Episode 143: The End (feat. Go Big Or Go Home)

Following the disastrous Disembodied Voices Christmas Telethon Variety Show with No Actual Telephone and Questionable Variety (along with Bryan’s failure to redeem the holiday and not die), the third and final act of this holiday special shares with the world one last moral. Stephen, Cameron, and Zachary are in for one sad Christmas as they struggle to make ends meet, but can hope be found in a future without the lovably familiar podcast everyone (or a few people at least) knows and loves?

One would hope so, because this is also the final curtain call for a super fun show that has miraculously lasted almost four years. Yes, for serious, Disembodied Voices is officially shutting down and shutting up– this is a fond, fond, fond (way fond) farewell. To find out why this dreadful day has come to pass, listen to this ridiculous episode full of audio dramas, segments, Christmas, and good memories. But don’t be toooooooooo sad. After all, the DV Cast will be hanging out at Whales are Whales every darn week, including a podcast that resembles this show just a little lot.

So thanks for listening– really, THANKS. It’s been real, and occasionally, distinctly surreal. Have a life!

Direct link to the episode yaaaaaaay!

Click here for the full Go Big Or Go Home credits.

Opening song: Chalupa Pass, from Minimap and composed by coda.

What Has Changed? song: Time Ruler’s Watch, from Minimap and composed by coda.

Secret Santa Espionage Tactical Strike Whatever Song: Christmas in the Village (Silver Bells), originally from Lufia II: Rise of the Sinistrals and ReMixed by Dale North.

Bryan’s holiday madness song: Event: Strain, from Sonic Adventure and composed by Kenichi Tokoi.

Zachary answers the door song: Event: 3 Black Noises, from Sonic Adventure 2 and composed Kenichi Tokoi.

Disembodied Voices Origins ending song: 1812 Overture (excerpt), from Peggle 2 and composed by Stan LePard & Dynamedion GbR.

Ending song: The Glory Days, from The Glory Days and composed by Big Giant Circles.

New Releases song: Hillbilly Rodeo, originally from Bubble Bobble and ReMixed by djpretzel.

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Smell that? Windy change is in the air…

Hello there, listener!

We, meaning the entirety of the DV Cast, did our very first live streamed podcast on Twitch.tv just a few short hours ago! We gave away a Hearthstone beta key; laughter and fun filled the virtual air for nearly 20 minutes. We all thought it was a blast. So much so, that we’re actually planning even more live streaming stuff! What sort of stuff? We’re not telling yet! However, we can tell you where some new content is going to start to show up in the very near future.

First off, you can see the Hearthstone giveaway either on Youtube or on Twitch. 

The DV Cast’s permanent Youtube channel is very simple: Youtube.com/thedvcast! Click subscribe on that channel to get all of our uploads!

Same with Twitch; just go to Twitch.tv/thedvcast and click on “Follow” so you can know exactly when we go live (It’ll send you an email).

Of course, we will always announce things first, and most quickly on our Twitter page, which is simply Twitter.com/thedvcast.

And as always, our email is thedvcast(at)gmail.com. Send us whatever you’d like. Cake is preferable.

Keep your eyes peeled on all of these different sites, because things are a’changin’ for the Disembodied Voices podcast. We hope to see you along for the ride!

Signing off,

Cameron

Why Did I Agree To Do This? A Star Wars The Clone Wars Republic Heroes Review

Those who listen to the podcast may have heard that my birthday was on May 4. As such, the ever oh so generous Cameron wanted to get me a gift. That gift was Star Wars The Clone Wars Republic Heroes for the PC.

And that’s why we’re all here today.

Star Wars The Clone Wars Republic Heroes (try saying that five times fast) is a co-op action/platforming title developed by Krome Studios. Krome isn’t exactly a well respected developer, but they are one of the only few independent studios doing work for major publishers in Australia – so points for them I guess. That’s where the points stop though.

Krome Studios used to not be bad. They developed Ty the Tasmanian Tiger – a game that I never played, but fans swear up and down that it’s one of the best platformers of the PS2/Xbox/Gamecube era. I’m gonna take their word for it because it’s all I have. Anyway, their real trouble started in 2007 when Microsoft contracted them to make Viva Pinata: Party Animals. After that, LucasArts turned them into a Star Wars workhorse.

Now, enough about Krome. Let’s get on with the game, shall we?

