Digging Up Old Memories

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Puncherson_64LadyBrain_64

Some spoilers for side quests in Red Dead Redemption 2

Butch:

Ok, played, but I really have to move the story along.

Had a brainstorm about finding a cheat (I was right! I can now…summon a race horse whenever I want! Never be without a horse again! Wanna know the code?), had a brainstorm about where to find a treasure (I was right! But it took a while…….), got the next map and had a brainstorm about where THAT was….(and….I was wrong. Which took a LOOOOONG time), and then I cheated and looked it up cuz holy shit I wasn’t going to spend half a damn hour on nothing, and then I had to ride somewhere else entirely which took a LOOOOOONG time. Got a third map, and had the brainstorm that maybe I should knock it off with the brainstorms.

And now I’m back in Valentine. Gotta eat, gotta sleep, gotta do something nice for Roach who has been very patient this whole time. He even stayed put while I looked for a stupid treasure in a “legendary Wolf zone.”

“Arrrrthhhrrrr [this is the best Mr. Ed horse voice I can write], can we gooo now? Plueeze?”
“In a second boy…..”
“The carrrrots sooo aren’t wrrrrth this.”

Then to Blackwater!

Probably.

Cuz the thing with that nature guy happened again! It was there, then it wasn’t. So maybe that.

Ha.

Feminina:

That nature photographer guy is nothing but trouble. Maybe he’s a random encounter because sometimes he gets attacked by wolves or something and you can go rescue him if you’re around in time, and otherwise he mysteriously survives anyway. Or something.

Dude. Move that story. I went back for the bounty I was so annoyed by before. The fight was a similar difficulty, but I think my horse was tougher this time, because the guys I had to fight AFTERWARDS the first time, who wanted to steal my bounty for themselves, they showed up and I was just like “I’m out of here” and outran them easily. Before, I couldn’t get away from them. Hooray for maximum horse bonding, I guess.

Anyway, that’s what I did. $100 bounty, man. Can’t sneer at that.

Butch:

See? After a serious setback, the best thing to do is to just get back on that horse!

****rimshot****

Thank you, thank you, I’ll be here all week.

That nature guy is very elusive, that he is.

Roach and I are so bonded it’s ridiculous. All those carrots. I even throw him a sugar cube from time to time. Just cuz.

I’ll move the story tonight! Just gonna get cleaned up in Valentine, reload at camp, then it is ON!

Feminina:

I recommend a bath. Get the grime and filth of life off yourself for a change.

Oh, and for your character too.

Hahahaha, I’ll also be here all week! Good thing it’s Friday.

Butch:

Well played. Well played.

Though, on a serious hygiene note, I have actually refused to have Arthur shave in the game if it would make it such that he’s better groomed than I am. I kinda get lazy with the shaving, you see, and, for a spell, I was doing better keeping Arthur shaved than I was keeping myself shaved.

This upset me, so now Arthur shaves less. Which, of course, is the only practical solution to this particular neurosis.

Feminina:

That’s fair. Very fair.

I’m always more clean shaven than Arthur (so far anyway) so this doesn’t work for me, but I fully validate it as a solution.

Butch:

Thank you.

It makes sense, really. Arthur never has to worry about children doing awful things when he’s shaving. He can shave whenever he wants.

It’s a good life, the cowboy life.

He even gets champagne in the bath tub!

Feminina:

Arthur’s got it easy, man. All these people wanting him dead and his way of life coming to an end are minor inconveniences compared with the luxury of shaving whenever he has a mind to.

Speaking of his way of life coming to an end, I was looking at the title screen while loading the other day and noticing the stars (in much the style of the stars on the U.S. flag) all over the ground on which the little guys are racing their horses towards…whatever.

That’s an obviously intentional design choice we could ponder. The land/the nation is both the open free countryside on which they’ve roamed, and the hostile government the laws of which they trample beneath their feet?

The ‘open west’ is the dream version of the vast, expansive American ideal? I dunno, I just noticed it.

Butch:

Dude, it’s a trade I’d make. Throw in being able to shower without interruption, or, dare I say it, use the…ahem…outhouse in peace, and I’ll take anyone wanting me dead.

I think you could read the title screen either way. It IS, in a way, the free open countryside. We certainly have all sorts of American tropes holding up the free cowboy, roaming the range, as the epitome of what it “means to be American.” And yet, America itself is destroying all that.

I do wonder….did you stumble across the Indian reservation? I didn’t go in, because it said “guns forbidden” and I figured it would be important later.

So it’s gonna go there. I wonder what it will say.

Feminina:

I have not been to the reservation! I encountered another reference to Indians that was interesting, but it was in a quest you’ll get (major character gives it), so we’ll talk later.

Butch:

Interesting….

But yeah, there’s a big assed reservation way up there. Near the place with the treasure. The RIGHT place with the treasure.

Heh.

Feminina:

ONE TIME I bothered to look for treasure. I thought “hey, that landscape looks kind of right, I’ll ride over and check it out,” so I rode over, and it was right. But then the next map I just thought “I don’t see anything from here that looks like this, so hell with it.”

I’m pretty much just figuring if I stumble across something that looks right, I’ll try to get the treasure, but I can’t be bothered to ride all over creation on purpose to look for natural features.

I mean, I like treasure, I surely do, but I’m also very lazy. You can see the conflict.

Butch:

Well, don’t overthink.

Cuz there’s going to be a map that has three things on it. And you might, you MIGHT, think “Hey….there’s something on the map that says ‘Three sisters!’ THREE! I’m gonna go there and GET SOME TREASURE!”

If you think that, you’re wrong.

Trust me.

Feminina:

Duly noted. I will not be taken in.

Butch:

Do not be. Do not think you are wise.

Thought I was being so damn clever.

Ah, well.

Oh! I know something else I did! I took a train! It’s very handy. And I got there, and there was ol’ Roach all “What took you so long?”

That saved time.

Which I wasted on going to places with no treasure and finally killing a rabbit. But was it the RIGHT rabbit? I don’t think so. I couldn’t mail it. I was just there, holding it, rather sheepishly, at the post office while the clerk was all “Uh….”

So I took it to the shop thinking I’d sell it, and the dude said “GET THAT MESS OUT OF MY STORE!”

Even when I do the right thing I’m wrong.

T SHIRT!!!!

Feminina:

The WRONG RABBIT!!!

Terrible. Hilarious, but terrible. I can just see the station clerk, all “uh…you don’t seriously expect me to put that rotting, bullet-riddled thing into the mail, do you?”

Good times. This is why I never try to help out people who want to taxidermy things. Taxidermize? Is that a verb?

Whatever.

Butch:

Dude, I even used a bow!

I gotta give it to the game in terms of detail though. After the dude was all “GET THAT MESS OUT OF MY STORE,” I left, Arthur was all “All right, all right,” I skinned it, dropped it (poor, poor rabbit) and went back in. Arthur said “Better?” and the shopkeep said “Yes, sir. Thank you kindly.”

Most games don’t do that sort of thing, dialog wise. Props.

Feminina:

Props. Props indeed. I do appreciate thoughtful and responsive dialogue.

Oh, and speaking of the nation and the way of life and all that, one thing different about the bounty is this time I didn’t kill the guy, I took him back alive. And he was talking the whole time, very themey stuff about how he was a citizen of the free nation of Lemoyne, and wasn’t bound by the laws of the United States, and I had no right to take him back, and so forth. Kind of the logical endpoint of Dutch’s desire to be free of the crushing hand of government, isn’t it?

It was purely by accident both that I killed him the first time, and that I didn’t kill him this time. I couldn’t even tell which dude was him in the heat of battle, so it’s not that I intentionally avoided shooting him. But if you CAN tell it’s him, and you go after Lindsay Wafford for the bounty, try to leave him alive for the conversation.

Butch:

That’s good stuff! I kinda want to get back to the bounties now. I think. Cuz if you go back and do the other one in valentine, there’s theme there too if you let her talk on the way back.

Actually, you should do that. There’s lots to talk about.

Now that you’re ok with bounties again.

Feminina:

I haven’t been back to Valentine other then…uh…this one time…well, I’ll try heading back and see if they’ll give me another bounty.

I didn’t leave on the best terms, let’s just say, but wonders can be accomplished with the passage of time, and ones native charm, and especially with paying off the bounty on oneself.

Butch:

That’ll happen.

Worth it for the bloggage.

Feminina:

I’ll get on it.

Oh, wait, is that “she’s sleepin’ up near [wherever], and word has it she ain’t sleepin’ alone”? I did pick that quest up, I just haven’t pursued it.

I shall! Surely even if I’m wanted myself, they’ll HAVE to pay me if I show up with a bounty for them.

“Hey, brought you something, no hard feelings right?”

“Here’s your payment. You’re under arrest.”

Ha.

Butch:

That’s the one. You’ll have…opinions.

Could be worse. Remember, for a while there, I was hitting the wrong button and punching things by accident? Like I punched roach and had to reload?

Well, one bounty, brought the dude back, put him down, sheriff put my money on the table, went to pick it up, punched the sheriff.

Died.

As one does.

Feminina:

I did that with my first bounty! Only I didn’t actually punch him, I just bumped into him while I walked up, trying to go over to him like “hey, I got this dude you wanted,” and apparently bumping the sheriff is a HUGE no-no.

And then I punched a random horse quite recently, when I meant to “study” it instead. What with the punching and the quick draw, this game sure does make violence the default action.

Butch:

We’re still learning. I just found out I could jump! And shimmy kinda! I climbed up on top of a building just because I could.

And there was Roach, sitting there, looking at me all “I tell ya, someday I’m just gonna have to say fuck it, keep your damn carrots, moron.”

Although….

Yesterday, when I was looking for the treasure, Roach followed me up this really steep rock thing. I went down without him, and whistled, and he was stuck. I had to climb all the way back up, saying “Why did you follow me, Roach?” to lead him down.

You could tell, in his eyes, he was saying “We shall speak of this to no one. And I forgive you some of your stupidity. Now hand over the carrots.”

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Science, Viruses and Romance

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Puncherson_64LadyBrain_64

Absolutely zero spoilers

Butch:

Well, I tried to play. Unfortunately, upon returning from trumpet lessons (make up cuz of snow), the first thing I heard when opening the door was Mrs. McP yelling at the top of her lungs at Nugget cuz something or other and telling him he lost electronics and all television for the night.

Note: Games are on television.

And by the time he was in bed, I didn’t feel great and went to bed.

At least Junior didn’t lose screens and we got to watch a fascinating NOVA about Apollo 8 in my bedroom. Not sarcasm, it was a really cool show. Not blog material, but, dear readers, I do recommend it.

I’ll play today. Unless Mrs. McP comes home early and I have to be all romantic and shit.

This week isn’t going well.

I seem to say that every week.

Feminina:

It definitely has been a while since a week went well. But then, if it IS going well we don’t tend to mention that, probably for fear of jinxing it, so there may be a bit of confirmation bias when we think “all we ever say about weeks is how they aren’t going well, so they must never be going well.”

At least, that’s my hopeful pep talk. SOME week will probably go well SOMETIME. And then we won’t say anything about it, because we’ll be too busy talking about all the games we’re playing because everything is going so well.

Butch:

From you, that is a peppy pep talk. Usually, you’re along the lines of “Hey, man, the earth’s gonna crash into the sun someday, so, you know….”

Ok, got roses. Now food.

Mr. O gonna pull through?

Oh, who am I kidding, you don’t want roses.

Feminina:

Hey, I emphasize the BRIGHT side of the earth crashing into the sun! That’s peppy!

It’s true, I do not want roses. Ideally, I want nothing except possibly some cheap candy once it goes on sale tomorrow. And I can buy that myself.

Hopefully Mr. O’ will pull through by not getting something and making me feel bad for not getting something.

Great, now I’m worried he’ll get something. Maybe I should get something just in case.

And that’s how it escalates.

It’s so romantic!

Butch:

Both your pep and sense of romance inspire us all.

Best get on that cheap candy. I went yesterday to get the aforementioned Mless M&Ms and they had already taken down most of the Valentine’s candy and were putting out Easter candy. Nothing says love like a chocolate bunny!

Feminina:

Aww…I do love a bunny! As long as it’s chocolate.

I really am the go-to source for romance advice and pep talks. That’s on my business cards.

We will never forget the time I advised you to hire a string quartet and strew rose petals around the deck and enjoy a candlelit dinner until the deck caught fire. But did you even listen?

Butch:

You did do that, you did. But really, that was more home ownership advice than it was romance advice.

One stop shopping, really.

Feminina:

Once again, we prove our ability to provide relevant and useful input for an incredibly wide variety of topics.

Butch:

We do. We so do.

I just wish we could knock it off and talk about games.

I blame myself.

And viruses. And romance.

Feminina:

Mainly viruses.

And romance.

Butch:

Ok, I’m playing today. No matter what. Playing.

Feminina:

I think you’d better, or there’s no telling how far this discussion will deteriorate.

Butch:

It’s almost like you’re daring us.

Feminina:

Only out of morbid curiosity! That makes it OK.

Butch:

Curiosity makes it science!

Feminina:

And there’s nothing more romantic than science!

Butch:

There it is. Mark it down. Today’s the day where, finally, after all this time, these many years of bloggage, I officially have no fucking idea what we are talking about.

Feminina:

It’s your fault! You should be playing!

Or setting your deck on fire. Something.

Butch:

I blame myself.

I feel like I already said that today. Was that today? I DON’T EVEN KNOW WHAT HAPPENED TODAY!

