100,000 Downloads for "Da Sickos"
Big numby! Big numby! Big numby!
Folks, the Anime Sickos Podcast has officially been downloaded 100,000 times.
I should clarify that this figure is derived from Libsyn’s “Unique Downloads” count, not “IAB Downloads,” an inscrutable other way of counting downloads that is invariably lower. You may recall how we use IAB downloads in our end-of-year stat roundups, and wonder why now we are switching to the other version. Well obviously it is because the other version has a very impressive number right now and we are proud.
Way back in our first ever newsletter, we shared a post from a true crime murder podcast that was self-congratulating for getting 150,000 downloads in five months. We noted then that for us to reach the same milestone, it would take 25 years. Well, joke’s on us. Due to our incredible rise to popularity and prominence, at our current pace it will now only take four years. Many thanks to all the Sicko fans out there who have tuned in to our yammering and jabbering. We hope you enjoyed doing it!
Here’s a little peek at “da process”—when we see actual news on the horizon, we will plan to do a newsletter for it where we mention it in the top paragraph. We then say we will try to find time to write a bunch of lil bits to fill it out by the time we send it out. Well, that didn’t happen. I only wrote one thing, and Joe has been, understandably, rather busy lately. Oh well, lol
Tom Played a Ton of Dragon Quest
So I just finished Dragon Quest 5. This is the one where you can recruit monsters into your party like Pokemon instead of just having your standard cadre of Dragon Quest guys. Of course, later on you do accrue some human party members, notably your guy’s wife, son, and daughter, but for a lot of the game it’s just going to be monsters.
Party members tend to be less well-rounded than in previous games, so to have access to the full spread of important spells, it behooves you to gather a big boisterous gaggle of different funny Toriyama monsters. It’s lovely. You can also swap any number of party members in and out every turn with no downside so every monster will eventually get a chance to shine and make you love them.
I’ve been playing these in chronological order, and I think it’s safe to say Dragon Quest 5 is at least the best one since 3, and may even be better than 3—hard to call. It’s definitely a cut above 4. DQ4 was a very necessary step in the series’ development as it was the first to focus on the personalities and specific motivations of your party members. The way it does this is by starting the game with four little mini-Dragon Quests where one to three of your eventual party members have a little solo prologue adventure that ends with some variation of “I saved the day, but it sure seems like something worse is coming...something only a Main Character can stop! I sure hope I can find a Main Character!” This is fun, to be clear, but it means that the actual non-prologue part with the whole gang gathered together—you know, the actual Dragon Quest game—is disappointingly short.
But back to 5 and the reason I’m writing this.
The final boss of the game is some fucking guy who loves evil. Who gives a shit. It’s always the same. The trick here is that there’s no save point or free heal before the fight, which is at the end of a long dungeon full of tough enemies. The dungeon isn’t overwhelmingly difficult, but you’re going to have to do a lot of healing by the time you get to the boss. Normally this is not an issue. Dragon Quest games usually give you a free full heal before a major boss so I didn’t think it was a problem that I was running low on MP. Thus when I realized I had just triggered the final boss fight I became the Will Arnett “I’ve made a huge mistake” reaction gif.
Now my main crew up to this point was my main guy, the son (the legendary hero, the most complete single party member, held back only by low HP as he is still a kid), a golem (huge, strong, great defense), and the daughter (a fairly weak spellcaster with no healing but crucially, she does have the “Oomph” spell which doubles an ally’s attack power, a crazy good spell). The daughter was also carrying the Sage Stone, a reusable item that moderately heals the whole party for no MP. The plan was for her to Oomph everyone and then throw out other support spells, while using the Sage Stone when there was nothing else for her to do.
In the reserve, I had:
The wife, who is a pretty much identical spellcaster to the daughter but with way worse stats (she was at a lower level since she was turned to stone for a lot of the game while the daughter kept leveling up).
My orc king Ward, who had a spell that healed all party members for most of their HP, could revive KO’ed characters, and whose main weapon missed often but always did a critical hit when it connected. He was less important than the main four so he didn’t have high ticket armor equipped.
Some crappy monster whose stats and kit were crap. It was the last monster I recruited all game. I never used him and would have sent him to monster day care ASAP if I had ever recruited anything else.
And finally, the star of the show, the reason I am writing this at all: my Slime Knight, Goodian. If you are not aware, Slime Knights are little guys who bounce around on big green slimes. Like all slime based characters, his name is a pun on goo/ooze. I am not positive what it’s actually punning on. I think “Guardian,” which is a patently absurd stretch. Here is what Goodian looks like:
Goodian was the second monster I ever recruited. Slime Knights are incredible early/midgame as they are easy to level up, don’t have a maximum level, have good stats, can be equipped with strong, common weapons and armor, and learn healing spells. However, eventually my golem outpaced him in both offense and survivability, and the son also has the full complement of healing spells so Goodian no longer had a unique role to play on the squad. But I couldn’t bear to send him away to monster day care. He’d been there with me since the beginning. He was my homie.
