Diecast #65: Medal of Honor, Steam Summer Sale, Chef Josh

By Shamus Posted Sunday Jun 29, 2014

Filed under: Diecast 159 comments

This week we wrap up the Steam Summer sale and also share recipes and no that last part isn’t a joke.

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Josh, Shamus, Rutskarn, and Campster.

Show notes:

01:00 Rutskarn has been playing…

Oops, we cut him off for a discussion about Origin vs. Steam vs. GoG.

I’ll admit I’ve been totally unfair to Origin. They’re making modest, incremental progress into the market and as someone who has been publicly hounding them to change, I really ought to at least have the decency to check out their free games.

05:00 Rutskarn has been playing Medal of Honor: Allied Assault and Syndicate.

“Nameless Bob” is now my favorite character name.

20:30 Shamus talks about Typing of the Dead.

What you’ve heard here is true: I do not touch-type. That’s pretty ridiculous for someone who types for a living. It’s like a professional driver not knowing how to operate a manual transmission. At any rate, if you’re looking to learn to touch-type, Typing of the Dead is not a good place to start.

Note the 22 minute mark when I try to explain how long it’s been since I was 15 years old. Nothing will destroy your capacity to perform simple math like making calculations based on your own age. When the left half of your brain offers up the right answer, the right half of your brain will jump in with, “Ridiculous! It can’t possibly have been that long. It’s probably… half that. Yeah. Half-ish.”

33:00 Shamus talks about Magicite.

As I’m doing this write-up, I’ve discovered that Magicite is a Kickstarted game. I should also add that if you’ve got a background with 2D platformers (like if you grew up with the NES, as I’m sure is true of most of the target audience of this game) your experience will likely be very different than mine. If you’re competent with that type of gameplay then I do recommend giving this a look. It’s got tons of charm.

39:00 Shamus is also playing Retro / Grade.

This game is my drug. Much love. Here’s a trailer:

Link (YouTube)

44:00 Josh is playing A Dark Room.

Warning: Spoilers.

48:00 Cooking tacos with Chef Josh!


From The Archives:

159 thoughts on “Diecast #65: Medal of Honor, Steam Summer Sale, Chef Josh

  1. Chamomile says:

    Another Brady typer? I’m beginning to suspect this might be altogether more common than is typically assumed.

    1. ET says:

      Yeeaah! We can still make this word a thing! (Too bad smelly old Mr. Wikipedia deleted the page. :P ) Although technically, I don’t think Shamus counts; He uses more fingers, and actually gets a sort of flow going. :)

      1. Tizzy says:

        I think a better term for it is cop typing. Takes me back to the 1990's, when I had to stop by the station to file a complaint, and had to th the guy meander his way hrough it on a typewriter. He looked like he’d never seen one before, that almost made up for having to be there in th ffirst place.

        It’s funny how they never show you that on TV… Not for lack of cop shows, either!

        1. The Wire turns the antiquated paper forms and terrible typing of its Baltimore homicide detectives into a recurring gag. It’s also one of the greatest television shows—and certainly one of the most realistic cop shows—ever made. These facts may or not be connected.

          1. Tizzy says:

            Glad to hear that. Never seen the show, but even I know that it is in a class of its own, not to be confused with “these cop shows on tv”.

            1. I call it the cure for the common cop show. It was so good, it cured me of any desire to ever watch anything so cartoony as Law & Order: Spin-Off Murder Unit or NCSICISI or whatever it’s called now.

              It’s THAT good.

              1. GiantRaven says:

                The Wire essentially ruined procedural television for me.

                I find it hard to watch anything that revolves around an X of the week structure anymore.

  2. Humanoid says:

    Huh, I guess that qualifies me as a sort of touch-typist – I’ve never checked the strict definition before. But in actuality it’s probably the worst sort of touch-pecking, really. “Home” position would be left pinkie on LShift, right pinkie on the gap between Enter and RShift, and all other fingers just fall where they may. (If I look at my hands doing the positioning consciously, it looks like A S C , ; ‘ but not sure it’s actually like that in practice)

    By and large the only fingers employed are left index, left thumb, right index, right ring, and right pinkie. Exception for LCtrl perhaps: I think I always use LCtrl and RShift for reasons.

    I’m a leftie who uses computers (and scissors) right handed, but no idea how that affects things.

    1. ET says:

      I too, am soft of a half/half touch-/look-typist. I use my trigger finger and thumb on the left hand, and my trigger, middle, and thumb on the right. So…I’m probably the worst typist who still has a comp sci degree. ^^;

      1. Destrustor says:

        I’m basically the opposite; my most active hand is the left one, where I can combo between every finger except thumb and pinkie, while my right hand is just the middle finger being too cool for friends. (sometimes the thumb gets to hit the spacebar, and ring finger handles backspace, but that’s about it.)
        I assume it’s because I’m right-handed, so my right hand usually stays on the mouse; the left one got the most typing practice.

        (Also, typing something while paying close attention to your hands is about as difficult as “trying to walk normally.” Bringing awareness to it makes it all the more difficult to act naturally.)

        1. Phantom Renegade says:

          My left hand is mostly like yours with the pinkie being used for shift and the thumb for space but my left is really weird, mostly index but sometimes the middle-finger comes out to play and the ring finger for enter and backspace.
          Though the fingers go all over the place so it isn't much like touch typing, more like typing without looking at the keyboard.

    2. Eruanno says:

      I’m a leftie too and I learned using mouse/keyboard right-handed because I didn’t realize you could do it the other way around. I also became a touch-typist without realizing it. One day I realized I was looking at my screen rather than at the keyboard. Later I read about what being a touch-typist meant, and… oh! I guess I am one. I thought everyone just typed like that eventually.

      1. Trix2000 says:

        I’M NOT ALONE.

        …Mostly in my case, I didn’t even think about the fact that I was using my computer right-handed until I saw a coworker recently who was also left-handed. He kept leaving the mice on the left side of keyboards which would’ve been annoying had it not been entirely reasonable.

        Apparently I also don’t think much about how I type, considering when I saw this my first thought was ‘I THINK I touch type… but I dunno’ and then proceeded to check by posting a comment.

        1. Humanoid says:

          It also makes me wonder about a couple of things: do natural right handers manoeuvre primarily with their scissors or with the object being cut? And does all this explain why I’m the worst at shooters?

          1. Thomas says:

            Oh, do left handers find it harder to use controllers in games? They normally map the camera to the right stick which is the more important and sensitive of the two controls.

            I wonder if there’s options to invert those settings

            1. Humanoid says:

              Gamepads probably not such a big deal, thinking more about the precision of the mouse hand. For non-shooters it’s even arguable they might favour lefties, plus for the Wiimote-nunchuk combo, hands are generally interchangeable. It’s even argued that a keyboard in itself favours lefties due to relative key placement. But I definitely feel awkward using joysticks for example, but a left-handed HOTAS setup isn’t really a viable option.

          2. No idea about the shooter thing, but cutting it depends. If it’s a complicated or intricate cut, I’m likely to move the scissors more than the object, but in general it’s a mix of moving both scissors and object (and I just made a bunch of paper snowflakes figuring this out).

            (Very strongly right-handed)

            1. Humanoid says:

              Heh, just doing the snowflake test, I absolutely do hold my right-handed scissors still, blades facing forward (and apparently holding my right hand against my stomach for stability), while the left hand does all the precision work. It’s so natural to me that I hadn’t really thought about it until fairly recently.

              For less precise work, say just cutting a piece of cardboard in half so it can fit in the bin, I probably would have the right hand assist more. So again it’s the opposite, the more intricate the job, the more important it is for me to hold the scissors absolutely still.

    3. BeardedDork says:

      WASD have become my home keys, with my right hand somewhere hovering nearish my number pad.

      1. Jeff says:

        Do we count as FPS-typists? That’s also pretty much where my left hand defaults to.

