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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 kickstarting our patreon for paypal donations at the following link.

First things first, if you aren’t reading or haven’t yet read Console Wars about the Nintendo Vs. Sega battle in the 90s, you really should check it out. We won’t have the author on for another week or so, but it worth bringing up now because I’m enjoying the hell out of it.

I don’t know the statistic of successful Kickstarters versus those that failed, but in the 20 or so that I’ve backed, 2 of them didn’t meet their goal, and there’s a few left that are still in development (one of those gets a trailer at Comic Con this week). My personal experience hasn’t been a bad one and there’s probably a lot of people who’ve experienced the same. One bad Kickstarter doesn’t make them all bad. Just…be careful where you put your money and, just as important, understand the rules of Kickstarter….and “early access” for that matter.

 

We’re saving Marvel at the following link.

Actually, we’re not doing anything of the sort, but most of us watched EVO all weekend and would have during the show had we not had to do…a show. I can imagine ArJay shares the sentiment, but for me, personally, EVO is fascinating to watch and no matter the game being played, I am transfixed with the competition and skill being displayed during the fights. It really has everything you could want in almost any kind of competition. I’m not really a sports guy. I can watch a game and get the point and empathize with fans of a team, but there’s still a disconnect of some sort. That isn’t something I have while watching EVO – in fact, I know from how it feels watching these matches what sports fans feel and can easily understand their passion to something I was so dismissive of before.

Oh yeah, I’m also building a virtual pinball machine – and don’t worry, we DO NOT talk about Wolf Among Us in this episode.

 

We’re patiently sniping but valiant in our efforts at the following link.

We’re still in the middle of what feels like a wasteland of game releases and gaming things to talk about, but, for some reason, I don’t actually feel that to be true. I’ve got two playthroughs of Valiant Hearts out of the way in one week’s time and have made good progress in Sniper Elite 3, but something still feels lacking. Maybe it’s just this time of year that has set in for me (or all of us) to experience a slowing down of releases and news. Regardless, this episode only seems to enforce that kind of thinking. We do hit on the two games I’ve spent time with this week, but we also distract ourselves in going over our history of gaming – where it started for us and the different turns it took along the way. It was fun, interesting, and something I really wish James, Nathan, and Matt could have also shared with us by being on the show.

 

We’re stopping to smell the backlog at the following link.

The quiet interval between E3 and the holiday market rush really ought to be a sacred time for us who play games, even if it’s a bit dreary for those in the mood for new releases.  The doldrums don’t quite last as long as they seem, if we’re honest, and they aren’t really all that bare, either.  But the spectacle of news and marketing that immediately precedes the summer lull is matched only by the crush of new games that follows in the fall, and we spend the months in between disoriented, with our ears ringing and our nerves jangling.

As hosts, we’re forced to do what we’d have preferred to do all along, which is to talk to one another, and to you, about what we’ve played or wished we had, and how we felt about whatever we can remember.  Being starved for public relations messages, marketing hype, press releases, developer controversy, and endless other tabloid gossip is a strongly positive thing.  None of us first developed an interest in games for the drama, unless that drama was in the cartridge or on the disc.  Sadly, it takes a near total lack of triple-A news to remind us of this.  Maybe one day the lesson will stick.

 

We’re fashionably late at the following link.

We’re spending time on things both old and new in this episode, as we invite to the long neglected interview one Karl Roelofs, co-founder of Zojoi and developer of Shadowgate in all its forms.  Karl takes us through the history of Shadowgate, and the imminent release of its newest incarnation due this summer.

Sadly, outside of hosting storied game developers and awaiting their newest wares, we’ve absolutely run out of things to say.  The passing of this years E3 and exhausting of every news item has left us with not a single healthy rumor or tabloid story to cover.  We’re within the summer doldrums again, and we expect it to be weeks before we see something worth getting in a fight about.  If this goes on long enough, we may actually have to play some games.

 

We’re all dressed up with nothing to play at the following link.

E3’s annual blitz of showmanship and overpromises has come and gone and left a whole lot of nothing in its wake.  2015 will evidently be a good year for those of us with disposable income and a strong yen for gaming, but the outlook for this year remains tame.  There’s still a few things to look forward to, no doubt, and there’s always that backlog we’d like to address.  And, of course, it turns out that Bungie and Activision’s Destiny is turning our heads in a way we hadn’t expected.  The surprise alpha access was maybe the best thing on offer last week, and it looks like it will fill the sadly empty bill nicely this fall.

