During the show, I talk about the Amazon comic book adaptation of The Boys, which just released. I talk about the ending and a twist I saw coming, but I want to make it clear that I didn’t spoil the real ending. The example I gave is a placeholder / red herring.
Direct download (ogg Vorbis)
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Hosts: Paul, Shamus. Episode edited by Issac.
00:00 DRM Test Results
I have good news, and bad news…
09:32 LRR MTG RRWCD
This is the RoboRosewater Twitter.
Oemlus Galet pic.twitter.com/dfqxEwjRJt
— RoboRosewater (@RoboRosewater) December 17, 2018
And here is the draft:
Watch Up Next: Friday Night Paper Fight — Fri @ 5:00 PM PDT from LoadingReadyRun on www.twitch.tv
17:34 Procgen Slot Machine Reskin
22:10 The Boys
34:43 EA has ANOTHER bad idea. First it was multiplayer. Then lootboxes. And now…
Finally, EA is giving in to our constant demands for more social media integration!
48:00 Mailbag: Niche Games
What’s the weirdest niche game that has scratched a particular itch that you’ve played, despite that game lacking widestream appeal?
I think of ShenzhenIO – a programming/electronics engineering game which lets you stick chips and hardware together to make things, complete with data sheets (including one in Japanese). My former Electronics Engineer manager described it as ‘Work’.
With great affection,
54:47 Mailbag: Spider-Man Homecoming / Far From Home
After doing all of these Spider-Man game reviews, any thoughts on the most recent Spider-Man film, and/or Homecoming?
This is Why We Can’t Have Short Criticism
Here's how this site grew from short essays to novel-length quasi-analytical retrospectives.
The Truth About Piracy
What are publishers doing to fight piracy and why is it all wrong?
What was the problem with the Playstation 3 hardware and why did Sony build it that way?
Quakecon Keynote 2013 Annotated
An interesting but technically dense talk about gaming technology. I translate it for the non-coders.
The Best of 2016
My picks for what was important, awesome, or worth talking about in 2016.
96 thoughts on “Diecast #267: RoboRosewater, The Boys, Mailbag”
I once had a friend on Steam. A co-worker. I didn’t actually like him, mind you. But I was polite about it. When I left that job, I unfriended him. And that’s the way I like it. I don’t play multiplayer, either. Let me be a gaming misanthrope. So EA reaffirms its commitment to never making a game I want to play. Amazing.
While I can’t think of any obscure niches I like, the one that really confuses me is Soulslike/Roguelike. Superhard? No thanks. Trying again and again? I just have a low frustration threshold, and the whole idea is really offputting. I’m not opposed to the existence of these games, mind you. Just their popularity. Many times I’m browsing for a new game. I see Souls or Roguelike, I keep moving on. Damn, it looked really promising for a minute.
My full agreement on EA not being a company I’d support. I don’t appreciate being made to socialize unvoluntarily.
I just consulted my old dictionary and learned that niche has always been pronounced as “nitsh” in general, while also being allowed to be pronounced as “neesh” in British English. Interesting.
Huh. It’s from French where it’s pronounced “neesh”, I always assumed nitsh was just the result of sounding out an unfamiliar word. Then again, that probably is where it comes from, way back in the 17th century or whenever some Englishman stole a French word and expected his countrymen to pronounce it.
I consider it the same as people who end up pronouncing Clique as “click” when it should be pronounced “cleek”.
Likewise. If I ever do play a multiplayer game (not likely) it won’t be EA because I know their reasons for being all multiplayer. And they’re one of the companies thats monetizing the hardest.
fwiw: I hate games where the difficulty is based around the save system being checkpoint based (the old “Do It Again, Stupid!” style) and I love the Souls games.
The thing is that the whole “super-difficult” and “this game will screw you” stuff surrounding FromSoftware’s games is really overhyped by the gaming press and largely not true at all.
They reward being patient and observant as opposed just rushing in while yelling leeroyjenkins. Basically: Yeah, FromSoftware’s games do give less room for player mistakes then is the norm in AAA games. But they’re not kaizo games.
Sekiro is pretty DIAS. Admittedly it does outright tell you the bosses’ weaknesses if you’re paying attention, but most of them will steamroll you so hard it’ll take a fair few attempts before you get a chance to figure out the patterns.
It’s actually pretty generously checkpointed, though, which helps balance things out a lot.
The Boys seems to be good. I have an issue with a lot of Garth Ennis’s work, however. He’s like Alan Moore without the humanity or humility, or insight. Ennis is a half-trick pony: “See that thing you like? It’s actually stupid and evil! And I’m going to make a comic filled with obscenely awful people to show it!” The man writes entire series just to sneer at something – anything. And they’re good, at least in the sense of being skillfully done and well-written. But I feel like I’m enjoying The Boys because it’s filtered through somebody else’s perceptions.
I binge-watched it over the weekend and I had a problem with the pacing in a lot of ways, because there were a lot of moments where it’d go from a super-suspense “oh we’re screwed! hide hide!” moment to hey things are back to normal and everyone can just walk around normally with no transition. There were quite a few manufactured moments where if you examined them at all you’d start wondering “how did X know to be there?”
It felt awkward to me and it was extremely difficult to get an idea of “where is this even going?” First there’s one issue, then we’re on a different issue, and it wasn’t very apparent how different things tied in to each other.
