Sat, 26 December 2020
This pandemic sucks. I think we're all aware of it and we can all agree the last 10 months have just straight up sucked. I could write about 5,000 words just off the top of my head listing off all the sucky things about pandemics but I'm not going to do that. What I'm going to do is hype up our friend Babs because unlike me, she has spent her pandemic time being productive. Specifically, she has spent her pandemic time logging literally hundreds of hours as virtual Dungeon Master in multiple D&D games and is showing no signs of slowing down. In fact, in a way it almost feels like she's just getting started? (Listen to the episode, you'll get what I'm talking about once you hear how good she is at this stuff.)
I have played the role of Dungeon Master one (1) time in my life in a one-shot that lasted maybe 4 hours and it was exhausting, stressful, confusing, ...and an absolute blast. So when I'm casually scrolling through my Twitter feed and I see countless tweets from Babs and what she's been doing with any number of the seven (7!!!) groups she's currently running I can't help but be blown away by not only her work ethic, but also her creativity and stamina. DM'ing can be tough, DM'ing for dozens of people multiple times a week? I'm exhausted just thinking about it.
The ultimate irony? As I work on this episode I'm also preparing to take part in a game she's running later today. That's how fast she works. We recorded this episode on Monday and now today, Saturday, she's got a game set up for me and the usual gang. (I'm playing a paladin named Seraph, how rad is that?) For reference, I think it took me about a month of planning for the one-shot I ran a few years ago. Bonkers.
So yeah. We talked with Babs about D&D this week and I'm psyched with how this episode came out. Be sure to give Babs a follow on the Twitter and do the usual like/share/subscribe if you dug the episode. Now if you'll excuse me, I have a brand new character I made at 11pm on Christmas Day that I have to familiarize myself with.
Direct download: 12.20.2020_Episode_419.mp3
Category:Comics Movies & Videogames -- posted at: 10:44am EST
Sat, 19 December 2020
That's right, folks. It's just us and this week we're getting festive.
The holidays have always had a special place in my heart. Growing up, Christmas was always the best day of the year and my parents did everything they could to make sure that me and my two siblings enjoyed every moment of it. Now, many moons and 10 years of holiday retail later......you'd be surprised to learn that not much has changed. I still love the holidays and everything that comes with them and even though this year is going to be a little different, I'm still looking forward to "The Most Wonderful Time of the Year".
With that said, we thought it would be fun to get festive and take a trip down memory lane as we talk about past holidays and the things that meant most to us. Also presents. Mostly presents. It's not that presents mean the most to us, but my initial pitch to Alex was
I guess if we dive deep into my subconscious it was just an excuse to talk about toys. But overall, the episode ended up being about more than just presents. We also dove into the differences between families and how the holidays can mean the world to some people, but not as much to others.
I could ramble endlessly about holiday stuff (hell we didn't even touch on movies) but I'm guessing I've already lost most of the audience already so I'll end it here. Check out the 'sode, like/share/subscribe, and drop a comment if you want to join in on the conversation.
Direct download: 12.18.2020_Episode_418.mp3
Category:Comics Movies & Videogames -- posted at: 10:47am EST
Fri, 4 December 2020
Reddit is the ultimate time waster.
I can't begin to count the amount of hours I have spent scrolling on that damn site and for the most part it's full of things that make me smile, laugh, or want to happy cry. There is some garbage there, like any other site (and long time listeners know I've been critical of Reddit in the past) but it's mostly full of things I enjoy seeing.
Now rewind to a little over two years ago. A young and innocent Jayare casually scrolling through his various subreddits suddenly comes across this beautiful barbarian dragonman and it's love at first sight:
You see, for the last couple of years I have been playing my own dragonborn barbarian in an ongoing D&D quest and of all the fan art and commissions that I have seen, this is without a doubt the closest representation of what I've been picturing in my head when it comes to how my guy would look. As it turns out, this piece was a commission for someone and their character named "Krivgar Vuldrear" and it was brought to life by illustrator Peter Lim aka Polygraf.
Now, two years later, through the power of the internet Peter was kind enough to come on our show and chat with us about his beginnings, his experiences in the D&D and fantasy worlds, and how he's been able to adapt and improve his artistic abilities every time he hits a dreaded plateau.
As usual, be sure to check out Peter's work on all his various socials and if you've been looking for someone to bring your favorite original character to life, who knows? You might have just found your guy.
Direct download: 12.4.2020_Episode_417.mp3
Category:Comics Movies & Videogames -- posted at: 8:48pm EST
Sat, 21 November 2020
And we're back!
Jumping right into things, I'm going to start off by just saying toys are rad. Yes, I'm in my mid 30s. Yes, I have little-to-no use for toys these days besides displaying them on a shelf. And yes, I'm stuck in the past when it comes to my bias towards certain brands. But toys are rad and talking about toys with someone who designs them for a living is even more rad. And that's where this week's guest comes in.
