This is where they hide.
While intern Chad Buffington, aka "B.C." was thought to have been forever banned from publishing in Pearl River Flow after his first and last hot take, he's been sending over 80 thousand word screeds for the past few weeks, and linking us to the one hundred twenty eight fifty-nine minute YouTube videos he's done since his conversion, and we didn't have any free content for the weekend. He now goes by the name "Eannatum of Lagash," and we've presented
Far Harbor: Fallout, but Ruined by the Social Justice Agenda
by Eannatum of Lagash
"CUCK!" I shout as the combat shotgun erases white guilt from the island of Far Harbor. "CUCK!" It is the only word I know now, it fills my cortex with hate and rage. "CUCK!" I want to make America great again. "CUCK!" It's all I can yell. All I have ever yelled, my only cry left to me, a secret shibboleth hidden from anyone who doesn't watch a ton of pornography or study Shakespeare. I am no longer shackled to my ancient past as a blue-pilled bore, enslaved to the radical feminist Marxists who secretly rule the world. No. I have gone my own way, a Way of the Warrior, as I explained in parts 29-98 of my YouTube series, "Eannatum of Lagash: Lightningankle was Right." They're only 59 minutes apiece, so it's just about 68 hours of eye-opening information that you should watch the next time you have three spare days on your hand.
My rage is at Fallout 4's "Far Harbor" expansion pack, and I am glad I have picked the name of one of the most ancient Emperors on Earth, for today I am exposing the truth, like Emperors do, just like in the story about how an Emperor got a town to look at his junk.
FACT 1a: The radical feminist agenda is loaded with long-term, low payoff, high-cost plans of questionable value.
FACT 1b: Fallout 4 was targeted by a malicious group of social Marxists from day one, for glorifying violence, which they only enjoy when they get to use it against men. This is impossible in Fallout 4 (see fact 3a).
FACT 2b: Fact 2a is only available on my YouTube channel, in Video 111: Anime Tiddy: ManChrist Episode 7/14, which may seem to mostly be about anime pornographies to download, but is in fact a cutting insight into modern "feminism."
Fact 2c: While so-called "feminists" railed against the so-called "Woman in the Fridge" trope being the beginning of Fallout 4 (and if you want to see why that trope doesn't really exist, check out Episodes 22 and 23: Black Captain America and Other Lies Your Professor Told You, Parts 1 and 2), I and many other brave thought leaders correctly and insistently pointed out online that the "fridge" in question was actually a cryogenic freezing chamber, calmly navigating a minefield of "women" telling us to shut up, stop talking to them, and stop following them around - even though it's not technically "illegal" to do any of that!
Fact 1d: I know we're mixed up now, but putting things in numbered lists is kind of my thing and I wanted this list to be longer.
Fact 3a: There is a "Black Widow" perk and a "Lady Killer" perk, and they each apply to a "different" sex which makes "feminists" "mad."
Fact 3b: Fallout 4: Far Harbor came out after Fallout 4, giving the Troskyists a chance to "make their Marx" - a joke that you would totally get if you watched Part 9 of my series: "The Marxman - How Snipers are Basically Communists, Therefore TF2 Got Everything Wrong, part 3/8."
Fact 2e: My previous employer taught me ciphers and codes, by which I have decoded the secret messages of the SJW cabal. By using a Vigenere Cipher to encode the name “Far Harbor” with the passphrase CUCKSERVATIVE, which is totally something a twenty-something “feminist” on tumblr would do in her copious spare time, you get the phrase “Hutrsvsjr” which is clearly their way of saying “Hunters vs Jr,” as in the WoW class favored by filthy casual gamers, versus CHILDREN. THEY ARE HUNTING CHILDREN, SHEEPLE.
Fact d3: Far Harbor was released on May 19th, the exact same day that Vladimir “Cuckunist” Lenin established the “Vladimir Lenin All-Union Pioneer Organization,” which was like the Boy Scouts, BUT FOR COMMUNISTS! COINCIDENCE??!?11?
Fact 4a: But of course, this is personal. I didn't make it personal. I am a being of pure logic, able to use nothing but math to see any side of any argument and incapable of being so emotional that “I” would take something “personally.” There is no self, sheeple! Wake up! How can I be selfish or self-absorbed if there is no self? This wasn’t about me, but the SJW cuckspiracy made this ALL ABOUT ME. Why? Because as I heroically "pointed out" in my first installment on Pearl River Flow, which has cowardly refused to print my previous 36 essays on the maleficent behavior of video "game" journalists and "developers," Fallout 4 makes you run a Glue Plantation and become an Emperor of the Wastelands - my first taste of the Red Pill world.
Now that "we" have our “facts,” let's see how "they" ruined this game just to spite "me."
They added more duct tape and wonderglue. This has the effect of making my Glue Plantations less valuable - to the point that it's not even necessary for me to Lord over the various settlements with the force of my Super Sledge.
There's duct tape everywhere! And where there's no duct tape, there's wonderglue. The only possible explanation is that they read my exegesis on Fallout 4 and squelched my Imperial Outlet.
Of course, there's more of the Radical Social Culture War Marxist Justice Agenda on tap - they can't be content with simply ruining the only thing I enjoyed in the whole game - yelling "cuck" at the screen while my character made glue out of "fruit" and water.
No, they had to throw in "the" Jewish Agenda. See, Far Harbor throws in lots of new enemies - but none of them are KOSHER.
