Fun Size Episode 14 – Who Doesn’t Want to See Dwayne Johnson Punch a Hippo?

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In a wide-ranging conversation, Mike and Casey talk about whether Jabba the Hutt’s little monkey-rat creature, Salacious Crumb, is a person or a pet, and dig into the sort of bullshit rumors and urban legends that we both fell for in the pre-internet world of our middle school years.

We get into the recently-released Doctor Strange, and the question of diversity in the Ancient One’s casting, and well as the dearth of strongly written villains in the Marvel Cinematic Universe.

And finally, Mike really really wants to cast Dwayne “the Rock” Johnson in the next big cinematic blockbuster based on a children’s board game.

Casey Returns to the Video Game Break Podcast!

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Casey makes his third appearance on Carlos Rodela‘s Video Game Break Podcast!

They dig into everything from the Twilight Zone, Bioshock, baffling game dialogue, Pokémon Go, and the new/old Doom. And then they tuck into the main course: Game Emulation!

Often demonized as piracy, video game emulators, Casey argues, make decades-old games available to new players that can’t normally buy them.

Check it out! Because every man has a fuck in his sleeve.

Fun Size Episode 10 – Jodorowsky’s Still Alive

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Mike and Casey sit down with Kinsey Burke, Patrick Johnson, and Sam Mulvey to bat around a contentious and complicated topic: adaptations, reboots and remakes.

How faithful should a work be to its source material when it’s adapted from one storytelling medium to another? What happens when it deviates over time? What about when a beloved past work is rebooted in ways we cannot stand? Is it really worth getting worked up about, now that the floodgates are open?

And can a bad adaptation transcend the source material and become a wonderful hypnotic disaster? Is it time to make peace with changes to Game of Thrones, and the Ghostbusters remake?

Also, Mike fights — against all odds —  to protect a young friend from a 43 year-old movie spoiler.

Episode 27 – The World Doesn’t Look Bright for Us Completionists

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“I was an adventurer like you, then I took an arrow in the knee.”

Mike and Casey completely abandon their quests to consolidate their pixelated criminal empires and save the kingdom from dragons, so that they can play darts and brew potions with video game journalist and YouTuber Kinsey Burke, and returning panelist Patrick Johnson.

Our non-essential side quest? To dig into the massive phenomenon of Open World Video Games. From Fallout 3, to Skyrim, to Grand Theft Auto V,  there is an video games where the storyline is optional and immersive player-initiated exploration are their biggest sell points.

What is the appeal of a game that lets you make your own agenda in a fictional city, or epic fantasy realm or post-apocalyptic future? What are the limits of a game that aspires to let you be and do anything you want?

And why are these games so damned buggy?

Music: 
“Welcome to Los Santos” from Grand Theft Auto V by Oh No

Casey Returns to the Video Game Break Podcast!

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Casey makes a second appearance on our friend Carlos Rodela‘s Video Game Break Podcast! This time, to discuss Bethesda’s newest installment in their signature post-apocalyptic open world RPG series, Fallout 4!

They swap their stories of their Fallout 4 experiences, the self-directed open world game experience, and sheer massive scale of the game’s Commonwealth Wasteland setting. So, grab a Nuka-Cola and start blowing the legs off of some feral ghouls!

Check it out!

Episode 22.5 – A Loud, Brown Blur

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On the tail of our BioShock panel, Mike and Casey continue our conversation with Patrick Johnson and Carlos Rodela, to delve deeper into the strengths and weaknesses of this game series in particular and gaming in general.

How big and dense can — or should — a video game’s world be? How much should the player be directing the story, as opposed to the game’s designer? How often should video game franchises release sequels, especially when new installments have only small incremental changes?

Plus, random musings on Star Wars and M. Night Shyamalan.

Episode 22 – Being a Selfish Asshole Is the Best Thing You Can Be

bigdaddy“A man chooses… a slave obeys…”

Mike and Casey pile into a bathysphere and flee the surface world, and the clawing hands of Big Government and the Parasites to reserve their tables at the Kashmir Restaurant with first panelists Patrick Johnson, and Carlos Rodela of the Video Game Break Podcast. Our topic, the revolutionary 2007 video game, BioShock and its sequels.

