Author Archive

kentuckyroutezero

This will be our last episode for a while. Don’t think of this as a good-bye, think of it as a we’ll see you later.

On this episode, Matt describes his experiences downloading retro games on his 3DS and unveils all of the portable magic with the NES, Gameboy, and Game Gear games. Rich dives into the strange world of Kentucky Route Zero and we discuss episodic gaming, in general. Steve talks about a few soundtracks he’s been listening to; namely, Limbo, Dear Ester, and Fez.

Featuring music from the Hotline Miami soundtrack.

Episode 82 – Ready? RANT!

fusrodah

Matt was away all weekend so he took an off topic rant from the previous episode and chucked it against the wall of the internet.

It turned from a discussion of Steve’s latest piece on Medium into a conversation about game innovation, crowd sourcing consoles, companies that are taking chances, and the design philosophy of David Cage, head designer of Quantum Dream.

No music this time around, just rants. We will be back to our shenanigans next week!

Episode 81 – Whatcha’ Playin’ 07-22-13

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Rich kicks off the episode in the bath of the Summer Steam Sale. He talks about retro platformer Oniken and noir-styled puzzle platformer Gunpoint. Matt finally beats The Last of Us and takes a moment to reflect on the feelings and mature writing of Naughty Dog. Spoiler free, promise. Matt then takes us into the world of printed text (what?) as he describes his latest book purchase Super Mario Bros. 3: Brick by Brick – a combination personal essay and psuedo-strategy guide by Bob Chipman. Steve then, on the heels of his latest piece about E3, Los Angeles and the industry, describes game journalist burnout and why he’s taking a break. From games, not the podcast… we still love him.

Featuring music from the classic chip album Information Chase by Bit Shifter.

Episode 80 – Gamers to the North

Retro_City_Rampage

Canada’s game industry contributed 2.3 billion dollars to the country’s GDP, according to ESA Canada. Some of the best games of last year came out of Canada. The strongest development communities call cities in Canada their home. These are not insignifigant elements to making a stronger world-wide game industry.

We invite real-life Canadian and creator of Retro City Rampage, Brian Provinciano, on to the show to talk about indie development communities, solid game studios, and the Full Indie Summit. We also talk about how major game studios are positioning themselves in Canada and how it’s helping/hurting.

Brian also regales us with the tales of his nightmarish distrobution schedule and organization across platforms and regions. Important information for anyone looking to publish their game themselves.

Featuring music from Kris Keyser’s self titled album.

Episode 79 – Whatcha Playin’ 07.08.13

WP 07-08-13

We’re playin’ them up and spitting them out.

Steve takes us to a god-forsaken post-apocalyptic hell hole when he talks about the game The Last of Us. Spoiler free so don’t be afraid to listen if you haven’t played yet. Rich picks 2 of the smattering of games he’s played. First off is the new Mortal Kombat in which he talks about how he was pleasantly surprised about how tight the story is for a fighting game. He also brings up Neir, a genre bending fantasy. Lastly, Matt gets his Rogue-like on with the game Rogue Legacy. A game where your kids take your place in the battle, and nobody is perfect.

Featuring music from Tonight We Launch.

Spoilerific Ep 2 – Red Dead Redemption

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Red Dead Redemption is Rockstar Game’s love letter to the spaghetti westerns of Sergio Leone and American tales of Robert Ford framed as their signature open world. This episode I am joined by Tayo from the Dangerous Kids podcast to take this game piece by piece and analyse what we love and hate about one of our favorite games. From the beautiful scenery, to the nutjob characters, to the surprisingly engaging story, there is a lot of love about saddling a horse and taking a ride through this unique world. This may go without saying but: spoilers abound!

Episode 78 – Whatcha Playin’ 6.23.13

On this episode we invite long time fan, Zach Filstrup on the show to talk about the games we have been playing.

Zach revisits a new release of an old favorite, Sly Cooper: Theives in Time. We discuss the gameplay, art style, and how you just don’t see animated platformers anymore. Rich takes on the DS room puzzle game, 9 Hours, 9 Persons, 9 Doors. Steve tackles the iOS puzzler Stickets. Finally, Matt makes beautiful, if not repetitive music with the app/game Musyc.

Featuring music from Monomaniac.

Episode 77 – The $325,000 Console

next gen

The new A Jumps B Shoots studio is up! Sorry about how long this took. We recorded an episode about the new console generation before E3. Our intention was to release our thoughts both pre and post E3 however, the move of the studio proved to be quite an undertaking (it included the rest of my belongings as well). However, this episode still represents our thoughts about the upcoming generation of consoles. Let us know what you think!

Update: Microsoft has dropped their DRM and 24 hour internet check in! Maybe they are listening.

Featuring music from The Shortsleeves’ EP In the Memory.

Episode 76 – Whatcha Playin’ 06.03.13

We’re back! Infinite apologies for the lapse in episodes. Let’s get back on this horse.

Steve pushes our feelings of a disappointing AAA year with the poor showing of Star Trek and an especially discouraging moment with the game Soul Sacrifice. You expect great things when the creator of Mega Man takes on a project that sounds like a current-gen version of Planescape Torment. Alas, this is where we are in games.

