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Nerds Without Pants   

Nerds Without Pants Episode 56: An Arrow Flashes in Mordor

When Angelo is away it's all just comics and TV shows, damnit!

Welcome back to Nerds Without Pants! Angelo is out this week, which means Patrick and Julian talk way too long about comic books and TV. But at least we bookend it with some Destiny and Shadow of Mordor.


0:00 Intro; Patrick’s experience with Destiny’s endgame

12:00 Comics Roundup: God is Dead; Powers TV trailer; Gotham; Thor

35:19 Selling Patrick on Arrow and The Flash TV shows

41:17 The end of the New 52?

45:28 Spelunky; a little more Diablo 3

50:38 Halloween Havoc 3; The creepy lady from PT

55:10 Julian’s epic Shadow of Mordor nemesis


Vince DiCola- Escape

“Lorde”- Push (Feeling Good on a Wednesday)




10/19/2014 at 08:45 PM

I can totally see why Spelunky might not be Julian's type of game and I wouldn't begrudge him if it didn't quite grab him.

I still play Spelunky a few times each week. There was a period of several months where I played it everyday. It's a game where you have to die often, get a little deeper the next time you play, learn a little more about how the game works. Spelunky is all about the long-haul, about consistency, quick pick up and play sessions, and tons of small victories piling up into large victories over time. In a way it's totally a brutal war of attrition against a super well designed game, that happens to have a high learning curve, and expects the player to get better until they can manipulate the world in their favor and subvert the things about the game that seem insurmountable. All the things about the game that make it dangerous and make it seem impossible can all be subverted; you learn how traps work and where they usually get placed, how to kill each enemy type, etc. Just through playing the game as well and learning about it; no cheat codes or exploits necessary.

It's daunting when you first start playing Spelunky, the whole experience is full of small victories. You start a game, make it through level 1-2 and it's a victory. You make it through 1-4, exiting the Mines to the next area, and it's a huge victory. The gameplay is really satisfying for me in the way that avoiding a single trap, killing a bat with the whip, and simply surviving an area feels fantastic.

There were times I felt like exiting the Mines would be impossible, I'd never be a decent Spelunky player, and I should just quit and move on. But eventually I made it to the Jungle. Then the Jungle was so goddamn nuts and dangerous I never thought I'd find a way to survive it even once, let alone with enough regluarity to see the next world, but I made it past that as well. As you keep playing you get better and eventually I made it through to the Temple, and so on until I beat the main boss at level 4-4. Then I discovered a lot of secrets about the game, made it to the secret areas, and defeated the secret boss, which is an epic journey is itself. You can create shorcuts in the world as well so that you can practice single worlds over and over, learning the ins-and-outs of how they work and are structured.

I played about 1000 games before I beat the secret boss and finished the "real" ending. The game keeps me coming back though because you can always collect more money and beat your personal high score, and the gameplay is good enough that I have fun doing everything Spelunky is about. It's an epic learning process with a pretty steep learning curve, but the game's programmed super well, it's 99% consistent with the rules/behaviors and very few odd bugs, so if it's the type of game that pulls you into its mystique it can be really rewarding.

And it's super bite size as well. In terms of difficult games it's not like a Souls game where you need to invest 100 hours for a playthrough and sit down for long sessions. Each level in Spelunky takes about 2 minutes, and you can average a full playthrough in like 45 minutes once you know how the game works and how to use each item in a way that helps your playstyle most.

You can keep throwing yourself at it, play little bits at a time, and just get better over time until you're able to bring the consistency and instinct it takes to survive the traps/environmental puzzles regularly enough to start from the beginning and make it through to the end.

There are plenty of randomized elements to the game, so luck is a thing, but you have to develop skill to take advantage of the luck. I can't even tell you how many hundreds of times I've gotten "lucky" with a sweet world-seed where you find a game-changing item in level 1-1 or something, and then allowed myself to die in the lamest ways regardless. I ended up getting really addicted to everything Spelunky is about, and 99% of the times I've died it was my fault and there was something I was able to do better next time. I thought that game would be insurmountable but I still beat the full game and the secret areas/boss, and keep beating my personal loot records. I didn't even have to get hardcore about it either, I just played casually for 20 to 30 minutes each session, never had to join a club, buy a guide, or get ridiculous about it. I just got sucked into the mysteries of the systems and gameplay, and got better over time.

Well, I guess the wall of text is back, Spelunky brought it back.

I've been playing Dragon Age Origins this weekend, I grabbed it at Julian's suggestion because it was only $4 on XBL. Did Julian end up playing the game this weekend like he said he wanted to? I'd like to hear more about his experience and his character.

I created a lady rogue, human noble, and I've made it to what seems to be a battle at Ostagar. I'm with Alistair and we are trying to make it to the Tower of Ishtar to light a signal at the King's behest, as part of the battle's strategy. I'm loving the game so far.

