Season 16, Episode 21

It’s been tough for a lot of people these past few days. And it’s only the beginning of just how tough it is going to get.

This little show seems awfully trivial given the way of the world right now.

We hope you’re okay.

E3 Episodes

Season 16, Episode 20

Too much is not enough…

I remember when I was younger I had it in my mind that more was better. If the movie trailer was longer it was great cause you saw more of the movie you wanted to see. If the TV program was longer you got more of the show you wanted to see. If this company’s E3 presentation was scheduled for 2 hours instead of 90 minutes then you got more games to see.

What I didn’t notice then but do now, is that the longer your show is, and we’re strictly speaking of video game reveals and stuff here, the more I’m going to forget than remember. There’s probably some study about memory retention and how it all works in the process of marketing but the more they showed this past week, the more I forgot.

And to be clear, you can have a 90 minute presentation and show a good chunk of maybe 7 games or so, and I’d be fine with that. I can probably hold onto about 7 titles. But as it stands with Microsoft, I can tell you maybe 3. Possibly 4, I guess, but the shows of other studios and publishers start to mix in and I can’t remember what I saw where. Devolver Digital was, I think, maybe 45 minutes. I can tell you almost ALL of their reveals.

This isn’t an argument for or against the old E3 to come back or to keep it the way it was this year. Nothing like that. E3 or not, I like the idea of companies doing their own presentations and scattering them across the months. The State Of Plays that Sony does is a good example of this. As are the Nintendo Directs. They usually have a focus and they keep it concise with usually about a 30 minute runtime and you see maybe 5 to 7 titles. It works, and I’m usually pretty good at remembering what was shown.

Like that one time Ubisoft showed off Splinter Cell Blacklist. Yeah, it’s been 3,224 days since the last Splinter Cell game (non-animated series or guest spot in another game franchise, remake, or VR exclusive).

E3 Episodes

Season 16, Episode 19

Life moves pretty fast…

This whole Summer Games Fest and Not-E3 thing has kind of surprised me. Well, it’s mostly me, I think. It seems to have come and gone with very little fanfare that I can tell. But, again, maybe that’s me just not paying attention. But it feels like the hype train was little more than a hype trolley, I suppose. I’m not sure, but it feels like there was very little leading up to this (it came kind of out of the blue for me thinking it would be later in the summer or AFTER the Microsoft thing), and there was also very little to come after it.

This isn’t a call for E3 to return, even though I know it will. Just…something felt off about it this year. Lack of leaks, lack of big reveals and more just giving us extra information of things we already knew were coming. It’s not a disappointment, really, because I had no expectations, but what we got seems…slim. Small. Nothing has built up hype.

That isn’t to say we didn’t get some looks at some interesting titles. There were a ton of games thrown at us over the course of a few days with more to come, and what I’ve seen so far is some great stuff. Most of that comes from the indie side of things with the smaller games showing off some big swing for the fences type of innovation or creativity. I’ve seen quite a large number of puzzle games and platformers along with a whole slew of life sims (Stardew Valley, Animal Crossing type games) that have all caught my eye. Not so much with the AAA titles. Yes, they look good and are sparking my interests but you’re not showing me much of the game it seems, and by that I mean actual gameplay.

We’ll likely be back here again next weekend saying more of the same depending on how next week (and specifically today, Sunday, goes with the Microsoft presentation). I guess the good thing about not having an E3 means it doesn’t contain itself within a few days of one single week in June. Now, we have all summer for ANYTHING to pop up. Companies can do their own thing whenever they want.

In that way, it’s almost always E3.

E3 or not, we’ll still be disappointed because…Ubisoft, it’s been 3,217 days since the last Splinter Cell game (non-animated series or guest spot in another game franchise, remake, or VR exclusive).


Season 16, Episode 18

We all have our styles we like when it comes to many different things such as movies, music, entertainment of all kinds, really. And it’s the same with video games. Racing, Puzzles, and adventure type games are my thing. Fighting games, shmups, Souls styles are in RJ’s wheelhouse.

I’ve never come away from a Final Fantasy game trailer with excitement or interest. They aren’t my style. And there’s 16 of those things (or will come next year). But here I am after seeing the trailer for the 16th game in the series and I’m extremely excited to see more. But I’m skeptical. Final Fantasy was never a genre or series or whatever that I’ve ever been interested in. It’s never taken hold. I’ve tried a few in the past but those only interested me because there was nothing else at the time, or everyone else was enjoying it so I gave it a try, but yeah – nothing ever stuck.