Hermit crabs, shellfish, frogs, salamanders, giant insects? None of that is kosher, so of course it's "the other." The enemy. It mindlessly attacks the player (clearly the player has become an avatar for Judaism at this point) and must be destroyed.
Of course, since even when "the" Feminist Globalists "win," they still "lose," I found several in-game references that gave a clear indication of the intent and purpose of the valiant game "designers" and brogrammers, but of course, "coincidence" would have it that my computer destroyed most of them. I can only, therefore, assume, that the game designers were under extreme duress, probably by blue and red-haired harpies. "My" proof is this: Well known agitator Noam Chompsky is shown as destroying the seas, such as would happen if we listened to his alarmist propaganda on so-called "Global" Warming.
Damnit, could someone start making some content around here so we don't have to publish crap like this? Can we steal some unpaid interns from Gawker?
Here at Pearl River Flow we often find things that have been discarded. In fact, that's the joke behind the entire website. You've figured it out.
Here is one such bit of Pearl River Flotsam. It's a discarded Video Game Review of the hit game Fallout 4. Not only was this review was rejected by the student paper of a local liberal arts college, it was rejected by a local trashcan, and found it's way into the Pearl River.
Fallout 4 - A Postcolonial Critique of the Postapocalypse
by Chad Buffington IV, Freshman, History Dept.
525 hours in, Fallout 4 shows me the doomed psyche of White America when I crush a Super Mutant with a jet-powered sledgehammer. I do it to the tune of a Hammerstein song. I do it because the mutant is different. This hyperviolence is problematic.
In every video game, it seems, the elite impose their phallocentric martial ethos through the medium of digital simulation - all life's challenges forsaken, save one: Maximizing the efficiency of murder.
I have failed the mandate I laid out in my college entrance essay by interacting with a commercial digital product. Fallout 4 is a video game, and it has changed my life. I am sorry, History Department.
It is true, I was not always a lofty and enlightened commentator delivering hot, unbiased takes on the state of American Military Industrial Decadence. Once, I was but a base gamer. I devoted countless digital hours to perfecting the task of murder. Endless worlds of minions were slain across the multiverse as my sociopathic avatars reached for "just one more" mote of power.
In my childhood I was awash in the consumer electronics that paint our futures in virtual murder. Murder IS the medium. With Fallout 4 I am buying the ticket. I am contractually obligated to take the ride, and the ride is festooned with the grim accoutrements of The Fascism. Death - heroic death, Annunzio's Thanatos, is programmed in. One cannot not be shocked by the physics of gibs or textures of gore, one must find glory in the carnage as martial might trumps all other solutions.
My actions as the hero disturbed me, they removed me from the safe space that College has created, thrusting me into a debauched world of corporatism and colonialsm. How did I fall victim to the curse of Rome?
Glue. In Fallout 4, you require resources to upgrade your Arsenal of Democracy. The postapocalyptic wasteland is littered with the weaponry of centuries of warfare, but in order to patch these weapons together you need a glue, called adhesive.
Adhesive is the limiting reagent in your carefully calculated logarithmic increase of lethal efficiency. In order to be self-sufficient, you must make it yourself.
To do THAT, you need four things; first, you need a "muttfruit," which is a mutation of grapes, oranges, and apples, the sort of thing Al Gore has long warned us about. Secondly, you need a "tato," which is the fruit of an irradiated nightshade, a cross of potato and tomato. Third, you need purified water, which is hard to come by in the nuclear wasteland. Finally, you need corn, because what dystopia, post-apocalypse, or existential nightmare doesn't involve seas of corn?
Once you have these four items - which in the mouths of the hungry could provide vitamin C, two staple foods, and water, you can make adhesive. A glue to ensure your violent arsenal is put together just a tiny bit better.
I needed glue. I needed to make quantum leaps in lethality, to contend with murderous mutants, killer robots, fascist mecha-governments, and a Fury Road full of drugged out barbarians in mismatched leathers.
The NRA would have been proud. This was a violent world. I needed to get better guns. The only thing going to stop these bad guys with guns was a good guy with better guns. Better guns need more glue. This calculus of Empire set in quickly. To conquer more, I needed more. I needed farms, so I conquered some farms.
As the overwhelming majority of people in the United States may claim, I was created with an unfortunate allocation of vital wealth-creating statistics at the beginning of the game. Much as Citizens United keeps the poor out of democracy, I was unable to participate in the entire town-building experience. Like Hillary Clinton, I had no charisma. All I could do was make weapons, and kill people with weapons. I was an embodied foreign policy hawk. And my body was made for killing. But if I wanted more, I needed more glue.
I came to the villages that I had conquered and forced them to grow crops for my adhesive empire. Three towns labored under the imposing threat of my Gatling Lasers. One town was for fruit, one for corn, one for tato. For pure water, I marauded the wastelands, crushing entire camps of raiders and mutants with rockets and nuclear powered armaments. I crushed the ruined environment under the boots of my power armor. I had joined the jingoistic authoritarian military that was the Brotherhood of Steel, and after tearing the wastelands apart looking for my family, I was done being nice.
Each town had ceased to be an idiosyncratic settlement full of unique citizens. No, now they were naught butcolonies, providing precious resources for my one-man war. I was a Warlord Emperor, a Dick Cheney with no second-in-command, I took no advice from policemen and mourning mothers, I only obeyed the dictates of the Brotherhood of Steel. There were no bankers or traders I could rely on. I took my bullets and water and food from the dead. What the towns grew was just melted down into glue.
