Keyboard Geniuses

Inebriated Olympics

Highlights from the week’s comment threads.

By Matt Kodner • October 11, 2013

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.

Hurts So Good
Metroid Prime 2

For all you Metroid fans who were burned by Metroid Prime 2: Echoes, I direct to Peter Malamud Smith’s op-ed defense of the game’s unfriendly slogs. Peter argued that the rougher edges of the widely unloved sequel lead to a more memorable game. Naked Snake agreed and called for more games that don’t put fun first:

The games industry is built around creating “fun” games, when games have so much more to offer. I’m glad to see more games coming out these days that are designed to primarily elicit a certain emotion, and often a negative one at that. For instance Auti-sim, which is design to simulate autism, or Darfur Is Dying, which puts you in the situation of a Darfuri peasant trying to find water while avoiding Janjaweed rebels.

For myself, I always thought it would be cool if a video game used alcoholism in the main character as a central premise. Maybe in an adventure-style game or something. As the player, you’re used to being able to boss the character around. And things would be going well—you’d be making progress toward objectives. But then occasionally, you would slightly lose control of the character, and they would have a drink. The character starts to disobey you. One thing would lead to another, and you’d regain control of the character after a blackout with everything worse off than how it started. Basically, it’s extremely frustrating to lose control of the character when you are playing a video game, and this game would give you a chance to connect that frustration to other situations of losing control.

Speaking of boozing and schmoozing in games, Gryffle told us about a notable virtual saloon:

The best “drunk sim” I’ve ever experienced in a game was in Red Dead Redemption. I don’t know about you, but whenever there’s the option to drink booze in a game, I immediately want to test the limits and find out just how much my character can put away. So I saunter into a saloon in Thieves’ Landing and order several gins. I’m shotgunning glass after glass of the stuff, expecting, yeah, one of those blurry filters to come up on screen or whatever, but no. What happens is much better. I stop buying drinks, and Marston sways backwards. I push on the left stick to get going, and spend the next 10 minutes fighting the controls as he stumbles around and falls on his face. I’m in hysterics because I’m just trying to get him to walk back to his room so he can sleep it off, but he can’t even cross the street without ending up face down in the mud. I’ve never seen a game make you so completely, paralytically shit-faced.

Pika Feva’
Pokemon X

Given the upcoming release of a new Pokémon game, it makes sense that the internet seems to be struck with Pikachu Fever, a terrible disease that makes nostalgia somehow even more insufferable. It also makes sense that Drew Toal would cover it for Out This Week, where he ruminated on the game’s oddly brutal concept, but Emperor Norton I liked the cartoon adaptation’s holistic themes more than the dogfighting bits:

I watched a lot of the early Pokémon series, and was totally taken in by its incredibly optimistic and free-spirited ethos. Just think about it—this is a world where children are not only allowed but encouraged to spend several years of their life wandering around in the wilderness. Said children roam the countryside, meet nice people everywhere, and commune with THE NATURE on a daily basis. Every animal they meet is a potential friend and companion. It’s such a charming idea.

Endless Collider
Boson X

Your working boy wrote up an iOS game by the name of Boson X, an endless runner set inside a particle super collider. Electric Dragon thought the scientific themes could have been stretched a bit further:

It might have been interesting to introduce relativistic effects. The faster you run, the shorter the platforms are, but the slower they move. Also, the platforms should appear distorted in other ways. (Apologies for poor quality.)

And why stop there? Let’s add quantum effects in. So you have to hit a particle, but there’s only a certain probability of interacting with it, and that probability (and the score you get from it) fluctuates with the speed/energy/rapidity you’re traveling at. Maintain your speed at the Higgs energy, and there’s a possibility of a jackpot.

Perhaps you start off in a low energy accelerator, then you can increase its energy, use protons instead of electrons, build new accelerators, upgrade detectors that increase the points scored by each collision, that kind of thing.

P.S. Congratulations to Profs. Higgs and Englert.

Yeah, science!

Board Game Theory
Battlestar Galactica board game art

This week saw the debut of Gameological Unplugged, a new feature where Samantha Nelson dives into the world of board games. For the inaugural column, Samantha surveyed the landscape of current cooperative games, and she was ambivalent about the traitor dynamic in the Battlestar Galactica board game and others. Fyodor Douchetoevsky on the other hand had no problem with it:

The thing that makes Battlestar Galactica fun is the tension before cylons are revealed. The entire game is balanced around that. Optimal cylon play generally looks like subpar human play. Subtle attempts to sabotage their chances while planting seeds of doubt about everyone else. I have only played the game twice so far, but both times are still burned into my brain because of the experiences they created for me and my friends. Lying straight to your buddy’s face is just so fascinating to me. I can see how this type of game wouldn’t work for someone who takes things personally but it’s terribly fun when you have a group that just runs with it.