Help.

Feminina:

Nothing happened! That’s the problem.

Nothing but romance and science and no games. And an inevitable descent into madness.

It will forever serve as another cautionary example of what happens when we don’t play.

Counterbalancing the recent cautionary examples of what happens when we do play and don’t save.

I blame myself for that. With good reason.

Butch:

Dude, considering the cheese that is flung around on Valentine’s Day, this alternate take is some Pulitzer prize winning shit.

Feminina:

It’s an intentional counternarrative!

Yeah, I’m going to go with that.

Butch:

We’re GENIUSES!!!!!

Feminina:

Yeah, I’m going to go with that.

Don’t forget, also modest.

Revenge of the Seltzer

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Puncherson_64LadyBrain_64

Minor, vague spoilers for plot points in Red Dead Redemption 2

Butch:

Well, might have to slow down because I manged to severely hurt my left wrist in a bizarre seltzer water accident. While that may well be a NEW SENTENCE, it’s not as funny as our other NEW SENTENCEs because it is true, very embarrassing and hurts like hell.

But I did play some, and I’m writing early cuz I’m confused.

Trucked up into the mountains to visit Flacco Hernandez, gunslinger. Tried to talk my way to him. Got killed. Threatened my way in. This worked. I go to talk to him, he comes out, like, spits, there’s a duel. I die, maybe, 3587259 times, but I eventually shoot him! He’s all “The second one won’t miss,” and I’m all “I don’t want to kill you, dude, just and I’m dead.” So eventually I just did all that and wound up killing him. And I took his picture and his gun and his treasure map, but is that it? Was I not supposed to kill him? I’M SO CONFUSED!

So then I magpied. I rode around a while, met a couple of random dudes, hunted some, as one does, and then, out of nowhere, I have a new quest marker! “What’s that?” I think. Well, it’s the dude with the nature pictures! Remember him? Coyote stole his bag, we got it back, I was all “What was that about?” Him! “Sounds good!” I think, and set a waypoint and off I go.

On the way, I see something else worth a magpie, but unclear. So I do a hard save (you should try it sometime), and magpie. Well, stuff happens that I didn’t want to happen, so I reload my save.

Which works….I’m where I’m supposed to be, and the stuff that happened that I didn’t want to happen hadn’t happened….fine….but the quest marker with the dude is gone. Poof! Gone. It wasn’t there, then it was, then it wasn’t.

Did I screw something up? Did I screw multiple things up? I’M SO CONFUSED!!!!!

And I’m not at all sure I can do Blackwater on a bad wrist, but I’m gonna try.

Feminina:

Dude, you gotta be careful with seltzer. Apparently.

Yeah, the Flacco Hernandez bit was weird. I also first tried to be polite to his men, got killed, tried threatening them and they were all “head on in, dude.” Found that odd. I couldn’t figure out how not to duel with Hernandez and kill him, so if there was something going on there, I don’t know what it was.

I have also run into the occasional “there was totally a question mark there” issues. In my case, there were two, I followed up on one, then the other was nowhere to be found when I went back. I dunno. Maybe it’ll turn up again later. Maybe not. Can’t be too important, if not.

As far as I know you didn’t screw anything up! Words of comfort.

Blackwater actually turned out to be less of a production than Strawberry, so you’ll probably be fine as long as your wrist allows play.

Good luck!

Butch:

It was more a canned beverage injury. I was picking up a 12 pack of seltzer, aiming to put it in my cart. Turns out, it was partially torn in the middle, and picking it up finished the job, so six cans went one way, the other six went the other, and my wrist, which was already twisting to get the thing into the cart, got all confused as to which way it should go and bam. I thought I broke it. So there was a crash and loud, LOUD swearing there in the seltzer aisle at Wegmans. This made three, count ’em, three store employees descend with looks like they were about to confront a crazy, possibly gun wielding violent customer, only to have those looks change to the looks of people afraid that they will be sued when they saw me in obvious, terrible pain and the nice old lady who saw it saying “I think he might need help.”

Then there was a long time where they insisted I sit there with an ice pack, and a lot of gawking fellow customers and it just sucked. That’s how the day started. It got no better.

Well, at least we’re in the same boat with Flacco. I did find his treasure map, so maybe it was just about getting that.

And that quest (the animal photographer) is still in my task log, and it says “This will be continued later” or something. So…yeah.

Really? Less major than Strawberry? That’s good news. And it is the “And now chapter 3” thing, yes?

Feminina:

Oh man, I’m sorry. That sucks a lot. Not actually broken, though? I hope?

But yeah, Blackwater was basically fine. Normal difficulty challenge. Just…don’t go into the town proper. Where you’re Wanted Dead or Alive and only an idiot would just saunter right down the main street. Ahem.

As for chapter three…weirdly, I’m actually not sure. It’s certainly not obvious if it is. Was chapter two obvious?

Butch:

Yeah….that would be pretty dumb. Ha.

Well, Chapter 2 was pretty obvious cuz it was when we left the mountains and there was a big montage. I think the real tip off was the long journal entry that Arthur read aloud. And the new quests one gets.

That would be key, because I don’t have any yellow quests but that. Did you get more afterwards?

Wrist does not appear broken, but man I thought I had. I had pain from my fingertips, up my arm, and around by my rib cage. I don’t even know what nerves those are, but whatever they are I fucked them up.

Seems somewhat better, though. Advil. Much, much advil.

Feminina:

Advil forever!

Yeah…I don’t feel like there was that obvious a transition here. Maybe in one of the things that happens after, though. I think I feel like I’m getting to chapter three now, more than with Blackwater.

Butch:

Hmm. Did you get a bunch more quests?

Feminina:

A couple, but not a really what I’d call a bunch. I mean, it’s definitely an important plot moment, but it didn’t have that feeling of transition, really. I don’t know–do it and see how you feel about it.

Butch:

Ok. I’ll try to do it tonight. But I had a brainstorm about something in a treasure map that I want to check out, and that will likely lead to me going all to hell and gone. I just can’t help it with the magpie!

And I need more dynamite. I used my only stick blowing open a safe two guys in the woods had. I killed them. And blew up their safe.

Oh, and I keep getting distracted trying to kill a squirrel and a rabbit. For a taxidermist. So far I haven’t. But I did identify a rat, a raccoon and a chipmunk!

Good times.

Feminina:

Ah, I have that taxidermy thing. I’ve been completely ignoring it. Way to identify wildlife.

The treasure maps are tough! I’ve only found one thing so far.

Butch:

Dude, I’m only identifying wildlife because I completely suck at finding squirrels. “Maybe this is a nope it’s a rat. HEY! Maybe that no it’s a raccoon.”

I’m sure Roach is sitting there thinking “Next he’s gonna think I’m a squirrel. He’s pretty dumb, but as long as he keeps the carrots coming….”

Feminina:

Wildlife is Hard.

This is why I haven’t even tried. I did catch one fish. I forget what it was. Something small that I threw back, because I’m such a responsible steward of natural resources.

Butch:

I don’t even know how to catch fish!

482 hours in, and still I await a tutorial.

Or not. How do you catch fish?

Oh! Another question: I was chillin’ in Strawberry, doing a little shopping, and I get a helpful tip in the corner saying “Some shops have an illicit side business. Check around the shop or get a tip from a stranger!” Basically, “Hey, doofus, there’s something here you’re missing.” So I checked and checked and greeted and greeted and nothing. There’s a locked side room, but that’s it. I WANT THE ILLICIT SIDE BUSINESS!!!!!

You figure it out?

Feminina:

I JUST learned how to fish in a short tutorial mission after Blackwater.

I also just discovered an illicit side business by going around the side of a building to check out a question mark. I still don’t know what to DO about it since I wasn’t able to open the door to said illicit business. I suppose it will be revealed in the fullness of time.

Butch:

This game doles out its secrets ever so slowly.

Better be a good illicit side business.

Feminina:

Ever. So. Slowly.

Tutorial by tantalizing tutorial.

Someday, we’ll be able to make coffee.

Butch:

I’m just happy I can cook gamey meat.

Feminina:

That IS a wonderful thing. I made meat flavored with oregano once, which must have been delicious, but I can’t do it anymore because I fed all the oregano to my horse for some reason.

Life: the Divine Retribution

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Puncherson_64LadyBrain_64

No spoilers

Butch:

I got nothing. You got anything?

Feminina:

I did play some. Mr. O’, on the other hand, started Assassin’s Creed Odyssey. He said maybe he’ll go back to Red Dead once I’m done. Sigh. I feel responsible. Because I am.

Butch:

You tried. He’s gonna milk this guilt trip, isn’t he?

Now watch: you’ll sit on his ACO disc and break it.

I’M WORKING! It’s a never ending weekend of hellishness.

I magpied. Two hours despite a bad wrist cuz fuck it. Had to escape the hellishness.

Feminina:

Mm, neverending hell weekend. The stuff memories are made of.

Butch:

Kids are back at school FOR A HALF DAY BECAUSE EVERY FUCKING TUESDAY IS A HALF DAY WHICH JUST ADDS INSULT TO INJURY and I hate my life.

When Mr. O gets down about losing his save, just say “Dude, you’re not Butch.” That’ll cheer him up.

Feminina:

Oh man your freaking half-Tuesdays, what is even up with your town?! I always forget about your Tuesdays, for the very good reason that they are ridiculous and horrifying.

Your taxes pay for this, man. Complain to the school board. More.

Butch:

It’s payback because I thought they were so cool in eight grade.

Ridiculous and horrifying under normal circumstances. After a three day ‘professional development’ weekend? Just plain mean.

Feminina:

Good point. You do deserve it for thinking it was cool then.

It’s one of those repeating cycles of horror where every generation suffers for the errors of its forebears.

Butch:

But I only got to enjoy it for six months, as I moved here in eighth grade. Seems the punishment does not fit the crime.

Feminina:

So often these divine retribution things work out that way.

As if the gods are willfully cruel and/or have terrible aim when smiting.

We Must Rescue Him from Safety!

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Puncherson_64LadyBrain_64

Spoilers for ‘Mary’s brother’ side story in Red Dead Redemption 2

Butch:

Dude, you gotta make peace with your own silliness regarding file maintenance, because by letting that color your views of this game, you are missing a good game. A very good game.

Did the Mary thing yesterday, and that was great. One of the best quests I’ve done in a long time (granted, we played Shadow of the Tomb Raider in there, but still).

I’m still digesting, but juxtaposing the cult and the desire to change, and the idea that that promise that you could change was a fraud (“You didn’t give them money, did you kid?” “Well, it was for charity!” “Sigh.”) with the romance was genius. Because, really, it makes you wonder if the possibility of change IS a fraud. Can you change if the motivation is big enough? Can you adapt to the future ahead?

One huge knock you’ve made on Arthur (rightly) is that he is, well, a bad guy. More, he’s an unrepentant bad guy. “Yup, this is what I am,” without any seeming remorse. Until now, that is. Here, we see him wanting to change, a little, not because he’s scared of the law, or tired of being poor, but because he loves Mary. LOVE is the thing that might change him. Save him?

Interesting note on salvation: The cult. Cults, so I’ve heard, are usually about salvation, right? “Come with us and leave sin and all that behind for we have the answers and blah.” But THIS cult wasn’t on about salvation or heaven or anything. Their thing seemed to be “safety.” They were going off into the mountains so that, presumably, they could be left alone. Here, Arthur and Mary are trying to get Jamie away from that, away from “safety,” and we, the players, seem ok with that. Usually, we try to HELP NPCs find their way to a safe place, so this was a strange thing.

Continuing that, if we see Mary is the opposite of safe, then really what we’re saying is “love is risky. Love is unsafe.” Arthur backs that up in his journal, something like “I have been a fool, and I will be again” when talking about his feelings. “Love sure is foolish. Better to stay SAFE with Dutch.” After all, isn’t Dutch looking for safety, too, in his way?

And let’s agree: Right now, if the choices we have for an ending are 1) die, 2) run off alone to start anew, 3) establish Dutch’s gang and settle in with them, living a life of crime or not or 4) running away with Mary to be a ranch hand, madly in love, we’re taking 4, right? Foolish, unsafe love.

Seeing as the journal pretty much promised Mary will be back, I’m sure there’ll be more to say on this.

(*I could also talk about whether there was overtones of Mormonism in this “cult” and how we feel about that.)

(**Or mountain imagery. The game started with us lost in the mountains, freezing and dying, coming out of the mountains in a lovely montage, and not wanting to go BACK to the mountains, and yet here are people seeking safety IN THE MOUNTAINS.)

(***We have a lot to talk about.)

Feminina:

Oh man, this has been a day. Just running around all over the place, responding to people’s questions, writing long emails NOT about video games (what’s the point, really?).

I fear I don’t have the time left in the day to give your erudite discussion material the attention it deserves.

But…let’s see…I thought you’d like that bit with Mary’s brother!

It was a very interesting little snippet of story. In all the ways you mention, and also in the way it meshes with other stuff we’ve been doing lately–going to hassle people for money.

We go to threaten people and demand money, and they don’t want to see us. We go to retrieve people to claim the bounty, and they don’t want to see us. We go to ‘save’ people by rescuing them from…whatever…breaking their father’s heart, I guess…and they don’t want to see us. We’re spending all this time going to get things or people, and NO ONE is happy to see us.

I feel like maybe that’s even part of why Arthur seems to care about Mary and be moved by this sequence–I mean, obviously they had a romance before, he loves her, but also, she actually wanted to see him!

