ETERNALLY YOURS: After getting released on Disney+, our hosts finally discuss the most recent Marvel Studios release (notSpider-Man: No Way Home), Eternals. It’s a movie with a lot of new additions to the MCU, for better or for worse.
“Sword Club” (30 July 2021): Where our hosts discuss the results of California’s investigation into the company culture at Activision Blizzard.
“Scary Gongs” (19 November 2021): Where our hosts review the walkout at Activision over their dissatisfaction with Bobby Kotick as a leader of the company.
THE DOCTOR IS IN…FLUX: With the most recent series of Doctor Who wrapping up––a six-episode event called Doctor Who: Flux––our hosts discuss its ups, downs, insides, and outs as the show leads to the exit of the current Doctor as played by Jodie Whittaker.
“Smash Talk” (14 Dec. 2018): Where D. Bethel and Andrew discuss Jodie Whittaker’s first season as the main character of Doctor Who.
“Halloween Still” (01 Oct. 2021): Where Andrew and D. Bethel discuss the news that previous showrunner, Russell T. Davies, will be taking over Doctor Who after current showrunner, Chris Chibnall, steps down.
KOTICK TOCK TIME’S UP: This week, after a scathing report, employees of Activision/Blizzard walked out calling for the expulsion of the company’s CEO, Bobby Kotick. Our hosts examine the situation and how it symptomizes larger aspects of video game culture.
A BAD BLIZZARD: Our hosts take a quick look at the controversy (and lawsuits!) that came out of an investigation led by the state of California into the toxic and dangerous company culture of Activision Blizzard.
I HAVE THE POWER: Having watched the first five episodes released for Netflix’s Masters of the Universe: Revelation, Andrew and D. Bethel look at this playful and creative reimagining of the classic ’80s toy commercial, er I mean, cartoon series.
“All-New, All-Same” (29 June 2018): Where Andrew and D. Bethel discuss the angry internet’s attempt to “destroy” Lucasfilm following the release of The Last Jedi and Solo: A Star Wars Story.
“Empty Justice” (01 March 2019): Where our hosts talk about internet trolls trying to review bomb Captain Marvel ahead of its release.
ELEMENTARY, DEAR WOHN JATSON: A brief look at an upcoming multi-platform release from Capcom that gathers two Ace Attorney games previously unavailable outside of Japan. The collection, called The Great Ace Attorney, features some interesting localization of characters names. While not unusual in itself, the fact that in Japan a character named “Sherlock Holmes” had to be changed––to “Herlock Sholmes” for release in the United States points to some very strange aspects of copyright law. Andrew dives deep into the mystery.
CUTTING CUTSCENES: Based on an GamesIndustry.biz interview with Weird West narrative designer, Lucas Loredo, who posits the idea that maybe we live in a gaming world that no longer has a need for cutscenes in games. D. Bethel and Andrew dive into the purpose of cutscenes and do their best to answer the question themselves.
A BLIZZARD OF CONTROVERSY: Activision Blizzard––makers of such hit games as World of Warcraft, Overwatch,and Hearthstone––have hit a geo-political wall as they take a stance over controversial statements made by the winner of a Hearthstone tournament about the protests in Hong Kong against the People’s Republic of China. Andrew and D. Bethel investigate the complicated relationship between popular American entertainment and China.
OPPORTUNITY DIABLOWN: At the end of the keynote presentation for this year’s BlizzCon––a convention devoted to game developer, Blizzard, created by game developer, Blizzard––the wildly successful PC developer announced a new entry into its long-running and beloved Diablo franchise: Diablo: Immortal. While ostensibly a new Diablo game, Diablo: Immortal is a phone game made not by Blizzard but by Chinese mobile developer, NetEase, and it was decidedly not the game fans wanted news about: Diablo IV. In a backlash of epic proportions, Blizzard has tried to course-correct which only dug them in deeper, D. Bethel and Andrew investigate the aloofness of Blizzard, the entitlement of fandom, and the hazy trouble in-between.
Bethel, D. “The Week – 26 October 2018.” Long John. ––Where D. Bethel wrote about people judging texts based on news, images, previews without actually seeing the final content.
NERD LAW: When legal stuff happens in the nerd world, Andrew is on the case (though not dispensing any legal advice). This time around, he talks about Epic Games suing players who use cheats in Fortnite and Comic Con International winning its copyright battle against Salt Lake Comic Con over the term “Comic Con” (19:40)
THE FORCE IS…EXPENSIVE?: With the hotly anticipated Star Wars: Battlefront II released recently, with it came a lot of controversy. It stands at the apex of a recent trend toward big-budget titles adopting monetizing tactics more commonly found in free-to-play mobile games, this time in the form of blind boxes aka loot boxes. Andrew and D. dive into this controversy and try to find the middle ground.
Today, the Korean Esports Association (KeSPA) made a big announcement: the formal Starcraft ProLeague would come to an end. Although there are a lot of different reasons that the Starcraft league was cancelled, the Chairman of KeSPA summed it up reasonably well:
[T]he drop in the number of ProLeague teams and players, difficulty securing league sponsors, and match fixing issues have made it challenging to maintain ProLeague.
This is not an isolated assessment. Professional eSports organization TeamLiquid also noted that five professional Starcraft II pro teams also disbanded. Although people on Twitter have already declared Starcraft dead in Korea or competitive StarcraftII dead altogether, Blizzard has yet to issue any response and the 2016 WCS (World Championship Series) Global Finals are still scheduled for early November.
Whether this is the end of the line or just a bump in the road, it’s hard not to look at this as a condemnation of eSports as nothing more than a fad, or at least something that will never have the social gravitas of “real” competitive sports. Nowadays, it’s probably easier to find a RuPaul’s Drag Racewatch partyin a bar than it would be an eSports event. Perhaps it just says something about the nature of watching events as a group.