Ep. 296 - Junk Factory, with merritt k

### Ep. 296 - Junk Factory, with merritt k

Author and game developer [merritt k](https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Merritt_k) joins the panel to cover recent industry developments, Gex, and coffin food. Hosted by Alex Jaffe, with Tim Rogers, Brandon Sheffield, and merritt k. Edited by Esper Quinn, original music by Kurt Feldman.

**Questions this week:**

  • 1. Is the game development business getting better or worse? (05:43)
  • 2. You heard about Gex? (10:47)
  • 3. Design a new platforming mascot based around a working standup comedian. (16:32)
  • 4. How do you make a game demo? (22:59)
  • 5. Jim Bunt 0008 asks: If a game controls with just one hand, what do with the other? (31:14)
  • 6. How has a game frustrated you most when not letting you do something you really should be able to do? (42:36)
  • 7. Which video game most perfectly fits into the genre which describes it? (48:17)
  • **LIGHTNING ROUND:** Playground Rumors - Diablo IV (57:41)

    Recommendations and Outro (01:01:51)

    **A SMALL SELECTION OF THINGS REFERENCED:**

  • - [Microsoft wins FTC fight to buy Activision Blizzard](https://www.theverge.com/2023/7/11/23779039/microsoft-activision-blizzard-ftc-trial-win)
  • - [Sega workers form largest multi-department video game union in the US](https://www.theverge.com/23789935/sega-union-cwa-unionization-activision-blizzard)
  • - [Sega are still investing in NFTs, but will keep their biggest series away from the blockchain](https://www.rockpapershotgun.com/sega-are-still-investing-in-nfts-but-will-keep-their-biggest-series-away-from-the-blockchain)
  • - [M2](https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/M2_(game_developer))
  • - [Hollywood actors hit picket lines in historic double strike](https://www.latimes.com/entertainment-arts/business/story/2023-07-14/actors-strike-sag-aftra-joins-writers-guild-picket-lines)
  • - [Bungie wins landmark lawsuit against player who harassed Destiny staff](https://www.polygon.com/23793493/bungie-destiny-2-harassment-lawsuit)
  • - [Gex series](https://www.mobygames.com/group/152/gex-series/)
  • - [Gex Trilogy announced for PS5, Xbox Series, PS4, Switch, and PC](https://www.gematsu.com/2023/07/gex-trilogy-announced-for-ps5-xbox-series-ps4-switch-and-pc)
  • - [Bubsy series](https://www.mobygames.com/group/794/bubsy-series/)
  • - [GEICO](https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Geico)
  • - [Dana Gould](https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Dana_Gould)
  • - [Red Dwarf](https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Red_Dwarf)
  • - [Mad Men](https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Mad_Men)
  • - [The Dana Gould Hour](https://podcasts.apple.com/us/podcast/the-dana-gould-hour/id499464663)
  • - [Spider-Ham](https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Spider-Ham)
  • - [John Mulaney](https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/John_Mulaney)
  • - [Atari Jaguar](https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Atari_Jaguar)
  • - [Ricky Gervais](https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Ricky_Gervais)
  • - [Dave Chappelle](https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Dave_Chappelle)
  • - [Vole](https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Vole)
  • - [Rocky Rodent](https://www.mobygames.com/game/28802/rocky-rodent/)
  • - [Awesome Possum Kicks Dr. Machino's Butt](https://www.mobygames.com/game/16828/awesome-possum-kicks-dr-machinos-butt/)
  • - [Hyper Gunsport](https://www.mobygames.com/game/196718/hyper-gunsport/)
  • - [VIDEOBALL](https://www.mobygames.com/game/79738/videoball/)
  • - [Demonschool](https://store.steampowered.com/app/1900250/Demonschool/)
  • - [Final Fantasy VII](https://www.mobygames.com/game/858/final-fantasy-vii/)
  • - [Final Fantasy XVI](https://www.mobygames.com/game/204724/final-fantasy-xvi/)
  • - [P.T.](https://www.mobygames.com/game/70757/pt/)
  • - [Metal Gear Solid 2: Sons of Liberty](https://www.mobygames.com/game/5211/metal-gear-solid-2-sons-of-liberty/)
  • - [Zone of the Enders](https://www.mobygames.com/game/3615/zone-of-the-enders/)
  • - [Tobal No.1](https://www.mobygames.com/game/3717/tobal-no1/)
  • - [Dragon Quest VIII: Journey of the Cursed King](https://www.mobygames.com/game/20096/dragon-quest-viii-journey-of-the-cursed-king/)
  • - [Final Fantasy XII](https://www.mobygames.com/game/21692/final-fantasy-xii/)
  • - [Super Mario Run](https://www.mobygames.com/game/81962/super-mario-run/)
  • - [Dead or Alive: Xtreme series](https://www.mobygames.com/group/12380/dead-or-alive-xtreme-series/)
  • - [Animal Crossing](https://www.mobygames.com/game/7256/animal-crossing/)
  • - [Super Mario 64](https://www.mobygames.com/game/3533/super-mario-64/)
  • - [Old Man Murray](https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Old_Man_Murray)
  • - [Half-Life](https://www.mobygames.com/game/155/half-life/)
  • - [Portal 2](https://www.mobygames.com/game/51233/portal-2/)
  • - [Peggy Hill](https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Peggy_Hill)
  • - [Yakuza / Ryū ga Gotoku series](https://www.mobygames.com/group/8208/yakuza-ryu-ga-gotoku-series/)
  • - [Destiny 2](https://www.mobygames.com/game/95462/destiny-2/)
  • - [Destiny's Child](https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Destiny's_Child)
  • - [Resident Evil 7: Biohazard](https://www.mobygames.com/game/83343/resident-evil-7-biohazard/)
  • - [Cyberpunk 2077](https://www.mobygames.com/game/128136/cyberpunk-2077/)
  • - [Cyberpunk: Edgerunners](https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Cyberpunk:_Edgerunners)
  • - [Cofagrigus](https://bulbapedia.bulbagarden.net/wiki/Cofagrigus_(Pok%C3%A9mon))
  • - [Doom](https://www.mobygames.com/game/1068/doom/)
  • - [Call of Duty: Warzone](https://www.mobygames.com/game/143392/call-of-duty-warzone/)
  • - [Counter-Strike: Global Offensive](https://www.mobygames.com/game/57599/counter-strike-global-offensive/)
  • - [Celeste](https://www.mobygames.com/game/101142/celeste/)
  • - [Super Mario Bros. 3](https://www.mobygames.com/game/7300/super-mario-bros-3/)
  • - [Croc: Legend of the Gobbos](https://www.mobygames.com/game/2884/croc-legend-of-the-gobbos/)
  • - [Uncharted series](https://www.mobygames.com/group/8931/uncharted-series/)
  • - [Jak & Daxter series](https://www.mobygames.com/group/1672/jak-daxter-series/)
  • - [Grand Theft Auto III](https://www.mobygames.com/game/5189/grand-theft-auto-iii/)
  • - [Crash Bandicoot series](https://www.mobygames.com/group/470/crash-bandicoot-series/)
  • - [Dragon Quest series](https://www.mobygames.com/group/436/dragon-warrior-dragon-quest-series/)
  • - [Streets of Rage / Bare Knuckle series](https://www.mobygames.com/group/1882/streets-of-rage-bare-knuckle-series/)
  • - [Final Fight series](https://www.mobygames.com/group/1643/final-fight-series/)
  • - [Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles licensees](https://www.mobygames.com/group/487/teenage-mutant-ninja-turtles-licensees/)
  • - [The Simpsons licensees](https://www.mobygames.com/group/505/the-simpsons-licensees/)
  • - [X-Men](https://www.mobygames.com/game/49740/x-men/)
  • **Recommendations:**
    **merritt**: [OtherStrangeness.com](https://www.otherstrangeness.com/)
    **Brandon:** [Wishlist Demonschool on Steam if you want to](https://store.steampowered.com/app/1900250/Demonschool/), watch [How It’s Made](https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/How_It%27s_Made) on Tubi, try telling yourself an incredibly boring story if you have trouble sleeping
    **Jaffe**: the [Dave’s Not Here sketch](https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ACfNSqsi_mE)

