Discord on Xbox, Lebron in Multiverses, and the $70 Remake Debate

All this and more in the latest Spawn On Me podcast transcript!

In this week’s episode of Spawn On Me, host Kahlief Adams talks about Discord chat coming to Xbox, Lebron James arriving in Multiversus, and Spider-Man swinging to PC. Meanwhile, the “is The Last Of Us Part 1 worth $70″ conversation comes to a head on social media. In What We’ve Been Playing, Kah shares his thoughts about the charming post-apocalyptic cat simulator Stray and the upcoming sports shooter Rollerdrome.

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


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Kahlief: The views, information, or opinions expressed during the Spawn On Me podcast with Kahlief Adams are solely those of the individuals involved and do not necessarily represent those of my past, present, or future employers. Thank you so much for listening, and let’s get on with the show.

Spawn On Me is the premier podcast spotlighting people of color. Every week we talk news, what we’ve been playing, and tell you who’s invited to the cookout. Our show is all about talking about gaming through a prism of Blackness, because we are the culture. Welcome to Brookago, y’all.

Yo, what up, what up, what up, everybody on the Spawn On Me podcast with Kahlief Adams. I’m your host, Kahlief Adams. What the deal be? I hope you’re having a wonderful summer. It is now in full effect. People are wearing booty shorts. It is beautiful outside. Everybody is tanned. Everyone is lotioned. Everyone is moisturized. It is a beautiful time in Brookago. It is a beautiful time out in the world. And I hope that you are staying safe, hope you’re doing what you gotta do to make sure you’re out in the world keeping yourself and your loved one safe and having fun out there. It is a wild time out in these streets. It is a very difficult time for many folks.

It is also an abundant time for a lot of folks too. I think there’s a really interesting balance right now between, you know, feeling good and feeling rough about the state of the world. But I think, and I hope, that our show is giving you some respite from all the wild stuff out there and giving you something fun to look forward to every week. So, I am excited and happy to be rocking with y’all, to talk about some of the good stuff that’s coming through in the world of gaming this week, things that I thought were really interesting and really, really cool, and hopefully we get a chance to run through some of that stuff.

I wanted to give you all a quick update. Last week we had talked about my wife breaking her foot. Again, thank you for listening to this week’s show and last week’s show and all the shows in between. It is greatly appreciated. We went to the doctor. She got her foot checked out. She broke her ankle. Her ankle is actually broken. It is a fat slice through her ankle, and now we’re going to see if that has gotten better or if it’s getting worse, in the next week or so. I think either way, it’ll be probably about a little bit over a month and some change before she’s actually healed up, if she has to get surgery or not.

But thank you to everybody who shared kind words and stuff on social media. We all know what it’s like to go through, you know, pain in that way or to have people you love in pain, and hopefully they’re on the mend in the best ways. So, you know, thank you to everybody who sent in kind words about my lovely wife. And she’s doing okay. She’s walking around in the boot. She’s hopping along. We just went to the movies yesterday, and it was just like a struggle, ’cause I was like, “Oh no, I feel so bad for you having to hop your way into go seeing this movie with me.” [laughs] But she was like, “Yo, I’m down. I want to go rock it. I want to go do it.” So, you know, happy to get all that stuff together.

I don’t know if…and we’re determining this week if this is going to put my trip to Evo in jeopardy. It has been a thing that I have been really looking forward to, but I gotta make sure that the missus is okay and that she’s all right, so I may wind up…although I was amazingly excited to go to EVO this year, I might have to skip it, because, you know, gotta make sure she’s okay and she has people who are, you know, here to help her get through all the small mundane things that you have to do.

It’s so wild once you lose the ability to use a part of your body in a way that you used to, just how that throws everything outta whack. It does give me even more respect and even more sympathy for folks who are, you know, going through that as a daily part of their lives, folks in, you know, who have disabilities and folks who are differently abled. It is very, very hard to see people that you love who are not able to kind of do what they used to, so it gives me even more love and respect for folks who have this as a part of their daily existence.

And it is weird, and it probably sounds bad to say it out loud, but it does just really pull into focus just so many of the things that we’ve seen from some of our friends and family in those communities, and I think sometimes moments like these really just continue to lift up those voices of like why these conversations are so important, about how do you make spaces more accessible for everyone. It is…it just has made that– it has pulled that really to the forefront of my mind, of how can I find ways to be helpful for folks who have been asking for those things, and how can I be an ally in the fight in as many ways I can, more than I feel like I have been in the past.

