Diecast #275: Back to School, Kerbal Space Problems, Wendy’s Game

By Shamus Posted Monday Oct 7, 2019

Filed under: Diecast 69 comments

Hosts: Paul, Shamus. Episode edited by Issac.

00:11 Shamus is attending an online music class

I’ve never heard of Monthly before and I haven’t done any directed group learning since 1991. We’ll see how this goes. Here’s what I’ve said about Andrew Huang in the past.

07:05 Bay’s Algebra

Yes, I’m a dad bragging on his daughter. Allow me this brief self-indulgence.

10:01 Paul’s Kerbal Space Problems

18:03 Microsoft Flight Simulator 2020

I knew Microsoft would find a way to drag me into their stupid store sooner or later.

Link (YouTube)

23:27 Untitled Goose Game

I know that sandbox games are overused and played-out these days, but I really wish this game had more sandbox in it.

30:43 Mailbag: Lego question for Paul

Dear Diecast,
I hope this email finds you well! I have a question for Paul. In an earlier episode, I remember you saying that you have a large Lego collection. I used to be very much into Lego, and all of their sets seemed very original to me (my favourtite was the Bionicle series). But when recently went into the store, I saw that 90% of the sets were based on a popular property – Star Wars, Jurassic World, etc., and all of them seemed very run-of-the-mill and unimaginative. And I was wondering: was it always like this? Has Lego run out of ideas in recent years, or is it just my nostalgia talking?
Amnyway, thanks for your time. Sorry that the question wasn’t gaming- or tech-related, but it is something I found quite puzzling.
Keep Being Awesome,

As Paul mentioned on the show: Brick Link.

39:33 Mailbag: RDR2 and Hats

Dear Desparado-cast,

The recent launch of a Rockstar games platform on PC and the re-classification of RDR2 by the Australian Classification Board has pumped rumors that we’ll be seeing a PC release for the game in the near future rather than the distant future, or never. With that being said I caught myself thinking about some of the live-streams I’ve watched of Shamus playing GTAV and his preference for assaulting people with hats to knock off. Do you believe the greater prevalence of hats in a wild west setting will make that particular behavior more fun, or less?

– Amstrad

49:57 Mailbag: Wendy’s Game

So, Wendy’s made an RPG. Wendy’s. An RPG.


What really gets me about this is that with most corporations there would be months of fanfare, interviews with gamers, and a huge effort to tie it in with “fast food and gaming go together!” etc. It seems like in this case (and I may have missed it or have the wrong impression) they just dropped it and were like, boom, we made a thing, have fun! Which actually comes across as a lot more benevolent and respectful and almost like it was just somebody’s slightly goofy but beloved project.

What do you think?

Jennifer Snow

I want to stress that this is a real thing that exists in our world, on purpose.

Link (YouTube)

58:20 Aside: Chase the Chuck Wagon.

This was a real game. I played it. More than once.

They should remaster this with bump mapping and ray tracing.
They should remaster this with bump mapping and ray tracing.


From The Archives:

69 thoughts on “Diecast #275: Back to School, Kerbal Space Problems, Wendy’s Game

  1. Rick says:

    I haven’t listened yet but I’m keen to hear what you think about Feast of Legends as I was going to give it a shot to see if tabletop RPGs worked well with our family before dropping money on one. It certainly looks like it had legitimate effort put into it and Ars Technica spike reasonably well of it.

    1. Hector says:

      It looks fine as a rules set. Wendy’s tends to have a fairly clever and mischievous social media presence, but they’re also smart and very on point.

      1. krellen says:

        On the contrary, I read the rulebook and the ruleset is grossly unbalanced and the unbalance stems directly from the entire thing being a marketing gimmick. Stats are based on 4d4 because Wendy’s big thing is the “4 for $4” – the rules explicitly say this is why. But the mechanics are balanced around D&D 5e assumptions, which includes slightly larger bonuses than Wendy’s 4d4 system allows. As such, PCs are all underpowered.

