Black Ops Episode 20 – Difficulty Is Kind of the Point [CLIP]

After over a year, we’re back with a new Black Ops podcast, now exclusive to our Patreon supporters, we join Joe Preti to continue our conversation from last month.

We talk about Mike’s acquisition of a hardcover omnibus collection of the 1983’s Official Handbook of the Marvel Universe, a remarkable creation of a pre-internet age and a time capsule of a time gone by, and wax nostalgic for why obsolete continuity can be a treasure to revisit.

We dive into one of the more contentious discussions on the topic of video games: difficulty settings. Where some games like Bloodborne and Demon’s Souls strive for unforgiving challenge, other games are trying to make themselves more accessible and less frustrating through “Story mode” difficulty that doesn’t try to murder you.

And then there’s the Battletoads jet ski level…

To unlock this episode in its entirety — and many episodes more! — just support us on Patreon with at least one measly dollar a month!

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Fun Size Episode 53 – Rest in Piss, You Piece of Shit

In our latest plot to lose any conservative listeners, we’re back!

We’re chatting with Joe Preti, who offers his defense of the much-maligned and frequently buggy Cyberpunk 2077. We dig into the often unreasonable expectations of both gamers and game companies, and why the video game industry exploits their workers and releases unfinished, broken games.

Is online gaming inevitably toxic and ugly? Are we doomed to racism, selfish teammates and endless griefing? Can we bake solutions into the programming of the games themselves?

And why does it seem like everyone on the political Far-Right from Ben Shapiro to Steve Bannon to Adolf Hitler, is a medicore failed artist, movie producer or screenwriter?

And we say goodbye to a dead radio icon with all of the respect and dignity he deserves.

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NOTE: The Skype audio was not up to our usual standards, but we still think it’s listenable. Our apologies! No apologies are offered to Rush Limbaugh.

Episode 27 – Open World Video Games

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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?

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

Previously titled: “The World Doesn’t Look Bright for Us Completionists”

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.

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Episode 18.5 – Somebody Destroyed One of Roger Moore’s Horcruxes

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In our latest collections of panel outtakes and off-topic discussion, Mike and Casey are joined by Greg Hatcher and Ryan Chaddock for a chat about the Logan’s Run television show and the formulaic nature of 1970s science fiction.

We compare the various Bond actors on their ability to dispense post-murder puns, and the pros and cons of grit versus camp. We try to get to the bottom of why Roger Moore continued to play 007 into his senior years, why bleeding heart liberals like us enjoy violent right-leaning vigilante fiction, and why the hell the spinoff Baywatch Nights even existed.

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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:
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