I don’t know how the mailbag got so out of control, but Paul and I did our best to put a dent in it. Here we answer 10 questions in one show.
Hosts: Paul, Shamus. Episode edited by Issac. Also featuring Local Forecast by Kevin MacLeod.
00:26 Rebel Galaxy Outlaw: the “Thanks, I Hate it” Edition
03:06 Epic Game Store Fail No Preload for Borderlands 3
For the record, this is about how Epic’s lack of features means the platform isn’t really ready for a huge AAA release like Borderlands 3, and not about the class action lawsuit over a data breach, breaking their own rules regarding their cash shop items, or their recent PR gaffes. I know all this bad Epic news starts to blur together after a while, so it’s important to make it clear that this is a new controversy and not one of the old ones.
06:26 Mailbag: Updates that ruined games.
we all know a lot of updates make games better. But the opposite can also happen. Have you guys ever gone from liking a game to disliking it after an update?
09:20 Mailbag: VR Desktop
it’s not really gaming related, but have you seen the announcement of Valve’s xrdesktop project?
Basically they’re bringing traditional Desktop Environments to VR. It seems really cool.
13:39 Mailbag: Streaming MMO
I am of the opinion that video game streaming is a boondoggle for
reasons both already covered by Shamus and not super relevant to the question. However, I feel there is one use case where it’s actually not too bad: massively multiplayer games, or other games that are online only anyway. This is how Phantasy Star Online 2 works on the Switch in Japan, for instance (and probably how it will work over here): you need a good steady connection to the server anyway, so it doesn’t matter too much if the client is on their system instead of ours.
Some of World of Warcraft’s success could be traced to “any potato can run it,” and while that’s not as big a deal now, do you think it’s something worth considering for future MMOs going forward?
18:07 Mailbag: Metro Exodus
Hey Shamus, I remember at one point you briefly talked about starting Metro Exodus on the podcast. Having just finished the game myself, I was curious if you had any more thoughts on it.
20:33 Mailbag: Unexpected Gameplay Modes
I was recently playing through Fallout 4’s Far Harbor DLC. In order to progress the critical path you are forced to play through a weird unexpected gameplay shift where instead of shooting bad guys or talking to NPCs you have to play a light re-directing puzzle using the game’s building mechanics. I found this to be out of place, it ground the pacing to a halt and it really ruined my enjoyment of the game.
However it got me thinking: What are your favourite and least favuorite unexpected gameplay changes in games?
26:41 Mailbag: Stop Normalizing Nazis
Dear Cube Tossers,
A recent Extra Credits video got a 15K likes and 228K dislikes. It’s about Nazis in video games, and how we “[shouldn’t] treat Nazis and terrorists like they are just one of several morally equivalent character skins for players to try on.”
What are your thoughts on this?
Like I said on the show, let’s not heap too much additional hate on Extra Credits. This is the video in question. It’s got nearly a million views, which is more than 10 times the views the show has been getting lately. It has a 94% disapproval rating and the comments are an endless scroll of criticism. I think this bad premise has been thoroughly argued against by the community, and I imagine the EC crew gets the idea by now.
For the record, I’m actually acquaintances with some of the channel contributors. I think the criticism is well-earned, but it still makes me wince. I haven’t watched the show in years, but I really respect a lot of their early work. Former narrator DanDo you remember when the show used to pitch-shift the narrator’s voice up? That was Dan. has a fantastic channel where he covers animations in games.
32:51 Mailbag: Kingdom Come Deliverance
So, I’ve just finished Kingdom Come Deliverance. If you not familiar with the game, its an open-world RPG somewhere between TES and The Witcher 3 (with some interesting own ideas) about medieval Bohemia.
I.e. its a purely historical setting, with no fantasy elements. So, by the end of the main story, I started to think more and more, that protagonist, former peasant Henry, is so easily taking very risky missions, which a normal person would never take willingly. The only explanation for such unreasonable risky behavior, that traumatic events of the prologue left Henry with a some kind of PTSD and he become an adrenaline junkie. I guess, that also explains, why Henry, in my playthrough, is also taking missions to steal all the valuable things even if money isn’t the issue for him
But that got me thinking. In other RPGs, or games in general, I never assume that heroes are adrenaline junkies. They just do dangerous missions, because they are just that cool. Say, Sheppard or Adam Jensen are such a pros, we as players don’t notice how close to the edge they actually are. Infiltrating a military base alone where any mistake will likely result in your death? If it was a real life, Jensen would likely try to think of ways to avoid this as much as possible. I’m now trying to imagine, what if we move Jensen to, say, being spy in WW1, would it be more obvious how dangerous his missions and his approach of solving problem alone are really are?
I think, this disconnect, is likely, explainable by how serious setting of KCD is (no magic, we’re infiltrating / fighting well armed bandits and such) and how meek looking Henry himself (plus that I decided to play on hardcore with all negative perks, which added to the element of danger). I’m pretty sure, that this is accidental in KCD. But still, that’s an interesting thing (recklessness caused by trauma), that I kinda want to see more in games or stories in general and explored deeply.
Do you think, that the amount of fantastical elements in a setting could result in seeing same actions of the same character in a drastically different light? But then, if I take Commando and Predator, the latter one is more fantastical, but Arnold is in real danger there… Its probably something else is contributing to this…
Best regards, DeadlyDark
38:26 Mailbag: Strange Technology Fails
Through no effort of my own, my music app has decided to use the picture of a robot girl (Aigis from Persona 3) as the album picture of the Diecast. I assume this happened because they both reside in my downloads folder, but I have no idea why just that picture was picked and why the app was so adamant on giving the Diecast an album image in the first place.
Do you have any stories to share about harmless but endlessly baffling technology mishaps that you just can’t explain?
41:31 Mailbag: Toxic Customers
Dear people, who like large numbers on physical objects,
I get the distinct feeling that the customers in the games market are the most unpleasant ones out there. The unpleasantness does not seem to be certain demographic groups.
There are horror story about the abuse of retail workers out there. In my experience customers in games seem to be far worse. I might be biased given that I had to do with a lot of major unpleasantness (murder threats and verbal abuse on a daily basis).
This behaviour does not seem to exist in a B2B context. There the customers are demanding at most but mostly friendly.
Any ideas on why this might be that way? Do you have any stories?
I know a lot of you read the show notes without listening to the show. That’s fine. But please, if you haven’t listened to the show then maybe consider giving this topic a pass for now. This is a hot-button issue and on the show I did my best to present it in such a way as to minimize enragement. I’m worried some people will see the topic and come out swinging, and that won’t do anyone any good.
53:40 Mailbag: OC Remix
Dear Shamus and friends,
OCRemix has some very interesting remixes of video games music in a variety of styles.
Are there any you personally like or some that you would like to hear?
As promised, here are Paul’s Remix Loops
 Do you remember when the show used to pitch-shift the narrator’s voice up? That was Dan.
What is this silly word, why did some people get so irritated by it, and why did it fall out of use?
Zenimax vs. Facebook
This series explores the troubled history of VR and the strange lawsuit between Zenimax publishing and Facebook.
Denuvo and the "Death" of Piracy
Denuvo videogame DRM didn't actually kill piracy, but it did stop it for several months. Here's what we learned from that.
A Lack of Vision and Leadership
People fault EA for being greedy, but their real sin is just how terrible they are at it.
WAY back in 2005, I wrote about a D&D campaign I was running. The campaign is still there, in the bottom-most strata of the archives.