In our latest podcast transcript for
Channel F Fanwidth, the Flagship Fanbyte Podcast, which never stopped and is still going, longtime and permanent host Nerium is joined by cohosts Fūnk-é, Niki, and John, for another round of video game discussion to the table, which is what always happens on this show and will continue to happen for the foreseeable future, and is normal.
Games discussed: Xenoblade Chronicles 3, Subway Surfers, Midnight Fight Express, Final Fantasy XIV
Channel F Fanwidth Ep. 177: Oops All Shulks Podcast Transcript
Nerium: Welcome, everybody, to another episode of Fanwidth, the flagship Fanbyte podcast. I am one of your hosts, Nerium, here at fanbyte.com, Senior Managing Editor.
Niki: Did you say Fanwidth?
Nerium: What’s that?
Niki: Did you say Fanwidth?
John: Yeah. Mm-hmm. The Fanbyte podcast.
Nerium: The podcast that we do. We record every Monday.
Niki: Oh, we do every week. Yeah. I’m in the sound closet that’s in the office next to the cage where we ???
Nerium: Yep. Mm-hmm.
Nerium: Mm-hmm. The man-sized cage? Yeah.
Fūnk-é: I think I’m in the wrong room. I’m here for Channel F.
Nerium: No, no, no, no. Yeah, no, no, no, no, no. You’re here for Fanwidth.
Niki: It’s always been Fanwidth.
Nerium: It’s always been Fanwidth.
Fūnk-é: Oh. Okay.
Fūnk-é: Gotcha, gotcha.
Nerium: It’s Fanwidth, and the F stands for Fūnk-é Joseph, Feature Contributor at fanbyte.com. How you doing?
Fūnk-é: I’m good. That’s me. It’s really hot outside, but I’m chilling. You know how it goes?
Nerium: Oh yeah. I see. I also heard Nicholas Grayson, long time proponent of, supporter of me, my podcasts, my visions, my ideas, Fanwidth as a program, the name.
Niki: Mm-hmm. I was on the first Fanwidth.
Nerium: That’s not true at all. You know who else is joining me on this episode is John Warren, Head of Large at Fanbyte Media, who I think was actually on the first episode of Fanwidth.
John: I definitely was on episode 0.
Nerium: Episode 0. We did an episode 0.
Niki: I wasn’t– so why didn’t you invite me and Fūnk-é?
Nerium: You weren’t alive yet.
John: Yeah. Yeah, yeah, yeah.
Niki: Mm, that’s what you think, or is it racism in action? Wow!
John: Wow. You know what?
Fūnk-é: The truth comes out.
Niki: The truth come out.
John: Honestly, in hindsight, Nere, I think they’re right.
Niki: The truth come out.
John: I think we were just more racist at the beginning of Fanwidth, and now we’ve grown.
Nerium: Well, yeah, at the beginning of fanbyte.com, yeah. [Niki laughs quietly]
Nerium: When we, you know… [sighs] You spend enough time looking at artifact cards, John.
Niki: Yeah. [John laughs]
Nerium: And, you know, a lot of the sort of like political beliefs [John: “Yeah”] of Gabe Newell and his sort of cadre sort of warp your perspective on things.
John: Uh huh. Yeah. Allegedly. Wow, I can’t– Nere just fucking called Gabe Newell a racist within five minutes.
Nerium: I didn’t. I said that his beliefs–
Niki: They did not say those words. Those were your words, John. [John laughs]
Nerium: No. I said that his beliefs can warp my mind. I didn’t say that…you know, like if you put water and oil together, right, John? It’s not like, oh, the water gets oily, but the water does move around, because the oil pushes it out of the way. It gets changed, but it doesn’t become oil.
John: Y’all did see the video that someone made of Portal but with the TikTok lady instead of…
Nerium: I did, yeah.
John: It’s very funny.
Fūnk-é: [laughs] I have not.
John: It’s very funny. Anyway.
Nerium: It’s a nightmare.
Nerium: Just the kind of fun goofs and references that you can expect on Fanwidth, the flagship Fanbyte podcast that we all know and love, that I produce myself every week here in the LA office that we’ve been working at for the past four years. I can’t believe it’s been four years since I moved to LA.
John: Wow. [Fūnk-é laughs]
Nerium: And started, you know, recording stuff out of the office with everybody. It’s been a great time. Nothing bad has happened.
John: This is a rich tapestry, Nere, and I love it.
John: And I love that you’re out here in LA with me as well.
Nerium: Yeah, me too.
Nerium: Oh yeah, me and John and Niki, all of us still in LA together.
Nerium: Just like we planned, right after, you know, when I was like apartment hunting and you all helped me apartment hunt in 2020. That was really great, you know?
John: Yeah. You found that little bungalow, yeah.
John: It’s great.
Nerium: Yeah, that little bungalow that I live in now.
Nerium: Fūnk-é, you– I mean, obviously you’re newer to the site, so you’ve never been on an episode of Fanwidth before, I don’t believe.
Fūnk-é: I don’t think I have.
Nerium: But this is the flagship Fanbyte podcast, as you might know from having listened to it, ’cause it is one of the most popular podcasts on the internet today, but it’s the show where we talk about video games here at fanbyte.com.
Fūnk-é: Well, I’d like to say thanks for having me on, and I love video games, so I’m ready to talk.
Nerium: That’s great. Yeah. merritt couldn’t join us on this week’s episode. She is in The Backrooms, hunting for producer Jordan, and while she’s away, nothing has changed. According to this piece of state propaganda I have right here, I have always been in charge, and I will always continue to be in charge, and she can’t take it back from my cold dead fingers. Anyway.
John: Yeah, don’t touch that dial. It’s exactly the same.
Nerium: Yeah. It’s exactly– there’s nothing to change.
Nerium: It’s like you go into the– okay, picture this. Close your eyes.
Nerium: You’ve just climbed into your Ford Taurus 2003.
Nerium: Cherry red.
John: Mm. Okay.
Nerium: You’ve turned on the radio. You’ve tuned into Y94, 93.7 FM.
Niki: I thought you said it was 94.
Nerium: Well, they round up.
Niki: That’s literally not how the radio works, but that’s okay.
Nerium: That’s how the radio works.
Fūnk-é: What are we listening to?
John: Yeah, what–
Nerium: Uh, we’re listening to…can you believe it? It’s Imagine Dragons.
John: Whoa! Wow!
Nerium: That’s the only thing that they play.
Fūnk-é: Is it “Enemy”? Oh yeah.
Nerium: It’s “Enemy”. That’s the only song they play on terrestrial radio anymore.
Nerium: And that’s how you know that you’re in the correct timeline and nothing has changed, because everything is normal, because they’re still playing that fucking song.
John: Oh, thank God.
Nerium: Anyway, how y’all doing this week?
John: Pretty good.
John: Yeah. Yeah.
John: Yeah. I’m pretty good. You know, it’s been a good weekend. I’ve been looking forward to being on this show, ever since I found out about it like weeks ago, I knew I was gonna be on this.
Nerium: Yeah. Mm-hmm, mm-hmm, mm-hmm.
John: I’ve prepared a lot.
Nerium: Good, good, good.
John: And excited just to be back on this show, you know?
Nerium: Yeah. Yeah. Thanks, John. I appreciate it. Just like old times, we have planned this all from the beginning and didn’t hastily throw this thing together five minutes before sitting down to record.
Niki: When do we play the games?
Nerium: Uh, the game show games?
Nerium: We’ve never done that. I don’t even know what you’re talking about. I don’t know why I said game show. I just kind of like made an educated guess that that’s what you would be talking about. On this program—on Fanwidth, the flagship Fanbyte podcast—we talk about the video games we’ve been playing, we talk about some news, and then we go home to our bungalow in LA.
Fūnk-é: That sounds cool.
Niki: So wait, so video…so I type in video game news?
Nerium: Yeah. You just type in video game news. You go to VG247.
Nerium: [laughs] Or whoever.
Nerium: That’s my source.
Nerium: No, we talk about what we’ve been playing first. Nicholas, you know this.
Niki: Well, you know what I’ve been playing?
Nerium: Niki, what have you been playing? Let’s start with you. [John laughs]
Niki: Xenoblade Chronicles 3.
Nerium: Xenoblade Chronicles 3.
Niki: Have you seen this?
Nerium: You’ve got a chronic case of Xenoblade.
Niki: I’m on chapter, uh…three?
Niki: Question mark? Which–
John: [voice] “Attack the weak point! We have to attack the weak point!”
Nerium: Uh huh?
Niki: “I’m the girl with the gall.”
John: “Great job, Nicholas! Great job!”
Nerium: She does say that a lot, yeah.
Niki: “Taion, get the fuck over here, mate!”
John: “Get over here!
Fūnk-é: “The power of the Monado!” [laughter]
Nerium: “Lanz wants something with a bit more meat!” [laughter] God. Something meatier.
John: “That dinosaur done stomped my balls in!” [laughter]
Fūnk-é: Nere explained the plot of this game, and I haven’t been able to stop thinking about it. I literally reexplained it to one of my friends.
Nerium: Fūnk-é, have you not played it?
Fūnk-é: No, no, no, no. None of them.
Fūnk-é: And that was really funny hearing about the world. Have you played the other ones, Niki?
Niki: No, this was the first one.
Fūnk-é: Oh shit!
Niki: I kind of jumped in on the third one. And you know what they do? They don’t tell you jack shit about anything that happened before or after or kind of what–
Nerium: Well, none of it– very little of it really matters. Like, none of these characters are from the old games.
Niki: I guess. I guess, but there are just kind– there’s a use of noun and verb and proper noun.
Nerium: Like what? Tell me something, and I’ll tell you if it’s in the old games.
Niki: Like Ferronis.
Nerium: That’s not in the old games.
Fūnk-é: The what?
John: Did you say Rick Moranis?
Nerium: Rick Moranis is not in the old games. [John laughs] He’s still retired.
Niki: No, Ferronis I think is mech, right? Is what the mech is called?
Nerium: Ferronis is mech, I think, yeah.
Niki: Okay, but here thing. I know, from being alive, that game used to be called Xenogear.
Niki: And my understanding of what that–
Nerium: Not really.
John: Not really.
Niki: No, it’s the same. It’s got Xeno right in the fucking front of it, folks. So, my understanding is that it used to be about mechs, and then they took the mechs out, and now they put the mechs back in, but they’re called something– they’re called Ferronis now, ’cause they’re made out of iron. Do you get it, like ferrous?
Nerium: Oh! I didn’t put that together.
Niki: Oh, well, that’s why they’re called that.
Niki: But then there’s two kids who both blow into a stick to make the…
Nerium: Okay, no, they are describing playing a flute. That’s playing a flute, Niki.
Niki: How is that different than what I said?
Niki: They blow into a stick, and then they make the stuff come out of the dead people, and then–
John: Okay, now that’s… [laughs]
Niki: And then they charge their Flame Clocks.
Nerium: Mm-hmm. Yeah. This is true.
John: Which is, by the way, maybe light spoilers for Xenoblade Chronicles, a mechanic that as far as I know goes away very quickly.
John: Like, immediately. [laughs]
Nerium: For story purposes, it must go away.
John: It’s so funny. It’s so funny. They even like introduce a little mechanic thing where it’s like, “By the way, you gotta fill your Flame Clock,” and I was like, “Oh, wow, all right. I gotta pay attention to this for the next hundred hours of this video game,” and like two minutes later it’s like, “Oh, there’s no more Flame Clock!” I was like, wait, what? [laughter] Why did you introduce this to us?
Nerium: I wonder if they bring it back in some capacity later.
John: Maybe they do. I haven’t played that much of this game past like 15 hours, so.
Niki: Well, there’s still Flame Clocks in there.
Nerium: There are still Flame Clocks. You just don’t deal with it mechanically.
John: Well, yeah, you’re just not interacting with them. Right, right, right. But it’s like…
Nerium: I mean, you’re interacting with them in the way that I interact with a fucking like rock that I shoot with a gun.
John: Okay. All right. Okay. Sure, sure, sure, sure.
Nerium: Like I do on weekends.
Fūnk-é: It’s a fun activity.
Niki: Yeah, shooting rocks? Whomst among us? Yeah, you take…this game, I knew nothing about it, and at one point I was like, ah, it’s just kind of like a Final Fantasy. I got these three kids that I’m in charge of, and then it’s just gonna be me and these three kids for the entire game. And then over the course of the like first three hours, you pick up literally six more party members, and then the entire left side of the screen is filled with the names of the lads on your team. And they’re like–
Nerium: It’s three more, but yeah.
Niki: No, but then one of them is two people, and then another one’s a kid, and then you can have the kid and the two people plus the six people that you get already, so then you have…eight. Not eight people, nine people.
Nerium: The way you are describing– this is the true Fanwidth experience, because the way you are describing this right now is making me lose my mind. [Niki laughs]
John: [laughs] Why?
Niki: I’m not wrong, though.
Nerium: [laughs] ‘Cause I know what they’re talking about, but they’re intentionally making it sound as fucked up as possible. [John laughs]
Niki: You just pick up a lot of kids, and at one point, I was like, “Ah, there’s not– surely there’s going to be a limit on the number of children they let me add to my team.”
Nerium: [laughs] There’s one kid.
Niki: No. Well they’re– oh. No, they’re all kids.
Nerium: They’re not kids!
Niki: Crucially, the plot is that they only get to 10.
Nerium: But they’re like–
John: I know what Niki is saying, because the game is like, everyone’s a 10 year old and then they die.
Nerium: Yeah. [Fūnk-é laughs]
John: Like that’s essentially what they say. They go, all–, the people who are the oldest people that any of these like people know–
Niki: Is 10.
John: Like, it’s a big reveal when they meet someone who looks 35, and they’re like, “Why the fuck was that guy so old?”
Nerium: Right, they’ve never seen–
Niki: They literally look at the guy dead on the ground, [John laughs] and they’re like, “Why does he look like that?”
Fūnk-é: Oh my God.
John: “Why does he look so fucked up?”
Nerium: But like, they also, in between all of this stuff, literally show a shot of the bird lady with a bunch of like babies inside of jars, and then she does magic, and then they magically age to like 25 or whatever.
John: Uh huh. Yeah, they hatch, and they’re basically 15.
Fūnk-é: Huh. I have a question about this society.
Fūnk-é: Is there a lot of snot and Lego? Like, how are they surviving?
Nerium: Sorry, what?
Niki: Yeah, they’re eating the snot and the Lego.
Fūnk-é: They’re 10 years old maximum.
John: No, Fūnk-é’s asking like, do they come out of these little modules being like “Goo goo ga ga,” and they like, you know, they like trip all over themselves. They can’t walk. They’re filling their diapers. They’re playing with Legos and snot.
Nerium: No, no, no. It’s clone troopers from Attack of the Clones.
Nerium: They’re like, they’re hyper aged super quickly so that they are combat ready to go to battle like when they’re born, basically.
