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Nerds Without Pants   

Nerds Without Pants Episode 180: Failure to Launch

It's thinking...

Somehow, Nerds Without Pants has been podcasting pantsless for 8 years straight! Angelo joins us for a celebration, lots of reminiscing about console launches, and a good amount of video game talk. This is one of our most fun episodes so far this year, so don’t miss it!

00:00-06:54 Introduction

07:09-2:06:13 STAGE SELECT: Our Top 3 console launch games

2:06:53-3:10:27 CONSUMPTION JUNCTION: The Messenger, Phantasy Star Online 2, Total War: Warhammer, Civilization VI, Gloomwood, Batman: Arkham Asylum Remastered, The Last of Us Part 2 (gameplay discussion, no story spoilers), Justin actually playing Skyrim for once, Halo: Combat Evolved

3:11:02-3:38:06 VIDEO GAME CAGE MATCH: Star Wars: Knights of the Old Republic vs Tales of Vesperia

3:38:06-3:46:26 Outro and outtakes


STAGE SELECT: What are some of your favorite video game related gift stories?

VIDEO GAME CAGE MATCH: Donkey Kong Country 2 vs Donkey Kong Tropical Freeze


Our theme song “Relax” and interstitial tracks “To the Maxx” and “Moody Grooves” are written and performed by Megan McDuffee.



Julian Titus Senior Editor

07/13/2020 at 09:27 PM

Yes, that's me at the Sega Dreamcast launch at Gamefellas. 19 year old Julian had Hank Hill hair.

Super Step Contributing Writer

07/13/2020 at 11:41 PM

Didn't notice the hair so much as the glasses, but I am REALLY trying to place who you look like there and it ain't Hank Hill. I'm honestly thinking it might be a high school acquaintance my brain just can't place right now. 

Super Step Contributing Writer

07/14/2020 at 01:12 AM


Most memorable gaming gifts: 

- N64 with Star Fox 64 for Christmas 1997. Saw the amazing-at-the-time graphics at some cousins' house on their then-giant TV and was so happy to see it come home to me. Literally thought SF 64 was a launch game and came out before Mario 64 because of the timeline in which *I* received things. 

- Gamecube was the first console I bought with mostly my own money, so that was special and kinda sad at the same time, because

- I had to buy it with my own money for family debt reasons, and this came up again when I wanted the Game Boy Player for one of my birthdays. I had never before seen my mom so hesitant to spend money on something and I don't think that peripheral retailed for more than $50 or so  at the time. Loved playing GBA games on that thing though. Made it feel like I was playing Zero Mission on a Super Nintendo, kinda-sorta. 

- More recently, one of my favorite birthday gifts was my best friend buying me Yakuza 6 well after my obsession with that series became a consistent punchline for me. Only regret: kinda wish he would have asked me which version, cause I still want those cocktail glasses in the deluxe edition. 


Donkey Kong Country 2, hand down. Nothing against the newer titles, but it's one of those franchises where I feel the remakes focused a little too much on people's memory of these games being hard. And they do get there, but WAY later on in the game than I think the remakes seem to from what little I've played (at kiosks). 

Total nostalgia move, but I gotta go DKC 2. 


07/14/2020 at 01:58 AM

For me, 9.9.1999 at EB Games was memorable, but it was memorable as the release date for Final Fantasy VIII. That game not only looked great, but between its college theme and Squall, who was me when I was 17 or 18, it came out at the perfect time in my life, which was the fall before I started college. I did rent Dreamcast for a couple of days with Soulcalibur. I also played Skies of Arcadia... on the GameCube.

Also gotta give it to Angelo during the Cage Match. I, too, never could get into BioWare games. I tried Jade Empire as a Xbox classic on 360 (a console I bought for, wait for it, Tales of Vesperia!), and a couple of Dragon Age games, but never could get past the openings. It wasn't even my general bias in favor of Japanese games: i enjoyed Fallout (we will not speak of the abomination that is Fallout 76) and Witcher 3 greatly but not BioWare. Something about the design bounces off me kind of hard.  But Julian, you and me are gonna have words about you disrespecting my boy Repede. /s

Stage select;

in 1989, when I was 12, I got a Game Boy. The Game Boy seemed in my young mind to be a technological miracle on the level of the moon landing. Mario on the go that didn't look like a digital watch!  And the Game Boy got better as time went on.

1994 was SNES. I originally wanted it for the relatively arcade perfect Mortal Kombat II, but mine came bundled with A Link to the Past, which is the best bundled game I've ever gotten with a system.