So, would you reccommend it? I’m very hesitant about following shows, because they’re a huge time commitment (and time is something I’m very short on these days). The main things I’m looking to know are: is it finished (and if not, how many more seasons will there be), and is it too depressing (since recently life has made me less fond of stuff that’s too depressing lately)?
Sorry for laying in to you like this, but reading your posts over the years has helped me get a generally good grasp of what you like, so your opinion would be very informative for me :)
It’s definitely NOT finished–season 1 ends on a cliffhanger, and I don’t know how many more seasons they plan. Amazon tends to put out their Originals series on a “when it’s ready” basis instead of having an actual schedule, so you generally have no clue when more is coming until a month or two before it comes out. The one nice thing is that they release the entire new season in one go instead of one episode at a time.
I didn’t find it particularly depressing. It has a very cynical take on celebrity but some of the characters are genuinely good and trying to do the right thing, and they are taken seriously and not crapped on or mocked for being idealistic. If anything, it’s the ultra-cynical characters who get the takedowns and whose bullshit as revealed as what it is. So while the “world” is very dark the story is actually not all that dark–there’s genuine heroism and it’s not (or, at least, hasn’t been yet) revealed to be a giant cosmic joke.
It is GROSS. I’m largely immune to this because I’ve literally worked cutting up dead people in the past, but if you’re sensitive to ick this series will probably not be a pleasant watch for you. There’s also CONSIDERABLE complete full-frontal nudity.
I found it to be a bit ham-fisted and a bit predictable in some of the more politically charged bits, but on the other hand this is a critique of the concept of super heroes so it makes sense that the politics would be deliberately stupid and two-dimensional.
I’d say overall that if you’re into the superhero/fantasy genre (you watch all the movies, even the corny ones) it’s worth watching. If you’re not a genre fan the flaws will probably annoy you enough that you won’t be able to get into it.
Oh, and it has SUPER DARK EVERYTHING IS DARK CAN’T SEE cinematography. There are SOME scenes with actual colors and light, but they’re the minority, and mostly everything is grimdark lighting.
Oh, and the first season is not hugely long as these things go, it’s only 8 episodes.
Thank you for the clarifications – they were MUCH more informative than the trailers! I’ll definitely give it a shot. Out of all that, the only turn-off for me is the dark cinematography. But when I find the time, I’ll watch the first couple of episodes, and see if it’s my kind of jam (I think it probably will be).
Huh… maybe it’s my laptop screen but I didn’t find the cinematography that dark.
I’m not Jennifer, but my view is that its good but very uneven. If you like the movie Watchmen you can probably tolerate this. However, there’s maybe one likable character in the show. This is mostly a world of ugly excuses for human beings doing gross, cruel things. Because its a Garth Ennis work and he’s like that.
I would have said that there are a fair number of likeable characters–Huey, Huey’s dad, Starlight, Mother’s Milk, Frenchie, Kimiko (the Female), Queen Maeve (to an extent). And even some of the worst characters get moments of pathos where you get an idea of what made them what they are.
Maybe not “likeable”, but the characters are, for the most part, “understandable”. It has some pretty substantial nuance to it.
Also the female Evil Corporation Witch is the lead from Adventures in Babysitting for additional creep factor.
THIS POST CONTAINS SPOILERS
The cliffhanger at the end is the weirdest cliffhanger I’ve ever seen, as it’s less suspenseful “what’s going to happen” and more “we just completely invalidated all of the character motivations that we spent 8 episodes building up, bye have fun!” so your suspense concern isn’t about what will happen to this situation and peril to the immediate characters but “what the heck was the point of all of that?”
In fact, it’s so devastating that they very well COULD just end the series right as it stands as a giant mindscrew (I doubt they plan to, but it would actually be a possibility because the ending DID wrap up the story, just in a really screwed-up way).
FWIW, that cliffhanger is a *complete* departure from the books. I personally like it, because it will hopefully keep Billy from being the one-note monomaniac he was in the original.
Also, they’ve already requested a second season, so it’s definitely moving forward. And with that reveal, I don’t know how much the books will be an indication of where the show is going.
The puzzle pieces are there to meander towards a similar show ending story and twist. I’d expect season 2 to give the antagonist some political aspirations and also to reaffirm the motivation of the protagonist in some way.
Well, it only invalidated the motivation of Billy but didn’t make the actions in the series pointless. I feel it was a good trade-off. Hopefully, we’ll see some navel gazing from The Boys but see them come to a more rounded reason for moving on and trying to upset the status quo.
It invalidated Homelander’s motivations too. He’s cut loose of the Evil Corporation’s plans and has an entirely new interest in his life. Who knows WHAT he’ll do next.
Wait, I completely disagree. How does it invalidate homelander’s plans as well? It increments them, it evolves them… but invalidated?
He’s always been a selfish asshole working for what he thought was best – the supers. Working with the corporation in their schemes was for the best. Working with Stillwell was also to his personal advantage… until it was no longer.
Now he has a son.But his primary concern is himself and the “better” people (I.e. supers). His son is his legacy. He was raised to promote a legacy and to gain the trust and adoration or the people. This is just a continuation of that motivation.
Thanks! Like I said above – I’ll definitely give it a shot when I’ve got the time!
I’m not much of a comic fan, so the various celebrities of that domain are unknown to me. But I did recognize Garth Ennis’ name and had to look him up.
He is – of course – the creator of Crossed. Not more needs to be said, really.
