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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: August, 2020
Aug 19, 2020

Welcome to Dev Game Club, where this week we finish our series on Phoenix Wright: Ace Attorney. This week we talk about the final original case, particularly looking at the growing complexity of the story, and then turn to our takeaways and feedback. Dev Game Club looks at classic video games and plays through them over several episodes, providing commentary.

Sections played:
Turnabout Goodbyes

Podcast breakdown:
0:48 Phoenix Wright Case 4
59:57 Break
1:00:34 Takeaways and Feedback

Issues covered: being novelistic and weaving through multiple narratives, intricate backstories coming together, wanting the macro arc, ending on a high note, developing character empathy, the impact of one event on many lives, wanting to have a character introduced earlier, feeling a greater sense of the world, the Castlevania-lookin' character, goofy gourds, Edgeworth staying a little too quiet, potential professional embarrassment and guilt and shame, a common setup for a mystery, turning expectations on its head, where is this game set?, Lotta Hart, layers of motivation, getting stuck in a cross, the puzzle of getting to a bit of conflicting evidence and when, when to press and when to present, the way information enters into the world, looking for tells, the localization nightmare when language is so ambiguous, localization as design, animation tells, the case room, the police tools, Missile the Shiba Inu, what the police tools do, finding Larry's CO2 compression canister, working back from the one idea, establishing Yanni Yogi's identity and his own knowledge of it, the Chewbacca effect, economy driving connection, raising the stakes, the boss battle with von Karma, how are you going to get to von Karma, the riddle of the one bullet, von Karma's shoulder-grabbing pose, being careful to work within your constraints, deepening von Karma's "Objection", the screaming and head-banging, "the evidence was in you all along," a possible plot hole, what's "fair," realizing a connection, using every part of the animal to emphasize drama, doing a lot with a little, the hallmarks of a novel, anime/manga treatment of the courtroom procedural, making the rules part of the drama, what you marry to the adventure game to breathe new life in, a different take on the adventure game, JRPG to Western RPG, being careful about what you bring from a genre, asking whether a thing is necessary, Brett's Book Recommendation, a shout-out to a listener, fast-forwarding through random combat, the one-handed version of this game, playing the touch-screen, All Those Who Wander.

Games, people, and influences mentioned or discussed: X-Files, Castlevania, Bird Box, Josh Malerman, Sandra Bullock, Star Wars, Hotel Dusk, Secret of Monkey Island, Halo 1, Misery, Shinji Mikami, Resident Evil, Tango Gameworks, Zenimax, The Evil Within, Platinum, Eliza, Danganronpa, Richard Lloyd Parry, The People Who Eat Darkness, Mark Sean Garcia, Final Fantasy IX, Chrono Trigger, Final Fantasy XII, Matt A, Nintendo Wii, Kingdom Hearts, Yakuza (series), Persona 5, Ben "from Iowa" Zaugg, Hollow Knight, Kirk Hamilton, Aaron Evers.

Links:
Tim off on his trip

Next time:
...? We will let you know.

Twitch: brettdouville, instagram:timlongojr, @brett_douville, @timlongojr, and @devgameclub
DevGameClub@gmail.com

Aug 12, 2020

Welcome to Dev Game Club, where this week we continue our series on Capcom's 2001 Japanese GBA title/2005 US DS title Phoenix Wright: Ace Attorney. We revisit the history just a bit before diving into this next case, talking about "detectiving" and adventure game tropes (and how/whether they work here), as well as various ways in which the game pushes its mechanics before turning to feedback. Dev Game Club looks at classic video games and plays through them over several episodes, providing commentary.

Sections played:
Case 3

Issues covered: a bit of correction and elaboration, the cost or lack thereof of pressing, the kid with no respect for the law, quick case recap, a slight change in structure, wondering whether Phoenix was defending a murderer, the personal stake in the case, demanding a lot of the legal system, growing the space you investigate, expanding into a detection game, deductions that are there to confound you, tricking the player, having to revisit places just to move characters, rebuilding logic after the fact, being thrown off by details that turn out to be meaningless, wanting fast travel, having clear ideas of what should happen in the game and not knowing what to do to trigger them, text adventure hold-overs, hesitating to change genre design, expanding the use of "evidence," stretching the interface, audio and visual upgrades, the arguments for remasters vs remakes, the high quality music, adding motion graphics in this case, feeling more engaged in the investigation mechanics, using a small amount of character animation budget to good effect, the slide mechanic in areas, missing support for a second stick, good moments with Edgeworth, adversarial legal systems, wanting the truth, adding S-Rank, why did we even go there?, how much we don't know about the legal system, lawyer's badges, more about the sexism, future supernatural stuff, Tim is possessed by the spirit of his wife, being conditioned to apologize for systemic issues, localization issues with various places, generally trying to abide to cultural sensitivity, questions of centrality, wanting to have the conversation and pushback, getting pushback in concept and pushing back yourself, censorship vs companies and creators, the difficulty as a creator of having your work looked at, curating how games are made, shouting into your DS, pronouncing names properly, AllThoseWhoWander.org, Tim's small trip.

