The Blood Zone podcast

#10b - Adorable Small Business Tyrant Simulator

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writer and academic Alex Ross (@Alexrosswrites) returns for part two of our examination of the indie game world via a few documentaries. this time we cover the post-indie boom, aka the  time of the "indiepocalypse" and beyond from 2015 till today. first we look at the depressing vanity project/indie survival story "Surviving Indie" from late 2016, then we look at a dense but surprisingly quality documentary about the indie game scene in China called "Indie Games In China" aka "Alonewalk" from 2018 and talk about the endlessly complex landscape for game development in China. and then... we do the ill-advised and look at this year's E3 "Wholesome Direct" stream, a subject of much intense discourse.

things referenced in the episode:

"Spinning is winning" a research paper that Alex is a co-author on: https://journals.sagepub.com/doi/10.1177/1469540521993931

2017 Failure Workshop at GDC featuring Tim Rogers: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=H67itWCG1JY

Surviving Indie: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Z7CWZhhBMSo

news article about Ryan Zehm: http://ireader.olivesoftware.com/Olive/iReader/IdahoStatesmanPress/SharedArticle.ashx?document=ISM%5C2016%5C01%5C25&article=Ar00108

Ryan Zehm's sneaking into GDC video: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=UF2NlwJjEm0

Indie Games in China (aka Alonewalk): https://store.steampowered.com/app/825400/Indie_Games_in_China/

EGM article about the state of China's indie game scene: https://egmnow.com/the-closing-walls-around-chinas-independent-game-development-scene/

long video essay by youtuber NeverKnowsBest on the Chinese indie scene: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=_VrTZ_UeUxM

Gao Ming's ludum dare page: https://ldjam.com/users/gao-ming/games

2021 E3 Wholesome Direct stream: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Ozqhc7YXd3M

article in the verge on "The Rise of Wholesome Games": https://www.theverge.com/2020/3/10/21172972/games-wholesome-themes-uwu-frog-detective-wattam-sokpop-keita-takahashi

People Make Games video on Zach Barth and Minecraft: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=__Nq2vNcpIo

 

as always, you can support this podcast (and me) on patreon at https://www.patreon.com/ellaguro

outro music is "Home" from the FEZ ost by Disasterpeace

intro music (as always) is "Museum Agony" from the Stretch Panic ost by Norio Hanzawa

More episodes from "The Blood Zone"

  • The Blood Zone podcast

    #10b - Adorable Small Business Tyrant Simulator

    2:11:44

    writer and academic Alex Ross (@Alexrosswrites) returns for part two of our examination of the indie game world via a few documentaries. this time we cover the post-indie boom, aka the  time of the "indiepocalypse" and beyond from 2015 till today. first we look at the depressing vanity project/indie survival story "Surviving Indie" from late 2016, then we look at a dense but surprisingly quality documentary about the indie game scene in China called "Indie Games In China" aka "Alonewalk" from 2018 and talk about the endlessly complex landscape for game development in China. and then... we do the ill-advised and look at this year's E3 "Wholesome Direct" stream, a subject of much intense discourse. things referenced in the episode: "Spinning is winning" a research paper that Alex is a co-author on: https://journals.sagepub.com/doi/10.1177/1469540521993931 2017 Failure Workshop at GDC featuring Tim Rogers: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=H67itWCG1JY Surviving Indie: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Z7CWZhhBMSo news article about Ryan Zehm: http://ireader.olivesoftware.com/Olive/iReader/IdahoStatesmanPress/SharedArticle.ashx?document=ISM%5C2016%5C01%5C25&article=Ar00108 Ryan Zehm's sneaking into GDC video: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=UF2NlwJjEm0 Indie Games in China (aka Alonewalk): https://store.steampowered.com/app/825400/Indie_Games_in_China/ EGM article about the state of China's indie game scene: https://egmnow.com/the-closing-walls-around-chinas-independent-game-development-scene/ long video essay by youtuber NeverKnowsBest on the Chinese indie scene: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=_VrTZ_UeUxM Gao Ming's ludum dare page: https://ldjam.com/users/gao-ming/games 2021 E3 Wholesome Direct stream: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Ozqhc7YXd3M article in the verge on "The Rise of Wholesome Games": https://www.theverge.com/2020/3/10/21172972/games-wholesome-themes-uwu-frog-detective-wattam-sokpop-keita-takahashi People Make Games video on Zach Barth and Minecraft: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=__Nq2vNcpIo   as always, you can support this podcast (and me) on patreon at https://www.patreon.com/ellaguro outro music is "Home" from the FEZ ost by Disasterpeace intro music (as always) is "Museum Agony" from the Stretch Panic ost by Norio Hanzawa
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    #10a - White Collar Mario From The Future

