Probing Questions, Part 2Previous Post
Probing Questions, Part 4
I don’t know what sort of temporal garbage disposal we pass through every week, but every Sunday night we misplace several hours. I sign on at 9pm, hang out with the Spoiler Waring crew for an hour and a half, and then sign off again at 2:30am.
I distinctly remember us losing at least two hours to this conversation, but here is, somehow fitting into four 15-minute episodes. I don’t have any explanation for this. Perhaps a DeLorean is involved.
Probing Questions, Part 2Previous Post
Probing Questions, Part 4
Please Help I Can’t Stop Playing Cities: Skylines
What makes this borderline indie title so much better than the AAA juggernauts that came before?
Top 64 Videogames
Lists of 'best games ever' are dumb and annoying. But like a self-loathing hipster I made one anyway.
Charging More for a Worse Product
No, game prices don't "need" to go up. That's not how supply and demand works. Instead, the publishers need to be smarter about where they spend their money.
What is Vulkan?
What is this Vulkan stuff? A graphics engine? A game engine? A new flavor of breakfast cereal? And how is it supposed to make PC games better?
The Mistakes DOOM Didn't Make
How did this game avoid all the usual stupidity that ruins remakes of classic titles?
127 thoughts on “Spoiler Warning Episode 100:
Probing Questions, Part 3”
Gotta love relativity.
You realize this means you have to do Arkham Asylum now.
I’ll draw a title card for it and you’ll have to!
Because if TGWTG has taught me anything it’s that web video producers will accept any fanart no matter how terrible without question and put it in their videos!
I called it ages ago.
I actually think Mumbles won’t have her soul completely crushed. I think Arkham Asylum will hold up pretty well against the scorn and derision of the Spoiler Warning Boys.
Well… up until they start tearing apart the logic of the Batman universe itself… (So, why doesn’t Batman wear an air filter when fighting Scarecrow?)
Funny thing: a lot of the time, he does.
More to the point, why doesn’t every citizen of Gothan carry some sort of gas mask with them at all times?
Scarecrow has Fear Gas. Joker has Joker Gas. Penguin sometimes shoots knockout gas out of his umbrella. Pretty much every villain in Batman: The Animated Series used a gas-based attack at some point in the show.
(Except for Killer Croc. He threw a rock at him!)
Well Gotham is sort of a stand in for Chicago. Maybe it’s all meant to be some very convoluted indirect pun? You know the “Windy City.”
I should probably end myself now.
Gotham is Chicago? Where in the world did you get that idea? Gotham City is New York City. Gotham is even one of the nicknames for New York in the real world. I could be mistaken, but I think that some of the early comics even said New York flat out. Anyway in the D.C. universe Gotham is on the Atlantic coast. Definitely not Chicago
Ooh, new look! Love the new header. Much more distinctive.
The Shamus avatar looks misplaced because it’s underneath the giant YouTube embed. I know it isn’t misplaced, but it’s odd having the marker halfway down the post. Maybe it’s because I’m not used to it, but having this avatar there constantly is more jarring than occasionally having to glance up at the byline. Most posts are by you, after all, and you wouldn’t put “Shamus here” at the start of them all.
…I see what you mean about nitpicking because you love.
Mumbles outburst about not being a dork reminded me of this:
There’s a more detailed chart in the thread for the comic, which is why I associate it with the distinction.
Also, Nixon vs. Clinton?
She who stares into the dork, mumbles.
Clinton wins in 12:37 after Hillary distracts the ref and Bill KO’s Nixon with a saxophone.
I’m not sure that beginning to look at the plots in detail ruins games universally, at least I know I don’t get worked up about these things, and I’ve watched every episode of spoiler warning.
Though, perhaps by only watching it I’m not getting the full shamus effect that makes you hate plot holes.
After a dry spell i’ve recently started reading books again, mostly fantasy and sci-fi, and it’s actually had a massively negative impact on my enjoyment of the stories in games. It wasn’t until after actually studying game design and now reading high quality written stories that i noticed just how bad the writing in most games is. Some rare games manage to just about qualify for ‘decent’, but i can’t think of a single game where the story was even remotely comparable to high quality books.
