Diecast #31: Bad Endings and Good Booze

By Shamus Posted Thursday Sep 26, 2013

Filed under: Diecast 138 comments

Feel sorry for Chris. We got to do the podcast this week, while he was forced away from his job and dragged to Disney World. He’s probably miserable right now, sitting in the gorgeous weather and scenery, drinking a beer, and wishing he was with his internet-friends. He can’t even produce an Errant Signal from there. Poor guy.

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

Hosts: Rutskarn, Josh, Mumbles, and Shamus.

Show notes:

1:00 Shamus is annoyed with how the game Brothers ended.

SPOILERS! We go on to compare other well-known downer endings and talk about what makes an ending work and what doesn’t. We talk about The Walking Dead, Mass Effect 3, and Brothers. It was impossible to have this conversation without a few spoilers.

I still recommend Brothers, and I recommend spoiling the ending first.

7:45 Mumbles is Birthday-ing this week. She’s also playing GTA V.

22:00 Here we ramble our way into talking Borderlands 2.

26:30 Josh talks a little bit about his experience playing Good Robot.

31:30 Talking about Amnesia: A Machine for Pigs.

34:00 Rutskarn is playing FTL and Gunpoint.

53:00 Mailbag!

In talking about Dreamfall, I referenced my old rant on the end of the game. Check it out:

I'm sure fans of the game will be quick to point out that this is the second act in a three-act play. Great. The first installment came out in 1999. Adventure games and budgets being what they are, there is no guarantee that the next game will even be made. And even if it is, I don't really care to wait for it. In another seven years I'll be 42, my oldest daughter will be getting ready to turn 16, and I will only have a vague memory of what happened in this game.

Correct on all counts. I’m 42, my daughter is about to turn 16, and I barely remember the game aside from being angry at the end. Also relevant is this ancient post on why I dislike episodic games.


From The Archives:

138 thoughts on “Diecast #31: Bad Endings and Good Booze

  1. Abnaxis says:

    Haven’t listened yet, will tomorrow.

    Re: Dreamfall–with episodic things like that, I like to archive binge through them. Thing is, I tried to introduce my wife to TLJ recently, and I’m ashamed to say those 1999 character models and FMVs made my eyes hurt with their uglyness. It’d be nice if they would release an update for those models for those of us who want to run back through…

    1. Humanoid says:

      So relieved, was starting to worry there’d be no Diecast this week, which would make it the worst week ever.

      I guess Chris was eaten by the Slenderman after all (by process of osmosis I suppose). Being very well marbled, so he’d have made a good meal at least.

      I have to also admit I find TLJ ugly. But I’ve always felt that way, even back in 1999, though the complaint back then would be “Why was this done in 3D? Whyyyyy?”

  2. MrGuy says:

    We need to mount an expedition to Orlando to save Chris!

    1. LexIcon says:

      Correction: I need to find him and buy him a beer, since he is likely staying at a hotel within 30 minutes of me.

  3. ET says:

    To win at FTL on Normal mode, you need to do really well in the beginning.
    The game suffers a lot from…ugh I can’t remember the term, but it’s a Trope on TV Tropes.
    Also, you need to use all of the available systems together, and pause with spacebar in battle.
    i.e. Don’t put all your scrap into your shields and forego the stealth generator just because you want to have a stealth-less ship.

    But yeah, Normal mode is pretty much for hardcore people.
    It’s truly a Roguelikelike… ^^;

    1. MrGuy says:

      …ugh I can't remember the term, but it's a Trope on TV Tropes.

      Now THAT’S how you troll people into wasting the rest of their day. Well played.

      1. ET says:

        I only trolled myself into wasting seven minutes following random links until I found it! :)
        It’s Unstable Equilibrium:
        If you do well early on and/or grind the early sectors until the fleet is juuuust about to catch you, then you do well later on too.
        And if you play just to have fun, or make some ealry mistakes, the game becomes increasingly difficult and/or impossible later.

    2. Phrozenflame500 says:

      Yeah, you need to understand exactly how to allocate resources and how the weapons you were able to acquire work. As you said, no cloak (or at least leave it unupgraded for the final boss dodge boost) and making sure you prepare for the final boss early.

      I really enjoy it, but I understand why people get upset over not getting better, as you pretty much need to spoil yourself or play tons of times in order to understand how to build to your ship.

      The only thing I don’t agree with is the “it’s not your fault if you lose your crew” bit. I don’t think I’ve ever lost via losing too much crew even when I was shit at the game. Even when I’m severely behind in terms in resources I usually die via explosion rather then even losing a single crewmember. The hint is to upgrade blast doors and then choke out the poorly-AI’d enemies to death/low-health, but I suppose that ties in to the whole “you need to know how to micromanage and what works” thing.

      1. ET says:

        I actually phrased that poorly.
        I meant that if you don’t get a cloak, you’re kind of dooming yourself.
        It functions as an invaluable way to dodge missiles without using/having defense drones.
        But yeah, either way, you need to micro the heck out of the game to win on Normal mode.

        1. Nidokoenig says:

          I often finish the game without the cloak, simply because 150 scrap is a stupid amount of scrap to thrown down on something. That’s enough to go from one layer of shields to three or to buy both a teleporter and a drone control system. It’s always a good idea to pick one up before the final boss, but it’s dead last on my list of priorities for general play, because I prioritise getting drone control because preventing three missile hits is enough to justify buying a drone part, and you often get them for free.