I told myself that I was doing this for the villagers, that it was good for them. It was not. I had fooled myself with the Vault Dweller's Burden. I had imposed my twisted view of the wasteland as a fallen world in need of my guiding hand. Most disapointingly, I had convinced myself, as I rampaged through settlements, towering over my subjects in my massive power armor, demanding the tribute of crops.
Tribute! How feudal! I had executed reverse-Marxism, arriving in a world of enlightened savage anarchy, a Free Market Utopia, and upon it I had imposed the rule of Steel and Nuclear Lasers.
I demanded tribute to the Brotherhood of Steel. Crops to the knights! This insidious Digital Feudalism ate at my being. There was no chance for peace.
Every gun that was made, every power armor launched, every mini-nuke fired signified, in a final sense, theft from those wasteland dwellers who hunger and were not fed, those who were in the cold of nuclear winter and not clothed.
This world of fusion weapons was not spending fruit alone. It was spending the sweat of its laborers, the genius of its scientists, the hopes of its children. I was crucifying mankind on a Cross of Iron and Caps.
I did not regret. I conquered swathes of the Wasteland for spies, for freedom fighters, for insurgents and crime lords, I helped murderous androids, clockwork knights and ragged militias.
Why did I do it? I did not kill for the greatest weapons. I did not blindly obey orders to receive better armor. I did not forsake all bonds of human fellowship and eschew the milk of human kindness for pile of caps. None of those rewards were worth getting. None of those rewards would make me as happy as finding single aluminum tray or roll of high quality duct tape.
My girlfriend watched me play the game for a brief moment, during co-ed visiting hours. But even the allure of sexual romance was cast aside by this fascist facade of entertainment. She saw me kill. She saw me kill a dog. True, it was a murderous canine accompanying lawless raiders, but it was a dog, ignorant of good and evil, only following the dictates of it's pack. Were we that different, dog, you and I? Perhaps our only difference was that I had a steel-reinforced sledgehammer and the wealth of nations at my back, while you were equipped with naught but tooth and sinew.
After that masochistic display, she could no longer watch. I should have turned it off, I should have stopped playing Fallout, but yet it drove me. I began to reinstitute colonial patriarchy across the pristine anarchistic wasteland. Murder and power, power and murder, violence and violence, psychosexual in the extreme, modifying my phallic weaponry to achieve ever greater heights, the numbers rising with no opposition, over and over and over again. I wasn't killing for a cause, I was killing for profit. But the endless loop of the capitalist war left me fighting not for caps, or guns, or ammo - but for pieces of aluminum, their value maximized by the hellscape I inhabited.
After a while, after 50 levels of Imperial Adventure, I didn't *need* any of it, not anymore, I was an invincible cyborg clad in indestructible power armor, I was bristling with atomic weaponry, lasers, missiles and miniguns. But I always wanted just a touch more safety, a touch more power, and after a while, after I had stripped the wastes of their natural resources, I could only get that scrap of aluminum by stealing a TV dinner tray in a peaceful settlement. I began to rampage through entire towns. I was unstoppable. The family between me and a dented can? Dead. What kind of world was I turning this postapocalyptic wasteland into? These were not the microaggressions I have been trained to avoid, these were aggressions, megaaggressions, gigaaggressions.
525 hours later, I think that Fallout 4 represents a modern struggle about family life, America, and power. The clock of civilization may have stopped in 2077, but this is a retro-future, informed by our inglorious past. It's been said, by the most astute social observer of the 21st century, that "An American Tradition is anything that happens to a baby boomer twice."
Therefore, ergo, here we go, there I am, I roam the wasteland, shooting people with the gun that killed my wife, wearing her murderer's clothes under my hardened titanium armor. To quote the sagacious voice of our generation, Buzzfeed: What this Paladin does when he finds his son will shock you.
Like Winston Smith in the Chestnut Tree Cafe, I adore what I have become. I listen to great standards, with unironic racist undertones. I have my guns and I horde them, I can longer remain in the bubble of this liberal arts institution. No space can be safe if I am in it, now.
I was Chad Buffington IV. Now in order to more accurately describe my primal self, I am B.C.
- Headed for the River.
Given the content of the website, it may come as no surprise to some of you that I have dabbled in game making. Most of the time, this took the form of tabletop RPG campaigns and my own homegrown RPG system, NERPS, the Natural Easy Roleplaying System, back in 2008. Though this predated Savage Worlds, and had a lot in common with d20 systems, through the miracle of dice pools and the hard fact of convergent evolutionary processes, around 2013-2014, NERPS started to look a lot like the Savage Worlds ruleset. So much so that, when I discovered Savage Worlds, I stopped using NERPS.
One of my comrades made a real-live video game while I was mucking about with dice. It is called Interstellar Flower Power, and it's a fun twin-stick shooter where you control a glowing interstellar flower that shoots light at dark blob badguys known as "the nihilists." They hate everything, especially light, and you come from the outer solar system to save the sun from their dark design.
The flowers are four colors: Blue, Magenta, Green, and Yellow. The backstory was pretty much just as I've stated, and in the game, it never comes up. The music is amazing, and the game is fun, and it's sitting around between the "been greenlit by the steam community" and the "steam has yet to put it on sale" points of the indie game lifecycle.
At one point there was going to be a more detailed, in-game story, based around the distinct idea that you'd journey from planet to planet fighting nihilists, and the flowers would quip with one another and you'd make inconsequential Bioware style RPG choices.
I wrote this story. It did not make it into the final version of the game, and when it became clear that the "story mode" wasn't going to make it into the final cut, I stopped working on it, which is why the story never makes it past Jupiter. BUT, for those of you interested in the game, which is a damn fine game, with an amazing soundtrack - well, here you go...
