Diecast #57: Rusty’s Real Deal, Hearthstone, Star Wars

 By Shamus May 6, 2014 171 comments

I wasn’t on the show this week because I was sick and had…

[two paragraphs of lengthy bitching and moaning redacted]

…until it all turned green and fell off. But I’m nearly back to normal now. In the meantime, the kids did the show without me. I’m listening to the show for the first time as I write this, so we’re going to experience this together.

Let’s do this:


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

Hosts: Josh, Rutskarn, Chris, and Mumbles.

Show notes:

2:00 Chris has entered the strange world of mobile gaming. He’s playing Jurassic Park.

Really? The game is just called “Jurassic Park”? Not “Jurassic Park: Mobile” or “Jurassic Park: Reviving Previously Extinct Species to have them Fight to the Death in a sick and Decadent Pit-Fight in the Name of Animal Cruelty Because Obviously”? Nothing to distinguish it from the movie, or the hundreds of other games that have also failed to do justice to the Jurassic Park mythos? No?

Okay then.

9:00 Chris is playing Rusty’s Real Deal Baseball.

18:30 Mumbles has been learning The Console Gaming.

Specifically, she’s been playing Earth Defense Force 2017. After that she’s going to play Asura’s Wrath, which I gather is a videogame of some sort.

29:00 Apparently we digressed into Hearthstone at some point? That’s the new card game thing, right?

32:00 Josh is playing Dark Souls 2 and Stronghold Kingdoms.

40:00 Rutskarn is playing Planescape Torment.

For the record: Yes, I played through Planescape Torment. You lightweights.

48:00 The Star Wars Extended Universe is not recognized as canon by Disney.

I am not surprised by this. J.J. Abrams rebooted ALL OF STAR TREK, and I suspect it was partly because he didn’t want to have to do a hundred hours of research every time someone pushed a button in the movie. He’s not my first choice for either franchise, and he’s never going to give us a Wrath of Khan or an Empire Strikes Back. But in my book he’s like Michael Bay except he knows to to make a movie. It might be cheap, disposable entertainment, but at least it holds together as a cohesive story with proper character beats. And I’ll take ridiculous LENS FLARE over incomprehensible, puke-inducing shaky-cam any day.

Hang on. After I typed that last paragraph I remembered that Abrams just made Star Trek Into Darkness, and it did try to re-create Wrath of Khan, and it wasn’t a cohesive story at all. I haven’t watched it, but that’s what I heard, anyway. Did I just bolster my position before destroying it? I don’t know. I report. You deride.

ANYWAY.

This might be for the best. Abrams strikes me as not the best person to manage the intersection of dozens of films and books. He’s not a detail guy, and he would probably just infuriate fans if he actually tried to build on existing extended universe canon. It’s far better for him to be up front and honest about what he’s doing so we can go in with our expectations properly calibrated.

1:00:00 Shouldn’t the show be about over by now? Are we still talking about Star Wars?

NERDS!

1:03:00 Josh isn’t kidding. Here is the guy with the ice cream maker.

Also, still talking about Star Wars.

1:08:00 We’re talking about Guy Fieri now. For some reason.

I had no idea who this guy was until Chris brought him up.

Star Wars and Homestuck and Guy Fieri?!? What is happening?

Also, there is Homestuck spoilers in this segment. Whatever THAT means.

1:11:00 CURSE YOU JOSH!

Here is the image Rutskarn shared at the end of the show. You’re… welcome?


A Hundred!20202011Many comments. 171, if you're a stickler


  1. Muspel says:

    Having not listened to the podcast, I’ll comment that Star Trek: Into Darkness was actually pretty good in my opinion (and it got pretty good reviews). MovieBob is one of the few people I’m aware of that didn’t like it.

    • DIN aDN says:

      I didn’t listen to the podcast yet either, but I did grow up with Star Trek [The series, with Shatner in, on video tapes, no I'm not in my 50s] and I loved Into Darkness to bits. It managed to capture something of the goofiness and strangely charming inconsistency of the old show, I thought.
      So I suppose I’m cautiously optimistic about the new Star Wars films for now; I want to see if Abrams can manage to make a film that follows on more from the adventure story than the body of lore.

    • Abrams’ Star Trek films are (to me, anyway) action-ized films that use the characters and trappings of Star Trek, but without knowing why it uses them or how to use them. He also has a really bad habit of over-doing the black box tech, which is saying something for a Star Trek movie. I mean, in the latest film, you can beam across the galaxy, so what do we need starships for? I don’t mind him rewriting the timeline one bit, but he seems to not only be just cutting and pasting together new movies out of old concepts, he’s exacerbating problems the franchise has needed to fix for a long time (mainly, too much godlike tech that gets promptly forgotten about and never used again, in spite of being incredibly useful).

      I think he wasted Khan as a throwaway character when he could’ve been so much more interesting. I think using the 60′s aesthetic wasn’t the wisest choice in the world, but then again, I hate it when pseudo-military uniforms make no sense (i.e. mini skirts and go-go boots) and it further makes this Star Trek not a potential future for our “real” world.

      It’s like making a Superman movie where he kills people or a Batman movie where he uses guns. It may be cool, and it might even be a neat thing to watch, but it’s pretty far and away from the core ideas of the source material.

    • Klay F. says:

      IMO Bob has it right. To me its nothing more than a remake of Wrath with nothing of what makes Wrath special. Basically it personifies what he understands about the franchise, which is to say, nothing. It used to be a franchise of big ideas and high concepts. Now it is witty dialog and shit blowing up.

      It is interesting that he is at the helm of what were once THE two pillars of my life: Trek and Wars, one which he destroyed my interest in, and in the other, my interest was drained dry long before he ever came into the picture.

      EDIT: sorry for the negativity in this post, just remembering the passion I used to have for Trek and Wars put me in a bad mood.

      • Dave B. says:

        Really, the thing that bothers me the most about Into Darkness is that it presents one of my favorite movie villains ever, without any understanding of what made Khan interesting in the first place. After that, all the little references to Wrath of Khan were just the writers taunting me with how flat it all was.

        I don’t hate the movie, but I have no desire to ever watch it again.

    • Gravebound says:

      It’s also one of the worst offenders of “Teal and Orange” I’ve yet seen.

      And the Spock v. Khan stuff was laughable.

    • Daemian Lucifer says:

      Pretty good….eeehhhhh…..both new star treks were enjoyable,but stupid.So like voyager.Which indeed is better than infuriating and stupid,like enterprise.

      And I always did say that Abrams would be much better for star wars than star trek,so there we have it.

    • False Prophet says:

      I agree with Bob, but maybe not for the same reasons. Mostly because, like a lot of modern blockbusters, it just fails as a story, because it doesn’t even try to make sense.

      What’s most irksome is that for the first third or so of the film, I was actually enjoying it. I think the main cast is great and any scene where they were interacting with each other had me smiling. For a moment there, I thought we’d actually get character development, an exploration of what the Prime Directive means, maybe really get to see this cast gel together as a team. Instead, soon after landing on the Klingon homeworld, You-Know-Who shows up and the plot goes off the rails, beginning of Mass Effect 2-style. They went to such ludicrous efforts in the first film to ensure this was a completely different continuity from previous Trek installments (a clean reboot would have been better, but whatever). So why go back and recycle the most iconic elements of the original series in the most blundering, ham-fisted way possible?

      Although I don’t blame Abrams for any of that. He’s a technically competent director who gets entertaining performances from actors, and who’s made it pretty clear he has no deep passion for the source material. No, this was clearly the fault of the screenwriters.

  2. Epopisces says:

    So very conflicted about a Star Wars reboot. I’m pretty sure Abrams can’t make anything worse than Episode II*, but at the same time I’m almost more heavily invested in the Expanded Universe than the trilogies (particularly all events ABY – After the Battle of Yavin).

    And then again, I wouldn’t want a director to have to try and muddle through all that to pick or choose a story. Given that my feelings/views will have no bearing on the movies at all (give or take $30 or so) I guess I’ll remain content to wait and see. . .

    *JJ ABRAMS THIS ISN’T A CHALLENGE PLS NO!!

    • Josh says:

      In fairness, I doubt Abrams was the one who made this decision. Disney was saying they weren’t going to be making moves with the existing EU canon since before Abrams was brought on-board. De-canonizing the EU simply solidifies that.

      • Lucas had pretty much de-canonized fairly popular swaths of the EU with the prequels. Canon in Star Wars also kind of became a pissing contest or “let’s include what I worked on” thing, which is how a lot of the Christmas Special became 100% officially canon.

        My biggest problem with the EU is how they never (to my knowledge) allowed a story to stand on its own. With the very rare exception (i.e. Chewbacca), I’d be reading along and enjoying an okay space-fantasy story with some familiar trappings, and perhaps I was even concerned for the safety/welfare of a character or two, when suddenly a core character or event from the movies arrives, and suddenly I know who is or isn’t going to die and pretty much what the outcome is going to be. It wasn’t so bad if the novel started out with some core characters (like the Timothy Zahn books), since it’s like reading a Star Trek novel: You know Captain Kirk has about as much a chance of dying as Han Solo does, but you go with it. Having Kirk or Solo appear out of nowhere just so the book can claim to be a true franchise tie-in just makes me angry I wasted the time reading up to that point.

        The exception to this is the wonderfully hilarious Tag & Bink comics, where the fact that we know what has to happen is played for laughs as the titular characters Rosencrantz and Guildenstern their way through the movies.

        • ET says:

          Tag and Bink sounds freaking amazing!

          Also, how the hell is the Xmas special considered canon? It’s got everyone phoning it in, and like…baby chewbaccas?

          • As I was told by someone who had many dealings with LucasFilm’s higher ups, a lot of this was basically a question of “The closer to Lucas you were, the more likely he’d be inclined to let something you created be officially canon.” It was like getting a producer credit on your resume, I believe. Unfortunately, these characters were not terribly well-liked or fondly remembered by fans, so there’s that.

            As for the mention in the Diecast about EU characters showing up in the Clone Wars, I was told how those tend to show up as well. Someone who worked on one of the Star Wars RPGs told me that they’d often create characters for various adventures or flavor texts or what have you, and then the people writing the show who were stuck coming up with a never-before-seen Jedi or Imperial or whatever would grab one from the role-playing games. Similarly, a lot of the characters from the EU works wound up in the RPG rules and then became Clone Wars characters. It’s like a weird perpetual character recycling system.

            • guy says:

              The way Star Wars cannon worked, pretty much everything was canon-ish. The movies are the top canon, closely followed by the novelizations of the movies, then by the Clone Wars, show, then pretty much all the novels and comics, then videogames and suchlike.

      • Bloodsquirrel says:

        There was never really any other way it could have been done.

        They basically had three options:

        1) Make the movies new stories that fit in the EU continuity.

