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Nerds Without Pants   

Nerds Without Pants Episode 110.5: Gamer Group Think

Such a great episode, we needed two!

Hey there! No, your eyes do not deceive you; this is the second episode of Nerds Without Pants to be released today. Welcome to part two of episode 110, where we are still joined by John Brandon of the Square Roots Podcast to talk some Consumption Junction and Chrono Crossing.

00:00-02:10 Introduction

02:12-29:53 CONSUMPTION JUNCTION Gamer group think, Mass Effect: Andromeda, Nier Automata, The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild, reviews

30:13-46:34 CHRONO CROSSING 1997

46:49-49:42 Outro



Stage Select: What are your top 3 video game developers of all time?

Chrono Crossing: 1996

Be sure to submit your entries for Stage Select and Chrono Crossing by 8:30 Central time on April 20!


One Punch Man- Opening Theme

Florence + the Machine- Delilah



Exrian Contributing Writer

04/12/2017 at 09:05 PM

Great episodes of NWP. I really enjoyed the music episode. Would be nice to revisit something similar every year or 6 months. Top 3 villages was so hard because I typically just watch TV while playing. Favorite music would be very easy, and would be fun to do next time, but I really had to think hard about villages.

You missed my Chrono Crossing for Megaman X4 last week. I was interested in your opinions on it because it's my favorite of the series. I was wondering if anyone else around here has fondness for it. 

Also thanks for saying it Julian, "f*** the term Metroidvania..." It's almost up there with Nintendo's newest coined term, "Nindies." I think that alone may disqualify them for Stage Select... Alright I'm just looking for ways to shrink the list.

Anyway I thought this stage select would be hard to find developers but now I'm so torn between 6 of them. I know what I should pick but I may do some adjusting. So...

Stage Select: Top 3 Developers

3. Team Ico
Team Ico has a perfect track record with me. Ico, Shadow of the Colossus, and The Last Guardian are all gems. Unfortunately, there's no way to know if there's a future for them. Last Guardian won't make up the money for a 10 year development cycle and Famito Ueda isn't a part of the team anymore. I hope games like these won't be lost to time.

2. FromSoftware
While From is mostly known now from the Souls Series, they have a nice resume that includes the Armored Core and Otogi series. Though it's the Souls Series that make them hit my list. Those games are all amongst my favorites and sink me in like few others can. I dont know if there's another game the last 10 years that I've played through twice or more. There's no other developer outside of Team Ico who's next announcement I look forward to most.

1. Squaresoft
Square made my favorite game and dozens of others that are amazing. It would take episodes to fully discuss all their greatest hits and there'd still be many that would probably go unnoticed. I wish we could have the glory days of SNES/PS1 back but they are still near and dear to my heart. 


Chrono Crossing 1996: Duke Nukem 3D


I couldn't finish the campaign without cheats but this game was a blast. At the time I had 3 friends within 3 houses from me and we hit 4 player deathmatches for hours/days on end. I don't remember much single player stuff but Duke 3D surpasses Goldeneye Vs. Matches in my memory. 


04/12/2017 at 10:42 PM

Exrian's list is perfect. Shadow of the Collossus is one of my favorite games, and Last Guardian was my game of 2016. From Software is amazing. I've only tried Armored Core in demos and I thought it was cool, but really complicated. I'm not sure where to start in the Armored Core franchise but it seems worth checking out. Duke Nukem 3D ruled. I could never finish the campaign but I had a lot of fun trying. My fond memories of Duke Nukem 3D are probably the main reason why I was looking forward to Duke Nukem Forever for so long and waiting for it. Even once it became clear that DNF was a huge mess and was likely to be a tire fire there was always a part of me hoping against hope, thinking, "But...Duke 3D was really cool, there has to be some hope for Duke Nukem Forever."

Julian Titus Senior Editor

04/15/2017 at 11:28 PM

If you liked this episode, we did a music special way back in 2014 for episode 61

Also, if you do a search on the site for Digital Mystery Tour, you'll find the failed music podcast that we produced. You'll have to stream it from the site, but you might get a kick out of it. 


04/12/2017 at 10:26 PM

Stage Select (My 3 favorite video game developers, at the moment)

NOTE: I skewed off in the dumb direction of "at the moment" because my list of historically favorite developers ended up with Bioware, Valve, and Bungie; none of which I feel passionate about in 2017. Valve doesn't make games, I'm skipping Andromeda, I didn't like Inquisition much, I stopped playing Halo after 4, and I never got sucked into Destiny like Patrick did. I should've just sucked it up and went with that list but it would be unenthusiastic. Plus, I assume some of those three companies will get mentioned by people in our community anyway so I decided to weasel my way into a slightly different list.

TLDR; I'm trying to justify to myself why Bioware, Valve, or Bungie aren't on my list and I'm upset with myself about letting this happen.....but also kind of not.

3. From Software - I love the Souls trilogy. A lot of fans argue that Dark Souls 2 is the worst of them, and they're not wrong, but even Dark Souls 2 is awesome. It goes to show, when From Software and this franchise were at their worst, they were still way cooler than most other video games.

