Half-Glass Gaming [Episode 18] : I Have the Spirit of a Canadian

I Have the Spirit of a Canadian

This week, Josh updates listeners on his noises-outside-his-window situation and Julian tells the world about his comedy team Sparkle Picnic (as well as his butt), which leads us to the strange little world of improv comedy, public access TV, and flagrant misuse of the word “ironic.”

After the break, we dive into indie gaming. We’ve got the goods on retro indie games, including one of the strangest games all four podcast members have played, Girlfriend Construction Set. We explore the roots of indie games, from college campuses in the 1960s and 1970s to the weird beginnings of id Software. At this point, “indie” starts getting harder to define. Is Doom actually an indie game? How about No Man’s Sky?

Also, religious games, Kickstarter, PS4 dev kits, Color a Dinosaur (again), the drug-induced origin of shareware, Half-Life mods, and Josh’s obsession with a Revolutionary War FPS that uses “Yankee Doodle” as its entire soundtrack. If it sounds like an episode stuffed to the brim with indie gaming goodness, that’s because it absolutely is.

For more on Girlfriend Construction Set, Mandi has a nice little article here, and Julian shares his first GCS experience here.

Keep the conversation going by leaving a comment below or by contacting us on Twitter.

Josh (The Forward Thinker)

Rev. Rebecca Nathaniel (The Nostalgic Alcoholic)

Julian (The Moderator)

Mandi (The Lead Research Specialist)

Plus, don’t forget to stop back next week: New episodes air every Wednesday.

About The Author

  • Jimmy Mamatas

    I had a similar experience to what Mandi describes in that most of my early favourite games were simply the games installed on school computers. I don’t know that they were indie games, though. I have particularly fond memories of a game called Elite.

    • Josh Wirtanen

      Are you referring to the 1984 space trading game Elite?

  • Jelly Genesis

    Is there a chance you could start putting a discussed games list at the bottom of a post like Idle Thumbs does? Sometimes I want to try games you talked about but I can’t remember the titles.

    • Josh Wirtanen

      Hey, that’s actually a really great idea!

      • Funny thing, I was just thinking that moments before Jelly was, so totally my idea… Ah who am I kidding, that is a great idea Jelly, thanks for the feed back.

    • Josh Wirtanen

      I’ve started the process of listing out the games we mention in every episode. We’re going to put that info on the Half-Glass Gaming official site, though, because we don’t want to push the Retrovolve comments section down any further. We love hearing from you guys way too much!

      Here’s the first episode:

      http://www.halfglassgaming.com/2015/07/episode-1-were-all-pregnant-with-ghosts/

      • Jelly Genesis

        Thank you! This will make it easier for me to add cool games to my backlog.

  • mako33

    I’m glad Undertale came up, I wanted to buy it and apprecaite hearing about its gameplay. It’s cheap so I’ll probably go ahead and buy it.

    • You should absolutely play it. It might be my favorite game of this year, and it’s been a great year for gaming.

      • mako33

        5 hours into this game, holy shit. More than worth it. Is there a way to avoid killing the fish knight lady? People keep mentioning her after I beat her and I feel terrible about it.

        • You never, ever have to kill anybody. There’s always a way to get through a fight without hurting somebody.

          I don’t know how to mark spoilers on Disqus, but if you’re in a fight like that one and you can’t come up with a way out of it, just try to endure it as long as you can. Use Mercy or experiment with other commands, and just wait. Usually, a solution will present itself.

        • Elizabeth Thompson

          Yeah. I’m playing through Undertale right now, and I have yet to attack a single thing. Of course, I only just went on a date with the skeleton, so I’m not that far into it 😛

          -The Reverend

      • mako33

        5 hours into this game, holy shit. More than worth it. Is there a way to avoid killing the fish knight lady? People keep mentioning her after I beat her and I feel terrible about it.

  • Jdcomix

    lol, I was just asking you guys about RPG Maker! I never got good at it but you have to use it on PC if you want to make real games.

  • Anno 2205

    I tried my hand at making indie games, but I realised can’t do art. Instead, I play games that let me build things or make mods for the games I like.

    • Josh Wirtanen

      I was modding stuff back in the days of Star Wars: Battlefront 2, but it was really hard, and my vehicles never worked properly. I played around in RPG Maker and Source a bit too, but I never managed to finish anything. Making games really isn’t my wheelhouse so much as writing and talking about them — and over-analyzing them to an almost obnoxious degree, haha.

  • Tyrant Fluffy Pants

    I mostly play indie games cause their cheap and I’m broke, lol. Some of them are awesome though. I don’t know if Killing Floor is indie but I like that and Space Station 13 and some other stuff.

    • I’d definitely say Killing Floor is an indie game. Incidentally, the team that made it also started out making mods.

