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Diecast #172: Mailtime!

By Shamus
on Monday Oct 17, 2016
Filed under:


Direct download (MP3)
Direct download (ogg Vorbis)
Podcast RSS feed.

Hosts: Josh, Rutskarn, Shamus, Campster, Mumbles. Episode edited by Rachel.

As promised last week, we answer listener questions. As always, the show email is in the header image.

Show notes:
0:01:07: Star Trek: The Next Generation: The Commentary Track

Note that I WAY overestimated how much audio / video content we’ve produced. Spoiler Warning channel has 780 videos with an average length of about half an hour, for a total of 390 hours of video. Then there’s about 200 hours of Diecast, assuming an average length of 1.2 hours each. That’s a lot, but where nowhere near the 1,000 hours I guessed during the show.

To reiterate what I said on the show: I’m spread too thin to do more projects. What I really want to do is make more Reset Button videos, but producing one video takes something like 20 hours, and I know I don’t have that many spare hours.

Josh is pitching an idea that might only take me 2 hours to produce. We’d watch an episode of Trek, make a commentary track, and then you could download it and play it along with the show. Josh’s idea has the advantage that it would take me 2 hours to produce 1 hour of content. This is opposed to an article, which might take 6 hours to produce 5 minutes of reading or a Reset Button video, where it would take 20 hours to make 10 minutes worth of content.

Does Trek commentary sound like something you’d enjoy? Something that might be worth sharing? Something that might be worth another trip to the site every day? I’d love you hear your thoughts.

0:08:42: How would Bethesda respond to your show?

Dear Casters of the Die,

Do you think Bethesda would be surprised by your criticisms? Do you imagine them more as people who would say, “I know, I know, but time and money…” or as people who would laugh and say, “If our games suck so much, why are we selling so many copies?” Or something else?


0:15:46: The game the broke you.

Is there a game that “broke you” as a fan, so to speak. Turning you from young optimistic fans into the cynics we know and love.


0:31:56: Dream guest.

Dear Diecast,

If you could get any guest to come on the show, who would it be?

Best regards,

For the record, I was talking about Mr. Btongue, and this is the video where he mentioned me. Mumbles was talking about Ability Drain. Also, don’t miss George’s trip to Japanese arcades. It’s gold. Chris mentioned Lazy Game Reviews, which is stellar.

0:42:28: Videogame websites.

Dear Diecast

Which video game websites do you like? Both for news and entertainment. I know Josh mentions Giant Bomb sometimes, what about the rest of you?

Love, Christopher

Here’s the Oxenfree video we mentioned:

Link (YouTube)

Josh said we don’t know anyone at the Escapist, but the truth is there are still a few people there I have occasional contact with. I also really like columnist Liz Finnegan and John Markley, who runs the stream.

1:01:21: How I met your podcast.

Dear Diecast,

Which mailbag question do you really wish you’d answered at the time but is now embarrassingly out of date or irrelevant?

-Neko ;)

My curiosity is simply how the (regular) five of you all met up and decided to do all these podcasts and let’s plays and the such. Apologies if this was answered in another diecast but I’m working backwards from present time and I’m only at 138. You guys have done alot of stuff, it’s almost overwhelming!

Cheers, Jared.

1:11:58: Game of the century.

Dear Diecast

What’s your favorite game from the last sixteen years? How about your favorite game that’s older than that?

Love, Christopher

Comments (163)

1 2

  1. baseless_research says:

    Err, there’s no audio file here?

  2. Wide And Nerdy® says:

    Positive Mumbles does run a different show that’s for sure. I like it when she goes around showing you all the stuff she thinks is cool.

    Though its funny, listening to her Nuka World episode, she offered a brief vague complaint about the stupidity of the main plot and it felt obligatory. Like I would guess that she wouldn’t bother saying it if she didn’t figure that she’s probably currently getting most of her audience from fans of her on this show.

    • Echo Tango says:

      Her happy fun-time tour of the Nuka World was a nice change of pace. :)

      While she was being nice to Campster though, her tone of voice made me feel like she was being sarcastic. Consciously, I know she was genuinely being nice to Chris, so I figure it must be a regional speech thing. Like, her normal happy voice sounds like the voice I use when I’m sarcastic and/or ecstatic. Which maybe explains why people always think I’m angry when I’m just in a neutral mood. :)

    • Zak McKracken says:

      I like how positive Mumbles tries to intimidate Campster into being less reticent…

      More seriously: Yay for positivity! But you sound really weird trying to circumnavigate the swears … You’re prolly not doing this for the benefit of the Twentysided audience, but the part of that audience represented by me* sees no reason why you wouldn’t just keep happily cursing along. Or at least please don’t say “friggin” because that’s just shorthand for “fucking, but I’m not allowed to actually say it”, which in turn is a very very non-Mumbles thing to say because if Mumbles* wants to fucking punch a guy in the face, she’ll fucking punch a guy in the face, and she won’t apologize, and if she wants to be nice, she’ll be nice, but she won’t do half a punching followed by half an apology.

      *that’s only myself, unfortunately
      ** that’s Mumbles the persona**, not the actual person because I don’t know you IRL. IRL, I actually think people need to apologize way more and take more care around each other but seriously, who cares about cussing?
      *** actually, that’s really just my idea of Mumbles’ persona.

  3. Wide And Nerdy® says:

    I feel like Loghain should die at the end of Dragon Age Origins sacrificing himself for Ferelden. Like the story is that Loghain rose to fame as a heroic warrior, but power changed him, but he finds himself again by resuming that heroic role and atones for his crimes.

    I suppose that story still works if he lives to die in Dragon Age Inquisition, but then the Hero of Ferelden or Alistair might have to die because I have to spite Morrigan.

    • IFS says:

      I’ve considered doing this, but since I prefer the City Elf origin I always wind up executing him since he sold elves into slavery (and refuses to apologize or admit wrongdoing if you confront him about it after recruiting him).

      • Wide And Nerdy® says:

        Oh good point.

        I played my City Elf that way but mainly because I was playing her as psychotic and anti-human. Because DAO has a lot of entertaining options for that. I really enjoyed, for example, meeting the King and in the middle of our pleasant conversation, she straight can straight up tell him that she killed a baron’s son for what he was trying to do to her and others, in much plainer terms than I’m using.

        • Thomas says:

          One of the real successes of DAO is that quite often it provides you with dialogue options that lets yourcharacter say the things you would want them to say but don’t expect to be allowed to.

  4. baseless_research says:

    I feel like the sync sound would have to be a short tone or beep rather than a voice – “now” takes about a second to say which can give that amount of de-syncing.

  5. Rack says:

    I’m not interested in Trek but more to the point the thing I like about text articles is they don’t take long to read. I don’t feel like I’m getting better “value” by having to listen to something for a 4 hours rather than read it for 5 minutes.

    • Tizzy says:

      This was precisely my first thought when I read the post. (Haven’t listened to the podcast because of the whole OGG thing. )

      I mean, we managed to stop evaluating games based on the number of hours of playing time. It’s fair enough to apply this to everything else. Especially at a time when there is so much out there.

      But like you, I have no interest in Trek, so my remark is meant in general. Let the interested audience decide what form this particular project should take.