2. Bethesda Studios ft. Obsidian - This includes a weird cheat, but I hope Julian allows it. I'm a big fan of all five of the 3D Elder Scrolls and Fallout games made by Todd Howard's team, but my favorite Bethesda game is Fallout New Vegas, which was developed by Obsidian. So my #2 is Todd Howard's Bethesda team but I want Obsidian to get their due credit for New Vegas.

1. Crystal Dynamics - After I finished the 4th Tomb Raider on Playstation 1 by Core Design I was burnt out for years, but I eventually came back to see what Crystal Dynamics had done with the series once they got their hands on it, and it turns out they were actually making the best Tomb Raider games of them all. Tomb Raider Anniversary, Underworld, Tomb Raider 2013, and Rise of the Tomb Raider all knocked it out of the park. Lara Croft is still awesome and there aren't many other developers that have hit so many home runs in a row, making me a bigger fan with each new game.

Chrono Crossing 1996

My favorite game from 1996 was the original Tomb Raider. Not only was this one of the first 3D games I ever played, but around the time this game came out my dad had made me a fan of Indiana Jones. So I loved the idea of taking these exotic journeys to temples to solve puzzles and get mixed up in ancient mythology.

Super Step Contributing Writer

04/13/2017 at 11:42 AM

Gamer groupthink isn't specific to gamers. I honestly believe consensus among reviewers is a lot like a concept I cover in my classes called "consensus journalism," where everyone in the (non cable news/Internet editorial) reporting game comes to similar conclusions based on established viewpoints they don't really try to challenge too much. This ties in with Noelle-Nuemann's "Spiral of Silence" theory, where because one idea is so widely accepted, it makes people who disagree reluctant to speak up. 

While I respect the importance of Jimi Hendrix and Citizen Kane, I think you see this in the way everyone will point to the former being the greatest guitarist of all time and the latter being the greatest movie of all time, and many established critics would agree. But how many people who came after the era of Woodstock or B&W 30s films actually know WHY they're saying that beyond the fact everyone else says it? How many Transformers-loving millennials do you honestly believe would cite Citizen Kane as their favorite movie if they actually watched it? Sure, that's a bias on my part toward people who love Transformers movies, and it's not like you can't enjoy both that and high art. But you know who I'm talking about. Do you really think they believe Citizen Kane is the greatest movie of all time because they know the impact it had on the medium or are they just regurgitating what perceived authorities on the matter have been repeating to them?

Personally, I respect Citizen Kane for all it did for cinema, but I LIKE How Green Was My Valley, the movie it lost the Oscar to, better. I can say this because I've actually seen these movies, know some cursory film history, and am willing to form my own opinion beyond what I'm SUPPOSED to think. 

For more information, see this Psychology study:

Having said that, the expectation gap is definitely a thing as well, so you're right to say Andromeda had higher expectations compared to Nier. There was another concept you guys brought up that I remembered some academia-related stuff for, but now I don't remember. 

My point is, none of this is specific to Internet/gaming culture, although maybe it gets amplified. 

Julian Titus Senior Editor

04/15/2017 at 11:31 PM

I think in this example, history also comes into play. None of us are old enough to be able to appreciate Citizen Kane for how important it was to film at the time. I saw it a few years ago and thought it was fine. Since I've seen so many movies that built on what it did, it felt somewhat middling. I feel like we're getting there with video games, too. I'll shake my head when someone much younger doesn't appreciate, say, Symphony of the Night (coughcoughPatrickcoughcough), but so many games have done what that game did in the past 19 years that its impact is reduced. 

Super Step Contributing Writer

04/16/2017 at 12:04 AM

Oh definitely. I think part of why ghost in the shell is getting poor reviews (among other reasons) is because people have seen the philosophical and visual themes it presents in the movies it inspired. 

Having never seen either matrix or blade runner, but being a fan of original GitS movie, though a casual one, I effin loved it. But I get why id's nothing new to others.

Super Step Contributing Writer

04/13/2017 at 01:04 PM

Stage Select
For top 3 developers, I'm just going to go with the first three that pop in my head.

Nintendo is my #1 favorite developer and also a company that makes me want to hate them on a regular basis. 

They DO rehash titles too often, but get nowhere near enough credit for the many times they've Swithced ... up the formula. You can argue they rely too heavily on Zelda/Mario, but you can't objectively tell me every mainline game in those franchises has the same mechanics/aesthetic etc. If they did, there wouldn't be such heated opinions around Zelda II, Wind Waker, Majora's Mask, my preference for Sunshine over 64 etc. Plus, what genre HAVEN'T they touched with an original title? Even their JRPGs like Paper Mario and Pokemon tend to be the ones I'm able to tolerate more as someone who probably needs the hand-holding. 