So, you know, again, I want to give love to folks who are out there, who are going through it, folks who are persevering through all of that. And I want to say that, you know, it’s not a “I feel your pain” moment, but it is one of those like, I see you even more than I did before, and I hope that that…I hope that comes through in a way that doesn’t feel, you know, weird or negative or patronizing. That’s not the intent. I just feel like it’s one of those things that it winds up happening to you, and then you’re just like, “Oh, wow. Yeah. Okay.” This is really interesting in the way this works, and oh, you just see things that you didn’t really see as much before. All that to say is I love you all. I appreciate you all. And I think it’s time for us to just get into some of the news of the day, and let’s do that with the 411.

This week on the 411, we have a couple of dope stories to bring to you fresh, in full effect. Summer– not summer. San Diego Comic-Con is in full effect right now, so multiple things are getting discussed and revealed and shared into the world. All of those things are coming through in real ways. It has been just a waterfall of information in terms of new games, in terms of new experiences, in terms of new things coming out, new things that we’re gonna see well into 2025. I always find it really wild that people plan out that far. Like, the state of the world makes me worry to plan that far. Like I get excited about stuff and I’m like, “Oh, 2025, we might not even be here.” It is wild stuff to be planning out to 2025. But, you know, there’s a mix of the things that are coming soon and things that are coming into the far future.

One of the things that is coming soon that I’m very, very excited about is MultiVersus. MultiVersus is a game that is coming out of the WB camp. It is their Smash game. It is their Super Smash Brothers-esque game that features so many characters from the WB roster. One of the newest additions to this roster that I am very, very excited about is LeBrizzle Jamesizzle, LeBron James, King James, star small forward slash power forward slash money mogul slash billionaire, LeBron James will be in the game! He is going to be there alongside Rick Sanchez and Morty Smith, Rick and Morty. And they showed off his move set, which is literally him passing around a basketball in his Space Jam uniform and dunking on people, and it is one of the wildest, dumbest, funnest things on the gotdamn planet.

It is so great to see them go this wild on it, to see them dig into all of this, while, you know, having iconic characters like Batman and Superman and Wonder Woman in that stuff. And now Wonder Woman and LeBron James are gonna team up to dunk on Batman and Superman in the ways that we know that they should have and the ways that they can. I am very excited for this. I want this to be a thing where they bridge this out into other people who are– like, I want Jared Leto Joker in here now I want Ben Affleck Batman.

I don’t want Ezra Miller anywhere near it, even though that’s DC, that’s not Warner Brothers. But I just want…I just want all of these characters in here who are just gonna be super nuts in here. Like, I want the…I want Bugsy who was the [imitating] “Nyeah, see? Nyeah, see?” I want that character to be in the game now. Like, I want that one in there. I want Foghorn Leghorn in here. I want all of these things that are just wild, unreasonable, unnecessary characters in this game. I want them to just wile out and do whatever they want.

The one interesting thing about this is LeBron James is not using his own voice in the game. John Bentley will voice LeBron in the game, which is a little bit disappointing. I want LeBron to say stuff like, “Go get the ball. Hey. Hey, man. Hey, look at the clock. Hey, you sucked. Hey, Bronny.” I want him to say stuff like that. I just want it to be– that was a terrible LeBron impersonation, by the way. I don’t even know if LeBron sounds like that. That was a very– that was racist, actually. That was a racist– that was a very racist [laughs] interpretation of LeBron James.

That was like default generic Black man voiceover that I just did, and I want to take this moment to apologize to all my– to my Black audience, to my LeBron audience, to my Bronny audience, to my fans and foes. I just gotta say that that was unproper and beneath me to give LeBron such a generic Black man voice in the most stereotypical way, that was not Cole Train from Gears. So, I want to apologize and take this moment of silence to think about that.

[one second of silence]

Okay. So, back to the game. Yeah, I’m really excited for it. It’s gonna be available when MultiVersus drops, and that’s gonna be in season one, August 9, which is really, really close. I’ve been playing the game. It is really good. It is probably my next foray into another fighting game that is not Mortal Kombat.

I have been playing DNF Duel a bunch and being initially excited about that game. The more and more I play it, I am less and less excited about it, because of lots of different conversations. I think it’s a beautiful game. I think it’s gorgeous, but I also think that in fighting game terms, you can’t block shit! There’s nothing– you can’t block things. Like, you just have to get juggled forever and eat it, and that to me is just not a fun game, when you have that little in terms of defensive options. I should have put a whole segment about DNF and what I’m feeling and feeling in that space, but I’m, right now, not excited about that game in the ways that I had hoped.