    • Andy_Panthro says:

      I much prefer text too, especially since I don’t generally watch stuff with commentary. I don’t really see the point, since I’ve got far too much stuff to actually watch for the first time rather than watch something yet again.

      As for TNG, there’s a very good series on Den of Geek that you might be interested in (text-based revisits, hopefully he’ll continue with DS9 when he’s done), here’s the most recent: http://www.denofgeek.com/uk/tv/star-trek/44482/revisiting-star-trek-tng-the-minds-eye

  6. Adrian Leonhard says:

    The TNG commentary idea doesn’t really enthuse me. I don’t see myself going through the hassle of sourcing the episodes (which I don’t necessarily want to rewatch) and syncing them up to the audio track. I assume you wouldn’t be speaking constantly so listening to only the commentary as a podcast would result in a lot of dead air. Maybe changing the format so that you watch it first and then discuss it in a podcast would be more interesting?

    There’s already lot’s of great TNG content online (I have watched way too much sfdebris), personally, I’d much rather see Reset Buttons (even if they are much rarer) or other articles from you.

    Of course, that’s just me, maybe others feel differently!

    • Wide And Nerdy® says:

      I’d be up for watching one just to see how it goes. I’ve never thought to myself “Man, I wish these guys would do Star Trek” even though I like this show and I like Star Trek. But I’d be curious to see you do it once.

      –Stops Typing–

      Mumbles, this is unsettling.

    • Tizzy says:

      I’ve been enjoying Jim Sterling and Conrad Zimmerman’s Spinoff Doctors. Podcast covering various movies. You don’t need to sync up with the movie, nor, apparently, to have ever seen the movie in order to enjoy the podcast. They were surprised to learn from polling the listeners that many of them don’t watch the movies, but I’m not surprised. I’d like to watch them all, but there is simply not enough time.

      • Baron Tanks says:

        I love that Podcast, especially when commuting. I never even bothered to watch a movie they’re talking about, meaning I’ve seen very few of the movies they discuss (I think only Wreck-it Ralph and Tomb Raider). But for me the show is way more about the shenanigans and pointing out silly bits (God, I miss the 20th Century Fox horn Jim used to do for his movie facts).

        It’s great sarcastic and satirical content. Way better than their actual satire podcast, FistShark Marketing, which I tried to get into two or three times but it just makes me cringe… And I do think that when they’re not trying too hard both are funny guys.

    • Zak McKracken says:

      Not enough of a Trek fan to listen to commentary … positively disposed towards the series (although I did not like it much at the time) but to get the ocmmentary, I’d have to watch the episodes themselves first, and … no, I can’t put in that amount of time. Skipping most of spoiler warning, too, for the same reason. It takes too much time. I listen to the Diecast while traveling, and I’ll read most text content in between breaks and whenever I have 5 minutes to fill or an hour to spend on an evening, but I’d have to pass on TNG.

      … I would indeed love to see some reset button videos. Perversely, the more time you put in, the less time I have to invest, and that makes the content more likely to get me to watch it. I think it also increases the “goodness density” … the amount of interesting stuff per minute. But of course, I can’t demand you spend that much time, so I’ll happily continue reading and listening, but not watching much.

      Hmm… maybe a highlight reel of Spoiler warning? Of course, that would take some time to cut together, and it might not work very well… but if it did, I’d probably watch that.

  7. Da Mage says:

    I reckon I’d enjoy a star-trek rewatch/commentary track, though I would suggest that you ‘skip’ any episodes that just aren’t any good.

    To put it in perspective, last year LoadingReadyRun did a Magnum PI podcast series where they would watch an episode then record talking about it afterwards. Now I’m not a Magnum fan and I enjoyed that immensely due to the personalities talking about it rather than just the content.

    • Joe Informatico says:

      In other words, skip all of season 1 and 2/3rds of season 2 and just briefly explain what happened in those episodes if they become relevant later.

    • Alex says:

      Seconded (or thirded, or fourthed, depending on how many others have already said this)

    • Echo Tango says:

      Maybe just do random and/or really good episodes of Star Trek? Then they can focus it, without having to spend a tonne of energy/time on the entirety of Star Trek. :)

    • BigTiki says:

      Recording a ‘thoughts on’ after viewing might work better. A podcaster/game designer I listened to a lot tried examining genre TV shows with John Wick (not the movie character, the game designer) for nuggets of good stuff… The cast was supposed to be synced with a DVD playback, and the sync didn’t quite work out… then the commentators felt rushed when they wanted to discuss a scene or idea, and had to fill dead air when less interesting things were on screen.


      Somewhere on his site he did a post-mortem…

  8. Alex says:

    I don’t think ST: TNG is on Netflix in my country (TOS is, but only recently), so I guess what I’m saying is, the idea is good but your international audience will have no way to enjoy it.

    • Echo Tango says:

      It appears to be available for me up here in Canada so I’ll at least be able to listen to the commentary. :)

      • Thomas says:

        Oh wow, the UK Netflix has TOS, TNG, DS9, Voyager, Enterprise and even the Animated Series. Was not expecting that. (Also, the original marketing materials look scarily dated).

        They also have First Contact, Insurrection, Generations and Into Darkness… those don’t sound like the good films.

  9. silver Harloe says:

    I was asking how they’d respond to your criticism – so it’s a hypothetical situation where you have the creative leads in the room and you’re able to compel answers from them.

    And I didn’t mean to limit the answer by the two suggestions given – the “or something else?” was meant to cover everything else, including especially Chris’ answer of “they probably think they made the game they set out to make” – which is probably the right answer, but I still wonder if they realize that the game they intended to make is highly disappointing because “player empowerment” is at odds with “story has meaningful consequences” :(

    • Ciennas says:

      Honestly? I think the core problem is what got Shyamalan.

      A story can have a twist, but if you push too hard, it twists off. Like a pottery sculpture.

      Now in this case, a lot of the cheats and problems arise from having Shaun be head of the Institute. A large number of plot holes stem from that one decision.

      I wonder now if it was a panic move. Somebody pointed out a minor plot hole, say, the broken mask incident happening sixty years early, and then they overcompensated way the opposite way.

      Of course, they should have just made all that crap happen in the last five years or so.

      • GloatingSwine says:

        Twists are a tricky thing.

        A good plot twist makes sense immediately when you learn it, and changes the context of things you have already seen. You could have seen it coming and maybe you did, but if you didn’t you wonder why you didn’t.

        A bad plot twist is just some wacky bollocks that comes out of nowhere to say “Bet you didn’t see this coming!”

        • Poncho says:

          I still hold that KotOR has one of the best executed plot twists in gaming.

          Everyone references the twist throughout the game, but within context of a videogame, nothing seems wrong or off. You become a super powerful Jedi really fast, you’re at the center of every major conflict, and all the paths seem to lead to the main villain. It seems normal at first because this is a videogame and you are the player character. Then the twist happens and you realize that everything wasn’t actually making sense, and now it does. It retroactively fixes potential story problems.

          Bad twists seem to do the opposite; they sort of ruin the story retroactively and fall apart under scrutiny.

    • Aaron says:

      I still wonder if they realize that the game they intended to make is highly disappointing because “player empowerment” is at odds with “story has meaningful consequences” :(

      I think Bethesda just cares more about player empowerment. Player empowered creative spaces as Campster described it. And I don’t begrudge them for that, at least for Elder Scrolls.

