Keyboard Geniuses

Bateman and Shepard

Training Day

Highlights from the week’s comment threads.

By Matt Kodner • September 21, 2012

Keyboard Geniuses is our weekly glance at a few intriguing, witty, or otherwise notable posts from the Gameological discussion threads. Comments have been excerpted and edited here for grammar, length, and/or clarity. You can follow the links to see the full threads.

Shepard Psycho

The final week of our Best Treasure Ever bracket has inspired a beautiful cacophony of jokes, discussions, and inventive insults too numerous to name. Back on day five of voting, the eve of the Space Hamster’s tragic defeat at the hands of the Tanooki Suit, The Misanthrope likened the sterile living space of Mass Effect 3’s hero Shephard to American Psycho’s Patrick Bateman. Emboldened by this newfound connection, Staggering Stew Bum rewrote Bateman’s famous breakdown, set in the Mass Effect universe:

“Anderson, it’s Shepard, Commander Shepard. You’re my commanding officer so I think you should know: I’ve killed a lot of people. Some geth on Eden Prime uh, some Rachni, maybe five or 10 um and the Rachni Queen I met in Noveria. I left her in a test chamber in Peak 15. I killed Saren, my first nemesis, with a Graal Spike Thrower, and some councillor uh Udina last week. I killed Matriarch Benezia with a biotic explosion. I had to, she almost got away and, uh, someone else there I can’t remember—maybe an Asari commando? But she’s dead, too. And The Illusive Man. I killed the Illusive Man with a Carnifex shot in the face; his body is, well, right there in front of us. I don’t want to leave anything out here. I guess I’ve killed maybe 2,000 people, maybe 4,000. I have save games of a lot of it, uh some of my crewmates have seen the save games. I even, um… I ate some medigel, and I tried to cook a little…”

Why Yes, This Is Battletoads

For this week’s edition of Gameological Q&A, none other than Staggering Stew Bum provided our leading question. Amid a sharp discussion of our most shameful gaming blind spots, the developer Rare—famous for the Donkey Kong series—came up. Girard offered this two-step defense for Rare’s early title Battletoads:

[The game’s] infamously torturous gameplay scarred a lot of children in the early ’90s, and those scars are a lot more indelible than generally positive impressions of a bitchin’ fighting game. I think Battletoads’ graphics made a really big impression at the time (at least they did to me). The level of animation and detail in the relatively large sprites made it feel almost “16-bit,” and there were ambitious sequences like a boss fight fought in the first person from the boss’s POV. The game looked so cool that you wanted to keep playing it, even though it was a punishing experience (which deepened the scarring that contributed to the previous reason).

Billy, Jimmy, And Kurty
Double Dragon Neon

The Battletoads toads were actually best buds with the hunks from Double Dragon. While the toads’ most recent reboot was an elaborate hoax, Anthony John Agnello reviewed the new, very real, and very insane Double Dragon Neon. Anthony’s comparisons to Big Trouble In Little China spurred a cacophony of Kurt Russell-related chatter. Stakkalee thought any game could stand a little bit of the Russell voiceover treatment:

All movies can be improved with the inclusion of Kurt Russell. I was hoping to get some sweet K.R. voice-over work in Red Dead [Redemption] but sadly, IMDB says that’s not to be. I mean, the man’s been starring in Westerns since he was 12 years old, and he can wear one hell of a cowboy mustache. Apropos of nothing, but whenever I think of a live-action adaptation of Terry Pratchett’s City Watch series, I’ve always thought Kurt Russell would be perfect as Sam Vimes.

Pearl Vision

On day six of the treasure bracket, Spacemonkey Mafia channeled his inner Mitt Romney and spoke out against the large pocket of the Jedi population taking the Ultima Pearl for granted:

“There are 47 percent of the people who will vote for the Ultima Pearl no matter what. All right, there are 47 percent who are with it, who are dependent upon the damage bonus, who believe that they are victims of Wampa attacks, who believe the Pearl has a responsibility to give them crit bonuses, who believe that they are entitled to Medpacs, to armor upgrades, to Smuggling Vessels, to you-name-it.”

The pearl was knocked out of competition shortly thereafter.

Getting On The Train

If you’re a regular reader of this site, you know of one major release this week, and one release only: Train Simulator 2013. Steve Heisler’s writeup embedded an 11-minute trailer for the game that could have been ignored. In fact, it would have been ignored by most. And yet, answering the calls of no one, caspiancomic stepped up and liveblogged the entire nightmarish excursion. Here are a few highlights:

0:04 — We meet a chap called Simon, who introduces himself as the marketing manager for “”, confusingly enough, considering the game is called Train Simulator

3:35 — Simon is changing the time of day, the weather, and the season! He is using this power to make his train journey prettier. Simon, you have to use these powers only for good!

