Chapter Select: Season 5, Episode 6 – Resident Evil 3

Episode art generated by DALL-E 2 with the following prompt written by Max Roberts - "Resident Evil 3 Tyrant chasing Jill Valentine in a fiery Racoon City diorama at night"
Illustration generated by DALL-E 2, prompted by Max Roberts

It is the end of an era. Max Roberts and Logan Moore say so long to the city they’ve called home for the first half of this season. Has Capcom’s relentless pursuit of sales delivered another smash hit or does Resident Evil 3: Nemesis belong in a body bag?

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Resident Evil 3

Metacritic – 91/100 and 7984/100

This episode was originally recorded on February 3, 2023.


Max’s Twitter @MaxRoberts143

Logan’s Twitter @MooreMan12

Researcher, Editor, and Producer – Max Roberts

Hosted by Logan Moore & Max Roberts

Illustration generated by DALL-E 2, prompted by Max Roberts.

How I Edit My Podcasts

Another new video for you all; I think the title speaks for itself. I have wanted to make this sort of resource for awhile now. I think there is immense value in creating and sharing your creative process, so I wanted to continue to practice what I preach.

The latest episode of The Max Frequency Podcast“Get Real Nitty-Gritty” with Dustin Furman – is a deep dive into the production process behind creating shows. This seemed like a perfect companion to finally make a “How I Edit” tutorial.

I filmed the entire process from raw audio to the final product. In reality, this took four-ish hours, but I trimmed it down to just under one. My general formula for editing shows like mine is take the run time, double it, and add a few extra minutes for good measure. The uncut length of MFP 25 was just over two hours.

The video has chapter markers and AI-transcribed subtitles, plus links to all the hardware and software I use. I cut my YouTube-teeth making Action Replay and Adobe After Effects tutorials 14 years ago. I’m a technical writer by day. I have deep passion for making resources to help others. I hope this video is insightful and helpful to you.

Behind the Scenes of the Brawl and SMYN Anniversary Special

I don’t normally write a behind the scenes post for individual podcast episodes, but the Super Smash Bros. Brawl / Show Me Your News 15th Anniversary Special of The Max Frequency Podcast felt worthy of this honor. This is, without a doubt, the most audio engineer-type work I have ever put into a podcast. In many ways, making this episode felt like the culmination of 15 years of working in and around podcasts, all of which was inspired by SMYN; a sort of full circle moment for myself. So let’s go back and explore the episode’s production.

The Pitch

I don’t know when I realized that Super Smash Bros. Brawl was turning 15 years old in 2023, but it was early enough for me to make a reminder to ask Peter about recording an episode to celebrate the anniversary. I reached out to Peter in late November 2022 to ask if A) he’d be down and B) if he was still in touch with his former co-host and then CEO of Panda Global, Dr. Alan Bunney, aka SamuraiPanda. Peter was down for all of this and a couple of weeks later I sent Dr. Bunney a message. This just so happened to be the morning that the Smash World Tour by Video Game Boot Camp was canceled.

I won’t rehash the drama here, but the gist is that the cancellation led to VGBC blaming Dr. Bunney and Panda for the cancelation. A week later, Dr. Bunney issued his own statement and stepped down as CEO due to doxxing and community vitriol.

But now I’m the villain. The greedy corporate pig that wants to line his own pockets. The enemy of the community that I’ve sacrificed some of the best years of my life for. I’m so evil now that people are attacking my very home. I was able to create dozens of full time jobs in one of the smallest niches of competitive gaming, an accomplishment only Panda has achieved at that scale. And despite that, I spent the weekend telling my friends and family to call the police to increase patrols at their homes.

All over lies, false character attacks, and a concerted harassment campaign started from people who directly profit by destroying the careers of over a hundred people from their own community.

One could call this the worst timing ever. It sure felt that way. I would call this sad. No one deserves to be treated this way. It is a blight on the Smash community.

I did try reaching out to Dr. Bunney two more times in February. He did respond and respectfully declined. I totally understood his decision and wished him nothing but the best.

The Prep

For the rest of 2022, I did preliminary research on Brawl and SMYN. It was a light affair. I found the original website for The Dojo, watched Scott the Woz’s superb video, and outlined ideas for talking points and general show flow. This process was a nice way to ease back into that 2007-2008 Smash mindset.

