The Up Button Episode

Your Friday Episode of IGC is now ready for download.

By the time of this posting, most anyone with the inclination to do so will have played the Mirror’s Edge demo on at least one of the consoles where it can be found.  It’s probably safe to say that opinions will be divided – in some cases greatly.  From the first viewing of the first teaser, Mirror’s Edge has been captivating and consternating, and it hasn’t stopped being either now that we’re collectively hands-on.  

For my own part, I thought the demo was exhilarating, and I find myself rooting even more for the leaf-turning coalition within the Electronic Arts power base.  But I’m also prepared for the inevitable schism, something that’s sure to develop around a game whose qualities are so thoroughly subjective.  Something that may well develop within our own studio.


The Jumping In Episode

The Wednesday, October 29th episode is now available here.

Fallout 3 is nearly all we have to offer this episode, and if you’ve played the game at all you’ll know precisely why.  Of the three hosts present in this episode, none of us has gotten past the first real turning point after having left our vault sweet vault, yet the air is already thick with stories and comparisons of one experience to another.  Discussing how we chose to spend our formative years in vault 101, as well as the manner of our leaving, has given unto us a podcast bounty.  Assuming you’re not squeamish hearing about character creation, we invite you to share the bounty within.

In all fairness to the rest of the world, stuff happens regardless of any triple-A title that may have dropped into our world.  Penny Arcade Episode 2 is ready for us now, and Tomb Raider, Banjo-Kazooie and Mirror’s Edge demos demand to be heard, seen and played.  We just don’t know where the time is going to come from, but we promise strong opinions of all the above based on at least a little bit of playtime for our next meeting.


The Fallout Eve Episode

The episode for Monday, October 27th can be found here.

There’s no question what the cast is looking most forward to during this episode – what we’ve been looking most forward to for several weeks running.  Fallout 3 is mere hours away for those of us with a midnight launch retailer nearby, and no more than a restless night’s sleep for the remainder.  We’ve only just sunk our teeth into Far Cry and Fable sequels, and there’s still a zombie invasion to mop up in Azeroth.  But no matter – all games not taking place in and around the post-apocalyptic remains of Washington D.C. are headed directly for the back burner.  God willin’ and the creek don’t rise we’ll have plenty to say on Wednesday, and that all good.

Sadly, this episode marks the last regular appearance of co-host Dennis.  Real life and a real need to play the games we go on about so often have taken a toll, and he’s recognized that those things have to come first.  What point in talking about what you don’t have time to play?  We grudgingly agree, but fully expect him to treat us with occasional guest appearances.  Your chair is always open, man.

We’d also like to add a special note regarding future Monday episodes.  Our live show fills a very narrow gap in time for the radio station from which we work, and we produce it by the grace (or in some cases, ignorance) of the management.  Actual paying customers have shown up on the scene now and stolen our airtime, so we’ll be unable to broadcast in our usual slot.  We’ll still deliver a show on Mondays, but starting soon it will more closely follow the format of our Wednesday and Friday episodes.  We have plans still for listener involvement during that hour, so keep an ear out for whatever changes that may bring.


The Orb Told Me Episode

Another episode for another random day of the week.  Download it here.  

As of this writing, Fable 2 is busy spreading mirth and fulfillment to all who fall under its spell, be it through the joy of quests completed or a public display of scatological humor.   The specter of mediocrity that dogged the first game has been exorcised completely with this entry, as our friends lists can attest, but it seems that’s only made room for a much greater evil to take its place.  

You’ve no doubt heard reports of troublesome code and wonky behavior – bugs which can, in some cases, be utterly game-breaking.  But having suffered some of these issues ourselves, we at the show can’t help but classify this release as a gross failure, one made all the worse by how much concentrated fun the game had delivered in the short time before we chose to flap our gums to the abbot in Oakfield.  We know to expect a fix at some point in the near future, but those affected have already moved on.  With so many games just within reach, there’s little chance of going back any time soon.  Sad pandas all around.


The Minimum Payne Episode

What should have been a Wednesday episode is now available here.

The cast is several shades of livid about the theatrical adaptation of Max Payne. How it happened that Max has moved from an unapologetic revenge tale known for stellar gunplay and justifiable homicide to something so ponderous and uptight is well beyond us. This is hardly the first time we’ve seen Hollywood drain the blood from a compelling game world, and you might say our best defense against disappointment is to expect this treatment at every turn; to accept corruption as the default state of affairs. You may well be right, but Max Payne’s tragedy should muster a sense of rage from someone, and if it can’t be from the man in question then we can damn well provide it from the gallery.

