S.EXE: Gateway Shuffle

You know the first rule of combat? Shoot them before they shoot you.Stars glint off the side of the hull as the wartorn ship slowly turns in space. She sits in her underwear, staring out at the far-off smear of white on the blue-marbled orb and the drifting neon love hotels by the casino station. She is hung, suspended, her stomach grumbling, her muscles barely remembering what seiza is like, or what fish and chips taste like. Dirty laundry and wax strips drift by her face. Once she was stationed on space station Britannia, working regularly for the Rock Paper Shotgun outfit, but now she drifts in space, for hire only by those who can find her. She remembers the ones she left behind to the tune of Orbital’s Halcyon On And On.

The monitor bleeps, waking her from her hyperspace-lag. INCOMING COMMISSION it flashes. INCOMING COMMISSION. INCOMING COMMISSION. $100 WULONGS FOR THE HEAD OF A GAMES DEVELOPER. She scrambles for the button, her tummy growling, accidentally opening a tab on a game instead: Gateway Shuffle. 3,2,1 let’s jam.

Drifting now in the Singapore quadrant, she had been worried about this detached state for a while: The feeling that if she was not in proximity to her crew that they would forget about her. Perhaps they would even move on. Would they read the bulletin board on some distant planet, or see her on the bounty hunter news, and not care, switch off? The commissions come thick and fast, and yet sometimes she longed for a touch, a nod, maybe a smile from the ship’s mechanic, or a hug from the pilot, the pilot she’d left for a bounty that had never materialised. Did anyone care that she’d embarked on a mission of her own? It seemed important to try at the time, but on the far side of the galaxy she remembered how much she had sacrificed: a whole crew, their laughter, their stories of the Future, the way Brendan’s face looked after she made a bad pun which sometimes she remembered when she squinted.

Worse still was the thought of her voice disappearing. The time it takes to transmit messages back home mean that everyone she knows is asleep when they appear in the chat window. Is the lack of reply just an indication that they are not awake when the cursor shows up on their screens? Or is it that she is no longer relevant?

Is she still there?

A pause to grab a water pouch floating past, and switch on the loud squeaky broken noise of the air purification systems.

This is real mystic and all, but uh, do you have anything to eat here?

To turn to Gateway Shuffle, she began to click on the crew’s names on the pad. The crew, like her own, were all off-ship.

Money troubles. The ship in the game is being repossessed in the morning, a fate worse than her own, but she had been there at one point. Her last ship, the Brighton, had been a shared affair, but she’d left abruptly, meaning the co-pilot had sold it whilst she was away.

God, she missed her bunk there. A real bunk, not the hard back of the captain’s chair in this tiny vessel. Her back had begun to complain over the year she had been away, twitching and pinching when it felt like it.

The captain in the game, Brand, needs to pay off the docking fees on his ship the Alacrity, pay off Hobson, the mechanic’s debts (or persuade him to lower them), and get off the ship. The next day the ship will be taken by the bank.

She opens a bottle of whiskey from inside the rental ship’s minibar. It beeps and flashes at her that it will cost 50 Wulongs at docking. She pops open the top anyway and drinks deeply. She remembers those times where people mocked her loneliness and wished her ill.

The red-eyed Coyote will appear in the Zona Norte at the far end of town. That is what I see.

Captain Brand too has whiskey at his disposal to order via electronic pad. But it’s too early for that. She clicks on SeeYa, the ship’s instant messaging service to see if she can speak to Brand’s lost crew.

Brand can only think about five things at a time, and can only talk about the cycling subjects with his crew. Each conversation with a crew member reveals a certain new topic, and this new topic can in turn be discussed with another crew member to advance your knowledge of the crew and their needs. It’s a mechanic of reflection: Brand may talk about a subject, but the crew member, wherever they may be, have the ability to enlighten him, change his moods and thoughts, brighten or worsen his night.

I can’t be stuck in one place for long—it’ll kill me. My whole family’s like that.

Brand thinks about guilt, despair and death a lot. He thinks about how he has abandoned or failed his crew. But talking about these issues over IM makes Brand stop thinking so much about them: in fact, failing to talk about your depression ends the game by having Brand fall asleep and wake having accomplished nothing, winning none of his crew back.

