Having a Nice Chat with Aliens (Media Mavens episode 23)

On this episode of Media Mavens we talk to Yussef Cole about the film Arrival. We discuss alien design, time travel and the important of language.

Our main segment is full of spoilers for Arrival.

Today’s Topics

We invited Yussef Cole on to talk about Arrival and its similarities to Mass Effect.

Guest and Topic Intro (00:00:32)

A brief intro to our guest, Yussef Cole, who writes about games for outlets such as Paste Magazine and hosts the Video Game Hour podcast.

What we’ve been up to (00:07:17)

Yussef (@youmeyou)

  • Hitman
  • Persona 4 Golden
  • Dishonored 2
  • Empire
  • I Am Not Your Negro
  • Hidden Figures
  • Split

Riley (@kaleri_)

  • Mystic Messenger Christmas DLC
  • Heroes of the Storm
  • Overwatch
  • Hwarang
  • Goblin: The Lonely and Great God

Pam (@jasyla_)

  • King’s Quest
  • Tyranny
  • XCOM2
  • The Girl with all the Gifts (movie)
  • Obvious Child
  • The Black Tapes Podcast

Arrival (00:51: 30)

  • What is Arrival?
  • Mass Effect, Arrival and Social Responsibility in Sci-Fi (Yussef’s article)
  • What both Arrival and Mass Effect say about the importance of humans and working together
  • How Arrival and its aliens differ from most other fiction
  • The importance of language
  • Sapir-Whorf Hypothesis
  • Time travel
  • Wasn’t this less convoluted, and therefore WAY BETTER, than Interstellar? @alatinolawyer
  • Is the ending of Arrival good? @xhugglesx
  • The aliens come with companions and convey language jointly. What lessons does this movie give about our beliefs on efficiency and teaching if they don’t just show a video or learn our languages to communicate? @alatinolawyer

If you’ve got any feedback, questions, people or topics you’d like to hear on future episodes of the show, you can reach out at MediaMavensCast@gmail.com or on Twitter @_MediaMavens. If you like the show, please give us a review on iTunes or Stitcher.

I’m a Space Nerd (Media Mavens episode 23)

In this episode of Media Mavens Riley and I talk to Fryda Wolff, voice actor for Sara Ryder, the protagonist of Mass Effect Andromeda. It’s a long episode but a good one. Fryda has so much knowledge to share about voice acting, among other things.

Today’s Topics

Guest and intro

We invited Fryda Wolff, recently announced as the voice of Sara Ryder – one of the two protagonists in Mass Effect: Andromeda – to the show. We talk about voice acting, working with Bioware and what we hope for in the future of Mass Effect.

What we’ve been up to

Fryda

  • Netflix show: Meron (Mark Meron)
  • Carrie Fisher’s Wishful Drinking

Riley

  • Heroes of the Storm
  • Overcooked
  • Lemony Snicket’s A Series of Unfortunate Events (Netflix)
  • Atelier (Netflix)

Pam

  • Overcooked
  • ReCore
  • Chewing Gum (Netflix)
  • Crazyhead (Netflix)
  • Limetown podcast

Interview/discussion with Fryda (00:26:00)

  • The voice acting/voice over process/ day in the life of a VA
  • Favourite/least favourite aspects of voice acting
  • SAG-AFTRA rates (union vs non-union)
  • Video game acting vs commercials/other industries
  • SAG-AFTRA and the VA strike
  • Will game devs ever unionize?
  • (1:04:00) Sound design & first experiences in the games industry
  • (1:13:00) Why do we hear the same VAs everywhere?
  • (1:19:00) The experience of working with Bioware for Mass Effect and
  • (1:29:30) Do VAs ever get to act with other VAs together?
  • (1:36:00) Were you a fan of Mass Effect before being cast as Ryder?
  • (1:38:00) Playing as yourself in a game and learning from it
  • (1:44:00) What are you hoping to see or hear from fans?
  • (1:54:00) Being online 24/7 and keeping your health intact
  • (2:02:00) Creating the brother/sister dynamic in Mass Effect
  • (2:11:00) How does the ME universe stack up against other roles you’ve taken on? What are you hopes for the series going forward?
  • (2:19:00) Any franchises you’d like to work with in the future?
  • (2:22:00) Favourite voice actor or mentor?
  • (2:30:00) What information were you given when you started working with Bioware?
  • (2:34:00) What was it like working with Octodad? In your professional opinion, is he the dadliest catch?
  • (2:36:00) Final comments to fans looking forward to playing

If you’ve got any feedback, questions, people or topics you’d like to hear on future episodes of the show, you can reach out at MediaMavensCast@gmail.com or on Twitter @_MediaMavens. If you like the show, please give us a review on iTunes or Stitcher.

