Planet Iron Blogger SF

November 20, 2017

Doctor Popular

Humble Bundle’s Fall Sale: The 20 games you need to buy!

Christine and I have recently set up a sweet and easy gaming set up in our house and have been enjoying some really games as a result. Throughout the years, I’ve amassed dozens of great games that sucked on my laptop, but play great on our new set up. A few days ago, Humble Bundle launched their massive Humble Store Fall Sale with huge discounts on thousands of games. There are some great deals there so I wanted to put together my list of 20 games that you need to buy this week.

Two notes before I get started though: We love the “console gaming” experience. So this list is only geared towards games that look great on a big screen tv and play great with a controller. If you have a PC around, I highly recommend getting an X-Box style controller like this (or the wireless version here) and an HDMI cable and just leaving Steam in “Big Screen” mode.

Second, since I’m a Humble Bundle monthly subscriber, I have a link I can share that should generate an additional 10% off of any games on this list. Try it out and let me know if it works. Now, onto the games:

Crawl $14.99 $6.74

Easily the best thing we’ve bought all year. Crawl is a roguelike party game that starts off with a set of desperate adventures killing each other in order to survive on an adventure gone wrong. A winner emerges and continues their quest through the caves, but is haunted by the ghosts of the other players. The art is fantastic, the game is ADDICTIVE, and the humor is spot on. It’s even fun in single player mode. Top of my list… buy it buy it buy it!

Superhot $24.99 $13.49
This game is even better than I thought it would be, which is crazy because I thought it was going to be GREAT. It’s a first person shooter where time only moves where you do. Basically, it makes you feel like Neo in the Matrix… or Braid meets Halo. The end result feels like more of a strategy/puzzle solving game than a typical shoot ’em up.

Rogue Legacy $14.99 $2.69

Another roguelike that’s incredibly addictive. If you aren’t familiar, roguelikes are games that auto-generate unique levels that no-one else will ever encounter again. Roguelikes are usually top down, but as the definition has broadened, we’ve started to see more and more roguelike platformers. Spelunky is probably the most popular of which, but Rogue Legacy is more my cup of tea. Every time you die, a new and unique hero is created. Don’t get too attached though, because the levels can be pretty crazy.

Inside $19.99 $8.99

A puzzle solving platformer from the creators of Limbo. Nuff said.
Haven’t played Limbo yet? You should probably fix that too.

The Stanley Parable $13.99 $3.36

Trust me.

Tooth And Tail $19.99 $12.59

I’m a fan of rodent themed real time strategy games, but Tooth and Tail is so much more than that. It’s strategic, but with a more casual feel (compared to Starcraft). As I said before, all the games on this list are intended to work well with a controller, but it’s rare to find an RTS that works well with a controller.

Undertale $9.99 $4.49

We’ve been waiting a long time for this game to go on sale. It’s one of those games that all of your friends will say “You have to get it”, but you never do… until now because it’s on sale. It’s worth it.

Conarium $19.99 $10.79

One of the few “Lovecraftian” games that actually gets it right. It’s extremely beautiful and well researched game based on At the Mountains of Madness. Takes about a weekend to play, which is just perfect for me.

Sproggiwood $14.99 $2.69

Another roguelike game, but one that plays great with a controller. I saw the creators of this game give a talk at Roguelike Celebration in SF last weekend. Imagine my surprise when I went to go buy it and discovered it was on sale for 80% off! I’ve been playing it non-stop ever since.

Hollow Knight $14.99 $8.90

Gorgeous and fun. Get it while it’s on sale.

Rain World $19.99 $7.19

I backed this game on Kickstarter a few years ago and have no regrets. It’s a pixel art game with an eye for detail and characters that seem to come alive in front of you. There are so many small little animations and quirks that really make this game feel like a living creature.

Nidhogg $9.99 $6.29

This is one of those games that everybody needs to own. The basic premise is that it’s a fencing game, filled with strategy and timing. It’s weird and addictive and I just want to master it. I need to master it.

