Ep. 139 - The Wonder Bread of People

Play it later, Emulator. Music ‘Toss A Coin To Your Witcher - METAL COVER’ Cover by the band Ghost Fight featured on YouTube Channel NateWantsToBattle - Give Heart Records, ‘Iron Man - 8 Bit Tribute to Black Sabbath’ by 8 Bit Universe, and ‘Round 1-1 Shooting Ristar’ from Ristar The Shooting Star for the Sega Genesis.

**Questions this week:**

  • 1. Old Business - WB Games; Frauds (04:24)
  • 2. 3D Platforming since Jumping Flash (09:02)
  • 3. Life After Mixer (15:36)
  • 4. Getting Lost in a Game Map (22:29)
  • 5. Worst Thing to Happen To You While Playing a Game - Question by Patreon Supporter Samuel (30:20)
  • 6. Presenting Your Save Files to the Court (37:09)
  • 7. Compliments for Games That Turn You Off (43:37)
  • 8. Jump Around and Talk to People (49:18)

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    Edit notes: Original song was replaced.


    very flattering that Jaffe chose two of my questions in a row. his answer about staying up late playing FFTA was hilarious, and was exactly the sort of thing i was hoping to hear lol.

    Tim was probably thinking of somebody else but there's a League of Legends player called Meteos and wow that bugs me

    I feel like my save files for Undertale on PC and Switch demonstrating that I've only ever played full Pacifist runs and never killed anyone once, that one would probably make me look real good

    would love a more extensive list of Jump Around and Talk to People games…… maybe i should start a thread ……

    I don‘t blame anyone for not realising this because I didn’t know until I just looked the guy up but the artist who posted that Witcher cover at the opening is currently ranting bout alt-right dudes getting dunked off Youtube and he kind of gives me Nazi vibes in general…it's a good cover and all but little warning for anyone who wants to go seek that out.

    @Lesmocon#2601 oh shoot, we might have to take a look at that

    I wouldn‘t have a save file to present to court to proof I’m a good person because my Nier save file no longer exists!

    I also have a somewhat jerkish answer to the "compliments for games that turns me off" question; it never comes up in a marketing context but I've learned to hate the word "earnest" when people are describing games they like. There are games out there where that is a fitting description but in my experience I've found people who fall back on that term are either failing to explain why they like a really silly game or they're projecting sentimentality onto a work on behalf of a creative process and people they don't know anything about.

    I don't know if that explains it, but I find often what people mean when they say this is "I don't like those JERK games with the guns and such, I'm a kind soul" and are attempting to present their taste as some form of bizarre moral high ground. Also doesn't putting some games on a pedestal for being "earnest" imply that they think most games are insincere? There's too much weirdness to unpack the more I think about it and I find it difficult to trust the opinions of anyone who says this regularly.

    interesting note, because in the simple series thread, “earnestness” was an actual necessary quality we listed for the creation of one of these. I think we're using the term pretty differently than the way that bothers you though. More like - they had this vision and they stuck it through without being glib or meta about it. interesting that it has taken a different meaning for you!


    @Lesmocon#2612 I’ve learned to hate the word “earnest” when people are describing games they like.

    I'd be interested to hear more about how this negative association evolved for you. For my part, I do appreciate earnestness as a component of design. In particular, I like it when a game trusts that people will like it, and doesn't act defensively with undercutting sarcasm or irony.

    Metal Gear Solid and Pacific Rim are prime examples of this. Both are aware that they are completely ridiculous; but both trust that the audience will enjoy the ridiculousness explicitly, included with everything else.

    I like a game that risks mockery or criticism to be what it is for the people who will appreciate it.



    I don't disagree with anything either of you said, and I feel the same way about most of my favourite games! This is definitely something that's grown out of people using this term inappropriately/incorrectly that has rubbed me the wrong way more so than anything wrong with the word itself. I am probably not explaining it well because this has built up from years of reading bad takes on Twitter than anything important. Also I'd say the word has different connotations anyway when you're talking about making games and critiquing them, I'm talking about the latter.

    I wish people would talk more about artistic integrity, aesthetic confidence, thematic cohesiveness or emotional honesty. You could argue that any critical reading involves interpreting the text to project an intent or personality onto a work that may not be seen by someone else, but I feel terms like "earnest" are used less to say anything meaningful about games themselves as they are to say "anyone who doesn't like the stuff I like is a jerk". I've never seen anyone use "earnest" when describing games they don't like, because they presume that the games they don't like can't have conviction in what they're saying/doing? Again, this is definitely more the people I have interacted with than anything wrong with the word itself!