Alistair and Cullen Fan Fic (Media Mavens episode 21)

Still catching up on posting podcast episodes. In this episode, we talk to Tanya De Pass of I Need Diverse Games about Dragon Age.

Today’s Topics:

We invited Tanya DePass of I Need Diverse Games and the Fresh Out of Tokens Podcast to chat with us about Dragon Age and answer a whole lot of listener questions.

Guest and Topic Intro (00:01:19)

A brief intro to our guest, Tanya DePass along with the non-profit she created, I Need Diverse Games . If you’re interested in supporting I Need Diverse Games or Tanya you can do so on Patreon.

What we’ve been up to (00:07:28)

Tanya (@cypheroftyr)

  • Final Fantasy XV
  • Skyrim Special Edition
  • Watch Dogs 2
  • Hip Hop Evolution
  • NK Jemisin’s The Fifth Season

Riley (@kaleri_)

  • Overwatch
  • Heroes of the Storm
  • Descendents of the Sun
  • Rogue One
  • Princess Mononoke
  • The Weeknd Starboy album
  • It’s Our Turn Podcast

Pam (@jasyla_)

  • Dead Rising 4
  • Epistory: Typing Chronicles
  • Black Closet
  • The Ghost Girl in the Corner

Dragon Age (00:28: 05)

  • What is Dragon Age?
  • How did we get into Dragon Age?
  • How the series progresses
  • Templars vs Mages
  • Thoughts in representation of PoC in DA? The character creator is certainly getting better but the only NPCs of color seem to be human (unless I’m misremembering). Why not dwarves and elves? @The_Doc_Webb
  • Tanya’s article on representation in Dragon Age
  • Which secondary character have you been the most sad not to be able to smooch? @mk_patter
  • Varic writes books. Mordin sings in plays. What hobbies or side jobs do you envision your other DA and ME buds having? @OrkChop
  • Best party composition for entertaining banter? Love the party members snarking at each other while we’re roaming around! @thornmallow
  • DA is a series with really high stakes and where humanity (unlike in Mass Effect) is not that special. Do you appreciate that about it? @MtoAllPro
  • Is there a moment in any DA that always makes you cringe (for any reason) playing through it? @TimpoAdante
  • DA:O’s Deep Roads, “A good way to spend an afternoon” or “Is there an end to this”? What did you think? @estelliaslair
  • In your mind are the Wardens good guys, bad guys, neither, and why? I see them more as a necessary evil than anything else. Thus why my warden was super evil and a jerk. @MtoAllPro
  • Are you disappointed that we never get to experience the Warden’s adventures in DA:I (as seen in Leliana quests)? @estelliaslair
  • Is the Inquisition set to be good for later games or will it be corrupted like the Wardens, Templar, Circles and every other organization. @MtoAllPro
  • Which DA do you feel has the best story? Does it also have the best characters? @TimpoAdante
  • Most bittersweet romance? My vote is for a devout Inquisitor romancing Cassandra as she becomes Divine. @The_Doc_Webb

If you’ve got any feedback, questions, people or topics you’d like to hear on future episodes of the show, you can reach out at MediaMavensCast@gmail.com or on Twitter @_MediaMavens. If you like the show, please give us a review on iTunes or Stitcher.

A Lot of Games do Stupid Thing (Media Mavens episode 20)

Looks like I’ve been slacking at posting new Media Mavens episodes here. On our last podcast of 2016, Riley and I talked about all our favourites from the year – movies, games, podcasts, shows, you name it.

Today’s topics:

It’s the last episode of the year and we’re discussing our favourite things from 2016. Thank you for all your support this year! We love you <3

What we’ve been up to:

Riley (@kaleri_)

Pam (@jasyla_)

  • Overwatch
  • Gravity Ghost
  • Assassin’s Creed Chronicles: China
  • 3%
  • The OA

Our favourite things from 2016 (00:25:00)

Movies

Games

Listener Faves:

Podcasts

Games Crit

Shows:

Streamers

Listener Questions

  • What TV show is your guilty pleasure show for 2016? (@MtoAllPro)
  • Best ship of 2016? (@MtoAllPro)
  • Favourite co-op game? (@Orkchop)
  • Favourite dev to interact with? (@Orkchop)
  • Are you planning to have more TTRPG content next year? (@MtoAllPro)
  • If you could work in the video game industry, what would you want to do? (@alatinolawyer)

Thank yous from Pam & Riley

As always, thanks for listening to and sharing our podcast – we appreciate every single one of you! See you next year!

