TVG: 2.24 – Metroid

Sketches of Samus Aran

With Metroid Dread’s release, it was inevitable that we took some time to discuss one of our favourite properties from the greaties. While Steve’s initial reaction to the nine minutes that he’s played of the latest Switch title is cold, the fact remains that Metroid is a franchise that we’ve both loved since playing it on the original Nintendo Entertainment System.

If you are looking for a good Metroid game, Steve’s ranking on the Franchise is as follows:

1. Metroid: Samus Returns (3DS)
2. Super Metroid (SNES)
3. Metroid II: Return of Samus (Gameboy)
4. Metroid: Zero Mission (GBA)
5. Metroid (NES)
6. Metroid Fusion (GBA)
7. Metroid Prime

All of the above get a bit of discussion in today’s episode of The Vagabond Gamecast.

The Vagabond Gamecast
The Vagabond Gamecast
TVG: 2.24 - Metroid
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TVG: 2.23 – A Pandemic

I don’t know if you’ve heard… but apparently in 2019 there was some sort of virus that began to spread around. It’s changed a few things in how people live their lives. It’s changed a few things in how we live our lives.

Now, we’re lucky in that our lives haven’t been drastically affected. As two chaps who have the ability to work from home, we’re able to continue our jobs with minimal disruption. But nonetheless, life is different.  In this episode we’ve decided to take a bit of time to discuss how things have changed for us.

The Vagabond Gamecast
The Vagabond Gamecast
TVG: 2.23 - A Pandemic
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TVG: 2.22 – Magic: The Gathering

This time around, the duo dives into a topic they haven’t spent too much time on: tabletop games! …and specifically the rather influential Magic: The Gathering. Matt is an on-again off-again “huge fan” (well, huge during the on-again times), and it ends up Stephen has had some good times with it too.

We deep dive on what we like and don’t like, both from a game development point of view as well as from a business and marketing perspective. Whether you are a huge magic fan yourself or just think it’s the geekiest thing on earth, come hear us share our thoughts.

The Vagabond Gamecast
The Vagabond Gamecast
TVG: 2.22 – Magic: The Gathering
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TVG: 2.21 – Symphony of The Night

After having a few technical difficulties with the attempt at extra audio in last week’s Castlevania: Bloodlines focused episode, we couldn’t leave well enough alone. We’re back with another Castlevania bonanza. This time with that 1997 PS1 classic: Symphony of The Night. We appear to have the workflow a little more figured out this time around when it comes to patching in some tunes so sit back, relax, and allow yourself absorb our fond recollections of a classic game which remains a favourite for both of us.

The Vagabond Gamecast
The Vagabond Gamecast
TVG: 2.21 – Symphony of The Night
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TVG: 2.20 – Castlevania Bloodlines (バンパイアキラー)

Matt’s been a bit of a rascal this week. He’s been staying up late, and consuming spiritual opium. Tisk tisk, Matt. Tisk tisk.

While our podcast kicks off on a bit of an aside on Video Games in China, the meaty center of this week’s audiophile unfriendly episode of The Vagabond Gamecast zones in on the Sega Genesis classic: Castlevania: Bloodlines (aka バンパイアキラー for those of you who may be dripping with curiosity over what they called this title in Japan).

Having both just completed our very first playthroughs of the game this week, we do a bit of a bookclub-like discussion and compare notes on what we loved (Michiru Yamane) and didn’t love with this game. Things we wish had been different (insert the VRC6 sound chip here), mostly revolved around the differences between the Japanese and North American versions of the game. Steve found it to be largely a grind due to the finite number of continues in North America, while Matt found it to be underwhelming due to the lowered difficulty of the levels (since when are the Japanese releases easier?).

Take a gander yourself at some of those version differences, while you spend some time with us and Castlevania Bloodlines.

The Vagabond Gamecast
The Vagabond Gamecast
TVG: 2.20 – Castlevania Bloodlines (バンパイアキラー)
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TVG: 2.19 – Side Projects

 
Steve and Matt are the type of blokes who really enjoy doing some creative endeavors on the side. Unfortunately, all this moving around and dealing with adult stuff, like keeping their children alive and remaining gainfully employed, tends to put a squeeze on free time and shake up the routine.
 