But very excited for MultiVersus and hoping that that comes out pretty soon. I mean, not– I mean, we know it’s gonna be dropping on the 9th, but I think like the glut of what you’re gonna be able to put into that game, like will they have skins for LeBron in the game that are gonna be different than his Space Jam stuff? Like, will he wear anything that’s like a facsimile of a Lakers Jersey? Will he just look like– will he wear like a Balenciaga shirt just rolling around? Will he like rock the like HBO plus The Shop kind of look where he’s just chilling with some sweatpants and he’s sitting in a barber chair? Like, who knows what they could do with this version of LeBron in this game now that he is this media mogul in that way?

Next story up is something that I had been talking about for a long period of time. I had said publicly that whatever console got Discord chat to work on their platform would win this generation of video games. And if we’re going by that metric, then Xbox has now won this generation of video games, because they have available for Xbox insiders right now, Xbox to Discord chat, or Discord to Xbox chat is the better way to put it. You’ll now be able to go into the party tab on your Xbox console and link that directly to your Discord servers, your Discord account, and be able to talk to people in that space through Discord, which right now is the primary way to do cross-platform chat for most people, which is, oh, we have either your, you know, Bluetooth headset kind of format, where you’re talking on your phone with Discord on it while playing people on console, if you want to make that jump and don’t want to use the kind of native chat for those kinds of things.

I have played many, many games on many a night where we’ve done that, and it’s never really been fun to try to figure out how to sync all that stuff. I’m like wearing two sets of headphones and doing all this other kind of stuff. I got an earbud underneath a headset before I got my Xbox, you know, Bluetooth control– I mean, Bluetooth headset, which you can do dual chat between multiple devices, which is really, really fantastic. I just wish the microphone on that piece of gear was better. But yeah, you’ll be able to do that next. That’s gonna be a thing that’s gonna come to the space.

The most interesting part about this was PlayStation inked a deal with this a really long time ago, and they talked about having a minority stake in the company behind Discord, but they still haven’t gotten that secondary layer, which I think most players were hoping for where they wanted to see that chat layer come into and be integrated into the OS of the PlayStation 5 moving forward. I’m hoping that they still get that. I think, I mean, I don’t think this precludes Sony from doing this. I hope that this is a thing that is coming, because I think this is just a move that needs to happen across the board for all the stuff that’s in the mix now. Like I think it just makes sense to be able to have that as an option for what you want to do when you’re playing games like this. Like, not having that now feels like something that is making the console feel old in a weird way, which is not great.

Like I think that’s a thing that you need to be able to pull into the funnel in a way that is just comprehensive and makes sense and is just in the mix. Like not having that in that space currently just feels like a negative for that platform right now. But again, I hope this is a thing that moves that conversation forward. It is now currently with Xbox Insiders, and that will be rolling out to more players in a couple of weeks, so excited to see all of that wind up happening.

It seems like the way you do it is gonna be pretty easy too. You basically try Discord on– just go to voice on Xbox when you go to the player’s tab, and then you go to– I’m sorry, the parties and chats tab, and then you can scan a QR code that’ll link you to your Discord, and you’ll be able to jump in there. I am hype for that. That’s gonna save so many different having to try to figure out workarounds to make all of that stuff work. It’s been such a pain in the ass over the past year and some change to feel like, oh, I want to do this, but it doesn’t really work. I wish it was a thing that was working and it doesn’t really have a way to make that happen that’s not just like jumping through a bunch of hoops, and that’s not fun.

So, excited for that to be in the mix and now having that in the space. I do wonder now how much of the back and forth between Xbox and Discord is happening now, like I wonder what other layers are there, what other kinds of, you know, potential partnerships are gonna be in the mix for them, for that next layer of interconnectivity between players and making sure that that ecosystem is real tight within those conversations. I think that’s gonna be very, very cool once that all kind of gets into the mix, so I’m very, very excited for that to be up in that piece.

