Episode 245: Uncanny Valley of Polygonal Animal Space Pilots

Peter Fenzel and Mark Lee overthink whaling in Assassin’s Creed IV, the symbolism of different animal species in Star Fox, and the rocky launch of SimCity.

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33 Comments on “Episode 245: Uncanny Valley of Polygonal Animal Space Pilots”

  1. fenzel #

    Looked it up after the podcast — the phrase “Dog of the Military” is from the manga and anime Fullmetal Alchemist.

     
    • Chris Morgan #

      I wonder if that’s a sort of strange translation thing. The phrase “dogs of war” is actually fairly common, according to the Wikipedia apparently Shakespeare coined it in Julius Caesar. So, maybe that was originally the Japanese equivalent of “dogs of war” but a poor translation led it to being “dogs of the military.” This is presuming Fullmetal Alchemist is Japanese, of course.

       
      • fenzel #

        It seems possible that’s where it comes from — although I like “dogs of the military” better in this context (and yes, it’s Japanese). “Dogs of war” usually implies a bloodthirstiness and destructiveness — “dogs of the military” implies servitude and lack of dignity or personal agency.

        People use it as an insult for the alchemist branch of the military, because these guys go do whatever the military tells them to do — especially things that nowadays would be consider war crimes or atrocities, like killing large groups of women and children or conducting genocide campaigns or religious persecutions.

         
      • Howard #

        Without looking at a Japanese translation of Julius Caesar I can’t be sure, but the phrase in FMA is “gun no inu”, which is definitely “military” rather than “war” (which would be more like “sensou no inu”). Like fenzel says, it’s meant to imply servitude in this context.

         
  2. The New Normal Orwell #

    I was expecting a versio of “I dreamed a dream” at the 58 minute mark, during the discussion of “the new normal” and Mark Lee said “there was a time when things were not crazy”.
    A song where Fantine, the copyright advocate, is frustrated with the lost business model.
    Do you take requests?

     
  3. Gab #

    What video game animal treatment do I think PETA should go after? All of the animal testing in zombie video games that lead to zombified creatures. Zombie dogs, frogs, monkeys, sharks… The animals are first objectified by being tested upon, but then further because they’re shot/stabbed/ etc. mercilessly by the player(s).

    PETA is an organization I can’t take seriously for myriad reasons. Some of the things they rail against sound like they’d come from Onion articles or parodies like what Fenzel found about Angry Birds, like getting angry at fishermen at Pike’s Place in Seattle for throwing leftover fish- that are already dead- into the water and not disposing of them “more humanely” or whatever; getting mad at President Obama for swatting a fly in an interview. But the more serious things I dislike PETA for are the sexism and mysoginy in a lot of their ad campaigns. “Chicks in cages” in front of McDondald’s, depictions of unshaved female pubic areas as unattractive and the exploitation of women’s bodies in anti-fur ads… It’s kind of sickening. The whaling thing is absolutely preposterous and entirely insensitive to and dismissive of the indiginous cultures that incorporate whaling into their rituals and traditions. The “bloody industry [that] still goes on today in the face of international condemnation” is the basis of survival and cultural focal point for a number of Alaskan tribes. If PETA wants to get angry about whaling, it should do something about the corporations and governments whaling for profit in the real world, not whining about a video game about pirates that uses it as a mechanic for gaining profit. And especially since it’s in the middle of a game with the word “assassin” in the gorram title. Ugh, PETA…

    Gender analysis of Starfox! If you didn’t see Anita Sarkeesian’s first video game… video… she goes into great detail about how the plot for Starfox Adventures was a gender reversal of a game originally about Crystal, the girl Starfox saves in the game that ended up being sold. It was originally called Animal Planet. It’s the first thing Anita talks about in the video, which is part one of her discussion of the “Damsel in Distress” trope. Link: http://youtu.be/X6p5AZp7r_Q

    So you’re trying to figure out which animal is more human than a human?