I was the same as Shamus regarding the MCU, just that the movie that finished it for me was Civil War. I think, because that movie was so good, and ended so well, I just did not need to see any more.
Your decision, but if anything the series got *better* since Civil War. And that’s impressive.
I’m pretty sure you didn’t understand the Andrew Wilson interview.
He doesn’t mention social media integration at all. In fact, the only point he mentions social media, is when he talks about “network effects”, and says that video games are subject to the same dynamics as social media, eg: everyone is on instagram because their friends are on instagram, and everyone plays LoL because their friends talk about LoL and want they want to play as team with their friends.
The major point Wilson makes (once you get past the corporate-speak) is that these network effects are easier to capitalize on with a subscription model. Eg, if your run your games with a Netflix-like model, players can go “Hey, did you see the last Punchman: Advanced Punchfare?” and convince their friends to play with them immediately, whereas in a traditional market you have to convince your friends to buy the game first, which is less viral. I’m not saying Wilson is right, but the general idea seems coherent to me, even if I’m not sure I like the subscription model he’s describing.
(also Wilson mentions trying to adapt to different types of player in the interview, but I think that’s just generic corporate back-patting, like “Look how cool we are trying to adapt to the needs of our varied consumer base!”)
I think we agree on what he was saying. It’s true he never says anything about social media integration, but I was simply taking the next logical leap of how his idea would impact the product.
If you believe that engagement through social media is a marketing tool, then the most obvious thing to do is to integrate social media into the game. We see this already with games that offer built-in Twitch streaming and such. All you need to do is give them a reason to share:
* Post the results / score / achievement to social media.
* Post game clips / highlights / kill cams.
* Achievements to encourage and reward playing with people who joined the game through your post.
* Like I said above, built-in Streaming to Twitch / YouTube.
* In-game unlocks for linking the game to various social media platforms to facilitate all of the above.
I’m just trying to read between the lines and predict where his idea will take us. I could be wrong, but based on his behavior I don’t think my guess is implausible.
This has been a sometimes feature of Flash games for a few years now: Click this button to like us on Facebook and get 500 in-game gold! Click this button to retweet us for another 500! I’m kind of surprised real games haven’t started doing this kind of thing to nudge their Net Promoter Score directly, rather than simply adding a Share button and hoping virality happens because you reduced the friction a bit.
It’s not implausible, but I think it’s worth remembering how much of these interviews is in the brainstorming/bullshitting stage. Remember the ancient “We want all games to be multiplayer” interview EA still gets dragged over the coals for? They haven’t stopped making singleplayer games.
Don’t all their games (including their singleplayer games) have a multiplayer component though these days? I think that’s what the infamous quote meant.
Nope, they’re still making pure singleplayer games. See for instance the clunkily-named Star Wars Jedi: Fallen Order.
I thought that was newsworthy as a rare exception.
Whilst there has been not much evidence either way, the single player thing was widely misrepresented.
The essence of the quote was EA didn’t think there was a market for that _kind_ of linear single player game.
My understanding was that it wouldn’t apply to an open world single player game like say, Assassin’s Creed Odyssey. It was ambiguous though.
“Still making single player games” is a stretch when they make maybe one of those every year and three times as many multiplayer games. They have not decreased their amount of single player focused games to zero, yet, is the nicest thing you can say.
This is a terrible argument. Try applying this to anything else. I eat chicken Saturday and Sunday, but isn’t it a stretch to say I still eat meat when I have three times as many vegetarian dinners? Really, the most you can say is that I have not decreased my chicken consumption to zero, yet. I can’t imagine why anyone would describe that state of affairs as “still eating meat”.
It’s telling that you describe “have not decreased their amount of single player focused games to zero, yet” as “nice”, as though it would be an insult if they were multiplayer-only. I know that it’s fashionable to hate EA as though it’s the driver that ran over your dog, but these linguistic contortions are just silly. Instead of trying to argue that “not stopped making singleplayer games” is somehow distinct from “still making singleplayer games” you can just say that you wish EA did more singleplayer.
You’re talking about weekly consumption, whereas game releases are generally discussed on an annual basis. It’s a very silly comparison. If EA releases less than one single player game per year (aka, every few years they will release one)… that’s a significant lack of single player titles because a year is a LONG TIME.
I like how you move from caring about the relative volume of singleplayer vs multiplayer releases to the rate at which singleplayer games are released, excellent shifting of the goalposts. It doesn’t distract from the absurdity of claiming that EA, a company literally at this moment making singleplayer games, isn’t “still making singleplayer games”.
EA isn’t making them. Respawn isn’t EA, it’s a 2nd party dev that EA recently bought. That’s like calling Team Ninja the same thing as Nintendo because they’ve worked together a bunch recently.
I’m telling you that the article you linked doesn’t mention social media at all (unless you consider that every mention of social interactions is about facebook).
I mean, yeah, social media integrations in games aren’t going anywhere, but that’s not what the interview is about.
I agree with your general points that executives have an overly simplistic view of the market, and a lot of their mistakes stem from that, but in this case you’re arguing these points based on the interview of an executive doing the exact opposite of what you complain about executives doing.
Eg, Wilson says this:
Which is a more corporate way of saying “Players want social interaction, but they also have other motivations, and we should make games that cover those too instead of focusing on a single thing”.
