Ep. 247 - The Criterion Collection of Video Games

### Ep. 247 - The Criterion Collection of Video Games

The panel convenes to assess the Oofya, share controversial Klonoa opinions, and choose the first five video games to be given the Criterion Collection treatment. Hosted by Alex Jaffe, with Frank Cifaldi, Tim Rogers, and Brandon Sheffield. Edited by Esper Quinn, original music by Kurt Feldman.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Oo9P3CRfcQ8

**Questions this week:**

  • 1. What difficulty mode do you start games on? (00:42)
  • 2. How do you remedy the tone of Grand Theft Auto while maintaining crass irreverence? (05:53)
  • 3. How do you create urgency in a video game without an explicit timer? (16:35)
  • 4. What should Roblox replace its iconic “oof” noise with? (20:31)
  • 5. Jaffe Guesses the Golden Age of Konami – Round 4 (28:37)
  • 6. Tom asks: If the Criterion Collection were to release video games, what might the first five titles be, and what would the ideal special features be for each of them? (30:04)
  • **LIGHTNING ROUND**: The Inaugural Criterion Collection of Video Games (01:01:33)

    Recommendations and Outro (01:05:27)

    **A SMALL SELECTION OF THINGS REFERENCED:**

  • - [Kingdom Hearts series](https://www.mobygames.com/game-group/kingdom-hearts-series)
  • - [Final Fantasy VII: Remake](https://www.mobygames.com/game/playstation-4/final-fantasy-vii-remake)
  • - [God of War series](https://www.mobygames.com/game-group/god-of-war-series)
  • - [DOOM series](https://www.mobygames.com/game-group/doom-series)
  • - [Rockstar Games Cleaned Up Its Frat-Boy Culture — and Grand Theft Auto, Too](https://www.bloomberg.com/news/articles/2022-07-27/gta-6-release-date-rockstar-cleans-up-image-after-employee-backlash)
  • - [Grand Theft Auto series](https://www.mobygames.com/game-group/grand-theft-auto-series)
  • - [Red Dead Redemption II](https://www.mobygames.com/game/red-dead-redemption-ii)
  • - [The Sopranos](https://www.imdb.com/title/tt0141842/)
  • - [The Simpsons](https://www.imdb.com/title/tt0096697/)
  • - [Saints Row series](https://www.mobygames.com/game-group/saints-row-series)
  • - [Tim Roger’s Friend Jason Schreier](https://twitter.com/jasonschreier)
  • - [Bully](https://www.mobygames.com/game/bully)
  • - [Sonic the Hedgehog universe](https://www.mobygames.com/game-group/sonic-the-hedgehog-universe)
  • - [Penguin Game tweet](https://twitter.com/domo_yoro_/status/1549529209738956800)
  • - [Super Valis IV](https://www.mobygames.com/game/super-valis-iv)
  • - [Bio-Senshi Dan: Increaser to no Tatakai](https://www.mobygames.com/game/nes/bio-senshi-dan-increaser-to-no-tatakai)
  • - [Celeste](https://www.mobygames.com/game/celeste)
  • - [Castlevania / Akumajō Dracula series](https://www.mobygames.com/game-group/castlevania-akumaj-dracula-series)
  • - [Roblox](https://www.mobygames.com/game/roblox)
  • - [Roblox’s new ‘oof’ sound is a big oof](https://www.theverge.com/2022/7/27/23280552/roblox-replaces-iconic-oof-sound)
  • - [Jeff Gerstmann’s tweet](https://twitter.com/jeffgerstmann/status/1552096006199595008?s=20&t=zd3BgEHWw_MuXEa3elLgcQ)
  • - [Super Mario series](https://www.mobygames.com/game-group/super-mario-series)
  • - [Intellivision Amico](https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Intellivision_Amico)
  • - [Klonoa series](https://www.mobygames.com/game-group/klonoa-series) (be nice, klonoa is just a little guy doing his best)
  • - [Tomba!](https://www.mobygames.com/game/tomba)
  • - [Croc: Legend of the Gobbos](https://www.mobygames.com/game/croc-legend-of-the-gobbos)
  • - [The Criterion Collection](https://www.criterion.com/)
  • - [Seanbaby](https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Seanbaby)
