Gameological In Stereo

Pet Rescue Saga

Episode 13: Podcast Rescue Saga

Evan Narcisse checks in with news from the console makers, Bonney Teti reviews Pet Rescue Saga, and Ellie Gibson lays out her video game indoctrination program for toddlers.

By John Teti • September 4, 2013

We made a podcast! You can listen to it by clicking on this thing.

On this edition of Gameological In Stereo, the game world’s most intermittent podcast, Evan Narcisse joins us from Kotaku to talk about the latest scrimps and scramps of video game news. We have some opinions on the Nintendo 2DS, the newfound confidence of Sony, and the utter mess that is the Xbox One. Plus, we debate: Was Patrick Stewart stone-cold stoned (and/or cold) when he made that quadruple-take video? This is an important thing of news and analysis.

Then, Gameological In Stereo mainstay Bonney Teti is back with her latest Facebook game review. She has gazed into the depths of Pet Rescue Saga and finds the pets cute, the story wanting. There’s also a tangent about the games of New Hampshire’s state fair, including the tale of one man who lost his life savings in a carnival game (although further research reveals that this debacle did not take place at the state fair). Our conversation also provides an explanation for the following photo:

Hopkinton State Fair 4-H "Computers" exhibit

Finally, Ellie Gibson is on to recommend her new iPhone obsession, ponder the existence of Game Critic Stockholm Syndrome, and talk about her son’s first video game experience.

This episode was edited by Tim Dobbs, and many thanks to Tim for reaching out to offer his production help—that help facilitated the podcast’s return. Dobbs is not only a generous fan of Gameological In Stereo; he also produces What People Do, billed simply enough as “a show about people’s jobs.” Why not give it a listen?

Don’t miss an episode of Gameological In Stereo: Add the podcast-only feed to your RSS reader, or your podcast app, or what have you. You can also subscribe on iTunes.

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75 Responses to “Episode 13: Podcast Rescue Saga”

  1. Cornell_University says:

    Nevermind.

    • The_Misanthrope says:

       Move along, citizen.  Nothing to see here.

      • Cornell_University says:

        I asked a stupid question, then realized the answer was contained right in the text after I posted.

        Now that I’ve actually listened to it:

        As I get older and settle down, I think idly sometimes how I would raise my children around games and technology, as I don’t want to burn their brains with hyperstimulation of iPads and total immersive games on current or next gen consoles.

        This is probably a hypocritical take on things, as I remember how furiously my parents tried to keep me away from Nintendo and arcades when I was a kid, and at the time it just seemed capricious and unfair.  Others of my generation will remember the gnawing sway nintendo had collectively on many of us in our grade school years.

        Fast forward to adulthood and my girlfriend and I have a rather extensive NES and Sega Genesis library, so I feel like it would be neat to start out fat faced University Jr. on Super Mario Brother and Donkey Kong (and to teach the all important lesson of life being unfair, the first TMNT game) both because 8 bit games weren’t exactly total sensory overload, and that they’re pretty much impossible to play for very long stretches of time.  Maybe as the child aged we would involve him/her/panda/sentient dirtbike in 16-bit and PS1 technology in lockstep with maturity and intellect.  Maybe on their 18th birthday we would give them the PS2 in the bedroom (the most current videogame technology in the house).  Maybe our child would share our love of these outdated games and machines for their true value, not a muddled mixture of nostalgia and yearning.

        Or just as likely the scene would play out like the one of Mickey Rourke and his neighbor in the Wrestler.

  2. Citric says:

    If we’re going to mold kids into ourselves:

    Find a Tandy CoCo3.
    Find Robocop 3.
    Get theme song permanently etched in child’s mind – I’m humming it right now.
    Take it away.
    Give them the slow realization that they will never, ever play that thing again.

    Earliest gaming memory, that bloody theme song, and also constantly getting killed because I was so bad at it. 