A big part of me wishes they would just get out of the console market already, BUT that's because I so badly want to play their first-party titles without having to pay for an all-new system. Plus, this may be more on the publishing side of things, but they are an innovative company (see: rumble, Switch, Wii, N64 joystick) even if they get a bit too cute with it sometimes. So I begrudgingly admit that maybe they should stay in the hardware game ... even if I'd really like the whole exclusivity thing to be done with already. 

I really hate some of their business practices, especially when it comes to "whitelisting" only certain people who play nice with them to have increased access to their games as far as YouTube/reviews. Still, half the time even the blacklisted people admit there's something to like. 

TL;DR Say what you will, but Nintendo IS the Disney of the video game world. Not everything they put out is gold, and some people aren't into it, but you expect a certain quality from them that the whole family can enjoy, and they create classics on a consistent basis. 

Arc System Works may really only have two major franchises, but those franchises have everything I love about 2D fighters, which is one of my favorite genres. The animation and speed is ridiculous, the heavy metal guitar-driven music is cheesily on point, and to me they are the king of the niche they cater to. 

They COULD pull way back on the convoluted story modes and have a more straightforward lore, but I still love the characters and have lots of fun learning each one's moveset. I really appreciate the deep tutorial modes in their newer games and have been a fan of the over-the-top stuff they produce since renting GGX2 for my older brother's PS2. 

TL;DR I realize this is a bit of a wild card and by no means is this objectively one of the greatest companies of all time, but the metric I'm using here is what company pops in my head when I think of MY favorite games? Since 2D fighter is one of my favorite genres, it's this 2D fighting game-centric company.

On that note, Capcom has not only mastered some of my favorite genres, from the aformentioned 2D fighting with Street Fighter, side-scrolling action-platforming with Mega Man, and even a quirky detective game called Ghost Trick that is one of my favorites and why I still really need to play my Ace Attorney game, but they pop in my head first partly because their music pops in my head first. 

If last episode's Stage Select had been "stage" themes, as opposed to "town/village," there would have been some Capcom on my list. I can remember just about every SFII: Turbo theme off the top of my head, we all know exactly why Mega Man is referred to as Rock Man in Japan, and even beyond music their games have such excellent style to them that always draws me in. 

Plus, they are partly responsible for developing a game called Viewtiful Joe, so ... y'know, given my real name and affinity for movies and cel-shading, not to mention the game's unique mechanics and of course, music.  

TL;DR This company has some innovative titles to complement the classics, and it has always made games with some of my favorite style visually and especially musically. Let's ignore certain business practices on the publishing end here ...

A couple runner-ups I want to mention are Insomnicac Games, because I've actually sat down and had lunch with the marketing team in 2014 at their Burbank studio when they were gearing up toward E3 and Sunset Overdrive's release (I also know that game was an XBOX exclusive because, while they liked how Sony treated them, Sony wanted the rights to the games they made on Sony platforms and XBOX let them have the rights to SO). 

As proof, here's video of ... well, my friend Robbie introducing Ryan Schnieder to our Meet the Media class:

Also, I really wish Double FIne could better develop the actual game mechanics behind their incredibly (or maybe just Schafer's incredibly) creative ideas, but because Psychonauts has some issues and Brutal Legend should NOT have included an RTS focus, I can't bring myself to make them tops. 

Chrono Cross 1996

Twisted Metal 2 is a game the neighbors had, which is why I was able to play the M-rated titles I did. We played the hell out of this darkly humorous battle car arena classic, making sure to take the Statue of Liberty's clothes off, laughing way too hard at the dinousaur-time-traveling Amanda Watts ending and Calypso's sick sense of humor, and pummeling each other in multiplayer while a metal soundtrack played in the background. 

It was an immature, Mature-rated good time.

Honorable mention for me is Killer Instinct: Gold, which made my older brother break one of my N64 controllers, whether or not he'll deny it to this day. 

Our Take

Angelo Grant Staff Writer

04/13/2017 at 04:14 PM

So I promised that unreleased FF6 Town Theme, so here it is. If there's any other music we referenced in the show that you guys want me to post, let me know and I'll try and find it for you.

Super Step Contributing Writer

04/13/2017 at 05:01 PM

I was wondering about that. 

I'd honestly love just a text playlist of the songs mentioned. 

Jamie Alston Staff Writer

04/19/2017 at 12:46 PM

Chrono Crossing 1996

My personal favorite for 1996 is Crash Bandicoot. It was an excellent PlayStation debut from Naughty Dog. Crash's neurotic yet unlikely hero characterization helped him to avoid the hackneyed '90s "Xtreme-animal-with-'tude" that other developers had been chasing since Sonic the Hedgehog.

The music was well composed and the visual presentation was gorgeous (for 1996). And I loved that the game did something I always wanted to see-- having your character run towards the screen for a change instead of just "into" the screen or right and left.

I remember feeling hurt back then that a surprising number of people merely wrote it off as a poor man's Mario 64 simply because Crash Bandicoot didn't have an open world design. The game deserved much better and thankfully did well enough to spawn two beautiful sequels and an awesome kart racing game.

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