Diecast #60: Wolfenstein, Google Rant, Transistor

By Shamus
on May 26, 2014
Filed under:
Diecast


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Hosts: Chris, Josh, Shamus, and Mumbles.

Show notes:

1:30 Chris talks about Wolfenstein: The New Order

Here are the Polygon articles Chris mentioned:

Wolfenstein is the rare game that shows sex as both fun and healing

Wolfenstein: The New Order shows you the horror of concentration camps from the first-person.

16:00 Shamus had a fight with Google.

The post is down until I get this sorted out, although you can see the original text here. You can decide for yourself if that qualifies as outrageous adult content. For contrast, here is the Call of Roma ad that was repeatedly deemed okay by Google under the same standards. Which means Google was regularly putting stuff on my site that was – by any reasonable measure – far more offensive than what they banned me for. And in both cases I was denied any way to tell them their system was malfunctioning.

Running a Patreon campaign is a big deal for me. It’s going to take me a little while to set it up. I’ll talk more about this once I figure out what I’m doing.

28:00 A digression on various obnoxious / annoying / “evil” internet companies, from Google to Amazon.

This is what made me dislike Amazon, and question if our patent system does objectively more damage than good in the world.

39:00 Mumbles talks about Bombshell and female characters created by female designers.

49:00 Shamus and Mumble hijack things and talk comics for a bit.

We talk about Punisher, Dr. Strange, and The Superior Foes of Spider-Man. Tragically, TSFoSM isn’t yet available on Marvel Unlimited. At least, I think it isn’t. Their search functionality and catalog indexing is atrocious.

EDIT: I found it. Their own search engine was useless. Google took me right to it.

54:00 Chris and Josh talk about Transistor.

Here is what SuperBunnyHop said about it:


Link (YouTube)

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A Hundred!2011There are 131 comments here. I really hope you like reading.

From the Archives:

  1. Daemian Lucifer says:

    Is Mumblo a pirate queen or a queen pirate?

  2. Otters34 says:

    So not only is Google bad at telling what’s appropriate for The Internet, they are years too slow at it. Phenomenal.

    Also, man. Ai Yori Aoshi. That takes me back.

    By the way, talking about Dr. Strange, if you want to read way too many words about him by a guy who knows and is fond of him more than I thought possible, just go here and marvel.

  3. Daemian Lucifer says:

    And the good news for Shamoose:Google is probably going to buy twitch.

    • James says:

      Depends the FCC might shoot it down on anti monopoly grounds.

      And it COULD COULD! be a good thing in some respects. give channels better vision, make the chat “less horrible” on the majority of larger channels, though it will still be horrible. and its kinda like Google admitting they like video game videos.

      but there’s also contentID and other crap that might come so.

      while its not the end of the world or twitch.

      it is 1 billion dollars and exposure.

  4. poiumty says:

    Wait, Chris, what was that you said about Transistor? There’s no rolls or defensive things you can do during the waiting phase?

    Did you entirely forget there’s a skill called Jaunt() that you can use to zoom around the battlefield dodging enemy attacks while your turn’s on cooldown? And that the skill can be slotted as an upgrade to enable more skills to be used during turn cooldown? Or that it can be upgraded to even deal some damage?

    • Nick says:

      I’m actually a fan of socketing Jaunt into Switch to allow me to cast Switch and change enemies’ allegiances in my downtime instead…

    • Chris says:

      The problem with Jaunt is that it needs to be manually selected like all other skills. So as soon as your turn ends you need to immediately switch to jaunt and start spamming it, and even then it’s this really rough “teleport 10 feet that-a-way” thing that has limited help when it comes to running away. And yeah, if you use Jaunt as an upgrade then you really do lose pretty much any ability to defend yourself in between turns.

      Even with Jaunt the game’s defensive half feels utterly lackluster, especially given how many interesting/neat combinations they came up with to deal damage in the turn based action half. That’s not to say the game’s bad! I’m really enjoying it, and hope to finish it this week. But it does feel very stop-and-go-and-stop-and go.

      • poiumty says:

        I found Jaunt really prevented most of the damage I would otherwise take, especially when faced with dogs. Later on you’ll get upgrades for it that will give it even more reliability, as well as if you level up enough (into NG+) you’ll eventually get to take a second copy of your powers.

        You’re right that it’s all you get for a large part of the game, but you worded a bit differently in the podcast. It felt like you were saying “oh if only this game had one way to avoid damage while waiting for your bar to fill” which sounded exactly like you didn’t even know about Jaunt.

        • Zukhramm says:

          One is pretty close to none though.

          • Rasha says:

            Are you forgetting that mask is a thing? It’s actually better defense than jaunt, also brings new damage dealing power by way of sneak attack damage, opens up jaunt for passive use and thus more turns, and comes really early as a power choice. I don’t even get why someone would want jaunt for active use outside the tutorial or after some dire fight they lost a bunch of functions in.

            • Bropocalypse says:

              I found it pretty damn useful by upgrading it with crash and ping, causing it to deal damage and be more cost-efficient. Even vanilla, it’s more efficient for movement than walking, so you can get more done in one turn.

