Diecast #121: Mario Maker, Metal Gear, Mad Max

By Shamus
on Sep 14, 2015
Filed under:
Diecast

92 comments

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Hosts: Josh, Rutskarn, Mumbles, Campster. Episode edited by Rachel.

Show notes:
00:25: Mario maker: The sad life of Luigi

YeAAAh!

16:40: Metal Gear

Josh beat Metal Gear. Full stop.

31:31: Rutskarn makes RPGs.

35:00: A Wild Shamus Appears!

Yeah. My sleep schedule is now totally random. As I said on Twitter:

What do you call this problem? It’s not insomnia. Insomnia is where you can’t fall asleep. I fall asleep well enough, but then I pop awake two hours later for no damn reason.

I fell asleep before the show, hoping against hope that I’d get a nice solid 8 hours. Instead I woke up two hours later, sat down at my computer, logged into Vent, and this happened.

36:02: Metal Gear Solid 5.

51:01: Chime Sharp

Here is a comic I made back in 2010 before I went into Chime rehab.

53:14: Mad Max Fury Road

1:01:03: Stasis

1:05:33: Good Robot

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Footnotes:



2020202012There are now 92 comments. Almost a hundred!

From the Archives:

  1. Daemian Lucifer says:

    YEEEAAAAAH!!

  2. Daemian Lucifer says:

    Shamoose,you just dont get it.If you play it and like it,then you would get it and like it.

  3. Daemian Lucifer says:

    Insomnia is not just trouble falling asleep,it covers what you describe as well.See a doc,get some drugs,kill a bear,and youll sleep like a baby once more.

    • Humanoid says:

      For something milder than sleeping pills but harder than warm milk, some slow-release Melatonin might be worth trying. Technically it’s a hormone, not a drug, and its sale is completely unrestricted.

      • Neko says:

        In the United States. It’s not as easy here – which is why when I was having some real trouble sleeping I got my friend to buy a bunch of the usana melatonin stuff for me and bring it down under. It’s… not perfect, but definitely worth a try.

        • Humanoid says:

          Yeah, I’m in Australia too, and buying locally is difficult and expensive. However it’s not a restricted import so we can freely buy it from overseas sources. I’ve used the Vitamin Grocer for the last few years who have set up an Australian version of their website (all the products are still shipped from the US).

      • Phantos says:

        I tried taking Melatonin for my completely random sleep routine, but it gave me really f***ed up dreams.

        Like one time, for some reason I was at a basketball game, and then Shaq accidentally got decapitated.

        I mean they just put it back on, he was fine. Dream logic. But it was still very upsetting, and probably why I’m not really into basketball.

    • Wide And Nerdy says:

      Practice on a Teddy Bear. Have your wife film it and upload to YouTube.

  4. Andy_Panthro says:

    Metal Gear Solid 5 is the first Metal Gear game I’ve played, and I’m really enjoying it. Especially because of the weirdness I think, I’m glad it’s not gritty and serious all the time. The intro is particularly odd though, I kinda assumed most of it was a hallucination, but I’m not really sure any more.

    I’m terrible at stealth though, so I spend half the mission sneaking about and the other half running around killing folks.

    • Ringwraith says:

      It being called a “stealth simulator” rather than a “stealth game” is an apt description.
      Because being entirely detected is really difficult.
      Though unlike the other games you’re encouraged to do what you want, but optimally being sneaky for as long as possible before rolling with the punches if everything goes wrong rather than just getting shot to death or hiding in cupboard.

  5. DanMan says:

    I think you meant to post the tweet before the tweet in this entry. The one that I see is the one about clocks and not knowing what time it is. In your twitter feed, the tweet before this is about forgetting how to sleep.

    • Shamus says:

      Yeah. I was going to post the pair of tweets that described how strange I was feeling. Then got distracted halfway through, which is another problem I’m

      • thomas says:

        As I tweeted to you, this sounds like a wondering sleeping pattern due to not getting enough sunlight at appropriate times of day.

        The blue light in sunlight is important for causing the brain to release serotonine setting the serotonin/melatonin cycle that causes your circadian rhythm.

        Try going for a walk in the sun every morning at the same time. Should reset things.

        But also see your physician… But I’d suggest sleeping pills are terrible and should be avoided if possible. Walking in the morning is natural, healthy, if boring and possibly uncomfortable until it becomes habitual.

        Or you could get a blue light box like scandinavians/canadians using during the winter and stare into it… Walking is better.

        • Daemian Lucifer says:

          Or paint your room blue.Or get one of those blue lights.Sunlight is for those lame regular guys with nice complexions.

          • Lachlan the Mad says:

            There’s a program you can download for free online called f.lux which basically turns your monitor into a coloured light box by adjusting its brightness and colour balance.

        • AileTheAlien says:

          +1 on talking to doc.

