Metro 2033 EP16: Knife a Wooden Door

By Shamus
on Dec 5, 2013
Filed under:
Spoiler Warning


Link (YouTube)

It’s really interesting to hear these Russian idioms about the Soviet Union, as translated into English. Like Rutskarn, I don’t know what to make of the character who said that D6 was just like old Hollywood movies about the Soviet Union. I’m a present-day American playing a Ukrainian videogame based on Russain novel where a future Russian comments on Hollywood movies of the past that commented on the Soviets of the more distant past. That’s too many layers of removal for me to reconstruct the original intent.

I mean, in the typical Hollywood movies the Soviets were usually bad guys. And oddly enough, this wasn’t because there was much antipathy for the Soviets. They were the bad guys because they were the only guy big enough to be an interesting foil for our American protagonists. Then again, those were movies made by generally shallow writers, intended for an audience that (according to the writers) was even more shallow. Soviets as portrayed by Hollywood according to what Hollywood thought the average person thought of the Soviets. Again, that’s so many lenses that I can’t make sense of the original image. (And this is simplifying Hollywood itself into a single lens, when there are actually a few layers to it, taking into account the difference between what gets written and what gets funded.)

So I don’t know what to make of the Hollywood comment, except that I would love to see how Russians would respond to the average Hollywood depiction of the Soviet Union. It’s obvious our movies have made it over there. Do they laugh? Are they offended? Do they see any truth buried in the cornball fiction? I dunno. My guess is that it depends on the age of the viewer. People who grew up and lived in the Soviet Union are probably more touchy about it than the generations that followed.

In any case, this game is a rare moment where we get to see the Soviet stuff through a non-western lens.

Also, yes I was referencing this song.

And finally: Screw that amoebae section. Screw that and everything associated with it.

This season of Spoiler Warning will wrap up with the next entry.

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  1. nottryingtosoundlikeajerk says:

    “this wasn’t because there was much antipathy for the Soviets.”

    I’m sorry, but I really have to question this.

    • Shamus says:

      I can only speak from my own experiences, and I was only a teenager in the 80’s, but I never met anyone who hated the “Russians”. Sure there was a lot of mistrust about the nukes we had pointed at each other during this decades-long Mexican standoff, but I never encountered hate directed at the “Russian” people.

      (I put Russians in quotes because back then most people said Russian when they should have said Soviet.)

      The Bay of Pigs and Cuban Missile crisis were both a full decade before I was born. Maybe the older folks had a grudge over that, but the kids of my generation never had any desire to “go kill the Russians” or whatever.

      • Thearpox says:

        Now learn this children, (I’m not referring to you as children, just being sarcastic,) and this is important.

        When you say “Soviet”, you mean “Russian”.
        When you say “Russian”, you mean “Moskovite”.
        Or Leningrad, but it’s not really that important.

        Russia is Moskva, except for fun resorts you can take, like hiking in Siberia, or going to Sochi.
        Everyone who is not from Moskva is from a province of Moskva.
        If you meat a Russian person, assume first that they are from Moskva, and if they are not, invite them to move to Moskva.

        The exception from all of this are the Baltic States, which are part of USSR, but not really. If somebody is from a Baltic state, don’t tell them they’re a part of your empire*.
        * – USSR is not an empire, because everyone is a voluntary member.

        If somebody from an Ukraina decides that they are not a part of Russia, you GET VERY ANGRY. THEY HAVE SOLD THEMSELVES TO THE CAPITALISTS.

        Also, Poland is an enemy of Communist ideology. Which makes them your friend, because so are you. You just don’t want to admit it.

        • Thearpox says:

          Also on topic, nobody in Russia wanted to go to war with US. Or hated the US. Do remember that Russia list Millions upon millions of people in The Great Patriotic War, and just as many in the Paranoid And Pointless Repressions.

