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PAX Prime 12 is now totally, utterly, completely sold out


May 04
// Conrad Zimmerman
If you were planning on making the trek to Mecca Seattle this August to attend the PAX Prime expo and haven't yet picked up a pass for the show, you may want to look into some alternate vacation plans. Just over a week after ...

Penny Arcade's Rain-Slick 3 reboots the series

Apr 12 // Darren Nakamura
The most obvious difference in the transition from Hothead to Zeboyd is in the graphical style. Where previous entries in the series attempted to emulate Mike Krahulik's art in a three-dimensional world, Rain-Slick 3 features Zeboyd's signature Final Fantasy VI-esque pixel art. As in their previous efforts, the environments and character art are about what one would expect from a big budget title twenty years ago, and I mean that in a good way. The next big change is in the battle system. In earlier episodes, combat featured a time element where more powerful abilities became available depending on how long a character waited before acting. Rain-Slick 3 is pretty strictly turn-based, although Zeboyd's take on the old formula feels familiar despite existing in an entirely different battle engine than previous episodes. Characters begin battles with zero mana, and accrue one point every turn. Thus, after a few turns of vanilla attacks, characters can use more powerful abilities. One slight bummer for fans of the series is that the protagonist from the previous games, who the developers referred to as "man or woman with the rake," will not appear in the third episode of the series. As an upside, there will be many more playable characters in Rain-Slick 3 than have been in the other episodes, with Anne-Claire appearing as the third party member in the PAX demo.  As for the man (or woman) with the rake, his (or her) absence will be explained through the narrative, for those curious. Speaking of the storytelling, Jerry Holkins's writing is just as present in this entry, if not more so than in the previous two. The dialogue between characters is great, and the tongue-in-cheek enemy design is hilarious. One of the coolest elements of the demo is what Holkins refers to as "world building." Each enemy type has a few lines of flavor text associated with it, which serves to really flesh out what would normally be a relatively standard RPG battle. In one instance, I found myself fighting a barbershop quartet, and each member's unique flavor text imparted a bit of personality to him, despite the fact that they all essentially behaved the same as one another. The demo ended just as it was introducing the class mechanic. It appears to be akin to the job system found in games like Final Fantasy V or Tactics, where each character can equip different classes in order to gain different sets of abilities. Unlike the job system in those games, characters in Rain-Slick 3 can equip multiple classes at one time. Fans of the On the Rain-Slick Precipice of Darkness series have a lot to look forward to in the third episode. Although the manner of exploration and battle is substantially different, it maintains the narrative feel of the series. Zeboyd expects to release Rain-Slick 3 some time this summer, on Xbox Live Indie Games, PC, Mac, iOS, and Android.
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It's difficult to believe that it has been nearly four years since the last game in the Rain-Slick Precipice of Darkness series released. Many were heartbroken to hear that the original plan of four episodes would be cut...

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Ocean Marketing's PR goof becomes Internet sensation


Dec 28
// Jim Sterling
In the hours following Ocean Marketing's public shaming, the unprofessional exploits of Paul Christoforo have become the latest Internet fascination -- so much so that even insurance company Geico has gotten in on the fun.&nb...

Ocean Marketing: Most unpleasant PR rep in gaming

Dec 27 // Jim Sterling
Once Mike Krahulik stepped into the email chain, things went from embarrassing to pathetic, as Christoforo demonstrated he had no idea who ran PAX, attempted to make fun of the show's organizer for being a nobody, then claimed he'd be at PAX anyway, despite Mike telling him no. Just read the email chain, it's the perfect breakfast compliment.  I don't know what's worse, the fact that the man in charge of a "premier social media company" can be so combative with consumers and trade show organizers, or the fact that he can't seem to spell for shit. Either way, Christoforo's confidence that nobody would take Dave's complaint seriously is unfounded, since Penny Arcade went to bat for him, Twitter is aflame with people making fun of Ocean's juvenile behavior, and other blogs are fast relaying the hilarious tale.  Furthermore, IGN's Scott Lowe distanced himself from Ocean, stating for the record that IGN did not support the company and that his brief dealings with Christoforo were quite unprofessional. Naturally, Christoforo demonstrated his professional behavior once more. "your a douchebag anyway Scott we sent you how many units for review ," he replied. "How many conversations You were the unprofessional one." You know a situation is bad when a guy is acting worse to one of his customers than I'd act to one of my readers, even after they've called be Mr. Bad Journalist Fat Tits. The infantile drivel spewing from this man's fingertips is of the level one would expect in the GameFAQs forums, not from a professional businessman. In any case, Ocean's doing a fantastic job of alienating itself from gamers and press alike, right before a major product launch from a client that may very well fire it after this mess. While I've never had the dubious pleasure of working with this company before, I have the tremendous pleasure of saying that I definitely won't in future.  A round of applause for the greatest PR move in gaming today!
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Penny Arcade recently published a chain of emails between one of its readers and Ocean Marketing, a company responsible for a range of third party peripherals. The customer, known as Dave, pre-ordered a pair of PS3 controller...

