Diecast #262: Rebel Galaxy, Astroneer, Rime, Sunset Overdrive

By Shamus Posted Monday Jun 24, 2019

Filed under: Diecast 70 comments

For those of you who don’t listen to the show: My daughter Bay is visiting from Texas this week. I’m also behind on my writing for the Escapist. Also, GDQ is this week. I’m going to be distracted. Please try not to burn the place down while I’m out.

Hosts: Paul, Shamus. Episode edited by Issac.

Show notes:
00:00 Busy Week

The Summer Games Done Quick is this week. Here are a few of the runs I’m looking forward to:

  • Sunday – Portal 2: Speedruns of Portal are often hard to follow because the runner spends so much time out of bounds and instantly blinking from one location to the next. This one promises to be an in-bounds run, so I’m hoping this will be more aerial acrobatics and less strobing skybox.
  • Monday – Prey: The fastest possible run of Prey takes just a couple of minutes and is really boring because the runner spends most of the run out of bounds, slowly climbing a tower. This run will be about doing all main quests, so it will probably be more interesting to watch.
  • Monday – Titanfall 2: Really? You can speedrun this? I always got the impression that modern shooters were pretty locked down and didn’t leave a lot of room for crazy shortcuts and exploits. I guess we’ll see.
  • Wednesday – Dark Souls II: It’s always fun to see a speedrun of a Dark Souls game, particularly if you know what the game looks like when played by mortals.
  • Friday – 90s Shooters: We’re going to see Quake, Half-Life, and Half-Life 2 run back-to-back. That should be fun.
  • Friday – Minecraft: They had a Minecraft run last year, but that was based on a fixed seed where the runner had memorized the key locations of everything. This run will be based on a random seed, and I’m very curious how they’re going to make that work.
  • Friday: Dark Souls: Another all bosses run.
  • Saturday – Skyrim: Most Skyrim runs have the runner clip through a wall somewhere and skip 90% of the game. This run will tackle the entire main quest in just 45 minutes. I’m looking forward to seeing how that works.

These aren’t the only runs I want to watch, but these are my favorites. Are you planning on watching? What runs are you looking forward to?

03:39 Rebel Galaxy

Link (YouTube)

22:01 Astroneer

Such a massive disappointment. A lot of work went into this game. And the devs are still working on it! It’s gotten several updates this year. But the stuttering is a severe problem and it’s evidently on their “won’t fix” list for whatever reason.


27:37 Destiny 2

It really is crazy how Anthem and Destiny 2 both have such severe loading screens. I think their levels must fall into some sort of worst-of-both-worlds scenario for size. Open world games like GTA V have epic load times, but you generally only need to pay that cost once. When the initial loading ends, you’re free to move around the entire world without hindrance. Other games have little bite-sized levels so the load screens are frequent but short.

Anthem and Destiny 2 have zones that are just large enough to make loading painful, but not large enough to contain the entire gameworld.

On the other hand, a lot of these environments are completely linear. This is particularly true for Anthem‘s strongholds.  It should be possible to stream the level a few rooms at a time and do invisibly in the background.

Two console generations ago, everyone went crazy for motion controllers. The current gen is all bout VR / 4k / 60fps. Maybe this next generation of consoles will all fight over who can give us the shortest loading times.

It’s not likely, but I do hope we’ll see some progress.

31:28 A little Rimeing

Link (YouTube)

38:24 Sunset Overdrive

Link (YouTube)

High mobility combat. Sense of humor. Open world. Lots of character customization. Colorful visuals. This seems right up my alley, but I feel kinda “meh” about it.

44:06 Leaving good source code comments is kinda like game design.

This topic came from a Jon Blow livestream, but it doesn’t look like the VOD has been uploaded. It’s not important. Paul and I sort of take the topic in our own direction.

55:54 Mailbag: Loot Box Law

Liebe Personen, die Würfel werfen,

A few weeks ago there was a story about a proposed bill to regulate loot boxes and similar mechanic. Any thoughts on this topic?
Here is a relevant link.

