GWJ Conference Call Episode 677

Slay the Spire, Overwatch, Path of Exile, Magic: the Gathering Arena, Our Videogame Mix-Tapes, your emails, and More!

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This week Julian, Sean, Cory, and Amanda break down their videogame mixed-tapes!

To contact us, email [email protected]! Send us your thoughts on the show, pressing issues you want to talk about or whatever else is on your mind.

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Loved, loved, loved Amanda's nod to King's Quest 4. One of my favorite King's Quest that I played as a kid and it meant a lot to me too, for the same reason they mentioned. I thought everyone's mix tapes were great and have to admit, I never ever put that much thought into mix tapes when I was young in the 90s. I just threw whatever on those. I'll have to try and give this a shot, but it's going to be rough... I have a LOT of gaming soundtracks on my hard drive...

One of the emails mentioned cliffhangers: I'm still bummed that Tales from the Borderlands had a cliffhanger and there will probably never be a Tales 2...

And that stinger at the end.

00:02:08 Slay the Spire
00:11:13 Overwatch
00:14:37 Path of Exile
00:20:45 Magic: The Gathering Arena
00:23:50 Our Videogame Mix-Tapes
00:40:40 Your Emails

Great episode! The amount of joy and love expressed in your choices for the mix-tape games was really inspiring. It made me think about how I would want to share my experience of gaming in the context of a mix tape for a long road trip.

1. Super Mario 64 - As an introduction, not just to the mixtape but to gaming in general, Super Mario 64 was the ultimate ice-breaker. Historically, it was what brought the third dimension to the gaming world in a meaningful way. Everything about it is a joy, from the gentle introduction to the big first crescendo of the mix. Gary Glitter - Rock and Roll Part 2.

2. Halo - If Super Mario 64 was the perfect introduction, Halo is the follow-up that turns everything up to 11. It's a wild rush from start to finish. The game that defined what a post-Quake "Modern" FPS would be on consoles, it combines interesting storytelling with action in a way that hadn't really been seen before. It's the Derude - Sandstorm of video games.

3. Tetris - Where Halo was a blood-pumping rush, Tetris is the classic that takes us back to our childhood. Even the music is reminiscent of back-seat car rides, passing the old Game Boy seat to seat to see who could get the top score. It's accessibility made it the game I played with my Mom, my brother, and my best friends and yet it's complexity and depth mean it's the game I can still play with my son to this day. Bobby McFaren - Don't Worry - Be Happy!

4. Super Metroid - While we're awash in that warm glow of nostalgia, lets explore one of the greatest games ever made. Timeless and yet a defining moment of the 16-bit era, Super Metroid created a whole new genre with it's maze of seemingly infinite tunnels that looped back upon themselves while giving meaning to your growth. You start off low-powered (but never powerless), and grow into a super badass just in time to face off against some of the meanest bosses, all while never losing it's heart. The culmination of the Baby Metroid's fate is a top-10 in storytelling moments, without a single line of dialog. Pink Floyd - Another Brick In The Wall ("Hey, Teacher, Leave those kids alone!")

5. Nier: Automata - Taking all the lessons we've learned so far, Nier is the mid-track medly that combines platforming, exploration, 3D combat, and brings it into the modern day with a flavor that's still unique to itself. Like the Foo Fighters - I'll Stick Around, it brings an intensity with a style all it's own. And then it keeps going, every new act a redefinition of itself.

6. Bloodborne - Now that we've acquired the skills, have an idea of the landscape, we need a new challenge. One that finds the boundaries of our comfort zone and runs head first into them. If Nier is "I'll Stick Around", then Bloodborne is Tool - Ænema. It wants you to meet it on it's terms and doesn't take no for an answer. Hard and driving and yet full of depth, it polishes everything Dark Souls has to say into a shining diamond. It's the one you're going to remember the most if only because it whips you so hard into a frenzy. Learn to swim.

7. Breath of the Wild - And now that we've got our heart racing and our body is about maxed out on adrenaline, it's time to bring everything together. Queen - We are the Champions, We are the Champions ... of Hyrule!. It's the reward for every promise made before it. It's Disney Land at the end of the 16-hour road trip. A chance to stretch your legs and spread your wings. Remember why you left the boring comfort of home. It's why you took this adventure in the first place. And it doesn't disappoint.

(Bonus Track)

8. Let the tape play for a minute of silence after the last track has ended, and find something a bit Quirky that didn't make the list but deserves a place on it. Here is where you'll find a quick little ditty that puts a cherry on top of your gaming sundae. VVVVVV is everything that came before it. Retro puzzle-solving exploration with difficulty spikes up the wazoo. The Weird Al polka medley, picking out the best lines and replaying them with a childish glee accompanied by kazoos. It's the fun wink at the entire rest of the tape and a reminder not to take anything too seriously!

I'd love to see Cory's notion of a mixtape of game levels somehow come to fruition.

Re: Games with Cliffhangers that never got a sequel

To this day, it bothers me that Anachronox never got to finish it's story after the death of Ion Storm. I got stuck half-way through due to the assortment of bugs that went unpatched, but finally got to see the ending thanks to the awesome Machinima remix of the game's cutscenes.