She smiles and puts fingers through her unwashed purple-dyed hair. This is a nice message, she thinks. To have it be essential to talk about one’s problems with far-off friends. Perhaps this is a game about a coping mechanism. How to survive heartbreak. How to salvage your rejected heart. How to problem solve your existence.

Of course Brand can gamble to pass the time. The pad in the game has two such things available: MoonSlot and The Gateway.

The wilds are calling me! You can’t keep me locked up!
Moonslot is just a slot machine, a drain on your credits. The Gateway is a sort of poker game based on the symbols of the Fates, the Medic Qing tells you.

Brand merely loses money on it. After a while, you think Brand needs another drink.

You know what they say cowboy, easy come easy go.

Brand orders whiskey – it’s expensive and man, Brand needs the Wulongs. But fuck it. You messaged Her and she told you to fuck off. Your Pilot – she’s not talking to you either. You are a fuck-up. A terrible person. What sort of captain can’t even run a ship? The whiskey has limited his ability to communicate with his crew now. One topic only each time, on the menu screen, instead of five. He is drunk.

She thinks about how she ultimately ran away from her problems, and keeps running with each bounty on each planet.

Perhaps the way to win this game, to complete the tasks, she thinks, is to gamble so much that Brand becomes rich and can pay all his debts? To become really good at Gateway? The remaining crew members that talk to Brand advise him on the meaning of the Fate symbols – what’s high and low – but even then, Brand loses. It’s cryptic. It’s futile. Brand gambles his money away.

She restarts the game. The calm noise of drifting in space mixes with the game’s calm noise of drifting in space.

This time she knows what she is focusing on: the longing of human contact. The need to be heard by friends and lovers.

When angels are forced out of heaven, they become devils.

Brand talks to Vincent and Hobson until one of them mentions her name: Kumiko. The one known in SeeYa as ‘Her’ (Did Brand rename her avatar once, when he was upset? To stop hurting?). Her, the other one who won’t talk to Brand. She’s it. She was the relationship that Brand used to have. Brand tries to IM her, but she snaps back at him: wields a hurtful kind of truth. That Brand has not spoken to her in months, and he only does so now because he is drunk.

Well, she raises a glass, checkmate. She sips and thinks about the one she left, uncertainly, thinking that she had other more important, more selfish things to do. Adventures, she’d thought, were more important. Careers, she’d thought, were more important. A captain and master of her own Fates. A romantic figure on the horizon. A fucking leaf on the wind.

I’m just watching a bad dream I never wake up from.

It is a hard thought process, she contemplates, but perhaps the selfishness of a career, a place where you Make Your Own like the men in the universe – perhaps this isn’t the root of all virtue. Even if men are admired when they become captains of the ship, is it really what is good for them? Do they feel Achievement when they get there? Brand has failed at getting his crew to stay with him, and the only subjects she can have him think about and talk about now are Guilt, Despair, Loneliness, Death. Does it feel good to be a captain now, Brand? Does it feel good to be alone in space without Kumiko’s hand in yours? Does it feel good, Brand, to have a Higher Purpose now?

What if all your crew members were attacked in their sleep, Brand? What if their livelihoods were threatened? What if their workplaces suddenly became hostile…? And there you are, drifting in space, a wretch. For your Adventure. Tomorrow your ship could be taken away.

 If you don’t work, you don’t eat. You’re a hunting dog…hunt up some food. We girls are different. We have to be pampered because we’re delicate and refined.

Brand clicks on messages to send to Kumiko, hollowly.

AUTO-RESPONSE: Goodbye, Brand.
AUTO-RESPONSE: Goodbye, Brand.
AUTO-RESPONSE: Goodbye, Brand.

Brand was in love with you, she thinks. Brand was in love with you.

She was in love with you.

There is a way to solve the Gateway Shuffle puzzle. It involves talking to people a lot and distracting yourself from your feelings.

Your own feelings of longing, of distance, your own need to be close to someone – well, they mix into the sound of your ship gently drifting in space.

Perhaps she’ll go back one day.

See you, Space Cowboys.

This game was made by Jack Shirai for the Space Cowboy jam. You can play Gateway Shuffle free here, or if you liked that, you can give him a dollar for the Terminal Future EP. Faye Valentine from Cowboy Bebop was supposed to be born in Singapore, where I am now.

The previous S.EXE columns are here. I continue on my journeys across the world.

