Diecast #80: Gotham, John Wick, The Fall, Overwatch

By Shamus
on Nov 10, 2014
Filed under:
Diecast

I have two pieces of exciting news for you! The first is that Mumbles is on this week! The second is that Rutskarn isn’t!


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Hosts: Chris, Josh, Shamus, and Galaxy Gun.

Show notes:

00:30 Jim Sterling poked fun at Slaughtering Grounds.

Spoiler: The developer responded poorly.

10:00 Mumbles discusses Gotham.

19:00 Mumbles discusses John Wick.

The truth is that I go to see combat-oriented movies for the same reason other people go to the ballet: I love to see talented and athletic artists and inventive choreography. (If you’re curious, my favorite right now is IP Man with Donnie Yen. I’ve lost count of how many times I’ve watched that movie. My favorite bit is the first fight. Nothing deadly. They aren’t trying to kill or even hurt each other. It’s just a really fun exchange that weaves character development into the fight itself.)

31:00 Josh is playing The Fall.

Just so you know, when people talk about “The Swapper”, it’s impossible for me to not hear “This Whopper”. Which I imagine would be a very different kind of game.

36:00 Ubisoft games vanished from Steam. Then returned.

Ubisoft sucks. Uplay sucks.

41:00 Star Wars Episode VII: The Force Awakens

I think we forget all about Star Wars in this segment for a bit and go on a tangent where we discover that everyone on the show is an oldest child.

49:00 GTA V for PC and new-gen consoles will have a first-person mode.

53:00 Destiny 2 is in development.

Here is a spoiler-free synopsis of the plot that is truly amazing…


Link (YouTube)

1:02:00 Blizzard announces Overwatch.

For all you Gragon Age 3 players, here is Mumbles Twitter, which she mentioned in the show.

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From the Archives:

  1. Vect says:

    I really loved John Wick as well. The worldbuilding was cool in how it felt really “Show, not Tell” how assassins in the settings do business. You don’t get this massive expodump about this world, the film just gives the audience enough hints to pick up on how things work. I also loved how they made it clear that John Wick as a character was treated as a legitimate threat by the villains rather than just some random asshole that the villain mocks.

    I really liked how fast yet precise the action was. It really sold the idea that these were professional assassins and not simply thugs for hire.

    • ET says:

      Ditto on the world-building. Good to know Hollywood is still producing some people, who know how to give the audience knowledge about their worlds, in a fun way, and not in a I-will-read-this-exposition-like-a-boring-dictionary-or-encyclopedia way. :)

    • Tizzy says:

      I just watched the trailer, and did not find it particularly encouraging. The movie looks like it’s taking itself waaaay too seriously given what it has to offer. The whole vengeance motif is so cliché, it makes me sad. A dog in the fridge, now. What next?

      • The trailer is designed to bring in a mass audience. The actual movie is frequently quite funny, and lampshades the hell out of its “they stole my car and killed my dog” premise. The wrongs done to John Wick are a pretext for stylized violence (both within the fiction of the film and outside of it), and the fight choreography is really quite good.

        • Tizzy says:

          Now you make me feel a lot better. I almost added a disclaimer in my original post to say that trailers don’t always reflect the movie they sell.

          Which is another thing to be upset about, btw. I know that the trailer is out of the hands of the people who actually made the movie, so I’m not blaming them. But what is the big idea in trying to advertise something which is not the product that you’re actually selling, OK, movie goers cannot really ask for a refund, but how is deceiving your audience good in the long run?

          • The first and most important goal of any trailer is awareness: to let the public know “hey, this thing exists.” Building your campaign around the idea that Keanu Reeves—formerly one of the largest action stars in the world—is “back,” is the most effective argument a modestly-budgeted movie that tests well with genre audiences can make.

            The current consensus, backed by market research, is that most people respond better to a movie when they recognize its most distinctive moments from the trailer. (It’s not just cynicism that makes them put all the best jokes in comedy trailers, and spoil the twists for thrillers; it’s the unholy alliance of advertising and psychology.)

            The problem that John Wick in particular has is that its most effective moments aren’t well-suited for trailers. Technical execution, deadpan humor and overall “style” are hard to sell in a narrative trailer. Most of this movie’s “cool moments” are either too bloody to put on television, or consist of long takes which completely lose their effectiveness when cut to the pace of a modern trailer.

    • evileeyore says:

      When I first saw Mumbles was talking about John Wick I thought Shamus meant this John Wick… and was thinking she had murdered him.

  2. Thomas Westergaard says:

    Re choreographed action movies, watch The Raid: Redemption (2011) and The Raid 2: Berandal (2014) for some grueling yet beautiful fight scenes.

    • ET says:

      Also Oldboy (2003). So good! Apparently it’s part 2 of a trilogy, but it was so entertaining, that I didn’t realize this until well after I had seen the movie, and was reading about it on TV Tropes. Sooo good! :D

      • The “vengeance trilogy” is at least partly marketing, akin to the way three different Clint Eastwood spaghetti Westerns were sold to American audiences as the “Man With No Name” trilogy. The movies are connected thematically—the human cost of violence and revenge—but the storylines are completely unconnected.

        • Daemian Lucifer says:

          Or like the cornetto trilogy.

          But I wouldnt call odlboy a martial arts movie.Yeah its a great movie,disturbing as hell,but it has just one fight scene.Its a powerful scene,but its nothing compared to the raids when it comes to fighting.

  3. Nick says:

    I’ve also been enjoying Gotham, Galaxy Grumbles – Penguin’s been especially good and I loved the balloon man goofiness

  4. Thomas says:

    I do get the idea of Sterling’s thing being a bit mean-spirited, especially since making a game is hard and even making a terrible game is actually a really big achievement.

    But on the other hand it’s also kind of terrible that someone might spend $10 of their money on a game where you can’t even pick up money properly.

    On the upside, if Jim ever did find a game that’s pretty enjoyable, I’m sure he would say so. I disagree with Chris’ ‘Let it find it’s audience’, because that also sort of means that you’re avoiding telling people a game is terrible until a certain number of people have spent money on it. A game can’t find it’s audience without youtube, unless a lot of people plonk money on it and find it’s not for them.