          However, if it did come to war, there was a general feeling that the US people would rise up against the imperialist regime. And the whole Cuban thing was presented as an advancement of the proletariat, and freeing the people from the Imperialist clutches. Castro was actually a huge celebrity for a while.

      • Ronald Reagan, “The Evil Empire,” Red Dawn, Amerika, the invasion of Afghanistan, the “missile gap,” etc.

        Even today “communist” and “Soviet” are used as epithets in American politics. I think while nobody wanted war, the antagonism was quite prevalent in our government as well as a lot of the media of the time. I think most people don’t recall a lot of it is due to how silly and paranoid it all looks in retrospect, though a whole lot of mistakes made during that era are still haunting us today.

        • Shamus says:

          With regards to Ronald Reagan: Of course, he was slagging the government, not the people. The attitude of people in his position was ostensibly, “Those poor, poor Russians, oppressed by that evil empire.” “Communist” and “Soviet” are indeed used as epithets in American politics. This does not mean that the average American felt antipathy towards the average Soviet. (In fact, I’d imagine the words are used as a warning. That’s communist! You don’t want to end up like those Russians, do you?”)

          Compare this to how Americans felt about Iran or Vietnam in roughly the same time period. THOSE situations generated much more anger and hate among us peasants.

          You cited two movies, but the point that I was making was that our movies were about looking for quasi-credible threats. If you want to make a movie about American kids fighting in a guerrilla war, who do they fight against? Canada? Brazil? Maybe a surprise attack from the Philippines? It had to be the Soviet Union.

          This is not to say American attitudes towards the Soviets were healthy or that their perceptions were clear, only that the average American didn’t feel anger or hate towards them. This is one of the reasons I think it’s so interesting. I could certainly understand how a Soviet might watch Amerika and Red Dawn and see it as creepy, defamatory propaganda, and this is why I’m curious about how they react to our movies all these years later.

          • MrGuy says:

            I guess you could draw the same distinction between “Nazis” vs. “Germans” – the people you mow down in videogames are Nazis, just as the cold war enemies are Commies.

            I think you have the cart and horse backwards, however, Shamus.

            The reason the Commies are the enemies in popular culture is the human tendency to dehumanize our enemies. Take away their humanity and reduce them to an abstract, hatable concept.

            The communist Russians were the enemy. This wasn’t just “well, they’re big enough to be credible, so let’s cast them as the bad guy.” They were the other side of the Cold War, and the hatred was palpable. And like all conflicts, the US and allies wanted to demonize the enemy, because then right and goodness is on our side (it’s the same reason why the Russians hated the “Imperialists” more than the “Americans”).

            The fact that the people we hated were the “Communists” wasn’t some latent sympathy for the typical Russian civilian. It was an attempt to strip the typical Russian civilian of humanity so the COULD be feared and hated.

            • Peter H. Coffin says:

              But the point is that yes, they were “The Enemy”, but it was all about having a big enemy with a big army, sufficient to make movies about military actions credible in North America. The dialectic of Communism never entered in. Nobody gave a hoot about the plight of the proletariat or the sanctity of private ownership. It even LESS had to do with anything that was culturally Russian or Ukranian or Georgian or anything else involving actual people. “Red Dawn” could be remade set in any time period with an appropriate “The Enemy” and it would work just as well. They just redid it last year with North Korea (and that was a stretch because the military isn’t big enough to really hold even a coast, much less the country). It would have worked just as well with Nazis in 1940, or in 1815 with the French.

              • MrGuy says:

                Sure. The Russians were big enough to be a credible threat. And any Hero story needs a menacing, plausible antagonist. If the people that fit the bill are ALSO already hated/distrusted by the audience, so much the better!

                From a movie point of view, credible antagonists are somewhat interchangable.

                The point where I fundementally disagree with Shaums is

                This is not to say American attitudes towards the Soviets were healthy or that their perceptions were clear, only that the average American didn’t feel anger or hate towards them.

                I don’t believe we called people “Communists” and not “Russians” was “Russians potentially OK, but Commies bad, so let’s distinguish them.”