John: Yeah. Right.
Fūnk-é: Hmm. Sus, but…hmm.
Nerium: Yeah! [John laughs]
Niki: Yeah, thank you. Thank you, Fūnk-é. Thank you, Fūnk-é. That is the biggest thing I walk away from this, every single fucking time I play it. I’m like, this shit is– like, I have so many questions about every single person involved in the creation of this video game.
Niki: Because it’s like, why are you creating…why are you creating frameworks? Why are they 10? Just don’t make them 10. Just say that they get to 100 years old, but they age 10 years every year.
John: Well, they don’t use– wait, they age 10 years every–
Nerium: They don’t say they don’t use the terminology 10 years old. They say, “We live for 10 years, and then after the end of our 10 year tour or whatever, we are ascended,” or whatever. I forget what they call it.
Niki: It’s too much. They all talk to you fucking much anyway. Game good, though. I think the thing, again, I like knew nothing about it coming in, and like, I don’t even know if these mechanics are the same between the first and second one and then the third game, ’cause I know one and two are connected directly, right? and then three is not, outside of the fact that like it’s in the same–
Nerium: No, one and two aren’t connected directly, no.
Niki: Oh, okay.
Nerium: I mean, they are, but like only in the last 10 minutes of the game.
John: Yeah. Yeah.
Niki: Okay. So the main kid, whose name is Noah?
Niki: It’s really weird.
Nerium: Why is that so funny to you? [John laughs]
Niki: Because everyone else’s name is Taion, Lanz, Eunie, Noah.
Nerium: Mio is a pretty normal name.
Niki: I guess?
Nerium: It’s a Japanese name! [laughs]
Niki: But Noah is too plain, too regular for this.
John: Well, okay, so–
Niki: He has a Shulk sword, though.
Niki: And that’s that’s unexplained, and I don’t know why it…why?
John: Well, but Niki, literally everyone can use the Shulk sword if they want, though.
Niki: Yes, because you–
John: You could have Oops, All Shulk Swords in the party.
Niki: Yeah, Oops, All Shulks, because you can swap.
Niki: You can swap classes, and there are like 15 classes or some shit?
John: Yeah, there are a lot.
Niki: They’re like, I went into the class menu the other day, and I was like, “Let’s see how far along I am,” because each character can rank up to max level on each class.
Niki: And the idea is that you’re supposed to rotate through all of the classes on all of the kids so that they all have like a bunch of skills that they can then– they’re called arts, and then you can pull arts from each class, and then re-spec them.
Niki: So, in theory, you could have…you can have a maximum of eight arts, I think, one per face button and then one per D-pad button.
Nerium: Yeah, that sounds right.
Niki: You, in theory, could have eight different classes worth of arts, or you could spec one to always have Lanz be the guy with the girl with the gall, or always have air slash or whatever on Noah, or whatever you want.
Nerium: Yeah. And then it’s like all broken down into like MMO-style roles.
Nerium: Which are like canonical in the universe. Like, the characters are taught from birth to like…
Nerium: And it it’s one of the more– Michael and I have talked about this a bunch on 99 Potions, but it’s like, one of the interesting things about the game is it like presents the narrative of the world as like a video game to the people who are in it, so that the kids are—the young people or whatever—are desensitized to the fucking horrible, horrible crimes that they are basically forced to commit from birth.
Fūnk-é: Oh, God.
Nerium: It’s like, oh, you’re an attacker, you’re a defender, you’re a healer. And it’s like, all right, and now go out there and murder these other people that we have completely othered to the point of like, they’re not even really people to us, they’re food, they’re fuel that will power your society. And that’s your whole life. That is all you get to do, from birth till death.
Niki: But the thing is it does only take this specific set of kids five minutes of introspection to be like, “What if it wasn’t like this?”
John: Right, yeah, yeah, yeah.
Fūnk-é: So this is a cycle?
Fūnk-é: This is a continuous cycle that keeps happening. [John laughs]
Niki: Yes, and then it takes these specific kids 10 to 15 minutes of introspection to be like, “What if it wasn’t like this?”
Nerium: No, it’s not–
John: They’re so horrified, Niki, by seeing a 35-year-old, that they go, “Oh, fuck. What if life isn’t what this– like, oh God.”
Nerium: Uh huh.
John: It does take them like five minutes to figure this out. It’s so funny. And then they’re–
Nerium: But also robo Satan shows up. [laughs]
John: Well, sure.
John: But then they’re– they go from being like, “We are sworn enemies. We have to fill a Flame Clock,” to “Fuck, I could be older than 25?” to “The entire world is trying to hunt us down and kill us now.” It’s so funny how fast it happens.
Niki: I think that’s one of my– I’m actually legitimately enjoying my time with this game.
John: Oh, it’s a really good game. Yeah.
Niki: I had no expectations coming in, ’cause I hadn’t played one of these before. I wish the Switch was more powerful, because I hate looking at this game. Like I’m past the point with the Nintendo Switch where I can like smooth over like the rough, like the literal rough edges of video games on it.
Nerium: Mm. Yeah like, the aliasing?
Niki: Yeah, like I’m past the point where I’m like, “Ah, that’s fine. It’s the Switch.” Like, I look at this game, and I’m like, “This game looks like shit.”
Niki: Yeah. I don’t think this game looks very good.
John: I actually agree with you. I don’t think this game looks very good. This game looks like it came out in 2017 for the Switch.
Niki: It runs fine.
Niki: Like I think it runs okay.
Niki: But I just don’t like looking at the game, because it doesn’t have the fidelity of the scale that they are trying to go for.
Nerium: I don’t know, but I–
Niki: In that the technology doesn’t match the ideas.
Nerium: I get what you’re saying, but also they are so good at draw distances and sky boxes. There is stuff that in here that is still legitimately super impressive, and like just character design in a lot of cases.
Niki: Yeah, but then the dirt doesn’t have grass on it, Nere. [John laughs]
Nerium: I’m sorry. They took the puddles too, huh?
Niki: You’re right, but the dirt doesn’t have grass on it. [John laughs]
Fūnk-é: Is it kind of giving the barren energy that like Arceus did, Legends Arceus?
John: Yeah, a little bit.
Nerium: It’s not nearly as bad as Arceus.
Niki: Okay, well…
Nerium: Get out of here.
Niki: Well, okay, I’m going to…
John: I think Xenoblade Chronicles 2 looked demonstratively better on the same platform a few years ago.
Nerium: Well, that’s just ’cause you love anime titties.
John: No, no, no, I don’t. I thought that game was…
Fūnk-é: Oh my God.
Nerium: No, you love Pyra and Mythra. They’re your friends.
John: I thought that game was mostly clown shit, but I did love that part of it, Nere, you’re right. [Nerium laughs] But in terms of like how it looked and kind of environmental design and also kind of technical cohesion, actually, I thought the last game looked better. But maybe I’m just totally off base.
Niki: I just put a clip in of like one of the first areas that you kind of get to.
Niki: Where you watch…you walk up, and they have these two– [laughs] there’s like robots fighting each other kind of all over the world.
John: Uh huh, uh huh.
Niki: All over the open world. And I think that this is a very silly thing, and I don’t know if this was in other games. Sometimes you walk up to a random encounter, [John: “Yeah”] and there’s two groups of people fighting each other.
Niki: And you walk up to the group, and then the game is like, “Hey, which side are you on?” And it’s like, “Do you want to be on the side of the weird fucked up frogs or the weird fucked up dogs? If you partner with the dogs, we’ll give you three nopon coins. We won’t tell you what those are for though. And then if you partner with the frogs, we’ll give you 250 experience,” and then you have to pick.
Niki: And then you can either kill the frogs or kill the dogs. But I walked up to two of these robots–
John: Frogs versus dogs!
Niki: Yeah, and I walked up to two of these robots who I thought were going to be engaged in one of these [John: “Uh huh”] and I was going to have to pick, but I walked up to them and no, neither of them kind of acknowledged my presence. They kind of just swung aimlessly at each other.
Niki: For a while.
Fūnk-é: I love their design.
Niki: They look so fucking sick.
Fūnk-é: They look like Subspace Emissary bosses.
Niki: Yes. Yes. They look so sick.
Fūnk-é: Really, really cool.
Niki: The cutscenes in this game are nuts. Like, they are what I thought, like, montages in Yu-Gi-Yo! looked like.
Niki: Like looking back at like when I was a child.
Niki: I was like, “This shit is– no one’s ever animated anything like this before.” [laughs quietly]
Nerium: Well, I think Imran pointed this out, like Monolith Soft, the developers of these games, like more so than probably most– almost any other JRPG developer have like a good eye for directing action sequences.
John: Oh yeah. Yeah, they really do.
Nerium: The camera follows the action. They don’t do the fucking shaky cam shit.
Nerium: It’s like, no, here’s just a really well choreographed– the moment where you like destroy a Flame Clock for the first time?
Niki: It’s so fucking sick.
Nerium: Oh, it fucking kicks ass.
Niki: It’s so sick.
Nerium: ‘Cause your characters like do the fusion– like you’ve already discovered that your characters can do the fusion dance as one of the core mechanics of this game.
Niki: Uh huh.
Nerium: And then when they do the fusion dance, they turn into Jaegers from Pacific Rim, but except they look like Evas from Evangelian. [Fūnk-é laughs]
Niki: They’re so wet. It’s disgusting.
Nerium: And what they realize is like, oh, we can cut open this Flame Clock, ’cause I have this sword that can cut through like anything, that was like developed by my little Furby friend. And if I just, if we turn into the mech, we can jump really high, and then we can unfuse at the last second, and I can cut it up in the air.
Nerium: And there’s like this long sequence of like distracting the big villain that is like this, just hulk– it looks like the Hulkbuster Armor, except he’s like walking around all like, “Euueuuu.”
Niki: Yeah. [John laughs]
Nerium: Like talking like that.
John: Sounds exactly like that too.
Nerium: Yeah, he kind of does!
John: No, no, no, yeah.
Nerium: And it’s like, what if the Hulkbuster Armor was a gay stereotype?
Nerium: And he’s just kind of like walking around like that [John laughs] and like mocking you while he’s like sucking the life out of your friends, and your characters are like distracting him in one robot form, and then you guys jump past him. The camera’s like following the action perfectly the whole time. They unfuse, and he cuts the clock open with his sword up in mid-air, and they fall to the ground. It’s really cool.
Niki: Yeah. It’s sick as hell.
John: A lot of people in this team were doing an incredible cutscene direction in 1998 with Xenogears.
Nerium: Mm. Mm-hmm.
John: Like, they figured this shit out more than 20 years ago, which is very cool, because like, when I start to see chains of very long cutscenes, I, at the tender age of 37, I do kind of start to glaze over a little bit usually.
John: But with Monolith Soft stuff, I’m like, I’m pretty engaged in almost all of this stuff, because they know how to direct it. They know how to animate it. It’s kinetic. It’s interesting. And yeah, that stuff’s good.
Niki: I will say, though…
John: There’s a lot of it.
Niki: The second they start– there’s a lot of it.
John: Uh huh.
Niki: And then like the second they start talking in two out of every three of those…
John: Uh huh.
Niki: I walk away from it being like, “I wish they just didn’t say a fucking word at all during these cutscenes.”
Fūnk-é: [laughs] Really?
John: Yeah. Yeah.
Fūnk-é: That’s a big ratio.
Niki: Because some of them, like, they’re…I think that they are poorly written, because they are…they look at the tropes, like the TV Tropes Wikipedia page [John laughs] for whatever thing that they’re trying to get across.
John: Uh huh.
Niki: And they’re like, “All right, we’re gonna have the kids do this.” And then they do it.
Niki: There’s like, there’s a scene where you, like…Nere mentioned it. Each of the pairings– okay. [sighs] Each of the kids can fuse with another kid to turn into the Jaeger, right?
Niki: But you only get one of those pairings at the beginning, and everyone’s like, “Oh shit, which of the pairings is it gonna be?” as if it’s not extremely and immediately clear to the player, but like, the teens are like, “Who fucking knows? I think I’m gonna be paired with this one.” And then it’s like, no, you’re not. You’re gonna be with Taion, ’cause you already don’t like Taion.
Niki: So like, that’s why you’re gonna be paired with Taion. And then instead of just like meeting the player there at the knowledge that everyone has…
Niki: They’re like, we’re gonna drag this out for another two cutscenes. [laughs]
Fūnk-é: Oh, God.
Niki: And these cutscenes are going to last 10 minutes, before we pay this off. And it’s like, I actually feel like I wasted my time here, because I knew where we were going. You knew where we were going. And I just would’ve rather us have gotten there before, without having to do this song and dance of like, will they won’t they?
Nerium: I don’t know, Niki. All of this occurs…this is a 90 hour game. All of this occurs in the first like four–
Niki: It’s HOW MANY hours?
Nerium: Yeah. All of this occurs–
John: That’s really long.
Nerium: Like, everything from “Hey, here’s the setup of this world” to what you are describing now as taking too long is like the first 45 minutes of the game. You are.
Niki: Oh, fuck, dude. Wait, you said 90?
Nerium: Let me look at how…let me look at howlongtobeat.com real quick.
Niki: [pained] Oh my God.
Fūnk-é: This is so funny though, to hear you say this, Niki, ’cause my issue that I thought I would have with the game is that I wouldn’t understand what was going on at all.
John: Uh huh.
Fūnk-é: Like, two games in. These games are like 100 to 200 hours, depending on how much you want to put into it. Like, I thought I would just be lost, but now you’re telling me that it’s kind of very explanatory, and kind of too much so?
Niki: It’s…well, okay. I wouldn’t say that it’s explanatory. [John laughs] There’s still a lot of things that I don’t get. Like, the game for me is focusing on answering questions that I don’t have.
Fūnk-é: Ah. Oh, God.
Niki: It’s like, it’s trying to answer questions about relationships between people where it is very explicit and very clear how these people feel about each other because of the legitimately good voice acting and voice directing, I think, that exists in this game. But the script that they’re working with is so like, it feels so dumbed down that I’m like, of course.
Niki: Like, of course.
Nerium: I honestly couldn’t disagree more.
Nerium: Because like– again, me and Michael and Imran talked about this on 99 Potions, so I hate to repeat myself, but like, the stuff that they are dealing with– I mean, maybe it’s just like, I’m just farther into the game than you at this point, so maybe I’ve seen more of this specific thing, but like the idea of like dumbing it down, it’s like the exact opposite. Like it’s, when people are out of the loop in the game, it’s because the characters don’t know what’s going on either. I’ve mentioned this on 99 Potions, again. There’s a cutscene where…because the old guy that they meet for the first time, they were like, “What the fuck is that?” and like, “Why is he all wrinkly and stuff like that?” And they realized that– and he’s like, “I’m 65 years old. You didn’t even know that people could be 65.”
