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About quantum_leopold

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  • Birthday 06/28/1982

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    Burlington, VT
  1. Can anyone provide a little context on how deep the spoiler discussion of Uncharted 4 goes? Is this one of those "we're going to discuss the first few hours of the game and the basic premise, so spoilers if you're super sensitive" spoiler alerts, or is it more of a "it sure was surprising at the end of the game when..." true spoiler? I'm through to Chapter 12 now, so if it's the former I'd happily listen, but obviously I want to avoid the latter type of spoilers.
  2. Do you think that message in MGSV is substantially more pronounced than in the other MGS games? (Not a rhetorical question--I have a vague impression the themes of MGS5 were in many of the preceding games, but I'm not a big MGS guy so I may be wrong) I'd be surprised if anyone at Konami decided to can Kojima for any reason other than "this guy demands a lot of resources, has huge budgets, and makes games that are only modestly profitable, we earn better margins on gyms or pachinko machines or whatever, so why are we bothering with this hassle?" Given all of the weird unrelated markets Konami is involved in, I wonder how many Konami execs have played an MGS game.
  3. Some publishers award bonuses based on sales. Are we being bad game consumers if we don't buy games that you believe are objectively good, or if we buy games you believe are objectively bad, because we provide some fractional incentive in the wrong direction? If not, why do reviewers have any more responsibility for what publishers may or may not do as a result of their actions? And if you are capable of identifying "true feedback" versus irrelevant subjective commentary, why do you think companies who have hundreds of millions of dollars at stake on this are incapable of sorting between useful and unuseful feedback? Why is it reviewers responsibility to focus on helping huge corporations make better products, rather than writing about games however their readers are interested in reading them? I think most sites, at least the ones I read, are pretty clear that the review is the author's opinions and not representative of the site's "stake in the sand about how good a game is." If you tell anyone at Giant Bomb, Polygon, Kotaku, that you would score a game differently than they did, I don't think any of them would break over a sweat out of fear that they may have failed to accurately describe a game. I have heard reviewers from each of those sites clearly state that they're describing their personal experience and explicitly rejecting the notion that they're staking anything on "objectively" scoring a game in a "correct" way. If you're reading sites that believe they are giving a definitive statement of whether or not a game is good, and that they will have failed at their job if a player comes to a different conclusion then them, we are just interested in entirely different sites. If you want to argue that you're only interested in reviews that talk about the issues you're interested in, more power to you. I get that. Hell, I really like The Division and wasn't expecting anything out of the story, so it just didn't bother me that the story was bad. A review that doesn't talk about some of the weird politics at play in The Division is more consistent with my experience and thinking on the game. So I get how seeing a review that knocks the game largely because of its story seems to miss the point to you. But, especially in a universe where this game seems to have sold well and gotten quite a lot of buzz, I do not understand why you care that other people are writing critically about parts of the game you weren't interested in. There will be more of The Division. It will probably not do much to address its politics in a meaningful way, because short of having aliens invade, it's hard to have a justification for shooting tons of civilians that isn't kind of messed up. I have no problem reading reviews I disagree with or reviews that are interested in talking about parts of games that don't matter to me. Sometimes, they convince me those things actually do matter. Other times, I roll my eyes and move on to some other article. I never question the right of the writer to have expressed their opinion. I'll leave it here, though, because I suspect we are not likely to convince each other.
  4. First, you are mistaken that publishers care what reviews say. Publishers care what makes them money. It is not at all uncommon for games with good reviews to fail to make money, or for games with poor reviews to do quite well. The critical buzz around the first Assassins Creed was not great! 17 Assassins Creed games later, they are only now rethinking their approach because sales began to falter (even though AC Syndicate was probably the best received AC game in years). Metal Gear Solid 5 got pretty outstanding reviews and plenty of GOTY awards, but Konami decided that making games like that and employing Kojima wasn't worth the investment. So they're not doing that anymore. You point to positive review scores for Rainbow Six Siege as dooming future games to have anti-player features. Everything I've read suggests that Siege has been a sales disappointment. I wouldn't be too worried about them making a significantly similar sequel just because reviews didn't call out the things you disliked about it. Second, you say it's okay if reviewers "become critics instead" and doesn't use a review score. Why does that make a difference? Because Metacritic doesn't count unscored reviews? What if Metacritic decided to start assigning a value to text reviews (similar to how Rotten Tomatoes does for movies, inferring a positive/negative)? Would it no longer be acceptable to be a critic? And do your criticisms not apply to reviewers whose sites aren't on Metacritic? Can I give WoW a 2/10 if Metacritic doesn't care what I think? And what if Metacritic changes the way it translates a site's scores, as they did with 1Up years ago--does that mean old reviews that used to be objective are no longer objective? Or what if Metacritic just goes away? This seems like an incredibly arbitrary metric to focus on.
