Unfit for XCOMmand Intro: Welcome Back, Dumbass

By Rutskarn
on Jan 11, 2017
Filed under:
Lets Play

81 comments

Unfit for XCOMmand: The True Story of Humanity’s Last Disappointment

by Rachel Kennedy (Soldier, Rookie Class)

Intro: Welcome Back, Dumbass

Somewhere in an ass-stinking dark room, some tool is writing history.

Why do people do that under normal, non-apocalyptic circumstances? I don’t know. But lately the idea is starting to catch on that history’s a big old train track headed for a big old cliff with cartoon heaps of dynamite at the bottom, and to a certain introspective, posterity-minded individual, this imminent disaster is an opportunity. If any random record of these days might become the final record, any author might–by virtue of not being dead or in a camp somewhere–fall ass-backwards into being the Herodotus of our generation. So suddenly all the jerks who in a gentler time would inflict nothing worse than coffeehouse poetry on humanity are, instead, taking it on themselves to write the final musings of a dying species.

Why does this make me angry? Well, for starters, I’m just angry a lot these days. I considered therapy, but since that currently involves a ridged alien brain-worm and six months of re-education, I’ve instead elected to shoot a lot of aliens in the fucking face. And since that’s a part time job, it’s left me plenty of time for retrospection, and one thing I’m not proud to figure out is this: I’m not angry because people are writing history, I’m angry because I’m sure they’re all getting it wrong. The more I involve myself with the revolution, the more certain I feel that I’m the only person out here who hasn’t lost her damn mind.

So now we’re back to that ass-stinking dark room I mentioned. It stinks like ass because it’s a canteen on a busted sky-submarine full of breaking systems and relentlessly exercising grunts. It’s dark because there are no windows and few working lightbulbs. And yes, there’s a tool writing history in it, and it turns out that tool is me. So let’s get Herodotusing.

There`s like ten humans fighting for the movement, so if we all kill one hundred thousand aliens, this crazy resistance just might work out.
There's like ten humans fighting for the movement, so if we all kill one hundred thousand aliens, this crazy resistance just might work out.

Continue reading »


202020201There are now 81 comments. Almost a hundred!



Dénouement 2016 Part 3: The Losers

By Shamus
on Jan 10, 2017
Filed under:
Video Games

126 comments

Before we talk about what I liked, let’s talk about the things that disappointed, frustrated, or angered me in 2016. Er, the videogame things anyway.

Unlike those lists from other websites, this is not intended to be some sort of high-level, comprehensive, state-of-the-industry snapshot. This is just what I’ve run into. Since I avoid playing stuff I know I’ll hate unless it has Bethesda written on it, I don’t have a lot of things to hate.

Continue reading »


A Hundred!206There are 126 comments here. I really hope you like reading.



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

By Shamus
on Jan 9, 2017
Filed under:
Diecast

93 comments

Direct download (MP3)
Direct download (ogg Vorbis)
Podcast RSS feed.

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: Continue reading »


2020202013There are now 93 comments. Almost a hundred!



Shamus Plays WoW #12: Hogger!

By Shamus
on Jan 8, 2017
Filed under:
WoW

16 comments

Yesterday we did some poaching, murdered a family pet, accidentally pinned the blame on some other guy, then killed him, then got paid for it. That’s a pretty good day in my book, but now Norman thinks we need to flee the region for a while. So now we’re in the human city of Stormwind. Norman is here to gather his things and get ready to leave for good. He also stops at the shops and puts some of his hard-won adventuring money to use.

“Hey, you got yourself a new dress!” I tell him.

“It’s not a dress, it’s a robe!” he argues.

I dunno. I think Norman could pull this off if he ditched the shoulderpads and matched it with a really good hat.

I dunno. I think Norman could pull this off if he ditched the shoulderpads and matched it with a really good hat.

“Don’t be so hard on yourself,” I tell him, “It’s pretty no matter what you call it.”

“It’s hard to be fearsome when you have to dress like this.”

“So why do it?” I ask.

“I thought… This is part of being a warlock. It’s in the rules. I just assumed it was something demons wanted.”

“Nah. You idiots came up with that on your own.”

“Oh,” Norman says with obvious disappointment.

“Look, the only thing we demons care about is devouring souls and destroying worlds. The dark robes, midnight gatherings, virgin sacrifice, cutting yourselves, memorizing oaths to fallen gods… that’s all stuff mortals added so they could feel like they were doing something really dangerous and illicit. You guys have to make everything so complicated. Power for souls. That’s our business. You guys can dress it up however you like.”

