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Is Touhou Project Just Japanese Homestuck?

Well, sort of, but we discuss a whole lot more in our latest Channel F podcast transcript!

In this week’s podcast transcript for Channel F (a Video Game Podcast About Video Games™), the looming threat of 2022’s inevitable Game of the Year discussions finally rears its ugly, perpetual head. We all knew this day would come, but does that lessen its venomous sting?

(You can also listen on Spotify, or wherever you get your podcasts!)

merritt, Nerium, Fūnk-é and Jordan kick things off by discussing the current state of their respective Game of the Year lists, which all happen to be dominated by a particular dark fantasy open world action/adventure RPG dating sim, specifically FromSoftware’s instant classic Elden Ring. Their lists diverge pretty dramatically after that (as can be seen in the list of games discussed in this episode below), but everyone seems to agree on at least one thing: Sony has to hit its November 9 release date for God of War Ragnarok.

Later, the gang takes a look at the latest releases on Gabe’s big video game store and talk about why some publishers are still trying to backdoor their hentai games into our feeds (no innuendo intended). Somewhere in here, Nerium makes a startling claim: the sprawling anime media franchise Touhou Project is just Japanese Homestuck.

As you’re all aware, we have a strict “no Homestuck” rule for our podcasts — well, the ones produced by Jordo at least — so this line of thinking was cut off as soon as it began. But like a koala clinging to the underside of a helicopter, we just can’t shake the sense that something horrible is about to happen. Let us know in our Discord server (where you can discuss this and other Channel F podcast transcripts) if you agree/disagree with Nerium, or if a giant sinkhole opened behind your house today or something.

Segments: GOTY Goulash, Gabe’s New & Tasty, Get Rec’d

Games discussed: Elden Ring, Kirby And The Forgotten Land, Monster Hunter Rise: Sunbreak, Vampire Survivors, PowerWash Simulator, Wordle, Nobody Saves the World, Pokemon Legends: Arceus, Horizon Forbidden West, Stray, Xenoblade Chronicles 3, Drainus, Record of Lodoss War: Deedlit in Wonder Labyrinth, Norco, Pinball FX3, Lobotomy Corporation, Red Earth, Wario World, Fire Emblem Three Houses, Fashion Police Squad, Spark the Electric Jester 3, Noel Does Her Best, Marvel’s Spider-Man Remastered, Cult of the Lamb, Arcade Paradise, Axiom Verge 2, Stranded Deep, Two Point Campus, PlateUp!, Gun Devil

Channel F Ep. 175: Japanese Homestuck Podcast Transcript

Transcribed by E. Powers

merritt: Hello, and welcome to Channel F. They call me merritt k, not Dr. Worm, and I am joined as always by the Channel F Fanbyte crew. We’ve got Fūnk-é Joseph, contributing…member. Contributing…colleague? What? Contributing…special contributor?

Fūnk-é: Yeah, my actual title is–

Nerium: That is correct.

Fūnk-é: [laughs] My actual title is Dr. Worm, so yeah, just…

merritt: Oh, worm? Oh worm?

Nerium: Worm?

Fūnk-é: Oh worm?

Nerium: Oh worm.

merritt: And now, are you a real doctor?

Fūnk-é: Um…not telling!

merritt: Now, you’re…but you are a real worm, right?

Fūnk-é: Yes, I’m a real worm.

merritt: Okay, good. I’m glad we confirmed that.

Fūnk-é: World’s tallest worm.

merritt: You get 50% on your knowledge of the They Might Be Giants song pop quiz, Dr. Worm. I’m gonna say you didn’t answer the first question by punting on it, so that is one out of two questions correct. I am also joined by Nerium, Fanbyte Senior Managing Editor.

Nerium: Hello. I don’t have a doctorate, but I do… [Fūnk-é: “You gotta catch up”] love to doctor-it my records, you know?

merritt: Uh huh. [laughter]

Nerium: My permanent record.

merritt: So you’re admitting to fraud? Or, no, forgery?

Nerium: No, it’s more like…it’s like my permanent record is like a school thing, so it’s like more like fun wacky hijinks, like Animal House stuff.

merritt: Oh.

Nerium: You know, another timely reference that people understand.

merritt: “This is going on your permanent record!”

Nerium: Rrraaaa!

merritt: Ugh, hate that old dean. Someone else who hates that old dean is Fanbyte Podcast Producer, Jordan Mallory.

Jordan: It’s me. Hi.

merritt: Yeah, we hate the dean, don’t we?

Jordan: Yeah. That’s why I, uh, never went to college. I hated him so much.

merritt: Yeah. [laughs] Fuck that guy. Showed him. [Jordan laughs] And we are all here in the August slump season to discuss…well, [sighs] I gotta be honest with y’all. There’s not much coming out right now. I mean, there’s always stuff, right? There’s always something. Spider-Man Remastered came out last week.

Nerium: On PC.

merritt: Cult of the Lamb came out. Yeah, on PC. Cult of the Lamb came out last week. We got Two Point Campus. We got a few other things, but we’re sort of in that weird part of the year where the big early summer releases have come out and now we’re kind of waiting for the holiday season to ramp up. So, what I thought we could do this week is talk about how our Game of the Year lists are shaping up. You know, we’re all starting to think about that, maybe. We’re moving into, you know, Q4, probably.

Jordan: Mm-hmm

merritt: I don’t know how that works, but…

Jordan: Well, it’s officially the second half of the year.

merritt: It’s officially the second half of the year.

Nerium: Okay.

Fūnk-é: Wow.

merritt: We’re in the eighth month of the 2022nd– nope, there’s been more years than that.

Jordan: Nope.

Nerium: Mm-hmm. Nope.

Fūnk-é: It has been 2022. We’re here.

merritt: Yeah. And yeah, so, you know, for want of any sort of big new hits to kind of rally around, to build a– we have no foundation on which to build a podcast episode this week, so we’re going to build our own foundation out of our Game of the Year lists. How’s that sound?

Fūnk-é: Down. So down.

merritt: Yeah? I mean, I hope it sounds good, ’cause we’re doing it regardless. [quiet laughter]

Nerium: Yeah, they don’t have really any say in this matter.

merritt: No, you’ve heard of like railroading GMs for like role playing games.

Jordan: Mm-hmm.

Nerium: Mm-hmm, mm-hmm.

merritt: I’m kind of a railroading host, where like, this is sort of the adventure we’re going on, and if you don’t like it, then like hit the bricks.

Jordan: You don’t have to play.

merritt: Yeah, you don’t have to play. What, I’m hosting this game. You came over to my house. You’re eating my Combos. [quiet laughter] You’re sitting on my mom’s good chairs.

Jordan: I feel like Combos really missed an opportunity by not sponsoring EVO.

merritt: Right?

Nerium: Mm.

merritt: How do you not do that?

Jordan: Yeah.

Nerium: I don’t know if I’ve ever had a Combo.

Jordan: They’re great!

merritt: I don’t think I have either.

Jordan: What?

Fūnk-é: Combo– is this a brand? ‘Cause I’ve had Combos…

merritt: It’s like a pretzel thing filled with cheese or something?

Fūnk-é: Oh.

Jordan: It can be pretzel or cracker.

merritt: Okay.

Jordan: And sometimes it’s filled with like sandwich cracker cheese. Sometimes it’s filled with like sandwich cracker cheese with–

Fūnk-é: How do you put cheese in a cracker? What are you talking about?

Jordan: You know, sandwich cracker cheese.

Nerium: Sandwich cracker cheese, yeah. You know the–

Fūnk-é: All right.

Jordan: Like you go to the grocery store and you get sandwich crackers, and sometimes they have peanut butter, and sometimes they have cheese?

merritt: I used to love those ones. Yeah, like the Ritz?

Nerium: Jordan isn’t putting like cheese inside of the crackers. They come with cheese…it’s not even really cheese. It’s like cheese dust [Jordan laughs] that is like somewhat liquified somehow?

Jordan: Yeah, it’s like a liquified cheese dust?

Nerium: Yeah, it’s like a liquified cheese dust that they have then redehydrated. You know what I mean?

Jordan: Yeah. Yeah.

Fūnk-é: Liquified cheese dust.

merritt: Redehydrated.

Fūnk-é: They got some wild Alchemist working at that shop.

Jordan: Mm-hmm.

merritt: Yeah, no, some real cheesomancers [quiet laughter] just going to town, working their dark magics. And speaking of dark magics, the one game that comes to mind when I think of my Game of the Year list, because I do keep a list of all of the games that I’ve played, and I used to use, you know, GG app. I used to use Backloggery. I just have a Google Doc now, just a spreadsheet.

Jordan: Mm-hmm.

merritt: And the one game that comes to mind when I think 2022 Game of the Year, like, it would take so much…at this point, I don’t know how it’s not going to be Elden Ring.

Nerium: Yeah.

Fūnk-é: Yeah.

merritt: Like, I was watching, you know, little clips from when I streamed it earlier this year.

Jordan: Shoutouts to Lil Clips!

merritt: [laughs] I love Lil Clips. Man, RIP Lil Clips.

Nerium: Yeah.

merritt: Gone too soon.

Jordan: Yep.

merritt: He didn’t die. He just stopped rapping and opened up a hair place called Lil Clips. [laughter] But just one of the funniest games I’ve ever played.

Jordan: Mm-hmm.

Nerium: Yeah, for sure.

merritt: On that strength alone, like, I don’t know. How did you all– we’ve talked about Elden Ring a little bit before on this show, and we will talk about it more near the end of the year, so we don’t have to focus on it too much, but like, is Elden Ring going to land on your list, do you think?

Fūnk-é: Absolutely! Like, what? I played that game for like three months straight.

merritt: Yeah. [laughs] That’s not even really a question [Fūnk-é: “Yeah”] to most people on this podcast, I think.

Fūnk-é: I don’t know if I’ve played a game that isn’t one of my forever games for as long as I played Elden Ring.

merritt: Right.

Fūnk-é: Like, hundreds of hours, playing multiple saves.

merritt: Wow.

Fūnk-é: And yeah, like, when I finished that game for the first time, I was like, damn, it is gonna be so hard to trump this. Like, I played Kirby a few weeks after, and I was like, okay, this is fun. It’s also definitely on my list, and we can talk about that a bit later.

merritt: Mm-hmm.

Fūnk-é: But it’s still, it’s so much to measure up to. I don’t know how you do it.

Jordan: Yeah. I don’t know. It would be really– it would be basically impossible to beat Elden Ring.

merritt: What would it take? So, say any game [Jordan: “Mm-hmm”] can just materialize out of nowhere.

Jordan: Okay.

Nerium: Mm.

merritt: They’re just like, “Hey, we made a new one of X.”

Nerium: Mm.

merritt: Or “Hey, I’m this guy, and I made a new game.” What would that be for– hypothetically, to unseat Elden Ring for you?

Jordan: For me–

Nerium: That’s a really good question.

Jordan: That is a good question.

Fūnk-é: Yeah.

Jordan: For me, it would be a Girls’ Generation rhythm game developed by the Hatsune Miku team. [merritt laughs]

Nerium: Mm.

Fūnk-é: Oh shit. You were ready with that!

merritt: Yeah, wow, that is…that’s a great answer.

Jordan: I know what I want.

merritt: Yeah.

Fūnk-é: [laughs] For me, it would probably be Death Stranding 2, just shadow dropped. [laughter] Walk on stage like, “It’s out now.”

merritt: Really? And Death Stranding 2 comes out, and you’re like, “This is better than Elden Ring.”

Fūnk-é: I’ll do it. If there’s walking up a mountain, if they make a taller mountain, shit.

Jordan: This time you can walk up hills and buildings.

Fūnk-é: [laughs] Yeah. Like a grappling hook or some shit?

merritt: You’ve got robot. You’ve got magnetic boots.

Jordan: Mm-hmm. You’re the baby this time.

Nerium: Mm.

Fūnk-é: [gasps] Yo! Baby version?

merritt: It’s the same game, you’re just playing from the perspective of the baby.

Jordan: Yeah. [laughter]

merritt: Nere, how about you?

Nerium: Uh, there’s probably like two or three that jump to mind. I got ’em all rapid fire off the dome. BattleTech 2, [merritt: “Mm”] the sequel to the Harebrained Schemes like mech tactics game.

merritt: Okay.

Nerium: Disco Elysium 2. Give me more.

merritt: Oh my God, yeah.

Fūnk-é: Ooh!

Jordan: Mm, mm-hmm.

Nerium: I want to want to see more of my cool friends, or don’t even make me play as those same characters.

merritt: Yeah.

Nerium: Just put me somewhere else in that world. I would just love that. It’s actually probably a better idea. And Monster Hunter 5 or whatever they’re gonna call it, you know, the Monster Hunter World 2.

Jordan: Monster Hunter World 2.

Nerium: Yeah.

Jordan: That would do it for me also, probably.

merritt: That could do it for me. I think if they released that first person Mega Man X game that they had a prototype of like 10 years ago.

Nerium: Mmmm.

Jordan: Oh, yeah.

merritt: That might do it. [laughs]

Fūnk-é: Whoa, wait, does that play like prime, kind of?

merritt: Kind of, except you can like air dash and stuff.

Fūnk-é: Oh shit.

merritt: I mean, they never like released anything. I think Polygon or someone just wrote about it.

Jordan: Yeah. Shoutouts–

merritt: Because they got some footage. I think it was Tim, maybe? I don’t know.

Jordan: It was Polygon. I don’t remember who specifically it was. Shoutouts to JC Fletcher at Joystiq who got the scoop on that like a full six years [merritt: “Mm”] before Polygon wrote about it but could never get anybody to go on the record about it.

merritt: Ah, damn.

Nerium: Yeah, they never acknowledged it.

Jordan: It’s a bummer. Yeah.

merritt: Yeah, yeah.

Nerium: It’s also like gritty. It’s like dark.

merritt: Yeah.

Jordan: Yeah, it was like a…it was like that Bomberman: Act Zero thing.

Nerium: Bomberman X, yeah.

merritt: Yeah, like a…

Nerium: Or Zero, yeah.

Jordan: Yeah.

merritt: Oh my God, yeah. That was something, Okay, so Elden Ring is at least on our lists. I kind of want to go back. I almost like want to do like a second stream of that game, ’cause it’s just like…I was like just remembering how much fun that was, [Jordan: “Mm-hmm”] like, just to experience all of the goofy stuff in that world.

Nerium: Yeah.

Fūnk-é: merritt, I’m saying.

Nerium: And there’s so much you haven’t seen.

merritt: And there’s so much I haven’t seen. I only did the one playthrough.

Fūnk-é: Yeah. You gotta do the co-op mod. Like, we could all play together, like the seamless co-op mod.

merritt: Oh my God.

Nerium: Ooh!

Jordan: That’d be dope.

merritt: Oh boy.

Fūnk-é: That could be a fun stream.

merritt: Oh boy.