      2. Varil says:

        I enjoyed FTL, but my problem with the game was pretty much exclusively grounded in how it handled “random events”, in that it stripped player choice down to a more-or-less binary “this is a good idea” vs. “this is a bad idea”, with no room to leverage your skill or resources outside of predetermined blue options.

        I genuinely believe the game would have been better without the pick-a-number-and-pray random events. It would have been even better if the random events had instead been built as “events the player handles” instead of “events the RNG handles”, but that might be a bit resource-intensive for an indie-game.

        At the very least, the scope of the events needed expanding. Instead of sending a random crew member to die in the occasional “this place has something bad happening to it, help?(y/n)” events, if I could pick who gets sent down at least I wouldn’t feel cheated because I lost my ace pilot instead of Noob McRepairSlave.

        It’s just…annoying to me. It’s a great premise with a great combat system that happens to have poorly done random events that are all boring. You either have what you need to complete them easily at the push of a button, or you don’t and you’re better off ignoring them.

    3. Nidokoenig says:

      FTL’s built around presenting you with an ongoing puzzle of cost-benefit analysis and risk management, like how much scrap you’ll save by buying a shield or engine upgrade now versus a cloak shield when you’ve saved up 150 scrap. Bad decisions will kill you fairly quickly on Normal, but the benefit of that is that you can link the death to the poor decision.
      On Easy a lot of people find the game to be random and unfair, and this happens because they’re gradually being ground down by the consequences of decisions they made ages ago, but every other decision since then is drowning it out.

      The fact that the gap between starting to lose and finally dying can be a bit longer than is ideal in a lot of circumstances is a bit troublesome, though that’s more because it’s a strategy game at heart and thus can’t kill you before you’ve comprehensively and irredeemably lost, which creates dissonance because it feels like an action game on the surface and thus loss should be quicker and comprehensive.

      1. ET says:

        Hmm…a more approachable/less random-feeling game mechanic comes to mind here.
        Maybe have a different resource which is only used to indicate win/loss?
        Say, you get 10 units of win-state at the beginning of the game, and you lose if they all get removed.
        The Berillian spy sneaks off with one of your precious crates of phlebotinum!
        This was your last crate; Your quest to deliver the life-giving substance to your home base has failed.
        All the lives on that station will slowly die of hyper-plague.
        GAME OVER

        Or you could have it start at zero and count upwards to victory, like finding enough pieces of the lost holy set of Platinum Edition Space-War Cards, to pay off your gambling debts.
        Obviously the flavour text/nouns could be mad-libbed by the RNG to have a different cool-sounding name each game. :)

        And…I guess you’d have to remove the deaths by explosion, and replace them with a subtraction of win state.
        Or maybe mod the game so you can’t die at all unless you do something which directly affects your win/lose resource.
        Hmm…this might be difficult to do right, but I bet it’s doable.

    4. Strange guy says:

      I never found FTL too hard on normal, possibly because I play a fair bit of roguelikes but aren’t very good at them. In probably hundreds of hours of DC:SS I’ve only gotten 1 rune ever (you need three to even access the endgame), never gotten that far in TOME 4, DoomRL is the only proper one I’ve really beaten but only on the 2 easier difficulties.

      While it took quite a few tries (all normal) to get there after beating FTL once I followed it up a few more victories when I knew what I was doing. Not sue why other people consider it so hard.

  4. Strangeite says:

    Disney World is one of the most nerd friendly vacation destinations on the planet. Everything about it scratches that otaku itch.

    1. Kyte says:

      I went to Disney World when I was 14 and I vehemently disagree.

      Also disagree with Shamus’s assertion of gorgeous weather because it’s fucking awful.

      1. Humanoid says:

        It’s spring here, everyone’s talking about how lovely it is out.

        I bloody hate it. I associate spring with atmospheric bioweapons (grass pollen), vicious winged beasts out of blood (magpies) and difficult decisions on whether to wear a long sleeved or short sleeved top every given day.

        1. Daemian Lucifer says:

          This sure made that season better in my eyes.

  5. Daemian Lucifer says:

    That podcaster is a spy!

    1. Humanoid says:

      We can heuristically Rut out the spy, my compass tells me he’s somewhere west of Ne-vah-dah.

  6. Drew says:

    Another issue with episodic content which I don’t think you addressed in your original post is that they substantially alter the narrative arc, by forcing creators to build mini-arcs into each episode. You can’t have a whole episode that’s just background and table setting, and you probably shouldn’t have all of the tense action of the story in a single episode either. Instead of a nice smooth arc over, say, 10 hours of play, you end up with 5 little mini-arcs over that same time period, none of which is capable of the same high points because they can’t have the same narrative weight driving them, since they’re all encapsulated in their own episodes.

    For some forms of storytelling, this is fine, but if you’re looking to tell a grand story, this isn’t ideal.

    1. ET says:

      Well, you can do big arcs in formats which have pieces shorter than the main arc you’re trying to tell.
      It just takes a whole lot of skill.
      Look at Farscape, or (I’ve heard) Babylon 5…which I totally need to watch at some point.
      Many-episode-spanning, well-written arcs! :)

  7. Karthik says:

    Just adding a voice in support of Gunpoint. It’s brilliant.

    I will probably write about it at length elsewhere at some point, but in short: It combines the systems based gameplay of immersive sims like Deus Ex (letting you design emergent solutions to puzzles) with really tongue-in-cheek, witty, sharp and self-aware writing. It makes fun of itself in a way that games rarely pull off.

    I was sold on the description alone*, but the thing about it that impressed me the most was how aware it was of all the mistakes games usually make. It autosaves every five seconds, you can skip all the dialog, it always compliments you no matter your play style, and it never feels judgmental or condescending.