Len Nicholas is a designer and concept artist who has worked for brands like Fisher Price, Hasbro, Spin Master, Honda, and Toyota to name a few. From GI Joe to Paw Patrol, presentation rendering to mechanical design, Len has seen and done just about everything in his 20+ years in the business. He's also a huge Pokemon and LEGO fan so needless to say he fits right in with the OMV aesthetic.
Check out our chat with Len and browse his Instagram while you're at it (we reference it a bunch so it'll be a handy resource); it's jam-packed with robots, toys, LEGO creations, and Otters. What more could you ask for?
Direct download: 11.19.2020_Episode_416.mp3
Category:Comics Movies & Videogames -- posted at: 9:48am EST
Fri, 30 October 2020
Happy Halloween, everyone!
We're closing out the spooky season in style by visiting one of our favorite topics to talk about every year: haunted houses. This one is extra special because we've gathered five (5!!) of our closest haunt friends to discuss the dream scenario: Create the perfect haunted house. Create a reasonable, realistic house. And create the ultimate, no-holds-barred, sky is the limit, dream house.
The combined haunting experience between everyone who took part in this episode probably clocks in at around 75+ cumulative seasons. That's a whole lotta screaming, shocking, scaring, and spooking and all of that experience certainly makes for some amazing haunted house ideas.
Direct download: 10.28.2020_Episode_415.mp3
Category:Comics Movies & Videogames -- posted at: 10:06pm EST
Fri, 16 October 2020
Well, it's October and the spooky season is here. It goes without saying that this year's season is a little different with there being a massive pandemic and all. But, even though haunted houses are closed and trick or treating is on standby, Alex and I still wanted to bring you your yearly doses of spooky to try and fill the void.
We've practically covered it all over the years: haunted houses, special effects, makeup, cryptozoology, UFOs, videogames, theater. The list goes on and on. But there are a few things we have yet to cover and this week, we're going to do our best to tackle one of them.
That's right, folks. Buckle up because we're dipping our metaphorical toes into the uncharted waters of true crime.
Direct download: 10.16.2020_Episode_414.mp3
Category:Comics Movies & Videogames -- posted at: 9:25pm EST
Tue, 29 September 2020
I learned a lot this week. In addition to learning that I'm hopelessly outnumbered when it comes to the "how to tape your comic bags" debate, I learned that Mike and Nick of the I Read Comic Books podcast are two of the raddest people we've had the pleasure of interviewing. I also learned that being interviewed is a whole different ballgame when it comes to the pressures of recording a show.
You might be questioning that last sentence and we wouldn't blame you. But you'll be surprised to learn this episode is actually just one part of a collaboration between IRCB and OMV and if you take a peek at their latest episode you might see some familiar names and voices associated with it (Hint: It's Alex and me). That's right, sportsfans, not only were Mike and Nick our guests this week but Alex and I were guests on their show as well!
We're thrilled that the IRCB crew was kind enough to have us on their show and it goes without saying that Alex and I had a blast chatting with them about what comics we've been reading, what books we're looking forward to, and how OMV got started. Plus, in our episode we got to dust off a classic and hit them with some Flash Questions before we got the inside scoop on IRCB and how they've assembled such a great crew over the years.
Direct download: 9.27.2020_Episode_413.mp3
Category:Comics Movies & Videogames -- posted at: 8:14pm EST
Fri, 25 September 2020
It's been a minute since we talked comics. So let's talk comics. Specifically with someone who makes comics. Literally takes ideas out of his brain and, with the help of some artists/letterers/editors, brings them to life for others to enjoy on a monthly basis.
That someone is Johnnie Christmas! Johnnie is the #1 New York Times Bestselling artist of Margaret Atwood's Angel Catbird, the writer of ComiXology's Crema and currently he's on writing duties for his new book Tartarus from Image Comics. Check out our chat with him as we take a dive into his world building process and his experiences publishing comics both online and in print.
The first collected volume of Tartarus hits shelves on September 30th (yes, that's next week!) so if you haven't been snagging the floppies over the last few months, now is your chance to hop on board this wild space opera that Johnnie and his team are putting together.
Direct download: 9.22.2020_Episode_412.mp3
Category:Comics Movies & Videogames -- posted at: 9:35pm EST
Fri, 11 September 2020
Episode 411: The PAX Online Special Featuring Chris McQuinn of WashBear Studio and Travis Eriksen of Child's Play Charity!
This year has certainly been...a year. I don't think it's unfair to say we've gone through an unprecedented amount of change and adjustment over the last 6 months with little sign of things returning to "normal" any time soon.
There is some light on the metaphorical horizon, though. While PAX West and PAX Aus were both cancelled this year, we are getting something in their place: PAX Online. And even though Alex and I aren't covering the show in any formal capacity, we figured talking with some people involved with it would be a great way to kick off the groundbreaking festivities.
