Fallout 4 EP29: Who Nose?

By Rutskarn Posted Thursday Aug 11, 2016

Filed under: Spoiler Warning 188 comments

Link (YouTube)

You may have blinked and missed it while Josh was doing the jackrabbit two-step around Kellogg’s foggy noggin, but we just passed The Quote From Fallout 4. You know; the singular monologue that gets memed and shared around like a dying cigarette in a post-apocalyptic campground. It’s not mandatory, but even if you passed over it in your playthrough (and you probably didn’t unless you were very impatient) there’s a good chance you’ve seen it online:

“The thing about happiness is that you only knew you had it when it’s gone. I mean, you may think to yourself that you’re happy. But you don’t really believe it. You focus on the petty bullshit, or the next job, or whatever. It’s only looking back by comparison with what comes after that you really understand, that’s what happiness felt like.”

I mentioned before that I found the line overwritten, and that the message is got across quite well by “The thing about happiness is that you only knew you had it when it’s gone.” I’m not cynical enough to think the line was stretched out so people would take it more seriously, but I think the elaboration does suggest a lack of confidence. I’d still like to see more dialogue like this in the game–and in a way, that’s the biggest problem.

This isn’t a special moment where everything comes together. This isn’t a hammer blow, a mic drop, or a thesis. This is a reasonably interesting throwaway line that does a little to illustrate a character’s perspective and keep the player’s attention from wandering–and yet it has so much more gravitas, thought, and meaning than the dialogue surrounding it, and when you’re playing it you get this instinctive feeling like it’s Something Important. And I have to ask–is it?

I don’t think it resonates well with the themes of the game–past a point we’re fast approaching, feelings of wistfulness and nostalgia have little importance in the game’s storyline. I don’t think it comments incisively on human experience–I’d argue that “you don’t really know you’re happy until you know that you were happy and now you aren’t happy” is a pretty shallow cut and there’s not much in the context of the scene to give it more meaning. So all it does is tell us about Kellogg, and since I just killed him, I can’t unkill him, and there was never anything I could do but kill him–and since Kellogg’s impact on the plot is constrained to one trigger pull and one messy death–that’s some pretty weak tea.

I put it to you that in a game where solid characters spoke about interesting topics that had thematic cohesion and significance, Kellogg’s line here would have been practically ignored.

Pop quiz: How many of you noticed this post was written by Rutskarn? I’m honestly curious, because I feel guilty every time people give me credit for something he wrote and I’m always thinking about ways to avoid that confusion.



From The Archives:

188 thoughts on “Fallout 4 EP29: Who Nose?

  1. matthewhoffman says:

    I noticed immediately that it was from Ruts, since his face-thing has a lot of contrast and it stands out more than yours.

    1. Wide And Nerdy® says:

      I accidentally scrolled down and saw the yellow box but if not for that, I wouldn’t have noticed till Rutskarn got to the part about how he’d said the line was overwritten because I remember him saying it.

      I do assume the Spoiler Warning posts are written by you, Shamus, unless I happen to notice otherwise and yes, my eyes glossed over that though I don’t have my glasses on and I can get a bit crosseyed without them so that might factor in.

      1. Syal says:

        I managed to read everything except the yellow box, and didn’t notice it wasn’t Shamus.

        But I’m also really unobservant.

        1. Fists says:

          I failed to notice it was Ruts, was a little confused though because it seemed like Shamus was really playing on Rutskarn’s point despite not reflecting on it much in the episode. Makes sense now.

          1. Echo Tango says:

            Maybe have the header show up at both the top and bottom of the post? i.e. Header and footer are now identical, and have the author, post date, categories/tags, and links to next/previous in a series?

    2. Jokerman says:

      I also noticed right away, the picture really helps, before when it was just a name i would often miss who wrote the post and automatically chalk it up as by Shamus, the fact Rutskarn has been posting more might of had an effect too.

      1. Sleeping Dragon says:

        I’m in this camp. Immediately caught the different avatar with the corner of my eye which made me doublecheck the poster’s name.

    3. Ninety-Three says:

      I noticed only because Ruts called out a line he had said and I thought “Wait a minute, Shamus didn’t say that”. I managed to see your yellow box and scroll to this comment while still being confused about “Wait, what face thing? I didn’t see any identifiers on the post at all.”

    4. I saw it immediately and had to scroll down on the main page because I was sure that wasn’t normal.

    5. ehlijen says:

      Yup, picture, first person reference to a comment rutskarn made last episode, cearly written by him.

      But there is also a notable difference in tone between you two.

      1. Chauzuvoy says:

        The differences in voice between Shamus, Rutskarn, and Arvind are enough that I usually notice something isn’t written by Shamus around halfway through. I wish I knew how to know if Josh wrote something, but– quick check before I get any farther, joking about stalled LPs is still funny right?

        1. NotSteve says:

          Yeah, I got about two paragraphs in and realized I was reading it in Rutskarn’s voice. Then I went up and checked the icon, which I had completely missed.

      2. Paul Spooner says:


        I find that Rutskarn has a more conversational style, while Shamus writes more like a narrarator or an essay. Shamus is writing for the audience, and Rutskarn is speaking to the audience.

        1. MichaelGC says:

          I don’t think they neatly fall into such categories at all. Or even messily fall into them. They both write in a wide range of registers! I do agree that they each have distinctive voices, though, as does Josh. (“Kellogg's foggy noggin,” is very Rutskarn, for example.)

          On the question itself – I was spoilered by the golden box, so I whilst I usually notice, can’t quite say. There was a post a good while ago where Rutskarn – following some discussion of precisely this issue in the comments – said that he would usually try to give the game away early on in the text itself, if possible. (For example, mentioning Shamus in the third person is a good option, assuming it fits with the rest of the post.)

          I think in general it’s getting easier since those times, partly because of the regular LPs and GMinars, and also the Good Robot content – if the writer is regularly not-Shamus that makes me more likely to doublecheck. And as others have said, the distinctive colours on your avatars are certainly helpful. So, I think you’ve definitely been going in the right direction, and I guess if/when you next change your avatars this’ll be a factor to bear in mind. Both include a fair bit of yellow – and now that I’m looking at it, Shamus’ pic shows an alarming paucity of purple! :D

    6. Warrax the Chaos Warrior says:

      Less than halfway through and I was thinking “I’m gonna have to scroll back up again and check who wrote this.”

    7. Mintskittle says:

      I saw Ruts’ avatar as soon as the page loaded, but I doubt I would have guessed it if I hadn’t seen that first.

    8. Daemian Lucifer says:


    9. Philadelphus says:

      I didn’t notice till I got to the yellow box, so I just sorta read the whole thing in Shamus’ voice. I just assumed I’d missed or forgotten whatever the first-person reference was referencing.

    10. eaglewingz says:

      I saw Rutskarn’s avatar right away.

      If I hadn’t, the style of the second sentence pretty much IDs the writer.
      “…The singular monologue that gets memed and shared around like a dying cigarette in a post-apocalyptic campground”

    11. Christopher says:

      Ditto. His name is on the byline(In the byline? Is the byline??), how wouldn’t I know?

      But even if he wasn’t, I’d kinda be surprised to see Shamus write “doing the jackrabbit two-step around Kellogg's foggy noggin”. That’s practically poetry.

    12. Deadyawn says:

      I got to “I mentioned before that I found the line overwritten”, got suspicious and scrolled up to see who the post was by.

      As an aside; I’m pretty sure the baseball bat from smash bros is actually just from smash bros, it was just one of the items they invented for the game like the beam sword and the bumper. Well, technically it’s from baseball but whatever.