Rich brings another one of the long developed, highly anticipated games to the fold, Monaco. Bringing a Ocean’s Eleven team-heist game with a Pacman meets the Atari 2600 visuals, the game is a masterful multiplayer experience. He also falls for a web series that shows itself to be a wonderful supplement to our podcast, Extra Credits.

Finally, Matt finds meaningful narrative in an albeit simplistic puzzle platformer in Thomas was Alone. He also stumbles over a bizarre web based text game called CAndy Box that must be played before you learn anything about it.

Featuring music from Cheapshot’s album ZOMG!.

Episode 75 – Death Becomes Us

you died

Death can either mean everything or nothing in a game. It can be the central obstacle to overcome or a minor inconvenience in a grand adventure. Whatever it means, it’s influence on how we approach and play games is undeniable.

We invite Stu Horvath, editor in chief of Unwinnable, to talk about this macabre mechanic. We talk about games that don’t make death a huge ordeal like Fez and the Lego games. How their focus on exploration and chance taking defines their place in games. We then move on to death teaching us the game, rogue-likes, retro games, and the rise of “hardcore” play-throughs.

We survived this episode, you can too!

Featuring music from 8GB’s Amiga Acid mixtape.

Episode 74 – Whatcha Playin’ 05.06.13

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On this episode Rich and Matt dive into their fondness for downloadable local multiplayer games with Behemoth’s follow up to Castle Crashers, Battleblock Theater, and the beautifully designed metriodvania tale of a luchador out for revenge, Guacamelee.

Steve changes the pace with what can be considered Twin Peaks – the game, Deadly Premonition. We dive into how unsettling, funny, strange, immersive, and brilliant the game can be. If it’s not the terrifying survival horror moments, it’s the fact that you need to take your clothes to the cleaners in game. Play this. We implore you.

Featuring music from Euan Lynn.

Spoilerific Ep 1 – Bioshock Infinite

bioshock infinite

Spoilerific will be a monthly show released on the last Wednesday of the month where Matt invites a guest to talk about what they loved, hated, admired, and to generally dig deeper into our favorite games. This episode I talk with A Jumps B Shoot’s Social Media Manager, Jarrett Civelli, about tears, happiness, sadness, longing, and obscenely beautiful sceneries as we spoil the shit out of Bioshock Infinite. Play the game first, we implore you.

Episode 73 – Whatcha Playin’ 04.15.13

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It’s a Tomb Raider extravaganza!

Well, except for Rich, who brings a game called SpaceChem to our attention. A slick little puzzle game that seriously challenges our ability to think ahead and split the basic molecules that make up our living world… FOR SCIENCE!

Matt talks about the new Tomb Raider reboot and the serious issues of cognitive dissonance and severely immersion breaking habits of unrealistic scenario vs moments of protagonist doubt and introspection of violence. Aside from that he also argues that it’s a fun game. Just don’t try to take it too seriously.

Steve plays a Tomb Raider of a different stripe, Tomb Raider Anniversary, from the newly released Trilogy. There is plenty to compare between the remake of the original and the reboot that attempts to add drama to the origin story of the iconic Laura Croft.

Featuring tracks from the Noise Channel Radio Compilation.

Episode 72 – 16-Bit World

16-bit-gems

Our buddy Roo, host of 16-bit Gems and Way Games Work, joins us to explore a 16-bit universe. The 16-bit aesthetic has persisted well past it’s console era. The style has shown up in countless console games, the music is still ringing through tv speakers, and remakes of Super Nintendo era games are still big sellers. Why is this? What makes this style so acclimated to game development and does it still have a place in current game development?

This conversation morphs into a comparison between 16-bit RPG’s, early PS1 era RPG’s, and western developed RPG’s. Was there a heyday of RPG gaming or did each era bring their own unique flavor to the genre? How has Final Fantasy faired over the years and do the 16-bit versions overshadow the later and technically more impressive versions?

Featuring tracks from 4Mat.

Episode 71 – An April Fool’s Whatcha Playin’

whatcha0401

Well, this is our final episode. Thank you guys so much for everything! It’s been a great run!

Rich explores the couch-bound multiplayer joys of the console American RPG scene with Bauldar’s Gate: Dark Alliance and Champions of Norath. Experiences that Rich compares to a local multiplayer Torchlight. Steve saves his GDC thoughts for next week but brings a new iOS puzzle game into the mix, Rotolla. An intense game that can be compared to Super Hexagon meets Tetris in 3D. Finally, Matt tells the story of a little monster that could with Incredipede and his thoughts after finishing Bioshock Infinite.

Featuring tracks from Radlib

As a side note, we would like to thank everyone who’s donated to the show. You’ve made the continuation of this show possible. Thank you.

Guest episode: Unlistenable Podcast ep. 37

Unlistenable

Here is a guest episode from the deep, dark recesses of the Unlistenable’s vault.

This week the Unlistenable kids talk to the Lord of Apple Valley, Gus Mastrapa.

We talk to Gus about his piece, “A Shooter About Guns“.

