Plus, never before published bits!
So that’s Season 3 at an end. And what a season it has been. This past season has been, for my money and my reckoning anyway, the best season yet in the show’s short year-long history. A more varied mix of guests than previously, more personal insight into people’s favourite games and why they got into games. It’s been a good season. No. It’s been a great season.
There’s more of the show to come next year – and you still have one more episode to come this year too next week! – but before all of that, lets put a bow on Season 3 by giving you the Best of Season 3.
But before we get on that, as I do every season, I want to touch upon the three standout episodes for me. Every episode has been fantastic this season, not a bad one in the bunch (of course I say that, but I genuinely believe it moreso than any other season). But these three episodes perfectly encapsulate what My Favourite Game is and should be about.
The first pick has a personal bias to it, admittedly, but still one of the best episodes ever recorded and for me one of the funnest episodes I’ve ever done in the show’s history: Funomena’s Robin Hunicke on Katamari Damacy. But personal bias aside, Robin’s love and enthusiasm as a Katamari fan is just so heart-warming and endearing to hear. And now, she’s in a very privileged area in getting to work on her next game, Wattam, with Katamari creator Keita Takahashi.
Secondly, Square Enix’s Daniel Seto on Final Fantasy VII. If it weren’t for that game, he wouldn’t be there right now. Or possibly even in the games industry. Dan’s story is one that shows how much a game can changed someone’s life. And as I said when his episode came out, I could attest to that. Plus, I can absolutely vouch for his absolute, genuine enthusiasm for the game first-hand. It’s the most personal episode we’ve ever done. And also another episode recorded this season I’d say is one of the best ever in the show’s history.
Finally, I’d pick Tom Francis on Deus Ex. As someone who jumped ship from games journalist to games developer, Tom can really pull apart a game – particularly a stealth game – and talk of its systems, the ins and outs of it, what makes it fun, etc. And he very much did that on a near technical level with Deus Ex. Donlan wasn’t joking last season when he said he could easily rip away at the game.
[Honourable mentions also to Jordan Erica Webber on The Sims 2, Sam Barlow on A Mind Forever Voyaging and Carli Velocci on Silent Hill 2]
Alas, here’s the rundown for the Best of Season 3 along with notes to go with it.
Looking Back on Silent Hill: Shattered Memories & What Could Have Been with Silent Hills,
by Sam Barlow (A Mind Forever Voyaging)
Six years on from its initial release, Silent Hills: Shattered Memories’ lead designer and writer Sam Barlow looks back on the game that has a cult following, a rarity for the series these days, and laments what could have been with Silent Hills following the release of P.T.
And nope, this isn’t a charade anymore: Kojima’s gone. Long gone.
The (Cover) Art of First Impressions,
by Daniel Seto (Final Fantasy VII)
Cover art can sell you on games. I am proof of that with Metal Gear Solid 2. And so is Dan Seto with Kingdom Hearts. So hear us be a bit silly and talk of how game covers, at least back in the day, can sell you on a game.
The Characters of Mass Effect (AKA: The We Hate Ashley Club),
by Carli Velocci (Silent Hill 2)
This is the third best-of special which has had an entirely dedicated Mass Effect segment. Someone needs to jump on and talk Mass Effect at some point, for Christ sake.
Anyways, the trilogy’s main vocal point, its biggest highlight, has always been and always will be its characters and how they’re written and designed. So lets have me and Carli Velocci have a talk of those characters and more, plus dedicate our love for FemShep and call Ashley a bitch.
What? She is.
A Conversation on Kitty Powers’ Matchmaker,
by Jordan Erica Webber (The Sims 2)
I’m not going to give context for this segment with Jordan Erica Webber. Instead, I’ll just give one word to instead: farts.
Alright, I’ll give one little bit of context to it through the medium of Twitter. This was taken in the middle of recording that segment (you can even hear my phone going off in the background).
Interlude: A (Brief) Conversation on BioShock & BioShock Infinite,
by Harriet Jones (Fallout 3)
A small, brief conversation with Chucklefish’s Harriet Jones on BioShock 1 and BioShock Infinite.
Dishonored and Game Systems,
by Tom Francis (Deus Ex)
As I mentioned above, Tom Francis of Gunpoint and Heat Signature can really break down the systems of a game really well. Here, not only does he do it with Deus Ex, but with a more rcent game in Bethesda and Arkane’s Dishonored.
A Conversation on Rainbow Six,
by Jake Tucker (X-COM: Enemy Unknown)
Rainbow Six is a shooter with a strategy game embedded within. That’s what I said to Videobrains’ Jake Tucker at the time and it’s still very much true now. Hear Jake go on at length about his R6 passion.
Everybody’s Gone to the Rapture: A Story of Love, Loss and Music,
by Sarah Wellock (Persona 3)
Everbody’s Gone to the Rapture is one of my top three games this year. It is honestly genuinely wonderful and heartfelt in equal measure. Here, me and Bethesda’s Sarah Wellock harp on about how wonderful the game is on its tale of love and loss – something we’ve both gone through as admitted in that segment in the past year – as well as talk of the importance of music in games in light of Jessica Curry’s incredible, wonderful score.
Fallout 3 and Player Agency,
by Harriet Jones (Fallout 3)
Player agemcy is a big thing in open-world games, especially in Bethesda open-world RPGs. Here’s Chucklefish’s Harriet Jones once again on how games like Mass Effect, Skyrim and Fallout drive how she interacts with characters in those sorts of games.
How Castles in the Sky Came to Be (Or: Why Mike Bithell Might Be The Indie Games Illuminati),
by Dan Pearce (Klonoa 2: Lunatea’s Veil)
Castles in the Sky came during an intense spell of burn out for Dan Pearce. But at the same time, the game almost never made it out. So here he is talking of how he was convinced to let the game on sale. Or to look at it another way, how Volume and Thomas Was Alone creator Mike Bithell is quite possibly the head of the indie game illuminati.
PERSONA. A TON OF PERSONA.
Listen to a 25 minute period of Persona stuff with Persona 3, Persona 4 and even Persona 5 all getting a run out from Dan Seto and Sarah Wellock, two of the biggest Persona fans possible.
Interlude: A (Brief) Conversation on Final Fantasy VIII,
by Harriet Jones (Fallout 3)
A final small, brief conversation with Harriet Jones on Final Fantasy VIII.
Deus Ex: Human Revolution – Eidos Montreal’s Landfall Moment/A Conversation on Mankind Divided,
by Tom Francis (Deus Ex)
With Deus Ex being an established franchise, how would a new, upstart studio in the form of Eidos Montreal be able to handle the pressures of their debut game being a brand new game in the series? Turns out it’d do incredibly well with Human Revolution. Tom Francis goes through the ins and outs of the game as well as look ahead to the upcoming Deus Ex: Mankind Divided.
The Legacy of Journey,
by Robin Hunicke (Katamari Damacy)
I was gutted I had to cut this out for time from the original episode, but I absolutely wanted to make up for that by having it end the Best of special.
As I say in it, Journey is one of my top three games ever, behind The Last of Us and Metal Gear Solid 3, something I recently realised a few months ago with the PS4 version after loving the ever loving hell out of it when it released first time on PS3. And having a few minutes to talk of it with its producer Robin Hunicke was not something I was going to pass up on while I had her on the show.
We talk of the legacy of Thatgamecompany’s wonder, the fan response and why it’s inspired a lot of people and even helped people through hard events.
You can listen to the episode below.
Next week – The second of two holiday specials:
My Favourite Game (of 2015)