And Now For Something Fairly Different

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Puncherson_64LadyBrain_64

No spoilers

Butch:

I got nothing. Forgot to download Edith Finch. Not used to having to install something new. Sigh.

I’ll do it today, if only to distract me from the fact that I’m paying the Amex bill with Nashville on it, which, while I got the check covering it, will still be a shock cuz I’m irrational.

I should get used to it. We’re going to NYC (Also KIDLESS it’s amazing), and I just bought theater tickets, which are expensive. That’s before meals and all that.

At least I don’t have to spring for hotels.

We’re killing it with the travel blogging this year! Sorta.

Feminina:

I got it! I played the first 20 minutes or so! It’s pretty cool so far. I’m into it. Reminds me of Gone Home a bit, which is fine because I enjoyed that too.

Good call noticing the freebies! I’d be lost without you. Or at least, I’d already be playing AC Odyssey without you, which is the same general thing.

I’m getting nearly a thousand bucks reimbursed for my trip. That’s some decent Amazon points. Which I basically just use as cash back ever since I realized that hey…if I use these Amazon points to buy things on Amazon…I’m not getting triple points for putting these things on my Amazon card! The horror! Honestly, buying things on Amazon is the LAST thing I should be doing with these points!

So now I just put them towards my bill, which is less exciting but more practical. Because that’s how I am. Unexciting and practical.

Good thing I play games to express all my impractical, destructive and murderous impulses.

Also the ones that have me poking around houses all by myself.

Butch:

Nice! Yeah, that’s what the word was. Similar to that, same genre, very good.

I’m on it.

Hey, after RDR, we need a nice, relaxing house poker.

Oh dude, I was over three grand, ergo my stress of not getting it in time. That’s no small thing. Fucking registration fee was a grand. Librarian conferences are cheap.

Feminina:

Yeah. Relaxing, limited gunfighting (probably), no ranch chores.

Butch:

Nice. Those chores were not relaxing. Don’t care what that guy said.

On a completely unrelated note, today my hotmail sidebar appears to be a service that…what…exchanges dollars for Mexican Pesos. I’m not entirely sure, as it is in Spanish, and I do not speak Spanish.

The fuck did I search?

Feminina:

Uh…maybe the discussion about traveling and money made it think…you might be traveling to Mexico? That’s a bit of a reach for a sidebar, but one never knows.

Butch:

Miller high life made more sense.

Now it’s showing me car ads.

Feminina:

So you can DRIVE to Mexico and change your money!

Butch:

Sigh.

Ok, I’m gonna go download a game. Gotta derail the derail.

Feminina:

Do it. Do it now.

It was a quick install–maybe 10 minutes if that. You’ll be playing soon!

Butch:

What’s this create/play option? I don’t want some creative mode.

Feminina:

I don’t know either! I just selected ‘play.’ Seemed to work.

Butch:

Shit, I selected “create.”

Did it take you right into the game or something? Cuz create didn’t.

Feminina:

Here’s what the internet (some person on a discussion board, thanks person) says:

I’ve never come across it before, but it’s a PS4 feature that allows you to download the entire thing instantly, or focus on downloading the intro first. Not sure what the point of that is though. You have to wait ether way

So if this is true, it shouldn’t really matter which you choose? I got some music, the Annapurna logo, and then it opened on a view from a boat. What did you get?

Butch:

Nothing. The ps main screen. Didn’t open.

And now meatball is home. Sigh.

Feminina:

Oh, man! That sucks!

Well, at least it will probably have completely downloaded by the time you get back to it, and you can just load it from the menu and have it open.

Super weird that that’s what ‘create’ means to them.

Although…if I understand the distinction people online are making (and if they actually understand it themselves enough to explain it), then “play” is supposed to download the beginning of the game quickly so you can get right to playing, while “create” is supposed to download the entire game before opening, presumably because you don’t need to play it right away.

In games that take a long time to install, I could see this being meaningful.

So maybe it just downloaded the entire game and didn’t open it, returning you to the main screen instead, but because it downloaded pretty fast, there was no noticeable benefit to this option.

And, again, it’s extremely odd that they chose “create” to mean “download the whole thing.” That’s not going to make intuitive sense to anyone.

But, again, if I understand correctly, you should be all ready to go next time you have a few minutes to play.

Butch:

None. I was worried it was all mine craft. Can’t have that.

Create is not clear.

Feminina:

Not at all. Maybe they will relabel that option in the future.

Butch:

Well, I should have it now. Icon is there.

Think I can play it with kids around?

Feminina:

From the 20 minutes I’ve seen, yes. There’s been no violence or nudity or questionable content. It’s all rather peaceful so far.

Load it up!

Butch:

Watch: minute 21 will have the naked dress ball.

Is that even possible? It should be.

Feminina:

The only way to find out is to get through the first 20 minutes! Gogogogogo!!!

Butch:

And miss “let’s go Luna?” Meaty would kill me.

More half days!

Feminina:

Dude. Your school system is truly the worst.

I mean, except perhaps in educational achievement and test scores. But in what matters? In keeping your kids occupied and out of your hair?

FAIL.

Butch:

It does lack the keeping out of hair thing.

Though Junior is out all day Saturday on a band trip to Six Flags, so that’s a thing.

I don’t get let’s go luna. Have you seen this one?

Feminina:

I have never heard of it. Perhaps I should be glad of this? Grigio is kind of into Super Monsters right now. Could be worse…

Butch:

It’s about these three….I don’t what they are…who are in a travelling circus so they go all over the world to learn things. So far, so good. When they travel, they always seem to run into Luna. Who’s Luna?

The moon. Like, the actual moon.

Again, you say “Yes, Butch, no shit. You can see the moon from everywhere.”

But does the moon have arms and legs and a jaunty hat and does it sing songs? No.

Luna does.

Don’t get it.

The actual moon.

Feminina:

Hm…could be worse, I guess? Depending on how annoying the songs are.

Butch:

Just one of those kids’ shows that make you go “Wha…….”

You know. Like most of them.

Feminina:

Yeah, pretty much. It’s as if, without some element of the bizarre, children just aren’t interested.

Because, I suppose, life in general is filled with bizarre elements to them (and to adults, but we’ve learned to rationalize them, or cope with them through booze), and so a traveling singing moon makes just as much sense as anything else?

Butch:

With a jaunty hat. Can’t forget the jaunty hat.

Still beats Pinkalicious.

Nugget is going through a Arthur stage. Why animals?

Feminina:

Oh, the jaunty hat is what holds the whole thing together.

It’s all just so much nonsense without the jaunty hat. Just like my life!

I need a jaunty hat.

Butch:

Don’t we all. Don’t we all.

I gotta play. We’ve devolved into jaunty hats.

Feminina:

Make the kid take his jaunty moon hat elsewhere! You need game!

Butch:

Unlikely. Mrs. McP is coming home early, and, just guessing, this is a game one needs to pay some degree of attention to.

Bad enough talking over themeless gun fights, but this game?

Feminina:

Oh…yeah. There’s narration early on that provides rather meaningful information on the basic mood and setting of the piece. You’d probably kind of prefer to hear it.

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At Last, At Long Last, It Is Finished

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Puncherson_64LadyBrain_64

Spoilers for the very end of Red Dead Redemption 2

Butch:

Well, pleased to say…..

DONE!!!

I think. Cuz credits, then all of a sudden I’m talking to Abigail.

I’m done, right?

We’ll talk. Later.

I will not be kind to this ending.

Feminina:

Well done you!

Yes, that’s the ending unless you want to go hunt legendary animals or dinosaur bones or whatever the hell other things Arthur left undone.

Butch:

Well, he didn’t go get freaky with Mary, but I doubt you can go back and do that, so I’m done.

We actually did a plan!

Safe travels. Remember to check your pockets for random cosmetics.

Feminina:

I cleared the nail polish from my pocket this morning. I’m ready.

Just a couple more meetings and a dash to the airport. It’s gonna be great.

[later]

Butch:

We back? Can I complain now?

Feminina:

Back! 97% booze-free!

Let the complaints begin!

For example…what the hell? Dutch has been chillin’ behind the scenes with Micah the whole time? Apparently? And then he just…saunters off?

Now it seems that Dutch is one of the people John has to hunt down in Red Dead 1, so clearly he did have to be alive at the end of this. And maybe there’s some sort of ambiguity in their relationship in that one, like John isn’t sure whether he likes or hates his old gang leader, and so they had Dutch save John here because otherwise it would just be a matter of “well, obviously he hates him.”

I don’t know. That’s the best explanation I can think of for why it was in any way necessary or desirable to randomly toss Dutch in here.

But you go, you finished more recently than I did.

Butch:

Oh, you’re good. That’s pretty much where I would have started as well.

Cuz yeah! What WAS all that? He barely had any lines! He’s out there, all this money, freezing his ass off….why didn’t he spend the money? HE HAD THE MONEY! In the end…what…his grand plan was “I’ll get the money, then live in a cold assed out house with it with this traitor until someone I know shows up so I can shoot the traitor and abandon the money?” TAHITI MADE MORE SENSE!!!!

What was he doing up there? Why’d he shoot Micah? It’s not like John was all “Dude! It was him! He was the traitor all along! I can prove it! Here’s the proof!” No, it was just “Dutch! Don’t! I’m a nice guy oh thanks you shot Micah we good.”

AND THEN HE SAUNTERS OFF LEAVING THE MONEY BEHIND AND I CAN’T EVEN.

Usually, there’s nothing cheesier than a mustache twirling “now that you have found my lair I shall tell all” monologue, but I would have killed for one here. Two, actually! We never DID find out why Micah sold them out in the first place, did we? Nope.

But I got more to be mad about!

That trudge up the mountain. That. Trudge.

Game, if you’re going to have a big, exciting, climactic thing with music and shouting and action, DO NOT MAKE IT A TRUDGE THROUGH THE FUCKING SNOW. And game, DON’T KILL ME OVER AND OVER SO THAT IT BREAKS THE MOMENTUM!

But wait, there’s more, and now it’s irony:

Hey game? I watched the credits. You know all those little vignettes I saw? Things like finding out Pearson has a shop now? Tilly seemed happy in St. Denis? Mary Beth is a writer? That stuff? The stuff with the Pinkertons finding John and setting up the next/first game? Good stuff. I liked that stuff. You know what that stuff is?