However, this is the first time I’ve looked at one of their trailers and had interest for more. And having watched it again during this episode, I’m still cautious. I need to see more. Gameplay mostly because I can’t tell what’s gameplay and what isn’t from the trailer but it’s got me hooked. I need more. I understand it might throw me off this hype train or suddenly kill my interests but…that’s kind of what I’m aiming for. If this is genuine, then I need to see as much as I can to make sure, warts and all. So I’ll be looking out for more media of that game. And there’s plenty of time for that to happen since we have a release of “Summer 2023” according to the trailer from this past week.

Want to know what IS NOT coming out in the “Summer 2023”…Ubisoft, it’s been 3,210 days since the last Splinter Cell game (non-animated series or guest spot in another game franchise, remake, or VR exclusive).


Season 16, Episode 17

Wish in one hand…

It sucks to know there were TWO opportunities to get something you wanted from a developer, and from both you end up getting nothing you were hoping for.

It’s early as hell to pass judgment, I suppose, but Gotham Knights isn’t pulling me in so far and Suicide Squad has been off my radar since the first showing (and subsequent showings haven’t helped). Both games come from studios that did previous Batman games and both studios are working on DC/Batman properties but NOT the way they previously did. I mean, I’m all for new things because maybe it gives us something else that’s great, but both games looked to have missed that mark for me. Watching both of them and all I’m left thinking is that at least ONE of these studios could have given us just another Batman game.

It’s a tough call. Developers are a creative bunch and working on the same thing everytime a new project comes their way has to get boring after a while. As soon as you finish the first game, you come back to work ready to work on the second and then third and forever how long it goes. Which is why I’m also fine when another studio comes in to work on that second or third game in the series while the main team works on new stuff.

I suppose I should just be grateful that Rocksteady, who did three Batman games back to back to back, didn’t come back to work and Warner Bros. said to get to work on the next Batman. Cause that would have been an easy rut to get into from them and it was making WB the money, so kudos to them for being able to break the chain (even though they’re still stuck doing DC character games).

Regardless of what we get in the future, I think a return to the Batman style games will be a lot shorter than the 3,196 days since the last Splinter Cell game (non-animated series or guest spot in another game franchise, remake, or VR exclusive).


Season 16, Episode 16

If I had 300 million dollars…

We’re only 4 months into the year (working on our 5th) and studios are getting bought and sold A LOT. Maybe this goes on a lot and it’s not as big a deal or it’s smaller companies that it happens to, but this year has been a bit different with the big names buying the big names. Sony and Bungie. Microsoft and Activision. And the thing about these acquisitions are the price tags. It’s in the billions. Lots of billions.

Then Square Enix sells off 3 development studios with a pretty big caliber of franchises under their belts (also thrown into the sale as well) and it’s 300 million! Do you know just how many opening titles I’ve come up with for this post on this premise alone. Nearly 300 million. Because in a corporate world of billions being thrown around, this 300 million price tag is the sale of the century.

As interesting as that price tag is, it’s more interesting to me that something great may come of this. Square wasn’t doing anyone any favors with how they looked at success. We never could figure it out ourselves but they made 3 Tomb Raider games while feeling like the first one was a failure. How we ever got 2 more (great games, by the way) with another on the way, I’ll never know. But now that franchise and others are in the hands of a different company. Who might actually do something with their properties. And one of those, my friends, is the Legacy Of Kain series.

300 million for a new Legacy Of Kain? Sold.

Somebody buy Ubisoft, it’s been 3,182 days since the last Splinter Cell game (non-animated series or guest spot in another game franchise, remake, or VR exclusive).


Season 16, Episode 15

I still miss the blade UI.

Sometimes nostalgia gets me. Most times, actually, but that depends on the subject. Gaming almost always works, though. Be it through rose tinted glasses or a scowl of regret, I have memories of things being not as bad as I remember them and others that make me wonder why I was so drawn to it to begin with.

The subject this time was the old Xbox Live Arcade. It was a different time then and we waited with anticipation of what would hit the Arcade shelf next. We’d get rumors of a remaster or just some old game being ported to the Arcade and we were there for it. In the early days of the program there wasn’t a single one of you there that didn’t play UNO for hours. And then again when the webcam came into play. Then it was poker and 1 Vs 100 and old arcade classics or sequels to them. Not to mention a few board games that were ported to the arcade and became weeknight traditions in some circles.

