WRUP. It stands for “what are you playing.” That’s it. Answer the question! [Follow this feature’s RSS feed]

WRUP: Spot the real names of actual Transformers edition!

As many of you may know, I am a fan of Transformers, which is frequently ridiculous. This is as evident in the names as it is anywhere else. Thus, I encourage everyone to guess which of the following Transformer names are actual names used by characters and which ones are completely made up. No, you don’t get to know how many are real. And here we go:

Slayride, Windbreaker, Guiltar, Wingwaver, Blue Bacchus, Randy, Sling, Darkwing, Gutcruncher, Blowpipe, Zap, Slapper, Daytonus, Oil Slick, Deep Cover, Autostinger, Carzap, Hydradread, Landshark.

So, which ones are real? Please leave your guesses down in the comments below. Also, since this is What Are You Playing, you should probably let us know what you’re playing in the comments, too. That is ostensibly the point.

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WRUP: This just in, we’re lost on the way to the news edition

Thank you, Tom, I’m out here in the field and I do not know what I’m supposed to be covering out here. We are extremely lost right now, Tom. You should have given us better information about an address, because let me tell you something, if this is where we’re supposed to be, there’s nothing happening, Tom. Either you’re trolling us or you just wanted us lost out here.

Is that how it is, Tom? Did you send us out here to be cold and confused and cover a non-news story while you could make the boss think you’re the right guy for that new anchor spot? Listen, Tom, I swear I will drive back to the station so fast that it will break land speed records. I will smack the smile off your face if you try to take this from me, don’t test me. That’s all from here, now to What Are You Playing with the weekend plans and potentially the weather.

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WRUP: Space Pilot and the Spacing Spaceteers in Space edition

Space Pilot: The leader of the group, Space Pilot pilots his space pilot ship in space. Where he pilots. He wears a hat.

Space Ace: The senior Spaceteer, Space Ace lied on his resume because he’s not legally allowed to work in most of California due to a shoplifting conviction from when he was eight years old. The judge had it out for him due to his family history and the fact that he kept talking about obscene acts with goats.

Space Lady: Actually a dude named Kyle, but this way he gets two paychecks.

Space Puncher: She punches things with space punchers in space, usually jumping from Space Pilot’s space pilot ship.

Space Claims Adjuster: Also Kyle. Freaking Kyle.

Space What Are You Playing: Not a thing. That’s this column. Let us know what you’re doing in the comments.

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WRUP: How to perform simple tasks edition

Lesson 1: Chewing
First, insert the object to be chewed into your mouth. Make sure that it is small enough to fit inside of your mouth. Then, close your jaws around… wait, no, that’s a rock. That is a rock. Take that out of your mouth, it’s going to – and, yes, you’ve chipped your teeth. All right. Let’s step back.

Lesson 0: Identifying things
All right. That hard oblong gray object? That is a rock. It helps if you learn what various things are before interacting with them. Rocks aren’t food. You want food. Food is what you want to eat. You put food in your mouth and chew that, and…

Why are you picking up the rock again? We just talked about this!

Lesson -1: Remembering things
When something happens, you can remember it. It means that… it means… look, I can’t explain remembering things to you, all right?! This is a basic part of how the human brain functions! If I explain it to you but you don’t know how to do it you won’t remember it anyway!

Lesson 2: Leaving a comment in What Are You Playing
Oh, forget it. I’m in too bad a mood now.

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WRUP: The definitive tier list for the old men hanging out at the corner deli edition

Garbage Tier: Jim-Bob
None of Jim-Bob’s rants go anywhere, his grandchild pictures are severely lacking, his accent is grating, and worst of all is that all he ever orders is black coffee and a pickle. Completely worthless in any competitive match.

Bottom Tier: Moishe, Andy, Piotr
Moishe is basically Hiram with slower speech and an ugly walker with halved tennis balls, while Andy and Piotr both have fun stories but only a handful of them. In addition, Piotr’s mid-range control options are weak enough that he does poorly in several matchups.

Mid-Tier: George, Jimmy, Junior, Hiram, Joey
People have argued that George and Junior should really be down at bottom tier, because when they get a bad matchup against, say, Carl or “Boats,” they really have a hard time holding up. But they can all hold their own, and George especially is so dominant against Piotr that it feels wrong putting him in the same tier. Plus, all of them always have candy.

