Shamus Plays LOTRO #24: Shortcut to Marsh Doom

By Shamus
on Aug 14, 2016
Filed under:
Shamus Plays

37 comments

The sun is setting when I crawl out of the bandit lair. Sara Oakheart is nowhere to be seen, which means she swam across this lake and vanished into the woods in the time it took me to riffle through Toradan’s pockets, step over his corpse, and then walk ten paces to the front door of the cave and shove it open.

Whelp, thank goodness that was the only time I`ll run into Sara Oakheart ever.

Whelp, thank goodness that was the only time I`ll run into Sara Oakheart ever.

I kind of feel like I need to report this mess to the proper authorities. But who? Ellie? She’s only interested in poaching. She’d have me hunt down a band of chattering brigand squirrels or something. Jon Brackenbrook? Nah. He doesn’t even care about his own town.

Ah! I can go to constable Underhill.

Continue reading »


201737 comments. Hurry up and add yours before it becomes passé.



Fallout 4 EP30: The Silver Sidekick

By Shamus
on Aug 12, 2016
Filed under:
Spoiler Warning

142 comments


Link (YouTube)

I want to run into Bethesda studios dressed like the Silver Shroud and start shouting, “At last, villain, you will be punished for your villainous acts of over-written dialog, which have gone unpunished for far too long, and so I am finally here to punish you for your villainy!”

And I’d just keep doing that until the police dragged me out of the building.

And just to be clear, at the end of the show I’m pretty sure that after killing a bunch of murderers around Good Neighbor, both Nick Valentine and Hancock decided to kill Josh for taking an empty beer bottle. That’s… really something.

A Hundred!20202We've got 142 comments. But one more probably won't hurt.



Fallout 4 EP29: Who Nose?

By Rutskarn
on Aug 11, 2016
Filed under:
Spoiler Warning

186 comments


Link (YouTube)

You may have blinked and missed it while Josh was doing the jackrabbit two-step around Kellogg’s foggy noggin, but we just passed The Quote From Fallout 4. You know; the singular monologue that gets memed and shared around like a dying cigarette in a post-apocalyptic campground. It’s not mandatory, but even if you passed over it in your playthrough (and you probably didn’t unless you were very impatient) there’s a good chance you’ve seen it online:

“The thing about happiness is that you only knew you had it when it’s gone. I mean, you may think to yourself that you’re happy. But you don’t really believe it. You focus on the petty bullshit, or the next job, or whatever. It’s only looking back by comparison with what comes after that you really understand, that’s what happiness felt like.”

I mentioned before that I found the line overwritten, and that the message is got across quite well by “The thing about happiness is that you only knew you had it when it’s gone.” I’m not cynical enough to think the line was stretched out so people would take it more seriously, but I think the elaboration does suggest a lack of confidence. I’d still like to see more dialogue like this in the game–and in a way, that’s the biggest problem.

This isn’t a special moment where everything comes together. This isn’t a hammer blow, a mic drop, or a thesis. This is a reasonably interesting throwaway line that does a little to illustrate a character’s perspective and keep the player’s attention from wandering–and yet it has so much more gravitas, thought, and meaning than the dialogue surrounding it, and when you’re playing it you get this instinctive feeling like it’s Something Important. And I have to ask–is it?

I don’t think it resonates well with the themes of the game–past a point we’re fast approaching, feelings of wistfulness and nostalgia have little importance in the game’s storyline. I don’t think it comments incisively on human experience–I’d argue that “you don’t really know you’re happy until you know that you were happy and now you aren’t happy” is a pretty shallow cut and there’s not much in the context of the scene to give it more meaning. So all it does is tell us about Kellogg, and since I just killed him, I can’t unkill him, and there was never anything I could do but kill him–and since Kellogg’s impact on the plot is constrained to one trigger pull and one messy death–that’s some pretty weak tea.

I put it to you that in a game where solid characters spoke about interesting topics that had thematic cohesion and significance, Kellogg’s line here would have been practically ignored.

Pop quiz: How many of you noticed this post was written by Rutskarn? I’m honestly curious, because I feel guilty every time people give me credit for something he wrote and I’m always thinking about ways to avoid that confusion.

-Shamus

A Hundred!202020206I bet you won't even read all 186 comments before leaving your own.