So, back to the final boss. I go to have the daughter cast Oomph on my Golem as usual. Turns out: uh oh, I am fucked, she is totally out of MP. As in zero. Now normally when a spellcasting party member runs out of MP, you swap them out. However, you’ll recall she has the Sage Stone, the item that gives free healing. I can’t afford to not be hitting the Sage Stone at least every other turn, and you’re not allowed to transfer items between characters during a fight. So right away I am fighting at like 33% strength. Not only is a quarter of my party just dead weight in terms of offense, but my damage dealers who I am used to having do double damage from Oomph are all now operating at half efficiency. This, to be clear, sucks!
So I am on the skin of my teeth here. My main guy and his son still have a good chunk of MP to use on defensive spells and emergency healing when the Sage Stone isn’t enough, but it’s not enough to sustain a long fight, which this is. Finally, I defeat the boss—it’s a little easier than I expected, but then again, these games aren’t notoriously hard. Well turns out no. Now comes phase two where he gets huge and does MUCH more damage, and also he attacks twice per turn now.
This is brutal. I am barely keeping my team alive, often having to take huge risks leaving party members under 50% health because I can’t afford to spend the MP on healing, better to hope the boss doesn’t target them and just heal with Sage Stone next turn. Meanwhile I am applying my dinky un-Oomphed damage to the boss, who eventually starts using a self-heal as one of his two attacks. Great, that’s all I need—drag it out even more.
Eventually my boys run out of MP—no more healing from them. I swap in my orc king Ward. He performs admirably, healing the crew and getting some crits in. Eventually some party members get KOed but luckily Ward knows Kazing and can revive them—up until I remember why I rarely use him. His max MP is crazy low and he very quickly runs out and gets KO’ed. There’s no bringing him back—everyone who knows revive spells is fresh out of MP. I get the bright idea to swap in the wife, as she knows Oomph, to buff da boys. She won’t last long but hey, even one turn will double the damage output of one of da boys, it’ll have an impact! No—she is instantly KOed before she can act.
I swap in Goodian. He’s not as strong as the rest and he too quickly runs out of MP for healing, but I have no other options. He is equipped with a sword that heals him for 25% of the damage it deals. Since the boss has high defense and there’s no one to cast Oomph on him, the healing is miniscule, but it’s there. At this point I’ll take any sustainability I can get. Eventually the daughter is KO’ed, and with her goes the Sage Stone, the last healing the party is capable of. From now on, HP can only go down.
Down goes my golem. Down goes the son—the Legendary Hero destined to defeat evil. Down goes my guy. Down goes the shitty seat-filler monster who has no gear or spells to speak of. The only one left is Goodian. My homie. The guy who’s stuck with me from the very beginning. I say, out loud, “it’s up to you, buddy. It’s you or no one.”
I have no idea how close I am to defeating the boss. There’s no health bar, and I can’t even do mental math since who knows how much HP his self-heal move replenishes. Eventually Goodian is left with only a sliver of health. This next turn will certainly be the last of the fight one way or the other. I note, as a curiosity more than anything, that if not for the self-heal from his sword, he would not have this little sliver and would have been KO’ed already.
The next turn, he defeats the boss.
Goodian. GOODIAN. MY MAN. A tear falls from my eye.
The game concludes with a big friendly dragon flying you to all the important locations from your guy’s adventure, where all his friends and allies remark about how proud they are of him, how they knew he could defeat the big evil guy, how happy they are to now live in a world of peace and safety won by his hand. They thank you, they thank your wife, they thank your children. They do not thank Goodian.
I feel like a fraud. Every new city we visit, every old face coming up to me with joy and gratitude, makes me remember more and more—I didn’t earn this. It was Goodian. He’s the hero. He was the warrior of destiny who stood alone where none else could and struck down the lord of evil.
Eventually we reach the final destination of our victory lap: Gotha, the kingdom where my guy is technically king (long story). The center of Gotha features a set of huge tables, where the citizens are all chowing down on a celebratory feast. I note to my delight that among the villagers are my monster buddies. There’s Mason the golem. There’s Ward the orc king who is adorably noted as “acting shy” in the big crowd. And at the very head of the top table is my boy. My homie bouncing on his slime. Goodian. I go to talk to him, and he says the only thing he ever has all game: “Parry! Contretemps!”
Parry contretemps indeed, old friend. Humble to the end, like a true hero. The game didn’t give him his due, but I will. Let all who read this remember the story of Goodian, the hero.