The Level Episode 123 (10/9/2015)
Jala mentions the Adam WarRock concert she attended at a local comic store and event center.
The Brief (4:43)
Kole (4:51): Humble's new subscription service for $12 per month starting November 2015. Everyone discusses their takes on it, with the conclusion being that for people who don't typically like indie games it isn't worth it; for those who do play these types of games, the monthly service would consistently add to subscribers' backlogs but would give them the opportunity to try new titles much like the Playstation Plus offerings. The difference is that with a Humble subscription, you could give away unwanted keys. Hosts state that they would like to have control over which charities the funds go to.
David (13:49): Ubisoft has announced Far Cry Primal, set in the caveman era. Although early in development, it appears that you will be able to lead and manage a tribe to help them survive. You will be able to fashion weapons out of bones, and there will be tribal warfare dynamics. David wonders if they will be able to resist adding dinosaurs. There will be saber tooth cats.
Jala (21:01): Upsilon Circuit is a game/livestream/game show in development currently by Robot Loves Kitty. Once you die, you can never play again; replacement players are chosen from livestream viewers, who can also purchase buffs to help or monsters to endanger active players. Said to monetize trolling, once launched the storyline will become playable/viewable for 2-3 hours a day only during the course of one year. After the story ends, so does the game. Considered a social experiment similar to Twitch Plays Pokémon. Everyone discusses the likelihood of this being a viable system.
Ben (28:45): Arizona Sunshine is a first-person zombie-themed action game with full VR support for the HTC Vive. You can create virtual primary and offhand weapons which you reload with virtual clips. The goal is to get to a destination while managing ammo and enemy hordes. Kole wonders what the co-op capabilities for the Vive are.
What do you listen to when you play games? Do you associate a particular song/artist/album/podcast with a certain game?
Suggested by Alex G.
Jala begins by recounting an anecdote about Alex's last name, and then reads his response: Timesplitters 2 while listening to Surfin' Bird by The Trashmen; Led Zeppelin played over Warhawk; Smuggler's Run with Ram Jam's Black Betty on repeat; War Thunder while listening to period-appropriate music (big band music from the 30's and 40's, and a lot of Sinatra).
Chase G.: GTA 3 while listening to Fiddler On the Roof.
Frans V.: The game's soundtrack.
Alan D.: Supergrass and Lightning Seeds while playing Resident Evil.
Ollie B.: On the first play through, just the game as it was meant to be played. On subsequent plays, podcasts. As to relating games and music, anything by Radiohead reminds him of Sensible World of Soccer.
Stephen V.: Podcasts.
Eric P.: Nujabes and other artists he's worked with, while playing Dark Souls.
James R.: The Connells' '74-'75 is forever related to Duke Nukem 3D's San Francisco fault level.
Gordon B.: Hardcore History.
Sam B.: Front Mission 4 while listening to Daft Punk. Podcasts while playing Dark Souls 2.
Christopher S.: Podcasts, but only if playing something he's played a million times before like The Binding of Isaac or Super Mario Bros.
Evan N.: Podcasts or audiobooks. Kirby's Pinball is linked to Chumbawumba's Tubthumper.
Glenn C.: Hardcore History.
David P.: Pandora Summer Hits of the 90s while playing MMOs. As a kid, Diablo 1 while listening to 3 songs on repeat: The Thong Song, Blue by Eiffel 65 and Mambo No. 5.
Joshua S.: Mostly the game soundtrack; sometimes a podcast while playing XCOM.
Ben associates Incubus and Star Wars: Jedi Outcast. He also listens to podcasts while playing games like Civ or XCOM, but if there is a narrative to the game he will just play the game listening to its native soundtrack.
David would listen to news on TV in the background while gaming except when the content ceases to be relaxing background noise.
Kole listens to podcasts while playing, though he pauses them when it gets too distracting. When playing Fallout 3, he listened to Planet Money.
Jala doesn't generally listen to anything while playing other than the game's score, however when grinding through some endgame content in Guild Wars 1 she listened to A Short History of Japan. However, she listens to game music when driving or working out and sometimes creates words for instrumental game music and sings to the tune while playing.
