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Episode 97: Just Shut Up

by Justin Baker, Daan Koopman, Josh Max, Dave Mellert, Carmine Red, Neal Ronaghan, and Scott Thompson - August 9, 2013, 5:36 pm EDT
Total comments: 3

This week, the crew explores Pikmin 3 and Mario & Luigi Dream Team, discusses Tropes Vs. Women, recaps the week's news and releases, and interviews the studio behind SteamWorld Dig! 

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We have a heck of a show for you this week, and unlike plenty of upcoming games, it's available right now, no matter where you live!

Kicking things off, Neal, Scott and Justin discuss to the two major Nintendo releases of the past week: Pikmin 3 and Mario & Luigi: Dream Team. While the trio has mostly nothing but adoration for the pluckable plants, Dream Team doesn't fare quite so well. If you're on the fence about either, this segment should help you make up your mind!

After that, Carmine joins Dave, Julia, and Josh to break down the latest videos in the Tropes Vs. Women series. Despite some controversy and vitriol from both supporters and detractors of the series, the group takes an evenhanded approach in discussing the overall themes and their implications for gaming as a whole.

Next up, Scott and Neal host a new, recurring segment called "This Week in Nintendo," which is focused on covering the latest eShop and Virtual Console releases as well as discussing any important news from that week. In the first installment, the duo go over a rather pedestrian Nintendo Direct before discussing this week's digital releases, including Spin the Bottle and SteamWorld Dig.

Speaking of SteamWorld Dig, the final segment for episode 97 features Daan's interview with Image & Form CEO Brjann Sigurgeirsson, the studio behind the surprisingly great new title. Brjann discusses the game as well as the future of the SteamWorld universe.

As always, you can click here to send us your listener mail. We've gotten a handful of good e-mails this week, and will probably start reading them on air next week. So if you have a good question or topic you're sitting on, send it our way! See you next week.

This episode edited by Scott Thompson.


syn4aptikDave Mellert, Associate EditorAugust 09, 2013

Josh's comment at 55:15 wins the podcast

azekeAugust 12, 2013

Since when 182 cm (google says that's what "six feet" means in normal) is super-freakishly tall... That should goes for folks who are over 2 meters i think.

I never had any problems with using wiimote+nunchuck combo. I played like that while sitting and while lying. Some levels in Mario Galaxy though forced me to stand up partly because i got to psyched up and partly because stakes became way too high i couldn't miss even one movement during pointing segments.

And honestly split setup just feels so much better, you can lie on your bed and have each hand on your side and not fixed on your stomach or whatever.

magicpixieAugust 19, 2013

I was on vacation so I only just listened to this episode today.  I've had this tropes vs. women thing in my mind for a long time.  Ultimately, she's right.  I feel that the deconstruction of narrative devices in video games could increase the quality of the games we play.  However, as pointed out, it isn't like the developers set out to disempower women.  I feel that a lot of the criticism that Sarkeesian got was definitely unwarranted, but a lot of that was due to a misunderstanding of her intent.

I have no doubt that her intent was to open a dialog with the community about the way that games are written with regards to gender roles.  And I think she managed to do just that.  The blowback she got, was just a portion of the feedback, and I'm sure she received plenty of the opposite response, and even some nuanced and well-thought out debate.  Her Twitter account at some point(might have been a Tumblr, I am not up on these young people things) singled out some of the most egregious responses, seemingly characterizing them as the majority.  It may indeed be a fact that these opinions are the majority in the gaming audience, but then it would stand to reason that the majority of games created would cater specifically to them.  And if their attitudes are as such, logically, the games would be sure to reflect that.  I feel that she hasn't given enough credence to the business aspect of making these games.

Another point I take issue with, is that she tends to isolate her criticisms of games to criticisms of what they say about how we make games, and doesn't speak enough to what they say about our society in general.  Women have made great strides in the last 100 years, but this is still a man's world.  There's a picture on the internet with a Congressional committee looking into women's reproductive rights(specifically, birth control), and not a single member was female.  There are constantly studies performed that look into ways to get more girls interested in STEM disciplines, which include many positions in games development.  I think that the biggest way to change the way games are made, is to change the people making them.  That leads to the question of how to get them interested in games development in the first place, and the way to do that is to get them playing games.  How do we get them playing games(the games that Sarkeesian is talking about, so-called core games)?  Do we replace the traditional male protagonist with a female?  No, she said that doesn't fix the issue, it just swaps the roles and I agree.  I think there's definitely something to be said that as society changes, so will games.

Anyway, I realize I'm falling into the same trap I always do.  I argue with myself in my head in circles and end up getting absolutely nowhere.  I think that the gaming as an entertainment medium is the most apt description.  Movies are art, but they are also an entertainment medium.  As such, their primary focus isn't always to provoke or challenge our long-held beliefs.  Those movies and games will exist, but on a much smaller scale compared to the summer blockbusters from Michael Bay.  And as you mentioned Journey, a game that removes the concept of gender entirely(is that what we really want?) also exists to act as a tiny counterbalance to the ever-present CoD iterations.

It will be interesting to see where she goes next with this. I would definitely like to see more solutions.  I would hope that she could get some devs on board to speak to the market research aspect of game development.

Also, I have to concur with the split setup of the wii remote+nunchuk combo.  Would have been even better if the cord was maybe 6 inches longer.

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