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    {“sticky”:true}

    So, the best way I can describe the canceled game is that you were an unnamed first person player-character, sitting on a couch and watching Plan 9 From Outer Space with Gex, while he tells you about his career in the video game industry as a playable character actor. Stories about working with Lara Croft and running into Peter Molyneux at parties and such. He‘s older now, and feels a little ashamed of some of his early material. 90% of the idea was just Jaffe’s incredible Gex impression.

    It was going to be called GEX 4: WAITING FOR GECKO and be presented as the official, canonical next game in the Gex series, explicitly not a fan game and instead the "real" next game. I had a whole monologue about how, if Gex himself has any say in the matter, that he would like the Gex IP placed in the public domain for anyone to do anything they like with. If we got C&D'd by (Square? Eidos? Embracer?) then we would have taken it down and let it live in legend.

    We only got to script writing and very early Unity project stuff, but now that they're rereleasing the entire series it doesn't quite work the same. oh well!! we got a different thing cooking up now that is way more exciting

    @“esper”#p124681 really I don‘t see why the release of that thing means you couldn’t do this thing!

    There‘s been two new Bubsy games: the first one is essentially a low-budget level pack using the engine of the modern Giana Sisters game, and the second one is a low-budget level pack using the engine of the most recent Bit Trip Runner game, and despite playing nothing alike they’re similar inasmuch as both of them are extremely short to the point of feeling like they just gave up making them a ways in. The second one reviewed relatively well because, on principle, even a half-assed Runner seemed like it should be less bad than all the other games by default, but I‘m convinced that nobody who gave it a pass on that basis ever played it because it’s a terrible Runner game and the fact that it's irradiating other studios and games merits a whole other degree of scorn.

