TSM Episode 282: SiliconNooB’s Reading Rainbow

Pictured: Lusipurr (Left) and SiliconNooB (Right).
The Walrus and the Carpenter

Download: Produced 2014.07.27

When Lusipurr begins an audit of the books, he discovers a terrible error: Imitanis has been stealing the Literature Corner for months! After several redactions, corrections, and updates, a reappropriation ensures that SiliconNooB gets his just desserts.


  1. I still say this should have been called Off-the-Rails-cast. Or Tangent-cast.

    Also, you’ve got the names the wrong way around in that alt text for the picture.

  2. I hate to say this, but I agree with Lusi. Super Paper Mario is the only good paper Mario game. Also it is one of the best Wii games and one of the best Nintendo games of the 2000s.

  3. @Mel: No I didn’t. Note my top hat and cane.

    @Kisaki: Assuredly!

  4. @Lusi, you don’t care for The Thousand Year Door? I’ve heard almost only good things about that.

  5. I’ll have to replay Super Paper Mario because I don’t trust my opinion from when I first played it and I do not take Lusipurr’s praise lightly. But I will say that as I replay Thousand Year Door that it is – at the least – a very good game. There is a lot of ahead-of-its-time design in that little gem. Far from perfect, but absolutely under-appreciated. Replaying it has enriched the way I will approach thinking about RPG design.

  6. @Ethos: Super Paper Mario (SPaM) is a fantastic game, and the only game in the Paper Mario series which has any appeal to me–largely because I can treat it as an old-school Mario platformer and hence not worry about the fact that the battle system and story have the depth of a puddle.

    The other games have a nice aesthetic, but as RPGs they suffer heavily for being simplistic and shallow. There’s no character development that isn’t purely two-dimensional (how appropriate), the tired plots are wafer-thin, and the systems are absolutely bog-standard beginner rpg stuff. Having played through every game in the series (excepting the seriously sub-par Sticker Star), I cannot help but think that the affection people have for these games is misplaced affection for the series from which they were derived.

    And that, itself, makes no sense for me. We don’t see people fawning all over Mystic Quest, although in one or two ways that little bowl of gruel is more accomplished than the porridgey Paper Mario franchise (albeit without the writing, at which the Paper Mario series has always excelled).

    For my part, Paper Mario is an RPG that is the definitive embodiment of style over substance.

  7. @Lusipurr – I understand that you feel that way and I can see how the simplicity of the systems that you accurately describe would cause you too much frustration to notice what else was going on in the game, and I mean that genuinely. But this is because you are exceptionally bright and because you have been playing games your entire life and in particular RPGs and so you know systems exhaustively well. Thousand Year Door does not have enough meat as an RPG to satisfy what you crave, and on that I do not doubt your sincerity in your assessment for an instant nor the weight your experience with games and with the genre carries. I did not gloss over the fact that you have completed the game. I also sincerely understand why you should think my respect for the game might be nostalgia or misplaced affection. I know my track record.

    However, while it is a RPG in its baseform, that is also what makes it such an excellent study. The story is simple and the characters are simple, it’s true, but these elements are aware of themselves in relation to the simplicity of the systems. This is done with the same sort of intelligence that goes into making a really good kid’s book. People who write the best books for kids don’t dumb things down, make things simple, or just wrap things up in a sentimental lesson, they understand how a child learns. Games are longer and more complex than books and are certainly less mature as an art form, so Thousand Year Door is far from being the Lewis Carroll or Dr. Seuss of gaming, but it is made with the same spirit. Discovering the way a beautiful children’s game teaches the thrill of playing RPGs is satisfying in the same way it is to reread Lewis Carroll. He wasn’t just talking to kids, but he was talking to the adults they would become. I am in love with the way Thousand Year Door accomplishes this feeling, but I do believe that to recognize it requires the unfamiliar mindset of taking a child’s game seriously as a game, despite its simplicity. We haven’t really had to do that all that much yet.

    But just because I enjoy well-made children’s games for different reasons now that I return to them as an adult does not mean in the least that all adults are meant to do this, so I understand entirely your distaste for the series, but I did want to refute you on the points I feel there is ground to refute you on. But when it comes down to it, it takes a significantly longer time to play Thousand Year Door than it does to read On Beyond Zebra and On Beyond Zebra is better.

  8. @Ethos: I feel that there are better ways to accomplish the same goal without producing a shallow RPG experience in the doing. If what you are suggesting is truly the goal of the developers (although I’m not at all convinced that it is), it would behove them to ask themselves, “Is an RPG–or even this RPG system–truly the best way of accomplishing our goal?” I cannot think that a rational answer would then be, “Yes.”