From this site

114 Comments

  1. Heliocentric says:

    If comments are back on purpose I’m glad we are moving past that nonsense.

    • Simplisto says:

      I’m happy to see the comments section open again too – although I wouldn’t describe shielding your female employees during a time of intense threatening behavior as nonsense. Already things are beginning to point towards a gamergate debate (read pointless to-and-fro).

      • rabitjunk says:

        1) Cara writes other articles where the comments are enabled, so I don’t think you can point to that.
        2) Can you point out some of this “intense threatening behavior”?
        3) At the time of writing there are 6 other comments, none of them mention GG.

        I do hope as the comments unfold they are mostly about the article and not the revelation of comments being enabled, as I imagine that could provide enough reason for the powers that be, to turn off comments again.

        • Simplisto says:

          1) Cara writes other articles where the comments are enabled, so I don’t think you can point to that.

          They’re not all about sex and sexuality though. Such topics are prone to prompting ‘WHAT IF A MAN WROTE THAT ABOUT A WOMAN?” posts, which are very tiresome.

          2) Can you point out some of this “intense threatening behavior”?

          *Thrust arm forwards, extends index finger and does a 360 degree turn*

          3) At the time of writing there are 6 other comments, none of them mention GG.

          GG was cited as part of the reason for closing the comments for a short time though, so I’d consider the first post as a reference to GG and their crusade against ‘censorship’ such as disallowing comments.

          Enough of all that though – the vast majority of the folk on here loathe such behavior just as much as I do so we’re all good ;)

      • SkittleDiddler says:

        Literally everything about the entire stupid situation has been nonsensical, including the shielding.

      • arisian says:

        My interpretation is that the “nonsense” in question is the poor etiquette displayed in various internet comments sections of late. I don’t think that the choice to close comments was being called “nonsense.”

        Back on topic, though, why does the Cowboy Beepop episode skip the intro song?!? It’s like peeling the chocolate off of a chocolate-covered cherry! Please, update the link so it starts at the beginning of the song.

        I enjoyed the article a lot, but I suspect it might have been a bit puzzling to someone who wasn’t familiar with the show (or worrisome, if they thought this was actually about the author. It’s not, right?).

        • Jamesworkshop says:

          I never saw cowboy bebop, although I was aware of it.

          something about gateway shuffle, sounds like a metaphor.

      • gnodab says:

        I am somewhat amazed by the notion that you have to protect your writers, because they are female.
        I’m pretty sure they are as able to ignore forum trolls as the male employees. And I don’t think that John receives less hatemail, being the social justice ranger and all. It always reminds me of people IRL who have to point out that they like foreigners (which happens to include me in most cases). Putting gender or race before the person and treating them different to show how progressive you are, is exactly the opposite. I am sure the intentions are good, but I prefer to be seen as a person in the first place.

        But I don’t want to derail and please ignore/delete the comment if I formulated my concern in a way that appears to be disruptive. I am very, very happy to see the comments open again. Closing them of is just capitulating in front of the trolls. And I know for a fact that people on RPS are a splendid bunch and can hold their own against any disruptive elements.

        • Premium User Badge

          aleander says:

          I am somewhat amazed by the notion that you have to protect your writers, because they are female.

          No. Because they got targeted. Now, the targeting happened because of reasons, but if you want to complain about *that*, 4chan’s that way (/me points at the long-term nuclear waste storage facility).

        • Cara Ellison says:

          Comments are often closed because RPS employees had to delete rape and death threats. I don’t think it’s out of order to want to not have to moderate that, in fact, I think it might be kind to acknowledge the staff’s right to their mental wellbeing and good working environment over a commenter’s right to go ‘oh look comments comments comments’. Can this be the end of the discussion please? I’m sort of tired of my articles becoming a discussion of ‘censorship’ when there’s a whole forum where the subject of (ironically) discussing censorship has already died a death.

          • Continuity says:

            You know community moderation is a thing that is possible, where is it written that moderation must be done by RPS staff?

            Not that I’m volunteering, I’m way to lazy to work for free.

          • Cara Ellison says:

            Why would you inflict deleting death threats on someone else when you could just not have comments? It’s free and very easy. It’s almost like a business decision. Almost.