More broadly, what this part of the interview argues is that AAA “linear” (eg singleplayer) games are fading out because people nowadays have shifted to playing games as a support for social interaction. So (according to him) most people play the online games their friends also play, and aren’t willing to invest 60$ in a singleplayer game, even if they would otherwise enjoy that game. So “the challenge becomes finding a way to make them financially viable”; his reasoning is that a Netflix-like model would be able to “sell” games like Spider-Man and Uncharted to people who would have otherwise ignored them.
Now, it’s impossible to tell how sincere any of this is, and maybe he’s completely wrong. But I think you should read that interview again with an open mind, because there are some insights in there you could find interesting.
In other words, Andrew Wilson’s job is apparently his life. And his life sucks.
Surely the newer Marvel movies will be on Disney’s forthcoming streaming service rather than Netflix? I had a Netflix account once, but when they raised their prices and started hemorrhaging content back in 2009 or so I canceled it. Netflix used to have everything and it was wonderful. I went back for a free trial a year or two ago and found that they had nothing. (You know, figuratively.) It was depressing. If you’re not interested in their original content, there’s not a lot for you there. As much as I dislike Disney–I was an angry teenager during the Eisner years, underwhelmed by the so-called Disney Renaissance and repelled by the relentless Disney marketing machine–their catalog, especially with all of their recent acquisitions, is big enough that at least their streaming service should have plenty of stuff worth seeing.
As for Marvel movies themselves, I feel like they’ve already run into the same sorts of problems that the comics ran into in the 60s when they decided to get serious about this shared universe thing. I recently watched Ant-Man, which, for the most part works as a fun stand-alone film. (For the record, that’s exactly what I want.) There are some things, however, that fall a little flat if you aren’t familiar with the broader MCU. You need to have some idea of what SHIELD is, for example, or the opening might be a little confusing. I know what SHIELD is. I have not, however, seen any of the Avengers films. I don’t know who the guy with the wings and the jetpack is. My lack of knowledge did not hurt my ability to follow the film, but it did make his fight against Ant-Man a little underwhelming. Ant-Man vs an Avenger should be a big deal, but it doesn’t quite work that way when the Avenger is someone you don’t know anything about. In the comics, at least in Ye Goode Aulde Days, there would have been some kind of footnote explaining who this guy was (and encouraging me to go buy specific issues of other books in which he made recent or notable appearances) but that obviously doesn’t work in films.
My real fear for the future of the MCU is for the Guardians of the Galaxy films, the first two of which were fun and totally disconnected from the rest of the MCU. But given the Guardians’ appearances in Infinity War and Endgame, I’m afraid that the third one may be harder to follow (and less fun) than its predecessors. I don’t want to have to watch Infinity War and Endgame in order to understand Guardians 3. I don’t want to have to watch Avengers, Captain America, Age of Ultron, Black Panther, and Civil War to understand Infinity War and Endgame. That doesn’t sound like fun. That sounds like work.
Not necessarily. There are some prominent examples of networks trying to start their own streaming services, while selling their best properties as Netflix exclusives. Presumably because the bureaucracy isn’t coordinated: the senior executive in charge of IP monetization doesn’t have to go along with the guy in charge of cloning Netflix.
The MCU is confirmed to be switching to Disney + only, starting off with Captain Marvel streaming this year on the service. Older titles will likely be available on other services until their deals expire.
Disney got a majority stake in Hulu as a result of the FOX merger, and there’s some indication they’re going to use it for more “mature” fare, presumably to keep it separate from the more family-friendly brands (MCU, Star Wars, Pixar, Disney Animation). E.g., they’re releasing a Ghost Rider series on Hulu, with the title character played by the same actor who played GR on Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D., but not connected to that earlier version. Whether this new GR is supposed to be fully part of the MCU, a one-way connection like the Netflix series (i.e. the Netflix series constantly referenced the MCU films, though usually obliquely, but the MCU never references the Netflix series), or completely separate, I haven’t heard yet.
Ghost Rider was such a weird choice for a TV series. We’re going to need to do something more drawn out and lower budget…so let’s use the guy with a FLAMING SKULL FOR A HEAD who got his powers DIRECT FROM (off-brand) SATAN.
I desperately want to see Drive to Survive, but other than that, I don’t care about anything on Netflix. Doesn’t really seem worth it for just one show.
I agree that keeping up with the MCU seems too much like work to me, but I may not be their target audience.
The double-edged sword that is Continuity Lockout. It’s a reward for the fans to see an ever-deepening world, but makes it that much harder for anyone else to get into the mythos, or even for a former fan to get back in if they’ve been gone for awhile.
I had seen ever MCU film except the Incredible Hulk and was thus able to get most of the references in Infinity War/Endgame, but I feel sympathy for all of the people who didn’t keep up and were wondering what was going on.
It’s probably why I’ve never watched a single episode of something like Dr. Who. I have to watch and be familiar with *how much* before I can understand what’s going on? Eh, don’t care enough.
Ooh, found a fun review of someone who watched Endgame without having watched any of the MCU films: https://www.hollywoodreporter.com/heat-vision/avengers-endgame-explained-by-first-time-marvel-viewer-1205734
I read the article, and if I was in his place (though it’s hard for me to imagine that, having watched every Marvel movie up to Infinity War, except for Captain Marvel), I would have felt HORRIBLE! But I’m of a similar opinion when it comes to Doctor Who – it sounds like something I’d love, but I feel like I’ve just got too much catching up to do, to the point where I just don’t want to bother with it…
The Marvel movies seem to have a system – if it’s an Avengers movie, you’ll probably need to at least know the outline of the rest of the MCU to keep up. If it’s a sequel, you’ll probably want to see the previous ones. If it’s a character’s first movie, you’re probably fine to start there – Homecoming is the worst for this, but it’s still pretty comprehensible with no background.