    If the goal is more than ‘make an RPG’, then the question of ‘is an RPG the best way to achieve this goal’ needs to be asked. We might postulate that this yielded Super Paper Mario, and the result is a much more solid gameplay experience without compromising on the Paper Mario series’ typical writing, story delivery, world building, et cetera.

  9. @Lusipurr – I need to replay Super Paper Mario to continue this conversation, but I remain firm that there is great instruction in the way Thousand Year Door was constructed.

  10. Well, of course. Even failures are instructional; indeed, they are often more instructional than successes.

  11. That’s true! But I mean in the sense that TYD is pure RPG DNA. Well, not pure, but one of the best examples of such a thing we have today. We shall continue this discussion after I find a way to replay Super Paper Mario.

  12. Info Blast grabs a calculator

    This week’s panel
    Imitanis Big Spenda’
    Lusipurr can’t add

    Cumulative total record holder: Imitanis, Silicon Noob BrettsuoImitanis
    Single Donation record holder: Brettsuo Imitanis
    Damnit Lusi! Get your act together!

    Donators eligible for drawing (12):
    [I’m going to update your list with the information from our Spreadsheet. As such, it will be in the form of Christian name followed by initial of surname, in the order of donation. -Lusi]
    Greg H.
    John V.
    Matthew D.
    John M.
    Brett W.
    Aram Z.
    Peter V.
    Billy B.
    Les E.
    Martin B.
    Jeremy V.
    Simon H.

    Feature: Select-A-Misery
    Everyone Vote! Last Round!

    Lunar Dragon Song
    This is probably the worst RPG I’ve ever played, and I use the word played loosely. The combat system doesn’t even let you make choices, running drains your HP, you have to choose between fighting for experience or for items, the later of which you require to advance the plot which, in the the first several hours is entirely fetch quests. In retrospect we should have voted this for the select-a-misery. I refuse to even link to reviews of this as I have failed to find even one that comes close to adequately portraying how terrible this game really is. $3 is far too much to pay for this game.

    Cricket Stumping
    This is a little helpful, but does little to help my understanding of the game.

    Google buys Twitch
    We’re moving back towards the huge monopoly companies that we had in the early 20th century. They will just be tech gurus and not steel magnates this time.

    Crytek not going out of business?
    Well, they’re transitioning from in-business to out-of-business, so that’s a pretty accurate descriptor.

    XBone available in China
    It was bound to happen sooner or later. It’s just annoying that it’s the silly XBone. I guess the Chinese gov’t might be on board to use the kinect.

    The Last of Us Movie
    So, the story is a direct adaptation. Who is this movie for? People who played the game will be bored, those who want to play it (myself included) would rather play the story than watch it, and people who don’t even know about the game will probably not really care about the property without some seriously big marketing bucks.

    Woahhhh The halfway point!

    GoG adds Linux support
    Linux is great for (non-.NET) development and has a cute penguin mascot, otherwise it’s not especially noteworthy.

    Sony settles on hack
    I’d totally forgotten that this was even a thing.

    Hooker dumps in New York’s Love Canal
    I couldn’t pass up that link text setup. I’m not even sorry.

    Square Enix CTO departs
    I’m not sure anything SE does really interests me any more.

    Post E3 Intent to buy Poll shows Wii U highest rise
    From 1% interest to 5% interest is a 500% increase for example. No wonder this is the result.

    Silicon Noob/Imitanis Literature Corner
    Funny stuff this week!

    Imitanis Gaming Moment
    This week I played Dungeon Petz. It is a game about managing a pet shop that sells bizzare, cute, silly or monstrous “Petz” to prospective buyers who all want something different. Some buyers want diseased creatures, some want hungry creatures or playful creatures and some want creatures that poop a lot. Your main task is to manage your family of Imps to go shopping for cages, petz, food, playthings and a variety of other things and trying to keep your menagerie happy for exhibitions and upcoming buyers. It’s pretty fun trying to bid on actions and not be left with starving animals because you went for a cage and the other players took all of the food. Recommended!
    P.S. The rule book is also hilarious.


    Event Calendar

  13. Yeah, The Last of Us as a movie doesn’t make a lot of sense to me. One of the things that was so great about that game is that it was an important turning point in taking all the things games stole from movies over the last few generations but learning how to make them intuitively part of gaming. Linear gaming, yes, but still a game being a game. Even if The Last of Us ends up being good as a movie, I’ll still be confused by its existence.