We’re also pretty grouchy about…whatever it is we managed to focus on during the second half of our program. Microsoft is toying with technology that will allow real-time censoring of objectionable content over Live’s voice service. We’re not terribly sore about MS censorship, but we expect that something like this, if implemented, wouldn’t work to any useful degree, and would more likely degrade the general experience. The additional point is that, to us, objectionable content is far less about dirty words (of which we’re quite fond) than it is about the people themselves – people responsible for the kind of ingenious douchebaggery that technology cannot selectively repress. We’re unable to segregate ourselves online with the same degree of finesse and reliability as in the world, and sometimes the existing solutions feel woefully inadequate.


The Sum Of Its Parts Episode

The live episode for Monday, October 20th is available for download.

Saint’s Row 2 and the lasting appeal of the World at War beta spoke for a large portion of our weekend gaming, but we did manage to come in just under the wire with a complete run-through of Dead Space.  Everyone could smell the influence of John Carpenter, System Shock 2, and Event Horizon (among many others) from a mile away, and we’re certain we can’t remember the last game we found so openly derivative. 

But, having borrowed so heavily (and often so heavy-handedly) from other properties, the developers managed the one feat that excuses their license: they made a fantastic game that is quite a bit more than the sum of its parts.  Sure, we’ve seen the story before, and while we were expecting to be fearful, we were barely ill at ease. At the end of things, though, the quality of the experience simply wasn’t in question, and Dead Space had proven itself a worthy competitor for even the most potent of holiday releases.

This week’s live show also sees the return of the newly-married man from his whirlwind tour of Orlando’s finest destinations and attractions.  Eight theme parks in nine days is more than reason enough for not having played a game in the last week and a half.  We’d all make the same sacrifice, to be sure.  And in our last minutes we take time to celebrate Scott’s thirtieth birthday on-air, and what better way to begin the examination of one’s own mortality than with butchered-barbie Dexter-themed cupcakes?  Red velvet, natch.


The Technical Difficulties Episode

Your Friday episode is finally available for download.

It goes almost without saying that show stopping computer problems would occur only after the man responsible for tackling them begins his vacation.  It’s for this very reason that the Wednesday show was late for many, and that the Friday show is late for all.  By now Jeremy will have applied the chicken entrails, read the runes and begun the necessary incantations to ensure timely delivery of future content.

As for the present content, it deals largely with the CoD: World at War beta; the inevitable comparison and contrast to last year’s CoD4 beta experience, and the surprising degree to which we’re satisfied by the offering.  Even without the cooperative campaign, we’d still be drawn in for a survey of the retail multiplayer maps and unlocks.  

And, as is the custom at the end of the week, we open the mailbag and sift among the worthy submissions for something we have the time and intelligence to address.  It’s at this point we realize the futility of trying to handle every question during the show, since they often elicit an hour-long discussion before the mics are even hot.  For any who may not have heard their suggestions echoed on the air, we can assure you they have echoed in the studio as well as our minds, so keep up with the supply.


The Megaton Episode

The Wednesday, October 15th episode is up and ready for download.

There’s a lot to be said for having one’s significant other take a keen interest in your video games.  Dana began with Yahoo and PopCap product, but in recent times has graduated to the sorts of things I leave sitting in my disc tray.  As much as I’ve come to love the change, it can hardly keep from being strange.  We begin this episode by discussing these oddities, among them my joy at learning that the girl was a closet “core-gamer”,  and the difficulty I sometimes have in explaining what I mistake for the obvious.

Additionally, we spend time examining not only the sorts of people we tend to be when a game requires a moral choice, but the sorts of people we expect to be. The future-juncture in question is the settlement of Megaton, a town on the outskirts of DC in Fallout 3, and the site of one major decision in what is sure to be a long chain of the same. How we each choose to deal with what is still a very theoretical scenario says more than we thought about the kinds of people we are. How well we match our own expectations when the time comes may say something else entirely.

Episodes Interviews

The Tommy Tallarico Episode

The live episode for Monday, October the 13th is available here.

Having made the trip to the closest major metropolitan area for a performance of Video Games Live, the show decides to welcome to its live hour game composer and VGL co-creator Tommy Tallarico.  We discuss the history of the show, it’s rampant and continuing growth, the difficulty of choosing among so many beloved and worthy arrangements for fans at each stop on the tour, and the drive to expose to non-gamers the validity of gaming’s musical composition.  With more than 50 performances this year, and half again more in the year to come, Video Games Live might well be within reach for every fan, devotee or casual listener.

Turning to the news, we’re stymied by Blizzard’s decision to release Starcraft 2’s racial campaigns in separate retail increments, desperate to get our hands on the increasingly well-reviewed Dead Space, sullen at the idea of having missed yet another beta, and jealous of Richard Garriott’s final ascension into earth orbit.  We’ve felt eternally on the edge of a cliff heading into the fall of 2008, and the emotional intensity is only going to increase from now until the end of the year.  Fear, awe, rage (in no short supply), relief, and the inevitable sadness from the financial toll will be with us all the way, and we can only hope the trip we’re about to take will meet our ridiculous expectations.


