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Games Done Quick wrapped up last night after the show. If you aren’t familiar with that it’s a gaming charity where people raise money while playing games as fast as they can, usually with exploits and glitches. And oh man are there glitches. I’ve watched a few speedruns from time to time, but this was a marathon of speedrunning and it was insane to see some of the things pulled off. If you have a chance, take a look at some of the highlights from this year’s runs. Also, look for anything with TASBot – especially the run for Super Mario Bros. 2. That’s a game I hadn’t given thought to in a very long time but was blown away by the speedrun of it…and done by a robot no less.

Ultimately GDQ raised over 3.1 million dollars (a new record) for a cancer charity and I couldn’t be more proud of the gaming community for doing so. Seeing this all come together last night reminded me of just how much gaming gives back. There’s a stereotype of gamers and the gaming community and some it is, unfortunately, spot on while some of it is also completely insulting and has no basis in any sort of fact at all. There’s charity gaming events throughout the year that raise millions of dollars for all kinds of great causes. Extra Life, Child’s Play, GDQ twice a year, and plenty of others. Currently there’s been a lot of gaming devs and publishers who are selling special in-game items with all the proceeds going to the Australian wildfire efforts.

The whole point here is – there’s a lot of good in gaming. And if you’ve chosen to believe those negative stereotypes or for whatever reason look down upon the hobby, try finding the good in it, because it’s there. And you might be surprised.

 

New year, new episode! Or, whatever that’s supposed to say whenever a new year rolls along. Actually, welcome to season 14! News over the past few weeks, in regards to gaming anyway, has been rather slim. So, we’re mostly looking at what’s to come in the year ahead. Also, this gigantic Witcher resurgence we’re seeing thanks to the excellent (in my opinion) Netflix series. It’s fantastic when a video game series can get proper representation when translated to another medium. And yes, I know the show’s source material is the books, but rising tide and all boats and the like – it’s just good to see, really.

It’s the beginning of 2020 and I’m not sure we’ve ever been this early in the year and already know for a fact that we’re getting new consoles from Microsoft and Sony THIS year. Usually we have hints and whispers, but even before this year started, we knew we’d be getting them. I cannot wait to see how this plays out over the year, especially when it comes to launch dates, pricing (more than anything else), and launch exclusives. Plus all the other bells and whistles both companies will tout to get you to buy their console over the competition. Microsoft is already doing this with a massive backwards compatible campaign and not only with the games but also the controllers as well.

In the meantime, I’m probably going to do a second re-watch of the Witcher. If only for the music.

 

Welcome to our final show of the year, and, as it turns out, our final show of the decade, I suppose. It’s our annual Christmas episode but all that means is we play holiday themed music from video games that have winter/holiday type levels or special DLC or whatever. Otherwise, we’re still just talking about the news of the week and the games we played.

As we come to the end of the year our thanks once again goes out to everyone who listens and supports us. We know there’s probably plenty of you who don’t listen regularly or even at all but you’re liking our videos or social media posts just in support of what we do and we thank you for that. And for those of you who do listen, on your own time, or make it a point to show up every week for the live show and chat with us in Twitch Chat, we cannot fully express our gratitude for you being there. However much you enjoy the show, we enjoy seeing you there for us that much more.

We thank you for this past decade of your support. So long as you’re there we will be too. We hope you all have a fantastic Christmas and a wonderful new year.

Thanks for listening.

 

We’ve been doing this show for a very long time and I’ve been doing radio broadcasting for even longer. In both of those time spans, I have never done a show by myself. I’ve covered for a few folks for a short amount of time or something but never have I done it alone and tried to fill out a full hour or two just by myself. It was never really out of the fear that I couldn’t, but more because I like there to be more opinions than just my own.

Well, it can be done and was done for the first time with this episode. We’re hoping it’ll never happen again cause that’s just way too much of me, but I was lucky to have something to talk about with the reveal of the new Xbox Series X console from the Game Awards earlier in the week. In fact, that’s pretty much all I spoke about. The reveal and all the new games announced at Winter E3, as it were.