First up is game developer Chris McQuinn! Chris is one half of the creative team behind WashBear Studio and their game "Parkasaurus" has been selected as one of the titles to be featured in this year's PAX Online Indie Showcase! In other words, the PAX team reviewed over 350 indie games on Steam and picked 20 that they considered original and compelling. This year, they decided the WashBear's dinosaur tycoon management sim was worthy to be one of those 20 games. Check out the first portion of the episode as we chat with Chris about the creation of their game, the importance of listening to criticism, and how a game about dinos can seem so simple yet surprise you with its depth.
Our second guest is someone more directly involved with the running of PAX Online. Travis Eriksen is the Executive Director of Child's Play Charity and also dabbles as the Chief Omegeatech at all the various PAX shows. I've rambled at length about how much I enjoy the Omegathon in the past so to get a behind the scenes look is exciting to say the least. In addition to running intense gaming contests, Travis' work with the Child's Play Charity has helped improve the lives of children and teens in over 180 children's hospitals around the world. They're going to have a big presence at PAX Online this year so be sure to check out their schedule and tune in throughout the week!
We can't thank Chris and Travis enough for giving us the opportunity to chat with them right before such a huge and revolutionary show. PAX Online officially kicked off today (depending on when you're reading this) and there's a ton of fun to be had over the next week. It might not be the same as the big show in Seattle, but unprecedented times call for unprecedented measures.
Direct download: 9.11.2020_Episode_411.mp3
Category:Comics Movies & Videogames -- posted at: 9:04pm EST
Fri, 28 August 2020
Are you a fan of fine art? How about pins? Mythology? Do you frequent cemeteries? Are you looking for a new tarot card set? Maybe you're fascinated by the Salem Witch Trials?
You might not believe it but if you answered "Yes!" to all of those questions above then I have to tell you: You're in for a treat because in our chat with artist Sara Richard we managed to touch on every single one of those topics in just over an hour's time.
For those not "in the know", Sara is a fine artist and illustrator who has done work for companies like IDW, Marvel, Oni Press and Dynamite Comics to name a few. She was nominated for an Eisner for her work on Kitty & Dino and was nominated for two Ringo Awards last year in the Best Cover Artist and Best Original Graphic Novel categories!
Like I mentioned above: this episode takes a bunch of turns but in the end it was a blast to talk with Sara about her creative process, her style, and her volunteer work that she does alongside her mother with The Graveside Ladies. Check out her website, socials, and Patreon to keep up to date on her latest works, her shop, and future appearances!
Direct download: 8.28.2020_Episode_410.mp3
Category:Comics Movies & Videogames -- posted at: 10:43pm EST
Fri, 14 August 2020
(You have no idea how excited I am to use that image that Seymour made for us.)
It's just Alex and me this week.
The last 5 months have been rough. You probably don't need me to go into details. But it's been rough. Many of our past "justice" episodes focus on news and various tidbits from around the comic, TV, and gaming world and it would have been real easy to just dive into that format and discuss all the awful things currently going on throughout those mediums.
But we didn't feel like doing that.
We wanted to try and be positive. So we went with a different route. This week Alex and I sat down and went through all the various ways we've been keeping ourselves busy over the past 20-ish weeks. From videogames, to TV shows, to thousands upon thousands of plastic building bricks; we've been doing our best to keep calm, occupied, and most importantly: stay healthy.
This has without a doubt been one of the strangest and most challenging times of our lives with no real end in sight but we've made it this far so I guess the only option is to just keep going. We hope you've been able to stay healthy through all of this and if you've taken up a new hobby or learned a new skill, be sure to let us know in the comments; we're psyched to hear about what you've been up to.
Direct download: 8.13.2020_Episode_409.mp3
Category:Comics Movies & Videogames -- posted at: 11:03pm EST
Fri, 24 July 2020
It's been a while since we dove into the world of designer toys so why don't we just go careening head first into the deep end and talk with a designer we had the pleasure of meeting at The Five Points Festival?
Good. Because joining us this week is artist and designer Brandon Leach of Motley Miscreations! For those unaware, Brandon is the man behind the 2019 Designer Toy Award finalist "Belfry" and he's currently crowdfunding his latest design "The Kraken" on Kickstarter right this very minute. Despite his humble beginnings in the designer toy world, Brandon showed us that with enough determination and raw talent, wonderful things can happen. Like 12" tall tentacle monsters.
Check out Brandon's Instagram to see what I'm talking about and consider taking a peek at his Kickstarter if there's still time left. If this is your first glimpse into the world of designer toys, you really couldn't have picked a better project. I ramble at length during the episode but I mean it when I say that Brandon really does provide something for everyone.
Direct download: 7.25.2020_Episode_408.mp3
Category:Comics Movies & Videogames -- posted at: 11:35pm EST
Fri, 10 July 2020
We went a little longer than usual between episodes but I promise this one was worth the wait because this week we were joined by one of my favorite people in comics: Daniel Warren Johnson!
Daniel is the writer and artist of Image Comics' Extremity and Murder Falcon and currently he's pulling double duty again on DC's Wonder Woman: Dead Earth as a part of their Black Label line of books. I've been a huge fan of Daniel and his work ever since picking up issue one of Extremity a few years ago and after having the chance to chat with him at last year's New York Comic Con, it was clear that not only is he a fantastic writer and artist; but he's also kind and generous to his fans. Needless to say we're thrilled to have had the opportunity to talk with him this week!
