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Dev Game Club

Join hosts and game industry veterans Brett Douville and Tim Longo as they explore older titles to talk about the influences those games had and what we can learn from them even today.
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Now displaying: December, 2018
Dec 29, 2018

Show notes are simple this year -- we talk over the games and interviews of the year and reminisce.

Happy Holidays to all, and to all a Happy New Year.

We'll see you in 2019 with our continuing series on Pokémon Red & Blue.

-Brett and Tim

 

Dec 19, 2018

Welcome to Dev Game Club, where this week we begin a new series on 1996 Game Boy classic Pokémon Red/Blue. We talk quite a bit about the early game, the way it solves age-old RPG problems with random encounters, and of course, our current mix of Pokemon before turning to feedback. Dev Game Club looks at classic video games and plays through them over several episodes, providing commentary.

Sections played:
Up through Saffron City (in theory)

Podcast breakdown:
0:45    Pokemon
55:48  Break
56:14  Feedback

Issues covered: Bonnie Ross's induction into the AIAS Hall of Fame, our current Pokémon rotation, a few specific attacks on various Pokémon, some strategy talk, domesticating animals, how the game treats the Pokémon, random encounters and the grind, randomness and the disincentive to explore, the randomness as a loot box sort of mechanic, randomness as strength in collecting, Japanese cultural conservatism, whether or not they were deliberate in their random battle approach, the television show, sweetness and innocence and getting attached to particular Pokémon, transcending as a franchise, characterization and evolution, meta-strategies, the immensity of the game and multiplicity, rock-paper-scissors and simplicity of grasping it, the periodic table, learning the type table by osmosis or by study, talking about inventory management, a game where you are rewarded if you put your Pokémon into a flow state, running out of PP, finding ether in the wild, providing items based on need, getting into the strategy, an index of the creepiest trainers, memorable characters and repetition, trainers are great for previewing Pokémon, getting pushback and inviting it, talking about the Yakuza series, game preservation, games as a business, fighting preservation, poor preservation, emulation, improving on an old game, hidden numbers in RPGs, Pokémon as loot and as units, wanting variation, being based on games with dice, figuring out exactly how many hit points a thing has, the role of the Internet, a user corrects Brett on shiny Pokémon and on what level he was.

Games, people, and influences mentioned or discussed: Bonnie Ross, 343 Industries, AIAS/DICE, Bungie, Halo, Microsoft, The Game Awards, Game Developer's Choice Awards, Waypoint Radio, Final Fantasy IX, Pokémon Go, Legend of Zelda, Pokémon Let's Go, Nintendo Switch, Breath of the Wild, Miles Truss, GTA III, LA Noire, Mike Vogt, Yakuza (series), MGS V, GameBoy Pocket/Lite, Giant Beast Cast, Chris Tiemeßen, PlayStation Classic, Sega Classics, SNK 40th Anniversary, Pink Gorilla, Virtual Console, Xbox One, NES Classic/SNES Classic, Zimmy Finger, Nintendo DS, PSP (PlayStation Portable), Diablo, Dungeons and Dragons, Ben "From Iowa" Zaugg, Gothic Chocobo.

Next time:
7 Badges (after our end-of-year 'cast)

Link:
My Little Golden Book About Zogg

Note:
Although Brett said he hadn't worked on an RPG, what he meant was he hadn't worked on a JRPG. (Brett of course worked on Skyrim, Fallout 3, and Fallout 4.)

@brett_douville, @timlongojr, and @devgameclub
DevGameClub@gmail.com

Dec 12, 2018

Welcome to Dev Game Club, where this week we begin a new series on 1996 Game Boy classic Pokémon Red/Blue. We situate the game in time and spend a fair amount of time discussing the Game Boy itself as a handheld system, before turning to the game itself. Dev Game Club looks at classic video games and plays through them over several episodes, providing commentary.

Sections played:
Up to Pewter City's Gym Leader, Brock

Podcast breakdown:
0:40     Pokémon discussion
55:02   Break
55:35   Feedback & Review

Issues covered: the series as a whole and its stewardship and popularity, 1996 in games, Tim's start in the industry, our histories with handheld systems, the Game Boy as a movement, the convergence of handheld and console in the Switch, the Game Boy launch, a side business that exploded on them, sales of the Game Boy, iterating on the hardware then and now, mobile gaming, pacing on mobile gaming, naming your hero and adversary and Pokémon, "all boys leave home," dropping you right into the world, lack of quest, trusting the player, knowing the other's Pokémon choices, Tim bouncing off the series, limiting the player's options early, a pastoral/nostalgic feel, basing it on childhood memories, JRPG structure and games of the time, exploring JRPGs and how they differ at the time, elemental battling, leveling your critters instead of your character, managing tone, chancing into destroying Brock's rock Pokémon, anime quality of the characters, rock-paper-scissors battling, persistent effects and strategy, the Pikachu that got away, "shiny" types and rarity, gamers grinding, Tim wanting to collect everything, the cast of characters/Pokémon, the experience of having a pet, domesticating pets, generational games, a new singing review!, gamer memory, gatekeeping, growing the audience, Oral History of Republic Commando, Game Boy peripherals and licensed gear, collecting and trading Pokémon, encouraging different kinds of city simulation behavior, the memory card.

