More of the Early Republic era, where most stories are made up parables about how it’s good to support the state and bad to do anything else, such as in the story of Coriolanus, who turned against Rome but then turned back when his mom told him to.
A new podcast series, separate from our normal series, wherein we intend to trace the whole history of ancient Rome, from the founding until probably whenever we stop. This episode, Sagramore and Emily (or Aemilia, if you’re into the Latin business) start right from the beginning, with the founding of the city and the reign of it’s first king, Romulus. Oh yeah, we’re about to get all historical and highbrow.
So you’ve read both of our reviews of Tomb Raider. But you haven’t heard us talk to each other about it. And you certainly haven’t heard fan favorite guest host Tina talk about it. But we got you covered, because this podcast is all of those things, and more! The more being us talking about how the game is nothing but breasts and things on fire.
Picking up from where we left off last time, we use Sulla as a jumping off point for a rather long tangent about the transition from the Roman Republic to the Principate, the causes and effects, the flaws in the old system, and the possible necessity of a change in imperial management. All of our opinions, of course, are well-researched, based on perfect understanding of the history and the socio-political and economic factors involved, and in no way are biased or influenced by how awesome the people were.
We continue our history theme this episode, which was so packed full of important and completely substantiated discussion, that we split it in two. In this first half, we take a look at Lucius Cornelius Sulla, Roman politician, dictator, lover of young actor boys, and also a vampire. New historical analysis, right here, right now!
The new Tomb Raider is a time capsule masquerading as a game. In the future, there will be a college professor who will teach a class on video game history and design. He will make a syllabus that has a unit called, “Game Design, 2005-2015.” When the day comes for him to teach this unit to his class, he will assign them only this game, and say, “This pretty much covers all of it.”
Tomb Raider is aggressively hostile to originality in game design. When I try to write a description of what it is and how it plays, it reads like deliberate hyperbole.
For example: this game is a laundry list of every gameplay mechanic popular in the last ten years. Now, you read that, and think I mean that the game is chock full of mechanics, really too many for its own good, and that some of the mechanics feel underused and out of place. And you’d be correct to interpret my statement in that way, but you’re reading too deep into what I’m saying. My statement is simply true on its face: this game is a laundry list of popular gameplay mechanics. A mechanic is introduced, you do one thing with it, and then it is never mentioned again. It’s a checklist for AAA game developmet in playable form. It’s as if the devs created a tech demo showing off, one after another, all of the possible game mechanics they had thought up while brainstorming. “These are the ideas we came up with that we could put in the new Tomb Raider,” they say in their presentation to the producers. “If you don’t like any of them, we can start over, but we think we can build a really fun game out of two or three of these.” Imagine the looks on their faces when a clueless executive turned to them and said, “Yes, this looks good. Add a few more levels, stick in a final boss fight, and ship it.”
Deviating from our more recent podcasts that focus on modern media, today we take a step back in time to examine the Third Servile War, the war in which Spartacus the slave fought the armies of Rome as he trekked up and down Italy for over three years. How did this happen? Who was Spartacus? How close do the modern versions of the story adhere to the history? We answer maybe one and a half of those questions. But we learn something nonetheless.
Podcast Edit: in 71 BCE Pompey totally got to celebrate a triumph for defeating Sertorius. Don’t listen to Sagramore.