Diecast #39: Pokemon, Hearthfire, Burial at Sea

By Shamus Posted Tuesday Dec 17, 2013

Filed under: Diecast 118 comments

Yeah. I couldn’t make it this week due to equipment problems. But I really like how focused and spirited this episode was.

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

Hosts: Chris, Josh, Mumbles.

Show notes:
1:30 Mumbles went to see a wrestleman show and played with Pokéthings.

14:00 Mumbles also played Chivalry.

17:30 Josh has been playing Skyrim: Hearthfire.

The video where Mumbles talks about Skyrim can be found here.

41:30 Let’s talk about BioShock Infinite: Burial at Sea DLC

1:14:00 Chris is playing Race the Sun, Asassin’s Creed: Black Flag as King Pirate McDudeFace.

1:23:00 MAILBAG! “Should devs be putting more effort into QA?”


From The Archives:

118 thoughts on “Diecast #39: Pokemon, Hearthfire, Burial at Sea

  1. Jones says:

    I’m very glad Darth Vader isn’t my father.

  2. imtoolazy says:

    Mumbles doesn’t like Red Dwarf???

    Was that said jokingly, or not?

    (I don’t actually like RD. Never got into it.)

    1. The earlier episodes were better (more like Hitchhiker’s Guide). If you like amazingly bad TV, though, you should watch these:

      1. The Red Dwarf U.S. pilot.
      2. The second Red Dwarf U.S. pilot, which shows no idea is bad enough to not attempt twice.

      1. Rosseloh says:

        Wait. They tried to copy Red Dwarf too?

        And way back in 1992….

        Why the hell do the people who make this stuff think that outright copying good shows with an “American” twist is a good idea? I don’t watch much TV but I can’t think of even one that is better in the US than it was originally. (And yes, I understand everyone has their own opinions. I happen to like classic BBC comedy shows)

        1. Not so much “copy” as “import,” since the creators (and one actor from the original) were involved.

          What I do think tried to actually copy Red Dwarf and failed miserably was Homeboys in Outer Space.

        2. ET says:

          The way I figure it, the target demographic of foreign TV/film, is not the target demographic of ‘Murica.
          They dumb it down to the point that anyone will be able to watch it.
          The problem is that people who want dumb TV already have stuff like Jackass and Jersey Shore, and the people who don’t want dumb TV already watched/are watching the original, not-stupid, actually-funny TV show/film.
          So, that’s my guess as to why stuff like this gets tried, and ultimately fails.
          i.e. It’s being made for an audience who’s already having their needs fulfilled elsewhere.

          1. If you think ‘Murica is the only place with a “dumbed down” audience, you’ve never seen “Celebrity Love Island,” “Shafted,” “Primeval,” “The Jeremy Kyle Show,” and any number of program(me)s that have common relatives across the pond.

            The UK has some great and unique shows, but the ones most people hear about are the ones that are actually good enough to export. They represent only a fraction of what’s produced, just like in America.

            So who’s up for a marathon of “Law & Order UK?”

        3. False Prophet says:

          It’s not always a bad thing. All in the Family, arguably one of the greatest American sitcoms of all time, was a remake of the UK series Till Death Us Do Part. The also highly-regarded Sanford and Son had similar origins. Homeland is one of the most critically acclaimed dramas on US television right now, and it’s a remake of an Israeli series.

          It’s pretty common the other way too; look how many international remakes there have been of Who’s the Boss, for example. Reality show ideas, in particular, can come from any country.

        4. Warclam says:

          The US remake of Gaslight is better than the UK original. That’s a movie though, and it’s the only one I can think of.

      2. Daemian Lucifer says:

        Wait,what?The second one?I…buh…how…who…what…hippo?!

    2. Peter H. Coffin says:

      Also, in defense of calling Star Trek a British show, it’s being shown more on BBC America than SyFy these days.

      More evidence of how stupid channel themes are these days. “UFO Hunters” on History Channel, “I Didn’t Even Know I Was Pregnant” on The Learning Channel, travelling chefs on CNN, etc.

  3. Jacob Albano says:

    Mumbles, which TES game was that story at the end of your video from?

    1. Rob Maguire says:

      Poison apples are a Dark Brotherhood item in Oblivion.

  4. Thomas says:

    I like the patiently waiting turns to tear down the Bioshock DLC =D

  5. I think I’ve figured it out. Josh is the God of Software Glitches, and Shamus is the God of Hardware Glitches. If they ever physically touch, the resulting dimensional cross-rip will be like setting off a global EMP.

  6. Regarding Mumbles doing an audiobook:

    Shamus has written a book or two. If Mumbles is allowed to do sound effects, insert profanity, and comment on what’s happening (“Aw, YEAAAH! Headshot, beeyotch!” and so forth) at random points in the prose…

    I’m for this.

    1. Peter H. Coffin says:

      Oh dear… Mumbles as the Flavor Flav of audiobooks.

    2. Lisa says:

      I vote for this! Make it a thing!