I really liked Dragon Age 2 quite a bit. The level designs weren't so interesting, Kirkwall wasn't great to explore, and there was the problem with levels being used repeatedly, but overall I loved the themes of the story, loved the lore, the companions, and I liked each of the 3 acts and all the story beats within them. The combat wasn't so good at first, because you start off with very few abilities and hardly any tactics slots, which means each encounter early in the game means you use up those couple abilities and then have to spam the attack button while those are in cooldown.

But by the end of DA2 I loved the combat because you eventually unlock all the great abilities, you get lots of tactics slots to customize how your party fights, and you learn the strengths/usefulness of each companion. I'm kind of in the same boat with Origins right now. I only have two low level abilities, as do my companions, and I only have 3 tactics slots. If it's anything like DA2 I'm sure I'll unlock more slots and certainly more abilities as I go obviously, and the combat will get more robust and tactical as we level up. By the end of Origins I'm pretty sure I'll love the combat just like I did with DA2.

I'm suppose to be doing a whole Spooktober thing, playing lots of horror-ish games and blogging about it. I have Alien Isolation, I'm sure I'm almost finished with that game and I really like it, but DA Origins is taking over and I'm not sure when I'll get back to other games. Just binging on Dragon Age for now.

Julian Titus Senior Editor

10/19/2014 at 09:59 PM

I was going to play Dragon Age after I did my Shadow of Mordor review, but I'm three trophies away from my first platinum. Won't do it tonight, but I should hopefully  have that one 100% in a couple days.

Then the goal is to finish my second Dragon Age playthrough. But I just ordered a Wii U and Bayonetta 2, so...

Chris Yarger Community Manager

10/20/2014 at 07:01 AM

About 4 months ago, I crammed both seasons of Arrow in within 2 weeks time. That show somehow grabbed me and I wouldn't allow it to let me go.

With that said, Arrow and Flash have both been incorporated in to my weekly DVR schedules!


You have failed this city!

Awww yea


10/20/2014 at 12:38 PM

I just started The Evil Within. Its good. Playing it on the hardest stock difficulty and its not hard at all. People have been saying its a lot like RE4 which i never played due to never ownign the game cube. Its good so far after playing only a few chapters. It kinda feels like SH in a way. I think you may get that feeling too if/when you play, i dont want to spoil anything. Definitely pick it up.

Julian Titus Senior Editor

10/20/2014 at 01:45 PM

I had actually gone to Best Buy to trade in some games like I said, but they were sold out of Evil Within. I think I will be picking it up soon though. And you should totally grab RE 4 HD if you still have a PS3 or 360.


10/22/2014 at 01:52 AM

I picked up RE4HD just the other week and played a hour or two. It looks really good.


10/28/2014 at 12:51 PM

i tried to go back and play my 360 and cant do it haha. the downgrade in visuals gets to me. id rather go and play a nes or snes before last gen.

Julian Titus Senior Editor

10/30/2014 at 09:10 PM

Harsh! You may be an even bigger graphics snob than I am!


10/22/2014 at 01:53 AM

Really want to play Shadow of Mordor. I want those evil orcs to shout my name when I approach. Is there an option to have five minutes of name calling before a fight?

Julian Titus Senior Editor

10/22/2014 at 11:21 AM

Not 5 minutes, but every captain will lock weapons with Talion, insult him, and talk some trash. The dialogue changes based on if you've encountered that captain before. I even had one captain who had retreated in the past tell me he was through running. 

And then he ran.


10/23/2014 at 02:30 AM

Awesome. Someone on Big Red Barrel's UK podcast today was talking about the benefits of this next gen not being just all about better graphics and faster frame rates, but also better A.I. and stuff like this Nemesis system in Shadows of Mordor. It's going to be interesting what devs start doing with more computing power. 


10/27/2014 at 07:17 AM

I've been watching Arrow since it debuted. I also really love Flash and I love the way Gotham the city is being portrayed in Gotham. I think that you should try the new show Constantine which is based on the Hellblazer comics. It just aired last week on Friday and I really enjoyed it and plan to stick with it. 

I'm loving Evil Within but I love these types of games so it's a bit biased. 

The Last Ninja

10/28/2014 at 02:57 PM

Arrow and Flash are probably the two best super hero TV shows ever (sorry, Smallville). The amount of detail and characters in Arrow is amazing, a fan's dream come true even. And Flash is simply perfect. I wouldn't be surprised if these shows end up being better than most the DC movies coming out in the next six years.

Julian Titus Senior Editor

11/15/2014 at 10:34 PM

This is a way late reply, but I probably won't get to mention it on the show.

How freaking awesome was Captain Cold? It was like he stepped out of the comic!

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