    If you look at the review section for Slaughtering Grounds, there are plenty of reviews of the game, which just say ‘this game sucks’ and they’ve played it for twenty minutes. That’s $10 for 20 minutes of non-entertainment.

    • Wolle says:

      Sterling occasionally gives praise to a good game. The latest being Depth

    • Dave B. says:

      Is it weird that whenever Jim Sterling talks about another developer reacting poorly to a bad review, I get Where Have All the Flowers Gone stuck in my head?

    • ET says:

      I too, disagree with Chris on letting the game “find it’s audience”. If there truly is a section of the gaming public who enjoys playing games like this – like in a MST3K kind of way – then a video like Jim’s is actually good for them, since it shows off how bad the game is, which would be their reason to play. People who don’t enjoy playing bad games, on the other hand, benefit from his video, by not spending their hard-earned money, on a product they won’t enjoy. That is to say, the audience needs tools (reviews, videos, etc) to find the game, not the other way around. :)

      • Zak McKracken says:

        The problem is that Jim’s approach to the game is very superficial, and thus the only exposure it got is from some guy who probably missed a few things that someone who paid attention would not have missed (thus having a better experience.
        I think his original video might have made for nice playtesting. But as it stands, it can’t really claim to be constructive critique.
        Now, I think there’s a difference between poking fun at EA’s latest and poking fun at some indie developer’s efforts. The former can be expected to have spent loads of money on design, playtesting and marketing and thus has had a fair chance at making a good game, and has control over much of the public exposure. Also it’s large group of people half of whom probably didn’t quite agree with how the game turned out anyway. The latter didn’t have the means to do all this, and if you’re poking fun at the game you’re poking fun at the guy who made it.
        That doesn’t make the game any better, and it doesn’t absolve the developer from having to react gracefully to critique (could and should have used that to improve the game!) but it’s definitely not the same as for a big company, and I can understand why the guy flipped out.

  5. SpiderDave says:

    Oh man, history of western animation. For the most part it was pretty good in the theatre age when the shorts aired before films; this is your Merrie Melodies, Popeye, Silly Symphonies, and all that. When it moved to TV around the 50s is when it got crappy. Animation costs a heck of a lot to make, so that’s why you have all the repeated backgrounds and reused character cells- this is called planned animation, fyi. Flintstones in particular IS very important; it was the first animation ever aired in prime-time, and was very like other sitcoms at the time.

    If you think the Yogis, Scoobys, and Jetsons of the world are bad, you really should see all the spin-offs from the 70’s with the same animation. 70’s and 80’s is really where animation for television was at its worst. This is also the era of annoying sidekicks: Scrappy-Doo is of course the most famous example, but a personal favourite of mine is Bat-mite. He’s Batman’s magical fanboy who appears in “The New Adventures of Batman,” the Batman show with no violence in it thanks to children’s censorship boards.

    Late 80’s/early 90’s is definitely when it started picking up again.

    • Joe Informatico says:

      The post-war era is also when Hanna-Barbera started outsourcing most animation production to Mexican studios to meet the demands of regular TV programming. Today, traditional cell animation is mostly outsourced to Korean studios.

    • Mike S. says:

      Though Bat-Mite comes from the comics. (First appearance in 1959!) Back in the early Silver Age, practically every DC hero got some sort of diminutive imp. They were probably riffs on Superman’s Mr. Mxyzptlk, who’d debuted even further back in the Golden Age (as Mr. Mxyztplk).

      There was a great funny one-shot a few years back in which Mxyzptlk and Bat-Mite wound up in an escalating contest to prove “their” hero superior, ultimately laying waste to worlds. (Superman and Batman: World’s Funnest)

      And while I’m no more a fan of Scrappy-Doo than anyone of the appropriate age, the story of his creation by Mark Evanier, “Scrappy Days”, is well worth reading: http://www.newsfromme.com/writings/scrappy-days/ Both for the specifics, and for the general atmosphere that created all those cheap, cut-rate cartoons of the period, some beloved (like the original Scooby-Doo), some less so.

      (Evanier still doesn’t know why Scrappy was so particularly hated– or even quite believe it. But even Jove nods– Evanier is responsible for so much good work over the decades that this particular blind spot is more than forgivable.)

  6. Daemian Lucifer says:

    Yay Mumbles!

  7. Sacae says:

    I love hearing Mumbles, she reminds me of myself among my gamer friends.

  8. Daemian Lucifer says:

    I disagree with Campster.If we are allowed to make fun of AAA games just as they hit the sales(heck,we do it even before,sometimes while they are in the early stages of development),we are allowed to make fun of indie games just as much.Big or small,if you open your product to the market,you deserve the market to respond to it any way it feels like.

    • Alex says:

      I was thinking something similar recently, about a different hobby of mine. There’s a guy who makes proper high impact polystyrene miniatures in his garage, and if he was just posting this to the modelling & painting forum, it would be easy to praise him for this accomplishment alone. But because he wants to sell them, the admirable achievement is overshadowed by the fact that they aren’t good enough that I’d want to buy them. I’m more inclined to pull my punches than if a real company released the same product, but I don’t feel comfortable praising them either.

    • Retsam says:

      Oh sure, you’re “allowed” to make fun of Indie games whenever and however you want; that’s doesn’t mean someone can’t disapprove of the practice and think less of someone for engaging in it. “Allowed” and “deserve” have nothing to do with it.

      • CrazyYarick says:

        See the problem is that if you put your product into the market it gets the same reaction as any other product. There is nothing wrong with releasing a first impressions style review/critiques of these games or any other games. For instance, Pyrodactyl makes small budget indie games and they are judged on the same scale as any other product. A concession is made because of the price point at which they release, but aside from that their product is judged accordingly.