  3. killyridols says:

    Glad the podcast is back so we all can hear that rich, honey flow that is Teti’s voice. 

  4. Citric says:

    Those computers may have been designed by Clever Hans, the Math Horse

  5. PaganPoet says:

    I have to say, I am pretty surprised how ape shit John Teti went over $129. Hehe. Don’t get me wrong, I totally get his point, that annoys the crap out of me too. I just like how shell shocked Evan was. He didn’t even know how to respond. *giggle*

    • The_Misanthrope says:

       In an ideal world, all sales totals could just work out to even dollar amount, by factoring in the sales-tax (and lack of thereof).  But then I suppose there’s a psychological factor of setting the price tag at just under an even dollar amount.  “Well, I can’t afford this console at $130.  $129.99?  Sold!”

      •  Yeah, they wouldn’t keep doing this inane crap if it didn’t work on some level.

      • Bad Horse says:

        “You know what’s genius in advertising? 99 cents.”

      • Cornell_University says:

        Bars are very good at factoring tax into drink prices.  As was the movie theater I worked at in high school in regards to ticket and concession prices (“what’s 6% of an arm and a leg?” -Jay Leno’s severed head in my vegetable crisper) though I’m not sure if that’s a widespread practice within the industry or not.

        But yes, the pricepoint is marketing 101.  Trick someones subconscious on some level into thinking something is less than it is.  If you’re looking at something that costs $18.99 in Target, you may objectively know that it is $.01 less than $19, but some part of your brain is reading that as $18.  Same deal with gas stations and that 9/10ths of a cent bullshit.

    • HobbesMkii says:

      Especially as this quote appears in The Bulletin in which it’s mentioned (emphasis mine):

      “The 2DS will be available on Oct. 12 for $130, which is $40 less than the 3DS.”

    • John Teti says:

      The microphones just didn’t pick up Evan smiling, vigorously nodding, holding up his hands as if to say “You got me!” and crafting a small sign that read, “John is 100-percent about this, and it is not weird at all that he obsesses over it.” The limitations of radio.

  6. The_Misanthrope says:

    Oh that stupid, poor, stupid guy who lost $2,600 in a carnival-type game!  I will admit to being suckered into a game, but the most I ever lose is time and/or 20 bucks in quarters.  The linked article is unclear over exactly what the prize is that he was attempting to get; It is an “Xbox” at one point and a “Xbox Kinect” at another.  Either way, he could have bought these things several times over with that money. 

    I’m not sure who to put the bigger blame on here:  the guy who got suckered or the deplorable people who were running the game and kept egging him on instead of telling him to quit while he still had money in his pocket.  Also, that giant stuffed rasta banana he got as his so-called “consolation prize” (the results of him complaining) seems like a final insult from the game-runners.

    • DrFlimFlam says:

       The FlimFlams hit the occasional claw machine but also try to be smart about which machines to go by. No matter what the rules and regs say, it is not a game of skill most of the time, and most machines will never grab anything. But we occasionally find a winner and come home with a new Angry Bird, or pink polka dot Garfield, or mysterious asian-themed fruit with a mouth that does not claim to be involved with any ninja.

    • John Teti says:

      Oh god, the rasta banana, yes. Can you imagine any “prize” that would be less of a consolation? The story would be hilarious if it were fictional. As truth, it’s just sad.

      • Effigy_Power says:

        Unless of course that’s the prize he really wanted, since he is secretly a very rare kind of bananaphilic and will make sweet, tender, potassium-enriched love to that banana the moment he gets it home.

    • Cornell_University says:

      At the Indiana State Fair last year, I was determined to win my girlfriend a big stupid ladybug with lipstick and eyeshadow (endlessly slut shamed by those awful aphids) at the balloon popping game for various foolish reasons.  It cost me about $25.  The carny was excessively drunk and kept changing the rules as to how many balloons I needed to pop to win it, and I probably would have just told him to fuck off and let him keep my money, but there can be something strangely alluring about those awful prizes (and I don’t enjoy gambling generally).  When I finally won they tried to give my girlfriend one of the ladybugs with a giant hole in the side of it, thankfully she noticed or all the filling would have fallen out on the walk home.  It now enjoys the position such a totem of my heroism and masculinity deserves, stuffed in the corner of the bedroom closet by a heap of shoes.