  5. Why? Since when? Look at five different game review sites, and you will find five different scoring rubrics. Some say a 5/10 is average, some put that at more like a 6/10 or 7/10. Some only score out of 5 stars. Some score out of 100 points. Some frequently give games "perfect" scores, some only do so once every few years. And every single reviewer surely implements their site's score system in a slightly different way. No one review can "break" this universality of score that you feel reviews ought to aspire to, because that has never existed in the first place. And what is a "game type"? Is The Division a third-person shooter, or an RPG, or a loot game, or an MMO, or an online shooter? It sure seems to take its own story seriously, even if I don't, so should we grade it as a narrative game? It feels incredibly subjective of you to ask reviewers to ignore the game's terrible story when the developers themselves sure seemed to place a lot of importance on it. Why is what you value in this game objective, but evaluating it based on a part of the game the developers appear to have put a lot of effort into is being "subjective"? I don't see how you can justify thinking of your own values as objective and assume that anyone who cares about different aspects of the game is missing the point. As long as a writer clearly expresses where they're coming from, what's wrong with a writer giving WoW a 2/10 and writing about how they don't like MMOs? I can see how that might not be a useful review for an MMO fan. But what happens if there are reviews out there that aren't useful? The internet is quite full of wrong opinions I don't care about, so I don't understand why adding a score to it matters. If you personally worked on The Division and you're upset that people have given it poor reviews, I can understand why you might feel hurt by that. I wouldn't think anyone should care about your feelings, but I can understand why you'd be upset. But if The Division is just a game that you like and some reviewers don't like it for reasons you don't care about, I do not understand why your reaction is anything other than to decide that you're not interested in those reviewers' thoughts.
  6. On the Fargo discussion, I was really surprised by Danielle's reactions to Peggy and Mike. The idea that Peggy was some sort of condemnation of feminism just seems so far off the mark to me. Peggy is a tragic figure because, having occupied the role society dictated for her rather than making her own choices, she went a bit nuts. Her problem wasn't that she failed to shut up and accept her role, it was that she ever tried to fit in with the patriarchy to begin with. If she had felt free to explore the world and herself, I don't think she ends up making so many bad decisions. And looking at Season One and the other women in Season Two, it seems like Noah Hawley has a pretty consistent message that bad things happen when women are marginalized: a lot of lives could have been saved had people listened to Molly early in Season One, the Gerhardts probably would've fared better under the mother's leadership, Simone presumably would not have betrayed her family if he father had not treated her so horribly, etc. And Mike was just such a fantastic character. I was confused by Danielle's suggestion in a previous episode that Mike was using "jive talk", when it seemed to me he was doing exactly the opposite, a very stilted, friendly-sounding (even when it wasn't friendly at all), neutral tone. I actually wondered if the actor wasn't doing a sort of Obama-as-70's-gangster impression, with his overly emphasized calm, deliberate, smooth speech. I'm glad Danielle warmed to Mike a little bit at least. I can't wait to see where Fargo goes next (I think I read that they've said it may return to present day and Molly Solverson will return?), and as an X-Men fan, I am so curious to see what Noah Hawley does with that Legion series.
  7. I thought the discussion of critical consensus was a little off due to the apparent assumption that critical consensuses are just spontaneously occurring natural phenomena. To the extent there is such a thing as a critical consensus (and I think this can be overstated--every critically beloved game has its detractors, and every critically panned game has its advocates), I think it is much more often a natural result of people with similar perspectives encountering a game and coming away with the same impressions, not a creation of grading rubrics or some a priori knowledge about what "everyone" is likely to think about a game. To take Rob's Kane and Lynch 2 example, I can understand how he could play that game with its unpleasant characters and its awkward and unsteady controls and find something to appreciate in the realism of the difficulty of shooting people and the appropriateness of these mass-murderers being shitty people. That is a totally valid, justifiable opinion. But Rob's experience does not make it any less likely that most other critics who played that game did not appreciate the awkward shooting and despicable characters, no matter how realistic either of those may be, and were thus disappointed by the game and not inclined to recommend it to others. It's funny that Rob later mentions that he has worked to correct a tendency to tilt his reviews away from his true experience of a game and more towards what some player might have found enjoyable in a game, because it seems like, with respect to K&L2, he is disappointed that the critical response to that game failed to do exactly that. It may just be that, although there are some things a player could like about K&L2, most of the people who happened to review it were not those people, and therefore it generally got poor reviews which came to be perceived as a critical consensus against the game. I suspect that, more often than not, many people not enjoying a game is the cause of a 'critical consensus', not an effect of one. To the extent these consensuses are a result of people with similar backgrounds and similar preferences coming to similar conclusions, I'm all for more diversity in reviewing to get me different perspectives on what games I might appreciate, particularly when reviewers can point me to reasons I might enjoy things that most other people would say aren't worth my time. But I think that's a problem with critics, not consensus. (Finally, not that I have any dog in the K&L2 fight, but I do think a quick look at its metacritic page is informative about the notion of critical consensus. Under metacritic's framing, it received from critics 5 positive reviews, 2 negative reviews, and 18 "mixed" reviews; user reviews are even more evenly split, at 27/23/25. Maybe the problem isn't so much with what critics actually say as it is with how the community rounds the edges off of these things and internalizes that the response to a game without consideration.) (Of course, you may point out that metacritic's classifications of reviews are arbitrary and meaningless, which is totally fair, but I would argue that no matter how arbitrary metacritic's ratings may be, they are probably the most common citation when people are referring to what the consensus about a game is.) (edit: words)
  8. Idle Thumbs 214: Ship It, Droopy

