The NOCLIP Awards 2018 - Non-Philosophical Content For Gamers

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“In the spirit of continually doing new and dumber things…”

Consider this your invitation to the hottest and most exclusive awards show of the new year. Join us at the NOCLIP Awards, where we consider every game we recorded an episode on this year for myriad categories that range from legitimate judgments of quality to asinine judgments of minor features. While other awards shows hit you with nominees and winners, a cool verdict, an unquestioned decision, deliberated behind closed doors for the purpose of knowing what you need to spend two hours watching to hold a shallow conversation about cinematic quality over glasses of 10 dollar wine, the NOCLIP awards present you our arguments, runners up and decision making process as we roast each other over our choice for Smashiest Balls. Now with real envelopes.

We hope you enjoy this exercise as much as we did recording it. We’ll be back with a real episode about a real game (feels like forever, I know) in three weeks and we’re going to be talking about The Legend of Zelda: The Minish Cap!

For your consideration: Mr. Game.

For your consideration: Mr. Game.

NOCLIP Pocket E09 - Abstract Poems From Afar - Splatoon 2: Octo Expansion

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Three friends talk about a game,
They speak of squids but make no quid.
”Welcome to NOCLIP!” they exclaim.

Welcome back to the pocket podcast this week! Today JJ makes a guest appearance because we’re talking about Splatoon 2, a favorite of the show, and more specifically diving into the Octo Expansion DLC. As an amped up single player campaign, the expansion does a lot to increase the challenge and variety from the base game’s single player and riffs on the mechanics that make Splatoon unique compared to other shooters. Whether this is done by limiting your ink capacity or by sticking you in a hamster ball for an entire level, the differences in kind really shine here and the difficulty lives up to the DLC’s darker, yet vaporwave-y, aesthetic. We’re going to be talking about challenge-based level design, tone and writing in a multiplayer shooter, and T H A N G S.

Thanks for joining us this week, and be sure to check back with us next time as we kick off our multi-part indefinite length-and-quantity series on Deltarune with an episode revisiting Undertale!

Episode 74 - White Fan Company - Super Smash Bros. Ultimate

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We’ll bear this torch against the cold of the night, search our souls and podcast for the undying light,

The Smash Bros. theme with lyrics is kinda weird, isn’t it? Welcome back to NOCLIP! Today, we’re going to be talking about what is one of the most anticipated games of the year, Super Smash Bros. Ultimate. Officially announced at E3 and then released in December, we had half a year full of mechanical discoveries, live demonstrations and surprisingly convincing leaks brought to you by Dr. Seuss characters. Now that the game is out, how does this game compare to previous entries in the series? There is a massive, sprawling single player mode, online functionality that is in a controversial state of flux and the largest roster the series has ever seen with every playable fighter returning alongside new and varied characters both unexpected and longtime requests. Will this be the game to get the community to put down their GameCube controllers? Or at least plug them into an adapter? We’re going to be talking about the variable design of World of Light, debating the optimal ways of playing in multiplayer, and puzzling over Simon Belmont’s shaved armpits.

Thank you for listening to the podcast and we hope you have a smashing New Year. We’ll be back at the beginning of 2019 with the first (and likely only) NOCLIP Awards show, where we’ll be categorizing the design achievements of the games we’ve covered this year in strange and interesting ways!

NOCLIP Pocket E08 - A Tiny Cowboy Hat - Kirby's Dream Land

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Press Up, A and Select on the Title Screen to start a new podcast,

Thank you for joining us on NOCLIP Pocket this week, where we’re only thinking about and playing Smash Bros. In the spirit of the season, we’re going back to one of Sakurai’s earliest games with HAL, Kirby’s Dream Land. Dream Land is a fairly simple platformer, but it is the introduction of Kirby, one of the longest-standing Nintendo mascot characters. Its design made strides toward accessibility in games, particularly for younger children, something that was rarely considered in its time. The aesthetic design combined with the easygoing challenge of the game really make this a relaxing and enjoyable experience to go through and it’s a game that has stuck with at least one of us for more than 20 years. We’re going to talk about solid, readable visuals in Game Boy games, how Kirby’s mechanics lend themselves to a game that doesn’t want to frustrate, and how our incredible professionalism and preparedness ensure that NOCLIP Pocket is truly the trash bin of comedy.

