Chris

Idle Thumbs 301: Dead Ringer Dr. Mario

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Idle Thumbs 301:

Idle Thumbs 301


Dead Ringer Dr. Mario
Look, I'm gonna level with you: this Mario thing goes deeper than we thought. We uncovered a cache of classified information in a stack of floppy disks we picked up in an EB at the mall, but now we're hearing time travel's involved too? You'll be airdropped into the Mushroom Kingdom for a BLOPS reconnaissance mission. And hey, there's one more thing. That Mario guy? We think there's two of 'em now.

Discussed: Mario, Dr. Mario, Mario Is Missing, Mario's Time Machine, shareware, Bloodborne, Dark Souls, Dead Ringers

 

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I'm glad my prediction of Nick's Bloodborne experience turned out to be correct.

 

Also, it's totally possible to appreciate lore content on the first playthrough. Nick's just always on hyperdrive (and is sometimes drunk,) both of which make it far more difficult. Streaming also probably makes it much harder to stop and contemplate what's going on.

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As someone whose previous favourite Thumbs moment was "jeff gone gold", the schwarzenegger BLOPS discussion absolutely killed me. I feel like Idle Thumbs' new position as a sorta secondary podcast has really freed you guys to reach your true heights (/depths). 

 

Also RE your choose-your-own-adventure book discussion at the end, I have an example of a book that did something similar to your "dead content" idea. In Chuck Palahniuk's Invisible Monsters Remix, the chapters are structured such that upon finishing Chapter 1, it would say "Skip to page 32", and then Chapter 2 would start on pg. 32 and so on. The idea was to make the book feel like reading a tabloid or lifestyle magazine where the articles are split and jump around the issue willy-nilly. There's no choice involved like in a CYOA, but it's a similar idea. But anyway, if you just go through the book straight, without heeding the instructions, you will find sections that aren't pointed to at any other point of the book, and these sections in turn are joined to each other in a weird fun alternate-dimension sort of way.

 

Or at least, this is my memory of the book. It's been a while, but I'm pretty sure that's how it worked. It's the first thing that popped in my head when you said that definitely a reader will reply and say this has already been done.

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re: choose your own adventure style books.

There have been books with both bugs and embedded easter egg type things. In the former case, it was often just a case of a misprint, meaning if you took a certain path, the passage you were directed to did not correspond at all to the context from which you came. I don't recall any such errors rendering a book uncompletable, so presumably at least some kind of critical path testing took place. For the latter, I have seen two types: in one, there is the odd isolated passage that isn't linked to from anywhere else in the text and the text tongue-in-cheek chastises the reader for cheating. The other variation I've seen is not a single passage, but actually a sequence of linked passages that loop around themselves (the one example I remember is a passage that curves endlessly to left or right) that are unreachable by normal play.

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3 hours ago, Kyir said:

I'm glad my prediction of Nick's Bloodborne experience turned out to be correct.

 

Also, it's totally possible to appreciate lore content on the first playthrough. Nick's just always on hyperdrive (and is sometimes drunk,) both of which make it far more difficult. Streaming also probably makes it much harder to stop and contemplate what's going on.

 

Nick's comments about the proportion of time "you" spend fighting bosses vs exploring was especially perplexing.  If Dark Souls was a level by level action game it would make sense, but like any other (semi) open world RPG, it allows players to set their own pace.  Nick for his part chooses to avoid exploration (and the rewards associated with it) at all costs, prolonging the time spent fighting bosses by as much as possible.  As people are quick to point out, there's no wrong way to play a game, but Nick's very idiosyncratic playstyle is definitely not representative of a universally relatable experience.

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I haven't listened to this yet, but if "Le Retour De Mario Guerre" doesn't get used I'll be fuming.

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15 hours ago, Lork said:

Nick's very idiosyncratic playstyle is definitely not representative of a universally relatable experience.

 

From what I can tell, Nick plays the Souls games because he likes to fight difficult bosses, often while deliberately making his playthrough more difficult. He doesn't care about any story, he hardly cares about weird enemies he meets along the way, he wants to just get to bosses and defeat bosses. And, from his comments on this week's episode, it seems like he thinks that other things in the games are perhaps not just boring to him, but boring to his viewing audience.