Schöne Grüße,

Here’s the article I mentioned: Why the Loot Box Law Sucks. And here’s the comic Paul mentioned: The Aboxolypse.


From The Archives:

70 thoughts on “Diecast #262: Rebel Galaxy, Astroneer, Rime, Sunset Overdrive

  1. Redrock says:

    So, what the hell happened to Rebel Galaxy Outlaw? They initially hinted at a Q1 2019r release, but here we are halway into the year, with not even a solid updated release date to show for it. It might be completely baseless speculation on my part, but I have a nagging suspicion that maybe the Epic deal created an influx of cash that led to some feature creep, perhaps? But mostly it’s just me being impatient.

    1. ElementalAlchemist says:

      “Soon” was the last I heard. You’re probably not wrong that Epic’s cash injection made them reassess, if for no other reason than they could now afford not to rush it out the door. It was arguably already pretty overstuffed with feature creep before Epic came along, so I’m not sure adding more is likely to be their problem.

  2. The Rocketeer says:

    I’ve watched speedruns of most of the Souls games, and as someone heavily experienced with the series, they always put me in a state of intermingled astonishment, outrage, confusion, and joy. Much like the games themselves, I guess. I think DSII is the only one I haven’t seen a speedrun of, and that’s including Demon’s Souls, Bloodborne, and now Sekiro.

    I can see GDQ hasn’t made it this far without learning what kinds of speedruns actually make good entertainment, i.e., the kind where at least someone vaguely familiar with the game can still tell what’s supposed to be happening on the screen and takes the audience on a little journey. The kind that end by instantly blinking to the credits or spending almost all the runtime in a featureless void beyond the map, while they may be technically fascinating, aren’t must-watch TV. The best ones seem to totally blur the line between being really good at the game and being really good at exploiting it, not just one of these things or the other.

    1. Abnaxis says:

      I personally can’t get enough of A Look to the Past randomizer standard exploit speedruns

      1. Abnaxis says:

        Link*, stupid autocorrect.

        Of course it messes me up when Shamus is out

    2. Hector says:

      So many people slag it, but DS2 is my fave. Despite a few missteps from experimenting with new ideas, its probably the biggest leap in quality for any FromSoft game period.

      1. tmtvl says:

        It’s a leap sideways, though. The node movement is awkward, the amount of souls you get from everything turns the game into a cakewalk if you go for a tank build, the dodging mechanics are messed up, the hitboxes are broken, the more stage-based level design isn’t as interesting as the overall world design in DS1, the individual levels aren’t as interesting as the Demon’s Souls levels, the additional punishment for death from the lowered health is counter-productive,…

        But the increased weapon variety is interesting and crossbows are more viable with the ability to aim when two-handing.

        1. Decius says:

          Half of the things that you listed as problems are things that I’ve seen asserted as core elements of Soulslike. :shrug:

          1. shoeboxjeddy says:

            Which half? Are uninteresting levels and bad hitboxes in that list? If so… stop listening to the people who told you that. They may be foolish.

        2. Abnaxis says:

          I miss the level design in DS1…

  3. Joe says:

    IIRC, the devs behind Rebel Galaxy also worked on Diablo and Torchlight. They could probably do all the procedural stuff if they wanted.

    As a writer of fiction, I can tell you that I forget things too. There’s one story I started where I can see this surprisingly informative cleaner with an unfamiliar symbol on his uniform, I just forgot who he actually works for. Yeah, I didn’t finish that one. Also, coming up with foreign words via babelfish. Nowdays I write down the English meaning and the language I nicked it from.

    In theory, I’m in favour of banning lootboxes. Of course, I don’t buy games that have them. My budget is limited and my tolerance for that kind of behaviour is even moreso. But would the bill be correctly worded to thread that narrow path between too loose and too restrictive? Unlikely. One version I can imagine, would manage to outlaw Borderlands and other loot-em-ups, but somehow give EA the wiggle room to continue unabated. If it doesn’t destroy games entirely.

