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Nerds Without Pants   

Nerds Without Pants Episode 225: Headbanger's Ball

Press R2 to hold hands.

Welcome to the first music edition of Nerds Without Pants of the year! It’s been a long time, so we are here to rock your face off. We also have a lot to say about something topical for once. Enjoy!

00:00 – 09:43 Animal style

09:55 – 2:21:54 STAGE SELECT: Music that ROCKS

2:22:07 – 3:51:44 CONSUMPTION JUNCTION: Trails of Cold Steel, AI: Somnium Files, Sony’s Summer State of Play

3:52:22 – 4:09:21 VIDEO GAME CAGE MATCH: Okage: Shadow King vs Unlimited SaGa

4:09:32 – 4:16:17 Outro


STAGE SELECT: What are your three least favorite video game endings?

VIDEO GAME CAGE MATCH: Kingdom Hearts 3 vs Final Fantasy VII Remake


Twitter: @NWPcast


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





06/08/2022 at 03:24 PM

I thought I was the only person who didn't understand why Konami kept catering to Kojima the way they did. Even at its peak, MGS was never as big as Final Fantasy, Resident Evil, Tomb Raider, or Nintendo's big guns. That Konami kept handing him blank checkbooks for so long was far less surprising to me than the way they finally got tired of him. He's probably a large part of why Konami cut back on video games in general. They're lavishly produced, but Resident Evil is more consistently entertaining as an action series. 

Glad to see Falcom and Trails getting so much love. Falcom has spent years building the worlds in which the Trails series are set. Each subset of Trails centers around a specific part. They are now working on the fourth major nation in the Trails world, the Calvard Republic (Kuro no Kiseki, which is now getting a second chapter in Japan), which will likely mark a full transition of the series to the PS5. A lot of earky computer RPGs like Ultima, Wizardry, and Might & Magic were set in persistent worlds, which occasionally caused continuity snarls and difficulty for new players to get into the series. Even the first six Dragon Quest games were two trilogies centered around the worlds of Alefgard and Zenithia. Though I've been a fan of Falcom since Faxanadu on NES, I've been on a huge Falcom kick over the past couple of years, juggling Ys and Trails. Hopefully y'all will talk abouy Ys in the future. 

Oh, and Plumbers Don't Wear Ties is being re-released for Switch and PlayStation. I joked about this game getting a HD remaster for years. Now it's a thing. 


06/08/2022 at 04:13 PM

Stage Select: Worst Video game Endings.

3. Bugs Bunny Crazy Castle for Game Boy. I bought this with my hard-earned money when I was 12. Not an awesome game by any means, but it had 80 levels, and that was a big deal for a kid. There was a story in the manual, and as it turned out, the story existed only in the manual. Instead of a big payoff after finishing level 80, you got Bugs Bunny saying "Congraturations [sic]!! You are good player! [sic]" That's it. Even freaking Tetris had an "ending" screen if you got enough points. 

2. Valkyrie Profile's default ending was kind of disappointing. You defeat the demon lord Surt and save Odin's bacon. All you get for your trouble is a "Well done!" from Freya and are put to sleep for the rest of eternity. To be fair, the game does have a completely different endgame and a much more satisfying ending hidden within it, but it requires a guide to unlock, since if you miss certain milestones, you can't go back and are locked into the "neutral ending." When Valkyrie Profile came out, online game guides were harder to come by than they are now, and there was no YouTube. The game is still one of my favorite PS1 games.

I can think of a couple of other endings that others experienced that fall into this category. Dreamweb, a game I mentioned in a previous episode, had an ending that made my dad mad. The main character kills the seven people who are supposedly bringing about the apocalypse. Of course, since the authorities don't see all the magical stuff that the player sees, they've labeled you as a serial killer, and the game ends with the player character being ambushed by the police and gunned down. The documentation included with the game drops more than a few subtle suggestions that the player character's sanity is breaking (he's deeply depressed because his girlfriend, who he met at university, is climbing the ladder of success at a mega-corporation while he's been stuck being a beaten-down bartender at a dingy pool hall since he graduated) that the "keepers of the Dreamweb" and the Cthulu-like imagery in the church are in fact psychotic breaks from reality, and that the authorities may be perfectly justified in labeling you as a serial killer and dealing with you accordingly. This isn't reflected in the gameplay itself, however, and my dad told me it kind of pissed him off.

My wife was a longtime fan of Warcraft and told me the ending of Warcraft 3 (the original) made her mad, for similar reasons.

