The Geek Bravado Ramble is an eclectic, relatively frequent, topical commentary and discussion podcast by Parallax Abstraction.
Touching on all kinds of topics from gaming to tech, news, politics, mental health, social issues and everything in between, expect unvarnished, sometimes unpopular but always informed and clickbait free opinions along with an open call for discussion.
Like what I had to say? Tell me why! Don't like it? Change my mind! Let's ramble together!
Join my Discord atdiscord.pxa.ca or hit me up on Twitter @PXAbstraction.
Recently, three of the core personalities at Giant Bomb announced on the same day that they were leaving the site, effectively putting it on life support. I gave up on the site a couple of years ago but its impact on gaming media of all kinds is undeniable. In this casual port-mortem, I reflect on that, why I stopped following them and what I hope they are able to achieve in the future.
Six Days In Fallujah is a tactical first-person shooter set during a very controversial battle during the Iraq war. The game was originally set to release in the late 2000s, before being cancelled by its publisher and subsequently, having its developer go under. Now it's being brought back by a new developer and publisher and is still very controversial. This has escalated to the point where people in the games industry are calling for it to be censored by the government because it will lead to violence. Many of these same people also make violent games. Jack Thompson is back only the calls are now coming from inside the house. I discuss this.
I'd heard of Outriders but not much more than that before trying out its recently released demo. As someone pretty tired of the live service looter shooter genre, this surprised me in some very welcome ways.
A virtual uprising against Wall Street hedge funds has been taking place for the last week or so, thanks to a subreddit called Wall Street Bets. It's also showed just how rigged our financial system is as the companies that have been gambling with our economy for years without consequence are now working hard from all angles to shut this "free market" uprising down. They may succeed if people don't push back.
The sea shanty I use in the intro and outro: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=rejpDqQUcV0
Parler, an alternative to Twitter that had a mostly right-wing user base, was recently kicked off Google Play, the Apple App Store and Amazon Web Services in a suspiciously rapid and coordinated fashion. While I have no love for the platform, I think this coordinated assault by big tech companies to stamp out politically competing platforms, citing the same rules they turn a blind eye to the incumbents for breaking sets a very dangerous precedent. The problem is, I don't know how you properly deal with it either. I discuss that and would love to hear what you all think.
It's been happening for a while but especially with recent event, I've seen this growing trend of people online demanding that everyone use whatever platform they have to scream political opinions and that a failure to do so is tantamount to complicity and even somehow, an act of violence. I am sick of this and of entitled people daring to make demands of what I say. I go on a pretty decent rant about this subject.
2020 sucked hard but one bright spot was in video games. There was no shortage of amazing things to play while you were stuck at home. Rather than do a traditional top 10 this year, I decided to forgo talking about AAA games altogether and make an unordered list of 10 varied indie games from the year that I think are worth checking out. They're all different and they won't all be for everyone but I liked them and I think they're at least worth a look.
The music in the podcast is selections from the incredible soundtrack to Chicken Police. Check it out on Bandcamp here.
Here is the list with links to buy the PC versions. I highly recommend listening to the episode first and if you do decide to buy the PC version, please use the affiliate links in the titles to support me:
Streets of Rage 4 - Dotemu/Lizardcube/Guard Crush Games - PC/PS4/Xbox One/Switch - Indie Showcase Video
Hades - Supergiant Games - PC/PS4/Xbox One/Switch
Chicken Police - Paint it RED! - The Wild Gentlemen/HandyGames - PC
Kosmokrats - Pixel Delusion/Modern Wolf - PC/Switch (2021)
Jetboard Joust - BitBull/Freedom! Games - PC - Indie Showcase Video
Cloudpunk - Ion Lands - PC/PS4/Xbox One/Switch - Indie Showcase Video
Ghostrunner - One More Level/3D Realms/Slipgate Iron Works/All In! Games/505 Games - PC/PS4/Xbox One/Switch
Hellpoint - Cradle Games/tinyBuild Games - PC/PS4/Xbox One/Switch (Soon)
Bloodstained: Curse of the Moon 2 - Inti Creates - PC/PS4/Xbox One/Switch
Yes, Your Grace - Brave At Night/No More Robots - PC/Xbox One/Switch
The Cyberpunk 2077 launch, burning their console partners and now the sudden backtracking on the release of Devotion on GOG has taken CD Projekt Group's formerly stellar reputation straight off a cliff in the last week. In my opinion, it's an unfortunate and unavoidable end of a creative company that's publicly traded. I discuss this theory and why it worries me that so many even smaller developers and publishers seem to be going public these days.
Cyberpunk 2077 has finally launched after numerous delays and while I think it's a great game, it also has a lot of problems and CD Projekt Red's stellar reputation has taken some significant damage. As someone who was incredibly hyped for the game, I believe a lot of those criticisms are warranted but some are also an example of the gaming community whipping itself into a frenzy of hype that could never be matched. I discuss that while also giving my impressions of the game after 25 hours of it streamed for Extra Life.
Twitch and some streamers on it are currently in the midst of a DMCA crackdown by the major record labels. Entire libraries of VODs and clips are being deleted in an attempt to prevent channels from being taken down and everyone's made about it. While they have a right to be, at the same time, everyone in this situation is also wrong in various ways. I go into detail about this and also why the talk about Twitch being shut down is utter nonsense.
The Tom Scott video on copyright I reference: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=1Jwo5qc78QU
If you're in the streaming space, you know about the controversy surrounding Alex Hutchison's tweets. In this purposefully late to the party take on the issue, I do take him and his statements to task but also explore the elements of his statements that whether we like it or not, are true.
In the unbridled nightmare that is the American presidency right now, a lot of people have been rightly blamed for contributing to Donald Trump's rise. However, one person in particular, I think has skirted under the radar and arguably, deserves more blame than most. In this unusual podcast, I discuss that and my reasons for it.
In an absolute mic drop worthy bombshell, Microsoft has announced their intention to buy ZeniMax Media, parent company of Bethesda, Arkane, id Software, MachineGames and Tango Gameworks among others. They are also now owners of some of the world's biggest IPs like The Elder Scrolls, DOOM, Wolfenstein, Dishonored and more. The Internet is buzzing about what this means for the future of these beloved series, especially on PlayStation systems. For as big as this deal is, I think the outcome is going to be very different than many gamers think. I go into detail about this and also why further consolidation is something that should concern us.
Twitch recently announced that they're going to be testing randomly placed mid-roll ads in the middle of people's streams. As expected, this has quickly formed two camps between those who thinks this is unfair and distuptive and others who think anyone saying that is entitled. As is often the case, I fall somewhere in the middle but I also go into my explanation of why I believe such moves are necessary and how what people think this industry makes is often not in keeping with the business realities.
A new Netflix series on the history of video games came out of nowhere and was a pleasant surprise for a number of different reasons. I offer up my impressions of High Score, from the perspective of someone who is big into the history of the medium. I was pleasantly surprised!
On this somber 19th anniversary of the 9/11 attacks, many have been sharing their stories of where they were on that day. I wasn't going to originally but I was in a weird headspace today that ended up in me going for a drive and decided to record my story, which was kind of unique or at least so I think. Never forget.
3D Realms and their indie partners held the online Realms Deep 2020 event his weekend, dedicated to what turned out to be a tsunami of what I call "modern retro" titles that they have coming in the next year. As someone who grew up with games in the 80s and 90s, I'm super excited to see not only all these new yet old games coming but also how this niche genre has managed to spawn a super passionate and successful cottage industry. It's also provided some personal inspiration I didn't expect.
