The prototypes in Ed Semrad’s basement – Video Game History Foundation

The prototypes in Ed Semrad’s basement by Frank Cifaldi for Video Game History Foundation

Ed’s obsessive personality made EGM a valuable resource. If a game existed and could be seen by his eyes, he had to have screenshots in the magazine. Ed was careful to catalog every game he saw at every trade show he attended. If it was playable, he snapped photographs while another editor played, with the “cone of silence” he invented and was well known for.

If there was a video loop showing footage of a game he couldn’t get his hands on, Ed patiently stood with his camera at the ready to make sure he captured it. If photography wasn’t allowed, Ed would find a hiding spot to sneak shots with a zoom lens. His office walls were adorned with photographs he’d taken of the “no photography allowed” signs he’d encountered on the job. At least once, when no one was looking, Ed re-routed a demo station’s video cables into a camcorder and back out to the TV, quietly recording an entire game demo that turned into a multi-page spread that the magazine was not supposed to have.

I remember sitting in my dark bedroom with my Dad’s digital camera recording my first game review.1 Ed was on another level with his capture. A great find for preservation and future education.

1. I went with [*Mario Kart Wii*](https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=O-nPWg091EY). This was back when you had to split up videos longer than 10~ minutes into chunks.

My Favorite Games I Played in 2022

I played a total of 28 games during 2022 and rolled credits on 22 of them.1 It’s 11 fewer games than in 2021, but a much higher completion percentage. The reality of it was that Chapter Select kept me honest about beating games. I didn’t venture far from our games for the show.

And honestly…I like that. I never wondered what to play next. I always knew what I’d be working towards. I was mentally relieved from having to make a choice based on mood or genre. I just focused on sinking my teeth into the self-assigned selection. It’s like Steve Jobs wearing the same outfit every day. I avoided decision fatigue with my catalog of games.

There were some games I bought that I haven’t played yet, despite wanting to. The Last of Us Part I, the Cuphead DLC, Shredder’s Revenge, and Stray are some of the few. I haven’t bought Tunic or Inscryption yet. I know I’ll get to these all some day. I find the winter to generally be a time to play whatever I’d like.

I won’t share the entire 2022 list—that’d spoil Chapter Select Season 6—but I thought I’d share my favorites throughout the year. Here we go:

Metroid Dread

I wrapped 2021 by starting Dread and finished it just a few days into the new year. A stellar game from top to bottom. Mercury Steam put forward such slick design. Samus has never been so fluid and dynamic.

The Great Ace Attorney Adventure

This was a Christmas gift. I love the Ace Attorney series and was nervous about this new historical spin-off. I liked the idea of convincing a jury, but the cast (especially Herlock Sholmes) made me skeptical. I never should have doubted the fine folks at Capcom. I fell in love with the new crew (especially Herlock Sholmes) and the mysteries at hand. I am looking forward to tackling the packed-in sequel someday, perhaps during 2023.

Resident Evil 3

This was before we decided that Chapter Select Season 5 would be all about Resident Evil. I needed a game to fill in a gap before the launch of..I honestly forget what I was waiting for, because Resident Evil 3 is perfection. Not to spoil our upcoming episode on the game, but I absolutely love Jill’s escape from Raccoon City. I even uploaded my Inferno S Rank run while earning the Platinum. Man, I can’t wait to play again.

Grant Turismo 7

I never thought I’d be into a SIM racer. I have always been an arcady racing gamer. But the State of Play sold me. GT7 has such character. You feel the love poured into every polygon. You can’t help but smile while playing.

Resident Evil 4 VR

Again, I don’t want to spoil our upcoming episode of Chapter Select. I did play this version after we decided to tackle the horror series. I selfishly wanted the VR version to be my first exposure to the iconic title. I added the challenge of streaming the game in its entirety. It was a fun and creative layer, while exploring the beloved game.

God of War: Ragnarök

Ragnarök is a game of two halves that were mashed together to try and make one game. It’s ambitious and bold. The dissonance between gameplay and story in the main game proves too great for Sony Santa Monica’s ambitions though. The final product is crammed into a state of disjointedness.

But dang, that combat is 🔥.


1. I might squeeze one more in before the year’s end

E8: Memory – A Life Well Wasted

E8: Memory by Robert Ashley for A Life Well Wasted

Robert Ashley finds out what it takes to speedrun games in a blindfold, visits a museum in Moscow dedicated to Soviet-era arcade machines, and talks to a group of friends about a childhood summer spent dreaming up a game of their own.