Star Wars The Clone Wars Republic Heroes is best described as LEGO Star Wars without the LEGO. Now, that’s not inherently a bad thing. Sure the LEGO games get by with their derivative gameplay by having buckets of charm, but surely Republic Heroes has at least a single bucket of charm in it, right? Right? Maybe a cup of charm? How about a droplet? No?

OK, look, Republic Heroes apes the style of The Clone Wars TV series. No, not that awesome Genndy Tartakovsky series. The crappy one where George Lucas threw Genndy’s work into a computer and just expected it to work. It’s much the same filmmaking style he applied to the prequels and we all know how those worked out.

Anyway, the game obviously can’t look anywhere near as clean as the TV series, and that’s even with forced MSAA. All the characters look absolutely lifeless, and some are best described as nightmare muppets. No seriously, take a look at Yoda:

Nightmare Muppets

Now, I don’t believe in absolute zero badness. There’s always a redeeming factor and Republic Heroes’ visuals do have one thing going for it. The outer space shots with the planets in the background look absolutely marvelous.

Pretty Planet

Unfortunately, the environments on the planets look like somebody took the airbrush, cracked it open and just let whatever came out of it to flow all over the canvas. In other words, it’s a mess.

Now, I know what you’re thinking. Benevolent Zach, I care not these “graphics.” I only want to hear about the gameplay. Well, I was really hoping you would stop reading by now so I wouldn’t have to get into that. But since you insist…

Remember how I said that Republic Heroes was like the LEGO games minus the LEGO? Yeah, that applies to the gameplay as well. The characters can jump, swing a lightsaber and throw the force around like a belligerent drunk throws around insults in an alley at midnight. That is to say – it’s completely ineffective and doesn’t hurt anyone.

So, you ask, the combat is bad? I wouldn’t classify it as bad. It definitely works when it wants to. I just often found myself hitting the X button next to enemies hoping to slice them in two, but only finding Anakin or Obi-Wan swinging their lightsabers at thin air in the opposite direction. This is especially annoying during boss fights where there’s only one target, but these “Jedi” seem content to swing their lightsabers at anything but the gelatinous ooze monster that’s threatening to blow up the galaxy.

Speaking of boss fights, the game lacks variety. Players are forced to fight the aforementioned gelatinous ooze monster three times throughout the game. The pattern of attack only ever changes during the final boss fight, and even then, the only difference is that you’re now balancing on floating platforms while fighting.

Now that may seem hard, but trust me, it’s not. In fact, Republic Heroes is insultingly easy. Sure, you can’t die, just like in the LEGO games, but those games never feel condescending. Republic Heroes makes you feel stupid for trying too hard. For example, the very first boss fight in the game requires players to force hold a robotic leg down and then climb up said leg to slash out an eye. Now, that sounds incredibly simple, but the solution to this boss fight was frustratingly ambiguous. It didn’t help that the nightmare muppet version of Yoda kept on appearing to tell me that I was doing it wrong, but never actually explaining how I was doing it wrong. In the end, it only helped me to understand Luke’s frustration with the little green guy on Dagobah.

After all this, you might be thinking – “Great and powerful Zach, is there anything you enjoyed in this game?” Actually, yes! I thoroughly enjoyed any of the levels that allowed me to play as one of the Clone Troopers. It was an excellent change of pace from the Jedi levels, and the levels themselves were actually fun. Of course, this comes from my adoration of twin stick arcade shooters, and the Clone Trooper levels deliver that kind of arcade action in spades.

Beyond that, however, there’s little in this game that I liked. The Jedi gameplay is dull, the boss fights are terrible, the environments are bland, and the game just kind of ends with no closure whatsoever.

That being said, there is one thing about this game that is truly phenomenal – Anakin Skywalker wearing an abnormally large Indiana Jones-style fedora:

Anakin Hat

Dress To Play: Cute Witches Makes The Cast Of Hocus Pocus Look Adorable – A Review

I have a small confession to make. I love playing dress up.

Of course, I mean the virtual kind of dress up. I’ve always been enamored by Princess Maker, the super popular line of princess simulators that were only released in Japan. Princess Debut on the Nintendo DS is one of my favorite titles on the system. I’m not even kidding.