We couldn’t wait to shell out the $15 or so most of those titles cost back then. Today I don’t think we’d consider paying $5 to enjoy them. Can’t put a price on nostalgia though, right?

In any case, we’ve moved on to wondering what old game we played back in the day will be offered to us free through Gamepass or, now, PS Plus Premium Plus Plus Extreme (the other topic idea I had for this post).

Meanwhile…Ubisoft, it’s been 3,175 days since the last Splinter Cell game (non-animated series or guest spot in another game franchise, remake, or VR exclusive).


Season 16, Episode 14

Did you just double-dip?

I recently picked up the three Rocksteady developed Batman games for the Xbox. Hey, WB, Arkham Origins could use a remaster release or something. It’s a good title amongst the three and well worth being included in the “trilogy” (which wouldn’t make it a trilogy, I know).

Anyway, it brought to mind the subject of double dipping. We’ve talked about it before. Either it’s just a game you want to revisit and need to get it on the current console you may have (my reason for these Batman games) or maybe it’s just to show support (all the Burnout copies I own on all systems).

Depending on your collection of games, it may be hard to figure out what you have and what you don’t. But, not only that, WHERE you may have it also. Is it on PC or console? And if it’s on console then which one and which version of that one. In looking at these Batman games I remembered I never actually owned them on an Xbox system (unless it was included in the free games with gold thing). I picked them up on PS3 for some exclusive content and just stuck with that system through the games.

So, here’s my question to you in this post: is there an app, website, etc, that can help keep track of your gaming library? I’d imagine something where you can log into all of your gaming accounts and it can pull from there on what you have played at least so you’d know, at one point, you played that game on that system.

If there isn’t one, there should be. And just make it easy on us. Some of us are drowning in game titles from over the years (thanks mainly to Steam sales, and free games from the console side of things).

Meanwhile…Ubisoft, it’s been 3,168 days since the last Splinter Cell game (non-animated series or guest spot in another game franchise, remake, or VR exclusive).


Season 16, Episode 13

In The Not Too Distant Future..

I used to love speculating on what might be coming out in the future as far as video games are concerned. It was fun to think about what might be shown during E3 presentations or any of these Nintendo, Sony, Microsoft streams that only tell you WHEN they take place but not what they’ll show you.

I kinda stopped that a long time ago, however. Now, if they give hints or something, sure, that part is fun. But just being vague or what not, I don’t really think about it that much. Even for this show, I’ll come across a headline saying something like “Sony’s scheduled a stream for X date.” Well, okay then. I may let you know that’s happening but usually I’ll just wait until it does to talk about it. More information to work with at that point really and you aren’t throwing rumors out there to the audience.

Then you have things like the Nvidia leak we talk about near the end of this episode. Someone has already done the speculation for you in this case. And that’s fun to think about and now even more fun considering some of those things have actually come to pass in the recent months (and just last week in the case of Kingdom Hearts 4).

Most of the time things like this just feel like fan service. Take a game and put a number at the end of it (or the word “Remastered”). There you go, a rumor is born. None of it means much of anything though until it’s announced and that’s usually where I point my attention.

Announce it, and then we’ll talk. Otherwise, we’re just disappointing ourselves wondering when we’ll get the next Splinter Cell (oddly enough NOT on the Nvidia leak, by the way).

Which brings me to…Ubisoft, it’s been 3,161 days since the last Splinter Cell game (non-animated series or guest spot in another game franchise, remake, or VR exclusive).


Season 16, Episode 12

Fifteen bucks, little man…

I can remember a time well over a decade ago when paying a subscription to play a game wasn’t too far fetched. I guess they still exist now? I’m not sure. Seems most died out or went free-to-play and offered other ways of making money rather than paying something monthly.

Still, playing World Of Warcraft or City Of Heroes was a monthly fee. For one game. And I paid it willingly without issue. Like it was…reasonable. I have monthly fees now that cover so much more than a single game. Game Pass sort of broke that mold, but we were still doing it with places like GameFly and some other sub services that offered a few games a month.

It may still be around for MMO type of games like the ones I mentioned earlier but you just don’t see it anymore, really. That I know of. I could be wrong and there’s a whole world of subscription games. But I’m willing to bet there’s less of them now than there were a decade ago.

