Diecast #352: Animation and Joint Pain

By Shamus Posted Monday Aug 16, 2021

Filed under: Diecast 76 comments

Heads up: I spend the first 7 minutes of the show talking about weird non-gaming, non-nerd personal stuff for some reason. This segment was originally longer, but I had Issac chop a bit of it out for fear of over-sharing.

Also, I had a funny story I’d intended to share on the show, but forgot to put in the show notes. Look for it at the end of this post. I’m honestly curious if I’m stupid, crazy, or if I was bamboozled.

Hosts: Paul, Shamus. Episode edited by Issac.

Link (YouTube)

Show notes:

00:00 Creepy Doctor

Like I said, some of this segment got cut. I sort of ran my mouth, forgetting that discretion is part of Heather’s job. It’s a weird story, but not one I should be sharing on my podcast.

07:38 Unity

Link (YouTube)

This time Paul is the one doing quasi-gamedev. Although, this makes me want to open up Unity and make something new. We’re about due, aren’t we?

25:48 Mass Effect: Moving Forward

This video essay is great. It’s forward-looking and has constructive advice. It’s worth a watch, if you’re still willing to talk about Mass Effect.

Link (YouTube)

27:39 Mailbag: Videogames Escaping Into Popular Culture

Dear Diecast,

Have you guys noticed video games influencing movies more often these days? I’m not talking about the really obvious stuff like the new movie “Free Guy”, but rather more structural things. I’ve heard multiple people refer to Mandolorian episodes as video game side quests. The one example that really sticks out to me is John Wick 3, where John and a co-op side character have to fight in wave defense combat against bad guys who take more bullets to be put down because they’re wearing special armour. Any thoughts on this?


36:27 Mailbag: Another World

Dear Diecast,

so it finally happened: truck-kun came and whisked you away to Another World.

Limiting ourselves to video games, any particular world you would prefer being reborn into?



45:33 Mailbag: Marvel TV

Dear Shamus

You’ve previously discussed WandaVision on the podcast so I was wondering what your thoughts are on Falcon and the Winter Soldier and Loki, if you have seen them?
Also thoughts on “What If?” Seems interesting (and canon).


So now I find myself in a strange position. I watched a DC movie that I loved (the new Suicide Squad was pure fun) and a Marvel thing I hated. (Falcon and the Winter Soldier is the first Marvel-based thing that I honestly, strongly dislike.

This is fine. I had a good run with Marvel from the first Iron Man to Avengers Endgame, and if that’s the last movie I like, I can’t complain I’ve been short-changed.

Bonus Topic:

So I’m checking my blood pressure when I see that the batteries on the device are low. So I pop out the 4 AA batteries and put them in the charger, replacing them with newly-charged batteries.

About half an hour later I’m watching YouTube at my PC when I hear a pop on the desk beside me, followed by a faint sizzling sound. It’s almost as if someone opened a very very tiny can of soda. I look at the crap on my desk, trying to figure out where the sound is coming from. Did I imagine it? Was it a background noise in a video that I mistook for something real?

I look, and I see a clear liquid is bubbling out of the charging batteries. Now, my first instinct is to grab the batteries and pull them out, but then I realize that clear liquid is probably acid, and it’s probably nice and warm right now. So I unplug the charger and shove the whole mess off to one side where it won’t be able to leak or explode on anything important.

Later I come back to figure out what I did wrong. Sure enough, I put regular non-rechargeable batteries in the charger. I’ve been using rechargeable batteries since the 1980s, and I’ve never made this mistake before. What did I do wrong, here? Was this a weird habit? Did I confuse these batteries with others? Am I so used to having rechargeables around that I’ve stopped looking at the label?

I stare at the batteries for a bit and I finally figure it out: These batteries are green.

I had it in my head that green=rechargeable. I look around my my other batteries, and the pattern holds. Rechargeables are green, disposables are either black or silver.

Is this a real thing? Do companies really make all reusable batteries green, and these batteries were weird trickster deviants that broke the pattern?

Or am I an idiot? Have I been following the pattern of “green goes in the charger” for decades and getting away with it due to blind luck?

I realize that battery color patterns may differ outside the USA, but I’d really like to know who the crazy person is: Me, or the person who put a green label on these batteries.


From The Archives:

76 thoughts on “Diecast #352: Animation and Joint Pain

  1. MerryWeathers says:

    but rather more structural things. I’ve heard multiple people refer to Mandolorian episodes as video game side quests.

    I don’t think that’s an example of video games affecting shows but rather vice versa, shows used to be more episodic “monster/mission of the week” before serialized storylines became the norm and video games, particulary RPGs, just adapted that structure as they’re more similar to TV shows than movies.

    1. Christopher says:

      I remember someone saying Aliens is responsible for turret sections once which sounds legit to me.

      1. Echo Tango says:

        It’s also responsible for the entirety of Alien Swarm, and later Hell Divers. :)

      2. Geebs says:

        Beach Head came out in 1983, and had a 3D turret section in it.

    2. Trevor says:

      It was a lot more true of Season 1 where a standard episode would see Mando get a mission/quest, do the mission, return to the quest giver, get paid in Beskar, take the Beskar to the Blacksmith and use it to get an armor upgrade. I’m not saying I agree with the sentiment, but doing quests to upgrade your gear is a pretty video-gamey cycle so I see where the people who made that criticism were coming from.

