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Nerds Without Pants   

Nerds Without Pants Episode 1: Origin Stories

It's the All-New, All-Different podcast team!

Greetings, true believers! Welcome to the first episode of Nerds Without Pants. Do join us for some generally nerdy talk about games, movies, and comics...sans pants.

We kick things off with a quick discussion about what we've been up to since ending our run on PixlTalk, including Ghost Recon, Final Fantasy XI, The Amazing Spider-Man movie, and entirely too much talk about Spec Ops: The Line. If you listen carefully, you can catch a very rare Statham Sighting, as well. Julian asks the listeners for some help with his backlog. Check it out here, and let him know what you think he should play!

Then we move on to our special comic book themed topic, wherein we share with you our video game origin stories. We each talk about our earliest gaming memories, what game first made us realize that this was to become our hobby of choice, and why we still game today. We also wrap up each story with a comic book pick, just for you, and at no extra charge.

Patrick closes things out with a story about his recent trip to Europe, in typical metaphysical Patrick style. We're excited to have you on board for this new edition of our special kind of madness. A reboot, if you will. Let us know your gaming origin stories in the comments section, and come back in two weeks when we talk about all things sexual in gaming. It's sure to be saucy, and you definitely won't want your pants on for that episode.


Featured Music:

Nobuo Uematsu- Zanarkand

Danny Elfman-Theme From Batman: The Animated Series

John Williams-Main Theme (From Superman)

Smashing Pumpkins-The Beginning is the End is the Beginning




07/13/2012 at 05:04 PM

Excellent job sirs. I really enjoyed hearing the origin stories. It's such a good feeling when gamers get together and have a kind of catharsis or bonding through gaming origin stories, or just talking games in general like this. This was the best way to start the new NWP show.

The earliest gaming memories I have are from the mid 90s when I was around 7 or so. My sister and I got an NES for Christmas and I was the one that ended up playing it mostly. We would play Mario games, Dunk Hunt, Paper Boy, and stuff when everybody was together, but I preferred to play alone and see what kind of games I could do alone. Some of the earliest games I remember playing in my life were Astyanax, F-15 Strike Eagle, Ghosts'n Goblins, and a lot of Star Wars: The Empire Strikes Back.

I did a blog here a while back about how Ocarina of Time was the game that eventually got me into games as more than a toy. Ever since then I've been in love with games and I haven't strayed away from them yet in any way. I'm hellbent on being part of design team, so instead of straying away from games I've actually grown way closer to them over the years. There are a lot of great games out there to play, great games on the way, and I think a few designers these days have been doing some pretty cool things with both gameplay and narrative. There's so much more left to do in game design, and I'm wildly optimistic about gaming's future. I've been getting more inspired, more ambitious, and more anxious as time goes on. I think I want to do what Rob has been saying people should do during the future of gaming episodes. I want to take contemporary engines like UE, CryEngine, or Source and start out by building indie games that aren't just another pretentious cookie cutter 8-bit effort. I've never wanted to build 8-bit games anyways, I want something fresh and modern.

My origin story and my gaming life in general has been quite isolated and focused, like turtles evolving on the Galapegos Islands lol. I don't have many gaming friends anymore where I live, and I barely started interacting with gaming communities online in the past year when I joined 1UP and then Pixlbit. I honestly didn't even hear the phrase "JRPG" till a year ago and I've been playing games since I was 7. Growing up I sometimes played games with my cousins and a few close friends, but the majority of the time I spent alone. So I know how single player experiences work, what I love about them, and what I want to do with them.

The reason I continue to invest in this hobby and why it's my favorite is because, when you're designing games you can make your imagination tangible in a sense, and make it interactive. One of the things that inspired me the most as a kid was playing Zelda and realizing that Miyamoto was inspired to make Zelda games because of the times he spent running around the forests by his home in Japan. Miyamoto was able to put parts of his imagination into the real world, using video games as the medium, where complete strangers could explore it and have a magical adventure of their own. How is that not the most transcendent concept ever? It's not some fake kind of transcendence like taking hallucinogenic drugs and going on a spirit walk, or an imaginary electro-organic world like The Grid in Tron. Video games are the real thing, and the real medium in which you can make your imagination, dreams, and emotions into a place. And the experience you offer to those complete strangers might just inspire them to carry on the art form, carry on the skills, and create their own worlds.

