The Legend of Dick Kicking

Hear this and other tales in our latest Channel F podcast transcript!

In this week’s podcast transcript of Channel F, the Video Game Podcast About Video Games™, Danielle, Nerium and merritt assemble for another week of discussions, diatribes, deadly decisions and desktop villages (simulated). Oh, and Dick Kicking, obviously. Goes without saying. Dick Kicking.

In our first segment, the gang recounts their tense and/or relaxing gaming moments since last week’s episode, including Danielle’s experience watching her poor innocent girlfriend play through Disco Elysium for the first time. You probably knew that it’s possible to die in Disco Elysium, but even Danielle was surprised by just how fast her girlfriend exhausted Harrier “Harry” Du Bois’ will to live. Meanwhile, Nerium’s quest through the fanservice-filled world of Xenoblade Chronicles 2 continues, while merritt fumbles in Fortnite and fails to seal the deal.

(Also available on Spotify, or wherever you get your podcasts!)

After a brief run through of the (apparently pretty disappointing) latest DLC tracks for Mario Kart 8 Deluxe, we take a look at Steam’s New and Trending list to see if anything catches our eye. Is Vampire Survivors just a whole genre now, by the way? It sure seems like it. Not that Vampire Survivors was the first of its kind, mind you, but there’s definitely been an uptick in these sorts of games since VS‘ staggering sales chart ascension earlier this year.

And as always (for the last couple of weeks, at least), we end the episode with some helpful recommendations for living your daily life. Get it all in this week’s podcast transcript of Channel F!

Segments: Most Tense and Relaxing Moments, Steam New and Trending, Get Rec’d

Games discussed: Disco Elysium, Xenoblade Chronicles 2, Super Adventure Island, Fortnite, Mario Kart 8, Tyrant’s Blessing, Guilty Gear Strive, Desktopia: A Desktop Village Simulator, Deadwater Saloon Prologue, Hard West 2, GigaBash, Hooked On You, Turbo Golf Racing, Last Call BBS, Star Valor, The Mortuary Assistant, PlateUp!, Spellbook Demonslayers Prologue, SNKRX, Into The Breach, The Looker, Live A Live

Channel F Ep. 174: Full NPR Mode Podcast Transcript

Transcribed by E. Powers

merritt: [calming radio voice] Hello, and welcome to Channel F. I’m merritt k. I’m joined as always by Nerium. Danielle Riendeau is filling in for Fūnk-é Joseph today, and we are…

Danielle: Hi.

merritt: We’re in full NPR mode. We’re gonna discuss the newest video game releases, on this Monday, August 8th, 2022. How’d you like that?

Danielle: That’s beautiful.

merritt: Do you like that?

Danielle: That was gorgeous. I feel calm already.

merritt: Yeah.

Danielle: I feel ready to attack the week, you know?

merritt: You know, yeah let’s attack the week. We’re always getting attacked by the week, you know?

Danielle: [laughs] Yes.

merritt: Or being attacked by Friday Monsters is a big problem that I have.

Nerium: Ooh, yeah.

Danielle: Yeah.

Nerium: Wow, merritt.

merritt: That’s a reference for six people.

Nerium: I’m one of them, so five listening to this show.

merritt: [laughs] I’m so happy. And if you are one of those five people out there who got that…was that Level-5?

Nerium: Yeah, I believe so. Attack of the Friday Monsters.

merritt: Wow. I miss Fantasy Life. Did you ever play that?

Nerium: I did. I played a little bit of it, and I was like, oh, this game is going to be dangerous for me.

merritt: Oh, it was extremely dangerous, [Nerium laughs] because it’s basically an offline action MMO.

Nerium: Mm-hmm.

Danielle: Oh, God.

Nerium: It’s like Runescape, but like cute and fun and…

merritt: Yes, but cute.

Nerium: Mm-hmm.

merritt: And really good fun story actually, too.

Nerium: Yeah. Yeah. It’s great. But also…

merritt: But also. [Nerium laughs] It’s just…hey, do you want to–

Danielle: Is that a Game Boy Advance game?

merritt: Sorry?

Danielle: Or maybe…was that a Game Boy Advance game or was it DS?

merritt: 3DS.

Danielle: 3DS, okay.

merritt: It came out like several years later in North America than it did in Japan.

Danielle: Gotcha.

Nerium: Yes.

Danielle: Gotcha, gotcha.

Nerium: But I fucking loved that game. I don’t know if I ever actually finished it though, because it was one of those things where like the end game was just like, ah, you have to mine this first six hours, [Danielle: “Oof”] and then craft that into an armor suit that you can then do things with.

Danielle: Ah.

Nerium: Mm-hmm.

merritt: Jordan says, “Shout outs to Liberation Maiden.” Damn, Level-5 was really just on some shit in the 3DS era.

Nerium: Well, that was–

merritt: They were just like getting money to make like whatever weird little like shooters or visual novels they wanted to do.

Danielle: I love that.

Nerium: Liberation Maiden and Attack of the Friday Monsters were both part of their sort of– like Level-5…like Guild02 is what it was called.

merritt: Mm.

Nerium: It was like their Amnesia Fortnite, where it was just like, [merritt: “Yes, yeah”] everybody in the company had like a week to make a thing, and then they would put it out for like $5.

merritt: Yeah.

Danielle: I love that. That’s really good.

merritt: Hey. Can we just– let’s just celebrate Level-5 for a second, ‘cause they did Professor Layton. They did those ones.

Nerium: Mm-hmm.

Danielle: Yeah.

merritt: They did Dark Cloud.

Nerium: Oh my God. I fucking loved Dark Cloud.

merritt: I only played a bit of Dark Cloud 2, but it was very good.

Nerium: Also great.

merritt: I don’t think– I don’t know if they…yeah, no, they did. They did. They did Inazuma Eleven, [Nerium: “Mm-hmm”] the soccer anime thing.

Nerium: Mm-hmm.

merritt: Ni no Kuni.

Nerium: Mm-hmm.

merritt: Yo-kai Watch.

Nerium: Mm-hmm.

Danielle: Ah, yeah.

merritt: Rogue Galaxy.

Nerium: People– Rogue Galaxy has its defenders. I’ve played a little bit of it.

merritt: Mm-hmm, mm-hmm.

Nerium: And I think…it’s okay, but it’s…yeah, it’s not necessarily for me.

merritt: Sure.

Nerium: But people like it.

Danielle: Hmm.

merritt: I think there was a weird Fantasy Life mobile version that came out. Oh, there’s a– oh, they did True Fantasy Live Online, which never came out.

Nerium: Oh.

merritt: That was supposed to be for the original Xbox.

Danielle: Oh.

merritt: It was basically done, but it never came out, and it was like an MMO for the Xbox.

Nerium: Do you ever get Level-5 and Factor 5 confused, like I do?

merritt: All the time.

Danielle: Oh, God, yes.

Nerium: Perfect. ‘Cause every time I think of Fantasy Life– not Fantasy Life, Level-5, I always think, “Oh, the people who made Lair,” and that’s not true at all. [laughter]

merritt: Yeah, no.

Danielle: Right, Lair.

merritt: Also, when you search Factor 5, the first thing that comes up is a mutation in one of the clotting factors in the blood.

Nerium: Oh.

Danielle: Yeah!

merritt: So, you know, their SEO could be better. Well…oh, no, they came back. Right. I forgot. They were liquidated.

Nerium: Yeah.

merritt: They were turned into, uh, human goo.

Nerium: Yeah.

Danielle: Right, right.

Nerium: And fed to babies inside of the battery farms, yeah.

Danielle: Yeah.

merritt: Fed to babies and used to animate a giant robot.

Nerium: Wait did they come back?

merritt: Sorry, that happens in Live Alive.

Nerium: [laughs] Oh, I thought you were talking about the ending of Matrix: The Path of Neo.

merritt: Uh…you know, you know.

Danielle: It’s similar to that, isn’t it, what happens there?

merritt: It’s all poetry. It rhymes. No, they came back. Julian Eggebrecht reacquired the rights to the Turrican franchise.

Danielle: Oh.

Nerium: Oh.

merritt: Which is one of the first things that they did in like the late eighties, and…

Nerium: Huh.

merritt: Turrican, man, that game is weird, because– okay, I don’t know if you remember, but like a year or two ago I talked about Turrican on this podcast, because they released like a compilation.

Nerium: Yeah.

Danielle: Hmm.

merritt: They released another two compilations, like last month.

Danielle: Wow.

Nerium: Yeah.

Danielle: In the same month.

Nerium: Wait, I keep getting emails about this.

merritt: Yeah. Instead of– it was like Turrican like anthology or something, and then they’re like, oh, this is Turrican Flashback. Or it was the other way around, I forget. And it’s like, what are you guys doing? Like, how many times can you– I mean, Turrican is fun, but like how many times can you re-release these? It’s been like a year, what are you doing? And I was wondering if it was like some rights thing or something, but like, no, it seems to be the same company, so they just are like, man, we just really want people to play this. Do you know that Level-5 made a game called Tony & Friends in Kellogg’s Land for MS-DOS in 1994?

Danielle: Oh, that’s beautiful.

Nerium: Oh.

Danielle: That sounds like a banger, right there.

Nerium: Now, is that about like Cap’n Crunch or some other sort of cereal?

merritt: There is no Wikipedia page for it, so I could not tell you.

Nerium: Okay.

merritt: They also made Elmo’s Letter Adventure. Well, they did the sound compression technology on it, but.

Nerium: Oh, okay.

merritt: Yeah. [Danielle laughs]

Nerium: They made Time Travelers, which was a PlayStation Vita visual novel that I really, really wanted to play.

merritt: Mm.

Danielle: Ah.

Nerium: But it only ever came out in Japan at the time, but I was like way into Steins;Gate.

merritt: Wait, this is Level-5 or Factor 5?

Nerium: Level-5. I thought we were… [Danielle laughs]

merritt: Level-5. Oh, I was talking about Factor 5 with the last thing.

Nerium: Oh!

Danielle: It happened in real life, right there.

Nerium: It did! [Nerium and Danielle laugh]

merritt: Yeah, in real time. Real time confusing them.

Nerium: Ahh.

Danielle: Ahh.

Nerium: And then they went on– there was also– they made 428: Shibuya Scramble later, which was great.

merritt: Mm, yes.

Nerium: No, wait, they did that first.

merritt: Fantasy Life Online is a mobile game that– oh, it was discontinued.

Danielle: Huh. Well.

merritt: Oh, discontinued in the West? I don’t know. Who knows?

Nerium: It says the only– like when under console on their page or under platforms, it says Xbox for True Fantasy Live Online.

merritt: Yeah, that’s different from Fantasy– True Fantasy Live Online [Nerium: “Oh”] is different from Fantasy Life Online.

Nerium: Oh!

merritt: So, you know, just, it’s a real Factor Five/Level-5 situation. [Nerium laughs]

Danielle: Oh my God.

merritt: Well, let’s talk about some video games that aren’t from 20 years ago that six people played. I want to start us off with a question today, which is: what is the most tense moment you had in a game this week? And conversely…and/or conversely, what is the most relaxed moment you had in a game this week?

Danielle: Ah.

Nerium: Mm.

Danielle: Ah.

merritt: So we’re talking about extremes. We’re talking about nail biting high tension moments, and we’re talking about laid back chill moments, because I think games can do both, and…

Danielle: They contain multitudes. Yeah.

merritt: They really do. So, yeah, Danielle, did you want to kick us off?

Danielle: I would love to, and I just shared a reference screenshot.

Nerium: Ooh.

Danielle: I know that’s not a thing for podcast, but this is just for your edification.

Nerium: Oh, I know what this is.

Danielle: My most exciting– my most tense moment came from Into the Breach. So, Into the Breach, you know, is the game that I play everyday.

merritt: No, this is a new game for you.

