10. The Future of Gaming (PS5 Reveal!)

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10. The Future of Gaming (PS5 Reveal!) and Spotlight on the Developers of Minit

 

Smitty, Erik and Dan react to Sony's big PlayStation 5 Extravaganza announcement, but Smitty can't stop talking about his new computer and seems a bit obsessed with ray tracing. Plus, the creators of Minit are in the Special Reserve Games Developer Spotlight and Erik brings us Chapter Five of his "Fire Flower" series on Nintendo.

Games You Deserve is a weekly podcast from Special Reserve Games that celebrates the digital art of video games. Join us for gaming industry interviews, insider perspectives, and interactive content. Production by Dan Vadeboncoeur. Music by Jesse Hamel. New episodes drop Sundays at 9:00 a.m. CST.

Listen below (or on your favorite podcast provider) and don’t forget to subscribe! Links and transcript follow beneath the player.

 

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Transcript

Dan: Welcome to Games You Deserve, brought to you by Special Reserve Games. This week on the podcast, we react to the PlayStation 5 Reveal. Then, talk to the developers of Minit and Erik brings you chapter five of Fire Power.

Smitty: I have all this new technology. I was waiting for the new PS5 Reveal to go out and get excited because I just wanted to do all my personal computing on a PS5. But they won't tell me when it's coming out, so I went out and bought this new computer.

Dan: It looks, it kind of looks like a computer in a lot of ways. The way they've got it set up vertically and that kind of thing.

Erik: I was looking at it, and it looks like one of those tall like floor-standing air filters.

Dan: Oh, those fans, yeah.

Erik: Yeah. It looks exactly like one of those, it's just shorter.

Smitty: I was waiting for the Eye of Sauron or whatever, that can be floating above the top of it. I was like, "Is this a Lord of the Rings thing? Is this the –"

Erik: Well, it does have that high-def camera thing. If you just stick that on top.

Smitty: Yeah, but I noticed what did they say at the very end? PS5. Oh, PS5 digital edition. Ah. With no disc in it, uh-huh yeah. What do you? I bet you the one with the disc in it is more expensive.

Erik: We're getting way ahead of ourselves, though. We're talking hardware right now and they didn't even start off with hardware. They started off with a PS4 game.

Smitty: Yeah.

Erik: What's up with that?

Smitty: Well, I think it's because they probably don't have as many PS5 games to show because they've been real stingy with showing all the... Giving dev kits and supporting new tech.

Erik: Yeah, yeah.

Smitty: Probably, just because they're not ready to show.

Erik: There was only about 25 different titles that they went through. Which, I guess is great. But a lot of them weren't going to be launch titles. A lot of them had 2021 against them. But yeah, they start off with this expanded version of Grand Theft Auto 5, which, I guess that's cool, and they're going to start throwing in-game dollars at people every month between now and when the PS5 comes out for anybody that owns it on PS4 today, you get like a million dollars in the game per month, so I don't know.

Dan: If you're still playing Grand Theft Auto 5 at that point, this point, is money really your issue?

Erik: Probably not.

Dan: I feel anybody, you've done the whole game, you've played through all the stories. You do a lot of, probably there's lots of online stuff you do. But you don't need to worry about money so much.

Smitty: Now, there's first time customers. Yeah. I think this is trying to attract that new 14 year old kid that is going to get his first PlayStation 4 and has always wanted a Grand Theft Auto game.

Erik: Whose mom is not going to go out and buy him a PS5 because he just got a PS4 at that point, so that's kind of funny to me.

Dan: And then, they said that Grand Theft Auto 5 , this new expanded edition, is included with the PS5 release, so you get this for free.

Smitty: Grand Theft Auto 5 online is included.

Dan: Is that what that is? Oh, I see. Okay. It's a separate service.

Smitty: Yeah. Grand Theft Auto 5 online. Yeah, well, it's just, yeah, I think it's kind of like Call of Duty , Call of Duty: Warzone , you know? It's like Warzone is just a free Battle Royale , and, which I play every night, and I love it.

Erik: You've never mentioned that before.

Dan: No.