I find it quite hard to be jaded about gaming and especially game design. I have nothing to complain about, but I have plenty to build. If I'm not happy with something somebody else has done, or if I'm not happy with something I've done, I need to build something better. I don't see myself ever quitting this hobby.

Julian Titus Senior Editor

07/13/2012 at 07:29 PM

Astynanax was one of the worst NES games I remember playing as a kid. I rented it and wanted my money back. I remember putting in a cheat code just so I could beat it and say I got my money's worth.

I have similar feelings about gaming growing up. I had friends that played games, but few of them were as passionate about it as I was, at least until high school. I was the leader of the nerds back then (oh, I guess I am now, too) and I remember in the months leading up to the N64 me and my friend Devon would always pass each other in the hallways and say "Mario 64 rules!". I had a lot of friends that were casual gamers, which was why I started writing PlayStation Revolution. Sidenote: I tried selling PSR at Gamefellas before I started working there. They didn't put it on the news stand, but I think it's one of the things that led to me getting a job there.

Patrick Kijek Contributing Writer

07/14/2012 at 12:53 AM

Nice tid bit on Miyamoto and Zelda (dare I say Link), there. Just got myself a hoodie with an emblem of the Triforce in the style of Rorshach, so you know I am a fan (if you didn't before this).


07/14/2012 at 03:37 PM

Astyanax was weird. It was super difficult for me to play, I kept having to start over, but the music was nice I guess. Ghosts'n Goblins was difficult too, but it was much more fun than Astyanax.

I really liked the shout out to Will Wright in the episode, I know where he's coming from and it's one of the reasons I like him so much. I often see everyday life like a video game because it makes things more interesting and puts things into a format I can understand much better. I know video games, I feel comfortable in video games with video game terms and structure. It's fun to look at errands and activities as quests and give yourself imaginary experience points for getting them done. It's especially helpful when I have to spend a day doing things I don't like or be around people I don't feel comfortable around.

When I'm in a video game I never just up and quit on a quest or give up. I grind, I search for loot, I try to get XP, level up, and find a way to finish the quest and get to the next one. So I try to apply that to real life situations and grind through crap so I can get it done and move on. Real life doesn't often give me the positive reinforcement and joy that video games give me. Nobody makes a fuss when you work out and get fit, have sex, work all day, pay a bill, acquire a meal so you can survive, acquire a shelter to avoid the elements, or acquire new loot like a new game, appliance, groceries, etc. Humans take everyday life for granted and kind of drone through it. So, it's fun to try and mesh the feel of an RPG together with it to make everyday life more interesting.

Going on errands for me can be an RPG, fixing the house or doing home improvement can be like Sim City or Minecraft. Getting into conversations with people can be like Mass Effect or Knights of the Old Republic. Whatever helps me get through the day and makes things more exciting.

Really complex RPGs in some cases are basically just extremely simplified real life simulations, with most of the variables removed and put into a fantasy setting. Real life itself is much more complex and unpredictable, so if you try to see it like an RPG, real life might be a little less confusing and taxing on your brain. If looking at life through that filter reduces your anxiety and stress, it could therefore increase survivability and quality of life while simulataneously exercising the imagination. That's probably why I do it.

Julian Titus Senior Editor

07/14/2012 at 10:01 PM

I tend to see things in daily life and try to see if I can come up with game mechanics around them. People scoff at the idea of "gameification", but I think there's a lot of possibility there. For example, I took photography in sophomore year of high school, and I've been passionate about it ever since. I took many amazing photographs of some incredibly gorgeous women over the years, and I've always wanted a photography video game. Not Pokemon Snap. I'm talking about a game where you have clients that want you to do jobs, and you need to have the right gear and lighting to do so. Things like that pop into my head on a regular basis.


07/15/2012 at 01:18 AM

That's an excellent idea Jules. Not only is gamification great but the photography game is great too. The crazy thing is that I took some photography in sophmore year too lol. I've never been good at it and I don't do it anymore, but I love seeing stuff that other people do. My dad works for the Kodak plant here in Colorado and he's been doing photography for a long time. He mostly does portraits and stuff though, he doesn't take cool pictures of nature or abstract things. And he's pretty raw, he doesn't edit photos or do much with them. My cousin Chrissy is really into photography too, she's better than Dad lol.

