WEEK IN GEEK: Andrew steps into a new reality when he tries out PlaystationVR with the help and aid of friend-of-the-show, Taylor Katcher, while Dan starts watching ABC’s new procedural show, Conviction, which he instead considers to be a time-travel continuation of Agent Carter, which also starred Hayley Atwell.
SWITCHEROO: Nintendo released a trailer for their long-speculated, highly anticipated new console, the Nintendo Switch. Andrew and Dan examine the possibilities that seem to be promised in the trailer and whether Nintendo can make good on them.
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Dan mentioned that his webcomic, Long John, would be finishing up its second chapter on Tuesday. Head on over and check it out. If you like it, share it! Even better, buy a book!
For all intents and purposes, that was an episode recap.
-“Stayin’ in Black” by Wax Audio
-“Sogno di Volare (‘The Dream of Flight’)” by Christopher Tin (from Civilization VI)
-“Troops March On” by Nobuo Uematsu (from Final Fantasy VI)
-“Ha Ha Ha Ha (Yeah)” by White Denim
-“The End (Reprise)” by Jack Wall & Sam Hulick (from Mass Effect)
My journey into Final Fantasy continues with the second part of my ongoing series! This time, I actually advance the “storyline” a bit and even find a boat! And by “find a boat,” I clearly mean “take a boat from a bunch of stupid pirates through the use of excessive force.”
The “crossing the bridge” sequence is one of the more memorable moments of the game for me, which I suppose makes sense because it’s so different from the rest of the game. When you consider that the original release simply started with the player in front of Corneria/Cornelia (no cinematic intro) and very little was said outside of single text boxes, that bridge crossing was the closest the game had to a scripted story sequence. It’s the kind of game element that Final Fantasy would later become inundated with, but in the original 1989 release, this was the only one. If you compare it to some of the games contemporaries, that single sequence stands out as sort of a big deal.
As a kid, I never thought too much about how the game is “staged” based on what you can get to. First, you get the bridge to the north. Then, you get a boat, but the boat can only really go to one other place. Eventually, you blow a canal to the outer sea and can go to one or two more places. Then you get an airship. Although it looks like you’re in a big, open world to explore, you’re really not. I suppose I contrast it to the original Shining Force on Sega Genesis, which divided the gameplay into discrete chapters. Once you finished Chapter 1, you moved on to the area of Chapter 2 (and couldn’t go back). At this point, I could not say which method I prefer. Perhaps, when I get to a game that’s more “open world” I’ll have something different to say.
One of the things that became apparent to me during this part of the game was the totally wacky pricing structure within the world of Final Fantasy. It’s always sort of a weird joke when you compare prices of things. At this point in the game, it cost me 80 Gil to raise a character from the dead while it cost 50 Gil to stay at the Inn. A suit of fancy armor was 450 Gil, which is a hell of a lot more than 80 Gil. Of course, it’s a fantasy world and the whole idea of how the economy changes in the presence of the ability to raise the dead is the kind of thing nerdy economists write papers about.
We’re finally here! Episode 100! Kind of. Mostly. Half, at least. But still a full episode. You’ll find out when you listen.
WEEK IN GEEK: Andrew went back to Watch the Skies megagame with a new, interesting twist this time around and relays his experiences while D. Bethel started watching the now-cancelled show, Penny Dreadful. Also, bonus outtakes!
A LITTLE CLASSIC: Nintendo dropped an out-of-nowhere announcement recently with the reveal of the Nintendo Classic, an 30-in-one plug-and-play NES that ignited a lot of people’s interest and nostalgia.
RADIO KILLED THE VIDEO STAR: Dan and Andrew address the rise of audio dramas from their apparent graves with the rise of nerd culture and podcasting and discuss why they are actually adapting to new media and digital consumer habits.
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For all intents and purposes, that was the recap of the first part of episode 100!
-“Stayin’ in Black” by Wax Audio
-“Save Music” by Nobuo Uematsu (from Final Fantasy)
-“Radio/Video” by System of a Down
-“The Final Countdown” by Europe
*also features game over music from Metal Gear Solid 2: Sons of Liberty
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.
