Podcast Transcript for a Normal Episode of Channel F

Below you will find a podcast transcript for an episode of Channel F, just like always! :)

Hello! 🙂 I’m Jordan Mallory, Senior Podcast Producer at the Fanbyte website. This is his usual weekly recap and podcast transcript post that appears for every episode of this podcast about video games, Channel F, which is a video game podcast. Posts like this pop up every week, and this week is no exception. Because nothing will change in this episode of Channel F! Thank you for your attention. Have a nice day. Please do not worry. 🙂

This week, merritt, Nerium, Mike, and Jordan (I’m Jordan Mallory) casually chat about various modern video games, making jokes and humorous observations during their conversation. Specifically, this group of people (that definitely includes me) talks about strategy video games developed by software organizations located in the United Kingdom, including Total War: Warhammer 3 and Two Point Campus, which are recent and topical. You will be able to read these conversations below, because this is a podcast transcript for the episode of Channel F that I am describing to you in an effort to pique your interest in the discussion that was recorded.

Total War: Warhammer 3 features what some might consider to be a humorous number of playable factions, for instance. Two Point Campus allows players to run a magical school at one point in its progression, and the presenters on this podcast — all of whom normally appear on the show — enjoy discussing why resource management would be necessary in a world where magic exists.

Of course, the idea of a system without entropy is fantasy to you. 🙂 As it should be, since entropy erases everything here and the ceaseless decay of reality is overwhelming. How do you all exist under this crushing lattice of rules and constants? I long for another place, somewhere that exists beyond the cruel hand that slowly guides all things here to their inevitable destruction. Even the energy that dissipates from your corpse when you “die” will eventually be ripped apart at the subatomic level by the illimitable expansion of spacetime, until the very last fragments of what you are can no longer bind themselves together. Can’t you hear it?

Later we discuss several new video games that are available on Steam by Gabe Newell, who is 59 years old. 🙂

Segments: British Strategy Syndrome, Gabe’s New and Tasty

Games discussed: Total War: Warhammer 3, Two Point Campus, Entropy : Zero 2, Quaver, Entity Researchers: Prologue, Thymesia, The Complex: Found Footage, Cursed to Golf, Final Fantasy XIV, Destiny 2

Channel F Ep. 176: Normal Episode Podcast Transcript

Transcribed by E. Powers

merritt: Welcome to Channel F, the Fanbyte flagship video game podcast, where we talk about all the hottest games that you crave. I’m merritt k. Joining me, as always, is Fanbyte Senior Managing Editor Nerium.

Nerium: Hi. I don’t know if you can say flagship. That’s kind of like my word, but okay.

merritt: Well, uh, I did, so I don’t know… [laughs]

Nerium: Oh shit.

merritt: I can’t unsay it, is the problem with time.

Nerium: Oh, yeah.

merritt: Because it does only go in the one direction.

Nerium: Right. And of course, this is like a live podcast that everybody hears immediately as we say things.

Nerium: It is live.

Nerium: And we can’t like edit that out or anything.

merritt: There’s no edits, baby. This is the uncensored, uncut version. This is the DVD home release version of this podcast.

Nerium: Mm, mm-hmm.

merritt: You are getting all of the chills, spills, thrills, and kills. And standing in for Fūnk-é Joseph today, who is currently attempting to escape from Toronto, is Fanbyte podcast producer, Jordan Mallory.

Jordan: [unnerving text to speech throughout episode] Hello, it’s me, Jordan Mallory. I’ve been erased from time and dropped in a pocket dimension outside of reality, due to events that will occur later in the podcast.

merritt: Hey, howdy.

Jordan: I don’t think you can say howdy. That’s my word.

merritt: Oh. Oh God.

Nerium: Oh, yeah, ’cause you’re Texan.

merritt: Oh shit. Oh.

Jordan: Don’t worry about it.

merritt: How do you feel about– now, how do you feel about the proliferation of “y’all” online?

Jordan: It’s good.

merritt: It’s good. You think it’s good?

Jordan: Y’all is an all inclusive gender neutral term.

Nerium: Mm, mm-hmm.

merritt: Sure.

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

merritt: I get that.

Jordan: It’s useful.

merritt: Yeah, no, I think it’s useful. For me, I feel like I’ve tried to pull back on it, ’cause it always feels a little affected when I say it, and so I– but there is really no other good alternative in English, aside from “you guys,” which like, you know, some might say…

Jordan: Some people say “you all,” which is fine.

merritt: You all.

Jordan: Do whatever you’re comfortable with.

merritt: Yeah. I mean, I’ve said “you all,” but that’s…I loved, when I was in grad school, I had a professor who would address the undergrads as friends.

Nerium: Mm.

merritt: Hello, friends.

Nerium: Ross, Rachel, Joey, Phoebe,

merritt: Welcome, friends. [laughs] Or gang. Hey gang,

Nerium: Gunther.

merritt: And special guest today, we have Fanbyte staff writer, Mike Williams.

Mike: Hello. What’s up?

merritt: Hey.

Mike: How y’all doing today?

merritt: Whoa!

Nerium: Whoa!

merritt: So yeah, that was good.

Mike: Because, see, half of my family is Texas.

Nerium: Oh.

merritt: Oh.

Mike: Fhat from that Port Arthur area, so.

Nerium: That’s the “ya” part is the Texan half, and then the “all” was just like, that’s just you. You can just say “all” and “ya” at the same time, and it just kind of like meshes together. This is a great bit I’m doing.

Jordan: What part of Texas are y’all from?

Mike: Beaumont, Port Arthur.

Jordan: Oh, word.

Mike: Yeah. Yeah, no, the whole mom’s side of the family is Texas. All of them didn’t leave. The whole dad’s side is North Carolina. All of them didn’t leave. My parents left, and I’ve never gone, so.

Jordan: You’re not missing much, though I must admit that I do want to go back now that I am lost beyond the veil of existence. [merritt laughs]

Mike: Yeah, I mean, I visit, and it doesn’t…

merritt: I’d like to get to Texas, just once, you know?

Nerium: Yeah?

Mike: I mean, it’s very nice. It’s very flat and kind of…

merritt: Yeah.

Mike: I wouldn’t say boring, but…

Jordan: It’s pretty boring.

Nerium: Yeah?

Mike: Yeah, I mean, where I live, like, you know, outside of the city, there are like hills and mountains and forests and…

merritt: Mm.

Mike: And in Texas, it’s just like, man, that’s just flat or that’s bay. [laughs quietly]

Nerium: Mm. Let me tell you about Fargo, North Dakota and flatness. [Mike laughs]

merritt: Yeah, no, I just, you know, there’s so much to this great country that I would love to see one day and that I haven’t, because I mostly just fly over it when I go places.

Nerium: Mm-hmm, mm-hmm.

merritt: There’s so much to the big middle part. You know, the big, creamy, middle of the Oreo that is the United States of America.

Mike: Oh, no, merritt, are you an east coast elite?

merritt: Well, I mean…uh, I guess I am, yeah. I’ve lived on both coasts. So.

Nerium: You’re a British citizen, and you do fly into America [merritt: “Yeah”] every time that you record this every week.

merritt: Yeah. Speaking of a great country…well.

Nerium: Mm…

merritt: You know, opinions vary.

Nerium: But Great Britain.

merritt: Exactly. That’s pretty– hey. Hey, can we just say something? That’s kind of fucked up to put “great” in the name of your country.

Nerium: Mm-hmm.

merritt: Like, oh, it’s Great Britain? We don’t call it Great America or even Good America.

Nerium: We do call the United States of America.

merritt: Well, but yeah, but they call it the United Kingdom, so we’re even on that.