Thank you all for the encouragement and the confidence and for putting up with just me for nearly two hours.

 

Score any good deals for Black Friday? We nabbed a few and talk about it here. Gaming wise, there wasn’t much on offer for us, but we’d love to hear what kind of haul you came away with.

I was going to say the gaming news season is winding down, but we still have a pretty good week ahead of us here with a new State Of Play from Sony and then, of course, the Game Awards. I don’t really care about the awards show itself, but I’m curious to see what new titles and announcements are made for Winter E3, as it were.

As a note for next week’s show, we may try an experiment. There are a couple of factors to determine this so it isn’t set in stone just yet, but we’ll keep you posted. It’s nothing amazing like another collector’s show or music show or D&D show, but it would be something we’ve never done before if it happens.

Stay tuned.

 

As per usual around this time of year, we’ll not be doing a show next weekend. We’ll be back on December 7th.

Finally we get to talk about Death Stranding. I mean, we’ve talked about it before but none of us on the show had played it. That changed as of this episode. We devote a large amount of time to discuss it and really get a feel of what it actually is. While some of the discussion lures me in a bit to check it out, I’m just not sure it’s something that will hold me over. It isn’t a game I’m likely to try until it gets a heavy discount.

Black Friday is upon us and, in fact, as I write this a lot of stores have begun with their pricing on games and consoles already. Good luck in the deal hunts out there. Keep in mind that, again as I’m writing this, we are less than 12 months out from, at the very least, the Playstation 5 and also possibly the next Xbox. Some good deals on consoles right now with bundles galore, but if you’re looking to step up to an Xbox One X or the PS4 Pro – maybe hold back (and hold on to that money) for next year’s model. Also keep in mind there is no guarantee this consoles will actually release as they’ve said this far out. It could always change.

For now, however, there’s some absolutely fantastic deals on games going on (even the Genesis mini is discounted). If you need updates on those, search out Wario64 on twitter.

Trust me.

 

There’s only so many of us and our tastes in games only goes so far. That isn’t to say we won’t talk about games we don’t play, but it’s somewhat difficult. When things come up for games we don’t play, we’ll try our best to talk about them but we’re a bit lost. Thankfully, we have wonderful callers who can help us in this, such as the case with the new Pokemon game and wondering about the “review bomb” issue and what was going on there.

Speaking of new games, this Star Wars game seems to have really surprised quite a lot of people. I think after a while with a complete lack of a single-player narrative Star Wars game, the expectations of the masses was set a little low. And what a reaction this has been…lots of praise all the way around, but I won’t be buying it – yet. I explain all this in the episode but it isn’t just me as Matt explains his time with the game. Biases aside, because of course he likes it, but I’m glad the game is getting universal praise.

Makes me excited for when I actually get around to playing it.

 

That time of year is upon us. I warn you around every August or so to hold off on game buying if you can because Black Friday will surely see discounts of all kinds and this year is no exception. Most of the second hour is devoted to going over the black Friday deals and how we intend to use them. There’s not much on OUR radar but for you some things might stick out. We cover most of them so we hope you find something for yourself this year. We also cover, oddly enough, home appliances, as your humble host is in need of a new fridge – we go a bit off script there.

Then there’s this whole thing again with Splinter Cell – the Tom Clancy franchise Ubisoft seems to have forgotten they had. Although I do have a theory on why we haven’t seen one in so long. And likely that we were probably close but they scrapped it and went back to the drawing board with it cause of trends and money. It’s always the money, trust me.

Speaking of money – even the boring old no frills refrigerators are absurdly pricey for Black Friday. Anyone else notice that or just me?

Just me then. Okay. Carry on.

 

Thinking back on this episode the day after we recorded it live and I’m wondering if we might have been a bit harsh on Death Stranding, especially since we haven’t even played it. And, for that matter, probably the new Star Wars game as well.