The "click here to download" link goes to a podcast from a few months ago. I always manually download my podcasts so it was quite weird to hear Shawn Andrich suddenly introduce the podcast again...

I wish I could take more credit for my name, but I just showed up with it!

Marzipan wrote:

The "click here to download" link goes to a podcast from a few months ago. I always manually download my podcasts so it was quite weird to hear Shawn Andrich suddenly introduce the podcast again...

Thank you! Link has been fixed.

This was a really cool conversation, and I’m glad for the headspace it let me inhabit for a while! I’ll be back to add some context, but for now my mixtape would be as follows:

1. Donkey Kong Country
2. Star Wars Jedi Knight Dark Forces II
3. Pokemon Silver
4. Worms: Armageddon
5. Mario Kart: Double Dash
6. Super Smash Bros. Brawl
7. Elite: Dangerous
8. The Witness

Also, why does Cory's request to have a hammock under his standing desk reminds me of when George Costanza had a bed built under his desk at Yankee Stadium?

What was the PSN ID we were asked to friend? I heard "tre-dk" but that does not appear to be right...

Cory you wanted a "a little auto-tune, a little photoshop of Sands face on a flossing dancer". Your wish is my command:

Needs just a little more something...

Ahh, that's "better".

I want to be angry, but mostly what I feel is just grudging respect.

Well I'll be damned, the site's search function actually worked. For the origin of "I Wanna Friend You Up," it's somewhere within 2007's Episode 59. For the original song that it spawned, it starts at the 1:19:52 mark in Episode 149 from 2009.

mrlogical wrote:

What was the PSN ID we were asked to friend? I heard "tre-dk" but that does not appear to be right...

Same here...

I found him on my friend's list, so I shot him a message! In the meantime, if you click MY PSN icon in my signature, maybe see if you can find him there?

In the meantime, I've opened up my privacy settings for a bit to see if people can find each-other that way?

mrlogical wrote:

What was the PSN ID we were asked to friend? I heard "tre-dk" but that does not appear to be right...

Looks like the dash should be an underscore.

Updated the show notes at the top with a link to his PSN profile!

Thanks! Request sent.

OK. I've been contemplating this and here's my video game mixtape.

(I decided to choose specific scenes/set pieces/moments from my favorite games in order to show who I am.)

1.) Destiny - Basically my most-played game ever. Specifically I'd select the Vault Of Glass raid from the OG Destiny. This would show off my love for the FPS genre, and specifically the varied co-op encounters found in (IMO) one of the best activities in video game history.

2.) Final Fantasy 6 - Specifically the opera scene. The opera scene is a great encapsulation of my love for music and how it can tie into a narrative.

3.) Alan Wake - The combat scene in front of the concert stage. I adore the way the Alan Wake team told a story across a book, TV show, and video game. The concert fight sequence is sublime, and makes me smile every time I see it.

4.) Split/Second: Any single race would work fine, but I think maybe the first track would be a good selection. Split/Second is such an innovative experience and never quite got its due. I'll highlight it whenever possible.

5.) Dragon Age: Origins: I think you could pick any sequence from this game, but I might be most satisfied with the Landsmeet. The Landsmeet is such a perfect moment where *all* of your decisions from the previous missions factor in to one huge story branch. I have always admired this scene, so it only makes sense to appear here.

6.) Life Is Strange: One of my favorite gaming experiences was playing LiS with my wife. We traded the controller off and on between chapters and discussed how we felt about each decision. It has never been replicated since. I love that game for the way we played it, and we've played several games in the same manner since then.

Cliffhangers compelled to make an account so I could post about one of my favorite underappreciated series.

Sierra’s Manhunter series we’re science fiction adventures set as aliens invaded earth. Two games were released: Manhunter: New York and Manhunter 2: San Francisco. There was supposed to be a third (there was a poster near the end (at the end?) of Manhunter 2 that showed an outline of another city). But the games never did that well. They were released at the same time Sierra’s big franchises made the leap to a new game engine (SCI I think) capable of improved graphics and sound (i.e., at about the same time as King’s Quest IV and Space Quest III), but they used the older AGI engine so they didn’t have the same aesthetic impact as the others. Interestingly another game released at about the same time and in the same situation was Gold Rush! (another favorite). It got a Steam remaster a while back. I’d love for the Manhunter games to be re-discovered too.

Other games from the era that didn’t end on a cliffhanger per se but that seemed poised to have sequels that never materialized include Datasoft’s ambitious Alternate Reality CRPGs (The City was widely released, The Dungeon was also released I think, but follow ups that had been planned never made it), SSI’s Hillsfar action-adventure game (my favorite AD&D game that wasn’t set in the DragonLance setting), SSI’s Roadwar 2000/Roadwar Europa series (that may just be having *really* wanted a third game!), Activision/Interplay’s Tass Times in Tonetown adventure game, and, from the early ‘90s, Sierra/Dynamix’s The Adventures of Willy Beamish adventure game.

Also I think pre-AD&D license SSI had hopes for their Phantasie trilogy of RPGs. A fourth Phantasie was eventually released but only for MSX in Japan.

Thanks for the opportunity to vent about games I miss!