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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: January, 2019
Jan 30, 2019

Welcome to Dev Game Club, where this week we continue our discussion of Kingdom Hearts. Tim sings a bit, Brett raps a bit, and we talk about what makes this game work or not work, as well as delving into the combat. Dev Game Club looks at classic video games and plays through them over several episodes, providing commentary.

Sections played:
Through Monstro!

Podcast breakdown:
0:42 Tim sings + Kingdom Hearts
44:03 Break
44:33 Feedback + Brett Raps

Issues covered: birthday, the giant Kingdom Hearts collection, "I think this game might be bad," bizarre linearity, weird triggering, loving some films and not having connecting with others, lack of supporting systems, pushing strategy guides, lack of level logic, IP control and lack of public domain, what films they pair up with the games, being out of their design element with various choices, not connecting with FF characters, how the characters level, the lack of a moment when you level up, lack of boss requirements, zero XP, the camera is bad, paying attention to the technical points, handling the general case for graphics, why are they making this just a button mashy game, going in and out of the Bizarre Room, meeting Merlin or Jiminy Cricket, the occupation of Japan, strength/weakness collection mechanics, when we don't like a thing, enjoying analysis but respecting how hard it is to actually solve problems, applying the podcast day-to-day, designing for knucklehead stealth, embracing chaos and humor, lore in series, finding hooks that service new players, structural choices to bring in new players and opt-in to lore, how films deal with lore, play sets and toy box differences in Disney Infinity, Brett raps.

Games, people, and influences mentioned or discussed: Tarzan (film), Chris Corry, LucasArts, Edgar Rice Burroughs, Hercules, Aladdin, Beauty and the Beast, Winnie the Pooh/The Hundred Acre Wood, Song of the South, Mary Poppins/Mary Poppins Returns, P. L. Travers, Tom Hanks, Emma Thompson, Saving Mr. Banks (obliquely), Alfred Hitchcock, Big Hero 6, Frozen, Monsters Inc, Toy Story, Tangled, Disney Infinity, Final Fantasy (series), Dark Souls, Tim Rogers, Kotaku, Vagrant Story, Alice in Wonderland, Cameron Daxon, Boss Key Books, Tim Dooley, Bobby Oster, Pokémon Let's Go, Persona/Shin Megami Tensei (series), Warren Linam-Church, Thief, Dungeons & Dragons, No One Lives Forever, Hitman 1 & 2, Giant Bomb, Mikkel Lodahl, Halo, Gears of War, Assassin's Creed, Fallout, The Elder Scrolls (series), Marvel Cinematic Universe, Saw (series), Disney Infinity, Wabash College, Project Spark, John Lasseter, Skylanders, The Incredibles, Teen Titans Go! To The Movies, Tasha Robinson.

Next time:
Up to the Hollow Bastion

Links:
Kotaku's Kingdom Hearts Review

Cameron Daxon's Pokémon teams

https://twitch.tv/brettdouville, @timlongojr, and @devgameclub
DevGameClub@gmail.com

Jan 23, 2019

Welcome to Dev Game Club, where this week we start a new series about Kingdom Hearts, the 2002 Disney / Square crossover game that culminates in Kingdom Hearts III this week. Dev Game Club looks at classic video games and plays through them over several episodes, providing commentary.

Sections played:
Through Wonderland!

Podcast breakdown:
0:38    Kingdom Hearts
42:01  Break
42:30  Feedback & Singing Review

Issues covered: series lore in non-console games, E3 2001, licensing starting to wane, part of the EA business model, working with a license and not making a "play the movie" game, the land grab of licensing, struggling with using licensed titles, schedules not lining up with film, a positive change in licensing, seeing movies in theaters or drive-ins on Disney's re-release schedule, the specialness of seeing one, the lack of home video, seeing cartoons on TV, relationship with the iconic characters, the return of Disney animation in the late 80s/early 90s, bringing in Broadway talent to score the new movies, Disney World and Disney Land, choice of first Disney world, the abstract start, the weird bedroom scene, Destiny Island, bringing in characters from Final Fantasy X and other Square properties, being made for someone else, merging of worlds, fearing the limits of the game, usability problems in Traverse Town, triggering steps by randomly going through a door that had previously been locked, doing one-off mechanics and adventure gamey stuff like a Final Fantasy game, Game Boy constraints and the games they inspired, the evolution of Pokémon mechanics, "constraints inspire creativity," relatability of Pokémon vs Kingdom Hearts, groundedness of mythology in Legend of Zelda vs Final Fantasy milieus, save warnings, informing the player of your mechanics, bucking trends with intent, picking your battles, Nuzlocke style, PvE and PvP in Pokémon and stats buffing and debuffing, singing review.

