GeekNights Newsletter #7

The Real Number Seven

You may have noticed that the last two newsletters were both number 5. That was a mistake. This is number 7. The sixth newsletter is hanging out with the #13 elevator buttons and the Atari E.T. cartridges. 

It's a relatively normal and quiet time here in the GeekNights universe. We finished up the amazing Burning Con, and now there aren't any new conventions until MAGFest in January. Instead, it's just a bunch of holidays and everyday life. Also, woman, it's cold. It's not actually that cold, but I have no longer have hair which has reduced my already low tolerance for cold temperatures. Expect us to stay inside and make a bunch of podcasts for the next few months with relatively little interruption. Also football.

Natural Selection 2

For those of you who are somehow still unaware, Natural Selection is an amazing mod for Half-Life 1. Aliens vs. Marines, gogogo! We have played it since it first came out on Halloween 2002, three years before the first episode of GeekNights. For many years we have been waiting for Natural Selection 2. We have played the beta for a few months now, but the real game has finally been released. It is time! If you aren't playing Natural Selection 2 right now, what is wrong with you? Counter-Strike: GO is also acceptable. 


If you didn't realize it from the last part, GeekNights is now 7 years old. The first non-beta episode came out on Halloween of October 2005. The Earth has traveled completley around the sun an arbitrary number of times since our podcast began. May it make that journey many more times. 

Ask Rym and/or Scott

One of our listeners named Sr.A sent in some gaming related questions. Rym promised to answer the questions in a podcast, but was, of course, full of shit. Instead, I'm going to answer just one of those questions here in our newsletter. Remember to send in more questions to us at We really don't get that many, so the odds of your question being answered are quite good.

Sr.A writes:
First of all, regarding Rym's post "Do Cheap Tactics Ruin Online Multiplayer?" Rym states that "If you are playing a competitive game, you play to win by any means necessary without cheating." I understand your point but don't you think there is line beyond wich there is no point in winning, because you are not playing the same game anymore? And don't you think it's "unethical" to use cheap tactics that were not meant to be there, like snaking?

I mean, imagine a bug in Mario Kart DS that provokes instant winning for the first player to press A 100 times. Would you ignore the race and start button-smashing just because "you are playing to win"? If not, wouldn't you blame the people who did that?

I understand that the real blame is on the game itself, but it's also in hands of the players to fix it by ignoring the cheap tactic. It's sort of like a prisoner's dilema in terms of fun. If everyone ignores the cheap tactic, everyone has fun. If everyone uses the cheap tactic, everyone plays a stupid game nobody likes. If I ignore the cheap tactic but you don't, you win the game, but was it worth it? I mean, the cheap tactic wouldn't be there if the game was well done, so the game is to blame, but it also wouldn't be there in a practical way if nobody used it, so isn't the player also to blame?

Sr.A has a very good grasp of the situation. When a game has a tragic flaw in the form of a cheap tactic, you do get sort of a prisoners dilemma in terms of fun. It's especially disappointing when the game is otherwise terrific and the cheap tactic really ruins it. Mario Kart DS would be insanely good if it were not for snaking.

There are only two solutions. One is to play a different game. the other is to come up with some sort of external rules for mitigating the cheap strategy. How you would actually monitor and enforce that rule is tricky, especially for Mario Kart. For other games it may actually be relatively simple. If a fighting game has a cheap character, simply disallow that character. Magic: The Gathering disallows many unfair cards in tournament play.

If players choose play a game without banning cheap things beforehand, then they are all equally at fault for their mistake. If you do end up in a game where the cheap things are not banned, you should definitely use them as much as possible, as you are obliged by your honor as a gamer to win by any non-cheating means available. 

Book Club

The next book club selection is still The Name of the Wind by Patrick Rothfussssss. I have finished reading it, and I can say I do not regret choosing it. Rym is almost done, so the episode will probably happen in a matter of weeks. It's not the shortest book in the world, so I suggest you start soon if you have not already done so.

New Podcasts

Hurricane Sandy

Yes, we live in New York City. You may have heard that a hurricane passed over us recently. We needed a Thursday episode idea. Here it is.

One Piece 6: Baron Omatsuri and the Secret Island

There has not been very much anime watching or comic reading lately, so we have to force it to make things happen. Since a series takes too long to watch, and we can't both read a comic simultaneously with one copy, anime movies are the way to go. This is the first One Piece movie Rym was able to get with subtitles. Listen and find out what we thought about it.

New Videos

Forum Weather Report

After the hurricane there are calm seas on the forum. Only partly cloudy with some political discussions that are expected to rain for the next few days, but clearing up later in the week. Might I suggest the perennial thread What movie have you seen recently? The holiday season is a time when many movies are released in theaters and also when many more are watched by those of us hiding inside from the cold weather.

Thing of the Newsletter

Equa Magi Fluttershy Magica

Fan Art

I don't think I have any more fan art to post, so here is Rym in a tiara. This is probably not giving you a great incentive to send us fan art, so I will say this. I have nothing else to put in this section for the next newsletter. If we do not get a submission of some kind, this will be sadly empty. 


This newsletter is still not dead. People keep reading it. People keep subscribing to it. It's annoying because that means I have to keep making it. It's more work than you think because it has to be done by hand. I hope you appreciate it. 
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