  4. tmtvl says:

    Govt has no business regulating video games. No matter if it’s about loot boxes, violence,…

    1. Geebs says:

      Loot boxes are just an end run around existing gambling laws, based on the intangibility of the prizes. The video games are only really a vector.

      I don’t really see the process of coming up with legislation as being that difficult, anyway; just note down everything EA is lobbying hardest for, and then make it all illegal.

      1. Ninety-Three says:

        Hardly. Trading card booster packs, now those are skirting gambling laws. Cards having resale value on the secondary market means that I can buy a $3 pack of cards, get lucky enough to pull a super-powerful ultra-rare, then sell it for $30, at which point things start to look like roulette with extra steps. Gambling laws are not designed to restrict random events or predatory psychological practices, they’re designed to restrict winning money. As long as lootbox models stick to closed economies where players can’t trade, there’s no way to cash out* and the gambling laws don’t care.

        *Theoretically you could cash out by selling your account, but in practice this is a pretty inconvenient way for someone to get at the lootbox skin they want, so it doesn’t happen much.

        1. Geebs says:

          Chocolate cigarettes

      2. Bloodsquirrel says:

        The fact that nobody can actually agree with what is or is not gambling should be a warning sign about trying to extend the law to things that it wasn’t originally written for. Lootboxes certainly aren’t an “end run” around gambling laws- the path of evolution they took was very different, and EA isn’t trying to publish a casino game or aim the games at the crowd you would normally expect a gambling game to be aimed at.

        I’m a much bigger fan of handling the problem by just not buying EA’s games. Especially since the “process of legislation” usually involves just creating a regulatory agency with broad authority to write whatever rules they want, effectively giving unelected bureaucrats free reign to write law without much in the way of democratic oversight.

        1. Geebs says:

          The “nobody can agree” thing only applies when the people with vested interests are involved in the discussion, though?

          Styling the games after a casino or going after the casinos’ customer base isn’t strictly relevant. The business model was to get kids into “surprise mechanics”, which EA can get away with my pretending that they can’t verify the ages of the people involved because internet, and by pretending that intangibles don’t have value (which is ridiculous in a society that uses money).

          1. Bloodsquirrel says:

            What, exactly, are you qualifying as a “vested interest” here? Because you have two people in this comment section, right now, disagreeing with you. And who, exactly, is going to be pushing legislation without a vested interest?

            And the idea that EA was primarily relying on kids isn’t well founded. They might get a few unsuspecting kids here and there, but parents aren’t going to just sit there while their kids spend hundreds of dollars every month on their credit cards. The real revenue stream comes from ‘whales’- people with enough income to willingly dump $1000 into the game.

            Meanwhile, lootboxes are the obvious intersection of two things: microtransactions, which already existed in the form of buying things like energy in mobile games, and random loot, which is a long-time staple of video games. The combination of the two is where lootboxes came from, not someone sitting around saying “I’d really like to make a gambling video game, but how do I disguise it?”

            1. Geebs says:

              Because you have two people in this comment section, right now, disagreeing with you

              Well, on my side I do have the population of Belgium. I guess we can call that one a 2-2 draw?

              1. Ninety-Three says:

                It doesn’t matter how many people agree with you, unless you want to accuse Bloodsquirrel and I of secretly being Andrew Wilson or otherwise having a vested interest, you’re going to have to walk back your claim that only people with vested interests disagree.

                1. Geebs says:

                  Hey, you started the argumentum ad populum – although admittedly you really, really low-balled it.

                  1. Bloodsquirrel says:

                    No he didn’t. It was my post, for starters, and there was no component of it saying that a large body of people agreeing on something meant that it was right. What I said was that the lack of agreement over what constituted “gambling” meant that it was dangerous to encourage the government to interpret the law broadly.

                    This is fundamental to good rule-making: poorly defined words create open-ended rules whose interpretation can get away from you really, really quickly. In a democratic system, this is, in fact, the exact opposite of argumentum ad populum: the interpretation of your rules will often be left up to whoever gets 50.1% of the vote, whether they are right or not, often completely contradicting your original intent.