On January 11, 2023, I finally set up a playlist with the original 35 episode run of Show Me Your News: Peter dubbed it “The Essential Collection™.” In hindsight, I should have started this process sooner. I did not realize just how much longer the show became during its initial run. The introduction of The Roundtable would go on to triple the original run times. From then on until the episode’s publication, I only listened to Show Me Your News.1

I started a re-listen notes document and wrote my thoughts down, alongside clips and timestamps of what I considered to be classic SMYN moments. I used Overcast to save these clips as short .mov files inline with the episode titles and notes. I should have kept the later episodes at the top, pushing the older ones down. By the later episodes, I was having to scroll past a lot of notes to enter new information.

Relistening to these episodes helped remind me what the community was thinking and feeling all those years ago. These are a perfect time capsule of fan fervor. We soaked up every update and tidbit we could find. It’s hard to just remember how the community felt, but SMYN opens a portal back to a time before Nintendo Directs, mass adoption of Twitter, etc. It was a time when the traditional press was the dominant source of news and previews. This time travel I embarked on was essential to creating the anniversary episode.

Before sitting down with Peter to record, I knew I wanted to recreate the classic SMYN introduction. My goal was to mirror that iconic structure and transport longtime listeners back. I picked an episode and wrote down a table, breaking down the type of dialog and what music was playing beneath Peter’s voice. I asked a more musically proficient friend which songs these were and he quickly identified the Melee How to Play music, the Captain Falcon guitar riff (which Peter would confirm as the victory theme), and that the main song was song cover of the Brawl theme.

Peter and I briefly talk about finding the theme cover on the show. It was some long lost MIDI and at the time of recording, I had opted to use iZotope’s RX 10 to extract the music and talk over the muffled narration. After the recording, I kept listening to SYMN and arrived at the Pandacast run in the show. With Peter away on vacation, SamuraiPanda took over production. His lack of audio editing prowess led to him using the entire MIDI, unedited, as the closer. It was a gift. I swapped the extraction I made for this clean, unaltered version. The Pandacast provides!

The People

There was one more surprise I wanted to try and make happen for Peter. It dawned on my late in my preparation that I should have some sort of Brawl Viewpoint to further encapsulate the throwback vibe. It just hit me one day, “what if former guests and fans could reminisce and say thank you?” I felt this had real potential to honor Peter and Dr. Bunney’s work and surprise them. So I set out to get in touch with some old time SMYN-jas.

My make or break ask was the first guest voice on Show Me Your News, Smash Boards user Sariku (aka Jason). He was a the voice behind the Who’s In? segment that talked about the odds of characters joining Smash. I think most of, if not all of, the fighters Jason spoke about ended up in Smash eventually. Wild stuff. I was able to track down a way to get in touch with Jason and, much to my delight, he agreed.

This set me down the path of reaching out to six more people, four of which were able to contribute. I asked them to share one or two minutes of their Brawl/SMYN memories and to thank Peter. They all knocked it out of the park. I organized their audio in the flow I thought worked best and then set out to find the perfect track to layer beneath them.

I knew that I wanted to use music from the game’s soundtrack. I had seven contenders:

Online Practice Stage was an early pick, simply because that tune would go on to become the closing song on SMYN (I still managed to fit it in the show). The upbeat nature of the song didn’t match the mood I was going for. The same goes for the two Credits tunes. Thematically, they make sense as songs signifying conclusion, but are too amped. The All-Star Rest theme was in the right direction, but just didn’t feel right. I remembered the song Snowman from Mother as a somber tune, but liked the love theme more. A catchier song, but not right.

Animal Crossing would become my musical haven. The low key vibes fit perfectly as background music, while stirring up emotions of long forgotten, but dear friends. The title track wasn’t right, but Brewster’s Roost was exactly what I needed. I couldn’t have asked for a better track to accompany these fine folks’ thoughtful words, like thoughtful letters to a friend from a bygone mail time.

Listening to the “final” weekly episode of SMYN gave me the perfect opportunity to take the audience back and remind them what this was really all about. Peter’s comment on the people was too perfect. I knew I could use that to set the tone and elevate the messages even higher.

The Podcast

Recording the show was the easiest part. It’s always a delight to talk with Peter. We did run longer than I anticipated. I’ll take this moment to apologize again. Sorry Peter! All the clips worked well and the recording went smooth.

I was surprised at just how emotionally drained I felt at the end though. The thank you messages hit me harder in the moment then anytime before. We both got emotional. After months of preparation, I think having the show in the books was a trigger to my brain to let me know how invested I was in this. It caught me by surprise.

