Diecast #200 is right around the corner. I’m open to suggestions as to how we should observe the landmark.
The spam bots never rest. They’re not always funny, but sometimes this army of automated chimpanzees manages to bang out something giggle-worthy on their internet typewriters. Let’s see what they came up with this week…
Later today we’ll be streaming PLAYERUNKNOWN’S BATTLEGROUNDS. Why? Only Josh knows. We’ll be streaming on Twitch when the time comes. I hope you can make it and explain to me what this game is and why Josh wants me to watch it.
Edit: Thanks everyone for tuning in. We streamed almost two hours each of PLAYERUNKNOWN’S BATTLEGROUNDS and Nier Automata. The VODs will go up on youtube at some point, but until then, you can find them in the Twitch Archives.
There are a lot of sidequests in Arkham City. The odd thing is that there doesn’t seem to be a good time to do them. If you try to do them right away then Batman will be missing a few required gadgets because the story hasn’t granted them yet. But if you wait too long, then Batman gets poisoned and it feels silly to ignore that in favor of screwing around punching out a bunch of nutjobs who are already in jail.
But like I keep saying: This game was designed gameplay first. It’s more important to have a variety of side-activities available for the player to explore rather than support the illusion of urgency they’re trying to sell in the main plot.
This point in the game is where I usually abandon the main story and start messing around with the side missions. The section where you hunt down Ra’s Al Ghul is long, linear, heavy on cutscenes, and once you enter you’re locked in until you finish up.
So let’s talk about these diverting villains you need to track down…
Now that the last flatulent black-powder pop has dispersed in the wild Caribbean(!) breeze, it’s time to consolidate my ill-gotten profits. First there’s the grim but unfortunately necessary matter of triage–the Delight had a larger hold than my own vessel, so naturally I can’t take everything. I do the painful arithmetic and allocate the Boiled Sweet‘s storage space as efficiently as I can before throwing the leftovers overboard.
Having taken care of that, I give the Delight a crew and add it to my fleet.
Sorry this one is late. We had to record on Sunday due to the intrusion of Real Life.
Show notes: Continue reading »
Has the meaning of “poser” migrated? My memory of it was that it meant “faker” or “impostor”. But here Max walks up to the skater guy and strikes up a conversation. She makes no effort to pretend she knows anything about skateboarding, but he calls her a poser anyway. (Technically she’s a poser AFTER she rewinds time and uses some fresh lingo to bluff her way through the conversation.) He seems to be using the word to mean “lame”. I dunno. It’s been a quarter century since I heard “poser” used as a derogatory term, and I can imagine usage has changed.
Also, I brought up the game Bully in this episode. Eleven years ago, Rockstar took a break from making open world games about car theft and murder to make this small, focused little game about one boy at a private school. I remember really enjoying it. I liked the non-lethal combat that ended fights by stuffing foes in lockers or garbage cans. I liked how each student character model had a specific name and identity, as opposed to filling out the school grounds with generic nameless clones. I loved the school itself. It wasn’t perfect or anything, but I’m sad the game seems to have been forgotten. It felt like a solid prototype for a much better game. Too bad Rockstar doesn’t seem inclined to revisit the idea.
My daughter Baychel (who you probably know from the podcast / Spoiler Warning, if you’re into those) is visiting the family this week. You might remember I visited her last December. (The header image on this post is from that visit.) Now she’s here for a week and we’re catching up.
The girlsMy wife Heather and our daughters Baychel and Esther. are going to Tekko this weekend. They’ve made themselves some cosplay costumesIs “cosplay costumes” redundant? Can cosplay be used to refer to the costume itself? As in: “She’s wearing cosplay.” That sounds wrong, but I dunno. and will be doing whatever it is otaku do at these things. Probably going to panels where anime voice actors joke around and sign stuff. If you’re curious: Bay is going as Deadpool in a wedding dress. Heather is going as Kiki. They have other costumes they’re doing on other days, but I’m not familiar with the characters in question. All I know is they’re pretty happy with how it all turned out.
I actually had a bunch of content I wanted to post, but, see…
To repeat my rant: If you’re a teacher and you make kids stay in your class when they say they’re sick, then you’re an asshole. A villain. Kids are human beings. They have pain and discomfort just like us big people. They also have a lot less coping mechanisms for dealing with discomfort. One stupid class session is not more important than their suffering. Making a kid stay when they ask to be excused is a great way to end up with blood, feces, urine, or vomit in your classroom, which isn’t going to improve anyone’s educational experience. Also, on top of making a kid suffer you’ve also given them an intensely humiliating experience that they will carry around for the rest of their lives.
Moreover, if a kid is trying to get out of class then they have already mentally checked out. You can make them stay, but you can’t make them learn. Refusing to let a kid use the bathroom is all downside. You monster.