    Heck, for a platformer it even has multiple endings.

    @Rutskarn: I was having the same problem with replaying Gunpoint, but then I realized I could replay the older levels with the gatecrashers upgrade. Door-kicking + the resolver completely changes the feel of the earlier levels.

    (* “Professional spy. Amateur electrician. Weaponised jerk.”)

    1. Volfram says:

      Gunpoint is hilarious and epic and totally worth $5-10(I bought it on sale).

      I er… may have killed more people than I was trying to avenge.(pansy of a roommate tried not to kill anybody. I went through like Captain Genocide.)

      I love the “So that’s why people don’t like me” achievement.

      Also, 1 punch knocks a guard out, but you get a witness and a low ding to your violence meter. 10 punches kills the victim, meaning no witness, but a higher ding to your violence meter.

      Also, the message across the bottom changes the more times you hit somebody. Try it out.

      1. ET says:

        There’s an achievement for…30 punches?
        It’s called “OK…they’re dead already…You can stop now.” or something similar. :P

        1. Nick says:

          It’s about 80 actually. And it’s called “Alright, Have One! Just Stop!”, having come just after the message that says ‘There’s no achievement for this. Please stop.’ comes up.

          And gunpoint in frakking fantastic. I’ve replayed it four times just because I enjoy it so much

          1. Volfram says:

            Awww, you guys spoiled it for everyone else! I was just trying to nudge them in the right direction.

            The “There is no achievement for this” message came up and I thought “I don’t believe you.” and started punching faster.

            After about 120 punches, it just starts counting up.

    2. Daemian Lucifer says:

      “Just adding a voice in support of Gunpoint. It's brilliant.”

      Seconded(or should it be thirded by this point?)

    3. Phantom Hoover says:

      Yeah, Tom Francis’ experience as a game critic really shines in Gunpoint.

    4. Jarenth says:

      While I recognize the crass nature of shameless self-promotion, I have actually already written about Gunpoint at length.

  8. silver Harloe says:

    Table-top RPGs, I sometimes have a problem with, because of stats like intelligence, and skills like bargaining. If I’m playing a character that is smarter than me… how do I do that? I can’t plan better than I can plan. Or if I’m playing a character that is dumber than me, it’s hard to think of an idea and then … not do it because my character is dumb.

    I remember this time I was playing a character who had a high bargaining skill. But the DM wanted me to role-play the bargaining, but I was trying to explain, “I don’t know how to do that! I’m playing someone who has skills I don’t.” They rarely ask you role-play your sword fight, but all conversational skills are out the window because you’re supposed to speak for your character…

    1. ET says:

      Sounds like you need to slap your DM around a little bit. ;)
      Ideally, they should let the group members role-play the things they are comfortable with, and let them hand-wave the other stuff.
      I mean, they could probably encourage you to try other areas, to grow as a person/actor/whatever, but if you’re just doing this to mess around, then they should let you do the stuff you enjoy.

      Incidentally, has anyone ever seen somebody role-play their combat?
      I imagine it would sound like a grim, dark, noir, pulpy comic book or novel.

      1. silver Harloe says:

        That story was from college, so circa 1991. I’m not really in contact with that guy anymore. (Today is my 43rd birthday)

    2. Rutskarn says:

      I know this is going to sound weird, but it’s kinda true: For playing a more intelligent character, it’s sometimes surprisingly effective to think, “Okay, what would my smarter character do in this situation?” Take a moment to consider decisions more carefully. When necessary, roll Knowledge checks to give your character more data.

      This won’t have a massive difference, but it might give you enough of an edge that the character starts to *feel* smarter to everyone around the table.

      1. Daemian Lucifer says:

        In fact,roleplaying a character smarter than you is easier than roleplaying a dumber one.You can ask for more time to ponder something difficult while in the game mere seconds would pass,and that would make the character automatically smarter than you.But in order to play a dumber one,you need to learn to swallow your pride,and that is really hard.

        1. Volfram says:

          I don’t really have trouble playing characters dumber than me. Just be willing to sacrifice being effective in favor of being funny.

          (World of Darkness)
          GM: “Last week, you all had an encounter with a vampire and she suggested that to help this good friend of hers, and you all agreed to go looking for this group of mages and went to bed.”
          GM: “You all wake up around 5:00 AM and feel REALLY uneasy. It makes it a bit hard for you to get back to sleep.”
          Pierce(70-year-old retired professor): “I go to the spa and get a massage.”
          Mike(FBI agent): “Get out my gun and sweep the house.”
          Blake(25-year-old unemployed engineer): “Huh… I google ‘Slenderman.'”

        2. Zukhramm says:

          I play a character dumber than me every time I’m on the internet. It’s not hard.

      2. What would you do if a player asked to roll and see if their character did something smart?

        1. Volfram says:

          Several ways to go about this. Easiest would be to roll Intelligence, and then suggest an option based on the result.

    3. Usually a DM will give you the chance to see if you can pull some solution out of your role-playing posterior, and if that goes nowhere, they’ll let you do a diplomacy or fasttalk check of some kind.

      Also, there are different kinds of intelligence, which a lot of RPGs take into account. For example, my wizard is awesome at casting spells because he has a high intelligence. He can also speak many languages for the same reason and has a lot of other skills to make checks against. It doesn’t mean my wizard is a mastermind who can balance a checkbook and solve mysteries faster than Sherlock Holmes.

    4. ehijen says:

      What I usually do in that case is ask the player to summarise what they want to say and then let them roll to see how well the character delievers it.