THAT STUFF IS A FUCKING EPILOGUE!!!!! THAT!!! NOT ALL THIS OTHER STUFF!!!!

And a rant about the actual epilogue, that is, the scenes in the credits:

And after all this shit….who gets the last word? Is the last scene Arthur, the, you know, MAIN CHARACTER OF THE GAME? No. We see his grave, Mary, ok, nice. But it’s not last. No.

Is it Dutch? Another huge character? Nope. He just saunters off.

Maybe Sadie? Setting up the next game? We should be so lucky.

Nope. It’s Rain Falls.

Rain. Falls.

Not that I don’t like Rain Falls, but game, HE WAS NOT A MAIN CHARACTER OF THE GAME!!! He wasn’t even IN the “epilogue!!!!” WHY IS THE LAST IMAGE OF THE GAME RAIN FALLS?????

I can’t even.

This game somehow managed to have BOTH the best video game ending I’ve ever seen and the worst. I have to respect that. It’s like narrative quantum mechanics.

Ok, your turn.

Feminina:

YES!

What the hell, game? You’re so right. THAT was Dutch’s plan?

I mean, “let the gang tear itself to pieces, get all the money myself…” OK, that COULD be a plan.

But then “hang out in the freezing mountains with Micah for ‘some years’ not ENJOYING any of the money”…that doesn’t sound like you, Dutch.

And then, what? “You know, I’m kind of tired of Micah. And John’s worked hard. I’ll just shoot Micah and let John have the money while I wander into the mountains.”

WHATever, man. Baffling nonsense.

Ooh, ooh, here’s the only thing that really does make any sense: Dutch was somehow under Micah’s sway, the same way the gang was under his for so long! Micah had Dutch convinced that he had a plan (probably Tahiti) and they just needed “a little more money”!

And then when John showed up and everyone else was dead Dutch suddenly realized that he’d put his faith in the wrong person, just like Arthur realized that about him ‘some years’ ago, and he killed Micah FOR ARTHUR. Because he’s finally wrapping up Arthur’s loose end.

And then he walked off into the mountains because he was FINALLY ashamed of himself.

Only problem with this interpretation is that there’s literally nothing in the game to support it. As you say, could have used a couple of villain monologues.

And YES! THAT was an epilogue! I liked that epilogue! It was nice to see what people were doing and where they ended up and so forth! Good times! All the information we needed conveyed in neat little scenes that DID NOT INVOLVE ANY RANCH CHORES.

That’s how it’s done, game. You KNOW how it’s done! You can obviously do it! WHY DIDN’T YOU DO IT EARLIER?

I was also a bit puzzled by the fact that Rain Falls was the last person we saw. I mean, I liked him too, but as you say he wasn’t a central character. I suspect it was probably a well-intended nod to the fact that hey, native folks are still here today, and also maybe a hint that his hope that he could keep his people alive was not unfounded, and even a vaguely feel-good bit of “don’t be too sad about all the land-grubbing , murderous white settlement on the shoulders of which the country was founded, ’cause at least this dude here is still alive.”

Hm. I’m not really sure how I feel about that.

Butch:

I mean, maybe the takeaway was that Dutch never really wanted to leave the outlaw life? He does say (you know, back in the real game) that he spent his whole life “fighting change.” Maybe, even with the money, he just couldn’t get past having a big ol’ gang of dudes, robbing and stuff, living that life. Maybe, we’re supposed to think, that this proves that, to Dutch, lifestyle was always more important than money, that all that “We can’t stop cuz we don’t have the money” was just an excuse to not stop.

Maybe. I don’t know. I’m trying, here.

But the wandering off… Like….what? Did I miss some line of dialog? What did John do to change his mind?

And, if we want to go there, if the first game was John hunting down Dutch, why’d he let him go? There’s Dutch, wandering off, back to John, and John’s thinking, what? “Yeah, I could kill you now, but I’m just gonna let you go….spend fifty or so hours tracking you down in between collecting cigarette cards and going to vaudeville shows. Yup. Too easy to just shoot you now. You’re lucky this is a prequel, Dutch!”

It sure could have used some monologues. Still doesn’t answer the question of why did Micah sell everyone out in the first place. A good reason to sell everyone out would be to have them all die or get arrested, take the treasure and run. A strange reason to sell everyone out would be to get the treasure, convince your boss you did not, in fact, sell him out so you could go live in a frozen outhouse with him gazing at a box full of money you’ll never spend, waiting for someone to hear you’re there so he can shoot you. That’s a strange reason.

And yet, that’s all I got.

As for the ACTUAL, epilogue, Amen, sister. Preach. Though I did want to say “Hey Pearson? Dude. I get it. Those were good times. But maybe, just spitballin’ here, it might be a bad idea to hang a picture of yourself with, like, eight dudes who are wanted dead or alive and/or killed by law enforcement in your place of business.”

Though it was a nice bit of metaphor that everyone who ran away from Dutch, who broke the spell and realized that he was not going to lead them to anything good, turned out really well. Pearson was happy. Mary Beth was wearing a fancy dress and using a silver ink well. John was happy. Tilly was dressed all nice and had, we assume, a husband and child.

If Dutch really is the metaphor I thought he was (and frankly, I don’t know what to think anymore), then that’s a pretty gutsy final statement to the game.

If. Maybe. Who knows. I sure want it to be.

And even if that was what they were doing with Rain Falls, that isn’t what the game was about. Arthur, fading away, watching the sun rise on a day he will not see? Good metaphor. Metaphor consistent with the game. Minor character watching an eagle that obviously represents his son EAGLE FLIES fly away, sad that his family and way of life are ending….ok…metaphor consistent with the game, but we HAD THAT ALREADY with, you know, the MAIN CHARACTER.

If you want to put in a nod to native folk and the struggles they have and all that, fine. But as the very last thing you do in a game that isn’t really about that? What?

If that was, I dunno, the second or third scene, then that’s one thing. But what you put last matters, and this was a very strange choice to put last.

It’s so maddening, cuz, I’ll say it again, had they ended the game with Arthur’s death, had the credits (with Arthur’s grave being last), then that’s the best game ending I’ve seen in a long, long time.

But they didn’t do that.

Ironically, game endings are usually bad because they’re lazy. Pat. Developers know that only about a third of people finish, so they get lazy with endings. Kill the baddie, done. This game worked its ass off to ruin its own ending.

Sigh.

Feminina:

It did! People worked really, really hard on that baffling, nonsense, momentum-ruining ending that came after the very good ending they probably just threw together one night while drunk and didn’t realize was good. (Just kidding. I’m sure they worked very hard on that one too.)

Sometimes you just gotta know when to quit.

So in summary? I’m not sorry I played that game, but I am sorry I had to play it for quite as long as I did. It contained a lot of interesting themes and characters and lots of blog-worthy moments. And then a lot of “what the hell.”

But I didn’t hate it as much as I thought I might, so…win, I guess.

Butch:

I think win. I would have enthusiastically said win after the real ending, though. But this game is going to leave such a bad last impression…..

I think that, if we’re gonna blog on it, this is an important lesson for developers: endings matter. The last impression you have of a game is the lasting one. Shit, John and Arthur are so similar, I’m having trouble remembering details about Arthur, and that’s bad.

It’s something that has to be said, though, in games: endings matter. You don’t have to say it to other narrative forms, because far more than 30% of everyone gets to the end of a movie or a book or a play. If you’re writing one of those, of course you perfect the ending. You know everyone’s gonna get there, and you know that their last memory of it is going to matter.

Games just have to cater more to that 30%.

It sure does feel, though, that games that expect more people to finish them care more about endings. The real punchy endings I can remember from games of yore tend to be shorter ones. TLOU. Great ending. 20 hour game. Gone Home: the triumph of knowing the young lovers were gonna go be young lovers. Great stuff. And THAT’S in a non linear game! A short non linear game. I guess you figure that, when you make a six hour game, or a twenty hour game, more people are gonna finish it.

Still, endings. They matter. And if you’re not going to get them right, at least let it be because you just didn’t do it right, not that you did and you sabotaged it.

Feminina:

Well…I mean, yeah, I’m totally with you, endings matter and games should think about the people who actually finish games, etc. But who the hell was that ‘epilogue’ for if not the people who actually finish games? And we hated it!

They put it in there as something just for those of us who made it through the actual game. They WERE thinking about us. They just…have no idea what we actually like or want, apparently.

Except for that one guy who appreciated the idyllic respite. I guess they were mostly thinking about him.

Butch:

That’s what makes it so weird! In the rare instances that you feel that developers put more thought into an ending than just “Kill big bad, save world, etc.” it’s GOOD!

This is a whole new class of ending. Before this, we had:

1) put barely any thought into it, kill bad guy, move on. (See lots of games we love, such as Horizon, Dragon Age, the Witcher)

2) put no thought into it whatsoever, leave everything open ended for sequels, DLC. (See, sadly, Fallout 4, Skyrim).

3) Put thought into it, and have it be GOOD.

This is the first “Put thought into it and still have it come out like BOTH 1 and 2 above.”

I don’t think that’s the kind of innovative they were going for.

Feminina:

So creative and different! Very daring and unexpected! Like nothing we’ve experienced before!

And just not a good idea.

When we’re regretting the lack of villain monologues, you know something has gone wrong.

Butch:

Man, hasn’t it just?

****Fast forward to when we’re 80% done with DA4****

“Solas, dude, PLEASE shut up…..”
(Pompous assed Solas voice) “But I read your blog from when you finished Red Dead 2 and you said you wanted more of this…”
“I TAKE IT BACK!!!!!”

Feminina:

Oh, Solas. He WOULD monologue for three hours straight, no doubt. AND he would have read our blog, mostly so he could sneer at us, but also so he could use our previous statements against us.

Damn that arrogant bastard!

Butch:

Well, maybe, given his love of monologues, he could explain Dutch and Micah while he’s at it.

I’d tolerate him for that.

Feminina:

DUDE. Brilliant. I would love that. And if he wanted to clear up any confusing bits in other games while he’s at it, that would be awesome.

Oh man. That would be the best. There would be about 500 conversation options and you could ask him about every game ever and he’d tell you. “Were Scarlett and Roderick really insane? Should I have tried harder to make Danse love me in FO4? Exactly what DID Micah think he’d get by working with the Pinkertons?”