          • Josh W says:

            Why choose suffering over oblivion? Why choose love over self-absorption? Why risk meeting people? Why bother writing? Why bother reading?

            Yes, I’m going philosophical on this one, but there is an answer!

            Because people are amazing, on the inside, and you cannot get to that without openness, and without risking giving some of your emotions to people who don’t deserve it.

            Of course there’s degrees of risk, and recently there’s been a lot of people abusing that openness, but they are basically just jamming better and lighter conversations, and because openness is worth it, it’s worth fighting that jamming, although there is not any reason that the people who own or write for the website should be the only people doing that fighting, especially as you are usually the people being targeted.

            The practical administration of that is another question though, you’d probably want occasional secret modding or screening for emails; “after a certain volume of emails, if it’s not from a known recipient, randomly forward it off to one of these people who can skim out the crap and send the rest back”. On comments it’s probably better to have slightly more accountable moderation, although that can create just a new tier for pointless targeting.

          • The_B says:

            I think community modders are indeed a great concept and do brilliant work, but frankly I think the “well, if it’s so bad why can’t the community do it” is a bit of a bad line of thinking, as it almost says: “Well, the people who get paid for their work this site don’t want to do it because it’s beneath them, let’s get people to do it for free.”

            Basically, before thinking that “the worst comments” is a reason to call on community moderators, read pieces like this one on some of the things moderators are subjected to. Of course, I’m not trying to say that RPS is necessarily subjected to anything nearly as much on the level as described in this article, but I do think it puts into perspective just what moderation can entail at the extremes, and gives a whole new respect for anyone who agrees to take on these roles.

            RPS not wanting to subject people to bad stuff like this isn’t necessarily a protection or a snobbery thing, but more no-one should have to. If taking the discussion elsewhere is the best thing for that, then so be it.

    • Monggerel says:

      actuly its’ is about ethics in bounty hunting

    • Nogo says:

      They’re only off when this goes up on weekends since no ones around to shoo away spammers that wander in. Probably switched this to Friday since Saturdays now have day-old Supporter posts.

  2. Hex says:

    What? Comments…?!

    I don’t know what to say….

    EDIT: Now that I’ve taken the time to (very briefly) skim through the article, let me talk about something that’s been annoying the ballsac off of me lately.

    Present-tense narrative.

    First, I want to preface this by emphasizing that I did not actually read CE’s article. None of this is a critique of her writing.

    But oh my aching ass, writing in the present tense bugs the shit out of me. I just don’t get it. It’s distracting, uncomfortable to read, and as far as I can tell, offers no benefits for story-telling over standard past-tense writing. But I’ve been seeing it more and more lately, and it’s really getting under my skin.

    Now, don’t get me wrong. I’ve appreciated the use of present-tense in some short stories that were implicitly attempting to convey a sense of immediacy to the action, and, as they were short stories, the artistic license they employed wasn’t given the opportunity to get too stale.

    A full-length fucking novel, though? What a pain in my dick. And in my brain. And in my dickbrain. And in my dickbutt!

    There’s no excuse for it.

    Awful.

    • Monggerel says:

      Nah its k

    • Frank says:

      No, really, it’s fine.

    • Insidious Mental Pollution says:

      As always, your mileage will vary. Personally I’m a fan of present tense writing for the same reason I enjoy when writers use action vs passive verbs – it tends to keep me alert and in the story. I will add though it doesn’t help if the writing is overly drawn out and spends two pages on something that could be handled just as well in two tight paragraphs.

    • CannedLizard says:

      Neal Stephenson has a bone to pick with you.

    • party noob says:

      lol you just wrote most of that in the present tense

  3. zontax says:

    Whelp, guess it’s time to watch cowboy bebop again.

    [youtube link to youtube.com

  4. Borodin says:

    This needs just some eager vocals and a saxophone track to become a Spandau Ballet #1

  5. Nouser says:

    Posting a Cowboy Bebop episode and cutting out the opening should be a punishable offence.

    • anaemic says:

      Posting the dub… THE DUB of a cowboy bebop episode, the shame.

      • pepperfez says:

        Nah, Bebop has a pretty solid dub. Faithful or not, it never made me cringe.

      • Unruly says:

        I guess Shinichiro Watanabe should be ashamed then, because he said that the English dub was better than the original Japanese. But hey, he was just the director. What would he know?