Everything $14.99 $7.41

Imagine a game where you could play as everything. The dog, the car, the beetle, the galaxy, a bacterium. Everything is a game unlike anything else you’ve ever played. In fact, I wouldn’t even describe it as a game. Our favorite way to play Everything is to set a couple simple rules, then sit back and watch as the game explores itself. It’s hard to explain, but a real work of art. In fact, I wish I could have a digital picture frame that just has Everything running on it all the time, so I could just walk by and see some new perspective at any given time. Designed by David O’Reilly and distribute by Double Fine.

Crypt of the Necrodancer $14.99 $3.36

A roguelike dungeon explorer with a really cool rhythm mechanic added to it. Plays great with a controller and fun in single player or multiplayer mode.

Literally everything by Double Fine

Some great deals here. Psychonauts, Costume Quest 2, Stacking, Massive Chalice, Headlander, Iron Brigade, Brutal Legend. Just buy them all.

Let me know if I missed any good deals, but if it doesn’t have full controller support, I don’t want to hear about. Full controller or it isn’t worth mentioning.

Don’t forget, use this link before you buy your games for an additional 10% off. I don’t get a referral or anything, I’m just sharing it because why not.

The post Humble Bundle’s Fall Sale: The 20 games you need to buy! appeared first on Doc Pop's Blog.

by doc at November 20, 2017 04:50 AM

Certainly Strange

Fencing Épée

So my life has been kind-of-sort-of too scheduled and structured lately, what with every thing scheduled every single night of the week. The exact same week I switched to String Orchestra on Tuesday nights (versus Saturdays which I did before) … Continue reading

by Steen at November 20, 2017 03:50 AM

November 19, 2017

I before E except Gleitzman

Motherpeace x Dior

Was surprised to find this Motherpeace tarot collaboration with Dior. Not usually a high-end brand fan but this is pretty sweet.

November 19, 2017 05:46 PM

Diegetic Games

Chaos is a Ladder – first test

Today I ran the first test of a new game with the working title Chaos is a Ladder. This two-player game is inspired by Littlefinger from Game of Thrones and has one player take the role of a schemer in a chaotic fantasy kingdom while the other player runs the rest of the world as it reacts to the unfolding schemes. The Littlefinger player will manipulate their way from lowly lord / lady to King or Queen of the realm… or die trying.

Sometimes my first playtest is 80% of the way done, other times it’s closer to 10%… this was one of the 10% times. This version of the game had lots of mechanics mixed together. There were Favors, Trust, Evidence, Strength, Chaos, and inter-House relationships – way too much to track! The design ended up somewhere between mechanical puzzle and storytelling game and suffered from not being strongly tilted one way.

There’s definitely something interesting in this space though and I’m excited to keep iterating. The next iteration will be highly narrative focused with dramatically simplified mechanics. I’m looking forward to sharing the results here after the next test!

If you want to get updates about new games and drafts, sign up for the Diegetic Games Newsletter

November 19, 2017 04:36 PM

a digital life

November 18, 2017

a digital life

Doctor Popular

Strange Noises In an Abandoned Military Bunker

A few years back we were at an art show deep within an abandoned bunker in SF. There was a meeting place, some nearby parking lot, then someone would gather small groups and help show them the path into the bunker. Once we were a few rooms in, there were candles on the ground and urban explorer themed photos along the walls. It was pretty awesome.

About an hour later we had seen all the art and tasted as much cheap whiskey as we could stand, so we started exploring deeper and deeper within the tunnels. One of the rooms we found ourselves in had fantastic acoustic properties. It wasn’t much bigger than the rest of the rooms, but every sound we made just seemed to echo off the walls. So I turned my headlamp off and started to make an “ommmmm” sound, hoping my friends would join me. That’s when I discovered that our friend Ken was a skilled Tuvan throat singer, because of course he is.

Here is a short recording from that night:

The post Strange Noises In an Abandoned Military Bunker appeared first on Doc Pop's Blog.

by doc at November 18, 2017 04:21 AM

November 17, 2017

a digital life

November 15, 2017

a digital life

November 13, 2017

Certainly Strange

The Paradox of Theseus’ Gaming Tower

Yarr I’m way behind on my comics schedule! Between having my birthday and setting up a gaming computer to hook up to the TV with Xbox controllers, I guess it hasn’t felt like I’ve had much free time. But it … Continue reading

by Steen at November 13, 2017 05:32 AM

a digital life

November 12, 2017

I Like Turtles

Marathons, party subs, and a birthday


November 12, 2017 05:00 AM

November 10, 2017

a digital life

November 08, 2017

Doctor Popular

Make your own yo-yo string

After sharing my review of Spool Thread Co’s yo-yo string last week, I’ve really been diving into the world of yo-yo string. After watching Airetic String’s tutorials on how to make your own yo-yo string, I decided to give it a shot myself.