Games, people, and influences mentioned or discussed: Jedi Starfighter, Nomura Tetsuya, Square, Final Fantasy (series), Parasite Eve, Ehrgeiz, The World Ends With You, The Bouncer, Disney, EA, Hitman 2: Silent Assassin, Final Fantasy XI, Metroid Prime, Legend of Zelda: Wind Waker, Dark Cloud 2, GTA Vice City, Eternal Darkness, Sly Cooper and the Thievious Raccoonus, James Bond in 007: Nightfire, Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets, The Two Towers, The Fellowship of the Ring, Spider-man, Activision, Tom Clancy's Splinter Cell, Warcraft III, Battlefield 1942, The Elder Scrolls III: Morrowind, Mafia, Dungeon Siege, Star Wars: Jedi Knight II: Jedi Outcast, SW: Republic Commando, LotR: Return of the Kings, Stormfront Studios, EA Spouse, Daron Stinnett, Batman: Arkham Asylum, Indiana Jones, Force Unleashed, Pinocchio, Lady and the Tramp, Sleeping Beauty, Cinderella, Warner Bros, Alan Menken, The Great Mouse Detective, Robin Hood, Sakaguchi Hironobu, Hashimoto Shinji, Super Mario 64, Alice in Wonderland, Lewis Carroll, Hercules, Final Fantasy X, Mary Poppins, Marvel vs Capcom, Pokémon Red/Blue, John Lethbridge, Chrono Trigger, Game Boy, Link's Awakening, Metroid II, Final Fantasy Adventure, Secret of Mana, Minit, Pokémon Let's Go Pikachu, Jan Willem, Vlambeer, Rami Ismail, Jesse Morgan/seaofmorgan, Pokémon Sun/Moon, Star Wars: Starfighter, Iwata Satoru, HAL Laboratories, Iwata Asks, Nintendo Wii, Legend of Zelda (series), GTA III, Ben Zaugg, Gothic Chocobo, Ryan/biostats, Dave Mason, We Just Disagree, Frozen, Pixar.

Next time:
Through Monstro!

Links:
The GameBoy Programming Manual

Iwata Saving Pokémon

Iwata Asks

 

https://twitch.tv/brettdouville, @timlongojr, and @devgameclub
DevGameClub@gmail.com

Jan 16, 2019

Welcome to Dev Game Club, where this week we extend our time with Pokémon by turning to recent Nintendo release Pokémon Let's Go and tons of Pokémon-related feedback. Dev Game Club looks at classic video games and plays through them over several episodes, providing commentary.

Sections played:
First bit of Pokemon Let's Go

Podcast breakdown:
0:41      Let's Go
37:02    Break
37:23    Feedback

Issues covered: Blue showing up, playing with the Pokémon Ball controller and it making noises, playing handheld vs throwing the PokéBall, whether or not we'd have played this one, playing bonus 3DS games, the feel of a remake, the translation to 3D, positivity of the combat, lightheartedness of Nintendo vs games made in the West, the twenty-year gap of features between what we've played, more connection to the Pokémon, how well the characters come through, representing organic shapes in blocky pixel art, paying homage to the pixel versions, being able to see more of the Pokémon stats directly, improving stats with candy, being able to see all the stats, technical machines and who should use them and improvements, incorporating the type chart into the game, incorporating Pokémon Go mechanics, whether you care about collecting the Pokémon, keeping the game in the rotation, Brett's Book Recommendation, commanding fantasy creatures, not designing deeper depth into the combat, numerous picked nits and game evolution over generations, how information about the game got around, wider audience, avoiding stagnation, growing an audience, Nintendo always targeting a new audience and needing to innovate less, enjoying evolution, balancing creative fulfillment with keeping your audience, design considerations for specific hardware, what are your Pokémon OCs, Brett's monsters type and Tim's espionage and minis types, mods, cosplay in the 501st and 405th, remastering SWRC, looking forward.

Games, people, and influences mentioned or discussed: Pokémon Red/Blue, Game Boy, Detective Pikachu, Game Freak, LoZ: Link Between Worlds, Metroid: Samus Returns, Studio Ghibli, Level-5, Dark Cloud, Ni No Kuni, Pokémon Go, Game Boy Advance, Game Boy Micro, Super Famicom, Earthbound, S. A. Chakraborty, City of Brass, Harrison Wade, Nintendo Switch, Ben Zaugg, Gothic Chocobo, Junichi Masuda, Prima Games, War and Peace, Dark Souls, Threes, 2048, Fallout (series), The Elder Scrolls (series), Final Fantasy (series), Obsidian, inXile, Nolan Filter, irreverentQ, Universal Monsters, Dracula, Frankenstein, Wolfman, John Lethbridge, Aaron Evers, Republic Commando, Skyrim, Fallout 3/4, Thomas the Tank Engine, Star Wars, Jesse Morgan, Kingdom Hearts (series), Square, Disney, Chrono Trigger.

Brett's Book Recommendation:
S. A. Chakraborty: City of Brass

Links:
Junichi Masuda on the Pokémon series getting easier

Halo Red vs Blue

Malukah's Dragonborn Cover

Republic Commando Remastered

Next time:
Kingdom Hearts: Up through Wonderland

https://twitch.tv/brettdouville, @timlongojr, and @devgameclub
DevGameClub@gmail.com

Jan 9, 2019

Welcome to Dev Game Club, where this week we finish our series on 1996 Game Boy classic Pokémon Red/Blue. We talk about the tension of the final battles and then of course chat about our lessons and takeaways from the game. Dev Game Club looks at classic video games and plays through them over several episodes, providing commentary.