        • Eight Rooks says:

          Yu Suzuki thought the Shenmue English dub was great, from what I remember of my old Dreamcast magazines. Much as I hate to admit it, sometimes even the creator is clueless about what they’ve created. Bebop’s dub was okay, but nothing awe-inspiring. Give me the timbre of the Japanese voices any day.

        • plugmonkey says:

          What I saw of the dub westernised Spike in a way I didn’t like. I find it perfectly conceivable that Watanabe found it westernised him in a way he did like, seeing as he has the opposite norm, and how eastern vs western heroes was pretty much the theme of Samurai Champloo.

          I’d still recommend the original Japanese version. Sorry Watanabe-san. You had it right the first time.

    • AlienMind says:

      You mean punishable by death? Surely, just because she’s female.

  6. Premium User Badge

    Serrit says:

    Enjoyed the intertwining of the gameplay story and Cara-metaphor. Time to add Gateway Shuffle to the weekend’s gaming plan!

  7. Jamesworkshop says:

    It’s a shame, comments and my only response is that I have no clue what i just read.

    except a possible allusion to the A-Team

  8. kanzy says:

    I hope you enjoy your time in Singapore! (: Don’t forget to check out the awesome and unique local food.

    • Hex says:

      Last time I was there I ate a McDonald’s curry-burger.

      4/10 would try again.

  9. Cara Ellison says:

    Would just like to comment about comments.

    Comments.

  10. Cara Ellison says:

    *runs around in comments*

    Comments comments comments

  11. Niko says:

    I’m slightly drunk here and I want to watch Cowboy Bebop now. YOU ARE TEARING ME APART, CARA ELLISON!

    • Jamesworkshop says:

      “As she Grimly walked away
      I’m leaving you she said.
      And I had nothing new to say
      Like the 2nd album by portishead”

  12. Cara Ellison says:

    Here is a separate link to the Cowboy Bebop intro if you want to ruin the wandering ambience:

  13. Bradamantium says:

    I don’t have much of anything to say, but I want to provide a comment that’s about more than the ability to make comments, so uh: I enjoyed this article a lot, Cara. I’ve got both the game and the whole Space Cowboy jam bookmarked, ’cause gosh that’s great.

    • Cara Ellison says:

      Yeeeeeeeeeey! Thank you. It’s an interesting little puzzle. I even emailed Jack to ask him what the heck was up with Gateway.

      • Melody says:

        Well, I’ve also enjoyed the article, and I’ll definitely be playing the game when I have some time.
        It’s just that, I’ve commented the same thing so many times, I’ve run out of ways of saying that I love your writing.

  14. daver4470 says:

    This column gives me the real soul blues.

    (As does Faye Valentine…)

  15. Monggerel says:

    Hey I was young and drunk once too
    now im just drunk
    though a youth of 22

  16. Mechorpheus says:

    Does anyone else see the comparison between Cara and Faye, particularly with the current shade of hair.

  17. darkath says:

    So first comment about the Game, which is actually interesting.

    Did anyone figure out what Qing want ? I managed to get back Vincent, Pious and Day, Qing remains elusive Hobson still wants his money back and Her is on auto-good-bye mode as soon as i try to apologize.

    Also i still can’t figure out how to play the Gateway Poker game

    • forddent says:

      Quing is a fugitive–ask Vincent about Crime, and then ask Quing about Fugitive.

      I’ve no idea how to get Hobson or Day back on my side, although I’ve managed everyone else (except Kimiko, who I think you can only ever just get back on speaking terms with (which I did)). I thought I almost had Hobson for a minute but I didn’t–do you need to get Day back on board before you can get him to come along, or what?

    • GDorn says:

      Spoilers ahead:

      Vincent wants a real chef on-board. Talk about food with Qing for that.
      Hobson will keep lowering his price, but I haven’t actually gotten him on-board for some reason, even after grinding 25k at the Gateway table.
      Day wants ship upgrades. Talk about tech with Pious for that. But first you have to offer peace and express guilt.
      Qing is a fugitive. Talk about crime with Vincent for that.
      Pious wants an arsenal. Talk about tech with Hobson for that.

      Kumiko I have no idea. I’ve gotten her to talk briefly, offering some money to help out, but haven’t gotten her on-board. Anybody get further than that? -Edit: If you express despair to her as your third message, she’ll send you money but then still go back to her auto-away message.

