Ep. 339 - How to Like Video Games

Ep. 339 - How to Like Video Games

Frank Cifaldi, Tim Rogers and Brandon Sheffield develop a new video game show, up our Tallarico quota, and return to Violence Island. 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. Let’s try to develop the first episode of Frank’s show with recipes for playing video games (05:30)
  2. When have you fallen out of love with a video game you once liked all the way through playing the first time? (18:05)
  3. What will the eight episode season one arc be for Phoebe Waller-Bridge’s Tomb Raider? (24:43)
  4. Luis asks: Was Tetris inevitable? (31:17)
  5. Rank these actions from best to worst: sliding, spinning, flipping. (39:10)
  6. What is the guy outside of an airport pretending he’s an Uber driver of video games? (43:00)

LIGHTNING ROUND: Violence Island (51:39)

Recommendations and Outro (01:09:10)

Discuss this episode in the Insert Credit Forums



Brandon: Read Only Memories: Neurodiver, Animal Well, Crow Country, Conan the Barbarian (1982) soundtrack

Frank: info@gamehistory.org if you have a bunch of old video game magazines you don’t want anymore, or buy “Mystery Box” Vintage Video Game Magazines

Tim: Connor O’Malley - Stand Up Solutions

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Is EVERYONE getting this coughing cold?

Moonring coming to Switch is great news. Need more of these cool PC indies on Switch for me to actually play (Dread Delusion and Lunacid pls)


Thanks for the shoutout to NEURODIVER! It’s been a rollercoaster ride of anxiety since the release. Lots of expected reactions, but I’m happy with what we made.


Woohoo, thanks for fielding my question about the inevitability of Tetris. I agree that it was way too wordy!

I think a lot about the “inevitability” of ideas. I once heard a quote about the game of Go that went something like “Go is so simple and elegant that it’s safe to assume that all intelligent species have invented it”. So I tried to think of what the “Go of video games” is, and my mind went to Tetris.

I don’t think Tetris is quite as simple as Go, but Tetris does have this feeling of timelessness I think. I was born in 1988 and so I don’t know what “before Tetris” felt like. Would we still be “before Tetris” today if Pajitnov hadn’t invented it?

I like to imagine the Space of All Game Designs as this huge multidimensional space. I imagine that in Game Design Space there is a kind of gravity well around Tetris 1985, where if you happen to poke at a game design nearby and start “following the fun”, you would end up at Tetris 1985. Maybe the game of Pentominoes that inspired Pajitnov was in that gravity well, and Pentominoes was a well-known game, so it was only a matter of time until another game designer had started exploring that part of Space and then inevitably found something we would recognize today as Tetris.

There are gravity wells in Game Design Space for all the games that have been polished and released. Game developers tend to stay close to these gravity wells to avoid getting lost in an unfun ocean of Space. But Game Design Space is vast; far more vast than the tiny droplets we have explored. I think there are galaxies of Game Design Space no one has even seen yet that await brave designers.


This is a pretty interesting topic. My first thought was no way Tetris would inevitably get made. But if I think about other things in life like stories and even people I kind of feel like if you wait long enough the same person might show up again on this world. That seems a bit conflicting, although one is sorta geometric and the other doesn’t appear to be.

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Perhaps Tim was just not remembering Freakazoid-centric memes, or perhaps, which I remark with ironic bitterness, I just possess more Meme Lore than him, but there is the infamous oldmeme where one pretends to be magically whisked away upon uttering, or in this case, typing, the name Candlejac


The Isekai episode was last week. :stuck_out_tongue:


I enjoyed the Gunsport reference! I think I’m getting close to the end of the game and it’s pretty good.


I’m definitely the sort of person who will finish (some) games that I don’t like, particularly because I often focus on narrative in how I engage with and evaluate them. Mostly, this happens for series and/or developers that I have a history with (with recent examples being Baldur’s Gate 3 and Final Fantasy XVI)

Most games I can put down if they’re not grabbing me and feel fine about my opinion on them, but not those!


The last time the concept of a “How to enjoy video games” type thing was brought up, I immediately thought of How to Enjoy Bayonetta by Matthewmatosis, so now I have to bring it up. It was what first planted the idea for something like this in my head, and genuinely made me go from not understanding Bayonetta to falling in love with it.


haven’t listened yet, but looking forward to it because from the title alone this is something I’ve posted about a lot-- how I choose to like a game before I commit to playing it…Could be totally off-topic to the episode though ahha.

I can’t believe Americans don’t know what Space Hoppers are. I assumed they were from USA!!

Puggsy comes from the Puggs in Space Amiga demo, which is a not-very-funny comedy thing. More importantly, the music from Lemmings also comes from this demo.

It’s no Hoi AGA but few games are.


FFXVI seems like the ultimate example of a game I have to decide I’m going to play and enjoy, if that makes sense. Almost every final fantasy could be seen that way, but especially XVI, and VIII. Just IMHO!

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So, we definitely had bouncy balls with handles in the States, we just didn’t call them Space Hoppers. I think the term we used was hippity hop?


I went into it that way, after the demo really impressed me, but the game fought me on it tooth and nail the entire way after that, and in the end, it won, haha


I only finish games I don’t like if I need to prove that a friend is wrong for liking them.

(I do not recomment this and I will work it in therapy)


I like the idea of the “How To Like Video Games” recipe book.

I also enjoyed Brandon’s anecdote of the pretend taxi driver experience in Korea. I say this having once taken a ride from one of those dudes at JFK after a red eye flight. I was so tired that I was already in the car for 30 min before realizing it was probably a questionable decision. Still made it to my destination safely!


I just want that if “How to like video games” ever gets to exist, it be a full set cable tv show and not a boring youtube video.
I want a fake couch, a fake half house, diferent specialists, people standing and showing stuff, a kitchen why not. I want all of that.


If it’s a TV show, gotta cover the celeb chef archetypes… Who is the Gordon Ramsay of video games? The Emeril Lagasse? The Julia Child?