I hope you enjoyed listening to us this week, and next time on NOCLIP Pocket we’ll be discussing Splatoon 2’s Octo Expansion with JJ on as a not-so-special guest. Happy holidays everybody!

Episode 73 - I've Been Perverted - Persona 5

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We shall become the podcast of rebellion that breaketh thy chains of captivity,

Thank you for joining us this week, and, if you’re playing along, sorry for how very long this game is. This time we’re tackling Persona 5, the most recent entry in Atlus’ flagship RPG series (in the West, anyway). While the game’s combat system is still the simplest form of JRPG combat, featuring menus as well as physical and magic attacks with elemental weaknesses, the real gold is what surrounds this baseline system. Everything set before you in Persona is stylish, polished, and for the most part very open and user-friendly, meaning it is the kind of game that can pull you in, even if you aren’t typically likely to engage. We’re going to discuss confidant storylines and upgrades, stewing over myriad combat choices, and Goblio, the world’s handsomest goblin.

Thank you again for listening, and if all this sloooow JRPG talk has got you snoozing, join us again next time when we're going to talk about Super Smash Bros. Ultimate!

NOCLIP Pocket E07 - Throat Juice - The Bugs Bunny Crazy Castle 2

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“Finally! Someone’s talking about Bugs Bunny Crazy Castle 2! THIS is what I’ve been waiting for!”
- Everyone, 2018

Welcome back to NOCLIP Pocket where we’re going to be looking at the 1991 Gameboy Title The Bugs Bunny Crazy Castle 2. The game is a sequel to an NES title, but with its short levels and puzzle platformer gameplay, the portable console proved to be more of a home for games of this ilk. With that out of the way, the question I’m sure most people have has more to do with why this game is being talked about at all. Well, in addition to the nostalgic feeling it brings to revisit games from our childhood, there’s actually a surprising amount of depth here. This isn’t a game worthy of any substantial amount of retroactive praise, nor did it push the industry further in its time, but this should absolutely be held up as an example of not judging a book by its cover and finding something quality in even the most seemingly unlikely places. We’re going to talk about mentally taxing execution as opposed to reflex tests, surprisingly successful audio/visual presentation, and making the tough choices in life, like “should I kill Sylvester?”

Thanks for listening to us again this week, and following the next episode of the main podcast, our next Pocket episode is going to be on Kirby’s Dream Land. I hope you’ll join us then!

Episode 72 - Smash Walter - What Remains of Edith Finch

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I don't mind if I only have a year left. Or a month. Or a single week. I'd be happy with one new podcast.

Welcome to NOCLIP this week! Today we’re going to be talking about What Remains of Edith Finch, a walking simulator that uses short vignettes to constantly impose differences in kind to tell its narrative. The game follows storytelling conventions typical of other walking sims, but uses different styles of gameplay to keep you engaged through its admittedly short run time. The story explores death and superstition from a variety of angles ranging from childlike innocence to more violent ends, but manages to skirt being too morbid or depressing. We’re going to talk about environment design, exploring characters both through their own eyes and the world they left behind, and we mention CatDog at least twice.

Thank you for listening to the podcast this week! Next time, join us as we finally talk about Persona 5, one of the longest experiences we’ve talked about to date!