    Mark, do you have a PS3? If so, get Journey. Or either of the other two games from the same company, Thatgamecompany. The owner said they were planning on expanding to other platforms like XBox and Nintendo, which would be great- so far, the three games they’ve made have been lovely, moving, and nonviolent. (And actually, you can get a special edition of Journey with all three- it’s what I have, yay!)

    I’m glad you brought up the Amanda Palmer TED talk, Fenzel, I was about to. But Lee, Radiohead may not like the “give me what you want” model, but there are other artists that do, because in their personal experience, they average more per album than selling on iTunes or something.

    Also, fun and enjoyable discussion- I’d love to hear/participate in (comments or as a guest) more about video games.

     
    • Lee #

      Thanks Gab! We somewhat accidentally stumbled onto video games as this week’s topic, and I’m glad we did. Hopefully more coming soon.

      I don’t have a PS3, or any other console, for that matter. I have a mind to get a next-gen XBox or the PS4, but I’m afraid that having one would destroy my productivity at home (I spend over 50% of my week working from home).

       
  4. Chris Morgan #

    I never played the original Star Fox, but I did play Star Fox 64, and it was notable to me as it was the first video game I ever beat. This was in part due to the fact that you could knock it out in about an hour or so, if I recall correctly. Definitely in one sitting. As opposed to Super Mario 64, which takes a bit more time, which is the only other video game I ever beat if I recall correctly. Not that I didn’t play a ton of video games as a kid. I was just a big sports and wrestling video game guy. The only other games I ever really tried to beat are all the pre-Mario 64 Mario games and Goldeneye, where I could never figure out how to get out of one level and just gave up. This does not include games I beat using the Game Genie, of course.

    I was always more of a SimTower and SimTown guy personally.

     
    • Lee #

      Anybody remember playing SimEarth? I don’t recall it being nearly as engaging as SimCity, but still entertaining in its own right.

       
      • fenzel #

        I played SimEarth. My favorite part was hitting the barren rock face of the early planet with ice meteorites.

        I also played SimLife, which was sort of like Spore, but really boring.

        SimAnt was a lot of fun – played that in after school “Computer Club” in middle school.

         
  5. Cimmerius #

    I don’t think the “new normal” implies that there was a period of calm, followed by craziness and now to be replaced by a new calm. It implies that before there was a status quo, it may have been craziness but we were used to it. Now there is a new status quo that we will adjust to, even if it is just a new form of craziness.

     
    • Gab #

      Okay, I was under basically the same impression, but thought maybe I was way off the map.

       
  6. Rambler #

    “Good Luck!”

    Re-listening to this episode since there was a lot that intrigued me.

    Since posting online is “Private catharsis transacted on someone elses public stage” I only feel minorly guilty about releasing this flood of free-associations.

    “Stay on Target”

    This isn’t the first time I’ve heard (or taken issue with) the generalization of weaponary as phallic.
    There is a kind of surface cleverness to it, and it’s fitting to talk about the place that phallic weapons have in visual storytelling (particularly in the post-Freudian Western World). But taking that narrative into “War as a masculine phenomenon” territory is an exercise in “false cause” logic.

    Take the earliest known specialized weaponary:
    Sickle sword (Khopesh), Axe, the decidely non-phallic sling
    They all progess forward to new more arodynamic forms as dictated by usage not by symbolism.

    If you want to claim that the Roman army adopted the Gladius Hispaniensis instead of the Kopis (feminine singular) because of patriachal bias… it might go ever well with whatever feminine singular you’re trying to impress, but get’s laughed out of any serious discussion.

    The evolution of weapons is a study in function over form.
    In short: IF the male apendage was shaped like a corkscrew… pistols would STILL be an 8-inch metal rod that discharges from the tip.

    “Stay in formation!!”

    There’s never been much variation in the Blockbuster category. Flavor of the week: Shooter, Fighting, Sports, Racing, RPG.
    But still, I’m actually amazed at the variety of video games. Puzzle games and Sim games have absolutely exploded on the App and Internet markets.
    But the consoles and game stores are pretty much blockbuster titles only.