Recently, Daniel launched his own YouTube channel and has started giving fans a look behind the scenes at his processes, tools, and thoughts. He's done live Q&A, pencilling & inking sessions, and even tours of his old sketchbooks. It's the perfect blend of informative artistic content mixed with chill, "just come and hang out" drawing videos; check it out and subscribe!
If you haven't had a chance to read Daniel's work, I highly recommend doing so. We get into it a bit during the episode, but his stories are both fun and emotional and the art is fresh and dynamic. As of this episode the 3rd book of Wonder Woman: Dead Earth had recently hit the stands so if you're looking for the latest stuff, now's your chance! (Just please, please wear a mask when you head to your local comic shop!)
Direct download: 7.6.2020_Episode_407.mp3
Category:Comics Movies & Videogames -- posted at: 10:14pm EST
Sat, 27 June 2020
Alex here shooting out a quick reminder to please fill out this survey I put together for "The StarWell Foundation". The pilot episodes dropped earlier this year and if you haven't checked them out already, do us a favor and give them a listen. Over a dozen different voice actors lent their talents to this project alongside the countless people who helped with tech support, feedback, and sound/music design. Now that the pilot is out and you've had some time to digest it, I'm looking to you for your feedback so I can plan out the future of "The StarWell Foundation" accordingly.
Check out this quick clip I put together, listen to the pilot episodes of StarWell if you haven't already and let us know what you think by clicking the link below!
Direct download: You_Have_3_Unheard_Messages.mp3
Category:Comics Movies & Videogames -- posted at: 1:24pm EST
Sat, 13 June 2020
Sometimes I'll sit here and stare at the screen for what feels like hours just trying to figure out how to word a single sentence so that it doesn't seem like a child wrote it. It usually doesn't end well.
Today, I'm trying to figure out a sophisticated way of saying "Making something for a really long time is actually really hard" but the words aren't coming to me. They're in my brain somewhere, but I can't find them...must be because my vacation is almost over.
Anyway. You might've noticed we just released an episode last week (which was great, btw. Check it out if you haven't already) and we have another episode for you this week. No, we're not going back to the old weekly schedule. But we figured since this episode and last week's were on the shorter side, we'd just say screw it and make 3 episodes this month. Why not?
This week, we have the return of Jason Ginsburg! You might recognize the name from the last time we had Jason on in 2019 or you might just know him as the creator of the amazing @FakeThemePark. We heard through the grapevine that the FakeThemePark is celebrating its 10 year anniversary next month so Jason came back on to tell us all about the festivities he has planned to mark the occasion!
If you're not already following the park, be sure to do so on both Twitter and Facebook. It's pretty much the gold standard for satire (especially if you have theme park experience) and even after 10 years Jason is showing no signs of slowing down.
Direct download: 6.8.2020_Episode_406.mp3
Category:Comics Movies & Videogames -- posted at: 7:13pm EST
Sat, 6 June 2020
Having the desire to create something can be equally as stressful as it is exciting. It's a wild ride of motivation and determination with a bit of self-doubt sprinkled in and the process of creation is almost always going to be riddled with speed bumps. One of the most common bumps is simply having the space or resources to bring your idea to life. Take it from two guys who have spent plenty of time recording out of their respective parents' basements with equipment bought off of Craigslist: having a space to make your thing is important.
That's where people like Ian come in. Ian is the co-owner and marketing director of the newly launched content creation studio in Springfield, Massachusetts: Studio Vibez. Alongside his partners, Ian has created a space for people to come and bring their ideas to life whether it's photography, video, editing, music videos, wedding photos, parties, or events. You name it, they can probably help you create it.
You never know when the next idea to create something might hit. And having a space to act on that idea could mean the difference between having massive regrets or creating the next big thing. If you've got an idea and you need a space to get it going, check out Studio Vibes and see if they're the right place for you.
Direct download: 6.3.2020_Episode_405.1.mp3
Category:Comics Movies & Videogames -- posted at: 1:13pm EST
Fri, 22 May 2020
We got some sad news a few weeks ago when they announced that EVO 2020 had been cancelled and while it was expected, it was still sad nonetheless. Despite being absolute trash at almost every fighting game I've ever attempted, EVO is still one of the best weekends of the year full of tense matches, hype comebacks, and stunning upsets. I've said for years that going to EVO is near the top of my Bucket List but as someone who is painfully afraid of being 30,000 feet in the air for extended periods of time, it's been difficult to commit.
So like most things, I live through my friends and their experiences.
We've talked with our pal Ken's about his past trips to EVO at length before and he's discussed them on his own podcast as well (new episodes!??). So we figured it would be the perfect time for his return so we can recap the news and drama surrounding EVO 2020 and how despite the bleak headlines, there's still a light at the end of the tunnel.