If you’ve got any feedback, questions, people or topics you’d like to hear on future episodes of the show, you can reach out at MediaMavensCast@gmail.com or on Twitter @_MediaMavens. If you like the show, please give us a review on iTunes or Stitcher.

Be More Aware in Overwatch

Hello again! Yesterday I posted about some really annoying things you should avoid doing in the team game Overwatch. Today I have tips for things that you should do, and gameplay options you should use in order to be more aware of what’s going on. Awareness of your surroundings is important! Not just your own situation and where your enemies are, but also what’s going on with the rest of your team.

Use the Scoreboard

Blizzard never actually tells you this in the tutorial – why would they want to teach you anything aside from basic moving and shooting controls?! – but you can bring up the Scoreboard in game by pressing the Tab key (unless you’ve unbound it).

The Scoreboard isn’t just about your ego and seeing how many gold medals you have, it also tells you a lot about what’s going on in the game.

  • You can see who is dead, on your own team and the enemy team (they have an X through their portrait)
  • You can see if people on your team have their ult ready (see the blue checkmark under Pharah)
  • You can see who, on either team, is on fire (another thing Blizz never explains to new players)
  • You can quickly see team comps and be aware of when someone has switched heroes (or tell when the only support on your team has switched to Hanzo)

The Scoreboard is transparent, so you can still see what’s going on. I find myself pressing Tab a lot during games.

Kill Feed Display

The Kill Feed Display is in the top right of your screen. If it’s not go into Options > Gameplay and turn it on. I find a lot of people either don’t have this on, or just don’t pay attention to it. Like the people who yell “Where are my heals?!” when the healer has just died. Or the people who yell “Tracer’s low!” and go off to chase her when someone else has already finished her off in a hallway somewhere. Knowing who has just been killed is important for deciding how aggressive or defensive to be.

Allied Health Bars

Healers and a couple other characters (I think) can always see the health bars of their allies, but this is a good thing for anyone to see. Go to Options > Controls and turn on Allied Health Bars. Knowing more about the status of everyone on your team can only help. You can help someone getting low with an enemy is harassing them, tanks can put some form of shield on/in front of them, Solider can put down a heal, Roadhog can take care of his own health when others are low and need the heals. Health bars  – they’re not just for healers!

Keep an Eye on the Clock

Overwatch is a lot like football – clock management can win you games. Different kinds of play are better at the (possible) end of a match than at the beginning. In a point capture match, as the clock is running down the most important thing is to either keep the point in your possession by keeping the other team off it, or get your butt on the other team’s point to prevent the match from ending. You know someone has no awareness of the clock when they yell at Mei for walling a lone hero approaching your point when there’s only a couple seconds left. Yeah, they may have cost you an elim, but that wall let the clock run out.

It’s also very important to watch that Overtime countdown. The point/payload is always the most important thing, but being on it in Overtime is especially necessary.

Be on Voice Chat

I know not everyone will like this one but, at least in Comp, you should always be in voice chat. Even if you’re not going to talk, listening is important. Generally the more constructive communication and sharing of information there is in a game, the better the chances of winning.

Don’t be ‘That Guy’ in Overwatch

Overwatch, besides being the home of super cute characters and half the shipping on the Internet, is also a team game. But not everyone seems to understand that. Here are some things to avoid doing if you want to win and don’t want your team to hate you.

Charge/leap into the middle of the entire enemy team. This is a thing that Reinhardt and Winston are most guilty of. Charge is a great thing, but not when the end result is you surrounded by 6 enemy heroes who want to kill you and out of range of the rest of your team. You won’t get healed and you’ll die fast. And don’t yell at the healers for not healing you – Neither Lucio or Mercy’s heals will reach you (and don’t be mad Mercy didn’t fly in after you because she’d just die immediately as well), Ana probably won’t have line of sight to you, and Zen’s orb won’t keep you up through 6 people shooting you in the back. Charge more strategically.

Immediately complain when someone picks a character you don’t think will work. Now there are some comps that are probably bad ideas (a lack of tanks and support is an obvious one, 3 snipers, attack Torbjorn does seem rather trolly), but give people a shot. Don’t immediately complain that you don’t want even one sniper, or that Mei’s damage is too low, or that you want a Lucio over a Mercy.

