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!

Episode 65 - Shake the Sheltie's Paw - WarioWare, Inc.: Mega Microgames!

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Podcast!

Welcome to another episode of the NOCLIP podcast!  Today, we're going to be talking about WarioWare, the schizophrenic Nintendo title that asks you to complete its challenges in mere seconds.  The game's sense of humor combined with the insanity inherent in its concept makes this a charming surface level experience with enough room for improvement to get some fairly serious mileage out of it. We talk about designing games that are meant to be understood in an incredibly short time frame, cartoony character design and we speculate on the ultimate Waluigi VR experience.

Thank you for listening to the podcast this week, and join us again next time as we talk about Call of Duty 4: Modern Warfare!

Episode 64 - Jokes About Rome - Danganronpa V3: Killing Harmony

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Baseball! Soccer! Mobile games! They're all nothing compared to the NOCLIP Podcast!

You may be wondering why you're here. Why you woke up in a locker and are being cajoled by bears who look like they took fashion advice from Harvey Dent. It's because you are the Ultimate Podcast Listener, and you're listening to the NOCLIP Podcast! We're taking a look at Spike Chunsoft's eclectic adventure game/visual novel/dating simulator this week and breaking down what works and puzzling over all the elements that combine to make this game so dense. We laugh, cry and get fatigued and come away sure that the game was good, even though we might not always know why.  We talk about high tension and tonal whiplash, coming to love unlovable characters, and how some of the mechanics in this game seem designed to be cheap and fun. ...you know. Like a sex motel.

Thanks for danging our ronpas with us this week, and be back two weeks from now when we talk about WarioWare: Mega Microgames!

Episode 63 - In Shape Anime Grandpa - Nine Hours, Nine Persons, Nine Doors

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What do you mean "what the hell is the NOCLIP Podcast"? You mean...you don't know?!

Welcome to the podcast, and the first episode of Mystery May, where today we're going to be talking about 999, an escape room/graphic novel adventure game that goes heavy on its convoluted plot in its attempts to engage the player. While we think the puzzles are well designed, there is a helping of disagreement over whether the game accomplishes what it sets out to do with its plot and characters. We're going to talk about adventure game puzzle design, mature content being handled in a less than mature manner, and whether this game would be peeeeerfect for the Switch.

Next time we're talking about Danganronpa V3, so be sure to check back then!

Episode 62 - ...of the Connecticut Daoras - Monster Hunter: World

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I found a nice podcast, Meowster!

Welcome back to NOCLIP, where this time we're looking at Capcom's item crafting, Felyne training, stat pondering, social dancing, and yes, monster fighting action RPG: Monster Hunter: World. Monster Hunter is a long standing, but largely niche, series and this entry is the first in seven years to be released outside of the handheld market. This seems like a decision that largely paid off, as Capcom is in the monster hunting business, and brother, business is a-boomin'. We look at the best selling game in Capcom's history and let its hooks sink deep to find out what is so compelling about the boss fight-centric game. We talk about the meaningful difference weapon choice makes, the ecology of Monster Hunter's world and what motivates a mountain to do what it does.

Thanks for checking out this episode, and prepare your magnifying glasses and pick up a debilitating smoking habit as we kick off Mystery May next time with 999!

Episode 61 - Loretouched - Hollow Knight

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Wealth, glory, enlightenment... that podcast seems to promise all things!

Welcome back to the podcast (and apologies for how long of a break we've had)! Today, we're going to be talking about Hollow Knight, an action-heavy Metroidvania that's an overwhelmingly impressive feat coming from a small indie team. Every corner of the world Hollow Knight contains is teeming with life, or at least undeath, and this sense of discovery drives engagement all the way through the game. We'll discuss all the ideas this game brings to the table, and how even our complaints seem small in comparison to the scale of this game's accomplishments. We talk about the experience focused design of the game's world and combat encounters, using vague hints at backstory to further a mood, and tapping into your latent instincts to be a high school bully.

Thanks for checking us out again this week, and be sure to check in next time when we talk about Monster Hunter World!

Bonus Episode - Milky Moderate - Super Mario Cereal

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NOCLIP Podcast, find it in your grocer's freezer!

From deep in the bowls of the Internet, we're going to be talking about Super Mario Cereal today. When this promotional cereal released, it was met with continental amusement, seemingly because of the inherent ridiculousness of it. But, rather than be spoon-fed opinions on it, we decided to pour up and try it for ourselves. Join us to find out if our favorite Nintendo hero has made the switch from plumbin' to bakin' or if his breakfast effort is another milquetoast effort on the shelves of your grocery store.

Thanks for joining us for this admittedly kind of silly tangent this week, and we'll be back again next time to talk about Hollow Knight!