Danielle: It is, sort of.

merritt: You just picked this one up, mm-hmm.

Danielle: Uh…so, Into the Breach released a massive, massive new content thing at the end of July. So it is actually new. This is a brand new squad for me.

merritt: Oh.

Danielle: So it is new. I promise it’s relevant. I wasn’t just gonna talk about Into the Breach, because you know, I know. You need a hook, right? You gotta have some kind of hook, and it is…oh my God, they put out like I think five new teams, new squads, tons of new enemies, tons of new pilots. Really, it is genuinely a lot of new content. I wrote about a little bit on the website, on, but I was sort of working towards my first four island victory with this new squad. They’re called the Arachnoids, and they’re very cute. They’re very purple, and they’re–

Nerium: Wait, Danielle.

Danielle: Yes?

Nerium: Can I ask for a point of clarification right off of that?

Danielle: Please, please. Yeah.

Nerium: First four island victory with this DLC or ever?

Danielle: Oh, no, no, not ever. [laughs]

Nerium: Okay, ’cause I was–

Danielle: No, I’ve put 3,000 hours into this game.

Nerium: Got it.

Danielle: No, with this new squad, with this brand new squad that I hadn’t played with before. You know, I kind of worked on it for a couple of days. I got a two island, I got a three island, you know.

Nerium: Gotcha, gotcha.

Danielle: It’s sort of a roguelite tactics-based game, so, you know, there’s like these…it’s considered islands, and once you beat two of them, you can go to the final island. But if you beat all four, things get much harder, but also you get more powerful. There’s a lot of really lovely design choices in this game that I admire forever. But this was a brand new team for me, and it was like, okay, I’m getting towards the very end. So I was in the final battle, and I had gotten through to like the second turn of like the very, very, very final stage of the final battle, and the game just gave me this like, “Well, you’re fucked now.” Like, so many enemies, they were all attacking all of my weak points. And if you’ve ever played the game, you only ever have three characters, like three mechs.

merritt: Mm-hmm, mm-hmm.

Danielle: And usually you’re outnumbered by a factor of two to three by enemies. So, it really just gave me this like giant shit sandwich, and I was just like, “Fuck! What am I gonna do? What am I gonna do? What am I gonna do?” And I actually did win. I did find my way out of this situation that was like just a giant clusterfuck. And like, it was like, oh, every tile your mechs are on are instant death tiles, and every single enemy is attacking all your weak points, and just everything was kind of going wrong in this turn. But thankfully I had played well enough to have a little bit of leeway, that like I could take a few hits basically, and as long as I was very strategic about what I protected, I was able to get through it. But it really like, it was one of those moments. It’s not like the most intense and sweaty game, but it does have those sweaty moments, and that was one of them.

merritt: Mm.

Danielle: It was a big battle, a pitched battle if you will. But yeah, that was it. That was it for me. That was my exciting one. I have a chill one too. Do you want to hear the chill one? It’s very short.

merritt: Yeah, please.

Danielle: It’s a very short one, and it’s just, it’s like a collection of moments, but I just want to say, I have been watching my girlfriend play Disco Elysium.

Nerium: Ooh!

Danielle: And it has been the most wonderful experience for me, [merritt laughs] very chill for me, because I kind of know, [Nerium laughs] you know, kind of what’s going on, and she’s just like, “What the fuck?” And she somehow died– not to the tie, not to the tie. This is very important.

merritt: Mm, mm-hmm.

Nerium: Yeah, the classic trap.

Danielle: She somehow died like twice in the first hour, like to the conversation with Cuno. [Nerium laughs] Like, she died– Harry lost his will to live like multiple times in the conversation with Cuno.

merritt: Oh my God.

Nerium: Uh huh.

Danielle: And it was very funny to me. I was like, I didn’t even know you could die in this! Like, I had no idea. It was just very amusing. She’s loving the game, and it’s been so fun to just kind of watch her decisions and how she’s been playing, and it’s been real chill to kind of sit back and watch her tackle it. [laughs]

Nerium: She’s living like the “teenagers told me I dropped my gay card” like meme, but…

merritt: Mm-hmm.

Nerium: [laughs] But Harry talking to Cuno.

Danielle: A hundred percent! Harry just kept fucking dying to Cuno, and I kept just like cracking up. She’s like, “What am I doing wrong?” I was like, “I don’t even know! This is amazing!”

Nerium: I love Cuno so much, too. Ugh, what a good game!

Danielle: What a good game, yeah.

Nerium: Ugh. Have you played it like the…is your girlfriend playing the final cut, I assume? ’cause that’s version that exists now?

Danielle: Yeah, it’s on the PlayStation.

Nerium: Okay.

Danielle: And it’s like the same version I played, which was the final cut, but it used to be buggy, so I never actually beat it, because it bugged out on me.

Nerium: Right.

Danielle: I’m pretty sure they patched it at this point, but like it was that first week that the PlayStation director’s– whatever, the final edition with the final voice acting [laughs] came out. So I’m actually very excited to see how the game fucking ends, because I couldn’t get to it before.

Nerium: Mm, mm-hmm.

Danielle: I guess that was a chill slash exciting moment, then. [laughs]

Nerium: I love that your chill moment is watching your girlfriend die multiple times from being insulted so badly by a horrible little goblin child.

Danielle: Mm-hmm, that she loses the world to live. It’s pretty funny. [Danielle and Nerium laugh]

merritt: Mm-hmm. Yeah, I remember when she told me about that. I was just like, wait, you can die in Disco Elysium?

Danielle: Nobody knew! It’s so funny.

merritt: I think I forgot, ’cause it had been so long since I’d played it. [Danielle laughs] I just forgot that– of course you can, like the tie thing is something you can die really early on. But yeah, that made me want to revisit it.

Danielle: Yeah. What a great game.

Nerium: Yeah.

Danielle: What a classic.

merritt: Good stuff.

Danielle: Yeah.

merritt:I haven’t played the final cut either, so.

Danielle: Oh.

Nerium: It’s good.

merritt: Yeah.

Nerium: The voice acting is really, really good.

Danielle: Yeah, yeah.

Nerium: It really heightens it, and there’s like a couple of new quests and stuff, so.

merritt: Yeah. Yeah, no, it would be cool to hear it like fully voice acted.

Nerium: [sighs] Just hearing Kim just like [Danielle: “Agh”] say all that stuff to you and also like hearing all of your different like voices and interactions and stuff throughout the whole thing.

merritt: Mm.

Nerium: Ugh, it’s so good.

Nerium: It’s fantastic.

Nerium: God, I restarted on PlayStation like a few months ago too, and I just need to get– I got buried under other new things, and I just need to get back to it.

Danielle: Oh, sure.

merritt: Mm-hmm, mm-hmm.

Danielle: Yeah.

Nerium: Agh, I just miss that game so much.

Danielle: It’s a good one. It’s good.

Nerium: They’re hiring.

Danielle: Just crack open a cold one. Oh, are they? Oh.

Nerium: Yeah, they just hired…ZA/UM. I don’t know how you pronounce it, ’cause it’s like capital A–

Danielle: I liked that pronunciation. Yeah.

Nerium: Yeah.

merritt: Uh huh.

Nerium: It’s like all capitals with a slash in the middle, but it’s ZA/UM. but yeah, they were…last week or so, whatever, they put up like job listings for somebody to like help them write in a sci-fi setting or something, which Disco Elysium is kind of a sci-fi setting, so it could be more Disco Elysium content.

Danielle: Yeah. Cool.

Nerium: I would be shocked if they didn’t do some kind of expansion to that game, but yeah. They also have that TV series coming out eventually.

merritt: Oh, yeah.

Danielle: Ah.

Nerium: Which, I don’t know what to expect from that.

merritt: God, I can’t wait until it gets cold so I can wear that jacket.

Danielle: Yes! The jacket.

Nerium: That $400 jacket or whatever it was, [laughs] but it looks so good!

merritt: That’s a reasonable price for a jacket.

Nerium: It really is, yeah. [Danielle laughs]

merritt: You know what? It’s made by some old lady in…

Nerium: Mm-hmm. Ohio.

merritt: I don’t think it was Ohio, but it could have been. And you know what? Yeah. It’s like handmade. It’s like gonna, you know…

Nerium: It’ll last you.

merritt: Yeah.

Nerium: It also–

Danielle: It’ll– I like that. It’ll last you. Yeah.

merritt: I just, I bought it like two months ago, and it has been too hot to wear it ever since, so.

Nerium: Mm.

Danielle: Fair.

merritt: It’s going to be 100 degrees in New York tomorrow.

Danielle: Yeah.

Nerium: Oh.

merritt: So hopefully in, you know, a month or two, I’ll be able to wear it.

Nerium: I’ve never done this before, but what if I asked you all to just move to Fargo, North Dakota? [Danielle laughs]

merritt: Oh, it doesn’t get very hot there, does it?

Nerium: It’s 75 degrees out right now.

merritt: Sorry? What?

Danielle: Wow.

Nerium: 75 degrees out right now.

Danielle: That sounds pleasant.

merritt: That’s nice.

Nerium: Tomorrow, it’s low of 57.

merritt: What?

Nerium: It does get a little bit hotter, it gets–

merritt: That’s weirdly cold.

Nerium: Yeah.

Danielle: Hmm.

Nerium: Well, that’s at night, I assume. It also gets really windy out here, ’cause there’s like very little tree coverage.

merritt: Oh. Yeah, I can’t do that. Not a big wind fan.

Danielle: Yeah.

Nerium: I love wind. I love rain.

Danielle: But do you love fire?

Nerium: Yeah. That’s up there.

merritt: What about earth? [Danielle laughs]

Nerium: Uh, earth? Mm…

Danielle: Eh. [laughs]

Nerium: I mean, I’ll take earth. If I need earth to get the others, I’ll take it with wind and fire, yeah.

merritt: Okay, well, so it’s sort of a, you know, tentative yes to Earth, Wind, and Fire.

Nerium: Yeah.

merritt: Okay.

Danielle: Gotcha, gotcha, gotcha, yeah.

Nerium: Mm-hmm.

merritt: Good to know. Yeah, well, Nere, what about you? What have you been playing? Any exciting moments in game– [voice] exciting moments in gaming of the week?

Nerium: [laughs] Um, hmm. So, I think I talked about this, maybe. I don’t know if we talked about it a ton last week or not, but I might have mentioned that I played Xenoblade. I was playing Xenoblade Chronicles 1.

merritt: Mm-hmm.

Nerium: Definitive edition, the Switch port.

Danielle: Ah.

merritt: With Seven.

Nerium: Um, what? Sorry?

merritt: With Seven. Seven, the character Seven.

Nerium: Oh, with Seven! Yes, we talked about Seven. That’s right. I beat that, and I beat the like epilogue that they added to the Switch version of that game as well, and it was fine. That was whatever. It was interesting to finally see the end of that game, ’cause I’ve played that game on every single platform that it has ever come out on and restarted it. I played it on Switch, I played it on 3DS, and then I played it on this finally.

merritt: Mm.

Nerium: And I just never beat the last like third of it, basically. So it was interesting to see like, oh, this is how this thing ends, huh? Weird. All right. Because also that game was like a not terribly popular Wii game. It was, you know, it was fairly popular [merritt: “Mm-hmm”] when it came out in the West, but it was like part of Operation Rainfall, so it was like…

merritt: Yeah, it was like one of the last games that was released, right?

Nerium: Right, yeah. And it was a game that like Nintendo and a bunch of other– and like the publishers and stuff were like, “This isn’t big enough or important enough to translate into English,” and a bunch of people raised hell about that and were like, “Hey, there are these like three great games in Japan on the Wii that you just never brought over to English.”

Danielle: Mm.