The Production

Time for the beast. The end result was 25 gigabytes, four Logic Pro projects, and countless audio files. I know my workflow is not the most optimized, but this was the process that worked for me.

My Logic Pro project files were for the intro, the thank you, the clips montage, and the core show itself. I segmented those smaller sections out to keep my main project file cleaner. That really helped my sanity, because those files had a lot of tracks, especially the montage.

The main show itself was a standard-ish edit. I did my normal process of syncing the voice tracks, stripping the silence, and doing my full edit. The unique parts of the edit were the clips from old shows and events. I went through all the clips I saved, concerted them to .wav files with Permute, and then cleaned them up a smidge in iZotope RX 10.

I was able to strip most annoying static sounds, like a low buzz from E3 press conferences. The toughest clean up was the cell phone recording to Brawl‘s reveal trailer. I decided to strip all the music out, which cleaned up that grabble, but it sounded hallow without. So I took the trailer audio separately and layered it beneath, syncing the two as best I could, to give me some control between the levels. I think it works at effectively relaying the means to record reactions at the time without making ears bleed.

One other classic clip tidbit is that the audio of my introducing the Smash Cast was from the original recording. Turns out that I have all the original files from all those years ago. For some reason, I didn’t even clean it up. I just upped the decibels, because it was so quiet. I have no idea why I didn’t match the volume and tidy up the track. That is pure, unfiltered 13-year-old Max.

The Pixels2

If you follow Chapter Select at all, you know I enjoy making and using episode-specific art. I knew this episode needed some as part of the celebration. Thankfully, the inspiration was much easier to find than some other ideas I’ve cooked up. I would style the art after Brawl‘s logo and box art, just like Peter did over 15 years ago.

I started by trying to identify the font that Nintendo used. The “Super Smash Bros.” part seemed to be Times Ten Bold, but the “Brawl” was original. I am still shocked that no one has made a custom font replicating this style. This sent me down the path of finding similar fonts. I landed on Osake by Stringlabs. Heck, the logo for the font itself is very reminiscent of Brawl. I am not a huge fan of the shape of the “O” this font makes, but overall the font captures the spirit of the logo.

As for the styling of the text, I actually went back and used this classic post on the Smash Boards as loose guidance / inspiration. I haven’t done too much of the text manipulation described, but I was able to teach myself. It involved a lot of converting to shapes and pixels. I probably used far too many layers, but in the end, it looks like the box. I used Pixelmator Pro and was quite happy with what I was able to create.

For the swoosh…I recreated it by hand. Don’t ask me. So many points…

The Promotion

With the show edited and exported, all that was left was planning the promotion of the show. I knew Peter would share the show and so would I, but I wanted to spread the word a bit more than my usual tweets and posts.

The first place I wanted to share the episode was the Smash Boards. I couldn’t log into my original account (the forgot password email did not arrive in my ancient Hotmail inbox in a timely manner), so I made a new one. Hearing Peter mention the Smash Boards so much on SMYN, it just felt right to me to post the episode in Brawl General Discussion.

Then I went to the Smash subreddit. This just seemed like the right place to get Smash fans eyes on the episode and remind them of the anniversary.

The Publication

I am quite honored that I was able to produce this celebratory episode. I am proud of the show. Fifteen years ago, if you had told me that I’d become friends with Youko, that I’d actually be on Show Me Your News one day, and that I would have the privilege of producing an anniversary special, you would have blown my Dojo-obsessed brain. More than Brawl or SMYN, this episode was the culmination of 15 years of working on podcasts. Peter and Dr. Bunney captivated me with the magic of the medium. I have been enthralled ever since. I owe countless memories and friends to podcasts. I am thrilled to honor that legacy.

P.S. – The Purchase

So, I found the Show Me Your News store, and of course I had to try and buy something. Turns out, you can still nab some merch. I can’t believe I have the clock. Dreams do come true.

1. It did not help my usual podcast listening that I happened to schedule a podcast with Robert Ashley from A Life Well Wasted during this window and decided that I needed to listen to that show’s back catalog as well. I spent the first couple of months of 2023 reliving my golden podcast years of 2007/8 and 2012. It was an absolute trip.