  3. Paul Spooner says:

    So, I’m curious Shamus (and Josh, etc) as someone who types a lot, but doesn’t touch type, what’s your WPM? How much does your odd style actually actually slow you down?

    I touch type reasonably well (at around 70-80 wpm (thanks to Mario Teaches Typing)), though I know professional typists go significantly faster. In any case, I suspect that raw typing speed isn’t really the most important thing when producing text content anyway (unless you’re just doing transcriptions all day). It’s more important to be able to quickly organize thoughts, and confidently put them down without needing to edit too much.

    I know a few people who won’t write because they “can’t type fast” and it would be cool to be able to point them to some examples of people who do this all the time, and have sub-professional typing abilities, but don’t let it hold them back.

    1. Shamus says:

      I just timed it. I did 27 words in 30 seconds. Obviously a longer test would be more accurate, but this should be enough for a good ballpark figure. It suggests I type somewhere in the neighborhood of 50WPM. .

      But like you said, I’m not sure I’d be able to put the speed to use. I’m composing as I go, and I probably type about as fast as I can put words together in my head, and I often need to stop and get a thought organized in my head before I can proceed. Even if I miraculously gained the ability to type 100WPM, I’m not sure I’d actually work all that much faster. I still need to finish composing the words in my head. It’s like having a plane arrive 20 minutes early: It doesn’t help if you have a layover. The next plane still leaves at the same time. You just get to wait longer.

      I seriously doubt typing speed helps coding at all. C++ is a mess of mixed case, hard-to-reach symbols, and odd line spacing. I’ll bet I spend more time traversing and reading code than writing it.

      Also, while playing Typing of the Dead I noticed the backs of my arms getting sore. I’m not used to the home row position, and my habits and muscles have all developed around my screwball style. Changing to proper typing might mean an uncomfortable adjustment period. I might need to change chair height, keyboard angle, or drawer positioning to avoid carpal tunnel syndrome. I might discover new aches after a few days and have to experiment to figure out the best positioning.

      So it’s entirely possible that it’s not a good use of my time to play a morally repugnant and terribly designed videogame to teach myself a skill that I don’t need and might might hurt me, just so I can increase the time I spend waiting for my brain to finish thinking.

      But hey, it was super-cheap on Steam, and that’s what really matters. :)

      1. Ranneko says:

        Well at least typing fast can improve your writing. Apparently it lets you pin down thoughts before they get away.

        That said, you apparently already type fast enough to do that, since the transition point is apparently about 20-25WPM.

        So guess we are back to you playing a badly designed game to learn a skill you may not need at the cost of pain and effort. Hooray! =)

        1. Thearpox says:

          I don’t think that the experiments the article lists actually prove anything.

          OF COURSE the children typing wrote more coherently than those who wrote by hand. You’ve got a limited time assignment, and in a school setting, the quality always improves with extra time. The subject is simple, or at least doesn’t require deep thought, and you’re just making something to be graded well. It doesn’t mean that the children had trouble remembering what they were writing. It’s just… timed assignment = speed matters.

          But even if they were having trouble remembering stuff… here’s the thing: it is a school setting. You’ve got no emotional or intellectual attachment to the subject, and you’re definitely not doing research before writing the paper. So even if you’re having trouble forgetting what you were going to write, I’d venture you probably wouldn’t if you were making an actual blog post.

      2. I owe my touch typing skills to being raised on Infocom games, pretty much. It really served me well, and it came as a total surprise one day when I realized I was typing without looking down at the keys.

        1. Ranneko says:

          I did a variety of touch typing training programs as a child but never quite managed to get away from needing to look at the keyboard.

          Then I started playing a MUD, and I quickly stopped needing to look. Guess I just needed a game that provided a different kind of time and accuracy requirement than those specifically intended to teach touch typing to finish off the training.

          1. It’s like Mr. Miyagi’s “wax on, wax off” training. Until you find an application for the instruction that’s actually what you want to do with it, it seems really tedious. :)

      3. If I’d coded Typing of the Dead, I would’ve made one of the zombies Mavis Beacon. You want to talk software personalities that have been around forever, you’re talking Mavis Beacon.

      4. SKD says:

        When I took typing in high school to fill an elective slot I spent the entire class hunting and pecking and still achieved a WPM of 80+ and could occasionally make it into the triple digits. Over the years of playing PC games and frequenting internet forums, chat rooms, etc. I learned to touch type and do so quite well until I start thinking about it. It is kind of like playing a musical instrument while reading sheet music. At first you have to concentrate on fingering and breathing until one day you realize you are playing the music in your head instead of thinking about the individual notes and the correct movements to create them. Then you screw up royally because you are thinking about what you are doing instead of letting your subconscious manage everything.

      5. Retsam says:

        I think have a very consistent typing style helps my coding in that I think it reduces my typos. It’s to the point that I can “feel” a typo, so I can often correct my mistypes without even having to look at what I’m typing or really think about it at all.

        Though I’m guessing you could achieve that with any sort of consistent typing style, and not just touch typing.

        (Of course, as I type a comment about typing, I’m oddly conscious of my typing which means I struggled to type a sentence without a ton of problems; it turns out not only can I type without thinking about it, but I can ONLY type without thinking about it)

        1. SKD says:

          I have the same feel for typos, I know when I hit the wrong key and automatically correct it. The biggest PITA for me is moving between slightly differently sized keyboards as the muscle memory I have built up for my preferred keyboard fights my ability to type accurately and I have to glance down at the keyboard every so often to reset the key positions in my mind’s eye.

    2. Humanoid says:

      Similar numbers to Shamus’: have never tested it before, but the first test on Google (typeonline.co.uk) gave me 61wpm with two mistakes for the paragraph they presented.

      I don’t know what the actual method you’re supposed to work with is though. If I make a mistake and know it, do I just keep going or correct it? In this case I backtracked if I absolutely knew that I had made a mistake (I’d estimate about a half dozen times), but did not check the actual output at all since I was looking at the source paragraph full time. I mean, typing something like this comment (which I’m doing on a convertible tablet, so much slower than the full size keyboard I did the test on) I can see the output live, which is a much different experience than relying on instinct whether I had transcribed it right.

      1. Paul Spooner says:

        Yeah, I always make four or five mistakes on those tests. When I’m actually typing to communicate, I rarely let the mistakes go, since I’m looking at what I’m writing, instead of the source material.
        The fastest I actually produce text is when I’m transcribing audio recordings, and even then about a quarter of the time is spent listening to the audio, and a quarter switching back and forth between programs, so it’s only 40wpm at absolute maximum. Plus I’m usually editing the audio at the same time, so it’s even slower than that in reality.

        Still, I would say that faster typing speed is better. Like with the airport analogy, it’s a lot more comfortable to sit in the airport terminal than in those cramped chairs on the plane. Is it worth a ton of effort and pain? Maybe not? But I’d be surprised if there weren’t some gains to be had.

        1. Alexander The 1st says:

          I’d argue it’s a lot less comfortable sitting in the airport terminal than in the cramped chairs on the plane – namely because you can get stuck in reading or sleeping on a plane and be confident you won’t miss your transfer. At the airport, you have to make sure you don’t spend whatever time relaxing you do so much so that you’re late for your next plane.

          Plus, at cruising altitude of the plane you can get up and go to the washroom if you need to, not to mention standing up for a break.

          To bring the metaphor back to writing – I personally find it a lot more irksome when I’m staring at what I’ve written trying to think about what next to write. I always try to get past that part of “What should I write next?” and get right back into “This is what I want to write.”.

          EDIT: For the record, copy/paste on this test gave me a WPM of 2812.

      2. Grudgeal says:

        Personally, I tend to re-read all my stuff before I post it so I only backtrack on the most blatant errors.

        Also, I didn’t know what my typing speed was either. Apparently I reach 65 wpm using only my pointer fingers for typing. Go figure.