                    1. Geebs says:

                      Gambling is the staking of something of value on an unpredictable outcome in the hope of winning a prize. The only uncertainty introduced by the loot box system is in relation to whether the prize has value or not, which EA et al. are arguing about by narrowing that definition to transferrable value, hence end run. I can bet my life on something, and my life is clearly not transferrable, which gives the lie to that definition.

                      There is clearly no lack of agreement on what constitutes gambling; what EA et al. are arguing is that they are not running a casino, which is a different thing.

                  2. Ninety-Three says:

                    Let’s be extremely clear so that you can’t keep dodging this.

                    The “nobody can agree” thing only applies when the people with vested interests are involved in the discussion, though?

                    I disagree with you. Does one of us involved in this discussion have a vested interest? I don’t work for one of these companies or hold their stock, unless you’d like to call me a liar. If neither of us have a vested interest, your quoted statement is wrong.

                    1. Geebs says:

                      You’re being a bit pedantic here; after all Bloodsquirrel’s original point was:

                      The fact that nobody can agree with what is or is not gambling

                      Now, if I was of a mind to be rude, I could have jumped on that by finding two people who could agree on a definition of gambling and declaring Bloodsquirrel’s argument invalid, rather than just accepting that they were speaking in a conversational / loose fashion.

                      But I’m not, so I didn’t.

              2. Bloodsquirrel says:

                Just because Belgium’s government took an action doesn’t mean that the entire population agrees with it. I could just as easily say that the population of the United States is on my side, since there’s hasn’t been a government action yet, and last time I checked the US has a few more people living there than Belgium.

                Trying to frame your point of view as the consensus that any disagreement is deviant from is a poisonous way to attempt to hold a discussion.

                1. Bubble181 says:

                  Hey! Us Belgians don’t care much for our government but trying to restrict loot boxes is a good thing, we all agree.

                  Yes, all of us, I went door to door and checked with everyone. Why do you ask?

              3. tmtvl says:

                As part of the population of Belgium, believe me when I tell you that what the government does has little to do with what the people want.

          2. Decius says:

            If you only people without a vested interest in the discussion, they might agree but there’s no reason to think that they are correct.

          3. Ninety-Three says:

            pretending that intangibles don’t have value (which is ridiculous in a society that uses money).

            Money can be exchanged for goods and services. If you want you can point a finger at things like CS:GO skins where the Steam marketplace allows conversion between cash and digital items, but most lootbox contents (Hearthstone cards, Overwatch skins, whatever P2W nonsense was in Battlefront 2 boxes) are untradeable. My lootboxes are worthless to other people not because no one would like to buy them from me but because I literally can’t give them away. In economic terms, lootboxes are weird because they’re not tradeable like property (a television) is, but they’re not depleted the way a consumption good (cheeseburger) is.

            It would probably be best if both sides stopped arguing about what words mean, and just made their cases on the merits. If you want to ban violent videogames lootboxes because a child might play them and be harmed, you have a consequentialist case right there that needs no appeal to the definition of gambling, and then EA doesn’t need to do a silly PR spiel about surprises and value.

            1. Bloodsquirrel says:

              It would probably be best if both sides stopped arguing about what words mean, and just made their cases on the merits.

              Well, that’s a little bit tricky, because we’re discussing the law, in which case what word means what when included in an existing law, or would be included in a new law, matters very much. You very much do need a definition of “gambling” that doesn’t accidentally outlaw all of online video gaming.

              1. Abnaxis says:

                But at issue here is why and whether there needs to be a law. Why regulate lootboxes unless they are actually causing harm? Are they actually associated with the same negative health outcomes as gambling? Do they “smell” enough like gambling that if you’re of a religious bent you oppose them being easily obtained by children, like pornography?

                When we figured out that CFC depleted the ozone we didn’t ban hairspray, we stopped using CFC in aerosol cans. What is it, exactly, that causes the society-wide problem from lootboxes, which needs targetted? That matters more than slapping a label on lootboxes so we can piggyback them on existing legislation as a shortcut.

                1. Mistwraithe says:

                  I honestly don’t think there is much debate about them causing harm.