6:40 — Simon demonstrates the “inside the cars” camera angle, which demonstrates that he is shuttling zero passengers. Is this… is this a Ghost Train Simulator?

11:43 — Train Simulator 2013 comes out September 20th! Choo choo!

On that note, thanks for reading and commenting! We’ll see you all next week.

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354 Responses to “Training Day”

  1. stakkalee says:

    Damn fine week, everyone, damn fine.  The article with the most comments this week was the Q&A on our secret shames, with 210 comments.  We have 2 comments this week for the most-liked non-KG comment – one from @JohnTeti:disqus with 22 likes, taking credit for the love that’s properly due to Arthur M. Gameological, and @Fluka:disqus, with 18 likes on her comment of a dream all hamster-lovers share.  To Boo!  Cut down in his prime!

    I’m not sure, but this might be the first week with no new inductees to the Plaid Jacket Brigade.  I got my third pin (Yay Kurt Russell!) @Staggering_Stew_Bum:disqus got a fourth, @Spacemonkey_Mafia:disqus got a tenth pin (and his comment had 19 likes), @caspiancomic:disqus nets his twelfth, and @paraclete_pizza:disqus gets his thirteenth!  So our leaderboard now has Girard in first, Caspiancomic in second, and SM moves into a tie for third with @Effigy_Power:disqus.  A dangerous position to find yourself in my astro-simian friend.  Don’t drop your guard, not even for a second.

    Lastly, let me leave you with this – for everyone who ever dreamed of living the life of a gonzo journalist, an artist is developing the Hunter S. Thompson Board Game.  Finally, a chance to pretend you’re the kind of person who could down horse tranquilizers by the handful!  Enjoy your gaming everyone, and remember to keep it scintillating!

    • Girard says:

       I’m glad my selected comment was so digressive that it forced Kodner to have to dig up some Battletoads clipart rather than run the customary image from the story than prompted the comment.

    • Effigy_Power says:

      -waves a hand-
      You shall all perish, blablabla, pit of doom, yaddayadda, demonic buttplugs and so on… I am tired of that shtick now…
      From now on I am going to be nice…

      …you bastards.

      -stops writing, makes more “art”-

      • Spacemonkey Mafia says:

        I really dig the henchman illustration.  Especially good job on the tengu feet. 

        • Effigy_Power says:

          Ah, that. That’s actually not connected to the article, but Lilly Shinywhite, the character that I am throwing into the ring for the stuff Mooy and I are working on. Thanks tho.

    • caspiancomic says:

       I feel like this was a particularly terrific week for comments. I think the tournament brought out everybody’s inner raconteur, and it was nice to see a community’s division expressed in gloriously hyperbolic rhetoric and achingly personal anecdotes, rather than the traditional threats of physical violence and accusations of homosexuality. I’m pretty burnt out on brackets for the moment (although I’d love to see an article summarizing the tournament and reflecting on what it means that the Wabbajack was the winner- assuming the Luck Bobblehead doesn’t pull ahead in history’s greatest upset), but in the future it’d be great to see another tournament like this. I know GameFAQs kind of has the market cornered on popularity contests, but who does John Q. Everygameologist consider to be the best video game antagonist?

    • Fluka says:

      *Raises a glass of fine Krogan ale.*

      To Boo!  You shall be avenged!

      *Drinks; passes out; starts the weekend!*

  2. Cloks says:

    Me aint’ent never gonna be an genius.

    • Girard says:

       Is your avatar a dog? You might just be scaring Soupy away.

      • Spacemonkey Mafia says:

        That would in fact, be ‘Jogurt’.  A perpetually first-level anthropomorphic hamster from Shining Force.
           Possibly the fantasy-rooted distant ancestor of the beloved, out-voted Space Hamster.

        • PaganPoet says:

          Wow, the fact that you beat me to this comment by 10 minutes…and much more articulately put.

          No wonder you have 10 pins and I only have 1.

        • Spacemonkey Mafia says:

             Truth be told, it’s because Soupy and I are… I won’t go as far as to say ‘in love’, but we have something special.
             Suffice it to say, it has side benefits.

      • PaganPoet says:

        It almost looks like…a hamster…in a helmet. Space hamster’s medeival ancestor???

