This week’s edition of Command Fiction stars the infamous “F-22s didn’t score an air-to-air kill but A-10s did” incident I mentioned before. The scenario is “Breaking Bad”, or rather an earlier test version, since revisiting it showed much more enemy air assets than the one Cessna I encountered in my playthrough.
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So, there’s been a lot of hooting and hollering from that crowd about how F-22s didn’t score an air to air kill in the mission to clear out the Bab-al-Mandab strait, but how an A-10 did.
This had nothing to do with the aircraft and everything to do with the ROEs and context. The aircraft in question was a Cessna 208 Combat Caravan that was apparently being used as a surveillance platform. It was unarmed, posed little threat to the operation, and could be mistaken for a civilian one. As a result, the F-22s screening a package in preparation for rumored launches from fighters to the north (that never happened) had enough reasonable doubt as to not open fire.
By the time A-10s began attacking, the reasonable doubt had been lifted as no civilian aircraft would stay in the air that long. Thus they got permission to engage, and the rest is history. One Sidewinder, one hit, confirmed by enemy reactions, pictures of the wreck, and ground forces overrunning said wreck.
The forces worked as a team to secure the strait, with each aircraft doing its part. That an A-10 scored an opportunity victory was just a coincidential footnote. The F-22s potentially deterred the enemy fighters from launching, thus accomplishing their goals without firing a shot.
Last year, I did a three part series of posts on Baloogan Campaign detailing a big what-if that many alternate history scholars have speculated-if Iraq had been more proactive in the 1991 Gulf War, how damaging would it have been to the US-led coalition?
Now I’ve decided to link back to them, seeing another “WI greater Iraq competence” thread on alternatehistory.com (where I cited the simulation posts).
I have to admit, I have less enthusiasm for Fallout 4 now than I did when it was released. Part of this is me knowing what happened rather than going into the game excitedly, but that’s not everything. (After all, I loved New Vegas despite my runs adhering rigidly to walkthroughs)
I think one big thematic misstep, which one of my favorite game bloggers, Shamus Young agrees with, is making the protagonist voiced. It’s a sort of uncanny valley where they’re too detailed to just be a blank slate, but aren’t detailed enough to be an interesting character themselves.
(That I’m not impressed by the voice acting doesn’t help matters either)
I had three couriers for my New Vegas playthrough. One was a talker who sided with the NCR, one a brute who sided with Caesar’s Legion, and one a physically weak ex-gangster who sided with Mr. House to redeem themselves. (Said courier compensated for her physical weakness by getting power armor and blasting the final boss with a super-railgun).
Even games without the customization of New Vegas make blank slates. For the protagonist of Undertale, the players (eventually) know their name, that they’re nice, and that’s it. For a Pokemon trainer, their family is known, but they’re not.
I do invent backstories for blank slate characters that often contradict the rest of the setting. Why not?
Skylight is an indie RPG that was created by a developer with far more enthusiasm than programming skill. The game was a sort-of sequel to an infamous one known as The Demon Rush, legendary for its inefficient programming. (The TV Tropes pages for both can serve as a brief introduction)
So, a few years ago, to have something to do over a long December (always, traditionally one of my most stressful times-I do not like holidays or winter), I got Skylight.
I made it all the way to the final boss before returning to normal and going “what was I playing?” (Not that the story was much good, but I did see the ending in a Let’s Play later on).
Now, as a game, Skylight is an embarrassing failure. The music is terrible (one infamous song had two parts in two different keys going at once), the graphics look like scribbled isometric designs because they are, the mechanics try to be deeper than they actually are, and the plot is a dumbly escalating mess that never acknowledges its own craziness (for one example, it has groups called the New Canadian Order and Neo De-Confederates).
Boss fights are either boring and easy smash-fests or incredibly hard ones that require a specific build to win at all. Normal battles are incredibly repetitive due to the total lack of variety among opponents.
And yet-the game accomplished its purpose by keeping me occupied for that time. In that sense, it was the worst success I’ve played.