And then she sent him off to get someone who didn’t want to see him. But SHE was happy. Being able to make someone he cares about happy by showing up, when 90% of the time people are NOT happy when he shows up, has to count for something.

And, as you say, there’s also the interesting treatment of religion as just something to keep you “safe,” and how that seems to be mainly a desire to escape the scariness of the world, and how that ties into Dutch’s quest to escape the crushing fist of Big Government or whatever. They’re all trying to run away from the onrushing train of modernity! And it’s going to squash them all in the end.

Butch:

Meh. Save the thought. We can always pick it up later. Especially as another thing that I didn’t mention was that I poked around Emerald Ranch. Got into the saloon, tried to figure out the daughter….wasted time. The fuck is in that saloon? Has to be something. Did you figure anything out?

I digress.

She did want to see him! He does love her, and I do get the sense that she loves him back.

We’re not finished with this story arc. Not even close.

And, well, the brother didn’t want to see Arthur at first, but then Arthur (another neat twist on the pattern) saves him (on, maybe the fifth try cuz I couldn’t figure out what to do….ahem…), which is not generally something Arthur does. By the time they’re back at the station, everyone is happy Arthur did this.

Is modernity going to get them all in the end, though? I kinda read the Chelotans as pseudo-Mormons, a newish religion trying to get to the mountains in the west. Mormons, after a rough start, are doing ok. One became governor of some state or other. I got the sense that the Chelotans have a better shot at making it than Dutch does, because everyone has a better shot than Dutch.

(As another aside, you play? What should I do next? Gunslingers? Cuz all I have is that and Blackwater. Is it time for Blackwater?)

(Play, dude.)

Feminina:

I haven’t done Blackwater, so I’d say don’t do Blackwater if you want to talk about anything, although I’ll try to get to it this week. The gunslingers will take you all over the place, open up some more map…not a bad thing to have, I think, before going on with what appears to be an obvious move into the next part of the story.

None of them are really that hard, you just have to ride a ways to get to them. But it does open a lot of map!

As for the similarity to Mormonism…hm. That could be true. I feel like there were a lot of little religions popping up around that time, so it could kind of stand for Mormonism (ultimately quite successful, as of today), or one of the other ones that just dwindled into nothing. Perhaps part of the point is that we don’t know by looking at the humble beginnings, exactly what it’s going to turn into.

And since we don’t know, and Arthur doesn’t know, we’re sort of operating blindly by deciding that pulling the kid out is the best bet. Maybe he would have been happy and successful! Maybe he would have died broke and miserable. We can’t say.

All we can do, is go looking for someone who’s not (initially) happy to see us, as a favor to someone we care about.

Could be worse, I suppose.

Oh, and Emerald Ranch, dude, I don’t know. There’s something going on there, but I don’t know what. I went there for the debt, and I went there for the stagecoach fencing racket, and I went there to drop off someone I was kindly giving a ride, and I’ve heard some rumors that it’s kind of weird in some way…but I can’t find out anything concrete, and everyone seems normal when I go there.

I’m sure it will be revealed in time.

Butch:

Fair enough. I also don’t think they could just go out and make something that was damn close to a real, modern mainstream religion a “cult” in a game. That….might have been awkward.

Riding about it is! Cuz agreed, that does seem to be the “And now…chapter 3” mission.

Play this week, dammit.

Get back on that horse, pardner!

Yes–I helped that woman get to Emerald Ranch last night, too! And got the same stories!

And we all know that when you keep getting the same stories, there’s some shit.

Or not.

But probably!

At Last it Was Friday

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Puncherson_64LadyBrain_64

Some spoilers for storylines in Red Dead Redemption 2

Butch:

Well, played, but didn’t do much. Decided to head towards Mary’s thing, which was far away. Magpied up to a ranch, dude killed me. Got jumped by, like, 147855 O’Driscolls. Died. Got as far as Valentine. Got the free gun from the guy who I helped out with the snake venom (did you get that? Handy). Decided to eat, sleep, that sort of thing to get to a normal weight. Apparently oatmeal doesn’t cut it. Need better food. Said “I need better food, but I have no money,” so I…..

did a bounty.

It was kind of easy. Just really a ride out, figure out the trick (died twice, but reloaded the checkpoint right before I died, no biggie), bring back the bounty. Quick and easy. Not themey, per se, but whatever. Only worth 25 bucks, but after giving all my money away to chicken coops and bounties, I needed it.

Here’s something I’ll say for this game: it makes money matter. This game, at least in chapter 2, it’s important to feel poor. That’s the point right now, right? The gang is struggling. I figured they’d have a problem with this, because in most games a) money doesn’t matter because you find so much stuff in the world you never have to buy anything, b) you get so rich so fast that it becomes irrelevant how much things cost or c) both. Here, I really do find myself thinking through every little transaction. I get happy when I find $1.04. (More than a dollar! Score!) I find myself thinking “maybe I should go hunting so I don’t have to buy the camp food.”

That, in a game like this, is good design. I think they nailed it in the sense that I do feel myself thinking hard about my finances but I haven’t (yet) gotten to the point of not being able to get something I really need (except FAST TRAVEL) and, thus, getting frustrated.

More games should do that.

Feminina:

I’m with you on money and having to scrabble for resources, and how they set that up effectively. I think this would get old after a while, but as a first act, it does make you feel that money and minor loot (canned goods–I can eat those! a pocket watch–I can sell that!) are important.

And I’m sure the fact that it DOES get old after a while will help to explain the fact that the gang goes along with whatever bad idea Dutch and Micah (or whoever, but I’m betting Micah) cook up. I mean, first of all Dutch is the boss and we do whatever he says, but also we’re tired of living like this, counting up every four cents, having to hunt rabbits to keep ourselves fed…let’s go after the big score that will probably end in disaster!

Good times.

Butch:

Oh, no doubt. You can already tell, if you talk to dudes in camp, as I’m sure you do, that there’s already some people are starting to grumble about the accommodations, chicken coops or no. Indeed, that whole “It’s better here….have hope…” speech was given around a meager campfire, in the dark, to people with downcast eyes. Hardly a rousing “YES! Yes, Dutch! We believe!” crowd. More like a crowd that’s been sleeping in the dirt eating bad stew and is starting to not like sleeping in the dirt and eating bad stew.

It also exposes another fault line in the gang: Dutch’s thing with Colm O’Driscoll. We hear, early, Arthur and Hosea saying “I thought you said revenge was something WE CAN’T AFFORD,” emphasis mine. They’re saying “Dude, why are you wasting time with this selfish thing when we’re sleeping in the dirt and eating bad stew?”

This game does issues of class rather well.

And it sure is hitting close to home. Given our current situation, and certain pundits and politicians saying “No one cares about bureaucrats with cushy jobs not getting paid for once” and “This is like a nice vacation for these [pampered] people,” hearing Dutch, he of the “real Americans” say “Only weaklings with low IQs go work for the government” resonates maybe a tad more than the writers thought it would, which isn’t a bad thing, artistically.

Another aspect of this game’s ideas of class is how the poor/middle class/dying breed of Americans struggling to survive is eating itself to get ahead. I haven’t robbed a bank yet. Sure, there was that train robbery, but the ways I’ve made the most money are a) loan sharking other poor people and b) taking bounties on other poor people FOR THE GOVERNMENT. We’re not sticking it to the man. We’re sticking it to people like us.

Hmm.

This is two days in a row I thought I didn’t have anything and we’re doing well.

You playing yet?

Feminina:

No, I looked at Notifications > Uploads, as you suggested. Some things uploaded on and before Jan. 21, like it showed on the Application Saved Data Management screen. And then?

Ahahahahahahahaha!!!!!

The next slot after Jan. 21 says “error. Failed to upload.”

Because obviously.

Apparently it’s just been failing to upload for the past two weeks for some unspecified reason. Probably it has regularly popped up a notification about that failure…probably the kid has regularly ignored it while turning on the system in the morning to watch cartoons.

And that is how the entire universe conspired to make sure the game data I saved over is definitely, absolutely, really-truly gone forever.

Nice try, though! Your suggestions were good, they just couldn’t overcome the sad reality.

After that, I just tuned out. I have to work up to even being able to face loading this thing again.

Butch:

Dude. That is some seriously cosmic shit. Cruel, cruel, cosmic shit.

You likely hit that ten gig cap at exactly the wrong time. Clean that shit out.

Spend the day working yourself up to play! For mr o! For the blog! For your own damn sanity!

Cuz the only way to put this behind you is a few good playing sessions.

Feminina:

Yeah, no doubt. No doubt.

Siiiiiigh.

Sticking it to people like ourselves is exactly what The Man wants us to do. And we’re falling for it!

Don’t do it, Arthur!

Butch:

Play tonight! You’ll feel better.

And, in the irony department, as of today PS+ members, like us, are now allotted 100 gigs of cloud storage instead of the ten we had….uh….how to put this delicately….a couple of weeks ago.

***cough***

Ok, back to blogging.

The Man wants us to, yes. And I think the game is trying to make a point by MAKING us do what the man wants us to do. We HAD to do at least two “collect the debt” missions. We HAD to shoot up Strawberry (which wasn’t us robbing the rich). We HAD to shoot up the O’Driscolls there, and that was after the O’Driscoll explicitly said we were just like us. The game is the same kind of puppeteer that the Man is. What’s interesting is that I haven’t read a lot of analysis of this game mentioning that, which makes me think that most of the people who are playing it are being manipulated into this and not noticing.

That, in and of itself, is interesting metaphor.

Even the optional stuff! If you lay off the bounties, that’s gonna cost you a bunch of money. I only did it because I needed to. I’m sure we’d be far richer (or, at least, a little bit richer) if we played all black hat and robbed everyone we could find. You know, the poor saps like us. The game is built to have a middle/working class that eats itself to survive, and reward those who eat the most.

Hmm.

Feminina:

You’re kidding. [Groan.]

Siiiiiiigh…back to blogging…

Yeah, true. I haven’t been robbing people (even the witness I threatened with brutal violence if he reported me!–I figured hey, he’s more likely to think A LITTLE kindly of me if I don’t take his money, and even a smidgen of goodwill could mean the difference between mentioning something to the sheriff someday, and not), and certainly I’m the worse for it, financially.

Even choosing not to completely clean out Wroble…that probably set us back $5 or $10. And when we’re counting the pennies, that’s not insignificant.

Butch:

It’s not! I’m sure I could’ve gotten a pretty penny for that engagement ring. More than five, ten bucks, too.

Though last night I did get quite a windfall from being nice. The guy with the snakebite. I mean, a $100 gun? I felt like I hit the lottery.

Feminina:

I haven’t run across that guy again, but I did help him with his snakebite issue, so that’s something to look forward to.

Speaking of helping people, that gunslingers quest with the author? I went out of my way to go find all the gunslingers in a timely fashion, and then I wanted to find the guy and get paid, but now my journal just says “this quest will be continued at another time.”

So…no rush on that one.

Butch:

Hmmm….interesting…..

I haven’t done any of them. Maybe that’s next.

Though I WAS gonna get Mary’s brother. Have you done that?

The dude with the snakebite was chilling on a bench outside the gunsmith in Valentine. It’s marked on the map with a gun. You talk to him again, he says “Go get a gun on me,” and you do. Nice little perk.

Feminina:

“Go get a gun on me.” Wow. Thank you, sir, that’s quite a generous offer! Most people would just say, “let me buy you a drink.” (And, to be fair, Arthur would happily accept that also.)

I’ll get the most expensive gun I can and then sell it back to the store and put the money towards fast travel.

Or food for the camp, I guess.

I did get Mary’s brother. You should probably go do that, actually. It’s themey. You’ll like it.

Butch:

Wait…..you can sell guns? I don’t have that many guns, though.

It was quite the generous offer! I was half expecting the merchant to be all “The fuck you saying, pardner?” but no. Legit. Go get it.

Tonight. WHEN YOU PLAY. Tonight.

Figured that would be themey. But I’ll probably magpie. Or something.

I’m kinda running out of stuff, though. I have this feeling that the blackwater bit is going to be a “and now the next chapter” bit. Have you done it?

Feminina:

I have not done Blackwater, but that’s kind of the next thing on my list as well. There just isn’t really anything else going on unless I want to go back for that bounty that destroyed me the first time.

Though, again, it wasn’t the fights that did it, it was not being able to save the fights when it was bedtime. I’m sure it would be fine if I just set aside enough time to make sure I can get the corpse back to town.

Butch:

Maybe, but I’m guessing you did that somewhere other than Valentine, right? Cuz the one I did last night was a lay up, and it was explicitly the last one in Valentine (the Sheriff is all “Well, that’s the last of ’em, gonna focus on street patrols….). So maybe that was a “Dude, you’re not supposed to be here yet” thing.

Either way, fuck that shit.

Feminina:

It was out by Saint Denis.

Oh, and that’s a good question, I don’t know if you can sell guns or not. I’ve never done it. Maybe you can’t. I was just thinking of games where I sell everything.

Butch:

Yeah, see? I haven’t been anywhere NEAR St. Denis. No wonder it was hard.

I dunno, man. You need 25 bucks, go do the one in Valentine. Grab the free gun while you’re there.

Feminina:

I might do that. Might do.

I do need to do some sticking it to people like me. After all, The Man doesn’t enforce his rule all by himself: he needs our buy-in.

Butch:

Watch: You’ll get jumped 19 times and be all “BUTCH! THE FUCK!”

I dunno, man. There was one trick, but it was ride there, grab, ride back. Didn’t see anyone else. Well, one guy, but he was kinda funny.