      1. Rho says:

        While I would agree that the Mandalorian’s adventures were, obviously, designed around the limitations of television, I don’t think the description is accurate. The background *implies* this is how he operated in the past, but that’s really just the description of the first episode. That is, it’s setting up what is “normal” in his world. The next episode is him going after the eponymous Child for story reasons. He does later on visit the Armoress twice more, but the last time was under rushed circumstances, and neither was the capstone of the episode. He was paid (in metal), but only twice. Most of what he did was not about getting concrete rewards, but making alliances in some fashion.

  2. RFS-81 says:

    My rechargeable batteries from IKEA are white as the snow on Sarektjåkkå, so green isn’t universal. I don’t think I’ve ever seen disposable batteries that are green, though.

    1. Geebs says:

      I have seen plenty of green-coloured non-rechargables, but usually “Golden Power” and other similarly aspirationally-named cheapo brands that get packed in with a device.

      TBH I’ve never seen a green rechargeable AA battery either, mine are usually silver or white.

    2. Echo Tango says:

      I think Duracell and Energizer rechargeable batteries up here in Canada have a green stripe in addition to the normal copper or silver coloring they normally have. My Eneloop low self-discharge rechargable batteries are white with blue lettering. But I think Eneloop is owned by Sony, a non-North American brand.

  3. tmtvl says:

    Panasonic Eneloop rechargeable batteries are a milky white colour rather than green, so I think the battery colour doesn’t signify whether you can recharge them.

    1. methermeneus says:

      I do love the Eneloop batteries. The Amazon Essentials NiMH rechargeables, which are just rebranded Eneloops, are green, though.

    2. Echo Tango says:

      Lol, I should have scrolled down further. Panasonic!

    3. Shamus says:

      I have never heard of Eneloop before. I don’t recall seeing any such brand in any store. I just searched my local Target (on the website) and searching for “Eneloop” returns nothing. However, the system seems to be aware that this is a battery brand, because under the “No items found search results” it suggests Energizer brand batteries.

      Below, methermeneus points out that Amazon brand use green=recharge, and I have quite a few of those floating around the house.

      This supports my theory that this is a regional convention that I wrongly assumed was a universal standard.

      1. Chukg says:

        I swear there at least used to be a convention of a white ring around the top of rechargeable batteries, but maybe that was just one manufacturer’s design. I definitely have several like that, they look just like the disposables except for the ring.

      2. sofawall says:

        Eneloop is a line of rechargeable batteries made by Panasonic.

      3. tmtvl says:

        That makes sense, if I ever spend some more time abroad I’ll have to keep an eye open for these kinds of details, they might save me the pain of cleaning up an acidic mess.

        1. evileeyore says:

          I solved this for myself by never allowing non-rechargeable in my office/bedroom, so I never make the mistake of popping the wrong ones in a recharger. Like if I get a new battery powered device, I immediately replace the batteries with rechargeable batteries and toss the cheap, crappy batteries that came with it in the kitchen battery drawer, the rest of the household uses regular batteries, so they can use them.

  4. MerryWeathers says:

    So now I find myself in a strange position. I watched a DC movie that I loved (the new Suicide Squad was pure fun) and a Marvel thing I hated. (Falcon and the Winter Soldier is the first Marvel-based thing that I honestly, strongly dislike.

    This is fine. I had a good run with Marvel from the first Iron Man to Avengers Endgame, and if that’s the last movie I like, I can’t complain I’ve been short-changed.

    I found The Suicide Squad to be more fun than the first Guardians of the Galaxy but not as introspective with its characters or great as Guardians of the Galaxy Vol 2.
    Surprisingly despite being R-rated, the movie didn’t suffer the pitfalls endemic to “adult movies” where they think constantly cursing, making grossout jokes, or raunchy sex constitutes as “mature” like Deadpool.
    There’s still a bunch of that in the film but it wasn’t annoyingly constant and for the most part, had a “leveled” tone that played things straight when things got serious.

    I didn’t find The Falcon and the Winter Soldier to be as strong as WandaVision but at least it was more consistent throughout.
    Zemo was fun, some of the worldbuilding we got was interesting, Sharon had a more interesting little arc than she ever had in the movies and the comics, and I liked those down to earth moments where we see Bucky and Sam’s personal lives.
    I appreciate they actually attempted to give Karli some more motives and personality than your average MCU villain but I think her and the Flag Smashers were really bogged by Marvel cutting out a subplot that was hinted at in the second episode because of the pandemic so the stuff with her gets messy. I found John Walker to be quite compelling but ultimately underutilized after his peak moment in the ending of episode four.
    So yeah decent series for me, it didn’t blueball me like WandaVision did.

    Loki was solid, almost great, and probably the best out of all three Disney Marvel shows for me. It had the “unique” direction of WandaVision and the consistency of Falcon and the Winter Soldier so I had a blast watching it every week.
    The best parts of the show for me were whenever the characters (most were fun except for two) were just talking and interacting with each other, I appreciate that the series actually took its time with the story to explore the characters which is why the worst part of the show for me were the fight scenes. Those felt like an aspect that was mandated by corporate executives and it didn’t help that the choreography was pretty bad at points.
    Actually wait, the best part of Loki is really the soundtrack. Most of the OSTs in the MCU are pretty bland and forgettable (barring Black Panther, some tracks in Endgame, and the songs of WandaVision) but not in this show somehow. It’s so distinct and memorable that I love it so much. Praise Natalie Holt, I hope she returns.
    Finally, I also heavily appreciate that the finale wasn’t another over-the-top CGI shitfest and there was like only one brief fight. It took it’s time and was actually just one big exposition dump setting up future MCU movies that barely had anything to do with the show up to that point aside from very subtle foreshadowing which sounds terrible but is completely carried by Jonathan Majors, can’t wait to see how he’ll perform all the variants of his character since they’ll have different personalities from each other.
    In short, Loki was surprisingly pretty damn good and a solid alternative to a show like Doctor Who, which had been sputtering and dying under Chris Chibnall’s direction in recent years.

