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Feb 14, 2013

Re-jiggering.

Hey there!

So, the site's getting a little facelift right now to re-do some things.

The short story is that we’re getting ourselves on to iTunes.  This means that the site has got to be redone a little to make that possible.

Check back in soon to see the new-ish digs.  Until then, you can always go to youtube.com/stateofplayshow.

Cheers.

Brandon 

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Oct 21, 2012

I'm a liar.

Sooo………….

I mentioned in the vlog last week that we were going to post our interview with Greg Rice over at Double Fine this Monday.  Guess what?  It ain’t happening for another two weeks.  Boo, I know.

BUT, we’re still rolling along - have no fear.  Tomorrow won’t start that week of goodness, but we’ve got a very nice talk starting with the fellows over at Tequila Works, creators of this Summer’s XBLA game Deadlight.

That’s a fine trade, and I don’t want to hear any buts about it.

Seriously, we’re pumped about all of the good stuff that’s been happening with us lately, so if you’re actually reading this,thanks so much for your support and love.

See you tomorrow for some nice Deadlight talk.

-B

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Sep 17, 2012

SEASON TWO, y'all.

Hello, fair viewer of State of Play with Brandon Bales.

It’s been a long time, has it not?  I am happy to inform you that we are OFFICIALLY BACK with Season Two!!

It’s been a while coming for a million different reasons, but I’m sure we all know how many issues can pop up when your putting together your own projects.

That said, we’re thrilled to be bringing you some brand-new content that is a bit different than what we were doing before, but hopefully just as informative and entertaining.

What’s different, you ask?  Firstly, format.  Space and time constraints make it very difficult to get game designers in the same room on the same day, so we’ve taken steps to get around that.  You’ll notice that we’ve left the studio and taken the interviews anywhere they can get done - namely, the living rooms of our luminaries.  (How kind they are…)

Second, our release schedule is being tweaked to get out shorter videos more often.  We’ve got six interviews lined up to be released every other week, with a video blog post each in-between week.  The interviews will come out in five parts (one each weekday) with the final part AS WELL AS the entire interview posted every Friday.  So, if you’re the kind who wants to buckle-down and watch it all in one go, we’ve got you covered there, as well.

Today begins our interview with Derek Yu and Andy Hull (of Spelunky fame), and we’ll have an interview every other week until 3 December.  Now, if you’re doing the math, you’ll notice that that accounts for an extra week somewhere in there.  That’s because the second interview (that starts on 1 October) was so in-depth and so long, we had to have it go over AT LEAST two weeks.  Once you see who it   is, you’ll understand completely…

So, there you have it!  Thanks for tuning in, and thanks for supporting our show!

-B 

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Aug 28, 2012

Guess who’s a voice in the new Guild Wars 2?

Go get it today and listen for the dulcet tones of the Slyvari Player Male!!

(And, yes, if you’re interested: we’re verrrry close to some more interviews.  Stay tuned!!)

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Jul 11, 2012

VVVVVVLog

Hello you!

I’m going to stop typey-typey for a while.  I haven’t been doing it at all, really, but I’m more interested in doing it in video form…

SO…

Head over to the ‘Video’ page for now and check out the first entry!

Best to you!

Brandon

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Jan 23, 2012

Stand By...

Hi.

So, we’re behind schedule right now thanks to some wonderful technical difficulties. (Ain’t life grand?)

If you’re looking for the third part of our Jonathan Blow interview, you could demand that we give it to you now with delicious sound and a nothing else but a big green screen, or you could wait a day or two more for the actual, video-ified version (assuming the staff at the Apple Store live up to their names).

We’ll suggest the latter.  See you later in the week, then soon after for the last part of the interview. Trust me when I tell you that it gets better as it rolls along.

Meanwhile, if you haven’t got out there and checked out The Binding of Isaac yet on Steam, DO IT. I can’t stop playing this delightful, twisted game.

(Also, I started Bayonetta two days ago……………………… My only thought so far is: “What?!”)

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Jan 11, 2012

An awesome 2011 encapsulation from someone I know very well.

laurataylor:

I made a video collage of 2011 - Paris, Marrakech, New York City, Los Angeles. 

Music: Phantogram - “Turning Into Stone” 

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Jan 9, 2012

Two Thousand Eleven, You Were a Year

Oh, 2011.  You fickle pony.  You tricky cobra.

