Ep. 170 - Sonic the Hedgefund


@yeso#15701 I came here to see what the deal was with Rohrer and left feeling sobered by this comment. Feel like I've been pulling for that alligator guy for a couple of months now. Good stuff. Thanks @yeso

Naoto Ohshima‘s been making mediocre-to-bad action games for the last twenty years, so Balan Wonderworld’s nothing out of character for him or his studio, in either of its incarnations.

Magical Taruruuto-kun MD is a Game Freak game, and their track record with action games isn't particularly impressive, either.

Yeah, their action games I would say are quite poor in general, though drill dozer is pretty good.

@exodus#15720 you don't want the alligator guy, you want to go back to your mental/emotional state before your dad was killed by a chinese gangster, back when you allowed yourself to think about a future with nozomi……


@treefroggy#15624 Tim’s answer that most good things have probably already happened in video games, and if something new comes along that is significant, you will know

Personally disagree with tim on this. What is possible in the medium is and has been bottlenecked by technology, and the availability of technology. We're nowhere close to getting game-making tools and game-playing devices into the hands of would-be artists the way writing or painting etc are. The ideas that do exists are heavily curtailed by the complex material conditions that videogames demand. This is definitely changing as twine, unity, whatever, etc become more accessible. Hopefully the tools get simpler and simpler and more and more people are able to access them.

The discussion re rhorer is an example I think of an intelligentsia pumping up a limited-idea pallet individual because he "fit the part" of what a game-artist could be in a very small pond context, and now look what we got lol

The other bottleneck is the "knowing about" part. I'm sure all of us has dug around steam or itch and seen like 5000 cool games we had no idea existed. But there's of course very little attention being paid to them. We're all familiar with the dilemmas of AAA hype media - one of the problems I think is the reflex to filter discussion of even really novel and interesting games through hardened assumptions of what's out there and what's possible. Everything is thought of as a product, of what it does for an audience of consumers, what the expectations are etc. - for example, I found the RPS review of pathologic 2 pretty frustrating, because it takes assumes that the game should be functioning as a "survival" game, and the most important aspect is how well the "mechanics" serve that assumed framework. Those of us that have played pathologic 2 can I think attest that there's a whole heck of a lot more going on there. So I imagine that this negative review, implying that the game doesn't really work at all, from RPS, one of the very few prominent outlets with some editorial sympathy for pathologic and ice pick lodge, really hurt the game's sales and in so doing, the studio's ability to operate. It's a bummer, and I wish that in this case, and others, critics (and players) would just take the art-material that's there and have an experience with it and go from there. Other forms of media criticism figured this out a few centuries ago, but we have a real "havent read books" problem wrt to games critics

So I'd say that there's an enormous number of new voices and and perspectives that remain to be brought into the fold both as game-makers, and as audience and critics, with all the potential new ideas that most of the rest of the world can bring. And there's a real failure on the part of games writing to extend much generosity or intelligence towards games that would acknowledge new ideas or even the full depth of old ideas

I think I wrote about this somewhere on the forum before - but I was looking over a fancy university course on videogames, and everything on the syllabus were games like Gone Home, Braid, the beginners guide etc., but nothing like say for ex terranigma or earthbound, or a machine for pigs. Not to be too hard on gone home, but it seems like a real shame if videogames are already focused on self-regard to this extent. We're only a few decades into this form and already rehashing a limited pool of ideas? big time bummer.

my great grandmother gifted me the jurassic park game that ocean developed for the snes

yes, it was not good at all

That Nier:Reincarnation game is coming out soon. I think if any game will make the case in favor of gacha mechanics it'll be that.

When Frank keeps asking for shorter games, I‘m left wondering, "Isn’t that what itch.io is?" Aren‘t there a million billion one-to-two hour games out there? It’s just that they‘re not commercially viable to the same extent. It seems strange to expect commercial developers to make shorter games (in the AAA space this seems totally unfeasible given the supreme amount of $$$ spent just on assets); if you want a shorter experience, itch and adjacent games seem like the way to go. Of course they’re gonna be less polished, but it seems like part of the insert credit ethos is that interesting ideas can overcome a lack of polish.

Maybe we need an itch.io thread on here where people can discuss/recommend tiny games...


Haven't actually listened that far in yet, apologies if this comparison was already made.

@yeso#15778 I see it more as most good things have happened in video games as we know them. Things are changing and over the next 100 years we will have many good things happen in media.

it hadn‘t, but it should have. I wish I had seen this! very amusing companion piece to that onion article I can’t find about Led Zeppelin unsealing an ancient vault to produce a new riff to save rock and roll.

@wickedcestus#15802 if i‘m completley honest, just scrolling through itch, most of the games i see don’t look particularly interesting or cool. people like to say there are hundreds of amazing games on there, but i haven‘t played that many that were remarkable; in ideas, execution or polish. i find it extremely hard to find good games or even sort my own library on that platform. i’ve seen a lot of prototype-feeling stuff, little vignettes, and many personal iterations on well-treaded genres… which, i think it‘s cool that they exist, but i don’t think it‘s what people mean when they say “i want shorter games”. there is a huge middle ground between highly polished 20+hour games and half-broken concepts that work better as a gif on twitter than as a playable experience. i don’t know the economics of the situation well enough to say who should be filling that gap, but i know as a player that is what i am interested in and i don't often feel catered to.

@tombo#15910 I think you are right as far as the situation goes right now, and maybe I think of itch.io too abstractly, because to be honest, I haven‘t engaged with a ton of games there myself. But I think if you are looking for where the highest potential for good, short games exists, it’s definitely there rather than in the AAA or even high-budget indie space.

I think _A Short Hike_, which is on itch.io, is one of the best examples of the "short game" genre that exists now. Simple yet engaging mechanics with a bit of progression, a small but full world, some character and an outline of a story. This is to be compared with most representatives of the genre, which are walking games. If you want to stay in a budget that will allow your game to be short, it seems to me (not a game developer) that you can either go for strong art and no mechanics (walking game) or lo-fi art and one or two simple mechanics.

I think _A Short Hike_ and maybe _Minit_ (haven't played that one) are two pretty interesting examples of the latter. I have hope that this will be a trend that continues, but hey, I have no idea. I do agree with you that even if people are making the games that you or Frank want, it's very difficult to find them due to the massive amounts of tiny things thrown around on itch every day.

I cannot find it for the life of me, but this episode reminded me of a segment in which the ICP fellas were trying to decide what animal they would be if they were a Sonic character. I remember Tim challenging someone to illustrate them and I remember thinking to myself “I am ready for this. This is my moment.”

Also, has anyone drawn those yet? I'm asking because I want to give it a shot.

@SuperEffective#15925 Insert Credit Pod or Insane Clown Posse??


definitely 100% Insane Clown Posse... nah, I wish. It was an episode that I must have heard from maybe 2 months ago.

@SuperEffective#15928 episode 157 last question

Can I just say, seeing this thread title and not being able to hear the episode it's about finally got me to support you guys on Patreon.


@Squit#15626 Holy snap, I love that.