Penny Arcade’s Forum Moderators Are Also Virulent Losers

So I’m on the Penny Arcade forums ONLY for a very specific subforum involved with running community activities that has nothing to do with Penny Arcade proper.

So I try to get in today and it says I don’t have permission. All the subforums are gone. Did I get banned? What the heck did I do? Given how universally shitty mods are, I wouldn’t have been surprised if I was banned without notice for no reason.

The actual reason? Christmas shutdown. Every subforum has been disabled for a week, with only a “Christmas hangout” forum available.

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Eurogamer puts Turn 10′s feet to the fire, brings them a mug of warm cocoa

(Editor’s note: quickly find all past and future columns from Jerry Whorebach, Senior Writer at Caltrops.com, through this tag.)

Eurogamer’s Martin Robinson interviews Turn 10′s creative director/media daddy, Dan Greenawalt

In terms of the free-to-play mechanics that are coming into it – because it came as part of a wave of Microsoft games that introduced mechanics more typically found in free-to-play games in full-price games, what’s your take on that and how do you justify their inclusion?

Dan Greenawalt: So that’s how you felt about Forza 4?

Ha ha ha! I love how Dan calls Eurogamer out on their bullshit narrative here. They want you to believe Forza 4 was perfect and Eurogamer didn’t have a bad word to say about it, then Forza 5 came out and it was different and Eurogamer noticed it was different and sounded the alarm. When the truth is, Forza 5 was about the only game you could get for your brand new Xbox One that wasn’t already available in a much better version on some other platform, so a lot of people who hadn’t played a racing game since the days when they were actually supposed to be fun got stuck trying to wring some enjoyment out of it. Needless to say, they were FUCKING APPALLED at the kind of bullshit Turn 10 has been perpetrating for years, egged on at every turn by those staunch consumer advocates at Eurogamer.

I did feel that way about Forza 4, so I’ll admit an inconsistency there, but it wasn’t pronounced as much. It’s certainly much more of an issue in Forza 5.

Dan Greenawalt: I understand that if it looks like a duck and it quacks like a duck… I know the statement. But honestly if you look at free-to-play games they usually have things called paywalls, where you’re slowly wearing something down and the only way to get around it is to pay. That’s not what we implemented in Forza 4 and that wasn’t our goal in Forza 5 either. We don’t have paywalls. We have acceleration, and that was based on feedback from players in Forza 4 – there’s a small group of players that can’t be bothered to do things and they have disposable income. They’re the sim guys in a lot of cases. They don’t want to do the career, and they don’t value those aspects, and that’s alright by me. With Forza 4 we had car tokens that range from one dollar to three dollars – the most expensive car was ten million credits in game, and it only cost three car tokens which would have been three dollars.

That felt like it was not making the car exclusive enough for those who are willing to pay. So we made car tokens equal to credits – it’s not about making more money, it was actually about saving people’s time when doing the grind.

I’m not sure how Dan reconciles the statement “we don’t have paywalls” with the fact that every Forza ever has required you to pay a monthly fee to access the multiplayer features (multiplayer features such as custom races against CPU opponents), but there’s not really any time to call him out on that one since he immediately doubles down on the bald-faced lying by claiming they decided to charge more real money to unlock pretend cars because gamers honestly felt they were getting them too cheaply before. At least, I hope to God that’s bald-faced lying. It’s probably not bald-faced lying, is it?

I remember you saying last time we spoke that this felt like the first Forza that wasn’t compromised – but do you think you could have done with another 12 months of development, and didn’t have the pressure of having to launch alongside Xbox One?

Dan Greenawalt: Not really. We’ve developed a team that’s made to have process around concept, and prototype and production and close-down in a very set cadence. It’s how we hire and how we staff, and it’s kind of how we are. In statistics there’s the idea of the inverse U – the more time you have something can get better, and the more time it takes eventually it gets worse. In game development it’s similar that way. You can’t make a triple-A game in a month – I’m being hyperbolic here – and as you take more and more months, you get more time to get the quality required, the innovation required and you have to be able to throw things away to make a triple-A game.

