John Walker's Electronic House

Rum Doings Episode 57

by on Jan.27, 2011, under Rum Doings, The Rest

Episode 57 begins with a discussion of the number 56. You can’t pin us down. And we’re not discussing for how much longer we shall have to put up with the SCOURGE of HOMMOsexual adoption.

Then we take leave of our senses and attempt an alcohol free beer. We attempt a few one or two-word impressions. Then we discuss the poly-attractive nature of Susan Kennedy. At length.

And finally, after mentioning it a hundred times, we explain what a BEMLi are. Which takes us onto discussing the sad collapse of Chris Morris, and the rise of Charlie Brooker. Nick angrily points out why John’s job is stupid, and then attempts to get himself – and himself alone – sued. John painfully attempts to explain why it’s bad business to be a corrupt games magazine, and Nick explains that it’s Stockholm Syndrome. The attacks on John continue as Nick tries to uncover corruption in his past, and John wants to cry. Then we discuss Kieron Gillen’s riches, and RPS slash fiction.

Tweet it, Facebook it, ask strangers on Formspring about it. We really do need you to do this. And there’s a small group of you who faithfully do. But the rest of your are lazy scabbers – give something back in return for the unbridled joy we bring you. And writing a review on iTunes brings us more attention.

If you want to email us, you can do that here. If you want to be a “fan” of ours on Facebook, which apparently people still do, you can do that here.

To get this episode directly, right click and save here. To subscribe to Rum Doings click here, or you can find it in iTunes here.

Or you can listen to it right here!


32 Comments for this entry

  • Daniel Rivas

    I think Nick has a point when it comes to games criticism. Take, for example, this review of Dead Space 2 from IGN, whom I believe are the largest game site:

    Note the comments. Virtually all either compliment this Greg Miller on the quality of his writing or do not note it at all (really? Ah, but IGN is their team. Everything they write is of a high quality). Most criticism of the review is that Miller did not rate the game highly enough (of course, Dead Space 2 – or Playstation or Xbox – is also their team), and a relative few accuse him of corruption (either because it is an exclusive review or because the Playstation version was given too low a score). I don’t think John is right that it’s “bad business to be corrupt”: people don’t use reviews as a buying guide— they use them to confirm opinions already held. Stockholm Syndrome – or rather, a more general tribalism; they choose their kidnapper – takes care of the rest.

    However, is Nick’s assertion that Game Informer are by necessity corrupt due to market forces countered by GameStop’s effective monopoly? They have no real competition (unlike the film production houses), so is it inconceivable that they might grow a little complacent, and allow something approaching integrity to take seed?

  • Daniel Rivas

    Goodness, that second paragraph of mine was a clunky one.

  • Nick Mailer

    I found nothing wrong with your second paragraph – only with the incorrect “whom” in the first ;-)

  • Daniel Rivas

    Oh no! I thought I might have gotten it wrong, and even looked it up. But I got object and subject mixed up. Pah.

  • Nick Mailer

    When in doubt, try this trick. Replace “whom” with “him” or “them” and change the word order a bit and see if it sounds right. If it doesn’t, then it’s “he” or “they” and thus “who”. So:

    “whom I believe are the largest game site”
    Would become:
    “THEM I believe are the largest game site”

    Let’s put it in the usual word order:
    “I believe THEM are the largest game site”

    This is obviously incorrect. You would say “THEY are the largest” and not “THEM are the largest”.

    As mentioned above, the equivalent of “they” is “who” (and “them” for “whom”), of course.

    So, you then realise that your original should be:
    “who I believe are the largest game site”

  • laddy_gaga

    Well I quite liked Susan Kennedy.

  • Daniel Rivas

    I usually just remember that whom is for the object, and who for the subject. ;-)

    But I wrote “whom”, went to change it to “who” and then had a brief moment of indecision— so I looked it up in the dictionary and saw “Whom – used instead of “who” as the object of a verb”. Then I mixed up object and subject (both could easily have either meaning!) in my head.