2. I am really stretching this “P” alliteration thing, aren’t I?

Noclip Documentary on The Last of Us Part I

Re-Making The Last of Us Part I – Noclip Documentary by Danny O’Dwyer on YouTube

Watched this yesterday shortly after it went up. I was amped to get another proper documentary chronicling the development of The Last of Us. It’s been a decade since the last one.

I was hoping for more insight on the origin of this remake, but Danny (at least in the final doco) does not ask about the PlayStation Visual Arts Group’s attempt at the remake. There was a lone direct mention of PlayStation Visual Arts at 12:14. The public facing story, which I wager has some truth to it, is that Naughty Dog started the project when remaking cutscenes to utilize in The Last of Us Part II.

I haven’t even played Part I yet (I know, I know). The documentary focuses heavily on the graphics/visuals and staying true to the original intent while leveraging modern hardware and tech. There was further confirmation regarding the animation team going back to old reference footage and hand animating the faces on PS5, just like I wrote about last year.

It’s neat to see more behind the scenes at Naughty Dog, but I was expecting a bit more insight to come to light. This felt more like a rehash of the press tour when the game came out last year. And this documentary coincides with the finale of the HBO show and the PC release of Part I…I hope Naughty Dog returns to producing documentaries alongside their games. I wish most studios would.

The Last of Us Prequel – From Animation to DLC to Second-Party to HBO

I’m mad I didn’t catch this story sooner. This one first1 broke back in late January, but more layers have revealed themselves since the finale of The Last of Us on HBO. It has been quite the drip feed, so let’s chronicle the whole thing Chasing the Stick-style.

I wouldn’t be the writer I am today if I didn’t throw in a little bit of context. Back in February 2014, Laura Hudson of Wired had an interview with Neil Druckmann about the Left Behind DLC.

WIRED: So you think there are more stories to tell in this world?

Druckmann: I still have this script written, this story about Ellie’s mom [for] an animated short we were going to do, but it fell through. I’d love for that to see the light of day sometime, maybe as a DLC or a comic book. We’re brainstorming the next [Naughty Dog] project right now…

I wrote about this in Chasing the Stick, pointing out Neil’s openness to a sequel, which is where their passions were found. This animated short was just an example at the time to express possibilities in the world of TLOU.

Turns out that the idea would see the light of day, just ten or so years later. The finale of the first season opens with Ellie’s mom, Anna, and a part of her story.2 At the end of January 2023, in an interview with Jordan Moreau at Variety, Neil added a bit more to the backstory of this lore.

[Variety]: What were you most excited to get to do in the show that you didn’t have in the game?

Druckmann: The one that shows up very late in the season is Ellie’s mom. I had written a short story after we had shipped the game already. It was supposed to be an animated short, but it fell apart and didn’t come to be. There was a moment where we almost made it as DLC, but it fell apart.

In our conversations, I brought it up to Craig and he was immediately excited by it, or as he would say “activated.” We brought it to life in the most beautiful, poetic way, which is Ashley Johnson playing Ellie’s mom and she was the original actor for Ellie.

This is the nugget that I wished I caught two month ago. “There was a moment where we almost made it as DLC…” is quite the development—lost Naughty Dog DLC! Pre-production on this may have begun, but could have been canned as Neil and Bruce Straley had to take over Uncharted 4: A Thief’s End‘s development.

As the rest of the season goes by, we finally arrive at the finale itself and the plot surrounding this video game thickens.

During a press conference, Neil reveals that Naughty Dog also talked to another developer to make an entire Anna game. My buddy and co-host, Logan Moore, had the story over at

“We were talking to another game company to potentially do it as a whole other game,” Druckmann said of the project. “[But] that deal fell apart to tell that story.”

Druckmann also went on to say that if this game would have become a reality, it would have revealed more details about Ellie’s biological father, which is something that has never been touched on in The Last of Us video games and TV show. The story of this game would have then culminated in the scene featuring Ellie and her birth that was unveiled in the TV adaptation. Regarding Ellie’s father, though, Druckmann said teased that there could be a chance of this story one day being unveiled in a new manner.

“I will say there was some stuff written for the mom and the dad when we were talking to this other game studio to potentially do a whole Anna game. The climax, of which, was this scene,” Druckmann said. “I’m reluctant to say anything about it because as I’ve now found out several times, stories that I think are failures and will never see the light of day sometimes see the light of day.”

This is one of the first mentions of exploring both of Ellie’s biological parents. I find it interesting to have the climax be what is shown on HBO. This origin story of Ellie’s immunity and the end of Anna’s life is now known. We could see this crop up in a game someday, making it the first time in the series that a story beat from outside a video game makes the jump to its original medium.

