Restoring Millennial Gaming Speak

Phase 2 of the redesign is complete. My weekly video game news podcast that ran between 2015 through 2018 – Millennial Gaming Speak – has been incorporated into this here site. Hosted by myself and my long-time podcast partner in crime, Logan Moore, we had a (mostly) weekly show. It’d eventually go on to fold into Model Citizens Media, a podcast network startup we created with Michael Ruiz and Mario Rivera. The whole thing would shut down in 2018.

When it did, Logan and I stopped paying Soundcloud to host our show. That turned our feed from unlimited episodes to just three being available. It’s been that way since the summer of 2018, just over three years. And just like Behind the Pixel, I’ve never liked that everything essentially vanished when we flipped the switch. I’ve always wanted to revive the feed so that all our episodes could be available again.

When figuring out the archive situation for my own writing, I began thinking about possible solutions to bringing back Millennial Gaming Speak. I could just pay Soundcloud, but that’d cost over $100 a year. I want the show back, but I am not willing to pay that much for an inactive feed. Then it hit me one morning. Why not try Anchor?

Anchor is a podcast hosting provider by Spotify. Totally free way to upload and share your show. I thought I could go through the effort of manually restoring the show in a new feed. Free, but time consuming is a trade I am willing to make.

Turns out, I didn’t even have to do that. Anchor offers a way to import a show from another service and redirect the RSS feed so subscribers don’t miss a beat. All I needed to do was reactivate our premium Soundcloud account to bring the episodes back to life, then follow the import instructions on Anchor. Once everything was properly migrated, I could cancel Soundcloud.

The import was mostly smooth. Only one episode has an issue due to unsupported characters in the title or description. Once I fixed the issue, Anchor gave no indication of progress or reattempting to import that one episode. Eventually, I gave up and removed it from Anchor’s import progress and added it manually.

That’s when I learned I could back date an upload. This allowed me to go back and add episodes 3-7, which were removed from Soundcloud in our earliest days due to an upload limit. Unfortunately, episodes 1 and 2 seem to be lost forever. I was a dumb dumb and deleted my end of the audio recording. Neither of us can find the merged episodes.

I also had some issues with the art. Apple Podcast still had our old art. For a brief moment during the transition, we had some pretty flowers while I tried uploading rescaled artwork.

Other than that, the transition to Anchor was smooth. I then went into the CMS of Max Frequency and created backdated posts for each episode. Now that was manual. I added an embedded player because Anchor does not seem to provide a direct link to the audio files. I prefer to link to the audio and let your browser handle providing the player. It’s less bloated and faster. Then I added links to Apple Podcasts, Spotify, Overcast, and YouTube (where applicable). Below those options is where I placed the show notes. I preserved as much of the original content as I could (i.e. wanted to). I fixed my Twitter handle, corrected the “é” in Pokémon, etc.

Bringing Millennial Gaming Speak to my site also helped me figure out exactly how I wanted to redesign my Podcasts page. Using the columns blocks in WordPress, I have the show art on the left and the description on the right, just how I wanted it. I also totally took Relay FM’s verbiage choice with “retired” to list inactive shows.

I feel proud that MGS is back out there for people to stumble across. Manually entering the episodes into the CMS took me down memory lane a bit. We had four years of E3 predictions. Some episode descriptions show how excited Logan was for Battlefront II and Mass Effect: Andromeda. There’s the solo episode I did previewing Uncharted 4: A Thief’s End based only on what I had seen and read because I was that excited. The only other game I did that for at the time was God of War: Ascension. It’s all searchable now too, so I can find, relisten, and link to these hot takes in our earlier years of covering video games.

Our 100th episode is still one of my favorite productions I’ve ever been a part of. It was all Logan’s idea. We invited eight guests on in chunks to share their stories on how video games have impacted their life. These guests would go on to become some dear friends and partners in my life. Millennial Gaming Speak reconnected me with a childhood friend and introduced me to new friends. I truly can’t imagine my life without Logan in it and this podcast captures the first four years of our friendship as we learned about this job we so passionately wanted to do (which Logan does to this day!). It’s a part of our legacy and I am happy to give it back to anyone who would like to listen.

Chapter Select: Season 2, Episode 4 – God of War: Ghost of Sparta

For the first time in the series, Kratos is on a journey for salvation rather than vengeance. Released just eight months after God of War III, the Marked Warrior returned to the PlayStation Portable in grand fashion. Max and Logan sink the city of Atlantis to find out if Kratos can save his family before he seeks revenge.

Download (34MB)

RSS FeedOvercastApple PodcastsSpotifyYouTube

God of War: Ghost of Sparta

Metacritic – 86/100


This episode was originally recorded on November 2, 2021.