    I move that we change “object” and “subject” to “doer” and “do-ee”. Much better.

  • Alex B

    Hmm – I think this episode requires a second listen.

  • Thants

    You’re completely wrong about the IT Crowd, of course. And I believe you just unironically complained that you couldn’t tell which accent Chris Morris was doing, right after making fun of that very thing.

  • Nick Mailer

    Thants: the rule was that when a perfectly serviceable and recognisable accent should be performed, one should not respond in mock incredulity or mockery at the faux-enormity. When someone actually is risible, one may comment. Like Dick van Dyke as Bert.

  • Edgar the Peaceful

    I really enjoyed Nathan Barley. Yes, it’s patchy but it nailed the ‘Shoreditch Twat’ subculture of 5-10 years ago.

    I was in a band that was patronised by this scene and magazines similar to SugaRAPE at the time. The arty set liked us, I think, because we played with a (post-modern?) ambivalence to accepted good taste in music. Whilst the ‘twats’ seemed to get what we were doing, I met some excruciating characters. Jonatton Yeah? and Nathan Barley (Brooker’s ‘Cunt’ from TVGoHome) were well drawn.

    Symmetrically, Julian Barratt (Dan Ashcroft) was a fan of the band and used to come and see us with Julia Davis.

  • Xercies

    I don’t know if its truly corruption but i do think games journalist can be a bit to close to publishers now a days. Just look at E3 and the like where Games Journalist just woop at any game that a big publisher has created and make 10 articles about Killzone 3 and how its going to be the best game ever.

    I mean would you ever see a big game like COD get anything lower then a 8/10 really? No its to big for that, is it because it is a great game..well no because the same magazine would basically give a smaller game a lower mark if it came out with the same game all the time. Its a tricky thing but I do think there are some problems in Game journalism.

    I quite liked Four Lions, it was quite a good slapstick comedy with terrorists that satirised terrorists and said how stupid they were. One thing I thought was a bit out of place was satirising the police shooting the wrong guy, while funny it did kind of obscure the message he was trying to say throughout the film.

  • Gassalasca

    Watching photos of Susan Kennedy now… I can’t say I see the appeal. Maybe if I watch her in motion? If I see some clips from the show, and try pretending I am in my late teens?

  • Nick Mailer

    And find clips from 15-20 years ago!

  • zenmetzger

    Games are quite infantile, but I would argue that the problem here is not that interactive entertainment is a crappy medium. It has more to do with production costs and current generation of consumers, who need their daily fix of comic-book escapism in their media diet. It’s not like we don’t have an incredible amount of juvenile crap on TV and in Cinema right now.

    Also, games need to sell. And if your mom is unable to use a DVD player, she sure as hell won’t be playing her new interactive Citizen Cane any time soon, so don’t be surprised when game developers prefer to create their products for tech-savvy young audience.

  • Arthur

    You’re preferred beer is Miller Genuine Draft? I’ll drink a cheap American beer as quickly as the next guy, but that stuff is impossibly weak. It practically takes like carbonated water.

  • Thants

    I don’t think it’s corruption, but there does seem to be something out of whack about game reviews. Film reviewers aren’t afraid to give a big-budget movie a terrible grade. Game reviewers seem to be terrified of giving a big-budget game anything less than an 8 out of 10. Of course, the problem could just be paying attention to numerical ratings at all.

    Also, apparently Jackie Woodburne was in 1242 episodes of Neighbours, which hurts my brain.

  • Gassalasca

    I forgot to add, your mentioning how there would be no baby Judith if there hadn’t been for Chris Morris reminded me of how you still owe us the story of how you and Victoria met. ^_^

  • Xerxes

    Xercies: here is a big game like CoD getting less than 8/10.

  • Entropy

    Whoops, did not mean to put Xerxes as my name.