 

We’re not remotely pessimistic at the following link.

Every one of us on the show knows better than to entertain our hopes and dreams for any particular game, or studio, or platform, or for E3 and the hobby of gaming as a whole. We know there are and always will be wonderful games to explore and a goodly number of surprises in every future, but we’ve learned what it means to maintain a wishlist and see it go unfulfilled. We’ve sworn in the past never to do it again…but that’s always been a lie, hasn’t it? It probably always will be. Every one of us is an optimistic twelve-year-old on the inside, and we’ll be damned if we let the hard shell of adulthood muffle our enthusiasm. At least not this year.

 

We’ve crashed into a bollard at the following link.

So Watch Dogs is out, and even though we were never certain what we wanted from it, we’re pretty sure that this wasn’t it, and we’re very sure we just don’t care.  We’re actually exhausted from the effort of giving a shit about this game, and it’s neither good enough or bad enough to move us toward any particular emotion.  The only genuinely tragic thing is that it’s drowned several good ideas beneath a lot of poor story and derivative gameplay.  There’s not much here that we really want to be doing, which makes it all the more troubling that we can’t stop playing.

 

We’re holding our breath and stamping our feet at the following link.

The hype and hoopla for the now current-gen consoles was pegging the meter for the better part of a year – and still manages to raise a lot of noise –  but aside from roaring of console warriors, there doesn’t seem to be much going on.  The first year of new hardware is historically slow to deliver games, but that first year has also tended to amaze or innovate at some perceptible level.  Anymore, “next-gen” may as well mean “keeping pace”.  But these boxes aren’t going anywhere soon, and we gripe and complain when we’re hungry for first-class exclusives.  We’ll revisit the bitchiness on the eve of next year’s E3 and see if we’ve managed any progress.

 

We’ve been spun right round at the following link.

Following the course taken by the Xbox One over the the last year has been a bewildering experience.  It’s nice, we suppose, to have a cheaper console that’s less restrictive in its policies, and there are certainly people who are ready to become One owners once these changes take effect.  But there’s also something grotesque about Microsoft’s console now, as if it’s had every offending limb hacked off and other, mismatched parts bolted into place in an effort to fit into a certain mold.

This is without a doubt the result of the healthy competition we all want from the games industry, but it’s sad that the Xbox couldn’t have been designed to meet these expectations from the beginning, rather than being hectored and beaten into compliance.  It’s been a hard year for the Xbox, and a long one, but it’s a single year, and only half of that on the market.  They’ve made more changes in that year than most consoles would make in their lifetime, so for the sake of not looking too terribly foolish in the future, we’re going to give them the benefit of the doubt and wish them the very best of luck.

 

Now we’re playing with power at the following link.

Topics for the episode start out with Nintendo and how things seem to be going for what has really become the “granddaddy” of console gaming, portable or otherwise. None of us want bad things to happen to Nintendo and most all of us say that while hardly owning ANY of their current product, be it 3DS or WiiU. They are relevant, to be sure, but what is unsure is how relevant they are in the discussion of the new, current gen systems. The numbers, as it were, don’t lie.

I’m writing this on a Wednesday and trying to keep the description as close to the discussion in the show as possible, but this week, even before this was posted or written, has been a busy one when it comes to numbers, sales, charts, and SKU’s. None of us are oblivious to it, and you can easily guess how this post will be written next week.

 

We’re a podcast in harm’s way at the following link.

There are apparently always going to be weeks where we absolutely cannot exercise our boundless optimism and enthusiasm, no matter how hard we try.  Those would be the weeks where the most recent Call of Duty is announced and information dumps for a much-vaunted IP fail to materialize.  It’s clearly important that we preach to the converted about the shortcomings of any particular CoD release, and I think we’ve done what’s expected.  How else would you know what a sickening travesty the franchise has become?

Our responsibilities concerning Destiny are a little less clear, as we’re divided on whether Bungie have done anything wrong.  Or anything at all, really.  An ongoing project on our show is to roll our eyes and pshaw at the incredible power of the overpromise used in nearly all official communications between videogame developers and the fans of said videogames.  We have no doubt there’s a lot on the line when you introduce your half-billion-dollar baby to the world, but there’s quite a bit going on for the guy at the end of the line as well.  Since that’s us, we’re going to bellyache until they’ve delivered the goods.

 

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.