Podcast Returning

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I posted two new podcast episodes in January, but have yet to deliver on my plans to do more since. Now that The Commonwealth’s new album, Urban Soul, is done and released (you can listen to it here, or stream it from my sidebar), and with a handful of games under my belt this year, I’m feeling ready to get back into podcasting through the late summer and fall.

Kentucky Route Zero‘s 2nd act came out at the end of May, and it gave Hilary, our very good friend Alex and I a lot to talk about. They’ll be joining me on the third episode of All My Friends Play Video Games to discuss Cardboard Computer’s follow-up act, so check back next week sometime for the podcast.

If you’re interested in catching up with past episodes, including Hilary’s and my discussion on Act I of Kentucky Route Zero, be sure to check out the archive.

The Mirrors of The Last of Us

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A couple weeks back, I finished Naughty Dog’s The Last of Us — they’ve sure come a long way since Crash Bandicoot (though, I still pine for the franchise to return to its rightful owner).

As the final act came to a close, what struck me the most was how reflective the game was of itself, and how far its characters had come since the opening scene. The critical reception to The Last of Us has ranged from brightly glowing to argumentative and divisive, but what can’t be mistaken is how much thoughtfulness Naughty Dog has put into it. I jotted down my own thoughts on a few “mirrors” between the very beginning and the very end of the game, which I wanted to share here.

Warning: there’s a significant amount of spoilers ahead!

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HTML/JS: Using Radio Inputs to Change a Form’s Action

Brackets LogoHave you ever wanted a selection, via radio inputs, to change the outcome of a submit button’s action?

For a simple solution, you may have come to the right place.

Amidst revisions to a web project at my job, I found myself needing to answer the above question. I had to demonstrate a relatively simple user-experience requirement: provide a list of radio inputs that would control the user’s destination once they hit a contextual “submit” button. Fortunately, one of our lead web developers walked me through an incredibly simple inline javascript solution. It worked on the first try, and it’s so simple that I felt compelled to share it.

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The Clone Wars: PS4 & The One-Console Future

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“We realize people do not care about the size of these boxes, they hide them anyway. So we made a cube.”
– The Verge’s Ross Miller (from a live recap immediately following Sony’s Playstation 4 announcement)

Miller may have been playing the role of a Sony executive in the above joke, and maybe Sony executives have actually said something like it behind closed doors. Either way, they’d both be right.

We don’t often associate the word “computer” with the word “easy”, as easy as “a cube” makes it sound. Companies like Apple, Google, and even Microsoft now are spending most of their marketing and design budgets trying to remedy this stigma (and sometimes go too far). Meanwhile, boxes that were built to be more straightforward (video game consoles, for example) have been doing the opposite, spending the past decade-and-a-half adding features that first appeared on traditional computers: disc-based drives, the internet, buddy lists, digital markets, social networks, YouTube, etc.

Every other hardware developer may be going in the opposite direction of their competitors, but their compasses will eventually lead them all to the same place.

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All My Friends Play Video Games – 2: Kentucky Route Zero, Act I

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All my friends play video games,
and one of them joined me to talk about Kentucky Route Zero.

I’ve already written a post about Cardboard Computer’s debut of their new game, but this one calls for conversation. Today’s episode introduces the game and its unique design, artistic influences, ability to tell a story and connections to theatre & film. Kentucky Route Zero may be a haunting single-player experience, but it’s ripe for sharing.

Listen to the podcast here:

All My Friends Play Video Games – 2: Kentucky Route Zero, Act I
Hit the above link to stream it within a new tab, or right-click to download it directly.


CAST & CREDITS

My sole guest on this episode is Hilary Bovay, a talented artist & photographer based out of Rhode Island. She’s got a keen eye for visual storytelling, and her love for the original Crash Bandicoot is all you’ll ever need to know about her taste in video games.

The few musical numbers throughout the episode stem from the game’s soundtrack, which comes with the presale of all five acts.

All My Friends Play Video Games – 1: Games of 2012

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All my friends play video games,
and together we made a podcast about it.

This first episode is all about the games of yesteryear, 2012. The bulk of our discussion revolves around our favorite gaming experiences including Google’s Ingress, Planetside 2, DotA 2 and Journey, along with honorable mentions for Day Z and Dishonored.

Aside from that, we chatted about some of the bigger leaps forward for video games this past year, such as the culture surrounding Kickstarter and video games after funding so many of them, the “free-to-play” model, and what’s around the corner for 2013.

Listen to the podcast here:

All My Friends Play Video Games – 1: Games of 2012
Hit the above link to stream it within a new tab, or right-click to download it directly.


CAST & CREDITS

This episode’s cast feature my closest peers from The Cleveland Institute of Art’s game design program: Matthew Barton, Cory HughartJim Wiser, and myself. We’ve certainly kept in touch since graduating in 2010, but it’s been awhile since we all sat down and talked strictly games.

Music throughout the episode is comprised of various songs by the recently late Jazz legend and musician, Dave Brubeck.

Photograph above by John Carey.

It’s a pretty long first episode, but I hope you enjoy our discussions and I’d be happy to know what you think in the comments below.

En Route to Zero & Podcasts

Last night I picked up and finished Act I of Kentucky Route Zero by Cardboard Computer, and just about every inch of its design satisfies my current appetite in video games.

Kentucky Route Zero, Weaver's House

Aesthetically, it’s a stunning game that reminds me of the stylistic work seen in both Team Fortress 2 and Limbo. It utilizes sharp lighting, silhouettes and limited color palettes to tell most of the story, while exaggerated geometry adds even more character to its society. It also manages to reference other forms of art, such as poetry and theatre, without interrupting itself as a game. Continue reading