Top Tier: Petey, Carl, “Boats,” Lou
No one would argue with Lou or “Boats” being here. Lou has so many great stories about being in public works for 47 years that he almost gets up to perfect tier, and Carl and “Boats” have a few dominant matchups and no really bad ones. Also, Petey and Carl both have those really nice walkers.

Perfect Tier: Malone, Gus
Not only are these two the undisputed kings of the deli, they even show up for comments in What Are You Playing. What a pair of guys, am I right?
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WRUP: What your favorite type of soda says about you edition

Cola: Who knows or cares.

Sprite/Sierra Mist/7-UP: You want to have soda, but when someone gives you a cola of some sort you’re all like, “whoah, not that much soda.” So then things are sort of all right.

Ginger Ale: You’d probably have fewer stomachaches if you’d stop eating all of that aquarium gravel, but it tastes like stingy candy.

Fruit soda: Stupid juice not bubbling on your tongue. You need to feel alive. Come on, bubble on my tongue, you orange-flavored mess that has probably never even been in the same room as an orange.

Grapefruit soda: Your name is Phillip D’Antonio and today is your first day of fourth grade.

Any of the above, but you call it pop: It’s called soda. Jeez.

Whale soda: Mm, you can really taste the baleen.

Flavored seltzer: Why are you this way? Why do you do this. You come into my home, my home full of soda, and you ask me for this flavorless water with bubbles that tastes like nothing. How can you do this to me? How do you live? Get out! I have no son!

WRUP soda: This isn’t a soda. It’s What Are You Playing. Let us know what you’re playing down in the comments, and stuff.

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WRUP: The moment never comes edition

Congratulations, champion. You’ve won. Now leave.

What’s that? Of course you don’t want to leave. You’re waiting for the moment to come. You’re waiting to feel as if it meant something. You want that confrontation, the point when everything comes together and you can feel as if you’ve learned something important, that there was a lesson to be found and you found it. Here’s your lesson, then: that doesn’t happen. It’s not going to happen.

Being right doesn’t make you feel better. Being successful doesn’t make you feel complete. Accomplishing something difficult only means that you accomplish that difficult task, not that everything else is going to make sense now. You won the battle, but the war you’re fighting is your own. And it continues, and it’s not going anywhere.

Let us know what you’re doing in the comments to this week’s What Are You Playing. The rest is just follow-through.

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Massively Overthinking: What are your criteria for recommending MMOs?

Last week, we got a well-intentioned email from a reader named Rick, who proposed a column in which readers tell us what they are looking for in an MMO and we offer up suggestions for just the right MMO. It’d be like Guild Chat, we imagine, only instead of dispensing guild advice, we’d be telling you folks what to play.

The email prompted some discussion among the MOP staff about whether that would be an effective column to write (or to read). We do answer some questions like that for the podcast from time to time, for example, but I seldom get the impression we’ve actually helped. Most times, the listener has already tried everything and is hoping for a game that simply doesn’t exist yet, so we’re destined to fail. And even then, it’s really difficult to recommend MMOs to people without really knowing their full history with every studio and game. Some of us can’t even find an MMO we want to play!

So we thought we’d open that discussion up for everyone. How do you go about recommending MMOs to other people? What are your criteria? When your sister says she’s done with WoW, your co-worker requests input around the watercooler one day, or Some Dude On Reddit asks for pointers – where do you start?

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WRUP: Introducing the Quintorail edition

Let me ask you something, folks. How often have you tried to take a train in this country only to find that it was running on a single rail? “Almost never,” you say. That’s right! Not because the United States has horrible rail transit and has generally neglected that form of mass movement in favor of a destructive highway system, but because more rails are better! Monorails literally hate you and want you to suffer. So we’ve designed the ultimate American rail car, the Quintorail!

It just makes sense, right? More of something is better, isn’t it? And the Quintorail has five, count ’em, five rails, taking up more than twice the resources for no additional speed or stability! It can also be derailed by a penny on the tracks. Or near the tracks. Or shouting the word “penny” loudly from the street. Or the driver having pennies in the cab. Let us know what you’re up to in this week’s installment of What Are You Playing before riding on the fantastic Quintorail! Right now it only services one stop, which is sitting and rusting in my backyard, but it’ll turn around soon.