Day 1 VoD: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ezNLM8P8rN4
Day 2 VoD: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=EJIso-RKtFU
There's been a fair amount of hype around this new "live service" Avengers game. I was sort of in the middle of the hype and after playing a couple of hours of the open beta on PC, my hype has gone way down to "buy on deep sale" territory. I talk about why this game is not hitting for me.
In my hiatus from streaming, I've been working on my backlog and just got a chance to finish Final Fantasy VII Remake on the PS4. While this ramble review is a while after the release of the game, I think I bring some interesting and largely unique perspectives to the review due to having never finished the original back in the day. This game was quite an emotional ride and I go into detail about why.
In a massive upset to the mobile game industry status quo, Epic Games has filed anti-trust lawsuits against Apple and Google after having Fortnite pulled from their app stores for trying to do their own in-app purchases, bypassing the 30% cut those companies take. This is going to be a monumental fight that could set wide-reaching industry precedent. And I wish that it was possible for everyone involved to lose. In this spicier episode, I go into why the last people to benefit from any outcome of this lawsuit are consumers.
The now three Hoeg Law videos I mentioned:
Carrion is a game I've been looking forward to for a while. Billed as a "reverse horror" game, you play as the monster, which is something we've surprisingly seen very little of. I give my impressions of it, as well as some things I'd like to see in a potential sequel if one gets made.
Buy a Carrion Steam key from one of these retailers and help support my content and Extra Life:
Humble Store: https://www.humblebundle.com/store/carrion?partner=pxabstraction
Don't listen to this if you haven't watched Snowpiercer Season 1 yet and don't want it spoiled.
I didn't know a TV series based on Snowpiercer was coming until it suddenly appeared on Netflix one day so as a fan of the movie, I wanted to check it out. I liked it well enough, right up until the last episode. I talk about my issues with it and what it means for season 2.
After too long, I'm back with another ramble game review episode and to as much my surprise as anyone's, it's of yet another visual novel. Eliza came out back in 2019 but I only got to play it recently. Unlike Arcade Spirits, the story in this game is much more grounded in the real world and is also much more linear than many visual novels traditionally are. This is countered by it being fully voice acted and also having a narrative that is both emotionally moving and that will make you think about some of the technological challenges we may face soon.
Buy Eliza on Steam from one of these retailers and help support my content and Extra Life:
Humble Store - https://www.humblebundle.com/store/eliza?partner=pxabstraction
Fanatical - https://www.fanatical.com/en/game/eliza?ref=pxabstraction
Music is from the Eliza soundtrack by Matthew S. Burns. Buy it here: https://zachtronics.bandcamp.com/album/eliza-original-soundtrack
Press code provided by Zachtronics.
Out of the blue on the 22nd of June, Microsoft announced that Mixer, my live streaming home of over 3 years, will be unceremoniously killed with a whopping one month's notice. The community is devastated, angry and bitter, especially since this comes on the heels of a weekend of scandals that rocked the platform, which they're now able to just sweep away.
In this longer ramble, I talk about the experience of finding out about this in light of everything else I've been processing lately and also what this means for my potential future in content creation.
For now, you can follow me at https://twitch.tv/PXAbstraction, though I make no promises about what may or may not happen there. I wish the best to all my fellow Mixer refugees.
The world feels like it's on fire right now. For those reasons and more, I'm personally in a really bad place. This podcast is mostly talking about my own struggles, though I am not unempathetic to the greater madness so many more are dealing with too. I just talk about this struggle for a while because I think it's important for more of us to be open about our struggles so that others know they aren't alone. As always, I am here if anyone needs an ear.
After a bunch of release drama that included the developer closing the day after it shipped largely unfinished, the investors behind RUNE II have begun fulfilling the promise they made to the community to keep supporting the game and have released a massive update called Lazarus, which they claim is just the start. I was given a press code and streamed it for an evening to see what it was like, especially the campaign which I knew nothing about. A lot about that campaign surprised me but I also still don't think the game's hit the finish line yet. I talk about why and also why it might be to other people's liking.
Previous episode on the developer drama: https://anchor.fm/geekbravado/episodes/Episode-86-November-14--2019---RUNE-II-and-Human-Head-Studios-Closure-e90bdp
I'm not generally a fan of visual novels. I played Arcade Spirits on a first impressions stream about a year ago and kept it installed because something about it made me think I'd want to come back to it, even though it was a visual novel. I recently finished it and was very pleasant surprised by the experience. I give an on the fly ramble review of the game and why despite it not selling me on visual novels as a whole, it's given me cause to look into them more closely in the future.
My original first impressions stream of the game: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=aTQfEwEBssE
Buy a Steam key from one of these affiliate links to help support my content and Extra Life:
Humble Store: https://www.humblebundle.com/store/arcade-spirits?partner=pxabstraction
Press code for the game was originally provided by PQube Games in early 2019.
Podcast music is from the game's soundtrack: https://gregmirles.bandcamp.com/album/arcade-spirits-original-game-soundtrack
During the COVID-19 crisis, the previously to say the least, divisive leader of my province has been getting a lot of credit for how he's been "leading" through the outbreak and many of his previous detractors are suddenly changing their minds on him. However, much like Rudy Guilliani after 9/11, none of this is based in reality but more just the fact that he happened to be here during a difficult time. I talk about this and why it's a terrible reason to suddenly up your opinion on terrible leaders.
Epic Games has now announced that in addition to making a big push into the digital distribution space, they are now getting into publishing games from other developers. Similar to how they launched the Epic Games Store, they are starting with a bang, offering full funding and creative control to 3 prominent studios, with apparently more to come. I talk about this model, how I'd have a hard time saying no if I was a developer and also how this is completely unsustainable long-term, despite what some short-sighted "developers" think.
Thank you to my small audience for being there for 100 episodes! Here's to many more!
COVID-19 is currently sending society and the economy into a tailspin with no end in sight. Meanwhile, it's become taboo to talk about the country whose lacking regulations and rampant corruption has resulted in not only this pandemic but multiple others. Those whose self-worth is wrapped up in being offended on behalf of others are calling criticizing China racist, failing to understand that one can criticize the state and policies that allowed this to happen without it being attack on the Chinese people themselves. I talk about that with more than a little personal frustation.
Sony had their technical briefing in which they did a deep dive on what's under the hood of the PS5. While I talk about all of the various aspects Mark Cerny discussed in his presentation, I focus heavily on the custom SSD Sony has put in the system. Many blew off Cerny's focus on this as boring but I think what this advancement brings with it could stand to be the single biggest quality of life improvement console gaming has ever seen. I talk about why people should be more excited about this.
Sony's "Road to PS5" Presentation: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ph8LyNIT9sg
A little while ago, I decided to stop taking some meds for my mental health. I'd been taking them for many years and was advised by professionals that it can be worth stopping them once in a while to see what impact it is. The results surprised me. I talk about that and what it might mean for me going forward.
DISCLAIMER: I am not a doctor or mental health professional. Consult with your own before making any changed to medications you may or may not be taking.
TwitLonger about Riley referenced in the episode: https://www.twitlonger.com/show/n_1sr5j84
I finally played through the entirety of the new entry in Dontnod Entertainment's narrative adventure game series. As a fan of the first Life Is Strange and especially of intermediate series Before the Storm, I had high hopes for this series. Find out why many of those hopes were dashed and why it makes me concerned for future Dontnod titles.
As per the title, there will be a clearly deliniated spoiler section at the end.
And yes, I know I said 2019 yet again. I'll join this decade at some point. :)
It's been a while since I did an impressions podcast but I had the chance to play Deliver Us the Moon, a sci-fi walking simulator about a unique, post-apocalyptic near future. I have very high standards for this genre and don't like most entries in it but I really enjoyed this one. Find out why in this episode.
