Diecast #193: Night in the Woods, KONA, Everything

By Shamus
on Mar 27, 2017
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Diecast

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Hosts: Josh, Rutskarn, Shamus, Campster and Baychel.

Hilariously, I managed to introduce the first segment without ever saying the name of the game. Sometimes coherent communication is hard.

0:00:35: Night in the Woods

Here is the recent Errant Signal episode on NitW. (Contains spoilers!) Here is the trailer:


Link (YouTube)

For the record, “Demon Tower” that Chris brings up at 13 minutes is a game-within-the-game. It’s a game you can play on your character’s laptop.

0:13:38: Kona


Link (YouTube)

0:27:03: Everything

Maybe this game is a fascinating art piece. Maybe it’s pretentious wanking. If you don’t want to be left out of the debate, you’ll have to play it for yourself!

0:38:41: Mailbag question: Rutskarn’s tabletop efforts.

Hey Rutskarn,

You’ve mentioned a few RPGs that you’ve been working on (sci-fi corporation apocalypse world hack and Drunkens & Flagons). Are those done? Anywhere I could download them?

Thanks!

0:39:30: Mailbag question: Writer’s block.

Dear Diecast,

What if any are your personal tricks/solutions when you encounter writer’s block, of the type where you hit a mental obstacle the size though not shape of Jupiter that refuses to give you the inspiration to continue? How do you reduce the stress/frustration-buildup?

Thanks!

Mike

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20201252 comments. It's getting crowded in here.

From the Archives:

  1. Daemian Lucifer says:

    When you encounter a writers block,the best solution is to build on top of it.

  2. Echo Tango says:

    Re: Nostalgia for childhood / past.

    Honestly, Shamus, I’m just as baffled by you for people’s nostalgia. I think I’m about a decade younger than you (born 1984), but my childhood decades weren’t amazing either. Computers were heavy and slow, no real internet to speak of, etc. I’m glad humans got past that point in history, but people seem to want to cling to the past, no matter how silly it was. (There’s literally a poster on the walk to work this week, for an 80s retro bar night / cover band / who-knows-what.)

    At my friend’s birthday pub night, my brother informed me that in addition to / in replacement of vynil, hipsters are now listening to music on 8-track tapes. Those things were obsolete when they first came out! They were the Betamax of the audio tape! Humans have gotten to a point, where we can record and store audio to a fidelity level higher than any living human could possibly detect any discrepancy, and which comfortably fits in your pocket, and people are going out of their way to listen to their music on poor-sounding inferior recording media!

    • I’m pretty certain the only good response to that is “a large number of people are complete morons when it comes to basically everything.”

      Thankfully, I’m sure none of the people here are in that group. ^_^

    • Christopher says:

      I think a big part of nostalgia is that besides just longing for the days where you could lounge around, play with your friends and do nothing(and not constantly have existential dread and angst looming over your shoulders, Night in the Woods is entirely too close to home for me to play right now) it’s just as possible to feel nostalgic feelings for something you’ve never lived. Ghibli movies are great at eliciting that feeling. It’s there in the ruined flying castle Laputa, long overgrown with weeds. It’s certainly there in Porco Rosso, where the summer in that Adriatic Sea is told as a story of long ago even within the movie. It doesn’t matter that there are fascists gathering power and all the planes fall apart, it still feels terribly nostalgic as a setting. I think part of it is just that’s all analog and not digital. You have to rev up those planes like they’re all cars, and that’s more… I dunno, tactile to watch than just hitting play on your smartphone mp3 player, for instance. It’s not about being the best, it’s about evoking a time and place, or at least the dreams of a time and place. Just because I hate actually being on a boat, even a modern one, it doesn’t mean that it’s not romantic to have a pirate setting.

      Additionally, the past is a different world, and for certain characters it’s where I feel like they belong. Batman for me will always involve old-fashioned gangsters with tommyguns, fedoras and coats. Jotaro Kujo belongs to the 80s, while Josuke Higashikata and Ippo belong to the 90s(But coming at them from different ends of the decade). They’re interesting as settings.

      There’s a bit of a revival of old shonen series going on in anime just now. I’m not sure if Hunter x Hunter 2011 is to blame or if it’s Jojo’s fault, but even series like Parasyte and Ushio & Tora got picked up and adapted by a modern studio. The last two suffer somewhat because they updated the setting to generic “modern times”, which basically means they added cell phones and the internet while everything else remained the same. It kinda works, but the themes and attitudes of the decade don’t fit as much anymore. They’re both shows that are focused on the displacement of nature by humans, and protecting the environment from pollution. I’m not saying that’s not relevant anymore, but it was practically all the 90s was about where I grew up.

      Shamus’ disgust with the 70s personally remind me of my own annoyance with what’s viewed as “my” culture, the whole hipster clothes, tattoos and dumb haircuts thing.

