Ep. 237 - Everything Everywah, with Maddy Thorson

### Ep. 237 - Everything Everywah, with Maddy Thorson

Developer of TowerFall and Celeste [Maddy Thorson](https://twitter.com/maddythorson) joins the panel to cover the Treasure of Sierra Madrock, Nephew Tokens, and if double jumps are really necessary. Hosted by Alex Jaffe, with Frank Cifaldi, Tim Rogers, Brandon Sheffield and Maddy Thorson. Edited by Esper Quinn, original music by Kurt Feldman.

https://youtu.be/MnNJuacA0NY

**Questions this week:**

  • 1. [Topher Florence](https://twitter.com/topherflorence) asks: Cast a Super Mario Bros. Movie using the actors from the 1999 film The Matrix. There are no other restrictions. (06:51)
  • 2. How can a game’s soundtrack encourage gameplay? (13:45)
  • 3. Why did MicroKingBlizzardActivision show off that diversity chart like they were proud of it? (19:33)
  • 4. How much of Nintendo can the Saudi Prince of Arabia own before it’s no longer ethical to buy Switch games? (27:05)
  • 5. Should video games abolish the double jump? (30:42)
  • 6. Rejj asks: What is the best video game manual you have read? (37:50)
  • 7. How do you implement accessibility options in a game where its difficulty is the point? (43:34)
  • 8. Do video game release dates mean anything anymore? (48:25)
  • 9. Will 3D platforming ever be better than 2D platforming? (54:16)
  • **LIGHTNING ROUND**: GameFAQ&As – Super Mario Maker 2 (01:00:03)

    Recommendations & Outro (01:03:39)

