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Geek to Geek Podcast

The Geek to Geek Podcast is co-hosted by Beej (@professorbeej) and Void (@grnmushroom), two life-long geeks who have managed to bring their geekery with them into adulthood and still be somewhat functional adults. They love games of all kinds, books, movies, TV, and pretty much everything else, and they want to talk about it all. With you.
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Dec 2, 2016

Pokemon (plus Pokemon Sun and Moon)

  • Like pretty much everyone else these days, we grew up with Pokemon. And with it being the 20th anniversary of the series, we wanted to talk about the wonderful little pocket monsters and our history with them.
  • For the most part, Void has kept up with the series, playing through each iteration and seeing the changes that have come from Pokemon Red and Blue and Yellow all the way to Pokemon Sun and Moon. Beej, however, has only played Blue and Omega Ruby, so our takes on the series are different, but we both love it.
  • In terms of the games themselves, the generations iterate very slowly, and despite being 20 years later, the games are fundamentally the same. Each generation gives you modern conveniences and quality of life improvements that make the newer games well worth playing if you enjoy the formula.
  • Given the length and popularity of Pokemon over the past 20 years, there have been oodles of pokemon spin off games. One of our favorites was Pokemon Snap, where you travel on rails, competing for taking the best photos of the critters in the jungle. It was a weird concept and totally fun. Most recently, there has been Pokemon Go, and there have been a ton of improvements made lately. We aren’t playing it as much as we were in the beginning, but we certainly are still interested in seeing where it goes.
  • Void really loved the TV show, and he still watches it with his kids. The multi-generational aspect of the anime are really awesome, and it’s great that he gets to share stories about the same characters with them. Somehow, Ash and Pikachu are still the protagonists of the show, despite being revamped multiple times. Beej, on the other hand, never watched the show--he was just a bit out of the age range when it debuted.
  • The Pokemon Trading Card Game was Beej’s favorite, though. In high school, he and his friends were always playing it together. They were big card game people. Void, though, just collected the cards and traded them but rarely played the game. It’s still going, which is cool, and it’s still just as fun.
  • The release of Pokemon Sun and Moon has been really cool. It’s a totally new area that’s based around Pacific Islands, and Void is nearing the end of it (Beej will eventually Gamefly it). There are tons of little UI improvements to make it easier to select things you will use (like pokeballs in battle), and there’s more of a story than ever before in Pokemon Sun and Moon (and Void actually cared a bit!).
  • In both Pokemon Sun and Moon, there are visual indicators of match-ups which tell pokemon types’ strengths and weaknesses, and this is a major improvement for players who don’t have time to memorize the whole pokedex. The ride pokemon replace HMs, and you can call them from anywhere to use their utility abilities without wasting slots in your team. So you can finally have the perfect team you want without worrying about getting stuck out in the world.
  • Pokemon Sun and Moon are not hard, but they may be the most challenging pokemon game yet because of the inclusion of trials instead of gym battles. Overall, they’re Void’s favorite pokemon game.
  • There are rumors of a third game in the Pokemon Sun and Moon series for the Nintendo Switch. Beej would likely wait to play that one if he can afford a Switch when it comes out. He’s a big fan of waiting on Game of the Year-type rereleases anyway.
  • Both of us, though, tend to skip post-game content. Neither of really enjoy filling out our pokedex, and Pokemon Sun and Moon are no different. We go occasionally to kill some time hunting fun pokemon or Legendaries, maybe to hatch an egg or two, but for the most part, we like the stories and the content, but hate the repetitive aspect of post-game content. We are kind of hoping that Pokemon Sun and Moon have extra stuff after the main game, but we doubt it because it’s still Pokemon Red and Blue at heart

Want to give us a holiday present for us? Rate and review in iTunes!

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Be sure to subscribe to the Geek to Geek Podcast your favorite podcast app, drop a review so we know how we’re doing, and feel free contact us via email at geektogeekcast@gmail.com or @geektogeekcast on Twitter with any comments, questions, or suggestions for the show. Thanks for listening, and we can’t wait to hear from you!

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Nov 24, 2016

Ask Us Anything Q&A

In this episode:

  • We asked, and you answered! Wait, no. You asked, and we answered! That’s it!
  • This week, we did our much-anticipated Q&A episode, where you wonderful people sent in your questions for us to answer. We answer everything from our favorite Star Trek captain, to embarrassing personality quirks, funny home-life anecdotes, to what we feel about particular game genres and first-person shooters. It really was an amazing episode to record, and we hope that we get spark some conversation with y’all for the subreddit and future episodes.

