Knights of the Old Republic EP45: THAC0!

By Shamus
on Jan 22, 2016
Filed under:
Spoiler Warning

119 comments


Link (YouTube)

Here it is. The big reveal of the big secret the game has been hiding right under our noses. The truth is out, and it will forever change how we see our character, our friends, and our relationship with the villain. Old conversations will take on new meaning and the earlier visions suddenly tell us more than we realized.

So naturally I expect everyone will jump down to the comments and argue about THAC0. Nerds.

Like I’ve said before: This twist wasn’t so much “concealed” as “obfuscated by genre tropes”. BioWare did the exact same thing in Jade Empire. All the stuff that sounded like the usual “YOU ARE THE PROTAGONIST OF A VIDEOGAME” ego-stroking was actually the foreshadowing. And most people didn’t question it because we’ve been soaking in “chosen one” narratives since we were tiny little baby nerdlings and this sounded like more of the same.

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Knights of the Old Republic EP44: Somebody’s Butt

By Shamus
on Jan 21, 2016
Filed under:
Spoiler Warning

49 comments

Here’s the latest episode of Spoiler Warning, in which we have a surprise guest!


Link (YouTube)

When Mumbles mentioned dragging dead women to her hideout, she was talking about this gem from the Fallout 4 forum, on NeoGaf, by way of Twitter, now shared on my blog:

The stuff Chris brought up about butts vs. anuses vs. WHY ARE WE TALKING ABOUT THIS is a reference to our fourth anniversary episode.


20209Feeling chatty? There are 49 comments.



Mass Effect Retrospective 31: Choices Matter

By Shamus
on Jan 21, 2016
Filed under:
Mass Effect

191 comments

So you shoot the baby Reaper in the face until it falls down and goes boom. Once it’s gone, you can access the Collector power core or whatever, and you can either set it to explode, or set it to irradiate all life and leave the technology intact. The Illusive Man wants you to leave the installation so his scientists can study it. But Paragon Shepard objects because…

This place is an abomination?

Ending Choice

Shepard, you can`t destroy this installation! Do you have any idea how many scientists we could kill with this thing?

This is some messed-up superstitious thinking. He seems to be suggesting that learning about our enemy is inherently evil. Your companions also take this position, too. Even #1 Cerberus apologist Miranda suddenly does an abrupt heel-face turn saying, “I’m not so sure. Seeing it first hand… Using anything from this base seems like a betrayal.” And not because of indoctrination, but because of some completely un-articulated principles.

The last game ended with us beginning a quest for knowledge. That idea was wiped away to fight the Collectors. And now at the very end of the game we finally return to the question of “How do we stop the Reapers from killing us all?” except the narrative frames the acquisition of knowledge as an inherently evil and irresponsible thing. As a fan of sci-fi, I find this idea to be repugnant. The first game gave us a quest for knowledge and the second one is going to follow up with caveman science fiction?

Shepard says, “It liquefied people. Turned them into something horrible. We have to destroy the base.”

Continue reading »


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Knights of the Old Republic EP43: Get Off This Damn Ship

By Shamus
on Jan 20, 2016
Filed under:
Spoiler Warning

34 comments


Link (YouTube)

I wasn’t in this episode. I also haven’t watched the episode. And I barely remember this part of the game. So I have nothing to say about these events. Let’s just watch it together and ponder how it’s still more fun to watch this game than to actually play The Old Republic.


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



Social Media has Turned me Into a Trained Monkey

By Shamus
on Jan 19, 2016
Filed under:
Personal

46 comments

If you had asked me yesterday how important Twitter was to me I’d have said, “Meh. I check it once an hour or so, post a few messages a day.” And that’s technically true. But it wasn’t until now that I realized just how integral the service is to my internet habits.

Twitter has been down for about 3 hours, and I keep getting caught in these stupid little obsessive behavioral loops:

  1. It’s about time to check Twitter. Huh. Twitter is down? The whole service? What happened?

  2. I should check Twitter to see what people are saying about Twitter… being… oh.
  3. Ha! I just tried to check Twitter to read why I can’t get to Twitter. That’s a funny anecdote. I should post that to…
  4. Oh damn it. I wonder if any of my friends are doing the same silly reflexive thing. I should check…
  5. OH COME ON. STOP THAT.
  6. Now I’m irritated with myself and Twitter. When that kind of thing happens I usually complain on…
  7. This is hopeless.

I would never have guessed the service was this important to my information diet, but there you go. I can’t believe we’re supposed to be the smartest mammals on this planet. This is disgraceful.

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Diecast #137: Amplitude, Cradle, Slime Ranching

By Shamus
on Jan 18, 2016
Filed under:
Diecast

85 comments

The show is late. There are no show notes. I am not in this episode. The answers behind these mysteries are bound together: My daughter Rachel – who edits these things – turned 18 this weekend, and I was at her party. Also, her graphics card died, meaning she can’t use her computer until the replacement arrives.

But Josh came through and edited the episode. Rachel’s new card will arrive tomorrow. Things should be back to normal-ish next week.


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

Direct link to this episode.

Hosts: Josh, Rutskarn, Campster, Mumbles.

Episode edited by Josh.