                I believe it was more to drive home the message
                “Russians are communists and communists are evil.” Therefore, we can feel OK with threatening to kill half a billion Russians.

                • Bearded Dork says:

                  I remember things pretty much the way Shamus does. Communism was some sort of eeeevil mind control magic, and the people under its effects where pitiable and just waiting for some brave American force to come rescue them. Afterwards there would be Coca-cola and maybe a singalong.

                • Peter H. Coffin says:

                  I think I need to underscore the point again. The Big Bad of the time was the Soviet government and to a slightly lesser extent the top brass Soviet military. Against the average Russian or Ukranian on the street, trying to make ends meet, no animosity existed. Even low-level military, the perception was that they were probably just doing their jobs as they saw it, but the problem was that their job involved screwing you up. That’s also the distinction “Nazi” and “German” upthread.

            • Thomas says:

              I don’t have a whole lot of resources, but I think there might have been some hate towards Germans as people in WW2. I know one or two grandparents who still hate germany today.

              In WW1 it was definitely a hate the government, not the people thing. To the extent that actually getting the soldiers on both sides to fight each other was a significant problem. People talk about the christmas day football armistice, but actually both sides soldier’s refusing to fight happened a lot more frequently and more widespread than even that. I read somewhere that some people ended up feeling more solidarity for the people in the trenches on the other side than with the commanders who had sent them all there

              • Thomas says:

                *sources, not resources

              • Klay F. says:

                In America there was actually much more animosity towards the German people during WWI than people remember. The animosity for Germans during WWI actually surpassed the animosity people had for the Irish for a couple of years.

                My only source for that though is third hand accounts: Stories both my grandfathers told my father who then told those same stories to me.

            • False Prophet says:

              The Cold War was an ideological war though, and since Mutually Assured Destruction took direct armed conflict off the table (other than proxy conflicts), proving the other side’s philosophy wrong was one of the most important “battlefields”. Bear in mind that unlike the Japanese or Al-Qaeda, the Soviets never launched a devastating attack on US soil, and the last time US and Soviet troops met on the same battlefield, it was as Allies back in 1945. Even with dehumanizing propaganda, it’s hard to get hot-blooded towards someone who hasn’t done you direct harm, and the typical American citizen was not harmed by the USSR. US foreign policy goals might have been, but to most Americans those are abstract things that aren’t directly their concern–the luxury of being an ocean away from anyone who could pose a significant threat to you.

              By and large, in Hollywood movies of the 70s and 80s, you didn’t see Soviet civilians. Almost every Soviet character appearing in a film was a soldier, spy, or shifty politician, because they appeared in action movies or political/spy thrillers. In the former they could be real bastards, but a) the foundational ideology of 80s action films tended to be more rightist than mainstream Hollywood, and b) from a narrative standpoint if you make the bad guy a thoroughly despicable mofo, it makes whatever brutal payback the hero eventually dishes out both satisfying and morally justifiable.

              When you did see civilians, they were usually rival chess players or athletes, and portrayals were generally sympathetic, even if they didn’t start out that way: the usual story arc was Intense Rivalry Towards Ideological Opponents eventually giving way to Deep Down, We’re Not So Different After All. (e.g., Rocky IV)

              Bear in mind I was born in 1977 and so I mostly remember the period leading up to and surrounding Gorbachev and glasnost. There might have been more of a Nuke ‘Em All mentality back in the 50s and 60s, although the Soviets in 1964’s Fail-Safe were clearly sympathetic, and Americans and Soviets team up against common threats in 1970’s Colossus: The Forbin Project and 1979’s Meteor. No one but the most extreme fringes of the political spectrum wanted World War III by the early 80s.

          • The Rocketeer says:

            And then there are movies like, “The Russians are Coming! The Russians are Coming!”

            I still can’t help but crack up thinking about that guy chasing that horse around.