 

The issue that Nick has had with Bloodborne is that the game decided to make the healing items something you have to collect, which directly gets in the way of his play style. It has been written about to death, but making blood vials collectible: 

 

1) means that you have to slow down and explore the areas and defeat enemies in a more careful and thorough manner

2) means that you have to value blood vials and think about exactly when to use them, and you are forced to get in and fight enemies to "rally" and regain lost health.

 

I hate feeling like I'm wasting time in a game, and I'd never played a Souls-style game before picking up Bloodborne. From my experience, I can say, 100%, that if Nick were to be more patient and explore along the way to the boss he's had trouble with, he'd have enough blood vials such that they acted like estus flasks, refilling from his overstock at each death. Also, by playing patiently, he'd have better armor, items, and blood echoes such that he could level himself and his weapons up. ALSO, by playing patiently, he would learn the intricacies of the parrying system, which turns out to be pretty vital to play the game. 

 

Instead, he's decided to just hobble himself right off the bat with character and primary weapon choice, and then hurl himself through to get to bosses, only to find that his usual strategy (repeatedly dying and running back to the boss until he can manage to beat the boss through sheer force of will) isn't going to cut it. He's got to slow down, and farm for a bit. I bet if he found some sort of off topic conversation to get into, he'd find that he built up a little stock of blood vials in no time, and he'd learn about when he should parry enemies. But he's not gonna do that since he's worried...we might get bored? 

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25 minutes ago, RubixsQube said:

Instead, he's decided to just hobble himself right off the bat with character and primary weapon choice, and then hurl himself through to get to bosses, only to find that his usual strategy (repeatedly dying and running back to the boss until he can manage to beat the boss through sheer force of will) isn't going to cut it. He's got to slow down, and farm for a bit. I bet if he found some sort of off topic conversation to get into, he'd find that he built up a little stock of blood vials in no time, and he'd learn about when he should parry enemies. But he's not gonna do that since he's worried...we might get bored? 

 

Nick's fear of boring his viewers is understandable but completely off-target, at least for me. I don't care if something wild is happening every second of a stream, but I do care, deeply, about watching someone who's having fun with a game and making progress. Believe it or not, watching Nick eat shit in boss fights over and over, while gradually getting bitter and frustrated, is infinitely more tedious than watching him chill out, grind a bit when necessary, and explore the environment. Maybe Nick always runs everywhere in every game and that's just how he plays, like Chris jumping on everything, but if it's a matter of choice, I hope he gets to a place where he trusts in his own presence and in the content of the game itself to carry the stream without there having to always be an outrageous boss wrecking shit onscreen.

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2 hours ago, Gormongous said:

Believe it or not, watching Nick eat shit in boss fights over and over, while gradually getting bitter and frustrated, is infinitely more tedious than watching him chill out, grind a bit when necessary, and explore the environment.

I always assumed that he does that because it's genuinely the way he enjoys playing the games...  and then I would close the tab, because that stuff is unwatchable.

 

Edit: I don't want to come across as saying that the stream as a whole is unwatchable.  It's specifically when he decides to mash his face against a boss for 9 hours that I tune out.

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I mean, we can all agree that Bloodborne's healing system is awful still, right? They're right that most suggestions Nick gets are just ways to mitigate that awfulness. I'd be fine with skipping to Dark Souls 3 again.

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I'd be interested in what about Bloodborne makes Nick think it could be his favourite. I've never played, and he mostly talked about why it fell short of that mark, rather than what potential was encouraging him.

 

Also, there is no correct way to play and I enjoy seeing how Nick approaches Dark Souls. But he might be interested in a let's play of it by someone called Kay, if he hasn't heard of it. She basically approached it in exactly the opposite way, mostly blind and still manages to notice all the tiny hints that are in the game to figure it out. I'm watching and I'm very surprised that she can grasp parts of the game I had to look up or ask friends about. I highly recommend checking it out for a bit at least (though it is a slower pace than Nick), it's fascinating to watch.
 

