In this week’s episode of Spawn on Me, host Kahlief Adams talks about all the games he’s been having fun with since our last installment. Outriders: Worldslayer has dropped and is his new game to grind on; meanwhile, Neon White has taken over his life and made him into a scoreboard monster. Kah also got an early peek at As Dusk Falls, the new narrative choose your own path adventure on Xbox, which he believes is fantastic.
Spawn on Me June 29, 2022 Transcript
Transcribed by E. Powers
Kahlief: Spawn On Me is the premier podcast spotlighting people of color. Every week we talk news, what we’ve been playing, and tell you who’s invited to the cookout. Our show is all about talking about gaming through a prism of Blackness because we are the culture. Welcome to Brookago, y’all.
What up, what up, what up, everybody? This is the Spawn On Me podcast. I hope you’re all doing well. It is not Juneteenth anymore. That is not the case if you’re listening and watching. I just have that on my documentation on Twitch, so I’m gonna fix that in post. But I’m excited to see you all here rocking with us here on the Spawn On Me podcast. Thank you so much for coming through.
It is no doubt summertime now in the world. It is hot out here in Portland. It is nuts out here in terms of the weather, and I am just, like, baking for the past couple of days. It was nuts being able to be home here in the Pacific Northwest and feeling like all the global warming was coming and it was hitting me right in my neck. It was so hot in here, out here. [laughs] It was wild to be in that mix again and being like, man, I just want it to not be a heatwave in my house where I gotta walk around, and it’s just ridiculously hot. It was just like not fun at all.
Thank you so much for listening to the show last week. We had a banger of an episode. Go check that bad boy out if you missed it. Please go check it out on all podcast platforms, ’cause we are everywhere and nowhere at once. We are in all the places that you have seen, all the places that you have heard of, all the places in which podcasts reside. And podcasts are dope, so I am excited to be here with you this week.
This week is gonna be really interesting. I have to thank you all for all the love. If you saw the message on Twitter that I put out, I think over a week ago now, I think? I think it was about a week? In which I shared about my new nine to five job. I am the Senior Community Manager over at Firewalk Studios. Really excited to be doing work over there.
I got a lot of love on Twitter and on social media for, you know, making this new move, and now getting a chance to actually share with all of you in the community is always great. You know, the support is always loved and welcomed. I appreciate all of you for sharing that out, ’cause it did really mean a lot to me to have all of you share so much good vibes towards me and towards the growth of, you know, my career in the video game industry.
I want to give a couple of quick caveats to some of that, ’cause I think it’s good to share it early on in the space. Shoutout to R_Kade4247 for jumping in the chat. A lot of times when a new job like this pops up, I get often questions about what are the things that I’m gonna be working on. Can I share any of that stuff? Is that stuff that you’re gonna be able to hear about on this show? And the answer is no.
I can’t talk about any of it, any of the stuff that’s happening, any stuff that we’re working on as a studio. Please don’t ask because I’m just gonna tell you no, and I can’t share anything anyway. When the time is right, you’ll see me in spaces that you might not have seen me before, which will be really, really cool.
And it’ll be a lot of fun to be able to kind of do a little bit of a different thing that’s not just Spawn On Me work or hosting work or any of that kind of stuff. It’s always gonna be cool to be in the mix with brilliant folks who are doing really cool work and getting a chance to see how some of the sausage is made in the video game industry, of how things work and how those things are, you know, coming to all of you as players and stuff like that.
So it’ll be really cool to be able to talk about all of those things at some point way down the line. You know, I may reference it here, but in terms of any of the things that are working in the background, like, I’m just not gonna be able to talk about it, and I’m not gonna, ’cause it’s just a whole bunch of conflicts of interest, whole bunch of stuff that doesn’t need to be talked about from this perspective on this show. Somebody else wants to talk about it? I don’t care! Do what you gotta do. That’s awesome.
“If we need accessibility testers, cough, cough.” I mean, look, that’s gonna be a conversation at some point, for sure, with various folks, so I will keep you in mind for that. Shoutout to TooFamiliar in chat, as well. Thank you so much for the love, as well.
So, that’s out of the way, get that out into the space real fast and knock that out. But it’s been a really awesome couple of weeks. It’s been cool. I’ve been traveling a bunch in June. Happy to not be traveling anymore for the rest of this month, which is a couple of days out. You know, 4th of July is coming up very, very soon, and I am not patriotic at all.
I want to say: massive love to everyone out there with a uterus. It is not dope out here for folks who have uteruses, and I am constantly frustrated with how our government treats women, how our government treats femmes, how our government treats people who are just trying to live their lives.
