The RPS Electronic Wireless Show 23


It’s Thursday night and the feeling’s right for podcast. A new one. Here. Alec and Kieron gather to discuss important matters in the world of videogames – Blood Bowl, Morrowind, Legends of Valour, Alien (Spectrum), other assorted gaming loves and lots of other random stuff. Full break-down can be found beneath the cut, as well as subscription malarkies. Go!

00:00 Brief LL Cool J channeling.
00:50 Alec does some basic mathematics.
01:30 Kieron is incredibly crude. For too long. Bringing Deusexy back, etc.
02:50 We start to pick over the Gaming Made Me and go for a metaphor involving the Beasties’ Sabotage.
03:10 Well, we talk about Star Trek First. We’re incorrigible.
03:50 And onto Megan Fox. Seriously, we’re going to get onto games eventually.
04:30 And we’re finally onto talking about games. The Hobbit! It was Alec’s first game too. Cultural import and weight.
08:50 Kieron goes on his first rant about Blood Bowl’s lobby system. Open Beta gags.
09:30 Moving onto the Hobbit’s sequel, The Lord of the Rings. Kieron says a lot of stupid things.
10:40 The joy of big ol’ boxes.
11:10 Back to the Lord of the Rings and why it’s shit. Fundamentally, it’s not like the book.
12:30 How Kieron would do a Terminator game. He actually thinks it’s how Bethesda did their first one, but can’t be sure.
13:00 And we move onto Alien on the Spectrum, and why Introversion should rip it off and make some money.
13:30 Ripley, Alec’s cat appears. Kieron says something cute to it. Is he drunk?
15:30 Aliens UK and why Kieron tried to talk Jordan Thomas into playing it, as it’s how I’d do Bioshock 2. Here’s the freeware retro-remake version, LV-426.
18:10 Onto Legend of Valour and how doing an RPG in a single city could be glorious.
20:05 Why Legends of Valour showed that maybe it’s not worth doing fighting at all…
22:15 A little about The Monkey Island.
23:00 Kieron almost shits himself at a Tim Stone related pun.
24:05 Kieron is also pleased that his Blood Bowl key hasn’t been canceled. Eventually. After being distracted by an amazingly fat man.
27:30 Christ! Kieron’s really going on about Blood Bowl.
29:15 Joke… falls… flat.
32:45 Alec finally gets a chance to give his opinion on Blood Bowl.
35:10 Alec’s mainly been playing Morrowind, as you all know. But he’s got more adventures to come and we plan how to make an enormous pyre of Cliff Racers.
36:40 The problem of side-quests versus narrative thrust. Kieron plays backseat designer some more.
40:45 How Morrowind makes it harder to go back to Oblivion, despite the better mechanisms. What will Bethesda do next?
43:30 Alec’s unbelievable local Mario and… twitter quick fire answers! Kieron sings. Alec hails the wrong Monster Munch.
45:10 Actually onto the real twitter answers. Also, Greek fire, cats purring, dogs looking up.
49:00 Ooh! Mechwarrior 5. Kieron hasn’t read the Internet today.
50:30 And C&C4! It’s like the mid-nineties are back-back-back. Kieron actually makes a dakkadakkadakka noise.
51:40 The quirky french aesthetic and its death. Kieron is getting increasingly spacey. Also, Fahrenheit’s Funk Orchestra and our lack-thereof.
54:00 A little on developers not engaging with games journalists. Also, lots of slagging.
58:30 And an obvious cut where I remove something involving picking a fight which probably wasn’t wise.
58:45 A high five and a goodbye!

Also: get the mp3 directly from here, visit its own site here, subscribe to it by RSS with this, or get it on iTunes from here.


  1. Homunculus says:

    On Morrowind, Oblivion, and all things Elder Scrolls…Bethesda have just released Daggerfall, their immediate precursor, for gratis. Server’s pretty crushed at the minute, though…shoulda used a torrent, I say, take advantage of all the eager supplicants’ bandwidth for distribution.

    Nothing further to add. Carry on, gents.

  2. qrter says:

    Oh nooo, you couldn’t remember what Hit Self-Destruct is!

    Probably one of the finest blogs on games you’ll be able to find. Insightful and funny, most of the time.

    You’ve linked to his blog before in The Sunday Papers, Kieron, I’m pretty sure.. shame on you! ;)

  3. qrter says:

    Here you go – found that particular Sunday Papers..

    I can’t believe you haven’t memorised every link you’ve ever posted anywhere, Kieron!

  4. Persus-9 says:

    I tend to try and role-play role-playing games so the side quest issue is pretty important to me. I don’t think it’s an insurmountable problem because if you just write a main quest line that isn’t against the clock and the main character reaches points where they don’t know what to do next then they do work.