                  I’m a game developer (a slight stretch as I am very part time, but I do have a game in development which will one day be released) and as a result I have been to the last two GDCs (Game Developer Conference) along with a few other Australasian events. I’ve been to a number of presentations on F2P (Free to Play) and what is necessary to make it work well. And it turns out that really good F2P shares a lot with slot machine design. It’s all about the experience (graphics, animations and sounds), teasing the player with the idea that the next big ‘win’ is always around the corner, finding the optimal time to get them to spend a small amount on virtual currency, then de-sensitizing them to the expenditure as you slowly ramp it up to higher and higher amounts.

                  And like gambling, most of the income comes from the addicts, not the casual punters. The guys who pay over money regularly (the whales) make up the vast amount of F2P game income.

                  Lastly, it works and game developers have become very good at it. At GDC 2019 one of the talks looked at monetization techniques. On the iOS store the highest paid game was Minecraft ranked 63 in income. That means there were 62 “free to play” iOS games making more money than Minecraft (or any other paid game). The vast majority of that F2P money is coming from exploiting people who have got trapped by the same psychological effects that caused addicted gamblers.

            2. Abnaxis says:

              Isn’t the silly EA PR spiel specifically trying to argue in favor of lootboxes on their merit without addressing whether they count as”gambling”?

              1. Ninety-Three says:

                The next sentence after the infamous “quite ethical” line was “They aren’t gambling and we disagree that there’s evidence that shows they lead to gambling.” So no, I don’t think the spiel is unrelated.

                Heck, “surprise mechanics” wasn’t a press release, it was them being questioned by the House of Commons, which is in turn happening because of the gambling argument. There would be no session and no spiel if legislators hadn’t perked up at the mention of “gambling”.

                1. Abnaxis says:

                  I guess. My reading of it was “this isn’t gambling, and see how great this is for gaming?” To me, the second part is making a merit-based argument for loot boxes independently of the gambling question. Like “these aren’t gambling, and you totally should leave it alone even if you want to regulate us anyway because look at how great they are!”

      3. Decius says:

        What is wrong about gambling, such that the government needs to regulate it?

        1. Matthew Downie says:

          I don’t want to get drawn into a political debate, so I’ll just quote Wikipedia to indicate why some people might think it does:
          “Studies show that though many people participate in gambling as a form of recreation or even as a means to gain an income, gambling, like any behavior that involves variation in brain chemistry, can become a harmful, behavioral addiction. Behavioral addiction can occur with all the negative consequences in a person’s life (minus the physical issues) faced by people who compulsively engage in drug and alcohol abuse.”

          1. tmtvl says:

            Banning alcohol has worked well in the past, right? I can’t think of a time when that backfired.

            1. Geebs says:

              Which is why most governments, including the US, now regulate alcohol by raising the price through taxation. The bigger backfire was the failure to ban smoking.

    2. shoeboxjeddy says:

      Video games are commerce. OF COURSE governments have a say in regulating commerce. Why wouldn’t they?

      If this is considered too political, I’ll stop here though.

  5. Gordon says:

    So there are two games, Rebel Galaxy(2015) and Rebel Galaxy Outlaw(unreleased). The one available for free on Epic is Rebel Galaxy, the trailer Paul mentioned is for Outlaw. Outlaw is a prequel that tells the back story of the Aunt who gave you that ship at the start of Rebel Galaxy. It’s also supposed to be more ambitious feature wise and back to first person combat POV. Overall it looks more like Privateer.

  6. John says:

    Paul, the animated trailer you watched is for the forthcoming Rebel Galaxy Outlaw, not Rebel Galaxy. Outlaw is a Privateer-like, with full-3D space-dogfighting, in which you can land on planets and stations and hang out in bars playing pool if that’s your thing. You may also be pleased to know that they’ve implemented some kind of optional auto-targeting–or maybe auto-get-behind-the-other-guy–system for the space-dogfighting. I don’t remember the details, unfortunately. It’s been many months since I watched the developer video that explained it.

  7. Ninety-Three says:

    Mods are asleep, time to start a Star Wars flamewar!

