Posts Tagged ‘ podcasts

Friday Debrief

A few people have requested in comments and in emails that I provide blog entries and links when I have new work going up, a sensible point when considering RSS readers. So we’ll see how a Friday round-up goes.

This week, you can find my reaction to Enslaved over at Gamers With Jobs. I do worry I came down a little harshly on it: the first half is really excellent, and justified my purchase. But ultimately it’s not just a story, but a videogame, and not a very good one.

I was also on the GWJ Conference Call to talk about Valve and a few of my recent gaming obsessions with Cory Banks, Sean Sands, and Allen Cook. I don’t know what it is about the Conference Call, but it makes me more argumentative and ornery than usual. Maybe it’s because someone else is hosting, and so I delight in throwing out conversational hand grenades. Ironically, back when I just listened to the show, I hated Cory for playing this role. When he was the only guy who thought Flower was overrated, I thought he was just being a contrarian dick. Then I played Flower, and saw the value of being the guy who sets the Hyperbole Theater on fire.

If you head down to you local newsstand, you may find the June issue of PC Gamer. It contains a review of Portal 2, but we don’t care about that here. We care about me. So go pick up the June issue for a new Tactical Advantage column on the state of RTS communities in the age of Starcraft II, a review of the lame APOX, and the excellent Men of War: Assault Squad. In retrospect, I probably should have just asked for more space for Men of War, as the word count was a little crowded for the angle I took. Still, you have to try different things.

Finally, on Three Moves Ahead, we talked about the Panzer General series and got into a whole dust-up over whether it’s even a good wargame, and how that series introduced players to a classic genre conventions.

Conference Calling

Nothing guarantees a spell of stagnation like a burst of creativity, and that’s about where I’ve been since the last time I wrote anything here. Following a series of deadlines and revisions, plus some heavy groundwork for other pieces, I was pretty much out of thing to say or even think. After I filed my Civilization piece for GamePro, I hopped in the car and lit out for Julian Murdoch’s. Even after I got back from that, I was still unable or unwilling to sit down and write.

But now that I’ve had a few days off, and played a lot of games, I’m ready to start talking again. In fact, I got a head start last weekend with the Gamers With Jobs Conference Call. Since I was going to be at Julian’s anyway, and he was slated to host, he just decided to have me on as a guest.

The Conference Call is a bit like being aboard a Star Destroyer after riding around in the Millenium Falcon that is Three Moves Ahead. I can actually see the other cast members, and everyone seems to have a high-end mike that keeps them from sounding washed out or distant. Julian has a mixing board to fine-tune what gets recorded to his machine. Then the producer, Jonathan Downing, swoops in and makes guys like me sound far more clever and less rambling.

Anyway, you should go give it a listen. The Conference Call was the third podcast I fell in love with, after the mighty and never-to-be-topped GFW Radio and 1UP Yours. It was a treat to appear on it with Sean, Rob, and Allen.

A couple nights ago, we also had GameShark’s Todd Brakke on Three Moves Ahead for some Civilization V talk, and I was surprised at how much fun we had talking about that game. I was worried that, as a topic, Civ V was something of a dead horse (it’s all anyone talked about for a week). But I think we managed to do some great stuff with it. It helps that Troy knows Civ like nobody’s business.