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91 minutes | Aug 1, 2022
Episode 131 - Spelunky
Nate, Sebastian, Jordan, and Max all gather to discuss SPELUNKY, or at least the HD remake of it, the procedurally-generated platformer from 2012. We discuss the perils and promises of proc-gen elements in games, how dangerous complexity can arise from beautiful simplicity, and whether it's okay to use a pug to trigger an arrow trap. Nate relates stories of horrible coincidence, Sebastian considers suing Rube Goldberg, and Jordan becomes compelled.
90 minutes | Jul 11, 2022
Episode 130 - Spec Ops: The Line
Nate, Sebastian, Ryan, and Brock gather to discuss SPEC OPS: THE LINE, Yager's 2012 deconstruction of the military shooter genre. We discuss unreliable narrators, war crimes, and slammin' your back into some cover to shoot some guys. Nate watches Ryan commit a real Geneva Convention no-no over livestream, Sebastian wonders if the game doesn't spread its satirical ambitions too thin, and Brock wonders if listeners are still having fun.
85 minutes | Jun 20, 2022
Episode 129 - Telltale's The Walking Dead: Season One
Nate, Sebastian, and Jordan gather to discuss Telltale Games' THE WALKING DEAD, or at least the first season of it -- a resurgence of the adventure game genre and episodic storytelling. We discuss how episodic games mimic episodic TV, the difficulties with post-apocalyptic fiction, and the different ways in which player choice can affect the plot and/or texture of a game's story. Nate is disturbed to return to this story as a parent, Sebastian regrets the time he's spent on the wider Walking Dead franchise, and Jordan defends the honor of a humble Doug.
75 minutes | May 30, 2022
Episode 128 - Journey
Nate, Sebastian, and Andrew convene to discuss JOURNEY, thatgamecompany's stunning example of minimalism and symphonic splendor from 2012. We discuss anonymity and fleeting, digital human interaction, "art" games, and how videogames are, at heart, about a little guy goin' around. Nate and Andrew share parallel experiences of finding solace in art games during difficult times, and Sebastian doesn't stop believing.
95 minutes | May 9, 2022
Episode 127 - The Elder Scrolls V: Skyrim
Nate, Sebastian, Ryan, and David all gather to discuss THE ELDER SCROLLS V: SKYRIM, Bethesda's open-world RPG from 2011. We talk about big games, scrounging, and the mechanics of pickpocketing. Nate enjoys his first trip to Tamriel, Ryan calls people "milkdrinker," and Sebastian feels like maybe he's had enough Skyrim for one lifetime.
103 minutes | Apr 18, 2022
Episode 126 - Dark Souls
Nate, Ryan, and Jordan are joined by new guest Andrew Elmore to discuss DARK SOULS, FromSoftware's 2011 cult classic action RPG. We discuss difficulty versus approachability, grim fantasy aesthetics, and what it means for something to be called "the Dark Souls of [X]." Jordan gets lost in the narrative weeds, Ryan and Andrew discover a mutual love of Chromehounds, and Nate tries holding with both hands.
74 minutes | Mar 28, 2022
Episode 125 - Amnesia: The Dark Descent
Nate, Jordan, Ryan, and Brock gather to discuss AMNESIA: THE DARK DESCENT, Frictional Games' adventure-horror game from 2010. We jaw about disempowerment in horror, physics objects in games, and whether invisible monsters are scarier or not as scary as visible monsters. Nate talks about the fragility of interactive horror, Ryan gushes about Call of Cthulhu: Dark Corners of the Earth, and Brock holds many objects up to his webcam which cannot be communicated in an audio medium.
83 minutes | Mar 7, 2022
Episode 124 - Uncharted 2: Among Thieves
Nate, Sebastian, and Jordan gather to discuss UNCHARTED 2: AMONG THIEVES, the second in Naughty Dog's globetrotting pulp adventure serial. We talk shooting many men, blockbuster games' desire to imitate blockbuster films, and cracking wise. Nate is excited to play a game with a protagonist that shares his name, Jordan wishes the enemies weren't quite so spongy, and Sebastian appreciates a good in medias res opening.
72 minutes | Feb 14, 2022
Episode 123 - Minecraft
Nate, Ryan, and David are joined by new guest Kate Blue to discuss MINECRAFT, the global sensation. We discuss the incredible things folks have built in-game, the fastest ways to get to The End, and how the game is more than simple "virtual Lego." Nate feels like an old man, David explains why his Stardew Valley playthrough was cut short, and Kate relates UNEXPLAINED PHENOMENA encountered in the virtual world.
88 minutes | Jan 24, 2022
Episode 122 - Far Cry 2
Nate, Sebastian, Jordan, and Ryan gather to discuss FAR CRY 2, Ubisoft's 2008 first-person shooter set in a mercenary playground somewhere in Africa. We discuss the game's emergent systems, how its politics compare to its contemporaries in the genre, and "engaging friction." Sebastian promises to get worse in the new year, Jordan nearly kills his PC, and Ryan extols the virtues of the Jeep Liberty.
109 minutes | Dec 13, 2021
Episode 121 - Mass Effect
Nate, Sebastian, Jordan, Ryan, AND returning guest Andrea all congregate to discuss MASS EFFECT, BioWare's space opera RPG from 2007. We discuss pushing yourself to grow as a player of games, the incredible worldbuilding lift the game accomplishes, and how the Mass Effect trilogy is a special product of its time and isn't likely to be replicated any time soon. Nate asks which alien everyone is smooching, Sebastian explains why this podcast has ruined his life, Andrea tells of how she did a complete 180 on a particular Citadel sidequest, and Ryan compares Mickey Mouse to Omar from The Wire.