      1. Mikey says:

        Yeah, I googled “Earthbound Home Run Bat” after Ruts said that and the results were all links to the Smash wiki, and the page about it on there doesn’t mention it being taken from another series.

        Although I could see it working as a weapon in EarthBound, as a low accuracy weapon that instantly removes any target it does manage to hit from battle.

      2. Syal says:

        like the beam sword and the bumper.

        Nintendo has had Baseball, Star Wars and Pinball games on their consoles since the NES. They may not be the mascots but they’re all veterans.

    13. Neil W says:

      I ntoiced because, as noted the pic has contrast, and when I focus on it, it looks really ugly. Sorry Rutskarn :(

    14. Nidokoenig says:

      I saw the avatar, but I did think it’s more of the subjective/messy arts major analysis than Shamus’s generally more objective, engineering, “what do they eat, why do they fight?” problem critique. Can’t promise I’d have noticed the contrast without seeing the avatar, though, since they’re real people who sometimes divert from the stereotypes in my head.

    15. Writiosity says:

      Was pretty obvious from the way he said ‘I mentioned before that I found the line overwritten’, indicating clearly it was Ruts speaking after what he said in the episode.

    16. Dev Null says:

      Didn’t notice until you asked.

      For what it’s worth – which may not be much, since it sounds like the majority of commenters got it – I’s find it easier to notice the author if you signed them at the bottom of the post, as well as up top, above the video.

    17. Neko says:

      I’d already seen the episode on my youtube feed, so I wasn’t paying attention to anything at the embed or higher, and didn’t realise the author until the yellow box.

    18. evileeyore says:

      Also Rut’s writing contains 25% more pun per sentence than Shamus is capable of.

  2. galacticplumber says:

    Clearly the line was meant to resonate with people who played new vegas before this. That’s why it has such a big emotional impact.

    1. Daemian Lucifer says:

      You thought you liked new vegas.But you didnt know how much you like it before you get to play fallout 4,knowing that there wont be a new vegas 2 that follows it.

      Your post needed some overexplaining.So I overexplained it.And now Im overexplaining my overexplanation of my overexplanation of your post.Because it needed it.

      1. Wide And Nerdy® says:

        Its funny you mention that. They complained about the excessive sloppy writing with inefficient lines. I wonder what Rutskarn’s opinion of Chris Avellone is. I know he does it better but I find him often needlessly opaque to no effect.

        “For when you pour a glass of water, you pull it through the cold and poisoned works of man. The undead loom that unravels the azure tapestry snipping it piece by piece to be gormlessly devoured by apes.” said the cashier, his hands gyrating, an act that inflicts on objects of commodity a grimy bitter appraisal.

        Maybe its someone else that was at obsidian back then but someone writes like that. I know I don’t really do it justice but hopefully you get the point.

        Maybe Rutskarn or Jennifer Snow or somebody could explain why I’m being unfair to Avellone.

        1. (honestly) krellen says:

          It’s because you are an Obsidian hater and a person of bad taste and no imagination whatsoever

          1. Wide And Nerdy says:

            Sure but I don’t see what that has to do with anything

        2. MichaelGC says:

          I don’t know Obsidian’s stuff very well, but the major difference between those two paragraphs as I see it is that Rutskarn’s retreads the same ground, spending a lot of words on what is essentially repetition.

          Your paragraph does the opposite – it jumps from pouring a glass of water to darkly characterising plumbing and by association all things made by humans, and then to this loom & ape stuff which I confess I’m not quite following, and on to physically characterising this cashier, and then there’s a final dig at things traded by humans. All in approximately the same amount of words.

          So, without addressing the relative quality of either paragraph: one spends a lot of time on a single concept, and the other spends the same amount of time on many concepts. (And in my view, the first paragraph would be better with fewer words and the second might well be better with more.)

          1. Wide And Nerdy® says:

            I was going to try to find a real quote after your post. Couldn’t find one that really illustrates what I’m talking about.

            I just feel like he muses too much. He’s too dark, needlessly so, too nihilistic. I was trying to illustrate it but I’m a non writer attempting to parody a beloved one.

            1. MichaelGC says:

              Blimey! – I mentioned ‘your paragraph’ but I hadn’t twigged it was actually yours-yours! That’s some good stuff if you ask me! XD

        3. Actually, I find Avellone’s writing STYLE needlessly verbose. He uses far too many adjectives–if you’ve ever heard his descriptive lines voiced it is generally an awful experience.

          It’s a matter of degrees and context–sins that can be forgiven in one context due to stylistic choices are twisting the knife in other contexts.

          But, yes, Avellone is a bit too impressed with his own vocabulary. There’s a time and place for purple prose.

          1. Wide And Nerdy says:

            I’m glad I happened to be looking back through this. I wanted your opinion and never got to see it.

    2. Sleeping Dragon says:

      Actually what would be the “memetic line” from New Vegas? I only recall the “letting go” thing from the Dead Money DLC.

      1. Ninety-Three says:

        Patrolling the Mojave almost makes you wish for a nuclear winter.

        1. Sleeping Dragon says:

          I was thinking in terms of something more profound but fair enough.

      2. Daemian Lucifer says:

        Its holding up an array of fully erect hand penises!

        This is not acceptable.No self respecting soldier of utobitha should ever be seen running like a scared little human.

        I love to hear you breathe.

        Transmitting from my dome shaped…uh,dome in the forbidden zone.A zone that is…yes,forbidden to you.

        Got any mugs?!

        Ok,so maybe most of those were from old world blues.But that still counts!

        1. Sunshine says:

          “No self respecting soldier of utobitha should ever be seen running like a scared little human!”


      3. Sunshine says:

        “Let go and begin again” does sum up the theme of “those who dwell in the past at the expense of moving into the future will be consumed and enslaved by it” that runs through the game and the DLCs.

        1. Pax says:

          And it also the lesson Bethesda needs to learn in their attempts to make Fallout games.

          1. Writiosity says:

            Yeah, this is something I make mention of in my own series on Fallout 3. Bethesda are mired in the past, unable to move on or change, just like their version of Fallout.

      4. Austin says:

        This isn’t exactly a particular line, but people DO mention you getting shot in the head on multiple occasions.

        1. Sunshine says:

          It’s even a plot point in Old World Blues, as the injury and operation to fix it had an effect that meant you didn’t end up a lobotomite when the Think Tank operated on you.

  3. Da Mage says:

    Hey, I’m just glad Bethesda ‘tried’ to give their bad guys some realistic motivation this time. Just wish they had done a little more with him dialogue and gameplay wise. Almost feels like his appearance was written by one person, and this was written by another.

  4. Falterfire says:

    I didn’t notice it was Ruts until the note. Usually I only notice it’s not Shamus if it’s something I expect to be somebody else (See: Rutskarn’s DM or Bethesda stuff) or they say something that makes me realize it’s not Shamus like mentioning him by name.

  5. Supah Ewok says:

    @Shamus noticed it was Ruts immediately. His avatar has enough contrasting colors with your own to make it immediately noticeable to me right below the title.

  6. Khizan says:

    I never notice the avatar or writer name and always assume it is Shamus.

    The best way would honestly probably just be if he startedposts off with “Hi, Rutskarn here” or something like that.

    1. MichaelGC says:

      That’d certainly work, but I’d guess that a writer would probably chafe at always having to start the same way. It’d a bit like telling a painter that they have to prominently include a jolly red London doubledecker bus in all their artwork – i.e. it’d be fine for some pieces, but jarring in others.

      That said, it’d be good fallback for any posts where it’s absolutely critical that we accurately ID the author, for whatever reason!

  7. Content Consumer says:

    Pop quiz: How many of you noticed this post was written by Rutskarn? I'm honestly curious, because I feel guilty every time people give me credit for something he wrote and I'm always thinking about ways to avoid that confusion.

