[COMIC] Jack Tretton: When Nervous Men in Suits Become Rockstars

There’re few ways to argue that Sony’s E3 2013 performance was that of an out and out rockstar. ‘Dropping the mic’, as was the term that was bandied around the E3 coverage, in reference to Jack Tretton’s glorious demolishing of everything Microsoft had just claimed was irrefutable, simply isn’t enough. It doesn’t quite leverage the true, punishing brilliance of the last few moments of that keynote. Guesty certainly seems to think not anyway, so he’s drawn that conference exactly as it happened in his head. Minus all the clowns of course. And the best part of it is, nobody can take this away from us. Or them. No matter what happens. Even if Microsoft completely backpedal on the hilarious mess that is their current next gen DRM offering, or if Sony turn out to have been filthy liars, we’ll remember that great moment when Jack Tretton tore off his shirt and crowd surfed to the bar on the shoulders of an acutely adoring, cheering audience. And that’s the magic of E3. Fallacies. And memories. Every year when June rolls around people ask ‘is E3 still relevant?’. The answer is; of course it is. Though sometimes only for the camaraderie.  Kaz Hirai’s five hundred and ninety nine US dollars fiasco and subsequent meme left its mark on the industry long after the PS3 became partially competitive. And there was even a beautiful reference to ‘giant enemy crabs’ and ‘massive damage’ in this years showing, although exactly where it was now alludes my sleep deprived consciousness.

E3 was great this year, although not quite for the reasons we at Respawn prophesied. It’s massively relevant to our industry, it’s a part of the culture, and a vital coming together of the community, whether that’s in person at the show, or across the many digital channels that broadcast the event and encourage comment and discussion. E3, we salute you. But not as much as we salute Jack Tretton, the nervous uncle, the professional apologist, the man who just reversed into your car in the parking lot and has come to swap insurance details. Well done Jackie Boy, this one’s for you.


E3 2013
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[COMIC] Mark Guest The Detective: Part Two

So, occasionally Guesty forgets things. Sometimes it’s whether Tom writes for us. Other times it’s how to breathe. A lot of the time he forgets to do comics, which isn’t so much a vice as it is a reassurance for all us lot. Still, every so often he remembers, and endeavors to get one done before he dies. This week, he’s put one together on exactly this situation, after it was carefully explained to him, and the sound of our voices clearly echoed around in that tin can he calls a head for several days. Which is nice. Between Guesty not doing comics, and Tom persistently spewing up great ideas that neither of us have any time to actually do, things at Respawn HQ are really cooking. In a kind of, oh no the oven’s been on for three hours and now everything’s burnt kind of way.

After endlessly beating Tom over the head with a copy of Bioshock Infinite until he angrily told me he’d had enough of all this physical abuse not to mention the incessant name calling we’d been directing at various members of his family, quitting and storming out, dramatically slamming the door leaving me baffled as to why he didn’t like the violence but Guesty seemingly couldn’t get enough of it, all three of us finally finished the game.  And Tom didn’t really quit. And I learnt to use full stops. Well, ish. Since then, aside from all the exasperated conversations we’ve hurled each other’s way regarding the games incomparable ending, we’ve all moved on to greener pastures. Tom’s currently in the process of causing Lara Croft to die repeatedly in the new Tomb Raider, and I’ve taken to siting up till 3am playing the same level of Hotline Miami. God knows what Guesty’s up to, though we largely imagine it’s got something to do with building utterly impossible monstrosities in Minecraft. Oh and complaining  that he’s not working at Rooster Teeth yet. Anyway, here’s the comic, enjoy!

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3DS XL: Larger Machines > Games








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So just as we consider ourselves to be on the cusp of a flurry of GAMES for the 3DS, Ninty go ahead and announce the inevitable 3DSXL, missing the 3DSLite and the 3DSi out of the veritable list of disappointing cosmetic hardware upgrades. At least this is an opportunity for them to get rid of the Circle Pad Pro and actually build in the horrifically glaring omission of a second stick. BUT NOPE. They’re just releasing it again. But bigger. Obviously. Well done Nintendo, another baffling move. Naturally, Guesty’s running out of things to play on his eye-watering anti-sobriety simulator and his fury over Kingdom Hearts 3, or whatever it is he’s waiting for, will become pepetual one day. Bless him. Anyway, here is his anger-driven scrawling for this week; I’m beginning not to like my cartoon-self. I don’t know why. He just looks shifty. Do I look that shifty?

Let us know if you’re getting a 3DSXXXL, is it a bad move by Nintendo? Does it make perfect sense and we should shut up? Is using one really in any way similar to being drunk, or am I going to keep wringing out that metaphor forever?? Talk!

Trials Evolution: Your GP Will See You Now









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Sometimes Trials makes me want to tear off my own fingernails with a sharpened pencil, and then eat the fingernails, and also the pencil.

And yet, I never want to stop playing.

Without a doubt, the original Trials was one of the purest examples of true Xbox Live Arcade ingenuity. Taking a concept that had already done the Newgrounds rounds, Trials found a faithful following in the corridors of the infamous flash-game site and did so by way of its oddly impressive physics and endless replay opportunity. And because falling off was hilarious.

The very mention of the game’s looming XBLA release sold it to me, and like hundreds and thousands of other players, I fell in love with the stylistic approach to launching a bloke 300 feet off a motorcross bike and watching him limply rebound off pieces of concrete until his body more closely resembled a collection of small pieces of splintered wood in a bag.

To round off what was already a complete package of challenging, addictive gameplay, with enough variation in the form of its mini-games and harder levels to keep you playing until your thumbs became faint outlines replaced mainly by dust and frustration, they through in a level editor.

In hands as infantile as my own, the level editor was merely an additional way to make poor old Helmety McDriver plummet to his incorrectly perceived death. However once a particularly talented friend of mine got to grips with it, it became a treasure trove of utterly, incomprehensibly, hilariously impossible tracks that kept a room of us laughing until we couldn’t see.

How do you improve upon such a winning formula, without sacrificing even an inch of that core-mechanic that captured everybody’s hearts the first time round?

You do everything that Evolution has done. Bigger, longer, more exciting tracks, with a multitude of explosive, awe-inspiring scenic set pieces. Evolution is bigger, but just as focussed, triumphantly bringing the concrete industrial setting of the first game to the great outdoors and beyond. And it’s not only the setting that’s gotten all ahead of itself. The level editor lets you MAKE GAMES. Full games. Variants of classic formulas like Kula World and Bloke With Ski’s on, as well as FIRST PERSON SHOOTERS are all possible with the unfathomably malleable editor that comes bundled with the only game on XBLA.

Thing is, there is no possible way that your doctor would endorse the intake of Trials Evolution. He’d recommend against it infact. He’d say it’s bad for you, and if you play it too much, you’ll end up a furious, quivering shell of a man, who squandered his riches on replacement pads and thumbs.

The nightmarish addition to Evolution is the ghost markers of all your friends’ runs. In the original, they were secreted tidily within the distance meter right at the top of your screen. Easy to ignore. But not anymore. A small collection of white, labelled dots hover tentatively above your head whilst the starting counter ticks down, and then BANG. They’re all gone. Should you momentarily manage to catch up to them, you become so entangled, so blindly fixated with maintaining your lead, all essence of accuracy, balance and self-preservation go hurtling out of the window, and you end up scrambling down an almost vertical drop, scraping your face along the floor desperately trying to regain any idea of control before clipping some peculiarly positioned explosives and are sent flying into space never to be seen again.

Or. Something. You know.

In summary, Trials Evolution is infuriatingly, disparagingly, despicably brilliant, and I hate it. Buy it immediately, if not sooner.