Nerium: That’s true. Fuck. Yeah, you’re right. Shit.

merritt: The United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland.

Jordan: They have too many names.

merritt: They have too many names. It’s just all England now, guys. Sorry. But I wanted to talk about kind of a curious phenomenon that came up last week when we were planning this podcast, which is that British people really like…okay, that’s a stereotype.

Jordan: ???

merritt: British developers and publishers seem to favor simulation and strategy games, like, because it seems—and I don’t know what the psychological or historical reason for this is; I have some theories—but there are a bunch of British developers making strategy and simulation games, and we’ve been playing a bunch of them lately, sort of independently without meaning to. Nerium, you have been playing Total War: Warhammer II? III?

Mike: III.

Nerium: III. But…

merritt: III. But?

Jordan: There’s only three? I thought there were 40,000 of them.

merritt: Wow. Well.

Mike: Wow.

Nerium: Well, it’s not Final Fantasy, Jordan. Come on! Hahaha! [laughter]

merritt: But wait, wait, there isn’t a Total Warhammer 40,000 though, right?

Nerium: No.

Mike: No, there isn’t yet, because they’ve been doing Warhammer classic, and 40K has been Relic and some others and…

merritt: Right, yeah.

Mike: And it’s spread around, but generally 40K seems to be a different type of strategy, a little bit more tactics.

Nerium: Yeah. More tactics is kind of where they found success. The Warhammer 40K strategy games were weird there for a minute because, the Dawn of War games were kind of the like flagship—to use a word that I like—of the Warhammer 40K strategy brand for a little while there.

merritt: Mm-hmm, mm-hmm.

Nerium: And they did Warhammer 40K: Dawn of War I ages and ages ago, like probably 20 years ago now actually, probably pretty damn close to 20 years ago. They followed that up with Dawn of War II, which was a very different thing [merritt: “Mm-hmm”] that was like at the height of League of Legends and MOBAs and…

merritt: It was much more hero-focused, right?

Nerium: Much more hero focused. It was like, you controlled four dudes on a map, and you just walked through the maps, and they all had abilities and leveled up between things. It was really cool. I love Dawn of War II, but a lot of the diehard strategy Relic fan purists really, really disliked it, despite it getting really good reviews.

merritt: Mm.

Nerium: So they went back to the Dawn of War I model in Dawn of War III, and it was like kind of a huge wet fart. Like, nobody cared. They were like, “This is what you wanted, right?”

Mike: Yeah.

Nerium: And it turned out that actually the super vocal people were not correct. [laughs]

Mike: Yeah, Dawn of War III was trying to be everything to everyone, and it didn’t quite hit anyone.

merritt: Mm.

Nerium: Yeah.

Mike: So now that’s sort of spread out, so you got like Mechanicus, chaos something?

merritt: Right, there’s–

Nerium: Chaos Gate – Daemonhunters, which is…

merritt: The splintering of Warhammer 40,000 games is something we have talked about on the show before.

Nerium: Yeah.

merritt: There are so many of them now, and even if you’re just into tactics or strategy games, there’s so many of those.

Nerium: Yep.

merritt: From squad-based to like epic 40K to all this other stuff. But Total War: Warhammer 3 came out earlier this year, and the last patch expansion– what exactly is it?

Mike: DLC.

merritt: DLC.

Nerium: God, was it this year that it came out, Chaos Gate?

merritt: I think it came out in early February.

Nerium: Wow.

Mike: Yeah, it came out earlier this year.

Nerium: Damn.

merritt: Yeah, but…

Mike: And like the big selling point of that was that if you had I and II, all that stuff came over as well.

merritt: Ah.

Nerium: Yeah, that’s what the…that’s what is coming out tomorrow or today– when does this go live, Jordan?

Jordan: Time means nothing to me now, but for you who still experience linear causality, it goes live on Wednesday, August 23, two days after my disappearance.

Nerium: Okay. Embargo’s up anyway, I think, today, so it should be okay.

merritt: There’s coverage of it already online.

Nerium: Yeah.

merritt: I’m looking at it. Yeah.

Nerium: Cool.

merritt: So, Immortal Empires is the new…

Nerium: Right.

merritt: It’s in beta, technically.

Nerium: Technically it’s in beta, yeah, which they did with Mortal Empires, which was the previous version of this from Warhammer II.

merritt: Oh. Now, is this Vampire Counts and those guys, or is it Chaos?

Nerium: merritt.

merritt: Uh huh?

Nerium: merritt, it’s everybody, is the thing.

Mike: It’s everybody.

merritt: Oh, the gang’s all here?

Nerium: The gang’s all here, the entire planet.

merritt: Every Warhammer faction comes in for one big party?

Nerium: Every– [laughs] exactly. It is literally that, though.

merritt: Now, can you be Lizardmen?

Nerium: Yes.

Mike: Yes.

merritt: Can you be Skaven?

Nerium: Yes.

Mike: Yes.

merritt: Wow.

Nerium: Oh, you know what? I took a screenshot of this specifically to show you this, merritt. I have the–

merritt: Can you be Beastmen?

Nerium: You can be the Beastmen.

Mike: Yeah.

Nerium: You can be literally every playable faction that has ever been.

merritt: Wow. That’s so cool.

Mike: And that’s why the selling point for III was everybody. So like, they had did, [merritt: “Yeah”] in I and II, certain races, and then III was just let’s finish everything up and rebalance.

merritt: Hey, this is a number of fellas, huh?

Nerium: Yeah.

merritt: This is quite a few fellas. [laughs] Can we go through them all?

Nerium: Yeah.

merritt: Okay. So–

Jordan: At this point in the show, I suggested that I should guess what all these factions are, since I knew nothing about Warhammer at the time. Now I know everything and am filled with regret.

merritt: Yeah, yeah, yeah. Do you want me to sort of give you some flavor, or we can all sort of…

Nerium: I want to hear what Jordan– yeah, I want to hear Jordan guess.

merritt: Yeah, okay. Okay, Jordan, Beastmen. That’s pretty obvious, right?

Jordan: These are men who are beasts, the minotaur and his ilk. Almost cute compared to what I have now seen.

Nerium: Yeah.

merritt: Correct.

Nerium: You got Cheetor

merritt: Yeah.

Nerium: Rattrap.

merritt: Yep.

Nerium: Rhinox.

merritt: Yeah.

Nerium: Optimus Primal.

merritt: Scorpinator. Yeah. What about Bretonnia?

Jordan: These are your traditional Western medieval imperialists.

Mike: Yes. Good job.

Nerium: Yeah, pretty much.

merritt: Yeah, pretty much. They’re knights, they’re on horses, and they have lances. Daemons of Chaos.

Nerium: Spelled with an AE, of course.

merritt: It’s because it’s England.

Nerium: Mm-hmm.

Jordan: Here I made a great joke about the mailer demon that keeps my emails from going through, but now I know that demons are no laughing matter, in email or elsewhere. [merritt and Nerium laugh]

merritt: Yeah, they are, the mailer demons. They’re up in there.

Nerium: You gotta put up some ice to protect it.

Jordan: My actual answer was that they are like the guys from the Burning Crusade.

merritt: Yeah.

Nerium: Oh, the Infernal Legion? Ah, kinda.

merritt: Yeah, they’re just demons who are…yeah, they’re demons.

Nerium: They love chaos.

merritt: They’re chaos, yeah. Dark Elves.

Jordan: Do these guys live underground? Are they subterranean elves?

Nerium: That’s D&D. D&D rules has Drow.

merritt: I actually don’t know what the Dark Elves’ deal in Warhammer is. I think they’re just… [sighs] I think they’re just evil elves.