    • Son of Valhalla says:

      I’ve listened to old recordings of music on tapes, CDs, and digital audio, and I question the validity of the nostalgia people seem to have for their respective childhood decades. Maybe it’s because they got stuck in unnecessarily difficult situations once they left their childhood/teenage decade, but for the most part, the quality of music and visuals were not highly developed.

      I still listen to music on CDs, but I do this as a means of collection and to listen to music in my car. The quality of the music on older formats is weaker than today’s digital audio, where I can dig through mounds of songs and other things and listen to it whenever and wherever I want to.

    • Bloodsquirrel says:

      Man, I don’t get nostalgia for the 70’s either.

      Now excuse me while I go play some video games based off of the middle ages.

    • Daemian Lucifer says:

      The thing about nostalgia is that people keep remembering the good,while forgetting the bad.

      • ehlijen says:

        This is true and especially notable with the German phenomena of Eastalgia, nostalgia for the days of former East Germany.

        It was objectively a bad place to live (why else would one build a wall to keep one’s own citizens from escaping?), but when the imagined wonderland of the West brought its own problems after the reunification and didn’t live up to the dreams, some began pining for the time when those new problems didn’t exist (and leaving out the part where other problems did).

        And then some companies started commercialising that sentiment and things got very strange and ironic…

    • Leocruta says:

      Nostalgia for some things is understandable, as they were indeed better in the past. Warhammer FB springs readily to mind.

  3. Will says:

    I hate to inflict this on you again (not really), but this video succinctly illustrates everything wrong with the 70s.

    There was a lot of good music created in the drug-fueled haze of the 70s, but the above can’t be counted as part of it.

    • djw says:

      If you remember the 70’s then you weren’t really a part of them…

    • Thomas says:

      That video’s more alien to a millenial than Mass Effect: Andromeda

    • Son of Valhalla says:

      That’s one whacky music video there. Did they ever tone down in the 70’s, or do they get worse and worse?

      The 70’s was the drug-fueled haze of rock and pop music, and the birth of… disco. Still happy that bands like Boston and Rush came along during the 70’s.

      I was never alive during the decade, so I wouldn’t know what it was like, but at least there was some great rock music? Plus disco…

      • silver Harloe says:

        While disco was happening, regular rock was also happening, and happening very well. Led Zeppelin, Yes, Rush, Jethro Tull, Heart, Fleetwood Mac, ELP, etc etc etc. On June first, 1967, the Beatles changed the face of rock and roll and opened the door for a lot of creative stuff – not all of which was drug fueled :)

        What I mostly remember as being “very 70s” from my childhood was how everything was green, orange, and brown, and somehow always in three specific shades of green, orange, and brown which remind me more of bodily functions than any kind of good decoration.

        • The Rocketeer says:

          ELP? It’s so good to meet another Electric Light Porkestra fan!

          So many people said an all-pig cover band of ELO, the work of an incredibly talented producer flamboyantly melding symphony and pop rock, could never work, but they were wrong!

        • Vermander says:

          I was born in 1980, but I still love a lot of music from the 1970s across several genres. I also like a lot of classic movies from that era and a lot of the cars. Not just the ferocious muscle cars, I also dig the huge, wallowing, boat-length Cadillacs and Lincolns (my first car was a 1978 Buick LeSabre).

          But one thing I can’t understand the nostalgia for are 70s clothes. It’s not just the ridiculous things like leisure suits and platform shoes that bother me. Every outfit from that era looks really uncomfortable to me. They all look like they’re made from stiff, hot, itchy fabrics, and seem to be tight in all the wrong places. Even the casual clothes seem to either be really cheap or really impractical. I’m sure the clothes from earlier decades were even worse, but for some reason the 70s stand out for me in this regard.

  4. Kelerak says:

    Was Everything finally made into a game?

  5. Syal says:

    As someone who’s managed to write approximately a page and a half in the last five years: how much of that mandatory writing time is spent writing new content for a story, and how much is spent writing a separate throwaway story that’s just there as a word hose, and how much is spent editing stuff you wrote before?

    • Matt Downie says:

      I’d split “new content for the story” into two categories: actual words to add to the story, and something along the lines of “planning for the story” where you spend some time writing about the problem you’re having with the story and listing as many solutions as you can think of / ways you could proceed / how to work around the problem / later bits you might want to add to the story and what that might imply for the next bit.

    • Rutskarn says:

      If you find you’re starting a lot of projects and then immediately jumping onto new ones, this is not a unique or insurmountable problem–it’s a pretty universal one.

      Every author feels, and initially will give into, the urge to “suspend” working on their project when they get stuck or it becomes less interesting. The problem with this is that any project of worth is hard enough to get stuck on and every project becomes less interesting the longer you work on it.

      “Getting stuck” happens when you reach a story or writing problem you weren’t expecting and aren’t sure how to solve given your initial conception of the project. It’s pretty much inevitable. Honestly, I’d personally it’s the real work of writing.