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Nov 18, 2016

Harry Potter Universe

In this episode:

  • With the upcoming release of Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them, we wanted to discuss our love of the Harry Potter franchise and kind of survey the series and expanded universe.
  • With the books, we love them. They’re a part of our childhoods and young adulthoods, and on re-reads, they stand up just as well. Void has listened to the audiobooks of Harry Potter multiple times, while Beej never has. He’s only read the physical books over and over again.
  • We discuss the change in tone the books take, going from children’s books in the first three, to the serious war story in the last set. That tone is also carried over into the movies, with each director doing his best to fit the tone and atmosphere of the movie with the narrative’s intended audience.
  • We discuss the extended universe of Harry Potter, which includes new short stories, Pottermore, the Cursed Child, as well as the upcoming Fantastic Beasts film. Void loves them. A lot. He keeps up with them, reads as they come out and has become invested in the world. Beej, however, feels all the expansion makes the idea of the original series lose its charm, and he doesn’t feel as though the world is fleshed out enough for this expansion. He’s open-minded, though and will eventually dig in and read about the American setting he’s not into.
  • Which brings us to Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them. It’s set in the American past (1920s?), and it’s the first Harry Potter movie that’s specifically written as a screenplay. We are hoping this makes it more cohesive as a narrative; however, the explosion from a single movie to a trilogy to a 5-movie series before the first one has debuted makes us a little wary. Judgment will be reserved until we see it, and we will certainly do a Weekly Geekery segment on it when we do.

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Nov 11, 2016

Doctor Strange

In this episode:

  • The doctor! He’s strange! Guess what we are talking about this week? It’s kind of a spoilercast, so be aware of that. However, we do give you fair warning of when we start discussing them, so you can always listen for a little while and come back after you’ve seen the movie. Or you can keep listening because you love us. Either way.
  • We are coming at the movie from two different perspectives: Void likes Bennybatch but has no connection to the characters and very limited knowledge of Doctor Strange, while Beej is the opposite. He doesn’t like Benny that much, but enjoys Dr. Strange in the comics.
  • Our non-spoilery thoughts are pretty simple: We like it. It doesn’t feel like anything else in the MCU, and we believe that’s a good thing. It doesn’t feel superhero-y, and to Beej, it feels like it has more depth than a lot of the MCU. Void doesn’t have as many thoughts about the movie overall on the first viewing, and he thinks that’s because it’s so different from other MCU films. A second viewing will really help us solidify our thoughts on it.
  • The visuals in this movie are amazing. It feels a lot like the Matrix did back in the late ‘90s. We didn’t see it in 3D (because ew), but it may have been a bit overwhelming at times.
  • And that’s it for non-spoilery teaser stuff in the notes! Now, there are lots of other things we discuss involving our favorite parts, the visuals in far more depth, the overall structure of the movie and how it worked for us and in terms of the greater narrative, and how this movie ties in (and will tie in) with the rest of the MCU).

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Nov 4, 2016

In this episode:

  • We love to read, but the big question we get asked his what we read. And how. Do we prefer ebooks to paper books, or audiobooks to ebooks? So we talk about how our collections have moved mostly digital for a number of reasons, not the least of which is simply the clutter that buying tons of hardcovers and paperbacks accumulate over the years.
  • We discuss the benefits of smartphone ebook apps, and how between them and audiobooks, we can get through so many more books than we would otherwise.
  • Speaking of audiobooks, we love them! We listen to tons of different audiobooks. Void tends to use Whispersync on Kindle to keep his place between the same book, but Beej listens to a completely different kind of book on audio than he reads. It’s like the formats work differently for each geek!
  • Void doesn’t like books set in the real-world, but Beej is okay with them if they have good characters.
  • We talk a lot about comics in another podcast, so we gloss over them here. We love to read them, but make sure you go back and listen to our comics episode. It really needs some love.
  • And now...our favorite authors! People ask all the time, and if we need to break it down more specifically, we will. We talk about people like Brandon Sanderson, John Scalzi, and Patrick Rothfuss. And more than that! If you want deep-dives into any particular authors, let us know!
Can you guys also leave a ratings or review on iTunes? They help a bunch, and we haven’t asked in a while. So thanks! We appreciate it!

Remember that we’re having a Q&A show (AMA-style) sometime in November, so send us your questions. Twitter and the subreddit are the easiest places to get them to us.

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Be sure to subscribe to the Geek to Geek Podcast your favorite podcast app, drop a review so we know how we’re doing, and feel free contact us via email at geektogeekcast@gmail.com or @geektogeekcast on Twitter with any comments, questions, or suggestions for the show. Thanks for listening, and we can’t wait to hear from you!

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Oct 28, 2016

The Nintendo Switch Revealed

In this episode:

  • The Nintendo Switch is unveiled! And being the Nintendo fans we are, there was just no way that we could go a week without talking about it.
  • Here’s what we know so far: It’s a handheld system AND a home console with detachable controllers that you can use in different configurations. They’re called JoyCons, but there’s also a Pro Controller available. There is also a spacer-thingy that connects the JoyCons into an almost-Pro Controller. You can also use the JoyCons double-handed like a Wii Nunchuck.
  • There’s a kickstand on the main screen and a 3.5mm headphone port! It’s HD and cartridge based.
  • We saw lots of games for it including a new 3D Mario game, a Mario Kart, some kind of basketball game (that neither of us know about, but y’all might), Zelda: Breath of the Wild, Splatoon, and Skyrim.
  • And then we go into geeky-speculation mode, which is always fun. We talk expandable storage (because Void does all his games digitally), is there a touch screen (and do we want one?), how long is the battery life, and just how useful is the console dock? Do we get a charging cable?
  • What about release day? Is this a day 1 purchase? Well, that depends on the price. If it’s a high-dollar console, Nintendo may be in murky water. If it’s under $250, there’s a huge chance we’ll buy it early.