It’s with this deep seated love of dress up games that I was pleased to find one on the Nintendo eShop. Dress to Play: Cute Witches is a game that promises “thousands of combinations to create thousands of different little witches.” This already sounds like my kind of game.

And what luck! The game was on sale this week as part of the same promotion that has the excellent Guild01 titles on sale. As an aside, you really need to play Crimson Shroud and Liberation Maiden.

Anyway, I gave Nintendo and the publishers at EnjoyUp Games my $1.99, and I jumped into the magical world of Dress To Play: Cute Witches. Unfortunately, the magic turned out to be a case of high school students in masks tricking the FBI into opening an investigation into the occult. It was a waste of money that only ended up wasting everybody’s time.

Before we get to that, however, let’s jump into how this game works. First of all, you’re given a “witch” to customize and dress up as you see fit. The dress up menu is strangely similar to the Mii creation menu except for the addition of, well, clothes.

When you first start out, there’s an insanely appalling lack of clothing options. I could dress my witch up in a sailor outfit straight out of a Japanese anime and a couple of cat ears. There might even be a bow. The point is that there’s not much in the way of customization options at the start.

To unlock more clothing options, you must go into the challenge mode. The challenge mode is like a shmup without the shooting. You direct our lovely witch through an obstacle-laden sky full of cute creatures and copyright infringements. While you’re avoiding these obstacles, you must also collect stars that float past in the sky.

Of course, this isn’t as easy as it sounds. The enemy patterns can get pretty erratic, and it actually does feel like a hardcore shmup at times. Unfortunately, the controls are just kind of terrible. You can move with the Circle pad, d-pad or face buttons. All three options are terrible, and movement feels sluggish. This leads to a number of cheap hits as you’re often too slow to avoid oncoming obstacles.

Thankfully, the game is pretty forgiving with this section. No doubt as a result of trying to appeal to much younger gamers. The health bar is a fuel gauge because witches apparently sport diesel engines on brooms now. The fuel gauge drains slowly over the course of gameplay, but each hit helps to make it drain faster. You can collect hearts to restore a bit of the fuel gauge, but you will fail. In all honesty, you will fail a lot.

This is where Dress To Play: Cute Witches ceases to be a cute little diversion and just becomes an annoyance. The game expects you to play this mode a countless number of times. Each clothing item is tied to challenges that you must complete in the challenge mode. One such challenge is playing challenge mode for three hours. Another is collecting 150 stars in one run.

Look, I love dress up games, and I love unlocking outfits. I would rather unlock new outfits by wooing over princes and finding true love though.. Sure, that’s not exactly what witches do, but maybe she can just apparate into a clothing store and steal all the cute clothes next time.* It would save her, and by extension me, a lot of time.

*The DV Cast does not endorse theft or apparition. Save the latter for when you’re a seventh year.

Games To Scare Stephen With On Halloween

Greetings, boils and ghouls, this incredibly archaic introduction is brought to you by The DVCast.

In fact, this particular post is written by none other than Zachary Walton, the self-proclaimed horror master of the group. Since Stephen is too scared to tackle the task, I have taken it upon myself to create a list of the scary games you can play during Halloween this year.

To be included, the game must follow these strict standards:

1. It must have been released in the last two years. That means no perennial classics like Resident Evil will be on this list. You all know Resident Evil is a classic horror game, so why bother?

2. The game must be scary. Of course, scary is strictly subjective. Take Stephen for instance – he’s scared of awesome things. Those scarecrow things in Thief: Deadly Shadows? They’re super cool! This list will be comprised of titles that I think are scary.

3. Special consideration will be given to games that might not be scary, but rather exude pure malice in their design. These are games that don’t intend to scare, but can be extremely nerve wracking in their design.

(As an aside, it should be noted that these titles are not in any order whatsoever. They are all quality titles and deserve your time. Don’t take their placement on the list as a sign of their respective quality.)

Now that we have that out of the way – let’s dive in!

Silent Hill Downpour (Xbox 360/PS3)

Resident Evil and Silent Hill both received a main series entry in their respective franchises this year. Resident Evil 6 isn’t as bad as some critics would have you believe, but it is not scary. Silent Hill Downpour on the other hand is a major rebound after the last few titles failed to live up to the series’ pedigree.