The TwitLonger about Riley: https://www.twitlonger.com/show/n_1sr5j84
Buy a Steam key Deliver Us the Moon from one of the following retailers and support me and Extra Life:
Humble Store: https://www.humblebundle.com/store/deliver-us-the-moon?partner=pxabstraction&charity=144206
Green Man Gaming: https://www.greenmangaming.com/games/deliver-us-the-moon-pc/?tap_a=1964-996bbb&tap_s=2860-b93a5c
It's no secret that being an indie game developer is really tough right now and the chances of your game just being profitable, much less a hit is far from a guarantee. However, for all the hand wringing we see about the indie game space and especially, the increasing trend of devs blaming their potential customers for their failures, I think a lot of developers approach the selling and promotion of their games with a naive mindset that quality is all you need to make a game sell. I discuss this and how just being good at making games is only one part of the equation of getting people to buy them.
If you follow a lot of streamers or content creators on social media, you've likely seen a lot of them posting what I call "Streamer PSAs", unsolicited advice for other content creators, often stated in a very authoritative manner. While I'm aware of the irony, I offer both a perspective on these PSAs, why you shouldn't take them as seriously as some think you should and why at the end of the day, luck is the biggest factor in finding large-scale success in the online content world.
The current drama involving the royal family has become big news, bigger than many more important things happening in the world. On top of that, there's a chance Canadian taxpayers may be footing a good chunk of billing should Megan and Harry choose to move to Canada, which is rumoured. I rant about the royal family's relevance, the real motivations behind the separation and the news media's focus on this celebrity gossip over real things of importance.
Fans of progressive rock band RUSH were shocked and saddened to learn of the unexpected passing of their legendary drummer and lyricist Neil Peart due to brain cancer. RUSH is my favourite band by light years and in addition to having a talent unmatched in rock, has also helped me and my ADHD brain get through some very difficult times. In this longer ramble, I talk about what happened to Neil Peart, the band's incredible legacy and what they've done for me and undoubtedly, many others as well. Rest in pieace Neil.
The song used in the intro and outro is Afterimage from the album Grace Under Pressure: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=aalJT3GS_m8
The latest Star Wars movie is out and is a critical flop and likely headed to be a commercial one as well. This is only the latest in an increasing line of beloved franchises that JJ Abrams has shepherded into ruin with their most hardcore (and theoretically valuable) fanbases. I talk about my theory as to why he keeps getting these opportunities and why Hollywood needs to keep him in his lane, for the good of everyone.
P.S. I know I got a couple of the new movie names wrong. No need to correct me. :)
An unfortunately common tactic used in doing business with people now is to try to devalue their work and make them feel they hold less worth than that they are in order to get a deal out of them. This can even be true in situations where no money is involved. Having recently had to battle with a client trying this with me, I've come to realize just how important it is to fight for what you believe you are worth and not to crack on that resolve even once. I relate the story and expand on my reasoning.
The Outer Worlds is the new RPG from Obsidian. A combination of Fallout and Firefly, many are calling it the proper single player RPG players have been needing for years and many are calling it a Game of the Year contender. As I recorded this, I was the majority of the way through the game and while it's not bad by any means, it doesn't take any risks or innovate in any of the ways it should have. I go into detail with these impressions.
Google's promised new revolution in cloud gaming, Stadia, launched to founder backers yesterday and releases widely to the public today. With a few exceptions, the launch seems to have been a mess at best and seems to indicate a product that was shipped when it was nowhere ready to. I discuss this, plus what problems Google thinks Stadia is actually solving and whether they needed solving to begin with.
Recently, a sequel to the cult classic Norse hack n' slash RUNE was released to mixed reception. The next day, its developer Human Head Studios announced they were closing their doors, despite taking an Epic exclusivity bribe for the game and it apparently selling better than they thought. This has left both players and their pseudo publisher wondering what kind of support the title will receive. The whole saga is very strange and I talk about that and why this kind of thing further erodes the already razor thin trust gamers have in the industry.
In what should come as a surprise to no one, Don Cherry said something controversial and ignorant. However, this time he did it in the era of cancel culture and something he previously would have gotten away with has now resulted in him being fired from the iconic Coach's Corner role he's held for several decades. While I think Don Cherry is often an ignorant blowhard who needs to keep his political nonsense of out of his hockey, I also think this reaction was overblown and more than a little hypocritical.
My ninth year in a row of doing the Extra Life 24 hour gaming marathon for the Children's Hospital of Eastern Ontario has concluded. It was overall a great year but also came with its share of challenges and lessons learned. I go over all of those in this informal postmortem.
I'm still raising money for my 2019 campaign until the end of the year so if you have a few bucks to spare to help sick kids and want a free PC game for your trouble, you can donate at http://extralife.pxa.ca. Thanks for your support!
The new private equity owners of the former Gawker group of web site have made some major changes to the user experience on their sites but more importantly, have laid off some writers and warned others to stay in their lanes and keep politics out of sites that aren't supposed to be for that. These writers are losing their minds but I think it's about time and will hopefully (but likely not) teach them a lesson they should have learned years ago. I talk about what this could mean for these sites and others that operate in a similar way.
Joker is not only an atypical superhero movie, it's not a superhero movie at all. Despite all the manufactured outrage about it, I think it's not only a brilliant movie but one of the most brilliant ones I've seen in a long time. Not everyone agrees though and the discussion has been fascinating. I keep things spoiler-free until a clearly marked segment near the end but if you've seen the film, I'd love to know what you think about it as a whole and particularly, the parts discussed in that segment.
It's the day where Canadians choose who will next lead our federal government. I've been very conflicted when it comes to who gets my vote for a number of years now but this election will probably be my toughest choice yet, even though thanks to our obsolete voting system, my choice is literally meaningless in the riding in which I live. I talk about this and why I think the biggest choice this election is which third-party will hold the balance of power in a near guaranteed minority government. Regardless, GO VOTE TODAY CANADA!
My CBC Vote Compass results: https://votecompass.cbc.ca/canada/results/af10535c-93c6-4fab-ab8e-319e3fc4ba89
Take the short Vote Compass quiz yourself if you're Canadian: https://votecompass.cbc.ca/canada/
Another minor panic about the future of the Mixer platform seems to be going through the community again and this was amplified by the surprise and rapid-fire announcements that both founders of the platform will be leaving Microsoft. I talk about not only why people shouldn't be worrying so much but also why the departure of the founders is probably a good thing.
Blizzard recently banned a competitive Chinese Hearthstone player and withheld substantial prize money because he spoke out in support of Hong Kong protesters during a live broadcast. The Internet has exploded in response to this, more so than I would have expected. I offer my take on the events and in particular, how this shows the incredibly hypocrisy of a company that espouses progressive values on one hand but sides with a dictatorship on the other, all in the interests of shareholders instead of principals.
Another Netflix series popped on my radar recently and it caught my interests in technology and charity because it was about Microsoft founder Bill Gates. It wasn't bad but not at all what I wanted. I give my impressions.
Late in the evening of September 18, photos surfaced of Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau in a brownface costume at a social function. This has caused no end of outrage from the press, general public and his opponents in out ongoing federal election campaign. While I agree what he did was wrong, I also think it's ridiculous to hold something that someone did in the distant past against them today, especially when they've demonstrated that they've improved as a person. I detail that opinion.
Recently released after a long, Kickstarted development, Children of Morta is a Roguelite, fused with elements of ARPGs like Diablo, with a unique set of characters and a breathtaking presentation. I give my impressions after several hours of play.