        1. A possible name for typing using a “wrong” method could be called Buddy Holly Typing.

          From what I remember, the correct way to play a guitar is to strum up and down with your pick, but Holly skipped the up part. He’d just strum down, lift the pick over the strings, down, over, down, etc. He had to work twice as hard to achieve a similar sound to others, but he’s famous when loads of other guitarists aren’t, so…

          1. Grudgeal says:

            I doubt his fame had much to do with his particular strumming style. Or perhaps this does apply and the *real* reason Hemingway got famous was because he typed all his novels on a typewriter using only his pinkie.

            1. syal says:

              I was going to comment on Bob Dylan’s singing. But the point stands; it not about how you do it, it’s about what you do with it.

      3. Thomas says:

        I got 76wpm with two mistakes. I’m a terribly inaccurate typer, if I didn’t make mistakes I could probably improve my speed, as it is I feel like I need to correct at least a word every sentence.

        I use my index and middle finger on my left hand with the fourth finger very occasionally and the Left finger does shift. On my right hand I use the index finger, the middle finger and I use the thumb for the spacebar. For some of the punctuation I’ve been in the habit of using my fourth and fifth finger, but it’s not consistent and punctuation I’m the worst at because it’s in completely different places on German and English keyboards which I’m always switching between.

        I don’t think I even consistently use the same fingers for the same punctuation. And just typing this I’ve used three different fingers for backspace.

        I like the feeling of typing fast without using all your fingers though, because your hand moves around a lot more and it’s fun to feel your hand doing lots of jumps and contortions without your brain consciously planning it and at speeds you probably couldn’t implement even if you did plan it. Its the same sort of feeling as playing the piano.

        1. Thomas says:

          Wow, I think there’s been a huge inflation on typing speed as we’ve become a more digital society. I’m finding all these 5-10 years old sites which talk about how 40 is average and 65-75+ is godlike. But then when I look in more recent places it seems like 40 is now acceptable, 65-75 is good and 90-100+ is fast.

          (EDIT: Personally, 75 is faster than I can think. Maybe there needs to be a test for thoughts-per-minute)

          1. Rick C says:

            That’s interesting. I learned to touch-type in high school in the mid-80s. I’m pretty sure that 75 or so would have been considered only adequate for someone who was going to do a lot of typing, like a secretary.

            I typed 100 wpm with 5 errors on that test and I wouldn’t consider myself a speed demon.

        2. Trix2000 says:

          That is frighteningly close to my results – 75WPM with two mistakes. **Shakes fist** I’ll get you next time!

      4. Eruanno says:

        I just did a typing test just to see what I’d get and I got about 85-90 WPM over doing a couple of tests (and I’m a touch-typist). I know that I absolutely don’t type that fast normally because I have to stop and think about what I’m typing, not to mention mistakes, re-thinking a sentence, etc. etc.

      5. Jeff says:

        I got 77 WPM with no mistakes, though I did have to tap backspace a few times to retype parts of words.

        I think if you can tell you made a typo, you should tap backspace and correct it, otherwise you don’t proof-read while typing and just keep going.

        Playing MUDs, then P&P RPGs on IRC, then chatting on MMOs has really improved my ability to touch type.

    3. silver Harloe says:

      People who hear me type think I type super fast. What they don’t realize is how many of those keypresses are ‘backspace’. I only look at the keyboard when I type something awkward and my hands get ‘off’ and I start hitting my words “one letter to the left” or something – then I reposition and go back to typing about 7 out of 10 characters the way I wanted to.

      1. Rick C says:

        Most of the time I can feel typos.

    4. AncientSpark says:

      Yeah, typing speed isn’t exactly a measure of quality. Despite not holding a professional typing job, I can do 100 WPM when I go all out (such as on a typing test; I just measured it to make sure and did 103 WPM with one mistake), but I literally cannot think a single bit when I’m typing that fast; it’s mostly reflex and muscle memory by that point and it takes so much brain processing power that it’s basically useless. With me typing out coherent thoughts, I’m probably more like 60-70 WPM.

      1. Rutskarn says:

        Same. I’m at 90wpm when I’m copying text, but that’s a pretty terrible way to, you know, do much of anything.

        1. Eruanno says:

          I remember doing a typing test in school at some point where they gave us a two page long text of some sort and told us to type it into a Word document. I was done much, much quicker than everyone else, but if you’d asked me what I just typed I probably couldn’t answer. I just read the words and my fingers danced across the keyboard, mind completely switched off.

          1. Hitch says:

            That used to be the primary skill of a properly trained typist. The ability to transcribe a document exactly without regard for what it said. Thinking about what you were typing was a severe detriment to doing your job correctly. That was because having someone retype a document was the best way to get a copy of it. Now with word processors and photocopiers, that’s archaic.

            1. Humanoid says:

              It’s a problem when I go through that procedure, except omitting the ‘typing’ part. In speech, people talk about the difference between hearing and listening, so I guess it’s a form of that.

              There’s also the usual thing where people zone out or microsleep while driving. Well, I don’t drive, but I think I’m capable of doing the same while cycling, which is probably even more dangerous.

    5. Tizzy says:

      Paul: Touch typing was recommended on a science blog I read one time, and I was extremely dismissive for the same reasons: in explaining scientific arguments, or in writing out code to churn out new results, it seems that the bottleneck is hardly the typing speed.

      But then, I’ve had the chance to sit in classes next to frightfully smart, frightfully fast typists, and feeling inadequate. And then, I ran across this old article that gave me reason to think some more.


      I didn’t do anything about it, except humiliate myself on the suggested link

      And the jury is still out on whether the people who impress me the most simply have brains that work that much faster than mine. (You may be able to tell that I am very slow and deliberate in my word choice and sentence construction.)


  4. McNutcase says:

    I only recently learned to touch-type. Twenty years of regular computer use, including holding down two data entry gigs (and keeping a reputation for speed at both of those gigs) and I just a couple months ago got out of the bad habits. Learning SUCKED, my speed and accuracy plummeted while I was retraining, but it was worth it in the end. Cheap, too; less than a hundred bucks at my local adult ed place, for 45 hours of classroom teaching.

    Not that I’m saying you should, Shamus, just know that the option really is open even now.

    As for the game… it’s revelling in its stupidity. Turn the gain on your brain down to minimum, and just have fun with the weird combo of overacting and complete lack of acting. You can also switch it to a shooter, but to be honest the shooter mechanics are terrible.

    1. Paul Spooner says:

      Interesting! I rarely hear of people who change their typing style during adulthood. Do you have any metrics on your productivity before/after that you wouldn’t mind sharing? Even ancedotal evidence would be interesting.

      1. McNutcase says:

        No real metrics, but I was struggling to reach 35wpm while looking, and tested out of the class with 35wpm while feeling I was taking it easy. I knocked off a roughly 3k word short story in about 3 hours shortly before taking the class, but that’s composition and is brain-limited, rather than typing speed limited. Haven’t written anything that long since the class, I was doing rewrites on the story to get it ready for publication. Now that it’s accepted and the contracts signed, I’ll be doing some more writing for myself.

  5. Paul Spooner says:

    “A Dark Room” feels a lot like that Halloween candy game that went around last year (or was it the year before?). It, too, was all based on timers and a gradually expanding world, though there were some twitch elements too IIRC. Basically this genre seems to fall somewhere between a choose-your-own adventure book, an RPG, and a really good tutorial. I wish most games had tutorials that built from the basics this elegantly, though perhaps eliminating the timers so that it didn’t take as long.

    1. Ithilanor says:

      If you’re thinking about Candy Box, it was explicitly inspired by that.

  6. phill says:

    On the subject of uplay, I got a free version of assassins creed 3 (courtesy of a stack of vouchers with graphics cards at work). Uplay was bad enough that after three attempts to install and run the game I gave up. Yup UbiSoft, uplay managed to be so bad that I wouldn’t (couldn’t) even play a free game using it.