You know, body autonomy is a huge issue. You know, reproductive rights have been a huge issue. You know, we as Spawn On Me have been doing this work and trying to help as many people, you know, do what they need to do and have the funds they can work with. We did this whole Spawn for Good a couple years ago that revolved around, you know, sending money to the folks over at the National Network of Abortion Funds. We were one of the first shows in the gaming industry to do that.
We were one of the first shows and the first entities in the gaming space to really build that network and do some more of that work before everybody else jumped on it and everybody else was like, “Yo, this is a wave.”
We were in that conversation early because we understood just how important it was to have that layer be not messed with, and now with the Supreme Court doing wild stuff, it just changes the whole dynamic of how people are gonna live their lives. And now with this overextension to potentially things like gay marriage and other things, it is a not great time to be here in America.
It is a not great time to be in a space in which the liberties that you should have had forever are getting imposed upon and stepped on and trampled because of, you know, activist judges and all the stuff in that way.
So, we are here with you at Spawn On Me, I am here with you in the fight. Anything I can do to kind of make that space better for folks, please let me know. We’re hopefully gonna be doing some charity work in that respect too, very, very soon. Just a matter of trying to find some good time for it.
So, just wanted to, before we get into talk about games, I want to say, you know, everyone is in my thoughts right now. It is a very hard time to be a woman, to be a femme in this space, to have a uterus in this space. It is not a great time. So, I want you all to feel like you have a place here that you can, you know, rock with and hopefully get away from some of the negativity in the space and in the world right now.
So, this week, there isn’t a lot of news to talk about. There’s not a lot of actual, like, stuff.
There were some layoffs at Niantic and at Unity, but there isn’t really a lot to say there yet. Layoffs in the industry happen, but there’s also this kind of, you know, influx with these huge numbers of people losing their jobs, especially right now where the economy and inflation is rocketing. It just feels really, you know, everything feels like it’s on a layer of quicksand right now, and I want people to feel a little bit better about, you know, coming to the space while also hearing some of this negative news that’s happening in the industry.
Besides those major milestones — not major milestones, those major things happening —there isn’t a lot of actual news this week, but I have been playing three games that I do want to talk about for a little bit that I’m really enjoying and really digging. So, with that said, for this episode, we are gonna dump the news out the window, and we’re gonna go directly into what we’ve been playing.
The first game up on the docket is Outriders: Worldslayer, the game from Square Enix that people have been fronting on for a long time! The game is dope. The game has been dope for a long time. I’ve been having a blast with it when it first came out and was rocking with it for a long period of time. And I was hoping that everybody else would jump on a bandwagon, and people jumped on the bandwagon, and then they dipped out! [laughs]
Everybody left! I was like, “No, come back!” Outriders is good. Outriders is a good game. It has a lot of fun powers. It’s really fun. It’s hectic. It has the loot grind. It has all those kind of cool things. It looks really pretty. The story is kind of interesting. It does all this really fun stuff. And everybody was like, “I’m out!” and I was like, “Dammit.”
It’s one of the– Outriders is one of those games that should have gotten more love, but it winds up being in this space in which we just see… and we have to really be honest about it. There are so many games now that are looking for your attention, and the fact that all these games are looking for your attention, it is really hard to stick. So games now kind of have this, like, weird cadence in which they come out, have a good influx of players, things kind of die down for a bit, people move around to different games, people kind of swap things out, and then you wind up landing at the game again when a big piece of content comes out. Worldslayer is that kind of content.
I think, you know, it doesn’t do a lot in terms of adding — at least from what I’ve played so far — any new classes. It did add a bunch of new weapons. You can do really cool things now in terms of, you know, mod slots, which they did a really great update a couple of months ago where you were able to kind of break down stuff, add new mods, all those kinds of bits.
But now you get a third slot for your mods, which adds a whole new layer of complexity in how you kind of take on fights and take on battles, which I love. I love the mod system in Outriders. I think the mod system in Outriders is really, really well done and is super smart because it lets you add these really fun layers to an already cool base kit.
So like, my weapon now– and if you’re watching the video version of this, you’re seeing some of the gameplay that I was playing right before stream. One of my guns levitates you off the ground and suspends you in mid-air while I’m still shooting you and dumping bullets into your body.
I have another weapon that when I shoot and it kills you, it makes a small anomaly that I can then shoot that acts like a bomb. I have all these other new traits that are coming along with the new mod slots and all these other kinds of things. It really just feels super good to be able to jump into a game like this, feel like I didn’t lose any momentum, and feel like there’s a fun layer to the story that is kind of coming through with this new baddie that they have in the game that you’re gonna fight towards the end of the campaign.
