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Technology
Leisure
Video Games

Noclip

Updated 2 months ago

Technology
Leisure
Video Games
Read more

Dispatches from the world of video games. Noclip dives deep into the heart of gaming and tells you the stories behind the code. From the people who brought you the celebrated gaming documentary channel comes a new type of gaming podcast. Hosted by Danny O'Dwyer.

Read more

Dispatches from the world of video games. Noclip dives deep into the heart of gaming and tells you the stories behind the code. From the people who brought you the celebrated gaming documentary channel comes a new type of gaming podcast. Hosted by Danny O'Dwyer.

iTunes Ratings

185 Ratings
Average Ratings
180
3
1
0
1

Love it!

By Leon2ky - Dec 03 2019
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Love the podcast, keep up the great work!

Great Show

By kravenwtf - Feb 14 2019
Read more
Show features great interviews with people in the games industry. Great audio quality.

iTunes Ratings

185 Ratings
Average Ratings
180
3
1
0
1

Love it!

By Leon2ky - Dec 03 2019
Read more
Love the podcast, keep up the great work!

Great Show

By kravenwtf - Feb 14 2019
Read more
Show features great interviews with people in the games industry. Great audio quality.
Cover image of Noclip

Noclip

Latest release on May 21, 2020

Read more

Dispatches from the world of video games. Noclip dives deep into the heart of gaming and tells you the stories behind the code. From the people who brought you the celebrated gaming documentary channel comes a new type of gaming podcast. Hosted by Danny O'Dwyer.

Rank #1: #09 - Jeff Gerstmann's Giant Bomb

Podcast cover
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The video game website Giant Bomb recently celebrated its tenth birthday so what better time to talk to its creator about the early days of the online games media, the future of games coverage, and getting fired in front of the entire world.

iTunes Page: https://itunes.apple.com/us/podcast/noclip/id1385062988 RSS Feed: http://noclippodcast.libsyn.com/rssGoogle Play: https://play.google.com/music/listen?u=0#/ps/If7gz7uvqebg2qqlicxhay22qny Spotify: https://open.spotify.com/show/5XYk92ubrXpvPVk1lin4VB?si=JRAcPnlvQ0-YJWU9XiW9pg Soundcloud: https://soundcloud.com/noclippodcast

Watch our docs: https://youtube.com/noclippodcast Sub our new podcast channel: https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCSHBlPhuCd1sDOdNANCwjrA Learn About Noclip: https://www.noclip.videoBecome a Patron and get early access to new episodes: https://www.patreon.com/noclip Follow @noclipvideo on Twitter

Hosted by @dannyodwyerFunded by 4,638 Patrons.

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- [Danny] Hello and welcome to Noclip, the podcast about video games, the people who make them, and the people who play them. On today's episode we talk to a guy who grew up a short drive from the epicenter of the online media revolution. As video game website Giant Bomb recently celebrated its 10th year of operation, we decided to talk to its founder about skipping school, hosting podcasts, and getting fired in front of the entire world. Jeff Gerstmann is a name you either know or don't, depending on whether or not you care about the world of games coverage. Outside of the world of games, Jeff is a husband, son, and a grown-up local kid in Petaluma, a city in Northern California that sits on the outskirts of what many would consider a reasonable commute to San Francisco. There he grew up with his mum and dad who operated a tire shop. A small town kid, with a small town life who loved rap, skateboards, and video games. But inside the world of games Jeff is larger than life. He's part of a dwindling older generation of journalists who were there when the magazines died, and the world of internet reporting exploded. He's lead the charge on finding new ways to talk about games, be it on video, podcast or late light E3 live shows. And crucially, his surname became a rallying cry for media ethics when he fell victim to one of the most lamentable acts of brand self-destruction of the digital age. Much of Jeff's story lives in the gaming zeitgeist. Before I met him, I thought I knew most of it. You see, to me Jeff was a hero. He had figured it all out. Growing up in Ireland, years before Twitch or even YouTube had started, I'd watch him host shows broadcast live from the GameSpot offices in San Francisco. His job was talking about games, and he knew more about games than anyone I'd ever seen trying to do it on television. His job became a north star that I'd spend years following. And when I'd eventually find myself working in the same building those shows were filmed in, sitting at a desk a short walk from his, I slowly began to get a deeper understanding of Jeffrey Michael Gerstmann. Equal parts a quiet, contemplative person and a troublemaker, now responsible for keeping order. I recently sat down with Jeff to talk about the 10 Year Anniversary of his career's second act, the video game website GiantBomb.com. But the story of Giant Bomb and the story of Jeff Gerstmann are intertwined. So to tell you how Giant Bomb was founded we have to go back to a small town in Northern California, to the kid of the folks who ran the tire shop in sunny, quiet, suburban, Petaluma.

- [Jeff] The first video game console I owned, it was the Fairchild Channel F, which was, it kinda came out around the same time, same window as the Atari 2600 but it had a few more educational games so I think that tipped my parents in the favor of getting that thing, it had this terrible plunger controller, there was like a decent bowling game but it just immediately failed. I had relatives who had an Atari 2600 and would kinda covet that thing and eventually they gave it to me when the video game industry kinda crashed. But we got into computers not long after that. I got an Atari 400 and that was really the first proper like hey, this is a somewhat successful platform with stuff coming out that mattered. And so I mostly started on a computer.

- [Danny] What was the impetus for your parents getting it? Were they interested in technology at all or were you crying for it or what was the story there?

- [Jeff] You know, my dad played some video games certainly over the years but I think that was largely because that's what I was interested in. We were going to arcades a lot and on the weekends we would go out, there was an arcade in town called Dodge City and we would go to Dodge City. You know, my mom went once or twice, this was like the height of Pac-Man fever so like I would be there, my dad would be there, we'd be playing games and there would just be this huge line almost out the door of people waiting to play Pac-Man or Ms. Pac-Man. And it was just weird, you know, because it was just another game, like to me it was just like, all right, well yeah, I don't know, Pac-Man's over there and it is what it is and I'm over here playing Galaxian or Vanguard or you know, whatever the heck else, I don't really remember talking to too many people about video games. This was, you know, this woulda been, god, 82 ish, like early to mid 80s really and I was going to elementary school then and just there were like one or two other kids I knew that had computers but most kids didn't and they weren't really into video games per say or if they were they weren't really letting on. So there was one kid I knew that had a TRS-80 and so I'd go over to his place and play Parsec and some other stuff like that. There was a kid near the tire shop that my parents ran that had a VIC-20 and I could go over there and play like Radar Rat Race and some other stuff too.

- [Danny] So, I guess, what did you want to be when you grew up when you were like a middle schooler? Obviously games journalism wasn't a target you could exactly aim for so what were you thinking about your future when you were in like middle school, high school?

- [Jeff] When I was in high school we saw a posting, so LucasArts was relatively local, they were in Marin County and, you know, this woulda been like 1990, 1991, somewhere around there, and they were looking for testers. And I remember applying for it but like I was 15. Like it was, logistically it would've been impossible for me to even do that job 'cause I couldn't even drive a car yet. And it was 20ish miles away. But also like I remember writing, like they wanted a resume, I wrote an essay and it was like, you should give me this job. It was real dumb, I mean, whatever, in retrospect it was like, that is not a way to get a job. Also, ridiculous to assume that that would've even been possible at 15. But yeah, that was the first time I ever really thought about working in video games, I woulda been like 14 or 15.

- [Danny] So how did it actually come to pass then? What was your first gig in the industry and how did you end up getting it?

- [Jeff] So, I started going to trade shows, I met a guy a named Glenn Rubenstein who was a year younger than I was and we went to the same school, we went to the same high school. And Glenn was writing video game reviews for the local Petaluma newspaper and also I think he had a column in the San Francisco Examiner which was a newspaper. And so there would be articles about like, this youthful guy writing game reviews, look at this guy, it was like kind of a story or whatever. So we became friends, then he kinda said like, hey, I'm going to CES, do you wanna come with me? And I was like, yeah, I would love to go see video games.

- [Danny] How old are you?

- [Jeff] This is, I'm 16 at this point, he's 15.

- [Danny] Wow, okay. It's in Vegas, right?

- It's in Vegas also, yes. He's like, hey do you wanna come to Las Vegas. So I pitched it to my parents and just said like, hey, this thing's going on, I'd really like to go do it and they said yes, for whatever reason they said yes. And so me and Glenn set out to go, he had been to one before, he had been to CES I think the previous CES in Chicago might've been his first and so I went with him to that and just like I bought myself like a blazer and put it on and went to this trade show and went around and played video games and tried to play blackjack wearing a blazer because I looked like maybe I was of age. And that's where we met Ryan McDonald. We needed, honestly, I think we just needed more people to help pay for the hotel room or something like that and Ryan was doing something similar, he was writing about video games for a Healdsburg newspaper, which is about 40 miles north of Petaluma, where I'm now, which, for people who don't know, Petaluma is about 40 miles north of San Francisco, so, you know, Healdsburg's getting pretty far out there. And we met Ryan at the local mall, he seemed like an okay guy and we're like, yeah, you wanna come, let's go to Las Vegas. And so I kind of started just going to trade shows, we all met the guys from Game Informer pretty early on, Andy McNamara and Paul and some of the early other reviewers that were there at the time, Elizabeth Olsen and people like that, and we knew some people that were doing PR for video games at the time and stuff like that so we just kinda started meeting people and getting around. So that led to, Glenn ended up, so Glenn actually got me my first couple of jobs afterwards. We started going to the trade shows, we were doing a local public access show that was not about video games, it wasn't about much of anything really, and basically like barely getting by in high school 'cause we were just doing all this other stuff and not wanting to go to school very much. And so he ended up getting in at a magazine, they were starting up a magazine, they were originally gonna call it Blast, they were gonna call it Blast and it was gonna be like this lifestyle magazine funded by the, I guess the CEO of Creative Labs, so the Sound Blaster people were starting, basically funding a magazine. And so I spent a year commuting to Berkeley working for this magazine right after I got out of high school, so that woulda been like 1994. I was 19 commuting to Berkeley, working for a magazine, having no idea what I was doing, and we were covering Doom and we were covering, what are some fun things you could do with your Creative Labs branded sound card and stuff like that, that place lasted a little under a year before it folded. We made it about three issues, I think there was fourth that was almost done, and then I was out of there and had no idea what to do next. I was 19 and jaded and like burned by how that job went and angry at everything.

- [Danny] Yeah, had you dropped out of high school, had you just sorta finished it and then left off or were you thinking about college or were you thinkin', oh shit, do I jump to another journalism gig, what was your head space then?

- [Jeff] I finished high school. Between the public access show we were doing and this video game stuff that was still pretty nascent, you know, it wasn't really a job, it was very easy to look at that stuff and go like, man, I don't wanna go to school, like it's a waste of time. And so there was awhile there that like, I'll get my GED which is like so you can kinda test out of high school. And they tell you that it's equivalent to a high school diploma but then in some ways it's kind of not, I don't know, there was a weird. I had missed so much school and also we, so we were doing the public access show and I filmed a teacher, so a teacher at the high school I was going to, our chemistry teacher got fired and I believe the talk was, and I'm not sure, it was sexual harassment from the sounds of things, like to students. And so the first day that they introduced here's your new chemistry teacher I had the video camera that we used to tape the show so I filmed them introducing this new teacher and all this other stuff and like asked them questions like it was a press conference. And they answered, no one said, hey put that thing down. Like I was very clearly pointing a video camera at them. And then like the next day, that day, the day after, something like that, like the principal called me and said, hey, what are you gonna do with that video tape? And I said, well we're gonna put it on television.

- [Danny] Oh my gosh.

- [Jeff] And he was super not happy about that.

- [Danny] I wonder why.

- [Jeff] Yeah, and so at that point we realized we had something so we called the papers and said, hey we got this tape and they started investigating it and it became a story, it was something that they, I think they were trying to keep very quiet. Later on that teacher would show up at my doorstep looking for a copy of the tape because he was trying to sue the, I don't know, he was trying to get something out of the school district or something over what happened, this was years later after I was out of high school. So that was very strange. So after that between the amount of school we were missing, I had like a guidance counselor basically recommend that I should go on independent study. Which was basically, at the time it was primarily, it woulda been like pregnant teens and people that like were having trouble in school and that sorta stuff and they were like, oh, we're piloting a new program for kids who don't necessarily fit into the standard curriculum and they pitched it like that but basically it felt like they were just trying to get me and Glenn out of there.

- [Danny] Right, journalist at heart it turns out.

- [Jeff] I guess, I don't know. And so that led to me getting much higher grades and stuff because I was able to just kinda like crank through stuff really quickly. I graduated early because I just finished the work. I mean, I graduated like two weeks early, not hugely early. But it was great, it felt like I was getting one over on the school district because I was doing a full semester of science while like reading a book in my patents hot tub or, you know, just like stupid crap like that. I was getting like journalism credit for the stuff we were doing going to trade shows and like video production, they were just throwin' credits at me left and right and so yeah, I graduated early, it was great, I was able to take that and go back to the high school that I had stopped going to and go talk to like the one teacher that I liked, Mr. Moore, he was a math teacher, great guy, I think he taught some of the computer stuff also. And I remember telling him like, hey, I just graduated. And he just looked at me and said, god dammit, Gerstmann, you got 'em. He seemed like dismayed that I had managed to get one over on the system somehow but he couldn't help, but yeah, it was a, that felt pretty good.

- [Danny] Through his life, Jeff's do-it-his-own way attitude has been both a source of great strength and the catalyst for much drama. He attended a local junior college for a semester, but it didn't stick, preferring to do extra-curricular work like attending trade-shows with his friend Ryan McDonald, hanging out with local bands, and as he put it, learning how to drink. Around this time Glenn, who had gotta him the job at the magazine years earlier, started working for a new website in San Francisco's Richmond district. Just a few blocks from the servers of archive.org on the cloudy avenues of Clement Street, lied an office where a staff of 20 was running the website GameSpot. They had hired Glenn to lead the charge on a new console-focused spin-off of the site that they were going to call VideoGameSpot.

- [Jeff] Glenn hired Ryan McDonald not long after that to be like the strategy slash codes editor and then I started freelancing for him because they wanted 100 reviews by launch and they were lookin' to launch like three months, four months from that time. And so I started crankin' out reviews and the way I always heard it was that I was turning reviews around really quickly, really clean copy, and so Vince Broady kinda said like, hey, bring this guy and let's see. And they brought me in as like an editorial assistant which was more or less an intern type role and within two or three months, not even two or three months, within like a month, the launch editor, there was a guy, Joe Hutsko, who would come on, it was one of Vince's friends who had just come on I think to kinda see this console site through to launch and then I think he was gonna go on to do something else somewhere else and I was working late one night and Joe Hutsko walked by and saw me there and he was like, you're still here, what are you doin'? I was like, this work has to get done. And then like the next day I had an offer letter for a full time job at that point.

- [Danny] GameSpot would go through several transformations and acquisitions over the coming years. But as the business side of online media was learning how to walk, emerging technologies were creating exciting new ways for people to talk about games. GameSpot led this charge with one of the first video game podcasts, The Hotspot, and a weekly live show, On The Spot. Suddenly these young game reporters were starting to become more than just bylines. For years readers, the folks writing reviews and new articles, were just names at the bottom of a page. But now, for the first time, they were people with voices and faces. People with unique perspectives, opinions and personalities. And Jeff, with his experience doing public access shows in Petaluma, was at the forefront of this new form of media. The idea of streaming video games on the internet now is so blase and normal but back then I think to a lot of people it felt like magical, like a television channel that's broadcasting about games. From your perspective on your guys's end, did it feel weird to be like doing a live show that people were watching while you were just talking about this relatively niche hobby?

- [Jeff] It felt like a natural extension of the stuff we had been doing. And it felt like, I don't know, it felt fresh and cool and like the tech was weird and sometimes it didn't work the way you wanted it to but at the same time we were wearing makeup, we had built a studio, we had lights, we had a jib, it was Frank Adams lowering a camera into the shot and all this other stuff and so coming from like these lame public access shows I was doing when I was 16 and stuff, like I had a weird leg up on a lot of other people because I was already relatively comfortable being in front of a camera.

- [Danny] GameSpot continued to evolve. It went from indie to being purchased by media house Ziff Davis who then eventually sold it to CNET. By this stage the editor in chief was Greg Kasavin, who you may now recognize as the creative director of Supergiant Games, a studio we're currently running an embedded series on. His two right hand men at the time were Ricardo Torres on previews and Jeff on reviews. But when Greg left to start his career in games production, the role was never properly filled. Instead Ricardo and Jeff sort of ran it together, with increased influence being exerted on them from the powers above. The original founders of GameSpot had come from a editorial background but they were gone and the site was now being managed by people were less seasoned, more traffic orientated, and didn't value the power of editorial independence as much as they should have.

- [Jeff] You know, there was an understanding about like this is kinda how this stuff is supposed to work, it's not always supposed to be an easy relationship if everyone's kind of sticking to their guns and doing their jobs and stuff. I don't know that they always saw the value of that, I think that's something that they corrected quickly, it was just kind of, it was a blip, if you look at GameSpot as a 20 plus year institution there was that brief period of time there where it was like, man, this went a little sideways for a bit and I was just in the right place at the right time, wrong place wrong time, whatever it was.

- [Danny] What happened to Jeff next has been told a thousand times with new pieces added as time has provided new context. I myself spent years trying to fill in the blanks on how it all went down. Talking to friends and colleagues of Jeff who were there that day. It was a Wednesday in November, 2007 and the office was busily preparing for the weekly live-show which aired on Thursday afternoon. Jeff had just another another brush-up with management, this time over a review of Kane and Lynch which had made the sales department uncomfortable as they had sold a large advertising campaign to the game's publisher Eidos. If you visited GameSpot that week, the entire homepage was taken over by messaging about the game alongside a six out of ten review from Jeff. Jeff had had some run ins with top brass before and felt like he'd come close to losing his job a few times but this wasn't one of those times. It seemed like it had been dealt with, and he was already working on his next review. Later that morning his supervisor called him into a meeting and then called HR. He was told he was being terminated immediately, and as California is an at-will employment state, Jeff had no recourse. He was told to clean out his desk and bizarrely he was allowed to walk the halls for the rest of the day. Saying goodbye to his friends and colleagues, who were cursing the names of those in charge. Jeff drove home that day, the same 40 mile commute between San Francisco and Petaluma he had done thousands of times before. But this time it would be different, it would be a number of years before he stepped foot in the building again. There was no live show that week, the Kane and Lynch review had been taken down and then reposted and slowly over the coming days rumors began to circulate about Jeff's termination. Popular webcomic Penny Arcade ran a strip outlining the pressure from Eidos. Staff from the website 1UP, who were located just a block north of GameSpot on San Francisco's 2nd Street, held a protest outside the lobby of the building in support of the remaining staff. In an age before social media it would be a full eight days before the staff would actually speak up. And it happened on the next episode of On The Spot. The show ran with a somber opening. Ryan McDonald flanked by Ricardo Torres and a wincing Alex Navarro explained the situation. The camera pans out to reveal a full set with previewer Brad shoemaker, new hire Kevin VanOrd, community manager Jody Robinson and reporter Brendan Sinclar among a dozen of other staff.

- [Ryan] Obviously we wanted to start today's On the Spot off a little different than we had in the past. The recent events and what happened last week in regards to our longtime friend and colleague, Jeff Gerstmann, being dismissed. It's been really hard on us and the response obviously's been tremendously immense and it's been on both sides. It's nice to see that everybody speaks up and has been kinda pullin' for us. On the other hand it's been hard obviously seein' GameSpot sucks written 100,000 times on forums and stuff so obviously we wanted to address this and talk to you guys today. Jeff was a personal friend to pretty much everybody so it was really, really hard that it happened the way it did. But yeah, we really wanted to say that we love and miss Jeff and give him, honestly, the proper send off that he deserves so that's what today's show's all about. And obviously you can see this is hard for me personally.

- [Danny] For Jeff things were equally as bizarre. Tech Blogs like ValleyWag were running stories about the state of the site which were clearly sourced from somebody inside of GameSpot. The LA Times ran a story about the firing. And Jeff's mother received a phone call from a newspaper in Norway looking for a quote. It was three a.m. when the phone rang.

- [Jeff] You know, some of it was just like, some of the people I talked to were very like looking for more dirt, they were expecting me to get on the phone and be like, oh, well here's where the rest of the bodies are buried. But like, you know, I was shocked. I was not happy about the whole thing but at the same time I feel good about the work I did while I was there and there were so many great people there that kinda got caught in some of this crossfire a little bit. I wasn't like, oh well here's the other nasty things that happened, there wasn't any. There wasn't anything else. So some people were coming to me looking for like some bigger story that I just didn't have to give. And that was strange, it seemed like everyone wanted something from me for a little while and it was a very weird time. And so at that point it was like, 'cause you know, like I was not an editor in chief in title but you know, we were running an editorial team. And so there aren't a lot of jobs out there at that level. It wasn't like I could walk into IGN or 1UP or, you know, I don't even know who else was even out there at that point, it wasn't like I could walk into those places and say, yes, make me your editor in chief. Like, they already have people in those roles, it wasn't really a viable thing. So at that point I was like, well I kinda need to maybe start something new. The weekend after everything went down or it might've been, it was like the Friday after or maybe it was like a full week afterwards, a bunch of people that I used to work with came up here to my place and we just hung out, like kinda impromptu, just have a bunch of drinks, play some Rock Band, and that sorta thing, and Dave Snider came by, Ryan Davis invited Dave over. And Dave was working on his stuff, I think Boompa was still up, they had a car website, you know, they were running Comic Vine, they were building Political Base which was another kind of wiki focused site for political donations in the run up to that election there, this was November, 2007. And so they were starting a new company and looking to build, they were building websites. And I was like, oh, that's cool, awesome, and nothing really came of it for a little bit. So I went and did a show on Revision3, so I drove into San Francisco, did that show, and then on the way back from or as I was finishing up that show I got a call from Dave and he said, hey, you should come by the office in Sausalito and just come by. I was like, all right, cool. And so on my way back from there I stopped at the office in Sausalito and looked at Comic Vine, the other stuff they were doing, and we sat in a room and ate sandwiches and I more or less committed to them right there. It was kind of like an, oh, we'll think about it and they were very much like, hey, why don't you just take a month and get your head together, like take an actual break 'cause this is so crazy and then let us know what you wanna do. And so we kinda started building a website not too long after that.

- [Danny] Over the coming weeks several of Jeff's friends would leave GameSpot. Some were burned out from games coverage, this latest spell just being the straw that broke the camel's back. But others were leaving to work with Jeff. Fellow Sonoma County local Ryan Davis was the first. The two of them set up a blog, and started to a run a podcast which they hurriedly titled, Arrow Pointing Down.