          I used to have the same problem with waking up in the middle of the night. Got to the point where it was happening about 5 nights a week. Wasn’t even related to daily/weekly stress in my life or work. What actually fixed it was:
          – go to bed every night at the same time, plus or minus no more than an hour
          – exercise at least twice a week
          – no computer/phone for about an hour before I’m in bed (the soft glow of my Kobo is actually an exception – it helps me get to sleep rather than hinder me, as my phone/computer screens do)

  6. Theminimanx says:

    The history of how Metal Gear 2: Solid Snake came to be is actually even more convoluted than Josh described. So there’s the original Metal Gear for the MSX2, directed by Kojima. A different studio then made a port for the NES, which turned out very different (and much worse). It was still pretty succesful however, and the same studio then went on to make Snake’s Revenge for the NES. Kojima found out, and decided to make his own sequel for the MSX2: the excellent Metal Gear 2: Solid Snake.

  7. Hermocrates says:

    Aww, I wanted to hear Campster talk about Disney Infinity. I guess I’ll have to wait for the Errant Signal episode on it?

  8. el_b says:

    stasis works for me, waiting to play it for a bit but the ship looks amazing…i love that event horizon style long necked ship design….even if i thought the movie itself sucked.
    does anyone know what horror game mumbles is talking about? id like to give it a look.

  9. Christopher says:

    Mumbles has the right idea about Metal Gear. It really is like wrestling, super heroes, shonen anime, kung-fu movies or whatever. The weirdness and the tropes, the contrast of the real world with all this supernatural/sci-fi stuff is part of the appeal. Doesn’t mean you can’t critique it, but it does mean that just saying the premise is dumb or crazy isn’t an interesting observation. No shit!

    I finished MGSV the other day. It has relatively little story and has easily the best gameplay in the series. In the end I wasn’t satisfied with how that story turned out(It’s very light on characters and bosses, the tone is very serious, an important late mission was cut and means some plot threads lack resolution in-game and I saw a certain twist coming five minutes into the game), but I still had 80 hours of fun with it. It’s really good about having targets moving around the map, and have clues to find them as mission objectives along the way. But if you already tried, found those clues and then messed up, you can just go right where the target is going to be and get them immediately. For instance, in one mission I was rescuing a prisoner, but when I arrived at the house they were supposed to be in they had escaped, and their escape vehicle crashed in a forest soon after and enemies were swarming that place. Driving of a cliff by accident, I then went to that forest from the beginning. When the prisoner arrived I stood in the middle of the road, blocked the car and helped him escape from there, alerting no one to my presence and solving the mission in a minute. The game is really open to you solving stuff however you see fit and using what knowledge you have from your earlier attempts, and the amounts of different weapons, items, vehicles and support characters means there are so many ways to reach the objective.

    Even if you’re sort of lost in regards to the larger fiction, the main conflict is so clear(It’s REVENGE on Twoface for destroying your previous PMC base) and the story scenes so few that I don’t think it’s gonna hinder anyone’s enjoyment much, if any newcomers wanna see what the fuss is about. And attach balloons to bears to send them catapulting into the sky.

  10. Wide And Nerdy says:

    You guys in the comments are all objectively wrong forever for not talking about Mario Maker.

    Ok so the crowdsourced design of Mario levels hasn’t paid off yet. Its not even been a week. Many players have yet to figure out the system clock trick.

    Its already been neat seeing people share their levels though. I’m just holding out hope that people will get away from the gimmicky stuff and start making proper Mario levels*.

    *From the upcoming Proper Mario Bros. Featuring the Top Hat and Monocle power ups. And the snifter of brandy that turns you into Smoking Jacket Luigi.

    • Christopher says:

      The limitations of the editor is probably gonna funnel people into making something different, though. I might not have seen every piece of a level you can make, but I haven’t seen any slopes, no mid-level checkpoints, few variations on music and background art, no way to string together levels on your own to make a world, no bosses/mini-bosses besides Bowser, no Super Mario 3 suits and I’m struggling to remember if I saw a cape or a Yoshi that could eat koppa troopa shells and get special powers. On the other hand, you can do previously impossible stuff like modify all the enemies to be huge or winged and fill the entire screen with them, or place special sound effects or transform Mario’s appearance with amiibos/unlockable skins. Super Mario Maker is just naturally going to have different levels than the games it is based on.

      • Wide And Nerdy says:

        I could live with that (though I suspect some of that stuff actually is in there. And the rest is probably DLC).

        But even still, you have levels where the design concept is 5000 GOOMBAS!!! You don’t need all the elements to make a proper mario level. I’ve played a few already that aren’t bad.

        All of this gave me the urge to dig up the New Super Mario Bros U game I had been putting off. I suspect some people will buy a Mario game they’d skipped after playing a bunch of these levels that fall a little short.

        • Christopher says:

          Yeah, it might actually be a very clever commercial. I got the urge to play those older games again, personally. It’s been ages since I beat either of them, and I’m not sure if I ever beat a version of 3 that wasn’t the All-Star/GBA remake.

    • xedo says:

      Apparently, the Mario Maker patch to remove the 9-day unlock was a day one patch. They just didn’t change the in-game text to reflect that there’s an alternative unlock method.

      Er, and they also didn’t really clarify the exact way to unlock extra shipments. Best guess is that you have to add every new element to a course and then place a large quantity of blocks. My source: http://www.gamesradar.com/super-mario-maker-update-unlocks/

      • Wide And Nerdy says:

        Does anybody know what the deal with the propeller helmet is? I’ve got it but I don’t understand what it does. Its certainly not like the propeller blocks in 3D World and 3D Land.