        And then there’s the fact that the entire book is marketing gimmicks, including all the player abilities. There is no point at which marketing gives way to genuine gameplay – it’s all marketing, all the time. There is never a point at which you can put the book away – with abilities named things like “Light Night Craving” and “Two Spoons”, you will always have to consult the manual to determine just what exactly it is your character can do.

        And then there’s the bonuses and penalties based on what foods you eat while playing. Yes, it’s as naked as it sounds – bonuses for eating Wendy’s, penalties for eating anything from a competitor.

        On the whole, it’s really quite disgusting.

        1. Yeah, I mean, how dare a corporation give away something *for free* that contains *marketing*. The horror. I’m shocked, I tell you, shocked.

          1. krellen says:

            It’s 100 pages of marketing that people are shilling as “good design”. There’s degrees of acceptability.

            1. krellen says:

              Oh, and they didn’t just casually drop it. They hired Critical Role – the biggest D&D streamers – to stream playing it.

              (Critical Role donated all the profits from their sponsors that week to a farm workers charity due to backlash, and probably also because of the obvious discomfort playing it caused them.)

              1. Higher_Peanut says:

                So they paid for a sponsorship? Advertising using popular trends and celebrity endorsements to appear hip is hardly new or disgusting behavior. If Critical Role felt bad or suffered backlash that’s entirely on them for not properly vetting their endorsement.

                It’s a poorly balanced RPG system published by a fast food outlet. I’m not sure why it being all marketing is such a problem, that’s all it was ever going to be.

        2. Decius says:


          First, check your math; the stat bonuses are adjusted from the D&D method of five less than half your ability score, so your modifier is going to be about the same.

          Second, note that the opponents are written out equally.

          Then adjust for the presumption that you’re going to have +1 to several stats and constant advantage on attack rolls, and you’re well within ‘overpowered’.

          It’s very much a fast and loose system, where the PCs are supposed to win handily and the sequence is pretty solid, but the GM must be very careful to play the enemies correctly to set the difficulty appropriately.

          1. krellen says:

            The Wendy’s stat bonuses range from -3 to +3. D&D ranges from -5 to +5. With difficulties floating near the 14-15 mark, that means players are expected to fail over half the time.

            (Oh, and the +3 is only possible with a stat higher than 16, which is only possible if you roll near-max on your 4d4 and pick an “order” that gives you a bonus to that stat.)

        3. Steve C says:

          I did not like 5th ed D&D because partly due that I felt it was unbalanced in favor the PCs. I won’t defend this ruleset, but “PCs are all underpowered” hardly seems a bad thing given what it is being compared against.

          1. krellen says:

            If you think characters failing at what they are good at slightly over half the time is good balance, go for it.

    2. Higher_Peanut says:

      If you want to introduce your family to RPG’s there has to be something better out there than a fast food ad, even at the cost of free. It’s not exactly putting your best foot forwards and I feel like it’s not going to do the genre any favours to lead with it.

      1. tmtvl says:

        Roaring Twilight for example?

  2. Erik says:

    I assumed you meant “I really wish this game had more sandbox in it”

    1. Shamus says:

      Oops. I hate those kinds of mistakes. The spell checker can’t help you when you accidentally type the wrong worm.

      1. Geebs says:

        Try looking under Options> Proofing> Autocorrect> Helminths

  3. kunedog says:

    I’ll assume you don’t know about the KFC game (“visual novel”) since you didn’t mention it:

    I don’t know if the marketing was as muted as Wendy’s, but I didn’t hear about it until it was already out (and this is also the first I’ve heard of Feast of Legends).

    1. Groboclown says:

      Anyone else remember the terrible games-as-ads rage of the 90s? Like Cool Spot for 7-Up or Yo! Noid for Domino’s Pizza? Yeah, the 90s sucked.

      1. tmtvl says:

        the 90s sucked.