- [Jeff] So, every single person at the company that we were, that I was now a part of were people that had worked at that old company. And so we did not wanna give the appearance of people getting poached out of there and like I don't know if there was an actual non compete with some of the people in the building or anything that would've prevented them from doing this stuff but all of it had to be kind of like quiet and so it couldn't be something as simple as like, hey we want to hire you over here. It had to be like, well, if you were, if you were no longer working and you needed a place to work we do have some opening. You know, it was very much that sort of thing. But I knew pretty immediately looking at it and going, okay, we wanna team of about this size and I knew that Alex would not be available, Alex Navarro, I knew that he was not looking to do this sort of work at that time. He was, you know, I think already thinking about Harmonix, he ended up doing public relations for Harmonix for a brief period of time. Like I pretty much had a whiteboard, I knew in my head that I, at that point it was like okay, this is me, it's Ryan, it's Brad, it's Vinny. Which is not how you're supposed to hire people. You know, some people are like, well what are the positions that we're looking to fill and all this other stuff and, but like knowing like what we looking to build and we needed to be a tight team, who were the people that are gonna be impactful in those roles, like okay, Brad has a lot of experience in previews, he is a person that I know, like he knows a ton of people around the game industry. Like, I've worked reviews and so on the review side of things we didn't talk to companies all that often. Brad had that in his role so he left, he left and he had other things that he was maybe thinking about doing, it wasn't like a, it was not a clandestine like, he left specifically to, it was like, okay, he's out and we're gonna figure this out. And then we needed someone to do do video and we had been working with Vinny for awhile and Vinny was fantastic and it was like, okay, Vinny's really funny, this seems like a good fit for him and so we kinda went about it that way. It felt like night and day a lot of ways, but very similar in others. We were able to sit down for the first time, for me the first time ever, like I never thought I would have the opportunity to build something like this, you know. I was always like very respectful or very envious of like Vince Broady as like the editorial lead of the founder of GameSpot and so I was like, man, he took a chance and built this thing and built it from the ground up and look at it, it's this huge, this monument, it's lasted so long. And I never thought I would have an opportunity like that in my career, it just never seemed like it was in the cards. And so being forced into it was exciting. Because it let me sit down and be like, okay, what do we actually want to do? What do we think is actually the best way to cover games with a small team in this day and age? And when we started in 96 on VideoGameSpot, like the videos had to be very low frame rate and very short because no one could download 'em and, you know, it was like we were doing minute long video clips of gameplay and that was revolutionary at the time. You know, you had to install the Real Video Player and all this, you know, all this other stuff. And here we were on the cusp of like, actually we can kind of, we can kinda livestream, you know, the services to do it easily weren't in place, you still had to host it yourself and that got very expensive and all that and YouTube wasn't really there in the way that they are now, YouTube existed but it was, I don't think you could put up videos that were longer than five or 10 minutes at the time and it just was not a viable place for that at the time. And so we had to kinda sit down and say, well with the technology we have available what can we do? And we wanted to be a podcast, the Hotspot was one of the most fun things I had doing in my entire time at GameSpot and we knew right out of the gate that we wanted to have a podcast be kind of one of the main things. And then from there it was like, okay, well, do we wanna write news? Not really, none of us are really news writers per say. And it was like, well, we need to able to capture video of games and put it on the internet. And we need to be able to talk alongside it or something like that, whether we're cutting it together or doing it on the fly. And so Mike Tatum, who was the head of biz dev for the company just went out to the Apple Store and came back with the biggest ass Mac Pro he could've gotten at the time and set it the room with me and Ryan and we looked at it and we were like, neither of us know how to use any of this shit. And we messed around with it long enough to figure out eventually we could capture some footage. We were like, okay, we figured out, first the game we captured footage of was Hot Shots Golf for the Playstation 3. And we were like, okay, we captured the footage, now what do we with it? And we hadn't answered that question yet 'cause there was no website to put it on or anything like that. So those early silly days of just like putting that stuff together. We didn't really know exactly what we wanted to do, it was just a matter, it was very freeing in way to be able to sit down and be like, okay, here are the things that we liked doing before, let's try to keep doing that. And then the rest is up in the air. For a long time there we weren't even necessarily sold on the idea of just covering video games. It was always meant to be bigger than that. We were gonna cover music, we were gonna cover movies, you know, all this other stuff. But at the end of the day old habits die hard, it was very easy for us to cover video games compared to like, calling music PR people out of the blue and being like, hey, we wanna interview this artist that's coming to town, can you set, you know, it was just, we stuck with what we knew and kinda just mainly covered video games and flavors of Gatorade. Really it was the original mandate for GameSpot was we wanna create a site that we ourselves would use. And I approached it that way and said like, well, what kind of game coverage do I actually care about? And a lot of the preview related stuff at the time was just not, it was a lot of like carved up little parts of a game. Like, we're gonna give you assets on these three new guns and this two new trees and it was like, here's the rims and tires of Grand Theft Auto: San Andreas. Outlets used to compete for the exclusive rights to run stuff like that. It was a very different time so we knew we were never gonna matter to publishers the same way the big sites did and that was fine, we wanted to kinda do our own thing and so that led to it being a little more guerrilla. You talked earlier about long footage of games being something of a novelty or a weird impossibility back then but for us it kinda just became a necessity because of the number of people we had and the lack of time we could devote to actual editing. It was like, just stuff kinda came in long out of the gate. And so we first launched as just a WordPress blog and we went to our first E3 in 08 with just a WordPress blog. We could run videos on it but it was pretty bare bones. It was mostly a placeholder, it was like, here's the name of the site, you can comment on these stories, and we were just kind of writing news and reviews and putting up videos here and there. And it was all pretty straightforward stuff, it was like that and the podcast. And then we rolled out the full site not long after that E3, it was like July of that year I think and then that was like, okay, now here's this full wiki, here's all this other stuff. Better user features, full message boards, all this other stuff. And so we went at it that way for awhile and then the premium membership stuff came later.

- [Danny] It wasn't just old staff who were leaving GameSpot for Jeff's new project, users were flocking too. Once the full site was launched tens of thousands of profiles were created, a large portion of which were disenfranchised GameSpot fans who wanted to support Jeff and the staff who had left. I was one of them and I remember that time well. The passion and excitement of those days was one of the most powerful moments I've had as part of an online community. And the folks at Whiskey Media used this passion to help fund the site. Giant Bomb had taken the ad-free subscription model that GameSpot had pioneered, and added much more. For $5 a month you not only supported some of your favorite creators, but got access to bonus videos and features. New users signed up in their droves.

- [Jeff] The launch of the site proper exceeded our expectations in a way that like wiki submissions were taking a week or more to approve because so many people were signing up and contributing and all this other stuff, it was just, we were staying up all night working on just the community stuff, moderation stuff. And then the premium membership stuff did well out of the gate. We went back and forth on a few ideas about what are we offering here and all that sort of stuff but yeah, it did really well that first day. Advertising was never really a thing for us, we had one in house ad person eventually for a brief period of time but like, you know, advertising's all about eyeballs and we were never gonna be the biggest website in the world, it was we were about, okay, well we want people who really care about this stuff and so, you know, in advertising you're trying to make a case for just like, oh no, this is a smaller audience but they're smarter and they spend more money and you know, at some point you have to go out and educate brands and say like, here's why you wanna advertise here instead of there or spend your money with us because our people are smarter or this and that and at the end of the day advertisers just want eyeballs so like you can go in and pitch that story all you want, it's just not how the advertising model typically works. So we had a few things where like, you know, we had some sponsored achievements on the site and there was a livestream, I was actually against it, but they did a livestream for, NTSF:SUV:SD, I think was the ordering of that, an Adult Swim show. Actually, I thought it was pretty funny. They did a livestream like live watch along with it. And so we were doing a few things like that that were innovative at the time I guess and so you would have people who understood like, hey, the internet is changing, it's not necessarily about just raw eyeballs. We wanna find people who are more engaged with a thing and you know, this was kinda like the nascent form of like the influencer type stuff about like figuring out who are these people we can get that have sway with their audiences and so on and so forth. But, us being an editorial operation, we could never really go fully into that world. So the stuff that I would be comfortable doing in those spaces kinda, we ended up shooting down a lot of stuff, probably more stuff than we signed because it was like, no, I don't think we can do that. So the advertising stuff was never really gonna be for us and for those reasons, it's just, you know, the advertising market just wasn't really compatible with our size and our scope but also kind of our mentality and where we were at with stuff so we wanted to try and find something different. And again, that was another Dave Snider, Dave was kind of the main first proponent about like, no, people will pay for good stuff on the internet, I know it. And I think I was a little more like, I don't know, man, people like to pirate stuff. But he's like, no, this will, he won me over pretty fast and we went through with it, we went on with it.

- [Danny] Giant Bomb has been running for a decade and in that time the site has evolved to keep up with the changing desires of its audience. But there are a few shows that have lasted the test of time. Their weekly podcast The Giant Bombcast has had over 570 episodes and is one of the most popular video game podcasts in the world. And their Quick Looks series predated the creation of Let's Plays, still exists today. I asked Jeff to tell me about some of his favorites are. He notes their live E3 internet show, and eventually making the podcast profitable as some of his proudest achievements. As shows have come and gone, so too have staff. Just like GameSpot created a platform for Jeff to make a name for himself. Giant Bomb has become an incubator of talent all to itself. As the sort of captain of the ship as well, what does it feel like to be responsible for kind of what Giant Bomb has become in terms of its, as an incubator for talent, right. You've had people come through the doors and leave out the other side to go on to wonderful careers as well. Do you take a pride in that, especially considering, you know, how you seem to have a reverence for the people who gave you opportunities in your early career.

- [Jeff] It's cool, I don't always think about it. Like, I don't know, like I look at it and go like, did I do anything for anyone, I don't know, I'm just here, I don't know, I just do my thing. And I don't know that I always, I used to take it really personally back in the GameSpot days when anyone would leave. I would always think like, man, why would you, why would you go do something else, we're doing great, we're doing all this other stuff, and now I look at it in retrospect and go like, maybe it was people like me in the senior roles for as long as we were that led to people below us wanting to get out for more opportunities, and go like, man, yeah, okay. But yeah, I used to take it really personally 'cause I just, you know, it was great to just, there were times where, you know, man, this is the best team I've ever worked with, this is great. Oh, three people are leaving over the course of six months, what's goin on? And the people that left in the run up to me leaving, at the time I was really bummed out, in retrospect I was like, oh, yeah okay, I get it. And things change and people change and they want something else out of their careers and they wanna take on new challenges and all that sorta stuff and I think that's great. At the same time, like I miss the people that have moved on. Like, there was a time there that there were, we were starting to have conversations, it's like, no, we need to move Danny O'Dwyer over to Giant Bomb, like we have, this should happen. And then he went out and found fame and fortune on his own without us and I was like, well, shit. Let that one slip away, I guess.

- [Danny] There will always be a part of me in my professional sort of hindsight that will, I remember when you mentioned that to me at a certain point, I can't remember, was it when I had already handed in my notice or I think it was probably a little bit before maybe, where like, that is like the ultimate dream come true. But now I have a new dream come true which is that I get to just pop into the office and review European sports games twice a year or whatever.

- [Jeff] Right, yeah, I mean, I have a code for FIFA that I don't know what to do with so. Might be callin' you for that one. So, it's stuff like that, like it's great seeing people out there doing their thing, and the thing I've tried to be better at this time around that I was terrible at back in the GameSpot days is try to keep in touch with people on a regular basis. Like it can be so easy just to put your head down and be like, I'm surrounded by these people, these are the people I see everyday, these are the only people I talk to because I don't have time for anything else. Discord has actually been really useful at that, honestly. Like hey, let's keep in touch with friends and try to maintain these friendships and stuff like that. So yeah, it's great being in regular contact with people like Patrick and Austin Walker and stuff like that.

- [Danny] Giant Bomb lived under the Whiskey Media banner for four years, but the media startup was struggling to grow at a rate required by the landscape of the bay area investors and so the decision was made to fold the company to sell of its assets to suitable suitors. What happened next seemed impossible to anybody watching from the stands.

- [Jeff] The process of us selling the company was strange, for a lot of the reasons you would expect. But you know, I think the thing that happened, every start up that sells or fails or anything always like to say, aw, we were just too early. We had the best ideas, too early. But you know, in some cases if we were a year later or something like that and YouTube had been more viable for longer form videos, like who knows what woulda happened. You know, we made the best choices we could along the way but at the end of the day, you know, they had launched a lot of other sites and wanted it to be this big network and when that kinda, I think that wasn't happening at the rate that they needed it to happen so it became a case of just like, okay, maybe it's time to move on and move onto a different business and do a different thing and so we were at that point lucky enough to be something that was sellable, you know. Like you think about the number of start ups now, especially the number of content companies that launched and just went under. And with Giant Bomb with the premium memberships and that sort of stuff we were in a pretty good position there to where we were doing something that people I think were just starting to get a sense of just like, hey, maybe this direct to consumer like subscription type stuff is something we should care about. And so it was something that people were starting to wake up to and be like hey, maybe we want some kind of back pocket plan in case this advertising thing doesn't always work the way it works now. So Mike Tatum, the head of biz dev for Whiskey, asked me one day, he said, hey, would you be open to maybe selling the company to CBS? And I just laughed. And I was like yes, of course, absolutely, go have those conversations, that's the craziest thing anyone's ever said to me, absolutely, yeah, of course. That's the thing, it was a very different time, a very different company, all that other stuff. Like the stuff that happened to me was this blip on this timeline of this multi decade operation that has had good people at the helm of it for almost all of its time, you know. And most of the people that were there when I was there last time and involved in some of that unpleasantness were long gone. So at this point it was like, hey, do you wanna go talk to John Davison about, you know, maybe comin' over there, and Simon Whitcombe. Yeah, they've been around this space for years, it's totally different people, like yeah, of course. And there were other people that were interested, the company that ended up buying tested was like lightly interested but not in a way that sounded all that exciting to me. And so yeah, I had lunch with John and Simon and in, this would've been, it was around the holidays, I don't remember the exact year anymore, it all runs together, man. But it was the holidays, it was like right after Christmas, we went into Christmas break knowing that it was likely that the company was gonna be sold early the following year. And that the GameSpot team was interested, was kind of like what I went into the holidays knowing. And so I met with them and we just kinda talked it out and, you know, like they had a good head on their shoulders and we were, you know, fairly attractive I guess in the sense that we had our own revenue, it wasn't like we were coming in and like, okay, you gotta bolt us to a sales team, you gotta bolt us to this 'cause otherwise we're gonna be losing money overnight. We were coming in doing pretty well in the grand scheme of things. So yeah, I wasn't in all the negations and meetings and all the back and forth for that sorta stuff but, yeah, it was an exciting weird time because we knew it was happening but we couldn't say it was happening. And rumors started getting out there a little bit, it was a very strange time, you know. It was so hectic. My dad went into the hospital as we were packing up the office to get everything out, and we were entering this quiet period where we wouldn't even have an office and we couldn't even say why, which was so unlike everything we had done with our community and all this other stuff. It was like, here's the thing where we are forced to not talk about this deal or act like anything is weird but we also are not in an office, it's hard to generate content when you're not in the studio. And there was just so much going on around that time, it was really, it was bizarre. I came out of it feeling like we did pretty good. For someone who came into that situation with little more than his good name I feel like I came out of it better. Personally better, better at my job, better at more types of things, better at running a, a little bit more respect for what it takes to run a business but also knowing when to sacrifice the business needs for editorial interest, you know, that sorta stuff. I was able to grasp more pieces of the puzzle, I guess. And so yeah, we came back in and it was fun because I had set up Giancarlo Varanini, I set him up real good where I saw him at an event the week before the deal was getting announced and I think my exact words were, hey I'll see you next week. And we left this Microsoft event or whatever we were at and.

- [Danny] Did he know, did he twig it or?

- [Jeff] He didn't know at the time but he pieced it together and then he was like, oh my god, you were saying what you were saying, yeah. 'Cause, you know, we still talk to a lot of those people that were over there.

- [Danny] So strange, I think I told you, we were in the bizarre situation where the UK, I was at GameSpot UK and the UK sales team had leaked the deal to us, I think maybe six weeks before it was announced.

- Wow.

- We all knew and we couldn't tell the American office about it.

- [Jeff] That's GameSpot UK for you, man. One year they tried to give FIFA an 11.

- [Danny]Did they actually?

- [Jeff] Actually, yes. They turned in a FIFA review that was trying to give it an 11 out of 10. And we had to be like, no, you absolutely cannot under any circumstances do that.

- [Danny] For most of Jeff's life his career and hobby have been impossible tangled. And so for much of his life his identity has been too. For years his Xbox Gamertag was GameSpotting. He only changed it when he set up his new site, to GiantBombing. But since selling to CBS he's tried to create more distance between these two worlds. Jeff isn't the most social person you'll work with. He commutes to and from Petaluma every day, a 40 mile drive during bay area rush hour. Perhaps it's why he doesn't socialize much after work. Or maybe it's a convenient excuse to not have to. At his desk, he sits with headphones on, usually working on something. When he talks to you he speaks openly and honestly. When he doesn't want to talk, he doesn't. He's always struck me as a person who's gears are always turning, thinking about the work. Half enjoying it, half burdened by the weight of it all. He's tried to get better at delegating responsibility but in many ways Giant Bomb is his child and he feels like he needs to be in the room when decisions about it are being made.

- [Jeff] For me that's the struggle. Like my personal struggle is like the time management aspect of it and like keeping everything going. Because before I had other things going on in my life you could throw as much waking time as you could at a thing and also we owned the company. It was a sick cycle where in the back of your head you could always say like, well I need to work until three a.m. because this could be the video that puts us over the edge and turns this thing into an even bigger thing. And so it was very easy to justify to yourself incredibly unhealthy work habits that didn't make the site better, that didn't lead to necessarily more content or anything like that, it was just it was very easy to spend every waking moment thinking about it. And now I don't and at first that made me feel guilty, yeah, that's the weird struggle of just like, it's all just kind of a weird head trip. And the worrying goes from like, am I spending enough time with my family, am I spending enough time with my job, this seems like stuff that everyone else figured out a long time ago but I'm coming to it over the last few years and going like, man, this is an interesting new challenge. But it's been great, I wouldn't, if it wasn't for my wife I don't think I would, I'm not even sure if I would still be doing this, honestly. I probably would've completely burned out or something by now without her to kinda have my back and all that sorta stuff. Yeah, she's been great. She's the best thing that ever happened to me, totally.

- [Danny] Trying to create a distance between life and work you're passionate about can often be a struggle. But it was impossible for the staff of Giant Bomb to do so in the summer of 2013. This July will mark the 6th year since the tragic passing of their friend and colleague Ryan Davis and in recent months it's been on Jeff's mind a lot more. Last year the site launched a 24 hour livestream that plays videos from throughout the 10 year archive of Giant Bomb and users often vote for videos that Ryan is featured in. So Jeff is confronted with the memory of their friendship a lot more these days.

- [Jeff] You know, going back to those videos and stuff, the relationship that Ryan and I had was very complicated and changed a lot over the years because, you know, we were close friends, we were in a band, we were inseparable, I got him hired, we became coworkers, I became his boss. And so the relationship changed along the way too. So yeah, I don't know, when I think about Ryan I think about the days before were working together, primarily. Those are my Ryan memories, usually. The videos, the stuff we did along the way, yeah, we did some really cool shit and I like a lot of it just fine, but me personally, I think about the stuff prior to, when Ryan was answering phones for AT and T internet at three in the morning when people couldn't get into their email, that's the Ryan I think of. The Ryan that was living with three other guys in this tiny ass place and we'd just go hang out and he wasn't 21 yet so I was indispensable. Like that sort of stuff, that's the stuff I think about when I think about Ryan.

- [Danny] When I asked Jeff about the future of Giant Bomb he's excited, but cautious. Years of working on the internet has taught him to be careful about over-promising before stuff is built. Perhaps his experiences have also taught him not to plan too far ahead. As the site enters its 11th year its been changing its programming to try and bring in new viewers. Giant Bomb has been successful, it pays its own way at CBS, but it's still a website owned by a large media organization, so often the future is planned quarter by quarter, year by year. Perhaps the most surprising thing in coming to know Jeff, is how excited he still is about games. His Twitter profile reads "I've been writing about "video games my entire life. "It would be insane to stop now." So you wouldn't blame him for being burned out on video games after 30 plus years of talking about them. But if nothing else, the thing that strikes me about Jeff Gerstmann is that these days when you can be so cynical about video games he's still a true believer in the power of the medium, whether it be players of Pac-Man or Fortnite.

- [Jeff] I think games are only gonna continue to get more popular. If you look at what we're seeing with something like Fortnite right now. Like, it's having a moment that, that Minecraft had before it. It's huge, it's bigger than a Five Nights at Freddy's, it's crazy. But like I'm just trying to think about like, you know, games that have penetrated the mainstream in a huge way. What we're seeing with Fortnite right now feels almost unprecedented. It's Pac-Man esque. You know, like Minecraft was huge, but not in a, like kids loved Minecraft, kids love Roblox, but Fortnite is cut such a wide swathe across society to where it's like all these popular mainstream sports figures are now doing Fortnite dances in actual sports and it's never been like that before. So in some ways like, gaming has kind of never been cooler or less cool depending on your perspective. Because it's literally everywhere. You know, everyone is carrying around a device in their pocket that is capable of feats that like it would've been insane, no console 10 years ago could've done anything like this. Granted, the controls are still bad. The technology is pushed so far forward and it's so pervasive and in so many different places and in so many different styles. You look at like Pokemon Go and the idea of location based gaming, you know, people getting out there and moving around to catch Pokemon, like all that stuff is amazing and it's crazy. But like where we're going on that front, I think if the technology bears out and data caps don't kill the dream and all this other stuff, we're gonna reach a point where anyone can play top level video games on the device they carry around with them every single day. And in some cases they are, I mean, Fortnite's on phones for whatever that's worth. So I think that this isn't gonna go away, this is gaming's kind of big push into the mainstream kind of once and for all. And I think that games coverage, that's a more complicated thing. If you look at YouTube right now with demonetizing videos and everyone trying to stream and everyone trying to have a side hustle streaming or something like that. Kids growing up like commentating games as they're playing 'em because they just watch people on YouTube and they think that's how you're supposed to play games. That's it, that's where we're going, or that's where we are already. And so I think over the next five years it'll be tumultuous because I think you'll see the bottom drop out of ads in a way that makes the Twitch streaming and YouTube and like the kinda hobbyist turned pro streamer, I think that that's gonna have to even out. I think it's only gonna get harder and I think that will keep a lot of people out eventually, or it'll lead to a growth in just the hobbyist streaming and people will have different expectations. They'll just be like, I'm streaming 'cause I like it, I'm not gonna sit here and think I'm gonna make a bunch of money. The same way I made public access when I was 16, it's like, oh, we're on television. Like I'm not making any money off of it the way real people on TV do but I just wanna do it 'cause it's fun.

- [Danny] Thank you so much for listening to this episode of the Noclip Podcast. Sorry it took so long to get this one out, it was quite a long story and it's also kind of an impossible story to tell in its entirety so I had to pick my battles and figure out a narrative that kind of worked. I hope you enjoyed it and I hope it was nice piece to celebrate a website that means a lot to me and I'm sure a lot to you as well. Now for the housekeeping, if you wanna follow us on Twitter we are @Noclipvideo, I am @dannyodwyer, we have r/noclip if you're interested in getting on board and talking on Reddit and of course if you're a Patron keep up to date on all the Patreon posts. Podcasts are available on iTunes, Spotify, Stitcher, Google Play, and loads of other places anywhere podcasts are sold basically. We also have a YouTube channel where you can watch the podcast. That's Youtube.com/Noclippodcast. If you didn't know, we also make documentaries about video games, those are available for free with no advertising at Youtube.com/noclipvideo. Patrons get this show early for 5$ a month, if you're interested in supporting our work please head over to Patreon.com/noclip. And that's the podcast for another episode. We are actually at the Game Developers Conference in San Francisco right now recording bunches of interviews which will be going up on the channel in the next couple of weeks. But we'll be back with another podcast in the not too distant future so make sure you hit that subscribe. We've never actually asked people to rate it, so if you're listening now and you're still listening at the end of this podcast, hey, why not rate us? Thank you so much for listening, we'll see you next time.

Apr 01 2019

1hr 1min

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Rank #2: #22 - DOOM Eternal with Hugo Martin

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Danny sits down with Hugo Martin (Game Director, DOOM Eternal) to discuss how id Software tore apart the DOOM 2016 rulebook and attempted to make a faster, more challenging demons slaying romp.

iTunes Page: https://itunes.apple.com/us/podcast/noclip/id1385062988 RSS Feed: http://noclippodcast.libsyn.com/rssGoogle Play: https://play.google.com/music/listen?u=0#/ps/If7gz7uvqebg2qqlicxhay22qny Spotify: https://open.spotify.com/show/5XYk92ubrXpvPVk1lin4VB?si=JRAcPnlvQ0-YJWU9XiW9pg Soundcloud: https://soundcloud.com/noclippodcast

Watch our docs: https://youtube.com/noclippodcast Sub our new podcast channel: https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCSHBlPhuCd1sDOdNANCwjrA Learn About Noclip: https://www.noclip.videoBecome a Patron and get early access to new episodes: https://www.patreon.com/noclip Follow @noclipvideo on Twitter

Funded by 4,113 Patrons.

Jan 15 2020

55mins

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Rank #3: #17 - We Need To Talk About Alyx

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There's only one thing to talk about this week. Jim Stormdancer returns to help Danny make sense of the return of G-Man as we discuss all the information surrounding Half-Life: Alyx.

iTunes Page: https://itunes.apple.com/us/podcast/noclip/id1385062988 RSS Feed: http://noclippodcast.libsyn.com/rssGoogle Play: https://play.google.com/music/listen?u=0#/ps/If7gz7uvqebg2qqlicxhay22qny Spotify: https://open.spotify.com/show/5XYk92ubrXpvPVk1lin4VB?si=JRAcPnlvQ0-YJWU9XiW9pg Soundcloud: https://soundcloud.com/noclippodcast

Watch our docs: https://youtube.com/noclippodcast Sub our new podcast channel: https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCSHBlPhuCd1sDOdNANCwjrA Learn About Noclip: https://www.noclip.videoBecome a Patron and get early access to new episodes: https://www.patreon.com/noclip Follow @noclipvideo on Twitter

Funded by 4,166 Patrons.

Nov 28 2019

1hr 6mins

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Rank #4: #13 - Horror Game Spooktacular

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Come with us on a horrifying video game adventure and Danny & Jeremy discuss the Noclip community's spookiest experiences. Featuring chat about PT, Dead Space, Fatal Frame, Alone in the Dark, Condemned, Ecco the Dolphin for some reason, and much more.

iTunes Page: https://itunes.apple.com/us/podcast/noclip/id1385062988 RSS Feed: http://noclippodcast.libsyn.com/rssGoogle Play: https://play.google.com/music/listen?u=0#/ps/If7gz7uvqebg2qqlicxhay22qny Spotify: https://open.spotify.com/show/5XYk92ubrXpvPVk1lin4VB?si=JRAcPnlvQ0-YJWU9XiW9pg Soundcloud: https://soundcloud.com/noclippodcast

Watch our docs: https://youtube.com/noclippodcast Sub our new podcast channel: https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCSHBlPhuCd1sDOdNANCwjrA Learn About Noclip: https://www.noclip.videoBecome a Patron and get early access to new episodes: https://www.patreon.com/noclip Follow @noclipvideo on Twitter

Hosted by @dannyodwyer and @adackmusic Funded by 4,276 Patrons.