  14. @Ethos: Allow me to dispel your confusion about The Last of Us: The Movie’s existence:


  15. @Lusi: That that doesn’t explain why they don’t take a different spin on the story or setting. They will make less money for each person who already played the game and isn’t interested in seeing it a second time, not to mention people who will dismiss it altogether for being a video game adaptation.

  16. @DiceAdmiral: It is absurd to argue that they must change the story or setting in order to get people who have played the game. They are counting upon the reverse, and historically that tends to be the case. It’s the people who have played the game and who already know the story who are going to go see the movie, whether the story or setting is different or not.

    People who will dismiss it for being a video game adaptation will not go see it whether it has a different story or not, and people who have not played the game will not be affected by whether it has a different story or not.

    So why should they bother doing anything different? That’s just more expensive and it risks upsetting the core of people who they *know* will attend: the people who played the game and just want to see the game on the screen.


  17. @DiceAdmiral:

    I’ve updated your eligible donators list to match our records.

    Re. Lunar Dragon Song: How could it not be worth even $3? I’ll try to play it before the podcast and see what I think.

    Re. Cricket Stuff: We’ll get there by degrees. OR, you could click the link at the bottom of the page where it says, “Cricket Explained”. You can learn everything you need to know in about five to ten minutes, that way.

    Re. Monopolies, 21st Century Style: Let’s hope we get a 21st Century Theodore Roosevelt to go after them.

    Re. SiliconNooB’s Literary BLOW-OUT: Glad you enjoyed it!

    I refuse to comment on any game which replaces the plural S with a Z, and you should be ashamed for purchasing and playing such a monstrosity.

  18. @Lusi: While I don’t 100% agree I can mostly concede your point. I’m having trouble outlining my arguments without basically creating something that people complain about video game movies for. Solution: Gamers will not be happy with adaptations, don’t try to please them at all and just make entertaining films.

    Thanks for the update on the donation list. I’ll try and keep my list up to date as you read new donations.

    I’m bothered by “bekuz pour litarazy uz kewl” most times too, but I won’t let it keep me away from playing quality games. Especially when they’re designed by Vlaada Chvátil. He makes amazing games.

  19. @Lusi: I guess if you can get some entertainment for the podcast from it then maybe $3 is a worthwhile price. Even so, it’s a very terrible game.

  20. why is your forever sandwich steaming and has corn randomly in it Lusi?

  21. Hey, at least he (presumably) capitalized your name and used ending punctuation.

  22. @DiceAdmiral

    “Lusi pancake the very very I giraffe an ultimate the fungible or not a perplexity discobolus errant Final Fantasy VII nor this sesame cuisinart, boldly thunder.”

    I can do that too. It’s still not worth anything.

  23. I was very much there as well for your FF3 night till the end Lusi. Was doing inventory at work at something like 2am in the morning streaming on my phone with headphones.

    Echidna was rough, as was the Dark Cloud, more so, obviously. A small part of me was being a douche in my head going “remember when I said the Final Dungeon sucked worse than anything FF1 had to offer” BUT, it got out of hand with the bad luck and bullshit. Too out of hand. I was damn pleased when Echidna was downed, kudos.

    If I don’t catch the next FFIII stream live (maybe I already missed it), I will watch the replay on Twitch.

  24. I hate that fucker. It’s awful as a bonus boss on the PSP version of FF1, too.

    The final dungeon in FF3 is the worst in any FF game that I can think of, even including Ultimecia’s Realm in FF8. I always forget how there are no towns, no recovery stations, and no way to exit or return.

  25. I do not think I’ve ever heard you swear as much as you did during that stream in the history of listening to anything you’re a member of, aka since beginning of rpgcast.

    You should let loose more often like that ;)

  26. I do not like it when games are set up so that the principle “THE HOUSE ALWAYS WINS” is enacted upon the players.

    Hateful fucking boss.

  27. My early experiences with this game echoes very much what happened during the stream. What I ended up doing was increasing the FPS, which increases speed not actual fps in Nesticle (for several playthroughs over the years) and farming Bahumut’s cave. Easy monsters, mass experience and skill levels. Within one-two hours, you have two ninjas and two sages with enough skill points to be considered immortal to The Cloud of Darkness. Short cut, kill off the two ninjas and have the two sages just summon or cast meteo(r) in that dungeon to gain even more exp since it’s a two person party.

    But you’re right, the game forces you to leave the final dungeon after getting Ninja/Sage. You could spend eons grinding in that dungeon but at the cost of elixirs and other things most people probably don’t have.

    I wish there was a diorama video of Japanese players in 1990 playing this for the first time.

  28. I wish there was a diorama video of Japanese players in 1990 playing this for the first time.

    I would pay REAL money to see that.

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