    The Christmas Special was good.

    1. BlueHorus says:

      Absolutely. Quality entertainment. Though Lumpy Bacca was totally a Mary Sue.

      1. RFS-81 says:

        I liked the part where the Wookies make Wookie noises.

        1. BlueHorus says:

          Subtitles? Why would we need those?
          Let’s just have people in fursuits wail incomprehensibly at each other for minutes on end.

    2. shoeboxjeddy says:

      It WAS good. Because it firmly set the boundaries of what a Star Wars spinoff should and should not be. They went for a celebrity cameo cheese fest (such things being very popular in the 70s), complete with contemporary song and dance stuff. The incredible, embarrassing flop rocked George Lucas awake and made him a lot more choosy about what to do and not do in the future, which served the brand well for a long time.

  8. Ander says:

    There is an older Titanfall 2 GDQ run. It was a late hour run with low audience and 1 guy on the couch, and it might be my favorite GDQ run ever. The run was mostly built on smooth parkour instead of out of bounds exploits.

  9. Crokus Younghand says:

    So, Bioware learnt how to stream in levels properly after Mass Effect 1’s elevators, and then promptly forgot all that institutional knowledge in Anthem? What does EA put in their water?

    1. Xeorm says:

      They did have to change engines when using Anthem. Plus a big part of having streaming instead of loading screens is ensuring that the areas are streamable. But mostly I think it’s due to a bad production schedule. Bringing down load times is an extra feature, and they’re still playing catch up in terms of keeping customers. Not enough content, a terrible loot system, bad story, etc. Load times aren’t the worst of their problems.

    2. Geebs says:

      Glib answer: Frostbite

      More complex answer: Mass Effect didn’t stream outside of that thing UE3 does where it loads in gradually higher resolution textures. They just spent their polygon budget in different and less interesting ways in ME2 and ME3.

      Meanwhile, polygon and texture budgets went up by at least one order of magnitude between generations; (spinning rust) hard disk speeds stayed exactly the same. Horizon: Zero Dawn, a game which otherwise seems to run on magic, has pretty insane loading times.

      1. Utzel says:

        Urgs, I hate that load in on UE3. Even in MP, waiting on the slow host and “loading” an additional minute, it would never use that damn time to actually load the textures. Even on a fast PC you see them pop in, just load 2 seconds longer and don’t show that putty world…

        About Destiny 2: The horribly long load times on startup (before going to the character selection screen) went away as soon as I moved it over to an SSD. Sometimes that doesn’t help, but D2 was one of the games that really profitted from the faster drive.

  10. Hector says:

    Rebel Galaxy is sort of briefly fun, but its hilariously simplistic. Once you’ve done the first solar system you’re basically done. Everything is a grind treadmill because the world ranks up with you. Music is fantastic though.

  11. Steve C says:

    There are 21 player ships in Rebel Galaxy. You are seeing the same six because they are basic. There will be different ones available based on the factions you are allied with and the type of station you dock with.

  12. Bloodsquirrel says:

    I remember Sunset Overdrive.

    The problem with the game is that the mobility system was at odds with everything else. Moving around was fun, but actually targeting anything to engage in combat when you moved was wonky. The game also had a big problem where it was an open world, but you couldn’t really ever stop to explore it or mess around, because if you didn’t keep moving enemies would show up, and in order to fight them you had to be moving.

  13. John says:

    I wouldn’t get too worked up over the loot box bill just yet. The American legislative process is usually a long and tortuous one. Any legislator can introduce a bill at any time. It seldom amounts to much. For a bill to stand even a semi-serious chance of becoming law, it first has to make it through the relevant committee. (For this bill, the relevant committee is probably the Judiciary committee.) While in committee, it may be debated, amended, or folded into another, similar bill. More often than not, however, it will be buried, never to see the light of day again. If the committee approves a bill and reports it back to the whole chamber (i.e., either the House of Representatives or the Senate), it’s then up to the leadership of the chamber to schedule the bill for debate, additional possible amendments, and a vote. That may or may not happen, depending on the leadership’s priorities. If the leadership doesn’t put it on the schedule, nothing happens. If the chamber doesn’t get to the bill before the end of the legislative session, nothing happens. But if the chamber votes on and actually passes the bill, the bill then goes to the other chamber, where the whole process starts over again. If by some miracle both chambers pass a bill, the bill goes to a joint committee that tries to reconcile the two versions. If the joint committee agrees on a compromise bill, the compromise bill still needs to be re-approved by both chambers before it can be sent to the President and ultimately become law.