Oct 30 2019

1hr 16mins

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Rank #5: #19 - Video Game History Unleashed

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Frank Cifaldi from the Video Game History Foundation joins us to talk about game preservation, vengeful sharks, and alien-fighting basketball players.

iTunes Page: https://itunes.apple.com/us/podcast/noclip/id1385062988 RSS Feed: http://noclippodcast.libsyn.com/rssGoogle Play: https://play.google.com/music/listen?u=0#/ps/If7gz7uvqebg2qqlicxhay22qny Spotify: https://open.spotify.com/show/5XYk92ubrXpvPVk1lin4VB?si=JRAcPnlvQ0-YJWU9XiW9pg Soundcloud: https://soundcloud.com/noclippodcast

Watch our docs: https://youtube.com/noclippodcast Sub our new podcast channel: https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCSHBlPhuCd1sDOdNANCwjrA Learn About Noclip: https://www.noclip.videoBecome a Patron and get early access to new episodes: https://www.patreon.com/noclip Follow @noclipvideo on Twitter

Funded by 4,166 Patrons.

Dec 11 2019

1hr 30mins

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Rank #6: #20 - Noclip's 2019 Year in Review

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Danny & Jeremy review all the work that Noclip released in 2019 and take a moment to chat about some of their favorites games from the year.

iTunes Page: https://itunes.apple.com/us/podcast/noclip/id1385062988 RSS Feed: http://noclippodcast.libsyn.com/rssGoogle Play: https://play.google.com/music/listen?u=0#/ps/If7gz7uvqebg2qqlicxhay22qny Spotify: https://open.spotify.com/show/5XYk92ubrXpvPVk1lin4VB?si=JRAcPnlvQ0-YJWU9XiW9pg Soundcloud: https://soundcloud.com/noclippodcast

Watch our docs: https://youtube.com/noclippodcast Sub our new podcast channel: https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCSHBlPhuCd1sDOdNANCwjrA Learn About Noclip: https://www.noclip.videoBecome a Patron and get early access to new episodes: https://www.patreon.com/noclip Follow @noclipvideo on Twitter

Funded by 4,122 Patrons.

Dec 19 2019

1hr 6mins

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Rank #7: #12 - Support Local Video Game Museums

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Fresh from a day's filming, Danny & Jeremy chat about the upcoming ESRB documentary, our new landlords, video game museums, our scariest video game memories, plans for Extra Life and the guest you can look forward to when the podcast begins proper.

iTunes Page: https://itunes.apple.com/us/podcast/noclip/id1385062988 RSS Feed: http://noclippodcast.libsyn.com/rssGoogle Play: https://play.google.com/music/listen?u=0#/ps/If7gz7uvqebg2qqlicxhay22qny Spotify: https://open.spotify.com/show/5XYk92ubrXpvPVk1lin4VB?si=JRAcPnlvQ0-YJWU9XiW9pg Soundcloud: https://soundcloud.com/noclippodcast

Watch our docs: https://youtube.com/noclippodcast Sub our new podcast channel: https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCSHBlPhuCd1sDOdNANCwjrA Learn About Noclip: https://www.noclip.videoBecome a Patron and get early access to new episodes: https://www.patreon.com/noclip Follow @noclipvideo on Twitter

Hosted by @dannyodwyer and @adackmusic Funded by 4,302 Patrons.

Oct 23 2019

1hr 8mins

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Rank #8: #10 - Playing Sekiro with One Arm

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On this episode, we dive into the conversation around Sekiro and accessibility as we chat with Clint Stewart about his experience playing Soulsbourne games with an arm and a foot.

iTunes Page: https://itunes.apple.com/us/podcast/noclip/id1385062988 RSS Feed: http://noclippodcast.libsyn.com/rssGoogle Play: https://play.google.com/music/listen?u=0#/ps/If7gz7uvqebg2qqlicxhay22qny Spotify: https://open.spotify.com/show/5XYk92ubrXpvPVk1lin4VB?si=JRAcPnlvQ0-YJWU9XiW9pg Soundcloud: https://soundcloud.com/noclippodcast

Watch our docs: https://youtube.com/noclippodcast Sub our new podcast channel: https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCSHBlPhuCd1sDOdNANCwjrA Learn About Noclip: https://www.noclip.videoBecome a Patron and get early access to new episodes: https://www.patreon.com/noclip Follow @noclipvideo on Twitter

Hosted by @dannyodwyerFunded by 4,501 Patrons.

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- [Danny] Hello and welcome to Noclip, the podcast about the people who play and make video games. I'm your host Danny O'Dwyer. We've had a lot of people on who have made video games, so it's about time we've had someone on who plays them. And this isn't just anyone, this is a friend of Noclip and somebody I've wanted to collaborate with for quite awhile. So I'll let him introduce himself. Clint, how are you doing this fine Friday afternoon?

- [Clint] I'm doing great, thank you. Hey Danny.

- [Danny] Tell us a little bit about yourself. I'll kind of get into what we're gonna talk about in a hot second, but tell us your name, where you are right now, and what we're here to talk about.

- [Clint] Alright, my name is Clint Stewart. I go by DisabledCable on Twitter and JehovahNova on Steam, bunch of other names. I think TreeLegDog may be one of them. I've been a gamer most of my life and almost seven years ago, I was injured very badly and I lost my left arm and I broke my back as well, so trying to learn how to play games one-handed has been quite the challenge.

- [Danny] And you're somebody who can kind of speak to the accessibility question from somebody who has experienced playing games with no disability and experiencing games with a pretty heavy one as well. We've a lot to get into today. Before we sort of talk about, I guess, your experience more generally, I just want to let everyone know how this came to happen for this episode of the podcast. I've been wanting to do something with Clint for a long time because his insight into this is super refreshing and he's a very eloquent speaker but we've sort of struggled to get that project up and running. We're hoping to do it the future. But what happened in the past month I guess is this sort of general conversation that's been going on around Sekiro easy mode and accessibility, which I did a video on on Noclip. You can watch an episode of Bonus Level that's kind of all about that. And that was kind of my opinion on it but I thought, the way Noclip works is that we often ask the experts about these things. People who aren't, we're not just giving my option on the state of development or design or anything but we go out and we find people who are experts in these issues. Clint is an expert in this. Not only because of the way in which he plays games but also because he's a fan of the particular series in question. So pretty early on I kind of tapped him up and was like, hey, when you've played the game a bit can you come on the podcast and sort of chew the shit with us about this? So first of all, thank you so much for coming on and making the time.

- [Clint] Yeah, thank you. I've gotta say to start off with too, you did buy it for me. So I gotta be, first off, I've never been called an expert and you did buy the game for me, so that's all. All that's out of the way and start now.

- [Danny] Yeah, we don't let interns, we don't do unpaid internships or don't pay people who are contributing to our work so yeah, yeah, no. Absolutely, it's the least we could do. So before we touch on Sekiro, can you tell us a little bit about how you generally play games? Like if you're going out to buy a game today Clint, what are the considerations that you have to sort of take into account? And how do you actually play them?

- [Clint] Definitely, and this is a great first question because it really made me think about the Souls games and games like those and just everything that I have to take into consideration when I buy a game. The last game that I bought that was similar to Sekiro would be Neo. And I had to refund Neo when I first bought it because they released that PC port with no mouse keyboard controls whatsoever. I'm used to some games mouse and keyboard not working in the menus or maybe I can't rebind the keys in-game but I can do it in the Razer Synapse software, but with Neo, it was just like no. You better buy a controller or it's just not gonna work. And just one of the only times I've ever had to refund a game.

- [Danny] Is that rare? Does that happen often?

- [Clint] That is extremely rare these days, thankfully. And enough people, I got on Twitter which my tweet might have got two likes. I don't think I got noticed by anybody but more than just me who's coming out saying, hey, this needs mouse and keyboard support. You can't release a PC game with no mouse and keyboard support. And I was hoping that maybe the Dark Souls, before the remaster that just came out, the community got together and made mouse keyboard controls work in that game as well. Because the first Dark Souls port was horrible. It's one of the worst ports I think I've ever played. And the community got, what was it called? The DS Fix, I guess the one guy made. But then they added on to it and added mouse and keyboard support, but they still didn't get the prompts right. So you would get a prompt on the screen to do something but it would say, it would be the controller prompt. You still wouldn't get the mouse and keyboard, which is extremely frustrating when you're trying to remember. You've just changed everything up and you think you remember what you did but then you know, that's extremely frustrating. Generally when I buy a game I look, does it have rebindable keys? And if not, that's not always a deal breaker, but does it just have mouse and keyboard support in general? Because I have two different one-handed controllers and I don't want to knock the guys that worked on those, that created them. One of them was the first guy who I'd ever seen even do this. He has a channel on YouTube. And each controller has it's own issues, but I mean for what they are, there really is no other choice if you have to play console games. I mean because they still haven't gotten around to adding mouse and keyboard support fully on the Xbox. I think PlayStation has some in a couple games. But even like Xbox, they just added it and they have a partnership with Razer, but yet if you were to turn on the Xbox and try to just use the mouse and keyboard, or in my case the mouse and footboard, which is the Stinkyboard, you can't do anything. You have to use a controller to navigate the UI. And then to find the games that will work with mouse and keyboard. It's a lot to think about when you're looking at games.

- [Danny] Yeah, it's a whole lot of questions that most of us don't really have to consider at all. So when you're interacting with these games, obviously the bindable keys, you said, is a really important part of it. But what are you using physically? Because presumably you're not using both a mouse and keyboard. You're remapping this to a third-party peripheral, or sort of a--

- [Clint] So yeah, just let me explain that a little better. I use a 19 button mouse that's called a Razer Naga. Razer is the company that makes it and the Naga is the brand. And basically it's made for MMO. It's called an MMO mouse. Which I have used it in an MMO, and we can talk about that later. I think that's, one of the games that I used to try to teach myself how to play again was World of Warcraft. And then I also use a Stinkyboard, which is a four button footboard. Now both of these hardware have software tied to them as well that will allow you to completely rebind. You can make any of the buttons whichever button you want. And then the Razer software is even more powerful because you can make macros as well. And there are certain games like Devil May Cry 5, that just came out recently. That's a beautiful game. It's brilliant, it's a lot of fun to play. But for me as a one-armed gamer that was infuriating because you had to press three different buttons to be able to do some moves. And that was including having to hold down a button for lock on. So I ended up having to go in the Razer Synapse software and make a simple on/off macro for lock on, just so I could do some of the moves in that game. Out of all the things that they forget to add, like of course I would love to see ultrawide support or unlock frame rate. The game does have unlock frame rate, but just simple lock on. Being able to just toggle that on or off. Just like maybe you want to have sprint always on, have a toggle on sprint or a toggle on crouch. For lock on should be something that just needs to be industry standard. Do you want it toggable or not?

- Wow.

- Just help people out. That's definitely something I've come across in a few different games.

- [Danny] Yeah, I hadn't thought about that consideration at all. When you're playing then, so you have a prosthesis, right? Like you have some sort--

- [Clint] I actually do have government subsidies, or I should say subsidized, because I had to go through a legal battle just to get Medicare and Medicaid. I've talked to you about my story before, you know what happened. They denied me disability. I actually got denied twice and had to get a disability lawyer to get disability. And then when I finally got in court the judge was like, oh my lord, son, we're gonna take care of this.

- Oh my goodness.

- And I was in and out of there in two minutes.

- [Danny] On what grounds were they?

- [Clint] You know what, the first letter I got back they were like, oh he can still bend over and lift things. I'm like, with what good back and what two arms? Did you even read what your doctor said? Ah, bureaucrats, man.

- [Danny] That's incredible. So the judge like took one glance at you and kind of--

- [Clint] Yeah, soon as I got in front of the judge he was just like, I am so sorry sir, and we're gonna get this taken care of. Within the next three months I had an arm. You know, I think the government paid $90,000 for it, I wanna say. And it's very nice but it's very limited. I mean, it's the first version, right? Like if I had, I've got a few complaints about it, but one of the most being is how heavy it is. Because it's carbon fiber and it's got a battery. And also due to the kind of amputation that I had. I don't have a lot of arm left so it's pretty much just resting on my shoulder which is supported by my back which again, my L3 and L5 were severely cracked and my L4 looks like a spiderweb. They didn't think I'd be able to walk again. So that's a miracle in itself that I'm still walking and talking. So I count my lucky stars and I don't complain about too many things. But definitely this whole conversation around accessibility versus difficulty's really got me thinking. Your video is great that it looked at the nuance of it. You didn't just do one hot take or try to ride the fence. I saw your other tweet where you compared it to how you play racing games, and that really hit home for me because I would love to play VR games but yet you don't see me demanding them make all VR games playable for me with one hand because they're still creating that space. Like if I were to buy VR now I might be able to play Dirt Rally or maybe Elite Dangerous. They'd probably be the only two games I could really play in VR.

- [Danny] Yeah so let's jump into that then there, since you brought it up. How did you feel then about that sort of, I mean it was a very broad conversation that sort of was almost like numerous different conversations that were bumping into each other. But just speaking from the heart, what was your initial reaction to the conversation about that and what was your opinion on it?

- [Clint] Honestly, I really feel like it's a branding problem. I feel like, let's say they added an easy mode tomorrow in Sekiro or the Dark Souls games, you're not gonna care, right? Is it gonna lesser the experience that you had? No. Matter of fact, I could enable easy mode in my game right now because I ended up getting that mod. They patched it and then my workaround for the ultrawide fix wasn't working anymore so I found a mod that unlocks the FPS, does the ultrawide, lets you choose some camera adjustments. Where the game works now is if you target someone the camera automatically snaps to you. Or if you move at all, the camera automatically will snap back on you and this mod will disable that as well as give you FOV adjustment. I know it's something TeeVee was always preaching about. That really makes a huge difference when you're sitting really close to the monitor. Having a bigger FOV, it's huge. But that same mod will also let you turn down the speed, which isn't that how the guy from PC Gamer, I forget his name, but he was like, I cheated and I feel fine.

- [Danny] Right

- [Clint] I feel like it's just a branding problem, right? If we called it cheats I think everybody would be happy, because the people that don't care would just be like, yeah, I cheated, who gives a shit? And then everybody else would be like, you cheated yourself and the game.

- [Danny] That's a good point.

- [Clint] 'Cause it's all the same thing. We're just talking, like you said, we're talking around each other. We're all talking about different things but they do kind of correlate. I really do feel like it's a branding problem. Let's just call it cheats and be done with it. 'Cause even though I could cheat in this game I'm not gonna do it. I love this game. Honestly, the boss I had the most trouble with so far was a miniboss. It's not in the main bosses I've encountered. And I should say, I haven't beaten the game yet. You got it for me a couple weeks ago. I've been taking my time. I've been enjoying it. I've been exploring everywhere.

- [Danny] Good, me too. You're way ahead of me, buddy.

- [Clint] Oh, really? That makes me feel good.

- Oh yeah.

- [Clint]I'm like, he's probably gonna beat the game and be like, you're where? But yeah, the biggest difference for me I feel like with accessibility versus difficulty, like I recently beat The Witcher 3 as well. And that's a game that I had to start over because I ended up having to wipe my hard drive so I lost like 80 hours. And then I ended up like, I'm just gonna do everything. And so I spent another 150 hours just trying to clear my map. And so I finally beat that recently and that was a game I actually turned down the difficulty on a few of those last fights, just because they were annoying. The controls are transcendent in Sekiro, even more so than Dark Souls.

- [Danny] Well, it's funny like you're talking about how you're adding all these things and you're saying you're not cheatingsome people could argue that you're playing the game at a way higher level. 'Cause you're playing with your foot and one hand, whereas most of us have access to two analog sticks.

- [Clint] This game makes me feel like a ninja, it really does. I'm playing a one arm ninja, so the symbolism is not lost on me. I completely adore this. And the fact that you said maybe I'm playing on a higher level, I have felt like that has hindered me in some games. Take Dark Souls for example. Even on the remaster the mouse and keyboard controls are not perfect, they're not. I have to make a macro in that game for the jump attack and then like a kick I think, where you have to press two buttons at once. One of them's like forward and attack and the other's like, I forget exactly what it is. But I had to make that simple macro just because those buttons wouldn't always register because I've got W on my footboard. So I guess I should just tell you a little about this. I've got W and S on my footboard. So where those are very close together where I can press them very quickly if I need to. And the first two buttons I have on the Naga, there's a row of 12 buttons on the side, and the very first two where my thumb constantly rests are left and right, so A and D. I did it that way so I could press them in combination together because the Stinkyboard, when I first got it, it's first driver revision it wouldn't allow you to press more than one key at a time. So I couldn't, for instance, press two buttons on there at the same time. Where if I tie it to the mouse I'm able to do a Shift move to the left and move forward at same, it's kind of like a diagonal, you know. You're pressing three buttons at once to do what two buttons should do. And it's little workarounds like that that I've had to get comfortable with. I used to make a profile for each game that I would play. I mean, I've got a gigantic Sting library now. I started to realize, I need presets, right? Like this is the preset for action RPGs. This is the preset for shooters. This is my strategy preset. So I've just kinda had to learn just by doing, like okay, this is what I should do.

- [Danny] Right, are some genres that are totally off the cards? You're saying up, down, left, right. Like Mortal Combat just came out. Are you able to play that at all?

- [Clint] I have not played a fighting game since my accident and I would say, now I grew up playing Street Fighter. I had a Street Fighter callous. People that played that game will no what I'm talking about. If you played enough of it you would develop a callous. Depending on what kind of characters you like playing too and I never played the guy, the M. Bison kind of characters. I always liked the Ryu and the Ken's and the 360 characters like Zang and stuff. So my thumbs got destroyed, especially depending on what controller you used. And now with the setup I have I could play Street Fighter if I programmed everything or if I played with simplified control. 'Cause I think they introduced that in one of the games. It was like, you could do advanced moves by just pressing a button and I tried it and was just like, this is so boring. Now I haven't tried it since I've been hurt. This was several years ago. And I just know that the game wouldn't be fun to me, to play it that way. Like I'm not looking for something so easy that it's just mind numbing. That's not, I do play games to be challenged and to have a good time. Just pressing one button over and over's not really, that's not a good time.

- [Danny] I think that's why I was so impressed by the fact that you were playing these games because for me, as somebody who has both my hands, I was incredibly intimidated to play Bloodborne last year. I'd never really played a Soulsborne game until last year and then the reason I played it was we'd just had a kid and I was spending hours and hours lying on the sofa with her asleep on my chest and there was nothing I could do except play games. And I thought well, fuck it. This is probably a good a time as ever to actually try and--

- [Clint]Are you playing with the baby on your chest? Wow.

- Yeah, yeah.

- [Clint] Heard about being cold and in the moment.

- [Danny] It forced me to actually, I don't know, be very intentional. And I couldn't get frustrated because she'd wake up if I started to shout or move or get angry or throw a controller. So going back and playing the first Dark Souls which I did months after when the remaster came out, and also playing Sekiro, I found them very, very intimidating. What other games do you play? And is there something special about those Sekiro, Soulsborne games?

- [Clint] So yes, yes. First of all they are brilliant. They're a masterclass in game design, whether it's the art team. Now, the only thing you could really knock against it may be the story. The story in the Souls game's pretty obtuse. You kinda have to go looking for it. Maybe you need to watch some lore videos. I am glad that this new game there are cinematics. There's like more of a traditional story. I do appreciate the fact that it's not quite so, they respect the player. And that when they teach you something, they expect you to have learned that and to begin, not necessarily master it right away, but begin to start working on it. There are so many times where after I've beaten a boss I've been like, okay, so let me see, what's the cheese for this strategy? Is there a cheese? And I'll look it up after just to see did I do it the cheat way? I actually thought that I had beat, what's her name? Lady Butterfly, I had thought I had cheesed her because how I killed her was I kind of, I love they have fake attacking in this game. Like you can act like you're gonna attack and then block and it will fake it. And that's very similar to World of Warcraft, fake casting. As a caster in WoW, you don't want them to interrupt your heal, like when you gotta get off, or the spell you have to get off, so you kinda have to fake. Like you're, I'm gonna cast, I'm gonna cast, use your interrupt, ha ha I got ya. That's built into the gameplay. So I kinda tricked her and baited her to get into a corner and then one of her really killer moves in the air, I only had to dodge twice and I'd be able to attack her. At least get like two attacks on her when she's in a corner. So I look up the cheese on her, and the cheese is like do this one move over and over and over and over and over. And I was like, holy shit. That's so cheesy. I did not, I thought I'd cheesed it but no, I didn't cheese it at all.

- [Danny] You talking about cheeses is like, also sort of goes into the previous point you made about this being a marketing issue. The delineation between accessibility and cheats and then cheeses and strategy, because one of the things that came to my mind when were talking about easy modes in these games was the music box in Bloodborne, which is like, it's a fucking easy mode.

- [Clint] I'm not familiar with that.

- [Danny] So if you, you know, Father Gascoigne is a, oh, have you played Bloodborne? Of course, it's a PlayStation--

- [Clint] So yeah, I should say, yeah, it's on PlayStation. I haven't played it because I only have the Xbox one-handed controllers. I'm hoping they just add, they bring everything to PC. I know they're not gonna bring everything to PC but at least let me use mouse and keyboard, or in my case mouse and footboard on console. 'Cause one-handed controllers, no matter which one I have, they don't compare. For me, they have a one-hand, a mouse and this footboard, there's just nothing that comes close to that. Such a shame. I saw the tweet from the God of War guy and I'm like, yeah, your game's really aren't accessible to me at all, buddy. And I know it's, I know he wasn't thinking like that but I hate exclusivity, man. I really do. I wish you could play everything on anything. That's what I hope the future of gaming is, honestly.

- [Danny] Yeah, I'd never even considered the fact that basically the PlayStation games are completely off the cards. So Spiderman.

- Played Bloodborne, I haven't played Spiderman. Yeah, Spider-Man's the one that's killing me. Even more so than Bloodborne or God of War, is Spiderman. I wanna play Spiderman so bad.

- [Danny] Metal Gear Solid V, did that come out on PC?

- [Clint] Yes, that was on PC, yes. And that was actually a great--

- [Danny] Let me quickly explain that, the music box thing 'cause then I've got another question, just now that we've brought up the Metal Gear Solid thing. So in Bloodborne, they're one of the first bosses you meet, Father Gascoigne. Earlier, I'd say at least half of players run into this like windowsill where somebody, who I think you later find out then is his daughter, gives you a music box. And if you use the music box during the fight he basically staggers and you can use it infinitely up until I think, no you can use it three times during the fight. But it's basically a free hit.

- Oh wow.

- [Danny] And it completely changes the difficulty in that. I would say cuts the difficulty at least in half for that fight for new players.

- [Clint] You used or did you avoid it because you knew about it?

- [Danny] Yeah, the first time I played through it. The first time I played through it Bloodborne had been out for so long that at that stage, you know, I think I was working at GameStop when it came out so somebody did a video about that. So when it came round, the first time I played it I definitely did it. But in subsequent playthroughs I haven't bothered because I've gotten better at it by that stage. Which, you know, that's kinda how those games work, right?

- [Clint] You use the skills that you have, right? That makes sense. The difficulty, they want you to learn. I feel like these games are trying to teach people patience and just not to give up.

- [Danny] Totally, but at the same time they're not completely walling it off to people who--

- [Clint] I don't think so.

- [Danny] No, I don't think that's the intent. I don't think it's some crazy hardcore.

- [Clint] The quote that everybody loves to put up when they talk about, oh, it'll never have a easy mode. This is from Miyazaki, I'm sure I'm saying that wrong, the quote that everyone always loves to through up is, we don't wanna include a difficulty selection because we want to bring everyone to the same level of discussion and the same level of enjoyment. The next part of that quote is, so we want everyone to first face that challenge and to overcome it in some way that suits them as a player. That's the part everyone always leaves out. And I feel like with this one, they've really nailed it because they include a lot of options in terms of changing the keybinds. In some of Dark Souls, you couldn't change some of the keys at first. Like it was just completely locked out. The camera options that they added in, the fact that even include a selection now to show keyboard and mouse prompts instead of just, even though you changed the settings and maybe even changed what the keybindings were it still will show up Xbox buttons. That's so infuriating.

- [Danny] Absolutely, and whenever I play PC games and I've got my Xbox controller plugged in that happens. And it irritates me, but obviously the other way round it happens all the time, I imagine.

- [Clint] There's the other side of that too, where games like Battlefield, and I don't know if this works in the newest one, but it did work in Battlefield 3 and Battlefield 4, as well. You could set up different keybindings, right? Like they've always allowed that. But then they also would allow you to set the plane to a flight stick. So if you had a cheap little joystick or something, or a controller even, you could set it to where when you've got it in the plane it would switch over to the controller. And then when you ejected, you could move back to mouse and keyboard. And I always thought that was brilliant and I wish more games would do stuff like that. Granted you're taking into account people have additional expensive hardware and that's the other thing people don't always think about is all this accessibility stuff is really expensive. I even saw the Xbox guys getting crap 'cause they're XAC was $100. When you look at what they did, they could have easily charged $300 for that. And they still probably would have been taking a loss.

- [Danny] Another element of this that you brought up a second ago was the way in which the lore of Sekiro sort of marries with your personal experience as well. I've actually noticed, I'm not sure if this is just because accessibility's been part of the general gaming conversation more now than it certainly was in the past, but I've noticed this recent trend with player characters with prosthesis on their arms. Am I crazy or has this just suddenly appeared everywhere?

- [Clint] No, it's definitely starting to be a thing. I got asked like what was my favorite disabled superhero maybe four, five years ago. And the only one I could even think of in gaming or in comics was the guy from Deus Ex, the remaster, the remake, or whatever. What's his name?

- [Danny] JC, no JC Denton was, Jensen? What was it?

- [Clint] Jensen was the guy from the last two, I think. Yeah, I'm pretty sure.

- [Danny and Clint] Adam Jensen.

- [Danny] We got there.

