cannot.  Creating the successor to Halo is an inconceivable undertaking, and I think it’s possible to have too much budget, and the documentary holo-film which catalogs this enterprise a decade or so hence is something I would very much like to see.  Or sense in some other way; it depends on where the technology is at then.  I’m down for smelling what happened if that’s what’s up.

The big picture and the little picture of the game aren’t really stitched together.  With Destiny, they’ve tucked a bunch of worldbuilding away on some of these unlockable cards you’re always unlocking.  They evoke with their art but it doesn’t seem to pay out; I mostly find myself scrunching up my face when I hear the condescension dripping and pooling off the voiceover track.  They broke away from Microsoft because Halo had become a prison, and they achieved escape velocity, but the expectations are always there and they can’t be outrun.  And maybe that’s not fair.  But nobody gives a shit.

What is weird - and I don’t have a USDA Choice explanation for it - is that I have a great time in there.  These things I’ve described are vital to a certain kind of player, and they scaffold long term engagement, for me.  They’re not anywhere near as important to someone like my cohort.  When I’m with him, it all reads as Pulp.  The shooting and the interface itself are very accomplished, the soil is good.  I think back to the first Assassin’s Creed, where there was a delta between what was being made and what was perceived as being made; I think about how that “failure” stands astride the world now with millions of copies sold annually.  It was strong bones, in need of flesh.

(CW)TB out.

Gabe / 17 hours ago


I have to say that despite the garbage story and the horrible voice acting I’m not having a terrible time in Destiny. In fact I like it a lot more now than when I first played it. There was a very early alpha phase that we played and it was pretty disheartening. I went back through my email and found the mail I sent to Jerry at the time. This is right after I had played Destiny for the very first time.

On Fri, Apr 25, 2014 at 11:56 AM, mike krahulik wrote:

They are fucked.

Now to be fair Bungie is obviously not fucked. I’m pretty sure the game sold a bajillion copies. There was an embargo at the time so I couldn’t talk about the game publicly but even the sanctioned previews that came out around that time had an odd tone. They are getting beat to shit in the review department right now but let’s be honest, reviews don’t really matter.

My initial impression of the game was not great but now that it’s out I find myself not hating it as much. If I can get a couple friends in there with me it’s actually not a bad way to spend an evening. I think the hard part is untangling the experience they delivered from the one their marketing promised. I am not going to “Become Legend” in Destiny but it’s fun to shoot aliens with my buddies. I think when measured against the hype Destiny feels pretty underwhelming but if you can forget about that it’s a decent game. You could argue that they have squandered the games potential but I don’t think “potential” is a limited resource. Bungie did not start with five pounds or potential, flush it all down the drain and now they have no potential left. There is still the potential to tell an incredible story in Destiny and there is no reason they can’t do that with future updates.

For my part I don’t understand why they would not reach out to an established Sci-Fi author to help them craft some of this stuff. When you have a game with a budget like Destiny why don’t you make a phone call to someone like Alastair Reynolds, John Scalzi, or Hugh Howey. This is your big new property. You’re building a brand new Sci Fi world. Get someone with a couple Hugos under their belt. I’m not even a big story guy and Destiny just feels like a big mess. Like I said though, that’s something that can get sorted out.

Today’s comic was fun for a couple reasons. First it marks a return to shitting on Bungie which has been a staple of the comic for more than a decade. Second, I actually made the Pee-Chee in real life. I thought about trying to do it all digitally in Photoshop but then decided against it. I had to go to a few different stores but finally found a place that still sold Pee-Chees, then I got some ball point pens and went to work. It was really fun going back to my school days and remembering all the shit I used to doodle on my folders. I may actually hand this folder off to Jamie for the Child’s Play auction this year. Maybe someone will want it.

-Gabe out

Tycho / 4 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 / 6 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.

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