      What you eventually figure out is that the only way past it is through it. There probably won’t be an easy, continuously exciting project, and if there ever is it probably won’t be your best work in the eyes of readers. If you have new ideas, don’t jump into working on them, write them down and let them mature and get to them when you’ve cleaned your plate.

      Whenever possible, stick to one story and try to find a way to finish it.

      Now, there is such a thing as a story that genuinely doesn’t work and isn’t finishable. Honestly, though, I’m personally not exactly sure what that looks like. When I get the sense a project is doomed, I tend to try to finish it anyway. Usually I conclude that I was mistaken.

      • Ilseroth says:

        I just wanted to concur and say, this is true of pretty much every long project ever. Novelty is a strong force, part of why human’s are what they are is the inherent urge to seek out novel experiences. However pushing past that urge for the new and continuing to work on something, even after the initial spark is paramount to completing something that is genuinely worth it.

        I do indie game dev stuff as a hobby and I can tell you from the ground up there is a ton of work to do. Between modeling, texturing, animating, programming, sound effects, music, writing and compiling it all into a polished, playable and fun package is a ton of work.

        You will get sick of your project; You’ll question all the time you spent on it; You’ll want to move on to what look like greener pastures. But the problem is that you’ll never get anything done that way. As Ruts said, there are projects not worth finishing; but even if you don’t make a viable commercial product, really try to finish it. set yourself a routine.

  6. Bropocalypse says:

    Everything is less a beautiful work of art and more a genius work of comedy about right-angled elk rotation.

  7. Retsam says:

    If you don’t want to be left out of the debate, you’ll have to play it for yourself!

    You think I need to actually play something in order to have dead set opinions on it? https://media4.giphy.com/media/RqxAfbsJb7hPa/200_s.gif

  8. Warstrike says:

    THIS IS NO ORDINARY STORM

  9. CaveTrollWithABeard says:

    I can’t speak for everyone else, Shamus, but I would be happy to see a big detailed analysis article every single day of the week. Your thoughtful pieces on storytelling, game mechanics, and just life in general are the reason I read this site (In particular, my favorite things are the articles under the Personal tag, just because you have such a wonderful way with words when it comes to explaining things about life that we all deal with but often can’t verbalize.)

    • KingJosh says:

      There is no such thing as “too much content” for this site,

      • Christopher says:

        Yeah, if you’ve got the time for one more analysis series, I’d love to read it. They’re probably my favorite content on the site all told.

        • Thomas says:

          You should definitely try it! I feel like I want more, I check the site slightly more often than there’s new stuff to read. A trial run for when you run into super productive periods in the future!

    • Fast_Fire says:

      While a second regular analysis article would be gladly welcomed, it might be better to start it on a bi-weekly or even monthly interval.

      It gets increasingly difficult to do something because you HAVE to rather than WANT to. Your time on a new article will necessarily take some of your finite attention, resources, and time away from your existing articles, the podcast, your (totally not dead) video series, the Spoiler Warning show, and (most importantly) your LIFE.

      If you’re confident that you can handle the extra regular work load, then we’ll do our best to appreciate it and support you by any means reasonable.

    • Paul Spooner says:

      I agree, more text content would be great. Though, perhaps you would get better feedback if you did a poll on your Patreon?

      I recommend building a budget of blog posts, with a buffer of however long your dry-spells are, and then just set your release schedule based on that. But my site updates irregularly, my blog comments are empty, and those two might be related to the quality of my blogging advice.

  10. Steve C says:

    I don’t remember the 70s directly. I still hate them. I remember the 70s lingering presence on the 80s. I hated the 80s too. The worst parts of the 80s were the hold overs from the 70s.

  11. Christopher says:

    After a quick search, Kona apparently means “snow” in Cree language, so that’s descriptive. Concidentally, kona is also the Norwegian word for “the wife”. Cona is apparently nasty slang in portuguese for vagina.

    • Philadelphus says:

      Kona is also a Hawaiian word meaning “the leeward side of the island” and the name of a town on the west side of the Big Island of Hawaii where I live (colloquially referred to as “the Kona side”), so I keep getting confused every time I see the game name (though at least it’s spelled Kôna in official branding).

      (The town used to be known as Kailua-Kona a long time again, “Kailua on the kona side”, but is now pretty universally known as just Kona.)

    • Daemian Lucifer says:

      Cona the barbaria.

  12. Daemian Lucifer says:

    “Read stuff you dont like”

    So thats how you ended up comparing twilight to mass effect.You actually read the “saga”.

  13. ColeusRattus says:

    Where’s mumbles BTW? Hasn’t been on the show for ages. Did I miss something important or is it just coincidentally?

  14. Rayen says:

    So shamus what did you use before hitman absolutions? If i remember correctly you once had problems with a door.

  15. Viktor says:

    Shamus, I’d say keep a buffer, don’t double-publish. If nothing else, it guarantees that you can go on vacation and the blog will update with minimal hiccups. But also, you can focus on your next project without any time pressure.

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