Ep. 224 - Video Game History Pope

### Ep. 224 - Video Game History Pope

In which our heroes (and you!) are absolved of the sin of piracy by the highest authority in game history, and Ice the Goose reveals arcane knowledge of anthropology. Hosted by Alex Jaffe, with Frank Cifaldi, Tim Rogers and Brandon Sheffield. Edited by Esper Quinn, original music by Kurt Feldman.

**Questions this week:**

  • 1. What the hell is wrong with Nintendo? (02:32)
  • 2. What games with a setting contemporary to release have best aged into being period pieces? (13:32)
  • 3. What’s your favorite kind of environment in video games? (18:36)
  • 4. Other than canceled, what do you predict Netflix’s Bioshock movie will be like? (24:19)
  • 5. Jerry Bready to Die asks: When is autosaving better than manually saving, and vice versa? (33:12)
  • 6. How do you balance player progression with game difficulty? (38:37)
  • 7. Review Super Mario Bros. 2 in six minutes. (44:07)
  • 8. Write the first sentence and the last sentence of a text book about video games. (53:31)
  • Recommendations and Outro (55:45)

    **A SMALL SELECTION OF THINGS REFERENCED:**

  • - [Naked Gun 33 1/3: The Final Insult (1994)](https://www.imdb.com/title/tt0110622/)
  • - [Nintendo shutting down Wii U, Nintendo 3DS eShops and frustrating fans](https://www.polygon.com/22937165/nintendo-wii-u-3ds-eshop-closing-date-virtual-console)
  • - [Video Game History Foundation’s tweet on the subject](https://twitter.com/GameHistoryOrg/status/1494398068346654720?s=20&t=57jNsUvssApHrn_Mn-X3xw)
  • - [Yakuza / Ryū ga Gotoku series](https://www.mobygames.com/game-group/yakuza-ry-ga-gotoku-series)
  • - [EarthBound](https://www.mobygames.com/game/earthbound)
  • - [Red Dead Redemption II](https://www.mobygames.com/game/red-dead-redemption-ii)
  • - [Batman: The Video Game](https://www.mobygames.com/game/nes/batman-the-video-game_)
  • - [Yo, Bro](https://www.mobygames.com/game/turbo-grafx/yo-bro)
  • - [MTV's Beavis and Butt-Head](https://www.mobygames.com/game/genesis/mtvs-beavis-and-butt-head_)
  • - [Lester the Unlikely](https://www.mobygames.com/game/snes/lester-the-unlikely)
  • - [Greendog: The Beached Surfer Dude!](https://www.mobygames.com/game/greendog-the-beached-surfer-dude)
  • - [California Games](https://www.mobygames.com/game/california-games)
  • - [NBA Jam](https://www.mobygames.com/game/nba-jam)
  • - [Third World War](https://www.mobygames.com/game/sega-cd/third-world-war) (aka Cold War)
  • - [Golgo 13: Top Secret Episode](https://www.mobygames.com/game/nes/golgo-13-top-secret-episode)
  • - [Third World War Japanese box art](https://www.mobygames.com/game/sega-cd/third-world-war/cover-art/gameCoverId,202362/)
  • - [Ninja Five-O](https://www.mobygames.com/game/gameboy-advance/ninja-five-o)
  • - [Elevator Action II](https://www.mobygames.com/game/elevator-action-ii)
  • - [Rolling Thunder](https://www.mobygames.com/game/rolling-thunder)
  • - [Resident Evil 4](https://www.mobygames.com/game/resident-evil-4)
  • - [Marvel Spider-Man](https://www.mobygames.com/game/playstation-4/marvel-spider-man)
  • - [Bullet Witch](https://www.mobygames.com/game/bullet-witch)
  • - [BioShock](https://www.mobygames.com/game/bioshock)
  • - [Netflix is making a live-action BioShock movie](https://www.theverge.com/2022/2/15/22935020/netflix-bioshock-movie-film-adaptation-2k-take-two)
  • - [The Shape of Water (2017)](https://www.imdb.com/title/tt5580390/)
  • - [Cyberpunk 2077](https://www.mobygames.com/game/cyberpunk-2077)
  • - [Final Fantasy XIV Online: A Realm Reborn](https://www.mobygames.com/game/final-fantasy-xiv-online-a-realm-reborn)
  • - [Shining Force](https://www.mobygames.com/game/shining-force)
  • - [Jak II](https://www.mobygames.com/game/jak-ii)
  • - [The Last of Us](https://www.mobygames.com/game/last-of-us)
  • - [Adventure Island](https://www.mobygames.com/game/adventure-island)
  • - [Super Mario Bros. 2](https://www.mobygames.com/game/super-mario-bros-2_)
  • - [Keith Courage in Alpha Zones](https://www.mobygames.com/game/turbo-grafx/keith-courage-in-alpha-zones)
  • - [Yume Kōjō: Dokidoki Panic](https://www.mobygames.com/game/nes/yume-kj-dokidoki-panic)
  • - [Tokimeki Memorial](https://www.mobygames.com/game/turbografx-cd/tokimeki-memorial)
  • - [Bonk's Revenge](https://www.mobygames.com/game/bonks-revenge)
  • - [Zelda II: The Adventure of Link](https://www.mobygames.com/game/zelda-ii-the-adventure-of-link)
  • - [Murder Club](https://www.mobygames.com/game/murder-club)
  • - [Famicom Detective Club series](https://www.mobygames.com/game-group/famicom-detective-club-series)
  • - [Pong](https://www.mobygames.com/game/pong____)
  • - [Pac-Man](https://www.mobygames.com/game/pac-man)
  • **Recommendations:**
    **Frank**: [Resident Evil 4 HD](https://www.re4hd.com/)
    **Brandon**: [Green Frontier](https://www.imdb.com/title/tt9641192/)
    **Tim**: Don’t buy crypto
    **Jaffe**: [Dog Days of Summer](https://dc.fandom.com/wiki/Dog_Days_of_Summer_Vol_1_1)