Jordan: I didn’t see any of the Lord of Blood stuff.

Nerium: Oh, really?

Jordan: Like that entire storyline, other than the first castle, [Fūnk-é: “Yeah”] just did not exist for me.

merritt: Who is that, again?

Jordan: I don’t know!

Nerium: Mohg.

merritt: Mohg? Oh, I think I got Mohg’s ass, right?

Nerium: Father of Worf. Yeah, you got Mohg.

merritt: Yeah.

Nerium: Near the very end.

Fūnk-é: That guy’s weak as fuck.

merritt: Oh, Mohg is weird, right? ‘Cause he’s like, “I love Miquella, blah, blah, blah.”

Nerium: Yeah.

Fūnk-é: Yeah.

Nerium: And everybody in the chat was like…

Fūnk-é: Dude, that’s your bro.

Nerium: Everybody in the chat was like, “Mohg is problematic,” and I’m like, nooo, Mohg is a gay king! Please! [laughter]

merritt: Aw.

Fūnk-é: He’s canceled!

Nerium: What?

merritt: Mohg is canceled, hunty. You’re done.

Nerium: They just patched that, actually, so that there’s [merritt: “Mm”] another third way to get to Mohg.

merritt: Oh, cool.

Jordan: Oh, interesting.

Fūnk-é: ‘Cause…

merritt: They also just patched Rivers of Blood, finally, so.

Nerium: Yeah.

merritt: I can’t use that again. [quiet laughter] Well, if I play that game, there’s no way I’m fighting Melania again.

Nerium: Oh, Jesus.

merritt: Wait, Melania? Is that her name?

Jordan: Malenia.

Nerium: Melina? Malenia.

Fūnk-é: Malenia. But yeah, that’s…that’s her name.

Merritt: Melania is the Trump.

Jordan: Yes.

Nerium: Yes.

merritt: Yeah.

Jordan: Why are they so close? Why did they do that?

merritt: [laughs] I don’t know.

Jordan: And then there’s also your horse lady, whose name is also basically that.

Nerium: Oh, Christ.

Fūnk-é: ????

Jordan: Yeah.

Nerium: Also there’s like four different– yeah, there’s ???, there’s Malenia, there’s Melina.

merritt: No, ??? is the one with the big mouth.

Fūnk-é: It’s the Ms and Rs.

Nerium: Right, it’s all Gs, Rs, and Ms.

merritt: From Mortal Kombat? Right, yeah, because that’s George R. R. Martin.

Jordan: Mm-hmm.

merritt: So, yeah, God, I want to play Elden Ring again. Let’s just stop doing the podcast right now and go and play more Elden Ring.

Nerium: Let’s go get that mod.

Fūnk-é: Thanks for listening, everyone.

merritt: Enjoy. Fūnk-é, you brought up Kirby and the Forgotten Land. That was one for me. That’s probably gonna end up on my list. It was, you know, it’s a much shorter kind of experience, but I really felt like–

Jordan: Thematically very similar. [laughter]

merritt: Thematically, weirdly similar, yes. [laughter]

Fūnk-é: Yeah. That game was really beautiful.

merritt: Yeah.

Fūnk-é: I mean, still is. I liked the co-op. I think some things could have been changed to make it better to play with friends locally, but yeah, it reminded me of playing through Odyssey and like Breath of the Wild.

merritt: Yeah.

Fūnk-é: Like just playing a game on my Switch, and it’s so beautiful, and it’s a character that I loved as a kid that is now in like this 3D environment like having a lot of fun. I really enjoyed it. It was short, as you did say. That’s my only gripe with it, but yeah, I had a fun time with it.

merritt: Yeah. And I’m okay with short games. I mean, you know. It is kind of tough sometimes when it’s like a Nintendo thing and it’s like $60 forever, but…

Fūnk-é: Yeah.

Jordan: Yeah. That’s why I haven’t picked it up, honestly.

Fūnk-é: Oh, true. Yeah, I love short games, but when it’s a big Nintendo release, when it’s like they barely release those large ones from those series, I kind of wanted more time with it, not gonna lie.

merritt: Yeah. Who knows? Maybe we’ll get…I don’t know, another little Kirby adventure or something. Nere, what about you? What else is on your list?

Nerium: Uh, what else is on my list? I want to say Monster Hunter Rise: Sunbreak is on there, but it’s just like, [merritt: “Mm”] we just brought up Monster Hunter World, and it’s just like reminding me how much more I like Monster Hunter World than Monster Hunter Rise. [laughs]

merritt: Ah.

Nerium: Rise is good, don’t get me wrong, and I thought Sunbreak was also like a fun new addition. They just actually put up more content for it that I need to dig deeper into, [merritt: “Mm-hmm”] but it is so clear up and down that like Capcom’s attention is just like focused on whatever World 2 is going to be, which was leaked in some other stuff like here and there, like a bunch of other Capcom stuff.

Jordan: Oh, word?

Nerium: So we know it’s coming. Yeah, for sure.

merritt: Right.

Nerium: And it, ’cause like, you know, the final boss of the Sunbreak– spoilers, like minor spoilers, I guess, for the Sunbreak campaign. The final boss is like…it’s so very clearly just a almost reskin of the final boss from the base game.

Jordan: Mm.

merritt: Mm.

Nerium: Which is kind of a huge bummer, and it’s like another one of those arena fights like Xeno’jiiva, and it’s just like not that interesting. So I’m kind of looking forward to more of that in the future, but, as for actual games that I’ve really been enjoying, I need to put more time into AI: The Somnium Files – nirvanA Initiative.

merritt: Mm-hmm.

Nerium: That one has been really, really fun so far, and I’m curious to see that story.

merritt: We talked about that on, uh, I think two weeks ago? Three?

Nerium: Yeah.

merritt: Yeah.

Nerium: And I haven’t gotten– I haven’t made a ton more progress in it yet, but I keep hearing wild things about where the story goes in that one, and I always like games from that developer, so.

merritt: Hmm.

Nerium: That one might make it onto my list. We’ll see how the story plays out. Honestly, there’s not a ton on my list. [merritt laughs]

Fūnk-é: Yeah.

merritt: Yeah.

Jordan: I’ve got a couple.

merritt: Yeah, please, Jordan.

Nerium: Yeah?

Jordan: My number two right now is Vampire Survivors.

Nerium: Ooh!

merritt: Ah, a game I deliberately avoided. [laughter]

Nerium: Mm-hmm, mm-hmm.

merritt: Not because I thought it would be bad, but because I thought I would stay up till three in the morning playing it.

Nerium: Mm-hmm.

Jordan: ‘Cause it would ruin your life.

merritt: Yes.

Jordan: Yeah. Vampire Survivors is on mine and PowerWash Simulator.

Nerium: Oh! Interesting.

merritt: Oh.

Nerium: Another game that is like–

merritt: Was that released this year?

Jordan: Yeah, that–

merritt: Or it came out of early access this year?

Jordan: It came out of early access this year.

merritt: Ah.

Jordan: So technically it’s, um…

merritt: Yeah, a lot of people love that thing.

Jordan: I mean, we can do whatever the hell we want, but…

merritt: No, I know, yeah.

Jordan: It’s really good. It’s really, really good.

merritt: Yeah, no, it looks cool.

Jordan: Not only…like, it’s a lot more like, I think the easy comparison is House Flipper.

Fūnk-é: Yeah.

Jordan: But it’s less of an expressive game than House Flipper.

Nerium: Mm.

Jordan: Like, there’s not really as much opportunity for just like creative customization with it, because you’re cleaning a thing that already exists.

merritt: Right, right.

Jordan: You’re not creating a new space.

Nerium: Right.

merritt: Yeah.

Jordan: But it is a much better game than House Flipper, I think.

Nerium: Mm.

merritt: Mm.

Jordan: Insofar as like having objectives and how polished everything is and the upgrade path and stuff like that, I think, is a lot more refined. And the story mode fucking goes places.

Nerium: Huh.

Fūnk-é: Actually?

Nerium: There’s a story mode. This is the first I’ve learned of this.

merritt: Yeah, I did not know that.

Jordan: There’s a career mode that like the first like five to eight missions is just like someone texting you, like, “Hey, come clean up our skate park. It’s covered in, you know, wax and puke and stuff.”

Nerium: Yeah.

merritt: Ew.

Jordan: And then things get progressively a little bit more interesting, to the point– like, eventually you’re cleaning up this weird cottage in the woods, and the people who own it keep texting you about like, “We’re definitely not those bank robbers that people keep saying we are, so I don’t know why you even brought this up.” [laughter] And that’s like the most normal…from that point on, it just kind of snowballs, and that’s kind of like the most normal thing that happens.

Nerium: Huh, that’s cool.

merritt: Wow.

Jordan: All the cats in the town that you live in, Muckingham, I think it’s called?

merritt: Mm-hmm.

Nerium: Okay, that’s good.

Fūnk-é: [British accent] It’s a bit British.

Jordan: A bit British. All the cats have disappeared.

Nerium: What?

Jordan: And the mayor thinks that it’s because his cat went missing, and so now everybody else’s cats went missing ’cause he’s a trendsetter, [laughter] and so they want to be like the cool mayor. There’s a lot happening in that game.

Fūnk-é: I love that read.

Jordan: There’s a lot happening, and it’s also just the core power washing feels really good to do, and it has optional GoldenEye aiming. [Nerium laughs] Like, if you remember in GoldenEye, like modern FPSs are just the, you know…

merritt: Twin stick, right, but…

Jordan: Yeah, what you would expect, but in GoldenEye, you would kind of plant your feet and then be able to aim more accurately?

merritt: Yeah.

Nerium: Yeah.

Jordan: This game lets you do that so that you can sweep back and forth and not be like constantly wagging the camera back and forth.

Nerium: Oh!

Jordan: In order to like…

merritt: Oh, that’s cool. Or like, some Wii games kind of did that too.

Jordan: Yeah, totally.

Nerium: Yeah.

Jordan: It’s really, really smart, because it lets you go fucking nuts with the power washer but not make yourself sick.

merritt: Mm.

Nerium: Right.

Jordan: And I think that for a lot of people who have difficulty with motion sickness and first person games, they would probably be able to play this and like not have all that much trouble with it.

merritt: Yeah.

Jordan: Yeah, that thing’s really good.

merritt: Nice.

Nerium: That also does remind me, actually, like now– like all these conversations, the second we actually like get into the groove, I remember, “Oh yeah, that came out this year.” I do want to play that one, but also Jordan, that reminds me of Hardspace: Shipbreaker.

Jordan: Oh. Yeah, I never checked that out.

merritt: Mm.

Nerium: That came out of 1.0 this year as well, and that is the same [Fūnk-é: “Mm”] thing of like, you are given an objective that is put in front of you, and you are just meant to like [merritt: “Right, yeah”] do it as perfectly as possible.

Jordan: Hmm.

Nerium: And it also ends up having a story, a much more serious story than I think yours is, ’cause it’s like about like basically people reinventing unions in space, because like…

Jordan: Oh, interesting.

Nerium: Yeah, like one of your…you have like a kind of message board with all of your other shipbreakers that you talk back and forth with, and there’s voice acting as well. They send you like audio messages and whatnot.

Jordan: Mm-hmm.

Nerium: And they’re basically like, this lady ends up like telling you like: hey, so, long time ago, there used to be these things called unions, and the company we work for, Lynx, this evil like shipbreaking company that doesn’t care about its employees and fucks people over constantly, like they were part of the reason that like got unions like destroyed and outlawed and stuff like that. But a bunch of people are trying to bring them back, so it’s like, hey, here’s my newsletter, kind of thing. [laughs] You know, if you want to be a part of it, you can. If not, just delete the message, you’re fine.

But then like the corporation finds out about it and starts like sending people to like come watch you, like Amazon overseers type thing, and you start have to start like, you know, listening to their orders and stuff like that. And there’s like [merritt: “Mm”] worry about like, oh, if they find out that this person is trying to start a union, are they just gonna like cut the oxygen line on their ship or something like that and kill them and like pretend it was an accident? Like, a lot of drama and stuff around that sort of starts developing over time, and it’s really interesting.

Jordan: Cool.

merritt: Huh.

Nerium: But at the same time, you’re cutting up these ships, and it feels good. [laughs]

Fūnk-é: Nice.

merritt: Okay, I added PowerWash Simulator to my wishlist, and I might do the same for Hardspace, ’cause I remember playing Hardspace at PAX East 2020, and it seemed really cool.

Nerium: Yeah. Those magnetic tethers are really satisfying to just like, you just put a big giant like electrode, like the little energy thing between the pods of a podracer, you know?

Jordan: Mm-hmm.

Nerium: You attach one of those to like a piece that you’ve chunked off and then like shoot the other end of it into an incinerator.

Fūnk-é: Oh, I can see it.

Nerium: And it just like, [slurping noise] and it just like sucks it off and like eats it up, and it just like feels so good. [quiet laughter] You can like daisy chain them.

merritt: It sucks it off and eats it up.

Fūnk-é: Pause.

Nerium: [laughs] Mm, interesting. Hold on.

Fūnk-é: Wait.

Nerium: Jordan, cut that out.

Jordan: Nope. [Nerium laughs]

Fūnk-é: Also, Jordo, I have a question.

Jordan: Yeah.

Fūnk-é: I’ve never been interested in those kind of games, but I’m curious like what made you– what drew you to that, like, PowerWash Simulator?

Jordan: Uh, I was wicked depressed and needed something to just kind of keep me busy.

Fūnk-é: Mm-hmm.

Jordan: And didn’t feel like playing anything that I had to think too much about, and…

Fūnk-é: Facts.

Jordan: Yeah. And lo and behold, not only did it fulfill those needs, but it actually was a lot more than I was expecting.

Fūnk-é: Hmm.

merritt: Yeah, people love that game.

Jordan: It’s really good.

merritt: So yeah, I might have to check it out. What else? Okay. This is maybe kind of an unexpected one for this podcast, but I think is gonna be, you know, on a lot of people’s minds when they think of games that were out this year and that’s Wordle.

Nerium: Oh, sure.

Jordan: Oh, yeah.

merritt: I played Wordle up until July of this year.

Nerium: Wait, was that– did that come out this year?

merritt: That came out this year.

Fūnk-é: I think so.

Nerium: No fucking way. [Jordan laughs]

merritt: I’m almost certain.

Fūnk-é: Long year, huh?

Jordan: It’s been a long one.

merritt: Yes. So, Wordle was– it is still going, and for a while there, I really loved it. I think the only reason I stopped was basically because I had accidentally missed a few days and then–

Jordan: Mm, broke your streak.

Nerium: Yeah, mm-hmm.

merritt: Broke my streak and that kind of gave me permission to be like, all right, yeah, I think I’m good. [laughter] But I was playing it for like six months or something, just every day, and it was…like, talk about games that had like wide reaches this year.