              • Rasha says:

                Eh, I use a lot of ranged combat anyway. Time spent moving in turn is time spent not killing things and should only be done if you’d otherwise end in a danger zone.

                As for getting more done in one turn does that even compare to just getting more turns? With reusable safety window between the first two turns? And a disgustingly large amount of extra damage from unmaking damage that stacks with vortex debuffs and can work on multiple enemies in one attack?

          • poiumty says:

            Depending on how you look at it, one is infinitely more than none.

            • acronix says:

              It is still an extremely low number anyway. The game suffers for that lack until you reach NG+ and have enough MEM and upgrade ports to really play with the tools they give you. But the defense phase is still “jaunt or mask, else run away” Not a whole lot of variey, is there?

              There’s a challenge later on where they make you fight a clone of yourself and what she does is run around like a headless chicken. Maybe at the harder stages she’ll do something. Probably use mask and jaunt, I bet.

              • poiumty says:

                “jaunt or mask, else run away”

                Jaunt or mask or upgrade one of your skills with jaunt, assuming you’re using Turn() to begin with. And you can use Jaunt itself in different ways depending on how you upgrade it. It’s entirely feasible to use a bunch of Loads during Turn and then use Jaunt + Bounce to trigger them.

                I already acknowledged the lack of variety. But it’s not a sore spot for me, the game already has HEAPS of combat variety and you can get creative.

      • Phrozenflame500 says:

        Haven’t finished it yet?

        Interesting. I really want to hear your impression of the ending since it’s pretty polarizing it seems.

      • Daemian Lucifer says:

        You can select a skill in turn based mode without using it(with the mouse wheel).

        And there are skills that allow you passive defenses in real time,like the one that gives auto retaliation and the one that gives you shield and the one that gives you damage resist the one that gives damaging field,mask,etc.

      • AncientSpark says:

        I was under the impression that Turn() WAS the defensive option and that if you’re using Turn() too aggressively, you’re doing it wrong.

  5. Ed says:

    Hey Shamus, long time reader, first time poster, yadda yadda.

    The Superior foes of spider-man is on marvel unlimited (at least, the first five issues). In the Browse All series list, it is under T, as THE SUPERIOR FOES OF SPIDER MAN. Yes, it is nonsense as all the other “superior” series are in the S grouping.

    Edit: Oh, you found it. Woo. I love Dr. Strange, the Oath. The two heroes chilling in Night Nurse’s Clinic are Iron Fist, who I love and is fantastic in the great Immortal Iron Fist (2006) and the second one is Arana, one of the many spider spin off people, who is a character in Ms. Marvel’s 2006 series, and has her own series, I think, in Spider-Girl (2010).

    • Shamus says:

      What really baffled me about searching their site is how bad the keyword search is. I searched for “SUPERIOR FOES SPIDER-MAN”, and the top results were all the dozens of comics that just had “foes” in the title. So I took foes out and it started returning results that didn’t have ANY of the keywords in the title. I can only assume the search weighs titles and description matches evenly, and is looking for ANY match, not the best match.

      It’s just… so amateur. Gah. How can a company so huge be so inept at this stuff? There are ten thousand people looking for work right now that could fix this in an afternoon.

      • Benjamin Hilton says:

        *waves hand energetically* ooh pick me pick me!

      • ET says:

        I don’t know about an afternoon, but I think me and my useless Comp Sci degree could definitely fix this search problem. ^^;

      • Daemian Lucifer says:

        “So I took foes out and it started returning results that didn’t have ANY of the keywords in the title.”

        So,it returned hulk and stuff?

        Also,once you see how crappy some of the search engines are,you get why google has practically no one in their customer relations department:They employ everyone in the search engine branch.

      • Ed says:

        I never use the search function, I mostly use the browse, all, comics page and deal with the bizarre quirks. Marvel Unlimited is dreadful from a tech standpoint, which is a damn shame as the value you can get out of marvel unlimited in one day is massive. Oh, a couple podcasts back someone asked how far from in store release Unlimited is. It is roughly six months behind in store comic sales.

      • Joe Informatico says:

        Putting my librarian hat on for incoming rant:

        We in the library world make use of things called controlled vocabularies and Authority control. In short, this means cataloguers try to ensure every authority record, e.g. title, author, series title, etc., has a unique entry. This is done to help prevent, say, confusing
        Warren Ellis the English comic book writer with Warren Ellis the Australian musician in a library catalogue or database.

        Marvel Unlimited doesn’t use a controlled vocabulary for its search fields. Someone on Io9.com was looking up “Jessica Jones” in the character search. The character didn’t exist before 2001 when she debuted in her own series (Alias), but he was getting hits from Spider-Man comics from the late 1990s. Why? Because Jessica Drew (AKA Spider-Woman) and Angelica Jones (AKA Firestar) were appearing in Spider-Man issues at the time. There’s no controlled vocabulary defining “Jessica Jones” as a unique authority heading–it’s nothing but a keyword search. That is some serious amateur catalogue construction there. Sadly, Marvel’s far from the only one guilty of this.

        • Mike S. says:

          It also doesn’t do stop words, and some titles are alphabetized by the first word “The”. And of two series with “The Mighty Thor” on the cover, one is identified as “Thor” and the other as “The Mighty Thor”.

