NOCLIP Pocket E12 - Capricious Genie - Simulacra

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I AM SOCIETY RESHAPED. A PODCAST DESTINED FOR ASCENSION. A HYPERREAL EXISTENCE.

Welcome back! I hope everyone is having a properly mystifying Mystery May so far. For our pocket episode this month we’re going to be tackling a phone game that takes its platform quite seriously. Simulacra is a mystery/horror adventure game where you take on the role of a faceless bystander trying to solve a disappearance with access only to the victim’s phone. An iteration on a similar, if not identical, concept explored in this developer’s previous work “Sara is Missing” (or SIM, as a very pointed acronym), the game’s interface is really what sells its concepts and it is well designed enough to compensate for Simulacra’s less adept areas. While less transformative than its Black Mirror facade, literally and figuratively, would have you believe, it is stylish enough to maintain a surprising amount of suspense throughout its short runtime and qualify it as a gem. A diamond-studded Motorola Razr in the rough. We talk about the highs and lows of jump scares, the surprisingly diverse play environment allowed by a smartphone home screen, and how for the first time ever, a piece of writing could have been saved by more liberal emoji use.

Thanks for listening to the podcast this week. I’m kind of in love with the whole “Mystery May” concept, even though it is incontrovertibly stupid, so I hope you’re getting as much of a kick out of our more guided game selections as we are. We’re finishing up the theme on the next full episode with Return of the Obra Dinn, which you should absolutely play because having it spoiled would be kind of tragic, but Pocket returns next time with the Pokémon Trading Card League. I hope you’ll join us then, and remember to join our Discord to puzzle these games out with us and other members of the community!

Discord:
https://discord.gg/tRNNSJ6

Episode 79 - This Burmy Can Hold Grudges - Detective Pikachu

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How could your podcast take place entirely in the library? Here’s a hint, it can’t!

Thanks for joining us on the podcast again this week. We’re kicking off Mystery May with Detective Pikachu. With the movie releasing recently this IP has been in the public eye, but the film’s inspiration is comparatively less known. Now that we’ve played it, we’re here to…well, tell you why that is, unfortunately. The game follows a tried and true structure of setting up environments full of clues and witnesses to help you find solutions using logic, but the game is tuned to be accessible to Pokémon’s main demographic, which may be too young to make this title appeal to a wide variety of players. Still, the game is well made, and the aesthetic elements are charming to fans of the series so the novelty inherent in its off-the-wall-for-Pokémon-at-least design could very well be enough to hold your attention. We’re going to talk about helper mechanics for inexperienced players, how the game and movie interact in the landscape of popular culture, and who does and does not have a ponytail.

Hopefully you enjoyed the episode, though it was maybe one of the least mysterious games tackled for May so far. Next time, we’re dipping into the cold waters of Return of the Obra Dinn so prepare for a pretty dramatic shift in tone.

Join our Discord so you can discuss new episodes, strategize your approach to Sekiro and help us build out the lore of Thorpo Fantasy!
https://discord.gg/tRNNSJ6

NOCLIP Pocket E11 - Big Yeets - Accounting+

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What are you doing in my podcast? This is my podcast!

Welcome back to NOCLIP Pocket, and on this episode we’re going to be talking about Accounting+. This game is a VR experiment that is full of absolutely off the wall scenarios and an abrasive sense of humor that really takes advantage of the medium to make things extra uncomfortable for the player. A kind of escape room game, it ushers you between scenes where you solve puzzles or just generally do whatever you feel like while commenting on your actions with an unending waterfall of dialog. If this sounds overwhelming, that’s probably what they were going for. We’re going to talk about exploration of game worlds, meta narratives and metatextual content, and turds. Turds everywhere.

Thanks for checking out the episode, and if you don’t have a VR setup, I either hope these past episodes have helped you experience the technology vicariously or am sorry that we’ve just been entirely impossible to engage with during this theme. But from a high barrier to entry to a very low one, our next Pocket episode, following suit with Mystery May, is going to be on Simulacra! We hope you’ll join us then.

As mentioned, our Discord channel can be found here:
https://discord.gg/tRNNSJ6

Episode 78 - Bad For My Tum Tum - Déraciné

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Faeries are wondrous creatures who podcast in the place where time stands still,

Welcome back from the viiiiirtual woooooorld, where today, in this humdrum realm we call reality, we’re going to be talking about Déraciné. The first VR title from FROMSOFTWARE, Déraciné is a much different experience than the games that put the developer on the map. With no combat, no bosses and no constantly clanging armor sounds, we’re in for a much more subdued game, though still full of the exploration and obtuse storytelling you’ve come to expect. Playing as a faerie in a world you can only manipulate in limited ways seems like a good fit for VR, but how the hardware jives with the rest of the game is a contentious topic. We strap in to see how this experiment pans out and how one of our favorite developers can turn “interacting with orphans” into an engaging experience. We talk about VR and how it interacts with the human body, morose tone and character writing, and the unique feeling of childlike joy and very sad sadness.