You were just here, 2011. You came and went so soon, I don’t even remember what it was you were wearing that I liked so much.

Well, here’s my Year-in-Review post that you deserve. …You do.

I play a lot of games, yet in reviewing everything I went through this year, I couldn’t help but notice that the amount of quality gaming I did seemed somewhat small. Why does life-living take so much time?

I should remark, firstly, that I am a diligent backlog slave - never avoiding games simply ‘cause they’re a few years old. I have a few friends that tend to play the new hotness for a week, then trade ‘em in. I, on the other hand, and a diligent complete-ist (sometimes to my detriment), and I will play the average game to the end whether it excites me fully by said finale or not. That’s not to say that I don’t quit a shit game, no no; that happens plenty. I just believe that giving each one the benefit of the doubt until the end is only fair to a game’s dev team.

THAT SAIDDDDD, here’s a summation of the quality I played this year.

Heavy Rain

Yep. If you missed this one, you owe it to yourself to go out and get it. Aside from some questionable American accents, this one was doing something really fresh and different. I’ve always said that David Cage and Co. are making games two generations too soon, but at least they’re doing it; that’s all that matters.

Batman: Arkham Asylum

You read that right. The “first” one. Smooth as butter.

Mirror’s Edge

I’m glad I finally caught up to this one, because DICE really gave us something different with this IP. While the story never quite hooked me, and while completing the game without shooting anyone was quite difficult, the core mechanics were engaging and often thrilling. If you missed this one, give it a go.

Pinball FX2

I love pinball. I lovvvve pinball. I’m not as good as most of the League-ers here in LA, but I would fire up on of these machines every day if I could. Let’s face it, pinball is the only real reason to step into an arcade anymore (unless you’re interested in some one-on-one fighting). Along come Zen Studios, though, to try and change that, too. The love they’ve put into Pinball FX2 is fantastic; they’ve done pinball fans proud. I’ve spent too many hours playing these excellent tables, and I’ll keep at it. The Marvel tables are stellar, to boot. While some of the core voice acting can hit you like a drain ball, pinball lovers will find this detailed recreation to be a serious treat.

Spelunker HD

Have I lost you yet? That’s right: Spelunker HD. A truly clinical platformer, I knew within one hour of firing up this one why it was the best-selling Japanese PSN release of 2009: it’s a sadistic monster of a game. While I almost rage-quit during my first session, the explorer in me won out and pulled me down to the game’s 100th level. This one is a worthy remake and a truly tension-filled quest for those who don’t mind a simple adventure game with some really stringent rules (see also The Binding of Isaac and Dark Souls below).

Portal 2

I don’t need to tell you about this one. I’ll only say that Valve has gone and released a worthy successor to the best game of the last decade. An excellent story, exciting new mechanics, phenomenal co-op gameplay, and truly humorous writing and characters add up to something not as revelatory as its predecessor, yet unquestionably good. My hat is off to the amazing Valve once again. How they manage to make me love computer AIs more than the actual humans in the average game, I’ll never know.

The Binding of Isaac

I don’t know why I haven’t heard more about the simple, addictive terrorscape that is The Binding of Isaac. From Super Meat Boy's Edmund McMillen comes the best and most outrageous randomized dungeon crawl of pure hilarity you can get. I really, really love the core of idea at work here: a game that's not long, but wide. While the typical playthrough (provided you survive) might only take an hour, the game offers evident, interesting replayability in its ever-changing dungeon, it's multiple characters, and its dozens and dozens of amazing power-ups. What other game lets you stun a roomful of monsters by strapping your mother's bra to your head? Get this one on Steam now!

Wizorb

I almost forgot about this amazing gem - I would be such a fool to! Put simply, this is THE way to do a small game today. Wizorb builds on one of the most basic and classic videogame types and comes up with something superb. It perfectly retains old and solid mechanics while simultaneously layering in newer conventions that speak to the entire litany of gaming history. In then end, we get a pure and lovingly crafted game that hits my nostalgia zone like so much pixie dust. Get it on PC or XBL Indie Games now!

Finally, Dark Souls

I’m still diligently working my way through this one, but you should know that From Software has done it again. While I haven’t played it all yet (the ending’s apparently fishy?..), I have loved every terrible, scraping moment of this game. She’s a beautiful, spiky, thrilling, and cruel madame, and I won’t stop loving her. Every morning I wake up and know that TODAY will be the day I finally best that section that’s spit in my face the two (or three) days prior.

