I Must Not Podcast. Podcasts Are the Mind-killer.

Spooky games and the mistakes of yesteryear in our latest Channel F podcast transcript!

In this week’s podcast transcript for Channel F (a video game podcast about video games), merritt and Jordan emerge from the back rooms just in time to prevent Nerium from fully accomplishing their hostile takeover of the show. Fūnk-é, the only true innocent of the group, looks on with pleasant bemusement.

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

But worry not, dear listener, our bonds are stronger than any momentary lapses in judgement and/or last-ditch power grabs. Things return to normal almost immediately with a discussion of the spooky games our hosts have been playing lately, what with it now officially being Halloween season and all. Somehow Tinykin works its way into a discussion mostly dominated by Gloomwood and Cult of the Lamb, but you know, Tinykin helps us realize that the last Xbox Summer of Arcade was almost 10 years ago, and what’s scarier than the passage of time?

Later, during Gabe’s New & Tasty, merritt briefs everyone on yet another horny anime RPG Maker game designed to bypass Steam’s adult content toggle, though it’s worth mentioning that, unlike most horny RPGMaker games, this one does lift its gameplay wholesale from Papers, Please, which you might remember as a dystopic (and decidedly un-horny) art game from around 10 years ago.

The gang also talks about their favorite Jojos, the newest Sam Barlow joint, the cost-benefit analysis involved in opening a window, knowing when you’re satisfied, and of course, the Gom Jabbar.

Segments: Spooky Games Season, Gabe’s New & Tasty, Get Rec’d

Games discussed: Gloomwood, Save Room – Organization Puzzle, Cult of the Lamb, Tinykin, The Imperial Gatekeeper, JoJo’s Bizarre Adventure: All-Star Battle R, Temtem, Ooblets, Beyond the Wire, Railbound, Immortality

Channel F Ep. 178: Flaccid Pancake Podcast Transcript

Transcribed by E. Powers

Nerium: Hello everybody, and welcome back to another episode of Fanwidth, the flagship Fanbyte podcast. [merritt clears throat meaningfully] I am, as always and for 178 episodes, your host Nerium, Senior Managing Editor of fa– [nervously] of fanbyte.com. [merritt clears throat] As usual, I’m joined– Fūnk-é, do you hear that?

Fūnk-é: I hear something.

merritt: Hey.

Nerium: Oh!

merritt: Hey, so, um…what is this?

Nerium: Oh…

Fūnk-é: Oh, this is awkward.

Nerium: Oh…hey, merritt.

merritt: I just went into The Backrooms for like five minutes. I thought it was like five minutes.

Fūnk-é: Yeah, yeah. We know, but…

Nerium: Uh…no.

Fūnk-é: Things are kind of different now.

merritt: And you’re starting a new episode, and the name is different, so…

Nerium: Well, I mean, “different” is kind of a strong word.

merritt: How long was I in there?

Nerium: Uh, you know, how long does it take to get declared legally dead? ‘Cause I did put in the application for that for you.

merritt: Oh. Wow. That’s…yeah, that’s like months, I think.

Fūnk-é: We had to let go.

Nerium: We had to let go. We had to move on, merritt.

merritt: So I am looking at the numbers, and it does look like it has been about one week since you changed the name, so.

Nerium: [inhales awkwardly] Yeah, they still got clocks in New York, huh? You could still like look at the calendar? I didn’t think about that.

merritt: Yeah, I mean, I’m out of the place where the clocks are all melting and sort of flipping backwards and…

Fūnk-é: Ah.

merritt: For a while, I was kind of falling down, like…did you ever see, was that time traveling show where that little smartass dog told that kid about stuff?

Nerium: Doctor Who?

merritt: Yeah, Doctor Who, and he’s a dog. He’s a talking cartoon dog, and he’s like, [British accent] “Wibbly wobbly, timey wimey,” and he–

Nerium: No, merritt, okay, hold on. This has to be a Canadian thing, right? Because I have no idea what you’re talking about.

merritt: No, I think it’s a Hanna-Barbera– Sherman and Peabody. Thank you, Jordan. Thank you, real Jordan, who I rescued from The Backrooms.

Nerium: [gasps, awkwardly] Oh, Jordan’s back too, huh? Okay.

Fūnk-é: Oh, welcome.

merritt: Yeah, how did you even do the podcast without Jordan?

Nerium: I mean, I used to do it without Jordan.

merritt: Oh, that’s true.

Nerium: Jordan used to write listicles for us. That was a weird time.

merritt: I hope everything is fine.

Fūnk-é: Listicle is a horrible word.

merritt: Listicle is a horrible word.

Nerium: No, it was fine.

merritt: Fūnk-é, did you know that one of the NES emulators that I used in high school was called NESticle?

Fūnk-é: Oh God.

merritt: It’s pretty bad.

Fūnk-é: On purpose, right?

Nerium: [laughs] On purpose!

merritt: No, they didn’t realize. [laughter] No, they just thought– they were like, “Oh, I guess NESticle? I don’t know, is that anything?”

Fūnk-é: We can nest all of our things here.

merritt: Yeah, we’ll nest all of them in our NES. Welcome to Channel F, a podcast that I host. I’m merritt k. I am joined as always—[darkly] for now—by Fanbyte Senior Managing Editor Nerium.

Nerium: Yeah, hi. Uh, Channel F, right.

merritt: Yep.

Nerium: Yeah. That’s…

Fūnk-é: Wow.

merritt: That’s the name of the show.

Nerium: That’s the show we do. Uh huh.

merritt: And I’m also joined, as always, [Nerium: “Sure”] by Fanbyte Feature Contributor Fūnk-é Joseph.

Fūnk-é: [imitates air horn] What’s up? I’m contributing. I’m featuring.

merritt: I love the air horn that you do.

Fūnk-é: Thank you.

merritt: That voodoo that you do so well. But yeah, God, it’s good feedback.

Nerium: Just in time for Halloween watch.

merritt: Just in time for Halloween watch. [Fūnk-é laughs] It’s September, and you know what that means. It’s time for Halloween, because…

Fūnk-é: Spooky.

merritt: You know what? People can talk all they want about, ah, Christmas creep, and it’s– [laughs] The Christmas Creep also is my favorite horror movie. [laughter] But Christmas creep, you know, “Ah, it starts earlier and earlier. It starts like before Thanksgiving these days.” Sure. Yeah. That’s fair. Halloween, though?

Fūnk-é: It’s always here.

merritt: You know, I think two months of Halloween? That’s great. That’s beautiful. I love it.

Nerium: Halloween is a season to me. Like, in my head–

Fūnk-é: Mm.

merritt: It’s the reason for the season, for sure.

Nerium: Yeah. 100%.

merritt: Jesus died for our sins and came back as a zombie.

Nerium: As soon as it is nice enough outside that I can open my window and it’s not humid or hot or gross inside, that’s Halloween season to me.

merritt: Oh yeah.

Fūnk-é: Yeah. It’s been cooling down recently, like…

merritt: Yeah.

Fūnk-é: I’m enjoying it. I’m a huge summer stan, born and raised in the summer.

Nerium: Oh.

merritt: Yeah.

Fūnk-é: But fall’s not bad. I like the layers. Layering is like the ideal part of that season.

merritt: I love fall, but I also feel like that’s because fall is the favorite season of people who want to seem complicated and interesting.

Fūnk-é: Ooh.

Nerium: Oh.

merritt: I think summer is the season of people who are just sort of completely comfortable with themselves and reality that they inhabit.

Fūnk-é: Uh huh.

Nerium: Yeah.

merritt: And they just love the world, and that’s really admirable, and I wish I was one of those people, but I’m not. Winter, I don’t know. If you’re Scandinavian, maybe you’re really into winter.

Nerium: No. I’m fall all the way, baby.

merritt: It’s just that there’s such a big stretch after Christmas where there’s just nothing and it’s horrible for like three or four months.

Fūnk-é: And it’s dark and it’s slushy.

merritt: It’s terrible.

Nerium: Yeah.

Fūnk-é: And it’s depressing.

Nerium: So, I like snow, as somebody who lives with a lot of snow.

merritt: Yeah.

Nerium: The problem is if you live in a city…

merritt: It’s disgusting.

Nerium: There’s no such thing as snow. It’s disgusting.

merritt: Yeah, it’s horrible. It’s horrible.

Nerium: It’s all dirt and oil and slush. If you’re out in the country…

Fūnk-é: It’s brown.

Nerium: It’s brown!

Fūnk-é: Yeah.

merritt: Yeah. In the country, yeah, lovely. But who’s in the country?

Nerium: Farmers.

merritt: For one, yeah. [Nerium laughs] Spring, you know, spring, rebirth, growth. It’s beautiful, but it is still a little grimy and kind of nasty outside. Fall, though. Fall is contemplative. You want to seem, “Oh, you know, I just love, fall is my favorite season.”

Nerium: It’s when all the good Disney Channel original movies start to play.

Fūnk-é: Mm.

merritt: It’s true, and it is…it is the spooky season, and so we’re gonna talk maybe about a few of those, a few spooky kind of themed games that we have been playing recently. Fūnk-é, I understand that you have been playing a game called Gloomwood, I would say hotly anticipated.

Fūnk-é: Mm.

merritt: That is a kind of…well, I’m reading the description, and it’s already terrifying because you’re trapped in a dark Victorian city.

Fūnk-é: Yeah.

merritt: So, I mean, that implies England to me, which is really horrifying.

Fūnk-é: Oh.

merritt: And then it does add that there is sort of an ancient curse and some monsters and stuff. That’s also not great.

Fūnk-é: Yeah.

Nerium: Yeah, I mean, that’s England.

merritt: But England?

Fūnk-é: There’s a lot of that. So yeah, trigger warning for England before I get into this.

merritt: Thank you.

Fūnk-é: But it is so creepy! I didn’t think it would be this scary, and I downloaded it last night, ’cause it suddenly went into early access early.

merritt: Yes.

Fūnk-é: It was supposed to come out the next day, but it was just like, “Hey, we’re out,” so I downloaded it and started playing, and I couldn’t go to sleep, because I was so scared.

Nerium: Really?

Fūnk-é: Yeah. You start off in like a little pit, and people are throwing garbage at you, and they’re like, “How are we gonna kill this fucker?” And then you break out, and it really–

Nerium: When does the game start? [laughter]

Fūnk-é: And then you break out, and you log into your PC, and then…yeah, but as you break out of this pit, you start walking by this port city, and it, yeah, it takes place in Victorian England, and it looks a lot like…there’s a lot of Bloodborne aesthetics there.

merritt: Mm.

Fūnk-é: But it doesn’t play like that at all. It plays more like Outlast meets Dishonored.

Nerium: A lot of people compare it to…

merritt: That’s kind of a Thief-like.

Fūnk-é: Thief, yeah.

Nerium: Well, okay. I was going to say, Fūnk-é, you were not born when the Thief games existed, but I do want to point out that the website for this video game is literally thiefwithguns.com.

Fūnk-é: Mm.

merritt: [laughs] Yeah, this is…

Fūnk-é: Heavily inspired by Thief.

merritt: It’s developed and produced by New Blood, who you may know from games like Dusk and Ultrakill [Fūnk-é: “Yeah”] and Amid Evil. They’ve sort of cultivated a pretty strong following over the last few years.

Fūnk-é: I’m pretty sure it’s just a couple of devs too.

Nerium: Yeah.

merritt: Yeah.

Fūnk-é: Like, New Blood is publishing, but it’s David Szymanski and Dillon Rogers.

Nerium: They have like a really interesting development method where each of these different games like Ultrakill, Dusk, and Gloomwood are all basically headed up by a different member of this like three person group, and then the other two provide support on whoever is like leading that other game. And they each have like their own different things, like, “Well, I really liked Redneck Rampage, so I’m gonna make Dusk.”

Fūnk-é: Mm.

Nerium: And the other person’s like, “Well, I really like Quake, so I’ll make Ultrakill,” and, “I really like Thief, so I’ll make Gloomwood,” and then they all just help each other, but they’re all kind of off in their own little corners [“Mm”] working on their individual visions. It’s just neat.

Fūnk-é: They are so great at making these games. I’ve played a few of them over the past few years, and I’m just like, how do you make these so fast? And how do you, like, yeah, borrow from concepts that you love and enjoy but also make it feel so fresh? I’m like, damn, I don’t know how you did this! Like, you set this up where I’m in an immersive sim, a genre that I don’t usually play too much, but it has so many horror elements that I’m playing it like a horror game. Like, I’m walking around really like tense in my body. I’m like, “Oh shit, what’s around this corner?” And yeah, it lets you solve these situations in however way you want to, like immersive sims are wont to do. But yeah, it sets a tone that is insanely creepy, and I recommend it. It’s very cheap, and it’s in early access right now. There’s not too, too much of it. I think I played about three hours before completing the early access part, but I really got into the world, and I was reading all the pages and walking around getting those codes. I like it. It makes me want to play more immersive sims, quite honestly, ’cause I’ve always played them and gotten overwhelmed by the over choice, like all of the options that I have.

merritt: Right, yeah.

Fūnk-é: And I’m like, “Oh God, I don’t want to do anything!” and then I turn off the game.

merritt: Mm-hmm.

