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We’re STILL doing that PAX thing at the following link.

I’m not sure, but I think if you picked any other weekend previously this year to not do a show, we’d have come back and not had so much to talk about. But with PAX happening AND that little game from Bungie getting released, well…it was packed. And we didn’t even get to the Bungie part.

PAX pretty much DOMINATES the conversation to this episode and will probably have a chunk of it next week as well as I get more thoughts together and remember other games I checked out just walking through the expo hall. If you ever go to any of the PAX conventions there is at least one area just overflowing with games for everyone. And I mean that in the sense that you’ll find at least one or more games that suit whatever kind of player you may be. The Indie Mega Booth is the heart and soul of the show floor of PAX. You want originality, it’s there. You want passionate developers ready to show you their game and talk about their game, it’s there. You want short lines to play, it’s there. That’s the thing about the IMB that stands out from the big publishers elsewhere on the show floor. I have no doubt the people who created the triple A titles being shown are passionate about what they worked on and would talk to you about it, but those are made by a LOT of people on all aspects of one game. Compare that to the IMB and you’ve got games made by 2 to 10 people on a small budget but who make the best with what they’ve got. I want to be clear, I’m not saying any one developer/game is better than the other – triple A or otherwise, but the access you get with the IMB is leaps and bounds above what you’ll get at the other places.

Put the time in with the bigger titles, that’s fine, but I’m almost certain you’ll find yourself going back again and again to the Indie Mega Booth and, in some cases, dragging along your friends to show off a great game you found there. It’s a wonderful place. And it’s the best thing about PAX on the show floor, next, of course, to all of your friends being in one place playing games.

 

We’re doing that PAX thing at the following link.

Yes, another PAX is upon us and we won’t be here next week so please enjoy the sounds from our music episode from a few weeks back while we take in the sights and sounds of PAX. We’ll be back with a new episode the week after next. Still, there’s this episode to enjoy until then.

So, it’s out there now. Probably. Pretty sure. Does it satisfy you? Are you happy with it? I wasn’t as heavily invested as some were for the next Half-Life. I wasn’t there at the beginning to know what this was like. I can relate it to like…television shows or movies, but I don’t think it’s the same. But it’s out there now supposedly. Not the game itself but apparently the story of how it all would have gone. Does it disappoint you because you never got to play it? Do you feel better now knowing how it would have ended? The thing of it is, at this point, if it were to come out, I don’t think anyone would actually be happy about it. Maybe as some kind of closure that it’s just done, regardless, may satisfy some people. I think in the end, however, it might actually be more like when Duke Nukem was finally released. The proverbial whimper instead of a bang. Maybe not to the extent of DN but something like it. I think there’s a timeline for a series. A path of longevity where there are certain points of no return. At some point along the line you really can’t go back and your options of continuation turn into a reboot, a la Tomb Raider. Maybe around that same point on the timeline could be the option of “spiritual successor”, a la Dark Souls and Demon’s Souls or System Shock 2 and Bioshock.

Either way, I hope this finally puts to rest a long national nightmare in the video game world of speculation and ghost hunting. Trying to make sense out of random statements and updates and store games and goose chases. Because you’re never going to get what you always wanted and even if somehow you do, it’ll probably never be what it could have been or, even, good enough.

 

We’re not familiar enough with card games to make a witty line here at the following link.

I’ve never gotten into the card game racket. Cards, yes. But card games, never. I should also say that I’ve never actually given them a try, either, so there’s that. Outside of a standard deck of 52 playing cards, collectible cards were never a game for me growing up. They were exactly what they implied in their name – collectible. Maybe they were Pokemon in a way, where you had to get a whole set and it was random to do so. You just buy packs and packs and over time amass a collection of cards that eventually could be made into a full set for whatever series was out that year. Also complete with your special cards of foil or whatever thing set it apart from the standard cards. Also, I’m not talking baseball, here. This is going WAY back to the days of GarbagePail Kids, MARVEL series, and things like that. I still have them somewhere here in the house but yeah – these were never made into a game.

I grew up to see the evolution of collectible cards turning into a game though with Magic. It never hooked me but I also never gave it any time to do so. I looked at the cards and would watch people play from time to time but I didn’t really know what was going on and it never set its claws into me to begin with. I never bit. On any of the card games that eventually arose from Magic’s success – and it was a massive success. I really felt like I’d missed the boat a lot of the times but again…the interest was never there. There’s been card games now based on plenty of different properties and some of which should totally pull me in, but nope. Still nothing.

I’m not saying it won’t ever happen for me. I’m completely open to trying to let these things set root inside my interest, but so far they haven’t. Eventually maybe something will come along and do it or I’ll experience the right play setting and it’ll all snap in, but for now, I’m totally fine watching others and wondering what I’m missing.