        • MrGuy says:

          I can no longer sit back and allow Communist infiltration, Communist indoctrination, Communist subversion and the international Communist conspiracy to sap and impurify all of our precious bodily fluids!

        • Stratigo says:

          Soon as Gorbachev got into office, relations between USSR and USA thawed immediately and reagan abandoned his evil empire rhetoric and genuinely got along with the reformist gorbachev.

  2. Thearpox says:

    How old are we talking about? Because the Cold Era Hollywood is one thing, but if you go even earlier… Stalin LOVED Hollywood movies. And there was an entire project in the 1930s to make the Soviet TV MORE like Hollywood.

    … Of course, before that, he destroyed what we already had. Battleship Potemkin was one of the last movies of the truly pre-Soviet era. And after that, it was basically a chase after Hollywood.

    Anyway, something you might find funny, is the portrayal of America in the USSR. It was a blend of outdated perceptions, and propaganda. For example, USSR was at first really progressive with the women’s rights and minorities (black included). The sense of that superiority has remained even to the end of the USSR, so here’s the summary of what the general opinion of the US was: “And you still lynch Negroes”. Civil Rights, Shmivil Rights, NEVER HAPPENED in Soviet perception AT ALL. Also, the elections that the US has are a farce because both candidates are controlled by the capitalist forces, and the working classes will soon rise up against them.

  3. Phil says:

    It’s the same subway that takes you to Andrew’s AFB in Fallout 3.

  4. RTBones says:

    OK, thanks very much for that. Mistake number one, reading the post before watching the episode. This is normally no problem, but in this case it was a mistake because it led to mistake number two. Mistake number two? Clicking on that damned link – yes, thank you Shamus, I will now have ‘Roll a D6’ stuck in my head for a week…. :P

    • Bryan says:

      I’m surprised it took this long for someone to bring that song up, actually. Every time D6 came up in one of the videos or the post that went along with it, I was expecting someone to refer to it.

  5. The Rocketeer says:

    Speaking of Russian idioms, there was one in Crime and Punishment that I could never make heads or tails of.

    Razumikhin, a friend of the main character, Raskolnikov, is showing him a bunch of clothes he bought for him, and he says, “And now, as we said back in school, ‘On to the United States of America!'” He says this in reference to a pair of pants he was particularly proud of.

    I’ve heard this said of the Hollywood Cold War craze: it was sort of a shame once Cold War and Western movies were both out of fashion, because there was no more steady work for ugly character actors.

    • The Rocketeer says:

      Actually, when I heard the line in the game, about being “just like in old Hollywood movies,” I thought he was talking about hitting the machine and everything immediately clicks on working just fine again. When he said the line, I immediately thought of Armageddon, where the Russian starts whacking a machine with a metal rod and manages to inexplicably fix it, referring to the process as a Russian pastime or some such.

    • bucaneer says:

      “And now, as we said back in school, ‘On to the United States of America!’”

      It appears to be a pun. The words for “states” (штаты, shtaty) and “pants” (штаны, shtany) sound alike, and I’m guessing the word “states” doesn’t come up often except in the name of USA.

      • The Rocketeer says:

        I still wonder about the origin, though; what exactly did “On to the United States of America” mean to them, and why was it apparently a familiar phrase from their school days?

        Even in context though, that sounds like a TERRIBLE forced pun, if he really is essentially saying “United Pants of America.” That’s like an American chopping vegetables joking about attacking the Soviet Onion.

        Although, I imagine the number of people that read Dostoyevsky for the humor are few indeed.

        • bucaneer says:

          Well, in context the “on to …” part (or in the provided translation, “let us pass to …” is obvious: Razumikhin is done presenting the cap and is moving on to the next item, the pants. Can’t comment on the quality of the pun as I’m not really a Russian speaker, but schoolboys aren’t famous for their sophisticated sense of humor. And mind you, this is mid-19th century, there’s virtually no political relations between Russia and USA, and for random students in Saint Petersburg America is just some faraway land that is quite irrelevant to their lives (which would be the difference between this and “attacking Soviet Onion”). To me it looks like Razumikhin is simply trying to cheer up Raskolnikov, and in this sentence he just happens to dig up an old schoolboy joke for the purpose.