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Oct 21, 2016

Day-to-Day Technology

In this episode:

  • Being geeks like we are, our lives pretty much revolve around technology. Or maybe technology revolves around our lives. This week, we discuss what we’re using day to day and how it makes our lives both easier and more difficult at times. Some of it, you’d probably guess (iPhones, Macbooks, gaming consoles), but there are some neat ones, we think you’ll enjoy hearing about and looking into.
  • Because we do use technology so much, the idea of disconnect or disengaging from technology has a lot of appeal to some people (Beej), while others tend to just shift their usage to maintain a normal, adult lifestyle (Void). It all depends on your personalities, and we discuss strategies that work for us so that you can see some healthy, real-world ways you may be able to adopt into your own routines.
  • And then there’s the awesome technology that you think you’re gonna use a ton, but instead, it just sits on a shelf, all alone and abandoned. We talk about purchases that should have been awesome, but totally fell short of expectations. Kind of like the Vive for Void (though it’s still awesome tech), and the New 3DS for Beej (which was switched for a PS Vita).
  • Plus, there’s always speculation about what tech is on it’s way. We talk about the stuff we’re particularly excited for. Like the honest-to-goodness iPhone upgrade for the 10th anniversary, the newly announced Nintendo Switch (formerly the NX), self-driving cars, augmented reality, nanotechnology, and space colonization. Give us a shout and tell us what you’re looking for!

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Oct 14, 2016

The Legend of Zelda

  • The Legend of Zelda is one of Nintendo’s flagship series, but surprisingly, it’s one of the few that actually does a lot better in the West than it does in Japan. Many may not realize the series was created by Miyamoto, the same genius who created Mario, though Aonuma has been in charge of the series since his major success with Ocarina of Time in 1998.
  • Generally, we’ve played them all. Beej has only missed 3 of them, and they’re on purpose. Void has just completed a lite playthrough of the whole series, in which he ranked them all for current playability, rather than nostalgia.
  • Do you guys remember the animated series? Beej sure does!
  • We discuss the difference in 2D and 3D Zelda games, which kind of feel like two separate series of games, but with the same base mechanics.
  • Zelda games! We don’t go in-depth for every one (because some just aren’t worth the time, honestly), but we do discuss our favorites, our memories, and just why some of them stand up for 20+ years, while others can’t even stay a few years.
  • Have you folks ever completed a Zelda game 100%? WE HAVE! The only one Void is sure he has ever 100%’d was Majora’s Mask, while the only game Beej has fully completed is Ocarina of Time.
  • Void’s rankings will be on his blog soon enough, but we discuss his top 5. (Hint, they’re probably not what you’re thinking they are.)
  • We talk about the things we love and the things we loathe about Zelda games. For instance, we are super tired of the long, tedius intro villages in 3D Zelda games. Just stop, Nintendo. Just stop. However, we truly love the puzzles and non-linear worlds that we can explore. We are super excited for Breath of the Wild because from the released footage so far, it seems like they’ve read our minds and are making the perfect Zelda game for the Geek to Geek guys.

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Oct 7, 2016

Horror!

In this episode:

  • It’s October! And you know what that means? That’s right, geeks...HORROR! You see,Void thinks horror is dumb and boring. Beej thinks it’s awesome. Is the Beejmeister going to be able to convince the Voidenator that horror is worth his time?
  • Beej taught a horror literature class for English majors a few years back, and he had a wonderful experience with horror in college because all of his friends loved it. So where he’s coming is different from where some fans are coming from.
  • A lot of horror hits on cultural and societal fears, far more than personal. We can trace the entire 20th century’s outlook based on what horror media was being produced.
  • Rarely does horror exist on its i.e. because of its nature. If the intent is to bring people a primal realization of a cultural or societal fear so they can deal with it, that’s not a genre. What you probably think of as “horror” is technically “gothic romance”
  • Emotional connection to events. To situations. Not characters so much. The blank-slate the characters tend to be written that way purposefully, which is why they’re archetypes. But you do have lots of writers, however, that tend to focus on people more than the “hook” of whatever horror element they are writing, which is why Stephen King and his son, Joe Hill, are so successful. It’s why The Walking Dead is so successful. The Walking Dead, for instance, is an ensemble survival drama that happens to have Zombies. Much like Battlestar Galactica is a military drama that happens to be in space, but we are horrified by the events that occur.
  • Different kinds of horror: Physical and Psychological. Stephen King has 3 criteria: Horror, terror, gross-out
  • We use horror as a way to achieve catharsis: We watch this stuff so we don't have to do it ourselves.
  • Beej loves slashers and horror comedies. Friday the 13th, Sleepaway Camp, My Bloody Valentine 3D, Santa’s Slay.
  • Books like Duma Key and It by Stephen King. Heart-shaped Box by Joe Hill. Even Odd Thomas and Phantoms by Dean Koontz are good places to start.
  • The Secret World is the best horror game out there right now (to Beej, at least) because it really grabs a lot of the worldwide horror elements and does them justice. It even grabs Eastern horror and does them well, which is hard to do in America. Other games are obvious like Resident Evil, Silent Hill, Fatal Frame, and Until Dawn.

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Be sure to subscribe to the Geek to Geek Podcast your favorite podcast app, drop a review so we know how we’re doing, and feel free contact us via email at geektogeekcast@gmail.com or @geektogeekcast on Twitter with any comments, questions, or suggestions for the show. Thanks for listening, and we can’t wait to hear from you!