    What If’s first episode was fine, a pilot episode to ease people into the premise and concept of the show. I’m more eager to get into the really batshit insane stories but that comes after the simple role reversal episodes. The animation or at least direction is great too.
    Also apparently the showrunners rejected an episode where Peter turned into a literal man spider because it might have been too scary but approved an episode scenario where almost every superhero becomes decaying flesh-eating cannibals that sends the world into a zombie apocalypse, what’s that about?

    1. Joshua says:

      Yeah, my main issue with Loki was that the first five episodes are strongly character driven and have a fantastic format for why a character might legitimately have a redemption arc after being brutally confronted again and again with “this is why you constantly fail and no one likes you”.

      And then the sixth episode completely ignores all of that to set up plot points in the greater MCU, leaving no payoff for five episodes of build up. His character could have not even been there and things would have played out virtually the same, except for one character maybe dying two minutes earlier. There have also been a number of comparisons to the infamous Architect scene from the Matrix Reloaded, which is not a favorable comparison.

      What a disappointing ending for me.

      1. MerryWeathers says:

        I remember Vinsomer making a great point here about how the MCU’s interconnectedness was both it’s greatest strength and weakness and I think that applies quite a bit to the finale of Loki.

        On one hand, it’s pretty cool that the show actually affects the entire the MCU in a big way, sets up a storyline that multiple films deal with in their own way, and Kang has the potential to be a great big bad, unique and distinct from Thanos but on the other, it takes away what the show was trying to do as everything had been thematically centered around Loki up to that point. MCU content are incapable of standing on their own now, for better or for worse.

        That’s why I worry bit for Spider Man: No Way Home (spoilers for those who haven’t read the gist of the leaks), I always thought the MCU Spider-Man films worked because they were on the slice-of-life, small scale side of the universe but with the third movie, now Peter is dealing with multiverse shenanigans, fighting the Sinister Six who are compromised of the villains from all three Sam Raimi, Marc Webb, and Jon Watts Spider-Man films while teaming up with Dr. Strange, Daredevil from the Netflix show, and Tobey Mcguire and Andrew Garfield’s versions of Spider Man. All on top of dealing with the previous film’s fallout and other recurring characters of the films like Peter’s high school friends.
        It’s bloated and teeters dangerously close to pushing the main protagonist out of his own movie, let’s hope Jon Watts has the same directorial and pacing skills as the Russo Brothers in dealing with large casts if characters and ambitious storylines.

        1. Echo Tango says:

          Meta: Shamus, the spoiler-tags are black text on a black background, when you select the text on Firefox Android. Firefox desktop seems fine. Should be a relatively quick CSS fix…if your plugins etc give you easy access to it. Otherwise, I’ll just live with copy-pasting into another app. :)

    2. boz says:

      Peter turned into a literal man spider because it might have been too scary but approved an episode scenario where almost every superhero becomes decaying flesh-eating cannibals that sends the world into a zombie apocalypse, what’s that about?

      Arachnophobia is super widespread among populace.

    3. Thomas says:

      I really enjoyed the lack of skybeams in the final Loki fight. Marvel skybeam climaxes are generally rubbish with characters running around looking cool but doing nothing until the script decides it’s time to stop. Give me Loki’s talking any day.

      The skybeams in Wandavision were the low point for me. What’s the point of having more experimental character focused shows if you’re going to cram on the standard cliché climax at the end?

  5. Joshua says:

    Shamus’s rant about Falcon and the Winter Soldier reminds me of the Pitch Meeting for the show.


    1. Steve C says:

      I really wanted to like Falcon and the Winter Soldier. I was on the fence the entire first episode. Nothing seemed to be happening. All I could think of during the first action sequence wasKnightboat. With a bit of Calculon doing his taxes- err I mean applying for a bank loan. Regardless I gave it the second episode too and still nothing happened. Two episodes is the combined runtime of a movie. It could have gone somewhere. Now I find out that it went somewhere bad, annoying, stupid and morally repugnant. I’m glad I dropped it before it got even worse.

      Thanks for the link. I did not Falcon and the Winter Soldier but I liked that link.

  6. Dragmire says:

    The only green non-rechargeable batteries I’ve ever seen are the ones that come with a purchase. Like a new remote, electric shaver, wireless mouse etc..

    They always last 2 hours at best and are terrible.

    1. Echo Tango says:

      I wish the mice I buy would still take replace-able batteries. Logitech switched a few years ago, so now I’m tethered while charging instead of taking 30 seconds to swap them out. :|

      1. Dragmire says:

        I paid quite a bit to get a battery powered Logitech mouse this year. I really wanted something weighty, took batteries, wasn’t uncomfortably angular and wasn’t a lightshow. This limited me to scalping prices on Logitech mice from 5 to 10 years ago….