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Penny Arcade is making a Skyward Sword comic


Nov 15
// Tony Ponce
If you visited Penny Arcade today, you would have learned that the boys were tapped by Nintendo to do a special five-page Skyward Sword comic. I've enjoyed Mike Krahulik's artwork as it developed over the years, and I am real...
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Mega64 teaches you how to be a badass


Nov 07
// Tony Ponce
Ubisoft once again tapped the Mega64 crew for a commercial deal, this time for Ghost Recon: Future Soldier. I was a little taken aback by how straight the boys were playing this particular video. Didn't seem to have that ol' Mega64 je ne sais quoi. Then I got to the 1:15 mark and was like, "Oh, okay, there we go!" Mega64: GHOST RECON FUTURE SOLDIER Commercial [YouTube]
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Pictures of the crazy PAX show floor


Aug 26
// Dale North
The show floor at PAX is absolutely nuts, just like it always is. It's crowded, flashy, fun and sometimes kind of smelly. Still, we're having a great time here.  Luckily they gave us media members time to run around the ...
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Penny Arcade game series back from dead


Aug 26
// Conrad Zimmerman
Some years ago now, Penny Arcade decided to put their piles of smug money where their snarky mouths were and produce a series of episodic role-playing games in a Lovecraft-meets-noir-detective setting. After two episodes...

Review: Poker Night at the Inventory

Dec 06 // Brian Szabelski
Poker Night at the Inventory (PC [reviewed], Mac) Developer: Telltale Games Release date: November 22, 2010 MSRP: $4.99 If you're looking for some long story about how Sam, Tycho, the Heavy and Strong Bad all ended up playing poker ... well, there's not much of one. It's just the four of them hanging out and playing at The Inventory, an underground club that supposedly has its roots in Prohibiton, but offers nothing more than a setting. And that's fine, because really, this game doesn't have a need for a story. Visually, Poker Night's a good looking game. The Heavy, Strong Bad and Max all use models from Valve and Telltale's games, respectively, and their animations are very smooth. Tycho's model, on the other hand, is brand-new, and oddly enough, he's the one who looks a little out of place from time to time. There's also a few graphical glitches if you move the game along too fast: in one instance, I couldn't see my cards for an entire hand because they never actually loaded. I'd folded too quickly and skipped to the end of the hand before the game could make the change, it seems. Another cool little feature is that in the background, the characters will appear as you knock them out of the game. They don't do a whole lot, but it's kind of cool to see Strong Bad playing the arcade machine, or the Heavy at the bar after a bitter defeat at the table. Where Poker Night excels, though, is in the chatter at the table between the Heavy, Tycho, Strong Bad and Max. The scritping and the actual voice acting itself is spot-on, a testament to the abilities of whoever's responsible at Telltale for writing this game's dialogue. Tycho's voice is a bit jarring at first, but you get used to it the more you play, until it seems natural. What's also great is that each character's quirks are also included in their dialogue: for example, there are Heavy's "funny" stories about summer camp that are actually quite morbid, and Tycho's obsession/lust over giraffes makes it into the game, the latter of which made me laugh out loud the first time I heard it. In short, they've nailed the spirit of all four characters perfectly. My only complaint is that they engage each other, but never really bring the player into their conversations. You kind of feel more like an invisible observer than a player at the table with these guys for the bulk of the experience. Outside of their clever quips, the actual computer players seem... well, I'm not sure how to describe them. Maybe a bit erratic? At times, they seem to take unnecessarily big risks or make strange plays, like going almost all in and folding. At other times, the AI seems to know exactly what the flop, turn and river cards are going to be ahead of time, and is able to make strong bets based on that knowledge. I know part of poker is that the game can turn on its head with the draw of the right card and make a winning hand a losing one. But in Poker Night, it feels like those sudden moments are, at times, manufactured by the game more than they would occur naturally. The AI issues seem to get a little better when it's down to just two players, as I had greater success in knocking out my opponent then. Poker Night's gameplay pretty much boils down to good ol' fashioned Texas Hold 'Em, the kind you see on TV. It helps a bit if you know what beats what ahead of playing this game, as it makes it easier to gamble, but you can definitely pick up how to play over time. Navigating the in-game interface to make calls, raises and folds is relatively simple. Plus, in addition to the new items, winning games unlocks new tables and decks to play with, giving you the opportunity to customize the game's look a little bit. On the downside, there's not a whole lot else you can change. The AI has two difficulty options -- normal and hard -- and you can adjust the level of conversation that goes on as well as if it’s censored or not. But you can’t change anything about how much the buy-in is, presumably to keep people from somehow gaming the system to get the Team Fortress 2 items easily, what blinds start at, etc. Maybe adding in a few other options that unlocked once you had all of the items (and they’re tied to achievements, so that’s no reason this could not have been done) would have helped keep some replay value. All this boils down to Poker Night's biggest problem: it gets repetitive very quickly. Once you've heard Tycho and Heavy's tenth Class discussion for the twentieth time, it loses a lot of its initial charm. On top of that, with no real options to modify the game's stakes, you're always playing the same $10,000 buy-in game once you have the new Team Fortress 2 items. Thankfully, Telltale's included the option to right click through any conversation as a means of speeding up the game's pace and perhaps saving your sanity. The only bad part, of course, is right-clicking takes a lot of the fun out of the game because you're not getting those interactions anymore. So it's kind of a catch-22: sit and listen to Strong Bad and Max's conversation for the fifth time, or skip past it and lose some of the atmosphere. Your call. Now that I've played Poker Night for a bit and have all my shiny new items, I find myself at a crossroads. On one hand, the game has energy provided from the fun conversations taking place at the table. And you definitely get more than $5 worth out of that alone. What kills Telltale's latest game is that, really, there's not enough diversity to keep people coming back ... at least not for more than a game or two when you're bored and have nothing else to do. Enjoy the banter between the characters and the new items for you Team Fortress 2 players out there, but just remember one thing: it's a $5 single-player Texas Hold 'Em poker game. Don't expect anything much more than that.
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As a wise man once said, "You got to know when to hold 'em, know when to fold 'em." Okay, that was actually Kenny Rogers’ "The Gambler," but it works in regards to Telltale Games’ newest title, Poker Night at the ...

