MINI-WEEK IN GEEK: Andrew and D. Bethel need a week to recoup after weeks of birthdays, Doctor Who, and a celebration of Star Trek, so they’re going to briefly cover the things that have been keeping their attention recently. To no one’s surprise, they’ve been playing video games. Andrew has been playing the Final Fantasy Pixel Remaster collection that includes Final Fantasy 1-4 (at this point), while D. Bethel has not been helping his mental health––though he has been having a lot of fun––playing The Last of Us, Part 2.
WEEK IN GEEK: In the lead up to the holidays, Andrew binges the entirety (so far) of Amazon Prime’s original series, Man in the High Castle, while D. Bethel has been playing the delightful yet simple Cat Quest in short bursts.
The charming Nintendo Direct where Mario & Zelda creator, Shigeru Miyamoto, guides us through the new Super Nintendo World theme park:
WEEK IN GEEK: Andrew finds the retro-JRPG stylings of Square Enix’s Octopath Traveler engaging and fun while D. Bethel gets challenged making the new pages from his webcomic, Long John, into short videos for Instagram, forcing him to look at his own work in new ways.
ComicLab – A podcast hosted by professional webcomickers Brad Guigar (cartoonist of Evil Inc. and editor of Webcomics.com) and Dave Kellett (cartoonist of Sheldon and Drive and co-director of the comic strip documentary, Stripped) where they talk about “making comics and making a living from comics.”
Here’s the videos Dan has been making of his comic on his YouTube channel:
CORONA, I HARDLY KNEW YA: The coronavirus continues to wreak havoc on the nerd world with––since the last episode––the postponement of Emerald City Comic Con, the cancellation of this year’s E3 and other cultural events like SXSW. Andrew & D. Bethel cover the COVID-19-related news since the last episode.
WEEK IN GEEK: This week, Andrew falls in love with Scratchpad Publishing’s new RPG, Spectaculars, while D. Bethel is intrigued by the demo for Final Fantasy VII Remake on Playstation 4.
WEEK IN GEEK: The boys are back to video games as Andrew plays the 1.0 release of Klei Entertainment’s sci-fi survival game, Oxygen Not Included, while D. Bethel can’t believe he’s enjoying the heck out of Final Fantasy XV, especially because it makes no sense.
This is our Fifth Anniversary episode! Thanks to everyone for listening over the years! We really appreciate all the support.
FINAL FARCRY: Spurred on by his playthrough of Farcry Primal––a survival first-person shooter with “RPG Elements”––Andrew and D. Bethel examine what this phrase means and what it says about the ever-evolving definition of Role-Playing Games.
WEEK IN GEEK: Andrew plays the expansive new Star Trek board game by Gale Force Nine Games, Star Trek: Ascendancy, while D. gets knee-deep into the sequel to the short-lived, but beloved, comic book series, Battle Chasers. However, the sequel is a video game, not a comic, in Battle Chasers: NightWar by Airship Syndicate. (Full Disclosure: D. was a backer on the Battle Chasers: NightWar Kickstarter campaign.)
And here is the promised narrative summary of the game of Star Trek: Ascendancy that Andrew played, written by Tim Saito:
In the Romulan capital city, on the planet Romulus, Praetor Nat’al looks out across the sea of screaming and crying faces. “Riov Lovok, what happened?”
“It’s the war sir. I believe we have lost it,” replied Riov Lovok.
“How? And why are all those people screaming and crying?”
“It’s the parents of the children. All the parents of ALL the children,” said Lovok as she lowered her head.
“What was done to our children!?”
“It was the Ferengi, sir. They sold a toy to a few of the children last week. The following day they sold more, but at a higher price. Since then, each day the price goes higher and higher and fewer and fewer are available. Something called a Tamagotchi. Now all the children want one and all the parents are desperate. Order is falling away and there are riots in the streets as roving mobs of parents search out the elusive Tamagotchi.”
“Yes, Preator. Word has come through that the Federation has fallen to the Ferengi as well, to something called a Tickle Me Elmo.”
“We underestimated these Ferengi.”
“Yes. The Cardassians have also submitted their surrender to the Grand Nagus on Ferenginar. They were destroyed by something called a Furby.”
“We will mount an attack. Launch a fleet of ships and attack Ferenginar under cloak. They won’t see it coming and we will take their home world from them!”
“It’s too late,” said Riov Lovok as she pulled her disruptor from its holster. “I was promised TWO Elmos, four Furbys, and five Tamagotchis IF I delivered you to the Ferengi.”
Episode 40 – “Vowel Movement”: Where Andrew discusses playing the board game, Sons of Anarchy: Men of Mayhem, a previous game made by Gale Force Nine Games. Ironically, Episode 40’s discussion topic is about sequels that come years after the original entry, and this week D. talks about playing Battle Chasers: Nightwar, and ostensible sequel to the comic series that ended in 2001.
Episode 128 – “His Curry Name”: Where D. Bethel talks about reading the series rebooting Jim Lee’s ’90s Wildstorm continuity with The Wild Storm by Warren Ellis and Jon Davis-Hunt.
News Blast: Star Trek Fan Films: Where Andrew discusses the legal ramifications of CBS/Paramount coming down on the large community of Star Trek fan films.
Growing up, I was one of those kids who didn’t have an original NES. I always had PC games to play (and I played plenty of them), but there was always something magical about the NES. I never felt like any of the PC games I had could capture the awesomeness of something like Super Mario Bros. or The Legend of Zelda. Luckily, a friend decided it would be an acceptable choice to let me borrow his NES for a few months some time back in 1989 or 1990, and I finally had a chance to catch up.
At one point previously, a different friend of mine demonstrated Final Fantasy to me. It reminded me a lot of the Ultima series, one of my favorite PC RPGs, which got me really excited. Unfortunately, I did not have a copy of Final Fantasy and the prospect of buying a game for a system I did not own was obviously unacceptable. Luckily, this was the era when video stores rented NES cartridges. The store my family regularly went to had two copies of the game, so I rented it one weekend and started playing.
Many Friday and Saturday night rentals later, I finished the game (with a fair amount of assistance from the official Nintendo Power Final Fantasy Strategy Guide, borrowed from yet another friend). As it was my first JRPG experience, I enjoyed it quite a bit and made a point to get myself some sort of video game console so I could play more of these games. I always kept my eyes open for JRPG ports on the PC, but that was a relatively rare event in the 1990s.
Looking back, it occurs to me that one of the things that appealed the most to me as a PC RPG player was the linearity of the game. Where a game like Bard’s Tale or Ultima threw you into “the world” and let you figure it out on your own, Final Fantasy was a relatively directed game. You begin the game stuck on an island with only one dungeon to explore. When you complete that, you get to move onto another land mass with a cave and a city to explore. Each piece gives you access to a little bit more of the world, but that little bit ends up being the next bit you needed.
I will undoubtedly have more to say about the game as I continue to play through it, but here’s to the beginning of the Final Fantasy. Final, insomuch that there have been some twenty something sequels.