I would buy that game just FOR the villain monologue.

Butch:

Yeah, but admit it: You’d get the following options

? Red Dead 2
? Fallout 4
? Divinity
? Like, all of Assassin’s Creed
? Why couldn’t I bang Petra in Horizon?
? The Pattern in Rapture
? every answer to every game question ever
(FLIRT)

and we both know what you’d pick.

And we’d still never know the answers.

Feminina:

Ah, but that wouldn’t even be an option unless I played an elven woman, so assuming I picked the scariest-looking Qunari I could possibly create, we’d be fine.

ALL THE ANSWERS, right here!

Butch:

Wouldn’t stop you. Admit it: You’ve kept at it with NPCs who were so not into you, just in case they changed their minds.

I’ve never done that, of course.

Feminina:

Nah, man, I want everyone to LLLOOOOOOOOVE MEEEEEEEE, not skulk away around corners when they see me coming because oh gawd it’s THIS bundle of need and frantic leering and inappropriate exploitation of power dynamics.

Also, I mean, generally once someone says they’re not into you, the flirtatious conversation options just go away, don’t they? Which is a helpful mechanic.

Like, speaking of DAI, remember when you flirted with Vivienne (of course you did!) and she was all “haha, you’re adorably amusing, but I have a lover”? That was the end of that. Partly because there was literally no further heart conversation option to pursue with her, if I remember correctly, but also, I dunno, she said she wasn’t interested. Her soul-crushing loss, man. If she changes her mind, she knows where to find me.

In Blackwall’s soggy, angst-riddled embrace. Seriously, Vivienne, come find me anytime. I mean, her lover was also dying, right? That was a plot point that we learned later?

Once he’s dead, whenever you’re ready to love again, I’ll be over here picking through the moldy flag collection. Siiiigh.

Dude, I make the most tragic romantic choices in games. Blackwall, Benny, the dying Thane, the Threesome of Shame…

Butch:

You do, but maybe you’ve changed. It’s been so long since we were able to make such choices. Sure, we got to dance with Mary Beth, maybe try to make a move on Mary, get confused because Mary and Mary Beth are pretty close name wise and kinda look alike, but it’s not the same.

Feminina:

Oh man, I’m so glad that wasn’t just me.

Mary? Oh, I mean Mary Beth, sorry!

I wonder if maybe that was intentional, if we were supposed to feel that Arthur also was–not confused, exactly, because clearly he can tell the difference between a woman he was engaged to and one he just works with, but if maybe he had a bit of additional fond feeling towards Mary Beth because she REMINDED him of Mary. And if that came through in the player as being slightly confused.

It’s possible I’ve changed. Only time and another game with romance options will tell. I wonder if AC Odyssey has romance?

Butch:

I have on good authority that it does.

And by “good authority” I mean “The internet.”

Feminina:

The internet is never wrong!

I can’t wait to play this and make some terrible choices in love. It’s gonna be great.

Butch:

You will likely end up alone, on one of those Greek boats with lots of oars, holding the helmet and chest plate of your lover who has gone off elsewhere to brood.

Or something. Given this is AC, who knows? Maybe he was an alien. Or a French Canadian.

Ya never know.

Feminina:

You do not! That’s the glory of this series!

Or it was, before they toned the historical alien interference way down. I personally miss it, although it’s possible I am literally the only person who does.

Butch:

I’ve only played the one, and there were long emails where I asked you what, exactly, the fuck was happening and you’d write these long posts in reply that made no sense. I anticipate more of the same.

With romance!

But first, we play the freebie.

Feminina:

And that one didn’t even mention the aliens much, if at all. Imagine how gloriously confusing it was back in the heyday of the mystery.

Although there was very little romance.

Remind me what the freebie is?

Butch:

What would you do without me?

What Remains of Edith Finch. You said you already downloaded it.

There are only two freebies a month. We’re playing the one that isn’t little cartoony chefs trying not to burn the kitchen down. Hopefully that’s not the one you got.

Feminina:

Aww…no cartoony chefs? But that one seems so full of potential romance, drama and themes!

Butch:

I got it for the boys. I’ll let you know. I’m sure meatball will tell me if there’s bloggage.

 

Weekend Post

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Puncherson_64LadyBrain_64

Important travel news from the weekend

Butch:

See? You got out. The bean!

I liked Chicago. Cool town. You near the lake?

And pizza. Gotta get one of those pizzas. Even if you don’t want to. City ordinance.

Feminina:

The…lake…I think so? I’ve never been there, but according to the map it’s a few blocks away. I should try to make the trip. It’s hard to get the time away from something that’s scheduled, but maybe I’ll just skip lunch. I have a banana and a croissant left over from breakfast. That’s food!

[later]

I saw the lake. It was large and blue under the clear, sunny sky. Some dude challenged me to a fishing contest, but I declined.

Then I went to a vaudeville show and cheered enthusiastically. Those guys could PLAY!

Just kidding. Only the part about the lake was true. There’s nothing that themey in my wanderings so far, probably because most of them have been inside the hotel.

Butch:

You must admit, that is one…..

…..pauses for effect…..

GREAT lake!

I’ve been saving that one all week.

You’re welcome.

I had hot chicken, you had a banana. Not making a case for vegetarianism.

Feminina:

I don’t think we can be friends anymore.

Not because of the pun, that was masterfully accomplished–I just can’t sit idly by while someone disparages bananas in such a callous fashion. Won’t someone please think of the potassium?!

Butch:

I had bananas in Nashville!

As part of a panna cotta with peanut caramel and whiskey ice cream!

I disparage nothing! So long as it has peanut caramel and whiskey ice cream.

I seriously hope you’re at least close to drunk. I, celebrating a certain holiday that I have no business celebrating, recently bought a LOT of tequila, so tonight might be good bloggage indeed.

Feminina:

Ooh, we went out to dinner last night and there was a root beer float you could get with whiskey ice cream, and I was very tempted, but in the end I was too full. Also I had to get back to the hotel to hit up a couple of vendor parties, because I’m morally obligated to take advantage of their open bar.

But I bet it was good. The handmade pasta with mushrooms and Parmesan was delicious.

Butch:

Open bars are kinda obligatory. Part of your job description, really. Don’t want to get in trouble at work. Life is hard.

Tequila was good, too.

But today I really have to get on that video game. That hasn’t happened. Too many kids.

Feminina:

Dude, I’ll be home tomorrow! You gotta get on that! But yeah, I know…kids. They do get in the way of doing things that don’t involve kids.

Had some wine last night. Didn’t really do anything outside the hotel today. Conferences get in the way of doing things that don’t involve conferences.

 

Travel Blogging with Feminina

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LadyBrain_64Puncherson_64

No spoilers

Feminina:

I’m in the airport. My carry-on is a shoulder bag, so no wheels. My trip is already suffering by comparison with yours.

Siiiiiigh.

Butch:

You can still twirl it! Just…make sure no one is standing around you.

Make up for this lack of fun with booze.

Feminina:

The main excitement so far is that I forgot to remove a bottle of nail polish from my jacket pocket before going through security!

They didn’t notice. It was a very small bottle. Probably not a security hazard.

Butch:

You wear nail polish? Who ARE you?

Aren’t they supposed to notice?

Well I just had two margaritas.

I’m trying to set your revelry bar high.

Feminina:

The sun is out here! That’s a refreshing change of pace!

I’m about to go down to the opening reception to get some wine. And snacks. And wine. And chat with people, and drink wine.

Also, I don’t wear nail polish, no. I’m not even sure why it’s in my jacket pocket. Probably because it’s bright purple and I couldn’t resist the idea that someday I might wear it? But I never have.

Butch:

Ok, see, you saw my booze and raised me sunshine.

NOW you’re travel blogging!

You carry around bright purple nail polish….

If that had been the thing that finally got you arrested, supreme irony.

Feminina:

Enh, they probably would have just thrown it away.

Had some wine and snacks, went out for a walk, admired the Cloud Gate at night. Good Chicago tourism.

Didn’t find anyone to shout “that bean can REFLECT!” at, though.

This trip is a failure.

Awesome DLC That Could Have Been

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Puncherson_64LadyBrain_64

Minor spoilers for the Red Dead Redemption 2 epilogue

Butch:

This game man.

It’s all “Hey, remember fishing? Let’s do some.” “Hey, remember tracking big assed bears? Let’s do that.” “Hey, remember maybe getting your picture taken unless you avoided it? Let’s do that.”

Games don’t do that. DLCS DO! DLCS!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Ok, that’s it for that.

I will say that having John look at the old Arthur picture then use Arthur’s old ring was cheesy as hell.

Ok, that’s all I got for games.

I expect “Travel blogging with Femmy!”

You may start by waxing eloquent about how your carry on is nowhere near as awesome as mine. Did I mention you can roll mine in any direction? It’s so cool.

Feminina:

ARGH I KNOW.

Yes, I remember all those things, game. I didn’t care about them then, and I don’t care about them now. CAN WE GET ON WITH IT PLEASE.

At least those are things you can ignore, unlike chasing bounties and building the barn and stuff.

Aww…Arthur’s picture and Arthur’s ring? I think by “cheesy” you mean “SUPER DUPER ROMANTIC.”

My travel blogging is going to be “man, it’s disappointing how few Pokemon I can catch when I have to turn my phone off on the airplane.”

Also “This fitbit won’t stop buzzing at me to take 250 steps this hour, but I’m trapped on a plane with the Fasten Seat Belt lights on!”

It’s gonna be great.

Butch:

No! No you can’t ignore them! They’re all during yellow missions! All of it! You think I’m doing anything but yellow missions? If this game had an optional side mission that was “Go to a hot sorceress strip club” I’d be all “Yeah, no, I want this over with.”

Fitbit does lack an ability to read social context.

Safe travels. You’ll find good travel bloggage. It’s how the internet do.

Feminina:

Oh! Right!

I mean, there WERE some tracking things I saw that I could and did ignore, but no, you’re right…the yellow “you gotta do this now” was also a thing.

Game. Game. What are you DOING?

This was soooooooo meant to be DLC.

Butch:

It so was. It SCREAMS DLC.

So where are you? On a plane? You sprung for Wifi? Not like you.