      This year we just got some fried pickles and petted the goats.

  7. The_Misanthrope says:

    Can the whole “jumping back into the game right at the moment you lost” be one of the next-gen industry-wide innovations?  I consider myself a pretty patient person, but those pre-boss cutscenes or the pause while sad “You lost!” music plays (I’m looking at you, Mario series!) really test it.  I know some brilliant designer spent a lot of time designing it and believes  it’s absolutely integral, but you got to cut that shit out.  If you know there’s a part of your game that is particularly difficult, make damned sure that the player can jump right back into it, Super Meat Boy-style.

    • DrFlimFlam says:

      My mental break yesterday afternoon (which was followed by watching the middle of Air Force One for almost an entire hour) was due to SMB3 throwing me back to the start of a given world so I could try all over again.

      Fix this, Nintendo. I am not 8. It is not summer vacation. I don’t have TIME for this.

      • The_Misanthrope says:

        I never owned a NES or SNES growing up, so much of my SMB experience comes from playing with friends. Question for veteran SMB3 players: Does anyone actually remember all the stages between the first world and last level? It seems everyone I’ve play it with these days just warp-whistles straight to the last world.

        • Cornell_University says:

          I will try to play through without whistles more often than not, both to increase the time of gaming distraction and because, like you say, a lot of those levels in the middle I don’t remember so well.

          I submit that the second half of World 5 that takes place in the sky is the hardest stretch of the game.

        • Girard says:

          Back in the days when you were a kid and a game was supposed to last a long time since you only got them on birthdays and holidays, mostly, and when playing games was less about ‘getting through’ and more about ‘enjoying the view’ (perhaps in part because we were kids who had much more free time), there were times when we’d warp whistle to a level we totally didn’t need to – like the World 7 pipe maze – just to see what those worlds had in store. Not every play of the game had to culminate in beating it (especially when the game didn’t have save states). Sometimes you’d just be like “Eh, I want to see what Sky World is all about.”

  8. The_Misanthrope says:

    I’m not really sure there’s any really good games pitched exclusively to that age, Ellie.  Sure, there are plenty of games advertised for that age range, but I think 2-3 yr-olds are a bit like magpies, always attracted to whatever shiny bit is in front of them.  Mobile games and other touchscreen games–the more bells and whistles, the better– are probably best, as they are easier and more direct to control.  My friend’s 3-yr-old son plays a lot of the Despicable Me-branded version of Temple Run, in between fits of running back and forth the span of the house running into things and trying to gain access to things just out-of-reach.

    Once they get old enough to figure the whole two analog-stick control scheme (or mouse-keyboard combo for PC enthusiasts) for moving about in a 3D space, Minecraft is like kiddie crack.  They just love that shit.

    Good luck with the stand-up!  If anyone leaves during your set, pretend (or actually do this) to be at the tail-end of a joke about them as they re-enter the room.  Shame is an excellent motivator.

    • DrFlimFlam says:

      I probably let my kid play more games than he should, in part because I only ever had an NES until I was 18 and bought my own dang Sony PlayStation, but I found that the Angry Birds/Bad Piggies games were lots of fun for FlimFlam, Jr., at the ages of 3-4 especially. Easy to understand, and you can put as much or as little effort into it as you like.

    • Girard says:

      I taught at a preschool with a class of 3-5-year-olds. In terms of actual games (and not ‘activities’ like Kid Pix, which is awesome for kids, by the way), the kids tremendously enjoyed – and could easily explore and even complete – the Humongous Entertainment SCUMM-based adventures like Putt-Putt’s Parade, Freddie Fish, and so on. I think those games, with their cartoony imagery, lack of motor-skill-dependent arcade sequences, and casually-paced relaxed exploration, are pretty perfectly pitched at the toddler/preschool set.