INTERSTELLAR FLOWER POWER: THE SCRIPT!
INTERSTELLAR FLOWER POWER: THE EPIC
Magenta: Shooting wildly. “Yaaaaaaah die die die you nihilist scum!”
Blu: “What are you doing, Mag?”
Mag: “I’m arguing with the nihilists.”
Gre: “What’s your point?”
Mag: “18mm slugs accelerating at 2,000,000 meters per second per second.”
Blu: “Mag, how’s your power?”
Mag: “I’m red, not Magenta. But hey, power is low.”
Yel: “So it goes.”
Blu: “You too?”
Gre: “Me too.”
Mag: “Solar power is low. That can’t be right.”
Yel: “We’re out in the Oort Cloud. The nearest star is a tiny dot.”
Gre: “It’s always been good enough.”
Yel: “So it goes.”
Blu: “If this keeps up we’ll be deactivated.”
Mag: “What could cause that insignificant little star to stop being so bright?”
Y: “So it goes.”
B: “Not on my watch.”
AFTER INTRO LEVEL - ON TO PLUTO
G: “There’s nothing worse than Nihilists.”
M: “What about Zealots?”
G: “Say what you will about the desire to replace all sentient matter with the dark dreams of the sleeping old gods, but at least it’s an ethos, Mag. At least they want to do something.”
B: “Alright, so first step, we get rid of the nihilists.”
Y: “Is there a second step? How do you get rid of something that doesn’t want to exist?”
M: “A stamen-tube full of 18mm hyperkinetic death from the pistil-rifle usually does the trick.”
G: “A capital argument! Where do we head now?”
B: “Nearest planet. They gather around stuff.”
M: “Don’t they hate stuff?”
G: “Yeah, well, they hate stuff so hard that it quickly ceases to be stuff.”
M: “I know exactly how they feel.”
G: “Yeah, but when you hate stuff hard enough, it keeps being stuff, it just starts being stuff that is spread out over a much larger area.”
Y: “So it goes.”
WELCOME TO PLUTO LEVEL
G: “Wait, you call that a planet?”
B: “Shut up, Gre. It’s time to get our power back.”
PLUTO BOSS FIGHT QUIP MODE:
(Boss is a giant zealot)
Boss: “I rule this planet from my great and terrible throne!”
Y: “This is a planet?”
M: “I’d consider it more of an outer kuiper belt object.”
G: “I dunno. It has a highly elliptical orbit, and does not intersect the orbital plane of the rest of the planets.”
BOSS: “THIS WORLD IS MY ICE-CLAD THRONE! ENTROPY RULES HERE!”
G: “Isn’t entropy hotter than this? The crystalline methane ice is actually quite ordered...”
BOSS: SHUT UP!
M: “Let’s increase his entropy by several orders of magnitude.”
BOSS FIGHT LINES:
BOSS: Arrgh, not in the glowing spot!
“I will crush you with the... the... oh just die already!”
BOSS FIGHT OVER:
Y: “But by blowing him up, haven’t we increased the entropy of the system?”
G: “Grab the light! He was storing it up!”
B: “Hey, wait, the methane ice is exploding! This place is gonna blow!”
M: “This place already blows. Let’s get out of here.”
G: “Yeah, suck it planetoid!”
Y: “So it goes.”
*Pluto begins exploding, and the flowers fly off. It blows up behind them.*
M: “Let’s find a real planet.”
TRIP TO NEPTUNE:
Y: It’s so dark out here.
G: And lonely.
Y: I was talking to a guy and his dog earlier. His name was Winston.
M: Are you malfunctioning, Yel?
Y: I’m an interstellar flower, not a robot, Mag. There was a guy and his dog out here. proper English chap and his terrier.
G: Where is he now?
Y: He vanished.
M: You’re malfunctioning.
B: What did the invisible Englishman and his proper english mutt want, Yel?
Y: He wanted me to know that Nihilists have mothers.
G: They do?
G: So nihilists have mothers!
M: Easy to hit and full of sunshine.
G: Sunshine and guts, Mag.
M: I’m red, not magenta!
B: They’re gathered around this planet, let’s get down there and wipe them out.
M: What’s this planet called?
Y: By Tramalfadorians, or by the humans?
M: I know the Tramalfadorian name, Yel, what do the pink hairless apes call it?
Y: Neptune. It’s slightly bigger than Uranus.
M: Where’s Uranus?
B: Cut the chatter, gold leader. Red, form up in attack formation. We’re going in.
NEPTUNE BOSS PREBATTLE BANTER
“BOSS”: I’m the boss-man on this planet! Beware my wraaaaaaath!
Upon defeat: “Mommy!”
“Boss” is easily defeated. Now a much larger version appears.
BOSS: My son! You killed my son! Face the wrath of MY MOTHER!
(Another even larger “mother” variety shows up. The middle-mother flies off)
GRANDMOTHER: “I’ll show you whose mother to make fun of!
G: “Wait, you have a mother? She must be older than that last planet we burned to a cinder.”
M: “That wasn’t a planet! Die, old woman!”
AFTER THE BOSS BATTLE WITH THE GIANT MOTHER:
M: Gre, how can you tell that they’re really women?
G: We’re women. We know.that sort of thing.
Y: I kind of feel sorry for her.
B: Think how tragic it would have been if the mother had outlived her son.
Y: Well didn’t one of them ?
B: We’ll fix that soon enough.