 

We WILL do this again at the following link.

What’s your favorite part of a video game? Is the story? Is the beauty of the graphics? Is it the gameplay? Is it the ending? The beginning? A certain part somewhere in the game?

I think more and more I find myself drawn to the music of games. Some games I don’t even have to play to enjoy the music. I can experience them outside of ever having touched the game or known anything about it and can still appreciate the music from the game. There’s a multitude of examples of that very thing in this episode.

Of course, there’s also the insight of the two composers we talk with on the show. I’ve known Gareth Coker since we had him on the show for his Ori & The Blind Forest score and we’ve stayed in touch so it was really nice to catch back up with him again on his current work and go a bit deeper into his head on how he writes for video games. I’ve only met Jason Graves briefly at an autograph session where he signed my vinyl of his score for The Order 1886. Being able to talk to him at length though along with Gareth gave me a better understanding of the whole process. But every composer is different so I doubt much of the questions asked will ever change from composer to composer.

It’s a beautiful thing to make emotion out of music and memories out of melodies. Sometimes it’s just a good beat. Sometimes it’s a sweeping epic of a music track. Sometimes it’s hearing something from your childhood in a totally brand new way (see the Donkey Kong Country track in this episode).

I’m not too big on going back and replaying games. You can never recreate that feeling you had first playing it, but I go back to the music of my favorites all the time. That’s the portal to a good game for me. If I want to step back into that feeling and those memories, then the music from the game is that door for me. We’ve done this show for 481 episodes and this is only the second time we’ve spent a whole show dedicated to the music of video games. We’ll do it again, and we won’t wait 4 years in between either.

 

We’re not mad at that doughnut at the following link.

I really hope you like video game music. Chances are, if you listen to this show, you do. Next week we’re going to do a music show. Barring any massive gaming news we’ll just be playing and talking video game music for the whole show. And we’ll be doing it with the help of your song submissions and two exceptional composers. Gareth Coker has been on the show before. He’s the composer for Ori & The Blind Forest, ARK, and Mean Greens, as well as plenty of other games. He’s also just fun to talk to and hang out with. Jason Graves is someone I’ve met at PAX but we’ve never had him on the show before. He’s composed for Dead Space, Until Dawn, and The Order 1886.

Now the only thing left is you. Send us your submissions for songs to play on the show and a little bit about why you like whatever it is you’re sending. No vocal tracks please and no covers – a familiar theme but played on a didgeridoo or something like that. We want to hear from you and what you enjoy in video game music.

 

We’re tuning up the band at the following link.

In two weeks, my two co-hosts of the show will be off enjoying the very first (I think) local comic/sci-fi/etc con here in town. In fact, a lot of people will. Even myself, but while I’ll be there as just someone enjoying it, they actually have responsibilities for it and won’t be able to make the show. I’m not one to skip shows for many reasons. Hell, we used to keep going even when I made my trips or was stuck in a hospital. It was seriously something we didn’t miss for any reason if we could help it. And given we’re already going to miss a show later in the month while I’m at PAX, I didn’t want to miss another one so soon before. So, what’s a host to do when they’ve got no one to talk to for two hours?

Music Show!! We’ve been wanting to do something like this annually but haven’t done it since going all the way back to September 7th, 2013. I’ve gotten the ball rolling with some interview request to composers, but we’re also going to need your help. Got a favorite track? Send us an email with it along with a short explanation of WHY it’s your favorite. No idea how this will line up as far as timing with whatever guests we may get so let’s limit it to one submission per person for now.

Keep an eye on us on twitter as we announce there who we’ll be having on the show.

 

We can never be satisfied at the following link.

Destiny 2 is on our minds this episode and it isn’t all good. But what does it even matter when regardless of the issues I and others may have we know damn well where we’ll be when this thing goes live.

Destiny has always had this grip over us. We can find plenty of things we hate about it but in the end we keep coming back to it and we’ll be doing the same with Destiny 2. The new weapon thing will take some getting used to along with the other changes, but we’ll be there. Some of us in more than one place come October or so. I don’t know what will happen when I have this game on PS4 and PC. I don’t picture myself keeping up with both platforms but stranger things have happened when it comes to my time and gaming.

Speaking of, if anything I can find positive with this recent beta of Destiny 2, it’s that I’m way more excited to play the beta on PC.

Although with my luck it’ll drop the same time I’m out of town for PAX West.

 

One-eyed Willy has been found at the following link.

Life tip: Keep those eyes clean and keep clean anything that touches them.