    **A SMALL SELECTION OF THINGS REFERENCED:**

  • - [Mission in Snowdriftland](https://www.mobygames.com/game/browser/mission-in-snowdriftland)
  • - [Titanic (1997)](https://www.imdb.com/title/tt0120338/)
  • - [Dragon Co](https://bootleggames.fandom.com/wiki/Dragon_Co)
  • - [The Flintstones: The Treasure of Sierra Madrock](https://www.mobygames.com/game/snes/flintstones-the-treasure-of-sierra-madrock)
  • - [Daffy Duck: The Marvin Missions](https://www.mobygames.com/game/snes/daffy-duck-the-marvin-missions)
  • - [Bonk's Revenge](https://www.mobygames.com/game/bonks-revenge)
  • - [Manmaru The Ninja Penguin](https://www.retrorgb.com/ninpen-manmaru-on-saturn-finally-gets-a-completed-translation.html)
  • - [TowerFall series](https://www.mobygames.com/game-group/towerfall-series)
  • - [Celeste](https://www.mobygames.com/game/celeste)
  • - [Super Mario Maker series](https://www.mobygames.com/game-group/super-mario-maker-series)
  • - [Crystal Caves](https://www.mobygames.com/game/crystal-caves)
  • - [M.C. Kids](https://www.mobygames.com/game/mc-kids)
  • - [Super Mario series](https://www.mobygames.com/game-group/super-mario-series)
  • - [The Matrix (1999)](https://www.imdb.com/title/tt0133093/)
  • - [Keanu Reeves](https://www.imdb.com/name/nm0000206/)
  • - [Joe Pantoliano](https://www.imdb.com/name/nm0001592/)
  • - [Carrie-Anne Moss](https://www.imdb.com/name/nm0005251/)
  • - [Hugo Weaving](https://www.imdb.com/name/nm0915989/)
  • - [Laurence Fishburne](https://www.imdb.com/name/nm0000401/)
  • - [Tatanga](https://www.mariowiki.com/Tatanga)
  • - [Anthony Ray Parker](https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Anthony_Ray_Parker)
  • - [Matt Doran](https://www.imdb.com/name/nm0233391/)
  • - [Marcus Chong](https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Marcus_Chong)
  • - [Gloria Foster](https://www.imdb.com/name/nm0287825/)
  • - [Super Mario Bros. (1993)](https://www.imdb.com/title/tt0108255/)
  • - [Max Headroom](https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Max_Headroom)
  • - [Sonic the Hedgehog universe](https://www.mobygames.com/game-group/sonic-the-hedgehog-universe)
  • - [Kingdom Hearts series](https://www.mobygames.com/game-group/kingdom-hearts-series)
  • - [Katamari series](https://www.mobygames.com/game-group/katamari-series)
  • - [Mini Metro](https://www.mobygames.com/game/mini-metro)
  • - [Silent Hill 3](https://www.mobygames.com/game/silent-hill-3)
  • - [Fez](https://www.mobygames.com/game/fez)
  • - [Activision Blizzard's New Diversity Game Tool Comes Across Terribly](https://kotaku.com/activision-blizzard-diversity-tool-overwatch-2-call-of-1848924832)
  • - [Saudi Arabia Now Owns 5% Of Nintendo](https://kotaku.com/nintendo-saudi-arabia-public-investment-fund-pif-shares-1848941294)
  • - [Super Ghouls 'N Ghosts](https://www.mobygames.com/game/super-ghouls-n-ghosts)
  • - [Legend of Zelda series](https://www.mobygames.com/game-group/legend-of-zelda-series)
  • - [Landstalker](https://www.mobygames.com/game/landstalker)
  • - [Gunstar Heroes](https://www.mobygames.com/game/gunstar-heroes)
  • - [Bokura no Kazoku](https://www.giantbomb.com/bokura-no-kazoku/3030-42749/)
  • - [Gunhouse](https://www.mobygames.com/game/gunhouse)
  • - [X-Men](https://www.mobygames.com/game/genesis/x-men)
  • - [Final Fantasy VI](https://www.mobygames.com/game/final-fantasy-iii__)
  • - [Phish](https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Phish)
  • - [God of War Ragnarök accessibility features revealed](https://blog.playstation.com/2022/05/19/god-of-war-ragnarok-accessibility-features-revealed/)
  • - [Elden Ring](https://www.mobygames.com/game/elden-ring)
  • - [Contra series](https://www.mobygames.com/game-group/contra-series)
  • **Recommendations:**
    **Frank**: Find and play the Titanic platformer made by [Dragon Co](https://bootleggames.fandom.com/wiki/Dragon_Co)
    **Tim**: Don’t play [Wolverine: Adamantium Rage](https://www.mobygames.com/game/genesis/wolverine-adamantium-rage_) (or do)
    **Maddy**: [V Rising](https://store.steampowered.com/app/1604030/V_Rising/)
    **Brandon:** Don’t add Amazon Prime Movies to your list at the end of the month, [Lacroix Despheres](https://ja.wikipedia.org/wiki/Lacroix_Despheres)
    **Jaffe:** [Galaxy: the Prettiest Star](https://www.dccomics.com/graphic-novels/galaxy-the-prettiest-star)

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    {“sticky”:true}

    another excellent episode, good job everyone

    >!i love to double jump. the horse-goat in elden ring feels really weird and cool when it does the double. it's good! !<

    I really like the Anodyne 2 manual that was included in the physical version. Aside from the tips and cute illustrations, the last pages have a map of the game world and these book club questions suggesting reflection the themes of the game. I gotta play this game again sometime.

    Bonic the Hedgehonk surely.

    I want to watch that theoretical Mario movie SO BADLY! Also, I loved the bonus episode this week!

    This was a lovely episode, thank you!

    On the difficulty question and hard-game-players: it wasn’t til I went to the US at 18 that I heard someone use the word beat to mean “reached the ending of” a game. In the UK we always said finished, or completed.

    It did, and does, baffle me. You beat Mario 64. Was there ever a contest? How can you beat something that isn’t trying to beat you? A game isn’t standing in your way; it’s a journey whose creators actively want you reach the end. It’s a corridor calibrated to let you walk down it, with varying friction.