        Jim may seem mean spirited, but I really don’t think he is. He never makes a report of the quality of the game prior to about half way through. He might comment about something being odd or poorly done, but never a report on the quality. At the end of the day though if we really do want quality games to come out of indie developers we need to treat them just as we treat the big boys. This does not mean that lo-fi aesthetics or low production values are to be discouraged. I don’t think Jim ever says anything like that. I think this means though that we don’t pull our punches from someone making a game that feels hobbyist or neglected. Look at Spiderweb games for instance. They look rather bleh and the interface is not the greatest, but there are qualities to those games that make them worthwhile. Even in the assets that are not the greatest strengths of those games you can feel a pride of development. There is nothing in Slaughtering Grounds that feels that way. It feels like content produced at rapid pace with no tuning or refinement. There are tons of other devs on Steam and elsewhere that do the same thing. They slap something together over the course of a few months and call it good, because they are excited to have made something that plays. That is not enough to charge money or to expect to be shielded from criticism.

        This is probably more exposure than these games would have attracted anyways and as such the negative exposure would not harm them(being known for being bad is better than being unknown).

  9. Thomas says:

    The unreleased Ubisoft games still aren’t on the UK version of Steam. Since it’s multiple games, I guess it can’t be some specific copyright licensing thing. Maybe Campster is right and it’s about an agreement they made with a UK game store that Steam doesn’t want to play along with.

    • And once Steam flexed it’s muscles Ubisoft probably threw some extra cash at Steam (possibly negating the UK gamestore deals?).

      Alternatively the UK thing is separate and what really happen was that Ubisoft tried to launch a Ustore and it failed and they had to put the games back on steam.

    • The UK thing is the real story here. And it’s a story at least 3 years in the making (yes, this loss of pre-purchase options was going on in 2011 and now has dozens of examples – many of which, just like the FC4/ACUnity/Crew triple in this case, just fail to appear in the UK Steam store until day of release or even a week after the official release date).

      The reason things like The Crew and Far Cry 4 can’t be put back onto the UK Steam store (despite some coverage of this reporting they were taken down) is because they were never on the UK store for pre-purchase to begin with. This is not some weird new thing, the UK Steam store has a long history of games not arriving with the rest of Europe or the US and being unavailable until very shortly before release or even on release day. So far no publisher or Valve have made an official statement on this occurrence.

      To give some more examples, earlier in the year this lack of a UK pre-purchase option on Steam occurred for Watch Dogs. It’s happened with Deep Silver with Dead Island. It happened with THQ and Homefront and Space Marine. Bethesda have done it in the past with Brink. All games that were specifically not on the UK store at the same time as other regions but later were added. It reached the point where some journalists in the UK started bugging the biggest high-street games retailer, GAME, thinking they may have done deals with publishers to block UK Steam pre-purchases to try and break their monopoly (GAME have a digital store as well as high-street operations).

      Anyone who has ever considered pre-ordering PC games in the UK is used to seeing orange text “This item is currently unavailable in your region” when following a Steam store link and the game being invisible in the UK search. Websites like steamregionalprices.com provide regional prices and today shows:

      The Crew: AU$74.95, US$59.99, UK not available, €49,99, 1299 руб (Russian price).
      Far Cry 4: AU$74.95, US$59.99, UK not available, €59,99, 1299 руб (Russian price).
      Assassin’s Creed Unity: AU$74.95, US$59.99, UK not available, €59,99, 1299 руб (Russian price).

      We’re used to this nonsense but it seems like this information in being lost in the mainstream reporting of this story. Everyone is spinning theories based on the idea that stuff vanished unexpectedly in the UK and then everywhere else but then came back the next day. But the games were never there to be removed from the UK store and the weirdness with 24 hours being taken down globally is just some weirdness (maybe Ubi trying to hide the UK-specific related deal that this is just one example of).

  10. Thomas says:

    The thing about Destiny is that there’s no story, the world design is rubbish and the gameplay is really boring to watch or talk about. But it’s fun to play.

    So there are plenty of Destiny fans who are sitting there, playing the game by themselves right now, it’s just that no-one else wants to know.

    • IFS says:

      I play Destiny with some of my friends every other night or so, it’s a fun game and a nice way for us to hang out when we’re all in different places. I definitely agree that the game is lacking in a number of places but I think they have something they can build off of, which hopefully they manage to do. I am currently not sure of my feelings on Destiny 2 other than I hope they aren’t going to make the game a yearly release and instead try to improve on what they have.

  11. Wilko says:

    In regards to Sterling ripping on a game like Slaughtering Grounds – it’s the audacity of asking U$10 for something that is broken, cheaply produced and essentially unplayable, and just claiming it’s “Early Access”. We need to ask for SOME standard, and Sterling is basically sorting the wheat from the chaff. Sort of. That might be giving him too much credit, but it’s a side effect, at least.

    • Thomas says:

      I definitely think that’s the justification he would give.

      I do think some of his anger at this stuff is a little misplaced though. A lot of these developers are going to be a little delusional. They’ve spent a lot of time and effort on these games, and it makes it hard for them to step back and say ‘this sucks’. They see the good things they have achieved, not the bad things they haven’t. The developer probably genuinely thinks that game is worth $10, not that he’s ripping people off.

      At the same time, that does mean he’s selling a crud game for $10

    • ? says:

      It’s not even on early access. It’s just someone having the gall to say “It’s done, landmines don’t work, ten bucks please”.

      • Retsam says:

        I always finds like “the audacity of asking for X money” arguments a bit odd, as if the existence of this game on the market is somehow offensive. Like, sure if a game is deceptive in it’s marketing and description (a la The War Z), sure that’s one thing. But I see this complaint lobbed way more often than just in cases of actual deception.

        People sometimes make bad games. People sometimes make games with bugs. People sometimes ask more for a game than you’re willing to play or more than you think it’s worth. None of this should offend you it happens; your reaction should be “man, I’m not buying that” not “HOW DARE THEY?!?”. No one’s forcing you to buy it. If you’re not sure if it’s worth your money, then do some research. Or wait. Or whatever.

