12 – Gear

“They’re masterworks all, you can’t go wrong.” – Dragon’s Dogma

Weapons, boots, breastplates, potions – if it can be picked up, it can be equiped, consumed or sold. Gear in video games went from a not-so-innocent mecanic to a full-fledged way of showing-off online. This shiny “stuff” used to be for-your-eyes-only and can now be observed and judged by thousands of screens. In this episode, Roy and Thomas gear up, suit up and share their thoughts on the topic of gear in video game. Let’s smash those lootboxes!

Examples discussed: Monster Hunter, Resident Evil 4, Dark Souls, Gatcha games, PUBG, DayZ, Destiny 2, World of Warcraft, FF XIV

Games we’re Playing: Yakuza: Kiwami, Divinity: Original Sin 2, Stardew Valley

11 – Author

“Thank God you’ve returned. I need your help. There’s a great deal of history that you should know, but I’m afraid that… I must continue my writing.”

Atrus/Rand Miller – Myst

Books have writers, movies have directors but video games? We often try to assign a face to video game development, an industry that requires dozens of jobs and thousands of people. But in the end, is there such a thing as a game author? Are the Kojimas, the Miyamotos or the Blowers the true catalysts behind gaming greatest hits? In this episode, Roy and Thomas share their thoughts about the notion of an author in their favorite hobby. Watch the Frenchmen smugly namedrop fancy film theories and expect a major Dark Souls moment. *Gong*

Examples discussed: Metal Gear Solid, Alone in the Dark, The Witness, Night in the Woods, NieR, The Last Express, Super Mario Bros and many more!

Games we’re Playing: Yakuza: Kiwami, Divinity: Original Sin 2, Destiny 2

10 – Growing up

“Well, it looks like you’ve grown up a little from the Great Fairy’s power… But you still don’t really look like the hero who will save Hyrule. At least not yet!”
The Legend of Zelda: Ocarina of Time

Most of us have played video games since we were kids. Since then, a lot in our lives has undoubtedly changed, and the way we play now is probably not the same as it once was. Getting older and learning from past experience is a long process that video game seldom try to recreate. In this episode, Roy and Thomas will try to uncover some examples highlighting the concept of “growing up” in video games, whatever it might mean. In the end, they will realize it’s a tricky job and the ones who grew up are *** SPOILERS *** none other than themselves.

Examples discussed: Nights in the Woods, Kingdom Hearts, Baldur’s Gate, Brothers: A Tale of Two Sons, Ocarina of Time

Games we’re Playing: Final Fantasy XII: The Zodiac Age, Nights in the Woods, Hollow Knight

09 – Loss

“The body I’ve lost… the comrades I’ve lost… won’t stop hurting… It’s like they’re all still there. You feel it, too, don’t you?”

Metal Gear Solid V: The Phantom Pain

You had it all. And then, in a fraction of a second, it vanishes. Poof, just like that. Maybe it was a mistake on your part, or maybe the universe conspired against you but the end result is the same: it’s not “there” anymore and it hurts like a truck. How can games recreate the sensation of losing something important – whether a character, an item or experience points. How do developers engineer that horrible feeling, or maybe even fail to do so?

In this episode, Roy and Thomas reminisce about their painful memories about gaming loss. Trigger Warning: Dark Souls babbling incoming.

Examples discussed: Pyre, Final Fantasy VI, Final Fantasy VII, DayZ, Baten Kaitos, Metal Gear Solid 3, Operation: Flashpoint, Yakuza: Kiwami

Games we’re playing: No Man’s Sky, Pyre, Hollow Knight

08 – Made In …

“Your accent is strange. Which part of France are you from? – Montréal!”
-Assassin’s Creed: Brotherhood

When a game is translated and packed up for export, it can be easy to lose sight of its origin. And with games becoming a bigger market all across the globe, it wouldn’t be uncommon for the next game you play to be from Poland, Korea, Canada, etc. But would you even realize it? Are there “national” traits or characteristics unique to games made in certain parts of the world?

In this tricky episode, Roy and Thomas take a closer look at what makes a game Japanese, French or even American. Stay tuned for the shocking truth about how Grand Theft Auto factors into all this…

Examples discussed: Grand Theft Auto, The Witcher, Little Big Adventure, Monster Hunter, VA-11 HALL-A: Cyberpunk Bartender Action, Farenheit, Dragon Quest.

