Doddcast 245 – You’ll never believe the info contained within!

This week pete and rich discuss Destiny, clickbait, capitalism/kickstarter, NPDs, and many tweets!

Here is where you can stream it.

You can also grab it off of iTunes.

Reach me at:  petedodd@gmail.com

Double K.O.

Player One Podcast

Check Platform Nation

Pete’s Twitter

Rich’s Twitter

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Bounden And Fun With Strangers

Scientists and journalists share a single very importing and wholly defining quality: curiosity. (It’s okay; I have degrees in both fields, so I can say that.) The former want to know how the world works and the latter want to know, well, pretty much everything. It feels like a hair-thin divide that decides where these investigators go in their education and life.

The strange commonality extending from that is that both professions often spend an inordinate amount of time alone with their thoughts. Scientists and engineers have their equations and scratch paper of harried work to keep them company while journalists and writers surround themselves with committed word. Strangely enough, though, half of a journalist’s job is to talk with people—to ask them questions and take a verbal dive into another’s mind.

The reality is that half can (and very often) reduce to a rough 10%. Staring outside your apartment window, sitting at a coffee shop, dabbling an outline in a park. It’s not as if the writing process invites others to join in on it. It usually feels like having a one-sided conversation with yourself. So it’s not surprising that we often jump at any opportunity to mingle, whether with friends or with strangers.

Enter Bounden. Released earlier this year in May, Bounden comes to us from Game Oven, the same studio behind Fingle, one of my other favorite institutionalized invitations to talk to new people. It has the basic premise of building a systemic foundation for getting two people to dance together. You hold between you and your partner a phone and—without letting go—maneuver yourselves and the phone to match positions on a rotating sphere displayed on the screen. (The motion sensor stuff was actually what delayed the Android launch.)

It’s pretty fun, even when you play by yourself. I made it through the first few songs flying solo and had a jolly good time, and I’m sure the people walking into the library had a laugh as well. But obviously, the joy is playing with a friend. However, the problem with a writer’s schedule is that when you need to do work (read: play games) with someone else, mostly everyone else you know that isn’t a writer is in an office from 8 AM to 5 PM.

Luckily, there are tons of people out there that can help. These are the strangers of your life, and they may be ready to jump in and play something like Bounden or Fingle or whatnot with you, but the willing part is somewhat more difficult to bubble up to the surface. Luckily, the trained journalistic tendencies to finding the right questions to ask at any given moment come in really handy here.

Bounden

I went to the local mall since I figured it was summer, maximizing the chances of people on holiday and college kids hanging around. It was a rough go at first. Finding the right kind of person is a challenge in and of itself. The easiest ones to figure out were the ones that gave you the stink eye as you got closer. The harder people to suss out were the ones that were just kind of sitting around. Were they waiting for someone? Were they about to start a shift or just got off of one? Maybe they were tired? Eventually I let the sitting dogs lie. Or sit. Whatever.

This quick education led a quick and rapid succession of rejections. Some were kinder than others. Some were more fear-filled than I would have liked, but I do suppose I’m an odd-looking fellow at 6’3″ with a palm tree-shaped coif, so that might be on me. But then I got my first nibble on the line, my hour of baiting the river finally paying off. A borderline high school/college fellow leaning against a wall, playing with his phone, left there as his girlfriend went into a store.

“Hey there. How’s your day going?”

“Um, pretty good.”

“Interested in playing a new Android game?”

Bounden

Pretty simple and open gamble. The trouble came when I had to explain what the game was. “So this is a game called Bounden. It’s about dancing.” The immediate haze applied to his eyes told me I was losing his interest, but a little follow-up was just enough slack on the line to keep things going. “What were you just playing?”

In that moment, I learned that people still play Angry Birds. But by then, I had fired up the tutorial, had him put his thumb on the screen, and we were well into it. He kept telling me about his love for the furious fowl as we spun and spun, eventually turning into a comparison of his experiences with League of Legends and DotA. It was a surreal experience as eventually people came over to see what we were doing.

With the crowd (can four people make a crowd?), he eased away from playing another song, though I’m sure he weighed that option with dutifully following his girlfriend through another department store pretty heavily. He did, however, admit it was a lot of fun. So I turned to the onlookers and asked if there were any takers.

Bounden

They dispersed, but a woman came up and asked what was going on. Late twenties, maybe early thirties. I described the game to her, and at the mention of the word “dancing,” her eyes lit up. I went on to say that the game was developed in concert with the Dutch National Ballet, and she just said, “Let’s play.”

Even as we went through Grass, the first real song, it was remarkable how smoothly she went through the motions. Myself included, I’ve found that many new Bounden players move with a certain style, which is to say none at all, equivalent to walking up well-lotioned stairs with magnets and rebar for shoes. “Wow, you’re good at this,” I said.

“Oh, well I guess it’s because I have some experience.” Raising my eyebrows, I look at her. (Sometimes silence is the best way to get someone to talk.) “Yeah, I used to do ballet.”