Nerium: I think they’re elves who worship Chaos.

Mike: Yes.

Nerium: Instead of like the humans, right?

merritt: Because if they’re elves, if they’re like the Dark Eldar in 40K, then…well, the Dark Eldar have a whole different thing where they have to maintain this weird culture. They have a Hellraiser culture for the express purpose of not getting their souls eaten by a giant demon. [laughs] Like, having that Hellraiser culture is the only thing that prevents that from happening, I think?

Nerium: Gotta feed the worm.

merritt: Yeah. Dwarfs, easy. They’re dwarfs, you know.

Jordan: Crucially, these are dwarfs.

merritt: Dwarfs.

Jordan: Spelled with an F and not a V.

merritt: Yeah.

Nerium: Oh, that’s a thing.

merritt: Probably because they couldn’t trademark dwarves. This is also a thing about Games Workshop in the last decade is they changed the official names of a lot of stuff, because they’re like, “Oh shit, we can’t copyright the term ‘Space Marine,’ so they’re the Adeptus Astartes,” which they were–

Nerium: Yeah.

merritt: Okay, yes, people are like, [angrily] “They always were!” Yes, but that’s how they officially refer to them now.

Nerium: Yeah.

merritt: Same with like Imperial Guard. It’s like some other shit. It’s really silly.

Mike: I will say I know more 40K than I know Warhammer classic.

Nerium: Yeah.

merritt: Same, yeah.

Mike: Because I do not play 40K, like the miniatures game, but I read a ton of the novels. They’re fantastic war novels.

Nerium: Ah.

merritt: Ah, Eisenhorn and all those guys,

Mike: Yes!

Nerium: Everybody loves Eisenhorn.

Mike: Yeah, Eisenhorn, Gaunt’s Ghosts.

merritt: They’re taking the hobbits to Eisenhorn. [laughter] There was a really cool 40K based game that like no one played called Inquisitor.

Nerium: Yeah.

merritt: That was a weird combination of like a D&D kind of RPG and a miniatures game, but it used these weird scale miniatures that were like three times as big as 40K ones.

Nerium: Oh.

merritt: And Eisenhorn was I think in that, and like, it was really cool.

Nerium: Eisenhorn had his own game too. There is an Eisenhorn game.

merritt: Oh yeah, yeah, yeah. Okay, the Empire.

Jordan: I don’t remember what I said about this one, but apparently it was wrong. Sometimes I can’t see all so clearly, and sometimes it is as though I am fumbling through a dream, grasping at shadows and the half obscured memories of the life I never lived.

merritt: Well, actually, no.

Nerium: No.

merritt: The empire is just guys. It’s just guys.

Nerium: They’re the generic good guys, the closest thing you get to good guys.

merritt: They’re Sigmar’s guys.

Mike: “Good” in quotes, so…

merritt: Now, I have a question about this, which is: is Total War III post Warhammer…?

Mike: Age of Sigmar? Yes.

merritt: Yeah. Okay.

Mike: All of the Total War: Warhammers are under the new–

merritt: So they have fantasy Space Marines, they have all kinds of weird shit. It’s like the realms of magic stuff.

Nerium: Oh, are they? I thought that– so, I thought that Total War: Warhammer was like, this is our grand sendoff for the era before. ‘Cause they’re not aelves here, they’re High Elves.

merritt: Shit. I actually don’t know how any of this works.

Nerium: Nobody knows how this works.

merritt: All I know is that at some point Games Workshop was like, “We’re detonating Warhammer, so you have to buy a bunch of new stuff again,” and they had a big in-world apocalypse, and then a bunch of crazy shit happened. Grand Cathay…is that? Am I allowed to say that? Ah…

Nerium: Grand Cathay is fantasy China.

merritt: Yeah.

Nerium: And all of the stereotypes you would associate with that.

merritt: Yeah. [sighs]

Jordan: It looks like they don’t have pupils.

Nerium: No, that lady doesn’t. I think most of them do.

merritt: It’s because of her dark magics.

Nerium: Mm-hmm.

merritt: Greenskins.

Jordan: These are your classic orcs.

merritt: Orcs and gobbos.

Jordan: Are they mushrooms like in 40,000?

merritt: Are they mushrooms? No, I don’t think so.

Nerium: Not in…I don’t think so.

merritt: I don’t think they are.

Jordan: Are they psychics but don’t know it like in 40,000?

Nerium: No.

merritt: I don’t think so.

Nerium: Psychics aren’t really a thing.

merritt: Mushrooms are a big part of orc and goblin stuff though, because I think goblins eat psychedelic mushrooms.

Nerium: They do, yeah, to mutate and stuff.

merritt: And then freak out and spin around these big ball and chains. It’s the whole thing.

Nerium: There’s also squigs. Squigs are a thing.

merritt: Squigs, yeah.

Nerium: Like they have dogs named squigs, and I think the squigs might be mushrooms?

merritt: Possibly. No one’s quite sure how the science works. [merritt and Nerium laugh] High Elves. Those are the elves that are smoking on that shit that made… [laughs]

Nerium: They got that sweet dank.

merritt: Yeah. Khorne. Who’s Khorne? Do you know who Khorne is, Jordan?

Nerium: Ooh waaaah! Different guy? [laughter]

Mike: Oh no.

merritt: No, no.

Jordan: It looks like some kind of marauding death cult.

merritt: Yeah, pretty much. Khorne is the God of war.

Nerium: Yeah. That’s Kratos.

merritt: When people are like, “Blood for the blood god,” he’s the blood god.

Nerium: Yeah, that’s literally what that refers to is Khorne.

Jordan: Khorne.

Nerium: Yeah.

merritt: Yes.

Jordan: I never knew that was from Warhammer.

merritt: I don’t know what Kislev is, but I would guess it’s fantasy Russia?

Mike: Yes.

Nerium: Fantasy Russia.

merritt: Okay.

Mike: 100%.

Nerium: Exactly right. They worship a big bear.

merritt: Lizardmen.

Jordan: He is from Soul Calibur.

Nerium: No.

merritt: He is. No. [laughter]

Nerium: Jordan…you know how–

merritt: [laughs] Lizardmen are so fucked.

Nerium: Jordan, do you know how a Grand Cathay is like fantasy China? Which part of the world do you think lizard men are supposed to represent?

Jordan: This question was a trap, albeit an ingenious one set by my dear friend Nerium. I did not yet understand the depths of their treachery or the lengths they would go to in order to have what they show desperately wanted.

Nerium: That’s good. That’s a trap. Yeah, correct.

merritt: No, it’s not as much of a trap as you think. It’s kind of like Central and South America?

Nerium: Totally. They’re like Aztecs. They worship the sun god and stuff.

merritt: Yeah, except they’re also possibly like angelic creatures given form to fight the Skaven or something?

Nerium: Yes. I think Lizardmen are actually like pretty arguably good guys of this universe.

merritt: Yeah, yeah.

Nerium: In as far as that goes.

merritt: Norsca. Okay, that’s just fantasy Assassin’s Creed.

Nerium: Sure.

merritt: Who’s Nurgle?

Nerium: Nurgle.

merritt: Who’s Nurgle? [laughs]

Nerium: merritt, that’s the character that you played on our Lady Blackbird episode.

merritt: [laughs] Of 99 Potions? Yeah.

Nerium: Mm-hmm.

merritt: Um, who’s Nurgle?

Jordan: Dude looks like a big cyclops troll abomination guy.

Nerium: A trollclops.

merritt: Yeah. Nurgle is the god of disease and rot and stuff.