    Some games outside the dominant path-of-destruction market have become real classics and franchise successes.
    Space Quest/King’s Quest
    The Lost Vikings
    Lemmings (definitely the grandfather of Angry Birds… I wonder if PETA had a stance on Lemmings)
    NotPron ( Gold Standard for unconventional success. I obsessed about this one for weeks, and could easily do so again)

    “Do a barrell roll!”

    [BarrelRoll]
    In the other room my wife is watching “Water for Elephants:
    Waltz brings his “sincere on the edge of dangerous” quality.. but this Pattinson kid is a pretty low-strength dose of brood and simmer, like a Soy Half-Caff Al Pacino.
    “Kate…{Brood Brood Brood} please Kate, ask me about my business.”
    [/BarrelRoll]

    “Hit START to go back to the game, ribbit!!”

    I appreciated Pete’s discussion of “Size of company” vs “Rating of service”.
    It’s interesting to consider the battle.net transition that took place. Battle.net 1.0 was run by Blizzard and functioned for 10 years as a online matchup service.
    Within a year of being acquired by Vivendi it began morphing into a DRM system. They’ve managed to maintain a respectable satisfaction level since then, but it’s been clear that the things people have loved about battle.net are rooted in the Blizzard days and the DRM complaints are rooted in Vivendi.
    “Steam” and “Blizzard” are definitely winning in terms of branding

    “Watch your aim, Fox!!”

    |©X
    |
    |

    I’ve been flying my pirate flag for a while now, and feel that I have made better choices and supported better bands/artists because of it.

    First MP3 download 1996
    First Manifesto “STFU RIAA” 1999 – declared that locked down media and intrusive “corporate research” were the profit model of the future. So by the time iTunes came out in 2001(?) I dismissed it immediately as cripple-ware and when I checked back on it later was appalled at the bloat.
    If I EVER install iTunes it will be for the sole purpose of giving a good rating to OTI, but at this point it’s still a bridge too far.

    “I see in Content Mangement outrageous strength, with an inscrutable malice sinewing it. That inscrutable thing is chiefly what I hate; and be the DRM agent, or be the DRM principal, I will wreak that hate upon him.”

    I Stand by the ideas I have expressed here… but have serious doubts about the editing and grammar.
    I welcome confrontation on the ideas.

     
    • Gab #

      I don’t like confrontation, but I do enjoy discussion. So. In response to your reaction to phallic weaponry:

      Academics specializing in gender studies would say that the aerodynamic efficiency argument is derived from deeply rooted culturally internalized notions of masculine superiority and patriarchal dominance. The argument of “function over form” has been refuted time and again in academic work as, at best, an apology for patriarchy; at worst, as a deliberate bait-and-switch. So in reality (or at least as real as the circle-jerk of the Ivory Tower can be) (trust me, I’m in a grad program right now, it’s a circle-jerk), it doesn’t take a person being a “feminine singular” in order for them to take those arguments seriously. It’s a very, very serious aspect of myriad strands of political, sociological, and historical theory, among others. Sure, a gaggle of heterosexual guys drinking beers together may laugh it off as pure poppycock, but that’s kind of proving the point those scholars are trying to make.

      And beyond that, using academic critiques as a basis of thought for ourselves gives us a platform from which we can question traditions and try to see oppression that usually gets entirely overlooked. It’s helpful to view things with a critical lens, otherwise we won’t see what needs improving, and then progress won’t be made. Complicity is a form of tacit consent; subconscious complicity is therefore subconscious consent, which could then be pushed a bit further and labeled as approval. After all, why change things if we’re comfortable?

      There’s a great quote by Elie Wiesel I’ve seen on Facebook a few times in the past couple days: “Neutrality helps the oppressor, never the oppressed.” Comes to mind. Sitting back preserves the status quo, doesn’t change it.

      So, to bring it back around, in order to facilitate broader societal change, conversations like the one Lee and Fenzel had about the phallic history of weaponry are necessary, because they (can) lead to more in-depth reading and interpretation of norms and institutions we take for granted on an everyday basis.