Sections played:
Finishing the Game!

Podcast breakdown:
1:15 Pokémon discussion
50:04 Break
50:35 Takeaways and Feedback

Issues covered: renaming your rival and Professor Oak chiding him, being less precious about what things are named and such, separating out boxes and pure memory limits, the punk rival, coming full circle, naming your Pokémon, finding the legendaries, our final six, Brett's end-game, whether or not you can buy the elixirs, Tim's Frankensteined Pokémon team, how Brett leveled his top Pokémon, Tim coming down to running out of PP and items to take on the Elite Four, save states in the middle of the Elite Four battles, charging your adrenaline, four color palette, having very tight hardware limitations, squeezing more out of consoles late in hardware lifecycle, dungeons as puzzles, dungeon as palate cleanser and tuning/balancing pinch points, dungeon variety, trainers as gates and auto-grinds and tests of where you should be, map as revealing the order in which you will encounter stuff, the collection mechanics, evolution and collection, unique Pokémon, designing to your hardware constraints, music constraints, the depth of the roshambo, flexibility in supported approaches and player goals, emergent story in individual Pokémon, zany aesthetics of the Pokémon, collecting game play depth, whether playing Pokémon on release would have impacted our design or hardware thinking, most huggable Pokémon.

Games, people, and influences mentioned or discussed: Metal Gear (series), Ultima Underworld, Final Fantasy IX, God of War, Anachronox, Chrono Trigger, Junichi Masuda, Hayao Miyazaki, Studio Ghibli, Raymond, Ester Olsen.

Next time:
Play some Pokémon Let's Go!

https://twitch.tv/brettdouville, @timlongojr, and @devgameclub
DevGameClub@gmail.com

Jan 2, 2019

Welcome to Dev Game Club, where this week we return to our series on 1996 Game Boy classic Pokémon Red/Blue. We talk about how widely our strategy is varying both in terms of team make-up and approach as well as marvelling over how well the game supports both, and Brett geeks out over how the hardware of the Game Boy (and in particular the Memory Bank Controller) influenced the design of its games. Dev Game Club looks at classic video games and plays through them over several episodes, providing commentary.

Sections played:
Up to having 7 badges!

Podcast breakdown:
0:36 Pokémon discussion
59:17 Break
59:50 Feedback

Issues covered: Happy New Year, real Pokémon name or not?, our current team mixes, dominating in combat, allowing for widely different approaches, misunderstanding the depth of the game, cultural signifiers of the game, experimenting and sense of discover with Pokémon, more RPG than anticipated, the world opening up, more than just a collection landscape, fearing the end of the game, "Gotta Catch 'em All," the zaniness of the Pokémon, opacity of some of the Pokémon, Brett uses brute force, switching when things don't work, referring to the type chart, the underground tunnels, starting linear and opening up via guardposts/skills/bicycle, allowing a kid to follow his star, the differences of playing alone vs on stream, leaning on stream chat, not expecting RPG quests, efficient design of the Pokémon Flute, running away from the Snorlax, paying close attention to the abilities, layers and depth of information, designing your own Pokémon, HMs as critical path, connecting the overworld to the Pokémon, Tim and Brett playing against type, allowing so many varieties of play style, a healthy amount of slop, increasing numbers of Pokémon, commonalities of types to give you a hand-hold, Butterfree as a cornerstone of Tim's team, not doing much collecting, level cap and traded Pokémon, avoiding collecting to avoid the cap, not finding much to collect, trading in-game, using the GameLink, Game Boy technology, the Memory Bank Controller, virtual memory paging, having one program that runs on multiple sets of data that are lined up in a specific way, structure staying with the franchise afterwards, forcing particular patterns, coding in assembly, specifying how the music works via five hardware registers, timing the music, cultural differences for JRPGs, writing different programs to run on the hardware, all in on the singing reviews, is the computer having all the fun?, different kinds of fun, the appeal of different kinds of fun, the computer doing some of the work for you, not having the social engagement, losing your D&D players due to the excessive die rolling, hyper-specificity in Rolemaster, diceless RPGs, very slow evolution/conservative approach to the series.

Games, people, and influences mentioned or discussed: Game Boy, Final Fantasy IX, Dark Souls, Let's Go Pikachu/Evee, A Link Between Worlds, Link to the Past, Tetris, Metroid 2, Apple ][, GamaSutra, PlayStation, Ester Olsen, Dungeons and Dragons, Bruce Shelley, Marc LeBlanc, World of Warcraft, Gold Box (series), Rolemaster, SAGA system, Ben from Iowa Zaugg, Björn Johansson, Pokémon Go, Niantic, System Shock 2.

Next time:
Finish the game by defeating the Elite Four!

Links:
Doctor Ludos on GamaSutra -- Making A GB Game in 2017

8 Kinds of Fun / Marc LeBlanc

https://twitch.tv/brettdouville, @timlongojr, and @devgameclub
DevGameClub@gmail.com

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