“I guess I feel sort of stupid wearing this robe then.”

“There’s a good reason for that.”

Continue reading »


1624 comments. (That's 10 in Hexadecimal.)



Messages From Spammers

By Shamus
on Jan 6, 2017
Filed under:
Random

113 comments

Damien Lucifer suggested I post a few choice spam messages. I’m never one to pass up a chance for low-effort content, so let’s do this. Here are a bunch of messages posted to this blog over the last day or so. These are but a drop in the ocean. The full list would be in the thousands, most of which are useless gibberish and broken HTML. Spammers aren’t very good at configuring their spambots. Or choosing targets. Or English.

Where possible, I’ve preserved the name used by the spambot, although in some cases it was a URL and thus had to be redacted.

Continue reading »


A Hundred!13113 comments. Quick! Add another to see if this message changes!



Crash Dot Com Part 9: Rags to Riches to Rags

By Shamus
on Jan 5, 2017
Filed under:
Personal

34 comments

On January 1st 2001, we move into our new home. Life is good. I’m now working on programming full-time. I’ve got a nice quiet home office. The Virtual Mall project is still going, but I’m no longer working on it full-time.

The Virtual Mall

My daughter Rachel, enjoying her new yard.

My daughter Rachel, enjoying her new yard.

Mike – my successor – manages to negotiate a change to the design of the mall that’s more in keeping with the strengths and weaknesses of our engine.

This is actually good for the project. Those first few months of frustration and ghastly decisions had broken my will. I had been working on a project I didn’t believe in and didn’t care about. I never would have tried to negotiate a change to the design with Mr. Business because – based on my previous rejections – I didn’t think anyone would listen. Mike doesn’t have all of that baggage and he wasn’t present at that initial meeting where nobody wanted to hear “no”, so he’s willing to be candid about his concerns with the design.

I don’t know why John Business was willing to listen this time around. Maybe the cresting wave of the dot-com surge has scared him enough that he’s open to feedback. Maybe Mike persuaded him using superior social skills. Maybe Mr. Business has tried to use the product himself and realized the truth on his own.

Continue reading »


201434 comments. Hurry up and add yours before it becomes passé.



Bad and Wrong Music Lessons: Key Changes

By Shamus
on Jan 4, 2017
Filed under:
Music

48 comments

I am really enjoying Studio One. It’s become my go-to DAW. That’s pretty impressive. I have hundreds of hours of experience and muscle memory dedicated to MAGIX Music Maker. The fact that Studio One was able to win me over in about a week says a lot about how easy it was to learn.

I’m still using the free version, but I’m definitely getting the mid-tier version once we recover from the holidays. A couple of years ago I was wary of spending money on fancy tools before I had the skill to make proper use of them, but the time is right. I’ve long since ditched the automated tools and prefab loops that MAGIX has to offer. These days I insist on doing everything myself.

At the same time, I’ve felt like I’ve been stuck in a rut. All of my stuff is sounding the same. And even within a single song, it starts to get a bit monotonous by the end. My tracks usually end after four minutes not because I’m out of ideas, but because it doesn’t matter if I throw in a new melody, new drum riff, or a different instrument. The added variation doesn’t help fix the underlying problem that the song kind of feels like it’s spinning its wheels.

A few days ago I got an encouraging email from a fan who offered me some advice… Continue reading »


20208Feeling chatty? There are 48 comments.



Master of Firin’ Sword CH6: The Bitter End

By Rutskarn
on Jan 3, 2017
Filed under:
Lets Play

28 comments

At last, at long and perilous last, I am ready to approach the common clay of Poland with my gallant band of wealth appropriation artisans. I have weathered many difficulties in getting here, and frankly, my faith in free enterprise is waning. I demand nothing less than total victory in Illyintsy. If there is no room for an enterprising man like myself to exploit a nation’s industry after several days of very difficult freelance clerking, then we have come to a pretty pass and Erik and I shall go no further. I will go to the nearest town, sell my Fanny, and with the proceeds purchase an accountant’s shingle and have done with it.

I send my lieutenant along with the rest of the lads to conduct an impromptu survey re: the village surrendering. After a few long, quiet minutes, he returns.

“There you are,” I say. “Now; twenty-one men proved insufficient to terrify Illyinitsy. Don’t tell me twenty-six isn’t enough.