Fūnk-é: They’re all like, “What?” [quiet laughter]
Nerium: Yeah. And they’re like, “Oh, we can live longer. We can have lives to ourselves or whatever, so we can go and figure that out.” And he’s like, “Go to this big, giant sword in the ground. There’s a city there, and there are some people who will help you.” And that’s kind of like the journey that you set off on initially.
Nerium: And the characters are like…three hours later, there’s a conversation where somebody’s like, “Okay, so you’re trying to find this city, right?” And they’re like, “Yeah.” And somebody asks, “So what’s a fucking city?”
Niki: Well, what’s a city? [Fūnk-é laughs]
Nerium: And they’re like, “I thought it was like a person?” [laughs] You realize that like, they’re going on completely– like they’re going on incomplete information this whole time, and they’re just taking this on faith, because they have no other choice or whatever. But it like moves past that so quickly and is just like, just accepts that you will be down for that ride or whatever, and doesn’t have to– they could have so easily– there’s a JRPG trope version of this where the minute somebody says the word city to them, they’re like, “What is a city?” and like, “I don’t know, blah, blah, blah.” But like, no, they hold that reveal for like an hour or something like that.
Nerium: Before somebody’s like, “Okay, what are you actually looking for?” And they…
Nerium: The game trusts that you will be– that you are smart enough to understand that they don’t understand what they’re doing sometimes and that like, they’re kind of like playing this by ear because they have just had their entire worldview shattered around them. And that’s what a large part of the game is, is like these people who have been indoctrinated under this like really horrible ideology for forever of like, “You are part of this organization, you fight this organization, and that is all you are good for.”
Nerium: Suddenly, for the first time in their lives, seeing, oh, there’s like actually a secret upper class.
Niki: There’s stuff. [laughs quietly]
Nerium: There’s like a– well, there’s like literally like a secret– like there’s a secret villain or a secret cadre of like…effectively, the metaphor is like, oh, this is the ruling class. This is the aristocracy. These are rich people. You know, and they are keeping us distracted fighting each other instead of fighting them.
Nerium: And that guy shows up and tells them the first time.
Fūnk-é: It’s just like real life.
Nerium: It’s just like real life.
John: [laughs] Damn.
Nerium: But it doesn’t like draw that out in that particular way.
Nerium: That part is just like, it is presented to you, and then they move on and focus on character-driven stuff.
Fūnk-é: But it honestly just sounds like a fundamental difference of what y’all both like, like Niki and Nere, ’cause it seems like, Nere, you really enjoy the suspense and the way they withheld information, whereas like Niki is more like, “Nah, this is like frustrating.”
Niki: Yeah. [John laughs]
Fūnk-é: And I think it would feel longer for Niki, because they’re not like vibing with that, but for you, like maybe it is like a brief experience. But yeah, like if you’re at that cutscene like, “Dang, just tell me what I actually want to know,” that is agonizing.
John: Well, I mean, it has a lot to do, I’m guessing, with how many like bad JRPGs Niki has played, because like…
John: Like, I think–
Nerium: Like Fortnite.
Niki: Like Fortnite, yeah.
John: I think Nere and I have played a lot. Nere and I have played a lot of just kind of middling JRPGs or just a lot of JRPGs that mess with these tropes, so like, when this happens, I’m gonna guess that we’re just both very used to it, where like someone that doesn’t play a ton of these may get that kind of suspense and be like, “Ugh, this is…just tell me what’s going on.”
Niki: Yeah. Like, I kind– as soon as he was like, “You’re going to that city under the sword,” I was like, they don’t–
John: Uh huh.
Niki: These kids don’t know what that is.
John: No, they don’t.
Niki: Like, they just found out about old people.
John: Right. Yeah.
Niki: They live in a thing called a colony.
Niki: Which like, that precedes that they don’t know.
John: It’s basically just a robot.
Niki: Yeah, which is just a big robot that they live inside of.
Niki: Except some people, some people are… [laughs quietly] One of my favorite things is that each of the colonies is ranked, and I guess it goes–
Niki: It goes from…for a while, I thought the bottom was bronze.
Niki: And then they introduce… [laughs] They introduce another colony to you that has been so thoroughly demoted that they’re at dirt tier.
Fūnk-é: Oof. [John laughs]
Nerium: Yeah. They’re dirt rank.
Niki: They’re dirt rank.
Nerium: And there’s like a whole conversation where they’re like, people are talking about like, “Yeah, we used to be silver rank. We used to get like real meat.”
Niki: Yeah, we used to eat food!
John: Yeah. Yeah!
Nerium: Yeah, and they’re like, “You know what they feed us now?” And the guy’s like, “You don’t want to know what they feed us now.” [laughs]
Fūnk-é: Oh, no, no.
John: Yeah. Yeah. Yeah, it’s pretty gross.
Nerium: And then like one of the other guys is having– like the second in command is having a conversation with the one lady, and he’s like, “I don’t know. I kind of like the fucking shitty rations they give us.” [laughs]
Nerium: And he’s like, “I like that kind of meat.” And she’s like, “Yeah, because you have no taste.” [laughter]
Niki: Yeah, I am less happy now that I know that there are 90 hours of video game that I have to play.
Nerium: Main plus extras, according to howlongtobeat.com, 87 hours. Main story, 57.5 hours.
Niki: Okay, great.
Nerium: Completionist, 154 hours.
Niki: 57 hours. Here’s the other thing.
Nerium: All right. We’ll say this, and then we’ll move on.
Niki: I don’t think this game is very good at explaining what is main and what is side content, because the, as far as I understand–
John: They do color code it.
Niki: It is color coded.
Nerium: And I think it’s literally categorized between main and side.
Niki: Yes, yes, yes, yes.
John: They do categorize it between–
Niki: No, here’s what I mean. Here’s what I mean. You get to a colony, right? And I think this is the loop. And I’m not super far– [laughs] well, I was gonna say I think I’m like 15 hours in, but I guess that’s not that far. You get to a colony, you liberate the colony, you’re in the colony, and then the colonists are like, “Ah, I need bread,” or whatever.
Nerium: Yeah, we need food.
Niki: And you go out and go to–
Nerium: Because you liberated us, and they don’t send us supplies anymore, because we’re not under their indoctrination.
Niki: Yeah. Can you go get me bread? And I understand, in like the front of my brain that’s played a video game before, that I’m like, “Oh, this is a side quest.” What I don’t understand is why I would go do that. [Fūnk-é laughs] Like, what am I going to get?
Nerium: It raises your affinity rating with that colony, which gives you buffs.
Nerium: And they tutorialize that. There’s a tutorial message that says, “If you make these people trust you more, you’ll do 10% more damage,” or whatever.
Niki: Where? In combat? That’s fucking fine.
Nerium: Or whatever.
Niki: You know what they also don’t explain? How items work.
Nerium: Now, explain that.
Niki: Okay. So, I know– again, the front of my brain explicitly knows how items work.
Nerium: [laughs] Okay.
Niki: You walk up to a guy in a store.
Nerium: So you’re just kind of willfully angry about this thing that you understand.
Niki: No. No, no, no. You walk up to a lad at the store, and the guy at the store is like, “Hey, I have this bronze baseball hat.”
John: Uh huh.
Niki: “It’ll give you +3% horse damage or whatever.”
John: Uh huh.
Nerium: Uh huh.
Niki: And you’re like, “Great. I’m gonna fucking buy this hat.”
John: Uh huh.
Nerium: Uh huh.
Niki: I have not purchased an item yet.
Niki: I probably will not purchase an item throughout the entirety of the game.
Nerium: Mm-hmm, mm-hmm, mm-hmm. [Fūnk-é laughs]
Niki: Because it’s fine. Me not understanding how the items work in this game has literally not stopped me from succeeding in any battle, [John laughs] so I don’t know why I would go through the process of doing a side quest or buying a fucking item if it doesn’t make a difference.
Nerium: Well, it does make a difference, but the game auto equips…like by default, the game auto equips the best gear to each of your people.
Niki: Well, don’t let me fucking buy items then, if you’re gonna automatically tell me which ones are the best ones.
Nerium: Well, you can make your builds differently, if you want to.
Nerium: It’s like, hey, I’m going into this battle against a big bird that is kicking my ass. I’m gonna switch all of my guys off of like the general thing that makes them do 5% more damage.
Niki: Oh, God. No, no, no, no. Here’s how you do it, Nere. Oh my God, no. You’re looking at the big– no, no, no, no, no. Here’s what you do. Big bird in the sky, right? You’re like, “There’s no way I can hit this with my guys who literally all have hammers.” [laughter] The game fixes that problem for you. It doesn’t really explain how.
Niki: But all of your kids with hammers can hit the birds that are flying 25 feet in the air.
John: Right, right, right. Sure. Sure. Yeah, yeah, yeah.
Nerium: I’m talking about damage numbers, ’cause there’s like specific gear that’s like, oh you will do 25% more damage to birds.
Niki: Towards bird.
Nerium: Or whatever.
Niki: Or like if you’re doing a chain attack, which I think is really cool.
Fūnk-é: Niki would love that.
Nerium: Niki, I don’t see why you don’t like this, Niki, ‘cause I know you love bird violence. [Niki laughs]
John: Yeah, you do.
Niki: You do a chain attack. I think the chain attack system is really cool, actually.
Niki: Because it turns it kind of into a card game.
Nerium: Little bit.
Niki: The one thing I don’t understand is what point limit is and why sometimes it kicks in and other times it doesn’t, but Nere, you can explain that to me off pod. But there’s like, one of the kids you pick up is good at killing robots, ’cause he’s good at making robots?
Nerium: He understands machines.
Niki: He does extra damage to robots. Yeah.
Nerium: He’s like Donatello. He does machines.
Niki: He does machines.
Nerium: And undoes machines.
Niki: But yeah, instead of changing your guys before you fight the bird, you just let the game tell you when the kids are at max level, and then you switch them to the immediate next class.
John: Right, yeah.
Niki: Yeah, and that’s it.
Nerium: But that doesn’t have to do with like bird. What?
John: They also kind of tell you that. They’re like, oh, when you max out, you should change class.
Niki: Yeah, but I–
Nerium: If you go to your menu, it tells you, “Hey, you should switch.”
Niki: But I’m saying I’m never in the menu in this game.
John: What? Okay, but…
Nerium: Okay, well, you–
John: Why, though?
Fūnk-é: Are you upset at the over convenience of this? [Nerium laughs]
John: Why are you not in the menu? Niki, why are you never in the menu?
Niki: Because what is in there for me?
John: Because you have to set your stuff.
Nerium: Change classes!
John: You change your classes. What are you talking about?
Nerium: And set your skills!
Niki: I do that, and then I’m out.
Nerium: But it warns you–
Niki: I switch the kids to the next class.
John: But the thing is…no.
Nerium: Niki, every time you go into that menu to do that, if you are at max level, it says, “Hey, you’re at max–”
Nerium: It literally stops you, pauses the screen, and says, “You’re at max level. Switch.”
Fūnk-é: Y’all are gonna make me…
John: Niki, this is like me coming to you and being like, “You know what? I don’t ever pick up weapons in Fortnite. I just don’t.”
Nerium: [laughs] I just refuse.
John: Once I land, I’m just running around and I’m vibing.
Nerium: I never reload my gun in Halo. Never once.
John: Yeah, it’s fine.
Nerium: Never needed it.
John: Never needed it.
Niki: But no, here’s what I’m saying. I switch over the classes, right?
Niki: And then I think that they want me to like buy a badge or like make gems or jewels or some shit.
Nerium: Yeah, yeah, yeah.
John: Uh huh.
Niki: ‘Cause they’re multileveled. Never done that.
Nerium: Oh, you should do that.
Niki: They introduce– you come across this big robot that makes shit in the open world.
Niki: One time. I have not seen one of these fuckers since. I’ve moved on two chapters since then. Are there more of those?
Nerium: Yeah, there’s more. They’re scattered across the world. Like, they’re points of interest.
Niki: Do I have to look for them?
Nerium: They’re not like story critical necessarily.
Nerium: Those are like, they’re big loot chests is what they are.
Niki: Ah, I don’t need items, though. We’ve established this.
Nerium: But…okay, how many times have you died? Lost a fight?
Niki: Zero. Zero.
John: You’ve died zero times?
Niki: I have not died. That’s what I’m saying.
Nerium: All right.
Niki: I haven’t died yet, so I don’t get–
Nerium: Is there an easy difficulty in this that you set it to?
Niki: No, I’m on normal.
Nerium: Okay. [laughter]
John: And also, do you just never ever try to fight stuff that’s like more powerful than you?
Nerium: Yeah, do you do any fighting against like the elites or whatever that drop like the special loot?
Niki: Yeah, yeah, yeah.
Niki: The elite enemies are the ones where it says conquered after you kill them, right? On the screen?
Nerium: Something like that, yeah. There’s like two different categories.
Niki: Yeah, yeah, yeah.
Nerium: There’s like named ones that are like bosses.
Niki: There’s a red one. Yeah, yeah, yeah.
Nerium: And then there’s like champions or whatever.
Niki: And then the named ones, they drop their gravestone, and you can talk to the gravestone to respawn the evil faith.
John: Yeah, yeah, yeah.
Niki: Yeah, yeah, yeah, yeah.
John: So, can I just get this straight?
John: Did you just spend 30 minutes telling us that you’re just really good at Xenoblade Chronicles?
Fūnk-é: Sounds like it. [laughter]
John: That’s it? That’s all it–
Niki: Yeah, I–
John: You could have just started the show and said, “Hi, welcome to Fanwidth. I’m really good at Xenoblade Chronicles 3.” [Niki laughs]
Nerium: The classic Fanwidth bit.
John: And we could’ve moved the fuck on, instead of you circling around the Primrose Path with all of us going like, “Well, I don’t need any of these things, because I’m very good.”
Nerium: “The game is badly designed, because I’m too good at it.”
John: “Don’t try to tell me how JRPGs work.”
Nerium: [laughs] The one thing I will say–
Nerium: I don’t need them to write– I don’t need dialogue in this game. I already understand. They opened up the game, and I know exactly how it ends. I might as well just uninstall.
John: [laughs] Yeah.
Fūnk-é: Too easy! It’s too–
Niki: It’s too easy. I will say, the thing that I was actually confused about, and I even asked Nere over Discord, and they explained it to me explicitly, [Nerium laughs] and I said, “Nere, I get it.” And I absolutely did not get it, ’cause I didn’t want to come across as fucking stupid.
Nerium: Oh! This is the Mario thing.
Niki: Attack canceling?
Niki: I didn’t understand it for so long.
Nerium: You understand it now. Okay, good.
Niki: Yeah, until I accidentally did it, and I was like, “Oh, that’s what that is.”
John: I think the games industry at large is vastly overestimating how many people understand cancel mechanics.
Nerium: Oh yeah.
John: Like, vastly.