Thanks for joining us today even though this episode is a little exclusionary, given its platform. If you’ve read this far, and haven’t been able to play the game, we do talk for about 20 minutes on just what we think of VR after getting our sea legs without spoiling the game if you’re interested at all in that. Next time we’re reentering the labyrinth that is… well, May. Mystery May is back, baby, and we’re kicking it off with Detective Pikachu!

As promised, the link to our brand new Discord server:
https://discord.gg/tRNNSJ6

We’ll be using this to hopefully stir up some discussion about games, take suggestions and feedback, and maybe even build up a little community. Join us if you’re interested in any of that or just helping us grow.

NCP Deltarune Episode 1 - Rudy's Got the Chalk

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This podcast is fueled by EVIL! ...and friendship!

Welcome back to the podcast, where after announcing the series seemingly one million years ago, we’re finally tackling the first release of Deltarune, the episodic followup to Undertale. Set in a world with familiar characters and musical motifs, Deltarune does a lot to change, and dare I say, improve the design set forth in its predecessor. With a party involved, battles are a lot more dynamic and the look and feel of the game overall has been changed significantly. The plot also makes its deviations from the original, putting the mystery of the world at the forefront while still presenting a complete narrative even in this first episode. The question we look to answer here is: how does all this come together? And of course, we can’t help but wonder what the remaining episodes have in store for us. We discuss the narrative potential of having the character arcs of multiple party members play out simultaneously, the mechanical implications of antagonistic friends, and the physical experiences possible once you unslide the Switchies.

Thanks again for joining us today, and be on the lookout for the next entry in this series soon after the next episode releases. On the topic of this series, do you like this format? Would you like to see a dedicated series comparing and contrasting other franchises, either here or on the main podcast? Does anyone actually read the descriptions? Am I trapped typing out a paragraph of notes for every episode in a Sisyphean effort to fill space in a text block that I’m required to populate, but says nothing of value by its own nature to keep the content of the episode itself a surprise? Are we all this lonely? Like, comment…and subscribe?

Episode 77 - Miyamono's Bono - Katamari Damacy

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Huh, it's pretty big. We imagine it'll make a pretty podcast. If it were Ours, We'd make it much bigger.

Welcome back to the podcast! We’re finagling the release schedule a little to meet some time sensitive goals (hopefully you’ll be equally shocked and gleeful at the results), but that doesn’t mean we ROLLED out this episode without putting our usual SPIN on it. Eh? What I mean to say is that this week we’re talking about Katamari Damacy, the delightfully weird roll ‘em up from Namco that can spark childhood joy in even the lamest of people. Originally a PS2 title, the series proved itself worth a remake with Katamari REROLL and we figured there was no better time to talk about the game. The logic-defying aesthetic and almost serene mechanic set make this game both unusual and unforgettable and it exemplifies the kind of experience you really need to play to understand. We talk about outlandish music direction, stupid sexy controls, and the alternative religion Katamari clearly intends to propagate through the impressionable youth…of 2004.

Thanks for joining us again this week, and if you’ve got reasonably deep pockets and brand loyalty to Sony (or just happen to want to hear us talk about the game without necessarily playing it) join us next time when we talk about Déraciné! This will be our first examination of a VR title, and it’s FromSoftware, so expect us to enthusiastically reference Dark Souls even more often than usual.

Episode 76 - A Honker of Steak - Kingdom Hearts 3

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To strike down Xehanort, we need the podcast Mickey spoke of in his letter!

Welcome back to the podcast! This work has been a long time coming and fans of the series probably never thought it would come out at some points. After delays and issues in making it, it finally released to droves of ravenous fans. I’m talking, of course, about this episode of the NOCLIP Podcast on Kingdom Hearts 3. Kingdom Hearts is one of those franchises that earned a lot of die hards and the third main series game being the conclusion to the story arch that began in the first Kingdom Hearts meant that a lot of people were understandably excited for it. Now that it has released, though, the reception has been decidedly mixed, particularly among those most enthusiastic about the series. We break down the game mechanically and narratively to figure out why that is, as well as to express our own points of interest and disappointment. We’re going to talk about combat flow, the value of visual spectacle, writing consistency, emotional character moments and what definitely is and is not a boat.