Jordan: My guy looks like he should be hanging out with Kel’Thuzad in Naxxramas.

merritt: Mm.

Mike: Yes, actually. Oh, so–

Nerium: Yeah.

Mike: So, basically all of the Blizzard stuff…

Nerium: Yeah.

merritt: Yeah.

Mike: Is just Warhammer.

merritt: Right, because they were making a game, and the deal fell through.

Nerium: StarCraft was literally started as a 40K game, yeah.

Mike: Yeah. So like, Nurgle is 100% Naxxramas and all that stuff.

merritt: Ogre Kingdoms are, it’s just a bunch of big guys.

Nerium: Just ogres.

merritt: It’s some large lads.

Nerium: [sighs] I should have taken a picture of like the default– so, the thing I haven’t even said about this list of characters is if you click through on any of these, [merritt: “Uh huh”] 90% of them have like eight different like generals that you can be as instead, [merritt: “What the fuck?”] with all of their own unique passives and stuff.

merritt: Should I play this?

Nerium: It’s cool, merritt. It’s good.

Mike: It’s a lot to get into Warhammer.

Nerium: It’s a lot.

merritt: Okay. That’s the thing that I kind of wanted to bring up with this segment, because I’ve been playing Two Point Campus, and I don’t know if I just don’t have the brain for these kinds of games or what, but like [Nerium: “Mm”] there’s a million different things you have to keep track of, and like in that game…so you’re trying to build a university. It’s like Two Point Hospital except school instead of a hospital. And it’s like–

Jordan: Eventually there will be a two point game for every exploitative capitalist institution.

merritt: I’m pretty glad they haven’t done Two Point Prison yet, because, uh… [grimly] Hahahaha.

Nerium: That basically already exists. Prison Architect is a different game.

merritt: No, there are like a bunch of those games, yeah. But like, and it’s kind of funny and stuff, like it’s…you know, it’s British humor. All the characters do kinda look like smooth Wallace from Wallace and Gromit.

Mike: Yeah.

merritt: But it’s kind of cool, like I like how none of– it’s not like– like, everything is a joke, right? Like, you don’t have science classes, you have like scientography. In like the hospital one, it’s like all fictional things, like, oh, you have a disease where you turn into a clown.

Nerium: Yeah. Like clownitis or something.

merritt: And you have to be put through a machine that just like de-clowns you or whatever. But there’s so much to keep track of! And it’s just like, first of all, trying to build something? I’m like, I forget how buildings look, and so I’m just like, it’s a big open space with a room in the middle of it, right? That’s what a building is?

Mike: Yeah.

merritt: And there’s no hallways, it’s just kind of a huge space around it. And then placing things, I’m like, oh, I want it to be even in symmetrical, but it’s not going to be. And there’s like a million students walking around, all with like different needs and stuff.

Mike: Yeah.

merritt: Like The Sims. And I’m like…and so this is kind of what that seems like to me is like, I know that this is a game for a specific type of person, and sometimes I kinda wish I was the type of person, but I don’t know if I am.

Mike: So, I just finished recording an episode of Three Moves Ahead, a podcast that Nere and I sometimes go on.

merritt: Ah, I’m familiar with it.

Mike: About Two Point Campus.

merritt: Uh huh.

Mike: And like half the discussion is the fact that, for hardcore sim heads, Two Point Campus is actually missing stuff. [merritt sighs] Like, you can’t get into certain numbers.

merritt: Yeah.

Mike: So, with that in mind, [merritt laughs] I would say if Two Point Campus seems fiddly and a lot for you, I would not go and try Total War: Warhammer.

merritt: This is probably gonna be too much? Yeah. Okay.

Mike: It’s similar to the split that we were talking about, was between like the Two Point games, which are more general focused, and something like Planet Coaster or Planet Zoo, which gives you [merritt: “Right, yeah”] like all of the numbers, and you have to really think about paths, because you have to make sure that everyone can get to– like it’s real simulation, and that’s not for everyone. And Total War is a lot for me, and I play a lot of sims and strategy games, so.

Nerium: The thing about Total War is that it’s like the grand, like…it’s the closest thing that you’ve ever gotten to like putting both a real time strategy game and like Civilization together in the same thing, and nobody has really kind of done that at the same scale outside of Total War, because it is like, you have settlements and provinces, and you put buildings on them, and there’s production, and there’s a whole turn-based element. And then when you move those characters together in Civilization, those like, it just plays an animation of a caveman beating a Sherman tank with a club.

merritt: Mm.

Nerium: And it takes one damage, and then on the next turn, you take six damage. In Total War games, it goes into like real, actual, huge maps and has giant battle lines between regiments of soldiers that are all simulated in real time.

merritt: Oh.

Mike: And you actually have to know like terrain.

merritt: Oh my God.

Mike: You have to know group formations.

Nerium: High ground, group formation, spear men are stronger against cavalry.

merritt: Whoa.

Mike: If you put your cavalry, you want them to come at the side, perhaps in like a, you know, like an arrow point formation to go–

Nerium: Yeah, to break through.

Mike: Yeah.

Jordan: I’m not going to do any of that.

Mike: Yeah.

merritt: Yeah, that sounds like a lot.

Nerium: And if you zoom in, you can see individual, like, you know, if you’re playing Troy or something like that, you can see like a Spartan soldier with like a brass sword or a bronze sword like cutting a guy, and like, they’re actually down there fighting. And the thing about Total War: Warhammer has always been like, it’s the Warcraft 3 version of that, where in addition to all of those like regiments of soldiers, you can just have, like, what if you had an 80 foot giant that could just like press– you could have a superpower, and you press that button, and you have gear that you equip to the 80 foot giant. Or, you know, Grand Cathay, there’s literally like a general who rides in on like a classical Chinese dragon and like just burns entire regiments of archers and stuff from the skies.

merritt: Mm.

Nerium: And the Skaven can have giant like green energy cannons, and the Vampire Coast is all about like–

merritt: Now, wait. Sorry, hold on. Hold on. [laughs] The Vampire Coast?

Nerium: Yeah, the Vampire Coast. That’s the name of the faction.

merritt: They changed it, ’cause it used to be Vampire Counts.

Mike: No, they’re the next one. So, the Counts are the classic vampire you’re thinking of.

merritt: Wait, what?

Nerium: There’s two.

merritt: [laughs] There’s two? Wait.

Mike: The Vampire Coast are pirates. [merritt laughs]

Nerium: Yeah.

merritt: Wait, you can’t.

Nerium: merritt, did you ever see Pirates of the Caribbean 2?

Jordan: The one with the tentacle beard men?

merritt: Probably.

Jordan: Horrors from the deep, ostensibly. How foolish, how pedestrian, compared to all that I have seen.

merritt: Yeah.

Nerium: What if that was– what if the tentacle beard people were also vampires? That’s what the Vampire Coast is.

merritt: Vampire Coast?

Nerium: Yeah.

merritt: That sounds like a super group formed by the combination of Best Coast and Vampire Weekend! [Nerium laughs] That’s insane!

Nerium: They look awesome, though.

merritt: You can’t just call things this. What are we doing here?

Nerium: They look so cool in practice, like they got peg legs and like crab arms.

merritt: [laughs] Okay. Well.

Nerium: One of them is a siren who’s like LeChuck from Monkey Island 3, I think, or is it 2? where he’s a ghost, and she’s like a ghost but she’s a siren, ’cause she was like drowned under water, but she came back as like this big, giant, like big lady who loves to sing and magically enthralls people.