Links to things we discussed, but knew very little about:
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Tarrare
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Winchester_Mystery_House

NOCLIP Pocket E06 - I Should Haunt Those ROMs - Pokémon Black

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I’m what you could call a collector of bootleg Pokémon podcasts,

Happy Halloween! As was alluded to in the previous episode, we are in fact playing a couple of the various recreations of the famous (infamous?) creepypasta Pokémon: Black Version. This haunted or hacked first-generation Pokémon game relies on the tried and true horror formula of taking something you’re very familiar with and forcing you to view it from a new, more macabre, perspective. While this effect works for the story, widely circulated on the Internet for almost—or possibly more than—a decade, when applied to the real game, the terror doesn’t really take hold. Nevertheless, the existence of hacks like these is a fascinating topic, so come for the discussion of the video game in question, stay for the cultural discussion of creepypastas and Internet folklore. We’re going to talk about the glitch hunting phenomenon in Pokémon, demographics and their expectations, and the ingredients that make up a “Good-Bad Sandwich.”

Thank you guys for listening today! We can all let out a collective exhale because the busy month of October is at last over. I genuinely hope you’ve enjoyed this year’s survey of horror games, as well as our Anniversary bloopers episode, but as we head into November we’re going to make a slight, barely perceptible shift in tone; next time, we’re going to be discussing Bugs Bunny: Crazy Castle 2!

Episode 71 - Trapper's Keep - Eternal Darkness: Sanity's Requiem

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A podcast of empty souls and fevered thoughts, reeking of foetor and decay! MAY THE RATS EAT YOUR EYES!

Thank you for joining us this week on the NOCLIP Podcast, where today we’re going to be talking about Eternal Darkness: Sanity’s Requiem. This GameCube exclusive horror game once again takes its inspiration from H.P. Lovecraft, but unlike almost anything before it and even most games that came later, Eternal Darkness nails some of the lesser used themes of Weird fiction, like the madness of the protagonist, which play into the game both narratively and mechanically. Central to this game’s notoriety is the sanity meter and its associated effects, which add a meta layer to the game’s horror and are still something of a calling card for the game many years after its release. We discuss pacing in combat, the intricacies of this game’s magic system and the eldritch properties of desserts. They are unknowable. They are delicious.

Thanks for listening to the podcast during our favorite month of the year (though we’ve got one more thing for you before the season’s over)! Hope you enjoyed our spooky selections, but we’re going back to our usual variety next time when we talk about What Remains of Edith Finch!

NOCLIP Pocket E05 - Stocking-Headed Buffoons - Night Trap

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The podcast trap?! NOOOOOOOO!

Welcome to the newest episode of NOCLIP Pocket where we’re going to be talking about Night Trap (25th Anniversary Edition). Originally a Sega CD game, the game was re-released last year spanning all the major consoles for a wider audience to experience one of the most controversial games of all time. Does it hold up? Was the game ever really “good” in a traditional sense? Well, there’s definitely something charming here, and the notoriety this game has is a hilarious backdrop with which to experience this game today. We’re going to talk about the way FMV is integrated into the mechanical experience, the way the trial and error gameplay relates to storytelling, and the characterization and nuance of cinema’s unsung hero: Weird Eddie.

thanks for listening today, and keep an eye out on halloween because we’re going to HavE pLayed PokeMon black vErsion.

Episode 70 - Punched Her In Half - Harvester

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Remember to take the podcast out for Jimmy. You know how he gets.

Welcome to our first proper episode of the Halloween season! Today, we’re going to be taking a look at Harvester, a ‘90s point and click adventure game that touts itself as the most vile and shocking you’ll ever play. While this may not be entirely true, Harvester does not pull its punches when it comes to being weird and transgressive, and confronts its players with scene after scene of nonsensical characters and irreverent dialogue. This proves to be the game’s charm, though, and once it stops feeling like Twin Peaks on a hallucinogen bender, it’s actually pretty funny, whether it intends to be or not. We talk about surprisingly tame adventure game puzzles, the way the game handles tone, and whether or not something is just too pink to be a real ass.

Thank you for spending some quality time with us this week and keep an eye out later this month for our second, decidedly less bizarre, horror episode on Eternal Darkness: Sanity’s Requiem!