While we don’t know the developer that was in discussions to make this prequel, we do know who introduced Naughty Dog to them: Greg Miller. On the Kinda Funny Screencast via VGC,

…there was a much more full version of this story that went more back in time that was going to be made into a video game by Naughty Dog, by a different game studio, that Greg Miller introduced me to that studio and we had talked to them for quite a while to do this thing and then it just kind of fell apart, it didn’t quite work out.

I am fascinated by this. Throughout Naughty Dog’s history, other developers have been handed the keys to their IP in one way or another. There were PC ports and the far more popular(?) PlayStation spin-offs. The Jak series had two, while Uncharted had one on Vita. I would have to go back and check the count for Crash Bandicoot before the sale of the IP.3 The Last of Us hasn’t had a spin-off before.4 This notion that an outside team could/would work on the IP is par for the course.

So what happened? What team was in talks with Naughty Dog? What kind of game was the original concept? That’s the story I want to learn about now. With Neil revealing more and more with each interview lately, I hope we learn at least the team considered.

There’s one more angle to the whole Ellie’s parents story and that ties into the epilogue of Uncharted 4. In Cassie’s room, there is a poster for a comic dubbed American Daughters and it features a very pregnant woman that looks a whole lot like Ellie. I have always been of the mind that this is Ellie5, but I could see this being an angle or part of this whole game/narrative idea.

This is pure speculation on my part, but what if there was a story that had the past and the present at play. Anna and Ellie are pregnant and their stories have parallels. We saw a very loose version of this play out in Part II with Dina and Mel. This poster easter egg/tease could have been a byproduct of the pre-production cycle on this Anna game. It seems quite glaring, but perhaps it was yet another slip of the team to tease a game before its announcement, a la Uncharted 3‘s teaser for The Last of Us. That feels like a stretch, but it wouldn’t be the first time that Naughty Dog has dropped an easter egg like that in their games.

Anna’s story has grown from animated short to Naughty Dog DLC to a second-party game to debuting on HBO. While I would love to know more (and I suspect we will learn more over time), I think the biggest takeaway is that what is dead may never die. This story has been through the pitch ringer and finally came to fruition 10 years later on a TV show. Makes you wonder what other ideas Naughty Dog has been sitting on and mulling over for the past decade.

1. Technically, it broke back in 2014, but all the recent talk should have started in January. Man, I am mad I missed this.

2. I might discuss this more in my review of the finale episode, but Anna clearly doesn’t hand off a letter to Marlene. That letter, along with the knife, are quite touching objects to find in the game. Sure, a letter can be retconned in to the show, but it’s a shame not to see that created on the screen.

3. Seems to just be Crash Bash.

4. There was the prequel comic series American Dreams and the now-in-development board game. You may consider those to count.

5. The red undershirt and revolver that is clearly Joel’s gun convince me this is Ellie and not Anna.

The Max Frequency Podcast is now on YouTube

A small update on The Max Frequency Podcast: The show is now available on YouTube. You can check out the playlist, if you feel so inclined.

Running two podcasts – Chapter Select and (what I affectionately call) MFP – I strive for parity between them. Not in content or format, but in quality-of-life and production value. MFP has had a scrappy nature from the word go. From the name and art to being schedule free, the show keeps me…loose. I am rigid when it comes to creative control. Chapter Select goes through a fine tooth comb of design. That’s not to say MFP doesn’t go through a similar comb (they are edited the same way).

Chapter Select has had two offerings that MFP has not: a video version and, lately, transcriptions. That irked me. So now MFP has both, with the entire catalog being on YouTube with full transcription.

Episodes 1-22 are unlisted: This is so my recent uploads section isn’t flooded with black thumbnails. Episode 23 “‘A Passion for Smash’ – Celebrating 15 Years of Super Smash Bros. Brawl with Peter Spezia” premiered last week to coincide with the anniversary of Super Smash Bros. Brawl. From here on out, episodes will be uploaded to YouTube publicly and coincide with the podcast feed release. In fact, the next episode is going up tomorrow.

To make the video version, I am using an application called FusionCast. It takes audio files and images, mashes them together, and spits out a video. It can do 4k (which I was tempted by), but I opted for 720p on the old episodes^1 and 1080p for the new ones.