 

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On 3/3/2017 at 7:06 PM, SgtWhistlebotom said:

i think the cross-section map Nick mentioned briefly is this one, but the DS map i love is by the same artist and much more abstract:

Ahh that one is clever but its depiction of DS2 is so obnoxious to me. Those straight lines in practice would look pretty much like the branches on DS3, and some of them would circle around to meet each other. I know he frames it as his perception, but I don't think it's a fair take on them.

And I just spent like 30 minutes trying to make a reasonably accurate map of the areas and their connections in the games for comparison. I think this also fairly clearly illustrates why I feel DS3 has the least interesting world design.

DS.thumb.jpg.741ad24d15a93871825536caee04b4ac.jpg

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2 hours ago, Problem Machine said:

I know he frames it as his perception, but I don't think it's a fair take on them.

 

True, but it's the inaccuracies of subjectivity that makes it a thing worth seeing; same with your maps.

 

That said, I want to say that in the week this was posted, someone on here drew a map from memory of Firelink and the Burg, which was surprising in its accuracy.

 

 

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I think the one thing that your map misses Problem Machine is that you can see areas from each other too. So even if the demon ruins and giants tomb don't have paths from to one another, you can see one from the other, and that's a recurring part of the game. That's a very big component in how the world feels, which is what mattered more to me than the literal available paths. 

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That's true, those things do make a difference. It'd be a lot harder to represent that with a map like this. I think that it's totally fair to say that the way areas are interconnected is simpler and more abstract in DS2, since you largely don't have the kind of landmarks that you do in DS1, it's just that the exaggeration irks me

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Lazy webbing this you, but there are some "experimental" parts of some CYOA books that include infinite loops and a hidden good ending that you would only see if you turned to the wrong page. Via wikipedia

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Totally worth paying a couple of bucks for the Quake shareware disc, because it had the full Nine Inch Nails soundtrack on it. Just be sure to skip that data track at the top.

 

IsO4CmU.jpg

 

Is it weird that I feel nostalgia for digipaks?

 

PS I love Dead Ringers. It just has this crushing tension that slowly but constantly tightens through the whole thing. 

 

 

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On 3/3/2017 at 2:32 AM, Lork said:

 

Nick's comments about the proportion of time "you" spend fighting bosses vs exploring was especially perplexing.  If Dark Souls was a level by level action game it would make sense, but like any other (semi) open world RPG, it allows players to set their own pace.  Nick for his part chooses to avoid exploration (and the rewards associated with it) at all costs, prolonging the time spent fighting bosses by as much as possible.  As people are quick to point out, there's no wrong way to play a game, but Nick's very idiosyncratic playstyle is definitely not representative of a universally relatable experience.

 

To be precise, it's not necessarily prolonging the time spent fighting bosses, it's increasing the percentage of boss time vs other activities. This method may make the game take longer overall, but doesn't mean it has to. After listening to the podcast, Nick sounds like he has a point to me. If it's just work, especially work that's not in other similar games, that's not very fun.

 

As another chemistry-deficient person, I totally understood what you meant when you were describing how the Periodic Table was arranged. it's set up so elements with similar properties are grouped up. The only ones I can remember are the Noble Gasses and Alkali(ne)?? metals.

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Hell yeah double postin. When you guys said "fanon" and I realized you were making a portmanteau of "fan" and "canon" I recoiled in terror and literally yelled in my car. I'm very upset and I didn't like it at all. No thank you.

 

I was anticipating an "I'll be back" for Arnold's Twitch stream. 

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8 hours ago, Badfinger said:

Hell yeah double postin. When you guys said "fanon" and I realized you were making a portmanteau of "fan" and "canon" I recoiled in terror and literally yelled in my car. I'm very upset and I didn't like it at all. No thank you.

 

I was anticipating an "I'll be back" for Arnold's Twitch stream. 

 

Im sorry to say we didn't make that portmanteau up. 

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8 hours ago, Jake said:

 

Im sorry to say we didn't make that portmanteau up. 

 Apologies, I should have said 'using' rather than 'making'. I understand that it wasn't an original Thumbsie but I am still horrified.

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