    3. Also acceptable: “Mumblespiece Theatere*.”

      In this YouTube or Podcast series, the internet celebrity personality known as “Mumbles” reads selections from great works of literature, new and old, speeches from prominent thinkers, popular movie & TV scripts, and possibly even technical manuals from commercially available consumer products. She provides a mirthful selection of sound effects throughout as well as asides, rephrasing, and exclamations that might remind one of such noted orators as Triple H and Randal Savagery.

      Truly, this is a gift to the ages and will no doubt be the subject of future master classes in the verbal arts.

      * The final “e” is pretentiously essential.

  7. Thomas says:

    I actually think bug-stability is way better in modern games nowadays (with the exception of the big open-world Bethesda games). Nowadays I never expect to find a bug, if I were to play something like Uncharted and anything weird happened, that would be really weird to me and feel pretty remarkable (I do generally play console games which might make a difference)

    Whereas if I’m playing KotoR or Black & White or Planescape, I expect things to not load properly and NPCs to get stuck etc. I remember a time when even getting the game to run without crashing on start-up used to be a long time-consuming process that would take up my time pretty much with every game I installed (not a great computer). That just doesn’t happen nowadays. The only time I’ve had to mess around with things was when trying to get an older game to run.

    1. Aldowyn says:

      Playing on a console DEFINITELY makes a difference. You don’t have to program for different systems, so it’s a lot simpler.

      I would say things are slowly getting better, though. The elder scrolls games are a nice series to showcase that, I think.

      1. Though with a lot of RPGs, I saw the same amount (though sometimes different) bugs on consoles as well as the PC. In some cases, the console version is to blame (I think the PS3 had more and different kinds of bugs with Skyrim/Fallout New Vegas than the other versions), but as many were similar across platforms, the actual structure of the game was at fault. That is, whatever made horses fly around Tamriel on the PC is the same thing that made them soar on the XBox and so on.

        1. Tizzy says:

          I was happy to switch to consoles to avoid the headaches around specs and stability. And then I got New Vegas… I have to laugh about it, or I would cry.

  8. Ilseroth says:

    Josh asked about aquariums in Boston… Boston Aquarium is actually really solid, I went there a few years ago and unless it is randomly exploded in the time since, it is quite nice.

    1. False Prophet says:

      Great, the only noteworthy place I didn’t visit while in Boston, and it turns out it was worth seeing. Ah well, it gives me a reason to go back for another visit.

      1. Jacob Albano says:

        I went when I was 8 or so. Don’t remember much, but I touched some slimy creatures and saw baby penguins. It’s pretty great.

  9. Keldoclock says:

    If we took a soundclip of Mumbles describing her Chivalry battles, and played it to random people, how many would guess that she’s a 10 year old boy? 80%? 90%?

    1. Keldoclock says:

      There is no edit button so I must reply-

      Josh: DayZ standalone models the melee weapons correctly- they still make pistol noises when you hit geometry BUT the damage is dealt wherever the actual model of the weapon contacts.

      1. Josh says:

        But… does that mean… I can’t reload my hatchet anymore?!

        (To clarify: I’ve played a bit of the stand-alone. Haven’t found any weapons. My current nemesis is ladders. Yep, I remember this game.)

  10. KremlinLaptop says:

    Mumbles has her own thing on the tubes– the series of tubes! Youtube!? (GOOD JOB MUMBLES. START DOING YOUTUBE VIDEOS JUST AS THE CONTENT ID FIASCO GOES BALLS OUT. A+ FOR TIMING.) Fantastic! Sub-fucking-scribed.

    Right, after that I’mma listen to the podcast while making dinner.

    1. Zeta Kai says:

      Uh, those 2 videos that she made are from a year ago. She’s awesome, but not psychic-awesome.

      BTW, Mumbles, drop whatever you are doing right now & make another video. I love those things, & I want more things like them. Any topic will do, but preferably something that you can profanely bitch about. You will get an internet from me. A whole internet.

      1. KremlinLaptop says:

        OH GOD DAMMIT. I didn’t even check when they were made…

        Now I feel dumb AND disappointed all at once. MUMBLES DO YOUTUBE.

    2. ET says:

      Could you link to her Youtube channel?
      Searching for “mumbles youtube” provides many, many unrelated videos… ^^;

      1. syal says:

        DigitalMumbles fits the description.

        1. syal says:

          …not sure if this comment running into moderation and then disappearing entirely for hours only to reappear approved is a bug, or how the moderation system usually works. If it’s a bug I’m pointing it out.

          1. ET says:

            I think it might be a bug.
            My comment, which is a reply to the first section of comments, where we are talking about “dumbed down” TV shows, also disappeared for about half a day yesterday.
            Shamus, y u no fix internets? :P

          2. Humanoid says:

            I imagine it’s a sort-of-bug-sort-of-feature where you just lose the session/cookie/whatever that associates the moderated comment to you, effectively orphaning the comment – i.e. as far as the software is concerned, it was made by another user. It’s happened intermittently to me since I started commenting, so it’s no recent thing. The removal of the edit feature means it’s less of an inconvenience than it was before, at least.

  11. Gilfareth says:

    Mumbles, you appear to be misremembering during the pokemon segment. Charizard has always been Fire/Flying type, but in Pokemon X/Y his ‘X’ Mega evolution changes him into Dragon/Fire. Aerodactyl is also still just Rock/Flying, even in his mega form.