    Fairly obvious (to me) – right at the top it says “By Rutskarn” next to what I presume to be Rutskarn’s face while playing Battlespire.

  8. Gruhunchously says:

    If I hadn’t seen Rutskarns “face” at the top of the post, I would have noticed at ‘like a dying cigarette passed around a post-apocalyptic campground’. Shamus rarely seems to indulge in off-hand similes, and when he does, they aren’t as elaborate.

    1. Content Consumer says:

      One that sticks in my memory is him talking about a terrible keyboard – something like “this could not be worse if it was hewn from human bone and powered by the souls of the damned.”
      But yeah, they’re unfortunately rare – both Shamus and Rutskarn have a wonderful turn of phrase they don’t exercise enough in my opinion. :)

  9. Sigilis says:

    I noticed this post was written by Rutskarn. He has a very distinctive icon thing associated with him.

    Also, you two write notably differently. Shamus would never write the phrase “jackrabbit two-step”.

    1. IFS says:

      Yeah I saw Rutskarn’s icon and was like ‘huh Rutskarn did this one?’ then I read that line and thought ‘yep, that’s Rutskarn’s writing’.

  10. Content Consumer says:

    “The thing about happiness is that you only knew you had it when it's gone.”

    It has more impact simply because it’s not overstated. Simple and to the point.

    And I have to ask”“is it?

    Only if we were given much more time to get to know spouse and sonny before the bombs fell. A few minutes, most of that spent in character creation and talking to Todd Howard’s brother from Uncanny Valley City, did not invest me in either of them.
    Perhaps a little more time spent getting to know those characters (or character, rather, since interaction with the baby would be limited) would have helped, but it might have ruined the pacing and made the game a little boring.
    However, the Memory Den could have at least done a little with that. If you go to the memory den before killing Kellogg, you have the option to use one of the loungers, and the same scene is the one that pops up. A different one – or more! – could have been done just for that. “I want to relive the time we went to the park that summer” or “Show me the time when hubby came home from the war / we partied when she got her law degree” or something.
    I dunno…

    1. MichaelGC says:

      Aye right. Joni Mitchell had the last word on this, didn’t she? “You don’t know what you’ve got ’til it’s gone.” Boom, done. Covers happiness and much more besides. Seemingly the more we strip away from that paragraph the more ‘profound’ it gets.

    2. GloatingSwine says:

      Not knowing what you had until you lost it could have been a major theme for the Sanctuary lot. Preston with the Minutemen and the settlers with their old town.

      But it wasn’t because none of those people are really developed.

      So no, I don’t think it’s important to the theme of the game, and if they’d tried to make it important it would be at odds with the crafting and construction mechanics which are all about tearing apart the old world to build new stuff (not that Bethesda makes much of that theme either, they’re too busy fetishising the old world with terminal entries and environmental storytelling to consider the current world repurposing it).

  11. Florian says:

    I immediately recognized Rutskarn from the avatar.
    It used to be harder – I remember reading halfway through posts before thinking “This doesn’t sound like Shamus…” – but the current system is clear enough for me.

  12. Echo Tango says:

    Re: decapitation vs nearly-sexless game.

    It seems pretty standard for American media to feature violence and titillation, but not sex, in media aimed at a general-ish audience. Up here in Canada, it’s similar, although a little bit closer to the having violence and sex both treated roughly equally, as far as determining if something is “for adults” or not. I hear in Europe that they skew a bit the other way, where violence is more off-limits, but sex is more accepted.

    Re: biggest vortex of fan-service.
    You, a synth, wake up in a vault, and find out your family heirloom is missing. Your father and vault leader, Max Rockatansky, sends you out into the wastes to find it and so hands you the keys to your birthright – the family Highwayman. In the first town, you meet a ghoul cyborg version of Edith Johnson, and a robo-dog that houses the brain of Nuke Dukem. The game is filled with alcohol, plasma weapons, strippers, pistols, and constant easter eggs and references to other media. The final shot is when you see the macguffin of your quest – an intact Elvis painting.

    1. The biggest contrast of American vs. Canadian TV I can recall seeing was when I watched the excellent series, ReGenesis.

      There was more semi-explicit sex in it, and it went for more “dangerous” politics than the U.S. at the time (and maybe still), being the first media I’d seen to be critical of the American response to 9/11, security, and so on (note: This is a show about a international CDC-style outfit tasked with preventing outbreaks across the globe, so they have to deal with red tape and nations jockeying for power almost constantly).

      It also had a killer remix of a jazz ditty for their opening credits sequence. It’s still a pretty cool show, if you can track it down.

      1. Ronixis says:

        The main thing that occurred to me for Canadian series along those lines was Lost Girl. It’s an urban fantasy series in the vein of Buffy, Angel, etc., and the main character is a bisexual succubus. She’s also plainly heroic, and not some sort of morally grey or antihero-type character; while writing this post it occurred to me that I might expect either of these things from an American show, but not both at the same time. As far as violence goes, it seems to be mostly at the same level as shows like Buffy/Angel (though without convenient vampire dusting). It’s overall a pretty good show that I’d recommend if you’re interested in that sort of thing.

    2. Austin says:

      In Australia, they seem to be cool with both.

    3. Baron Tanks says:

      Right? When the discussion on sexy stuff started my mind immediately went to, oh, like any mainstream American media. You can have all the guns you want, as long as you abstain. But we’ll still cast only generically pretty women. Brought to you by the biggest porn producing country in the world.

      It’s hardly noteworthy anymore at this point.

      1. Echo Tango says:

        I think it might actually be noteworthy, if Chris and Shamus brought it up. Like, maybe other media hides it better, or it’s less exaggerated?

    4. tmtvl says:

      I hear in Europe that they skew a bit the other way, where violence is more off-limits, but sex is more accepted.

      In Europe? I suppose France is kinda more liberal on that front, but not nearly to the same extent as Japan.

  13. topazwolf says:

    Sadly I noticed it was from Ruts pretty much immediately and never checked the icon. His writing style and tone is way different from yours.

    Didn’t even think it was weird until the yellow box hit. I’ve kinda gotten used to his stuff being on your blog.

  14. Wide And Nerdy® says:

    FYI. I heard a theory that might be plausible. I can’t remember if its confirmed in the game and the Wiki shows no indication of it. But they might have gotten the teleportation tech off the alien ship that crashed in the Commonwealth.

    Even in 2161, a crashed alien ship with corpses worn down to bones can be found in L.A. (not to mention a TARDIS). So the Institute could have gotten access to this a long time ago. But its not confirmed anywhere.

    That said in Old World Blues, our top five favorite brains strapped to monitors and jetpacks had the Transportalponder. So its not Bethesda taking the liberties here. Obsidian went ahead and decided that an earth based think tank could have a teleporter.

    And Fallout 4 would have been so much better if the Institute was those guys. I think Bethesda could actually handle a story revolving around them. Its the perfect excuse to throw whatever crazy ideas you want into the mix. And if the motivations don’t make sense, thats all in character.

    1. I think a lack of “mad” with the SCIENCE! was what was missing. You didn’t mind that the BigMT brains had all this impossible tech because it was part of the punchline, the wink and the nod. If the Institute had been full of whack-o’s living in their own little bubble, oblivious to what their inventions were doing to the commonwealth, that would’ve been great! Even playing Shawn straight would’ve added to the ludicrous atmosphere, being this super-serious leader who isn’t even aware he’s in charge of an asylum full of robots with guns.

      1. Wide And Nerdy® says:

        Yeah, that’s why I think it would have been better with the brains in the institute.

        Its like the Spoiler Warning crew said, they need to quit splitting the difference and go sillier or more serious. Fallout has always been a mix but you need a writing team that knows how to handle it.