Here’s a brief recap of the string making process:


  • Tie the thread to a bolt, then set up a drill about 10-12 feet away.
  • Walk the thread from the bolt to the drill, then back again a few times (this requires experimentation, but try starting with 6 or 7 passes).
  • Keeping the string tight, start spinning the drill clockwise. The string should start to tighten up a bit. Keep spinning until the twisted string has shortened by a foot or two.
  • Keeping the string tight, fold it in half so the two ends are now joined. What used to be the center of the string should now get connected to the drill.
  • Reverse the drill’s spin so it goes counterclockwise, then spill the string to let it twist back on itself. The string should start to get longer again. Keep spinning until the twisted string stops lengthening and begins to shorten again.
  • The part nearest the drill is now where the yo-yo will go. Measure the string from there to the length you want it, tie it off and cut off the excess.

The post Make your own yo-yo string appeared first on Doc Pop's Blog.

by doc at November 08, 2017 07:24 PM

November 07, 2017

a digital life

November 06, 2017

Diegetic Games

Metatopia 2017 Recap

I had a phenomenal time at Metatopia this year! It was so great to catch up with old friends, meet internet friends in person, and discover great new designers.

I’m hoping to be back east for Dreamation but February feels so far away!

My own tests – for Behind the Magic – were extremely helpful and I’m very happy with how the rules are shaping up. I tested the game three times and all three yielded the silly fun I wanted! The games were full of bumbling wizards, jaded barbarians, amoral nobles and other inept adventurers – not once did our heroes save the day :)

I’ll be revising the rules based on the feedback and hope to share a playable draft in the next few weeks!

If you want to get updates about new games and drafts, sign up for the Diegetic Games Newsletter

November 06, 2017 04:36 PM

I before E except Gleitzman

November 05, 2017

Doctor Popular

Spool Thread Co String Review

I recently ordered some yo-yo string from Spool Thread Co and love it. In fact, I’ve been using the same string for a few weeks. Since one of the selling points of STC string is it’s long life, I decided to do a video review over the course of a week. Here’s the result.

You can pick up the string online at or follow them on instagram.

The post Spool Thread Co String Review appeared first on Doc Pop's Blog.

by doc at November 05, 2017 06:27 PM

I Like Turtles



November 05, 2017 04:00 AM

November 03, 2017

a digital life

November 02, 2017

a digital life

November 01, 2017

a digital life

October 30, 2017

Doctor Popular

Saddened by the loss of Stephen Parr from Oddball Films

We’ve spent many nights watching strange film collections at Oddball Films, the massive film warehouse located on the  3rd floor of an old building in the Mission.  Stephen Parr, the founder and archivist at Oddball, would curate specially themed nights of obscure 16mm films and play them for 30-40 lucky attendees. The space was hot, the seats were uncomfortable, and the films often felt like they were falling apart in front of you. It was magical.

You’d spend the night watching retro-futuristic films about robots, or experimental animation, or 1960s films about the future of music. The shows were well curated and you’d rarely see the same film twice.

We always knew it was a special place, so we cherished each visit as if it were our last. We figured the rents would go up, or the film might catch fire, but we were saddened to hear that it was Stephen himself that would no longer be with us. He passed away on October 24th. We hope the space can continue to run without him. If it does, promise me you’ll try to attend one of their Oddball Film nights. It was truly the home of some of my favorite Mission memories.

ODDBALL from Joshua Moore on Vimeo.