But – and I’ll be hyperbolic again – after, say, six years, your technology starts getting old. It starts getting outdated, and you have to rewrite it, so you’re in the state of constant rewrites. Looking at most games being developed, the two to three year basis is the sweet-spot for triple-A games. But we’ve optimised our team to do the two year product cycle. It’s hugely disruptive to add another year – you’re having to throw a lot of work away. Since we’ve made a team that’s able to make games in two years, I think another year we’d have to change our processes to make the most of that.

The version of this article that went up this morning had “inverse U” – the statistical concept better known as Broussard’s Lament – spelled as “inverse you”. This indicates two things: one, Eurogamer’s copy editors aren’t getting paid to Google every obscure piece of trivia that comes across their desks, and two, Martin Robinson’s articles in their unedited form most likely resemble text messages from a harried gorilla.

Comments? Join us on the forum.

Jerry Whorebach

Foodfight (2012, Animated Movie)

Is Foodfight the worst animated movie ever made?

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Everyone Is Four

Let me preface this (waves hands) ALL of this by saying that RPS has directed me to more games I like than any other site. They are doing a real service to independent games. The last game that the two of us both loved, after some rushed consultation (Don has one finger on the “dump caller” button even when it is instant messaging) was Air/Sea Battle for the Atari. It’s hard for us to find common ground, but RPS manages to find a way.

However, Rock Paper Shotgun has been on a social justice kick recently. Of course, we’re not supposed to call it a “kick,” because that implies that social justice isn’t the cause du jour meant to bully other people into being ashamed and thinking exactly how you think. How could you be against sexism, racism and bullying??? Social justice is a Livestrong bracelet, but the ICU hasn’t turned on Lance yet.

Social justice has never and will never change anything. Most people are trying to get through to JOOOOOCKS through the comfort of their bedrooms, so you have to unironically credit Nathan Grayson of RPS for trying to confront game developers directly — since he left his house to do it. In a world where straight white cis males are a vicious line of tanks, Nathan Grayson is the Chinese guy who stood in front of them.

Here’s his interview with the guys making something called Heroes of the Storm. Since it is an “x of the y” title, I hate it and hope that everyone involved becomes homeless, and not the cool kind of homeless where you have a great Movember beard and could get laid by other street trash if it were cold enough.

As time is winding down, Nathan tries to cram in a few questions about how the girls in the game look like hookers or something. Dustin Browder, also known as the guy who designed Starcraft II, the best e-sport game ever made, does not wish to ENGAGE. He also does not want to be rude, but there really is nothing to be gained by engaging Nathan here. Zero.

RPS: You have some interesting alternate outfits for heroes. Roller Derby Nova, especially, caught my eye. On its own, that’s totally fine – just a silly, goofy thing. A one-off. But it got me thinking about how often MOBAs tend to hyper-sexualize female characters to a generally preposterous degree – that is to say, make it the norm, not a one-off at all – and StarCraft’s own, um, interesting focus choices as of late. How are you planning to approach all of that in Heroes?

Browder: Well, I mean, some of these characters, I would argue, are already hyper-sexualized in a sense. I mean, Kerrigan is wearing heels, right? We’re not sending a message to anybody. We’re just making characters who look cool. Our sensibilities are more comic book than anything else. That’s sort of where we’re at. But I’ll take the feedback. I think it’s very fair feedback.

RPS: I have to add, though, that comics might not be the best point of reference for this sort of thing. I mean, it’s a medium that’s notorious – often in a not-good way – for sexing up female characters and putting them in some fairly gross situations.

Browder: We’re not running for President. We’re not sending a message. No one should look to our game for that.

RPS: But it’s not even about a message. The goal is to let people have fun in an environment where they can feel awesome without being weirded out or even objectified. This is a genre about empowerment. Why shouldn’t everyone feel empowered? That’s what it’s about at the end of the day: letting everyone have a fair chance to feel awesome.

Browder: Uh-huh. Cool. Totally.

[PR says we've run over, tells me I have to leave]

RPS: Thank you for your time.

First off, I imagine the PR person wheeling Nathan’s chair backwards while all this is going on, trying to fake-laugh over Nathan tediously talking about these extremely important women’s rights issues. In his head: “I HAVE A DREAM!” Out his mouth: “Umm okay b— okay.” If you want to read all of his staircase wit, it’s here.

Secondly, I love that Dustin blew him off with a “Cool story, bro.” Because that is the sort of reply you should expect when you start quoting memes, telling people the flavor of drink you want is Hitler Did Nothing Wrong or attempting to go full tumblr on a guy with an office job.