Feminina:

Oh no, I don’t leave until tomorrow. I’m still at work today. Springing for wifi is definitely not my thing. Although if I thought there would be special high altitude Pokemon…but there aren’t.

Butch:

Then you have no excuse for ignoring the fitbit. Move, Femmy!

Just got reimbursed for Nashville. That “Will it get here before I have to pay the Amex?” time is very stressful. But it made it. Phew.

Feminina:

Phew! That was good timing.

Work pays for the air travel directly, but we pay for the hotel ourselves and then get reimbursed. And in practical terms, I prefer paying for everything myself because Amazon points, but it does make for a larger-than-usual balance on the old card.

And I’m totally obeying the fitbit NOW! I was just thinking ahead to my concerns for tomorrow.

See that’s how much its ‘gamifying’ techniques have wedged themselves into my head. I worry about the fitbit in advance.

Also, I should really stop wearing it to bed. I don’t think learning I spend a cumulative hour awake in the middle of every night is helping my rest.

Butch:

But you need that resting heart rate! So you get an accurate score!

Help.

Feminina:

I can’t help. I am equally trapped. Because that’s a good point, how can we rely on the data if we don’t have a resting heart rate? There’s no way!!!!

Heh.

I’ll have my computer with me, because it’s a work function and all, but I might be too busy carousing (in a work-related way!) to type much.

Butch:

Travel blogging is all about the short bursts of Blog you can get off between carousing and playing with your carry on.

But you’re lucky. Mrs. McP’s work did NOT pay for the tickets or the thousand dollar registration fee up front, and that shit was on last month’s Amex, which I, of course, pay in full, so I’ve been fourteen hundred bucks in the hole for a damn month. I had no desire to go further in the hole.

Now I have to prevent myself from feeling rich cuz I have a ton of money in the checking account. Can’t be all “Whoo hoo! Look at me! Let’s buy stuff!”

Always a risk. Well, not for you cuz you never say that, but trust me, it’s a risk.

Feminina:

My checking account weirdly has better interest than my savings account, so aaaaallll my money is always in there. Which means I’ve had to learn not to think of my checking account as “money I have available to spend on things,” even if I wanted to.

My bank is weird. But the interest rate is decent, so I tolerate its quirks.

Anyway, think of all the credit card points you’ve racked up!

Butch:

Oh dude…that would be dangerous. Not just because I’d feel rich, but because I’d never know how much money I “have.” Like, the checking is what I can spend this month, the bills without dipping into savings, etc. If I was always having to do calculations like “Ok, this is the now money so that leaves this much for savings” I would inevitably fuck it up. Much better to leave it in a nice savings account that gets left alone. Until the house needs it. Or the kids have to go to camp. Or oh who am I kidding. I should just put it all in one place. Gonna get spent anyway.

Sigh.

This has racked up a lot of cash back, I’ll give it that.

Feminina:

Cash back is the best, man. As you well know.

And also, this is how old and boring we are. Ruled by our fitbits and fascinated by conversations about cash back and sensible financial management.

Butch:

Hey, we’re not boring. It’s that this is more exciting than the game we’re playing. I blame that.

And I need the emotional support cuz now I have to keep reminding myself that, someday, I’ll get back the money I just spent on camp.

See, have to write this massive check now. We pay for it with FSA money, but you don’t get the FSA money until they actually GO to camp, so July.

You know how it is. Look at the bank statement, rational brain is all “Don’t fret, you’ll get it back soon enough” and other brain is all “AAAAIIIIIIEEEEEE WHERE’S MY MONEY?????”

Why’d we have kids?

Feminina:

Oh, man, I know. The FSA dependent care money is an exercise in patience. I basically just have to wait until the end of the entire year, because they only put it into my account 1/12 at a time as each paycheck comes, so if I try to claim it earlier I risk trying to claim more than there is in there, and then not having the receipts for enough to make up the full amount later, and having to ask for more receipts from daycare which is a pain because they take forever to get the ones that are printed on the official letterhead…basically I just wait. So the entire year it’s just out-of-pocket expenses.

At least I can put it all on my credit card and get cash back!

And yes, it’s entirely the game’s fault that this is more interesting than it is.

THAT IS ON YOU GAME.

Butch:

Dude, that’s weird. Mrs. McP has money taken out every week (she gets paid weekly, ergo my having to keep track of shit to a greater degree). You can claim more than is in there, though, but you don’t get it.

So…I pay for camp. They go to camp. I get a big check for what’s in there as of July. Then, each week, they take the money out of her paycheck and mail me a check for the same amount (which is so very efficient) for the rest of the claim. Which is the rest of the year cuz fuck, man, camp’s expensive.

At least, each week, when I take in my check for, like, 91 bucks, I get a free lollipop.

Financial advice from Butch and Femmy! How to turn inefficient HR decisions into free lollipops!

Feminina:

Hm…maybe they would do that for me too, I just never tried. I just assumed it would be a hassle based on the health FSA, which (possibly because of our particular administration) is kind of a hassle, although now that I think of it, a hassle in a completely different way because the health money is all in the account from the first of the year.

Maybe I’ve been making unwarranted assumptions about the dependent care FSA!

I’m glad we had this little chat. I’ve possibly learned something useful.

Still not a good reflection on the ability of the game to hold our interest, though.

Butch:

No, no it is not.

But yeah, our health one works differently, too.

HR, man. Another reason not to work, and enjoy the stress free life of being a stay at home parent.

Feminina:

Hahahahahaha!!!!! Sure thing, man.

Half day Tuesday is a weekly party! Staying home is nonstop booze and video games! I’ve paid better attention than that to your wise advice.

I mean, maybe once the kids go to college it gets easy? You can fill me in.

Butch:

Gotta survive that long.

And then….what if….they move BACK??????

(So much for happy moon. I’ll never sleep thinking on that.)

Feminina:

What if indeed! That’s the trend NOW, so lord only knows how long kids will be living at home once the trade wars really hit and the middle class is reduced to a sliver!

This assumes I can even afford to send mine to college given their college accounts thus far are funded pretty much entirely by our tax refunds. Hahahaha! It’s gonna be great.

I need booze.

Butch:

Now we’re depressed cuz the fucking game got boring and didn’t have any…..

….drum roll…..

NUDITY

phew now it can be almost the weekend.

Feminina:

Dammit, game, is it too much to ask that you either remain interesting enough to distract us from our troubles or at least provide us with nudity to distract us from our troubles?

Barn raising is not cutting it.

You’ll probably be done by the time I get back, though. We can move on to happier things. Or at least ones we can think of more things to say about.

Butch:

That’s the plan….I mean….NOT THE PLAN! NOT! THE! PLAN!

Fuck.

Feminina:

NOT THE PLAN!!! Just…a thing that might possibly happen if we feel like getting around to it.

No plan.

Butch:

Not one bit.

Man I’m stupid.

Feminina:

Not your fault. Your brain is fried by long weeks, grey weather, lack of engaging games, and need for booze.

At least you can fix some of this.

Butch:

Certainly that last one. Boy howdy, that last one.

Feminina:

As long as there’s enough money in your checking account for booze, all is not lost.

Butch:

I have SO MUCH MONEY!!!!!! SO MUCH BOOZE!!!! Just got this big ol’ check today!!!!!

It’s on oh wait.

Dude. Don’t do that.

The Value of a Good Last Impression

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Puncherson_64LadyBrain_64

Spoilers for Red Dead Redemption 2 epilogue

Butch:

I want a recount!

I checked. When you completed the game, credits and all, you were at 82.3%.

Saved last night: 82.3%. Nary a credit in sight. Nary a Micah!

So as long as it dragged on for you, it’s gonna drag longer for me.

And really, all I have to blog on is my general weariness because all I did was slaughter Kevin (this was the bit with NEW GANG), did a QTE house building accompanied by yet another peppy song, slaughtered more Kevin (this was the bit with A WHOLE OTHER NEW GANG), heard Sadie say “I’ll see you again,” thought “You know, Sadie, I used to like you. I used to look forward to the bits of the game you were in. You’re still pretty cool and kinda hot so don’t take this the wrong way, but I do not want to see you again until you get your own sequel. As far as this game goes, please, PLEASE ride into the sunset.”

(This is the fucking epilogue, right? I didn’t accidentally start a new game?)

That’s all I got. I figure that’s what I’ll have tomorrow.

Feminina:

Seriously?! I want a recount too! What did I miss that increased your percent-complete that much? Hm.

Because I’m sorry, but yeah, you have a while to go.

But you built the house, that’s something! And did another bounty with Sadie, that’s something else! I think there are three bounties total, so you’re almost there!

You just need to do a little more building and slaughtering and chores and you’ll be good to go. On the mission to get Micah. Which only has, like, four parts to it.

GAAAAAAAAWDDS I can’t lie this goes on forever, I wish I had better news. But I feel like you’re…at least halfway done. Definitely halfway, maybe a little more.

Let’s talk about the house to distract us! I thought that was odd. Like, Uncle is pushing this idea, all “you can pick a house out of a catalog and then just assemble the pieces,” and then…you don’t even get to actually pick it. I had this moment’s feeling of “oh, hey, at least I can browse through a catalog and pick out an entertaining house to make this dude live in with Uncle and Charles,” and then…no. He just says “I’ll take that one” or whatever. Come ON, game!

It’s like this epilogue wants to give us all the chores of settlement building and maintenance in Fallout 4, with none of the actual decision making.

And I mean, in a way I also appreciated that it didn’t give me a bunch of choices, because then at least I know I’m not going to get sucked into spending an unnecessary 10 extra hours picking out the type of roofing material and the color of the paint on the door and so forth. But also, I kind of just wanted to glance at a couple of houses and feel like I had some input, you know?

It’s not REALLY about ranch building and maintenance, it’s just about going through the MOTIONS of ranch building and maintenance to make sure we have time to get bored with it! (I guess.)

I don’t know, game. I really, really don’t understand what you’re trying to do here, or why you thought it was a good idea.

Because you’re right! I like Sadie! I like Charles! I don’t even mind Uncle! But at this point, I don’t want to see any of them ever again because I know it’s just going to be some task that will drag this whole inexplicable thing out even more. This is not the impression I wanted to be left with. It really isn’t.

But here we are.

Baffling.

