A Travelog of Ivalice, Part 3: Flush with Success

By The Rocketeer Posted Wednesday Jan 26, 2022

Filed under: FFXII 46 comments

So with the entire setup of the game thoroughly fistfucked by our party’s newest addition, our heroes steamroll another non-story-pertinent boss and are spat out into the desert just east of Rabanastre.

Et voilà.
Et voilà.

Here, we smack down some cockatrices. What is a cockatrice? I’ll let the game tell you.

“Lo, the mighty cockatrice, proud-feathered sphere, known as much for its ill humor as its dire rotundity. The great naturalist MerloseAn obvious name reference to Vagrant Story, but not the same character; the events of Final Fantasy XII are ancient by the time of Vagrant Story. once remarked: ”…live they in the sands and other arid climes, whereabouts they moveth in a rolling fashion most peculiar. Subsist they principally on small creatures and vermin &c., for the incapacitation of which they disgorge a sticky saliva, thence devouring captured morsels only when appetite moves them. Swollen sacs containing airs are found under the surface of the skin, these lifting the creature upon drafts unseen, whence to espy suitable prey.”

The writing in this game is in this faux-Elizabethan style that’s fancy enough to sound period-appropriate but not actually too archaic in vocabulary. Everything in this game, the dialogue, the item descriptions, flavor text, bestiary entries, is in this style, and I goddamn love it. It’s very nearly as endearing as the accents in Chrono Cross or Fallout 4. Actually, the only characters that don’t speak this way are Penelo and Vaan, because being disappointingly incongruous is their entire character concept.

Continue reading ⟩⟩ “A Travelog of Ivalice, Part 3: Flush with Success”



Diecast #369: Risk of Dyson Sphere

By Shamus Posted Monday Jan 24, 2022

Filed under: Diecast 67 comments

Congrats to Paul, who is now a father. Again. I’m at the age where I’m nostalgic about those hectic early years of child-rearing. Heather and I are unquestionably done having kids, but once in a while we stop and smile at someone else’s toddler and say to each other, “Man, it would be great to be able to do that one more time.”

Hosts: Paul, Shamus. Episode edited by Issac.

Link (YouTube)

Show notes: Continue reading ⟩⟩ “Diecast #369: Risk of Dyson Sphere”



FF12 Sightseeing Tour Part 2: The Live-Action Cartoon

By Shamus Posted Friday Jan 21, 2022

Filed under: Retrospectives 87 comments

This game continually throws me off-balance because it keeps shifting between styles of storytelling. Sometimes we’re doing the Serious Worldbuilding For Grownups, and sometimes we’re in lighthearted cartoon action-adventure mode.

I am fine with either of these, but I really needed the storyteller to pick one and stick with it. Which brings me to the “prison break” that The Rocketeer talked about this week

Continue reading ⟩⟩ “FF12 Sightseeing Tour Part 2: The Live-Action Cartoon”



A Travelog of Ivalice, Part 2: The Worst Plot Ever

By The Rocketeer Posted Wednesday Jan 19, 2022

Filed under: FFXII 107 comments

While knocked out in the clink, Vaan has a dream of his brother Reks, apparently in some sort of hospital. Despite the prologue of the game making it seem like Reks bit the dust within moments, Vaan’s memory of him seems to indicate he was in a vegetative state for some time before expiring. As future events show, that will really strain the delicate continuity, but more on that in a moment…

<b>Reks:</b> ''A billion mirror fragments...small...light...taken...angel's...singing voices...''
Reks: ''A billion mirror fragments...small...light...taken...angel's...singing voices...''

Our new digs from now on, Nalbina Dungeon, is actually just the fortress from the prologue, repurposed as a hole to throw unsavories into. Seems Amalia wasn’t taken here; Vaan awakens next to Balthier, while Fran is already off casing the joint. Nalbina being more of the “Gitmo” type of prison than the “Shawshank” type, the cast languish in wasting obscurity for the rest of their days, because FFXII is a bold work, unafraid to buck cliché.

Continue reading ⟩⟩ “A Travelog of Ivalice, Part 2: The Worst Plot Ever”



This Week I Played… (January 2022)

By Shamus Posted Tuesday Jan 18, 2022

Filed under: TWIP 165 comments

Before we talk about the games I’m playing, let’s talk about what I’m going to be playing: Last week Chris and I wrapped up our series on Batman: Arkham Origins. In that final entry, I put up a poll asking people what we should cover next. Here are the results:

Resident Evil 5 (2009) – 331 (Winner)
A Way Out (2018) – 351
Halo 2 (2004) – 389
Gears of War: Ultimate Edition (2006) – 436

How it worked: Everyone was able to give a score to each game, from 1 to 4. 1 indicates high interest, 4 indicates lack of interest. So lower numbers are better. Each score was independent of the others, so you were free to vote however you like. You could rank the four games, or you could bomb a game you hated by giving everything else a 1. Or you could give 1 to the game you cared about and give everything else a 4. It’s fine.

This was interesting because it was basically a race between A Way Out and Resident Evil 5. Those games pulled away from the others very early in the process, but were always within 2 points of each other when I checked the scores on the first day.

Then sometime in day 2, RE5 began to pull ahead. I don’t know why, but there you go.

My only worry here is that I’m sort of infamously incompatible with Capcom’s particular style of B movie-horror-comedy-action-spy-thriller-farce-adventure-shooter. The Batman series was already pretty negative, and I don’t want these streams to be defined by unrelenting negativity. I’m going to try to go in with an upbeat attitude and make sure we have a good time. If it doesn’t work, I’ll blame all of you for voting for it.

I love democracy.

Anyway, I think we’re going to launch the series next week on January 25th. Keep an eye on Chris’ Twitch channel for more.

Now here’s what I’ve been playing…
Continue reading ⟩⟩ “This Week I Played… (January 2022)”



Diecast #368: Same Old New Classics

By Shamus Posted Monday Jan 17, 2022

Filed under: Diecast 60 comments

And so we begin the new year with a bit of positivity and a whole lot of mailbag questions. Also, we got at least four different emails asking me to comment on Walmart’s proposed virtual mall. Given my history, do I have anything new to say as this idea re-appears after vanishing for 20 years?

I don’t know. I might make a video about it.

Hosts: Paul, Shamus. Episode edited by Issac.

Link (YouTube)

Show notes: Continue reading ⟩⟩ “Diecast #368: Same Old New Classics”



FF12 Sightseeing Tour Part 1: Revenge of the Narrator

By Shamus Posted Friday Jan 14, 2022

Filed under: Retrospectives 126 comments

I’ve spent a lot of time pointing out when game writers break the rules of storytelling. Sometimes I feel like the storytelling police: A dull prescriptivist that endlessly harangues writers with a list of simple Do’s and Don’ts lifted from Creative Writing 101.

But look. Storytelling rules are more guidelines than laws, and I’m willing to admit that the resulting cake is more important than the ingredients that go into it. If you think a rule is getting in the way of telling your story, then you should break the rule rather than the story.

Having said that, Final Fantasy 12 breaks an amazing number of rules in its introduction.

The Rocketeer touched on this in his entry this week when he said:

The game starts out with a ton of backstory and exposition that goes on way, way too long and drops too many proper nouns.

So let’s talk about this opening…

Continue reading ⟩⟩ “FF12 Sightseeing Tour Part 1: Revenge of the Narrator”