Diecast #385: The Final Diecast

By Paul Spooner Posted Monday Jun 20, 2022

Filed under: Diecast 72 comments

While there may be a future podcast, this is the final episode of the Diecast. The mailbag is empty for the last time. Thanks for listening in over the years.

Hosts: Paul, Heather. Episode edited by Issac.

Link (YouTube)

Show notes:

00:00 Why End the Diecast?

The Diecast was Shamus’ podcast, where he talked about stuff that he wanted to talk about. We figured it would be best to make a clean break, and close this out, instead of pivoting and keeping the name. There may be another podcast on this site, the discussion is ongoing, but for the Diecast, this is the end. Thanks for listening in everyone.

04:59 Mailbag: Encounters/intensity

Die Dearcast!

Wait, that sounds horrible in english!

In the last Diecast you mentioned “Encounters” and how you prefer shooters because they have them clearly defined, opposed to racing games which are all encounter, all the time. I have to disagree on the latter, and I will elaborate on it further down. But to get to the meat of the question(s): Are there any games/genres out there you enjoy despite them breaking the convention of alternating high and low intesity? And, if you had to chose, would you rather play a game that is allways high or allways low intensity? And can you come up with examples for both, if they even exist?

And now for the racing games: As a sim racing enthusiast, I find that racing has varying intensity. Ordinarily, you drive at about 95% of your quickest pace, which, is low intensity. High intensity for racing games comes in two ways: 1) fighting for a position, which usually doesn’t happen that often, or 2) navigating part of a track than one finds tricky. Which only happens once per lap per tricky section. And due to the repeating nature of driving multiple laps resulting flow state, I find that in racing sims, the high intensity parts are actually shorter and further between than in shooters.

And as a bonus: Dorfromantik is a prime example of an addictive allways low intensity game.

Kind regards,
Norbert ColeusRattus Lickl

13:10 Mailbag: Thinking like a programmer

Greetings Casters of Die.

I am currently tutoring someone who wants to program (to make games). We encountered the statement that there’s a difference between programming and programming well, and that it has to do with thinking like a programmer. I’ve programmed for most of my life, but I’m not sure how to describe that concept.

What mental habits or skills separate an excellent programmer from the merely adequate?

Also are there any games that you are better at because you know how to program?

Thank you,

20:11 Mailbag: Sierra adventure game remakes

Dear Diecast

In the age of remakes and remasters, games often have extras to make them more palatable to modern audiences, like savestates, rewind etc. Sierra adventure games are known for the moon logic and sadistic designers. Imagine if those games were remade, but then with an option to have logical puzzles and no random deaths/softlocks. Then their creativity can shine through and be enjoyed by modern audiences.
What do you think?

With kind regards

25:41 Mailbag: Video Cable Formats

Dear Diecast,

Where do you guys stand on HDMI versus DisplayPort?

I usually don’t care about format wars, but this is lasting long enough to get under my skin.

I don’t like that new video cards offer one or two of each port and the consumer has no say in the configuration of a card.

I much preferred the days where I just needed and got two VGA or two Dual-DVI ports.



31:12 Mailbag: Favorite Anime

Dear Diecast,

Are there any anime (Japanese animated works) that you like? If so, what are some of your favourites, and why?

All the best,

36:05 Mailbag: Unique game

Dear Diecast,

Have you ever played a game that felt fresh and unique, only to later discover they were liberally ‘inspired’ by an earlier game? If so what was the game?

Best wishes

38:47 Mailbag: Weapon of Choice

Dear Diecast,

I hope you both are well.

I was wondering, what is your favourite weapon in a video game?
A shotgun that booms like the God of Thunder slamming a revolving door?
An enormous maul hewn from a bone of the Demogorgon?
Some fancy multifunctional laser gadget that slices, dices, and makes waffles?

Looking forward to hearing your thoughts.


– Tim

45:34 Closing thoughts

Thanks to everyone offering support to the Young family. I wish there was more to say. So long for now.


From The Archives:

72 thoughts on “Diecast #385: The Final Diecast

  1. MerryWeathers says:

    The Final Diecast


  2. tmtvl says:

    This is going to be hard to listen to, I’ll wait until I can sit myself down with a tub of ice cream.
    Still, thanks for giving us a final outro, and thank you to Paul and Issac for your work on the Diecast, it wouldn’t have been the same without you.

    1. pseudonym says:

      Thank you Tim, for all your excellent questions to the diecast. It was part of the fun of listening to it.

      1. Lino says:

        Wait… HE’S Vale Tim? tmtvl…. TIMOTHY VALE, OH MY GOD!!! It all makes sense now!
        It’s a good thing I don’t have a career as a detective. I’d be absolutely dreadful…

        1. tmtvl says:

          Yes, my Lucilius, I am Seneca- I mean Tim. Don’t worry about not figuring it out, every Holmes needs his Watson.

  3. The Nick says:

    Thank you for the Diecast.

  4. thatSeniorGuy says:

    Whoa boy, this is going to be a rough one. Hopefully I don’t break down crying on the train tomorrow morning.