Now; some of this can be put down to the interactivity. An interactive story is measures harder than a linear one, and games typically require a number of concepts that are actively antithetical to good storytelling (defeating large numbers of enemies is one of the most obvious examples), but even that doesn’t account for the generally poorly executed and cliche storylines that most games exhibit.
Even when i look back and analyse games that had stories that really wowed me in some way, Jade Empire for example, it’s typically only one part of the story that is actually impressive, usually some plot twist or concept that is executed flawlessly (Bioshock’s reveal is another example), the rest of the story is generally fairly poor.
Given the general opinion the Television industry seems to have towards good scriptwriters, it doesn’t actually surprise me that the video games industry has a similar opinion towards the same. Add in the inherant complications of the media and you have a good mixture for bad plot.
However, the industry is taking steps in the right direction, so there is hope yet.
Planescape:torment can easily go one on one with most good books,and half life still is the pinnacle of story delivery.
Some of the older adventure games also have pretty decent narative,even if they use cliched stories,like monkey island games,for example.
Starcraft also has pretty decent narative,and warcraft 3 is up there,even if its a bit bland.
Then theres psychonauts,which is also great in how it presents its story to the player.
I would add sands of time on the list,but with that game Im sure its just time traveling that makes me go “Squeeeee!”,and it hasnt got much substance beneath it.
Or how about silent hill?Though its more of a mood game,it still hase a story in it.
Half Life 2 is best compared to a movie rather than a book though.
The stories in games that I think are strongest are actually in games with virtually no story at all-there are checkpoints, and ways of reaching these checkpoints, but how you reach these checkpoints are completely up to you. Even then, what happens on the way is bound to be completely different from someone else’s run. Two people will play the same game and tell completely different stories about it, based on random events, playstyles, and choices. Games that create individual experiences, not tell conventional stories.
Take Pokemon, for example. Pokemon has practically no story to speak of-you beat the gym leaders, then take on the Elite Four, and on the way you beat both a terrorist organization(single-handedly) and a tenacious jackass who calls himself your rival(repeatedly). But everyone I’ve talked to has taken something different away from the game-which fights were toughest, what team works best, how they caught the legendaries, etc.
I’ve actually been having similiar thoughts about X-Com, which I picked up recently. My first encounter with chryssalids, which have practically traumatized some players, was comparatively tame(and damn lucky, if the campfire tales I’ve heard are any indication)-only one guy got attacked and zombified, and both him and the chryssalid(and the chryssalid which popped out of the poor soul later) were quickly dispatched. Lesson learned, kill all praying mantises on sight. But I’ve had harrowing encounters with cyberdiscs and even sectoid leaders from one particularly aggravating terror mission, with at least two soldiers being either panicked or MC’d practically every turn. Lots of civvies died. Then one of my MC’d guys discovered the high explosive on his belt. I was lucky he only killed two people(himself included).
Maybe it’s just me, but I’ll take these stories over a good book or movie any day of the week.
Even these luminaries don’t have a believable plot line, though. Over 50% of Half-Life and Sands of Time are thinly veiled excuses to introduce more environments while the handful of characters talk to each other; what they have is good characterization and milieu.
I never did manage to finish PS:T, but from what i’ve heard it is one of the rare few gems of good plot in the games industry. The Starcraft and Warcraft series both have decent plot, but most of that comes from the execution rather than the story itself; the actual stories for both are rather cliche and even bland in places.
Psychonauts executes it’s plot extremely well, but due to the comedic nature of the game the plot itself comes off as a little disjointed, which is entirely intentional i suspect, but doesn’t elevate it into the same territory that masterpieces like The Hobbit occupy.
Silent Hill is another good example of a game that doesn’t actually have a very good plot at all, but gets around it by executing what it does have extremely well. When playing Silent Hill i was really taken away by the immersion and plot, but when you actually sit down and really look at the story; it’s largely one-dimensional.
As Robyrt above me said; even the best plots in games are, at best, examples of good characterisation and clever masking of some of the more obvious plot holes. From what i’ve heard, PS:T might be the only game that actually has a truly excellent plot that is interesting, innovative and well executed.
Yeah,but what is good story,and a good book?You can make a good story out of a cliche plot.There are books that deal with characters and conversation more than with any overarching story.Ive included half life and starcraft because these are games that deal more with characters than with their basic stories of aliens invade.Not to mention the rich lore that came out of these very basic plots done in exquisite ways.