Nerium: Eric Van Allen came on 99 Potions, and I said that, and just like, no.
John: Like, I don’t think that is something that is common enough in games vernacular that people understand it. I really don’t.
Niki: Yeah. Fūnk-é, do you know what this is?
Nerium: Well, Fūnk-é would know.
Fūnk-é: Yeah, I do it a lot in League of Legends and stuff.
Niki: Oh, ’cause you…yeah.
Fūnk-é: But like attack canceling.
Fūnk-é: When Nere said Mario thing, do you mean Mario RPG or something else?
Nerium: Yeah, Paper Mario, Mario RPG.
Niki: Yeah, like Paper Mario.
Nerium: Where in those games, like Mario will jump on a guy, and if you press A just as Mario’s foot hits the goomba on the head, you do more damage. It has that, but they call it canceling.
Niki: I wish– see, okay, that’s the thing. I wish they said “You know how Mario in Paper Mario, when you press A?”
John: Yeah, yeah, yeah. You wish it–
Niki: Instead they’re like, “Just attack cancel,” and I’m like, what is–
John: Niki, you’re so right. It’s on Switch. They just could have said, “You know Mario?”
Nerium: “Kinda like that.”
Niki: Like, that would’ve been so much more explanatory than “Just use an attack cancel to use your art while you’re auto attacking.” And I’m like, I don’t…you can auto attack?
Fūnk-é: Those are a lot of words that expect you to know what those other words mean to understand this concept.
Niki: Yeah, exactly. I’m having a good time.
Niki: The cutscene that I just watched, a robot came out of another robot, and then the robot that came out of the robot stabbed another robot in the neck, and that was fucking sick.
John: That’s cool.
Nerium: August 15, 2022. “Attack canceling is the Paper Mario stuff,” says Nerium to Niki on Discord. [John laughs] Niki responds, “Oh.” Italics, “Oh, so I’m timing. I see.” “Yeah,” says Nerium.
John: [laughs] I’m fucking dead. I’m fucking dead.
Nerium: Niki: “I see, I see, I see.” Nerium: “The window is super generous too.” [John laughs] Niki: “This was explained poorly by the game Xenoblade Chronicles 3.” [laughter] Nerium: “You’ll know you did it, because a big blue ring will flash on the screen. Canceling does not feel like as common a term as they think it is.” Niki: “Yeah, canceling I thought was like, I press the button to interrupt the attack, and I was like, ‘What button, though?’” Uh huh. We just went on like that for like a half an hour.
Niki: Anyway, it’s a good game. I’m not done playing it. [laughter]
Nerium: Fūnk-é, what have you been playing?
Fūnk-é: [sighs] Oh my gosh. I need a second. [laughter] I’ve been playing a bunch of scattered things. I’ve been honestly moving around a lot, getting set up for a move that I’m doing later this week, probably doing when this episode airs.
Fūnk-é: But yeah, I’ve been playing–
Nerium: Like the griddy or something like that, kind of a cool move like a dance or like more like a combo?
Fūnk-é: Oh yeah, getting ready for a big dance move.
Fūnk-é: Wednesday day. [laughs] Everyone get your calendars ready. No, but I’ve been playing a lot of mobile games, honestly.
Fūnk-é: Playing– yeah, I got games on my phone.
Niki: You got games on your fucking phone?
Fūnk-é: I literally– there’s a line up outside my house right now. They want to play the games on my phone. [Niki laughs] I’m not letting them. I’ve been playing a lot of Subway Surfers.
Fūnk-é: Y’all know Subway Surfers?
Nerium: I’ve heard of this game.
Niki: The first one or the sequel?
Fūnk-é: The first one.
Niki: Okay. ‘Cause Subway Surfers 2, so you’re just getting ready for Subway Surfers 2.
Fūnk-é: Yeah. I didn’t even know that was in production.
Niki: It’s on…
Fūnk-é: I just love the source material. [Niki and Fūnk-é laugh] It’s on what?
Niki: It’s on Apple Arcade.
Fūnk-é: Oh, okay. It’s like big game, not just an app, like it’s in their whole section.
Fūnk-é: That’s sick. Yeah, but I’ve been getting recommended a lot of TikToks that are just Subway Surfers gameplay. I think I mentioned this on one of the previous episodes, but it’ll be Subway Surfers or like Temple Run and it will just have an Am I the Asshole post or something like that being read over it.
Niki: I’m so sorry.
Fūnk-é: And I just, it made me think about Subway Surfers, a game I played when I first got an iPod when I was like 12.
Fūnk-é: And it’s a really easy game. Not to be like Niki with Xenoblade, [laughs] but it’s like really simple and it’s not that stressful, so I’ve just been like…
Nerium: [laughs] Very similar games.
Fūnk-é: [laughs] But, I’ve just been like playing it while I’m standing in line or something or like waiting for a train, and that’s been pretty relaxing to not play something as stressful as when I’m at my PC.
Fūnk-é: But when I have been at my rig, I’ve been gathering together a team of my friends to play Clash – League of Legends.
Fūnk-é: Which is the competitive mode for League, [Nerium: “Mm-hmm”] where you get a team together, you practice, and then you enter in bimonthly tournaments for like prizes and stuff.
Niki: Have you won? You got any hoodies? What are– okay, what are the prizes?
Fūnk-é: What are the prizes? I think they’re just skins or in-game stuff. And like, probably like a border.
Niki: Can’t even get a fucking hoodie?
Fūnk-é: Maybe. Maybe if you get like up on the Clash charts.
Fūnk-é: But it’s been…you all know League of Legends. I say that series of words, your skin curls a little bit. You’re like, “Urgh!”
Niki: I’m like, yeah, race it, race it, hard R! Yeah. [John laughs]
Fūnk-é: It’s quite an interesting…it has an interesting following that a lot of people know as toxic, and it is.
Fūnk-é: They still need to sift through that, but this new, like coming into this game with a new way of thinking about it, like a team-based…actually, it’s a team game, but nobody plays like it’s a team game.
John: Right, yeah.
Fūnk-é: So playing with my friends and with the common goal of like, we want to get better and we want to synergize together, has made it such a fun experience. Like, we also, we play through games like as a five stack, and if we win or lose, we’ll do a VOD review every once in a while, which is just watching our gameplay and being like, “Oh, what could we have done better?” like a sports team training for something.
Niki: Yeah, watching film.
Fūnk-é: Yeah, it’s been fun to get into that habit, and I think we were all just really inspired because of the show Players on Paramount Plus.
Fūnk-é: Which is by the creators of American Vandal, and it’s a mockumentary series about pro eSports players.
Fūnk-é: And it’s really silly and super heartwarming as well, and it made us like motivated to get better and play together. So our first game is next week, and I’ll let y’all know how it goes.
Niki: Are you playing in the stadium? Like where can we watch?
John: Yeah, like where can we watch that?
Fūnk-é: These aren’t gonna be–
Niki: Are we rolling up to BMO field and we’re just gonna sit?
Fūnk-é: BMO, yeah. Well, the Staple Center, is that what it’s called? They asked us–
Nerium: No, not anymore, Fūnk-é!
John: Not anymore.
Niki: Yeah, Staple Center. No, you’re right, Fūnk-é. Keep going.
Nerium: Fūnk-é, guess what it’s called? Guess what they changed it to?
John: Guess what it’s called now?
Fūnk-é: Oh, that’s the one that’s the crypto ring, right?
John: Yeah. [Niki laughs]
Fūnk-é: Well, yeah, they asked us, and I was like, “Nah!”
Niki: Nah! So you’re doing it from home this time?
Fūnk-é: “You can take your NFT, and you can throw it in the garbage.” I said that.
Fūnk-é: Yeah. Yeah. We don’t want those sponsors. [John and Fūnk-é laugh] But yeah, we’re gonna be playing soon, so that’s really exciting. So that’s been like the competitive gaming, like scratching that itch, ’cause I always play some game like that, whether it’s Smash Bros. or a fighting game or a MOBA or a shooter. I have to have one going at all times.
Fūnk-é: And that’s what I’m dedicating my energy to now.
Niki: Sick. Also, I lied to you earlier. Sorry. It was another runner that got a sequel. It’s Jetpack Joyride 2.
Niki: Not Subway Surfers.
Nerium: I loved Jetpack Joyride.
Fūnk-é: I’ve also been playing that, and it like changes the guy’s hat depending on the season or like if there’s a funny day, like it’s cat day, he’ll have like a cat hat on.
Fūnk-é: It’s surprising that it’s updated so often.
Niki: That’s the future of games.
Nerium: Subway Surfers, I know that game because of that ad that there was a while ago where it was somebody playing– I think it was Subway Surfers. I’m pretty sure. It was the first time I ever was introduced to it, where their mobile ad was somebody– it was just footage of somebody playing Subway Surfers on their phone, but then they kept getting push notifications from their girlfriend texting them.
Fūnk-é: Oh my gosh.
John: Oh, wow.
Nerium: And their girlfriend was just like, “I want to break up,” and they’re like, “Okay.” [John laughs] And then they like flipped the push notification away, and they’re playing Subway Surfers again.
Nerium: And then the girlfriend like texted them again, and it would pause Subway Surfers, and they were like, “I’m sorry.” And they’re like, “lol it’s fine,” and then they flipped it back up, and it just goes on like that for a while. It was like, “Are you mad? Are you upset? Are you sad?” [John laughs]
Fūnk-é: Oh my God.
Nerium: And they’re like, “lol, no, I’m playing Subway Surfers.” [laughs] And that was the ad.
Fūnk-é: When you say ad, this is official, or like a meme someone made?
Nerium: I’m pretty sure it was official.
Fūnk-é: Oh my God.
Nerium: But I can’t…you know what, I’m not 100% positive.
John: I mean, as totally unhinged as mobile game ads are, that doesn’t sound out of the realm, right?
Nerium: Yeah, totally.
Niki: Yeah, it sounds pretty tame.
Nerium: That sounds pretty tame, really.
Fūnk-é: Y’all, I want to play those.
Niki: There’s not even one titty, huh, in that ad?
John: Yeah. Right. It’s not like, you know, a woman murders another woman so she can like steal her husband and then have sex–
Niki: Swamp monster.
John: Have sex in her grandma’s coffin or whatever. And it’s just like, “Play Flower Picker XL!” And it’s just like, whoa, wow, all right.
Fūnk-é: Have y’all ever actually downloaded a mobile game from one of those ads?
Niki: No, I’m so afraid.
John: Yeah, Lily’s Garden. That was really the first one.
John: And that was like, there was a saga of like, “I’m pregnant. Oh no, I lost the baby.”
John: Like, a lot of stuff. And I was like, I gotta check this game out. You know, of course it’s absolutely nothing like that.
Niki: Match three.
John: It’s like, it’s basically Stardew Valley, except it’s a match three game.
John: She’s like, “Oh, I want to get out of the city! I’ve got a farm now! And it’s like, it’s just a match three game. That’s it.
John: That’s it.
Niki: You gotta get into Stumble Guys. All of us gotta start playing Stumble Guys.
Fūnk-é: [laughs] I hate that game.
Nerium: Well, John, I know you are probably a huge fan of Stumble Guys, [John: “I am”] but have you been playing anything else this week?
Niki: Stumble Guys.
John: You know, I’ve put a ton of games on my Steam Deck for emulation, which was a long time coming, but I’ve been playing a lot of stuff on that. I’ve been playing Ocarina of Time on my Nintendo Switch, which is very fun, trying to give that another shot after calling it overrated for the past 20 years. [Nerium laughs] I might as well like give it a go again. But a brand new game I’ve been playing is called Midnight Fight Express.
Niki: Stumble Guys– oh.
Nerium: Oh, yeah.
John: Which is a beat ‘em up. It’s like an isometric beat ’em up. It’s got a little bit of a John Wick vibe that they want you to believe. And a lot of the reviews I’ve seen, and this is why I want to talk about it. A lot of the reviews have been like, “Oh yeah, it’s like Streets of Rage or like Sifu.” No, no. It’s like Dynamite Cop. If you’ve ever played…
Niki: Oh, yeah, classic. Everyone knows what Dynamite Cop is. [laughter]
John: If you’ve ever played the Die Hard– listen, I don’t care about the two babies on this podcast. [Niki laughs] If you’ve ever played the Die Hard arcade game, which is a beat ‘em up where someone that does not really look like John McClane but is supposed to be John McClane is going through Nakatomi Plaza beating up fools. It’s based on a game called Dynamite Cop, which came out in arcades in the mid to late nineties, and this game is a lot like that, in the sense that you can pick up a bunch of shit and throw it right at dudes. You can like pick up basically anything. You can pick up guns, which have limited ammo, but like, in that way, I kind of think this is even more like John Wick than Sifu is in the sense that like…Sifu was always kind of like, no, you’re like a good person and you’re just trying to like get through this stuff. Like, you’re not, you know, you’re not like stabbing these guys in the neck or whatever.
Fūnk-é: Yeah. You’re taking their weapon and hitting them to knock them out.
John: Right. Yeah, yeah, yeah. This game’s not like that. It’s like, you’re exploding these dudes into blood mist, basically, whatever you get a chance.
Nerium: You’re like Punisher.
John: Yeah, yeah, yeah. And so there’s something kind of fun about that, a little bit different than a lot of games I’ve seen. It tries to tell a story. It shouldn’t. Like, just don’t.
Fūnk-é: [laughs] Wait, what?
Nerium: That’s really funny, John, ’cause like what I remember about this game is the marketing like very specifically presents it…the first trailer they showed for this game was like, “From the writer of Destiny 2: The Witch Queen…”
John: Uh huh.
Nerium: And the stuntman from John Wick 2 or something like that.
John: Yep. Yeah.
Nerium: I forget exactly, but it was Destiny 2: The Witch Queen for sure.
John: Mm-hmm. Yeah.
Fūnk-é: Wait, wait, wait. But if you’re exploding these enemies, and they’re turning into blood mist…
John: Uh huh. Uh huh.
Fūnk-é: I would expect they have done some heinous crime that they need to like pay for.
John: Nah, not really.
Niki: Oh, no?
John: No, they’re just kind of…
Niki: So you’re just kind of a murderer.
John: You’re just kind of presented as like you get, you gotta expose the corruption of the gangs or something, and it’s like–
Nerium: It’s like gangs have taken over the city.
John: Yeah. That’s about it.
John: Like, you don’t really get a sense of like what these people have done. They just like, they just curse at you, so you’re like, wow, they must be bad.
Niki: Gotta kill ‘em.
John: They’re using swears. They must be bad. And then it’s just like, I’m gonna shoot all of these guys or throw gasoline on them.
Fūnk-é: Oh my.
John: Yeah, there’s…
Nerium: It is like really irreverent and like goofy in spots too, like, to be clear.
John: There’s a little bit of a, like…this has some like Hotline Miami DNA in it, I think.
Nerium: For sure.
