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Let’s Talk About “Day One-itis & the Pre-Order Itch” with Fwends [Ep.004]

Episode 004: Day One-itis & the Pre-Order Itch where Rob & Shawn issue the edict: thou shall not pre-order games or buy on Day One… unless, ya know, you want to. Just do it for you and not because of an upsell or an ad. Well, this didn’t solve anything!

Leave a comment wherever you hear it and let us know what you think or what you’d like to hear us talk about next.

About Us and the Show
Age-old friend Rob and I haven’t recorded much together since the days of NfamousGamers back in 2009. The site is long gone now but our five episodes remain online, as does Rob’s guest spot on an early GameLuv PodShot episode.

That’s not to say we haven’t kept in touch. Across town and across the country we IM and chat pretty regularly but just finally decided to sync up in real-time to record a new (hopefully weekly) show. Based on Rob’s “Let’s Talk About it” videos, the new show will focus on a single topic each episode, frequently about gaming but anything is up for discussion. Right now you can find it on either of our YouTube channels (mine | his) but I’m going to eventually get it up on the podcast circuit so you can subscribe wherever you listen to shows.

Mastiff Games has a new Logo and Lineup coming

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Back in 2004 I had a little crush going for tiny third-party publisher, Mastiff Games. While NiS and Atlus scooped up Nippon Ichi’s premiere JRPGs like Disgaea and Phantom Brave, Mastiff brought over La Pucelle Tactics. I think I grabbed it at the time because it was only $20 and I probably assumed that any JRPG would only appreciate in value. I was wrong of course, it goes for about $8 Complete in Box these days, but I enjoyed it and kept my eye on Mastiff’s releases after that.

That same year they brought over Technic Beat, Arika’s oddball rhythm game that featured a bunch of music from Namco titles. I was in my hardcore rhythm game period so I happily grabbed it. Seeing Mastiff’s name next appear on the home version of Pump it Up, my absolute favorite dance game of all time, completely pushed me over the edge. I loved these guys!

Unfortunately, that’s also when things started to take a turn for the worse. Their output slowed down and the games they did release (like Gurumin on PSP) weren’t that exciting to me. By 2009 they had contracted the Wii Itch like so many other publishers anxious to capitalize on Nintendo’s unexpected hit console. They did a licensing deal with Remington and put out several hunting games and then spun that shooting gallery gameplay into the Reload and Heavy Fire franchises. Shortly after, their output slowed but they managed to eek by, porting Gurumin to PC and 3DS and hinting at their rhythm roots with Bandfuse, one of those games that hooks up to a real guitar.

Even though my admiration fell off pretty quickly I’ve kept a little flame burning for Mastiff all this time and it may soon be rekindled. The company announced new branding for their 15th anniversary and, most importantly, a “diverse new lineup of games”, according to president and CEO, Bill Swartz.

“Exactly fifteen years have passed since we founded Mastiff. It was fun then, and it’s still fun now”, declares Swartz. “While the fun has remained consistent, we’re marking our fifteenth year as a game publisher with a slate of exciting new games, a new attitude, and a brand-new logo to mark it all.”

The logo is here now — goodbye you lovably derpy old mastiff dog — but the games won’t be announced until this Fall. All I can say right now is that it better not be a “diverse new lineup” of hunting games. Bandfuse was a sign that there’s still love for rhythm gaming at the company and I hope they continue in that direction. More as I hear it.

This PlayStation 4 Theme sums up America’s Summer 2017

Ever since Sony added themes and avatars to the PlayStation 3 there has been a steady flood of hilarious, questionable, and downright litigious offerings. As someone who has been looking at the PlayStation Store almost every week for the last nine years I’ve seen it all: sports team themes, sleazy model themes, all manner of generic “abstract” themes, and questionable licensed themes.

The latest player in the game of prolific production has to be Top Rated. There isn’t a way to search by publisher on the PlayStation Store but I feel like the majority of offerings I’ve seen since the PlayStation 4 launched are from Top Rated. And one of their latest creations is a blissful amalgamation of America’s Summer 2017.