      The summary is so that I can accurately track what knowledge ends up where.

      If the player asks for garlic, not much is said.
      If he asks for ‘strong garlic to keep vampires out’, the merchant might gossip about the paranoid character later which the vampire might hear.
      If the player decides to use knowledge they have to pressure the merchant into a lower price, he might start with a higher starting bargain later just to get them back.


      1. False Prophet says:

        Yeah, that’s probably the best way to do it. I know there are players who insist “dice rolls detract from real role-playing”, but taking that mentality too far just makes the more charismatic/social players in the group dominate the game instead of the rules lawyers and math-oriented min-maxers. To the thespians, just say, “if you really want to roleplay, then roleplay that this guy is a genius. Or that despite all your eloquence, your crappy die roll means the NPC was still unconvinced. How do you react to that?”

    5. Humanoid says:

      In any reasonable gaming group, a request to roleplay the bargaining process would immediately devolve into into a Python quotefest.

    6. Sleeping Dragon says:

      I do this as a GM sometimes in case of relevant stuff. I mean, if the PC is somewhere where they have access to the shop and want something readily available but want to get a bit of a discount than just roll for relevant skill and let’s get on with the story, but sometimes I require a bit of roleplay for one or more reasons, for example.

      1) Most often I want to get the general feel of what approach the PC is taking, I don’t need them to roleplay the whole conversation but I do want to know if they’re trying to leverage their reputation, be charming, be scary, be argumentative, beg… This may have any number of consequences from modifying the effectiveness of the roll to reputation, to consequences of a possible failed roll.
      2) If there are complications down the line in the conversation. For example the PC came with the idea that they’ll convince the NPC that the team is part of an organization they’re really not, but it turns out the NPC doesn’t even know about the organization’s existence.

      The thing is, while I do accept that players often don’t have the knowledge or skill that their characters have and the stats are there to reflect that I have met some players who believed that dicerolls are there to solve every single problem, to the point where you could basically replace the entire story with a “finish the adventure” roll. At the end of the day roleplaying is a creative hobby and solving every situation with “I roll for X to know what to do” is not going to cut it.

      Now if you feel your GM is pushing for roleplaying of every insignificant detail or doesn’t let you use your character skills than you should, like ET said, either talk to them about the exact nature of the game and see if you can come to an agreement or look for another GM.

    7. ChoppazAndDakka says:

      In my Pathfinder campaign I played a gnome alchemist who had knowledge in basically everything and a high Int stat. To try and play up the knowledge part, my DM allowed me a lot of leeway on how I could run my skill checks, so long as I could justify it. Say we knew there was a hidden door but our Rogue failed to find it/open it. I was allowed to use Knowledge Engineering to do it instead. Creative use of knowledge skills can help make a smart character feel smart.

  9. swimon says:

    I totally get not liking brothers even tho I loved it, but I really don’t see how the rest of the game feels like a disney movie. People die in disney movies sure but I can’t say I’ve seen one open with the protagonists mother drowning their father falling deadly ill and later has a scene where a character tries to commit suicide because his parents burned to death. The game is bleak and depressing through and through and I think it would’ve felt really false if the game ended happily (also the way they use game mechanics to explore the protagonist growth through tragedy is just beautiful).

    1. John Lopez says:

      I have to agree: there was no “tone change” unless one ignored the opening movie, the reason for leaving on the quest in the first place, the oppression of the helper you meet to get out into the world. In fact, thinking over the story, death, suffering, slavery and cruelty is pretty much following every moment of that game… the ending was just continuing those themes.

  10. Daemian Lucifer says:

    I dont care about gta 5 because:
    A)I never had a console,and probably never will
    B)I stopped carring about gta series a long time ago because I find that it stopped doing fun shit in order to tell its pretentious dumb story.

    1. Volfram says:

      I stopped caring about GTA the moment I discovered Saints Row.

      Oh wait, you mentioned that already.

      1. Matt K says:

        Pretty much. Bought the GTA anniversary pack a while back but once I played SR3 I never went back and have little desire to do so.

    2. Humanoid says:

      I bought San Andreas a long time ago. Very early in the game, there’s a bit where you have to pedal a bicycle using some sort of arcane key combination. And that’s the last time I ever touched a GTA game.

  11. Steve C says:

    Speaking of crap endings, I just watched Dexter yesterday and it was so bad I even dreamed about how bad it was. No surprise though. It’s badness was all I could think of while I was laying in bed before nodding off.

    1. Zukhramm says:

      That doesn’t even count as an ending, really.

  12. Daemian Lucifer says:

    We really need to get duke nukem forever for Rutskarn so that he can finally appreciate how not so bad far cry 3 was.

  13. hborrgg says:

    So Josh, did you see the Tim Heaton interview on Gamasutra?
    How Creative Assembly’s Process Breeds Quality

    I suppose it’s not that surprising, just really depressing. It goes into their process of “Metacritic Analysis” when making the game and treating every single decision as “How will this help the game’s Metacritic score?” To the point of completely axing features that they feel reviewers might consider imperfect.

  14. Henson says:

    If FTL is an exercise in futility, does that make it the futile system?

    1. hborrgg says:

      Yeah, it’s almost like a space-themed serfing game.

      1. Volfram says:

        I have found my roommates to be peasently surprised by some of the loot they find.

