MAKE IT SO: Andrew is excited for Picard, season 3 despite it being a bit divisive among the fandom.
BAJOR FIRST: With D. Bethel finishing up season 1 of Star Trek: Deep Space 9, Andrew encouraged him to watch the first three episodes of season 2 as they all work together to tell a story of coups, insurrections, and political extremism. Fun stuff.
OGL EPILOGUE 1.0: Wizards of the Coast has backed down after all the heavy discourse over the leaked documents, but where does this leave Dungeons & Dragons, gamers, and the industry?
THE OFFERMAN ANGLE: Our hosts dive into the controversial and lauded third episode of HBO’s The Last of Us, despite the fact that Andrew hasn’t yet watched any of the show. However, the discourse around it has generated a lot of opinions.
CAP PUNCHED FIRST: Another day, another attack on fictional characters as a cable news segment pilloried Marvel Comics for making Captain America “woke” in a recent issue, seemingly forgetting that Cap has been punching literal Nazis in his comics since his first issue. Andrew and D. Bethel explore this while also examining the variety of ways texts (movies, comics, books, music, tv shows, etc.) can be read.
PRINT ON DEMAND: After buying some RPG books through DriveThruRPG, Andrew becomes fascinated by the idea––and future applicability––of print on demand services, where a book isn’t printed until a customer orders it. D. Bethel brings his creator experience with POD services to the conversation as well.
“Slapcast” (02 July 2021): Where Andrew gave us the run down of the strange TSR Twitter fight.
The video Dan referred to with Stan Lee talking about the creation of the X-Men, though it’s one of many similar and slightly different creation stories he has told over the years:
A BAD IDEA AGAIN: More than a decade after Konami cancelled its controversial tactical military first-person shooter, Six Days in Fallujah, the game seems to have been revived by Highwire Games who have taken to the media asserting that they want to tell––with their tactical military FPS––a nuanced, thoughtful, and impactful story of the incident. This news caused D. Bethel and Andrew to wonder if certain stories are simply better suited for certain genres of games?
WEEK IN GEEK: This week, our hosts push through the shelter at home monotony by playing video games albeit old video games. First, Andrew steps back into 2015’s The Witcher III: The Wild Hunt now that he has more context after watching the hit Netflix show, while D. Bethel is intrigued at how hard the narrative payoff will fail in the otherwise really fun Shadow of the Tomb Raider.
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.
MISTER, I’LL MAKE AN EPIC OUT OF YOU: Andrew and D. Bethel briefly touch upon the interesting and promising live-action adaptation of the animated Disney classic, Mulan, even though this seems to be making considerable changes from the animated source material (seemingly to be more in-line with the folkloric source material).
Here’s the Twitter thread that Andrew mentioned, starting here with this tweet by Jenn Ravenna:
OBLIVIOUS OBSIDIAN: After Chris Avellone’s controversial interview where he makes argument about political content in video games, a former coworker of his at Obsidian––Leonard Boyarski––steps into the trap when discussing the politics of the upcoming Obsidian RPG, The Outer Worlds, in an interview with PC Gamer. Andrew and Dan try to parse the differences with Avellone’s comments and why this is such an issue (still).
REMAKE REDUX: Andrew briefly discusses his short but pleasant time with the recently released Resident Evil 2remake.
APOLITICAL APOCALYPSE: A recent article at VG247.com interviewed (as part of the piece) games designer and writer, Chris Avellone––writer/designer of games such as Fallout 2, Fallout: New Vegas, and Star Wars: Knights of the Old Republic II–––who argued not only that his writing was without any political inspiration nor had any political agenda (small “p”), but that he “[didn’t] condone developers who [wanted] to do political games or make a statement” (McKeand). In fairness, the quote has since been edited by VG247.com, replacing “condone” with “condemn”, softening Avellone’s criticism a little bit, stating that Avellone wrote “doesn’t condone” accidentally and his actual sentiment is more clearly presented with the correction. Still, this makes us think––are games (or any text in popular culture) apolitical, or can they be? Andrew and D. Bethel investigate how this is a problem.
OBI-WAN KE-NOPE-Y: It was made known that Lucasfilm has put its anthology series, subtitled A Star Wars Story, on hold after the lower box office of The Last Jedi and, most recently, Solo. While the cause hasn’t been confirmed, there are a few factors to look at, one of which could be the box office performance of these films. Another, more sinister, reason has to do with the cultural backlash to Rogue One, The Last Jedi, and Solo. A segment on the internet is convinced that Lucasfilm has a political agenda it wants to push and it’s using the Star Wars series to do so. These dissenters have responded in a few interesting ways: some have banded together and made an official decree to “destroy” Lucasfilm, others have started a crowdfunding/social media campaign in order to remake The Last Jedi. Either way, it’s a complicated issue that Andrew and D. Bethel try to find the knots of.
THE SIDE OF THE FAMILY WE DON’T TALKABOUT: While D. Bethel and Andrew went into recording with the idea they’d do a Week in Geek episode, D.’s offering (Sarah Gadephe’s Shy Boys: IRL documentary) got them off on a wildly different tangent that discusses nerds, politics, sex, and entitlement in the wake of the Toronto attack and this strange comic book controversy involving Antarctic Press and a comic made by a group of less-than-friendly creators.
Kissel, Ben; Marcus Parks, and Henry Zebrowski, hosts. “Side Stories: EARONS & Incels.” Last Podcast on the Left, 02 May 2018. – Interview with Sara Gadaphede, director of Shy Boys: IRL (starts at 27:31).