There’s another thing that’s in the works and in the conversations that I think is gonna be pretty interesting too. I do think right now we’re seeing a large push for many, many companies to unionize, and I think that there is a layer there. There was this great story over on Polygon from Nicole Carpenter that talked about how QA workers are driving the video game industry’s union push. I think, you know, I’m not gonna go into the layers of it here, ’cause I think we’ve talked about unionization a lot on our show. You know, we are very pro-union. We’re very pro, you know, making sure that their workers have their space to be able to do that. I would implore all of you to go check out that article. It’s on Polygon. It is a very, very well done article about how unionization is being looked at and who are the driving forces behind that.

I think QA, as always, has been this kind of, you know, black hole of information where, you know, unless you’re really in that space, you’re not really seeing and hearing all the kind of minutia of like how that stuff goes down, like how all of those things work. So it’s nice to see this kind of peek behind the curtain while also seeing so many folks continue to push for this level of protection for workers and protection for folks in the video game industry. It’s the only way a lot of folks see a kind of avenue to better working conditions. You know, I think that there’s always a positive and negative to everything, so I think I’m still– not on the fence, but I’m still like, you gotta take those things into account too, because power corrupts everything. But go check that article out. It is very, very good.

Last part of the 411 for today is all about Marvel’s Spider-Man Remastered, launching on Windows PC next month. The blockbuster remaster for PlayStation 5 is now going to PC. The thing that I am very much excited about is the PC-specific capabilities with it going to my favorite size, that 32 x 9 and 21 x 9 aspect ratio, especially if you have a big old fat widescreen like I do. I am super hyped for that stuff. It’ll have DLSS, uh, DLLA…uh, DLAA, I’m sorry. And, it’ll have all that deep learning goodness that you get from Nvidia in there, which I’m super excited about.

Also, the thing I’m really excited about is that it will also support PlayStation dual sense controllers, which is very, very important. I think the ability to have those haptics in this game is just going to make all of that so good, so fantastic. It is gonna be so brilliant to see all of that really come through in that space. I am way more excited at the possibility of what this game is gonna wind up being now, once we have seen, you know, you being able to use your actual controller for a lot of this stuff. That stuff is gonna be fire! I am very, very excited for that. So, make sure you’re getting a chance to check those things out for sure.

So, we’re gonna take a quick break. I’m gonna go grab some water. We’re gonna come back with a little bit of what we’ve been playing. I’m debating on if I want to talk a little bit about the $70 business that everybody was jumping on. Before we go to break, I’ll say this. This is my only real take without getting myself into any trouble. For as much as people are beefing about The Last of Us remake being 70 bucks, I think the more important angle to all of these conversations, besides value of the dollar, besides the do you think it’s worth it for a remake of this caliber.

We saw, you know, with the leak that happened, Naughty Dog responded with a 10 minute video that showcased all the things that were in the game that are going to be the new additions to it. I think the layers of AI that they’re adding that they’re pulling from Last of Us 2 that I think really were a showcase in how you make enemies react to you, I think is a huge leap for the first game and basically makes it a new game, because enemies are smarter and your characters are smarter. The accessibility layers are amazingly important. It was great to see friend of the show Steve Saylor talk about this and be like, “Look, if you’re thinking about, you know, value of money and value of worth, like this makes this game playable for me in a way that it wasn’t before.” I think the haptic feedback stuff is actually really important. I know people are really fussy about the fact that factions aren’t in the game, but we knew that that was gonna be a separate entity anyway.

The thing that I feel is the most interesting and actually thing that I would love people to dig into is two things. One, the feeling of FOMO within the gaming industry is really driving a lot of this conversation in a way that I feel is unhealthy and unsustainable. The second layer of it is you don’t have to purchase any of this stuff. Like, that game is a game you don’t have to buy, especially if you played it once or twice already, like, you don’t– even for all the new layers that are there. That layer of FOMO that winds up being in that conversation really gets negated when you’re just like, well, you don’t have to purchase it.

Like, I still believe that there’s a conversation there that is like, if you really want to send messages about what you believe perceived value to be—even though the conversation around perceived value is broken currently, in my opinion—like, you can use your wallet. You can be like, “Look, this is a game that I don’t want to purchase,” and that’s okay, right? I think that’s a thing that’s okay. Do you have to have everything? No. Do you need to buy this game? No, especially if you already purchased it. I think for new games that are new IPs and stuff that’s coming out, like yeah, I think those parts are gonna be specifically worth it, ’cause it costs money to make new experiences in those ways.