1996 was N64, and as much as I rag on it, I loved Super Mario 64. Two years later I got the gold cartridge Ocarina of Time. 

2001 was a PS2 with Gran Turismo 3 for Christmas. I went out the next day and got Final Fantasy X. 2003, I got a GameCube for my birthday. Just in time for Wind Waker. In contrast to how much I rag on the N64, my Gamecube was in a dead heat with my PS2 with how much I enjoyed the games. Two great Final Fantasies and Dragon Quest VIII versus two of the best Zeldas, Tales of Symphonia, and Fire Emblem... tough choice.

When I got married, my wife has bought me all kinds of gaming gifts over the years: Okami, Mario Kart DS, a PSP, a Wii U, a PS4. The Switch was a gift from my parents. She also got me the Hyrule Historia and a collection of books of Amano art for Final Fantasy. For her birthday, I bought Pokémon Sword for myself and Pokémon Shield for her.

Cage Match:

Tropical Freeze wins. I never was a huge Rare fan. DKC was impressive on a technical level, but after that I moved on to games like Chrono Trigger. Retro is a much better developer than Rare, and I'm more receptive to their take on DKC. That said, neither game compares to the orginal arcade DK, which remains my favorite arcade game of all time and was the very first video game i can remember playing.

Julian Titus Senior Editor

07/15/2020 at 09:17 PM

I'd say a good 80% of the people who came into our store to buy a Dreamcast that day also picked up a copy of FF VIII. We also had a ton of people who came in just for that. 


07/16/2020 at 06:40 PM

Soulcalibur sure looked good, and a local pool hall had it in the arcade so I could see how much better the DC version looked. A few RPGs closer to launch might have swayed me more, but I also followed the Saturn drama pretty closely and thought the DC was a long shot even without the looming specter of the PS2. Ironically, Skies of Arcadia Legends was the second Gamecube game I ever bought. 

Exrian Contributing Writer

07/19/2020 at 10:24 AM

Great show again guys. Love having Angelo around a bit more lately. Really wish Patrick could have joined in also. There were some real good launch picks in there that completely flew over my head. How did I forget the OG Mario Bros lol?

Looks like Gameboy is getting some love so I'll continue that trend in Stage Select

Stage Select: 

My absolute favorite game gift memory happened in the early 90s. I couldn't have been older than 5 when I came out of school and hopped into the car. My mom handed me a black case. I wasn't sure what it was but I saw the word Gameboy and she told me to open it. 

Inside was an OG, practically new, Gameboy with 12 games neatly packed into a Gameboy case. I honestly dont think I knew what a Gameboy was at the time but I immediately knew that I had a portable gaming device and I jumped for joy. 

The reason I had received this gift was because my mom found it at a yard sale. Unfortunately, the lady who sold it to her had lost her son recently and didn't know what else to do with his stuff. I know it couldn't have been easy but the lady sold it all for $100 and told my mom that knowing it would make another child happy would make her feel a little better. 

I can testify that that gift was responsible for hundreds of hours of enjoyment and smiles. I have never not had a portable gaming device since that day. To this day Portables still hold a deep place in my heart and I dont know how'd I live without them. 


Cage Match: Did I ever mention that I hate Donkey Kong? I dont know why but I do. I played the original arcade game, the SNES ones and even enjoyed them but I hate Donkey Kong. I think it may stem from his stupid taunt in Super Smash Bros where he raises his hands and shakes his head. As if he's quoting Steve Urkel saying, "Did I do that?" in that voice that makes you want to smack him in the face. So I'm going with whatever caused him more pain. I'm going to assume that a tropical freeze would destroy his supply of bananas so that would hopefully cause him to starve to death. So I'm going with that. Yup...


07/19/2020 at 01:29 PM



07/19/2020 at 01:30 PM

I loved my OG Game Boy and I love my Switch. I've bought more Switch games than for any other system I've ever owned.

Exrian Contributing Writer

07/19/2020 at 02:39 PM

I too love my Switch. I just bought Return of the Obra Dinn on the Argentina store shop for $12 so I'm ready to give it a go. 

Casey Curran Staff Writer

07/24/2020 at 11:27 AM

Stage Select:

My favorite is when I asked for Donkey Kong Land on the Game Boy. My mom bought me Donkey Kong 94 instead. DK94 is a much better game than Donkey Kong Land so my mom made the best mistake ever.

Cage Match:

I think these two games are about equal in quality. Both have top notch level design and distinct, fun characters to play as. But I have to go for Tropical Freeze for one simple reason: It actually lets you play as Donkey Kong. It's not Diddy Kong Country, its not Dixie Kong Country, it's Donkey Kong Country!

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