Diecast #183: Jokes, Final Fantasy XV, Dishonored 2

By Shamus
on Jan 9, 2017
Filed under:
Diecast

93 comments

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Hosts: Host, Reginald, Errant Signal, Gustav. Episode edited by Rachel.

It’s been ages since I did a videogame podcast and I don’t quite remember how it goes, but the guys assured me the show should start with about 20 minutes of random non-videogame bullshit.

Show notes:
0:02:03: Favorite Jokes

We talked about our favorite jokes. Here is mine:


Link (YouTube)

I laughed at this joke when I saw it in ~1996. I laughed at it every time I saw it afterwards. I laughed every time my brother quoted it at me in the early 2000’s. I laughed at it when I tried to repeat the joke on the show. I laughed at it when I looked up the video just now.

I dunno. It’s like this is the Everlasting Gobstopper of jokes. It never runs out for me.

0:05:37: Man Walks Into a Bar

A horse walks into a bar. The bartender looks at him and says, “Why the long face?”

This segment isn’t so much about the “Man walks into a bar” style of joke as it is about how we visualize jokes in our head.

I’ve mentioned Martin’s Bar before. If you’re trying to keep the continuity of your whole Shamus backstory straight, it was mentioned in this grim chapter of my childhood. The building is still standing today, but it’s empty now. You can see it here. (It’s the red brick building facing the corner.)

I suppose this means the Battlezone machine is gone.

0:20:23: ASMR Videos

As it’s been described to me, ASMR videos are designed to trigger that feeling of tingling excitement you get when you’re extremely happy. The sensation where you get goosebumps due to your overwhelming emotional state, and you feel simultaneously excited and yet serene. The last time I remember having that sensation was 1982. I was sitting on the couch by myself. The family had just set up the Christmas decorations and I was sitting in the darkened living room, staring at the constellations of colorful lights. Soft Christmas music was playing. I remember having this meta-thought about how soon this perfect moment would end, so I tried to memorize as much as I could. (And yet, I can’t remember what music was playing.)

I’ll probably never feel like that again. But maybe I should watch the Happy Gilmore clip a few more times to see if that does the trick.

0:22:31: XCom 2

My favorite part of the Xcom story is the part where I remembered that Bradley existed. Or was it Bradford?

Ah well. Whoever.

0:37:42: FINAL Fantasy

Josh has been playing the very last fantasy game.

0:55:22: Dishonored 2

Chris has just finished Dishonored 2.

1:12:02: GTA V

I’ve been playing GTA V for some reason. I have a love-hate relationship with this game. Parts of it are extraordinary. Parts of it sicken me. Other parts are just pathetic and irritating.

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Footnotes:


2020202013There are now 93 comments. Almost a hundred!

From the Archives:

  1. Daimbert says:

    Huh. When I saw that title, my immediate thought was that the punch line of the joke would be “So that explains your breath”.

  2. Tizzy says:

    The internet has made the world a really weird place. I had no idea that you could throw in the name “Richard Ayoade” without any of the hosts going “who?”.

    Finally, my obsession with British TV is paying off!

  3. Tizzy says:

    Can I point out that the Happy Gilmore joke – the one that Shamus calls Sandler’s lifetime of comedy in one joke – would be about 100% better *without* Sandler? The other guy’s line is the funny line, no need to belabor the point.

    • Daemian Lucifer says:

      I disagree.The funniest part to me is the uncomfortable “no” in the end.Which you wouldnt get without Sandlers comeback.

      • Daimbert says:

        But all that does is kick the “That came out wrong” angle of the original statement to the guy. Sandler’s line is a longer and less clever way to do that. I’ve seen similar jokes done with just a look of incredulity or a laugh with the person then, essentially, realizing and saying something like “You know what I mean!”.

  4. Wide And Nerdy ♤ says:

    The way Shamus feels about the Happy Gilmore joke, I feel about much of Kung Pow Enter the Fist. Its the stupidest silliest stuff and it never fails to make me laugh.

    Though I submit that its even stupider in a way that’s much more clever than anything from Sandler. It’s stupidity is more imaginative, more unbound by rules.

    • Echo Tango says:

      Woo! Kung Pow! :D

      • Wide And Nerdy ♤ says:

        I’m glad I’m not the only one.

        Personally, my favorite Sandler moment is from Billy Madison.

        Again the bulk of the laugh is carried on the writing (which may have been Sandler) and the actor’s performance, but Sandler’s uncharacteristically understated reply makes me laugh too.