      Compare to The Witcher 3. You can make the case that the story’s better, but you’re stuck being a grouchy sword guy forever. No option to be a mace-swinging dinosaur that can shoot lightning bolts. People have brought up the Gothic games to compare to the Elder Scrolls, but you can’t even choose to play as a woman in those. I can even bring up the Saints Row games; would you want the player character customization taken out of those?

      And the player empowerment is not just Bethesda’s vision but also probably the main source of the appeal. It’s at least the source of my appeal for them (again, mace-swinging dinosaur that can shoot lightning bolts). Think about all the cosmetic mods that get made for them.

      You can question whether this philosophy is appropriate for Fallout specifically, but in general I assume this is what Bethesda is going for and what their audience wants.

      • silver Harloe says:

        They don’t even really respect your player empowerment.

        You can be a mace-swinging dinosaur who can’t question Shaun about the stupidity of his choices, or even just respond with a dinosauric roarrrr and start eating everyone, but has to be stupid when he meets his son :(

        You can play Skyrim as a virtuous paladin except when you enter Rifton, where I can tell by the way you look that you don’t make your money honestly.

        Your only empowerment is that no choice you make will cut you off from any content. You can’t play a mace-wielding dinosaur, you can just look kinda like one.

        • Ciennas says:

          Yeah. If they really respected player empowerment, magic users would have an equal amount of fun compared to metal stick swingers in Skyrim without mods.

          Instead of the system they used, they just had to change the constellations of magic to have a similar power up system as the first mark.

          Optionally some cool finisher animations would have been welcome.

          Also, on a more simple front, if they really had cared about player empowerment, they wouldn’t have spent two or three games straight mocking us about how little we could effectively change, even if one of those titles saw us as a reality breaking engine of destruction and change.

          Maven Blackbriar and Princess being perfect examples.

          On top of, they really hate genre savvy or smart players jumping the gun. Compare the first Joe Cobb encounter in the Saloon versus Macready’s encounter with those two gunner goons. (Or Skyrim’s College quest villain.)

          One of them rewards or otherwise acknowledges that you just shot a dude, the other breaks if you try to save everyone some trouble. Or hell, make things worse.

          I’ll stop here… but yeah. TL:DR- they are getting really bad about trying to enforce a more strict and linear story instead of accounting for player will.

          Hopefully next game will see them stepping back to something closer to Morrowind or New Vegas in terms of player choice- they certainly give themselves more time and money budget than they gave Obsidian.

  10. Grudgeal says:

    Invisible War seems to have had that effect on several people. It’s one of the first games that made me respond that way as well.

    • silver Harloe says:

      Between DX2 and Thief3, I took like 10-15 years almost entirely off of games entirely. They burned me so hard. I gave Bioshock a shot, and it just reinforced my opinion that the kind of immersive sim gaming I liked died in ’00 or so. Dishonored was the first game that properly scratched my itch this century. Tomb Raider was close, too.

      • baseless_research says:

        Disagree, Deadly Shadows was a pretty decent thief game with good (not great) writing. The tiny level restrictions are problematic but they did a good job working around them.

        Sure Metal age and Dark Project are better but T3:DS is a good game on its own.

        • Raygereio says:

          The Internet has had 12 years to firmly place DX:Invisible War & Thief:Deadly Shadow into the “worst games evar!” category. To the point where even people who have never played the games will blindly quote them as being bad. Because nuance is a dirty word around these parts.
          The reality is that both games aren’t that bad. I wouldn’t install them today in 2016 because I have other, better games to play. But I had some fun with them back in 2005, when I picked them up.
          The real problem was Deus Ex & Thief 1 & 2 were pretty good games and already had something like a cult following. People were hyped for the sequels and when Invisible War & Deadly Shadow didn’t live up to any of their imaginations… Well, hell hath no fury like a nerd scorned.
          If they were both standalone games without the bagage of being part of a series, they would have been received as average games that could have used more development time. And no one would remember them today.

          Here’s some fun videogame development trivia:
          One the mayor complaints people had with DX:IW & T:DS were the rather tiny areas and lots of performance & stability issues. Generally you’ll find people blaming the consoles for that, and occasionally someone wondering how that could have happened when both games ran on the Unreal Engine 2 (which was not a bad little engine).
          What happened was that they decided to completely overhaul the graphics engine. That work was being done by one dude. Said dude left Ion Storm before he was finished, and left no documentation, etc. So no one could easily pick up the work. Which left the rest of the DX:IW & T:DS teams to frantically readjust their scope and level design around a barely functioning hackjob that was put on top of the Unreal Engine 2.
          I suspect that if that guy stayed on and finished his work, or if the development team had more time to deal with the mess he left behind, Invisible Wars and Deadly Shadow could very well have been better games.

        • silver Harloe says:

          I may or may not have the same opinion of Thief3 now, but I was describing how I felt when I first played it, and how it was the straw that broke my back and turned me off for so long. Maybe I shouldn’t have been turned off, but I was at the time. I was expecting “more Thief 2” and got what I felt like was a lump of coal in my stocking instead. It was years before I cared about gaming again.

  11. Daemian Lucifer says:

    So from that intro I gather that Josh’s answer to that last question is Star Trek 2013.Right?

  12. Daemian Lucifer says:

    If you want to do trek,definitely do the original series.Bad kirk is 1000 times more fun than bad picard.

  13. Daemian Lucifer says:

    So Mumbles is female robin from the dark knight returns?

  14. Aaron says:

    It’s true that games criticism gets toxic, making it hard for a company to tell who to listen to. On the one hand there’s Spoiler Warning current playthrough of Fallout 4. On the other hand there’s Metacritic reviews calling Fallout 4 vomit trash.

    • Daemian Lucifer says:

      While I like plenty of Jim Sterling stuff,him making fun of some negative comments he found does not mean they are incorrect.Heck,most telling is this:

      Toddler brings up COD as well. Yes, Fallout 4 is exactly like Call of Duty. That's scientific fact.

      Which doesnt come even near the comment it was written in response to:

      Plays more like CoD than First Person RPG.

      Also,the word “toxic” has almost lost its meaning,being used for any negative comment.Toxic means non-ironic bigotry and death threats,not saying that a game is “0/10 because its closer to call of duty than an rpg”.Its the difference between attacking the work and the person behind the work.First one is acceptable,even if it can go into gross hyperbole,the second one is where it gets toxic.

      • Ninety-Three says:

        Toxic means non-ironic bigotry and death threats

        Your definition is far too narrow. Most MOBA communities are seething pits of unfounded hostility, and a place where first blood results in people saying “noob annie feeding, quit the game” is clearly toxic, whether or not they throw in a racial slur.

        • Daemian Lucifer says:

          That example youve mentioned is a clear case of bigotry.Bigotry is a broad term that does not mean only racism or pejoratives.

          • Ninety-Three says:

            Bigotry against what group, players that die while playing MOBAs?

            • Daemian Lucifer says:

              Lots of people.People new to the game,casual players,basically everyone who doesnt spend every waking moment of their lives grinding only this game.

              • Ninety-Three says:

                Clearly you’ve never played League, ragers will insult everyone up to and including the team members who perform measurably better than them.

