Comedian Andrew Orvedahl Hates 'Destiny'

The Denver comedian rages against Bungie's MMO and celebrates 'Mad Max.'

Every once in awhile, Inverse jack-of-all-trades Brock Wilbur will interview funny people on some of our site’s favorite topics. Today we’ve got Denver comedian Andrew Orvedahl, who co-stars in the upcoming truTV comedy Those Who Can’t, has appeared on Jimmy Fallon, and whose album Hit the Dick Lights is available now from Greater Than Collective.

Photo credit: Ross Evertson

Andrew, we were just talking about video games we hate, and you had a favorite game to hate. What is it?

I hate Destiny. I used to love it, then it became love/hate, and then that festered into just plain ol’ hate. It’s probably the only game I hate that I’ve played for over 300 hours.

At first it was fun, and it looked beautiful and I was chugging along in the world, and then you enter this grind-zone, where you are just repeating tasks and destroying easy enemies just to try and get gear so you can do The Raid, which is the only challenging thing left in the game.

So of course after hours of grinding you finally get the gear, then you have to assemble six friends who also have the gear and are competent, and don’t have kids, and don’t have plans with their partners, so you can all sit down for six hours and give it a try. Then in hour five there is an unexplained lag and the raid is unplayable. Rinse and repeat.

Did you follow along with the DLC, The Taken King and growth of the game?

When I play Destiny now I feel like I should be earning minimum wage per hour. Like a day job. Back to the ether mines!

I played WoW for a bit, it really sucked me in. There’s an example of doing grinding right. Yes, you have to go and grind away to get good stuff, but the world is huge and diverse and unpredictable. You stray off the path and a giant sabertooth bear kills you.

Destiny doesn’t have that element. It’s like watching the same SyFy show on repeat. I did play Halo; I enjoyed the gameplay mechanics if not the dull and confusing story, which actually looks like high prose compared to Destiny’s story. Destiny’s story was written on a series of cocktail napkins that weren’t shown to the other writers.

The latest DLC is just a general revenge story. The father of the bad guy you kill in earlier DLC comes back for revenge. So you kill him. If that’s a story that’s blowing people away, it’s a sad indictment for narrative in games.

How’d you feel about Peter Dinklage being replaced as the VO Robot Friend by Video Game Soundboard Nolan North?

What’s sad is they are both terrible. I thought Dinklage was adequate but bored, and North is a real weenie. So we have these discussions while playing about who did it better and the end result is always “ehhhh, I guess North isn’t as bored?”

Dink sounded like they paid him to do exactly two takes of every line and he would do no more. North felt like someone trying too hard. Unfortunately they were both on opposite ends of the spectrum rotating around such awful material. “Uh oh. Look out ahead. Darkness lurks in the dark!”

I think there is real fun to be had with that Ghost character. If anything, it should be more self-aware, like “Isn’t it convenient it takes me exactly as long to hack into this door as it does for three waves of enemies to attack you? Because this happens every time.”

I think the ghost should sort of mock the player’s grinding with stuff like “Weren’t we just here?” or “I hope you at least brought some friends along.” Basically when I play Destiny it’s me and my comedian friends roasting the shit out of the game. Which actually is fun. We make our own fun in Destiny.

Enemies like Darkness and The Evil make me long for the days where the big bad was at least The Corporation.

Yeah, the Hive aliens are these mindless clumsy assholes who travel around in ships that look like they’re made from a discarded cocoon and they just have open windows into space in them. Someone signed off on all those ideas.

You mentioned that the grinding felt like rewatching the same SyFy show. Is grinding just part of culture now? Like, is The Work of Destiny the same way we interact with binging on nine seasons of a TV show on Netflix?

At least binging on a TV show brings you new stories, characters, etc. With Destiny it’s like “Well, Tanniks The Scarred, my old friend, let’s do this tired dance again,” then you chase Tanniks around and kill him for the 412th time. The best grinding worlds are unpredictable worlds, like Fallout, Skyrim, and WoW. Go wander around and get some experience, but you might just stumble into some scary shit.