        • Thomas says:

          It is kind of offensive, if the person is aware the product isn’t worth the money they’re charging for it. In which case they’re hoping to profit off people who are willing to take a chance on an unknown game. Or they’re hoping that the screenshots and description will convince people to buy it who probably won’t like it.

          There exists a consumer expectation that people will be ‘fair’ when pricing their products, ie they’ll price them according to their worth. This is why some products sell better when people make them sound _more_ expensive, because people unconsciously attach worth to it. (This is why luxury products don’t end in .99)

          If you think about it for a moment, I’m certain you do this to. If you go to a supermarket and you see two brands of washing up liquid, one £3 and one £1. You’ll probably try to decide whether quality or price matters to you in this situation. If you decide quality and buy the more expensive one, and then it turns out to be crud, you’ll probably feel cheated.

          I think that’s how it works for most people. I’m pretty sure that’s where people’s offence at seeing someone grossly overcharge for a game stems from.

          • Retsam says:

            Except “the value of a video game” is a *really* nebulous and impossible to define thing. It’s going to vary person to person and game to game. For any game, and for almost any price point, there’s going to be at least someone for whom the game is worth buying at that cost.

            There’s no metric for “the correct” price for a game, this isn’t the sort of case where you can say “the raw material cost X, the labor cost Y, so I’ll sell for X + Y + Z”, there’s no way to empirically measure what a game is worth so the idea that a game should cost “what it’s worth” is just a little silly.

            If I buy something, and I don’t think it’s worth what I paid; yeah, I’m disappointed, but I don’t go rampaging around saying “This price offends me! How dare they charge $6 for this, the supermarket shouldn’t be allowed to carry this brand!”. And an hugely important point where the supermarket analogy breaks down is that a supermarket doesn’t post hundreds of user reviews next to the products they sell; and the supermarket isn’t the internet where you can instantly look up what other people think.

            • Thomas says:

              Well I don’t think “?” or even Jim in his original video were going on a rampage either. In general I think people say “How can they be charging those prices?” and that’s where it ends.

              And sure it is a very subjective thing, but everyone feels like they have a threshold where it’s ‘okay’ they don’t like it and then there’s a standard where they find it hard to believe that anyone would find that value for money. People rarely complain that someone has the gall to charge, say $25 for Bastion, even if they would never be interested in the game.

              Whereas I think the vast majority of people in the world, would find an FPS where you can’t reload ammo properly, with 30 seconds of looping music, no win screen, no next-level screen and where several key mechanics don’t actually work, well I think they wouldn’t consider that worth $10. It’s when their threshold is _so_ overwhelmed that the ‘how dare they’ kind of issues pop up.

              I don’t think we’re trained culturally to really believe that producers should try to get away with anything they can. We believe that it’s not just the responsibility of people to point out shoddy developers trying to shovel shoddy software, but there’s a kind of responsibility of someone whose being paid to provide something, that that something holds up. In videogames, even for $5, we kind of expect the reload button to actually work properly and when someone doesn’t do that and doesn’t seem to feel like they do have a duty to provide that service, it provokes annoyance and sometimes outrage.

              Sure we do have plenty of user reviews to tell us that this is an awful deal (although each user who gives a negative review has lost out on the money they spent), but I don’t think strong consumer rights tools and groups negate responsibility on the produces side. There are sites that review the reliability of plumbers, but I’d still be irritated that there are plumbers who try to get away with not working or putting in substandard materials.

              • Retsam says:

                For clarification, I’m not criticizing Sterling here, and I’m extrapolating from what Wilko and “?” actually said to the attitude that I think is behind those statements. (And I’m deliberately overstating that attitude because well… internet)

                Sure, you can construct an extreme where virtually no-one would be willing to pay that amount for the game (though at that point, you’re getting to the false advertising bit, which I’ve already said is a legitimate point to file grievances); but the fact is, that scenario is contrived, that’s not the reality.

                The reality isn’t “I didn’t like this game, so I did a statistical study and I discovered that a significant population of gamers don’t think this game is worth $10, so I’m going to conclude that this game is overpriced”; it’s FAR more often “Oh man, I didn’t read the reviews before purchasing it, this game isn’t very good, so I’m going to blame you. It’s YOUR fault, game developer, that I wasted my money.”

                > “but there’s a kind of responsibility of someone whose being paid to provide something, that that something holds up.”

                ^ That sentence is so incredibly backwards but it captures the attitude I’m criticizing, because they AREN’T being paid to provide something. You didn’t give this person money and say “make me a video game”. That person went out and put hard effort into trying to make a game, and you chose (of your own free will) to buy it.

                You shouldn’t be outraged that they would have the gall to try to make a living by selling it, even though it’s not as perfect as you’d like it to be. If you don’t like it, don’t buy it. Why does the very act of giving you the opportunity to buy it somehow offend you?

                The producer of a video game has no responsibility to you. They aren’t someone providing you a service; they’re producing a product. You haven’t paid them to provide you a service. They produce a product, you choose whether or not you wish to purchase that product for the price that they’re selling. That’s it.

                • Thomas says:

                  I would be more comfortable with that in a world where no-one had to buy it to find out that it’s crud. That’s not true, in fact because people like Jim don’t review these games, and because not everyone who plays a game reviews it, a couple of hundred people have to buy it and dislike it before that becomes clear.

                  But even without that, I think this is where our opinions irreconcilably diverge. You clearly do have a ‘if they can get away with it, it’s their right to try’ attitude, and whilst I agree that they have a right to try, I do believe responsible pricing is an ethical matter and I have a right to dislike that people don’t do it (and my opinion is presumably shared by some others).

                  I feel like we both explained ourselves well enough, that this must just be two points of view we don’t share?

            • syal says:

              You don’t do that because you aren’t a supermarket critic.

              The value of a game is a simple thing to define; number of hours people spend playing or thinking about the game. If you charge one-sixth of the price of a AAA game, your game needs to hold the player’s attention for one-sixth the time a AAA game does.