66 minutes | Nov 22, 2021
Episode 120 - Call of Duty 4: Modern Warfare
Nate, Sebastian, and Ryan gather to discuss CALL OF DUTY 4: MODERN WARFARE, Activision and Infinity Ward's cinematic shooter from 2007. We discuss the game's ugly politics, power imbalances, and fetishization of expensive military technology. Nate posits an "uncanny valley of virtual combat," Ryan dazzles with his encyclopedic knowledge of videogame levels set on tanker ships, and Sebastian gets sick of the game before he even gets past the title screen. We generally have a pretty bad time. Potty humor occurs on two separate occasions.
77 minutes | Nov 1, 2021
Episode 119 - Super Mario Galaxy
Nate, Sebastian, and Jordan gather to discuss SUPER MARIO GALAXY, Nintendo's cosmic trip from 2007. We discuss linearity vs. non-linearity in 3D level design, which powerups we hate (Spring Mario) and where the plumber could possibly go from here. Jordan checks in via FaceTime regularly with his friend Mario to check in on his mental health, Sebastian compares Super Mario Odyssey to "the Paul Hollywood Handshake," and Nate tries to be a better Charles Martinet than Chris Pratt.
70 minutes | Oct 11, 2021
Episode 118 - Portal
Nate and Ryan are joined by special guest Max Glenn to discuss PORTAL, Valve's puzzle-shooter gem from 2007. We discuss malicious AI, superb level design, and rethinking our relationship to 3D space. Nate has to explain the moral complexities of the Companion Cube to his kids, Max describes GLaDOS as "like if SHODAN were crossed with Clippy," and Ryan Napsters Hoobastank onto Meemaw's old Compaq.
93 minutes | Sep 20, 2021
Episode 117 - BioShock
Nate, Sebastian, and David are joined by special guest Mark Soloff to discuss BIOSHOCK, 2K Games' pulp shooter from 2007. We discuss the game's critical reception, its incredible atmosphere, and how its politics look 15-odd years later. David posits the existence of "Jnco Splicers," Sebastian proposes a period-appropriate fan-casting of a filmic adaptation, and Mark harvests each and every Little Sister -- with, he claims, a clean conscience. Nate breathlessly relates the plot of PS1 platformer "Tail Concerto."
57 minutes | Aug 30, 2021
Episode 116 - Desktop Tower Defense
Nate, Sebastian, and David gather to discuss DESKTOP TOWER DEFENSE, Paul Preece's Flash game from 2007. We discuss our experiences with Flash games in the heady days of the late aughts, playing tower defense mods for Warcraft III, and which tower defense games are worth revisiting. Sebastian revisits and unhealthy addiction to Nanaca Crash, David stans for Defense Grid, and Nate tries to entice listeners to join him in his descent into obsession with Final Fantasy XIV, a critically-acclaimed MMORPG which has an expanded Free Trial in which you can play through the entirety of A Realm Reborn and the award-winning Heavensward expansion up to level 60 for FREE with no restrictions on playtime!
68 minutes | Aug 9, 2021
Episode 115 - Wii Sports
Nate, Jordan, Ryan, and Brock all gather to discuss WII SPORTS, Nintendo's 2006 pack-in that took the world by storm. We discuss why seemingly everyone and their grandmother (perhaps especially their grandmother) was bowling virtually, the legacy of the Wii as a console, and our own personal histories with sport. Nate reveals that his Wii was full of ghosts, Jordan reveals his terrible bowling etiquette, Ryan checks his work email on the Wii internet browser, and Brock drinks a Clearly Canadian.
72 minutes | Jul 19, 2021
Episode 114 - Gears of War
Nate, Sebastian, Jordan, and Ryan all gather (appropriately, as a foursome) to discuss GEARS OF WAR, Epic Games' third-person cover shooter and chainsaw extravaganza from 2006. We discuss the wealth of co-op games in the XBox 360 / PS3 generation, active reloads, chest-high walls, and why Marcus and Dom complete each other. Find out which Ninja Turtle each of your intrepid hosts is and whether or not Jordan hates America. Sebastian discusses his chainsaw experience, Nate watches Columbo, and Ryan reassures us not to worry, that giant killer centipede enemy is "just 'the bug.'"
71 minutes | Jun 28, 2021
Episode 113 - Geometry Wars / XBLA
Nate, Sebastian, and Jordan gather to discuss GEOMETRY WARS: RETRO EVOLVED, and the broader swath of games available on XBox Live Arcade. We discuss the sea change wrought by this new venue for digital downloads, all of the wild, weird titles put out by small teams, and Doritos: Dash of Destruction. Nate demands that someone bring back 1 vs. 100, Sebastian reminisces about Shadow Complex, and Jordan recounts his decade-long career in designing sound for indie games.
58 minutes | Jun 7, 2021
Episode 112 - Guitar Hero
Nate, Jordan, and Ryan gather to discuss GUITAR HERO, Harmonix and Red Octane's peripheral-enabled rhythm action game from 2005. We discuss the player as both performer and audience, the legacy and seeming absence of guitar games in 2021, and kicking your leg out into the air when you activate your star power. Nate reveals his sad freshman year of college, Ryan admits he can't read music, and Jordan uses "the parlance of jazz."
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