        This was never going to happen. Disney was never going to expect the audience to catch up on decades of EU material so that they could follow what was going on in the new movies. They were never going to make an entire trilogy of exposition to catch everyone up.

        2) Make movies out of the post-ROTJ books.

        This was never going to happen either. You can’t just film a book. A lot needs to be cut, rearranged, and reworked to fit a very different format. Even a faithful adaptation would still require enough changes that you’d no long fit in the canon the book establishes.

        3) Toss the EU.

        Only a small minority of your audience has consumed a large amount of it, and even most of them admit that a lot of it was garbage.

        There was never any question about which path Disney was going to take.

        Also, Rutskarn better watch out after dissing Dr. Saxton. The versus-forum obsessed warsies will have his hide for that.

    • Daemian Lucifer says:

      Wait,than episode 2?Not 1,but 2?I mean yeah,it had all the shit between anakin and padme,but it still had less jar jar,so its miles ahead of 1.

      • I consider Episodes II and III to be very, very good demo reels for Industrial Light & Magic.

        • Mintskittle says:

          I’d say the first minute of Episode III is probably the best thing to come out of the Prequel Trilogy. Wonderful piece of eye-candy IMO.

      • Epopisces says:

        Episode I has a silly and annoying character who always speaks in a high pitched voice (ok, arguably it had two characters like that). But I still enjoyed following the story.

        Episode II has a silly and annoying character in a horrendous love story that takes everything good and right about love (save hormones and, I suppose, commitment) and throws it out the window. Then it makes C-3PO a TERRIBLE punster in a way thankfully not seen before or since.

        And last but not least, George Lucas decided to take the Star Wars CCG license away from Decipher in order to give it to Wizards of the Coast (so they could drive it into obscurity, as far as I can tell) before Decipher had the chance to make any Episode II cards. I’m certain that for me a lot of the entertainment value of Episode I came from being such an avid collector of the cards.

        To be fair, Episode II had my favorite soundtrack of the prequels, so points there.

        • False Prophet says:

          For me, Episode 1 was just a kind of bad movie, but still watchable on a Saturday afternoon. It has the two annoying characters like you said, but they’re not actually as prevalent as most people seem to remember. And the worst thing I can say about Phantom Menace’s action scenes is that they’re sometimes too long. (Well, except the Jar-Jar vs. the battledroids scene. That one was just stupid.)

          Episode 2 not only has the terrible romance, it has the whole stupid action sequence in the robot factory that feels like a Sonic the Hedgehog game, and then all the terrible Jedi/Sith duels, culminating in the ridiculous Dooku-Yoda fight.

  3. C0Mmander says:

    Looking at the title I was hoping thy would be speaking about the steam Star Wars sale where they ran out of authetification keys and didn’t say it on the store page.

  4. The Rocketeer says:

    If this is in reference to a joke in the show, I apologize, but the game is “Asura’s Wrath.”

    Azura’s Wrath is, of course, my closely-guarded Elder Scrolls fanfiction.

  5. aldowyn says:

    Jurassic Park? … Doesn’t happen to be a mobile port of the Telltale game with the worst, hardest QTEs I’ve ever seen, that I happen to have a published review of somewhere on the internet that’s not my blog? (No, I’m not linking it. Go find it if you want, it’s not hard.)

    • Chris says:

      No, I’m playing this game. Again, it’s your standard free-to-play click-a-thon, so don’t go in expecting much. There’s just something about the reward balance and the license that tickle my brain juuuuust enough to keep me coming back in ways that, say, The Simpsons: Tapped Out or Tiny Tower or whatever never could quite do for me.

      Plus I get to see a team of compys try to take on a Brachiosaurus for no reason. So, you know, there’s that.

      • Chris says:

        Weirdly that page doesn’t mention anything about the battle mode, which implies to me it was a later addition for late-game players who had maxed out the core park building exercises? I mean, there’s three types of parks to build 30+ dinosaurs in, at some point you run out of dinos and environments to use. My guess is the Pokemon stuff was bolted on in an effort to keep all these people with all 90+ dinosaurs playing/paying.

        • Well, the books and movies are all about dinos on a rampage, so they probably thought they had to include that somehow.

          Still, it would’ve been hilarious if you had to feed lawyers to the T-rexes or pull a Rollercoaster Tycoon by repainting exhibits to calm visitors to places where other guests had been eaten.

      • ET says:

        Did you ever play the old DinoPark Tycoon game, and if so, how does this new-fangled game compare? Like, from the screenshots, this game looks like it might be kind of similar, in building a dinosaur park. On the other hand, visuals rarely tell you about gameplay, so…yeah. :P

        • Chris says:

          I never got a chance to play much of Operation Genesis, but let me state this in no uncertain terms:

          Jurassic Park Builder is nothing like Operation Genesis.

          I really should do a thing on this, but Rollercoaster Tycoon 4, Jurassic Park Builder, Tiny Tower, Dungeon Keeper Mobile, etc are all designed to look a lot like sim or tycoon games, but they play nothing at all like them. They’re idle gamified distractions where you unlock content by clicking and waiting and clicking and waiting, all with the intent of making you feel juuuust enough fun with juuuuust enough frequency that dropping $5 on a resource to unblock you or speed up a building seems like an appealing idea. There’s no “game” there in a traditional sense.

          The only reason I like Jurassic Park Builder is that it tickles that feedback loop just right for me; RC4 and Dungeon Keeper and Tiny Tower all sort of missed the mark. But leveling up dinosaurs in my spare 5 minutes at work by clicking on them? Pokemon battling a T-Rex with Velociraptors while going to the bathroom? Sure, that’s the 30 seconds of entertainment I needed.

          Operation Genesis is a game about systems; about managing food supplies and dinosaur paddocks and staffing and money. Jurassic Park Builder, like all other F2P click-a-thon games, is a game about waiting and letting your patience beat your desire to spend money. I genuinely wouldn’t recommend it unless you have a penchant for idle 30 second distractions throughout the day.

          • ET says:

            Hmm. Well, at least I know what type of game JPB is not. Incidentally, I was talking about this game, which is apparently not for sale even on like GoG or anything, except on Ebay for exorbitant prices, but good luck with the discs not being all bit-rot. However, from the screenshots, and your description, it looks like Operation Genesis is a friggin’ updated, cool spiritual successor to DPT! Must play! :)

  6. SpiderDave says:

    I too loved Problem Sleuth and did not like Homestuck. I tried to read Homestuck a few times and I can’t do it.

    • Phantos says:

      The only thing of value I got out of Homestuck was the metric I can apply to all new webcomics I read:

      “The Homestuck Rule”:

      If you can’t advance your story, develop your characters or even make your comic interesting in the first 50 pages, then you are bad at storytelling.

      • Thomas says:

        To be fair, the way a lot of webcomics are made the creators are bad at storytelling for the first 50 or so pages. There are a lot of webcomics which were rough when the writers and artists were still learning their skills but got amazing later on.

        • Phantos says:

          I understand that. I know it from personal experience. I had a lame “two bros on a couch gamer comic” that lasted 200 pages, and there were maybe 5 that weren’t awful. It was rightly torn to shreds and never achieved any sort of undue fame or fandom.

          That’s why I consider it a bad comic, and I don’t recommend others to read it. I don’t tell people “it gets better, keep reading!”, because I respect other people’s time.

          The first act of a story is more important than I think most people consciously realize. I think there is a line in the sand where “it gets better” stops being a decent excuse for a shoddy production. It’s the same excuse people give about newer Final Fantasy games.

          “Oh, you can’t give up yet! The tutorial will be over in twelve years!“.

          It was Andrew Hussie’s job to engage me. It was up to him to make me care enough to go forward. He failed. He had 50 chances and he failed all of them. And he’s not some young kid just starting out webcomics either, so it’s hard to give him slack here. It’s definitely not his first day on the job.

          It’s like… if the first act of Captain America 2 was just “Foodfight” on repeat five times, would you stick around for the credits?

    • Bloodsquirrel says:

      I too feel this way.

      I never liked Homestuck’s format. The pesterlogs made it way too text-heavy and having actual dialog kind of ruined the abstract nature of the format. That and I miss the “player”-driven nature of Problem Sleuth.

    • Trix2000 says:

      The way I see it, it’s a lot more interesting when you can actually understand what’s going on… and the problem is that understanding takes a LONG time and reading every single pesterlog… that’s a lot of reading. Even then, there’s so much weird stuff going on it can be easy to lose track… only reason I managed to make head or tails of it was by rereading part of it.

      I’ll have to agree on liking Problem Sleuth a bit better. Homestuck is interesting to read, but just doesn’t grab my attention the same way anymore.

  7. The Rocketeer says:

    I want to say, in regards to caring about canon, I care quite a bit about maintaining good canon in works which are doing or have done it well, not for reasons of validating my own view of it, but for maintaining a world that doesn’t feel arbitrary or groundless.

    Let’s say you have Event A, which is erased and overwritten by Event B later down the line. Then Event C occurs, which is directly caused by Event A, and which itself causes Event D which reasserts that Event B happened, but Event A never did. Now, this is all like Shamus says: it’s not a problem unless you start thinking about it and it becomes a problem, and the more it happens, the more likely that is.

    But even that’s just a smaller part of it; my real issue is how a reliable canon can make or break the characters in that setting. I’ll always admit to caring about characters more than most anything else. If I like the characters in a story, I will ignore so much crap in the name of just wanting to see more of the characters that I like. But at the same time, I can’t care about the characters in a story if the world they inhabit feels arbitrary and fake. If the events of a story and the world it takes place in don’t cling to any sort of internal logic or cause and are evidently determined only by the fickleness of the author’s naked hand, then that world and the events that take place in it don’t matter to me, and any sense of drama, anticipation, and weight just dies on delivery. And if the world doesn’t matter to me, then the characters don’t either. The things that they do and the things that happen to them are just so much perfunctory BS to work through until the writers relent and end the damn thing, and the characters stop being characters and become icons. Some people can get into icons, and get excited about icons, and read about icons and play games about them and watch movies about them. I am very happy for those people.

  8. Blake says:

    On order 66, I haven’t read/watched much, but something that would mean the clones didn’t know about the order is kind of necessary, otherwise you’d think at least some of the super mind powery jedi would have noticed that the entire empire was plotting against them.

    I can’t think of many solutions other than brain implants for that.

    • Lucas missed SO many opportunities for foreshadowing. Assuming he actually wanted the prequels to be some kind of allegory for how evil takes over an otherwise good society, I thought of a way that the otherwise idiotic sequence to Episode III could’ve helped lead to everyone supporting a Jedi overthrow.

