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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.

 

A portion of this show was very last minute. Like, 15 minutes to air there was an idea and we went with it.

This episode was recorded on the 50th anniversary of the Apollo moon landing. And we’re all very big fans of that and space exploration in general so to mark the occasion we play an interview done in 2008 with one of only 12 men ever in the history of all mankind to set foot on the moon, Charlie Duke. It has absolutely no ties to video games whatsoever, but we don’t care. And we hope you don’t either. As was said back then:

None of us on the show can really express what it was like to talk with Mr. Duke or even have him on the show. It is an experience not a single one of us will ever forget. He tells us of his experience with NASA and his time spent on the moon as well as traveling to it plus his return to Earth. What is it like to re-enter Earth’s atmosphere? What’s it like to stand within such a magnificent desolation? To see the dark side of the moon and to witness an Earth-rise. Charlie Duke tells us of those things along with many others (cosmic rays penetrating the eyeballs, anyone?).

 

It’s always a great thrill to have Rand Miller on the show from Cyan Worlds. He’s enthusiastic to talk about the games he’s working on and working on games in general. It’s also fun that he isn’t tied to any sort of PR where he has to stick to the script.

That’s why I was eager to ask him about the whole Epic Games Store stuff and get his take on it. And his take is what I imagine a lot of indie devs feel about it too. It also gave me a perspective I’d not yet taken into account. While I’d spent most of my time trying to figure out why consumers has issue with it, I’d completely overlooked the developer aspect of why they are so excited about it. Long story short, it makes them excited because they can continue to make games when offers like these come their way.

But Rand is much better at telling that than I am, because you can hear it in his voice when talking about it.

This was Rand’s fourth visit to our show and we hope to have him on many more times. He is an absolute joy to speak with and we can’t wait to talk to him again soon.

 

We put it on a bomb, an actual bomb, at the following link.

We haven’t spoken to Twisted Pixel in a few years but we hope to change that and keep a regular correspondence with them and the show. We used to have them on every time they released a new game and then they went silent for a while. You’ll find out why when you hear our interview with Amanda May in this episode.

We all played games this week, but the only thing new for me was the Detroit demo. I was already sold on the game from all the branching paths, but the demo showed me this was much better than Beyond Two Souls – their last effort at the “your choices matter” type of gameplay style. Because in that game, it didn’t. At all. However, Detroit looks like that course was corrected. We’ll see later this month when it releases.

At some point I should probably start (and finish) God Of War. I’m a bit behind.

 

It’s behind a glass display case at the following link.

I never started out doing this show to reach any kind of goals. It was, and still is, a great hobby of mine and everyone else involved. It just comes with perks every now and then. Like realizing that you’ve not only spoken with, but also met and visited the people and places behind your favorite games. And not just recent favorite games, but the games that made you. The games that shaped who you’d become as a gamer.

MYST was that game for me, no doubt about it. That goes all the way back to 1993. And I have been in love with every game in the series ever since, never once ever expecting that I’d get to talk to one of the people who created the game, but also getting to meet him and visit the studio.

It will never not be special to me to have these people on our show.

 

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 got a rock at the following link.

Ever had one of those days. The beginning of this show is like one of those days.

In this episode we discuss the news about the Nintendo Switch being a touch-screen. This is something we suspected but since it was never shown in the announce video, we weren’t sure. The Switch is looking more and more like a tablet and less and less like a home gaming console. Still, there’s more we’ve yet to learn.

We’re joined in the second hour by Keythe Farley. He’s an actor, director, and voice actor with SAG-AFTRA, who are currently on strike. We talk to him about their demands and try to clarify a little bit about just exactly what those demands mean. Plus, he takes a few questions from listeners and go into a little bit of what it takes to be a voice actor under the current rules they are trying to change.

 

Is this episode a buy, wait for a sale, rent, or never touch? Find out at the following link.

It isn’t often we have a guest host on the show. Sitting in for the full 2 hours is daunting and that comes from those of us who do it each week. However, if there is anyone who is up to that challenge and goes above and beyond, it’s our guest host for this episode. We’re pleased to welcome Karak from ACG who joins us for the full two hours on the phone and chimes in with his thoughts on what he’s played and playing, E3, and a little bit about that G2A thing going on with Tiny Build. If you aren’t familiar with ACG and what Karak does, he explains on the show, but you can also click here to see his videos on YouTube.

It was our pleasure to have Karak on the show and we hope to have him on again very soon.

 

We’re streaming in 4K at the following link.

