The Fail Cycle

Healing and How to Make It All Better

This column is reprinted from Unwinnable Monthly #124. If you like what you see, grab the magazine for less than ten dollars, or subscribe and get all future magazines for half price.


A videogame deep soak.


R&D Committee
Meeting Minutes 3.17.19

1.     Roll Call

1.     [redacted] conducted a roll call. [redacted] and [redacted] were present. Steve was late. Again. And when he did show up, he was covered in muffin crumbs and even more wild eyed than normal.

2.     Approval of Meeting Minutes from last meeting

1.     [redacted] read the minutes from the last meeting. The minutes were approved with a short round of applause as read.

3.     Open Issue for the day:

1.     We need to get a lock for the muffin box for during meetings.

2.     [redacted] will buy a lock and make sure [redacted] does not have access to the key. Damn it Steve.

4.     New business:

1.     [redacted] was a huge success last year for [redacted] Studios, Inc., but players consistently complained that being a healer was boring. How can we improve on that?

[redacted]: “Alright everybody? Suggestions?”

[redacted]: “How deep do we want to go here?”

[redacted]: “How deep?”

[redacted]: “Well, Ma’am, our healer sucks at a basic mechanical level. Healers almost never impact directly on their teams’ objectives; the audiovisual feedback from their actions is feeble compared to something like the magic missile; everyone blames healers when they die, no one thanks healers when they don’t—”

[redacted]: “Oh my sweet demonic lord. We want to go less deep than that. Think shallower folks. Much shallower.”

[redacted]: “When I brush my hair, I scrunch up my forehead too much and I get headaches.”

[redacted]: “Too shallow Steve. Do you need to go outside again?”

[redacted]: “Well, how about they have to scavenge for coke cans and vegetables and pasta and stuff to heal people?”

[Everyone laughs at Steve]

[redacted]: “That’s, like, so stupid Steve. Like, just imagine it. ‘Oh, what was that Mr. Denton? You’ve fallen off a building and broken both your legs? That’s fine. Here’s 40 cans of Cola.’”

[redacted]: “Or ‘Oh dear, Detective Payne, have you just been shot repeatedly in the face? Not to worry. Chew on this entire container of Advil. It’ll fix you right up.’”

[redacted]: “You’re all mean.”

[redacted]: “Alright, alright, settle down Steve. Enough of that.”

[redacted]: “How about something more suited to the game? Like, what do fairies like to eat?”

[redacted]: “I don’t know. What do fairies like to eat?”

[redacted]: “Herbs.”

[redacted]: “Brilliant. That’s brilliant. Vague enough we can do whatever we want with them. Magic-sounding enough that it’ll not seem weird if your leg reattaches itself.”

[redacted]: “And there’s all, like, loads of games out there we can rip off as well. We barely have to do any original thought.”

[redacted]: [checking tablet screen] “Wild Arms just does berries.”

[redacted]: “Just berries? Not even a specific type of berry?”

[redacted]: “Hang on. Heal berries. They use heal berries.”

[redacted]: “Hmm. Very good. Write it down. Stands to reason that heal berries would be good. Probably high in antioxidants as well.”

[redacted]: “Actually as far as game herbs go, there’s, like, loads of them.

[redacted]: “For Don’t Starve, they used mandrake.”

[redacted]: “What does it do?”

[redacted]:Wikipedia says it was used to treat used to treat melancholy, convulsions and mania.”

[redacted]: “Ok. And does it work?”

[redacted]: “Can cause dryness of the mouth.”

[redacted]: “Not so bad. Not so bad.”

[redacted]: “Also: ‘difficulty in urinating, dizziness, headache, vomiting, blushing and a rapid heart rate. Hyperactivity and hallucinations also occurred in the majority of patients.’”

[redacted]: “So some good, some bad. Put it in the maybe column.”

[redacted]: “And asphyxiation.”

[redacted]: “In real life some people do actually eat the Bryonia from the Witcher series-”

[redacted]: “Excellent.”

[redacted]: “-but they shouldn’t.”

[redacted]: “They prescribe bluebells for a sore ankle in Valkyrie Chronicles. They call them something else, but, really, basically, if we’re honest, it’s bluebells.”

[redacted]: “Keep talking. Fairies and bluebells go together like greed and guacamole sandwiches. Delicious.”

[redacted]: “They’re very toxic. And, like, they make you pee a lot. But if you crush them, you can use the starch to keep your ruff so stiff.”

[redacted]: “Again with the ruff stuff. You’re the only one in here wearing a ruff, [redacted]. No one else is going to put on a ruff as well, no matter how many times you bring it up.”

[redacted]:Suikoden 3 has ‘Asian Herb C.’”

[redacted]: “I like it. Finally, a good suggestion from Steve. Herb B. C. Green herbs. Red herbs.”

[redacted]: “Have you ever played Mario? Like, seriously, what do you thinks happening with the fire flowers? Is he, like, actually eating them?”

[redacted]: “I’m looking up the wiki right now.”

[redacted]: “Or is he rubbing them on his skin or something?”

[redacted]: “Doesn’t say. Maybe they’re guns and the fireballs actually come out of the flowers themselves? The mushrooms are what I want to know about. Do you think he actually gets bigger when he eats them? Or does he just think he does because of… you know…”

[redacted]: “They’re so small?”

[redacted]: “I meant because he was tripping. But sure.”

[redacted]: “Focus people. We’ve work to do here.”

[redacted]: “Oh here it is! In Paper Mario, Mario definitely does eat the flowers.”

[redacted]: “Focus!”

[redacted]: “Can’t we just have players shoot people to make them better?”

[redacted]: “I like it. I like it. Good direction…”

[redacted]: “But isn’t it a bit, like, out of place for us? If our sweet little mole creatures are, like, suddenly shouldering rocket launchers?”

[redacted]: “So… a stick? Hit your friends with sticks until they feel better.”

[redacted]: “That’s it. Boom. You’re a genius.”

[redacted]: “So we can go.”

[redacted]: “Damn right. It’s time to go roll in some money.”

[redacted]: “And muffins.”

[redacted]: “Yes, yes. Money and muffins. Hail money!”

All: “Hail money!”

[Everyone high fives and leaves]

Minutes submitted by: [redacted]

Minutes approved by: [redacted]


Declan Taggart wrote a short, free word game about Vikings and the end of the world. For your own good, he recommends you play it (over here) and then go and complain to him about it on Twitter @NonsenseThunder.

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