Again, I am not on– I am not debating the price point, ’cause I think the price point is fine, especially with them doing the explanation of what they’re putting into the game. But I would love to see people talk about this need, this insatiable need to need everything, and I think that to me is the more troubling part of all of it. We see that conversation when it comes to preservation. I mean, I’m a proponent of it, but also I’m just like I don’t know, we don’t need everything. I think there are ways to learn from– learn about stuff, like learn about game design, and some of that stuff you really have to get through by playing.

But I also am just like, we don’t need everything. Everything doesn’t have to exist in permanence forever. Like, it’s okay to have experiences go away. It’s okay to have things not be here anymore. But there’s this really human need to hold onto everything and hoard it and keep it and store it and do all that stuff, and then explain and complain about all the systems that it takes to keep those things running, and then when they fail, people get mad. And I’m like, well, you’re asking people to do all of this stuff without any support, without any funding, without any of this other stuff that you say you care about but aren’t necessarily willing to pony up money for that.

So I think there’s a conversation there that’s really balanced and nuanced about like, what is the need– why do we, as humans, have this need to insatiably hold onto everything? Why do we put that on games in this way, especially, knowing the conversations between the physical and digital world? And how do we talk about all of these layers of what we believe perceived value to be and how we’re thinking about those things? Because people are doing the time to money metric, which I think is broken and doesn’t really mean anything. People are doing the “If it doesn’t have this level of fidelity, oh, I can’t spend money on that.” We see games like Stray, that I’m gonna talk about in what we’ve been playing today, that is a fairly short game. The game is about a five to seven hour game. It has a trophy in it that if you can beat the game under two hours, you get a trophy for it. And people are like, “Oh, because I can beat this game in less than two hours, let me play through it as fast as I can and then ask for a refund.”

That’s also broken. That’s also an unsustainable thing. That’s also like, why don’t we let experiences live in the way that we want experiences to kind of…let them breathe in a way that they just can be what they are, as opposed to ascribing all this other stuff of what we wanted them to be or what we feel like value is and then changing that to a thing that we’re molding within to that conversation that doesn’t really apply. Let the artist make the art that they want to make, and then you come to it and say, did you feel like that added value? Yes or no, maybe so? Varying degrees? and rock with that. And that’s the end of that conversation as opposed to “I didn’t get my money’s worth,” right? So, I think it’s really interesting.

I think a lot of the ways that we talk about value in the video game industry is kind of broken. I think the ways that we discuss those things are kind of not really done well, and I think that we let a lot of the loudest people in the room guide those conversations from an audience perspective, from a player perspective, and from a not knowledgeable perspective, like a lot of the folks who say the things the loudest have no idea how game development works but will have the most to say. And I think that is a thing that we have to start balking at and say, hey, I appreciate you as a person who is a consumer in the space.

Your opinion matters because it does bring something to the table in terms of, how do we think about what we want to make? How do we fill gaps in certain genres? How do we change the way that we want to make games more accessible? How do we change ways that we want games to be better? But the way that that feedback comes back to the development team and to artists is always in a bullhorn way as opposed to in a let’s sit down and have a conversation way. And that part is also broken. We need to fix that, and we need to fix the discourse within the space in that way.

Anyway, we’re gonna take a quick break. We’ll be right back after this. Right after the break, a little bit of what we’ve been playing.

John: Hey, everyone. It’s John Warren from Fanbyte. The world of games and entertainment can be a lot to try to keep up with, but don’t worry. I’ve got you covered. Join me, the Fanbyte crew, and our friends from around the industry, as we break down the week’s biggest headlines on Thanks for the Knowledge, our weekly video game news podcast. Plus, get a look at the week ahead, so you don’t miss upcoming game releases, events and much more. Thanks for the Knowledge is available at fanbyte.com/podcasts or wherever you get your podcasts. You can thank us later.

Kahlief: Welcome back to the Spawn On Me podcast. If you mersed– if you mersed? Woo. [laughs] If you missed the first part of the show, you missed a banger of a conversation. You should go back and check that out. Make sure you go in and listen to the show this week and every week on all the podcast platforms hosted by our fam over at Fanbyte.com. So give them some love as well and get them some of your views, eyes, and ears on the content they’re putting out there, ’cause they are fantastic human beings and they make dope stuff.

