Category Archives: Blogs

PlayStation Home Getting A Bullet In Its Head, Finally

I remember watching the 2007 GDC Sony press conference when they announced PlayStation Home, an ambitious 3D chat room and pseudo-themepark for all things PlayStation. I thought, at the time, “So, this is what it looks like for Sony to take a risk with their online service. Interesting.” Mind you, at the time I was waiting for Sony to challenge Xbox Live’s domination of console services, in spite of the then $50 per annum price. They just lacked the same stability and… frankly… I could never stomach playing an FPS on that tiny DualShock 3.

I saw a lot of potential in that initial presentation. Common areas, a flexible infrastructure to play games in, collectibles. But then it launched to be an absolute mess. Most of what you could do at launch was walk around, text chat, rearrange your apartment, participate in the farce of 3D chat room dance parties, and maybe play some cheapish games that would feel more like the remote control boats at Six Flags. Oh, and ads. Tons of ads. But what really closed the door on PlayStation Home to me was the terribly unresponsive interface. I felt I was playing on a remote PC routed hacker-style through servers in Russia, South Africa, and Uruguay.

Today, I learned that PlayStation Home has it’s head on the chopping block, and the ax falls March 2015.

It’s about time.

PlayStation Home was pushed by Phil Harrison after seeing it’s predecessor, a 2D multiplayer lobby on PlayStation 2 called “Hub”. Imagining potential, he killed the project on PS2 and moved it up to PS3. Today, PlayStation Home has played host to many micro games and even some larger game experiences. Home even ran an alternate reality game (like we haven’t had enough of them). But ultimately, all those experiences were built on the same stilted, unresponsive system, the very system that was supposed to enable all these experiences.

So, for anyone who tried PlayStation Home, this comes as no surprise.

So, to bid PlayStation Home goodbye, we should pay homage to the greatest thing that Home gave us: an epic troll. This should come as a surprise.

Where is our beer!

Most of what we are doing right now is behind the scenes, social media, and website stuff. We are not serving our beer right now except in a limited capacity at The League of Extraordinary Brewers. We want to let everyone try our beer, we really do but there are a lot of legal restrictions on this. So, be patient with us. We will have beer for you as soon as we can get it to you.

The End is Near

 

 

The IndieGoGo campaign is coming to a close. We very clearly did not meet our goal. This is not a sign of the end of this company by any means. We have a lot to look forward to. We are always working in the background to move Warlocks Games and Beer forward.

We really appreciate all of those who backed us and decided to take the leap of faith to put their hard in dollars in our care. There were a lot of people that we met during this process that verbally expressed support but it was you, the backer, the ones who showed up to our events, the ones who have tried our beers. You are the ones I truly and sincerely feel deserve all of the thanks. It is people like you that reinforce and strengthen the vision I have for Warlocks. From the depths of my heart, Thank You.

As I said before, there is still a future for Warlocks. That future may not be the exact vision we had 2 months ago but it is still awesome and still worth your support. We will have news for you as soon as we can confirm our plans. In the mean time we are creating more videos and podcasts for you to enjoy on the ‘ol warlocks website.

Thanks again,

Jonathan “jonny” Niess

aka: Jonnydem

Warlocks Crowd Funding

 

I am writing this blog post on the eve of Comicpalooza, one of the biggest weekends of my life. I know, on the surface, that statement sounds ridiculous. It’s a comic book convention, what could be so important about that? I’ll tell you. First let me tell you a little story.

This company, my company, Warlocks Games and Beer, was sparked into existence almost 3 years ago between two friends’ hand written correspondence while one of them was in Marine boot camp. It’s a funny thing, hand writing letters. There is something very personal and introspective about physically putting pen to paper. The name of the business came later but those hand written letters helped us figure out what we really wanted to do, open a gaming brewpub.

We knew the first thing we needed to do was get better at brewing. We hadn’t been doing it for more than a year or two but we loved it. You learn pretty early on when you pick up brewing as a hobby how endless the options are for creating recipes. One of us, of course, was a United States Marine but that didn’t stop us from exchanging recipes. We stayed the course and kept on brewing.