  • - [ICO](https://www.mobygames.com/game/ico)
  • - [The Complete Mr. Arkadin (1955)](https://www.criterion.com/films/767-the-complete-mr-arkadin)
  • - [Panzer Dragoon series](https://www.mobygames.com/game-group/panzer-dragoon-series)
  • - [The Last of Us series](https://www.mobygames.com/game-group/last-of-us-series)
  • - [Virtua Fighter 2](https://www.mobygames.com/game/virtua-fighter-2)
  • - [SEGA AGES 2500 series](https://www.mobygames.com/game-group/sega-ages-2500-series)
  • - [Gunstar Heroes](https://www.mobygames.com/game/gunstar-heroes)
  • - [Powerslave](https://www.mobygames.com/game/powerslave)
  • - [Quake](https://www.mobygames.com/game/quake_)
  • - [Samurai Shodown NeoGeo Collection](https://www.mobygames.com/game/samurai-shodown-neogeo-collection)
  • - [Seven Samurai (1954)](https://www.imdb.com/title/tt0047478/)
  • - [Linda³ Again](https://www.mobygames.com/game/playstation/linda-again-)
  • - [Blizzard Arcade Collection](https://www.mobygames.com/game/blizzard-arcade-collection)
  • - [Playdate](https://play.date/)
  • - [Yu Suzuki](https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Yu_Suzuki)
  • - [Tokimeki Memorial games](https://www.mobygames.com/game-group/tokimeki-memorial-games)
  • - [Myst](https://www.mobygames.com/game/myst)
  • - [Another World](https://www.mobygames.com/game/out-of-this-world)
  • - [Katamari series](https://www.mobygames.com/game-group/katamari-series)
  • - [Shadow of the Colossus](https://www.mobygames.com/game/shadow-of-the-colossus)
  • - [Star Control II](https://www.mobygames.com/game/star-control-ii)
  • - [Elite](https://www.mobygames.com/game/elite)
  • - [Armageddon (1998)](https://www.imdb.com/title/tt0120591/)
  • - [Mortal Kombat II](https://www.mobygames.com/game/mortal-kombat-ii)
  • - [Turok: Dinosaur Hunter](https://www.mobygames.com/game/turok-dinosaur-hunter)
  • - [Live a Live](https://www.mobygames.com/game/live-a-live)
  • - [Once Upon a Time in China: The Complete Films](https://www.criterion.com/boxsets/5026-once-upon-a-time-in-china-the-complete-films)
  • - [High Seas Havoc](https://www.mobygames.com/game/genesis/high-seas-havoc)
  • - [Socket](https://www.mobygames.com/game/genesis/socket)
  • - [Zero the Kamikaze Squirrel](https://www.mobygames.com/game/zero-the-kamikaze-squirrel)
  • - [Awesome Possum Kicks Dr. Machino's Butt](https://www.mobygames.com/game/genesis/awesome-possum-kicks-dr-machinos-butt)
  • **Recommendations:**
    **Tim**: [The Criterion Channel](https://www.criterionchannel.com/)
    **Frank**: Get some good sleep and poop on the regular
    **Brandon:** If you drink wine buy a wine aerator, and if you live in the Bay Area buy [Alvarrado Street bread](https://www.alvaradostreetbakery.com/)
    **Jaffe**: [The Bear on FX](https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/The_Bear_(TV_series))

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    {“sticky”:true}

    What would be the obvious bought-and-sold lemon of the Criterion game catalogue, I wonder? Some Quantic Dream dishrag, I suppose.

    Frank's right in that there's a relatively high base technical cost to reissuing old games that forces devs, rights holders, etc to be selective about what they do and don't reissue, and that the likes of LRG may not be enough to make reissuing obscurities a consistently profitable venture, but by the same token, there's an increasing number of developers/publishers dedicated to reissuing the most unheard-of shlock with no advertising, no effort to contextualise or add value to the games and oftentimes not even competent emulation, and yet someone must be buying their trash because they continue to release game after game.