  6. Ryan says:

    The ringing phone might be another Stalker reference (this time the film).

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=iOMq-muLuzw

  7. Blov says:

    Isn’t the jumpy-away behaviour of the plated Nosalises is triggered by you pointing the powered flashlight at them, so it’s effectively giving you a way to manage them without just shooting them. It is always easier to just kill the buggers but still…

  8. Stalevar says:

    These “Russian” idioms about the Soviet Union are not translated into English. They are English idioms about the Soviet Union and they only exist in the English version of the game. There’s nothing about “Soviet soul” or “Hollywood movies about the Soviet Union” in the original version. In first case he says: “Just like I remember from my military service 20 years ago, and this complex is even older” and second: “just like in an old movie”, no Hollywood, no USSR. And most of the game is just like that, you turn on English subtitles with Russian voices and it’s two different texts, loosely related, but usually not a direct translation.

    • Soylent Dave says:

      My favourite “let’s not worry about the Russian matching the subtitles” is from an early episode of Stargate: SG1, where there’s a Replicator sneaking around on a Russian submarine.

      According to the subtitles, the sailors are saying stuff like “what’s that noise?”, “I don’t hear anything” and “I’ll go and check this out”.

      But in Russian they’re saying

      “What’s that?”
      “Oh don’t worry, it’s probably just one of the aliens from the previous episode”

      • Peter H. Coffin says:

        That one definitely looks like a production joke…

        The whole mess can kind of be looked at as something of a rotation of South Park’s running language gag: Whenever there’s a subtitled scene, pretty much anytime in the past decade anyway, the language spoken by the characters matches subtitles well enough and is actually the language it’s purported to be, from a pretty correct script, but with basically no attempt to give a correct accent or intonation.

      • Klay F. says:

        Stargate SG-1 was actually fairly well known for breaking the fourth wall whenever any non-English was spoken.

  9. wulfgar says:

    What?!!! You can destroy the nests?!!! It took me 1 day to escort this guy on hardcore ranger with all monsters spawning constantly. WTF game

    • GM says:

      Theres even a way to skip combat by jumping on rails and going around,haven´t tried it just saw a video of that happening.

    • kaypy says:

      One of the in game hint messages is something about blowing up amoeba nests, but odds are you got it about 7 levels ago and have no idea what it was talking about.

      Even with that knowledge, I wound up deciding that approach wasn’t working (as in “nope, shooting these isn’t having any effect, regardless of hint messages”), and went with “sprint forward till I find somewhere I can get my back to a safe wall, turn around and give Stupid McEscort covering fire till he catches up, rinse and repeat”

  10. Tizzy says:

    Just for the record: my impression is that, anywhere in the world, people feel extreme annoyance at seeing their culture as depicted by Holywood.

    Given that it’s a safe bet that their own movie industry also depicts an over-simplified parody of the culture, does this constitute a double standard? Yes.

    Along the lines of: “At least it’s OUR poor depiction of ourselves.”

    • Ciennas says:

      We here in America get sick of seeing Hollywood portray everybody through their cliches, which they themselves propagated about thirty years earlier and are now picking up again.

      Always in cycles, these things. Doing an accurate portrayal is deemed ‘not as fun’ or ‘not what the audience wants’.

      Anybody got films that are in fact accurate portrayals of the cultures visited?

      • False Prophet says:

        I don’t know what part of the US you’re from, but asking as a neighbour from the Great White North: how accurate is Hollywood generally on American culture that’s not New York City or California (and even then, specific subsets of those)?

        • krellen says:

          It’s not even that accurate about LA/NYC. For instance: rent control is non-transferable and mostly eradicated; the last of rent control was instituted in the 70s and only still exists for those who still live in the same apartment from then. It can be inherited but not sold and cannot be subletted.