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Telltale Games has announced what it's calling "the Citizen Kane of poker games," and it might be right -- Poker Night at The Inventory sounds like the best thing ever. The game will star Penny Arcade's Tycho, Max of Sam &...

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PAX 10: The day before gallery


Sep 03
// Dale North
The 2010 Penny Arcade Expo has not started yet, but we're all here anyway. Nothing happened today, but we thought we'd share a gallery of pictures taken of nothing happening anyway. Anyway. Here's us running around Seattle, and then later at Gameworks. Excuse the drunk faces and inappropriate poses. More tomorrow. Also, Chad called my flower photography "fu*kin' gay."
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Hudson's Lost in Shadow partners with Child's Play


Aug 30
// Dale North
Wanna feel good about yourself? Head on over to Hudson's Lost in Shadow page on Facebook and "like" it. Why would that make you feel good? Hudson is donating 10 cents for every new "like" they get on this page to the Child's ...
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Telltale teases something, awesomeness almost guaranteed


Aug 28
// Matthew Razak
If you've been a fan of almost anything Telltale Games has ever done (and really you should be) then the teaser trailer above is going to get you pretty darn randy in your nether reasons. The teaser is short and sweet, bu...
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PAX East 10: Penny Arcade Adventures series is finished


Mar 26
// Jim Sterling
Well, there's a bit of a bummer for the first full day of PAX East 10. Penny Arcade's Mike Krahulik has confirmed that Penny Arcade Adventures, the episodic RPG starring Tycho and Gabe, has been discontinued as developer Hoth...
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'Frelevant' to your interests: Penny Arcade launches PATV


Dec 29
// Nick Chester
Not content with dominating videogame-related web comics and then "reality tv" with Penny Arcade: The Series, the folks at Penny Arcade have launched PATV. Yes, as in "Penny Arcade Television," just in case you're having trou...
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Hey Ash, Whatcha Playin: Penny Arcade Expo 2009


Nov 06
// Anthony Burch
Hey Ash, Whatcha Playin' is Destructoid's surreal comedy series about videogames and gamer culture. It's pretty good. At this year's Penny Arcade Expo, Ash and I had a panel, and that was fun. During the panel, we got Rey Gut...
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Here are your 2009 PAX Omeganauts