    (Here's one example: [Thunderbolt Collection](https://www.nintendo.com/store/products/qubyte-classics-thunderbolt-collection-by-piko-switch/), a two-pack of unremarkable unlicensed console shooting games by the Taiwanese company Gamtec, out next week—there's a compelling story that could be told about Gamtec, the Taiwanese dev scene of the '90s, the odd places & communities they were able to reach with their games, etc but not only does this package not attempt any of that, it doesn't even make any effort to explain what the games are beyond the words "FOR THE FIRST TIME IN THE EASTERN" in the trailer, and they're instead just tossing them onto digital storefronts as if that's all it takes... and maybe that really _is_ all it takes.)

    One factor is that some of the more recent entrants into this space are from countries where more can be achieved for less: Ratalaika Games (frequent partner of Strictly Limited Games/ININ) is based in Poland, QuByte Interactive (recent collaborator with rent-seekers Piko Interactive) is a Brazilian company, etc. Even Japanese-made packages are able to be profitable with lower sales, for a variety of reasons that include but are not limited to a tolerance for relatively expensive media and terrible work culture.

    In Ratalaika's case, much of their underlying emulation is licensed from existing commercial or open-source options, which is something more companies should be doing but aren't. (Some are just stealing open-source emulators, which is a whole separate issue.) Like, it really is silly that the industry has been pursuing commercial emulation of certain hardware for multiple decades now and it's still a coinflip as to whether company x's reissue of game y is going to be adequately reproduced, and that every new entrant in this space should be expected to reinvent the wheel.

    RE: Hamster, the "ROM in MAME" comparison works inasmuch as they are very plainly presented, but as Brandon mentioned, they've become increasingly granular about adding very specific per-game options and enhancements, and the base emulation (mostly handled by a reputable white-label studio called Gotch) is oftentimes more accurate than MAME due to a greater familiarity with the games (and not just the obscure ones, either).

    Insomnia's no fun.

    I’m just gonna get this out of the way now: Klonoa is fine. it’s about as good as any Kirby game. it’s not a stunning achievement of game design but my interest with video games has always been about hanging out in a space, that‘s all I really want to be doing. it’s okay if the game isn’t for tim, or you.

    i picked the klonoa wahuu noise because it always stuck with me as a kid and i hadn’t seen anyone else talking about klonoa in years when i started editing.

    also thank you again for bearing with me while ill. that’s the first time in almost 100 episodes i missed deadline!! darn.

    Yeah, like I said on the show, sometimes a good vibe is enough! And it's not “bad” enough that the good vibe is ruined.

    Oh dude, the Sega Ages talk made me think of that incredible Virtua Racing switch port by M2. Like for me that‘s the video game equivalent of when somebody digs up an arthouse movie from the 60s that was previously only available in a VHS format and scans all the stuff into a high quality 4k version. Just a really beautiful version of a game that’s really only had weird flawed home versions before then.

    i‘ve always wondered what esper’s sound effect is but felt like i would seem too uncool for asking so thanks for bringing it up!

    also kudos to Insert Credit being possibly the only place on earth where I could possibly feel uncool for not knowing what Klonoa is lol

    My pick for the 100th release in the Criterion Collection of games is Castlevania 64.


    Klonoa‘s one of those smart-guys-playing-dumb games that has really tight mechanics that the game makes little effort to flex outside of very specific sections—I’d never call it bad but I understand the frustration of playing a game that mostly refuses to leave cruise control, irrespective of the target audience.

    The Tomba games, to me, are harder to place because they're not trying to uphold the tenets of a traditional 2D action games... like, y'know how Banjo-Kazooie is built in the image of Mario 64, but instead of explicit platforming sections, you're kinda just Doin' Stuff a lot of the time? Tomba's like that, where so much of the game's progression is a step removed from the athletic accomplishments of the player that it can be disorienting. They almost strike me as a convergent evolution of the metroidvania formula codified by other, more popular and influential games.

    The two games are similar again inasmuch as they were conceived and shepherded by people with hardcore action game pedigree: Klonoa's creator directed/produced the NES Ninja Gaiden trilogy, among other games, and Tomba's creator was the central figure behind the Ghosts'n Goblins series (and still is—they haven't made a main-line GnG without him at the helm). It probably isn't evident to a lot of players but the later GnG games do toy with their progression systems to varying degrees of success.