        Obsidian I think was more disciplined about the kinds of silliness you could plausibly encounter in the wasteland and tried to make it fit in most cases. Especially the Yes Man. They earned that one.

        1. Flavius says:

          Possibly the difference is how technology and power shapes the world. The Institute has technology that is inconceivable to the rest of the world: a teleporter alone should grant incredible power. Their plans–whatever they are–should be unstoppable. But this is the issue. Their plans never really make sense, and the technology they have is never really put to effective use. That one faction is given so much power, but seems incapable of using it for anything might be the reason why that power seems incongruous with the rest of the setting.

          While super-advanced technology was displayed in Old World Blues, it was effectively walled off from the rest of the world for reasons that are made evident in the story. Prior to a few weeks before the story began, the Think Tank did not know much about the outside world, and had little interaction with it. Furthermore, their status as disembodied brains that had been isolated for 200 years left them with radically different outlooks and desires than most people, so pure MAD SCIENCE was a perfectly acceptable motivation for them. But while this is amusing, the game also managed to show that this mentality, backed up that kind of power, was a terrifying force which could have dire consequences for the rest of the world.

    2. Raygereio says:

      I think Bethesda could actually handle a story revolving around them.

      They can handle making a themepark-setting with lots of silly references to old science fiction B-movies. No problem there.
      But I’m genuinely curious what Bethesda has done that made you think that they would not go way overboard with that, or could create characterization even remotely similar to what Obsidian did with the Think Tank.

      1. Wide And Nerdy® says:

        Basically what you said. I don’t think they could have come up with these characters but once established, I think they could handle them.

        But mainly I mean that it would give them an excuse for all the crazy stuff that want to do. Actually, the next one ought to be something like the Think Tank vs the Aliens, the ones we’ve seen before. At some point you should get to talk to the aliens but with a translator built by the Think Tank such that what they’re saying makes no sense.

    3. Writiosity says:

      No. For one reason: Aliens are an easter egg, they’re never meant to be anything super serious, especially not in the way Bethesda treats them.

      1. Wide And Nerdy® says:

        I think you can reject how Bethesda has overhauled the series and thats fine. But if you accept the rest of the framework, the excessive emphasis on the 50’s kitsch, then the aliens fit. If this is some cold war era sci fi author’s imagining of an apocalypse then having a DLC where the hero is abducted by aliens is fine.

        But maybe not for the main storyline of Fallout 5.

        1. Writiosity says:

          You’re missing an important point: Fallout was NEVER about 50s kitsch. Bethesda are the ones fixated on that, because from their limited point of view that’s what Fallout is.

          1. Wide And Nerdy® says:

            You’re misreading my post if you think I missed that point.

            That said, I like the fact that the 50’s emphasis was played up. Obsidian went on to have a lot of fun with that by making New Vegas feel like a Wasteland Western. Even if Bethesda isn’t good at handling it, it makes the Wasteland less dreary than, say, Wasteland 2.

            I know this means I’m not a proper fan of the genre. I don’t care.

          2. That’s not entirely true, at least not according to several entries in the Fallout Bible.

            The problem is what happens when you start your canon in 1997, already embracing a retro-tech vibe (atompunk of, at the very latest, the 1970’s). Yes, even the Pip-Boy in Fallout 1 displays vacuum tubes when you’re in a “talking head” scene. The real world advances, and audiences kind of demand that some tropes advance with them. In Fallout 3 onward, we get e-mails, though we’re still on mainframe dummy terminals. We have portable video games, even though the ’70’s just the dawn of early video games (most of them monochrome). All the vehicle remnants in F1 and F2 had fins or other 50’s styles. The theme music was by the Ink Spots. It’s not hard to see where the vibe came from.

            Once you’ve set your tech level, if not your aesthetic, to a point before a nuclear war, you’re kind of stuck with it. Flat-screen monitors, smartphones, equivalents of social media, etc. shouldn’t show up without a nice, big lampshade.

            I’ll agree there was too much emphasis on Old World worship, but then again, with most of the threats originating from there, it’s not surprising the subject keeps coming up.

  15. Collin Pearce says:

    I thought it was clear from the start that Rutskarn wrote the piece. He has a very different style from Shamus. Shamus writes like a machine, logical, efficient, every word takes from point to point. Also more casual. Rutskarn’s style is more florid or something.

    When I heard Kellogg’s line I just assumed he rambled because he never had the sort of education that would focus his thoughts. He used a lot of words to say the bromide you mentioned, but he never had to be articulate about it. Also, the way Bethesda wrote it made it sound less like a platitude :p

    1. Nick Powell says:

      Shamus should put “Writes like a machine” on his CV

      1. Wide And Nerdy® says:

        Its like he’s the Donatello to Rutskarn’s Raphael.

        And Mumbles is Michelangelo.

        And Josh and Chris are Bebop and Rocksteady because nothing good ever happens to them.

        Enjoy correcting me, fellow nerds. I’m too tired to do this right.

  16. Cinebeast says:

    I noticed Rutskarn’s icon . . . and then promptly forgot it. Whoops. I dunno, it’s late here, gimme a break.

  17. Hermocrates says:

    Pop quiz: How many of you noticed this post was written by Rutskarn? I'm honestly curious, because I feel guilty every time people give me credit for something he wrote and I'm always thinking about ways to avoid that confusion.


    I didn’t notice, but I think you also showed right there how to solve that problem. Either add a contributor field to the bottom of the post, or get everyone to sign their posts.

    Actually, if I may offer another site UI alteration: I find the next/previous post links at the top of each article to be kind of distracting, and I even sometimes unconsciously confuse a lone ‘previous post’ link to be the article title when I go to link to the full article from the Twenty Sided main page. I think having it between the post title/contributor mention and the actual article makes them more disconnected than they need to be. My suggestion is to only have previous/next post links at the bottom of the article (although I do see the utility in having them at the top as well).

  18. Bubble181 says:

    Because it was a Fallout post, I assumed it was Shamus. Reading the text, I noticed the tone was off, and went up to check.
    I don’t normally notice the “contributor” icons – most posts are part of a series and usually all written by the same person.
    But I did notice before I got to the end.

  19. Henson says:

    The main character of Fallout 5 is Grognak the Barbarian. You spend the game embracing chemical dependency.

    1. Austin says:

      Do you get the Silver Shround or the Mysterious Stranger as companions?

  20. MadHiro says:

    Immediately noticed it was Rutskarn.

  21. Aitch says:

    My browser add-ons block the avatar pictures, so I didn’t notice too much til the end note. I knew something was off – like the lack of a bunch of footnotes to click on, and a slightly atypical subject matter, but I disregarded it for being show notes and likely more a few thoughts on the fly rather than a calculated essay.

    But the style of writing was much less in the voice of what I’ve come to expect from Ruts, too. Apart from the “shared around like a dying cigarette” bit, there wasn’t the overt effort to entertain rather than just getting an observational point across.

    Come to think of it, it seemed like a sort of hybrid between the two styles, and I dig it. Or maybe it’s just me now that I’m trying to analyze it. Just stuck hoping that none of what I’ve said is taken the wrong way, I wouldn’t be here if I didn’t enjoy it all regardless.

  22. King Marth says:

    Didn’t notice this was written by Rutskarn until the yellow box; the more elaborate prose made more sense once that was pointed out, but it wasn’t far enough out of character to break the baseline assumption that Shamus writes these things. People talk about avatars, but something in my array of ad, javascript, and social-media-button-blockers has removed avatars for me. The author line is there, but I skip right from title to start of actual text. Best way to indicate authorship would be to mention it in the text, at least in cases like this where it’s someone different from usual.

