Episode 42: SPACE!!!!

Fresh off the lonely open black of Elite Dangerous, the Jo(h)ns consider the role that space has played in video games. What follows is a discussion of tropes, space as a setting vs space as a character, and the role science fiction plays when discussing our own histories and cultures. Oh, and John space-abandons his fucking space-on-again-off-again space-affair. What a fucking space-dick.

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Episode 40: “Shout-outs to Mordor”

Narrative is important to games. Even from the earliest days of NES there were stories. Plumber rescues Princess. Space Bounty Hunter destroys alien threat. Ducks are hunted. Today, games have evolved to include sweeping narratives that encompass galaxies with gameplay and graphics to match.

JonJon and a sleepy John with an H discuss the nature of storytelling in games framed around last year’s sleeper hit, Middle Earth: Shadow of Mordor.


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Episode 39: Idle Hands (Cookie Clicker, Mountain)

Idle hands are usually good for gaming. Who better to play video games than people with free time? Unfortunately the Juans at Level 30 Plus have found themselves with less and less time to devote to games recently.

Enter the “Idle Games”. A relatively new genre of game that can be played with minimal interaction on the part of the player. The best experience typically comes from doing something else in the meantime and only checking in for a short distraction. Today we talk about two interesting examples: The browser based “Cookie Clicker” and Steam based “Mountain”.

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Episode 38: Three Types of Mobile Gaming

John with an H has a little theory. Or call it a generalization. Seems to him there are three ways a mobile developer can focus their game and make a name for themselves on the crowded mobile market.

Focus on Art, Gameplay, or Income. There are exceptions to every rule of course but this seems to be the big three. Agree? Disagree? Let us know what you think!

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Episode 37: “The Handheld Experience”

So, smartphones and tablets are a thing now. That’s nothing new. Neither is playing games on the go; we’ve been doing that since the original Gameboy.

But our experiences are changing. Folks keep talking about how smartphones and tablets will make the 3DSs and Vitas of the world extinct (We know, haters, the Vita’s already dead, thanks.) but we don’t think it’s that simple.

When a device isn’t known to be specifically for games, how does it affect the type of gaming experiences we have?

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Episode 36: Punching Up

In this episode the Jo(h)ns continue to talk about food. Video games work their way in eventually. This time the discussion revolves around the episodic nature of the games discussed in last week’s episode; Kentucky Route Zero and Broken Age. Can you trust a game that hasn’t even come out completely? 

We like to think so.

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Episode 35: “They Changed into Chickens”

This week, the Jo(h)ns talk about food.  Yeah, really.  But THEN, they talk about two games they’ve recently played — Kentucky Route Zero and Broken Age.  One seems to take the point-and-click genre in brand-new story-driven directions using the language of stage plays, while the other is a welcome throwback from a creator considered to be a master of the genre.  Once a upon a time, we thought the point-and-click was dead.  Did it really die, though?  Or did it just shrink and grow feathers?  *CUE JURASSIC PARK THEME*

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Episode 34: John With an ‘H’ … For Horror!

Welcome to 2015 fellow Levelers! We’ve missed you.

This week, JonJon and returning guest Ben drag John with an H kicking and screaming into his first complete horror game playthrough. The game du jour is Matt Gilgenbach’s literally sketchy and personal opus, “Neverending Nightmares”.

Along the way, our hosts discuss with Ben the horror genre, how horror works in different mediums, and how horror draws/repulses people.

Happy New Year bitches!

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Episode 33: State of the Console Address

Part 2 of our year end wrap up the Jo(h)ns discuss the first year of the “next-gen” consoles, whether or not they are performing as well as previous transitions, their reliance on previous generation titles, and the over-all ramifications of consoles as a gaming device in general.

Plus some real talk about John’s time working for the government and JonJon’s experiences being involved with a failed lifestyle magazine. 

Don’t sue us please.

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