Games we’re playing: Night in the Woods, Yakuza 0, Detention, Hollow Knight

07 – Morality

“Lesser, greater, middling, it’s all the same. Proportions are negotiated, boundaries blurred. I’m not a pious hermit, I haven’t done only good in my life. But if I’m to choose between one evil and another, then I prefer not to choose at all.”
-The Witcher

No good deed goes unpunished. It might be true in real life, but in video games, being “good” might just be the key to gaining more experience, items or simply unlocking the best ending. Can you define “good” in a virtual environment where your actions do not hold any real consequences? Or maybe they do?
On today’s episode, Roy & Thomas reveal the best (or the worse) of themselves and discuss the tricky subject of morality in games.

Listening to this podcast will give you +5 karma points. Subscribing +30 karma points.

Examples discussed: Mass Effect, Shin Megami Tensei, The Witcher, Knights of the Old Republic, Fallout 3, Fallout: New Vegas, DayZ, Bioshock

Games we’re playing: Horizon Zero Down, VA-11 HALL-A: Cyberpunk Bartender Action

06 – Religion

“Omnipotent. Omniscient. Sovereign. Immutable. How sweet it is to be a god!”
—The Elder Scrolls: Morrowind

Like it or not, the need to believe in something is deeply engrained in our psyche. And that’s where a lot of problems start. Religion is a hot potato; you don’t talk about it with your friends, nor with your colleagues, and even less with strangers. Religious inspiration (or direct reference) in arts seems natural: it can breathe from a painting, a book, or from a movie. Strangely enough, Religion in video game restricts itself to the aesthetics and sometimes, the plot. Follow Roy and Thomas as they try to go deeper on their quest for pixellated spirituality.

Examples discussed: Final Fantasy X, Dungeons & Dragons, Salt & Sanctuary, Dark Souls, Dragon Quest, Bloodborne

Games we’re playing: Persona 5, Owlboy

05 – Bugs & Glitches

« it’s not a bug, it’s a feature. »

-old tech motto

A woman vanishes into thin air, strange lights are seen in the sky, rumors of men behaving like beasts… These are not horror stories, but examples of some unintentional aspects of video games: bugs and glitches. A plague for many gamers (and for many more developers), bugs remind us that our favorite means of escape is in fact nothing more than software. But are all bugs negative? Can errors, distortions and glitches mingle with some of our favorite gaming experiences? Together, Roy & Thomas share their memories and thoughts on their encounters. (And end up glitching out themselves, beaten by the bugs.)

 

Examples discussed: Red Dead Redemption, Pokemon, Mass Effect 2, Nanashi no Game, Nier, Fallout 2, Fallout: New Vegas

Games we’re playing:

Special episode – Persona

“A Persona is a facet of your personality that surfaces as you react to external stimuli… You can think of it as a mask that protects you as you brave many hardships.”

—Igor

Dragon Quest, Final Fantasy, Breath of Fire, Secret of Mana – we grew up with these JPRGs and they forged our notions of the genre and what it should strive for. One series, however, reshaped the boundaries of the RPG concepts with day-to-day visual novel elements and a strong artistic vision. Of course, we mean Persona, a franchise carefully conceived by the unique minds of Kaneko, Soejima, and many more.

Today is a special episode of the podcast in which both hosts reminiscence about the series, its evolution, and what they love (and maybe hate) about it. Apologies to the Persona 1’s fans, you’ll find no love here!

Contains story spoilers for Persona 2, 3 & 4. Persona 5 players are safe up to 7/9!

Examples discussed: Persona 2: Innocent Sin, Persona 2: Eternal Punishment, Persona 3, Persona 3: FES, Persona 3 Portable, Persona 4, Persona 4: The Golden, Persona 5

04 – Animals

Joel: “This everything you were hoping for?”
Ellie: “It’s got it ups and downs. You can’t deny the view, though.”
-The Last of Us

Feeling down? Go outside and pet a dog! It’s man’s best friend after all, what could go wrong? Oh wait, that’s right, Lara conditioned you to gun down wolves at the first growl. And let’s not forget those ghastly spiders just waiting to ensnare you in a web and suck your blood.
Lowly experience point fodder or invaluable element of creating a believable world? We try to think deep about the living creatures that roam our pixelated worlds.

Examples discussed: Red Dead Revolver, FFVII, Fable 2, Tomb Raider, Stardew Valley, Tokyo Jungle, Deadly Creatures, The Last of Us
Games we’re playing: Persona 5, Dark Souls III: The Fire Fades edition