In this episode we have an interview with Atul Mehra from Spearhead games about “Stories: The Path Of Destinies”. I praise the game enough as it is throughout the whole episode so if you’re looking for my comments, just watch the show and the interview. Choices in games often mean something but they have little of the weight that the game would make you think you’re having. Except in Stories. Every choice carries with it a new path bringing you to different choices had you chosen differently just before. Where last week I was talking about how Quantum Break was trying to make your choices matter….well, nothing can hold a candle to what Stories is doing.

We also take some time and unbox a few LootCrate’s that came in. These sort of things work a whole lot better on video than they do in audio so give it a look if you have the time.

 

We’re moving slowly and dying often at the following link.

So this is an interview episode. We’ve had others but this one goes a bit long. The first hour is all about VR and SUPERHOT. With Matt gone we get to meet Amber, who’s been a lifelong gamer and even works at a local gaming bar.

The second hour right to the end of the episode is a wonderful interview with Barry Meade from Fireproof Games. Talking to the people who create these games will NEVER get old for me. And that goes even further when it is the creators of the games I personally love. The Room series of games are exactly that. You can also hear the giddy-ness in my voice…it just so happens the team of Fireproof Games were once members of another studio I so dearly love.

 

We’re digging out our floppy’s at the following link.

It’s hard at times not to fall back into the hole that is gaming nostalgia. We could honestly do it every single episode but there’s shows out there that are specifically created for just such a purpose and we’ll leave it to them to get it right. That being said, we still dive into our memories of gaming past right at the very beginning of this episode. Pardon our dust.

It’s also in this episode we welcome back a guest we haven’t spoken with since 2008. Metanet’s Raigan Burns joins us to talk about N++ and the journey of what it took to make a sequel along with what this sequel actually means to Metanet.

 

We’re taking turns being stealthy at the following link.

Stealth games. Some games get it right and some get it wrong. I think one that we universally agree gets it right (almost to perfection) is Mark Of The Ninja. So when Klei, the company who made Mark Of The Ninja, tell us they have another stealth game on the way, our ears, eyes, and whatever else perk up with interest. Invisible Inc. doesn’t scratch the itch left by Mark Of The Ninja, but it fills the hole plenty of other stealth titles just couldn’t do. Honestly, I don’t think I’ve played a stealth game where I had to think as much as I did playing Invisible Inc.

In this episode we talk with James Lantz from Klei Entertainment about Invisible Inc. and a short bit about Mark Of The Ninja 2. Plus, R.J. gives us a rundown on Jason from Mortal Kombat X and Matt tells us of his time with the new expansion for Wolfenstein: The New Order.

 

We made an important announcement at the following link.

So I want to tell you about this weeks episode. Well, I want to bring up two things about this weeks episode. First, we had a great chat with Gareth Coker who did the music for Ori & The Blind Forest. We’ll never turn down talking to video game music composers, regardless of having played the game or not (we haven’t). In fact, all the music in this episode is from Ori & The Blind Forest. We hope you enjoy it (seems a lot of you did).

Secondly, we finally launched our Patreon page. There’s a post at our site we’d like you to read that explains a lot of things about this whole Patreon thing and even more of an explanation directly at our page. I don’t need to rehash all the reasons and go into it again. It’s all there for you to read, but what I will say is that even though we were asked to make some way people could give back to the show, it still surprised me, personally, to see that take place. And so quickly after we launched. It can honestly never be said enough, but, as always…thanks for listening.

 

We’re once bitten twice shy at the following link.

In case you haven’t heard, there’s a new city builder game on the way. Cities: Skylines seems to be getting right everything that SimCity got wrong. Seems…is a really good word to use here. We’ll know in the next few days if we can eliminate that word, but in the meantime, we try to learn more about the game itself from Colossal Order’s Mariina Hallikainen. This is a studio who’ve been facing the community head on with their questions and concerns. And they are doing so because they saw what happened when Maxis didn’t do this the last time out. They are doing this because they know how gun shy the city builder fans are on throwing down money on another game.

If you want to know more about the game, listen to our interview in this episode. I’m personally excited for it, but I’ll admit, I’m still a bit skeptical of them getting it right. If anything, I think they’ll get it more right than SimCity did back in 2013.

 

We’re doing something puzzling at the following link.

You’ll have to forgive my enthusiasm when talking about The Talos Principle. For those of you long time listeners you no doubt have an idea of how much I enjoy puzzle games. For those of you new to the show: I really enjoy puzzle games. And The Talos Principle from Croteam nails it for me. We spend a large chunk of this episode talking with a developer from Croteam, Damjan Mravunac, about the Talos Principle.

Outside of that, however, we still have time to talk about the delay of Witcher 3, remembering the first games we saved up our money to buy (disappointments be damned), and Nathan giving the rest of us a little something for the holidays.