      In the movie, Anakin and Kenobi “rescue” Palpatine who’s being “held hostage” by Count Dooku. They kill Dooku, and the ship they’re on gets cut in half. Somehow, without an engine, Anakin and Kenobi manage to land the front half of an engineless mass of metal double the size of the Titanic on Coruscant.

      Here’s what I would’ve done. Anakin radios down to the surface to let them know how completely hosed they are and that assuming they don’t burn up in the atmosphere, they’re going to leave a crater somewhere heavily populated. The Jedi council figures out where they’re going to hit, goes to the location, and rather than evacuate, they all work together to brake the ship-half’s fall, eventually bringing the burning ship-hunk to a halt and gently setting it down on the ground. The onlookers have two thoughts:

      1. Those jerks knew that was coming and they didn’t sound the alarm to evacuate?
      2. Those jerks are THAT powerful? Holy crap!!

      Later on, the many, MANY scenes of Jedi just walking around could’ve been made at least a little relevant by having people give them a wide berth or avoiding crossing their path and so forth. It wouldn’t have taken much, but you’d at least get a sense of why nobody seemed all that upset that the Jedi were taken out.

      • krellen says:

        Can I steal this idea if I ever get around to doing my rewrite of the prequels?

        • Sabrdance (MatthewH) says:

          Years before the Prequels, the Clone Wars were thought to be a war against clones, rather than a war by clones -and given the nods to Roman History, my head canon was that the Clone Wars were kind of like the Social Wars -the Clones were created to fight some war, which weakened the Republic, and then when that war was over, the Clones decided they didn’t want to be discontinued and rebelled. A dozen wars in 20 years reduced the Jedi to a shell, they relied more and more on the Republic Military to keep the peace, and by extension they rely more heavily on the Republic military leaders to control the military…

          Anakin Skywalker is Julius Caesar, Palpatine is Marc Antony/Crassus. At some point, Skywalker was made a hero of the Republic, may have even threatened to become a dictator, and the senate plot to remove him was hatched. That assassination attempt fails, Skywalker is presumed dead, but it instead reborn as Darth Vader, and Palpatine/Antony becomes the new Emperor. The purge -rather than happening all at once -takes years as Vader hunts down the Jedi who tried to kill him, in the same way that it took Octavian years to finally hunt down Brutus and Cassius.

          I still like my story better.

          • guy says:

            My favorite Clone Wars theory was the OB-1 theory.

            • Mike S. says:

              Assuming that’s the one where Obi-Wan, Vader, and Luke are all part of the same clone series, that was presented to me as Lucas’s genuine original vision when I went to college. I knew a number of people who fiercely believed in it, not just as a fan theory, but as the better plan that somehow got sidelined in favor of the Return of the Jedi we got.

        • Feel free! And who knows? Maybe they’ll remake the prequels (and every other SW film) when movies have to be re-shot for Quad-D TV and they’ll buy your scripts. We can only hope.

    • Daemian Lucifer says:

      “otherwise you’d think at least some of the super mind powery jedi would have noticed that the entire empire was plotting against them.”

      Bwahahahahahaha!Of all the obvious stuff that they missed right under their noses,clones plotting to kill them would be….number 66 on the list,I guess.

      • syal says:

        …it is now canon that Orders 1 through 65 were also various ways to betray and kill the Jedi.

        • C0Mmander says:

          Wait last time I heard about it, order 1 to 125 or something and were all simple, inconspicuous and somewhat vague orders about handling chain of command and rogue agents except for this only one that was precise in its execution but was formulated in such a way as to not draw the attention of the Jedi.

          • guy says:

            According to Wookiepedia, that’s more or less how it actually was. Order 65 was actually instructions to the clone troopers to immediately detain the Chancellor if the Senate declared him unfit to issue orders, so an order to deal with a Jedi revolt wasn’t especially out of place.

    • guy says:

      Apparently the official original explanation was that the Jedi mind powers are only really effective for sensing hostile intent, and the clones liked the Jedi. However, they were also conditioned to obey legitimate orders from the Republic government, ie. Palpatine, so when they were told to implement the contingency for a Jedi rebellion they did that.

  9. Mormegil says:

    A lot of the EU stories also continue straight on from ROTJ. But Hamill, Fisher, and Ford are obviously 30 years older than they were then. So if you wanted to acknowledge all of the EU stories that they were active, youthful participants in you’d have to spend the first hour of the film with rolling text saying “Well, Grand Admiral Thrawn….”

    Much better to wipe the slate and declare that they won the war, settled down, had kids and these are the adventures of a new generation.

  10. Thearpox says:

    Couldn’t play Planescape torment. A casualty of high expectations.

    It started off well, but then I entered the city. And it just didn’t feel real to me. As in, there was no visible law enforcement. The city was ruled by some demigod, except that demigod didn’t seem to have any effect on the actual life of the city. So the question was, how the hell does the district still has shops? Or taverns? Who’s enforcing their sanctity? I could understand if there was some mafia which would be the effective ruler, but NO organization?! No way is that in any way believable.

    And then the required fightings… The dialogue’s were good, but once you got into a fight, it was just dumb how suicidal everyone was, as I would have really liked a way to stop the already started fight. And not to speak of the suicidal thugs which are apparently infinite and attack you for no reason. That alone almost made me quit. (Really relates to Rutscarn’s post on Unrest: https://www.kickstarter.com/projects/pyrodactyl/unrest-an-unconventional-rpg-set-in-ancient-india/posts/799727 . Btw, thanks for writing that. Really struck home. )

    And even when the dialogue was concerned, there were a lot of little things that annoyed me. Some woman was loitering in the bar, so I agreed to (poison?) her. Then I spoke to her, and fair enough, her dialogue didn’t magically disappear. But then I decided to change my mind, and there was no way for me to speak back to bartender and tell him that I wanted to cancel the contract. So I was stuck with a quest I didn’t ever want to do.

    The moment where I quit was… some guy was no paying his rent, and the landlord wanted me to deal with him. So I wanted to simply throw him out, but NOOO, that WASN’T an option. How the hell is some random drunk able to resist three battle hardened, armed fighters (or even mages). So I had a choice: Either I could kill him, (dumb, because I should have just been able to throw him out,) or I could go on a quest for him to find his spoon. HIS SPOON?! His frigging spoon!! I am NOT going to be searching for some random spoon for a random drunk. And the game didn’t even give me the option to back out! It was either kill him, or search for his spoon.

    So yeah, couldn’t play Planescape Torment. Maybe my own fault, but it just makes me rage so much every time I play it. Glad to join the club.

    • Blov says:

      Not meaning to say it’s a game for everyone but your criticisms of it are really about expecting it to be like other fantasy games. It’s not a verisimilitude/quasi-medieval high fantasy game, it’s an avant-garde fantasy game.

      If you go on a murdering spree, the faux-goddess of the thing will turn up and put you in a magical prison. ALSO you come out in the dumps of the city (hence the morgue’s there) and once you get into the high end parts of the city (takes a while) there is copious law enforcement. The Lady of Pain basically looks out for her own interests and the neutrality of the city. Hence the place is messy.

      The combat isn’t great, accepted.

      The woman at the bar – you can poison her, kill her, cover some of her debt etc etc. Either way the game doesn’t change at all if you just happen to have that quest.

      The guy paying his rent – that spoon is the key for the dimension door to his homeland. Without the spoon he cannot get home. Also like all creatures in the world he’s not a generic peasant, he’s a slightly crazy bariaur (I think he’s a bariaur) who’s even more unhinged on account of having his way home stolen.

      @Josh, I thought PST was roughly done at the time of IWD (maybe just before I think – I think PST took so much time on the writing they went to something for combaty) – at least I’m fairly sure it’s after BG. I think BG’s interface was pretty good. Like all things improved for BG II and like all things just flat out better than either the Fallout inventory system or contemporary/Mass Effect list systems.

      Also I just think in terms of proper thematic writing, PST is so so far ahead of anything else that has been accomplished in them video games ever it’s not even funny. I mean that game had huge problems with the gameplay being too hard in places, a messy interface, a tendency for random objects to be hugely important for main quest solving (I’m looking at you crowbar), a broken party banter system etc but just the writing and characters are way more substantial than anything else we’ve had in an RPG yet.

      • Thearpox says:

        “If you go on a murdering spree, the faux-goddess of the thing will turn up and put you in a magical prison…”

        Well, it’s sure hinted at that, but I still don’t get how that works. What qualifies as a murder spree? And I’m talking not game mechanics, but lore-wise. Because it seems to be just something that applies particularly to the protagonist. It doesn’t stop random thugs or necromancers from attacking random people. And the who is to make the distinction between the upright citizen, a bandit, or a demon?

        “ALSO you come out in the dumps of the city (hence the morgue’s there) and once you get into the high end parts of the city (takes a while) there is copious law enforcement.”

        That is a good point, but there is still the fact that even the dumps have some sort of structures. For example, the actual houses almost always have stone walls, the inns are well guarded, the shopkeepers are NOT standing in a shop all alone., et cetera. Once again, I felt that the game explained it badly, and I couldn’t take it seriously. After all, there must be SOMETHING preventing a bunch of adolescent hooligans from barging into a shop and ransacking it.

        “The combat isn’t great, accepted.”

        It’s not the combat. God bless crappy combat. I was prepared for crappy combat, and it wasn’t that bad. It was the pointlessness of it. The sheer amount. The willingness of the people to die for no reason.
        In the starting area, you do not have to kill anyone, and that was nice. Later on? Not so much.

        “Either way the game doesn’t change at all if you just happen to have that quest.”

        Well, it’s about role-playing, isn’t it? Not to speak of the annoyance that a never-disappearing quest log can cause.
        As for the guy with the spoon, I honestly don’t care what the spoon stands for. I really don’t, and my character has no way of knowing. And I don’t care that he’s a bariaur. Do the bouncers just give up when a bariaur comes into a bar? Can a couple kicks in the stomach not solve this problem?

        And I am going to draw a comparison to The Witcher, (and yes, it’s a somewhat more generic world,) and that game had its problems. It had some of it’s own crap, but it never asked me to find a spoon with no option to back out. And I am willing to bet New Vegas didn’t ask you either.

    • Groboclown says:

      I haven’t been able to finish Planescape because, every time I start playing it, I get about 5 hours in and I hit a dumb bug related to colors. I’ve tried it on a Windows machine (back on XP), on Wine, on an emulator running an earlier version of Windows, doesn’t matter.

    • Aside from Fallout 1/2, Planescape was my very first CRPG. Prehaps that’s why I love it so much more than the other commenters here. And it may also be why Baldur’s Gate 1/2 just don’t jive with me in the way it does for a lot of the others who comment on the site.

      I played through it twice now, and I’d gladly play through it over and over. I can’t help but like the game and how it allows for so much RPing even outside of combat.