          (And all this wouldn’t be *so* bad if the search algorithm were better.)

    • Mike S. says:

      I made the mistake of browsing under T where “The Superior Foes of Spider-Man” would be, and didn’t see it. That turned out to be because the all caps titles were grouped separately. Sigh.

  6. Phantom Renegade says:

    I’m sure you guys know about this but you actually can do some things while in Turn()cooldown, specifically you can use the dash and stealth power, and if you slot the dash power onto other abilities those abilities become usable during the turn() cooldown.

    Its not a lot but just having one ability usable during the cooldown helps make those moments a lot more compelling and strategic.

  7. Phrozenflame500 says:

    Did you guys ever use the Jaunt() function in Transistor? You get it really early on and it’s basically your dodge and it can be used while Turn() is charging. You can also equip it as an upgrade so the ability can also be used while the rest are on cooldown. It was pretty much one of my core abilities in the game.

    Also I found a few functions worked better in real-time (particularly anything that does damage over time), although that may have just been my experience.

    • Daemian Lucifer says:

      No,plenty of functions are much better in real time.Stun,damage over time,launch in the air,all of those work much better in real time.Especially if you use the shield and faster respawn limiters(because you cant wait for the turn to recharge to get the cells).In fact,the more limiters you use,the more essential it is to focus on real time.Also,once you meet upgrades that mess with your turn,its even more important to have good real time skills.

    • Zukhramm says:

      Disabling most of your functions during cooldown seemed enough to not constantly using Turn() for me.

  8. ET says:

    So, how much choice do you get, in the types of ads you get from Google? Going off of their “How It Works” section, there doesn’t seem to be a lot of information. Like, do they just auto-pick ads for you, without giving you any control at all?

  9. rofltehcat says:

    Wait, there are still ads on this site? I don’t see any despite having your site whitelisted in adblock and allowing all scripts from your site. I want to support you at least with those crumbs, especially since you always seemed to put up the effort to make your ads bearable :(

    I don’t really want to restart the whole “websites need ad money to function” discussion but for me the ads presented by some sites like the Escapist are insufferable. Thankfully, Shamus seems to somewhat acknowledge the problems with ads, after all he tested out different ad providers a few years (months?) back.
    Why are the ads I get insufferable? Because nobody seems to care about ad revenue from outside the US and because the ad space for non-US ads seems to be so cheap (and only few legitimate companies interested in it) that we get all of the BS that gets filtered elsewhere.
    Even for a rather large market like Germany it is horrible. You wouldn’t believe the amount of shit I got scam attemps (“warning, you have a virus, install our security tool now by clicking on this professional red-white blinking ad!!”), autostarting videos (that don’t even fit into the ad spaces! sometimes two on one page or time-delayed ones that don’t start until you are already in another tab), not to speak of the borderline pornographic content (add joke about browsing habits/ad targeting, ha-ha…).

    Most sites (especially small ones) cannot reasonably filter their ads and even larger ones like the Escapist didn’t seem to be capable of dealing with it when they brought up the ad controversy a few months ago (the one with the forum mods going full retard).
    I don’t think sites can even keep up even with their US-based ads and other countries seem to be thrown to the ad sharks or simply have to use adblock because those ads are not only inconvenient and annoying but can be a real security threat :(

    • Daemian Lucifer says:

      “Wait, there are still ads on this site? I don’t see any despite having your site whitelisted in adblock and allowing all scripts from your site.”

      It could be a region thing,because for a while now I dont see any ads on a bunch of sites that dont use ads for products not available in my country(thankfully).

      • Tse says:

        I used to get some really bad scam ads targeted at my country. Thankfully, they haven’t changed their URLs since I wrote about them in the comments and they were blocked.

      • Paul Spooner says:

        Yeah. Strangely enough, it’s not very smart. For instance, I’m always logged in to my g-mail account, and always interact in English. But I’m working in Japan right now… so every advertisement (website sidebars, YouTube adverts, billboards on the side of the road) is in Japanese. It’s like, they aren’t even good at being all creepy and looking over your shoulder.

        • That’s weird. I would occasionally play these Japanese Escape-Games (Escape Men FTW! Also some love for Tesshi-E) and that made half of my ads in (I think) Japanese for a while.

          I also had a short stint where my ads were in Spanish. I never figured that one out.

    • Dave B. says:

      Yeah, normally I feel that if a site I visit frequently wants to show me ads, I’ll not make a fuss about it. But recently, I installed a flash-blocker specifically to deal with the huge numbers of flash adverts on The Escapist website. It was getting so bad that my poor computer couldn’t even scroll through a text-only article smoothly. I don’t want to make this about “denying the creators their rightful ad revenue” but auto-playing video ads in the sidebar deserve to be blocked.

  10. Daemian Lucifer says:

    Actually,there are plenty of powers that are much better in real time than in turn based.For example,crashed coupled with load gives you an aoe stunner that you can chain to stunlock a bunch of enemies and kill them with ease,but because the stun lasts for about 2 seconds,you cannot stunlock them if you do it in turn phase,only if you do it real time.