I have just been having a blast. I am hoping that I get more folks to play with in this game and hoping that there’s gonna be a chance to see even more support for a game like this, ’cause I really do think it’s pretty brilliant. I would love to see them add some new monsters to it. I would love to see them add some more weapon classes. I would love to see them add at least two more classes ’cause I’m running, you know, pyromancer currently right now.
But a really smart thing that they did was for this new expansion, you know, level 30 is the cap for your character, but if you want to roll a new class, you can basically make a new character, roll that new class, and boost all the way to level 30, which I love. It’s a thing that happened in Destiny, which made me want to play different kinds of characters, which was always really fun. So that’s great. I love that they’re doing that.
They’ve amped up some of the perk systems as well– not perks, but like your leveling system. So your, yeah, so, like, your tech tree basically has gotten expanded in a couple of different layers, which I think is really smart and adds a whole bunch of replayability to this and lengthens the game in a really long way, which I think is also gonna be fun because they have more endgame content that I haven’t gotten a chance to get into yet, but I am very excited at what this game continues to be and feels like it is extremely fun.
I just need more people to play with, to get into it and and do more work in it, ’cause I’ve now made all four classes, and now I’m just on the hunt to go play with people and grind on it. So, this game is brilliant. Super good. Go give it some love. It’s like 39 bucks, I think maybe, for the expansion I think? But it’s not super expensive. It’s just really, really good in the way that it plays and it feels, and it feels very, very good.
Another game that I got a chance to get into that I am just, like, rolling through right now is Neon White. Neon White is… crack. [laughs] Neon White is crack.
Neon White is one of those games that I didn’t think– I remember when I got a chance to see a little bit of it early. I felt like, well, this is gonna be a game that I don’t know if it’s for me. I didn’t know if the art style and that kind of like chibi anime layers of it were really gonna be interesting. It’s not a thing that I care about in that way. But knowing that this came from Ben Esposito, who’s been known to make some pretty dope games like Donut County and things like that, I was like, “Oh, well, if it’s a Ben Esposito joint, then I gotta kind of pay attention to it.”
And now getting a chance to play more of it, it is one of the better games of this year. It is the speedrunner’s dream. You know, SDGQ is happening right now as we speak. I am dying to see people play this if they haven’t already played this during that show. The card transfer system, when each card having a weapon and a kind of alt fire that lets you do very specific things, like there’s one where you get a pistol that lets you double jump. There’s another one where you throw these like bombs on the ground that help explode things.
I have to blame a couple of people for really making me want to play this in a real way, and also making me spend money. [laughs]
So, I got this on Switch initially. I got a code for it. And then I saw goddamn Andy Cortez. God damn you, Andy Cortez! Because Andy Cortez is a freaking monster. If you’re not familiar with Andy Cortez from Kinda Funny, Nitro Rifle, man, that man loves clicking heads and putting people to bed. I love that man. He’s one of the best people on the planet, but I also hate him right now, because he might be one of the best players that I’ve ever seen of Neon White.
It makes me so mad how good he is at this damn game. He and Dan Ryckert have sold their souls to the devil. I don’t know how they play this game so well, but it’ll wind up making me change over from Switch to PC, because they’re all playing on PC, and weirdly the scoreboards don’t talk to each other.
So, I was playing it on Switch and thinking, I was like, “Oh, I’m doing well. I’m like knocking it out the park. I’m getting good scores.” And then I watched the stream of him playing it and watched the times that he was getting, and I said, this mother sucker is doing like ridiculous amounts of speed boosts and getting through the game as fast as he can and beating everybody on the leaderboards, and I was like, “Dammit! How is he doing this? How is he completing these levels so quickly, so well?”
And it just pissed me off, and now I have to talk about it on the show because I don’t know. Like, I thought I was gonna be– I’m a pretty good gamer. Like, I understand how to play things. I’m pretty good at what I do. And then I was watching some of the times that he was pulling in, and I was like, oh, there’s no way in hell I’m gonna beat any of this stuff. [laughs]
And it sucks because I’m really competitive, and I was like, dammit, I really want to play more of these and get it. I am trying really hard to win in Neon White and at least get one or two levels where I have, in my friend group, the top score, you know. Shoutout to Merry Kish, jumped on, she beat one of Dan Ryckert’s times in one of the levels and gave him shit for it. So I appreciate that, and I love her for it, ’cause that was the– I appreciate it. It’s just hard as hell to beat that game.