Nerium: And it was Pandora’s Tower, The Last Story, and then this one, and I think all of those games are fairly well regarded. I think Xenoblade ended up being the one that like became a franchise hit. But it was like interesting to see how that game ended, like being made as it was in, in an era where they probably never expected to do a sequel to it. [Nerium and Danielle laugh] And so like the ending is just really weird. But now I am going back to my save in Xenoblade Chronicles 2 from 2016 or whenever the hell I booted that game up. It couldn’t have been ‘16, ’cause it was a Switch game, so it was like late ‘17, early ‘18, something like that.

merritt: Mm-hmm.

Nerium: And my most stressful gaming moment of the week is playing Xenoblade Chronicles 2, because I forgot– [Nerium and Danielle laugh] I remember being a pretty staunch defender of that game when it came out. Not staunch, but I remember writing a little bit about like, “Oh yeah, this game’s really cool.” And now I’m going back to it now, and it’s just like, it feels like a game that was put together by alligators. [laughter] I can’t believe that–

merritt: Now, say more about that. [laughter]

Nerium: I can’t believe that human eyes touched large swathes of the user experience and like user interface in this game and were like, “Yeah, this is good. This is a thing people want. This is cool and fun.” ‘Cause like, large parts of it are just like massive steps back from Xenoblade Chronicles 1, [Danielle and merritt: “Hmm”] in ways that make no sense whatsoever. So like, I was trying to get to a new location. There’s basically this thing where I had to get to some cave and pick up some magical artifact with my party or whatever. And these games are always like set in these massive, massive, massive– this is like one thing that they always do well, even in 2, Monolith Soft, the developers, that is. Not to be confused with Monolith. It’s a real Factor 5/Level-5 situation.

merritt: Mm-hmm. [laughs]

Nerium: There is– you know, I have to get into this big cave, but I’m going through this massive open world that like looks really gorgeous. They have like just some of the best landscapes out there, and it’s like incredibly impressive that they’re able to make levels this big that like have such incredible draw distances and look so good. So it’s like this big open icy world. The problem, the downside to having those big giant open worlds is that it’s easy to get lost, especially if you don’t have like a really good objective marker system.

merritt: Mm-hmm, mm-hmm.

Nerium: Which, definitive edition at the very least– I haven’t gone back and played the Wii version, so maybe it wasn’t as good in the Wii version, but definitive edition of Xenoblade Chronicles 1 just does the thing where it’s like, we will draw a GPS line on your map for how to get to a place.

merritt: Mm.

Nerium: Xenoblade Chronicles 2 doesn’t do that.

merritt: Mm.

Nerium: Instead it was like, it’s “Go here,” and then it’s like an objective marker on a compass, little pink thing, and it says down, and that’s it. And I’m in the fucking middle of the Antarctic [merritt sighs, Danielle laughs] on a continent-sized [merritt: “Mm-hmm”] video game map that is like one giant sort of midgar layer level of like ice and stuff way above a thing, but you can’t just jump down, ’cause you die from fall damage.

merritt: Mm.

Nerium: So you have to like take a very specific path to get down there, [Danielle laughs] and it’s like, I’m wandering around, wandering around, wandering around. I finally watched a YouTube video, and what it wanted me to do was walk to this like giant icicle.

merritt: Mm-hmm.

Nerium: And I had to like– because I like found the right way to go forward, but it was like a broken bridge, so it was like, okay, clearly this isn’t the right way to go, ’cause the objective marker doesn’t point me to this, and also there’s nothing in my objective description that mentions like, “Oh, interact with this icicle” or whatever. But by this big bridge, there’s a huge icicle. The solution ends up being you have to push the big icicle down to form a new natural bridge between this broken bridge. [Danielle laughs] Which, that’s fine by itself.

merritt: Mm-hmm.

Nerium: Except you can’t just walk up and push the thing down. There’s no indication whatsoever that you can even do that.

merritt: Mm.

Nerium: So I’ve been walking around this stupid thing for hours and then finally look it up in the YouTube video, and it’s, you have to not go up to where you need to push the icicle down. You have to instead walk up a big giant ramp slope thing, that again has no objective marker indication whatsoever, is not mentioned anywhere.

merritt: Cool.

Nerium: Up on top of this ridge, stand on a very specific ledge, then that ledge shatters underneath your feet, and then that releases the icicle so that you can finally go up and press the button that says now you can push an icicle over. [merritt sighs] None of this is explained.

merritt: Mm.

Danielle: This is an alligator move. Yeah, absolutely a fucking alligator move.

Nerium: Alligator moves! I know!

Danielle: Yes. Yes.

Nerium: And it’s just like, everything about the game was like this! Everything is just like, everything– every time you close the– you open the map, and like, it takes like two seconds for the map to load, which doesn’t feel like much, but like when you’re doing it a bunch of times over and over again, really adds up. And then every time you close the map, the map closes, but there’s like a hidden invisible load before you can do anything else behind that. So if you close the map and are like, “Actually, I really need to look at that map again,” you press the map button again, and the game just goes “uh-uh, uh-uh, uh-uh” [Danielle: “Oh no”] at you for like two or three seconds before it like finally finishes unloading the map so that you can then reload the map. And then like, everything in the game that you do has these like unskippable little animations and like [merritt: “Mm”] voice lines and stuff like that everywhere. And it’s charming in Xenoblade Chronicles 1, ’cause a lot of that stuff is just in the background. It’s just happening. But in this one, it’s like Xenoblade Chronicles 2 is like, no, you have to sit here and listen to this character say this and do this, and you cannot move on until you are finished watching them go, ‘All right!’ before they level up and then move onto the next one.

merritt: “I’m really feeling it!”

Danielle: Wow.

Nerium: Yeah. And it’s just like, how did– why is this such a step back? It is so overdesigned, is the actual problem.

merritt: Mm.

Nerium: Like Xenoblade Chronicles 1 is a fairly tight experience, but Xenoblade Chronicles 2, they very clearly just had like their ambition really outstripped their ability to like put any time or attention or care into most of that stuff, which like ends up manifesting in a bunch of weird ways of like the character designs in this game are usually the thing that most people remember about Xenoblade Chronicles 2, because they’re fucking terrible.

merritt: Mm.

Nerium: This is the Mythra, Pyra, big giant anime booby game.

merritt: Oh, yeah, yeah, yeah.

Danielle: Oh! Okay.

Nerium: And they’re just– but like a bunch of the characters– most of the characters are not designed by the same artist, so like huge swathes that the cast of this game just don’t look like they belong in the same video game together, and I was like, why do the bad guys look so weird? They don’t look like they belong in this universe, and they certainly don’t sound like it. The voice acting is also bizarre.

merritt: Mm-hmm.

Nerium: I looked it up, and it’s like, the bad guys were designed by Tetsuya Nomura. [laughs]

merritt: Aha.

Danielle: Ah.

Nerium: Nobody else was, so half of them look like Kingdom Hearts 2 characters, but then the good guys don’t look like that at all. It’s very off putting, and the whole game is just a mess. I’m really excited, but like, I don’t want to just…mm, I’m way more than halfway done with it already. I was even more than halfway done with it before I stopped playing it. And now I’m just like, I just want to finish it and say that I have finished it, so I can move on to 3, which seems like more people generally like, but then I encounter things like that icicle or like there have been multiple fights now where I’m just like walking around and get into a boss fight.

merritt: A giant dinosaur attacks you and kills you immediately? [Danielle laughs]

Nerium: That would be– you know what? That would be fine by comparison, but it’s…

merritt: Mm.

Danielle: Oh no!

Nerium: A giant dinosaur comes out and fucking kills me immediately, but they don’t just kill me immediately. It’s like, I get into a fight with them for like five minutes, and I’m like, “Okay, I’m doing okay now,” and then the dinosaur like steps like three inches to the left and slides off a cliff and then falls down [Danielle: “No!”] to a platform 50 feet below, but he doesn’t take fall damage ’cause he’s an AI.

merritt: Sure. Of course, of course.

merritt: Oh.

Nerium: So if I go down there, I take fall damage and die, and then I have to run back across fucking Antarctica to get back to this fucking dinosaur, [Danielle: “No!”] and he’s at full health again, and then–

merritt: Wait, why– do you have to fight? Can you just leave?

Nerium: Oftentimes, you can just leave, but it’s like a lot of the side quests and stuff like that are tied to that.

Danielle: Is it the principle of the thing at that point though?

merritt: Mm.

Nerium: It’s the principle of the thing!

merritt: I see, I see.

Danielle: That fucking dinosaur had what was coming to him, and then he tried to get out of the fight. Like, you just want him dead at that point, right?

Nerium: He’ll be out of the fight, or he’ll just like, he’ll do a thing, and it’s like, oops, my healer just got knocked off a cliff, and I can’t revive her ’cause her corpse is 5,000 feet below me, [Danielle laughs] and the way that the revives work in this game, you have to walk up to a person and revive them.

merritt: That seems good.

Nerium: And so like multiple times, these fights just like ending out of nowhere because like the movement pattern just like glitched and I fell off. And like, not just multiple times against the same boss, multiple fights throughout the game that are designed in this weird way where it’s like, they want you in this very tiny precarious little arena that you have to stand on top of. It’s infuriating.

merritt: Mm.

Nerium: I really hope 3 is better. I hope people aren’t fucking blown smoke up my ass about 3 being good, [merritt sighs] because I’ve put a lot of work in to try and get to that point and whoooo nelly.

merritt: Yeah, that sounds bad.

Danielle: Ugh!

Nerium: Anyway, I went on a real rant about that. I’m so sorry.

merritt: No, I’m sorry that…

Danielle: I’m sorry about that dinosaur, ’cause that’s…

merritt: I’m sorry that you’re going through that.

Danielle: Yeah, that sounds annoying.

merritt: That sounds rough. [Danielle laughs]

Nerium: [sighs] But I got it off my chest now. and it feels much better.

merritt: Good. Good, I’m glad. That’s good. That’s what this show’s all about. [Danielle laughs]

Nerium: Yeah.

merritt: But…trying to think if I…I don’t know, I haven’t actually had that much time to play stuff this week.

Nerium: Mm.

merritt: I played Super Adventure Island on my Anbernic emulator device.

Danielle: Yes!

merritt: Because I wanted to play a Super Nintendo game that I could beat in under an hour.

Nerium: Ooh!

merritt: And I did that, and it’s not that good a game, but… [others laugh] but it’s good music, so that was pretty chill. That was pretty relaxing. I had some tense moments in Fortnite.

Danielle: Yes.

merritt: I got to like the final, you know, the final little circle with, [Danielle: “Yes”] in trios mode, after like…I was with one other person, because either we didn’t get matched with a third or our third died immediately and then just left. [Nerium laughs] But it was just me and this one other person, and he was like so good, and we were both just like sniping people the whole time, and we got to like the very end and then just whiffed it, and I was like, ah, man.

Nerium: Oof, oof, oof.

merritt: But…

Nerium: Did you have fun, though? Were you still like having a good time?

merritt: Yeah, yeah, yeah.

Nerium: Okay.

merritt: No, yeah, Fortnite. I don’t know if I’ll like keep playing it without people I know, just ’cause it’s much more fun, you know, when you’re like squaded up with your pals.

Nerium: Yeah.

Danielle: Yeah.

merritt: But it’s like, it’s all right otherwise. And you know, it’s one of those games where you’re like getting stuff every time, [laughs] like you’re just getting like [Danielle: “Yeah”] experience and stuff for like everything you do, so they definitely plug into your brain that way to try to get you to keep playing.

Danielle: That’s my favorite part of that game, for sure. Yeah.

merritt: Yeah, they’re like, “Oh, you jumped six times. That’s 1000 experience.”

Danielle: Yep.

Nerium: Mm-hmm.

merritt: Great job. Great work.