    Whew, glad to hear there's a timestamp given for Life is Strange spoilers. I listened to what felt like at least 30 seconds of back-and-forth on whether or not spoilers were going to happen, and the tone made it sound as if they could fly forth at any moment ("warning, he can't be stopped" is the sort of thing I would usually assume is a joke only to be followed by a spoiler and leaving me saying "well, what did I expect, they told me"), so I too had punched out for fear of something being blurted before I could stop it. In the future I'll be more trusting of your judgment!
  9. Twin Peaks Rewatch 29: Miss Twin Peaks

    I liked the email explanation of all the VHS/laserdisc/DVD releases. It was such a hard show to try to watch before Netflix and bluray. I first watched Twin Peaks with my college girlfriend after we picked it up at the arty video rental store (the whole place was indexed by director name rather than genre and/or title, which was occasionally cool but often totally maddening, especially in the pre-smartphone era). We unknowingly rented the European version of the pilot, and of course next got the tapes that started with Episode 2 and were totally confused. After we'd watched 10 or so episodes, my girlfriend bought me the Season 1 DVD for Christmas right when it came out, and I recall knowing already that it only contained the first 7 episodes which we had already seen and trying to figure out how to feign excitement for that gift and when best to "discover" the problem. We slowed down on our attempts to watch the series at some point (I recall multiple trips to the store only to find the next season 2 tapes weren't available), and then broke up sometime later. After our breakup, when I spent a few weeks as a depressed shut-in, I went back to the arty videostore and mainlined the final 10-15 episodes of the series, but I don't recall processing much beyond being sad I couldn't talk with her about how shitty the show had become. Rewatching the series on Netflix while listening to this podcast has made for a very different experience!
  10. Comics Extravaganza - Pow Bang Smash!

    I'm only vaguely familiar with Archie, but I'm definitely going to check out the Waid/Staples series, because a)both of those creators are fantastic and b)I have thoroughly enjoyed two Archie-adjacent titles of late: Afterlife with Archie, a strangely adult and creepy zombie tale set in the Archie universe (with gorgeous Francisco Francavilla art) that's as good as tegan says above, and Criminal: Last of the Innocent by Brubaker and Phillips, which is basically an Archie Noir, in which Jughead is addicted to heroin instead of hamburgers and Archie plots to murder Veronica to steal her fortune (it's not licensed, of course, so they don't have the Archie names, but it is obviously intended to be the Archie cast). I'm tentatively backing the Archie kickstarter, because I think they're an interesting company and I'd be interested to see what that Chip Zdarsky Jughead comic would be like, but I intend to reevaluate my pledge in the last few days of the campaign because the price is not an especially good value (I could easily pre-order this comic from DCBS for at most $2-3, so why pay $15?)...I may pick a different tier or just cancel it altogether (especially if they end up comfortably achieving their goal, although that looks doubtful at this point), but I'm reserving judgment for now.
  11. I wondered if Don's American Legion buddies were as accepting of Don's confession as those on the cast believed. I thought that perhaps the pregnant pause left after Don described killing his CO was a sign that the rest of the group felt the behavior Don had confessed to went well beyond the "everyone did something they regret" spirit of the earlier conversations. Even the seemingly accepting comments may have been an attempt to move past the awkwardness until they could separately say "sure, maybe we killed some especially pathetic Nazis, but we never killed an American soldier!" In my mind, this explained how quickly the crew jumped to blame Don when the money went missing: they'd just decided Don was a person who had committed a truly terrible crime, and almost immediately thereafter found out there was a criminal in their midst, and thus it was easy to conclude it was Don.
  12. The End of Mad Men: "Lost Horizon"