Continue reading »


20828 comments. Hurry up and add yours before it becomes passé.



Dénouement 2016 Part 2: No-Show List

By Shamus
on Jan 3, 2017
Filed under:
Video Games

95 comments

Every year there are more games to play, but the number of available gaming hours remains more or less the same. Like always, too many games dropped right at the end of the year. This year I had the added challenge that I had a big trip right in the middle of December, cutting into those precious dollars and hours available between the start of the October gaming deluge and the end of the year. Also, at the end of the year I really started to become engrossed in Factorio, and that thing ate a lot of time.

Rather than fending off wave after wave of, “Shamus, how dare you miss out on milestone game X?”, let’s talk about a few popular games and why I didn’t play them:

Continue reading »


2020202015There are now 95 comments. Almost a hundred!



Diecast #182: Looking Back at 2016

By Josh
on Jan 2, 2017
Filed under:
Diecast

145 comments

Direct download (MP3)
Direct download (ogg Vorbis)
Podcast RSS feed.

Hosts: Josh, Rutskarn, Campster, Mumbles. Edited by Josh.

The year of 2016 is officially behind us now, and for whatever else you could say about all the crazy things that happened over the year, you can definitely say that 2016 was a year in which some video games were made. In this episode, we talk about some of those games that stood out to us.

Unfortunately, partway through, Chris had to leave; apparently he has some real life friends that came over, though I remain suspicious. Just in case you were wondering why he just stops talking halfway through.

Show notes after the jump.
Continue reading »


A Hundred!20205We've got 145 comments. But one more probably won't hurt.



New Year Resolution

By Shamus
on Jan 1, 2017
Filed under:
Random

44 comments

The old joke, “My resolution for the new year is 1080p!” is about the closest I get to anyone talking about resolutions for the new year. As far as I can tell, new year resolutions are this thing that everyone talks about and nobody does.

I get how they’re supposed to work. New year is a time of reflecting on the past. While doing so, we realize there was a bunch of important stuff you meant to, but you put it off all year because it was difficult or scary. Finish that novel. Lose some weight. Clean out the junk-filled garage. Come out to the family. Restore that old car you bought 3 years ago. Push that one really destructive person out of your life. Really make some progress paying down that college loan. So then you make a resolution to change this. You don’t want to get to the end of another year and still not have this thing done. So you make a resolution. Maybe you tell people about it, hoping the social pressure will motivate you. Maybe you write it on the fridge to you don’t forget about it.

The problem is, these sorts of tasks are the kinds of things we wish were already done, but we don’t want to have to do them. So then sometime in February that sense of determination and purpose is gone. You start putting off the job for the same reason you put it off last year: It sucks, and you’d rather be happy now than have the difficult thing done later.

That’s the stereotypical scenario, anyway. The thing is… does anyone really do this? Is this still a thing? People joke about the process all the time, but I never see people participate in it. The people I know in real life don’t ever do this. Same goes for my Facebook friends. It’s a ritual everyone talks about and nobody participates in.

This is not to say I don’t have goals. I’d like to someday make a soundtrack for a popular indie game. But I can’t make that happen by making a resolution because the thing preventing it isn’t willpower. I put a few hours into music every week, and I’m getting gradually more knowledgeable. But going pro isn’t something you can force. I can’t MAKE people like my music. I just have to get better. The masses are a heartless critic. People might say nice things about my work to my face, but the play numbers on my Soundcloud page aren’t going to sugar-coat the truth to spare my feelings. I can see how often a track gets played and downloaded, and that’s the feedback that really counts. In this case Soundcloud is telling me, “Nice try, but keep at it. You’re not there yet.”
I have other similar goals regarding accomplishments. I think they’re good goals, but I can’t advance any of them my making resolutions.

But maybe my experience is unusual? How about you. Did you make any resolutions in 2016? How did they turn out? Did you make any for 2017?


20204Feeling chatty? There are 44 comments.



Happy New Year!

By Shamus
on Dec 31, 2016
Filed under:
Spoiler Warning

8 comments

This is it. We’re going to welcome 2017 and send 2016 on its way by playing videogames. Josh is streaming a bunch of stuff and we’re all going to hang out and have and experience that, for the sake of argument, we’re going to refer to as fun. The stream is here, or you can watch it via the embed after the jump.

Let’s do this!

EDIT: And done. Happy New Year, internet.


8Eight comments? Nobody's THAT hungry.




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