Butch:

Dude. Dude. This cannot be. It. Cannot. Be.

But it is, isn’t it?

I have a barn! That’s….good….right? A barn?

Well, at least we don’t have to drop everything to defend the ranch oh who am I kidding we’re going to have to drop everything to defend it.

Motions, indeed. I had no idea what I was doing short of button mashing.

Here’s the thing: I think it was pointless. Not just narratively pointless, but pointless button mashing.

Hear me out: First, it was to a song, right? A prerecorded song, that I don’t think was written for the game. And yet, despite mashing away and having no idea what I was doing, I completed the house right as the song ended. Now, that’s either a huge, HUGE coincidence, or I was going to finish the house then and there whether I mashed or not. Ergo, pointless mashing.

Second, I hit the checklist to see how you got a medal and one was “Have at least whatever percentage accuracy on driving nails” and I didn’t get it, which means I missed a shit ton of nails but didn’t fail the mission and ended right as the song ended. Ergo, pointless mashing.

Talk about going through the motions.

I didn’t want to end here either. I had such good impressions, too! This was a really good game! It was!

Was. Past tense.

Very, very baffling.

At least I got to see more of it than you did. Heh.

Feminina:

Ooh, you have the house AND the barn? So you met the Skinner Brothers in the woods…right. The second completely new gang.

Well, then, that’s even better! You’ve built all the things you need to build! And met the Boogeymen du Jour!

That’s at least part of the battle.

Of course, the rest of the battle will be when you have to battle the Boogeymen du Jour, which you obviously will. If it helps, this will conveniently tie into Sadie’s final bounty mission, so you can at least multitask a bit.

It’s gonna be great.

I’m with you on the pointless button mashing. That was obviously a montage cutscene that they wanted us to feel we were participating in. But it didn’t work that well. I just wanted to hurry it up.

Maybe if we’d liked the song more, it would have been a rousing scene of shared labor and the character building something real with his hands and his friends, instead of just shooting people, he’s making a permanent home instead of just setting up camp in the wilderness, and it would really represent the future he’s also trying to build with his hands, for his family, and damn, man, there’s so much MEANING AND PATHOS in there!

Except that it was just not that effective for me. I mean, I GOT all that, but in the first 30 seconds or so. I think maybe it would actually have been more meaningful as a montage cutscene, which I could have just watched and reflected on, than it was as something I had to pay attention to and try to hit nails in.

I dunno.

Butch:

Damn. Just….damn. More that makes me think this was a DLC. Boogeymen du Jour come up in DLC, the “Hey look! New baddies for a new story!” Kevins.

Not in epilogues.

Just tell me it’s only that one game and not the Mexicans.

Speaking of which, what the hell was with that dude’s voice acting? “We’re cooming for YOOOOOOO!!!!” He sounded like Cheech Marin playing Dracula.

Yeah, I know. You’re exactly right. Make it a cutscene.

I don’t LIKE being involved with cutscenes. It’s not what they’re for and it never works.

And the song sucked. Bring back D’Angelo!

Feminina:

The Skinner Brothers are SUCH a Boogeymen du Jour group. I mean, they make a gesture at having some sort of theme-related principles, like they can’t fit into polite society and this is what they turn to instead, and maybe we’re meant to think in the old days of freedom and outlaws they would have joined outlaw gangs and been partially reined in by that…? Or something?

But basically it’s just “these guys are horrible awful evil people who are your enemies!!!!!”

Go with that.

Butch:

It really was good when it was good.

This epilogue is not good.

Just Epilogin’ Along

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Puncherson_64LadyBrain_64

Spoilers for the epilogue, Red Dead Redemption 2

Butch:

Here’s how Merriam Webster defines “epilogue:”

noun: a concluding section that rounds out the design of a literary work.

Game, I got questions.

How does betting on Charles, followed by a wagon chase, do that?

How does following that up almost directly with an ENDLESS shootout/bounty thing with Sadie do that?

How does pulling a house down and moping about Abigail with SOMEONE ELSE do that?

This isn’t an epilogue. It just isn’t.

I’m not sure what it actually is. I still think it may well be DLC that, for some reason, isn’t DLC. But shit, it’s starting to feel like a damn tutorial. “Calm the horse, now ride it to tire it out, now ride with Jack, now shoot some dudes, now shoot them from a wagon, now do a lasso thing….” Game, I KNOW! I even was ok with the lasso! Why, after, like, 497345987 hours, do I feel like I’m doing a tutorial?

This is just….. just……

But here’s what enrages me, like, white hot rage enrages me: Our last word on Arthur? Hey game, you remember him. He was the main character in this game we played a couple of months ago. Good guy. Had a really good story arc that we referred to as “THE GAME.” Our last word on him is Charles, in strolling banter, not even a cutscene, saying “I buried him AND MRS. GRIMSHAW (emphasis mine) on the side of the mountain. He’d be happy.” THAT’S. IT. Mentioning his fate in passing in the same sentence as an NPC NO ONE LIKED.

Game? Arthur is the main character of you. I checked the box last night. Arthur’s picture. Arthur’s. Arthur had a really good ending. Indeed, it should have been THE ending. And now we just get a throwaway line about him?

Just……just…….

Feminina:

With you, man. WITH YOU. About everything.

WHY WHY WHY game?! Why did you do this? Why did you follow Arthur’s perfect, tragic, grim, sliver-of-redemption arc with this endless series of chores and tutorials on stuff we already know how to do, with a character we barely care about? (Though, speaking again of DLC, if we hadn’t played the main game in a while, we might actually welcome a brief refresher on lassos or whatever. THIS SHOULD HAVE BEEN AN OPTIONAL ADD-ON, GAME.)

And yeah, that was a very casual way to slip in a reference to the ultimate fate of the character we DID actually care about. Oh, thanks, Charles, thanks for confirming that at least he wasn’t just eaten by crows, I guess (not that he would probably have cared). Nice of you to catch us up with a by-the-way reference to that one random dude we SPENT 700 HOURS PLAYING AS, as long as you’re filling in the news on everyone else anyway. No big deal, right? (Again: FINE IN DLC.)

Although honestly I did actually like Miss Grimshaw, so I’ll part ways with you there. She made some poor decisions, yeah, but who in this game did not? And she took care of business, man. That lady did not mess around. I respect that.

If you’ve met Sadie, you’ll have heard mention of Micah, and surmised that the “reason” we’re doing this whole bit is so we can hunt down Micah and settle our issues with him (i.e., murder the hell out of that bastard). Which…I mean, yeah. Micah was a loose end in Arthur’s story, we mentioned that. And he’s an unmitigated bastard, to be sure. But honestly it was not such a big, nagging narrative problem that I have to spend 10 hours of “epilogue” on it to find closure. A minute-long cutscene in an ACTUAL epilogue? Sure.

Sigh. It’s a shame, it really is. We had months of deep, thoughtful, intelligent discussion on this game, and now it’s going to wrap up with two weeks of solid WHAT THE ACTUAL HELL.

KALE SALAD IS NOT AN EPILOGUE, game.

Butch:

Right! Right! It’s what DLCs DO! And that’s ok! I’ve played DLCs. We played the one for Horizon, right? And we had put down the main game for a while and it was ok to get back into the groove with some basic monsters, basic fights, etc. Fine.

I tell you, this whole thing feels like a DLC. The way it’s set, the way it’s structured, all of it.

Not just fine, expected. If you’re gonna DLC as someone else, completely ignoring the main character of the first game would be so weird. That’s how DLCs do it. If we played a DLC as Ciri, say, and she never mentioned Geralt once, we’d wonder why. Or if she bumped into a mutual friend, Triss say, and neither of them mentioned Geralt, it would be odd. So ok, in a DLC, great, cuz it’s a NEW story referencing and old one THAT ENDED.

Well, ok, I’ll give you that, about Susan. But tossing her into the same sentence there elevates her character to a level of importance in the narrative equal to Arthur’s. Or lower’s Arthur to a level of importance equal to her, and, well, like her or not, they shouldn’t be equals in terms of importance to the narrative.

Or…..dare I say it…..A DLC!!!!! Shit, letting a baddie disappear is HOW DLCS oh I’m tired of saying it. Shit, people LOVED the DLC for DAI where you basically go after Solas, who, of course, disappears after betraying everyone like, oh I don’t know, Micah. It wrapped all sorts of shit up. Why didn’t we play it? Ah, well. Time has passed.

It really is as if they made a DLC and then had second thoughts about selling it. Maybe they thought it would step on the toes of the online thing that they keep hyping that I’m totally ignoring? After all, GTA Online has been a cash machine for them. Maybe the suits were all “But we don’t want people playing single player DLC, we want them online” and the developers were all “But we already made it…..”

Who knows?

I don’t know. But this sure feels like a well thought out, well designed DLC that isn’t a DLC.

We really did get a lot out of this, before now. I’m trying to get something here. Maybe thoughts of the transition to the future? How, ok, the “old ways” died watching the new day dawn and what is the new day, rock farming and being owned by the bank (“now you’re a real American?”). That might work. But it doesn’t explain the wagon chases, the bounties, the Abigail plot, any of it. All of that shit has no point, no themes, no nothing.

This in a game where we got themes from the fucking load screens.

WHAT THE ACTUAL HELL sums it up perfectly.

Feminina:

Yeah, that’s actually a quite good theme that I was meaning to mention–the transition from riding the range as a free outlaw to (mostly) law-abiding man in debt to the bank he would once have robbed. That’s kind of meaningful! Like the west, the outlaw is tamed by rules and formal agreements to repay money.

It’s an interesting point. I don’t think it needed to be in this game right now, but it’s not bad stuff.

And speaking of repaying money and catching up on people, did you get the bit where we learned that Strauss died in jail without ever ratting out the gang?

Made me feel kind of bad about Arthur throwing him out of camp and all. I mean, I felt kind of bad about that anyway (although considering the fate of the camp, he may have been just as glad to be gone), because I genuinely didn’t think Strauss was an evil person, or no more so than anyone else in the gang. Moneylending was certainly presented as being an evil business, and I personally didn’t like collecting debts, but as I think we discussed, is threatening and beating someone up objectively any worse than shooting a bunch of guys and robbing a stagecoach?