Show notes: Continue reading »


202020205There are now 85 comments. Almost a hundred!



Experienced Points: Why I’m Cynical About System Shock 3

By Shamus
on Jan 18, 2016
Filed under:
Escapist

69 comments

My column this week is why I suspect that System Shock 3 isn’t going to have the stuff I loved about System Shock 2.

Honestly, if this industry was capable of making System Shock 3, it would have. Last time somebody tried we got BioShock, which was profitable, popular, critically acclaimed, and not at all what I wanted. It was a fine game on its own merits, but it was missing most of the major features that made System Shock special to me. It was just “pretty smart, for a shooter”. Replacing Andrew Ryan with Shodan isn’t going to magically transform BioShock back into System Shock.

This is not to say that System Shock 2 was a perfect game. This goes double for System Shock 1. It’s just that they represent a kind of game that nobody wants to fund, develop, or market in today’s AAA world.

I really hope that in a year or so I’ll get to write a column about how wrong I was about this, but this is how things look to me right now.

2020209Sixty-nine comments, dude! Excellent!



New Year’s Hangout: Left 4 Dead 2

By Shamus
on Jan 15, 2016
Filed under:
Spoiler Warning

28 comments


Link (YouTube)

I had other things going on, so I’m sorry I missed this part of the stream. I love the original Left 4 Dead campaigns and characters.

I’ve never played realism mode so I probably would have been a massive liability. Which makes me even more sad that I missed it. If I’d been there I might have prevented them from attaining such a glorious pro-level victory.


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New Year’s Hangout: Crusader Kings II

By Shamus
on Jan 14, 2016
Filed under:
Spoiler Warning

23 comments

During the new year, we got together and watched Josh play some incomprehensible game about maps and dialog boxes? Or something? Anyway, here it is, for those who missed it.


Link (YouTube)

This is the first half of the hangout. In the second half everyone played Left 4 Dead. That will go up tomorrow.

If you’ve ever wondered what it’s like to be on Spoiler Warning with us, here is your chance to see for yourself. This is what we do every week before recording the show: Fifteen minutes of incomprehensible dicking around, troubleshooting inscrutable problems and cussing at wayward technology.

Continue reading »


20323 comments. Highly cototient!



Mass Effect Retrospective 30: Suicide Mission

By Shamus
on Jan 14, 2016
Filed under:
Mass Effect

267 comments

I’ve spent most of this series complaining about aspects of Mass Effect 2 that a majority of fansCompletely anecdotal. I have no idea what the “real” consensus is out there. don’t see is a problem. So let me briefly be a contrarian in the other direction and defend something everyone complains about: I think the Suicide Mission was a really interesting idea. I think it was a thematically appropriate way to wrap up a game that focused so much on preparation and team-building. It was the first time the series really did anything with the concept of Shepard being a military commander aside from him always leading 3-person teams into gunfights. It justified the large team size and it gave you an in-game reward for doing all those loyalty missions.

Sure, there are problems with how the suicide mission plays out. But unlike the problems with the plot, premise, and dialog, these aren’t baffling failures at basic tasks. The suicide mission was a new idea not just to BioWare but to AAA RPGs in general. It was challenging, it was different, and so its shortcomings are a lot more understandable in a game design sense.

The Suicide Mission

BUT WHAT DO THEY EAT? I`m joking. I don`t care.

The Normandy goes through the Omega-4 relay to the collector base. There’s a little space battle that reacts to the decisions you’ve made regarding your ship. If you’ve been doing the research, talking to allies, gathering resources, and paying for the upgrades, then the characters will respond. “Gosh! Good thing we upgraded the anti-decombobulator!” If you haven’t, then the bad guys blow holes in the Normandy and maybe some squad members might die.

After that the Normandy lands on the Collector base and you get to divide your people into teams and tasks. If a job calls for someone with technical skills, then you can select anyone with any technical knowledge. This, combined with whether or not you did their loyalty mission, determines if they survive performing the task.

Continue reading »


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Knights of the Old Republic EP42: The Three Trials

By Shamus
on Jan 13, 2016
Filed under:
Spoiler Warning

70 comments


Link (YouTube)

And so our thrilling game of Second Edition D&D comes to an end. I managed to survive my serious case of self-inflicted deadly poison long enough to wander off to do the job, alone, with incomplete information. Josh cast his one spell and had to take a nap. Chris took no actions whatsoever, thereby making him the winner by virtue of being the person to make the fewest number of idiotic blunders.

Also there was something about Jedi and fish people in there? I don’t know. I wasn’t really paying attention to that stuff.

The D&D seems to have gone over well. We’re currently talking about maybe doing some more of this, perhaps outside of Spoiler Warning. We’ll see.


2020201070 comments? This post wasn't even all that interesting.



Experienced Points: $600 for the The Oculus Rift?

By Shamus
on Jan 12, 2016
Filed under:
Escapist

124 comments

Five hundred and ninety-nine U.S. dollars is indeed a lot to ask for a gaming peripheral. My column this week talks about the price, why I think it went up so sharply, and why it has me a little worried.

It’s the classic manufacturing problem:

Continue reading »


A Hundred!204There are 124 comments here. I really hope you like reading.




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