The RPS Electronic Wireless Show 40

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Welcome to a snot-filled 40th RPS podcast, beginning with a delightful conversation about disease. We discuss the furore over Alan Titchmarsh’s nonsense, the Observer article and interview with John and Alec, and then responding to your tweeted demands.

So find out the behind-the-scenes details of the Observer chat, including the stinkiest pub in the world, along with the role sunglasses should have played in the video. This somehow brings us to a hard debate over drug control, including the role being dizzy should play in our daily lives.

There’s brief chatter about Love, which moves us onto geniuses, and thus to John regaling anecdotes of meeting Richard Stallman. Then it’s on to Alan Titchmarsh, and that clusterfuck of idiocy that took place, and poor, brave Tim Ingham being stuck in the middle.

Yes, John knows you can look up and down in Ultima Underworld 2, Jim tells us about Metro 2033, we ponder whether we care about motion controllers, and we wonder at the role of writers in games. Then we’re both quite dismissive of DLC, comparing the superiority of proper old-fashioned expansion packs, and quickly move on to what we want to be playing in ten years time. Then it’s wiff-waff!

Get the mp3 directly from here, subscribe to it by RSS with this, or get it on iTunes from here.


  1. duel says:

    looking forward to hearing some tichmarsh bashing ;) or just unbiased discussion, youno either will do.

  2. SpinalJack says:

    something for me to listen to while I do a poo

  3. Down Rodeo says:

    Then it’s wiff-waff? I thought that was illegal!

    • skizelo says:

      Hate to tell you this, but the Wiff-Waff thing is utter rot.
      Never, ever listen to a thing Boris Johnson says.

  4. terry says:

    I like the subtle hint in the Alt text :-) Lazy designers!

    • Rosti says:

      I may not be a designer, but I at least did my bit in cobbling something together and throwing it at John a couple of weeks back.

      Actually, since I haven’t had any response (not even the ‘thanks but no thanks’ I’m expecting ; ), I’ll just leave a little link to the relevant folder here. Yes, right there. *whistles*

    • John Walker says:

      Sorry Rosti! They arrived when I was super-sick, and I’ve not had a chance to go back to them since. Will look through now.

    • Rosti says:

      No worries – I suspected that might be the case, hence not badgering sooner.

      Ace podcast as ever, Team Walignol. Looking forward to digesting it properly on my travels this weekend.

  5. Lu-Tze says:

    It’s like Rum Doings except not as good! (first time listener, not tuned out yet…)

  6. TooNu says:

    It’s just me or…I dunno, i’ve heard that story “what you’ve got to understand, is that everybody is a potential friend”, I’ve heard it. Did I just have a deja vu or has it been recorded before?

    Great podcast though, great to hear John and Jim again :)

  7. Bobsy says:

    Soulless MONSTERS.

  8. psyk says:

    You could wear a headband for track ir or you could buy the clip link to

  9. jsutcliffe says:

    re: The ten-years-hence Elite sequel

    In my brain, Eve is that game. I have never played Eve however, so I have no idea how close my imagined Eve is to the real Eve. Why is Eve not the fancy Elite successor that Jim wants to play? Is it simply a matter of it not being single-player?

    I too would like to play a new Elite. Elite and Frontier ate up ~10 years of my gaming life across three systems (BBC, Amiga, 486).

    • Feste says:

      Elite always felt a little space opera-y, using faster-than-light space ships to move cows around the universe, almost a wild-west Serenity type of thing. Eve has that, but it also felt slightly too sober. Elite was a bit more open, you could go anywhere and were less likely to get stomped by a bunch of jerks in battleships.

      I’m not being very clear really, sorry. Eve is a great game and I think it’s the best MMO out there, it just wasn’t quite Elite.

  10. airtekh says:


    I’ve heard it before too. I think it may have been on one of the PCG podcasts.

  11. Lewis says:

    I’m playing Metro 2033 on the 360 as well, Jim, but I believe the checkpoint system is the same across both format. Actually, could anyone confirm this? Because thinking about it, I might be wrong.

    There’s no manual save in the 360 version, the game instead auto-saving you at various checkpoints and overwriting your last save. Each time you complete a whole level you ‘unlock’ it to be played through again at any point, but only in its entirety, from the beginning.

    So the situation I found myself in this morning, right at the end of a level, meaning I had to start it again (admittedly only a half-hour setback, but still…) was this:

    In Metro 2033, when you’re outdoors, you have to wear a gas mask. However, this can be damaged by enemy attacks. I’d had the chance to swap to a new gas mask at the very start of the level, but mine wasn’t damaged, so I didn’t bother (you can’t collect an additional one for later use).

    I ended up, half an hour later, in a vicious fight with several mutants. Backpedalling into the relative safety of a nearby doorway, one mutant launched itself at me and smashed my gas mask… at which point the game immediately autosaved. The doorway was a checkpoint. Five seconds later I was dead, and relaunching the last checkpoint, and then dying, and then relaunching, ad infinitum.

    It is not a good idea to allow your game to autosave in the middle of a fight.

    But even aside from this, it’s a game that absolutely cries out for multiple save-slots, and the opporunity to save the game at any point. It is a game that can back you into this sort of corner where you find it absolutely impossible to progress. Your gas mask might break. You might run out of ammo in a situation where you just cannot survive with stealth or a knife. And when you can’t occupy multiple save slots, and try out new things with the knowledge you can fall back on an alternative save, it becomes really, really infuriating.