    2. MichaelGC says:


  15. hborrgg says:

    I sort of feel as though FTL and a lot of games like it would be much better if rather than just easy and normal modes you had some sort of normal vs balanced mode. In balanced mode if you are doing poorly then the game weights the rng that you are more likey to come across freebee repairs or upgrades, while if you are well then the game starts throwing greater challenges at you. At it is, the game has sort of this hump where if you are doing well then it’s because you have this awesome spaceship smashing everything in your path so that you never have to worry about losing crewmen or spending tons of money on repairs and the whole experience starts to feel really easy and dull.

  16. hborrgg says:

    So does anyone else keep this page open on two tabs so that you can listen with one and comment with the other, but then keep closing the wrong one?

    1. Aldowyn says:

      I’ve done that before, definitely. Usually once I’m smart enough to open the second tab I’m good, though. (Usually)

    2. Daemian Lucifer says:

      Of course not.I totally meant to close the page that is running the stream every time,because I just love restarting it and then trying to find out where Ive stopped the last time.

    3. Humanoid says:

      No, because I listen on a portable music player (god that’s such an awkward turn of phrase), but I do have a couple problems:

      a) If I need to take a break in proceedings (to talk to someone for example), I forget to pause playback and have to rewind. It’s habit since I don’t bother pausing music.

      b) I’m a terrible multitasker, so while I’m typing a comment, I completely tune out of what’s being said, and have to rewind not just to the point I started typing, but a good number of minutes before that to recall the context that’s completely slipped my mind.

    4. 4th Dimension says:

      No because I download the podcast and play it in WMP while I Warthunder.

    5. I used to do that, then I just decided to download the .ogg file and listen to that in a different window.

  17. Paul Spooner says:

    Didn’t have any specific comments, but just wanted to say I enjoyed the episode. Good job everyone, keep it up!

    1. Yeah, I wanted to say something along the same lines.
      Most notably – I think the quality of the podcasts has increased quite a lot since you stopped trying to maintain a pretense of trying to do something- it’s a more natural, flowing conversation and overall it’s a lot more entertaining.

  18. GTA V’s stripper touching is probably a step up. I mean, Vampire: Bloodlines let you drink from the strippers’ necks, so…

    1. ehijen says:

      Because you are a vampire. Presumably, not too many people would look at that and assume that’s acceptable in real life. Same principle for gun violence.

      The older GTA games always upped your wanted rating and sent more police after you in a clear cause and effect relationship whenever you committed blatant crimes. (I don’t know the newer ones, so I can’t speak to that).

      Likewise, if you were too openly a vampire in the masquerade, you also got cops, hunters and eventually lost the game.

      As I understand it, the problem here is that an act that is a crime (though not everyone would know this) isn’t treated by the game as one.

      1. Volfram says:

        Yeah, they’re basically allowing the player to do something that would be considered assault, which NOT EVERYONE WOULD REALIZE is assault, and then letting them get away with it. I expect to see a spike in people getting kicked out of strip clubs.

        I’ve never been to a strip club, but it makes sense. The girls are already in a position of vulnerability(whether you love it or loathe it, being naked in front of people who are not is a vulnerable position), and it’s in the best interest of the owners/management to ensure they enjoy the job as much as possible, which means they have to feel safe. The potential to be manhandled? Not a safe feeling!

        1. GiantRaven says:

          Not everybody gets away with it. I got thrown out of the club when I tried to win at girl fondling.

      2. Jacob Albano says:

        In addition, the women in VTM:B were prostitutes, not strippers. You were explicitly paying/seducing them to let you touch (feed on) them.

        1. There were prostitutes in the game, but I was referring to the strippers in the club called Vesuvius.

          And in case anyone missed it, I wasn’t saying this was somehow excusing GTA V. It was a rather sarcastic remark, as if cruelty to a child in one game wasn’t so bad because you could shoot them into a bloody mess in Fallout 2.

  19. Aaron says:

    i was gonna answer the ‘gamer’ question that mark thomas train mcphearson III sent in, but mumbles pretty much nailed it, some people are looking at what was their personal special thing and now practically everyone is playing games.

    even retirement homes have wii’s, they are no longer special

    also a little bit of shamus’ feeling of developers not making ‘our’ kind of game

    1. The Rocketeer says:

      That’s not even the reality, though. People aren’t mad that their little club is being invaded, because their shitty club, the one that has its own particular niche that they like to enjoy and discuss and bitch about, hasn’t gone anywhere and probably never will.

      It’s just sheer jealousy that anyone else even gets any kind of club at all. This isn’t someone upset because someone else is moving into their house, it someone upset because their house used to sit in an empty field and now they have neighbors.

  20. Bruno M. Torres says:

    Some thoughts:

    4:10 – Hey, that’s a good idea for a game: The hero made everything worse. Now what?

    10:25 – So you won a Batman game… after defeating the Riddler?

    19:00 – It’s cool how, after so many games and years, GTA is still the same, and still relevant as a game. Contrasting with Final Fantasy here.

    21:55 – Rutskarn, you should try Payday 2.

    26:45 – GOOD ROBOT! Seriously, you guys should do a Spoiler Warning about it.

    36:15 – Yeah, FTL is fun, but it’s also a very luck-based game.

    44:44 – I went crazy making the best Shepard too. I even gave him my face. That’s how much I liked that series. Screw you EA :-(

    58:55 – You never know, Josh – Rutskarn’s Great PC Meltdown could well end up as the center of the new gaming world. Stranger things happened already.

    1:01:16 – Yeah, people always shoot at me when I steal their stuff too. So insensitive.

    1:21:13 – Josh, as someone who has a heavy smoker aunt, I know why people think you smoke: It’s because you often speak until running out of breath. There’s also the pitch of your voice. It’s uncanny.