        • Christopher says:

          If it’s like NSMB, you shake the controller while jumping and the propeller propels you up, then lets you down slowly, and you can press down to drill into the ground quickly and destroy blocks.

    • Darren says:

      I don’t get why everyone calls the unlock system a drawback. The absolute worst Mario Maker levels are the ones that just throw a bunch of stuff into the mix. Actual Mario levels typically only have a few enemy types and one or two platforming ideas.

      EDIT: Lost my point there. The benefit of the unlock system is that it attempts to force players to construct levels from a limited set of tools. Constraints–within reason–improve the creative process, and the unlocks come faster for those who are using all the tools at their disposal and making large, involved levels. It may not be a perfect solution in all cases, but I think it’s an elegant way to encourage players to explore all their options without forcing a string of tutorials.

      I’m not saying they are perfect, but I’ve been told the levels I’ve made resemble actual Mario levels:

      Flyin’ Spinies: FC2B-0000-0023-151E

      Spinefall: F24F-0000-001C-8EE0

      They use some similar tools, but wind up quite a bit different in construction, and I think both are better than if I’d made longer levels that tried to include more elements.

      A word of warning, however: my playtester (boyfriend) feedback and online comments suggest that the levels are a bit harder than I intended. One player said that Spinefall had “some SMB3 level challenge,” which I take as a compliment.

      • Wide And Nerdy says:

        I agree that the unlock system is a good idea at least in principle (some iteration would be beneficial). I’m just saying that we’re not likely to get the best levels until everyone gets their stuff unlocked.

        For example, pipe transitions aren’t part of the initial package. That’s an element that can be, and generally is, used in pretty much every Mario level (certainly loads of them).

        • Darren says:

          There are definitely elements that could be shifted around. The Mario after-image should be unlocked much sooner, as it’s extremely useful for fine-tuning jumps. I’d say the warp pipes should be among the last elements unlocked, though, since there’s no use linking multiple levels–which is basically what warp pipes do–if the player hasn’t had extensive practice making stand-alone stages.

      • Daemian Lucifer says:

        You cant force someone to make a good thing however.Those that have the talent and knowledge to make a good level will do so even if you allow them to cram everything in.Those that dont will fail no matter how you try to funnel them.So limiting the editor is merely a nuisance for the skilled,and inconsequential for the unskilled.

        • Supahewok says:

          I’ve been reading a book on creative writing by Steven King, and a particular passage springs to mind: King states that in his experience, there are 4 levels of competence in writing, and how many people fit at each level forms a pyramid structure: there’s the “Bad” at the bottom that are simply not equipped to do writing of any kind, there are the “Competent” that do good enough work but nothing special, then the “Good” that actually create enjoyable works, and then the “Genuises” at the top, of which there are maybe a handful in a single generation who write timeless works that break boundaries and expand what we think of as possible.

          He furthermore states that there’s no amount of help that will elevate a Bad writer to a Competent writer; either there’s simply too little natural talent or its too long gone to lay the foundations of success. Similarly, no amount of aid will enable a Good writer to become a (consistent) Genius writer; that sort of thing will either exist or it won’t on its own, amd there’s nothing anyone can do that can force it. However, King believes that it is possible for a Competent writer to become a Good one, through practice, learning, and dedication.

          I think that this is a reasonable enough structure to encompass many fields. I see a lot of opinions around that assume being skilled is a dichotomy: you have it or you don’t. There is a 3rd, and rather sizeable branch of folks that are perhaps unskilled, but can make the transition to skilled with some guidance and practice. And yes, forcing those people through constrained exercises will indeed make them better at whatever it is they’re practicing.

          That said, I’m not familiar with the particular scheme of unlocks for Mario Maker; this thread is the first I’ve heard of it. Perhaps it is too restricting, or set up unevenly. But just because the implementation of an idea is bad does not mean that the idea itself is flawed. Nearly all strategy and sim games require you to unlock units over time in their campaign scenarios so that you learn how to use them as you go; I don’t know what the difference is here, unless the clock talk above is in reference to the unlocks in Mario Maker being based on real time, which… is definitely questionable, but not necessarily wrong.

          • Daemian Lucifer says:

            However, King believes that it is possible for a Competent writer to become a Good one, through practice, learning, and dedication.

            The key to all those is choice.You can improve yourself if you choose to improve yourself.But you wont do it if someone forces you to.Thats the difference between having example levels,and tutorials,and suggestions for parts and this “You must do it this way today,and then wait until tomorrow to even attempt another way!”.

            • Supahewok says:

              The moment somebody inserts their game and turns it on, they’ve made the choice to play that game. Play is a learning experience, just as most things are: as you interact with the game’s system, you practice using it, and learn how to use it better. If you choose to play a game and simultaneously choose not to learn how to play it, then your playtime isn’t going to go well.

              Anyone who wants to play Mario Maker wants to make Mario levels. If they don’t want to learn how to make Mario levels better, no amount of openness and handholding is going to make the game any good for them: they’re gonna make crap, and people are going to tell them they make crap. They’ll make a crap level or two, get bored, and leave the game on the shelf. Whereas if their minds are open, than the sense of structure will nurture their understanding of the game system. And that’s the audience that the game should shoot for.

