Friday 7 June 2019

What's Your Story - Vetinari

Answers: Vetinari
Introduction and Captions: TBD

Time to introduce someone who's recently been commenting on our Nippon Safes, Inc. posts - Vetinari!

Si non confectus, non reficiat

Vetinari has admitted to commenting once before, anonymously, on a post on the Cyborg Missed Classic.

My home country is…

Italy, home of Super Mario and the Fettuccine Alfredo (not really).

In kindergarten I was taught that Italy looked like a boot kicking a football... by a teacher who'd clearly never seen a football.

My age is…

42, the answer to life the universe and everything. Even if this should have given me some sort of wisdom about the mystery of our existence, I cannot in good faith say that I feel very much smarter than I was one year ago (or even ten years ago, for that matter).

The first adventure game I played was…

"Zak McKracken and the Alien Mindbenders" on my Commodore 64, in 1988. It blew me away, and I've been a rabid adventure gamer since then. I played almost every graphic adventure and text adventure that was available, at least up to the turn of the millennium. After that I relented a little bit, but I still play some newer adventure now and then, and also replay some old classics. Recently I played "Unavowed" and "Technobabylon", as well as "Day of the Tentacle" (for the n-th time).

Perhaps when we reach our 1993 games, Vetinari will play along and make it (n+1) playthroughs.

My favourite adventure game is…

"Grim Fandango" without a doubt. I even called my two cats Manny and Meche since I am such a great fan. It has all: incredible atmosphere, good puzzles, and a wonderful redemption story.

Funny thing is, when it came out I didn't play it and wasn't interested in it, because it felt such a big departure from the previous Lucasarts games with its 3d environment and strange interface. One of my college friends had it and while discussing good adventure games that we hadn't played, I agreed to lend her my copy of "Broken Sword" and she lent me "Grim Fandango", even if I wasn't that keen to try it. Needless to say, I played a little bit and got hooked immediately.

My second favourite adventure game of all time is "Planescape Torment" (which according to me is more of an adventure than an RPG, at least if played "right"), and the third is "Shadow of Memories/Shadow of Destiny" by Junko Kawano, which could be the only really outstanding game about time travel ever made, even if not without its faults.

Thinking about it, I now notice that all of my favourite games are about protagonists that start the game already dead. There could be something to be said about it, but maybe I'll just leave it to that.

Don't cry for me - I'm already dead.

When I’m not playing games I like to…

I'm an avid boardgamer, and that is the hobby that occupies most of my free time, at least in recent years. Other hobbies: playing guitar, reading (my nickname comes from a famous series of fantasy books - guess what) and watching movies (I am a little bit of a cinéphile).

I like my games in (a box, digital format)…

I don't like boxes, they take up space and I am not swayed by the nostalgia factor enough to keep them around. I very much prefer the digital format.

The thing I miss about old games is…

Well, I continue to play old games with emulators, so this is really a moot point. But probably what the new games lack, at least from my perspective, is the feeling of immersion, the idea that you could lose yourself inside the world of the games for hours at end.
Maybe it is more of a factor because when you get older you have less free time, and so you don't have the possibility to really "get into" the gaming world like you used to do when you were young. But that is true for all the things that you did when you were a kid, because of responsibilities and all that. Man, I feel dejected right now.

The best thing about modern games is…

Better graphics, better music, things like that. New games are also more forgiving and try to ease the player into the gameplay a little bit more, so they are less frustrating. This however tends to result in easier games, which can feel a little hollow. Well, you can't have everything.

The one TV show I never miss is…

Right now, none. Streaming and similar services make it so that I very rarely (if ever) watch regular tv.

The series that I most recently watched are "The Marvelous Mrs. Maisel".
Some of the ones in the past that I followed quite fondly would be for example "Life on Mars" (the UK version, the US one is awful) and "Leverage".

Probably not part of the Marvel Cinematic Universe

If I could see any band live it would be…

I suppose that I couldn't choose to travel back in time and see a band which is not performing anymore...

In that case, I really am a great fan of They Might Be Giants, but sadly they tour very rarely in Europe, and never did a gig in Italy, so, yes, it would be Them.

My favourite movie is…

"The Sting". I can quote the dialogues almost verbatim. It is a great example of what Hollywood can do to make a great entertainment movie which is anyway not dumb and has a great story.

In general anyway I am a bit of a movie buff and I have an expansive DVD collection with movies from the 1920s to the present day.

Excellent choice!

One interesting thing about me is…

I speak (more or less fluently) four languages, but none of them (not even Italian which is my mother tongue) I learned at school.


  1. Hey Vetinari! You chose a lot of my favorites, as well! I love Planescape and definitely agree that it's more of an adventure game if you're playing the right build. Which gives you a chance to appreciate its great writing and puzzles. So good.

    Also love that even without seeing your name at first, TBD chose the best picture, so I was already smiling at the Discworld reference before clicking open the post.