Aug 07
// Hamza CTZ Aziz
PAX has revealed the 20 randomly selected contestants for the Omegathon competition. Over the course of PAX 09, the contestants will be battling it out in six games: ROUND 1: Mario Kart ® WiiROUND 2: Bookworm ® Advent...
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Penny Arcade's Cardboard Tube Samurai a playable in Tekken 6


Jun 20
// Dale North
The Twitter feed tekkenbob, the official feed for Tekken 6, dropped an interesting twitpic today. Along with a tweet mentioning that he "got a sneak peek at something I can't talk about yet" was the above picture. W...
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Penny Arcade scholarship open for 2009-2010


May 06
// Dale North
The generous folks at Penny Arcade have just announced that their scholarship is now open and accepting applications for the 2009-2010 academic year. The Penny Arcade Scholarship was established in 2007 to give a $10,000 rewa...
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Child's Play CD 2008: great music for a cause


Dec 15
// Dale North
The Child's Play charity was created by Penny Arcade founders Mike Krahulik and Jerry Holkins back in 2003 to combat the negative stereotypes assigned to gamers by the media. Their goal, aside from combating these stereotypes...
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Gabe and Tycho will appear at New York Comic Con as guests of honor


Dec 11
// Colette Bennett
New York Comic Con is already the place to be if you have the hots for toys and comics -- but what about games? This year not only will feature Penny Arcade celebs Gabe and Tycho as the featured guests of honor, but also is b...
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Get your Child's Play charity auction dinner tickets before December 5th


Dec 02
// Dale North
It's almost that time again. The Child's Play charity hosts a swank auction and dinner event this time of year every year to raise money for the chilluns. The whole thing goes down this year on December 9th at the Washington ...

Destructoid review: Penny Arcade Episode 2

Oct 31 // Conrad Zimmerman
Penny Arcade Adventures: On the Rain-Slick Precipice of Darkness Episode Two (360 [reviewed], Mac, PC)Developed by Hothead GamesPublished by Hothead GamesReleased October 28th, 2008 Penny Arcade's story picks up more or less where the last episode left off. The giant Fruit F*cker is still on the loose, with Gabe and Tycho hot on its heels. The best lead they have lies with a man determined to have invented the prototype for these infernal devices, a scientist named Crozier. Unfortunately for our heroes, his current address is the Cloying Stench Sanitarium.Very little is provided in the way of exposition here. While I personally can't imagine newcomers arriving in the second installment, those who would choose to do so will likely miss many references to past events. Any allusion to what has come before is glossed over in the most perfunctory way. It's perfectly playable without prior experience but it would provide the player with an inadequate picture of the New Arcadia setting and the characters who populate it. Events in Episode Two are considerably less absurd than in its preceding game, which is a bit disappointing. The plot feels much more pedestrian and, while there are moments of creativity that border on baffling, things never get quite as strange. Holkins' writing is often very good, but the dialogue and descriptions often lack the same punch they did last time and rely a bit more on expletives to carry the humor. Puzzles were pretty few and far between last time around and an effort has been made to introduce more of them. While there are certainly some fetch quests at work, there are a few instances where you will be expected to give a bit of thought to what you are doing. As before, none are exceptionally difficult to figure out but they are pretty clever at times. Just as in the previous installment, combat is akin to an Active Time Battle system. Each of the three characters has three meters that fill over time, giving access to their abilities. Item use fills up first, followed by a basic attack and a special attack. A special attack will launch you into a character-specific mini-game to attempt to maximize the amount of hurting it inflicts. When two (or all three) characters have filled their special attack meter, they can (sans mini-game) execute a devastating team-up attack for massive damage on a single foe.  The mini-games are improved upon a fair bit, especially Gabe's. What was previously a pretty dull exercise in button-mashing has become a timing game with commands that must be executed within a small window at an increasing pace. Your character's game involves pressing a button when an spinning arrow lies within a target area, whereupon it moves back in the opposite direction towards the target on the opposite side of a dial and accelerates in speed. Tycho's remains largely unchanged, apart from a shooting range aesthetic. This system worked well in Episode One and it remains largely unchanged here. Enemies still have assorted resistances and weaknesses to assorted forms of attack. There are a couple of new items to meet the higher hit point counts of enemies (which are matched to your character's level fifteen beginnings) but, as before, you probably won't have too much need of them to complete the game at its base difficulty. The enemies itself are what I have a problem with. They suffer from the same issue that the story itself does. Gone are the mimes, hobos and talking trash cans which were so charming the first episode. They've been replaced by asylum patients, wealthy aristocrats and other manner of common, boring foes. They're really quite disappointing by comparison. For those who found the first game to be a little too easy, additional difficulty settings have been added to this installment. Difficulty can be changed at any time from the pause menu. The default level feels even easier than the previous time around, so gamers looking to challenge themselves a bit may want to kick things up a notch if they find themselves getting bored. After completing the game, a brutal, "Insane" mode unlocks. Success on this difficulty requires mastery of counterattack timing, as the most basic of enemies can dish out considerable damage even when blocked. Item use also becomes a necessity and the whole affair is far more strategic in nature. Insane mode demonstrates a depth of combat that the standard game fails to convey simply by providing a need for all of the tools at your disposal. New features are somewhat minimal, but useful. The Startling Developments office now has costumes available on the coat rack which convey bonuses. Of the three, one is only available to players who have completed Episode One while a second is earned during the course of the game. The final outfit can be acquired from chests littered through New Arcadia, chests which will only open in Insane Mode, giving a reason other than masochism to attempt the feat. Another handy addition is a checklist that allows you to follow your progress. It keeps track of statistics such as total number of kills, overkill bonuses earned and collectibles acquired. Nearly all of the information it provides can be found elsewhere, but it makes for a good quick reference as you hurtle towards the inevitable conclusion to make sure you haven't missed anything.The best new feature, however, is the ability to select from multiple environmental objects to interact with. When you are standing in the vicinity of more than one person or object, you are given the option of cycling through them and select the specific thing you want. This is incredibly useful, as it prevents you from inadvertantly inspecting something you've already seen and allows the designers to cram in even more stuff to check out. While On the Rain-Slick Precipice of Darkness Episode Two makes for a better game in the technical sense, the somewhat ho-hum story drags it down. It's still a good game but falls a bit short when it comes to the elements which made the first so entertaining. It's a bit early to conjecture that the team may be running out of steam and I'm still hopeful for the future of the series but this is not as strong of a release. Let's just hope that Episode Three makes a better effort.Score: 7 (7s are solid games that definitely have an audience. Might lack replay value, could be too short or there are some hard-to-ignore faults, but the experience is fun.)
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When Penny Arcade Adventures: On the Rain-Slick Precipice of Darkness Episode One was released, I eagerly gobbled it right up. It was brash, absurd and hilarious, exactly the sort of lampooning that I feel many RPGs which tak...