It isn’t hard for me to get sucked into hype. Except when it comes to video games. In a lot of ways I’m a glass-half-empty kind of guy when it comes to video games. I realize trailers, announcements, gameplay – it’s all marketing. We’re seeing what they want us to see so I rarely feel hype when I see a trailer for a game that is nothing but cinematics, CG, and cutscenes. Even when shown what looks like gameplay, I still keep a squinted eye view of it like an old man looking at kids across the street wondering what law they are breaking. A good example of this is BioShock Infinite.

Regardless of being too judgey or not on the issue of those two games mentioned in the beginning, they still aren’t on my menu of upcoming games I want to play. However, I am VERY interested to see the public reaction when they get their hands on it. Curious to see how the winds blow when the general public is able to play it and talk about it.

Even more curious to see if the hero/franchise worship will still abound as much as it seems to do in these early reviews.

 

We’ve been away for two weeks but our gaming habits didn’t really change in that time as we all seem to stick with one single game for each of us.

Regardless, we do spend some time talking about Ghost Recon Breakpoint and Ubisoft’s decision to delay some upcoming releases based on that game’s poor reception, both critically and financially.

I’m hoping to put in some time with Obsidian’s Outer Worlds. They’re the makers of Fallout New Vegas – a game I have been told countless times is one I should play BECAUSE of how uninterested I was with Fallout 3. And Fallout 4. And Dragon Age. And, well, a lot of games of that type. Still, it has been said to me that I must try New Vegas because it’s different and made by the Obsidian folks. So yeah, I’ll give Outer Worlds a go and see how it works for me.

It’s weird how these things work out for me sometimes. I remember way back when being told how I have to play Bastion and all these great praises for the game. I did eventually get around to it, and I don’t know if all the talk had me over-hyped for the game or what – but it was just OK for me. And being just OK isn’t bad, but it didn’t live up to the praise I was told about. Then again, it was YEARS after all of that before I ever played it, so who knows?

Come to think of it, I still haven’t played New Vegas.

 

Liberate Hong Kong, revolution of our age.

Yes, we talk about Blizzard and their situation with what happened this past week when the above was said in an interview by a tournament player who’d just recently won the whole thing.

Then was promptly banned for an entire year while having his prize money winnings withheld. This began a domino effect of others in the community stepping away from the tournament scene in support of the player. And while Blizzard would eventually reduce the ban to six months and turn his winnings over to him, the bell had already been rung and the statement issued was little more than a press release dripping with lies and shallow excuses.

But to be perfectly honest, this, sadly, doesn’t surprise me. Not when you look at Activision/Blizzard as a whole. Not when you look at just how far the NBA went to win favor back from the Chinese government.

I can only hope more and more of the tournament community come together and take a stand against this. Pull out of tournaments and stop supporting Blizzard. And that it extends to the other communities where corporations have asked their players to remain silent on this with the threat of being banned as well. Gaming communities have shown in the past they can pull together and do some amazing things, but this would be on a scale previously unseen before and I really hope like hell it can happen.

 

The short summer vacation is over.

I’m back on the hamster wheel that is Destiny 2.

I was going to leave it at that and make this short so I could actually get back to the grind in D2, but the more I looked at it the more it sounded like I was annoyed by actually doing that, and I’m not.

At all.

It feels good to be back, honestly.

On with the show.

 

I actually don’t like buying video games. Which…is kinda hard to tell when I talk of my backlog and Steam library and what not. I’m drowning in video games. Tons of them. I try at least not to pay full price when I do pick up a game.

Renting games was a big part of my life growing up. By the time the rental places closed up there was already Redbox and GameFly. I had ways of playing the games I wanted to while paying a minimum to do so. Then there was the Best Buy “hack”. The Gamers Club promotion they had where I could buy a game at a certain percentage off the price, play it, and if I didn’t wait too long, I could trade it in with a bonus credit and pick up the next thing I wanted to play paying only the difference of a few dollars. Of course, that required the games to hold value and for me to play them as fast as I could to get the most on my trade.

