On the Topic of Video Games: Episode 20 – Bring Seaman Back

Drewby gets through some Bioshock, I played some Gears of War: Judgement, and talk a little bit about speaking with one of my favorite games critics via an impromptu Twitch conversation. 

Michael = @michaelknipp or facebook.com/therealmichaelknipp
Drewby = @drewby132 or his Google+ profile HERE

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3 thoughts on “On the Topic of Video Games: Episode 20 – Bring Seaman Back”

  1. I’d be interested in hearing your thoughts on the new Colecovision and Intellivision Flashback consoles. I’ve not been able to dive into mine yet, but it would be cool to hear an analysis of this stuff, setting aside the cliche complaints of primitive graphics and focusing on gameplay and design.

    Per your NPR discussion, if you need an example of good radio, you need to listen NPR. Programs like RadioLab and Marketplace use music bed, natural sound and actuality-based narrative, and are by no means “dry” or 60 Minutes-like. Podcast folks sometimes forget that they owe their medium to radio production techniques, and there’s some great stuff to learn from there.

    1. Matt,

      I wasn’t aware of these flashback consoles until you mentioned them. I just looked them up and they look like something worth checking out to get some history. I haven’t really played any thing older than the NES, but have read about older consoles and think it would be very educational to see the way games evolved throughout the medium’s history. When I am able to have some more spare change I might end up picking one of these guys up. For a little bit I had the desire to pick up a Phillips CDi but that fell through. Maybe one of these would be a good alternative for a history lesson. Do you have a preference between the two?

      I willingly admit my ignorance on the matter of NPR programming. My view on the subject was unfounded. I downloaded an episode of both RadioLab and Marketplace and will give them a listen this week. I will probably end up talking about them to some degree during tonight’s episode of #hashtag. Thank you for your suggestion. I always desire to gain some knowledge in my fields of interest.

  2. They are a pretty good look at what we had back then. A cultural artifact, let’s say. We have to get you exposed to the retro-retro stuff, otherwise you’re like an English major who’s read Dickens and not Shakespeare.

    I’d side with the Intellivision unit, maybe because I had more exposure to it at its zenith. You have to appreciate that the technology is circa 1978. There’s stuff that appears for the first time on this console – specifically a controller with a numbered keypad. That alone enhances the depth of a lot of the games beyond a joystick/button or a paddle/button. The disc controllers themselves were a pain, and were probably an attempt to design around the common joystick form factor, but they were unique. The sports games were very playable and there were even some action/arcade titles that held their own. There’s not a lot of familiar titles here if you were an arcade game enthusiast in this era, but Mattel has some good stuff that looked (and sort-of played) like the popular stuff. Unfortunately, the 3rd party support was also limited. That’s not to say that it wasn’t superior to Mattel’s games, though. Both Imagic and Activision brought stuff the the table that was really outside of the box for the era.

    Colecovision is a half-generation beyond Intellivision. We start to see what the NES is going to be when the 3rd gen stuff comes along. The games are more sophisticated and make use of a similar keypad controller with the directional stick (more of a knob, really) above the keypad. I am not as sentimental about the CV, but some of the arcade ports are spot-on. The library for this console was pretty broad and innovative. Coleco was very aggressive in securing rights to arcade titles, and so they were often in a pitched battle with Atari to convince the public about the better-valued system. I’ll have to dig deeper into my CV Flashback to make a better assessment, but I’m happy to have paid only $40 for the diversion.

    As an aside, you might think the Sony vs. Microsoft or Sega vs. Nintendo battles were severe, but in those days, everyone was gunning for Atari. Maybe this was because Atari was suing other manufacturers over patents for everything.

    As for NPR, listen and learn. There’s some great stuff there. When I hear about an NPR-style video game show, I immediately imagine quality. The challenge will be not to go too “inside baseball” which I think was the downfall of the TechTV/G4 model on cable.

    Skilled professionals can make anything sound good on radio. A friend of mine in DC does NPR’s their alt-latino music stuff. His work is really interesting, and I always stop to listen to his stuff, and I’m not really a fan of latino music.

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