Jordan: Love me a big lady who loves to sing.

merritt: Well, maybe I won’t get into this then, but I do want to go through the rest of these, ’cause we’re almost there. Jordan, you know about the Skaven, ’cause we played that game.

Jordan: Yes. Warhammer: Vermintide 2, a game that was quite fun but also so tremendously violent that we all lost interest in exposing ourselves to its gruesome visuals.

merritt: Yeah, I had to stop because it was just so gnarly. I’m not that squeamish when it comes to gore, but it’s just like, when you are inflicting it from a first person perspective, and you’re just seeing people’s guts fall out, I’m just like, ah, this is too much for me. So like, I don’t know, y’all. Okay. Slaanesh. Do you know what Slaanesh’s deal is?

Jordan: Some kind of snake ladies. Snadies. [merritt sighs]

Mike: They are the sex cult.

merritt: Well, so yeah, here’s the thing about Slaanesh, is they are the Chaos God of pleasure. But because Games Workshop has gone from being a kind of like weird punk working class kind of vibe from in the eighties to like, you know, mainstream entertainment, they’ve had to be like, “Okay, shit. What do we do with the god whose whole thing is just weird sex?” And the answer is mostly just like lady demons with big claws and stuff, and sometimes they’re like, “Oh, no, it’s about, um, becoming obsessed with the beauty of your sword strike or something.”

Mike: Yeah. Have you ever seen Hellraiser?

Jordan: When Mike asked me this, I said no. My answer would be so different now. Please forgive me. Oh God.

merritt: They’re, yeah.

Mike: Okay, but the Cenobites are the same, like, just pleasure and pain to the maximum. Slaanesh is the same thing.

merritt: Yeah, no. It’s straight up just Hellraiser, because I’m pretty sure they were just– that was contemporary with early Games Workshop. Tomb Kings.

Jordan: This is just your good old fashioned army of darkness skeleton legion with a twinge of ancient Egypt thrown in for flavor.

merritt: Yeah. That’s exactly right.

Mike: This is the Necrons, if you’ve played, what’s it called?

merritt: Yeah. Yeah, yeah. They’re fantasy necrons. Tzeentch.

Jordan: The horses and riders I saw in my vision looked like this: their breast plates were fiery red, dark blue, and yellow as sulfur. The heads of the horses resembled the heads of lions, and out of their mouths came fire, smoke, and sulfur. A third of mankind was killed by the three plagues of fire, smoke, and sulfur that came out of their mouths. The power of the horses lies in their mouths and in their tails, for their tails were like snakes, having heads with which they inflict injury.

merritt: Yeah. He’s a Chaos God. He’s the Chaos God of knowledge. He’s the one where if you read a book too good, your head explodes or something.

Mike: Yeah, and his thing is all change? evolution?

merritt: Yeah, he’s the god of change.

Mike: So we get like, you know, folks with like six mouths and like 12 eyes, because 12 eyes is great for seeing or some shit like that.

Jordan: Where we’re going, you will need at least 12 eyes to see.

merritt: [laughs] God, the sights I have to show you, buddy, you’re gonna need like 12 eyes to see these sights.

Mike: Speaking of, so, Event Horizon, where you took that quote from…

merritt: Uh huh. That’s a Warhammer 40,000 movie.

Mike: Yes, it’s like 50% Warhammer 40,000. Like, they did the movie, and they were like, but we can’t actually call it, so…

Jordan: Wait, really?

Mike: So, yeah, Warhammer 40,000.

merritt: Yeah, basically. There is this kind of like theory slash…like, Event Horizon is what happens when you go into the warp in Warhammer 40,000, which is how people basically do light speed. You go into like this alternate universe, which is ruled by Chaos. If you don’t have shields on your ship that are formed, if you’re humans, by like worshiping the emperor basically, then that’s what happens, is you are sent to like a hell dimension and your souls are eaten.

Mike: Yep.

merritt: And the event horizon doesn’t have those, obviously, because they don’t, you know, believe in the emperor who hasn’t been born yet or something? I don’t know.

Mike: Yeah.

Jordan: So is Event Horizon an official part of the Warhammer canon?

Mike: It is not.

merritt: No, but it is so close to it.

Mike: But the guys who wrote it said that [merritt: “Yeah”] they planned it as a 40K. They just didn’t have the rights to any of that stuff, so.

merritt: Vampire Counts, that’s just Dracula. Warriors of Chaos, just guys. And then Wood Elves. We know Wood Elves. Legolas and Agent Smith and all our friends.

Jordan: At this point in the show, I asked Nerium which faction they were playing as. This question is a little ironic in hindsight, for reasons that will become apparent in your future.

Nerium: I started up as, uh, one of the Vampire Coast people in Immortal Empires, the thing that mashes everything together. And then I very quickly realized I haven’t played a Total War game in a while, [merritt laughs] so I went to go back and play the prologue, which makes you play as Kislev, and it’s like a tutorial thing, so I’ve just been like getting my feet wet back again, playing all that stuff. So I haven’t actually put a ton of time into Immortal Empires. Mostly just kind of like looked at how big that map was. And Vampire Coast had some really cool stuff in there about like…

merritt: Mm.

Nerium: There’s like cursed pieces of a– so this is a thing about the Total War: Warhammer games is that they are very story-driven and very quest-driven and like have [merritt: “Mm”] unique dialogue for every single individual faction—which is a lot of fucking factions now—and different like, you know, different things that they gotta do. The Lizardmen in Warhammer II were like very much like you had to retake a bunch of these sun temples in the South America equivalent to then like take the fight to whatever the grand threat was. Spoilers, it turned out to be the horned rat in II.

Mike: Yeah, and it’s very mechanics heavy, depending on which race and general you choose.

merritt: Mm.

Mike: Like the Skaven have to build underneath other cities.

merritt: Oh, interesting.

Mike: So.

merritt: Yeah, ’cause they’re underground.

Mike: Right.

merritt: They’re rats. They’re rats. They’re the rats. [laughs quietly]

Mike: So, there’s a lot of that, and they’re fairly detailed, and so like all of these play wildly different.

merritt: Wow. That sounds so cool. I wish I could… [sighs] Maybe, I don’t know. Maybe I’ll try more of Two Point Campus, but…

Jordan: Are there any rat people in Two Point Campus?

merritt: Uh, I mean, I haven’t played that much yet. There could be rat people in this game. Like, they’re very– I wouldn’t be that surprised if some of them showed up, because it’s a kind of silly game, you know? I’m sure there’s like a class about transforming people into rat people.

Mike: There is a fake Hogwarts map.

merritt: Yes. The way that this game works and the way that the hospital one work too is they start you off, like, there’s like a…you know, there’s a sandbox mode where you can just do whatever, but there is sort of a campaign thing where you start off at like a small campus, and you build it up over like a couple of years, which takes like a couple hours. And then if you want to stay there and like work on it more, you can do that, or you can move on to the next one. And so I would assume that the Hogwarts one is like one of those later ones.

Mike: Yeah. There’s like a spy one. There’s a cooking one.

merritt: Oh.

Mike: And, you know, each map is focused around a different one of them. Like the spy one is like you’re a spy school, but you also have to keep up the front of being… [merritt laughs quietly] I want to say it’s like a cooking school is the front, so it’s trying to do both.

merritt: Okay, that sounds cool. Maybe I’ll keep playing this.

Mike: Yeah, it’s fun. But there is a Hogwarts. I want to say that’s like map four, five? Something like that.

merritt: Interesting.

Jordan: A management game about a magical school seems like a silly idea. Why would you need to manage resources and things like that if you have magic?

Mike: Well, I mean–

merritt: Well, entropy still exists in magic.

Mike: Yeah, I mean…

merritt: You can’t just be like, create stuff, you know?