Fūnk-é: But this one’s way more simple, whereas like, that happened to me with Prey. There were so many options and so many methods to take down an enemy or to approach an environment. But this one, with Gloomwood, there’s not that many, and I kind of like it for that. I like that there’s– okay, stealth, or maybe throw a barrel or throw a bottle over there. Like, it really boils it down to the basics.

Nerium: Yeah.

Fūnk-é: And it’s amazing for that. Huge rec, and it’s [Halloween voice] spooky for Halloween!

Nerium: I played a little bit of the demo, which was part of that like Steam Next Fest thing a little while ago, and it was like really cool about like, I really loved the super intentional and the tension that comes with it of like loading your gun, like individually pumping bullets in.

Fūnk-é: Yes!

Nerium: And it’s just like, wow, I need three of these to kill one of these guards, but my character’s just taking forever to put a single fucking shotgun shell into this thing, [laughs] and it’s like cool. Like, I love that. A, I’m just a sucker for the like physicality of like seeing your character’s hands on screen doing stuff. It’s something I love about Subnautica a lot, but also just like, it really builds the tension in this one.

Fūnk-é: Mm-hmm. It does, absolutely. And on that gun thing, reloading, it doesn’t jam, but it does– if you’re stressed out and scared and something pops up on the screen and you fumble with the reload, it shows that.

merritt: Mm.

Nerium: Ooh.

Fūnk-é: Like your character’s hands are kind of trembling a bit, which is really awesome. Yeah, I’m enjoying this game, and I’m like, dang, I want them to make more of this already. Very cool stuff.

merritt: Yeah. So, it’s early access right now?

Fūnk-é: Yeah, it’s an early access. They didn’t say when they’re going to take it out of there, but they did say that they’re doing a lot of community building and taking a lot of feedback from people, [merritt: “Mm”] even from the demo, that they’ve implemented in this version so far.

Nerium: It’s currently 10% off until September 19th as well, by the looks of it.

merritt: Cool. Yeah, we were talking about this before we started recording, and to me, yeah, this reminds me of Dark Corners of the Earth, that Call of Cthulhu game.

Nerium: Yeah.

Fūnk-é: Mm.

merritt: I think partly it’s sort of the kind of graphical style.

Nerium: Mm-hmm.

merritt: Because, like other New Blood stuff, it is sort of like a lower res…not lower res, but like just, I guess lower res textures.

Fūnk-é: Intentionally low-fi.

Nerium: Spooky polygons.

merritt: Yeah, low res textures and sort of like lower poly counts, and so it looks like a game of that era, which like, I guess Thief is as well.

Nerium: Yeah. Yeah, it would’ve been about like late Xbox, like not quite Xbox 360 era, but like kind of around that time, I think is like when a lot–

merritt: Mm.

Nerium: Like, if we go all the way back to early Thief, that’s like even probably before then. That’s probably like early Xbox or mid PlayStation 2 kind of era but on PC.

Fūnk-é: Mm.

Nerium: It does have that vibe.

merritt: I think there’s something for that era of 3D game design, because like textures and hardware had advanced enough that you could make a lot of things legible.

Nerium: Mm-hmm.

merritt: But you were still like…I feel like architecture was still like really straightforward and like, it didn’t have that problem that some modern games have of just like, it’s like, well, I don’t know where to go. [laughs] Like, it just looks like sort of this…

Fūnk-é: Yeah.

merritt: Like you have to really signpost it, [“Oh”] because you’re trying to make everything look immersive and like hyper realistic.

Nerium: Yeah.

merritt: Which can then end up feeling even more on rails, ironically.

Nerium: Like the Uncharted, like, everything that you want to climb on is yellow issue, right?

merritt: Right, yeah. Whereas like something like this, it’s like, okay, well, developers and artists had enough time and experience to really perfect 3D level design.

Fūnk-é: Yeah.

merritt: But at the same time, there were still restrictions that made it so that you couldn’t kind of go wild and then have to like paint over a course through like this terrain.

Nerium: Yeah.

Fūnk-é: I love–

merritt: When did Half-Life 2 come out?

Fūnk-é: Ooh, I’m not sure.

Nerium: 2004, 2003?

merritt: Okay. So yeah, like mid 2000s, I feel like, is the era that I’m talking about.

Nerium: Yeah, that was also an Xbox game.

Fūnk-é: I love, love, love this level design.

merritt: Mm.

Fūnk-é: I’ve been playing a lot of Final Fantasy XIII, which… [Nerium laughs] Let’s be honest, folks.

merritt: Wait, which one is 13?

Nerium: The lightning.

Fūnk-é: It’s with lightning.

Nerium: Yeah.

merritt: Oh, right.

Fūnk-é: I spoke to Nere about this on the weekend a little bit, but folks, that game is a hallway. [Nerium laughs] That game is a hallway with amazing music.

merritt: Yeah. I mean, that’s a well documented problem, or maybe not even problem, but feature of that game.

Nerium: Yeah.

Fūnk-é: Yeah. It’s so frustrating, ’cause I love it, like I love the cutscenes. I think it really graphically holds up. They had a style.

Nerium: Oh yeah.

Fūnk-é: And it still looks perfect from 2009. I’m like, damn! this game is clean. But the level design is really frustrating, ’cause it’s just very…it’s very tight; you feel trapped. And playing Gloomwood, I’ve been seeing level design where I’m like, dang, this is really fun. And it tricks you too, like there’s…it’s an immersive sim, so you can play stealth.

merritt: Mm.

Fūnk-é: And when you’re approaching one of these guards, there’s a room where it was just like a dude, and his back was turned to the door, so I was like, “Oh, free. This is the freest backstab I’ve ever seen in my life.” So I walk up to get that, and there’s a person who is positioned right behind a pillar, like so slender, like just right there to bait the player into like just thinking, oh, it’s an easy kill on the one guy whose back is turned, but actually there’s someone else like watching them. And I fell for that, and it was a moment where I was like, damn, these developers tricked me, and it was funny to me. It wasn’t annoying. It was like, okay, they’re paying attention to like all of these elements, and they’re really engaged with each part of developing these levels. which made me happy to be like, oh, they, they tricked me on purpose there.

merritt: Hmm. Yeah, that sounds so cool. I’m not a big immersive sim person either, because I usually have the same problem that you do, which is like, I get overwhelmed by options.

Nerium: Mm.

merritt: So maybe I should give this a try, because it feels [Fūnk-é: “Absolutely”] like it might be a little more scoped in a way that feels manageable.

Fūnk-é: It leans more into horror and survival horror elements as well, so.

merritt: Hmm.

Fūnk-é: That’s what I originally thought it was just a survival horror. Then I was like, wait, I can do this my way! which is another fun feature. But yeah, I recommend it.

merritt: Cool.

Fūnk-é: And it’s not too long as well, so you can put an hour into it and be like, oh, it’s fine. Oh, one more thing is the inventory is like a suitcase you can pick up, and it…what is it? It’s like Tetris-style Resident Evil management.

merritt: Oh, it’s Resident Evil 4. I’m looking at it now, and it’s absolutely [Fūnk-é: “Yeah”] just Resident Evil 4’s like inventory management system, which is…

Fūnk-é: It’s really cool looking though, like it pops out kind of, as well.

merritt: Yeah, no, it looks really cool.

Nerium: Did you all, like a couple of weeks ago—not a couple weeks ago, a couple of months ago now—see that game that is just somebody made an entire video game that is just organizing your inventory in this manner?

merritt: Uh huh.

Fūnk-é: [laughs] No.

merritt: Yeah. What was that called?

Nerium: Ah, I forget. It was like $2. I have it on my computer, and I played it for a while, but I– it’s called something like very straightforward, like inventory management puzzle or something like that.

merritt: Right, yeah.

Nerium: I was trying to see if it’s in my inventory. I’m trying to find the name, but yeah. Like, that stuff is fun.

merritt: Yeah.

Nerium: Like, that’s a good idea for them to bring back. I like that.

merritt: Yeah, no, it’s…

Fūnk-é: It absolutely is.

merritt: It’s cool.

Nerium: It’s called Save Room – Organization Puzzle.

merritt: Save Room Org–

Fūnk-é: Okay. Straight to the point.

merritt: You know, I was thinking today that the word “organize” is kind of weird, you know?

Nerium: Mm.

Fūnk-é: Let’s talk about it

merritt: Like, as a verb?

Nerium: Yeah.

merritt: Like, if you said…if you organize someone, it sounds like you’re gonna turn them into like a pile of guts.

Nerium: Yeah, right, yeah.

merritt: You know? [menacing] “I’m gonna organize you,” like…

Nerium: Just in time for Halloween.

merritt: [laughs] Exactly. Nere, have you been playing any games on the sort of spookier side of things?

Nerium: Yeah. Yeah, I’ve been playing a couple of things. I would say probably the one that is most along the lines of what we’re talking about is Cult of the Lamb.

merritt: Mm.

Nerium: Put a huge chunk of time into that one. I’m probably close to done with it, actually, I think? It is not as…I remember people saying like, “Oh, it takes about 25 hours.” I’m a little over 11 hours in, and I think I’m pretty much done with it, ’cause the whole–

Fūnk-é: Oh, wow.

Nerium: Yeah, yeah. I mean, also, [laughs, jokingly over-confident] let’s not get as twisted. You know, it’s pretty easy for me.

Fūnk-é: Yes, we know.

merritt: Oh, ’cause you’re an MLG pro gamer?

Nerium: ‘Cause I’m an MLG pro gamer.

merritt: Uh huh.

Fūnk-é: You play on hard mode.

Nerium: I play on the hard– I play on tactician difficulty, and it’s not so bad. And genuinely, it is just kind of a situation of like, there was one boss that I had to take more than one swing at, and, you know, I took like three attempts, three runs, ’cause it is a bit of a roguelite in that way.

merritt: Mm-hmm.

Nerium: And then every other boss I’ve just one-shotted throughout the game, so.

Fūnk-é: It’s too easy for you.

Nerium: Too easy for a gamer like me.

merritt: They should put a hard mode in Bloodborne. [laughter]

Nerium: They should put a hard mode in Bloodborne. They should make them all harder. So I’ve been going through that. I know LB talked about that a good bit previously. It’s fun though. It’s a cute little game. I’m like, it’s not quite what I was expecting, and I think partially part of that is just like the marketing was mildly misleading in some ways [merritt: “Mm”] about the tone of the game.

merritt: Uh huh. How so?

Nerium: Well, we talked a lot about like how it is very Happy Tree Friends-like, and then LB pushed back against that.

merritt: Right. Yeah. Yeah.

Nerium: And I actually see that now. I actually 100% like, oh, okay, yeah, actually, I agree. ‘Cause that, I feel like, first trailer they put out was very much about like the cult element about like, “Oh, you are brainwashing these people and indoctrinating them into your cult,” and it uses a lot of that terminology and stuff like that.

Fūnk-é: Uh huh.

Nerium: But it’s like not actually a cult in like the modern sense of the word.

merritt: Mm. Mm-hmm.

Nerium: ‘Cause like, everybody in this world knows exactly what they’re getting into. You’re not tricking anybody in any particular way. People are like asking you to indoctrinate them into your cult, ’cause they’re already in somebody else’s weird evil religion, and you’re taking them away from that one.

merritt: Mm.

Fūnk-é: Oh shit.

Nerium: And then they’re chill with all that stuff. So there’s not that like element of like playing with like real world issues of like, you know, psychological manipulation and all that stuff. Like, that stuff’s just really not part of the game.

merritt: Mm-hmm.

Nerium: And so the tone ends up being way more about like the sort of interpersonal conflict between these five main villain type characters.

Fūnk-é: Are they each running their own cult?

Nerium: There’s like one big group called the like Bishops of the Old Faith. There’s four of them. They each like represent a different thing. Like, one is like the thinker. One is the you know, watchful eye, all these different things. They had like a falling out hundreds of years ago or whatever with their like fifth member who is like your god, the god of death.

Fūnk-é: Ooh.

Nerium: And you’re working for them to hunt down these other four bishops and then like resurrect death. But you know what, I haven’t gotten to a point– this is just completely speculation on my part. My guess is that I’m gonna end up either having to fight Death at the end as the secret final boss, [merritt: “Mm-hmm”] or I will have the option to fight Death at the end and maybe usurp the crown and become the new god or whatever. But yeah, it is just kind of very, very, very short runs. It’s like, you know, a longish run for this game is like 17 minutes of like combat, you come back to base, you manage the base for like 5 minutes, and then you’re out again. And it’s just like a constant one more turn loop. I don’t think I’m as enamored with it as I know some people are. I think it’s a little squishy in spots, especially in the combat.

Fūnk-é: Squishy, what do you mean? Like, people just explode too quick?

Nerium: [sarcastic] Yeah, they just explode too quick, and it makes it too easy for me. You know, I’m just like, ah, through this.

Fūnk-é: [laughs] Yeah.

merritt: Mm, mm-hmm.

Nerium: It’s more than just like, it’s really forgiving on like timing around like eye frames and things like that, but then also sometimes– and apparently the game is like really buggy on console, but even on PC, I’ve run into a couple of things where it’s just like, wow, I’m swinging my ax at this guy, and my ax is just going right through him and not landing, but it’s fine.

merritt: Oh, sure.