The post Saddened by the loss of Stephen Parr from Oddball Films appeared first on Doc Pop's Blog.

by doc at October 30, 2017 10:23 PM

a digital life

Certainly Strange

Aza Guilla

Working on my Halloween costume for this year. This year I decided to be the Lady of the Long Silence, Aza Guilla (from Scott Lynch’s Gentleman Bastard series). Since she is a goddess, and probably not real, we’re not really … Continue reading

by Steen at October 30, 2017 04:21 AM

I before E except Gleitzman

October 29, 2017

Diegetic Games

Heading to Metatopia 2017!

I’m heading to New Jersey this week for Metatopia - the top playtesting conference in the country. I had a phenomenal time last year and am very excited to bring a new game this year.

I’ll be running three or four playtests of Behind the Magic a fantasy mockumentary that is a mix of Lord of the Rings and This is Spinal Tap. The group roleplay a party of incompetent heroes on an epic quest which will likely fail. I’ve playtested it twice so far and it’s been a lot of fun!

I’m also looking forward to testing a lot of other designers games and attending some panels.

I’ll post an update here on the blog once the conference is over – wish me luck!

If you want to get updates about new games and drafts, sign up for the Diegetic Games Newsletter

October 29, 2017 04:18 PM

I Like Turtles

Krasser visit


October 29, 2017 04:00 AM

October 25, 2017

Doctor Popular

A million Pony Farts

Pony Farts is a simple slack/whip yo-yo trick I shared back in 2010. I always loved how flexible it was to work into combos, but it never really caught on. This week I decided to document some of my favorite Pony Fart variations to encourage players to explore the idea a little further.

Alvin, a yo-yoer I follow on Instagram, just shared another PF variation that I absolutely love! hashtagponyfarts

Silly repeater using @unprld #elimination #trickcircle #ccrepeaters similar to @docpop pony farts!

A post shared by Alvin Simon (@alvin.yoyo) on Oct 24, 2017 at 3:52pm PDT

Here is the original Pony Farts video, which oddly looks better than the one I just shot 7 years later 🙁

The post A million Pony Farts appeared first on Doc Pop's Blog.

by doc at October 25, 2017 04:49 PM

The greatest yo-yo videos of all time

A recent Facebook post asked “What is your favorite yo-yo video?” and the results were pretty stunning. I’ve made a lot of yo-yo videos, but don’t really watch as many as I should. Thanks to this surprisingly awesome thread, I’ve discovered a bunch of new videos and had a chance to re-explore some classic videos with a fresh new perspective on how innovative they were at the time.

It all got me to thinking about some of my favorite yo-yo videos. Youtube didn’t come around until 2005, so many old school/self hosted videos have disappeared. As a point of reference, Glasslab Experiment #4 (my first big yo-yo video) came out in 2001. I’m sure there are many more that I may have forgotten, but here’s my (incomplete) list of the greatest yo-yo videos of all time. :

Hometown Hero – Augie Fash

Loyal – Jason Lee

Breath – Spencer Berry

CLYW Presents: Tessa Piccillo x Kodiak – Tessa Piccillo

STEADyo – Joey

The Letter Blue – Guy Wright

SuperYo Kickin’ Tricks Volume One – various
(a commercially released VHS tape from 1999!!!)

The Jason Tapes – Augie Fash

Revival Chapter 1 – Grant Johnson

Welcome to Naptown – Takeshi

The Aesthetic of Freedom – Charles Haycock

Yo-Yo Wizardry 2 – Ben Conde

Kaibun – Sid Pires

Win by Default – John Ando, Yuki Spencer, & Miguel Correa

Afghanistan – Jason Lee

Memory Dump vol. 2 – Bryan Figueroa

1a43v3r – John Sekar and Whip

Bangladesh – Jason Lee

Fidget – Jason Lee

EX3CUTE – Mikhail Tulabut

Lahar – Jensen Kimmitt

Tunnels – Miguel Correa

Eric Koloski Presents: Yuuki Spencer 2012 – Yuuki Spencer

CLYW Presents Anthony Rojas – Anthony Rojas

Studio Sessions 1 – various

Things That Feel Good – Tyler Vienneau

YoYoFactory Presents: Supernova – Tyler Severance and John Ando

Wolf – Daniel Zammy Ickler

Decade – various

No More Hot Dogs – Abe DaGravedigga

Free Generation – Johnnie Delvalle

DiamondBack – Eric Koloski

Yellow – various


Classical Mechanics – John Chow

Goldmine – Jensen Kimmitt and Charles Haycock

In Vegas with Mark Montgomery – Mark Montgomery
(I should know this, cause I made it, but I can’t recall. 2005?)