Unlike video games, board games can be played using cardboard trinkets and other holdovers of past generations. But they can lead to some pretty great stories, like the one Cloks brought us:

This story involves the game Bang!, which, if you haven’t played/heard of it before, is a re-skinning of a game like Mafia or Werewolf, where players are assigned roles secretly and perform actions according to those roles. There are typically two factions. In Bang!, those are the upholders of Frontier law (the Sheriff and their deputies) and the Outlaws, lowdown dirty cheats trying to kill the Sheriff. There is however a third, wildcard faction: The Renegade. The renegade’s goal is to kill everybody at the table (in the game as well) and be the last player alive. This is typically one of the most difficult roles to play.

Now, your old friend Cloksy here was playing Bang! with his regular group for the first time, although a few had played similar games before. Because you’re supposed to keep your character secret, he snuck a quick peek at his card before playing his role …that of the renegade. Tweren’t mighty long before one of the black sheep of the game, a no-good Outlaw, made themselves clear. Sharpshootin’ Cloks took aim and made sure they died in a blaze of gory glory to ingratiate himself with the side of the good and true. This happened a few more times until there were only a few people left alive: The Sheriff, two mysterious players and Traitorous Cloks.

I was a venomous snake in the rough, but at this point I wasn’t too good at hiding it. Shots started coming in my general direction from the two remaining deputies (by Mathematical Cloks’ simple calculation) and even the Sheriff himself. Now, one of the deputies in particular had an itchy trigger finger and took a shot at your pal Cloks every time she could. The other was more cautious, knowing that Duplicitous Cloks could hurl her bullets right back at her…or so it seemed. Now, even your good chum Cloks ain’t rightwise immortal, and he eventually fell to the inspired players.

“Consarn it!,” he said, flipping over his card, “I was el renegado all along!” Only, the card had other words to say. Apparently Forgetful Cloks was a deputy all along! This explained why one of the deputies had been cautious and the other had been reckless—there was a true blue traitor in their midst the whole time. She made quick work of the remaining law men, my dear brothers in arms, and rode into the sunset, tossing a single coin onto Blundering Cloks’ chest to thank him for all his unintentional help.

The moral of this story is no moral! Pay attention in board games, and one day, you too will be able to ramble like Storytellin’ Cloks.

To Be Or Scribblenaut To Be
Scribblenauts Unlimited

For a special feature, Ryan Smith did the Lord’s work and pitted a bunch of make-believe monsters against each other in Scribblenauts Unlimited to find out who would win. While the game has a sizable vocabulary of people, objects, and beings that you can summon, it can get a little stale (at least if you’re not using it to write a funny article). Caspiancomic suggested that games could do a better job challenging their players:

I was really hyped for Scribblenauts when it first came out, but after playing it for an hour or so, I learned that basically every level could be solved with a jetpack and a length of rope, and that any “creativity” would be for its own sake, not for the purpose of solving an otherwise insurmountable problem. It’s really the same problem I have with [“sandbox” games]: When told I can do whatever I want, suddenly I don’t want to do anything. There’s no logical reason to choose one course of action over another once you’ve already found the most efficient solution—choosing a more complicated option just because you could think it up is basically just showing off.

See, I have a couple of theories about creativity in games. One is that creativity is best promoted, at least in games, not by telling the player that anything is possible, but by telling them that nothing is possible. By presenting a challenge as highly difficult or impossible, it forces the player to come up with all sorts of potential solutions, then test them for viability. Think about the optional boss fights in Final Fantasy VII—one is on a strict countdown and punishes you for every piece of Materia you have equipped, and the other can permanently eject your party members from the fight and prevent the remainders from running away. There’s a reason these guys are optional super-bosses—these are challenges you’ve never had to overcome before. But they also force you to get creative in order to succeed.

Another idea? Fostering creativity is about limiting a player’s toolset, not expanding it. In Portal you have one tool, sometimes two, but you’re expected to solve multiple puzzles of increasing complexity and difficulty. How creative would you have had to get if it were considered a perfectly viable solution for Chell to summon a jetpack out of thin air and fly directly to the exit?