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    {“sticky”:true}

    >

    What the hell is wrong with Nintendo?

    huh! interested to find out how "nothing, it's perfect, everyone loves Nintendo" stretched out into a 12-minute conversation, but you guys are capable of all kinds of fun stuff.

    Thanks for the blessing Brandon![upl-image-preview url=//i.imgur.com/2IyPmvt.jpeg]

    I played the heck out of Oh Deer! a couple months ago, it's really good.

    Also, I appreciated hearing some love for the cover of The Third World War, that's my second favorite video game box art of all time.

    Proud to be a Geri.

    </s><e>

    >

    @“esper”#p59128 What games with a setting contemporary to release have best aged into being period pieces? (13:32)

    It's a bit of a meta answer but _Onimusha 3: Demon Siege._ The most 2004 game

    Ba-Bump Panic!

    >

    @“esper”#p59128 How do you balance player progression with game difficulty? (38:37)

    Brandon's explanation was very on point but I would add that this can be even more effective when that sort of feeling of progression with getting stronger than enemies as you go can be carried out throughout a game rather than just being location dependent.

    Best example I can think of is _DOOM (2016)._ The very most basic enemies in the game that aren't just purposefully made to be cannon fodder, the imps, are a presence in almost all major combat encounters, and while your perception of them changes in relation to your power level, they never truly stop being a relevant part of combat encounters either and start to occupy different roles in tandem with other demons. So you can feel as if you have an edge on them in terms of firepower, but you also still have to continue to understand how to approach them tactically and in different situations and environments, with different combinations of other enemies.

    Another example I can think of is in _Monster Hunter_ where a re-do of most of the game's combat encounters (if not two for when there is Low Rank, High Rank, and then G Rank or Master Rank available) is baked into the formula. Going back to fight a souped up version of the baby monsters you smacked around 20 hours ago can feel all the more exciting when they suddenly have a bunch of health and hit like a truck, meaning you will likely need to start optimizing your play. It's an even better feeling when subsequent iterations of the same monsters end up with new attacks, behaviors, and mechanics, which is always a fun surprise when you see it for the first time when you thought you knew how to fight it. So, maybe another good thing for controlling how player's are feeling about their power progression is introducing at least some situations in which the game gently but firmly tells you "oh, by the way, I was going easy on you before."