  7. Thomas says:

    One of the features that Origin has that I really love is an option to get it to auto-shutdown as soon as you stop playing a game. Steam would earn some rep with me if they did that.

  8. Chamomile says:

    “This is a video game podcast”

    No, Campster, this is a two dudes talking podcast. Or technically 3-5 dudes talking. The draw of these kinds of podcasts is having lots of people with interesting things to say talking about the things that interest them. Some kind of vague unifying theme like “let’s talk about what we’ve been playing this week” is helpful to prevent the show from just devolving into the hosts not knowing what to talk about, but you don’t really need a unified point. The show hosts collection of mutual interests is itself the unified point, regardless of what those interests are or how much they vary. That’s how the two dudes talking genre works.

    1. Aitch says:

      Hear, hear!

      Also, something I like is the rotating host position as it shows off the differences in that person’s hosting style while giving a slightly different feel for tone and format. Each is flawed in their own fantastic way, and it keeps things just unpredictable enough.

      And one thing I don’t understand is the hour cutoff. Like I get everyone has lives and probably don’t want to blow an inordinate amount of time on it, but the format doesn’t lend itself to time constraints – there’s no commercial break, no show is coming on afterwards, and this week Chris didn’t even get to his part of the show. (maybe it’s awkward for him without the question lead in? the world may never know.)

      Either way, for me it’s always a bright spot in the bleak stretch between Sunday night and Monday morning. My infinite gratitude goes out to them.

      1. Humanoid says:

        It’s recorded back-to-back with Spoiler Warning, which would be up to a couple hours in itself, so there are pretty significant time constraints fitting it all in on one night.

      2. Chris says:

        The hour long format is sort of arbitrary, but it’s served us well – the longer we go on the more Shamus has to manually edit the audio, and our super sized hour-and-a-half episodes tend to be some of the more structureless, rambling, nonsensical ones.

        That said, I think the bigger problem with the show is the host-by-host approach? The issue with cutting across the four-five of us and asking what each of us has been playing this week is that you tend to get a 50/50 ratio of “Interesting conversation where we all talk about our experiences with that game” and “Twenty minutes of one dude/dudette talkin’ bout a thing while everyone sits in silence.” It’s actually the reason I didn’t go this week – most of the games I’d been playing were small obscurities or XBox One titles that none of the rest of the crew had played, and I knew it’d be one of those things where I’d prattle on aimlessly to no one explaining the core tenets of what the game is instead of having an enlightening conversation with friends about it. To me the length of the show isn’t an issue so much as the ability to spur discourse. This week is actually one of the better ones for it – we’d all played Medal of Honor and we all dig Steam Sales and what not – but some weeks it can feel like a round robin of “People explaining a video game.”

        1. The Rocketeer says:

          Does it seem like most things on this website can be described as, “not perfect, but trying to control it more would ruin what it is?”

        2. MichaelGC says:

          I know what you mean, but speaking personally, the ’round robin’ weeks are just as entertaining! (To listen to, anyway – I can see why they might be less fun to record.)

        3. Steve C says:

          I like the hosts trading off. Some are more carefree and others tyrannical. I like the change-up in style and the king-for-a-day/fool-for-a-day dynamic. The rough edges are amusing.

          I also like it when you use more proper nouns vs pronouns for titles like in this Diecast. Call of Duty and Medal of Honor were said many times. That’s a good thing. Another might say the name of a completely unknown indie title once in 30mins. I listen to the podcast while doing other stuff and I don’t necessarily listen to it all at once. I often miss the name of whatever it is you are talking about. So also try not to mumble the names (Josh/Rutskarn looking at you.)

          As for explaining a game, that’s ok too. IMO you do less explaining than you probably think since Errant Signal isn’t explaining at all but intellectual analysis. It’s a different unit on the measuring stick.

          1. Cuthalion says:

            I’m late to the party, but this. THIS.

            I’m always like, “Wait, this sounds interesting. What game are they talking about?” Twenty minutes later the title has not been mentioned again, and they’ve moved on. I then have to rewind and try to figure out where the title was said.

            This happens on lots of podcasts, not just this one. I love this one, but do wish this repeating of the game name happened more often.

        4. Tizzy says:

          I think having a reasonably predictable length is also a draw for listeners. This way, we can reliably budget a certain time in the week to listen to the show.

  9. Neko says:

    I’m a self-taught touch typist; at one point I just decided I really should be able to keep my eyes on the screen. I don’t do the “home row” or anything like that; the formal touch-typing lessons rub me the wrong way. My hands are slightly shifted further right than I think “proper” touch typing encourages; I type a Y with my left hand, and I think that’s “supposed” to be for the right. I attribute this to typing exclusively with 108-key PC keyboards, where there are a bunch of useful symbol and control keys further to the right.

  10. Thomas says:

    One of the things I’d like to see a game try now we’ve got a hardware bump, is being a ‘battalion simulator’. Tons and tons of NPCs on the screen to make it feel like you’re part of an active war effort instead of a lone wolf.

    To give the player agency, you make the flow of the battlefield very obvious and then you put places and units that very much control it. So you should be able to see that a machine gun nest is keeping everyone down and wiping your unit out and so you need to take it out (with assistance) to allow other people to take out other positions etc. Star Wars Battlefront was sort of similar but I think if anything there’s been less focus on NPCs actually doing things (instead of playing guide) since then.

    ….. I haven’t played a military shooter in a _long_ time and I’ve lost a lot of that normality, which makes talking/thinking about them, surprisingly icky.

    1. Ithilanor says:

      I’d definitely like to see some more modern takes on wargames like that.

    2. Bloodsquirrel says:

      The problem is that you need to find a balance between having the soldiers on your side being useless and them being able to win the game for you, and it’s a non-trivial problem. Make the balance between the two sides too fine and the player will be able to shift the whole thing in his direction with minimal difficulty. Make it too stacked against the player and the whole thing can collapse and leave him fighting the enemy single-handedly because he just wasn’t fast enough in shifting the balance.

      COD2 was pretty good at having the feel of being one of a bunch of dudes fighting a lot of the time, although if you had it on a high difficulty level and were repeating sections the illusion could wear thin. There were a lot of smoke and mirrors there.

  11. Triggerhappy938 says:

    Rutskarn is a Homestuck?

    1. Rutskarn says:

      No, that’s ridiculous. If I’d been reading Homestuck since day one, then I’d be sitting here going crazy because jeez fuckity Hussie HOW LONG CAN FINISHING ONE SIMPLE POSTMODERN EPIC TAKE GOSH

      1. Triggerhappy938 says:

        It is comforting every time I encounter someone over the age of 18 who reads Homestuck. I get this reassurance that I’m not the only one!

        1. Trix2000 says:

          I always assumed most of them were. Though I am curious what the actual demographics are.

          1. Thomas says:

            The alexa page for MS Paint Adventures says it’s proportionately super high on people who are in college, it’s a little above internet average for people who completed college and below average on people who’ve completed graduate school.

            Unfortunately Alexa demographicing sucks these days so it doesn’t contain much useful information for free users. I thought they used to give age banding?

        2. evileeyore says:

          But didn’t all you … Homestuck fans start reading before you were 18 and it’s taking forever for the author to finish?

          I know I feel that way about Sluggy Freelance sometimes… (though I started that when I was 22).

  12. Neil W says:

    I think Josh is mixing up Vegemite (Australian) and Marmite (British).

    I hope I don’t have to explain why this is a bad idea.

    1. McNutcase says:

      If he’s eating either, he’s well into bad ideas central.

  13. Csirke says:

    Roguelike mechanics can’t work well with platforming? It’s hard to imagine that you guys haven’t heard of Spelunky, it’s been quite popular, but if you haven’t I recommend it wholeheartedly.