    Or load+jaunt+mask makes you drop bombs that insta explode,and you are masked while you are dropping them,and if anything survives the explosion it gets phased out so it cannot attack for 2 seconds,and you can use it while on cooldown,so you use turn to reposition yourself(because you cannot get the ranged guys with this melee attack),and then continue spamming it.

    Then there is the power that gives you passive regeneration while the turn is not recharging.

    Then there is the dog thats great to use off turn.

    So the real time combat is really powerful,and in fact its way more useful with a bunch of limiters than turn based,but the problem is that you arent introduced to it as well,so you dont immediately get how good or essential it can be.

  11. Klay F. says:

    Just like other people have said here, you can do much more than just run away when your turn is over. The majority of the powers can by used during your cooldown when you upgrade them with Jaunt. When you find the right combination of powers, there is nary a reason to ever go back to using turn mode.

  12. Phantos says:

    ‘Nother prominent female artist/designer in video games:

    Ayami Kojima, who’s responsible for the look of the cast of Castlevania games starting from Symphony of the Night.

    I vaguely recall an interview where she said that she enjoys drawing “older men”. But her female designs are equally iconic, I think.

  13. Phantos says:

    If I had known about Amazon’s shenanigans, I wouldn’t have purchased The Witch Watch from there. Thought I was givin’ some financial support. Sorry Shamus.

    • syal says:

      I don’t see a problem with Amazon taking a higher percentage from people selling the same product cheaper elsewhere, because it hurts business to sell things at higher prices than their competition. This kind of discouragement is softer than fixing the price or demanding exclusivity.

      The book example too; I’m not willing to say a weird anti-marketing policy is actually worse than just not carrying the books, which would be the expected outcome of not agreeing on a contract. You can argue that the percentage they want is too high, but that’s a separate issue.

      But patent shenanigans are still ass.

  14. Ian says:

    The only thing that can be said in Amazon’s defense is that they have burned huge piles of venture capital belonging to people who really shouldn’t have had all that money in the first place.

    I have family and friends in publishing, and have been hearing horror stories for the better part of a decade. Hechette has the prestige and in-house PR to leak this story, but this is how amazon treats all the companies they move crap around for. In fact, they started before Borders and Barnes & Noble destroyed each other and took the traditional distributors with them.

    • Tizzy says:

      Retail is cutthroat, online or not. Suppliers are NOT well treated.

      At least, with online retailers, it doesn’t cost them much to stock your product, so they’ll do it more willingly.

      In brick and mortar places, if you don’t sell at a fast enough pace, they will drop you pure and simple. Walmart will twist the arm of its suppliers until they bring heir prices down low enough.

      But then, the competition between retailers is so fierce that they don’t stay around for long if they don’t resort to that: they make easy pickings for their competitors. Once again, look at the big world players in that arena: walmart (largest public corp worldwide), tesco, carrefour…

  15. Cybron says:

    Either I’m doing something wrong, or the link to the teacher’s website in your rejected article doesn’t work.

    I’m guessing your article was caught by an algorithm. If you ignore the meaning and just look at the words and formatting – repeated use of female names, reference to a potentially sexual act, frequent link dropping – it’s similar enough to one of those spammy porn wordpresses in structure to cause a false positive. It’s pretty stupid that they have no appeals process though.

  16. venatus says:

    I think a large part of the penny arcade thing was just how much they were asking for how little they were doing. in the podcast you mentioned a quarter of a million, well that wasn’t to remove all the ads on the site. that was to remove one ad by their blog posts. to remove all their ads on their own page was half a million and their would still be ads on the comic page.

    I think most people, especially readers of this blog are fine with the idea of paying to take ads down, it’s just that penny arcade seemed to be asking a lot to do very little so people got annoyed.

    • Tizzy says:

      One has to assume that the amount they asked for was somewhat related to the revenue loss incurred. I have no idea how ad revenue works, but if you are going to finance a whole team of people based mainly on ad revenue, I have to assume hat it is fairly sizeable. Which sounds abut right, given the site’s popularity.

      • venatus says:

        maybe, but that attitude is real hard to defend when some of their rewards were things like 5,000 dollars to hang out with them for a day (you have to provide your own travel and lodging). or 7,500 to work for them for a day, (once again supply your own travel and lodging.

        I don’t really know how much they make on advertising, or how much of their income is just from their comic site (I imagine they make a great deal off of pax at this point to), but the combination of the high goals to only remove a couple of ads and the rewards that seem more like insults just gave it that “feel” that put everyone on edge about it.

    • ET says:

      Yeah, I’m totally down with handing Shamus some money every month, for as long as I continue to have a job. :)

  17. Janus says:

    Eh, just wanted to clarify:
    Portraying Nazis in the media is not illegal in general over here (Germany that is… duh).
    Iron Sky is a good example – the crazy Space Nazis stayed, well, crazy Space Nazis. Same goes for historical movies like Downfall (being a german one) or Schindler’s List and also for any WW2-Shooter, etc.

    Outright illegal are things like: Publicly walking around in Nazi-uniforms/-regalia or portraying the Swastika (in the context of Nazi-Symbolism, not for Hindus, etc.).
    Another example: Holocaust denial in any form is illegal – like in other central and eastern european countries.
    The only real problem with games like Wolfenstein would be the Swastika – it mostly gets a pass in movies, not in games though (the official reasoning being that movies are art, games are supposedly not). Some WW2-games replace it with an Iron Cross or do something similar.