Max’s Twitter

Logan’s Twitter

Researcher, Editor, and Producer – Max Roberts

Hosted by Logan Moore & Max Roberts

Season Art Statue Photo by Simone Pellegrini on Unsplash and designed by Max Roberts

Episode Cover Art Water designed by Max Roberts

Behind the Pixel – How Roger Pokorny Mashes Hip-Hop and Video Games Together

Part of creating The Max Frequency Podcast was to restore all the episodes of Behind the Pixel, an interview show I did in 2017 for seven episodes. These will be mixed into this feed so that the show can live on podcast services once more. Below are the original show notes, with some light editing. I hope you enjoy.

Download (32MB)

RSS FeedApple PodcastsSpotifyOvercast

The worlds of hip-hop and video collide, not in the world of DJ Hero, but in the artistic stylings of Roger Pokorny. Through his spunky video essays, Roger takes the energy and vibrancy of hip-hop to talk about pop culture and games. From unique perspectives such as the state of rebooting franchises to the insanity of defending Arkham Origins, Roger’s infectous spirit and style rubs off on all his viewers.

Dope Facts about Roger Pokorny

  • He is the only* other person who understands why we need a new Splinter Cell game.
  • His Tinder profile was edited by Greg Miller.
  • He is a self-taught editor.

(Listed in order of publication date)

Mozerella Sticks are wild.

Roger Pokorny via Twitter on Jan. 5, 2018

This episode was originally recorded on December 21, 2017.

The 2021 Controller Collection Update

Last August, as I was preparing to move, it dawned on me just how many controllers I owned and managed to keep around in the apartment. While I’m not moving this year, I have definitely noticed an increase in swath of controllers I have lying around; all ready at a moments notice.

I had counted a total of 30 controllers last year. 2021 has brought an 90% increase of controllers into my home. The launch of new consoles and the looming threat of one shutting down sort of sparked this increase. I can’t really imagine this sort of bump being an annual thing, but that’s why we track my controller obsession, right? Right?

Here is the 2021 break down:

Current break down = 57

Nintendo Total = 33

  • NES Joy-Con = 2
  • SNES / SNES-Styled = 6
  • N64 / N64-Styled = 6
  • GameCube = 8
  • Wii = 4
  • Wii U = 1
  • Switch = 7 (Zelda and Ring Fit ring, not pictured)

PlayStation Total = 14

  • PS1 / PS1-Styled = 3
  • PS2 = 2
  • PS3 = 3
  • PS4 / PS VR = 5
  • PS5 = 1

Xbox Total = 2

  • Xbox Series X = 2

Miscellaneous Total = 7

  • 2 Oculus Quest 2 controller
  • Guitar Hero Live controllers (no dongles)
  • 1 Arcade Stick
  • 1 Six-Button Controller
  • 1 Stadia controller

First, let’s address those we lost this year. I ended up trading in both a secondary PS4 Pro and my original Xbox One to help buy my new Oculus Quest and a Nintendo Switch as a Christmas gift. Unfortunately, that required also parting with a controller. I parted with my beloved translucent red DualShock 4, since I couldn’t sell my Death Stranding or The Last of Us Part II controllers. The Xbox One was easy, since all I had was a controller with a busted left stick. I was reminded how glossy the D-Pad and face buttons were on those original Xbox controllers. I much prefer the matte finish on the modern Xbox controllers.

I also sold my steering wheel for the Xbox. It continued to take up space and I wanted to buy that Switch as a gift, so it seemed like a logical sale.

We gained a lot more though.

Under the Nintendo umbrella, I bought one of the Nintendo Switch Online N64 controllers. The last time I used a brand-new N64 controller was probably when I was 5-years-old in 1999, if not a younger age. It feels wonderful and familiar in my hands. I promise to never use my palm to spin the joystick around.

The GameCube also got a bump this year, but not in the traditional sense. I nabbed myself some DK Bongos with Christmas money last year. They were just something I felt I needed to own.

The Switch also had some new additions, but they unfortunately did not make the “family photo” this year. I bought the Skyward Sword Joy-Con when that game launched in the summer. They are also in a special stand from Rose Colored Gaming and I really did not want to remove them.

Then I just snagged a copy of Ring Fit Adventure during the holiday sales. While it could fall under the accessory category, I think the Ring Fit ring counts as a controller since it measures unique movement and input for the specific game.

Moving into the domain of PlayStation, the obvious new controller is the DualSense for the PS5. This controller is sensational. The heft, fit, and finish are remarkable. The haptics are truly immersive. Frankly, the Joy-Con are the only thing that come close with their “HD rumble.” If the Switch’s rumble is “HD” then the DualSense is 8K HDR rumble: It is a truly next-gen feature.