              • Retsam says:

                I couldn’t disagree more that “value of game” = “hours spent on it” / “amount paid”, even with the caveat that “hours spent on it” can include time thinking about it. That reduces games to something that’s primary purpose is to merely pass time; rather than something that can enrich our lives in any way other than occupying our time.

                And, it’s just obviously not how we talk about or think about the value of games. Shamus’s top 64 games isn’t “the top games I’ve spent the most time on”. I’ll never put as many hours into Bastion as I have, say, Civ V, but that doesn’t mean I think Civ V is a better game than Bastion.

                • syal says:

                  People think about Bastion long after they stop playing it.

                  The vast majority of the games on Shamus’ list were memorable when they were new, but they are not worth nearly $60 today.

                  Yes, the primary purpose of entertainment media is merely to pass time.

                  • Retsam says:

                    That’s certainly one way of viewing it; but if you think “the primary purpose of entertainment media is merely to pass time” is some universal truth, well, that’s just, like, your opinion, man.

        • Daemian Lucifer says:

          That works up until one point:Deceptive marketing.Flat out lying about features of your product is wrong,even if you ask 1 cent for it.

    • Zak McKracken says:

      I don’t think it’s that. I think it’s a developer who didn’t quite know what they were getting into with this game, spending lots of time on it but not doing as good a job as they thought they were, realizing that their only semi-visible acknowledgement is some dude who just jumped in to find the flaws. I bet some the things that Jim found wrong with the game were just because he didn’t really pay attention.
      … and while the game really isn’t that good, I think there’s a lot more sweat and tears in there than you realize (that’s not EA, that’s some guy who made that!), and thus I agree that it (and any other game) would have deserved to get a proper review out before someone jumps on it Sterling-style.

      • CrazyYarick says:

        Who cares about the blood, sweat, and tears? The only thing that matters is the end product. Ever. For anything. They are not getting a full review probably because reviewers looked at that game and though “meh, why waste my time?” I’m sure “The Room” took quite a bit of effort( and money from what I read), but that doesn’t mean that it was a good movie. Effort does not equal quality. Only quality equals quality.
        While it may be commendable that this person made a game, it is in the same way that my children make artwork. Yeah I’m proud of them and so are they proud of themselves. But they know that if they want the greater public to be proud of them, then they will need to make a better picture.

  12. Benjamin Hilton says:

    The one thing that Mumbles left out of her description of Gotham was that a good half the show is about Jim Gordon trying to be a good man in a place where there are no good men, even the other cops. That is by far my favorite part of the show.

    • harborpirate says:

      I watched the first two episodes and only sorta liked one character. Given that this is isn’t a big concept or heavily plot driven show, all that left was a bunch of violence. So, unfortunately the part of the show that people seem to like was lost on me.

      And whatever Jada Pinkett Smith was doing really bothered me. For some reason I just had an extremely negative reaction to that character. I didn’t like the way the character was acted, written; honestly even the name bugged me.

      Not being a comic book fan, many of the various winks and nods mostly flew over my head.

      As Galaxy Gun mentioned at the end of her rant, it became clear that this show was “not for me”.

  13. Daemian Lucifer says:

    Galaxy Gun,can we have your thoughts on the raid movies?

  14. Daemian Lucifer says:

    I was unsure about gotham,but I gave it a go.And the beginning was lame.Oh look,all this drama is building up,will they get away,will they get hurt,oh my god,whats gonna happen?Except,we know whats gonna happen since these are the major characters in the batman universe.

    But it got better,much better.And penguin is an enjoyable sleeze.

    • Mike S. says:

      In a less target-rich environment, I’d be watching Gotham. But with Arrow, Flash, and even slow-starter Agents of SHIELD providing prime time superhero action, it’s hard for me to fit in yet another. Especially one who’s basic prequel premise means that it’s built to foreshadow more awesomeness than it features– something that hobbled Smallville for years. (Eventually they seem to have decided to let pretty much the entire DC universe other than Superman manifest, which meant that Clark wound up late to his own party.)

      If Gotham manages to stick its landing, I figure I can always go back and catch up later. But Arrow and Flash are basically doing off-brand Batman and Superman adventures, respectively, in addition to their own. Down to the former protecting His City from some of Batman’s villains while the latter runs in circles (sometimes literally) to keep his nosy reporter not-yet-girlfriend from learning his secret identity.

      • Thomas says:

        I love it in Justice League Unlimited when Lex manages to take the Flash’s mask off … and realises he has no idea who that is

        • Mike S. says:

          There’s so much to love in that episode, from its basic underlying joke (that Michael Rosenbaum, who played the Flash in JLU, was playing Luthor in Smallville), to Flash-as-Luthor not washing his hands on the way out of the men’s room “Because I’m evil!”, to the fact that Luthor, being a genius, is so much more effective with the Flash’s powers than the Flash is.

          (The other Flash-centered JLU episode, “Flash and Substance”, is also fantastic, and a primer on how to do a non-grim superhero right.)

  15. Daemian Lucifer says:

    The 80s turtles actually still holds up.In the first season,where they gave a crap about shadows and such.The rest did have pretty spotty animation though.

  16. Muspel says:

    I’d be interested on hearing MumblesGalaxy Gun’s thoughts on the Flash TV show.

    • Mumbles says:

      I get in trouble with my comic book bros when I say this, but I REALLY don’t like the new Flash show. I think it’s booorriing.

      • I’m still going to watch it for now because they’re actually giving The Flash dudes to fight and unveiling little bits of the DCU and all. Still, I do have some problems with it, starting with the acting (It’s pretty uneven) and a few other things:

        1. They’re not being very consistent with the Flash’s powers. Sometimes his clothes burn when he runs, most times they don’t, depending on (it seems) whether or not it’s funny.
        2. He can practically teleport across the city, except, of course, when the bad guys need to get away, in which case, they can with ease.
        3. Star Labs is basically running a secret, unlicensed, and unmonitored prison underneath its facility that it’s going to put metahumans held without any legal proceedings into. I can’t possibly see how that’s going to go wrong…

        • Mike S. says:

          Re 2, I’m not sure it’s possible to handle superhero super-speed other than inconsistently in a way that’s plot-enabling. I’m not opposed to the attempt to treat speed in a more purely science-fictional way, but I suspect the result wouldn’t look much like the Flash. He’d either be too slow, and thus unable to do most of the cool Flash tricks, or so fast that every episode would be over before the credits.