    I spent the whole second half of the show going “when are they gonna bring up Shadow of the Colossus” until Tim's “the best running thing will be people wondering when Shadow of the Colossus is going to be.” I am people.

    I'm fairly uncultured on both wine and cinema but am certainly willing to give both a go on an Insert Credit rec -- anyone have recommendations for movies to watch with a Criterion sub and wines to aerate with an aerator?

    @“ffg”#p80570 Chungking Express and Fallen Angels!! (THEATRICAL cuts)

    When Frank pointed out that these collections would of course be on a video game console, it made me think of the collectibles in Super Smash Bros. series, most notably trophies in Melee.

    The trophies are basically just 3D models of characters, items, or elements from the games of origin of the fighting roster. There is a viewer built into the game that allows the player to manipulate the camera to get detailed and diverse views of these models. The trophies also include a museum-like paragraph description of the trophy. I love it! It felt very compelling to interact with the trophies, and I learned about gaming history through them.

    [upl-image-preview url=https://i.imgur.com/tHJml6D.jpeg]

    [upl-image-preview url=https://i.imgur.com/k6QP1lD.png]

    All Criterion collections need a Namco Museum-like walkabout to navigate between the features

    Hello. I finally made a forums account to write this post.

    If you're interested in the idea of "developer's commentary in a video game," please play Anodyne 2. I thought of it when Frank (I think) mentioned the idea of Sonic running around in an unfinished map. Anodyne 2 has objects in the game that teleport you to unfinished maps presented in a museum-style way with assets and developer commentary you can read. I didn't love the game itself (it was fine) but the developer commentary part of it was extremely cool and I wish more games would do it.

    Klonoa is good and I didn't realize that was the Esper sound until playing the rerelease.

    Need to find the dumpster where Timothy is tossing all these klonoas and Tombas!

    I really loved how in depth and granular the Criterion collection talk got. Jaffe did a great thing in just letting it spill out.

    Blaze and it's Evercade platform are getting into some of the ideas discuss in a DVD Gold rush on DIY cinema / Director's Label kind of way with their [Oliver Twin Collection](https://evercade.co.uk/cartridges/the-oliver-twins-collection/), and [Morphcat Games Collection ](https://evercade.co.uk/cartridges/morphcat-games-collection-1/). Though their lower budget means most of the ephemera is contained entirely in the enclosed manual.

    If I was to pick a Western PC style game that isn't Myst and could work with the treatment outlined it would be Maniac Mansion. There are very different versions out there. Gilbert and Winnick are still around to interview. I also feel the game still feels very playable in a modern context as compared to the "has to be explained in context" Myst.

    I think @yeso should be in charge of picking weird 90s PC games with arcane and philosophical themes for the collection.

    @“treefroggy”#p80576 …in exchange I know of a few dumpsters where you may find Timothy’s Ezekiel’s sprouted grain bread food for life

    So at the risk of just describing a thing (for context!), the CC is just a home distributor (and theatrical screening for the films they have those rights to) that made a big fat purchase* of Janus from Kino Lorber where the acquired their initial sorta slate. The purchase effectively gave them their whole angle on art house films (largely), stuff like Armageddon predates this purchase and serves a prior mission statement. I only bring this shit up because the CC has become this sort of Canon that represents Art and art films from a position that isn‘t Americentric, which is cool but I think it gets conflated with “the best” or “real cinema” or whatever and that kinda ingestion of curation tends to do weird things to people sometimes like factionalizing and that sorta junk (this was a very present thing in film school cir. 2008). Anyway, I think my point is that they have a Guiding Vibe that allows them to include the big’uns like Bergman or Kurosawa, new things like Drive My Car and Uncut Gems, and the Eclipse series that collects “hard to find” stuff for an affordable price and usually represents a theme or highlights a particular part of someone‘s oeuvre (some of my favorite releases they’ve done).

    I think there's a whole lot that can be done with the concept that allows for a ton of very on-brand IC answers that includes stuff from those three categories. I guess this is just really all to ask what the ICF Eclipse collections would be.

    *not a purchase, business relationship between owners in the same family