Danielle: And all little quests and all the little…

Nerium: It’s the Oblivion of battle royales.

merritt: Yeah. I unlocked Indiana Jones by doing some quests, which is cool.

Danielle: Good.

Nerium: Ooh.

merritt: So I can be Indiana Jones and do Fortnite dances now as Indiana Jones.

Danielle: Yep.

Nerium: Did you have to grab the Indiana Jones off of a pressure sensitive plate and replace it with a Harley Quinn of equal or less weight?

merritt: I did not, but that would’ve been really funny.

Danielle: Ahh.

merritt: I did have to find some like idols and I did have to shoot people from a moving vehicle, [Nerium laughs, “Okay”] so they did try to sort of make it kind of like you’re doing stuff from the movie, I guess.

Nerium: Yeah.

Danielle: I actually wrote like a little piece—again, on—that was rating all of the quests alongside the scenes it came from [merritt: “Oh, nice, yeah”] in the Indiana Jones series. The truck one was probably the most fun, I have to say, personally.

merritt: Yeah, yeah.

Danielle: I was trying to match some trucks, yeah.

merritt: I did that one with Nikki.

Danielle: Good, good, yeah.

merritt: They jumped in a truck, and I was just shooting off the back of it.

Danielle: Oh, that’s wonderful.

merritt: So that was cool.

Danielle: Just like Indiana always wanted.

merritt: Just like him. There is no quest where you have to have sex with someone who you later find out also slept with your dad, thankfully.

Danielle: Right!

Nerium: Oh, yeah.

merritt: Because that would be weird.

Nerium: Yeah.

Danielle: Yeah.

merritt: That’s like kind of a pretty major plot point of that movie.

Nerium: Mm-hmm.

Danielle: It is.

merritt: [laughs] I saw it fairly recently again for the first time in like 20 years and was like, huh. Did not remember that. Probably didn’t get it as a kid.

Danielle: [laughs] Yeah.

Nerium: Did you have to grab a statue’s boobs to reveal a secret door?

merritt: Does that happen?

Nerium: That’s in Temple of Doom.

Danielle: Oh my God, that is in Temple of Doom.

merritt: Temple of Doom is the one I haven’t seen in like a long time [Nerium: “Okay”] and probably won’t rewatch. That’s like the really like weird one, right?

Nerium: I think it’s the…I think it’s rated R? Or was the…

merritt: Yeah, someone’s heart gets ripped out of their chest like Kano style.

Nerium: Yeah, and then lit on fire in front of them.

Danielle: That movie is so terrible.

merritt: God, Tuesdays, am I right?

Danielle: Ah!

Nerium: I don’t think it was– it might not have been rated RIGHT, but it might have been one of the movies where…’cause there was like a couple of movies from around that era where they were like, “We need a different rating that isn’t PG and isn’t R. We need something that sits in the middle.”

Danielle: It was one of the first. Yeah.

merritt: Mm, PG-13.

Nerium: It was created for, yeah.

Danielle: Mm-hmm.

merritt: Oh, yes, yeah.

Nerium: PG-13 was created for the movie.

merritt: I see. I see. Oh, yeah. Okay, yeah, it was…that was, yeah. Spielberg was like, “Hey, make a new rating for it. Just like, ’cause you guys hated Gremlins also, so.”

Nerium: Yeah.

Danielle: Ha! Yeah.

Nerium: PG is now like considered–

merritt: We need a rating for when a mom dual wields in a movie. [laughter]

Danielle: Clearly.

merritt: When a mom does dual wielding, that is rated DW-13.

Danielle: Oh!

Nerium: Christ.

merritt: That’s also when DW from Arthur is in the movie, so.

Nerium: Oh, I thought you were talking about Darkwing Duck.

merritt: Uh, also, sure, that too.

Danielle: DW, icon.

merritt: That mom– hey, in Gremlins, I don’t know if you’ve seen it recently. The mom in that movie, who I believe is played by Polly Holliday, I think, or Frances Lee McCain– I forget who the mom is.

Danielle: Yeah.

merritt: But…Frances Lee McCain.

Danielle: Yes.

merritt: She just starts…like she sees gremlins and they haven’t done anything yet, and she starts fucking stuffing them in the microwave and in the blender [Danielle: “Yep”] and dual wielding knives and just like killing them.

Nerium: Mm-hmm.

Danielle: Yup. It’s fucked.

merritt: Just instinctively, like, oh, these things shouldn’t exist.

Nerium: [laughs] Right.

Danielle: Utterly fucked.

merritt: I need to banish them to hell.

Nerium: Unnatural.

merritt: It’s her nature.

Nerium: It’s really funny how that show or how that scene from that movie also inspired the hit manga, Do You Love Your Mom and Her Two-Hit Multi-Target Attacks?

merritt: Jesus Christ. [sighs]

Nerium: They were referring to the microwave and how she dual wielded the–

merritt: Yeah.

Nerium: That was the multi hit.

merritt: Oh, yeah.

Nerium: ‘Cause it was like, it was dual wield to get ‘em in the microwave.

merritt: There’s like a combo going up every tick of–

Nerium: Yeah.

merritt: The microwave does tick damage, so yeah.

Nerium: Right.

Danielle: Hmm.

merritt: Hey, let’s talk about some new games and stuff that are coming out and that have come out.

Danielle: Ooh.

merritt: Last week, the second round of DLC courses for Mario Kart 8 Deluxe came out.

Danielle: Ooh.

merritt: And I was enjoying those, and…I will say though, some of these DLC courses, not quite on the same level as the courses from the original game.

Nerium: Huh.

merritt: Especially the ones that are like uprezzed [Danielle: “Yeah”] phone ones, like the New York Minute level is embarrassing for a Mario Kart course.

Nerium: Mm. [Danielle laughs]

merritt: It’s just, nothing happens. There’s huge swathes of like areas that in the base game would be textured or have something going on visually interesting that are just like a flat color.

Danielle: Yeah.

merritt: Even the sundae level, where it’s like a big like dessert level.

Danielle: I was gonna ask about that one, ’cause that was what I was most interested.

merritt: Kinda disappointing. Didn’t look great.

Danielle: Oh no!

merritt: I feel like the best track in that batch is Waluigi Pinball from DS.

Danielle: Okay. Okay.

merritt: But yeah, kind of a bummer, but do other of you still play Mario Kart?

Danielle: Sometimes. I have not played this one yet.

Nerium: “Still” is a strong word.

merritt: “Still,” yeah. [Danielle laughs] I basically just, I have it on my Switch, ’cause once in a while I just like get a wild hair to just play some Mario Kart. I find it very relaxing.

Danielle: Yeah.

merritt: And so, with the new courses, you know, I check in whenever they release more.

Nerium: Right.

merritt: And this batch, I feel like the first batch was actually better. This set, I don’t know. I don’t know. But it’s wild, ’cause there’s like a lot of these. Like, you can see all of the like Grand Prixs that they’re going to release. They don’t say what the levels are, but there’s like a lot, and they’re like, “This will be released by the end of 2023.” Like, oh.

Danielle: [laughs quietly] Yeah.

merritt: Okay.

Nerium: That’s a long time from now. What?

merritt: Yeah.

Danielle: The Mario Kart factory is hard at work pumping them out, working on the little assets every day.

merritt: So–

Nerium: In fairness, that does give them time to release the waterproof Switch Pro. [merritt laughs]

Danielle: Oh.

merritt: Uh huh?

Nerium: Because the planet will be underwater by 20– that’s the joke.

merritt: Oh, wow.

Danielle: I got you. I got you. Yeah.

merritt: That’s good. I love that.

Nerium: That’s the fun goof I was doing.

Danielle: It’s good.

merritt: Okay, so wave one came out in March, and that had Paris Promenade from Tour, [Danielle: “Mm-hmm”] Toad Circuit from 3DS, Choco Mountain from N64, and Coconut Mall from the Wii.

Nerium: Coconut Mall from the Wii?!

Danielle: Wow.

merritt: I fucking love Coconut Mall.

Danielle: Wow!

Nerium: Yeah?

merritt: They also had Tokyo Blue from Tour, Shroom Bridge from DS, Sky Garden from Game Boy Advance, and Ninja Hideaway from Tour. Ninja Hideaway actually is a pretty cool map, and there’s like a lot going on in it. This one included New York Minute from Tour, Mario Circuit 3 from SNES, Calamari Desert from N64, which was fun to go back to.

Danielle: Ah, classic, yeah.

merritt: God, that brings back memories. [Danielle laughs] Waluigi Pinball, Sydney Sprint from Tour, Snow Land from Game Boy Advance, Mushroom Gorge from Wii, and Sky High Sunday from Tour. And there’s a ton left. Yeah, it’s just kind of a bummer that a lot of them just don’t look great, but…

Danielle: Mm.

Nerium: Can I say what I know about this new DLC, as somebody who has played I think four races in Mario Kart ever? [Danielle laughs]

merritt: Uh huh.

Nerium: Of any game.

Danielle: How is that possible?

Nerium: The first I really– ah, I probably saw it at a Nintendo Direct and immediately forgot about it, that this stuff was happening, but beyond that, the first news I saw of these new DLC tracks was a tweet that was somebody basically showing like, “Oh, they got it right this time! They did the thing!” And it was like showing one of the tracks.

merritt: My blorbos are here!

Nerium: Right. It was like showing one of the tracks where there’s like other like AI cars on the track, like NPC cars, and the cars were moving, and people were like, “This is the greatest thing ever! [merritt and Danielle laugh] The cars are moving now instead of being stationary!” And it’s like, y’all people who are like deep fans of Mario shit are out of your minds. [Nerium and Danielle laugh]

merritt: I don’t know what that’s referring to. I do know that they had– they did fuck up a thing in Coconut Mall [Nerium: “Mm”] where there used to be cars moving back and forth that had Miis driving them.

Nerium: Mm, mm-hmm.

merritt: Now I think the cars are stationary and they have shy guys in them, which, so they they have gone backwards in that respect. But…

Nerium: Oh, wow.

Danielle: Wow.

Nerium: It’s possible I was misinterpreting what I was seeing, as well, but I remember somebody like, “They did it!” and it was just like a picture of…

merritt: [laughs] They fucking did it. They made a car go.

Nerium: [laughs] Well, that’s what it looked like! And then I was like looking at the replies to the tweet to like figure out what the fuck I was looking at, and it did just seem like people were like, “Yeah, it’s so much more lively now that the cars move.”

merritt: Jeez. [Danielle laughs]

Nerium: [laughs] What are you talking about? Why didn’t the cars move before? This is such a low bar! You people are…

merritt: Yeah. [sighs] I mean, listen. Listen, Nintendo fans, fans of anything, get a little too…yeah. We know this.

Nerium: Oh, for sure.

merritt: We know this to be true.

Nerium: This is not limited to just Nintendo people. This is all people who are weird about anything, basically, but especially video games. [Danielle laughs]

merritt: Yeah. Yeah, yeah, yeah.

Nerium: But like, this is just the recent one that I saw.

merritt: Yeah. Let’s take a look at the Steam New and Trending list.

Danielle: Ooh.

Nerium: Okay. [laughs]

Danielle: All right!

merritt: Have some fun with this.

Danielle: Yeah!

Nerium: We need a name for this segment.

merritt: Uh…new and…trending.

Danielle: [singing] New and trending! New and trending.

merritt: That’s not good. We’ll come up with one later. [Danielle and Nerium laugh]

Nerium: New and Trending is a good name.

merritt: So, the first thing on here is a game called Tyrant’s Blessing, which I know nothing about and only has eight reviews, so I’m not sure how Steam’s algorithm figures this thing out. But this seems to be a tactics game, a turn-based tactics game, from…from Mercury Game Studio.

Nerium: Oh.

Danielle: Okay, okay.

merritt: Who have previously done– who are best known for: Tyrant’s Blessing. [laughs quietly]

Nerium: Mm.

