and one of them joined me to talk about The Last of Us.
Today’s episode of the podcast centers its attention on The Last of Us, the critically acclaimed survival adventure game from Naughty Dog. With all of its detail and a compelling cast of characters, it’s an experience that needs to be discussed, and I’m happy to have Jim Wiser back on the show to do just that. Our reactions to the core gameplay mechanics, exploring a post-outbreak world, believable performances, art & design sensibilities, and of course the outcome of Joel and Ellie’s journey across the country are all on the bill for conversation here.
Warning: this episode does contain spoilers for The Last of Us throughout.
Jim Wiser and I have been friends since our first couple years in foundation art classes at the Cleveland Institute of Art, where we continued to collaborate as majors in Game Design. His thesis project explored level design as a means of better understanding way-finding, and since then he’s created artwork for a number of indie game projects and custom levels for Team Fortress 2.
The Last of Us was developed by Naughty Dog.
The music in this episode was from The Last of Us OST.
All my friends play video games, and two of them joined me to talk about Kentucky Route Zero, Act II.
We’re filling out the seasonal Kentucky Route Zero panel with Alex Koval joining Hilary Bovay and I for this edition of the podcast. Our hour-long discussion covers our reactions to Act II of Cardboard Computer’s episodic series, recurring themes and character development, secret locations, our favorite/least favorite moments and more. Feel welcome to add to the conversation by leaving a comment below.
Fair warning: this episode does contain spoilers for Act II throughout. If you’re interested in the game and simply want to learn more about it, I’d highly recommend listening to our previous episode on Act I — the first segment introduces KR0 and is spoiler-free.
Hilary Bovay is a very talented artist & photographer, and super-fan of both David Bowie and Hayao Miyazaki. She’s got a keen eye for visual storytelling, and her love for the original Crash Bandicoot trilogy is all you’ll ever need to know about her taste in video games.
Alex Koval is a student of both philosophy and psychology, a fan of horror and especially H.P. Lovecraft. We’ve been best friends since 2nd grade, and some of his favorite games include the original Resident Evil remake, Final Fantasy Tactics, Eternal Darkness, and the childhood classic Banjo Kazooie.
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.
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!
Have 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.
“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.
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.
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.