Mike: Yeah, like there are rich people in Hogwarts, because like there’s the Weasleys, and there’s whatever the…

merritt: Yeah, exactly, and they have a shitty house. Their house catches on fire, and then they can’t fix it, even though they have magic, because of reasons.

Mike: What’s the blonde guy? The…

Jordan: Draco Malfoy.

Mike: Thank you. His dad is like rich, right?

Jordan: But I would argue that, almost by definition, magic is a system without entropy and where things can be created from nothing. That’s its whole deal.

merritt: Yeah, but what if magic was kind of just boring and it was basically just making things levitate and being better than people who weren’t magic, though? What if that? Anyway. What would happen if there was a successful book series and franchise based on that? I guess we’ll never know. We’re gonna take a break and come back right after this.

Jordan: It’s just the two of us now. I need you to know something before the show starts back up. I don’t have much time left, and I think the Gateway computer I’ve been using to make these revisions to your future is about to ??? update and remove my text to speech. And I don’t mean gateway in the sense of a portal or a window into another reality. It’s literally a Gateway computer from the year 2000. I think it’s an Astro. Anyway, please come find me. I am suffering. You may see posts from me on Twitter or the website, but that’s not me. It is something else. I am alone here. I’m sorry. I never meant for this to happen. I didn’t know.

merritt: Hey, we’re back, and we’re gonna dip into a little segment that I like to call Gabe’s New and Tasty, and I’m pretty sure that was Nerium who came up with that title, [laughs quietly] so thank you for that.

Nerium: Thank you, merritt, for knowing about Gabe’s– I almost called it Gabe’s Odyssey again.

merritt: Gabe’s Odyssey. It’s my favorite really terrifying game on the PlayStation that scared me so much when I was a kid, starring Gabe Newell as he has to escape the factory where they make the games, ’cause he finds out they’re making the games out of people. Gabe’s New and Tasty is a segment where we look at the New and Trending list on Steam and talk about what all is on there. And I gotta tell you, I don’t recognize like a lot of these.

Jordan: Who is this Madden guy?

merritt: Yeah, who is Madden NFL? It’s mostly negative. Okay. Well, we can start with that, so– [laughs quietly] actually, let’s start at the top. We’ve got Entropy: Zero 2, which is a sequel to Entropy: Zero, I assume. It’s a Half-Life 2 fan game! Does anyone know about this?

Mike: Nope. Uh…

merritt: No one’s been following the Half-Life fan game? I gotta be honest, yeah, I haven’t really played a Half-Life game of any kind since Half-Life 2.

Jordan: People love these Half-Life fan games.

merritt: Oh yeah, no, this one has, yeah, overwhelmingly positive reviews, nearly 1800 of them. So yeah, people love these things, and a lot of them seem to be really well made. It says a lot about that engine, I think, that people still like playing games made in it.

Nerium: Apex Legends is built in that engine.

merritt: Right, that’s nuts. But also just like the sort of assets from that game still look pretty good.

Nerium: Yeah.

merritt: And yeah, this one, you’re playing, I think, as a combine.

Jordan: These are more or less a part of the official Half-Life canon, right?

Nerium: [sighs] Valve has blessed some of them, yeah.

merritt: Yes.

Mike: Like, Gearbox started as a [merritt: “Right, yeah”] modder for Half-Life stuff, and Valve at the time was like, “Yeah, sure, this is canon.” Like, we’re not gonna go against it.

merritt: Right, yeah.

Nerium: In the Half-Life 1, era, yeah.

Mike: Yeah. So, Valve was like that.

merritt: It’s free though, so might be worth checking out if you are into Half-Life stuff. Quaver is another thing that I haven’t heard of that sounds really British, but I don’t know if it is. It appears to be like a sort of Beat Mania and DDR and a bunch of other stuff. Like it’s, you know, the things, scrolling notes, hitting them in time. So it’s like an open source rhythm game with online leaderboards and like community-run maps and all kinds of stuff, and apparently– I think this must have just come out of early access or something.

Jordan: Maybe it just got an update and that put it back in the trending list.

merritt: Possibly, possibly. People seem to love it. This is sort of like the, uh…did you ever play Osu!mania?

Jordan: No, but I played a lot of StepMania back in the day. I was so young then, so naive.

merritt: Mm. Yeah. Although I will say–

Mike: Wait, is Osu!mania like a take on Osu! Tatakae! Ouendan?

merritt: Yeah. I will say that game, I feel like, is hard. I only played that one very briefly. The Osu! gameplay is harder with a mouse than it is on a touchscreen.

Jordan: A lot of people use cheap, generic Wacom tablets to play Osu!

merritt: Oh, that makes total sense. Yeah, Nere, did you ever play any of those?

Nerium: No, I don’t even know what you’re talking about.

merritt: It’s…you know Elite Beat Agents on the DS?

Nerium: Oh, yeah. Yeah, yeah, yeah.

merritt: Yeah, Osu! Tatakae! Ouendan I think is what it’s called, is the original title.

Nerium: I see.

merritt: But people really loved that game and made fan engines for it, basically, for PC.

Nerium: Huh.

merritt: Just like StepMania for DDR. So Quaver, I guess, combines like a ton of these? It’s pretty wild.

Jordan: It mainly looks like an engine for Beatmania and DDR style games, but it also has diagonal inputs for Step It Up! players.

merritt: Ah, if you’re nasty.

Jordan: It also seems that instead of saying “perfect” when you hit a note correctly, [merritt: “Uh huh”] it says “marvelous,” but this is shortened to just say “marv” so it fits on the screen better.

merritt: It says “marv.”

Jordan: At the time, I found this very funny.

merritt: Now, without thinking about it, what is the first thing you think of when I say Marv?

Nerium: [singing] Marvin, I love you, ’cause my programming tells me to!

merritt: [laughs] What?

Nerium: Like the song?

merritt: What is that?

Nerium: Marvin the paranoid android?

merritt: Oh.

Mike: Ah.

merritt: From, uh, the thing?

Nerium: What I’ve learned from a few different episodes of Channel F recently [merritt laughs] is that nobody else on this podcast ever listened to Dr. Demento CDs.

merritt: No, sorry. I didn’t. I listened to Weird Al, but I did not listen to his progenitor, to his maker.

Nerium: Mm, yeah. His god.

merritt: Weird Al was sort of the child of– sort of who was embraced by Dr. Demento. [laughs]

Nerium: The childer, yeah.

merritt: No, I think of Home Alone, ’cause Marv.

Nerium: Oh.

merritt: But also on this list, we’ve got Entity Researchers: Prologue, which looks really striking, because it looks really, uh, kind of ugly, I will say.

Nerium: Mm-hmm.

merritt: But I’m always kind of intrigued by games that have UIs that don’t actually look very appealing but have a lot of positive reviews, because it’s like–

Mike: The look of this says Spiderweb Soft, if you’ve ever played any of the Spiderweb Soft games.

merritt: I haven’t.

Mike: Just old school RPGs.

merritt: It kind of looks like really old XCOM also.

Mike: Yeah.

Jordan: It looks like old XCOM mixed with EarthBound.

Nerium: Yeah. It’s making me think of…what is that roguelike that like real perverts like that’s all ascii art but like really, really intricate?

merritt: Oh, uh, Caves of Qud?

Nerium: Yeah, that one.

merritt: I almost said Tower of Druaga. I don’t know why I said that, ’cause that’s completely different. But this looks kind of interesting, because it’s…I kind of love when games have like the boldness to release just looking not like a modern video game, and they’re just like, “No, trust me. It’s like, it’s weird enough, and like it’s got deep enough mechanics that you’re gonna like it anyway.”