This is a simple and clean way to make a video version of the show. It adds little to my workflow. And now, my two shows are on the same platforms for my audience. I feel much better.

P.S. – You may also notice a little “MFP” menu item at the top of the page. It bugged me to only have Chapter Select specifically called out. I was worried about menu clutter, but now I say forget that. I am equally proud of both my shows and they deserve equal billing.

1. I used the batch export feature for the older episodes and 720p was much faster. Since these are purely auditory anyway, the visual fidelity matters little.

The Last of Us Ep. 7 – “Left Behind” Thoughts & Impressions

I am of two-minds about this episode of The Last of Us. On one hand, the downloadable content (DLC) has been visually replicated. The story of Riley and Ellie stays true and faithful. On the other, this flashback feels…unnecessary. There is an obtrusive element lingering over the episode.

Let’s focus on the positive first. The world of Left Behind is stunning. The setting is all about beauty in destruction and the joy of discovery. Ten years ago, the concept of Ellie and Riley exploring an abandoned mall was a novelty. Naughty Dog took the familiar and represented it like a ancient temple. Nowadays, malls do feel like relics. Some of that initial charm feels swapped for warm nostalgia; time moves ever forward.

Coming back to this particular chapter of The Last of Us nine years later, there’s a bit of depth added to the dynamic between Ellie and Riley. Seeing Ellie in gym class and in the principal’s office wouldn’t have worked in the game, but it makes perfect sense for TV. Ellie’s interaction with said principal helps create tension between the ladies—FEDRA vs Fireflies. It’s texture that fans would have had to pick up on between lines or in the comic book run. I enjoyed this addition.

There is undoubtable temptation to replicate the DLC. From the amber glow of the ivy draped carousel to the cool electric hum of the arcade, the sets were always cinematic dreams. These translate to the television screen effortlessly*.1 I think succumbing to this temptation has led to this episode’s bloated feeling.

Left Behind was an additional chapter released eight months after the original game. This story, which is both prequel and interlude, was never integral to the core story. So in a season that only has two episodes left, we take a break and go back to a time that doesn’t build upon the foundational relationship. Sure, this backstory is a nice detour, but the ride is heading in the wrong direction.

I wager part of the decision to include this episode was the aforementioned cinematic temptation paired with not knowing if season 2 would be green lit. I think Left Behind would have felt much better as a HBO special, like Euphoria did in 2020/21. This could have been a great surprise in between seasons, given the crew more time to expand and enhance the supplemental narrative, and – most importantly – given season 1 a much needed additional episode to focus on Joel and Ellie together.

It’s like I said in my last review, we are on borrowed time. Now there are only two episodes left. The closer to the finale we get, the more I wish for more time.

Woof! I am behind. Writing this review slipped through the cracks of me producing two new episodes of The Max Frequency Podcast. Abby and I still haven’t seen episode eight yet; we were too tired on Sunday and have been busy ever since. Heck, we’ll be missing the finale too.2

It bums me out to see the show waning in its connection and development. The first three episodes started strong and the rest have felt both rushed and bloated. I think the desire to strip gameplay segments has led to cutting powerful narrative moments. There’s a little baby with the bath water going on here. In the spirit of digressing from that digression, here are more observations that I picked up on when watching this episode.

  • Neil Druckmann wrote this episode and it shows. This was/is, of course, his baby. I picked up on some subtle polish this go around that enhanced the original story though. Good work.
  • Finally, the first Naughty Dog easter egg (that I have caught)! The FEDRA principal(?) has the red paw print on his keys.
  • The entirely cut the Firefly Winston’s tent. I always liked that character and his place in the world. Gives lore and backstory to Boston and Ellie. Wish he was included instead of some random dead body with a whiskey bottle.
  • Nice inclusion of Mortal Kombat II, which was added in to the Part I remake as well. Although, I wish Angel Knives and Black Fang were used somewhere.
  • Speaking of the arcade, there didn’t seem to be any Jak X: Combat Racing machines because Jak X didn’t exist in 2003. More proof that the decision to change the timeline was a bad call.

1. I understand it took immense effort to recreate these scenes and sets. I meant more the concept translates effortlessly. You get what I mean.