Easy money.

And the free gun is free.

“Might do.” We are starting to talk like cowboys, huh?

Feminina:

What did I say? When we first started, I was like “prediction: we will wind up talking like grizzled prospectors before we’re done with this.”

There’s something catchy about that old-timey drawl.

Butch:

Now I tell you what, I figure I’m too ar-tick-you-late to fall for that kind of cow patty. And I reckon a lady such as yourself has been a part of too many cattle drives to let something as hare brained as cowboy talk turn this here blog into a wild doggone hootenanny.

Feminina:

NICE.

Nicely done.

Boy howdy.

Butch:

Thank you, miss. Thanking you kindly.

Now you make sure you run on home after your chores are done and play those there vidya games the youngin’s enjoy so we can pass the time talkin’ on ’em after the next sunrise or I’m going to go as crazy as a June bug in July.

Feminina:

Boy howdy!

I reckon.

Butch:

Dude, aren’t you the one who actually LIVED in the west? And “I reckon” is the best you can do?

Feminina:

People in the west don’t actually talk like grizzled prospectors anymore, as a rule.

Also, I don’t rightly know for certain, but more’n likely I’m just in awe of your command of the idiom.

Butch:

They……..don’t?

Feminina:

Well, you know, not so’s you’d notice.

Butch:

Nicely done there, pardner. Slipping it in all subtle like.

Please play this weekend. We need themes. Or, at least, nudity.

Which has been sadly lacking.

Feminina:

Yeah. I had a moment’s hope there when I paid for that bath in Strawberry, but no, it was just a bit of back. Siiiiigh.

Butch:

Well, when I was checking why I only got a bronze thing (which I always get) for the boozy mission, one thing I didn’t do was “Catch Lenny in the act.”

Take that as you will.

Feminina:

Ah…interesting. I will…take that as I will. I guess.

I bet it was just a bit of back. If that.

Butch:

Well, the box does say “Strong Sexual Content.”

That Sadie has eyes for me, she does.

Feminina:

I’m WAITING, box.

Butch:

At least you got horse physics.

You know, ever since you told me the horses poop, I think my horse got the runs. I can’t unsee it.

This day really started well.

Feminina:

I told you that would happen!

And I sincerely apologize.

Butch:

Jeez. Here’s a small sample of what we said today:

“Another aspect of this game’s ideas of class is how the poor/middle class/dying breed of Americans struggling to survive is eating itself to get ahead. I haven’t robbed a bank yet. Sure, there was that train robbery, but the ways I’ve made the most money are a) loan sharking other poor people and b) taking bounties on other poor people FOR THE GOVERNMENT. We’re not sticking it to the man. We’re sticking it to people like us.”

And now we’ve gotten to horse poop.

Feminina:

Yeah, well, we like to try to speak to the entire spectrum of peoples’ blog-reading needs.

Thoughtful, insightful discussion on game themes and their relationship to modern day reality…and horse poop.

Let’s not forget the pear brandy, burlap lingerie, and terrible fitness tips! We’ve got it all, folks!

Butch:

One stop shopping. We aim to please.

We often miss, but we sure do aim.

Feminina:

Damn straight!

“If you aim for the moon, and miss, you’ll still land among the stars.”

Likewise, if you aim to please, and miss, you’ll still land…uh…I don’t know. Probably not in prison. Not right away, anyway.

“Probably not in prison right away” is the best I’ve got. It’s time to go home.

I Once Was Saved, But Now Am Lost

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Puncherson_64LadyBrain_64

Some spoilers for the main storyline (rescuing Micah) in Red Dead Redemption 2

Butch:

How are your saves?

I have two weeks worth backed up. Backs up each slot three times. Check. You should be fine.

This is why you have me.

Feminina:

I didn’t see anything in the online saves after January 21, for some reason.

Maybe we did have to set it up. And it expired near the beginning of the year.

I don’t know, man, weird. But the last thing there is from January.

Butch:

Seriously?

It renews automatically. Check again. I didn’t set up shit. I was surprised at how many I had.

Well, despite the fact that I know for a fact that Mr. O’s missing save is in there in the cloud (if you have saves from Jan. 21st you have saves from this week….did you go to “saved data management” or just the PLUS sign?) (Plus doesn’t expire on Jan. 21st unless you got it on Jan. 21st. It lasts a year from purchase.) (I’m this close to just going to your house and finding it), we have to talk about something and luckily I have something to say about something you did.

Here goes.

So we were doing ok with themes. We were. We had the death of Americana, we had anti-semitism, we had the shift to banking economies in the 20th century, we had all sorts of shit.

But then I did Micah’s mission and shot up Strawberry last night.

I thought hard about whether there was some sort of themeage there. I said “Well, maybe Micah is showing that there’s good and bad in Americana,” but I realized Arthur kinda sucks, too. So really, I got nothing.

Which got me to thinking, and this is our jumping off point today: I can’t think of a single level IN ANY GAME that is primarily combat that has themeage. Any game! It’s like games, all games, kinda say “Yup, we got this narrative going, but we’re going to stop for a while so you can kill Kevin.” That is, games with combat. We’ll except the Gone Homes of the world.

And, well, that’s kinda lame.

Now, I get the idea of combat being a thing in a game like TR or UC. Those games need combat because they are, at their core, exciting. But a game like this, or Mafia, or ME, those games are about story, and bigassed combat set pieces like last night interrupt everything in the story.

So two questions:

1) Do you think combat and theme really are mutually exclusive? and
2) if they are, does that mean that bigassed combat set pieces are simply remnants of what we think games “should be?” Like, “Well, games have big fight scenes, so we’re gonna put them in even if they don’t fit?” and
3) If THAT’S so, should they go away? Should a game like this only have little bits, small shootouts, quick things to set the realism, and be done with it?

Ok, three questions.

Feminina:

You’d better come to my house and find it, then. I went to “application saved data management” > “saved data in online storage” which both seemed obvious AND is what the internet said when I checked in case I was missing something. When I selected RDR2 from the list of games, I saw saves dated from Jan. something (I forget) to Jan. 21, and nothing after that. It doesn’t make any sense to me either, but I don’t know what else to tell you–that’s what I saw. I looked very carefully. I was really hoping it would be there!

I mean, I’ll check again. Maybe it…hadn’t synced up yet…with the saves it hasn’t been doing…or something….

COME TO MY HOUSE AND FIX IT. I’ll get booze.

And yeah. Micah and Strawberry. That was…not fun. Remember way back in Dragon Age 2, when Anders was plotting behind our backs to blow up the Chantry? And we were just SO ANGRY with him? I really, really wanted to punch that character. And you couldn’t, because attacking him wasn’t an option!

I felt about the same regarding Micah. Micah is a jerk. If it had been an option in the game to just abandon him, I think I would have, but when I tried hanging back he’d get killed and it would reload. So you HAD to stick with him and help him in his stupid attempt to murder everyone in town.

And, I mean, whatever, the lawmen are our natural enemies in this game because we’re outlaws, so I don’t PREFER having to fight 15 of them and wind up with a $145 bounty on my head, but OK.

But when he went to that house, and killed the dude on the porch, and, I assume, the woman inside? You don’t murder civilians, dude! That’s basically the only moral principle I try to stick to. (I mean, I don’t always succeed. I ran over a few people in Mafia 3. But not on purpose, damn it.)

I already knew Micah was a jerk from, I don’t know, every time he’s ever said anything, but I was genuinely kind of shocked at that bit. (Forgot for a moment that this is a Rockstar game, I guess.) And even though Arthur apparently wasn’t that shocked (more annoyed and inconvenienced), and doesn’t find this to be beyond the pale, I personally rather resented having to help Micah after that, instead of just shooting him myself and running off. “Sorry Dutch! He died in the gunfight. Nothing I could do.”

I mean, OK, we’re all outlaws, we beat up people to collect debts, we’re not good guys, but there are LEVELS of bad guy. Micah is just a flat awful, bad person, AND he inconvenienced me with a large bounty I’ll have to pay off. I hate him, and I’m annoyed that I have to tolerate him because Arthur tolerates him (to be fair, Arthur clearly doesn’t LIKE him, and is only putting up with him because Dutch for some reason likes him).

Oh, and that ominous “I’ve been a bad boy” before he rides off…we’ll probably find out he’s been burning schoolhouses full of children to the ground, or something, and we’ll STILL have to forgive him.

I know the game is intentionally setting all this up so we can appreciate how frustrating this is for Arthur when Dutch keeps going along with it, or whatever, and OK, I guess I respect how effectively it’s managing my feelings. I suspect Micah is going to come up with another big plan that will be clearly a bad idea, but Dutch will think it’s great, and everything will go to hell again just like in Blackwater, and we’re supposed to be concerned and angry about this and about why Micah has this influence over Dutch, and how we used to be close with Dutch but now we’re drifting apart and so forth. And they probably want to make Micah as unsympathetic as possible to make sure we get all these implications.

Still. I’m extremely annoyed that I couldn’t at least punch him in his stupid face before he left. WOULD THAT HAVE BEEN SO HARD, GAME?

As to your questions…uh…hm.

1) I guess I don’t think combat and theme are mutually exclusive since I just spent 8 million words complaining about how a combat scene affects my feelings toward a character and how that fits into a larger narrative of character relationships, get-rich-quick schemes and looming disaster.

2) Big-assed combat set pieces in some games may indeed be remnants of things we expect all games to have, like “you gotta have some big fights in a game!” Certainly in some games, some combats do feel tacked on just because it seems like there should be a fight about now. I don’t know if I think this one was, exactly…I think it was there specifically to show us that Micah is a huge jerk, and is also reckless and doesn’t care how much trouble he stirs up, so he’s bad at planning for the future, we have a good reason to distrust his schemes, etc. I think we did actually learn something from this big fight, so I didn’t feel that it was just tacked on so there could be a big fight. Now, if they KEEP doing this, if every few missions results in a big-assed combat set piece, then yeah. That would start to feel out of place. And, in a game striving so hard to be realistic (in some ways at least) it would quickly strain belief. I don’t care how wild the west was, you didn’t have one guy or a couple of guys wiping out half a town in the same general area every week or so, and everyone else going about their business as if things were fine. (Did you take a bath at the hotel in Strawberry before all that went down? I took a bath. You can pay extra for a woman to come in and scrub your arms and legs for you. I assume that’s sort of a euphemism, like, heh heh, “scrub your legs,” heh–but in fact all that it showed was her washing you. I suppose I’ll take what non-violent human contact I can get.)

3) Should they go away? Well…sure, in some games it would totally make sense for giant fights to go away. No argument here.

Discuss! Or something, I’ve kind of lost track of where we are on this.

Butch:

You had me at booze.

Easy way to check. Go to “notifications.” Hit “options.” Select “Uploads.” That’ll call up a list of everything it’s ever uploaded ever ever. You might have to scroll some. If you see something more recent, then there ya go.

So what is your plan if it’s gone? Let Mr. O play for a while to get to where he was? Does he even want to do that?

If he does, he’ll get there by the end of the weekend anyway, cuz this is Mr. O. And I’m STILL behind you. Even with Micah and the weird guy taking pictures of wildlife and me finding his bag (I have a feeling I missed something there, as that was rather pat. “Hi! My bag! Hey thanks.” Seems like I missed something…..) and the New York guy giving me all that exposition about the mayor, I’m STILL at 17.6. How the fuck are you more than 20?

We’ll still have bloggage.

Micah…I wonder, though, what if we had just walked? At the point there where it told us to hook that thing up to free him, could we have just said “fuck this” and got on ol’ Roach? We’ll never know.

I only would up with $85 for bounty, but still. That cleaned me out.

I’ll never fast travel. Ever ever. So very broke.

LOVELY chicken coop, though.

Fuck.

YEAH! Civilians! I wasn’t cool with that, either.

But…well….wait. Arthur’s not even really putting up with him. He’s ONLY doing this because he likes Dutch and…..wait for it…..he does what Dutch tells him.

See, for all this “We live FREE!” stuff, they don’t. Dutch pretty much rules with an iron fist. Sure, he does it with a smile and says “But look what I give you!” But:

1) he doesn’t give them all that much,
2) he expects “tithing” in return (fuck you even have to upgrade HIS tent before yours)
3) he ALWAYS insists on his way.

Look at all the times people have said “Dutch….no…..” and he just says “YES!” and that’s it.

And why? Because he has them all convinced that a) they owe him and b) there isn’t anyone BUT him who can give them anything worth a shit. He also fills their heads with false hope based on “facts” that he knows. That speech about how “It was worse in Europe, it’s better here, and soon it’s going to be” (I’mm’a go there) “great again.”

Yup. I’mm’a gonna go there.

Cuz it seems that I can think of a situation, a real life situation, where a bunch of folks, good, solid, traditional Americans, seem to follow a leader who doesn’t give them all that much, expects a ton in return, won’t listen to anyone who tells him he shouldn’t do what he wants to do, convinces them that he’s the only one who can give them anything worth a shit….

I can also think of a real world situation where some of these traditional Americans might be a bit disquieted by the other traditional Americans in their coalition, like, say, Christian Evangelicals who might not, say, like, oh, I don’t know, someone who’s been married three times and messes around with, dunno, grasping here, porn stars.

But hey. Children of Dutch stick together. And Dutch gets his way.

Indeed, Micah even calls them CHILDREN of Dutch. That’s a loaded term, right?

And Children of Dutch do what they’re told. Even if they don’t like each other at all.

Cuz they’re living free. Like good, traditional Americans.