The other Sony bump comes in the form of two PS Move additions. I bought a PS Move Navigation controller for any PS Move games on my PS3. Alongside that, I bought the official gun accessory for PS Move so I could play Killzone 3 and Resistance 3 in 3D with the PS Move gun. Going for that true immersion feel back in the late PS3 era.

With the sale of the steering wheel and the busted Xbox One controller, my Xbox collection only gained a new Xbox Series X controller. Turns out I did not count the broken controller last year, which is why the total remains the same at a lowly two controllers.

PS5 and XSX weren’t the only new consoles I bought within the past year though. As I mentioned earlier, I recently purchased an Oculus Quest 2, which comes with two controllers. These are currently my favorite VR controllers. They are light, track incredibly well, and are powered with AA batteries. The touch sensitivity is slick and I enjoy them quite a bit more than the Vive or PS Move. I still have not had the chance to use the Index’s controllers and I am eagerly awaiting PS VR 2 sometime next year. 

I was also given a Google Staida kit(?) It was a new set up with a controller, Chromecast 4K, and the necessary cables. The controller has mostly sat in a drawer this year. Hard to imagine it making an appearance in the foreseeable future, unless Red Dead Redemption 2 magically goes on sale on Stadia and I try that out.

The last console I acquired this year was a MiSTer, which I totally love. It sits on my desk is a beautiful, black aluminum case and is connected to my CRT and a HD monitor. When I was originally building the MiSTer, I knew I wanted to play Ski Crazed from Andy Gavin and Jason Rubin, Naughty Dog’s co-founders. It runs on the Apple II and requires a joystick controller. Combined with the MiSTer’s inherent support for arcade cabinet games, I decided to buy an 8BitDo Arcade Stick. I’m no arcade stick aficionado. I like the weight of this stick and the options for 2.4Ghz, Bluetooth, and wired play. It is also customizable, if I ever decide to venture down the path of arcade stick customization.

Another 8BitDo controller joined the collection as well. I bought a six-button Sega-styled controller for both my Switch and the MiSTer. I never had a Sega console growing up and never used one before. I enjoy the feel of the six-button and it makes my brain happy to have the controller for Sonic and Castlevania: Bloodlines.

When I wrote my little controller collection post last year, I truly did not expect a follow-up a year later, especially with such an increase. Maybe I’m being foolish, but I don’t expect another bump like this again next year. I think this past year I’ve really upped the ante with unique controllers. Between the Quest 2, an arcade stick, and the DualSense, I’ve got a bunch of fun ways to play new games. I boot up arcade games on my MiSTer and CRT every now and then and it feels transportive back to when I was a kid with arcade cabinets. Like I said last year, I think the controller is the way fully experience a game. I am really fortunate to have so many unique ways to play my games. I can enter a virtual world and play ping pong or feel the graininess of a sandy beach or blast away enemies in 3D. I love having options. We’ll see what kind of options I end up with next year.

Analogue Pocket Shipping Notices are Being Sent Out

Analogue Pocket pre-orders will begin shipping on December 13th. Due to unprecedented shipping congestion, your order will ship and be delivered between December 14th – December 30th.

Finally.

Analogue is offering holds for people that may be out of town during this window of time. Those holds can be requested until November 28 and will begin shipping on January 3, 2022. If you do not need to change your address or request a hold, your Pocket is supposed to start shipping in the coming weeks.

The Journey to Redesign Max Frequency

Some of you may have noticed that the site looks a smidge different lately. It’s a short answer for a longer story. There’s more beneath the hood of this redesign too. I wanted to make a proper post talking about my experience in trying to redesign the site, instead of just pretending it always looked like this.

Ignore the Wayback Machine banner. Someone forgot to properly document a “before” screenshot.

Currently, Max Frequency is hosted on WordPress. I’ve used it for nearly a decade for various projects, including my first blog Go Left Gaming. I was growing tired of WordPress this year though, due to some backend editor changes and imagining the grass was greener on the other side.

The other side of the fence was your favorite podcast ad read – Squarespace.

My plan was simple: My goals were clear. My renewal for WordPress is near the end of the year, so I planned on cashing in a sweet free trial of Squarespace to test the waters before committing. I just wanted to dip my toes in the water. I came out shivering from its frigid grasp.

All I wanted (and still want) was a straight-up traditional blog feed where the posts line up and is mostly just words. I had some aspirations like building an archive, incorporating Light/Dark mode support and some fancy footnotes (I could have used a footnote here, sniff). I assumed Squarespace would have light/dark mode support and that the footnote thing wouldn’t be too tough. I was very wrong.