We explore the immersive game world of Rapture, the failed undersea utopia inspired by the free-market Objectivist philosophy of Ayn Rand. We look at whether video games can transcend the reputation of being a fun distraction, and whether they can truly be works of art in their own right. And finally, we contemplate the limitations and possibilities of player choice in games, and whether complex storytelling is at odds with the agency to make character decisions.

Music: 
“The Ocean On His Shoulders/Welcome To Rapture” from BioShock by Garry Schyman

Fun Size Episode 3 – It Plays Brown Things!

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In our second Fun Size episode this month, Mike and Casey are joined by in the studio by Ask an Atheist‘s Sam Mulvey.

We dig into the selection of current generation video game consoles, as Mike makes a decision on his future purchase. Are the Xbox One and Playstation 4 really that different? Why not Nintendo?

And why do gamers need to make a hard choice between colorful all-ages insanity like Mario Kart, and gritty adult games like Bioshock and Fallout? Why can’t we have everything?

And then talk turns to the subject of Bill Cosby, and shit gets real.

Deep breaths, everyone.

Episode 15 – Finish Him!

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HA-DOOOU-KEN!

Mike and Casey hit the arcade and stack their quarters, because this month we’re in head-to-head combat with Ask an Atheist‘s Sam Mulvey and Nathan Martin of the Seattle Retro Gaming Expo. This month we’re talking about the gaming equivalent of the O.K. Corral: Fighting Games!

We look at the genre’s roots with classics like Karate Champ, and the genre’s 1990s explosion with titles like Street Fighter II, Mortal Kombat, Tekken, King of Fighters, Clay Fighter, and countless clones. We explore the genre’s connections to side-scrolling beat ’em ups, and the competitive — and often intimidating — culture that’s sprouted up around these games.

Music: 
“Ken’s Theme” from Street Fighter II by Yoko Shimomura

Radio vs. the Mailbag: Rip Off!

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One of the harshest — and most common  — epithets in fandom is to label a work of media as a rip-off.

Star Trek: Deep Space Nine is a rip-off of Babylon 5!” “The Hunger Games is a rip-off of Battle Royale!” “Captain Marvel is a rip-off of Superman!” “The Island is a rip-off of Parts: the Clonus Horror!”

(Okay, that last one is definitely true.)

But not all derivative works are intrinsically inferior. Some actually transcend the quality of their media muses as pieces of art that stand the test of time.

So, dear listener, this month, we’re asking you:
“What derivative works of art are superior to the works that inspired them?”

Our hosts had this to say:
Continue reading

Episode 9 – On the Altar of Saint Miyamoto

nintendoSorry, Mario! Your podcast is in another castle!

Mike and Casey pull on their Power Gloves and strap on their Virtual Boys because, it’s time to save the Mushroom Kingdom with Ask an Atheist‘s Sam Mulvey and Bob Mackey of the Retronauts podcast! This month, we’re talking about the video game company that practically served as a fifth food group for an entire generation: Nintendo!

We discuss the company’s multi-decade dominance of the video game market, its legacy, and how it pulled the industry out of the nosedive of Atari’s implosion in the early 1980s. We talk about how visionary game designer Shigeru Miyamoto created the canvas of our childhoods, and how the company went from standing atop the wreckage of Sega to becoming the Switzerland of the modern day console wars.

Music: 
Opening Theme from the Legend of Zelda” by Koji Kondo
Overworld Theme to Super Mario Bros. 2” by Koji Kondo

 

Episode 7 – Nerd Karaoke

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Roll for initiative and save vs. poison, because this month, Mike and Casey enter the Dread Lich’s tomb with game designer Ryan Chaddock, and Chris Walker of BJ Shea’s Geek Nation to unearth that oldest of fantasy role-playing games, Dungeons and Dragons!

We look into the game’s nearly forty year history, its current relevance, its many attempts to branch out in other media, and the laughable debunked claims that the game was responsible for murderous Satanic cults in the suburbs of the 1980s!

Music: 
“End Credits to the Dungeons & Dragons cartoon seriesby Johnny Douglas
“Theme to the Dungeons & Dragons movieby Justin Caine Burnett