          And 3 is obviously being set up to bite them in the end, probably with a big finale prison break/villain team-up. It’s still not something a hero should really be doing (though there’s of course precedent for superheroes acting as extralegal jailers with the Phantom Zone, etc.) But given that the one who had the idea is explicitly fine with doing bad things to put Barry’s life on a certain track, I’m willing to go with it.

  17. Guildenstern says:

    So I guess Mumbles will disbowel me for this, but I had to stop watching Gotham *specifically* because of Jada Pinkett Smith’s acting. Maybe its gotten better since I left it behind but man oh man in those first few episodes her delivery literally made me cringe.

    And I know, it’s part of that “over the top” style that Mumbles was talking about (at least I sure as heck hope it is and Pinkett-Smith wasn’t unintentionally horrible) but this seems to be a tone problem with the rest of the show. If Fish is going to be absurdly colorful then it doesn’t really work to have the cops and mobsters and whatnot all be run of the mill archetypes. One second it’s wacky fun, then it’s police procedural, then it’s forced romance sub plots and the show just doesn’t seem to have a great idea of what it wants to be, is the way it came off to me in the first few episodes.

    Again, maybe it’s gotten better but it lost me real quick out of the gate.

  18. Cinebeast says:

    I’m surprised to hear Mum — err, Galaxy Gun likes Gotham. I only watched the premiere, but as far as I could see, it broke itself within the first few minutes. Maybe my expectations were too high or too specific or something, but by pulling all these villains and side characters back in time so they meet the age required by the writers, aren’t they completely screwing up any sense of continuity?

    I didn’t think such a thing would bother me, but it kept me from enjoying the first episode, and I don’t think I can watch any more of it.

    • Mumbles says:

      Honestly, as a comic book fan you can’t get caught up on continuity. There are MANY different versions of Gotham already in existence. The important thing is can they get the themes and the characterizations right.

      • And if one is a real stickler for continuity, either the comic company or the fans will give the show it’s own “Alternate Earth Number” or something. :)

        • Mike S. says:

          Marvel seems more likely than DC to do that, for whatever reason. (Though since I haven’t been keeping up with the post-New 52 books, maybe DC has started.)

          But I think most fans will give adaptations into other media a lot more interpretive leeway, since they’re obviously not part of the same story as the comics. (Note that no one ever worries about continuity even in the comics if a story is explicitly set apart– “imaginary story”, “Elseworlds”, “What if?”, “Assistant Editors’ Month”, etc.) At that point, it’s just a question of whether they’re keeping what’s essential to the character.

          Which is, of course, a whole other argument in itself, fought with more or less fervor depending on the adaptation. :-)

    • Daemian Lucifer says:

      The premiere was not a good episode.It gets better later on though,when the focus shifts from the false drama into more interesting directions(the penguin is a mobster,yo).

  19. Anonymous says:

    Welcome back Mumbles.

  20. Ithilanor says:

    No discussion of the ridiculous superweapons of the Star Wars EU is complete without the hilarious self-deprecatory comment in Destiny’s Way. When an Imperial commander says that the Empire would have been able to deal with a galaxy-threatening invasion currently destroying the Republic, Han Solo replies:

    “That’s not what The Empire would have done, Commander. What the Empire would have done was build a super-colossal Yuuzhan Vong-killing battle machine. They would have called it the Nova Colossus or the Galaxy Destructor or the Nostril of Palpatine or something equally grandiose. They would have spent billions of credits, employed thousands of contractors and subcontractors, and equipped it with the latest in death-dealing technology. And you know what would have happened? It wouldn’t have worked. They’d forget to bolt down a metal plate over an access hatch leading to the main reactors, or some other mistake, and a hotshot enemy pilot would drop a bomb down there and blow the whole thing up. Now that’s what the Empire would have done.”

  21. qosiejfr oiq qp says:

    I’m posting it here because it’ll get the most chance that the cast will pick it up: there was a long interview with rhianna pratchett that dealt with diversity and Rhianna’s writing history, mostly tomb raider; some of her comments echo what you guys said duringthat spoiler warning season. It’s by totalbiscuit though so be advised (he’s not too insufferable in this video).

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=RJUHm9v6uOQ

    • Thomas says:

      I do like TotalBiscuit, he’s not always right and he doesn’t always do things which are smart, but I always feel like even his foibles come from a good place. Like when he’s been drawn into some pointless Escapist flamewar, it feels like that’s because of very human and natural reasons.

      For example, in the interview he’s certainly presenting some of his questions from the viewpoints of people who might disagree broadly with some of Rhianna’s views, but it feels like he is interested in what she says and he’s interested in seeing her develop her arguments and see what she says in response.

      A lot of people would use Devil’s Advocate as a shield, but TB always feels like he is trying to be integral, in all things. When he’s being big-headed it’s because he believes it’s important that people do the things that he does, and he’s proud that he’s the person who actually does it.

      EDIT:Btw I’m not saying him playing devil’s advocate is one of the bad things he does :P That’s just an example of where TB goes right in places other people could go wrong. I just realised that the juxtaposition might look kind of bad =D

  22. ET says:

    Regarding Shamus’s epxerience of Snowpiercer:

    I agree that the movie (especially near/at the end) is condescending and stupid. However, I’m surprised that you thought the action scenes were so bad. I mean, they weren’t great*, but they were at least serviceable. Still, I wouldn’t recommend anyone watch the film, now that I know how bad the ending is. Very anvilicious. :C

    Also, why the hell couldn’t he kill off the current evil guy, but keep the train running? Like, WTF hero? You didn’t need to blow everything up! :S

    * If you want great action, go watch Dredd. It’s sooo good! :D

    • Thomas says:

      I like that it’s a whole film about a character moving left to right on screen and then eventually deciding that he doesn’t want to.