Jordan: Mm-hmm.

Nerium: Yeah.

merritt: That thing was everywhere on Twitter for the first like two months of the year.

Nerium: And nobody would tell you what it was. It was just like…

merritt: Nobody would tell you what it was.

Nerium: Here are a bunch of squares.

Jordan: A bunch of squares.

Fūnk-é: Yeah.

merritt: It’s just– but such a genius idea for [Nerium: “Oh, yeah”] marketing a game, because you know, posting the squares doesn’t give away any– like doesn’t spoil anything.

Jordan: Mm-hmm.

merritt: It’s an elegant way of showing how many turns it took you to solve the puzzle. And yeah, and that guy, you know, he sold it to the New York Times and is doing great for himself.

Jordan: Good for him.

merritt: So kind of one of those great little solo dev success stories.

Fūnk-é: Yeah.

Nerium: Yeah.

Fūnk-é: And it was a labor of love too, which is, I think, the most interesting part.

merritt: Yeah, yeah.

Fūnk-é: Made it for his partner.

Nerium: Yeah.

Fūnk-é: And then got mad money for it. [laughter]

Jordan: It’s the alternate universe good version of what happened with Flappy Bird.

Nerium: Flappy Bird, yeah, or Minecraft, I guess, to some degree.

Jordan: Yeah.

Nerium: Like, what if that guy was less of an asshole? I assume. I don’t really know anything about…Josh Wardle? Is that his name?

merritt: Wardle is in fact his name.

Nerium: Mm.

Jordan: I love not knowing anything about him. That’s great for me. [Fūnk-é laughs]

Nerium: Great! Absolutely!

Jordan: Yeah.

Nerium: I don’t want to know anything about most people. [Jordan laughs]

merritt: [sarcastic] Yeah, that’s what I always say. Cultivate a spirit of incuriosity about the world around you and the people in it, you know?

Nerium: All right.

merritt: No, I mean, about developers though, that is probably a good thing.

Jordan: About strangers on the internet? Yeah.

merritt: Yes, yeah.

Jordan: Like, I don’t need to know. Who cares?

merritt: But Wordle’s probably gonna be on my list, ’cause…

Jordan: It’s a good game.

Nerium: It’s a good one.

merritt: It’s a good game. I played a lot of it. It’s up there.

Fūnk-é: I hear that. I also played a bunch of it, but I got burnt out, and I also just like, my mind shattered when I realized people could look up the answer and just like fake like they got it. [Jordan laughs]

Nerium: Mm-hmm.

Fūnk-é: And so that–

Nerium: “I got it in one, everybody!”

Fūnk-é: Yeah, so then when I saw people tweeting like, “Oh, got it in one,” like 10 days in a row, I’m like, what the fuck?

merritt: Okay, that though is a great–

Nerium: That’s conspicuous.

merritt: That’s a service, though, [Fūnk-é laughs] that that game has done for the community, [Fūnk-é: “That’s true”] because it has shown who the sociopaths among us are.

Nerium: Yeah, mm-hmm, mm-hmm.

Jordan: Mm-hmm.

Fūnk-é: And there’s so many!

merritt: Because if you are looking up the answers to Wordle in order to fake getting it correct on the first one– I could see maybe if you have like one left and it was just like a 50/50 toss up with one letter, [Nerium: “Yeah, yeah, yeah”] and you’re like, “Ah, I just don’t want to break my streak.” Even then, you’re like, okay, well then, you’re only cheating yourself. You learned nothing. You gained nothing. You didn’t really beat the game.

Jordan: Mm-hmm.

Jordan: You’ll never have a braless wife bring you a sandwich unasked for.

Nerium: Yeah.

merritt: Yeah. Yes? What?

Nerium: [laughs] I don’t remember this.

Fūnk-é: That is from Ninja Tyler Blevins.

merritt: Oh.

Jordan: Those are both Ninja quotes.

merritt: Oh, okay. No, I thought I was quoting someone else. Okay.

Jordan: Was it? Maybe I’m confused.

Nerium: They’re all the same guy, really.

merritt: It’s all the same guy. [Jordan laughs]

Fūnk-é: But yeah, merritt, [merritt: “But yeah”] there’s so many people, like even with LoLdle, I’ve been like writing posts for the like League of Legends champion.

merritt: That’s psychotic. I’m sorry. These people should be studied. [laughter]

Fūnk-é: But there’s so…like thousands of people that are just like lying to their friends, [merritt: “Why?”] pretending that they’ve gotten it like quick! It’s scary.

merritt: That’s deranged.

Nerium: The idea that you could get away with that, like think that you could get away with that for 10 days in a row, number one. [Fūnk-é laughs] No, like, not only are you lying, you’re also just telling all of your friends on your timeline that you think they’re fucking morons. [laughter]

Jordan: Yeah.

merritt: Yeah.

Fūnk-é: And it’s not even long enough that it’s a bit. Like, they stop, like they start doing like two or three after, but it’s like, you’re not– you’re serious right now. I can’t.

merritt: Oh my God. Wow.

Fūnk-é: So I don’t think Wordle‘s gonna be on my list, because it’s revealed liars!

Nerium: Mm.

Jordan: Mm-hmm.

Nerium: Mm-hmm.

merritt: It’s shown you too much, yeah.

Fūnk-é: A nation of liars.

merritt: Speaking of LoLdle, it also spawned a whole kind of genre of games.

Jordan: Mm-hmm.

Nerium: Mm?

merritt: Yeah. I mean, there was…God, I can’t even–

Jordan: Lewdle?

Nerium: Heardle?

Fūnk-é: Yeah, there’s a bunch.

merritt: I was trying not to think of Lewdle, but there was Lewdle.

Fūnk-é: Heardle. There’s one I still play called Framed.

merritt: There was a Destiny one that was about God Rolls [“Oh!”] that I think light.gg hosted

Nerium: That’s fun.

merritt: [laughs] Yeah, it was, uh…

Fūnk-é: Yeah, there’s a movie one I play still actually called Framed.wtf.

merritt: Mm. There’s Heardle.

Fūnk-é: It’s not “frordle” or whatever, but.

Nerium: Yeah, Heardle.

Jordan: Mm-hmm.

merritt: Heardle was good.

Jordan: Heardle is good, except Heardle doesn’t do any like smart clipping for the MP3.

merritt: Mm.

Jordan: So if the first second of the track is silent, you just get silence.

merritt: Oh. [laughs] Well, regardless.

Jordan: Yeah. What’s everybody’s Wordle starting word?

merritt: Uh, stern.

Fūnk-é: Flesh.

merritt: Flesh?

Nerium: I haven’t played Wordle in like six months. I don’t know.

Fūnk-é: Yeah?

Nerium: I never had a starting word. I thought…I’m honestly in the camp of like, starting words are for cowards. Like, I wanted to mix it up.

merritt: You just try to guess every time?

Nerium: Yeah. Why not?

merritt: Ah, I’m just gonna try and guess this English language word.

Nerium: That’s the fun, though!

Fūnk-é: That’s the point of the game!

Nerium: That’s the point of the game! [laughter]

merritt: The point is to get it in as few things as possible.

Nerium: [laughs] No, I just want it. I just want to like see how– I just want to see– I want the puzzle element.

merritt: Mm.

Nerium: And I actually don’t think Wordle…it’s one of the reasons I fell off. I don’t think Wordle is actually that great of a puzzle game, because you can get those 50/50 chance things where it’s just like, well, this could be one of two words or three words, and it just matters what letter I put.

merritt: Yeah, but if you get down to there, and…I mean, the idea would be like, you don’t get in that situation.

Jordan: Mm-hmm.

merritt: That, yeah.

Nerium: Yeah, but I like a puzzle to solve. I like something that I’m just like, oh, it’s clicked, and I got it.

merritt: Mm.

Nerium: That’s what I want.

merritt: Well, did you play Patrick’s Parabox?

Nerium: No, ’cause that looked like it was for sickos. [laughter]

merritt: Well.

Fūnk-é: What is that? What is the word you just said? All those words.

merritt: Patrick’s Parabox is a game that’s on my wishlist that I haven’t played yet but I’ve heard extremely good things about.

Nerium: Lotus plays it.

merritt: It is a puzzle game that I think Lotus streamed, and yeah, [Nerium: “Yeah”] Lotus does like it, and it’s all about puzzles. It’s like a Sokoban game, but when you push a block, you sometimes go into a smaller Sokoban game.

Nerium: Yeah. Mm-hmm.

Fūnk-é: Hmm.

merritt: And it’s just blocks within blocks and puzzles within puzzles.

Nerium: Yeah.

merritt: So.

Nerium: It’s like Russian nesting doll but like weirdly…like M. C. Escher made a puzzle game, basically, almost, in a weird way?

Fūnk-é: Huh.

merritt: Yeah, and then you can push blocks inside of other blocks, and then it starts getting really like sicko mode.

Nerium: Yeah.

merritt: It’s by Patrick Traynor. Kind of like a Baba Is You sort of esque puzzle game.

Nerium: Yeah. For sure.

merritt: And I’m definitely gonna check that out before the end of the year. Other stuff on my list…let me see. I have TMNT: Shredder’s Revenge on here. I’m not sure if that’ll make it. It was fun.

Nerium: Mm. Mm-hmm. Mm-hmm.

merritt: Did any of you play Nobody Saves the World?

Nerium: No, I did not play it.

Fūnk-é: I played a bit.

merritt: What did you think of it, Fūnk-é?

Fūnk-é: I thought it was okay. I didn’t really like the art style.

merritt: Mm. It’s, yeah.

Fūnk-é: That kind of put me off of it, but it was honestly, the reason I stopped playing was ’cause I got a bit overwhelmed by the mechanics.

merritt: Mm.

Fūnk-é: It is very in depth RPG, if I remember correctly, right?

merritt: Yeah.

Fūnk-é: Like, there’s different like stats you can level up, and there was a lot of just numbers on the screen.

merritt: There are a lot of numbers. It’s for build sickos.

Fūnk-é: Yeah. When I saw the trailer, I thought it was just like, transform into this guy to walk through the hole, and then transform into this guy. But it’s like, no, like this rat is an actual class that you can upgrade, and then you can turn into like this wizard, which is another class, and it wasn’t really what I was searching for, so I just put it down.

merritt: That’s fair.

Fūnk-é: But I know you had a good time with it, right?

merritt: I had a pretty good time, and it is on my list, and I can’t decide if it’s going to end up on it or not. So, it starts off that way, right? Like, it starts off as like an ARPG Link to the Past kind of thing, except no puzzles really, just mostly combat. And you can switch into different forms, like there’s like a little rat. You can be a horse. You can be a wizard.

Fūnk-é: Mm-hmm.

merritt: Where the game starts getting really interesting, though, is when you get the ability to mix and match powers from the different forms.

Nerium: Mm.

Fūnk-é: Mm.

merritt: So you can be a horse that can like pray to God to strike your enemies down with rays of light. [Nerium laughs]

Jordan: Horses already do that.

Fūnk-é: A normal horse, yeah.

merritt: That’s true. But you can combine things to kind of create builds that are really tailored to how you want to do things and to taking out certain enemies, because you know, certain enemies will have like immunities to this type of effect, but they’re weak to this type.

Fūnk-é: Mm. Yeah, I can see how people really enjoy that kind of setup.

merritt: Yeah, and it’s cool. It’s like, for me, this kind of game is like on the one hand kind of interesting, because there’s all that stuff to play around with. And on the other hand, I’m like, It feels grindy at some points, and it just kind of feels like a [Nerium: “Yeah, mm-hmm”] little, a Skinner box. But then again, I do play Destiny, so I don’t know if I can really [laughter, Nerium: “You sure do”] complain about that! Also, yeah, the art style, not the biggest fan.

Fūnk-é: Which I really want to say, like, I kind of am disappointed in, because I love Drinkbox Studios.

Nerium: Yeah.

Fūnk-é: Shout them out. Canadian, Toronto, let’s go! [imitates air horn] But yeah, they did Severed and Guacamelee! 1 and 2 , which are very beautiful looking games, IMO.

Nerium: Severed especially. Like Guacamelee! is kind of more– is probably closer to this kind of game, which has like a… [sighs] I don’t want to say it’s just like Rick and Morty. It’s like Newgrounds looking. [Jordan laughs]

merritt: Yeah, it’s Newgrounds.

Fūnk-é: It is not Rick and Morty vibes.

Nerium: It’s a little bit Rick and Morty vibes. Like, some of those guys are just Mr. Meeseeks. I’m sorry.

merritt: [voice] Hey, Lois. Remember the time I turned into a horse and then a horse fell in love with me?

Nerium: Ugh.

merritt: That’s a thing that happens in the game.

Nerium: That’s good.

Jordan: Oh, it’s that game.

merritt: Yep.

Jordan: Okay.

Nerium: But Severed like actually really had a unique, interesting art style.

Fūnk-é: And just gameplay with the Vita? Damn. I love that shit.

Nerium: Yeah. It was like Infinity Blade but cool. [laughter]

Jordan: Here’s a game that nobody’s brought up yet.

merritt: Yeah, what’s up?

Jordan: Including me, ’cause I haven’t played it. Pokémon Legends: Arceus.

merritt: [sighs] That was this year, huh?

Jordan: Yeah.

Nerium: Still can’t believe that was this year. Yep.

Jordan: Yep.

Fūnk-é: Let me add that to my list.

merritt: I’m not playing this one. I’m done with Pokémon.

Nerium: Yeah.

merritt: I’m moving on with my life, you know?

Jordan: Mm-hmm.

Nerium: Yeah.

merritt: I’m 30 or 40 years old, and I do not need this. [laughter]

Fūnk-é: Or what?

Nerium: Oh, Fūnk-é, you would love Aqua Teen Hunger Force. [laughs]

Jordan: It’s good.

merritt: I know that this is the one that’s different and that if I wanted to play one, I should play this one, because it’s different.

Jordan: Mm-hmm.

Fūnk-é: Yes.

merritt: But all it’s gonna do is I’m gonna play it and then be like, oh, that was cool, and they’re never gonna do this again. [laughs]

Nerium: Mm-hmm.

Fūnk-é: It was something that I was playing and I was like, man, I wish they did this like 10 years ago when I was [Nerium: ““] like super into Pokémon and they were kind of doing recycling the old…

merritt: Yeah, it seems like too little too late.

Fūnk-é: Yeah.

Nerium: Mm-hmm.

Jordan: They haven’t really said their…

Fūnk-é: And I don’t know. They’re not really boring that for Scarlet either. They’re doing some of that stuff, but even Scarlet & Violet, the new ones coming, they seem more like Pokémon Sword & Shield, which I also just completely bounced off of.

Jordan: Same, yeah. I put like two and a half hours into Sword & Shield.

merritt: I finished Sword or Shield, whichever one I had, but was just like, eh, I don’t know.