Danielle: Okay. Okay.

merritt: So yeah, I don’t know. It looks like sort of a 2D grid-based tactics game.

Danielle: You know, I like things like that sometimes.

merritt: Yeah. I mean, yeah, yeah. [Danielle laughs] It looks like–

Nerium: These maps are Into the Breach-sized too.

merritt: They are.

Danielle: Oh, are they?

merritt: It looks like Into the Breach just with anime, like with SNES anime characters.

Danielle: Okay.

merritt: This game does do a thing that I fucking hate, which is mixing like relatively low res pixel art with incredibly high res text and stuff.

Nerium: Mm, mm-hmm.

merritt: Because it makes it look like a mobile game, and it wouldn’t surprise me [Danielle: “Oh, sure”] if this was initially a mobile game. And I get why people do this, but just like, God, it always looks so cheap. Guilty Gear, Guilty Gear Strive Ultimate Edition [Danielle: “Ah”] Content Kit DLC, and Guilty Gear Strive Season Pass 2. [Nerium laughs] Obviously, these are on this list because a new character has just been released. Well, I say “new” character. Returning character, Bridget, from the older games. You two aren’t really like fighting games people, are you?

Nerium: I tried.

Danielle: The real fighting game I play is…jiu jitsu.

Nerium: Pssht, uh huh. [Danielle laughs]

merritt: The real fighting game is Into the Breach, because that uses your mind.

Nerium: Uh huh. It’s all yomi.

merritt: Yeah, no, Danielle, we’ve actually– no. Okay, no, we’ve been over this, and for people who maybe don’t know this, when Danielle used to be on this podcast, I feel like we talked about this. Danielle doesn’t like fighting games, because—and correct me if I’m wrong—because they take place on a 2D perspective, [Nerium: “Right!”] whereas an actual fight– this was from East Coast Office Hours, Jordan just told me. Okay.

Danielle: It is, yeah.

merritt: Whereas an actual fight takes place, of course, from a first person perspective, [Nerium and Danielle laugh] because you were seeing with your eyes, and so to grapple someone [Danielle: “Yeah”] from a first person perspective is quite a different experience than to fight them from a 2D perspective, and that’s why Danielle doesn’t like fighting games. Is that right?

Danielle: I mean, it’s like…I mean, yes, but also like, I want to make sure everybody like, the preface here is that I know I’m an idiot.

merritt: No, no, no. That’s an extremely funny–

Danielle: [laughs] Like, I want everyone to know: I know I’m a moron for this.

Nerium: No!

merritt: No, no, no.

Nerium: No, no, no, no, no. That is a misread.

merritt: That is like an extremely funny, like, just himbo reason not to like fighting games.

Nerium: Mm-hmm.

Danielle: Exactly, exactly.

Nerium: However, we need to get–

merritt: You’re really more into like the first person mode in…uh, I feel like there were some PlayStation fighting games that– Beat Down: Fists of Vengeance.

Nerium: There you go.

Danielle: There you go!

Nerium: This is what I’m saying.

Danielle: I’m sure that was great!

Nerium: Danielle is a huge fan of Beat Down: Fists of Vengeance.

merritt: Yeah.

Danielle: I just don’t think there’s anything that would be like as fun as really sparring with people.

merritt: As actually fighting, yeah. This is for babies.

Danielle: Because I’m a himbo butthead, and it’s okay. And like, it’s okay, and I accept this about myself, you know? It’s one of those. So, yeah.

merritt: So I briefly tried to get into Guilty Gear Strive when it came out. I was like, “This is the one. This is the fighting game I’m gonna get into.”

Nerium: Yeah, same.

merritt: And I played as the big vampire samurai man with a cool robot mask.

Nerium: Yeah, that guy’s awesome.

merritt: The designs in this game are incredible. Like, just really, really stellar work. But ultimately I decided like, you know what? I just don’t think that I’m the kind of person who can do this.

Nerium: Yeah.

merritt: I just can’t dedicate time to getting good at something like this. Can’t or won’t? I guess won’t. But like the fighting games that I’ve enjoyed have always just been the ones that are like goofy platform fighters, where I’m just like playing with my friends and just…

Danielle: Yeah.

Nerium: You’re a Multiversus player, you know?

merritt: Yeah, Multiversus, kind of a Multiversus sort of experience.

Nerium: Yeah, which I mean, you can’t…

Danielle: Sort of a mortal combat that you do with mortals.

Nerium: Oh.

merritt: Yeah.

Danielle: Like you’re doing combat with mortals, you know? [Nerium laughs]

merritt: Yes. Yeah.

Nerium: I mean, also two fine Warner Brothers properties. [Danielle laughs]

merritt: Ah, true, true. Also on the list is Desktopia: A Desktop Village Simulator.

Danielle: Oh!

merritt: This is like an idle game that lives at the bottom of your screen. So it’s like meant to be played or running while you’re kind of doing other things, and it just simulates a little village, and…

Nerium: Oh.

Danielle: That’s cute.

merritt: You can check on people and recent events and stuff, and it actually looks kind of neat. I’m not a big idle game person, but it looks cute.

Nerium: Now, are you intentionally skipping the game that is appearing for me next after Bridget?

merritt: Uh, if I am, then…well, no, what is it?

Nerium: Oh, okay. So, it doesn’t go straight from Bridget to Desktopia for me. There’s a game in between on my screen.

Danielle: Oh.

merritt: Now, I do have it not showing me the horny games, so.

Nerium: Oh, okay! That would explain it. Yeah, yeah, yeah, yeah, yeah.

merritt: Yeah, no, I don’t…

Nerium: Okay.

merritt: Yeah. Experience has taught me that– every once a while, I’m like, maybe I’m missing something interesting. Like, maybe there’s–

Nerium: Mm-mm.

merritt: And no.

Nerium: Mm-mm.

merritt: No, it’s a blender art asset flip.

Nerium: Mm-hmm. [Danielle laughs] That is what this appears to be.

merritt: There’s a game called Deadwater Saloon Prologue, which is a…

Danielle: Oh.

merritt: You’re a saloon owner in the wild west. This seems to be very early. You know, it’s a prologue, so it’s…but it’s seems to be a management type of game. There’s a screenshot where someone is walking a bunch of cows through the middle of a town, which is funny.

Danielle: I’m kinda into this.

merritt: Yeah.

Danielle: I’m kinda into this, I’m not gonna lie.

merritt: I feel like there’s been like medieval pub simulator?

Danielle: Yeah.

merritt: I don’t think it’s just called pub simulator, but like games like that.

Nerium: Well, there was Fable Pub Games.

merritt: There was. [Danielle laughs] But yeah, this– speaking of wild west type games, another thing on this list is Hard West 2.

Nerium: Oh, yeah.

Danielle: Mm.

merritt: Which I–

Nerium: I’ve played a little bit of this, actually.

merritt: I just picked up.

Nerium: Oh, really?

merritt: Yeah. I figured, you know what, I should play a video game that came out in the last 10 years. [merritt and Danielle laugh] And it’s…I just finished the first level before we got on this call,4 and it’s kind of neat. It seems to be– it’s like, you know, it’s a tactics game, turn-based tactics, like an XCOM kind of.

Nerium: Very XCOM, yeah.

merritt: I will say the voice acting and dialogue is not stellar. It’s fine.

Danielle: Mm-hmm.

merritt: It’s just kind of odd sometimes.

Nerium: Yeah.

merritt: And also, you know, it’s a western game, and it’s not– I was gonna say it’s made by, you know, not an American developer, but let’s be honest, American developers haven’t historically been so great with this stuff either!

Danielle: Sure.

merritt: So it has some stuff with Native Americans, where it’s like, hmm, okay. Don’t know sort of where this is going or– [laughs softly] ’cause again, I’ve only played the first level, but.

Nerium: Yeah.

merritt: Then there seems to be kind of like a story thing where like in between battles, you’re like wandering around with this map like encountering things and finding stuff, so that’s kind of neat. It’s based around this whole bravado system where basically, when you get a kill, you get all of your action points back.

Danielle: Huh.

merritt: And then also when you get hit or miss, you get luck points which you can spend in later turns to like increase your hit chance.

Danielle: Nice.

merritt: So, that’s kind of neat.

Nerium: Yeah.

Danielle: That is cool.

Nerium: It’s cool, and there’s like the whole system of like ricocheting shots to get around cover.

merritt: Oh, yeah, yeah, yeah. You can ricochet shots, which reminds me a lot of SteamWorld Heist.

Nerium: Yeah.

Danielle: Mm.

merritt: If you ever played that.

Nerium: Oh, yeah.

merritt: I loved that game.

Nerium: It was really cool.

merritt: Yeah. SteamWorld Heist was a 2D tactics game, like 2D side scrolling where you were boarding ships, and yeah, so much of the gameplay was about ricocheting shots, because it was kind of like a Worms or something where you’re aiming, you know, and then [Nerium: “Yeah”] you could bounce off walls to hit people, and it was very neat.

Nerium: This game’s cool. I kind of want to keep more of an eye on this. Like you said, I’m kind of curious about like how it handles certain Western tropes and elements?

merritt: Yeah.

Nerium: But it seems like it’s at least trying some stuff. The actor who plays the Native American in your team is actually like a Cherokee man.

merritt: Yeah, he is. Yes, yeah.

Nerium: Like, in real life, so.

merritt: But yeah, it’s also like supernatural. I didn’t really mention that yet, but like…

Nerium: [laughs] Yeah, you steal a train from the devil.

merritt: Yeah, the first mission you’re like robbing a train, and then you get– and it’s kind of cool, ’cause like you’re on horses, and like it’s all moving, but like the horses are…you can’t like fall behind or anything, but so you can sort of move around the train and then hop onto the train, and at any point you can like hop back off and get onto your horse and go around. But you get up to the front of the train and it turns into a giant like demon spider train with legs that’s like skittering along. [Danielle laughs]

Nerium: Mm-hmm.

merritt: And then you–

Nerium: It turns into Choo-Choo Charles.

Danielle: Choo-Choo Charles, yeah. [laughs]

merritt: You play a game of poker with the guy who is like at the head of the train, whose name is Mammon.

Danielle: Ah! Sure.

merritt: And he steals the soul of the main character and his friend, and then…I only wandered around the map for a second after that, but I found some zombie guy named Old Bill who joined my team.

Nerium: Right.

Danielle: Oh!

Nerium: Who had like just dug himself out of his own grave five minutes ago.

merritt: Yeah. Yeah, yeah, yeah.

Danielle: Wow!

merritt: So, it seems cool.

Nerium: Do you know who does the voice of Mammon?

merritt: Uh, no, who?

Nerium: That’s Batman. That’s Kevin Conroy.

Danielle: That’s Batman!

merritt: Oh, wow! Interesting. Huh.

Nerium: Yeah. The whole game is just like… [laughs] I don’t know. This game feels like a kind of– I mean, I played the preview of it like months ago.

merritt: Mm, mm-hmm.

Nerium: But it just does feel weirdly like they’re kind of pushing it pretty hard?

merritt: Yeah, yeah.

Nerium: ‘Cause the first game came out like years ago and was like really low budget. It was really cool, but it was also like very clearly made by like a fairly new team.

Danielle: Mm-hmm, mm-hmm.

Nerium: But yeah.

merritt: Yeah.

Danielle: This does look cool. Yeah.

merritt: It’s pretty neat. Speaking of games I’ve also– more games I’ve actually played on this list. [Danielle laughs] GigaBash came out last week.

Danielle: GigaBash!

merritt: And that is kind of like a King of the Monsters or a War of the Monsters sort of thing, where you’re a big monster and you fight other big monsters.

Danielle: Love it.

Nerium: It’s like a– oh, okay, cool.

Nerium: That’s awesome. Is it first person, or…?

merritt: No, no, no. It’s top down.

