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

WRUP: Could a werewolf offer you savings like this edition

Pathetic mortal creatures with your moist flesh and sloughing skin! It is I, “Crazy” Kak-asha, of Kak-asha’s Discount Goods Emporium, the store you continue to tell your friends is “run by a werewolf or something!” Clearly, your fragile brains of pulsing meat are unable to comprehend the true beauty of my immaculate form, for the evidence lies before you! Could a werewolf offer you savings like this? I doubt it! I have supped upon their brittle bones and drained the very essence from their squalling souls, and they know nothing of the secrets of the universe… or discounts!

This week at Kak-asha’s Discount Goods Emporium, get Slaughtered Orb Breakfast Cereal at the low price of $2.99 for a family-sized box! You can also obtain the fresh meat of a suckling lamb for only $5.99 per bloody pound, and the tender sugar-filled pods of your apple trees may be obtained for simply $1.99 per pound! Let us know what you are playing, you unfathomably fragile creatures with your eyeblink lives, in this week’s installment of What Are You Playing. Then come in for savings, and stop calling me a werewolf. It hurts my feelings.

I have feelings, yes. And perceptions that stretch into dimensions that would bring you endless agony.

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WRUP: The hills are alive with something edition

So I really had thought that the hills were alive with the sound of music up until a couple of days ago. I mean, I would sing out to the hills every morning (I live on the side of a mountain) and they would sing back, so that was all right. Lately, though, I’m starting to wonder. For one thing, they’re still singing back, but sometimes they’re singing back altered lyrics that talk about how I’m going to die, or they’re doing it in the voice of my dead grandfather. Also, there are fewer trees and more tentacles.

That in and of itself could mean anything in New England, but I really start to wonder when I see that the hills are also devouring crows from the sky but leaving the songbirds. Also, an entire town disappeared last week. So the hills are definitely alive with something. I’m going to guess it wants to be friends, so let us know what you’re playing in this week’s What Are You Playing and I’ll see if it wants to be friends with you, too.

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WRUP: Testament from the helmsman of a doomed ship edition

If you are reading this, then it is as an epigraph. Had I survived to shore, I would have destroyed it. Instead, you are seeing what I know as I write it to be my final testament as the waters rise against the hull, as we slowly descend into the ocean which was the birth of all life and will soon host another collection of it. I write this testament not to mourn that the sea will serve as our tomb, but to let those who find this know one undeniable fact: We tried.

You are reading this and that means our efforts were not enough, that our ship sank beneath the waves despite our efforts and that is sad. But at the same time, it is also a sign that simply trying alone is not enough, nor should it be seen as a weakness of intent. We bore ourselves onwards and did everything to the best of our ability and it was not enough, but this was not a sign of weakness. And if I had the chance once more to grasp the helm, I would do so, knowing that I could not avert my fate but that I could steer headlong once more.

So What Are You Playing this weekend?
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WRUP: I know what I’m doing edition

Here, let me take over. Trust me, I know what I’m doing. Here, what I’m doing right now is grotesquely overstating my competence at a task in order to appear more desirable as a friend or companion. Now what I’m doing is attempting to look knowledgeable while simultaneously realizing just how far over my head I’ve gotten and weighing the social cost of admitting that I’m completely out of my depth with the potential to just charge on regardless.

Having decided that I can’t take the shame of accepting fault, what I’m doing now is flailing at the problem in hopes that I might fix it by luck. Now I’m feigning understanding while actually being surprised, and now I’m trying to dissuade examination by obfuscating the actual problem. Now I’m inviting you to go take part in What Are You Playing rather than examining the fact that my dubious and idiotic overconfidence made everything significantly worse. See? I knew exactly what I was doing.

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WRUP: Excerpt from my NaNoWriMo novel ‘Claude Mayonnaise, Serial Laundry Defiler’ edition

The city was a dark place, dark like the attitude I put forth in hopes of impressing people. The name’s Claude Mayonnaise, because my parents were bad at naming things and also didn’t really want kids in the first place. Usually I go by Steve. “Hey, Claude, what’s going on?” people would ask, and I’d say, “Call me Steve, my birth name is stupid.” Then I’d get drunk.