Our talk about videogames moves around to other topics like Gus’s thoughts on Vietnam, heavy metal, robot sex, the Special Olympics and Paul Verhoeven.

Be sure to follow Gus on twitter @Triphibian.

Check out the New York Video Game Critics Circle as well!

Music provided by:
Brine and Bastards
The Donner Party

Contact us at:
Team Unwinnable on Twitter @TeamUnwinnable
Please email us at info@unwinnable.com

Call us anytime and leave a voice mail at 862-234-5760

Episode 70 – Topic Grab Bag

wallstkid

With PAX East and GDC butting up right against each other, coming across a guest was just about impossible. Even the triumphant return of Steve Haske had to call in from GDC. To solve this, we decided to pick some things to talk about that wouldn’t make an entire episode.

Steve talks about what he is anticipating at GDC. He is planning an interview with Suda 51 about his new game, Killer is Dead. As well as Keiji Inafune about his new Ninja Gaiden spin off, Yaiba: Ninja Gaiden Z. CD Project Red is in line for the Witcher 3 and Cyberpunk 2077.

Rich is a big fan of board games, including the impenetrably long and complicated ones. One such game is a 3+ hour adventure in economics called Age of Steam. He talks about a different type of power fantasy, the struggle of social and economic position. A game element not commonly explored by folks who are worried about the possible influence on people.

Finally, Matt is SO excited about the new Ducktales remake! He also talks about how the confluence of marketing, preorders, and embargos have created a unique and consumer-unfriendly economy. An economy that, unfortunately, gamers and fans have been enthusiastically supporting. With the latest Sim City controversy, it seems gamers and journalists are seeing firsthand the destructive nature of an uninformed customer base.

Featuring tracks from Bud Melvin.

Correction: Matt seems to have a tendency to create game studios in his head. The Ducktales game was indeed entirely developed by Capcom.

Episode 69 – Whatcha Playin’ 03.18.13

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With Steve’s absence from the show Rich and Matt plow through a 2-man whatcha playin’ pow-wow.

Rich starts the episode with his adventures down the hills with the latest SSX title. We then discuss the limited replay-ability of racing games and the pitfalls that can make a great racing game a very short-lived experience. Also, how awesome Dirt is.

He then abruptly moves on to Persona 3 FES, a game that has spent some time on Rich’s digital shelf. Long, strange, fun, and very Japanese.

Matt just started playing the grindy, tough as nails JRPG Etrian Odyssey. He finds it enjoyable but a very hard game to recommend outside of the very hardcore gaming contingent.

Matt is also, as many loyal listeners know, a big fan of Far Cry 2. His journey into the third iteration of the franchise is not without some skepticism. As much as he enjoyed the echoes of the pervious game he can’t help but think there were some major missed opportunities as far as the story is concerned. How about more of a fish-out-of-water storyline? Can our actions impact the world more than it did in the sequel? How about a likable main protagonist? At least he got to kill a bear.

Featuring tracks from the Hotline Miami Soundtrack.

Episode 68 – Laying an Electronic Frontier Foundation

eff, digital rights, turltesaur, gamer rights, DRM, hardware, end user, law

Laws in the United States have famously been lagging behind the break neck speed of video game technology. For a long time we’ve had our white knight represent us in court cases and with patent law, the Electronic Frontier Foundation.

We invite Richard Esguerra, Director of Development for the EFF, to help us navigate this web of end user agreements, DRM, patent law, and the issue of ownership on digital downloads. The landscape of law surrounding video games are still in their formative years. There are still a lot of purposed ideas for how to legislate ownership and distribution, but nothing really concrete. This is where the EFF comes in to make sure the rights of the user are upheld.

I highly recommend, if you have the means, to donate to the EFF, become a member, or volunteer.

Featuring tracks by Turtlesaur.

Episode 67 – Whatcha Playin’ 02.25.13

whatcha0225On this episode we invite Charles Moran of the Unlistenable podcast to talk about what we have been playing as of late.

We also wanted to make the announcement that the Unlistenable podcast and A Jumps B Shoots will be teaming up and sharing each other’s shows on each other’s feeds. We have been fans of Unwinnable’s content for a long time and their podcast is no exception. I hope you will join us in welcoming Unlistenable to the A Jumps B Shoots feed and perhaps visiting Unwinnable to check out some of their top notch content.

Episode 66 – Getting Brainy about Game Violence

walking dead gun

Michael Abbott, also known as the Featuring tracks by Brainy Gamer, has a unique voice in games journalism. For this episode, he adds a perspective about game violence straight from the pages of the Brainy Gamer blog. Our conversation tackles several facets of the issue to provide a broader understanding. This will help us communicate with non-gamers who misconceive of what games are and could be.

Understanding the issue on the other side is key to creating a meaningful dialog over something that can instill fear stemming from a misunderstanding of the medium. We outline the importance of understanding the perspective of the other end of the issue. That perhaps marketing of games could be setting our argument back a bit. That we need to rise above the current conception being built around us.