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WRUP: This sentence is about horses edition

This sentence is about horses. This sentence is about horses. This sentence is about horses. This sentence is about horses. This sentence is about horses horses horses. This horse is about sentences. This sentence is about horses. Horse sentence horse horse horses. Sentence horses. This sentence is about horses. This sentence is about horses. This sentence is about horses. This horse is about sentences. This sentence is about sentient horses. Bones. This sentence is about horses.

This sentence, sentence, sentence, sentence, horse horse horse horse horse. Horse sentence. Sentence horse. This sentence is about horses. Gamblebox. This sentence is about horses. I want to cry and never stop. This sentence is about horses. This sentence is about horses. This sentence is about horses. This sentence is about horses. This sentence is about bees. What are you playing. This sentence is about horses.

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WRUP: It’s time to figure out if we’re wanted by the police and why edition

All right, everyone, settle down, you’re probably wondering why I called this meeting. Let me get right down to it: Last weekend was a lot of fun, but since then, there are some disturbing indications that we may all be wanted by the police for a variety of crimes. I don’t want to point fingers, but I think it’s time to figure out if we’re wanted by the police, and if so, why.

Like, seriously, I woke up with a lot of blood on my sheets. But that could actually mean lots of things. And I didn’t write myself a note about what I did, but Liam remembered to. It’s just that Liam’s note reads “make seven bob right proper quick in Londonderrydo” and Liam is, I must remind you, from Wisconsin. He doesn’t even know how much money seven bob is. I don’t know how much money that is. Is it even money?

Oh, those are sirens outside. Look, we’ve got to sort this out quickly before the police arrive, if for no other reason than it would be helpful to know whether we should confess, pay a fine, or book it. Let us know what you’re doing this weekend down in What Are You Playing, maybe we can work backwards from that.

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WRUP: Introducing our cast of characters for 2018 edition

As always, a new year means a new cast of characters, because I hate resolving plotlines and we’re not going to be having a bunch of uppity actors hold this feature hostage like The Simpsons. If you want closure, assume everyone died except that guy you liked. Now, let’s meet our new cast for 2018:

  • Happy Walkin’ Steven Steven, a convicted drug dealer who is currently coaching seven different children’s sports teams to learn the true meaning of friendship, Christmas, teamwork, and IRS form 1040-A.
  • Camilla the Snail, who is a snail.
  • Jacktron, defender of Earth, the heroic robot who repeatedly insists to people that it is a CPA named “Jacktron, defender of Earth,” not an actual defender of Earth in any way. That is not a title.
  • Sandstorm Jones, your father. Or mother. Whichever.
  • Catfood Collectin’ Steven Steven, who is played by a meth addict prone to reckless driving and will be quietly retired after he tries to make an entire episode about how you should eat squirrels right off of the trees. (He calls them “squeaklemons.”)
  • Wolverine But Not The Marvel Comics Wolverine, A Totally Original Character Who We Made Up. This one speaks for itself.
  • And last but not least, Obnoxious Catchphrasia, the objectively worst character and therefore the comedic sociopath everyone will idolize.

So, let’s enjoy this band of whatevers on their adventures until we kill them off next year! Until then, feel free to let us know which character’s merchandise you would like to purchase in the comments of What Are You Playing. Or let us know what you’re playing this weekend. Honestly, whichever.

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WRUP: Thanks a bunch edition

So it’s the end of the year, and rather than the usual nonsensical stream of consciousness that I usually put here, I wanted to say thank you to the people who show up to this feature every week to read, comment, and validate the weird garbage that I put ahead of the actual content-and-comments. Because the fact of the matter is that it’s one of my favorite things to do, as ridiculous as that might sound; it’s a chance to write something weird that amuses me with no concern for anything beyond “make it strange enough to be compelling but familiar enough to feel accessible.”

I look forward to writing What Are You Playing every week, whether it’s rambling about food terminology or zone nicknames or recycling. And based on the comments, you guys seem to enjoy it or at least don’t mind it enough to stop commenting. So thanks a bunch, because it makes me smile. See you next year with bits about the creative process for this column, gargoyles made of dental floss, and… oh, let’s say Bob the Gormless Gorm-crafter.

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