    I’m not familiar with the loot box bill, but in the late 1990s I followed a bill–technically, a series of bills over the course of a few years–that attempted to outlaw internet gambling. It was aimed at things like online casinos, online poker tournaments, and online sports betting, all hosted on offshore servers. As originally written, however, the bill defined “internet gambling” incredibly loosely, and it was determined that it would affect several unintended targets, all of which were currently considered legal, including networked slot machines, off-track horse betting, and, for reasons which still elude me, certain jai alai tournaments in Florida. The bill made it out of committee on more than one occasion, but, so far as I am aware, was never voted on by the whole chamber. Each time the bill was re-submitted, the definition of internet gambling was longer and more technical and the list of specific exceptions and exemptions grew. I expect something similar to happen with lootbox legislation, assuming that the industry doesn’t decide to back off or self-regulate.

    The TL;DR is that federal legislation takes a damned long time. Most bills don’t become law and those that do have often been amended so heavily that they’re barely recognizable.

    1. Decius says:

      The reason why that internet gambling bill took so long and had such a long definition was because they were trying to distinguish between the target (internet casinos) and non-targets (off-track betting and the like), but they have to rely on definitions that courts can adjudicate regarding what they are regulating, and if they leave a loophole (perhaps by prohibiting only ‘simulations of traditional casino games’, resulting in the internet casino altering the rules of the game enough that it’s not a casino game), they have to go through the entire process again.

      Since there’s a lot of money in gambling, everyone who would get included in the definition writes in to complain, and whomever wants the bill in the first place has to point out when the definition is too lax. When one side or the other runs out of lobby, the bill either gets voted on or dies.

      1. John says:

        The funny thing about the internet gambling bill is that I don’t think that anyone other than the original sponsors was seriously for it. The Justice Department claimed it wasn’t necessary, as internet gambling was already illegal under then-current law. I can’t recall reading Congressional testimony by a single outraged citizens’ group or recovering gambling addict. What I think happened is that the bill had a couple of really persistent sponsors. Nobody (officially or publically) likes internet gambling, so the bill would always make it out of committee. But nobody worries enough about it to make it a priority, so the bill would always die of neglect in the chamber. The sponsors would make a note of the criticism they got along the way and they’d resubmit the bill again in the following legislative session. It’s like a couple of authors who get a rejection note stating “your manuscript does not suit our needs at this time; also here are some grammar notes” so they fix the grammar problems and resubmit the manuscript expecting a different result.

        Now, admittedly, I came to the whole process about half-way through with what I think was the third resubmission of the bill. Everyone–including to some extent me–seemed to be very much going through the motions at that point.

  14. tmtvl says:

    Don’t care for GDQ, I am looking forward to the Minecraft bingo on ESA, though. And Ultima IX (worse than Atari E.T.). And the FFX-2 race between Leo and Metako. And the Sekiro run with Sayvi. And the Yu-Gi-Oh! Forbidden Memories showcase.

    They’re also having a TASBot block, so I’m curious to the technical setup.

  15. Moridin says:

    “Two console generations ago, everyone went crazy for motion controllers. The current gen is all bout VR / 4k / 60fps. Maybe this next generation of consoles will all fight over who can give us the shortest loading times.”

    Well, PS5 will supposedly have a really good SSD…Of course, that will likely only make things worse for those of us who won’t have PCI-e 4.0 SSDs

    1. tmtvl says:

      I think my Sega Megadrive will outlive any and all PS5s that are gonna be built…

      It might even have a better library, depending on whether I’m allowed to include Japan-only games.