Fūnk-é: Yeah. It’s just too much. Niki and I reviewed, I think was it Brilliant Diamond and yeah, Shining Pearl. And we wrote about just how it feels like these Pokémon games are coming out way too quickly, and a lot of them feel like tests for ideas that they want to do further down into the line, but it’s like, no, I wish they just like waited, they had the [merritt: “Yeah, actually–”] chance to wait and put all these ideas together into one cohesive game that actually gets people excited.

merritt: Okay. I want to look at a list of–

Jordan: Pokémon? It’s a long list.

merritt: No, no. I know. It’s like a thousand something at this point. No, but I want to know the times of the releases.

Nerium: Of Pokémon games? Yeah.

merritt: Between them.

Jordan: ‘Cause it does feel like they used to be further apart, right?

merritt: It feels like it’s gotten smaller.

Nerium: Yeah.

Fūnk-é: It’s gotten smaller, and there’s also like remakes in between to buffer for the like new games from the main line.

Jordan: Mm-hmm.

merritt: Yeah. Okay, so…

Fūnk-é: So, it’s so many.

merritt: Red & Blue came out in North America in 1998.

Jordan: Mm-hmm. That was a good Christmas. I got my Game Boy Color that year.

Fūnk-é: That’s my birth year.

merritt: Yeah, that was a good birthday for me.

Jordan: Fūnk-é, you were born then?

Fūnk-é: Yes.

Jordan: Wow.

merritt: So, Gold & Silver actually…so, Gold & Silver came out two years later.

Jordan: Okay.

merritt: In North America, in October 2000. Ruby & Sapphire were two years after that. No, three years after that, actually.

Fūnk-é: Yeah, Silver’s more similar to Red & Blue.

merritt: Yeah. It was on the Game Boy Color and then Ruby & Sapphire were on the Game Boy Advance.

Jordan: Mm-hmm. And they also were, they were doing the buffer thing between major releases, ’cause they had Pokémon Yellow and…

merritt: They did, and Crystal.

Jordan: And Pokémon Crystal, yeah.

Fūnk-é: Mm, true.

merritt: But yeah, so they were– well, they were doing like, yeah, the re-released versions, but it seems like it was about two years between each. And then, yeah, FireRed & LeafGreen, 2004. Diamond & Pearl, 2007. And since…okay, so yeah, so X & Y, 2013.

Fūnk-é: GOATed game!

merritt: Ruby & Sapphire remakes, 2014. Sun & Moon, 2016. Ultra, 2017. Let’s Go Pikachu, 2018. Sword & Shield, 2019. It’s been like almost every year or every year and a half at this point.

Fūnk-é: Give us a break!

merritt: Like, come on, guys.

Fūnk-é: Yeah. It’s been too much for me and a lot of my friends, actually. Now we just are replaying the older games. Like I have a friend that is playing like Silver, one is playing Red, one is playing LeafGreen, and we’re all just doing like the Nuzlocke Challenge. Y’all ever play that?

merritt: Yeah.

Jordan: Mm, mm-hmm.

Fūnk-é: Yeah.

merritt: That’s like, why not? Yeah, those games are so fun.

Fūnk-é: It’s been fun to like…yeah, and just name the Pokémon after your friends and stuff.

merritt: Mm-hmm.

Fūnk-é: Add a bit more like weight to the decisions. It’s pretty fun to look back at those. But yeah, an upcoming game is Violet & Scarlet, which, that’s coming out this year, right?

Nerium: Yep.

merritt: That is coming out this year, yeah.

Jordan: Sure is.

merritt: November. It’s one of two games that are coming out this year, that and God of War.

Fūnk-é: I don’t know if I’m even gonna pick it up. I’m not too interested in it. After Arceus, I was like, okay, I’ll take a break. Maybe that’s what I need from this series.

merritt: Mm.

Jordan: Do y’all think God of War is still coming out this year?

merritt: It has to.

Nerium: They put like a hard date on that very recently, which…

Jordan: Yeah.

Nerium: And it was like October or something like that. If they had said December, no.

Jordan: Hmm.

Nerium: Because December, nobody puts out a game in December. December is a fake date that you put on a video game [Jordan laughs] to then push it into…

Fūnk-é: Before delaying?

Nerium: Before delaying it to the next year in spring.

Fūnk-é: Yeah.

Jordan: Yeah.

Nerium: Yeah. I think God of War: Ragnarök will, because like, there is–

Fūnk-é: They pushed so many other things like Forspoken as well.

Nerium: But they’re, like… [sighs] Sony doesn’t have any other new games coming out in like this year. They have–

merritt: No, yeah.

Nerium: November, not October, by the way.

merritt: That’s why I think Fūnk-é’s saying they have to put out God of War.

Jordan: Yeah.

Nerium: Yeah.

Jordan: They…Sony also hasn’t had any games up until now either.

Nerium: Well, they had Horizon 2 was this year, I think?

Jordan: Was that this year?

Nerium: Early this year, yeah.

Fūnk-é: Yes. Yes, yeah.

merritt: Yeah.

Jordan: Oh, ’cause they did the thing again, right?

Fūnk-é: It was like coming out right around Elden Ring.

Jordan: Yeah, they did it again.

Fūnk-é: [laughs] Yeah.

Nerium: Yeah. They did it like the week after– yes, yes, yes. That’s right. They fucking put it the week out before Elden Ring or what–

merritt: Yeah.

Nerium: Yeah, I think it was literally before.

merritt: Yeah, I thought it was February.

Nerium: Yeah.

Fūnk-é: Oh snap. I literally forgot about that, ’cause I was just in an Elden Ring daze.

Nerium: Mm-hmm.

merritt: Yeah.

Fūnk-é: But I played through half of it.

Nerium: The same thing happened with Breath of the Wild!

Fūnk-é: [laughs] Yeah.

merritt: Yeah. They did it again.

Fūnk-é: I played through half of Forbidden…the new one, Horizon Zero Dawn 2, and I was like, this is pretty cool, but it feels exactly like the first one, like DLC for the first one, which I don’t really like for my sequels. I like the sequels to feel different and push back against what the series is trying to do or is known for.

Nerium: Yeah.

merritt: Yeah, put Shadow the Hedgehog in it. Come on.

Jordan: Mm-hmm.

Fūnk-é: Put Shadow in. Give him a gun.

merritt: Give him a gun.

Fūnk-é: Make Snake not Snake.

merritt: Well, that’s in the spinoff. [quiet laughter] You can’t introduce everything all at once.

Fūnk-é: True, true.

Nerium: You can tell how horny people are for God of War II though, which, frankly, I don’t get. I thought that first game was fine, but I know some people who fucking…

merritt: Lot of people loved it.

Nerium: Really loved it, yeah, for sure. You can tell how horny people are for this game, though, because if you look at the development section on Wikipedia, the premise section is one paragraph. It’s like four sentences at most. It’s three lines on Wikipedia. [quiet laughter] The development section is one, two, three, four, five, six, seven paragraphs that are much– that are like twice the size of that entire thing. We know nothing about this game, but people are like cataloging like, “Oh, did you hear? Sony Santa Monica hadn’t given any updates on the game regarding release, prompting Cory Barlog to tweet that the game would be out ‘when it’s done.’ In June 2021, head of PlayStation Studios, Hermen Hulst, blah, blah, blah.” It’s just…

Jordan: Oh Lord.

Nerium: Ugh, it’s wild.

merritt: Is Stray on any of your lists?

Jordan: I haven’t played it.

Nerium: Me neither.

merritt: I haven’t either yet.

Fūnk-é: Yep.

merritt: Fūnk-é, it is? Yeah?

Fūnk-é: It’s further down, definitely. I don’t think it does anything too crazy. We spoke about it with Nere and Niki in the First Byte, but…

Nerium: Yeah.

merritt: Mm-hmm.

Fūnk-é: It’s a cute game. It does exactly what the conceit is proposing, [merritt: “Mm-hmm”] and it’s pretty cool. The story, I was a bit disappointed that it didn’t go wild and go do something completely unexpected, but…

Nerium: Mm.

Fūnk-é: Hey, it’s a cat game. You can press X to meow. I’m having fun.

merritt: Yeah. What’s not to like?

Jordan: merritt, do you think that Live A Live is gonna end up on your list?

merritt: Ooh. Yes. Yeah, no, it definitely is. I’m almost done. It’s not the longest JRPG.

Nerium: Good.

merritt: Yeah, right? It’s good. It’s good. [laughter] Yeah. At the time when it first came out, people were like, “We hate this.”

Fūnk-é: Ballpark hours.

merritt: Ballpark hours. Um…

Fūnk-é: What kind of…like, how long is it?

merritt: Let me…wait, let me just check, because it’s split up into like a bunch of different…I am– nope. That is the time. That is not how many hours I’ve put in. I was gonna say 15 hours, but it’s probably more than that. Or wait, no.

Jordan: No, that sounds about right.

merritt: No, that’s right. Yeah. I have put in 15 hours so far.

Fūnk-é: Dang.

merritt: And I’m almost done.

Nerium: Hell yeah.

merritt: And I could probably be done within an hour right now, if I wanted to.

Nerium: Mm.

merritt: I’m at the last part of the game, and I could just go to the final boss. I don’t know if I could beat it, but there’s like a whole bunch of other shit you can find near the end of the game, so I’m just like hunting around for that right now. I did get the ending where you beat the game as the villain.

Nerium: Right.

merritt: Which is really funny, but yeah, it’s fairly short, which I think– for a JRPG, which is cool.

Nerium: Can I…

Fūnk-é: Nice.

Nerium: Are you going chronologically now? Or can I talk about a JRPG that is not very short that might make it onto my list now that I’ve played some?

merritt: Yeah, no, go for it.

Nerium: So, y’all might know–

merritt: Xenoblade?

Nerium: Y’all might know [merritt, quietly: “Xenoblade”] I have opinions about Xenoblade Chronicles 2.

Jordan: Mm-hmm? [Fūnk-é laughs]

Nerium: I don’t think it’s a very good video game. Xenoblade Chronicles 3, on the other hand?

merritt: Hmm.

Jordan: Yeah?

Nerium: Let me pull up a chair by this fireplace and tell you.

merritt: Now, where does the character design of this one land, between like the first and the second game?

Nerium: Uh, way more– what it actually looks like is, it’s weird, ’cause it actually probably doesn’t look like either of them all that much.

Fūnk-é: Hmm.

Nerium: It’s really going for its own unique thing, to the point where I streamed a little bit of it to Niki over the weekend actually, and like was talking about how, early on in the game, it almost feels like it’s like making an intentional statement to fans of like, “Listen, we’re not gonna do the things that we did in 2,” ’cause there’s like a…there’s a bath scene early on in the game, but it’s like…

Jordan: Ooh.

Nerium: But it’s like a military. Like, they’re…the premise of the game is that basically like everybody in the world only lives for 10 years, and all they know is war. They’re constantly fighting and killing each other, [Fūnk-é laughs, “What?”] so most people don’t even live the full 10 years. They’re like born at like 15 years old and then just live to like 25 and then die, if they make it that long.

Jordan: There’s a Doctor Who episode kind of about that. You remember that?

Nerium: Sure.

merritt: Mm.

Fūnk-é: They did an anime Logan’s Run. [merritt laughs]

Nerium: It is almost exactly that, but they– but it’s also like a little bit of… [laughs quietly] This is a reference that nobody on this podcast will get, but it’s a lot like Digital Devil Saga, where it’s like there’s these two factions of like young people who are constantly at war with each other, because like they have this big giant meter that they have to fill at all times called the Flame Clock.

merritt: Oh yeah, I’ve got one of those.

Nerium: And the only way to fill it is by killing people. So they’re like, there’s like one faction versus another faction, and the adults are basically like—or not adults, but the like, they’re older people—are like: go out and kill each other to fill up your clock, and that’s the only existence you’ll ever know. So, everybody’s in the military, in this weird sort of like anime sci-fi military organization, and like early on in the game, there’s a scene where they just like get back from watching most of their friends die, and they just like go to their barracks and have a bath, and it’s like not presented horny at all. Like, it’s just very matter-of-fact.

merritt: Like Starship Troopers.

Nerium: Yeah, like Starship Troopers. It’s almost exactly like the scene from Starship Troopers.

Fūnk-é: Oh.

Nerium: It is more horny towards the male characters, if anything at all. It is way darker than the first two games, [merritt: “Mm”] in a lot of ways. Like, it does just open with that big thing about like, yeah, we only live for 10 years, and we fucking die, and–

merritt: [Waluigi voice] Wah never changes. [quiet laughter]

Nerium: Mm-hmm?

merritt: You know, Waluigi says that.

Jordan: You remember when Waluigi said “Wah never changes”?

merritt: Do you remember when Waluigi said… [laughs]

Fūnk-é: Oh, yeah.

merritt: [laughs] Sorry. So these characters are not the same ones as in like the other games though, right?

Nerium: [sighs] No, they are…hmm. I don’t know how many people care about spoilers for games from like the one that was literally on the Wii, but like the first Xenoblade Chronicles, you basically find out that that is like a new universe that has been created because a guy in a space station like was doing like a Large Hadron Collider experiment [merritt: “Mm”] and fucked it up intentionally and destroyed all of humanity. [merritt sighs] He did an Evangelion, basically.

merritt: Mm.

Nerium: He like rebooted the universe.

Fūnk-é: You can’t do that!

Nerium: You can’t do that.

merritt: Dawg, we told you about that.

Nerium: Well, his name was Klaus, but. So he created like new universes, and it seems like what’s going on here that they’re heavily hinting on early on is like 1 and 2 took place in two parallel universes that were created by that like weird Large Hadron Collider thing, and then 3 is like, the two factions are like a faction of people from the first game or like species from the first game [merritt: “Mm”] versus a faction of people from the second game. And eventually you get them to– you get a party of like people from both sides, so there’s three from each nation. And like, one of them looks like a robot guy, because there was a robot species in the first game.

Jordan: Mm-hmm.

merritt: Mm.

Nerium: And one of them looks like a catgirl, ’cause there was a catgirl in the second game, and they’re, you know, according to whatever game they were from. But they also play like 1 and 2, depending on which faction they’re from. So like, it’s the kind of positional based MMO combat. That is what people often call it. I’ve said I have my own problems with that, but whatever.

Jordan: Mm-hmm.

merritt: Mm-hmm.

Nerium: It’s like Final Fantasy XIV type combat where you have cooldowns on abilities and stuff, but all the characters who are from like the species from the first game, their cooldowns like work in real time like they did in the first game.

merritt: Mm.

Nerium: And all the people who are from the second game’s species, they refill when they attack enemies, and you have to like mix and match their classes together.

merritt: Huh.

Nerium: And it becomes this weird like sort of mix of Final Fantasy XII and Digital Devil Saga and a bunch of other weird stuff, and then everybody turns into mechs. Speaking of Evangelion, they just turn into Evas at some point.

merritt: Cool.