    2:09:33

    hey everyone! for the 10th episode i've brought game academic and writer Alex Ross on board for part one of a punishingly long journey relitigating all the ridiculous things of independent game development scenes past via a few documentaries. the three we talked about today are: the famous commercial for the indie game scene "Indie Game The Movie", the obscure cult recruitment video "Us and the Game Industry", and the goofy 2010 time capsule "Get Bonus: The Movie" make sure to keep your ears peeled for a bonus mini-essay i wrote for the episode at the end. you can find the text of it here: https://pastebin.com/7nf6Vc5f stay tuned for a part 2 where we look at a few documentaries that are little bit more recent! Alex Ross's twitter: https://twitter.com/Alexrosswrites Indie Game: The Movie: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Indie_Game:_The_Movie Indie Game: The Movie Vimeo shorts: https://vimeo.com/indiegame review on RogerEbert.com about Indie Game: The Movie (i erroneously said it was reviewed by Ebert himself, but it was reviewed by Odie Henderson): https://www.rogerebert.com/streaming/indie-game-super-meat-boy-vs-fez My (archived) Indie Game: The Movie review on the now defunct Midnight Resistance website: https://web.archive.org/web/20120718043913/http://midnightresistance.co.uk/articles/indie-game-movie-review Soulja Boy provides his thoughts on Braid: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=xSXofLK5hFQ Us and the Game Industry trailer: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=BzQgIgTVqfw (you can watch it for free on tubitv.com) Stephanie Beth (director)'s Gamasutra page: https://www.gamasutra.com/blogs/StephanieBeth/20130603/193526/Intrinsic_Incentives.php#comment204359 GET BONUS: The Movie (youtube reupload): https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=KT_3pxMQVr0 tim rogers's current youtube channel: https://www.youtube.com/user/ActionButtonDotCom music used: "Downstream" by Shira Kammen, and "Lullabye Set" by Shira Kammen and Pam Swan, featured in the game Braid (2008) "Asobi", "The Drifting/I Don't Wanna Be With You" and "Sabaku" by the Zazen Boys, featured on their album "4" and also in GET BONUS
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    #09 - We'll Be Middle-Aged Children (But So What)

    1:43:51

    go to 10:24 to skip my long-winded intro hi folks! it's 2021 now, i guess. and all the time i spent inside with anxiety over the past year has made me far more aware of how much i'm rapidly aging into irrelevance... perfect time for my 33 year old self to get back into the Cinderella story of a bunch of middle aged guys with families who hit the big time from the city of Dayton in my home state of Ohio.... Guided By Voices. specifically i focus on what i consider to be the strangest and most unique album of their catalog, 1993's Vampire on Titus. i also go over why i fell out with GBV over the years after my intense fandom of them in my late teens, my issues with the GBV fandom (aka cult), and the (many) things i feel like nuGBV has lost compared to the classic 90's lo-fi albums. here's a list of things referenced in this episode: Nuggets compilation: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Nuggets:_Original_Artyfacts_from_the_First_Psychedelic_Era,_1965%E2%80%931968 info on Record Clubs: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Record_club Scat Records: https://realscatrecords.com/ Closer You Are: The Story of Robert Pollard and Guided By Voices: https://www.goodreads.com/en/book/show/37506059-closer-you-are Self-inflicted Aural Nostalgia podcast episode on Vampire on Titus: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=2h0QXtssTG0 Penny Fractions newsletter: https://www.getrevue.co/profile/pennyfractions Future of Music Coalition: https://twitter.com/future_of_music Liz Pelly: https://lizpelly.com/ AND MY PATREON: http://www.patreon.com/ellaguro   all songs used in this episode are by Guided By Voices: "Club Molluska" from Same Place The Fly Got Smashed "Dusted" from the Fast Japanese Spin Cycle EP "Motor Away" from the Crying Your Knife Away live album: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=rSJfeNKLbx0 "No. 2 in the Model Home Series" from Vampire on Titus "Donkey School" from Vampire on Titus "Wondering Boy Poet" from Vampire on Titus "'Wished I Was A Giant'" from Vampire on Titus Tim Heidecker on GBV: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=FfG8nEhNMhk "The Best of Jill Hives" from Earthquake Glue "Expecting Brainchild", "Superior Sector Janitor X", "Dusted", "Marchers in Orange", "Sot", "World of Fun", "Jar of Cardinals" "E-5", "Gleemer (The Deeds of Fertile Jim)", "What About It", and "Non-Absorbing" from Vampire on Titus "Don't Stop Now" from King Shit & The Golden Boys "Superior Sector Janitor X" (again) "The Old Grunt" from Mag Earwhig! "The Weeping Boogeyman" from Universal Truths and Cycles "Ambergris" from Same Place the Fly Got Smashed "Pendulum" from Same Place the Fly Got Smashed
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    #08 - Hurtling Over Peak Videograme