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Sep 30, 2016

Modern Board Games

We talk about the resurgence of board games. And not like Monopoly, Scrabble, or Clue. We’re talking the genre of Modern Board games that has exploded lately, beginning with Settlers of Catan, Carcassonne, and Dominion.

Beej isn’t much a board game player--he prefers simpler “party games.” However, Void has an entire cabinet dedicated to them, and we talk about how he got into them initially (hint: it was a co-worker who made him play Citadels over his lunch hour 5 years ago.)

(We go into much more depth in the episode than I am in the notes, but for the sake of brevity, I’ll just break them down by how we categorized them in the episode.)

Good games to start with for newbies to the modern board game scene:

  • Citadels
  • Ticket to Ride
  • Pandemic

Beej’s big question is this: “What are good two player games that my wife and I can play together (and we are picky about board games) that can be expanded to multiple people when we have a party?”

Good 2 player games are:

  • Love Letter
  • Condottiere
  • Timeline
  • Push Fight
  • Zombie Dice
  • Memoir 44
  • Pandemic

Games from Void’s collection Beej wants to know more about:

  • Wiz-War
  • Mage Knight
  • Exploding Kittens
  • Takenoko

Cool / Big modern board games

  • Mage Knight (super interesting, super complex)
  • Game of Thrones Board Game
  • Memoir 44
  • Cosmic Encounter
  • Star Wars: X-Wing Miniatures game, Armada, Imperial Assault

Good games to start a game night with:

  • Love Letter
  • Zombie Dice
  • Push Fight
  • Sushi Go!
  • Timeline

Not quite a board game, but similar! Intro to LCGs:

  • Game of Thrones
  • Netrunner
  • Lord of the Rings

Games that get the most table time at Void’s house:

  • Ticket to Ride
  • Pandemic
  • Push Fight

Co-op games can be amazing with kids. You can even turn games into co-op even if the designers didn’t make them that way. We talk about Takenoko in particular, as well as Pandemic.

Void is a little nuts for Pandemic Legacy. It’s the board game y’all are going to hear about as much as Hamilton and Firewatch. Apparently, it’s just crazy good, and Void is losing his mind for it. Some of the highlights include:

  • Legacy Game, meaning you can only play through it once, but it’s like a video game in that you continue the story, even permanently altering the board to progress the story and change mechanics.
  • Just an amazing experience unlike anything Void has played before
  • There are huge surprises in the boxes you open during gameplay.

Hardest part is that we’re getting to the point where there are so many modern board games, it’s hard to give general recommendations. You wouldn’t recommend Halo to anyone getting into video games, would you? It’s just as hard to give out a broad general recommendation in board games But, if you know one or two you like I can steer you in the right direction. Hit us up on Twitter or the new subreddit.

For more info check out Shut Up and Sit Down. They have a site, a podcast, video reviews, video rules explanations, written reviews, board games news

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Sep 23, 2016

Massively Multiplayer Online Games

In this episode:

  • Our history with MMOs! And y’all, we have some history.
  • We both game to MMOs early in our lives (hooray for the late 90s!). Beej and his friends Ultima Online, while Void was on the other side of the coin and was an EverQuest guy. Despite our differences in early preferences, we are pretty much in the same place with MMOs today--we love the genre and want it to evolve rather than stagnate.
  • The modern era of MMOs can’t escape the shadow of World of Warcraft. It defined the current genre, and again, we both are coming from opposite perspective--Beej from a raider’s perspective and Void from a solo player’s. We talk about the awesome things the game did, and the consequences of it being so popular for so long.
  • Void talks specifically about EVE Online and why it’s kind of a unicorn in the MMOverse. From a single server to an entirely run player economy, we discuss the systems that made us want to play EVE but in reality keep us away.
  • We talk about MMO nostalgia for the games we used to love and how the games may not be the same if we go back and play them today.
  • Where is the MMO genre going and where do we want it to go? From cross-genre games like Destiny that use MMO elements as core gameplay to virtual reality, we talk about what’s going on right now with MMOs and what we can’t wait to see.

 

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Sep 16, 2016

The Final Fantasy Series, Part 3

In this episode:

  • Our very first listener-feedback episode! We asked you all for questions related to Final Fantasy, and y’all did not disappoint! We got so many good questions that we had to dedicate the ENTIRE EPISODE to this Q&A. Rather than spoil the goodness for you, just hit the play button and hear us talk at ya!
  • Additionally, we’re looking for ways to shake up the format of the show, and given that this week is all about listener feedback, we want you to shoot us a line and tell us what you want.
  • What topics do you guys want to hear more about? There’s a high probability of us doing a Squaresoft games podcast, and if you want us to dive deeper into any particular Final Fantasy game(s), let us know which!
  • We’re also thinking about doing a game club. Not a game of the month sort of thing; we would take it slower than that. We are open to any games, but prefer ones that are more accessible to more people (think titles that have been out for longer times and available on multiple platforms. FF games are a possibility, as are titles such as 80 Days and Lifeline). Let us know!
  • Also, would you fine folks be interested in a Twitter chat? A scheduled, hour-long, topic-based talk among our awesome community (read: y’all). Would you want to #geektogeek together?