On the other end of spectrum, Needlehacksaw thought of a significantly easier way of punching the game up:

Scribblenauts does make for a surprisingly robust drinking game, though, especially on the iPad. Make sure everybody is already wasted a good bit, then fire it up, preferably on the very first level, where all you have to do is reach the Starite on top of the tree.

Now, everybody has to take turns and try to come up with the most absurd solution to the level they can think of, only rule: It has to work. (For example, I once won a round by putting a female badger on one side of the tree, and a lovestruck, burning, male badger on the other one. Worked like a charm.) Then, all of you decide whose solution was the least imaginative one, and that person has to drink.

It’s actually one of the rare drinking games where getting more drunk does not necessarily make you play worse, come to think of it. (Except for possible spelling troubles.)

Hooray for alcohol! Well, folks, that’s it! Thanks everybody for reading and commenting, and we’ll see you next week.

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96 Responses to “Inebriated Olympics”

  1. Spacemonkey Mafia says:

    Is this the end of… Weekend Prompt?!   
       Probably! If so, I’d like to thank all of you for indulging me in this goofy little diversion. And for Gameological for being the kind of place where I can create a sub-forum leaching off of their hard work like a remora on a shark.

       It used to be Wulf because in my youth, I mistakenly thought it sounded cool.

       Now it’s usually Randal because as an adult, I mistakenly think it sounds cool.

       What do you name your video game protagonists?

    • signsofrain says:

      I don’t usually change the names of the main characters in an RPG until I’ve beaten the game, but on 2nd playthrough and beyond it’s open season.

      I tend to name characters things that are crude jokes about the character:

      Crono: Blank
      Marle: Bitch
      Lucca: Besty
      Ayla: Sexy
      Frog: Glen
      Robo: R2D2
      Magus: Emo

      Cloud: Emo
      Tifa: Titsa
      Aeris: DeadMeat
      Cid: Cig
      Barrett: Token
      Red XIII: LionO
      Yuffie: Thief
      Vincent: Goth
      Cait Sith: DumbToy

      • Aurora Boreanaz says:

        Also works: TiFFFa

      • PaganPoet says:

        “Carlos” for males, “Charlotte” for females. Not terribly creative, I admit (my name is Carlos), but it works for me.

        I used to have a thing about Chrono Trigger, I had to name all of the characters using their real names. So…


        Merle had to be “Nadia”
        Frog had to be “Glenn”
        Robo had to be “Promo”
        Magus had to be “Janus”

        ~END SPOILERS~

        I also had to retype all the Final Fantasy VI names in, so that their names wouldn’t come up in ALL CAPS in dialogue.

      • Chalkdust says:

         Similar to that, Wild Arms 4 (probably others in the series? 4 is relevant to this though) has a gimmick where you can rename all your spells.  So, because I am twelve, I changed all the healer’s spell names to horrible sex acts.

        • PaganPoet says:

          I hesitate to ask what your “favorite thing” is in Earthbound.

          “Ness casts PSI Blowjobs Ω!”

        • Citric says:

          If someone says that they never made Ness eat a hot bowl of cocks they’re liars.

        • TaumpyTearrs says:

          My roommate was playing Wild Arms 1 for the first time after getting it on PSN, and he named the main female character “Whorene”, a reference to Moral Orel (it was the name a farmer gave a chicken in the egg fetish episode). I’m ashamed to admit it made me laugh every single time I walked in on him playing.

      • Crusty Old Dean says:

        Speaking of the Final fantasy series, I am always amused by how much they had to bend over backwards to ensure that you could still graft your own name onto the protagonist of FFX, the first game in the series with voice work. I guess they felt the fans had come to expect it, but it leads to some very awkward phrasings.

    • Cloks says:

      I use their default names, because I’m incredibly boring.

      • Spacemonkey Mafia says:

        Good luck again on that software solutions consultation job.

      • Crusty Old Dean says:

        Same. The first time I played a game where you could do it (FFVII) I was blown away, but the novelty wore off pretty quickly.

    • Citric says:

      I used to name them all Ace, but that stopped because of reasons I’d rather not get into. I’ve also sometimes gone in the rude words direction, because I am a child at heart. In high school I would name characters Silver, Barrett and DeLinn a lot, not sure why I loved that last one. The middle one was pre-FF7, I just like that name.

      • Spacemonkey Mafia says:

        Far be it for me to coerce you into going into uncomfortable territory, but I’m pretty damn curious as to what fallout rendered ‘Ace’ verboten. 

        • Citric says:

          I’m not going to go into it, but suffice to say it’s complicated. And no fault of the actual person who was really named Ace, who seems like an okay guy.

