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

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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WRUP: Happy holidays, have some glass eyes edition

Happy holidays, everyone! Here is your gift. It is a carefully made box full of glass eyes. I am giving you a box filled with fake eyes. They are not real, but they are made to look real, and I expect you to enjoy this gift. I want you to tell me how happy you are to receive it. I want you to display this prominently in your home.

If you are single, this should be one of the things that prospective dates see when they enter your home. If you are married, this is something that you have to place out prominently whether your spouse likes it or not. It was exceedingly expensive! And you cannot return or exchange it, it was all hand-crafted.

So happy holidays! Have a box full of eyes. Let us know what you’re up to in the comments of What Are You Playing, and enjoy the totally helpful gift that’s sure to start all sorts of conversations.

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WRUP: Totally accurate stuff about The Last Jedi maybe probably edition

In the latest installment of space shooty-bits, we find out that the eponymous Last Jedi is actually a dude named Ralph because Luke Skywalker quit. (We see that scene in a flashback. He walks into Ralph’s office and tells him that he can take the job and then perform anatomically unlikely acts upon himself.) Ralph tries to hire Rey as another Jedi, but Rey fails the written portion because she cannot identify the parallels between two different Robert Frost poems in 500 words and she keeps misspelling Kashyyk.

Not the wookiee homeworld; that’s Kashyyyk. This is a different planet that’s spelled Kashyyk. Totally different thing.

Elsewhere, Kylo Ren asks Finn to teach him how to dance because otherwise Mean Mister Snoke is going to tear down the rec center if Kylo Ren doesn’t win the big county dance-off with a $2,000 prize. Finn responds by piloting the Evangelion into the rec center, proclaiming no one gets to have it. Then Captain Kirk and Boba Fett get married and fly off on a pegasus. It’s the feel-good something of some time period or another. Let us know what you’re up to down in the comments of this week’s What Are You Playing, and don’t actually drop spoilers there because that’s being a jerk.

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WRUP: Great personalities of the American something-or-other no. 341 edition

William “Basketball” Cragen was born in 1784 following his mother’s prolonged and particularly unusual bout with pneumonia, which produced three children and at least one stirring anthem. Considered a “disease child” by his father, he was originally planned to be sold at market when he reached seven years of age, as this was the style in Virginia at the time. However, he evaded this sale by hiding under a passing wagon and refusing to come out even when offered a bit of cheese. Thus, Virginia quickly elected him as the governor-in-exile of Cuba (which it was assumed would be a state any time now).

As governor-in-exile, “Basketball” chiefly ruled on whether or not his father was a “stupid Manne of Poore Judge-ment and odious Sockkes,” which his advisors agreed was a wise course of action due to the continued failure of Cuba to recognize this young man as their proper governor. After three decades in office, he decided to start the first Cuban Alligator Punching Farm, which opened and closed on August 14th, 1821 (this was chosen due to August legally ending the year in Cuba based on a binding resolution he had passed in a dream two years prior). Following his death, he was buried in the stomachs of several alligators. If you’d like to nominate another personality of the American something-or-other, leave a comment to that effect in What Are You Playing.

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WRUP: Your honor, I motion for lizards edition

Mr. Lefebvre: Your honor, the defense motions for lizards.
The Court: Counsel, could you repeat?
Mr. Lefebvre: Your honor, the defense motions for lizards. Your honor, the defense motions for lizards. Your honor, the defense motions for lizards.
The Court: Approach.

Mr. Lefebvre: Given the nature of lizards as long, cuddly scale babies, the defense feels that it is important to motion for lizards.
The Court: Does the prosecution have any objection?
Mr. Lefebvre wearing a false moustache and imitating a Russian accent: I am afraid of spaghetti.
The Court: Motion passes. Lizards

Lizards flood into the courtroom from all possible points of entry.

Mr. Lefebvre wearing a false moustache and imitating a Russian accent: The prosecution motions for What Are You Playing.
Mr. Lefebvre: Objection!
The Court: Overruled; please state your weekend plans in the comments.

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