Direct download: 5.21.2020_Episode_404.mp3
Category:Comics Movies & Videogames -- posted at: 9:36pm EST
Sat, 2 May 2020
We have an extra long episode for you this week as we get down to business and back to basics with some good, old fashioned disagreements.
Despite the namesake we've chosen to use for the last 8 years, it turns out Alex and I don't disagree on too many things worth talking about (aside from The Last of Us but honestly we'd probably need an entire separate podcast just to chew through everything there). Fortunately, we have friends. And some of those friends have opinions on things that might....vary from our own. See where I'm going with this?
Our very good and spooky friend Kyle of Decimated Designs kicks off the episode with us because it turns out that Kyle isn't a fan of professional wrestling. We've talked a decent amount of wrestling in the past and I'm somewhat of a born-again fan so we figured this might be a good starting point.
After duking it out with Kyle for much longer than expected, we were joined by KT and Babs to talk about the smash hit Canadian sitcom Letterkenny and the potentially problematic portrayals of some of their characters. If you want to skip around or Wrestling isn't quite your thing, you can skip to the Letterkenny portion at around 1:13:24.
Huge thanks as usual to all three of our guests this week. Technical difficulties aside I think they all contributed to a great episode full of thought-provoking yet respectful debate. (Which, if you asked me, isn't always easy. See: The entire internet.) Where do you fall on these issues? Let us know in the comments!
Direct download: 5.2.2020_Episode_403.mp3
Category:Comics Movies & Videogames -- posted at: 8:46pm EST
Sat, 18 April 2020
Episode 402 with Adam Davis, MA Ed and Jared Kilmer, PhD of Game to Grow: Social Growth and Therapy via Tabletop Games.
I have been playing tabletop games for a handful of years at most. Despite my limited experience, the impact it has had on my life has been substantial to say the least. It has provided me forms of live entertainment both in person and digital, it has introduced me to people and friends whom I otherwise probably wouldn't have had the opportunity to meet, and it has also provided me an outlet to escape in times of stress and uncertainty. It is safe to say that tabletop gaming has changed my life.
But enough about me and my sappy introductions.
This week we're here to talk about an organization called Game to Grow. For those unfamiliar, Game to Grow is a 501(c)(3) nonprofit organization dedicated to the use of games of all kinds for therapeutic, educational, and community growth. They can also be found at various conventions throughout the country, most recently at PAX East a few months back where they had a variety of panels as well as a presence within the tabletop area.
We were joined by two representatives of Game to Grow this week: Adam Davis, MA Ed and Jared Kilmer, PhD and they gave us a complete rundown of the history of their organization, the challenges and rewards of the work they do, and how they've had to adapt their processes in these times of social distancing and public safety.
We owe a huge thank you to Adam, Jared, and the rest of Game to Grow not only for giving us the chance to talk with them, but also for the service they provide. If you want to know more or you are interested in trainings and consultations, be sure to visit their website at www.gametogrow.org for more info.
Direct download: 4.18.2020_Episode_402.mp3
Category:Comics Movies & Videogames -- posted at: 11:40am EST
Fri, 3 April 2020
The social distancing continues this week and I have to say; recording at home in my pajamas isn't the worst thing in the world. At first, it was giving me a bit of anxiety. Alex and I have been doing the same thing the same way for 8 years with only a few variations here and there when needed. There's a level of comfort involved in doing something a certain way for that long, but it seems that, for the time being, distance is the new normal. And so far it's working out.
With that said, we have a great episode for you today. Mike Norton, the artist of Image Comics' Revival and the creator of the Eisner award winning web comic Battlepug, joined us via the Skype machine. We talked about creating a multi-award winning web comic from the ground up, his experiences in his Chicago studio "Four Star Studios" and why the Revival/Chew crossover wasn't exactly an easy sell for him.
Massive thanks to Mike for giving us the opportunity to talk with him during these strange times. Check out his website along with the Battlepug site for more info on his work and where you can throw some support.
Direct download: 4.2.2020_Episode_401.mp3
Category:Comics Movies & Videogames -- posted at: 9:03pm EST
Sat, 21 March 2020
The timing of this episode is one hell of a happy accident. We had no idea our 8 year anniversary would line up with episode 400 back when we decided to switch off our weekly schedule...but here we are: 8 years and 400 episodes later.
Alex had a fun idea this year to celebrate the occasion with the both of us selecting our individual Top 8 episodes of all time. We posted them throughout the last week and a half on our various social mediums and in the end, I think both lists are great representations of what we've tried to accomplish in the years since starting this whole thing. Be sure to go back and check them out if the almighty algorithms hid them from your respective timelines as those episodes are definitely worth a revisit.
As for this episode, being an anniversary 'sode, Alex worked his magic and put together another Best-Of Montage featuring clips from all of the best moments from the past year. Per usual, he killed it. So huge thanks and recognition are in order as those things aren't easy to make and take up a ton of valuable free time.
With all that said, I believe it's customary to say thank you to you, dear listener. We say it a few times in the episode, but without you this show is pretty pointless. Your support is everything and greatly appreciated. In short, you kick ass.