    1. Thomas says:

      GTA releases are slooow. They’ve had 5 releases (Starting at III()which would be considered major mainstream blockbuster successes which is pretty comparable to FFVI-FFX (and FFXI was successful too). Plus FFXIV is reviewing really well at most places at the mo

  21. Steve C says:

    I had no idea that Mumbles knew so much about strip clubs. It begs the question: patron or employee?

    1. ehijen says:

      The better question is, how does a clearly underage rutskarn know so much about them?

    2. Mumbles says:

      I almost DJ’d at a strip club!

      1. Xapi says:

        There’s your answer folks: Almost an employee.

    3. Volfram says:

      Mumbles strikes me as the kind of person who would get about as much enjoyment out of a strip club as any guys who happen to go(though perhaps not the kind of person who would want to go just for herself), if perhaps for different reasons.

      I actually have a couple of friends like that.

      1. *Wild speculation about the personal lives of diecasters*

    4. Artur CalDazar says:

      It didn’t seem that odd to me.

      For some reason “No touching at a strip club” is something everyone knows, likely because thats how its always shown in media. Which is what initially surprised me about GTAV’s depiction.

      1. Steve C says:

        Actually in regards to the “no touching” rule, that applies most strip clubs, not all of them. It really depends on the strip club. The real rule is like having dinner at someone else’s house- take cues from what everyone else is doing.

  22. Humanoid says:

    But wait, isn’t the release date of the new Batman game September 24, not October 25? Or is there another, crappier Batman game coming up that I’m not interested in?

    *runs and hides*

    1. Mumbles says:

      Don’t hide! Come back! There’s actually Batman: Arkham Origins and Batman: Arkham Origins BLACKGATE coming out!

      1. Volfram says:

        I need to finish Arkham City and then get a job so that I can buy Arkham Origins.

      2. Humanoid says:

        The last Batman game I played was the one for the NES (and by ‘played’ I mean I might have gotten up to level 2). The most recent Batman movie I watched was Batman Forever. Yeah.

        1. Volfram says:

          You, sir, are missing out on some very fun experiences.

          1. True, but he’s also getting to skip Christian Bale’s “bat voice.” That’s a plus.

  23. Hamilcar says:

    Huh. This is the first time I have ever listened to your podcast from beginning to end. I actually kind of liked it. Usually I will only look at the notes and listen to the parts that sound interesting, like if you are talking about a game I like or something. Because of that I was came away with a poor impression of your podcast. But I guess the podcast is meant to be listened to as a whole rather than parts. It is just too unscripted to listen to in segments.
    But yeah, I will listen to it again sometime. Great work guys!

    1. Volfram says:

      You confuse me. Except if the podcast hosts say “Spoilers for the next five minutes on something that you haven’t yet played and really want to,” or the podcast turns out to be really horrible, I always listen to a podcast beginning-to-end.

      The ones I listen to always degenerate into rambling, and that’s typically my favorite part anyway. You also miss out on learning about some really interesting stuff(games or movies you may not have heard of) by only listening to parts that interest you.

      Honestly, I’m curious. With a listening habit like that, are there any podcasts that you DID get a good impression from? Because it feels similar to playing a JRPG, but instead of you playing, you let a friend play and then you only come in and take over if there’s a random battle or boss fight.

      1. MichaelGC says:

        That actually sounds like quite a fun strategy for some JRPGs!

        1. Volfram says:

          It’s actually one of the things I like about the Tales series: you can usually have a second player hop in and control an NPC in the battles. It gets a bit boring, though, as they have nothing to do during story, and by my experience, all of the friends I have to play with want to do so in a different style and at a different pace from me, so we tend to bore each other.

          I was imagining a setting where you stand up and walk away when there is no battle going on, and only return when the other person shouts “Battle!”

      2. Hamilcar says:

        I only listen to one other podcast and it has a very structured style and is consistently only an hour long. They discuss specific topics in each section for about twenty minutes before moving to the next topic. Shamus’ podcast initially always turned me off because whenever I listened to it before it just had too much of an unscripted feel to it and was generally too long for me to devote time to. So when I come to Shamus’ blog and see a new Diecast I would just look and go, “Oh. He didn’t write anything today. Well, what do they talk about today? Oh, at the 22:00 mark he talks about the X Box One reveal. I want to hear Shamus’ thoughts about that.” And just listen to that part until they are done talking about it. It was really just a way for me to occasionaly hear more of what Shamus had to say about something. I generally do not like rambling and prefer it if the podcast cuts that out or the hosts stop themselves. But I did like this podcast and now I think I will try to listen to his podcast more often. I actually like it.

        1. Volfram says:

          Ah. I’ve listened to the Diecast, LoadingReadyRun’s various incarnations of the LRRCast, the S-Words Podcast hosted chiefly by Dominic Nguyen(yes, THAT Dom) and Kevin Shub, and some sci-fi webcomics cast that only lasted about 3 months. Some of the best parts are when the hosts start rambling.

          I actually wrote into one asking if we could suggest topics for the hosts to diverge on. This resulted in them diverging from the topic of my E-mail.

  24. Artur CalDazar says:

    Chris has gone to Disney World? Man, his Infinity obsession has gotten out of hand.

    1. Nick says:

      It was the only way to complete his set

  25. anaphysik says:

    Ruts met his girlfriend over a tabletop game? I guess you could say that it was…


    …FATE’d to be.