Michael suggests that we could build a campaign of sharing our stories. We all have our own stories in our lives about video games. This can be an effective tool of evangelism for games and the role they can play in our lives, violent or not. Even going as far as “diagnosing” someone and matching them with their perfect game just to give them a taste of the joy that perfect game can bring.

This frames the conversation and levels the playing field. It makes inflammatory comments made by politicians, lobbyists, and talking heads sound even more ridiculous. It seems far fetched, but possible.

We end the show talking about how much we enjoy Telltale Game’s The Walking Dead, and how it can be a prime example of everything we discussed earlier in the episode.

Featuring tracks by WMD.

Episode 64 – Violence in Context

 

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There is a conversation in America about violence in videogames. While the cool-headed and rational among us don’t believe this medium signals the end times, the debate—or blame—rages on. And the points of either side rarely change. Yet the treatment of violence in games can be a constructive thing. It can emulate the sense of chaos and horror and confusion the average person would experience in a real life firefight, as Kane & Lynch 2 does.

The particulars or gravity of the situation may shift, but violence is also an inevitable part of any survival scenario. How far would you go to stay alive in, say, Fallout 3′s post-apocalyptic wasteland? Would you let your moral compass guide you? Or murder a stranger just because you want his cool hat?

Perhaps, as is so often the case, you’re the archetypal hero. One minute you’re riddling enemies with bullets— one cannon fodder target after the next in endless ways—then the story turns in on itself, forcing you, the player, to question who exactly you really are and what the consequences of your actions might be. Games  like Spec Ops: The Line, Shadow of the Colossus, Far Cry 2 and The Walking Dead make it impossible to separate violence from narrative, either forcing you along an unsure path or to shaping your experience, however unwillingly, into a personal psychological profile.

Let’s talk about violence. All of it.

Featuring tracks by Blitz Lunar

Epiosde 63 – Whatcha Playin’ 01.21.13

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This week’s Whatcha Playin’ features a newly rebooted IP, an intense iOS game and some retro multiplayer madness:

Rich dives into VVVVVV creator Terry Cavanagh‘s Super Hexagon with all its fast-paced intensity—Cavanagh has clearly not lost his touch for smart game design, nor his joy for ramped up difficulty.

Matt continues his call for gamers to dust off their old consoles for multiplayer fun with friends, highlighting the NES classics Dodgeball and Marble Madness. Many retro games have shown their age through incredibly frustrating or cheap difficulty (ahem, Ninja Gaiden), but these aforementioned two prove, as AJBS recently did with friends 2 Player Productions, that game nights can be a great way to rediscover that old school charm.

Finally, AJBS bids a sad farewell to Steve’s backwards-compatible 80gb PS3; four years and three average gaming lifetimes after the old friends met, it finally succumbed to the yellow light of hardware failure, replacing the green light that shepherded hundreds of hours of great (and some not-so-great) gaming memories. At least the denouement involved DmC, the smart and aesthetically dynamic reintroduction to Dante and his effortlessly cool demon-hunting lifestyle.

Featuring tracks by Chipzel from the Super Hexagon EP

Episode 62 – Hiding in Shadows


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Stealth design is more prevalent than it used to be—even more typical action titles seem to have at least a level devoted to hiding in the shadows. Where then does that leave a core stealth experience? How can it stand out from the crowd?

Klei’s Mark of the Ninja tweaks that paradigm by throwing it into only two dimensions. Speaking with creative lead Nels Anderson, AJBS discusses how the design of this indie hit works in 2D through visualizations of sound, precision movement et al, as well as Nels’ own influences and the philosophy of sneaking in general.

Switching gears, there is also some conversation over the difference between a game that’s “fun” versus one that’s “engaging”—naturally the conversation steers towards Dark Souls, and, interestingly, Megaman X. Enjoy!

Featuring tracks by Danimal Cannon from the album Roots

Episode 61 – Whatcha Playin’ 01.07.12

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Our first Whatcha Playin’ of the new year brings a few games back from our past, for better or worse.

Matt sings the praises—and laments the maddening qualities—of the old-school Heroes of Might and Magic 3 and Ultima 8: Pagan, discussing his experiences with each series’ respectively addictive and arcane qualities (via Good Old Games).

Steve talks about two games from one of his favorite designers, Yasumi Matsuno. First is the wonderfully Shakespearean Vagrant Story: arguably Square’s other classic dark fantasy tale for the PS One (astride Final Fantasy Tactics) for its unique battle system alone. It’s also aged well. There’s also some mention Crimson Shroud, Matsuno’s latest for the 3DS, notable for being essentially an interactive D&D game, complete with character figurines that wobble on-screen.

Rich also introduces a hilariously fun iOS game, Spaceteam. It’s a game of teamwork; players have to work together on a multiscreen control panel that ends in spouting nonsense phrases at each other. There’s a short recording of it being played during this episode’s post roll. It’s…interesting.

Featuring tracks by Zabutom from the album Zeta Force

Episode 60 – 2012: A Year in Review

AJBS, A Jumps B Shoots, Sine Mora, Lollipop Chainsaw, Hotline Miami, Dishonored, Walking Dead, Fez, FTL
2012 is at an end, and with it, AJBS reflects back on the year in gaming: surprises, disappointments and (obviously) favorites of the year. How do yours measure up?