    I also get weirded out when it's applied to huge IP - Sonic and Kingdom Hearts are regular examples of this. I think earnest is a fair descriptor for a lot of games in both franchises, and I get people being defensive about them since they do both have their mean-spirited haters, but it's still weird to staple that concept to a franchise or a mascot that exists to get his face plastered on everything. When the Sonic movie came out I saw a lot of people ragging on anyone who down on the movie "it's Sonic! it's silly! it's for kids! stop dunking on it you jerks" and like man, sorry for not falling in love with a film that literally crunched its animation studio to death for a 2 star movie where Sonic hangs out with a cop. It's like because most of the games are admirably committed to childish stories about friendship and teamwork people who connect with that project wholesomeness onto the brand itself...like MATE they make Sonic coasters not everything is a labour of love.

    This is more a psychiatrist session for only me than having anything interesting to say lol, I just find in my experience a lot of people fall back on "earnest" to jump over critical engagement and instead file the games they like into the "wholesome works for nice people, like me!!!" category. There sure are a lot of joyless designed-by-producers pantry of Stuff AAA games that leave me cold so I understand wanting to highlight work that feels like it has a soul, but I don't think that's a specific enough term. By Brandon's definition of "earnest" in a design context I'd say Kane & Lynch 2 is an earnest game, but that wouldn't explain anything about my feelings on that game and would probably make a lot of people cry blood thinking about it.

    also re: glib and meta, one time I was having a real bad day and wanted to play a game that people were recommending as chill and wholesome (I won't say which one cos this is not a fair experience of it) and when I booted it up literally the second line of dialogue is a "LOL I'M A VIDEOGAME OPTIONS MENUS RIGHT????" which I was in no mood for and I shut that puppy down. A lot of games that get painted as "earnest" are my favs, I just think they deserve better brushes!

    Hey @Lesmocon#2601 I just want you to know that Brandon took this very seriously and immediately contacted me (and I also took it seriously!). I have uploaded a new version with a different artist singing the opening. I am waiting until our filehost makes the change public and then I will edit the metadata.

    Thanks for the feedback! I definitely did not know and now that I know, it's a no-go!

    @blaine#2662 oh that's cool! I brought it up cos I knew noone involved in the podcast would do that on purpose!

    I was scrolling through the guys channel to see what else he had covered and saw a couple of "ruh roh" videos, then went on the guy's twitter and theerreeeee it was. It wasn't like you missed something obvious, but part of my job involves navigating Youtube so sadly I have good instincts for this sort of thing lol

    The world needs more Ernest games.

    [upl-image-preview url=//i.imgur.com/wI977ZU.jpg]

    It‘s honestly surprising that there weren’t any as far as I know. He was pretty popular.

    Oh, I have a good response for Getting Lost in a Videogame Map. I used to play Fuel a lot, and the only thing I‘d do was load the map up and drive around. When it came out it was the game map was the size of like Conneticut or something. I’d never try to warp either, and the map was massive so it‘d take like an hour or so to get across sections of the map. At the time Fuel’s only real selling point was it's huge map, it was kind of a crummy off-roading game, but in that game you can get really really lost because the map is so big.

    As a Scottish person I was pleased to hear Tim‘s evangelising of Irn Bru! HOWEVER, I’d never heard of anyone mistaking it for alcohol before, and it‘s not particularly ’cool‘ - it’s just the thing you drink if you don‘t want Coke. Scotland and North Korea are supposedly the only countries in the world where the top-selling soft drink isn’t Coca Cola.

    [upl-image-preview url=//i.imgur.com/8FIT3pA.png]

    The bad news is they changed the recipe a couple of years ago and took out all the sugar and now it tastes like chemicals. [Just before the change people started hoarding bottles with the old formula. ](https://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-scotland-glasgow-west-42565363)

    @billy#2688 yea I live in England but come from a Scottish family and I've never heard anyone confuse it for or even joke about it being alcohol either.

    It sure was good before they changed the recipe tho


    @Lesmocon#2612 it never comes up in a marketing context but I’ve learned to hate the word “earnest” when people are describing games they like.

    To be fair, Earnest Evans is a pretty mediocre game.

    @Lesmocon I think I have a similar thing with like… whimsical, or that sort of thing. a lot of games that are supposedly that way are actually just trying very hard to be that way, on the surface, without understanding what actually makes a game whimsical. I guess we talked about katamari damashii 1 vs 2 in these terms.