This immediately jumped to the top of my podcast queue. I haven’t listened to A Life Well Wasted since I worked at K-Mart. Thrilled to have a new episode in my feed. Robert knows how to make a captivating show. The magic of podcasting strikes again.

My Favorite Parts of TGA 2022

Last night’s show was fun. It had a slow start with Christopher Judge’s acceptance speech for best performance.1 Geoff then popped off with two of the best reveals of the night; perhaps he led too strong.

I did nail all three awards-focused predictions, although I was worried God of War: Ragnarök would actually pull of the clean sweep at one point. My reveal related predictions on the other hand were total misses. I guess Naughty Dog did technically show off something with the release date for The Last of Us Part I on PC.2 The biggest surprise (which I suppose shouldn’t have been considering their history at the event), was that Microsoft had nothing to show except a new marketing abbreviation—GLHF3. I guess you can’t have fun at The Game Awards when you are being sued by the FTC.

Here are the reveals from the show that I loved the most:

Hades II

Watching this trailer I thought, "Wow, Supergiant’s next game sure does look and sound a lot like Hades. Kind of a downer that they aren’t deviating structurally for their next IP. Maybe it’s a fighting game?" Then the Hades guitar riff came in followed by the gnarly line of "Death to Cronus." Hades may not have given me the Platinum trophy (yet), but color me stoked for the sequel.

Judas

Finally. Ken Levine and the team have been toiling away on something for almost a decade. Glad to see their project in the light. Great one-two combo with Hades II to kick off the premieres for the night.

Death Stranding 2 (DS2)

There is no trailer like a Kojima trailer. Death Stranding is phenomenal and I cannot wait to go back.

I am a bit surprised we didn’t see Kojima’s other game, rumored to be called OVERDOSE. A solid chunk of gameplay leaked not long ago and looks spooky. This game is likely his project with Xbox, and given they were essentially a no show last night, I suppose that explains why we didn’t see it too.

Also, the fact Kojima rewrote the entire game after experiencing the pandemic just so he wouldn’t "predict the future" again is so Kojima.

Earthblade

Nice to see the Celeste team finally show off Earthblade. A release of 2024 actually feels realistic, like they internally delayed the game out of 2023 just to avoid disappointing fans later in the year. Lots of mechanics shown off in the sprawling one-shot of the game world. Neat way to communicate the open design. I’m getting major Kirby and the Amazing Mirror vibes from those portals.

Suicide Squad – Kevin Conroy is Batman

This is a wonderful surprise after the news that Kevin Conroy passed away a few weeks ago. It’s fitting his final performance as Batman is in Rocksteady’s Arkham universe where, I think, he gives his best Batman work ever. I’ll pick up this game just for that.4

The Super Mario Bros. Movie Clip

Soundtrack when? The more Illumination and Nintendo reveal of this movie, the better and better it looks.


1. Poor Al Pacino…

2. Time to build a PC.

3. "Good Luck. Have Fun." All my brain sees is Glyph and GTFO.

4. Although, I wish we’d see a solid chunk of gameplay though. Now that launch is only five months away, I can only hope it isn’t the generic, forced co-op shooter it seems to be shaping up to be.

Fortnite, FOMO, and Fragility

Does Fortnite Exploit Your FOMO? by Mark Brown for Game Maker’s Toolkit on YouTube

A snappy look at FOMO in live service games. FOMO is a huge factor as to way I haven’t returned to Destiny. The larger takeaway I have though is the lack of preservation. The Fortnite, Destiny, and Apex of yore are entirely unplayable. Really, the only record we have are the hours upon hours of livestreams and dedicated work of wiki fans. Nothing is tangible, except I suppose the disc release of Fortnite version 1.0. I wonder when fans will try and recreate old iterations of these live services games off their own servers…

My Video Game Collection Tour

I made a video.


I know the title and thumbnail are in the clickbait vein of YouTube. I feel a twinge of cringe at it.

But, I also sort of had fun making it that way. 😬

I made this tour video for a slew of reasons. I suppose the first is because I wanted to make it. I haven’t made a game collection video since December 13, 2008—near 15 years ago! You could say I was on the cutting edge of game collection videos; and all I made those videos with was my cell phone.