              • Aaron says:

                Well if we’re including general insults then the Fallout 4 reviews Sterling pulled included the phrase “Bethesda caters to the lowest common denominator among the gamers ““ action Call of Duty crowd, to whom reading more than a single paragraph is an affront”.

                I’m also reminded of the No Man’s Sky debacle, where for every piece of legitimate criticism there’s ten “Sean lies!” rants.

                • Daemian Lucifer says:

                  Sure,there are a few of those.But most of the comment he used there were fine.Bitter and emotional,but not toxic.

                  And yes,clusterfucks like no mans sky exist.Heck,Ive read similar comments way back when for good games.But those were always the minority.Most people are sane,and even when they passionately hate a piece of work and say bad stuff about it,dont really want harm to come to the makers of said work.To say “we must never say bad things about video games because some assholes harass the developers” is silly.Admonish the bad people,but continue with your honest feelings.You will not tip the scales the other way by digging for nice things to say about stuff you dislike,nor by blurring the line between passionate sane people and the crazies.

  15. Raunomies says:

    Burnout Paradise, oh man. I got the same situation with Test Drive Unlimited. There is just something with open world driving games.

  16. Redingold says:

    I went and added up the times for all the Spoiler Warning episodes, to see how accurate that estimate was. I got about 340 hours. Your episodes are closer to 20 minutes long on average, but the livestreams and extra long specials almost make up for the lost time.

    Also, the Spoiler Warning page really needs updating, particularly the Special Episodes section. There’s lots of videos missing, even some of the older ones like A Sex Machine For Pig Butts.

  17. Ninety-Three says:

    Shamus, if you want to measure interest in a Star Trek commentary, rather than doing the “Weigh in in the comments” thing which generates data that’s very hard to measure, you should put up a poll (probably as a separate article, titled to the effect of “I’m thinking of doing a new project, would you like this?”). It’s still not perfect, as you’re sampling only from the audience engaged enough to click on an article and actually vote in a poll, but that’s a lot better than relying on comments section feedback.

  18. MichaelGC says:

    Definitely like the Star Trek idea! Particularly since it would mean Josh getting involved.

  19. Daemian Lucifer says:

    “Theyll probably do better next time”


  20. Daemian Lucifer says:

    Chris,have you seen Ross’s game dungeon on deus exes?He has some pretty interesting thoughts about the differences between invisible war and human revolution.

  21. Daemian Lucifer says:

    Nice Mumbles is kind of creepy.I dont know if its because halloween is so near.

  22. Baron Tanks says:

    To just add my voice, I would have no interest in the Star Trek commentary. Loved it growing up, but have no interest in revisiting it. Especially not in a format where the runtime is as long as an entire episode. It’s too much of a slog. But I can see how in a condensed form it’s not worth doing. So basically, I’d say give it a miss. But who knows, maybe other people care :)

  23. Steve C says:

    I’m afraid the Star Trek syncing won’t work nearly as well as you hope. Shows like that have been re-edited over the years. There’s a ton of different versions, all with slightly different run times. You’ll never know the source for what a given person is watching. This link explains what I’m talking about.

    BTW- I would personally pass on it. I like Star Trek. I’m just not a fan of reruns.

  24. John says:

    Much as I like Star Trek, I probably would not listen to the commentary track because I don’t have a suitably cheap and convenient way to watch the show (or shows, or whatever). The DVDs are hideously, monstrously expensive and I cancelled my Netflix subscription years ago.

    For a whole host of reasons, I’d really rather read more articles. The Final Fantasy X series, for example, has been fascinating, even though I’ve never played a Final Fantasy game from the main series. (SRPG, yes; RTS, yes; RPG, no.)

  25. krellen says:

    The game that broke me was Mass Effect 2. I really, really, really loved Mass Effect. I thought it was great, and couldn’t wait for more. I preordered Mass Effect 2 – I was that eager to get more of that game and more of that universe. It was the first game I ever preordered.

    And then I got Mass Effect 2. I got Shepard dying in the first five minutes, and the series lost me right there. I kept playing anyway, because I paid $60 for this shit, but then I got “thermal clips”, I got an almost complete lack of skill trees, I got a dialogue wheel and “better shooting mechanics” (I hate shooters).

    It broke me – I now know AAA gaming isn’t for me, and that “gamer” has been stolen from me by people that do like this kind of shit. I can’t even use “gamer” the way I used to – as someone that plays D&D and other tabletop roleplaying games, because the label will forevermore be associated with Mass Effect 2, Call of Duty, and a plethora of other video games I cannot stand.

    Mass Effect 2 will be the only game I ever preorder, and I will forever regret doing so.

    • Henson says:

      Thermal clips set off all the alarm bells in my head when I first played ME2. And they appeared in the first fifteen minutes. Not a good sign.

      • Ciennas says:

        Having abstained Mass Effect, would it have gone better to explain them as an upgrade just to keep up with advances in armor?

        Like, you keep all your ME1 gear, but it needs upgraded or replaced with newer gear to keep up with the new stuff?

        • Ciennas says:

          To clarify: Call it a turbocharger, and it has so many charges before it needs to be swapped? And then if you’re out, the gun can still fire in ME1 mode, but with appropriately reduced damage against modern armored units?

        • Daemian Lucifer says:

          The main problem isnt in how they are explained,but in how they play.Going from a cooldown infinite ammo to classic reloading changes the gunplay significantly.Some people liked the change,some didnt.

          Personally,I didnt like the change,but I tolerated it because the change in powers felt like an improvement to me.

          • Alex says:

            AFAIR Shamus made two points about that in his magnum opus.

            First, infinite ammo with cooldown is explained by the Mass Effect. Explaining a change of mechanics might not matter in most scenarios, but when you name your game after the thing, then it does matter. Maybe they should have called the sequel “Heatsink”. [Also the new explaination makes no sense, but this is almost a given at this point.]

            Second, as a gameplay mechanic it is implemented incredibly gamey. You cannot save ammo. You cannot plan ahead. There is no (statstical) pattern how enemies drop ammo (which would be there in reality). Instead, the game will wait until you have depleted your ammo and then drop a large amount of it in an endless cycle. Admittedly this does create tension, which I assume was the idea. But it does so in an unfun way IMO. And there is no possible in-universe explaination for this.

            • Ciennas says:

              Again, I suggested Not calling them Heatsinks. Call them some kind of ad hoc recently adopted upgrade and it would have smoothed over the difference. Maybe justify them as adding additional punch to the ME field to get over some kind of really neato upgrade to more modern inertics.

              Honestly, calling them heatsinks and ignoring the world building except via lip service is just what ME2 and ME3 were, right? They actively despised the ‘not an action movie’ vibe because someone sacrificed big idea for mass appeal. And it paid off- they got their bigger sales numbers and ‘mainstream’ appeal., at the cost of coherence and actively hating what came before.

              Sure, they could have called Mass Effect 2 and 3 ‘Unrelated Space Shoot Mans adventure show!’, but then the producer doesn’t care. He wasn’t thinking long term. He was thinking very very short term.

              In effect, it feels like the…. Die Hard franchise? Every movie after the first was originally some other movie that they crowbarred John McClane into.

              Also: Implementation =/= writing though. Certainly that does sound frustrating and dumb, but that’s just a bad gameplay decision that helps highlight the bad hatchet writing job.