      1. Nimrandir says:

        My PS2 almost certainly will.

        The Genesis is getting a bit fussy when it comes to starting a game, though. On the upside, most of my games can be played on the aforementioned PS2.

  16. RFS-81 says:

    Not sure I’m going to catch GDQ live, but I’m looking forward to Streets of Rage. There’s enough randomness in the enemy behavior that runners have to improvise at least some of the time and no crazy clipping.

    P.S., that mailbag greeting means “Dear people who throw dice”. “Liebe(r) …” is a standard greeting formula for letters that Google seems to know (I would have been shocked if it didn’t) but it requires the right context to detect it I guess.

  17. Baron Tanks says:

    Been playing a bit of FTL again this week, for the first time in years. The game holds up amazingly (since it wasn’t cutting edge when it came out, the ‘feel’ is still the same). It’s also surprisingly fun if you’re over at someone’s place and you’re co-piloting the ship, assuming you’re both familiar with the game. Theorycrafting, close calls, lucky breaks (in shops), it was a lot of fun. I for example was a loud proponent of getting more ship dodge, while my buddy who was operating the computer was all about the shields. Of course you need both, but unsurprisingly we were done in by a bunch of missiles :)

    The reason I bring it up is because when it comes to customization and a sense of progress, it ticks all the boxes Shamus was looking for in his space game. Downsides would be that you don’t get to directly pilot the ship and the rough difficulty (Easy is plenty spicy even with knowledge of the game) with some brutal spikes on top (looking at your, flagship). But making a badass ship is definitely a core part of the game.

  18. Nessus says:

    Rime is lovely. GOG had it either free or cheap enough to be almost free at the same time as Epic, so I got it there and played it during the same period a couple weeks ago. Reminds me a lot of Team Ico games, with a bit of Journey splashed in. It’s a great example of a small-team indie game that’s better than a lot of big AAA games.

  19. Ivan says:

    I’ve had the stream open in a tab for the last few days, been watching or just had it muted when I had the chance. The Symphony of the Night run was amazing, mostly regarding the techniques on display. The commentary was fine too, but it wasn’t CovertMuffin or PJ (plug plug) so it wasn’t the level of commentary that can carry the run by itself.

    Other than that there aren’t too many games that interest me. There’s only a couple of randomiser runs, or TasBot runs of Mario ROMhacks, which I don’t like, so that’s nice. I’ll probably watch the Minecraft, and Souls runs for sure.

    I’m sorta surprised the Diablo 2 run doesn’t interest Shamus. Though, I suppose, it’s skipless, and it takes a while, both things Shamus has been less enthusiastic about in the past.

    1. default_ex says:

      Your really missing out if you only watch runs for games you know. Watching runs of games you don’t know or don’t even care about is most of the fun of GDQ. The Resident Evil 2 remake and Silent Hill 3 were those so far for me. I liked RE1 and RE2 when they were released, began to lose interest during Code Veronica and completely lost interest even in the first couple over time. Same with Silent Hill except I lost interest after the first one. The runs however were great. The crowd interaction and heckling made them interesting in ways the game never could. The weird anime fever dream type of play through of Silent Hill was a bit mind blowing remembering what kind of game the first couple were.

      That Minecraft run however has me really curious. I’m no stranger to breaking the living crap out of Minecraft, vanilla and modded. Drop me in a fresh new world and I’ll be taking out the end dragon with 2 or 3 hours but 1 hour-ish sounds like a helluva stretch when the main limiting factor is getting enough ender pearls. Even conditioning an area in the nether to optimize the spawn chance of Endermen, they spawn much less often than the other mobs that can spawn in similar conditions.

      1. Ivan says:

        I haven’t ever played Minecraft, or any of the Souls games. I’ve barely played Symphony of the Night either (I’m very bad at it, fighting game inputs ugh). I.E: most of the stuff I mentioned IS games I don’t know.

  20. Dragmire says:

    For GDQ, I’m looking forward to the Super Metroid/Link to the Past fusion randomizer. Always love watching those.

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