Featuring tracks from Ubiktune‘s Wintertunes Compilation

Biggest Surprises:
Sine Mora
Hotline Miami
FTL

Biggest Disappointments
Lollipop Chainsaw
Where’s The Last Guardian?
Dishonored

Game of the Year
Mark of the Ninja
The Walking Dead
Fez

Episode 59 – Whatcha Playin’? 12.24.12

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It’s a Christmas whatcha playin’! So this is going to be quick…

Rich LauArtemis!

Steve HaskeFar Cry 3!

Matt HunterHotline Miami!

Music: Mr.Spastic!

Merry Christmas and/or other non-denominational holiday tidings! Love, AJBS

Episode 58 – PK Design!

earthbound, starmen, jon kay, fangamer, eb, design, snes, mother, mother 3, gba, retro city rampage, chrono trigger, rpg, ness

The game Earthbound means a lot of things to a lot of people. It’s a defining moment in games history, even if most people have never played it. It stands as one of the absolute best 16-bit RPG’s up there with Final Fantasy 6, Secret of Mana, Chrono Trigger, and Phantasy Star 4, yet has never seen an updated release.

The game, however, has driven our guest, Jon Kay, to design some of the most stunning game based designs out there. Subtle, inconspicuous, and almost invites you into a secret club when you can decipher the puzzle of the shirts he designs. We talk about his beginnings with the site Starmen.net and its eventual evolution into the influential on-line retail store Fangamer.

He explains the origins of the sites, his approach to his exquisitely unique designs, how he joined a charge to get Earthbound and Mother 3 released in the United States, and what the game really, truly means to him. His description of the game really challenges one to rethink how games can effect us and influence our lives.

Episode 57 – Whatcha Playin’ 12.03.12

AJBS, A Jumps B Shoots, Assassin's Creed III, Ubisoft, Resident Evil 4, Capcom, PS3, Xbox 360, Wii U

This week it’s all games—Steve plays the first part of Assassin’s Creed III‘s audacious six hour intro and talks about its place in the series timeline and mythology, morphing into a conversation about the keen eye for historical accuracy Ubisoft’s design team has, then further evolving into an appreciation of some of the smart and comparatively subversive work the triple-A publisher has been putting out over the past few years (including our love of Far Cry 2, Outland and other Assassin’s Creed games, among others).

Matt talks word games—more specifically three that have held his interest on iOS recently. These run the gamut from the fast-paced puzzle elements of Puzzlejuice to the calmer gameplay of Spelltower and the multi-player aspects of Letterpress.

Rich finally finishes Resident Evil 4, explaining why it’s been added to his must-play list—the design, visuals and, yes, even the story are all top notch for a game that came out in 2004. Wonky controls be damned!

Episode 56 – Transgaming

transgender issues in gaming, transgender, mass effect, saints row, dys4ia, ana anthorpy, ea, open worlds, games saved my life, ashly birch, HAWP, morgan mccormick, translabyrinth

There are people in this world who aren’t comfortable the way they were born. Their attitudes and habits suggest that perhaps a woman can feel like a man, or visa versa. Transgendered people all over the world have lived through a lot. Torment, confusion, a staggeringly high suicide rate, and a society that would prefer to forget they exist.

Gaming has offered a world that can accept anybody, even those who feel unacceptable. As our guest, Morgan McCormick of TransLabyrinth, states that game worlds are crazy and it can seem that a person changing gender is certainly not the strangest thing that can happen. Games can then provide a safe and fun place for not only play to happen but perhaps, a introspection on who that person is and jump into the shoes of someone a different gender than they are. It can be a tool of self discovery as well as a way to blow off some steam.

But game communities are not the most empathetic group in the world, nor do game publishers and developers seem to pay any mind to the existence of transgendered people. Their presence in the game world is minimal and it’s time to change that.

Featuring music by Monodeer from the album Noise.bmp EP

On a side note – A big thank you to everyone in the subreddits r/transgender and r/transgamers for helping me navigate this complex and sensitive issue.

Episode 55 – Whatcha Playin’ 11.19.12

Emily Jarrett decides that we aren’t too shabby a podcast and sticks around for a Whatcha Playin’. Emily conjurs up a conversation about completionism when she brings up the game Psychonauts. What is it about the gamer’s brain that drives us to search every corner to complete every single aspect of the game? SPOILER ALERT: We don’t provide answers, we just shout our question to the heavens. She also teaches us about the existance of two very interesting RPG board games – Discworld’s Ankh-Morpork and Fiasco. Rich challenges Steve’s opinion of Dishonored after exploring the detailed ins and outs of the game. Finally, Matt owns up to an Iphone game addiction brought on by Touch Arcade, Jetpack Joyride. Why do they have to put your friend’s scores on the top every time you open the game? He’s only 50 points ahead… I can do this. And so it begins…

Featuring music by Bear and Walrus from the album Lake Poems

Episode 54 – God and Gaming

dragon age, mass effect, bioware, religion, emily jarrett, journey, assassins creed, bastion, god, faith, narrative, el shaddai

Mythologies and religious stories can infuse a sense of familiarity and structure to a game’s narrative or moral discussion mechanic. It can inspire great things from a player or offer a sense of introspection. Matt and Rich are atheists. Their insight on this topic can be limited. To remedy this we invited Emily Jarrett, grad student of Divinity and host of PAX Prime’s God and Gaming panel, to offer a religious perspective on gaming.