Bend and Fold – Adam Brewster

János Karancz 2014 – János Karancz

Brainstorm – János Karancz

Tangerine – Keiran Cooper

Magikarp – Jensen Kimmitt

The post The greatest yo-yo videos of all time appeared first on Doc Pop's Blog.

by doc at October 25, 2017 03:30 AM

October 22, 2017

I before E except Gleitzman

Certainly Strange

Eat Your Heart Out

Things can get weird when you’re born under the Sign of the Atronach. Like, you can cast amazing spells that most could never even dream of! But you also spend all your time THINKING about magicka and scrounging for magicka … Continue reading

by Steen at October 22, 2017 08:34 PM

I Like Turtles

A wedding in France


October 22, 2017 04:00 AM

October 19, 2017

Randy Lubin

New Episode of Jamming on Games – Biosensors

The second episode of my podcast, Jamming on Games, is up!

Episode 2: Biosensors

I have Nathan Maton on and we talk about using biosensor data in storytelling games. One of my favorite ideas from it was using an EEG to determine the power of a spell being cast – the more focused the player, the stronger the effect.

Let me know what you think!

October 19, 2017 05:01 PM

October 16, 2017

a digital life

A Fire Story

People cope with disasters in their own ways. Artist Brian Fies wrote and illustrated a comic book based on his firsthand experience with the Santa Rosa fire.

“The sun was a dim orange disk in a salmon-gray curtain of smoke. I inhaled my neighbors’ lives.”

Take a few minutes to read this. It’s worth your time.


by jeremybrooks at October 16, 2017 08:23 PM

Randy Lubin

Big Bad Con 2017 Recap

I just got back from another wonderful Big Bad Con. BBC is an amazing Bay Area gaming convention that has a phenomenal community of designers and players and a huge number of storytelling RPGs and larps. This year I helped schedule activities for folks during the days before the the con and it was a great opportunity to spend some extra time with some of the wonderful members of the community!

Here’s a quick recap of the games I played, both before and during the con:

Welcome Guests

I started the week with Jason Morningstar’s upcoming freeform game Welcome Guests and it was great, creepy fun. Jason and I played friends on a backpacking trip who were invited into a family’s home for dinner. The family (the other players) were cannibals and over the course of the meal they were figuring out which of us to eat and whether to invite either of us to marry into the family. We were mostly oblivious and, by the end of the game, they had murdered us and put us on the menu for the next set of guests.

This was a really good time and, despite the subject matter, it wasn’t that dark – I enjoyed the heavy dramatic irony of my player’s cluelessness. I highly recommend giving this a play when it’s published.

The Regulars

Next, I played an early version of Nathan Black’s game, The Regulars. A group of us played bartenders and waiters who hung out after work at a bar together. The game was a series of ten minute loops, each being a different night. Each night we received new cards which detailed the indignities we had suffered at work and we had various ways to vent or help each other cope. It was a fun and sometimes frustrating (in a good way!) game and I left it with a bunch of extra empathy for folks who worked in the restaurant industry. I hope Nathan publishes a draft soon so more people can check it out.

Make Haste!

My first official game of the BBC was also my first time GMing a game at a public convention (not including Metatopia playtests). I brought a draft of my adventures-on-a-map game Make Haste! and it went pretty well! The players told a nice story about a group of colonists on an alien planet, braving the elements and the local fauna to migrate to a new home. I think the design has reached a local maxima and I want to publish the final version before too long.


Love Commander

Next up was Love Commander, run by it’s designer Dev Purkayastha. It is a lighthearted hybrid roleplaying / card game about the crew of a starship going on missions. Our captain was comically aloof and we didn’t gel enough to overcome the threats. It ended with the entire crew dead but a good time had by all.