  5. Wide And Nerdy ♤ says:

    As for bar jokes, I just realized in my head in the “man walks into a bar, the next guy ducked” joke, the bar they’re smacking into is braced across the front door of the entrance to a drinking bar like it was put there by some dick. I guess because I’ve already drawn the drinking establishment in my head and am now retroactively inserting the iron bar into that scene.

    EDIT: Just got to the part where you mentioned Jackie Gleason and googled it to get a visual am now realizing that my bar in bar jokes much more resembles his than the Cheers bar, and that its probably from a distant childhood memory of seeing a rerun of that show even though I watched Cheers for years and maybe saw the Jackie Gleason bar once or twice ever.

    I imagine the Gleason bar for bar jokes and the Cheers bar when I think about actually going to a bar.

  6. Wide And Nerdy ♤ says:

    When I heard my first ASMR video, I thought “quit whistling into your mic you idiot.” I’d heard how relaxing they’re supposed to be and those noises are not relaxing for me.

    • Christopher says:

      ASMR videoes as intended just feels like a lie to me, because I have never experienced that kind of feeling in my life as far as I can remember. I tried a couple of videos of an attractive woman making a salad while whispering descriptions of making said salad, and while it wasn’t unpleasant, I don’t think the feelings I got out of that were the intended experience.

      • Phill says:

        Only a minority of people have ASMR, and for people who don’t the videos won’t do anything. I tend to have a mild tingle reaction to those videos, but more than nothing

        • MichaelGC says:

          The videos do nothing for me, but I get the sensation itself reasonably often, and can selfinduce it at any time using the magickal incantation below. (Which’ll mean nothing to most of you, something to some of you, and may well produce the same effect for one or two.)

          And Solskjær has won it!

          Yep, there we go: even typing it out works, it transpires.

      • Echo Tango says:

        I too have never experienced the things that ASMR videos are supposed to do. For me, like Shamus, those videos seem like an invasion of personal space. ^^;

      • silver Harloe says:

        I feel like ASMR is like the Emperor’s new clothes. People are telling you it works for them because they feel like they’re supposed to say that.

        • Matt Downie says:

          “I don’t like electric guitars, therefore I assume nobody else likes them either, which means there’s a vast conspiracy to pretend otherwise.”

          Without psychic powers, we have no way to know whether people who watch ASMR videos are doing it because they enjoy them, or because they want other people to think they enjoy them. Personally, I’d rather go through life assuming people aren’t lying to me when they have no good reason to lie.

    • Retsam says:

      I’ve got mixed feelings about ASMR videos, but they do “work” for me, mechanically. I actually found them several years ago, by accident; I’ve always had some sound sensitivity growing up (liked when people whispered, I absolutely hated being around a vacuum cleaner), and was googling about that when I ran into the idea of an ASMR video.

      So yes: certain sounds being relaxing/stimulating for certain people? Definitely a thing.

      In practice, ASMR videos? I have mixed feelings, as I said. The fact that it’s like 95% attractive women makes the whole thing feel a bit skeezy. And then a lot of the videos are either overly New Age, or overly female-targeted, or have “flirty” undertones (even if you ignore the ones that are overtly sexual), or are “role plays”, which I find uncomfortable in their own way.

      From time to time, I’ve found videos that I like more than they make me uncomfortable… but it’s usually easier to just listen to music or put on background white-noise.

      (Also, the name “ASMR” is basically pseudoscience, which doesn’t help things)

    • Son_of_Valhalla says:

      The best ASMR videos are the ones where they chew gum in the mic for several minutes. There’s just no better feeling than hearing the chewing of gum. Such a delicate sound.

    • Dotec says:

      The dedicated ASMR videos are a bit much, and they don’t do the trick for me.

      I do experience the sensation a lot when I listen to Bob Ross though.

  7. tengokujin says:

    I usually never imagined a specific bar, but when pressed, I suppose I would offer the bar from “Bartender”, an anime where the entire premise is that a person walks into a bar with a personal problem, and the bartender somehow provides a solution with alcohol.

    This anime is a mostly serious episodic character drama.

  8. Joe Informatico says:

    I liked Dishonored 2 as well, but I was also taken aback that every bit of worldbuilding in the first game that was left kind of ambiguous or mysterious (Emily’s parentage, the Outsider’s nature) was just straight out made explicit in this one. It doesn’t ruin the story at all, because as you noted, the story and characters are kind of meh already, but it seemed a bit odd.

