10/29/14: Infinite Bogey

This week, most of the guys are in Kaz’s Cleveland studio to talk games and post-apocalyptic basketball mascots. Kaz, Mike, Tom and Tony have all gotten their hands on the colorful, crude Sunset Overdrive and have much to say. Meanwhile, Justin takes a break from Smash and throws down in the original Bayonetta. Plus, Desert Golf, more Fantasia and a hint of Fantasy Life.

Episode 215: Beat the Crockledile

Anthropomorphic horror is unleashed! This week, Kaz plays Sonic Generations and the guys ponder what exactly the name of that damn crocodile was. Afterwards, he recounts his tale of the hacked Xbox account, full of international intrigue and chimney sweep accents. Justin experiences the barkest of days in Solatorobo and Tom collects every goddamned Riddler trophy in Arkham City. Speaking of which, tons of bat-spoilers at the end of the show, so have your finger on the pause button if you’re not quite done with that one yet. Plus, a tour of the booger factory, non-commital bro-jobs, more Kirby, grandmotherly gaming, our favorite hipster Zelda and drooling ears.

Relevant Links:

Gamespite on “The Laputa Effect”

The Rumble Reader Episode 11: Scalia Shakalaka

It takes a very special Supreme Court ruling to bring back our long dormant Reader, but Justin, Kaz and special law master Jeff Kramer are up to the task. Tune in to hear about Scalia beat-downs, Alito’s special Genesis 3D and Thomas’ crazy ramblings. Guaranteed to give you a “laughing episode” or two.

Relevant Links:

SCOTUSblog’s Analysis

The New York Times’ Take on Justice Yuks

We Also Have a “Duty” Now, Apparently

The Rumble Reader Episode 10: MOH Is Me

The wait is over – episode 10 of The Rumble Reader is here! Join Nick and Justin as they tackle NY Times writer Chris Suellentrop’s “War Games,” and discuss the impact of the current best-selling genre, militaristic first-person shooters. Can EA’s Medal of Honor reboot deliver on the unpublished promises of Konami’s Six Days in Fallujah? And if fake battlefields weren’t enough, they also take a look at Gamasutra writer Chris Morris’ take on the latest round of the EA-Activision war of words. Strap on your body armor and get those grenades ready – the Reader is going to war!

Related Links:

Chris Suellentrop’s “War Games”

Chris Morris’ “Why Activision & EA’s Feud Embarrasses The Game Industry”

The Rumble Reader Episode 9: Scottaholics Anonymous


“Scott Pilgrim vs. the World” releases nationally in theaters today, potentially turning the underground graphic novel series into a money-making franchise. But while the flashy fights and spirited cast may put butts in seats, it’s the heart at the center of Bryan Lee O’Malley’s work that will keep people talking. This week, Justin and Nick tackle the entire story, looking at it specifically through the gamer’s perspective. They discuss their favorite moments, the recent game tie-in and why Edgar Wright was the right man to direct the film adaptation. It’s time to level up and discover the power of love.

Relevant Links:

“Spaced” on Hulu

UGO’s SP Video Game References List

Boing Boing’s Yakuza 3 Review (from the Yakuza perspective)

The Rumble Reader Episode 8: The Games They Are a-Changin’

The guys have praised Tom Bissell’s “Extra Lives” in past episodes both for his insightful critique of gaming narratives and his witty, poignant writing. This week, Bissell joins Kaz and Justin to talk about how games like Far Cry 2 and Grand Theft Auto IV suggest that something is going on in the medium, and why what we play truly matters.

The Rumble Reader Episode 7: Strangers on a Raid

After Blizzard’s “Real ID” fiasco, Nick and Justin wouldn’t dream of asking you to give up your Rumble handle, but they can’t help wondering how a more open community might work. Luckily, a Gamasutra analysis serves as a worthy devil’s advocate. The guys also discuss 1up’s tribute to the ROM hacking underground and fan translations. Those English patches for old Super Famicom games are definitely appreciated, but how can future projects survive in a post-DRM era?

Relevant Links:

Kris Graft’s “Why Was Blizzard’s ‘Real ID’ Such an Issue?”

Bob Mackey’s “Found in Translation”

Tom Bissell’s “The Grammar of Fun”

The Rumble Reader Episode 6: What Would Yamauchi Do?

Though some gamers may not want to admit it, everyone loves Nintendo. As Justin, Nick and Tony point out, that’s never been more apparent, as both the company’s E3 press conference and new handheld generated lots of positive buzz a couple weeks ago. In this week’s reading assignment, “Nintendo Magic,” Japanese journalist Osamu Inoue examines how Nintendo reclaimed the industry spotlight, and how Satoru Iwata’s management style helped facilitate an internal shift.
Relevant Links:
“Iwata Asks” Interviews

The Rumble Reader Episode 5: God of Snore

Heroes like Kratos and Marcus Fenix have garnered a lot of attention in recent years, but this week, Justin and Nick chat with Christian Nutt, Gamasutra’s Features Director, about why he thinks these guys are just empty cranky-pants. Instead, the guys salute* games like Heavy Rain and Mother 3 that emphasize character depth and humanity. Nutt discusses how solid writing can go a long way towards creating a more believable, fleshed-out world. Perhaps we’ll see a shift at E3, just as long as the marketing muscle doesn’t get in the way.

*Also, their shorts, of course.

Relevant Links:

Christian Nutt’s “Characters. the Building Blocks of Your Reality”

The Rumble Reader Episode 4: Yippie Kai Yai What?

In an industry that often demands too much from its creators, we may need more than sheriff to keep everyone in line. As Justin and Nick explore the wilderness of Red Dead Redemption, an essay from above the 49th Parallel forces them to think about fair trade and that particular game’s stressful development. However, the crunch-time blues can work both ways, as they see in a blog entry from Raven’s Manveer Heir. In the second half of the show, Justin and Nick explore a 1up feature that asks why there aren’t more interactive Westerns. Should we heed the author’s Mad Dog decree?

Relevant Links:

Nels Anderson’s “Do We Need Fair Trade Games?”

Manveer Heir’s “Reflections of a Five Year Vet”

John Constantine’s “Manifest Destiny”

Your Next Reading Assignment: Nintendo Magic

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