    That's funny, I also thought of Sally and the moon landing in this episode, but not from Peggy's badass entrance into McCann. When Peggy and Roger were reminiscing about Sterling Cooper, Peggy initially says something grumpy about how miserable she'd been and how glad she would be to leave Sterling Cooper behind. Roger, gives her a skeptical look and says "Is that really how you're going to remember this place?" and Peggy takes a beat, looks slightly chastised, and admits no, it's not. That interaction felt like an echo of Don and Sally's conversation about the moon landing, where Sally acts all cynical and too cool for school about the moon landing until Don is disappointed rather than impressed. Not the same scenario, of course--Peggy has plenty of reason to have bad feelings about her time at Sterling Cooper, and she's a grown woman, and I imagine she doesn't care a whole lot about Sterling's approval in the grand scheme of things. But the [cynical statement] [wounded/disappointed response] [slightly embarrassed acknowledgment of being overly glib] sequence made me immediately think of that great moon landing phone call. I thought this was a great episode, but I do think this episode further underlined what a mistake this "half season" concept has been. Everything that happened to Joan was affecting, but it also felt so compressed and rushed. Not that the groundwork hadn't been laid to some extent with the Topaz meeting and her omission from the big McCann pitch, but to be so immediately undermined, attacked, and ultimately defeated by the sexist machine at McCann made me imagine how differently this would've played out if there were more screentime to go around. I understand Joan wanting to handle things herself without involving Roger or Don or anyone else who might have been helpful, but the way she seemingly thoughtlessly just went up the chain of command apparently unprepared for the possibility that Ferg or Hobart might also be terrible sells short Joan's ability and experience dealing with shmucky executives. I think if they had 4 or 5 more episodes to go, Joan would have spoken to the McCann women to see how they handle the neanderthals at the firm, take more careful and strategic steps to identify potential allies, talk with one of the Sterling Cooper partners about the situation while asking them to stay out of it, and generally develop a more thoughtful plan of attack. It still could have resulted in failure, but could have given Joan more agency and more credit for her savvy. If nothing else, this episode has given me more reason to believe in my theory that Peggy and Joan are going to start an agency together. I too initially thought Don's drive to Wisconsin was going to result in him kicking in the doors at Miller and announcing TASTES GREAT, LESS FILLING, DRAPER OUT!, and was immensely disappointed when I realized what was actually happening. I won't beat the dead horse that is the Diana plot line any more, except to note one especially strange aspect of Don's visit. I can buy Mr. Diana having some sense as to why Don is really there and what he's up to and chasing him off. But what I don't get is his suggestion that Don isn't the first man who met Diana, lost contact with her, and then thought to reconnect with her by driving to her ex-husband's home in Wisconsin and posing as someone else to get more information about her. Really? That's a thing other people would do and have done? I'm sure she's a great lady and everything, but the idea that anyone other than Don would have had that particularly odd reaction to her and misguided plan is hard to imagine.
  13. The opening exchange between Jake and Nick reminded me of the most extreme example of characters standing around telling each other things they all already know for the benefit of the audience that I've ever seen--the pilot of the CBS crime procedural "Blue Bloods." It was so bad I was determined to find it to share it here, and because the Internet exists, of course someone runs a site that just contains transcripts of episodes of Blue Bloods. Here is the opening scene to the whole series:
  14. The End of Mad Men: "Time & Life"

    I saw from Jake's tweets that he's already aware he was mistaken about Pete's ignorance of Peggy's child, but I was not as much surprised by Jake's error as I was by the fact that no one else on the cast remembered that scene either. For me, Peggy telling Pete "I had your baby, and I gave him away" was one of the show's most powerful moments ever. All is forgiven though because Jake mentioned Nowhere Man, which was great! (I think, I was 13 then and haven't seen it since it aired, but I loved it at the time)