Chicks in tight pants in games doesn’t make the player sexist any more than shooting people in games makes the player a murderer. None of it matters and nobody’s opinion will ever change. There’s the jackasses, who, BEFORE THIS CHICKS IN PANTS THINGS BECAME THE MOST IMPORTANT THING EVER, the most important thing ever was shouting at the rooftops that GAMES DON’T FUCK YOU UP. They are now suddenly crying out, “NOT THE SAME THING!! This really DOES fuck you up!!”

I’m sorry that 90% of the chicks at conventions come dressed as Cammy from Street Fighter. I’m sorry that the rest come naked, except for whatever sticks to their skin on the cab ride over. Nerds are disgusting animals around girls and our solution is to stop having game conventions, where half of this shit arises from. Nobody will do that because of money. Nobody will stop putting their female characters in bikinis because they make more money when they’re dressed that way.

A games site trying to change how people think is adorable, but trying to change the way money is made is futile. That said, I think RPS ought to continue to have these interviews, but at least have the balls to start with these questions. I want their first probes into a new ware to be about how exploited women are because the girl from “Beyond Good & Evil 2″ might be wearing lip gloss, the discount aluminum siding of the patriarchy. Lead with this shit, if that’s what you want your site to be about. Just make this what the site is about, since that is what the site is about. You’re not going to change how a single person thinks, but if you really think you can then go for it.

(Polygon gives this article an 8/10.)

Comments? Join us on the forum.

The Warezwolf and Don Rogers

An Analysis of the Movie Drive (2011, Ryan Gosling, Bryan Cranston)

Editor’s note: I caught this over Netflix the other night. While I enjoyed the soundtrack and the pacing and the way it looked, I thought it was a terrible film overall. I then read what Mischief Maker had to say about it a few months ago. I gained an appreciation for Drive.

There are spoilers for Drive here. Please see the film first. — ICJ

The Scorpion and the Frog

A scorpion and a frog meet on the bank of a stream and the scorpion asks the frog to carry him across on its back. The frog asks, “How do I know you won’t sting me?” The scorpion says, “Because if I do, I will die too.”

The frog is satisfied, and they set out, but in midstream, the scorpion stings the frog. The frog feels the onset of paralysis and starts to sink, knowing they both will drown, but has just enough time to gasp “Why?”

Replies the scorpion: “It’s my nature…”

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Phil Fish Giving Up is Great and I Hope More Assholes are Run Out of Gaming

I decided to finally write up my thoughts on the whole “Phil Fish Leaves the Internet” fiasco. This was partially because I didn’t want to write it and have him come back right away (which I’m sure he’ll do eventually) and because Polygon wrote an article very similar in theme to the Penny Arcade Report article where they characterized video game fans as awful monsters and game developers as messianic beings who are dying on the cross to bring us entertainment. I really hate and disagree with most of the assertions of these articles and I think they miss multiple obvious points and really try to build up Phil Fish leaving the net as something it isn’t. It might be that they’re just stupid or they may actually be the cagey truth-killers they are in my delusions, either way I’m going to try to set this straight.

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California Extreme 2013

California Extreme is a yearly show in Santa Clara where gamers from all over the world bring their arcade machines and pinball games together for attendees to play. It is an incredible convention that I got to attend for the first time this year.

The sheer number of games was astounding. I don’t know how accurate this list is because the first two games I did a search for (Wacko and Kozmik Krooz’r) were not listed. But there’s, what, 500 games here? Amazing.

Some guy complained about CAX over the weekend in Santa Clara on craigslist. Someone found it and posted it to KLOV. Here is what he said:

Goddamn 40-year old virgins with no lives clogged up all the toilets at the Hyatt Regency. I was in town with my family and there was an arcade/toy convention going on at the convention center. These overweight, bald, smelly, soup-stained t shirt wearing losers (who can’t let go of their childhood) stunk up the joint to high heaven. Puke in one john and another one was stopped up. The place smelled like dead horse, rotten fish and cotton candy. Sheesh, it made my 4 year old kid cry. He had to go real bad, but I didn’t want him to get tapeworm. So, we rushed over to the Chinese restaurant across the street. My advice? Avoid this area of town when these jokers are in town.

No offense to anyone that might be offended by this, but this guy is an enormous vagina.

