Episode 2: CRPGs, SHMUPS, Owning a Personal Computer, Girls and Games, Metroid Metal

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Matt Barton's picture

Armchair Arcade is proud to present the second episode of Armchair Arcade Radio. Hosted by Matt Barton, this episode features the music of Metroid Metal and segments from each member of Armchair Arcade: Mark Vergeer, Bill Loguidice, Christina Loguidice, and Chris Kennedy.

Episode Two 48K version
Episode Two 128K version

Topics and Approximate Times Below:

  • Matt Barton talks classic turn-based computer role-playing games and why nobody is making them anymore (00:02:43)
  • Mark Vergeer and everything you ever wanted to know about shoot'em up games (00:26:09)
  • Bill Loguidice talks about the history and reasons for owning a personal computer, starting from 1980 (00:51:05)
  • Christina Loguidice explains why more women and girls aren't interested in gaming (01:00:59)
  • Chris Kennedy interviews Grant Henry, Father Brain of Metroid Metal (01:10:50)

Links mentioned in this episode:
Metroid Metal
Band Camp - Metroid Metal
Stemage

The podcast is available in 48K and 128K formats. Don't forget to comment below on what you think of the episode. If you are not a member of AA, just use the Join/Contact Us button above to set up your account.

Click here for the Armchair Arcade Radio RSS feed or here for the show on iTunes.

Comments

Keith Burgun
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Joined: 09/06/2010
My feedback on the podcast

Firstly - Matt, your introductory piece on RPGs - I have never heard something on the internet that I agree with more. Does it drive you crazy to see nothing but 9.0+ ratings for a game like Oblivion, and people eating it up, either not knowing or having forgotten what a real CRPG feels like? Great stuff.

You say you don't like consoles, but I am sure you like *some* console games. You *must* like Super Mario Brothers. And Mystery Dungeon 2: Shiren the Wanderer. I will not accept anything but "Yes Keith, these two games are absolutely great exceptions!" =]

I'm one of those indies you talk about, by the way, who's going to make several turn based RPGS - here's hoping I can introduce a generation to it.

Tyler Long (not verified)
Feedback

I have to say, this podcast is one of the greatest I've ever listened to. Guys you all deserve a lot more credit than you get currently. Everything you guys cover is extremely interesting and definitely deserves a listen. Being someone who did not live through the early years of gaming and didn't really get much of a look at the history and all of these old game until recently, its just so great to get a look back at where all of the current gen things come from. I've surely gained a huge amount of respect both for the history and roots of games and all of your dedication to this history.

Seriously I think that there should be a lot more people paying attention to what your all doing. Matt is the only reason right now that I've gotten my hands on games like The Bards Tale, Heroes of Might and Magic, and Ultima. I never would have guess how much fun all of these games cold possibly be. Hearing all of the history from the rest of you is so great. I really can't wait to get my hands on Dungeons and Desktops and Vintage Games, and read even further into what it is you have to say.

I'll be waiting for more casts from you guys, and watching out on the site. Keep up the amazing work all of you. If any questions come to mind I'll hit you guys up.

Matt Barton
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Joined: 01/16/2006
That's a very noble goal,

That's a very noble goal, Keith! I think these new pads and tablets are the perfect sites for some low-budget turn-based games. The touch capability would be ideal for many of those games--could you imagine tapping each enemy you wanted struck by your chain lightning spells? Or multitap--hold one finger down on the guy you want to move, then tap on the hex you want him to move to (maybe you could even set waypoints).

There is just so much you could do with them, and the fact that they're not all tripped out with the latest 3D cards is great, too, since, as you say, expectations are a lot lower and you don't have to compete with million+ dollar projects.

As far not getting the credit we deserve, Tyler, well, the same can be said for the stuff we talk about. I often feel like a Commodore 64--pretty much totally ignored by the mainstream gaming press (even the "historical" articles). Whenever there's a "hot article" about classic games, you can bet it's going to exclude almost everything but Japanese console games, and even if it's on computers, you're damned lucky if it mentions anything earlier than DOS (and even then just an Apple II title or two). Many people consider anything before the PS1 to be unimportant and irrelevant. So, yeah, I'm not expecting to see the great masses of people here. Just the ones who are lucky enough to know about and cherish the under-appreciated games and gadgets that you and I know and love.

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Tyler Long
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Joined: 09/07/2010
Wow I really hadn't thought

Wow I really hadn't thought of it like that. Great way to figure it Matt. I suppose it is a shame that these times are looked over even with all of the great titles, but I suppose I was there to. Being only 16, I grew up with a sega and then a playstation. I never really knew about pc gaming, but once I started I couldn't stop. The first game that I really started gaining an interest in of the older titles was Fallout 2, and only after Fallout 3. I've continued to start playing so many classic titles, all the way back to bards tale. I guess it'll just be a truth to live with that these games don't gain the recognition.

I still hope to you guys gain a bit more of a following, because those times are real important, and with your help, some of those games and even the unsung heroes that developed them could gain just that much more of an ounce of recognition.

Steve M (not verified)
commentary which is read from script..