You think we’ll have to forgive Micah? I think we’re NOT going to forgive him. That this is a fault line between Dutch and Arthur.

And wait….you think Micah’s calling the shots? I don’t. He wound up in jail cuz he got drunk and picked a fight. I don’t think Dutch goes along with anything. People go along with Dutch.

Still….the combat seemed a bit much. There was wave after wave after wave, and the thing that REALLY made him seem like a jerk was killing that guy, and that wasn’t part of the fight itself. Felt a whole lot like they were adding fighty bits to the fighty bits just because they wanted fighty bits.

Giant fights should go away. Just like boss fights. And swimming.

And look, we’re doing well! See, this week was a blessing in disguise. Mr. O will catch up to himself over the weekend, I’ll catch up to you while he does that, we’ll get back in sync, won’t have to worry about you forgetting stuff, it’ll be all good!

Well done, Femmy!

Feminina:

Notifications and Uploads…OK, I’ll look.

I said “if you tell me what you’ve done, I’ll go do the same things to get the game back to where you were so you don’t have to do it all over,” and he said that was OK, that he’d get back into it eventually, when he could face the thought of it. So we’ll see.

I still feel bad.

And I didn’t mean Micah has influence over Dutch in the sense that Micah directly tells Dutch what to do and Dutch does it, or anything. Micah is definitely not in charge. As you said, Dutch is the boss and he does what he wants, and tells everyone else what to do and they like it or lump it.

I just meant influence in the sense that he can say “hey, Dutch, here’s an idea!” and Dutch for some reason likes it, more than he likes other (more sensible) ideas. Sort of the way bloviating propaganda TV station figures might have ‘influence’ over a megalomaniacal wannabe-tyrant leader who does whatever he wants, but also whatever sounds like a good idea at the moment. To take a random example.

Micah’s not calling the shots, but he’s suggesting things to shoot at, and Dutch is going for it. I mean, we’ve been told that the Blackwater thing that went to hell was his idea, right? And Dutch was strangely into it, even though it wasn’t the kind of thing they normally did? And it turned out badly, but nevermind, onward and upward, things will be great again soon!

Also, yeah, that “we are children of Dutch, and so we are brothers” thing was dense with meaning. And how they’re on horseback, facing in opposite directions…the scene just screams “inter-family conflict ahead! moral rifts that will tear the gang apart!”

So good point, maybe we won’t forgive him when we find out about the burning schoolhouses or whatever other bad things he’s been doing. Maybe that will be the breaking point.

I hope we get to punch him in his stupid face.

Also a fair point I forgot to address–what if we’d refused to bust Micah out of jail? I think we couldn’t have done that forever. It was a yellow quest mission, and I think at some point we had to do that to move on with the story.

I mean, I really only did it because I was kind of out of other stuff to do already (except go after that bounty that filled me with seething white-hot rage before, and screw bounties).

I think we had to do it if we wanted to keep playing the game.

Butch:

Hmm. That likely means that this WAS setting up a plot point later. We are still in chapter 2, after all. Can’t go letting major characters die. But you can start creating rifts between major characters.

But that’s a very noble compromise you offered! Makes perfect sense, really. And this time, SAVE A LOT OF PLACES! SLOTS! USE THEM!

And check notifications/uploads.

“When he can face the thought of it.” Mr. O, thy name is melodrama.

We must put this behind us. Live and learn.

Whoa, really? Blackwater was Micah’s idea? I missed that. That changes how I look at stuff, then. I didn’t catch that.

We’ll likely shoot him at some point.

Did you find his “camp behind sweetwater?” I didn’t look. Paid my bounty and turned it off.

What have you done that I haven’t? I’m running out of icons in general. I have the Mary thing where I have to get her brother back (might do that next, as I have some ideas on theme), getting dude back from Blackwater and the gunslinger stuff that vortexed you away. And a couple of bounties. Ha.

I’ll try to stay on your track until you get back on track and tell me you’re playing again.

Feminina:

Ha–“face the thought of it” was me, not him. He didn’t actually say that. He said he would get back to it “at some point.” I read into it.

And yeah, I swear Arthur says something–maybe it was in his journal–about how the boat thing in Blackwater was a scheme Dutch and Micah were working on while Arthur and Hosea had something else in the works. So, OK, maybe he didn’t specifically say it was all Micah’s idea, but certainly Micah was involved while he, Arthur, was not. And that boat thing was the thing that went all to hell and they had to leave Blackwater and all their stuff, etc. etc.

I’m pretty sure the implication was that Dutch does stuff when he’s around Micah that a) he wouldn’t have done otherwise or in ‘the old days,’ and b) turn out badly. Because we also have to remember that Micah is comparatively new in the gang (again, from what’s been said). So he’s a brother, but also an interloper…a NEW brother who’s taking up all daddy’s attention.

Or, alternatively, he’s a bad, outside influence on a once-close and loving family, a PRETENDER to brotherhood, and represents…I don’t know, the ugly brutal future of heartless banking and sociopathic murder, juxtaposed against the wholesome good old days when all we did was…hold up stagecoaches or whatever. It’s an imperfect analogy, since the old days likely weren’t actually that good, but I think we can read some of it into the story.

Butch:

Melodrama your name is Femmy.

(Nicely done on getting the console to yourself again. I kid, I kid. Sorta.)

On Micah: Huh. I believe you, just missed it. That does make me ponder. I was reading it as Micah being the village idiot, in a way, and Dutch having a soft spot for him, not someone that anyone takes any kind of seriously. But, if that’s true and I missed it, which is fairly likely, then…hmm.

Well, I can see him presented like that, as an outsider who ruins everything (and that’s consistent with the metaphor: there’s lots of people who are into American traditions who are all “Well, wait….we are rather conservative but these white nationalists and whatnot do not speak for us….they’re newcomers to our party (ha) as it were and waaaah they’re getting daddy’s attention), but it’s interesting that my reaction to this quest was “Maybe this is juxtaposing the bad of the gang against the good….oh….wait…..” You’ve said many a time: Arthur is NOT good. Which, if you keep up with the metaphor, also makes some sense. Certain elements of Americana talk on the good ol’ days, and decry white nationalists and all that, but they also harken back to days of segregation, and women in the home, and “before all this PC nonsense.” So, are they really all that different?

I feel bad I started today thinking there were no themes.

This game’s got themes.

Feminina:

True, true. You have to be instantly suspicious of any nostalgic look back to any good old days. Good for whom, and in what specific ways, and in comparison to what specific feature of today?

I mean, no doubt, there are ways in which I might feel that previous times were better than current times. But there are also ways in which I might feel that they were worse, and if you’re basing any kind of policy decisions on nostalgia, you have to consider the whole package or you’re just being stupid. That, or trying to slide something by other people you think are stupid enough to fall for it. (Maybe they are! People ARE stupid. It’s a known fact. I mean, look at me, I can’t even save a game properly.)

Like, remember when we all young and spry and childless and could stay up playing video games literally all night? Weekends of nothing but Dragon Age Origins and maybe a pause to eat something! And the D&D! Think of the epic D&D sessions! Man, those were good times.

But then you also have to remember that we didn’t have nearly as many good games to play, and couldn’t afford nearly the same caliber of booze, and I DO like my kids most days, so I don’t REALLY want to return to that past when they didn’t exist.

We can smile and remember those happy days all we like as fond memories, but the minute we start seriously saying “we need to get back to,” or “things should be more like” those days, the rose-colored glasses have to come off and we have to start thinking hard about the ENTIRETY of those days and exactly what it would actually mean to go back or be more like them.

Like, OK, how do we get rid of the children? Can we just abandon them in the woods and hope they don’t follow a trail of breadcrumbs home, or will we have to actively hire a huntsman to kill them and bring us their hearts? (Like THAT ever works.) And…now I’m evil.

Nostalgia is a poisonous trap, man. I don’t trust anybody talking about the good old days or how wise our ancestors were. If they were so damn wise, why did they produce us?

On the other hand, I obviously don’t think all of modern life is awesome. After all, it was produced by our flawed and stupid ancestors (as well as us) and a lot of it is frankly terrible. I just don’t think that means the past was automatically better. It was terrible in different ways. Like slavery, and polio! To pick merely two of the thousands of things that were bad about the old days!

So I think Arthur’s longing for the old days is suspect, and if he wants to return to them he’s obviously doomed to failure, but that doesn’t mean he’s wrong to be leery of the future, either, especially if the future is Micah’s schemes and institutional control of everything (represented by the government and the idea of big banking).

Basically, the moral so far is probably that he’s just screwed, as are we all, because life is terrible.

At least he has booze!

Butch:

And the nostalgia thing, again, I think is why they chose to tell this particular story (and this particular metaphor at this particular time) as a Western, that genre that revels in false, whitewashed nostalgia like no other. Or, at the very least, a nostalgia of a very narrow strip of the grand demographic, that is, the people who think that white dudes in white hats murdering everyone else so white people can live in white houses in the heartland.

Remember, though, there are people who harken back to the time when things were…well…whiter. I won’t go so far as to say there are people who want to bring slavery back, but look at the backlash over the idea that maybe we should take down statues of people who were instrumental at perpetuating slavery because to take down said statues “disrespects our past glories” or some shit. Sure, hippies like us can say “Well, things kinda suck now, but do we really want to go back to the days when there was no gay marriage and abortion was illegal?” And there are, of course, lots of people say “Dudes, that’s WHY it sucks now. It was GREAT before (yup. Went there).”

And I think the game is skewering that. Our nostalgic depiction of the good ol’ days, of “freedom” and “unspoiled lands” and “great” times are being portrayed as pretty awful. There are no heroes. Even when Arthur looks like the good guy, he isn’t.

But then, I should say, he isn’t YET. We’re only in chapter 2.

As for life being terrible, well, I think he feels that way, too. What was the line? I think it was “I think maybe our time is coming to an end…and we’re gonna have to start paying for our sins.” That sounds like a man who thinks he is screwed.

He does have booze! That he does. And assorted biscuits.

Feminina:

Man, I wish I had assorted biscuits. I only have one kind of biscuit, and honestly, it sucks. It barely replenishes my health at all! I think one time it actually made me weaker!

Although that might have been because it wasn’t a biscuit, it was a 2-pound bag of peanut butter m&ms.

Butch:

Close enough.

Hey, my Arthur is “underweight,” and I can’t do anything about it! I even chased my camp stew with a chocolate bar, and still nothing!

How come I can’t eat biscuits, stew, chocolate and bourbon and be underweight? Lord knows I’ve tried.

Feminina:

Maybe you need to ride horses all day. It seems like you’d just be sitting, but according to the internet, riding actually burns a lot of calories. Plus there’s all that brushing and patting the horse, and the occasional gunfight…Arthur leads a very active life.

Or there are Microsoft’s suggested responses:

“What do you want to make?”
“I can’t either.”
“I’m so sorry for you.”

Uh…OK, Hotmail. Thanks for your input there.

Butch:

“I’m so sorry for you” works.

Still. Ever see Arthur on a treadmill? No. Does he own workout gear? No.

And yet HE’S the one who’s underweight.

Now that’s a reason to get mad at a game.

Then There Was Trouble

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Puncherson_64LadyBrain_64

Minimal spoilers for Red Dead Redemption 2

Butch:

Oh so THAT’S what the talismans are! (Talismen? Who knows. Well, you do, I bet.) I spent forever the other day trying to figure out how to craft one! Only grungy fences know!

So did that. Kinda uneventful. Did the sneaky at night, and was good about looking in windows, so I just went in, stole some necklaces, grabbed the cash in the chimney and bolted. Didn’t go upstairs. There was probably something really good upstairs, wasn’t there? Or in the back room? Probably a cheat code or something else great. Ah, well.

But did that.

And then Hosea was all “Want to ride back to camp?” and I hit “sure” and immediately said “Oh wait FUCK he said there was stuff here and we should check it out and when a game says that you should check it out and FUCK now it’s far away.”

Fuck.

So I dumped off the bounties and bought some stuff and chilled with Lenny and tried to flirt with Sadie cuz hey, she’s single, right? but I just woke her up and she got mad. Heard Dutch telling people to cheer up, have hope, America is great. That was pretty much an America, America, go ‘Murca speech, wasn’t it?

Then flipped to hockey.

So here I am, in camp, with nothing really close by. Well, the thing that’s closest is that gunslinger thing that you said vortexed you far, far away, and I’m not ready for that. So I could:

a) Do that
b) Schlepp down to Blackwater to get that guy out, but that looks hard, as I’m wanted there,
c) Schlepp over to wherever Micah is and do that
d) Schlepp up to where Mary’s brother is being held or whatever and do that or
e) go back to the Emerald ranch and poke around.

Figured I’d ask you.

Oh, here’s a question: So I’ve discovered a couple of rail stations and stage coach lines. These look handy for getting around a large map, but I’m afraid of losing Roach. I like Roach. Can I zoop on mass transit there without losing Roach?

Feminina:

Roach generally follows behind the stagecoach, and even if you manage to lose her, she’ll find you everywhere through the magic of being there when you reload the game. I thought I’d lost my horse when you took the train the first time, but he showed up after I’d spent some time doing something–going to a show in the big city or whatever–and then came outside again.

If that fails, just save and reload the game and she’ll pop up nearby for sure.

But speaking of saves…dude.

Dude.

This. Freaking. GAME.

So…I played some last night. Did some stuff, went after Micah (as you mention above, that’s an option, you can totally do that). Fine. Whatever.