    I don’t know, it feels like saying you beat a book.

    Though I still haven’t beat Ulysses, so.

    @“Salloumi”#p70823 The book analogy isn't quite there because you can simply flip to the end if you like. games do put things in your path adversarially, especially in the older times. I have nothing to base this on other than my own brain, but think it comes from:

  • - early arcade games didn‘t have win conditions, they looped, or you got a high score and died, but there wasn’t an end screen. It was a battle for endurance between you and the machine, and the machine always won. In the US we had a lot of locally-made arcade games, so this was the game culture at first (computer games weren't as much of a thing until later, and certainly not as pervasive as they were in the UK)
  • - americans are generally raised to be competition oriented and consider "getting ahead" as getting past someone else, or doing so at someone else's expense.
  • - that adversarial relationship carried over once games did have end screens. The game was fighting with you, trying to keep you from winning with unfair enemies, traps, and tricks, so when you won, you defeated your adversary, the game.
  • - it's definitely true that a lot of Japanese games were made more difficult for American audiences, and reviewers (who meant something back then) would complain about games being "too easy" because then you didn't get your value for money in the fight against the computer.
  • That's what I think is going on here anyway!

    @“Salloumi”#p70823 I‘ve re-read Ulysses 4 times and I still have yet to beat it XD I do love it though. There’s a brilliant audiobook version of it on the internet archive if you're interested (archive.org/details/Ulysses-Audiobook-Merged) it has some incredible performances and really brings the book to life!

    All the talk about how 3d platformers have less information because you can‘t see everything that’s around you, made me think about a 3d platformer where you are a car with a see through glass floor, and you have huge jumping flash style jumps where the camera pans down, but you also get to see what's behind you via the rearview mirrors.

    This dumb idea might be what get's me to learn unity...

    Good ep! I was trying to wrack my brain for a good videogame manual but Tim is right. I bought my copy of FF3 (6) from a kid in middle school for I think 30 dollars and it did not come with a manual. I only saw it about 2 years ago and it's the best I've ever seen. 84 pages! the art! I looked at what I got on my shelf and none of it comes close but I do love the old graphic design on these things.

    Something that is adjacent was when I was on a bus ride for some field trip (also in middle school) and got to read someone's [Magic the Gathering Tempest Story Book.](https://imgur.com/haMjkl1) This thing was like a tiny novel that came with the deck of cards. It was cool as hell! I'd like to get a free bonus novel with something.

    With accessibility it seems like there's a ton more features that could be added to many games out there just in general. When it comes to difficulty I think for something like Elden Ring - that game can be quite hard. And then if you go look online and watch someone else play it, it can become easy. Maybe just a little knowledge was all you needed. A strat or an item. If you were running around a game like that and had the ability to see how other people defeated a boss or enemy that would be kind of cool. There's numerous ways you could do this. You could have better ghosts that show a little more of what they are doing. You could have tips you can turn on that pop up. There could be a feature to turn on more 'developer created' player messages with useful hints. You can have a heavier handed way to suggest summoning multiplayer assistance. You could have a video in-game that shows how someone else cheesed the boss! That game has a lot of interesting ways to think about this that may or may not be suitable for it but could be interesting ways to get around a problem. I think also having multiple ways to win is good too.

    Super Mario Maker 2 came up this episode, so I‘ll take the opportunity to talk about this here: there’s a neat Mario Maker community project that‘s been going on for awhile now in which we’re trying to clear every level uploaded in the game‘s release year, 2019. We’re down below 200k! It‘s taken awhile for a list to be compiled - I gather because Nintendo changed the way level information is stored and accessed? I honestly don’t know much about that side of things. There used to be a bookmark site where all uploads and their info was searchable, but it doesn‘t work for SMM2. Anyway, people have got it figured out now and there is a small discord server with all the resources. If you want to help out and browse through some levels and try and clear something, DM me and I’ll share the invite link. I‘d just post it but I don’t know if they have clear rules about it over there, so I‘m being a bit more cautious with it. You don’t even have to be an expert level player - there‘s plenty of easier levels out there still, but you gotta look for ’em.