    • Carlton_Hungus says:

      As a younger man growing, playing Airwarrior 3 and MechWarrior on AOL I decided to go with the moniker D-Day, since my first name begins with D and I can play music on my throat like D-Day from Animal House.  Pretty much stuck to that one for about 10 years.  I still bust that one out from time to time, but for the past 10 years or so of my gaming life my go to character name is Carl or Carlton Hungus.

    • caspiancomic says:

       On first playthroughs, or for games I’m actually really invested in, I usually use default names, or the closest thing to an “official” name the character has. But when I’m just poking around, or if the character’s name doesn’t get brought up much in conversation (ie, Mass Effect), I usually name my protagonist “Caspian.” Mostly due to a crippling lifelong dearth of creativity. As a kiddie I used to name characters after my friends and family, with the hero named after myself, the first male character named after my best friend, the first female character named after my sister, etc. But too often the characters named for me and my sister ended up being the love interests, so… that habit had to hit the floor.

      Also, yo, don’t abandon the Weekend Prompt! Teti has said specifically that Keyboard Geniuses is going to survive the transition to the AV Club. Keep the dream alive, Spacemonkey!

      • Spacemonkey Mafia says:

        We’ll see if it makes any sense in the new format. If there’s any interest it may live on. But we’ll always have 2013.

    • stakkalee says:

      I like to use the names of superheroes’ alter egos, so my parties are usually make up of Clarks, Bruces, Peters, Dianas, Jeans, usually whatever I’ve read most recently.

    • Chalkdust says:

       Hey, I actually have something for this!  Starting with World of Warcraft: The Burning Crusade, I was rolling my new Draenei Shaman (space goats 4 lyf!) and my mind spat forth a name which I find to be lovely, exotic, musical, and unique: Miroulen.  How unique?  Well, I appear to still be the only person on the US servers with that name.

      There’s something about the “-oulen” suffix I particularly like, and so all my other Draenei characters are variations on that (Namoulen, Andoulen, Paroulen, etc.).  I’ll usually use a similar variation in any other fantasy or MMO game I play (case in point, I’m running as “Amoulen” in Kingdoms of Amalur).

      For the Shin Megami Tensei games, I have another naming ritual.  For the surname, I use Deodato (taken from Ruggero Deodato, the Italian director of mondo horror such as Cannibal Holocaust).  For the given name, I use a mineral or chemical element.  So I’ve had protagonists with names such as Oxygen Deodato, Barium Deodato, Hydrogen Deodato, etc.

      Who the hell knows where that came from, but now that it’s a habit, no way can I break it.

    • Matt Gerardi says:

      I almost exclusively name my characters, in any game, “Max Power.” 

    • Larry C says:

       Well, in Mass Effect, it was always “Jack”, because… Jack Shephard!  From LOST.  I know, clever boots.

      I had much more fun naming characters in various WWE wrestling games, probably because the look and costumes were highly customizable.  My favorite, and one I dig up often in a lot of games, was “Tecumseh Sermon,” a sort of cowboy preacher type that I based on a character from Mike Resnick’s “Santiago” novel (a jovial preacher/bounty hunter).  He got Kane’s fire entrance, which was pretty sweet.

      • Aurora Boreanaz says:

        For my ME playthrough I almost went with John Shepard, as I’d just finished watching Stargate:Atlantis.

        I forget what I actually chose.

      • TaumpyTearrs says:

        When I was 12 my friend and I went through and customized every wrestler with a stupid name and outfit on one of the N64 games. His brother was quite upset when he fired up his game and found the Big Show replaced by “Big Poopie” in his brown leotard (the names get sillier and more embarrassing from there, we were sleep deprived idiots).

    • MathleticDepartment says:

      I recently started using “2 Chainz” in my recent Fallout 3 and Wind Waker playthroughs

    • GaryX says:

      The name is always some “name-sounding” variation on whatever was the last thing I ate.

    • Kyle O'Reilly says:

       I recently named my female GTA Online character Shawndi because I don’t think the Saints Row and GTA worlds should always be at war.

    • aklab says:

      I usually use — surprise! Aklab. Except if the game will allow you to make the protagonist female, in which I choose Aklaba. And unless it’s a high-fantasy setting, in which I use Aklabus. 

      In my first playthrough of Final Fantasy VI, I gave everyone Star Wars names. It was hard to find some that fit within the letter-limit, and I had no idea how many characters were in the game, so I was really stretching by the end. Yet to this day I remember most of them, since I spent a good 120+ hours on that game one summer. ..