We chat about these themes in Bioware games, Bastion, Journey, and El Shaddai.

Does religious inspiration in a game make it more inspiring? Does it add weight to moral choice? Why do we not see a lot of current western beliefs represented in games? Are the more tenants of ritual, pilgrimage, and sacrifice important to how we relate or react to games? One thing we know for certain, as Emily says, we can’t lose our stories.

Featuring music by Bear and Walrus from the album Lake Poems

Episode 53 – Whatcha Playin’ 10.29.12

We invite Chuck Moran of Unwinnable back to talk about the games we’ve been playing. Chuck gives us a lot to think about concerning 1st person shooters. Steve cures his Dishonored disappointment with a little HD remake love from Doom 3 BFG. Rich draws the parallels between Retro City Rampage and Grand Theft Auto. Finally, Matt shows us some more retro love with one of his favorite Super Nintendo games, UN Squardon.

Episode 52 – Constantly Unwinning

Help! We are being taken over by the Unlistenable podcast! Wait, this is pretty cool. Nevermind, we’re good.

We are joined by editor at large of Unwinnable and host of The Unlistenable Podcast, Chuck Moran. We talk about the upcoming Geek Flea, what goes into building it, what can be found there, and some of the stranger things that can be found at something like a Geek Flea.

We also let Chuck insert a bit of Unlistenable flavor with the segment “Do you Care?”. We learn a lot about eachother. Some things we like. Others we don’t… Enjoy!

Featuring music by Mitch Murder from the album Sprawl OST

Episuda 51 – Whatcha Playin’ 10.15.12

AJBS, A Jumps B Shoots, Square, Final Fantasy, Ubisoft, Assassin's Creed, Nintendo, Mark of the Ninja, XBLA
On this week’s whatcha playin’, Rich outlines the Super Famicom classic Clock Tower before going in-depth with Klei’s Mark of the Ninja; Steve slights Resident Evil 6 (for reasons previously stated in episode 48) for the original Assassin’s Creed, comparing and contrasting its design flaws, setting and atmosphere; Matt caps the episode revisits an old favorite from his past in Final Fantasy IV Advance, discussing how his interpretations have changed over the years.

Finally, A Jumps B Shoots is now available through Stitcher’s mobile podcast app. Please check it out!

Featuring music by The Shortsleeves from the album In the Memory

Episode 50 – Whatcha Playin’ @ the Portland Retro Game Expo

portland retro game expo, prge, plok, garry kitchen, david crane, donkey kong, roo, 16 bit gems, punk effect, keystone kapers

We conclude our trip to the The Portland Retro Gaming Expo (PRGE) with Matt walking the floor and asking “Whatcha playing”? We talk with Roo from 16 bit Gems, Mark the “Mad Marquis” of Critical Hit Burlesque, Will Lewis- president of the Portland Indie Game Squad, local Atari developer Sal Esquivel, and Art Santana- Manager of the world famous Ground Kontrol Classic Arcade.

Throughout the episode, Matt as interweaved some of his favorite songs from the Nintendo Entertainment System. The songs are from the games Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles, Duck Tales, Faxanadu, Castlevania 3, and Blaster Master.

Episode 49 – Portland Retro Game Expo

portland retro game expo, prge, plok, garry kitchen, david crane, donkey kong, roo, 16 bit gems, punk effect, keystone kapers

For the past several years, The Portland Retro Gaming Expo (PRGE) has been growing and attracting retro gamers from all over the country. This year, it has taken a huge leap taking over an entire hall of the Oregon Convention Center and several presentation rooms. A Jumps B Shoots attended and met up with fellow ‘The Punk Effect‘ alum Roo from 16 bit Gems.

While at the PRGE, Matt interviewed Garry Kitchen- programmer of Keystone Kapers, Donkey Kong for the 2600 and co-programmer of A Boy and his Blob: Trouble on Blobolonia as well as David Crane- co-founder of Activision. Rich also makes his hosting debut when he talks with Roo from 16-Bit Gems about Plok, repro SNES carts, and how Roo goes about making his show.

Episode 48 – Whatcha Playin’ 09.24.12

faster than light, plague inc, papo and yo, minority, that game company, journey, robot entertainment, orcs must die, resident evil 6, capcom, steam, ios, multiplayer, fangamer, gerritt rosa, leeni, headphones on your heart, jed foundation, love is louder

For this episode we invite Gerritt Rosa from Fangamer to talk about the games we’ve been playing. Gerritt exposes his secret love of management systems with the games Faster than Light and Plague Inc. Rich strips away the peels of rotting flesh from his PS3 to reveal some pretty wonderful gaming experiences with Popo and Yo and talks about the silent multi-player aspect of Journey. Steve gets scared for the future of Resident Evil with it’s sixth installment. Finally, Matt digs into his pile of Steam shame and pulls out a gem of a tower defense game with Orcs Must Die.