    • Spork says:

      I’ll probably get this in a few months, but for pete’s sake Half-Life figured out the backup quicksave in 1997! (Maybe earlier examples?) I know the games industry has the collective memory of a goldfish but really.

    • Alexander Norris says:

      I can confirm that the PC version also uses checkpoints rather than actual saves. I can understand why it’s in, as quicksave/quickload would make the stealth sequences laughably easy otherwise, but it still leads to pretty frustrating moments (like being spotted by a mutant you couldn’t see because of a hallucination and needing to reload from a checkpoint five minutes and two rooms full of enemies ago… four or five times).

  12. Theoban says:

    It’s 1 and 3 to look up and down John. JOHN! JOHN! ONE AND THREE! JOHN!

  13. Skusey says:

    I’m hoping for an Elite sequel as well, it’s one of the only games I’ve managed to get my Step-dad to play with me.

  14. Berzee says:

    “what you’ve got to understand, is that everybody is a potential friend”


    such good proununciatioun

    • jsutcliffe says:

      I used to have a friend who liked to spout the trite “a stranger’s just a friend you haven’t met yet” nonsense. I always prefer “a stranger’s just a friend you haven’t alienated yet.”

    • Flameberge says:

      Pah, whilst strangers may indeed by potential friends; they’re also potential rape in a dark alley.

  15. Kester says:

    John is right, hills are unnatural and dangerous and should be stopped. Here in the fens we already abolished them for the good of the children.

  16. Jacques says:

    I grew up in Norfolk, never had the pleasure of experience hill induced highs. :(

    • Feste says:

      I grew up on the coast in Devon and all the hills had cliffs on the end of them. I think we were some of the few kids to do roly-poly’s with parachutes.

  17. Alexander Norris says:

    Aw, it seems my point about voice acting in CRPGs was slightly misinterpreted, probably because i r dum, so I’ll clarify: I found Dragon Age disappointing in how little the player’s motivations had an impact on the actual game, part of the blame for which is due to the medium (CRPGs in general suffer from the lack of a human Game Master), but I also believe part of the blame is due to a lack of volume in the writing. Pretty simply put, more possible conversation options, more chances that the player can find one that is close to what they’re roleplaying.

    Unfortunately, voice acting and recording is yet another development cost to add to the budget for a CRPG, which necessarily means that you have to limit the amount of recorded dialogue you have. In a fully-voiced CRPG (which is the current trned), that means limiting the amount of written dialogue. In other words, the quantity of actual words that get said by characters in the game isn’t up to the script writer but to the studio executive who greenlights the budget for the voice acting sessions.

    So basically, I believe this trend of having 100% voiced CRPGs (or even CRPGs that are 100% voiced except for the PC) is bad for CRPGs as a whole and hampers their ability to deliver a truly involving and engrossing story (which is the main advantage of RPGs and therefore one shared by CRPGs).

    • Feste says:

      I’d like to see them try to do Planescape: Torment with voice actors and a narrator. Then let’s see Bioware talk about large-scale voice sessions.

      But I agree, I think that it would be very hard to do that game today, and the Dragon Age method of having everyone but the PC voiced is slightly jarring after playing Mass Effect.

  18. Vinraith says:

    Lovely podcast, as always. As to always fielding questions from the same people, you’d get a greater diversity of questions if you asked on the site rather than just on Twitter.

    • jsutcliffe says:

      I also feel like the call for Twitter questions goes out just as you’re about to start recording. If you gave more notice more people would have an opportunity to get their questions in. Perhaps you could ask for questions a day or so in advance.

  19. TooNu says:

    @ airtekh, Excellent :) I am not going mad.

    EvE simply is that Elite sequel that Jim wants, Jim has played EvE for many years but is no longer palying so I think he is in withdrawl. Come back to us jim, come back the Veldspar is waiting!

  20. drewski says:

    Is it weird that I welcome new podcasts as an excuse to play Torchlight again?

  21. DoucheMullet says:

    How delightfully British.

  22. Muzman says:

    How can we work “Ladyface Idiot-hole” into daily usage?
    I declare new RPS project.

    • AndrewC says:

      I would think giving a lady the defining characteristic of a ‘hole’ is probably a touch misogynistic, but that’s the raging tempest of hate that is our John Walker for you.

  23. Alex Bakke says:

    This is the first podcast/electronic wireless show that I’ve been able to get into, anything else just seems a bit naff, I can never really concentrate. Here though I was happily killing away on an 18 rated game as a 17 year old, listening to wonderful moanings on Ladyface Idiot-Hole.

  24. Feste says:

    I can attest to John’s harshness as a game critic. I always used to look forward to a new Cryo game, coz it’d often end in a vitriolic review of the poor mishappen thing that would often be the best thing in the mag that month.

  25. devlocke says:

    ‘The Longest Journey’ : ‘RPS podcast’ :: ‘cream tea’ : ‘Rum Doings podcast’

  26. The Dark One says:

    No love for world-weary Dreamfall April?

  27. Phil says:

    Crikey – everyone else listened to that within two days – I feel like I’m slacking!

    On motion controllers – they’ve said NATAL will work with your PC too, so I’m sure we’ll all be able to spend many happy hours waving our arms around and making whooshing noises.

  28. And Triage says:

    i love you guys. RPS is far and away my favorite vidja games website.

  29. Kevin says:

    Man I would kill to see this podcast done at least bi weekly. Don’t suppose the RPS boys could do their best to make this happen, hectic schedules an all.