Nerium: Yeah. But it’s fine, because I can just roll out of the way and…

Fūnk-é: Try again and hope it doesn’t glitch out again? Or…

Nerium: Yeah, yeah, basically, because it’s so forgiving with the invincibility timing and stuff like that.

Fūnk-é: Mm.

Nerium: Jordan asks in the chat, “How does it seem without the Twitch integration?” it’s fun still. Like, I don’t know what the– I don’t know much about the actual Twitch integration in the game, other than I know you can like name followers and stuff after people. And the game like really pushes you against the idea of forming any attachments to any of these people. They die so fast in your group.

Fūnk-é: [laughs] Oh no.

Nerium: Okay. Viewers join as followers, and they get to design their own little guy.

merritt: Mm.

Nerium: Yeah. Mostly, I’m just going through and hitting randomize on all my little guys.

merritt: I see. Okay.

Nerium: And I think like one of the things that– almost like, and maybe it’s because it’s also just like Devolver, at this point, just knows how to recognize these kinds of games. It’s kind of Loop Hero-like in this element of just like, one thing is constantly leading to another, in a way that I’m like, I see why people are so enamored with this, because you can just play this game, and you’re immediately just doing a new different thing, and then you’re immediately doing a new different thing, and then [Fūnk-é: “Yeah”] you’re immediately doing a new different thing, and it just keeps going.

Fūnk-é: That builds on top of the other thing that it taught you as well.

Nerium: Mm-hmm.

merritt: Mm-hmm, mm-hmm.

Fūnk-é: Yeah.

Nerium: There’s like zero downtime.

Fūnk-é: That’s some Loop Hero shit.

Nerium: Yeah, mh-hmm.

Fūnk-é: Love that.

Nerium: Like, if you’re doing the roguelike stuff, that’s bringing in resources that you use to build up new upgrades in your town, and then you use those upgrades in your town to go back into the roguelike stuff, or if you go into the roguelike stuff again, you’ll unlock like a guy who’s got dice Gwent going on over here. There’s kind of like a Gwent-like mini game in here [“Mm”] where you use dice called knuckle bones, and that’s pretty good, ’cause it’s really simple and addictive as well. And then you can use that money to go back and go build some stuff at your town. And oh, well, while you were out playing knuckle bones, a day passed, which means you can give another sermon, which is gonna level up your bars, and it’s just a lot of that.

merritt: Oh, yeah. Just interlocking stuff.

Nerium: Totally. And it’s like really, it’s pretty smoothly developed in that way. I don’t think any particular element of the game is like super deep in grabbing me, but for a game that’s probably gonna take me like at most 15 hours to beat, I’m guessing? I put 11 hours into it, and like I said, I’m through all four of the main bishops, and now I’ve just got whatever comes next. I’m like locked out of the last area until I have 20 cultists total in my town. A couple of like doors in the game are kind of like locked behind grinding a little, some side content a little bit in that way.

merritt: Mm, mm-hmm.

Fūnk-é: Mm.

Nerium: But, yeah, it’s just interesting to me as a game. I’m like, oh, this is really fun, and I see just how insidious it is [laughter] and like why it is appealing to people. It’s like, there’s almost like a certain novelty of like, I’m enjoying myself just fine. I’m not super enamored with it, but I see exactly how they got people. I can see exactly how they tricked people into playing a management sim.

merritt: Yeah, when you start seeing the matrix like that.

Nerium: Yeah. It’s so distilled down in this game, and like, maybe I also saw this a little bit with Loop Hero last year, so maybe that kind of primed me for some of that.

merritt: Mm-hmm.

Nerium: But it’s just like interesting to see a lot of these core ideas that we’ve like seen in other games that like, you know, are mostly for sickos like me, but like pared down to its like most logical and like pure form. Just like, video games are just getting better and better and better at cooking the methamphetamine of numbers going up in different ways. [Fūnk-é laughs quietly]

merritt: Yeah.

Nerium: And like putting those into different styles of game and not just like loot games.

merritt: I know. The development of like behavioralism has been a disaster [laughs] for the human race, you know?

Nerium: Yeah.

merritt: It’s…oof. It’s tough.

Nerium: And I don’t want to say, like, Cult of the Lamb is like a bad game or anything like that. I think it does have some balance things where I’m like, okay, this would be a little bit more interesting if you did this. I think they’re too stingy with how much magic you get, ’cause you always start a run– it’s very Dead Cells-like, actually. Well, that’s the other thing too, is it’s like–

Fūnk-é: I’m listening.

merritt: [laughs] Fūnk-é’s like, “Go on?” [Nerium and Fūnk-é laugh]

Nerium: Fūnk-é, you’re about to get more like that too, ’cause like, it is so clear. Speaking of like games that are just like pulling from other games and like learning things over and over again, it’s like, you can so clearly– as somebody who plays a lot of roguelikes, I can so clearly see: oh, you took that from here, you took that from over here, and you took that from over here, and you put it in this art style, and it’s just like boom, instant overnight success, million copies sold. ‘Cause it’s like, there is an over shield type of thing in this game. You know, you have hearts like in Zelda.

Fūnk-é: Okay.

Nerium: And you take damage and you lose hearts, but you can pick up like temporary hearts that are like an over shield, which is a thing from Hollow Knight, and it’s even the exact same color and like UI look [Fūnk-é laughs] as the temporary hearts in Hollow Knight. It’s just like 100% the same shade of turquoise on your health bar. You hit enemies, and you get mana back to use your spell, just like in Hollow Knight. It’s very Dead Cells in the way of like, you start a run, and you draw one item and one spell right at the beginning, and then you can change those out as you go.

merritt: Mm.

Nerium: Just like in Dead Cells, you always start with like a ranged weapon and always start with a melee weapon?

merritt: Mm-hmm.

Fūnk-é: Mm-hmm.

Nerium: It’s exactly the same thing. And yeah, it’s still fun, though. It’s still like, it’s chunky. It’s solid. It feels really satisfying. They’ve also really nailed like the, when you’re like pressing the A button and holding it to pick berries or whatever, it makes that like bloop bloop bloop bloop bloop! noise that’s like really satisfying.

Fūnk-é: Ooh.

Nerium: It’s just like, boy…aaah, those motherfuckers.

Fūnk-é: Noises add a lot. Those like little subtle menu chimes are amazing.

merritt: Mm-hmm.

Nerium: Oh yeah. I %1000 agree.

merritt: Yeah.

Fūnk-é: That’s actually one of the reasons I really like Darkest Dungeon and have like had a lot of trouble– I’ve talked about this on Three Moves Ahead, a different podcast, a couple of times. Where it’s like, a lot of Darkest Dungeon-likes in the years since Darkest Dungeon– there’s never been like a good successor to Darkest Dungeon, and a lot of what those games are missing is like the impact of like the way that like a character will– the camera will zoom in on a hit as a character is getting hit [merritt: “Mm”] and it’ll make like a booooom, like big, long noise.

merritt: God.

Nerium: Other games, it’ll just be like, “Okay, here’s a number,” and then you’re done. [Fūnk-é laughs]

merritt: Top 10 sound effects in games.

Nerium: Mm-hmm.

merritt: Just such an under discussed– I mean, people talk about music all the time.

Nerium: Totally.

merritt: But I feel like audio design in terms of like sound effects still doesn’t really get talked about that much, [Nerium: “No”] but it’s such an integral part.

Fūnk-é: Yeah.

Nerium: You need a good crit sound.

merritt: Good crit sound.

Fūnk-é: A shop sound, like a coin bag swishing around is amazing.

merritt: Oh yeah.

Nerium: Sure.

merritt: For me, I’m trying to think of like iconic sounds in games right now, and the only one I can think of is the sound in Morrowind when you pick a lock, and it just sounds like…like it’s like a wooden lockpick going like [imitates, Fūnk-é laughs] like kind of, and it’s just–

merritt: Yeah! No, yeah, I know what you mean!

merritt: It sounds like opening a drawer on a desk or something.

Nerium: Mm-hmm.

merritt: Very…

Nerium: It’s like a little…that very light rattling.

merritt: Yeah! Very warm sound to me.

Nerium: God, yeah. There’s some…there’s a lot.

merritt: Jordan is saying every Silent Hill menu sound, Breath of the Wild cooking sounds. Yeah.

Nerium: The sound of opening like your menu in…honestly, Resident Evil 4 is full of this.

merritt: Mm.

Nerium: Like, clicking your gun into your bag and stuff like that.

Fūnk-é: Yeah.

Nerium: [imitates] noise.

merritt: Mm-hmm, mm-hmm.

Fūnk-é: That’s ASMR. Even like controllers outside, like Game Cube controller, I could listen to that forever.

Nerium: Mm.

merritt: Mm.

Fūnk-é: That shit just hits.

merritt: The stasis sounds in Destiny were really cool too– are really cool.

Nerium: Oh. Yeah.

merritt: The very like kind of crunchy over-processed sounds, oh, very neat.

Nerium: Yeah. Good stuff.

merritt: Well, we’re going to sort of swerve– we’re gonna take the exit away from Halloween Town, [Nerium laughs] because I played through a game this weekend that is not spooky at all but does tie into Cult of the Lamb because it’s also a very cute game.

Nerium: Ooh.

merritt: And this is sort of unusual for me, but everything about my experience with this game is unusual for me, because basically yesterday I got on Xbox Live Game Pass– Xbox Game Pass. I sound like I’m like 70 years old. [laughter] I got on the Xbox.

Nerium: Nintendo Game Pass.

merritt: [imitating old person] I got out the Xbox, and I…

Nerium: [imitating old person] Microsoft Game Pass.

Nerium: [laughs] That was too good, Fūnk-é.

merritt: [laughs] And I was like, “Oh, what’s on Game Pass lately? I would love to play something new,” and I was like, oh, Tinykin, I’ve heard of this. It’s like a Pikmin or something? Has kind of a distinctive visual style where it’s a 3D platformer, but all of the characters are just two dimensional, kind of like a Paper Mario, except they never turn around. They’re always facing the camera. And I was like, yeah, I’ll give this a shot. Started playing it, and I was like, “Yeah, I don’t know. This seems fine. It’s like, you know, whatever.” [Nerium laughs] And the description is like, “Milo arrives on earth to find that he’s way too small, everyone’s gone, and a day hasn’t passed since 1991.” And I was like, okay, this is gonna be like some nostalgia farming thing and…

Fūnk-é: [laughs] Not nostalgia farming!

merritt: I’m just so over it. I just, every–

Nerium: Yeah.

merritt: I already constantly think about the nineties and 2000s and stuff. I would love for my media to sort of like, kind of give me reasons to think about the future, I guess, or even the present. [laughs] But so I was like, “I don’t know, this probably isn’t gonna be my thing, but I’ll play it enough to be able to talk about it.” Six hours later, [laughter] I had finished the game!

Nerium: Oh, wow!

Fūnk-é: Shit.

merritt: And that’s basically all I did yesterday on Labor Day is I started playing this game, and I took some breaks to do some cleaning and stuff, but otherwise I just played through the entire game and was done. Didn’t do all the achievements, but did basically do all of like the side objectives.

Nerium: Huh.

Fūnk-é: Wowee.

merritt: And I finished it in under six hours.

Fūnk-é: Wait, wait. But you said it didn’t even pop out to you. What made you keep…?

merritt: Well, at first, it didn’t.

Fūnk-é: Okay.

merritt: And I was like, “Okay, this just looks like whatever.” But so you look at it, and you see like, okay, this is just Pikmin.

Nerium: Yeah.

merritt: But it’s actually a platformer. Like, it’s a 3D platformer.

Fūnk-é: Huh?

merritt: Yeah, it’s a 3D platformer with Pikmin stuff, and there’s no enemies.

Nerium: Oh.

merritt: There’s no deaths or fail states. You can like fall into– like if you fall into water, or if you fall off a high enough surface, or if you like fall into fire or something, sometimes you’ll like just kind of explode, but then it just puts you back where you were.

Nerium: Okay.

merritt: There’s no time limits or anything. It’s very much just like, you’re in this big, cool environment. Actually, the comparison that I made in the piece that I wrote today is like– and this is gonna sound insane and also sound like I’m a games journalist from 10 years ago, but it’s kind of like Dark Souls. [Nerium laughs]

Fūnk-é: Ah!

merritt: And the way in which it is like Dark Souls

Fūnk-é: merritt, what?

merritt: The way in which it is like Dark Souls is that you start in this huge open area with like sprawling paths, and you don’t really know where to go. There’s no map.

Fūnk-é: Okay.

merritt: And as you progress through the level, you’re creating shortcuts everywhere.

Fūnk-é: Ohhh.

merritt: So one of the types of Pikmin—well, they’re called Tinykin in this game—that you get explode when they hit certain destructible objects, and you can’t really waste them, ’cause if you just throw them at something else, they just come back. You have to actually hit one of these destructible things. But so many of those are like crates that contain ropes that drop down and give you an easier way back up.