I think it depends on the person really. What you may see as a bad game plot may be seen as a good one to others, because you are conditioned by reading(i read alot too, just going with it) to want a bigger, grander(?) experience that the railroading in a book(let’s face it, that is the only thing happening in a book, is what is written) where as in a game, there might be more or what have you. I can’t think of a way to bring what i said together. but hopefully you understand what i mean
Actually, some of the few games with plots that don’t start falling apart when i compare them to books are linear adventure games which are about as close to being an interactive novel as possible while still remaining a game.
And it’s not so much as the plots are bad as they are not good. By far the vast majority of plots in games, even ones that are touted as having great storylines, are quite average in that department.
I remain convinced that the primary reason behind this problem is that many of the elements that make a good game actively inhibit a good story.
Must be hard to be at war with spoilers. I thought you would need an army not a crew for that.
I totally did not spot that the first time I read it.
I wasn’t aware that LARPing thing was supposed to be a secret, seeing as though you plastered it all over your own site.
On the plus side, Jibar’s inevitable NERD-call (we all know it’s coming) will be a good test for Shamus’ comment system.
I’m somewhat amused to find Rutskarn trying to conceal his V:tM Mind’s Eye Theatre LARP in terms that don’t make it immediately obvious they’re all playing at vampires.
There aren’t any vampires in our LARP. The court is full of murderers, criminals, and mafioso types, but we’re all just mundane humans, save for one or two individuals with very mild seer abilities.
Or maybe that’s just what they’re all telling you.
Boring! Needs more vampires.
They’re all just begging for an Embrace by an intrepid Ventrue board.
Nah, they need the eternal power of a blood mage tremere. We have more ways of absolutely fucking your unlife over. That and Presence doesn’t work on most of us. Unlike
the pussyour great allies the Ventrue who are only immune to the first 3 levels.
Don’t make me get the Malkavian out of my closet.
Once, when a D&D session at my local game store was cancelled, I got dragged into a Vampire: the Masquerade game against my will. I was kinda sad about not being able to play my dwarf warrior, so I made a midget Brujah with a beard and an axe. I was not invited back.
Appropros of nothing, I know, but I thought I’d share.
You should have gone with a Malkavian that thought he was a Dwarf Warrior; it’s entirely plausible in the setting.
ohh Malkavian’s batshit insane..I loved them even if I’ve only touched upon them from a screenshot LP of VTM: Bloodlines.
Pft, bottle of wine (if we talkin’ the standard, 0.75l size), biiiiiig deal. All it does is make my memories about killing this Broodmother or that Mephisto kinda fuzzy. Now, brandy’s a whole ‘nother thing. I remember coming over to work the next day after a very brandy night, launching “Colonization” and finding out that my autopilot built a rum refinery in every bloody city and started the revolution. Good times. :-)
Yup.Plus wine has a delayed reaction.Vodka,now there is something you definitely should not down a bottle of.
Especially not when reading Nietzche.
Ugh. Bad college memory: chasing vodka with rum and vice versa = blackout where you trash some girl’s room and disappear without your glasses.
Generally, mixing drinks is a good way to wake up the next morning and really wish you hadn’t mixed your drinks. Some drinks go well together, but especially when you reach spirits it’s wise to be rather careful.
For some reason, your comment has gotten the song “Bottle of Wine” stuck in my head. So, thanks for that, I guess?
“I remember coming over to work the next day after a very brandy night, launching “Colonization”…”
Is that what you do at work?
Not anymore, unfortunately.
Best. Job. EVER
Josh is just good at editing it seems. Or he’s a dark wizard. Either explanation would work just fine.
I figure Josh just cuts out all the bits that make himself look bad. What’s amazing is how much he manages to leave in.
You may be correct. On the other hand Josh may edit out what makes him look good. I think he thrives on trolling the viewers.
LARPing.. When you go to somewhere every weekend, and spend the entire evening scheming and manoeuvring around masked strangers.
Is it strange that I still watch the episodes instead of just listening?
…I would make a joke about how good or bad Mumbles sucks, but I won’t… :p
I’ll one up your watching the episode by saying it bugged me when josh didn’t notice (or care) that the scanner said the planet was depleted and kept launching probes.
To be fair, sometimes he’d still find one or two spiked deposits.