    I liked Fallout 3 for this reason because at times in the narrative I felt like my character didn’t know where she should go to find her dad so she had license to poke around and explore and do random stuff although most of the time it was because I didn’t know where something was (aside from the undiscovered icon on my map that I could ignore as long as there wasn’t an in story explanation for it being there) so the lack of a dialogue option to ask the NPCs where the heck so and so is did jar at times because that’s what I should have been doing (maybe I should have played a male character, that would have explained it).

    Oblivion was okay because you could play past the end so you could do the side quests afterwards and it worked okay because some of the side quest chains were meaty enough to engage the interest of my hero after saving the world. It sort of worked, I’d saved the world but I had to do something with the rest of my life and what was I going to do? Well, I’d got really good and hitting things and setting them on fire so why shouldn’t I just play to my strengths and keep doing that.

    Mass Effect on the other hand with the main quest being a race against time from start to finish with no play past the ending was a complete disaster in this respect and I didn’t get play any of the side quests. I swore quite a lot when that game ended.

  5. eyemessiah says:

    I suspect the deal with the dodgy keys is that they will continue to work if you activated before Cyanide nuked them, but will fail to reactivate if you reinstall.

  6. EyeMessiah says:

    Full Disclosure: Those were my delicate woodelves KG was wantonly murdering last night, so I may or may not be biased re. this podcast and I may or may not have phoned up Cyanide HQ with a damning anonymous tip.

  7. wiper says:

    I’d been thinking of Heavy Rain when I threw that question out, but hadn’t thought it through fully: the Omikron > Fahrenheit > Heavy Rain (potentially) progression does seem to trend nicely in the ‘quirky aesthetic go away now’ direction. Oh well, hopefully they’ll find a new style – stylised aesthetics have been a strength of French media (particularly film, comics and games) for so long that it’s just been disappointing to notice a lack of inspiration from that country in their recent gaming output.

    Also, I’d like it to be known that my mum may be hideous, but she never lost her quirky French aesthetic (at least: she is French, and a bit odd). And wiper’s easier to pronounce. Stupid initials.

  8. chequers says:

    Why are there never 4 player RPS podcasts?

  9. zak canard says:

    @chequers I’d imagine there’s usually an M4 in the way but it has happened, have a listen to episode 5 last November for instance.

  10. EyeMessiah says:

    Also, don’t the red spots indicate the difficulty of moving through a tacklezone. Sometimes there are say three red spots in a line, and I thought that was indicating that it was very hard to move through said zones, rather than saying you are going to have to make three rolls to get through.

    Is that mental, or true?

  11. Kieron Gillen says:

    Yeah. Half in London, Half in Bath. We may have three-person one next week.


  12. Kieron Gillen says:

    I believe the red spots show the *number* of tackle rolls not the odds of them. As in, there’s a tackle roll on each of those squares.

    Not all tackle rolls are equal. For everyone person with a tackle zone on the square you’re trying to move to, you have -1 to the roll. That the game doesn’t appear to show that’s the problem.


  13. Schaulustiger says:

    Ok, I give up. This was my 4th or 5th attempt at an RPS podcast but I simply don’t understand what you guys say.
    I always thought that I comprehend the English language pretty well, but this accent is just too much for me, sometimes I wonder if it’s still the same English that I was taught in school.

    It’s a shame, because I’d really love to hear your ramblings :(

  14. Richard Beer says:

    I think it’s Kieron’s voice, not Alec’s, but I lose track a bit when I’m listening to the podcasts when working; anyway, when you say Deus Ex it sounds like “Dare Sex” to me! Hee hee hee!

  15. MrBejeebus says:

    Ow bad sound quality!

    Ah well, a good podcast at any rate

  16. TooNu says:

    I really want to play Bloodbowl, I keep googling the old manuals and looking through them with weepy eyes. The price though…I can not justify paying that much nor do I wish to encourage the bas’.

    I really want to play it.

  17. gulag says:

    Glad to finally here the pro’s covering Blood Bowl, which is a flawed gem, one decent patch away from perfection.

  18. Darkflight says:

    Heh, hearing my screen name on the podcast (mentioned C&C4 news on twitter) took me by surprise just now – made my day :D

    I must admit I never played C&C3 (or really any C&C since RA1 and the expansions), but 4 seems to be trying some new things which could be interesting – not sure if the whole “internet connection required” DRM is much better though, if you are moving house you’re screwed playing your new game for example till its sorted.

    Kieron’s RPG completely contained within a castle during a siege idea could be really cool if done well, having to deal with people losing it within the walls, defending the castle from major and minor attacks, uncovering a mole within your ranks etc, it’s actually distracting me from logging these bugs :D

  19. Kieron Gillen says:

    Darkflight: I admit, I was thinking it as an FPS or action game… but an RPG or even an Immersive sim could work great. The whole game as a Tower Defence thing, basically, turning it into *a plot*.