Weekly Geekery

Be sure to subscribe to the Geek to Geek Podcast your favorite podcast app, drop a review so we know how we’re doing, and feel free contact us via email at geektogeekcast@gmail.com or @geektogeekcast on Twitter with any comments, questions, or suggestions for the show. Thanks for listening, and we can’t wait to hear from you!

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Sep 9, 2016

The Final Fantasy Series, Part 2

In this episode:

  • The Final Fantasy series has lots of sequels and spinoffs that aren’t part of the mainline, numbered series. There are some sequels, some movies, and some mashups like Kingdom Hearts that just take the FF characters and give them a new world to explore together. Some are good and some (like the new Justice Monsters 5) are total garbage. But which are which? (Hint: The new Kingsglaive movie is awesome.)
  • We discuss our thoughts on Final Fantasy MMOs, and the gist of it is that both of us wish they had called them Final Fantasy Online instead of mainline numbered games. We have played both FFXI and FFXIV, and XIV felt more like a Final Fantasy game, even though it being an MMORPG made it so that the story couldn’t be anywhere near as compelling as the single-player installments.
  • Do the old-school Final Fantasy games (I-VI) hold up to modern standards? Some of them really do! But which ones? Bwahahahah, listen to find out!
  • We both love love love the remasters and re-releases of the series. More people get to play the amazing games on whatever system they want, either on a new console like the Playstation Vita, iOS or Android, or even PC through services like Steam. Plus, we’re fans of all the HD textures and new sprites/animations. It’s a win-win for us (and for you folks who’ve never played them before!)
  • Our Least Favorite Final Fantasy? III all the way. Not the Final Fantasy III that was released on the SNES (that was actually VI, but III with the poorly paced story, the crippled job system, and the terrible player messaging that kept you unable to progress. Avoid it at all costs (unless you’re a completionist like Void)
  • Our Favorite Final Fantasy, though? IX all the way. But we also have fondness for VIII for the best opening scene of any FF (link below) and V because it wasn’t translated into English for so long that it took effort and dedication to play.
  • Favorite Villain for us? This is a tough one. You’ll hear about it when you listen! But just so you know...Exdeath from FFV, well, he’s a tree. For serious.
  • Favorite characters? Again, a totally tough question, but it has changed over the years. Vivi is a constant from FFIX, but there are others we talk about, too.
  • Favorite Scenes? The opera FFVI ‘Maria and Draco’ (Aria di Mezzo Carattere), The Ending to FFIX when Garnet is Queen and they do “I Want to Be Your Canary” again and then Zidane and Garnet are reunited, and The Opening to FFVIII (Liberi Fatali).
  • Where is the best place to start for newbies to FF series? (asked by @chrisevans17 and @DestenLee on Twitter). Probably FFX for the overall experience, but we go into lots of others for various reasons, all depending on your tastes in gaming. But the biggest surprise? Not Final Fantasy VII. Never FFVII first. And we’ll tell you why.

Weekly Geekery

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Sep 2, 2016

The Final Fantasy Series, Part 1

In this episode:

  • Our history with Final Fantasy!
  • Beej actually started with FF1, but was so young that he didn’t understand much of what he was doing. He played IV and VI (II and III to you 90s-kid Americans out there) from the video store over and over and over and over again.
  • Void was the opposite side of the Final Fantasy-loving 90s kid, and he started the series with FFVII which brought him into the broad, magical world of jRPGs, summon magic, and random encounters. He, though, went hardcore and did a full mainline Final Fantasy playthrough--going from FF1 to FFXIV in order.
  • Speaking of, we go through the entire Final Fantasy series, giving you listeners a survey of the highpoints regarding each one.
    • FFI - pick a party of classes and level them up
    • FFII - the more you use a skill the more it levels up (skills level up individually)
    • FFIII - first job system
    • FFIV - first real narrative with jobs uniquely tied to characters for the first time
    • FFV - first in-depth job system
    • FFVI - first in-depth, truly mature story / first extra characters you can miss / semi-open approach to world 2
    • FFVII - genre defining for 3D jRPGs. It was 3D! The game where cutscenes began to blow us away
    • FFVIII - Junction system, which is very controversial and breakable
    • FFIX - Throwback to high fantasy of FFI-FFV (Look at these hi-res images of this game. They’re so pretty!)
    • FFX - First PS2 game.  Graphics were amazing. First FF with voice acting, if you can call it that (haha!)
    • FFXI - First MMO FF (definitely not a single player game. It had a huge emphasis on being part of a group.)
    • FFXII - Feels like a single player MMO.  Gambit system.  Vaan (and Penelo) are not the protagonists of the story despite being the main characters.  Basch and Ashe are. Same world as Tactics (Ivalice), only one that is set in another one, right?
    • FFXIII - Super linear.  Amazing visuals again.  This is where the series started to lose hardcore fans.  Made 2 more follow up spin off games.
    • FFXIV - Second MMO Final Fantasy.  Really good FF.  True to the series roots. Can be played pretty much as a single-player FF game if you want it to be, but the story isn’t as in-depth and intricate.
  • We want to hear from you! Send us your questions and thoughts on the series!