    I think it's a really cool project. It's been fun to be a part of something goal oriented and grassroots like this for a silly fun game. I have more patience and motivation for bad levels when my goal is larger than me, but still not something real serious.

    @“exodus”#p70827 ahhh yes, I’d chalked it up to American competitiveness in my pretend-sociologist brain, but the Arcade dynamic is a really good point. Those games (and their programmers) did NOT want you to [verb] the game!

    ~~When it comes to just flipping to the last page of Ulysses, yes yes I have yes~~

    >

    @“Salloumi”#p70842 I’d chalked it up to American competitiveness

    I think this is correct, but more specifically it's from the american idiom of using "beat" to mean defeating another in a competition. So I would say I beat a second player in Madden for example. And I think it morphed into "beat the game" in a single player game sense, bc in that case the opponent is "the game" rather than your little brother or the jerk at the mortal kombat II cabinet at the bowling alley or whatever

    >

    @“esper”#p70805 How can a game’s soundtrack encourage gameplay? (13:45)

    I like the SimCity SNES use of music to reflect the development of your city. You get like a distinct Earthbound OST style track to each growth stage as you proceed

    >

    @“DavidNoo”#p70838 better ghosts

    I am always asking for this in games.

    By the way you can check out more about Jaffe’s recommendation “Galaxy: The Prettiest Star” right here and I encourage you to do so!! i’m gonna beat/clear this book tonight!!

    @exodus

    A stoner rock band called Superleaf?

    How about a britpop group called Super grass

    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Supergrass

    Oh wait, I just found out that Supergrass isn't a weed reference
    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Supergrass_(informant)

    >

    Supergrass is a British slang term for an informant who turns Queen's evidence, often in return for protection and immunity from prosecution.

    Oh wait again, I just found out it is

    >

    In mid-1994, Supergrass issued their debut single “Caught by the Fuzz” on the small independent local label Backbeat Records.[9] The song recounts lead singer and guitarist Gaz Coombes's experience of being arrested by the police for possession of cannabis

    What a journey!

    All I know is that when someone completes Takeshi‘s Castle on the Famicom they’ll have beat Takeshi.

    I'll see myself out.

    I work for a large trans-national company HQed in silicon valley and I am a middle-aged cis white guy who has helped advocate for diversity, inclusion, and equity in our company. I'm not defending the Bliz/Activision chart, but I can totally empathize how it got to be touted as a good thing. I feel sorry for the POC community and their allies who are probably feeling that they were sold a bill of goods by the executive team and their HR/comms group. I did try to see this as some kind of good intent at some level, but it sure is clunky.

    We all need to do better as a society.

    I hope that my group I worked with would have shot it down in how it was presented, but it's hard when as Brandon observed, a lot of this is coming down from the top. "Engineering companies" want "engineering solutions" to social problems. Companies don't yet understand that you can't pie chart your way out of implicitly supporting white nationalism because your company line is that saying Black Lives Matter is a political statement. Yeah it's a political statement, and it's one we as a company should just agree with on principal!

    There really are no easy solutions here and unfortunately, this experience will probably continue to put another barrier up from even trying at B/A which is just a really struggling studio culturally and execution wise.

    Personally, I try to openly supporting work colleagues who do not look like me, try to build meaningful working relationships and friendships with people who do not look like me. I try to be explicitly heard as an advocate on issues like how Black Lives Matter is table stakes. How "The Russian Government's war of aggression against Ukraine and the Ukrainian people is evil" is the way to do this. Even talking about your salary and pay grade openly with your colleagues has an impact because now others have access to information that they can use to take to management and HR and say "equal work for equal pay."

    I hope this post comes across in the constructive and nuanced way it is intended.