Having said that, here comes Zen Studios with a subscription plan for…pinball. I never thought I would see something like this come to pinball. A subscription model. For pinball. And it’s $15 a month. I mean, I know it lets you play all their tables for $15 a month, but that’s absurd.

I have a ton of their tables and I’ve played them a lot, but there’s this whole “bridge too far” thing, and I think I found it. And I get you’re paying that to play ALL of those tables so maybe it doesn’t break down to $15 for one game, but I’ve owned most of the tables on previous versions and only had to pay once for that. Now, they’re moving to a different storefront (it’s a stretch to say “platform” here) and tables will not transfer. You’ve gotta buy them all over again. OR…pay a monthly fee to play them all. They knew this would happen and I guess came up with the subscription plan as a way to say “Hey, you don’t have to rebuy them, just pay this a month and you get all of them!”

They’ve also changed how you buy the tables as well and it’s a mess. They’re catching the right kind of flack for this and I hate to see it happen because I’m a big fan of theirs. But bad business is bad business and I hope they eventually find a way to fix this for their customers and fans alike.

Meanwhile…Ubisoft, it’s been 3,154 days since the last Splinter Cell game (non-animated series or guest spot in another game franchise, remake, or VR exclusive).


Season 16, Episode 11

Welcome to PlayStation Plus Plus Premium Elite Ultimate (or Monkey See Monkey Do).

At first I wasn’t sold on this PlayStation Plus restructuring. Reading through it during this episode made me raise an eyebrow on that middle tier. I mean 400 games, I think, is worth the extra $40. HOWEVER, if they really wanted to be bold, they could have just kept the price as is and added it into the regular subscription. I think a timeline exists where Sony actually does that, but not currently where we are now.

Obviously the comparisons to Game Pass are numerous. The differences are well highlighted. You won’t get first party titles to play on day one. We don’t yet know the expanse of the library, but depending on the tier you choose, it can be anywhere from 400 to maybe 600 games. There’s little difference there, by the way, until you start looking at pricing.

To start with, I can’t even find a yearly subscription model for Game Pass Ultimate. Looking around it seems to be $180 a year, though with sales and discounts and stacking 3-Month subs, you can do it cheaper than that. Still, that’s $60 more than what’s on offer from Sony at their highest tier. If you go monthly, it’s $15 for Microsoft and $18 for Sony. Both of these will get you access to A LOT of games and both will allow streaming/downloading on PC. But only one will get you day one titles (Microsoft) and only one gives you access to EA Play (Microsoft). There’s a lot of other little bonuses you get going with Game Pass so the value seems to edge out Sony here.

If you only play on PlayStation, putting in for the mid to upper tier doesn’t seem like too bad a deal. And there’s plenty of room to grow here for Sony with everything else they have their hand in (music, movies, television), so we could see additions to the plan with movie streaming or subscriptions to other networks. But…that’s just speculation. We’ll know more in the months to come and the official rollout is in June.

Meanwhile…Ubisoft, it’s been 3,147 days since the last Splinter Cell game (non-animated series or guest spot in another game franchise, remake, or VR exclusive).


Season 16, Episode 10

It’s like McDuck’s Money Bin…for games.

Just a note that we won’t have a show next weekend, but we’ll return on April 2nd.

We talk a lot about video games. Be them new, old, classic, vintage. We also bring up board games from time to time – like this episode for instance – and we’ll mention pinball on occasion.

There’s a wealth of games to be had out there in whatever form you may desire. And some of them might even be free, or really cheap. We try to let you know when the free and cheap ones come up. The Epic Games Store on PC gives out a free game every week. Amazon, if you’re a prime member, gives out games every month. There’s Playstation Plus, and Games With Gold on Xbox and Gamepass will likely be our future if our video entertainment path is any indication. There’s Humble Bundle that offers a lot of games for very little (And you can decide how much of what you spend goes to charity, the developers, or the storefront). Speaking of charity, you’ve also got the big ones like the one for Ukraine we mentioned that raised millions because for $10 you got like 1000 games. That one ended but another has come up with 170 items for only $40 (I can probably pick 3 or less games in that bundle that would regularly cost that amount so it’s a great deal).

The whole point here is that if you like games, of almost ANY type, something is out there for you and probably doesn’t require all that much for you to enjoy it (Vampire Survivors is the best $3 I’ve spent on a game ever). And in a lot of cases with these big bundle things, you’re helping others in a charity. Gaming for good, as it were.

