For Our Eyes Only – Goldeneye 007 by Alyse Knorr and Boss Fight Books

Full disclosure: I backed the Kickstarter for Goldeneye 007 at the deluxe hardcover tier at $30. Boss Fight Books provided an advance copy of the standard edition for me to read and review.

Alyse Knorr has written a history that has left me filled with jealousy. Having written my own history piece and read countless others, Knorr cements her double-0 status as a historian and writer. She transports you back to those mad lab barns littered across the Twycross property, hidden behind the brick walls and shrouded in signature Stamper secrecy. Now, just as I am familiar with the dossiers scattered across the screen in Goldeneye’s menus, I now feel like I know how the definitive Bond game was all fashioned.

She has taken on the immense task of chronicling how one of the all-time classics was crafted. The book does not just guide the reader through a timeline of the making of the game. You are engrossed in the mindset and fervor of the team’s development. And when stepping outside of the Bond Barn and out of the mid-90’s, Knorr reaffirms what we all remember—Goldeneye 007 was sublime.

It was lightning that hasn’t been bottled since. The fusion of insight to the passion that stitched together the team and the everlasting legacy feels tailor-made coming off the page. It fits like one of Bond’s iconic suits.

The team at Rare’s ability to create and iterate feels refreshing to read about today. It’s my favorite kind of dev story: a passionate team pursuing “on the stick” design while pushing the boundaries at the time. From the sweaty mocap to cooking up reactive AI, the stories and techniques filled me with a sense of giddiness; joy in knowing the work paid off and seeing so unfold across the pages.

Reading this book now has also been a great benefit personally, as i have been playing some other Rare N64 classics for Chapter Select Season 3. Turning Kazooie into a gun in Banjo-Tooie? Conkers Bad Fur Day having multiplayer? Heck, Donkey Kong 64 and Tooie too! 1 The competitive nature of Rare’s teams thrived off how much fun Goldeneye’s multiplayer was. They kept trying to out do one another, but no one figured split-screen out like the Goldeneye team.

And some of the story is still playing out to this day. My favorite chapter was Never Say Never Again with its dive into how the shadow of Goldeneye 007 still looms over Bond games and Rare. From the Xbox Live version leak last year to Xbox achievements being pinged last month, it feels like the N64 classic is never out of the gaming consciousness. I may have even already downloaded the fan-game Goldfinger 64, courteous of Knorr’s work.

Goldeneye 007 (the book) is a thrill to read, just like Goldeneye 007 (the game) is to play. Even more so, I admire Knorr’s writing. I’ll look up to it as one of the golden standards to strive for the next time I write some sort of history. Until I Write Another Day, just remember that Goldeneye is Forever…

1. His coconut gun can fire in spurts…

Chapter Select: Season 3, Episode 5 – Conker’s Bad Fur Day

Font by Oakland Elliff, designed by Max Roberts

Banjo and Kazooie weren’t the only 3D platformer mascots Rare created for the Nintendo 64. Often lauded as one of the console’s best, Max Roberts and Logan Moore decided to both play Conker’s Bad Fur Day for the very first time. Was Rare firing on all cylinders in the late 90s or is Conker actually a great and mighty pile of poo?

Download (40MB) – Episode Transcript

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Conker’s Bad Fur Day

  • Developer – Rare
  • Platform – Nintendo 64 (Xbox)
  • Release Date – March 5, 2001 (June 21, 2005 for Xbox)
  • Game Director – Chris Seavor
  • Producer – ?
  • Composer – Robin Beanland

Metacritic – 92/100 (78/100 for Xbox)

This episode was originally recorded on July 9, 2022.


Max’s Twitter @MaxRoberts143

Logan’s Twitter @MooreMan12

Researcher, Editor, and Producer – Max Roberts

Hosted by Logan Moore & Max Roberts

Font by Oakland Elliff. Art designed by Max Roberts.

Chapter Select: Season 2, Episode 8 – God of War: Ragnarök Predictions

Photo by Neil Rosenstech, designed by Max Roberts

The hype for God of War: Ragnarök is immense. With the release date officially announced for November 9, 2022, we have decided to share this special episode from the Season 2 – God of War archives. Fresh off beating the 2018 game for the season, Max and Logan dive into their predictions and theories for the sequel. Originally recorded in December 2021, we hope you enjoy this time capsule of speculation and excitement for Ragnarök.

Download (27MB) – Episode Transcript

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God of War: Ragnarök

  • Developer – Sony Santa Monica Studio
  • Platform – PlayStation 4 and PlayStation 5
  • Release Date – November 9, 2022

This episode was originally recorded on December 20, 2021.


Max’s Twitter @Max Roberts143

Logan’s Twitter @MooreMan12

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 Forest by Neil Rosenstech on Unsplash and designed by Max Roberts

Announcing Chapter Select Seasons 4 and 5

There’s a first time for everything, right? I wanted to experiment with announcing the season topic well in advance for Season 4. As we ironed out the next few seasons, we ended up with a pairing in Season 4 and 5 that compliment each other quite well. So why not announce them both at the same time?

Season 4 is The Fast & The Furious

Yes. We are branching outside of video games. That’s actually been a goal from the show’s inception. And the first film series I wanted to do it with was The Fast & The Furious.

Logan has never seen these movies, outside of the first one, which he watched for the first time last year. I have been watching them since my aunt rented 2 Fast 2 Furious from Blockbuster in 2003. I have always wanted to share these movies with Logan. It’s going to be great.

I wanted the season to be a true bouncing back and forth, but Logan wasn’t into the idea of narrative whiplash.1 Instead, we are watching the movies in chronological order. Logan is very curious why Tokyo Drift is the fifth movie in this order.