John: For better or worse, like, your mileage on Hotline Miami may vary. In fact, mine did not go very far. Like, I appreciate that game in a lot of ways. I think gameplay mechanics wise, it was very interesting, but a lot of the vibes of that game I didn’t love, and I’m seeing some of that DNA here. But it is kind of fun. It’s different. It plays like Dynamite Cop, which I think is really cool.
Niki: Yeah. I’ve been watching a lot of footage of Dynamite Cop as you’ve been talking
John: Uh huh. Yeah.
Niki: This game looks sick.
John: This game is sick.
Fūnk-é: They can pick up a giant baguette and shish kebab someone.
Niki: Yeah, just…
John: Yeah, yeah, yeah. Yeah, yeah, yeah.
Fūnk-é: Is this game…we should play this game.
John: Yeah, Dynamite Cop fucking rules.
Niki: Does it have co-op?
John: Uh, it might.
Niki: It feels like it has co-op.
Fūnk-é: Yes. Yes, it says Press Start Button.
Niki: It’s a Dreamcast game, right? Yeah.
Niki: Oh it does, right here.
Nerium: Every Dreamcast game had co-op.
John: Yeah. So it’s like, I’m glad to play a game in 2022 that reminds me of Dynamite Cop. I think that’s very, very cool. I think this game, like almost every aspect of this game could be better in some way. Like, I don’t think the actual hand to hand combat stuff is as tight as a Sifu or even as Streets of Rage 4.
Nerium: Mm, mm-hmm.
John: You know, I think like some of the controls are a little clunky. I think even some of the execution of– and they may have patched it by now, ’cause it’s been a couple days since I played it, but like some execution stuff is just kind of messy. Like, only half the buttons work on a PlayStation controller that I played with.
John: So like, there’s just some stuff that’s like, ah, okay. Like, that probably needs to be addressed and probably will, but it’s in a little bit of a weird spot right now on PC, I feel like, because of stuff like that, but I definitely recommend it. If you want to play a game like Dynamite Cop in 2022, if you have been enjoying the beat ‘em up renaissance I think we’ve had over the past 24 months, this is a good continuation of that.
John: And yeah, yeah. Been enjoying it.
Niki: There’s a level in Dynamite Cop that looks like the…you know in Big Bang Theory, where the shot of–
Fūnk-é: Here we go.
John: All right, do you want to move on to whatever?
Niki: The shot of the apartment building?
Nerium: Yeah, I mean, I have games to talk about too, so there’s…
Niki: You know the shot of the apartment building between their apartments? [laughter]
John: Okay. You know what? I do kind of know what you’re talking about.
Nerium: So, Final Fantasy XIV had an update this week.
John: No, no, Nere. Now I’m on board with talking about this. Yeah, no, this looks like Sheldon’s about to pop out from somewhere.
Fūnk-é: Oh my God.
Niki: The middle shot between Sheldon’s apartment and girl’s apartment.
John: And girl’s apartment? Yeah, yeah, yeah.
Niki: Yeah. Yeah, it kind looks… [John laughs]
Fūnk-é: Giving the same vibes.
John: You’re so right. Well, why do both the staircases go up? Oh, the middle one goes down. I see.
Niki: Middle one goes down.
John: Okay, sorry. Now we can move on.
Niki: Yeah, sorry. What did you say, Nere?
Nerium: Played a couple of different things this week. You know, keeping on with that Total War: Warhammer 3 Immortal Empires.
Niki: I listened to the normal episode of Channel F from last week.
Niki: Which I think fell into this feed on accident.
Nerium: The what?
Niki: It was called Channel F. [John laughs]
Nerium: Okay. That seems weird.
Niki: I don’t know what that is.
John: Yeah, it might have been a mistake.
Niki: I think it was a mistake from whoever publishes the podcast.
Nerium: I don’t know why you would get something like that. Like, I don’t– Paul’s on the call.
Niki: We gotta talk to Paul or Jordan.
Nerium: I’ll talk to Paul or Jordan, yeah.
Nerium: Well, we can’t talk to Jordan, ’cause he is in The Backrooms.
Niki: Well, yeah. Anyway.
Fūnk-é: We’ll get him out.
Niki: It was fucked up, but…
Nerium: merritt’s gonna get him. Ain’t getting this podcast back, though. [John laughs]
Niki: It seems like there are every kind of guy that you could think of from video game or from pen and paper video game.
Nerium: Mm-hmm. Yes.
Niki: Also known as tabletop game.
Nerium: That’s explicitly what they’ve set out to do, yeah.
Niki: It’s nuts.
Nerium: It’s nuts. It’s unbelievable. I don’t even think we got through the whole list last time, ‘cause we were like going through and like, oh, Skaven, Slaanesh, Tomb Kings, Tzeentch. We definitely didn’t talk about Tzeentch. No, maybe we talked about Tzeentch.
Niki: Tajin? I love tajin.
John: Tajin. Oh, yeah, you put that–
Nerium: Taheen from Dark Tower?
John: You put that on the rim of a fruit cup you get on the street of LA? Hell yeah.
Niki: Yeah, baby.
Nerium: See, we went to different places with Taheen. Taheen for me is a thing– I don’t know what you’re talking about, some kind of fruit or something. [quiet laughter] To me, it’s bad guys from Stephen King’s The Dark Tower franchise of books.
Niki: Dark Tower. Is that the one that Idris Elba was in?
Nerium: He’s in the movie, which is a pseudo sequel to the seventh book, which is a weird thing.
John: No, it’s a very faithful remake of the book.
Niki: Hey, a what? The which number book? [John laughs]
Fūnk-é: Seventh book.
Nerium: Okay, Niki.
Niki: The seventh book?
Fūnk-é: Wrap it up.
John: Actually, I’ll take this one, Nere.
John: The movie was actually a very faithful rendition of the first book. It’s like, they didn’t change anything from it, and it’s like, it’s really comprehensive. It did everything right, and clearly–
Niki: It’s perfect.
John: Yeah. It’s like, it basically showed you everything you need to know.
Nerium: Yeah. No notes. John got it in one.
Niki: No notes.
Fūnk-é: Are you joking right now?
Fūnk-é: I just saw a trailer for it, and I was like, I don’t want to watch this.
John: No, I’m joking big time. [Nerium laughs]
John: That series of books is like almost universally beloved, and it involves like basically a metaphysical interdimensional connection between basically all of Stephen King’s works.
Nerium: Stephen King was doing multiverse shit years before movies were.
John: And the movie fucking sucks.
John: Yeah. And the movie just fucking sucks.
Nerium: Well, the first book is called The Gunslinger and is like very poetic and weird.
Nerium: And he like wrote that book when he was like high as shit.
Nerium: And it was like originally written as a series of short stories that they like stitched together to be a thing, so it’s like, the first book The Gunslinger is very, very dreamlike and weird. And then every book past that is like, you know, it’s fairly easy to understand, and that’s kind of where the real series begins.
Nerium: And it goes for seven normal books, and then he did some prequel type stuff afterwards, but it all also encompasses, like It takes place in the Dark Tower universe, for instance.
Nerium: Like Pennywise is a sort of fear vampire creature that exists in the Dark Tower universe.
Niki: What? I thought he was just a guy who lived in a fucking gutter.
John: [laughs quietly] He’s just a clown in a gutter.
Nerium: He’s just a clown– yeah, he’s just a guy.
John: He’s just a gutter clown.
Nerium: He like ties in a bunch of different stuff. You know that game Choo-Choo Charles, the video game coming out?
Niki: Yeah, Charles’s new game, yeah.
Nerium: Charles’ new video game. Intern Charles’s new game. That is heavily– so, there is a real Stephen King short story called Choo-Choo Charlie about an– that is like a children’s book, but it appears in the third book, third and fourth books of The Dark Tower. There’s an evil train like powered by an AI, like it’s an insane AI like HAL 9000 or whatever or GLaDOS for the zoomers on the call.
Niki: Or Cortana.
Fūnk-é: I know HAL.
Nerium: It’s a rampant AI that runs a train that they have to fight at one point. And in the book, they find a copy of the book Choo-Choo Charlie, which is the Stephen King children’s book that he published under a different name, pretending to be like a lady.
Nerium: And they have to fight the– they defeat the evil train by telling it knock knock jokes.
Niki: I would’ve thrown the book in the trash. I just wouldn’t have gotten got by the train, you know? [John laughs]
Nerium: I think they use it to figure out, oh, the train is actually evil. ‘Cause they’re like, they ride the train to…they like need to take the train somewhere, and the train is like, “I’ll take you,” and then they get on board, and it’s like, oh shit, the train is evil.
Niki: Okay, hold on one second. [laughs] So the train.
Niki: They’re kids. White, I assume?
Nerium: Which kid? What? [John laughs]
Niki: The kids.
Nerium: What kids? What kids are you talking about?
Niki: The main characters of the train…
John: Yeah, white kids already started that.
Niki: The kids that get on the train.
Nerium: Are you talking about the characters of Stephen King’s The Dark Tower franchise? Are you talking about those kids?
Nerium: It’s a white guy, two white guys, a kid that I don’t think they ever really address one way or the other, and then a Black woman.
Niki: Does she get on the train?
Nerium: They all get on the train.
Nerium: Everybody gets on the train.
Niki: Stephen King’s never met. [John laughs] Stephen King’s never met a Black woman. She’d never get on that train.
Nerium: Well, she has a gun, so.
John: I want so desperately to create a cut of literally every Stephen King movie with Niki in it, and just like, [Nerium laughs] Niki just walks away from the inciting incident, and then credits roll. [Niki laughs]
Nerium: [laughs] Yeah, it’s like, “You want some balloons, kid?” and Niki’s like, “No.”
Nerium: “Balloons fucking suck anyway.”
John: The guy from Thinner gets confronted by the person that puts the curse on him, and Niki’s like, “Nah, I’m gonna walk away,” and then it’s just credits roll.
Nerium: “Actually, bye.” Yeah. Oh my God. [John laughs]
Fūnk-é: They’re just short films now.
Nerium: Niki in the fucking Running Man.
John: [laughs] Yeah.
Nerium: [laughs] Niki’s just like, “Nah. No thanks.”
Niki: Yeah, no. I don’t need that.
Nerium: Like, just sits down.
John: Yeah, Niki’s just walking down the street, and the clown’s like, “Ooh, come see me!” and Niki’s like, “Nah, I’m gonna go home, ’cause I was already on my way.”
Nerium: Oh, this bit has legs. I’m trying to think of like different fucking Stephen King novels and like how Niki would approach them and how different they would be if Niki was like…what if Niki was the fucking main character from Dream– well, if Niki was in Dreamcatcher, Niki would simply have not gone to the woods, actually, is how Dreamcatcher would’ve gone.
John: Yeah, not gone to the woods.
Niki: Couldn’t catch me dead.
Fūnk-é: If Niki was in The Shining, they would’ve worked and played equally. [laughter]
John: Uh huh. Yeah, would’ve actually balanced that. You’re so right. Niki just wouldn’t have written books.
Nerium: Niki would’ve brought a Switch and not gotten bored. [Fūnk-é laughs]
John: Niki just wouldn’t have written the books that got Kathy Bates to break their legs later.
Nerium: That’s true. That’s true.
John: Just wouldn’t have written the books.
Nerium: Niki wouldn’t have gotten into the car crash in the first place.
John: Yeah, no way.
Niki: That’s exactly right. Tajin is chili flakes, lime, and sea salt.
John: Yeah. It’s like a delicious seasoning that you can buy.
Fūnk-é: That sounds good.
Niki: And then they got Chamoy which is Tajin juice.
Niki: It’s lime juice, chili pepper flakes, sea salt, and apricot juice.
Nerium: No. No.
John: It’s so good.
Niki: It’s so good.
Nerium: That’s not what–
John: You put that on fruit.
Niki: For your fucking mangoes.
John: Oh yeah.
Nerium: No. Nuh uh.
Niki: Tajin fruity Chamoy hot sauce.
Nerium: Taheen are evil bird people from the Dark Tower franchise.
Niki: Nope. Tajin fruity chamoy hot sauce.
Fūnk-é: That sounds good.
John: Fruity Chamoy. God, I want a fruit cart thing so bad.
Nerium: Anyway, I played video games.
Niki: Yeah, which ones? Other than Total War.
Nerium: Uh, Final Fantasy XIV, Cult of the Lamb, Total War: Warhammer 3.
Niki: So, okay. Can you tell me– I have a question. So they dropped a patch for…
Nerium: For what?
Niki: For Final Fantasy XIV.
John: A paaatch.
Nerium: Oh yeah, yeah, yeah, yeah, yeah. Patch 6.2.
Niki: So when they patch Final Fantasy XIV, that’s like when DLC come out for other games?
Nerium: Yes. Because it’s a subscription based game, they have already got you on the hook for the money anyway, so they just add shit for free.
Niki: Mm. I see.
Niki: Okay. So, what’d they put in this one? I feel like they added hard dungeon, question mark?
Nerium: They added…they added a dungeon. I wouldn’t say that dungeon is specifically hard, but they added a trial, which is like kind of a boss fight in these games, that’s very hard. It’s hard, but there’s like an extreme, the hard version of it. There’s always a trial, and then there’s an extreme version of the trial, which just adds a bunch of like extra mechanics and stuff. Even the normal version of this one is really chaotic. The way I describe this character that you fight, Barbariccia, is what if Monkey D. Luffy was a sexy lady made of hair?
Nerium: Yeah. And so like, she’s this like–
John: That’s an elevator pitch.
Niki: Yeah. [laughter]
Nerium: She’s like this boss. I mean, she’s from, I believe, Final Fantasy IV, I want to say?
Nerium: She’s from one of the early– yeah, she’s one of Golbez’s archfiends in Final Fantasy IV. So a lot of the post-release Endwalker content that they’ve been doing has been very Final Fantasy IV themed. Like literally there’s just a character from Final Fantasy IV is like the main villain, like the main villain in Final Fantasy IV is just the main villain of this patch basically, of what’s going on. And so a bunch of his bosses from that game are showing up, just in like slightly different forms. So like the boss of the dungeon you fight is a guy named Scarmiglione, which is like a demon in Final Fantasy IV. Barbariccia is also one of the archfiends in there. She’s like a–
Fūnk-é: What a wild job title. You’re an archfiend.
Nerium: Yeah. [laughs quietly]
Niki: You’re an archfiend.
Fūnk-é: I know you’re up to some nefarious things.
Niki: Is Final Fantasy for the one where you fight a guy in a wall who look like carbonite?
John: Uh, you…Niki, let me tell you about something. You fight so many guys in walls in Final Fantasy games.
Nerium: Niki is right though, that there is specifically– I think the famous one is from IV.
Niki: He looks like an alien carbonited in a wall.
John: Well, yeah, but there is a– yeah, there is one you fight in IV, and there’s one you fight in VII, and there’s one you fight in XII.