- [Clint] Yeah, you got me thinking JC Denton and I was like. That's the original, but the remakes or whatever, the reimaginings. 'Cause he was the only one I could really think of and then since then you've had the chick on the Battlefield cover. There's people in Overwatch that only have one arm.

- [Danny] Apex Legends, I think.

- [Clint] Apex Legends as well. Well, they got a whole cyborg in that one too.

- [Danny] Right, Solid Snake?

- [Clint] Yeah, that actually, you know what, that hit me the hardest. That's something I could talk about real quick.

- [Danny] Yeah, go for it, absolutely.

- [Clint] That scene was so powerful. It totally blew my mind. Now, I didn't have exact similar experience where I woke up. I knew, I came into the hospital talking about chop me off. Chop it off, just chop it off. I know it's gone, chop it off. And those doctors and nurses looked at me like I was crazy. Like damn, how is he living? I don't know if I told you this story but they didn't even know about my back. I woke up after my amputation and was like, holy shit, my arm is gone. I need a smoke. And they were like, you can't go outside? I'm like, you can't tell me what to do. And then I fell on my face and that's when they were like, oh, we need to check something. That's when they found out my spine was all screwed up. But yeah, getting off topic. So Call of Duty, in the last two or three Call of Duty's, it seemed like they just kept having, Buddy would always get his arm chopped off. There would always be that scene where like, it's just gruesome and they're tearing the arm off or it's getting trapped in a door or something. And you see, you get dragged away and your arms left there. They did that, I know for at least two years in a row. That never bothered me or impacted me at all. I played that opening scene in Metal Gear and all, granted most of it is just kind of a walking Sim for the first hour, hour and a half. But that first 20, 30 minutes is very powerful because you wake up. And I do remember waking up in the hospital bed and being like, what do you mean I can't get up? Oh, you did what to my back? Oh my god, my arm is gone. That was very surreal, very powerful. And the have David Bowie playing over it too. And of course those guys come in and kill the one guy couple minutes later but it was a very powerful scene. I love Hideo Kojima, that guy is a genius. I hope I get to play his next one.

- [Danny] What was it like, I guess as well, the subtitle for that game is Phantom Pain, which we've talked in the past, that's obviously a massive issue for yourself and for people in your situation.

- [Clint] And trying to describe that for people is nearly impossible. I mean, it's a constant thing that I have to worry about and over the last, I wanna say the last year or so, it's gotten a lot better in terms of I'm not getting the spikes. Have you ever had a searing headache to where, or let's say stomach pain, where your stomach's hurting, right? But then you get those surges to where you just wanna double up and you can't do anything. Phantom pain is like that. It can be a constant aggravation. Just something's constantly in the back of your mind. Or it could constantly just be bringing you to your knees where you can't do anything else. There is no, I mean I've cussed out my mama before. I love my mama, I would never do that, right? I've been hurtin' bad enough to cuss my mom out. That's kinda how I have to explain it to people. It hurts bad enough that it'll make you cuss your mom out. And you the type of person that normally do that, that's saying a lot. It's a mindfuck, man. And I'm sorry for cussing, really no other way to describin' it. It is unreal. I wish there were words that I could use to give it justice. And for some people, I've heard stories of where it lasts 90 days, they lose a limb and 90 days later, they're fine. Maybe it aggravates them every now and then, but for the most part they're fine. But for some reason with me, this October will be seven years and I'm still dealing with it. So I wish I had an answer as to why, but I don't.

- [Danny] Does that, presumably not just playing video games, but that must impact every moment of your life.

- [Clint] Oh yeah, the first thing I did when I got my disability was not build some crazy super rig and buy this Razer Naga and all this stuff. I bought a chair. I bought a very expensive chair that was good, felt comfortable to sit in and supported my back. That was the first thing I did and it was, it cost me $400 but it was worth every penny. I still have the same chair. It doesn't need an upgrade. I'll be ready to upgrade this computer before I'm ready to upgrade this chair. That definitely helps a lot. But dealing with pain and dealing with pain management, I've had to learn a lot of things because when you're constantly, your head's constantly cloudy it's hard to think clearly about anything, much less be able to deal with, you know. Let's say I get a cold or something, sometimes that's enough to just ruin my day whereas having a cold before was no big deal, whatever. 'Cause it's just addition, right? You keep adding on the things. I'm grateful that you followed me this long on Twitter, man. I can't imagine you haven't wanted to just mute me before. Because I either would just go blackout for six months or just rage for several days in a row. And then be like, oh, I love this, I love that.

- [Danny] I think that's everyone on Twitter actually. Myself included.

- [Clint] I kinda noticed that a little. Basically there to just bitch.

- [Danny] I mean, was there any then, you know, just in relation to the thematically, this has been used in games a number of times, what was your experience with what happens in Sekiro and his use of a prosthesis?

- [Clint] It's genius, it blew my mind. Like I know it's game design, right? And this is not, like none of it's real. But it really got me thinking, well, what if some of this was kind of based on some history? Like how much of this, because when I first lost my arm that was, me and my friends were talking about it like, oh, wouldn't it be cool if it had a blade like the dude from Deus Ex? You think you could, what all could you fit in there? Would it fit grenades? And it's like, no man. Why would I walk around with, you know, not serious talk. Just friends being, they were drunk and being stupid. And just thinking about what all different things could you do with an arm? And then I'm like, I wish it was the future where I could just walk up to a system and be like, okay, I would like a soda from this machine. Or give me 10 grand out this ATM. Have you seen the anime where the little finger pops up and the little wires come out? Like that would be amazing. But yeah, I love the use of the prosthetic. And I feel like that balances some of the difficulty, especially early on. I've seen a lot of people have trouble with that first red-eye ogre. And when I came across 'em I had already done the memory and beaten Lady Butterfly, so I was super powerful. I felt super, I mean I had the flaming barrel, I had plenty of oil, and I totally messed that dude up. He might have killed me once, twice maybe 'cause I didn't know about the add with the spear. Oh man, there's definitely some moves that once you get 'em, they tell you how useful they are and they'll even warn you again. And some of the handholding. That's actually hurt me, and something I'm sure they didn't think about. So I have to take my hand off the mouse, go over to the Escape on the keyboard, hit Escape, try to get my hand back on the mouse before I get smacked. Nine times out of 10 I'm getting smacked. And I know they're doing it to help people and trying to remind them like, hey, this is what this does. But that kept getting in the way for me. I realize what they're trying to do and I know they're trying to make these games more accessible. And I think that fact that it sold two million copies in 10 days, that surprised me even. I didn't think this game would do that good. These games are notoriously hard. My brother said I can't believe you're playing this. Not because he thinks I'm too disabled, but because he thinks it requires too much patience. They all have the impression they're so hard that nobody can actually play these unless you just can control your rage.

- [Danny] Yeah, they do sort of have a, I don't know, there's a sort of a mythic quality to this, which is earned in many ways, but there's an urban legend aspect to it as well which has kind of made it a bit ridiculous. One question actually we got from somebody. I put a call out on Twitter just before we went live for questions and one we got in actually rubs up against that which was, Video Attack asks, how much of the reputation for the series being obtuse and difficult do you think could be addressed with proper tutorializing and making more in-depth mechanics easier to understand? I love the series, but I don't always feel they've done well explaining mechanics to the player. I found that in the early games that was kind of part of the discovery of those games, was trying to figure it out. But Sekiro I feel like is so, I feel like you really have to defeat bosses in very particular ways, in ways that I maybe aren't, I don't know. Maybe I'm just lacking the patience for it a little bit or something. How do you feel? 'Cause they've definitely done a better job of the tutorials. It's interesting to here you say the tutorials were getting in your way.

- [Clint] They've definitely done that. Yeah, and that's just for me having one hand. Let's say maybe I had decided to put Escape for whatever reason and I macro'd that, or put that on my footboard or somewhere on the mouse, then I wouldn't have this issue. But of all the keys that I could afford to re-keybind, Escape is almost never one of them. Escape and Map are the last two things I worry about in games So they've definitely done a better job in terms of addressing that. But I feel like it's only gonna get as good as it can. Again I tell you, this does this and this is when you should use this. Now whether you remember to use it then, when you're supposed to, that's not really up to them, right? So a lot of I think like is perspective. Like you can die to a boss 10 times and think, oh, this is bullshit. I'm never playing this game again. Or you could die 10 times and during those 10 attempts somewhere you see where you made a mistake. Maybe you panic, maybe you got overaggressive. I feel like their games are trying to teach you certain things but at a certain point they do expect you to put it all together. And not everyone is the type of gamer to have read the messages and pay attention to what it is. Maybe even practice what the move is and been able to put into practice at the right time. I don't really know what they can do to do that besides even more severe handholding which I think would just detract from the game, honestly.

- [Danny] It reminds me a little bit of just how games have changed over the past 20, 30 years. And one of the instances where this sort of, at least from my experience, reads most clearly is, the first game I ever completed was The Secret of Monkey Island on the Amiga. And it took me I think three months. I was pretty young when it came out. I think I was eight or nine. And it took me like three months, a whole summer basically, to complete it. And then the remaster came out. I wanna say it was on 360 and PS3 maybe. And it was really cool and updated graphics and loads of cool new music and all that stuff, but they also had the tip system in it. And there were some things that you had to do in that game. Like to get to one of the little islands off of Melee Island, you had to use a rubber chicken and a wire to zip across it which kind of makes no sense. I remember being stuck on that forever. But in this thing, you could use a tip and it would like, I think there was three levels of tip. They would give you a little bit of a nudge, a little bit more of a nudge, and they would just say, just use the fucking chicken wire on the wire, right? And I remember thinking, oh that's a good thing, right? Kind of, 'cause it's helping people. But I guess it says less about how difficult games were and more about where our expectations of difficulty came from. Like when that happened years ago I didn't think, oh they made this game wrong. Or you know, this is stupid. I wish they did something to let me know how to do this. I just thought, oh I'm dumb. I don't know what to do to get to that island. Whereas these days we have this expectation that we sort of need to constantly be getting this positive feedback. Even when, like you said in the boss fights, often times I'll die 10 times in a row but it's because I was using the same tactics 10 times in a row. Other games might actually, some games if you play the boss fight for the third time, they without letting you know will make that boss fight easier. And they don't signal it. Games are constantly doing this sort of stuff.

- [Clint] The new Resident Evil does that, I believe. I died one too many times in the police station and they were like, would you like to make the game easier? And I was like offended by it. I was like, hey man, F you. It's not my fault your buddy cornered me. I was trying to leave I was like, I appreciate the offer but at the same time, I was like, that would be great for someone who needs it. And it didn't offend me that it was in the game, it just offended me that they thought I needed it. I was like, hey, hey, I got this, man. Leave me alone. But I have no problem with it being in the game. I honestly don't care.

- [Danny] And that was an instance where they told you. Where sometimes they don't even bother telling you. Actually, now that I think about it, there is another bell. Speaking of bells from Bloodborne. There's a bell in Sekiro, have you seen this one? The bell that you can ring and it makes the bosses harder.

- [Clint] You know what? I've come across it but is that what it does? It makes stuff harder?

- [Danny] I think it does two things. I think it makes one thing easier and one thing harder. Like I think it might increase the drop rate on certain things but it makes the bosses more difficult. I don't know exactly what it is. But definitely if you ring it it will make the game harder in some respects.

- [Clint] I've come across it and the message was a little bit cryptic. It sort of made it sound like it was gonna be a harder game if you rang the bell.

- [Danny] It's something like, don't ring the bell, or something.

- [Clint] Yeah, yeah. I was like, I'm just gonna ignore this for now 'til I know what this is. I'm sure there'll be a lore video on it eventually that I can figure out whether or not I should ring it. This kinda makes me think of Wolfenstein, Doom. You could pick easy mode in those games and then have them like sucking on a pacifier. They're letting you know, like hey, you can play this way but don't you feel like a man about it. Like don't go bragging about it. And you know, I don't think there's anything wrong with that. Why not?

- [Danny] And it's pretty funny that you mention that because when this conversation was happening, I think one of the questions I put out was like, let me know a game you play on easy because you don't care. And the one I said whenever I'm in really bad turbulence on a flight, I have my Switch with me usually and what I usually do is I just put it on easy mode and I try and score as many goals as I can and it kind of takes my mind off things. But the one that so many people kept saying which actually, now that I think about it, I have totally done as well is the MachineGames Wolfenstein games. Those games are brutally hard and a lot of the time they're kind of, I don't know, I feel like a lot of us play it because we want to feel powerful but also we just want to see what the story, where it goes. So I feel like that's, again, a lot of people play on an easier mode just so they can get through it and enjoy the experience.

- [Clint] I used to play the Call of Duty's on like the Veteran or whatever the hardest one was until I realized, I don't remember which, it was probably one of your videos or somebody's videos, where it was like, you know this is just a visible line you have to cross, right? As soon as you cross that invisible line you stop spawning. And I was like, oh shit. So you mean I've purposely just been driving myself crazy? 'Cause some of those games there's certain sections where you're just like, how the fuck, how did he shoot me, no way.

- [Danny] That's your World of Warcraft shit. You are farming them. You're just sitting back and farming these dudes.

- [Clint] Basically, and I'm thinking like, we're gonna make it. Oh no, here comes some more. It's just like, I'm killing myself and for what? Like I could be having the same level of enjoyment and my frustration level's not getting near as high if I just turn it to the appropriate difficulty. Now, whether or not they should, there's a whole 'nother can of worms, should they include it? Like if it's gonna takeaway resources and time and if they have a vision, I think you're getting more into the singular vision versus the design by committee, right? Miyazaki obviously has a singular vision for his games but he also, I don't think he enjoys the fact that everyone thinks his games are so hard. I don't think that's something he takes pride in. I think he wants more people to play 'em. I think he's pretty much said as much.

- [Danny] So I guess yeah, taking everything we've talked about today, like the different ways in which games can be more accessible to people, the sort of amorphous conversation about cheesing and difficulty and cheats and how they all sort of blend into each other. As somebody who has experience in these games, who enjoys them, who has been playing them, as far as I'm concerned, on a much harder difficulty level than most of us, what do you feel about Sekiro and how challenging it is? And how you were able to play it as somebody with a disability? Where do you land on it?

- [Clint] Honestly, since I downloaded that mod couple days ago, it really got me thinking. Because essentially I've done the same thing the PC Gamer guy has done, except I haven't enabled the cheats, right? Some people may say, oh, you're using ultrawide or unlock frame rate, like you're cheating. And I would say, yeah but I paid for that 2880. I want my frames. I paid for this ultrawide. I'm not changing the game design so much as I'm just adding things they should have maybe thought about if they're gonna release a PC port today. I love the challenge. I feel like each encounter, sounds cliche, but it's like a dance of death, right? If you get surrounded by two or three normal guys, they can kill you. The bosses are very, very hard. Now, granted I haven't beaten the game. I'm sure there's gonna be a boss where I'm just like, oh my god, I'm gonna die 20-plus times. But so far, the most I've died was maybe, actuaLly it was the guy after Blazing Bull. I can't remember the name. I've started calling him General Fuck You. Because every time I get to him he'd just be like fuck you, you're not getting past the gate. And he was such a bitch. He had like a grab and a sweep and then also like, it was the first guy I think I encountered that had three of the warnings and they were all different things. So it took me a while. And you're fighting that closed little section between the walls and it made the camp bit, oh that was a pain. I probably died 10-plus times to him. That's probably the only guy I've died that much to. Maybe Lady Butterfly, might have died like seven or eight, nine times, maybe. I love it for what it is. And I can't thank you enough for it, man. I've had a blast playing it. It's really made me think about a lot of different things. Eventually I'd like to make a video on it or something. Do something more. But you know, I appreciate being brought on this podcast, man. I've had a blast thinking about this and ways that we could try to improve the game for people with disabilities. And I feel like they've done the best job they could. These controls are super responsive. I think transcendent's probably the best way I can describe it. I don't feel like I'm using a mouse and footboard when I'm playing and I feel like I'm the one-arm wolf.

- [Danny] Well, you are the one-arm wolf and we really appreciate you coming in. There you go, just in case you didn't already have enough really good internet handles. You can add that one to your repertoire. We really appreciate your time, plqying the game and coming on to talk to us today. For folks who want to follow you, where can they catch you on the Twitter and whatnot?

- [Clint] DisabledCable on Twitter.

- [Danny] Awesome, good stuff. And yeah, how much more time do you think you have with it? Just as the parting question. Do you think this'll be something you play for the rest of the year? Or another couple of weeks?

- [Clint] Honestly, probably another couple of months. I tend to have, like I'll have my action game. I'll have my shooter. And then I'll usually have a role-playing game. Some of those can be interchanged, kind of be the same thing. And this has been my go-to. Like alright, this is my single-player game. If I'm gonna play something with my brothers it's either gonna be Destiny or Vermintide. Not playing any MMOs now. So this is, I'll probably beat it sometime, I would say in the next month, month and a half. Something like that maybe.

- [Danny] Awesome, well we wish you well on the journey. I'll be right there with you. I'll be probably a couple of bosses behind you actually. Thank you so much for coming on. And thank you so much to all of our Patrons for funding our work. As ever, you know you can follow us on Twitter @noclipvideo. I am @dannyodwyer on Twitter or /noclip if you wanna follow us on Reddit. And of course this podcast is available early if you're a Patron. Go to patreon.com/noclip to support this show, get it early, and also support all the documentaries we make on our YouTube channel.

- [Clint] Go hit up this man's Patreon. Come on, y'all.

- [Danny] Thank you so much We've actually got another YouTube channel for the podcast, youtube.com/noclippodcast. If you wanna watch this one. Alternatively, we are available on basically every podcast service in the known universe. iTunes, Spotify, Stitcher, Google Play, and loads, loads more. Soundcloud as well. We fixed the Soundcloud. There was a problem with our uploads but it's all right and ready now. Thank you so much for listening. Subscribe, give us a review if you can. We've never asked really, much, so if you can do that on iTunes or whatever. I mean, give us a good review. Don't give us a review if you think it's shit maybe. Just forget this part of the podcast. Go do something else. But thank you for listening, thank you for your time, and we'll see you next time. Actually, hold up one second. One little thing to add to the podcast before we close it out. I got an email from Clint after we recorded who felt bad that he had, in the haze of the podcast conversation, forgotten to call out two important people that helped him quite a lot on his journey. The first person is his brother, Matt, who sent him the Naga which he used when he first started coming back to play games. The other is his friend, Kyle, who was actually building him a two button foot switch when they found out that somebody was actually making one commercially., the Stinkyboard, which he ended up using afterwards. Clint's journey to actually being able to play games was quite long. He was in bed for the best part of a year, had to play on a laptop. And then through the help of using those inputs over the course of the next couple of months, learned to play with his feet and learned to play properly with one hand. So he wanted to give a shout out to the two of them who helped him so much when all this was going on, six, five years ago. And I thought I should definitely make the point of sticking it into the end of the podcast. So thank you so much to Matt and Kyle. Clearly he couldn't get to where he is right now without your support and help, so thank you very much.

May 03 2019

48mins

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Rank #9: #21 - Happy Newclip

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Danny & Jeremy do a 2020 catch up by chatting about Outer Wilds, Bastion, Transistor, Gish, The Witcher TV show, and buying legal substances.

iTunes Page: https://itunes.apple.com/us/podcast/noclip/id1385062988 RSS Feed: http://noclippodcast.libsyn.com/rssGoogle Play: https://play.google.com/music/listen?u=0#/ps/If7gz7uvqebg2qqlicxhay22qny Spotify: https://open.spotify.com/show/5XYk92ubrXpvPVk1lin4VB?si=JRAcPnlvQ0-YJWU9XiW9pg Soundcloud: https://soundcloud.com/noclippodcast

Watch our docs: https://youtube.com/noclippodcast Sub our new podcast channel: https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCSHBlPhuCd1sDOdNANCwjrA Learn About Noclip: https://www.noclip.videoBecome a Patron and get early access to new episodes: https://www.patreon.com/noclip Follow @noclipvideo on Twitter

Funded by 4,100 Patrons.

Jan 08 2020

1hr 5mins

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Rank #10: #11 - Welcome (Back) to Earthquake Country

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Upon returning to Oakland, Danny checks in with Jeremy on the new studio, upcoming docs on Creative Assembly, ESRB & Ablegamers, and tries not to talk about Death Stranding.

iTunes Page: https://itunes.apple.com/us/podcast/noclip/id1385062988 RSS Feed: http://noclippodcast.libsyn.com/rssGoogle Play: https://play.google.com/music/listen?u=0#/ps/If7gz7uvqebg2qqlicxhay22qny Spotify: https://open.spotify.com/show/5XYk92ubrXpvPVk1lin4VB?si=JRAcPnlvQ0-YJWU9XiW9pg Soundcloud: https://soundcloud.com/noclippodcast

Watch our docs: https://youtube.com/noclippodcast Sub our new podcast channel: https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCSHBlPhuCd1sDOdNANCwjrA Learn About Noclip: https://www.noclip.videoBecome a Patron and get early access to new episodes: https://www.patreon.com/noclip Follow @noclipvideo on Twitter

Hosted by @dannyodwyer and @adackmusic Funded by 4,316 Patrons.

Oct 16 2019

1hr 2mins

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#32 - Arkane & STUN

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We enjoy the quiet before the Arkane storm by talking about Star Trek: Voyager Elite Force, Stone Cold with hair and the dirty pleasure of an atrociously large if else statement.

iTunes Page: https://itunes.apple.com/us/podcast/noclip/id1385062988 RSS Feed: http://noclippodcast.libsyn.com/rssGoogle Play: https://play.google.com/music/listen?u=0#/ps/If7gz7uvqebg2qqlicxhay22qny Spotify: https://open.spotify.com/show/5XYk92ubrXpvPVk1lin4VB?si=JRAcPnlvQ0-YJWU9XiW9pg Soundcloud: https://soundcloud.com/noclippodcast

Watch our docs: https://youtube.com/noclippodcast Sub our new podcast channel: https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCSHBlPhuCd1sDOdNANCwjrA Learn About Noclip: https://www.noclip.videoBecome a Patron and get early access to new episodes: https://www.patreon.com/noclip Follow @noclipvideo on Twitter

Funded by 4,183 Patrons.

May 21 2020

1hr 9mins

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#31 - Creative Assembly Doc & GROUND

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This week we discuss the process of creating our documentary on Creative Assembly and chat about Counter Strike, Hollow Knight and Divinity as dive into this week's cheatcode; GROUND.

iTunes Page: https://itunes.apple.com/us/podcast/noclip/id1385062988 RSS Feed: http://noclippodcast.libsyn.com/rssGoogle Play: https://play.google.com/music/listen?u=0#/ps/If7gz7uvqebg2qqlicxhay22qny Spotify: https://open.spotify.com/show/5XYk92ubrXpvPVk1lin4VB?si=JRAcPnlvQ0-YJWU9XiW9pg Soundcloud: https://soundcloud.com/noclippodcast

Watch our docs: https://youtube.com/noclippodcast Sub our new podcast channel: https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCSHBlPhuCd1sDOdNANCwjrA Learn About Noclip: https://www.noclip.videoBecome a Patron and get early access to new episodes: https://www.patreon.com/noclip Follow @noclipvideo on Twitter

Funded by 4,176 Patrons.

May 15 2020

1hr 18mins

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#30 - TRAVEL

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Our podcast on (cheat code) TRAVEL dives into the healing power of wandering through World of Warcraft, grocery shopping in Yakuza 0, eating oatmeal mindfully and much more. 

iTunes Page: https://itunes.apple.com/us/podcast/noclip/id1385062988 RSS Feed: http://noclippodcast.libsyn.com/rssGoogle Play: https://play.google.com/music/listen?u=0#/ps/If7gz7uvqebg2qqlicxhay22qny Spotify: https://open.spotify.com/show/5XYk92ubrXpvPVk1lin4VB?si=JRAcPnlvQ0-YJWU9XiW9pg Soundcloud: https://soundcloud.com/noclippodcast

Watch our docs: https://youtube.com/noclippodcast Sub our new podcast channel: https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCSHBlPhuCd1sDOdNANCwjrA Learn About Noclip: https://www.noclip.videoBecome a Patron and get early access to new episodes: https://www.patreon.com/noclip Follow @noclipvideo on Twitter

Funded by 4,071 Patrons.

May 07 2020

1hr 13mins

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#28 - Astroneer Check-In with Adam Bromell

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A year after our documentary on Astroneer we catch up with System Era's Adam Bromell to see how the team did at launch, the team's future plans, and chat how good Half-Life: Alyx is.

iTunes Page: https://itunes.apple.com/us/podcast/noclip/id1385062988 RSS Feed: http://noclippodcast.libsyn.com/rssGoogle Play: https://play.google.com/music/listen?u=0#/ps/If7gz7uvqebg2qqlicxhay22qny Spotify: https://open.spotify.com/show/5XYk92ubrXpvPVk1lin4VB?si=JRAcPnlvQ0-YJWU9XiW9pg Soundcloud: https://soundcloud.com/noclippodcast

Watch our docs: https://youtube.com/noclippodcast Sub our new podcast channel: https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCSHBlPhuCd1sDOdNANCwjrA Learn About Noclip: https://www.noclip.videoBecome a Patron and get early access to new episodes: https://www.patreon.com/noclip Follow @noclipvideo on Twitter

Funded by 4,105 Patrons.