    Reminded me of Babylon 5: the whole first season Commander Sinclair is trying to unravel the mystery of the “hole in his mind” and what happened to him during those 24 hours he was held prisoner by the Minbari. Then in the second season he’s replaced by Captain Sheridan and I know they had to get the main plot moving despite the speedbump of changing the main character, but it was really weird watching the Minbari sit down with their people’s most-hated enemy and explain everything Sinclair worked a whole season to uncover in a single conversation.

  9. Joe Informatico says:

    I don’t get those ASMR videos at all either, but I do love Jenny Nicholson’s parody of them.

  10. Wide And Nerdy ♤ says:

    I think we all connected with Frog when he was fighting to stay conscious so he could warn his little girl about improper fractions.

    Then there was the scene where the Frog tried to do reduce a fraction to lowest terms but he forgot a common factor, but he was so proud that his family didn’t say anything. I still can’t think about it without tearing up.

    I could believe Frog Fractions 2 has tearful heartfelt scenes but if you want to convince a fan, don’t tell them that the frog actually does fractions.

  11. Christopher says:

    Do you really think i asked for a 10 inch Pianist?

  12. MichaelGC says:

    Lives just around the corner from me, David Mitchell. Used to see him in the pub fairly often.

    Anyway, my favourite joke is krellen’s one about the duck. Not because it sets me off as such, but it would reliably leave my father, a generally serious gent, in tiny small pieces every time.

  13. DeadlyDark says:

    Eh, I felt a little disappointed with Dishonored 2. I find it hard to criticize, though. Because most of the flaws could be attributed to original game… But I try.

    Plot is even weaker than the first game. It’s straight as a line. Yeah, that “twist” of the first game was telegraphed with dexterity of the rhino, but at least it was a try from the script-writer, I can respect that. Characters all bland and underdeveloped, and there is no reason to care about them. Except, probably, Jindosh, but he was the only villain we spend a little time with.

    Game is too bleak and depressing. Even more than the first one. I blame graphical fidelity and my mood, and it’s subjective, I admit.

    AI is buggy and unpredictable for my style of play. I play as sneaky, pacifist Corvo without powers. I have no Gods, no Masters attitude in my games for some reason, so if some being grants me powers, I don’t use them (with bonus of making Dishonored closer to Thief games, so I have my fix in that). Even in first game I didn’t use powers (except teleport in 2-3 places when the game strong-arms you to do it). So, with my style of play, AI have so good vision, that it could quickly (inhumanly quickly I must add) spots me in impossible angles or just little part of me. So either I had to reload often, or loose my ghost status. So I reload. And again. And again. As a result I loose the flow of the game and get frustrated. Also if something changed in the level (like disabled wall of light) AI tends to randomly get alerted (and roam the level) and get calm without observable pattern, so here’s that difficulty. I know, that first game very weak and forgiving AI, but this mess isn’t the answer either. They overshoot with this correction.

    May be I do second playthrough with Emily, as maniac man-killing machine with powers (she’s a spoiled rich young person, so it make sense narrative-wise). Just to see how the game feels that way. Though, for me, Dishonored 2 was also a disappointment, because how good Hitman 2016 was, and I hoped to see similar level of brilliance in how game feels overall (dunno how to describe, honestly). I dunno, may be I’m too harsh.

    P.S. GTA5 humor works for me pretty well overall, but I am, like as the developers, not american, so… It’s easy to have fun in expense of others I guess xD It’s just sometimes I feel, that diecast crew downplay the quality of the satire, though. But, I do love mocking of russians in Red Alert games and such, so I’m open-minded enough in that regard )

    • MichaelGC says:

      How’s the voice acting this time? Not that good voice acting is likely to offset any of the points you raise, but I do recall that the first game had the likes of Susan Sarandon and Brad Dourif giving shall we say not the performance of a lifetime? – for whatever reason. Always struck me as highly odd. (I’ve not played either game myself.)

      • DeadlyDark says:

        Sadly, on the same level

        • MichaelGC says:

          Well, that sucks! And is again confusing – I’m just having a glance at the cast, and it’s again proper actor-types such as you’d see in at least decent-sized movies. Odd.

          • Raygereio says:

            Voice acting is not the same as movie/tv acting. The two skillsets can overlap, but someone who’s good at the one may not necessarily be good at the other.

            Also often voice acting is hamstrung by things like bad direction, VAs recording their lines separately even if the characters are having a conversation and budget (people with recognizable names have high salaries, so having them do multiple takes will be something you’ll want to avoid).