      At some point I managed to get Brand to consider running away instead of vacating the ship. I’m not sure what triggered that and I can’t reliably repeat it.

      • FadedEchos says:

        Just a couple things to add here:

        To get the “prepare for takeoff” option on your ShipShape, have Brand think about Fugitive.

        For Hobson I dont know how to get him on the ship, but if you mention SMUGGLING (from saying Business to Day) and STIMS (from saying drugs to Qing after Fugitive) he drops his debt to 10,000 and will talk more when you mention business/debt/money

        More on Qing: Once you say DRUGS to him, you can say TECH to him and he will offer you a sample. I found that in the barfly tab under Unknown Substance at the bottom, and it returned Brand to 5 word options from 3 or so. Wouldn’t give any more samples after though.

        EXTRA: Reading news articles gives Brand some useful words, depending on the article, such as DRUGS and CRIME and VIOLENCE.

        Opening up the Barfly tab makes Brand think of food, whiskey and beer. Don’t even need to buy anything!

        Mentioning KUMIKO to Her as your third message gives a “we could be friends” message, but she still auto-replies goodbye afterward.
        Don’t use the word DIVINATION if it comes up. Gave me a glitched empty spot every time I’ve tried, just keep hitting news articles to flush it out.

        Would love to hear if you guys make any progress past this. I’m going to fiddle around with drinking, see if I can get ANGER (which seems rare). Also: as far as I can tell FEAR isn’t good for anything.

      • Josh W says:

        Once Vincent’s on board, (+ other conditions maybe) talking about stims with him can get him to fence them for you once for 10,000 which is enough to clear your debt with hobson, provided you’ve talked it down with him.

        Thoughts about death, loneliness and violence can be cancelled out by talking to Pious, talking about the ship with Day knocks loads of other thoughts out of your head, but lots of other conversations with her spark guilt.

        I’ve now got everyone on board except hobson, and 10 wulongs to my name.

        • FadedEchos says:

          To get that 10,000 oolong bonus you need to have the sample (from saying TECH to Qing once you’ve said FUGITIVE and DRUGS) and then say STIMS to Vincent.

        • darkath says:

          How did you get Kumiko ?

          • Josh W says:

            Oh wait sorry, no, didn’t get Kumiko, in fact I assumed you couldn’t get her, and a full crew would be everyone but her.

      • Roshirai says:

        Hola, I’m the developer. I should really be checking the comments more, but the earlier meta-discussion about comments totally threw me. :D

        This is an accurate summary of how much of the game’s triggers work. Much to my shame, I indeed let a broken concept out into the wild (DIVINATION), and then fixed it… which then broke hiring Hobson. Hobson should come aboard right after you pay him. That should be all you need to abscond with the ship.

        Perhaps also worth noting: you can’t get HER back on the ship. Not everything ends happily.

        • FadedEchos says:

          Thanks for the fun and interesting game!
          -And it looks like you’ve put in an update for Hobson’s on-board trigger, managed to get the take-off ending when he came on after taking payment. Yay!

        • Josh W says:

          Haha, victory, although I still need to make some money to pay back my crew, there’s a peculiar drive to earn some money in the card game, even though that is just taking money off of people, because at least it’s not money I was given.

          In reflection, it’s also weird playing a character who regulates his emotions with his crew so much, you get to know that when your thoughts go down a certain path, you can solve it by talking to different people, but that’s not an attitude I take in real life; I’d much rather be the one cheering up my friends than expecting them to do it for me.

  18. natendi says:

    Nice article, initially I thought it was a game related to Gateway the sci fi novel :), ended up quite intrigued :)

    • malkav11 says:

      There are two text adventures based on Frederik Pohl’s Gateway series. They’re just not this. :)

  19. Ex Lion Tamer says:

    You know, I’m personally glad that games exist, if only as an excuse for more Cara Ellison writing.

    One hell of a gutpunch. The demands of Embed With may be brutal, but they are producing some amazing work. Probably not a ton of consolation.

  20. Akyho says:

    I am going to need to check this game out, you had me on the Cowboy Bebop Role play intro.

  21. Golden Pantaloons says:

    I don’t even care what the article is about (also, skimming it while drunk left me confused). If it gets someone previously unfamiliar with Cowboy Bebop excited about it, that’s all I ever wanted.