Smitty: Mm-hmm yeah. Ray tracing. That was like, see, I've been watching people play with like Dr. Disrespect, who had that new PC and he was playing SLI, where you basically are rendering between two computers or whatever. But ray tracing, so just in Warzone and then I noticed on PS5, that was one of their very big technical features. They're showing ray tracing. That's what we were in Discord , Erik, talking in the “pupper” chat with everybody while things were coming out and we'd see a game and people would start guessing, "Oh, what's that game?" And then, they said, " Hitman." And I was like, "Yeah, Hitman, quote, 'now with ray tracing,' unquote, three." You know? And that should be called the name of it. But like every single one of those games should be called, "now with ray tracing." But it is a technical marvel to actually see it. It's beautiful.

Erik: The first game, they even had some of that going on. The Spider-Man: Miles Morales. I don't know how much you guys follow comics, but –

Dan: I do.

Erik: Miles Morales is kind of a different, I don't want to say new. He's newer. But he's a different Spider-Man. It's going to be kind of cool to have this different perspective with a different Spider-Man. It's not Peter Parker that we're going to be able to play. But clearly, this is kind of based on the PS4's version of Spider-Man.

Erik: I'm guessing they're re-using a lot of the same types of mechanics and game play in that, just using the new hardware.

Dan: And New York City, probably the same map of New York City that they used in that game. It's going to be –

Erik: But with ray tracing.

Dan: But with ray tracing. But it's also kind of on the heels of the success of Into the Spider-Verse, which was an incredibly successful movie from last year.

Erik: Yes.

Dan: With Miles Morales.

Erik: All about Miles Morales, yes.

Dan: Yeah, so as a central character so a lot of people are going to be familiar with that character now. And that's got me excited. I like that Spider-Man game. I think it's a great take on Spider-Man. It's not quite, the first game is not quite the movies. It's not quite the comic book, it's kind of its own thing. The character design is kind of different. They have all those cool Spider-Man costumes you can unlock. And I assume there's going to be more of that for this one. Yeah, I was kind of excited to see that one, for sure.

Erik: Yeah. When they started and they opened it up with S Spider-Man, immediately the costume difference I knew. I was like, "Ay, that's Miles Morales, that's cool." I wrote down in my notes. I wrote Spider-Man, and then in parentheses, I put Miles Morales. And then, they play through the whole thing, and at the end, that's the name. It's Spider-Man: Miles Morales. I just think that's fantastic. I can't wait to see if Marvel ever decides to drop him into a movie. It feels like an inevitability. They're going to have to do that at some point.

Dan: Yeah, they're running out of regular characters to use in their films.

 

[BREAK]

 

Erik: After the Spider-Man one, they rolled into something. And I thought this was great because we were just talking about this. I think even on the last episode, we were talking about racing games and arcade racers. And then, this is the polar opposite, right? Gran Turismo 7.

Dan: Yeah.

Erik: And that looked amazing. I have to say. Like, auto games always tend to do really well. Even the original Gran Turismo on PlayStation looked incredible at the time. And every release that they've had visually has just been stunning. This is not different. No different.

Smitty: Absolutely. I think that was my favorite one was Gran Turismo. Just because it's an iconic game, with Gran Turismo 7, right? But it had a great introduction by... It was all in Japanese and subtitled, which was fantastic.

Erik: Gran Turismo.

Smitty: Good Lord. Did you see the ray tracing on the gloves? But it was just, it felt super realistic. You could tell there wasn't a great physics engine in it yet. Because the car was like on the line, it was stuck to the track. And the ass end of the car wasn't breaking loose or anything. Of course, I've never driven any one of these cars myself. But it just looked so realistic from inside the cockpit how the head movement was, how the depth of field, things were coming into your vision, or your field of vision. And so, I just thought it didn't feel very arcadey, it felt more simulation. I just was like, "Hell, man, that's going to be a lot of fun to play."

Erik: Right in line with Gran Turismo, right? It's very simulation –

Smitty: Well, I'm a Pole Position guy. I mean, goddangit. I grew up Pole Position was the game for me. And then, like I said, I did work on CART Precision Racing for Microsoft out of Terminal Reality at one time, and that was a fun, fun game. But that was one that went too far into the simulation side. But it also had beautiful graphics at that time. And so, I just love seeing games.