“Used to?” I started up Twirl, a song named rather aptly for all the twirling you’re likely to do. It’s difficulty level even reads “Advanced Twirling.”

“Well, I was part of a small company in Miami, but, you know, I got injured. Now I just teach.” This was said even as we spun and twirled and Twister’d our way around the same 20 square feet of mall tile.

A lovely person with an interesting story. That perhaps describes the majority of the people you see out in the world. A mantra one of my teachers used to tell us (and you’re probably familiar with it) was that everyone knows something you don’t. Whether it’s about their life or some insight into your own, they have something new to say.

It’s vastly more interesting to find out what that new thing is rather than go over the same old thing. Bounden facilitates that discovery. It’s a hard thing to speak personal truth when you’re locked eyes with someone, but holding this game between you, a proxy for social revelations, you might find a bigger truth. Curiosity isn’t the fuel for just scientists and journalists. It’s for everyone.

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Video Game Jocks Podcast 7/23/2014

In this episode, we talk about the Destiny Beta, Console Sales, Battlefield Hardline’s Delay, Dance Central Spotlight’s Pricing Structure, Non-Stop, Field of Dreams, The Strain, Big Brother, We Answer Your Tweets and More!

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Remember to tweet your questions to @VideoGameJocks

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Hercules Review: A Little Hercu-less

Watching Hercules feels an awful lot like being one of the dupes falling victim to the deluge of unbelievable tales surrounding the so-called son of Zeus. It seems like things kept getting packed onto the pile of things this film had to offer just to get some ambiguously agreeable end product. Despite those best/worst efforts, it ends up being a not terrible movie, but only just.

Starring Dwayne “The Rock” Johnson as the titular Hercules, we see a version of the hero that feels almost immediately foreign—though it is based on a comic. While visually fulfilling the part (my god, has there ever been a single person in the history of the world that can so capably take up space), we have a Hercules here that is not necessarily the demigod we’ve known through myth. He’s really just an incredibly strong man with a deadly and focused team to aid in bringing the legend to life.

He has accrued a pure warrior more animal than man, an Amazonian warrior, a pugilistic seer, a topnotch merc, and his nephew, a fellow more skilled at words and boasting than fighting. A dark past haunts the mountain-sized warrior-for-hire as he finds himself attempting to help a king in pushing back a potentially mystical and powerful foe named Rhesus.

Superficially, this is an immediately interesting setup. We so rarely see the full consideration of what it means to be a living (mythical) legend, and this plays fully into it. There is a sizable amount of deceit going on in perpetuating the conquests of the fallen son who defied Hera. It’s a bit like The Brothers Grimm and provides the most fascinating facet of the movie. Seeing and hearing how the smoke and mirrors work invite so many more intriguing questions.

The rest of the story, however, falls a little flat. Everything surrounding the circumstances of King Cotys of Thrace and his impending war against Rhesus comes across with such little urgency. Even when Hercules and Cotys discuss the immediacy of the upcoming battles, it feels as if everyone is a bit lackadaisical. Even the handful of twists that should have been remarkable ended up being revealed as No Duh moments.

The question of whether or not Rhesus is a supernatural foe doesn’t even seem important after one of the characters point out what the entire audience is thinking: who cares? We already saw in such vivid detail Hercules battle a hydra. Regardless of its veracity, we saw it. The interest had been lost long ago as the film kept jumping under a bar it set for itself.

Hercules

And all of the setups for each subsequent plot twist only served to undermine another one. In the end, what should have been a laser-focused narrative of Hercules mortal reveal or betrayal or morbid past or any number of possibilities is instead muddled into a gestalt of confused intent.

One thing Hercules does have going for it, however, is that its battles are rather fun. The action feels real and has a nice grit to it, shot coherently and grandly. Even when portions of it are clearly computer generated like the numerous throwing knives and arrows and pointed spears and whatnot, it still comes across as believable because it’s all people. Real people being hurled and hit and smashed. It’s one of the benefits of not focusing on the monsters and myths side of Hercules’ legend.

It’s unfortunate, though, that the flow of the scale of each fight was inverted. The literal scale may have increased as the film went on, but the impact of each battle felt lessened as it progressed. The first major conflict was exciting and dynamic with so much collective movement across each of our hero’s teammates, and it felt increasingly funneled and restricted with each scuffle.

Hercules

Perhaps the greatest failing of Hercules, however, was the film’s inability to capitalize on its most valuable asset, which is to say Johnson himself. His best films are where his inherent, nigh mythical charm are on full display. Walking Tall and The Rundown rode that straight to Successville. You could even probably sell a DVD solely containing his parts from Be Cool and Doom despite the quality of the rest of those films.

Instead, we have a brooding Johnson with so little to work with. It might have been different if the story revolved around Hercules’ unspoken, dark past, but it all feels in service of some other twist that happens about three-quarters of the way through. There are glimmers of where we get to see Johnson being the effervescent fellow he is, but it’s not nearly enough.