    Why they changed it in Wolfenstein TNO? Well, they lowered the violence-level anyway to get a below 18 age-rating – and anything with Nazis tends to get tougher ratings.
    Leaving the swastika in would mean it gets no rating at all, i.e. only adults can buy it & you can’t advertise it at all.
    Also they probably thought it would sell better without the Nazi-theme? Just a guess, don’t know really.

    Edit: Sorry, that became a lot longer than I thought… Just fyi, that’s all.

    • ET says:

      I don’t understand why movies get to use the swastika more liberally than games. Is it because they are predominantly history-based, or more traditionally “artistic” (read: “serious”)?

      • Janus says:

        It’s pretty simple:
        Movies are considered to be a form of art. Games are not seen as art.
        In any accepted form of art you can use Nazi-Symbolism more liberally, as long as it’s not glorified in any way or treated apologetically.
        So, yeah… It’s the sadly very common “games are just silly toys for children”-Issue.

        • fd says:

          To be fair, I think it’s more that no one wants to bother going to court over it to see whether it would hold up. It’s not like there is an official list of what is considered art and what not.

          (By the way, I’m impressed by the German in what I’ve seen of Wolfenstein. Most of the time games and movies sound like they used Google Translate and voice actors who don’t speak the language, but the bits of German that occur in Wolfenstein seem like they were written and recorded by native speakers.)

        • Thomas says:

          I don’t know if the Wolfenstein franchise in general is a good counter-argument to that viewpoint =D

          • Janus says:

            @fd:
            There are official laws dealing with art and the portrayal of critical, taboo subjects in art though. But yeah, I guess most publishers just play it safe.

            Also: I just looked it up – since January 2014, the USK (who do the game ratings in Germany, Austria and Switzerland) officially recognized games as a form of art. Weird times… :)

            Good german voice actors could be somewhat of a disappointment (if I ever play that game) – takes all the camp out of it ;) & it can be incredibly funny sometimes (Grimm, I’m looking at you).

            @Thomas:
            True, but that goes for many, many movies too :)

          • Daemian Lucifer says:

            Sharknado.If that is art(and it is,though a pretty schlocky one)then so is wolfenstein,mario,and any video game you can name.

    • Zak McKracken says:

      Afaik, the display of the swastika is only allowed in historic context, and while most WW2 movies can claim that (but some still show only a mirrored version, to be sure) Wolfenstein can’t. Also, former versions of wolfenstein were “indexed” (i.e. no public ads, not shown on shelves in regular stores, sold only to adults…), so maybe this time they were a bit more careful than they needed to, just to be safe.

      Yeah, and in the end it’s humans making decisions, and some of those doing that in Germany do see video games in a different light than movies. The process is … not ideal. Then again, how could it be? It’s always gonna be a judgement call, and I’m alright with not allowing people to walk about waving swastika flags in Germany

  18. sdfq says:

    inglorious bastards made me uncomfortable. It has two great scenes in it – the farmer and the jew hunter, and the scene in the cafe with the undercover americans – but I felt repulsed by every character that I was supposed (?) to root for. Especially the Allied soldiers.

    • ET says:

      Yeah, I think that movie was supposed to give you a weird kind of feeling. Like in a black comedy kind of way…minus the comedy. So…just a dark, weird film? Heck, it’s been a while since I watched that. I know when I originally watched it, that I didn’t know what I was supposed to feel. It’s not as twisted, dark, or gut-punchy as a lot of films I’ve watched, so…yeah I don’t know who it was supposed to appeal to. ^^;

  19. Geebs says:

    Is The Superior Fores of Spider-Man a comic about Peter Parker’s greatest ever round of golf?

  20. Tse says:

    I’d like to defend the Wolfenstein story. The Da’at Yichud isn’t even like the assassins, they are more akin to hermits. Their deal is that what they do, they do for God and their getting closer to him through invention. The whole point is that their inventions are not to be used. In fact, what the Nazis got was really shitty in comparison to what Blazkowicz and co. get in the game.
    I think the point was that the Da’at Yichud would rather face genocide than release their inventions to the world.
    Also, isn’t Blazkowicz pronounced “Blaz-ko-vitch”?

  21. Kamica says:

    I haven’t listened to this Diecast (My internet/computer situation is complicated enough not to allow me to hear Internet Audio). But I did read the notes, so this is a comment on the Amazon One Click thingy.

    In New Zealand (don’t know if other countries have it as well), there is a thing similar to this, but for general, physical purchases.
    It’s called “Paywave” and basically it’s forcefully put on all new Visa cards that have been handed out since it’s implementation (you can’t get a new card without it). What it does is, you can pay for anything under $80 NZD by simply waving your Visa card in front of the payment device.

    This can work up to ten to twenty centimetres away from the device.