  22. Dances to Podcasts says:

    …Bang.

  23. evil_m3nace says:

    You…you posted a dubbed version…THIS IS UNACCEPTABLEEEEEEEEEE!!!!!!!!!!!

    • Tuor says:

      Yeah, it’s only generally regarded as being among the best dubbed anime of all time…

      • sinister agent says:

        The most carefully fried turd on earth

        • AXAXAXAS MLO II: MLO HARDER says:

          I can see why you’d think that – American dubs are pretty terrible. I’m Brazilian and I used to think people who preferred Japanese dubs were elitist jerks, until I had the misfortune of watching a few American dubs. I won’t say ours are stellar but they certainly respect the source material at least. But even as I understand why you think any non-Japanese dub in inherently awful, I also understand why you are incorrect – there is no actual difference between the Japanese dub and any other, since in both cases a group of voice actors are adding lines to an animation that exists separately from their performance.

          • Contrafibularity says:

            All dubs are terrible (DUBS. TERRIBLE.). Dubbing ensures countless millions from countless countries will hardly ever be exposed to foreign languages, or at best will ruin their enjoyment of what is otherwise great source material. Dubbing is why most French people still don’t speak English, it is why most Mandarin speakers will never be tempted to learn Cantonese. It mostly prevents native speakers from ever having to even just hear foreign dialogue, especially at ages when it could conjure up some nice juicy braincells and interest in languages. I could go on, but you get the idea. DUBS ARE TERRIBLE. Can you guess how many exceptions there are to this FACT? None. Because it is a fact that DUBS ARE TERRIBLE.

            Fuck you, DUBS. I’m atheist and anti-theist, but I honestly hope in the future someone will invent a special virtual hellscape where DUBS go on to everlasting torment, or something. I would back that Kickstarter.

      • evil_m3nace says:

        Sorry but I tried watching it dubbed and I think its terrible.

  24. acb says:

    Does anyone know how to get Hobson? I’ve got everyone else but Kumiko and him – I’ve already paid him off but I still can’t get him on board.

  25. CannedLizard says:

    Saw this yesterday, put it as something to play later. Went to go play it today, and it’s down.

    *Sound of eternal regret*

  26. mr.black says:

    Beautifully written, as always. I missed the opportunity to write that for at least few more previous times, so…

    Beautifully written, as always.
    Beautifully written, as always.
    Beautifully written, as always.
    There, the balance is restored.

  27. derbefrier says:

    looks like a fun distraction and I love Cowboy Bebop so will book mark this for later!

  28. RARARA says:

    Hey, the comments are back on!

    Now I’m going to post something that will force the mods to shut down commenting again.

    Ready?

    Cowboy Bebop wasn’t that exceptional; you remember it fondly because it was your first non-shitty anime.

    • Kaeoschassis says:

      Sounds like as good a reason as any to go watch it again…

    • Kala says:

      Absolutely not :)
      Cowboy Bebop is one of my favourite shows; few things are quite so well-realised and put together, anime or not.

  29. Premium User Badge

    corinoco says:

    There’s a lot of Hunter S Thompson in this.

    And that’s a good thing. Gonzo games journalism – probably the best kind.

    Keep up the good work!

    • Premium User Badge

      keithzg says:

      Indeed; the more Hunter S that RPS manages, the better. That kind of personal-yet-speaking-broadly perspective is both interesting for the insights it makes possible and also for just the extra layer of personality it adds.

  30. clockworkrat says:

    What?

    Comment…

  31. Josh W says:

    That card game is baffling, I start winning, got up from 4000 to 5000, and then I start loosing again. Vincent says you need to focus on pairs, but I’m not sure what qualifies. I’m guessing the spikey shapes with horizontal symmetry are the same suit, and maybe some of the curvey shapes are in in one too? Baffling.

    • Premium User Badge

      keithzg says:

      Yeah, I’m completely stumped. I haven’t played *too* many rounds, but I think I’ve literally never seen a single pair being made. I’ve got a feeling Vincent (and by way of him the game dev, yeah, you heard me!) is just trolling the player.

  32. Contrafibularity says:

    Nothing like a hot cup of coffee and a Cara Ellison article to measurably improve your afternoon.