  11. As for Boba Fett’s popularity, he’s an example of (warning: TV Tropes link) a Breakout Character. It happens all the time. Some background nobody suddenly gets this fan/creator backstory and catches fire. It’s a really interesting phenomenon.

  12. hborrgg says:

    I seem to remember Stronghold 2 not being too great. The individual soldiers didn’t actually seem to have any volume meaning that any epic battle you set up just ended up as 2 dudes with 100 arms each whaling on each other.

    • Thomas says:

      It spoiled a large part of the fun of castle designs. Why make an elaborate fortress when chokepoints have no meaning and everyone can attack up a single ladder?

  13. swimon says:

    The discussion about women having to be ambassadors for their gender in games kinda reminded me of this.

    Also rusty’s real deal baseball hasn’t been released in europe and probably won’t (since no one plays baseball) which is really sad and annoying. This whole borders thing is so 20th century and it’s really annoying that Nintendo sticks to it despite despite shipping already translated titles is basically free.

  14. Leviathan says:

    Is this the same J.J. Abrams that made Alias and Fringe? Did something happen to him, or is he just not half as good at movies as he was at TV?

    • IFS says:

      Haven’t seen Alias but personally I think Fringe is an awful show, so it doesn’t seem to me like he’s that great at either. I think he made Super 8 as well though, and that’s supposedly a good movie.

    • Matt K says:

      Fringe is JJ Abrams the producer. Essentially he was an idea man with the original concept but that’s it. Same with Lost, Person of Interest, Almost Human, etc.

      • Thomas says:

        Some of it also comes down to him having a style which becomes less interesting the more you notice it. Sort of like when we realised Shyamalan always put in twists, the more you realise that JJ has a very particular way of building mystery, the less engaging that mystery becomes.

        For example, if you go into the first seasons of Lost knowing that the creators don’t actually have answers for the questions they’re asking yet and are just throwing it out there because mysteries are cool… you lose a lot of what made LOST good.

    • Kavonde says:

      It’s not that he’s made any bad movies, just movies that failed to live up to peoples’ expectations: Cloverfield, Super 8, the Trek reboots…

      Though I’d say the pattern started with Lost.

      • evileeyore says:

        Cloverfield and the Star Trek reboots lived up to my expectations.

        Cloverfield in a good way (I expected a decent monster flick with shaky-cam documentary styling) and Star Trek in a bad way (because I expected it to not be Star Trek and to toss out canon).

  15. It’s a shame they won’t follow the extended universe.
    I can understand it with the main characters as in the extended universe stuff happen and it may or may not be so to use the old actors in future movies.
    So the movies might break some continuity of the main characters.

    I guess Star Wars sites will split the universe into the Old Era and New Era timelines now (for an example on how messy things can get look at Gundam).

    However I don’t think having to check the extended universe each time they press a button is needed (by Abrams) as Lucasfilm actually has at least one (or more) persons maintaining a actual Star Wars database and archive.
    This database is referenced (or was at least) in the past whenever a book, game, comic, cartoon, movie was made, and Lucasfilm would send notes back to the creator/developer/author if anything clashes in a significant way. I’m sure authors cold request a bunch of info on places things and characters as well. This gave the books a connection that tied them all together.

    • Sabrdance (MatthewH) says:

      There’s 3 basic solutions.

      1.) Time Travel/Alternate Universe again.
      2.) Set it far enough in the future most of the Canon isn’t affected (ie, right after NJO, or maybe ignore everything after the books left Bantam Spectra (since I hated NJO and it was what caused me to stop worrying about canon long before Episode I). At least the canon can be preserved in broad strokes.
      3.) Hire Zahn or Stackpole to write the script. They were the acknowledged masters of the canon -so much so that when Bantam wanted to tie up all their canon in a nice bow and iron out all of the plot knots, Zahn and Stackpole were the ones asked to do it with I, Jedi, and the Hand of Thrawn duology.

  16. The “Clone Chip” was probably that way (organic) due to a few reasons.
    One. it would not show up on any scans.
    Two. A jedi master might be able to sense brainwashing or deceit so they would never notice a betrayal until it is too late, this is pretty much a brilliant tactic.
    Three. If the clone trooper is oblivious then others around them would be too.

    I understand why they did it (makes the Emperor look like even more of an asshole), but sleeper agents like this is a too easy trope.

    I agree with Mumbles in that it would be more interesting if some clone troopers did change sides, maybe their indoctrination was not good enough or 100%.

    The emperor would have been more creepy (and powerful) if he had mass mind programmed thousands of troopers en mass at some point.

    Also (slight spoiler), in the EU books the Emperor comes back in cloned bodies, multiple times. Can’t recall if that was written before or after the clone wars though.

    The line between a eternal nightmare and a slapstick joke (oops we killed the emperor, again) is very fine.

    The kill code itself was interesting.
    I’m wondering if the emperor actually orchestrated the war not to gain power and become emperor (that was a end goal sure but…) the only way to take down all jedi would be to create a giant army that none could resist (even the jedi) and then use that army to kill all the jedi. The way things played out (in the prequels) it seems like it went just according to his plans.

    I just don’t like that organic chip. A secret sith mind control trick would be better as one could have the odd jedi (Yoda for example) detect a dark void in the mind of the troopers (hence realize why/what causes them to turn on the jedi and give him the chance to escape.)

    Then again, it’s easy for a third party to say this in retrospect, it all probably made sense at the time though for those that wrote it.

    • I’m pretty sure clones of force-sensitives were around in the novels before Clone Wars. They just never worked all that well. There was one that Zahn had guarding a macguffin, and this clone was just one in a line of many clones. Unfortunately, the process wasn’t perfect and he was, of course, mad.

      • StashAugustine says:

        Heir to the Empire had this idea that clones grown in less than a year went crazy because they resonate in the Force with their ‘parent’ and their minds can’t handle it. He was as powerful a Force-user as his original, though.

    • Sabrdance (MatthewH) says:

      The idea that the purge happened all at once was always a bad one. The Soviet purges took decades. The Reign of Terror took months, the entire Revolution, counter revolution, and Napoleonic Wars took years.

      It should have been enough for the Emperor to consolidate his power and then methodically hunt down the Jedi.

      Which also explains why Han Solo hadn’t heard of them if they were slowly eradicated -the last of them finished off 20 years earlier. If 20 years ago a million people were purged, we’d remember -I mean we still remember the Blacklists. But a handful per year until they finally stopped…

      No one would remember that.

    • guy says:

      Actually, the clone-Palpatine comic series, called Dark Empire, was apparently very well received. It was published in the nineties. Mind, the way that worked involved some ancient Sith mind-transfer ritual or something.

      As for the bio-chip, I really don’t like that explanation. The clones generally follow orders unquestioningly; they shouldn’t need a special implant to ensure they follow that particular one. Even if the Jedi could read their minds to find out about it, which seems unlikely because they generally just sense emotions and maybe surface thoughts, they could have the orders encrypted in their command systems and send the decryption key when it’s activated. Much less fiddly than some fancy override biochip.

  17. Zukhramm says:

    Hearthstone. I just don’t get it. It felt super bland to me. I know, there are spells and creatures with abilities and effects but there just didn’t seem to be anything interesting to do while playing. Same thing with deck building.

    On canon: There’s no such thing. Some stories might be mutually exclusive but that doesn’t make any of them more true canon than the other.

    • I think what reenforces canon in Star Wars over pretty much any other current fictional franchise is the fact that the creator is still alive and (until recently) held power over what was officially endorsed and what wasn’t.

      It’s kind of like how Star Trek worked until Gene Roddenberry died.

  18. Unhidden says:

    As an aside: There is a new “Planescape: Torment” in the making right now and by parts of the original team no less.

    It’s called “Torment: Numenera”, it successfully finnished it’s kickstarter last year, and the game itself is scheduled to come out by the end of this year.

    • Humanoid says:

      There’s a snowball’s chance in hell that it’ll be released this year – I don’t even think they’ve formally moved out of pre-production. Even late last year they had already informally stated that a mid-2015 release would be more realistic an expectation. And as Wasteland 2′s development cycle runs long, I expect Torment to be pushed even farther back into the latter parts of the year. Bear in mind that the original schedule had Wasteland 2 releasing in October last year and that the Torment Kickstarter campaign wrapped up the previous April with that assumption (or at least a mild delay to late 2013) in mind.

      Not a complaint, mind you, I’m happy for them to take their time. They’ve sent me the Numenera PnP sourcebooks already at least, though in hindsight it’s little more than bookshelf decoration: I’ve never played a PnP game in my life, not entirely sure what I was thinking.

  19. Gravebound says:

    My comic book head-canon is that Penance is:
    1. still called Penance, and they didn’t take her name away so emo-cutter-Speedball could be called that*

    2. still a deaf Yugoslavian girl named Yvette and not a living prison constructed for M by her brother. Whether they ruined her character because they didn’t know what to do with her or they thought their idea was ‘clever’, I don’t know. I just know I hate it. :P

    *I also ignore ‘big event’ stuff like Civil War, because I want to continue enjoying comics and the big event stories always make me never want to read them again…

  20. Hal says:

    Hearthstone is scratching an itch for me right now. I used to play the WoW TCG, and I really miss it. I’m hoping they expand the play modes as it goes on.

  21. Artur CalDazar says:

    Chris you should play Jurassic Park trespasser, the only true game in the setting, the only game that has managed to capture the themes and atmosphere of the original movie.

    I’m big into Magic the gathering and a huge part of what makes that game so special is the mana system, so Hearthstone not having that makes the different classes feel more arbitrary to me. It clearly doesn’t help that I don’t get the setting.

    • syal says:

      Part of why I like Hearthstone is because the mana system in Magic was often my downfall. (Like, I’d draw seven cards, and receive seven Lands. Or not get any Lands for like four turns and have a good card perpetually one mana away from playability. Or get four White and zero Blue instead of two White and two Blue.) But Hearthstone’s sort of “Magic-lite”, Magic will always be more complicated.

      All you have to know about the setting is Murlocs go “Mrbhblhlhll”.

      • Thomas says:

        I appreciate Hearthstone’s mana system a lot. I think something just a touch more complicated would have been much better for Magic overall. I particularly like the way mana stays relevant throughout the game in Hearth, whereas with Magic you’re basically on a 6 turn clock and every stops caring after that point.

        It’s the permanent damage and non-creature blocking that stop me from falling in love with it. I love the way Magic allows you to control the board and that the main battle is to fight for that board control. In Hearthstone fighting for control leaves your guys weak too and direct damage is more valued (removal is also huge still of course)

    • ehlijen says:

      I wanted to like Trespasser. I really did. It had guns and dinosaurs! (The boobies it could have done without, though). It had a physics engine!