Happy anniversary, ya'll.
Spellbound by Kevin MacLeod
Circus Of Freaks by Kevin MacLeod
Blip Stream by Kevin MacLeod
Direct download: 3.21.2020_Episode_400.mp3
Category:Comics Movies & Videogames -- posted at: 1:42pm EST
Fri, 13 March 2020
I hope you're hungry for some PAX because boy howdy do we have some content for you. Joe is back with us to recap and not only do we have a nearly 2 hour long episode full of game and panel talk, but there's also some photos, plus there was stuff we couldn't fit in the episode that Joe wrote about below. It only took 6 years but I think we're finally learning how to reach peak PAX efficiency.
I'm going to keep this brief as I don't want to take away from Joe's superior words plus all the good things I have to say are in the episode anyway. But I will say that, per usual, PAX was amazing, the people we met were amazing, and the games we played were, for the most part, amazing as well.
Now check out what Joe had to say about a couple of games he got to play: (Note: some of these are brought up in the episode but I couldn't bring myself to hack this to pieces so enjoy it in its entirety.)
Shantae and the Seven Sirens
So amazingly enough, it’s been 3 years since the last Shantae game was released. For those of you who don’t know, the Shantae series has had a tumultuous history, starting with it’s inaugural game being released on the GBC just as the handheld was dying out. However, the second game in the series got a hold of its roots on the DSi’s downloadable software store, and now the series has a strong reputation as being a quirky and fun platformer. Shantae and the Seven Sirens was not on my radar at all because I’m old and time passes weirdly, but it’s the 5th overall game in the series and the 2nd in the new HD stylings. Also weirdly enough, despite this game coming out for all major consoles in the spring, it’s already been out on the iOS since Fall of 2019.
I had a great conversation with Christopher Shanley, the Director of Publishing at WayForward. He shared some of the background considerations when developing the game, including how they merged the animal transformation mechanic from the original two games with the weapon’s system from Pirate’s Curse, and it was a lot of fun! The game has had a difficulty spike since going into HD, in a very positive and energizing way (the demo gave me infinite health, which I absolutely needed for the challenging boss battle at the end.) Shanley also talked a bit about their history in taking on their own publishing responsibilities, and how empowering it has been for their releases (not just Shantae, but other WayForward games as well like River City Girls.)
The Yacht Club games folks, fresh off of the release of the last game in the core Shovel Knight series (King of Cards), had a surprising showing with two new games in the Shovel Knight series.
The first one I played is a Shovel Knight puzzle game in the style of Puzzle League games called Shovel Knight Pocket Dungeon. The core mechanic has Shovel Knight wandering around a bunch of falling pieces including enemies, health potions, keys, and treasure chests. He can attack enemies and set off chains, which is good because fighting them individually will have them hit you back and kill you pretty quickly. I know this because boy did I die a bunch of times in a row before figuring out that I had health and was being attacked. It seems interesting but outside of aesthetics, it is a very non-Shovel Knight property. For both of the new games, there is a clear shift from the original design (all of the characters are a little bigger and more detailed.)
The second game was called Shovel Knight Dig, and is extremely similar to Steam World Dig. If you haven’t played this series before, you play a robot that digs down and collects resources to help aid him in digging even further - it’s weirdly a blast. SKD follows very similar mechanics, except with the ability to “shovel jump” like in the original game. The feature that really sets it apart is a sense of urgency… after going down just a little bit, there are mechanics such as drills and enemies, that turn it more into a Downwell-style game.
Both games were fun and interesting, but there was an oddness about both of them. With the slightly different graphics and completely different genres, they both don’t feel like Shovel Knight and really didn’t need to be. I’m curious if the branding is to help tie their way into new styles of games.
Cyberpunk Bartender Action N1RV Ann-A.
Aesthetically this game feels like a mid-90s Sierra sort of pixel number, and play-wise it was incredibly reminiscent of Phoenix Wright games when you’re doing the walking around and gathering evidence parts. Jayare, Colin, and I all got to play this bartender simulator where you try to make drinks for different people who come in and navigate conversations with them. Mechanically, it was very straight forward: you get to make drinks and react to what people say, but it had the feeling of a game of discovery.
Radical Rabbit Stew
A combination of action and puzzle game, RRS immediately reminded me of a Genesis game that no one remembers named Wiz and Liz. W&L was this odd game where you had to catch rabbits and use magic and I was too young to understand the strategy, but there was something undeniably charming about it. Radical Rabbit Stew brings that charm in spades. You play a cook that uses various cooking implements to knock rabbits (that have taken over his people or something?) into pots and launch them into space. The plot doesn’t matter. It was cute and fun and I loved it. Check it out in July.