      ::hops off soap box::

       
      • Ben Adams #

        I am a heterosexual male that enjoys beer, and while I don’t laugh it off as nothing, I admit I share a deep skepticism of a “function follows form” argument re: phallic weaponry. While I definitely see that the culture, iconography and media surrounding the military/weaponry exploits the phallic nature of weaponry, I don’t think that there’s really much of a causal relationship between the design of military weaponry and phallic imagery.

        Two arguments that come to mind

        First – I honestly can’t think of many weapons that AREN’T phallic in nature (Ancient era: discus, shot put, nets and the sling; Modern era: Grenades). So I’m skeptical of the causal link – it seems unlikely to me that there are non-phallic alternatives out there that have been rejected due to some psychological preference for phallic alternatives. Which brings me to

        Second – Warfare is an extremely unforgiving place. Here I’m showing my own bias and assuming that most of the academics that make arguments about phallic weaponry have never pointed a weapon at someone or had one pointed back at them. Soldiers tend to be extremely pragmatic people – if there were non-phallic options, I strongly suspect that soldiers would pretty quickly get over the form and embrace the function.

        Even if individual soldiers are unwilling to make the shift, there’s an evolutionary force at work – societies and armies that DON’T adapt the best weaponry get wiped out and conquered. It would be very surprising to me to discover that there’s some class or design of non-phallic weaponry out there that we would be using if it were’t for this darn patriarchy.

        Put it another way:
        It’s not hard for me to believe that Ridley Scott saw and exploited the phallic nature of an F-14 Tomcat in “Top Gun.”
        It’s fairly hard for me to believe that Grumman designed the F-14 because it was phallic. Mig-29s have a way of focusing the mind.

        That said, I haven’t read the studies you mentioned and would honestly be interested in reading them if they’re available online.

         
        • Gab #

          If you have access to academic journals online, I could point you to them. I could look into some books, too, although that could get pricey. As far as I’ve read myself, it’s mostly theoretical and sort of post-modern critiqueish, and any empirics are probably stupid regressions or pointless lists of the phallic-shaped weaponry around that wouldn’t really do much to prove anything. Especially since you can’t really prove an informal norm or institution as such, using statistical or data-based evidence to find causal mechanisms here is, I’m sorry to say, nigh impossible. But I can help you find some of the theory, if you’d like. :)

          But basically, let me say that with respect to your first point, the prolific nature of the phallic shape (either in the military or in general- such as in architecture, furniture design, etc.) doesn’t mean that somewhere, waaaaaaay back, there wasn’t some decision made that wasn’t at least ever-so-slightly influenced by paternalistic or hegeomnically masculine ideals. Having a lot of a thing doesn’t explain why its absolutely original form was created- it says nothing about what caused the original idea. What inspired that first phallic shape? And while aerodynamics probably did have something to do with it, sure, absolutely- there’s no way to prove OR DISprove that a preference for masculinity didn’t at least somewhat nudge that innovation. I’d never claim the shape of a penis was the only thing involved, but at least from a theoretical standpoint, I can’t entirely exclude the idea that that shape was entirely OUT of the picture- even if it was only there on a subconscious level.

          And with your second point, it sort of lends itself to the first. If someone (or some society) at some point picked a weapon with a phallic shape that proved superior in battle, it follows that others would modify their weapons to match that efficiency. So then that shape becomes more prolific, and all sorts of different weapons take similar shapes. Etc.

          Also, let me say that while war is a specific example, I think the ideas from the feminist/gender studies critiques are good on a more meta-level. So let me sort of jump back to what I hinted at before and give it more detail. Because you know me, I’m a verbose motherf***er.

          Daily life is chock-full of societal and cultural norms and informal institutions that we “do” without giving it a second thought or realizing we’re “doing” in the first place. These can be anything from propriety and politeness, to veering to the right when you’re about to collide with someone in the grocery store (if you’re in the US, at least- although this is an example of cultural differences, as in other countries, one is expected to veer the other wa- right?), to different “roles” we act out. With this comes how we interpret and internalize messages and symbols we see and encounter. So it may seem totally natural, but it is, in fact, socially constructed and then internalized. And so this means we take for granted certain structures and hierarchies within society, be they on a normative scale, or a monetery one, or a geopolitical mapping of sorts. Just because something isn’t blatantly hierarchical or oppressive doesn’t mean it isn’t- if the layers are peeled away enough, it may be revealed to be stifling.