They’re BOTH bad, and it’s an interesting line to draw, that Arthur eventually couldn’t take any more of the debt collecting, but never seemed to feel the same moral compunction about the robbing and murdering.

Anyway, I think one thing this epilogue does that’s interesting is tie back to that moneylending issue here by making John a borrower himself (although spoiler, they never really do anything explicit with it). He, of course, borrows from the bank that–presumably–wouldn’t lend to the sort of people Strauss lent to, but is that a sign of moral character in banks, or just business sense?

The main thing, I think, is that this borrowing is regulated by the law, and so by participating in this legal contract with the system, John is buying into the civilized way of life in a very literal way. And since this particular location was Abigail’s idea, it’s all, obviously, done for her sake, and we’re meant to see this as the saga of a wild man taming and civilizing himself for the sake of a woman.

Which is another kind of interesting thing we could talk about…the relationship between John and Abigail, and their sort of competing desires for their lives. I’m kind of glad they had Abigail just pack up and leave rather than stick around and complain all through this section. Her character rides the edge of ‘nagging wife caricature’ pretty hard for a bit there, and having her just say “I can’t do this, I’m out” I read as kind of a nice sign of initiative and unwillingness to stay stuck in a pattern that’s not making either of them happy. Plus we don’t have to listen to them bicker about the same damn thing for 5 hours straight.

Butch:

It’s a point, yes. But, again, how does Kevin killing add to this point? That Sadie shootout was LONG. LONG LONG LONG. And where’s Abigail fit in? (I have a feeling we’d care a lot more about her if we played the first game, which we DIDN’T game! You hear us? WE DIDN’T!)

I did hear that about Strauss. I also heard them throw in some comment like “I guess you can never tell how strong people are” or some shit. Great, guys. Great. You think he’s a weak little Jewish guy UNTIL HE DIES and then you’re all “Oh. My bad.”

I don’t think I’m gonna forgive the game about Strauss. Don’t like it.

As for the bank, the line “And now you’re a real American” certainly had something behind it. A something that has been lost in the rage, but something. And yes, tamed by the rules. Even Uncle is all “You haven’t robbed it yet?”

I found it interesting that he gets the loan under his real name. The Pinkertons could never stop John Marston with guns and horses, but the bank had John Marston come crawling to them, eager to give his freedom away.

That’s a themey thing, I guess.

Feminina:

Yes, I also thought it was interesting that he’s in hiding, shoots guys who overhear his name in the post office, but then just signs a loan at the bank as John Marston. As you say, the law, and the law’s hired hands in the form of the Pinkertons, can’t pin him down, but you can’t lie to the BANK, man!

Butch:

Nor do you HAVE to lie to the bank. Bank doesn’t care if you’re good or bad, white hat or black. Bank just wants its money.

Feminina:

True! The bank doesn’t care.

Are you going to repay that money? That’s all the bank cares about. You can repay it with honest labor, or by robbing trains, that’s up to you. Just as long as you don’t get busted and thrown in jail. That’ll interfere with your repayment schedule.

Although I guess then the bank can always just repossess the land, which you’ve improved with the addition of a house, so hey, you do you.

Oh, speaking of which, have you built a replacement house yet? If not, sorry, spoiler.

If so…that’s a faintly weird little mechanic.

Butch:

Exactly! And the threat of that, losing the house, disappointing the wife, etc., is more of a reason to be “good” than avoiding jail and hanging and all that.

Might get arrested and hung? Whatever. Lock and load. Might get arrested and lose the house? Can’t have that.

Again, a bank doing what no Pinkerton could.

Did you also catch, when running down the bounty in the ENDLESS shootout, John asking about the bank robber “He rob the place with a gun?” and Sadie saying “No, a pen.”

Sigh. Replacement house.

No, no I have not. Nope. I have not.

I have not.

Sigh.

Feminina:

Well, guess what!? You’re going to build a house!

It’s gonna be great. You’re gonna love it.

And yes, good point about the robbing with a pen. Another symbol of this shift from action/combat/freedom to laws/contracts/civilization.

Which, let’s be honest, most of us really prefer! I would rather sign a contract and pay money to the bank so I can stay in my house, than just settle somewhere and have to defend my territory with guns and constant vigilance from the encroachment of rival bands of outlaws. Just my personal preference.

But there’s no denying it doesn’t make for as exciting a game. Which is another instance where you feel the game is really willfully making this as dull as possible so that we, the players, can fully appreciate what John is sacrificing here. Wouldn’t we rather be out robbing trains and getting in gunfights? Isn’t that more what life (in a game) is ABOUT?

And then, interestingly, they flip THAT on its head by giving you an endless bounty chase that you just kind of wish would end. Like, even the adventure isn’t that exciting except for the two minutes when you’re actually shooting at people. If all you really wanted in a game was gunfights, this would be a disappointment too.

And I’m not sure what that’s about. The approach of civilization makes even exciting stuff less exciting? When it’s part of a bounty hunt conducted under the auspices of the law, even gunfighting doesn’t recapture the outlaw spirit of the old days? (Though remember how unglamorous those old days actually were to play, too.) Hm.

Butch:

Yes! If they wanted to make the boring, mundane shit the point, why was that fight SO FUCKING ENDLESS???????

Took me twenty seconds to pull the house down. Took me FOREVER to do that fight.

Cuz you know what Arthur didn’t put in his satchel before he gave it to John? Health cures.

Thanks for nothing, Arthur.

Feminina:

Scene that accidentally got cut: with his dying breath, Arthur pulls out his entire collection of food and health cures and gobbles it all down, vainly trying to stave off death for one. more. minute.

I actually assumed that John had used them up in the intervening “some years” since he got the satchel. As to why he never bothered to replenish them, though…well, my best guess is that he’s just not too bright.

Butch:

Miraculously, the apples and wild carrots stayed good!

I can hear Roach, from heaven, in his Mr. Ed voice:

“Thoooosssseee were miiiiiineee….biiiiitch…”

Feminina:

Sniffle. My poor horse.

I haven’t been able to let myself get close to a horse as John. I have a couple of nice ones, and I’ve done some bonding, I feed them apples, but it’s not the same. The pain of loss has scarred me.

Butch:

At least Roach got all the sugar cubes I had before the end.

(You do know that every horse I will ever have in video games will be named Roach.)

(Shit, if I ever get a real horse I’m gonna name it Roach.)

(But that is very unlikely.)

(But then, if you bought a house, anything can happen.)

Feminina:

Oh, dude, no doubt. Every horse will have to be named Roach forever. Hell, I think if you ever get anything kind of horseLIKE it will have to be named Roach.

Like if you ever own a donkey, or a zebra, or a donkey painted to look like a zebra? Roach.

Butch:

Everything. Anything.

If you’re foolish enough to have a third kid, name it Roach.

Feminina:

That would almost make it worth it!–but not quite.

Butch:

No, not quite.

Today got weird. Even by our standards.

Feminina:

Enh, we had some quite good game discussion in there earlier, which is more than we can count on here in the “epilogue.” We deserve to relax and start naming our hypothetical farm animals and children.

You Don’t End Games with Salad

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Puncherson_64LadyBrain_64

Some spoilers for the epilogue of Red Dead Redemption 2

Butch:

Well, I’m on part two of the epilogue, and, while that is likely not a NEW SENTENCE I certainly hope that’s the last time I have to type it. Ever.

Part two. Of the epilogue.

But hey, at least I didn’t have to build a fence. Watching a cutscene of that was so much more interesting.

Maybe this game just feels guilty for everything it did to you. Now it’s punishing itself. This is some form of terrible self destruction based on guilt and self loathing.

Shit, even Arthur’s last ride, the song, the perfect choices of dialog to return (I still can’t get over how great it was to have the last thing you hear in that montage be a RANDOM NPC saying “Thank you, feller”) is now tainted because it ISN’T THE LAST LONG RIDE WITH A SONG in the damn game! Now, instead of that as a last impression, I have Willie Nelson singing something all peppy and shit.

What IS this?

I’m very glad we aren’t in the minority regarding our opinions on this. I would fear for the whole idea of games as art if people weren’t agreeing with us here.

Feminina:

Sigh. Yeah. I mean, I like Willie Nelson! He has old-hippie cred. But…not right here. Not right now.

I can’t remember where part 2 kicked in, because it all blurred together in an endless daze of “BUT WHY AM I DOING THIS.”

Have you met…anybody yet? Shot some people with Jack? Received the Very Important Goal of this epilogue?

Butch:

I met Uncle, who seems to have moved into my “farm.” I got a telegraph from Sadie, which I imagine will lead to the Very Important Goal of this epilogue.

I did shoot some dudes who jumped me after I said “John Marston” in a post office.

I can see the blur. Part two didn’t even really need to be there. I bought a shack.

No, it was, “some months later” (Dear game, when you’ve already pulled “some years later,” don’t pull “some months later”), THEN I bought a shack, THEN part two popped. Like, what was so important? Maybe that’s the setting for the first game? Maybe people all gasped when they saw Blackwater right at the beginning of this game? I don’t know. It didn’t seem momentous enough to warrant a part two at that point. I even had the Sadie quest! I decided to go get a shack first.

Is this almost over?

Feminina:

Yeah, OK, I remember that part.

I thought that bit where you got in a gunfight after saying “John Marston” in the post office was fairly well done, with the tension of trying to keep Jack both physically safe, and also protected from the full experience of the combat. Like, John doesn’t want his kid exposed to the violence he deals with everyday–or not everyday, anymore, but often enough that it’s not that big a deal to him.

It was a nice demonstration of how John is actually trying to get out of the gunslingers’s life–that rather than seeing this as an opportunity to teach Jack the family business, say, he instead tries to keep him from even having to see it. However much he himself is unable to keep from doing what he does (“what do you want me to do, NOT go shoot a bunch of dudes and get the cattle when the boss asks me to?”), he doesn’t really want his son to follow in his footsteps.

Again, I don’t know why I had to do it here at the end of this game…but it wasn’t a bad character moment.

Almost done…alas, no. You have to build some more stuff, do a lot more ranch chores, hang out with Sadie and so forth. It’s going to be a while.

Butch:

It was a good character moment…yes…it was….

This epilogue isn’t doing anything fundamentally bad, really. It’s just doing things that are very unnecessary, oddly timed, and that take away from the good stuff.