So, that’s about it. I could throw in a few more notables off the top of my head here. I did enjoy Uncharted 3 a good bit (though I think Drake should take some time off). PixelJunk Shooter was also bested finally, after a year away, and it was quite fun. On DS, I was still playing Picross DS (best DS game ever?) and Dragon Quest IX (though I’m far from beating it). Oh, and no, I haven’t played Skyrim yet. I’m sure I’ll get around to that before the year’s out.

So, that’s me. I’m gonna post more to this blog now that the New Year is here. I know I’ve been a bad friend and I’m sorry. I’m gonna be better. Promise.

Till next time!

Bales out!

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Jan 5, 2012

2011 Review - Coming Soon

Okay, so I’m not a blogger.  In the traditional sense, I mean.  I still feel like such an old man when it comes to all of this stuff.

Anyhow, I’m gonna post some year-in-review type stuff real soon.  Like, today even.

Stay tuned!

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Dec 2, 2011

Deadly Premonition - So Strange, it's Scary

It’s not always a sign of a bad game that said game gets put down then picked up again later. My schedule seems to include an increasing number of things as I get older, and that inevitably can affect the ways in which I finish each one I own. To boot, I’m sure a lot of you, like me, have a pile of games sitting next to your console, some half-played, some maybe even never opened. While moving on from a game for a time can occasionally sound its death-knell, there are those unfinished games I go back to because I love them (or some aspect of them) or out of some crazy completion-ist compulsion. With Deadly Premonition it happened to be both, but I am so glad that I did.

Make no mistake, this game is absolutely bonkers - not just in subject matter, but in countless ways involving some of the game’s major design decisions. It’s so kooky, and sometimes so technically odious, I put the game down for months at a time with nary a thought. Always, though, it ended up calling to me. From the bottom of my games pile would come a voice urging me to indulge in some of the nuttiest gaming to be had on any system ever, and answer that call I did. Yes, over a period of nine months, I finally saw the credits roll.

I wish that you might now do the same for yourself. I have truly never played a game quite like Deadly Premonition. No videogame I’ve ever played has had such a laughably misguided surface level, while still containing elements that seriously affect its players. While not many will be moved to tears by its wooden character models or sometimes cut-rate voice acting, the script is full of a handful of moments that were amazingly …. amazing. This is serious Lynch-ian stuff here (the game is more than “inspired” by Twin Peaks), and like what I love about Lynch’s films there are so many moments where the script is so bizarre, the actions so strange, that we’re never sure if its author is winking at us or not. The game takes on its own surreal place in time, and while some might see it as atrocious, the story continues down its rabid rabbit hole through a huge backstory and contains oodles of insane gifts for the curious and patient gamer.

Naomi Watts, anyone?

If you think you can stomach the terrible combat (which was forced in at the last minute of development), do yourself a favor and buy this game. It’s less than 20 bucks for your Xbox (you can probably find it for even cheaper) and it’s a totally singular gaming experience.

Talking to "Zach"

Did I mention that you play as a schizophrenic FBI agent? Did I mention that the ending of the game actually made me queasy? Did I mention that first cars you get in the game top-out at 60 mph and get you across the small and feature-light map in a full ten minutes?

Deadly Premonition is in many ways a technically terrible game.  I’ve said that before, but I don’t want you to come back and cry that you didn’t understand that going in. Give it a chance, though, and you’ll see that it will reward your patience.

(For those who do, might I give you two tips? Use an online FAQ and do the side missions that get the RADIO and the UNBREAKABLE WRENCH aSaP. Boom, easier game.)

Alternately laughable and genuinely hysterical, plodding and tense, shallow and surprisingly deep, Deadly Premonition honestly gives me hope for the medium.

Happy.

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Dec 2, 2011

Episode Two

Kellee Santiago - Part Two

More methods and lots and lots about Flower.

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Dec 2, 2011

Episode One.

Kellee Santiago - Part One

History, Cloud, methods…

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Dec 2, 2011

State of Play is Here

State of Play is my show, a fine show.

Please watch a show about approaching gaming greats with every question you might ever have wanted to ask…and then maybe a few more.

We really hope you enjoy.  First up, it’s Kellee Santiago of thatgamecompany, creators of Flow, Flower, and the upcoming Journey.

StateofPlayShow.com

Excelsior!

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