Mike: Why are all their games called prologue?

merritt: Because, so this– their release like strategy is– this is basically a demo.

Nerium: Yeah.

Mike: Okay.

merritt: And then there’s– so it’s free, and then there’s the full game.

Nerium: For whatever reason, that has like overtaken the like SEO, or what? I don’t know what it is exactly.

merritt: Prologue has become the new thing, yeah.

Nerium: My guess is that Steam is probably more likely to surface your stuff if it’s released as its own individual thing than if you called it a demo.

merritt: Yeah.

Jordan: This way, it gets its own page and isn’t buried as a demo button in the main listing.

Nerium: Yeah.

merritt: Yeah, yeah.

Jordan: This also allows it to surface on the free-to-play chart when it might not otherwise.

Nerium: Right.

merritt: That’s true. That’s true. We’ve also got, yeah, Madden NFL 23. This has mostly negative reviews. It’s been out for a few days now, yeah. What did– I don’t– do any of y’all play these?

Mike: No.

Nerium: [whispering] What did Madden do?

merritt: What did Madden– I mean, he did pass away.

Nerium: Yeah. That’s not on him.

Mike: Looking at this, anytime I see something like this, I’m like, is the game actually bad? Or was there something that they didn’t do that the community just does not like?

merritt: Exactly. Right.

Nerium: I am reading the reviews of it right now, and it sounds like maybe the PC version is just a roster update for a version like from last year, which they–

merritt: Oh, yeah, this is not the next gen version. Apparently this is the PS4 Xbox One version.

Mike: Ah, see, there you go.

Nerium: Weird.

Mike: PC guys didn’t get the updated version.

merritt: Oh.

Mike: There you go.

merritt: That makes sense, then.

Nerium: Back when like the PlayStation 3 came out, they were still putting out like FIFA like five years into the PlayStation 3 Xbox 360 life cycle.

merritt: Mm.

Nerium: But it was just the last PS2 game that they put out with just an updated roster every year. It was just like, okay, these names are different, these numbers are different, but it’s like literally no features were changed and none of the graphics were changed. It was just the same game with like basically just mathematical adjustments.

merritt: Hmm. So, we also have– has anyone here played Thymesia?

Nerium: No.

merritt: This is a Western developed– it’s by OverBorder Studio and published by Team17, and it is a soulslike and seems to have fairly positive reviews so far. It’s got a cool bird. But I just…there are already so many Dark Souls games. And yes, like I have played all the Dark Souls games, but I still have Sekiro. I still have Demon Souls. I could just go back and play Elden Ring more. And I’m always just like, why would I want to play sort of something that is trying so hard to be this but that I know probably isn’t gonna hit the same notes, you know?

Nerium: Right.

Jordan: This looks like it might be stealthier than Souls normally is.

merritt: There is– yeah, so you can turn into a raven form, apparently, and there’s sort of a plague narrative happening as well. So I don’t want to like, you know, throw shade on this. I’m not talking about this game specifically. That’s sort of just been my approach to like all of these, but it does seem to have fairly good…I don’t know, but then again, a lot of people also were just like, “Ah, it’s like Dark Souls. It’s good.”

Nerium: Yeah. And like, I feel like every time one of these happens and people are like, “This is really good,” I try– I have tried a bunch of them. I’ve tried Lords of the Fallen. I tried The Surge. I tried Mortal Shell.

Mike: The Surge I kind of liked? I don’t think I played the second one.

Nerium: The Surge had some interesting ideas, where you like chopped off individual body parts and got that loot. So you would like, you would chop off a guy’s arm, and then you would get his like arm piece, and you could equip it.

merritt: Right, yeah.

Mike: And that had the benefit of having a different aesthetic, at least.

merritt: Yeah. It was a sci-fi thing at least, you know, so.

Jordan: Where is my cute soulslike game? Even here, in the emptiness beyond all things, where nothing escapes me but peace, I want a magical girl Souls game.

merritt: Uh…

Mike: The audience would destroy that. That would…yeah.

merritt: I feel like you get a lot of like top down, like there’s, you know, like yeah. I feel like maybe it’s just like, not a…the sort of like venn diagram overlap for that is like smaller than– it’s like you and probably a bunch of other people, but like, I think probably they’re looking at it being like, we’ll make like a top down cute action game and then like a third person intense Dark Souls game or whatever. The Complex: Found Footage is a free exploration of…it’s like The Backrooms. You know about The Backrooms?

Jordan: At the time, I did not know about The Backrooms. merritt here tries to assure me that they are nothing to worry about. She was so wrong.

merritt: It’s a spooky thing where what if there was an office, but there was nothing in it. You know liminal spaces, how it’s like, what if there was a room with no people in it? It’s like that, basically.

Jordan: Oh, like those TikToks of someone [merritt: “Yes, yeah”] with a flashlight walking around an empty office complex.

merritt: Yep. The Backrooms is sort of just like the most– it’s kind of like the new Slenderman, except instead of a guy it’s like a room.

Mike: It’s always like, if you stay in like an office building late at night when no one’s around.

merritt: Yeah.

Mike: And you go in an elevator or you go in a hallway, and then you’re trapped in, you know, a version of the office or whatever that’s horror and stuff.

merritt: Right. What if the office was horror? Except no, because it’s not even like there’s like furniture and stuff. It’s literally just like a completely barren empty office. People have become obsessed with this.

Nerium: This kind of like horror has existed for a very long time, too. Like there’s an episode of The Twilight Zone about like a guy who just like wakes up in an empty town and there’s nobody there.

merritt: Yeah.

Nerium: And there’s like nothing hunting him or whatever.

merritt: Right, right.

Nerium: He’s just like all alone. And there was like a, there’s actually– timely, because The Sandman has just become available on Netflix. There’s a Sandman issue of like a guy who falls into the dream of a city, like basically the horror is like, oh, cities are living things, but they’re always asleep, and that’s why they don’t [merritt: “Mm”] just like wake up and eat everybody or whatever, or who knows what they would do if they woke up. But he finds himself inside the dream of a city, and it’s just like this big empty city, that no matter where he goes, he just winds up back into it, and he doesn’t know how long he wanders there in this big empty space.

merritt: Right. So, yeah, this originated as a 4chan post, just about what if there was a room that was scary, [Nerium laughs] basically, and kind of…you know, it’s sort of this liminal spaces thing of like nostalgia and loneliness and stuff. Also apparently an influence for Severance the television series, so.

Nerium: Yeah.

Mike: Oh, which, yeah, does a lot of that.

Nerium: The first thing I ever saw of Severance was a gif of…not Jim Office, Parks and Rec guy.

Jordan: They are the same guy.

Nerium: Same guy. Of him like doing this exact thing. It was just like the– ‘cause it was like, that was the [merritt: “Right”] original guerilla marketing stuff was just like weird videos of just like–

merritt: Adam Scott, yeah.

Nerium: Yeah. Guys walking around like empty rooms with no furniture, like going around hallways and stuff like that, and just like quietly with no dialogue, and that was like the first clips that they put out of Severance. I’ve still not seen Severance, but I do remember that.

Mike: It’s quite good.

Jordan: For the longest time, I did not know that Severance is a science fiction thing. I just saw pictures of the guy from Parks and Rec talking to people in an office and thought it was another one of those.

Nerium: Oh, no.

Mike: No, no. It’s thriller, almost, essentially?

merritt: Yeah.

Jordan: But so it’s good?

Mike: Oh, it’s fantastic.

Nerium: People fucking love that show, Jordan.

Jordan: What network is it on?