Squarespace is very pretty and quite focused on showcasing visual content. That includes their editor / backend. It’s full of animations and tries to be smooth as silk. In my experience, my trial site was nearly uneditable my entire time. The edit buttons would not work or load content. I tried Safari, Chrome, and Firefox. I cleared caches, cookies, and tried a private browsing window. All of it turned up a busted system that wouldn’t let me edit the blog feed or my site.

I did manage to import all of Max Frequency’s posts there, but the styling came in totally borked. As far as I could tell, I’d have to manually edit my 400+ posts to get them to look the way I wanted or try to reimport them.

I worked with their support for a few days, but they wanted me to sign-up for third-party screen recording software and could not replicate my issues on their end. Ultimately, I just gave up and tried to execute my vision on WordPress.

The catch with WordPress is that to get the Light/Dark mode and footnote support, I’d either have to host the site myself and use WordPress.ORG or sign up for the $300 business tier to use plug-ins. That’s just not feasible for me given my lack of programming knowledge and the fact Max Frequency generates zero income.

Turns out though, I could make my biggest goal a reality.

I finally set-up a proper search page and archive at maxfrequency.net/search. The previous search function on the site was a sidebar plug-in but it always looked wonky, especially on mobile. I removed that from the right-hand margin and centered the blog. I then made a dedicated page for searching the site to give it all a cleaner look.

I then remembered that WordPress’ URL scheme would probably let me just separate posts out by month. It did! So I made a linked archive inspired by Hypercritical by John Siracusa.

“But Max, this archive goes back to 2013. You started Max Frequency last year.”

Quite the observation loyal reader. I took that strategy of importing Max Frequency to Squarespace and applied it to Go Left Gaming. Now, all my writing online is in one place. From my Guacamelee! review on May 18, 2013 to the latest episode of Chapter Select, it’s all here, dated properly, and searchable. I also saved what reviews and editorials I could from now-defunct sites like PS Insider and PlayStation Wire, dated those properly and added them to the site with links to their archive on the Wayback Machine (if it existed).

For my work that exists on DualShockers, I took a cue from Jason Snell of Six Colors. Jason writes for Macworld every week. He links to it on Six Colors with an excerpt to entice folks to read the whole thing on Macworld. I took the same approach to my reviews and editorials on DualShockers. This let’s DualShockers keep the click and article, while I get to have a proper online archive of my writing. I wish I could make post titles active links to the external posts themselves, but that’s outside of my tier of WordPress, unfortunately.

As for the visual design, I wanted to center everything up and keep my dark gray background. While trying out Squarespace, I did land on using a shade of red for links instead of the standard blue. I just took the red accent color from macOS. I wish it didn’t change the menu links at the top of the page, but I can live with that.

In the end, I’ve come out much happier with the form and function of Max Frequency. I seriously love having all my writing in one place now. I can finally shutdown Go Left Gaming without losing one sentence. There are still elements I’d love to add some day, but for now, I’m happy with the look for Year Three and beyond. Plus, it’ll help user in some new ideas and projects I have. I always have new ideas .

Chapter Select: Season 2, Episode 3 – God of War II

Photo by Luigi Boccardo, designed by Max Roberts

With a new director at the helm, God of War II helped end the PS2 on a high note with the promise of an epic conclusion on Sony’s brand new PS3. Special guest Grant Huff joins Max and Logan to find the edge of the world and challenge fate itself.

Download (35MB)

God of War II

Metacritic – 93/100


This episode was originally recorded on October 26, 2021.

Max’s Twitter

Logan’s Twitter

Grant’s Twitter

Researcher, Editor, and Producer – Max Roberts

Hosted by Logan Moore & Max Roberts

Special Guest was Grant Huff

Season Art Statue Photo by Simone Pellegrini on Unsplash and designed by Max Roberts

Episode Cover Art Statue photo by Luigi Boccardo on Unsplash and designed by Max Roberts

Forza Horizon 5: Every Xbox Version Tested – Digital Foundry

Forza Horizon 5: Every Xbox Version Tested – Xbox Series S/X vs Xbox One S/X! by Digital Foundry on YouTube

It’s a secret to everybody that I have concerns about cross-generational games. I have to give credit where it is due though. It looks like Playground Games has absolutely crushed it with Forza Horizon 5. My favorite part was the footage at Playground Games, where Rich saw their testing set-up for Xbox Series consoles in their respective performance and quality modes and the base Xbox One dev kits. I totally respect the team for not forgetting the base Xbox One.

While it does look amazing on old hardware, I still have to imagine what the game could have been if they had dropped Xbox One support from the outset. We’ll find out with the inevitable Forza Horizon 6.

I also can’t wait to see how Sony’s development teams fare in their upcoming cross-gen titles. I have a tough time imagining scalability and performance of this caliber. Bravo Playground Games, bravo.