We have three guests lined up for the season so far, but would love more. If you are interested, shoot me a message on Twitter.

The beauty besides Logan’s introduction to the Fast Family is the time commitment. Movies are (generally) much shorter than games. According to reddit, the total runtime of the entire franchise is just over 21 hours. That’s the length of one Paper Mario game. Saving all this time is allowing us to work on an ambitious, longer Season 5 for you all in the front half of 2023.

Season 5 is Resident Evil

It feels like there is no better time to make a season on Resident Evil than right now. RE4 Remake is out in March 2023, three games just got next-gen patches for free, Resident Evil Village is getting a third-person mode and DLC in October 2022. We are in a golden age for the franchise.

Logan has been a fan since playing them on GameCube. My introduction to the series didn’t happen until Resident Evil VII in VR. I’ve played others in chunks or in whacky orders. Speaking of which…

This season’s order is also not a traditional bouncing back and forth. Logan and I cooked up a special order given his knowledge of the lore and the versions we anticipate on playing.

  • Resident Evil (Based off 2002 GameCube remake)
  • Resident Evil VII: Biohazard (2017)
  • Resident Evil 0 (2002)
  • Resident Evil 2 Remake (2019)
  • Resident Evil 4 (2004)
  • Resident Evil 3 Remake (2020)
  • Resident Evil: Code Veronica (2000, PS2 Version)
  • Resident Evil Village (2021)
  • Resident Evil 5 (2009)
  • Resident Evil 6 (2012)
  • Resident Evil 4 Remake (2023)

I included the years of release to help paint the picture we want to present. We are bouncing back and forth through the years, versions, and remakes. We paired RE1 and RE7 for their similarities, according to Logan. We then have this Raccoon City chunk with RE0 through RE3R. Then its the modern-ish era of Resident Evil to round out the season. Placing the remakes throughout with the modern PS4/Xbox re-releases of the older games should give us interesting discussion with controls, design, etc.

We don’t have premiere dates locked in on the calendar yet. When these seasons are ready to premiere, you’ll find trailers in the podcast feed and posts here at Max Frequency. If you are interested in playing (or watching!) one of these titles with us for an episode, send me a message on Twitter and we can try to make it work.

Our best work is ahead of us and I cannot wait to share it with you all.

1. I think there are some interesting pairings when bouncing back and forth.

Behind the Scenes of Chapter Select Season 3 – Banjo-Kazooie

It is time to pack away your backpack and order a large pizza to get fat and lazy because the Banjo-Kazooie season of Chapter Select is done! We just barely got one season done within the first six months of the year. It wasn’t my plan to cut it that close, but we have been busy with other seasons of the show. 👀 I know I have said it in both previous Looking Back posts, but Chapter Select remains to be my creative highlight. I suspect it will continue to be for years to come.

Season 3 – Banjo-Kazooie was our toughest season yet. There were creative hurdles. The show’s structure was tested. As is now tradition, I want to take time to pull back the curtain on the production of the show. I’ve got more data, insight, and pre-production assets than ever before. I think a lot of this was bore out of the challenges we faced this go around. I also think it has led to a better product – both this season and in future ones.

Continue reading “Behind the Scenes of Chapter Select Season 3 – Banjo-Kazooie”

Let’s Talk about Wiki Stories

It’s been a month and a half since I’ve written a Wiki Stories newsletter. I got up to Dying Light: The Following and just stopped. I missed one week, then two, and so on, feeling crushed I missed my own deadline. Some days, I joked to myself that I’d just send out a “screw this game” for the DLC and then move onto the next guide.

I’m not sure what to do here. The guides and stories coming up are good and fun (at least I think so), but I know I failed the mission. Do I just cut ties now and shut it down? Do I pick back up and try again? Do I keep the letter around in limbo, sending when I feel like it?

I feel sort of lost with this project, just shy of halfway. I got a polite nudge from Buttondown that I hadn’t sent an email in a while. I knowingly shook my head. I clearly fell off the wagon of building these writing muscles — just like I’ve fallen off working out and building real muscles. The thing I know though is that I can get back on the wagon again. The problem I feel in my gut though is, do I want to right now?

Heck, I wrote the above a week ago – the Buttondown reminder still at the top of my inbox, as another reminder of my missed delivery. I think it’s time to do what I knew I needed to do a week ago.

I’ll be shutting down Wiki Stories. I’ll delete all subscribers as promised and archive the posts.

Now for some brief thoughts and lessons. I have this website where I write. I have this newsletter where I write. Why did I segment my writing?

One goal of Wiki Stories was to foster a group of folks interested in my work as a guide writer. Newsletters are tailor made for that type of shared storytelling. But I think writing in two places helped break my writing momentum down.

Another goal was the building up of regular writing muscles. A one week deadline was too tight for me to start out with. Maybe if I started out as a monthly letter, I’d feel better.

What I do know about myself is that I am a passion driven writer. When I am into a topic, I go all in. 1 When the passion or curiosity goes away, so does the umph to write on said topic. I got to Dying Light: The Following and internally fought against writing about it. Maybe this emotionally driven writing preference reveals a failure as a writer in the true sense of the word. Perhaps I’m nothing more than a self-glorified diary-writer gushing in public. I’m okay with that assessment given how much I enjoy the act of writing and its creative challenges. I think a part of being a writer is also knowing when to pause an idea, tuck the manuscript away until another time. Maybe I’m wrong about that. Who knows.

Maybe I’ll feel invigorated to share these stories again. I’ll make no promise here. For those that subscribed or read any of these letters, thank you. If you care to see what I am writing about, check out or follow me on Twitter @MaxRoberts143. I hosts some podcasts as well that I am proud of.

1. I.E. my writing on Naughty Dog games.