A Duel Hand Disaster: Trackher
The Nintendo Switch has mainstreamed a feeling I’ve had for years. I’ve always preferred handheld gaming, starting as a 9 year old that saved his meager earnings to buy a Game Gear, and continuing today to where the Nintendo Switch is my go-to platform by leaps and bounds. It’s not just the portability: limited power platforms leads to people creating unique games that present fascinating challenges. The full name for A Duel Hand Disaster: Trackher includes the tagline “Split Screen Single Player Twin Stick Risk’em Up”. On the left side of the screen, you’re playing a mostly invincible ship in a Space Invader-style game, while on the right side, you’re flying around the screen with limited ways to protect yourself and trying to gather resources and end the level. Except you get to choose when to end the level, constantly risking a higher score with losing everything. It’s wacky and weird and genuinely impossible to explain in text. So go look at this guy: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=zOGwVsSFsbk. And you still won’t really get it, but it’s already out and if you like arcade score-racing games, you’ll eat this sucker up.
Kroma: Presented by designer Carol Mertz, published by Breaking Games
Kroma is a 2-3 player game developed by Carol Mertz, Kai Karhu, Francesca Carletto-Leon, and Temitope Olujobi. Jayare and I had the pleasure of learning how to play this from Mertz herself, who has a storied history of game development. The concept of Kroma is that you play on a triangular lightboard and place down translucent pieces of primary colors pulled randomly from a bag. On top of those, you can place a second piece to make a new color (because that’s how colors work.) Each player picks a secondary color (orange, purple, or green), and the key is to have either the most pieces or the most connected area of your chosen color by the end of the game. Mertz taught us the game in less than 30 seconds, and it was one of those games that it was easy to learn but tough to master the strategy of. They’ll be kickstarting the game later this year, and it looks like a game that both kids and adults would have a blast playing. Mertz and her team were all showing a number of games (both electronic and otherwise) at the show, and I’m excited to see what other projects that team is going to churn out.
Cheer Up!: Presented by designer Chris Rio
Okay, so I like to play any board game I can get my hands on at PAX. There are a lot of misses here, but with board games, it’s almost possible to tell how you’re going to feel about it just by looking at it (books, covers, you get it.) Cheer Up’s booth is heralded by a ridiculous looking cartoon dog that is apparently the dog of the creator, Chris Rio. It’s a party game akin to Cards Against Humanity where you play cards and hope a judge will pick them. Unlike CAH, there is a mechanic with 3 different “categories” of cards, and before the judge picks, a rule gets thrown it to change it around. The cutesy dog and standard mechanic completely belies what is a somewhat raunchy and hilarious game. The creator, Chris, reflects this as well… he seemed like a very smiley and nice guy who would just slip in some of the funniest filthiest jokes as we were demo-ing. They currently have a kickstarter (https://www.kickstarter.com/projects/cheerup/cheer-up-the-big-d-pack-expansion?ref=discovery&term=cheer%20up) for an expansion to the game that runs until April 1 2020, and the core game itself can be picked up in stores.
Set a Watch: Presented by designer Todd Walsh
Early on, as Kevin and I sat down with Todd Walsh to learn how to play Set a Watch, I was looking at the ability cards of my Witch and noticed they had the same art at the top. He was teaching us the game and also playtesting his prototype of an expansion (coming to Kickstarter later this year), but I was curious if there would be different art for each. Walsh indicated that it was an intentional design choice to help prevent the “quarterbacking” that is often common in co-operative games like this. This would be the start of my favorite creator conversation of the entire convention. Walsh, a self-proclaimed D&D enthusiast, has created a game with such careful consideration, that it’s hard to find faults that aren’t clearly designed to make the game fair, challenging, and fun. The concept of the game is that you are a classic D&D quartet that must defend against an onslaught of monsters. Unfortunately, only three of you can tackle the challenges, as your 4th member each round stokes the fire and brings on resources to help you tackle the challenges ahead and recover spent energy. Though the mechanics can be a little challenging, it has been so much fun to play, and chatting with Walsh to see the insights of a developer.
Colorful: Presented by designer Jordan Draper
Every year since I’ve gone to PAX, my favorite game to bring home is the one I can bust out anywhere and catch people’s attention and interest. One year it was Visitor, another it was Illimat, but this year, it was Colorful. We talked about Jordan Draper after last year’s PAX (I played Tokyo Coin Laundry with Alex and we had a very unexpected good time.) Colorful is an adaption by Draper of a Japanese game where you have a hand of 15 colors and try to match with other people you’re playing with based on constantly more challenging categories. If the category is “Smell”, someone can only say a single word (for example, “Citrus”) and everyone will play a color face down. As Draper describes it, it’s a co-op game where you all win by matching, but the moment you lose, it becomes a competition to have the most cards in the majority. It’s light, fun, easy to teach, and every single one of the 20 people I’ve shown it to since PAX has loved it.
Also KEVIN, firefighters are red and only a sociopath would play the color yellow damn it. -Joe
Direct download: 3.9.2020_Episode_399.mp3
Category:Comics Movies & Videogames -- posted at: 9:40pm EST
Fri, 21 February 2020
We're back this week with an extra long episode packed with guests. Two guests to be specific....but that's like 200% more than normal so yeah, jam packed.