    I personally HATE this kind of system, especially when it’s mandatory, it makes it far too easy to lose large amounts of money, and people with malignant intent can too easily steal or make you lose said large amount of money…

    • Humanoid says:

      It’s everywhere now, though marketed under different names depending on the provider: it’s PayPass for MasterCard and ExpressPay for AmEx. I personally don’t mind it, I don’t think ‘drive-by’ schemes to harvest cards from passers-by is a viable thing as of yet (and the practical range is overstated), though the future might prove me wrong. It’ll be the banks taking on the liability anyway.

      • Kamica says:

        I can easily imagine someone producing some sort of device which you just wear in your pocket, and you just bump into people, BOOM, $80 dollars.
        I just… don’t like it >.> <.< Probably because I'm a paranoid bastard, but rather a paranoid bastard than a poor one!

  22. “Let’s talk about something else depressing, like how Shamus has mysteriously become an owner of Dark Souls…”

    I REGRET NOTHING!

  23. Paul Spooner says:

    Yeah, it’s sad that Google has so much blind automation. On the other hand, Shamus is free to NOT do business with them. Like he’s said before, don’t do business with people if you NEED a contract to feel comfortable with them.

    I agree with Mumbles. It doesn’t really matter how much money you have. Google interacts with everyone, and if they are annoying enough, they will annoy everyone. At that point, every good thing for them will fall apart. In the meantime, they are still providing a lot of good services, so, enjoy it!

    • Thomas says:

      Google is in a situation where not doing business with them is almost impossible. Shamus was talking about how much better Project Wonderful is, but it’s useless because it pays less because the advertising companies only work with the very biggest advertisers and Google practically has a monopoly on it.

      In the same way, if you have an issue with Youtube, the answer is not to choose not to do business with Google, because then no-one will ever see your videos.

      Or if you’re an advertiser and don’t like how Google operates? Good luck trying to get traffic to your website without the promoted searches.

      Sometimes corporations are powerful enough that if you don’t like them you still have to do business with them. Particularly anything which gets more efficient with mass (A rival social network that’s better than Facebook won’t succeed because Facebook has the inertia of mass)

      I’m happy Shamus has found a solution though. Maybe crowdfunding will be a way to break these sort of situations more often

    • Steve C says:

      Actually at this point in time it’s pretty much impossible to NOT deal with Google. You kind of have to. Google is too entrenched across the internet. It’s like wanting to use electricity and not deal with the electric company. They make too many of the core rules and are too big and powerful to ignore.

      For example lets say that a site has a falling out with Google. Google decides that the best way to deal with the problem is to completely scrub their system of all links or references to that site. It won’t matter if you are tiny or the Wall Street Journal that will be a huge problem.

      • Paul Spooner says:

        While this may be true for major corporations, it isn’t true for everyone. My website, for example, gets a full half of its traffic from bookmarks and direct address links. Then a quarter is from search engines (of which Google is 80%) and a quarter is from links from other sites around the internet. Sure, Google could kill a fifth of my traffic, if they really wanted to, but as it turns out, search engine traffic is the WORST kind of traffic for producing lasting customers. People who arrive to my site via Google are (largely) freeloaders. I don’t mind that they are enjoying the stuff I make, but I wouldn’t be hurting very much if they disappeared.

        All that to say, Google is certainly a big company with a lot of influence… but they don’t rule the world or anything. They never will rule the world either, because they don’t produce anything. Google is a distributor, and distributors who kill their suppliers don’t have anything to distribute. And then they die.

  24. Volfram says:

    As far as I can tell based on several months of trouble with a minor problem on YouTube(the video quality selection algorithm sucks. Still sucks, but my connection is faster now. And the settings in the user page tend to reset themselves.) is that Google don’t care about you.

    Google do not care at all about their customers. They don’t care what you have to say, they don’t WANT to hear what you have to say. The ONLY option you have to get customer support from Google is by going on their user support forums, which no Google staff ever visit and ask OTHER customers. Which is kind of useless when the thing you need help with is that Google is being a screwup.

    It’s worth noting that while Shamus was upset because Google is trying to dictate what he can have on his site(which is censorship in the worst way) and while he’s upset that they’re happy to put ads that are legitimately smut on his site without his permission and won’t take it down no matter what he says(see above paragraph), it’s the combination of the two that has pushed Shamus over the edge.

    I support Shamus abandoning Google Adsense, and I hope that whatever alternative he adopts pays a similar amount or better, because what Google is doing there isn’t just bad customer service, it’s actively customer-hostile, the sort of behavior I would expect from Comcast, Sony, or EA.

    • Tizzy says:

      Makes me wonder if advertisers fare any better with Google. They don’t want their brand associated with things they disapprove of, and preferably they want their ads shown to a population more likely to be customers. What happens when they’re unhappy with ad placement?

    • Canthros says:

      We’re not really Google’s customers, anyway, and I’m sure they don’t particularly care about the small fry advertisers, either. We’re the product, and small, paying customers could very easily cost more to support than they return in revenue.

      I find business dealings generally pretty depressing. The upside about this sort of naked calculus is that it tends to make for predictability, which is handy. Doesn’t necessarily make for happiness, though.

      ETA: ps238principal’s choice of Discworld quotes also seems depressingly relevant.