So, this week’s episode, we are gonna talk a little bit about Stray, and we’re gonna talk a little bit about a game that I am so high on right now, but we’ll talk about that in one second. First up is Stray, and we’re not gonna talk a lot about it, ’cause it’s a cat game; people like cats. I think it’s a really pretty game. I think it does a lot of fun stuff in terms of game mechanics. The fact that you can meow on command, hitting your circle button, and it comes through the speaker on your controller is freaking brilliant. I think Annapurna has done another great job of bringing in a really good smart IP into their portfolio. I think they continue, like I say all the time, they continue to just make really good decisions about what they want to focus on and doing it across so many different kinds of niches and genres, and the cat sim is now a new genre.

First person cat games should be a new thing. We need a new dog game now. We need a parrot game. We need an ostrich game. We need games from all these animals’ perspectives, and we need them very, very soon. I think that game does a lot of fun things with perspective. I think it does a lot of fun things with the puzzle solving that it employs. I think it does a lot of stuff of really giving you that vibe of feeling like a cat, especially if you’ve ever had a cat, you know what cats do. They don’t really do much. They sleep, they purr, they eat, and they shit. You don’t really poop in the game, which is a little bit disappointing? I’m actually kind of like mad at that. There’s no cat poop. There’s not one litter box to be found at all in this game, which I think is also kind of weird. Maybe there are just no litter boxes in the post apocalypse.

But I do think that the game did something really fun in terms of its story where, you know, you’re moving through these spaces as this cat who has been given these tasks to basically save the last remnants of robot humanity and giving them a space to ascend to the outside world after they were basically locked into what feels like a nuclear shelter and put underground so that they could continue to thrive in the underworld. And it feels like the underlying current of that game is very much a haves and has not– I’m sorry, haves and haves not story. You can tell the vibes of the like Final Fantasy, who are the people who are up top, the people down low kind of stuff. You know, like what is the caste system here that we’re trying to replicate in the way that we’re making this game here, which I think is also very, very interesting in the way that you could look at it there.

It’s a great game. I think it’s– I think it does a lot of fun, cool things. I don’t know if it’s changing anything in a really profound way. I think it’s very cute. They nailed the cat bits. If you love animals like that, you’re definitely like in the vibe. Me, as a person who doesn’t really care about animals that much, it’s not the heartfelt story that– I’m not getting my fee-fees like satiated in that way, ’cause I just don’t care. But it’s like, for the folks who do have that connection to animals in that way, like, I can see how this is giving you nothing but the most joy, and I appreciate that. I want people to feel joy. So like, if that’s the thing that it is giving you, I can see and understand why it is, right?

I think from a gameplay standpoint, it uses a dual shock, really—oh, no, dual sense, I’m sorry—really, really well. You know, getting to make biscuits with the haptic feedback is really, really cool. Again, my dog was like freaking out hearing the cat noises coming out of the controller. I thought that stuff was really, really good. And from a gameplay perspective, I like the kind of, you know, way it progresses. It’s like, you’re learning a lot about traversal. You’re learning a lot about, you know, combat for your animal in a way that makes sense, too. Of just like, you know, you have these really yucky creatures that come out to try to eat you, and you have a basically UV light that you use to kill them, that you get a little bit later in the game. And those things feel fine. I wish there was more combat. I wish there was more variety in monsters that you wind up fighting.

I wish that there was more…I don’t– like, I don’t know. Like I wish that there was just more…cat stuff to do? Like, I don’t even know how to explain that. Like, I just, I feel like they left some cat mechanics on the cutting room floor that they might have been able to get in there, and it just never really fully comes around in that way, which makes me a little bit sad. I wish that that was a thing that was in there. I wish that that was a part of the equation for that, and I wish that that was a thing that they really kind of like threw in there. And I guess, to a certain extent, you know, maybe some things that I am thinking in my head, you know, that are very, very like cat-based stuff might not necessarily work well in terms of gameplay, right?

Like, you know, you take your little cat naps, and you do that stuff. There was no ball of yarn that I saw to play with, which is very stereotypical, and I was like, why isn’t that in there? I drank no milk, which was wack. I wanted milk, son. There’s no milk, B. And I don’t know, like the cat never just randomly had an attitude for no reason and didn’t want to do anything. [laughs] That’s what cats have been for me in my life, so I’m like, this is not real. This is a bad facsimile of catness. I want more cat stuff in this, and I’m not getting as much cattiness as I expected to get from this particular game, so.

It was great. I think it was fun. I think it was really cool. I think you should definitely go play it. I think it’s a game that deserves to be played. I definitely think it’s a game that deserves love, because it is something that is very, very new in the way that we’ve not seen games like this do something in this respect. You know, that whole conversation like, can you pet the cat? Can you pet the dog? Now there’s a full game where you can kind of do most of that stuff, and that’s pretty great.