Featuring music by Leeni from the album Headphones on your Heart EP.

As a side note, all of the proceeds from Leeni’s new EP will be going to the JED Foundation to support their Love is Louder campaign to support suicide prevention. This is a great cause and I urge my listeners to take part in this and buy a copy of the album. — Matt

Episode 47 – Barf Rooms and Laser Sandwiches

scott c, scott campbell, psychonauts, double fine, double fine adventure, DFA, brutal legend, great showdowns, art, 2 player productions

Scott Campbell has had a hand in some of the most iconic images in video games. Whether its the metal inspired chill spots in Brutal Legend, the Lungfish and Raz in Psychonauts, or concept art for the Double Fine Adventure, his unique take on visuals have set games apart. We talk about his journey to Double Fine, helping shape a video game company’s image, being part of a game with an intense cult following, and making a game with your every idea put on display. Prepare for your master class in being awesome.

Scott C also does a series called “Great Showdowns“. Its an A Jumps B Shoots favorite and everyone should check out his live drawings.

Featuring music from Mosaik from the album Leandi

Episode 46 – PAX Adventure 2012

catch-22, pax prime, pax, 2012, the bridge, johann sebastian joust, splice, cipher prime, mango down, octodad, young horses, die gute fabrik, indie mega booth, pax 10, indie games

Matt took a trip to the fabled land of Seattle, WA to experience the 8th Wonder of the World that is PAX. Amidst the sea of cosplayers, MMO junkies, Counter-Strike pros, Nintendo fanboys, booth babes, and wide-eyed first-timers… there were the indie game developers. 5 games struck Matt as either super interesting, super fun, or just different. Here is the 5 converstations Matt had at PAX with the developers of Catch-22, Octodad: The Dadliest Catch, Splice, The Bridge, and Johan Sebastian Joust.

Featuring music by Supercommuter from the album Products of Science

Episode 45 – Whatcha Playin’ 08.27.12

AJBS, A Jumps B Shoots, Animal Crossing, Nintendo, Sleeping Dogs, 2 Warriors, little scale, Square Enix, PS3, Xbox 360

This week on AJBS, Steve talks about ominous messages in Animal Crossing: City Folk and discusses how Sleeping Dogs is one of the year’s best (unexpected) surprises; meanwhile, Rich has family over and explores how to put together a good gaming session with those who don’t normally play video games.

Matt sits this one out for the sake of brevity.

Featuring music by Coova and Little-Scale from the album Two Warriors.

Episode 44 – Micropalooza

chipmusic, portland, chiptune, lsdj, operation mission, mcfiredrill, mechlo, plain flavored, producer snafu, daddy long legs, electric children, andreas, micropalooza, ground kontrol, pdx, nanoloop

Every year Portland has it’s own chipmusic festival organized by A Jumps B Shoots and Ground Kontrol Classic Arcade, Micropalooza. This year brought together 8 artists from the Pacific Northwest and California. Here are clips from each of the 8 artists who were kind enough to make this year’s Micropalooza a memorable one.

Mechlo
Plain Flavored
Electric Children
Daddy Long Legs
Andreas
McFiredrill
Operation Mission
Producer Snafu

Episode 43 – Whatcha Playin’ 08.13.12

AJBS, A Jumps B Shoots, Spelunky, XBLA, PS3, Xbox 360, 2K Games, Spec Ops: The Line, Heart of Darkness, iOS, 10000000
This week the discussion focuses around death—whether it’s a game that kills you mercilessly or an examination of uncertainty, AJBS explores one of gaming’s most enduring topics in this week’s Whatcha Playin’.

Rich examines his own mortality with XBLA’s Spelunky, comparing it to rougelikes of yesteryear; Steve tackles Spec Ops: the Line‘s take on Joseph Conrad’s Heart of Darkness while Matt plays the App store’s iOS RPG puzzler, 10000000.

Finally, many listeners have said they have been experiencing some problems with the donate button; the issue has been fixed and you can now donate here. Thanks to everyone who brought this to our attention.

Featuring music by I Fight Dragons

Episode 42 – Steady Diet of Video Games


This week we chat with the founder of Shred Veggie, Michael “Milk” Millikin. He has been maintaining his blog as a way to share both how to eat better while gaming, and how to game better while eating. We talk about the history of junk food and video games marketing, how companies are capitalizing on the dual addictions of food and experience points, and various ways and recipes to eat healthier and more conveniently during the short load screens of the latest game your playing.

We also talk about Chex Quest. Yeah, that happens.

Got anything you like to make for long haul gaming sessions? Milk is starting a community of folks who love to game and eat. Contact him here.