NOCLIP Pocket E04 - Don't Bring Michael Cera Into This - Year Walk

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People tried to glimpse the future in the strangest ways. They locked themselves in dark rooms, not partaking in podcasts.

Thank you for joining us as we begin our extra spooky Halloween month this year! Today we’re going to be talking about Year Walk, a Simogo developed horror-adventure game based on a Swedish folk tradition in which people would perform a ritual in an effort to see into the future. The way the act of Year Walking was adapted to this game, originally released only for iOS, maintains the inherently creepy nature of such practices, but also helps to incorporate other elements of folklore that purely add to the game’s iconography and atmosphere. However brief, Year Walk does a fantastic job of accomplishing its goals in tone and story making it an enjoyable, moody experience and one perfect to kickstart the season. We’re going to discuss puzzles, folklore and an anthropomorphic suit-wearing horse man.

Thank you for joining us today (a very important day as it’s our third year anniversary!) and we’ll be back in two weeks with an episode on Night Trap. Stay spooky, everybody!

Three Years of NOCLIP - It's Not A Mint

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Happy NOCLIP Day, everybody! Hopefully you’re celebrating over a delicious NOCLIP Day dinner, and are enjoying your traditional NOCLIP Day Eve gifts you got from your family and friends. That’s right, this means that NOCLIP is now three years old and today we’re here to present you with our annual bloopers episode. It’s like if you had a child that turned three and is now walking and so you upload a cruel home movie compilation of all the times they fell over or ran into things while learning to keep their balance. As always, we want to thank all of you for listening as we’ve grown and changed over the last three years. It means a ton to all of us and we still sincerely enjoy playing these games, making these episodes and talking about it with all of you. Anyway, enough with the saccharine stuff, enjoy the episode and stay tuned, as we’ve got a NOCLIP Pocket on Year Walk coming out later today and we’ll be back with a full episode on Harvester this weekend!

NOCLIP Pocket E03 - Congratulations JNCO Jeans Owners - Monument Valley

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Sacred geometry was our pride, our downfall, but forever will our podcasts stand in this valley.

Welcome back to another episode of NOCLIP Pocket, where today we’re going to be discussing mobile gaming darling Monument Valley. The impossible objects and puzzling landscapes of M.C. Escher do seem to lend themselves to, well, a puzzle game, but the necessary visual complication can sometimes detract from the actual puzzle solving. However, this rarely hinders your enjoyment and the game is consistently gorgeous and unexpected making for a solid overall experience, particularly considering its platform. We’re going to talk about difficulty in puzzle design, clean and beautiful aesthetic choices, and we will say a French word but probably mispronounce it.

Thank you for joining us again this week (or off week, depending on how you want to look at it) and we’ll be back at the start of October to talk about Year Walk!

Episode 69 - Space Police - No Man's Sky

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A strange podcast dribbles down from the point and onto my visor. The entity waits for the order to plunge it deep into my brain.

Welcome to another episode of NOCLIP! This week we’re going to look at Hello Games’ vast universe generating game No Man’s Sky. While the initial release of this game was fraught with controversy (a subject we can’t avoid addressing), the game has received consistent and constant updates to transform itself into what it is today, currently going under the moniker of No Man’s Sky: Next. The changes that have been introduced fundamentally alter the way No Man’s Sky can be played, but where does the game stand now as a product? We discuss depth of mechanics with a limited verbset, visual and word design in a proceduarally generated universe and how your propensity for Rush could help in your enjoyment of this game.

Thank you for listening this week, and, since our next episode will be releasing in October, brace yourself for the very weird and very abrasive Harvester!

NOCLIP Pocket E02 - Honk Honk - Home

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I picked up the podcast, it's weight felt comforting in my pocket,

Welcome back to another episode of our Pocket series where we're going to be talking about the game that is impossibly difficult to Google, Home. Home is a narrative-focused adventure game whose main draw is the fact that it's ending and your interpretation of the entire game can change depending on your actions. This concept is furthered by a dreary atmosphere and isolating sound design which casts a dark tone over the entire experience. We join up with previous NOCLIP guests Dan and Janelle to determine if this execution succeeds in making an intriguing game from the perspective of both first time players and people who have played through the game a number of times.