    • Akri says:

      “Shamus was upset because Google is trying to dictate what he can have on his site(which is censorship in the worst way)”

      I’m gonna nit-pick here, because this is something that bugs me:

      Asking someone to voluntarily remove some of their content may technically be “censorship”, but it certainly isn’t “the worst” form of censorship, and calling it censorship at all is problematic because of the connotations of the word. Google did not use force to make Shamus remove his content, and ultimately Shamus was able to simply tell Google “no” and both parties went their separate ways. “Censorship”, in my opinion, should be reserved for situations where one side uses force to control the content of the other, such as when a government arrests anyone who publishes something critical of the government. Technically saying “please don’t write that, and if you do I will end our voluntary arrangement” is a form of censorship, but it’s so far from the other form that using the same term for both is just begging for false equivocations to be made.

    • Zak McKracken says:

      “Google do not care at all about their customers”
      https://xkcd.com/1150/

  25. Regarding an alternative to AdSense: There have been several, about the only worthwhile one being Project Wonderful.

    All of the others I’ve seen come and go or be suggested to me have a major problem: They’re all shady as the grass under a tree at midnight. The fine print in their contracts is a mile long, it usually results in the site owner getting no cash and the ads dispensing malware left and right, not to mention popups, popunders, redirects, etc.

    When Google Fiber came to my neighborhood, displacing Time-Warner, I was reminded of a quote from “The Science of Discworld II: The Globe”:

    “Here, gentlemen, good does not ultimately triumph at the expense of a few bruises and a non-threatening shoulder wound. Here, evil is generally defeated by a more organized kind of evil.” -The Elf Queen

    “Here” is, in essence, our planet. Lacking a substance called “narrativium,” our universe is prone to not having terribly happy endings, it seems.

  26. Daemian Lucifer says:

    I really dont get why google doesnt dish out to hire a thousand mods to review stuff sniffed out by their bots.Even if they pay each one $1000(which is waaay too much for such a simple work),what is $1 million for them?And their bots do hurt their income anyway by giving a bunch of false positives.

  27. Remyek says:

    guys don’t talk about google

  28. SlothfulCobra says:

    Google is always doing really skeevy things in the background, from reading your emails, to keeping mysterious barges, to breaking into private networks to illegally harvest data (they also kept the data after they get caught).

    I guess by this point we’re far enough removed from the frontier days of the internet that all the bold startups that made it into what it is today are all robber barons now, defending their fiefdoms, fighting off newcomers, and trying to squeeze as much money as they can out of their existing markets, no matter the cost.

  29. Tizzy says:

    YES!!!!!

    The Campster Valley Girl fan club is finally vindicated!!

  30. Zukhramm says:

    I actually though Wolfenstein looked pretty good in the trailer I saw. Until they ended it with some kind of chainsaw torture scene. That completely put me off.

  31. Tizzy says:

    I look forward to seeing more places moving away from advertising. Let’s face it, it is a terribly inefficient model for everyone except ad agencies and the people they employ. Companies spend fortunes on the stuff with very little control over efficiency, the cost is passed on to the consumer, the service offered is marginal (how often do you run across an informative ad for something you need but didn’t know existed), and it contributes to the endless ambient noise (visual and auditory) and needless use of natural resources.

    Wow…
    This turned out a lot more rant-y than I expected.
    Anyway, I think we could do with a lot fewer of them.

  32. Lilith Novale says:

    I play Mirror’s Edge while listening to the diecast. It’s definitely one of my favourite games.

  33. Unhidden says:

    I think i should clear up one of the most common misconceptions about Germany and Nazi-Symbols.

    The only thing that is strictly forbidden in Germany is using them in a gloryfying and identifying way. As in: Using them to show that “Nazis are awesome” or if you want to show that “you are a Nazi.”

    It’s prefectly fine to use them in a negating context (as in a crossed out swastika on a jacket, in public no less), or in a mocking context (as in Iron Sky, which is available in Germany. Uncensored. Unchanged. As is Inglorious Basterds, btw.) and of course in educational material like history books and documentaries. They’re also fine to use in contemporary pieces, like movies playing in the time.

    And still, for some unknown reason they are ok in all art forms if used in that way, but games. AFAIK no gaming studio has tried to defend the usage in court, so that’s probably why there’s no actual court ruling about that. But yeah, seems like we don’t recognize games as art over here, or something.

    • Paul Spooner says:

      I don’t know much about this, but one possibility is that games give the players freedom to interperet symbols and use them creatively. One could, presumably, play a game in which you are ostensibly fighting “Nazies” in such a way that the player feels like they are “on the side” of the opponents. You certainly couldn’t win this way, or, at least, not in most games, but it’s a possibility opened up by the inherent interactivity of the medium that doesn’t exist in other media.

      Either that, or the whole “games are evil” thing.

  34. Neil W says:

    So… Shamus is no longer abreast of current anime?

  35. Jeff R. says:

    All you young whippersnappers, get off my lawn! The only acceptable usage of “The Original Wolfenstein” requires you to be talking about the Apple II game, dammit.

  36. Steve C says:

    Your run in with Google-censorship-bot would make for a good column. I’m sure other people have encountered the same false positive problem. With the sheer number of people I’m sure someone has come up with a workaround to deal with Google being a jerk. Maybe a secret phone number. Maybe a properly formatted legal letter sent via registered mail. I don’t know, but I bet a solution is already out there given the law of large numbers. Writing a column or post about the chilling effects of Google censorship by algorithm would both be interesting and a means for commenters to suggest a solution.