Episode 60 - Noogies and Even Greater Noogies - The Last Guardian

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I awoke to find myself listening to a strange podcast...

Welcome back to NOCLIP, where this week we're going to be talking about The Last Guardian.  The third game in what could be considered a spiritual trilogy of games including Ico and Shadow of the Colossus, The Last Guardian similarly features a bleak atmosphere and an unassuming protagonist.  The hook this time around comes in the form of a massive beast and the connection that you create with it over the course of the game.  While the game is touching and technologically very impressive, the devil, as it usually is, is in the details of the execution.  We're talking about puzzle design, questionable mechanical and UI decisions, and what type of thing it is more okay to be angry at: at person or a horse?

Thanks for checking us out again this week, and be sure you come back next episode when we talk about Hollow Knight!

Episode 59 - Things That Rhyme With Tootin' - West of Loathing

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You're about to listen to a podcast with the color and viscosity of maple syrup, except instead of maple it's flavored with the inside of the mouths of people who chew cigars instead of smoking them and have never brushed their teeth.

Welcome back! Today we're taking a look at West of Loathing, an RPG set in the wild west from the makers of Kingdom of Loathing. Despite being an RPG, the real draw of this game is in its writing, and funnier writing is not often seen in this industry. As quaint as it can come off with its rudimentary art style and turn-based combat, the world present here is deep and interesting, leveraging both its excellent dialog and knack for creating interesting and worthwhile quests to keep players invested. We're going to talk about sprawling quest structure, enjoying the journey in spite of the destination (really a life lesson, if you think about it) and the intricacies of discrimination in Goblin culture.

Thank you (yes you!) for listening this week, and check back with us in two weeks when we talk about The Last Guardian.

Episode 58 - We're Here For the Lies - Hellblade: Senua's Sacrifice

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You will podcast with me in Ragnarok!

Welcome back to the podcast where we're going to be talking about Hellblade: Senua's Sacrifice. Ninja Theory made this game with what was a shoestring budget for its goals and ambitions, and what results is hopefully a proof-of-concept game to show that this type of development can still be viable despite the risks. Choosing to focus the game around the concept of mental illness and Norse mythology gives the game a well of rich narrative and thematic content to draw from, but beyond that is where the game starts to fall down. We're going to talk about strong art direction, repetitive combat and the lemon-lime soda most likely to exist in the afterlife.

Thanks for listening this week, and be sure to check back next time when we talk about West of Loathing!

Episode 57 - Ass Machine - NieR: Automata

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Analysis: A large amount of entertaining audio data incoming. Recommendation: Listen to the NOCLIP Podcast.

Thanks for joining us again this week while we talk about NieR: Automata! This game is a sequel to a Square Enix Action RPG from last generation that Platinum Games has put their own spin on, eschewing some of the more traditional RPG elements for the hack and slash gameplay that Platinum is known for. While the combat itself is kept fresh by repeatedly changing from character to character with new control schemes and abilities or from genre to genre, sometimes becoming a Shoot 'em Up for some segments, it's the narrative and thematic content of the game that really keeps players pushing forward. With a focus on story not really present in other Platinum games, it makes this one a compelling experience and really feels like the best of both worlds for the game's developer and publisher. We're going to talk about combat flow, world and quest design and oh yes, there will be butts.

Thanks for checking us out this week, and be sure to check back next time when we talk about Hellblade: Senua's Sacrifice!

Episode 56 - In The Jell-O, But On The Vine - Mirror's Edge

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I hear a podcast, and you can't outrun those.

Thank you for joining us for another episode of NOCLIP today (and apologies for the delays!). We're back to talk about Mirror's Edge, a first person platformer that came to define the genre for the majority of average game players for years. Mirror's Edge emphasizes your character's movement as you free run through buildings and on rooftops, but rarely gives you a chance to catch your breath. We discuss whether this breakneck pace is a benefit or detriment and how the other mechanical elements mesh together to create a parkour game all others will be compared to. We talk about movement mechanics, maladroit combat, and what level of social responsibility you have for constructing coherent metaphors.

Thanks for tuning in again, and be sure to check us out in two weeks when we discuss Nier: Automata!

Bonus Episode - Grass Cutting Simulator - 2017 Year in Review

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Happy New Year, everyone!

With another year over and a busy holiday season winding down, we have basically entirely forgotten to play any video games or record a podcast. So while we make up for that oversight, we discuss what surprises 2017 brought to the industry and some of our own observations about the things we care about. We talk about Twitch, the Switch and EA's bid to get rich.

Thanks for being patient with us this week, and check us out next week for our episode on Mirror's Edge!