Post-travel Link Roundup

I’m still playing catch-up after returning on a red-eye yesterday morning, but here’s what’s crossing my desktop today.

Penny Arcade and its Expo: Joystiq has a handy write-up on the Wil Wheaton keynote at PAX, full of assertions of geek cred. Also, Wired has a handy write-up on the fellows behind Penny Arcade, with further references to their own geek cred. I read this on the plane ride to Seattle and made a mental note to return to it later for all the juicy tidbits within, especially the bit about their new clothing line. (Also note that subscribing to Wired apparently earns you a Geekipedia of some sort.)

Nerd shows: Between Chuck and Big Bang Theory, the Onion AV Club points out that geeks and nerds seem to be popular material in the upcoming fall TV lineup.

Darth Vadertron: Comments following a Gizmodo post suggest the spectrum of fan reaction when Darth Vader is adapted to a Transformers action figure that turns into the Death Star. I guess some are of the mind that one geeky thing plus another geeky thing equals a really awesome geeky thing, whereas others are unimpressed. Much of being unimpressed apparently involves criticizing the details of the figure, such as pointing out that Vader never needed a gun, and asking, “What’s he gonna do in his transformed state? Orbit me to death?”

World of Puberty: A recent article at the Escapist follows the development of the World of Darkness RPG canon, suggesting that the earlier incarnations held their appeal in the world’s dark mirror of puberty. This article is also noteworthy for introducing me to the term ‘grognard capture’ (from Greg Costikyan), which refers to a game design’s ability to narrowly appeal only to hardcore gamers. I guess this stands somewhat in contrast to what I was trying to describe the other day when talking about the “casualcore” gamers Microsoft seems to be imagining must exist, who want less complex games but are expected to shell out prices only an enthusiast would ever contemplate.

Other blogs: Henry Jenkins links to a couple new fandom-oriented blogs by academics: Graphic Engine (about “special effects, videogames, film and television”) and Stranger 109 (exploring “gaming, culture, and technology”). They seem like they might be of interest to readers of this blog who are particularly interested in the formal aspects of traditionally geeky media—and I have to admit that I’m digging the flying saucer image atop the former.