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GameCritics.com Podcast Episode 96: The Listener Created Show

This week we put the fate of our show in the hands of our listeners and came up with a bevy of hot topics, from the Xbox 180 to the distinction between AAA and Indie games. Featuring Richard Naik, Brad "Doesn't Know What a Conch Is" Gallaway, Chi Kong "No Menus" Lui, Michael Cunningham, and Ashley King.

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Please send feedback and mailbag questions to podcast (at) gamecritics (dot) com.

Toki Tori 2 Review

Engage All the Learning

Toki Tori 2 Screenshot

HIGH Pulling off a complex series of environment manipulations without a hitch the first time.

LOW Knowing just enough of a puzzle solution's to solve it wrong. For hours.

WTF Some of the photographs have to be taken before the player is taught the photograph song.

The Walking Dead: 400 Days Review

A Shift in Perspective

The Walking Dead: 400 Days Screenshot

HIGH "Would you rather…"

LOW Wyatt's lightweight story.

WTF We don't see any of what happened after the stories but before the epilogue?

Leisure Suit Larry: Reloaded Review

Return of the PixelHunter

Leisure Suit Larry: Reloaded Screenshot

HIGH I wonder how many Naugas had to die to make that door?

LOW How many times am I going to have to reload this slot machine?

WTF Did Larry just drug a woman for sex?!? How did I forget that was in there?

Interview with Pagoda West's Jared Kasl and Tom Fry

Major Magnet Screenshot

Pagoda West are a small independent studio who rose from the ashes of now defunct fan-game Sonic 2 HD. If that wasn't strange enough, they've just released their first game—poles of attraction platformer Major Magnet. I spent some time talking to two thirds of the team, Jared Kasl and Tom Fry, to hear about the process of making a first game, how magnets work, and why The Ren & Stimpy Show is such an influence.

Extra Credits: Differences in Scale vs Differences in Kind

Extra Credits looks at employing scale (i.e. more enemies) and tone to break up gameplay and maintain a player's interest level. Extra Credits' example of a game that got this right was Call of Duty: Modern Warfare—who knew that Call of Duty could be the game to actually teach us something?

Dungeon Hearts Review

Frayed at the Edges

Dungeon Hearts Screenshot

HIGH Pulling off a screen-clearing, game-changing combo is especially awesome when lives are on the line.

LOW Matching three chargers into an attack gem…right before it hits the edge of the screen and disappears. (This happens a lot.)

WTF I have enough power to use the Fighter's super move on this dinosaur twice! WHY WON'T IT DIE?!

Sparky's Games of PAX East 2013

Guacamelee Screenshot

I typically go to a lot of panels at Penny Arcade Expo (PAX) East, but this year relatively few of the offerings interested me (and some of the interesting ones were on simultaneously). So, I spent a lot of time on the show floor. The only major publisher I really visited was Ubisoft, where I learned that Might & Magic X will be coming this year and has a huge, wasteful UI. I spent most of the rest of my time in the Indie Megabooth and environs, both because this is a more efficient use of time and you're more likely to actually see the games and talk to somebody interesting there.

Extra Credits: Global Games—Brazil

Extra Credits is trying a new feature where it introduces viewers to burgeoning video game markets. The first one tackled is Brazil and while I see the country's potential, this particular presentation doesn't do the best job of selling Brazil as a great new game market. Sure you can still buy a Sega Genesis/Mega Drive—brand new—and who doesn't want that? But video game piracy seems to still be pretty rampant there. It also looks like one of those territories that isn't the least bit interested in fixing things from a consumer, governmental and industry standpoint.

Extra Credits: The Beast Macabre

In this response piece, Extra Credits expands on the subject of horror in games. This time the crew talks about the three types of "monsters" available to developers shedding a little insight into why some fall flat.

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