A brew day back then would usually take 6 to 8 hours depending on the beer and what equipment we had. There can be long periods of time when the brewer does not need to be actively tending to the beer(or wort) so we would run in and play a round or two of Halo: Reach before running back to check on the brew. We had the timing down perfect.

About this time we decided on a name. I thought it was perfect, Warlocks. The whole story about the name is not one I often tell. I am hesitant to tell the story because it doesn’t exactly pair well with the current objectives of the company. I don’t want anyone to get confused about our intentions. SO, this is what I’ll do. I’ll tell you to watch the movie Superbad. If you are watching that movie you will probably figure it out.

Eventually the owner of The League of Extraordinary Brewers reached out to me on Facebook. She had information to share about a co-working brewpub she was getting off the ground. I didn’t think much about what was being offered to me until I realized the possibility; I could sell my beer to people. This is exactly what I needed. A low cost way to get my product in front of people and make money while doing it.

Long story short, we jumped on board and went for a ride. The League of Extraordinary Brewers has had it’s ups and downs over the past year and a half. Even during the down times we were still doing what I could never have done anywhere else. I was selling my beer.

It has been confusing at times for customers. Many times people thought they were walking into THE Warlocks Games and Beer establishment. In truth we were but a part of The League. I was torn on whether I liked the idea of people believing that The League was Warlocks. Either way, people knew who we were.

Time has passed and we believe it is time to find Warlocks Games and Beer it’s own home. There is no going back. We need to be our own place. Houston isn’t going to be lacking large number of brewpubs for very much longer. We need to strike while the iron is hot.

I feel like I have made many of the correct moves to get the business where it is now. I have never been someone who thinks he knows it all and is going to show the world how it’s done. When I identify a weakness I go to an expert in that area and get the advice I need. I surround myself with people that are better than me because I know one person can’t run a business this size. It takes a team.

Launching the indiegogo campaign temporarily destroyed that team work mantra in me. The instant I pushed that button to launch this campaign the weight of this business was thrown on my shoulders and I felt every ounce of it. I immediately became petrified of failure. It took a day or two and some conversations with trusted people before I could truly relax and put things into perspective.

Yes, this campaign is important. The truth is that it won’t make or break this company but it will give us a real good shot at creating Warlocks on our terms. When you get your money from an investor that investor then becomes a partner. In other words you have to end up compromising your vision. If you get your money from a bank you are tied down financially and have to pay back more than you borrowed. The more money we can get from this crowd funding campaign the better. The jury is still out on how important this campaign will ultimately be.

We have a lot of work to do regardless of whether we reach our goal in this campaign or not. I honestly look forward to the work. The day that I don’t have work to do for Warlocks Games and Beer will be a very sad day.

So, if you haven’t figured it out yet, this weekend will be one of the most important in my life because we have a booth at the convention with one goal in mind. To gain fans, friends , and campaign contributors. It’s going to be fun. See you at the con.

On top of all that, this is my first Comicpalooza.

Special thanks to Terry Jones, Jessica Niess, and Jason Danforth.

Jason Speaks: PAX South In San Antonio And How The Hell We Got To This Point

So, let’s start with the introductions. I’m Jason Danforth, the technology adviser to the Warlocks crew. My job under the current regime is to develop kick-ass technical solutions for the Warlocks gamerspace and help grow our community through feats of epic awesomeness engineering. But enough about me. More on all that another day…

I’m here to speak on a subject that is very near and dear to me: PAX South, coming this winter to San Antonio, Texas.

What Is PAX And Why Am I Under This Rock?

The Penny Arcade Expo. A convention brought forth from the æther and made manifest by the creators of Penny Arcade, Jerry Holkins and Mike Krahulik, and their genius business manager Robert Khoo.