The Crazy Like A Fox Episode

The new episode for Saturday, October the 11th is yours for the downloading right here.

Time flies when digesting news from both the Tokyo Game Show and BlizzCon simultaneously, and it moves especially fast when you’ve got less than an hour to transmute that news into a cohesive discussion.  We’re on track with the new Halo entries and Diablo 3’s wizard class announcement and other important things, but we can’t help savoring a recent and growing love of Peter Molyneux’s accidental PR genius.  He’s at turns absurd and inspiring; enigmatic and embarrassing, like the manic pixie dream girl of post-middle-age game developers.  Personally, I’d have hated the spectacle in the past, but now I find myself hoping for a similar show from the rest of the eccentric grognards in the industry.

Sadly, an unavoidable road trip during our normal studio time means your panel for this episode is well under complement.  Jeremy is honeymooning with the missus and Dennis is shackled to whatever terrible apparatus he tends for the man.  The show is always something less when a co-host is absent, but these two were particularly missed during this week’s mail bag segment.  We had several opportunities to clarify for the listeners our feelings about the Wii, but without the heart and soul of our Nintendo fandom present, we had mostly shrugs and apologies.  Thanks to the quality input of a remarkable listener base the present cast was able to handle some subjects in full, so keep it up with the emails and stuff.  You’re making us look good.


The Core Gamer Episode

The new episode for Wednesday, October 8th is available here.

Sometimes you just can’t see it coming.  You’ve got half a dozen game enthusiasts in a room filled with microphones, and their sole intention is to light upon a subject worth talking about in the hopes that it sparks a conversation worth listening to.  You reach for news items, you compare notes on recent games played, and if you’re lucky someone has done their homework and has a stack of timely opinions waiting just at hand.  And sometimes, during an edit break, someone suggests that we all take a moment to watch a 40-second clip of the new Punch Out.

Lively discourse follows, and it’s of the sort that reminds us how much we owe to our own diversity.  If the cast was five Scotts, or three Jeremys and a Dennis, then we’d never be able to deliver anything like what we bring you today.  You can decide for yourself if that’s a good thing, but whatever the case, we invite you to listen and we thank you, as always, for your time.


The Cross-Platform Episode

The Monday, October 6th episode is now available here.

This week’s live hour begins with congratulations for the newly-wed co-host Jeremy, and marks the first point at which the married hosts outnumber the free ones.  We hope this won’t be a problem, but married people always seem to know what’s best for the single folk, so there’s no telling what’s in store for the unwed among us.

Sadly, this episode continues the recent (and hopefully short-lived) trend of bagging on Nintendo for the manner in which they’ve raised the new DSi as their “third pillar”.  Opinions on the show have long been split regarding the Wii, but we have a universal love for Nintendo handhelds, and would far prefer to cheer it to success than to use it as grist for the anger mill.   But take a note, Nintendo – region locking and points exclusivity don’t make friends.

The Bioshock demo on the PS3 gets the talk treatment, wherein we’re sad to confirm the reports of graphical footdragging, and we discuss our largely positive reaction to the news of how Deus Ex 3 may differ in some basic design categories from the beloved original. 

We also field calls from awesome fan Ravenlock, whose tastes clearly run akin to those of co-host Daniel, and equally awesome fan Virodeath, who leads us directly into the turbid waters of cross-platform MMO discussion. But fear not, we sail these waters often and come well prepared.

Thanks to all of our live listeners, callers and email contributors, and thanks to you dear podcast subscriber.  Your next episode is on deck for Wednesday, and your chance to guide the live talk comes again next Monday.  We’ll see you then, right here on In-Game Chat.


The Rhinovirus Episode

It’s Friday, October 3rd and your new episode is here.

Scott has a cold and he’s talking more than he really should.  Normally we wouldn’t much care, but he’s promised his honeyed voice in addition to his skills as some kind of mail-order preacher to our co-host Jeremy for his nuptials this weekend, and we’d rather he not sound like evil Ash while officiating the ceremony.

Based solely on its press release, Nintendo’s DSi hasn’t won any friends among the cast.  We’re no doubt in similar company with people who like longer battery life, legacy cartridge ports, and who don’t relish spending money on a third iteration of DS hardware.  Big money says we’ll buy it anyway.

We make sad faces about the cuts to Fable 2’s CE bonus content, War World’s 45-second demo content, and the complete annihilation of C&C Tiberium’s game content.  But we rally the positive vibe thanks to CoD 5’s co-op videos, which lead directly to some helpful suggestions for the gentlepersons at Gamefly.

And in the inaugural effort of what we’ve planned as a regular Friday segment, we dive into the mailbag to offer our thanks for listener support and to give long answers to short questions.  This is seriously something we never get tired of, so keep the email flowing.

Thanks for listening and enjoy the show.

intro – still alive by jonathan coulton

outro – castle crashers end theme (tricky’s song) by dan paladin