      It’s like watching an old school 2D beat ’em up.

    • Alex says:

      Yes. Watch Dredd. I just rewatched it again yesterday, and it really is a great movie.

      I think that Chris would appreciate finding out where they got the music for the Slo Mo scenes. It’s a drug that makes everything slow and therefore incredibly fascinating, and they prove it by taking music based on Justin Beiber and making it slow and therefore incredibly fascinating.

    • Steve C says:

      Ugh. Snowpiercer. I thought the premise sounded pretty hokey but I heard such great things about it. It was awful. I could only get to the arm scene before I turned it off. The premise is bad and the execution is bad. So. Very. Bad.

  23. Csirke says:

    Galaxy Gun, I’d love to play the new Dragon Age and discuss it, but there are a few problems:

    1) Far Cry 4 comes out on the same day, and I’m more interested.

    2) I wanted to play Dragon Age 2 before playing Inquisition, I even bought it on Origin when it was on sale. But if I play it, I want to play with all the story DLCs at least, but that would run me another 30$, which is just too much. Also they apparently never go on sale. (They can be bought with stupid “Bioware points”, which never go on sale either.)

    3) I think I tried following you on twitter before, but the wrestling talk was just too much for me to bear.

    So, even though, like you, I’m quite interested in Inquisition, I fear it’s just not gonna work out :(

    • Mike S. says:

      I tend to be spoiler-shy on my first playthrough, and Twitter is a really tough medium to do spoiler warnings in: no way of hiding text[1], no way for the reader to get individual messages out of their feed, and who wants to use precious tweet characters to spell out that this particular message shouldn’t be read unless you’ve gotten past a certain point in the game?

      So Twitter’s probably not a medium I’d use to discuss a game in progress– even G+ and Facebook offer more flexibility there. But I’ve got DA:I preordered, and will probably have to maintain a steady clip just so that I can stay more or less current with my wife. :-)

      (It was only a week or so between when I finished Mass Effect 3 and when she did, but man that was a long week.)

      [1] For those who came out of the olden days on Usenet, Rot-13 is still an option, and takes up no more space than the original text. There are even browser plugins that make it easy to use, and if you’re familiar with it it’s pretty obvious when you see it. (Bu, guvf zhfg or Ebg-13rq.) But for anyone under 40 (and most over 40), it’s just gibberish.

  24. Star Wars: The Force Awakes

    My only issue is the lack of numerals.
    It really should be Star Wars: Episode VII – The Force Awakes

    The first Star Wars movie to use numerals was The Empire Strikes back.

    As to “The Force Awakens”, it possibly refer to somebody’s powers awakening, and probably a formation of the Jedi Academy (if not this has happen “off camera” previously that is).

    I’m calling it though “The Force Awakens” will be part of the dialog somewhere. (just like Yoda going “Begun the Clone Wars have”).

    Episode 4 (A new Hope) had no title until The Empire Strikes back was released.
    And “Return of The Jedi” I think was partly used in a dialog at some point (I’m sure somebody will correct me if I’m wrong). Revenge Of The Sith is referenced partly by the Sith characters. Phantom Menace I can’t recall if it was actually mentioned or not, the title also makes no sense, “Hidden Threat” would have made more sense.

    The Empire Strikes Back though was not used as part of a dialog.

    Myself I pref titles like: Revenge of The Sith, A New Hope, The Empire Strikes Back, Return of The Jedi.
    They hint/indicate what is a focus of the movie.

    Hence why I feel Phantom Menace is wrong, Hidden Threat or possibly The Federation Threat would have made more sense. And “Clone Wars” should have been “The Separatist War” instead.

    A good title is hard to come up with so I can’t blame (pros if involved) for screwing that up, also… Lucas had a say. But I can’t help but feel they could ave done better.

    BTW! The Hidden Threat as a title for Episode I is not my idea, the Norwegian title for Episode is exactly that (Den Skjulte Trussel = The Hidden Threat)

    Why? Because Phantom could equal Fantomet which is too similar to The Phantom (a comic book character), and also Phantom Menace could also be The Ghost Terror os similar in Norwegian, so whomever came up with The Hidden Threat as official title for Norway, kudos dude.

    • syal says:

      Considering I don’t remember the plot of The Phantom Menace at all, I’d say the title conveys the plot perfectly.

    • Why not “Star War7: The Force Awaken7?”

    • Sleeping Dragon says:

      It’s a relatively known bit of trivia that “Return of the Jedi” was initially titled “Revenge of the Jedi” and I assumed that “Revenge of the Sith” is referencing that.

      Also, one reason why Disney may want to avoid the numerals is if they’re not sure how they’ll handle the chronology in the future. For example, if they decide to do a movie between VI and the “VII” at a later date it could cause all kinds of problems.

  25. Honest-to-God quality tv animation on a consistent level has only existed in the past few years. Oh yeah, you have TMS popping out some quality eps occasionally for B:TAS or one of Disney’s tv studios abroad (Japan and Australia were the go-to for good tv work), but then they’d have the shit studios like AKOM or Sunwoo doing the majority work and…it does [i]not[/i] hold up.

    Funny Chris tries to point to Flintstones, as that was the show that proved quality animation was pretty much irrelevant to the actual quality of the show. As long as the writing was solid, the animation only needed to be functional.

  26. Chris, if you want to see a send-up of 80’s animation (from Disney no less), then check out the best thing to come out of their “Totally Tasteless Video” segment on the Disney Afternoon: Badly Animated Man, voiced by Gary Owens! The sound quality is poo, though.

    Basically, if you look at G.I. Joe and most Marvel Comics based animation from the era, you’ll see LOADS of mistakes, shortcuts, etc. to get why it wasn’t until the 90’s and the TV animation renaissance (thanks in part to Disney and Kids WB) that long-lasting animation quality started showing up on television again.

  27. @Mumbles I think Mara Jade was in Dark empire?

    As to the Dark Empire comics, the art is pretty awesome.

