This week on Shooting the Core, Megan proclaims her love for Double Fine, as Chris proclaims his love for Twin Peaks off the other side of the same mountain top, while Blair sits quietly in his cave at the bottom forcing himself to play games he sort of hates in a masochistic downward spiral. But things aren't all bad; we played Metroid 2 for the Gameboy!
Blair, Ben and Zac all hop on Skype for a different type of episode, focusing on Nintendo and expanding to the broader intersections between business of gaming and art. Warning: this is a long show.
Blair and the gang play Steven Spielberg's Boom Blox, discuss the cultural tastes of teenagers at the mall, silent movies, the modern era's devaluing of independent learning.
On the plus side, we threw bowling balls at Ewoks.
This week on Shooting The Core, the crew indulges their perverse mecha-fetish by playing 2002's Steel Battalion for the Xbox. Blair reveals his deepest shame; owning a $200 controller that only works with one game, Megan has her windshield washed without consent, and Dan still hates Ocarina of Time. Join us, won't you?
Megan Mars: And theres something really satisfying about having an entire control deck in front of you with switches and lights.
Blair Atom: I'm glad that you enjoyed playing this thing, because I expected you to hate this.
Dan Watkins: She honestly did better, well not better than me. As good as me but better than you.
Megan Mars: Haha, I didn't totally fail at this.
Blair Atom: You completed a level successfully. You did awesome. Its... theres something really great about that controller. When you press one of the buttons it lights up a little bit and kind of glows for a second and then dims. It really looks cool. Theres something great about flipping these toggle switches. They have a really nice click to them.
Megan Mars: Like an actual metal toggle switch. They're not cheap.
Blair Atom: No not at all.
Dan Watkins: Its... where all your limbs are just in sync, when you are strafing and moving both control sticks and mashing your onboard camera and switching between your sub weapon and weapon and reloading the magazine. Oh my god its amazing, its what you wish every Mechwarrior Mercenaries game was.
Blair Atom: Yeah totally. This game is incredible. Dan is right, when everything is working its like driving a really nice manual transmission car. You aren't thinking about what your limbs are doing you're just doing it.
Blair is joined by Ben, Chris and Lee for a dramatic experience: the first hour of Naughty Dog's 2013 hit "The Last of Us." Aside from the emotional & visual impact of the game, we discuss the way modern game narratives and mechanics can intertwine to heighten the tension and immersion of players:
Blair Atom: But one thing thats interesting about this game is that it really holds its characters - it forces you to play as the character. It forces you to make decisions as the character. You're not trying to say "Well, I'm going to play this game as the good guy!"
Joel is a bad dude.
We had that little moral dilemma right at the middle, I'm sorry, at the beginning of the game. It asks you just to fucking shoot this dude in the head. He's looking pretty bad, he's probably not going to survive.
It's leave him for dead or shoot him in the head. And the game just says "no, shoot him in the head!" and it won't let you move on until you shoot him in the head.
But Joel is a bad fucking guy.
And he's not particularly likable and he's done some really rugged bad shit. As the game wears on it makes that more and more and apparent. And its cool that they were willing to do a character like that. You don't see that very often where the character is a rotten dude. And they don't pull any punches there either.
Unfortunately... this is a zombie game.
This week at SHOOT CORE semi-special Guest is returning in Watkins Dan To playing INFINITE BANGAI-O ATTACK! Chris is Make the ROCK MUSIC; Final Fantasy have GREAT Defender in Megan! Blair confused Is Still! EXPLODE! Game is Game.
Chris couldn't make it to this week's recording, so Blair is joined by Megan, Jeremy and Ben. Tonight's game is Rock of Ages, a disorienting and infuriatingly fun twist on Marble Madness that combines greek mythology, pythonesque art and tower defense and into a truly unique experience.
Blair Atom, Megan Mars and Chris Bragg explore the delightful 2013 platformer & puzzle game Puppeteer, in which the player controls a boy named Kutaro, who has been turned into a puppet and had his head torn off. Throughout the game, Kutaro is able to find various types of head to replace his own, each with its own unique ability.
A short description of the plot is available at Puppeteer's Wikipedia Entry:
Once upon a time, the Moon Realm was ruled by a beautiful Goddess. But then Little Bear, to whom the Goddess had shown nothing but love, stole two of his mistress's precious possessions: the Black Moonstone, and a magic pair of scissors known as Calibrus. After declaring himself Moon Bear King, he invaded the Goddess's castle, and smashed the White Moonstone to pieces, thereby obliterating the Goddess. He then gave a shard of the White Moonstone to each of his twelve generals (the animals of the Chinese Zodiac), who proceeded to wreak havoc on the moon.
Night after night, the King spirited away the souls of Earth's children, and locked them inside wooden puppets. The children were then doomed to serve as slaves in the King's mobile fortress, Castle Grizzlestein.
One of those unfortunate children is a boy named Kutaro. He awakens in his new puppet body in the clutches of the King, who asks if he would be his friend. Kutaro agrees, but the King calls him a liar, bites off his wooden head, and tosses his puppet body into the dungeons.
Blair, Megan and Chris are joined by semi-special guest Dan Watkins for a nostalgic hour spent with Rare's 1997 Nintendo 64 classic "Blast Corps".
Join Blair Atom, Megan Mars and Chris Bragg for a discussion about the infuriating gameplay, deeply weird aesthetics and incomprehensible history of Clover Studio's 2006 magnum opus, God Hand.
Blair also explains the idea behind the show, the game-then-group-discussion format, and explores some ways the show might evolve moving forward.