For your photography game, do you imagine it being open world? The gameworld is full of people who want you to take pictures and the engine works out an algorithm for randomly choosing a couple people at a time to ask you to do a job for them? You work jobs and there's an in-game economy so that you can gain currency and save up for lighting equipment, expensive cameras, etc. Maybe you could be a "starving artist" and have the option to work your way up, earn your currency, engage the economy, get loot, and complete the jobs? Some quests could involve getting a curator to give you some presentation space at an art gallery. You could have high school graduation quests, family portrait quests, landscapes, abstract, freelance work to do on your own, opportunity to do quests for free w/out charge and earn brownie points w/ customers so they will toss your name around to their friends. That would be an additional system to design, some kind of recognition system like karma or fame. You could switch between third and first person views. I personally would wander around in third person, but switch to 1st to get a better look at things and items around me.

Julian Titus Senior Editor

07/15/2012 at 01:53 PM

I can take some nice landscape shots, but my focus was photographing women, both in school and people I met when I was really active. I shot 35mm, and don't believe in airbrushing or digital post production. Actually, I hate digital photography, which makes me sound like a cranky old man way before my time.

The game would be open world depending on the job. You may need to wander an area taking wildlife or scenery shots, and next you'd be in a studio working with Cindy Crawford.

Travis Hawks Senior Editor

07/13/2012 at 06:30 PM

I haven't listened yet (or read M117's brief response), but I just have to tell you that that issue of X-Men is one of the few I held onto after The Purge. Also a lot of Flaming Carrots.

Julian Titus Senior Editor

07/13/2012 at 08:23 PM

Join the Nerds Without Pants Facebook group for updates and assorted nerdy posts. Keep it pantsless!

Jon Lewis Staff Writer

07/16/2012 at 11:07 PM

Finally got around to listening. Good stuff guys, didnt know you all were interested in design. Common trend it seems. We should network sometime on that front.

Anyway yeah, as far as my history in gaming there's like a few different points. Early on I had a Sega Genesis and a Gameboy but I wasn't into gaming, mainly just characters so I was obsessed with Power Rangers games and stuff like that. I did play a lot of Sonic 2 though. I think my first turning point was when I was introduced to Pokemon Red and Blue. Like everyone else my age (i was about 8 at the time) I became obsessed to the point where I cried when my parents tried to take it from me once (i had just escaped Mt. Moon for the first time too...). I knew I loved games then, but I didnt know how much I would love them until I played Metroid Prime for the first time. When I saw that game, I knew I wanted to make games, but I wasnt sure how. It wasnt until I played games like Baten Kaitos and Tales of Symphonia when I realized that I wanted to write game stories and create interesting gameplay systems. 

Gaming is one amazing thing and like you said, Im personally in this one for the long haul as long as the industry keeps growing.

Julian Titus Senior Editor

07/17/2012 at 10:56 AM

So what you're telling me is that you were one of the kids I wanted to murder during the Christmas of 1999 when we started selling Pokemon cards. 


07/17/2012 at 01:24 PM

You would've wanted to murder me too then Jules. You might say you would have to Catch 'em All? Pokemon was the biggest thing on the planet back then and Blastoise was my best friend.

Julian Titus Senior Editor

07/17/2012 at 02:22 PM

I have little recollection of Hell Christmas ('99). Between the Dreamcast, the Game Boy Color shortage, and muther effin' Pokemon I ended up working almost around the clock for the month of December. One shift was 40 hours long. We'd sleep at the store because there was no point in driving home.


07/17/2012 at 02:31 PM

That's a brutal month to have to work, but all of that traffic and consumerism must have equalled a nice pay day right? Chaos, and people running in and out like honey bees must be good for business. Except for the GBC shortage, shortages of any kind have to suck in retail I bet.

Jon Lewis Staff Writer

07/17/2012 at 05:54 PM

damn that sucks...fortunately for you julian, i didnt go crazy at the game stores for pokemon cards, my parents didnt let me get too many of them. As for the games, I only got them on stuff like Christmas so I never actually went to the store for them. lol.

And @Michael, Blastoise is still and always will be my favorite pokemon, lol

Patrick Kijek Contributing Writer

07/19/2012 at 12:02 AM

Someone stole all of my pokémon holographs. I had four charizards.

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