    It doesn’t help that I don’t actively follow the show itself, I just look in on the text commentary for whatever ideas were neat enough to bear mentioning.

  23. ehlijen says:

    The player begins the game in a jail cell together with Grognak, the Barbarian. Together, you must escape through sewers and caves, fighting various oversized vermin, before getting dumped into the open world, filled with various small, half destroyed villages as the world is in the midst of an alien invasion. You can save each major town, but it involes beaming up to an alien ship, fighting your way to its reactor core, and ripping out the fuel crystal (which, if you keep it, gives you one of many minor boosts).
    There is no real overarching plot, and every month the freed towns get reinvaded. You scavenge old ruins for weapons and gear, eventually collecting a complete set of Enclavy Plate Armour and a Deadric Plasma Rifle.
    You can become the head of the Steel Brother Guild, the Silver Shrouds and Melchior’s Magician Academy, regardless of which skills your chose develop in the game.
    You can’t wear power armour, but your horse now can.
    The end game consists of upgrading the USS Constitution (including with Liberty Prime’s CPU-brain) to fly into orbit and destroy and defeating the mothership controlled by the brain fragment taken from the vault 101 dweller, but now INSANE!
    You defeat it by uploading democracy into their hivemind and boom! You win a lifetime supply of Nuka Cola.
    Possible companions include:
    George Washington II’s head in a jar on top of a robot.
    Dogmeat’s head in a jar on top of a robot dog.
    A feral talking deathclaw on mood medication.
    Liberty Prime
    Jean Luc Schindler, though he’s only briefly available in the tutorial and just before the midgame twist where it turns out that this was earth all along and we blew it all to hell with a broken water purifier.
    Ian and Sulik, but mutated into one two-headed ghoul, they remember Harold
    Jasmin the talking Brahmin

    Falloulder Scrolls VI will be another game of the year.

    1. Henson says:

      Well, this is clearly too crazy to be a real Bethesda game. You had me with talking Brahmin and horse power armor, but the lack of a main plot is just unbelievable.

    2. Sleeping Dragon says:

      “You can't wear power armour, but if you buy the DLC your horse can.”

      Fixed it for you.

  24. So who thought the Silver Shroud quest was going to pull a fast one at the end? I was nearly certain that the game would “punish” me for sticking with role-playing the Shroud and would give me a bad ending if I stuck with it through to the conclusion.

  25. I think Bethesda is under the misconception that “sarcastic” is the “INT 1” option. Much like how Bioware misinterpreted “Renegade” as “racist idiot” instead of “pragmatic badass.”

  26. Jamas Enright says:

    We need a Ruts dialogue mod where the conversations are cut back to an acceptable level. No need for additional dialogue recording, just pare down what’s there.

    (And it took a moment to get that it was Ruts, but I did get it before I started reading.)

  27. Daemian Lucifer says:

    What if the institute was just another vault,that had a real teleporter as their only entrance,but it had a flaw that it messes up people who are using it,so that eventually they had to build robots that could freely use the teleporter without being harmed in any way?

    1. ehlijen says:

      I first read what you said as the flaw the teleporter creates being an obessive need to build robots, until the last section of sentence explained it. But I still that’s that’s a fun idea and could be done in fallout.

      1. Daemian Lucifer says:

        Uuu,a teleporter that doesnt actually teleport people but builds robot duplicats instead!Thats even better.It would fit well with the rest of the crap robco did.

        1. Philadelphus says:

          That made this pop into my head:

          Frank: Alright, time for the first human test of the teleporter that will take us out of the vault and into the outside! Hit the button George!
          George: I just did. Nothing happened.
          Frank: Really? Try it again.
          George: I’ve just pushed it like eight times. Must not be working. I guess we better get in there and see what’s wrong…

          On the surface:
          Robotic Frank Duplicate #8: OK, why are there seven clones of me standing around up here?

          1. ehlijen says:

            Shouldn’t we have named this thing the robot dispenser?

            -No! Vault tec guidelines state clearly that every invention gets a random name from the hat. Now, put on your safety goggles, everyone. Jason’s about to test his stealthboy, and we don’t want any more eyes burned out.

            1. Daemian Lucifer says:

              So robco is lead by friend computer?

              1. ehlijen says:

                That information is yellow clearance level.

          2. Wide And Nerdy® says:

            So would the clothes the robot is wearing also be robots? And what if a robot was teleported? Would that become a robot robot?

            1. Philadelphus says:

              Naw, that creates a biological human clone.

              1. Wait! That’s where all the mannequins are coming from!

    2. Jabrwock says:

      It could work. Kind of a “transporter phobia” from Star Trek. They know it works on humans, but there’s a risk, so they stay inside and send synths out because it’s 100% risk free for them. Nobody else has the tech to get in, and if the synths on the outside go rampant it’s ok, because they can’t get back in, and they can always send out some more Blade Runners, er I mean Coursers.

      Makes you wonder about the synth plot in F3. Just how badly did they want that one back that an actual scientist from the Institute ventures out to fetch him back? Or was this another variant of courser synth?

  28. Pax says:

    Grognak’s costume and the Silver Shroud outfit are great, but I wish they’d stuck in the costumes for all of the Unstoppables somewhere. If nothing else, then a Mistress of Mystery costume to stick Piper in (who am I kidding, I’d be wearing it.)

    Of course, now that the Silver Shroud quest is one of the most well-received quests in the game, Fallout 5 will be entirely about the Unstoppables.

    1. Sleeping Dragon says:

      I think I might be… surprisingly okay with this. Assuming they wouldn’t completely mess it up* I’d like to see something very different than another vault dweller chasing around for family member(s). I think after these many games we don’t need to play a newcomer to the outsider world who needs to be explained what a ghoul is and who the BoS are.

      *Who am I kidding?

      1. potatoejenkins says:

        Did they ever actually explain what a ghoul is? I got the impression Bethesda doesn’t know themselves.

        And not knowing who the BoS are should be doable either way. Alas, that would mean a new cover for the game.


        1. Pax says:

          Agreed. Someone needs to tell Bethesda that other factions are allowed on the cover, such as, say, the Enclave, or an NCR Ranger. Then again, an argument could be made that it’s actually the player character on the cover of each game, each wearing the end-game armor.

          1. ehlijen says:

            Fallout 1 had the power armour helmet on the cover and Fallout 2 was the Enclave power helmet. Even Fallout Tactics had the redesigned PA helmet. It’s always been the helmet of some power armour in the game.

            This isn’t a thing Bethesda invented. In this, they are following the established pattern perfectly.

            1. Sleeping Dragon says:

              True, but part of the problem is that they fixate on these superfluous props instead of doing anything interesting with the franchise.

              1. ehlijen says:

                Oh yeah, shallow imitations of the easily noticed is what defines FO3 and 4. It’s almost cargo cult behaviour.

        2. Ghouls have always been heavily-irradiated humans, though the details varied, even among the original Fallout 1 creators. Eventually, even Chris Avellone came around to ghouls being the product of radiation, instead of the idea from others that ghouls are what you got when you combined heavy rads that don’t kill you and an FEV infection.

          I don’t mind FEV being a catch-all for wild mutation in Fallout, since that lampshades the fact that radiation isn’t a magical X-Men power-granting substance even in most people’s imaginations anymore. The immortality thing kind of goes along with rads being a preservative (kills all bacteria, lingers for hundreds of years, etc.), but it’s obviously a later addition which likely came about when the F3 devs wanted Harold in the game.

  29. I definitely wouldn’t have noticed if you hadn’t said anything!

  30. tzeneth says:

    This was a very interesting and well written post Shamus. JK, I didn’t notice until the line about a line being overwritten as that was a Rutskarn line. I was watching the video and had skipped passed the picture at the top which I usually notice and use to find out “Hey this was posted by someone that’s not Shamus.”