Games, people, and influences mentioned or discussed: Portopia Serial Murder Case, Yuji Horii, Dragon Quest, Chrono Trigger, YU-NO: A Girl Who Chants Love at the Border of this World, Wolverine, Angela Lansbury, Murder She Wrote, Hotel Dusk, Trauma Center, Matlock, Sherlock Holmes, Capcom, GBC/GBA/DS, Ben "from Iowa" Zaugg, SamSpot, Kingdom Hearts, Gran Turismo, Sherlock Holmes Consulting Detective, Dagur Danielsson, Persona 4/5, Edwin, Matt A, The Muppets, Shaun, 8-4 Play podcast, Star Wars, Halo 5, Dragon's Crown, Judgement/Yakuza series, World of Warcraft, Kirk Hamilton, Aaron Evers.

Links:
The importance of lawyer lapel pins

AllThoseWhoWander.org

Next time:
Case 4

Twitch: brettdouville, instagram:timlongojr, @brett_douville, @timlongojr, and @devgameclub
DevGameClub@gmail.com

Aug 5, 2020

Welcome to Dev Game Club, where this week we begin a new series on Capcom's 2001 Japanese GBA title/2005 US DS title Phoenix Wright: Ace Attorney. We talk a bit about the year, the visual novel as a form we're not all that familiar with, although we've each played at least one, and then dive into the game properly before turning to reviews. Dev Game Club looks at classic video games and plays through them over several episodes, providing commentary.

Sections played:
Cases 1 & 2

Podcast breakdown:
0:48 PW Discussion
1:02:38 Break
1:03:16 Reviews & Feedback

Issues covered: looking at the history of the visual novel, crime scene base, the combination of visual novel elements with other action elements, companion quests as visual novel, the split between adventure game types from different cultures (like RPGs and JRPGs), the limits of a handheld vs the early 80s PCs, good fit for the DS, the rampant sexism, the distraction of the sexism, stereotypes/archetypes used to involve the player efficiently, lack of subtlety, production realities, dating game history, where you put your development dollars, showing the crime and the killer up-front, dramatic irony, knowing you have to press the villain, scrubbing back and forth and evaluating when you want to present, being able to see the evidence at any point, a brief discussion about the Japanese legal system, similarities to turn-based combat, stripping down the mystery to expose the mechanics, adding in the investigation/adventure game mode, coming up with a theory of the crime, finding the evidence, the burdens on the prosecution vs the defense, adding in the pressing mechanic, seeing characters progressively crack, animating the characters in a way fitting to the hardware, having the fighting game rhythms, using manga aesthetics for pacing, Brett objects to the supernatural elements as unnecessary, would historians really thank us?, making the margin too small for dates, possible localization issues, Brett objects to the lighting in the office vs the hotel room, being open to what the game wants from me rather than what I know, finding what the game wants, seeking out the aha moment, following the wrong leads, red herrings, stuffing too much into the initial couple hours of a game, missing a core mechanic, two old men with their vision issues, exhaustible dialog elements vs a different style in PW:AA, RPGs trying to replicate D&D, verisimilitude of a game's dialog, parser-based early Ultima games, different ways of presenting dialog, lifting into a different level of story space abstraction, the hidden costs of moving to voice, the loss of the parser, money finds a way.

Games, people, and influences mentioned or discussed: Republic Commando, Capcom, GBA/Nintendo DS, Portopia Serial Murder Case, Enix, Square, Hotel Dark, Trauma Center (series), Professor Layton (series), Policenauts, Hideo Kojima, Bioware, Mass Effect (series), Doki Doki Literature Club, Space Quest/King's Quest, Sierra, Scott Adams, Devil May Cry, Ico, GTA III, Animal Crossing, Civ III, Halo, Baldur's Gate: Dark Alliance, Final Fantasy X, Onimusha: Warlords, Shenmue II, Dreamcast, Pikmin, Advance Wars, Starfighter, Luigi's Mansion, GameCube, Xbox, Dream Daddy, L.A. Noire, Infocom, Deadline, Law & Order, Medium, Profiler, Numb3rs, SamSpot101, Ben Zaugg, 999, Danganronpa, Kingdom Hearts, Hunt A Killer, LucasArts, Day of the Tentacle, Sam Thomas, Walker Farrell, Fallout, Planescape: Torment, Divinity: Original Sin, Shin Megami Tensei, Persona, Dungeons & Dragons, Ultima, Reed Knight, Ken Rolston, Mark Crowe, Jurassic Park, Kirk Hamilton, Aaron Evers.

Next time:
Case 3

Twitch: brettdouville, instagram:timlongojr, @brett_douville, @timlongojr, and @devgameclub
DevGameClub@gmail.com

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