      It also had some of the worst controls ever. And the inventory system…let me quote a let’s play: “And now I’ll throw is important item out the window for safekeeping”. Items were literally safer away from you and your buggy collision detection. And I think even contemporary computers can’t run it fluidly…

      But yes, despite all that, I think it was the best Jurassic Park game I’ve seen.

      I want a remake based on the Tomb Raider engine…

  22. Thomas says:

    I know it got a lot of flak when the film came out, but I love Order 66. It was the high point of the movie and I think it’s really stood the test of time as an idea that people remember and think about. It’s a nice powerful watershed moment for the series.

    I think if the whole prequel trilogy had been of the quality of Revenge of the Sith, it still wouldn’t be the world’s most beloved trilogy but it might have avoided some of the hate it earned. Because bad directing aside, there are some nice additions to the canon. I like the Clone Troopers and the Clone Wars and Obi-Wan and Anakins relationship and arcs. I like a lot of the visuals of the Jedi at the height of their power and how they let themselves get shaped by the Clone Wars.

    I’m not a huge fan of the chip thing, but if I can see the point of it. I’d still prefer it to act like really strong conditioning rather than brainwashing. The clone troopers will always obey their orders, but sometimes they don’t like it and sometimes they do and perhaps if some troopers feel strongly enough about the Jedi they’ve been working with then they can override that conditioning.

    That’s always the impression I had of the troopers anyway, that they were heavily conditioned to obey any appropriate orders but they had their own real personalities that developed around that.

    • Thomas says:

      I also adore how obsessively detailed the Star Wars expanded canon is. There’s an official story about every single prop and background actor for the original trilogy =D

      It actually can create a nice ‘everyone has their own thing that makes them special’ feel. And you can look anywhere you like and choose any element you like and hear those stories.

      In some ways it would be interesting if there’s a way of building stories into the canon that allows that level of flexibility without getting silly.

    • CraigM says:

      There are certainly things that work better in RotS, Order 66 (at least conceptually) being one of them. It still has some really cringe worthy elements.

      Any scene with Anakin and Padme is straight up painful to watch. While I’ve never been that keyed in to the concept of ‘on screen chemistry’ (meaning I can’t differentiate between passable and what others laud as exemplary usually) this was just brutally bad. They had absolutely 0 connection, and given hindsight on their careers most of this blame probably falls on Hayden Christiansen. It makes what is one of THE central elements of the story, and completely makes it fail. I simply do not buy that his transformation to the dark side comes at all from their relationship. Plus that dialogue… ugh. A cut rate soap opera has better dialogue than that.

      Not to mention the absolutely horribly done ‘NOOOOOOOOOOO’ scene. It fails the character of Vader completely, doesn’t work, has wooden acting, and is just generally terrible.

      Jeez, that went off rails…

      Order 66… eh, it could have been done better. Given the general level of (in)competence the rest of the film showed though, we’re lucky it came out as good as it did.

      • Thomas says:

        It’s more I like a lot of things that the prequel trilogy conjured into existence, even if the telling is incompetent throughout. If the telling was RotS incompetent as opposed to Phantom Menace then I think there would have been enough goodwill that it would have been easier to ignore the bad ideas. Of course the actual visuals were awesome and I think the prequels did a decent job of showing that big universe that the Original films talked about.

      • Mike S. says:

        Even with the greatest actor in the world, I don’t know how you make Vader’s fall work the way it’s written. One moment Anakin is motivated by conflicting morals: he’s horrified that Palpatine is a Sith, but then more horrified that Windu means to kill him without a trial, and so sides with the former on that basis.

        Moments later, he’s agreeing to carve up a schoolful of seven-year-olds with his lightsaber. Somehow it seems as if the process of compromise and dehumanization that violent conflict brings should take just a little longer than that.

        • Wide And Nerdy says:

          I’d agree except that 1) He slaughtered an entire tribe of sand people in the previous movie including women and children. 2) In addition to being distraught over the lack of trial, Anakin believes Palpatine is the only one who can help him save Padme (while the Jedi say “Death happens. Don’t get too attached.”)

          • Mike S. says:

            He slaughtered the Sand People in hot rage over his mother’s death. That’s a very different atrocity from calmly walking up to a bunch of trusting children and slicing them up.

            I think it’s certainly possible to get from the combination of fear for Padme and desire for justice to that level of corruption. But not that quickly, nor with so little transition.

            • Wide And Nerdy says:

              The point is, between that and the war, he’s desensitized somewhat to murder. KOTOR and KOTOR2 covers this nicely.

              • Wide And Nerdy says:

                I should note that in my personal head canon, KOTOR overrules everything else, the EU books, the original movies, everything. Exception, anything that tries to even imply that Bea Arthur wasn’t the owner of the Mos Eisley cantina is automatically null and void as canon.

        • syal says:

          By the end of that fight, he’s convinced that the Jedi are no different than the Sith. He’s already been killing Sith for a while, he just starts doing the same to Jedi.

  23. Daemian Lucifer says:

    What I want to know is why isnt Chris playing TESO?He is the resident bad games player here(simcity),so its right up his alley.

    Or,since he wants to focus on mobile games,why not dungeon ke…oh,wait.No,that would be too much.Im sorry I even brought it up.

    • Chris says:

      True story: I was having such a good time with Jurassic Park (despite its terrible business model and nearly empty gameplay) that I thought I’d try Rollercoaster Tycoon. I figured if it was even half as good I might get a joke out of it or something.

      It… it was not worth the $2.99 or whatever it cost to see it. It really is that bad. It is clingy with push notificaitons (YOUR BUSINESSESS MADE MONEY AND ARE READY TO BE TAPPED. YOUR RIDE BROKE DOWN AND NEEDS A FIX. ITS BEEN 24 HOURS, PLEASE LOG IN AND CLAIM YOUR DAILY PRIZE). It doesn’t feel satisfying in your hands – in Jurassic Park when you tap a dinosaur it does a little roar and animation as a multi-hundreds/thousands number floats above their head representing how many coins they’ve earned you. In Rollercoaster Tycoon there’s virtually no feedback when you click on things; it feels dead. It wants your money; always your money. Its coaster building is flaccid. It’s just an abject mess. I don’t know if I could make it through trying that and Dungeon Keeper.

  24. Fabrimuch says:

    I had the opposite problem Josh had, I love Homestuck but I could never really get into Problem Sleuth.

    Hey Rutskarn, are you caught up?

  25. Alex says:

    I do not agree that Hearthstone makes losing fun. It suffers from two problems.

    1. Almost no rewards for playing. In League of Legends you get IP just for playing the game, because Riot recognises that you can’t have someone win the game unless someone loses the game, so keeping both sides happy is important. In Hearthstone, 90% of the time you will make absolutely no progress unless you win.

    2. Bullshit combos. A Druid, on turn one, can cast a 6/7 Ogre. A Rogue can hit you for 26 damage from an empty board. Hunters have cards to punish you for not playing minions, for playing a minion, for playing a few minions and for playing lots of minions. A lot of the time, you don’t lose because you were outplayed, you lose because your opponent drew a bullshit “I win” combo.

    On Canon: I agree with the “If it’s shit, it’s not canon” rule. But canon is important, because leaving rubbish to fester makes it more likely that they introduce more rubbish.

    • Alex says:

      Continuing on to Order 66…

      I really, really disagree with Mumbles on this. Karen Traviss is a crappy writer who used her books to push a pro-genocide agenda. She hates the Jedi for being more capable than the average human and thinks that murder is an acceptable solution to this inferiority complex. To top it off, she thinks the heroes are the guys murdering children and uses the Nuremberg defense to justify it, and she has the balls to call us Nazis?

      She is basically Lex Luthor, and she hates Superman for being able to do things humans can’t.

      The brainwashing idea also has the advantage of being something Palpatine can actually control, so that he has any kind of guarantee his Trojan Horse will actually turn against the Jedi when commanded.

      • Mumbles says:

        Whoa, buddy. Look the Order 66 book in a vacuum doesn’t put forth any agenda and there’s plenty of good jedis that have awesome character development. As I said in the podcast, I haven’t read the extended stuff past that OR listened to her interviews about her resentment towards jedi. That book was good. It showed the complexity of clones and their relationships with jedi. That’s why I liked it.

        • Alex says:

          “Look the Order 66 book in a vacuum doesn’t put forth any agenda”

          Order 66 is the one where she has a Clone Trooper give the “I’m just following orders” excuse and the Jedi he’s speaking to doesn’t call him out on his bullshit, yes? And where Traviss’s pet Jedi dies to protect the Clone Troopers while they’re murdering some children, so that Traviss can pretend that it’s justified now that it’s a reprisal killing and not just genocide?

  26. Hitch says:

    I haven’t listened to the Diecast yet. I’ve just read the notes. I became aware of Willrow Hood a few weeks ago, when I discovered Ice Cream Maker Guy cosplay exists. There’s half a page of groups of guys in variations of that costume on Google image search. How do so many people put in that much time and effort for that character?

    • Thomas says:

      I love this bit of his wookiepedia article

      “Star Wars Insider 49 published an amusing take on Willrow Hood as part of its Ultimate Empire Strikes Back Insider’s Guide. Written by Daniel Wallace, the article notes Hood as “the infamous Ice Cream Guy,” and wishes him luck in finding a more appreciative planet to sell his ice cream. However, as the article was written as a parody and Hood’s story has since been explained in another manner, this alternate story is non-canon.[8] ”

      So sincere =D

  27. Jurassic Park Builder reminds me of that craptastic JP fighting game for the PS1: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=N1GtpgxhIrU

  28. WILL says:

    Asura’s Wrath is a very entertaining anime. It’s not much of a game, though, 95% of it is cutscenes and quick time events. If you want to get used to a controller, I’d suggest any Halo game. The controls are friendly, the game is fun/solid and really help get used to standard console shooting. Anything else is easy after that.

    That said, totally worth watching Asura’s Wrath. It’s dumb, badly translated at times and completely utterly weird but manages to stay entertaining. The real ending is DLC though.

    • Phantos says:

      I think another good choice, although more difficult early on for getting accustomed to console FPS controls would be Left 4 Dead.

      I mean, the games themselves are awful, but that can’t be blamed on their control schemes, I don’t think. They can be a useful education in how we console cavemen handle things.

      But then, I’ve never had the chance to play the PC version to compare.

      OOH! Or maybe the Orange Box!