    1:34:17

    it's a video...grames episode! in this long-awaited new episode, i briefly talk about cool oddball that very much bear the mark of their creators: the colorful and goofy Super Bogus World (which has a recently released sequel) and the very unsettling Pagan: Autogeny. then i spend the meat of the episode unpacking a recent obsession of mine: the Trackmania series (with focus on the recent Trackmania 2020 free to play game) with returning guest, writer and phd student Ian Williams. we ask the tough questions: what is so unusually good about Trackmania compared to other racing games? why does its company (Nadeo) seem to keep fucking something that works so well up? what is quintessentially European about Trackmania? what is our platonic ideal Trackmania track? and other such questions. Ian's 2014 article about the Trackmania series (with an interview of director Florent Castelnerac) in Paste Magazine is here: https://www.pastemagazine.com/games/inside-trackmania-talking-with-nadeos-florent-cast/   Ross's Game Dungeon's video about TrackMania² Canyon: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ulp99wSUNgk  you can find Trackmania Nations Forever for free on Steam and Trackmania 2020 for free on the Epic Games Store (with an Ubisoft Uplay account) hubol's website (where you can download Super Bogus World 1): http://www.hubolhubolhubol.com/ you can download (& donate) to Super Bogus World 2 here: https://hubol.itch.io/super-bogus-world-2 you can follow hubol on twitter here: https://twitter.com/hubol you can find Pagan: Autogeny here: https://oleandergarden.itch.io/pagan3 youtuber Painticus's review of the Pagan trilogy: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=gv1y6xt8qAE you can follow Oleander Garden on twitter here: https://twitter.com/void_hyacinth you can follow Ian on twitter at: http://www.twitter.com/Brock_Toon Ian's tabletop RPG ACTION MOVIE WORLD: First Blood is available here: https://www.drivethrurpg.com/product/157229/ACTION-MOVIE-WORLD-First-Blood youtuber Writing About Games's video "Trackmania Deserves to Be Far Bigger Than It Is": https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=2FxRM9YLaaU
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    #07 - The Great Sea Swallows Her Whole For A Treat

    1:07:02

    greetings and apologies for the time between episodes! the music industry (among with many other creative industries) facing a severe downturn because of the recent pandemic and the general deluge of traumatic news has made me reflect more on smaller, more understated artistic triumphs as an antidote. so this episode i escape the present by talking about some timeless music from the recent past: the unassuming yet grandiose singer-songwriter Nina Nastasia, and particularly her (in my opinion) best albums The Blackened Air and Run To Ruin.   things discussed in the podcast: Chris Dahlen's Pitchfork review of The Blackened Air: https://pitchfork.com/reviews/albums/5713-the-blackened-air/ and Run To Ruin: https://pitchfork.com/reviews/albums/5712-run-to-ruin/ John Peel archive video on Nina Nastasia: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=vWNjoa4nLYo Electrical Audio "Crap/Not Crap" thread on Nina Nastasia: https://www.electricalaudio.com/phpBB3/viewtopic.php?f=6&t=663 Nina Nastasia's music on the dreaded Spotify: https://open.spotify.com/artist/1llUGXhBESnmaCxpBV4zwe recent track featuring Nina Nastasia: https://danielknox.bandcamp.com/track/the-poisoner-feat-nina-nastasia Phosphorescent "Been So Long" cover: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=gZrcNZBKnic   music included in this episode: "Young Folks" by Peter, Bjorn and John (2006) by Nina Nastasia: "Oblivion" and "Roadkill" from Dogs (2000)  "This Is What It Is", "Rosemary", and "Been So Long" from The Blackened Air (2002) "Superstar", "We Never Talked", "I Say That I Will Go", "You Her and Me", and "On Teasing" from Run To Ruin (2003) "Our Day Trip" from On Leaving (2006) "Outlaster" from Outlaster (2010)   title music as always is "Museum of Agony" from the PS2 game Stretch Panic by Norio Hanzawa  
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    #06 - Enduring Mock Funerals

