By blog on Sep. 10, 2009.
I really don’t like it, it looks bad… and it’s not just the art style, either, the new site interface is ugly and overly out of the way.
If you go right back to the start of Penny Arcade, you can see how far Gabe’s come in his art. The characters look a lot better, smoother, just… more professional. This new art style seems to harken back overly to the original Penny Arcade, and it makes Gabe’s work look less good for it. I don’t know what the heck is going on over there, and I haven’t seen any mention of it on the forums over there, but it just looks a bit cheaper, a bit nasty.
The whole site has a new style, too. The menu buttons have all be squished over to the sides, which means any time you want to use them, you spend the first second searching for them. Bad design, very bad design. Even the fonts are ugly… what are they thinking?
Looking back over comics from earlier this year, I’d have to say the colour pallet is slightly different, the backgrounds are tending to be less detailed, and the characters themselves seem to have thinner outline lines, and I’d say that a major difference is the eyes. They seem to be just slightly different, leading to the characters looking a little… stupid… I don’t want to say that, but that’s the affect.
Of course, these are all very slightly noticeable, two degrees less saturation on colours will be hard to specifically notice, yet has an impact… I’m being picky I suppose because I really like the comic, it’s the only web comic I keep up with. It’s frustrating to see their site and their comic go downhill. I’m hoping that the comics are just the intervening ones whilst they are at PAX, and that they are the reserves that were done some time ago.
On a side note, I’d like to say congratulations to Tycho on his second bundle of very cute joy, Ronia Quinn.
By blog on Jul. 9, 2009.
A little while back, Penny Arcade put up a few ideas for new comic strips. They already have a few ‘other strips’ on the side, the Cardboard Tube Samurai, Catsby and Twisp are two of these, but they were looking to make another. Three options were given, Lookouts, a very cute and pleasing to the eye strip, then there was Automata, which was poignant, but depressing, and lastly, there was Jim Darkmagic, which is actually a D&D character created by Gabe, but the comic fell short for me, as it was a bit too silly, and somewhat grotesque.
Voting was opened, and readers made the choice in the end that Lookouts would be the comic to be taken up. Unfortunately, Gabe and Tycho decided to bring in a new artist and a new writer for this comic, which is so very disappointing! It’s hideous, with the panels being disjointed and hard to read, and the story itself is completely lacking that Penny Arcade snap. I’m not the only one that thinks, this either, the forums over on the PA site have a thread dedicated to how disappointed they are in the choice of artist/writer. There are no fewer than 23 pages at this stage, all filled with people trying to make sense of this comic.
I know it shouldn’t matter, but I feel mislead. Readers were given the option to vote for which comic they wanted to see expanded on, but we didn’t get that, we got a completely different comic that looks and reads poorly. Bah! What were they thinking? It is just… frustrating. I can understand that Gabe likes the work of Becky Dreistadt, but I personally think its ugly, really, really ugly. Her website makes me want to vomit. Seriously, for an artist to be that lacking in understanding of what a maroon background with fascia fleur de lys will do to a person’s vision – and stomach – is mind boggling. The writer, Oliver Grigsby, is a part of the team that writes for Heroes, and the Heroes comics as well. But as I said, his work lacks the crisp snap of Tycho’s writing.
By blog on Jun. 17, 2009.
I first noticed Knights in the Nightmare when I was puddling around looking at the Editor’s Choice list over on IGN.com. It looked interesting, I don’t mind a turn-based RPG, so I read on. After a few minutes, I figured the game looked alright, but I had to scoot off to do something so I just closed it down and forgot about it.
Now when I was on Penny Arcade earlier, I happened to notice Tycho had written about this very same game. What he said confirmed what I had suspected in those few minutes of looking at the review. Here is what he said.
…I am trying to fashion my mind into something capable of perceiving Knights in the Nightmare. Another psychotic import with an incredible translation from Atlus, the shit that goes on in this game will overwhelm your frontal lobe, leaving you in a state which is neither dead nor alive. Imagine that a man is juggling while standing on a pile of conscious, scowling heads. Only he’s not juggling balls, he’s juggling concepts, like poverty and flavor. As you watch him, you are shaken by the unprovable yet unnerving sensation that there is, somewhere, a secret third hand, juggling a perverse cadre of unballs.
You know what this says to me? This says to me, ‘don’t bother’. Why? Because I am too lazy for the kind of mental obstacle course that this game appears to be. Oh don’t get me wrong, it sounds like a great game, but if I wanted to bust my brain to the point of not having any fun, I’d do my taxes.
And so it is with games for me at the moment. If it is an overly complex game where I have to learn a lot about the game mechanics to get anywhere… chances are I will just opt out and choose to play something a little less in depth and play Starfy. ) I know, I know, I am missing out on the games with the great story-lines when I do that! I will get out of my lazy gaming funk, I know I will, that’s why I don’t push it now.