    Now that’s a game with an extremely long learning curve. Steam says I’ve played 147 hours (my highest on steam by far), and so far I have 9 of the 20 achievements, and haven’t managed to win even once (I’ve gotten really close twice).

    1. Ilseroth says:

      I daresay that it isn’t the concept of blending roguelike with platforming, but rather he is having issues with traditional RPG mechanics in a roguelike which is then explicitly *negated* due to the platforming.

      It would be as though you spent a solid few hours in an MMO leveling up, then the next quest you took required you to play a first person shooter level. You may even specifically like first person shooters, but you just invested time in an RPG and to have the game negate the effort you put forward is frustrating, especially with permadeath.

    2. GiantRaven says:

      Also, Rogue Legacy. Though I remember nobody on the Diecast seemed to like that one very much.

    3. wererogue says:

      I also had a tough time hearing that without anybody bringing up Spelunky to defend roguelike-like platformers.

  14. Joe Informatico says:

    I was still primarily a console gamer in the late 90s/early 2000s, so my first exposure to the Medal of Honor series was the very first two PlayStation 1 releases (Medal of Honor and MOH: Underground). And they were also trying to systemize scenes from films, but in those cases they were trying to channel the WWII spy thrillers and “squad on a mission” films popular in the 1960s and 70s, like The Dirty Dozen, Where Eagles Dare, and The Guns of Navarone. So there was a gloss of seriousness to the presentation, and some real history presented slickly in documentary format on the game disc.

    But the missions themselves dipped into goofy, Indiana Jones territory, especially by the second game. One mission had you infiltrating Wewelsburg, the creepy castle the SS were using as their HQ, to retrieve the Knife of Abraham, while SS goons in the plate armour of the Teutonic Knights would charge you with swords. And there were missions where a Nazi mad scientist had created bipedal dog soldiers and automatons made to look like nutcracker dolls. Just nuts.

    Then they released Medal of Honor: Frontline on PS2 a few months after Allied Assault, basically to be the single-player console version of AA, since both incorporated the Normandy landings straight out of Saving Private Ryan. Only in Frontline, that inclusion annoyed me, because it made no narrative sense. The previous games already established the protagonist, Jimmy Patterson, as an OSS commando and intelligence agent, a qualified transport pilot, with a background in engineering and fluency in German. Why would you put this guy in with the other grunts storming the beaches? Shouldn’t he have parachuted in behind enemy lines weeks ago to do reconnaissance, map the area, coordinate with local resistance, or sabotage important enemy infrastructure? Because that’s exactly what you do after the first mission. The only purpose of the Normandy mission was to use Saving Private Ryan as marketing for the game.

  15. Wide And Nerdy says:

    Z-Type is a pretty good typing game. As a slow typer I can keep up on normal so its got a good entry level.

    1. syal says:

      …I thought I was a lot faster than this.

      1. Wide And Nerdy says:

        I don’t think that game is the best judge of typing speed just because of the way the words trickle in. But it is good for making you a faster typist.

  16. Wide and Nerdy says:

    I love the Steam sales. Second year participating and since I’m still playing catch-up I got a lot of older triple A titles for five bucks each (got fallout nv ultimate edition for 6.75.

    As for Origin, I’d rather buy a game on steam than get one free on origin ifI can help it . My experiences on Origin have been so much worse than steam. but free games are a step in the right direction I guess.

    1. Thomas says:

      From what I’m hearing, the technical issues and bugs are quickly going down too and the quality of the features is going up. I can’t speak to that well because I never had bugs in the first place and my ideal system has as few ‘features’ as possible and instead just gets out of my way (which Origin is good at. It feels quicker to start-up than Steam and can auto-turn itself off)

      Apart from usage cases outside my experience, I’d say the worst thing about Origin at the moment is they haven’t figured out what they want to do with DLC yet and they’ve tried out a few different systems meaning it’s kind of fractured at the moment. Steam is much more efficient at DLC.

      1. Wide And Nerdy says:

        DLC is exactly where my problems have been. Any time I’ve had to reinstall Dragon Age Origins the DLC shows up but doesn’t verify. I have to redownload a Bioware patch from the Bioware website that should be part of the install. And this is the Ultimate Edition. I also once had problems reactivating my games after moving them between drives.

        I have 12 times as many games through Steam as through Origins and I still haven’t had as many problems. I’ve been tempted to repurchase my Origins games through Steam. The downside is I’d be giving EA more money for their incompetence.

        1. Henson says:

          This process used to be just as bad on Steam. When I bought the DA:O Ultimate Edition, the DLC had to be activated on Bioware’s site. So I would have to register an account on Bioware’s website. And in order to register with Bioware, I would have to register with EA. Or something like that. It was really convoluted and stupid. I can’t believe I would have had to go through such a long, unnecessary process to access content I’ve already paid for.

          And then, one day, I started playing and found a completely new set of armor in my inventory. My DLC became valid for some reason I’m not quite sure, and it’s never been a problem since. Maybe Valve was teed off with EA removing DA2 from their service.

          1. Wide And Nerdy says:

            I guess I benefit from being a latecomer. But Steam has always been a smooth experience for me. Now I wouldn’t dream of buying PC games on disc. Thats just one more thing for me to lose or break (and I’m bad about that so I’ll put up with some crap from digital services to avoid it).

            Origin isn’t THAT bad most of the time. At least it lets me redownload as much as I want. There are just some bugs with certain games (I’m never going to uninstall DAO again if I can help it). Hopefully DA3 won’t haven the same problems because thats the last game I’m on the hook for to EA.

        2. Eruanno says:

          BioWare DLC on PC is a pain in the ass in general. I have to go to Origin, buy BioWare points and use those points to buy DLC? WAIT WHAT. ARGH.

          Also the DLC is never ever on sale. Ever. Nor are the points.

      2. Lisa says:

        Just having a look and it seems their pricing is also becoming more sane. When I first started looking I was able to find new (in Australia!) titles on the shelf for a quarter of what they were asking on Origin.
        I have no idea if there were bugs then because I gave up very quickly at that point.

    2. Humanoid says:

      Nowadays I just lump Steam, Origin and Uplay (technically, but I haven’t had occasion to actually buy anything from it) into on general entity called “only purchase as absolute last resort”. And I’ve stuck to that pretty firmly, I purchased nothing from the sale just gone, and indeed have not purchased anything directly from Steam all year.

      Generally speaking I will buy in the following priority:
      1) Direct from developer website
      2) GOG, Humble Store
      3) Authorised key resellers like GreenManGaming, GamersGate, Amazon, GameFly, Nuuvem
      4) Somewhat greyer key resellers
      5) Steam/Origin/Uplay, only if game is absolutely unavailable anywhere else. Just being cheaper is not a good enough reason.

      For the first couple sources, I’m happy to pay a modest premium to the purchase price for access. Otherwise I’ll just wait it out until the resellers have the same price as the cheapest option.

      1. Thomas says:

        Out of interest, what’s your motivation to prioritise key sellers higher? Is it about monopolising or something else?

        1. Humanoid says:

          More or less, yeah, a statement about how I dislike their business practices. It’s probably also a slightly futile hope that it’d somehow meaningfully, if at all, cut into their profits, given that it’s the same total cost to me but more fingers in that pie.

          I mean most gamers would probably lynch me for this, but I’d really like to see Valve go out of business (I don’t care about any of the games they’ve developed), to see if they hold to their promise to liberate my Steam games in the event of that occurring.

  17. Daemian Lucifer says:

    Oh yeah,dark room.I should probably finish that.Though I dont know if I should go from the last save,or start from scratch.

    EDIT:Shamoose,maybe you should check your forum more often.Specifically,the video games part.Because some time back kanodin has recommended it to everyone there:

  18. Daemian Lucifer says:

    I think the key to making a fast food like food is:You mustnt use meat.Hairs,feathers,feet,various garbage are all acceptable.Thats why Ill never learn how to make genuine fast food stuff,because the meat I use is 100% meaty.

