“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
“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.”
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.
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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
“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
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
“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.”
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
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
“Hey, bring some more soda!” “Sir, I think you’ve had enough sugar today.” -Chrono Trigger (US localization)
After a long stressful week, you’ve earnd this beer! *gulp* Oops, you just earned yourself a -5 Constitution debuff. Alcohol is a tricky subject in real life and it’s even trickier in video games. How do you represent it? How far will censorship go to blur the line? How can game designers offer us a different perspective on our most intimate poison? Today, Big Words introduces a more lively and active dialog between its two hosts as they discuss alcohol, on the screen and in front of it. 100% hangover-free.
Examples discussed: Phantom Brave, Red Dead Redemption, Catherine, Grand Theft Auto V, VA-11 HALL-A: Cyberpunk Bartender Action, The Witcher, Yakuza
Games we’re playing: No Man’s Sky (Pathfinder Update), Undertale, Nier: Automata
“In my restless dreams, I see that town…” -Mary (Silent Hill)
You arrive at a new town in an RPG. Do you B line for the weapons shop to scoop up that new sword and be on your way? Or do you linger? Take in the sights. Talk to some NPCs. Enjoy that one song you can hear only here. Learn what makes the town tick. What are the elements that make a town or city feel memorable in games? We try to name a few of our favorites.
“A beginning is a very delicate time.” – David Lynch’s Dune
Contemplating the recipe for an impactful start to some of our favorite games seems like a fitting place to begin “Big Words”, a podcast devoted to breaking down our favorite aspects of games. Plot exposition, tutorials, learning your environment… It can be a lot to take in for any first-timer. With this in mind, we hope you show us the same level of patience you might when starting out and an adventure of your own.
Examples discussed: Final Fantasy X, Final Fantasy VIII, SMT III: Nocturne, Deus Ex, Demons’ Souls & Dark Souls
Games we’re playing: Don’t Starve, DOOM, Resident Evil VII