I do this fairly often. I’m like “no it isn’t I haven’t gotten enough stuff yet!” and go on and find some more. Usually one big spike.
You still can find something good on depleted planets.What bugs me is that he still isnt hunting for eezo.And you know what,when you dont have to actually do it,probing is such a calming thing to observe.
The mineral levels are actually a % rating, planets that are ‘Depleted’, especially if they were rich to begin with, still probably have a few good nodes to suck out.
The probing minigame is mesmerizing. I keep hoping Josh will come across some Element Zero and I am actually disappointed when he doesn’t.
Oh thank God that’s not just me.
Nope, it’s me too. Come on, find some already! :-)
Doing arkham asylum would crush Mumbles’ soul?Now you simply have to do it!
Also,larping exists so regular dorks can have someone to look down on.Seriously though,I never considered you guys to be dorks,only geeks.
I’mma holla atchya.
First…new header looks nice. I like it. But then again, I would. :)
Second…a bottle of wine? Really? Thats sooooo easy money as to be ridiculous in its ridiculocity. Now, make that a bottle of Jameson, and you might have issues, depending on the size of the bottle. But wine? Bah. Bah, I say.
Third…when talking about plots in video games and not being able to NOT think about it – there is a suspension of disbelief that normally happens. Once its broken, getting it back is nearly impossible. This happens to me with movies, particularly if there are airplanes, trains or feats that appear to defy the laws of physics involved. Sci-fi is one thing. Stopping a speeding Mini Cooper and opening a door to take out a speeding motorcycle which is chasing you AND expecting me to believe the door is going stay attached to the car in any meaningful way…not so much. (5 points if you get my intended reference.)
Nope. I’ll give it a bit to see if anyone else tries, then tell you where it came from.
Italian job? (Only other movie I know with Mini Coopers)
Well done. It is indeed the Italian Job. The white mini cooper (driven by Handsome Rob, with Left Ear sitting shotgun) comes out of the subway system and into the viaduct. HR tells LE to open his door as he stops the Mini. LE does so, bad guy motorcycle rider (at speed) hits said door and is dislodged. Except when you watch the impact, it actually rips the door off the Mini. Yet 3 seconds later, the Mini is shown intact from an overhead shot….
Oh god, you referenced the remake?! You must die. Now.
That or go and watch the original again. Your choice.
Header looks great.
Question since i haven’t played mass effect 2 and probably won’t for the forseeable future, what is platinum used for, why haven’t you used it and why do you have so bloody much of it?
Platinum is used for certain upgrades, they havent used it since you need to gather it with this mining minigame, and they wanted to use the other episodes for FUN gameplay, and he probably has lots of it because running back and forth between the upgrade screen and the galaxy screen every other planet to check updates can get irritating
So in general, the resources are used to upgrade weapons, powers, and health/shields. Platinum specifically is for upgrading shotguns, sniper rifles and healing/shields. But since almost all of the shotgun/sniper/healing-and-shield upgrades are unlocked later (you have to find the schematics during missions), platinum almost never becomes useful until the late game, even if you’re a shotgun/sniping specialist.
– you find buckets of it during missions;
– since Josh has beaten the game before, he gets 50,000 free platinum [along with everything else] just for starting a character;
– and you get some resources for importing an ME1 character, which Josh did
I think he did not import a character,but used a default one.He just edited a save once.
Forgot you could do that.
I just figured that since Wrex is alive, he must have imported. But…yeah, save editing.
All of the elements mined are more or less random,so you can end up with having tons of one,and almost no of the other.Except element zero,which is the rarest.And it seems Josh had his luck with platinum.Me,I had that much of irridium early on.
Actually, the planets’ contents don’t change from game to game. It’s gotten to where I remember the good planets for iridium and palladium, which I’m always running out of.
And yes, I get like this with most games I play. Comes with having insomnia so bad I only sleep every other night.
I think its the percentages that dont change,not actual contents.So if a planet is 50% platinum,it will always be 50% platinum,but the actual number of platinum will vary.
And mass effect wiki seems to confirm this.
This planet has ~16,900 Iridium.
This one has ~7,000. And so on.