It was late on a Friturday, the new day the city had come up with during which it was just night time all the time and full of gangsters. I was on my way to work, you see. I work as a detective, but my office says “Serial Laundry Defiler.” Probably because I defiled the sign-painter’s laundry four or five times, but in my defense, his laundry was stupid. What could I do?

Suddenly, a shot rang out. I’d figure out where it came from, but first it was time to drink bourbon, and also read What Are You Playing on Massively Overpowered. The nicest-looking people with the most intelligent ideas posted there. I hoped some of them would show up.

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WRUP: How to escape from any field edition

So you’ve been abandoned in the middle of a field in the middle of nowhere and you’re reading this guide to help you escape. I’m not going to ask you why you were abandoned in the middle of a field; your personal life is your own business. The important thing is that there’s a field and you don’t want to live forever in this field. First of all, you need to ask yourself the following question: am I reading this article fresh on my mobile device, or did I have it pre-loaded for this exact situation?

If it’s the former, use your mobile device to call for help or look up GPS, come on, that’s obvious. If it’s the latter, however… well, wait, you knew you were getting abandoned in a field? At that point this is down to your own stupid planning and poor life choices. You’re on your own with this one, sit there and think about what you did. But also let us know what you’re up to down in the comments of this week’s What Are You Playing.

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WRUP: The haunted house of anxieties edition

Welcome, one and all, to the horrifying haunted house of anxieties! I would advise our patrons with weak hearts to remain inside, because the horrors contained within… have not been inspected by the city for those with cardiac conditions! That’s right, feel the grip of fear while you wonder if everything within is entirely safe for someone of your height, weight, and skin tone! Ask yourself if you feel comfortable trusting our assurances!

Within, thrill to such horrifying delights as the unanswered voice mail! It’s probably bad news. Or shield yourself, if you can, from the horrors of the unopened ominous-looking letter! Enjoy the terrors of the Halls of Inflection, wherein you may wonder for ages if someone was upset with you or just sounded a bit put out! Dare you cross the Chamber of Peaking to get out, warning you that you may never accomplish more than you already have?!

Of course, our audience members suffering from anxiety can get the same experience by just being at home today. All of you, however, are invited to take part in this week’s What Are You Playing; I’ll be struggling to find the courage to go outside while knowing that either choice is the wrong one.

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WRUP: Solitaire is the best educational game ever edition

Yes, I know I make a lot of jokes here, but that one is not a joke. I think the case can and even should be made that the simple Solitaire game packaged on pretty much every personal computer – the Klondike variant, specifically – is the best educational software ever created. Not because it teaches children or adults about world capitals or history or what a bunch of birds are angry about, but because it teaches an even more important lesson.

See, Klondike Solitaire is a game in which you lose. A lot. And sometimes you have no control over it whatsoever. In other words, it’s a game wherein you can make all of the right decisions and still be 100% assured that you will lose despite that fact. And that’s real. That happens a lot in life. Adult life is full of situations wherein “winning” isn’t an option, where the only thing you can hope to achieve is losing less. And if someone wanted to pay me to expand on that theme for another thousand words or so, I could.

Unfortunately, this is What Are You Playing, and thus you only get a couple hundred. Ah, well. You can still let us know what you’re playing down in the comments! Maybe it even is Solitaire, who knows.

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WRUP: This week’s schedule for my talk show edition

On Monday, my guest will be Bree, Justin, and Larry’s childhood sweetheart. Not Larry himself; he’s too busy for me. I’ll also be interviewing someone who I think is the inventor of those slap bracelets but who is actually Raph Koster. Tuesday, my guests will be a zookeeper from San Diego and the zookeeper’s mistress, not from San Diego.

Wednesday, I’ll actually have the inventor of those slap bracelets on the show, but I’ll waste the whole time berating myself for not really interviewing Raph Koster, stupid, stupid, stupid, stupid. Thursday we have no guest or script, and I’ll just be wailing and screaming into a couch before launching into a 40-minute monologue about how something is fundamentally broken inside of me in such a way that I am incapable of interacting with other people on a normal level and thus feel constantly, desperately lonely. Friday is Brad Pitt accompanied by me as I try (and fail) to flirt with Brad Pitt.

