TBC Table-Top: Episode 06 A Zelda Table-Top R.P.G. Adventure

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Now available in high quality Vorbis audio!

Join Scott, Simeon, Glen, and Nathan Blake of Nathan Blake Games on an adventure through the backwoods of Hyrule as the crew plays a table-top R.P.G. inspired by The Legend of Zelda.

After camping for the night, our heroes make their way to the headwaters of the river.

Read more TBC Table-Top: Episode 06 A Zelda Table-Top R.P.G. Adventure

TBC Table-Top: Episode 05 A Zelda Table-Top R.P.G. Adventure

Play

Now available in high quality Vorbis audio!

Join Scott, Simeon, Glen, and Nathan Blake of Nathan Blake Games on an adventure through the backwoods of Hyrule as the crew plays a table-top R.P.G. inspired by The Legend of Zelda.

After dispatching their bokoblin assailants, our heroes continue delving even deeper into the woods.  Will they find the river’s headwaters or more trouble? Read more TBC Table-Top: Episode 05 A Zelda Table-Top R.P.G. Adventure

Hideaway Island An Animal Crossing: New Horizons Narrative Let's Play

Day 1

I arrived at the airport around 9 A.M. Upon entering, I was greeted by two young raccoons who immediately got to work arranging my trip. We boarded the plane not long after that. Once finished suffering a long, boring flight during which there was nothing to do except watch an informational video and avoid eye contact with the other passengers, we arrived on the island. The two young raccoons informed the other residents and me that there was an orientation meeting nearby and that our presence was requested. Needing to retrieve my tent and other supplies, I begrudgingly followed the others to what appeared to be a construction site. There a middle-aged raccoon delivered a droll and poorly-rehearsed corporate monolog. Read more Hideaway Island An Animal Crossing: New Horizons Narrative Let’s Play

Virtua Quest That Was a Thing

I’ve mentioned it a few times on the podcast, but I love the Virtua Fighter series. Unfortunately, as a Nintendo fan, that puts me in a difficult position. See, the Virtua Fighter series has been absent from Nintendo consoles. There is, however, one noteworthy exception to this history of Nintendo exclusion: the action-R.P.G. spin-off game, Virtua Quest.

Virtua Quest was developed jointly by Tose co. and Sega AM2 and published by Sega. It was released in Japan under the name Virtua Fighter Cyber Generation: Ambition of Judgement Six on August 26, 2004 for the PlayStation 2 and GameCube. It was later released in North America on January 18, 2005. As mentioned before, it was a departure from the standard Virtua Fighter series in that the game is a beat-em-up with R.P.G. elements.

My history with this game is a little different than previous installments of That Was a Thing, as I’ve never actually played this game before. Well, not the full version at least. I knew about it way back when it first came out, due it being playable at the GameCube demo kiosk at my local Target. At the time, I thought the idea of a martial-arts-based action-adventure game was intriguing, but after seeing the middling review scores it received in the now-defunct Nintendo Power magazine, I ultimately decided to pass on it.

It wouldn’t be until a few years ago once I got into the Virtua Fighter series that I developed a renewed interest in this title. After over a year of searching, I finally stumbled across it while revisiting the GameXChange in my old, grad-school stomping grounds. Read more Virtua Quest That Was a Thing

TBC Table-Top: Episode 04 A Zelda Table-Top R.P.G. Adventure

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Join Scott, Simeon, Glen, and Nathan Blake of Nathan Blake Games on an adventure through the backwoods of Hyrule as the crew plays a table-top R.P.G. inspired by The Legend of Zelda.

After losing their way in the woods, our heroes run afoul of a band of bokoblin bandits.  Will the might of their arms be enough to fend off their assailants?

Read more TBC Table-Top: Episode 04 A Zelda Table-Top R.P.G. Adventure

Mario’s Express Ticket to Subcon An Examination of Mario's Sleep Habits

Disclaimer: I am not a doctor nor an expert on sleep disorders. This article is for entertainment purposes and should not be consulted for medical advice. If you are suffering from a sleep disorder, please consult a specialist.

It’s January again, a time of year when many people resolve to improve themselves and their lives. Long-time Nintendo fans are no strangers to the subject of self improvement. From the Brain Age games to the recent Ring Fit Adventure, Nintendo has a history spanning over a decade of releasing products to improve the health and cognitive well-being of their fan base. There was even a time not too long ago that the Big N toyed with the idea of building a third pillar to their business around the idea of quality-of-life consumer electronics. The only product in this line that we fans ever even heard about, however, was a device that was supposed to improve the user’s quality of sleep. As someone who has trouble maintaining a healthy sleep cycle, I was disappointed when they announced that the project had been canceled.

Now that I think about it, though, I’m not the only one with an odd circadian rhythm. One of Nintendo’s most iconic characters has exhibited strange and potentially worrisome sleep behaviors on multiple occasions: Mario. Ever since his landmark 3D debut, Super Mario 64, Mario has often been depicted as nodding off in a matter of minutes if left inactive. This leads to me wonder: how does he do it, and is it cause for concern? Read more Mario’s Express Ticket to Subcon An Examination of Mario’s Sleep Habits

TBC Table-Top: Episode 03 A Zelda Table-Top R.P.G. Adventure

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Join Scott, Simeon, Glen, and Nathan Blake of Nathan Blake Games on an adventure through the backwoods of Hyrule as the crew plays a table-top R.P.G. inspired by The Legend of Zelda.