        Yeah, what came out in the ’90s? Super Metroid? Mega Man X? Final Fantasy VI? Chrono Trigger? System Shock? Half Life? Metal Gear Solid? Ocarina of Time? Symphony of the Night?
        Such a terrible decade.

        1. John says:

          I know you’re joking, but I sort of agree with you anyway. If I could wave a magic wand and retroactively remove those games from history, I’d be tempted to do it. I don’t have any nostalgia for any of them. I haven’t even played any of them but Half Life and it’s hard for me to be fond of a game that has Xen in it. I like to imagine that if they disappeared then we wouldn’t be plagued by a glut of indie Metroidvanias, that Final Fantasy 7 (the most insufferable JRPG of all time) would never have existed, that I’d never have to hear about Hideo Kojima ever again, etc.

          1. Calories are the Devil says:

            People will always copy what is popular; We even have the phrase “Imitation is the sincerest form of flattery.” because of this! Sure, we got a bunch of knock-offs, but the originals themselves were good games. Besides, this is the classic time-travel monkey’s-paw situation. If we weren’t inundated with tonnes of knockoffs of those games, we’d have something even worse – the decade of grey-brown-loads-of-bloom games is testament to that.

            1. John says:

              So . . . you’re saying that someone has already tampered with gaming history and that the Brown Ages were the result? Then clearly we need to travel back in time ourselves in order to stop the fiend. But what if it turns out that it was our interference with the time-tamperer that caused the Brown Ages in the first place? What if we were the original time-tamperer all along, we’re stuck in a time-loop, and the Brown Ages are an inevitable fixed point in time?

              1. Nimrandir says:

                Wait — this is the plot of the very first Final Fantasy. Does that make us Garland? I hate that guy!

          2. Nimrandir says:

            How about Doom? Diablo? Baldur’s Gate? Fallout? Civilization? Command & Conquer? Grim Fandango? TIE Fighter? Street Fighter II? Tekken? Gran Turismo? Mario 64? Link to the Past? Earthbound? Donkey Kong Country? Even Eye of the Beholder came out in 1990.

            Don’t get me wrong; I bag on the ’90s as much as anybody. While it might be an interesting thought experiment to delete a decade of gaming evolution, I’m not sure I want to throw away what we gained in that period from any one genre.

            Also, if FFVII is the most insufferable game you have experienced in the genre, count yourself lucky.

            1. John says:

              Oh, no. I’d never do anything to jeopardize the existence of Civilization, Command & Conquer, TIE Fighter, or Street Fighter II. Those are some of my favorite games. It’s only other peoples’ favorite games that are at risk from my hypothetical magical powers. More seriously, I don’t actually have have anything against the 1990s. Tmtvl just happened to choose a list of games that I either don’t care about or dislike for various reasons. I also think that “what would gaming history have been like if some popular game had never existed” is an interesting thought experiment.

              Final Fantasy 7 is insufferable not so much for its actual properties but for the hype. I didn’t get it then; I don’t get it now. This is strictly a personal judgement. I don’t expect other people to agree with me. If they did, then there wouldn’t be so much hype and Final Fantasy 7 wouldn’t be so insufferable. Enchanted Arms, on the other hand, can’t be insufferable because I’ve never heard of it before–which is not to say that it isn’t badly designed or frustrating to play.

              1. Nimrandir says:

                That makes sense. To be honest, my list started as ‘what games might John like from the decade?’ and slowly morphed into ‘holy crap — what genres didn’t have a seminal game during the 1990’s?’ Funnily enough, we might still have the pile of Metroidvanias, since the original Metroid was a classic before Super Metroid did everything better, and you can see a fair bit of Symphony in Castlevania II.

                I’m really not sure how insufferable Enchanted Arms is. I own it, but I quit playing it before the story got rolling. I find it interesting more because shortly after its release, FromSoftware got a reputation for telling stories without overtly telling stories.