Children of Morta is available now on PC and is coming soon to all consoles. Use one of the following links to buy it on PC and help support my content:
Humble Store (also supports Extra Life) - https://www.humblebundle.com/store/children-of-morta?partner=pxabstraction&charity=144206
Fanatical - https://www.fanatical.com/en/game/children-of-morta?ref=pxabstraction
Green Man Gaming - https://www.greenmangaming.com/games/children-of-morta-pc/?tap_a=1964-996bbb&tap_s=2860-b93a5c
Press code provided by Evolve PR.
A new entry in one of my favourite series in one of my favourite arcadey genres is upon us. The River City series dates all the way back to the NES and has passed through many developers over its history, which is longer than many realize. The latest entry comes from the renowned devlopers WayForward and I went into it with high expectations. I talk about my first couple of horus with the game and whether those expectations have been met.
Intro song is We're the Rivber City Girls, performed by Nathan Sharp and Christina Vee.
Another documentary has his Netflix and despite it's title, it isn't one about the factories in China that make almost everything we buy now, it's about a Chinese company trying to setup a factory in the US. American Factory details this process with a surprising amount of access and shows the cultural and business issues that come from Chinese and American values colliding and why this trend growing should worry people.
Earlier this month, I unexpectedly had to put a lot of my streams and other content on hold because I was so burned out. I originally thought it was because of work and other stresses but after some research, it appears to be not so much because of that but because I've started to become dependent on my ADHD medication. I talk about what that experience has been like and what I'm doing to try to overcome it and still figure out how to treat this disorder.
I've now devoted several episodes to (rightly) addressing a lot of the problems with the Epic Games Store and it's general anti-consumer stance. Many have equated this to me just hating it because it's not Steam. That couldn't be further from the truth and for as much as I use Steam, the service and the company behind it have a lot of problems of their own. I devote longer than I thought I would to talking about those and what Valve should do to improve on them.
I largely avoided sounding off about the latest two mass shootings in the United States because I didn't know what I could say without just repeating the same divisive talking points as everyone else. In this extra rambly episode, I try to discuss the various different issues that are subjects of this intense debate and how, rather than blaming any one of them, that maybe the core issue is a cultural one that is an amalgamation of many different issues.
An indie game going Epic Games Store exclusive is sadly nothing new and while I'm as sick of podcast about this as everyone else, the spectacularly arrogant and entitled manner in which Glumberland, the developers of Ooblets chose to announce their exclusivity, is something that has to be discussed. In addition, their announcement and some hints from other developers have shed some more light on how the economics of these Epic exclusivity deals work and why it's such a tempting proposition for so many.
The Ooblets blog post referenced in the episode: https://ooblets.com/2019/07/we-did-the-thing/
A big bombshell was dropped in the streaming world today when it was announced that Ninja, one of the biggest streamers in the world, is leaving Twitch to exclusively join Mixer. No one saw this coming and while most people are generally welcome and positive on the idea, some people do have some worries, myself included. I discuss the cons but largely pros of him joining the Mixer fold.
A new documentary about the Cambridge Analytica/Facebook scandal recently came out on Netflix. While I do recommend reading up a bit on how the scandal happened before watching it, I think it does a good job of showcasing what happened and more importantly, the amoral, opportunistic nature of nearly everyone involved, even those who now claim to be on the side of good. I give my impressions.
On the morning of July 25th, the CBC published a story on two young fujitives who are currently running from accusations of murder. Despite them having no criminal or violent past, in a desperate attempt to keep a story in the headlines with no new details to share, they attempted to once again link "online gaming" and their social introversion as they reason they murdered three people in cold blood. It is hack reporting at its worst and something even the modern CBC is supposed to be better at than this. I rant about it.
Please share this podcast around and take the time to file a formal complaint with the CBC if you agree with this.
The CBC story I reference in the episode: https://www.cbc.ca/news/canada/british-columbia/teens-manhunt-homicides-mcleod-schmegelsky-1.5222515
How to file a complaint with the CBC (select CBC Shows and News): https://cbchelp.cbc.ca/hc/en-ca/requests/new
LianaK video on how games can relieve depression: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=I1PifTY4nCk
Every time I see a Reddit or Twitter thread bemoaning the modern state of video games, it's always talking about AAA titles like they're the only games that exist. Almost without fail, every time I try to point out the entire world of creative, inexpensive, consumer friendly indie games that are out there, I get downvoted or some other kind of push back from these same people. In a true ramble with no preparation, I expand on why this might be and what we can maybe do about it.
Indie Showcase impressions video: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=lAPMFUqbFnw
If you buy the game on PC and are OK using the Epic Games Store, use Creator Tag PXAbstraction at checkout to help support my content.
Shakedown: Hawaii is the latest effort from Retro City Rampage developer Vblank Entertainment. It's a pixel art, open-world game that's a little bit of GTA and a little bit of an arcadey crime empire simulator. I quite enjoyed it and give me impressions on it.
Press code provided by Vblank Entertainment.
The new AMD Ryzen 3000 line of CPUs has had a lot of hype behind it and based on reviews from its July 7th launch, it hasn't disappointed. However, fewer are talking about the obscene prices the accompanying motherboards have. As someone who was planning to build a new rig soon, this has taken a lot of the wind out of my sails and I think it's mostly because of the greed of the motherboard makers. I talk about why and why I think this will probably be short lived.
In the time I've been making YouTube videos and streaming, the term "influencer" to describe someone who makes content and "networking" to describe the act of community building, have both become common parlance. I really dislike the origins of these words and how they're being utilized and offer some thoughts on that.
This is the audio version of a written blog post that you can find, along with some extra links and images at https://geekbravado.com/?p=1232.
CD Projekt recently opened pre-orders for the PC collector's edition of Cyberpunk 2077. It was a complete disaster, screwing over a number of the company's most die hard fans, myself included, who were ready to drop $250US, instead finding listings that went up late (or not at all) and scalper bots grabbing most of the pre-orders before any of us had a chance. CD Projekt and their partners have been silent on the matter ever since.
This is an open letter to CD Projekt, explaining my frustration as a massive fan and asking them to at least say something on the matter, if not do something to make it right.
A Plague Tale: Innocence is a new AA game from a small publisher and a studio that's known for mostly licensed games and it kind of came out of nowhere without a ton of fanfare. It's also my Game of the Year so far. Hear why I think you should definitely give this a look if you're into single player, story heavy games.
A Plague Tale: Innocence is out for PC, Xbox one and PS4.
Use one of the links below to buy a discounted, legitimate Steam key and help support my channel and my Developer Relations efforts with theSHED:
Fanatical - http://fanatical.pxa.ca
DLGamer - http://dlgamer.pxa.ca
Green Man Gaming - http://gmg.pxa.ca
Another year of E3 has come and gone and to my great surprise, a lot of people are calling it a disappointment. I talk about that, why I think E3's relevance is returning as we enter the age of the "influencer" and how this year's theme is definitely subscription services and what that means for the gaming public going forward.
To the great surprise and happiness of many Star Control fans (myself included), it was announced yesterday that Stardock and Paul Reiche & Fred Ford have amicably settles the legal mess surrounding the rights to Star Control. Not only that but they did so in a way that will allow both of them to keep making their own games for the series and also, the agreement contains some hilarious, legally binding clauses that only this group would have come up with. It's a great day for Star Control fans and I talk about the agreement and why I think this is such a great thing.