            • DeadlyDark says:

              I think it’s not the actors (if I recall Brad Doruf voiced Chucky, and I believe people liked him in this role (never watched them), so he has some experience in VA). My take, that it’s both script and direction problems. Script do not allow these actors the material to do interesting things or understand their characters and audio director (or Harvey Smith himself) prefer downplayed acting. The problem is that it downplayed too much, with no nuance that needed for that direction.

              • Syal says:

                Maybe also a problem of talking to a player character that can have a spectrum of personalities.

                • DeadlyDark says:

                  Well, it didn’t stop, say, Vampires the Masquarade Bloodlines from making very memorable voice acting, and I would argue spectrum of personalities in Masquarade is far wider.

                  • Syal says:

                    Well, the Bloodlines player is always a low-status newbie vampire so important folks can reliably treat them like a doe-eyed non-threat. Also they have set dialogue that people can react to; I haven’t played Dishonored 2 but I’m assuming it’s a silent protagonist kind of thing where the game doesn’t give a solid indication of what the player’s thinking.

                    • DeadlyDark says:

                      No, both Corvo and Emily voiced protagonists now

                      If interview with Harvey Smith to be believed, Corvo and Emily have up to 3 replics depending on their chaos level.

    • Merlin says:

      Yeah, that “twist” of the first [Dishonored] was telegraphed with dexterity of the rhino, but at least it was a try from the script-writer, I can respect that.

      I’ve argued this point many a time before, but attempting to be brief: I think it’s pretty clearly the script-writer and game designers’ intent that the twist is crazy telegraphed.

      That every member of the “ruling class” is a craven jerk regardless of their political allegiance is illustrative of how and why Dunwall failed as a state. This in turn provides narrative impetus for the player to embrace violent, high chaos gameplay; it reminds the player that the rot has always been there and that Dunwall is not necessarily a place worth saving. The story becomes less of a heroic badass restoring utopia, and more of a personal revenge story to which any happy ending is one of degrees, because there will never be an end to the opportunistic dicks coming out of the woodwork.

      This is counterbalanced by the Dickensian decency of the (non-gangster) common folk. It hammers a pretty classical theme of asking whether you would punish the guilty at the expense of the innocent who suffer as collateral damage, or whether you’d spare the evil for the sake of the good. The story’s thinness is a strength, because it establishes thematic context of the gameplay without eating up time via cutscenes.

      • DeadlyDark says:

        Not sure if it was intention from the developers or not, but I like that explanation, even though only on intellectual level (it’s like fandom explanation on erratic behavior of Janeway). But, I’ll be honest, Dishonored games are surely not trying to engage player emotionally plot-wise, only gameplay-wise.

  14. MichaelGC says:

    I think a Rutskarn XCOM* LP would be great – it’d be awesome to see what he could do with a more futuristic/technological setting, just as a contrast to the more fantastic/historical ones we’re perhaps more used to from the recent LPs here, not to mention the wonderful stories on Patreon.

    Which is not to say I’d be disappointed if it turns out to be something else. Whatever seems like it’d be the most fun is likely to be best for all in the medium run! So if it ends up being Sid Meier’s Pirates! or suchlike, sign me up.

    *That’s right, isn’t it? No hyphen when it’s nu-school?

  15. John says:

    Final Fantasy XV is an odd duck. The first I heard about was when Youtube decided to make me watch the Kingsglaive trailer before I was allowed to watch the video I actually wanted to see. Kingsglaive looks terrible. It’s plot, in so far as it is revealed by the trailer, is . . . uninspiring. It’s been done. It’s been done a lot. I’m afraid that the thought of an innocent little fantasy kingdom being threatened by an aggressive evil empire with sinister-looking advanced technology no longer tugs at my heart-strings quite the way it once did. If Square-Enix wanted me to care about any of this, they should have done something other than simply show me a bunch of little CG men in silly, over-wrought costumes standing about being monochromatic or biffing CG monsters.

    I had a bad first impression of Final Fantasy XV is what I’m saying. I know, or rather, I know nowthat Kingsglaive and the actual game aren’t the same thing. I am nevertheless amazed and delighted by people’s descriptions of the game. I haven’t played it. I’m not going to play it. But I’m glad it’s good. I am especially glad that it appears to have some sort of character or personality. And color. (Can’t forget that. Seriously, why is Kingsglaive so monochrome?) It’s just nice when things turn out better than you expected.