          And let me reiterate, I don’t claim that everyone is running around oppressing others on purpose. I am, however, saying that we (and I absolutely include myself in this) participate daily in structures that somehow, on the global scale, may be oppressive. There are some examples that are far more active and visible because they step outside of the realm of regular activity, such as direct violence against individuals and warfare between factions; others are more passive because they’re embedded in daily activities, such as the fact that I’m creating a rather large carbon footprint right now, what with my heater, lamps, TV, PS3, laptop, and oven all going as I type this.

          Okay, I know I’m rambling, but the point I’m trying to make is, take the weaponry argument and apply it broadly, and you’ve got quiiiite a lot of academic theory in gender and feminist studies summarized. The way society is right now has its roots in masculinity and the subordination of women, is how the argument goes. Bam.

          Sorry, TL;DR.

           
      • Rambler #

        I don’t question the need for change, and I don’t object to radical.
        But if you’ve got a premise you want me to agree with then I insist that it be sustainable.

        Gab’s later comments tease out some things that I can fully back as sustainable. “we participate daily in structures that somehow, on the global scale, may be oppressive.” & “The way society is right now has its roots in masculinity and the subordination of women, is how the argument goes. Bam.”

        But agreeing with societal commentary doesn’t mean I’m willing to accept any parasite idea that tries to hitch a ride on it.

        Here’s what I see as sustainability weaknesses in the “Phallacy of war” arguement:

        * It’s non-evidentiary – even Gab’s well worded response comes down to “our theory is valid because it helps develop our theory” when faced with contradictory academics.

        * It’s a way of thinking that doubles back on itself so much it’s reactionary against its own goals. To see war as inherently phallic or inherently male is victimization language. It’s saying “women are biologically incapable of changing war”.

        Calling a windmill a Giant does nothing to tear down the windmill.

        As usual, enjoying the discussion.

        Ps this next bit is just plain taunting but I couldn’t help myself :-)

        A giggle of “gender students” drinking white wine spritzers can re-imagine herstory all they want. But if you want a platform for change then the foundation better be solid.
        Dismissing the fields of archeology and engineering as guys drinking beer, has the same sort of self defeating backlash. Sorry… I just happen to feel that girls CAN be good at science.

         
        • Rambler #

          hmm… It might just be this browser but it’s hard to tell what that is in reply to.

          So if it’s of any use to anyone… I completely loose at the internet because my second post is a reply to my own first post.. and this post is a reply to my second post.

           
        • Gab #

          I think I’m being misinterpreted, here. See, I’m not saying it was some deliberate, overt attempt by every male back in the day to keep women in check. I’m saying systemically, somewhere along the line, it’s likely that phallic symbolism was involved during the process of selecting tools/weapons, perhaps back even before humans were using language as a form of communication. And that even then, it may not have been an attempt to suppress women- it could have been because of the associations of gender roles back then. Who knows? I sure don’t, and nobody making these arguments in academia is claiming they do, either.

          I wouldn’t classify the idea that weaponry may have patriarchal origins as parasitic. Again, it’s a serious idea in various branches of academic theory.

          Evidence-based critiques of that critique are, themselves, self-reinforcing. Like above with Ben’s comment, the only “evidence” for proof of an idea, norm, or social institution is useless. There really isn’t evidence that when that shape was originally chosen, there was not OR was at least a subconscious desire to promote the male form. Evidence-based critiques of the phallic origins of weaponry are based in the here-and-now and how weaponry, warfare, etc. are conceptualized and internalized today. What I was saying before, I’ll say again, but differently- we have no way of knowing everything going on in the minds of original hunters and warriors, so we can never actually know why phallic-shaped weapons dominated then, nor what non-phallic weapons may have looked like if they had had the chance to evolve as important to humans.