              Of course, some people learn better doing their own thing. That’s a minority of people; most folks I’ve observed personally flounder when presented with too much stuff and not enough instruction, myself included. Its not a great deal for those who want to school themselves, but its not going to hurt them either, whereas leaving it all open would hurt the enjoyment of those who need instruction.

            • Darren says:

              It’s not remotely that bad. The best level I’ve seen is one that is nothing but Cheep Cheeps. Cheep Cheeps flying at you from the screen. Cheep Cheeps with wings. Giant cheep cheeps. Lakitus throwing cheep cheeps. Cannons firing cheep cheeps. It was in the SMB1 setting and required nothing more than the SMB3 unlock. Not having the later items wasn’t necessary to produce that level, and the creator may have got the idea from being forced to limit his choices. The result was great, though.

            • Syal says:

              That’s effectively saying all schooling is counterproductive.

              • Daemian Lucifer says:

                Considering that what almost everybody remembers from school is only the few subjects they liked,which is less than 20% of pre college stuff,yes traditional schooling is counterproductive.

                Though there is one thing that schools are very good at teaching:How to cheat.Which in this case is messing with the clock of your console.

              • Supahewok says:

                Pretty much. Exactly how much stuff do you remember that you didn’t give a damn about at the time? I barely remember the fundamentals of biology and chemistry, and don’t even try to get me to say anything in Latin, but I still have a good understanding of my past history classes. When it comes down to it, if you don’t want to learn, you won’t. If you still want to do well in school, you’ll pick up enough of the subject matter to do well on your tests and then drop it almost immediately afterwards.

                Most of the kids I knew back in primary and secondary school that failed classes weren’t too stupid to pass them (even if that was the excuse in their head, although it usually took the form of the class being “hard” because apparently the 85% of the rest of the class who passed are magical outliers), they just completely disregarded school for one reason or another. Its simply impossible to force learning. That’s why the best teachers are the ones who can coax and inspire their students to learn, rather than those who simply have mastery in their subject.

                The difference in this exact case is that school is something kids have no choice about (if there is a choice, its in the hands of the parents), whilst purchasing and playing a game is something that is done willingly. By playing the game, the choice has already been made to appreciate it and thereby learn how to interact with it better, provided something bizarre isn’t going on like a parent forcing a kid to play it or the person playing being pretty wacko.

        • Darren says:

          It’s only inconsequential for the unskilled if you assume that nothing you can do will help them improve their abilities. And sometimes there’s nothing as good for improving a skill as being forced, if only briefly, to limit yourself. I’m starting to see some genuinely good levels being published in Mario Maker, and so far they are *not* the ones that have every toy in the box at their disposal.

      • Merlin says:

        Also clever is the “you must beat a level before you can share it” requirement, since it trims out some of the most egregious crap. Though it does have the side effect of opening up “decoy” designs, wherein you put together an obnoxious or impossible level but secretly tuck away a shortcut for your own use.

  11. Vect says:

    Note: Peace Walker takes place in the 70’s, not the 60’s.

    Also, for another series where you have a serious plot while a lot of ridiculous shit is happening, there’s the Yakuza series. While it looks simply like “Japanese GTA”, it’s more of an action brawler and crime noir drama where Yakuza bosses settle scores not through backstabbing and manipulation but with shirtless fisticuffs and wrestling (the former is important in order to show off their bitchin’ tattoos). The games have various minigames, such as the protagonist starting a photo blog and learning new combat moves from stupid shit he takes photos of.

    And on the Character Creator thing, I’ll just say that the game references it later on and it’s not just a dumb joke.

    • Joe Informatico says:

      The brawling in those games can be so much fun. Not many games let you beat a guy into submission with a bicycle. But the minigames can get really out there: the picking-up-hostesses pseudo-dating sims, all the arcade games, the casino games. I can say the Yakuza games taught me what the hell baccarat actually is, since I was required to win a few games of it. Before them, it was just that weird card game for super-rich Europeans that James Bond played in the Sean Connery era.

      Also, if you’ve never read Jake Adelstein’s account of three real-life yazuka playing Yakuza 3, it’s fantastic.

      • Supahewok says:

        Thanks for linking that, its great. My favorite quote:

        “M: [The protagonist] is the way yakuza used to be. We kept the streets clean. People liked us. We didn’t bother ordinary citizens. We respected our bosses. Now, guys like that only exist in video games.
        S: I don’t know any ex-yakuza running orphanages.
        K: There was one a few years ago. A good guy.
        M: You sure it wasn’t just a tax shelter?
        K: Sure it was a tax shelter but he ran it like a legitimate thing. You know.”

      • Christopher says:

        Yeah, thanks for that link. Fun read!

  12. Dragmire says:

    But, but… Disney Infinity….

    Aww….

    Next week maybe? I hope Chris’ frustration doesn’t cool by then.

  13. spleentioteuthis says:

    Left to its own devices my sleep also tends toward going all free-running and forgetting about that pesky day/night cycle of the planet we’re on. (Unless you who are reading this are not on one, in which case hi space-person/dog/alien-slug-thing! Don’t forget sunscreen when going to the space porch!) The old circadian clock just not fully agreeing with external clocks without enough regular sunlight and all that good stuff, and especially when working nights, sunlight can be in mighty short supply. Which all could actually be quite alright if you have a flexible enough schedule and still manage to get a good sleep whenever you do get it. At least one of which does not sound like the case here.