Ars Technica article on the settlement: https://arstechnica.com/gaming/2019/06/stardock-and-star-control-creators-settle-lawsuits-with-mead-and-honey/
Previous episodes on this subject: https://anchor.fm/geekbravado/episodes/Episode-20-Jan-2---2019---The-Star-Control-Legal-Mess-e2s7mq / https://anchor.fm/geekbravado/episodes/Episode-22-Jan--7--2019---The-Star-Control-Legal-Mess-Part-2-e2t5u9
Yet another cataclysm is upon the YouTube creator community, as a public spat between two outrage warriors on opposite sides of the political spectrum has resulted in the platform quickly making sweeping rule changes, once again without any real clarity or guidelines. I'm as frustrated by this corporate idiocy as much as the next creator but since it's clear that we're stuck with YouTube for now, another vector to combat this is needed. I talk about the problem and what I think is the best solution for now.
YouTube's official About Us page: https://www.youtube.com/yt/about/
In a recent interview, Jonathan Blow, creator of indie hits Braid, The Witness and also many a controversial opinion, stated that he believes indie games have creatively stagnated. I believe this viewpoint is based on some very reductive reasoning. I talk about this and what I believe some of the barriers are that make the more creative titles harder to find.
Article summarizing the interview: https://gamedaily.biz/article/910/casual-connect-indie-development-is-stagnant-says-braid-creator-jonathan-blow
It's yet another podcast on Epic Games but talking about something a little different this time. Rather than discuss the company's latest screw-ups in their attempt to disrupt PC gaming retail, I'm talking more about what I think their eventual endgame is with this strategy. I'm curious what you think about why they're choosing to do what they're doing.
Some of Tencent's notable western game holdings: http://fortune.com/2018/08/30/chinas-tencent-folds-yet-another-video-game-company-into-its-empire/. In addition to these, they also own Grinding Gear Games (makers of Path of Exile) and Swedish development studio Sharkmob.
I recorded this podcast around a week before publishing it because I wasn't sure if I wanted to put it out there but I've decided to. I suffer from Major Depressive Disorder and recently, had a major relapse due to a combination of stresses. I try (with I think, limited success) to describe what it's like to live through an episode like this, in the hopes that it can maybe help you recognize it in your own or someone you know.
You are not alone. If you ever need to talk to someone, you can talk to me.
In the last while, I've taken it upon myself to remove some negativity from social media that was negatively impacting my mood and overall mental health. However, this week I realized that I was still getting a lot of that negative influence from other places I hasn't considered before. I go into what I mean by that, why removing it has been of benefit to me and why it might be for you as well.
Bandai Namco Entertainment is a really interesting company. They're one of the original developers and publishers in video games and are very successful. Yet in recent years, I've noticed that despite this and being a public company, they've been doing the kinds of things most of the AAA publishing industry isn't: Investing in smaller titles, interesting titles, not milking safe franchises to death and generally, treating consumers with much more respect than we're used to. I think that's something to be admired and applauded and go into why.
The fire at the Notre Dame Cathedral in Paris was a terrible tragedy and though it's only a couple of days since it happened, wealthy people and corporations from around the world have already committed over a billion dollars to help fund its reconstruction. While this is noble and to be applauded in its own way, no one seems to be asking why these entities are committing so much to restoring what's ultimately just a building, when there are so many more causes that need financial support and could have impacts for our entire species. In this less energetic episode, I go into that.
DLive is a new entry in the streaming world and it's taking a different approach by allowing people to earn units of a new cryptocurrency by both streaming and just watching streams. They also just got PewDiePie to make them his exclusive streaming home, which is a huge deal regardless of whether or not you're a fan.
I've had some long-standing concerns with DLive's underpinning philosophy and business model that keep me from using it and though it might be unpopular with some streaming friends who have invested heavily into it, I lay those out in this longer episode.
The feature request Reddit thread I mention in the episode: https://www.reddit.com/r/OfficialDLive/comments/ao3p2w/dlive_feature_request_megathread/
I had a chance to play the latest entry in Nintendo's series of casual, artful platformers with my lady friend this weekend. We had a great time and it even convinced her to go out and buy her own Switch! While Yoshi's Crafted World is still an excellent (if very easy) and gorgeous platformer, it's not my favourite of the three Nintendo has put out so far and has some failings that some might find frustrating. I give some impressions based on our time with it.
Rejoice, it's yet another podcast on the Epic Games Store! Well, kind of. With the announcement that Borderlands 3 will be a 6 month exclusive, a number of people have been review bombing the previous Borderlands games on Steam, as they also did with previous entries in the Metro series. Conversely, a number of people have also decided to take up arms in defense of Epic, attacking and slandering those who speak up against it and painting them all as entitled whiners, including people like myself who have been trying to have real debate and backing up my boycott of the Epic Games Store with facts. They're both wrong and stupid and doing far more harm to gaming than anything Epic is doing and I take both to task.
WARNING: If it wasn't clear already, this will spoil the story of Metro video game series!
My good friend WereTiger and I both recently finished Metro: Exodus, after replaying the Redux versions of Metro 2033 and Metro: Last Light beforehand. We're both big fans of the series and go in depth about the core story points, what we did and didn't like about the original games and the new partially open-world instalment, where we think the fiction could go from here and also our general thoughts on this unique type of game and the stories they tell.
The episode on Eastern Bloc game developers I reference several times: https://anchor.fm/geekbravado/episodes/Episode-46-Mar--27--2019---Eastern-Bloc-Game-Makers-e3ikuh/a-acbhfq
GVMERS documentaries on the Metro series and 4A Games: https://www.youtube.com/playlist?list=PLVX_ojm9zPq7jU3gcaH9DogEK2EPVDjbl
Intro and outro music are selections from the Metro: Exodus menu theme, Premonition by Oleksii Omelchuk.
Crackdown 3 finally released recently on the Xbox One, PC and on Xbox Game Pass. This new iteration was announced near the Xbox One launch and has had a very long and troubled development, with multiple developer changes and huge, repeated delays. Now that it's out, it's getting pretty mixed reviews. WereTiger and I have been playing a lot of it in co-op and despite some of its rough technical and design edges, we've been having a blast. I give a bunch of my impressions of the game and how I don't think it's worth it at full price but on a discount or especially with Game Pass, it's great, dumb fun.
PAX East 2019 has come and gone and even though it was only my second PAX (after South from this year, which I have other episodes on), it was an experience unique both for myself and probably for many others. I had the privilege of not only going with a huge contingent of incredible community members from theSHED but I also got an Exhibitor badge by helping theSHED work the booth for our partners at Overtone. I talked to a ton of new, amazing indie developers as part of my new Developer Relations Envoy role and met so many good friends in person. It was a weekend unlike any other and truly a first couple of PAX experiences unlike any other and that I'll never forget. I talk about that and why what so many thought of as work for me, didn't feel like it at all.
My library of photos taken from the weekend: https://photos.app.goo.gl/yPVcd2iP97f3SoLa9
Another gallery with photos from myself and other members of theSHED: https://www.theshedteam.com/theshedcommunity/communities/theshedhub/albums/1585-paxeast2019
Have just finished Metro: Exodus, I got to thinking about the many games over the years that hardcore players fondly remember and that were made in former Soviet states. Games from these developers are very distinctive, both technically and in their design and this is often reflective of the harsh conditions and upbringings they endured under both Communist rule and the transition from that. I talk about some of these more famous developers and how their unique experiences also make for some very unique art.
Noclip documentary on CD Projekt: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=uNZkTk5gLuo
GVMERS documentaries on the Metro series and 4A Games: https://www.youtube.com/playlist?list=PLVX_ojm9zPq7jU3gcaH9DogEK2EPVDjbl
I officially turned 40 the day I recorded this podcast. Many people make a big deal out of these milestone birthdays and I suppose I am too since I'm recording a podcast about it. Truthfully though, I've always thought that your age is just a number and it's how you feel and your mindset that truly determines your age. I ramble for a while about that.