Danielle: I was gonna say, oh, is it a fighting game first person?

merritt: It’s not first person.

Danielle: No. [laughs]

merritt: It’s top down. It kind of plays like Power Stone 2, [Danielle: “Ah”] because you can have up to four people in at once, and you’re all just, you know, grabbing buildings and throwing them at each other or just doing silly stuff like that. There’s a pretty cool range of monsters. I played through the campaign of this. There’s…it’s mostly like meant to be a multiplayer thing, [Nerium: “Mm”] but there are four short story campaigns, and honestly? Yeah, I wrote about this for the site, but I was really impressed by like the polish that was put into this game.

Danielle: Mm.

merritt: It’s by first time developer named Passion Republic, [Danielle: “Oh!”] but they are a studio that have basically done a lot of outsourcing work for AAA games in the past.

Danielle: Mm.

Nerium: Oh!

merritt: So, but this is sort of their first original property or like original game that they’re putting out themselves. And there’s just like, yeah, like just everything from like the UI to like just the hand drawn art is just like really well executed.

Danielle: Love that.

Nerium: I don’t know why the name, I think, made me think that this was gonna be just like, I don’t know, like…too cartoony? Not cartoony in…

merritt: Yeah.

Nerium: Like, too chibi or something, you know?

Danielle: Mm. Yeah.

merritt: Right. Yeah, no, I mean, they’re…the scale is pretty good, and the monsters are cool.

Nerium: No, I like this. I’m looking at screenshots.

merritt: [laughs] The monsters like have pretty cool designs, and the first one, the campaign that you play the first one as, I think Gorogong is his name. His face just makes me laugh every time I see him. [all laugh] This is a really stupid face with these big fangs sticking out of his lower mouth.

Nerium: Oh, yeah, I’m looking at him now.

merritt: He’s like, “Arrrr!”

Nerium: His eyes are like offset.

merritt: Yeah. [laughter]

Danielle: Aww.

Nerium: It’s just cool.

merritt: There’s like an Ultraman type guy. There’s like a Voltron robot. So yeah, I would love to play this game multiplayer, because I feel like it would– there’s also some minigames and stuff that seem really fun to play with other people. Uh, let me see, other notable new releases. Hooked on You: A Dead by Dating– Dead by Daylight Dating Sim.

Nerium: Dead by dating.

merritt: Dead by dating.

Danielle: Yeah.

Nerium: That’s how I always feel, am I right? Haha!

Danielle: Ooooh!

merritt: No, that’s called…that’s the subtitle to Boyfriend to Death, dead by dating. [Nerium and Danielle laugh] This is a dating sim set in the world of Dead by Daylight, where you can date all of these characters who are definitely not licensed, [Danielle laughs] you know, horror villains.

Danielle: Movie monsters, yeah.

merritt: They just sort of are based on them.

Nerium: Well, they have licensed characters in Dead by Daylight.

merritt: They do have them now, but like, sort of the original ones, I feel like there’s like, [Nerium: “Yeah”] okay, that’s your Jason basically.

Danielle: Yep.

merritt: It’s a guy in a weird skull mask.

Danielle: Yep.

merritt: But there’s like a ghost who’s like a Ring, what’s her name?

Danielle: A Ring ghost.

Nerium: Like a…I always get the two, the Grudge one and the Ringu one mixed up, but it’s like…sa– one starts with an S and one starts with an H.

merritt: Sadako.

Nerium: Sadako.

Danielle: Ah.

Nerium: It’s like Kayako I think is the…

merritt: Yeah, either of you checking this out? Yeah, I don’t think any of us are big Dead by Daylight people. I’ve actually still never played it.

Nerium: Me neither.

Danielle: I think Natalie Flores wrote something on about this.

merritt: Mm.

Danielle: She wrote a cool feature.

merritt: Yeah.

Danielle: I have not played this, but I know she was super into this.

merritt: Jordo says it’s fun.

Nerium: Yeah.

Danielle: Yeah. Nice.

Nerium: Oh, wait, Jordo, have you played Dead by Daylight or have you played Hooked on You?

Danielle: Oh.

Nerium: Which are you saying is fun? Elise also plays it. Here’s the thing–

merritt: Dead by Daylight. Okay.

Nerium: Okay.

merritt: So yeah, a lot of us– there are a bunch of us. I think Lotus maybe has played it as well.

Nerium: Like everybody at Fanbyte, except for us on this podcast, plays this game. [Danielle laughs]

merritt: Yeah. I have meant to. I definitely bought it and installed it for a stream.

Danielle: Yeah.

merritt: Just never got around to it. But this is…

Nerium: I think Elise also plays, Jordo.

merritt: The dating sim has nearly 3,000 very positive reviews, so.

Danielle: Nice.

merritt: Good for them, I guess.

Nerium: I’ve read some of the actual criticism of the dating sim too though, and it…I don’t know. It’s like, everything I’ve read about it, and take this with a grain of salt, ’cause I’ve not played it myself, but it does seem like it’s actually like pretty much just a bunch of people who are like way in it for the memes, because like the game itself seems like actually like very [merritt: “That seems…”] staunchly anti-horny.

Danielle: Aw.

merritt: Okay, yeah, that seems about right. The thing is…

Nerium: Really making fun of itself.

merritt: I feel like the thing with Western dating Sims, and not to be like a weeaboo or whatever, ’cause I’m not even– I don’t even go here, but like… [laughter]

Danielle: You don’t even go here.

merritt: I feel like Western dating Sims will like come out with something weird sometimes, and people will be like, “Wow, no one’s ever done this before!” And it’s like, man, there are some truly wild [Danielle: “Yeah”] and like cool like dating sims and VNs.

Nerium: Mm-hmm.

merritt: And just like, you know, [sarcastic] oh, great, Colonel Sanders dating sim. Cool, you did it.

Nerium: Yeah. I’d just be so much more interested in this if it played it straight, but it seems like it kind of doesn’t.

merritt: Oh, that’s a–

Nerium: It seems like it’s very fourth wall-y.

merritt: Yeah, no. Cowards.

Nerium: Yeah. [Danielle laughs]

merritt: Some other ones that look cool on here. Turbo Golf Racing.

Nerium: [laughs] Okay.

merritt: I know several of us have been scarred by golf games forever.

Danielle: Yeah. Yeah.

merritt: I feel like we played a few on a stream with some Giant Bomb folks a year or two ago, and it was just hell. [laughs] Those were like mini putt games though. This is basically, um…what do you call, Rocket League but golf.

Danielle: Yeah.

Nerium: Oh, this thing!

Danielle: This looked cool.

merritt: Yeah.

Danielle: This– I took a look at this, and I was like, this actually seems pretty rad.

merritt: Yeah, right?

Danielle: I’m into it. Yeah.

merritt: It looks pretty neat.

Nerium: Niki and I played this, I think, when we did our– this was in the Steam Next Fest, and we did that stream of Next Fest games.

merritt: Ohh.

Danielle: Ahh.

Nerium: Niki played it, [merritt: “Cool”] and seemed very bored very quickly.

Danielle: Aw!

merritt: [laughs] Well, it is golf.

Nerium: Yeah, that’s the thing.

merritt: So it can be hard to make golf exciting, I suppose. Also on this list, Last Call BBS, the last Zachtronics game, which is actually–

Nerium: Or is it?

merritt: Or is it?

Danielle: Oh, shit!

merritt: The last– it’s a collection of several games basically built around the premise of dialing into a BBS, which I don’t know how many listeners of this show know what that is, but basically before the world wide web was a thing…

Nerium: Before America Online.

Danielle: Mm.

merritt: You dialed in to someone’s server, and then you could access, you know, their files and stuff that they had. And you’re dialing into the server run by the barkeep, and you’re sort of learning more about this person and playing this collection of mini games. And because it’s Zachtronics, they are, you know, weird puzzle games, so.

Nerium: But the game itself has– like, I think you should play this, merritt, ’cause I think you would really dig the aesthetic.

merritt: Yeah, I was looking at it.

Danielle: Yeah.

merritt: I was just like, ah boy, haha.

Nerium: It like…it simulates downloading games off of the BBS, and like…

merritt: See, I was never– I do want to just like clarify and just disclaimer, like, I’m not that old.

Nerium: Right. Yeah.

Danielle: Yes.

merritt: I’m not that old. [Danielle laughs]

Nerium: No, no, no, no.

merritt: I didn’t ever play BBS.

Nerium: But you have an appreciation for it.

merritt: I do have an appreciation for it, and I do think that it is cool, so maybe I will check that out.

Danielle: Mm.

Nerium: But there’s like, and there’s like, you’re getting messages from the person who has uploaded all this like illegal software, like pirated software to the BBS board, too. And there’s like notes about certain of the games, where it’s like, yeah, this game was like made in Germany, and it was never translated into English, but there’s barely any dialogue anyway, so you can kind of just play it. It’s like weird solitaire.

merritt: Mm.

Nerium: Or there’s one that’s like the premise of the game, which is a game in our world, but in their world is like, yeah, so basically like, this is like, um…what’s it called, executive software. This is like a Adobe Creative Suite 6 or whatever. It usually costs a thousand dollars, so I just threw it up here anyway, [merritt and Danielle laugh] because why not?

merritt: Oh, hell yeah.

Nerium: It’s way too expensive, and I’m gonna just give it right for free.

Danielle: Ah!

merritt: Aaah, sounds cool. Well, it’s on my list.

Danielle: Fuck yeah.

merritt: Star Valor. This jumped out at me, because it looks like…well, there’s a lot of games that look like this. It’s a top down space shooter RPG, so think Space Pirates and Zombies [Nerium: “Mm”] or Armada, if you ever played Armada on the Dreamcast, [Danielle: “Mm”] which I think only I did. [Danielle laughs]

Nerium: Starsectorlike.

merritt: But this…I guess this must have been in early access for a long– yes, it was in early access for quite a while but has over a thousand very positive reviews and is by one guy, I think. And it looks like, you know, if you’re into this kind of thing, then this would be very good for you. [laughs] I might actually check it out, I don’t know.

Danielle: Ah, yeah. That looks cool.

merritt: Just a couple more. The Mortuary Assistant.

Danielle: Yes. Yes!

merritt: Danielle, you know about this one?

Danielle: I just think this looks incredibly scary, like actually scary. Also, bodies can be very scary.

merritt: Yeah.

Danielle: That’s what I got for you. [laughs]

merritt: There’s a demo available of it right now.

Danielle: Oh, oh, cool. Yeah.

merritt: So yeah, you are an apprentice at a mortuary, and you have to do embalming while also fighting demons.

Danielle: Yep, ’cause there’s a lot of things that are actually moving that should not be moving. That’s a thing.

merritt: That reminds me of, um…what was that movie we watched a few years ago? Was it Jane Doe something?

Danielle: Yes! The Autopsy of Jane Doe, [merritt: “Yeah”] which is a very effectively scary movie, I think.

merritt: Yeah. I wasn’t like totally sold on it, but it was creepy.

Danielle: Yep.

merritt: So this seems like kind of…this is being published by DreadXP as well, so.

Danielle: Oh, yeah! Okay.

Nerium: Yeah. They have gotten way into– so I played the most recent collection that they did.

Danielle: Nice.

Nerium: The birthday party themed one.

merritt: Mm-hmm.

Nerium: Dread X 5, I think. It’s just literally called like Dread X Collection 5.

merritt: Yeah.

Nerium: And they’ve kind of gotten into the business of just like doing those collections as like, hey, indie dev, we’ll give you some extra like publishing and so like, you know, publicity support by putting it into this thing, [merritt: “Mm-hmm”] and then you can go off and make your own full game afterwards with the experience that you’ve got making this like 10 minute short that goes into this collection type thing, and you make a little bit of money along the way.