  5. Ryan says:

    Thank you, Shamus, for so many fantastic years of your commentary. You will be missed.

    Thank you, Paul, for being an excellent friend and helping to bring this sad chapter the appropriately reflective form of closure it deserves.

    Thank you, Heather, for sharing your thoughts and commentary with us, and ensuring that his legacy will continue.

    1. Paul Spooner says:

      You’re welcome. The recording didn’t turn out to be as difficult as I had feared. I credit Heather and her steely composure for that. Hope the move is going well Heather! Get some sleep when you can!

  6. DeadlyDark says:

    I would like to have a new podcast here, not going to lie. You are all very chill and insightful people.

    Wouldn’t be the same, but that’s the nature of the time – everything’s changes. Not necessarily for better or worse, but for different

    1. Paul Spooner says:

      We’re not currently considering doing an AI Diecast but yes, there’s significant interest in keeping the community together in one form or another, and a regular podcast seems like low-hanging fruit.

  7. BlueHorus says:

    Thank you both for doing this, and Isaac for editing. Painful is, I think, exactly the right word for it.
    And I guess I took too long, thinking of the question I was going to send in one day…

    I’d love to see more of Shamus’ work, unfinished or not. And to see this site keep going. Sadly I can’t help with any of that, beyond just commenting on what does appear.
    Maybe – as and when it’s possible or appropriate – we could have a ‘where do we go from here’ article to discuss it?

  8. Lino says:

    Thank you for doing this, Paul and Heather. I can’t even begin to imagine how hard it must have been. As I said in the YouTube comments, in the future I think it would be a good idea to use the Patreon to fund future hosting fees for the site. I remember Shamus saying that he’d like to keep the site up for as long as possible after he’s gone. And I, for one, would be more than happy to donate to that.

    In terms of the “Unique game” question – I’ve felt that for most of the 3D platformers I played and loved when I was young – Tonic Trouble, Pitfall: The Lost Expedition, Bugs Bunny and Taz: Time Busters. At the time, they were some of my favourite games and were definitely something I’d never seen on the PC before. Years later, I found out that they were heavily influenced by the likes of Banjo Kazooie and the 3D Marios.

    Still, I’ve got some very fond memories of them. Even though – looking back – most of them were horrendous PC ports…

    1. Paul Spooner says:

      Yeah, now that you mention it, my brothers and I played Croc: Legend of the Gobbos, which was a pretty close parallel to Super Mario 64, even in its development.

      1. tmtvl says:

        Ah, good old Croc. My little sister quite liked it. I personally wasn’t a fan of the sequel.

  9. William H says:

    Heather talking about sniping in Unreal Tournament makes me think she loved Facing Worlds

    What am I going to listen to on Monday mornings now?

    I had so many questions I was going to ask, and I know I’ll think of something and think, “I should send that to the Diecast oh wait….”

    Please keep the Pateron up and maybe use part of the funds for hiring a parttime webmaster who’ll fix broken pages, keep the domain from expiring, and keep things working.

    A Slack or Discord for the community would be good options for the community to talk about gaming & programming, discussing the content on the site, and occasionally reminiscing.

    1. tmtvl says:

      I would prefer a forum over slack or patreon. While all is transient, fora are more easily preserved than these other options.

  10. Simplex says:

    I don’t know the full history of Diecast previous… cast, so apologies if I my question is inadvertently offensive.
    I use podcast app Podcast Addict to listen to Diecast (by connecting to the RSS feed). It’s extremely convenient – automatically checks for new episodes, fetches them, notifies me. It handles chapters well (I can jump to timestamps easily by tapping on them), allows to speedup the audio without the chipmunk effect (I actually prefer the version of the outro that’s sped-up to 1.2x).
    Long story short, in the Podcast Addict app, the first available episode is #281. Is there any way to add previous episodes to the RSS feed so that they could be conveniently perused via the Podcast Addict App?

    1. Paul Spooner says:

      The break with the Spoiler Warning show happened at #197/198, so it’s unrelated to the RSS feed thing. I took a look to see if there’s something obvious, but nothing jumped out at me. The episode format looks the same to me, so I don’t know what would need to be changed. There’s been ongoing technical difficulties getting RSS readers and the RSS feed to play well together, so I’m honestly surprised that it works for you at all.

      1. Simplex says:

        Thanks. Perhaps I’m asking too much, in which case feel free to ignore my request.
        Actually the RSS feed has been working great for me when using it in the Podcast Addict Android app. The only gripe I had is that the podcast did not have a defined cover so I see it as a grey square, but other than that, top notch (except lack of early episodes).

        1. Rick says:

          The RSS feed only shows the last 32 entries… I’m guessing Podcast Addict have their own internal list that gets appended when new entries are found, but it only became aware of the Diecast feed when #281 was the oldest on the list at the time.

          The RSS feed can be paged to go back further (eg /twentysidedtale/?cat=287&feed=rss2&paged=13 to get to number 1 at the moment), but it looks like Podcast Addict’s scrapers don’t do this.