It’s like having a really nice four course meal, and ending with a fantastic dessert. Then, when you think it’s over, the restaurant is “Why no, there’s a kale salad to end!” And it’s a good kale salad, a very good kale salad, but you don’t want the damn kale salad. You want to end the meal on the fantastic dessert.

At least, this time, when the game is doing something objectively well, we can counter with an objective reason why it sucks.

A while? You jest. If you jest, it ain’t funny.

Feminina:

Yes! That’s exactly what it’s like!

This is a very nice kale salad, it’s well seasoned, the kale is fresh, in other circumstances I might have quite enjoyed it, but…WHY IS IT HERE RIGHT NOW?

And I’m sorry. Dude, I’m sorry. But no: it’s a genuine while. There are chores, and random murder quests, and building. It’s a couple of solid hours, at least.

So it’s like, after the oddly timed kale salad, they ALSO bring out…another, even larger kale salad! Also very nicely prepared and with high-quality ingredients!

And you just keep thinking WHAT THE HELL IS THIS DOING HERE RIGHT NOW. I was already full of dessert!

And you want to just get up and leave the table, but at this point you’ve been here so long that you’re committed to seeing it through, so you sigh and pick up your fork. Again.

Butch:

And you’ve already paid for it. Like, say, a seven course prix fixe. Once you hear the last two courses are weird and you want to be done after the first five, really great courses, you’re like “Well, it’s kinda a waste of money and time and all if I just leave…..”

At least if I was in a restaurant, I could get booze with the salad.

Feminina:

It’s true, you did already pay for it, and it’s clear the chef really meant this final menu choice to add something significant to the experience, so you feel you should at least eat it so you can comment on the decision from the position of someone who finished the meal. Doesn’t mean you can’t be baffled by the choice the entire time.

Especially when the epilogue doesn’t even come with a nice, period-appropriate Miller High Life.

Butch:

Now I wanna Miller high life.

Of course, that’s often true on a day when the kids are home early again.

Feminina:

Man, your kids are ALWAYS out early.

Why did you move back to that town again?

Butch:

Uh….it was cheap? No, not that. Uh….diverse? No…that isn’t it…

Uh…..

Feminina:

Keep working on it. I’m sure you had a very valid reason that sounded good at the time.

The plethora of public television channels, perhaps?

Ooh, I bet it was all the divey liquor stores.

Butch:

Nah man. The dive liquor stores and record shops are Lincoln.

The tv stations won’t be good until they take my feedback.

We do have a tea cake shop.

Feminina:

It was probably the tea cakes. That’s why I would have done it.

Butch:

I’ll go with that.

Now I want a tea cake with my Miller high life.

Gotta be a NEW SENTENCE!

Feminina:

Incidentally, as a confirmation that Hotmail is spying on our conversations, my sidebar ad is now Miller Lite.

I think I’m hurt. I mean…am I not classy enough for the champagne of beers, Hotmail? You gotta try to steer me towards the workaday stuff, because I’m just not a High Life kind of person?

Afraid I’m going to start breaking bottles with my drunken clumsiness and/or belligerence?

I have to say, I resent the implications. However true they may be.

Butch:

That’s an amazing kind of awesome.

They know you well. By which I mean not very well.

Feminina:

Well…not very well…what’s the difference, really? The important thing is that they care enough to eavesdrop.

Butch:

I feel kinda bad for the dude assigned to us. Imagine the issues we’ve given him.

Feminina:

If an algorithm can get into booze, it’ll wind up with crippling alcoholism for sure.

Butch:

Well, who doesn’t?

Feminina:

Probably John Marston, at this rate. He’s too busy building fences and murdering people.

Eats up one’s time, that does.

Butch:

His own damn fault for having kids and buying a house.

Feminina:

Too damn right it is. He probably ignored his good friend’s advice, as so many of us have done.

And look where it got him.

At Least We’re Not Alone

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Puncherson_64LadyBrain_64

Spoilers for the epilogue of Red Dead Redemption 2

Butch:

I played, so what can I say? Let’s see…..

Quite a fence. Yup.

Quite a ride with Jack. Yup.

That was some murderin’. That it was.

Yup.

Yessiree.

Boy Howdy. Great fence.

Why am I doing all this?

Should I order AC:O?

Feminina:

Yup. That was some fine fence-buildin’ and horse-ridin’ and bandit-murderin.’ Yessiree.

Have you had any emotional conversations with Abigail? Those are also very meaningful.

This is John Marston. Tryin’ to do right by his family. For approximately 700 hours of game time.

Butch:

Yes. Very emotional.

Sigh.

Game ran fresh out of themes.

Started Edith Finch yet?

Feminina:

Yeah. You can see why I repeatedly wondered to myself “BUT WHY AM I DOING THIS” as I proceeded.

I mean…I guess one could argue that Arthur’s dying wish was to save this family, and so we’re getting to see how that worked out. See whether/how John is able to uphold Arthur’s hopes for him. Whether he’s able to be the husband and father he wants to be.

BUT WHY DO WE HAVE TO PLAY IT RIGHT NOW THOUGH?

And, you know, it’s nice to see how things turn out, and that they all lived, and minor spoiler, you’ll get to meet some other people from John’s past, and it’s nice to see how they’re doing. And maybe you tie off a loose end.

BUT WHY IS IT A WHOLE EXTRA GAME THOUGH?

I do not know. I sincerely do not.

Also, I have not started anything, but I probably will soon. It’s right there, after all. And yes, you should order AC!

I’m going to Chicago this weekend, so I don’t know if I’ll get around to doing it first or if I’ll be too busy thinking about Chicago and packing and so forth this week.

Butch:

Think about Chicago. Pack. Enjoy the sunshine. I’ll finish this this week (I hope…I have to…) and we’ll start AC:O next week, be on the same page for a day or two before you blow right by me.

I’ll order it directly.

Man…this could have been done in an epilogue. Like, a real one. Not a huge assed DLC one.

And what really sucks is the more I think on the “ending” the more I like it.

I think on it a lot, as it is all I have to think about re games lately cuz there isn’t much to think about regarding fence building.

One little nod I’ll give it: During the Jack ride, I was kind of expecting to get jumped. It was very reminiscent of the outing Arthur took with Jack to fish, even to the point of ending up by the stream. That, of course, is where we met Milton. I had my hands ready to go fight wise the whole time. Maybe that was supposed to make me feel a little bit like John, still skittish after all this time. Nicely done.

Totally unnecessary and a waste of my time, but nicely done.

Feminina:

I know. It could so easily have been an actual epilogue! Perhaps complemented by some actual DLC for those who wanted more. Plenty of people probably would have bought that! And they probably would have liked it!

And those of us who wouldn’t bother to buy it would not be in the position now of sitting here making baffled, unhappy noises and having the last few weeks of our bloggage about this game be confusion instead of themes.

I truly don’t understand why they took all the air out of that very nice, tense, emotionally satisfying ending by immediately following it up with 10 hours of ranch chores (and occasional murder! can’t forget the murdering). It just seems like a weird choice.

I mean, stuff happens. Eventually. You get some story about some people. It’s not bad story. And as you say, it’s not badly done: you keep expecting to get jumped even when nothing is going on, which works well with the character’s state of mind. The scenery is pretty. The chores aren’t even especially terrible, I didn’t HATE building fences and it doesn’t really take that long. It could have been fine, in some other context.

It’s just…WHY IS IT HERE AT THE END OF THIS GAME.

Butch:

Preach, sister. Preach.

And, to keep with this “Why isn’t this DLC theme,” didn’t Strawberry itself feel like DLCville? A full city, seen way back at the beginning of the game for a very short period of time, one real set piece, a loose end (Why did Micah kill those two people in their home?) and BOOM, done for the game? Usually, when something is that fleshed out but just seen briefly, that’s the setting for DLC, right? “Oh THAT’S why they had this whole town way over there in the part of the map you wouldn’t ever go back to! They were setting up the DLC!”

I do not get it. They cost themselves money, though. That I get.

Feminina:

And you almost want to give them credit for costing themselves money. Like–they gave up money for this! They must have felt strongly about it! It must be there for some important reason, it must really add something to this game that they felt was critical to the experience!

There was clearly a lot of thought that went into the structure and the narrative and the characters all through the Arthur part of the game, so you have to assume they also thought about the John part and knew it was going to be odd and jarring coming right after Arthur’s death, and they did it anyway on purpose. For some reason.

But…what on earth IS that reason? I just can’t figure it.

OK, because I was genuinely curious, and for discussion, I found someone who reads it completely differently from how we both did.

Red Dead Redemption 2’s epilogue works where the main story struggles – Polygon

There are some (very minor) spoilers for the epilogue itself, so I’ll just quote some key bits:

The game’s final 20 hours took on emotional toll on me; everything feels hopeless, and everyone seems doomed.

But the epilogue introduces a major tonal shift after all that gloom. It breathes life back into the soul of the game, replacing the sense of dread and clearing up the phlegmy cough of despair. It also fixes the major pacing and tonal issues that plague the final acts of the main story.

The epilogue is an idyllic respite from the horrors of the doomed Arthur Morgan…

I finish John’s quest just five hours later. … It’s a truly moving story arc that didn’t need 60 hours of development. But I feel more satisfied by those brief hours than everything that came before it. All I need, it turns out, is a sense of purpose.

Huh.

That is pretty much exactly how I did not feel about the epilogue.

I mean, he’s right about the final hours of the main game becoming more and more hopeless and despairing. That is definitely true. And I would argue that is why I was ready for the game to actually be over once it finally ended.

Arthur got a goal for the end of his life (get Abigail, Jack and John out), he succeeded in that goal, he died. Closure. I felt OK about that! And yes, we’ve known for weeks that the game was going to end in tragedy with Arthur dead, and that’s why I was READY TO ACCEPT THAT ENDING when it arrived.

I didn’t need an idyllic respite!

But I must say, at least it’s helpful to have an alternative viewpoint. Perhaps more people in focus testing shared that viewpoint, and they just wanted to not end on the down note of a dead main character.

But guys, come on. If anybody can end on that down note without making fans wail in astonishment, it’s Rockstar. Did you really have to stick a 5-hour happy ending on it? (Also, I feel like it took me more than 5 hours, but whatever, that’s a minor quibble.) You could have stayed with the honest, dark-but-a-hint-of-redemption ending that wrapped up the main story, and people could suck it up dammit, because you’re freaking Rockstar. We EXPECT dark and grim from you!