After making their preparations, our heroes relax with a little arm-wrestling before venture into the woods.  Who or what will they encounter in the forest? Read more TBC Table-Top: Episode 03 A Zelda Table-Top R.P.G. Adventure

Super Mario Odyssey Spit Shine

Back in August, I finally managed to complete Super Mario Odyssey. While I found much to love about it—the gorgeous and eclectic visuals, the fast-paced story, the fact that Mario is weird again, the myriad of accessibility features, etc., etc.—there was a reason it took me nearly two years to complete. While I definitely intend to replay the game’s story someday, I can say with confidence that completing it is a task I will never undertake again.

As the number of remaining moons dwindled, so too did my enthusiasm. In fact, by the end of my run, I was having more fun grinding for coins in Luigi’s Balloon World so that I could afford the last few moons needed to max out the counter than I did hunting for the ones populating the game’s various worlds. Why was that, and what could Nintendo have done differently to avoid the slog? That’s exactly what I intend to answer in this edition of Spit Shine. Read more Super Mario Odyssey Spit Shine

River City Girls: Review

Product provided for review. Thanks WayForward!

Please note that I played the P.C. version of the game. The following review is for the game itself, and does not cover platform specific details such as performance or glitches.

Developed by Wayforward Technologies and published by Arc Systems Works, River City Girls is, as the name would imply, a spin-off of the N.E.S. classic River City Ransom. Much like its 8-bit predecessor, River City Girls is a blend of side-scrolling beat-em-up combat and open-world action-adventure exploration with a sprinkling of R.P.G. elements on top. The game follows the adventures of the tough, temperamental, and sarcastic Misako and the cute, bubbly, and emotionally unhinged Kyoko as the two set out to rescue their respective boyfriends from being kidnapped. Read more River City Girls: Review

TBC Table-Top: Episode 02 A Zelda Table-Top R.P.G. Adventure

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Join Scott, Ryan, Glen, and Nathan Blake of Nathan Blake Games on an adventure through the backwoods of Hyrule as the crew plays a table-top R.P.G. inspired by The Legend of Zelda.

In this episode, our heroes continue their preparations by swinging by the general store and searching for armor.

 

Cast

Sigil: Scott

Trouse: Nathan Blake

Noire: Ryan

Sage: Glen

 

Music Credits

Divinity
Nostalvania
OverClocked ReMix (http://ocremix.org)

Hawaii Shoppi’n
NoppZ
OverClocked ReMix (http://ocremix.org)

Battle (Field)
Manaka Kataoka
The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild Original Sound Track
Nintendo

The Guru
The OC Jazz Collective
OverClocked ReMix (http://ocremix.org)

Does “Indie” Still Mean Anything?

Perhaps one of the greatest movements in the history of the game industry is the rise of indie development in the late 2000’s. With the advent of widespread digital distribution, increase in instructional content available on the internet, and the introduction of affordable game development software suites, such as the Unity or Unreal engines, game development opened up to be available to the general public, and not just those lucky few who managed to get hired at an established studio. Likewise, said established studios were freed from the need to secure funding from large publishing companies to keep their doors open via crowd funding services such as Kickstarter or the topically named Indie-Go-Go.

But what exactly is an indie game? Read more Does “Indie” Still Mean Anything?

TBC Table-Top: Episode 01 A Zelda T.T.R.P.G. Adventure

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Join Scott, Ryan, Glen, and Nathan Blake of Nathan Blake Games on an adventure through the backwoods of Hyrule as the crew plays a table-top R.P.G. inspired by The Legend of Zelda.

In this inaugural episode, our heroes learn that the town that they’re passing through is in trouble: the river that’s vital to their lumber trade is drying up.  They then band together to discover the cause and begin preparations for the journey ahead.

 

Cast

Sigil: Scott

Trouse: Nathan Blake

Noire: Ryan

Sage: Glen

Music Credits

Timeless Journey
Sam Dillard
OverClocked ReMix (http://ocremix.org)

Heart Home and Hearth
Rebeca Tripp
OverClocked ReMix (http://ocremix.org)

The Guru
The OC Jazz Collective
OverClocked ReMix (http://ocremix.org)

 

The rules used in this podcast can be found at: https://1d4chan.org/wiki/Legend_of_Zelda_RPG

Buck Bumble That Was a Thing

It’s spring again, and you know what that means!

Rain… Lots and lots of rain.

At least where I live, that is. Not that I mind: I like watching rain fall, and rain brings with it flowers. And with flowers come bees.

My history with Buck Bumble is much like that of my experience with Bomberman Hero: I rented way back in the 90’s and it always stuck with me. Unlike Bomberman Hero, however, I never even got close to beating it. Heck, having played it again recently, I’m not sure I ever even got past the tutorial.