It's painfully obvious when someone reads verbatim from a written script. Lost is the passion and enthusiasm for the subject matter. I understand the podcast is for fun; a hobby of sorts - and there's no money involved, but the segments which were read, really dragged on. Might I suggest jotting down key words to keep you focused and use those to spur your thoughts, rather then reading from script.

All-in-all good show! enjoyed the production.. will listen again.

Matt Barton
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Thanks for your comments,

Thanks for your comments, Steve. We really appreciate the feedback!

The following is not to be taken as advice to AA folks but merely things I tell students about this topic.

One thing about reading from a script that many people don't realize is that it's exactly what actors do. :) The key, of course, is not to sound like you're reading from a script, but talk as you normally would. This might sound "fake" to you when you're doing it correctly, but you just have to get past that. The listeners will not notice anything unusual if you do it well.

Secondly, it helps if the script is written to be read aloud. Generally, that means shorter sentences, simpler wording, and lots of breaks for thought (putting a ... after a sentence to indicate a thoughtful pause is a good idea). It's also good to blow up the text and make sure it's big enough and double (or even triple) spaced so that you don't have to focus too hard to read it. Usually when I look at a piece of writing intended for a speech, it's far too complex for the purpose. It's important to keep in mind that listening is different than reading. We need to be able to get it at the first pass and even subtle repetition, and need lots of brief moments to collect our thoughts.

Example of improper text to be read aloud:

"Videogames are a culturally significant phenomena that have expanded enormously in recent years, shifting from a hobbyist endeavor to a multi-billion dollar industry that eclipses even the mighty Hollywood."

Better:

"Not so many years ago, videogames were made by hobbyists working out of their parents' garage. Now they're made by an industry that's bigger than Hollywood."

Sprinkling a little commentary and rhetoric is nice, too. The italics marks spots for a change in pitch and/or volume.

"Next time you're at your local game store, take a moment and think that not so long ago--say thirty years ago--almost all of this juggernaut of an industry was just a bunch of teenagers coding in their parents' basement. Now...Well, now it's bigger than Hollywood. And it's just getting bigger, and bigger, and bigger...Where will it stop? Where will it be thirty years from now?...I don't know about you...But I can't wait to find out."

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Steve M (not verified)
that's a good point Matt

And upon further reflection, it was indeed the script itself, the written words themselves, which sounded scripted. There was little inflection and minimal pauses of thought. That pause of thought is not only key for the listener to catch-up with what is being spoken, but also allows them to conjure up their own thoughts. We, as listeners, like to be challenged at times :)

Again, just some ideas to make this an even more enjoyable podcast..

Mark Vergeer
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Script and written language

Written language is something different than spoken language and a good script can compensate for that. In the last podcast I was using a script as well in the shape of my shmups article that can also be found on this site. I am not sure if I succeeded or not but I tried to rephrase things into a less formal speaking piece. You can use your voice and intonation to take away a lot of the formal language that is needed for structure.
What also helps is to speak in a bigger than life manner like you would do on a stage. Exaggertation is needed to bring things accross.

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Bill Loguidice
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Joined: 12/31/1969
Acting!
Mark Vergeer wrote:

Written language is something different than spoken language and a good script can compensate for that. In the last podcast I was using a script as well in the shape of my shmups article that can also be found on this site. I am not sure if I succeeded or not but I tried to rephrase things into a less formal speaking piece. You can use your voice and intonation to take away a lot of the formal language that is needed for structure.
What also helps is to speak in a bigger than life manner like you would do on a stage. Exaggertation is needed to bring things accross.

That's the key, really, learning how to act, in addition to simplifying the language a bit. I know I have lots of work to do in that area, but if I keep doing this and AA TV, I hope to improve to at least reasonable levels. Practice, practice, practice. It's amazing what one learns just by doing something regularly...

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Matt Barton
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Joined: 01/16/2006
I knew plenty of theater

I knew plenty of theater students in college, and would often ask them about what they were being taught. There are many schools of thought, but one thing I remember is the concept of being "in character." The idea was to try to imagine that you were the character, focusing on the personality more than the script. I know we're "playing ourselves," so to speak, but I also have invented a character that I step into for Matt Chat and a slightly different one for AAR. The Matt Chat character is fairly straightforward, with the occasional joke and love for the game, heavy metal, and profundity of a quote. I try to exaggerate how much he likes the games so it will interest viewers in what he's talking about (even if it's a game they've never heard of). One of the running gags or themes I've come up with is that whatever the game of the week is, it's the BEST game ever. The AAR Matt is more laid back and nostalgic, like an older man who is cynical about the future and who endlessly glorifies the past, asking lots of rhetorical questions and lamenting the current situation.

In short, it might be fun to think about some different persona for yourself, perhaps playing up certain aspects and downplaying others of your actual personality. One aspect I especially like is the smugness about having the right hardware for the job. I think you could turn that into a real schtick. "OH, I *could* be incredibly lame and play this in an emulator...But I think I'll play it on a REAL ATARI 7800" or whatever. :) It could also be fun to channel Jack Benny and in his huge vault, but your vault could be the game basement. I could see hamming that up with a fun echo effect you use when pretending to be down there, so it sounds like it's some huge cavern with millions of devices and even a sound effect of a crane or forklift to make it sound automated.

Just tossing out some random ideas here.

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