  19. MadTinkerer says:

    “I really ought to at least have the decency to check out their free games.”

    They ought to have the decency to change the name of Origin to something that doesn’t make me angry.

    1. Daemian Lucifer says:

      If thats really your biggest gripe with origin,I so envy you.

  20. I think it was a website called “Top Secret Recipes” that pioneered the whole “let’s figure out how to make fast food and other processed goodies.”

    The trouble often is that these things are made with machines that can do a whole lot of annoying and/or difficult things that make it not worth it for a person to do in their own kitchen. My wife likes Chili’s Southwest Egg Rolls, and I found a recipe online, but it took hours of prep time and so many ingredients that just reading it seemed like more work than going and buying some from Chili’s to go.

    As for fries, McDonald’s has the best fries of most national chains. That said, I loves me some steak fries or accordion-cut fries. My least favorite fries have to be the ones from Steak & Shake: They’re like heated up shoestring potatoes that go from hot to cold in about 15 seconds.

    1. Hal says:

      Another part of the problem in replicating processed foods is that many of them use chemical agents that are really useful for mass production, but wouldn’t show up in a grocery store. (Although some people would say that avoiding those is the entire point.)

      I vehemently disagree with you about Steak’n’Shake fries; Moses descended from Mt. Sinai with two stone tablets and an order of Steak’n’Shake cheese fries.

      Unfortunately, the surface area is what makes them great for coating in liquid cheese and terrible for heat retention.

      1. evileeyore says:

        “I vehemently disagree with you about Steak'n’Shake fries; Moses descended from Mt. Sinai with two stone tablets and an order of Steak'n’Shake cheese fries.”

        You have obviously never tried McDonald’s fries with some cheesy sauce.

        Also the secret to American McDonald’s Fries is that they are coated in beef grease as part of the fabrication process. So if you want to make awesome homefies, use beef lard in your fryer (or pan if you’re pan frying them).

        1. evileeyore says:

          Okay I’ve heard Josh’ description of McDonald’s Fry creation process and he was absolutely correct except for one small part:

          After the freezing process they are lightly coated in beef lard for flavoring.

          This comes from waaaaaay back in the day beef lard was used as the oil in deep fryers. When they switched to vegetable oil the flavor changed (they taste more like cardboard than not) so they experimented with different processes and hit upon they way they do it now.

          Note: This is only for America’s fries, everywhere else McDonald’s fries have no beef lard to cater to the larger Hindu and non-beef eating populations.

          1. evileeyore says:

            And now I hate youse guys (Josh especially) ’cause I’m really hard core cravin on some McDonald’s fries with lots and lots of salt.

            And it’s midnight and our McD’s all close at 11pm.

            1. Where on Earth do you live? Most towns/cities now have at least one McD’s drive-thru that stays open 24/7.

    2. ET says:

      What about A&W fries, or New York Fries’ fries? Those are a lot better if you want potatoes as the majority taste, instead of maximizing grease/salt! :)

      1. A&W has been dying for years. I think the only one near me is fused with a Taco Bell or something.

        Also, I’ve never heard of New York Fries, which might not be a surprise as I live in Missouri. Are they a national chain but skipped our area?

        1. syal says:

          New York Fries, famous for their Comedy Central Roasts.

      2. Hang on, am I seeing this right? New York Fries’ closest location to New York is in CANADA?

        Dogs and cats, mass hysteria, etc.

    3. Gravebound says:

      And Bender already gave away KFC’s secret recipe:

      “Chicken, grease, salt.”

    4. rofltehcat says:

      What is it with fries? Don’t get me wrong, I like them.
      But I still think Schupfnudeln (“a type of thick noodles made of potatoes, flour and eggs” [normally eaten roasted in a pan]) and Bratklà¶àŸe (pan-roasted potato dumpling slices) are vastly superior in taste. Plus they also have some crunchy parts when made the right way.
      Although I guess being able to eat it with your fingers is part of it. But even then that still works for Bratklà¶àŸe and non-McDonals-style fries like potato wedges or thicker fries… the McDonalds-style fries just always look kinda sad to me with their (after 5 minutes) drooping heads. And they taste like they look.

      Luckily, even bad fries are tasty because the combination of roast aromas, starch, grease and salt simply does that. There are still better alternatives, though.

    5. Humanoid says:

      I’ve always wanted to try one of those air fryer doodads, y’know the ones that Philips and Tefal make. But on the other hand it always gives me pause when I think “it’s $200 for a machine to fry chips and absolutely nothing else”.

      1. I’ve never heard of those before. The closest thing I’ve seen is the infamous “Fry Daddy” that I see at garage sales and given as gifts at some weddings I’ve attended.

        1. Humanoid says:

          Something like this which I guess is principally a convection device, yeah.

      2. Daemian Lucifer says:

        Dont know about where you are,but in my country there are hot air ovens that cook practically everything(though liquid stuff can be messy if you fill it above half the container,because of turbulence).Im using one for about 15 years one(well ok,not the same one,the old one broke a couple years back),and the price on them went down from about 400€ to about 150€,which is nice.Its a great thing because it has slashed my oil and salt intake considerably(just a teaspoon of oil for a plate of fries!).

        Though there are some drawbacks in that it cant cook a meal for more than 4 people in one go,and the problem with cooking liquids,and the timer goes only to 60 minutes,so for anything longer(like a roast)you have to be present during the cooking.

        1. You mean a convection oven?

          1. Daemian Lucifer says:

            So thats what theyre called?Yes,thats the one.

      3. evileeyore says:

        Dude I love my FryDaddy for tater-tots.

  21. ET says:

    So, does anyone have thoughts on the use of the term “roguelike”? Me personally, I reserve the word for stuff like Nethack/SLASH’EM, or even stuff like IVAN*. Like The Cynical Brit, I prefer the term “rogue-lite” for games like Spelunky, Rogue Legacy, or Risk Of Rain. Like, sure, those games have some form of perma-death, and RNG, but I think a true roguelike also needs to be turn-based, and on a tile-based map. :)

    * IVAN is a (no longer updated :C ) super-duper hard roguelike. Like, the author of the game’s mission statement was something like “If you’ve found a way to beat the game, I’ll patch it out in the next update.”

    1. Unlike what used to be called “Doom clones,” the vast majority of people who play games today have no real conception of what Rogue was, so roguelike has become a generic term, and there’s no real pressure to adopt a more generic signifier like FPS. “Roguelite” can also come across as unreasonably purist or elitist, a bit like insisting that an adventure game can’t be called that unless it features a brass lantern and a maze of twisty passages, all alike.

      Words change meaning over time, and jargon does so even faster. Sometimes useful distinctions are lost in new contexts. I started to describe the use of old-school nomenclature as the sign of a graybeard, then immediately realized that to the majority of people reading this blog, that invokes a boring quest-giver in Skyrim and not a UNIX wizard. This irritates me slightly, but if communication is the goal, one has to adapt.

      1. ET says:

        OK, I’m willing to let language evolve. However, I have to ask, what is the point of labelling a game “rogue-something” if, as you say, most people have no idea what Rogue is? You’d have to explain that the label (roguelike or roguelite) means “has random monsters, dungeons, perma-death…”. If you’re already using descriptors like “has perma-death”, etc, why not just use those descriptors directly?

        1. Daemian Lucifer says:

          Convenience.Sure,it would be more accurate to label mass effect as a “Third person video game with some cover elements,character progression,three man squad and customizable weapons,set in fictional future with some dialogue options”,but saying “Sf third person arpg” conveys roughly the same thing in less words.Kids today may not know what rogue is,but they know that roguelike/lite involves rng and lots of dying and starting all over again.