  29. Greg says:

    On the subject of “Fandalorians” (as told by someone who quit cold turkey on Star Wars EU a couple years ago):

    The Republic Commando series, Order 66 included, is not nearly as much of a catalyst for the backlash against uber-cool Mandalorians as the Legacy of the Force series was (which featured a round-robin team of 3 authors, Karen Traviss among them). The Republic Commando series is generally well regarded for precisely why Mumbles likes it, for making the clones well fleshed out, believably distinct characters. Legacy of the Force is where Karen Traviss’s books really started hammering home the superiority of Mandalorian culture, and actually led to incredibly poor consistency from one book to the next — for example, in one book Boba Fett and his supercommandos used their super Mandalorian iron armor to deflect lightsabers and punch the crap out of the series’ main villain (YEARS OLD SPOILERS sith lord Jacen Solo!), whereas in the next (I think it was by Troy Denning) they would get completely trounced and not stand a chance at all, with characters actually thinking about how the Mandalorians believed themselves more badass than they were.

    However, the real reason behind the backlash against Karen Traviss and the Mandalorians, behind the wildly inconsistent fighting prowess levels, is that Traviss’s books espoused an incredibly anti-Jedi viewpoint, basically blaming them for the corruption of the Republic, for the Separatist movement, and for the clones’ use in the war. This made sense in the Republic Commando books, where the Jedi Order did have some moral problems and the perspective was that of characters who have legitimate grievances against them. However, the LotF books transplanted this view onto the Mandalorians as a whole as being just better in every way than Jedi – more honest, more salt-of-the-earth types with camaraderie and brotherhood, not to mention totally badass fighting skills, that Jedi just can’t hope to match.

    It doesn’t help that Traviss herself was on record in interviews as saying that the Jedi Order deserved Order 66 and that she found the very concept of Jedi to be morally repugnant on some level. Then, in probably the most polarizing of her books (I believe it was LotF Revelation), she had one of the EU’s main characters, Jaina Solo (daughter of Han and Leia), go seek out training from Boba Fett and the Mandalorians on how to defeat the series’ Sith big bad guy. Leaving aside the fact that Boba Fett and the Mandalorians have an incredibly consistent losing record against Force-users, this plotline was a transparent author tract in which Jaina was treated as a spoiled, morally myopic princess who never had to work a day in her life, whereas Jaina’s been a Republic soldier and Jedi since she was a teenager and had recently been instrument in winning the most devastating war since the Clone Wars, and probably saved more lives both in wartime and peacetime than there had ever existed Mandalorians. However, Jaina (and other Jedi characters) have no answer for the Mandalorians’ claims of their “selfish” and “oppressive” ways, not because there is none, but because the author simply hates Jedi.

    You can imagine how a fanbase for a universe whose central conceit is Jedi and the Force would react to this, even if this perspective had been presented in a fair and balanced manner. Hence the Traviss “controversy” and the derision heaped upon “Fandalorians” by those who’ve loved reading tales about Jedi Knights for decades.

    Hopefully my little entirely irrelevant rant here has illuminated something of the causes behind the fandalorian backlash. Return to your regularly scheduled “discussing things that actually matter” programming now.

    • Thomas says:

      That was interesting, thanks. It does give me a little glee though that KotoR2, the work of someone who also wasn’t a big Jedi fan, came down much more harshly on Mandalorian culture.

      I don’t know if it’s the same for everyone, but I actually found Mandalore the hardest character in KotoR 2 to sympathise with. GOT0 has genuinely good aims, HK-47 takes a fun glee in what he is and his sidequest is a goal anyone can get behind. Kreia can be defeated and at least has some interesting personally motivation behind her beliefs and even Hanharr has a warped honesty to him.

      I think what got me about Mandalore was that he was so unabashed about everything. You couldn’t make him lose his temper, he wouldn’t let you argue with him properly. Whatever you said his attitude was always ‘Good game. Can’t wait for the next match.’ Hanharr knows he’s messed up, but you could punch Mandalore in the face until the sun rises and he’ll only tell you that he liked the challenge and he can’t wait for the opportunity to bombard the next planet out of existence.

      I never wanted to do his quest because there was no way I wanted the Mandalorians back in the universe

      • WILL says:

        Mandalore’s only goal was to rebuild his clan and Mandalorians altogether. Not necessarily a good goal, considering they’re all mostly war criminals and now ruthless mercernaries, but Kreia quickly deconstructs him as a broken man trying to reclaim old glory, something that will never happen since their people will simply fade away.

        KotOR2 is more in love with Echani philosophies of self-reliance, constantly testing yourself and trials defining who you are.

        • Thomas says:

          But what Mandalore dreams of a reconstructed Mandalore clan is basically for Mandalorians to resume business as normal. At least when they were mercenaries and thugs they didn’t have the organisation to start galaxy wide wars.

          I think I was too worried he might manage it. If you assume that he can’t then his story starts being tragic instead of threatening. But if you’re worried that he might come back than it’s just Kreia being her nigh-psychotic manipulative self

          • Mike S. says:

            I haven’t played KotoR 2 yet, but “At least when they were mercenaries and thugs they didn’t have the organisation to start galaxy wide wars” reminds me a lot of the krogan in that other Bioware game. The series tends to come down pretty firmly against the genophage and in favor of curing it. (Though less so if Wrex is dead.) But the krogan really are defined by violence and aggression, and really were a galactic-level threat. And it’s never exactly clear what, in the absence of the genophage, is supposed to stop them from a rapid population explosion, or responding to that with an attempt at violent expansion.

            (As some forgotten commenter once posted, “I understood the genophage much better the first time I fought a krogan on Insanity difficulty.”)

      • syal says:

        I always got the feeling that Mandalore couldn’t see anything good about the future so he dedicated himself to re-living the past. You can’t argue with him because he already knows his cause is hopeless and is deliberately avoiding thinking about it.

      • Greg says:

        I’ve actually always been slightly Fandalorian at heart, at least before Traviss going off the deep end with it, precisely because I found the Mandalorian culture fascinating and believable despite clashing pretty much oompletely with my own values. The KotOR games only reinforced this, because when you get down to it, the Mandalorians are just people — some of them are complete a-holes, some of them are fairly decent, and they all struggle to live up to an ideal moral behavior, just like we do. It’s just that their ideal moral behavior is inherently based around self-improvement through violence, and so leads to atrocities and wars that seem pointless to us but are to them a vital part of progress. But unlike almost any other culture based on violence, the ideal Mandalorian does not hate his enemies; he desires to test himself against them, and if he comes out the weaker then he deserved to lose.

        Just because of how alien this is, it’s interesting to me, and Candalore in both games by extension, because he comes close to living this ideal. He’s treated as Dark Side by the game and pretty much indisputably would be if he were a Force-user, and he’s willing to do terrible, terrible things … but to him, they’re simply not terrible, they’re how a person is supposed to act. He doesn’t seem to really hate anyone, he wrestles with a grudge against Jedi even while acknowledging he shouldn’t, and he’s perfectly willing to show respect to anyone who earns it in his eyes.

        And it doesn’t hurt that this culture does produce badass warriors. Not badass to the point of absurdity, as they’re portrayed in LotF, but just a group of people who dedicate themselves to perfecting combat wholeheartedly. People who cannot consistently defeat a Jedi, but people who can give them a better fight than almost any other non-Forceuser. The wishful warrior in me has to respect that.

        All of this is a roundabout way of saying that I did Mandalore’s quest, mostly in the hope that the Mandalorians could be channeled into something useful, and because I felt that they were less likely to give into despair and commit scattered atrocities if they had a leader who was willing to work with Jedi and who enforced “proper” Mandalorian ideals.

        Traviss pretty much whitewashed them, though, which is part of the reason I hated her books. They were an interesting example of a villainous culture, which was then made into simple folk with country wisdom.

        • Thomas says:

          I think that’s interesting. You can see in my post just how strongly I was reacting to the alienness of culture and I hate Mandalore in the way I could hate a good villain (so I don’t hate his presence in the story).

          The problem would occur for me if the story was on the side of the Mandalorians. Ultimately a culture so dedicated to violence is almost always going to be a destructive force that ruins the good things of the world.

          The only way you could channel the mandalorians to do good would be to either break their culture or find a way to find a continual stream of equally strong opponents who are equally dangerous for the galaxy. As soon as the mandalorians beat one they’re going to be looking for their next fight, and as KotoR demonstrated, if there’s none to offer then they’ll create a new opponents for themselves.

          • Sabrdance (MatthewH) says:

            The Mandalorians struck me as nomadic warriors, with Mandalore acting sort of like Ghengis Khan. But despite being disparate nomads, they did have something like a unifying culture as long as there was a strong Mandalore.

            The death of Mandalore the Ultimate at Malachor V was a little like the death of Crazy Horse (though more awesome -and I’m aware I’m switching metaphors). Canderous is then like Sitting Bull, but with Crazy Horse’s “I’m the last Mandalorian alive” line.

            It is tragic, though no one in the Republic (either of them) is going to wish to revisit history and reverse it.

            To some extent, what made Republic Commando interesting was the way that the Mandalorians rebuilt themselves in the Commandos -in many ways the same way Native Americans got a second life (of a sorts) in American Special Forces. When things went to Sithspit, the Commandos were more Mandalorian than Republic, and so they defected.

            In these circumstances, our feelings about the Jedi should approximate our feelings about Custer or Sherman -conflicted. Though as KOTOR2 demonstrated, there’s more than a little metaphysical horse-hockey in the Star Wars universe, and the Jedi as priests of that metaphysics are going to get a higher share of the flak.

    • WILL says:

      I would totally recommend playing Star Wars Republic Commando. It is quite possibly the most unique take on Star Wars, there’s no lightsabers and it’s very focused on “conventional” soldiers and ground-level warfare. The usually comedic Super Battle Droids are suddenly massive threats, there’s a surprising amount of gore for a Star Wars T-rated game and the characters are all pretty interesting.

      It’s even got a few interesting squad mechanics and the levels are generally very well designed (especially the ghost ship – spooky stuff).

      • Kavonde says:

        I’d also like to take a moment to pimp the CG Clone Wars series. The show’s seriously great–yes, the “movie” (really a three-part series premiere that George insisted on giving a wide release) didn’t set the world on fire, but it got way, way better–but its best moments and most gripping stories come when it focuses on the clone troopers and their relationships with eachother and their Jedi commanders. Especially given that the show doesn’t shy away from killing characters off (sometimes pretty shockingly, especially for a cartoon); the troopers we follow from training and through the war start off as a squad of five, but gradually get whittled away.

        It’s on Netflix, by the way. Including Season 7, which didn’t actually air on TV due to the Disney buyout. You absolutely should watch it, even if–maybe especially if–you hated the prequels. Clone Wars does a hell of a lot to redeem that trilogy.

        • Phantos says:

          I wonder how many people remember the traditionally-animated 2D cartoon by Genndy Tartakovsky?

          I remember that one being pretty good. Enough that it actually made General Grievous kind of a BAMF instead of just… whatever he was in the movies…

          • Alex says:

            Yeah, that was great. Very stylised, but very fun.