    Atari bought Bubsy recently, and I expect they'll do something benign and all-too-clever with it.

    Most of the creatives on Rocky Rodent ended up at Sega and Sonic Team, as it happens: one guy was the Sonic character supervisor for non-mainline games and cameos like Smash, one guy was directing the Mario & Sonic games for a minute, one guy directed the Sakura Wars reboot, etc.

    I’ll check again tomorrow, but it seems like this ep hasn’t been posted on the Patreon site / feed btw

    I played Klonoa Phantasy Reverie Series all weekend after finishing TOTK and all that wahoo! was a weird experience post-IC podcast.

    [size=11](The first one is a very interesting and worthy revisit, all these years later, of early experimental 3D platformers. Also a great template for a 3D Warioland. The second one is whatever.)[/size]

    If Eidos makes a new Gex game I think the way to make it marketable would be making Gex a leftist champion of the people and have Dana Gould say really bad uncle jokes about destroying capitalism and unions and socialism and that good stuff all while being slightly inappropriate and horny.

    The kids would go **_poggers_** over that and the right wing nonsense backlash over _**Gex The Woke Gecko**_ would be nice publicity.

    Call me up Eidos.

    All the talk of ratfinks made me think about the fact that the computer algebra system Maxima has a function called "FullRatSimp</s>“ which, to me, sounds like Twitter slang. ”That dude just went full rat simp, didn't he?"

    </s>
    full rational simplify

    I erased my long sarcastic remarks about FF16 and its demo. Positive vibes.

    The famous^(?) demo of Shenmue, **What’s Shenmue**, features a meta-textual quest not present in the final game, featuring Sega’s real life sales director and unlikely Dreamcast mascot Yukawa Hidekazu. Probably not the first demo to be so openly "outside of the main game" but there had not been that many back then.

    https://youtu.be/FIyAbmyQb9I

    @“exodus”#p124684 well, Gex has reached a kind of meme-inflection point today he wasn’t at a year ago when we had the idea.

    also I underestimated the amount of work it takes to write a 90 minute script and make a video game lol

    @"rejj"#p124689 heck!!! i don't know why patreon's web interface keeps doing this to me, I swear I hit publish and it said it went live but I just checked and you are correct. apologies and thanks for the heads up, should be there now!!

    I've eaten a burger with one hand and played a video game with the other. Is being talented a crime ?

    >

    @“exodus”#p124684 really I don’t see why the release of that thing means you couldn’t do this thing!

    It’s not a legal thing as much as it’s a “the joke isn’t funny anymore” thing. We’re working on a new thing now!

    @"esper"#11 thank you for linking the Dave’s Not Here sketch

    My mom asked why nobody laughed at “We’re bringing Gexy back”

    >

    @“穴”#p124691 really bad uncle jokes about destroying capitalism and unions and socialism and that good stuff all while being slightly inappropriate and horny.

    Me

    my mum has a lot of trouble sleeping due to anxiety etc. I'm gonna tell her about this technique and report back if it helped!

    Jaggin' off and eating hamburgers

    >

    @“esper”#p124676 How do you make a game demo?

    We just decided to make our prototype for NEURODIVER into a demo. Completely separate story, but the same gameplay as the full game with the same characters. I'm fine with this for a narrative game, at least.

    Alternatively, with our gameshow demos, we just did a chapter preview of the full game. With 2064: Read Only Memories we just found an area in the game that had a nice variety of gameplay and a fun environment to show off all the major functions. So it was set in a nice big set with some spots you could enter and exit, and it contained one mini-game puzzle.

    Trying to keep it at 30 minutes max is best I think, with more of a target of 15-20 minutes ideally, especially for expo demos to keep the queue going. I don't care about people whining about it being too short. They can just buy the full game then if they liked it that much, that's the concept. Put in just enough flavor in that ramen/udon stock so when people drink it up, they might want more and think about it later. Don't let them get exhausted by the flavor.

    >

    @“esper”#p124676 Jim Bunt 0008 asks: If a game controls with just one hand, what do with the other?

    We have a one handed mode in the Switch version of 2064: Read Only Memories. I would hope whoever is using it has a coffee or another nice drink in the other hand.

    I thought Pink Hour was a pretty good demo for Kero Blaster.

    @“◉◉maru”#p124704 Yeahhhhh What‘s Shenmue!! I should’ve mentioned that one.

    @"Jaffe"#p124709 I didn't mean legal either - I think the joke would still be funny but maybe a little less. I'm not sure everyone's as tuned into the gex zeitgeist

    @"JJSignal"#p124746 oh yeah the neurodiver demo is real good! how are you going to integrate it into the final game, make it a separate menu "side story" or "prequel" kinda thing?