          1. Blake Winton says:

            If it helps, I’ve got a feed of #1 to #361 up at https://bwinton.github.io/podcasts/diecast.xml (and I think I even added some cover art, too)…

  11. Fallonor says:

    I wanted to point out that, if you find any way to make hard copies of any of the major series, DM of the Rings, larger blog series etc similar to the Mess Effect. I would absolutely buy the crap out of them.

    Obviously some like DMotR would be hard to do without getting squished by a legal team but my point stands, if you can find a way to sell it to me I’d find a way to buy it.

  12. ColeusRattus says:

    Oh man, my joking syllable mixup in the adress did age like milk. I physically cringed reading it in the show notes.

    Did not have time to listen to it yet, and I only just now have started to listen to #384.

    Anyway, I want to thank Heather, Isaac and you for producing this final installement of what has been a staple of my daily live for many years. I hope all of you can find solace in the good times you shared with Shamus.

    Consider yourselves hugged for the appropriate amount!

  13. pseudonym says:

    Thank you Issac, Heather and Paul to make this last podcast for your late father, husband and best friend. It must have been painful, bittersweet, but I hope also somewhat cathartic.

    Thank you Paul for joining Shamus in this excellent podcast for all these years. You two had such good chemistry. It was always fun to listen to, regardless of the subject.

    1. Paul Spooner says:

      Thanks, that means a lot to me. There was some pushback from the community back at the start there, so I always wondered if I was actually helping, or was just a weight around his ankles. I guess we all wonder that about the people we care for.
      Yes, I felt a lot more closure after recording this episode with Heather. I hope it helped her too, at least a little.

      1. ColeusRattus says:

        I liked the “original” cast well, and initially I wasn’t happy with the split up, but I think you did well. It transformed the diecast a lot, just having two hosts rather than five, and you are quite a different person to everyone of them. So I kept listening and enjoying the show. I don’t think Shamus saw you as an ankle weight. To me, it felt more like he could breathe without the bickering of the bigger group.

        1. pseudonym says:

          Yes, having two people was a good decision. Also I felt Paul was a good match for Shamus as he also had a good understanding on how to tell a story. It made for very good conversations.

      2. pseudonym says:

        In case you are feeling like ankle weight sometime and need some genuine praise to be unleashed upon you, feel free to contact me. All in all I am not surprised to see some imposter syndrome symptoms in you as it supposedly more common in highly capable people. ;-)

        The last diecast brought some catharsis for me too. It is great that you, Heather and Issac were doing this.

      3. The Nick says:

        I remember seeing these words here (https://www.shamusyoung.com/twentysidedtale/?p=15191) even waaaaay back in the ancient days of over a decade ago. The last bit of praise describes how you added “weight and depth” to the words. I imagine a lot of collaboration is like this: everybody produces good content, but the assimilation of everybody’s work is greater than the sum of its parts, even if no one individual truly understands the extra value added of their own content.

        1. Philadelphus says:

          C. S. Lewis had something to say on the nature of friendship, and how it brings out more of everyone involved, and the whole being truly greater than the mere sum of its parts. I don’t remember the exact quote, but it was something like, “When, in a circle of friends A, B, C, (D, E…), A dies, B loses not only A, but also A’s part in C, and C loses only A, but also A’s part in B. Now that Charles is gone, I shall never again see Ronald’s reaction to a specifically Caroline joke.”

          Like mutual tidal effects on the Earth and Moon, Paul, I’d say you and Shamus each brought out something in the other that no one else could, and which would never have happened in isolation. Hope that’s some reassurance.

          1. Geoff says:

            Well put.

      4. DeadlyDark says:

        I like you as a host. You made good shows with Shamus and an interesting guy as yourself. No deadweight at all. I’m glad that you were able to reanimate the podcast with Shamus, it gave me a lot of happy hours listening to it.

    2. pseudonym says:

      Also thank you Issac for all the excellent editing. It was so well-cut that I didn’t know there was editing except for tbe statement that you apparently edited each week. It always sounded like Shamus and Pauls were complete naturals at looking up information in 3 seconds. Which made them look like superhumans in the looking-up department. I have been naively thinking “of course, Shamus and Paul can look stuff up in seconds, they are quick-witted that way”, until Shamus said in one of the Diecast that you remove roughly half an hour of material every diecast. So thanks again, for doing such a great job every time and making Shamus and Paul shine!

  14. Syal says:

    Oh man, I didn’t know Bay was having medical issues too. Get healthy, guys!

    I definitely prefer low intensity to high intensity. Turn-based JRPGs are pretty static intensity, mostly low-intensity; even the ones with hard fights usually have a pretty simple, repeatable strategy to them. The only example of high-intensity that immediately comes to mind is Half-Minute Hero, where you have a thirty second timer for the whole level. Not sure if that counts as always high intensity, as you do have the cooldown period between levels where you’re shuffling gear and planning.