Netflix has enough to justify the price to me at the moment. Black Mirror, Stranger Things, a number of Anime series, all the Star Treks except the one I have no interest in watching. And they have some of the older Marvel movies which are the good ones.
I’m not interested in anything after Endgame anyway. Endgame was my last Marvel movie. I figured I’d go out on a high note. I can already see the signs that they’re taking a turn for the worse
I’ll never give money to Disney+, I don’t care what their service has. If its on Disney+ its irrelevant.
“My real fear for the future of the MCU is for the Guardians of the Galaxy films, the first two of which were fun and totally disconnected from the rest of the MCU. But given the Guardians’ appearances in Infinity War and Endgame, I’m afraid that the third one may be harder to follow (and less fun) than its predecessors. I don’t want to have to watch Infinity War and Endgame in order to understand Guardians 3. I don’t want to have to watch Avengers, Captain America, Age of Ultron, Black Panther, and Civil War to understand Infinity War and Endgame. That doesn’t sound like fun. That sounds like work.”
You don’t “have” to watch anything, you will just get more out of each film, the more of them you watch, generally speaking. Like you can watch Spider-Man Homecoming without seeing Iron Man 1-3 and Civil War, but you’ll get more out of it if you know the characters that Spider-Man is meeting and becoming buddies with. Similarly, I’m sure Guardians 3 will be watchable just as a movie, but the Guardians had some HEAVY life experiences in the last two Avengers movie, and those will absolutely be relevant. But this is comic books all over. If you ONLY wanted to read the X-Men, you would just have to deal with Colossus quitting the team to cry about his lost alien girlfriend after Secret War, without really understanding the particulars.
I feel like you’re right for most of those movies but for Endgame, you’re really not going to get the most out of that movie if you haven’t watched at least half of the preceding Marvel movies.
Off the top of my head. Thor 2 and 3, The Avengers, Captain America Winter Soldier (and it wouldn’t hurt to watch the first Cap movie) Ant Man and Wasp, and the first Iron Man, If you watch all the Marvel movies they’re pretty much all referenced in Endgame in some way but those are the big ones. You can follow the plot without watching any of those other movies but you’ll enjoy it far more if you’ve seen everything. There are jokes that only work if you’ve seen the movies too like
Cap saying “Hail Hydra”
I’d add Captain Marvel. I found it quite jarring having not seen the film, and I’m normally not bothered by that sort of thing in Marvel movies. (For example I still don’t mind not seeing Dr Strange)
Captain Marvel is honestly not required viewing for Endgame. I say this as being surprised by it at the time. All you need to know is that she’s basically a Superman-level of power character who mostly focuses on bringing justice elsewhere in the galaxy (she explains this in Endgame as focusing on places that need her more than Earth).
Her actual solo movie just explained her backstory about how she originally grew up on Earth and gained her powers, but none of this is referenced in Endgame at all, perhaps because her Endgame scenes were filmed before her solo Captain Marvel movie scenes.
I’d say that Doctor Strange actually was more required viewing than Captain Marvel. At least that had some of the supporting cast show up in Endgame.
Yeah I agree, I didn’t see Captain Marvel and I wasn’t surprised or confused by anything that happened in Endgame. I guess I knew enough about the character from the comics. She’s barely in Endgame, just a couple of key scenes.
I guess if you’re completely unfamiliar with the character you might be surprised when
she blows up the big ship at the end.You just have to know that she’s the most powerful superhero in the movies, unlike the comics.
You’re right in that “have”, if taken literally, is an over-statement. However, I don’t enjoy watching scenes in a film that I can tell (based on the staging, the dramatic music, or whatever) are supposed to be significant when I don’t have the knowledge to appreciate their significance. Even when I can still follow the plot, I’m plagued by a nagging sense that I’m missing something. It detracts from the overall experience.
Ant-Man vs. Falcon (I looked up the name) in Ant-Man is a minor example. I could follow the scene even though I don’t know who Falcon is. I was fairly sure he was an Avenger when I watched Ant-Man, but he wasn’t one I recognized. I didn’t know his powers or how dangerous he was. My temporary confusion didn’t ruin the film by any means, but I would honestly have preferred a scene in which Ant-Man had to deal with, say, a bunch of conventional guards and a dangerous automated security system to the scene I got. It would have been less distracting.
I understand that this is how comic books have been doing things for ages. I don’t like it there either. It’s one of the reasons that I don’t read very many comic books. (The ridiculous price-per-issue is the other.) When I read comics, I read trades of mostly self-contained series. Intrusions by big crossover events are (mostly) tolerated but never welcome.
Although I haven’t experienced it with Marvel films, I totally get where you’re coming from – it’s like when you’re the new guy in a group of friends – someone mentions at topic that gets the whole group laughing in stitches, and you have no idea why. I guess this is a case of can’t having your cake and eating it too – you can’t have fans gushing over specific, context-based character intractions AND character beats everyone can enjoy – there’s just no replacement for the feeling of being a co-conspirator of a good inside joke…
By the way, what do you mean by “trades”? Second-hand comics? I don’t think we have that where I come from XD
“Trades” is short for “trade paperbacks”. Trades are like graphic novels except that instead of consisting of original material they’re collections of several issues of an on-going comics series. They’re bound collections of reprints in other words, and a much more economical way of reading comics than buying them issue-by-issue.