Nerium: It’s really weird.

Fūnk-é: Okay. See, this sounds really fascinating, but I know it’s 300 hours.

Nerium: Yeah.

merritt: Yeah.

Jordan: Mm-hmm.

Nerium: Yeah, I have no idea how long it is, ’cause nobody’s beaten it yet, so. [laughter]

Fūnk-é: For real? Oh God.

Jordan: They haven’t finished it. It’s just so long that nobody knows.

merritt: Yeah, they’re still working on it. [Nerium laughs] They’re like, ah, we don’t have to– yeah, no one’s gonna get close to…

Jordan: Yeah.

Fūnk-é: I love when I talk to my friends who don’t really play too many video games, and I’m like, “Yeah, I spent like 25 hours in this one,” and they’re like, “What the fuck?” [Nerium laughs]

Jordan: 25?

Fūnk-é: Like, why? Like, what are you doing in it for 25 hours of this?

Nerium: Uh huh.

merritt: Okay, but that’s like a–

Fūnk-é: Like, well, it’s not all at once. [laughs]

Nerium: That’s reasonable.

merritt: That’s like a season of a prestige TV show, though.

Nerium: Oh, yeah.

Jordan: Mm-hmm.

Fūnk-é: Yeah.

merritt: I don’t think people like realize that.

Fūnk-é: The thing about games as a different media is they show you the amount of time you’ve consumed it.

Nerium: Yeah.

merritt: That’s true, yeah.

Fūnk-é: TV and movies don’t like log…like HBO Max says, “You’ve watched 500 hours in the past two weeks.” Like, that would be weird.

merritt: They don’t want to, because… [laughter]

Nerium: Yeah. I will say, like, one of the reasons that– this one is long, for sure. I’m looking at How Long to Beat and it’s 80 hours for main plus extras, 150 for completionist, 55.5 for main story. One interesting thing about it to me, though, is like, it’s very clearly like…one thing about the previous games is they had these big, giant open worlds, but they were very flat, and you didn’t do much in them except for walk from [merritt: “Mm”] cut scene to cut scene, boss battle to boss battle. They have filled this world with a lot more stuff to do that is like very clearly drawing from like modern Assassin’s Creed, so there’s like basically camps to clear out and stuff like that. But what’s actually kind of like interesting about it is like, they– it’s not just like Assassin’s Creed where it’s like you go to the camp, you clear it out.

merritt: Mm-hmm.

Nerium: It goes red to blue on your map, and then you move on and you never think about it again. It’s like, you go there and every, quote, unquote, camp– they’re colonies in this one is what they’re called, which are basically just these like giant mechs that everybody lives inside of and then set up camp tents around.

Jordan: Like White Base.

Nerium: Like White Base.

merritt: Mm.

Nerium: It’s a lot like White Base, yeah. You go from one of these to the next, and you’re like liberating them from the influence of those big flame clocks, those life-draining meter things.

merritt: Mm.

Nerium: But all of them have like individual story, unique boss fights, new characters that you get added to your party. After you’re done, there’s like long cut scenes of like explaining like, okay, you liberated these people from like the influence of this like neverending war, but most of these people have only known neverending war their entire life, and like, you have people from both sides on your squad. They’re not gonna like you just because you did this. Like, a lot of ’em are pissed off, because now they don’t get supplies from like military command anymore, because military command has like written them off as a loss, and so they have to find their own food.

merritt: Mm.

Nerium: And you have to like…you have to go around town listening to rumors and collecting information and then like go and camp with your squad and like talk about rumors that you collect by like listening in on conversations and talking to people. And that like creates new quests that you do, where it’s like, hey, you gotta go…they’ve never farmed before. You have to like help teach them how to farm.

merritt: Oh. That’s cool.

Nerium: It’s neat. It’s really interesting.

merritt: That’s kind of cool. Sounds like a lot of work.

Jordan: It does.

Nerium: It is.

Fūnk-é: Yeah.

merritt: But it does sound cool. Like, it’s thinking about the consequences of this worldbuilding decision that they’ve made and actually like what that would look like.

Nerium: Yeah.

merritt: Which I feel like is kind of rare for a lot of games.

Nerium: It’s super is, and it like stood out immediately and was like, oh. I did like one or two, and I was like, oh, okay. This is the tutorial one. This is where they’re gonna teach me how to liberate colonies or whatever, [merritt: “Mm”] and then I’ll never think about it again. But no, it just keeps happening, and then like, [merritt: “Huh”] people join your squad and all kinds of stuff, and it’s cool.

merritt: That’s cool.

Fūnk-é: I have another sci-fi game about the world exploding that I want to talk about.

Nerium: Uh huh.

merritt: Fortnite?

Fūnk-é: No. [Fūnk-é and Nerium laugh] We can talk about that.

merritt: That was like two years ago that the world exploded in Fortnite. Yeah, no, go ahead.

Fūnk-é: It is Drainus.

Jordan: Oh, yeah, Drainus.

Nerium: Drainus!

merritt: Also on my list.

Fūnk-é: Team Ladybug.

Jordan: Yeah.

Nerium: Hell yeah!

Fūnk-é: Shoutout Team Ladybug. Shoutout y’all for putting me on them, ’cause I’ve also been playing Record of Lodoss War: Deedlit in Wonderland Labyrinth.

merritt: Oh, yeah.

Jordan: Mm-hmm.

Fūnk-é: Which is the longest title for any game I’ve ever played. [laughter]

merritt: Yeah, it’s crazy long.

Fūnk-é: And that game’s fucking awesome. It is just Symphony of the Night in 2020.

merritt: Yeah.

Fūnk-é: And that’s definitely gonna be on my list.

merritt: And you’re playing as an anime character from like 60 years ago. [laughter]

Fūnk-é: Yeah, that’s from a show! It’s ridiculous.

Jordan: Yeah, when was Record of Lodoss War? I’m gonna look it up.

Fūnk-é: It’s so good, though.

merritt: Uh, I mean the novels were eighties or nineties, and then I guess the anime was probably nineties.

Fūnk-é: Yeah, it’s a whole long…

Jordan: The original run of the manga was 1988 to 1993.

Nerium: Mm.

merritt: Mm.

Fūnk-é: Damn.

Nerium: I’m just glad somebody was around to record that Lodoss War though, you know?

Jordan: Mm-hmm.

Fūnk-é: Yeah.

merritt: I know, you know? You really… [laughs]

Fūnk-é: Shoutout Deedlit.

merritt: Yeah. Deedlit got you. No one else got me, Deedlit got me. [laughter]

Fūnk-é: But yeah, that studio’s so good.

merritt: Yeah, no, that sure is on my wishlist. I mean, not the Lodoss War, but Drainus.

Nerium: Drainus gang!

merritt: Drainus gang.

Fūnk-é: Drainus gang! Yeah, I really love that that studio keeps putting in like an absorbing and reflecting mechanic.

Nerium: Mm-hmm.

merritt: Mm.

Fūnk-é: Into completely different genres.

merritt: Now…

Fūnk-é: Like I told you all, Deedlit is like a Metroidvania style game, whereas Drainus is a side scrolling shoot ‘em up, and they both fucking slap! Like, I love it. I love going into danger and like absorbing it like a shell and just reflecting it back at someone, just a great power.

Fūnk-é: It’s great.

merritt: Fūnk-é, have you ever played Ikaruga?

Fūnk-é: No.

Jordan: It’s good.

Fūnk-é: I remember y’all mentioning that to–

merritt: I think you would probably like it if you like Drainus, because that’s sort of, I think, one of the OG [Jordan: “Mm-hmm”] versions of that mechanic.

Fūnk-é: People are saying Darius and Ikaruga.

merritt: Yeah, the Darius series is great if you like fighting giant fish all the time for some reason.

Nerium: Mm-hmm, mm-hmm. [Fūnk-é laughs] I mean, Drainus itself is probably kind of an overt reference to Darius, you know?

merritt: Yeah.

Fūnk-é: Mm-hmm.

Jordan: Mm-hmm.

merritt: Oh, yeah. Ikaruga like has that switching between like black and white mechanic.

Nerium: Yeah.

merritt: Also, Ladybug did Touhou Luna Nights, which [Nerium: “Yeah”] is just based on a totally incomprehensible series of games.

Fūnk-é: Yeah.

Nerium: It’s like Japanese Homestuck. [laughter]

Fūnk-é: We did it again.

merritt: That’s so rude. That’s so rude to Touhou.

Jordan: All right, I’m here to stop it this time. [laughter]

merritt: Not totally wrong.

Fūnk-é: But yeah, like, Drainus is so cool. Like, I really had a fun time with it.

merritt: Yeah.

Fūnk-é: It’s two hours to complete. I even replayed it after.

merritt: All right. I gotta play it.

Fūnk-é: Yeah, right? It’s about– you play as a pilot who has stolen the Drainus, which is the most powerful prototype ship in the galaxy, and you’re trying to take down this evil empire with this frog.

Jordan: Mm? [laughs]

Fūnk-é: It’s kinda like the frog from Starfox.

Jordan: Mm?

Nerium: Yeah, it’s like a Slippy frog.

Fūnk-é: Jordo, I got you.

merritt: Mm.

Fūnk-é: It’s like a 2022 Slippy who can time travel, and he’s coming back in time to be like, “Yo, you need to steal this Drainus to take down this empire, or else everything ever is going to die, and I only have two time travel tokens, and one was to come back to get you, and my other one is to go back to the future.”

merritt: My other one is to go get the McDonald’s pizza. [laughter]

Fūnk-é: It’s cold. It’s cold. It’s on the table, but I have to get it. But yeah, it’s so cool. It has actually a really good story.

merritt: Mm.

Fūnk-é: There’s only like four characters, but…

Nerium: Yeah.

Fūnk-é: And the story is told through like codecs and stuff, but it actually hit me in ways where I was like, are you actually doing that? Are you making that choice in this story now, [merritt: “Damn”] after I just killed this colossal boss? And it does some really cool stuff. I don’t want to spoil it, ’cause it’s so short of a game.

merritt: Yeah.

Fūnk-é: But I really recommend it, and I think that’s like top five of my Game of the Year list.

merritt: Damn.

Nerium: Wow.

merritt: All right. Well, it’s on my list.

Nerium: It’s very good.

Jordan: Yeah, I’m sold.

merritt: It’s on my wishlist.

Nerium: It’s also like dirt cheap.

merritt: Yeah, it’s 20 bucks.

Jordan: Yeah, it’s like 15…yeah.

merritt: On sale a lot of the time. I think I missed the last sale, but maybe I’ll just buy it full price. But yeah, there’s a bunch of stuff that I would like to play before the end of the year that I haven’t [Jordan: “Mm-hmm”] that might end up on my list. Drainus is one of those. I do want to play Stray.

Nerium: Mm-hmm.

merritt: Citizen Sleeper and Norco.

Nerium: Oh, yeah. Yeah.

merritt: I want to play both of those bad boys.

Jordan: Oh, yeah, Norco.

Nerium: Me too.

merritt: Norco is supposed to be great.

Jordan: Norco I’m really interested–

Fūnk-é: Yeah. I started Norco.

Jordan: Oh, you started it? How is it?

Fūnk-é: I liked it. It was really well done it. Honestly, it reminded me a bit of Disco Elysium [others: “Mm-hmm”] with the thoughtful systems and stuff like that, but it was so sad, and I was also sad in real life.

merritt: Ah, yeah.

Jordan: Oh, sure.

Fūnk-é: So I was like, I can’t. It’s too much sadness.

merritt: That’s why I think– I was like wondering why I hadn’t played it before now.

Nerium: Yeah.

merritt: And I was like, oh yeah, because of the depression. [laughter] ‘Cause of the brain problems.

Nerium: Honestly, before that game was even out, people were telling me, like pre-release, like when it was under embargo, “This is the next Disco Elysium.” And then I like messed around with it a little bit. I’ve only played like maybe half an hour, but it is so grim, and one of the things that really ended up selling me on Disco Elysium early on was like, it’s like a grim world, but it’s like, there’s so much life in it as well.

merritt: Yeah.

Nerium: It doesn’t feel like a world that is already dead. It feels like a world where it’s like, [merritt: “Right, yeah, yeah, yeah”] you know, people are living in the bones.

Fūnk-é: And it’s hopeful.

merritt: There’s bright spots in that game.

Fūnk-é: It’s hopeful. There’s people there that like believe in a future [merritt: “For sure,” Nerium: “Yeah”] of this place.

merritt: Yeah, yeah, yeah.

Fūnk-é: Whereas Norco’s like just companies destroying the land and like all hope, like stamping it out, which is sad.

merritt: Well, before we move on to our next segment, real quick, what’s a game that you…what’s one of your favorite games that you played this year that didn’t come out this year?

Nerium: Mm.

Fūnk-é: We don’t have to get into too many details.

Jordan: Mm.

merritt: And I have a lot, so let’s just keep to one.

Jordan: Let me open Steam.

merritt: Or two.

Nerium: Yeah.

Jordan: Oh, Pinball FX3.

Nerium: Oh.

merritt: Is that a Zen?

Jordan: That thing’s– sorry?

merritt: No, that’s– oh, is that like the thing that you have on your custom pinball machine thing?

Jordan: It’s a PC virtual pinball front-end [merritt: “Okay”] that like you get in with one free table, and then all the other tables are DLC.

merritt: That’s not by Zen, is it? That’s someone else?

Jordan: It is.

merritt: Oh, it is. Okay.

Jordan: It is Zen’s thing, and I play it on my AtGames Legends Pinball, because the pinball machine has an HDMI and a USB port on it, so my computer sees it as a third monitor, [merritt: “Mm”] and it registers the plunger and the buttons as an Xbox controller. [merritt laughs]

Nerium: Oh.

Fūnk-é: Huh.

Jordan: So I start the game on Steam and then just pipe it into the pinball machine, and the tables are a little samey, like as far as like layout goes, but the themes really do a lot of work for them. There’s like a Doom 2016 table that’s really fun.

Nerium: Oh, neat.

Jordan: And there’s three different Aliens tables [merritt: “Mm”] that use clips from the various movies [Fūnk-é: “Oh?”] and from Alien: Isolation, and they go on sale. Like, that game is three or four years old at this point, so the tables go on sale relatively often. I had to email customer support at Zen and send them a picture of my pinball machine in order for them to send me a code to put into the game in order to enable portrait mode graphics.

merritt: That’s very silly.

Nerium: Huh.

Jordan: Yeah. It’s not just a thing that you can turn on. You have to like go into the menu and be like, “I would like to use this on a virtual pinball machine,” and then they’re like, “Okay, email us.” And then you have to send them a picture of the pinball machine to prove that like it’s in a residential environment and that you’re not running a convenience store or something, and then a day later, they get back to you, and you put the code in, and then it works. It’s very silly.