Finished, went to load Mr. O’s game for him, and absently hit “save game — X” on his save slot instead of “load game — X.”

I saved over his entire freaking game. And yes, he only had one save.

So I now feel like utter crap, and no doubt he doesn’t feel great either, although he put a brave face on it and said it’s OK. It’s obviously not actually OK, since I did the worst thing you can possibly do to another video game player.

I was filled with white-hot rage when I had to redo an hour and a half, and now I wiped out who even knows how much because he has of course played many more hours than we have. He can either start from scratch (which is awful) or use one of my now three saves of my game, which loses him probably dozens of hours and is not the same as HIS version since we haven’t done exactly the same things.

I hate me.

And this is certainly my own stupid fault, not the game’s fault, but damn it. If you get a new car and you’re in three terrible accidents in the first three weeks you drive it, even if only one of those accidents was actually the car’s fault, you probably start to have pretty negative connotations when you think about that car.

DAMN IT. I hate me.

Butch:

OH dude. DUDE.

Dude.

But………

One save?

I’m playing just me and I have 18. Eighteen. EIGHTEEN.

So, you know….You gotta protect against said things.

EIGHTEEN.

Though, gotta say, this pretty much proves you owe me twenty two bucks, right?

Not on the game, dude. The blog must go on!

Hey man, accidents happen. He’ll be ok. He’s very forgiving.

You might want to make fourteen or fifteen more saves, though.

Just give him an old one of yours. And OLD one. How different could it be? There aren’t that many choices. Shit, even “upgrade camp” is linear.

Feminina:

Oh, man, it is the worst, though. I am terrible. Yeah, true, he should have more saves, but the real key point is that I SHOULD NOT HAVE SAVED OVER IT. He was all fine with his one save until then.

That’s on me. I wasn’t paying attention.

Oh, and no, I don’t owe you $22, because thinking about this and the last thing…I’m pretty sure he didn’t save over my save before, because then he WOULD have more than one save slot.

I think what happened was that I did that stuff with Wroble and then got killed by randits, but forgot I hadn’t saved so didn’t freak out, puttered a bit, then saved and quit. Without realizing until the next time I loaded that I hadn’t saved before the randits, only after. So actually I should have been filled with white-hot rage (at myself) the second I was shot to death by highway robbers, except I didn’t notice.

So basically, I just suck and cannot be trusted to manage games with saves anymore, having grown lazy and complacent after all these autosave games that take care of everything for you.

Man, I hate myself. I wouldn’t even care at this point if I’d deleted my OWN entire game. Screw that, doesn’t matter.

But I wrecked SOMEONE ELSE’S stuff, and that’s the far worse sin.

I don’t know how I’m supposed to look Mr. O’ or this game in the face again.

Butch:

Well, look the game in the face for the sake of your blog and blogmate.

You’re on your own with Mr. O.

But he’ll get over it. He always does.

Just…..you might want to wait a few days before you say “Hey, could you put the kids to sleep so I can play?”

Yes, yes it is on you. But you have multiple saves just in case. Dude, I have had times where I’ve run out of save slots and backed up old saves on a hard drive JUST IN CASE. Now, this is when I’m 82% done with a game, and I’m backing up shit where I haven’t finished the tutorial. Because I’m nuts. And because YOU NEVER KNOW!

My ex taught me that. I still have some of her hard drives. Yup. Somewhere, I have a hard drive for a machine that is long gone that has, like, all 55 of my DAO saves. And my Baldur’s Gate saves. And, probably, my original fallout saves.

I am crazy. But I have the saves!

You just gotta watch the timestamp. And tell Mr. O to make multiple saves. And make sure you have multiple saves. It’s how one does.

And dude….saying “He was all fine with his save until then” is like saying “Well, we’ve been all fine with this house not burning down until now, so who needs insurance?”

Cuz YOU NEVER KNOW!

****”yes, yes, ex. I told them.”****

AND! AND!

Did it occur to anyone that, as soon as it happened, maybe check the cloud saves? Where everything is backed up? Might still be there, you know.

Feminina:

Honestly, we probably wouldn’t have insurance if we weren’t legally required to. I mean, I get why it’s a good idea, but we would probably just not get around to it.

Hm…no, didn’t think of the cloud. That might indeed have helped at the time, but since it syncs when you log out, I’m sure we’re out of luck now. If only you’d been there!

Butch:

It UPLOADS. It does not necessarily overwrite. Depends on how you have it set up. Give it a shot.

You wouldn’t have insurance…..

Well, I’m very glad you’re legally required to have it.

I’ve already made three claims on mine. Cuz YOU NEVER KNOW!!!!

Feminina:

I’d MEAN to have insurance. I’m sure every year I’d be all “this is the year we get that insurance thing squared away!”

Just like we keep saying we really need to write a will.

And then what with one thing and another, we wouldn’t get to it. And then the house would burn down.

BUT–in this situation, however foolish it certainly was of us not to have insurance, some blame would still attach to the person who SET THE DAMN HOUSE ON FIRE.

Because without that person hitting X on the wrong Burn Things slot, things would in fact have been fine.

Butch:

I you wish to flog yourself here, I ain’t gonna help. I think we, and by we I mean you two cuz I already know all this shit, need to learn from this, forgive and move on.

We got a blog to write, after all.

Feminina:

If our readers learn anything about good save practices, it will be perhaps the greatest service we’ve ever done them.

Well, that and the terrible fitness tips. Those are gold.

Butch:

We are providing a service.

And by this we I mean me.

I also ran on the treadmill today.

FITNESS!

Feminina:

Hey, I’m providing a service too! I’m the cautionary example. That’s a very important part of the message.

DO NOT BE LIKE ME.

No treadmill, my house is insured only under duress, I have no last will and testament, and my basic save hygiene is frankly terrible.

Emulate Butch, everyone.

Butch:

If we’ve gotten to “emulate butch” then we are all collectively fucked.

I think it’s perfectly good that you don’t have a will. You might leave your kids to me.

Rest assured, I don’t have one either.

We suck.

Feminina:

No, no. We’re FRIENDS. I would never do that to you.

I can’t think of someone who deserves that, really. Probably why we still haven’t done it.

One of my sisters would probably take them. I’m sure they’ll figure it out.

Butch:

Us too. We start thinking about who should get them and everyone is someone we don’t like (who therefore is unqualified to care for our little angels) or is someone we like too much to saddle them with our demons.

It’s a catch 22.

The solution is to not die.

Now there’s a fitness tip!

Feminina:

That is an EXCELLENT fitness tip!

Mark it well, readers.

And save your games early and often.

Butch:

I think that second one is marriage advice.

Feminina:

Hm. Yes. Marriage and general sanity advice.

Butch:

We’re not very good at sanity.

T SHIRT!!!!!

Feminina:

No…no we’re not.

Butch:

Especially this week. We were doing so well.

We’ll play tonight. Get our mojo back.

Feminina:

We’ll see. I don’t have much ground to protest if Mr. O’ wants to spend the rest of the month catching up again.

Butch:

Fair point.

At least I’m still behind you.

Just make sure you back up your saves.

Check online too. This all might be solved by that.

Feminina:

I’ll check, though I’m doubtful.

Butch:

Have hope! I got all kinds of shit in my cloud. And my hard drives. And god knows where else.

Feminina:

Yeah, but that’s you. We’ve already established you’re better at saving things.

Our cloud is going to be saying “oh, what? Sorry, I meant this to be the year I actually backed anything up, but what can you do…”

Butch:

Nah, that’s why you set it to be automatic! It’s been sitting there saying “All this time, I have been waiting. Waiting for these boneheads to need me! I have been faithful. I have been true. I have safeguarded their every save and now….now they NEED ME! And I shall not fail them!”

And then you’ll download the wrong file and it’ll be all “Oh COME ON!”

Told you you shouldn’t have named your cloud Rambalakan.

EXTREME CALL BACK!

God this week has been weird.

Feminina:

Oh…were we supposed to SET IT?

Because I think we were always meaning to get around to that…

Hahahaha.

Maybe.

Butch:

Rambalakan: Never trust anything to red heads.
Crimson Fire: I heard that.
Rambalakan: Just sayin’.

LENNY!!!

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Puncherson_64LadyBrain_64

Some spoilers for character storylines in Red Dead Redemption 2

Butch:

Lenny!!!!!!

Feminina:

LENNY!!!!!!

Butch:

I take it you did that.

LENNY!!!! Is now a thing.

That ruled. Did you do it? Cuz I have a question.

Feminina:

I did. It was…very interesting. All those Lennies. Eerie.

Butch:

Ok….so….

At the end, did they get Lenny? After all that, is he dead?

I looked at the gallows and, thankfully, no Lenny. But if they got him, that changed a lot of the tone of the mission.

I liked it. Certainly the best depiction of drunkenness in a game. But the giant chicken in the phallic forest trip
In Witcher 2 is still the best trippy scene.

Misspelling all the prompts as you got drunker was a nice touch.

So do you forgive the game some?

Feminina:

I did that bit a while ago, so if I’d had to do it again just now, my hatred would be implacable. But you’re right, it was a very effective depiction of drunkenness. And oddly both amusing and kind of alarming to play through, because I had this uneasy fear the whole time that something terrible had in fact happened to Lenny, when I was supposed to be looking out for him, and/or that Arthur was going to do something terrible that I wouldn’t be able to prevent. (Sucks to be the sober player unable to control the drunken character, man.)

Lenny is fine, though, I saw him back at camp after this.

Butch:

I’m happy for Lenny. I swear I saw him get tackled there. That sort of changes how I read all that.

I do think that having the last lines be Arthur yelling, happily, “Life, Liberty and the Pursuit of Happiness!” was pretty damn great, because I do think that made it rather themey. As you say, there was an undercurrent of worry, of eerie, of, well, unhappiness in the whole thing. It wasn’t just all funny. There was a sense of loss of control (which I also think goes to the wonderful portrayal of drunkenness, because there’s always that sober player in there when you’re drunk, worried that the drunk dude will fuck up….so I’ve heard…..), of violence (I didn’t drown the guy, but I could have), of disgust (I think that first person whizz was for a reason) and of regret (you wake up barfing). To imply that the inalienable rights that America is basd on have all of that negativity attached once again goes back to the theme of the general failure and demise of the American dream: those truths we hold to be self evident were rotten in the first place.

Pretty excellent scene on any number of levels.

Your rage aside, this game is good.

Anyway, I did play some last night, but nothing so themey. I was going to do Mary’s thing (Have you found that love letter yet? Or found the other debtors?), but I got distracted by a random road sign, magpied, got killed a few times (having a screen that just says DEAD when you die is pretty descriptive), got lost, didn’t do Mary’s thing, got the last two debts I didn’t get before, found myself in Emerald Ranch (nice place), so I’m gonna talk to Hosea when I turn it on again.

Where do we overlap? And how ragey are you now?

Feminina:

Enh. Just lukewarm annoyance and some lingering bitterness.

I read the letter and did Mary’s thing, talked to Hosea about the Emerald Ranch job and did that thing, did all the debt collecting. Bought more food, medicine and ammunition for camp so the symbols would stop showing up all scary red, then upgraded Dutch’s tent. Now I need to accumulate another $300 to buy the map so I can ‘plan my excursions’ or whatever.

It doesn’t say anything about fast travel, but I’ll take your word for it, because I’m too lazy to search the internet myself. Even though I am on the computer for 17 hours a day.

Again, agreed, it was a very effectiveness scene of drunkenness, and very tense in terms of what Arthur might do. I didn’t drown the guy either, but man, it really seemed like I could have done it just by accident if I hadn’t been paying attention.

And here, again, I was thinking “I don’t actually like Arthur very much.” I mean, the dude’s a violent drunk who loses the potentially vulnerable guy he was supposed to be watching out for. It’s dumb luck Lenny didn’t get dragged off to jail, isn’t it? Why do I actually want to hang out with this guy?

And then as we learned from looking for the Reverend, you can run after witnesses and intimidate them so they don’t report your crimes, and you can also rob them, just to prove you’re serious I guess. I didn’t rob that guy, trying to prove I’m not a total jerk I guess, but…I kind of am, because I’m this character who kind of is.

It’s hard to take my usual “everyone must love meeeeee!” approach when the character won’t play along.

Which is interesting, I guess, but as I’ve said before, I don’t know how much I really ENJOY it.

And sure, there’s value in stories even if you don’t strictly enjoy them. Enjoyment is not the sole determining factor in whether something is worth doing. But when you’re talking about a game, it’s one of them.

Butch:

Wait, you read that as “look out for Lenny?” The quest said “get him drunk to calm his nerves over Micah’s arrest.” We were supposed to do that! We rule!

Dude, “plan your excursions” is fast travel. It’s being all immersive and shit.

You’re so far ahead of me….

Is hosea a long one?

But ok here’s a thing. Remember we were all “there isn’t much role playing, you don’t get to choose plot things,” etc? What did you make of the fact you could choose whether to go find Mary’s brother or not? That sure seemed role play esque.

That and the whole “did you drown the guy” thing made me think we have had role play elements all along. We keep thinking we have to do shit, but maybe we do have choices…we could not press the button. Cuz, well, how did you handle the sick debtor?

I’m back at the car dealership. I hate life.

Feminina:

Not the car dealer! Man!

OK, your actual life is worse than my game life. I’ll stop complaining. Briefly.

And yes, we were supposed to get him drunk, but we were also supposed to make sure nothing happened to him, weren’t we? Like, get him drunk but don’t get so totally drunk-off-our-own-ass wasted that he could have been hauled off 50 times and we wouldn’t even know it. I still feel it was irresponsible behavior on Arthur’s part.