There is a convention every weekend at the Hyatt. WHO COULD HAVE GUESSED there would be one this weekend, too? Maybe if he had a fourth-grader’s understanding of what goes on at big hotels in California, his monocle wouldn’t have popped out of his head.

I’ll guarantee you this piece of soft serve will be similarly shocked if he takes his ugly family to Las Vegas some day. “People were trying to give us ads for hookers everywhere we walked! I am outraged!”

Lastly, if his kid is in TEARS throwing a tantrum when brought into public then this idiot has bigger problems than a clogged toilet. Dude is raising a hysterical sociopath.

To me, it sounds like the guy is frustrated that he is raising someone less equipped to enter society than he is, so he’s dealing with it in the most manly way he knows how: by posting anonymously to craigslist. Nobody cares about the opinions of someone who seems like the fifth guy at a Warlords table.

All conventions will have some bad apples. At least with CAX it’s a person who is excited to head to the grand hall and play games rather than have people trying to get other attendees fired or trying to organize threesomes with speakers. There were definitely a couple people that fucking stunk but I’ve been to conventions that were waaaaaaaaaay worse. The lack of self-respect some people have is amazing – wash everything before going. Never wear something twice. Separate used clothes and fresh ones. Shower every day and night. Every time you go back to the hotel, re-apply deodorant. CAX has the potential to be worse than E3 or PAX because of the sheer heat the arcade games give off, which is more than an equivalent number of computers at E3. It’s a problem that has been going on for ages, though, so it’s never gonna be fixed.

There was one row of games that were prototypes. You start to figure out why some games didn’t make it. “Marble Man” is a sequel to Marble Madness. Only there were two joysticks on the machine. A Marble Madness game with a joystick!! It played as horrible as you expect. Although my girlfriend said that she had three games for her NES as a kid and Marble Madness was one of them. She played that on a gamepad and still liked the game. I’m allowing for the possibility that a non-trackball version of Marble Madness could be good, but if she dumps me or something I am putting a strikethrough tag on this sentence.

Kozmik Krooz’r is a unique game that was present. Each person that brings a game gets some stickers to put their name on the marquee. They can also note if the game is for sale or not. The owner of Kozmik Krooz’r ran out of “not for sale” stickers, so he put a “for sale” one up with a preposterously high price. Well, he got contacted by an attendee saying that high price ($3500) was fine.

I am going to try to talk about why Krooz’r is so special. It is a sequel to Wacko. Wacko is the game where you are a green alien in a spaceship. (You have to shoot matching pairs of monsters.) Krooz’r gives you a joystick with a trigger and a dial that can also be pressed downwards. The dial moves the direction of where your ship’s gun points. Pressing the dial down activates the shield. The monitor on this thing is raised and virtually flat. You SORT of have to peer at the screen like you do in Battlezone, for lack of a better game to compare it to. There is also a reflected plastic spaceship in the cabinet that lights up and moves. It’s pretty creative, and it’s too bad that the gameplay consists of moving your guy in the ship around, shooting aliens and simply trying to get to the top of the screen. If this game had better gameplay it might be the “best” full package arcade game ever made.

Lastly, there was one very special touch. Someone made a little plaque that was placed on the cocktail Warlords table. It said, “Reserved for Ryan T. Davis.” Ryan was a founder of Giant Bomb and passed away a couple weeks ago. From context, I assume that the man loved Warlords, which makes him a great man as far as I am concerned. Rest in peace, sir.

Here is an album with some pics. I regret not bringing my real camera, so sorry for the shitty cell pics:

Comments? Join us on the forum.

Ice Cream Jonsey

Final Impressions: The Dark Spire (Nintendo DS)

After several ragequits and scrapped parties I finally beat this motherfucking cocksucking game. I’d like to say it’s because I’m so hardcore, but in truth over the last few years of playing my DS in public, even gfx-envelope-pushing games like Ninja Gaiden and Solatorobo, the Dark Spire was the only game that caused strangers to stop and say to me, “Excuse me, sorry to interrupt, but WHAT IS THAT GAME???” multiple times. So I felt obligated to beat the motherfucker.