Danielle: Yeah.

merritt: Right.

Nerium: And so they’ve just been publishing kinda left and right lately. It’s cool.

merritt: Huh.

Danielle: That’s really rad, yeah. I mean, I’m not saying everything is gonna be a banger, but that’s a cool idea, in general.

Nerium: Yeah.

Danielle: Yeah.

merritt: Yeah.

Nerium: Like, a lot of the shorts in those anthologies just get spun off into full games now, too.

Danielle: Yes!

merritt: Mm.

Nerium: Like Sucker for Love, another horror-themed VN, which is a little bit more like, I think plays it a little bit more straight and is a little bit more, you know, earnest, where you’re like dating Cthulhu, but also it’s Cthulhu, so they’ll fucking kill you. [laughs]

merritt: Mm.

Danielle: Sure.

Nerium: Like, that came out not too long ago.

merritt: Yeah.

Nerium: It’s cool stuff.

Danielle: I really do appreciate that a lot of these, you know, the reviews so far for it might be– is it for the full game or for the demo? It’s a little hard to tell. Really are quite a few good jokes here. For example, one person says, “Time to get laid…dot dot dot…to rest.” Beautiful. [Nerium and merritt laugh]

merritt: Ah, pretty good.

Danielle: Thanks. Thanks for your attention and time. I’ll be here all week.

merritt: Yeah, thank you. I think that’s…yeah, that’s most of the ones that I wanted to hit. There’s just a game called PlateUp!, which is a…

Danielle: Ooh.

merritt: It’s published by Yogscast, so.

Danielle: Interesting.

merritt: You know, they started publishing games a while ago. Like they published Golfie, which is that roguelike deck builder that’s about minigolf.

Nerium: Oh, I’ve never heard of this.

Danielle: Nice.

merritt: Oh, yeah. It’s in early access. I think I wrote a list a few months ago about roguelikes that aren’t about combat, and this is one of them.

Nerium: Oh.

Danielle: Mm.

merritt: But they are also publishing PlateUp!, which is like a restaurant kind of sim that is also a roguelite.

Danielle: Cool.

merritt: So it’s kind of like a…what is the cooking game? “The” cooking game.

Danielle: Cook, Serve, Delicious?

Nerium: [laughs] Yeah.

merritt: Is it Cook, Serve, Delicious! or the– Overcooked is the one I’m thinking of.

Nerium: Overcooked.

Danielle: Overcooked! Oh, the multiplayer one. Yes, yes, yes.

merritt: So it’s kind of like that, but you’re also setting up the restaurant and stuff.

Nerium: Oh.

Danielle: That’s so cool.

merritt: And yeah, it looks neat. There’s also a demo of that up now as well, so.

Danielle: This is very cute. I do like the look of this. It does look very Overcooked, but I like that there’s that other layer. There’s some fun stuff here.

merritt: Yeah.

Nerium: [sighs] There are like so many games now in that like…’cause I feel like for years we’ve been talking about games that are like the AA, like the Annapurna published games, you know?

Danielle: Mm.

Nerium: Where it’s like bigger than an indie game, they sell ’em for like 40 bucks, 35 bucks, stuff like that. But now I feel like we’re also getting into an era where that is even getting like, the bar is too high for a lot of people for that sometimes.

merritt: Mm.

Nerium: So we’re in this like A and a half tile game. [laughs]

merritt: Yeah.

Nerium: Where it’s just like, it’s bigger than like just a random thing out on Steam that week, because there’s just so much junk, but also it’s like really cool and I really– like Mortuary Assistant.

Danielle: Yeah, there’s a lot of cool things too. Yeah.

Nerium: Yeah. I really want to play some of this stuff, and there’s just so much.

merritt: Yeah. Well, those are…that’s most of the New and Trending list. Also, there’s another– [laughs] I just noticed that there is another Vampire Survivors.

Danielle: Oh, wow.

merritt: This one is called Spellbook Demonslayers Prologue, because prologue is what games call their demo things now.

Danielle: Oh.

Nerium: Yeah.

merritt: And this does just appear to be another Vampire Survivors. so, that’s become a genre, I guess.

Danielle: That’s a thing now, yeah.

merritt: That’s a thing, because there have been several of these over the last few months.

Nerium: And also like, Vampire Survivors was the first to get big, but Vampire Survivors was like not the first game of its style.

Danielle: Sure, sure.

merritt: Right, right, right, right.

Nerium: When that game came out, and I think it passed most people by, it passed me by until like months later and somebody pointed it out, but like a lot of people were just pointing out this is just…this is a mobile game that they’ve basically ripped off the concept in this other mobile game over here. They just put it on PC on Steam, so people saw it more? I don’t know.

merritt: Huh.

Danielle: Yeah. Okay.

Nerium: I forget the name of that game, which is terrible. I’m sorry. I used to know it. It’s like more magic themed.

Danielle: Ah. Aha!

Nerium: But whatever. I think these games are also like usually $3, so there’s like plenty of room in the marketplace for more of them.

merritt: Yeah. And, you know, if people like them, then they probably are gonna…well, I don’t know. Maybe they either get really dedicated to one, or they want to play more when they finish them. But yeah, that’s sort of like I feel like a micro genre, at this point.

Danielle: Yeah.

Nerium: It’s kind of replaced the idle game in my head.

merritt: Yeah. It is sort of an idle game type thing. More active, I guess, but…yeah, same kind of idea, right?

Nerium: Yeah. You just play like– yeah.

merritt: If you want one of these where you’re just like getting abilities and stuff and moving around, it’s not quite the same, but sneak Snake RX, SNKRX.

Nerium: Snikirx, yeah.

merritt: Snake prescription.

Danielle: SnikRX.

merritt: Which came out last year. God, I hope it’s last year and it wasn’t two years ago. [Nerium and Danielle laugh]

Nerium: I’m pretty sure it was last year.

merritt: That game fucking rules and is like a really, really stripped down version of this and is such a good roguelike experience that I would super highly recommend it.

Nerium: SNKRX is like somebody just put a game out for $3 that is like a game that I would’ve played in the computer lab at my high school [merritt: “Mm-hmm”] for hours and hours and hours.

merritt: Yep. Yeah, it has flash game energy, for sure, but in a good way. It’s extremely playable.

Nerium: It was also last year. It was not two years ago.

merritt: Good. Great.

Danielle: Good. I’m happy about that.

merritt: I’m not just losing years. That’s good. [Nerium and Danielle laugh] Any other new games that y’all want to shout out real quick, or…?

Nerium: Pfft, hmm…

Danielle: Ah…I guess just Into the Breach is free if you have Netflix, so. Play my game.

merritt: Oh, yeah. Right, cool.

Danielle: Play my game– it’s not mine. It’s just my game of my life.

Nerium: [laughs] Play Danielle’s video game.

merritt: Danielle, at this point, you’ve probably played–

Danielle: It’s not my game.

merritt: You’ve probably put more time into it than the developers have, so.

Danielle: That’s possible! [laughs]

merritt: I think at this point, legally, it becomes your game.

Danielle: [laughs] Yeah.

Nerium: I play– hmm, this is kind of an older callback, but if we’re just like pulling things out.

merritt: Yeah, yeah, yeah. Go for it.

Nerium: It’s free. People should play The Looker.

Danielle: The Looker!

Nerium: It’s a very funny Witness clone. Clone? [Danielle laughs]

merritt: Oh, right. Yeah. That came out a few months ago, right?

Nerium: Couple months ago, yeah. I played through the entire thing. I think it came out July? June, late–

merritt: Mm.

Nerium: It came out in like mid June. I played it in July. It is basically a spiritual successor to Pyst, [Danielle: “Ha!” merritt: “Right, yeah”] the Myst like satire game [merritt: “Uh huh”] featuring John Goodman, and it’s really short. It’s free on Steam. It’s very, very funny. I, at one point during my play through on the stream, said, “Ha ha, wouldn’t it be funny if they did this?” and that was how the game ended, [laughs] and I won’t spoil what they do, but it was just like a called shot from the three point line type thing.

merritt: Ha!

Nerium: It was just like very funny to me that I was just like, “Wow, I really hope they do this joke,” and then it happened, and I didn’t realize it was happening until it was like 90% of the way through the joke, and I was like, “Oh my God, they are doing it!”

Danielle: They’re doing it!

merritt: Mm-hmm.

Nerium: But yeah. it’s just, it’s a very funny send-up of The Witness, [Danielle: “Good”] very pretentious video game by a very pretentious and not very cool man named Jonathan Blow. [Danielle laughs] But the game is– you can beat it in like an hour or two at the most, and I recommend it.

Danielle: That sounds great.

merritt: Nice.

Danielle: Excellent.

Nerium: Yeah. I haven’t played a lot other than Xenoblade lately.

merritt: Cool. Well, let me think if I’ve been playing anything. I mean, just Live A Live, just trying to get through that. I haven’t played a JRPG, like a modern JRPG in so long, and I’m like, wow, these games take a while. Even this one, which is relatively short. [laughs]

Danielle: Yeah.

merritt: But yeah, no, it’s…

Nerium: I’ve already added six games to my wishlist since we’ve been on this call.

merritt: Great.

Danielle: I know, right?

Nerium: And I forgot I need to add Live A Live still. [Danielle laughs]

merritt: One thing I will say about Live A Live real quick is that I just did the chapter, the Imperial China chapter, [Nerium: “Mm”] where you play as an old Kung Fu master who is like passing down his art to new students, and in every other chapter you get to name the character if you want to.

Nerium: Oh.

Danielle: Nice.

merritt: And in this one, you don’t get to name the character, you name the martial art, [Danielle: “Oh, that’s good,” Nerium: “Ah”] and then it’s just the whatever Shifu. Like, and it starts– I think it’s like Earth and Heart is the default, and every other one I just left at the default, ’cause I’m like, yeah, no, this, you know, that’s fine.

Nerium: Wow, she’s default.

merritt: And this one, I did change it. ‘Cause you know, naming an RPG character a joke I feel like isn’t that funny? [Danielle laughs] Just like, “Hey, Butt, you gotta– hey Ass, come here.”

Nerium: Mm-hmm, mm-hmm, mm-hmm.

merritt: Which is like, whatever.

Danielle: Sure, sure.

merritt: But naming a thing that people are going to talk about is funny. [Nerium laughs]

Danielle: Yes.

merritt: And so I changed the name of the martial art from Earth and Heart to dick kicking. [Nerium and merritt laugh]

Danielle: Good! Good!

merritt: So, so I have some screenshots and stuff of like [Danielle: “Excellent”] these like thugs like, “Huh? What? He does kung fu! That’s dick kicking!” [laughter] And then the game ends with like the protege– or like the chapter ends with the protege being like, “I will carry on our legacy,” and I’m like, our legacy of dick kicking? [laughter]

Danielle: Yes.

Nerium: Ah, merritt.

merritt: So I don’t know if it’s gonna come up later on or like if it’s gonna be like…yeah, no, it does say– ’cause the old man dies, spoilers, at the end, and he’s replaced by like whoever you chose to be his protege.

Danielle: I see.

merritt: And so it that character is named Dick Kicking Master.

Nerium: Wow.

Danielle: Yeah!

merritt: So, you know, just having some fun.

Danielle: DKM, baby!

Nerium: merritt finally like recreating the energy of 1987’s Frantics album Boot to the Head, after all these years. [laughter]

merritt: [sarcastic] Definitely know what that is.

Nerium: Canadian legacy. Oh, you’ve never heard Boot to the Head?

merritt: No.

Danielle: Oh.

Nerium: It was on like Dr. Demento DVDs or CDs and stuff like that when I was younger.

merritt: Oh, okay.

Danielle: Excellent.