Yesterday, Google entered the game distribution ring by announcing Stadia, a new all-streaming based gaming service. It aims to differentiate itself by utilizing new technologies and Google's goliath-like cloud computing presence. Many have been extolling the virtues of an all-cloud based gaming service, of which there are many. However, I don't think Google has yet revealed a solution for the myriad problems that such a service still offers, especially in an age of dying Net Neutrality and greedy ISPs. I talk about these.
My lady friend and I had Formula 1: Drive to Survive come up in Netflix recommendations and as both of us like cars and I had a new 4K OLED TV to break in, we checked it out. Aside from being an audio-visual jaw dropper, it's overall a pretty well made documentary series that gave me a new perspective on Formula 1, especially the motivations of the teams who don't generally reside at the top and who don't have the most money. I'm not going to start watching Formula 1 on the regular or anything but I appreciate it a lot more now, even though there was probably a bit of inflated drama at times. I give my impressions of it and why I think it's worth checking out.
A rumour came out of left field today that Sony might be buying Take-Two Interactive Software, parent company of 2K Games and more importantly, Rockstar Games. At time of recording, the rumour had been said to be likely inaccurate but nonetheless, I thought it would be fun to talk about the potential of a world where Sony owns all the Take-Two properties but especially, Grand Theft Auto. Many are already hand wringing that this means all of their properties will forever be imprisoned in the PlayStation walled garden but I actually think this is a very different move in response to something Sony didn't see coming.
Valve recently pulled a disgusting game a out rape from Steam before release, after a large scale condemnation. The problem is, it had been listed for some time prior to this and has many people talking about their wildly inconsistent (and poorly stated) policy on curation. While I agree with their decision to pull this game, their policies (or lack thereof), could lead to some dangerous slippery slopes. I discuss what Valve not only needs to do to rectify this but also how their famously unique corporate culture may be a major contributor to this issue.
The Hoeg Law video referenced in the episode: https://youtu.be/KVbFGrw5CkY
A scandal has rocked Canadian politics this week, involving a very large and powerful engineering company in the country, a bribery scandal and alleged political interference from the top echelons of our federal government. This is far from the first scandal involving this company and given trends so far, probably won't be the last. I talk about how while I understand the reasoning behind the government wanting to potentially give this company a pass the rest of us wouldn't get, I also think a company like this might only learn if it's allowed to fail, even if that comes with some pain.
THQ Nordic PR did a really stupid thing yesterday: They decided to host an AMA on 8chan. Shortly after announcing this, the Internet Outrage Brigade came down hard on them, the AMA was cancelled and the rep apologized by name, claiming he didn't know what 8chan was before agreeing to this. A large number of people are not accepting of this apology and are calling for the guy to be driven out of the industry and for a boycott of THQ Nordic products going forward. The whole thing is stupid and damaging to the industry and I rant about why.
Thanks to my friend Real Caustic being awesome, I was recently given a chance to upgrade to an SLI video card setup for free. It was so frustrating and useless, that I actually gave it back. Along the way, I also discovered that for all its bling and trendiness right now, RGB is probably worst of the worst implemented technologies in PC gaming right now. I walk through my utter befuddlement at all this.
YouTube has once again found itself dealing with an advertiser pullout over a controversy that has received mainstream media attention. As usual, they've responded to it by overreacting and putting policies in place that stand to severely hurt creators, not communicating said changes in a reasonable way and not giving creators the tools and processes needed for them to actually help deal with the issue. And they certainly haven't stood up to these advertisers, who need YouTube as much as they need them and who will come back regardless. As someone who has struggled with the platform for six years, I'm putting all my major planned YouTube projects on hold until this is properly dealt with. I rant about this problem and YouTube's continued disrespect of the creators that give it the monopoly position is enjoys.
The Reddit thead that discusses the chain of events that led to this: https://www.reddit.com/r/YoutubeCompendium/comments/at74l3/2019_february_context_for_the_matt_watson/
The 2019 Rainbow 6 Invitational was this past weekend and I went with Real Caustic and WereTiger. This was the first E-Sports event that I've ever attended and more than that, I've just never really paid attention to E-Sports in any capacity before this, even as a big fan of Rainbow 6 Siege. We had a fantastic time and I really get the draw of E-Sports now. I talk about my experiences with this event and the insights it provided.
My gallery of pictures and videos I took of the event: https://photos.app.goo.gl/7ATyZPwbVErNzV7H8
Earlier this week, Colin Moriarty's CLS Side Quest YouTube series, posted an episode about the increasing calls for the video game industry to unionize. Colin is no fan of unions and wanted to provide a counterpoint to the union drum beating being done in the larger games press. While I agree they need a counterpoint, Colin used a lot of cherry-picked statistics and cases to make his point, ignoring many contradictory ones and also failing to address many of the core issues and massive inequalities between the different levels of large game industry companies and indeed, companies in general.
In this longer episode, I go through many of the points he made, providing counterpoints of my own as a person who is often not a fan of unions but who also realizes that since the game industry is incapable of learning how to treat frontline workers properly, maybe they are the last solution this industry has left, save a massive exodus.
The CLS Side Quest episode, which I highly recommend watching for context: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=DLELQLeIvpg
The new "Volume 2" of The Escapist gaming web site is on fire right now. A site whose previous incarnation failed drowning in controversy, it's once again embroiled in it, due to a poorly written article from it's Editor-In-Chief and prolific games writer and idealogue Russ Pitts, in which he tries to spark a discussion of ethics by poking every controversial element of the games industry, while offering no real solutions and inviting people to comment. After thinking on this and the bizarre timing of it, I've reached a rather frightening conclusion as to the intent of that, go into detail about why and also why if this is true, that The Escapist truly deserves to fail for good.
The editorial that I reference in the podcast, which I highly recommend you read before listening to get context: http://archive.fo/zC2w3
Earlier this week, EA and Respawn Entertainment launched a new battle royale game called Apex Legends, completely out of nowhere and to everyone's surprise. It's a game set in the Titanfall universe, except it doesn't have titans or Titanfall's advanced infantry movement. Also, it's free to play.
I was as cynical as you are but as someone who doesn't care for battle royale games, after just a few matches, this might not only be a battle royale game I put time into, it might be one of the best ones made to date. I talk about my initial impressions after only a few matches and just how talented Respawn truly is to be able to pull this off.
The Anthem demo (which is still very much a beta) went open for everyone this past weekend. After having a miserable time with the "VIP Demo", I got to play through all the demo content with a good crew of people. I had a great time and an more bullish on Anthem than I was before but I still have a number of concerns about it, particularly on the technical side. I go into those and explain why as good as the game could be, that people should wait to pick it up until they see what shape it launches in.
The SkillUp impressions video I reference: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Zv5eTZepIWg
A recent Supreme Court of Canada ruling decreed that in the case of a bankrupt oil company, cleaning up the oil wells they left behind should take financial penalty over their investors. In corporate bankruptcies, investors and bankers are normally are first in line for the proceeds of their sold assets, coming in before employees, customers, suppliers and just about everyone else. I think this is wrong, that this court ruling is hopefully the beginning of changing this and I talk about why.
#BellLetsTalk day is a social media initiative run by Bell, Canada's largest telecartel, to attempt to destigmatize mental illness. After talking a little bit about the initiative and how Bell's business practices aren't really in keeping with the spirit, I talk about my own lengthy struggles with mental health, to put it out there and show that it's not something to be ashamed of, that it's something you can get help for and that even when it seems there is no hope, you are never alone.
Tell your story, if not for you, for others. Let's talk.