              • Ninety-Three says:

                They actively despised the “˜not an action movie' vibe because someone sacrificed big idea for mass appeal. And it paid off- they got their bigger sales numbers and “˜mainstream' appeal.

                Actually, they didn’t gain anything. ME2 sold more copies than ME1, but that’s because 1 was only available on PC and Xbox, while 2 came to the Playstation. If you look at the game’s sales on a per-console basis, you’ll see that the Xbox and PS sales were constant throughout the series (PC sales fluctuate a bit, but they’re tiny compared to console sales, and sales actually went down with ME2).

                • Ciennas says:

                  So they broke the whole setting and made their fanbase mad enough to actually sue them, waste millions hastily trying to stitch on a new ending….. and they didn’t have a viable motive?

                  Golly, I’m really glad I didn’t get invested.

                  Hey question: if the last two sucked sooo soo bad, why din’t we just declare them non canon and try again later?

                  • Ninety-Three says:

                    Everything about their handling of the ME3 ending controversy makes it seem like they don’t want to admit they made a bad story. Without insider knowledge, it’s impossible to tell if that direction came from management, or bubbled up from a stubborn story team that loved their creation.

                    Andromeda isn’t explicitly making the previous games non-canon, but it might well be. It’s set in an entirely new galaxy, where none of the previous game’s characters or plot events will carry over. It’s a complete narrative reset, and largely a reset of the worldbuilding as well. It’s not clear if this is an attempt at a soft-reboot of a disastrous story, or simply their way of dealing with ending on the kind of world-altering player choice that you can’t just sweep under the rug the way they ignored decisions in previous games (keep/destroy Collector base, save/kill the Council, etc).

              • Daemian Lucifer says:

                Call them some kind of ad hoc recently adopted upgrade and it would have smoothed over the difference. Maybe justify them as adding additional punch to the ME field to get over some kind of really neato upgrade to more modern inertics.

                Thats exactly how they tried justifying heatsinks in the game.

                • Ninety-Three says:

                  Actually, they went the complete opposite route. The game claims that thermal clips increase not the weapon’s damage potential, but its fire rate, despite the obvious fact that finite ammo and reload times mean you’re shooting less bullets than ME1-style guns.

                  It was discovered that, in an age of kinetic barriers, most firefights were won by the side who could put the most rounds downrange the fastest. As such, detachable heat sinks, known as thermal clips, were adopted first by the geth, and shortly thereafter by organic arms manufacturers.

                  I have no idea what they were thinking.

          • Henson says:

            No, I disagree, the problem is (also?) very much in how they are explained.

            “This pistol doesn’t have a thermal clip”, Shepard says less than a minute after waking up from his two-year coma. Not only do I not know what a thermal clip is, I don’t understand how Shepard would know, either. This instantly takes me out of the story, which was the warning sign.

            • Ciennas says:

              Oh. Well again, I never played them. My knowledge is purely second hand. But that, that right there? Referencing something out of the blue that the player never saw before, acknowledging a major change via…. a bare bulb? Oh man, definitely a red flag. I agree.

              I wonder if the problem comes from having basically hurled the original vision and director into oblivion, and hiring somebody else to come and ‘punch it up’.

              Honestly, it reminds me of Hollywood until very very recently. Where they actively were afraid of the audience fleeing because of something unfamiliar. It’s why the Matrix Original went from plausible ‘The Machines keep us around to augment their CPU cycles!’ To openly mocked on the day of release ‘The Machines keep us around as a fuel source, in contravention of physics!’

              Too bad about Mass Effect. Honestly, it sounds like video games now are imitating action films thirty-twenty years ago- full of flash and little substance.

              • Ninety-Three says:

                I can’t remember the exact source on this, but it came from Bioware. The move to thermal clips was driven by gameplay, obviously, but there was a faction of the dev team that pushed for guns to cool down naturally in addition to clips, because that makes sense with how the first game worked, and also, you know, physics. They ultimately got overruled because gameplay is king.

                The in-universe justification for them was awful. Supposedly, in the 18 months between ME1 and 2, someone invented thermal clips which (paraphrasing) “allowed guns to put more rounds down-range” and the superior technology completely replaced old-style guns. Putting aside the plausibility, that is blatantly false! ME1 guns had infinite ammo, and could be modded to never overheat. You could shoot them literally forever! All the game had to say was “Thermal clips let our guns shoot harder” and it would be supported by the gameplay (1’s guns tended towards full-auto peashooters), but instead they went with some clearly false nonsense about getting off more shots.

    • Thomas says:

      Mass Effect 2 also broke me in that I really wanted to say my dialogue and the dialogue wheel would never let me and eventually it made me give up on the whole game and idea of those games in frustration.

      But then Mass Effect 3 unbroke me because the dialogue wheel was so broken you it couldn’t even pretend that it was giving you the opportunity for expression and you had to just top-right or bottom-right and experience what they gave you. So I learnt that I can just enjoy games for what they are if I want to, and have fun without needing them to be what I want them to be.

      I also learnt that I’m really contrarian.

    • Grudgeal says:

      I liked Mass Effect 1. I liked it so much and I felt slightly guilty for having bought it at a 75% off Steam sale after having played much of it for free at a friend’s. It felt slightly like I was paying for the game after playing it, although I re-played the Steam version with a new character and that made me feel slightly better.

      So when Mass Effect 2 was announced, hey, here was a true chance to put my money where my mouth was, to ‘atone’ slightly and re-pay Bioware for the great work on the first game. So I pre-ordered the collector’s edition.

      Never again. The game didn’t ‘break’ me that much, because I was already done in by IW, but I got a really unpleasant reminder of how that felt, going from a brilliant new world to a linear set of corridors shooting dudes over and over again. I wish I could say I never pre-ordered after that, but I’d be lying (Shogun 2: Total War, Human Revolutions and Stellaris to be precise). But I did learn never to trust EAware again.

  26. Lee says:

    It seems that the comment consensus is that the Star Trek TNG commentary isn’t a good idea. That disappoints me. I’d love to see it done.

    Unfortunately, I can’t say that I’d be a decent audience for it, though. I’d love to watch through TNG (I watched all of the first few seasons, then stopped having time for it around when it got good.), but I don’t have the time for it these days. If you did one a week, I’d probably only watch one in 5. If you did one episode a month, I might actually watch all of them.

    • Christopher says:

      I don’t care about Star Trek, but it would be probably be nice to hear Shamus gush about something he likes for a while and Josh talking about all the fun facts. You know, you guys haven’t done this kind of commentary before, at least that I know of. I wanna know what it looks like.

  27. Start says:

    I would love some Star Trek commentary!

  28. Phantos says:

    “The game that broke you”

    I think I’ve mentioned this here before, but of all the games I’ve played that tried to “break” me, “The Walking Dead Game: Season 2” is the only one that succeeded. Nothing else comes close. I’m not even totally sure if I’ve recovered from it. It’s the only one that made me hate video games as a concept. Not even G****G*** managed to do that.

    It’s not a matter of it simply failing on a mechanical level the way the first season did. It’s that this is the first AAA, big-budget video game I would classify as morally-evil. It’s a game that BELIEVES in cruelty. Worships it. Every attempt to show even the slightest amount of compassion is treated as the WRONG choice. Some games reward being a psychopath for a cheap laugh. This one actively punishes you if you’re not.