          • Henson says:

            Second this. Well made, well paced, some really awesome, if ridiculous, fights (Mace Windu oh my god), gave teenage Skywalker some nice ‘good guy’ moments, and has one of the best foreshadowings (if you can call it that at this point) of Anakin’s fall to darkness due to his obsession over not wanting to lose anyone ever again. And best of all, it felt like Star Wars.

      • Sabrdance (MatthewH) says:

        Second.

        Though like the book series, it suffers the lack of an ending…

      • Gruhunchously says:

        Nice to see some Republic Commando love. That game took a pretty eye-rolling concept (It’s Star Wars-but it’s now all dark and gritty and SPACE MARINES OORAH GRR!)and managed to craft a really great experience out of it. It’s got some great action sequences, and some really tense ones, and your squadmates are really entertaining to be around. I’d say it does All the tension and violence gets off set by some hilarious banter between 62 and 07, and 40 being exasperated by it all. And there are also the subtle things, like the prevalence of Mandalorian culture in the Commando’s upbringing and ideals. It really did ‘dark and gritty’ so much better than so many other ‘dark and gritty’ games that came after it.

    • Knights Of the Old Republic (KoTOR and KoTOR 2) deals with the Mandalorians correctly I feel.
      The repercussions of being a warlike society is shown. Their animosity towards the jedi is explained.
      Some are shown to be assholes while others are not.
      In KoTOR you get to fight against them, in KotOR 2 you get to fight alongside them.

    • Jeff R. says:

      She does sort of have a bit of a point about the Jedi. The “mind trick” is a profoundly evil act of mental assault, and the willingness, even eagerness, of Jedi to use it for the most trivial goals combined with their victim-blaming (‘it only works on the weak-minded’) precludes anyone who would even willingly associate with this cadre of mind-rapists from being remotely considered ‘good guys’.

  30. Mersadeon says:

    Concerning the non-canonization of the EU, I’ll leave one last “screw you” to George Lucas for old times sake.

    Adventures of Han Solo Collection, On Star’s End
    Han Solo: “It just so happens, Rekkon, that I like it to shoot first. Not second.”

    (Free translation from the German version, minor differences may have snuck in)

  31. P.J Skeletor says:

    RUTSKARN ! You asked why there aren’t wrestling RPGs where you make a character and go through shows and stuff like that. “SMACKDOWN: HERE COMES THE PAIN!” brother. In that game you play through 1 wrestling Season (the day after Wrestlemania to the moment the next Wrestlemania ends. The first choice you’re given is to wrestle for either the WWE Raw or Smackdown Brands. This determines who you have oppertunities to wrestle, what championships you can go for, and it switches out some storylines. At first you get tossed into random matches while management feels out how good you are. Through matches you get XP for upping your stats (strength, speed, endurance ECT) and Superstar points. Superstar points determine your standing in the company and decide if you get shots at the Championships. After each match you win there are 3 options. Shake your opponents hand, do the regular victory posing, or jump him while he is down. This allows you to essentially be whatever moral elignment you wish. It also has MANY branching storylines.

    As an example, if you aren’t currently busy with a storyline or just otherwise not doing much of consequence. Someone in management will ask you if you would be willing to make a tagteam with another guy in a similar position. This guy will act like a total dick for a few weeks, posturing by giving you a “signed copy” of his autobiography, and generally getting angry at you for no reason. And you have options to deal with it or mess with him right back. After a few weeks he throws you an apology party with a Cake and balloons. You can decide to not even come out. But if you do come to the party he’ll apologize and offer to bury the hatchet. You can then either leave, accept, or throw the cake in his face and beat the ever loving shit out of him. If you accept you challenge the tag champs together. If you attack he challenges you to a match. AND if you were a dick back, he jumps YOU. Then it’s up to you to win or lose these matches. And things change further based on that.

    The way your storylines go is based on, whether you win or lose, your choices, and random chance.

    But it all builds toward Wrestlemania. If you win just about all of your matches you can win the WWE title in your characters rookie year. If you do less well you could be going for the U.S Title. Or you could pick way different options and be Battling someone because you hate them not for any title, and if you do poorly you won’t make the show. Because if you do poorly enough the management thinks of you as a waste of time and doesn’t put you in matches and no body in the locker room thinks your worth fighting. (I believe. I do know they stop putting you on shows but I haven’t brought a failure run all the way to the end)

    Anyway it’s a very complex game and it’s one of my all time favorite games. The previous 2 Smackdown games are similar but hadn’t perfected the formula yet.

  32. Nimas says:

    Ok, I’m just shocked that so far it seems that NO-ONE has mentioned Rustkarn’s stealth “CARD GAMES ON MOTORCYCLES” reference. For shame internet, for shame.

    P.s. Hilarious episode

  33. StashAugustine says:

    I care about canon because it means that if someone introduces a terrible idea other better writers still have to use it. For example the Legacy of the Force series killed off Mara Jade (among other bullshit). Timothy Zahn mentioned that he’d had an idea for a post-NJO book featuring the Skywalker family going off and having adventures but now one of the characters is dead. Comics generally get around this by retconning the shit out of stuff but that means nothing has any weight. Oh Jean Grey died? She’ll be back, don’t worry. I’m not angry about canon getting wiped out because I care about it but because I wanna see a goddamn Timothy Zahn book made into a movie.

    (also read Zahn’s novel Allegiance because it’s about a group of stormtroopers that are pretty nice people but gradually get disillusioned with the Empire)
    (also read everything Zahn writes cause he’s great, Cobra and Night Train to Rigel are great)
    (also Kyle Katarn is really cool)
    (also Karen Traviss is kinda bad)

    • Gravebound says:

      Urgh…Troy Denning is a terrible hack: His love of those stupid Joiner bugs that he keeps bringing back; the way he ruined Tahiri’s character, going against everything that was JUST established in New Jedi Order; or just his inabilty to write engaging prose. Blech. The canon stops about half-way through the NJO series, for me.

      (Gonna’ second Zahn’s ‘Quadrail’ series as enjoyable…still need to read the last one. There is almost no Zahn presence in the bookstores/libraries out here, but they probably have hundreds of copies of Twilight/Dreamy-Monster-Fanfiction/50 Shades of S&M…where’s the justice in that?)

      • StashAugustine says:

        The last Quadrail book was so good, I was pretty impressed by how he managed to tie it all together. And while Traviss can at least write some fun action scenes inbetween the rest of her bullshit (and I actually like how she handled Daala) Denning is just irredeemably bad. Like, Mandalorians are at least cool even if she hypes them up too much, Killiks are terrible and nobody likes them. (I remember my mom bought the first Dark Nest book when I was in seventh grade and then hid it informing me it was terrible, it wasn’t until much later I found out she was probably trying to hide the psychic bug orgies.)

    • Sabrdance (MatthewH) says:

      A Zahn book with Kyle Katarn is about the only thing that might get me interested in the EU as a going concern anymore.

      After all, Katarn is God.

    • Mike S. says:

      While I doubt they’ll do it, in principle they could use the EU the way the Marvel Cinematic Universe uses the comics canon: nothing is automatically included, but it’s an idea source and a rough guide to the shape of characters and organizations.

      (Certainly if they were going to mine anything from the books, Thrawn is a natural. Clones of major characters with the vowels in their names doubled, maybe not.)

  34. Phantos says:

    If I can say nothing else about Karen Traviss, she somehow managed to give a little characterization to Gears of War 3 of all things.

  35. Dave B. says:

    I can think of two tie-in computer games that I consider canon (even though I’m sure they are officially not.) Star Trek: Klingon Academy, and Star Trek: Borg. Both games with interesting stories about two of my favorite characters from the franchise. Klingon Academy was centered around General Chang, the Shakespeare-quoting Klingon general from Star Trek VI: The Undiscovered Country. Borg had a very prominent and wonderfully written Q (John de Lancie.)

  36. Wide And Nerdy says:

    This head canon stuff is why I don’t get why people think the ending of Mass Effect 3 ruined the game forever. I understand that there are objections coming from all different angles (some feel it doesn’t serve the themes, some wanted their choices better reflected, some wanted to be able to earn a happier ending [though personally, I think the evolution of all life in the synthesis ending is the happier ending because F organics. Our bodies suck.], and some wanted to know more about what happened to their friends (and Bioware fixed that)).

    But other than that its a pretty good story for a lot of people. I know Spoiler Warning hated Mass Effect long before the ending (indeed, before ME3) but for other fans who enjoyed the games up to the ME3 ending, how can you let the ending take the experience away from you? How can you let it retroactively ruin the series for you.

    • I think this has to do with the “AAA game” expectations. In essence, the more that is shown and allowed inside the canon, the less freedom is implied on the part of the audience imagining alternatives outside the canon.

      For a lover of literature, the expectation is that the audience will elaborate on the description given, and use their imagination to flesh out the sights and sounds of the world. Thus reading a book demands the same level of commitment to cognitive world-building as is required to generate and maintain a head-canon. You are on equal footing with the storyteller, and thus there is a sensation that your head canon is equally valid. However, this demands mental effort on the part of the audience.

      Movies are a step in the direction of ease, as the audio and visual presentation shows you what is going on in the world. It demands less of the imagination, of the audience in general, at the expense of individual elaboration. But even then, you see only what happened in the story, and what is in front of the camera. It is easy to imagine “If this were different then…” and generate your own head canon for the course of events. But even if you do so, your head canon will have a lesser sense of realism, as it is not seen or heard.

      Video games actually allow you to explore what would happen in the world. If you think “Well, but if Shepherd did this other thing…” you can try it in the game and see the outcome instead of imagining it. One is still free to construct an alternate canon, of course, but the medium does not really encourage this kind of thinking. Indeed, the funneling effect of ME3 to a narrow set of endings is offensive for many reasons, but not least because it seems to address even the head-canon of fans who would have liked to see it end differently. The game tells you “No matter what decisions you made, this is how it would have gone.” In addition, even if the audience generates a head canon, it feels weak and illusury next to the visual, audible, and interactive nature of the “reality” of the game as presented.

      So, to answer your question, the audience of “easier” media have grown unused to employing their imagination. They “let it retroactively ruin the series” because to do otherwise would require skills they have neither cultivated, nor even (perhaps) become aware of in the first place.

      • Wide And Nerdy says:

        I guess I found it easier to accept for one main reason (and its one Spoiler Warning kind of touched on). The galaxy doesn’t deserve a better resolution to the conflict than this. They spent years ignoring Shepard and covering stuff up even after the Sovreign attack. They threw Shepard in jail as thanks for buying them time and then did nothing with that time except in some cases keep fighting each other.