Nerium: Ah.

merritt: Or they’re like little silkworms that fire thread across the level that you can then grind across on this bar of soap. [laughs quietly]

Fūnk-é: Oh, ’cause you’re small.

merritt: ‘Cause you’re small.

Nerium: Tiny, even.

merritt: And so, this lack– at first, I was like, “There’s no map. This is kind of annoying, ’cause I’m like, I don’t remember where that thing was.” But the levels, they’re big, but they’re small and well designed enough that you can get a sense of them fairly easily. And then figuring out like, okay, how do I get up there? Or like, oh, this– I can see that there is like a way down from there, but like how do I get up there to begin with?

Fūnk-é: Yeah.

merritt: That kind of traversal element is– and it’s also an extremely vertical game, which I always like.

Fūnk-é: Yeah.

merritt: Because you’re sort of climbing through these environments. It’s set only inside a house, so you never leave the house, but you know, there’s like a hallway, there’s like this bathroom, there’s a kitchen, there’s all these different spaces. And the different–

Fūnk-é: This is reminding me of Chibi-Robo!, as you say that.

Nerium: Yeah.

Fūnk-é: Like, being small and in a house.

merritt: Kind of, yeah. I mean, there are a lot of games about exploring like a big house. Like, to me, it kind of– and the games that I go to will age me immensely, because it’s like, oh, Toy Commander on the Dreamcast or Harley’s Humongous Adventure on the Super Nintendo, a game that I have never heard a single other living being talk about. [Fūnk-é laughs quietly] It’s not good.

Nerium: Or Levelord’s maps for Quake.

merritt: Yeah. Yeah.

Nerium: You know, everybody’s favorite touchstones.

merritt: That was a thing. There was like, you know, Quake and Counterstrike maps that were kind of like this, back in the day.

Nerium: Totally, totally. Levelord was like a known modder who did that for a bunch of games.

merritt: Yeah. But it’s just so like, just kind of– and you’re running around, and you’re collecting more Tinykins so that you can– you know, you have your basic ones that lift things and push things. You have the exploding ones. You have some that basically can like make a makeshift ladder wherever you want.

Nerium: Oh.

merritt: And then there’s some that like can make stairs or that can conduct electricity for like certain puzzles. And it’s just like, it just ends up– by the time you get to like the last level, you’re just sort of like whipping around the space, just like hucking guys and like sliding on your weird soap skateboard thing and like collecting this pollen that you use to like extend your gliding ability, and it just–

Nerium: Oh, wait, you got Crackdown orb in this game?

merritt: Oh, you gotta Crackdown orb, babey!

Nerium: Oh!

merritt: [laughs] Yeah. And there’s like, really…it’s weird, ’cause like, when I finished, I was like, that’s not like the…you know, it’s not like unseating Elden Ring. It’s not like the greatest game that I’ve ever played. It doesn’t have like a deep narrative. In fact, like the narrative…there is a story, but it barely comes into play and doesn’t make a ton of sense. The characters, it’s like, they’re just all insects. They’re kind of like, the designs are kind of cute, but like, it just feels good to play.

Nerium: Yeah.

merritt: Like just the action moment to moment stuff feels really good, and you can finish it in under six hours.

Fūnk-é: Huge plus.

merritt: Which if you’re a normal person, could be, you know, three to five sessions.

Nerium: Right.

merritt: Or if you’re me yesterday, it’s… [Nerium laughs] But it was so cool, ’cause I haven’t done this in so long. Like, I can’t remember the last time I sat down with a modern game and finished it in a day.

Nerium: Yeah. It’s like the, you know, bringing back– I mean, talking about a nostalgia, it’s bringing back the dream of like, “Well, I’ve just rented this game, and I need to wring as much out of it as I possibly can, because we’ve only got it for three days. I better just sit here and play it.”

merritt: Yeah.

Nerium: “Oh, I beat Chrono Trigger in a weekend!” or whatever. [merritt laughs]

Fūnk-é: Ooh.

merritt: Yeah. Yeah, it’s like that. So, yeah, I really recommend this thing if you like Pikmin or 3D platformers. This is a very Daniellecore game also.

Nerium: Yeah.

merritt: I told her that yesterday, and I think she’s gonna take a look. It’s funny, we’re talking about like a lot of very Danielle…

Fūnk-é: Same with Gloomwood, yeah.

merritt: Same with Gloomwood.

Nerium: Yeah.

merritt: Arguably even Cult of the Lamb in some ways.

Nerium: Yep. Anybody got any tactics games they want to bring up here? [merritt and Fūnk-é laugh]

merritt: But yeah, it’s on Xbox Game Pass. It’s on basically everything.

Nerium: Yeah.

merritt: I don’t know how it runs on the Switch, but I can’t imagine that it would, you know, suffer that much, because it’s not, you know, doing anything incredibly stressful graphically.

Nerium: For sure, yeah.

merritt: But, oh, also, yeah, just the presentation is really great too. Like there’s dynamic soundtrack to it so that each level has a theme, but then you’ll like go inside a piano and suddenly the theme isn’t like the full instrumental thing.

Fūnk-é: Yes!

merritt: It’s like a light piano key version of the time.

Fūnk-é: It still flows over though?

merritt: Yes.

Fūnk-é: Like it’s still at the same part? Yep.

merritt: Yeah. I’m such a sucker for that. Like ever since– I feel like Mario Galaxy was the first time I really saw that, or even, no, like Mario World, when you get on Yoshi and it just sort of adds the drum beats to the theme.

Fūnk-é: Mm.

merritt: I love that stuff, so.

Nerium: God, what was it? It was– I think Monkey Island 2 was like the first game where they like made a huge deal about that.They had like a whole kind of like a– remember transfarring? Just like, you know, those silly little branded terms [merritt: “Yeah”] for things that you do internally at a game development studio. I remember Monkey Island—I think it was Monkey Island 2, maybe it was Monkey Island 3—had the whole thing of just like, yeah, you would go from zone to zone, and the music would continue to play [merritt: “Mm”] and would morph into the next song without stopping. Like, that was like a huge deal back then.

merritt: Yeah, yeah.

Nerium: “Shoutout ‘Splosion Man,” says Jordo. Yeah, uh huh. [merritt and Fūnk-é laugh] God, ‘Splosion Man. There we go.

merritt: Yeah, wow. That’s a game I remember seeing at PAX like 10 years ago.

Nerium: That would’ve been more than 10 years ago, unless they brought it back to a new console. That’s possible.

merritt: Oh, maybe it was–

Nerium: Ms. Splosion Man, maybe.

merritt: Ms. Splosion Man, yeah. That was probably what that was.

Nerium:Splosion Man was one of the like early really big, good– I don’t know how much of a success it was, but it was like a really, really great early Xbox Live arcade game.

merritt: Right, yeah.

Nerium: It was like the Summer of Arcade’s jam.

Fūnk-é:Splosion Man.

Nerium:Splosion Man.

merritt: Summer of Arcade. God, bring it back.

Nerium: Summer of Arcade! The only good thing to happen during summer.

merritt: The only– I mean, oh, I guess it did…oh, they never– was 2013 the last time it happened?

Nerium: Summer of Arcade? Yeah. Did they bring it back?

merritt: They gotta bring it back next year for the 10 year anniversary.

Nerium: They gotta bring it back.

Fūnk-é: Ooh.

merritt: God, Summer of Arcade. What a fucking, just…what a great– okay, let me– can I just read you the Summer of Arcade, and then we can move on to talk about something else?

Nerium: Please.

Fūnk-é: Absolutely. Absolutely.

merritt: And I don’t– what was the exact thing? Were they free during that time or were they–

Nerium: No.

merritt: Were they just released?

Nerium: It was…they were released during that time, and I think it was a– before the concept of a season pass existed, I think you could do a thing where it’s like, [merritt: “Oh, okay”] “If you buy all four of these, you get the fourth one for $5 off,” or something like that. You know, like…

merritt: I see, okay. Okay, let’s talk– can we talk about Summer of Arcade? I’m dying to talk about Summer of Arcade.

Nerium: Yes! Yes yes yes yes yes!

Fūnk-é: Yes.

merritt: Please, let’s talk about Summer of Arcade. 2008: Bionic Commando Rearmed. Braid. Eh.

Nerium: Boom! Fantastic. Well…

merritt: Castle Crashers.

Fūnk-é: Yes.

merritt: Galaga Legions.

Nerium: Sure.

merritt: Geometry Wars: Retro Evolved 2.

Nerium: Yes. Mm-hmm!

Nerium: Just incredible. 2009: Marvel vs. Capcom 2: New Age of Heroes.

Nerium: Yes!

Fūnk-é: Yes, sir! Before they removed it and it’s not able to be purchased anywhere now. [merritt laughs quietly]

Nerium: Aw.

merritt: Shadow Complex.

Nerium: Shadow Complex also rules.

merritt:Splosion Man.

Nerium: Mm-hmm.

merritt: TMNT: Turtles in Time Re-Shelled.

Nerium: Sure.

merritt: Trials HD.

Nerium: Oh my God.

Fūnk-é: Ooh!

merritt: 2010: Castlevania: Harmony of Despair, Hydro Thunder Hurricane, Lara Croft and the Guardian of Light, LIMBO, Monday Night Combat. Do you remember Monday Night Combat?

Nerium: Oh, yeah! Monday Night Combat!

merritt: God.

Fūnk-é: I never played that. I didn’t understand the concept of it.

merritt: I didn’t play it either, but I remember seeing it, again, at PAX.

Nerium: Fūnk-é, if you were like born five years earlier…

merritt: Oh, you would’ve fucking loved this game.

Nerium: Monday night combat would’ve been– yeah, that would’ve been, like, little Fūnk-é’s first shooter.

merritt: It was kind of like a tower defense third person shooter. It was…

Nerium: Yeah.

Fūnk-é: I love tower defense!

merritt: I feel like this was kind of ahead of its time.

Nerium: It was.

merritt: Like, if this came out today, it would probably do fairly well.

Nerium: And it wasn’t…

Fūnk-é: When it says Monday Night Combat, I assumed it was every Monday it went live? Or…

Nerium: No, it was just the name.

merritt: I thought it was a football– it’s like meant to riff on…

Nerium: On Monday night football.

merritt: Yeah.

Fūnk-é: Okay.

Nerium: Which does not exist anymore, Fūnk-é, and was also mostly an American thing, so you might have no idea what that is.

Fūnk-é: That sounds American as fuck. [laughs]

Nerium: Yeah.

Nerium: Back in the day, football used to be played mostly on Mondays, and like Monday night football was like a huge deal in like American homes during the nineties.

merritt: Yep.

Fūnk-é: Hmm.

merritt: Okay. 2011: Bastion. From Dust.

Nerium: Hell yes. Oh yeah.

merritt: Fruit Ninja Kinect.

Nerium: Okay.

Fūnk-é: Yes! That’s the game!

merritt: Insanely Twisted Shadow Planet.

Nerium: Insanely Twisted Shadow Planet, awesome game.

merritt: And such a great title. And Toy Soldiers: Cold War.

Nerium: Oh yeah, people really like those Toy Soldiers games.

Fūnk-é: Oh.

merritt: 2012: Deadlight. Dust: An Elysian Tale.

Nerium: Okay.

merritt: Hybrid. Tony Hawk’s Pro Skater HD. Wreckateer.

merritt: Okay, so 2012, they were like faltering a little bit.

Nerium: Remember Hybrid?

merritt: I don’t.

Nerium: Hybrid was the game from, I believe, the Scribblenauts people. That was a third person shooter.

merritt: Yeah, 5th Cell? Yep.

Nerium: Yeah. It was like Kill Switch, where it was like, you’re always in cover, but you’re just like jumping from piece of cover to piece of cover to piece of cover.

merritt: Yeah. Wow.

Fūnk-é: Hmm.

merritt: That is… [laughs] “The five included continents in the game, Australia having been obliterated and Antarctica excluded.” [laughter]

Fūnk-é: What?

merritt: So this game is set in a world where Australia has been completely destroyed. 2013, the final year: TMNT: Out of the Shadows. Flashback. That’s a remake of the original Flashback. I don’t remember that at all. Brothers: A Tale of Two Sons and Charlie Murder.

Nerium: Okay, so they started to fall off at some point.

merritt: Yeah, they fell off. So maybe it’s good that they… [laughs]

Nerium: Brothers is cool, but…

merritt: But they gotta bring it back next year.

Nerium: But no, like, you gotta– yeah, that very much feels like a thing where it’s like, somebody was like…somebody stopped believing in Game Pass. Or not Game Pass, in Summer of Arcade.

merritt: Yeah.

Nerium: Summer of Arcade didn’t fail us. We failed Summer of Arcade.

Fūnk-é: Mm.

merritt: So true.

Nerium: We need like a Phil Spencer out there to be like pushing for all these bangers to release in the same like one month window.

merritt: Yeah.

Nerium: Maybe that’s actually the issue, is that just like, that was a time when four good games releasing within a month was like, “Whoa!” and now it’s like every single month is that forever. It’s just like, every time you turn around, [merritt: “Yeah”] there’s like, oh, Tinykin and Gloomwood and this other thing. They’re all out at the same time.

merritt: Yeah. Well, speaking of games that are coming out at the same time, let’s do another segment right after this break.