    • Check out Ether 1. It can be classified as a “walking simulator”, which is a bit of a demeaning term, but to be fair you do primarily walk so.. You be the judge. But I digress. It is an interesting game that deals with dementia and memories and has some interesting, simple yet deviously complicated-at-times puzzles. It should be cheap. It is a slower game though, so be forewarned if that turns you off. Depending on your system of choice, State of Decay is a great option, it isn’t “indie-indie” but it is cheap and it is fun. I think that is only on Xbox 360/One though. Let me know if you have any suggestions, I usually turn to Mandi so I could always use another source.

  • discipleofpizza

    I don’t get why everyone likes indie games so much there
    are some good ones but they all look the same and some are just bad

    • Josh Wirtanen

      They all look the same?

      This is the Witness:
      http://the-witness.net/news/wp-content/uploads/2014/12/shot_2013.10.14__time_11_09_n04.png

      This is Braid:
      http://images8.alphacoders.com/441/441455.jpg

      Both are indie games. Both were created by THE SAME GUY!

      On the other hand, all 3 of my AAA purchases of November are sci-fi FPS games, and I DIDN’T pick up Halo 5. There was an era (like 5ish years ago) when the general perception was that all AAA games were military FPS games with mostly brownish color palettes.

      I think “saminess” is a matter of perspective. And so is quality. I’ve seen garbage indie games, and I’ve seen indie masterpieces. I’ve seen garbage AAA games and AAA masterpieces.

      The reason people are drawn to indie games, I think, is because the indie scene tends to focus on emotional experiences over big set pieces and explosions. I love me some explosions, but I also like to find games that resonate with me emotionally in some way. Like Journey. Or The Binding of Isaac. Or a little adventure game you’ve probably never heard of called The Dream Machine.

      I wouldn’t try to say indie is objectively “better” than AAA, or AAA is objectively “better” than indie, but I think they can both exist side-by-side and I’m glad they do. When I feel like blowing stuff up, video games are there for me. When I feel like being self-reflective, video games are there for me.

      I just like video games.

      • mako33

        Thanks for this. Which FPS games did you buy?

        • Josh Wirtanen

          Black Ops 3, Fallout 4 (which I know you can play in 3rd person, but I play it in first), and Star Wars Battlefront (which can also be played in 3rd person). And I admit that I was being a bit reductive in calling all 3 sci fi FPS games (though that’s technically true).

          • Elizabeth Thompson

            The thing about Fallout though, at least in the case of Fallout 3 and New Vegas (and thus, I’d be surprised if not Fallout 4) is that it feels like it’s *supposed* to be an FPS, at least gameplay wise.

            I mean, I freaking *love* Skyrim, as Josh knows and I have mentioned. I am not even a tiny bit exaggerating when I say I’ve played over 2100 hours of Skyrim at this point, and I’ve had the game for about a year. So open world RPG type games are apparently my bag. But I’ve played about 3 hours of Fallout 3, and I can’t play New Vegas for more than about an hour. And as near as I can tell, the reason is entirely because the Fallout series feels like an FPS in a way that Skyrim does not. Likewise, while I have been really enjoying TES 3: Morrowind, I can’t stand playing Oblivion. Because the 3rd person controls in Oblivion are way to freaking floaty, and it’s really obvious that it’s designed to be played from a first person perspective.

            All that to say, I genuinely see no argument in saying that Fallout is an FPS. It absolutely *feels* like one, in a way that even other open world Bethesda games do not.

            – The Reverend

          • Josh Wirtanen

            Fallout 4 and Skyrim use the same game engine (the Creation Engine). Weirdly enough, Fallout 3, New Vegas, Oblivion, and Morrowind all use the Gamebryo engine.

            I don’t remember the point I was making with this.

      • mako33

        Thanks for this. Which FPS games did you buy?

      • discipleofpizza

        You’re right and sorry for getting butthurt. I know they aren’t all the same
        but so many game sites act like all indie games are so original and they aren’t. You
        guys didn’t say that though. I like some indie games too but not the bad games that get
        good reviews just cause there indie.

        • Elizabeth Thompson

          Sure. It’s always annoying when people keep saying something is “OMG BEST EVAR” and it’s obviously not. Especially when you can objectively point out why some particular statement about them is not actually true.

          Also? It’s pretty cool of you to respond and clarify. That sort of thing doesn’t often happen on internet discussions, so, you know. Props to you!

          – The Reverend

        • Josh Wirtanen

          Yup! No one’s mad at you, man! I just wanted to make sure I clarified things a little. Thanks for the comments!

  • Thief921

    This may be the best podcast you’ve done yet, imo. The episodes with more general topics are always favourites. That bit with the Shareware guy was so fucking good.

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