Thanks for bearing with us on the not-quite-13-year development cycle of this episode. Given our history with the series and the monumental nature of this release as well as the indecision around it we wanted to make sure what we released was at our standard of quality. We hope you enjoyed the episode, and join us next time when we talk about Katamari Damacy!

NOCLIP Pocket E10 - Find the Game By You - Hidden My Game By Mom

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Get Hint! by listen podcast

Surprise! We’ve had some delays in recording the last few weeks, so to compensate we decided to cover a podcast favorite mobile game, Hidden My Game By Mom! This unassuming iOS and Android title hides a massive amount of personality in its design and is a consistently surprising experience. A puzzle game by nature, the real appeal here is in the comedic tone and absolutely wacky logic that is required to solve its levels. Assuming you gel with the game’s offbeat humor, this is a totally free, entertaining and leisurely experience we recommend to everyone. We talk about intentional versus unintentional humor, minimalist visual design and the psychological onslaught that is this series’ soundtrack”

Thanks for being patient with us, and we’re sorry it’s been so long since our last upload, but we should be getting back on track in the coming weeks. Check us out on our next episode of NCP where we’re going to finally discuss Deltarune Episode 1 and our Kingdom Hearts 3 episode will drop in just a couple days.

Bonus Episode - Xehanort's Day Off - The Story of Kingdom Hearts

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Got it memorized?

Welcome to a very special bonus episode, where today we’re going to cover the plot of Kingdom Hearts in an attempt to get everyone up to speed before we talk about Kingdom Hearts 3 next week. Sit down with Chad (who knows nothing about anything) and Andy (who has always known he has two hearts inside of him) as they go game by game and give you a recap and summary of the important points and connections of the entire franchise. Whether you’ve only played the numbered games or you’ve been playing each iteration as they’ve released, we help you understand the characters, their amnesia, time travelling escapades and trips to the Realm of Darkness. We talk about key plot points, key blades and χ blades.

Thank you for joining us and listening to us spoil a record number of games in one episode. We’ll be back for the next main episode to talk about Kingdom Hearts 3 and hopefully make Master Yen Sid proud, so stay tuned!

Episode 75 - Chaotic Mild - The Legend of Zelda: The Minish Cap

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I suppose a boy like you has much to learn about podcasting,

Welcome back to NOCLIP! Today we’re going tackle one of our oldest requests and talk about The Minish Cap. The Minish Cap is an odd Zelda game that was developed by Capcom for the Game Boy Advanced, but despite this, stays true to the elements of 2D Zelda games that make them work as well as they do. Whether this is a good or bad thing is going to come down pretty strongly to if you are the kind of person who loves Zelda’s tropes and mechanics. Regardless, Minish Cap’s absolutely has its strengths, and whether it’s aesthetic choices or dungeon design, the game surpasses expectations for a non-Nintendo developed entry in the series, and in some elements surpasses some first-party offerings. We’re going to talk about repetition in Zelda games, uses and variability of items, and the weird bed that had the potential to go so wrong.

Thanks for tuning in! Next episode is going to be an exciting one for us, as we celebrate the end of more than a decade of waiting by talking about Kingdom Hearts 3! That episode will release in a few weeks, but in case you’re a little rusty on what Sora and pals have been up to in the interim, keep an eye on the feed for a bonus episode in which Chad gets educated on the story so far. Well, either educated or put into a coma, we’ll find out soon enough.

NCP Deltarune Episode 0 - Twee Wave

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Undertale’s real, right?

Welcome to a very special prologue/epilogue episode of NOCLIP Pocket! Today, we’re going to be revisiting Undertale, the indie game that has so completely saturated the Internet, that the sequel/spinoff game needed to be made into an event. While we’re going to be covering each episode of Deltarune as it is released, this episode should serve as a primer to get you familiar with where we stand on the beginning of the series proper. Therefore, this episode will focus on the larger themes of Undertale as well as the impressions the game made on us and on the landscape of games as a whole, so we recommend being somewhat familiar with the game going in. We’re going to talk about how Undertale affects the player and reflects on their choices, the game’s strengths and weaknesses and discuss the upcoming campaign for Game President 2020.

Thank you for listening to NOCLIP Pocket this week. We’re continuing with the special episodes next time as the next episode of NCP will be the first in our Deltarune series talking about Episode 1, so join us then and we hope you enjoy!

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!