  • Jambe

    Lagers are meh. Most beer is meh! I like root/ginger/birch beers but once you involve lots of yeast it tends to turn foul-smelling and foul-tasting. I do enjoy a good thick ale from time to time, though. Rogue Ales out of Oregon has a delicious Chocolate Stout and I also enjoy similar offerings from several other breweries (Barney Flats makes a great Oatmeal Stout, for example).

    Generally, if I’m having alcohol with a meal, I prefer a large glass of very cold water alongside a bit of whisky, rum, or vodka (although a friend of mine is getting into absinthe and I have enjoyed that). I don’t consume much alcohol though.

  • Colthor

    Game Informer:
    According to GameRankings’s Sites list its average review score is 73.1%. The average of all the sites’ averages is 73.6%, and the weighted average ( sum(review count * average review score)/total number of reviews) is 72.5%. The median of sites’ averages is 74.14%.

    So in the Grand Scheme Of Things it’s unremarkable by this measurement, although it seems more generous than any of the UK mags/sites I know of (eg. Edge – 63.75%, Eurogamer – 66.16%, PCGUK – 67.16%) as well as “They give everything a 10” IGN – 68.42%. And more generous than anything with the word “Official” in the title.

    Of course, their average review score would be pretty easy to manipulate if they wanted to, but a massive game-by-game comparison shall be left as an exercise for somebody even more bored than I.

    GameRankings do consider them a “quality site” (ie. reliable enough to include in their averages).

    And finally, Nick Mailer hates marzipan, which shows what his opinion’s worth.

  • Gassalasca

    His stance on marzipan would suggest him to be a person of eminent taste and gentlemanly discernment.
    It is his view on language matters that serve as a permanent stain on an otherwise admirable visage.

  • mister k

    Its quite rare for big games to be considered “bad”, because I don’t think games have got a hang of bad within good. So what I mean is that if a game is an unplayable piece of dross, then it’ll be reviewed as such, but if a game is an utterly derivative first person shooter that offers nothing particularly new it’ll do quite well. I think there is a trend away from that, and reviews for the newest cod games do seem to show that.

    I have to admit, while I tend to enjoy Nick’s contrarian nature, I was sympathising with John as Nick decided not to let him finish repeatedly…

  • Jambe

    I like Nick as well but there were too many Mailer-induced shouting matches in this podcast. Poor John.

    Marzipan is gross. Almost cringe-inducingly so.

  • Colthor

    @mister k
    I guess when you start with an infinite supply of money, an engine that’s been used to make corridor shooters for half a decade, and a template for squillion-selling corridor shooters it’s pretty hard to make an awful corridor shooter.

    Well, from the point of view of people who like that sort of thing, anyway. They’re really just the same game as Commando but with the camera in a different place, and stopped being interesting when the prettiness of the graphics wore off (about 1998).

    I pity you poor marziphobes, and take heart that it means there’s more for me.

  • Daniel Rivas

    Amazed by all these people who hate marzipan. I had no idea you existed.

  • Dan Milburn

    I’m one of those who actually bought Force Commander on the strength of John’s review. It really really wasn’t very good.

    I certainly don’t think John is in any way corrupt, but I must confess I have found the relationship between RPS and Valve a little cosy at times. I don’t doubt that it’s because you guys genuinely love what they do, but the amount of coverage devoted to TF2 and L4D got a bit silly.

    Marzipan is great in small quantities.

  • laddy_gaga

    To be fair I find marzipan very unpalatable in large quantities because of the excessive “sugary tofu” quality it exudes. If blended delicately with icing and delicious fruitcake, it is very agreeable.

  • EthZee

    Daniel: I know of the existence of marzipan haters, if only because my sister can’t stand the stuff. I love her, anyway, as much as one can.

  • Daniel Rivas

    EthZee: My sympathies. It must be very hard for you.

  • Alex

    I don’t know why I hate marzipan. I love almonds in almost every other form, but grind it into a paste and add some sugar and something dark and evil happens to its flavour.