[break music]

merritt: You know, Channel F isn’t the only podcast we do here at Fanbyte.

Nerium: What?

merritt: I mean, it is the only name that this show has ever had and will continue to be, but we also have another show called 99 Potions, and, you know, it’s a whole different ball game over there, if that ball game is role playing games. Is there a baseball RPG? Nerium, Channel F/99 Potions peace coordinator.

Nerium: Yeah.

merritt: Liaison.

Nerium: Sort of the mediator.

merritt: Yeah, mediator. Please chime in.

Nerium: Uh, you know, I mean… [sighs] A thing we like to say on 99 Potions all the time is that basically every video game is in RPG, and this allows us to talk about every video game on an RPG podcast. So, you know, baseball games, you level up guys, you get stats, ’cause you’re playing a role as a– you know, in real life, you can’t be professional baseball player [merritt: “That is true”] David Gride or whatever.

merritt: David Gride. Now, can you name a real baseball player?

Nerium: Um…

Fūnk-é: Was that not a real person?

Nerium: Sleve McDichael.

merritt: Okay, well…

Nerium: Bobson Dugnutt.

merritt: Well, I will give you that. I think I will give you– [Fūnk-é laughs]

Nerium: Mike Truk.

Fūnk-é: Oh, Mike Truk!

Nerium: Willie Dustice.

Fūnk-é: Blue Jays!

merritt: I feel like I can name baseball players from the nineties, but that’s about as far as I go.

Nerium: Oh, okay.

merritt: But this isn’t a show about naming baseball players, it’s a show about roleplaying games, and all games are role playing games now, so.

Nerium: All games are roleplaying games, ’cause you’re playing a role.

merritt: And that show features Nerium. It features…who else does that show feature?

Nerium: Most recently, it has mostly been me, Imran Khan, News Editor of fanbyte.com, as well as Final Fantasy XIV The Link Shell’s Section Head Michael Higham over there. It’s basically mostly us, for the last little while here, with Natalie out on vacation for a bit, but we’ve been having a really good time over there and doing a lot of weird and wacky things. We’re bringing Andrea…

merritt: Shearon.

Nerium: Shearon. That’s the one! I got worked up over the fact that everybody pronounces her first name differently and couldn’t stop thinking about that as I spoke. [merritt and Fūnk-é laugh] It is, however, pronounced Andrea Shearon, and she’s been co-hosting with us over there for a little while as well, and it’s been a really good time. It’s a very different group of people.

merritt: Yeah. So if you want a different take on games, we have a fairly big crew here at Fanbyte, and so it’s a whole different cast, except for Nerium who will always be on both shows forever.

Nerium: The daywalker. I walk in both worlds.

merritt: You walk in both worlds, and that will never change.

Nerium: I have all of the strengths of both podcasts and the weaknesses of neither.

merritt: [laughs] I always say this about you. And if you want more of us, more of the Channel F crew, for whatever reason, you can follow us on Twitter. Nerium is @neriumstrom. nerium_strom?

Nerium: No. No, it’s just, you got it right.

merritt: @neriumstrom.

Nerium: Yeah.

merritt: I wish Twitter was like Google where you could just put in as many underscores or periods as you wanted.

Nerium: Yeah!

merritt: ‘Cause it would make things a lot simpler. Probably also make it harder to fake accounts. But Fūnk-é is @funkefly, our producer Jordan is @jordan_mallory, and I am @merrittk on Twitter. Fanbyte is @fanbytemedia. Go give us a follow over there. And if you’d like to hang out and chat about games or pets or whatever, you can join the Fanbyte discord at fanbyte.casa, and we’ll see you over there. There are channels for our podcasts, but also, you know, articles, also just people setting up games and things, so it’s a cool place. Go check it out.

Nerium: You can send questions over there in the Podcast Questions channel.

merritt: You can do that too.

Nerium: Which we’ve been doing on 99 Potions, actually. We’ve got a question segment now, an email segment.

merritt: Great. Yeah. So do that. Check that out.

Fūnk-é: Send ‘em over.

merritt: And for now, we’re gonna head on downstairs back to the podcast, and you can’t see it, because this is an audio medium, but I am doing that miming [slow footsteps] walking down a set of stairs kind of thing.

Nerium: Mm-hmm.

Fūnk-é: Yeah, I hear the steps too.

Nerium: Whoa.

merritt: Bup bup bup bup bup!

Fūnk-é: How do you make those noises?

[footsteps continue until break ends]

merritt: Welcome back, and welcome to Gabe’s New and Tasty, a segment where we look at the New and Trending charts on Steam and talk about what we’re excited about, what we’re confused about, what we’re [Nerium laughs] having just a lot of complicated feelings about. And I do want to start off with something today, and I usually avoid talking about these kinds of games, but I just– [Fūnk-é laughs] I can’t not talk about horny anime Papers, Please. This game is called The Imperial Gatekeeper, and that is exactly what it is. It’s horny anime Papers, Please made in RPG Maker.

Nerium: Oh, yeah. This looks– this is an RPG Maker game all right.

merritt: It is, with some How to Draw Anime-ass art on the side.

Nerium: Yep.

merritt: And I just…when did Papers, Please come out? Like 1997 or something?

Nerium: You know, it was part of Summer of Arcade that year, so.

merritt: It was part of Summer of Arcade, yeah. That’s so true. They distributed like a…it was on a demo disk. [Nerium laughs] It was in an official PlayStation magazine. Okay, Papers, Please is almost a decade old.

Nerium: Yeah.

merritt: And someone was like, “What if we made Papers, Please anime but also horny and in RPG maker?”

Fūnk-é: I really love this segment, because I learn so much and my head explodes, [merritt: “Yeah”] very early down the list.

merritt: Yeah.

Fūnk-é: So I’m glad we’re talking about this one.

merritt: Yeah. Yeah. It just, I love the interface with an approved or denied– are you gonna let this horny anime nun through? I mean, she’s got a ticket, but maybe it’s a forgery and she’s gonna do a political insurrection on your horny anime autocracy. [laughs]

Nerium: Maybe this is more detailed than we want to get, but do you think this is like a thing where it’s like, oh–

merritt: Oh, no. Sorry, yeah?

Nerium: Do you think this is the thing where it’s gonna be like, oh, you’re not gonna let them through, but then they offer to have sex with you, and you trade like coming in? [Fūnk-é sighs]

merritt: Almost certainly that’s what this is.

Nerium: Okay. Great, great.

merritt: Because the publisher of this is Kagura Games who I wrote about a little while ago on the site, and their whole deal is they publish games that are not in the adults only– like they do say sexual content, but like, they’re not in like the one tag where it’s just like, it shows you full penetration. I have that turned off, and I still see this, because they publish their games on Steam, and then they have patches that you can go and download to show the full penetration.

Nerium: They have put out, according to their page that I’m looking at right now–

merritt: 10,000 games in the last 6 minutes.

Nerium: 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8, 9, 10, 11, [merritt laughs] 12, 13, 14, 15, 16, 17, 18, 19, 20, 21, 22 games this year.

merritt: Well, I think what it is is, I mean…

Fūnk-é: Goodness gracious.

merritt: Like, there are a lot of people just making games like this.

Nerium: Right.

merritt: And so I think it’s like, they’re like, “Oh, can we publish and distribute your game, [“Right”] your horny RPG Maker game? And, you know, you’ll get paid.” I think that’s what this is, because these are all made by like different people. But we don’t have to talk about that anymore, but we do have to talk about anime some more, because JoJo’s Bizarre Adventure: All-Star Battle R has made its way to Steam and other modern platforms. Fūnk-é, did you ever play All-Star Battle?

Fūnk-é: No, I didn’t. Imran just sauced me a code, [merritt: “Oh”] and I just finished downloading this one, so.

merritt: So yeah, this is…

Fūnk-é: I’m excited.

merritt: I want to say…yeah, this game is also quite old, because I remember [Nerium: “Yeah”] playing the original of this on someone’s PS3.

Nerium: Mm-hmm.

merritt: And this is, I think, the second JoJo’s Bizarre Adventure tournament fighter. There was the arcade one that was ported to the Dreamcast by Capcom, and this is by CyberConnect2.

Nerium: Can I tell you when I wrote about this game? ‘Cause I wrote about this game when it first came out.

merritt: Please.

Nerium: I wrote about– well, no, I made a video for this game for Danielle, the first time she worked here.

merritt: Wow!

Nerium: At zam.com, back when–

merritt: At zam.com. Wow!

Nerium: When I was a freelancer, and it was like Laura??? and Chris??? [Fūnk-é: “Shoutout Laura’] and Danielle, all of them, and it was like, they were experimenting with video stuff, and I was like, sure. So I made a video that was like ranking every single fighter by how hot they were. [merritt laughs]

Fūnk-é: There’s over 50 characters!

Nerium: Yeah, and that was the video.

merritt: Wow.

Nerium: I was just going through each and every last one of them, at the time. It was an experimental age.

Fūnk-é: Do you remember number one?

Nerium: God, I don’t remember. No, I don’t. I don’t even know if that video exists anywhere anymore. Like, I made a bunch of just weird experimental shit around like–

merritt: Mm.

Nerium: This is like awakening a weird black spot in my memory, [merritt and Fūnk-é laugh] ’cause I’m just like suddenly remembering, like…

Fūnk-é: I love hearing this live.

merritt: Oh no. It’s been unsealed.

Nerium: I also did like a video that was like, ’cause Titanfall 2 and Call of Duty: Infinite Warfare came out around the same time too, and I like also did a video that was like ranking them by– or like deciding which of them was more like Gundam than the other.

merritt: Oh.

Nerium: I did another one that was like the Psycho-Pass visual novel for PlayStation 3.

merritt: Oh my God.

Nerium: I can’t even remember what the video premise was there, but I just did a bunch of weird video shit for them, and I don’t think it exists anywhere anymore. I gotta find that now.

merritt: Damn. Well, this version…

Fūnk-é: RIP.

Nerium: I bet it’s really embarrassing.

merritt: The updates to this version…I think there’s like, there’s hit stops. There’s jump dashes. There’s some mechanical updates. There’s new…they have the part six voice actors now, obviously, [Nerium: “Oh”] because part six exists at this point.

Nerium: Yeah.

merritt: I mean, honestly, actually, when this game game came out…

Fūnk-é: I was just watching that on the weekend.

Nerium: Me too.

merritt: The anime was up to like…I think it was still at Stardust Crusaders, if that.

Nerium: Is that right?

merritt: If that.

Fūnk-é: When did it release originally?

merritt: 2013, so.

Fūnk-é: Yeah. Yes, definitely, definitely.

Nerium: Oh my God.

merritt: Yeah, no. It’s so weird to think–

Fūnk-é: So they have VAs for part four and five and six?

merritt: I guess? It just says part six on here, but I would assume.

Fūnk-é: Okay.

merritt: But it’s so weird to think that–

Nerium: Yeah. Part 4 was 2016.

merritt: ‘Cause I read JoJo in like 2014, 2015. I read through…I finished part seven and was like, “I’ll read part eight when it’s done.”

Nerium: Uh huh.

merritt: And then like six years later, it finished. I was like, “Okay, well.” And it’s so weird to think that the anime is going to catch up like fairly soon.

Nerium: Part two– yeah.

Fūnk-é: Their rollout for this is doodoo, though.

merritt: Oh, no, it’s terrible.

Fūnk-é: [laughs] For Netflix.

merritt: I started watching the second phase. They killed so much of the momentum of part six, which really sucks, because it’s so great.

Fūnk-é: They really did.

Nerium: So weird.

merritt: It’s such a great part.

Nerium: What a weird way to handle it.

merritt: But yeah, part two of part six just came out last week, and it’s good. So many great powers.

Fūnk-é: Yeah, it is definitely JoJo. I was worried I was gonna be–

merritt: Although they did change Limp Bizkit’s name, which…

Fūnk-é: Limp Viscuit, right?

Nerium: Limp Viscuit.

merritt: Well, they changed it to Limp Viscuit, but there was a fan translation… [quiet laughter]

Nerium: Mm-hmm?

merritt: That was used, I think, in a few other games, called Flaccid Pancake.

Fūnk-é: Ugh.

Nerium: Okay. That’s great.

merritt: That was used in Eyes of Heaven, I believe.

Nerium: Eyes of Heaven, okay.

merritt: Which is the other game by CyberConnect2 that was for the PS4, which was like, it’s like their Naruto ones that are– it’s like a 3D arena fighter, much less of a balanced fighting game, more fan service.

Nerium: Okay. That was actually the game that I covered for zam.com.

merritt: I thought that might have been, because you started talking about Titanfall 2, and I was like, Titanfall 2? That’s not 2012, 2013. That was like much– [laughs] that was on the PS4.

Nerium: Still pre Diamond is Unbreakable anime, but yeah.

merritt: Yeah, that’s true. But yeah, Eyes of Heaven. I love that game, because I was like at the peak of my JoJo fandom, I think, when that game came out.

Nerium: Mm.

merritt: And I bought a PS4 so that I could play that game.

Nerium: Right!

merritt: Which was…

Nerium: I forgot about that!