But whatever. Even Rockstar gotta sell games.

And I guess I don’t begrudge that guy, and other players who share his opinion, their sense of satisfaction and purpose and closure based on the epilogue. I do not share that sense! But perhaps more people do, than do not. And if it makes more people happy, then I guess I can’t argue with their decision to do it that way. Maybe we’re the weird outliers.

Meanwhile, this guy at Forbes is much more in agreement with us.

We Need To Talk About Red Dead Redemption 2’s Enormous Epilogue Ending

More spoilers for the epilogue, but here’s a quote:

While I enjoyed playing as John for this epilogue and seeing how his story feeds into the original game after all these missions, this entire experience did feel…a bit strange to me. My biggest problem was that after spending 50+ hours in Arthur Morgan, he was the character I felt the most invested in, not John, even though I have played RDR1. I understand that Morgan’s story of redemption was all leading to John escaping safely with his family, but adding seven hours of a John story on to the ending of Arthur’s story feels a bit like stealing the limelight.

Yeah. That.

So we’re not COMPLETELY the weird outliers.

Also

RDR2 Epilogue: The Problems with the Game’s Endings | Collider

I don’t have an issue with Red Dead Redemption 2 killing off Arthur Morgan, but if that’s the end of the game, that should be the end of it. When you tack on two chapters worth of epilogue, then Arthur’s story becomes smaller and less important. The protagonist is now just a supporting character in John’s story. That works the other way around because Red Dead Redemption 2 starts with John in a supporting role, but by elevating him to the lead, I’m being told that the story is over and now the work begins of completing the challenges, finding all the collectibles, etc.

Yeah! That!

So I still appreciate the take of that one guy who liked it, but maybe he’s actually the outlier.

And OK, yeah, we’re not the outliers…

Red Dead Redemption 2’s Epilogue Is A Nightmare – hitc.com

While it would be outrageous to condemn Rockstar for wanting to give its loyal audience a ton of fanservice, it’s difficult to deny that the epilogue is a longwinded bore. It spoils the story by ending it on a whimper rather than a bang, and the manner in which it more than overstays its welcome makes newcomers no longer desire to see what happens next.

Burn!

So on that note, have fun with the next 4-7 hours of your game life!

Maybe just keep thinking about the idyllic respite and the sense of purpose.

Butch:

I begrudge that guy! That guy didn’t get the whole fucking metaphor! The whole point is that they are clinging to a DOOMED way of life! If you’re all like “psyche! Not doomed! Very happy!” then what the fuck was the whole game SAYING?

He is stupid. We are smart. And modest. And totally non judgmental.

I believe we hit on fan service, right? We did. We so did.

That and the whole metaphor thing.

Also….on the first guy….

Ok, so the occasional respite from horrors is fine, but not at the end, and not with a different lead. Total, dark, depressing is not always great. But you know? We had that! We had enticing knickers! We had occasional moments of humor! And that’s a) ok and b) the proper place for it in the grand scope of the narrative. If the last thing we did in the story was vaudeville before dropping dead, that would be stupid.

Time and a place, game. Time and a place.

And, you know, the WHOLE METAPHOR thing.

Feminina:

YEAH! Doomed way of life! Enticing knickers in their place! What you said!

We’re brilliant and non-judgmental and totally correct about this.

So…yeah, continue to enjoy this bit that we and many other people agree is barely worth the time it takes to play it.

I mean, I’d even tell you not to bother, except you already suffered the impact of its narrative let-down and you might as well fill in the bit of story it provides, and anyway you’re too much of a completist to just abandon a game 5 hours from the end, even if it is an unsatisfying 5 hours that only detracts from the actual ending.

Butch:

Indeed. I shall press on. After all, disappointment and rage is also blog worthy.

Plus, I’m kind of impressed that this game might manage to have both the best ending I’ve ever seen in a game and the worst. What are the odds?

In other news, the side advertisement on Hotmail for me today is Miller High Life beer.

It looks pretty refreshing. I could use a few.

Feminina:

Miller High Life? The champagne of beers? Classy, man. You better go grab a few of those.

Ha!–that’s a good point. We often talk about endings and what we like and don’t like about how different games handle them. It’s going to be pretty interesting to consider how well this game managed the ending, and then how poorly it managed a second ending.

“Endings: maybe just stick with one” is going to be our takeaway.

Incidentally, were you aware that Miller High Life was introduced in 1903? It’s appropriate to the time period! John Marston could be drinking it!

I mean, if he were living the high life and not slaving away at ranch chores and murder.

Still, way to go with the relevant, timely advertising, Hotmail. Probably by mistake, but who knows…you can’t rule anything out these days.

Butch:

Relevance! Relevant beer!

The champagne of beers. Wonder what I googled to get that ad.

It does look refreshing, though.

Sticking with one ending is pretty good narrative advice. It’s like you were an English major!

Let’s Just Eat Cake

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Puncherson_64LadyBrain_64

Minor, vague spoilers for the epilogue of Red Dead Redemption 2

Butch:

Well, yesterday was Mrs. McP’s birthday party, so wine and food were had, and kids were nuts, and no cows got milked. On one hand, I don’t feel too bad for the blog because I have a feeling we wouldn’t have had that much to say, but on the other I do feel bad for the blog cuz I missed a chance to get closer to the end.

Was a nice birthday. That was a hell of a cake. I do bake a nice cake, if I don’t say so myself.

But no games. I’ll play later. Do something really exciting, like, I dunno, pull up some weeds. Catch a gopher. That sort of thing.

I’m joking, but it probably will be both of those things, won’t it?

After that great ending I’m so mad.

Feminina:

I’m at a workshop off campus today, so we’ll see how much time I have to reflect anyway. Could be a slow day.

And it’s not JUST shoveling and feeding and milking. You also get to put up a fence.

Oh, and murder some dudes.

You’re gonna love it.

Butch:

A fence. I get to put up a fence.

They ruined the ending for this.

Mad. I am mad.

This on a day when I had to talk to the fucking school’s guidance counselor who is pissing me off.

(Checks to make sure he’s replying to Femmy and not said counselor.)

(Ok, Phew.)

Feminina:

And murder dudes!

Don’t forget the murdering. That’ll improve your mood.

Don’t send that to the guidance counselor.

Butch:

Yeah….that might earn me a phone call.

I’ll just blame you.

I just got this really, REALLY long survey from the town asking me to assess the quality of our three (!) town television channels, how I hear about them, what I want to see on them, etc. There was no box for “What television channels do you mean? Never heard of it.”

Now I feel kinda bad. Somewhere, there are people working very hard to keep me informed about the place where I live, where I raise my kids, and I never knew, and I can’t bring myself to care.

Feminina:

“How you hear about them” should have had a check box for “this survey”.

I THINK we have a channel? I have never watched it. But we don’t watch TV at all, only Netflix, so my excuse is that we have some sort of principled objection to channels.

You’re welcome to use that.

Butch:

I like it. Probably kinder than the truth, which is “I will never watch it, as I figure that people who watch public town television are people for whom life has lost all meaning, spark and purpose.” That might hurt their feelings.

It says some stuff on the “government” one is televised committee meetings. What if they televise the meeting where they talk about the television channels no one watches, and no one watches?

That’s fucking meta, man. Meta.

I’m so sorry I didn’t play.

Feminina:

I am in favor of town public television in theory. Town business should be freely accessible to the citizens of the town! Rah rah! I just…don’t actually care about watching it myself.

Sorry, my town. I watched a town meeting on Facebook once. It was more interesting than I expected. Again, in theory I’m into this sort of thing. City government should be open to the citizens. We should participate in local democratic governance! Or somebody should. I’m just…very busy with work and kids and video games and such.

But other people who share my concerns and general political outlook, whom I can totally trust to represent me and speak for me in all things, they should definitely get involved. Participatory democracy! I’m for it! You know, in general.

I’m in this other Facebook group for parents of kids at my kid’s school, you know. Just as a way to stay informed or whatever. And people are talking about going to school committee meetings and stuff, and…yeah! In theory, I’m into that! We should be there to speak up and know what’s going on!

But…meetings…in the evenings when I’m putting kids to bed…or spending limited time with them after us having been at work and school all day…it’s so hard to be enthusiastic.

Butch:

It sorta explains a lot that we’re governed primarily by the people who are willing to watch public access television.

T SHIRT!!!!

Very, very wise T SHIRT!!!!

Yet depressing T SHIRT!!!!

Feminina:

Only on the local level. At the national level, we’re governed by people who should probably spend more time watching public access television. It might keep them out of worse trouble.

Butch:

This is getting awful.

I’m sorry I didn’t play.

Feminina:

You should be. Although it’s really Mrs. McP’s fault for having a birthday. You can blame her.

Dude, go play now. That fence isn’t going to put itself up.

Butch:

I think I will. Blame her, I mean. Can’t play. Too busy. Stupid chores and bills and all that.

And I don’t even get to murder anyone.

Feminina:

Chores. Bah. You could be doing that in-game!

At least it would be getting you closer to the end. Not that there’s a rush. I’m going to Chicago for work shortly, I’m not going to be playing anything.

Maybe I’ll start AC-whatever-it-is, the new one with the roleplaying options, but not right away.

Butch:

Odessy. Oddessey. Oddessy. Oddesy. Odessey. Od- fuck it I give up. That one.

Ironically, I drive a Honda….that word….and I still can’t remember how to spell it.

Is that what we’re doing next? I’m down with it. If I ever get that fence built.

First the free thing. Edith Finch.

Feminina:

I do have that Assassin’s Creed disc already in the house. And it was supposed to be OK, right? We’ll do that after the free thing, which I did already grab.

Odyssey. Right. I can’t spell it either, without autocorrect. One d, y, ss-e-y.

Needless to say, I’m also curious to see how they handle the very difficult task of animating a female character.

Butch:

Better than ok. Sitting at 83 on Metacritic. Praises seem to be all about story and character and even side quests being themey (well, they didn’t say themey, we do) and critiques are on silly thinks like “gameplay.”

I’m down. We down?

But wait to start it. And Edith Finch. Let me build my fences.