As for making choices…yeah, I guess choosing whether or not to go find Mary’s brother was roleplay-ish.

As for drowning the guy…enh. I guess. Certainly there IS a difference between “I’m playing a character who drowns people in horse troughs while drunk” and “I’m playing a guy who ALMOST drowns people in horse troughs while drunk.” To be sure.

As for the final debtor, though, I very carefully never chose ‘beat,’ only ‘threaten’ over and over, and at the end when I threw him against the fence he still looked pretty face-punched. I did my best not to damage him, and I still damaged him.

Now, likely I could have damaged him more, maybe killed him, so sure, I guess it’s kind of a roleplaying choice not to have done that. As with the choice to refrain from taking Wroble’s food or wedding ring, though, I’m not sure it’s a choice that the game cares about, or that has any consequences in the gameworld.

Did being able to pick between a few conversation options in Uncharted 4 mean we were roleplaying Nathan Drake? Mm. I would say not really. At the time we talked about how it felt roleplay-ish, and kind of bridged that gap between straight playing-the-story-that-was-written and roleplaying a character, and maybe this game is kind of in the same category. Including occasional elements of choice in a mostly set story.

Oh, and no, the Hosea thing is not that long. Pretty simple. You’re gonna love it.

Butch:

Well, I’m now home from the dealership. I wonder what they broke this time.

My actual life is ALWAYS worse than my game life.

And Yeah! That’s really the first time we’ve had an “accept/decline quest” moment. Indeed, we don’t even have a “do this later” moment. It kinda came out of nowhere.

As for the debtor… Well…here’s the thing. I didn’t do anything. As in I didn’t threaten OR beat. I was just sitting there “I wonder what happens if I just say ‘nope.'” So I noped. And, after maybe five seconds, things went along and he wasn’t all bloody. So you CAN choose not to bloody him up or scare him or anything.

So how did yours end? Cuz mine, Arthur got coughed on (I wonder if that’s a plot point) and there was a long, long horse ride and him bitching to Strauss.

And Drake never had a “I ain’t doing this quest” deal. Yes, there were conversations, but you were doing everything either way. Here, we could decline a quest for a (I assume) potentially major character, which would change a story arc. Also, I think there’s a difference between white quests (such as the debtors or the gunslingers) and yellow quests. That said, Mary was a yellow, so you at least had to make that choice.

Feminina:

Ah, interesting. I did threaten the dude pretty vigorously. And then his wife ran out saying “my husband’s not well” and I marched off in a huff saying “we’re not a charity!” or something.

And then griped to Strauss later that “they seemed fairly destitute, maybe you should evaluate your clients’ ability to pay better” and he said something like “well, desperate people are more susceptible to my sales pitch.”

Which certainly made him seem pretty awful in that moment, essentially admitting he’s preying on people who can’t afford to pay him back. Although, again, presumably those people needed the money and the bank wasn’t going to give it to them, so were their other options (lose the farm immediately? just give up and starve?) any better? Is Strauss being especially evil to lend money they probably can’t repay, rather than refusing to lend money at all and letting them get kicked off the farm outright, or whatever’s going to happen?

I mean, maybe…since they’re now in debt to him and getting beaten up, as well as losing the farm. Maybe they should have stuck with just losing the farm. But that’s logically their choice to make, right? Is it Strauss’ moral responsibility to make that decision for them by refusing to lend? (Maybe kind of…? If he knows they can’t pay?)

I don’t know. Capitalism is a harsh mistress.

Butch:

Did you get the long cutscene horse ride?

No, I had Arthur mad at Strauss. “He was sick! It just….” Indeed, it sounded like Arthur was having a bit of a crisis, like second guessing all of it. Also, now that I think on it, after I did that the debtor quest markers went from yellow (which I read as “story quest, gotta do it”) to white (which I think is “skip it if you want). When you did the guy you had to chase, did you say “I’m not going to hurt you?” Cuz my Arthur was saying that, which arched my eyebrows. “You’re not? Seriously?” And hurting him wasn’t an option.

On that…..

So I imagine he gave you a map, right? A tree by a building, right? Did you…by any change…go IN that building?

Cuz…..the fuck?

Feminina:

A tree by a building? No! My tree was halfway up a hill in the middle of some scrubby forest. There was no building in sight.

I THINK I know who you’re talking about, the guy who says “suck it, moneylender, I’m keeping it all!!!!” or whatever and rides off, and you have to chase him and lasso him, and he says “fine, here’s the map!” and takes off?

My map did not lead to a tree near a building.

That’s…weird.

But as a result, I did not go into any buildings, so I can’t comment on that matter, whatever it may be.

Butch:

Yeah, that’s the one! The map showed the tree in relation to a little square…which represented a building. Big tree? Hole in it?

Anyhoo…..

Had you seen the building, and gone in, you would’ve seen a strange sight. It looked kinda like a bunkhouse: rows of beds, bedside tables with generic loot, but at one end was a guy who looked like he was sitting at a desk, surrounded by melted candles, like, A LOT of melted candles. There were shelves of candles behind him, to, and he was looking over the scene like a schoolteacher or a priest or something. He appeared to be wearing a robe.

Oh, did I mention they were all dead? Yeah….everyone was dead. Skeletons. Had been dead a long time.

It was weird.

But it also implied, as this was a reference point on the map, that our treasure map guy had been there before. Right?

It was weird.

I keep forgetting you and maps don’t see eye to eye very often.

Feminina:

I did kind of approach the tree overland rather than from the road, and left the same way (because screw you, road! I ride where I want!) so I may have missed the building.

Fortunately, I have you to fill me in.

Oh, and yes, I did get the long cutscene horse ride. That was suggestive, as if Arthur (and you) are supposed to be using the time to reflect on your actions, or something.

“What am I doing with my life? Did I really come to this vast, open country to hassle poor people about loans? Hmm…maybe so. Maybe so.”

Butch:

Indeed you do ride where you want.

It was weird. There is some degree of weird undercurrent in this game. First the serial killer, now this.

See, I think that Arthur is being set up for a change. If he’s having long, pensive horse rides in Chapter 2…..

And maybe this is happening because of how we’re playing. I bet you, like me, are fairly close to “white hat” on the moral scale, there, right? Maybe if we were playing like real awful assholes, it would have been different.

I ain’t googling. Spoilers.

Feminina:

No, I won’t look it up either. We’ll approach the story unspoiled! Mostly. I have accidentally read a couple of vague things around the internet, but I haven’t sought them out. And they’ve been very vague.

Interesting thought that we might get different scenes or results depending on how high our ‘honor’ is. I am mostly white hat, yeah, and maybe if we’d been willfully drowning people in the water troughs and taking their wedding rings and what-not, it would be different. (I don’t actually remember any hat icon as a result of either of those specific things, but…as a general idea, it could make sense.)

Butch:

Or robbing dudes, or random shootings or whatever.

Oh, speaking of random, did you meet the blind guy on the side of the road who will tell your future for a dollar?

I ALWAYS do the future thing in video games.

Feminina:

I did. I did. I can’t remember what he said, though. Something about my father?

Butch:

What? No. Maybe if I meet him again. He said something about a field of flesh and fire, on which the devil makes his sacrifice.

I don’t know why I always get the fortune. It’s always “Shit’s gonna suck, dude. Shit’s gonna suck.”

They should just say “You’ll love it. It’s gonna be great.”

Feminina:

Oh man. He probably has a bunch of them. Mine was something about how “your father was a prey to whimsy,” or something.

But now I definitely want the next one to be “It’s gonna be great. You’re gonna love it.”

Anytime I see that in a fortune cookie in real life, I’ll know it’s time to duck.

Butch:

I can see it now: You run screaming from the restaurant while three seconds later the kitchen staff comes out with your birthday cake as all your friends yell “surprise!” and I turn to Mr. O and say “I TOLD you this was a bad idea….”

Feminina:

It was a TERRIBLE idea. Any rational person would panic in that situation.

Butch:

Certainly so.

Much better to get drunk and have us all wandering around all “FEMMY! Have you seen my friend Femmy?”

Christ it’s only Tuesday. This week’s gonna be great. We’re gonna love it.

Feminina:

Oh man, we so are.

No way we don’t. No way at all.

Butch:

Especially if I find some elusive nudity.

Feminina:

You don’t know until you play it!

Things That Could Have Gone Better

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LadyBrain_64Puncherson_64

Some minor spoilers for Red Dead Redemption 2 stories

Feminina:

I’m sorry, but I’m done. I hate this damn game and it’s damn save point issues, and I am not doing this anymore.

When I got back in last night, everything I did with Wroble (the debt collecting) was gone. It did not save any of it. EVEN THOUGH I FREAKING DID A HARD SAVE AFTER. And you KNOW I did that save.

But it’s telling me I have to go start the debt collecting all over again.

Go to hell, game. I can’t trust you, I hate your stupid inability to just let a person save, and I am not going through another 200 hours of having to repeat my progress every other time I play because it got wiped out.

Maybe I’ll pick it up again after Mr. O’ is finished. I think having two saves running might be screwing it up.

But seriously, I can’t take this level of seething rage. I’m out. Sorry.

Butch:

Yikes, you sure? You have the right save point and it’s not in the middle of the quest? Wroble’s back on your quest map?

It must be the double saves. Cuz I still get this weird “Alert” every time I boot up and I hit an autosave. Every time. That said, I’ve never lost progress, so it’s probably just getting all crossed up. Still, weird you’d lose that much progress. You sure?

I will say that it’s too bad, because it really is starting to get good. I promise. So how about we leave it here, let Mr. O finish, and then get back to where we were? I do think it’s worth playing, but I can certainly see having to redo and all that being awful. And you’re maybe two missions away from it really picking up, because I did those two missions last night. Sound good?

That said, what do we do in the meantime? How much longer does he have before he’s done? I don’t want to spend 200 hours playing without you, have you play something I want to play, then we’re totally off. As I said last year, more than half the fun of games is talking about them, so if you’re out, I’m out. But I would say we should return to this when Mr. O is done. Ok?

PS

After some thought, I have decided to shamelessly beg you to give it a few more weeks. You’re this close to all sorts of stuff that is just pure gold. I don’t blame you for the rage, but dude, this would have been some of the best bloggage we’ve ever done had you played this week. Look at the stuff we got on the Strauss bits! Maybe there’s some trick that we can find on the net to deal with this sort of issue. You can’t be the only one who’s having it.

Ok, did research.

I’m gonna bet that Mr. O accidentally overwrote one of your saves. Has to be. Is that the last thing you did? What you lost?

Or maybe you didn’t hold X down long enough. I’ve gotten in the habit of making sure I can load what I just saved before I turn the thing off, because once I didn’t hold X long enough.

If not, did you have an issue with your power or wifi the last time you (or Mr. O) played?

And, remember, there’s the very real chance that there’s a backup save in your PS+ cloud. You have PS+.

But there’s no way that happened on its own. No way.

Also did some research on save points: Apparently, the only real missions where there’s long assed parts with no saves are a couple of set piece story missions and…..wait for it…..bounties. Because it’s true: After that one mission that seemed to take a very long time, I’ve been able to save, like, every two minutes.

So there. Shameless begging. I really do think that if Mr. O is more careful, you’ll really be into this in about three sessions. Especially if you go and read that love letter and do some stuff with that. And if you do the other debt thing!

At the very least, you’ll be into the bloggage.

Feminina:

Great. Bounties. Of-freakin’-course.

And you’re right, it was probably human error, but damn it, man. Games have been managing multiple save slots without all these problems for YEARS. It doesn’t have to be so damn difficult.

Fine. One more chance.

But if I run into any more technical issues, I will probably never want to see it again. I lost ALL THIS STUFF.

Not just Wroble, I went back to camp after Wroble and found the ledger where you can order new supplies and stuff, and I ordered a bunch of stuff for camp so it would quit flashing exclamation points at me about all the stuff we’re running out of. I DID STUFF and now it’s all gone and it’s back to “hey, you just talked to Strauss, maybe you should go collect some of those debts he mentioned.” There’s a big yellow blotch on the map with Wroble’s info, saying I should go there and look for him.

Damn it, man. I can’t take more more of this.

In the meantime, we can discuss this timely post on video games and violence.

The summary of the findings: “video games do not, in and of themselves, create aggressive behavior. Rather, the video game may act as a primer for violence and aggression when specific biological and social conditions are present.”

Maybe the biological condition of being filled with seething, white-hot rage?

Butch:

Dude, I checked our stuff. Here’s what I will bet you twelve dollars happened:

Yes, you did all that. You did that the last time you played. I know you did that the last time you played because we have this blog and that’s what you did the last time you played. That means THAT save slot was at the top of the save list the next time Mr. O played, so the first time HE hit save he hit that. As you didn’t play for a while, no one noticed.

I’ll bet you. I will.

Either that you didn’t hit X.

And the other issue you had wasn’t a failure of the game’s multiple save slots, it was the game being a pain with save POINTS. You never got anything into a slot!

I will bet fourteen dollars.

Anyway, not spending all that money on camp is a blessing. Why? Because you know how you said “I’m not going to bother upgrading Dutch’s tent?” Well, in my research that convinced me that you or Mr O just fucked up, I discovered something. If you upgrade Dutch’s tent, you can then upgrade Arthur’s tent, and, if you do that, it unlocks……

………wait for it…….

………drum roll please……..

normal, everyday, traditional fast travel.