Nerium: I do take umbrage with you calling it portrait mode, not tate mode.

Jordan: Tate, sorry. Well, in… [merritt laughs] Yeah, I don’t know. [Nerium laughs] Does tate apply to pinball? ‘Cause pinball’s always vertical, right?

merritt: Pinball’s always vertical, yeah.

Jordan: Yeah.

Nerium: There’s gotta be a horizontal pinball table out there somewhere.

Jordan: Hmm.

merritt: Hmm.

Jordan: Hmm!

Jordan: merritt, did you see–

merritt: There’s some fucked up pinball tables. I saw a bunch of them at Pinball Hall of Fame.

Jordan: Did you see any horizontals?

merritt: No, but I saw a flat one that was like two player versus pinball.

Jordan: That’s cool.

Nerium: Ooh.

merritt: Which is based on Joust. Very weird.

Nerium: Ooh!

Jordan: So like CrossFire.

merritt: Yeah.

Jordan: You’ll caught up.

merritt: You’ll caught up in it, yeah.

Jordan: Yeah. [laughs]

merritt: [singing] “Crossfire!”

Jordan: But yeah, that thing’s really good.

merritt: Yeah. Okay, cool.

Jordan: The physics are…the tables have fun themes, even if the layouts aren’t totally interesting all the time, and the physics are very good.

merritt: Cool.

Nerium: That’s cool.

Jordan: Yeah.

Nerium: Physics are like the most important thing for sure, with a pinball table.

Jordan: Totally. Yep.

merritt: I also want to point out that I wrote a piece about pinball game spinoffs last week, which is on the site.

Jordan: That’s a good piece.

merritt: Thank you. And also I found out there was a commercial for Kirby’s Pinball Land where there’s a really, really, really fucked up looking claymation Kirby.

Jordan: [laughs] Mm-hmm.

Nerium: Oh, yeah! I saw that picture.

merritt: It’s just like really bizarre. Nere, how about you? Fave game you played this year that didn’t come out this year, so far?

Nerium: I was going to say, at first, something along the lines of: [singing] today I woke up and looked outside again, but the sky looked the same to me. Something told me that this world had changed, couldn’t figure out what did it mean.

merritt: Now, what is happening?

Fūnk-é: I like it.

Nerium: [singing] Some say to get out fast, looks like it’s gonna last. Get all your things and fly, don’t leave nothing behind!

merritt: What is happening?

Nerium: They announced a new Dragon’s Dogma this year, [Fūnk-é: “Oh”] and I played a little bit more of…

merritt: Oh, you played the old one.

Nerium: The old one, yeah.

merritt: That’s your best? Dragon’s Dogma? Wow, okay.

Nerium: Yeah, that’s too “Into Free”.

Jordan: It’s the best part of the original game that they took out.

Nerium: Okay.

Jordan: For Dark Arisen.

Nerium: Okay, nope. I’m changing my answer, ’cause I can’t talk about Dragon’s Dogma with Jordan here.

Jordan: No, I’ll be quiet. It’s okay.

Nerium: I was actually gonna change my answer anyway, ’cause I looked down my Steam list. I had prepared that whole like lyrics joke first.

merritt: Mm-hmm, mm-hmm, mm-hmm.

Nerium: And then I looked down my Steam list, and I was like, oh, here’s a different game I haven’t talked about on a podcast before that came out this year that I really like, I think I like? Lobotomy Corporation.

Jordan: Okay.

Nerium: Y’all know about this?

merritt: I don’t know what that is.

Nerium: Y’all know about this? [laughs]

Jordan: I don’t know about Lobotomy Corporation.

merritt: No.

Nerium: Do y’all remember Library of Ruina?

merritt: I think I remember seeing you play it for like two minutes on stream.

Fūnk-é: Nope.

Nerium: Yeah. I tried to stream it with Niki and LB, and they just like eviscerated it so badly that I never touched it again. [laughter]

merritt: Wow, brutal.

Nerium: The developers of that game, Project Moon, they’re a South Korean developer, I believe. And you can tell sometimes like the—they’re an indie dev—they don’t have always like the most well localized dialogue in the world.

merritt: Mm-hmm.

Jordan: Mm-hmm.

Nerium: It’s like, you could definitely tell there’s some translation errors here and there. Lobotomy Corporation is a game set in the world of Library of Ruina. Library of Ruina is like a deck building game [merritt: “Yeah”] that they put out like last year, and it was pretty cool. Before that, they put out like a base management game? Like, the closest comparison is probably like Fallout Shelter. It’s like a Fallout Shelter-like with a story.

merritt: And that’s Lobotomy Corporation?

Nerium: That’s Lobotomy Corporation, yeah. But it’s like, what if you were doing a Fallout Shelter, but it was like you were at a corporation that is like harvesting SCPs for energy.

merritt: I see. that seems cool.

Nerium: Yeah. And it’s like every different SCP that you’re dealing with– I forget what they call them. They’re, you know, like they’re weird monsters that all have like…weird monsters or artifacts or different things that have different things that they affect the world in different ways, and you have to like send in workers to go check them out, and you like learn more about them over time and their likes and dislikes. And then it gets, like Library of Ruina, tremendously dark.

merritt: Hmm.

Nerium: It’s really, really rough. Like, it’s got kind of a weird– the first game especially, Lobotomy Corporation definitely has like a very cutesy art style, but it’s like, oh, I’ve gone into this like cell with a big skull that has like railroad spikes through it, and it put an egg in one of my people, and then when they went back to the break room, a giant spider exploded out of their chest, and now it’s running rampant through the facility, and I have to like beat the shit out of it to kill it.

Jordan: Oh, that’s gonna happen.

Nerium: Exactly.

Jordan: Yeah, anytime you’re dealing with SCPs, stuff like that’s gonna happen.

merritt: Yeah. You don’t want to do that, yeah.

Nerium: Totally. And there’s like a lot of stuff like that, and you’re like managing the mental health of your people and different things like that, and like different monsters have different– or they’re not always monsters. Like one of them is like a sentient static cloud that just like floats in the air. Bunch of stuff like that. But what you’re doing is you’re basically trying to– like in this world, basically people figured out, like found these monsters and were like, “Oh, these things give off like a lot of energy. We can just like harvest that and become like a power company, [laughs] the most horrible power company in the world that lives underground, and power the world.” So you have to like make a certain amount of energy every day to power society, but there’s like an overarching story that goes over time. and it’s very interesting.

Jordan: Do you perform lobotomies?

Nerium: I don’t know why it’s called that. I’ve not– maybe that comes into play later, but as far as I’ve– oh, the name of the company, the power company is called the Lobotomy Corporation, and I don’t know why.

Fūnk-é: That’s a bad name for a company.

Jordan: Yeah.

merritt: Yeah.

Nerium: It’s a bad name!

merritt: That’s not great.

Nerium: Why would they do that?

merritt: Fūnk-é, real quick, a game you played this year that didn’t come out this year.

Fūnk-é: I have three.

merritt: Okay. Well. [laughter]

Fūnk-é: First one…

merritt: One would be great.

Nerium: Rejecting the premise.

Fūnk-é: I was sitting on them.

merritt: If you’re saying three, then you get one sentence for each of them.

Fūnk-é: Okay. Thinking of a good sentence, buh buh buh. From ‘96– well, actually, it’s kind of from this year, ’cause it was in the Capcom Fighting Collection, but–

merritt: That was your sentence. [laughter]

Fūnk-é: Red Earth!

merritt: Didn’t even get to say the name of the game.

Fūnk-é: It’s a run-on sentence: Red Earth, and…

merritt: Red Earth. Yeah, Red Earth is fun. [Nerium laughs]

Fūnk-é: It’s really cool, because you can…

Jordan: Red Earth rules.

Fūnk-é: You can fight as a– you can fight against bosses in a fighting game, which are actually like giant like grandiose creatures.

merritt: Yeah. You can be a big lion man.

Fūnk-é: Which, yeah, I’ve never seen in a fighting game. Usually in the main story, it’s just like you’re fighting another humanoid.

merritt: Mm-hmm.

Fūnk-é: But yeah, you fight giant sphinxes and T-Rexes with swords and oysters fighting you and like a giant wizard with a brain on his back. It’s so awesome. John streamed it on Tuesday Morning, the show.

Nerium: Huh.

Fūnk-é: The second one is Wario World for the Game Cube. What a bizarre game. There’s a world where that is…there’s Wario World Odyssey [merritt: “Mm”] and that series continued, and I would love to be in that timeline, ’cause it’s actually a really fun platformer that Nintendo has forgotten about, [Jordan: “Mm-hmm”] like they are known to do. The last one is Fire Emblem: Three Houses.

merritt: Hell yeah.

Fūnk-é: Shoutout y’all for the recommendation. That game is so good. Like, I went and I visited family, and when I was done working I like just pulled out my Switch and I was playing that, and I got so lost in that world. I was like playing for like three hours, and I was like, damn, it’s got the story, it’s got the gameplay. I get it. I understand. Shout out the Black Eagles gang.

Nerium: Yeah!

merritt: Cool. Well…

Nerium: merritt?

Jordan: Did you give us yours?

merritt: Yeah, the time has come to an end. This is what nature planned.

Jordan: Mm.

merritt: Because mine was Metal Gear Rising: Revengeance.

Jordan: Oh.

Nerium: Ooh!

merritt: Rules of nature, baby! That, yeah.

Fūnk-é: Aha.

merritt: There were a bunch of other ones too. Astro Boy on the Game Boy Advance, very good too.

Jordan: Oh, that game’s great.

merritt: Incredible, incredible game [Jordan: “Yeah”] that really introduced me to the works of Osamu Tezuka in a way that I did not expect it to, so that was neat.

Nerium: Hmm.

merritt: All right. Should we do, uh, Gabe’s New and Tasty?

Nerium: Gabe’s New and Tasty.

Jordan: I would love to eat something new and tasty.

merritt: Let’s do Gabe’s New and Tasty, where we look at–

Nerium: Go on real Gabe’s Odyssey. [Jordan laughs]

merritt: Well, that would also have been pretty good. But we’re just gonna look at the New and Trending list on Steam, and just real quick run down through it, see if we have any thoughts. I thought we would do this a little bit differently, though.

Nerium: Mm.

merritt: I’m gonna just tell you the name of the game, [Nerium: “Mm-hmm”] and you have to tell me what you think it is. This isn’t gonna work for all of them, [laughter] because some of them…well, also, please don’t be looking at the list right now. If you already did, then, um…

Jordan: You’re fired.

Fūnk-é: I’m not looking.

merritt: Then you’re fired.

Nerium: Well.

merritt: Some of these, you probably will already know what they are. The first one is Fashion Police Squad.

Nerium: I think I do know what this is.

Fūnk-é: We have to say what kind of game it is?

merritt: Yeah, what do you think that is, Fūnk-é?

Fūnk-é: Uh, like a Zoo Tycoon kind of game with fashion police?

Nerium: Mm.

merritt: Okay. Okay, interesting. Jordan, do you know what this one is?

Jordan: I have no idea. That’s…

merritt: What do you think it is?

Jordan: That’s about what I was gonna guess, some kind of management or like strategy game.

merritt: Mm.

Jordan: Or it’s a clicker.

merritt: It’s neither of those. It’s a first person shooter where you [Jordan, sarcastic: “Oh, great,” Fūnk-é laughs, “What?”] are a police officer who guns people down for dressing in the wrong clothing.

Nerium: Huh.

merritt: Except your gun, I think, just–

Nerium: It like shoots better clothes or something, right?

merritt: It makes them fashionable. Like, one of the guns is like an old-timey like sewing machine. Yeah, you’re like…you’re making their clothes better?

Nerium: Yeah. It’s like a…it’s a Doom clone.

merritt: Yeah.

Nerium: It’s like a 2.5D thing. [Jordan laughs]

merritt: Kind of an interesting like take on an FPS.

Jordan: Uh huh.

merritt: I don’t know if it’s good, but that’s what it is. Spark the Electric Jester 3.

Nerium: I do know what this is.

Jordan: I also know what this is.

merritt: Fūnk-é, do you know what this guy is?

Fūnk-é: I know that you made this up. [laughter]

merritt: Yeah. I made this one up, because this is the game that I want to play. What do you think Spark the Electric Jester is?

Fūnk-é: Uh, a sequel to Disney’s Bolt?

merritt: That is…

Fūnk-é: I’m not even sure.

Nerium: Uh, that’s closer than you maybe think.

merritt: No, it’s actually a sequel to, uh, Robot Circus on the Nintendo 64 or whatever the fuck that game was called. [Nerium laughs] No, it’s a Sonic Adventure clone, that is…

Fūnk-é: Oh, nice.

merritt: It’s like a 3D– yeah, it’s in a series of games. The first one came out in 2017 and was just a straight up 2D game. Spark 2 came out a few years ago, and yeah, this one just came out yesterday as of this recording. And yeah, it’s like a Sonic Adventure where you’re running around and grinding on rails and platforming and doing stuff like that. It even kind of has the same sort of UI as one of those games.

Jordan: Mm-hmm.

merritt: So it looks kind of neat. I might check it out.

Nerium: I’ve heard good things about it.

merritt: I’m only mentioning this one, because it ties into a piece that I wrote today. It’s called Noel Does Her Best.

Nerium: [wearily] Uh huh.

merritt: What do you all think this is about?

Nerium: Well, I read your piece.

Fūnk-é: It’s a sex game. [laughter] Yeah.

merritt: Did you all read the piece?

Jordan: I saw it, yeah.

Nerium: I did.

Fūnk-é: I saw it, yeah.

merritt: So, you would like hear this title and be like, “Oh, this is like about a Christmas character doing a Chris–”

Nerium: Mm-hmm.

merritt: No, it’s just a horny RPG Maker game. But the interesting thing about this game is…so, I have the Adults Only tag turned off on Steam, [Nerium: “Mm-hmm”] so Steam doesn’t show me those things. I do have the other ones on for like gore and like sexual content, but like not like…it doesn’t show you overt like just porno games.

Jordan: Mm-hmm.

merritt: But what I realized and what I wrote this piece about today is that there are a lot of publishers that, for whatever reason, will publish censored versions of their games on Steam and then have patches that people can download if they want the full on, like just, you know, full penetration. [Jordan laughs] If they want that, they have to go download the patch from the site, and there’s a few–

Jordan: Mm-hmm.

merritt: I don’t know exactly why they do that. I have a feeling that it’s partly because they’re afraid of getting in legal trouble.

Jordan: Mm-hmm.

merritt: Partly because this way, you know, this shows up on like my list when I have that thing turned off.

Nerium: Yeah.