Apr 01 2020

1hr 9mins

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#27 - Developing Warframe from Home with Rebb Ford

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With most of the industry housebound we decided to turn to internet interviews for the foreseeable future. In this episode, the first of our new series catching up with past documentary interviewees, we chat to Rebb Ford about the evolution of Warframe and how the studio is coping working remotely.

iTunes Page: https://itunes.apple.com/us/podcast/noclip/id1385062988 RSS Feed: http://noclippodcast.libsyn.com/rssGoogle Play: https://play.google.com/music/listen?u=0#/ps/If7gz7uvqebg2qqlicxhay22qny Spotify: https://open.spotify.com/show/5XYk92ubrXpvPVk1lin4VB?si=JRAcPnlvQ0-YJWU9XiW9pg Soundcloud: https://soundcloud.com/noclippodcast

Watch our docs: https://youtube.com/noclippodcast Sub our new podcast channel: https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCSHBlPhuCd1sDOdNANCwjrA Learn About Noclip: https://www.noclip.videoBecome a Patron and get early access to new episodes: https://www.patreon.com/noclip Follow @noclipvideo on Twitter

Funded by 4,105 Patrons.

Mar 25 2020

59mins

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#26 - Drew Scanlon's Global Game Documentaries

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Cloth Map's Drew Scanlon joins Danny to talk about the trials and tribulations of filming gaming documentaries that focus on the location, people and politics of places all over the world.

iTunes Page: https://itunes.apple.com/us/podcast/noclip/id1385062988 RSS Feed: http://noclippodcast.libsyn.com/rssGoogle Play: https://play.google.com/music/listen?u=0#/ps/If7gz7uvqebg2qqlicxhay22qny Spotify: https://open.spotify.com/show/5XYk92ubrXpvPVk1lin4VB?si=JRAcPnlvQ0-YJWU9XiW9pg Soundcloud: https://soundcloud.com/noclippodcast

Watch our docs: https://youtube.com/noclippodcast Sub our new podcast channel: https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCSHBlPhuCd1sDOdNANCwjrA Learn About Noclip: https://www.noclip.videoBecome a Patron and get early access to new episodes: https://www.patreon.com/noclip Follow @noclipvideo on Twitter

Funded by 4,121 Patrons.

Mar 17 2020

40mins

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#24 - Knights, Bikes, Lionheads & Sackboys

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We sit down with veteran, British developer Rex Crowle to talk about his early career at Lionheads and Media Molecule, and why he left it all to make games in a two-person studio.

iTunes Page: https://itunes.apple.com/us/podcast/noclip/id1385062988 RSS Feed: http://noclippodcast.libsyn.com/rssGoogle Play: https://play.google.com/music/listen?u=0#/ps/If7gz7uvqebg2qqlicxhay22qny Spotify: https://open.spotify.com/show/5XYk92ubrXpvPVk1lin4VB?si=JRAcPnlvQ0-YJWU9XiW9pg Soundcloud: https://soundcloud.com/noclippodcast

Watch our docs: https://youtube.com/noclippodcast Sub our new podcast channel: https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCSHBlPhuCd1sDOdNANCwjrA Learn About Noclip: https://www.noclip.videoBecome a Patron and get early access to new episodes: https://www.patreon.com/noclip Follow @noclipvideo on Twitter

Funded by 4,065 Patrons.

Feb 05 2020

50mins

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#23 - Shovel Knight's Epic Development

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We talk to Yacht Club Games' David D'Angelo about the six-year, five-game development of Shovel Knight. From Kickstarter to Treasure Trove and everything in between.

iTunes Page: https://itunes.apple.com/us/podcast/noclip/id1385062988 RSS Feed: http://noclippodcast.libsyn.com/rssGoogle Play: https://play.google.com/music/listen?u=0#/ps/If7gz7uvqebg2qqlicxhay22qny Spotify: https://open.spotify.com/show/5XYk92ubrXpvPVk1lin4VB?si=JRAcPnlvQ0-YJWU9XiW9pg Soundcloud: https://soundcloud.com/noclippodcast

Watch our docs: https://youtube.com/noclippodcast Sub our new podcast channel: https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCSHBlPhuCd1sDOdNANCwjrA Learn About Noclip: https://www.noclip.videoBecome a Patron and get early access to new episodes: https://www.patreon.com/noclip Follow @noclipvideo on Twitter

Funded by 4,112 Patrons.

Jan 22 2020

57mins

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#22 - DOOM Eternal with Hugo Martin

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Danny sits down with Hugo Martin (Game Director, DOOM Eternal) to discuss how id Software tore apart the DOOM 2016 rulebook and attempted to make a faster, more challenging demons slaying romp.

iTunes Page: https://itunes.apple.com/us/podcast/noclip/id1385062988 RSS Feed: http://noclippodcast.libsyn.com/rssGoogle Play: https://play.google.com/music/listen?u=0#/ps/If7gz7uvqebg2qqlicxhay22qny Spotify: https://open.spotify.com/show/5XYk92ubrXpvPVk1lin4VB?si=JRAcPnlvQ0-YJWU9XiW9pg Soundcloud: https://soundcloud.com/noclippodcast

Watch our docs: https://youtube.com/noclippodcast Sub our new podcast channel: https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCSHBlPhuCd1sDOdNANCwjrA Learn About Noclip: https://www.noclip.videoBecome a Patron and get early access to new episodes: https://www.patreon.com/noclip Follow @noclipvideo on Twitter

Funded by 4,113 Patrons.

Jan 15 2020

55mins

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#21 - Happy Newclip

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Danny & Jeremy do a 2020 catch up by chatting about Outer Wilds, Bastion, Transistor, Gish, The Witcher TV show, and buying legal substances.

iTunes Page: https://itunes.apple.com/us/podcast/noclip/id1385062988 RSS Feed: http://noclippodcast.libsyn.com/rssGoogle Play: https://play.google.com/music/listen?u=0#/ps/If7gz7uvqebg2qqlicxhay22qny Spotify: https://open.spotify.com/show/5XYk92ubrXpvPVk1lin4VB?si=JRAcPnlvQ0-YJWU9XiW9pg Soundcloud: https://soundcloud.com/noclippodcast

Watch our docs: https://youtube.com/noclippodcast Sub our new podcast channel: https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCSHBlPhuCd1sDOdNANCwjrA Learn About Noclip: https://www.noclip.videoBecome a Patron and get early access to new episodes: https://www.patreon.com/noclip Follow @noclipvideo on Twitter

Funded by 4,100 Patrons.

Jan 08 2020

1hr 5mins

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#20 - Noclip's 2019 Year in Review

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Danny & Jeremy review all the work that Noclip released in 2019 and take a moment to chat about some of their favorites games from the year.

iTunes Page: https://itunes.apple.com/us/podcast/noclip/id1385062988 RSS Feed: http://noclippodcast.libsyn.com/rssGoogle Play: https://play.google.com/music/listen?u=0#/ps/If7gz7uvqebg2qqlicxhay22qny Spotify: https://open.spotify.com/show/5XYk92ubrXpvPVk1lin4VB?si=JRAcPnlvQ0-YJWU9XiW9pg Soundcloud: https://soundcloud.com/noclippodcast

Watch our docs: https://youtube.com/noclippodcast Sub our new podcast channel: https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCSHBlPhuCd1sDOdNANCwjrA Learn About Noclip: https://www.noclip.videoBecome a Patron and get early access to new episodes: https://www.patreon.com/noclip Follow @noclipvideo on Twitter

Funded by 4,122 Patrons.

Dec 19 2019

1hr 6mins

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#19 - Video Game History Unleashed

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Frank Cifaldi from the Video Game History Foundation joins us to talk about game preservation, vengeful sharks, and alien-fighting basketball players.

iTunes Page: https://itunes.apple.com/us/podcast/noclip/id1385062988 RSS Feed: http://noclippodcast.libsyn.com/rssGoogle Play: https://play.google.com/music/listen?u=0#/ps/If7gz7uvqebg2qqlicxhay22qny Spotify: https://open.spotify.com/show/5XYk92ubrXpvPVk1lin4VB?si=JRAcPnlvQ0-YJWU9XiW9pg Soundcloud: https://soundcloud.com/noclippodcast

Watch our docs: https://youtube.com/noclippodcast Sub our new podcast channel: https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCSHBlPhuCd1sDOdNANCwjrA Learn About Noclip: https://www.noclip.videoBecome a Patron and get early access to new episodes: https://www.patreon.com/noclip Follow @noclipvideo on Twitter

Funded by 4,166 Patrons.

Dec 11 2019

1hr 30mins

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#17 - We Need To Talk About Alyx

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There's only one thing to talk about this week. Jim Stormdancer returns to help Danny make sense of the return of G-Man as we discuss all the information surrounding Half-Life: Alyx.

iTunes Page: https://itunes.apple.com/us/podcast/noclip/id1385062988 RSS Feed: http://noclippodcast.libsyn.com/rssGoogle Play: https://play.google.com/music/listen?u=0#/ps/If7gz7uvqebg2qqlicxhay22qny Spotify: https://open.spotify.com/show/5XYk92ubrXpvPVk1lin4VB?si=JRAcPnlvQ0-YJWU9XiW9pg Soundcloud: https://soundcloud.com/noclippodcast

Watch our docs: https://youtube.com/noclippodcast Sub our new podcast channel: https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCSHBlPhuCd1sDOdNANCwjrA Learn About Noclip: https://www.noclip.videoBecome a Patron and get early access to new episodes: https://www.patreon.com/noclip Follow @noclipvideo on Twitter

Funded by 4,166 Patrons.

Nov 28 2019

1hr 6mins

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#16 - Sea of Solitude (Cornelia Geppert)

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Cornelia (Connie) Geppert visits Noclip from Berlin to talk about the development of Sea of Solitude, having EA as a publishing partner, the creative changes she would make given a second chance and her passion for playing artful games.

iTunes Page: https://itunes.apple.com/us/podcast/noclip/id1385062988 RSS Feed: http://noclippodcast.libsyn.com/rssGoogle Play: https://play.google.com/music/listen?u=0#/ps/If7gz7uvqebg2qqlicxhay22qny Spotify: https://open.spotify.com/show/5XYk92ubrXpvPVk1lin4VB?si=JRAcPnlvQ0-YJWU9XiW9pg Soundcloud: https://soundcloud.com/noclippodcast

Watch our docs: https://youtube.com/noclippodcast Sub our new podcast channel: https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCSHBlPhuCd1sDOdNANCwjrA Learn About Noclip: https://www.noclip.videoBecome a Patron and get early access to new episodes: https://www.patreon.com/noclip Follow @noclipvideo on Twitter

Hosted by @dannyodwyer and @adackmusic Funded by 4,188 Patrons.

Nov 20 2019

41mins

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#15 - Jim Stormdancer

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For our first podcast in the new studio, we invite Frog Fractions creator Jim Stormdancer over to chat about loot boxes, the struggles of indie development, and the twisted relationship between hardship and creativity.

iTunes Page: https://itunes.apple.com/us/podcast/noclip/id1385062988 RSS Feed: http://noclippodcast.libsyn.com/rssGoogle Play: https://play.google.com/music/listen?u=0#/ps/If7gz7uvqebg2qqlicxhay22qny Spotify: https://open.spotify.com/show/5XYk92ubrXpvPVk1lin4VB?si=JRAcPnlvQ0-YJWU9XiW9pg Soundcloud: https://soundcloud.com/noclippodcast

Watch our docs: https://youtube.com/noclippodcast Sub our new podcast channel: https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCSHBlPhuCd1sDOdNANCwjrA Learn About Noclip: https://www.noclip.videoBecome a Patron and get early access to new episodes: https://www.patreon.com/noclip Follow @noclipvideo on Twitter

Hosted by @dannyodwyer and @adackmusic Funded by 4,192 Patrons.

Nov 14 2019

1hr 1min

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#13 - Horror Game Spooktacular

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Come with us on a horrifying video game adventure and Danny & Jeremy discuss the Noclip community's spookiest experiences. Featuring chat about PT, Dead Space, Fatal Frame, Alone in the Dark, Condemned, Ecco the Dolphin for some reason, and much more.

iTunes Page: https://itunes.apple.com/us/podcast/noclip/id1385062988 RSS Feed: http://noclippodcast.libsyn.com/rssGoogle Play: https://play.google.com/music/listen?u=0#/ps/If7gz7uvqebg2qqlicxhay22qny Spotify: https://open.spotify.com/show/5XYk92ubrXpvPVk1lin4VB?si=JRAcPnlvQ0-YJWU9XiW9pg Soundcloud: https://soundcloud.com/noclippodcast

Watch our docs: https://youtube.com/noclippodcast Sub our new podcast channel: https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCSHBlPhuCd1sDOdNANCwjrA Learn About Noclip: https://www.noclip.videoBecome a Patron and get early access to new episodes: https://www.patreon.com/noclip Follow @noclipvideo on Twitter

Hosted by @dannyodwyer and @adackmusic Funded by 4,276 Patrons.

Oct 30 2019

1hr 16mins

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#12 - Support Local Video Game Museums

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Fresh from a day's filming, Danny & Jeremy chat about the upcoming ESRB documentary, our new landlords, video game museums, our scariest video game memories, plans for Extra Life and the guest you can look forward to when the podcast begins proper.

iTunes Page: https://itunes.apple.com/us/podcast/noclip/id1385062988 RSS Feed: http://noclippodcast.libsyn.com/rssGoogle Play: https://play.google.com/music/listen?u=0#/ps/If7gz7uvqebg2qqlicxhay22qny Spotify: https://open.spotify.com/show/5XYk92ubrXpvPVk1lin4VB?si=JRAcPnlvQ0-YJWU9XiW9pg Soundcloud: https://soundcloud.com/noclippodcast

Watch our docs: https://youtube.com/noclippodcast Sub our new podcast channel: https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCSHBlPhuCd1sDOdNANCwjrA Learn About Noclip: https://www.noclip.videoBecome a Patron and get early access to new episodes: https://www.patreon.com/noclip Follow @noclipvideo on Twitter

Hosted by @dannyodwyer and @adackmusic Funded by 4,302 Patrons.

Oct 23 2019

1hr 8mins

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#11 - Welcome (Back) to Earthquake Country

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Upon returning to Oakland, Danny checks in with Jeremy on the new studio, upcoming docs on Creative Assembly, ESRB & Ablegamers, and tries not to talk about Death Stranding.

iTunes Page: https://itunes.apple.com/us/podcast/noclip/id1385062988 RSS Feed: http://noclippodcast.libsyn.com/rssGoogle Play: https://play.google.com/music/listen?u=0#/ps/If7gz7uvqebg2qqlicxhay22qny Spotify: https://open.spotify.com/show/5XYk92ubrXpvPVk1lin4VB?si=JRAcPnlvQ0-YJWU9XiW9pg Soundcloud: https://soundcloud.com/noclippodcast

Watch our docs: https://youtube.com/noclippodcast Sub our new podcast channel: https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCSHBlPhuCd1sDOdNANCwjrA Learn About Noclip: https://www.noclip.videoBecome a Patron and get early access to new episodes: https://www.patreon.com/noclip Follow @noclipvideo on Twitter

Hosted by @dannyodwyer and @adackmusic Funded by 4,316 Patrons.

Oct 16 2019

1hr 2mins

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#10 - Playing Sekiro with One Arm

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On this episode, we dive into the conversation around Sekiro and accessibility as we chat with Clint Stewart about his experience playing Soulsbourne games with an arm and a foot.

iTunes Page: https://itunes.apple.com/us/podcast/noclip/id1385062988 RSS Feed: http://noclippodcast.libsyn.com/rssGoogle Play: https://play.google.com/music/listen?u=0#/ps/If7gz7uvqebg2qqlicxhay22qny Spotify: https://open.spotify.com/show/5XYk92ubrXpvPVk1lin4VB?si=JRAcPnlvQ0-YJWU9XiW9pg Soundcloud: https://soundcloud.com/noclippodcast

Watch our docs: https://youtube.com/noclippodcast Sub our new podcast channel: https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCSHBlPhuCd1sDOdNANCwjrA Learn About Noclip: https://www.noclip.videoBecome a Patron and get early access to new episodes: https://www.patreon.com/noclip Follow @noclipvideo on Twitter

Hosted by @dannyodwyerFunded by 4,501 Patrons.

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- [Danny] Hello and welcome to Noclip, the podcast about the people who play and make video games. I'm your host Danny O'Dwyer. We've had a lot of people on who have made video games, so it's about time we've had someone on who plays them. And this isn't just anyone, this is a friend of Noclip and somebody I've wanted to collaborate with for quite awhile. So I'll let him introduce himself. Clint, how are you doing this fine Friday afternoon?

- [Clint] I'm doing great, thank you. Hey Danny.

- [Danny] Tell us a little bit about yourself. I'll kind of get into what we're gonna talk about in a hot second, but tell us your name, where you are right now, and what we're here to talk about.

- [Clint] Alright, my name is Clint Stewart. I go by DisabledCable on Twitter and JehovahNova on Steam, bunch of other names. I think TreeLegDog may be one of them. I've been a gamer most of my life and almost seven years ago, I was injured very badly and I lost my left arm and I broke my back as well, so trying to learn how to play games one-handed has been quite the challenge.

- [Danny] And you're somebody who can kind of speak to the accessibility question from somebody who has experienced playing games with no disability and experiencing games with a pretty heavy one as well. We've a lot to get into today. Before we sort of talk about, I guess, your experience more generally, I just want to let everyone know how this came to happen for this episode of the podcast. I've been wanting to do something with Clint for a long time because his insight into this is super refreshing and he's a very eloquent speaker but we've sort of struggled to get that project up and running. We're hoping to do it the future. But what happened in the past month I guess is this sort of general conversation that's been going on around Sekiro easy mode and accessibility, which I did a video on on Noclip. You can watch an episode of Bonus Level that's kind of all about that. And that was kind of my opinion on it but I thought, the way Noclip works is that we often ask the experts about these things. People who aren't, we're not just giving my option on the state of development or design or anything but we go out and we find people who are experts in these issues. Clint is an expert in this. Not only because of the way in which he plays games but also because he's a fan of the particular series in question. So pretty early on I kind of tapped him up and was like, hey, when you've played the game a bit can you come on the podcast and sort of chew the shit with us about this? So first of all, thank you so much for coming on and making the time.

- [Clint] Yeah, thank you. I've gotta say to start off with too, you did buy it for me. So I gotta be, first off, I've never been called an expert and you did buy the game for me, so that's all. All that's out of the way and start now.

- [Danny] Yeah, we don't let interns, we don't do unpaid internships or don't pay people who are contributing to our work so yeah, yeah, no. Absolutely, it's the least we could do. So before we touch on Sekiro, can you tell us a little bit about how you generally play games? Like if you're going out to buy a game today Clint, what are the considerations that you have to sort of take into account? And how do you actually play them?

- [Clint] Definitely, and this is a great first question because it really made me think about the Souls games and games like those and just everything that I have to take into consideration when I buy a game. The last game that I bought that was similar to Sekiro would be Neo. And I had to refund Neo when I first bought it because they released that PC port with no mouse keyboard controls whatsoever. I'm used to some games mouse and keyboard not working in the menus or maybe I can't rebind the keys in-game but I can do it in the Razer Synapse software, but with Neo, it was just like no. You better buy a controller or it's just not gonna work. And just one of the only times I've ever had to refund a game.

- [Danny] Is that rare? Does that happen often?

- [Clint] That is extremely rare these days, thankfully. And enough people, I got on Twitter which my tweet might have got two likes. I don't think I got noticed by anybody but more than just me who's coming out saying, hey, this needs mouse and keyboard support. You can't release a PC game with no mouse and keyboard support. And I was hoping that maybe the Dark Souls, before the remaster that just came out, the community got together and made mouse keyboard controls work in that game as well. Because the first Dark Souls port was horrible. It's one of the worst ports I think I've ever played. And the community got, what was it called? The DS Fix, I guess the one guy made. But then they added on to it and added mouse and keyboard support, but they still didn't get the prompts right. So you would get a prompt on the screen to do something but it would say, it would be the controller prompt. You still wouldn't get the mouse and keyboard, which is extremely frustrating when you're trying to remember. You've just changed everything up and you think you remember what you did but then you know, that's extremely frustrating. Generally when I buy a game I look, does it have rebindable keys? And if not, that's not always a deal breaker, but does it just have mouse and keyboard support in general? Because I have two different one-handed controllers and I don't want to knock the guys that worked on those, that created them. One of them was the first guy who I'd ever seen even do this. He has a channel on YouTube. And each controller has it's own issues, but I mean for what they are, there really is no other choice if you have to play console games. I mean because they still haven't gotten around to adding mouse and keyboard support fully on the Xbox. I think PlayStation has some in a couple games. But even like Xbox, they just added it and they have a partnership with Razer, but yet if you were to turn on the Xbox and try to just use the mouse and keyboard, or in my case the mouse and footboard, which is the Stinkyboard, you can't do anything. You have to use a controller to navigate the UI. And then to find the games that will work with mouse and keyboard. It's a lot to think about when you're looking at games.

- [Danny] Yeah, it's a whole lot of questions that most of us don't really have to consider at all. So when you're interacting with these games, obviously the bindable keys, you said, is a really important part of it. But what are you using physically? Because presumably you're not using both a mouse and keyboard. You're remapping this to a third-party peripheral, or sort of a--

- [Clint] So yeah, just let me explain that a little better. I use a 19 button mouse that's called a Razer Naga. Razer is the company that makes it and the Naga is the brand. And basically it's made for MMO. It's called an MMO mouse. Which I have used it in an MMO, and we can talk about that later. I think that's, one of the games that I used to try to teach myself how to play again was World of Warcraft. And then I also use a Stinkyboard, which is a four button footboard. Now both of these hardware have software tied to them as well that will allow you to completely rebind. You can make any of the buttons whichever button you want. And then the Razer software is even more powerful because you can make macros as well. And there are certain games like Devil May Cry 5, that just came out recently. That's a beautiful game. It's brilliant, it's a lot of fun to play. But for me as a one-armed gamer that was infuriating because you had to press three different buttons to be able to do some moves. And that was including having to hold down a button for lock on. So I ended up having to go in the Razer Synapse software and make a simple on/off macro for lock on, just so I could do some of the moves in that game. Out of all the things that they forget to add, like of course I would love to see ultrawide support or unlock frame rate. The game does have unlock frame rate, but just simple lock on. Being able to just toggle that on or off. Just like maybe you want to have sprint always on, have a toggle on sprint or a toggle on crouch. For lock on should be something that just needs to be industry standard. Do you want it toggable or not?

- Wow.

- Just help people out. That's definitely something I've come across in a few different games.

- [Danny] Yeah, I hadn't thought about that consideration at all. When you're playing then, so you have a prosthesis, right? Like you have some sort--

- [Clint] I actually do have government subsidies, or I should say subsidized, because I had to go through a legal battle just to get Medicare and Medicaid. I've talked to you about my story before, you know what happened. They denied me disability. I actually got denied twice and had to get a disability lawyer to get disability. And then when I finally got in court the judge was like, oh my lord, son, we're gonna take care of this.

- Oh my goodness.

- And I was in and out of there in two minutes.

- [Danny] On what grounds were they?

- [Clint] You know what, the first letter I got back they were like, oh he can still bend over and lift things. I'm like, with what good back and what two arms? Did you even read what your doctor said? Ah, bureaucrats, man.

- [Danny] That's incredible. So the judge like took one glance at you and kind of--

- [Clint] Yeah, soon as I got in front of the judge he was just like, I am so sorry sir, and we're gonna get this taken care of. Within the next three months I had an arm. You know, I think the government paid $90,000 for it, I wanna say. And it's very nice but it's very limited. I mean, it's the first version, right? Like if I had, I've got a few complaints about it, but one of the most being is how heavy it is. Because it's carbon fiber and it's got a battery. And also due to the kind of amputation that I had. I don't have a lot of arm left so it's pretty much just resting on my shoulder which is supported by my back which again, my L3 and L5 were severely cracked and my L4 looks like a spiderweb. They didn't think I'd be able to walk again. So that's a miracle in itself that I'm still walking and talking. So I count my lucky stars and I don't complain about too many things. But definitely this whole conversation around accessibility versus difficulty's really got me thinking. Your video is great that it looked at the nuance of it. You didn't just do one hot take or try to ride the fence. I saw your other tweet where you compared it to how you play racing games, and that really hit home for me because I would love to play VR games but yet you don't see me demanding them make all VR games playable for me with one hand because they're still creating that space. Like if I were to buy VR now I might be able to play Dirt Rally or maybe Elite Dangerous. They'd probably be the only two games I could really play in VR.

- [Danny] Yeah so let's jump into that then there, since you brought it up. How did you feel then about that sort of, I mean it was a very broad conversation that sort of was almost like numerous different conversations that were bumping into each other. But just speaking from the heart, what was your initial reaction to the conversation about that and what was your opinion on it?

- [Clint] Honestly, I really feel like it's a branding problem. I feel like, let's say they added an easy mode tomorrow in Sekiro or the Dark Souls games, you're not gonna care, right? Is it gonna lesser the experience that you had? No. Matter of fact, I could enable easy mode in my game right now because I ended up getting that mod. They patched it and then my workaround for the ultrawide fix wasn't working anymore so I found a mod that unlocks the FPS, does the ultrawide, lets you choose some camera adjustments. Where the game works now is if you target someone the camera automatically snaps to you. Or if you move at all, the camera automatically will snap back on you and this mod will disable that as well as give you FOV adjustment. I know it's something TeeVee was always preaching about. That really makes a huge difference when you're sitting really close to the monitor. Having a bigger FOV, it's huge. But that same mod will also let you turn down the speed, which isn't that how the guy from PC Gamer, I forget his name, but he was like, I cheated and I feel fine.

