Radio Active #44: Digg, Life Hacks, Elder Scrolls: Oblivion

Radio Active PodcastNuketown Radio Active gets Dugg (or at least an entry on Digg) while I struggle to organize comics that haven’t been filed in a decade. If you’re similarly organizationally challenged, then figure out how to hack your life with the 50 best Life Hacks from 2006 and an exceedingly geek calendar for 2007.

Rounding things out is a review of Elder Scrolls IV: Oblivion, the expansive role-playing game for Windows and Xbox 360 in which you play a hero who saves an empire from demonic invasion … or not.

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Show Notes

  • Nuketown News
    • Radio Active on Digg
      • Thanks to Erilar for submitting Radio Active to Digg’s new podcast section. You’ll need a Digg account to vote, as the whole thing remains in beta.
    • Illusions of Order
      • In my head, I’m still 17. No where is this more evident than in my comic book collection, which was superbly organized in high school, but has fallen into chaos and disorder, though not quite ruin, as I grew older.
      • Now I’m 35, and while attempting to put away my latest comic book purchases (the one it took me a month to pick up) I discovered I’ve got a whole cache of comic books that I’d never organized, never filed, never even bagged. Hell, I’m not even sure if I read a bunch of them.
      • Some how, I’ve gone from being a comic collector/reader to just a reader. I’m not at the point where I buy a comic and then toss it … but I’m sure as hell not taking care of them (as witnessed by the fact that the cat just threw up on a stack of Ex Machnia that I needed to file … and which may provide grounds for throwing said cat out the third floor window.
      • Finally getting organized though.  Everything’s boxed, but I’m going to need a few hundred more bags. Then it’s a question of figuring out what I want to keep. I suspect that a lot of the Marvel stuff I don’t read — Iron Man, Fantastic Four — or that I won’t read again — New Warriors — will be going away.
    • GenCon Ho!
      • It’s official … I’m going to GenCon 2007! Got my reservation, and my hotel room (which is a mile from the convention … but that’s ok … this year)
  • Promo: All Games Considered
  • Net News
    • 2006 LifeHack Review: Best 50 hacks for your Life
    • Website at the End of the Universe’s free 2007 calendar
      • Pulp pinups and science fiction writer birthdays populate this PDF-based calendar published by the Website at the End of the Universe. Featured magazines include Fantastic Adventures, Galaxy, and Weird Tales.
      • (Internet Archive link)
  • Music: Oblivion Theme Song
  • Game Review: Elder Scrolls IV: Oblivion
    • Overview
      • Game starts with the Emperor of the Empire of Cyrodiil escaping from assassins through his capital city’s dungeons … and the cell of one soon-to-be famous prisoner … you.
      • The Emperor soon falls to those who hunt him, and he asks you to carry his amulet to a trusted friend, which in turn leads you on a quest to find the Emperor’s last surviving son, a bastard baby hidden away years ago.
      • As the game unfolds, it is revealed that demonic forces from the plane known as Oblivion are invading the realm and seek to conquer it. Only you can shut the gates, find the Emperor’s son, and defeat Oblivion.
    • Review
      • The Good
        • Or not. I’ve been playing for weeks, and except for escaping from the prison and carrying the amulet to the emperor’s friend, I’ve ignore the main question.
        • Instead, I’ve gone exploring in what amounts to a freaking HUGE world. I’ve visited cities, joined guilds, snuck into locked houses, stolen goods, been arrested, traveled through vast wilderness, stumbled across ancient elven fortresses and ruined human keeps, found shrines to evil gods and fought in a gladiatorial arena.
        • In short, I’ve done pretty much done everything except save the world. The game is a huge sandbox, and it’s impossible to resist the urge to see what’s over the next hill, to find the next lost ruin, to push just a little bit further…
        • (and yes, this is the other reason Radio Active has been silent for so long)
        • The game looks amazing, with beautiful vistas, wonderful ruins and thunderstorms that feel like thunderstorms.
        • You can ignore the main quest, but if you follow it the game points out what to do next by giving you waypoints. Great for the more casual gamer.
      • The Bad:
      • The game has had more crashes and slowdowns than any other Xbox 360 game I’ve played (admittedly, that’s not a huge number, but still). It’s gotten better with my new Xbox, but still have slow downs.
        • Advancing your skills is difficult. There’s no KOTOR-style, d20-inspired skill points. Instead, your skills – like stealth, marksmanship, alchemy and illusion – increase with use.
        • They can also be increases by going to trainers … who cost a small portion. Thus, my sneaky darkblade-like sniper – who has illusion as a primary skill – is unable to do much illusionary magic because a) I can only use the one low-level illumination spell from that school and b) training him up costs huge amounts of gold for very minor, incremental increases.
        • Voice acting tends to repeat itself too frequently. I realize it’s a huge game, with a thousand plus NPCs … but I’d like more diversity to my NPCs voices.
        • Finally, if you’re going to have Patrick Stewart as the Emperor … make the Emperor look a little like Patrick Stewart. It’s a huge disconnect to hear such a famous voice coming from such a dowdy looking doomed patriarch.
      • Overall
      • Awesome game. Expansive, engaging and worth every hour you spend in it.
  • Outro
    • Coming up in Radio Active #45: Game reviews of the Midnight Syndicate “best of” album Out of Darkness, the horror board game Betrayal at the House on the Hill.
    • Contact Info:
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