Nerium: It’s a Canadian thing.

merritt: Mm. [Danielle laughs]

Nerium: It’s a song– or it’s technically a whole album by like a Canadian comedy novelty troupe, and it’s a song called “Boot to the Head” where a bunch of guys are like learning how to do Kung Fu and the style is called boot to the head. They have a whole song about boot to the head.

merritt: Wow. Hell yeah.

Nerium: Anyway, I’ll shut up.

Danielle: No, it’s beautiful.

merritt: Well, we’re gonna pretty much wrap, but let’s… [clicks tongue] Let’s do a recommendation segment. It’s called Get Recced, and we…

Danielle: Woo!

Nerium: Woo!

merritt: It doesn’t have to be game related, typically isn’t, but it could be, I suppose. So yeah, this is gonna be just we recommend something, and I’m gonna go first, because I have had something come up today and also last week.

Danielle: Oh.

merritt: So, we have had no water in my building. [laughs quietly]

Danielle: Oh my God.

Nerium: Mm-hmm.

merritt: All today, or…

Danielle: Oh my God.

merritt: And for a few hours on a day last week. And my recommendation is to buy a bunch of huge water jugs, which costs like $10, I think.

Danielle: Mm-hmm.

merritt: And fill them with water and put them somewhere in your house, and you know, every six months or so you can cycle out the water, but…because let me tell you, I feel so fucking smart [Danielle laughs] like having water when there’s no water coming out of the tap. [Nerium laughs]

Danielle: God, yeah.

merritt: I can make coffee. I can drink water. I can flush the toilet, because you can just pour water into the top part. Can’t take a shower, but I could take a bath if I wanted to. [Danielle laughs]

Nerium: Yeah.

merritt: I mean, that would probably be a waste of a lot of water.

Danielle: Yeah.

merritt: But yeah, just, you know, being prepared sometimes pays off. You kind of– I guess the idea with the stuff is you hope it never will.

Danielle: Yeah.

merritt: But then when it– if it does, you’re like, “heh heh heh.”

Danielle: I got the stuff!

merritt: And you feel like everything goes according to keikaku, so that’s really good. [Danielle laughs]

Nerium: [muffled] Keikaku means plan.

merritt: Mm.

Danielle: It’s beautiful.

merritt: Yeah. Thank you for pointing that out.

Danielle: Very nice.

merritt: Nere, do you want to recommend something?

Nerium: Oh, what do I have to recommend? Hmm. You know, the Berserk Deluxe Editions were on sale on Amazon recently, which are just like incredible, giant, black, like all black collections of Berserk, which is obviously a fantastic manga, very classic series that I’ve been kind of getting into recently and trying to like appreciate. The creator of the series obviously passed away not too long ago.

merritt: Yeah, yeah.

Nerium: And they are going to be continuing the series, it was announced a couple weeks back, like his editor and his editor’s assistants are going to be basically just continuing it based on the like notes that he left behind or like the stories that he told his editor, and they’re just going to basically write down everything that he told them [merritt: “Mm”] and wrap it up from there, which is interesting. So I’ve been like catching up on Berserk to get through that. And it’s just like, it definitely starts off in like a very grimdark, overly serious way, and that he as a creator even like kind of came around and like sort of said, “Yeah, you know, I was a young kid who was doing this and got really popular, and like over time I really honed my craft and got way more interested in much deeper and more interesting things, and I just like was still writing Berserk, so I just started turning Berserk into that,” and it gets much more interesting and really, really, really well drawn as you continue through the series. Couldn’t recommend it more, I think.

merritt: Mm.

Nerium: Just be strapped in for some really, really, really serious like content warning type stuff.

merritt: [feigning ignorance] Oh, does anything bad happen in Berserk? [Danielle laughs]

Nerium: Mmm…

merritt: Does anything bad happen to anyone?

Nerium: Uh, several bad things happen to lots of people, yeah.

merritt: Oh, really?

Nerium: Yeah.

merritt: Oh, mm.

Danielle: Aw.

Nerium: You ever play Dark Souls?

merritt: No.

Danielle: Aw.

Nerium: [laughs] Yeah, Kentaro Miura is the author of that, by the way. I didn’t even mention. But yeah, it’s, like I said, pretty rough, pretty rough start to some of that stuff, but it gets to…where it starts to go eventually is just like very interesting, introspective in a lot of ways that I, for the longest time, just assumed it wasn’t. I always assumed that Berserk was just the like overly grimdark [merritt: “Right, yeah”] low fantasy stuff that everybody loves, but actually, no, it’s– he kept writing that thing for like 30 years and changed a lot as a creator, and it’s really interesting to watch that development happen almost in like real time.

merritt: Hmm.

Nerium: That’s it. That’s what I got for my rec.

Danielle: From Berserk to the…eh, there’s nothing. There’s no transition here.

Nerium: Mm-hmm?

Danielle: I wish there was. But I watched a really wonderful classic movie last night that I had never seen before, and I’m gonna recommend it. I never saw Midnight Run before. I just, for some reason in my life, had never seen midnight run, and it is a like classic kind of a buddy travel movie but also a thriller to some extent.

merritt: I’ve never seen it either.

Danielle: Yeah, it’s Robert DeNiro and Charles Grodin, and Robert DeNiro [“Oh my–”] is a sort of a bounty hunter who has to bring in Charles Grodin, [merritt: “Yeah”] who’s this dorky hilarious accountant man who fucked over a mob boss, like a drug lord boss.

merritt: Yeah.

Danielle: And of course he’s gonna get killed the second he goes to prison, but you know, Robert DeNiro’s character has to like get his money ’cause he wants to get out of the shitty business of being a bounty hunter, and they have to, you know, go across America together, and everybody’s chasing them, including the feds, where Yaphet Kotto, who is just wonderful in this movie, who’s like an FBI agent who Robert DeNiro steals his badge and uses it to like get across the country. It’s just like a caper, like a mad, you know, a mad, funny buddy travel movie that also has all these fun thriller elements and shooting of guns and action sequences and really is so delightful and funny and goofy. The soundtrack is by Danny Elfman, [merritt laughs] and it is so fucking corny that like, you can’t help but laugh.

merritt: [imitates music]

Danielle: It’s so goofy! [laughs]

Nerium: That’s so weird.

Danielle: But it really is very fun. It’s a fun movie. It’s like mid eighties, to place it.

merritt: Martin Brest directed this.

Danielle: Yes! Yes, yes, yes. Yes. It’s so funny. It’s on the Criterion Channel right now, if you have one of those.

merritt: Do you know the last movie that Martin Brest directed?

Danielle: Oh my God, no idea. I mean, I could…

merritt: It was almost 20 years ago.

Danielle: Oh, wow. [laughs] All right, I’ll just–

merritt: It was Gigli.

Danielle: No!

Nerium: Oh no.

merritt: He did Gigli.

Danielle: Ah! [laughs]

merritt: And it was so bad, [Danielle: “Well!”] that he basically left public life and has just…

Danielle: [sighs] Well.

merritt: It destroyed him.

Danielle: Wow.

merritt: Also, before that, he did Meet Joe Black.

Danielle: Sure. Not the best! Not the best movie.

merritt: Wait, is that the one…? No, wait. No, yeah, that is the one where he does the accent?

Danielle: It is. [merritt laughs]

Nerium: Yeah.

Danielle: Yeah. [laughs]

Nerium: Yeah, for sure it is. Oh, it sure is. It sure is, merritt. [merritt and Danielle laugh]

Danielle: Not the best!

merritt: Oh, that was– that’s good. That’s really funny.

Nerium: Yeah. That’s– it’s challenging.

merritt: Man, he had so much going for him for a while there.

Danielle: What a career. Yeah.

merritt: You know, Midnight Run.

Danielle: Scent of a Woman? Classic!

merritt: Fast Times at Ridgemont High, Beverly Hills Cop.

Danielle: God, yeah. Some real classics.

merritt: Yeah.

Danielle: But again, Midnight Run. Some reason, never saw it. A truly…

merritt: I’ve never seen it either. Yeah.

Danielle: It’s so much fun. It’s so much fun.

merritt: Oh, it’s got Yaphet Kotto in it as well.

Danielle: Yes! He’s the FBI agent who like–

merritt: [gasps] Dennis Farina!

Danielle: Yep. Oh my God, Joe Pantoliano is also in it.

merritt: “As himself, Dennis Farina.”

Danielle: Yep. Real good. Really good shit.

merritt: Ah, and Joey Pants.

Danielle: Yep.

merritt: Ah, great. Great, great stuff.

Danielle: Really good cast, and they’re all having a fucking blast in this movie. Like everyone’s having fun shooting this movie, at least in my head they are. But yeah, they’re chewing the scenery all right. I can tell you that. [laughs]

merritt: Hell yeah.

Danielle: That’s my rec.

merritt: Cool. Well, that’s great, and thank you for coming on the show.

Danielle: Mm-hmm!

merritt: Nere, thank you as well.

Danielle: It’s been a blast.

Nerium: Thank you.

merritt: Thank you, every week.

Nerium: I’m usually here.

merritt: Yeah.

Nerium: Yeah.

merritt: But yeah, that’s gonna do it for this one, so we’re gonna wrap up. If you want to check us out online, you can dial into the Fanbyte BBS at That’s not how BBSs work. I’m sorry. [Danielle laughs] I was just trying to sound cool, and I hope you can forgive me. If you can forgive me, please go to Twitter and go to @fanbytemedia and say, “I forgive merritt.” [Danielle laughs] And also go to iTunes and rate and review us, and in your reviews, say, “I forgive merritt [Nerium and Danielle laugh] for making a BBS joke that wasn’t even really a joke.”

Nerium: [laughs] That’s not gonna raise any weird questions.

merritt: As long as it’s five stars, you can say whatever you want. I don’t care. And if you want to follow the us, the humans that make up the Voltron that is the website Fanbyte, you can do that on Twitter too. Danielle is @danielleri.

Danielle: Yes.

merritt: Nerium is @nerium…underscore strom? Or is there no underscore?

Nerium: No underscore, it’s just @neriumstrom.

merritt: No underscore. I am @merrittk. Jordan is our producer who is @jordan_mallory, and any other sites or things we want to plug? We’re on TikTok. We’re on YouTube.

Nerium: Yeah.

Danielle: Yeah.

merritt: If you get on YouTube, we post a lot of shorts on there, but they don’t show up in your feed, because that really irritates people. [merritt and Danielle laugh]

Nerium: Yeah.

merritt: So you can just go to the Fanbyte YouTube. There are two. There’s Fanbyte on Demand, which is where we post all the stream stuff. That one is sort of the legacy one that we used to post more on. We have a clean one now, and we actually just posted some more footage of Street Fighter 6.

Nerium: Yeah.

Danielle: Yes!

merritt: So if you want to see Imran Khan and Michael Higham play Street Fighter with Justin Wong.

Nerium: And lose horribly!

merritt: [sarcastic] Really?

Danielle: I mean…

merritt: Against Justin Wong? [Nerium and Danielle laugh]

Danielle: I mean…

Nerium: I know it’s a shock.

merritt: How could this be?

Nerium: Yeah.

merritt: I thought they were real gamers, but I guess not. I could beat Justin Wong in Street Fighter 6. I’m just gonna say. [Danielle laughs] Uh, that’s not true. I’m sorry. I lied again. If you can forgive me, please tweet [Nerium and Danielle laugh] “I forgive merritt” to @fanbytemedia, please.

Nerium: Hashtag forgive merritt.

merritt: Please tweet hashtag I forgive merritt for saying that she could beat Justin Wong in Street Fighter 6. [all laugh]

Nerium: Yeah, that’s the whole hashtag.

merritt: Yeah, it’s a long hashtag. We’re gonna try to get it trending.

Nerium: Ah, christ.

merritt: But thank you all for listening, and tell a friend about the show. And until next time, do please tweet “I forgive merritt” and keep that dial tuned to Channel F.