ON THE WAY TO URANUS
B: Alright, our next target is Uranus.
M: “So, wait, we’re women?”
G: “We’re flowers, Mag. Your name is Mag.”
M: I’m red!
B: Magenta is a type of red, Mag. Now we’ve got to make it to Uranus, and I don’t think they’re going to make it easy.
G: “You have no idea how right you are.”
B: Alright team, we’re about to enter Uranus.
G: I think you’re pronouncing it wrong.
M: I’m about to enter Uranus at several thousand kilometers per second.
B: Keep an eye out for the mother.
G: Your mother, Mag. I hear she likes it here.
URANUS BOSS BANTER:
Mother: My beautiful destructive children! My horrible beast of a mother! How dare you!
The giant mother from Neptune is here. She cries a few mothers, the flowers fight them.
Mother: Meet their father!
Father arrives. He is a giant Zealot. Mother flees.
Father: You killed my brother and my favorite son!
Y: That was your brother?! This is getting tragic!
M: It’s about to get more tragic!
Father: Though, I do have to thank you for killing my mother-in-law. I guess you’re not all THAT bad.
THEY FIGHT FOR A WHILE
Father: Argh! Okay, okay, I yield!
M: Wait, what?
B: Hold your fire.
M: I hate that.
G: If I hold it, I’ll damage my pistil-rifle.
Y: That’s just an interstellar legend.
F: If you let me live, I’ll give you a gift.
B: What gift?
M: I hope it’s the gift of standing still and letting us shoot him.
F: I’ll give you these special bullets. Put a few into a zealot, and he’ll turn against the others and join you until he dies.
M: I say we just put a few of our “special bullets” into this guy and TAKE his stuff.
G: I’m all for looting.
(They have the option of unloading on him and killing him or not, either way they get the special bullets)
JOURNEY TO SATURN
Y: I was just thinking about that Englishman.
G: And his dog?
Y: Not so much the dog.
M: See, if we were women, we’d be worried about the dog.
G: Dude, you’re not a dude.
Y: I think he’s become a quantum form. I think that at some point he began moving so slowly that his wavelength became expressible on a macroscopic scale.
M: Your mother moves so slowly that her wavelengths are visible on a macroscopic scale.
B: We are NOT bringing back “booya.”
END OF THE LEVEL:
Y: Hey guys, these special bullets we’ve been using?
B: Yeah they certainly offer advantages.
Y: Check the stamen-clip they came in. It’s a part for a machine.
G: Huh. It says “for delivery to Titan.”
Y: Should we deliver it?
M: Are there nihilists down there?
B: Negative. Just a tricky matter of going through the rings of Saturn.
(At this point they can go one direction to deliver the package, or another direction to continue on to Saturn)
IF THEY TAKE THE TRIP TO TITAN:
B: Stay sharp!
(A game of dodging objects that can be blasted?)
(maybe some can’t be blasted?)
(Or just another level or just a cutscene?)
Man: Oh good you’ve arrived with my parts.
B: Your parts? How did that Zealot get *your* parts?
Man: He made them.
M: And we killed him.
Y: Then we brought them... here....
Man: Good, all according to whatever plan there was, then.
M: You mean you had all these guys attack us just so we could bring you your replacement part?
Man: Well, not exactly - things were... manipulated a bit, maybe a few ideas put in a few heads here and there over the past half a million years or so, had to get the humans banging the rocks together, had to get the nihilists to discover this solar system, had to give the zealots the mind-control bullet plan - but *cause* this?
G: You’ve been doing this for half a million years?
Man: Quicker than waiting for a part from Tramalfadore, I’d say.
B: WE’RE from Tramalfadore.
Man: And you just got here with my part.
Y: So it goes.
M: We should totally blast you.
Man: Well you could do that. I’ve been awfully bored for the past half a million years, with only that guy and his dog to keep me company every decade or so. But if you give me my ship part, I’ll help you out down the road, once I get her fixed.
G: And how long is that going to take, ten thousand years?
Man: No, like a day or so.
(At this point you have the option to shoot him or give him the part)
B: Alright team, we’re approaching Saturn. Shields up.
Y: I keep my shields up.
G: You know that’s not good for them, right?
Y: Better than keeping them down and getting shot.
G: Are you sure it’s not just because you have emotional issues? Do you feel vulnerable.?
M: Gah, I guess we ARE women.
Y: I DO feel vulnerable.
G: It’s only natural. We get shot at all day long.
SATURN BOSS FIGHT:
B: I hate to say it guys, but look at the size of that thing!
Y: That’s what SHE said.
M: If by SHE you mean YOUR MOTHER.
Y: I meant Blu.
G: That’s what I said about your mother, Mag.
B: Cut the chatter! Petals in attack formation!
THE MOTHER ARRIVES AGAIN
MOTHER: This time, I deal with you myself!
Y: I bet she runs away anyway.
B: Not this time!
G: I mean you’re gonna keep her from running away THIS time and you didn’t all the OTHER times?
B: That’s not what I mean!
MOTHER: JUST DIE ALREADY!
(Mother splits into two mothers - the old “which one is the real boss?” trick)
(If the flowers killed FATHER on Neptune, MOTHER freaks out. If the flowers spared him, he arrives and deals the finishing blow, saying “Consider it a divorce.”)
MOTHER: NOoooooo! *Blows up*
B: I told you she wasn’t going anywhere.
M: Looks like she’s kinda going *everywhere*
Y: So it goes. Everywhere.
ON THE WAY TO JUPITER:
G: Ship just went by singing something about a Daisy, daisy.