Final Fantasy X Part 9: All Bad

By Shamus
on Aug 11, 2016
Filed under:
FFX

108 comments

There’s something odd about Tidus. Well, lots of things. Actually, I guess everything about him is pretty strange. But one thing specifically, which is that there are an awful lot of things he simply doesn’t know that he should.

Final Fantasy X is using his fish-out-of-water status to help explain the world to us. That’s a great idea and it’s probably why FFX is so approachable for newcomers. However, Tidus is from Zanarkand, not another planet. So why is he apparently ignorant of major geographical locations and fauna?

Outside of Zanarkand, Tidus seems to have no idea what the world is like. It’s not like he says, “Mt. Gagazt? Yeah, in my day we called it Mt. Dave and there was an Arby’s on the summit.” When we reach Mt. Gagazet late in the story he registers no recognition whatsoever. It’s like he’s never heard of or seen this mountain before, even though it supposedly looms over the city he lived in.

Continue reading »

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Fallout 4 EP28: Mammary Den

By Shamus
on Aug 10, 2016
Filed under:
Spoiler Warning

129 comments


Link (YouTube)

I just want to point out that Chris (of all people!) is responsible for the title of today’s episode.

“These people really don’t know what they’re doing.”

Like Rutskarn said, this part of the game is shockingly amateurish. The concept of exploring someone’s brain for exposition is good, but just about every part of it is wrong, broken, or executed poorly. It’s over-written, making the dialog ponderous. The timeline doesn’t make sense because Kellogg magically didn’t age for 60 years. It doesn’t fill in any other details of the world, just Kellogg. Kellogg calls two different characters “Old Man”, which is flagrant writer cheating to protect an obvious twist through obfuscation. Same goes for the idea of having Kellogg take care of robo-Shaun to act as “bait” for your character.

It’s boring and frustrating when you play through it, and then frustrating and nonsensical when viewed in retrospect.

A Hundred!209There are 129 comments here. I really hope you like reading.



Ruts vs. Battlespire CH21: Look Me Over, I’m Not the Cap’n

By Rutskarn
on Aug 10, 2016
Filed under:
Lets Play

42 comments

As I’m sitting here, I’m wondering to myself–truly and sincerely–how much you care about anything in this next screenshot.

Besides the obvious.
Besides the obvious.

So rather than get mired in the level’s specifics, let me break it down for you. We’ve got to find four hidden levers in this sprawling cavernous maze, as well as an as-yet-unidentified solution to an as-yet-unidentified puzzle, to reach the egress. There’s a demiglaze of lore over all this that I don’t think anyone is reasonably expecting me to follow, except the incensed nerd who would under normal circumstances be writing a comprehensive rebuke at this very moment–although one benefit of playing this game is that there’s very few with firsthand experience of the game and perishingly few who understood what was going on. Anyway, I’ll throw a bone and say we might get into the lore a bit later–if I live long enough.

Continue reading »

2020242 comments. (Insert played-out "meaning of life, the universe and everything" joke here.)



Diecast #162: Star Trek Beyond, Suicide Squad, Telltale Batman

By Shamus
on Aug 8, 2016
Filed under:
Diecast

183 comments


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

Like I said in the show intro, I’m working on adding the podcast to Google Play and (eventually) to iTunes. While this is going on, the post will be a little wonky. (For example, as of right now there are two media players on this page, although if you’re reading this from the archives in the future then I’ve hopefully fixed it by now.) Please bear with us. Here is the podcast on Google Play and here is a link to the GP RSS feed.

Hosts: Josh, Rutskarn, Shamus, Campster, Mumbles.

Episode edited by Rachel.

Show notes: Continue reading »


A Hundred!202020203I bet you won't even read all 183 comments before leaving your own.



Shamus Plays LOTRO #23: Jailbreak

By Shamus
on Aug 7, 2016
Filed under:
Shamus Plays

10 comments

So I’m in the bandit hideout. For some reason, I’ve been allowed in to see Amdir.

I don`t know if DANGEROUS is the right word. I think LIABILITY is closer to the truth.

I don`t know if DANGEROUS is the right word. I think LIABILITY is closer to the truth.

The guard has somehow received word from bandit leader Skunkwood (hee hee) that I’m to be allowed in to see the prisoner. Amdir is being guarded by a couple of guards who are one good “BOO!” away from pissing themselves. I manage to resist the urge.