  7. MerryWeathers says:

    00:00 Creepy Doctor

    At first I thought this was going to be an uncomfortable story involving someone going under anesthesia and hearing a zipper and belt unbuckling just before they fall asleep but it seems more like you encountered either a doctor who half-assed their diagnosis for easy pay or a Chiropractor.

    1. BlueHorus says:

      That’s…a bit more than ‘creepy’. And if it had happened, I doubt Shamus would be happy mentioning it…

  8. Lino says:

    I hope everything works out well for Heather. Thankfully, at least now she’s in the hands of a good doctor :/

  9. Echo Tango says:

    Re: living in a game world.
    I think I’d want to live somewhere sci-fi, like the worlds in Mass Effect, or even Subnautica. There’s cool stuff to explore all over the place. (Just…try to not get eaten by space-monsters. :)

    1. Syal says:

      Apart from Paul’s obvious suggestion of porn games, I’d probably go with Pokemon. Nice, friendly worlds with laid back friendly people, with superweapons just hiding in the grass waiting to be picked up and taken home.

      Alternately, Final Fantasy Tactics Advance. Both for the silliness of getting pulled into a game only to be immediately pulled into the game-within-the-game, and the FFTA world has built-in off switches; if it sucks you can break them and go back home.

      1. Syal says:

        P.S. I do appreciate Shamus immediately deciding he would live in Final Fantasy X-2.

      2. tmtvl says:

        It’s funny that you mention Pokemon because I myself came to the conclusion that I’d like to try life in the Monster Rancher universe. The logical problem of “what happens if someone decides to use those powerful critters as weapons to wage war with,” has already been solved in that universe. Also people are so long lived that they don’t become noticeably older after thousands of years (though that’s probably just gameplay and story segregation).

  10. Joshua says:

    I watched The Suicide Squad yesterday. Let me tell, it was a really weird experience to watch considering the political events occurring in Fabul around the same time.

    Too many thoughts to articulate from a phone, but overall a more cohesive and we’ll edited film than the first. Anyone who’s watched Folding Ideas famous video on Suicide Squad’s editing should know what I’m talking about.

    I don’t think it was a *great* film, but I think it certainly was a more competent one. James Gunn is also just really weird (and juvenile) at times, so sometimes there’s brilliance and sometimes there’s just awkwardness.

  11. Mark says:

    I have noticed this green = rechargeable and black/gold/silver/etc. = non-rechargeable with Duracell and Energizer. They might be adding more “green” things to signify “eco-friendly” or something.

  12. Marvin says:

    I appreciate the call-out. I was slightly anxious that my long rambling would get stuck in your spam folder, though I figured you’d be experienced enough to check the spam folder anyway.

    Still, I must confess, originally I just wanted to ask the question in the first paragraph and leave it at that, but somehow I had the feeling it lacked nuance, then I kinda let myself go. “abusing” the question time to ask the speaker for their opinion on the pet theory you developed half an hour ago is the worst thing ever during live talks, but… I figured I could get away with it in a mail. Seems like Paul is not the only one who gets out of hand. So I ended up writing a short essay. I wouldn’t call it my “treatise on difficulty in games”, though. The mail was more of an introduction to the “treatise” (which is a more lengthy document that exists only inside my head, as of now).

    Speaking of treatises on video games, I’ll have to mention the Master’s thesis “The Utopia of Apocalypse” Anti-human exceptionalism in Shin Megami Tensei & A critique on the anthropocentric understanding of established notions of utopia in science fiction studies by Guan van Zoggel (2012). It is a surprisingly readable text for an academic work if you ignore the sections with too much jargon. At least, I’ve never had a class in media studies, and I was pleasantly surprised I could follow the text. I found it an interesting critique of the video game Shin Megami Tensei: Strange Journey, which is one of my favorite of the series (My favorite “main line”, at least. Yes, I have played Nocturne, it is a close second. I think my favorite overall would be Devil Survivor). I think you can still find it online somewhere, but if you (i.e. anyone reading this) are interested, I can also upload it somewhere and share the link in the comments here.


    P.S.: In case you’re wondering what this is all about… Hi! I’m Marvin. (or at least, I’ve decided to call myself that here… ) I’ve been listening to the show and reading the website for a while, and I thought I could make an interesting first impression by sending Shamus and Paul a novel to accompany my question.

  13. Adamantyr says:

    Me, my GF and her daughter watched The Suicide Squad a week ago and we hated it.

    It started with wasting the talents of Michael Rooker and Pete Davidson and just having their characters die immediately. We could have gotten past that, probably, but killing off Jai Courtney’s Captain Boomerang was not cool. After that we were in an unforgiving mood for any other problems.

    We spent more time analyzing WHY we hated it than the actual time spent watching the movie. (Which was too long.) Over the top gore. Unnecessary animal cruelty. Lame and weird transition text made part of the actual background. Awkward dialogue. Brain-damaged unfunny jokes. We seriously contemplated just turning it off and were glad we hadn’t spent theater money to see it.

    We liked SOME things about it. Ratcatcher was awesome, any scene with Taika Watiki is good. But it just didn’t feel like a James Gunn movie to us.

    1. Dreadjaws says:

      Over the top gore. Unnecessary animal cruelty. Lame and weird transition text made part of the actual background. Awkward dialogue. Brain-damaged unfunny jokes…

      … it just didn’t feel like a James Gunn movie to us.

      I’m sorry, but… have you ever seen a James Gunn movie outside of Guardians of the Galaxy?