          On that note, then, the arguments dismissing these feminist critiques are also self-serving, too. They come down to, “They’re shaped that way because they’re shaped that way.” Because again, aerodynamics can be applied to our conceptualizations of modern weapons, and of how we interpret ancient ones- but even if they didn’t conceptualize the term “aerodynamics” at the time, we don’t know if how something moves through the air made up the entirety of criteria when shape was being selected. So. The question of WHY they ORIGINATED that way is unanswerable by either side of the argument.

          So it isn’t that I’m calling a windmill a giant. I’m saying the windmill is made of more than just spokes and wood, and that there may have been a worker that died making it, so we should be self-conscious about those things when we make snide remarks about how useless the other materials are, or how bad workers smell, when we’re walking under that windmill.

          Because, like I said above, using thought processes like the feminist critique of military weapons is a good way of recognizing structures in society we take for granted. So it’s not like I’m thinking everything is a penis, nor that there’s thus nothing redeemable about knives, arrows, etc., or that I expect all weaponry to change right the eff now. But that by viewing things with a critical lens, I can hopefully find places where I can actually jump in and make a concrete difference in the world. Wanting to do that last part is why I’m so frustrated with my current position in society. So, then…

          The Taunt: I don’t see what this has to do with the conversation, but I agree in spirit, if not in how serious I take the issue. I think women and girls can be good at science, too, which is why I’m a big proponent of critiquing academic structures and promoting hiring and recruitment opportunities for women in math and science. I don’t dismiss fields, I critique them for their systemic processes and institutional norms that act as informal barriers to entry for women, as well as create holes through which they slip as they progress through the system. Academia isn’t suffering from a glass ceiling, it’s a leaking pipeline. And even that doesn’t get at the problem, because assuming women only trickle out as they go disregards the fact that disproportionate women are in the pool from which the pipe is getting its water from the get-go.

          And, in case you misinterpreted my somewhat snarky remark above, the “gaggle of guys” I was referring to wasn’t meant to represent men in engineering or anthropology- I was thinking of how groups of men that have never considered their positions in society may pat each other on the back and mansplain away what the silly wiminz may come up with; and those gender scholars- a legitimate field of work which deserves better than scare quotes, I might add- that are writing herstory- which is, also, a legitimate branch of alternative history and just as serious as any other alternate history you can think of, such as from an immigrant, indigenous, poor, or queer perspective, to name a few- are critiquing those taken-for-granted structures being reinforced by those men.

           
          • Gab #

            Oops, should have said, “Evidence-based critiques of that critique are, themselves, lacking in evidence that can actually prove what they’re trying to prove.”

             
          • Rambler #

            I like it.
            To be frank nothing in my outlook has changed (just as I wouldn’t expect anything in yours to change).
            But you have improved how I’ll listen to similar perspectives (which will doubtlessly be less well explained) in the future.

            and yeah the “taunt part” was just me messing with you.

             
          • Gab #

            /curtsy

            See what I did there?

             
  7. Matthew Belinkie #

    This was a podcast that made me dearly wish I was on it – really fun and intriguing stuff.

    One aspect of Starfox that intrigued me even as a kid (and continues to intrigue me now) is that they are not actually part of the Cornerian army. Starfox is a band of mercenaries. They work for cold hard cash. Sure, Andross killed Fox’s father, so it’s not JUST business, but these guys are pay for play. At the end of Starfox 64, the general offers them a job with the regular army and they turn him down. They’re basically Blackwater.

     
    • fenzel #

      Which is particularly interesting when you consider Star Wolf, the “evil” Star Fox — especially the “Independence Day”-ish mission in Star Fox 64 where you have the option of fighting Star Wolf while saving the base from being blown up by the giant spaceship.

      It seems more like a “rivalry” situation than an “enemy” situation — but they’re fighting to the death, and the lives of a lot of innocent anthropomorphic animals are put at risk depending on how much or little they care about their personal squabbles.