    1. Valthek says:

      Can confirm. Charizard & Aerodactyl did not have a dragon-type before Generation 6, just like Gyarados. However they were considered ‘dragons’ in terms of mythology and such. (Lance used all 3, IIRC)

      That said, it IS possible to get the different Charizard versions, but you have to trade the relevant mega stone from another version. X-version charizard is awesome though.

      1. Gilfareth says:

        I agree, though I actually find Mega Charizard Y a bit more useful because of A) his much greater special attack and B) his new ability Drought, which basically means ‘Fire Blast and Solarbeam everything into oblivion’. Mega Charizard X is still the cooler looking one, though.

    2. Mumbles says:

      Yes thank you friends. I was too busy being dazzled by the hotness of dragon trainer to realize.

      1. Daemian Lucifer says:

        Wait…arent trainers in pokemon children?Mumbles,are you a member of nawbla by any chance?

        1. Mumbles says:

          I don’t know what that is but I was a child at the time and also Lance was probably an adult so.

          Okay, no, still creepy. WHY ARE YOU RUINING MY CHILDHOOD CRUSHESSSSS

          1. Daemian Lucifer says:

            “I don't know what that is”

            Its like nambla,only nicceee.


            Because of reasons.

        2. Entropy says:

          Shouldn’t that be NAMGLA? since Lance is I guess an adult man.

      2. Gilfareth says:

        I can’t blame you for that one, you are totally justified in that.

  12. James says:

    On the Q&A of modern games I think one really interesting thing is the early access system on steam, or other such alpha/beta releases that Indies tend to go for.

    Regardless of how people feel about paying for an unfinished game, this system/business model is defiantly here to stay since it's been shown more than enough people are happy to put their money into them.

    Honestly this is probably something triple A games wish they could do. Not just because it gets you extra funding but for the sheer amount of testing that your audience can perform for you. One of the horrible pitfalls for designing pc games is no pc is the same, and usually when you start designing a game you make it on the best PC you can get. But before you release you have to factor in all the lower end pc's and work out how to scale your game to work on those, which I believe Shamus himself has illustrated with his Bad Robot posts.

    Big game companies can't do this of course because their audience would crucify them for releasing something so unpolished. I'm lead to believe the majority of companies set aside as much time and money as they can into testing, since big bugs can quickly become PR nightmares (*Cough*Diablo launch) but there's only so much you can cover before you need to ship. I don't actually think a lot of the triple A games could actually survive with long Q&A periods, so instead we arrive at this compromise where the first time buyers are essentially doing the last stretch of Q&A which will then get patched.

    The only example I know of where a big budget game has had open player testing is the publically funded Star Citizen. They released the Hanger module which is basically a show room with some animations and stuff, but even that contained bugs. But there are thousands of people poking this thing which lets them find really odd bugs at a very early stage of development. That sort of instant feedback is incredibly useful and makes me actually wonder if there will be a day much bigger games try to make use of that hugely useful resource that is your audience.

    1. ET says:

      I would hope that AAA game audiences wouldn’t let big studios get away with that.
      I mean, let’s look at this, as if it were a big budget film, like [i]The Lord Of The Rings[/i].
      The equivalent in the film industry, would be that the film is released with unfinished audio where in some scenes, you can hear the photocopier from the office next to the film set, and in some scenes you can clearly see the guy’s wristwatch, and they need to re-shoot or paint that out with the tools on their graphics computers.
      Oh, and several of the last scenes in the film, make no sense, unless you show them in a different order.

      Wouldn’t film-goers be irate?
      I mean, they’d essentially be paying to do the film-makers job for them.
      If they didn’t have the budget to finish editing and polishing up the film, why did they spend bazillions of dollars on all the CG orcs eight months earlier?

      1. Thomas says:

        It’s not a good comparison though, because not having continuity errors in a film is a relatively easy to task compared to making the film itself. Whereas bug fixing can be pretty much the biggest programming problem by far.

        This is easy to tell from the size of QA teams. Microsoft for example tend to require at least as much work testing a feature as implementing it. So QA is a full 50% of the task and never can be completed perfectly. I would say it’s not unusual for an 80-120 man studio to need to employ at least 40 people to QA for them and even then they won’t come close to finding all the bugs. I doubt a bugless AAA game exists and if it does they probably spent the majority of the energy removing bugs instead of making and design the actual game

        1. Thomas says:

          *the point being no film producer has had to spend so much on just quality assurance, and with those numbers eventually you’re going to have to sacrifice quality in terms of actual game design if you want to bugtest beyond a certain point. Judging that point is the trick.

    2. kanodin says:

      Actually the big publishers are already doing this with their free-to-play games. Blizzard has Hearthstone and Heros of the Storm and Ubisoft has the Mighty Quest for Epic Loot. If they could find a way to sell a game that’s all about polished single player in beta they’d do that too. I wouldn’t be surprised to see a way to buy Cod multiplayer early follow this trend. Ooh I bet Destiny will have this as well.

      1. James says:

        That’s exactly what I thought when I saw destiny. To actually get the system they want up and running is gonna require a crazy amount of testing. Which even if you had a 40+ team would be nearly enough.