    @“DavidNoo”#p59211 feels weird!! without the culture of speaking onomatopoeia aloud we just don‘t have a proper equivalent, I think. I’d probably just name it something totally different! (like… super mario bros 2, for example el oh el)

    >

    @“esper”#p59128 What games with a setting contemporary to release have best aged into being period pieces? (13:32)

    CUPHEAD
    ![](https://cdn.vox-cdn.com/thumbor/Tm21NzXoJplf_ocqwnKZohwyG9Q=/cdn.vox-cdn.com/uploads/chorus_asset/file/3795346/cuphead_mermaid_14.0.gif)

    >

    @“esper”#p59128 How do you balance player progression with game difficulty? (38:37)

    @"exodus"#3 Unless this was something from one of the Crystal Chronicles games I never played, I'm pretty sure Tim was right and you were talking about Final Fantasy VIII. The reason it's like that is because there's a very unconventional character growth system in which you increase stats by "junctioning" magic to them. Magic is a consumable item in FFVIII, so if you possess 5 Fire spells, you can cast Fire 5 times. But rather than actually expend them, you're encouraged to hoard them and "Junction" those spells to each of your stats in order to increase them or give your weapons different elemental affinities or make them inflict different status ailments. So you do gain some stat boosts from leveling up, but it's fairly minor compared to the boosts from the Junction system they want you to engage with, so grinding exp mostly just serves to make the game harder. I'm guessing they did that because none of the ways you obtain magic in that game require that you actually defeat enemies, so there's no way to make them get stronger at a fixed rate throughout the game and ensure that you're also progressing enough to be able to beat them? But it also means you can become vastly overpowered by exploiting systems to obtain late-game spells early and by defeating as few enemies as possible, lol.

    Not sure the approach totally justifies itself but it at least isn't a case where player and enemies level at exactly the same pace, that _would_ be pretty pointless

    EDIT: lol I paused the podcast to respond to this and didn't realize you actually did remember what game you were thinking of at the end. I'm keeping this post though because FFVIII happens to be a good answer to the question anyway

    @“exodus”#p59225 Some onomatopoeias have graduated to words in English - I could see “Munch Man” for “Pac Man” for instance - but Doki Doki really doesn‘t an analogue, you’re right.

    @“Girard”#p59295 Munch Man very much up there with Dot Gobbler as a cursed Pacman clone name.

    @“GigaSlime”#p59291 yeah, I knew it wasn't FFVIII because I never played it!

    I always like when one question's answer works for a different question. Like mall levels being great; malls you can explore and interact with are becoming period pieces instead of the contemporary experiences they once were. So something like Dead Rising is a good answer to that question.

    And for unrelated reasons, Crazy Taxi is also a fun period piece. I look forward to seeing it briefly featured in a future Ken Burns documentary on the American taxi.

    >

    @“esper”#p59128 What games with a setting contemporary to release have best aged into being period pieces?

    My kneejerk answer was going to be basically any Kojima game, but now that I think of it they are actually kind of _microprescient_ in that the setting is not exactly contemporary, but actually predictive of a reality that is mere months to years away, if not just on the cusp of being realized.

    >

    @“esper”#p59128 What games with a setting contemporary to release have best aged into being period pieces?

    _Sim City 2000_ comes to mind. A real end of the century we've basically 'solved' human civilization, it's just a matter of responsible budgeting clinton economy ethos. High 1990's educational software look.

    What’s your favorite kind of environment in video games? (18:36)

    Don't forget Alien Soldier's Space(?)/Future(?) airport that _also_ goes from fighting through a terminal, and eventually just being on a plane in flight! The final part of that level has a little man freaking out behind a check in counter!

    Really into abandoned ruins being taken over by plant life, especially if it's futuristic things like "ancient robots" resting quietly in it. Add in some broken stone pillars and more ancient-ancient looking ruins for flavor. Basically anything Mega Man Legends, Project J & J2, Mega Man 8 opening stage, Fragile, and anything Nier related. Bonus if there are large objects partially submerged in water!

    >

    @“esper”#p59128 What games with a setting contemporary to release have best aged into being period pieces? (13:32)

    [upl-image-preview url=//i.imgur.com/dhaqSXl.jpeg]

    Serious answer. The mainline Pokémon games typically reflect contemporary technologies and cultural trends - most notably with reference to clothing trends and things like using mobile phones in Gold / Silver which has since evolved into the equivalent of a smartphone in subsequent games.

    >

    @“LeFish”#p59334 the equivalent of a smartphone in subsequent games.

    Every time your player character whips out your **Jesus Phone** in _Pokémon Legends: Arceus_ I lost my damn mind. Even when it's not appropriate *at all* Pokémon just loves to have that modern technology in there just as you say