Until Dawn EP19: The Doge of Menace

By Shamus
on Feb 1, 2017
Filed under:
Spoiler Warning

64 comments


Link (YouTube)

According to the Wiki, Mike can’t be killed here. Watch this entire section with that in mind. Imagine a player flubbing every single quicktime event. That really would ruin the magic trick.

I wonder how common that is?

I’m willing to bet it’s extremely rare for first-time players. Like, even if you hate Mike and wish he’d die, I’m willing to bet you’ll want to do this section properly because it’s a videogame and you’re here to play a videogame.

There’s a bit in Batman: Arkham City where Penguin is going to punch Bruce Wayne in the face. The section is a bit like Until Dawn here, where it’s sort of a cutscene with dialog but there’s also a prompt you can respond to. Of course, I’ve always hit the prompts to counter Penguin’s punch and break free. I’ve often been curious what happens if you don’t touch the controller and let him blast you in the face. Does the beating go until you press counter? Do you eventually get a game over? Is there more dialog if he lands the punch?

I’ve played through that scene half a dozen times. I’ve always been curious about it. But when the moment comes I find the temptation to push the button is irresistible. I imagine it’s the same thing for would-be Mike murderers in Until Dawn. You may want him dead, but you’re not willing to “fail” to make it happen.


202020426 comments.



Unfit for XCOMmand CH3: Regroup and Reallocate

By Rutskarn
on Feb 1, 2017
Filed under:
Lets Play

27 comments

COUNCIL SPEAKER: Very well. Bradford, please conclude your analysis of Operation Winter Stank.

C.O. BRADFORD: Skyranger took off on-schedule, leaving Sq. Specialist Kennedy on the ground, where she radioed several editorial comments concerning Carl Sagan. Then she was struck by the psychic domination effect of the sectoid behind her, and finished by saying, “I’m going to kill the Commander.”

COUNCIL: In English? Implying, then, that the mind-control effect is an alteration rather than a replacement of the existing personality. Take note of that, XXXX. [pen noises]

BRADFORD: Um. Yes. I mean, that could be what happened, yes.

COUNCIL: Well, it doesn’t seem…

BRADFORD: It is actually possible that she was lucid for that period.

COUNCIL: Lucid meaning, “not controlled.”

BRADFORD: That is what I meant. Yes. I don’t wish to imply, obviously…

COUNCIL:  Do you believe Kennedy was an Advent agent?

BRADFORD: Absolutely not. I certainly do not believe she had any active plots to harm XCOM personnel. I wouldn’t say that at all.

COUNCIL: But you think she might have said, deliberately–

BRADFORD: I think we’re running into a darkzone here. Will call again at 1800.

Continue reading »


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Pseudoku Feedback

By Shamus
on Jan 31, 2017
Filed under:
Programming

175 comments

Like I said on the podcast last week: I have another a game that’s reasonably close to complete in terms of programming, but in need of more content and polish if I wanted it to see commercial release. I’m not sure what the project needs or if it’s worth spending more time on, so I’m releasing this alpha version in the hopes of getting feedback.

I already had this game in development before the release of Good Robot. But then Good Robot was kind of a disappointment in terms of sales and I started thinking that maybe there were better uses of my time where I could entertain more people with less effort. So I shelved the project.

I rediscovered the project a couple of weeks ago and started thinking that I ought to at least throw it out to the public and see what people thought of it. So that’s what we’re doing.

Continue reading »


A Hundred!20202015Many comments. 175, if you're a stickler



Diecast #186: Mailbag!

By Shamus
on Jan 30, 2017
Filed under:
Diecast

125 comments

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

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

This is it! We finally get around to answering all those questions you’ve been sending us.

Show notes: Continue reading »


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Shamus Plays WoW #15: The Doom of Darkshire

By Shamus
on Jan 29, 2017
Filed under:
WoW

23 comments

The town of Lakeshire. As I remember, a lot of quests involve swimming around in the stupid lake and clicking on shit.

The town of Lakeshire. As I remember, a lot of quests involve swimming around in the stupid lake and clicking on shit.