Jordan: Mm-hmm.

merritt: And I guess there is a world in which someone could see a shitty looking RPG Maker game and be like, “Yeah, I want to play that.” [laughter]

Jordan: It’s like, yeah, I like horny games, but not like explicit pornography.

merritt: Right. And then the people who are already into that stuff, probably already, you know, Steam has only allowed games like this on the platform for about four years at this point.

Jordan: Mm-hmm.

merritt: So people who are into that stuff have probably been doing this for a while, like having to patch them.

Jordan: Yeah, that’s how like HuniePop and that first wave of…

Nerium: Yeah.

merritt: Right, yeah.

Jordan: Of hentai games on Steam before Steam allowed, just let you put porno on there.

Nerium: Ladykiller in a Bind did that.

Jordan: Yeah.

Nerium: The Christmas sweaters.

merritt: Yeah. Well…yeah, they had their Christmas sweater one, yeah.

Nerium: I wonder if there’s almost like a semantic benefit to this, where it’s like, oh, this is too…like, I need to see what’s different about this thing, if I go– like, if they’re making me go to a different website for it. You know how, like, I don’t know, when you’re a kid and like you hear about video games or you hear about a thing in a video game, and it’s like, “Yo, this has this in it!” and like, it always seems way more explicit and exciting and like adult [merritt and Jordan: “Mm-hmm”] because you don’t…because you can’t have it and because you can’t see it. And then you go back to it like 10 years later, and you’re like, “Oh, this is what this was?”

Jordan: Yeah. [laughs]

merritt: I guess. Yeah, no, I guess. It’s just like, it’s 2022, and like the internet exists, and I just don’t know who this is for. There’s also a whole conversation to be had about how literally all of these games, the sex stuff always is as a result of like losing something.

Jordan: Mm-hmm.

merritt: Which is like, you know, at the most generous is like a kind of lazy form of game design, and at the least generous is like…

Nerium: Uh huh.

merritt: Betrays some pretty bizarre ideas about that stuff.

Nerium: Mm-hmm.

merritt: But let’s not talk anymore about that. Marvel’s Spider-Man Remastered is on Steam now. Anyone–

Jordan: That’s a pinball table, right?

merritt: That is, yeah. Anyone picking that up?

Jordan: Nope.

merritt: No?

Fūnk-é: I played it in 2018, [merritt: “Ah”] and Miles Morales was not that different from that game.

merritt: See, I never played it.

Fūnk-é: So I don’t want to play this.

merritt: I haven’t played a Spider-Man game since, I think, Spider-Man 2 on the Game Cube.

Nerium: It’s good.

Jordan: Wait, is this on the Game Pass?

Fūnk-é: I think if you haven’t played it since then, then you should definitely play Miles Morales.

Nerium: Yeah.

merritt: But is Miles Morales in this?

Nerium: No, not yet. It’s coming like in a few months.

merritt: Okay. So then I can’t.

Nerium: Oh, no, the game Miles Morales is not out on PC yet, no. The character Miles Morales is in this video game.

Fūnk-é: He’s in the first game. Yeah.

merritt: Oh! Wait, can you play him?

Nerium: No.

Fūnk-é: No. Not yet.

merritt: Oh. Okay.

Jordan: Wait is this– this is the one with fake Tom Holland.

merritt: Yes.

Nerium: It is now.

Fūnk-é: Yeah, that they changed.

Jordan: Yeah.

merritt: They changed it, yeah, after that movie came out.

Nerium: Which is…

Fūnk-é: So odd.

Nerium: And were like, “No, it’s definitely not supposed to look like Tom Holland.”

merritt: Yeah, it’s not. It’s a different man.

Nerium: “Don’t say it looks like Tom Holland, legally, please. Please do not say that it looks like Tom Holland.”

merritt: I mean, they could make it. They own Tom Holland, so they could…

Nerium: Right.

Jordan: Microsoft?

Fūnk-é: Hom Tolland.

merritt: No, Sony.

Nerium: Microsoft? Sony.

Jordan: Sony does own Tom Holland. That’s right.

merritt: They do.

Nerium: Yeah.

merritt: But…

Nerium: The game is good, though, merritt.

merritt: Yeah, no, I mean…

Nerium: I think you would…if you like that swinging.

merritt: I love that swinging thing.

Nerium: It’s pretty good.

merritt: It don’t mean a thing if it ain’t got it, you know?

Jordan: Mm-hmm.

Nerium: Mm-hmm.

merritt: Cult of the Lamb. This is a…did we talk about this last week?

Nerium: Don’t remember.

merritt: Devolver published, cute kind of evil Animal Crossing, sort of, with combat.

Nerium: Yeah, where you sacrifice your villagers for power and stuff?

merritt: Yeah. Yeah…

Fūnk-é: I’m kind of interested in this.

merritt: I’m just looking at the visuals on this, and I’m like, this looks like Happy Tree Friends to me, like… [Jordan laughs]

Nerium: Oh, yeah. Oh yeah.

Fūnk-é: That’s interesting.

merritt: Which is not a compliment.

Jordan: That’s a deep cut.

merritt: Yeah.

Jordan: When was that?

Fūnk-é: The visuals are actually what’s drawing me to the game. I kind of like that…

merritt: Oh, interesting.

Fūnk-é: Paper Mario style like…

merritt: I mean, yeah, no, I think it’s just like they–

Nerium: Yeah, that stuff is cool.

merritt: That stuff’s cool. It’s just like the cutesy animals like, “Oh, now I’m getting stabbed,” and it’s like, yep, I’ve been on the internet before. I’ve seen this.

Nerium: Right.

merritt: This has nearly 10,000 positive reviews, though, so people fucking love this game.

Jordan: It sounds like they do. This might be a…I’ve seen it a bunch on Twi– like a lot of glowing stuff on Twitter and Twitch.

merritt: How did this happen? Like, where did this come from? ‘Cause the developer has only made like two other games before this.

Nerium: I feel like Devolver gets what a year, right?

Jordan: Mm-hmm.

merritt: Devolver just really pushed it hard?

Jordan: It might be.

Nerium: Devolver really like knows which games of its on its slate are gonna be, like, this is the one that’s going to do really well, and I think this ties into what you were about to say Jordan, too, but this one is gonna do well with Twitch streamers.

merritt: Mm.

Jordan: Yeah.

Nerium: Like, this one has some wild–

Jordan: “Which villager are we gonna sacrifice?” you know?

merritt: “Oh, I’m gonna kill this little gremlin, oh no!”

Jordan: Yeah. Yeah, yeah.

Nerium: Well, the game literally has like built in Twitch support for like a ton–

Jordan: Oh, okay.

merritt: Oh, that’s really smart, yeah.

Nerium: It’s like really detailed Twitch support, yeah.

merritt: That’s cool.

Nerium: Like, people’s names like in the Twitch cat– chat can appear on screen in your game.

Jordan: The Twitch cat.

Nerium: In the Twitch cat.

merritt: Oh, sure, yeah, yeah, yeah. No, I’ve seen mods for other games that do that.

Fūnk-é: Oh, that sounds fun, then.

merritt: So that’s a good idea.

Fūnk-é: Now I’m actually more intrigued. Like, I kind of want to stream that like a little bit.

merritt: Yeah.

Jordan: Twitch integration’s fun. The art style, I think, might be a generational thing.

merritt: Mm.

Nerium: Yeah. We’ve seen this.

Jordan: Because Happy Tree Friends came out when Fūnk-é was one years old.

Nerium: Yeah.

Fūnk-é: No, I– [laughs] I had friends who were really into that when I was growing up.

Nerium: Uh huh.

Fūnk-é: And I never really liked it.

merritt: I think it came back too, didn’t it?

Jordan: Oh, did it?

Nerium: Oh, yeah, it did. Yeah. Well, ’cause there was the original shorts, but then they actually did like a TV series.

merritt: They did like a TV series.

Nerium: Years later.

merritt: Yeah.

Jordan: “People also ask: Is Happy Tree Friends a kid friendly show?”

Nerium: Ah. Uh huh.

merritt: Yeah, definitely.

Fūnk-é: Yeah. Yes, sir.

Nerium: Happy Tree Friends is one of those things I’m talking about, where it’s just like, at the time, it was like, “Yo, this is so twisted and sick!”

merritt: Uh huh.

Nerium: And now you go back and look at it, and it’s just like, actually, I see way worse stuff like this on like serious TV shows now.

merritt: Uh huh. [Fūnk-é laughs]

Jordan: “Why is Flippy so violent?”

merritt: Okay. Arcade Paradise. I think we talked about this a little last week.

Jordan: Yeah, what is that thing?

merritt: This is a management game where you take over an arcade, and you have to turn it around. You own, you sort of inherit a family laundromat business, and you turn it into an arcade.

Nerium: Oh.

merritt: So it does seem to be trading on the sort of eighties, early nineties, Stranger Things obsession with that decade, [Jordan: “Mm-hmm”] that period that’s happening right now. It has pretty good reviews, and also I think this is…so, the developer…okay, they haven’t really done much else, but this is being published by Wired.

Nerium: Like the magazine?

merritt: Wired Productions. I think that’s not the same thing. It’s not the same thing. But they’re also publishing The Last Worker, I believe.

Jordan: What is that?

merritt: That is…

Nerium: Oh, that thing.

merritt: Yeah. It was announced earlier this summer. It’s that game where you’re like the last human worker in this factory that’s…

Nerium: On like earth or something.

merritt: Yeah, that’s sort of been taken over…not taken over, but like, you know, robots basically run it.

Jordan: Mm-hmm.

Nerium: Right. And you have to like keep efficiency up to prove that you’re better than a robot.

merritt: Yeah, yeah. I think this was at a Sony thing.

Nerium: But there’s like robots constantly telling you to quit.

Jordan: Oh, it’s that American folk tale about the guy that can lay track faster than the machine.

Nerium: John Henry?

merritt: John Henry?

Jordan: John Henry, yeah.

merritt: Yeah.

Nerium: A little bit.

merritt: So yeah, I don’t know what to think about Arcade Paradise. I mean, it’s kind of odd looking.

Jordan: It looks like it should be on Game Pass.

merritt: The trailers for it are all real people, [Nerium: “Yes”] and then it cuts to like a weird eighties-style cartoon. And it just seems to be like a bunch of mini games tied into this management thing, so I’m not really sure what that’s like.

Nerium: Uh…

merritt: Axiom Verge 2 is on Steam now, so that’s cool.

Jordan: Oh, that’s interesting.

Nerium: Oh.

merritt: Sorry, Nere. Did you want to say something about the…

Nerium: Oh, I just, I’m looking at Wired Productions’ whole like catalog.

merritt: Mm-hmm.

Nerium: And every single game on this list looks like something that should be on Game Pass, and I don’t know what that means, but I know it’s true in my heart. [laughs]

Jordan: Yeah.

Nerium: I’m like looking at the…

Jordan: I don’t mean that derisively, necessarily.

Nerium: No.

Jordan: It just looks like a Game Pass game.

merritt: Yeah, they did, uh…

Nerium: It’s not a quality thing.

merritt: So, they put out Martha is Dead.

Nerium: Yeah.

merritt: They put out The Falconeer.

Nerium: Close to the Sun.

merritt: Lumote. Those Who Remain. A bunch of things that you’re like, “Oh yeah, I’ve heard of that.”

Jordan: Mm-hmm.

Nerium: Avicii Invector.

merritt: They put out Avicii Invector.

Jordan: You know, my aunt owns a laundromat that’s been in our family for like 50 years. Maybe I could buy that from her and turn that into an arcade.

merritt: You should turn it into an arcade.

Nerium: Oh, yeah.

merritt: Arcades are gonna come back, baby.

Jordan: Yeah.

Nerium: Then when your gay daughter gets upset with you, you can go back there to kind of remind her that family is important.

Jordan: Mm-hmm, mm-hmm.

Fūnk-é: Yeah.

merritt: What?

Nerium: And to like stop destroying the universe.

Fūnk-é: And don’t care about the tax evasion.

merritt: What is this?

Fūnk-é: It’s about the connection with your daughter!

merritt: What is this?

Fūnk-é: Give her time. [quiet laughter]

merritt: What are you talking about?

Nerium: I’m just talking about a real life parable about having a gay daughter who wants to destroy the universe, and you have to bring her back to your family laundromat to teach her the meaning of relationships and love.

merritt: Is this a Marvel thing?

Fūnk-é: [laughs quietly] Yeah.

Nerium: It’s Everything Everywhere All At Once. [laughter]

merritt: Oh, okay. Wow, okay, yeah. I haven’t– I didn’t see that movie.

Jordan: I still haven’t seen it either.

merritt: What was I gonna say?

Nerium: Oh, sorry. That’s like the basic premise of the movie, but.

merritt: Jordan, I think arcades are gonna come back, if only as Instagram spots.

Jordan: Mm-hmm.

merritt: Because I was at a used games store this weekend, and someone– there was a zoomer doing a live, an Insta live with a selfie stick, being like, “What’s Battletoads? I don’t know what Battletoads is. Like, oh my God, look, a DDR pad! Now that’s retro.” And I was–

Fūnk-é: That is me on this podcast. [laughter]

merritt: No, they were younger than you, I think, Fūnk-é. And, it was just like, well, I mean, that place might as well be a museum, because they were selling [Jordan: “Yeah”] a Game Boy Advance SP for 300 American dollars, so. You know, good luck with that.

Jordan: Yeah.

Nerium: Fucking Christ. I fucking hate it here.

merritt: But I think arcades could sort of serve that– just charge people to get in.

Nerium: Mm-hmm. Yeah.

merritt: And then they can take as many videos as they want.

Jordan: That’s what a lot of ’em are doing. Like, there’s…

merritt: Yeah.

Jordan: There’s a couple of arcades in Austin where all of the games are on free play, [merritt: “Mm”] and you can just like, you pay like a $10 cover, and they make most of their money on food and drink.

Nerium: Yeah.

merritt: That’s cool. Yeah.

Jordan: And yeah.

merritt: That makes sense.

Fūnk-é: Same thing in Toronto.

merritt: I mean, the trouble with a barcade is you always risk damage from like a pint spilling over or something, but.

Nerium: Yeah.

Jordan: Yeah, that seems like a problem, huh?

Nerium: Drunk people in general being rowdy.

merritt: Yeah.

Jordan: Mm-hmm.

merritt: A few more real quick. Yeah, so Axiom Verge 2 is on Steam. That came out, I think, in 2021 on Epic.

Nerium: I want to check those games out.

merritt: Yeah, I never played them. Stranded Deep is…

Nerium: Oh yeah.

merritt: That just came out, I think, of early access. Yep, 1.0 a few days ago.

Jordan: Mm-hmm. I’ve actually seen a few streams of that. It’s kind of like Raft.

merritt: Yeah.

Nerium: Yeah.

merritt: It’s like a survival.

Jordan: It’s one of those.

merritt: Yeah.

Nerium: Is it less or more sci-fi? The thing I always look at is it always seems like it’s like very playing it straight, just like, no, you’re on an island. Do island stuff.