Next weekend is going to be a busy one as Alex and I are going to be attending two different conventions in two different states 1,000 miles apart...at the same time?!? Well, technically at the same time...just not together. While myself and the usual suspects head up to Boston for PAX East, Alex and his lovely lady are going to be flying out to Chicago for C2E2. Exciting, right?? Twice the opportunity to catch terrifying viruses! And also meet amazing people, play amazing games, and spend amazing amounts of cash. It's gonna be a good time.
Until then, we thought it would be fun to hype up the shows and talk with a couple people that you'd be able to meet if you happen to be in attendance. First up is the owner of Blipsounds: Ryan Stunkel! After successful outings at previous PAX shows, most recently PAX South in January, Ryan is going to be bringing his panel "Sound Design Live: Watch Us Recreate Video Game Sounds" to PAX East to give attendees the scoop on creating and replicating sounds from popular video games. Ryan is going to be bringing years of sound design experience to Boston so if you're at PAX East on Saturday you have an amazing opportunity to check out his panel.
Following our chat with Ryan, we had the absolute pleasure of talking with artist and colorist Addison Duke! A Chicago based artist, Addison's work can be seen in a multitude of comic books including Curse Words, Hack/Slash, and Barbarella/Dejah Thoris to name a few. He's going to be tabling in Artist's Alley at the upcoming C2E2 show so we thought it would be a perfect opportunity to get the inside info on his background, experiences, and what we can expect to see at one of the most talked about conventions in the country.
We can't thank Ryan and Addison enough for giving us time to talk with them, especially with two major shows just around the corner. We hope you enjoy listening to this episode as much as we enjoyed recording it. If you're going to be at PAX or C2E2 be sure to travel safe and pack plenty of hand sanitizer. And say hi to Ryan and Addison; they're great people who make great things.
Direct download: 2.21.2020_Episode_398.mp3
Category:Comics Movies & Videogames -- posted at: 11:45pm EST
Tue, 4 February 2020
"The StarWell Foundation" is an audio drama set in a city of Super Heroes. Through the Foundation, children make requests to meet famous athletes, movie stars, or even their favorite heroes. But the kids have started to request something new: they want to meet their favorite villains and it's up to the newly promoted intern Meredith Dare to make their dreams come true.
This is Episode 2 of the pilot season.
Right now this completes the short story arc for Meredith Dare and StarWell. I hope you enjoyed it and if you did let us know.
I’ll be trying to push the season to spread the word, get more listens and eventually gauge interest on making more.
Thanks to all our voice actors that lent me their time and voices, Bob for walking me through the set up and lending his expertise, Jayare for saying yes to this idea and thanks to you our listeners that keep coming back even though we deviated from our usual format.
Additional music and sound effects from:
Licensed under Creative Commons: By Attribution 4.0 License
Direct download: StarWell_Foundation_-_Episode_2_-_Pilot.mp3
Category:Comics Movies & Videogames -- posted at: 7:39pm EST
Fri, 24 January 2020
We're back this week with a brief intermission between episodes of the pilot season of The StarWell Foundation to bring you almost two full hours of something you've all been desperately waiting for:
Star Wars opinions!
And who better to join us in the festivities than our main man Colin? Seeing as it's been a minute since he was last on (a minute = about a year in this case) we thought a relaxing night talking Star Wars with pals would be the perfect way to get him back into the swing of things.
Of course, it probably goes without saying that this episode contains some beefy SPOILERS so for those who aren't up to speed on pretty much all of the Star Wars films, you might want to get that taken care of beforehand.
We hope you enjoy our ramblings and be sure to let us know if you agree/disagree/think we're buffoons in the comments. We'll be back in a couple of weeks with the 2nd episode of The StarWell Foundation pilot!
Direct download: 1.24.2020_Episode_397.mp3
Category:Comics Movies & Videogames -- posted at: 9:57pm EST
Tue, 7 January 2020
"The StarWell Foundation" is an audio drama set in a city of Super Heroes. Through the Foundation, children make requests to meet famous athletes, movie stars, or even their favorite heroes. But the kids have started to request something new: they want to meet their favorite villains and it's up to the newly promoted intern Meredith Dare to make their dreams come true.
This is episode 1 of the pilot season.
Our friend and frequent guest host Colin planted the idea in my head a few years ago to produce a radio play and I’ve held onto the idea ever since. It wasn’t until I happened upon this gem of the internet on tumblr titled “The Villain Wrangler” that inspired me to interpret my own world around that terrific and devious concept. Regular OMV listeners know I’ve always been a sucker for a good villain story.
As of right now there will be 2 episodes featuring Meredith Dare and the StarWell Foundation. If all goes well there’s a chance we’ll make more, so please like, share, subscribe and comment.
This episode features the voice acting talents of:
Featuring Music clips by Kevin Mason.
Additional sound effects and other music from:
Direct download: Starwell_Foundation_-_Episode_1_-_Pilot.mp3
Category:Comics Movies & Videogames -- posted at: 11:17pm EST