    Overwriting is a hard issue to deal with. Usually the best writing solution is write as you normally would and then cut by at least 10% after you’ve got your work fully written. At least, that’s the rule of thumb for novels. This, just needs to be tighter. Monologues need to be relatively short or you run into issues and repeating things is just annoying because I, like most people, can’t stand it when people repeat themselves. People repeat themselves so much, they should join the Department of Redundancy Department.

  31. Did anyone else notice how much this game relies on Doom-style monster closets and triggers? Just about every quest item teleports a bunch of mobs into existence, as does passing certain areas, opening some doors, etc.

    I once had a companion run ahead of me and go through an area which caused me, who was lagging behind, to suddenly be surrounded by insta-ghouls who looked just as surprised to see me as I was to see them.

    I rather like it when the mobs are already set where they are, and if I can get to them before they see me, I get the drop on them. I’ll forgive a lot of unrealism, but I consider summoning monsters because I pick up a unique item a form of cheating on the dev’s part.

  32. Rutskarn’s Requested Masturbatory Lore:

    In Fallout 5, the player must find the legendary final issue of Grognak the Barbarian wherein the titular character claims the mantle of Dovahkin and fights dragons in a world of fantasy. This comic gives the player the ability to Fus Ro Dah in VATS, which you need to defeat the Legendary Deathclaw the wasteland has named “Alduin.” It was created by President Eden 1.0, whose A.I. is formed in part from the brain of an irradiated scientist the Enclave recovered at the Jefferson Memorial. Using a special quantum weapon code-named L-D3r Scr0-II, the player opens a rip in space-time, sending Alduin into another dimension, warping him into a larger creature with wings, granting him immense power, and making him the bane of a strange world which also makes little sense. In order to put down Eden 1.0, you must first destroy his giant robot, Megaprime. This can only be accomplished with the help of Moira Brown, who happens to be vacationing in the area. She can divert the power from the Helios One power plant to destroy Megaprime, but doing so (which is the only way to progress) destroys all of New Vegas in a solar-powered apocalypse. If you pass three speech checks, you can say how sorry you are that you have to murder everyone in the Mojave Wasteland to stop Eden 1.0’s plan to cleanse the world by having Megaprime step on everyone. Finally, when Eden 1.0 is defeated, you cradle his dying brain in your arms as he utters his final words: “End simulation.”

    You emerge from your VR pod in a pre-war arcade, seeing the sign above it which reads: “Fallout, chapters 1 through 5! The new simulation from Vault Tec!” Having completed the simulation, which is all the previous games were, you’re granted a Plutonium Ticket to the newly-built Vault 13, which is a good thing since it’s only a block away and the air raid sirens have started to go off…

    1. Gruhunchously says:

      This made me feel angry.

    2. Incunabulum says:

      Totally unrealistic! Bethesda would never incorporate anything from FNV into their game.

      1. Even its complete destruction?

        1. Daemian Lucifer says:

          Then they would have to acknowledge that it existed at one time in history.They would never do that.

          1. The command override for the Deezer Mr. Handy is “House, Robert.”

  33. SpiritBearr says:

    The baseball bat is just from Smash Bros. Ness’s side smash is his own weaker baseball bat. I’d check but I don’t have Ness on virtual console on my Wii.

    1. Syal says:

      The baseball bat is from BASEBALL.

      1. Daemian Lucifer says:

        No wai!

  34. Incunabulum says:

    The reason VaultTec is so prominent at the beginning is because . . . ‘That’s Fallout!’

    Seriously. Instead of VaultTec simply being one of several large MIC companies (along with guys like RobCo) among other companies (like Nuka Cola, Wattz, etc), they’ve turned VaultTec into a megacorp that is behind almost all the tech in the old world.

    In FO1/2, VaultTec was simply the MIC company who finagled the sweet vault contract – everything *related to vaults* was VaultTec branded – even if a subcontractor provided it, but the vast majority of stuff in the old world was not VaultTec.

    In FO3/4 VaultTec is a vertically and horizontally integrated megacorp that makes everything itself.

    1. Geebs says:

      The reason Vault-Tec is so prominent at the beginning of FO4 is that there’s supposed to be a joke about how they are an in-game stand-in for Bethesda themselves. That’s also the reason why Vault-Tec Guy at the beginning is obviously Todd Howard (it’s therefore supposed to be “hilarious” that he doesn’t get let into the Vault).

      Of course, the whole thing falls flat because Bethesda are terrible at self-referential humour.

      1. MichaelGC says:

        There’s certainly the glimmer of something amusing there. Although … is there an equivalent of the Uncanny Valley, but for jokes & gags rather than faces?

  35. Nick says:

    Didn’t notice in the slightest until the yellow box

  36. Syal says:

    You, the Outside Guy, are sent outside your Vault on a mission to stop the Vault from being crushed by another Vault. To do this, you must track down your uncle, Vault Tec’s main engineer, as well as your father, Vault Tec’s CEO, so that they can tell you where to find the GECK that will stop the land from eroding around your Vault. You start with a pipe that can later be crafted into a pipe gun.

    Along the way you run into the Brotherhood of Steel, who tell you about the game’s main antagonist, the Sisterhood of Bronze, who live in the Vault that is crushing yours and who are all supermutants. One of the quest resolutions is you sleeping with every member of both factions.

    There’s a sidequest of two cities going to war. One is the Hubologists, the descendants of Juan Cruz, Vikki Goldman, and Dick Richardson, led by their current leader Bryce Wallace; the other is the Children of the Cathedral, contains the descendants of Gordon of Gecko, the Corsican Brothers and The Brain, currently led by Extraordinary Man and FlyMammal Man. One of the quest resolutions is sitting all the leaders down and settling things with a game of Tragic the Garnering.

    There’s a new drug in the wasteland called Harrier, invented by Myron, Myron’s Baby. The NCR wants you to get rid of it. One of the quest resolutions is gathering and using all the Harrier in the game, which instantly cures everyone of harrier addiction.

    There are multiple economies in the game. One is bottlecaps. Another is Pre-War money. Another is Water Chips. There is also NCR money in the game but it has no monetary value.

    Companions include Dogmeat, Harold the Ghoul, Rodney the Radscorpion, and The Master.

  37. Primogenitor says:

    I read this post first via RSS so I didn’t have the writer icon show up. I assumed it was Shamus (his name is in the URL after all) but when asked who wrote this, I looked back and (once primed) could tell it was Rutskarn’s style.

  38. The Bethesda Lore Singularity:

    MacCreedy’s son grows to adulthood and sets off to search for his father. Along the way he encounters a space alien who instructs him that the world can be saved if a way can be found to merge synths, super-mutants, ghouls, and robots. The alien sends the young man to locate Harold the Tree so that Harold’s fruit can be genetically analyzed and used to reveal how this merging can take place.

    The Brotherhood, NCR, former Institute scientists and remnants of the Enclave all get wind of this and decide to steal Harold’s fruit for themselves so they can Rule/Protect the World. Zany hijinks ensue and eventually Harold’s fruit is grafted onto Liberty Prime who promptly destroys the world.

    500 years later we wake up and discover that the only remaining people are the ones that hid out in vaults, changing into entirely new races that have begun referring to themselves as Ayleids and Mer. They have begun referring to the world as “Nim” and Liberty Prime as “Lorkhan” . . .

    The Brotherhood of Steel (Dwemer) attempted to create another giant robot but instead all of them vanished mysteriously.

    1. And, see, the goofiness of Fallout’s timeline is because this is actually the Dawn Era when time per se did not exist and even when it was created it followed a “nonsensical nonlinear path”.