    1:59:52

    a journey through the myth, the legend, the phenomenon Travel Channel tv show and Ghost Bro hunter sanctum Ghost Adventures featuring special guest Ian Williams. in an extra long episode (that took years to edit...) Ian and I talk about ghosts, the Pro Wrestling-like appeal of Ghost Adventures, Zak Bagans as the classic American confidence man, the American fascination with ghost hunting, and the good and bad about Ghost Adventures as a cultural phenomenon and... whether or not Zak Bagans actually wants to fuck a ghost you can read the "Proton Packs and Teddy Bears" article i mention towards the end of the podcast here: https://www.popularmechanics.com/technology/gadgets/a23563/ghost-hunting-gadgets/ Ian's tabletop RPG ACTION MOVIE WORLD: First Blood is available here: https://www.drivethrurpg.com/product/157229/ACTION-MOVIE-WORLD-First-Blood Ian's Jacobin article "You Can Sleep Here All Night" about videogames and labor is here: https://www.jacobinmag.com/2013/11/video-game-industry/ you can follow Ian on twitter at: http://www.twitter.com/Brock_Toon outro music is "Ghost" by Neutral Milk Hotel from In The Aeroplane, Over The Sea: https://neutralmilkhotel.bandcamp.com/album/in-the-aeroplane-over-the-sea intro music, as always, is "Museum of Agony" by Norio Hanzawa from the Stretch Panic OST
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    #05 - Remixed Down In The Scab Hole

    1:46:26

    hello fellow dark voyagers of the great beyond, this is a very special musical episode about my (sometimes sordid) history and musical background with the online videogame music arrangement community OC ReMix, the music and artistry of several things i enjoyed on that website, and the many dramas of that era that still haunt me in ways that i can't put into words today. you are in for a journey, and a real treat. so be patient and sit back and relax. internet archive of the John Romero blog post: https://web.archive.org/web/20020402073523/http://www.rome.ro/ judges' decision i reference later in the episode in the "Panel Is A Disaster" part: https://ocremix.org/community/topic/2436-no-sonic-cd-jp-work-it-retrohouse-mix/  much music is feature in this episode. in order of appearance: 1. "yup.mid" - my very first midi track which i used for my Wolf 3D mod Chemical Warfare 2. "Dark World Jazz" Legend of Zelda: A Link To The Past arrangement by Gux: https://ocremix.org/remix/OCR00156 3. "Happily Merried" - my very first finished remix that was submitted (and declined): http://vgmixarchive.com/songs/vgmix1/Adhesive%20Boy%20-%20Happily%20Merried%20(Super%20Mario%20RPG).mp3 (Judge decision for Happily Merried): https://ocremix.org/community/topic/869-no-super-mario-rpg-happily-merried-ft/ 4. "The Atomizer" Final Fantasy 6 arrangement by Mustin: https://ocremix.org/remix/OCR00163 5. "Da Phunky Forest" Super Mario World arrangement by me: https://ocremix.org/remix/OCR00908 6. "Forest Birdcussion" Donkey Kong Country 2 arrangement by Protricity: https://ocremix.org/remix/OCR01138 7. "Trippin' On Rainbows" Super Mario Kart arrangement by Mazedude: https://ocremix.org/remix/OCR00686 8. "Cyborg Blobby" A Boy And His Blob arrangement by Mazedude: https://ocremix.org/remix/OCR00881 9. "Static Aversion" Silent Hill 1/2 arrangement by Children of the Monkey Machine & Steve Pordon: https://ocremix.org/remix/OCR00451 10. "74 Floors" The Combatribes arrangement by K. Praslowicz: https://ocremix.org/remix/OCR00600 11. "IceCapped" Sonic 3 arrangement by MkVaff (formerly McVaffe): https://ocremix.org/remix/OCR00240 12. "Team Gato" Chrono Trigger arrangement by Dale North & Mustin: https://ocremix.org/remix/OCR00313 13. "Niggaz 4 Life" Astérix (NES) arrangement by zykO & RocketMermaid: https://ocremix.org/remix/OCR01125 14. "Juese Belmont" Castlevania arrangement by Disk Mastah Smokabitch (aka Shael Riley): http://olremix.org/remixes/300 15. "Ocarina Boogie" Zelda 64-related jam by The Black Lodge: https://williamjacksn.github.io/ocremoved/mp3/TheLegendofZeldaOcarinaofTime_OcarinaBoogie.mp3 16. "Little Kids Can't Fly" Kid Icarus arrangement by Daknit, Bard of Tarot: https://williamjacksn.github.io/ocremoved/mp3/KidIcarus_LittleKidsCantFly.mp3 17. "Lesser Kerubic Patchwork" Chrono Trigger arrangement by Israfel: https://ocremix.org/remix/OCR00871 18. "All Blues" arrangement from Miles Davis's Kind of Blue from the album "Kind of Bloop" by Shnabubula: https://soundcloud.com/shnabubula/miles-davis-all-blues-nes-chiptune-vrc6 19. "The Rose General" Final Fantasy 9 arrangement by katethegreat19: https://ocremix.org/remix/OCR01859 20. "Cry of the Chasmal Critter Chain" Donkey Kong Country arrangement by me: https://ocremix.org/remix/OCR01256 21. "Forest Starlight" Chrono Trigger arrangement by posu yan (formerly po!) from the Squaredance album: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=V8dgymZJpIQ 22. "Halls of Abandonment" Alisia Dragoon arrangement by LastUnicron: https://ocremix.org/remix/OCR00928 23. "Banish" Donkey Kong Country arrangement by Redg: https://ocremix.org/remix/OCR03109 24. "Mode Serpent" Final Fantasy 6 arrangement by Quinn Fox: https://ocremix.org/remix/OCR00954 (the podcast theme as always is "Museum of Agony" by Norio Hanzawa from the Stretch Panic OST)  
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    #04 - That's A Dead Kid