    • Paul Spooner says:

      Well, the classic approach is to go to Google headquarters in person, take someone out to lunch, and have a polite conversation about it. Taken to its conclusion, this basically means setting up an embassy between Google and The Internet. It would require hiring someone, probably full time, and therefore take a significant amount of money. The people who are willing to pay for this service would be represented, and their difficulties smoothed out. Those who are unwilling or unable get ignored.

      We basically arrive back at where we are today, except the rich get more sway over Google. Seen in this light, Google ignoring everyone almost seems like the better option. I wouldn’t be incredibly surprised if there are NO such secret channels, and for just such reasons.

      • Heh. The idea of back-channels into an internet behemoth reminds me of when AOL was the potential Google of its era.

        I know loads of professionals in the gaming industry who still have AOL.com email addresses because friends working there hooked them up with free accounts back in the day. I guess the last thing Google had you could get via nepotism was a gmail account invite?

  37. Steve C says:

    In regards to your story about Amazon, it sounds like one or a combo of 1)exclusive dealing, 2)market restriction, 3)refusal to deal, 4)price maintenance or 5)delivered pricing. Those are legal terms that typically violate competition laws. Putting this out there for people who want to know more and ‘shenanigans’ isn’t cutting it as a search term.

  38. Wide And Nerdy says:

    So I’m still kind of trying to decide between Wolfenstein and Watchdog. I bought a GTX760 card with 4GB GDDR5 a few months ago and I’ve been using it to play KOTOR and Morrowind (and Arkham Origins). I’m looking for a full blast triple A experience. Its always fun after you’ve gotten used to crappy turn of the millenium graphics to jump back to eye-popping 8th gen realism.

    Sounds like Watchdog.

    • Wide And Nerdy says:

      Curious why this was flagged. Just from one fledgling developer to a much more experienced one. I’m not mad.

      See I have this theory that its because I mentioned Morrowind and I know that I’ve ranted about Morrowind a bit (though I didn’t think I did it here, or at least that my worst posts weren’t here).

      So I briefly speculated that you might have the ability to associate filter criteria with individual users which is something I’d never considered before but sounds like a really cool feature to have (see? really just curious here). I’d be honored to be filtered in such a sophisticated way. It shows you care.

      (both about me and about your technology)

  39. To Chris in regards to the game pointing out of crazy things are. At one point a enemy/character says “Something is wrong with your brain” sort of lamp shading how the player character just keeps ticking instead of just dying.

    Other interesting things is that you can overhear the citizens talk about the regime.

    It’s like Wolfenstein are two games in one. A serious character driven game with well fleshed out characters. And shows how nasty a facist regime can be. And how various NPCs deal with it and their fates.
    Then there is the run and gun shooter with giant nazi robot dogs and mechs part.

    If you can afford it it’s worth getting it I guess.
    While I’m not Jewish, I am Norwegian, and while my mom was born at the end of WW2 and occupation of Norway, she is half german since her mom hooked up with a german soldier.
    So I guess by indirect proxy I can say that the game does not belittle anything.

    I kind of wish the opposite of what the podcast gang said, I wish they’d gone all dark, the characters and the small stories you take part in is way better than the overall plot/story.

    I wonder what a future Spoiler Warning game will be, I’m sure the new Wolfenstein is a candidate along with Watch Dogs. If I where to pick the two I’d pick Wolfenstein as the character writing is really good in comparison.

  40. Dave B. says:

    I feel like I have the opposite problem with console gaming (regarding field of view). Since I got a PS3 last year, I’ve been trying out some of the more popular platformers and shooters. My problem is not a feeling of tunnel vision, but the sense that everything is really small and far away, and why won’t these darn mooks come closer so I can see them! My TV might be a bit small, but only by the standards of the last 3-5 years, and I usually sit within 2-3 meters of it. I just feel more comfortable with PC games, because I have much better awareness of what’s going on in the screen.

  41. Wide And Nerdy says:

    For someone like me who wants nothing to do with Apple. Amazon is a godsend. I’ve had much better experience with Amazon’s video and music than I ever had with Apple. Don’t know if its changed but the one time I bought a movie from Apple and it accidentally got deleted, I had to call Apple for a redownload. Not so with Amazon.

    And if you buy into their entire ecosystem, the services mesh together well. Amazon Prime with a Kindle HDX is nice because its like Netflix if you could download Netflix movies to a device for temporary offline viewing (and by “temporary” I mean “as long as you want as long as your device can find a WiFi connection once every 30 days.” Seriously, you can’t get that with any other US service, certainly not Apple). I have a hard time seeing Amazon as evil when compared to their competition. They drove down tablet prices, they offer better digital services than their competition. You can get great deals. They’re doing things a lot more right than they have to.

  42. Humble Measures says:

    I remember hearing a piece on NPR a year or so ago about patents like the one Amazon has on 1-click. The reasoning Jeff Bezos gave for patenting something like that was that if he didn’t, someone else would and they would not be able to use it, or would have to spend a huge pile of money to use it.

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