We’re in the town of Lakeshire in the Redridge mountains. Boss has skipped talking to the useless guards, lackeys, and officials around town and gone straight for the top. We’re going to talk to the magistrate and see what this town really needs.

The following text isn`t an exaggeration. There really is a line (that never moves) to speak to the magistrate, and the player just ignores them and talks to him directly.

The following text isn`t an exaggeration. There really is a line (that never moves) to speak to the magistrate, and the player just ignores them and talks to him directly.

There are a lot of people in line, waiting to see him and complain about the gnolls that are killing and pillaging their farms. This is not to imply that there is a single farm anywhere in the Redridge mountains. But wherever these idiots and their imaginary farms come from, they are pissed off and want to talk to Magistrate Solomon. The wait would take hours.

Norman solves this by just cutting in line and demanding to know what needs done.

Continue reading »


20323 comments. Highly cototient!



Spoiler Warning 7th Anniversary: Dead End Road

By Shamus
on Jan 27, 2017
Filed under:
Spoiler Warning

67 comments


Link (YouTube)

Seven years of this nonsense! What am I doing with my life?

This episode contains everything you’d expect from a quality Spoiler Warning video: Josh demonstrating pro strategies and techniques that most players never discover, Rutskarn discussing the literary symbolism at play, Chris analyzing the core ludic systems, and me taking the whole thing very seriously and offering nothing but incisive commentary on the game as it unfolds in okay I lied it’s just the four of us dicking around for an hour what did you expect?

This was actually a lot of fun. I haven’t enjoyed recording an episode this much in a long time. Don’t forget that Josh has a Patreon for the show itself to help pay for the equipment and hours he dumps into recording and editing the show.

Thanks for watching.


202020767 comments? This post wasn't even all that interesting.



Game of Thrones Griping: Introduction

By Bob Case
on Jan 27, 2017
Filed under:
Television

236 comments

This series analyzes the show, but sometimes references the books as well. If you read it, expect spoilers for both.

Greetings, Twenty-Sidians!Twenty-Sidites? Twenty-Siderians? I’m Bob, also known as MrBtongue, and I’m the blog’s newest shiny object. You may know me from such Youtube smash hits as MrBtongue complains about the Mass Effect 3 endingMrBtongue complains about EA, and MrBtongue complains about Bethesda.

Today I’m here to complain about Game of Thrones. I’ve complained about Game of Thrones beforeHere’s the video., but that was a broader criticism of the spirit of the show. In this series I’ll be getting into the nitty-gritty. In fact, the way I pitched this to Shamus was that I planned to do for Game of Thrones something like what he did for the Skyrim Thieves’ Guild questline.

It’s the sort of thing I hadn’t entirely realized there was an audience for – but if Shamus’ own reader polls are any indicationThis one indicates an encouraging appetite for “bloviating on a game for months.”, there is, and I now see an opportunity to pick every nit the show has to offer for a crowd that will cheer me on the whole way, or hopefully at least not throw virtual tomatoes at me.

Continue reading »


A Hundred!A Hundred!2016236 COMMENTS? What are you people talking about?!?



New Year 2017: Tharsis and Monster Loves You

By Shamus
on Jan 26, 2017
Filed under:
Spoiler Warning

39 comments


Link (YouTube)

This is the final segment of the show we did for new year. Tharsis bugs me in the same way that Xcom-2Or X-Com 2, or Xcom 2-, or XCOM2, or whatever the stupid name is that I’m sick of looking up every time I have to type it. does. A game with this much deliberately random noise in the outcomes is completely uninteresting to me. “Oh. A low number. I lose. Oh! A HIGH number! Lucky me. I get to not lose this turn.” Random number generators are not interesting adversaries. Losing to them is annoying, and winning feels meaningless. Yuck.

Up tomorrow: The 7th anniversary of the show. I can’t tell you what game we’re playing, but I can promise it will focus on us driving into poles over and over again.


201939 comments. Hurry up and add yours before it becomes passé.



