Episode 156: Economic Anxiety Informs My Narrative Design

Joining us this week is Kevin Snow – narrative designer and creator of Southern Monsters.

With Hurricane Florence still a fresh memory, we talk about the threat of natural disasters making you feel financially exposed – especially when you work freelance.

Kevin further talks about their work on Where the Water Tastes Like Wine; the spectrum of narrative design in games, from holistic design to scene and dialog writing; their

games writing influences, including Twine works from Porpentine and Michael Lutz; and their games criticism work on Waypoint and CapsuleCrit.

Games include Subserial Network and Extreme Meat Punks Forever.

Episode 155: Where Do You Call Home?

This week, Matt “2Mello” Hopkins – composer, sound designer, and artist – joins us to discuss the ins and outs of audio. From working on soundtracks and compilations to differentiating composition work from sound design, we run through the gamut of audio work in games, including Mello’s conscious effort to take a step away from the industry due to its pervasive labor issues.

Mello also discusses his podcast, The Sample Study, his dream of becoming a sample historian, and the joys and stresses of running a podcast.

Games include Marvel’s Spider-Man; Subsurface Circular; Get in the Car, Loser!; and Animal Crossing: New Leaf.

Episode 154: Blato

In a busy week in the games industry, we start off discussing the unfortunate closures of Capcom Vancouver and Telltale Games. We discuss the legacy these studios left behind, the mismanagement at Telltale that lead to its fate, and the ever increasing need for labor representation in games.

In other news, another Nintendo Direct passed us by, bringing with it new announcements and new questions. What does Peachette mean for the Mario canon? When’s Tom Nook coming to Smash? Who’s going to pay for Nintendo Switch Online?

The PlayStation Classic is here to feed on your childhood nostalgia, we squeeze in some last minute games before we close the gate on considerations for Best Games Played 2018.

Games include Mega Man 11, Super Mario Bros. 3, Zone of the Enders: The 2nd Runner M∀RS, WitchWay, Monster Hunter Generations Ultimate, Destiny 2, Marvel’s Spider-Man, and Donut County.

Episode 153: I Hate the Clown, The Clown Hates Me

Adriel Wallick – organizer of Train Jam – joins the cast to talk anything and everything about trains, from running Train Jam to working with Amtrak, as well as all the traveling she does nationally and internationally via trains and not trains.

We also discuss a fear of heights and a hatred of clowns, associating music albums with particular games, young millennials and old millennials killing industries with gusto, and a short return to talking about how great Infinity War is.

Episode 152: The Mechademy

We wish Alex a happy birthday this week with a celebratory car towing and a PAX story time, including plane movies, convention security measures, Metal Wolf’s chaos, the tale of The Quiet Man, and Riot’s culture of sexism.

We express disappointment in We Happy Few, excitement for Untitled Goose Game, and Switch it up with added talk about some good ol’ ROMs before Nintendo pulls them all from the digital shelves.

Games include Untitled Goose Game, Pokémon: Let’s Go, Eevee!, Metal Wolf Chaos XD, Samurai Gunn 2, Kids, Knights and Bikes, Wilmot’s Warehouse, King of the Hat, God of War, We Happy Few, Okami HD, Darksiders III, Mechs vs. Minions, Enter the Gungeon, Dead Cells, Super Mario Odyssey, Kero Blaster, Mother 3, The Urbz: Sims in the City, and Destiny 2.

Episode 151: Superbed

On a very special episode, Dylan reconvenes his Train Jam team from this past spring. Joining him are Keaton White, managing director for Abyssal Arts; Matt Gambell, founder of Skatanic Studios; and Craig Barnes, freelance composer.

We start the episode as we always do, with a transatlantic weather check. We then move on to  to discuss everyone’s current projects:

Keaton’s team is currently releasing their first game, City of the Shroud, an episodic strategy game with fighting game-style combat. Matt talks about his success with his first game: RPG Tycoon, while currently pitching his second game, Living the Deal. Craig discusses his most recent project for which he’s composed music: Nano Golf and Streets of Rogue.

We round out the episode talking about our experiences working on our Train Jam game, Track Trek, our time at GDC, and more!

Episode 150: Hidden Gems of PAX West

At the Cat Theatre, Dylan Ilvento, Kahlief Adams, Austin Walker, and Felix Kramer convene the first ever Hidden Gems of PAX West. We talk about pizza mechs, dancing reapers, and a whole lotta golf – follow along with the panel slides.

From the panel description:

“Whether it’s your first PAX or your fifteenth PAX, it’s easy to be overwhelmed by just how much the show has to offer. Let us help you out by pointing you in the direction of everything cool, new, and unexpected. Using our collective knowledge of game development and game criticism, we’ll share and discuss some of the biggest surprises on the show floor that you won’t want to miss.”

Games include Zarvot, Pizza Titan Ultra, What the Golf?, The World Next Door, Thousand Threads, Darq, UFO 50, Wattam, Black Future ‘88, Fork Parker’s Crunch Out, Felix the Reaper, Star Renegades, and Solace State.

Episode 149: Hates Dice, Loves Scissors

Join us as we welcome to the show experience designers Ruthie Edwards and – for the first time ever – Nelson Johnson!

We discuss the ageless Ash Ketchum, Ruthie’s New York City summer full of game fests – from Practice to PlayNYC, and what a Waluigi game could look like.

Next episode: Hidden Gems returns for PAX West! Join Dylan Ilvento, Kahlief Adams, Felix Kramer, and Austin Walker as they showcase everything cool and unexpected at the show!

Games include Zen Pinball 3D, Detective Pikachu, Pokémon Quest, Dead Cells, Mafia III, Dragon Ball FighterZ, Killer Queen Black, Flight Simulator, Chef Umami, Captain Toad’s Treasure Tracker, Cities: Skylines, Mario Party, WarioWare Gold, Holy Potatoes! A Weapon Shop?!, Potatoman Seeks the Troof, Domestic Dog, and Dig Dog.

Episode 148: Far East Bay

Johnnemann Nordhagen, founder of Dim Bulb Games and creator of Where the Water Tastes Like Wine, joins the show. Having recently displayed his game at the Smithsonian American Art Museum Arcade, we discuss the honor of being showcased as a piece of American art and the uniqueness of Where the Water Tastes Like Wine, including its vignette storytelling style.

We also talk about Johnnemann’s popular postmortem for the game, leading to a greater discussion about the importance of creating postmortems to help your peers, setting up proper expectations about the success of your game, and Johnnemann choosing to move from San Francisco to Santa Fe due to the Bay Area’s rising cost of living and loss of character over the decades.

Lastly, we converse about the importance of independent and experimental games in pushing the medium forward.

Games include Where the Water Tastes Like Wine.

Episode 147: ☃

This week, the gang is joined by local comics creator Brian Clevinger – of 8-Bit Theater and Atomic Robo fame! He joins us to talk Epic’s backpay, making ghosts, and the NEXT No Man’s Sky. Ludum Dare 42 is also upon us, so we discuss our plans for the upcoming game jam as well as our favorite past themes.

We also chat about what independent game devs and independent comics creators can learn from one another, the state of games Kickstarter versus comics Kickstarter, and the Atomic Robo tabletop RPG.

Games include Part Time UFO, Titanfall 2, Vampyr, No Man’s Sky, God of War, Just Cause 3, and Where the Water Tastes Like Wine.