Y: My sister is named Daisy.
M: That’s your sister? I thought Daisy was a “he”
B: Look, I’ve got male AND female parts.
ARRIVAL ON JUPITER:
B: Alright guys they plan on dropping a neutron star out of hyperspace into the heart of Jupiter, starting nuclear fusion, creating a second sun in the solar system and causing untold destruction!
M: Oh man I like that plan. Extra sun!
G: Yeah, but what about the “untold destruction?”
Y: I wasn’t told about any destruction. If it was bad, surely we would have been told about it?
M: I like destruction. Let me tell you about destruction…
G: She’s going to tell you about it with her guns.
JUPITER BOSS FIGHT:
*Haven’t really thought this one through - maybe a huge black-hole type thing that sucks everything towards it and spawns waves of reinforcements - if the reinforcements reach it, it gets healed?*
FPJEROME - I think "Haven't really thought this one through" is going to be my epitaph.
For some of you, you heard music. This song in particular.
Ultima Online is how it all started. My downfall at the hands of online RPGs. Sure, I had dabbled in online roleplaying before, haunting chat rooms, trading blow-by-blows in forums, but this was something different, and the scene above was almost exactly what greeted me on that fateful day.
Or, rather, the day after that day.
As with many firsts, it took in distant past - OF THE YEAR 2000. I hauled home a big white box (something games came in, back in those days) for Ultima Online: Renaissance. I easily installed it - it came on a disc, that, of course, had a sexy lady firing a bow at an anatomically impossible angle.
I then waited a whole day to patch the damn thing.
You see, my internet was delivered via an archaic device called a "modem." Modems transmitted information by screeching into a phone line and listening back. We had a "fast" modem, a US Robotics 56k. The 56k there stands for kB (not MB) per second, and it never got to be remotely as fast as that.
We connected via an AOL line to an old junction box in a town with more coyotes than people. Calling it used the telephone line, and we only had one, so nobody could call the house without temporarily borking my connection.
This led to a lot of deaths. And death in Ultima Online was (at the time) a painful experience quite a like the infamous EverQuest Loading, please wait... You had to run around in a robe with 1 hit point and try to grab your stuff while under attack from whatever had killed your fully armed and armored self.
So while my parents were wondering why nobody ever called them, or screaming at me to get off the phone (picking up the phone to check for the horrific annoying shriek of the modem also led to a disconnection and death) I was anxiously figuring a few things out, not just about video games, but about the world.
Possibly the most lasting impact the game had on me was the creation of my most long lived character, one that has resurfaced in almost every game I've played or dungeon mastered or written ever since.
Garrett Granth came into the world of UO at a point when simply staring at the 2nd edition players guide of Dungeons and Dragons no longer could maintain my interest in an RPG. I didn't play D&D at the time because there was no one to play it with, I lived in the middle of nowhere - a place with abyssal modem speed, if you'll recall. Or, kal ort por if you're a UO player.
As with many people born in Mississippi, Garrett began as an inkling in a teenage mind - what sort of man did I want to be in this sprawling, huge, fantasy world?
First, I had to have a beard. In my high school, beards - facial hair of any kind, really - were verboten, and while I had long done well with huge mutton chops, this was a chance to have what I wanted - a long, chest-length wizard beard.
This was the year 2000. Having a long, chest-length wizard beard was done by precisely no one. Lord of the Rings was still just a book and a cartoon I'd never seen.
Then, long hair. Long hair was something I stuck with for a decade, until biology took it from me. But at the time, it was just an impossible dream - my High School would no more have let you grow shoulder length hair than they would have let you grow a beard, wear an earring (boys only) or be black.
That day at school, instead of studying, I was pouring through the massive (and entirely useless and already outdated) manual. On the way home, I was preoccupied, spending the 20 minute drive worrying with a name.
RPG players know that the character name needs to pack the perfect punch. Mine needed alteration, it needed rhythm. I had a first name - Garrett - cribbed from the venerable Thief series, which I'd enjoyed the year before. "Granth" filled the bill.
Garrett Granth had rich fantasy life all laid out in my head before I even typed his name into the character creation box.
He would be a great wizard, a hermit in a hide tent on the magical isle of Moonglow, surrounded by arcane crystals, scrolls of power, books and potions, dried herbs and puissant reagents, crammed into the small space.
The manual told of towers, keeps, even castles - but what I wanted was something that had been removed from the game even at this point - a tent.
Ultima online doesn't quite have the same sort of character creation system that more modern roleplaying games have. You don't pick a class, or even an archetype or that sort of thing. You pick three skills and then you can get as many as you like later. It's a little like The Elder Scrolls: Oblivion, except with a nice hard cap of 700 points to fill, no levels, and good incentives to get those skills near to the maximum of 100.
(Dear UO nerds: I know this has changed in modern times. Please stick with me, as it was true when I started playing.)
So to achieve this dream I had to do a few things. Some of these things I thought would be hard. Some, I thought, would be easy. I was to be wrong on all counts.
First challenge: Get the skills. Alchemy, magery, inscription (the better to make those scrolls with). I thought this would be the challenge the game offered, to constantly test my growing skills against the might of my ever-more-complicated foes.
Second challenge: Get the money. Money would be needed to get the scrolls and the weapons and the tent.
Third challenge: Get the tent.