2. Turns out, we caught the finale live! A baby miracle occurred and our Eloise was asleep by 7:45. We were able to watch both episode 8 and the finale. I have just been so behind on my writing here; in part due to making new episodes of The Max Frequency Podcast, as well as visiting family. Those lines just prove how long this draft has been sitting in my folder. 😅

“A Passion for Smash” – Celebrating 15 Years of Super Smash Bros. Brawl with Peter Spezia

Super Smash Bros. Brawl turns 15-years-old today in North America. Max and the voice of the Brawl community – Peter Spezia – look back on Sakurai’s Wii masterpiece as well as the legacy of the weekly weekend podcast discussing the biggest news in anticipation of the game—Show Me Your News.

Download (59MB) – Episode Transcript

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Continue reading ““A Passion for Smash” – Celebrating 15 Years of Super Smash Bros. Brawl with Peter Spezia”

Chapter Select: Season 5, Episode 5 – Resident Evil 4

Episode art generated by DALL-E 2 with the following prompt written by Max Roberts - "A gothic castle hidden away in the Spanish country side near a lake and surrounded by a dead forest at night dimly illuminated by torches diorama"
Illustration generated by DALL-E 2, prompted by Max Roberts

The reinvention of Capcom’s horror series begins! Los Illuminados members Max Roberts, Logan Moore, and special guest Dustin Furman embrace the Las Plagas to find out if Leon’s mission to the Spanish countryside is all it’s cracked up to be. Can saving the President’s daughter really make for the best Resident Evil game ever made?

Download (52MB) — Episode Transcript

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Resident Evil 4

  • Developer – Capcom (Armature for RE4VR)
  • Platforms – GameCube, PS2, PC, Wii, iOS, PS3/360, PS4/X1/Switch, Quest 2
  • Release Date – January 11, 2005 (RE4VR was Oct 21, 2021)
  • Game Director – Shinji Mikami
  • Producer – Hiroyuki Kobayashi
  • Composer – Misao Senbongi

Metacritic – 96/100 (85/100 for RE4VR)

This episode was originally recorded on November 1, 2022.


Max’s Twitter @MaxRoberts143

Logan’s Twitter @MooreMan12

Dustin’s Twitter @DustinCanFly

Researcher, Editor, and Producer – Max Roberts

Hosted by Logan Moore & Max Roberts

Illustration generated by DALL-E 2, prompted by Max Roberts.

Celebrating Super Smash Bros. Brawl Turning 15

This week Super Smash Bros. Brawl turns 15-years-old here in North America. This iteration of Smash is the reason I have this site and why I write/talk about video games on the Internet. I was captivated by The Dojo’s daily updates and inspired by the podcast Show Me Your News.

My first production – my first thing – online was the Smash Cast and my opening words reflect that inspiration:

Hello you are now watching the Smash Cast. I’ve decided to follow the footsteps of Youko and Rocdar12 and create my own Smash Brothers Brawl news segment. For those who don’t know who Youko is, he is the head of Show Me Your News, which is a podcast weekly podcast that you can download at the iTunes store.

My excitement for the game drove me to create, to express myself publicly. In honor of the crystal1 anniversary, I have a couple of plans to celebrate.

This Wednesday (March 8, 2023), I’ll be streaming Brawl’s single-player Adventure Mode, The Subspace Emissary, on my YouTube channel. I haven’t touched the Subspace since launch. The current schedule is to start at 6:30 PM EST, but that could change depending on the family. Probably best to turn on a notification for the stream to be pinged when I go live. It should be a fun trip into the past!

Then on Thursday (March 9, 2023—the actual anniversary) a special edition of The Max Frequency Podcast is going live. I’ll be joined by none other than Youko himself—Peter Spezia. It was an honor and a pleasure to go back through the Brawl hype cycle with the voice of the Smash community. We wove together the game’s development with the first few months of SMYN for a celebration like no other. I’ve spent the past month relistening to the show and preparing for this anniversary. Reliving the glory years of ‘07 and ‘08 was a delight. A fire was rekindled that The Dojo and SMYN sparked in me so long ago. I hope the episode does the same for you.

1. Krystal?

The Last of Us Ep. 6 – “Kin” Thoughts & Impressions

We are on borrowed time. The sins of Kansas City are following our heroes and the remaining run time of the show. Craig and crew are beginning to step on the gas as the show tries to wrap up the entire narrative of the game in one season.

And yet, we get a slow build up for this episode and are plopped straight into The Last of Us Part II with a full-blown recreation of Jackson and plenty of references to boot. It was arguably the most fan-service of the entire season so far and it was handled in a deft manner. This was a logical substitution for the gameplay heavy dam section of the game. And, assuming the set is still there or in pieces somewhere, they can reuse it in season two.