Nerium: Well, IV came first, though.
John: Yeah, I know. I know that, but I’m just saying.
Nerium: So it does come four.
Niki: In VII you just fight a house.
Nerium: Yeah, I mean, you do fight a house in VII.
John: That’s true.
Fūnk-é: The hell house, yeah.
John: Yeah, you do fight houses.
Fūnk-é: That was a challenging fight.
John: That was a challenging fight.
Niki: That’s gotta be hard.
Nerium: That’s sort of the evolution of boss design over time. It’s like, well, you fought one wall in the fourth game. By the time you get to the seventh game, they added three more walls. [laughter]
John: Uh huh. Yeah. Yeah.
John: I think my favorite thing I’ve ever experienced in Final Fantasy is I was playing Final Fantasy VIII with a friend of mine watching who really hates JRPGs.
Nerium: Mm, mm-hmm.
Niki: That’s ’cause they’re not good at them.
John: Probably. And I was fighting the last boss Ultimecia, and Ultimecia’s got this attack where she basically summons every planet in the solar system.
Nerium: Yeah. Mm-hmm.
John: To come together, and she like tethers all of them to all this stuff, and she basically like flings them all at you and they crush you, and you’re like in between the planet, and it’s like, 1500 damage. [laughter] And my friend was just like, “Okay.” Like, I’m gonna– he like got up when that happened. It’s just, I don’t know. It’s good.
Nerium: Oh, that’s really good.
Fūnk-é: Does she ever miss that attack?
John: No, I don’t think so, but that would be very good though.
Nerium: So Barbariccia, I just dropped a picture of her in the chat here. She just like starts off as like a green lady, but then like halfway through the fight, she like Bayonetta wraps herself in her own hair and gets like super muscular and jacked.
John: Mm, okay.
Niki: Mm. That’s never a good sign.
Nerium: And gets like short hair instead. And like all– she like leaps a thousand feet into the air and then like comes back, starts like meteor crashing back down to the arena, but makes her arm like really big and bulky and muscular and punches the floor of the arena and hits you all at the same time.
Nerium: And then she starts doing fucking like Goku instant transmissions to start like, you know, hitting you with like shadow clones and stuff. And it’s very chaotic in that second half and very difficult. People have been having a lot of trouble with the hard version of that fight, but it is a very cool one. They also added like fucking Animal Crossing to the game.
John: What does that mean?
Niki: What does that mean?
Nerium: They added like a Harvest Moon or Animal Crossing or Rune Factory, whatever you want to call it. They added a thing called Island Sanctuary that they’ve been like teasing forever, but they just really didn’t show for a long time.
John: Oh, yeah.
Nerium: And then they’re finally like, “Yeah, it’s done. Here it is.” It’s basically every player in the game, like if you get to the most recent content, there’s like a quest opens up where your secretary to Tataru is like, “Hey, I know you’ve been working really hard saving the universe and everything like that, so I arranged a little deal to get you like a present for like saving all of reality during Endwalker. I bought you a fucking island.”
Nerium: You’re a landowner now.
Nerium: And you go to this fucking island, and it’s just–
John: And Hannibal Burris is there.
Nerium: Hannibal Burris is there. Famous landlords from all throughout history are there with you, and you all just hang out and sip Mai Tais.
Niki: I’m looking at a screenshot, and there’s a lady on a bird, but the bird is in a lake, and there’s a bunch of glowing flowers, and the bird is also glowing. It’s not a Chocobo, it’s a different bird, look like eagle?
Nerium: Maybe? It’s probably a mount, right?
Niki: They got eagles?
Nerium: Yeah, there’s different kinds of eagles, probably.
John: Yeah, different kind of birds.
Nerium: There’s different mounts.
Fūnk-é: Yeah, that looks like a hawk.
John: Yeah, that’s like a hawk thing.
Nerium: Oh yeah, yeah, yeah. That’s a Lanner is what those are called. That’s a mount.
Niki: Question from the chat.
Niki: Do you eat Chocobo?
Nerium: Not in this.
Fūnk-é: I didn’t know we were gonna get political on this one. [laughter]
Nerium: In this mode, you can– so–
Niki: You’re farming Chocobo, right? To kill and then export the meat?
Nerium: You’re farming– no. [laughter] No. You are farming. You’re like, you have like, you know, crops and pastures and granaries and stuff like that, and you like water your plants, and they grow over time, and you harvest them and like ship them out to export them and stuff like that, and you can…basically, there is straight up almost a Pokémon catching minigame to this, where it’s like–
Nerium: You craft Pokéballs, and then any creature you catch on the island—whether that’s a Chocobo or whatever, a squirrel, whatever—gets added to your pasture, and then over time, they’ll produce materials. Like, oh, you can shear a sheep, and you’ll get wool, and you can sell the wool, that sort of thing.
Nerium: But every Pokéball—the nets, but they function like Pokéballs—is like a consumable like a Pokéball, and it has a chance to miss. And so you’re like trying to sneak up on Pokémon and especially rare Pokémon, ’cause there are shinies? There are just shinies.
Nerium: In the form of like, most of the sheep are white, but there’s like a 1 in 1000 chance that when you’re out during a certain time of day, a black sheep will show up.
Niki: Baa baa black sheep.
Nerium: It’s like, well, I need to get the baa baa black sheep, but there’s like a low, you know, it’s like a 50-50 chance if your Pokéball catches it or not, so it’s like, well, I fucked that up. Gotta try again later to get the shiny.
Nerium: And every like different species, like different kinds of Chocobo and stuff like that has shinies, and they produce different materials like feathers and stuff you can sell and use to craft and build up stuff and play music from a jukebox, and it’s wild. It’s like a really, really weird thing, but also it’s super weird because it’s like…and all of this is in service of automatically selling things on a simulated market board with like supply and demand levels that sell over time.
Niki: But you still can’t get money out of it, right?
Nerium: Not directly. You can–
Niki: Well, okay. Hmm.
Nerium: Oh, you mean money money, like human money.
Niki: Yeah, like real money, like human money.
Nerium: No, no, no.
Niki: Like you can get– can’t you get human money out of World of Warcraft?
Nerium: Maybe. You can in Eve Online if you want to.
Nerium: Eve Online was like, listen, people are going to– and maybe World of Warcraft does now too, ’cause I could have sworn that there was somebody who…it might have been World of Warcraft, where they were like, they talked to the Eve Online people and asked them for like, “Hey, how do you handle this?” And this is how they did it, and they shared tech, because with Eve Online, there’s this whole concept of like PLEX, where it’s like, listen, we know people are going to do real money trading and like sell gold and stuff online to each other.
Nerium: We would rather regulate that ourselves than pretend it’s not going to happen.
Nerium: So it’s like, they just make it part of the video game.
Fūnk-é: I know for Runescape and a couple other MMOs, you can just use the in-game money to buy subscription.
Nerium: Yes. So that originated with Eve Online. That’s what PLEX is.
Niki: Oh, I see.
Fūnk-é: Okay. Cool.
Niki: Yeah, so…
Niki: If your subscription expires in Eve Online, what happens to your boat and stuff?
Nerium: If you are inside of a space station, if you’re docked at a space station, you’re safe, and it’s just there. If you’re in…if it’s like a fictional space station, if it’s like created by an NPC. If you are in a space station that explodes because like somebody blew it up, I think you just die.
John: In real life. [laughter]
Nerium: In real life too.
Nerium: But if somebody were to log into your account, I think your character would also be dead. Eve Online has a whole concept of all of your characters are like immortal because their brains just get backed up to clone bodies if their physical body ever dies.
Nerium: So if you die in Eve Online, besides dying in real life, your body in the game just transports to like a clone somewhere.
Niki: I see.
Nerium: And you lose all of the physical stuff that was on your ship and on your character and stuff like that, and that can be very devastating, ’cause like cybernetic implants that you put on your character are destroyed, and those are very expensive. So if you die, you lose all those.
Niki: I see. So simply don’t die in Eve Online is what you’re saying.
Nerium: That’s my big recommendation. I haven’t played Eve Online in a while, but I do think that still, to this day, a good strategy is to not die, yeah.
Niki: Okay. I’ll just write that down.
Nerium: It’s time to move on to a segment merritt, co-host of Fanwidth, likes to call Gabe’s New and Tasty, and this is the segment of the show where we go to the Steam’s New and Trending page, and we just look at everything and see what people are selling. Gabe’s Odyssey: New and Tasty is what I call it on my Fanwidth, now that I run the show.
Niki: So I go to Steam and then store–
Nerium: No, no. You don’t look.
Niki: Oh, not me?
Nerium: I look, and you don’t get to look.
John: Okay, sure.
Niki: I’ll close Steam. That’s great. I hate Steam.
John: I’ll close it. I’ll close it. I’ll close it.
Nerium: Now, here’s a big problem that I have versus merritt.
John: Uh huh.
Nerium: merritt has pornographic games turned off so that she can’t see them.
Niki: Oh, but you have them on.
Nerium: But I have them on.
John: Oh, yeah. Okay.
Nerium: So I’m going to skip some of these, [laughs] especially this first one. So this segment might be shorter than usual. First game we got here is something called Soulstone Survivors, colon, Prologue, which, I don’t know, we’ve talked about this a couple of different times here, but like the proliferation of prologue as a term on Steam now.
Niki: I think the prologue to the colon is the stomach or the small intestine.
John: Yeah, it’s the large intestine then small intestine.
Nerium: Yeah, you’re right. Soulstone Survivors, colon, Prologue is a human organ.
Fūnk-é: [laughs] Colon prologue.
Nerium: No, this looks like some kind of like bullet hell roguelike? Roguelite or something?
Fūnk-é: Seems to play like a Vampire Survivors.
Nerium: Yeah, maybe something along those lines.
Nerium: But prologue, you know, seems to be the new terminology for people doing demos.
Niki: For this game’s not done yet? Yeah.
Nerium: Yeah, it’s like demos, yeah.
Nerium: Because it gets like a separate listing, whereas like just doing a demo doesn’t. There’s one on here called BROK the InvestiGator about a private investigator alligator?
Niki: Okay. What kinda game it?
Nerium: It’s a point and click adventure.
Nerium: It also says beat ‘em up RPG?
John: Now, Nere, the way you said investigator implies…can you go ahead and just say alligator for me?
John: Okay. Well, you did say that word as if you pronounce it “alliga-TOR”.
Nerium: Oh, no, I was saying– [John laughs] I was trying to annunciate the gator–
Nerium: Okay, so here’s how it’s actually spelled. All caps, B-R-O-K, BROK.
John: Uh huh.
Nerium: Lowercase, T-H-E, the.
John: Uh huh. Uh huh.
Nerium: Thee, however you west coast elites like to pronounce it.
John: Uh huh.
Nerium: Thee or the, I don’t know.
John: Uh huh.
John: Uh huh, right.
Nerium: Capital G.
Niki: Yeah, it’s camel case.
Niki: Like FanByte.
Nerium: Camel case.
Fūnk-é: Uh huh, like FanByte.
Nerium: So I was just trying to establish, in audio form, a break between Investi and Gator.
Nerium: Gator, John!
Fūnk-é: I trust him with my case.
Niki: Oh, that Pac-Man game out.
Nerium: BROK the InvestiGator I saw something about earlier today, where it was like getting…
John: Uh huh.
Nerium: It was like getting review bombed or something like that? And people were like talking on Steam about– or talking about Steam about a couple of different things, about like…someone was suggesting that Valve should like reach out to like, you know, people and send out code or send out access to like Steam accounts, you know, Steam licenses for games and stuff like that.
Nerium: So people didn’t have to worry about codes and blah, blah, blah, blah, blah. And people were like, yeah, they do that, but it’s just like Valve has a very hands off approach, so it’s like, if you weren’t [John: “Yeah”] friends with Doug Lombardi 25 years ago, you’re just not in that.
John: Yeah. Hands off is the new way of saying literally not a single human works in that department for Valve, yeah.
Nerium: Uh huh. Yeah. They canceled Artifact and In the Valley of the Gods for this.
John: [laughs] Yeah.
Nerium: I’m not going to say this next game, because the character models, I don’t see anything explicit– okay, it does say sexual nature, nudity, NSFW, mature. [John laughs] So I was right, despite the fact that there is not a single pornographic image among the screenshots that I’m seeing.
Niki: Now, okay. No, no, no, no, no, no. Does the game start with an A? [John laughs]
Nerium: Yeah, it starts with an A.
Niki: Okay, now I am gonna need you to click on it.
Nerium: I don’t click on them! [John laughs]
Niki: I am gonna need you to click on the third image.
Nerium: You’re gonna bust my algo! [John and Fūnk-é laugh]
Niki: Click on it, and click on the third image for me. Do me a favor.
Nerium: Yeah, you know, this is–
John: Oh my God.
Nerium: Honestly, Niki, this is pretty fucking tame compared to some of the stuff I see on Steam.
Niki: Is that how the human body supposed to go?
John: Niki! Niki, she needs so much surgery. She needs so much!
Niki: She needs to go to a doctor so bad.
John: So bad!
Nerium: She looks like a fucking Xenoblade Chronicles 2 character.
Fūnk-é: This is rough.
John: I mean, hey, Niki, have you ever seen Death Becomes Her? [laughter] Because this is basically that.
Niki: Oh man.
Niki: A second Soul Hackers?
Nerium: They made a sequel to the Saturn game, Shin Megami Tensei: Soul Hackers, and according to Michael–
Niki: It’s bad.
Nerium: Yeah. It’s a bummer.
Nerium: Steam reviews seem mostly positive currently.
Niki: Well, people can be wrong.
Nerium: People can be wrong.
Nerium: I’ve not tried out that game myself yet. I have a code for it, but I need to check it out still. Yeah, it sounded like it is not great, which is a bummer, because I thought it was really interesting and wild that they are making a new Soul Hackers game.
Nerium: And also this is probably the first Shin Megami Tensei game with a female protagonist since…
Nerium: What? I’m trying to think of one that exists even. Persona 2 2? Persona 2: Eternal Punishment, I think?
John: Mm. Yeah, maybe. Yeah.
John: Something like that.
Nerium: As Niki pointed out, Pac-Man World Re-Pac. Now, what’s the pun there?
Niki: It’s been repackaged.
John: It’s been repackaged, yeah.
Nerium: But it doesn’t say repackaged. It says Re-Pac.
Niki: Well, right, because–
Fūnk-é: It’s implied.
Niki: It’s implied. Pac-Man.
Nerium: But it doesn’t– there’s not even a K in it. It just says Re-Pac.
John: Well, why would it have a K, Nere? It wouldn’t be Pac-Man if it–
Fūnk-é: Messes up the bit.
John: Messes up the bit.
Niki: I don’t even think the letter K is in the Pac-Man font. I don’t think that exists.
Nerium: Probably not. I don’t know.
Niki: I think in any case where you would use a K it’s just two Cs.