But in terms of the game itself: beautiful game. I think it really does a cool job of making you really think about twists and turns and how you want to tackle a run. It feels like, once you’ve gotten down the momentum of how this game works, that you can really open it up into some really fun ways in which you can not only think and strategize about how you want to kind of tackle a run, but also you then wind up becoming… you wind up getting into this flow state where you’re just like, “All right, I go here. I shoot that. I go there. I jump over here. I do this move.”
And you wind up getting into this really zen space where you’re not even thinking at a point, you’re just kind of doing, which I think is brilliant in a game that I love. I love stuff like that: when you’re able to kind of make those decisions happen in these really split seconds, and it rewards you for getting those high– oh, I’m sorry, those really low times. And then you get a chance to, like, sit back for a minute and then rethink and evaluate, you know, how you’re tackling things.
I love games like that, games that are, you know, score time munchers like this are always really, really fun. Ben Esposito and his squad did a really good job. I’m not really paying attention to the story. Eh, not really. I mean, it’s interesting, if you really kind of like the art style and that kind of stuff. I think those parts are cool, but I just don’t know if those layers are specifically for me.
But I would say if you’re looking for a game that’s gonna be a time-eater and a time suck, this is a really good game for that. I think it’s brilliant. It’s super fun. I’m having a blast with it, trying to go back in. You know, I’ll share my Steam info online at some point, so if you want to go in there and battle me and the rest of the folks on your friends list, I’m totally down for that, ’cause I want more people to play against in this game, for sure.
The last game that we’re gonna talk about for this episode– again, this episode is fairly short this week. There’s not a lot of stuff to dig into and to talk about in that respect. But a game that I am very, very excited for that I think all of you should be checking out when it drops — because I got a chance to play through the first couple of levels of it — is the Microsoft game As Dusk Falls.
I am a huge fan of narrative-based, you know, not point and click, but basically choose your own adventure kinds of games. INT/NIGHT, you know, I didn’t know what to expect going into this game. I thought that the way that they did the kind of storytelling in this kind of painterly art style that feels like…it’s like a– it’s like if you ever saw the movie Creepshow.
It’s the closest I can think to, where you get these moments where you have these motion graphics of the characters that are kind of pulling and pushing against the background. It feels like they’re in a diorama in a weird way. But it feels really cool in the way that they’re kind of doing these stories, where you’re this family who is going on this road trip, and this road trip is turned into this whole wild, like, criminal story with all these endpoints and all these different characters that intersect and cross over.
You know, I’ve been playing a lot of The Quarry of late, and I feel like this game feels like another one of those extensions of games that really pull in a really fun and kind of interesting way to do narrative, because, you know, if you have all those branching points, you wind up kind of wanting to overdo it. Like, I love games that have those branching points where you’re able to make a decision and then kind of see where the story could have gone. I also don’t like going back and checking out those other pivot points.
I am a weird person because I’m like, I have picked a direction and a story, and I want to see how that story plays itself out. I may go back to go check out other angles on the stories to see where the other, you know, pivot points and kind of other layers of a story will land, but I feel like it also feels like it’s cheating in a weird way. You know, I don’t know. I don’t want to go back and be like, “Well, I made this decision. Now I want to see the way the other version played out, just because it’s available to me.” Like, you can’t really do that in a movie.
You know, there aren’t a lot of pivot points to kind of do that thing in, and it doesn’t really make that much of a difference. You know, like it winds up being like all of those pieces that you didn’t go check out would be things that we would see either after the credits or in, you know, like the special edition of a show or something like that, where you get to see all the other deleted scenes that happened during your playthrough.
I love being able to have a moment where that story lives on its own and it feels like that small bubble of time in which that story did what it did was specific to my playthrough, and I want to go back in and ask other people like how their playthroughs were.
So, Microsoft let us check out the first two chapters early. And I have to say, from a storytelling perspective, really compelling story. I was not thinking that I was gonna get pulled in in the ways that this story has pulled me in in the beginning. I’m actually waiting until the full release to go and play through the whole thing again, ’cause we have a preview build, and I’m dying to find out where some of these connection points have gone, how some of these characters have, you know, ended up.
How did the way that they have been talking to each other kind of, you know, end up at the end of a story? It’s dope because it’s gonna be on console, PC, and Cloud, so that means you’ll be able to play this on the go in lots of different ways.