Mike, Jerry, and Robert were sitting around a table drinking Jerry’s homebrew (yeah, bet you didn’t know), and the three lamented that there was no dedicated gaming convention. Oh yes, the industry had E3, but only the credentialed media, VIPs, and second cousins of Gamestop managers could get in. Even then, E3 isn’t heavy on playing the games, opting instead for fishing hype-heavy puff pieces out of the media and big reveals out of the established hardware companies and their developers. Meanwhile, Germany has Gamescom, but I only know enough German to pronounce beer styles correctly and occasionally make fun of Germans. Japan has the Tokyo Games Show, but I only know the bits and pieces of Japanese I pick up from anime. (“Choto mate kudasai! You didn’t tell me where the bathroom is!”)

Even then, PA had more in mind. They wanted to see an all-inclusive celebration of all that is gaming. Sprawling auditoriums full of consoles, dank LAN-caves filled with the glorious PC-gaming Master Race, and room after room of table-top gamers. On top of all that, throw in a sea of beanbag chairs for handheld gaming, two nights of game-music tribute bands and nerdcore concerts, and a grueling anything-goes gaming competition known as the Omegathon. All the pieces were set, and PAX was inaugurated.

I’ve been to PAX Prime in Seattle for many years now, first in 2008, though the show actually began in 2004. I found I was late to a great party. Since then, PAX has expanded several times. In 2010, Boston played host to the first PAX East, which has grown into an event easily on par with the original. 2011 saw the first PAX Dev, a PAX-branded trade-exclusive show running just before PAX Prime where the development, marketing, and publishing sides of the industry could come together and talk a few days before the deafening roar of PAX Prime set in. And then, this past year saw the first running of PAX Australia, or “PAX Aus”, in Melbourne, Australia. During my time at PAX, I got to rub elbows with industry professionals, meet tons of friends, drink my ass off at the various community events, and participate in the top secret PAX Prank group. Then, in 2012, I got the call that changed my gaming life. I had been selected as an Omeganaut, one of the participants in the Omegathon with a chance to win a trip to Japan for the Tokyo Games Show. But more on that another day…

PAX Goes South

Let’s jump forward to the more recent past. On April 2nd, 2014, just to emphasize the not-april-fools of the situation, Robert Khoo shared this image.

Owly Images

A trained eye could pick out that aside from the three obvious clocks for the known PAXes, the fourth clock was set for the Central timezone. (Well, that or Nepal…) The PAX community was immediately abuzz with speculation about where the fourth PAX would be held. The veteran Omeganauts put our heads together in our secret Legion of Doom-esque hideout. Most of us agreed that a southern PAX would make the most sense, given the geographic distribution of the other two shows, and decided Texas was probably our best bet. Ignoring my mild but unrealistic hope for a “PAX Hou”, we next considered Austin, a great place for being a little different. We knew Rooster Teeth had their own convention: RTX and there was brief discussion that PAX might merge or co-locate with RTX. Furthermore, Austin already played host to SXSW, a huge logistical undertaking. However, we quickly identified RTX as being in July, which even we Texans can barely stand, and SXSW only works because it’s so spread around Austin. The final nails in that coffin were various reports that the Austin convention center district was ill-equipped for such a dense show as PAX.  From there, we talked ourselves north to the Dallas/Ft. Worth area, going further into the weeds.

Meanwhile, Khoo was eyeing the San Antonio area. When PA finally announced the news at PAX East, we realized we completely missed the mark. And then we started digging. While some reasons are obvious, some people I’ve spoken with do other trade conventions, and they say San Antonio is offering incentives to bring conventions, business, and other economic opportunities to the city. San Antonio is clearly a powerful force in Texas tourism, but what about the rest of the country. Do they know of the beautiful Riverwalk? Did they forget the Alamo? For that matter, do they care about the lone star state that flew under six flags (or the roller coasters that fly above them)? Meanwhile, Khoo claims this is the last major expansion of PAX simply because they don’t have the capacity to run more than four conventions, so he clearly didn’t take the choice lightly.