              2. Benjamin Hilton says:

                As someone who never played ff7 at the time I tend to agree. If I had to armchair philosophize I would say that allot of people played it at a formative time in their lives. At that point I imagine it was the first time for allot of people seeing a main character die so it was a huge shock. That’s how the first witcher game was for me. It was my first encounter with a story where you couldn’t just do the right thing and save everyone as a result. Looking back I see the jank, I see the creepy view of women, I see all the flaws, but it still holds a special place in my heart for being the first game that made me realize that there wasn’t always a perfect answer that solved all problems and made everyone happy.

                1. Sleeping Dragon says:

                  Can’t speak for others but certainly ditto on the “formative years” for me. It was also the first (that I know of, certainly the first “big” one) JRPG that was available to the PC audience (and around here consoles weren’t that common) bringing with it a fresh set of tropes and a different style of narrative which made the game much more appealing (in many cases mindblowing) than if it just came out today.

                  Which is why I’ve been postponing replaying the game for years, I’m pretty certain it won’t live up to the memories.

          3. shoeboxjeddy says:

            John, this post is the equivalent of opening milk that should be fine, smelling it, and realizing it’s way spoiled, in text form. So uh… good job on that experience. I hope you have things that you DO like because this is some miserable, poorly thought out stuff.

            1. BlueHorus says:

              Quite. Admitting fault, making mistakes, or changing opinions is for Losers. Shun them.

              Real People should have perfect opinions all the time, or never speak!

              1. tmtvl says:

                The old adage “think before you speak” comes to mind.

                “I don’t like those games so I want to eradicate the decade.”
                “What about these games that came out then which you love?”
                “Oh right, I want to eradicate the decade except for those games.”

                I feel like it wasn’t hard to avoid having to recant.

              2. John says:

                To be fair to Shoeboxjeddy, he replied to my comment before I had the chance to reply to Nimrandir’s. I’m not sure how I offended him or which of his favorite games I may have failed to like sufficiently, but I salute him for the spoiled milk thing. That was beautiful.

                For the record, I recant nothing. I haven’t changed my mind. I never said that I wanted to eradicate all games from the 90s. When I said I’d be tempted to remove “those games” from history, I was referring to tmtvl’s list and it never occurred to me that anyone would take it any other way. I suppose I could have been clearer somehow. Though, given how beloved some and maybe even all of those games are, my guess is that I still would have shocked or offended people so maybe it doesn’t matter.

                1. tmtvl says:

                  Yeah, I thought you were supporting the “the ’90s sucked” argument and stating that you wanted to remove all games made then. It wasn’t until the subsequent exchange that things were made clear.

                  And yeah, if you say you want to remove games from history just because you don’t care for them and they’re popular, people may take umbrage with it. Then again, the cult of Kojima really is terrible, so in a way I can empathize.

          4. Decius says:

            Well, there’s plenty of time to fix yourself. I’m holding out for the System Shock remake to not suck.

          5. Syal says:

            I don’t have any nostalgia for any of them.

            Maybe THIS will nostalge your memory!

            (Also FF7 is not even the most insufferable JRPG with 7 in the title.)

      2. tomato says:

        Cool Spot isn’t a bad game.

      3. Joe Informatico says:

        We used to loan each other NES games in elementary school, and this one kid stopped loaning to me after I finished three of his games before he did, including Yo! Noid. (For the record, it was just another middle-of-the-road mascot platformer, like most licensed games of the 8/16-bit era, but probably a tier higher than most. Gameplay was probably on the level with an early Megaman game, and no frustrating glitches that I can remember, but with really dull level design. And I guess the pizza eating card-based minigame instead of boss battles was unique, but in practice prone to frustration.)

        1. Calories are the Devil says:

          If you loan each other the games, how will the companies make all of their money? That’s like stealing!

      4. evilmrhenry says:

        Chex Quest came out in the 90s. Therefore your point is invalid.

      5. Sartharina says:

        Cap’n Crunch’s Crunchling Adventure was amazingly hilarious and memeable! But there were no memes at the time, so nobody knows what I’m referencing

      6. Sleeping Dragon says:

        Zool* wasn’t bad, was it? Or do my childhood memories deceive me again?