          Yet shows and movies continually treat rent control as a Holy Grail that can be bought and sold.

          • Bearded Dork says:

            Are you suggesting the plot of Joes Apartment is inherently flawed? Heresy!

          • McNutcase says:

            It’s simple in LA, as far as rent control goes; so long as the tenant is the same, rent control (in the rent-controlled buildings) is in effect, limiting the rise of the rates. However, when there’s a change of tenant, the rent control gets reset – so that’s when the rent shoots up. The new tenant then gets the benefit of rent control, based on their starting rent.

            What I’m not sure of is how it works when you add a new person to the lease, then drop a person from the lease who happens to be the person who originally signed for the controlled rate. I suspect something like that would end up in court. Since moving out of LA, though, I’ve never lived in an area with any rent control, and now I’m paying a mortgage rather than renting.

          • Peter H. Coffin says:

            *nod* And above all, do not take your expectations of legal procedure from television. There’s a LOT of variation in the US. Louisiana, for example, has a legal system that looks a lot more like Mexico or France’s than English Common law.

        • Bearded Dork says:

          I just watched A River Runs Through It for the first time. It’s a movie about the place I used to live filmed in the place I currently live. It was a bizarre experience to say the least. It was somewhat accuratish, I think most of the credit for that goes to the source material.

        • Paul Spooner says:

          It’s also pretty much pure fabrication in portraying California. I grew up about an hour from Hollywood… It’s all fiction from beginning to end.

  11. Mersadeon says:

    (OBLIGATORY “IN THE BOOKS” COMMENT INCOMING)

    Well, the Metro Stations do have telephones – but normally only those belonging to big factions, and even then only one per station for the “Mayors” to talk to one another. It becomes plot point in Metro 2034 where one station is cut of completely from the rest of the Metro.

    • MrGuy says:

      Hold the phone there (sorry – couldn’t resist)

      I thought Artyom’s goal was to request help from Polis to come rescue his “in danger of being overrun” home station. You’re saying he could have picked up the phone and just CALLED SOMEONE?

      • The Rocketeer says:

        Exhibition has a different carrier than Polis.

        The fees would have been outrageous.

      • Mersadeon says:

        Nope. Exhibition (called WDNCh in the books) doesn’t have much contact with the rest of the Metro – only through trade. They have a small alliance with two other independent stations, but they aren’t big and important enough to afford something like a phone and a line. Also, these lines have to be maintained, so it is quite expensive. Polis seems to have quite a few telephone lines, and they do have a line all the way to Sewastopolskaja, but Exhibition doesn’t have a line.

  12. broken says:

    the doors breaking down animation/physics reminds me a lot of how vampire the masquerade bloodlines does its door-breaking and crate-bashing.

  13. Corpital says:

    So. These amoebaes. I’ve only read one of the Metro books, a few year back, and can’t remember any mention of them. Did the rangers know such things existed?
    “Here come the sons of the apocalypse” just sounds so flat, considering we have a completely new enemy type and not just an old enemy with glowing bits glued to it.

    • MrGuy says:

      Also, I can’t hear this line without thinking they’re talking about some combination of the Followers of the Apocalypse and/or the Children of the Cathedral from Fallout (drink!)

    • Hydralysk says:

      I don’t remember it being called a “Son of the Apocalypse” or anything, but I remember they do meet an amoeba at one point. Though instead of there being tons of suicide explosive blobs, it’s a single entity that seemed to have some kind of mental power that compels it’s victims to willingly throw themselves into it to be absorbed/dissolved.

      • ET says:

        That sounds familiar.
        Is that the same part of the book, where you have to avoid looking at that one building outside?
        Like…the reason the building sucks you in, and you never get seen again, is the amoeba?
        It’s been so long since I’ve read this…

        • lethal_guitar says:

          Yes, it’s quite close to the part with the building, although that comes earlier, when they are on an excursion to the surface. IIRC, you have to avoid looking at the stars on the Kremlin tower, as they will hypnotize you and make you walk towards the building.