The Grind (1:04:30)
Jala (1:04:38): Fist of Jesus; Leviathan: The Last Day of the Decade; Valdis Story: Abyssal City
Jala begins with co-op mentions: She played through part of the Ascalonian Catacombs explorable dungeon in Guild Wars 2 with Chase, Sam, and Noah. After that, Left 4 Dead 2 with Graham, Jonathan and Joel.
She has been playing Fist of Jesus on iOS and unlocked the rest of Judas' special weapons. She notes that Jesus is only available in the Steam version, so she hasn't finished unlocking his skills yet.
In Leviathan, she has completed an "evil play through." It is completely viable to play as an evil character, and it doesn't seem to affect the meta story at least up through episode 4 (as much as has been released so far). She notes that she is still finding new content that she hasn't come across previously, and is on her fourth or fifth play through. She recommends calling everyone, particularly the main character's sister Jinny, before and after major story beats as they will sometimes offer flavor text and background information that you would otherwise not see. She comments that even on subsequent plays she tends to reread text she has already seen because there is so much depth to the lore.
She has also played a bit of Valdis Story: Abyssal City which is a sword and sorcery Metroidvania game where you explore the ruins of a holy city overrun with angels, demons and ferals. The goddess Valdis was killed forty years ago by one of her twin daughters, and this sparked a war between the siblings. One transforms human souls into angels and the other turns them into demons; humans are basically being farmed to serve the goddess' purposes and were forced to hide underground. Numbers of humans left are dwindling. You can play as one of four characters, though your default starter character is Wyatt, a wandering swordsman and the others seem to need to be unlocked. The concept art is a Western-style chibi form, and the sprite art is more appealing. The combat is fluid and the skill trees are basic with each character unlocking different types of moves. Although there are a few drawbacks (no quest log/objectives menu, no world map), the developer has been consistently patching the game with updates in response to player feedback.
Kole (1:18:10): The Beginner's Guide; Tearaway
The Beginner's Guide is a new game by one of the creators of The Stanley Parable. Kole describes the concept as an individual collecting the incomplete works of an indie developer that they like and commenting on/deconstructing it. He states that this game is "devastating" and that the main ideas are isolation and validation. Ben and Kole draw comparisons to Charlie Kaufman movies. David and Kole discuss differences between The Stanley Parable and this game.
Tearaway did not impress Kole, as he feels it's too simplistic. He is also creeped out by the version of you who lives in the Sun that helps control everything, because the Vita activates the front-facing camera in order to insert your actual face into the game. At first he was excited by the beginning of the game as it doesn't allow you to jump and he thought that the entire platformer was like this, using the features of the Vita to navigate. However, at the end of Chapter 1 you gain that ability. He does however love the paper craft aesthetic and says it is a beautiful game.
Ben played nothing.
David (1:29:28): Destiny: The Taken King
David has gotten to the Taken King content in Destiny and says that it is so much better than the original game, even though he really enjoyed prior content. He notes that there is much more dialogue which helps develop the plot and characters. All the same there are still several things left unexplained, but overall the great voice acting and flavor text lends to an overall more exciting experience. David cites that there is a good deal of banter including trying to sort out the instructions from your leading source of intelligence on the enemy as well as back story told through frequent name-dropping connected to information about what each person has done in the past. He did play one of the raids, which requires 6 players. However, Bungie does not allow match-making, therefore complicating solo players' attempts to complete this content. The story behind the raid he played only makes sense if you played a high-level optional endgame raid from the first expansion, which he did not; there is no attempt to address the possibility that most players didn't complete that raid in The Taken King. David did however talk about his positive experiences with the Destiny player community.
Kole mentions the Bonfireside Cats fundraiser to help Gary; the Portland Retro Games Expo including a Duckfeed meetup; the usual admin.
Potential Titles (1:50:48)
Titles for this show are based on commentary made organically during each episode. The following is the list of options selected by the hosts. The winner for this episode was "Kill All Animals and Take Their Everything."