    If there’s no underlying circadian rhythm disorder independent of the already mixed up rhythm, maybe something as simple as turning down lights and monitor brightness well before sleep would help it keep things under control? Not to accuse anyone of not doing something they may well be doing as a matter of course.

    But then if just basic sleep hygiene, as the doctors say, actually can’t in any way keep the sleeping reasonable and it’s getting disruptive, probably time to start seriously suspecting a specific sleep disorder going on. I mean I’m no medical professional specializing in the fabled accurate online diagnosis, but it’s what I’d do.

  14. Andy says:

    Re Mad Max: His name’s not just Scrotus, it’s SCABROUS Scrotus.

  15. Duoae says:

    Is it just me or should the title of this have been: “Mario Maker, Metal Mear, Mad Max”?

    :D

  16. The Rocketeer says:

    Metal Gear is earnest, heartfelt, brilliant, stirring and circumspect 100% of the time when everyone in the room likes it, and the second someone criticizes any part of it, that part becomes an obvious joke that no one should have taken seriously.

    Metal Gear’s “jokes” have never, ever served any sort of purpose or made any kind of point, and have never been allowed to stand side-by-side with anything truly in earnest to allow distinction by way of contrast; it’s only ever served as a blind to shield a wealthy, 52 year old auteur from even the mildest criticism regarding tone, structure, or narrative, to play cheap one-off gags at the expense of the player, and to indulge the creator’s basest instincts with impunity by laying it under the thinnest possible shield of “but it’s satire.”

    • Andy says:

      So, it’s the Daily Show of video games? (Right down to Stewart being 52. Creepy!)

      Which means I’ll let fans be fans, and stay the heck away. :)

    • Daemian Lucifer says:

      The only legit criticism of the series(and the reason why Ill probably never play it) is the length of its cutscenes.

    • Otters34 says:

      Have to agree. I quite enjoy the series’ gameplay(most of the time…), some of its characters are quite compelling and unique, and MGS2 is great as a diatribe about the inherently deceptive and mutable nature of wholly-digital media, but boy howdy does it ever run headlong into the problem of one guy getting to make all the rules with no real challenge except “make it possible for there to be more Metal Gear games, so we can milk this thing straight into Hell.”

      I think it’s given the slack it gets because both it’s pedigree and because hardly anybody is making anything like Metal Gear Solid, except maybe Activision, and its zany politically-charged military fightdude series with obligatory “Whaaaaaat??” moments doesn’t let you blow up giant robots with other gianter robots.

    • Cybron says:

      Ask most MGS fans about MGS4 and you’ll see plenty of criticism.

      For that matter, ask certain groups of MGS fans to debate which MGS game is the best and you’ll see LOTS of criticism.

    • Thomas says:

      Nobody says Metal Gear is satire. If they do they probably don’t know what the word means. What the fans _love_ about it is how earnest it is in all things including the completely ridiculous things. Metal Gear will never be too afraid to try and pass off it’s 70 minute lecture on high-school disarmament theory as a joke. It will do it and believe that it’s totally important for the audience to go through it’s lecture :P And yet it will unabashedly mix that in with poop jokes and then somehow at the end of it all produce genuine feeling in it’s audience.

      And the defence of the Metal Gear fans (that I used just then) is not that the whole thing is structurally brilliant and cohesive or indeed about the property of the work itself. The defence is it’s factual ability to produce all the reactions and feelings of good media _despite_ it looking like absolutely none of this should work at all.

      Any criticism of the structure of Metal Gear that dismisses the hundreds of thousands of people who legitimately love the games is getting so tied up in critical appraisal that it misses the point. The point being that this completely mess of brilliance and ineptitude jumbled together can not only create joy in the people playing it, but create characters and ideas that have resonated throughout pop culture.

      Snake, The Boss, Big Boss, The End, Mantis, Sniper Wolf, Revolver Ocelot and even maybe Liquid Snake are all to greater and lesser degrees pop-culture _icons_ always ready to appear on a Top 10 best X list. And thats a spread of characters that other structurally correct and well-written franchises could only dream of achieving.

      And what are you going to do? Is it frustrating that other people continue to love a game series that you can’t get into even when you point out the many many flaws with it? And they love it more than many games that you feel are logically and rationally much better? Of course that’s annoying and yes, that does make discussion useless and the responses to your criticisms weak and in substantial. But what am I going to do? Tell my brain to stop enjoying that fistfight between Snake and the hypnotised Russian tentuple agent with the personality of your clone twin brother on top of a battleship?

      And that’s probably whats most enjoyable about the MGS franchise, apart from it’s large mechanical competency and inventiveness, it’s completely fantastical. It does things that you wouldn’t think of because it’s just such a bad idea to try them, and that in itself feels stretching and kind of liberating in the way traditional fantasy is.

      It’s the fascination of an Ed Wood film with the heart-pounding finales of a legitimate action film.

      Metal Gear is the dream of a madman savant.

      • Thomas says:

        Even that doesn’t mean that an MGS game could do anything and people would love it though. Depending on the aspects you love many people hate MGS2 or MGS4 or even MGSV.

