Listen to This: Do You Ever Feel?


Just ownnnnnnnnnn the night

Like the Fouuuuuuuuuurth of July!


Edit: Ahhhhh, I have NO idea why I find this so funny to just randomly send you, bro. It’s like my Rick Roll I guess. I originally meant this as a very insider-y metajoke, but hey, I keep watching the video every time I see it, so I’m leaving it up. You’re welcome!

You Either Die Cool, or You Live Long Enough to See Yourself Become the Nerd

“God, I REALLY hope the Bat Signal doesn’t go off for the next, like, three hours.”

I’m a football fan. Haven’t always been, but for whatever reason it really started to light up my brain right around the time I went to college. It’s a violent, brutal game, sure, and I’d be lying if I said I didn’t feel at least a little morally compromised watching grown men throw their lives and futures into the wind all for the smallest possible glimpse of glory or, worse yet, because they don’t know what else to do with their lives. I can’t help it, though — football, at its finest, is a beautiful game to watch. It doesn’t take much effort to figure out most of America feels the same way.

Being this passionate about a thing — anything, really — lends itself to a lot of interesting side-effects. Chief among them in this case? Fantasy football. It’s a game where you select players in draft format and your “teams” play “games” against each other, and a “winner” is determined by whichever team’s “players” accumulate the most stats during the week.

Does this sound lame to you? If so, you’re not alone: a Google search for “fantasy football dungeons and dragons for jocks” yields just under 5,000 results as of this writing. It’s a common refrain from the nerd crowd, who are all-too eager to prove that they’re no different than the “jocks” who allegedly persecuted them back in their adolescent years.

But what irks me most is that this comparison is short-sighted at best and completely unfair at worst. Tempting though it may be to call fantasy sports a “nerd” activity, it’s mostly borne out of wishful thinking and hypersensitivity.

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Podcast Stuff…

Okay, so, the Podcast hasn’t been working since Dropbox has crappy restrictions on the amount of bandwidth a thing can use. Whatever…

We’ve been looking into a better delivery method that we can use, and we’ve decided YouTube is probably best. We already have a video for Episode 4 done, so that will be posted soon, with back episodes coming soon after.

Apologies for anyone who has missed out already, we appreciate your interest in the blog, and will get things in order sooner rather than later.

Dropping Design Skillz: Mighty No.9

Over the weekend, I finally received my Beta-key for Mighty No. 9: The Kickstarter darling headed by legendary game designer Keiji Inafune. As you’d expect, I punched that in that key and dove right in.

They provided backers of the project with an e-mail address to offer our player feedback, which I took advantage of they day after. I thoroughly enjoyed the demo level, but there was one particular aspect of the game I felt I needed to comment on: The Grading-System. Below is an excerpt from the feedback I sent the developers…

… After I beat the level, I notice I received a D grade for my total score. I don’t know if this is just me or not, but I absolutely hate Grading-Systems like this in video games. It builds an unwanted resentment between the player and the game, it’s the game telling the player that they’re not good enough. Players don’t expect to be perfect or even all that good the first time they play something, so why does the game seem to expect it? Again, it builds resentment, it can make a player think, “Well fine, then I won’t bother playing again,” or if they can’t seem to get a good grade no matter how hard they try… They give up. Not to mention if high grades are require to unlock something, that’s less content for them to enjoy.

A Better Option: You already have a metric to measure success: The Points System. Instead of offering a tiered letter grade system, what if all the points you collect get added to an aggregate score meter that unlocks things the more you play? This would let people enjoy their favorite levels over and over again, and challenge them to get higher scores on tougher levels. You could even use a multiplier system, the better you do, the more points you get. Plus, by having the game say something like “NEW HIGH SCORE” it makes the player feel more accomplished, instead of defeated because they only get a C rating. It makes the score-keeping feel more inviting and encouraging than judgmental; which I realize is the entire idea of a points system, but the way it’s portrayed to the player matters greatly.

I sincerely hope you take this feedback into consideration, I love the game and can’t wait to play the final release.

In my humble opinion, there are far, FAR better systems in games like No.9 to measure player success. Games are about Fun, not Grades.

Am I wrong? Am I right? What do you all think?

Listen to This: Portugal, You Are the Man!


A few months ago I went out to a local bar for a thing I never thought I’d go out for: music night. Ugh — is there anything worse than listening to whatever band happened to convince the bar owner to give them a night on stage? It’s like going to amateur hour at the comedy club, or even worse, going to amateur hour at the STRIP club — it’s a waste of a perfectly good cover charge, and neither one sufficiently arouses you to any sort of boner, so why bother?

This night was different, though: my friends were like “no but trust me, Kyle’s a cool guy, this will be fun.” I was super skeptical, if you can believe it. “Who’s Kyle?” I asked, clearly at least a little annoyed.

“I dunno, he’s the keyboardist for Portugal the Man or whatever.”

I’m not sure if you could have uttered a less impressive sentence at the time. I’m not super fond of live music what with my incredibly sensitive hearing (“and get off my lawn while you’re at it!”) — you might as well have been like “Candice Bergen is hosting a knitting convention!” or “we’re gonna go see Amy Sedaris read a David Sedaris book doing her ‘Amy Sedaris doing an impression of Amy Poehler’ voice!” Have I tortured the point enough yet? I wasn’t excited about going, is the point.

But look: I decided to keep an open mind about things and I tagged along. Lucky for me: it turns out Kyle (O’Quin, I would later learn [BTW, most Irish name ever?]) was a decent solo musician, yes…but as it turns out, his group is OUTSTANDING. This, my friends (aka brother), is the story of the first time I encountered Portugal the Man.

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Reality Fiction

Pic related.


It’s been a while since I’ve posted anything here, outside of obviously being included in the podcasts (more of those are on their way!)…but I was pretty bored this weekend and, motivated by my free time and by the extraordinarily funny Fantasy Fiction podcasts, I decided I’d try my hand at a short story.

The subject? Well it’s actually grounded in reality, if you can believe it: back in college, I had a boss who lost part of one arm in a work-related accident (at his old job, thankfully, not at the one we both did). He ended up getting a prosthetic with a hook attachment…but moreover, he was an…interesting guy, to say the least. So my story is about him. It’s called “Hooked.” At least, it is for now…maybe I’ll change it later. I don’t know. Anyway, enjoy!

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