      Terra: Darth
      Locke: Yoda
      Celes: Tarkin
      Edgar: Chewie
      Sabin: Luke
      Cyan: ?
      Shadow: Bantha
      Gau: Han
      Setzer: Obi
      Strago: ?
      Relm: Jawa
      Mog: Artoo
      Gogo: Jabba
      Umaro: Saber

    • Enkidum says:

      Enkidum. In my Kingdoms of Amalur game right now I’m playing a woman, so I called her Enkida. I know, it’s pretty exciting being me.

    • His_Space_Holiness says:

      Ever since I read Dashiell Hammett’s The Big Knockover last year, I name all my game protagonists Alphabet Shorty McCoy, after the greatest gangster name ever to grace the page.

    • Merve says:

      I either go really boring, like John or Jane, or really wacky, like Carrotfudge or Speakerphone. I’m also partial to £Pounded£ when special characters are available.

    • NakedSnake says:

      I usually go with Ahab, because he’s The Greatest Fictional American. Or with Nemo because (1) he’s a lot like Ahab, (2) it’s a cool name (No Man), and (3) because the unofficial Scottish national catchphrase is Nemo Me Impune Lassit, broadly translated into Wha daur meddle wi’ me?

    • ProfFarnsworth says:

      If fantasy: I go with Jarenda (he was my first D&D adventurer, who as luck would have it, was quickly and efficiently killed off by giant spiders, because giant spiders are no joke).

      If sci-fi: I am the PROFESSOR!  No one can compare to my great power and um…forgetfulness!

    • Jackbert says:

      Jack or Reginald if he’s male. Don’t really have a consistent female name, because I haven’t played enough games with the option to find one, sadly.

    • CNightwing says:

      I will say that for any Zelda game, I’m always called Linky. With a y. It was an accidental error the first time I played that I’ve carried through.

    • Effigy_Power says:

      Royce and Zoe… I don’t know why. I have friends with those names, but they are not exactly adventurous people. Just happened.

    • George_Liquor says:

      Depends on the game and how creative I’m feeling. In the LoZ games, Link usually ends up as dink, fink, stink, etc. My character in Jade Empire was named Kung Fu Fi Ting, which seems far less clever now that I type it out.

    • SirExal says:

      “Exal” is usually my standby main character name, except when everyone else has normal Japanese name (i.e. the Shin Megami Tensei games and their ilk).  My first Persona 3 play I gave the main character a last name that fit so well into the narrative sometimes I forgot when a character called it that they we referring to me!

      But yeah, I give whatever name strikes me as appropriate, sometimes parody, sometimes not, including naming Barrett “Jackson” and Marle “Yuri.”

      When Golden Sun: Dark Dawn didn’t allow you to change the names of your
      whole party (a departure from the norm for the series) I got revenge by
      making the main character walk around with the handle “Chibi” the entire

    • Bisyss says:

      I feel like I’m in a minority because I’ve never used joke names for characters. I mean sure, having the great hero be called “Butts Lollers” might seem funny when you type it in, but you’ve got to put up with it for the rest of the game; I guess I don’t trust myself to make a name that won’t get old incredibly quickly.

    • EmperorNortonI says:

      I am really, really sad to hear about the impending change.  AV Club threads can be interesting, but it’s just not the same.

      Most commonly, I’m Emperor Norton I.  Especially on any sort of multiplayer game, where on occasion I’ll get, ” Hey, Emperor, what’s with your name?” or “Ha ha, Emperor Norton, awesome!”

      Occasionally, when my character is someone with a clear role in society or distinct personality, I’ll give them the name of a real life person with a related role in society, but one that is kinda horrible.  For example, I believe I named my Tropico 4 character Richard Nixon.

      I’ve used themed names for games where I’m likely to have a lot of recyclable characters, like XCom.  Back when I was playing Terror from the Deep (my advice – don’t play, it’s pretty much a polished XCOM but on ULTRA HARD MODE), I’d name soldiers with all-around good stats after superheroes, and guys who couldn’t shoot but had high courage after Slasher monsters, as those guys usually ended up with the vibro-blade.

    • Fyodor Douchetoevsky says:

      I usually name them after a character or joke in a tv show or movie i’ve been watching. Lately I’ve been naming all my characters “Torpal.”

    • HobbesMkii says:

      I do Hobbes a lot, but I also name them Asterion, after the proper name of the Minotaur of Greek myth.

