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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.

 

We’re [text removed due to copyright claim] at the following link.

I suppose I could just do a running joke of having copyright claims throughout this post, but we’ve had enough of that on just this episode alone (if you watch it on Twitch). I’m honestly not opposed to it, personally. It’s something I know isn’t really ever going to go away, but I’m not very fond of how it’s being handled on Twitch. In fact, I’m not fond of a few things they’ve recently done over there. We’re trying out some streams on Hitbox for the time being and may actually move over completely at some point, but we’ll keep you posted on that.

It wasn’t a far stretch to figure this particular episode would get flagged for audio, both on Twitch and Youtube. That’s due to a request made from Naughty Dog’s Neil Druckmann on audio he’d like us to use for opening and closing the interview we had with him and Jason Gregory. They joined us (pre-recorded) to talk about The Last Of Us Remastered. It’s a more technical conversation than I was expecting and it really surprised me how interesting that actually was over just talking about the game itself.

And, by the way, it’s mentioned in the show during the beginning but the song choice was the one played during The Last Of Us: One Night Live, done exclusively for the live audience at the theatre.

 

The name of the game is the following link.

At least once in the show for the past two weeks I’ve been bringing up the fact that I was reading Console Wars – a new book by Blake J. Harris. Finally, Blake is able to join us live on the phone and we talk for a solid hour about growing up during the Nintendo Vs. Sega war of the early 90s. During the conversation we learn what sparked him to write such a book and set out on what must have felt like a daunting task to reach back into the past and pull out so many nuggets of information as to what went on in the houses that Mario and Sonic built.

It’s a fascinating story. Sometimes funny (the hell that was Super Mario Bros. The Movie) and a little sad (again, Super Mario Bros. The Movie), but always fun to follow the timeline of what I remembered doing way back then and see how the companies were…well, actually making me do those things.

I was their puppet, and I enjoyed every minute of it as a 13 year old.

 

We’re trying to find the positive side of things at the following link.

I’ve told this story before, but my favorite press conference at E3 this year was Sony’s. Although it had nothing to do with what they presented. All of my enjoyment of that press conference comes down to the person I sat next to while in attendance.

I’d seen HipHopGamer at previous E3’s and other events. I mean, the guy’s hard to miss. He’s outspoken. He’s loud. He’s very loud. And that wrestling title belt sticks out like a sore thumb at something like E3. However, I’d never met him or really spent ANY kind of time around the guy. That is until this year’s Sony E3 press conference. My experience of which I won’t soon forget.

HipHopGamer joins us in this episode to tell us what (or who) got him into gaming and shares with us a little of why, not only is he so excited at these press conferences, but also why he’s always so positive.

His attitude towards things, gaming in particular, is one I hope rubs off on me, personally. He seems in a much happier place because of that, and I’d really like to be in that place myself.

 

We’re digging up the past at the following link.

For me, personally, this whole E.T. in a landfill thing was never a myth or some urban legend. For whatever reason throughout my life I always knew it to be true and, in fact, I never knew there was any question as to the validity of the claim. It kind of surprised me to see tweets and headlines about “the rumors are true” or “legend confirmed” or whatever. Now that I think about it, I guess that’s why they went out there to dig them up – because if it was a known fact, then why do it to begin with?

Regardless of reasons we had other things to discuss, such as the new DLC for Batman: Arkham Origins. You’ll only get my take on it, but hopefully it’s enough to give you that informed decision before a purchase or putting in the time.

Also in this episode we get to speak again with Rand Miller from Cyan. We had him on about 6 months ago to talk with us about Obduction’s kickstarter and he’s back to give a bit of a development update. This interview is actually about 45 minutes long but only 30 minutes are in the show proper and stick to talk about Obduction. Those of you looking for talk of Myst, Riven, and an interesting little story about Disney & Myst should stick around after the show.

 

We’re letting Matt go without cause at the following link.

We’re not really letting him go, but we have no say in what his job needs of him and it apparently needs him to fly 9 and a half hours ahead of us in time zones where he’ll spend most of the rest of the year. As with most of these things, we wish him well in his future endeavors.

Speaking of future endeavors, we’re quite curious what’s going on with Bungie and the release of Marty O’Donnell from their staff. These things happen but not usually on the terms that we know of publicly from what he’s tweeted so far in being fired from the company. Normally it is either a mutual split or both parties stay mum on the subject. Although, either way, people are going to speculate and that’s no different here.

Unexpectedly in this episode we received a call from Cailleah Scott-Grimes who tells us of her kickstarter project, She Got Game, a documentary about women’s experience in gaming. This was a completely unplanned and unprepared interview. I only mention that because of how easy it was to conduct given the subject matter – something worth talking about, and something worth making a documentary over. If you’d like to contribute, there’s still time left before the Kickstarter is over.