Part of my problem was that I was really incompetent socially. There’s a certain performance of body language that we expect from people who are sick. It’s reflected in face, posture, and tone of voice. I don’t know if it’s something we learn from adults or if it just comes naturally for most people, but I apparently never got the memo and didn’t know how to “act” sick, even when I was sick. I’d just walk to the front of the room and state my problem, which would get me flagged as a faker. So once in a while I’d have one of those teachers that decided their dumb bullshit needed to be the center of my life and would send me back to my seat when I asked to be excused.
Well, that’s been bugging me for 35 years. Glad to finally get that off my chest. I feel like we’ve made some good progress here today.
Batman follows the assassin and finally catches up with her on a rooftop. They get in a little scuffle where Batman surreptitiously plants a tracking device on her. Batman knows the assassin won’t kill him, and he can’t follow her home if he knocks her out, so he allows himself to be pinned.
It turns out Robin has slipped into the city. He sees this situation, reads it wrong, and swoops in to “save” Batman. This results in a little misunderstanding and character conflict that works really well for setting up tension between the two characters. Which is odd, because this is Robin’s first and last appearance in the game.
Batman hands off the “Gotham’s hospitals have maybe been poisoned by Joker’s toxin blood” plot to him. Which is a shame, since the writers forget all about this plot before the end. Robin will phone Batman up in a few hours for exposition, but this story didn’t need him for that. We already have Alfred and Oracle to deliver different types of exposition.
Basically, Robin serves no purpose in this story and this scene sets up a character dynamic it never uses. In this scene, Robin is here to bring Batman another Bat-gadget, when the story has already established that Batman has automated delivery systems for exactly this sort of job. None of the other supervillains refer to Robin. Hugo Strange never mentions him. Batman doesn’t request his help, even when he’s screwed and desperately in need of help. It’s like Robin doesn’t exist outside of this scene.
The most likely explanation I can come up with is that the writers were essentially using this scene to test and see if the audience was open to having Robin around or if they wanted to stick with stoic loner Batman. Perhaps they were wary of building the next game around an idea the audience hated and decided to field-test it first. (If that’s really the case, then I wish they’d done the same sort of testing with the stupid Bat-Tank.)
I know I’ve mentioned this in the past, but it bears repeating for new-ish viewers: Choosing a game to cover on this show is a complex process..
- We want a game a majority of us have played and have something to say about it. If we made it a rule that EVERYONE has played a game, then we’d be limiting ourselves to just a narrow band of ubiquitous AAA games. Our tastes are diverse enough that it’s very unlikely we’re all going to play the same experimental arthouse project.
- It needs to be a game that none of us will “veto” for whatever reason. I know we have a reputation for being kind of negative, but we actually do a lot to avoid overdosing on negativity. If we didn’t, then every season would be Hitman: Absolution.
- It needs to provide a regular supply of conversation stimulus. For example, the likes of Diablo II, Neverwinter Nights, and Borderlands might be popular and historically significant, but those games have long stretches where the player just goes through the same gameplay loop with very little variation. That’s fun if you’re the one playing, but if we’re trying to provide fan commentary it leaves us without stuff to talk about. Then the show turns into a podcast with more interruptions and cross-talk. We already do a podcast, so we don’t need that.
- It needs to work with our existing technology setup, which means modern-ish PC or PS4 only.
- It needs to be a game the audience will care about. I suppose this one ought to be higher on the list.
We usually start talking about the “next game” as we get down to the end of the current season, and it often takes us a few weeks to hammer this out.
Sometimes we end up with a game that’s a great fit for the rest of the team but not something I have a lot to say about. But no problem, right? I can just shut up and let everyone else comment. That’s good for the show. I actually like this because when I talk less it usually gets Chris to talk more, and I’d rather hear Chris than me.
I’m the one that writes these blog posts, and I have almost nothing to say about Life is Strange. I don’t have any strong opinions on it. I don’t love or hate any part of it with any noteworthy level of passion. So I dunno what I’m going to talk about in this space.
To understand the 17th century Caribbean(!), you must first grasp the principle of mercantilism.
Broadly speaking, mercantilism means setting up all international trade to favor your interests over those of your colonies and trading partners. To understand why anyone plays along with this kind of rigged system, you must first grasp the principle of really huge navies.
It really was an ugly and extortionist system; if you’re a merchant native to the New World, you carry the yoke of second-class status your whole life. Thanks to cunningly tailored taxes, you can’t get a good deal with your mother nation. Thanks to a frighteningly inventive range of specialty cannon shot, you can’t get a good deal with anyone else. Is it really any surprise that some of these disenfranchised businessmen turn to smuggling?
Yes, it’s safe to say that these fellows right here have spent a lifetime under the boot of greedy, callous, contemptuous thugs from the Old World:
So, you know. At least they’re used to it. Beat to quarters!