        Your right about the free-to-play, but I’d say that’s easier for their audience to deal with since they are free to play. It’s another step entirely to sell an alpha, and for that you either need a really solid idea or earned trust.

        I think DayZ’s a good recent example. The Alpha’s been bought by like 80k people. Some just want the game early, but put that money down they’d need at least some trust in the developers.

        It’s very interesting how this has all taken shape and I do wonder how destiny is gonna handle it.

  13. ET says:

    Am I in the minority, if I [i]don’t[/i] want bugs in my games?
    Bugs generally just pull me out of the game world, and break my immersion, so I don’t like having them show up while I play.
    I like that new systems (eg rocket jumping) have sometimes been created from bugs, but I think that those mechanics could easily have been created/thought up, without the bugs.
    Like, sit down with paper, and (re)design a game, and see what cool shit you can come up with.

    1. Thomas says:

      I would like to see as few bugs as possible, but it bothers me much more if a game is bad than if it’s buggy. I would play Alpha Protocol or KotoR 2 ten times over compared to a game which is bug free and boring. As long as the bugs don’t actively stop me from playing the game then I’m happy to ignore them.

      Most of all I always prefer to evaluate a game on the things that it does than the mechanical quality of the coding

      1. ET says:

        I totally agree.
        As proof: I played the shit out of all of the STALKER games, which were riddled with bugs.
        Even the third game still had bugs, but it was at least at the quality level of a finished game.
        The first two games were essentially betas. :P

        Compare this to, I dunno…the puzzle game The Bridge which, although completely bug-free in the hour/six levels that I played, was boring, and the answers to the puzzles weren’t really solvable by me thinking.
        I just had to mess around with the physics system, until the game randomly fell into a state where the solution was either already happening, or easy to see.

    2. syal says:

      Bugs in games are the same as poor quality in movies; some are fun (nearly everything from Plan 9 From Outer Space) and some are just plain bad (any film with bad lighting or sound).

      1. ET says:

        I must be the oddball, then, because I’ve never enjoyed a bug, in the way that I can enjoy watching Tommy Wiseau’s masterpiece of awfulness, The Room.

        1. syal says:

          …have you ever played or seen MDickie’s Wrestling Revolution?

          Cause MDickie is kind of like the Ed Wood of videogames.

        2. Cybron says:

          I find bugs fun to watch (those Skate 3 videos are amazing), but they’re usually pretty frustrating to me in the course play. I would prefer it if bugs stayed out of games I actually like, and stayed in videos like this.

  14. Cybron says:

    Mumbles: Charizard has always been fire/flying. Lance (the Dragon guy) just had it because it looked like a dragon. Same with Aerodactyl and Gyrados. It’s only the new mega-evolution that’s dragon.

    The wonder trade thing was all garbage earlier, but now that a lot of people are done with the game the people still using it are mostly breeders getting rid of their extras. This has the nice bonus of them having better than average stats, because the breeders are trying to breed the ubermensch (ubermonsch?). The ‘multiplayer’ component for this generation has been expanded in really interesting ways. The bits with the friend list where you can send people bonuses is surprisingly fun.

  15. 4th Dimension says:

    Europa Universalis being too serious?!? Than I guess the cast aren’t familiar with like a gazilion of comedy AARs made for this thing. This is a game where if you are good enough you can go with Incans and conquer the filthy backward barbarian Europeans.

    1. broken says:

      I offer two pieces of evidence that EU4 is, in fact, quite funny.

      A new religion spreads. It’ll never be popular.

      exhibit 2. Selecting the first option will reduce your Stability by 1 and cost you 100 admin points. The second option reduces your stability by 6, kills your ruler, and changes your government to bureaucratic despotism.

      and additionally: most countries get unique ideas that they’ll unlock throughout the game. For example, England gets the “royal navy” idea, giving a combat bonus to their ships.

      Spain has a national idea called “the spanish inquisition”. Its description says exactly what you think it will.

      One of Prussia’s Ideas is called “the goose step”.

      Now, the Hashashin don’t exist in the vanilla game. However, if you import a CK2 game where they did, they have their own set of Ideas. The first one is called …. “Hashashin’s Creed”.

      1. aldowyn says:

        in a game that big, there are bound to be easter eggs. Overall, I think EU and Vicky are much more serious than CK2 tends, due to less focus on cleverly written random events.

  16. Otters34 says:

    Mumbles, you make video games sound fun again.

    The quality assurance thing is a good question, but as it comes from somebody who does speed-runs I’d have to say they might not be looking at it from the best perspective. Speed-runners often do things in ways or combinations that the developers would have no idea as even doable, and thus untestable.

    Also, Mr. Young, typo in the write-up: 1:14:00 Chris is playing Race the Sun, Asassin's Creed: Black Flag as King Pirate McDudeFace.

    1. Mumbles says:

      “Mumbles, you make video games sound fun again.”

      ty for saying that, every time i scroll past it makes me smile.

  17. Benjamin Hilton says:

    So has Campster been successfully convinced that the can run pod casts without burning them down?

  18. krellen says:

    Okay, listen – if you’re gonna call me out, I’m gonna bring it. I might not be able to out-talk Mumbles, but I can write like a mofo.