    1:23:23

     welcome back, universe!   on this episode i talk with David Stockdale of the Youtube channel Nightmare Masterclass about the disturbing fake videogame let's play/video art project/internet sensation Petscop. what is it? what distinguishes it from other creepypasta internet horror videos? is it a commentary on the commodification of children as marketing demographic and childhood nostalgia? (yes, it is). anyway, you can listen to me talk about this to David, who has made several lengthy and in-depth videos on the Petscop series on his youtube channel Nightmare Masterclass   hope you enjoy it! sorry it's taken forever to get up an episode - was busy with other stuff at the end of last year, and it takes a long time to edit these episodes! lol. i'll probably continue this trend of uploading episodes more gradually. you can watch the Petscop series here: https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCZKQv0ZFHpeIUkOtNjtq4KA   and follow the creator Tony on twitter here: https://twitter.com/pressedyes   David's Nightmare Masterclass videos on Petscop can be found here: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Crvn5-LOUFA&list=PL66V-u4b7Z8BkYl59qLV5-6N3FkxTG0Pw   and you can follow David on twitter here: https://twitter.com/davisstockwell   here's an old youtube playthrough of Tony's game "Nifty": https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=JKdQ0ZBS_f0&feature=emb_title   samples taken from the video intro of the Nightmare Masterclass series on Petscop, and various videos in the Petscop series, including the tracks "school", "explore", "explore-min" and others from the Petscop soundtrack: https://petscop.bandcamp.com   the intro song, as always, is "Museum of Agony" from the game Stretch Panic by Norio Hanzawa
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    #03 - Third Eye Wide Blind

    1:47:41

    greetings! on this very chunky special long episode, i rewatched Stanley Kubrick's final film Eyes Wide Shut (1999) and talk about its various allusions and resonances to the modern day hell world we are all trudging through now. turns out there's a lot going on in this film! major spoilers for the entirety of the movie. hope you enjoy it! i've been much busier this month but hopefully this longer episode makes up for it. stay tuned for a new episode about either music or a game next month. the Christiane Kubrick interview with The Guardian mentioned at the beginning of the episode is here: https://www.theguardian.com/film/2010/aug/18/stanley-kubrick-christiane the Tim Kreider piece "Introducing Sociology" i mentioned multiple times in the episode is here: http://www.visual-memory.co.uk/amk/doc/0096.html the song near the beginning is "Frontier" by Holly Herndon from her 2019 album PROTO: https://hollyherndon.bandcamp.com/track/frontier the song at the end is "Taman Shud" by The Drones: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=6OkgaCRII7I the intro song, as always, is "Museum of Agony" from the game Stretch Panic by Norio Hanzawa
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    #02 - Trapped Inside A Soul Cube

    1:08:18

    my brain is forever infected by worms after 15 hours of Soul Axiom, the Southland Tales of videogames... maybe? it's a bizarre and clunky videogame released in 2016 that is far more ambitious than it has any right to be. because my mind is a prison now, i talk Jeffrey Epstein, eugenics, corny indie game cliches, and the tech world. uhh oh yeah, and also a lot about Soul Axiom. is it a good game? is it a bad game? is it a "so bad it's good" game? who the hell knows anymore. The game in question: https://store.steampowered.com/app/279900/Soul_Axiom Soul Axiom OST: https://walesinteractive.bandcamp.com/releases music used: "Visitation Beam - Hub" "Beyond The Ruins - Jungle" "If You Build It They Will Come - Elysian Fields"   show theme is "Museum of Agony" by Norio Hanzawa from Stretch Panic

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