You will likely build a backlog the likes of which you may never escape. And that’s really not a bad problem to have.

Maybe one day I’ll have another Splinter Cell in my backlog…Ubisoft, it’s been 3,133 days since the last Splinter Cell game (non-animated series or guest spot in another game franchise, remake, or VR exclusive).


Season 16, Episode 09

Fair warning for those about to listen, there might be a spoiler or two for the first Hellblade at the beginning of this episode. Also, there’s vagueness around some possible spoiler stuff for Guardians Of The Galaxy as well – not the ending, mind you, but just a section of the game.

The reason I’m throwing out that warning is because we talk about some video game tropes. Two, specifically, and I don’t want to throw them out here because maybe you’re trying to avoid ANY kind of spoilers for either of those games. Having said that, however, it’s going to make it a little difficult to write about here, but I’ll try.

…10 minutes later…

Okay, so that’s pretty difficult. Anyway, sometimes tropes work. Sometimes building a mechanic that strays away from the usual gamer mentality (and I don’t mean that in a general sense but more in the habits of how we play and have played games) can be a good thing. We brought up examples from Eternal Darkness, X-Men on the Genesis, and Metal Gear Solid 2. There are elements of these games that play with the player. It’s really very creative.

One that isn’t creative, and this isn’t a spoiler for any game at all, is the one where you start the game completely upgraded and then at the end of the level it’s all taken away. You spend the rest of the game getting back to that point only to enjoy it for maybe not even a level before the game ends. I hate that trope. And underwater levels. And time trials.

There’s more to it, but you get the idea. I’m curious what video game trope annoys you the most. Or maybe there’s one you absolutely love. Let us know.

As long as we all agree to hate escort missions.

Another trope I can’t stand is when game companies NEVER do anything with good properties…Ubisoft, it’s been 3,126 days since the last Splinter Cell game (non-animated series or guest spot in another game franchise, remake, or VR exclusive).


Season 16, Episode 08

To Play Or Not To Play

Elden Ring still tempts me. And I don’t completely know why. There’s no FOMO there. It’s all very self contained and…singular, in a way. It’s something that can be played now or years from now and you likely won’t be spoiled on content or story or, really, anything at all.

The hesitation comes from the history of the studio. I guess it’s a gut vs. impulse feeling. The impulse is to get it right now and start playing it. The gut feeling is that I’ve never enjoyed the kind of game Elden Ring is – just simply based on the studio that made it. They have a type…as it were. They invented a genre. One known for brutal difficulty and constant trial and error.

I have briefly given their previous outings a try. Once with Dark/Demon Souls and then again with Bloodborne. None of these have ever stuck with me. But then you watch reviews of Elden Ring and read people’s impressions and it really wants to pull you in again. But I think I can wait it out.

Something will come along to take its place in the zeitgeist. Something else will lure my attention, but I won’t forget. Because at the right price of entry (for me), temptation will come calling again. And I will give in to it. Maybe to be fooled once more, or maybe to be surprised by how well I take to it.

Either way, I’ll eventually play the game.

Also eventually, I may play another Splinter Cell…Ubisoft, it’s been 3,119 days since the last Splinter Cell game (non-animated series or guest spot in another game franchise, remake, or VR exclusive).


Season 16, Episode 07

Now You’re Playing With Power, Portable Power!

I can’t speak to owning a Steam Deck. I can speak to owning almost everything else Valve has released on the hardware side of things (minus THEIR version of VR) and it makes me skeptical.

Not in the sense of what the Deck can do. But more about how much Valve will support the device. They don’t have the track record of say, Google, when it comes to making things and then killing them, but they do have a record. And it’s the record of following up. There is no “version 2” of anything Valve has made. And maybe there doesn’t need to be so far with what they’ve made but the biggest aspect I see of the Steam Deck is the room for improvement.

Watching reviews of the Deck, this thing is no slouch for a handheld device. There does seem to be plenty of room for improvement where the screen is concerned and there will always be improved performance as time goes on. Does that mean we’ll get one somewhere down the line?

History on Valve’s part says no. But I have a horrible feeling of optimism in this case.

Speaking of making something and never following it up…Ubisoft, it’s been 3,112 days since the last Splinter Cell game (non-animated series or guest spot in another game franchise, remake, or VR exclusive).