        I’m kind of disappointed by MGSV simply because its just not weird enough compared to the previous games and the story is too spread out to actually engender emotional payoff (or for whatever reason, the payoff isn’t there for me).

        The whole thing is very much “I don’t know exactly what it is I like, but I know it when I see it”

      • The Rocketeer says:

        “And what are you going to do? Is it frustrating that other people continue to love a game series that you can’t get into even when you point out the many many flaws with it? And they love it more than many games that you feel are logically and rationally much better?”

        Nevermind how off-base the rest of that was; you think I’m frustrated at other people’s enjoyment, that I just don’t get the series, and that Metal Gear’s place of prominence aggravates my insecurity? Thanks for illustrating my complaint perfectly.

  17. James says:

    The thing with Metal Gear is you either like it or you dont, i know that sounds like a obvious statement, but with alot of things you can come to like something later on, or perhaps with more time to appreciate its strengths but with Metal Gear its very much a game that either clicks with you or it doesn’t.

    The game is insane, over the top nonsensical and brilliant, its also stupid contrived and often times just plain dumb, but like a schloky b horror movie, its my kind of dumb.

    • Daemian Lucifer says:

      I disagree.Ive read a lot about the game,and watched some stuff,and I like what Im seeing.But Ill never play it because of the length of the cutscenes.So you can like the tone,the humor,the pacing,whatever,and still be put off by how it handles the gameplay,or the presentation,or whatever.

      • Thomas says:

        I think there are definitely a subsection of people who just enjoy the gameplay aspects of a Metal Gear game. They’re filled with the same ludicrousness as the story (punching sheep and tying them to balloons), but they’re also competent.

        MGS4 (and I think MGSV?) let you skip the cutscenes though, so you can just enjoy them as game. Even if MGSV doesn’t, it really doesn’t have much in the way of typical Metal Gear cutscenes. You could slog through the introduction and then enjoy yourself for tens of hours in the open world without having to anything much story related at all.

        So far the boss fights in MGSV have been very underwhelming for the series though.

    • Falterfire says:

      That may have been true of previous games (Unsure, haven’t played them) but that definitely doesn’t seem to be true for Phantom Pain. I love the gameplay in MGSV, and I’m having a blast with the game mechanics and level structures and all of that. On the other hand, the more ‘story’ cutscenes I watch, the less I care about that.

      I’m not done with the game yet (Finished the 31st level yesterday) but right now I think it’s going to end up in the depressingly large pile of games that have fun mechanics but nonsensical story.

  18. Cybron says:

    Warning: some spoilers for old metal gear games (no spoilers for MGSV), especially 2.

    The storyline of the mainline Metal Gear games takes a really weird arc over the course of the series.

    The first two games (MG1, MG2) are pretty straightforward. Then you have MGS1 which borrows heavily from MG2 and translates those gameplay elements and setpieces to 3d. It also borrows some story beats in the same way. All three of them, despite their weird love for conspiracy and twists, are pretty straight forward. They’re also relatively mundane – despite the cyborg ninjas and shamans there’s few supernatural elements (just Mantis, and psychics aren’t exactly anything new to scifi) and the advanced technology is nothing that would be out of place in an 80s action thriller. In fact, I think that’s a good way to sum them up – they’re 80s action thriller movies translated to video games. Kojima has a well known love of movies and it really shows in these games. Metal Gear 2 has character portraits practically ripped from movie art. He even named the main character after Escape From New York protagonist Snake Pliskin.

    MGS2 is a complete departure from the previous games – it’s less a coherent narrative and more an art piece. There’s a lot that’s been written about this game and I won’t attempt to reproduce it here. But the short of it is that the events of MGS2 are (probably) not reality, though the game does not volunteer this information. It has many elements that, if taken at face value, are extremely out of place compared to the previous metal gear universe – and according to development notes, there were supposed to be even more. This proved to be problematic when the public at large didn’t catch on to the art game thing and ended up trying to take it all at face value. And what’s more, they demanded a sequel. This is why Kojima more or less gave up on trying to make the story something you could tell others with a straight face – there’s no coming back to serious from a flamboyant immortal vampire, a rollerskating fatman, and President Doc Ock McClone being portrayed as serious villains.

    Then MGS3 rolls around. Kojima complains a lot about not wanting to make it. Metal Gear was never supposed to have had a sequel and he’s probably getting mighty sick of this by now. There’s some stuff written about that as well. The short of it is MGS3 was the ‘MGS2 had a bad critical reception’ hail mary to save the series. It tried to be intellectual but also way more straightforward, invoking the thriller movie feel of the first three games. It also played with the supernatural and weird (BEES) because, hey, mgs2 opened the floodgates for pretty much anything so why not.

    Then you have MGS4, which is the star wars prequel of video games. It tried to reground the wackiness of MGS2 in science fiction for some reason, like midichlorians did for star wars. It also laid page after page of text attempting to answer any question you could ever have (and probably want an answer to) about the metal gear storyline. And made you listen to that text in an hour and half long cutscene. MGSV appears to be the above minus the cutscenes plus even more retcons, but I haven’t played enough to say for certain.

    tl;dr people failed to realize MGS2 wasn’t real, stuff got wacky, then tried to get grounded again, kojima is the george lucas of video games

    • Gruhunchously says:

      And then, in Metal Gear Rising, Platinum joined in and milked the goofiness of the series for all it was worth. And had loads of fun doing so.