1. Fallout 3. All that supposed choice and freedom you're supposed to have gets thrown away in the ending sequence, where you're basically guilted by everybody else into dying a horrible, puking, hair-shedding death from radiation sickness. Your big decision is whether or not to figuratively pee in the wasteland's water supply. Either way, you're still going to have all your blood cells destroyed by a bombardment of gamma rays and flying neutrons, so you're almost tempted to do the deed just to stick it to everyone. This is your only choice that matters, regardless of whether you've spend your entire game either running to be the next Jesus or the next Satan. And the ending sequence is still lame and blatanly looks like they had to rush the game out the door. The only difference between the good ending and the bad ending is a couple lines of dialogue. Either way, you're stil a decaying puddle of mush in the Jefferson Memorial, and I know this because the game shows you as a puddle of glowing mush, so you don't get to live to see the wasteland saved or destroyed. Broken Steel rectifies things somewhat, but with a bigger deus ex machina retcon of the original ending than Paul Sheldon had to employ to get Misery Chastain out of the grave so Annie Wilkes would stop smashing his kneecaps with a hammer. And then, according to Fallout 4, the Brotherhood of Steel just ends up enslaving the Capitol Wasteland anyway.

Honorable mention to Fallout 4, by the way. You do get some degree of choice, and the game lets you play past the end and build settlements, but it was still a bit of a generic letdown.

Cage Match:

Final Fantasy VII is a continuation of one of my favorite video games ever and looks gorgeous, so I'll go with that. I like Kingdom Hearts, but I will always prefer video games that aren't tied to huge outside licenses like Disney or superheroes. I'm kind of torn on FF7R, though, It looks great, but a part of me would rather they have just redone the original game using the engine for Dragon Quest XI, and released it as one complete game instead of in multiple parts. And that they'd kept it turn-based. Probably would have both sold better and cost them a lot less money to make. 

Cary Woodham

06/10/2022 at 07:55 AM

It's easy to remember good video game endings, like FF6 or Klonoa, but really hard to remember bad ones.  So many NES games where when you beat it, you just get a "Congratulation!" screen with some Engrish if you're lucky.

Kingdom Hearts 3 wins because I haven't played the FF7 remake.  KH games may have a garbage storyline, but I do like tromping around all the Disney worlds.


06/17/2022 at 09:12 AM

I'll start with the serious one, and that's the modern Deus Ex games.  These are great games that unfortunately fall apart in the end.  Human Revolution's ending is basically Metal Gear Solid 1's with more generic platitudes about "What is humanity?  What is technology?  Do humans do the right thing?" (no matter what option you picked), with even more generic stock footage to boot.  The stinger is fine (a reference to nanomachines, the Gray Death virus, and the main character from the original Deus Ex) but considering they had 2 novels, a short story, a comic book series, 2 sequels (one a phone game), and a failed film adaptation you'd think they'd have more plot involved.  Mankind Divided is similar, they wanted to make Deus Ex a franchise but the ending just... happens.  Mankind Divided *isn't* actually just an unfinished game but that ending sure doesn't help that impression of it.

Super Mario Sunshine.  You fight Bowser in a bath and then FLUDD acts kinda weird, then he FUCKING DIES, and then he's repaired so it's okay, only he doesn't talk again so it's kinda like is FLUDD okay or is that just a zombie or something?  A shell of a being, a tool of which personhood was ripped?  Wait, this is starting to sound like Human Revolution again.  I don't know, what a mess.

Bionic Commando (2009) is a classic one.  That whole game was an edgy mess though the ending just keeps it going.  Spencer spends the whole game trying to find his missing wife.  It's the only reason you join the mission because they have information about it so they offer it to you in exchange for the work of you and your super weapon, the Bionic Arm.  At the end you find out your cool Bionic Arm is, of course, your dead wife.  Really, the thing is that's the only way the weapon works, it contains the soul of your wife or whatever.  And the super bad double agent is the guy you save in the NES Bionic Commando, so that's gratitude for you.  Then you headbutt a mech to death and fall into a hole.  Finally, there's some German Morse code at the end which translate to basically a bad "and now for phase 2!" teaser that of course never came out (though there was a sorta prequel).  Gold stars all around.

Time for more logic.  Kingdom Hearts without Final Fantasy is just Disney, while Final Fantasy VII without Disney is just Final Fantasy VII without the Gold Saucer and Cait Sith.  The Gold Saucer isn't in the first remake and Cait Sith only is technically.  By the transitive property I think that means Final Fantasy VII Remake wins?  Somebody check my work.

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