Diecast #184: Nintendo Switch

By Shamus
on Jan 16, 2017
Filed under:
Diecast

77 comments

Direct download (MP3)
Direct download (ogg Vorbis)
Podcast RSS feed.

Hosts: Josh, Rutskarn, Shamus, Campster and Baychel (editor).

No show notes this week. The whole thing is pretty much a Nintendathon. For those that didn’t see it, the full Nintendo presentation is after the jump.

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2020201777 comments. (Seventy-seven is the smallest positive integer requiring five syllables in English!)



Shamus Plays WoW #13: Dial M for Meme

By Shamus
on Jan 15, 2017
Filed under:
WoW

30 comments

Our journey has carried us to the land of Westfall, where there’s more sunshine, bigger farms, stronger monsters, and basically the exact same breed of idiot that we’ve been dealing with so far. My master Norman is still set on ruining himself by helping others, and I’m trying to save him.

There’s a wrecked cart in the middle of the road, attached to a dead horse. The cart’s owners are nearby, face-down in the dirt.

Maybe they were trampled by the millions of alts that have passed through here over the years.

Maybe they were trampled by the millions of alts that have passed through here over the years.

Have you ever tried to get directions from old people in a small town? “Yeah, go down the road until you get to the flower shop that used to be a gas station, then turn right and go until you get to the empty lot that used to be a Denny’s. Turn left, and head on past the old school.” I think it’s kind of impressive how someone can have numerous overlapping versions of a city in their head, keeping track of not just what a place looks like now, but how it looked thirty years ago. Although it does make their directions incomprehensible to young people.

World of Warcraft is now suffering from this.

Pre-Cataclysm, these two idiots were standing here along with their horse and a loaded cart, giving out quests. Their story was that they had been driven from their homes by bandits and were fleeing Westfall. Their quests had you running around, gathering up stuff for them. One quest had you get feed for their horse by running around swiping sacks of oats from other farms.

So now quests and locations are often references to how things used to be. This is not a bad thing, it’s just odd to see this phenomena appearing in a virtual world.

...on top of the horse.

...on top of the horse.

We have arrived in Westfall to find a murder scene. One detective Horatio Laine is conducting an investigation. Since Norman is a rube, he stops to see if our help is needed.

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201030 comments. (A twenty-sided die has 30 edges.)



Until Dawn EP15: Hey Ash, Whatcha Playin’?

By Shamus
on Jan 13, 2017
Filed under:
Spoiler Warning

77 comments


Link (YouTube)

This episode was really frustrating for me. We got to the part of the game where it’s begun to reveal stuff, but because I’m not playing I can’t tell what’s going on, and every time I asked the other hosts they were cryptic.

I thought we agreed that Chris wouldn’t shoot anyone and he would simply wait for the sawblade scenario to play out. But then right at the end he pointed the gun at himself and there was a gunshot sound. I couldn’t tell if the game forced that to happen, or if Josh Viel did that. Then later we get a tape recording of the killer rehearsing, but because we were talking over it I couldn’t hear the voice. (Watching the episode now, it sounds like Josh to me, which the “cut in half” gag sort of already gave away.)

So yeah. This is a really sub-optimal way to experience the game. There’s a week (or even a month!) between chapters, I can’t quite hear everything, and I can’t always tell player action from events mandated by the developer.

Despite all of this, I’m still pretty into it. I’m seriously doubting all of this will make sense in the end, but I’m genuinely invested in these characters and I want to see what happens to them. Also, I haven’t completely rejected the world. I haven’t gone through story collapse. Maybe the big reveals will work and maybe they won’t, but after such an interesting journey I’m still invested enough that I want to see them for myself.


2020201777 comments. (Seventy-seven is the smallest positive integer requiring five syllables in English!)



Until Dawn EP14: Total Buzzkill

By Shamus
on Jan 12, 2017
Filed under:
Spoiler Warning

56 comments


Link (YouTube)

Chris sees some freaky stuff on a Ouija board, gets ambushed by a psycho in a clown mask, saws his friend in half, and walks through a madhouse where doors open and close on their own.

Ashley: OH NO I SAW A SPOOKY THING!

Chris: Now, let’s not be too hasty.

Apparently the killer transferred digital footage into 35mm black and white film? I get that our killer is probably insane, but nobody’s THAT insane. A hope they AT LEAST edited the footage digitally before transferring to film, because otherwise that’s going to give me nightmares.


20201656 comments. It's getting crowded in here.



Crash Dot Com Part 10: Blame Goes Uphill

By Shamus
on Jan 12, 2017
Filed under:
Personal

93 comments

So now I’ve told my story. It didn’t end with a bang, but that’s how it goes sometimes. I realize this might be a bit of a let-down for the reader. We had all of this buildup of stress and tension, only to have the story end without any fireworks. Not only did Chekhov’s gun never go off, but it turns out Chekhov pawned it halfway through the second act, and anyway it was just a replica. While this makes for a dud of an ending, for me it was a tremendous relief. I’m very glad I didn’t have to live through any fireworks.