Because there's very few things you could play with PlayStation 5 or any of these other games where you have a real world thing to actually compare against. Hotline Miami is the most unrealistic game you've ever seen in your life. You're never going to have a real world experience that compares to that. But Gran Turismo, yes, you know?

Erik: Yeah. You can get really close, right?

Dan: Yeah.

Erik: With something like that.

Dan: Yeah.

Erik: The next game, oh, you want to talk about ray tracing, they actually said this around the game. Ratchet & Clank: Rift Apart, which by the way, looks incredibly good. That just looks like it would be super enjoyable, but they mention the ray, they physically actually said, they talked about the ray traced reflections.

And I noticed it when you looked at the floors in that trailer. Things that were in the distance bouncing off the floor and their reflection. You could see how well that was drawn. And the other thing that I noticed about this one, when stuff was broken, the number, the sheer number of particles on the screen that were going in all directions when stuff was exploding very much stood out to me on that one. It was like blowing up and they were just going everywhere. But you could still see each individual particle just shattering apart, which is really cool.

Smitty: They didn't say how big the SSD was on that thing though, right? They just said –  

Erik: I don't know if that, was that released in the previous technical?

Smitty: No. It just said –

Erik: Reveal?

Smitty: High power SSD or something like that. And I was like, oh.

Erik: Well, I know they've talked about that, it's best in class for its class, essentially. It is a very fast SSD. I don't remember if they ever said how big. I wanted to say like a terabyte but –

Smitty: Well, that's what I was, yeah.

Erik: I don't quite remember.

Smitty: That's what I was wondering, how big. And I mean, it would be nice to actually kind of know some of the technology that they are stacking in there. Because it seems like it would be very, very impressive. And solid-state drives, I just got a new PC that has a solid-state drive and it's PCIe and VME and that, too, SSC. It was like I would think that you would put that kind of description in, you don't want to reveal.

Erik: I think they did, though.

Smitty: They did?

Dan: I got the number here. 825 gigabyte SSD, that's what it says here on this. I just looked it up.

Erik: 825?

Dan: Yeah, so close to a terabyte.

Erik: Yeah, and I think that was done during the hardware reveal, which was an earlier thing. They didn't show it, but they talked about all the specs.

Smitty: Do you think it is a one terabyte, but the quote, "operating system," is taking up a bunch of –

Dan: Yeah, probably.

Erik: Yeah. That makes a lot of sense. After Ratchet & Clank, though, which obviously is a sequel.

Dan: It's a franchise.

Erik: They stuck to another franchise, right? Because up through this point, it was all franchises. This was the next one was the first time we got to see an original title for this platform. Project, I don't know is it Athea, Athea?

Smitty: I read it as Athea. But I mean –

Erik: Athea, right. What did you guys think of this? They didn't really show much, but –

Smitty: Well –

Dan: It's good to see an original game, a new original game. It's good.

Smitty: Yeah, I mean, it was very beautiful. I mean like –

Dan: The thing is, that should go without saying. Everything on this console looks beautiful. Like, there's no –

Smitty: Absolutely.

Dan: That's the one thing they have to deliver is amazing visuals. Otherwise, it's just a PS4, right? They have to have that. I know they made the point of saying at one point, "Everything you see from now on is recorded on a PS5." We know that that is what it looks like. And of course, if you've got 4K and all that stuff, it's going to look just amazing in your living room. Yeah, that certainly was the case for this game, as well. But yeah, they didn't show us much as far as details go.

Erik: No, no. I think the next game is one Smitty is really excited about, Stray.

Smitty: Yeah, you get to be a kitty cat.

Erik: You made the comment.

Smitty: It's like, you finally can do a kitty cat. And you get to run all over and like eat out of the trash and you know, that is going to be awesome. Can't wait to see what it... It actually does look kind of fun. And I think it would be a neat concept, I guess. We've got the goat simulator. How about, now we got an alley cat. Whatever.

Erik: I'm surprised we didn't get Goat Simulator 2 for the PS5. Now, with ray tracing.

Smitty: Free VR. Now, with ray tracing.