Downpour casts you in the shoes of Murphy, a convict with a troubled past. He’s the perfect candidate for interment at Silent Hill. As you make your way through the famous town, much of Murphy’s history is dug up through excellently crafted areas and, in a first for the series, side quests. It’s a shocking, and often times depressing, journey through the psyche of a man who lost everything and gave up his humanity in return for solace in nothingness.

Lone Survivor (PC)

Speaking of Silent Hill, Lone Survivor could be considered its 2D doppelganger. It even lifts some of its sound effects straight out of Konami’s horror series. Much like the previous entry, Lone Survivor is all about psychological horror. It puts player in the role of a nameless character who is the only survivor amid what appears to a viral outbreak that turned the populace into flesh-eating zombies. Think I Am Legend, but far more disturbing.

The game is a side scrolling 2D adventure game with limited combat. That doesn’t make the game any less threatening though. The enemies that are present can easily spot the player and will make short work of the player’s character if they’re not too careful. The player also “dies” if they run out of ammo. It forces one to think creatively and avoid confrontation if at all possible. It makes every encounter, even with the weaker enemy varieties, incredibly tense.

Corpse Party (PSP/Playable on PS Vita)

The next entry on this list is a bit different from the rest. Corpse Party is a Japanese adventure game that looks like it was made in RPG Maker. The visuals are incredibly basic, even more so than Lone Survivor, but it’s by far one of the more terrifying games to be included on this list.

The key to Corpse Party’s success is its use of audio. This is the kind of game that requires headphones as the audio moves within your head. It creates the illusion that the player is really inside the haunted schoolhouse. The interweaving stories that take place over five chapters also serve to alleviate the pain of having to sit through some particularly awful visuals.

A fair bit of warning here – the game is incredibly graphic. There are CG stills throughout the game for important scenes which include the brutal murder of high school-age children. I don’t want to spoil these scenes, but they are some of the most disturbing I’ve ever seen in a game. I’m actually kind of glad they aren’t animated.

Home (PC)

The player awakens in a darkened house. Why are they there? What’s going on? These are the questions that the player must ask themselves as they venture through the highly stylized 2D environments of Home.

Home is an indie horror project created by one person – Benjamin Rivers. He did all the art, programming, writing, etc. This is one of those personal pet projects that lots of love was poured into and it’s obviously shows. It’s one of the most stylish 2D games to hit the indie scene with expressive pixels forming the landscape that the player wanders as they search for answers.

The big theme in Home is choice. Everything is decided by the player through simple yes or no answers. Are you going to pick up that gun? Are you going to open that door? Every choice has a consequence somewhere down the line as the player slowly realizes the true horror behind their actions. A word of warning: the game is super ambiguous and the non-ending may turn off some players.

The Binding of Isaac (PC)

Remember how I said in the rules that some games may not be “scary,” but rather exude malice in their design? The Binding of Isaac is one of those games. Much like Super Meat Boy before it, The Binding of Isaac hates you. It will do everything in its power to belittle and destroy what little self-esteem the player had left.

Beyond the game design, I think the game could be classified as fitting nicely into the horror genre due to the varied, and often times grotesque, enemy design. Many of the boss monsters are pus or acid spewing monsters that look like they’re straight out of a Lovecraftian nightmares. Scary? Not really. Unsettling? You bet.

Anna (PC)

I’m not going to lie – Anna is my favorite of the list. If it was numbered, Anna would be number one. It’s an extraordinary first-person adventure game set in a dark sawmill where the supernatural comes alive. You can feel the presence of something malicious, but it never truly manifests itself until you least expect it. It’s the kind of game that uses its atmosphere to the very best of its ability.

Anna, much like Home, is very ambiguous. It may be a detriment to some players in Home, but I bet that many players will come to appreciate the ambiguity in Anna’s design. It doesn’t use it to make the player confused, but rather uses it to further stir their curiosity for repeat playthroughs. There are multiple endings, and the game constantly hints at this. There’s more to be done and seen in the solitary sawmill in the middle of the woods. It just waits for the player to find it.

And… that’s it. I can’t add anymore games to this list, even if I wanted to, thanks to the rules imposed by myself. I would like to ask any and all readers to add their own favorite horror games in the comments. My rules do not apply to you so bust out that recommendation for “I Have No Mouth And I Must Scream.”

