"Welcome to fucking Boatmurdered!"

I love video games. Unfortunately, I am total shit at some of them. Anything based on an FPS engine, for starters. I have zero sense of space without being able to actually stand in it, and I am chronically lost in level geometry. I can wander about and admire it, in a slapdash fashion, but when it comes to actually playing, I blunder around blindly and run into things and generally fail in a horrible fashion that is either hilarious or aggravating to no end, depending on whether you're watching me from the sidelines, or on my team in co-op mode. Similar problems plague me in dogfight sims.

Another category at which I am laughably bad is real-time strategy. I'm reasonably okay at SimCity things -- although I am way more amused by loading a scenario and then just triggering natural disasters while I laugh in a manner befitting an evil god -- but anything that involves military tactics is right out. I'm not actually short on the kind of plotting ability you need to win the things, just on the sort of patience you need to play against the computer. Metagaming against humans, I find exhausting and un-fun. I don't like playing chess or Risk, either.

So, for people like me, the Let's Play archive is a godsend. The whole idea of a "let's play", so far as I know, started on the Something Awful Forums. The goons are capable of teamwork, when it entertains them. (Also when it gives them the opportunity to mock people they see as annoying. "Let's Play" threads are still sometimes called "retsupurei" in faux Japanese, as a jab at the weeaboos.) There are loads of them, at lparchive.org, in a variety of formats ranging from informative text files with the occasional screenshot, to full group efforts involving screen-capped video and snarky narration.

One of the most infamous of these LP threads is the one about the round robin Dwarf Fortress game. There's an intro in the thread, but the basic idea of Dwarf Fortress is basically that it's SimDwarves to a ridiculous degree of precision. The graphics are ASCII-based, but the internal engine is complex and under continual development. None of this prevents your dwarves from occasionally acting lobotomized for no good reason.

The game has a random names generator for just about everything, including the name of the site your new fortress will occupy. This one is called Koganusân, which the game helpfully translates as "Boatmurdered". This is the first, although not the last, hint that things will go badly. The first turn or two go reasonably all right, but as soon as the elephants arrive, civilization begins to crumble in an ignominiously rapid fashion. Goblins arrive. Dwarves go insane. Elven environmentalists are enraged. Artisans develop a strange obsession with images of cheese. If you are not laughing so hard you hurt yourself by the end, you are not human.

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