  3. Staggering Stew Bum says:

    I’m very disappointed that Comment Cat didn’t pick Swadian Knight for their hamster story. It was so sad and beautiful.

  4. Cornell_University says:

    I may have already stumped for it, but if you’re feeling particularly masochistic this weekend, impending death of summer and all, go take a gander at the pilot episode of the Battletoads cartoon available on youtube.  Despite it being 2 decades old and remaining completely static, I am convinced it somehow gets worse every time I view it.  Yet I keep coming back.  Secret success?  No.  Fucking no.


  5. Aurora Boreanaz says:

    Okay, at the suggestion of Mr. Glitch, I’ve posted my Guild Wars 2 thoughts on my own blog.

    (I’m learning HTML and CSS now via Codecademy, but still having a hard time navigating the WordPress menus to actually CHANGE formats.  I’ll get it eventually.)

    • Girard says:

       Are you using on your own webspace, or using a template on The former affords more tinkering with code, whereas the latter is less open but maybe more user-friendly.

      • Aurora Boreanaz says:

        The former.  Site is Dreamhost, with WordPress and Comicpress templates installed.

        • Girard says:

           It’s been a while since I worked with it, but I remember the WordPress Codex being really helpful. If you go under “Appearance” and “Editor,” it will bring up all the under-the-hood css and html, but the way things are split up between files, and the special WordPress code for blog-specific stuff like comments or whatever, can be pretty unintuitive.

          I’m pretty sure I read through the codex’s guide on theme development, which broke down what all of the different files in the WordPress theme are, and in which ones you can edit which things.

  6. Mr. Glitch says:

    Hi everybody, Mr. Glitch here! As we witness the Wabbajack’s meteoric rise to the rank of Greatest Video Game Treasure Ever, I thought it would be fun to take a look back at a classic video game competition with real treasure as the prize. Read all about Atari’s epic and ill-fated Swordquest competition at

    • caspiancomic says:

       Wheee! I’d heard this story before, but it’s such an off-the-wall tale of insanity, hubris, and marketing that it’s always fun to hear again. A company making $150 000 worth of solid gold trinkets to sell a series of video games would be unthinkable today, and I think it’s a great example of a primordial industry finding its feet and experimenting with methods of promotion that would never fly once the industry found its feet and settled into a less turbulent period.

      I really love those “old west” style stories that always seem to exist in certain cultures: how 1970’s Hollywood was a lawless asylum being run by its inmates, or how the excesses of 1980’s Enron and their ilk made de facto sultans out of their every employee. You always get these sorts of stories when an industry destined to be enormous is in its earliest stages of success, in its corporate puberty of sorts. Once a company makes its first million all of a sudden CEOs start drinking out of skulls and eating off of Hitler’s dinnerware and whatever. And of course, the tale isn’t complete until the company nosedives and everyone gets their comeuppance. That golden sword is probably sitting in some repo man’s trophy case right now.

      • Mr. Glitch says:

        Well put. Corporate puberty is a great way to describe Atari in the 80s, what with some of the crazy shit it came up with back then. Tragically, it didn’t survive its corporate puberty. Instead, it decided to get completely trashed on Prom Night and ended up wrapping its dad’s Charger around a lamp post. Metaphorically speaking, of course.

      • Aurora Boreanaz says:

        Last time I was in Las Vegas, I checked out the Mob Experience at the Tropicana.  It was fascinating!  When the Mafia owned Vegas, it was actually very crime-free for tourists, since the Mafia didn’t want a bad reputation.  Then one particular guy broke the rules (can’t remember which one) and started shaking up his own customers, eventually resulting in the corporations taking over the city.

        Also, Meyer Lansky, one of the most powerful men in Vegas and the Jewish Mafia, was just under five feet tall.

  7. George_Liquor says:

    Battletoads is a vicious merciless bitch-goddess! I killed my Gameboy and damn near ruined a friendship over that wretched game. Since someone at Rare thought it would be a good idea to have the two players be able to  hurt each other in the NES version, my friend & I would get so worked up over accidentally killing each other that one of us would inevitably storm out and not talk to the other for at least a week. Not learning my lesson, I played the Gameboy version feverishly, but could never outrun the giant killer meatball. The last time I tried, I got so tantalizingly close that, when I lost, I basically face-palmed my Gameboy. Evidently my skull’s thicker than the Gameboy’s screen because I ended up shattering it and abruptly ending my Gameboy-playing days.