Monday, December 9, 2013

My one word Contrast review and thoughts on PA


I will elaborate. Contrast reminds me very much of rain: all artsy with no fartsy to back it up. At the very least rain was visually interesting. Contrast had a cirque du soleil refugee who may or may not have been imaginary and a one trick mechanic of being able to merge into shadows. I could find no evidence that it took advantage of any of the new bells and whistles offered by the PS4. In fact the only reason I played it was because I felt guilty for not having turned the machine on and it was free.

There was a moment or two of 'oh, that was clever,' and then it was done. The game knew it was out of ideas and had the decency to end. The one thing, and there was only one, that I enjoyed was the soundtrack.

Shivers, man.


Penny Arcade's, specifical Jerry's, announcement last week came as a surprise. I cannot say that I identify with this, as I have never had a hobby blossom into an internet based, multimedia empire of a company, but I do think I understand where he is coming from. In the Kickstarter video from last year he said that the years that they relied completely on reader contributions to eat, much less pay salaries and rent office space, were his favorite, that they were honest. I have been following the boys since the very beginning and holy shit have they accomplished a lot. I attribute the majority of their business success with Khoo, a man who I both respect and am rather dubious of, but I do wonder is this is what Mike and Jerry really wanted.

If the announcement is to be believed, it isn't, or at least they have had their fill of it and want to go back to the way things were. The fact that they will be able to cast off pieces of the PA brand and still be financially solvent is amazing but I do wonder how long they will be able to maintain the reserve of goodwill that they worked so hard to build. Jerry has done his best to both erode and bolster it. I cannot just give him a pass on some of the dumb things he has said but I also know that if that same spotlight was shown on me I would sounds just as bad, if not worse. More recently and more personally the bull shit job posting for internal IT smacked of fandom abuse but I blame Khoo for that one. He knows that he can get away with it.

But for how long?

I like Penny Arcade, and Mike and Jerry specifically, because they are not perfect. I like that Mike puts his foot in his mouth in spectacular fashion and then genuinely apologizes for it. I like that Jerry has the same kind of personal insecurities that everyone else does and has the audacity to talk about them in honest terms. I like that their families are not a secret and have immense respect the amount of patience and understanding that their wives must possess. If trying to turn the clock back on Penny Arcade to a time when it was two dudes living in a dingy apartment subsisting entirely on ramen is what they want to do with their monster then I will follow them through it. Not because they owe me anything, not out of blind loyalty, but because in my head they occupy the same space as old friends.

If they are going through an identity crisis then I will, in my tiny, insignificant way, try to see them through it.

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