        2. I agree that the term roguelike is inelegant and imprecise jargon—we don’t call Bioshock Infinite a doomlike. But the term came from people whose frame of reference for a certain cluster of mechanics was in fact Rogue. Compare Shamus’ referring to “Robotron” controls in a discussion with Mumbles a few episodes back rather than, say, “tank controls.” In the interests of continuing the conversation about a game he hasn’t played, Shamus’ brain applied a heuristic, and pattern-matched what was being described to him to a game he’s played.

          As long as the genre was deeply niche and fragmented, there simply hasn’t been the need for a better, non-referential term, and newbies just learned more or less what it meant from context, without particularly caring about the origin. How many people, even in the games industry, really know or care why using the interact key is occasionally referred to as “frobbing,” or where syntactic variables like “foo,” “bar,” and “baz” come from? The “rogue” in “roguelike” is, at this point, not a reference to a specific game but shorthand for a rough cluster of concepts. It’s folksonomy, not taxonomy.

          Now that games exploring mechanics people first toyed with in Rogue-like games have exploded in recent years, to the point that “procedurally generated, with permadeath and light role-playing elements” is almost a punchline, I do hope that a better umbrella term emerges. But, IMO, rogue-lite isn’t that term. :-)

        3. BeardedDork says:

          I had to Google the term Roguelike when I first heard it anyway. I never played Rogue, but I have played FTL, Don’t Starve, Rogue Legacy, The Binding of Isaac and others. I understand that they have similarities to a game I never played, and I can see in what ways they are similar to eachother, but I’m certainly not going to quibble over how like a game I’ve never played they are. When I see a Roguelike I know roughly what to expect from it. Also they are “Roguelikes”, they are similar, if they were intended to be exactly like Rogue then they would probably just be called “Rogue”.

        4. Thomas says:

          The way roguelike is used now, is purely a descriptor of a genre (which like all genres is a hazy blurry mess of features and expectations that still manage to give people a convenient way to describe things to each other).

          If Rogue had been more mainstream we might have ended up with a different word for this genre, but as it’s not we’ve avoided the same as with ‘GTA-clone’ where people think of GTA first and the genre second. With Roguelike people think of the genre first and then maybe if they’re well informed, think of Rogue. It’s more like a word root than anything else.

          1. Wide And Nerdy says:

            Part of it is that video games have evolved so fast and are still so young. Genres keep changing.

            As for this specific term. I thought from context (and from DnD experience) that “rogue-like” simply meant a game where you had to be sneaky and clever and didn’t bother to look it up till eventually some article mentioned it in an unexpected context and I learned about the game “Rogue”

  22. Gravebound says:

    I was always disappointed as a child when I ran across a Galaxian machine instead of a Galaga.

    Joust is another game that people don’t mention often enough. There used to be a Taco Bueno where I lived that had Joust, Frogger and Blasteroids machines. I would play them every time we ate there…I kinda’ miss random locations having their own arcade machines.

    1. ET says:

      I assume it’s possible to build arcade machines, which could hold dozens of games, since ten years ago, there were machines holding 4-5 at once. Having more games, i assume, would make it more likely that somebody coming in to buy foodstuffs would find one or more games fun. Is there just not enough people willing to play arcade machines, to make this feasible?

      1. venatus says:

        they already do that http://www.xgaming.com/

        though those are aimed more at individuals that just really want an arcade cabinet in their house.

        as for multi game cabinets at restaurants and the like, well this is just a guess based on the area I live which isn’t particularly well populated but I just don’t think the arcade market is what it used to be. last time I went to an arcade almost every game had a unique control system that would exclude multi-game cabinets and the cabinets at restaurants all seem really really old.

        I think restaurants are looking for something fairly cheap and arcades need something flashy and unique to draw attention.

  23. Canthros says:

    I touch type Dvorak. On a blank keyboard. Bow before me!

    (Well, I use a blank keyboard at work. At home, I’m using some cheap Saitek thing until the point when I remember to get a USB adapter so I can go back to using a trusty, old IBM Model M, like God intended. Or feel not-cheap enough to buy another Das Keyboard. Because clackety clackety.)

    I also have some Japanese IME garbage installed at home, and this mostly means I bump into every PC game’s bad or buggy keyboard handling, at some point.

    1. Wide And Nerdy says:

      That you put that in spoilered text amused me. Its like if Zod snuck off to a closet in the basement and whispered “Kneel before Zod.”

      Dvorak sounds awesome. I’d probably try to learn it but I don’t want to be the guy in the office asking for special keyboards. I need to save my office capital for software.

      1. Canthros says:

        The nice thing about touch-typing is that it doesn’t matter so much what’s printed on the keys, really, though the all-blank keyboard has forced me to get better about it.

        I’m a keyboard snob and like my buckling springs or mechanical keyswitches, but I can’t say that Dvorak typing has bought me anything much besides a smidgen of geek cred (debatable). I’ve heard it may have some benefits if you have RSI problems, but I’m not sure I believe that. I really only stick with it because I’m too lazy to change back, now.

        I usually remap the Caps Lock key to an extra Control key, too.

        I guess what I’m saying is that I’m a keyboard hipster. Yeah, I touch-type Dvorak. You probably haven’t heard of it. (I guess the real keymap hipsters are probably using COLEMAK or something even more obscure, now.)


        I bought the keyboard, myself. It’s mine, and I’ll take it with me to the next job. I used to keep an office-supplied keyboard around in case somebody else needed to use the machine for something, and I keep QWERTY in the Windows language bar for the same reason: I am not cruel to the desktop support folks.

        1. Wide and Nerdy says:

          Dvorak definitely earns you geek cred, and I don’t associate the learning of a functional skill, no matter how obscure, with any kind of hipster. In my mind hipster are obsessed with style and trends, which are frivolous pointless things to me.

    2. I type on a half-blank keyboard. Use has worn the letters off of a lot of the keys.

      1. Canthros says:

        I don’t think I’ve used a computer keyboard long enough to wear the printing on the keys away without it first becoming kaput for some other reason.

        1. I’ve had really good luck with this one. It’s a Dell multimedia keyboard with 2 USB ports built in, lots of programmable keys, etc.

          What stinks is I found a broken one at a yard sale and thought I could replace a bunch of the worn keys. It turns out Dell (at some point) made a keyboard with exactly the same specs apart the tabs/holes that hold the keys on. :(

  24. The Snide Sniper says:

    I found something odd when I tried a typing game. When touch-typing naturally, I never look at the keys. During the game, there was an irresistible urge to look at the keyboard.

    I suspect that it was a combination of having to handle mistakes differently (I usually detect mistakes by feel and and correct by pressing backspace). In-game, this doesn’t work.

    I’ve also got a different default hand position for natural touch-typing after all the video games I played and the programming I’ve done, with fingers on S, D, T, H, K, L, ;, Shift, and space. Trying to use the standard “home row” idea dramatically decreases speed and accuracy.

  25. hborrgg says:

    I thought the secret to McDonald’s fries is that they coat them in sugar before frying them.

    1. evileeyore says:

      No it’s beef lard… and I’m guessing that’s revealed in the podcast and I just haven’t gotten to it…

  26. Spammy says:

    I did take typing courses in grade school so I guess I do touch type. I don’t look down at my keys at least. Forefingers are on F and J and the rest of my fingers fall down the line on that row. I can wind up really confused sometimes if I plop a hand down on my keyboard and my fingers don’t find their proper positions. Then again I also slouch in my chair and type with my keyboard in my lap so I’m sure that my typing teachers and people who deal in ergonomics have beeves to pick with me anyway.

    I liked A Dark Room, but not enough to finish it. I think a better way to describe A Dark Room would be using Cookie Clicker as the base for a richer game. You start off clicking, and click and click and click until you can buy the things that let you not click and instead wait, and you wait to gather resources so you can go exploring. In hindsight I still think the reveals are a little cheap, the reason any of it has surprise is that they never tell you anything. It’s like reading a story told in first-person where the narrator offers nothing about themselves and then at the end you’re supposed to be surprised the narrator is a woman. Or a dog. Or an alien. Or a dragon. Or something not what you assumed. But you’re shocked, right?