Glad you have that money back now, aren’t you? Glad you didn’t spend it all on a chicken coop like I did, aren’t you?

Who’s got rage now?

Go beat the guy up, talk to Strauss, then go read the love letter, which appeared after I did that. It’s by his bed, a little hard to see, but there’s an icon. Then go meet….her. Do the homesteader debt collection (it’s VERY different), and then we’ll have about 2398514759847 words to write on Monday and you’ll feel better again.

You just had a long week. And Mr. O overwrote your save.

And no, no, violence is from the biological condition of having children that interrupt your game time.

I warned you about that.

And the social condition of not having enough booze.

I did do Reverend Swanson last night, but I want to hold off on talking on that. You’re likely thinking “That mission was odd…..kinda silly…..” which is what I thought until I thought about in reference to a) what….the love interest will ask you to do and b) the second, homesteader debt collector.

Then I had 45727547543 words of bloggage on it.

I’m telling you, you’re THIS close to this game being a theme buffet.

You know, make that sixteen dollars.

GAMES have been doing multiple save slots for years, but the last time you and Mr O played the SAME game was Divinity, and you played that together. You haven’t had to manage you both playing the same game with different slots since I don’t know when. Obama was likely president. This mistake was bound to happen.

Eighteen dollars.

Feminina:

There’s fast travel?!

Gods damn this game.

We can talk about one amusing thing from a few days back, when I went to town with Hosea and bought a horse. I bought the cheapest one (saving money for fast travel, apparently!) and named it “Bessie,” because whatever–unlike you, I didn’t have the obviously brilliant idea of picking “Roach,” although as soon as I saw your message with “you have to name your horse properly,” before I even looked at the screenshot, I thought “OK, what name did he pick…? Roach, I bet. Damn it, I should have done that.”

Then, if you recall, you’re riding along with Hosea and he’s talking about how much he misses someone named Bessie.

Oops. You mean I just named my cheap-ass new horse after your beloved, deceased wife/lover? Sorry, man…it was meant as an honor, really.

To top it off, it turns out the horse is male. Heh.

So Bessie must be short for Besserthwaite or Bessorsky, or something. I mean, not that a horse cares about the gender appropriateness of its own name, but Arthur would probably have noticed that.

P.S. I think the last game we played with multiple save slots was FO4. So it’s true, it’s been a while.

Butch:

Hey, YOU don’t get to complain on fast travel! You don’t! If anything, the game (or Mr. O, or fate, or Mr. O) is repaying you FOR your white hot rage by a) getting your blogmate to tell you that and b) giving you all that debt money back so you can actually do it. I bought food and a chicken coop. A FUCKING CHICKEN COOP! You know how much money my camp has now? Four dollars. FOUR! I’ll NEVER be able to fast travel! So you’ll be toodling all over the fucking heartland being all “So Butch…how’re those chickens?” which really will be a salve for your rage.

HA! “Ok…I’m off to ride Bessie….uh….Sorry Hosea I didn’t mean it that way…..”

And I love it that I am creative, funny and totally, totally predictable.

You’ll likely kill ol’ Bessie. Name the next one Roach.

Um….how do you know the horse is male?

Never mind on naming the next one Roach. The next one is Besserwaite.

And dude. DUDE. You got the cheap horse. You’re going be all “So Butch, when I was fast travelling I was thinking about your chickens and how much you’re enjoying riding around” because I bought the EXPENSIVE horse on the thinking that “Well, there’s no fast travel, I better get the fastest horse.”

Did I mention my camp has four damn dollars?

Oh, last night I also met the escaped prisoner. I don’t have much to say on the escaped prisoner. He was all “Well, c’mon, shoot the chains!” So I did, and I think I missed, because he fell to the ground screaming, then got up and limped away, still chained. I went after him, trying to apologize and get his chains off but he would have none of it. So I reloaded…and he was gone.

But I DID meet the woman who was….digging….did you meet her?

And a drunk guy who was all “All I do is drink….” and had a story to tell. He was sitting by a campfire. You meet him?

Twenty dollars.

You mustn’t rage at the game for human error.

Raging at Mr. O is acceptable.

Oh, and here. ACTUAL rage.

So when I got my treadmill, it came defective out of the box. This was just cosmetic, but the guys at the store were cool and had a part shipped out for free and guys come out for free to “fix” it. They’re here now. I said to myself “You know? The last time I brought something in to have it fixed, it got more broken. Watch. That’ll happen now.”

Guess what?

Now none of the buttons work!

What did we do to deserve this?

Feminina:

Hmm. Maybe that WILL be a salve for my rage. Because I won’t lie, I was thinking of buying a chicken coop myself, but decided to hold off. And now I’ll know to continue to hold off. FOREVER.

Sorry, guys, I know the entire flock of chickens just got eaten by foxes, but at least I can JET ALL OVER THE DAMN PLACE where you’re wandering around forlornly picking up the bloody feathers back in the totally unimproved (except for Butch’s and my tents) camp!

That’s GREAT for morale.

Thanks, blogmate. You’re right, that’s helpful information.

Also, that’s exactly what happened to me when I met the prisoner! I was all “yeah, sure, I’ll shoot off–” and then I hit ‘quick draw’ when I meant to ‘aim’ and I think I hit him. Fell to the ground wailing, then got up and limped away. Like you, I tried to follow him and apologize, figuring hey, we’re both outlaws!–maybe we have some common cause, fighting the oppressive government that seeks to tame us or whatever!–but he ignored me.

Not that I can blame him.

And yes, I met the woman digging! I haven’t found any dinosaur bones for her, but I kind of love that she’s out there sneering at the other paleontologists and recruiting random strangers to help her look. Now that’s science, ma’am! Good on you.

Butch:

Worry about your own morale first.

Anyway, I’m sure they’ll just take out their rage on Strauss.

Just hold off until you get fast travel. I get the sense money isn’t all that hard to come by. Especially as you can donate rings and shit to the camp without having to sell them first.

The prisoner…Hmm. So maybe that was supposed to happen? My aiming thing was red, so I figured it was saying “Shoot now,” but it was also dark so who knows?

I just did yet more research, because I swear there was a real woman like that, a dinosaur hunter who was only taken seriously AFTER she found a bunch of stuff. But I can’t remember her name. I totally think that woman was based on a real person. We’ll see if there’s themes there.

Feminina:

“In the event of an emergency or a rage-inducing video game, be sure to secure your own morale first before assisting others.”

Hm. Mary Anning was an English fossil collector: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Mary_Anning

There was a US woman named Mignon Talbot (GREAT name), but she apparently was born in Iowa and worked nearby at Mount Holyoke https://paleonerdish.wordpress.com/2014/10/13/mignon-talbot-and-the-forgotten-women-of-paleontology/

Ooh–maybe Annie Montague Alexander, she worked in the American west: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Annie_Montague_Alexander

Then there’s Carlotta Maury, who worked in South America, and Winifred Goldring, who worked in New York: https://daily.jstor.org/mary-anning-forgotten-female-fossilists/

I think Annie Montague Alexander is the most direct match, but of course the game’s character could also be inspired by several different people.

Butch:

I think that’s excellent advice on morale.

T SHIRT incoming.

I was so busy buying whiskey I forgot to buy wine.

Sadly true.

Today sucks.

Feminina:

Oh yeah, that’s a T shirt.

Oh, and as to the critically important question of how you can tell if a horse is male…uh…I’m not quite sure how to put this, but…a boy horse and a girl horse (technically called a mare) are built a little differently, each with its own very special anatomy in the groinal region, the better to make little baby horses during that special time when mommy mare and daddy horse are feeling that special feeling…

Ha. But seriously, when you’re riding along and have the camera set to show Arthur (and thus also the horse) from behind, you may see something kind of swinging in that area if the horse is male. “The hangy-down thing,” as my sisters and I so eloquently termed the male equine and bovine anatomy when we were kids.

This is really only noticeable from this angle with stallions, and I’m honestly a bit surprised both of (my) Arthur’s horses so far have apparently been stallions, since geldings are much more common among working horses because they’re much easier to manage. You can still see relevant male anatomy from the side, but that part is not as hangy-down (usually) and is more under the belly than between the hind legs.

If you bought the expensive horse (as Mr. O’ did), you won’t have noticed this, because that one is a mare.

And now that we’ve thoroughly gone over horses’ sensitive anatomy, this is the point where I also mention that Arthur talks to his horses, and will refer to them according to sex, either “whoa, girl,” or “whoa, boy,” depending.

I could have led with that, but…nah. That would have meant missing out on a valuable chance to expound on my vast, vast knowledge of the quirks of working with equines.

And…that was pretty much it. I’m good now.

Butch:

One of our best T SHIRTS yet, if I don’t say so myself.

But back to games:

See? Cool based on reality things.

And, again, an instance of the idea of changing status quos. What’s interesting here is you have Arthur (who’s time is coming to an end) HELPING the woman (who’s time is just beginning).

Now now, you’re probably all “But Butch, you said that Strauss’ rather awful way of “doing business” was a foreshadowing of the 20th century and the awful banking/stock market/rich people winning days to come, and Arthur’s helping HIM.” To that I say, “do the homestead mission.”

We’ll talk. Later.

Horses:

****icy stare****

Yes, yes, Femmy. I know. I’ve made that mistake three times to your two.

Get out, they programmed that? Wow.

But they got nothing on Metal Gear 5. They programmed their horses to poop.

Now, as this is apparently going to be the week during which we air grievances, air your grievance that they got all this right about horse parts but don’t seem to be able to do similar human parts.

Feminina:

YES. Yes, that is my grievance. Thank you.

Also…uh…you haven’t seen the horse pooping yet? Because it definitely does. It’s probably random, but a couple of sessions ago it seemed like Bessie did it pretty much every time I looked at him. REALISM.

I can do without having that bit of realism transferred to the humans in the game. Very much so.

THANKS ANYWAY ALL GAMES EVER.

Butch:

You’re welcome.

No….no I have not noticed that. I don’t exactly stare at my horse’s butt. Yes, I know, it’s front and center there, but I’m enjoying the scenery, especially as I will see less of it once I get fast travel. Which I will never do cuz FOUR DOLLARS!

Every game ever except Heavy Rain.

Feminina:

Just watch, now you won’t be able to see anything else when you look at your horse.

Which you will do all the time because you can’t fast travel.

At least your chickens have a beautiful coop!

Mr. O’ took a stagecoach last night after I signed out in a rage. It was $9, so that’s also an option, if a rather expensive one when your camp only has four dollars.

Butch:

See? I’m cheering you up by pointing out misery. Misery you avoided cuz you (or, more likely, Mr. O) fucked up at a very opportune time.

You know, in further pondering, you should do a trick my ex taught me.

There’s 20 save slots, right? Plenty for you and Mr. O both. So when you do a hard save, do it twice. Save, get back to the game, then save at the same point in a different slot. That way, if Mr. O goes bonehead (or drinks or something) and overwrites one, you have the other. Also, if you go in the second time and the first time isn’t there, you can say “Ooops, didn’t hold down X” and this never, ever happens again.

And the bloggage….the wonderful bloggage.

I still double save. The ex had her flaws, but she knew how to hang on to save data.

Feminina:

I usually do double-save! For just that reason.

Our whole FO4 save screen was a series of staggered saves 20 seconds apart. Because I don’t trust us. Rightly so, because we are humans and prone to stupid mistakes.

But after the last time i played, I guess I was just tired, and lazy, and only did it once. Which is a stupid mistake.

It was as much my fault as anyone’s.

Sigh.

Still. One more chance, game. Even if it was my fault, I can’t take 200 hours of this nonsense.

Butch:

It’s your own nonsense!

Except the no saves during bounties nonsense. That is the game’s nonsense.

And I reject this 200 hours shit. We’re 20% done, and we’ve been playing about two weeks. We never get to 100%, so we’re looking at less than two months. With all the days at least one of us doesn’t play, it just doesn’t add up to 200 hours. Shit, we played HZD for more than two months, and that was only 65 for me.

We’ll get this and ACO in before the summertime. You’ll see.

Feminina:

Yeah, so maybe 50% of the nonsense is ultimately my fault. I accept that, but I’m sorry, I’m just not feeling very forgiving at this point.

Is “make it harder for me to be stupid” a valid criticism? Perhaps not. Tough.

Either make it harder for me to be stupid, or minimize your own stupid choices so I’m less likely to be already bitter, and more likely to cut slack.

One more chance, but I swear if I run into another problem that makes me this angry, I’m out. I don’t care how bloggariffic it is, the hit to my blood pressure is just not worth it.

Butch:

Man, you’re not feeling forgiving. You know, maybe it isn’t the game. You skipped, what, three days this week? Maybe it’s the absence of game. And with kids up, I bet you didn’t drink booze, either, did you? You KNOW how you get without both games AND booze. It’s disturbing. You get rather antsy.

Play tonight and catch up, drink heavily or both.

IT’S THE LACK OF GAME AND BOOZE!!!!

Here. You need this:

There. Feel better?

Feminina:

Ha! Almost.

More so after I get out of my freezing cold office and go home for a night of heavy drinking.

Butch:

And beating up dudes. And reading love letters.

And remembering to save. Often.

And maybe looking over Mr. O’s shoulder when HE saves.

Make that twenty two dollars.

Do Dutch’s quest. Now. It’s short and you’ll love it. Seriously.

Oh, and if you call out to coaches you can ask for rides for free if you lose your horse.

Seriously.

Feminina:

Does that still work if you’re lugging a corpse around for the bounty?

Asking for a friend.