Games, people, and influences mentioned or discussed: Game Freak, Nintendo, NES/SNES, Sega Genesis, Creatures, The Pokémon Company, Pokémon Let's Go, Ni No Kuni, Yu-Gi-Oh, Digimon, Tamagotchi, Skylanders, Super Mario 64, Tomb Raider, Resident Evil, Nintendo 64, Duke Nukem 3D, Quake, Final Doom, Marathon Infinity, Diablo, Mario Kart, Kirby's Block Ball, Donkey Land 2, Nintendo Switch, Metroid 2, Link's Awakening (+ Legend of Zelda series), Nintendo 3DS, Virtual Boy, Super Mario Land, Tetris, Game Boy Light, Game Boy Micro, Game Boy Advance, Final Fantasy XIII-2, Shigeru Miyamoto, Pikmin, Final Fantasy IX, Super Mario RPG, Dragon Quest/Warrior (series), Ultima (series), Eye of the Beholder, Phantasy Star, World of Warcraft, Hearthstone, Hayao Miyazaki, My Neighbor Totoro, Kiki's Delivery Service, Anatole France, Jeff Cannata, Christian Spicer, DLC podcast, Dungeons and Dragons, Reed Knight, Infocom, Zork, Gilmore Girls, Where You Lead, Carole King, speakyclean, GTA III, Lucas Rizoli, Cameron Kunzelman, Republic Commando, Xbox One, Kieron Gillen, Thief, PC Gamer UK, John Williams, Kotaku, David Collins, Starfighter/Jedi Starfighter, PS2, PSNow, Ester Olsen, The2ndQuest, Pokémon Stadium, Nintendo Wii, Scott Richardson, Streets of Sim City, Maxis, EA, Crazy Taxi, Sega Dreamcast, LucasArts, Lego City Undercover, Andrew Kirmse, Ben from Iowa.

Next time:
Get into Saffron City

Links:
PLAYER/KNOWLEDGE Gamer Memory and GTAIII
Kieron Gillen on Thief, 20 Years On

@brett_douville, @timlongojr, and @devgameclub
DevGameClub@gmail.com

Dec 5, 2018

Welcome to Dev Game Club, where this week we continue our discussion about Grand Theft Auto III. We close out the game by picking a couple favorite moments, talk about some of the difficulty at the end, and of course, do our takeaways before turning to feedback, of which there was much. Dev Game Club looks at classic video games and plays through them over several episodes, providing commentary.

Sections played:
Finished the game! (If you're Brett, anyway)

Podcast breakdown:
0:39    GTA III discussion
59:06  Break
59:46  Feedback

Issues covered: Tim gets demoralized, timing and bad luck, wall missions, time and patience running out, being indifferent to the player, one's changing taste, getting better at the driving (and falling into the ocean), 'cast being non-conducive to this style of game, being okay with not finishing it, feeling comfortable in some areas of the game, imagining giggling devs, timing missions pushing you to let go of stuff and learn the city well, lower mission density, running off the drawbridge, doing the coffee carts the second time (and rubbing it in), getting the bulletproof Patriot, everyone shooting at you around the world, stuff in the disc case (RTFM) including a good map, heist mentality, planning and executing your heist, cheating, moments of grace, fiero, triggering a stunt at the end of a mission, movie moment, side missions Brett tried, the cost of adding more on top of the simulation, other ways to scale the timing missions, making a big commitment to the story, likely low completion rate, wanting to care more about the characters and being pushed against the stereotypes, the high quality of the radio stations, adding flavor and life through radio, car damage model, running to the Pay and Spray, juking the police cars at high wanted level, punishing system countering the player's goals, inner turmoil, considering the game's impact, the freedom of this open world, loading times on PS2, opening up open world games and establishing the possibility of many franchises, committing to style, fantasy fulfillment of crime, media influences, realistic setting (as opposed to fantasy), pushing towards transgression, pushing the player into just getting things done and letting things go, expert frustration, running over pedestrians, running around the streets and bumping into people, dehumanizing pedestrians, Brett's favorite moment, the chaos engine, getting into the cartel area to go after the "oriental gentleman," switching into game development later, whether to get into QA, having useful skills, buying a developer lunch or a beer, company sizes, getting into game jams, what's punk rock (Brett has no idea), calling something virtue signaling and what that means, taking a risk in talking GTA, learning the map vs being directed, appeal of missions vs driving around shenanigans, player-directed vs designer-directed behavior, what people showed when they showed you the game, side content and achievements, how much simulation is too much simulation?, what brings people in, recognizing film-style realism, sports games looking like television broadcasts, inviting mechanics, the arcade driving model, forgiving damage model, listening to whatever radio station comes on, scratched disc and other reminiscences.

Games, people, and influences mentioned or discussed: Gone with the Wind (obliquely), X-COM: UFO Defense, Final Fantasy IX, Deus Ex, Rockstar Games, Robert Loggia, seaofmorgan, djmurgatroyd, Kyle MacLachlin, Homo Ludens, Huizinga, Red Dead Redemption 2, PlayStation 2, Starfighter, TIE Fighter, Assassin's Creed (series), Spider-Man (2018), Halo, Metal Gear Solid, PacMan, The A-Team, Jesse Morgan, Dungeons & Dragons, Miles Truss, Roger Ebert, Pauline Kael, MaasNeotekProto, Tony Hawk Pro Skater, Bradley Cooper, Liam Neeson, Joe Carnahan, Mark Garcia, Shenmue, Harry Potter, Scarface, The Godfather, The Mechanic, Miami Vice, Christopher Wright, Don Winslow, Dan Simmons, Pokemon Red/Blue, GameCube.

Brett's Book Suggestions:
The Winter of Frankie Machine, by Don Winslow
Dan Simmons's "Joe Kurtz" trilogy: Hardcase/Hard Freeze/Hard as Nails

Links:
Global Game Jam

Next time:
Pokemon Red/Blue, up to Viridian City

Mea culpa:
"Fiero" appears to be a term popularized by Nicole Lazzaro, in the 4 Keys to Fun. We regret the error.

Dan Simmons's "Joe Kurtz" trilogy is actually set in Buffalo, NY, not Albany. We regret the error.

@brett_douville, @timlongojr, and @devgameclub
DevGameClub@gmail.com

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