Note how my shadow is pointing a different direction than everyone else`s. This game is pretty, but still hampered by the technical limitations of 2007, when an object could only project a shadow based on the closest light source and ignore all others.

Note how my shadow is pointing a different direction than everyone else`s. This game is pretty, but still hampered by the technical limitations of 2007, when an object could only project a shadow based on the closest light source and ignore all others.

The past few weeks have not been kind to Amdir. Aside from looking pale, withered, and incredibly evil, he seems to be suffering from a mild case of transparency. He’s obviously being tormented and warped by the powers of the Nazgul.

Okay developers, did you take a regular jail door and scale it up to fit in this cave? Because that latch is REALLY far off the ground.

Okay developers, did you take a regular jail door and scale it up to fit in this cave? Because that latch is REALLY far off the ground.

I’ll bet the Nazgul aren’t enjoying this either. Trying to break Amdir’s mind is going to be like trying to shatter a wet noodle.

He recognizes me, which is a bad thing. Suddenly he starts jabbering on about voices and all sorts of creepy dark-tower type stuff. The lights dim and it feels like the Dark Lord himself is trying to get to second base with me.

Continue reading »


10Just 10 comments.



Fallout 4 EP27: Inventory Mismanagement

By Shamus
on Aug 5, 2016
Filed under:
Spoiler Warning

205 comments


Link (YouTube)

I’ll talk about this whole Memory Den business when we get into it next week. Since we spent so much of this episode on inventory scrolling, let’s talk about that…

Continue reading »

A Hundred!A Hundred!5205 COMMENTS? What are you people talking about?!?



The Elephant in the Room

By Rutskarn
on Aug 5, 2016
Filed under:
Nerd Culture

98 comments

Hey, guys, it’s Rutskarn. Some of you may recall how a while ago I expressed an interest in writing a short Joker fan comic. Emphasis on “writing”–the act you might recognize is the non-making-comics part of making comics. This meant that in industry terms, my idea was approximately as valuable as a time share on a pretend spaceship.

However, shortly after the episode aired, Stephan Kostrzewa and his unparalleled ability to use art supplies and pixels to effect storytelling reached out to me about making my non-comic idea into something extremely comic-like. Now, after four months of backbreaking work (and almost twenty full minutes of writing on my part), a comic-like product has resulted. You might even say it is a comic.

You can read it here. And should, if you’re into that sort of thing.

2020202018There are now 98 comments. Almost a hundred!



Fallout 4 EP26: Obvious Forgery

By Shamus
on Aug 4, 2016
Filed under:
Spoiler Warning

125 comments


Link (YouTube)

Ugh. This dialog is so bad. Josh couldn’t talk Jake into either of his two options. Now, I understand if he’s supposedly feeling conflicted and indecisive, but that’s not what the words say. If you fail a speech check, Jake simply argues like he’s made up his mind to do the opposite of whatever you just asked him to do. It’s like the dialog is so incoherent you’re sort of accidentally using reverse psychology on him.

A Hundred!205There are 125 comments here. I really hope you like reading.



Final Fantasy X Part 8: Ain’t No Party Like a Summoner’s Party

By Shamus
on Aug 4, 2016
Filed under:
FFX

97 comments

Before I start today’s entry, I have a bit of housekeeping to take care of. When my brother Patrick read part 5 of this series he wrote to me:

[…] You also failed to tell your readers that your brother won 100 straight Blitzball games, butt-fucked the Luca Goers, and routinely won games by double digits. My personal best was a 27-0 destruction of the Al Bed Machine Fuckers.

I try to imagine what Twenty Sided would be like if Pat was running it. That would be a very different kind of website.

It’s also worth mentioning that Pat recruited Bickson, the lead jerkface of the Luca Goers. He did this just so he could bench him and make sure the guy never played Blitzball ever again. We made a pretty good team. When it came to doing the sidequests to unlock the super-weapons, he handled the Blitzball and some of the races, and I did the monster arena collection stuff. (We’ll talk more about that later.) We played through the game many times like this. The only super weapon we never got was Kimari’s, because to hell with THAT minigame.

Anyway, back to our story…

Continue reading »

2020202017There are now 97 comments. Almost a hundred!




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