Well, they used to be. I haven’t purchased a new comic book since 1998 at the latest. I don’t know what your typical comic costs these days. To be honest, I don’t even buy trades. I can generally get them from my library these days. I, John, am personally killing comics.
You monster :D But at least you can rest easy, knowing you’ve informed me. Come to think of it, I think I’ve seen such collections in some bookstores – but I thought they were just snippets of several stories, trying to wring out ever more money out of comic book lovers.
Getting stuff from the library is a boon to whoever makes that thing. Because the library paid a higher cost to get the item (unless it was a donation) and the popularity of that item being checked out will cause them to buy more items like that. So don’t at all feel guilty for reading through the library, it doesn’t hurt the creators.
I really feel that Shamus should have pronounced it itché (0:50:00).
Edit: Damn, Paul Spooner thought of it sooner than I.
(tips hat) I look forward to our next match.
You did spoil the reveal about the origins of the superheroes, though. That thing is revealed halfway through the series.
I’ve been getting more and more sick of the MCU in the last few years. I loved all of their first few movies, even ones that weren’t very popular, like The Incredible Hulk or Iron Man 2. I saw them all in theaters and I bought them all on DVD or Blu Ray (Blu Ray wasn’t as popular a format when they started as it is now) at launch. Nowadays I barely buy any, and when I do, I wait for a sale. Sometimes I don’t even go to theaters to watch them (like with Ant-Man and The Wasp, and thank God, because I was bored to tears with it).
The problem is that their formula has been getting stale for a while now and they’ve done practically nothing to spice it up. Besides that, their overreliance on bathos irritates me to no end and their complete lack of care for continuity makes the whole cinematic universe thing be entirely pointless. “Oh, my God, an universe-shattering event changed the existence of all living beings forever. I wonder how that’s going to affect future films? What’s going to happen?” Nothing. Nothing is happening. The universe-changing event had absolutely no consequences. Even the death of certain characters is inconsequential, since their presence is still played up. This character died? Well, guess what, they still run the plot. This other character died? Oh, wait they’re releasing a new movie about them. Well. Never. Mind.
I really hope we see a resurgence of superhero games at least. Granted, the Avengers game looks terrible, MUA3 is an exclusive and not a very innovative one, and the Arkhamverse is silent, so I don’t know if there’s anything interesting on the horizon, but here’s hoping.
Unfortunately, I don’t think we’ll be hearing anything from the Arkhamverse anytime soon. I’m not too bummed out about that one – to me, the best Arkham game was Asylum, and I still kind of liked City (though I never finished it).
Are you still following the movies? If so, is Far From Home any good? After Infinity War, I just haven’t felt the drive for Marvel anymore (even the ComicCon reveals didn’t get my motor running)…
I didn’t care for Far From Home. I found it irratingly stupid. I will say on the positive side that there are some neat visuals (there’s a scene where Spider-Man is fighting Mysterio’s illusions that’s very well made), and some good acting, but everyone acts like an idiot, specially Holland’s Peter Parker, who just refuses to grow as a character.
Typo police here to typo poliec:
First it was multiplayer.
That’s it, only one, better luck next time.
I binge-watched The Boys yesterday. I really enjoyed it! Was even better because it was a complete surprise since I’ve never heard of the comics or universe before.
The way you pronounce niche is correct according to the whole of my life. “Nitch” is something recent… I’ve never heard that except from recent American pronunciations. Even Paul’s example is not correct either. It’s still pronounced the same way – even a niche (as in a space that’s slightly aside from a main area) is pronounced the French way.
A pronunciation through google gives the “neesh”… for some reason (and I feel this may be the culprit) Dictionary.com use the phonetic “nitch”….
Cambridge Dictionary splits the difference and has the British “Neesh” and American “Nitch”… but I think that, given the origin of the word (middle French) at the point when it entered into the English lexicon, the correct pronunciation is “neesh” and the “nitch” is a recent (as in the last 20 years or so) mis-pronunciation which is becoming popular through shared misuse propagated by TV and the internet.
Of course, language is a living thing and evolves over time (we had the whole great vowel shift!) but this seems a really strange change because probably someone popularised it through access to a large audience.
On refelction (and because I’ve just literally heard it in a videogame) I’d put this mispronunciation up there with “Siggle” instead of “Sij-il” for the word sigil…. :D
I’m an American in my 40s, and I grew up hearing it said “nitch”. Don’t think I ever even heard “Neesh” until I was in my teens at least. So it’s definitely not as recent as you’re supposing.
…Though I have no problem with or objection to using either. As a kid I felt strongly that words and names should be pronounced according to their native language. As an adult I take a very “when in Rome” stance towards dialect, and find people who have difficulty changing/adapting their word use (or who actively resist) to be baffling.
That’s really strange then because I’m almost 40 and I never heard it in usa tv or movies until the last 20 or so years. (Which for me is recent, relatively speaking in terms of language evolution).
I’m the same as you though. Like I said, I prefer the French pronunciation.
Shamus, have you played Fract OSC?
One I really like is Just Shapes and Beats – not only does it gave chiptunes from some of the best artists out there, it has one of my favourite villains ever.