        The ending everybody else wanted was actually the ending I was dreading where in spite of sticking their heads in the sand, Shepard was going to rally everybody at the last minute and win this thing HURRAH and then there’d be a party. No. Now I’ll admit the ending has problems. It actually has more problems after the Extended Cut is thrown in because in the original ending there was at least room to fill in the blanks about what was happening. After the additional dialog was added to the kid, it became unavoidable that they’d written themselves into a corner with the kid’s explanation of why the Reapers were doing this.

      • “the funneling effect of ME3 to a narrow set of endings”

        I do not have an issue with that, in fact I would have been okay with a single ending even (the red ending was the canon one if I recall.

        With more of a focus on better/worse future scenarios for the companions depending of your relationship/friendship/treatment of squadmates or other NPCs.

        The extended ending did improve this a lot but that should have been planned originally for the game, rather than as a retrofit.

        Types of endings that most games use (you bloggers out there are free to steal my idea here):
        0. A single ending with no variations.
        1. A single ending with variations.
        2. Two or more very divergent endings.
        3. Multiple endings with lots of variations.

        As I said I prefer type 1 and type 2 endings, they are easier to write/make, type 3 is a pain to write/make and easy to mess up.

        like Knights of The Old Republic which went lightside and darkside for the last chapter or so, and is thus considered as having a type 2 ending.
        A type 3 ending is what I hear Witcher 3 is trying to attempt, I hope they do better than ME3; although it is possible they actually are doing/mean a type 1 ending, the lines between type 1 and 2 and 3 can get blurred at times and if that is the case then I consider it a type 3.

        ME3 said they where doing type 3 ending but tried to do a type 2 ending and instead ended up with a type 1 ending since one ending was intended as canon they should have just gone with type 1 from the start anyway, ME1 and ME2 had a type 1 ending.
        KoTOR I had a type 2, KoTOR II had a type 1.

        Most shooters have type 0 endings.

        Jedi Knight: Outcast has a type 1 ending, Jedi Knight: Academy has a type 2 ending.

        Fallout: New Vegas has a type 3 ending.

      • Wide And Nerdy says:

        Paul. I forgot to include in my original reply. You make a good point about how the participation element affects things. In a sense you’re already getting to choose your head canon actively through the official media. To have that snatched from you is going to be more disappointing than in a more passively consumed media.

        So yeah. Great point. My attention had drifted a bit by the time I made my original reply.

    • Mike S. says:

      I’ve worked hard for the ending not to ruin the series. (Though my wife hasn’t been able to replay it since.) But I really do have to ignore it for that to work.

      It’s not a matter of a happier ending (though Shepard performing major unconsented-to body modification on every organic in the galaxy is never going to be a happy ending in my book). But the ending made central an issue that had struck me as peripheral, while making a whole bunch of more interesting threads of development moot. It operated on a level that felt inconsistent with the rest of the story (even the Reapers were limited by FTL drive speed and mass relay position, but now we can instantaneously transform the galaxy at the level of individual entities). And you’re forced to accept the arguments of, and cooperate with, an entity that’s been committing genocide on an unimaginable scale since before Earth had mammals. (Even though Shepard spent the last two games being told by ancient, powerful intelligences “this is inevitable” and responding “Nuts”.)

      The extended cut added the Reject option. But of course that means choosing to lose. I found it interesting, but it’s not going to be a satisfactory primary resolution to three games worth of struggle.

      • Wide And Nerdy says:

        “Its not a matter of a happier ending.” I know. Its a reason for some fans (I think the most defensible variant being that if you get some absurdly high war asset score like 10,000 [which can only be achieved by grinding the multiplayer and promoting N7s] then you win outright.)

        “But the ending made central an issue that had struck me as peripheral”
        I agree, though personally I like what I felt like they were attempting to do with the out there high concept sci fi ending, they tried to answer questions we weren’t asking and created questions in the process.

        Also I was never attached to the larger plot arc. Because the first game I played in the series was ME2 (due to technical issues with ME1) I viewed it more as an anthology series with the recruitment and loyalty missions being like episodes with semicontained stories. This allowed me to appreciate the game for the episodes that work while ignoring the ones that don’t. As I played, I found myself wishing that I could just go on missions without there being something super urgent to deal with like the Reapers.

        • Mike S. says:

          Storywise, I think the trilogy structure and the focus on the Reapers was a mistake. If I Were King(tm), the first game would have run much as we saw it: the Reapers are the answer to the Fermi Paradox, the reason that all current spacefaring species are within a fairly narrow band of development, and the origin for various unreproduceable artifacts like the Citadel and the mass relays. They’re also a Lovecraftian threat: if they come back, it’s not a contest, they just win.

          But their plan to come back has been disrupted for the reasons given in Mass Effect (all hail the martyred Protheans!). The only path back for them is the Citadel relay, which civilization is now consciously guarding. (And as implied by the first game, it’s just too far for them to fly in via normal space in anyone living’s lifetime, if at all.)

          Now you have a space opera background to play in. The first game had all sorts of seeds for where stories could come from: the Krogan Problem, the Quarian Problem, the AI problem (including but not limited to the geth), the rise of Earth in Citadel Affairs, Earth’s push into unsettled, lawless space against the Council’s advice, humanity’s own internal tensions as represented by Terra Firma, Cerberus, and biotics as both victims of persecution and terrorists.

          And every dormant relay is a possible gateway to a new threat. Just because the Council forbids activating them on this side doesn’t mean there isn’t an equally large and expanding power with a more interventionist bent on the other side of one. The galaxy is a big place, and Citadel space is explicitly a small fraction of it. A game could cover any threat level from espionage to an ME3-sized war without bringing the Reapers back into it. The basic “colonies are disappearing to an unknown foe” of Mass Effect 2 could certainly have been done without the villains being direct Reaper catspaws.

          When things get slow, maybe introduce an undiscovered Reaper back door that has to be sealed in a race against time, because if they start to come through then it’s game over. Or the Leviathan of Dis appears to try to finish Sovereign’s job with a different, better plan. But for the most part they should have been a looming threat that informs the background, rather than an onscreen menace.

          Apocalyptically bringing down the world they’d built, which had so many stories it could have told, just feels like such a waste. They took a box full of toys and set it on fire. It was an impressive bonfire, at least till it guttered out at the end– but now what?

          (Sure, they’re doing a fourth game. But they haven’t even announced whether it will be set forward in the timeline yet, and I suspect that’s because they don’t know where to go from the endings they gave us. And a prequel will just feel kind of empty given where it’s all going.)

          • Here’s an idea for a ME5, imagine playing as a Protean, maybe one of those storage units was overlooked or had it’s own independent life support.
            You wake up in the ruins, weak, confused, a perfect starting point.
            And the old trope of waking up with amnesia can be avoided since your entire race vanished eons ago (and the one tagging along with Shepard vanished hundreds of years ago) for example.

            No idea what the plans for ME4 is at the moment. But I hope a future ME game will allow us to play as a non-human (for a change) and maybe live on a planet and suddenly one day we/they discover a mass effect gate. Thus allowing a “first contact” scenario to play out, after which the the player becomes the leader of a team of dignitaries that are supposed to go to the citadel or galactic capitol (or whatever), but obviously things do not go as planned and somebody is trying to ensure that your people is never accepted among the other species (why/who becomes the main plot of the game).

            See, I can churn out these ideas endlessly. Lets hope some folks at BioWare has similar ideas.

      • guy says:

        While I have many issues with the ending, I actually felt the galaxy-wide pulse business was reasonably clever. After all, the Citadel is the control hub for the Mass Relay network, which spans the galaxy and provides FTL transit, and it’s a key point in the first game that the Mu Relay and most of the other short-range relays are not paired, so there is no reason in principle they cannot project something at FTL without a receiver, since obviously it would need to communicate with the destination relay to set up the path. So to obliterate the Reapers in a single stroke, you hook up the Crucible to the Citadel and reprogram the network to transmit the blast.

  37. Wide And Nerdy says:

    Second post because I want these responded to separately.

    Why is nobody talking about Child of Light?

    Its got all this stuff you guys wanted. Non sexualized female protagonists (and no romance along with it), beautiful aesthetics without the need for next gen 3D rendering, its got some neat refinements to the JRPG battle system (or at least they look like refinements to me, I’ll admit its been a while since I’ve played a JRPG). The game is short, but you can keep playing it and it has metroidvania exploration. And its cheap. Even with the day one DLC with the golem (which is only 3 bucks and you should totally get it.) It even finds a use for peripherals you might have such as the wii wand but you don’t have to use that.

    I mean, this would seem to be one of those games that you wish was being made more often. Did I miss something?

    • guy says:

      I don’t think any of them are big fans of the JRPG genre. Shamus played FFX way back, but I can’t recall him talking about others much.

      • Wide And Nerdy says:

        I was just now thinking “Maybe I’m making a bigger deal out of this than I should.” Personally I bought the game because the visuals and the music looked neat and the game was cheap. I don’t spend my money on advocacy generally (though I support that approach).

        I just figured they do advocate and this would be a good game for that. But if its not their style oh well. Nobody seems to be talking about this game. I don’t get that either.

  38. Hearthstone discussion started at 26:00

  39. Hoffenbach says:

    Hey Josh, you’re not alone. I loved Problem Sleuth, but I couldn’t get into Homestuck. And now that I’ve seen what a horrible convoluted monster Homestuck has become, I’m glad I avoided it.

  40. Mike S. says:

    Just got to the point in the podcast where Mumbles talks about loving the Mass Effect universe as a setting. I relate to it the same way, even though, objectively, it’s a terrible place to live in a lot of ways. Constant wars. Eight kinds of space zombie. Human colonies devastated by turians, batarians, geth, Collectors, plus the occasional one-off giant plant. Slave raids, uncontrolled experiments on humans by governments and terrorist organizations, brand new forms of discrimination, and periodic incidents where AIs decide to kill everyone they can. And, of course, the gradual unveiling of the fact that sapient life is ticking out the last moments of its cycle before Armageddon.

    And yet I do love it, and want to spend more time there. (I’m pretty much the core audience for something like the ME3 Citadel DLC, which is basically a Citadel hangout simulator with an adventure frame.) It’s the kind of grand, multi-species, fast FTL milieu that’s kind of fallen out of fashion since the heyday of Trek, B5, and their literary antecedents like Niven’s Known Space and Anderson’s Polesotechnic League. I love the way they doubletalk a fairly small number of rubber science effects into explaining all the tech from space drives to asari reproduction. I love the way they look at implications, and tie things together in clever ways. And I love the idiosyncracies of the individual species.

    (Though apropos the Star Wars EU discussion, the tie-in materials I’ve seen have never really lived up to the world shown in the game itself. I’ve tried a handful of the comics and not been motivated to seek out more, and my wife has warned me away from the novels.)

  41. wererogue says:

    Anyone remember the Dark Forces version of Kyle Katarn? He cheered up a lot between DF1 and JK1.

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