    Last year, I beat Sonic ’06. The Sonic game that’s a toilet fire even by the standards of a Sonic game. That did not wound me like this. Sega at their worst was less violent toward their audience as Telltale Games are. The most insufferable moment of playing as stupid Silver the Hedgehog at least does not despise human decency.

    I actually wonder if it was written by serial killers, because it feels like that’s the one that killed me.

    • Ciennas says:

      Yeah. That’s what wrecked the Pitt for me. And the actual TV show as well.

      Buncha assholes with no redeeming qualities eventually. Because every time they chose good the universe punished them hard.

      Ruins it for me.

  29. Henson says:

    I totally mis-interpreted the phrase ‘sweary Mumbles’ as ‘SWERY Mumbles’. And now I’m kinda terrified.

  30. Kelerak says:

    So, the game that broke me and made me super cynical about video games? Kingdom Hearts Re: Chain of Memories.

    When I was younger, I was a huge Kingdom Hearts fan, much like a majority of people that age. I played through 1 and 2 and loved them, played 358/2 Days and liked that well enough, and then I heard that Re: Chain of Memories was getting localized and I was super excited. I got it for Christmas the year it came out, played it, and was disappointed like no other. The card-based gameplay was very unintuitive and worked against the hack-and-slash nature of Kingdom Hearts games, the plot was contrived and stupid, as well as reusing Kingdom Hearts 1’s plot and replacing “heart” with “memories”. On top of that, it made me realize how stupid the entirety of Kingdom Hearts actually is.

    I don’t think it’s the worst game I’ve ever played, not by a long shot, but it still sticks with me as a sore spot. I view Kingdom Hearts similarly to how Shamus views Mass Effect, where the first game worked really well and had a ton of potential, but squanders it in future installments.

    • Retsam says:

      I had basically the opposite impression of Chain of Memories: I had previous experience with handheld ports of 3D action games, and I was expecting this entirely forgettable side-game that did nothing but rehash the plot (that was already a rehash of Disney movies in some places), but the fact that it actually significantly moved the plot forward and had a lot of memorable unique characters of its own was a lot more than I was expecting.

      And I think the card-system was a pretty good way of dealing with the limitations of the platform: combat as a deck-building game is a pretty interesting idea, in it’s own right, and I thought their implementation of it was pretty decent.

      Though I ended up playing that game on sort of a hardware-imposed challenge mode: my gameboy’s shoulder buttons didn’t work, so I had to play the entire game only ever playing the cards in my deck in order, which was troublesome at times.

      If KH’s story just isn’t for you, that’s fine: the story has always been pretty ridiculous (whether in a good way or a bad way depends from person to person); but I don’t think any part of that is Chain of Memories’ fault.

      • Kelerak says:

        Chain of Memories was really more of a wake-up call than anything, to be honest. It didn’t really have the needlessly complex plot that any of the games after 2 did, more straddling the line between 1 and 2 in terms of dumb plot (fitting, since CoM was built as a setup/filler for 2). I still kinda liked Kingdom Hearts after playing CoM, but it did play a crucial part in being cynical and critical about games.

        Now, as for when I gave up on Kingdom Hearts proper, I attribute that to having played Dream Drop Distance.

    • Warstrike says:

      The order that I played them was 1, CoM, 2. You need to remember that CoM was designed for the Game Boy Advance. I played it on the GBA. No way that thing could have handled the 3d and play style on even 1. They needed to make a game that the system could handle, and the card thing is what they came up with.

      Secondly, CoM was made between 1 and 2. The story, while wonky, set up all the major conflicts in 2 pretty well. Playing it after playing 358/2 might make it seem like a hackjob, but if they were played in order as they came out, the story mostly held together. 358/2 actually had to be spliced into the story later.

      I haven’t played CoM remastered. I expect it would be very jarring in your case, since every other system Kingdom Hearts was released on had plenty of power to handle the “traditional” mechanics.

  31. silver Harloe says:

    I’m kinda burned out on TNG analysis. Between talking about it with all my friends immediately after each episode in college and http://www.sfdebris.com and all the discussions in the years in between, I feel like I’ve put way too much thought time into it already.

  32. Here’s the problem parameters:

    1. There’s a ton of TNG criticism/analysis available already.
    2. Mumbles wants to do the original series.
    3. Shamus has little to no time.

    Solution: The Spoiler Warning cast should do commentaries for the Star Trek animated series. It’s got the original series cast, few people have made a widely-known series talking about it, and they’re half-hour episodes, making the recording sessions nice and short.

    Make it so.

  33. Ninety-Three says:

    The game that broke me was Witcher 3. I played through the entirety of Witcher 1 (even if it go to be a bit of a slog by the end), I’m a huge fan of CRPGs, and I love what few games prioritize a good story.

    What killed me is that I played Witcher 3 in December of 2015, by which point it was the consensus Game Of The Year, and I hated literally everything about it. I didn’t just hate it, I couldn’t begin to understand why anyone liked it. It was as though Michael Bay’s Transformers 2 had garnered universal critical aclaim. For me, 2015 was the year of Ninety-Three Hates Popular Character-Focused Games, and Witcher 3 was the capstone on that trend. It forced me to rethink the very idea that I liked writing and story in videogames, because damn did I hate this game which was supposedly doing those things well.

    I eventually concluded that while I have liked past games for their writing, I despise certain hard-to-quantify trends in most modern “good” game writing, the same way I despise certain trends in cover shooters, or the modern open-world game. Witcher 3 made me think of story games as a genre that’s just not for me any more.

  34. Re: The Mass Effect 3 leaked script.

    Holy garbonzos, that like an even bigger rip-off of Alastair Reynolds’ “Revelation Space” series than it turned out to be:

    In the series of novels, there was a “Dawn War” millions of years ago among the first races, and the outcome was a once-organic, now-machine intelligence that dedicated itself to destroying species that gained a certain tech level. Their technological level was such that they had a computer that basically existed in the future, and it was telling them that if this “Inhibitor” race didn’t put down every race that started traveling near the speed of light and mucking about with nanotech, then the Milky Way wouldn’t be ready to endure the eventual collision with the Andromeda galaxy and the wars that would result. So the goal of the story is for humanity to survive these Inhibitor machines and possibly somehow prepare the galaxy for the war that would come in the far, far future.

    • Benjamin Hilton says:

      EHHH, other than the techno organic race (which happens everywhere in scifi) doing it because the feel it NEEDS to happen, its not really similar at all.

      • In this case, it’s not a feeling it needs to happen. It’s foreknowledge of future events. In the ones it has access to, if other races are allowed to rise and compete, the Milky Way won’t be ready for the collision with Andromeda and the subsequent war with the species thereof.

        The concept for Revelation Space came from the Fermi Paradox of if life is so common, why haven’t we found any or been contacted by other worlds? One of the possibilities (as explored in Revelation Space) is the propagation of self-replicating von Neumann machines. The Inhibitors weren’t mindless Borg drones, either. They absorbed data from their victims (who didn’t survive the process), catalogued what they gleaned, and, if necessary, used it to kill more of the target race. They then often manipulated stars to scorch the planets that had spawned the latest “menace” to the future they wanted to secure.