    • Ed says:

      Um, to say MGS 2 isn’t real is to be ignoring the game’s text as the text of the series from beyond that point. Just because MGS 2is a simulation does not mean it isn’t real.

      • Cybron says:

        That’s why I said the events aren’t reality, not that they didn’t happen. Besides, there’s a lot to go into there, which is why I gave the tl;dr version of MGS2 and linked those articles. Also, I think you kind of missed the important spoiler there with your spoiler tags.

  19. Joe says:

    Shamus, any time you want to talk about Mad Max is fine by me. I was obsessed with the movie when it was in cinemas, I’m still obsessed now. Best action movie I’ve seen in many years.

    I’m also playing the game. It’s good, but not stellar. One to pick up on the cheap.

  20. Timelady says:

    Okay, so…after listening to this, I am now really, really interested in trying the Metal Gear Solid games. The only trouble is that I have a tendency to really hate stealth games. Nothing against stealth games, I just…don’t mesh with them well. So, with that in mind, do you guys think it’s worth my trying to play them anyway? Or do you think watching a let’s play would be a good alternative? Are there any really good ones out there? (I’m sure there are, but…what are they?)

    • Syal says:

      Well, I like Chip and Ironicus. Might not be for everyone.

      Here’s the start of their MGS3 playthrough, but they’ve done most of them. Maybe all of them; I stopped watching at 4.

    • Christopher says:

      If you really can’t stand stealth, you can just sort of shoot and grenade throw your way through a lot of metal gear games. 4 and 5 are the easier ones to do it in, though. The shooting controls are just way better than they used to be. So maybe watch playthroughs/let’s plays for the earlier games. 5 is pretty standalone, but 4 is one big fanservice extravaganza, so knowing the story of MGS 1-3 is vital.

      • Cybron says:

        This. I wouldn’t recommend trying to shoot your way through the original MGS1, but you might be able to manage Twin Snakes (which is way easier).

        Also, I played MGS4 as my first MGS game. It was a hell of an introduction. Luckily I had somewhere there to explain most of the crazy stuff to me.

  21. SL128 says:

    Is there a specific time you tend to wake up during the night? I once had an incredibly stressful week or two and every night kept waking at 3-4am (daylight savings inactive), unable to get to sleep until hours later. Looking it up, I saw that the circadian rhythm involves some mechanism that’s triggered around that time which wakes people up when stressed.

    I haven’t looked it up since because details about biological functions freak me out, but it may be worth looking into (especially since I’m not at all confident about the mechanism besides stress/cortisol being involved).

    Also, as recommended earlier, try f.lux. It only takes two days to get used to, and helps a lot for normal times.

    Now that I’m done using blurry memories to pretend to be the doctor you should be seeing, I’m looking forward to the podcast.

  22. Daemian Lucifer says:

    NOT shouting ~Latin while attacking would give a tactical advantage. Also the bullets. Bullets would give a tactical advantage.

    Funny you should say this,because one of the later books deals with silent spellcasting.Also protection spells.

    As for the movies…they kind of touch the subject,but not with any depth.

    • Supahewok says:

      Yeah, I don’t use Twitter, but if I did, I would’ve pointed out that sometime in book 6, I believe, they start teaching the basics of nonverbal and wandless spellcasting. If you want to read between the lines, you can infer that wands and incantations are really just spellcasting focuses that channel magic energy into specific effects. Its a lot harder to work without them, so must wizards only use spells nonverbally for minor things, like household chores or stirring their coffee. You can see the great wizards, Dumbledore and Voldemort, do a lot more without needing to speak.

      Spellcasting focuses also seem to be a specifically human need; house-elves and other magical creatures don’t need them, their magic is used “naturally.”

      You can go further and start extrapolating into the nature of magic in the Potter universe but honestly I don’t see the point in going further than I did above, as I highly doubt that Rowling ever went further herself.

      As to the original question of if a gun would kill Voldemort, it would depend on if he saw it coming. If he saw somebody take aim, he’d erect some sort of barrier or turn the bullet into Nerf or something. If he was shot from behind, and he hadn’t set defenses beforehand in anticipation of it, then yeah, he’d probably die. He’d still have the Horcrux’s, but that body would die.

      • Mike S. says:

        Except that there would probably be some arbitrary, never-before-mentioned magical effect that stopped guns from working correctly, the way Hogwarts belatedly turns out to disrupt electrical and electronic devices because Rowling didn’t want to deal with the kids having them. As you note, HP isn’t a rigorously built rules-based world, and plot and atmosphere are a higher priority than tactical reasoning.

  23. Bryan says:

    Chris: I think you’re talking about “perception of depth” in the Mad Max discussion. Or at least, that’s how I’ve heard it described.

    Refer to a lot of other bits of story while not actually explaining any of them. There are lots of bits in LoTR and The Hobbit that do it — for example the references to Bilbo as one of the elf-friends, alongside Turin. No explanation of who he is or what he did, just a reference to the name. The effect is to make you wonder what’s going on with that other story, and it makes the entire world seem a lot bigger.