Erik: You were talking about how the developers are creating these realistic-ish scenarios. But they're still so fantastic, and the next game they showed was Returnal. And Returnal struck a chord in me because they based this trailer around the female character who is on this kind of world by herself that every time, she kept saying, she would die –

Smitty: Oh, yeah.

Erik: She would wake up –

Smitty: That's what that was.

Dan: Oh, it's like Edge of Tomorrow.

Erik: And it would change, the world would change. Yeah. And I found that fascinating. And then, the visuals were extremely cohesive with that narrative. Every time they'd show a scene, they would kind of click over and then boom, that world would be different. They showed the house. And then, after a snap, boom. It's like decrepit and old and broken and all that kind of stuff. And then, it changed again. That one really looked interesting to me.

Dan: But I always thought that Edge of Tomorrow, the Tom Cruise movie would've been like it's basically a video game premise, where you die, you wake up, you try again, you know the exact –

Erik: Right.

Dan: Because that's what happens when you play video games. You learn from your mistakes. You learn the pattern. And this goes back, way back to like Pac-Man or other stuff where you just kind of learn and get better and that's what happens. I'm assuming that's what happens in this game, as well.

Erik: Maybe you, not me. I haven't been past the first act in the Pac-Man. No, I'm just kidding.

Dan: Oh. But no, that looks cool. I don't love the name. I got to say. Returnal doesn't.

Smitty: I know. I was going to say. That's not even how I read it. I don't even think I looked at it like a word. I was like, uh.

Erik: Like, what is that? Yeah.

Dan: It sounds like a...

Erik: But a game perspective, it looked like it was going to be really cool. The next one is actually it's Sackboy: A Big Adventure.

Dan: Oh, yeah.

Erik: And that's LittleBigPlanet, right?

Dan: LittleBigPlanet, yeah.

Erik: That's the little dude from it. And multi-player. If you were paying attention, that was like a four player multiplayer game that they were running around on the platforms. Everything on that, I mean, you know LittleBigPlanet. All the little pieces look like they're out of real life. Already, even when that was on the PS3, the way that they did the art on that type of thing.

This just took it to a whole other level, right? All the little bits and materials in there just looked exactly like real life.

Smitty: And you know what else? Ray tracing.

Erik: Ray. We're not going to get away from that.

Dan: We're not. It's totally in place.

Smitty: Call it ray tracing on the little fibers of that guy's body, oh, my gosh. Yeah, it was beautiful. It is funny, though. I love, I watched this on Twitch, where did you watch it?

Dan: YouTube.

Erik: I was watching it on YouTube.

Smitty: You were watching it on YouTube. I watched it on Twitch. It was about 900,000 people on average on the PlayStation Twitch channel, and there was –

Erik: Did you keep up with the chat?

Smitty: Oh, yes. I did. It was mainly emotes –

Dan: It's impossible.

Smitty: And the word poggers, you know? I mean, just whatever. It was just so what it was, but also had Discord . Our Special Reserve Games Discord .

Erik: Oh, yeah, of course.

Smitty: And I was in pupper chat watching. And so, it was just funny to see the reactions of everybody. But people guessing what it was. Let down or excited. But who was it? NinjaUnicorn had a little problem, was like, "What? So every game reveal is third person or melee, it's third person melee, what are we talking about?" And then, I guess he had a problem with the stream, he logged off.

And then, they had a first person. And what was that first person game? Was that, no it wasn't –

Erik: Oh.

Smitty: It wasn't Stray. Which had first person views. And hold on, I got to go back in the –

Dan: Well, Gran Turismo had a first person view, but that's not what he's talking about.

Smitty: Yeah, no, it was a first person like shooter.

Dan: Okay, I'm trying to look through the list here.

Smitty: It wasn't Resident Evil.

Erik: Well, I know that there was the GhostWire: Tokyo.

Smitty: I think that's what it is.

Erik: Was a horror game with first person.

Smitty: I think that's what it was. GhostWire: Tokyo, that thing –

Erik: Unfortunately, that's a Bethesda title. And that comes with its own baggage.

Smitty: Hey, many, why? You hate the guys? What's a matter with Maryland? You don't like Maryland? The state?

Erik: They got a terrible flag.

Smitty: But they're not, oh, my Lord. But the Bugsnax. B-U-G S-N-A-X. Bugsnax, that trailer that they played had 3D audio in it. Because I was in my headphones watching it.