I think I own a few early access titles. But not many. I dipped my toe into that pool once or twice and the water never got comfortable enough for me to dive into. That’s a way of saying I don’t like early access. But, I also don’t mind early access. I’m pretty sure I was the same way when it first started to come into practice. One of those…”Hmmm…I’ll keep my eye on this” kind of things. I’m not against it though. We’ve actually gotten some great games from the concept, but, I don’t know. I think, for me, getting the game early like that let me play it to the point that when it came out of early access I wasn’t excited about it. It was all over news sites and review sites and people were talking about it, but here I was just…meh, I played it already months ago. And while things were tweaked and changed, I’d already moved on. Maybe that’s my issue with the practice. I’m really not sure. I just know when I see something that interests me on Steam and then see it in early access, I just move on to something else. It isn’t something at that stage that I’m willing to spend my money on. Again, though, keep in mind, this is just my opinion. And understand I’m not condemning the practice of early access. It’s just not my thing.

Then there’s the whole issue of Kickstarter/crowd funding types. An issue better saved for a future episode.

 

The origami killer can be found at the following link.

Microsoft finally let loose with more details of the guts of the Xbox One X – which I still prefer the name Scorpio. It lives up the hype, but as the risk of sounding like a PC purist, everything it can do has to end with the phrase “for a console”. And they don’t really deny that. Marketing right now is calling it the world’s most powerful console. That’s absolutely true. But even with all that power, it’s still not giving you true 4K content in your games. Movies? Sure. That’s not a problem, but the games still have a hill to climb. Along with…other issues.

I would love to say that Microsoft’s flagship title to usher in this new power is Crackdown 3, but I don’t even think they care about that anymore as shown in their E3 presentation. It was buried deep into the show with a silly trailer that did nothing for me and then they moved on. No, the flagship title is a racing game. It opened E3 and was pretty much given the most amount of time on stage, even if some of that time was spent displaying a real car (I’ll never understand the people who organize these shows – the marketing makes no sense to me). Forza Motorsport 7 is one hundred gigabytes. I don’t know how or why that is. I can’t think of a single PC game that comes in at that size (without DLC). But if this is the road to (not even true) 4K gaming on consoles….we’re gonna need a bigger boat. The default 1TB drive that comes on the Xbo..Scorpio isn’t going to cut it if we’re getting 100GB games right out of the gate without patches or DLC.

Oh yeah, then there’s the issue of people with internet caps and the like.

 

We’re unboxing a lot of boxes at the following link.

The lazy days of summer are never more apparent for me than in the world of video games. Sure, we have E3, but we blow through that in a day or two at most. What we are left with is the need for summer to speed on by as fast as possible so we can get to everything we just saw from E3.

There’s the issue of a backlog, however, and it’s usually where you can find me during the summer months. Finishing up games that are usually getting sequels in the coming months. Just recently I finished up Shadow Of Mordor and I’ll be moving on to the Dishonored DLC and Dishonored 2 in preparation for the new expand-alone or whatever it is. At some point in all of this I’ll have to make time for the Destiny 2 beta.

There’s also a sprinkling of new release games due up in this month and next, with more of the higher profile ones getting released in late August.

Those are my summer plans, anyway. What are yours?

 

All of our bad news is coming true at the following link.

We said Microsoft couldn’t sell their new console at five hundred dollars, but they’re doing it anyway. Then we said Destiny 2 for PC couldn’t launch a month after the console versions, and guess what?

If I could look into the future, and I think I know myself well enough that I can, I don’t really see myself playing Destiny 2 on PC. I want to play it on PC, don’t get me wrong there. But I don’t see it happening.

During E3 we found out that the PC version of the game won’t be released until October 27th. That’s near 2 months (7 weeks) from when it’ll be released on consoles. We discuss this in the show, but the landscape of gaming around the consoles release is kinda open to giving me time to enjoy the game. Especially compared to the landscape on that October date. And that’s just talking about other games that will be trying for my attention (and will get it too). That doesn’t include how far into Destiny 2 I’ll already be on the consoles when the PC counterpart is released. That also doesn’t include the unfriendly side of things where their consumer base is concerned. I’m not calling foul just yet since they have time to correct a few things. I won’t go into detail here but we do discuss them in this episode.

It’s still a choice. One I’m not really good with. Going both ways I’m very likely to try and keep them both as up to date as possible which will be double the time sink and I’m just not sure how fun that will be for me. Plus there’s a matter of ALL the double-dipping I’ll be doing when you factor in the DLC stuff for ever how long this is going to go on. That’s the kind of future I’m looking at and I’m not very fond of it.

This is something likely boiling down to a first-come first-served, and the console version, sad to say, is going to win out.

 

We’re not buying the hype at the following link.

I’ve had about a week to think on it. By it I mean E3. There are so very few silver linings from this year, it’s hard to be hopeful. About the only two things I can get excited for is New Colossus and Super Mario Odyssey.