Weekly Geekery

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Aug 26, 2016

Hype and Media Coverage

In this episode:

 

  • In the wake of No Man's Sky, we're talking about pre-release hype and gaming media in general.
  • Hype generally makes us avoid games because so much of the pre-release media is blown out of proportion. Expectations can be raised that aren’t met very often. But we do love being a part of the discussion after a game is released.
  • When we were younger, however, we both used to get super excited and consume all pre-release media as a kid. Gaming magazines were a much different hype machine than the current state of the internet and social media.
  • When do we pay attention to pre release media and when do we go on media blackout? Basically, if we are interested in a game, we will consume all the pre-release media until we decide if we'll buy it. Then totally tune out the rest. If there is a game we somehow miss (such as Stardrew Valley), we listen to trusted friends and gauge our purchases on their opinions.
  • We also talk about what games lived up to the hype, as well as which ones gloriously failed to. But you’ll have to listen to hear which is which! (I know, mean, right?)

Weekly Geekery

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Aug 19, 2016

No Man’s Sky

In this episode:

  • No Man's Sky is out! And we’ve played a bunch! We were both excited for the game, but avoided a lot of hype and details being released because we wanted to experience the game for ourselves. That said, we have mixed feelings about the game.
  • The first 10-15 hours of the game are brilliant. The first time you see a new element of the game, it is breathtaking and truly a unique gaming experience. It takes about 15 hours of playtime to start to see the limits of the procedural generation, which takes some of the wonder away.
  • The game is basically a survival and gathering game more than exploration. You gather resources, craft upgrades for either yourself or your spaceship, travel to a new planet/solar system, and repeat the process. Inventory management is a big part of the game, which was a letdown for us, but that didn’t take away from the wonder we felt at discovering new aspects of the universe.
  • Our favorite things? Glad you asked! Aliens! Ruins! Leaving a planet and seeing space gradually appear is amazing, and coming in from orbit and seeing the entire planet take up more and more of your view is equally astonishing.
  • It's basically a single player game, and we love that. Multiplayer would be awesome in some regards, but the idea of being alone in this vast, uncharted universe is too appealing to want to share it. The online community for the game is growing, but we are glad that it’s an experience, more than a game at this point.
  • Ps4 vs PC  (controller vs keyboard and mouse). The PC controls seem to be more intuitive than gamepad because of the virtual mouse you have to control with an analog stick on PS4, but the tradeoff is being able to lounge on your couch and explore a new universe. So it’s kind of a tie.
  • Unlimited exploration actually takes the pressure off for completionism. You can't complete the Galaxy, unlike most open world games. Your first landing on a new planet is always super cool. The unknown is fun, and that’s the best part about the game. They got the feeling of discovery down. The problems come in that there are always colonies and structures scattered on the planets, which even makes the idea of “discovery” feel iffy. We would prefer totally barren planets that we could be 100% alone on.
  • Also, you can’t name your ship. Seriously. Patch this in. Patch. This. In. Do you hear us, developers? Patch. This. In. Now. KTHX.
  • In the end, it’s a strangely compelling game that neither of us actually can say if it’s fun. But it’s an experience that we’re happy to have had, and we intend to keep on playing it. Sometimes, games can be about the experience and not about winning. And that’s kind of what No Man’s Sky is about. Or could be, given a few polish patches.
  • So who’s it for? Well, it’s an indie game that was marketed like a Triple-A title, and somehow, that makes it fall between the two markets and be slightly disappointing. It’s  kind of slow if it's the only thing you're doing, so it goes great with audiobooks and podcasts or riding the exercise bike over the winter. If you’re a space junkie, grab this game now. If you like crafting and survival games, pick it up. And if you’re just curious and want to see what the game has to offer? Wait until it’s $30. It would have been a stellar game at $30, but at Triple-A $60, there are just too many nits to be picked. When it’s either cheaper or patched up, that’s when the game will really hit its stride and find its audience.

Weekly Geekery

Beej - New 3DS XL / Xenosaga Chronicles 3D

Void - One Night in Karazhan / Reigns

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Aug 12, 2016

Geeky Exercise Habits Are Geeky!

In this episode:

  • Just because we’re geeks doesn’t mean we don’t (or can’t) care about exercise. Both of us make time in our days to take care of ourselves. We make sure, however, that we still get in plenty of geekery while we’re out pounding the pavement.
  • Running is both of our primary exercise. We were late-comers to the sport, and neither of us ever really thought it was something for us. But as post-college adults, something clicked, and we fell into step with running. (Pun totally intended, y’all.)
  • Interestingly enough, we also both suffer from asthma. Void’s is allergy-induced, while Beej’s is exercise-induced. Both of us have to train differently than non-asthmatics, and it took a while for us both to become comfortable with that. In the end, we realized that being healthy and fit is a personal issue that concerns only us, and we learned how to stop comparing ourselves to others--but it wasn’t an immediate thing!
  • Running and exercise sessions are prime time for listening to podcasts, audiobooks, Hamilton (or other music, but why would you?), or even a geeky app like Zombies Run!
  • We both also use stationary bikes when it’s too cold to run, and have it set up so that we can play video games and watch TV while doing so. It keeps us caught up on our geekery while making sure that we don’t pack on too much winter weight.