Arkham City Part 1: Gameplay First

By Shamus
on Jan 26, 2017
Filed under:
Batman

127 comments

Batman: Arkham City is an interesting contrast to the last two games we’ve talked about:

1) Mass Effect: Details / worldbuilding firstAt least in the first game. The fact that this focus changed is one of the things that makes the series so controversial and fascinating..

2) Final Fantasy X: Characters / emotions first.

3) Batman: Arkham City: Gameplay first.

I don’t want to be overly reductive here. I’m not implying that the Mass Effect teams didn’t care about gameplay, or that the story in Arkham City wasn’t important to anyoneAt least, I HOPE someone cares about the story, since I’m going to spend several entries on it.. But there is a clear mechanical focus about Batman. To me it looks like Mass Effect (especially the first one) was written like this:

“I’ve come up with this world and I want to tell a story about it. What gameplay would work best?”

While Arkham was written more like:

“I want to make a Batman game about brawling, stealth, and puzzle solving. What story would work best for that?”

The Arkham games are designed with a particular rhythm of changing gameplay modes in mind, and a story is stretched to fit over this framework. If that means adding in the occasional supervillain boss fight with no relevance to the main story, then so be it. Both are completely valid ways of designing a game, but they produce different experiences with different challenges for the developer to overcome and different problems for us to nitpick.

Continue reading »


A Hundred!207There are 127 comments here. I really hope you like reading.



New Year 2017 Livestream Part 2: Hitman

By Shamus
on Jan 25, 2017
Filed under:
Spoiler Warning

5 comments

We really need to stream more often. We do it so rarely that we all forget the pitfalls and have to re-learn the whole thing again. It doesn’t help that each game has its own unique way that it thwarts streaming. The resolution is messed up. The in-game framerate is garbage for no reason. The in-game framerate is fine but the stream shows it as terrible. There’s no audio from the game. It streams a blank screen. It only streams a portion of the screen. There are just too many ways that something can go wrong.

I suppose part of the problem is that every game is a special snowflake with its own ideas on how rendering should work. Welcome to PC gaming, where the rules are made up and the specs don’t matter.

Today’s mishap is that the audio levels are out of balance so that Jarenth and I are very quiet.


Link (YouTube)

It’s a shame. This was my favorite part of the stream. This is a really fun game to watch.


5Five easy comments.



A Natural Twenty

By Shamus
on Jan 25, 2017
Filed under:
Personal

103 comments

Today Heather and I celebrate 20 years of being married. For those of you who aren’t math majors: That’s two decades. A fifth of a century! It doesn’t feel like that long, of course. Because of the goofy way our brains measure time on a sliding scale, it feels like I was in school for 60% of my life and I’ve been married for 25%.

In honor of this day, I’m going to write some advice to my younger self in regards to marriage. This is stuff I wish I’d understood about 25 years ago…

Continue reading »


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Unfit for XCOMmand CH2: Winter Stank

By Rutskarn
on Jan 25, 2017
Filed under:
Lets Play

104 comments

When I kick the door in, Bradford looks up from what could be an operator’s manual or a Bible. “Can I help you, Kennedy?”

I slap the dossier on his desk. “How about we boot that mission computer back up, sir? What do you say you and me make a few last-minute changes to this little outing you’ve put together?”

“If you have a problem with the objective…”

“Oh, I’m sure I have a problem with our objective, but never mind that. You want me to get shot trying to,” I glance at the first page, “get one of the council’s bowling partners out of enemy territory, sure, I’ll go drop into whatever snake pit he’s fallen into. Fair enough! This is, apparently, what I signed up for–put the condolence letter in the mail already. But I will be damned if the first line of that letter is going to read that Rachel Kennedy was killed in Operation WINTER STANK.

“It won’t. The mission codename is classified.”

“Are you fucking kidding me? Winter STANK?”

“It’s randomly generated.”

“Generated from a list? Who wrote this list? What giggling syphilitic clown manually entered ‘stank’ as a thing to engrave on XCOM tombstones? Please tell me he’s on this fucking Avenger. Give me a bunk number.”

“Don’t you have a drop to prepare for?”

And so humanity’s greatest enemy remains at large. Fisher, if I don’t make it back today, promise me you’ll finish what I started.

Continue reading »


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