Microsoft is just blowing it with a $500 console. Sony’s lineup looked nice but outside of Uncharted in August, everything else is sometime next year. Seriously…go back and watch and see what of their exclusives gets released this year. Ubisoft has Assassin’s Creed Origins – I’m not sold on them turning a new leaf with this franchise until it actually happens. Mario & Rabbids looked WAY better than I expected as far as gameplay is concerned. Then their big moment was Beyond Good & Evil 2 only to find out it’s at day 0 of development. So square one, essentially, from the last time they showed us that game.

EA had nothing. Yes, Battlefront 2 is still nothing. Need For Speed just might hook me with their Burnout style takedowns, but I’m going to need to see more before I get even halfway excited for that title. The PC Gaming show was completely horrible compared to years past. Massive let down there. Bethesda had nothing but the New Colossus game as I mentioned and whatever that Dishonored thing was – whenever that gets released.

Then there’s Destiny 2. We’re saving that one for next week.

 

We’re excited and cringing simultaneously at the following link.

This is being written on a Saturday night. Just after this episode, actually. So I can’t tell you about whatever Microsoft, Sony, Nintendo, Ubisoft, or Bethesda has shown off – even though you’ll know by the time this show is posted.

What I can say is that we were all very unimpressed with EA’s offerings. Personally, for me, the most bittersweet of it all is that Need For Speed game. Just….just call it Burnout Payback. The name even fits the series more than it does for NFS. It is TOTALLY a Burnout game – just look at those takedowns!

The reason I am writing this now, by the way, is because tomorrow will be very busy when I normally sit down and write these things. Microsoft is in the afternoon and Bethesda is….really really late at night for a guy who gets up really really early in the morning during the week. I may plan to watch it anyway. Somehow. Naps are involved, I think.

As I wrap this up without knowing anything of what’s to come, I just hope all your E3 dreams came true by the time you read this. So far, the lack of seeing more of whatever Amy Hennig is working on and that damn Need For Speed But Should Be Called Burnout game means mine hasn’t started off so well. We’ll see how this turns out on the next episode.

 

We have our flaws and setbacks but we’re also free at the following link.

E3 is this weekend. And it’s really kind of weird. Everything feels scattered. I think this is good, but I don’t know. It’s strange not having everything back to back like it used to be. Everything used to be on a Monday and then Nintendo on Tuesday. Now some of it is on Saturday (right before we go live), some of it on Sunday, some on Monday, and then Nintendo on Tuesday. Also, Bethesda…what’s up with 11pm on a Sunday night for your E3 showcase? I’m old now and I have to be up early the next morning. Knock it off.

Anyway, this used to be time for speculation but with the way it’s all set up our next two episode will be covering E3. Next weekend we’ll just be coming off of EA’s press conference literally just an hour before the show so we’ll go in depth with whatever it is they show us. But, by the time next weekend’s show is up for download, you’ll have already known everything there is to know – which is where that following episode after E3 comes into play.

Personally, I’m looking forward to the surprises. The unknown’s. There’s enough known for me to easily fill up everyone’s presentation (except maybe Bethesda). Microsoft has Scorpio and then plenty of games to show off and talk about. Sony has PSVR, Last Of Us 2, and a truckload of other titles to include. Ubisoft has the new AC, the new FC, and I am hoping like hell a new SC. But what are the unknown’s? That’s the fun part, for me anyway. The next two weeks are going to be fun.

 

We’ve failed. This isn’t the one. Start over at the following link.

Time and time again we’ve talked about how choices in games either matter or don’t matter. With some very few exceptions (Stories: Paths Of Destiny), they actually do matter on the outcome of the game you’re playing. I think Prey can fall into that category. It is a game with multiple paths to approach many problems just as much as it has multiple endings depending on how you played. And that last part is key. The endings aren’t so much a choice as it is….a performance review, in a sense. It’s a game that looks at HOW you played over what choice you made. You aren’t picking the good ending or the bad ending, but you decide on WHO you want to be and HOW you’ll want to play, and that, ultimately, decides your fate when it’s all said and done.

I started the game later than everyone else on the show so it gave me the chance to see how they were playing and go COMPLETELY opposite. We always tend to go the “good” route on the first playthrough in these games of choices so I went evil. It’s not what I’m used to when playing a game for the first time and I got the ending I deserved. But it wasn’t even a question or a look back at my playing. The game knew I was a horrible evil person and gave me the shortest ending available. That’s your punishment, I guess. But, even if I’d given it a great try to be good, it doesn’t mean it would have changed for me. It’s all dependant on how you play.

Prey judges you. In the very beginning of the game you are given a series of questions of hypothetical situations. It’s a quick test. But it sets the tone for the rest of the entire game as one big series of questions for you to answer in actions. And those answers matter.