Thats what I said.Its an approximate number,not an exact one.So its not entirely random,but its not fixed either.Specifically this line “as each planet has a random number of low value deposits”,from here: http://masseffect.wikia.com/wiki/Scanning
Yeah, on my most recent play through, I had iridium coming out my ears. Platinum, for whatever reason (particularly when I wanted upgrades) was in very short supply. As I watched this edition of SW, I kept wondering about that. Then again, I typically don’t mine planets to destruction either.
On another note — it seemed like Josh’s framerate went to h3ll later in this episode.
I always have massive amounts of palladium, which is not as useful to me, playing as a Vanguard or a Soldier as I normally do. The other two are always fighting to see which one wins :D
Inspired by Josh, my most recent play through was as a Vanguard – a first for me. So I feel your pain.
mmm, think i formulated the question wrong, kinda meant it to the entire team.
anyway, thanks for answering it, and my name’s pronounced Dovius with a long O, btw :D
How did I just KNOW Mumbles would try and deny her dorkiness?
And yeah, Shamus is a no brainer, although a bit surprised Josh watches anime too. Doesn’t sound the type…
LARP is pretty far up on the dork list, but I have to admit, it IS kinda cool sometimes…
If you look at The Escapist, you’ll find Josh Viel all over the Anime reviews. This was mentioned in passing back in the early days of Spoiler Warning. Although, not knowing that, I’d have a hard time imagining the Josh I listen to plating these games watching Anime.
LARP is only cool from the inside (presumably). To an outside observer, even the coolest LARP is one of the dorkiest activities imaginable.
Well, me and my friends got arrested for underage drinking while LARPing Vampire… When you’re sixteen, that’s all kinds of badass.
Btw, there’s a surprising number of former Vampire LARPers here…
How did I just KNOW Mumbles would try and deny her dorkiness?
Because I spend way too much time teasing her about how much of a nerd she is in the comments?
Seems particularly hypocritical that Mumbles denies dorkitude, despite constantly calling Rutskarn out on being a hipster.
Man, those two.
Let’s hope they never meet in real life. The end result would either be nakedness or the end of the world. Or both.
With those two, I would NOT put my money on the end of the world.
I’m pretty sure Randy’s character was a reference to He’s Barack Obama
I still love that video :)
Lincoln is the President, just as a Fight Club shout out. I`m perfectly aware he would kick my ass though.
Have you guys tried Skype? When you have less than five people in a chat, it has incredible sound quality. (Not that your audio sounds bad.)
I send you to an explanation good sir. http://www.shamusyoung.com/twentysidedtale/?p=10348
One day, while hanging out in City of Heroes, I ran across the best super hero ever.
It was Time-Travelling Teddy Roosevelt FROM SPACE!
He hung out with and fought crime with Zombie Kennedy, Robot Lincoln and Cyborg Washington. They fought against Vampire Nixon and Lich-Taft.
Ever read Bully Pulpit?
It’s a comic about Time Traveling Roosevelt teaming up with Ghost Edison to fight Nazis on Mars.
It only gets better from there.
It’s also a true story.
Because if any of our Presidents was secretly a superhero, it was definitely Teddy Roosevelt.
“Secretly?” Teddy would’ve delivered the State of the Union in spandex and a cape.
And he would have made Taft wear them, too.
I’m forced to assume here you immediately created Ghost Jefferson in order to further hang out with then.
No doubt this has already been repeated multiple times here or in the previous thread…but nut it, I like conga lines:
***SUGGESTIONS FOR THE NEW DESIGN***
– Y’see how you have the Category/Author/Date text bolded, while the link text that can actually be clicked on and take you somewhere is in a MUCH smaller font…you’ll want to flip those around.
– Too many words in your Previous/Next links. This has a multitude of options as solutions, but I think the easiest to do is the following:
Prev : Title
This should hopefully allow you to enlarge the text to something larger and more manageable for people like me with resolutions higher than 800×600.
Rutskarn, you’re initial volley was a blight upon humanity, but ya won me back with your choice of presidential opposition. Congratulations, ya broke even.