        *A 2d platformer game advertising Chupa Chups.

    2. Daimbert says:

      A friend of mine sent me a reference to that one as it’s a dating sim if I recall correctly and I often play those. But that was the first and last I’d heard about it until today.

    3. Lars says:

      Kellogg’s once did a 2D Plattformer Tony & Friends in Kellogg’s Land.
      And does anybody remember Moorhuhn? That was an advertisment for Johnny Walker.

      1. tmtvl says:

        Darkened Skye, the game sponsored by Skittles. It’s a middling 3rd-person platformer, and that’s all I can say about it.

  4. Joe says:

    I worked in a small toy shop for several years. Lego is a wonderful toy. Lego is a pain in the arse company. You could only buy multiples of things. Like, two of the big sets, four of the medium, or eight of the small ones. You had a minimum order amount, though that’s easy to fill when they cost that much. You couldn’t save your cart. Their site was slow. They may have changed by now, I have no idea. But that’s how it was then.

    Imagine if Amazon said you can only buy four of that book. And you had to spend at least a hundred dollars at a time. And you couldn’t preorder. And they used the slowest software known to humanity. You probably wouldn’t use Amazon twice, would you? But of course, that’s the only place you can get Lego.

    On the subject of the Wendys RPG, I remember hearing how kids weren’t allowed to play the violent FPSes way back when. But the Nerf game built on the Unreal engine was fine. Same with Star Trek Elite Force, on the Quake 3 engine.

    However, of course, I just read some stuff about Wendys. I’m not sad they don’t operate in Australia.

    1. Joe says:

      We call McDonalds Maccas here. The first time I heard Mickey Ds, I thought it was some interesting greasy spoon. Maccas takes any sense of class or character away. Not that I’ve set foot in one in ten years, but I still don’t believe they’ve developed any character.

      1. Calories are the Devil says:

        Back in high-school, we all just called it McDick’s or Rotten Ronnie’s.

  5. Dreadjaws says:

    RDR2’s release has already been officially announced. Preorders actually come out in a couple of days in the Rockstar store. Then the game will be released November 5. Apparently, Steam version will only be available in December.

  6. Dreadjaws says:

    Side note: if you didn’t like the “everyone’s a jackass” thing from past Rockstar games this won’t make you feel any better. That being said, the game, like the previous one, actually gives you a chance to behave heroically or not. Unlike in GTA games, where your only side activities are pretty much being a criminal, here you can choose whether to help people with their problems or be a robber and a killer, and the world will react accordingly. You will start growing fame depending on your actions and you’ll get different perks depending on what side of the law you lean to.

    Granted… there’s still that old Rockstar’s prevalence of gameplay and story segregation, where the main story is absolutely linear and leans towards the criminal side of things no matter how you choose to behave. Don’t expect your choices to affect the story in any capacity.

    1. Vermander says:

      My experience was that RDR2 was actually the least cynical game that Rockstar has ever made. Only a few of the NPCs you meet and interact with are Rockstar’s typical crazy, over-the-top characters. Many of them are honest, kind, and decent people who aren’t treated as chumps or naive idiots for the player takes advantage of.

      I’d say Charlotte Balfour, Hamish Sinclair, Eagle Flies, and Sister Calderon are all unambiguously good people that I was happy to meet and interact with.

      1. Dreadjaws says:

        Well, sure, but being the least cynical Rockstar game is like being the more competent Uwe Boll movie. It’s still don’t really saying much.

      2. Dmitri says:

        Yeah, as someone who played every GTA game starting from top-down ones, I was pleasantly surprised by RDR2. While there are a lot of robberies and such, there are also a lot of missions and opportunities where you do (or can do) nice things and help decent folk. Playing a high honor Arthur is much different from playing any of the GTA protagonists.

        1. Vermander says:

          In most cases, there’s really no in-game “reward” for helping downtrodden people in need. They often can’t pay you, or if they do it’s a trivial amount that you can refuse. The only reward is feeling like you did a good deed.