    • Christopher says:

      I’ve gotten the impression that they pretty much cut Kingsglaive out of the game’s intro, so maybe that’s why the opening is four dudes pushing a car and not supercool anime action. But I’ve kinda lost the thread when it comes to FF15’s development. I just know they’ve been making it for like a decade, have cut and rearranged every bit of it and replaced directors, and that’s why it’s such a weird thing.

      Some of the Diecast’s feelings about it maybe representing a “bad direction” doesn’t ring true to me because it was supposed to be a side story in the first place and FF does something new with every numbered entry. 13 had a girl protagonist and a huge varied party. 13-3 had a girl and a boy and their pokemon. 13-3 had only the woman from 13, I think? So it’s not crazy to me that 15 has a boyband. Similarly, they change combat systems all the time.

  16. Lee says:

    I’ve got to thank Chris for bringing up aphantasia. I am particularly bad at visualizing things, with the noted exception of when I’m reading a book. I’m going to do more reading on this.

    • Daimbert says:

      I’ve noticed that I had issues like that for years, before I even knew it had a name, but mine is more generic, as I also don’t visualize well while reading. I’ve also noticed that it takes suspension of disbelief for me to dream and not realize that I’m dreaming, because my dreams don’t really look real to me. And while it may or may not be related, I have odd reactions to some standard psychological tests. There’s a test where you flip a hand-drawn picture and from one angle it looks like a duck and from another it looks like a rabbit, and the last time it was run on me, I inverted it: when it was in the direction that should make you think “rabbit”, I thought “duck” and vice versa. I also do miserably at the rotation tests to see if two objects are really the same object; I always DO try to reason it out and often get it wrong. I had to do it for a Cognitive Psychology class a few years back, and that test was structured so that if you got the answer wrong it came back to it later until you got them all right. By the end, I was simply REMEMBERING the right answers for the shapes instead of doing anything else, giving me a graph that was just spikes instead of a smooth line.

    • Benjamin Hilton says:

      I have this odd thing happen to me when I read books. If I’m really into a book, then get up to go to the bathroom or something, when I come back I will sit down and stare at the TV wondering why it’s off, or if it’s on I’ll wait for the commercials to end. I visualize books so well that when I come back from a short break I’m expecting visual input. I’ll just sit there watching the commercials before I realize (duh) I was reading. I’ve lost track of the number of times I’ve done this.

    • Echo Tango says:

      Is there a word for when you have trouble not visualizing things? e.g. I’m driving my truck, and I need to ask my friend to discontinue the conversation, unless we’re on a very straight, boring road. Otherwise, I’ll miss the turn, and need to circle back.

      • 4ier says:

        The article I read on aphantasia said that the opposite is called hyperphantasia. That may or may not be what you’ve got, but it’s a place to start looking. :)

      • 4th Dimension says:

        Is the problem that you are visualizing things and aren’t able to pay attention to the road OR that the conversation takes up 100% of your conscious thinking making you unable to pay active attention to the road. Mind will still follow the basic rules of road safety because they are automatic.

        Because I have the second one.

        • Echo Tango says:

          It’s sometimes one or the other, but the more dangerous one is when I start visualizing things, since it (to me anyways) is like I have an alpha-blend of two images – what I’m seeing plus what I’m thinking.

    • 4ier says:

      I’m also glad he shared the term, and after thinking about it for a while, I think I can explain it in programming terms.
      When normal people hear a joke, they interpret it like a line of code, and the black-box in their head looks at all the variables and plugs in appropriate graphics assets and character models to compile and render the scene. (If I have understood “normal people” correctly.)
      When I hear a joke, I interpret it as plaintext. Nothing gets compiled, because all the necessary data is already present. There’s a horse, a bar, and a bartender. Got it. The joke is that ‘long face’ is being used to refer to the physical dimensions of the horse’s face, instead of the emotional state of the horse. Got it.
      You could wonder why a horse is walking into a bar, or why the bartender is asking it why its face is long when presumably he is familiar with the typical structure of horse faces. But that’s not the joke. Adding more processing time to the joke is just as superfluous to you as adding more graphics assets is to me.
      Anyway. I hope this is clear enough to be useful to people. :)

      • 4ier says:

        Continuing to clarify my brain a little:
        In addition to being superfluous, it’s difficult for me to even visualize graphics assets. I can kinda visualize things, but it’s more of a block of vague color with an implied definition (“horse” “bar” “bartender”, et cetera) and a ‘you get the idea’ shape. Like a very simple Impressionist painting, only with fewer colors and details.
        In addition, rendering actual motion is disabled by default. Everything is rendered as still images, and movement is either implied or indicated with the equivalent of direction-arrows. I just discovered that additional keyframes for animation can be rendered, but it’s processor-intensive, so it looks like it has to be specifically requested per scene.
        In “a horse walks into a bar”, motion has technically taken place, but it has no relevance, so the movement is ignored, and I’m left with the two objects, ‘horse’ and ‘bar’, with the implied definition that the horse has just arrived.
        In “a horse busts through the door”, motion is integral to the scene, so it’s rendered by default as two sequential images, the door being kicked, and then the door slamming into the wall with an arrow showing the path it took, and with a cue for an audio asset of the door hitting the wall.
        I will readily admit that it’s strange that my brain makes asset calls for audio and not graphics. I hadn’t realized my brain did that until I wrote it here.
        Also, apparently I can manually plug in graphics assets. I tell you what, having Kermit the Frog asking a horse why it has a long face puts a very weird spin on things. :D

  17. SlothfulCobra says:

    There’s some weird thing on this episode where different people are stronger in different channels on my headphones. It gives me a creepy feeling like you’re on either side of my head right in my ear like a bug.

    I like the idea of making an RPG these days with just a small cast of characters to develop. There are so many games that rely on the strategy of throwing a million characters at you so you can pick and choose your favorite out of an assembly of 8-100 characters and inevitably be disappointed by the fact that your favorite wasn’t the developer’s favorite, so there’s a lack of good content for them. Much easier to appreciate character dynamics when half the characters don’t just blink out of existence when the game isn’t paying attention.

  18. MichaelGC says:

    One of its legs is the same.

    There are variations on the … punchline? But that’s the way we always told it.

  19. Warclam says:

    Oh yeah, the Flintstones vitamins jingle! I know that one!

  20. Daniel England says:

    Shamus, Josh, and Ruts! You guys should really play Frog Fractions, if you have a spare hour. It can be played here, in browser, on the creators’ website. It is best to go in completely blind, but I will say that it has an end.

    Also, if you’re having trouble… progressing, I’ll put a hint in a spoiler tag below:

    Once you have the Dragon, you should “go down”

    That’s all I’m willing to say for now. Hopefully it will give context if Chris talks about Glittermitten Grove next week.

  21. IFS says:

    I loved Dishonored 2, easily my GOTY 2016. Emily’s powerset is so much more fun than Corvo’s (at least for nonlethal play, she is less powerful by virtue of not having time stop though) and I was still finding new tricks I could do with tools and powers in my second playthrough. The increased nonlethal tools helped a lot, you can basically play as batman if you want yanking people from the shadows to choke them out and in brawls using all sorts of tools to knock them unconscious.

    Some of my favorite tricks: slide at someone and when you hit them press the choke button (R1 on PS4) and you will just kick them in the face knocking them out (you can do this lethally instead with R2 instead of R1), shooting someone in the leg with a bullet or crossbow bolt staggers them letting you start choking them out, if you don’t have time to choke you can throw them on the ground and then just kick them into unconsciousness. Emily’s far reach can be upgraded to grab objects (amazing for swiping things out from under guards noses) which if you angle it right (difficult, you probably won’t do it intentionally much) can hit enemies in the back of the head, staggering them. Using Domino to link someone to a summoned doppelganger is one the game itself suggests but damn it’s fun to do, getting around a certain witch’s wards with that and killing her mid-conversation with another antagonist (which changes a conversation you can then have with said character) was quite satisfying.

    I haven’t done a Corvo run yet but I know the mine-on-rat trick still works (I think a loading screen tip suggests it even), and they made his toolset more versatile by adding some ways it can interact with the environment. For example some things are powered by windmills, which can be disabled in a few ways, one being that you can windblast them as Corvo overloading the thing they’re powering.

    The only complaint I have about the game is that the overall narrative is a bit weak but that hardly matters to me when the gameplay is so fun and the world itself is fascinating, excellently constructed, and the levels are so well designed and varied featuring tons of paths through them and reacting to your actions in all manner of ways. There are more memorable characters for me than the first one so I’m inclined to call the overall writing better though the story doesn’t take many twists. Your character also has a slight arc influenced by your chaos level which is way better than mute Corvo in the first game.