    Yes, Sailor Moon HAS talking cats, and lesbians (note that their lesbianism is just there, it’s not an ISSUE), and rods, and malls (as malls exist in Japan – they are teenage girls), but that’s not what Sailor Moon is ABOUT.

    Sailor Moon is about love. Not (just) romantic love, but the full spectrum of love – motherly love, fatherly love, love of friends, love of community, love of humanity. In the first story – first season, for anime watchers – the Sailor Senshi love Usagi (Sailor Moon) and each other so much they each willingly sacrifice themselves so the others can advance – all so Usagi can save the world and the man she loves. And that’s just the opener.

    The last series involves a corrupted Sailor Senshi going around RIPPING PEOPLE’S SOULS OUT so she can feed a cosmic forge and destroy the entirety of creation. And Usagi has so much love that, instead of destroying Galaxia to save the universe, she sacrifices everything – her friends, her boyfriend, even herself – just to REDEEM Galaxia. She could have destroyed Galaxia, but she’s a freaking badass world-class Messiah Queen Mother who wants to save EVERYONE, especially the soul-sucking devil.

    And she has so much love, she succeeds, and together they rebuild the universe just how it was.

    That’s what Sailor Moon is about. The trappings are just trappings.

    </mic drop>

    1. From most of the captioned GIFs of Sailor Moon I’m seeing these days, a lot of the show is devoted to Ms. Moon worrying about getting fat, often while eating.

      1. krellen says:

        The anime has a fair amount of extra padding.

        Such as, the first half of the second season which wasn’t even part of what Sailor Moon’s creator actually wrote.

        1. “Extra padding.”

          Well played, sir.

    2. Daemian Lucifer says:

      Sailor moon…Wait,is that the one about witches and liches duking it out and theres a fluffy djin like cat granting them wishes?

      1. The_Zoobler says:

        I’m pretty sure you’re thinking of Puella Magi Madoka Magica.

        Which started out seemingly girly/cutesy, and stayed that way, but got absolutely riveting and horrifying and sad and awesome all at the same time.

        One of my favorite anime, and I can’t stand girly things.

        1. Daemian Lucifer says:

          “I'm pretty sure you're thinking of Puella Magi Madoka Magica.”

          Oh right,right.I confused sailor moon with a good show.

          1. Daemian Lucifer says:

            Also,why did it take so long for someone to take the bait?Damn it people,you are ruining my jokes!

    3. Mumbles says:

      I tease people about the things they love because it makes them go nuts and talk about how great it is. Cause I do the same thing, obvi lol

      1. Zeta Kai says:

        Like a good troll should (inasmuch as trolling can be a force for good).

  19. Taellosse says:

    WRT Chris’ comments about Assassin’s Creed III, and how it had the courage to pace itself as a 10-hour game, what with spending the first few hours on Haytham and getting you invested in him as a character only to pull the twist and have you play Connor for the rest:

    I agree with this point, it was a bold move, and a cool element of the game. The problem is, it was the last time that AC3 was actually cool and interesting. The rest of the game is spent guiding Connor along a path of nonsensical or naive decisions, being involved to an improbable degree in the American Revolution (I rarely felt like Ezio was the secret driving force behind everything going on in his time and place, just that he was swept along by and played a part in them. Connor is apparently the sole reason the Revolution wasn’t a total disaster about 6 times over). None of the secondary gameplay elements are integrated into the main game much, making them feel pointless even when they’re interesting – they mostly just feed back on themselves. And the Desmond side of the game finally starts to get really engaging just in time to come to an abrupt end without any meaningful resolution at all. Which, for me, makes it pretty hard to justify another AC game at all, and especially not one like AC4 apparently is, which barely advances the modern-day plot which, let’s not forget, was about a VERY imminent doomsday (this is based on what I’ve read, as I have not yet purchased AC4).

    AC3 made some really interesting promises about the kind of game it was going to be, and mostly failed to deliver. AC4 has been promising to be a game that doesn’t really excite me all that much (I’m not especially wild about pirates, nor enthused to go back to playing another entitled white guy – I had enough of Ezio the first 3 times. Though at least the Caribbean sounds more interesting than the colonial Northeast), so it’s the first one since the original Assassin’s Creed that I didn’t buy as soon as it came out (or pre-order, in the case of Brotherhood and Revelation).

    1. syal says:

      …I guess I’ll put this here.

      Another game that had a slow world-building opening was Dragon Quest 4, having you play through the individual adventures of all the secondary characters before finally introducing the main hero about a third of the way into the game and uniting all the story threads. I always liked the concept and don’t know why more games haven’t done it.

    2. Daemian Lucifer says:

      Actually the doomsday thing was resolved in 3.4 is after that,and I guess it starts another overarching story.

      But who cares,you get to sail around listening to sea shanties!What more do you need?

    3. Guildenstern says:

      I’ll be honest, I didn’t understand this particular point. Assassin’s Creed is paced like a 10 hour game… in that you don’t meet the protagonist until 6 hours in? Huh?