The QuakeCon

It took a delayed podcast, a four hour drive, and awaking at an unearthly hour, but I made it to this year’s QuakeCon! It was my first time attending, and perhaps my former absence had something to do with my aversion to competitive online games (particularly shooters) and never having played any of id’s lineup beyond the Commander Keen series; however, with my brother heading down there to offer the internet some of his insightful coverage, I figured I may as well come along and see what I could glean both for my own benefit and that of Disembodied Voices. (Plus, he required a cameraman, and through intensive training I’ve gained the skills required to hold an iPhone and tap the record button; still figuring out how to hold it properly, though.) You are now presented with a choice. You can either read ahead through the variety of anecdotes and commentary I’ll provide or skip the rambling and find the wonderful video we put together documenting our journey; it’s like a really low-rent choose-your-own-adventure! If you chose option #1, then allow me to share with you some of what I came upon during my quest to QuakeCon…

The Drive

Living in Houston like I do, my trip to QuakeCon is decidedly shorter than for many of the attendees, I’m sure, but nevertheless three to four hours in the car is an appreciable span of time. I spent the majority of the trip listening to the freshly-downloaded soundtrack of Bastion. Hearing the rustic, western beats while rolling through Texas’ drought-ravaged farmlands was delightfully thematic and served as an excellent pastime. Throw in a milkshake from Jack-in-the-Box and healthy amounts of Kard Kombat (a thoroughly worthy iPhone game), and the drive was not a chore but quite a pleasant experience.

The Venue

Given my cramped and poorly ventilated experience at GDC Online, I was hardly expecting much from QuakeCon’s choice of settings. Color me surprised (pleasantly so) when I pushed through the shiny revolving door and entered the Hilton Anatole, a place rife with soft carpets, classy decorations, and plenty of room to spare. The hotel looked to have a Japanese theme about it, which made it a refreshing change of scenery in addition to being visually pleasing. While the temptation to wade through the perfectly-kept koiless koi pond or combat the stone samurai was great, I managed to make it through the day without causing irreparable harm to my surroundings, and of that I am proud. Despite the convention being spread rather erratically throughout the expansive grounds, each location seemed perfectly tailored to its hosted event, quickly making you forget that the given room had a vast library of other purposes. I don’t know if it was QuakeCon’s usual pick for locations, but if it’s going to be a returning factor next year I’ll head down again just to get another look at that pond.

The Elder Scrolls

The first thing I did after speeding through registration was weave my way into the main stage to get a seat for Skyrim’s public unveiling. (Unfortunately, this was met with something less than success, so I made do with standing at the very back.) As Todd Howard took the floor, 360 controller in hand (making the obligatory apology for forsaking the PC version) my excitement level began to climb rapidly. This only continued as menus were navigated and a save was loaded, hooking me within seconds upon revealing the barren, snow-covered landscapes and majestic mountains. Impressive as it was, bear in mind little of what was shown was new, as I had seen much of the same demo shown via E3 coverage. Given that this was hardly fresh material, I won’t be writing up a preview of what I saw, rather I shall relay a few scattered thoughts regarding the demonstration.

To begin with a summary, I came away from the presentation both encouraged and excited. Even when shown via a guided demo, the scale and detail of Skyrim’s world are made clear. Every part of that world is infused with a strong theme and vision, making it feel like a successor to Morrowind’s rustic, alien world of Vvardenfell rather than Oblivion’s unfortunately bland Cyrodill. What struck me throughout the tour was that this clear and immersive direction went beyond the composition of the world and into the mechanics underlying it all. As Todd Howard introduced a group of bonus-granting standing stones atop a chilly mountain peak, which replaced the constellation system from previous entries, I began to see how systems once relegated to character sheets were being gracefully woven into the vast tapestry that is an Elder Scrolls game. While Oblivion spent its time stripping away the more arcane mechanics present in Morrowind, Skyrim looks to be reintroducing complexity, though not by returning to the text-heavy mechanics of a bygone era, but rather in ways that contribute to immersion. It’s, to use the word once more, this definitive vision, which was sorely lacking in Oblivion, that looks to be underlying every one of Skyrim’s strengths, and seeing the mastermind behind it all demonstrate this live drove home my belief that Bethesda has really got it this time. When the dragon was vanquished and the brief journey came to a close, I believe the roaring crowd was of the same mind: November can’t come soon enough.