Before we get up outta here for this week’s episode of Spawn On Me, one of the games that I have been anticipating for a very, very long time has been the game Rollerdrome. Rollerdrome, from my family over at Roll7, is one of the better games that I have played in a very long time. I think one of the things that is coming across while I’m playing it is—and we’re gonna have a video up in the next day or two; it’ll probably come out actually the day that this episode goes up, ’cause we’re gonna have to hold it because of an embargo—is this game is doing all of the Tony Hawk-ness stuff with doing cool tricks and moving around in spaces and feeling cool when you do stuff, with the shooting mechanics and this bouncing that you do between enemies that feels super chaotic at times, but the kinetic nature of how you move through a space just really makes you feel like a badass all the time.

Like, it makes you feel dope when you do something that is really easy, and when you get that movement going and you figured out how to, you know, chain together tricks and momentum and moving around the space, then you just feel good at everything you’re doing. You feel like every move that you are enacting makes you feel like you are in control of every element of the world around you. And that to me is what makes a game great, is where mechanics and gameplay and strategy all come together at the same time, and you just feel like a badass. In this game, you feel like a dope, dope character who is like wreaking havoc on everything around you.

So, what I like about this is you’re in these arenas. It feels like each one of them is basically like a skate park, and within these skate parks, you have these enemies. These enemies are trying to kill you. It’s a mix of like The Running Man, if you’re an old Arnold Schwarzenegger movie fan. It feels a little bit like American Gladiators. It feels a little bit like the X Games. It feels a little bit like, you know, all of these things wrapped up into this competition where you are this participant who is trying to get to the finals of this tournament. And each layer of levels is a basically round. So like you start in the quarter finals, then you move yourself up to the semis, and then you keep going until you get to the finals, if you get through all of these objectives that they will have you do.

And once you unlock a certain amount of these objectives, then you are able to move to the next layer of competition if you have won. So you’re like, oh, I need to shoot four characters with a shotgun. I need to do a grind on a rail with this specific grind. I need to capture this token off of this part of the wall. And if you do all of those, then you get to amass that. That gives you a score at the end of your round, and then you progress through the game.

The gameplay mechanics feel great. The skating feels a little wonky at first. It’s gonna take all of us some time to get used to the way that the skating moves, ’cause you have this want to—like most Roll7 games—this want to kick and push, and you don’t do that. You don’t really have to give yourself momentum to skate. You just move forward in a direction, and then that direction will continue to keep you moving forward as fast as you need to. You can gain more speed by going up and down half-pipes, by gaining momentum when you go up off a ramp and then come back down.

But what pulls it all together between the speed that you have as a character is this slow down mechanic. When you’re going really quickly, but you want to center on an enemy, you basically hit the slow-mo button, track your camera so that it draws a reticle around the person that you want to shoot, and then it kind of auto targets that character. You would think that the auto targeting stuff would feel kind of cheap, but you need it because you’re moving so quickly through a space that you couldn’t really be able to track all those things in real time without the slow motion stuff.

So it works really, really well in terms of pulling that part together and making you, again, feel super dope when you’re making these moves. Like, there was one thing that I did where I basically went, shot two dudes, did a dodge through an attack, went up one of the half-pipes. There was an enemy who was underneath me. The arc of the half-pipe went for me going up that half-pipe, doing a trick, being suspended in air. The person who is underneath me is the enemy I need to shoot. I target that enemy, shoot that enemy, come back down the other side of the ramp, and finish out that one moment. When those things hit, you feel so good. You’re like, holy shit, I am the master of the universe. There’s nothing that I can’t do. Everything is in my domain. I can do– there’s nothing I can’t do. Those moments feel fantastic.

When you’re kind of struggling with the camera or you’re kind of struggling with the skating, then it feels like it’s losing a little bit of its flavor, and it winds up being a little bit detracting from what you’re able to feel like you’re gonna do and then how is it trying to be executed. So I think, I wonder if there are some ways to get around that, maybe with something in the mechanics. I don’t know if there’s an update that would kind of help move some of that stuff in a way that feels better, that kind of keeps you moving forward, in a way that where the camera doesn’t move and get outta your purview, but you need that camera, ’cause you need to spin around all the things all the time.

