Fallout 4 EP34: Draggin’ Fly

By Shamus Posted Wednesday Aug 31, 2016

Filed under: Spoiler Warning 149 comments

Link (YouTube)

Mumbles pointed out that she’s logged more hours in Fallout 4 than New Vegas. Same with me. It’s interesting because we’ve both spent the last 33 episodes crapping on Fallout 4 and comparing it unfavorably to New Vegas.

I knew I’d played more Fallout 4 than News Vegas, but I was still shocked when I looked up the numbers. (174 for New Vegas vs. 600+ for Fallout 4.) There are a few reasons for this:

  1. I never got into the New Vegas modding scene, which is small compared to the massive flood of Fallout 4 mods out there. A lot of my time with the game was spent mod-browsing.
  2. For me, New Vegas was far more unstable than Fallout 4. I know some people have reported the opposite, but that’s my experience. Fallout 4 is still buggy as hell, but most of the bugs manifest as hilarious physics, animation, or AI freak-outs rather than frustrating crashes to desktop. The instability of New Vegas probably drove me away from the game before I’d really seen everything I wanted.
  3. Back in 2013 I got an upgraded computer with 16GB of memory. This means I can now alt-tab in and out of games for free, which wasn’t possible back in 2010 when I was playing New Vegas. So these days my “hours played” numbers on Steam tend to be inflated by the time I spend writing columns and reading comments while the game is idle in the background.

But I think the biggest reason I’ve clocked so many more hours in FO4 than NV is that I play the two games very differently. When I’m playing New Vegas, I’m usually interacting with the structured content like having dialog or doing quests. In Fallout 4, I spend my time doing everything I can to avoid the structured content, because it’s awful. So I do free-form stuff like building bases, exploring aimlessly, and obsessively searching for “treasure”. And judged on those merits, Fallout 4 really does have better unstructured content.

If you’re curious, I’ve got 1,100 hours in Skyrim. (Again, greatly inflated by Alt-Tab time and also by the ridiculous amount of time I put into playing mods.) I bought Fallout 3 on disk instead of Steam, so I don’t have numbers for hours played for that one.

Of course my dream game would have New Vegas quality structured content and Fallout 4 quality unstructured content, but I’d rather have some decent QA testing more than either of those things.

Care to share your hours played for Bethesda games? I’m curious to see the results.



Ruts vs. Battlespire CH24: The Most Daedraous Game

By Rutskarn Posted Wednesday Aug 31, 2016

Filed under: Lets Play 70 comments

I’m going to be seeing a lot of whatever’s going on in this next screenshot, because as of the next hundred hours of gameplay it’ll be the first thing I see when I load my “New Zone” slot. Which, in defiance of my convention, isn’t a New Zone at all. It’s just my last chance to save before the New Zone where I can’t save my game.

Fuck you for making me a liar, Battlespire.

I'm a writer, dammit! I take my savenames extremely seriously as works of individual--what? No, I refuse to explain ''farrrttt'' to an ENEMY OF ART.
I'm a writer, dammit! I take my savenames extremely seriously as works of individual--what? No, I refuse to explain ''farrrttt'' to an ENEMY OF ART.

Continue reading ⟩⟩ “Ruts vs. Battlespire CH24: The Most Daedraous Game”



Deus Ex and The Treachery of Labels

By Shamus Posted Tuesday Aug 30, 2016

Filed under: Column 358 comments

This column needs a couple of ablative disclaimer paragraphs before I start making my point. I know brevity is the soul of wit, but it’s also a good way to end up misunderstood and dragged into a pointless flamewar.

First off, Deus Ex: Mankind Divided is really good. I enthusiastically endorse it. I’m going to criticize it here, but I want to stress that most of these criticisms are pretty academic. The story is fine, and I’m not offended by anything they’re doing here. It’s just that I think developer Eidos Montreal missed an opportunity to tell a smarter, more cohesive story.

Secondly, the no politics rule is still in effect. I’m going to be dropping some politically-charged buzzwords in here. SJW. Black Lives Matter. Right-wing talk radio. But note that we’re not actually talking about these groups. Or the people who belong to them. Or the people who oppose them. I’m just acknowledging that these groups exist in the real world without discussing, advocating, or critiquing their positions. I encourage you to do the same. In fact, I insist. Wouldn’t you rather talk about videogames than argue about politics?

With that out of the way, I want to back up a couple of weeks and talk about the pre-release controversy. This is not because I love controversy and can’t get enough of it. It’s actually the opposite. I hate controversy, and I’m hoping that we’ll be able to have a calm discussion now that the game is out and tempers have cooled.

The controversy was over this image:


A protest where someone is holding a sign saying “AUGS LiVE MATTERS”, or possibly, “AUGS LiVEs MATTERS”.

Which is of course a reference to Black Lives Matter, which is an ongoing controversy / movement / news story we have going on in the United States. The ad managed to annoy people on both sides of the debate, both pro-BLM and anti-BLM. The first because they didn’t like seeing the slogan of their important movement appropriated for a videogame that very likely wasn’t going to give the topic a serious treatment, and the other because they didn’t want a game to spend its runtime sanctimoniously shoving someone else’s opinion in their face. And I agree with both groups: I’ve been on both sides of this problem. I’ve had works of fiction annoy me in exactly these ways.

Social Issues In Fiction

Controversies like this usually lead to a wrong-headed protest, followed by an equally wrong-headed rebuttal:

Continue reading ⟩⟩ “Deus Ex and The Treachery of Labels”



Diecast #165: No Man’s Sky, Mankind Divided, Harry Potter

By Shamus Posted Monday Aug 29, 2016

Filed under: Diecast 172 comments

Direct link to this episode.

Here is an extra-long Diecast to distract you from the fact that these posts are still wonky and I need to fix that.

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

Episode edited by Rachel.

Show notes: Continue reading ⟩⟩ “Diecast #165: No Man’s Sky, Mankind Divided, Harry Potter”



Death Road to Canada

By Shamus Posted Friday Aug 26, 2016

Filed under: Spoiler Warning 108 comments

Link (YouTube)

To be totally honest, I really like episodes that I’m not in. Maybe it’s because I haven’t already lived through it so everything is a surprise, or maybe the show is funnier without all my bloviating. Campster and Josh did a pretty good job of making this fun and hilarious. Also, note that Campster is the one playing this time around, and Josh is spectating for once.

Anyway. This game just went on my Steam wishlist.