Joel continues to become a wholly new incarnation on HBO. I want to stress I am glad there are deviations from the game. The show should stand alongside the original. But man, this Joel is not being set up for events to come the same way. I worry for future pay offs and how they will feel. Relationships feel rushed and time feels short. Knowing where the show is going is hurting being in the moment. I wonder if people new to The Last of Us will look back and feel the imbalance and rush I sense now. 

We also witnessed what I believe to be the worst deviation by far. Non-players have no idea what they are missing. The whole college lab experience is truncated to a five minute excursion with no time for tension to even be established. Joel’s injury is transformed into a stab wound by a Hunter, rather than the impalement he suffers in the game. Comparing the show to the game, it’s no contest which scene is superior.

The director of the episode, Jasmila Žbanić, did an interview with Variety on the episode and they asked about this change. Here was her response:

I got it in the script, and I really liked it because it was more subtle. Ellie thinks they made it, and then it’s a shock. Otherwise it would be immediately over. I really liked how Craig wrote it. They travel, she’s hopeful, they go on together — and then it’s a shock.

I am going to go out on a branch and guess that Žbanić hasn’t played the game, because the parts she likes happen in the game. 

The whole slinking out of the University happens in one cut to a back door by a bush. The tension of escape has zero time to mount. We blink and Joel is stabbed, then our duo ride away with Ellie blindly popping off shots. The game has tension is spades. The escape, the stumble, the escape post-fall, all while Ellie helps and saves Joel’s life. They ride off and the he falls, just like the show. 

Not only is the raw shock value dropped, but Ellie is robbed of development. Her capabilities in combat are solid. The bond between the two is deepened further in these life and death situations. The show strips that away as Ellie is incapable of even hitting an enemy during their mad dash away. The most shocking thing from this episode as that they made this change.

And why make it? Time. A two-parter in Kansas City and tons of Jackson time forces the creators hands to cut more and more of the back half of the game. With this weekend’s episode focusing on the DLC Left Behind, we are naturally getting less time with Joel and Ellie. Their bond is what The Last of Us is built off of and I can’t help but feel like the connection is not being enriched on-screen. As a fan, it is a frustrating loss, but I guess the masses just don’t know what they are missing. Ignorance is bliss. 

This seems to be the harshest I’ve been on the show to date. The episode wasn’t all frustration. There were stand out moments, but I felt like they detracted from my through line theme in the review. That’s what this list of observations is for; fleshing out the little things that I picked up on in the episode.

  • That dog must not be very good at its job. If a cordyceps detector can identify Ellie is sick and this dog always knows when someone is infected, then that doggo should have let loose on Ellie. Not that I wanted that to happen, but I was scratching my head.
  • Joel’s PTSD continues to be built upon and we finally get a picture of what the team was building toward. Chest pains become frequent (heck, they may have debuted in this episode, I forget if they were in Episode 5). Joel freezes up with the dog. This all mounts to the heart-to-heart Joel has with Tommy where he reveals his fear about being a failure and an inadequate protector. This was touching and felt perfect for this performance. It feels reminiscent of the opening scene in Part II, but that Joel comes from a place of righteousness and power.
  • Two major characters from Part II have appeared! Both Dina and the horse Shimmer. I popped off for Shimmer. Dina was not named, but it was clearly supposed to be her. And that casting has made it clear to me that the actresses need to age up a bit if they are going to handle the, uh, let’s say activities of Part II. I feel like season two is going to be lots of world building and perhaps unseen or reshuffled moments from the sequel.
  • There were some excellent jokes in this episode. I was partial to Tommy’s communist realization and Joel’s history lesson on contractors.
  • Maria is pregnant. The implications of this for future seasons is substantial. Serious potential there.
  • They cut one of the best lines from the game. Joel’s classic “you’re on mighty thin ice” was no where to be seen or heard in his confrontation with Ellie. Further proof of a much slower to anger Joel. 
  • Speaking of that argument scene, the shots are reversed from the game. A small observation, but I thought it was interesting nonetheless. 
  • I wonder when Ashley Johnson’s birth scene is going to happen. My guess is either next week or the finale. Next week makes less sense, because Ellie would have no memory of her birth. Perhaps Marlene shows up at the end in some manner. I wager a Marlene flashback in the finale is more logical, but that would rob the duo of even more time.