So, it’s a really fantastic game, and I love the setting of what they’re trying to do, where it feels like you’re…it feels a little bit like an episode of Severance, and you’ll understand what I mean when you get a chance to play it, ’cause it is this like competition that is being held by this nameless faceless company, right? Where, you know, you’re going into the space of going to work as a person who is competing in these games, but you then have to literally kill your way out of it, and that doesn’t attach to the Severance part. The Severance part is more about the kind of like going to work at a place that is the nameless faceless part, right? Not the killing of people. But they do that stuff really well. It gets kind of creepy in terms of when you start to piece together parts of the narrative. The narrative stuff feels like, oh, okay, there’s some extra spiciness here, and why am I in this place? What is my motivation for being here? Is this an anti-capitalism game? Like, there’s a lot of conversations in there that are starting to bubble up through my play time that are bringing those moments to the forefront, which feels also really interesting to see how that kind of works.

And then lastly, the aesthetic on this game is so good! They just do so much with this retro feel, the retro coloring they do, the kind of, you know, it’s not cell shaded, but it has like this really nice kind of framing and outlining of the characters and the map and all that stuff, where when you’re moving through different locales, each one of them feels distinct, but each one of them feels like it fits the aesthetic really, really well, which I think I love. And just small things of like how they draw smoke that comes out the back of a rocket. It feels very much like kind of cartoony mixed in with a little bit of cell shading, mixed in with– it feels like that game, what was it? Eight, like XIII that came out on the PlayStation 2, like that kind of comic book art style feel is in that mix, but they nail it with the color palettes that are really beautiful and muted but also like really vibrant.

So they dig into like really rich browns and oranges that I think are really gorgeous, like really deep, kind of funky reds. It’s all these really awesome color palettes that they use to kind of flesh out the world and your character and do things that represent things like lighting and shadow and all that kind of stuff. It is a really gorgeous game. I am dying to finish this thing out and play the rest of it. This is gonna be a thing that I’m probably definitely gonna stream, ’cause it just feels super good, and I’m just excited for more of it. I’m very, very hyped to get my hands on the full game and to play through the rest of it with all of you getting a chance to watch it on stream and things like that as well.

So, word. I think that’s it for this episode of the show. Again, thank you for watching and listening. This one is just gonna come out in audio version. There will be no YouTube version of this because of the embargo for Rollerdrome that is now– Rollerdome? Rollerdrome. And I feel like that’s gonna be one of those things that when we wind up talking about games that are coming out really soon, there’s going to be Rollerdrome in that mix. That game is gonna definitely be within the game of the year conversation, for sure, for me. I know that’s gonna be a part of that conversation, absolutely.

But word, thank you so much for listening. Thank you so much for checking out the show. Listen, pass it along, please share it and give it some love. We’re hoping to get our numbers up again. We had a really significant dip in listenership, and I’m not sure exactly what the deal was. So please send me some feedback, you know? spawnonmepodcast@gmail.com. We always want to hear from all of you at home to figure out best ways that we can get you really good conversations and really great gaming news. We’re hoping to get some guests back on the show very, very soon, ’cause I’d love to talk to some new folks in the mix. And word, I’m gonna be rolling around and getting some things done. TwitchCon Amsterdam was really, really great. I think the next thing for me potentially could be Evo and then definitely going to TwitchCon in San Diego, so we’ll have some coverage there moving forward.

And again, Spawnies is in full effect, in terms of ramping up for production and things like that. If there are any categories that you think are missing, we’re looking for two more categories for this year’s show. Let me know on Twitter, once this episode goes up. Let me know two categories you’d like to see. One I’ve been thinking about is most accessible game, game that does accessibility really well. I’ve been thinking about one about like, who has been the best like content creator, like host or person who is in that space. Like, what’s the– like an influencer kind of award? And then, I don’t know, I’ve been thinking about some other stuff. I just need to focus on what those would wind up being, but I would love your help. Again, this show is not just for me, it’s for you as well. I want you to feel like you’re a part of this, and you will be a part of this show in an actual way. Wink, wink. We’re gonna be talking about that stuff very, very soon, but you will be a part of this show in an actual way. You have a way to make your voices heard loudly and proudly on the show.

But if there are things you want us to put into the show, please let me know. I’d love to hear from you. spawnonmepodcast@gmail.com is the space to go. Check us out on Instagram. Check us out on YouTube. Check us out on TikTok. We’re in all those places. I need to put up more content, but we’re in all those spots. And word, much love to you all. Hope you’re all having a wonderful rest of your week. I will see you all next week. Much love and peace.