Saturday, of course, is What Are You Playing. Let us have a sneak preview down in the comments.

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WRUP: Arriving on Netflix edition

Let’s stop the tomfoolery, yes? The following shows and films will be arriving on Netflix this month, which means you are legally mandated to watch at least one of them.

  • Attractive Lazy Man Gets A Shrill, Condescending Girlfriend
  • World’s Scariest Police Raffles
  • Crocodile Detective (season 3 only)
  • Your Pet Hates Your Small Hands
  • Socially Acceptable Quirky Girl Gets Generic Boyfriend
  • Eating Ice Cream And Crying
  • You Can’t Do That In This State On A Tarp
  • Law & Order: Regular Victims Unit (100 episodes chosen randomly from seven nonconsecutive seasons)
  • The Dragonfly Killer
  • Some Meandering French Drama Film
  • Transformers: the Movie: the Musical
  • Handsome Guy Solves All Of A Lady’s Problems
  • My Awful Entitled Friends Waste Time in New York
  • Snarky Animated Characters Hate Each Other
  • Orange is the New Taupe
  • How to Make a Marinade
  • Untrue Detectives
  • Without Bob or David

Enjoy! Or don’t, no one who works here really cares much either way. Also, let us know what you’ll be playing down in the comments, since this is What Are You Playing.

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WRUP: How to be cool edition

Many times, people have come up to me on the street asking how I got to be so cool. Well, let me tell you, it’s easy for you to be almost as cool as I am. Not cooler than I am, you’re just not that cool, but you can be worthy of standing sort of close to me for a while, and maybe even nodding at me. I’ll nod back, and we won’t talk, but people will probably figure we might talk, so that’s pretty cool.

First of all, make sure to dress yourself entirely in secondhand shirts with unexplained stains on them, like you don’t care what other people think. Also, your hair should be shaved at the top and grow long everywhere else. If you have facial hair, color it the same shade as your skin and let it grow. Speak with an obnoxious accent that doesn’t match your place of birth, and only watch movies at home while periodically shouting that the film is farts.

Just follow these simple steps, and I assure you something will happen. Not sure what, exactly; I’m paid to be cool, not do research. Let us know what you’re up to this weekend in the comments, since this is What Are You Playing, but I’ll be out there being super cool.

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Leaderboard: Where did all the City of Heroes players go?

Based on the comments under Justin’s Perfect Ten on City of Heroes memories this past week, a lot of folks out there in our audience really loved and identified with City of Heroes. So I couldn’t help but wonder: Where did you all go after the closure?

I tried Champions Online again, and then DC Universe Online, but neither was quite what I was after. Marvel Heroes came closer, but it’s not a traditional MMORPG. I found myself in other games entirely. But am I missing out?

For this weekend’s Leaderboard, tell me, former City of Heroes players — what are you playing now to scratch that CoH itch? I’m going to include superhero MMOs and a smattering of other games readers and colleagues have mentioned to me, but you can pick more than one and tell us in the comments if we’ve omitted your favorite!

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WRUP: The anatomy of magic edition

I stopped practicing magic tricks when I realized that I didn’t like knowing the trick. It was kind of a sad thing for me; I really liked performing sleight-of-hand, and I was pretty darn good at it. I still take a lot of its fundamental lessons with me, too, since there’s a whole art to the patter and the revelation of a trick. It’s about the setup, about working the crowd, about priming people for something and surprising them when you deliver something different.

But at the end of the day? I don’t like knowing the trick. I know that it is a trick, of course; it’s all just smoke and mirrors, sometimes literally. But the fun part is that I don’t know how it works, and I’d prefer to remain in ignorance about that because I know enough. I know it’s all an illusion, and rather than reminding myself of that every minute of a show, I’d like to just enjoy the illusion despite being fully aware that it isn’t real.

And that’s why I don’t want to watch the “making of” features that come with every single movie these days. It’s What Are You Playing, let us know what you’re up to in the comments!

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