    The first animes I watched were on TechTV, and Boogiepop Phantom was the one that got me interested in the genre, with its surreal violence and constant shifts of viewpoint every episode. That and Kino’s Journey are my favorites; surreal character study stuff. Haven’t seen much else; I’ve watched both Full Metal Alchemists, and think I prefer the first one where the showmakers had to make up the ending because the manga wasn’t finished yet. (Seriously, Game of Thrones, you have no excuse.) Death Note was interesting, but I skipped pretty much everything after Second Kira was introduced, and picked up again like twenty episodes later with Mello and Near. Jojo Season 1, One Punch Man Season 1, and Baki season 1 were all stupid fun; just a bunch of big musclemen punching each other on the flimsiest pretexts.

    The fresh and unique game was the plot twist from Fairy Fencer F, which really improved my opinion of the game. Then I read an LP of Bravely Default 1 that came out the previous year, and saw there’s a very similar twist in that one.

    Favorite weapon, all damage equal, is going to be a Very Loud Pistol. Give a handgun a shotgun-style boom and it’s the greatest weapon possible. Of course, I mostly play fantasy settings, so Battleaxes are the more appropriate favorite. (Honorable mention: I’m replaying FF8 right now, and Ward’s giant harpoon that he throws at enemies and then has to run over and retrieve is a pretty darn fun weapon.)

    1. tmtvl says:

      Anime talk:
      It is a very unpopular opinion, but I also preferred FMA anime 1 over Brotherhood.
      I am a very big fan of Lupin, especially season 1 (where Miyazaki directed almost all episodes after 6).
      Rurouni Kenshin (aka “Samurai X”, because that title was so kewl back in the ’90s) was the first anime I really got into, it’s quite excellent.
      I liked Tanya, but having read the manga I don’t think I can appreciate the anime as much anymore.
      Non Non Biyori is pretty soothing, I’d call it a standard bearer of iyashikei.
      There’s also some lower profile anime I like such as Shura no Mon or Kazemakase Tsukikage Ran (aka Carried By The Wind: Tsukikage Ran).

      Weapon talk:

      Yeah, Ward’s harpoon is neat. It’s also fun seeing the logistics of “well, I only have one throwing weapon, so after I throw it I have to go pick it back up.”

      1. Naota says:

        I’m kinda surprised anyone shares my opinion on FMA, but I feel the same way: the original series has pacing, melancholy, and a sense of dangerous uncertainty to it that gets completely bulldozed by Brotherhood’s jarringly terrible tonal shifts and the rush to get to new content. For pure shounen series hype, consistency, and having any plan, Brotherhood takes it, but for everything it does so solidly, I think it’s missing a bunch of that mystique that drew me to the first animated series along the way.

        More weapon talk: the Starsiege Tribes Mortar. This smoldering green behemoth made the TF2 Demoman’s grenade launcher look like a spitball gun, and rocked the screen and landscape every time you fired it.

        I’ll never get tired of watching those shells leak ominous green smoke as they sail over the landscape like an inbound meteor, presaging the extinction of some unfortunate clanner in the next area code. The game even had its own primitive animation for close hits with the mortar shell, where the most hapless targets literally fell to pieces on impact. Miraculously, it only got more satisfying as the games went on, culminating with the greenest, stinkiest, most volatile one to date in Ascend.

        1. Retsam says:

          Yeah +1 on liking the original FMA more than Brotherhood. (There are dozens of us!) Brotherhood is definitely the more coherent story, in a sense, but the original is just a lot more interesting, I think.

  15. GhostlyMammoth says:

    Like Issac, I’m also fond of the old buisiness computer look and found a keyboard that might fit the bill. Unicomp bought the rights to the IBM Model M keyboard and still make them, including cream-colored ones with the PS2 connector. I’ve got one and it’s comfortable to type on and delightfully clacky.

    1. Cilba Greenbraid says:


      It’s practically identical to the old Model M. They still make them with the PS2 connector, and if you just can’t make that work, they make one with good ol’ USB.

      I very much share Isaac’s sentiments in having no use for blinkenlights and liking my keyboard to be solidly built and to announce my presence with authority. The only downside to the old Model M (on which I am typing these words) is there’s no N-key rollover, so its usefulness is very limited for gaming.

      Long live the Model M!

      1. Randy says:

        The one thing I’d add is that PS/2 compatibility is extremely spotty on modern mother boards and OSes. I’ve been unofficial IT (you know, small business with no IT dept., so ask the guy who knows computers) at a few of my jobs, and several times I’ve run into issues where a Windows update just wiped the PS/2 drivers. So, while I’d still recommend the model M for Isaac, he should only get the PS/2 version if he’s planning to use it on an old computer; for daily driving a modern computer, it’s USB or bust, even if the mobo has a PS/2 port

    2. Canthros says:

      Honestly, the only thing keeping me from buying a Unicomp is that I touch-type Dvorak, like a dweeb, and software remapping is … iffy, at the edges. (It’s gotten soooooo much better, though.)

      I’m not even sure if Unicomp ‘bought’ the rights to the Model M, honestly. They were spun off from Lexmark, who were making the keyboards. So, a Unicomp keyboard is as close as you’ll get to a brand-new Model M.

      1. Cilba Greenbraid says:

        Unicomp bought, and still owns and uses, the actual equipment Lexmark’s edition of the Model M was made with. It may not be a 100% clone of the original IBM Model M from the 1980s, but it’s a 98% clone of it.