  26. Porter says:

    Dreamfall has a pretty small audience. I’m in it. Screw that horrid game. Since it had some false choice parts, I felt like I screwed up somewhere, but since the gameplay was terrible, I didn’t want to check. I just hated the game. Play a Way of the Samurai game or Marlow Briggs and the Mask of Death instead. Those are good games the medium at large ignores.

  27. Sleeping Dragon says:

    Since Fate was brought up I just felt I’d mention that after last year’s Aunty Paladin’s I’ve been nagging my gaming group about how cool Fate Core sounds and that I want to run games using that system that they recently got me an actual physical copy of the rulebook for my birthday and we’re in fact having a setting discussion and character creation meeting later today.

    So you can chalk at least this one sale up for yourself Rutskarn.

  28. Alan says:

    “Wow, Dreamfall. Haven’t thought about that trainwreck in a long time. You know, I wrote a rant about that, I should post that in the comments. Huh, look at that, looks like Shamus already indirectly did. Seven years ago.”

    Wow, seven years ago. I’m still bitter about that game, but until I re-read my own rant, I was fuzzy on the specifics.

  29. Ben Hilton says:

    Yay! Thanks for answering my Question.

  30. Eljacko says:

    I’m curious as to whether or not Rutskarn has played Hitman: Absolution. It’s similar to Far Cry 3 in that it is the inferior sequel to a quality predecessor, but moreso. Absolution is a bigger betrayal of Blood Money than Far Cry 3 is of Far Cry 2, comes from a better predecessor, and is a worse game overall.

    1. Eruanno says:

      I’ve heard the description “it’s not a terrible game, but it is an awful Hitman game” which feels pretty accurate. And the save/checkpoint system suuuucks.

  31. krellen says:

    Here’s one more comment, as requested.

    Basically, instead of a “First!” post, this is a “Hundredth!” one.

  32. krellen says:

    Here’s one more comment, as requested.

    Basically, instead of a “First!” post, this is a “Hundredth!” one.

    1. krellen says:

      So, instead of a filter to stop this kind of thing, the filter just dribbles so I look like an idiot instead? Clever.

      1. Daemian Lucifer says:

        At least now we can all point at you and laugh,so thats a positive.

        1. krellen says:

          You mean you don’t do that already?

  33. krellen says:

    Here’s one more comment, as requested.

    Basically, this is a “Hundredth!” post.

  34. Talby says:

    Re: the strip clubs are unrealistic! discussion.

    I found something even worse, guys. It turns out you can’t run around gunning down hundreds of people and face no consequences. This game is so unrealistic!!

    1. Ben Hilton says:

      I see What you did there…. But the point that Mumbles was going for is that going to a strip club is something that people can actually do…and she didn’t want newbies to think that touching was ok.

      1. Volfram says:

        Yeah… I’m pretty sure most people are aware that running around, gunning random pedestrians down is socially unacceptable. Despite what I said above, though, I was unaware that touching is actually forbidden at strip clubs, and this game would likely have altered my expectations.

        At least, it would have if I was ever going to play a GTA game, and if I was ever going to go to a strip club, and if I wasn’t going to listen to this podcast. All of which are actually true for a fairly significant portion of the population.

        So THANKS, MUMBLES! For being more entertaining AND informative than Grand-Theft Auto 5.

      2. Talby says:

        I would’ve thought it was obvious you’re not allowed to touch people without permission, but apparently not. My bad.

    2. WillRiker says:

      Yeah, you can’t do that in the game either. If you run around gunning people down, the cops come after you.

      1. Daemian Lucifer says:

        Pfff,since when was that a problem in a gta game?You just murder a bunch of them,then find a safe spot and suck your thumb for a bit,and then everything is a ok.

      2. I haven’t played GTA V, but in IV, you could gun down as many people as you wanted while on a mission and avoid any police stars (unless the mish called for them, I guess). Is that still the case for GTA V?

        I discovered this when I did a mission (this was some time ago, so I might get the details wrong) where you had to go and take out a drug dealer for some reason. It basically involved going to his apartment, kicking down the door, and shooting everyone in the room. I did so, and my mission was completed after a hail of gunfire.

        Now, having never played a GTA game before, I was still feeling out the edges of the game’s mechanics, and I was trying to get out of the building. I found a door I thought should lead outside or to a stairway, but I couldn’t open it. I think I’d shot out the lock to enter the apartment in the first place, or I just assumed that could be done, so I pulled out my gun and put a bullet in the door while inside the building with no people around.

        Instant 3-stars. Panicked, I wound up on the roof where the police took me out.

        It was so weird in my mind that one gunshot at a door got me halfway to Liberty City’s Most Wanted, but a whole shootout with machine guns and five other dudes apparently didn’t raise any alarm with anyone.

  35. AyeGill says:

    Is it me, or is 25/3 not an irrational number?(For example, it can be represented as the fraction 25/3). Or am I not understanding the riddle right?

    1. Daemian Lucifer says:

      Yup,it is a rational number.Maybe Mumbles just told the riddle wrong.

    2. Mumbles says:

      25 divided by 3 = 8.33333333333333333333333

      which is an irrational number

      1. Volfram says:

        Technically an irrational number is “any real number that cannot be expressed as a ratio a/b, where a and b are integers and b is non-zero.”
        Pi, e, and the square root of 2 are irrational.

        8.3333333333333… is just an infinite repeating decimal. And it can be expressed as the ratio a/b, where a is the integer 25, and b is the non-zero integer 3.