Buck Bumble is a third-person shooter published by Ubisoft and developed by the now defunct Argonaut Games. Hold up, Argonaut Games? Yes, the company that helped develop the Super Nintendo’s Super FX Chip and the first Star Fox game. Strange, I heard that after Nintendo turned down their proposal for a 3D Yoshi game—which would eventually become Croc: Legend of the Gobbos—they had a grudge against the Big N and only released their games on every other system. Well, if that rumor is true, it apparently only applied to the Croc games, because they not only made Buck Bumble for the N64, but went on to develop several other games that were released for Nintendo platforms: Bionicle Matoran Adventure for the G.B.A., I-Ninja for the GameCube, and… Catwoman: The Game… Hm…

Wait, where was I? Ah right, Buck Bumble! As with Bomberman Hero, I stumbled across Bumble in a used game store—possibly the exact same one—for a mere ten bucks. Needless to say, I didn’t hesitate to take advantage of the opportunity to see if this game was worth remembering. Read more Buck Bumble That Was a Thing

How Cliched is Shadow the Hedgehog?

I’ve been a fan of the Sonic franchise for almost my entire life. Over the years, I’ve seen Sonic’s ups, downs, and all-arounds, either first-hand or from a safe distance. The franchise’s difficulties with maintaining relevance in the modern day have produced an incredible amount of debate as to what works and what doesn’t work for Sonic games. Fans have argued over every aspect of the series: game mechanics, storytelling, character redesigns, and so on.

One particularly controversial figure in the Sonic series is Shadow the Hedgehog. Shadow is simultaneously a fan-favorite character, often ranking in the top five in popularity polls, and a symbol of everything wrong with the series post Dreamcast era, with many fans citing him as an egregiously clichéd “bad Sonic”.

So is Shadow a bad character? Is he just a cheap and cliched “anti-Sonic” or does he bring something of his own to the series? Let’s take a closer look are the Sonic franchise’s resident antihero to find out.

While I will admit there are many legitimate issues one can take with Shadow’s characterization (convoluted, self-contradicting back-story; inconsistent characterization; the entirety of Shadow the Hedgehog, etc.), when it comes to the question of whether or not Shadow is a walking cliché, I think the issue isn’t as open and shut as many like to make it out to be. Read more How Cliched is Shadow the Hedgehog?

Shantae and the Pirate’s Curse and Shantae: ½ Genie Hero Spit Shine

With my recent completion of Shantae and the Pirate’s Curse, I am proud to say I’ve finally gotten all caught up on WayForward’s Shantae series. From the first game via the 3DS Virtual Console, to ½ Genie Hero on the Switch, I’ve played every game in the series all the way through (not counting bonus modes for the half genie’s latest title that is). Those of you who’ve seen my review of ½ Genie Hero know I greatly enjoyed that game, as I do the rest of the series, but that doesn’t mean I don’t take issue with some elements of the games’ design. Read more Shantae and the Pirate’s Curse and Shantae: ½ Genie Hero Spit Shine

Ghost Trick That Was a Thing

Have I ever mentioned I love a good mystery? Maybe it started with my childhood affection for Encyclopedia Brown books, or perhaps even earlier with my adoration of Disney’s The Great Mouse Detective. Whatever the case may be, my fondness for sleuthing didn’t really take hold until I got into the Ace Attorney series. The sorts of bizarre and colorful lateral-thinking puzzles that lie at the core of the many murder mysteries throughout the series clicked with me instantly. So it’s no wonder that when I read in the now defunct Nintendo Power magazine that Shu Takumi, the creator of the Ace Attorney series, was making a new game about an amnesiac ghost trying to solve his own murder, I was immediately intrigued. Read more Ghost Trick That Was a Thing

Loading Questions

We’ve all been there. Maybe you just entered a new shrine in Breath of the Wild or you got enough moons to go to the next kingdom in Super Mario Odyssey. Whatever game it is, you press the confirm button, eager to see what’s next, only to be met with a mostly blank screen and the words:

Now loading…

Slumping back in your seat (assuming you’re not playing at a rooftop party and sitting on the parapet), you glare intently at the message, brow furrowed. After a long and agonizing five seconds, you can’t help but wonder, “what on earth is taking so long?”

And I intend to answer just that, and many more questions, in the following article! No waiting necessary! Read more Loading Questions

The Ethics of Custom Robo

WARNING: The following article contains spoilers for Custom Robo (A.K.A. Custom Robo Battle Revolution).

It seems that no list of “Best Under-Rated Gamecube Games” is complete without some mention of the ‘Cube’s cult-classic robot gladiator simulator, Custom Robo. It’s so common for fans of Nintendo’s sixth generation console to lament the game’s lack of mainstream success, that it makes me question how a game so widely praised could have under-performed in first place. I mean, it seems everyone who owned a Gamecube recommends it. Of course, I’m not going to discourage people from lauding it: it truly is a (not terribly well-hidden) gem.

Custom Robo isn’t just one of my favorite games on the ‘Cube because of its intense action or strategic depth, however. It’s also the first game to get me to actively contemplate the implications of the events of its story. Read more The Ethics of Custom Robo