GameCritics.com Podcast
games. culture. criticism
Pour yourself a pitcher of egg nog, fire up a yule log, and join the GameCritics.com family as we reminice about the year that was. We'll reveal our game of the year, and discuss the best and worst 2009 had to offer. Featuring Chi, Brad, Mike, Dave, Dan, Richard, Tim, and a special appearance by one of our favorite listeners, Hargrada. Thanks to everyone for listening; we really do appreciate it. Have a happy and safe New Year's, and we'll see you back here in January.

Categories discussed:

Surprise (Good) of the Year Award
WTF of the Year Award
The "Brad Gallaway is Single-Handedly Keeping Indie Developers in Business" Award
Non-2009 Game of the Year
Most Disappointing Game of the Year
The Too Human Award for Inexplicable Excellence
Developer We'll Miss the Most
Best Argument for Abandoning Discs
Most Promising New Franchise
Nail in the Coffin Award
The Internet Has No Idea What They're Talking About Award
Best Argument for Games-as-Art
The Steaming Pile Award
2009 Game of the Year
Direct download: GameCritics_Podcast_Episode_28.mp3
Category:podcasts -- posted at: 12:04am EDT

What compels us to spend 25, 40, 50, even 70+ hours on a single game? We think we've figured it out. Join us for conversation about Dragon Age, Assassin's Creed 2, Way of the Samurai 3, Torchlight, and Borderlands DLC. With Chi Kong Lui, Brad Gallaway, Mike Bracken, and Tim "Yes, I Like Borderlands Now" Spaeth.
Direct download: GameCritics_Podcast_Episode_27.mp3
Category:podcasts -- posted at: 10:42pm EDT

Bonjour class! Welcome to Ludology 101. Matthew Wiese of the Singapore-MIT GAMBIT Game Lab talks about his work and his experience on the academic side of games. Is ludology as sleep-inducing as it sounds? No sir, and in fact criticism and academia may have more in common than you think. With Chi Kong Lui, Brad Gallaway, Mike Bracken, and Tim Spaeth. Happy Thanksgiving to all our listeners!
Direct download: GameCritics_Podcast_Episode_26.mp3
Category:podcasts -- posted at: 8:56pm EDT

We continue debunking The Myths of Game Criticism in the second half of our two-part series. Do we live in constant fear of Twitter putting us out of business? Are games so spectacular now that the average score really is 8 out of 10? Do publishers send strike teams to our homes and force us to change scores? We set the record straight. With Chi Kong Lui, Brad Gallaway, Mike Bracken, and Tim "Five Point Scale" Spaeth.

For reference, the eight myths we discuss in this series are:

1. Critics should be required to finish games before writing a review.
2. The goal of a "proper" game review should be to inform the reader as to whether they should or should not buy a game.
3. Those who write about games are not journalists, rather, should be considered "enthusiast press" or simply "games writer."
4. There is no difference between a "review" and a "critique".
5. The explosion of blogs, podcasts, and Twitter has rendered formal game reviews obsolete.
6. Individual game critics and review sites are under constant, unrelenting pressure from publishers to change scores.
7. Game scores are often purposefully tweaked to either generate controversy or avoid it.
8. A reader should not need to be familiar with the author of a review in order to derive value from it.
9. NINE? There's a ninth myth?! Listen and find out!!
Direct download: GameCritics_Podcast_Episode_25.mp3
Category:podcasts -- posted at: 10:36am EDT

The Myths of Game Criticism! This week we challenge commonly held assumptions about criticism, writers, review scores, finishing games and much more. So much more, in fact, we had to split the episode in half. Plus, if you're a Borderlands fan, get ready to hate us. Our quick hit is less than flattering. Featuring Chi Kong Lui, Brad Gallaway, Mike Bracken, and Tim Spaeth.

For your reference, the eight myths we discuss are:

1) Critics should be required to finish games before writing a review.

2) The goal of a "proper" game review should be to inform the reader as to whether they should or should not buy a game.

3) Those who write about games are not journalists, rather, should be considered "enthusiast press" or simply "games writer."

4) There is no difference between a "review" and a "critique".

5) The explosion of blogs, podcasts, and Twitter has rendered formal game reviews obsolete.

6) Individual game critics and review sites are under constant, unrelenting pressure from publishers to change scores.

7) Game scores are often purposefully tweaked to either generate controversy or avoid it.

8) A reader should not need to be familiar with the author of a review in order to derive value from it.
Direct download: GameCritics_Podcast_Episode_24.mp3
Category:podcasts -- posted at: 8:44am EDT

With Demon's Souls nearing release, it's all things Atlus! We welcome Atlus USA's Manager of PR Aram Jabbari to the show. Localization strategies, digital distribution, aggregate sites, and much more are covered, and we take our best shot at getting you some Persona scoop! The back half of the show brings some of the most in-depth Demon's Souls discussion around. Featuring Chi Kong Lui, Brad Gallaway, Mike Bracken, and Tim "Tim Spaeth" Spaeth.
Direct download: GameCritics_Podcast_Episode_23.mp3
Category:podcasts -- posted at: 9:29pm EDT