      1. Dragons are totes descendents of Deathclaws!

        1. Henson says:

          Alduin got punched to the moon.

      1. Honestly, what IS it with Bethesda and Giant Robots of Doom?

    2. Benjamin Hilton says:

      Oh My God. It really does make sense. God I suddenly hope no one at Bethesda reads this blog….

  39. potatoejenkins says:

    The yellow box caught my eye first so … I noticed because the bright yellow box told me.

    So, I’m confused. When was the Enclave founded? “Remnant” always said “post-war” to me. Everything I read always said “post-war” (which isn’t very definite either).
    Yet in the Boston Bugle building an old pre-war article reports about “the Enclave”, the president and their oil platform on the coast. X-01 is also pre-war now. Kinda. I am confused.

    Is there an uesp-wiki equivalent for Fallout?

    Btw, Vault-Tec beeing the Big Bad: When I played the game for the first time, I searched every damn vault I could find because I thought they were the baddies as well.
    But Vault-Tec is only in this game because otherwise it wouldn’t be a Fallout game, right?
    I never understood why my character, who had only the worst experiences with Vault-Tec and vaults in general, would happily run around in a vault suit (which makes you a target), collect Vault Tec merchandise, watch Vault Tec training vids and – thanks to the new ‘storybased’ DLC – would build a vault to run tests on people.

    I wish there was an option to tell people ingame to stop calling my character a vault dweller. Even “blue” is better. And makes more sense. I never “dwelled”, I was a bloody popsicle.

    P.S.: Elder Scrolls reference: Red Nirnroot on the Prydwen.

    1. Pax says:

      So I think originally the Enclave was just the post-war name of the conspiracy that included the U.S. Government, Vault-Tec, other megacorporations, etc. As in, those people living on the oil platform began to think of themselves as the Enclave after a while.

      Of course, Bethesda’s damnable obsession with the pre-war world means that all the post-war stuff like Jet, the Enclave, Vertibirds, X-01 Power Armor, and even ghouls (Eddie Winter) are leaking into the before time.

      Fun fact! The Brotherhood of Steel is actually narrowly pre-war. Maybe that’s why Bethesda lurvs them so much.

    2. Nidokoenig says:

      The Enclave, as in the oil rig, was the US government’s bolthole, IIRC, since they weren’t dumb enough to use a vault. Prewar news reports of it brings up the question of why it wasn’t nuked, though. Hell, it’s an oil rig, that’s the sort of infrastructure that should be targeted as a priority, but that sort of sense gets thrown out when you decide to go for total annihilation of population.

      1. Jabrwock says:

        Considering it was a full operational headquarters in disguise, I imagine it was equipped with enough defences to weather the storm. If Robert House could cripple and shoot down enough missiles to keep his casino safe, it’s not a stretch to imagine the US government doing the same for a “small” outpost.

        Especially if the Chinese didn’t realize how important it was to the government and just sent a nuke or two its way to deal with what sounds like either an important oil well (which is useless if you nuke all the ports and refineries) or a potential bolt-hole (which is also useless if you strike first). They may not have realized the government had already set up shop there, or perhaps figured it was pointless since it’s not like one outpost is going to have enough resources to do anything about it once the mainland is a crispy wasteland.

        DC likely got way more nukes, and was overwhelmed.

        1. Ciennas says:

          Of course, they chose to use an oil rig because the resource wars had already established that oil wasn’t available anymore. So there was no strategic value in annihilating it because it was just another dry well.

  40. Austin says:

    In Fallout 5, you play as Dogmeat. But the game sucks, so the Cannibal perk still uses humans, rather than switching to dogs.

  41. potatoejenkins says:

    As someone playing survival difficulty and travelling with the romanced companion I can safely say: There is too much sex in this game.

    “You just wanted to drop a save on this dirty blood-stained matress in the middle of a super mutant stronghold but oooooh boy I am so much more tired now! Get it? Get it? Because we had so much sex! Right here! On this filthy matress!*”

    Every. Time.

    (*You also have parasites now. You’re welcome.)

    1. That’s pretty much what happened when you had sex in the original Wasteland game. You had a fade to black (from your sprite-based C-64 graphics) and then had to go find a doctor to cure your Wasteland Herpes.

      Totally worth it, said my 12-year-old self who played it.

  42. Tizzy says:

    Oh, Rutskarn! That monkey in the comic book shop is highly cymbal-ic of the state of the commonwealth wasteland.

    1. MichaelGC says:

      Can be dangerous, even lethal, and doesn’t really make a lot of sense. Oh, and bits of it are glowing.

      You might be onto something here!

  43. Baron Tanks says:

    Immediately noticed. Like many said, it’s due to the avatar, it makes it easy to pick up on.

    On to the matter at hand, I think it’s a testament (a sad, sad testament) to the writing that when you started off about The Quote from the game I had no idea what you were talking about. And then to find out it’s this trite piece of text. If I found this in one of those Harlequin books it’d be embarassing. And then to add insult to injury, it doesn’t gel with the rest of the game as you point out.

  44. Lee says:

    Didn’t notice until you brought it up. Then got completely confused because after saying “this was written by Rutskarn,” you signed it Shamus.

    No, I’m not color blind. RSS readers don’t show yellow boxes. Or author thumbnails.

    1. ThaneofFife says:

      I had the same problem. I read this in Feedly (an RSS reader), so I didn’t see the yellow box, and the author listing at the top was in a smaller font. I then spent a few more minutes being confused that the post was signed “Shamus,” but listed Rutskarn as the author. Ultimately, I decided that this was because Rutskarn was screwing with us.

      Usually, I only visit the site to (1) read posts that have pictures with alt-text, and (2) to listen to the podcast. If I’m not watching the Spoiler Warning season (and I’m not, since I want at least some of Fallout 4 to be a surprise when I play it), I only read the commentary text in my RSS client. Hope that helps!

  45. Majere says:

    Mumbles would be the best Batman.

  46. Tever says:

    I never notice who’s writing any given post. The title is prominent enough that I don’t really need to look at it to read it, so I tend to skim right past to the post. The result is that I see a block of color and some blue text instead of an author name. I’m not sure how to suggest a fix for that. Maybe putting the author at the top of the text instead of beneath the title?

    1. Syal says:

      Not putting it next to the “Filed Under” tag might help, I always skip that whole line. Have it centered under the banner, and bigger so it’s competing.

      I still wouldn’t notice, but other people might.

      1. MichaelGC says:

        In case it makes you feel any better: I’ve only just noticed that there’s a pun in the title of this post. And it’s pretty obviously a pun. And we’ve all been talking about how this post is written by Rutskarn. Still took me like 13 hours! Call me Captain Oblivious…

  47. Jonathan says:

    I didn’t notice until the yellow box at the end.

  48. ulrichomega says:

    I didn’t notice it was Rutskarn. I’m not used to checking the author of the post for SW, so I tend to just scroll down past the video and read the blurb.

  49. Disc says:

    “”The thing about happiness is that you only knew you had it when it's gone. I mean, you may think to yourself that you're happy. But you don't really believe it. You focus on the petty bullshit, or the next job, or whatever. It's only looking back by comparison with what comes after that you really understand, that's what happiness felt like.“

    Well, it does feel like something someone could say in real life if they’d been deep into retrospection and going over their life choices, as a way of putting your thoughts into words. Maybe a different and better setup could make it work, I don’t know. I didn’t mind it as spoken dialogue, written out though the problem is more obvious.

    1. Henson says:

      I think it’s only that last sentence that is the problem. The phrase “by comparison” is far too measured and analytical for the way the rest of the paragraph expresses the idea of happiness, and the whole sentence is far too wordy. If the last sentence were succinct and simple, I think the rest would work fine. Something like, “and once you understand, it’s too late to get it back”.