But as a way of artificially creating a sense of having some kind of denouement, let’s try to figure out what I learned. These events left a huge impression on me, and that has shaped how I view business, leadership, and accountability. In turn, that has shaped a lot of the articles I’ve written over the years.

What Went Wrong?

It ends with you, too.

It ends with you, too.

Like most of the other dot-coms, the virtual mall guys built something nobody wanted or needed, and it went bust. I can’t say for sure what went wrong at the top, because I never had a clear picture of who owned what or which people were in charge of which others. I couldn’t see anything going on above my bosses.

But from my viewpoint in the trenches it seems pretty clear that everyone embraced a fundamentally flawed idea to put a layer of videogame on top of a regular web store, and then tried to do it in too much of a hurry. Lots of business types jumped in, thinking that their previous experience at running companies would see them through in this new frontier. Their weakness was that they were so uninformed about technology that they couldn’t see just how serious their knowledge deficit was. They didn’t know what they didn’t know.

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2020202013There are now 93 comments. Almost a hundred!



Until Dawn EP13: Fax Checker

By Shamus
on Jan 11, 2017
Filed under:
Spoiler Warning

47 comments

It’s been a month, but we’re finally getting back to Until Dawn…


Link (YouTube)

This falling tower is pretty confusing. I complain about it in tomorrow’s episode, but I have a feeling we’ll have bigger things to discuss at that point, so let’s talk about the tower now…

Let’s ignore the fact that a human can’t just chop through that sort of steel cable. Let’s also overlook that cutting one cableIt might be more than one. It only shows one, and I can’t tell if the sound effects are suggesting a second cut cable, or if that sound is just the first cable whipping around. The sounds are very close together. shouldn’t automatically bring the entire thing down right away. Let’s also ignore that the fall ought to be lethal for anyone at the top of the tower. Let’s also hand-wave that Emily was somehow able to hold on with her cold fingers despite the shoulder-destroying forces that would occur with such a fast descent and abrupt stop.

No, that’s all movie logic and we can ignore that stuff. My problem here is that I have no idea what happened. The tower fell over, driving the top into the snowy ground. This ought to end with Matt and Emily pounded into the snow with a few tons of flaming debris on top of them. But instead the tower is somehow underground now? Was there an open chasm beside the tower that the camera never showed us? Is the story suggesting that the top of the tower “punched through” the ground to an underground cavern, and did so without pulverizing the cabin? What position is this stuff in? Above ground it looks like the cabin should be upside-down, but from the perspective of Matt and Emily it’s perfectly sideways.

This entire scene is a geographic mess and I have no idea what we’re supposed to THINK happened.

And of course once again our killer is an invisible omniscient invincible master of chaos theory.

“Okay, I’ll cut this cable, which I know for 100% certain will cause the tower to flip over right away. Then the tower will fall over in this exact direction to deposit the teens into the caves. I’ll teleport down there and begin dragging Matt away, and if he makes any effort to attack me I’ll let him go and turn invisible.”

Sure, there might be multiple people working together, but the second guy (or is it third? Or fifth?) still had to know to climb down into the caves to capture Matt.

The guy attacking these teens had better be Dr. StrangeStephen, not Hugo..


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Unfit for XCOMmand Intro: Welcome Back, Dumbass

By Rutskarn
on Jan 11, 2017
Filed under:
Lets Play

80 comments

Unfit for XCOMmand: The True Story of Humanity’s Last Disappointment

by Rachel Kennedy (Soldier, Rookie Class)

Intro: Welcome Back, Dumbass

Somewhere in an ass-stinking dark room, some tool is writing history.

Why do people do that under normal, non-apocalyptic circumstances? I don’t know. But lately the idea is starting to catch on that history’s a big old train track headed for a big old cliff with cartoon heaps of dynamite at the bottom, and to a certain introspective, posterity-minded individual, this imminent disaster is an opportunity. If any random record of these days might become the final record, any author might–by virtue of not being dead or in a camp somewhere–fall ass-backwards into being the Herodotus of our generation. So suddenly all the jerks who in a gentler time would inflict nothing worse than coffeehouse poetry on humanity are, instead, taking it on themselves to write the final musings of a dying species.

Why does this make me angry? Well, for starters, I’m just angry a lot these days. I considered therapy, but since that currently involves a ridged alien brain-worm and six months of re-education, I’ve instead elected to shoot a lot of aliens in the fucking face. And since that’s a part time job, it’s left me plenty of time for retrospection, and one thing I’m not proud to figure out is this: I’m not angry because people are writing history, I’m angry because I’m sure they’re all getting it wrong. The more I involve myself with the revolution, the more certain I feel that I’m the only person out here who hasn’t lost her damn mind.

So now we’re back to that ass-stinking dark room I mentioned. It stinks like ass because it’s a canteen on a busted sky-submarine full of breaking systems and relentlessly exercising grunts. It’s dark because there are no windows and few working lightbulbs. And yes, there’s a tool writing history in it, and it turns out that tool is me. So let’s get Herodotusing.

