ETAO Podcast, Episode 53.

In lieu of a guest this week, we humbly present a conversation that Drew and Lucio recorded just before GDC, all about what it means to play a game wrong—from misunderstanding mechanics, to knowingly ignoring objectives and incentives, to adding one’s own layer of rules for tournament play or speedruning.

Playing wrong can be a joyful, exciting, healthy-as-hell thing. It can reveal thematic and mechanical corners of a game that might otherwise remain hidden. It can even, maybe, allow us to transcend the boring or abusive aspects of long-running games-as-services and refocus on what we found joyful in Destiny or Anthem, say, in the first place.

And no, we don’t totally tease out the fact that Bloodborne and Sekiro are forcing you to play right and are better for it. Next time, next time.

• Here’s Hbomberguy on Bloodborne and Big Joel on Sinistar.

• Here again is Travis Day, of Diablo III’s 2.0-era lootsmith, talking about Anthem loot.

Chuck Wendig has written a whole lot of stuff, screenplays included, but his Star Wars work has been on the novels side of things, not the movies side.

• In addition to the much-rightly-lauded charity “nightmare stream,” Hbomberguy did a great piece on speedrunning generally and Donkey Kong 64 specifically. (And yes, yes, the category is called 101%, not 100%).

The Baten Kaitos speedrun is in fact over 100 hours, and for that matter, well over 300 hours.

• The chance of getting across the bridge in Mario 3 without getting grabbed is 12.5% (so not quite as dire as I’d remembered).

• You unlocked the Item Switch in the original Super Smash Bros. by playing 100 Versus Mode matches—which, interestingly enough, makes it something that was explicitly set aside for experienced, maybe even serious players.

Summoning Salt is the place to be if you want to get deep into the intricacies, controversies, and quirks of various speedruns.

• I regret not owning it when I almost coined the neologism “wackward.”

• “Or is it genius?” is always the question with Spec Ops: The Line, as Darius Kazemi has pointed out.

• Kintsugi. That is indeed the word for the blessed unpatchednes of Melee and Starcraft.

• Discussing The Stanley Parable and Undertale in the same breath reminded me, after the fact, of another important text that we failed to mention, namely Dan Olson’s excellent video on “intended play.”

• Nathalie Lawhead’s game RUNONCE is bracing.

• Thanks again to The Local for letting us mess around (while, to be fair, drinking a goodly amount of coffee).
“All The People Say (Season 3)” by Holly Hyperion.
Various stuff in the background that hopefully won’t be too recognizable or problematic.

We’re on Apple Podcasts, Stitcher, Google Podcasts, Spotify, PocketCasts, Overcast, Breaker, and RadioPublic. You can also subscribe using good old-fashioned RSS.

Logo by Aaron Perry-Zucker, using Icons by by Llisole, Dávid Gladiš, Atif Arshad, Daniel Nochta, Mike Rowe, Jakub Čaja, Raji Purcell and IconsGhost from the Noun Project.

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