Weekly Geekery

Beej - Olympics / FFVI on iOS

  • Touch controls have improved since I played it initially. Love the remastered graphics. I really want to grab a gamepad for my iPhone to turn it into a handheld. PLUS! I realized why I hate mobile games--notifications still come through, distracting me and ruining immersion.

Void - Olympics / Fire Emblem Fates Revelations

  • Feels like the “true” campaign but definitely need the other campaigns finished first.  Tons of characters and crossovers and can almost make your own fan fiction relationships between characters.  Noticing reused maps but in interesting ways.

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Aug 5, 2016

Gaming for Non-Gamers

In this episode:

  • After getting a question from a listener about how to get their spouse to play games, it got us thinking. There are a whole lot of people out there who don’t consider themselves gamers. But almost everyone plays games thanks to smartphones.
  • So why don’t they identify as gamers? Is it because they were never introduced to them? Is is a negative cultural stereotype?
  • One of the biggest hurdles is simply the controller.  The number of buttons and the layout are super intimidating. Our suggestion is to introduce people to smartphone games because the interface is something almost everyone is used to already. Mobile games get around the controller issue.
  • Find a gameplay mechanic or IP that interests you or the person who you want to introduce to gaming. Do they love Star Wars? Then maybe Star Wars: Angry Birds is the way to go. Do they like puzzle games? Try Two Dots or Candy Crush (seriously!). Do you enjoy strategic thinking? Well, Hero Academy and Bloon Tower Defense are perfect.
  • One of our highest recommendations, however, is to try to introduce people to gaming using narrative games. Even if they’re not playing and just watching, they can see what games are capable of. Anything by Telltale games would be wonderful to start with, as would Firewatch, Bioshock, or The Last of Us. Even open-world games like GTA can help people see the immersion possible in video games.
  • The one thing we get asked a lot is “How do I get my spouse to play games?” Our answer might surprise you. “Maybe you don’t?” Having separate hobbies can be a good thing, and if you can talk and listen about what each of you loves, it’s okay that your spouse isn’t a gamer.
  • Void’s wife is a hardcore knitter, and he has maybe done 10 stitches in his life. But he still cares, listens, and understands when she talks about what she loves. While he isn’t going to be using the awesome new yarn or pattern, he can appreciate that it means something for her. The same goes for Beej’s wife. She is a woodworker, and while Beej wouldn’t trust himself anywhere near a tablesaw, he loves seeing the excitement on his wife’s face when she finds a new kind of wood with a particularly beautiful grain.
  • Not everyone has to love the same stuff, but we should be respectful of other people’s interests.
  • However, we do There are good on-ramp games like 80 Days on iOS/Android/PC and pretty much any Mario Kart game ever. If you want to give gaming a shot to see what modern gaming can do, we don’t think you can go wrong with those titles.

Weekly Geekery

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Jul 29, 2016

Star Trek Beyond

In this episode:

  • Void and Beej discuss their lifelong histories with the Star Trek franchise. Beej was introduced to The Original Series by his father when he was a wee tot, and Void found The Next Generation in syndication, eventually coming to Voyage with his family.
  • Both guys are big fans of the Abrams reboots, and can appreciate how the TV and film franchises are split between the Prime universe and the Kelvin universe. That way both purists are happy, and so are mainstream fans.
  • Regarding Star Trek Beyond, there are lots of spoilers in this cast, but we do tell listeners when they start. You can be sure that the first third to half of the show are spoiler-free, and then we dig in on the new movie.
  • Overall impressions: Star Trek Beyond are beyond positive (heh heh, get it?), and we think the series has hit its stride. We had our origin for the universe in 2009, and Into Darkness was a decent rehash of Wrath of Khan that established this new timeline, and Beyond takes this series into new territory, even beginning 3 years after the last movie ended so as to not overlap with any of The Original Series’ storylines. It’s a full-fledged Star Trek adventure, and while it’s not perfect, it’s fun, and we can’t wait to see it again.

Weekly Geekery

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Jul 22, 2016

JRPGs

In this episode:

  • It’s #JRPGJuly, and you guys know by now that we are both huge fans of roleplaying games! But more than just any RPG, we adore JRPGs. In this episode, we discuss our history of why we prefer the unique genre to the more traditional Western RPG.
  • We discuss what a JRPG is (literally “Japanese Roleplaying Game”)
  • Common mechanics
    • Turn based battles
    • Leveling and gearing up
    • Being able to “grind” your way to the next part of the game
    • Typically have a Japanese story translated, not a western story from our culture.
    • Pre-made characters and narrative vs Character creator/player choice (think Fallout/Skyrim)
  • Both of us cut our teeth on the genre with early Final Fantasy games, Pokemon games, and Super Mario RPG: Legend of the Seven Stars on SNES.
  • Additionally, we discuss our current favorites, the standouts from the past we just can’t get go of, and the ones we are most looking forward to in the future!
  • We even go on tangents about how JRPGs influenced our belief systems and personal philosophies! How’s that for geeky?
  • Plus, we talk about two upcoming spiritual successors to Chrono Trigger, and Beej gets so excited he preorders one of them while still recording.
  • Weekly Geekery

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Jul 15, 2016

Pokemon GO!