I just did a replay of Fallout 3 and it reminded me of what a high bar that set for finding little choices and stories in every corner of a world. And I forget that became my bar for entering into game worlds, so it explains a lot of why I felt let down exploring entire worlds in Destiny and rarely finding anything memorable and surprising.

Let me ask you something: Which game did you prefer, Fallout 3 or Fallout 4?

Well, Fallout 3 for me is like the first time I remember putting in a video game and thinking “oh this is the possibility of the form.” Fallout 3 is like the first book I ever read as an adult. So in that way Fallout 4 cannot compare to that, but I’m watching my friends get so invested in the world of F4 that they are starting their own branded cigarette companies and stuff that I realize is extending the world into the big, beautiful livable place that I think I’ll wind up spending hundreds of hours in F4 by the end. That said, I don’t think it’s a better or smarter game. Where do you stand?

I was enjoying F4, especially the improved run and gun combat, but I think F3 is so much better. It felt unpredictable and dangerous, and you also felt like you really had choices in how to behave. In F4 it’s like you’re either a good guy or a sarcastic good guy.

Also I hate that the companions are both invincible and totally ineffective in combat. It was so hard to keep Dogmeat alive in F3! Because he could die forever. So it took real strategy to keep him alive. “Hmmm this looks like a sketchy building so stay here, Dogmeat.” I must have reloaded the game 60 times to keep him alive. But now — fuck it, I don’t even know or care where he is.

Then I started Mad Max, which I got in a Black Friday sale and I was like— “Oh wait holy shit; this is what I’ve been waiting for!” The hook of the Fallout games is that we’re playing in as close to a Mad Max world as we can get.

Sorry, your big game of the year is Mad Max? You’re literally the first person I’ve met who would say that.

It is my Game of the Year nominee. I seriously don’t understand the shitty reviews. I was going to create an account at Polygon just to flame roast their review, and then I saw I was too late and the comments were closed. Have you played it?

I got three or four hours into it and thought it was experiencing the Ubisoft Game Problem of just being a bunch of repetitive missions for the sake of having missions. I was actually on board and kept giving it chances, but that mutant dude who rides around with you felt like he just kept repeating the same four or five lines and that’s what broke it for me. “Look out! We need to repair this!” Okay, buddy. I get it, it’s the apocalypse and we’re driving a bad car. I’ll work on it.

I hated him at first but then he quickly grew on me, like a radioactive neck tumor. Cruising around the wasteland in a muscle car looking for trouble is right up my alley.

I love that you point out that this franchise is what Fallout is based on so it rightfully should take a place at the top of the games charts, but that also makes me think A Boy And His Dog deserves a killer game too.

The Mad Max game has so many out loud “Oh shit!” moments, where you just do something incredible either on purpose or even on accident. I also like that you can either go head on and try to tackle the campaign and it’s more challenging or you can do the side quest stuff and make it easier. They really give you both options, instead of the illusion of that choice.

I want to see a mech racing game that combines the racing fun of F-Zero with the fighting mechanics of a Street Fighter in mechs. Like you have to balance your heat build-up with your boost and weapons usage, and you could rip off limbs to cripple mechs and they have to pit stop to get repairs. Can I be that super specific?

Yes, you can. Because what you just invented is the God Particle of gaming.

Dude, I want it so bad.

Your album Hit The Dick Lights has an amazing closer about Battlefield 3, which is how I first knew you were so into games. It’s a pretty brutal takedown of a specifically sexual bit of game dialogue.

It’s funny you mention that, my friend’s son just got an Xbox 360 which came with a free copy of Battlefield 3 and I was like “Hey, that’s the game from my old closer!” and then I realized “Um, maybe don’t let him play that.” You understand why.

You can follow Andrew on Twitter.