  22. Warstrike says:

    I would like a shit-zillion dollars Shamus

  23. Falterfire says:

    Oh man, XCOM 2 from the perspective of soldiers led by a Commander who is decidedly less than amazing would be great. Most XCOM stuff from the perspective of the soldiers seems to assume The Great Commandy One is as competent as Beaglerush, the most popular XCOM streamer, who was modding the game for higher difficulty before it even released.

    Also: My understanding of the premise was that

    The aliens take you captive early in the invasion and then used you directly against the resistance and you only thought you were commanding humans against aliens when it was really the other way around. Also that prior to your surprise direct capture, you were an excellent commander.

    I do find it funny that Rutskarn says the XCOM 2 storyline felt worse to him than the XCOM:EU storyline, because I found both to be equally thin. You’re pretty much just following a series of alien MacGuffin research pieces until you’re able to do the final knockout punch. Not really a ton of character development for anybody or much worldbuilding beyond the fluff text you get when doing stuff like autopsies.

    • ehlijen says:

      XCOM:EUs story was enhanced by superior gameplay pacing, though, in my opinion, in addition to working better due to the more familiar premise.

      EU started with the world as we know it, and then aliens attack. That needs a lot less exposition than ‘aliens have been ruling the world for more than a decade now and nothing is as you know it’. XCOM2 did not give us a good idea of how the world worked, and what few cutscenes there were were laughable (in particular the one you get when you build your first radio relay: Good morning, villagers! We’ve built a surprise radio station in your village square. You’re part of XCOM now, enjoy!)

      You get very few, very basic cinematics, you don’t get time to explore the mission sectors, the whole story is oddly fixated on established characters (who in EU were mostly just placeholders), including you as the player, and what plot elements the aliens get are grossly underused. Snakeman Gaius Baltar could have been an interesting antagonist, but by the time of his second appearance (just before the endgame) you’re likely to have forgotten his previous one (in the intro).

      And then there is the meta-ness. I’m told XCOM: The Bureau had some sort of ‘didn’t you find it odd that you’re a video game character’ reveal at the end, and XCOM2 gives us ‘YOU must take control of your OWN AVATAR to save the world!’
      And the Ethereal mystery just keeps going?

      Meanwhile in EU all you have to do is ignore the Ethereal babbling in the final mission, and you essentially have the barebones story from the original: aliens show up, you fight them, you find their central brain, you kill it, hurray!
      And if you add Enemy Within, you get a neat subplot about how far one should take transhumanism, given what it seems to have done to the aliens compared to the advantages it offers.

      EU’s story was supported by the gameplay. XCOM2’s story felt incomplete, because the game is in such a rush to push you to the end you don’t ever stop to experience it (fun fact, I discovered many alien’s abilities because I got a mind controller early on my third playthrough; I would never have seen those abilities otherwise because the game design pushes for first turn wipe-out engagement tactics using grenadiers very hard).

  24. silver Harloe says:

    Problem with falling asleep right after Spoiler Warning: So I’m sorting out what goes in my giant cooler (mostly Dr Pepper) and then the event is over so I take it out to the car with Rutskarn and Campster (we all live in Austin, you see), and I drive Rutskarn home and start to drive Campster home, but I’m in the backseat and no one is actually driving, so I ask Campster to take over, but we’re lost. We see an architecturally interesting wooden bridge and start to drive towards it, but turn off and go down this street where there used to be a gaming store I liked, and while I nostalgizing about it, the bike falls over and I hit the pavement (Campster was just walking along beside it, so he’s fine) and I get up and start cleaning the spaghetti off the bicycle. And this is why no one wants to hear about your dreams, they make no sense to anyone but you, if even you. But, point is, the problem with falling asleep right after Spoiling Warning is the guest stars in your dreams.

  25. Retsam says:

    I think I might be a terrible person because I think my favorite joke is some variation on the Golf Ball joke. My favorite variant was probably “Purple passion” (that’s really the best formatted version I can find online, sorry), though I recently found a monk joke which might be even better.

    The point of those jokes is that you make them go on as long as possible before an anti-climax ending. I think a friend and I once told the golfball joke for over an hour. The humor is all in the telling and the, if you do it right, enraged reactions to how much time you just wasted. They were great for things like long trips or at camp or whatever.

  26. Son_of_Valhalla says:

    This Shamecast was exceptional! Best one since last year and a few weeks ago.

  27. Echo Tango says:

    @Shamus
    (meta)

    The show notes say XCOM 2 starts at 0:22:31, but it’s really more like 0:29:00.