    1. Those Paul Kidby character images are downright iconic, I agree! And it is nice to know another Discworld fan, as well ;)

  2. Hah, you might as well be me, except I'm 42 in a couple of months. I started with Maniac Mansion on the c64, enjoying the multiple solutions, and Zac McCracken for the switching characters and strange locales. Also, microwave hijinks.

    I've never finished Planescape, and it's one of my biggest regrets for how much I enjoy the setting and getting.. Vaguely..a third of the way through?

    Have fun!

    1. You have to give a go at finishing Planescape! The really good parts (not that there are any bad parts, per se) come from half-point and onwards!

    2. Oh, I guess I got half way through, at least. I had most of the companions and had visited a few key dungeons for exposition. Agree that a character with high wis and cha is not typically the mechanical favourite but the game rewards it- neither those two stats common for the classes you can play.

      I like Planescape, dark Sun and spelljammer as campaign settings and wish there were more.

    3. Never played Dark Sun, but I agree that Planescape and Spelljammer were excellent settings. Unfortunately as CRPGs (because of the player expectations, mainly) you can only do so much to do them justice.

    4. Darksun 1 and 2 are great. Exp in abundance means massive multiclassing is viable. Super statted characters, a great landscape and a rarity of metal. Familiar but localised versions of spells, unique creatures and cannibal halflings! Clerics as druids, life stealing wizards and great representations of spell aoe. Can't rate them highly enough!

      Spelljammer in the vein of the Buck Rogers Doomsday device would have been neat.

  3. Yeah, I wanted to like Planescape: Torment, but I got bogged down pretty quickly by the RPG aspects, oddly enough. Normally I very much enjoy RPGs, and hybrids can be the best of both worlds (Quest for Glory, etc). Maybe I didn't have the right build, but I was having trouble moving around the city without getting into lots of trash fights that would sap my HP. I could rest myself, but my companions (I think mostly the skull at that point) didn't seem to have any recovery options. I was probably overlooking something. I should give it another whirl at some point.

    1. If you were getting into lots of trash fights you definitely didn't have the "right" (for a certain definition of right, anyways) build. The idea behind my approach is to solve everything by talking, so you have to approach it in the opposite way that you would approach a conventional D&D game (for dump stats and so on...)

  4. One of these days, I will play Planescape: Torment. I have it. I've played the first five minutes. But I keep finding other things to do. :/

    I am considering playing the new Baldurs Gate expansion soon. I did a replay of that game a couple of months back during a lull un adventure gaming. I don't think I'm going to get another lull for a bit.

    1. Baldur's Gate is excellent, but Planescape Torment is in a whole other ballpark. When you will try it you will appreciate it, guaranteed.

  5. I completed Planescape: Torment on January 1st this year. Excellent story and worldbuilding, but I agree that it'd been better as an adventure game. One thing that bugged me though was the pacing: especially early on, it felt like the plotline quests had too many irrelevant subquests and sub-subquests that stretched out the narrative, making me lose interest for whole months at a time. I'm glad I pushed through, because it eventually picked up in pace and in the end lived up to the hype quite well. The music and atmosphere in the final dungeon were phenomenal.

    1. Main thing is that I think that the pacing is supposed to be that way.
      You start the game without knowing anything, so you try to understand something, anything at all, by exploring and doing errands in your immediate environment, and begin putting together the pieces of this puzzle, and then after you have found enough information about yourself, the game starts getting into high gear and the proper epic part of the quest to find who you really are begins.

  6. In addition to the PS:T praise (which I will add my voice to, though like Laukku, it took me a while to get through the poorly-paced spots), I'll say that I say a Let's Play of Shadow of Destiny a few years ago and it looked pretty goofy, but in a good way, and since then it's been on my list-of-games-to-look-out-for, though it's a hard one to find these days (and apparently the PC port isn't too great?). But hey, any game where Charles Martinet voices an evil(?) genie is a good game in my book.

    1. Shadow of Destiny has a big problem, and it is that you cannot see the whole story in one playthrough. You need to get all five endings to have the whole story, and then the New Game+ ending to have the "real" epilogue.

      Which in any other game would be a dealbreaker, but since it is at its core a game about parallel universes created by going backwards and forwards through time, it is very apt (since it goes with the very philosophy of the game) that also the gameplay itself would follow the same principle.

  7. You guys are seriously tempting me to play Planescape: Torment now and I really don't have time... If I get sucked in and Batman is late, you have only yourselves to blame...

    1. Typical progression of a "What is the best video game story?" forum thread:

      Post #1: "Hey guys what do you think is the best story in a video game?"

      Post #2: "There is only one answer... [image of PS:T front cover]"

      Post #3: "[quote of post #2] /thread"

      Post #4: "I was gonna say PS:T but [#2's poster] was too fast"

      [rest of thread devolves into quoting memes like "The best book you'll ever play", "What can change the nature of a man?", "The best game you'll ever read"]

  8. I'll add to the chorus of Planescape: Torment - great game!

    And because two of Vetinari's top 3 are also some of my favourites, I should look into playing Shadow of Destiny.

  9. Yes, you absolutely should!
    And thanks for the images and captions, they were great.


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