Get the skills, then you get the money, then you get the tent. It was a sort of fantasy-land Scarface (Maybe: I confess now that I have never seen Scarface) that I had built in my head. People would come from around this fantastical realm to buy my potions, my fine scrolls, beating a path to the door of my tent on the darkly whimsical island of Moonglow, in some untrammeled spot in the "newly expanded housing" provided by the expansion I was buying into.
The skill I was really buying? Managing disappointment.
In a very realistic twist, getting the skills was fairly easy and getting the money was not. You didn't have to pay some underpaid adjunct professor a life-ruining fortune in order to get these skills, you just had to go out and DO. You do the things, and the numbers get higher.
I got the numbers high while earning gold coins. Back in those days, gold was a little harder to come by, UO had mostly recovered from the economic crashes of the item duplication and bandage-bug days, but gold farmers and macro-controlled harvesting mules sucked every last resource out of the world just about the same time as I got started playing - the addition of the PvP free world meant that you could no longer go about slaughtering them and looting their cloth-and-ingot laden bodies. Killing unaccompanied macro-playing mules are my only PvP victories in UO.
Those of you interested in what the hell all that meant should go read the absolutely fascinating investigation of virtual economics, "Play Money" by the old tyme UO player Markee Dragon, who was quite the legendary figure in my days of UO - and on my shard, even!
So after fighting endless monsters at the Moonglow graveyard, I went to the House Store (only slightly less realistic than surviving death as a robed ghost) with my hard-earned 30 thousand gold coins to buy a tent. In retrospect, it would have been quite an expensive tent.
Alas, the tent had been removed from the game. There was a similarly small and humble abode, so I took that instead, and began wandering Moonglow for a spot to place it.
Anyone who has played Ultima Online for a bit is already chuckling to themselves. The house purchase price is an absurd notion. They might as well be free. What you're really paying for is the land to put one on.
Every spot in UO where you can place a house, someone has placed a house. The same spot where you could place your 30 thousand gold coin house can also host a 3 story tower that sells for 2 or 3 million gold.
Guess which one is in the spot you want.
I checked around, getting my first experiences with the wonders of ICQ and IRC chatting technology, all while running up an astounding bill for time spent on AOL (ask your parents) and the phone (also, ask your parents) - bills I had to pay, forking over the money from my summer job (ask your parents, or maybe grandparents) or selling corn (ask your USDA).
There was not a single spot to place a house in all of Ultima Online. People were waiting, camping, for old spots to decay, hiding in remote mountains, crouching near dragons and volcanoes waiting for the digital "condemned" sign to be put up, and springing into action heroically - not by slaying a dragon or pushing a vile priest into the volcano, but by throwing yet another house onto the unwanted spot.
It was at this low point that Ultima Online, like a cult leader sensing a crisis of the faith, changed tactics. I was about to quit the game entirely when I began running with a guild, a group of like-minded roleplayers who had set out to tell tales, cast spells, and fight dragons.
And that we did. Our guild, Guardians of Lore, set out to write books - you could write a book in this game, copy books, sell books, collect books in libraries for people to read. This is something I have never seen in any RPG since. I wrote books, and people paid me for them.
This was a concept that was intriguing to me. I'd always enjoyed writing, but never really considered myself to be any good at it, but yet, here I was, getting paid money (not real money, but something that you could trade for real money) to write words in a book!
All through college, with my always-on T1 line, I played UO. I played UO about as much as I played Baldur's Gate. I hung out in ICQ and IRC chat rooms. I played with these friends, who were much older than I, through divorces and deaths, custody battles and complaints of old age. A guildmate recommended that I date a dancer, and later, I married one.
Eventually, I was pushed out into the real world, and didn't have the internet. The Guardians of Lore scattered, the tower crumbled. I came back from time to time to the world of Sosaria, but never did stay for long. The game, on it's own, is not fun. It is a platform for hanging out with people in a peculiar setting. But it does that better than most games with more graphics, more dimensions, more game world and game play.
UO mattered to me like no game does now. I'm not the kind of guy who can care like that about a game or about my fellow players. I became like Garrett, because Garrett was someone I became as an 18 year old with a head full of fanciful ideas. I played for four years, and as college ended, I discovered that now, I had long hair, I had a beard, I was drinking too much, I was smart and frivolous, I was writing constantly. The only difference between me and Garrett Granth was that I was never magic, and never got paid in gold coins.
"Will I be able to write it?" That's the question that plagues me for the Baldur's Gate review. It's a valid question. Baldur's Gate has kept me from writing quite a few things. Term papers, mostly. Term papers and job applications.
Success and the joys associated with a life of comfort, privilege, and status. All denied me, by this game, but I must say it was worth every pain.
Therefore, I must write the greatest game review of all time, something worth the psychic cost that Bioware has inflicted upon me.
SO IT BEGINS!
Wait, holy shit, my paladin and fallen cleric just got into a fight and Keldorn just up and KILLED a member of my party! With a Holy Avenger! Carsomyr +5, to be exact. And stupid Anomen attacked him with the Flail of Ages, which, sure - is a great weapon and all - but really? You're a cleric, Anomen, not a Paladin. Keldorn is going to murderize you! You should have known that! I guess I should try and resurrect you, given that I'm the son of a god, and have a magic rod that brings people back to life...
Well, I can't. I won't. I need to write this review like I needed to write that BioChem paper back in 2002. The one I failed because I was playing Baldur's Gate 2. So yeah, the review...
I mean, why'd you kill him, Keldorn? We were trying to solve the crime our BARD was accused of committing! We were already down a party member, and now I have to go recruit that weird wingless-winged elf I found in a circus tent with that gnome from the first game! Okay, well, we'll just go visit your family first, if that's okay, and...