        1. Mumbles says:

          i will inform the brother that his riddle for my birthday is a piece of shit

          1. Volfram says:

            On the plus side, you prompted a lengthy discussion between myself(majored in Computer Engineering) and one of my roommates(majored in Math) on whether i(the square root of -1) is rational or irrational.

            Spoiler: i is completely rational. Because it’s imaginary.

            e^i is actually very important in signal processing because it allows you to circumvent all the messy trigonometry. I forget the details. But it’s faster. Computers actually hate trigonometry just as much as you do.

            1. Ahh, so they’ll kill us out of jealousy and then enslave us for our ability to do math yet despise it? :)

            2. Daemian Lucifer says:

              Um,no i is neither rational or irrational.Its real component is rational,but the number itself is just imaginary.Rationality is the property of real numbers,not complex ones.

              1. silver Harloe says:

                Correct. For the number to be rational, it must be the ratio of two integers. i is not the ratio of two integers. For the number to be irrational, it must a real number which is not the ratio of two integers. i is not a real number.

                1. Volfram says:

                  I stand corrected!

                  Should have realized i would be a corner case, like how 0 and 1 are neither prime nor composite.

  36. Roland Jones says:

    Honestly, I think the removal of sanity from Amnesia: A Machine for Pigs is one of the better changes. Sanity as a mechanic is silly, especially if it’s meant to be scary. You know what makes me feel scared in games? Something scary happening. Every time I noticed the sanity mechanic in Amnesia, it took me out of the game. The most egregious example was when I went insane from looking at a thing I couldn’t actually see because it was pitch black (said thing proceeded to, despite not being able to see me either, home in on me and murder me because going insane also makes all enemies in the immediate vicinity know exactly where you are), but even the lesser incidents detracted from the experience. “Oh, character’s going crazy, better light a few candles.” Whenever it came up, it reminded me that I was playing a game, which inherently made the situation less frightening and thus less effective.

    Really, most of the changes in A Machine for Pigs are like that. Hunting for oil and tinderboxes (though really you were guaranteed an amount of the former no matter what; how much you got every so often directly corresponded to how much you used, another thing that takes you out of the game when you realize it) is just managing supplies and making sure your second health bar (that even regenerates) doesn’t get too low, poking things in your inventory was basically mandatory pause time and generally never had puzzles, just collecting the right items then putting them together before using them. They took out most of the things that remind you that you’re playing a video game instead of just letting you play the game (and proceed to scare the crap out of yourself).

    The game is a lot more linear, and a few other things aren’t as good, but so far I’m thinking it’s better than The Dark Descent, and I liked the first one. Plot hasn’t gone completely silly as of where I am in it, for one.

  37. lanthanide says:

    The explanation for what is going on here is actually pretty simple. Spamming is these people’s job. Obviously if they are resorting to spamming, they aren’t very smart or they would be doing something more productive and better paid. The people that write the software to beat the anti-spam measures are selling that software to the spammers – the same relationship Microsoft has with secretaries that use Office to do their jobs.

    Spammers that are intelligent go on to write their own software and sell that, or go into more lucrative areas than carpet bombing random sites with poor grammar.

    Edit – clearly this should be on the spammers post. Typing this on my phone, be good if you could kindly move this Shamus

  38. Kristoffer says:

    I don’t think Brothers had a change of tone. The first stage is bright and nice, but even the second one gets darker. Spoilers for anyone who hasn’t finished it:
    The second stage has people hanging from the trees and wolves as the first scary enemy. I think it’s later on in that stage that the younger brother has this creepy dream about his dead mother and the older brother trying to kill him. Then you save a man from hanging himself after his family perished when their house burned down. You free a griffin that apparently dies after taking you where you need to go(It’s alive at the end, somehow). Afterwards you traverse a battlefield of giants, through rivers of blood, and solve puzzles by chopping limbs off of the corpses and shooting them in the head. Finally, before the last minutes of the game, you get to a city that seems to have been frozen during a battle, in which all the participants were turned to ice like Mr. Freeze was around. The game has you running around in death all the time. There are lots of nice moments too, like helping a turtle find her kids or a troll get back to her husband, but it was hardly Tangled.

  39. LazerBlade says:

    I’m glad that you guys finally had the stop shooting me discussion on camera. I was always confused about that as I worked my way through the spoiler warning backlog. Josh is actually correct that it was never shouted or overused. It was an occasional whine when Cuftbert was engaged in one activity and it was being slightly disrupted by people shooting him.

    Oh my gosh. I’m commenting on Spoiler Warning lore and continuity. “Well actually, according to episode 137, which is technically considered cannon…”

  40. Zak McKracken says:

    Just finished listening, finally! And I had to listen to the “heuristic” bit five times and didn’t get what’s wrong with Rutskarn’s pronounciation.
    “Hoiristics” is exactly how “eu” should be pronounced in that word, at least where I come from, and in actual Greek it’s pretty close what it should sound like.
    “Hewristics” is just what the average native-English-speaking tongue makes out of it, since “eu” does not occur in English-born words.

Thanks for joining the discussion. Be nice, don't post angry, and enjoy yourself. This is supposed to be fun. Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked*

You can enclose spoilers in <strike> tags like so:
<strike>Darth Vader is Luke's father!</strike>

You can make things italics like this:
Can you imagine having Darth Vader as your <i>father</i>?

You can make things bold like this:
I'm <b>very</b> glad Darth Vader isn't my father.

You can make links like this:
I'm reading about <a href="http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Darth_Vader">Darth Vader</a> on Wikipedia!

You can quote someone like this:
Darth Vader said <blockquote>Luke, I am your father.</blockquote>

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.