Do games need to be easier to attract a wider audience? Or are games too easy as it is? Where did all the hard games go? What role does culture play? Will “Autoplay” features reduce frustration or just make gamers lazier than ever? With your help, we attack these questions from all directions. Also: quick hits on Scribblenauts and Muramasa: The Demon Blade. With Chi Kong Lui, Brad Gallaway, and Tim “If You Lose at Candy Land You’re Banished to the Woods” Spaeth.
Direct download: GameCritics_Podcast_Episode_22.mp3
Category:podcasts -- posted at: 9:57pm EDT

Jenova Chen of thatgamecompany (Flow, Flower) is our guest this week, and his journey from Shanghai child to superstar developer was a perfect storm of determination, skill, and a whole lot of luck. You'll hear that story and many more in our jam-packed interview. And yes, he explains his Final Fantastic first name. With Chi Kong Lui, Brad Gallaway, Mike Bracken, and Tim Spaeth.
Direct download: GameCritics_Podcast_Episode_21.mp3
Category:podcasts -- posted at: 11:04pm EDT

Sunshine is for losers! We spent our summer vacation indoors, enjoying the offerings of the Xbox Live Summer of Arcade. Well…”enjoying” might be too strong a word. We rundown all five games: Splosion Man, Turtles in Time, Marvel vs. Capcom 2, Trials HD, and Shadow Complex. Plus, Mike and Tim red ring within 12 hours of each other! Believe it! Featuring Chi Kong Lui, Brad Gallaway, Mike Bracken, and Tim Spaeth.
Direct download: GameCritics_Podcast_Episode_20.mp3
Category:podcasts -- posted at: 12:22am EDT

This week, a candid conversation with Bryan Jury of Epicenter Studios, the team behind the new Wii release Real Heroes: Firefighter. How did a tiny development team with an even tinier budget create one of the summer’s most original games? Why was the Wii their platform of choice? And does Bryan REALLY admit the graphics aren’t very good? I told you – he’s VERY candid. Our thanks to Bryan Jury for a fantastic interview. With Chi Kong Lui, Brad Gallaway, and Tim Spaeth.
Direct download: GameCritics_Podcast_Episode_19.mp3
Category:podcasts -- posted at: 9:29pm EDT

The celebration concludes! Dan Weissenberger discusses the fallout from his controversial (and legendary) Halo 3 review. Plus, we get to know the newest GameCritic, Richard Naik, and our old friend Gene Park drops by to reminisce about the old days. In the final segment, Chi, Brad, Mike and Tim reunite and share a few final stories from the last ten years, including the Pokemon Snap review, the Games as Art conundrum, and the secret origin of this very podcast. We cap it off with an amazing roll call as we remember the colleagues and friends who helped make GameCritics.com the site it is today. To all our readers and listeners, thanks so much for being a part of the GameCritics.com family; we couldn't do it without you.
Direct download: GameCritics.com_10-Year_Anniversary_Special_Part_3.mp3
Category:podcasts -- posted at: 10:45pm EDT

The celebration continues! Scott Jones of Crispy Gamer and Reviews on the Run reminiscences about his time writing for GameCritics.com. He's candid, he's hilarious, and it's a must-listen. Plus, Brandon Erickson! Jason Karney! Unnerving MMO playtime revelations! Our official stance on Sonic the Hedgehog! All that and much, much more as we commemorate a decade of GameCritics.com. With Chi Kong Lui, Mike Bracken, Tim Spaeth, and Felipe the Producer. 
Direct download: GameCritics.com_10-Year_Anniversary_Special_Part_2.mp3
Category:podcasts -- posted at: 10:38pm EDT

The celebration begins! Critics past and present join us for the ultimate retrospective as we celebrate ten years of GameCritics.com. It's a fiesta so enormous we split it into THREE separate podcasts! In Part 1, we assemble the four original GameCritics for the first time ever, as Ben Hopper, Dale Weir, Chi Kong Lui, and Brad Gallaway discuss the birth of the site and how it changed their lives forever. We also catch up with husband and wife critics Erin Bell and David Stone, and Tera Kirk drops by to offer her congratulations. Also featuring Mike Bracken and Tim Spaeth. Special thanks to Felipe the Producer.
Direct download: GameCritics.com_10-Year_Anniversary_Special_Part_1.mp3
Category:podcasts -- posted at: 10:21pm EDT

Have we been too hard on Nintendo? According to your feedback, we have. We take a thoughtful look at the company, it's past, present, and future and offer our definitive stance on The House of Mario. Don't worry, it's not 60 straight minutes of unbridled hate. 56 minutes, maybe. Featuring Chi Kong Lui, Brad Gallaway, Mike Bracken, and Tim Spaeth.
Direct download: GameCritics_Podcast_Episode_18.mp3
Category:podcasts -- posted at: 9:26pm EDT

After some quick Transformers 2 impressions, the crew takes a deep dive into The Conduit, Fallout 3 Point Lookout, and Magic the Gathering: Duels of the Planeswalkers. It's our first three-way, so be gentle. Featuring Chi Kong Lui, Brad Gallaway, and Tim Spaeth.
Direct download: GameCritics_Podcast_Episode_17.mp3
Category:podcasts -- posted at: 11:22pm EDT