There’s no single part of Hercules that is broken enough to ruin the entire film, but there conversely is also nothing that works all that well. It’s like a racecar bound together with duct tape that can just barely get across the finish line. It gets the job done so no one is angry about it, but it also doesn’t win the race so everyone feels a little empty at the end anyways.

Hercules

+ Dwayne Johnson fulfills the role of Hercules exceedingly well
+ Tackles an interesting facet of what myths and legends are
– Interwoven stories that twists that clumsily run into each other
– Fails to fully utilize Johnson’s capabilities

Final Score: 5 out of 10

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Trailer Roundup: BioWare, The Sailor’s Dream, And More

Have you listened to The College Dropout all the way through? It’s Kanye West’s debut album and I just blew through it for the first time. “Last Call” is crazy, right? I mean, it’s nearly 13 minutes of his goddamn life that stands in stark contrast with the person we know today. He portrays himself as a guy who knew he was talented but struggled to find a break and kept getting rejected, but we see him every day as a person completely detached from reality and, quite frankly, a rich ass.

That really has nothing to do with video game trailers. I just thought maybe you guys would want to talk about it. Or maybe something else. Whatever you have on your minds, I’m up for it. It could be about these trailers or maybe the bad day you just had or maybe the wicked salsa you made yesterday. I’m here for you.

Also I want that salsa recipe. You know who you are.

Assassin’s Creed Unity

Do you think they don’t have a colon in Assassin’s Creed Unity as some subtle play into the idea of unity? Just wondering. You already know the deal. We’ve heard these promises before of better control and more fun combat, but whether or not it’s a good or bad Assassin’s Creed game, I’m actually super excited to wander around 1700s France in this crazy quality. A full year to design one of the major landmarks. Crazy!

Tom Clancy’s Rainbow Six: Siege

One of the quotes in the trailer says that Tom Clancy’s Rainbow Six: Siege was one of the biggest surprises of this year’s E3, and I agree wholeheartedly. The trailer at Ubisoft’s E3 press event was cool but left a lot of questions up in the air. Playing it, however, answered many of them, though still managed to raise more delectable questions. Expected to release 2015 for PC, Xbox One, and PlayStation 4.

The Sailor’s Dream

With the hopes that developers Simogo can pull out a quality iOS game once more, I’m rather intrigued by The Sailor’s Dream. It hopefully won’t scare the shit out of me like Year Walk, but the writing alone in the trailer got me good. Save for the last one that it fades out on. That came across as cheesy, but my curiosity certainly is piqued. Look for it late 2014 on iOS.

Persona Q: Shadow of the Labyrinth

I wonder why Shin Megami Tensei: Persona 4 succeeded so hard. It has reached Final Fantasy VII levels of spinoff material. It’s my favorite of the series, but I wonder how word of its quality spread with such a convincing visage. It’s a hard enough sell to make people play an RPG let alone one that averages 70+ hours. Oh well. Persona Q: Shadow of the Labyrinth releases November 25, 2014 for Nintendo 3DS.

Shadowgate

I was never huge on Shadowgate. I’ve certainly played it—just as I’m sure most of you have as well—but it never clicked all that hard with me. Feel free to judge me as this reimagining accrued almost 3,500 backers and roughly $137,000 on Kickstarter, so chances are you remember it more fondly than I do. New puzzles and fancy graphics, though, so it could be worth remember that it comes out August 21, 2014 for PC, Mac, iOS, and Android.

BioWare Teaser

Details are sparse on BioWare’s new project. We don’t even have a title yet. So far it’s just this live action trailer and mostly worthless words from press interviews. World building, contemporary stories (whatever you want that to mean), etc. It’s a cool trailer, but something more tangible needs to be revealed for a meaningful reaction. I do like that there’s some ARG stuff going on, though.

Adventure Time: The Secret of the Nameless Kingdom

Do you think there will ever be a good Adventure Time game? While Adventure Time: Hey Ice King! Why’d You Steal Our Garbage?! was more or less agreeable, Adventure Time: Explore the Dungeon Because I Don’t Know! was mostly hot trash. I wonder if it’ll take as many tries as South Park to hit South Park: The Stick of Truth-level. Adventure Time: The Secret of the Nameless Kingdom comes out this fall for Steam, PlayStation 3, Xbox 360 and Nintendo 3DS.

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HD Pinion Gear 18T:Baja5B,5T

This is the 18 Tooth Heavy Duty Pinion Gear for the HPI Baja.

FEATURES: Pinion Gear has more bottom punch for quicker acceleration
Gear has less friction for quieter running
Machined aluminum pinion gear heat sink

INCLUDES: 18 Tooth Heavy Duty Pinion Gear
Heat sink
Mounting hardware
Instructions

REQUIRES: Installing on vehicle following instructions in manual

SPECS: Thickness: 0.75″ (19mm)
Diameter: 1.14″ (29mm)

HPI

Part HPI86498

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