Nan o’ War CH6: Secondhand Smuggling

By Rutskarn
on Apr 5, 2017
Filed under:
Lets Play

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!

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Diecast #194: Mailbag, Destiny 2

By Shamus
on Apr 3, 2017
Filed under:
Diecast

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

Hosts: Josh, Rutskarn, Shamus, Campster and Baychel.

Funny story about this episode: I noticed Baychel sounded off, but for some unfathomable reason I didn’t say anything until after we’d recorded the show. Once I did, she discovered her good mic had come unplugged and the system had defaulted to using her crappy webcam mic. Sad trombone.

Show notes:

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A Walk Downtown, Part 2

By Shamus
on Apr 2, 2017
Filed under:
Personal

Last week we walked the length of Main St. in downtown Butler. This week we’re doing something a little different. We’re going to walk to school. And by “walk” I mean “click on images in Google Street View”. Our walk begins at the top of Brady Street, and we’re going to head south-west.

The walk I’m going to show you is my walk to school sometime around 1981. I would’ve been about 9.

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You Won’t Believe These LEAKED KotOR3 Lines!

By Rutskarn
on Apr 1, 2017
Filed under:
Video Games

What’s up, internet, this is Kiev Sampson blogging to you via Twenty Sided’s alliance with CheezGamer: your video source for hot news, hot takes, and our Scrolly-award nominated stream She Wore What?!?, where editors and gaming celebrities react live to photos of cosplayer’s boobs. We got some red-hot scoops for you today, so like the man Three-Dog says, check it out.

Who doesn’t love RPGs? For years the genre was one big compromise between character building and actually having fun–but thanks to groundbreaking games like Fallout 3 and Fable that had the high-octane action to back up their awesome writing, we all walk away happy. It’s thanks to pioneers like them that people gave a little game called The Witcher 3 the chance to rock our socks off. Rejoice, gentlemen: RPGs aren’t just for nerds anymore.

We admit it. We still get chills.
We admit it. We still get chills.

Of course, the undisputed king of the RPG is superstar developer Bioware. Best known for Mass Effect 3 and Mass Effect: Andromeda, you might have also played their 2011 foray into the MMO market, Star Wars: The Old Republic. What you may not have known was that it was based on one of their earlier projects, a little-known and never-completed trilogy called–wait for it–Knights of the Old Republic. Could be some of you out there are still holding out for another one. Well hang no longer, my friends, because Bioware has finally answered your prayers: according to our exclusive leaked report, they’re officially rebooting the franchise.

Here’s what our sources tell us about the new title Star Wars: Knights.

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Game of Thrones Griping 9: The King in the North

By Bob Case
on Mar 31, 2017
Filed under:
Television
This series analyzes the show, but sometimes references the books as well. If you read it, expect spoilers for both.

We’re finally here: the triumphant moment where your hero and mine, Jon Snow, is hailed as King in the North by a bunch of mostly anonymous, almost invariably bearded northern lords.

Ask yourself – if you were one of these northern lords (take a quick break to grow a three-month beard if you need to get into character), would you want Jon Snow as your King? More than that, would you upend social and political convention, and take a significant political risk, to make him your King? Let’s have a quick look at his qualifications:

No social or political status: Jon is essentially nothing. He’s not Lord Commander of the Night’s Watch anymore. He’s not a member of the Night’s Watch anymore. He’s not a Lord, or even a knight. He holds no lands or titles. He’s bastard-born. Depending on whether his new subjects believe the stories about his resurrection or notWe the viewers have no idea, since everyone on the show seems to have forgotten it happened., he could even be considered a deserter and an oathbreaker, which is punishable by death.

No leadership qualities: He made a disastrous tactical blunder in the only battle any of the northern Lords have seen him in. What’s more, up until this point his ability to inspire loyalty is most charitably described as “spotty.” Jon may have some gifts, but charisma is not one of them. He doesn’t make inspiring speeches or impassioned pleas. When trying to recruit the north to his side prior to the battle, he mostly just stood in the back and kept his mouth shut. Even the wildlings were reluctant to sign on, and according to Tormund they see Jon as some kind of god.Did they change their minds? Maybe Tormund told them about Jon’s insufficiently godlike penis, and they changed their minds.

This is another Sapochnik-directed episode, which means more painterly shots like this one. He`s one of the show`s bright spots in my opinion.

This is another Sapochnik-directed episode, which means more painterly shots like this one. He`s one of the show`s bright spots in my opinion.

No plan for succession: To put it mildly, the issue of succession is rather important in real-world feudalism, and has been shown to be quite important in the Westerosi version as well. Jon has no wife or children, and therefore no heir and no immediate way to make one. His children would not be Starks, and would have no legal claim to Winterfell or anywhere else. To top it all off, he swore an oath not to father any children. Is he still bound by that oath? Once again I have to wonder if the people cheering for him at Winterfell even know about his death and resurrection or not. If it were me, that’s the sort of ambiguity I would want cleared up before declaring someone my King.

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Arkham City Part 10: Solomon Grumpy

By Shamus
on Mar 30, 2017
Filed under:
Batman

So it’s finally time for Batman to confront Penguin at the end of the Museum. Technically he doesn’t need to do this. He’s rescued Freeze and the clock is still ticking on both his poisoning and Protocol 10. But Penguin has been an enormous pain in the ass and Batman is having trouble staying on-task tonight.