- [Danny] Right

- [Clint] I feel like it's just a branding problem, right? If we called it cheats I think everybody would be happy, because the people that don't care would just be like, yeah, I cheated, who gives a shit? And then everybody else would be like, you cheated yourself and the game.

- [Danny] That's a good point.

- [Clint] 'Cause it's all the same thing. We're just talking, like you said, we're talking around each other. We're all talking about different things but they do kind of correlate. I really do feel like it's a branding problem. Let's just call it cheats and be done with it. 'Cause even though I could cheat in this game I'm not gonna do it. I love this game. Honestly, the boss I had the most trouble with so far was a miniboss. It's not in the main bosses I've encountered. And I should say, I haven't beaten the game yet. You got it for me a couple weeks ago. I've been taking my time. I've been enjoying it. I've been exploring everywhere.

- [Danny] Good, me too. You're way ahead of me, buddy.

- [Clint] Oh, really? That makes me feel good.

- Oh yeah.

- [Clint]I'm like, he's probably gonna beat the game and be like, you're where? But yeah, the biggest difference for me I feel like with accessibility versus difficulty, like I recently beat The Witcher 3 as well. And that's a game that I had to start over because I ended up having to wipe my hard drive so I lost like 80 hours. And then I ended up like, I'm just gonna do everything. And so I spent another 150 hours just trying to clear my map. And so I finally beat that recently and that was a game I actually turned down the difficulty on a few of those last fights, just because they were annoying. The controls are transcendent in Sekiro, even more so than Dark Souls.

- [Danny] Well, it's funny like you're talking about how you're adding all these things and you're saying you're not cheatingsome people could argue that you're playing the game at a way higher level. 'Cause you're playing with your foot and one hand, whereas most of us have access to two analog sticks.

- [Clint] This game makes me feel like a ninja, it really does. I'm playing a one arm ninja, so the symbolism is not lost on me. I completely adore this. And the fact that you said maybe I'm playing on a higher level, I have felt like that has hindered me in some games. Take Dark Souls for example. Even on the remaster the mouse and keyboard controls are not perfect, they're not. I have to make a macro in that game for the jump attack and then like a kick I think, where you have to press two buttons at once. One of them's like forward and attack and the other's like, I forget exactly what it is. But I had to make that simple macro just because those buttons wouldn't always register because I've got W on my footboard. So I guess I should just tell you a little about this. I've got W and S on my footboard. So where those are very close together where I can press them very quickly if I need to. And the first two buttons I have on the Naga, there's a row of 12 buttons on the side, and the very first two where my thumb constantly rests are left and right, so A and D. I did it that way so I could press them in combination together because the Stinkyboard, when I first got it, it's first driver revision it wouldn't allow you to press more than one key at a time. So I couldn't, for instance, press two buttons on there at the same time. Where if I tie it to the mouse I'm able to do a Shift move to the left and move forward at same, it's kind of like a diagonal, you know. You're pressing three buttons at once to do what two buttons should do. And it's little workarounds like that that I've had to get comfortable with. I used to make a profile for each game that I would play. I mean, I've got a gigantic Sting library now. I started to realize, I need presets, right? Like this is the preset for action RPGs. This is the preset for shooters. This is my strategy preset. So I've just kinda had to learn just by doing, like okay, this is what I should do.

- [Danny] Right, are some genres that are totally off the cards? You're saying up, down, left, right. Like Mortal Combat just came out. Are you able to play that at all?

- [Clint] I have not played a fighting game since my accident and I would say, now I grew up playing Street Fighter. I had a Street Fighter callous. People that played that game will no what I'm talking about. If you played enough of it you would develop a callous. Depending on what kind of characters you like playing too and I never played the guy, the M. Bison kind of characters. I always liked the Ryu and the Ken's and the 360 characters like Zang and stuff. So my thumbs got destroyed, especially depending on what controller you used. And now with the setup I have I could play Street Fighter if I programmed everything or if I played with simplified control. 'Cause I think they introduced that in one of the games. It was like, you could do advanced moves by just pressing a button and I tried it and was just like, this is so boring. Now I haven't tried it since I've been hurt. This was several years ago. And I just know that the game wouldn't be fun to me, to play it that way. Like I'm not looking for something so easy that it's just mind numbing. That's not, I do play games to be challenged and to have a good time. Just pressing one button over and over's not really, that's not a good time.

- [Danny] I think that's why I was so impressed by the fact that you were playing these games because for me, as somebody who has both my hands, I was incredibly intimidated to play Bloodborne last year. I'd never really played a Soulsborne game until last year and then the reason I played it was we'd just had a kid and I was spending hours and hours lying on the sofa with her asleep on my chest and there was nothing I could do except play games. And I thought well, fuck it. This is probably a good a time as ever to actually try and--

- [Clint]Are you playing with the baby on your chest? Wow.

- Yeah, yeah.

- [Clint] Heard about being cold and in the moment.

- [Danny] It forced me to actually, I don't know, be very intentional. And I couldn't get frustrated because she'd wake up if I started to shout or move or get angry or throw a controller. So going back and playing the first Dark Souls which I did months after when the remaster came out, and also playing Sekiro, I found them very, very intimidating. What other games do you play? And is there something special about those Sekiro, Soulsborne games?

- [Clint] So yes, yes. First of all they are brilliant. They're a masterclass in game design, whether it's the art team. Now, the only thing you could really knock against it may be the story. The story in the Souls game's pretty obtuse. You kinda have to go looking for it. Maybe you need to watch some lore videos. I am glad that this new game there are cinematics. There's like more of a traditional story. I do appreciate the fact that it's not quite so, they respect the player. And that when they teach you something, they expect you to have learned that and to begin, not necessarily master it right away, but begin to start working on it. There are so many times where after I've beaten a boss I've been like, okay, so let me see, what's the cheese for this strategy? Is there a cheese? And I'll look it up after just to see did I do it the cheat way? I actually thought that I had beat, what's her name? Lady Butterfly, I had thought I had cheesed her because how I killed her was I kind of, I love they have fake attacking in this game. Like you can act like you're gonna attack and then block and it will fake it. And that's very similar to World of Warcraft, fake casting. As a caster in WoW, you don't want them to interrupt your heal, like when you gotta get off, or the spell you have to get off, so you kinda have to fake. Like you're, I'm gonna cast, I'm gonna cast, use your interrupt, ha ha I got ya. That's built into the gameplay. So I kinda tricked her and baited her to get into a corner and then one of her really killer moves in the air, I only had to dodge twice and I'd be able to attack her. At least get like two attacks on her when she's in a corner. So I look up the cheese on her, and the cheese is like do this one move over and over and over and over and over. And I was like, holy shit. That's so cheesy. I did not, I thought I'd cheesed it but no, I didn't cheese it at all.

- [Danny] You talking about cheeses is like, also sort of goes into the previous point you made about this being a marketing issue. The delineation between accessibility and cheats and then cheeses and strategy, because one of the things that came to my mind when were talking about easy modes in these games was the music box in Bloodborne, which is like, it's a fucking easy mode.

- [Clint] I'm not familiar with that.

- [Danny] So if you, you know, Father Gascoigne is a, oh, have you played Bloodborne? Of course, it's a PlayStation--

- [Clint] So yeah, I should say, yeah, it's on PlayStation. I haven't played it because I only have the Xbox one-handed controllers. I'm hoping they just add, they bring everything to PC. I know they're not gonna bring everything to PC but at least let me use mouse and keyboard, or in my case mouse and footboard on console. 'Cause one-handed controllers, no matter which one I have, they don't compare. For me, they have a one-hand, a mouse and this footboard, there's just nothing that comes close to that. Such a shame. I saw the tweet from the God of War guy and I'm like, yeah, your game's really aren't accessible to me at all, buddy. And I know it's, I know he wasn't thinking like that but I hate exclusivity, man. I really do. I wish you could play everything on anything. That's what I hope the future of gaming is, honestly.

- [Danny] Yeah, I'd never even considered the fact that basically the PlayStation games are completely off the cards. So Spiderman.

- Played Bloodborne, I haven't played Spiderman. Yeah, Spider-Man's the one that's killing me. Even more so than Bloodborne or God of War, is Spiderman. I wanna play Spiderman so bad.

- [Danny] Metal Gear Solid V, did that come out on PC?

- [Clint] Yes, that was on PC, yes. And that was actually a great--

- [Danny] Let me quickly explain that, the music box thing 'cause then I've got another question, just now that we've brought up the Metal Gear Solid thing. So in Bloodborne, they're one of the first bosses you meet, Father Gascoigne. Earlier, I'd say at least half of players run into this like windowsill where somebody, who I think you later find out then is his daughter, gives you a music box. And if you use the music box during the fight he basically staggers and you can use it infinitely up until I think, no you can use it three times during the fight. But it's basically a free hit.

- Oh wow.

- [Danny] And it completely changes the difficulty in that. I would say cuts the difficulty at least in half for that fight for new players.

- [Clint] You used or did you avoid it because you knew about it?

- [Danny] Yeah, the first time I played through it. The first time I played through it Bloodborne had been out for so long that at that stage, you know, I think I was working at GameStop when it came out so somebody did a video about that. So when it came round, the first time I played it I definitely did it. But in subsequent playthroughs I haven't bothered because I've gotten better at it by that stage. Which, you know, that's kinda how those games work, right?

- [Clint] You use the skills that you have, right? That makes sense. The difficulty, they want you to learn. I feel like these games are trying to teach people patience and just not to give up.

- [Danny] Totally, but at the same time they're not completely walling it off to people who--

- [Clint] I don't think so.

- [Danny] No, I don't think that's the intent. I don't think it's some crazy hardcore.

- [Clint] The quote that everybody loves to put up when they talk about, oh, it'll never have a easy mode. This is from Miyazaki, I'm sure I'm saying that wrong, the quote that everyone always loves to through up is, we don't wanna include a difficulty selection because we want to bring everyone to the same level of discussion and the same level of enjoyment. The next part of that quote is, so we want everyone to first face that challenge and to overcome it in some way that suits them as a player. That's the part everyone always leaves out. And I feel like with this one, they've really nailed it because they include a lot of options in terms of changing the keybinds. In some of Dark Souls, you couldn't change some of the keys at first. Like it was just completely locked out. The camera options that they added in, the fact that even include a selection now to show keyboard and mouse prompts instead of just, even though you changed the settings and maybe even changed what the keybindings were it still will show up Xbox buttons. That's so infuriating.

- [Danny] Absolutely, and whenever I play PC games and I've got my Xbox controller plugged in that happens. And it irritates me, but obviously the other way round it happens all the time, I imagine.

- [Clint] There's the other side of that too, where games like Battlefield, and I don't know if this works in the newest one, but it did work in Battlefield 3 and Battlefield 4, as well. You could set up different keybindings, right? Like they've always allowed that. But then they also would allow you to set the plane to a flight stick. So if you had a cheap little joystick or something, or a controller even, you could set it to where when you've got it in the plane it would switch over to the controller. And then when you ejected, you could move back to mouse and keyboard. And I always thought that was brilliant and I wish more games would do stuff like that. Granted you're taking into account people have additional expensive hardware and that's the other thing people don't always think about is all this accessibility stuff is really expensive. I even saw the Xbox guys getting crap 'cause they're XAC was $100. When you look at what they did, they could have easily charged $300 for that. And they still probably would have been taking a loss.

- [Danny] Another element of this that you brought up a second ago was the way in which the lore of Sekiro sort of marries with your personal experience as well. I've actually noticed, I'm not sure if this is just because accessibility's been part of the general gaming conversation more now than it certainly was in the past, but I've noticed this recent trend with player characters with prosthesis on their arms. Am I crazy or has this just suddenly appeared everywhere?

- [Clint] No, it's definitely starting to be a thing. I got asked like what was my favorite disabled superhero maybe four, five years ago. And the only one I could even think of in gaming or in comics was the guy from Deus Ex, the remaster, the remake, or whatever. What's his name?

- [Danny] JC, no JC Denton was, Jensen? What was it?

- [Clint] Jensen was the guy from the last two, I think. Yeah, I'm pretty sure.

- [Danny and Clint] Adam Jensen.

- [Danny] We got there.

- [Clint] Yeah, you got me thinking JC Denton and I was like. That's the original, but the remakes or whatever, the reimaginings. 'Cause he was the only one I could really think of and then since then you've had the chick on the Battlefield cover. There's people in Overwatch that only have one arm.

- [Danny] Apex Legends, I think.

- [Clint] Apex Legends as well. Well, they got a whole cyborg in that one too.

- [Danny] Right, Solid Snake?

- [Clint] Yeah, that actually, you know what, that hit me the hardest. That's something I could talk about real quick.

- [Danny] Yeah, go for it, absolutely.

- [Clint] That scene was so powerful. It totally blew my mind. Now, I didn't have exact similar experience where I woke up. I knew, I came into the hospital talking about chop me off. Chop it off, just chop it off. I know it's gone, chop it off. And those doctors and nurses looked at me like I was crazy. Like damn, how is he living? I don't know if I told you this story but they didn't even know about my back. I woke up after my amputation and was like, holy shit, my arm is gone. I need a smoke. And they were like, you can't go outside? I'm like, you can't tell me what to do. And then I fell on my face and that's when they were like, oh, we need to check something. That's when they found out my spine was all screwed up. But yeah, getting off topic. So Call of Duty, in the last two or three Call of Duty's, it seemed like they just kept having, Buddy would always get his arm chopped off. There would always be that scene where like, it's just gruesome and they're tearing the arm off or it's getting trapped in a door or something. And you see, you get dragged away and your arms left there. They did that, I know for at least two years in a row. That never bothered me or impacted me at all. I played that opening scene in Metal Gear and all, granted most of it is just kind of a walking Sim for the first hour, hour and a half. But that first 20, 30 minutes is very powerful because you wake up. And I do remember waking up in the hospital bed and being like, what do you mean I can't get up? Oh, you did what to my back? Oh my god, my arm is gone. That was very surreal, very powerful. And the have David Bowie playing over it too. And of course those guys come in and kill the one guy couple minutes later but it was a very powerful scene. I love Hideo Kojima, that guy is a genius. I hope I get to play his next one.

- [Danny] What was it like, I guess as well, the subtitle for that game is Phantom Pain, which we've talked in the past, that's obviously a massive issue for yourself and for people in your situation.

- [Clint] And trying to describe that for people is nearly impossible. I mean, it's a constant thing that I have to worry about and over the last, I wanna say the last year or so, it's gotten a lot better in terms of I'm not getting the spikes. Have you ever had a searing headache to where, or let's say stomach pain, where your stomach's hurting, right? But then you get those surges to where you just wanna double up and you can't do anything. Phantom pain is like that. It can be a constant aggravation. Just something's constantly in the back of your mind. Or it could constantly just be bringing you to your knees where you can't do anything else. There is no, I mean I've cussed out my mama before. I love my mama, I would never do that, right? I've been hurtin' bad enough to cuss my mom out. That's kinda how I have to explain it to people. It hurts bad enough that it'll make you cuss your mom out. And you the type of person that normally do that, that's saying a lot. It's a mindfuck, man. And I'm sorry for cussing, really no other way to describin' it. It is unreal. I wish there were words that I could use to give it justice. And for some people, I've heard stories of where it lasts 90 days, they lose a limb and 90 days later, they're fine. Maybe it aggravates them every now and then, but for the most part they're fine. But for some reason with me, this October will be seven years and I'm still dealing with it. So I wish I had an answer as to why, but I don't.

- [Danny] Does that, presumably not just playing video games, but that must impact every moment of your life.

- [Clint] Oh yeah, the first thing I did when I got my disability was not build some crazy super rig and buy this Razer Naga and all this stuff. I bought a chair. I bought a very expensive chair that was good, felt comfortable to sit in and supported my back. That was the first thing I did and it was, it cost me $400 but it was worth every penny. I still have the same chair. It doesn't need an upgrade. I'll be ready to upgrade this computer before I'm ready to upgrade this chair. That definitely helps a lot. But dealing with pain and dealing with pain management, I've had to learn a lot of things because when you're constantly, your head's constantly cloudy it's hard to think clearly about anything, much less be able to deal with, you know. Let's say I get a cold or something, sometimes that's enough to just ruin my day whereas having a cold before was no big deal, whatever. 'Cause it's just addition, right? You keep adding on the things. I'm grateful that you followed me this long on Twitter, man. I can't imagine you haven't wanted to just mute me before. Because I either would just go blackout for six months or just rage for several days in a row. And then be like, oh, I love this, I love that.

- [Danny] I think that's everyone on Twitter actually. Myself included.

- [Clint] I kinda noticed that a little. Basically there to just bitch.

- [Danny] I mean, was there any then, you know, just in relation to the thematically, this has been used in games a number of times, what was your experience with what happens in Sekiro and his use of a prosthesis?

- [Clint] It's genius, it blew my mind. Like I know it's game design, right? And this is not, like none of it's real. But it really got me thinking, well, what if some of this was kind of based on some history? Like how much of this, because when I first lost my arm that was, me and my friends were talking about it like, oh, wouldn't it be cool if it had a blade like the dude from Deus Ex? You think you could, what all could you fit in there? Would it fit grenades? And it's like, no man. Why would I walk around with, you know, not serious talk. Just friends being, they were drunk and being stupid. And just thinking about what all different things could you do with an arm? And then I'm like, I wish it was the future where I could just walk up to a system and be like, okay, I would like a soda from this machine. Or give me 10 grand out this ATM. Have you seen the anime where the little finger pops up and the little wires come out? Like that would be amazing. But yeah, I love the use of the prosthetic. And I feel like that balances some of the difficulty, especially early on. I've seen a lot of people have trouble with that first red-eye ogre. And when I came across 'em I had already done the memory and beaten Lady Butterfly, so I was super powerful. I felt super, I mean I had the flaming barrel, I had plenty of oil, and I totally messed that dude up. He might have killed me once, twice maybe 'cause I didn't know about the add with the spear. Oh man, there's definitely some moves that once you get 'em, they tell you how useful they are and they'll even warn you again. And some of the handholding. That's actually hurt me, and something I'm sure they didn't think about. So I have to take my hand off the mouse, go over to the Escape on the keyboard, hit Escape, try to get my hand back on the mouse before I get smacked. Nine times out of 10 I'm getting smacked. And I know they're doing it to help people and trying to remind them like, hey, this is what this does. But that kept getting in the way for me. I realize what they're trying to do and I know they're trying to make these games more accessible. And I think that fact that it sold two million copies in 10 days, that surprised me even. I didn't think this game would do that good. These games are notoriously hard. My brother said I can't believe you're playing this. Not because he thinks I'm too disabled, but because he thinks it requires too much patience. They all have the impression they're so hard that nobody can actually play these unless you just can control your rage.

- [Danny] Yeah, they do sort of have a, I don't know, there's a sort of a mythic quality to this, which is earned in many ways, but there's an urban legend aspect to it as well which has kind of made it a bit ridiculous. One question actually we got from somebody. I put a call out on Twitter just before we went live for questions and one we got in actually rubs up against that which was, Video Attack asks, how much of the reputation for the series being obtuse and difficult do you think could be addressed with proper tutorializing and making more in-depth mechanics easier to understand? I love the series, but I don't always feel they've done well explaining mechanics to the player. I found that in the early games that was kind of part of the discovery of those games, was trying to figure it out. But Sekiro I feel like is so, I feel like you really have to defeat bosses in very particular ways, in ways that I maybe aren't, I don't know. Maybe I'm just lacking the patience for it a little bit or something. How do you feel? 'Cause they've definitely done a better job of the tutorials. It's interesting to here you say the tutorials were getting in your way.

- [Clint] They've definitely done that. Yeah, and that's just for me having one hand. Let's say maybe I had decided to put Escape for whatever reason and I macro'd that, or put that on my footboard or somewhere on the mouse, then I wouldn't have this issue. But of all the keys that I could afford to re-keybind, Escape is almost never one of them. Escape and Map are the last two things I worry about in games So they've definitely done a better job in terms of addressing that. But I feel like it's only gonna get as good as it can. Again I tell you, this does this and this is when you should use this. Now whether you remember to use it then, when you're supposed to, that's not really up to them, right? So a lot of I think like is perspective. Like you can die to a boss 10 times and think, oh, this is bullshit. I'm never playing this game again. Or you could die 10 times and during those 10 attempts somewhere you see where you made a mistake. Maybe you panic, maybe you got overaggressive. I feel like their games are trying to teach you certain things but at a certain point they do expect you to put it all together. And not everyone is the type of gamer to have read the messages and pay attention to what it is. Maybe even practice what the move is and been able to put into practice at the right time. I don't really know what they can do to do that besides even more severe handholding which I think would just detract from the game, honestly.

- [Danny] It reminds me a little bit of just how games have changed over the past 20, 30 years. And one of the instances where this sort of, at least from my experience, reads most clearly is, the first game I ever completed was The Secret of Monkey Island on the Amiga. And it took me I think three months. I was pretty young when it came out. I think I was eight or nine. And it took me like three months, a whole summer basically, to complete it. And then the remaster came out. I wanna say it was on 360 and PS3 maybe. And it was really cool and updated graphics and loads of cool new music and all that stuff, but they also had the tip system in it. And there were some things that you had to do in that game. Like to get to one of the little islands off of Melee Island, you had to use a rubber chicken and a wire to zip across it which kind of makes no sense. I remember being stuck on that forever. But in this thing, you could use a tip and it would like, I think there was three levels of tip. They would give you a little bit of a nudge, a little bit more of a nudge, and they would just say, just use the fucking chicken wire on the wire, right? And I remember thinking, oh that's a good thing, right? Kind of, 'cause it's helping people. But I guess it says less about how difficult games were and more about where our expectations of difficulty came from. Like when that happened years ago I didn't think, oh they made this game wrong. Or you know, this is stupid. I wish they did something to let me know how to do this. I just thought, oh I'm dumb. I don't know what to do to get to that island. Whereas these days we have this expectation that we sort of need to constantly be getting this positive feedback. Even when, like you said in the boss fights, often times I'll die 10 times in a row but it's because I was using the same tactics 10 times in a row. Other games might actually, some games if you play the boss fight for the third time, they without letting you know will make that boss fight easier. And they don't signal it. Games are constantly doing this sort of stuff.

- [Clint] The new Resident Evil does that, I believe. I died one too many times in the police station and they were like, would you like to make the game easier? And I was like offended by it. I was like, hey man, F you. It's not my fault your buddy cornered me. I was trying to leave I was like, I appreciate the offer but at the same time, I was like, that would be great for someone who needs it. And it didn't offend me that it was in the game, it just offended me that they thought I needed it. I was like, hey, hey, I got this, man. Leave me alone. But I have no problem with it being in the game. I honestly don't care.

- [Danny] And that was an instance where they told you. Where sometimes they don't even bother telling you. Actually, now that I think about it, there is another bell. Speaking of bells from Bloodborne. There's a bell in Sekiro, have you seen this one? The bell that you can ring and it makes the bosses harder.

- [Clint] You know what? I've come across it but is that what it does? It makes stuff harder?

- [Danny] I think it does two things. I think it makes one thing easier and one thing harder. Like I think it might increase the drop rate on certain things but it makes the bosses more difficult. I don't know exactly what it is. But definitely if you ring it it will make the game harder in some respects.

- [Clint] I've come across it and the message was a little bit cryptic. It sort of made it sound like it was gonna be a harder game if you rang the bell.

- [Danny] It's something like, don't ring the bell, or something.

- [Clint] Yeah, yeah. I was like, I'm just gonna ignore this for now 'til I know what this is. I'm sure there'll be a lore video on it eventually that I can figure out whether or not I should ring it. This kinda makes me think of Wolfenstein, Doom. You could pick easy mode in those games and then have them like sucking on a pacifier. They're letting you know, like hey, you can play this way but don't you feel like a man about it. Like don't go bragging about it. And you know, I don't think there's anything wrong with that. Why not?

- [Danny] And it's pretty funny that you mention that because when this conversation was happening, I think one of the questions I put out was like, let me know a game you play on easy because you don't care. And the one I said whenever I'm in really bad turbulence on a flight, I have my Switch with me usually and what I usually do is I just put it on easy mode and I try and score as many goals as I can and it kind of takes my mind off things. But the one that so many people kept saying which actually, now that I think about it, I have totally done as well is the MachineGames Wolfenstein games. Those games are brutally hard and a lot of the time they're kind of, I don't know, I feel like a lot of us play it because we want to feel powerful but also we just want to see what the story, where it goes. So I feel like that's, again, a lot of people play on an easier mode just so they can get through it and enjoy the experience.

- [Clint] I used to play the Call of Duty's on like the Veteran or whatever the hardest one was until I realized, I don't remember which, it was probably one of your videos or somebody's videos, where it was like, you know this is just a visible line you have to cross, right? As soon as you cross that invisible line you stop spawning. And I was like, oh shit. So you mean I've purposely just been driving myself crazy? 'Cause some of those games there's certain sections where you're just like, how the fuck, how did he shoot me, no way.

- [Danny] That's your World of Warcraft shit. You are farming them. You're just sitting back and farming these dudes.