    • Chum Joely says:

      Usually a character from something I’ve read and enjoyed. “Josef K.” seems to come up a lot, like in my very memorable first playthrough of Fallout: New Vegas.

    • Sarapen says:

      I always agonize over this, it’s even worse if I can also customize a character’s appearance. Anyway, my characters always have unique names, usually they’re from history or mythology, sometimes from academia. Sometimes the name is appropriate, sometimes it’s completely apposite, in which case I’m doing it because I find it funny. I don’t change anything for JRPGs, though.

      Anyway, off the top of my head:

      Oblivion: Cixi 
      Halo: Humbert Humbert (in hot pink armour)
      Baldur’s Gate: Jarnosaxa (a female Neutral Evil elven mage/thief)
      Too Human: Thorfinn and Askeladd
      X-Com and other military games: I usually name my squaddies after academics who I think have kickass names – Sasskia Sassen, Azar Gat, Loic Wacquant, etc.
      Quest for Glory: Mordred (a wizard)
      Fallout 3: Diamond Jenness
      Torchlight 2: the gunslinger Nadezhda and her pet reindeer Koschei, the engineer Vauban and her pet owl Minerva

      I can’t remember what my Diablo characters were named but I think you get the gist of where my naming policy is coming from, which is to say everywhere.

    • Necrogem says:

      For what it’s worth, I’d like to see you keep on with the Weekend Prompts, because you’ve come up with some great questions that have really made people think sometimes (though I could understand if you’re feeling kind of tapped out trying to achieve greatness every week).  Ultimately it’s up to you, but that’s my two cents :]

      As to your question, it depends upon what kind of game it is and what my state of mind is at the time.  When I was younger, I liked to name things ‘Sabrewulf’, because I loved the Killer Instinct character, and it was two cool words being cool together (especially with the edgy spelling!)  Nowadays, if it’s a Final Fantasy-style JRPG I’ll just keep the names as-is for story purposes (except for the first time I played through FFVIII, when I renamed Squall because I thought it sounded stupid, and my brother proceeded to ridicule my choice of ‘Gale’ as equally stupid :/ ).

      If it’s a game I’m just trying out, I’ll come up with some interesting-sounding words to use as character names.
      Animal Crossing: Myopia and Aesthete (both girls)
      WoW: Requiesce (female Forsaken)
      Morrowind: Gehenna Firenze (male Dunmer)

      If I’m expecting to spend a whole lot of time with the character or just get immersed in the game’s atmosphere, I’ll spend a lot of time crafting a name that fits.
      Castlevania games: Arkady (the name of a vampire in a book series that I can’t recall the name of)
      WoW: Rogirrek (male Worgen, after the villain in the book Sabriel, by Garth Nix) and Jaehaerys (male Blood Elf, after a Targaryen king in the Song of Ice and Fire series) 

      The above is especially true of Elder Scrolls games, where each of the races have their own naming conventions.
      Morrowind: Zheekah (male Khajiit)
      Oblivion: Rythe Selas (male Dunmer) and Thana Plecunia (female Imperial, after an actual ancient Roman woman)
      My male Nord in Skyrim required a week of research into Germanic/Norse naming conventions and culture heroes, which resulted in ‘Grimulfr Way-Weary’ (Wayweary being the translation of ‘Gangleri’, a semi-mythical Norse king).  I’m inordinately proud of that one, and like to tell people about it every chance I get :D  So thanks for asking!

      • Spacemonkey Mafia says:

        I really appreciate that, thanks. If the new format looks like it will support it, I’ll keep doing it. I love hearing your guy’s answers.

    • Bakken Hood says:

      It varies, but often it’s some variant on the name of a real-world badass explorer/outdoorsman like John Wesley Powell, Ferdinand Hayden, or Kit Carson.  Sometimes I’ll name them after characters from other games that strike me as kindred spirits.  At least two of my characters have been named after Locke from FFVI (who kept his default name, along with the rest of the cast).

      Oh, and my first Skyrim character was a Breton named Harolde LaSalle.  ‘Cuz Bretons have vaguely French names, and that’s vaguely French for Dirty Harry.  Gee I’m funny.

    • Chewbacca Abercrombie says:

      I’m way late and no one will probably see this, but these are still so fun to reply to. Most of the time I’m boring and name characters after myself or nicknames I’ve had. Sometimes I go immature like naming the chick from Parasite Eve “Vagina”. And in Xcom I’m pretty random with names like Dog Vomit, Porky Fuckhammer, Killboy Powerhead, Troutmask Replicant and Chet Chinstrap.