The Show Floor

With thoughts of Skyrim’s barren, snow-beaten mountains on my mind I decided to contrast things wildly by heading off to QuakeCon’s show floor. I stumbled my way through the bass-pounded room in something of a bored daze, passing by a gregarious truck for raffle, a bevy of gamestations featuring solely, of course, competitive shooters, and some sort of energy-drink swigging contest… thing. I made a hasty exit, wondering why I was even attending the thing as thoughts of Skyrim were left drifting away in the sea of dull frenzy.

The Panel

With Stephen still off demoing Rage in the all-too-exclusive press room (he said I wouldn’t be allowed in; I was his cameraman!), things took a dramatic turn for the better as I entered the panel concerning id’s 20 year history. Four of id’s top performers took the stage and shared their experience, the culmination of which was nothing but interesting and insightful. High points came when hearing of their comical censorship issues with Nintendo or letters warning them against referencing the supernatural, but what stood out from all the rest was getting to hear John Carmack for as long as I did. His is a name I’ve heard bandied about gaming circles many a time, but being only a casual observer of id at best, I’d never learned much about him. That made hearing his wide ranging pontifications all the more interesting, as they spanned a delightfully wide range over the course of the panel. The man is obviously still one of the great minds of the industry, and being introduced to him in such an entertaining and engaging method was quite the treat. Much to my amazement, the panel was such a pleasant surprise that it garnered my “best of show” award; I’m sure it’s most honored.

The Crowd

First with Skyrim and then later with Prey 2 (another game demoed that shall, unfortunately, not be receiving its own section), an attention-grabbing element was the audience participation. As Todd Howard was introduced and Skyrim unveiled the gathered attendees seemed ordinary enough, cheering with enthusiasm for a long-awaited showing. Nothing seemed mentally unstable about the good-natured bunch; nothing particularly troubling, either. That is until a wolf passed by. A cry rent the air, calling for blood. “Kill it!” This was met by another, then another; soon there was something resembling a cohesive chant demanding the wolf’s imminent demise. Todd Howard’s delayed reaction came too late; he doubled back to search for the marked creature, but found nothing but frozen wastelands, devoid of life. The disappointment was palpable, but things returned to a normal, civilized state as the demo continued. The beast had been awoken, however, and when a city was approached, things became ugly. Shouts to burn the place and massacre the townsfolk arose; the violent uproar eventually culminated into Todd Howard flatly stating: “I’m not going to kill the civilians.” Nevertheless, chants for blood and death were commonly repeated throughout the duo of demos, and any act of even remote violence or destruction was met with wild cheers. The killing of a helpless alien here, the slaying of a dragon there; each spray of blood was met with an equal or greater wave of applause or bevy of hooting. I believe it felt akin to what it would’ve been like to attend a gladiatorial arena, witnessing a riotous crowd whipped up into a frenzy by their bloodlust and screaming for a sacrifice to satisfy their wild demands. Fortunately, this event lacked the critical component of *actual* violence occurring, but the similarities were hard to ignore nevertheless. Was it annoying? It became so, yes. Humorous? Sometimes, quite. Disturbing? Yes, I must admit it was this as well. I’m perfectly aware none of this bloodshed was real, of course, (do not take me for a whacko, despite the evidence) but despite this, I do wonder… is it really healthy to cultivate such violent tednencies? The amount of fervor the crowd managed to display was… a bit unnerving. I’m sure it’s all in good fun though… right?

The Ballerinas?

It seems QuakeCon wasn’t the only event taking up space at the Hilton Anatole that weekend. Some traveling troop (is that the correct term these days?) of ballerina-esque dancers was putting on a show of some sort, and the culture clash that ensued was both confounding and comical. Within a few paces you could pass both a man sporting a Black Mesa labcoat debating the importance of SSDs for disc speed and a group of six-year-olds dressed in colorful garb and practicing for what looked to be a gymnastics routine. It added that extra dose of oddball flavor that every good convention needs; unless it’s taking place in Japan, in which it needs triple the dosage, if not more.

The End

My journey brought me from dragon-sieged plains to headace-inducing show floors (actually, there was just one of those…), and I had a plethora of thoroughly enjoyable experiences (including a fantastic breakfast the following morning). All of these must culminate to something, however, yet the moral of this winding tale is still an enigma; I believe it has something to do with the ethical conundrum of rocket ships, competitive shooters, koi ponds and bloodthirsty loons, but I’ll be darned if I know how.

— Bryan