      Again, the thing that makes Star Wolf “evil” is that he works for Andross. Not much else.

      It’s interesting how much of what is happening around Andross is morally disinterested and only happens to be bad because Andross uses his economic and material infrastructure for nefarious self-serving purposes.

      Although honestly, I don’t even really remember what Andross was doing that was so bad, other than “being an emperor.” This is probably my problem, not the story’s — I’m sure at some point they explain why he is so bad. But it’s interesting that I remember so much about this game years later, but not what Andross was even doing.

       
      • Matthew Belinkie #

        Opening text from General Pepper: “We need your help, Star Fox! Andross has declared war! He’s invaded the Lylat System and is trying to take over Corneria! Our army alone can’t do the job! Hurry Star Fox!”

        I’m going to write fan fiction in which Andross decides to simply outbid General Pepper for Star Fox’s service. Fox wants to refuse because of the whole “You killed my father” thing, but he’s outvoted by the rest of the crew. The Arwings turn around and bomb the hell out of Coneria.

         
        • Ben Adams #

          I think your Blackwater comment is telling – at the end of StarFox64, General Pepper offers them a place in the Cornerian Army and Fox responds “No thanks General, we prefer to do things our own way.”

          That said, the Blackwater analogy also makes a “Andross outbids” theory pretty suspect. While Academi (nee Xe, nee Blackwater) certainly works on a pay-for-play basis, they aren’t completely open to the highest bidder – it’s not like Blackwater is going to switch sides if Al Qaeda suddenly coughs up the cash.

          My sense of Star Fox has always been the same – they are definitely on Corneria’s SIDE, they just a) want to get rich and b) don’t like beuracracy.

          Of course, that skews your incentives to hell so you have all sorts of oversight problems (like taunting StarWolf during the aforementioned base problem).

           
  8. Megan from Lombard #

    I just want to give you guys kudos for (however) briefly talking about Assassin’s Creed 4, not even the gaming podcast I listen to has brought it up and the AC fans have been having a snit fit ever since the game was announced. They’re not looking forwards to the release, even though AC3 has only been out for (not even) a year and yet they say it’s too soon and that it’s going to be horrible.

    Maybe it’s because I’m new to the fanbase, but I’m looking forwards to the game. I was really excited watching the trailer and even made my sister skip back on the DVR to watch a 45 second spot. She watched along with me and said that the game looked it could be amazing. In my opinion if they were able to grab someone who has no knowledge of the series then those who have played the games should be even more excited about its release.

    Or is that too idealistic in thinking and that “haters gonna hate” no matter what?

     
  9. Ben Adams #

    I just listened to the last 20 minutes or so of the podcast – and you discussion of the economic differences between large and small organizations explain perfectly why StarFox would choose NOT to be part of the Cornerian Army. If you’re in an Army, you have to do things like file reports, right performance reviews and pay people pensions. You have a massive administrative tail.

    On the other hand, if you’re a menagerie of antropomorphic animals that play by THEIR OWN RULES, all you need is a Rob64 sidekick and a steady supply of silver rings and bombs.

     
    • fenzel #

      Right — and similarly to EA, Andross _needs_ an economy of scale to justify deploying literally hundreds of thousands of polygonal flying and spacefaring machines because of the inherent waste and inefficiency of coordinating that large a group. Otherwise, he needs to confront the realization that the scale of his operation is not sustainable. Since scale is the one thing Andross is unwilling to give up on, he cannot allow himself to come to the (correct) conclusion that the economy of scale he needs to exist actually doesn’t exist, and that his cost-cuttng has crippled his war effort.

      If Andross scrapped 90% of his forces and instead had the last 10% barrel roll and shoot straight in front of them, he would have conquered corneria before Star Fox could scramble.

       
  10. fenzel #

    UPDATE: The CEO of EA has announced he is stepping down — earnings for the quarter will miss expectations, probably because of the SimCity debacle. The company has installed a member of its board as interim CEO and is looking for new leadership.

    So, eventually, this stuff does matter.