Art-direction-wise this game gets a perfect 10/10 on the Fussbett Fable scale. It looks like a nightmare. The visuals are all bold colors against black, the camera angle is always a little “off” and even lowly goblins are drawn to look like nasty needle-toothed fuckers you would never want to meet without a baseball bat handy. These visuals wouldn’t look out of place in the movie suspiria. Etrian Odyssey 3 is almost completely superior in terms of gameplay, but that game sadly looks like anime faggot shit. The Dark Spire looks like a dangerous fucking place, the conquest of which would be a mighty achievement. No wonder it attracts so much attention.

Everything else is negative. All the worst parts of D&D RPG mechanics wedded to a “difficulty” that can be summed up as “the Random Number Generator says Fuck You.” Liberal use of the game’s ability to save anywhere is necessary to keep the frustration to a manageable level.

There’s a game-breaking exploit that will make the first 3 floors a breeze, relatively speaking. Only front-row heroes can be hit by melee attacks and if you set your formation to “heroic” only one character will be in the front row taking damage. Well in this game the characters are all naturally multi-classed and while wearing incompatible armor or weapons will stop you from casing spells, it doesn’t stop a character with 1 level in Thief from hiding in shadows. So if your single front-line fighter has a level in Thief and hides in shadows? Nobody takes his place, all the enemy attacks against him are cancelled, and next round all the melee-only enemies will only be able to defend.

Unfortunately the game fights back with its own bullshit: breath attacks. Spells can ruin your party or the enemy in one hit, so the game has a rule that if either you or the enemy get an ambush attack, nobody can cast spells that ambush round and destroy the other team before they can get at least some chance to fight back. Except breath attacks. They can be used in an ambush round, hit the entire party, never miss, and later in the game cause crippling status ailments, too. The true final level is crawling with such enemies and the only way I can beat them is to grind out a team of 4 wizard characters, then grind their dexterities to max for the initiative boost, and even then hope like hell the RNG doesn’t say “Fuck You.”

So I got the first 2 of 3 endings. The game makes all kinds of hay over the fact that the True Last boss is God. Commute or no commute am I going to do the grinding necessary to kill God? No.

Fuck this game. If you’re even slightly intrigued by the idea of playing a western-style RPG on the DS, get Etrian Odyssey 3 instead. Much better game, just doesn’t look unique.

Comments? Join us on the forum.

Mischief Maker

Deadpool: First Impressions



This game would hands down be improved by a DMC-style combo meter instead of the God of War type one. This would also imply that it had some cool dodging rather than using the dodge button to make fun of Arkham Asylum countering. Well that or it’s a simple joke, I guess it depends if you thought Arkham Asylum combat was a little dumb with all the countering or not.

The humor isn’t bad. Deadpool might have a case of the not gays, but it’s not really the main focus of the humor. Some idiot on reddit described it as “Too much Duke Nukem, not enough Bugs Bunny.” he is an idiot, however.

The controls are OK on keyboard. I tried it on a controller and felt like the trade-off of losing FPS aiming for less clunky swordplay wasn’t worth it. The constant switch between generic hack and slash and generic shooting is the best thing the game has going for it

Only 3 hours into it and I’m halfway through the third chapter so I’m guessing it ends up being 6 to 8 hours. Probably not quite worth 40 bucks, you can get it on gamefly for 31.99 with the code GFDJUN20, if you really want to take a look. It probably should be 30 bucks flat across everything.

I’m playing the game on the hardest difficulty, I always do this if a game has 3 difficulties until it gets too frustrating and I drop it down. It’s reasonably unforgiving but mostly because it feels like there isn’t a good answer to when enemies start shooting at you as you’re doing sword combat. You just have to shoot those guys first or melee fight somwhere else. Maybe upgrades fix that?

The whole upgrade system is probably a little unneeded it’s there but things feel too expensive mostly. I can’t imagine I’ll be fully upgraded by the end of the game, which is weird. Certain upgrades cost many times what weapons cost, so I guess the designer wanted me to unlock all weapons before upgrading my swords all the way?

Comments? Join us on the forum.

Worm

Let’s Not Play: The Humble Bundle

The Humble Bundle is a fantastic way to get a number of “indie” (well… sometimes they are indie) games at a low price. Or you can buy it at a high price – the Humble Bundle lets YOU choose. Surely, nobody could possibly be against this, right? Right? RIGHT?

Not so fucking fast. Here’s Worm to tell you why we shouldn’t play them.

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Worm