I’ve long since canceled my GameFly subscription and haven’t been to a RedBox in years. I still buy games, of course. You throw in a steelbook or a statue with a game I want to play and I’m pretty much there day one.

The trend I see now is that sort of Netflix model. Pay some amount of money per month and have access to a pretty good library of games. I do that now with Xbox Game Pass and I have tons to play. A lot of brand new titles as well. EA has something like this and so does Ubisoft. I like it, yes, but just like with the TV apps, it’s beginning to get out of hand. Everyone wants a piece of the pie. So just like TV where studios and networks are branching off with their own apps and fees, so are the game publishing companies. It’ll invite competition, sure, but you don’t really have to compete when you’re the ONLY place someone can play a certain game without going out and buying it.

There’s really no solution to this, that I can see. On either side be it gaming or TV. I’d say the market would sort itself out, but I honestly feel there’s enough people to support all these different subscription services.

I’m just not one of them.

 

Beauty, of course, is in the eye of the beholder. But it’s very hard to deny the beauty I’ve been seeing while playing God Of War.

Understand first that when I originally bought God Of War, I was playing on a PS4 Pro, but with a HD TV. It was just 1080p. That was it. Same when I bought Horizon Zero Dawn. Same for when I bought Spider-Man and played Red Dead Redemption 2 on my Xbox One X. I had all the capabilities to play and watch in 4K, but I was missing that one critical component – a 4K TV.

Even when November came and I actually got a 4K TV, I didn’t jump right into gaming. I’m not exactly sure why. I went to my movies first and they looked outstanding but for gaming I just went back to my PC and played Destiny 2. For 5 more months or so.

When I had downtime in Destiny 2 (not often, mainly in the late end of an expansion where I’d finished things up and had a week or two before the new one came out), I finally got back to Spider-Man and finished that up. I could see the dramatic difference playing in 4K with HDR. It was beautiful. But nothing prepared me for the beauty of God Of War. All other minor complaints I have about that game aside, the beauty of this thing in 4K has yet to be matched. Then again, I have yet to go diving into my 4K gaming library to really see what’s out there. And I’m really looking forward to it.

If you’ve got the right console for 4K gaming and the TV too, then you already know what I’m talking about. If you only got half of that, a TV without the right console or vice versa, then look into those upcoming Black Friday deals. Consoles will likely see a small drop in price or at least a bundle that gives you around $100 extra value, be it a game or gift cards. And TV’s will be reduced as well (plus you can’t throw a rock in an electronics section without hitting a 4K TV, it’s pretty standard now). Take the plunge if you can. 4K gaming…well, 4K anything is an amazing experience.

 

It’s interesting how discussions change over time. We’ve been interviewing people who work on video games for a good many years now and I’ve personally spoke to many of them during my trips to conventions and what not. Typically you have a standard list of questions for them about their game. How long is it? When will it be released? That sort of thing. Over time, due to the nature of gaming and the nature of the gaming community, other questions are added to the list. Will it have exclusivity on the pc/consoles? Online or couch co-op? Plans for DLC (and now, apparently, micro-transactions)?

Now I find myself asking another question to developers. Either why they are exclusive to the Epic Games Store or would they take an offer from them for exclusivity. It’s just the nature of change really and the topic of conversation as of late. The answer I usually get, both on the air and at conventions is EXACTLY the same as we got from Bohdon Sayre.

Bohdon is our guest this week as he calls in to talk to us about his latest game from Flight School Studios – Creature In The Well (out now on Nintendo Switch, PC, and Xbox – free with Xbox/PC Game Pass).

I’m not sure what the next question will become over time, but given the way things seem to be going, it’s leaning a lot towards games having some type of cross save or cross play aspect. Which, honestly, is way more important to me than which storefront a game will be sold on. I’m not any sort of loyalist in that regard, in case it wasn’t clear.