Fūnk-é: Oh.

merritt: I mean, that and Overwatch, which honestly, [Fūnk-é laughs] in terms of enduring legacy, I feel like Eyes of Heaven is actually…that was the better decision for me.

Fūnk-é: [laughs] True. Before we move on…

merritt: Yeah.

Fūnk-é: Who is everyone’s favorite JoJo?

merritt: Oh. When you say favorite JoJo, do you mean protagonist or just any character?

Fūnk-é: Protagonist.

merritt: [sighs] Oh boy.

Nerium: Mm…

merritt: I mean, I think Josuke, for me.

Fūnk-é: Yep.

Nerium: Josuke, yeah.

merritt: Josuke is just like–

Fūnk-é: Josuke. Jolene close second for me, so far.

merritt: Jolene is also great. Jolene is like one of the funniest, I think? has like some of the best lines.

Nerium: Yeah.

merritt: But also it’s really funny when Araki tries to write female characters, because he’s just like, “I don’t know. They’re kind of just like dudes with boobs, right?” [Fūnk-é laughs]

Nerium: Yeah, uh huh.

merritt: “They just sort of say things the same way, right?” [laughs]

Fūnk-é: Same way he writes kids. I don’t know, they’re like dudes but small. [Nerium laughs]

merritt: I don’t know how to draw dogs. I don’t know how to write anything except like weird Victorian men. Yeah.

Nerium: And a vampire and his boyfriend priest who is in love with him [merritt: “Yeah”] and like wants to end the world and…yeah, uh huh.

merritt: I mean, listen, I love Jotaro. I love…

Fūnk-é: He needs to be nicer to his mom.

merritt: I love Joseph. Actually, Joseph might be my number one as well.

Nerium: Joseph is actually…yeah.

merritt: Because he is like so fucking good.

Nerium: Part four is my favorite part.

merritt: Mm-hmm.

Fūnk-é: Um, he’s kind of problematic.

Nerium: Oh, they’re all problematic, Fūnk-é.

Fūnk-é: [laughs] I’m joking.

merritt: Yeah, I like when Joseph is like, “Oh, this lady’s really hot. I hope she’s not my mom or anything.”

Nerium: [laughs] God, Joseph rules. Piece of shit. Also–

merritt: One of my favorite JoJo memes is a galaxy brain thing of like, [Nerium: “Yeah”] you know, the progression, and it’s like, “Joseph can predict his opponents’ lines, because he’s like a smart fighter, and, you know, is a keen warrior.”

Nerium: Yeah. He’s clever.

merritt: “Joseph can predict his opponents’ lines, because he developed Hermit Purple early and so he’s using it unconsciously.”

Fūnk-é: Oh.

merritt: And then the highest one was like, “Joseph can predict his opponents’ lines, because he’s English and reads left to right.” [all laugh] Ah, such a good character.

Fūnk-é: He is. And they put that old man in so many seasons.

merritt: I know. It’s so sad by the time of part four though, ’cause he’s just like [Nerium: “Yeah”] so old, and he’s just like– [“Back in my day”] he just didn’t do Hamon anymore.

Nerium: That’s such a good bit, though, is like the idea of people who do Hamon can live to be like 300, and he’s just this doddering old man, ’cause he’s lazy as shit and didn’t keep his training up.

merritt: He’s like, I don’t know. The real answer is Araki probably just forgot.

Fūnk-é: He stays forgetting.

merritt: But like, it’s funny when people come up with answers to this stuff. A couple more games I want to talk about on this list. Temtem is in 1.0 now.

Nerium: Friend of the site Lotus really loves that game.

merritt: Lotus, friend and employee–

Fūnk-é: [laughs] Lotus works at the site,.

merritt: Loves this game. And I remember when I heard about this first coming out and was like, “Oh, this is gonna be the Pokémon killer,” and, of course, I hadn’t learned at that point that nothing can kill Pokémon. But it certainly seems cool. Like, it seems like it’s made by people who really like Pokémon, and like, it’s all team battles, right?

Nerium: Yes. From what Lotus showed me on Couch Surf—the stream that we did two weeks ago now, I believe—it does seem like it is all team battles. I will also say, like, this game seems– I don’t know, take this for what you will, in terms of how popular this game actually is, but we just, apparently, as we’re recording this, posted a tweet that just shows Lotus’s like type chart that shows like [merritt: “Uh huh”] the different like crystal, digital, earth, electric, all that stuff and how they do against each other. And it’s like…you know, in the last like hour or whatever, it’s gotten like 54 retweets. You know, so people are, you know, paying attention to this game.

merritt: I’ll also say this for this game. It looks visually arguably better than modern Pokémon games. [laughs]

Nerium: Oh, yeah.

Fūnk-é: Shots fired.

merritt: I mean, you know, it does have a sort of distinctive style to it that the faces do look a little upsetting, kind of mobile game ad face, but I don’t know. People like it.

Nerium: I don’t know, it’s got a style. It’s got like a…there’s a color palette to this game that’s really interesting.

merritt: Yeah.

Fūnk-é: Mm-hmm. I love that one of the types here is digital. That’s really cool.

merritt: Digital. [laughs quietly]

Nerium: Yeah.

Fūnk-é: Pokémon needs that shit.

Nerium: Lotus was like explaining that to me, it’s like, yeah, in the lore, they tried to like make artificial Temtems, and then it just spiraled–

merritt: Mm, like Porygon.

Fūnk-é: Mm-hmm.

Nerium: Yeah, exactly. Spiraled out of control.

merritt: I’m a digital dog with five electric asses.

Fūnk-é: Oh?

merritt: That’s a Spore. That’s a…it’s in Spore. That’s a thing you can do. Uh, what else? What else? Beyond the Wire

Fūnk-é: Ooblets hit 1.0 as well.

merritt: What is that? What’s 1.0?

Fūnk-é: Ooblets hit 1.0.

merritt: Ooblets hit 1.0! Ooblets.

Nerium: Oh, wow.

merritt: Wait, is that…that’s on Epic?

Fūnk-é: That’s on Epic and…yeah, Switch as well.

merritt: Okay, well, Gabe doesn’t think that’s very tasty.

Fūnk-é: Damn. Sorry, Gabe.

Nerium: Wow.

merritt: It’s on Epic. It’s not on Gabe’s great store.

Nerium: Maybe if Gabe had a little more money.

merritt: What if they just renamed Steam Gabe’s Place?

Nerium: Gabe’s Place.

merritt: [laughs quietly] Beyond the Wire is a 50 versus 50 multiplayer FPS that is a World War I game.

Fūnk-é: One of those like Holdfast style things, I guess.

merritt: Yeah.

Nerium: Oh, Beyond the Wire, like barbed wire, probably.

merritt: Yes, yeah.

Nerium: That is not what I thought that game would be.

merritt: It launched into 1.0 last week and has a sort of mixed reception, it looks like, but kind of– you don’t see a ton of World War I games. I mean, I guess Battlefield did that a few years ago.

Nerium: There’s a couple. Yeah, there’s like…I don’t know. There’s always games for historical military perverts being made that we just never hear about.

merritt: Yeah.

Nerium: Like, Hell Let Loose came out the other year.

merritt: Oh, yeah. Yeah.

Nerium: I forget if that’s World War I or World War II? But that’s like about tank divisions.

merritt: One, I feel like, has the disadvantage for video game fodder of being much more sort of sitting in a hole and waiting to get blown up, [Fūnk-é laughs] is sort of the World War I experience as I understand it.

Nerium: Right. I think that was the idea– and maybe Hell Let Loose is World War II, but I think that was the idea, was like, oh, this is gonna be very much about like, you are running a tank crew.

merritt: Oh.

Nerium: And it’s like multiplayer, so somebody is like driving the tank, but they can only see like, you know, five feet in front of them, ’cause there’s smoke and fire [merritt: “Right”] and they’re looking through like a tiny little porthole, and then somebody else has to be the commander who is coming over the comms and like saying, “Okay, turn right. Start heading in this direction. Blah, blah, blah, blah.”

merritt: Mm. That’s cool.

Nerium: That is World War II as well, but still.

merritt: Oh.

Nerium: I think like there’s, you know, you do stuff with that.

merritt: Yeah.

Nerium: They had tanks in World War I.

merritt: They sure did. Last game I want to talk about real quick is called Railbound, and this is a puzzle game about fixing train connections, and Rock Paper Shotgun recommends it.

Nerium: Oh.

merritt: So, this is by Afterburn, and they also did inbento, which is a game I played…

Nerium: Oh.

merritt: A year or two ago? I just, I definitely played inbento. Like I downloaded it, and like inbento was like, “Oh, it’s like a little puzzle game about making lunch boxes, that’s so nice.” And then it’s about a mother cat making lunch boxes for a child cat, and then the child cat gets older and moves out, and I was just like…

Fūnk-é: Oh.

merritt: I was just like so sad. [laughs]

Nerium: I remember this.

merritt: I was like, this isn’t supposed to be how this works. [laughs] They also made a game called Golf Peaks, where you’re sort of like golfing up a mountain, that came out in 2018 that people liked. So this is their new thing, and it looks…I like the style.

Nerium: I do see a game…

merritt: Yeah? You see a game?

Nerium: Oh, I mean, if we want to keep talking about this one, we can.

merritt: Yeah, no, no, no, please. What do you got for me?

Nerium: I was just gonna say I clicked through on the New Releases list for me, because I do have it opened up to show me the porn, [Fūnk-é laughs] and so I–

merritt: “Show me the porn!” is like the worst Jerry McGuire parody.

Nerium: [laughs] So I usually click through and look at the bigger list so that I can skip past a lot of the porn stuff.

merritt: Yeah.

Nerium: And I saw Immortality is on this list. I think a couple of us played that.

merritt: It is, yeah. Yeah, you all…did both of you play this?

Fūnk-é: Yes, I played it. I didn’t get too far. I got like three hours in?

Nerium: Oh, I think you might even be farther than I am, then. Well, I guess the nature of the game is like, who knows?

Fūnk-é: Yeah.

Nerium: But this is, yeah.

Fūnk-é: I think it’s a really ambitious story they’re trying to tell, and I think it’s very cool that they have so many different parts of it meticulously planned.

Nerium: Yeah.

Fūnk-é: I really don’t like how it operates, though. I think the UI is rough.

Nerium: Yeah.

Fūnk-é: And that’s the only thing that’s been stopping me from continuing it, but I hear a lot of people are enjoying it, so, yeah. I hope people are having fun with it.

Nerium: Yeah. I played a little bit of it over the weekend. I’ve not had nearly– there’s just, I know Kenneth—and I think to maybe to a lesser extent, you—just have huge issues with like the controls. Just like, I know Kenneth can’t stand the way that this game controls.

Fūnk-é: Mm-hmm.

Nerium: It took me a minute, and I’m playing with a controller specifically—I’m not using a mouse and keyboard, which maybe makes a difference, I don’t know—’cause I’m playing on Game Pass on Xbox. ‘Cause I learned it was on Xbox, and I was like, “Oh, I’ll download that real quick. Oh, they got Tinykin on here or Immortality. [merritt laughs] Which to choose?” And I booted up Immortality over the weekend for a little while, and it is massively technically impressive.

Fūnk-é: Yeah.

Nerium: Like in terms of both the obvious thing of just like, oh, it’s really impressive that they took every single like frame from all of these different like fake movies that they made and individually counted out like, okay, if you click on that, it’s gonna take you to one of these things. We have to categorize all of that. Like, that’s impressive.

merritt: Hmm.

Nerium: But it’s also just like really impressive that like– ‘cause for people at home who don’t know, Immortality is like, it’s the new game from Half Mermaid, the Her Story and Telling Lies people, and it is very much in that Sam Barlow game type of vein, where you are looking through footage, live action footage, of stuff and piecing together a story by looking at individual segments from different things. In this one, one of the big things is it’s footage that is all showing like things that were filmed featuring or shot by a particular actress.

merritt: Mm.

Nerium: Who, as far as I can tell, did a couple of movies in like the seventies and then disappeared until 1999.

Fūnk-é: And then did another movie.

Nerium: And then did another movie, yeah.

Fūnk-é: And then disappear.

Nerium: Yeah. And so it is the movies, but it’s also like behind the scenes footage of them like doing rehearsals. It’s like, uh…God, is Jimmy Stewart? No, that’s not right. What the fuck is his name?

merritt: Yeah, famously alive man, Jimmy Stewart.

Nerium: Yeah, Jimmy Stewart. No, ‘cause it is– so it’s stuff from the seventies, and it’s like…you know, pre David Letterman. I forget who that guy was, but like the talk show host type thing. So there’s like a Late Show type thing where people are coming on and talking about, “Oh, you’ve brought a clip of your new movie,” and you see that guy.

merritt: [laughs] It’s just the Mac and Me kid going off the cliff every time.

Nerium: It’s the Mac and Me Paul Rudd thing, yeah. [laughter]

merritt: I’m making a mod for this game where it’s just every clip is that.

Nerium: Johnny Carson, says Jordo in the chat. Thank you. It’s like a Johnny Carson type of program with like, oh, she’s coming onto the show to promote her new movie.

merritt: Mm.