Thank you for joining us this week, and the next Pocket episode will be on Monument Valley!

Episode 68 - Very Pumped, Pumped Me Hard - Celeste

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If my "podcast" almost did you in, the mountain might be a bit too much for you,

Welcome back to the NOCLIP Podcast! Today, we're going to be talking about indie platformer Celeste. Celeste falls under the category of precision platformers, with an ever escalating difficulty curve that continues to get harder even after the game proper ends. This difficulty is then set against the personal challenges the main character is tasked with overcoming in the narrative, making for a beautiful melding of theme and mechanics that makes the entire experience an extremely satisfying one to complete. We discuss challenge versus iteration time, narrative rationing and pacing, and we roast those pink clouds so good, man. They don't even know what hit them.

Thank you for joining us for this episode, and join us next time as we explore No Man's Sky with a million procedurally generated words.

NOCLIP Pocket E01 - Whale Cholesterol - Super Mario Land 2: Six Golden Coins

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The first level in NOCLIP Zone,

Welcome to the inaugural episode of NOCLIP Pocket!  Today, we're going to spend some time with Super Mario Land 2: 6 Golden Coins, a Mario platformer originally released on the Game Boy. While the game itself brings what was, even in 1992, standard Mario platforming gameplay to a handheld console, the game's music and visual design make it stand out from others in what was the most ubiquitous genre at the time. We're going to talk about platforming difficulty in a nonlinear game, the origins of Wario, and rare species of flying rabbits.

Thanks for listening to the first episode of NOCLIP Pocket! While recording our regular episodes is difficult at the moment, hopefully we can keep up a stream of content through this mini-show. For the next episode, we're going to be talking about Home!

Episode 67 - Bone Springs - The Legend of Zelda: Majora's Mask

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You've met with a terrible podcast, haven't you?

Welcome back to the podcast, where today we're going to be talking about the follow-up to Ocarina of Time, Majora's Mask. Majora is one of the precious few direct sequels in the Zelda series and yet it feels completely different to the games that came both before and after its release. With a much stronger focus on tone than the series had ever seen, a focus that would presumably go on to inspire the design of the Wind Waker and Twilight Princess, Majora's oppressive atmosphere brings an element of sadness to the table that serves to make its mysteries that much more intriguing. We're going to be discussing the reuse of assets, world and dungeon design in a game with a repeating time mechanic, and indifference toward the suffering caused by allowing the spirits of the dead to possess your body and the existential dread that comes with wrenching them back out again. Fun stuff!

Thanks for joining us again this week, and keep an eye on your feed because next time we'll be talking about Celeste!

Episode 66 - Eating Nachos and Ending Lives - Call of Duty 4: Modern Warfare

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Room temperature? Please. A podcast should be ICE COLD.

Welcome back to the podcast this week, where we're getting boots on the ground in what is arguably the most popular video game franchise of all time. The fourth CoD is the entry that really elevated the series within popular culture, and for good reason. This game took a step away from the setting and tone of previous games as well as most games within its subgenre of shooters to deliver something that was—dare I say it about a Call of Duty game—original. We're going to talk about the mechanical and tonal successes of the game, the ubiquity of certain controls and mechanical interactions present in shooters and the staleness this can cause, and both surprising and unsurprising political implications made by the game. So you know, don't play this episode at the dinner table around your weird uncle.

Thanks for joining us this week and thank you for bearing with us through a less than regular release schedule.  Due to numerous real-life-related events, our availability to record and release episodes is more sporadic than it has been in the past and we apologize for that. We should have an update on that soon, but until then, the next time you hear us we'll be talking about The Legend of Zelda: Majora's Mask 3D!