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Coming to you from the concrete savannah of Tokyo, Japan, your hosts; John with an "H" and Jon-Jon discuss a variety of reasons why video games should be taken seriously as a way to tell stories.




Episode 42: SPACE!!!!

Fresh off the lonely open black of Elite Dangerous, the Jo(h)ns consider the role that space has played in video games. What follows is a discussion of tropes, space as a setting vs space as a character, and the role science fiction plays when discussing our own histories and cultures. Oh, and John space-abandons his fucking space-on-again-off-again space-affair. What a fucking space-dick.

Duration: 00:57:04

Episode 41: "Learn to Take the L"

Losing is a part of winning. Yin and Yang. Inspired by some comments made by a few football coaches on a popular NPR program, the Jo(h)ns decided to discuss what videogames can teach us about losing. The coaches seem to think the advent of the reset button makes kids afraid of challenge. We respectfully disagree.

Duration: 00:58:21

Episode 40: "Shout-outs to Mordor"

Narrative is important to games. Even from the earliest days of NES there were stories. Plumber rescues Princess. Space Bounty Hunter destroys alien threat. Ducks are hunted. Today, games have evolved to include sweeping narratives that encompass galaxies with gameplay and graphics to match. JonJon and a sleepy John with an H discuss the nature of storytelling in games framed around last year's sleeper hit, Middle Earth: Shadow of Mordor.

Duration: 00:52:03

Episode 39: Idle Hands (Cookie Clicker, Mountain)

Idle hands are usually good for gaming. Who better to play video games than people with free time? Unfortunately the Juans at Level 30 Plus have found themselves with less and less time to devote to games recently. Enter the "Idle Games". A relatively new genre of game that can be played with minimal interaction on the part of the player. The best experience typically comes from doing something else in the meantime and only checking in for a short distraction. Today we talk about two...

Duration: 00:55:53

Episode 38: Three Types of Mobile Gaming

John with an H has a little theory. Or call it a generalization. Seems to him there are three ways a mobile developer can focus their game and make a name for themselves on the crowded mobile market. Focus on Art, Gameplay, or Income. There are exceptions to every rule of course but this seems to be the big three. Agree? Disagree? Let us know what you think!

Duration: 00:56:00

Episode 37: "The Handheld Experience"

So, smartphones and tablets are a thing now. That's nothing new. Neither is playing games on the go; we've been doing that since the original Gameboy. But our experiences are changing. Folks keep talking about how smartphones and tablets will make the 3DSs and Vitas of the world extinct (We know, haters, the Vita's already dead, thanks.) but we don't think it's that simple. When a device isn't known to be specifically for games, how does it affect the type of gaming experiences we have?

Duration: 00:53:42

Episode 36: Punching Up

In this episode the Jo(h)ns continue to talk about food. Video games work their way in eventually. This time the discussion revolves around the episodic nature of the games discussed in last week's episode; Kentucky Route Zero and Broken Age. Can you trust a game that hasn't even come out completely? We like to think so.

Duration: 01:07:47

Episode 35: "They Changed into Chickens"

This week, the Jo(h)ns talk about food. Yeah, really. But THEN, they talk about two games they've recently played -- Kentucky Route Zero and Broken Age. One seems to take the point-and-click genre in brand-new story-driven directions using the language of stage plays, while the other is a welcome throwback from a creator considered to be a master of the genre. Once a upon a time, we thought the point-and-click was dead. Did it really die, though? Or did it just shrink and grow feathers?...

Duration: 00:55:16

Episode 34: John With an 'H' ... For Horror!

Welcome to 2015 fellow Levelers! We've missed you. This week, JonJon and returning guest Ben drag John with an H kicking and screaming into his first complete horror game playthrough. The game du jour is Matt Gilgenbach's literally sketchy and personal opus, "Neverending Nightmares". Along the way, our hosts discuss with Ben the horror genre, how horror works in different mediums, and how horror draws/repulses people. Happy New Year bitches!

Duration: 01:00:50

Episode 33: State of the Console Address

Part 2 of our year end wrap up the Jo(h)ns discuss the first year of the "next-gen" consoles, whether or not they are performing as well as previous transitions, their reliance on previous generation titles, and the over-all ramifications of consoles as a gaming device in general. Plus some real talk about John's time working for the government and JonJon's experiences being involved with a failed lifestyle magazine. Don't sue us please.

Duration: 00:58:19

Episode 32: Besterday (Last-Gen Round up Part 1)

It's the time of year where thoughts turn to sugar plums and candy canes and best of lists. The Jo(h)ns talk about their favorite moments from the receeding generation of consoles. A send off for the PS3/Xbox 360 era.

Duration: 00:58:27

Blowing off Steam (Part 2)

This week, the Jo(h)ns consider their recent migration from console to PC gaming. How is it that the shift felt so natural? What does it say about the current state of consoles? Why don't they feel more elitist?

Duration: 01:08:01

Episode 30: Blowing off Steam (Part 1)

As the holiday season approaches, the Jo(h)ns give thanks for the bounty of games that Steam provides by complaining about its flaws! No but seriously, there's a lot of complaining. But we love you, Steam! Never take your amazing sales and wares away from us.

Duration: 00:54:02

Episode 29: The Accidental Host(ful).

In the aftermath of their #gamergate episode, the Jo(h)ns very organically decide to have a little me time in the form of (with apologies to Nerdist) a non-topic-driven Hostful episode. Nerdist, please don't sue; we mean no disrespect and you inspire us. That and we have nothing for you to take, really. Except our love. Among the topics discussed: the bummer that was the Karissa the Destroyer prank(?); JonJon being ethnically Catholic; open-world fatigue; the open-world approach (Skyrim...

Duration: 01:14:43

Episode 28: #gamergate

The Jo(h)ns have an overdue moment.

Duration: 00:57:13

Episode 27 - Valiant Hearts: Europica, Fuck Yeah! (Part 2)

This week, once again, John and a very sleepy JonJon brave the dangers of nighttime to talk about Ubisoft's Valiant Hearts, and touch on whether the game's visual style is suitable for its heavy subject matter.

Duration: 01:15:12

Episode 26: Valiant Hearts: Europica, Fuck Yeah! (Part 1)

This week, John and a very sleepy JonJon brave the dangers of nighttime to talk about Ubisoft's Valiant Hearts, and touch on whether the game's tone is suitable for its heavy subject matter. In the intro, IT'S CAPTAINS MARVEL ALL DAY, SON Enjoy!

Duration: 01:04:38

Episode 25 - An Old Yeller Situation (Part 2)

The Jo(h)ns continue their post-mortem on the Walking Dead, and touch on how, as with any artistic and storytelling medium, the player's own history can shape how they internalize the work.

Duration: 00:54:39

Episode 24 - An Old Yeller Situation (Part 1)

It's that time again. Another Telltale point and click adventure game has come to a close. Season 2 of The Walking Dead caught us by surprise. The final chapters wrapped up in one of the most harrowing ways possible. So of course we had to discuss the emotions dredged up from the bottoms of our respective psyche. Enjoy!!

Duration: 00:34:44

Episode 23: “A Statement of Character”, Part 2 (feat. Dave Gutteridge)

We continue talking to our friend and Tokyo comedian David Gutteridge, who gives us his perspective as someone who plays games but isn't a "gamer".Find us at --Facebook: Level 30 PlusTwitter: @level30podcastInstagram: worst_finest (JonJon)yojimbojapan (John with an H)

Duration: 00:51:45

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