    As to Star Wars books if anybody has not read EU (Extended Universe) books or plan to give it to someone then Timothy Zan‘s “Thrawn trilogy” of books Heir to the Empire, Dark Force Rising, and The Last Command is a great starting point.
    It started off the golden age of Star Wars EU in my opinion.

    And the Dark Horse Dark Empire comics paved way for the comic equivalent.

    I also remember a lot of Kevin J. Anderson‘s stuff like The Jedi Academy Trilogy and so on to be pretty iconic in the EU.

    Those two guys really know their Star Wars (and a lot of other stuff). KJA even wrote a Starcraft book at some point O.o

    Of noteworthy mention is also Roger MacBride Allen who wrote the Corellian Trilogy.
    Without spoiling too much (You’ll love this Mumbles)…planet “sized” rocket engines to “move” planets.

    If there is one thing Star Wars is, it’s epic space opera, and these guys manage to do that without shitting all over it unlike. *cough*Lucas-sometimes*cough*.

    This means that if the track record should be maintained then something giant must exist and be destroyed in the upcoming Ep VII.
    In Ep 1 it was the Trade Federation base ship, in Ep 2 a giant command ship/pre-Stardestroyer type ship, in Ep III it was the entire Jedi Academy , the Jedi and Republic itself really. In EP IV it was the Death Star, in Ep V it was…hmm. that’s odd… Ahem. and in Ep VI it was Death Star II.
    Which means Ep VII will have to have something huge that need to be stopped or destroyed. And considering the two previous Star Trek movies that should not be an issue.

  28. GTA V sounds great, more screen space is awesome, having a 4th of the view eaten up by a character is annoying at times, having to switch shoulder view is also annoying.

    IF I’m to guess then 1st person in GTA V will simply be another camera view angle (you can usually change between 2-3 camera views i GTA).

    One thing I hope that Rockstar does is allow gamefiles to easily be replaced/swapped added to, and no have the files encrypted/scrambled etc.
    If modders can uncompress the game files and then add/make their own packages that the game will load then that is the core of modding.

    If that is made easy then GTA V will be modded to insane new heights.

  29. Regarding the Destiny game. Poor Peter Dinklage, that is probably the worst miss-use of his talent.
    They wanted a big name and an iconic voice and then they tell him to “sound robotic/flat”.

    • IFS says:

      Destiny actually has a lot of big name actors and voice actors, it just doesn’t do anything with them. Nathan Fillion is a vendor/guy who occasionally tells you what job you’re doing, Claudia Black is a DLC item delivery person, the list goes on.

      • That’s sad.
        I’ts cool for the actors, and it looks like Claudia Black has gone full voice actress after Stargate SG-1 so this is cool (she’s also in Dragon Age 3), not sure if Nathan Fillion is in any other games currently but he’s got the Castle TV series so.

        But if they just use them for stuff like that it smells like pure name dropping to me. “ooh look at all these big name actors that are doing the voices”.

        A vendor person and a DLC delivery person. I’m pretty sure somebody among the developers could have voiced those just fine.

        Now if there is a story or plot tied to the vendor or DLC delivery person then I can understand it as you do want experienced actors as it does cut down on recording time (they got loads of experience after all).

  30. Neil W says:

    Some kids on the bus were discussing the vidya games, and at least one was still playing Destiny (although not that night – someone wanted them to play some Minecraft co-op). For context this is out in the wilds of semi-rural Kent (England).

  31. Smejki says:

    I am unpleasantly surprised how apologetic you guys sound when talking about the Jim Sterling thig. The project is clearly a scam purposefully put together to get some if only just tiny cash from the custmers (who unfortunately when reaching some critical mass are stupid enough to make it posible for scams to live).
    – Oversimplistic mechanics
    – Store assets (maybe even free)
    – Stolen assets (the poorly masked blood texture? It’s not even necessary to search for original to set off you alarm right away)
    – DMCA abuse
    – Attacking a famous person (clearly with the intention to draw attention to self)

    After all this, sticking with the theory that some kid dev with low social intelligence and easy trigger lost his shit after seeing some criticism strikes me as quite a naive worldview. Maybe I got something lost in translation but that’s how you felt to me.
    Also that Chris’ defence that new shit should be treated with much higher tolerance? Can’t agree. Once you want money for a product that is labeled as finished you are out of any excuses. I’d only agree if you say that about a developer with good track of post-release customer support. Which most AAAs and mid sized indies have.

  32. Seruf says:

    Just a note Shamus, Project Titan was confirmed to be a scrapped new MMO. Overwatch is something new, but not what they teased about for so long.

  33. TSi says:

    The videos I saw of Overwatch made me remember the good old shooting in Quake/Unreal Tournament, but messier. It seems too fast paced to be a good team based game and provides too much disparity among characters and their abilities to be manageable in a competitive and simple deathmatch setting.

    In short, it feels like it’s some arena based FPS version of DotA with too low health/damage values.

  34. Zak McKracken says:

    All the time through the Jim Sterling video I had this scenario in my head:
    What would happen if the developer had taken that video and overlaid some helpful advice in the situations where Jim had simply overlooked something that probably half his audience was already aware of? And acknowledged when something was indeed broken?
    In a friendly “I know you didn’t really try hard to figure this game out but I’ll explain it anyway” fashion.
    … I think it might have made Jim Sterling actually look a bit bad …

  35. Zak McKracken says:

    The Swapper! Why have you still not reviewed that game here, Shamus? Probably the only game I have played that you haven’t, and I think it’s got the best (though minimal) storytelling in a long time, and it’s the first platform puzzle game that did not break the story and mood for the sake of puzzles.

    The only thing I didn’t like is that you have to play it through a second time, all the way, in order to get the other ending… though you have to play it twice anyway to understand the story properly.

  36. Phantos says:

    Destiny 2: The Quest For Some Basic Network Stability?

    Destiny 2: The Adventures Of We Actually Have A Story This Time?

    Destiny 2: We Didn’t Pump Peter Dinklage Full Of Horse Tranquilizers This Time?

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