- [Clint] Basically, and I'm thinking like, we're gonna make it. Oh no, here comes some more. It's just like, I'm killing myself and for what? Like I could be having the same level of enjoyment and my frustration level's not getting near as high if I just turn it to the appropriate difficulty. Now, whether or not they should, there's a whole 'nother can of worms, should they include it? Like if it's gonna takeaway resources and time and if they have a vision, I think you're getting more into the singular vision versus the design by committee, right? Miyazaki obviously has a singular vision for his games but he also, I don't think he enjoys the fact that everyone thinks his games are so hard. I don't think that's something he takes pride in. I think he wants more people to play 'em. I think he's pretty much said as much.

- [Danny] So I guess yeah, taking everything we've talked about today, like the different ways in which games can be more accessible to people, the sort of amorphous conversation about cheesing and difficulty and cheats and how they all sort of blend into each other. As somebody who has experience in these games, who enjoys them, who has been playing them, as far as I'm concerned, on a much harder difficulty level than most of us, what do you feel about Sekiro and how challenging it is? And how you were able to play it as somebody with a disability? Where do you land on it?

- [Clint] Honestly, since I downloaded that mod couple days ago, it really got me thinking. Because essentially I've done the same thing the PC Gamer guy has done, except I haven't enabled the cheats, right? Some people may say, oh, you're using ultrawide or unlock frame rate, like you're cheating. And I would say, yeah but I paid for that 2880. I want my frames. I paid for this ultrawide. I'm not changing the game design so much as I'm just adding things they should have maybe thought about if they're gonna release a PC port today. I love the challenge. I feel like each encounter, sounds cliche, but it's like a dance of death, right? If you get surrounded by two or three normal guys, they can kill you. The bosses are very, very hard. Now, granted I haven't beaten the game. I'm sure there's gonna be a boss where I'm just like, oh my god, I'm gonna die 20-plus times. But so far, the most I've died was maybe, actuaLly it was the guy after Blazing Bull. I can't remember the name. I've started calling him General Fuck You. Because every time I get to him he'd just be like fuck you, you're not getting past the gate. And he was such a bitch. He had like a grab and a sweep and then also like, it was the first guy I think I encountered that had three of the warnings and they were all different things. So it took me a while. And you're fighting that closed little section between the walls and it made the camp bit, oh that was a pain. I probably died 10-plus times to him. That's probably the only guy I've died that much to. Maybe Lady Butterfly, might have died like seven or eight, nine times, maybe. I love it for what it is. And I can't thank you enough for it, man. I've had a blast playing it. It's really made me think about a lot of different things. Eventually I'd like to make a video on it or something. Do something more. But you know, I appreciate being brought on this podcast, man. I've had a blast thinking about this and ways that we could try to improve the game for people with disabilities. And I feel like they've done the best job they could. These controls are super responsive. I think transcendent's probably the best way I can describe it. I don't feel like I'm using a mouse and footboard when I'm playing and I feel like I'm the one-arm wolf.

- [Danny] Well, you are the one-arm wolf and we really appreciate you coming in. There you go, just in case you didn't already have enough really good internet handles. You can add that one to your repertoire. We really appreciate your time, plqying the game and coming on to talk to us today. For folks who want to follow you, where can they catch you on the Twitter and whatnot?

- [Clint] DisabledCable on Twitter.

- [Danny] Awesome, good stuff. And yeah, how much more time do you think you have with it? Just as the parting question. Do you think this'll be something you play for the rest of the year? Or another couple of weeks?

- [Clint] Honestly, probably another couple of months. I tend to have, like I'll have my action game. I'll have my shooter. And then I'll usually have a role-playing game. Some of those can be interchanged, kind of be the same thing. And this has been my go-to. Like alright, this is my single-player game. If I'm gonna play something with my brothers it's either gonna be Destiny or Vermintide. Not playing any MMOs now. So this is, I'll probably beat it sometime, I would say in the next month, month and a half. Something like that maybe.

- [Danny] Awesome, well we wish you well on the journey. I'll be right there with you. I'll be probably a couple of bosses behind you actually. Thank you so much for coming on. And thank you so much to all of our Patrons for funding our work. As ever, you know you can follow us on Twitter @noclipvideo. I am @dannyodwyer on Twitter or /noclip if you wanna follow us on Reddit. And of course this podcast is available early if you're a Patron. Go to patreon.com/noclip to support this show, get it early, and also support all the documentaries we make on our YouTube channel.

- [Clint] Go hit up this man's Patreon. Come on, y'all.

- [Danny] Thank you so much We've actually got another YouTube channel for the podcast, youtube.com/noclippodcast. If you wanna watch this one. Alternatively, we are available on basically every podcast service in the known universe. iTunes, Spotify, Stitcher, Google Play, and loads, loads more. Soundcloud as well. We fixed the Soundcloud. There was a problem with our uploads but it's all right and ready now. Thank you so much for listening. Subscribe, give us a review if you can. We've never asked really, much, so if you can do that on iTunes or whatever. I mean, give us a good review. Don't give us a review if you think it's shit maybe. Just forget this part of the podcast. Go do something else. But thank you for listening, thank you for your time, and we'll see you next time. Actually, hold up one second. One little thing to add to the podcast before we close it out. I got an email from Clint after we recorded who felt bad that he had, in the haze of the podcast conversation, forgotten to call out two important people that helped him quite a lot on his journey. The first person is his brother, Matt, who sent him the Naga which he used when he first started coming back to play games. The other is his friend, Kyle, who was actually building him a two button foot switch when they found out that somebody was actually making one commercially., the Stinkyboard, which he ended up using afterwards. Clint's journey to actually being able to play games was quite long. He was in bed for the best part of a year, had to play on a laptop. And then through the help of using those inputs over the course of the next couple of months, learned to play with his feet and learned to play properly with one hand. So he wanted to give a shout out to the two of them who helped him so much when all this was going on, six, five years ago. And I thought I should definitely make the point of sticking it into the end of the podcast. So thank you so much to Matt and Kyle. Clearly he couldn't get to where he is right now without your support and help, so thank you very much.

May 03 2019

48mins

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#09 - Jeff Gerstmann's Giant Bomb

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The video game website Giant Bomb recently celebrated its tenth birthday so what better time to talk to its creator about the early days of the online games media, the future of games coverage, and getting fired in front of the entire world.

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Hosted by @dannyodwyerFunded by 4,638 Patrons.

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- [Danny] Hello and welcome to Noclip, the podcast about video games, the people who make them, and the people who play them. On today's episode we talk to a guy who grew up a short drive from the epicenter of the online media revolution. As video game website Giant Bomb recently celebrated its 10th year of operation, we decided to talk to its founder about skipping school, hosting podcasts, and getting fired in front of the entire world. Jeff Gerstmann is a name you either know or don't, depending on whether or not you care about the world of games coverage. Outside of the world of games, Jeff is a husband, son, and a grown-up local kid in Petaluma, a city in Northern California that sits on the outskirts of what many would consider a reasonable commute to San Francisco. There he grew up with his mum and dad who operated a tire shop. A small town kid, with a small town life who loved rap, skateboards, and video games. But inside the world of games Jeff is larger than life. He's part of a dwindling older generation of journalists who were there when the magazines died, and the world of internet reporting exploded. He's lead the charge on finding new ways to talk about games, be it on video, podcast or late light E3 live shows. And crucially, his surname became a rallying cry for media ethics when he fell victim to one of the most lamentable acts of brand self-destruction of the digital age. Much of Jeff's story lives in the gaming zeitgeist. Before I met him, I thought I knew most of it. You see, to me Jeff was a hero. He had figured it all out. Growing up in Ireland, years before Twitch or even YouTube had started, I'd watch him host shows broadcast live from the GameSpot offices in San Francisco. His job was talking about games, and he knew more about games than anyone I'd ever seen trying to do it on television. His job became a north star that I'd spend years following. And when I'd eventually find myself working in the same building those shows were filmed in, sitting at a desk a short walk from his, I slowly began to get a deeper understanding of Jeffrey Michael Gerstmann. Equal parts a quiet, contemplative person and a troublemaker, now responsible for keeping order. I recently sat down with Jeff to talk about the 10 Year Anniversary of his career's second act, the video game website GiantBomb.com. But the story of Giant Bomb and the story of Jeff Gerstmann are intertwined. So to tell you how Giant Bomb was founded we have to go back to a small town in Northern California, to the kid of the folks who ran the tire shop in sunny, quiet, suburban, Petaluma.

- [Jeff] The first video game console I owned, it was the Fairchild Channel F, which was, it kinda came out around the same time, same window as the Atari 2600 but it had a few more educational games so I think that tipped my parents in the favor of getting that thing, it had this terrible plunger controller, there was like a decent bowling game but it just immediately failed. I had relatives who had an Atari 2600 and would kinda covet that thing and eventually they gave it to me when the video game industry kinda crashed. But we got into computers not long after that. I got an Atari 400 and that was really the first proper like hey, this is a somewhat successful platform with stuff coming out that mattered. And so I mostly started on a computer.

- [Danny] What was the impetus for your parents getting it? Were they interested in technology at all or were you crying for it or what was the story there?

- [Jeff] You know, my dad played some video games certainly over the years but I think that was largely because that's what I was interested in. We were going to arcades a lot and on the weekends we would go out, there was an arcade in town called Dodge City and we would go to Dodge City. You know, my mom went once or twice, this was like the height of Pac-Man fever so like I would be there, my dad would be there, we'd be playing games and there would just be this huge line almost out the door of people waiting to play Pac-Man or Ms. Pac-Man. And it was just weird, you know, because it was just another game, like to me it was just like, all right, well yeah, I don't know, Pac-Man's over there and it is what it is and I'm over here playing Galaxian or Vanguard or you know, whatever the heck else, I don't really remember talking to too many people about video games. This was, you know, this woulda been, god, 82 ish, like early to mid 80s really and I was going to elementary school then and just there were like one or two other kids I knew that had computers but most kids didn't and they weren't really into video games per say or if they were they weren't really letting on. So there was one kid I knew that had a TRS-80 and so I'd go over to his place and play Parsec and some other stuff like that. There was a kid near the tire shop that my parents ran that had a VIC-20 and I could go over there and play like Radar Rat Race and some other stuff too.

- [Danny] So, I guess, what did you want to be when you grew up when you were like a middle schooler? Obviously games journalism wasn't a target you could exactly aim for so what were you thinking about your future when you were in like middle school, high school?

- [Jeff] When I was in high school we saw a posting, so LucasArts was relatively local, they were in Marin County and, you know, this woulda been like 1990, 1991, somewhere around there, and they were looking for testers. And I remember applying for it but like I was 15. Like it was, logistically it would've been impossible for me to even do that job 'cause I couldn't even drive a car yet. And it was 20ish miles away. But also like I remember writing, like they wanted a resume, I wrote an essay and it was like, you should give me this job. It was real dumb, I mean, whatever, in retrospect it was like, that is not a way to get a job. Also, ridiculous to assume that that would've even been possible at 15. But yeah, that was the first time I ever really thought about working in video games, I woulda been like 14 or 15.

- [Danny] So how did it actually come to pass then? What was your first gig in the industry and how did you end up getting it?

- [Jeff] So, I started going to trade shows, I met a guy a named Glenn Rubenstein who was a year younger than I was and we went to the same school, we went to the same high school. And Glenn was writing video game reviews for the local Petaluma newspaper and also I think he had a column in the San Francisco Examiner which was a newspaper. And so there would be articles about like, this youthful guy writing game reviews, look at this guy, it was like kind of a story or whatever. So we became friends, then he kinda said like, hey, I'm going to CES, do you wanna come with me? And I was like, yeah, I would love to go see video games.

- [Danny] How old are you?

- [Jeff] This is, I'm 16 at this point, he's 15.

- [Danny] Wow, okay. It's in Vegas, right?

- It's in Vegas also, yes. He's like, hey do you wanna come to Las Vegas. So I pitched it to my parents and just said like, hey, this thing's going on, I'd really like to go do it and they said yes, for whatever reason they said yes. And so me and Glenn set out to go, he had been to one before, he had been to CES I think the previous CES in Chicago might've been his first and so I went with him to that and just like I bought myself like a blazer and put it on and went to this trade show and went around and played video games and tried to play blackjack wearing a blazer because I looked like maybe I was of age. And that's where we met Ryan McDonald. We needed, honestly, I think we just needed more people to help pay for the hotel room or something like that and Ryan was doing something similar, he was writing about video games for a Healdsburg newspaper, which is about 40 miles north of Petaluma, where I'm now, which, for people who don't know, Petaluma is about 40 miles north of San Francisco, so, you know, Healdsburg's getting pretty far out there. And we met Ryan at the local mall, he seemed like an okay guy and we're like, yeah, you wanna come, let's go to Las Vegas. And so I kind of started just going to trade shows, we all met the guys from Game Informer pretty early on, Andy McNamara and Paul and some of the early other reviewers that were there at the time, Elizabeth Olsen and people like that, and we knew some people that were doing PR for video games at the time and stuff like that so we just kinda started meeting people and getting around. So that led to, Glenn ended up, so Glenn actually got me my first couple of jobs afterwards. We started going to the trade shows, we were doing a local public access show that was not about video games, it wasn't about much of anything really, and basically like barely getting by in high school 'cause we were just doing all this other stuff and not wanting to go to school very much. And so he ended up getting in at a magazine, they were starting up a magazine, they were originally gonna call it Blast, they were gonna call it Blast and it was gonna be like this lifestyle magazine funded by the, I guess the CEO of Creative Labs, so the Sound Blaster people were starting, basically funding a magazine. And so I spent a year commuting to Berkeley working for this magazine right after I got out of high school, so that woulda been like 1994. I was 19 commuting to Berkeley, working for a magazine, having no idea what I was doing, and we were covering Doom and we were covering, what are some fun things you could do with your Creative Labs branded sound card and stuff like that, that place lasted a little under a year before it folded. We made it about three issues, I think there was fourth that was almost done, and then I was out of there and had no idea what to do next. I was 19 and jaded and like burned by how that job went and angry at everything.

- [Danny] Yeah, had you dropped out of high school, had you just sorta finished it and then left off or were you thinking about college or were you thinkin', oh shit, do I jump to another journalism gig, what was your head space then?

- [Jeff] I finished high school. Between the public access show we were doing and this video game stuff that was still pretty nascent, you know, it wasn't really a job, it was very easy to look at that stuff and go like, man, I don't wanna go to school, like it's a waste of time. And so there was awhile there that like, I'll get my GED which is like so you can kinda test out of high school. And they tell you that it's equivalent to a high school diploma but then in some ways it's kind of not, I don't know, there was a weird. I had missed so much school and also we, so we were doing the public access show and I filmed a teacher, so a teacher at the high school I was going to, our chemistry teacher got fired and I believe the talk was, and I'm not sure, it was sexual harassment from the sounds of things, like to students. And so the first day that they introduced here's your new chemistry teacher I had the video camera that we used to tape the show so I filmed them introducing this new teacher and all this other stuff and like asked them questions like it was a press conference. And they answered, no one said, hey put that thing down. Like I was very clearly pointing a video camera at them. And then like the next day, that day, the day after, something like that, like the principal called me and said, hey, what are you gonna do with that video tape? And I said, well we're gonna put it on television.

- [Danny] Oh my gosh.

- [Jeff] And he was super not happy about that.

- [Danny] I wonder why.

- [Jeff] Yeah, and so at that point we realized we had something so we called the papers and said, hey we got this tape and they started investigating it and it became a story, it was something that they, I think they were trying to keep very quiet. Later on that teacher would show up at my doorstep looking for a copy of the tape because he was trying to sue the, I don't know, he was trying to get something out of the school district or something over what happened, this was years later after I was out of high school. So that was very strange. So after that between the amount of school we were missing, I had like a guidance counselor basically recommend that I should go on independent study. Which was basically, at the time it was primarily, it woulda been like pregnant teens and people that like were having trouble in school and that sorta stuff and they were like, oh, we're piloting a new program for kids who don't necessarily fit into the standard curriculum and they pitched it like that but basically it felt like they were just trying to get me and Glenn out of there.

- [Danny] Right, journalist at heart it turns out.

- [Jeff] I guess, I don't know. And so that led to me getting much higher grades and stuff because I was able to just kinda like crank through stuff really quickly. I graduated early because I just finished the work. I mean, I graduated like two weeks early, not hugely early. But it was great, it felt like I was getting one over on the school district because I was doing a full semester of science while like reading a book in my patents hot tub or, you know, just like stupid crap like that. I was getting like journalism credit for the stuff we were doing going to trade shows and like video production, they were just throwin' credits at me left and right and so yeah, I graduated early, it was great, I was able to take that and go back to the high school that I had stopped going to and go talk to like the one teacher that I liked, Mr. Moore, he was a math teacher, great guy, I think he taught some of the computer stuff also. And I remember telling him like, hey, I just graduated. And he just looked at me and said, god dammit, Gerstmann, you got 'em. He seemed like dismayed that I had managed to get one over on the system somehow but he couldn't help, but yeah, it was a, that felt pretty good.

- [Danny] Through his life, Jeff's do-it-his-own way attitude has been both a source of great strength and the catalyst for much drama. He attended a local junior college for a semester, but it didn't stick, preferring to do extra-curricular work like attending trade-shows with his friend Ryan McDonald, hanging out with local bands, and as he put it, learning how to drink. Around this time Glenn, who had gotta him the job at the magazine years earlier, started working for a new website in San Francisco's Richmond district. Just a few blocks from the servers of archive.org on the cloudy avenues of Clement Street, lied an office where a staff of 20 was running the website GameSpot. They had hired Glenn to lead the charge on a new console-focused spin-off of the site that they were going to call VideoGameSpot.

- [Jeff] Glenn hired Ryan McDonald not long after that to be like the strategy slash codes editor and then I started freelancing for him because they wanted 100 reviews by launch and they were lookin' to launch like three months, four months from that time. And so I started crankin' out reviews and the way I always heard it was that I was turning reviews around really quickly, really clean copy, and so Vince Broady kinda said like, hey, bring this guy and let's see. And they brought me in as like an editorial assistant which was more or less an intern type role and within two or three months, not even two or three months, within like a month, the launch editor, there was a guy, Joe Hutsko, who would come on, it was one of Vince's friends who had just come on I think to kinda see this console site through to launch and then I think he was gonna go on to do something else somewhere else and I was working late one night and Joe Hutsko walked by and saw me there and he was like, you're still here, what are you doin'? I was like, this work has to get done. And then like the next day I had an offer letter for a full time job at that point.

- [Danny] GameSpot would go through several transformations and acquisitions over the coming years. But as the business side of online media was learning how to walk, emerging technologies were creating exciting new ways for people to talk about games. GameSpot led this charge with one of the first video game podcasts, The Hotspot, and a weekly live show, On The Spot. Suddenly these young game reporters were starting to become more than just bylines. For years readers, the folks writing reviews and new articles, were just names at the bottom of a page. But now, for the first time, they were people with voices and faces. People with unique perspectives, opinions and personalities. And Jeff, with his experience doing public access shows in Petaluma, was at the forefront of this new form of media. The idea of streaming video games on the internet now is so blase and normal but back then I think to a lot of people it felt like magical, like a television channel that's broadcasting about games. From your perspective on your guys's end, did it feel weird to be like doing a live show that people were watching while you were just talking about this relatively niche hobby?

- [Jeff] It felt like a natural extension of the stuff we had been doing. And it felt like, I don't know, it felt fresh and cool and like the tech was weird and sometimes it didn't work the way you wanted it to but at the same time we were wearing makeup, we had built a studio, we had lights, we had a jib, it was Frank Adams lowering a camera into the shot and all this other stuff and so coming from like these lame public access shows I was doing when I was 16 and stuff, like I had a weird leg up on a lot of other people because I was already relatively comfortable being in front of a camera.

- [Danny] GameSpot continued to evolve. It went from indie to being purchased by media house Ziff Davis who then eventually sold it to CNET. By this stage the editor in chief was Greg Kasavin, who you may now recognize as the creative director of Supergiant Games, a studio we're currently running an embedded series on. His two right hand men at the time were Ricardo Torres on previews and Jeff on reviews. But when Greg left to start his career in games production, the role was never properly filled. Instead Ricardo and Jeff sort of ran it together, with increased influence being exerted on them from the powers above. The original founders of GameSpot had come from a editorial background but they were gone and the site was now being managed by people were less seasoned, more traffic orientated, and didn't value the power of editorial independence as much as they should have.

- [Jeff] You know, there was an understanding about like this is kinda how this stuff is supposed to work, it's not always supposed to be an easy relationship if everyone's kind of sticking to their guns and doing their jobs and stuff. I don't know that they always saw the value of that, I think that's something that they corrected quickly, it was just kind of, it was a blip, if you look at GameSpot as a 20 plus year institution there was that brief period of time there where it was like, man, this went a little sideways for a bit and I was just in the right place at the right time, wrong place wrong time, whatever it was.

- [Danny] What happened to Jeff next has been told a thousand times with new pieces added as time has provided new context. I myself spent years trying to fill in the blanks on how it all went down. Talking to friends and colleagues of Jeff who were there that day. It was a Wednesday in November, 2007 and the office was busily preparing for the weekly live-show which aired on Thursday afternoon. Jeff had just another another brush-up with management, this time over a review of Kane and Lynch which had made the sales department uncomfortable as they had sold a large advertising campaign to the game's publisher Eidos. If you visited GameSpot that week, the entire homepage was taken over by messaging about the game alongside a six out of ten review from Jeff. Jeff had had some run ins with top brass before and felt like he'd come close to losing his job a few times but this wasn't one of those times. It seemed like it had been dealt with, and he was already working on his next review. Later that morning his supervisor called him into a meeting and then called HR. He was told he was being terminated immediately, and as California is an at-will employment state, Jeff had no recourse. He was told to clean out his desk and bizarrely he was allowed to walk the halls for the rest of the day. Saying goodbye to his friends and colleagues, who were cursing the names of those in charge. Jeff drove home that day, the same 40 mile commute between San Francisco and Petaluma he had done thousands of times before. But this time it would be different, it would be a number of years before he stepped foot in the building again. There was no live show that week, the Kane and Lynch review had been taken down and then reposted and slowly over the coming days rumors began to circulate about Jeff's termination. Popular webcomic Penny Arcade ran a strip outlining the pressure from Eidos. Staff from the website 1UP, who were located just a block north of GameSpot on San Francisco's 2nd Street, held a protest outside the lobby of the building in support of the remaining staff. In an age before social media it would be a full eight days before the staff would actually speak up. And it happened on the next episode of On The Spot. The show ran with a somber opening. Ryan McDonald flanked by Ricardo Torres and a wincing Alex Navarro explained the situation. The camera pans out to reveal a full set with previewer Brad shoemaker, new hire Kevin VanOrd, community manager Jody Robinson and reporter Brendan Sinclar among a dozen of other staff.

- [Ryan] Obviously we wanted to start today's On the Spot off a little different than we had in the past. The recent events and what happened last week in regards to our longtime friend and colleague, Jeff Gerstmann, being dismissed. It's been really hard on us and the response obviously's been tremendously immense and it's been on both sides. It's nice to see that everybody speaks up and has been kinda pullin' for us. On the other hand it's been hard obviously seein' GameSpot sucks written 100,000 times on forums and stuff so obviously we wanted to address this and talk to you guys today. Jeff was a personal friend to pretty much everybody so it was really, really hard that it happened the way it did. But yeah, we really wanted to say that we love and miss Jeff and give him, honestly, the proper send off that he deserves so that's what today's show's all about. And obviously you can see this is hard for me personally.

- [Danny] For Jeff things were equally as bizarre. Tech Blogs like ValleyWag were running stories about the state of the site which were clearly sourced from somebody inside of GameSpot. The LA Times ran a story about the firing. And Jeff's mother received a phone call from a newspaper in Norway looking for a quote. It was three a.m. when the phone rang.

- [Jeff] You know, some of it was just like, some of the people I talked to were very like looking for more dirt, they were expecting me to get on the phone and be like, oh, well here's where the rest of the bodies are buried. But like, you know, I was shocked. I was not happy about the whole thing but at the same time I feel good about the work I did while I was there and there were so many great people there that kinda got caught in some of this crossfire a little bit. I wasn't like, oh well here's the other nasty things that happened, there wasn't any. There wasn't anything else. So some people were coming to me looking for like some bigger story that I just didn't have to give. And that was strange, it seemed like everyone wanted something from me for a little while and it was a very weird time. And so at that point it was like, 'cause you know, like I was not an editor in chief in title but you know, we were running an editorial team. And so there aren't a lot of jobs out there at that level. It wasn't like I could walk into IGN or 1UP or, you know, I don't even know who else was even out there at that point, it wasn't like I could walk into those places and say, yes, make me your editor in chief. Like, they already have people in those roles, it wasn't really a viable thing. So at that point I was like, well I kinda need to maybe start something new. The weekend after everything went down or it might've been, it was like the Friday after or maybe it was like a full week afterwards, a bunch of people that I used to work with came up here to my place and we just hung out, like kinda impromptu, just have a bunch of drinks, play some Rock Band, and that sorta thing, and Dave Snider came by, Ryan Davis invited Dave over. And Dave was working on his stuff, I think Boompa was still up, they had a car website, you know, they were running Comic Vine, they were building Political Base which was another kind of wiki focused site for political donations in the run up to that election there, this was November, 2007. And so they were starting a new company and looking to build, they were building websites. And I was like, oh, that's cool, awesome, and nothing really came of it for a little bit. So I went and did a show on Revision3, so I drove into San Francisco, did that show, and then on the way back from or as I was finishing up that show I got a call from Dave and he said, hey, you should come by the office in Sausalito and just come by. I was like, all right, cool. And so on my way back from there I stopped at the office in Sausalito and looked at Comic Vine, the other stuff they were doing, and we sat in a room and ate sandwiches and I more or less committed to them right there. It was kind of like an, oh, we'll think about it and they were very much like, hey, why don't you just take a month and get your head together, like take an actual break 'cause this is so crazy and then let us know what you wanna do. And so we kinda started building a website not too long after that.