Let’s talk about Penguin’s plan…

Penguin’s Plan

Penguin is standing on a table, on a catwalk, on a pile of ice, on a heap of explosives, on the floor of the lounge, which is above an underground arena that contains Solomon Grundy.

Penguin is standing on a table, on a catwalk, on a pile of ice, on a heap of explosives, on the floor of the lounge, which is above an underground arena that contains Solomon Grundy.

Penguin had a lot of layers of defense between himself and Batman. He had barbed wire fences, waves of goons, guys with guns, a flooded room with a shark (yes really) and high-security electronic gates. Batman defeated them all, because of course he did. This is all fine. I like all of these contingency plans. They’re fun to overcome and they make Penguin seem resourceful.

But once you get into the final room, you get to the part of the game where they threw the writer out of the room and handed control over to the guy in charge of designing boss fights. To explain, let’s imagine the conversation that took place about an hour before Batman arrived…

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Andromeda Hangout

By Shamus
on Mar 29, 2017
Filed under:
Spoiler Warning

A couple of weeks ago Josh and I got together with Jarenth to stream Mass Effect: Andromeda. Here is the archived video:


Link (YouTube)

I don’t have the game yet, so I don’t have anything to add to what was said during the stream. I know people are curious if I’m going to cover Andromeda, so let’s talk about what I’ve written and what I’m planning to write…

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Nan o’ War CH5: A Miner Complication

By Rutskarn
on Mar 28, 2017
Filed under:
Lets Play

On returning from the set of Sister Act 3: Wait There Was a Sister Act 2?, I stop in to the tavern and the Suspicious Man asks:

That’s a good question! In no particular order:

An explanation, an apology, two hours of my life, a day’s vacation, a medal, and your shifty ballsack hanging off my new vessel’s prow like a pair of fuzzy goddamn dice.  What I am going to settle for is my money. I’m in it for the piastres, so quit flaking and hand over the dough.

And he does! The full, reasonably large amount. Suddenly I’ve got some actual capital to work with. I’m now blessed with enough to buy a boat, get out of town, and find me some content that isn’t fundamentally weird and broken.

Hm.

Well, I dunno. How about another one first?

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This Dumb Industry: Fixing Match 3

By Shamus
on Mar 28, 2017
Filed under:
Column

I’m sure you’re familiar with Match-3 games. It’s this omnipresent thing in the world of mobile gaming. BeJeweled is the most famous example, although I think Candy Crush is the one that’s made the most money. There are literally hundreds of these things floating around out there in various cloned forms. They’re ideally suited to mobile gaming. The interface is simple, it’s colorful, you don’t depend on audio cues, and the rounds last about five minutes. That’s perfect for a game to play on your phone while waiting for the bus.

But these games are also sort of shallow and broken. Their gameplay is crippled by specific flaws that pushes the player into boring play. The most interesting play is different from the most rewarding way to play. It’s like a version of Space Invaders where the way to get the best score is to stand still and spam the attack button as fast as possible instead of dodging and aiming your shots.

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Diecast #193: Night in the Woods, KONA, Everything

By Shamus
on Mar 27, 2017
Filed under:
Diecast

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

Download.
Hosts: Josh, Rutskarn, Shamus, Campster and Baychel.

Hilariously, I managed to introduce the first segment without ever saying the name of the game. Sometimes coherent communication is hard.

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A Walk Downtown

By Shamus
on Mar 26, 2017
Filed under:
Personal

Before my daughter Rachel moved out, we used to go for walks around town and I’d tell her little stories and anecdotes about the locations we came across. It was one of my favorite things to do together. I’m in the mood to take one of those walks by way of Google Street View, and I’ve decided to drag you along.

Grab your coat. It’s still chilly out this time of year.

Butler PA

I’ll admit this is not a brilliant town. My attachment to Butler is 100% nostalgic. If I’d grown up somewhere else, I wouldn’t give this place a second look.

There’s not much here that’s special. The only famous things to come out of Butler are the Jeep and Barbara FeldonYou might know her as Agent 99.
. It’s one of those obnoxious towns that “steals” the highway. You know how it is: You’re minding your own business driving from one town to the next when all of a sudden the highway you’re on transforms into Main Street. Now you’re tangled up in downtown traffic and staring at the chorus line of traffic lights stretching off into the distance, wondering where it all went wrong.

It’s actually even worse than that, but I’ll explain when we get to the south end of Main Street. Let’s start on the north side and walk south.

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Dishonored DLC – Brigmore Witches EP6: Kill the Cheese

By Shamus
on Mar 24, 2017
Filed under:
Spoiler Warning


Link (YouTube)

So that’s the end of Dishonored 1.

I wanted to comment on how they handled the non-lethal ending for Delilah, but I’m stumped. Maybe I could branch off and talk about how this goes against the grain of the ideas they planted for Dishonored 2, but that rings hollow and it’s probably better to just leaf it alone. In my defense: Rutskarn lost connection before the end, and if I hadn’t made all these shitty tree puns, he certainly wood have.

Despite my unrepentant sloth and apathy, the show will go on. The next season of Spoiler Warning is going to be…

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