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Tycho / 20 hours ago

Merchandise: FINAL FORM

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!


-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


Merch and Fleshreaper Mugs

Christmas Pin Set

Enfu Pin Set

Lookouts Graphic Novel

Push Fight

Streamer Tee


Co Op Hoodies

PAX Poster Set


This weekend only: PAX Poster Set is $19.99
Select apparel, including: Fruit Friends Hoodie - $10 off
Roll for Initiative and Hate you To Death Tees - $7 off


Tycho / 21 hours ago

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.

In case you aren’t keeping score, our species developed the ultimate form of communication.  This is a Tier 5, virtually game winning achievement.  But if you use it to do or say anything interesting, people conspire to exile, terrify, or murder you.  And that’s where I work.

(CW)TB out.

Tycho / 3 days ago

Holiday Merch Preview

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.

Tycho / 3 days ago

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.

Conceptually speaking, this paragraph was designed to suggest that Fallout couldn’t continue the way it is now.  That’s plainly nonsense, though: somehow, the angular, supreme elegance of a game I played years ago has become a summer blockbuster and has brought all the boys to the yard like so many milkshakes.  I want to say the same thing about Halo, even if I like it; I don’t know if the Old Ways, historically considered to be The Best, can carry the game into the future.  It’s just a fear of mine, it might not even be based on anything; I’m just invested in these things retaining their vigor so that I can play them the rest of my life.  That’s the age we live in now.  Except I’m clearly wrong, to the tune of over a billion combines dollars between these two games.  The game is so big in some places, and so small in others.  The more I play, the harder it is to make peace with that.

(CW)TB out.

Fallout 4

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:

After a week or so of playing, I finally feel like I “get” Fallout now and I love it. That’s not to say some of the mechanics aren’t frustrating though. I honestly had no idea how the settlement construction stuff worked until Tycho explained it to me. I still find the building system unintuitive and unnecessarily imprecise. I don’t think the game does a very good job of explaining things like hacking or item modification. I think I get it now but I can’t shake the feeling that parts of Fallout 4 are designed with the assumption that the player has a long history with the franchise. With that said I’m still enamored with the game and the world. I think Fallout 4 starts my long history with the franchise.

Also, you should check out today’s First Fifteen for the game Stand Point. I’m not just saying that because I was so good at the game either.

-Gabe out

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