Stubbornly stick to your original hero pick no matter how badly it’s going. Comp is important. If your team’s comp isn’t working, try something new.

Yell at your healers for not healing you, while otherwise ignoring them. This one’s pretty simple. If you ignore the D.Va or Tracer constantly harassing your healers don’t expect amazing healing.

Ignore the payload. In payload maps, the payload is the most important thing. Pushing the payload to the end (or stopping the other team from doing it) is what wins the match. Your 52 eliminations don’t matter if you can’t complete the objective. Also, if you’re on offence the payload heals you!

Yell at Mei for defending a point by putting up a wall to block enemy heroes. Mei is a defense character. She excels at defending a point. Keeping the enemy off it is just as important as killing, especially as the matching is coming to an end.

Be the Mei who uses walls to troll her own team. Seriously, you’re why people hate us.

Be the sniper who is so unaware of the status of the point that they won’t put a toe on it to save it from being captured even though they’re the only one alive. Oh yes, this happens. Even in competitive.

Be the player who runs right up outside the enemy team’s spawn at the beginning of a match, only to die immediately and leave your team to defend 5 on 6. Maps have choke points for a reason.

Be the person who’s constantly emoting or asking for heals in voice chat. Healers can see your health bar. Unless you’re nowhere near them, in which case, get near them for heals.

Be the player who’s only comfortable playing one character, or only Offence/Defense Characters. You don’t have to be able to play everything, but should be able to do one of Tank or Support.

Be one of those people who says “we don’t need 3 supports” when one of them is Symmetra. Symmetra can take down most tanks 1 v 1 right now so don’t you worry about lack of damage.

Be the developer that puts Symmetra into the Support category instead of the Defense category, breaking people’s brains, and causing fights.

Later this week I’m going to be writing about improving your awareness in Overwatch. Much of it will be snark, but there also might be some things to learn as Blizzard does not do a good job of telling people the fine details of playing the game.

What are the things people do in Overwatch that annoy you most?

How do you get 50 million people to like a woman? (Media Mavens episode 19)

On our most recent episode we welcome special returning guest star AppleCider to snark with us about The Game Awards and PSX. What awards were we pumped about, which ones were dumb, who got snubbed, and who is the best host of The Game Awards (there’s only one option). Listen to find out, and don’t forget to toss us a review if you like us!

Today’s Topics:

We invited AppleCider back to hang out and talk about the big events in video games that happened recently – The Game Award and PlayStation Experience.

Guest and Topic Intro (00:00:51)

A brief intro to our guest, AppleCider.

What we’ve been up to (00:03:17)

AppleCider (@AppleCiderWitch)

  • Overwatch
  • Dishonored 1
  • Man in the High Castle

Riley (@kaleri_)

  • Mystic Messenger
  • Black Mirror
  • MAMAs
  • Official Spotify playlists for EXO/BTS

Pam (@jasyla_)

The Game Awards (00:38: 05)

  • What is The Game Awards?
  • Hideo Kojima and the Death Stranding trailer
  • Some issues with how the awards were presented
  • Indie games getting shafted
  • Mass Effect gameplay trailer
  • Blizzard and Overwatch win big (and what does Best Game Direction mean?)
  • Voice acting – Firewatch gets snubbed, Nolan North throws Performance Matters under the bus
  • With the male dominated list of Trending gamers, 2 things. What do you think should be qualifications for trending gamer and who are some women that you’d nominate based on those ideas? @BrothaDom
  • With @HIDEO_KOJIMA_EN receiving the Industry Icon Award, who would you guys nominate as the first female to receive it? @bloomtoon
  • What can Geoff Kieghly do to make an event like the Game Awards be taken seriously in the mainstream and not just a marketing event with only a few awards? To me if feels too much like an extension of E3. @mustyhobbit
  • What new award would you include? Joke answer and serious answer both would rule. @devoted_pupa

PSX (01:32: 30)

  • What is PSX?
  • Remakes of PS1 games – Crash Bandicoot, Parappa, Wipeout, Patapon
  • Destiny – the return of Sparrow racing
  • The Last of Us 2
  • Sony’s holiday commercial for PS4 showed lots of content for games coming out in 17. Did PSX do enough to satisfy anxiety someone might have about jumping onboard for a system when the stuff you want to play hasn’t even been released? @alatinolawyer