      • Spacemonkey Mafia says:

        Troutmask Replicant is pretty genius. I like a little Captain Beefheart in my Phillip K. Dick.

  2. Girard says:

    I never, ever thought of playing scribblenauts as a party game, but in retrospect that is pretty much the perfect arena for that kind of play. The game doesn’t really motivate you to be creative, but a bunch of silly (and/or drunk) friends serving as a combination suggestion-box and cheering squad provides a much stronger motivation. It takes on a sort of B.U.T.T.O.N. or Johan Sebastian Joust quality in that context.

  3. stakkalee says:

    Well damn.  Welcome to the unexpectedly penultimate Gameological-exclusive Keyboard Geniuses!  Though the future may be a mystery waiting to be unraveled, the past 18 months at Gameological have been nothing but a pleasure and a joy.  The GS community, writers and commenters both, are some of the nicest, most genuine people I’ve ever met, and I for one am a richer person for the time I’ve spent here.  But enough – we’re not here to slap each others’ backs, we’re here to compete for the attention of a Chicago-bound feline!
    Our most-commented article this week was Joe Keiser’s review of Beyond: Two Souls with 192 comments.  And the Top 5 Most-Liked (non-KG) comments are:
    1) @Spacemonkey_Mafia:disqus gets 31 likes discussing Samus Aran’s effect on property values.
    2) With 26 likes @EvanWaters:disqus expresses the opinion of deviant adolescents everywhere.
    3) @Merve2:disqus gets 23 likes for spotting this trope.
    4) With 21 likes @PaganPoet:disqus aspires to be the The Persistence of Memory of commenters.
    5) @NeedleHacksaw:disqus gets 19 likes for this dissertation.
    Awesome stuff!  And now for Soupy’s Chosen.  We’re handing out one new plaid jacket today, so everyone give a round of applause to @Gryffle:disqus!  And as for our returning members, @Needlehacksaw:disqus is getting a juicy stud to pin on that plaid jacket!  @Douchetoevsky:disqus is getting a third stud, @EmperorNortonI:disqus and @Electric_Dragon:disqus are each getting a sixth stud, @BaneOfPigs:disqus unlocks the “Lucky Seven” achievement with his seventh stud, @Cloks:disqus is getting stud number 10, and @caspiancomic:disqus get his 25th stud!  Good work everyone!
    And now for the linkdump, please to enjoy Other Places, a series of videos by Andy Kelly, celebrating some of the wonderful, glorious places you can only visit in video games.  Or you could try a game that tests your knowledge of <a href=""IKEA or Deathdeath metal and Swedish furniture.  And that’s it for another week.  Enjoy your gaming, and remember to keep it scintillating!

    • PaganPoet says:

      Getting a most-liked non-KG mention is sort of like winning a People’s Choice Award instead of an Oscar.

      “For me, this award means more than an Oscar, because it was decided by all of you, the fans! Not a stuffy board of old white cats who are out of touch with real people!”

    • HobbesMkii says:


      How will I know if I’m losing?

    • caspiancomic says:

       Fyodor only has three studs!? Dood’s a Gamelogical legend!

      Also, any plans to carry over the scoreboard to the AV Club after the reintegration? Keyboard Geniuses is apparently going to survive the transition.

      • GaryX says:

        The amount of info he’d have to sift through would be deadly, but it’d be awesome.

      • stakkalee says:

        I’m not sure, but I think I’d like to try.  If Keyboard Geniuses stays in the videogame enclave it probably won’t be too difficult to continue compiling the Top 5, and as for keeping a spreadsheet, well, I can keep a spreadsheet.  And if John does extend the Geniuses concept to the rest of the site, who knows.

      • Fyodor Douchetoevsky says:

        I know, right? It’s cause mostly I post shitty comments and leave rants complaining about whatever and suck at making words good. Also, I remember when this site first started and my name was messed up in the transfer from the AVC and Teti called me a staple from over there or something.

        I comment on the internet too much, is what I’m saying. 

    • Electric Dragon says:

      I think that top Most-Liked entry is wrong? It appears to link to a comment by @Cloks:disqus about boardgame stupidity, and nothing to do with either @Spacemonkey_Mafia:disqus or Samus Aran?

    • The_Helmaroc_King says:

      Out of curiosity, are you still using that comment reader I made a while back? The one that queries the Disqus API?

      If you are, it might still work after the changeover without any big changes, but it depends on what actually changes on the Disqus back-end when they make the switch.