        • Benjamin Hilton says:

          Right but the reapers don’t have any foreknowledge. They know what mass effect tech does to entropy because it is scientifically measurable, not because someone from the future told them.

  35. Jokerman says:

    I wonder whether the “Dear Diecast” was added in by you guys, or the listener… now i know, forgot to sign my question :P


  36. Jonathan says:

    Fewer videos & audio.

    More D&D!

  37. “Does Trek commentary sound like something you'd enjoy? Something that might be worth sharing?”

    Assuming I can get the DVD/Bluray/netflix/whatever version (stuff recorded from the TV won’t work due to possible commercial break pauses).

    But note that there might be a difference in the version/source otherwise as well, so the people hanging out watching would need to have sync points.
    “Data walks through the door….” that is a stealthy sync point if the viewer looses sync they can just pause/rewind either the audio or the video and find the sync point.

    The cut on a DVD or a Bluray or Netflix may vary, not by much but a dark screen for a second or two her and there will add up so you could end up with 5-10 seconds (more?) off by the end of the episode.
    If lucky the Next Gen eps on DVD and Bluray and Netflix are all from the same master (and the ad breaks was put it during the distribution stage to TV stations instead).
    If that is the case then a single sync point at the start is all that is needed.

    How skilled you guys get at dropping “sync commentary” I have no idea. Some form of scene transition banter is needed in some form now and again. (and how often I got no clue).

    Also note that if this gets really popular (and you got the stats to show it) then Netflix might be willing to pair up your audio with the actual episodes as a alternative audio track, they have done this in the past with some bigger youtubers/riff commentary folks).

    It’s a shame there isn’t a more advanced player out there. So that the commentary could include a script allowing to repeat a scene or rewind a little “Wait, wait…rewind a little I gotta see that again” would not be possible with a normal player. (hey Netflix, pioneer this shit okay?)

    However a “live let’s play” recording will provide a more natural “couch commentary” that I certainly do not mind.

  38. Garrett Carroll says:

    You all brought up an excellent point when you said that most people acquire links through social media. I mean, even I can’t handle a few extra clicks and links to get from one actual interesting article to the next (kidding, it’s how I found this blog :)).

    I really can’t say a lot about it, but long-form analysis in general has been obscured because people seem to not have enough time nor patience.

  39. Mumbles, are you referring to Jim and Burns of VideoGamerTV? I think those two are the best out of that bunch, though the guy who seems to be in charge (bald bro-dude) comes off as fakey as a morning DJ.

    Jim is the genius who needs to produce more things like Geordie Apocalypse, though his reviews are decently amusing.

    Burns kind of bugs me because he wants to be Dylan “Bernard Black” Moran from the hilarious UK comedy series “Black Books” in the worst way. He’s pretty much lifting the character’s angry Brit shtick down to saying “RIGHT!” as punctuation.

  40. Merlin says:

    Rutskarn, I’m pretty sure that your “jump through dungeons and not actually have to fight everybody” game already exists. It’s called EVERY MARIO. :P

  41. Christopher says:

    Thanks for taking two of my questions! Great Diecast this week, the conversation flows when the topic is something everyone can talk about and not a game that one person played. Good luck with the swearing, Mumbles.

    I wanna answer a couple of the questions too. I don’t have a game that broke me in a cynical sense because I’m not a game critic, but I did have a game that completely broke my barriers for how I play games. Normally I would never do anything else while playing a game(except when friends are playing with me). Focus on the screen, focus on the game. Then I played Kingdoms of Amalur: Reckoning, the lootbased action-RPG that was supposed to tie in to an MMORPG that never saw the light of day. And that game ruined all my habits. It was SO boring, so completely dull in anything except the mechanics of the combat, and even they got long in the tooth 70 hours in. Reckoning is the game that made me start listening to podcasts while gaming, and now I hardly play games without them. It’s lead to me avoiding games that are story-heavy and you need to pay attention to the dialogue in. It also made me discover that I hate loot-focused games.

    Instead of thinking very hard about the best game after 2000/before 2000 I’ll just go with what I’m feeling at the moment. My favorite recent game is Dragon’s Dogma. My favorite older game is Super Mario All-Stars.

  42. NoneCallMeTim says:

    About the Star Trek commentary: I like Star Trek, but there is little chance that I would listen to a commentary over the top of existing episodes. I would be interested in a podcast about various episodes, though.

    Also: I am surprised Battlespire hasn’t broken Rutskarn yet.

  43. @Chris
    Funny how you mentioned Mafia 3 (at around 15 minute mark).
    The issue with Mafia III is that the cutscenes are great but are all Bink video files. Thus the lighting and stuff do not match with the in-game stuff.
    Angry Joe did a review and he described it as if it felt like two different teams did the pre-rendered cutscenes and the in-game story stuff (my guess he’s pretty close to the mark there).

    This reminds me of Deus Ex Human Revolution which “outsourced” the boss fights.

    I always found pre-rendered cutscenes a bad thing for several reasons:
    #1. It locks the Cutscene resolution, which might look good on low end hardware but will look subpar on high end hardware.
    #2. The look of a character (and the day/night cycle) may not match what the player is wearing (Mafia 3 devs promise you will be able to change clothes on the player character, but what about the cutscenes then?).
    #3. There is less cohesiveness between the cutscene and in-game stuff like player clothing and weapon, companions. A patch or DLC might change the gameworld but the cutscene fail to reflect it.
    #4. All the video files bloats the size of the game lot.

    There are odd decisions done at the management level in many of these big games.

    • Andy_Panthro says:

      Human revolution (certainly the original version, not sure about the director’s cut version), also had pre-rendered cutscenes that were I think around 720p and looked very different from the scene that was rendered in-game (especially if you were playing at 1080p like many PC users).

      I didn’t mind pre-rendered stuff back in the old days, especially if you got cheesy FMV like Crusader: No Remorse or Command & Conquer. These days, it seems like a bad idea. For Mafia 3 it seems like an even worse idea, since surely everyone will compare it with GTA5 which had all it’s cutscenes rendered with the in-game engine, IIRC.

      • As far as I can tell only the opening logos of GTA V is possibly video (no idea if it’s bink, if it is it’s incredibly well behaved, me and Bink never get a long usually, my hate for bink started with KoTOR where they where a huge headache to get working properly).

        Intros/logos as video kinda make sense as it’s easy to just “slap them in there”, but I can’t help but feel that a artist working on the game could probably make the game engine itself render the logos and stuff now, letting them stay true to the original logos but blend it with the game style maybe.
        (and for the love of all holy, I don’t mind seeing intros forced once, but after that I want to be able to toggle them off please).

        A few movies have been creative with he opening logos and made those sort of fit or blend in wit the start of the movie, it makes the whole thing feel more exclusive/special/premium.

  44. What I’ve read so far about Mass Effect Andromeda is that you can play as either a man or a woman (brother and sister).
    But they are characters so they will exist with the player selected character and have their own story.
    If they do that really well it might warrant a double playthrough of the game (if the storylines diverge enough).

  45. Deus Ex Invisible War, I kinda liked actually. But technically it’s a mess.
    The virtual idol thing (songs by Kidneythieves appear a few places) I liked.
    I liked how the main story was continued from Deus Ex.

    But yeah, technically it’s bad, it’s probably one of te games that aged the worst.