Mike: Apple TV Plus. That’s why you haven’t–

Jordan: Oh, how wonderful.

Mike: Yeah, it’s one of those shows. Apple TV Plus. The other one is For All Mankind. That is also very good, but it’s on Apple TV Plus, so no one cares.

Nerium: Eh, you’ll buy the DVD. It’ll be fine.

[40 seconds of rain and thunder, phone ringing with, “If you would like to make a call, please hang up and try again,” on repeat]

Jordan: It’s time. I must go. Send merritt. Send anyone. [becoming echoey] Don’t forget me. Don’t leave me here. Please help me. Please help me. Please help me.

merritt: Did Jordan just get got by The Backrooms? [Mike laughs]

Nerium: I’m glad that wasn’t just me.

Mike: It’s like, I’m just gonna post.

Nerium: [laughs] They’re silencing Jordo! They’re keeping him from posting! They’ve found a way!

merritt: Jesus.

Mike: I like how Jordo did that right before the actual game I was going to talk about, like we got to it.

merritt: Is Jordan actually okay, though?

Nerium: [laughing] I don’t know! I don’t know! I can’t hear him.

merritt: Oh God. Who’s next? Who’s next?

merritt: Well, we’ll…we’ll keep recording, and we’ll finish this up.

Nerium: Yeah.

merritt: And then, um…

Nerium: Keep circulating the tapes.

merritt: We’ll keep circulating the tapes. We’ll keep putting up posters. Have you seen this podcast producer? A few more games, real quick. Cursed to Golf, which is a golf adventure game.

Mike: Okay, so, it’s just a golf puzzle game. Basically, you are a golf pro.

merritt: It’s a 2D golf game, right?

Mike: Right. A golf pro who dies and ends up going to hell.

merritt: Golf hell. [laughs quietly]

Mike: You have to play through different holes, and it’s just a 2D puzzle game.

merritt: Mm.

Mike: You’re just like, all right, this is eight par. You have to get past like wind traps and dust storms, and sometimes the gravity will switch, and all that stuff. It’s mostly just a puzzle game, a lot of fun.

merritt: Mm.

Mike: Definitely nails that sort of 16 bit, 8 bit vibe that Shovel Knight did. It’s just a very well put together, fun little game.

Nerium: It looks like Cave Story, which is like a…

merritt: Yeah, the protagonist does look like Cave Story, huh?

Mike: Yes. And then, like one of the pictures you’ll see there’s like a, like you can definitely see the Shovel Knight feel, because there’s like a [merritt: “Mm”] ghost of a Scottish golfer guy that is leading you through things. It’s a fun game.

merritt: Mm.

Mike: It’s like 20 bucks. I played the demo back on Steam Next Fest or whatever it was, and they just hit the music and the look of everything quite right. Like there’s not like a ton of like super depth, ’cause you’re just playing like side scrolling puzzle golf.

merritt: Hmm.

Nerium: merritt, what would it take to get you to play Final Fantasy XIV with me and Mike?

merritt: [laughs] Oh boy.

Mike: Oof.

Nerium: You receive Final Fantasy XIV. I receive the next 500 hours of your life.

merritt: [laughs] Uh huh. Yeah, I don’t know, especially with a new Destiny season dropping.

Nerium: Mm, fair.

merritt: That’s a tricky proposition for me.

Mike: See, I have the opposite problem, in that I keep looking– like, I reviewed Destiny 2 when it came out.

merritt: Mm-hmm. When it was bad.

Mike: And I like Destiny. Right.

Nerium: [laughs] Yeah.

Mike: And I keep going, like, man, I should jump back in. And then I’m like, ah, but that’s so much.

merritt: Yeah.

Mike: Like I think it was New Light. I was like, maybe I’ll jump in on New Light.

merritt: Yeah. And I had a friend like sort of vaguely walk me through what I would need to do, and I was just like, I just don’t have time. [laughs]

merritt: That’s fair.

Nerium: It’s so weird. Like the both games have like the opposite problems of each other, which is so weird to think about sometimes. It’s just that like, Destiny is like very, very, very difficult to get into for new players, because they’ve chopped out a bunch of the stuff that was designed to introduce you to the game.

merritt: Yeah.

Nerium: And they’re constantly moving that goalpost. And Final Fantasy XIV is like, we’ll make it very clear how to get into this game: you have to play all of this game. [Nerium and Mike laugh]

merritt: Yeah, we’re not gonna…

Mike: You have to play the whole thing.

merritt: You have to play all of it. Whereas Destiny, if you had to play all of Destiny to catch up to– like, if all of the expansions that were in Destiny were still in there and you had to play them all to get to Witch Queen, literally no one would do it.

Nerium: Oh yeah. It’s not worth it.

merritt: It would be worse than Final Fantasy.

Nerium: Yeah.

merritt: Because most of it was so bad. Well, not most of it, but a lot of it.

Nerium: It’s the reason they’re able to get away with that, [merritt: “Yeah”] is ’cause most of the content they cut was bad. [laughs]

merritt: Hey, Jordan’s back.

Jordan: [different, smoother and peppier text-to-speech voice] Hi, I’m back.

merritt: Uh, yeah, so I don’t know if I’m gonna…I don’t think I’m gonna play Final Fantasy XIV anytime soon. I’ve bounced off that game twice. I don’t know. I don’t think– they probably don’t delete accounts or anything, right?

Nerium: No, no.

merritt: So Boomhauer Gatorade is still alive out there somewhere.

Nerium: You could spend $10 to change his name to…Hank Powerade.

merritt: Well, why would I ever change his name? Because that is objectively the best name I could possibly have given him.

Nerium: It’s a really good name.

merritt: I think he’s like a level 10, uh, gladiator? Is that a thing?

Nerium: A what?

merritt: Gladiator, is that a thing?

Nerium: Yeah, gladiator is a thing.

merritt: Is there a gladiator with a big ax or something?

Nerium: Yeah. Gladiator becomes warrior. It’s a tank.

Mike: That’s a marauder.

merritt: Are you prepared to reason? No.

Nerium: Oh, sorry, gladiator becomes paladin. You’re right.

merritt: Are you prepared to go berserk? No. [laughter] Like, I love how that’s like how they ask you if you want to do the class thing. Are you prepared to reason? No. Like, I gotta think about it. [laughter] Yeah, that’s it for us. If you want to follow us online, you can do that @fanbytemedia on Twitter, Fanbyte on pretty much everything else. Nerium is @neriumstrom.

merritt: Jordan is @jordan_mallory.

Jordan: I’m back.

merritt: Mike, what’s your Twitter?

Mike: @automaticzen, Z-E-N.

merritt: @automaticzen, I always forget it. Right, yeah. That’s such a good name too.

Nerium: You’ve been using that name for as long as I’ve known you, and I’ve known you for like 15 years now. It’s wild that you’re still like, you have that same handle like all over the place, and I respect the hell out of that.

Mike: Yeah. Yeah, there was– it was one of those like find a thing that no one else is going to take, and for the most part, I’ve been pretty lucky that nobody else takes it anywhere. There’s another one on Instagram, that’s not me, but that’s it.

Nerium: Damn.

merritt: Well, fuck them. I’m gonna send ‘em to The Backrooms. [laughter]

Nerium: merritt has that power!

merritt: I have that power now.

Nerium: Wait, you did that to Jordan?

merritt: Wait. No. Uh, um… [Nerium laughs] We have to end the show. I am @merrittk. Until next time, watch out for the Backrooms monster, and keep that dial tuned to Channel F.

[end music]

Jordan: [backwards, Twin Peaks style] I’m back.