  16. RFS-81 says:

    Thank you for this last episode! I can’t imagine how difficult that must have been.

    I find “thinking like a programmer” an infuriatingly vague phrase. Here’s what I think it could mean:

    1) Understand that your code is meaningless to the computer. It does what it’s told, nothing more or less.

    2) Don’t use cookie-cutter code. Don’t blindly copy a how-to, but use it to understand your tools better, so you can build whatever you want.

    3) Consider how your code may fail and how to handle failures. Don’t just test the “happy path” through your program.

    4) Keep in mind that your code is meant to be read by other programmers. Future-you, if nobody else.

    I don’t think that gets you to being excellent, but I don’t think I’m excellent, so I can’t help you with that, Andrew ;-)

    1. tmtvl says:

      Clever iteration is better than naive tree recursion.

    2. Syal says:

      I have no programming knowledge, but a Chess idiom is “when you find a good move, look for a better one.” There’s a difference between being able to follow underlying principles, or just being able to follow instructions, and the more complicated the process the more obvious the difference becomes.

      1. RFS-81 says:

        That’s a good one! The first solution you see will often not be the best. The part about following principles vs instructions is also true, but I have to admit, I don’t really see how it relates to that idiom.

    3. Paul Spooner says:

      Ooh! Good stuff! One that I brought over from real-life woodworking is: Don’t be afraid to do small stand-alone tests. If you have a tricky problem, solve it in isolation on the workbench before tackling it in the middle of your ongoing project. The confounding factors occasionally invalidate the tested solution, but the assurance that the approach is sound goes a long way toward being able to solve the actual challenge.

      I take “Thinking like a programmer” to mean dispensing with the propensity for imprecise terminology and approaching a problem from the perspective of efficient data transformation. If you want Shamus’ extended take on it, this is a decent starting point although I think his summary from the autoblography is pretty good.

      If I was at a computer, I’d make one loop to read through the whole file, then insert lines to do one thing, then insert more lines to do another. Conceptually, you start out and work your way in, writing the beginning and ending of the program, then working your way to the middle.

      1. Storm says:

        All good points, and I definitely see “thinking like a programmer” to be a collection of related ideas over any single overarching thought.

        One of the big ones I think is internalizing what kind of things a computer can do fast and efficiently, versus what either takes a lot of time or is inordinately complex. Lots of things that humans find to be difficult topics are trivially easy for computers, whereas other things which are perfectly intuitive for humans take a lot of work for a computer.

        So it’s realizing what’s easy and what’s not, and approaching problem solving by trying to use those fast and efficient approaches first, and only going to the slower and more complex ones when they’re absolutely required. Which isn’t that hard to do when you get used to it, but it does require shifting how you think about and approach problem solving.

    4. pseudonym says:

      Very good advice above. I think other important pillars are wanting to learn, practice and feedback.

      First, wanting to learn. To give an example, Shamus disliked C++ but it was the tool to accomplish what he wanted. When a better tool became available to do what he wanted, Unity and C#, he learned that and used that. So always be open to learn new things.

      Practice is the most obvious. You will get better by doing. A good way to do this is to contribute code to open-source projects you use. If you like a new feature in a program, contribute it yourself!

      Feedback is very important. You can become a coding hermit, but you will learn the most from other people. Try to land a job were you work in a small coding team so you can get feedback very easily. Another way to get feedback is to start learning testing tools so you can properly test your code and see if it works. Use coverage tools to see if all your code is tested. You can also get feedback from yourself by using your own tool. Is it convenient to use? You can also get a lot of feedback from others if you contribute to open source projects. People are generally happy that you take an interest in their project, but also want their code to have certain standard of quality, so they will comment on your code.

      Hope this helps!

    5. RFS-81 says:

      Another thing: Lines-of-code are not a measure of productivity. Ken Thompson, author of the Unix operating system, (supposedly) said

      One of my most productive days was throwing away 1,000 lines of code.

      Revising and editing is as important as in any other kind of writing.

    6. Philadelphus says:

      To me, “thinking like a programmer” means “learning to think stupid enough* that a pile of finely-organized sand with electricity running through it**” can’t misunderstand what you mean. :)

      *I.e, to break things down into their simplest constituent parts.

      **I.e., a computer, to borrow a turn of phrase from xkcd.

  17. RamblePak64 says:

    I’ve tried to write a few comments here. It feels appropriate to. Just when I thought I was getting a handle on things, boom, I don’t anymore.

    I’m glad, Paul and Heather, that this was the format that you chose to conclude the Diecast. Paul, I’m glad you were able to be Shamus’ co-host after the Spoiler Warning split. I think you guys shared interests and ways of thinking that he hasn’t been able to with many of his collaborators (myself included, as I began working with him more towards the end). I’m glad this was something he could do with you for so long.

    I hope those words sound alright. I’m often bad with helping others grieve and mourn, but I at least usually am able to keep my own self together. This time it’s harder than ever.

    Regardless, thank you.