There`s like ten humans fighting for the movement, so if we all kill one hundred thousand aliens, this crazy resistance just might work out.
There's like ten humans fighting for the movement, so if we all kill one hundred thousand aliens, this crazy resistance just might work out.

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20202020There are now 80 comments. Almost a hundred!



Dénouement 2016 Part 3: The Losers

By Shamus
on Jan 10, 2017
Filed under:
Video Games

126 comments

Before we talk about what I liked, let’s talk about the things that disappointed, frustrated, or angered me in 2016. Er, the videogame things anyway.

Unlike those lists from other websites, this is not intended to be some sort of high-level, comprehensive, state-of-the-industry snapshot. This is just what I’ve run into. Since I avoid playing stuff I know I’ll hate unless it has Bethesda written on it, I don’t have a lot of things to hate.

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A Hundred!206There are 126 comments here. I really hope you like reading.



Diecast #183: Jokes, Final Fantasy XV, Dishonored 2

By Shamus
on Jan 9, 2017
Filed under:
Diecast

93 comments

Direct download (MP3)
Direct download (ogg Vorbis)
Podcast RSS feed.

Hosts: Host, Reginald, Errant Signal, Gustav. Episode edited by Rachel.

It’s been ages since I did a videogame podcast and I don’t quite remember how it goes, but the guys assured me the show should start with about 20 minutes of random non-videogame bullshit.

Show notes: Continue reading »


2020202013There are now 93 comments. Almost a hundred!



Shamus Plays WoW #12: Hogger!

By Shamus
on Jan 8, 2017
Filed under:
WoW

16 comments

Yesterday we did some poaching, murdered a family pet, accidentally pinned the blame on some other guy, then killed him, then got paid for it. That’s a pretty good day in my book, but now Norman thinks we need to flee the region for a while. So now we’re in the human city of Stormwind. Norman is here to gather his things and get ready to leave for good. He also stops at the shops and puts some of his hard-won adventuring money to use.

“Hey, you got yourself a new dress!” I tell him.

“It’s not a dress, it’s a robe!” he argues.

I dunno. I think Norman could pull this off if he ditched the shoulderpads and matched it with a really good hat.

I dunno. I think Norman could pull this off if he ditched the shoulderpads and matched it with a really good hat.

“Don’t be so hard on yourself,” I tell him, “It’s pretty no matter what you call it.”

“It’s hard to be fearsome when you have to dress like this.”

“So why do it?” I ask.

“I thought… This is part of being a warlock. It’s in the rules. I just assumed it was something demons wanted.”

“Nah. You idiots came up with that on your own.”

“Oh,” Norman says with obvious disappointment.

“Look, the only thing we demons care about is devouring souls and destroying worlds. The dark robes, midnight gatherings, virgin sacrifice, cutting yourselves, memorizing oaths to fallen gods… that’s all stuff mortals added so they could feel like they were doing something really dangerous and illicit. You guys have to make everything so complicated. Power for souls. That’s our business. You guys can dress it up however you like.”

“I guess I feel sort of stupid wearing this robe then.”

“There’s a good reason for that.”

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1624 comments. (That's 10 in Hexadecimal.)



Messages From Spammers

By Shamus
on Jan 6, 2017
Filed under:
Random

113 comments

Damien Lucifer suggested I post a few choice spam messages. I’m never one to pass up a chance for low-effort content, so let’s do this. Here are a bunch of messages posted to this blog over the last day or so. These are but a drop in the ocean. The full list would be in the thousands, most of which are useless gibberish and broken HTML. Spammers aren’t very good at configuring their spambots. Or choosing targets. Or English.

Where possible, I’ve preserved the name used by the spambot, although in some cases it was a URL and thus had to be redacted.

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Crash Dot Com Part 9: Rags to Riches to Rags

By Shamus
on Jan 5, 2017
Filed under:
Personal

34 comments

On January 1st 2001, we move into our new home. Life is good. I’m now working on programming full-time. I’ve got a nice quiet home office. The Virtual Mall project is still going, but I’m no longer working on it full-time.

The Virtual Mall

My daughter Rachel, enjoying her new yard.

My daughter Rachel, enjoying her new yard.

Mike – my successor – manages to negotiate a change to the design of the mall that’s more in keeping with the strengths and weaknesses of our engine.

This is actually good for the project. Those first few months of frustration and ghastly decisions had broken my will. I had been working on a project I didn’t believe in and didn’t care about. I never would have tried to negotiate a change to the design with Mr. Business because – based on my previous rejections – I didn’t think anyone would listen. Mike doesn’t have all of that baggage and he wasn’t present at that initial meeting where nobody wanted to hear “no”, so he’s willing to be candid about his concerns with the design.

I don’t know why John Business was willing to listen this time around. Maybe the cresting wave of the dot-com surge has scared him enough that he’s open to feedback. Maybe Mike persuaded him using superior social skills. Maybe Mr. Business has tried to use the product himself and realized the truth on his own.

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201434 comments. Hurry up and add yours before it becomes passé.




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