Episode 41 – Whatcha Playin’ 07.30.12

AJBS, A Jumps B Shoots, Botanicula, Steam, Picross 3D, The Darkness II, 2K Games, Nintendo
Today’s Whatcha Playin’ is a study in predecessors: we talk about each of this episode’s games in context to its predecessors and look at how this informed our opinions on the titles in question. Rich talks about the magical plantlife of Botanicula and how it differs from the gunmetal grey land of Amanita’s previous game, Machinarium; Steve continues Jackie Estacado’s saga with The Darkness and moves on to the Darkness II (which is better?) and Matt gushes over some of his favorite puzzle games for the DS, Picross and Picross 3D. Does the third dimension add another level of engaging gameplay or horrible frustration? Spoiler alert: you won’t be able to put it down. Featuring music by I Fight Dragons

Episode 40 – Point-Counter-Point: Is Lollipop Chainsaw Any Good?

AJBS, A Jumps B Shoots, Lollipop Chainsaw, Xbox 360, PS3, Warner Bros. Interactive, Grasshopper Manufacture, Suda 51

Frequently on AJBS, we have a unified opinion about most games. Half Life? Loved it. Dead Space? Yes please. Portal? Seconds.

Surprisingly, co-hosts Rich Lau and Steve Haske both exclaimed drastically differing views about Grasshopper Manufacture’s Lollipop Chainsaw. Hashing it out seemed like a good idea, so the boxing gloves were dusted off,  pads were strapped on and sparring commenced.

Is Lollipop Chainsaw a fun romp in a bizarre zombie apocalypse or a cloying, sloppily designed disappointment with Suda 51 seemingly trying to impersonate himself? Let us know what you think.

Featuring music by Producer Snafu

Episode 39 – Whatcha Playin’ 07.16.12

AJBS, A Jumps B Shoots, Kinect, Steel Battalion, Xbox 360, From Software, Konami, Metal Gear Solid HD

So, we’re trying something a little different at A Jumps B Shoots HQ: For the next few (or several, or whatever) weeks the podcast’s format is going to be shortened and run weekly. What does that mean to you, our loyal listeners? It means more in-depth Whatcha Playin’ segments will get their own episodes, alternating weeks with our regular guest discussions on loftier game-related matters.  That way we get more times to talk about the games we really like or don’t like, and no matter what week it is you’ll have something to listen to.

This week, Matt finally gets The Binding of Isaac and learns what he has been missing from Metal Gear Solid 2. Rich reveals his love of Planet Puzzle League (by way of Henry Hatsworth) and shares with us his favorite PSN minis game, Where is my Heart. Finally Steve throws back to 2008 with Banjo Kazooie – Nuts and Bolts and shows us all how a pro plays the new Steel Battalion for the Xbox 360.

Featuring music by Producer Snafu

Episode 38 – Mr. Haske Goes to E3

E3 has been in slow decline in importance over the years. Companies have not been using it as the big reveal venue as they have in previous years. Instead its a catch up for every little detail they plan on releasing over the next year. Steve’s trip to E3 was that of a reporter. He talked with game makers and publishers, as well as taking stock of how E3 was being utilized. His report covers a number of games, but is the story he tells that of an industry in transition? A game development scene in a hopeless cycle? The death knell of North America’s biggest video game industry trade show?

Watchdogs
Lollipop Chainsaw
Star Trek
Pikmin 3
Nintendo Land
The Last of Us
Tomb Raider

Episode 37 – With a Collective ‘Meh’

AJBS, A Jumps B Shoots, Tim Schafer, Double Fine, Kickstarter, 2 Player Productions, 2PP, Double Fine Adventure

News outlets have gotten plenty of practice manufacturing hyperbole surrounding sex and violence in video games. What we seem to brush aside, however, is the rampant lack of serious coverage in main stream media. When video games do get the coveted spotlight of a news segment, it either falls just short of responsible journalism or shows itself to be hilariously misinformed. At best, this turns into a joke on the internet. At worst, the misinformation that has more influence than any game journalism blog.

This episode we invite Asif Siddiky of 2 Player Productions to focus on two news segments that seem to miss the point and expose their bias against serious coverage of the medium, with segments from NPR’s All Things Considered and Morning Edition. (It’s recommended you listen to these stories to help follow our conversations about them.)

Featuring music by Burnkit 2600 from the album Sonic Sanctuary

Hidden in Plain Sight
Blocks that Matter
Little Samson

Episode 36 – Blip Festival 2012


Blip Festival is often considered three nights of the world’s best chip music. For the artists, visualists, vendors, and die hard fans it’s more of a chip summer camp, with everyone who was once shrouded by the veil of the internet appears in person. With everyone gathered together it becomes a homecoming, a way for people to connect with others in a way that wasn’t possible in every day life. This is the chip scene; for this Blip I talk with the chip/bent trio Burnkit 2600, Atari/Commodore/Game Boy virtuoso cTrix and master of visualizations, Batsly Adams, on topics from artist specialties and their favorite hardware and software to the nuts and bolts of how they work and their opinion on the scene today. I want to thank all of them for breaking away from the schedule of the festival to sit down and talk with me.

- Matt

Featuring live performances by Bit Shifter, Burnkit 2600, and Chipocrite from the Chipmusic Chronicle