      I feel like the GOTG movies have given people the wrong expectations for James Gunn other films. People don’t seem to realize that over the top gore and awkward humor are his thing because he never got to do those things in the Marvel movies. That is, of course, a consequence of Disney dictating and controlling what he could and could not do in those movies.

      It’s kind of sad for him. Yes, the GOTG movies made him popular with mainstream audiences while also giving those audiences expectations that any other film he made outside of Disney could never fulfill. I mean, have you seen “Super” aka, the movie where Ellen Page rapes a mentally-challenged Rainn Wilson, who in turn bludgeons someone to death with a wrench because he was being a jerk? That’s what a James Gunn film is. GOTG is the odd one out, not the norm.

      1. MerryWeathers says:

        Not to mention part of the fun of Suicide Squad stories is that anyone (even the major characters) is capable of dying at anytime because they’re compromised of nobodies that comic book companies won’t give a shit about.

        So getting mad just because your favorite character died is like getting mad at Game of Thrones for killing off its characters, the property is just doing what it’s supposed to do, like what did you expect?

        1. Syal says:

          like what did you expect?

          I mean you would expect them to replace the dead characters with characters of equal or greater value.

          1. MerryWeathers says:

            Which they did in the movie.

    2. evileeyore says:

      “Me, my GF and her daughter watched The Suicide Squad a week ago and we hated it.”

      Everyone I know raved that the new one was way better than the first one. I watched and couldn’t get past the first sequence, by the end of the beach storming I was done with it’s juvenile level of humor and shut it down.

      1. Steve C says:

        I felt the same way yet continued watching. Mainly due to the zeitgeist of approval for it. I don’t understand why its liked. You were right to stop. It did not get better. Or if you liked it, the first part was indicative of the rest. Calling it juvenile is apt. It felt like a child wrote it going “and then this happened, and then this happened, and this happened.”

        I thought the first one was better. Which isn’t saying much.

        1. Adamantyr says:

          Yes. We actually liked the first one. Not our favorite DCEU movie but watchable. Wouldn’t say no to the David Ayer’s cut either, should it happen.

          We were equally appalled by American Hustle a few years ago. The same director of Silver Linings Playbook made THIS?! Mind you, what made that situation worse was the massive accolades and academy awards that were doled out to it.

          Juvenile is a great way to describe The Suicide Squad. It feels like a 13 year old boy wrote and directed it.

          1. Steve C says:

            I get what you mean. Everyone can like what they like. It’s all good. The issue is when everyone but you thinks something is great. It’s so jarring. It is a combination of this plus this.

            American Hustle never even blipped onto my radar. It could be perfect. It is simply not my type of movie. I stopped giving the academy awards any credit years ago when I found out people who vote don’t even bother watch the movies they pick as winners. If you are simultaneously 1)deeply invested in the movie industry 2)willing to state this the best of __ this year, and 3)not willing to watch it… there’s something wrong with you. It’s like someone who loves ice cream not willing to taste test the best ice cream.

  14. Pink says:

    Mandalorian outright uses the plots of existing sidequests from KOTOR, so it isn’t just the similar format but ‘going to kill a krayt dragon using bait and explosives to get a pearl’ levels of similarity.

    Unity generally seems to dislike scale transformation on imported bones; it is usually fine with disconnecting the child bone and animating its position for similar effect, though.

  15. Amstrad says:

    I’m glad that Paul’s brain associates that particular phrase with that exact way of saying it just like mine does.

      1. tmtvl says:

        Yep, party time, freeze, Cuban Pete,… that movie is just filled to the brim with memorable quotable gold.

  16. Ben says:

    I’m fascinated because I agree fully with everything Shamus said about Falcon and the Winter Soldier but it was one of my favorite Marvel stories because all of that stuff only made up about 30% of the screen time and the rest was pure gold. You had:
    -Bucky trying to figure out how to deal with his past and build a new life for himself.
    -One of the best fictional explorations of institutionalized racism I have ever seen.
    -Zemo and his philosophical musings on the nature and dangers of power and those who seek it.
    -Moments of downtime to enjoy the characters just existing in the world.
    -John Walker’s whole arc as a well-intentioned but flawed and ultimately failed hero, which was also a demonstration of why everything Dr. Erskine considered when he chose Steve was important.
    -Some important worldbuilding (although not nearly enough) about what the consequences of the Blip were.
    -Development and/or closure for several minor characters that had been forgotten about.
    -Debates that were characters trying to convince each other of things and sometimes succeeding, rather than trying to score points with the audience.

    1. Shamus says:

      Actually, those are good points. The Bucky stuff was great. Zemo was interesting. I agree with you on Walker. I like that he wasn’t supervillain-style evil, he was just the wrong sort of person for the mantle of Cap.

      The stuff with Isaiah Bradley was a bit of a mixed bag for me. Yes, that was a great way to look at the problem and he had many interesting conversations with Sam about it. However, this stuff was SO important that it DEMANDED an arc we never got. Bradley told Sam, “They will never let a black man be Captain America!”

      And in the end, he was right! Nobody MAKES Sam Captain America. Nobody (in the US) recognizes him as such. He gets the friggin costume from WAKKANDA, for crying out loud. That’s like Biden picking the next Prince of Wales. It makes no sense. And Sam never gets any serum, so he doesn’t even become a super-soldier, WHICH IS THE CORE POWER SET OF CAPTAIN AMERICA.

      Sam isn’t the new Captain America. He’s Bird Man. He’s Captain Jetpack. He’s the Star-Spangled-Speechifier.

