I find it interesting that we got two different mailbag questions, both asking roughly the same thing. Both people asked for examples of “best” writing. Nobody asked for examples of “worst”. It’s always nice to have a chance to work against the idea that I’m a negative guy who complains about everything.We can do that tomorrow, when I do the “This Week I Played” post.
I thought of more examples of good writing after the show, but I don’t want to keep amending the list forever. I’m sure if I missed anything crucial you’ll tell me about it in the comments.
Hosts: Paul, Shamus. Episode edited by Issac.
00:00 I am Iron Man
As this post goes live I’ll be at the hospital again, getting another dose of iron delivered directly to my bloodstream. It’s going to be totally metal.
07:42 Dyson Sphere Program
I wish I’d spent time with this game instead of trying in vain to squeeze some fun out of (un)Satisfactory.
09:26 New World
I’m playing on the Trapalanda server. (East coast.) How are things elsewhere? Is Fisherman’s Bend the Goldshire of New World?
I’ll bet it isn’t. These folks take the game pretty seriously right now. Maybe once a bunch of people hit the level cap they’ll get bored and come to Fisherman’s Bend to dick around, but for now everyone is all business. Chat is currently filled with discussions of:
- Endless recriminations regarding the faction wars and why we (purple) aren’t winning.
37:59 Signed copy of Mess Effect?
It helps if I do these in batches. Drop a comment if you think you’ll want a signed copy of my book. Once I figure out how much interest there is, I’ll order a few and we can get the process rolling.
39:05 Mailbag: Shang-Chi?
Have you guys seen Shang-Chi? Or more specifically, did you guys go outside to the cinema to watch Shang-Chi? I admit that I’m miffed that Hollywood is rushing to pretend everything is back to the old normal while a new delta variant of the plague rages across the country, just to keep theaters open for their “prestige value” compared to home streaming.
45:54 Mailbag: Foreshadowing and Payoff
in Final Fantasy VIII (that’s 8 for readers unfamiliar with Roman numerals), there are several ways to access the game’s lore. Aside from the obvious (NPC dialogues) there is also Squall’s PC in the Balamb Garden classroom. A number of lore entries can also be accessed through the in-game menu.
Now one of those lore entries talks about how Guardian Forces (what summons are called in the game) have a detrimental effect on their users’ memories. Later in the game this detail pays off in the plot by the main characters finding out that they have forgotten some important stuff.
That plot point has been criticised for coming out of nowhere, which made me wonder: do you think that all foreshadowing of important plot points needs to be done in mandatory dialogue and/or cutscenes, so players don’t get blind-sided?
55:01 Mailbag: Good Writing?
Shamus’s most recent article on writing in video game writing sparks an obvious question: What are a few of the games you both regard as the most well written titles out there? Furthermore, how many of those are relatively new, versus being ‘old classics’?
I’m not trying to spark an old grognard argument there, mind you. :) All of my favorite game stories were classics for almost the entirety of the last decade, but these last few years smaller studios and indies have produced many tales that I’ve found to be truly exceptional.
And another one:
Last week you covered bad writing. What about good writing? What are your top 3 best written games? Not simply good, but the best by your own standards?
– Steve C
1:03:01 Mailbag: Annoying Messages
Ok, so I was playing Elder Scrolls Online, ran into a quest where I get “You must gather your party before venturing forth,” and it was all I could do to not throw my mouse into the wall. Apparently, I have some unresolved issues with Baldur’s Gate and Icewind Dale. So, is there a type of game message (or a particular one) that just drives you guys up the wall?
Melfina (Mel-feen-ah) the Blue
On the show I said “Spawn more overlords” was the message I hated to see. But I think I should have picked “Whole article on the front page, boss.”
1:10:53 James Webb Telescope
The James Webb telescope! Just two more months, and our astrophysicists will FINALLY have the tools they need to search for James Webb.
Does he exist? What does he look like? Does he mind us looking at him? We’re finally going to have the answers to some really big questions.
 We can do that tomorrow, when I do the “This Week I Played” post.
Philosophy of Moderation
The comments on most sites are a sewer of hate, because we're moderating with the wrong goals in mind.
A game I love. It has a solid main story and a couple of really obnoxious, cringy, incoherent side-plots in it. What happened here?
Dead or Alive 5 Last Round
I'm not surprised a fighting game has an absurd story. I just can't figure out why they bothered with the story at all.
DM of the Rings
Both a celebration and an evisceration of tabletop roleplaying games, by twisting the Lord of the Rings films into a D&D game.
Stop Asking Me to Play Dark Souls!
An unhinged rant where I maybe slightly over-reacted to the water torture of Souls evangelism.