    (And there’s stuff like – say – Colony back on the Spectrum which shows how you could do it in a more mechanistic than plot way.)


  20. Oblivionous says:

    My Morrowind Story:

    1. Played Oblivion for 100+ hours. Loved it
    2. Internet told me Morrowind was better
    3. Got Morrowind
    4. Started a new game. Hit rat. Rat didn’t die
    5. EPIC RAGE
    6. Binned Morrowind

  21. skizelo says:

    Kieron Gillen had to stop and have a think to remember his last name when he was introducing himself. That is all.

  22. Kieron Gillen says:

    It was me not saying “Motherfucking”.

    (As I had a rare moment of “Oh, Gillen, stop swearing)

    And then Alec did it.


  23. EyeMessiah says:

    That makes sense about the red spots. Although its a little worrying that I thought I knew the odds but didn’t!

  24. Xercies says:

    I actually thought Fallout 3 was a bit closer to Morrowind then Oblivion. It also has a better transport system. Where Oblivion I didn’t see much of the outside world because i teleported everywhere(I know if a feature is there you not always supposed to use it, but humans are lazy creatures so if a feature takes away travelling your going to use it) Fallout 3 i actually explored and only teleported after I finished a quest and the end was a town I had been in.

  25. Vinraith says:

    I have to agree with Xercies, I thought Fallout was vastly more visually and thematically interesting than Morrowind. It also had the advantage of a vastly less imperative main quest (at first, anyway) ala Morrowind. Having been mildly disappointed by Oblivion (the mechanics were great, but it’s hard to stick with it because it’s so uninteresting thematically and visually) my faith in Bethsoft was somewhat renewed by Fallout 3. Of course, the ending was rubbish, but apparently the DLC fixes that.

  26. Vinraith says:

    GAH I meant FO3 was vastly more visually and thematically interesting than OBLIVION, Morrowind of course is better than both in that regard. Damnable edit buttons having left us…

  27. Oblivionous says:

    Morrowind is of course worse than both in the regard that when you hit a rat with a sword, nothing happens for some unexplained reason.

  28. Vinraith says:

    You missed an attack roll, you can stop posting about it now.

  29. Kieron Gillen says:

    Vinarth: Yeah, but it is a fatal flaw in Morrowind, man. Attack rolls don’t work first person, because any time you throw a sword, the atmosphere evapourates from the game.


  30. AndrewC says:

    I liked Oblivion’s aesthetic because there was lots of variation in scenery but it was all subtle – it was different types of flowers, different kinds of trees – lots of tiny changes that added up to a different feel to each area. I felt that the designers didn’t *need* to have giant mushroom forests and crab cities and that because the graphical power Oblivion could use no longer required that the designers only work on a gross scale. Ie. in Morrowind they had to have big changes because they couldn’t render the small changes.

    Maybe we’ve got to the point where players need to be schooled in art design in order to appreciate the subtleties in atmosphere-by-landscape design that can be achieved today. And, for that matter, are games capable of teaching us this appreciation, or are games designers going to be stuck doing the gross level stuff because gamers won’t ‘see’ the subtler stuff?

    Anyhoo – Gothic did that world scaling system tied to narrative advancement Keiron was banging on about. The games were split into chapters and those breaks allowed the world to ‘change’ – even if it was just different monsters.

  31. zipdrive says:

    I had to stop listening midway through the podcast. I simply couldn’t understand most of what you guys were saying.
    Pronounced accents + fast talking = bleeding ears.

    It was simply worse than usual this time.
    Please take note.

  32. Alec Meer says:

    We talks how we talks. And we don’t earn enough to afford elocution lessons.

  33. Munken says:

    Nice mclusky reference.

    How could they have made Blood Bowl more gallic, turn it into blood boules?

  34. Comment system, what comment system? says:

    I’m hungery for further elaboration. What elements do you two think are unreconcilable between Fallout 3 and Morrowind?

  35. zipdrive says:

    Alec, I know that. But as I HAVE been able to understand (and enjoy) the preceding episodes, so I know you guys can enunciate properly.

    I’m assuming some combination of mood, timing and possibly alcohol made this episode so messy.

    Sorry if I’m asking for too much.

  36. Gassalasca says:

    I had some trouble undesrtanding what was being said as well. But I’m pretty sure it’s not the accents (which I love), nor the at times poor diction. I think, for me, it’s mainly the sound quality. It’s noticeably better in John & Jim’s podcast.

    But seeing as this is probably my favourite podcast, there is no mention of stopping my subscription.