      Bradley comes around in the end because the writer says so, but what really should have happened is that Sam should have joined Bradley in his cynicism. Bradley was right. The civil rights movement apparently doesn’t matter. A black man can’t be (recognized as) Captain America, he can’t have Captain America’s powers, and if he want a costume with an American flag on it then he needs to get one from an African superpower.

      The story of Bradley was great in concept, but the ending was farcical and the upbeat tone wasn’t earned at all.


      Arg. The good parts make the bad parts all the more inexplicable.

      1. Joshua says:

        Nobody MAKES Sam Captain America.

        See, this was another point for me. Steve Rogers was made Captain America back in the 1940s as a propaganda influencer, but I’ve not really seen anyone care that much about Steve Rogers being or dressing like Captain America. They associate Captain America with Steve Rogers because of how he acts, and there’s no real separation between the two.

        So, when John Walker is “made” into Captain America, one would wonder why there isn’t more public outcry or at least apathy, kind of like someone declaring a new “King of Rock and Roll” as someone’s title. So, we haven’t even finished the first episode and already there seems to be some new rules to reality.

        I wasn’t as concerned with Bradley changing his mind over Sam becoming Captain America as much as why Sam changes his mind over becoming Captain America. The whole arc is written as
        Act 1. Sam is reluctant to take on the role of Captain America because of the complicated racial history of the nation.
        Act 2. Sam is confronted with challenges that show that maybe it would be a really bad idea to become Captain America.
        Act 3. Something happens that fundamentally changes Sam’s perspective into seeing the true value in becoming Captain America, both as himself and as a black man.
        Climax: Sam becomes Captain America.

        All of this is good, except for they kind of really whiffed on the Act 3 part. I guess he did some exercise routines and some soul-searching, but never explains his epiphany to the audience. Maybe he concluded that he needed to become the role to “do better”.

        1. Shamus says:

          I don’t want to keep prosecuting this because I don’t want it to feel like I’m trying to talk you out of liking the show. But I thought of an analogy to explain why I thought it was wrong (in storytelling terms) for Sam to declare himself Cap.

          Imagine a civil-rights era movie. There’s a black guy that wants to be a lifeguard. Awesome swimmer. Fit. Rescue training. Heroic dude. But the white people don’t want him in their pool because racism.

          So then at the end he “wins” by building his own pool and appointing himself head life guard.

          That’s doesn’t feel like a win. Once Bradley claimed that “They will never let a black man be Captain America” it shifted the story for me. For Sam to win, he doesn’t just need to become cap, he needs to force the powers-that-be to yield to him and officially recognize him as the rightful cap.

          To me Sam feels like Futurama’s Bender: “Oh yeah? Well FINE. I’ll just make my OWN superhero. Without superpowers! Or respect! In fact, forget the superhero!”

          1. Joshua says:

            But I didn’t like the show….

            1. Shamus says:

              Doh! I read your comment wrong.

              When you said, “X was another point for me” you meant “another point of contention”, but I read it as “another point in its favor”. Like, “I award it another point because of this.”

              I, uh…

              I haven’t been getting enough sleep lately.

              1. Joshua says:

                Sorry, point of contention.

  17. Steve C says:

    My experience has been that most doctors I see are incompetent. It’s a form of survivorship bias. You have to keep seeing the bad doctors because they don’t fix anything.

    Go to a good doctor. Quickly diagnoses the issue and fixes it. Problem solved. There’s no reason to see that doctor again. The problem has been solved after all.

    Go to a bad doctor. Fails to diagnose and/or fix the issue. Problem is not solved. So you have to keep going back again and again. Maybe you get lucky because he figured out what to do through luck. Maybe you got better on your own. Either way, that doesn’t make them competent.

    I had two amazing doctors. I had an ingrown toenail that was 10yrs of suffering. I saw many doctors. Tried many treatments. Spent thousands. I then went and saw this one doctor on my own. He immediately solved the issue with a scalpel within 20mins of meeting him and $2 worth of drugs. He did one follow up and I never saw him again. Because he was good. Same thing with another doctor. I got a sore leg and a limp that would not go away. I was told various things by three different doctors, two of which were specialists. All of their advice was wrong in an obvious way. (Like telling me it was arthritis even though it wasn’t a joint. Not based on any exam or anything either.) Then I saw a good doctor who figured it out just by watching me walk. Told me how to raise my leg with a towel in a specific way for 5mins per day. Solved. Never saw him again because he was *competent.*

    I must have seen at least a dozen different doctors multiple times to solve those two pretty minor issues. Both of the competent ones solved it within 20mins of meeting me. If the good ones were able to do that, any of the others should have been able to do the same or immediately refer me to someone who could. Incompetent vs competent. It’s a pretty shitty ratio. A ratio that only gets worse as you get stuck in a cycle of incompetence.

    That’s just two examples. I’ve had far worse doctors. Many who have done me harm.

  18. Paul Spooner says:

    I wanted to mention this during the mailbag segment about video-games influencing movies when Shamus talked about the combat/exposition ratio distinction between the two mediums, but I forgot.

  19. Dreadjaws says:

    I’ve been having trouble with Marvel offerings for quite a while now. I haven’t outright hated most of their stuff, but I’ve been rolling my eyes more than once watching these things.