Nerium: And then like, oh, and then two months later, the director of her new movie is on to talk about instead how she has like, you know, become a recluse and doesn’t do acting anymore, after her like first two movies, and then she just dips. But like, what’s really impressive to me about a lot of that stuff is like, they are trying to emulate the visual style of a 1970s [merritt: “Mm”] like art house film and a 1990s like late nineties thriller in like the vein of like a Sharon Stone movie or something like that.

merritt: Mm-hmm.

Nerium: And they largely nail the look and feel of those movies, [merritt: “Hmm”] in a way that is not just like…it would be so easy for that to be just like, “We put a filter over this thing.”

merritt: Yeah.

Nerium: But there’s like one scene in like her first movie, which is like set in this convent. And it’s like this overhead shot of a mausoleum, and it’s like, oh, wow. That looks exactly like the kind of like…you know, I don’t know the exact terminology for a lot of this stuff from film and stuff like that, but like where they will superimpose miniatures onto the background of a thing to make it–

merritt: Mm.

Nerium: You know, to provide the illusion of a sky box. And then meanwhile, it’s like, okay, this is probably mostly happening on a sound stage that they have built the mausoleum part on, and then everything in the background, this whole city isn’t real, and you can tell it’s just models, [merritt: “Mm-hmm”] but they’ve done it in such a way that it looks right. It looks like, you know, Bram Stoker’s Dracula or something.

merritt: Mm.

Nerium: Composite shots, says Jordo. Jordo’s just like on fire today with the technical jargon.

Fūnk-é: Yep.

Nerium: But yeah, so that stuff has been pretty cool, and I don’t have any problems with the controls necessarily. The thing I don’t like is I don’t think the– so, the premise of what you’re doing with like the controls is that, anytime you want, you can pause the footage, click on anything or anyone, and it will take you to a random other clip or scene [merritt: “Mm”] featuring that thing or that person, and the element of randomness does nothing for me. I don’t think it like adds anything. And a lot of people out there have been like talking to me like, “No, it’s about just being taken along for the ride and experiencing it.”

Fūnk-é: Nere, yep. I know exactly what you’re talking about. Like, in the interview with PC Gamer, Sam Barlow’s talking about that as well, like the lack of it being specific where you click on.

Nerium: Yeah.

Fūnk-é: And that’s another thing where I’m like, I wanted to click on this plate.

Nerium: Right.

Fūnk-é: Like, why am I being taken where the mirror is going? You know?

Nerium: Yeah, that’s the other thing too, is like, it doesn’t tell you what you are actually clicking on. So it’s like, there’s a part where there’s a scene where somebody has a Barbie doll on a crucifix, and I was like, “Oh, that’s interesting. I wonder if that doll or if dolls show up elsewhere in the thing,” and it doesn’t tell you, it just says, “This is a thing you can click on,” doesn’t say what you’re actually clicking on, and actually what it took me to was a crucifix. And I was like, “Oh, okay. That’s not what I wanted to do here, actually.”

Fūnk-é: Hmm.

Nerium: If there’s no dolls, just tell me there’s no other dolls.

merritt: Mm.

Nerium: And that was kind of what Her Story was. Her Story was you would click on specific words and it would take you to wherever that word appears elsewhere. It would show you like every single other thing, and you could click through those as you wanted to. This one like takes that level of control out of your hands and that I don’t think actually adds to the experience to me in a meaningful way.

merritt: Mm-hmm.

Fūnk-é: I totally get that. That’s another part of the controls for me, like that just slots into the same thing.

Nerium: Right, yeah.

Fūnk-é: It’s a bit harder to use, but I want to use it well because of what they did technically. It’s amazing.

Nerium: Yeah. For sure. Jordan asks if the acting is better than Her Story. Like, massively. Like, yes. I think by the time of Telling Lies, they had gotten really good at finding like actors who knew what they’re doing with this stuff. Like I said, I think from a technical perspective, from a performance perspective, I think all of this is like super interesting and good. It’s just, I think that the design choice that was made around how you interact with it is not– I don’t think– I feel like it’s a difference for the sake of like, “Well, we can’t just do Her Story 2.”

merritt: Right, yeah.

Nerium: And not necessarily ’cause it adds anything.

Fūnk-é: Hmm.

Nerium: But people disagree with me.

merritt: But is there an ending?

Nerium: Well, it’s when you’re satisfied.

merritt: Okay. But how do I know when I’m satisfied? [Fūnk-é laughs quietly]

Nerium: Ohhhhhh!

merritt: I feel like that is– having not played any of these games, that, to me, is the greatest contribution. And I’m sure they’re, you know, fascinating and rich texts, but that, to me, is just such an incredible contribution to like the history of culture to have spawned that exchange.

Nerium: Yeah. That exchange is so good.

merritt: It’s just…Fūnk-é, do you know about this?

Nerium: Yeah.

Fūnk-é: Which one?

Nerium: Oh. I wonder if we can find it.

Fūnk-é: I guess not. I thought you were just saying something. I didn’t know you were referencing something earlier.

merritt: No, no, no, no, no. Let me find this, because it’s…

Nerium: God, it’s like all over the place now too.

merritt: Oh, no, no. Nope, not that. Okay, yeah, so… [laughs]

Nerium: Okay, I found the original Steam discussion, yeah.

merritt: This was a forum, a Steam discussion on the forums, and someone was trying to figure out like, okay, how do I…like, how do I play this? Like, what is happening in this game? [Fūnk-é laughs] And it’s like, “I know we’re trying to look through the clips and find something out, but what? And when we do find it, what next?” And I think the original reply has been deleted, but I’ve found it somewhere else, and it says, “It’s up to you to decide when you are satisfied with the information you have found.” And the original author replies, [Fūnk-é: “Wow”] “How do I decide when I am satisfied?” [laughter] Which is like such an unintentionally poignant thing.

Nerium: Uh huh.

merritt: Like, you can be like, “Oh, yeah, games just spoon feed things to people, and they’re so–” but also like, genuinely good question! [laughs]

Fūnk-é: Yeah.

Nerium: Yeah!

merritt: Like, you know, kind of unintentionally deep, but pretty great exchange.

Fūnk-é: Yeah, for those, I feel like…I mean, I haven’t played through a full one of these games—like I played through a bit of Her Story for class—but I also feel like I would just be like, “Okay, I’m done with this.”

merritt: Yeah.

Fūnk-é: I don’t know if satisfied would be the right word, but like, I’ve had enough? kind of thing.

Nerium: Yeah. That’s what it’s designed to do.

Fūnk-é: Okay.

Nerium: These games like don’t– there’s not a point where– at least not from the ones I’ve played. I played Her Story. I’ve not played Telling Lies. I know people really like Telling Lies, though. I don’t think it like made it as big of a splash as Her Story did, but I think like Telling Lies is like really well liked by people who have played it. And that is how that game is. That game is like told through– you are investigating a bunch of clips through a computer terminal in like a police archive, and occasionally you will get like DMs or like IMs from somebody who is like, “Hey, you know, blah, blah, blah. This, that, and the other thing. Here’s what’s going on in the world around you as you’re looking at these movie clips,” but that basically just ends with the character being like, “Okay, well, just, you know, log out when you’re done.” Like, whenever you feel like you’re ready, just log out. And that’s like the last real exchange you have about that, about like when the ending is [merritt: “Mm”] or like the last marker of what the ending of that game is. That game is basically trying to decide if this one lady who you were watching clips of in these like police interrogation videos, it, did she murder some people or did she not?

Fūnk-é: Mm-hmm.

Nerium: And the other things around that. Did, you know…she has this story about like who she is and who she was, what her name is, you know, some things like that. I don’t want to spoil too much, but there’s like some questions about her identity and who might have– if she didn’t kill these people, who might have done it? And the question then is just like, what are– the ending of that game is you basically deciding: This is what I think happens. And then the actual ending of that game is going on to GameFAQs forums and arguing with people for six hours about like, “No, you’re an idiot.”

merritt: [laughs] Yeah.

Nerium: “She was telling the truth, and this thing happened.” And then it’s like, “No, no, no, it can’t possibly be that. This thing happened.”

merritt: That’s the real meta.

Nerium: It’s the real metagame. And that’s also just like what I remember very much at the time. I think, Jordo, for your talk here, I think, like, I remember having conversations in the Joystiq Podcast Appreciation Group, the Facebook group for the Joystiq podcast, back in the day, I remember talking with a bunch of people in there about like what I thought happened versus what they thought happened and what other people thought happened and blah blah blah and like people trying to coalesce different theories on things. It’s a little bit like Fez [merritt: “Mm”] or Tunic where it’s like, oh, we’re crowdsourcing the information that we have found in these different places, but whereas like those games have like a very definitive, once you’ve crowdsourced the solution to the thing, you go in and you press a button, and a secret door unlocks, and you get a cool sword.

merritt: Mm.

Nerium: Whereas in this, it’s just like, “What do you think happened? Well, I have this piece of information from over here, and this turns that whole opinion on its head.”

merritt: Mm-hmm.

Fūnk-é: Yeah.

merritt: Well, the truth is somewhere in the middle, as it is in all respects. [laughs]

Nerium: [deep sigh] All right, I’m taking this show back. Fanwidth coming back next week everybody! [merritt and Fūnk-é laugh]

merritt: We’ll see. We’ll see about that.

Nerium: Yeah, we will.

merritt: But yeah, I think we could probably…we can probably start to wrap. I’ve been playing Destiny also, but that sort of goes without saying at this point.

Nerium: Mm.

Fūnk-é: Oh! Oh, also, I have an update.

merritt: Yes?

Fūnk-é: League of Legends. I entered a tournament with my friends.

merritt: Oh.

Fūnk-é: And we want first place.

Nerium: Ooh!

merritt: Whoa, let’s go!

Fūnk-é: Noxus Cup.

Nerium: Congrats.

Fūnk-é: We out here!

merritt: Did you say Noctis Cup? Did the Final Fantasy

Fūnk-é: Noxus.

merritt: Okay. I was gonna say, did the Final Fantasy XV character sponsor a League of Legends tournament?

Fūnk-é: I wish. He has the money. He has the money for it. [merritt laughs] He’s got the gil.

merritt: Uh huh.

Nerium: [laughs] Is that your recommendation for this week?

merritt: Oh, we didn’t do that. Yeah.

Fūnk-é: Hell nah. [laughs]

merritt: Yeah. We do have one more segment that we always do that I always remember about, and it’s called Get Rec’d.

Nerium: Mm-hmm.

merritt: And we are gonna recommend some stuff. So, Nere, what do you got?

Nerium: I recommend…hmm. Do I got a good one this week? I feel like I had one maybe in mind earlier, but I mean, the one thing that keeps jumping to mind right now is: if you can, open a window.

merritt: Ah. I mean, I definitely–

Nerium: Just be in a room with an open window.

Fūnk-é: Oh my gosh.

merritt: Well, I mean, I took all those window opening classes in high school.

Nerium: Mm-hmm, yeah.

merritt: So I’m really well equipped to do this. If you didn’t go to school where I did, you might not have taken those classes, but…

Fūnk-é: I didn’t take those classes, and there is a weird bug on the other side of my window right now.

merritt: Oof.

Nerium: Okay.

Fūnk-é: It slips through the screen. I’ve been looking at it this whole recording.

merritt: Ah, no.

Nerium: Ah. Mm.

Fūnk-é: So I feel like that bug paid you to say that, Nerium.

Nerium: Well, uh…

merritt: [imitating bug] Open the window.

Fūnk-é: Are you taking the bug check?

merritt: I’m a little bug.

Nerium: I’m taking that bug juice, you know? [merritt sighs] Okay, no. I retract my– I was gonna say a whole thing about like fresh air and being able to hear the sounds of the outside world [merritt: “Uh huh”] and just kind of experience reality around you beyond the sort of like [Fūnk-é: “What is reality?”] limitations of like the funnel of a digital screen, but no, I take all that back. Fuck that. Buy a Kit Kat bar. It’s a quality candy bar. [Fūnk-é laughs] One of the best, I would say, of the gas station chocolates that exist, in terms of like just the crispiness.

merritt: Mm.

Nerium: The quality of chocolate, I feel, slightly better than a lot of others. It’s good stuff. Freeze it. Put it in your freezer.

merritt: I wish I lived in Japan. Only for Kit Kats, though.

Nerium: Yeah, like green tea Kit Kat.

merritt: Because they got so many kinds of Kit Kats. It’s like a cultural institution over there.

Nerium: Yeah. It’s like different…what are they called? Prefectures?

merritt: Just like varieties of Kit Kats, just so many kinds you can get.

Nerium: Yeah.

merritt: And yeah, a Kit Kat is, I would say, one of the better– there’s a Wikipedia article, “Kit Kats in Japan,” if you don’t believe me.

Nerium: Yeah.

merritt: This isn’t something I’m making up.

Nerium: No, no, this is real.

merritt: I would say Kit Kat has the advantage of being mostly not chocolate so that it doesn’t matter even if the chocolate is bad.

Nerium: Yeah. It’s about the crisp and the crunch on that.

merritt: God, I love the crisp and the crunch.