Last Words

So, this brings me to what I’m looking for as PAX South plays out: Do San Antonio’s and Penny Arcade’s purposes align? The gamer culture certainly embraces Seattle, a hub of technology and of the very spirit of gaming. I’ve only been to Prime, so I can’t say how Boston aligns, but the show seems to do well enough. Does the PAX community care about the wealth of culture in San Antonio? Does San Antonio care for an all-consuming locust horde of gamers from all over the world? And finally, could it be that PAX needs nothing more than a suitable location and all this culture and amenability is ultimately irrelevant? I do have my hopes, since San Antonio is a beautiful place, but only time will tell. For now, PAX South is embryonic. What will emerge nine months from now is anyone’s guess.

March 2014 Update

 

 

Here at Warlocks we are in a transitional state. Some of you may know already that we are looking for a location to call home and setup shop. We will certainly let all of you know more about that when we get it narrowed down. In the meantime please read up on some current and upcoming Warlocks stuff as follows.

 

MEET UPS

We are hosting monthly meet ups at The League of Extraordinary Brewers for the local comic industry as well as the local retro gaming community. Each of these meetups has it’s own Facebook group. They are not public groups but you can ask to become a member on the group page. This is done to keep some control as to who is coming into the group.

If you are interested in joining the comic industry group go HERE.

If you are interested in joining the retro gaming group go HERE.

 

WARPOD (Warlocks Podcast)

We have changed the frequency of the podcast. We have decided to do the podcast once a month due to scheduling issues and our history of skipping release dates. We hope that this will help us divide our focus in an efficient manner. We have a lot of other projects that need our attention and this will help us deliver on them. We will now be releasing the new episodes of the Warpod during the first week of each month. We won’t even attempt to nail down an exact day because we are just not that punctual. You can listen to the Warpod on iTunes, the BeyondPod app, or the Warlocks Games and Beer website.

 

LET’S PLAY

If you follow us on any given social media you may have noticed we are starting to release more “Let’s Play” videos. These videos are one of the projects we discussed above that need our attention. We have some new ideas that we are working on and expect to have more videos out by the second week of April. Zach Nanamus, Jason Danforth, and myself will be playing and commentating in these videos. We have not decided if we will focus on retro games, new games, or try to find some kind of balance between them. If you have a preference let us know on the Twitter, @warlocksbrew.

 

NEW ZACH NANAMUS

Zach Nanamus has a message for Nintendo in his latest video. Check it out HERE.

 

COMICPALOOZA

Comicpalooza is the big comic/nerd convention in Houston. Warlocks will have a booth and possibly something more. Stay tuned for details. Comicpalooza is May 23rd through May 26th. Register now!

 

THE LEAGUE OF EXTRAORDINARY BREWERS

Warlocks is a member of The League of Extraordinary Brewers. This means you can come down and drink our beer at 907 Franklin St. in downtown Houston. The League is open Wed – Sun 4pm to Midnight.

 

SHIRTS/GLASSWARE

We have new Warlocks shirts and glasses for sale! You can come down to The League of Extraordinary Brewers to purchase them. We will have these items available to purchase online soon. These items will also be available for purchase at Comicpalooza.

 

Contest (Expired)

Hey everybody!

 

So I had an idea…

We are holding a contest right now to see how creative you can be. All you need to do is tell us your best super hero names that relate to beer. You know, like Hopman or Barleygirl. Come up with one of the best 3 beer superhero names and you win a Warlocks Games and Beer glass and T-shirt.

To qualify for the contest you will need to “like” and “share” our contest image on Facebook which can be found HERE. Then just shoot out as many beer superhero names as you like on the Warlocks page. Let me be clear about this part. You have to put the superhero names on the Warlocks Games and Beer page, not in the comments of the image. We have designated a post that you can comment on with your name ideas that reads “Beer Superhero names GO!”

You can only win this contest if you are 21 years old or older. The best names will be picked by Warlocks Games and Beer staff/associates.

 

Oh, hey… you should seriously look into going to Comicpalooza in Houston. Your favorite beer/nerd culture concept might be represented there.