- [Danny] Over the coming weeks several of Jeff's friends would leave GameSpot. Some were burned out from games coverage, this latest spell just being the straw that broke the camel's back. But others were leaving to work with Jeff. Fellow Sonoma County local Ryan Davis was the first. The two of them set up a blog, and started to a run a podcast which they hurriedly titled, Arrow Pointing Down.

- [Jeff] So, every single person at the company that we were, that I was now a part of were people that had worked at that old company. And so we did not wanna give the appearance of people getting poached out of there and like I don't know if there was an actual non compete with some of the people in the building or anything that would've prevented them from doing this stuff but all of it had to be kind of like quiet and so it couldn't be something as simple as like, hey we want to hire you over here. It had to be like, well, if you were, if you were no longer working and you needed a place to work we do have some opening. You know, it was very much that sort of thing. But I knew pretty immediately looking at it and going, okay, we wanna team of about this size and I knew that Alex would not be available, Alex Navarro, I knew that he was not looking to do this sort of work at that time. He was, you know, I think already thinking about Harmonix, he ended up doing public relations for Harmonix for a brief period of time. Like I pretty much had a whiteboard, I knew in my head that I, at that point it was like okay, this is me, it's Ryan, it's Brad, it's Vinny. Which is not how you're supposed to hire people. You know, some people are like, well what are the positions that we're looking to fill and all this other stuff and, but like knowing like what we looking to build and we needed to be a tight team, who were the people that are gonna be impactful in those roles, like okay, Brad has a lot of experience in previews, he is a person that I know, like he knows a ton of people around the game industry. Like, I've worked reviews and so on the review side of things we didn't talk to companies all that often. Brad had that in his role so he left, he left and he had other things that he was maybe thinking about doing, it wasn't like a, it was not a clandestine like, he left specifically to, it was like, okay, he's out and we're gonna figure this out. And then we needed someone to do do video and we had been working with Vinny for awhile and Vinny was fantastic and it was like, okay, Vinny's really funny, this seems like a good fit for him and so we kinda went about it that way. It felt like night and day a lot of ways, but very similar in others. We were able to sit down for the first time, for me the first time ever, like I never thought I would have the opportunity to build something like this, you know. I was always like very respectful or very envious of like Vince Broady as like the editorial lead of the founder of GameSpot and so I was like, man, he took a chance and built this thing and built it from the ground up and look at it, it's this huge, this monument, it's lasted so long. And I never thought I would have an opportunity like that in my career, it just never seemed like it was in the cards. And so being forced into it was exciting. Because it let me sit down and be like, okay, what do we actually want to do? What do we think is actually the best way to cover games with a small team in this day and age? And when we started in 96 on VideoGameSpot, like the videos had to be very low frame rate and very short because no one could download 'em and, you know, it was like we were doing minute long video clips of gameplay and that was revolutionary at the time. You know, you had to install the Real Video Player and all this, you know, all this other stuff. And here we were on the cusp of like, actually we can kind of, we can kinda livestream, you know, the services to do it easily weren't in place, you still had to host it yourself and that got very expensive and all that and YouTube wasn't really there in the way that they are now, YouTube existed but it was, I don't think you could put up videos that were longer than five or 10 minutes at the time and it just was not a viable place for that at the time. And so we had to kinda sit down and say, well with the technology we have available what can we do? And we wanted to be a podcast, the Hotspot was one of the most fun things I had doing in my entire time at GameSpot and we knew right out of the gate that we wanted to have a podcast be kind of one of the main things. And then from there it was like, okay, well, do we wanna write news? Not really, none of us are really news writers per say. And it was like, well, we need to able to capture video of games and put it on the internet. And we need to be able to talk alongside it or something like that, whether we're cutting it together or doing it on the fly. And so Mike Tatum, who was the head of biz dev for the company just went out to the Apple Store and came back with the biggest ass Mac Pro he could've gotten at the time and set it the room with me and Ryan and we looked at it and we were like, neither of us know how to use any of this shit. And we messed around with it long enough to figure out eventually we could capture some footage. We were like, okay, we figured out, first the game we captured footage of was Hot Shots Golf for the Playstation 3. And we were like, okay, we captured the footage, now what do we with it? And we hadn't answered that question yet 'cause there was no website to put it on or anything like that. So those early silly days of just like putting that stuff together. We didn't really know exactly what we wanted to do, it was just a matter, it was very freeing in way to be able to sit down and be like, okay, here are the things that we liked doing before, let's try to keep doing that. And then the rest is up in the air. For a long time there we weren't even necessarily sold on the idea of just covering video games. It was always meant to be bigger than that. We were gonna cover music, we were gonna cover movies, you know, all this other stuff. But at the end of the day old habits die hard, it was very easy for us to cover video games compared to like, calling music PR people out of the blue and being like, hey, we wanna interview this artist that's coming to town, can you set, you know, it was just, we stuck with what we knew and kinda just mainly covered video games and flavors of Gatorade. Really it was the original mandate for GameSpot was we wanna create a site that we ourselves would use. And I approached it that way and said like, well, what kind of game coverage do I actually care about? And a lot of the preview related stuff at the time was just not, it was a lot of like carved up little parts of a game. Like, we're gonna give you assets on these three new guns and this two new trees and it was like, here's the rims and tires of Grand Theft Auto: San Andreas. Outlets used to compete for the exclusive rights to run stuff like that. It was a very different time so we knew we were never gonna matter to publishers the same way the big sites did and that was fine, we wanted to kinda do our own thing and so that led to it being a little more guerrilla. You talked earlier about long footage of games being something of a novelty or a weird impossibility back then but for us it kinda just became a necessity because of the number of people we had and the lack of time we could devote to actual editing. It was like, just stuff kinda came in long out of the gate. And so we first launched as just a WordPress blog and we went to our first E3 in 08 with just a WordPress blog. We could run videos on it but it was pretty bare bones. It was mostly a placeholder, it was like, here's the name of the site, you can comment on these stories, and we were just kind of writing news and reviews and putting up videos here and there. And it was all pretty straightforward stuff, it was like that and the podcast. And then we rolled out the full site not long after that E3, it was like July of that year I think and then that was like, okay, now here's this full wiki, here's all this other stuff. Better user features, full message boards, all this other stuff. And so we went at it that way for awhile and then the premium membership stuff came later.

- [Danny] It wasn't just old staff who were leaving GameSpot for Jeff's new project, users were flocking too. Once the full site was launched tens of thousands of profiles were created, a large portion of which were disenfranchised GameSpot fans who wanted to support Jeff and the staff who had left. I was one of them and I remember that time well. The passion and excitement of those days was one of the most powerful moments I've had as part of an online community. And the folks at Whiskey Media used this passion to help fund the site. Giant Bomb had taken the ad-free subscription model that GameSpot had pioneered, and added much more. For $5 a month you not only supported some of your favorite creators, but got access to bonus videos and features. New users signed up in their droves.

- [Jeff] The launch of the site proper exceeded our expectations in a way that like wiki submissions were taking a week or more to approve because so many people were signing up and contributing and all this other stuff, it was just, we were staying up all night working on just the community stuff, moderation stuff. And then the premium membership stuff did well out of the gate. We went back and forth on a few ideas about what are we offering here and all that sort of stuff but yeah, it did really well that first day. Advertising was never really a thing for us, we had one in house ad person eventually for a brief period of time but like, you know, advertising's all about eyeballs and we were never gonna be the biggest website in the world, it was we were about, okay, well we want people who really care about this stuff and so, you know, in advertising you're trying to make a case for just like, oh no, this is a smaller audience but they're smarter and they spend more money and you know, at some point you have to go out and educate brands and say like, here's why you wanna advertise here instead of there or spend your money with us because our people are smarter or this and that and at the end of the day advertisers just want eyeballs so like you can go in and pitch that story all you want, it's just not how the advertising model typically works. So we had a few things where like, you know, we had some sponsored achievements on the site and there was a livestream, I was actually against it, but they did a livestream for, NTSF:SUV:SD, I think was the ordering of that, an Adult Swim show. Actually, I thought it was pretty funny. They did a livestream like live watch along with it. And so we were doing a few things like that that were innovative at the time I guess and so you would have people who understood like, hey, the internet is changing, it's not necessarily about just raw eyeballs. We wanna find people who are more engaged with a thing and you know, this was kinda like the nascent form of like the influencer type stuff about like figuring out who are these people we can get that have sway with their audiences and so on and so forth. But, us being an editorial operation, we could never really go fully into that world. So the stuff that I would be comfortable doing in those spaces kinda, we ended up shooting down a lot of stuff, probably more stuff than we signed because it was like, no, I don't think we can do that. So the advertising stuff was never really gonna be for us and for those reasons, it's just, you know, the advertising market just wasn't really compatible with our size and our scope but also kind of our mentality and where we were at with stuff so we wanted to try and find something different. And again, that was another Dave Snider, Dave was kind of the main first proponent about like, no, people will pay for good stuff on the internet, I know it. And I think I was a little more like, I don't know, man, people like to pirate stuff. But he's like, no, this will, he won me over pretty fast and we went through with it, we went on with it.

- [Danny] Giant Bomb has been running for a decade and in that time the site has evolved to keep up with the changing desires of its audience. But there are a few shows that have lasted the test of time. Their weekly podcast The Giant Bombcast has had over 570 episodes and is one of the most popular video game podcasts in the world. And their Quick Looks series predated the creation of Let's Plays, still exists today. I asked Jeff to tell me about some of his favorites are. He notes their live E3 internet show, and eventually making the podcast profitable as some of his proudest achievements. As shows have come and gone, so too have staff. Just like GameSpot created a platform for Jeff to make a name for himself. Giant Bomb has become an incubator of talent all to itself. As the sort of captain of the ship as well, what does it feel like to be responsible for kind of what Giant Bomb has become in terms of its, as an incubator for talent, right. You've had people come through the doors and leave out the other side to go on to wonderful careers as well. Do you take a pride in that, especially considering, you know, how you seem to have a reverence for the people who gave you opportunities in your early career.

- [Jeff] It's cool, I don't always think about it. Like, I don't know, like I look at it and go like, did I do anything for anyone, I don't know, I'm just here, I don't know, I just do my thing. And I don't know that I always, I used to take it really personally back in the GameSpot days when anyone would leave. I would always think like, man, why would you, why would you go do something else, we're doing great, we're doing all this other stuff, and now I look at it in retrospect and go like, maybe it was people like me in the senior roles for as long as we were that led to people below us wanting to get out for more opportunities, and go like, man, yeah, okay. But yeah, I used to take it really personally 'cause I just, you know, it was great to just, there were times where, you know, man, this is the best team I've ever worked with, this is great. Oh, three people are leaving over the course of six months, what's goin on? And the people that left in the run up to me leaving, at the time I was really bummed out, in retrospect I was like, oh, yeah okay, I get it. And things change and people change and they want something else out of their careers and they wanna take on new challenges and all that sorta stuff and I think that's great. At the same time, like I miss the people that have moved on. Like, there was a time there that there were, we were starting to have conversations, it's like, no, we need to move Danny O'Dwyer over to Giant Bomb, like we have, this should happen. And then he went out and found fame and fortune on his own without us and I was like, well, shit. Let that one slip away, I guess.

- [Danny] There will always be a part of me in my professional sort of hindsight that will, I remember when you mentioned that to me at a certain point, I can't remember, was it when I had already handed in my notice or I think it was probably a little bit before maybe, where like, that is like the ultimate dream come true. But now I have a new dream come true which is that I get to just pop into the office and review European sports games twice a year or whatever.

- [Jeff] Right, yeah, I mean, I have a code for FIFA that I don't know what to do with so. Might be callin' you for that one. So, it's stuff like that, like it's great seeing people out there doing their thing, and the thing I've tried to be better at this time around that I was terrible at back in the GameSpot days is try to keep in touch with people on a regular basis. Like it can be so easy just to put your head down and be like, I'm surrounded by these people, these are the people I see everyday, these are the only people I talk to because I don't have time for anything else. Discord has actually been really useful at that, honestly. Like hey, let's keep in touch with friends and try to maintain these friendships and stuff like that. So yeah, it's great being in regular contact with people like Patrick and Austin Walker and stuff like that.

- [Danny] Giant Bomb lived under the Whiskey Media banner for four years, but the media startup was struggling to grow at a rate required by the landscape of the bay area investors and so the decision was made to fold the company to sell of its assets to suitable suitors. What happened next seemed impossible to anybody watching from the stands.

- [Jeff] The process of us selling the company was strange, for a lot of the reasons you would expect. But you know, I think the thing that happened, every start up that sells or fails or anything always like to say, aw, we were just too early. We had the best ideas, too early. But you know, in some cases if we were a year later or something like that and YouTube had been more viable for longer form videos, like who knows what woulda happened. You know, we made the best choices we could along the way but at the end of the day, you know, they had launched a lot of other sites and wanted it to be this big network and when that kinda, I think that wasn't happening at the rate that they needed it to happen so it became a case of just like, okay, maybe it's time to move on and move onto a different business and do a different thing and so we were at that point lucky enough to be something that was sellable, you know. Like you think about the number of start ups now, especially the number of content companies that launched and just went under. And with Giant Bomb with the premium memberships and that sort of stuff we were in a pretty good position there to where we were doing something that people I think were just starting to get a sense of just like, hey, maybe this direct to consumer like subscription type stuff is something we should care about. And so it was something that people were starting to wake up to and be like hey, maybe we want some kind of back pocket plan in case this advertising thing doesn't always work the way it works now. So Mike Tatum, the head of biz dev for Whiskey, asked me one day, he said, hey, would you be open to maybe selling the company to CBS? And I just laughed. And I was like yes, of course, absolutely, go have those conversations, that's the craziest thing anyone's ever said to me, absolutely, yeah, of course. That's the thing, it was a very different time, a very different company, all that other stuff. Like the stuff that happened to me was this blip on this timeline of this multi decade operation that has had good people at the helm of it for almost all of its time, you know. And most of the people that were there when I was there last time and involved in some of that unpleasantness were long gone. So at this point it was like, hey, do you wanna go talk to John Davison about, you know, maybe comin' over there, and Simon Whitcombe. Yeah, they've been around this space for years, it's totally different people, like yeah, of course. And there were other people that were interested, the company that ended up buying tested was like lightly interested but not in a way that sounded all that exciting to me. And so yeah, I had lunch with John and Simon and in, this would've been, it was around the holidays, I don't remember the exact year anymore, it all runs together, man. But it was the holidays, it was like right after Christmas, we went into Christmas break knowing that it was likely that the company was gonna be sold early the following year. And that the GameSpot team was interested, was kind of like what I went into the holidays knowing. And so I met with them and we just kinda talked it out and, you know, like they had a good head on their shoulders and we were, you know, fairly attractive I guess in the sense that we had our own revenue, it wasn't like we were coming in and like, okay, you gotta bolt us to a sales team, you gotta bolt us to this 'cause otherwise we're gonna be losing money overnight. We were coming in doing pretty well in the grand scheme of things. So yeah, I wasn't in all the negations and meetings and all the back and forth for that sorta stuff but, yeah, it was an exciting weird time because we knew it was happening but we couldn't say it was happening. And rumors started getting out there a little bit, it was a very strange time, you know. It was so hectic. My dad went into the hospital as we were packing up the office to get everything out, and we were entering this quiet period where we wouldn't even have an office and we couldn't even say why, which was so unlike everything we had done with our community and all this other stuff. It was like, here's the thing where we are forced to not talk about this deal or act like anything is weird but we also are not in an office, it's hard to generate content when you're not in the studio. And there was just so much going on around that time, it was really, it was bizarre. I came out of it feeling like we did pretty good. For someone who came into that situation with little more than his good name I feel like I came out of it better. Personally better, better at my job, better at more types of things, better at running a, a little bit more respect for what it takes to run a business but also knowing when to sacrifice the business needs for editorial interest, you know, that sorta stuff. I was able to grasp more pieces of the puzzle, I guess. And so yeah, we came back in and it was fun because I had set up Giancarlo Varanini, I set him up real good where I saw him at an event the week before the deal was getting announced and I think my exact words were, hey I'll see you next week. And we left this Microsoft event or whatever we were at and.

- [Danny] Did he know, did he twig it or?

- [Jeff] He didn't know at the time but he pieced it together and then he was like, oh my god, you were saying what you were saying, yeah. 'Cause, you know, we still talk to a lot of those people that were over there.

- [Danny] So strange, I think I told you, we were in the bizarre situation where the UK, I was at GameSpot UK and the UK sales team had leaked the deal to us, I think maybe six weeks before it was announced.

- Wow.

- We all knew and we couldn't tell the American office about it.

- [Jeff] That's GameSpot UK for you, man. One year they tried to give FIFA an 11.

- [Danny]Did they actually?

- [Jeff] Actually, yes. They turned in a FIFA review that was trying to give it an 11 out of 10. And we had to be like, no, you absolutely cannot under any circumstances do that.

- [Danny] For most of Jeff's life his career and hobby have been impossible tangled. And so for much of his life his identity has been too. For years his Xbox Gamertag was GameSpotting. He only changed it when he set up his new site, to GiantBombing. But since selling to CBS he's tried to create more distance between these two worlds. Jeff isn't the most social person you'll work with. He commutes to and from Petaluma every day, a 40 mile drive during bay area rush hour. Perhaps it's why he doesn't socialize much after work. Or maybe it's a convenient excuse to not have to. At his desk, he sits with headphones on, usually working on something. When he talks to you he speaks openly and honestly. When he doesn't want to talk, he doesn't. He's always struck me as a person who's gears are always turning, thinking about the work. Half enjoying it, half burdened by the weight of it all. He's tried to get better at delegating responsibility but in many ways Giant Bomb is his child and he feels like he needs to be in the room when decisions about it are being made.

- [Jeff] For me that's the struggle. Like my personal struggle is like the time management aspect of it and like keeping everything going. Because before I had other things going on in my life you could throw as much waking time as you could at a thing and also we owned the company. It was a sick cycle where in the back of your head you could always say like, well I need to work until three a.m. because this could be the video that puts us over the edge and turns this thing into an even bigger thing. And so it was very easy to justify to yourself incredibly unhealthy work habits that didn't make the site better, that didn't lead to necessarily more content or anything like that, it was just it was very easy to spend every waking moment thinking about it. And now I don't and at first that made me feel guilty, yeah, that's the weird struggle of just like, it's all just kind of a weird head trip. And the worrying goes from like, am I spending enough time with my family, am I spending enough time with my job, this seems like stuff that everyone else figured out a long time ago but I'm coming to it over the last few years and going like, man, this is an interesting new challenge. But it's been great, I wouldn't, if it wasn't for my wife I don't think I would, I'm not even sure if I would still be doing this, honestly. I probably would've completely burned out or something by now without her to kinda have my back and all that sorta stuff. Yeah, she's been great. She's the best thing that ever happened to me, totally.

- [Danny] Trying to create a distance between life and work you're passionate about can often be a struggle. But it was impossible for the staff of Giant Bomb to do so in the summer of 2013. This July will mark the 6th year since the tragic passing of their friend and colleague Ryan Davis and in recent months it's been on Jeff's mind a lot more. Last year the site launched a 24 hour livestream that plays videos from throughout the 10 year archive of Giant Bomb and users often vote for videos that Ryan is featured in. So Jeff is confronted with the memory of their friendship a lot more these days.

- [Jeff] You know, going back to those videos and stuff, the relationship that Ryan and I had was very complicated and changed a lot over the years because, you know, we were close friends, we were in a band, we were inseparable, I got him hired, we became coworkers, I became his boss. And so the relationship changed along the way too. So yeah, I don't know, when I think about Ryan I think about the days before were working together, primarily. Those are my Ryan memories, usually. The videos, the stuff we did along the way, yeah, we did some really cool shit and I like a lot of it just fine, but me personally, I think about the stuff prior to, when Ryan was answering phones for AT and T internet at three in the morning when people couldn't get into their email, that's the Ryan I think of. The Ryan that was living with three other guys in this tiny ass place and we'd just go hang out and he wasn't 21 yet so I was indispensable. Like that sort of stuff, that's the stuff I think about when I think about Ryan.

- [Danny] When I asked Jeff about the future of Giant Bomb he's excited, but cautious. Years of working on the internet has taught him to be careful about over-promising before stuff is built. Perhaps his experiences have also taught him not to plan too far ahead. As the site enters its 11th year its been changing its programming to try and bring in new viewers. Giant Bomb has been successful, it pays its own way at CBS, but it's still a website owned by a large media organization, so often the future is planned quarter by quarter, year by year. Perhaps the most surprising thing in coming to know Jeff, is how excited he still is about games. His Twitter profile reads "I've been writing about "video games my entire life. "It would be insane to stop now." So you wouldn't blame him for being burned out on video games after 30 plus years of talking about them. But if nothing else, the thing that strikes me about Jeff Gerstmann is that these days when you can be so cynical about video games he's still a true believer in the power of the medium, whether it be players of Pac-Man or Fortnite.

- [Jeff] I think games are only gonna continue to get more popular. If you look at what we're seeing with something like Fortnite right now. Like, it's having a moment that, that Minecraft had before it. It's huge, it's bigger than a Five Nights at Freddy's, it's crazy. But like I'm just trying to think about like, you know, games that have penetrated the mainstream in a huge way. What we're seeing with Fortnite right now feels almost unprecedented. It's Pac-Man esque. You know, like Minecraft was huge, but not in a, like kids loved Minecraft, kids love Roblox, but Fortnite is cut such a wide swathe across society to where it's like all these popular mainstream sports figures are now doing Fortnite dances in actual sports and it's never been like that before. So in some ways like, gaming has kind of never been cooler or less cool depending on your perspective. Because it's literally everywhere. You know, everyone is carrying around a device in their pocket that is capable of feats that like it would've been insane, no console 10 years ago could've done anything like this. Granted, the controls are still bad. The technology is pushed so far forward and it's so pervasive and in so many different places and in so many different styles. You look at like Pokemon Go and the idea of location based gaming, you know, people getting out there and moving around to catch Pokemon, like all that stuff is amazing and it's crazy. But like where we're going on that front, I think if the technology bears out and data caps don't kill the dream and all this other stuff, we're gonna reach a point where anyone can play top level video games on the device they carry around with them every single day. And in some cases they are, I mean, Fortnite's on phones for whatever that's worth. So I think that this isn't gonna go away, this is gaming's kind of big push into the mainstream kind of once and for all. And I think that games coverage, that's a more complicated thing. If you look at YouTube right now with demonetizing videos and everyone trying to stream and everyone trying to have a side hustle streaming or something like that. Kids growing up like commentating games as they're playing 'em because they just watch people on YouTube and they think that's how you're supposed to play games. That's it, that's where we're going, or that's where we are already. And so I think over the next five years it'll be tumultuous because I think you'll see the bottom drop out of ads in a way that makes the Twitch streaming and YouTube and like the kinda hobbyist turned pro streamer, I think that that's gonna have to even out. I think it's only gonna get harder and I think that will keep a lot of people out eventually, or it'll lead to a growth in just the hobbyist streaming and people will have different expectations. They'll just be like, I'm streaming 'cause I like it, I'm not gonna sit here and think I'm gonna make a bunch of money. The same way I made public access when I was 16, it's like, oh, we're on television. Like I'm not making any money off of it the way real people on TV do but I just wanna do it 'cause it's fun.

- [Danny] Thank you so much for listening to this episode of the Noclip Podcast. Sorry it took so long to get this one out, it was quite a long story and it's also kind of an impossible story to tell in its entirety so I had to pick my battles and figure out a narrative that kind of worked. I hope you enjoyed it and I hope it was nice piece to celebrate a website that means a lot to me and I'm sure a lot to you as well. Now for the housekeeping, if you wanna follow us on Twitter we are @Noclipvideo, I am @dannyodwyer, we have r/noclip if you're interested in getting on board and talking on Reddit and of course if you're a Patron keep up to date on all the Patreon posts. Podcasts are available on iTunes, Spotify, Stitcher, Google Play, and loads of other places anywhere podcasts are sold basically. We also have a YouTube channel where you can watch the podcast. That's Youtube.com/Noclippodcast. If you didn't know, we also make documentaries about video games, those are available for free with no advertising at Youtube.com/noclipvideo. Patrons get this show early for 5$ a month, if you're interested in supporting our work please head over to Patreon.com/noclip. And that's the podcast for another episode. We are actually at the Game Developers Conference in San Francisco right now recording bunches of interviews which will be going up on the channel in the next couple of weeks. But we'll be back with another podcast in the not too distant future so make sure you hit that subscribe. We've never actually asked people to rate it, so if you're listening now and you're still listening at the end of this podcast, hey, why not rate us? Thank you so much for listening, we'll see you next time.

Apr 01 2019

1hr 1min

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Love it!

By Leon2ky - Dec 03 2019
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Love the podcast, keep up the great work!

Great Show

By kravenwtf - Feb 14 2019
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Show features great interviews with people in the games industry. Great audio quality.