Nerium: It’s about the experience. A Kit Kat– the thing that kind of rules about a Kit Kat is that, more so than I think pretty much any other like mainstream candy bar, eating a Kit Kat is like an activity. It’s like a little fun outing, you know?

merritt: Yeah. You know what?

Nerium: In the same way, like, oh, we’re going to take an art class today. It’s like, I’m gonna spend the next 30 minutes eating a Kit Kat.

merritt: That is so true. I love that. That’s great.

Nerium: ‘Cause you have– you know, you snap off the end.

merritt: Well, now I want a Kit Kat, though.

Nerium: Yeah.

merritt: So, God damnit. Do you remember the– do they still use the “gimme a break” theme or has that not been used for 20 years, probably? [laughs quietly]

Nerium: I don’t know.

merritt: They had a little jingle.

Nerium: Jordan– I keep expecting him to get in here and say.

merritt: A little jingle about like, “Break me off a piece of that Kit Kat bar.”

Nerium: [singing] “Give me a break. Give me a break.”

merritt: Yeah.

Nerium: “Give me a break of that Kit Kat–”

Fūnk-é: I don’t know that song, but…

Nerium: Wait, really?

Fūnk-é: It sounds good.

merritt: Okay, so definitely they haven’t used it in like 20 years then.

Nerium: [singing] Kit Kat bar.

merritt: I wish I could get Coffee Crisp down here too. Now, that’s a hell of a chocolate bar. It’s a weird Canadian thing. Fūnk-é, you got a recommendation?

Fūnk-é: I do. I do. I moved this past week, back to Toronto.

merritt: Mm-hmm.

Fūnk-é: And it went mostly good. Some things went wrong, but I was just like, it doesn’t even matter. Like, that’s just gonna be wrapped up in a bit. [Nerium laughs] I fully– I don’t know what happened. Like, some things that are definitely bad happened, and I haven’t been too affected by it.

Nerium: Okay?

merritt: So, what is your recommendation? [merritt and Nerium laugh]

Fūnk-é: My recommendation is just…

merritt: Just like, this is sort of a general update.

Fūnk-é: Chill. Chill out.

merritt: Just detach yourself from all consequences? [Nerium laughs]

Fūnk-é: Not detach yourself, ’cause I’m recognizing these are things that are happening.

merritt: Yeah.

Nerium: Uh huh? [laughs]

Fūnk-é: But it’s like, what can I do about it? first of all.

merritt: Sure.

Nerium: Right. Yeah.

Fūnk-é: Like, I’ve done everything I could do about it, and life goes on.

Nerium: Right.

merritt: I mean, yeah. The universe is gonna, you know, burn out in a few billion years anyway, so who cares?

Fūnk-é: Yeah. Well, not even in like I’m doomer about it. Like, I’m like, “Dang, that sucks, but am I gonna let it ruin my whole day?”

Nerium: Yeah.

Fūnk-é: Nah.

merritt: So, yeah, no, Jordan just pointed out that you did just sort of reinvent radical acceptance. [Fūnk-é laughs]

Nerium: Mm-hmm.

merritt: Which is a good thing to do. If you’re capable of doing it, I would say, yeah, you should.

Nerium: Oh, I love radical acceptance.

merritt: I love to…I don’t, actually. I fucking hate accepting things. [laughter] I refuse to accept things.

Nerium: Yeah, I believe this about you. [laughs]

merritt: Which strangely doesn’t change my, uh…doesn’t change those things, [laughter] is sort of the key point of a radical acceptance is not accepting things doesn’t actually make them different.

Nerium: Uh uh.

Fūnk-é: Maybe one day it will, though.

merritt: So you’re sort of just grasping or flailing, and it doesn’t actually help anything, and it can often make things worse. So, don’t do that.

Nerium: I just read Dune early enough in my life.

merritt: Ah, yeah.

Nerium: And you know, like, “I must not fear. Fear is the mind killer.”

merritt: Fear is mind killer.

Fūnk-é: It is the mind killer!

Nerium: It’s the mind killer, though!

Fūnk-é: Like, you take that in, and you start stressing about everything, [merritt: “Yeah”] and you’re like, “Oh, but what if this, and what if that?”

Nerium: You must let it pass over and through you.

merritt: I mean, okay. So, I do have the…I do have that memorized, because I used to repeat it to myself on flights, because I used to be really–

Nerium: Uh huh, because you love that Moby song.

merritt: ‘Cause I love that Moby song. I didn’t even know that Moby sampled that, but that’s great. [Nerium laughs] But also, if it were me, I just wouldn’t be in a situation where an old lady put my hands in a box with a poison needle. I just like… [Fūnk-é laughs]

Nerium: Mm.

merritt: I’m sorry. I just like wouldn’t let myself–

Fūnk-é: Just like, “Put the hand in!”

merritt: Like the series of events that would have to occur for that to happen, I would just not be in there, so it wouldn’t be a problem for me.

Fūnk-é: Would you be in the room, though? Would it be something where she’s like, “Okay, put it in the box,” and you’re like, “No”?

merritt: No. I would not be in the room where it happens, I’ll tell you that.

Fūnk-é: Okay.

merritt: Unlike Lin Manuel Miranda, I would not be in that room.

Nerium: Is that a Lin Manuel– is that a Hamilton thing?

merritt: Yeah, “The Room Where it Happens.” I want to recommend– [laughs]

Fūnk-é: I only know him from lip biting in images.

Nerium: Yeah.

merritt: Oh my God.

Nerium: I only know him from his guest appearances on McElroy podcasts.

merritt: Okay. Well, I want to recommend that you all look up a [Nerium laughs] Hamilton video that is approximately one minute long–

Fūnk-é: No! You can’t do this.

merritt: Called “If I can prove that I never touched my balls”. [Fūnk-é laughs] It has 4 million views. It’s very funny. I don’t think you need to have seen Hamilton, ’cause I haven’t seen it, for it to be funny, but that’s not my real recommendation. My real recommendation is also a YouTube video called “Whistle and I’ll Come to You”, which is a 1960s BBC TV production of a ghost story from, I think, the twenties? It’s like 45 minutes long. It’s free, ’cause it’s just on YouTube, and it’s about this shitty old professor who goes to like the countryside to just like, I don’t really know, sort of investigate like an old church or something, and is like, “Oh, I don’t believe in ghosts. Ghosts aren’t real. They can’t hurt me,” and then is in for a rude awakening when he discovers that ghosts are real possibly.

Nerium: Whoa! [Fūnk-é gasps]

merritt: It’s great old horror. Also, I have to imagine– like, it’s pretty unsettling. I have to imagine though that when this aired in like ‘68 or whatever that the BBC probably got complaints about it being too frightening or something, but…

Nerium: Is it a video nasty?

merritt: [laughs] No, predates video nasties.

Nerium: Oh.

merritt: Video nasties was like seventies, eighties, I feel like.

Nerium: Okay.

merritt: Maybe nineties even. But it’s called “Whistle and I’ll Come to You”.

Nerium: Hmm.

merritt: It is based on an M. R. James story, and if you like it, then–

Fūnk-é: Mr. James.

merritt: Mr. James. [laughs] Then there is a movie called Night of the Demon that is based on another M. R. James story, and it’s directed by Jacques Tourneur, and it’s also– because this guy was like a medievalist, and like he was like a scholar and all that stuff, but he’s most remembered for his ghost stories, and they’re mostly about professors or like smart people being like, “There is no such thing as a demon,” and then being like, “Oh shit, there’s such a thing as a demon!” [laughs] And just like a kind of Lovecraftian in that aspect of like, you know, when the powers of reason fail.

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

merritt: But Night of the Demon, also really good.

Fūnk-é: What’s the original one called, you said?

merritt: “Whistle and I’ll Come to You”, which is like 45 minutes, and it’s good. It stars Michael Hordern, who, uh…no one knows from anything that’s listening to this podcast.

Fūnk-é: Okay.

merritt: He was in A Christmas Carol, I think. He was in this version that they air every year that my mom watches every year, but.

Nerium: Oh.

merritt: Yeah.

Nerium: Can I also make a movie recommendation for a horror movie that is not anywhere near as like, you know, sort of buttoned up and probably culturally interesting as yours, but is sort of in the public consciousness now, ’cause they announced a video game of it for no fucking reason?

merritt: Yeah. Wait, what is it?

Fūnk-é: Solaris?

Nerium: Everybody should go out there and watch—I don’t know where you can watch it, but I’m sure it exists on some streaming service—Killer Klowns from Outer Space.

merritt: Oh, what?

Nerium: It’s a hell of a film.

merritt: Wait.

Nerium: Yeah, did you miss this, merritt?

Fūnk-é: Didn’t think you were gonna say that.

merritt: No, I definitely missed this. That would explain, though– YouTube was recommending a video to me today that was like, “Killer Klowns from Outer Space. What are they? Where did they come from?” And I was like, why is this…

Nerium: Yeah.

merritt: They’re making a game of it?

Nerium: Yeah, they’re making a– it’s the people– I guess it’s gonna be in the vein of like one of the Dead By Daylight things, but it almost seems like you’re more just playing as the killer clowns, like going through and harvesting people, ’cause that’s kinda what that movie is about. Fūnk-é, do you know about this movie?

Fūnk-é: It has been on my horror watch list for years.

Nerium: Ah.

Fūnk-é: And I just have never watched it, ’cause I was like, “Ugh. Looks gross.”

Nerium: It is gross. Oh, just to be clear for people out there who are watching this, if you have a problem– like it’s a goofy, goofy, goofy movie. It’s not a goofy movie like A Goofy Movie, but it’s a goofy movie. [laughter] ‘Cause the whole premise is like, what if clowns– our clowns, our earth clowns, if you will, were humans trying to like culturally, in the cultural consciousness, make fun of this horrible alien race that came and harvested humans 10,000 years ago, and like over time they were perverted into like, “Oh, we’re gonna make fun of them by making them clowns.”

merritt: What?

Nerium: But really, clowns are horrible aliens that come to earth to eat people, and all of the stuff that we associate with clowns are like their evil weapons that they use to kill us and take us. So like, little goofy looking ray guns that shoot cotton candy at people that puts them in cotton candy cocoons, but then they like open the cotton candy up, and it’s like, “Ah, they’re dead inside the cotton candy cocoon, ’cause all their skin is melted off!”

merritt: Oh my God.

Nerium: And like, the movie is full of like, it’s just– [laughs quietly] there was a tweet about it recently, where it’s just like, somebody was saying like, “It’s impressive how Killer Klowns from Outer Space explores every single possible clown-related thing that you could imagine.” [Nerium and merritt laugh] Like, nothing is left unturned. Cotton candy, popcorn, shadow puppets, regular puppets, pies, seltzer.

Fūnk-é: Balloons?

Nerium: Balloons. Oh yeah, like, when they want to take a person alive, they put them into giant floating balloons that they carry around. So like, it’s just this like, Night of the Creeps, like eighties movie era, like extremely low budget, but like really, really interesting practical effects creature feature from that era, that is like very gory, but just like, again, because almost every scene in this movie basically just exists to like have some kind of clown-related visual pun that leads to somebody getting murdered in the worst way possible by an alien. [merritt laughs] It’s really good.

Fūnk-é: Do they all get in a tiny car?

Nerium: Oh, I can’t remember if there’s a tiny car. I think probably. There’s definitely a– their spaceship looks like a giant flying saucer in the shape of a big top circus tent, which is very good, and it like flies off into space by spinning really fast like a big top.

Fūnk-é: Hmm.

Nerium: There’s a– the scene that from this movie that actually fucked me up the most—it’s like, you know, was stolen by Joss Whedon many years later—is like, there’s a cop who, because people are like, “There’s evil clowns coming around and killing everybody! We need to, you know, get the police out here and fight these clowns!” And like the cop answers the phone’s like, “We’ll send our best, you know, officers on it.” And then the camera pulls back and reveals that the cop is already dead [merritt: “Mm”] and a clown has their like hand in his back and is puppeting him like a big ventriloquist’s dummy.

merritt: Oh, wow.

Nerium: So there’s a lot of just great scenes of like, there’s like a little baby clown. It’s like talking to some bikers, and like– ’cause at first, everybody’s like, “Oh, these are just weird clowns.” And there’s like a biker, and the baby clown is like putting up their mitts, like, “I’m gonna box you!” with this biker. And the biker’s like, [mocking] “What are you gonna do? Knock my block off?” And then the baby clown punches him with a boxing glove, and his head flies off through the air. [laughs]

merritt: Of course. God.

Nerium: It’s a classic movie, and for whatever reason, [laughs] they’re making a video game out of it 30 years later, 40 years later.

merritt: [laughs] Oh my god.

Nerium: There’s a great song. There’s a theme song that’s just like a band that is just singing about killer clowns from outer space and like all the fucked up things that they do. There’s a music video that goes with it, and it’s just like, [singing] “Killer clowns.” It’s very silly.

merritt: Okay, well, I’m gonna have to watch this, this season. Well, that is the end of the show. Thank you all for listening, and yeah, check us out at fanbyte.com and stick around for more normal episodes of this show with the same format and cast as always.

Nerium: Sorry about that

merritt: And until next time, watch out for killer clowns, and keep that dial tuned to Channel F.