          I think one of the main themes of the game is that might be too late for the protagonist to save himself, but he can find some measure of redemption by helping other people secure a better future for themselves and their families.

  7. krellen says:

    You’re approaching Goose Game wrong, Shamus. It isn’t a griefing simulator, it’s a puzzle game.

    1. Calories are the Devil says:

      A puzzle game with gigantic hints / spoilers in the checklist?

      1. krellen says:

        It tells you what to accomplish, not how to do so.

    2. PowerGrout says:

      It’s both, and not enough of either.

  8. DeadlyDark says:

    You know, Shamus, I love Mickey Dee. He’s the best drummer in the world. I’m very confused, that you call McDonalds the same name

    I have zero comments on other issues raised on the podcast. I’m just sitting here with the blown mind

    1. I have no idea where it came from, and McDonald’s itself may actually be the original source for that nickname, but it’s really, really common for Americans to refer to McDonald’s as “Mickey Dee’s”.

        1. DeadlyDark says:

          And it keeps getting weirder…

          Thank you for showng me, that the world still has strange sectrets waiting to be uncovered xD

  9. Tohron says:

    I initially misread RDR2 as R2D2. Guess that’s the danger of using acronyms.

    1. BlueHorus says:

      So did I. At first I thought it was something that was going to be in The Rise of Skywalker.

      ‘DROID Wears HAT In New Star Wars Film!!!!!’ seems like exactly the kind of news that would be featured in ALL the good clickbait websites.

  10. Rick says:

    Doritos have done a couple of free games for Xbox 360 and the second one in particular (Doritos Crash Course) is great. I still play it with my kids. It’s based on the “run the goofy course” type gameshow with a handful of levels included and more available as $1 (I think) DLC.

    The marketing is barely there… only in the name and a surprisingly small logo on the splash screen. And both games were available worldwide even before we had Doritos in New Zealand.

  11. rabs says:

    About Flight Simulator 2020, from what I heard/read, some people at Microsoft were impressed by Fuel engine and other proc gen stuff by Asobo. I didn’t remember they worked on The Crew too.

    The whole world will be flyable by sight: from areas with very accurate 3D photogrammetry down to those with only bad resolution satellite photos and elevation data. Procedural generation will enrich low quality area on the fly as closely as possible, with pre-determined/generated regional biome. Some urban area from satellite view will be replaced by matching buildings, green areas by forest of trees growing in the region, etc. Satelite data is pre-processed by deep learning algorithm running on Azure cloud also to flatten the wrinkles like shadows, mismatched colors, etc. And it should continue to evolve and improve all the time.
    Roads known by Bing will also serve as tracks for simulated car traffic.
    For those playing online that want to, they’ll gather and use data from real air traffic, weather stations, weather satellites, etc.
    Also the physics and weather simulation looks crazy high quality.

    Other flight simulators are doing that more or less already, but they don’t have that much data and resources. Their proc gen look random and bland by comparison.

    The initial trailer looked too good to be true, but after having read/watched tons of stuff from people that tried the alpha, I am very hyped too…

    1. rabs says:

      After watching the devlog episode 1 about world generation, the Azure pre-processing determines more information than I thought, like all object (tree / building) style (species, architecture) and parameters (position, orientation). Maybe they even store an accurate seed, but they didn’t tell. Then the client generate the details.

      They showed again the grassy hill in Bretagne, Windows wallpaper style :)
      I’d like to walk around instead of flying, when I see that…

  12. evilmrhenry says:

    There actually is a Phantom of the Opera video game: “Return of the Phantom”. It’s a DOS-era point-n-click adventure game.

  13. Steve C says:

    I’m shocked nobody has mentioned the Burger King Games yet. Sneak King is legitimately one of Campster’s favorite games. He has mentioned it often on Errant Signal (and I think the Diecast too).

    I also remember games for 7-up, and Dominoes on the Nintendo.

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