  27. The thing about war (foot soldiers) is that not that many die from fire from other foot soldiers, there is a huge ratio between misses and hits, more often that not the enemy gets seriously wounded when hit (which can be fatal out in the field with limited medical support).

    Most of the time if you where to hear weapons fire in the distance it is either blind fire or suppression fire or covering fire which may be used for moving the attackers closer or for retreating or for repositioning or for distraction.

    If you ever hear silence and then suddenly a few isolated but very close together shots then silence again then those are probably all kill shots and you’d better hope that whomever is left standing is on your side, assuming you are headed in that direction or not that is.

    So every time I see games where you are fighting waves of enemies seems weird, I’m not saying I’d like to see realism, considering the player is usually a bullet sponge that would be a very bad thing.

    What I’m saying is that normally (if you can call war that) there is a lot of walking around, then you think you hear or see something, if it’s not false alarm then you decide what to do based on the mission.

    You do not attack the enemy if the mission calls for recon mission, or a sabotage mission or a retrieval mission.
    The less the enemy are aware you are there, the better, if a dozen enemy soldiers vanish then somebody will notice at some point, and you might just have screwed up any future ops in area, or potentially lost the entire area as the enemy re-enforce the defenses there.

    Even if your goal is simply to cause carnage, the deeper into enemy territory you can get the higher value targets you will find.

    One thing these games do get right are choke points or key areas, like a bridge or road or a tunnel or a fort or a airstrip or a harbor or a railroad, whomever control such areas tend to be able to control the surrounding area and any supply routes going through them and will potentially have a huge impact on the war machine for your side. Power plants and dams or certain factories are also high value targets.

    There are no true wars any more, there are political coups, there are terrorism, there are territory disputes, but no wars.

    You would know a true war at the moment it happen. Typical signs would be:
    Loss of the power grid completely or partially, loss of the communications grid completely or partly, loss of water/food supplies either completely or partly, loss of mass transports either completely or partially.

    With the population cut off from power/communication/water/food almost any civilization will collapse instantly. Riots, marshal law, splitting of land/territories, dissension, you name it.

    Most video games about war is usually about the romanticized view or war, or the hero worship of a side or groups or individuals.

    With the new wolfenstein game the world went to hell in a handbasket (!), but it still had the feel of a entertaining WW2 shooter but it also retained some of the darker sides of war, the stuff you know is there but pretend they really are not.
    So a game about fictional war in a fictional history is a better WW2 games than erm, WW2 games, go figure.

    Also, did anyone else notice that in Wolfenstein enemies would sometimes appear behind you, while in most shooters you basically get N enemies thrown at you, you eliminate them (aka clear the level) then move to the next.
    In the new wolfenstein it’s possible to “miss” enemies and still continue, in a lot of other shooters over the years I’ve seen issues like hunting for that 1 single enemy somewhere, stuck behind a knee high wall (oh the double/triple irony) or fallen through the geometry (had that happen at least in one game) thus requiring you do reload a save game erm checkpoint.

    Maybe it would be more correct to say that WW2 shooters are a genre in itself rather than reflective that part of history they are (supposed) to represent, in that case “WW2 Shooters” makes more sense at least, they never where intended to be documentary (though they attempt to give off that impression at times as Rutskarn pointed out in the podcast).

    1. Daemian Lucifer says:

      The original call of duty was a pretty decent WWII game,because there was a lot of suppression fire in that game.The rest,not so much.

    2. Isaac says:

      The funny thing is that “WW2 shooters” usually only focus on one front or theatre of the war and I think that’s why we got burnt out by them by the mid 2000s. These shooters would usually be set in the European theatre (mainly 1944 France or the Eastern Front) even though theatres like the one in North Africa or Burma existed.

    3. Bloodsquirrel says:

      “You would know a true war at the moment it happen. Typical signs would be:
      Loss of the power grid completely or partially, loss of the communications grid completely or partly, loss of water/food supplies either completely or partly, loss of mass transports either completely or partially.”

      Dude, do some googling about Ukraine right now. They’re having plenty of shortages.

      Just because you’re not experiencing those things personally doesn’t mean that they’re not happening around the world (You do realize that the continental US didn’t actually get hit at any point in WWII, right? Someone sitting at home in the US wouldn’t have been suffering from any power outages).

  28. James says:

    Speaking about “fries” as you people call it,

    1. Chinese Fried Chips (its normal Chips large thick POTATO not corn starch covered in suger) are the bomb as they are often fried in duck fat or goose fat.

    2. Any Fish and Chip shop

    2.5 Home Cooked chips if cooked by me

    3. I personally like Burger King “fries”

    4. Any others

    1. Burger King “fries” were the first I encountered that tasted like they were coated with something. I haven’t tried their newer ones that look accordion-cut.

  29. Scratch says:

    Shamus, have you tried Cataclysm DDA? It’s still in beta (what isn’t these days?) but it’s an interesting roguelike zombie post-apocalypse simulator with a strong survivalism bent. There’s no designated win-state, so you can just keep fortifying, exploring, and killing zombies endlessly à  la Minecraft if you want.

    Didn’t scratch my particular itch long enough to stick with for more than a few months (unlike ADOM, which I’ve been playing for years), but I wonder if it might appeal to you more.

  30. Nidokoenig says:

    I remember making fries a few years ago using the recipe from Anthony Bourdain’s Les Halles cookbook, and they were superb. What you do, you blanche them in oil on a low heat(about 140C) until they become slightly transluscent, take them out and spread them on kitchen paper to soak up excess oil, get the rest of the meal together, then right at the end throw them in oil at a high heat to crisp them up right before serving. There was also a thing about soaking them in salt water beforehand or something along those lines, but they were great without that palaver. So basically what I’m saying is the McDonalds method seems to be a sensible way to make fries, adapted for mass production.

  31. Ithilanor says:

    Am I the only one who imagines A Dark Room being narrated by the guy from Bastion?

  32. Mormegil says:

    How is this comment thread not full of people talking about how awesome Syndicate is? So many happy memories of having the entire city following me around after having hit everything with the persuadertron.

    Rutskarn, you need to embrace the ammo wastage. Just have all 4 guys carrying multiple miniguns and you’ll generally never run out of ammo. Atlantic Accelerator is a cow though – enemy agents with gauss guns and no convenient wall of civilians to soak damage.

  33. General Karthos says:

    GOG has been amazing for me. I’ve been able to play Red Baron 3D and Master of Orion II (even if it is the crappy DOS version of the latter) for the first time in many years. Many of the games of my childhood are available on GoG and finally working on OSX (had to use Wine for Red Baron 3D, but still….)

    And they don’t have DRM on their games, though DRM on Macs doesn’t seem to be as huge an issue as it is for PC users for whatever reason. (Or maybe I just don’t notice or care as much as I ought to.)

  34. Bloodsquirrel says:

    Wait, there are people who consider Medal of Honor to have been better than CoD 1-2?

    I remember Medal of Honor being widely criticized for pumping out tons of half-baked sequels. It was pretty much the series that made everyone sick of WWII.

  35. Dezhnyov says:

    Good podcast as usual.
    I hope next week you talk about valiant hearts: the great war.

  36. MetalSeagull says:

    You don’t hear Tempest mentioned much. There were many games from the early 80s that I loved playing, even if I was terrible at them. And I wasn’t that good at most of them, but I was damn good at Tempest.

  37. Psy says:

    WWII has made a come back with multiplayer games like Red Orchestra.

  38. wererogue says:

    Galaga’s not exactly forgotten – this just wrapped up:

    (and it’s excellent and you should read it)

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