EDIT: I just saw the “relaxing” part of the quote which means Shapes and Beats doesn’t really qualify :/
But you can still watch a walkthrough of it, though!
I enjoyed LRR’s JSaB single-session play through. Plus I learned the term “club banger”, so it was beneficial all around!
The first time I saw that word I thought it meant something… very different than what it actually means :D
Yeah, it’s like, a half entendre.
I watched Spiderman Far From Home against my better judgment, to go with friends, and I honestly don’t get why everyone liked this movie.
First off, as with other people, now that I’ve watched Endgame, I’m pretty much done with superhero movies. If they wanted to keep me in, they had to show they were willing to go in a wildly new direction, and yet they just used the same formula again. (although, again, seeing how much success this movie had, they probably made the right move)
Second, this movie is really incredibly dumb. Like, not just “this is a superhero movie, just don’t think about it too hard!” dumb, but really aggressively stupid. Every problem that happens is either extremely contrived (eg the lady asking Peter to strip in conditions that really don’t make sense) or happens because the protagonists act like idiots (the first drone strike). The villain’s secret plan is nonsensical and would collapse the moment a halfway decent intelligence agency started looking at it too hard. Giant monsters are destroying cities, and yet the protagonists, who know about these monsters ahead of time, do nothing to warn the local authorities or evacuate the cities. Peter keeps acting out in ways that make his super identity really blatant, and nobody cares (modulo a few scenes that I’m not going to spoil, but either way, it’s dumb).
I usually try my best to ignore those problems. I’m not sure exactly why they bothered me more than in, eg, Winter Soldier. I’d say it’s because movies like Winter Soldier are better at showing you the abstractions of the character’s decisions. Like, you understand that even if a character’s actions wouldn’t really make sense in the real world, they’re an abstraction of actions that similar people would actually take in real-world situations. In Far From Home, every decision Peter makes feels incredibly stupid, like actions he would never ever take if he didn’t need to pad out a two-hours movie instead of solving the plot in five minutes.
I enjoyed the movie, although I liked the first one better. I did qualify it as “turn your brain off entertainment” though, that’s obviously not true for everyone. It’s definitely an Idiot Plot movie, I’ll agree.
My main issue was that Peter’s actions don’t make sense from a maturity level standpoint. You really have to take up the position that he seriously regressed in maturity from his experiences with the Infinity War, because his desire to avoid responsibility and constant nervousness around a high-school crush don’t make sense for someone who has died trying to save the world and came back from it all.
I don’t feel Peter “seriously regressed in his maturity”, in fact probably the opposite.
In Homecoming and Infinity War, Peter is champing at the bit to go out and be a hero, not because he’s mature about bearing responsibility, but because he’s naïve – he doesn’t really understand the potential consequences. Then he has a really terrible and traumatic experience while being a hero, and saw exactly how dangerous it is, and suddenly he’s not very excited about being a superhero and just wants some time to be normal. What part of this doesn’t make sense from a character arc perspective?
He’s running from responsibility, in a sense, but he’s doing it because he has a more realistic view of what those responsibilities actually are, which I’d argue is more mature than he was in previous movies.
And yes, it’s not rational to be nervous about a high-school when you’ve already gone to space and fought aliens… but since when is high school romance rational?
Being a brave combat soldier does not change the feelings of butterflies in the stomach from someone you are romantically attracted to. It’s a completely different stimulus. That’s like saying that every brilliant doctor or scientist also must be emotionally intelligent, which is not at ALL true. What I like about Peter and MJ in this movie is that Peter isn’t so afraid that he acts like he’s not interested. He’s actually trying to overtly get closer to her and hang out with her all the time. His whole “plan” idea is a very clear set of steps to ask her out, rather than “maybe she’ll like me if I just hang around and say nothing…” His bashfulness with Liz from the first movie was much more of the “it’s not like I LIKE you or anything…” variety and he’s grown since then.
Precisely my problem with this movie. The MCU has reached a point where they can literally release two hours of Adam Sandler smelling his own farts and people will call it the “best superhero movie yet”.
There’s much more to add to the stupidity of this film, but going back to the strip scene you mention… leaving aside the cliche of the scene (guy enters at the exact time and they’re all like “Oh, it’s not what you think”), how the hell no one bats an eye to the fact that an adult woman is forcing an underage boy to strip in front of her? How does that pass for comedy in a family film, when we know that if the genders were reversed everyone would be up in arms?
Oh yeah, I thought this scene was super creepy. Like, at least turn around, lady. Which… is kind of what the actors were going for, I guess? Like, I ended up thinking “Ok, so how many of Fury’s henchmen are ex-cons that couldn’t find work anywhere else?”.
There’s actually a fairly clear explanation for that.
In light of the post-credit scene, that woman was almost certainly a Skrull, as with most of “Fury”‘s henchmen. So yeah, that’s why they all act somewhat weird and unnatural: they’re not ex-cons, they’re alien shapeshifters pretending to be humans.
Yeah, but… I don’t want an explanation? Like, I don’t care that the end credit scene totally “justifies” Nick Fury being incompetent and his henchmen acting like idiots. I don’t want it to be explained, I want a movie that’s smart enough for these problems not to happen.
Have a villain whose secret plan is actually clever and well developed, not “the kind of thing that’s dumb enough that people will believe it”. Have henchmen who are actually smart or professional or compelling in some way. Have a scene showing the romantic rival be smooth or charming or cultured to make him a threat to Peter so you don’t have to resort to “he takes a photo of Peter with his literal pants down”.
