It’s finally here! Memory Card is back with our second-ever episode! In Episode 2, true stories from Nicole Leung, Alvaro Sarria, and Rebecca Jennings about family, games, and the intersection of the two. We’ve got drama, humor, angst — something for everyone!
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Musical selections for this episode:
“Slinky Blues” by Admiral Bob
“spinnin” and “you for uh…. ?” by grapes
“3 pound universe” by Jeris
“Invisible” by Drift
“Statia” by Gurdonark
“Another Girl (instrumental)” by duckett
“Silence Await” and “Good Bye Mr. Rogers” by cdk
“The Annual New England Xylophone Symposium” by DoKashiteru
“Goldeneye 007 ‘Controlled Jazz’” by Mustin / Scott Peeples
I’ve long viewed the span between my freshman year of college and my eventual move to Seattle as a kind of dark time. Not “dark” insofar as unpleasant, or unhappy. Rather, they were dark because my life revolved around one central point, an abyss that consumed much, if not all, of my free time.
The abyss I refer to was World of Warcraft.
I won’t lie to you: when I first fired up The Yawhg I was in the midst of a ragefit brought about by a few rounds of Counter-Strike. Honestly, this probably wasn’t the best time to go about playing an indie game for review, and why the notion to start struck me at that precise moment I don’t know.
But I’m really glad it did.
The Yawhg plays a bit like an older adventure game, with branching story paths (fueled by random events) and a basic system for character attributes. At the start, your characters are given six weeks before the arrival of “the Yawhg,” a mythic and menacing something for which they must prepare. Player actions are met with art and writing based on their choices, and each decision contributes in some way to the game’s conclusion and epilogue. It’s a satisfying system, but not the deepest I’ve ever encountered. Indeed, one could argue that the game is flawed because of its simplicity, that The Yawhg is less of a game and more of an interactive storybook. I’m willing to say, in a grossly generalized statement, that people who would argue these things are wrong-headed and I don’t care to know them. Because the mechanics aren’t the point of the game.
Nintendo is an institution. They may not have the same global relevance they did twenty years ago, but were it not for them gaming would likely be a far more marginalized medium. After the market for video games crashed in the 1980s it was Nintendo that brought it back from the brink. Many of their policies that are holding them back today are holdovers from that time. Their business plan is not one of delusional madness, but rather dated pragmatism. Enthusiasts like myself clamor for Nintendo to join us in the twenty-first century, to adopt more consumer-friendly policies and diversify. What recent news and experience with their current hardware have shown me, however, is that while Nintendo could certainly benefit from emulating their competition, gaming needs Nintendo to be Nintendo. When all the dust from these “console wars” has settled, they could be the only manufacturer still making a dedicated video game console.
What I’ve come to understand about Nintendo though is that any given title could be someone’s first. I work in an elementary school. My day-to-day experience is with ages ranging from six to twelve. If you try to chat with them about an Xbox, first-person shooters, or western role-playing games (such as Skyrim, Mass Effect, etc.), their eyes glaze over, but if you mention [prefix] Mario [suffix] they can and will talk your ear off. Anecdotal evidence, sure; I am in Japan, Nintendo’s motherland, and I remember being exactly the same at their age. One of the biggest complaints coming from the enthusiast community regarding the most recent Nintendo Direct is that there wasn’t anything truly original (granted, this can be something of an ongoing topic of conversation in games). What was shown was a series of sequels, remakes and ports, however every one of these releases may serve as someone’s introduction to video games.
Today’s podcast is a doozy: nearly 90 minutes of roundtable discussion from 60% of our staff on the imminent next generation of game consoles. With controversies surrounding digital rights management and always-online functionality, there’s plenty to hash out. Enjoy!
Hosted by Tyler Martin and featuring Doug Bonham and Spencer Tordoff
Produced by Spencer Tordoff
Intro music: I’m Going Bazurky by morgantj
Outro music: Summertime (The dirty water Cdk Mix) by J.Lang
One of my favorite things about living in Austin is the awesome indie game development scene that’s sprung up all around town. Awesome developers like Tiger Style, Semi Secret Software and White Whale Games call Austin home, and they’re just a small sampling of the talented and friendly folks who make up this tight-knit community. And at the center of all these positive creative vibes is an indie game collective called Juegos Rancheros.
Besides sporting an awesome pun behind the name, Juegos Rancheros is an open-to-all monthly meetup where developers and enthusiasts come together to demo their new games, discuss their favorites and — of course — network like madmen. I’ve been lucky enough to attend a few awesome Juegos events since I moved to Austin a couple years ago, and each time there’s been something new and fascinating to see — for example, a Q&A session with Derek Yu after his rogue-like platformer, Spelunky, launched on Xbox Live Arcade.
This Thursday, June 6th, Juegos Rancheros is hosting another meetup. This month’s theme: South by No Quarter 2013, featuring four fascinating multiplayer games from indie developers. It should be a great time, so if you’re in Austin come check it out — just make sure you RSVP on Facebook beforehand. And if you do go, feel to say hi!
Anyway, we’ve got some games to talk about in this week’s Backlog. Doug’s brawling to his heart’s content in the gritty, gnarly streets of Hong Kong (seriously, videogames excel at making cities look like garbage when they want to) and Nick’s delaying the inevitable after spending seven months and 100 hours with one of the most unexpectedly affecting game he’s ever played. – Nick Cummings
It’s another rainy Memorial Day here in Portland. We locals are quite accustomed to soggy spring/summer weather, but trust me when I say that summers get hot in Oregon.
This week the dynamic duo returns : Nick saves his back by amalgamating Ikea parts while I dabble in revamping my professional presence online.
Enjoy our wandering musings after the break! – Aaron Thayer
Hot off the presses, we have a hot new Squatchast for you! In this episode, Nick, Spencer, and Aaron discuss Nintendo’s recent move to monetize Let’s Play videos containing content from their games, and speculate on the impact this will have on the industry as a whole. It’s our fastest and most topical Squatchcast ever!
Do you think we’re overreacting, or does this new trend really spell doom for the Big Three? Let us know in the comments! And as usual, subscribe or give us a review on iTunes, and like or follow us on your favorite social network.
Have any of you ever built a computer? Our niche readership is, I assume, proficient enough to upgrade RAM and swap out optical drives — actions more basic than the Dell-buying general populace knows. A year-and-a-half ago I assembled an entire desktop out of disparate parts for the very first time. How rewarding it was! I imagined that it felt like restoring some rusted-out junkyard Z28 Camaro, which is what real men do.
And yet, I royally fucked my entire computer last week trying to clone my moving-parts hard drive to a swift solid state upgrade. Despite the wave of technical confidence I’ve been riding since birthing my PC child (sort of like Data from TNG, I suppose), a thin little drive crippled me. I have seen rock bottom, and it is unforgiving. But my dramatic tale must continue after the break.
In the mean time, let’s check-in with Doug and Spencer! — Aaron Thayer
The Silicon Sasquatch Podcast is back again! In this episode, Nick, Spencer, and Aaron discuss Bioshock Infinite: What they liked, what they didn’t, and where they expect the series to go in the future.
WARNING: NUMEROUS SPOILERS CONTAINED THEREIN. DO NOT LISTEN TO THIS PODCAST UNLESS YOU’VE FINISHED THE GAME, OR DON’T CARE ABOUT SPOILERS.
Audio tracks for today’s podcast are selections from the Bioshock Infinite soundtrack: “Girls Just Wanna Have Fun” and “God Only Knows.”