Some prior episodes and a blog post related to my mental health journey:
Episode 4 - Going Caffeine Free for ADHD
Episode 24 - Going to PAX South & My New Mindset
Blog post - So I found out some interesting brain stuff this week
Resources for various kinds of mental health struggles from the Canadian Mental Health Association
Yet another big upcoming PC game release has gone exclusive to the Epic Games Store and as seems to be inevitable in gaming now, battle lines are being drawn between the people who dislike Epic's new platform and their practice of buying exclusives and those defending it as badly needed competition. In discussing this with the latter group, I've had some very strongly worded, frankly pretty weak arguments levied as to why buying exclusives is somehow good for consumers and how my issue is just that I have a hatred of Epic. Those arguments are wrong and I rant about why and also how ridiculous it is to be taking up arms to defend a large company, instead of the customers whose business they are supposed to earn, not take.
A Reddit post that details a lot of the problems with the Epic Games Store, including many I didn't get to in the episode: https://www.reddit.com/r/pcgaming/comments/akwwqg/can_we_please_all_boycott_the_epic_games_store/ef905um/
The Anthem VIP Demo was available this past weekend for those who pre-ordered, had Origin Access Premier or knew someone in the beta who was willing to give up one of their 3 Friend Pass codes. I got to play a little of it, mostly because the servers were on fire. I talk about these (admittedly limited) impressions and how between the tech problems and this game's strong similarity to Destiny, that EA might be on the path of flubbing yet another big release. I'll be trying the Open Demo and the full release though so we'll see how it goes.
The VoD of Esva's The Interview that I reference in the intro (scrub to about 5:45 to skip the pre-show): https://mixer.com/Esva?vod=81199119
You've probably heard of the recent ad from Gillette that attempted to counter traditional stereotypes about masculinity and invited men to improve themselves, in an attempt to sell overpriced razors. Like many, I am very much not a fan of the ad or the message it sends. However, I believe there's a deeper meaning behind it that is getting lost in the massive amounts of Internet slapfights spawned because of it, something that I believe was the intent of the ad all along. I talk about this theory and why everyone arguing about this (including me) is giving Gillette exactly what they want.
My first time at PAX is done and what a time it was! I ended up not being able to record with anyone else and did this episode after getting home (I explain why) and talk about some other developers I saw at the show and also how meeting so many incredible people from theSHED has reminded me how even as an introvert, human connection is so important.
The photos (and a couple of...interesting videos) I took on the trip: https://photos.app.goo.gl/Gny4NaLeRWJRqRdz5
The Analog Assult podcast episode I sat in on: https://analogassault.podbean.com/e/53-on-location-pax-south-2019-w-anthem-community-manager-jesse/
In this very late night recording, I talk about my experience getting to PAX and my first day at the show, shilling hardcore to indie developers for theSHED. It's been an incredible couple of days, for reasons even I didn't expect and I go over why. More episodes to follow!
The day after I post this, I'm heading to PAX South, which will not only be my first PAX but my first gaming show in my new role as Developer Relations Envoy for theSHED. A very short time ago, this would have been a terrifying prospect for me. Now, it's something that I'm incredibly excited about and my normal anxieties are barely there. I talk about why this is and how much it's changed my outlook on things.
There will hopefully be daily podcasts from the show, stay tuned!
Episode referenced on going caffeine free: https://anchor.fm/geekbravado/episodes/Episode-4-09122018-Going-Caffeine-Free-for-ADHD-e2nr5p
Happy New Year!
Another crazy year is in the books and as I like to do around this time, I wanted to talk about games from the past year that I really enjoyed and that I think you might as well. I used to do a top 10 list but couldn't this year as I didn't get to play everything that might have been a contender but nonetheless, I was able to play some incredible stuff that I wanted to share it with people so they could maybe discover something new. This list isn't ordered but everything on it is something I think is very special. I hope you enjoy and make sure to tell me what games you loved as well!
Background music consists of selections from the Star Control: Origins original soundtrack.
In a surprise announcement on January 10, Bungie announced that they are ending mutually ending what was supposed to be a 10 year publishing partnership with Activision for the Destiny franchise. Many erroneously assume they Bungie was actually owned by Activision, when in fact they just had an exclusive publishing arrangement. They have announced that they will be self-publishing Destiny going foward, something their recent $100M investment from Chinese giant NetEase is sure to help with. I talk about what this could mean for the studio, the future of Destiny and also, why I think more than a bit of the Destiny situation can be laid at the hands of Bungie themselves.
NOTE: I mistakenly said that it was Tencent that invested in Bungie. NetEase is a different company, not associated with Tencent, though still not pillars of integrity.
I highly recommend listening to the prior episode on this first: https://anchor.fm/geekbravado/episodes/Episode-20-Jan-2---2019---The-Star-Control-Legal-Mess-e2s7mq
Since I recorded my original episode on this issue, Paul Reiche & Fred Ford have finally come out with a list of what from Star Control II they believe Star Control: Origins is infringing on, in order to justify their having the game pulled from sale. Their claims are to put it mildly, dubious. As a passionate fan who has emotional investment in this matter resolving amicably and has tried to remain as neutral and objective as possible, it's getting harder and harder to have sympathy for Paul & Fred here. I go into this with a way that probably most demonstrates the "Bravado" that this show is titled after:
Stardock forum thread showing Fred & Paul's claims, along with their refutation: https://forums.starcontrol.com/492870/at-long-last-reiche-and-ford-state-what-they-think-they-own
A modified version of the claims chart, showing how nearly everything Paul & Fred claim is infringing, are things that Star Control II also infringes from StarFlight, a game from a decade prior: http://www.viridiangames.com/images/updatedchart.png
Virtual Legality #11-2: Look, Feel, and the DMCA (Hoeg Law): https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=xgmX2GHF88o
Buy a Steam key for Star Control: Origins for 50% off (while supplies last): https://www.stardock.com/games/starcontrol/store#purchase
On January 1, 2019, Ontario introduced significantly harsher penalties for distracted driving. However, they for some reason decided that only "using your phone" and certain derivatives of that should qualify for these penalties, which similarly dangerous actions should not. As someone who does believe in getting tough on this issue, I question this double standard and also, ask the open question of whether increased penalties alone are really the solution to it.
Star Control II from the 90s if my favourite game of all-time and recently, Stardock Entertainment released a spiritual successor called Star Control: Origins, that is among my favourite games of 2018. Starting late in the game's development, the original creators of the Star Control series entered into a heated legal battle with Stardock, resulting in a lot of public mud slinging and most recently, Star Control: Origins being pulled from Steam and GOG due to DMCA complaints made with very suspiciuous timing. It's a very complicated issue with no clear indication of who is fully in the right.
I discuss the mess from a hardcore fan's perspective and though I believe it appears Stardock is more in the right here, try to provide as balanced a perspective as I can and also appeal to both sides to try and figure this out, for the fan's sake.
Though these are long, I highly recommend reading and watching the following if you want to be informed of just how complicated this dispute is:
Stardock Q&A: https://www.stardock.com/games/starcontrol/article/487690/qa-regarding-star-control-and-paul-and-fred
Virtual Legality Episode from Hoeg Law: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=gVJIgLnDbcQ
Leonard French Video (Part 1): https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=it50gS5yYB4
Leonard French Video (Part 2): https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=yochP8F69LY
Twitch is currently facing heavy backlash from a lot of their creators and viewers because they are running pre-roll ads for Ninja's New Year's Eve stream on other channels, including other partners. I talk about why I think this is a bad look and a short-sighted plan by a company becoming more and more out of touch with its creators but also how this may very well become more common in the future and why those of us not on Twitch, should be vigilant.