  46. Potential guests:
    Jim Sterling


    Gopher is very busy and no idea if he’d be up for it.
    Jim Sterling on the other hand, might be up for it.

    But in any case, a special guest would probably need to be invited for a special game (perhaps one they are a long time fan of).
    Maybe an hour or two long game session split into 3-4 eps?

    And maybe Yahtzee http://fullyramblomatic-yahtzee.blogspot.com/

  47. Thomas says:

    I think Bethesda are probably fairly happy with the ‘story’ in the games. It’s a success at what they want to do.

    Although I think it’s less about the literal story and more about the way that capture a tone and an idea that hits off with fans. People love the Vikingness of Skyrim and people love being the Dragonborn. People loved the period vibe of FO3 and the Patriotism and got invested in the Brotherhood and equally the Red Scare in FO4 and the idea of synths became memes and really excited the base.

    I don’t know how much the story actually not being well written would bother them? Maybe they could see a lot of the technical flaws in the writing and wish they could smooth them out, but at the same time they’re very much not writing a details first story (or even an emotion first story, but I think they want to do that more) and they get plenty of memes and hype and fanart and cosplay which is a real success.

    It’s something Obsidian _doesn’t_ manage to do with their well written logical games. People don’t ‘love the concept of New Vegas’ in the same way, even if New Vegas has a much richer world.

  48. Ryplinn says:

    I would love to hear Star Trek commentary from this crew. I encourage you to risk the time.

  49. Wolle says:

    Sounds like Mumbles have been drinking a fair amount of positivity. This bodes well for the Spoiler Warning.

  50. I’d be totally up for listening to a TNG commentary! Doesn’t change that fact it’s not as good as DS9 though…


  51. Ninety-Three says:

    Mumbles trying to be positive sounds as natural and unforced as Mumbles trying not to swear.

  52. I’m incidentally playing through GTA V again, the contrast between Bethesda and Rockstar is large, while Bethesda do better/richer world and lore building Rockstar make a more cohesive world where the main plot feels like it makes sense (at least compared to fallout).
    I think a mix between Bethesda and Rockstar ways of making a game might be ideal (I think CD Projekt RED is close to that model with The Witcher 3).

    Would that be an idea for one of your vids? Compare say Fallout 4 and GTA V and Witcher 3 world building and how the main story ties into it?
    I would have said Skyrim but that game is based around the player being “the chosen one” while in the three games I mentioned above you are “just another guy” in the world lending itself better for comparison.

  53. Ciennas says:

    As far as the Star Trek Commentaries go:

    If you want to do that, sure! Make it, just make sure you specify which cut you’re using, as others have mentioned.

    It’s not my cup of tea. I’m a fan of the written stuff. But if that’s a thing you want to try, I’m not gonna stand in the way.

    (I like written stuff because I live in a noise sensitive house where headphones are either unavailable or scattered to the winds. So yeah. Bit biased.)

  54. Cinebeast says:

    I love commentaries and reaction videos and the like, so the TNG idea sounds wonderful to me. It seems like I’m in the minority, though.

  55. King Calamity says:

    I’ve definitely never heard of a dungeon crawler like Rutskarn described, but I did just start a playthrough of Momodora: Reverie Under the Moonlight where I’m trying to get the “Pacifist” achievement, which you get for clearing the game without killing any enemies except the bosses.

    Although you could argue that Battlespire was clearly designed to be played that way, since anything else is just ridiculous.

  56. RJT says:

    I have a complaint about the player (not the hypothetical user, the one used to play the podcast from a browser). The option to adjust volume is not available after the playback starts. A slider does appear before I push play, but the same button only flips between full-volume vs mute afterwards. It is difficult to tell before the pod-cast starts what will be the perfect volume. I’m on Firefox, and I have this site whitelisted on ad-blocker. Could you consider fixing it (hopefully I am not the only one experiencing this for some bizarre reason)? Thank you!

  57. Genericide says:

    I don’t know that it changed my cynicism in the general sense, but there is a specific game that left me a little disillusioned with game reviews: Final Fantasy X-2. Every Final Fantasy game is significantly different. Then X offered my favorite combat of the series and I just generally loved it. X-2 was the first direct sequel in the franchise, so I figured it would keep more than usual. Note I was still in my early teens at the time. X-2 was also VERY well reviewed.

    …And then they kept the setting and reused a ton of assets, but went back to the same old ATB combat and class system used in several other FF’s. They told a story almost completed unrelated to the original game. Most main characters were relegated to cameos. A third of the playable cast was a completely new character dropped in out of nowhere who seemed like a really unappealing goth stereotype. And perhaps most damning (beyond the combat): The tone of the game completely and jarringly shifted.

    I really need to bite the bullet and play it again to see how things hold up. I know it’s not that bad mechanically, and I can separate that from my personal feelings on it. But it was the first, and still probably the strongest, example of me absolutely disagreeing with review scores.

  58. SL128 says:

    If you do a ST commentary track, DS9 would be great since it’s the best and you haven’t really watched it. Hearing your initial reactions combined with Josh’s knowledge would be pretty cool.

  59. Ivan says:

    Just as a heads up, the first download/embedded player option appears to have a fragment only, ie: the first few minutes only. The direct download option appears to probably be the correct one.

  60. brashieel says:

    Star Trek commentary actually sounds like it could be fun. I’d give it a listen.

  61. kikito says:

    I would listen to the Star Trek thingie, no doubt. I think the “press play now” might be a bit jarring.

    Let me suggest a different format – the one the Idle Thumbs guys did with Twin Peaks Rewatch

    It went like this: One podcast per Twin Peaks chapter (starting with who directed it, funny things that happened during the filming, etc). Then spoiler-free discussion about the episode setup. And at the end, a spoiler zone: “If you don’t want spoilers, stop listening now. Bye!” They even played the good-bye jingle. And then the last minutes of the show were spoiler-feast.

    The advantage of this format is that I (as a listener) can see the show before or after the podcast, depending on how it fits me. And the podcast works as a stand-alone thing, without “weird cuts”.

    I understand that there’s much more to cover in Star Trek than in Twin Peaks. It might be a good idea to skip some “lesser” episodes. On the second Twin Peaks season they did merge some tv shows together in the same podcast; maybe the same can be done here.

  62. John Lopez says:

    Skyrim remains in the top 20 games (and sometimes is in the top 10) in terms of active players on Steam. The game (and the massive mod community) is working for a very large player base and I think that explains why Bethesda is remaining in that design space. This player base remains even after the “pay for mods”/”don’t pay for mods” debacle.

    That doesn’t mean that the game is perfect or even “great”, but it is sticky as heck and what game company wouldn’t want that for their game?

  63. Primogenitor says:

    Maybe a commentary track over the Star Trek films, rather than the series? The series would really take a long time to do, and though each film is longer there are fewer of them and they get different relatively faster than the films do (e.g. original to nextgen, different directors/tones/ themes, the reboot). Plus there is plenty of critical material to pick apart in terms of universe building and consistency etc.

    I’d also be curious if some one who hasn’t seen them before was on – Rachel or any of Shamus’ other children, though I’d assume they’ve been made to watch them by now (and as a bonus maybe then it counts as quality family time too). A fresh perspective next to a grizzled veteran might be interesting.

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