*start sarcasm* Try pressing “ctrl” on your keyboard , and while doin this rotate the mouse whell = OMGWTF MAGIC… *end sarcasm*
This….this is amazing. I’ve been using the internet for years, consider myself a somewhat knowledgeble technology geek, know html, hang out with other tech savy dudes, and yet I have never known you could zoom by holding down control and using the scroll wheel. I’m blown away. All these years I’ve been going though the akward internet explorer set zoom levels whenever I’ve needed to make something bigger or smaller….for years I’ve been cropping the edges of widescreen Hulu movies because I wanted to play a flash game side by side with it…..and now you have shown me the way. I am in awe. This is not sarcasm, I really mean this. Thank you, Falcon_47. You have shown me a new, brighter way. From the bottom of my heart you have my gratitude. May your sarcasm stay ever sharp, and your acronyms never lose their potency.
I’d just like to comment that I like the new format, with one niggling exception: I think there needs to be an additional line break between the post title and the information bars. It looks kind of like the second row of text is underlined but the top isn’t, and it’s sort of making my brain twitch.
Did anyone else think of Robot Nixon from Futurama the instant kickboxing presidents was mentioned?
Of course.There is no other nixon for me.
Wait, no one wants to kick Gee Dubyah?
Too recent, I think. Everyone after Carter (I suppose the cutoff varies with age) is seen more as a recent president than a historical figure, and fighting them would be viewed as a political statement.
At the risk of…
…no, no. I’ll just leave it at “at the risk of”.
But that goes only for those old enough to vote,right?
GWB is probably also one of the more likely to seriously hurt you, being reasonably fit and not all that old during his presidency. There are worse targets, but there are a lot of easier Republicans to beat up.
For the same reason I would not choose Obama as my opponent. He may currently be the most hated Democrat, but there are easier and nearly as hated Democrats to go after.
FDR is an inspired choice, but I think Taft is the biggest target.
I think Reagan would be eligible, as he’s already managed to obtain “historical figure” status. Or at least the version of him popularized over the last fifteen years by the media and Republican party has.
Not trying to get political, I’m just saying. Ronald Reagan the President and Ronald Reagan the Patron Saint of the Modern Conservative Moment differ a bit.
Not trying to get political… and then you very explicitly get political in a way that is, even according to your own understanding, going to be inevitably inflammatory?
I excluded Reagan, for all the reasons you just demonstrated.
I apologize, I clearly went a step too far. I was thinking of Shortpacked! and how it’s been comfortably using Reagan as a character for years. The rest just sort of followed it out. It’s a subject I feel strongly about, and I guess even when I try to be mild and non-controversial about it, it still looks like flame bait.
Sorry, Shamus. Won’t happen again.
Josh, not wanting to nitpick or anything but STOP PROBING DEPLETED PLANETS, you seem like a noob playing this game and thats obviously the wrong thing to assume.
Depleted planets still usually have one or two good spikes left in ’em.
A justice league of dead presidents?
At a local Gaming convention every year, someone runs a game (I think Savage Worlds based? Not sure) called The X-Presidents, where a bunch of time travelling ex-Presidents have adventures. Last year’s was they had to stop a time travelling robotic John Wilkes Booth from killing Lincoln.
*Looks it up* Pity, not going on this year. Apparently Pathfinder and RPGA stuff took over the con completely.
All this talk of storytelling and nobody mentioned Grim Fandango.
Tim Schafer might be a heathen for going console, but you can’t just up and forget Fandango.
Go sit in the corner.
Can we put a camera on Ruts and let him go LARP and when he gets back you can Spoil Warning that? It would make me beyond happy
OK, that “can’t unsee fail plots” thing, I definitely got that – Everyone keeps going “are you SURE you like Mass Effect?” and I’m like “Yes! Just because I could spend 10 hours listing it’s every flaw doesn’t mean I hate it!” and they’re like “0_0 …whatever man”
The worst part is if it’s movies then I can’t resist MSt3King them if they’re bad and I know that’s got to annoy whoever I’m watching it with, but come on, have you seen what movie characters do?
why did no one say:
MY NAMES JOSH AND I’M AN ANIME!
what is wrong with you people?
(also, i didnt like bioshock, halfway through i quit)
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You can enclose spoilers in <strike> tags like so:
<strike>Darth Vader is Luke's father!</strike>
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Can you imagine having Darth Vader as your <i>father</i>?
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I'm <b>very</b> glad Darth Vader isn't my father.
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I'm reading about <a href="http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Darth_Vader">Darth Vader</a> on Wikipedia!
You can quote someone like this:
Darth Vader said <blockquote>Luke, I am your father.</blockquote>