Well, I also made this new one with my cell phone. From 480p on a sliding keyboard phone to 4K60 on an iPhone 14 Pro Max; the leap in quality in just 15 years astounds me. I mounted the iPhone in a phone grip from Elgato and onto a handheld tripod I have lying around. I even wrapped my Apple Watch around the side to try and use as a view finder. I wish I had the thought to not point the camera up my nose. I’ll fix that next time.

I have all these cameras and microphones around. I want to use them more and more. I’ve spent a bit of the year doing live streams on YouTube and have had a ton of fun doing so. I recently bought some upgrade to make streams a bit better, once I find a good time to regularly stream again. Having a one month old has made time fly by lately. This video was a way to utilize some of those tools, while Abby and Eloise were out of the house.

This project was also meant to help push my editing technique. I tried to implement cuts and have some sort of pace. At 28 minutes, the pace could be much better. I threw in some jokes and sound effects, hopefully in a manner that elevates the content.

I was nervous to edit this video. I knew I wanted it to be more “modern” (i.e. clickbaity) and I’ve often refrained more presenting my work that way. I do the work and let it speak for itself. I left the files on my computer for a few days after shooting, wondering if I’d go through with producing and publishing it. Since I’ve run out of podcasts to edit at the moment, I decided to give it a go.

It didn’t take long into the edit to realize I had nothing to be nervous about. I was having fun in post-production too. The creative process has been instrumental to my life this year as a consistent outlet for me. I find myself pushing my own boundaries and trying mew ideas.

I enjoy seeing other folks’ collections and talking about them. I have a gear page here on Max Frequency (which is due for another update). It’s much easier to show these off in video rather than in writing. If you check out the video, I hope you enjoy!

Dunkey Launches Indie Game Publishing Company Bigmode

My Indie Game Publishing Company by videogamedunkey

Dunkey is branching out of YouTube and into video game publishing. His video is very hype—very Dunkey. He invokes indie titans like CelesteEnter the Gungeon, and Hollow Knight. There are plenty of games I’ve never heard of or seen.

I am a smidge surprised at the criticism of this venture in the just 12 or so hours since its announcement. I generally lean on a half-full perspective, but I’ve seen the devs, publishers, and press share a range of feedback. Takes from “I have opinions on games, so now I can publish the best” to “get lots of money upfront incase it fails.” All of these come off as valid criticisms to me, if leaning to the pessimist/realist perspective. That’s probably a safer approach in business.

Here’s what Dunkey’s company Bigmode is looking for:

Here’s what excites us in a game!
Fun
Substance
Originality
Passion & artistry
Devs with a clear, strong vision
Devs with deep gaming experience & understanding

Aren’t we all?

And here is what Bigmode is offering devs:

We believe quality & originality should be supported— Bigmode is a unique & powerful way for great indie games to stand out in a crowded space, and our publishing contracts are designed to be the most developer-friendly possible!
We can get involved at any stage from pitch to near-completion. We can also assist with any standard publishing needs you may have:
Funding
Development support
PR & community management
QA, porting & localization
Merchandising

To me, Bigmode comes off as dunkey’s Official Seal of Quality. His videos do have sway and power. I would think his financial backing would alleviate sides of development and publishing so that the devs can focus on making the game. It’s not just exposure. I am curious how it will all play out. I hope for the best for all involved.

No matter success or failure, the mascot is divine.

LG C2 OLED Reviewed for Modern & Retro Gaming – My Life in Gaming

LG C2 OLED Reviewed for Modern & Retro Gaming – 2022 C2 vs. 2021 C1 vs. 2017 C7 by My Life in Gaming on YouTube

I haven’t written about it here yet, but I recently did buy an LG C1 thanks to a 5-year-warranty and a few dead pixels on my LG C9 OLED. It turns out that I bought the LG C1 right before the LG C2 went on sale. I chalked it up to off timing, but have mostly been happy with the C1. It does have a couple of quirks that my C9 did not have, like slower timing to show the image when watching TV/movies and the insistent need to dim the picture even further when in a dark scene for more than 30 seconds (yes, all the auto / AI dimming is off. This is something baked into the OS and only alterable from a service menu it seems).