  50. Unbeliever says:


    Ummm, yeah. The bylines at the top are needed, don’t get me wrong — but I’m not tending to notice them.

    You might want a secondary byline at the end of each article. That’s where I’m instinctively trying to associate the preceding thoughts with who wrote them…

    1. Nentuaby says:

      I tend to visually filter out everything above the video box or lead image as header noise, so it might be more useful if a byline came right above the body text instead of at the very top.

  51. Ander says:

    Noticed Rutskarn’s avatar immediately.

  52. Victor says:

    I noticed it was written by Rutskarn. You have these icon things at the top of the post, and they show who made the post, it’s really useful. I think they work quite well in differentiating who made the post.

  53. The Mich says:

    Yay you got the Grognak costume! <3 For me, going around the wasteland bare-chested has been a necessary element for my enjoyment of the game.

    Also, I immediately noticed the post was by Rutskarn, thanks to the avatar.

  54. (offtopic)
    @Shamus saw your tweet about the Win10 calculator. Press Alt+2 to change to scientific mode, it handles up to 32 digits (or click the hamburger icon).
    I use the Scientific and Programmer modes quite often, the Standard one is very limited and the Scientific one can do everything the Standard one can do anyway.

    PS! If you click the menu icon there is a bunch of converters available too (no idea if they are hotkeyed like the Scientific (Alt+2) and Programmer (Alt+3) ones are though.

  55. Sunshine says:

    On the home page, I saw Rutskarn’s avatar and wondered why he was writing the Fallout post. Also, he’s more likely to use colourful metaphors.

    Incidently, in narrative pieces like Battlespire and LOTRO, you’re both fond of the joke “At least I don’t have to do that thing again. Instead, I have to do something else…and more of that thing.” (Not that I’m complaining, mind.)

  56. Kelerak says:

    In the next game, you start in a ruined Florida, but every faction wants to take over Florida for some reason, including the NCR. There is no mention of New Vegas at all, just that the NCR has always had a base in Florida so that they can fight off the other factions vying for control over Florida: the Brotherhood, the Institute, and the Enclave.

    During the events of the game, you discover that you have Super Mutant DNA inside of you, and are now able to transform into a Super Mutant and use powers by speaking the language of the ancient Super Mutant.

    There’s also a quest confirming that Elder Scrolls happened before the bombs fell, and that the Enclave is descended from the Imperials and that the Brotherhood is descended from the Stormcloaks.

  57. LCF says:

    I first saw Ruts’ avatar when the page loaded, got surprised because I expected Shamus, forgot about it, then I did various other things, then I watched the episode, then I read the text.
    I am a bit tired and did not really pay attention to the writing style or unrelated details, so I was genuinely surprised by the old switcheroo. I still enjoyed the show and the reading, of course.

  58. Warstrike says:

    Didn’t notice. I wouldn’t mind if posts finished up with an author signature:

    – Warstrike

  59. Nixitur says:

    I immediately noticed it was Rutskarn because of the avatar. However, it certainly can’t hurt to sign the posts like you did in the yellow box.

  60. Droid says:

    Yes, I saw Rutskarn’s profile picture, but immediately forgot about it again when starting to read this. I saw that sometimes Heather posted some of your stuff, so I just assumed that it was the same here: Rutskarn might be posting, but that doesn’t mean it’s his.

    As Nixitur and others above me pointed out, though: Signatures would be a nice and easy way to solve this.

  61. Trix2000 says:

    I had the feeling pretty quickly (within a sentence or two) that it wasn’t Shamus writing, but I wasn’t sure until I scrolled back up and saw Rutskarn’s picture. You both definitely have different writing styles.

  62. muelnet says:

    I did not notice it was Rutskarn, but kept thinking “Why is Shamus taking credit for the things Rutskarn said in the episode?” Usually I just assume Spoiler Warning and FFX is written by Shamus, Battle Spire and DMinars are written by Ruts. When new series or a headline I don’t recognize comes up I check the author, other wise I just assume the same people write all the posts for the series.

    Obviously the Good Robot Post Mortem was weird and I assume all the parts were actually written by Josh.

  63. Retsam says:

    Would it be helpful if different writers got different font colors? Or would people find that obnoxious? (And I’m not sure it’d help the RSS thing)

  64. MichaelGC says:

    That’s not silver at all.

    It’s been 200 years! Understandably he’s a little tarnished.

  65. thebob288 says:

    My suggestion for the most horrible masturbatory fallout 5 plot choice is as follows. The villain of the game is Evil Dickman a ghoul who is singlehandedly responsible for starting the great war with china and thus leading to the apocalypse. The master was a science experiment of his that he let go “For fun” who was trying to assemble an army to kill him. The enclave was also aware of the actions of Evil Dickman and was attempting to conquer the world and build and army to stop him as well. The original creator of the institute knew Evil Dickman in college and decided to build a robot army to kill him with for what he did. This was in addition to the master and the enclave (though they were all of course working independently) During the game you find out Evil Dickman was part of a rogue cell of vault tec and you have to work with the rest of the cell to kill him because even THEY think Evil Dickman has gone to far. Finally at the end of the game you confront Evil Dickman as he (in an impenetrable cut-scene) makes comments implying that he would have died long ago if a series of strangely powerful individuals hadn’t kept killing all his enemies for him thus allowing him to live out his Evil Dick retirement in peace until you the one true hero showed up to stop him or join him for no explainable reason if you pick that dialogue option but thats not going to be the cannon ending so we’ll just ignore it. Thus bethesda co-ops all the villains of fallout while making your every previous action into a failure that made the world worse and making it so that only people who buy and play fallout 5 can be the real fallout hero mans.

  66. The Kent character in the way he’s sitting and the way he talks to you reminds me of the (classical) Jimmy Olsen character from the Superman comics.

    And in a way Kent does become a semi-sidekick of the player. And Jimmy Olsen was created (named) in Superman #13 (November/December 1941.

    And superman had to rescue Jimmy Olsen few times, just as the player has to rescue Kent.

  67. Tony Kebell says:

    Shamuuu, you should probably make the Avatars like, twice as big and also add a secondary Authorial note/Avatar at the bottom. Because honestly I NEVER notice who’s written the post.

  68. Karthik says:

    I read this post in a feed reader, so there was no author avatar or yellow box to draw the eye. But the dying cigarette analogy immediately clued me in. I read the rest of the post assuming it was written by Rutskarn.

    Shamus’ style is completely different.

  69. Nessus says:

    Re: the specific line in question- For me the elaboration actually does help. Mostly because the thesis of “you never know you had happiness until it’s gone” is so inconsistent with my own experience that I’d just be left thinking “Oh… kaaaay? Well that didn’t make sense, so moving right along….”, rather than getting insight into his character

    The proceeding lines restate the thesis, yes, but they do so in new ways that add extra data. Sort of like turning an object over in your hands, or looking a several photos of the same object from different angles. With the elaboration, I get it: he’s a deeply distrusting (not just of people, but of life itself) and worry-prone person who’s unable to ever live in the moment. And, tragically, he projects this outward as a “profound” notion about the human condition instead of realizing it’s just a personal issue. By believing it’s something bigger than himself like that, he turns it into something fatalistic, dooming himself to always be like that.

    If I agreed with him even partly, I might’ve understood some of that from the one line. But since I’m not at all like him in this regard, that one line is just throwaway nonsense without the others to flesh it out.

  70. Nallenon says:

    If you’re worried about the visibility of the author, I’d suggest moving the info-box to below the top picture. I know I tend to scroll right past the initial picture in a series (since they’re all the same) and start reading after that.

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