The Association for the Advancement of Fairy Tale Creatures

Friday night I played the Big Bad Wolf, vice chair of the The Association for the Advancement of Fairy Tale Creatures (rules). This was a very silly 20-person larp in the form of annual board meeting for fairy tale creatures. As Big Bad Wolf I tried to oppress the good characters, the minor characters, and pretty much everyone else. It was a lot of fun but, with 20 players, it was highly chaotic but facilitators Karen Twelves and Jason Morningstar did a great job of keeping us on track. This is probably a good first larp for someone who wants to try out the hobby and is okay being a bit zany.

Attention Passengers

Saturday morning I participated in Banana Chan’s new larp Attention Passengers. She’s an awesome designer of creepy games and also a great video producer – it was great to finally play one of her games! This game had six players stuck on a stopped subway car at 3am in NYC; something strange is going on and the longer the car is stopped, the more ominous the vibe. There was an audio track that led us through the game – complete with conductor announcements and subway noises – it was a perfect way to facilitate the game and ramp up the creepiness. I had a great time playing and I’m sure it’ll be a hit!

Strange Gravity

Next up was Strange Gravity, run by it’s designer Jay Treat. This was a 9-person larp in which we created and played out an episode of Star Trek. Despite a somewhat serious tone it was still very fun. The game splits narrative control among the players which led to a nice balance of different folks interjecting to steer the plot. My narrator power was to ramp up the emotion in a scene and that led to plenty of tense moments. If you’re a fan of Star Trek (or similar shows), check it out!


The Sunday morning slot can be a tough one, especially after a long weekend of games, but Shemesh was the perfect game for it. Wendy Gorman, the designer, led us through a worldbuilding game set in a solarpunk utopia. It was a calm and optimistic look at a future full of little vignettes and slices of life. It was bubbly and heartwarming and a perfect way to start the day.

Here is My Power Button

I ended BBC with Here Is My Power Button, an emotionally powerful game by Brodie Atwater, facilitated by James Stuart and John Stavropoulos. It’s set in the near future at a university that is testing artificial intelligence personal assistants that are extremely advanced. The players paired off into human / AI duos and I played a human paired with Jay Treat’s AI. We then played a series of sessions where the humans would visit the AI in the lab and the AI grew from blank slates to reflections of their human owners.

Jay and my characters developed a rich intellectual and collaborative relationship but other pairs had highly emotional, hero worshiping, or abusive dynamics. It was a really cool game and my description doesn’t do it justice – all the players were a bit emotional by the end of it. I highly recommend playing this if you have the opportunity – it’s one of my favorite larps I’ve played so far!

Final Thoughts

I had an awesome weekend and it was wonderful hanging out with so many great designers and players. I’m looking forward to seeing many of them again in a few weeks at Metatopia. If you’re at all interested in storytelling games, I highly recommend checking out Big Bad Con next year!

October 16, 2017 06:02 AM

Doctor Popular

Another 24 Hour Comic Day finished… now what?

I spent yet another weekend making my twelfth 24 Hour Comic Book for 24hr Comic Book Day 2017. The usual goal is to make a 24 page comic in 24 consecutive hours, but this year I decided to make a bunch of mini-comics instead. I managed to get 8 finished during the 24 hour period and I think they look fantastic. I’m not sure what I’m going to do with them though. One thought was to do a limited run of risograph prints of all 8 comics and sell them through Kickstarter. Another idea would be to sell them as an assemble-yr-own-mini-comics set, which would be good for me because cutting and folding each of these comics is going to be really time consuming.

Here’s a timelapse of me drawing this year’s batch of #24hcd comics at Mission Comic’s and Art.

The Bay City Beacon also wrote this story about our 24 Hour Comic Book Day challenge and Mission Comics. I also made some 24hcd bingo cards! If anyone is interested in printing those for your event, you can download them here (or here).

The post Another 24 Hour Comic Day finished… now what? appeared first on Doc Pop's Blog.

by doc at October 16, 2017 05:40 AM

Certainly Strange

Julie d’Aubigny

So I did this year’s 24 Hour Comic Day about my own personal hero, Julie d’Aubigny. AKA Mademoiselle Maupin. I’m less happy that I didn’t come up with my own original story for this year’s comic, but I just was … Continue reading

by Steen at October 16, 2017 04:48 AM

October 15, 2017

I before E except Gleitzman

I Like Turtles

A decade of TGIFunk


October 15, 2017 04:00 AM