  18. Cilba Greenbraid says:

    Paul, thank you for joining Shamus on the Diecast these past few years. I enthusiastically add my voice to the above posters in saying I always enjoyed the chemistry between you two, and the Star Citizen episode is also one of my favorite ever things on the internet.

    Isaac, editing this episode must have been very hard for you. Thank you for doing the work that doesn’t get you first billed, but is necessary to there being a Diecast at all. God be with you in your grief.

    Heather, your fortitude is amazing. This felt like exactly the right thing to do for the final Diecast, and thank you a hundred times over for doing it.

    Putting this episode together was so brave of all three of you. You all honor Shamus so much.

    I just read this post earlier today and wow was that a surreal experience. But though I’ve always been 99% a lurker, if ever you have need of someone to just do the mundane work of going through comments and weeding out the spam, so that we can still have The Best Comment Threads On The Entire Internet at this site and not have to just close comments, I will always be happy to volunteer.

    I don’t know how else to each out, but I grew up in western PA and my parents still live there, so I visit often from eastern PA where I live now–if there’s any physical work that still needs doing for your family as we head into July, please feel free to email me. Helping out would be an honor.

    God bless you. Shamus’ mom is in our prayers too, as she endures what no mother should ever have to.

    1. Lino says:

      When I saw the name, I thought you were talking about this post he wrote last year. Which is equally surreal to read…

      I guess even after scouring the archives there is still a lot of content I haven’t read (or have just forgotten about).

    2. Heather says:

      If you email shamus @ shamusyoung.com I will get back to you.

  19. Austin Taylor says:

    Thank yall so much for this.

    I’ve always been a lurker on this site, and have immensely enjoyed everything yall have done. I’ve always introduced DM of the rings to my friends as a way to be nerdy and laugh together. I’ve always been antisocial and have a hard time even with basic social interactions, and I feel like yall have helped me a whole lot.

    Thank you for everything.

  20. Steve C says:

    How I would solve the blog archive-that-is-not-static issue is by separating it out into two distinct sections. One that is the blog, static and unchanging. Then a comment section that is an overlay onto the blog. I don’t know what that would entail when all is done, but that is how I would tackle it conceptually.

    Thank you for decades of content and the will to preserve it.

  21. Mye says:

    My hat off to Heather, she sounds like a wonderful person and it was great of hers to do this (but now in my mental imagine she’s dwarf with a big hammer). Paul too, hope it brought some closure.

    On trying to do more stuff for the blog (possibly new?), I’m also going trough dealing with end of life stuff with family member and I’m worried about making “ghost” our of my loved one by continuing doing stuff in their memory. Obviously if people want to keep it going that’s great, but I’d never want my loved one to push themselves into doing project they’d rather not do otherwise.

  22. Rick says:

    Thank you all of you for this final episode. To Paul and Heather for putting themselves out there, Isaac for editing, and to the rest of his family for allowing you to remember him in this way.

    Maybe it’s Isaac’s amazing editing, but it feels like Paul and Heather are old friends while they process this loss and discuss old times when in reality I’m not sure if they would’ve spoken much, if at all. It shows the care that you both have for Shamus as well as the calibre of company he keeps.

    We would all love to see more of Shamus’ content, but please don’t feel pressured into anything. Your lives are your own and if at any point sifting through unreleased content becomes more crushing than cathartic, then feel free to take a step back. We love Shamus’ content, but you owe us nothing.

  23. Retsam says:

    I would have been interested in Shamus’s Nausicaa thoughts, that was one I also wasn’t particularly impressed with, and I wonder if we had similar reasons. (It’s been long enough that I don’t really remember much of the specifics of my gripes, but I remember the word “hagiography” featured pretty prominently.)

    In general, I was always a bit sad that Shamus fell out of anime before I really started following the blog (and really, the stuff he did cover was largely before my time) – it would have been interesting seeing his takes on storytelling applied to anime, and plus, it’d just be interesting to see takes on anime from someone who isn’t the sort of “fully immersed in the subculture” person who you’ll generally find on reddit or YouTube.

    For stuff we’ve been watching recently, my wife and I both are really into Kaguya and Attack on Titan – which is hardly a deep cut, they’re like the most popular stuff in the community right now, but sometimes stuff is popular because it’s really good. We also just finished up “Ascendance of a Bookworm” which was a cute fun show about a girl reborn in a fantasy world attempting to make books. (I liked that it moved a bit away from that premise as it went on)

    Also watched the Fruits Basket remake, though personally I wasn’t super impressed: I don’t think my issue was the adaptation, I just wasn’t really impressed by the story it was trying to tell. Felt a little melodramatic, for lack of a better word.

    1. Paul Spooner says:

      I recently watched “Your Lie in April”, and it hit me from a bunch of angles. Classical piano performance (which I did in high-school), obliviousness to unrequited romance, and more recently, not getting to do those special things with that special person because they died suddenly. As if any of us need to cry more.
      Also watched through “TONIKAWA: Over The Moon For You” which was very cute and wholesome, if a bit prudish in their hesitancy to consummate their marriage.
      All-time favorite has got to be Cowboy Beebop, though I’m not particularly well versed in the whole spectrum of Anime. I’ve heard Ghost in the Shell is pretty good, if you don’t mind the gratuitous anime titties, post-modern existential dread, and body horror. Honestly, these days, I mostly just digest pop-culture on TvTropes.org instead of watching it myself.

