A MARVELOUS DEBUT: Our hosts briefly talk about the incredible first impression that the MCU Disney+ show, Ms. Marvel, makes.
FALL OF THE PHOENIX: The tabletop role-playing game (TTRPG) world was rocked this last week as more and more people came out on Twitter to discuss the abusive work habits of TTRPG celebrities, Satine Phoenix and Jamison Stone. Our hosts cover the accusations and discuss how this applies to the TTRPG community as a whole.
PIXEL REMASTER REMARKS: The release of Final Fantasy VI Pixel Remaster is finally upon us and Andrew has a few––very short––thoughts about it.
DOCTOR WHAT?: It was announced that––despite an existing tabletop role-playing game existing––there would be a new Doctor Who roleplaying game based on the fifth edition (5E) of Dungeons and Dragons. And people have opinions.
TRAIN SUPLEX: The trailer for the next and last (of the current set) of the Final Fantasy Pixel Remaster series from Square Enix, Final Fantasy VI, has been released and our hosts have some thoughts (and nitpicks).
NFTHAC0: TTRPG Twitter caught on fire when discussion erupted around the possibility that Dungeons & Dragons developer, Wizards of the Coast, might be considering getting into the NFT game.
RESCUE THE RANGERS: A trailer for an upcoming movie based on Chip ‘n’ Dale: Rescue Rangers dropped and it…it…I have no words, for good or for ill. We’ll wait and see.
NEWS CRUISE: Andrew and D. Bethel cover a lot of different news stories this week, including the acceptance of NFTs in video games by Steam and the Epic Games Store; the workers of tabletop game developer, Paizo, form a union; developers who worked on Metroid Dread not seeing their names in the credits; Ruby Rose speaking up about their treatment on the set of Batwoman‘s first season; and some announcements made by DC during the DC Fandome event.
UPDATE: Venerated Metroid fansite, Shinesparkers, reached out to Metroid Dread developers, MercurySteam, for clarification on what qualified for crediting in the game, specifically with regard to what constitutes the “25% game dev time” and “significant creative contributions,” stating:
“A significant contribution might mean A LOT of things: from designing a playable character, writing dialogues, lore.. anything substantially important to the game. On the 25% this is something based on our experience. Of course it can be seen differently elsewhere.”
FURTHER UPDATE: Union issues with Paizo and its workers came to an agreement on Thursday, October 21, with Paizo officially recognizing the workers’ union.
WEEK IN GEEK: This week, Andrew dabbles in a few different ponds, first by playing a bit of Mass Effect Legendary Edition, then talks about his experience going through Subnautica: Below Zero, and testing his mettle with Ring Fit Adventure for the Nintendo Switch. D. Bethel is very conflicted––but having a lot of fun––as he plays through Dragon’s Crown Pro.
WEEK IN GEEK: This week, Andrew enthusiastically plays the 2nd edition of Pathfinder, despite not fully enjoying the first edition, while D. Bethel gets really excited to play an adventure game based on one of his favorite comics, Blacksad, but gets horribly disappointed by Blacksad: Under the Skin.
WEEK IN GEEK: This week, Andrew takes some dungeon mastering advice from Mike Shea aka “Sly Flourish” and his The Lazy Dungeon Master book while Dan becomes smitten by the new Marvel’s Spider-Man game by Insomniac Games.
D. Bethel’s Good Day Sacramento appearance in support of CrockerCon:
Also, the completed drawing D. Bethel did for the Good Day Sacramento appearance:
ANNOUNCEMENEWSBLASTCAST: Instead of focusing on their respective Weeks in Geek or having an extended conversation, Andrew and D. decide to cover a lot of news that dropped this week including the trailer to season 2 of Marvel/Netflix’s Jessica Jones, 20th Century Fox’s Deadpool 2 trailer, the reveal of the video-game-based-on-a-tabletop-game-based-on-a-tabletop-card-game, Sentinels of Freedom, the upcoming Dungeons & Dragons lorebook, Mordenkainen’s Tome of Foes, and the passing of John Mahoney.
WEEK IN GEEK: Andrew dives into Paizo’s newest RPG, Starfinder (starts at 2:34), while D. Bethel checks out the premier episode of Disney XD’s reboot of DuckTales (19:46).
REAL MONSTERS: (30:45) Dan and Andrew just hang back and have a conversation rather than a guided discourse about Nazis in popular culture. They go all over the place, but hover around the topic of how (and why) they’re used in fiction.
A large talk that basically started the whole GamerGate mess had to do with representation in video games, specifically with how female characters were presented and utilized within gameplay and narrative with the obvious and problematic conclusion being that female playercharacters were either underrepresented or, if present, lacked the variety or depth of the male protagonists.
However, the newest critical focus––and just as important––looks away from the screen and toward both the community and the developers. If the more forward-looking fans of gaming out there want more representation in games, we should also be asking ourselves about representation in the making of games. With regard to the community, there is a harrowing documentary that I discussed on the show awhile ago,GTFO, about female pro gamers and critics that I guarantee will have you wanting to throw a chair against the wall.
The Kotaku article discusses the story behind––and of––a new book, Women in Game Development: Breaking the Glass Level-Cap, that deals specifically with female developers and their road to being professionals in the field and how that road is paved with sacrifices, shame-dodging, and prioritizing aspects of their identity that males in the same positions never had to make. It’s infuriating how human beings are being treated in a field that, at the core of it, everyone loves so very much.
In a bit of selfish rank-pulling, I’m using “Worth a Look” as a “Save for Later” bookmark for myself. This article discusses Dungeons & Dragons as it is used in the recent Netflix hit, Stranger Things (which will be my “Week in Geek” in this week’s episode). Stranger Things has been a Facebook darling, especially for nerds born in, or who lived through, the 1980s and for good reason.
Stranger Things is less a snapshot of life in the 1980s and more of an evocation of 1980s adventure movies: The Goonies, E.T.: The Extra-Terrestrial, Stand By Me, Explorers, and the like. By mentioning those movies, I don’t mean that is nostalgically mining those movies for characters, plot points, or in-joke references; I would argue that’s not the case at all. Instead, it feels like those movies. The Duffer Brothers (and their directors) have seemingly “figured out” how those movies were paced, how they sounded, and how they looked to feel like a long-lost sibling to those earlier movies. It’s meta-eerie on top of the creepiness of the show itself. It’s able to capture what J.J. Abrams tried to capture (and did pretty well) in his excellent Super 8. But Stranger Things just does it right in an ephemeral way.
The show is framed (or so the article tells me, I haven’t finished the series) around Dungeons & Dragons, which Kunzelman decides to parse not only as a narrative bookend, but also as a thrust, arguing that the game “functions as the primary metaphor for how these young nerdy boys are able to communicate and cooperate with one another and how they contextualize the challenges they face.”
I am eager to read the article, but not as eager as I am to finish the show. It’s so good.