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Penny Arcade Adventures Episode Two dated for October 29th


Oct 22
// Colette Bennett
I quite enjoyed the first installment in the Penny Arcade Adventures: On the Rain-Slick Precipice of Darkness series, my only beef being that it wasn't long enough (but good episodic content never feels long enough). PSN owne...
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Penny Arcade's Prince of Persia comic launches today, a total tease


Oct 15
// Nick Chester
An online Prince of Persia comic, drawn by the good folks over at Penny Arcade, has gone live today. The Web-based, 32-page comic book will be updated with new pages daily, leading up to the game's December 2 release. At it s...
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Penny Arcade Episode 2 has gone gold


Oct 02
// Conrad Zimmerman
[video]105968:456[/video]Awesomesode indeed!Hothead games has announced that the Windows, Mac and Linux versions of Penny Arcade: On the Rain-Slick Precipice of Darkness Episode 2 has gone gold. No release date has been revea...
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Penny Arcade Adventures Episode 2 coming soon, have some new screens


Sep 01
// Colette Bennett
The boys at Penny Arcade know how to capture both our hearts and our expendable income. After hosting the best open-to-the-public gaming event on the West Coast, it seems a perfect time to showcase some screens from the next ...
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PAX 08: Jerry and Mike class up their hustle


Aug 29
// Colette Bennett
[video]101722:256[/video]If you did not attend PAX or the opening keynote last year, you may have heard word of how Penny Arcade rock stars Jerry Holkins and Mike Krahulik came out on stage -- to the tune of a little song you...
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PAX schedule is up and Destructoid is on it


Aug 12
// Dale North
The 2008 Penny Arcade Expo is still a couple of weeks away, but it seems that this event is all anyone can talk about here lately. And who can blame them? It's going to be an exciting event, packed with nerdity, Ghostbusters,...
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PAX 08: This is the map of the floor, plan accordingly


Jul 29
// Nick Chester
It's with squeals of delight that I present to you the floor plan for this year's Penny Arcade Expo, set to take place August 29 through August 31. Go look at the calendar ... that's soon! Looking at the map, I have to wonder...

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