    So I went to their TV shows with low expectations. I liked most of Wandavision until it turned into generic nonsense at the end. I didn’t watch Falcon and the Winter Soldier because I felt they would end up doing exactly what they did, as Shamus confirmed, about restarting the whole arc (they sort of did the same with Netflix’s Punisher show), which gets on my nerves. I absolutely, positively did not like Loki. Leaving aside all the ridiculous continuity issues, this show has more padding than a Ubisoft game. They had material for like a 1:25 hour movie and they streteched it over 6 episodes. It felt tiresome and condescending how they kept explaining the same simple concepts over and over as if they thought the audience was stupid.

    I did not share Shamus’ enthusiasm for the first episode of What-If. I feel like it’s a condensed version of The First Avenger with all of the story beats and none of the heart. Sure, it has a lot of nice action, but that’s it. Peggy has all the abilities of Captain America and nothing of his personality which, like it or not, is as important as the powers. Steve Rogers saw violence as an often necessary means to an end, but Peggy seems to relish on it. She made me more than a bit uncomfortable and I kept waiting for the moment where she’d turn evil and she’d have to be stopped (which, if we were going to follow the rules established by Dr. Erskine in the movie, should absolutely have happened). I didn’t hate the whole thing, though. I liked that they maintained Peggy and Steve’s nice relationship. I think it fits the story that they buffed Peggy rather than keeping her slim, but I don’t see why Shamus is surprised that they did it since that’s the norm these days rather than the exception. Also, I’m not a fan of the cel-shaded animation, but I guess that’s a personal preference thing.

    You know, after a long string of movies and TV shows that I was expecting and ended up disappointing one way or another (Mortal Kombat, Black Widow, Loki, MOTU Revelation) in the last few months, I was really, really glad for The Suicide Squad. That was a movie that was just pure fun without being condescending and was simple without feeling like it was written by a 5-year old playing with action figures. It saddens me that a lot of raging fanboys are desperate to try to find excuses to hate it under the ridiculous belief that if they do WB will have no choice but handle the reins back to Zack Snyder. That’s just not going to happen, and their attitude is childish. And I actually like Snyder’s films. I just despise fanboy mentality.

    1. MerryWeathers says:

      It saddens me that a lot of raging fanboys are desperate to try to find excuses to hate it under the ridiculous belief that if they do WB will have no choice but handle the reins back to Zack Snyder. That’s just not going to happen, and their attitude is childish. And I actually like Snyder’s films. I just despise fanboy mentality.

      The DCEU has found its niche to the MCU in that their stand-alone movies tend to be significantly more successful than the big crossover movies, plus they allow their filmmakers more freedom than Marvel and actually make R-rated films so they should continue doing all that to contrast and stand ground against the MCU.

      1. Dreadjaws says:

        Yeah, you’d think the fanboys would notice that. They’re giving their directors more freedom. Isn’t that what they wanted? But now they’re protesting this movie, and if it fails they’re going to think it was because they didn’t intervene and they’re going to stop giving them freedom. This is what annoys me the most.

    2. Shamus says:

      ” I don’t see why Shamus is surprised that they did it since that’s the norm these days”

      “These days” is a relative measure for me. I had 40 years of watching 105lb girls steamroll 250lb meatheads by the roomfull. It really bugged me. But of course, if you complain about it then you get dragged into the sodding “you’re sexist and you hate powerful women” debate, and a little of that goes a long way. It’s not that I didn’t like “powerful women”, it’s that I wanted things like inertia and leverage to matter, because it makes fights look more plausible. It’s like movies where you can tell the “flying” hero is hanging from wires. The eye is really good at spotting physics violations. And watching a 105lb woman “throw” a linebacker is asking a lot of my suspension of disbelief.

      So maybe having tall powerful women is “the norm these days”, but for me it still feels really new! Like…

      1) Gina Carano in the Mandalorian?
      2) A couple of the ladies in Wakkanda looked pretty tall and intimidating?
      3) Captain Carter?

      Who else? I’m willing to believe you that it’s the “norm” these days, but I personally haven’t seen many examples.

      Stipulated for the nitpickers: Yes, I’m aware that some heroes get their powers from something besides their physical muscles. Capt. Marvel and Wanda Maximoff don’t need to spend four hours a day in the gym to be able to do what they do, Mantis doesn’t actually fight people, Gomorrah is an alien, and Nebula is mostly robot. You can excuse a lot of these if you want to. And I understand that getting a big-name actress to give herself a UFC makeover asking A LOT.

      All I’m saying is: Watching Olympian-sized people do stuff is awesome, and I wouldn’t mind a few more.

      1. Dreadjaws says:

        Well, I guess you do have a point in the larger MCU, since from what I’ve seen from Falcon and the Winter Soldier, there are a bunch of people injected with the same serum as Captain America and not one of them grow muscles, but since they didn’t do it for all the characters and not just the lady you can argue it’s more of a case of convenience rather than wanting all women to look pretty.

        Who else? I’m willing to believe you that it’s the “norm” these days, but I personally haven’t seen many examples.

        I should have realized that I am mostly talking about comics and animation, not live-action stuff.

      2. Kincajou says:

        Bobbie draper in the expanse!
        Well most women in the expanse but Bobbie kicks all sorts of ass both physically and mentally

        1. Rick says:

          Good call! Frankie Adams as Draper is amazing. Plus she’s not a raging transphobe like Carano.