      1. Retsam says:

        If you liked Your Lie in April, a huge recommendation for March Comes in Like a Lion (the fact that both have months in the title is a weird coincidence). It’s often called a “shogi anime”, but the actual shogi is secondary to the point of the show.  The main character starts off in a pretty bleak state, but it’s a very wholesome show overall.

        1. RamblePak64 says:

          I would add in Kids on the Slope, though keep in mind the structure of the story is analogous to the improvisational nature of Jazz itself; just when you think it’s going one way, it swipes another way. Dunno if it will have the same appeal for everyone, but I liked it and there’s a lot of piano performance rotoscoping (as well as drumming and other jazz instruments) in there, too.

  24. Nick says:

    To every person reading this who is grieving for their loss:
    I am so very sorry.
    And I am grateful for everything that you have all contributed to this site in your own way.

    It is my intention to purchase copies of Shamus’ books, and gift Good Robot to my friends. I know it isn’t much, but it will allow me a way to pay my respects, and offer his family a small token of my appreciation.
    My condolences.

  25. Chris P says:

    There are only a few podcasts with intelligent conversation about diverse topics coming from well-spoken people. If I had to speculate, I think that Shamus and Paul had sufficient grounding that they were confident in their subjective experiences, both in the truth of it and in their understanding of it, and they never for a second bent to groupthink. It’s a rare trait to possess a simultaneously independent and open mind. Diecast was great I’m glad it got a formal ending.

    If any of the community read this and want to recommend podcasts with a similar vibe, please post them. Here are a few shows to check out if this leaves a hole:

    Art of Manliness – episode reviews of Star Trek: Voyager (and now on to Enterprise) by a pair of entertaining guys.
    V’Ger Please – philosophy about modern living.

    Hit me with others.

  26. RamblePak64 says:

    As is my situation, I can only listen to Diecast episodes in pieces, so decided to listen to the anime portion today, and I’m glad I did because I love hearing about how Heather and the kids go to the anime conventions in their area. I also remember finding out after that PAX East what kind of rough time Shamus has with crowds. I was glad to meet him and Heather and was honestly surprised at the time that he even knew me from his comments. I always wanted to try and meet him in meat space again.

    It’s a shame because anime is one of those things that I love, but I don’t consider myself related to the greater anime fandom. I don’t care about keeping up with seasons, I don’t care about what is and isn’t popular, I’ve grown increasingly tired of shounen fighting tropes, and as such, what anime I do enjoy, it’s because it speaks to me somehow. Despite being a bit too proud with how well-read he is and such and how all his works boil down to very similar philosophical questions, I’ve come to really like Gen Urobuchi. Madoka Magica, the first season of Psycho-Pass, and even the Godzilla anime film trilogy on Netflix are all some of my favorite works of the past decade or so. I would have loved to hear Shamus’ thoughts on Psycho-Pass, even if I can imagine him picking much of its setting apart. (I also really liked Fate Zero, but given the manner in which a child dies in one scene I basically can never see the series again because it just got to me way too much).

    Satoshi Kon is also a favorite, though I’m curious if any of his works would have appealed to Shamus. I’m realizing that, outside of video games, super heroes, and old school Star Wars and Star Trek, I’m not familiar with a lot of the things Shamus liked. Would he be uninterested in the psychological thriller Perfect Blue? Would he find Paprika interesting or nonsense?

    Still, if anything, I feel like I would have recommended Legend of the Galactic Heroes. It is “dry” by typical anime standards, but it is very much focused on politics and battlefield tactics and such. Then again, because it doesn’t have that sense of philosophical hope that Star Trek possesses, maybe he’d have been less interested? Don’t know. It was a topic I wanted to broach more but, alas, here we are.

    I also had an internal yelp of joy to hear Heather and the kids have Little Witch Academia cosplay. One of the best things Studio Trigger has made. I love the shorts and I love the series. Still, if I were to list my favorite anime of the past decade or so, Kill la Kill would beat it out. It’s a complete and utter mess of a show whose absurd outfit/character design easily repels folks, and despite all of the thematic ideas it toys with they just fail to deliver a cohesive anything by the end, but it is perhaps the most fun thing Studio Trigger has made to me. I love it and have rewatched it several times.

    That said, my actual favorite of the past decade might be My Teen Romantic Comedy SNAFU (original Japanese title roughly translating to My Youth Romantic Comedy is Wrong As I Expected, which still does it no favors but is far better). It actually plays with some tropes by setting up a typical anime romance comedy scenario (it turns out, no, the quiet and tough girl in class doesn’t secretly work at a maid cafe like you’d expect from most anime), and then turning it around by making the “arc” an examination of social dynamics, and often one that faces uncomfortable realities. However, the most important psycho-analysis is on our primary trio characters, and ultimately, while being a love story, the show is also about what it means to want to change, why one should change, what drives one to change, and then vulnerability between one another. It’s perhaps one of the most psychologically insightful shows into ways of thinking since the original Evangelion, but it’s also more optimistic. In Evangelion, everyone is broken and refuses to change. In SNAFU, everyone is broken but figuring out how to open up to one another, be honest with others and themselves, and to change for the better.