The article about Justin Wong I reference during the episode: https://www.dexerto.com/entertainment/former-twitch-executive-explains-why-the-ninja-pre-roll-situation-will-keep-happening-267678
Today, I awoke to an unexpected new controversy involving the discovery that a partnered Mixer streamer is apparently, a convicted sexual predator, one that has served their time but is on a registry. Several other prominent Mixer streamers (including at least one partner) have been calling for Mixer to terminate the partnership and ban the streamer. The platform has been accused of sweeping the issue under the rug and some of those not calling for this person's immediate banning have come dangerously close to being accused of defending pedophiles.
I talk about my perspective on this issue, as someone who has no interest in defending the accused but who also believes that this issue should be handled by proper channels, not out in public and that when a person has done their time, perhaps that should carry more weight than it does.
This is the audio version of a YouTube vlog that can be found at https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=sOuJ9j2dvbM. I talk a about the year that was and what my content plans are for 2019, including Mixer, YouTube, this podcast and some other things. This is a bit long but that's because there's a lot to talk about. Check below for time indexes so that you can skip topics that don't interest you and please let me know your feedback.
0:00 - Introduction
1:48 - Personal Year In Review
4:55 - Content Plan Overview
6:54 - Mixer and Why I'm Staying There (Link Below)
11:17 - New Podcast (Link Below)
13:14 - Mixer Changes & New Indie Show with theSHED
19:01 - YouTube Changes
29:02 - New Content Creator Technical Community
32:04 - Conclusion
My podcast episode on eliminating caffeine: https://anchor.fm/geekbravado/episodes/Episode-4-09122018-Going-Caffeine-Free-for-ADHD-e2nr5p
Follow me on Mixer at https://mixer.com/PXAbstraction for multiple variety streams a week.
Check out theSHED Team: https://theshedteam.com
Follow me on Twitter: http://twitter.com/PXAbstraction
Join my Discord: http://discord.pxa.ca
Check out Overtone: http://overtone.pxa.ca
A few major AAA game releases have failed pretty hard this year. As a result, many commentators and forum posters are hand-wringing about this being a sign of another impending video game crash, something we haven't seen since the 80s but which is regularly prophecised. This is nonsense in my opinion and one need only look at the rest of the AAA industry in 2018 to see why. I go into detail about this and why these failures can in some ways, be a good thing.
Facebook has had a near non-stop wave of scandals in 2018 and a growing number of poeple are telling people to quit the site. At the same time, a lot of these discussions inevitably turn to people going "Well you use Google and they're just as bad!" As someone who uses Google daily and quit Facebook in 2010, I disagree with this. I go into detail about why and also why despite my claims that Google isn't the same, also understand that they are no saint of a company either.
The Canadian oil industry is in a crisis right now, due to plummeting crude prices, problems transporting their product to market and some major battles going on between different levels of government. Now our federal leaders have announced a taxpayer funded bailout package for this once exceptionally profitable and exploitative industry, under the guise of protecting jobs. I talk about this crisis, where I think it's roots truly are and what I think would be a better use of that taxpayer money to help those most affected by it.
For a number of years now, we've kept hearing people say that the traditional gaming press web sites are dying, both because of the rise of YouTube and streaming and because their business model now largely seems to be based around attacking their audience. However, almost all of these places are still hanging on and there hasn't been much activity to indicate they're going anywhere soon. I talk about that and if things really are that dire.
Blizzard has made a number of recent business moves that have upset their user base. Their "Apple of Gaming" sheen is starting to tarnish and many see the influence of their previously arms-length overloards at Activision seeming in and turning this beloved studio into just another player-hostile AAA factory. I talk about some of the recent controversies, why these concerns about Activision might be valid and what it could mean for the future of Blizzard.
This past week, Patreon banned controversial YouTuber Sargon of Akkad from their platform, seemingly without explanation. This has caused a huge backlash from their user base and it's hurting many creators with no dog in the fight, as many people pull all their pledges to avoid supporting the company over what they see as political bias. I talk about this and how it's continuing to affect my apprehension about getting a Patreon account, all which being no fan of Sargon.
The latest YouTube Rewind is the second-most downvoted video in the platform's history, on its way to being the most. I heard an interesting vlog on the subject and about the state of YouTube's constant attempt to pander to advertisers, at the expense of creators. I comment on that and also on YouTube's continuing issue of promoting what's already popular and what they can maybe do about both.
The Toronto Police Service recently started publicly posted names of people who were charged with (but not convicted of) impaired driving and Ottawa is considering doing the same. I have some real issues with this from a justice perspective and I talk about why.
Just a warning up front that this episode deals with some medical things and while not graphic or anything, if you're squeamish about that stuff, you might want to avoid it.
I got a vasectomy this week. I don't have any kids, have never really wanted them and this week, decided to make sure I can't have any, biologically at least. I wanted to talk about what made me reach this decision in the unusual context of being a nearly 40 year old, single male and why I think it was the right one for me.
NOTE: Make sure to listen to the end as some more information came to light since the initial recording and there's an addendum that talks about it.
Mere days ago, I talked about the launch of the new Epic Games Store and how it could finally be the competition needed to put some heat on Steam's defacto monopoly in PC digital games distribution. Well, the launch hasn't gone so well and many PC gamers are already turning their backs on this burgeoning platform. I talk about the reasons for this, the ones I agree with, the ones I don't and how Epic could maybe turn this around.
I decided to take this experiment a bit further and do a collaboration episode with my good buddy InfiniKnight. We chat about The Game Awards and what we thought of the awards themselves, as well as the flurry of announcements that came out and give our quick impressions.
Even though our impressions were relatively quick, there was so much to talk about that I had to split this into two episodes and they're both pretty lengthy. The normal, shorter format will resume after these two episodes.
I decided to take this experiment a bit further and do a collaboration episode with my good buddy InfiniKnight. We chat about The Game Awards and what we thought of the awards themselves, as well as the flurry of announcements that came out and give our quick impressions.
Even though our impressions were relatively quick, there was so much to talk about that I had to split this into two episodes and they're both pretty lengthy. The normal, shorter format will resume after these two episodes.
Earlier this year, I was diagnosed with ADHD and have been managing depression and anxiety for most of my life. In attempting to treat the ADHD, I was running into some major roadblocks. However, after talking with a friend, I discovered that caffeine, also known as the lifeblood of IT, could have been playing a major role. I talk about my experience giving up caffeine and the major difference it seems to be making in my journey to normalize this disorder.
The written blog post I reference on my ADHD diagnosis: https://geekbravado.com/2018/06/15/so-i-found-out-some-interesting-brain-stuff-this-week/
Shadow of the Tomb Raider came out only a short time ago but has already been deeply discounted multiple times and seems to be somewhat of a flop. As a far of the previous two "new" Tomb Raider games, I was also pretty disappointed by it and in this episode, I talk about why. WARNING: Minor spoilers.
The War Stories campaign in the latest Battlefield game has been shown to be taking some creative liberties with the historical record, seemingly in order to push a modern progressive ideaology. I talk about this revelation, why I think it matters in the context of the campaign specifically and why I won't be streaming the campaign any more.
SidAlpha video I reference: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=mrec_bj21gk
SidAlpha's source video: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=BAlAITCBprI
Epic Games surprised everyone by announcing that they're getting into the digital distribution game, with a new service that will give away free games throughout 2019 and offers a much better revenue split with game developers than the industry standard.
I talk about how this new competition to Steam's defacto monopoly could be a good thing but why we should also be vigilant of Epic's intentions.
Welcome to the Geek Bravado Ramble! What the heck, PX is making yet more content and didn't even really talk about it beforehand? Weird, right? This is the pilot for a new experimental podcast idea I'm trying out. The audio's rough and the presentation's totally off the cuff but let's see if this works. Listen to hear what I'm trying to do here.