  20. John says:

    I don’t particularly want to live in the worlds of any of my video games. Violence is fun and cool when it’s directed at my on-screen avatar but non-fun and non-cool when it’s directed at me personally. I love the way that Satellite Reign looks, for example, but I have no desire to live in a setting where being a dehumanized wage slave is about the best I can reasonably hope to achieve in life and I run the very real risk of having my brain hijacked and my body broken down for spare parts by an amoral corporate dirty tricks heist squad. No amount of neon, rain, or neon in the rain is worth that.

    I think that means I play too many violent video games and not enough of the other kind.

    1. Sleeping Dragon says:

      I mean in reality living in most video game worlds is probably not bad as long as you are nowhere near the stuff the protagonists deal with. I mean, sure, there are corporate dystopias and such but for example ME universe has a lot of spacetime when/where you could have a relatively normal life in a cool sci-fi universe as long as you don’t fall into the brief window of the Reaper invasion.

  21. Syal says:

    That John Wick scene didn’t strike me as video-gamey; I don’t think I’ve seen a videogame make you stunlock an enemy with bullets to allow you to get into melee range to kill them. That body armor fight was just a neat idea to let the guns go off more often.

    However, the earlier fight with the dogs gave me hard Dead To Rights: Retribution vibes. (To its detriment, because nothing is going to compete with Dead To Rights: Retribution in the violent dog department. You could make a feature film of pure gratuitous dog-on-human violence, DTR:R still has it topped.)

    I don’t think movies are taking cues from videogames, so much as both of them are trying to find new twists on the extremely old “fight to the bad guy” plot and borrowing from all directions. (Including their own field; John Wick 1 is just an action remake of Road To Perdition.)

    1. Gautsu says:

      I miss both Dead to Rights games

  22. Octal says:

    Yikes! So that’s what happens if you put regular batteries in a charger. Congratulations on doing the sensible thing and avoiding burning your hands with acid.

  23. Gargamellenoir says:

    I really hope you manage to alert someone about that quack, there’s no way he’s done hurting people… And it can’t be that hard to prove he committed fraud.

    About Falcon&Winter Soldier I really felt the opposite that you did.
    – At the end of endgame Steve just shoves the shield in Sam’s hand and we just assume that Sam is psyched and will do it, but from his perspective it is a LOT more complicated. He hero worshipped Steve and is himself very humble, so it’d be surprising if he just thought “yeah I’m the guy for it no problem!”. Imagine if Steve Carmack just gave you the keys to his office and his projects, slapped you on the back and told you to get to it, would you just do it without a doubt or a care in the world?

    – From the moment Carly blows up these guards Sam knows he has to bring her in, and he never wavers in that. Her cause might have some merit, she might have her own issues compounded by the use of the serum, but she’s a murderer now so she needs to go to jail. When he tries to deescalate the conflict with her it’s because he knows that using psychology and empathy can avoid super soldier battles and tragedies. He almost succeeds to, until “We have a Cap at home” tries to just use his muscles to fix everything.

    – The thing is that Sam’s ability to see the world in shade of grey instead of just saying “good guys bad guys” but staying himself moral is the entire point of a modern Cap. Shades of grey were already a theme before, in Winter Soldier and especially in Civil War. I’m ok with it because I find it more impressive when someone sticks to their morals in the face of complexity and empathize with very flawed people rather than against obviously evil guys you can punch away. the whole Isiah Bradley arc shows that even before it was good guy vs bad guy because we didn’t know everything the “good guys” did.

    – The ending speech however was muddled and lackluster. The way I understand it the supranational organization went for the easy solution, just force the refugees through force of arms to return to their countries of origin. Sam urged them to actually do their job and work hard to find a fairer solution. It’s his job as a people’s voice to tell the politicians that they’re clearly not doing enough, and their job to go back to the drawing board and give it an honest go.

    – And yeah, Sam doesn’t have the serum. He has the wings, the shield, the training and managed to fight super soldiers to a standstill with these, but more importantly he’s one of the only characters in the MCU who was able to say without hesitation that he did NOT want the serum, and unlike Zemo it didn’t come from a place of prejudice. He wants to use his brains and his empathy, not flip tanks at the enemies, the rest of the Avengers can do that fine.

  24. Pink says:

    It is a lot more reasonable than Paul suggested:

    Unity’s rig types are Legacy(a leftover from the earliest versions of unity, used for compatibility purposes), Generic(no special rig features but few limitations), and Humanoid(has to conform to a fairly restricted hierarchy but includes a variety of IK and animation retargeting features).

    Humanoid rigs aren’t based on the transforms of the bones, but on the compression of virtual muscles. Imported animations are converted on import to this format(creating an ‘avatar’), discarding animation channels that can’t be converted(like scale, usually). This allows for applying the same animation to differently sized/shaped humanoids, at the cost of requiring the basic structure to fit what it is expecting, and only using position and rotation generally.

    In general, unity isn’t a big fan of scale transforms on bones in blender animations for whatever reason; I do think that it is a blender issue, though, since fbx files from other software(lightwave and houdini) seem to have fewer issues with that.

    1. Paul Spooner says:

      From experimenting with it, I think the difference is that Unity armatures don’t pass scale down the hierarchy. That is, bones don’t inherit scale from their parents. Why they would strip scale out of the transform matrix, I have no clue. Probably Maya or something does it this way. Maybe there’s even a checkbox somewhere that I can’t be bothered to hunt down. But exporting through FBX doesn’t fix it, so it seems like it’s more of an idiosyncrasy with Unity than with Blender.

      1. Pink says:

        Maya is the almost definite culprit, yeah.

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