    (Of course, then you go and read the actual Turin story… but that wasn’t possible when The Hobbit was published…)

  24. OK, I have suggestions for sleep issues, lots. Years of too much or too little sleep. I have more issues with initiating conscious brain shutdown than randomly waking though.

    Melatonin’s a nice over-the-counter make you sleepy, as is benadryl. Making sure your bed is for sleep and only sleep is one I’ve been told for years (and have yet to do because I’ve been doing everything on my bed for years now and that’s a lot of habits to change and work to put in). I’ve found white noise to be quite helpful in giving my brain something to listen to and focus on while I try to initiate sleep mode. Ear plugs can also be good, either to block out external sounds or to magnify internal ones like your breathing so you can concentrate on ’em.

    There’s various stuff that can knock you out of sleep before you’ve finished a full cycle (about 4 hours give or take). The one I’m most familiar with is sleep apnea (if this is a possibility get checked asap as the longer it goes on the more damage is done). There’s also various urinary issues (you’d probably have noticed those though). Is there something in the environment that might be waking you up, like a furnace kicking on or some other not-so-predictable noise? Is your bedroom nice and cool (this one’s vital to me getting enough sleep)? When you wake up, are you immediately going off to do stuff, or are you chilling in bed for a bit? Do you have flux or a similar program installed on computer so the screen tint shifts to what’s appropriate to outside? Have you tried dosing with sunlight (aka going outside in the morning for a bit and repeating around sunset)?
    There is a theory that the modern idea of sleeping all night is actually a pretty new thing and most people would sleep for a while, get up and do stuff for a bit, and then go back to sleep. I’ve had this happen, and found it no more tiring than getting a full 9ish (8’s not quite enough for me). But if I don’t complete a sleep cycle (not sure I’ve made it through a full one in over a week at this point), my depression’s worse, I’m in more physical pain, and while my pain med might mask the being sleepy feeling (all opiates do that to me, not sure why), I still feel exhausted. The migraines really don’t help.
    It also might help to put the clock somewhere where you have to work to look at it. This helps prevent the “damn, it’s 3 am, why can’t I sleep?” brain loop that just makes insomnia worse. I’d also get every bit of light you can out of your bedroom, no glowing clocks or electronics with lights, but I wouldn’t block the sun if you’re trying to reset to “normal” aka wake up in morning, go to bed in dark.

    • Daemian Lucifer says:

      There is a theory that the modern idea of sleeping all night is actually a pretty new thing and most people would sleep for a while, get up and do stuff for a bit, and then go back to sleep.

      As long as you have started and finished at least one rem phase during your sleep,you should be rested.But considering how fast one enters rem phase,how long it lasts and how much time passes between rem phases,the efficiency of having a single or multiple shorter sleep periods varies from person to person.

      • Yup. Not getting a full REM cycle (and thanks, I couldn’t remember what that was at 2 ish am when I was writing) has been a major migraine trigger for me since 13.
        (I might have managed one this morning, when I finally dropped off at about 6, woke up at 7ish, crashed again, and now it’s 11 am and I don’t feel horrendous so maybe? Hopefully?)
        I emailed a friend to ask him (he’s got sleep issues and chronic pain from a nasty training injury). He said when he wakes up, he’ll grab a glass of milk, grab a fairly mindless book, and that generally works if things aren’t bad. Also, pot, apparently (I do not endorse breaking the law! I also don’t really care if others do, and I think pot being illegal is kinda stupid given that booze and cigs aren’t.). Anyway, a particular strain is one of his go-tos for insomnia(I know there’s two types indica and something else (sativa?) and one’s more the relaxer). The others are fairly strong meds ranging from Soma to a Xanax relative that’s stronger that I wouldn’t suggest unless you were fairly desperate.

        He also suggested the “tough love” sleep thing. You get up at the same time every morning and go to bed at the same time every night. No matter how tired you are, you don’t go near bed till bedtime (no naps) and you get up when it’s time no matter how little sleep you’ve gotten. Minimize caffeine if possible (but don’t add more stress by trying to come off it at the same time). Consistency is key here. Doesn’t matter if it’s a weekend or not, the alarm goes off at the same time and you get up (especially if you’re liable to go back to sleep if you don’t leave the bed).

  25. ColeusRattus says:

    Despite having played MGS1when it first came out on PC, it just now dawned on me that Solid Sake’s name is basically a dick joke…

  26. Annikai says:

    Josh, in MGS1 go into the PS1 menu by hitting the middle button, then there is an option to switch the controller slot there.

  27. Steve C says:

    The show notes should include that Campster talked about Disney Infinity for two whole seconds.

  28. Phantos says:

    Mario Maker was the game that was going to convince me to buy a Wii U. But Nintendo’s Youtube policy is so anti-consumer that I don’t think they deserve my money anymore.

    Funny how the one time they’re actually doing something wrong, that’s when people decide to stop crapping all over the Wii U.

  29. Ringwraith says:

    I’m with Mumbles on being selectively squeamish, although I’m a bit less selective.
    Can’t do with watching operations on people very well at all. Or nasty stuff happening to living people in general.
    Dead bodies are totally fine.
    I also try not to think about it too much.

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