    Unfortunately, it’s also often misunderstood. There’s a speech the protagonist gives in one of the early episodes explaining why he hates nice girls. While there are elements and nuggets of truth in what he’s saying, so many members of the audience that quote and highlight it miss the fact that he’s completely wrong.

    I’ve watched the show three times now, and every time I do I get something new out of it.

    Oh, I suppose I should also mention Full Metal Alchemist: Brotherhood. I prefer the direction of the original series (lighting is better, mood and music are better, etc., but once the show deviates it becomes typical anime writing), but Brotherhood is the better show, and it is also quite possibly the most satisfying conclusion to a story I can think of. The final conflict is an entire season, every character gets a chance to shine, they all get suitable closure, and everything is wrapped up nicely and in a satisfying fashion. The first season is rough, especially if you already saw how the original series handled certain key moments better, but on the whole Brotherhood is just the better overall experience.

    So, yeah, I guess there’s a lot of stuff I’m not big on (My Hero Academia at this point, JoJo’s Bizarre Adventure, so on and so forth), but what anime I do like I end up being passionate about. I wanted to share some of that with Shamus but it never really came up and I didn’t want to prod and bother him about something other people probably bugged him about frequently.

    1. Retsam says:

      My wife and I watched the first two seasons of SNAFU and mostly dropped it. (I still might go back and finish it) We didn’t hate the second season, but I think we both found that we just liked the show a lot more when it was much more of a comedy than the second season which was a lot heavier on the drama.

      And we didn’t love how it handled it’s drama – overall it has, as you said, very realistic characters (by anime standards)… but when it hits the dramatic bits, it often manifests as characters having long monologues on the nature of love, and youth, and change, and whatever, and that ended up feeling kind of jarring. The main character’s cynical rants were one thing, but when nearly everyone seems to want to wax philosophical at the drop of the hat, it ended up feeling a bit odd.

      (… it also doesn’t help that we were watching it shortly after watching Kaguya-sama, which does a lot better (IMO) at balancing and mixing its comedic and dramatic parts. )

      Another similar recommendation to SNAFU, though, if you haven’t seen it is “Rascal Does Not Dream of Bunny Girl Senpai” (and not just because it goes to the same school of “make the title as awkward in English as possible). The whole “bunny girl” thing is kind of bait, the actual show is really wholesome. It’s basically about social anxieties manifesting as physical phenomenon.

      1. RamblePak64 says:

        I’ve received multiple recommendations of Rascal, so I may need to check it out.

        The “waxing philosophical” thing became less of a problem for me on repeat viewings, but in part because… I’m hesitant at this point to speak like some kind of knowledgeable authority on another culture, but studying and reading and more experience with Japanese language and culture has led to an understanding that people will discuss around problems rather than address them directly. It’s not unlike the whole Wa concept that becomes its own source of conflict with the show. By season three there’s an idea fed to the three protagonists that they’re “co-dependent”, and it seems so obvious what things are and aren’t that many of those waxing dialogues feel like they’re talking in circles.

        Which is part of the point, as two of our protagonists are really good at over-thinking and performing mental gymnastics in order to protect themselves. This, too, is ultimately addressed by the end.

        However, on my first time viewing there were some dialogues that left me feeling a little lost, and on this third viewing I would rewind and reread the subtitles until I made the connection that they were talking about one topic here, but then swapped topics here without specifying what the topic was. However, I think the waxing philosophical isn’t as important as it seems, and intentionally so, given the protagonist isn’t the only unreliable narrator. Actions speak louder than words, so they say, and often those waxing moments are more valuable in figuring out what lies the character is telling themselves than in understanding how they actually feel.

        Which, the more I write about it, doesn’t sound like it’d be as interesting to others as it is to me. I love a show that I get more out of with each viewing, and the psychological analysis of social dynamics is one my armchair-novice-sociology self loves. So I suppose I can better understand why someone would drop the show, but man, I love it.

        I’ll have to squeeze in time for Bunny Girl Senpai, but I’ve still got Paranoia Agent and Fist of the North Star begging to be let out of their shrink wrap, and the new Ghost in the Shell season just went up on Netflix…

  27. tmtvl says:

    To answer my own question: I am a big fan of the Magick Bows in Dragon’s Dogma. It’s like carrying around an entire fireworks display wherever you go. The Militant Dove, while not the strongest Magick Bow, also looks really great in itself.

    If we’re talking guns, I guess I like a nice bolt-action rifle. While I would give bonus points for having a bayonet, I’m gonna go with the hunting rifle from Fallout: New Vegas.

  28. Luka says:

    Listening to this last podcast was a surreal, but cathartic experience. Heather, Isaac and Paul, thank you for sharing this hour — and yourselves — with the community of the site in this special send-off to the show.

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