Turns out I may have dodged a bullet though with the C2. Try over at My Life in Gaming went through the wringer with the C2, which has whacky input-lag issues and other issues. He produced a deep dive into comparing his five-year-old C7, the C2, and the C1. OLED TVs promise a great future for newer games and consoles, but they handle some older aspect ratios poorly. I wish TV manufacturers would let their televisions just be a TV, instead of cramming it with what they think people want and bloated “AI.”

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)

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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.

Behind the Pixel – GrandPOOBear Turned Playing Games from a Hobby to a Career

 

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.

RSS Feed

Overcast

Apple Podcasts

Spotify

David “GrandPOOBear” Hunt is a prominent Twitch streamer and Super Mario speedrunner. What started as a hobby as a way to kill time while healing from a snowboarding accident, Poo has gone full time as a streamer with an engaged community. From taking world records for notoriously hard Mario ROM hacks to saving the frames, Poo shares an inside look to the world of speedrunning and Twitch.

Follow GrandPOOBear on Twitch
Follow GrandPOOBear on Twitter
Check out Poo’s podcast Warp World

Dope Facts about David “GrandPOOBear” Hunt

  • Poo is always wearing a snapback hat.
  • His favorite game console of all time is the Super Nintendo.
  • Poo is married and his wife is one of the few people that still call him David.

Links to articles mentioned in the interview

(Listed in order of publication date)

“The worst people on the Internet are not representative of 99.9% of the people on the Internet.”

— David “GrandPOOBear” Hunt on Behind The Pixel

This episode was originally recorded on August 29, 2017.

GMTK is Making a Game

What’s next for GMTK? by Game Maker’s Toolkit on YouTube

Mark Brown of Game Maker’s Toolkit has launched a new series where he shows the educational and creative process of making a game. And he is the one making said game.

I enjoy the idea and am excited to see how the series (and the game) shake out. The first proper episode is out where Mark explains which game engine he choose and the initial learning process he experienced. His lessons already learned are insightful and, frankly, applicable to learning anything for the first time (or the second or the hundredth time).

Exposing Fraud And Deception In The Retro Video Game Market – Karl Jobst

Exposing FRAUD And DECEPTION In The Retro Video Game Market by Karl Jobst on YouTube

You may have seen last month a copy of Super Mario 64 sell for $1.5 million. I even joked how my mostly sealed copy of Ocarina of Time could make me a millionaire. Well, Karl Jobst has dug into how the market has spiked so dramatically in the past couple of years all thanks to WATA Games and Heritage Auctions.

Karl’s research and reporting is thorough and damning. This video is well worth your time.

This helps explain (along with a spike in collecting due to people staying home during COVID-19) why game prices, even for loose games, has skyrocketed.

Since March 2021, I’ve been on a Pokémon game collecting kick. I know it is poor timing given the franchise’s 25th anniversary is this year, but some of the prices I have seen just don’t make sense. In March 2019, Pokémon Emerald was roughly $40~ loose, $100~ Complete-in-Box (CiB). Two and a half years later, it is $90~ and $400~. Pokémon Diamond was $15~ loose, $20~ CiB. Now it is going for $30~ and $60~, with a peak of nearly $100~ earlier in the year.

GameCube games have blown up. Metal Gear Solid: Twin Snakes has doubled. Billy Hatcher too. I understand those aren’t super popular GameCube games, but these spikes have never happened before.

This upward trend is clearly influenced by WATA Games grading and these extremely high, anonymous sales at Heritage Auctions. These auctions and grades are inflating the market until it will, eventually, burst.

Just the other day, I snagged a copy of Pokémon Silver at my favorite local shop. The owner shared with me how the prices have shot up and that even they have to pay heftier prices to get the trade-ins for their business. He talked about how just a couple years ago the Pokémon games were $20 maybe $30 a pop, now much more in the $70-100 range.

This also appears to solely be impacting the North American market. The same games for Japanese or European consoles have kept reasonable prices. Pokémon Diamond from Japan is selling for $35~ CiB. Emerald is $76~. That same store I shop at has all of Gen 1 and 2 cartridges for Pokémon at or below $30. If the game’s were for the North American market, the prices would double or triple.

Excellent reporting and research from Karl. I hope this bubble bursts sooner rather than later.

Behind the Pixel – Yacht Club Games on Kickstarter and the Future of Shovel Knight

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.
 

Continue reading “Behind the Pixel – Yacht Club Games on Kickstarter and the Future of Shovel Knight”