Ep. 237 - Everything Everywah, with Maddy Thorson

@“RubySunrise”#p70840 i helped out a bit for a single level, and while i didn‘t really get much more involved thant that, it seems pretty cool to me! (it’s called ‘team 0%’ for those wondering)

as well, there‘s a whole mario maker thread somewhere on this forum that i remember sharing a level or two in when i first joined here, but that’s been dead for a while… (maybe someone should start a competition or something…)

on games‘ soundtracks impacting gameplay:

i listen to video game soundtracks way more than i actually play them (i’m as confused by it as you might be), and (while i haven‘t done it as much recently) it’s sometimes the reason i even play a game at all! ridge racer type 4 and ufouria the saga stand out as times this strategy worked really well.

also: it's always fun to switch between different poses in time to the music. (super mario world is pretty good for this, like, you can duck _and_ look up?)

great episode all - absolutely stoked to hear from Maddy, love everything she does

adding a wrench to the discussion above - I say that I've finished a game, but it was very common for my rural australian childhood chums to say they "conquered" a game, which I always thought sounded dumb as hell

If only my nine-year-old self at the Kay Bee Toys, could've gotten a Wolverine: Adamantium Rage anti-recommendation.

@"NoJoTo"#p70870 A Mario Maker competition of some sort sounds fun to me. I get what @exodus was saying about just get some friends, but that system does multiplayer so poorly that most people I know just treat it as a single player/couch coop system. It's so unintuitive to just watch a friend play a Mario Maker level I have made online, while talking to them. I gave up on the game, because discovery seems pretty poor unless you self-promote on the internet.


@“esper”#p70805 Reg asks: What is the best video game manual you have read?

just a note @espercontrol this was my question :)

Thanks to jaffe and the panel for answering it!
An answer that comes to mind for me is Infocom's Battletech: The Crescent Hawk's Revenge. It was a thick manual with detailed drawing and specs of all the BattleMechs, and I used to just flip through that and look at and read about the mechs.

@“rejj”#p70903 This just jogged my memory loose. I learned the Greek alphabet from the Mechwarrior 2 manual because then game uses Greek letters for navigation waypoints and target designations. It came in handy in engineering school.

The _Final Fantasy [1]_ manual is also a good one because it was a strategy guide/walkthrough.

The _X-Wing_ manual was also a walkthrough in fan-fiction format. The best part was when the point of view character Farlander bemoans getting assigned to a Y-Wing during the battle of Yavin (Death Star trench run) because they are too slow and underpowered to be effective and I was like “yeah, Y-Wings do suck”.

I have nothing to say except Maddy owns and so does this episode.

[upl-image-preview url=https://i.imgur.com/uDGsAsk.jpeg]


@“Salloumi”#p70823 In the UK we always said finished, or completed

i'll have to consult my dad (spectrum veteran) but i don't remember a time before "beating" games (or at least, enemies and bosses) was an accepted UK colloquialism. "completed" implies hitting the end credits, but one might say "i beat the water temple" or "i can't beat the boss in level X".

@“rootfifthoctave”#p70930 I think beating a boss might be the root of it. that does feel slightly more like a 1v1 experience, especially before things like fighting games become commonplace.

I feel like I just joined an elite secret society knowing that Maddy Thorson also listens to Insert Credit while working out. The horrifying buzzer just makes it the perfect workout pod (and an impossible sleeping pod)!

Liked the discussion on game difficulty/accessibility. One thought I had is that games just need to stop messing around and outright tell you what difficulty settings the development team "balanced" around. Would hopefully silence at least some of the capital "G" Gamers from complaining about accessibility or difficulty sliders and would have stopped me from playing 5 hours of Death March difficulty on the Witcher 3.

@“ffg”#p70974 actually I’ve been tweaking the buzzer a bit lately!! we had some people say it’s Far Too Jarring so i cranked it down seven and a half decibels from where it was (with the exception of the one in the intro, which i personally think should be a little jarring, but also jaffe sets it up so you know it’s coming at least)

@“ffg”#p70974 well now it feels like people are converging around the rubric(?) of

-for people who want to enjoy the story

-for people who are new to the genre

-for people with experience in the genre

-for people who want it to be really hard (not recommended for first play!!!)

I find that pretty helpful.

I actually have a tough time with these designations because - they always talk about people wanting to enjoy the story, and for me I‘m like… well, I want it to be easy, but I know the story is going to be stupid, so I’d better make it a little more difficult so it feels like a game - but I‘m not sure that’s what the developers intend for someone of my interest level. I find that for me (personally!) it makes me a little more confused. Likewise, I have A LOT of experience in almost all genres, as a person who has played video games for lo these last 33 years. but it doesn‘t mean I’m good at anything, etc. I do like the idea of “we balanced around this” but I usually assume that's “normal” or whatever. I do see companies saying “this is the intended play experience” under some of these descriptions.

during the entirety of the instruction manual question I was hoping someone would mention Tunic, and Maddy called it out briefly at the very very end of the convo. Tunic‘s a great lil game! The soulslike combat isn’t particularly interesting to me but I turned on no fail mode which made it significantly more fun. That game does some really cool stuff with regards to its in game instruction manual and has some crazy good puzzles imo. great little game, highly recommend! it's on gamepass too!

I guess the tunic manual is in the game? I don't think we even considered in-game manuals.

I was watching the youtube version and the timing of the double jump question and the Celeste footage (especially that first dash) was too perfect! Always appreciate these vids @esper

@“exodus”#p70980 and there’s some gumption in assuming your story even IS enjoyable… but yeah, maybe that option is a bit euphemistic. As someone who has totally watched cut-scenes of the ends of games I’ve decided I’m not going to finish, and then has wished he actually had played the game up to those cut-scenes, I do believe that the act of “earning” progress has meaning. I usually look at those difficulty menus and go “yeah, I’ve played some games.”

The another interesting approach is when you die too many times in one place, and then you’re offered a lower difficulty (GTAV even lets you just skip the part you’re stuck on, which betrays how rote those missions can be). I don’t think I’ve even taken the “please lower my bar” option, but I like the oblique feedback of “you’re finding this bit a little harder than we meant you to”. Maybe there’s an answer in there?

@“Salloumi”#p70988 I always liked the single player KOF approach where when you die on a boss you can restart with like… double health, or a full super meter, or even restart with half health! They give you very clear analogs to what your experience will be like, the next time round, after you've already lost their intended way. You can of course ignore the bonuses and just restart as normal, too.

@“exodus”#p70980 I‘ve seen the odd “this is the intended play experience” and that’s definitely exactly what I'm looking for.

I can see how "Normal" _should be_ the best bet for "balanced around it" difficulty, but sometimes "Normal" feels like a relic from a time when it was mostly Easy vs Normal vs Hard. You get these 4 or 5 difficulty setting games nowadays where the lowest is for enjoying the story without any difficulty, the highest is some kind of challenge mode for re-playing it and everything in the middle just leaves me confused on what to pick.