Not even the Wii Vitality Sensor could measure the explosive force of our E3 episode. Press conferences! Motion control! Overpriced handhelds! And of course, games, games, games. It's the Internet's only source for E3 analysis, so of course you won't want to miss it. Featuring "Big Daddy" Brad Gallaway, "Horror Geek" Mike Bracken, "Canucklehead" David Stone, and "Nicknameless" Tim Spaeth.
Direct download: GameCritics_Podcast_Episode_16.mp3
Category:podcasts -- posted at: 10:53pm EDT

We're back! With Brad's and Tim's new sons safely extracted, the team reunites to discuss all the games they've been playing during the break:  InFamous, Broken Steel, UFC Undisputed, Dead Space, Trino, CaveIn, Mithra and the Project Trico teaser. With Chi Kong "North/South" Lui, Brad Gallaway, Mike Bracken, and Tim Spaeth.
Direct download: GameCritics_Podcast_Episode_15.mp3
Category:podcasts -- posted at: 8:21pm EDT

While Tim takes some time off to enjoy his new son, we present our very first bonus episode! In these deleted scenes from Episode 14, you'll hear a great segment on how casual games relate to Heather Chaplin’s GDC rant, and then we try to answer that classic gaming question “What is the Citizen Kane of Games?” Our answers will shock and amaze you. Featuring Chi Kong Lui, Mike Bracken, David Stone, and the very sleepy Tim Spaeth.
Direct download: GameCritics_Podcast_Bonus_Episode_1.mp3
Category:podcasts -- posted at: 9:33pm EDT

Is the game industry in a state of arrested development? We present our take on Heather Chaplin's incendiary GDC presentation. Plus, the proliferation of co-op, the viability of OnLive, and lessons learned from Leisure Suit Larry. With Chi Kong Lui, Mike Bracken, David Stone, and Tim Spaeth.
Direct download: GameCritics_Podcast_Episode_14.mp3
Category:podcasts -- posted at: 1:19pm EDT

Killzone 2 has the Playstation fanbase divided; on this week’s show we take our stand. Plus, reviews we’d like to take back, and the sexiest listener e-mail segment ever! With Chi Kong Lui, Brad Gallaway, Mike Bracken, and Tim Spaeth.
Direct download: GameCritics_Podcast_Episode_13.mp3
Category:podcasts -- posted at: 11:44pm EDT

Is your mind on your money? Is your money on your mind? As the world teeters on the brink of an economic apocalypse we tackle an even bigger problem – the price of games! Plus, we give some failed franchises a second chance, and the games as art camp gets some new ammunition with the PS3’s Flower. With Chi Kong Lui, Brad Gallaway, Mike Bracken, and Tim Spaeth.
Direct download: GameCritics_Podcast_Episode_12.mp3
Category:podcasts -- posted at: 4:36pm EDT

Our guest this week is developer Nathan Fouts of Mommy's Best Games. He's the creator of the Xbox Community Game Weapon of Choice, which we covered several episodes ago -- and yes, he calls us out on many of our criticisms. He also talks candidly about the freedom and frustration of Community Games development, what inspired Weapon of Choice, and somehow it culminates in a Devil May Cry 3 rant that must not be missed. Our thanks to Nathan for participating! Be sure to visit his website at http://www.mommysbestgames.com. 
Direct download: GameCritics_Podcast_Episode_11.mp3
Category:podcasts -- posted at: 10:38pm EDT

When we asked you to pick any game for us to discuss, we certainly didn't expect you to pick God Hand. But you did, so we did. Plus, what makes a critic a critic, Streets of Rage 2 (no, that's not a typo), and at long last, Chi Kong Lui on River City Ransom. Warning: This episode contains a revelation that will BLOW YOUR MIND. Featuring Chi Kong Lui, Brad Gallaway, Mike Bracken, and Tim Spaeth.
Direct download: GameCritics_Podcast_Episode_10.mp3
Category:podcasts -- posted at: 11:07am EDT

Do you like to shoot things? We do! This week the crew engages in vigorous debate over two new run-and-gun games: Little Red Riding Hood's Zombie BBQ and Weapon of Choice. Find out if 2-D shooters still have a place in a 3-D world.

Plus, the premiere of our new segment "What Do You Think?" (complete with swanky echo effect) where YOU tell US what you think of Fallout 3: Operation Anchorage, and that...unique...control scheme in the Resident Evil 5 demo.
Direct download: GameCritics_Podcast_Episode_9.mp3
Category:podcasts -- posted at: 11:22pm EDT

We celebrate the new year (four weeks late) by previewing 2009's most (and least) anticipated releases. Plus -- we tell you why you need to play the Community Games gem CarneyVale Showtime, and is Midnight Club Los Angeles worth a second look? Don't forget to stay after the show for a little something we call "GameCritics Unleashed."

With Chi Kong Lui, Brad Gallaway, Mike Bracken, and Tim Spaeth.
Direct download: GameCritics_Podcast_Episode_8.mp3
Category:podcasts -- posted at: 10:45am EDT

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