Notes on Deathloop #9

I found this very intriguing Reddit thread on Deathloop’s lore (it’s obviously full of spoilers). There’s some crazy shit in there. And apparently Deathloop is part of the Dishonored universe after all! Looks like I’ll have to play Dishonored again at some point.

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Because of my time in Spain and because I’ve plunged myself head-on into work afterwards, I haven’t been posting regularly about new Private Citizen episodes. If you’ve missed some because of that, you’ll have to play some catch-up now:

The Private Citizen 87: Afghaniscam?

14 September 2021

You expect me to believe that the best funded, best trained, best organised and most experienced military in history left military arms behind in a hasty retreat that are worth more than the annual military budget of all but two countries on the globe? Seriously?


The Private Citizen 88: Jamaican Traffic Lights

6 October 2021

Will the recent German federal election be followed by time of horrible uncertainty, that is will it be the country’s Brexit moment, or is it actually a good thing? This episode discusses the election result and gives a historic explainer of the German parliamentary system.


The Private Citizen 89: The Cult of the Vaccine

11 October 2021

How can the hope of a new drug that might help fight COVID-19 get turned into bad news? Bad journalism, that’s how. Let’s look at how Matt Taibbi breaks it down in his exemplary writing on the topic.


The Private Citizen 90: Blowing the Wrong Whistle

13 October 2021

What’s more in your interest? Stopping Facebook from leeching off the private data of your life to further its monopoly or forcing it to censor your speech? And now take a guess which of the two politicians want to do and journalists are ecstatic about?


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Notes on Deathloop #8

Deathloop is a lot of fun! There’s nothing better than starting your day by going for a hunt and killing a visionary. I’m slowly getting the hang of how this game works: its systems, how to outwit the enemies and all of the (rather complicated) little intricacies of the time loop. But key is that I’ve accepted that it’s OK to die. Once you start building your armoury of weapons and powers that persist between loops, you start to lose the fear of dying. Which takes away the stress that usually comes with these kinds of stealth games. You’re OK with it if things start going to shit five minutes into silently creeping around.

I usually try to play it stealthy at first and then, if I get discovered I kill all nearby enemies and hide for a while. Things won’t completely go back to normal, but that way I can creep up on the next batch of enemies to murder them too. So far, I haven’t finished a single run stealthily. But you know what? The game has never given me the slightest suggestion that this isn’t the way it’s meant to be played.

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Among the many things he was, John McAfee also was a gifted writer. I had no idea.

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I’ve got the following plan for the next few episode releases of my podcast The Private Citizen, which should get me back up to this year’s schedule of the four episodes a month that I’ve promised for the show:

The Private Citizen 91, 20 October 2021: Bugs in our Pockets

  • Bugs in our Pockets: The Risks of Client-Side Scanning — Whitfield Diffie of Diffie-Hellman fame (co-invented public-key crypto), Ronald Rivest co-invented RSA, Steven M. Bellovin co-invented encrypted key exchange and is credited with inventing the firewall, Josh Benaloh invented the Benaloh cryptosystem, Jon Callas is one of the founders of PGP Inc. and co-founder of Silent Circle, Peter Neumann is the editor of the RISK Digest, Carmela Troncoso was the main author of the original DP-3T paper, Bruce Schneier, Matt Blaze and Ross Anderson are well-known crypto and security experts

The Private Citizen 92, 25 October 2021: CIA vs. WikiLeaks

The Private Citizen 93, 27 October 2021: iOS Do Not Track

I also have the following topics on my list, which I want to cover as soon as possible in further episodes (I might do an episode where I lump a couple of smaller topics together, too):

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Notes on Deathloop #7

This RPS story on Deathloop is spot on.

In his Deathloop review, Brendy described Colt as “playing it by ass”. I liked that line, but I didn’t yet understand its true gravitas. I am now enlightened. I have beheld the true ass of Colt, and I have grasped its magnitude: Colt’s ass is the antithesis to Dishonored’s heart. Blam. Boot. Blam. None of you are free of sin.

Absent the spectral whispers of a murdered empress for guidance, or the crushing burden of a city teetering between ruin and hope, Colt allows his glute-instincts to scribble his itinerary through Murderparty Island. While my Emily Kaldwin peers at the souls of militia trapped by poverty and circumstance and opts for the sleep darts, my Colt is stifling laughter as he sticks four proximity mines to a firework and launches it at a happy drunk.

Deathloop encourages this by not only scrapping Dishonored’s wagging narrative finger, but actively lopping it off with a machete. Then it sews on a new finger, perpetually pointing out an array of blissful idiots who simply cannot get enough of the very edge of roofs. Colt is the rare videogame shootyman who isn’t Doom Guy and just straight up enjoys his job as much as the player does. Both he and Julliana are Arkane protagonists cut from the cloth that the studio usually reserves for its much more interesting fringe oddballs while the leading parts go to stoics and mutes. I have some gripes with Deathloop, but I’ll take Colt and Julianna’s worst one liners over Corvo lamenting Dishonored’s much more interesting world while he perches on a roof like a grim, guilt-ridden, gravel-throated gargoyle. Homicidal glee is, it turns out, incredibly infectious.

Lighthearted time loop stories usually feature a sort of ‘seven stages of grief’ arc. Confusion. Despair. Acceptance. Then playful nihilism, like Bill Murray eating facefuls of cake for breakfast. This is always the best part. Deathloop knows this. Personal growth and altruism are for suckers who don’t recognise a good thing when they see it. Revenge is best served in perpetuity, in the pettiest ways imaginable. Bill Murray never had to floss again, and Colt never has to wash the face fragments off his best kicking boots.

I think that sums up pretty well why I like this game so much. It isn’t as full of itself and its world as Dishonored and it’s simply a lot more fun to play than Prey. And the time loop, while on the face of it being a pretty tired literary device, does explain a lot of things rather neatly that videogames often struggle with. Like how you come back after you die as a player. Why the main character speaks to himself. How he knows certain things. And why he doesn’t care what happens to people and happily goes on a murdering rampage.

Games like Dishonored give you a ton of cool weapons and then basically tell you off for using them. Because you killed someone or didn’t completely ghost a level. Deathloop does away with all of this crap and lets you have fun. This time, you actually can play the way you like. That was probably the best decision Arkane ever made.

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I took part in the beta weekend for Icarus and streamed my gameplay of it yesterday and today. I’m planning to do the same for the next two of those beta weekends, as I’m currently writing a review of the game and might as well. If you’ve missed the streams and want to watch the first ten hours of me figuring out its mechanics, check out these three recordings on YouTube:



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Blowing the Wrong Whistle

Facebook Whistleblower Frances Haugen is being used by politicians and the media to further their agenda instead of our interests. Don’t be fooled.
Read more →

Notes on Deathloop #6

I’m actually getting somewhere in this game! And it’s fun! I think I really dig this one. First Arkane game I can actually enjoy fully.

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We have now reached a stage of collective madness where a drug that could potentially save thousands of lives is actually seen as bad, because it doesn’t fit the accepted propaganda line. Or as Matt Taibbi puts it so eloquently:

Since the start of the Trump years, we’ve been introduced to a new kind of news story, which assumes adults can’t handle multiple ideas at once, and has reporters frantically wrapping facts deemed dangerous, unorthodox, or even just insufficiently obvious in layers of disclaimers. The fear of uncontrolled audience brain-drift is now so great that even offhand references must come swaddled in these journalistic Surgeon General’s warnings.

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