WEEK IN GEEK: Andrew spent his week diving deeper into the Lego muck and mire, watching a bit of the Lego Ninjago animated series in order to get some more context to the more esoteric Lego Dimensions levels he has encountered.. Dan didn’t stray to far, playing Resident Evil 7: Beginning Hour, the proof-of-concept demo for Capcom’s sequel Resident Evil 7: Biohazard (or Biohazard 7: Resident Evil in Japan).
MAKING UP WORDS: In the first look at mobile gaming this week, Dan and Andrew talk about a game that seems to be made just for them, Square Enix and A-Lim’s Final Fantasy Brave Exvius and how it scratches certain itches while causing others.
POKE MONGO: Pokémon Go is just about the biggest thing in the world right now, topping the charts of the iTunes free apps and is, purportedly, even bigger than porn with Google searches. It’s a veritable point-counterpoint discussion as Andrew relates his experience playing the game while Dan remains in ignorance while discussing the world-wide phenomenon that is Nintendo’s latest genius move.
-Help local Sacramento comic shop, Big Brother Comics, recover from a dreadful fire that ravaged the store by contributing at the GoFundMe page.
-“Stayin’ in Black” by Wax Audio
-“Cayenne (Cyan)” by Nobuo Uematsu (from Final Fantasy VI)
-“The Chase is Better Than the Catch” by Motörhead
-“Through the Fire and Flames” by Dragonforce
Last Wednesday saw the release of the newest addition to the Pokémon family of games: Pokémon GO, developed by Niantic, Inc. (formerly, Niantic Labs). Niantic, Inc. was previously known for doing the popular mobile game Ingress. They partnered with Nintendo and The Pokemon Company to apply that GPS/map-based play to the popular Nintendo franchise. Although Dan and I will have more to say about this in this week’s podcast, it was worth taking a moment to address all of the news (both good and bad) that has been popping up over this new title.
Stories about Pokémon GO and the outcome of so many people playing have been circulating around various social media and news websites. In Wyoming, a nineteen year old woman found a dead body while pursuing an elusive pokémon. A police station in Australia has warned players against entering the station in order to collect pokéballs or to catch pokémon that spawn there. A police department in Missouri recently reported that a group of teens have been luring people to a pokéstop in order to commit robbery. But, with all that gloom and doom, there are some brighter notes. A large number of Pokémon GO players have been discovering that they are inadvertently exercising by playing the game.
As could be expected with something this popular, Pokémon GO has had a few awkward moments. Notorious Amazon Kindle “author” Chuck Tingle recently released Pokebutt Go: Pounded by ‘Em All, another title in his (her?) series of erotic (?) fiction. Several websites have been documenting peculiar places that have been designated Pokéstops, including a Los Angeles bathhouse, a Seattle bathhouse with a “mirrored gloryhole maze,” and other odd and inappropriate places. Most of the peculiarities in location data come from the fact that the Pokéstops appear to be primarily based on location data taken from Niantic’s previous title, Ingress; the “Portal” locations of Ingress were user/player submitted. This explains how so many child-inappropriate Pokéstops came to be in the first days of the game.
All in all, Pokémon GO has been making quite a lot of news since its release.
Even in the face of a near disastrous behind the scenes technical glitch, it turns out that Andrew and Dan can’t be stopped. Again, they bring you another outstanding episode that covers a straight-up plethora of topics, including:
Week in Geek: Andrew plays the Pathfinder Adventure Card Game while Dan watches How to Train Your Dragon 2 and Looper and also finds time to play a few hours of Metal Gear Solid 3 in the wake of last week’s episode.
Boasts of Bethel: This week, Dan ruminates on how animated films are marginalized by modern American society and wonders what we can do to move it forward.
Discussion: Nintendo guru, Shigeru Miyamoto, makes a startlingly bold claim that video games are in a state of “creative immaturity.” Andrew and Dan discuss what this means and what it may take to get out of it.
Who Cares: Going back to the well, they discuss not an episode or story but a villain! This time they venture into the mind of Davros, the creator of the Daleks.
Geek Thoughts: After going over last week’s very debated question, this week they ask:
What is a game/movie/tv show/comic/book/album/etc. that you feel helped move its medium forward? Why and how?
Leave a comment on the episode’s post at forall.libsyn.com, or on either Andrew’s or Dan’s Facebook/Google+/Twitter posts. You can also leave a comment on iTunes or e-mail us at forallpod [at] gmail.com
Until next week, for all intents and purposes, that was an episode breakdown.