  28. Sougo says:

    FFXV certainly have problems near the final stretch of the game but they’re more of ‘they clearly have to cut content due to deadline’ kind of problems rather than ‘these are horrible, horrible designs.’ It is still worth it to get through to the end of the game where all the focus of the brotherhood of the main cast paid off.

    Overall, as a long time FF fans, I love XV despite all of it flaws. Oh and you should totally join the hive mind Shamus. Joinnnn ussssss

  29. Ninety-Three says:

    I’ll skip past some stuff that’s probably boring and summarize that I just spent a decent amount of time researching Aphantasia, and I’m pretty sure this is a condition I have. So thanks for teaching that word Campster!

    To address the question asked: “Man walks into a bar” jokes definitely work for me, I’d say about as well as any joke does. I’m not clear on why you think bar jokes need to be visualized, as opposed to any other kind of joke.

    I expected this post to be longer, but I got nowhere in attempting to describe what “Man walks into a bar” jokes are actually like for me. It’s sort of like being asked “What’s it like being an only child?”, the question only has meaning relative to a context I lack.

  30. I’m pretty sure Shamus’ iconic bartender is the same one that was depicted in the old “Tapper” series of arcade games.

  31. I’ve been playing GTA V for some reason. I have a love-hate relationship with this game. Parts of it are extraordinary. Parts of it sicken me. Other parts are just pathetic and irritating.

    Hang on Shamus, are we talking about GTA V or real world now?

  32. Damn you Chris. I just finished GTA V (main story) for the n’th time last week and now with you gushing about the world building it makes me want to just drive around it again.

    Last time I got to around 70% something completion, this time I ended up at around 83% completion if I recall.

    I’m not re-installing GTA V again unless they make a expansion that requires it (unlikely as they are working on GTA VI now).

    I wonder how the work on GTA VI is going. I’m guessing they are re-using a lot of models/textures and updating or improving them which should speed up development.
    They’ll probably re-use most of the pedestrian lines (maybe adding some more too).

    I seem to recall in a interview that one of the top people at RockStar wanted to make a multi-city game (where you use the airport for travel).

    This could mean that GTA VI might be San Andreas + Liberty City + Vice City + unnamed city (Detroit?). Which could mean that GTA Online will be replaced with a new multi-city GTA Online.

    And from then on there will be several expansions (similar to Ballad of Gay Tony) that requires the base game (as that has the cities etc.) Not quite like The Sims expansions but similar in ways.
    This will make the expansions relatively cheap, and maybe they’ll make 4-5 of them over a 2-5 year period after GTA VI’s release.

    That’s my prediction for GTA VI.

  33. Torpedo Vegas says:

    Rutskarn have you considered doing another Dwarf Fortress playthrough like the one did you a few years ago on Chocolate Hammer?

  34. k8egreen says:

    Another aphantasiac here. Exciting to hear it discussed. I only learned the word in the past year or so, but I remember being in high school talking with a friend when I discovered that when people “pictured” things mentally, it wasn’t a metaphor.

    I don’t think it impacts the humor of most jokes. Most “man walks into a bar” jokes are more about it being a funny situation or turn of phrase. I suppose I could be missing something that I can’t picture a bar for it to take place in, but it’s impossible to judge, as it’s completely normal for me.

    Even when I’m reading, I don’t have a mental picture of the characters or the locations or anything. I still love reading fiction, which seems to surprise people sometimes. Reading long descriptions of places gets boring pretty quickly, though–I can’t make it through LotR. Mental rotation is difficult, making organic chemistry and biochem rough.

    I have noticed over the years that I check maps in video games way more often than my husband–maybe three times as much? I don’t know if that’s related to the aphantasia or the sheer number of hours he’s clocked in MetroidVania games.

  35. Jeff R says:

    Given FFXV’s history (spent about a decade in development hell starting out as a side project for Final Fantasy XIII, promoted to a full number release when it was finally finished and they realized how far from ready the game that would have been XV was…), it’s tough to say that its differences really mean anything for the long-term future of the franchise.

  36. AIR says:

    Corvo wasn’t a drunken ne’er-do-well. He won a competition for swordsmanship and the prize was to be part of the Palace Guard. He met Jessamine there. The only part about getting drunk was when he mentions being three sheets to the wind when he got on the boat to Dunwall, because he was out celebrating with friends.

  37. Galad says:

    I guess my favorite jokes are half the panels from DMotR. Then again, they helped me get through a bad time, so that may be skewing my judgement. Still, it took at least a dozen times to start only smiling, not laughing with them :)

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