      If I haven’t met the main character until I’m halway done with the game then why the heck do I care about the main character? And sure, the answer is of course that I don’t because Assassin’s Creed writing and characters are about as interesting as a microwave burrito, but geez. If we didn’t meet Frodo or Luke Skywalker until 45 minutes into the movie and just screwed around with Grima Wormtongue or Governor Tarkin during that time then the flow would be ruined. Maybe I just didn’t understand the point Chris was trying to make, and if so then somebody go ahead and call me out here, but I couldn’t quite grasp this one.

      But I think what really got me was then you combine all this screwing around with the fact that the entire Hatham part of the game is a cheating, lying, contrived bunch of stupid to trick the player in the worst way possible. You get control of a dude, he’s got Assassin gear and goals. He’s got a crew of friends who are all polite english gentlemen and you go around doing tutorial missions. Then, a few hours in, surprise! They’re not Assassin’s at all, they’re Templars! Why the heck did Hatham have wrist blades, then? Those aren’t a Templar thing, he has no reason to have those except to maintain the franchise signature weapons for the tutorial and to break the (stupid) lore for the purpose of pulling this trick. And from that point on, now that we know his buddies are “teh bad guyz” they drop their nice guy act and become Snidley Whiplash impersonators even though their situation hasn’t changed and there’s no reason for them to completely change their mannerisms.

      It’s all just a way for the writers to go “ho ho, we sure got you!” without actually having to be clever about it. Nothing is telegraphed so it makes sense in hindsight, it’s just stupid contrivances so the game can have a twist for the sake of a twist.

      Sorry, rant, but that particular load of tomfoolery really ticked me off.

      1. Daemian Lucifer says:

        Well the thing about hours is misleading.You can very well play as haytham for 5 hours,then finish the connor thing in 3.What you should be looking it as is in terms of chapters,in which case haytham is (sadly) not the main character.

        As for the thing about him having an assassin gear,that is explained in 4,where we find out how his father obtained it.

        As for the templars being nice and stuff,the only one who ends up pure evil,is charles lee,and he is like that practically from the start.The others are just some guys even when you are killing them,blurring the lines between who is actually the good guy(something the series couldve explored way more).

        The twist is a nice twist,and well executed.Its a shame that what follows was so lame though.

        1. Guildenstern says:

          In terms of the game gradually building instead of throwing you immediately into “shoot shoot stab stab stop the bad guy” mode was nice, I’ll grant you that. More games could benefit from taking more time to establish things. But again, we’re establishing the *wrong character* and it just feels really off-kilter so that by the time you get to Connor you completely throw off the pace by having to establish yet another protagonist.

          And I have a tough time swallowing “they explain it later”. Regardless of all the attempted clarifications the expanded universe has tried to make the prequel movies are still dumb. And I sincerely doubt the mindful outlook the AC writers have for continuity seeing as how every game is focused entirely on “stab dudes in this time period” and the main story has only got progressively more absurd as time has gone on (until it was apparently abandoned altogether in IV after coming to a dead stop with no resolution in III).

          And maybe you saw a different Lee than I did. It was like somebody threw a switch and suddenly he became a comic book supervillain. Hatham got to be a pretty massive jerk too, and it really feels like it was all just because the game had dropped the facade that they were the good guys at that point and could just let them start doing “villain things”.

          It’s possible that I was just a little burned out on AC when I got around to III (had just run through all of the Ezio games and Revelation felt like a chore). So maybe I was cutting it a bit less slack, but virtually everything about it felt either boring or completely dumb.

          Except for flintlock execution counters. Those were cool.

        2. aldowyn says:

          Charles Lee irritates me because he single-handedly makes the assassin/templar thing much less gray than it should have been… that was a bad way of putting it.

          Haytham was interesting, Charles Lee was like the borgias except he did what he did just for kicks, not to gain power.

  20. Mersadeon says:

    Just to add to Mumbles Marine Biology rant – this really can be done better. Just look at the S.T.A.L.K.E.R. (man that’s a pain to type) developers – any and all changes they made to the zone (mostly the layout) was done with good reason, in order to make gameplay more fun and coherent. Everything else is super close to reality.

    Now, I don’t expect that from every developer. It’s about the Suspension of Disbelief. With Rapture, I can ignore the physical ramifications of building a city that has to resist that pressure, because that’s something so far out of my normal “things I think about” mindset that my brain doesn’t ring an alarm bell saying “DINGDING THIS AIN’T RIGHT” – but when I see, for example, wolves in a “realistic” videogame attacking you because that’s what wolves in videogames do, that bell rings. And that’s when I am pulled out of the experience, and it will now take some time to get back into it.

    1. James says:

      It’s always a strange thing what will wrench you out of your immersion. I wouldn’t notice the Marine thing because it’s been a long time since I learned about all that stuff. But I did do archeology for a few years so when I enter tombs or ruins in games sometimes it’s like entering bizzaro land. Far Cry 3 drove me nuts for this very reason.

      I suppose the question is how can you avoid this? It’s partly an art problem as you want to use real things that people know, or at least expect (For good or bad reasons). Fish come from the sea, so, if we put fish around Rapture people will know we’re in the sea. And also put whales in there because whales are cool. Your trying to find that line between wanting to show something, against showing what something actually is.