FWIW, Far From Home has very little “comic book cruft” – less that you might expect from the trailer –
since the whole multiverse thing turns out to be a red herring. It only really leans on the previous films with regards to Peter’s relationship with Tony Stark.
If anything it felt like the movie leans more into the “disastrous class trip to Europe” premise than the “superhero film” premise.
It’s not so amazing that I’d really suggest running out to see it if you aren’t feeling the Marvel movies anymore, but certainly worth the rent (or streaming) someday.
Yeah I disagree with your theory @7min. There’s nothing stopping downloading a redistributable direct from Microsoft. I would even bet that a *majority* of MS driver downloads are not by done ‘Genuine’ windows copies at all. Just for the simple logistical reason that you download drivers first before going through a full authentication process when installing Windows. Windows becomes ‘Genuine’ later in the process.
My theory is that it is due the cumulative load on Steam. It’s not to save memory nor HD space. It is to save a few petabytes of data per hour. ~20megs for every game X thousands of games per hour = $$$$. GOG chooses to bare that cost themselves for convenience to their customers. (And make GOG’s backend simpler and cheaper in fixed cost.) With fetching from MS servers, Steam offloads that portion of the data transfer cost back to Microsoft.
BTW Paul mentioned “being allowed to include it”. Yes. It is allowed to be included. That’s what ‘Redistributable’ means– someone other than Microsoft is allowed to distribute it.
I’ve watched the trailer for “The Boys”, and I’m not really interested. I think Alexander Wales spoiled me.
First, because I already read Shadows of the Limelight, which is almost exactly the same idea with a cooler premise. (“being famous gives you superpowers”, which is why most superheroes act like impulsive reality stars)
Second, because I read The Metropolitan Man, which is both my gold standard as far as realistic superhero stories, go and exactly as cynical a superhero story as I’m willing to consume. So it’s plenty cynical and explores themes of power and accountability, but the story doesn’t need Superman to be a narcissistic moron with the impulse of a 5 years old to make its points.
I also recommend Worm and its sequel by Wildbow. They’re a little less grounded, a little more cynical, but they’re a lot more vivid and emotional and they’re willing to explore themes of trauma and personal growth at a level I’ve never seen in any other superhero story. For instance, the therapist scenes in Worm are easily the best therapist scenes I’ve ever read.
I was thinking about sending this in for the next Diecast, but I figure there’s not much to say about it beyond “Stupid publisher is stupid”. So instead I’m putting it in a comment: The Switch port of Doom requires an online activation!
This is just completely baffling. It was released over two decades ago. It’s currently being sold DRM free on GOG. The game engine is open-source and everyone playing the game nowadays on a PC runs a modern fork of the engine and points it to the game asset files. This is beating a dead horse after it bolted!
And while you only have to authenticate to Bethesda’s server once, they still managed to lock people out of the game. The upside is lots of screenshots from old games photoshopped to show the error message from DOOM: https://twitter.com/Binarynova/status/1154990378518568960
I’m betting on the cat deck to win, personally.
Shamus, Watchmen definitely has at least two superheroes in it. Anyone who builds animal-themed flying machines totally counts.
“This just seems like the DLL hell of the 90s”
That’s exactly what it is. It never went away, developers just got better at hiding it. Windows never got the proper package management system to actually deal with it.
We’re distributing our software as an installer (a .msi), built with Installshield. In the installer file, there’s a part that says “take those Microsoft Visual C++ Redist and package them in the Installer. When running the Installer, install them as needed”. The redistribuables are downloaded, I guess, from Microsoft and just sit on the build machine.
And think it’s how it’s done in most cases, including the Steam games, with the redistribuables packaged in the installer (I’ve done some install of Steam games without any internet connection, having finished the download earlier when I had acces). But those redistribuables are not installed in the game folder, they’re somewhere like System32 or ProgrammData, so when moving the Good Robot install, the redistribuables were not copied, which prevented the game from running.
I believe the main reason why programs mostly link with the dll version of the msvc runtime instead of statically linking is that any other libraries you link with must use the same runtime linking. That means 3rd party libraries should be providing two versions of their library files, one compiled to link to the static msvc runtime and the other one linked to the dynamic msvc runtime. However, sometimes they don’t, and in that case, it will be just the dynamic version.
I personally use static linking to the msvcrt, but it has caused extra frustration during development and sometimes means I need to take a more difficult path to find a solution.
As far as moving software from PC to PC, I believe you can put the msvc dlls in the same folder as your application and it will work fine. The only problem is that it doesn’t meet the licensing requirements that allow you to redistribute Microsoft’s dll files. So if you plan on selling your software, you must run Microsoft’s installer, which in turns places the files in a shared system folder, not in your app’s folder.
I had not heard of “The Boys” until this post. I watched the first episode based on your recommendation. It’s Hollywood! Sure it is a literally story about supers. Really though it’s an allegory for Hollywood itself. Like that one scene might word for word based on something Harvey Weinstein did. Payouts, branding and NDAs.
I personally enjoy the absurdness of it too. Like turning someone into a fine pink mist isn’t something I find shocking nor dark. It goes too far into the absurd. It is the exact kind of thing I burst out laughing at. So far I’m sold on the show.
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I'm <b>very</b> glad Darth Vader isn't my father.
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