      The biggest possible issue is that the forum ID for the threads might change. If it doesn’t change, and the Gameological threads are still under the “gameological” forum, then the comment reader may still work as-is. However, if the threads start appearing under the “avclub” forum, as all the threads on The A.V. Club do, then it’s going to take some work to separate the wheat from the… other wheat.

      Unfortunately, I can’t guarantee that we can make it work after the changeover, but we can give it the ol’ college try, at least.

      • stakkalee says:

        I am still using your reader, and thanks again.  I’m waiting to see how they handle the comments, whether they just roll them under the main AVC account or maintain 2 separate Disqus forums (fora?).  I figure even if I have to put the Gameological articles into a list by hand every week it won’t be too much of a problem with the slightly reduced content schedule.

    • Gryffle says:

      It’s an honour and a privilege, ladies and gents. I’m still pretty new here so I was pretty surprised to see my name in lights, so to speak. Cheers!

    • needlehacksaw says:

      Oh god oh god oh god… being mentioned by Soupy and being in the top 5 most-liked comments IN THE SAME WEEK!

      If I keep working on my procrastination skills like this, I will probably never finish my actual thesis, but hey — who needs a needless doctor’s degree when you can post piecemeal dissertations here and get that sweet, sweet Gameological love instead?

      But seriously — I have been reading here long before I started posting, being usually a bit late to the articles. But in the spirit of what all you have been saying in the comments of the “Change”-article, I would like to confirm that the community here really is the smartest, warmest, and altogether best I have ever encountered on the web. So, I am really being honest when I say that it’s a delight and honor to see my ill-chosen user name amongst your illustrious ranks for the second time.

      Here is to keeping that spirit, and all those warm, fuzzy feeling alive even after the transfer! Somebody go bring some beers, I’ll bring the iPad, and then we’re gonna party in 2014 like it’s 2013, or even late 2012!

      • Jackbert says:

        In the spirit of times past, let me be the first to say:


        • Girard says:

          Paging @fluka …

        • needlehacksaw says:

          Oh, I will.

          It might advance with the glacial speed reserved to only two creatures known by man, doctoral theses and newborn mountains, but there is steady and nigh unstoppable progress nevertheless.

          Still, I appreciate the encouragement!

  4. GaryX says:

    So did any of you guys see that the “other world” in the new Zelda is called Lorule? 

    Beyond groan inducing.

    • Aurora Boreanaz says:

      Better than Soberule I guess.

    • Citric says:

      Nintendo seems to be actively trying to make me not buy this game. I’ll show them! Wait…

    • ProfFarnsworth says:

      Much better than, eluryH.  Or is it?

    • needlehacksaw says:

      It really is ridiculous. Everybody with even a passing knowledge of Canadian French knows that the correct definite article is “la roule”.

    • Girard says:

      I find that stupid pun to be the most charming thing about this game. But that might be in part because of my congenital, unhealthy love of wordplay, and in part because everything else I see or hear about this game looks kind of stupid and/or ugly.

      • Fyodor Douchetoevsky says:

        I thought it looked pretty awesome, and I like the character designs, but then I heard about renting items. I’ll wait until the hype dies down and some decent reviews are out. Lorule is pretty groan inducing but also kind of charming.

        Oddly enough, I’ve been lurking through some 3DS specific forums and people were talking about how genius “Lorule” is. Who are these people and why do they get beyond excited for EVERY new videogame to come out? You’ve spoiled me Gameological.

        • Girard says:

          The art style looks very brightly colored, garish, and plasticky, and is a step down from the previous LttP, in my opinion. It looks more like a gross 90s Rareware game than a Zelda game. The only difference being that it is rendered in real time.

          The nonlinear dungeoneering has piqued my interest, though the item renting component has made it seem much less open-ended than what I envisage a “nonlinear Zelda adventure” to be.

          “Lorule” isn’t genius, but it’s a funny name for this game’s Dark World (though the game this is ostensibly sequeling already has a Dark World…hmmm…).

        • Fyodor Douchetoevsky says:

          Yeah, the overall style seems like a step down, but the character designs remind me of the old promo art and sketches in manuals for the original Zelda I think? The earlier designs. It’s very cute. But new zelda game are always recieved with polarizing reviews, but I’ve always kind of been in the middle on most of them. I like them, but usually feel nothing more extreme than that. Except Majora’s Mask. That one is fantastic.

  5. Fyodor Douchetoevsky says:

    Fydor? FYDOR?!? How are ya gonna make it as the editor over at the AVC, Teti? AMATEUR HOUR!