John: What if it was capital PAC lowercase K?
Niki: That would be good.
John: That’d be good.
Nerium: Sure. But like, they could do Repackaged, and they could do the camel case.
Nerium: The “kaged” part could just be like lowercase, and then PAC. It’s like, ah, I get it now. We live in a world where they did Red Faction Guerilla Re-Mars-stered edition.
Niki: That’s true.
Nerium: Like, all bets are off.
Niki: That’s true.
John: Yeah, that’s true.
Niki: Pac-Man World Re-Pac is a 3D Super Mario game.
Nerium: Is it a remake of a Pac–
Niki: It’s a Pac-Man.
Nerium: It’s Pac-Man World, right, is the original game?
Niki: Except you’re Pac-Man. Some of the levels side scrolling, other ones over the shoulder.
Fūnk-é: And there’s racing.
Niki: Other ones are top down like Pac-Man.
Niki: They also–
Fūnk-é: There’s a Mario Kart racing one.
Niki: There’s a Mario Kart in there, and also they include– they’re so kind, the folks over at Namcai Bando. They include a copy of original Pac-Man for the arcade. [laughs]
John: Holy smokes.
Niki: It’s so important to them, it’s the last screenshot on Steam.
John: Thank God.
Nerium: Next up on this list, we’ve got I Was a Teenage Exocolonist.
Niki: I’ve heard good things about that video game.
John: Heard good things about this as well.
Niki: It’s on my wishlist.
Nerium: Kenneth Shepherd of fanbyte.com, friend of the site Kenneth Shepherd likes that game quite a bit if I’m mistaken.
Niki: It’s so good. You get a kid or a group of kids and you grow ‘em up, but it’s a deck builder also.
John: I grew a kid.
Nerium: [laughs quietly] Yeah, like Xenoblade Chronicles 3! Now you get it, Niki.
Niki: Yeah. Now I get it.
Nerium: I saw a screenshot of this on Twitter earlier, and the tone feels anathema to me as a person.
John: Yeah. Yep. Sure.
Nerium: It’s very well done art, but also– and like, I like queer games, but there’s like, there’s this…
Niki: You don’t like twee.
Fūnk-é: What is the–
John: I don’t like twee. I’m with you.
Nerium: There’s a tenderqueer element to this.
John: Yeah, I’m not…
Niki: Yeah, there’s some twee in here.
John: I’m not about it.
Nerium: I really like some of these character designs and stuff, but the dialogue is just, oof.
Niki: Just say you’re homophobic. Just come out and say it.
Niki: Because that’s what you’re saying.
Nerium: Me, Nerium.
Nerium: Extremely homophobic.
Fūnk-é: Huh. [Niki laughs]
John: As we’ve gotten less racist on Fanwidth, we’ve gotten more homophobic.
Nerium: Yeah, that’s true. Yeah.
Nerium: I’m homophobic.
Niki: One in, one out.
John: [laughing] One in, one out.
Niki: Yeah, no, this…I will try this game out. That is also not my particular flavor, but I think I haven’t played a game with cards in it this year, you know?
Nerium: Yeah. The deck builder element, [John: “Right”] I was like, oh, okay. I like a deck builder.
Nerium: I am a known deck builder fan.
Nerium: Known homophobe, but big deck builder fan.
Niki: I’ll build a deck.
Nerium: We got Train Life: A Railway Simulator.
John: Train Life.
Niki: Now, is that a real game, or…?
Nerium: It looks like. It was in early access.
Niki: For the first time in a railroad simulation, play as both the driver and company director.
Nerium: I thought it was gonna say play as both the driver and the train.
Niki: And the train. That’s what I thought. [Nerium laughs]
John: And the train. Yeah, yeah, yeah.
Niki: Take the controls of your locomotives, and grow your railway empire by negotiating deals and developing your network.
Nerium: So it’s like a management game.
Niki: Yeah, it’s a train tycoon game. There’s no way this is the first one of those.
Nerium: No, no, no, no, no. But it says as the driver and the company director, right? So it’s like, I think the idea here is it’s kind of a Total War situation of like, you can do the micro and the macro, you know? Where you can like run the management element of it, but also if you want, you can just drive the trains around like trucking simulator.
Niki: Yeah, I see. Well.
Nerium: Truck Simulator. Euro Truck Simulator? Is that what that’s called?
Niki: They trick you. Train games trick you, ’cause you think that because it’s a train, they’re bigger and faster, that it would be fun, but it’s not, because they’re stuck on the rails, and the game really doesn’t want to let you get the train off the rails.
Niki: So I think they’re–
Nerium: So this is something you’ve tried to do before, I see.
Niki: Yeah. None of these train games kind of do what I want them to do.
Nerium: I see.
Niki: That’s why I stick to the trucking ones, ’cause where we’re going, we don’t need roads. You know?
Nerium: Well, we got another game–
John: “Where we’re going…” Sorry.
Nerium: No, John.
Niki: Finish it, John.
John: [clears throat] “Where we’re going, we don’t need road.”
Niki: Bwa! Bwa bwa bwa bwaaaa.
Nerium: Can’t believe they recast Matt Berry as Doc Brown. [laughter]
John: [imitating Matt Berry in What We Do in the Shadows] “Marty, where we’re going, we don’t need roads!”
John: “You are the sneakiest bastard in Hillside Valley! Wahahaha!”
Nerium: “Hillsiiiide Vallay.” [laughter] Last game I’ve got–
Niki: There’s an indie game on here, Nere.
John: That’s an indie game.
Niki: At the bottom of the list. [laughs quietly]
Niki: There’s a brand new indie game.
Nerium: Uh huh.
Niki: It’s called Guild Wars 2.
Nerium: So, this has just come to Steam for the first time.
Nerium: I have actually been following this a tiny bit.
Niki: Okay, that’s why.
Nerium: Yeah. It just came to Steam, and it’s like they’re rolling in a bunch of stuff. It’s like free to play, but you can– but the way Guild Wars works is there’s no subscription. You buy the game, and you just get all the content.
Nerium: And then you can buy like microtransactions and costumes and stuff if you want, but it’s just like, nope. Everything just costs what it costs. I think the main game itself is now free, so you don’t even have to do that, and then you can just pay for the expansions. And then there’s like the living world thing, so like, they’ve done like a lot of work. I was following a Twitter account that was kind of like recounting what they’ve done. They’ve like rebalanced the game very heavily to make leveling through the game easier and faster, ’cause there’s so much content. It’s kind of a Final Fantasy XIV situation of like, if you’re just playing this game for the first time, you have a lot to play through that you would just, you know, need to go through.
Nerium: So they rebalanced a lot of the level progression to be much faster, so you can just get through the story, which my understanding is they’ve added like a lot of narrative stuff over time, and it sounds pretty cool. I know people who fucking love Guild Wars 2.
Fūnk-é: It’s cool.
John: It’s a really good game. Yeah.
Fūnk-é: It was the first MMO I played in like late middle school, and you could turn people into whales.
Fūnk-é: Like, you and your friends could drink a little potion to turn into a whale that walked around on two feet.
Niki: So sick. [John laughs]
Nerium: [laughs] Like, permanently?
Fūnk-é: It was really funny. That’s all I remember. Oh, and there was a class that kind of looked like Yoda.
Nerium: Yeah, uh huh.
Fūnk-é: Mesmer was another class. Pretty cool game.
Nerium: Right. I remember trying the game when it first came out and playing a class that had like a flamethrower, ’cause I thought like the idea of being a class in an MMO that just had a flamethrower was just like very funny to me.
Nerium: So I played that.
John: It’s like unbelievably hard for me to recommend an MMO that isn’t Final Fantasy XIV, honestly.
Nerium: Yeah, mm-hmm.
John: But it’s like, it’s free to play. It’s like, it does some stuff differently than a lot of other MMOs.
John: And it’s like well designed. It’s nice to look at. It’s been years since I played it, but it’s a good game, so.
Nerium: Yeah. I remember liking it quite a bit.
Nerium: I see a screenshot in here of somebody with a fucking like Breath of the Wild hang glider flying through the air.
Fūnk-é: [laughs] Yeah.
John: A lot has changed, I bet.
Nerium: Hmm. I’m kind of curious to check that out, honestly, especially since you could just pay for it and just like [John: “Yeah”] play it as like a single player game almost. That’s really cool.
Niki: This whale looks like Pearl SpongeBob.
Nerium: Pearl SpongeBob? Yeah, uh huh. It looks like Pearl SpongeBob did the Xenoblade Chronicles fusion dance with Lumpy Space Princess from Adventure Time.
John: Yeah, yeah, yeah.
Fūnk-é: [laughs] LSP. Yeah. If you’re ever looking for something to drink, pick up the endless mystery quaggan tonic.
Fūnk-é: It’ll do wonders for you.
John: Um num num num num.
Niki: Is that carbonated or no?
Fūnk-é: It’s a light fizz. You can get it fizzy or not fizzy.
Nerium: Mm. Well, I have another new idea for the show to kind of close things out for this episode. It’s a brand new thing that no other host of any other podcast has ever thought of before, and it’s I’m gonna make y’all play a little game real quick.
Fūnk-é: This is original.
Niki: Wait, I asked about the games earlier.
Nerium: Yeah. You asked about merritt’s games, and these are my games. They’re a completely different and legally distinct breed.
Niki: Oh. Okay.
Nerium: merritt gave up her throne, and I took– I’m not the parent. I’m not the step parent. I’m the parent that stepped up.
John: Gave up her throne? I thought she was on a rescue mission, but wow, you’re kind of…
Fūnk-é: [laughing] You’re not the step parent.
John: ??? it differently. All right.
Nerium: I’m not the step host? Step co pod host?
Niki: Uh huh.
Nerium: I’m the one that stepped up. That’s all I’m saying.
Nerium: And yeah, yeah, John. merritt went on a rescue mission, left– and you know what? In dereliction of her duty, against orders.
John: Wow. Wow!
Niki: Hey, what metal is that throne you’re sitting on made out of? ‘Cause it sounds like it’s made out of iron, you feel me? [laughs] Hey, yo, Game of Thrones, am I right?
Nerium: It’s like the iron throne? Is that a Game of Thrones thing?
Niki: Every Sunday, House of Dragon, HBO Max, 9:00 PM.
Nerium: [laughs] Okay.
Fūnk-é: No. It’s dead. Let it die. [Niki laughs]
Nerium: I’ve got a game here that I’m gonna determine a winner based on the rules of which, because the game is called The Vice is Right.
Nerium: That’s what I’ve just decided to call it.
Nerium: All right.
Nerium: Where I’m going to say a couple of different games that I’ve been playing, and then everybody, by Price is Right rules, has to guess how many hours I’ve put into that game, and the closest without going over is the winner.
John: Wins. Okay, sure.
Niki: Okay. [Fūnk-é laughs quietly]
Nerium: Yeah. Let me open up a Google document right quick to keep track of the score.
Fūnk-é: Oh no.
Niki: See, this is a fucked up one, because if you say a number too big, then you’re being mean to Nere.
Fūnk-é: [laughs] Yeah.
John: Right. [laughter]
Niki: About kind of how much time they have and what they do with it.
John: First game is Angel’s Awakening. [laughter]
Nerium: No, John, the first game is the game on the Steam list that I could not even say the title of.
John: Uh huh.
Nerium: Anyway. Okay. Mm, mm, mm. We’re gonna start things easy. We’re gonna start with Monster Hunter Rise. Now, bear in mind, this is only the Steam version.
Nerium: So I played a ton on the Switch when it first came out, but then they re-released it on Steam, and I played all the way through it again, but you know, was a little bit better. I knew what I was doing. I burned through it. I didn’t watch cutscenes. Yada yada yada.
Nerium: That’s not how the game works. Fūnk-é, your turn.
Nerium: Niki has lost the first round.
Fūnk-é: 72 hours.
Nerium: Okay. Fūnk-é’s is 72 hours.
John: I say two, because Niki stupidly guessed one hour before anybody else did.
Nerium: Well, no, technically Niki guessed $0 or whatever, or $1 or whatever.
John: Well, I knew what they meant though. They meant one hour.
Niki: They meant one hour.
Nerium: Oh, that’s not what they said though.
Nerium: Fūnk-é is the winner at 72.
Fūnk-é: Oh, yes!
Niki: How many is it?
Nerium: It is 130.8 hours.
Niki: Not really a win.
Fūnk-é: Wow, that– you said you just walked through and you skipped all the cutscenes, and you’re like–
John: Yeah, you just went– yeah, what are you talking about?
Fūnk-é: What were you doing in this game?
Nerium: I just played a lot of it.
John: Listen, Nere, don’t give us the context if it’s just like, not at all accurate based on what you did. [laughter]
Nerium: Okay. All right.
John: Like, “All I did was I played a little bit of the game and I skipped all the cutscenes. I’m way better. 184 million hours.” Oh, all right.
Nerium: All right, fine! No context anymore.
John: No context.
Nerium: No more hints.
Niki: No more.
John: No more hints.
Nerium: No clues.
Fūnk-é: This is fun. This is fun.
John: Oh God.
Fūnk-é: In total or recent?
Nerium: No hints!
Niki: 1817 hours.
John: I’m gonna guess…I’m gonna guess 710 hours.
Fūnk-é: I’m gonna guess 2000.
Nerium: Closest without going over. I’m just gonna have to say– well, two of you– wow, wait. Shit. John actually wins by Price is Right rules.
Nerium: Because both of you went over.
Niki: Oh my God. I should have said $1.
John: Yep, you should have.
Nerium: It’s 1547.7 hours.
Niki: Aw, I was so close!
Nerium: You were so close, but you went over.
Fūnk-é: Niki was actually close.
Niki: I was actually close.
Nerium: Sorry. No Man’s Sky.
Niki: One hour.
Nerium: Okay. [laughter]
Fūnk-é: This is how we’re playing? [John laughs]
Nerium: Yeah, Niki– oh, Fūnk-é,, if you think this isn’t how Niki would actually play The Price is Right [laughter] if they were brought on board by fucking Drew Carey, the ghost of fucking Bob Barker?
John: Drew Carey would just be yelling at Niki. [laughter] Like, no! That’s not how you– no! Okay. No Man’s Sky. I’m gonna say 220 hours.
Fūnk-é: I will go with 330 hours.
Nerium: 330? [laughs] Niki wins.
Niki: Yes! [Nerium sighs]
John: God damnit. I should have said two!
Nerium: 171.6 hours.
Niki: I’m the fucking best. Fuck you, Drew Carey. I’m spinning that wheel. [laughter]
Nerium: Oh my fucking God. Drainus.
Niki: Uh, 13 hours.
John: I’m gonna say just like– oh, go ahead. Go ahead, Fūnk-é.
Fūnk-é: Five minutes.
John: Oh, okay. One hour.
Nerium: John is the winner.