      So in alot of areas what we want to show wins over, and so we get silly things that don’t make sense if you know anything about the subject. But I would say most media producers bank on the fact that the majority of people wont notice or care, so there’s little cost to just doing what you want. Ideally you want to have a mix of both, just enough to strain that immersion but not enough to break it.

      Or you can use easy mode and just make up your own fish.

      1. Mersadeon says:

        I mean, I get that. In the end, there’s always someone who knows a certain topic better than the developers and that’s gonna break immersion for that person. All I’m asking is to go to Wikipedia for a few hours to learn about Marine Biology if your making a game that takes place UNDER THE SEA. Just the bare bones so that everyone can suspend their disbelief a little – or go wacky: there is nothing in Saints Row the Fourth that could EVER be truly out of place, just like I am ok with nonsensical architecture in Cargo Commander. It’s all a matter of context – but if you go for a serious plot line discussion serious topics, then please at least look up your setting.
        It works a lot like the Uncanny Valley effect – if you come that close to real life, every fault in the game world looks a lot bigger.

    2. Aitch says:

      I just had this happen while watching the first part of The Walking Dead Game Season 2 — How the dog acts put me on edge, but I could put it aside. Then what Clem does as a medical treatment made me fed up with the writers completely (it would cause severe complications and very likely death). Now I just can’t get back into it.

      It’s the laziness that gets to me. All that railroading, all the hamfisted heartstring pulling, and now this garbage. If you’re going to make something such a huge plot point focus at least have a cursory knowledge of it. But no, it’s absurdity piled on fantasy and the writers laugh all the way to the bank.

      1. Mersadeon says:

        DON’T MENTION THE DOG. Oh god. Oh god. That was so fucking realistic, that is exactly how a damn dog would behave after the zombie apocalypse, and I hate the world for playing that game because it makes me so sad.

        Sorry, I have nobody to talk to about Season 2 and it just kinda burst out.

  21. burningdragoon says:

    I tend to play Pokemans more like Chris. Have a couple favorite pals and several more I switch in/out every so often. I’m also weird in that I like Charizard Y better than X (even though I still got X since my friendbro got Y).

    One thing I’ve wanted to do in Oblivion that I never have is complete the Mage’s Guild questline before doing that early Thief’s Guild quest where you steal from the archmage.

    1. Eskel says:

      I did that and it broke the game for me.

      First I would think that it is general knowledge who the archmage is. After all the Mage Guild is now a secret organization like some others. Than as an archmage I was send to steal my own staff, which I didn’t know I had and which was not in my room before. And after that the other mage comes with the complaint from the archmage (i.e. me) about the stolen staff. That was surprising as I didn’t told anyone.

      I stopped playing shortly after that realizing that nothing I do has any effect in the game.

      1. aldowyn says:

        It never has. Not even in Morrowind, that holy grail of Elder Scrolls fans. (Well, there’s a LITTLE bit of interaction between factions, because that’s what Morrowind is ABOUT, pretty much, but not THAT much)

  22. Jae says:

    The point about the marine biology of Rapture seems almost trivially easy to explain in a place that seems to revel in gaudy decadence and has the ability to mess with genes.

    Andrew Ryan could be like, “Yo, dawg, I love those angler fish. We should mess with their biology till they can live here.”

    I mean, that’s not a big stretch at all.

    1. Ah, but we know that didn’t happen because they would’ve had several audio logs and been one of the enemies you fought in the original Bioshock.

      Granted, the audio logs would likely have sounded like a hookah pipe hooked up to an aquarium air pump, but still…

    2. Olly says:

      Indeed, in a game with gene modification for the masses, mind-control, walking death machines in diving suits, and public access resurrection pods it seems a little odd to focus on the depth of the city and the fish one would expect to see…

      1. Mumbles says:

        Oh trust me, I didn’t want to think about it. I was trying very hard NOT to think about it.

        Part of me wants to say Andrew Ryan has more important things to do than genetically modifying fish because they look neat but…

      2. Paul Spooner says:

        The reason is that the fish are one of the only things from “the real world” to make comparisons to. All the stuff you talk about is fictional, and clearly so. But then they put clearly based-on-real-world fish and whales outside the windows. If they had just populated the ocean with a bunch of unreal creatures, one might say, “The splicers got to the fish too!” But as it is one must conclude “Someone forgot to do their homework!” And since this is one of the few things that they used from the real world, it casts an unnaturally long shadow over the cohesion of the entire fictional world.

      3. Humanoid says:

        All they had to do was to put the anglerfish in Big Daddy pressure suits and this wouldn’t have been an issue at all.

    3. Zukhramm says:

      But why even explain it when you can just hit Wikipedia? Sure, it gives you the freedom to choose whatever creature you want, but in the long run, wouldn’t the authenticity impress players more than seeing colorful fish?

  23. Blov says:

    I really feel like the original Bioshock gets a lot more credit than it deserves. The middle twist is great and the environments are beautiful but a lot of the characters are kind of subpar and the gameplay is fundamentally just System Shock for children. A completely linear story and questline overlaid on non-linear but repetitive gameplay without any depth.