There’s also this eight-person multiplayer layer of it too, where you can basically — if I’m thinking about this right — there’s an app that you can use so that a couple people on the console and a couple people on like their phone or their tablet, and you’re helping to make decisions that way, which I think is actually another brilliant way to kind of get more people involved in the story and build it out in a way that feels not only fun but interesting, but gives you that space to kind of like argue in the room and be like, “Well, why did you make that decision? Why did you do that? I don’t know why you would do that.”
So those kinds of bits are actually really, really cool. I like stuff like that. I like when games give you that ability to, you know, build in that way and find good ways to interact with other people who may not necessarily have a controller in their hand. I think expanding games to be able to do more of that is something I want to see more of in the future. You see a lot of it in the Jackbox games, but there aren’t a lot of other games that do that layer as well as a game like As Dusk Falls.
I think it was a really good get for Microsoft. I know it’s not a game that a lot of people are gonna be like, “Yo, this is a game that I was waiting for,” but I think this is a perfect date night game. I think this is a perfect, you know, game if you want to play with folks in the house who aren’t, you know, super good with a controller.
I think this is a game that you can play in segments and not feel like you are losing out on things. Like, there isn’t a level of FOMO here that you have to like keep up with the zeitgeist to remember to go back into. This will be a game that you can play in a slow drip for a long period of time, and have a lot of fun with it. So, I am very, very excited for that thing.
I think that’s gonna be a game that people will talk about for a long time and are very, very excited for. So make sure you’re checking out A Dusk Falls– I’m sorry, As Dusk Falls. It is a dope game on Game Pass. Make sure you’re checking that thing out in a real way, ’cause it is pretty damn good.
So, before we get up out of here, really short episode this week, not a lot to really dig into. Wanted to share a couple of games that I’m playing and messing around with because those games are in the mix. I’ve been messing around in the studio. We’ve been doing a couple things and fixing a couple things here in the studio. Those things are coming to the forefront. A new episode of SOM-THING EPIC is coming out very, very soon, so make sure you’re going and checking that out as well. We just had a really dope interview with the folks from Quixel.
So if you know anything about Unreal Engine, you know anything about game development, you know that Quixel is a piece of the technology that has been driving some of the best and most gorgeous visuals, in terms of textures and the way things look, in the world. So we just had a really great conversation with them that we’ll be putting into an episode very, very soon of the show. So, make sure you go check that out.
We’re gonna be streaming again on YouTube very, very soon. Gonna be trying to make some more of that transition happen very, very soon as well. So we’ll be doing a hybrid of, you know, replays and reruns of the shows that we see on Twitch on YouTube. So, for folks who haven’t caught it on our usual Wednesday evening, they’ll be able to check it out on YouTube in another way there. And to be honest, I’ve been thinking a lot about what that transition is gonna wind up being, if we’re gonna go full-time over there at some point.
I think Twitch is having a really big identity crisis in terms of its visibility and discoverability. I think our show, because I’m not streaming as often as I should to kind of keep the algorithm going, I feel like more love would come out of the YouTube side of things if we start doing the show there. [laughs] And pusgum says, “That’s an understatement.” You’re right. I’m not– you know what I’m saying. But I think it makes a little bit more sense at this point to maybe start doing more of this show over on YouTube, and then if I wanted to play some games, play the games on our Twitch channel here.
So again, things have been just all over the place. It’s been really busy, new job stuff. I don’t know if folks at home saw the tweet that I put out about having some home invaders, or people who could have been home invaders, at my home. So, been spending some time of getting that stuff situated and fixed and rectified in those ways. So it’s been a busy, harrowing, scary week.
But that’s also been pretty great in some other angles too, so please go and check that stuff out. Please go watch the videos that I put up on Twitter as well. Yes, they are monetized, but we’re gonna be doing some monetization on that side of the fence because we gotta pay for the Spawnies. Spawny needs money.
So if you see me put up a video and it has an ad in front of it, you can totally skip through the ad. We still get some love on it. But it helps if you watch it or share it and do all that kind of stuff, ’cause you gotta pay the bills and you gotta make the Spawnies dope. So that’s coming up very, very soon. Lots more stuff to talk to you about that very, very soon.
And please, please, please, go check out all the work that we’re doing in those spaces, and make sure you’re giving us some love. So, we’ll see you all in a little bit. Thank you again for coming through. Thank you for repping the show. Leave us a five-star review on iTunes– oh, not iTunes, on Apple Podcasts. Check us out on Spotify. We’ll be doing some Spaces soon. Got a lot of other things rolling in, and word, much love to you all. Thank you so much for coming through. We’ll see you very soon. Much love and peace!