In this episode:

  • Pokemon Go launched this week, and like everyone else in the world, we  went crazy for it. However, despite our nerdlove for the app, there is a decided lack of documentation and tutorials, so we want to help other people make sense of what we’ve learned this week.
  • We discuss how the game works
    • How do to use pokestops and why you need them
    • How to fight/train in gyms and the rules for it
      • You can fight alongside other players on your team at the same time!
    • What does battery-saver mode actually do?
    • What good is evolving and how does transferring work?
    • Why are there so many Pidgeys?
  • We also take on the role of armchair developers and discuss what we think will make the app much more robust and likely to keep our attention.
    • Quests or a small storyline
    • Real documentation
    • Friends lists
    • Pokemon trading
    • Friend battles
    • Background mode!
    • Public events and legendary Pokemon hunts!
  • Weekly Geekery

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Jul 8, 2016

Playing Games the Way You Want

In this episode:

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Jul 1, 2016

Best of the First Half of 2016

In this episode:

  • We discuss the top picks across all media that really stood out to us. We want to make sure that the truly phenomenal work that impressed us this year doesn’t go unnoticed by you folks.
  • We break down the topics into categories like movies, books, tv, comics, and games. Not all of the stuff we talk about is necessarily released in 2016, but it was new to us in 2016, which is way better than the stuff going unnoticed at all, right?
  • Void’s Top Picks
    • Musical
      • Hamilton
    • Movies
      • Captain America: Civil War
      • Star Wars The Force Awakens
    • TV
      • Game of Thrones Season 6
      • Star Wars Rebels Season 2
      • Daredevil Season 2
      • Final Season of Mythbusters
    • Comics
      • Rat Queens
    • Board Games
      • Pandemic Legacy
    • Video Games
      • Audioshield and Holopoint for Vive
      • Hearthstone’s Single-player Adventures
      • Overwatch
      • Stardew Valley
      • Steamworld Heist
      • Fire Emblem Fates: Birthright / Conquest
      • Persona 4 Golden
      • Firewatch
  • Beej’s Top Picks
    • Musical
      • Hamilton
    • Movies
      • Star Wars: The Force Awakens
      • Zootopia
    • TV
      • Fuller House
    • Books
      • Homeland by Cory Doctorow
    • Comics
      • Ms. Marvel
    • Video Games
      • Disney Infinity
      • Elder Scrolls Online
      • Marvel Heroes 2016
      • Overwatch
      • Firewatch
      • Stardew Valley
  • Weekly Geekery
  • And don’t miss this week’s GEEK OUT episode with Beej and Kenny from Dumbbells and Dragons, where they talk about Pokemon Go. We’re still not sure if he’s supposed to give out the details yet, but he sure does!

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Jun 29, 2016

Pokemon Go with Dumbbells and Dragons

  • Kenny from the Dumbbells and Dragons podcast joins Beej in a special GEEK OUT show.
  • Turns out, Beej and Kenny are kindred spirits--nerds who really love health and fitness. They talk running and Marvel comics, as well as lifting.
  • The main topic, though, is Pokemon Go, Nintendo’s upcoming mobile app.
  • Kenny is a field tester for the app in Los Angeles. He spills all kinds of details to Beej.
  • Apparently, the game is incredibly addictive, but lacks documentation at this point. With it being so close to release, that's scary.
  • Battling only happens against other players, and once a Pokemon faints, you have to go out into the world to find a revive--you can't buy them!
  • Being a fitness guy, Kenny fits right in with the app. He's always moving, so he has a lot of chances to catch ‘em all. (They did program in a way to avoid people catching Pokemon while driving.)

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Jun 24, 2016

The Marvel Cinematic Universe

In this episode:

  • The Marvel Cinematic Universe (MCU) is one of the biggest franchises in movie history. We love it. Love it love it love it. Beej and Void discuss everything from what works in the MCU (and why), their favorite properties and recommendations, and which TV shows or movies, they’d be fine with never seeing again--or at all.
  • But a decade ago, we weren’t all enamored with it (yet). Lots of people had no idea who Iron Man was, and comics fans like Beej wondered why they would bring their B-team to the screen. Comics dabblers like Void weren’t excited because of the lackluster comics movies like Daredevil and X3.
  • If you haven’t seen Jessica Jones on Netflix, go binge watch it. We’ll wait. It’s worth watching even if you’re not into the MCU at all. It’s not a typical superhero show in the same way Battlestar Galactica isn’t a typical science-fiction show. Sure, there are people with superpowers, but they are background to the personal story being told. Just like how the Cylons are there, but the real story being told is about the people you care about.
  • We discuss the freedom that Netflix allows the MCU creators over major networks like ABC, and how that’s a double-edged sword. On one hand, you get Jessica Jones, but that came after they went too far into hyperviolence in Daredevil Season 1. We expect the rest of the Netflix-originals to be more in line with DDS2 and JJ, while Agents of Shield and the now-cancelled Agent Carter struggle to maintain viewers for various reasons (not that they’re bad shows).
  • Excited to see more non-origin stories being told. Jessica Jones, Luke Cage, Spiderman Homecoming, Black Panther should all deal with existing superheroes, rather than origins, which opens up engaging storytelling avenues.
  • We want Captain Marvel to hurry up and get released so we can get a Ms. Marvel movie. We want Kamala Khan. Plz and thx.

Weekly Geekery

 

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