          Later, when they encounter the amoeba/slime thing, they are just below the Kremlin, so they assume the hypnotizing stars are related to the biomass thing.

  14. Ben Hilton says:

    This May be an odd thing to comment on, but I really liked the sound of random steps shifting.

    It made me react like I would in real life, whenever I took a step and it made that sound I would jump forward a little. I was fairly sure that it wouldn’t give way,but what if it does. It managed to engender a real response in me.

    I also liked when they sounded from the distance….was it an echo? our allies?…or something else? It managed to subtly creep me out without any real danger or enemies, which i felt fit very well with the atmosphere in this particular area.

  15. Daemian Lucifer says:

    And while screwing the amoebas,what is the point of such creature?What creature would just randomly explode itself on an enemy for no reason like this?Are they like bees protecting a queen?Or do they get reconstituted afterwards?Or are they just missiles of some huge monster encompassing the whole bunker?

    • Ben Hilton says:

      The whole thing kind of reminded me of the Shoggoth fight from Dark Corners of the Earth

    • Ben Hilton says:

      Also annoying is that the nests take..I don’t know how to say it…situational damage.

      As you could see with josh about two shotgun shells would take them out or about five prewar shots….not too bad. So I decide to throw a grenade to take out a couple at once….no dice. I then attach a sticky grenade directly to one…still nothing. As far as I can tell it is literally impossible to kill them with grenades.

      “We want this fight to be tough”

      “What if they use their brains and throw grenades?”

      “We make them immune to grenades. Saving powerful weapons for the right moment and other forms of smart thinking and tactics aren’t allowed here.”

    • Alex says:

      Maybe it’s how they reproduce? The big ooze explodes and kills the creature attacking it, then the little oozes left over eat the corpse and grow into bigger oozes.

    • Corpital says:

      I saw an interactive documentary once, about a guy who did a lot of mining and crafting. There were these green things, that sneeked up to him, hissed and then blew up. You should think they would be extinct after a while, but no, every night new ones appeared.

  16. Daemian Lucifer says:

    “They were the bad guys because they were the only guy big enough to be an interesting foil for our American protagonists. Then again, those were movies made by generally shallow writers”

    At least they had more depth than guys writing modern AAA shooters where korea is assaulting the us,and russia is invading the whole world simultaneously from all sides.

    Next Im expecting my ever so dwindling country to invade the moon.With brand new marine battleships and submarines.

  17. John the Savage says:

    There is no better depiction of Soviet agents than Rocky and Bullwinkle. Curiously, I have never met a Russian who knew about the show; they all looked quizzically at me when I would ask them to say “Moose and Squirrel.” It would certainly be interesting to see what they thought of it.

  18. Kamfrenchie says:

    I’m French, and afaik, the general view of soviet material is that it’s often tough and very reliable, cheap but maybe a bit old/obsolete. Kind of like their AK rifles. (and the Hind choppers)

    In comparison, we tend to think the US makes very expensive high tech stuff that breaks very easily/doesn’t work well when it’s not in an ideal environment.

    Meanwhile, for anyone interested our stuff seems to be a lot about having great autonomy and good mobility (case in point, our choppers, and the amx 30 tank serie), quite a radical change from WW2, where our tanks were like mighty glaciers.

  19. ooli says:

    I’m pretty curious. From all the website on the internet, since I blocked all script form YouTube, your site is the only one that can embed youtube video.

    Reddit cannot throw youtube at me, neither can digg, 4chan, etc.. But somehow I can see video on 20Sided. Pretty weird. What are you doing right that those big gun cant do?

    • Paul Spooner says:

      Do you have an exception for this site? That would be my first guess.
      My second guess would be that the other sites embed with auto-play.
      After that, who knows?