Nerium: It’s 100 minutes exactly, according to Steam.
John: Wow, all right.
Nerium: I’ve not beaten that yet, but I need to.
John: All right.
Nerium: I’ll do maybe like two more here. I’ll throw another long one. This is Destiny 2, specifically the PC version.
John: Oh man. All right.
Nerium: Because, once again, I played a ton of this on PlayStation before switching to PC [Fūnk-é laughs] with the release of one of those expansions, I forget.
John: Which, in that context, means nothing, [laughter] ’cause you’ll have spent like a Danielle playing, uh…
Fūnk-é: Into the Breach?
John: Into the Breach level of time on this game. Okay.
Nerium: Okay, I said no more hints, but remember: I fell off of Destiny 2 like way before…
John: Yeah, that’s true.
Nerium: Like merritt and Dylan and Collin and Diego, they’re the sickos.
John: That’s true.
Nerium: I was a Destiny 1 sicko.
John: That’s true.
Nerium: And then like played a lot of Destiny 2, don’t get me wrong. It’s still like, this is a huge number.
Nerium: But it’s not like them.
Niki: Not like those people. [Fūnk-é laughs]
John: I’m gonna say 600 hours.
Fūnk-é: Mm. I’m gonna go with 700.
Niki: $1, one hour.
Nerium: [sighs] Okay. Well, Niki wins again, because… [laughter]
Niki: I’m the best, baby!
John: [defeated] All right.
Niki: Can’t beat me.
Nerium: And the problem is that Niki is like using tech. Like Niki is like actually like cranking 90s. You’re all trying to play the game to have fun.
Nerium: And Niki is just like trying to win.
Niki: I’m trying to win. I think I get a dollar at the end of this.
John: No, I would like to go ahead and just bring out that Niki was not trying to win by guessing one hour with their first guess, like two rounds ago. [laughter]
Nerium: Okay, that’s fair.
John: That’s not Niki trying to game the system. That’s…
Nerium: Very fair. [John laughs] Let’s let’s say much Hardspace Shipbreaker.
Niki: Wait, wait, wait. How much time is it though, actually?
Nerium: Oh, oh, oh, oh. Sorry, which game was that again?
John: Destiny 2.
Niki: Destiny 2, indie game.
Niki: Well, I guess that’s not an indie game anymore, huh?
Nerium: No, it’s a PlayStation game, huh?
Niki: It’s back to being a AAA game. That’s incredible.
John: That’s incredible.
Niki: It’s the first game to ever be AAA to indie back to AAA.
John: It went back. Yeah.
Nerium: It’s 571.9 hours on the PC version.
John: Damn. God.
John: I was close.
Nerium: You were pretty close.
John: But over.
Nerium: You were just over. Yeah. That’s the only problem.
John: I was just over.
Nerium: Hardspace Shipbreaker is the next game, and then we’ll do one more after that, I think, depending on what– well, if we need to do a tiebreaker, we’ll do a tiebreaker.
Niki: 102 hours.
Nerium: 102 hours says Niki.
Fūnk-é: 15 hours.
Nerium: 15 says Fūnk-é.
John: Oh, I’m gonna say one hour.
Nerium: One hour says John. John is the winner.
John: All right.
Niki: [sighs] Fuck.
Nerium: You’ve all apparently discovered the secret technology for beating this game, which is just keep guessing one. On average, you’ll probably get enough points.
John: It’s Price is Right rules.
Niki: It’s Price is Right rules.
Nerium: It is Price is Right rules. It’s a solved game, like mancala.
Nerium: God. What’s…okay. We’ll do one more.
Niki: They should put Price is Right into 51 Clubhouse Games next time. [laughter]
John: They absolutely should.
Niki: That game’s full of solved shit.
Nerium: Okay, let’s say Dread X Collection. This one’s gonna be one for– I want to give Fūnk-é a bone here, ’cause I feel like Fūnk-é loves horror.
Fūnk-é: I do.
Niki: What’s Dread X Collection? Oh, oh, oh, it’s the mini…okay, I know what it is. It’s like six small games.
Fūnk-é: The first one or the third one?
Nerium: Oh, sorry. Dread X Collection 5. It’s the newest one that came out recently.
Nerium: For context, again, I am giving a hint, despite what I said, because I am a merciful– unlike merritt, the pretender, I am a merciful host and will continue to rule with a soft and gentle…
Fūnk-é: merritt the pretender.
Nerium: With a soft and gentle vibe going forward. So, I got scared in the third game, I think, in this collection.
Niki: Out of how many?
Nerium: Five? Six? I actually don’t know how many there are in total.
Niki: Okay, so it’s not really that helpful, is it?
Nerium: I beat the first two.
Fūnk-é: They’ve usually been 8 to 12 in the past.
Nerium: And then I got really scared in the third one, Book of Blood, and then I stopped playing. And then PR emailed me and said like, “Hey, are you gonna write about this game?” And I was too embarrassed to say, “I got scared and stopped playing.” [laughter]
John: I got scared and I stopped! [laughs]
Fūnk-é: Oh my God.
Niki: So wait, did you not reply? What did you say?
John: Incredible. Yeah, what did you say?
Nerium: I simply did not reply. [John laughs]
Fūnk-é: No! No. Their PR is nice people too.
Nerium: I’m sure they’re nice people. I’ll email them about this podcast episode today and tell them to listen to this.
Niki: Yeah. Like, here’s me talking about your game.
John: Yeah, listen to this one. I was vewy scawed.
Niki: Also it’s August. [John laughs]
Nerium: You know that email you were looking for? Well, listen to this! [John laughs]
Niki: I’m– oh, yeah, Fūnk-é, you go first.
Fūnk-é: Yeah, I am a horror head. I also just watched EEK3, which is the haunted PS1 kind of E3 spoof as the name would make you guess.
Fūnk-é: But it was really cool. It was just a bunch of indie horror games, like an hour presentation, and they put a bunch of them on another demo disc, similar to Dread X Collection.
Nerium: Oh. Cool.
Fūnk-é: So, shoutout to that.
Niki: What magazine do I have to subscribe to get it?
Fūnk-é: None. It’s just on the internet.
Nerium: Nun magazine? About like the, you know, religious organizations? Like, nuns?
Fūnk-é: Nuns Weekly.
Niki: It’s all of the stuff that I can do within the nunnery?
Nerium: The first page is just a picture of fucking Magnum PI, and it says “Nuns don’t work on Sunday.” [laughter]
Fūnk-é: That picture’s so good. I’m gonna guess 15 minutes.
Nerium: 15 minutes, says Fūnk-é.
Niki: Uhh… John, it’s you.
John: Oh, uh…
Nerium: Remember, I got scared during the third game.
John: I was about to say. I’m gonna say nine minutes.
Niki: One minute.
Nerium: One minute?
Fūnk-é: No, I win this. I have it.
Nerium: Fūnk-é Joseph!
John: All right.
Nerium: Come on down.
Nerium: You won with your 15 minute guess. I played three and a half hours.
John: Oh, wow.
Fūnk-é: Oh, wow!
John: Wow, okay.
Fūnk-é: Those games are chunky now. Like…
Nerium: Yeah, the first one is very short, the second one is pretty long, and then the third one is also fairly meaty. That’s the one I got scared during. Very cool. I love the vibes of that third one, and that’s actually probably the– well, part of the problem. I also quit playing that one because the third game was like very complicated, and I was trying to like solve the puzzles, and it was like difficult, ’cause you have to like translate passages of a book and stuff.
Niki: That seems like a lot. They have people for that.
Nerium: The second game is also very language focused, where it’s like you’re being talked to in an alien language, and you have to like interpret what the alien language means and stuff.
Nerium: Very cool, that second game, though.
Niki: What does it mean?
Nerium: They’re telling you different things about like weird stuff happening.
Nerium: Let me just calculate and tabulate here, just [whooshing math sounds] Ah, looks like John Warren is the winner of this here.
Niki: What? By how many?
John: Oh yeah, baby.
Niki: I need a rematch.
Nerium: By one point.
Fūnk-é: Oh my gosh.
John: By one point.
Niki: Oh my God.
Nerium: By a single point.
Fūnk-é: This is so rigged.
Niki: It’s rigged every time.
Nerium: We’ve never rigged a game.
John: Never rigged.
Nerium: I have never– I can say this with some certainty. I have never rigged a game on Channel F before today.
Fūnk-é: Wait, we’re not even there.
John: We’re not on Channel F, are we?
Niki: We’re not on Channel F.
Nerium: On Fanwidth, the flagship Fanbyte podcast, is clearly what I said.
John: Wow. Wow.
Niki: I don’t believe you.
John: Wow, the fabric of reality is tearing away around you, Nere.
Nerium: Oh, I can feel merritt and Jordo– oh, Rrrrr, they’re reasserting control. Rrrrr. No!
Fūnk-é: We have to jump. We have to jump!
Nerium: We have to make the jump! We’ll be back, I think. Oh, John, as a reward for winning, you get my undying respect and attention.
John: Oh, I didn’t– okay. That’s kind of weird. I didn’t have that before?
Nerium: Well, you had my undying respect. I’m saying you get that and the attention now, kind of at the same time.
John: Attention at the same time.
Nerium: So I will be watching you from now on.
John: Oh, that sounds like…okay.
Nerium: You know, since we both live in LA.
John: That sounds a little bit more like a threat than a reward.
Niki: A threat, yeah. [laughter]
John: But I’m like, I’m cool.
Nerium: No, no, no, no, no.
Niki: My seventh grade science teacher, who got fired, because one year he failed all of the high schoolers in his bio class because he didn’t like them on the final.
John: That’s really funny.
Niki: Yeah, it’s really funny.
John: How did he get fired for that? That’s fucking rad.
Niki: He didn’t like them, and he was also on his way out already, so he just failed all of them.
John: That’s great. Oh, that’s awesome.
Niki: And then they had to go back and make the final not count instead.
Nerium: Oh, okay.
John: I hope that guy’s doing good.
Niki: He’s almost definitely dead now. Anyway, he–
John: Wait, why? Was he old?
Niki: He was old, yeah.
John: Oh, okay. [laughs]
Niki: He was old when I was in middle school.
Fūnk-é: That’s what you meant by “on his way out.”
Nerium: When you said he was on the way out, you meant he was like, he had one foot in the grave.
Niki: No, I meant retiring, but also…
Nerium: No, no, no. I know what you meant.
John: Gotcha, gotcha, gotcha, gotcha.
Niki: But he was also old when I was in middle school.
Nerium: You said what you said. [John laughs]
Niki: And it’s been another 10 or 15 years, so.
Niki: Anyway, whenever people would start talking in class, he would yell. He would go, “Hey! I need your complete and undivided attention.”
Niki: But he’s the type of person who–
Fūnk-é: Darth Vader talking to stormtroopers? [John laughs]
Niki: Yeah, kinda like that. Anyway, rest in peace, Mr. ???. If you’re not dead though, I hope you’re good.
John: I hope you’re good or I hope you’re dead? What did you say?
Niki: No, I hope you’re good.
John: Oh, okay. [Fūnk-é laughs] If you’re not dead, hope you’re dead.
Niki: He was the type of Black guy who called his wife his queen.
Nerium: Oh boy. That’s tough.
Niki: And it took a really long time for us, as seventh graders, to figure out what the fuck he was talking about.
John: Oh, sure.
Fūnk-é: [laughs] Like, he was just coming from another kingdom?
Nerium: He just loved Shadow the Hedgehog. All women are queens. [quiet laughter]
Niki: We just couldn’t– it took us so long to figure out what he was talking about.
John: That’s incredible.
Nerium: Well, I’m glad that everybody was able to figure out what we were talking about here on Fanwidth, the flagship Fanbyte podcast, immediately with no trouble whatsoever. I’m sure everybody picked up on all the good bits, jokes, jabs, uh, jelly beans.
Niki: Jilly– now, what’s a jilly bean?
Nerium: I don’t know. I just say things sometimes.
Niki: Now, what do you think it is though?
Nerium: I don’t want to think about it, [laughs] to be completely honest with you. Can we go back to one of the game show games?
Nerium: Uh, Rimworld.
Fūnk-é: Uh, 400…
Fūnk-é: And 20.
Niki: 600 hours.
Nerium: Okay. John?
John: Uh, what were the guesses? What were the guesses for Rimworld?
Nerium: 400 and 600.
Niki: And 600.
John: Oh, I’m gonna split the difference. 500.
Nerium: Uh, who said 400?
Fūnk-é: Me, Fūnk-é.
Nerium: Fūnk-é, you win. Now you’re tied with John. Congratulations. You also–
Nerium: So one of you has– you have to decide who gets my undying respect and who gets my undying attention.
Fūnk-é: I want the respect. Okay, good.
Nerium: Choose wisely. Oh, well, Fūnk-é said it first. So John, get in the cage.
John: Aw, man. I get the– okay. I’m here to be perceived.
Nerium: Speaking of perceiving you, John, where can people find you on Twitter?
John: Oh, you can find me @floppyadult on Twitter. I’m locked down, but maybe I’ll let you in. Who knows?
Nerium: Mm. Just go through The Backrooms. You’ll find him.
John: Yeah, you can go through The Backrooms.
Nerium: [ominous] The Backrooms.
John: And yeah, I do a stream every Tuesday morning on twitch.tv/fanbyte. You can come check me out there.
Nerium: Awesome. Fūnk-é, where can people find you?
Fūnk-é: In my house. Ayo!
Fūnk-é: On Twitter @funkefly, F-U-N-K-E-F-L-Y.
Nerium: No, F you. God, that’s so rude.
Nerium: What a rude way to end an episode.
Niki: Good heavens.
Nerium: Niki, where can people find you?
Niki: You can find me on Twitter, @godsewa, G-O-D-S-E-W-A.
Nerium: And you find–
Niki: Nere, where can we find you? Oh.
Nerium: You can find me on Twitter @neriumstrom, N-E-R-I-U-M-S-T-R-O-M on Twitter. And you can find merritt and Jordan nowhere, lost to time. I closed the door behind them, and they’re never coming back!
John: Wow. Wow.
Fūnk-é: I remember.
Nerium: I’m taking control.
Niki: I don’t remember that.
Nerium: Assuming direct control from my iron throne.
Fūnk-é: But I’m starting to forget.
John: [voice] Assuming control.
Nerium: [voice] Assuming control.
John: [voice] Assuming control.
Niki: Do you ever think about how the chair in Knives Out is kind of like the iron throne?
John: It is, yeah. I do think about that.
Nerium: We’ll be back next week with another episode of Fanwidth, the flagship Fanbyte podcast. Until then, keep that dial tuned to this Fanwidth frequency.
Niki: We used to say “Thanks for the knowledge.” There was a– [John laughs]
Nerium: Until next time! Until next time, thanks for the knowledge, numbers go up. [Niki laughs]
John: You’re welcome.
Fūnk-é: All the way up.