After some cheerful discussion about recent gaming activity and what motivates us to play games (or do anything really) we dig into the challenges we’ve faced with trying to make time for side projects and hobbies.
 
For anyone not in the know, Steve and Matt actually started a game company together eight-some years ago.  It was kind of exhilarating with many ups and downs as one would expect, but we ultimately succumbed to the difficulties of trying to maintain a day job and balance changing family needs. We are now in different and evolving circumstances, and with that experience under our belt we muse over how our things have continued to affect how we approach side projects and motivation.
 
The Vagabond Gamecast
The Vagabond Gamecast
TVG: 2.19 – Side Projects
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TVG: 2.18 – The Best Games (Sorted By Console) Pt. 6 – Pre 2000’s PC

OK, hear me out here… I get that the ongoing title of this series has been “Sorted By Console”… but let’s face it… computers are pretty great too. In last week’s episode we waxed poetic about what it was like in the latter part of the millennium once we had access to the internet… but you know… even before the internet, computers were pretty great. And so in today’s episode, we’re going to visit the joys of that period in computational recreation – the period where we grew accustomed to DOS and mice that would inevitably clog up with hair.  Some of our all-time favourites can be found deeper inside this written entry. Read More >

The Vagabond Gamecast
The Vagabond Gamecast
TVG: 2.18 – The Best Games (Sorted By Console) Pt. 6 – Pre 2000's PC
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TVG: 2.17 – Nascent Internet Days

Cranky and speeding towards the big 4-0 as we step along through the 2020s, I think most people our age that were hardcore geeks in their teens really miss those early days of the internet in some way or another. If they don’t, they missed out! Something about them were just different. Like, different in a way that’s undeniably inferior, but with a simple charm. Communities were more scattered and smaller, the world was a more anonymous place, and the marvel of this insane new technology entered our lives at the perfect budding curious age.

The early internet was a great outlet for our creative nerdy energies and in some ways shaped who we are today. Listen in to hear some nerdy stories from times long past (…last century dude!)

You might end up thanking your maker that you now live in an era where you can play AR games on a smartphone with your friends in different countries in real time instead of begging your parents not to make phone calls during your IRC gaming meetups.

The Vagabond Gamecast
The Vagabond Gamecast
TVG: 2.17 – Nascent Internet Days
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TVG: 2.16 – What Do We Like In Game Controllers

Man, those Nintendo 64 controllers were just the worst. Is there actually a following for those? Are there people out there that don’t think so? What percentage of them would you say haven’t actually broken and are still even usable, dear listeners? And what was with the wonky Dreamcast controller and its oddball shape and cord that connected from the bottom?

We could also spend an eternity talking about all the quirky oddball third party controllers out there.

So what are the best controllers? Is there an ultimate controller that will suit everyone for all needs? (Spoiler: not a chance)

One interesting thing about being an avid game fan over a multi-decade period is that you definitely get to experience a lot of controllers, even a lot of different designs for mainstream controllers. This week, the two vagabonds discuss the evolution of video game controllers and what we think are the best designs across the last four decades of gaming history. Have at you.

The Vagabond Gamecast
The Vagabond Gamecast
TVG: 2.16 – What Do We Like In Game Controllers
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TVG: 2.15 – Press Reset (Again)

Hello, our beloved listeners! It’s great getting the old podcasts up onto YouTube! One thing that we’ve always noticed, is that humans talk too slow. Whenever we listen to content, we tend to listen at 1.5x speed, so it’s nice from our perspective being able to easily do that. (You’ve always been able to on our website, but it’s not really a feature in iTunes.)

We’ve even been experimenting with speeding our content up by about 8% this season to help keep the pace a little better without speeding it up to the point where it would be difficult for someone who isn’t English as a first language.

Hopefully you’re appreciating it!

In this episode, we spend a little bit of time discussing our preferences for finishing games and not unlocking additional content. How do you feel when you play through games? Do you enjoy playing a 40 hour game, beating it, and then having more that unlocks? Or are you in the camp where you enjoy seeing the credits and then moving on? Or… hey, do you even play to the credits? Some people don’t!

We wrap up discussing gaming at around the 13:00 mark, and get into talking about chapters 4 and 5 of Jason Schreier‘s “Press Reset“.

The Vagabond Gamecast
The Vagabond Gamecast
TVG: 2.15 – Press Reset (Again)
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