      I remember once playing some emulated games with a 5-year-old cousin (Who is now 16! Shit, I’m old!), and noticing how, despite superficial similarities, Kirby platformers are actually MUCH better designed for youngsters than Mario platformers. We tried Mario World, and he had a really rough time not falling into pits and getting killed. But Kirby 3 was just his speed (we could also play that game co-op, which was nice).

  9. Crusty Old Dean says:

    Yay, the podcast is back!

    That’s all I had to say.

  10. boardgameguy says:

    Good work Tim Dobbs!

  11. Fluka says:

    And now, in the comments section, a woman!

    Not much to say here besides “Thank you, John!”  This podcast made my morning train commute at least 87% less crappy than it usually is.  Every single commenter involved in it is lovely.  MOAR PLZ.

  12. Sam_Barsanti says:

    “Evan Narcisse checks in with news…”

    That’s cool, Teti. I’m OK with this. Totally OK. Totally.

  13. HobbesMkii says:

    Did you just fact-check your own mother?

    • John Teti says:

      Ha, by her own insistence, in fact. She doggedly researched this case after we got off the phone! She also wanted me to include an apology to the Hopkinton State Fair for her unwitting slander, as well. But I’m pretty sure they’d be happy to take $2,600 off some poor shmoe, too, if they had the chance.

      • HobbesMkii says:

        I’m pretty sure every state fair has tarnished its reputation well beyond repair at this point. The Scarborough State Fair (over in Maine) stole my cousin’s wallet, for instance.

        • The_Helmaroc_King says:

          I went to Scarborough Fair and all I got was a lousy shirt.

        • Effigy_Power says:

          Imagine Provincial Faires in Canada. It’s very much alike, but has even more pickup trucks and everyone eats donuts, deep-fried Snickers and massive amounts of other greasy crap, listens to awful country music and there’s the constant smell of gasoline and cow-shit.
          So yeah, it’s exactly the same.
          With more French. Plus there’s poutine.
          It’s worse.

        • Fluka says:

          My local childhood Ag Fair specialized less in grifting, and more in medical horrors.  They had a cow with a plexiglass window in its side!  You could see all of its stomachs!  Also, free lyme disease from ticks on the hay ride. And lots and lots of bees.

        • Citric says:

          I’m somewhat confused at how the Saskatchewan fairs somehow have less country music and pickup trucks than a Quebec fair.

          Though we don’t skimp on the smelly animals.

        • HobbesMkii says:

          @Fluka:disqus I don’t see what the big deal is. I put some window tint on my cow. 

        • The Guilty Party says:

          @The_Helmaroc_King:disqus Hey, better than all these spices. 

      • LeGrandSigh says:

        @JohnTeti:disqus As a fellow citizen of the Shire, I enjoyed hearing about the Hopkinton State Fair. 

        Some things I’d like to add: 

        1) Water Country in Portsmouth, NH, has great fried dough.  It was the highlight of my summer trips there, which we’d go to every time the summer temperature was above 73 degrees (summer in NH!).

        2) The ritzy part of New Hampshire is the 13 miles of seacoast NH (not including the non-ritzy Hampton Beach, although with the recent renovations it’s looking kind of nice).

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  15. McDLT says:

    I can’t find your podcast on Stitcher app. Can you do whatever it is you need to do to get it on there? 

    http://www.stitcher.com/content-faq

  16. Ted Kindig says:

    Hey Gameological in Stereo, if you could triumphantly return on, say, a biweekly basis, that’d be cool.

  17. Electric Dragon says:

    The Gameological Society

    You know we’re talking about a game, right? It’s just a game.

  18. snazzlenuts says:

    These podcasts are great, but are we going to get another Digest soon?