God, they don't get along. This Paladin's family does not like him one bit. Why would they? He spends all his time out and about helping save the world with ME, one of the sons of the god of murder, that's important, I understand, but...
Oh. Oh, Helm. She's seeing someone else. His wife's cheating on him, with the man that's taking their kids to the circus!
Though that is a seriously dangerous circus. I had to kill a bunch of shapeshifting demons and ghosts under the control of a deranged gnome just to make it safe. Oh, well. Hey - that's where the wingless elf (she had wings once, okay?) is. Shit. I probably shouldn't take Keldorn there. He just murdered a party member in a fight and heard about his wife fucking around with some nobleman at this damn circus, but hey - he's staying right by the circus, and I can swing by, pick up a new cleric (she's also a mage!) and deal with this shit, then go solve the murder-mystery of our bard, all in one night!
I LOVE THIS GAME!
...and that's what I want to talk about. The rich content of the game. The NPCs that have quests and lives. That's commonplace now amongst your big RPGs - especially the BioWare ones, made by the same people who made THIS game - but back when I was playing Baldur's Gate (approximately 2 minutes ago) - especially BG2, it was new? I guess, I don't recall that well. Anyway, I'm going to take a break to fix this problem and...
Oh crap! Viconia! My cleric from Baldur's Gate 1! They're going to burn her at the stake! I abandoned her heartlessly in Act 2, and now... she's dead. She's dead right when I needed a fucking cleric.
So, Aeire is it, then. Game's only got three goddamn clerics. But hey - she lives right next to the guy I need to talk to for crime-solving AND the cuckolding nobleman! I can fix this! I can...
Maybe it's just nostalgia, right? I mean, it's not like I'm still playing this game thanks to the blissful support from the community, who has stitched together both games and both expansion packs into a heartfelt "Trilogy" that is by far superior to the "Enhanced" edition heartlessly re-released by some money-grubbers seeking to cash in on this superior experience of video gaming.
Baldur's Gate! I was playing the Baldur's Gate games when I should have been in college, and I didn't stop when I got out. My first year on my own, in a wrecked apartment with a 2nd story door to the open air and balcony that had been gone for years, I sat up there and on a computer sitting on an ancient wooden pedestal and ottoman and played this game. Sure, it was 3 years old by then, but the expansion pack to Baldur's Gate 2 came out in the same year, and the two seemed so great together, and...
Wait, I'm getting sidetracked with a game review when something interesting has happened in the game. I've solved my crime. I've sent my paladin on a day off with his family to keep them together. My *new* cleric is wearing the most excellent gear. My bard is out of jail.
Okay, well, now - to write that review. Good thing I'm a hundred hours in and only halfway through.
We return, dozens of hours later. The strength of Baldur's Gate games, both 1 and 2, is the expansive beginning act. Act One and Two in the first game, the impressive Act 2 in BG2. These give you the sort of freewheeling fun you expect from a Bioware RPG of that era. Your objectives are simple, yet loosely defined. Get a certain amount of money. Find a certain note. The only way this can be accomplished is, of course, through the mass murder of anything and anyone in your path, the disarming of every trap on the ground, and probably, at some point or another, exploiting the primitive AI and calling it "tactics."
No doubt you have memories of such events. A wizard throwing a fireball into a room full of summoned wolves holding the enemy at bay. Bottlenecking an endless series of Kua-Tuo and hammering them to death with your barbarian warrior. Springing a trap on an unwary demilich, re-killing him instantly. Using mindless skeletons to absorb the endless waves of mind-flayers in the Underdark.
In a modern context, this would seem "cheesy," and be a bit off-putting, but the mechanics are done just right, to save the sense of adventure. The fan patches that make up the (must use) Trilogy edition turn many of these would-be-gamebreakers into fun twists, balancing the overwhelming power of too-many summons, or the game-destroying failure to roll a saving throw on your fighter, who then murders the entire party.
When you come out of the game-turning events - reaching Baldur's Gate, heading off to Spellhold, your characters are powerful, no more pathetically flailing at people with quarterstaves, now you're hitting with legendary swords and immune to everything the game can throw at you.
Until the enemies level up - or you go in search of the most challenging fights! There's always something you can do that's NOT EASY.
One of the best fights, to me, comes in Throne of Bhaal, the sprawling "expansion" that serves, to me, as a fitting Baldur's Gate 3. You run across an army. Yes, an army. Wizards, archers, warriors, big gangs of minions. An army.
And you fight them. If you win (at this point, you're quite literally a god. You will win) you look back on an entire pile of loot and death, and know it's only a short ways to go until you can earn that Throne of Bhaal.
Also, the endings are good. Most games just hurl you into a fight you probably didn't quite realize was coming. Not Baldur's Gate 2. No sir, the game telegraphs these intentions from a mile away. You chase the Big Bad Sarevok into his lair. You take the wizard Irenicus to HELL to fight him. You assault the throne of Bhaal itself. There's no 'well what happened?' no Knights of the Old Republic twist, no question that you have in fact, finished the game.
You've probably already played this game. Skip the "Enhanced Edition." Get the regular, on Good Old Games. Apply the trilogy patch as they lay it out.
That's the best way to revel in the greatest game the world has ever seen!
"If I wanted to read a book, I’d kick it up your ass,” said Greg, kicking a book up my ass. I never saw that book again. Often now, as an old man, when I watch the sun set on Greg’s mansion from the tiny window of my room at the butt hospital, I wish I’d read it when I had the chance."Read More