Jordan: Yeah. From what I’ve seen, it’s not science fiction at all.

Nerium: Okay.

merritt: It doesn’t seem to be. I mean, it’s science fiction in terms of the whole, like, just building a fucking, you know, radio out of a coconut or whatever. [laughter]

Nerium: Right.

Fūnk-é: Yeah.

merritt: Like in Raft.

Nerium: It’s science fiction the way Robinson Crusoe is.

Fūnk-é: It’s the start of Bioshock 1.

merritt: Yeah.

Fūnk-é: And then you’re on an island.

Jordan: Mm-hmm.

Nerium: Mm, mm-hmm. Raft also came out this year, actually.

merritt: Yeah, I just watched the end of Raft, because a YouTuber that I follow had been sort of making videos about it and just breaking that game in really amusing ways.

Nerium: Oh.

Fūnk-é: It ends?

merritt: Yeah, there’s a narrative in Raft.

Nerium: Oh, yeah, yeah, yeah.

merritt: You’re basically trying to find, you know, what happened to everybody or like where people are.

Nerium: Yeah. You’re searching for your husband and daughter too, I think.

merritt: And yeah, you can break that game in like some really hilarious ways, as of the most recent update. Two Point Campus is out now. PlateUp!, I think we mentioned this a week or two ago.

Nerium: Mm-hmm.

merritt: It’s got over 700 overwhelmingly positive reviews.

Jordan: Yeah.

merritt: So, people love this game.

Jordan: Yeah. Shoutouts to Hafu, former pro Hearthstone player who’s now a very successful Twitch streamer.

merritt: Mm.

Jordan: She tweeted that she lost like a considerable amount of time to that game, [“Huh”] like nine solid hours of just playing it.

Fūnk-é: Hmm.

merritt: That’s cool.

Nerium: Is this like single player Overcooked? Is that the idea?

merritt: It is co-op.

Nerium: It is co-op? Okay.

merritt: It’s more like you’re also like sort of building your restaurant out at the same time.

Nerium: Oh, right! Okay.

merritt: And managing it, so it’s…

Nerium: Yeah. I see roguelite in the tags here.

merritt: Yeah. I’m gonna actually add this is my wishlist, check this out. There’s a demo available for that, so. And then we’ve talked about most of the other things that are on the list right now, except for a couple of things, something called Gun Devil.

Jordan: Okay.

merritt: That is a…

Fūnk-é: Character from Chainsaw Man? [laughter]

merritt: I mean, it looks like a…it’s like a 2D shooter.

Jordan: Like a scrolling shooter?

merritt: No, no, like a platformer.

Jordan: Oh, okay.

merritt: That looks…okay, so kind of horny.

Nerium: Kind of horny, yeah. I found this.

Jordan: Like a Contra or like a Metal Slug?

merritt: Like a Contra.

Nerium: More Contra.

merritt: There is a part, it just…I’m watching the trailer, and there’s a statue that just showed up, and it just said, “The cool boob statue granted you like a laser!” [laughter] and now there’s a dog, there’s a dog farting a laser.

Jordan: Okay.

merritt: So kind of, uh…

Jordan: So one of those.

merritt: Kind of one of those. It does seem like– I feel like every once in a while there is one of these.

Jordan: Mm-hmm.

merritt: And that’s fine, I guess. I mean, it’s not really my thing, but I mean, if you like your kind of 2D action with a side of dick jokes, than probably…

Nerium: One of the skills is called bombastard.

Jordan: Okay.

merritt: Nice.

Fūnk-é: Duke Nukem vibes.

Jordan: Yeah, a little bit.

merritt: And that’s pretty much it. There’s also Spellbook Demonslayers Prologue. I think we talked about that maybe already. It just looks like…it’s in the genre that Vampire Survivors has created.

Jordan: Mm-hmm.

merritt: Even though that wasn’t the first game in that genre, it has kind of kicked off a genre of its own.

Jordan: Wait, Gun Devil is a free-to-play game?

Nerium: Looks like it.

merritt: Oh, apparently, yeah.

Jordan: Huh.

merritt: You pay in terms of with the jokes, though.

Nerium: Yeah, in this respect.

Jordan: So, mature content description on the Steam listing: “violence (pixelated blood and gore from cartoony demons), nudity (there’s a boob statue, no nipples though lol), words (got some swearing in it).”

Nerium: Okay, so, merritt, are we wrapping this one up or…?

merritt: Yeah, we can wrap.

Nerium: Okay, cool. Cool, cool. [laughter]

merritt: So…yeah. No, this game just reminds me of like Xbox Live Arcade, like circa 2012.

Nerium: Yeah, this…

Jordan: Yeah, this is an XBLA game.

merritt: This game is a lost XBLA game.

Nerium: Mm-hmm.

merritt: You know, kinda in that era of…what was the knights game by the Newgrounds people?

Nerium: Castle Crashers?

merritt: Castle Crashers.

Nerium: It’s not a Behemoth game, but it’s like one of the games that was like trying to be a Behemoth game, but it’s like, what if we put even more memes in it?

Jordan: Mm-hmm.

merritt: Mm, mm-hmm, mm-hmm, mm-hmm.

Fūnk-é: I like the visuals.

Nerium: Visuals are cool.

merritt: Yeah.

Jordan: It’s a good looking game.

merritt: Yeah. Yeah, so let’s wrap. We’re gonna wrap this one up, and…

Nerium: Yeah, what do you want to talk about?

Fūnk-é: Yo.

merritt: You know what, I just want to talk about how…I know you kids think that the Gun Devil is cool, but the real devil is real, [laughter] and he’s got a plan for you.

Nerium: No, merritt, sorry.

Jordan: Wait, what?

Nerium: You need to read Chainsaw Man. The Gun Devil is not cool.

merritt: Oh, okay. Sorry.

Fūnk-é: He’s a bad guy.

merritt: Sorry, I haven’t read the good book of Chainsaw Man.

Nerium: [laughs] The New Testament.

merritt: The New New Testament, the revised edition.

Nerium: The rev-vised edition.

merritt: Fifth edition of the New Testament. [Nerium laughs] They really rebalanced things in there.

Nerium: The New Testament 5E.

merritt: Yeah, they really kind of changed a lot of systems around. It’s a much, you know, much more new player friendly experience, but I think kind of traditionalists are gonna find some things to criticize, so.

Nerium: Yeah, yeah, for sure.

merritt: Yeah, we’re gonna get out of here, and who knows? Next week, maybe we’ll have some new stuff to talk about. If you want to follow us online, @fanbytemedia is our @ on Twitter and Fanbyte on– fanbytemedia also on Twitch? I think it’s just Fanbyte.

Nerium: Mm-hmm.

Fūnk-é: Just Fanbyte on Twitch.

Jordan: Just Fanbyte.

merritt: It’s just Fanbyte on Twitch.

Jordan: It’d be just @fanbyte on Twitter, if they would return our fucking emails. [Fūnk-é laughs]

merritt: Destroy Fanuel Byte or whatever his name is.

Jordan: Yeah.

merritt: A man who does not exist and has not posted for some time. [laughs] And if you want to follow us, Fūnk-é is @funkefly. Nerium is @neriumstrom. Jordan is @jordan_mallory. I am @merrittk. And go to fanbyte.com where you can read the pieces that we referenced throughout this podcast.

Jordan: Mm-hmm.

merritt: And you can also join the Fanbyte discord by going to fanbyte.casa, if you want to talk about this episode or anything else with the members of the Fanbyte community.

Jordan: We’ve got specific channels for each podcast, and there’s a bunch of people playing fighting games in there and stuff. It’s a cool time.

merritt: Yeah.

Fūnk-é: Yeah. Come through!

merritt: We good? Anything else y’all want to mention?

Fūnk-é: Do we want to–

Jordan: Uh, I– oh, go ahead, Fūnk-é?

Fūnk-é: Oh, I was just saying, do we want to do a one word Get Rec’d?

merritt: Oh, we gotta do Get Rec’d!

Jordan: Oh, Get Rec’d, yeah.

merritt: Of course. Of course, of course, of course. Let’s burn through that real quick. Fūnk-é, do you have one?

Fūnk-é: You should watch Everything Everywhere All At Once.

merritt: So this is a personal recommendation for me?

Fūnk-é: That’s an @ at you, yeah.

merritt: Okay, that’s a narrow casting recommendation. [laughter] I should, yeah, you’re right.

Nerium: Yeah.

merritt: Also, yeah, by the way, Get Rec’d is a segment where we recommend things. They’re not about video games always, although they can be. Jordan, do you have one?

Jordan: Yeah. Don’t settle, but don’t lie to yourself either.

merritt: Wow.

Nerium: Wow.

Fūnk-é: Damn!

merritt: That’s great.

Nerium: [mind blown sounds]

Fūnk-é: Wow!

merritt: How do I know if I’m satisfied, though?

Nerium: [laughs] If I’m satisfied.

Jordan: How do I know when I’m satisfied? Oh, and this isn’t– well, I do have another one though, but it’s a specific recommendation to a specific person. Ana Ng, if you’re out there listening, we are getting old, and we haven’t walked in the glow of each other’s majestic presence yet. So just, you know, keep that in mind.

merritt: Is this okay? Is this…good?

Jordan: This is a another They Might Be Giants bit.

merritt: Oh.

Nerium: Oh.

Jordan: Like at the beginning of the episode. I’m trying to do like a bookend.

merritt: Oh, full circle.

Nerium: Oh.

Jordan: Yeah. Like we have a They Might Be Giants episode[sic] at the beginning of the episode, we have one at the end of the episode.

merritt: Yeah, yeah, yeah, yeah, yeah, yeah.

Nerium: Uh huh, uh huh.

Jordan: Right.

Nerium: This new segment that you’ve invented. I love it.

Jordan: Mm-hmm.

merritt: Nere, do you have one?

Nerium: Get yourself a power strip, a good power strip with USB ports on it, to plug in your controllers if you’re on the couch playing video games.

Fūnk-é: I should.

merritt: Mm.

Nerium: So that you can have a power strip that like is next to your couch or in the plugin behind you or whatever. You can plug your USB cable in and start charging your controller from over your shoulder instead of having to like get an ultra super long cable and like leave it on the floor where people can trip on it, [Jordan: “Mm-hmm”] where cats can trip on it, dogs can knock it over, [merritt: “Mm”] pull your stuff out.

Fūnk-é: And eat it! And eat it.

Nerium: And in my case, if you have maybe a demon cat [merritt laughs] who eats cords constantly, then you don’t have to worry about that as much. I discovered recently that the power strip by my couch downstairs had a USB port in it, and I was just like, I wonder if this–

Jordan: Wait, you discovered this?

Nerium: Well, I wasn’t paying– I never paid attention to it. I just never thought to use a USB port on it before.

merritt: Yeah, it’s a power strip. Who’s looking closely at it?

Nerium: Yeah. I mean, I, you know, legitimately was just kind of like, ah, whatever, it’s a power strip. And then I realized over the weekend, oh, wait, there’s– I could just plug this USB cable into this. And sure enough, I was able to charge my dual shock—or dual sense, whatever—and my Nintendo Switch pro controller. I was playing Xenoblade and Final Fantasy XIV, and it was great.

merritt: Cool.

Nerium: I didn’t have to get up and move. I loved it.

merritt: Nice.

Jordan: Wow.

merritt: Well, for me, if you want to get a houseplant, I would say get a Peperomia obtusifolia, also known as a baby rubber plant, because I’ve had one for several years now, and it’s still thriving, and I have killed several houseplants in my time. Also, it’s not dangerous for cats, which is nice.

Nerium: Ooh, nice.

Jordan: Now, merritt, hold on.

merritt: Uh huh?

Jordan: So you’ve had one plant that continues to survive and other plants that all die.

merritt: Yes. Well, no, not contemporaneously.

Jordan: Oh, not–

merritt: It didn’t kill the other plants, if that’s what you’re implying.

Jordan: That is what I was implying.

merritt: Okay, no.

Nerium: Yeah. [Fūnk-é laughs]

merritt: No, no, no. It’s not…

Nerium: Kind of an And Then There Were None situation.

Jordan: Right.

merritt: Yeah, no, it’s not a kind of a jealous plant. It’s not the Highlander of plants. [Nerium laughs] But I’m sure I could–

Nerium: The ??? of plants.

merritt: I might get another one. But yeah, no, they’re good little plants, don’t need a ton of light or water, very hardy and have–

Nerium: What was this called?

merritt: A Peperomia obtusifolia or baby rubber plant. They’ve got those nice, big waxy leaves.

Jordan: Mm-hmm.

Nerium: Ooh.

merritt: Very pretty.

Jordan: [singing “Baby Shark”] Baby rubber plant, boo boo boo boo boo, baby rubber plant. [merritt laughs]

Nerium: I like this.

merritt: Yeah. So, yeah, get one of those, if you want a nice little plant.

Nerium: I really…I’ve wanted a plant forever. I had a plant for a little while. I think it was a Ficus or something?

merritt: Mm-hmm.

Nerium: But Ramba…I need one of those like hanging things, so I can hang it from the ceiling and not have to worry about it, ’cause Ramba [merritt: “Mm”] would just knock that shit over constantly.

merritt: Yeah.

Nerium: And it just, it died not because he was chewing on it, because he was like jumping up and pushing it off and it was like getting unplanted constantly, and it finally died.

merritt: Mm, yeah.

Nerium: It was named Danny.

merritt: Oh no. RIP Danny.

Jordan: merritt, do you name your plants?

merritt: No, not really. [Nerium laughs]

Jordan: Do you talk to them?

merritt: No, I–

Fūnk-é: Mine just died. Mine just died.

Jordan: Oh no, Fūnk-é.

Nerium: While we were talking?

Fūnk-é: No.

merritt: Just now. [laughter] Fūnk-é just heard like eeaaghh.

Nerium: Beep beep beeeeeeeeep.

Jordan: Fūnk-é’s like, “Uh, I gotta go. Hold on.” [laughter]

merritt: Yeah, no, I know some people do. That’s, eh, that’s not really my thing.

Jordan: Mm-hmm.

merritt: But I also don’t often call my cat by her name. I just sort of make up sounds that I address her by. So, yeah. Get a plant. Watch a movie. Don’t settle.

Fūnk-é: Get a cord.

merritt: And get a cord, and you’re all set.

Nerium: Get a cord. That’s what I said. [laughter]

merritt: Get a cord. Get a Honda Accord [Jordan: “Mm-hmm”] at Honda Holidays, on now. And until next time, don’t bring a tool to a sword fight, and keep that dial tuned to Channel F.

About the Author

Jordan Mallory

Jordan is a frog that lives in Texas and loves Girls Generation. He's also Senior Podcast Producer! Before that he wrote video game news for almost ten years at a lot of websites you've heard of, including this one.