    By contrast, I think 2 and especially Infinite were big steps forward in terms of making the Bioshock gameplay, ‘choices’ and story sort of coherent with each other. And, like, giving you focal points in the open environments, and I think Bioshock 2 (apart from not really being at all able to engage with socialism or communism as an ideology) and Infinite had a stronger general cast of characters than Bioshock 1, which was mostly just Andrew Ryan.

    The new DLC, that said, doesn’t really appeal to me.

  24. Adam says:

    Mumbles: “I’m one of the few people who liked Bioshock Infinite; I thought that it was a fun theme-park ride.”

    One of the FEW people? We are talking about the same game, right? The one that ended up on a bunch of people’s GotY lists, and was almost universally praised when it came out?

    1. I think she meant “among the Diecast/Spoiler Warning members.”

      Arguing that something’s great because it got “Game of the Year” somewhere will likely get you directed to the Spoiler Warning series for Fallout 3 (and I like the two latest Fallout games, for the most part).

      1. aldowyn says:

        Or just our corner of the internet in general.

        ‘Fun theme-park ride’ almost sounds like damning with faint praise in regards to Infinite, though.

  25. Paul Spooner says:

    “Games don’t engage with people’s imaginations any more”
    Do agree! In addition to the added cost that cinematic level graphics add to development overhead, they detract from the imagination to the degree that they inform. I’d really like it if there was more effort put into deep simulation and less effort invested in appearances.

    1. Humanoid says:

      RPS earlier this week published an interview with Feargus Urquhart about Obsidian’s next project, where he revealed they were mulling over the idea of letting Chris Avellone loose at making an open-world RPG, with the caveat that they’d be limited to relatively lo-fi Unity-level graphics and extremely limited VA, and how such a beast would be perceived by the broader market.

  26. Gilfareth says:

    @Campster: On the subject of Super Hexagon, I’m Reginald/Korla on Steam and I hope you realize there’s a very good reason everyone made it their goal to beat your scores; for most of us, your name was leaps and bounds above everyone else and to those looking at the high scores you were this sort of evil tyrant that needed overthrowing.

    tl;dr I beat your scores, neener neener.

    1. aldowyn says:

      Josh was egging me on. No joke. I eventually did it, and then beat my own records quite a few times. I’m really aching to find someone to top me, or even get close :/

      … what’s your record on the last level? (212 seconds, I think)

  27. SlothfulCobra says:

    There are species of anglerfish that live in shallower waters, but the writers of Bioshock probably weren’t thinking of those.

    Really, I wouldn’t expect the writers to be any more accurate about marine biology than they are about social structures in Bioshock infinite.

  28. Patrick Johnston says:

    On the idea of role playing in Skyrim it is possible it’s just a little different then in most games. In a game like Fallout New Vegas or Mass effect the role playing takes place inside the quests. You’ll be given a quest and at the end you either assassinate the president or save him, as and example. In games like Skyrim or Oblivion on the other hand you will instead have two seperate quests one in which you assassinate a dude and one in which you save a dude. The role play choice in this case comes from the fact that your character choices which quest to take. The reason this system doesn’t promote role playing as well as games like new vegas is that since the two quest are not exclusive. This means that most people will complete both quests and as such their character feels schizophrenic.
    The point I’m trying to make with my rambling is that in games like mass effect and new vegas it present clear choices in game to help roleplay your character. In Skyrim and Oblivion you instead need to make the conscious decision out of the game that you won’t do certain things that your character wouldn’t do (like making your brute fighter join the mages guild).
    I know that this doesn’t encompase all the problems of role playing in Skyrim but it does hit quite a few.
    P.S. I really enjoyed this diecast. As funny as the usual chaos is the nice orderly discourse showcased on this one was a refreshing. Also I really enjoy having Mumbles back on.

    1. Patrick Johnston says:

      Edit: was a refreshing change of pace. Also if I’m somewhat incoherent it’s because I only got 4 hours of sleep last night.

    2. Humanoid says:

      In Skyrim it’s either do the quest and assassinate the dude, or Tab-terminate the conversation and leave the NPC standing there for the rest of time.

      I do admit that Tab function is totally awesome though, and should be implemented in every game.

  29. Phantos says:

    One thing I appreciated about Sailor Moon, that I don’t see a lot of in other shows I saw growing up was how the villains weren’t permanent. A million episodes of G.I. Joe fighting Cobra Commander gets boring fast. Optimus Prime can only fight Megatron so many times before it gets stale.

    I also liked how at least one season resolved itself with the villains reforming, negating the need for a duel to the death.

  30. Adrian says:


    As a computer programmer with 6 years of software development experience I can safly say that there is no such thing as a bug-free fostware, only a fostware with undiscovered bugs. And this extends to games as well

    1. Zukhramm says:

      I don’t know if I’d go to say there’s no such thing, especially not without some kind of complexity threshold. I can go write you a bug-free String-reverse or Fahrenheit to Celsius converter right now!

      1. Daemian Lucifer says:

        Only if you try to limit it to working properly just on your machine.

  31. Dave says:

    omg mumbles my ears, pls

  32. Andrew_C says:

    “Magical Girls, Lesbians, Tuxedo Mask, Lesbians & Cats” sounds like it should be a song & dance number in “Sailer Moon – The Musical”, a big-budget Broadway musical.

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