There’s a burger, there’s a red Solo cup, and there’s a hand that is endlessly spinning a USA fidget spinner. You can look upon it forever all day for only $2.99 which in some cases is more than the cost of an actual USA fidget spinner. The description is also pretty much perfect: O say can you see, by the dawn’s early light, what so proudly we hailed at the twilight’s last gleaming. Get yo fidget on.

Fidget on, you entrepreneurial content creators. Fidget on.

Let’s Talk About “That Three-Letter Word: DLC” with Fwends [Episode 003]

Episode 003: That Three-Letter Word: DLC where we discuss the differences in approaches to DLC (largely between Capcom and Namco) and try to think of ways to “balance the scale” and not be so sleazy to consumers.

Leave a comment wherever you hear it and let us know what you think or what you’d like to hear us talk about next.

About Us and the Show
Age-old friend Rob and I haven’t recorded much together since the days of NfamousGamers back in 2009. The site is long gone now but our five episodes remain online, as does Rob’s guest spot on an early GameLuv PodShot episode.

That’s not to say we haven’t kept in touch. Across town and across the country we IM and chat pretty regularly but just finally decided to sync up in real-time to record a new (hopefully weekly) show. Based on Rob’s “Let’s Talk About it” videos, the new show will focus on a single topic each episode, frequently about gaming but anything is up for discussion. Right now you can find it on either of our YouTube channels (mine | his) but I’m going to eventually get it up on the podcast circuit so you can subscribe wherever you listen to shows.

No Man’s Sky returns with the massive Atlas Rises free update

No Man's Sky returns with the massive Atlas Rises free update

I’ve gathered you all here today to say goodbye, my dear video games. From my hot summer friend Crossout to my latest acquaintance, Just Cause 3. We had some fun and I’ll take these memories with me back into the stars because the Atlas Rises update is out for No Man’s Sky and I’m pretty sure my life is now forfeit to it.

The update was preceded by the Waking Titan ARG (which I completely avoided, I hate ARGs) and from its hints and some data mining the fanbase had surmised that we’d finally be getting ancient portals to use as a kind of fast travel. Sure enough, the latest addition to the game’s Release Log includes these portals but the game has gotten so, SO much more.

The biggest headline-grabber has to be the long-awaited addition of multiplayer. Described as “very limited”, up to 16 players at a time can see one another as glowing orbs and communicate via proximity-based voice chat (on PlayStation and Steam, it’s a no-go for GOG players right now). The release log adds that it’s “an important first step into the world of synchronous co-op” so future updates may allow players to customize avatars, exchange gear, and probably dance.

The next biggest bullet point is story. “Thirty hours of new story content” fleshes out the lore that the Waking Titan ARG hinted at. The game so far has had several separate story threads told through hidden computer logs and ancient ruins as well as its mainline Atlas Path. All of these paths now have new chapters of middle-school-caliber poetry to read. More interestingly is a new “interdimensional race” of NPCs whose appearance revolves around the fragmenting of the game’s reality. Honestly, are they writing these major updates and regenerations of the universe algorithms into the storyline?

Of the remaining changes, the next most major ones revolve around flying. Chief among them is the much-demaned ability to fly closer to the ground. Previously there was this invisible wall that would keep you from swooping around among a planet’s terrain. It was disheartening (not to mention pretty unrealistic) but now you can disable the safeties and smash into canyon walls all you want! You can also use your freighter to navigate the universe and jump to new systems, space combat and enemy AI has been refined, you can now hail other spaceships and potentially avoid a fight, and you can deploy mid-atmosphere gas harvesters to gather crafting elements out of the sky.

No Man's Sky returns with the massive Atlas Rises free update

Less flashy, but literally game-changing updates include a more functional galactic map system for navigating the stars, a whole new planetary biome type, new ships and freighters, a rebalanced economy with new supply and demand systems, NPC guilds to rank up in, procedurally generated quests, gigantic crashed freighters that you can mine for resources, and seriously, there’s still more.

I’m not going to rewrite everything here, especially since I have yet to lay my own hands on it. I will be kicking up my stream game again if anyone wants to watch me stumble through all these additions. For now I’ll let the Release Log fill you in on the rest.