      • ooli says:

        There is no exception. Its the “YesScript” addon, it work like “NoScript” except everything is ok by default. You cannot define exception.
        I blocked script from the YouTube domain to have a more productive browsing. And now, every Youtube video on every site everywhere is blacked out.

        .. except here.
        My guess was that Shamus hosted the video somehow on his website but I dunno if it’s even possible. I’m kind of impress he’s the only one to pull off that trick.

        • Shamus says:

          Hmmm. I’ve been thinking about this for a while, and here is the only possible explanation I can think of:

          A few years ago, I got sick of posting gigantic blocks of messy embed text when I wanted to put a youtube in a post. So I looked at the embed code and realized that all embeds were exactly the same except for the id of the video. So I added a plugin that lets you put this in the post text:

          [youtube|1C1SHg-xirA]

          And the plugin will auto-generate the large embed code for the reader without needing it cluttering up my original post. I also tweaked the embed size so it spans my 600 pixel wide blog.

          Two guesses:

          1) The embed code generated by my plugin is in a format that hasn’t changed in years. When you go to a video and ask YouTube to give you the embed code, it might generate code in a newer format than what I’m using.
          2) Perhaps the unorthodox embed size causes Youtube to behave differently.

          • Paul Spooner says:

            For reference. Here’s the default embed code for the above movie:

            here’s what you get if you check the “use old embed code” box:

            And here’s what Shamus’ plugin generates:

            • Paul Spooner says:

              Hmm, the \ tag got sanitized for some reason...
              For reference. Here’s the default embed code for the above movie:

              here’s what you get if you check the “use old embed code” box:

              And here’s what Shamus’ plugin generates:

                • Paul Spooner says:

                  Horay for live experiments!
                  So, for whatever reason the code tag seems to be sanitizing sub-tags, and the text also gets sanitized when I try to paste it in plain.
                  At this point, if you want to see the differences, inspect the source code yourself.

                  The differences I can see are that Shamus’ plugin seems to produce messier code (no close param or close embed tags) with a slightly different item ID code:
                  Youtube’s is: 1C1SHg-xirA?hl=en_US&version=3
                  while Shamus’ is: 1C1SHg-xirA&fs=1&
                  And the slightly larger size.

                  Maybe the “old” code would still get through if the other sites used it, but I’m not interested in trawling 4chan looking for youtube links to compare them.

          • ooli says:

            You’re right. It’s the old embed code (keep it that way)
            Your embed video does not redirect to a youtube.com domain but to a youtube.googleapis.com (/v/1C1SHg-xirA).

            Guess I need to block this googleapis domain :]

  20. cavalier says:

    So the generators and even the fancy electronics are functional after years of neglect but the railings, pieces of metal with welding and bolts, can’t survive 20 years without maintenance? Anyone know how that works?

    • anaphysik says:

      As long as the electronics are sealed from dust and moisture, they’ll be fine (of course, these probably weren’t, but whatever). Plus this being old miltech, they’re probably using magnetic tape as their storage medium, which tends to have a long lifespan (again, barring moisture).

      Metal structures need to be painted, cathodically protected, blued, etc in order to stave off corrosion. /Most/ things are simply painted or even just replaced with new parts, because those solutions are typically the easiest. So if there’s no more painters around… well, it’s rust city, basically.

      But the real answer is because it’s cool to have rickety walkways and old computers.

  21. Ithilanor says:

    When going into the “mission control” room ~22:00, my first thought was to sit down and start playing Kerbal Space Program…now that would be a genre shift.
    Also, I didn’t quite follow what was going on – what were they doing with the terminals they were turning on? What were they talking about with “1st – died. 2nd – destroyed. 3rd – destroyed”?

  22. Spongioblast says:

    My interpretation of the phone was that only Artyom could hear it, that it was another attempt by the Dark Ones to reach out to him or that it was kind of like those shadow ghosts in the tunnel from earlier in the game.

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