Erik: He's getting so far ahead of me on this with Bugsnax.

Dan: That's okay. We don't –

Smitty: Were we in an actual order on the review?

Erik: I was actually rolling through an order. But that's cool. I don't mind, because you're excited about it. That's great.

Smitty: Well, but then they also showed Max Payne 14 and Serious Sam 20, am I getting ahead now? Am I getting too far ahead now?

Erik: No, what were you watching.

Smitty: Oh, well, I'm into the future.

Dan: That's going to be in the next announcement, yeah.

Smitty: That's how far ahead I am, Erik.

Erik: That's PS6, man.

Smitty: Well, I did, I must say sitting there with the really beautiful gamer headsets on, with this fantastic Internet connection and a beautiful PC, I felt like I was in the future.

 

[BREAK]

 

Smitty: One little thing at the end, I was typing in our Discord , like, "Oh, did you guys see who was at the end credits? There was a Mediatonic guy, there was a Remedy guy in there, you know, so.

Erik: Yeah, but did you see Nina?

Smitty: Yeah, saw Nina.

Erik: Nina Struthers was in there, played by Mahria Zook and I thought that was hilarious because that is a fictional character. Whereas, everyone else is –

Smitty: That's right.

Erik: A legitimate developer.

Smitty: And if you don't know who Nina is, she is the presenter for Devolver Digital's E3 extravaganza video presentation.

Erik: That's one way to put it.

Dan: I didn't clip her. But I put a clip from that, the last year's video in the last bit of this podcast. And I watched that whole announcement, and I know who you talked about. And I was confused for a minute.

Smitty: She usually ends up with a lot of blood on her.

Dan: That's right. Yeah. That's right.

Erik: Yeah. Yeah. Isn't that weird how that happens? But yes, they were clipping through at the end, going through all these developers. It went by in a flash when they showed her. And I was like, wait a minute. I actually had to pause it and back up. I'm like, yeah, that's her, and that's hilarious.

Dan: Do they not know that she's a fictional character?

Smitty: Oh, yes.

Erik: And I'm sure they would know.

Smitty: And I'll actually tell you how that happened. Is because there's a lot of filming that has ceased with all of the COVID-19 stuff. And I think Hollywood is just opening up tomorrow, right? June 12th, they can start filming again?

Dan: Right.

Smitty: And so, Devolver and a lot of companies that were recording things on sound stages and using different actors or film crews out of LA, all that went away. And so, everyone was trying to get different messaging in for E3, so there was supposed to be a lot of other things done, for everybody, including Sony.

I know there's a lot of other things that were planned along with Sony, Microsoft, any of them, that just weren't able to get done for one reason or another. I think Nina getting put in at the end was kind of a result of all that. And also, because a couple other things couldn't get done, you know?

Erik: Yeah.

Smitty: That everybody wanted to show. Hats off to Sony for including that because it's like an inside joke. And they very much are on the inside joke. And they're in on it, trust me.

Erik: Yeah. But it was great though, to see that. And there's going to be a bunch of people that watch this that aren't necessarily as familiar with Devolver. Had no idea that that was a fictional character compared to everybody else.

Smitty: Yeah.

Erik: That's really good for the people in the know. Then they revealed the actual part where we finally got a chance to see not some mock-up of a dev kit or whatever. They actually revealed this thing, so it's like white. They showed it in vertical mode, for the most part. It's got these white sides with the black center on there, you can see the first version had the disc slot on it. Yes, we are getting optical media, as we talked about. I'm guessing that's going to mean at last some backwards compatibility.

I noticed a USB-C port in front, alongside a USB-A port, which was kind of nice. I thought that was interesting. It looked like a couple of other slots there, too, maybe for I don't know if it was like a SD card or something. There was some other little thin slot on the front. But you couldn't really make out what it was. And then, of course, the digital-only version, which was a little bit thinner, no disc capabilities on that. I know that you've been dying to talk about the controller.

Dan: Me?

Erik: Yeah.

Dan: I wanted to talk about when they revealed it weeks ago, but you guys didn't want to talk about it.

Erik: I know.

Dan: But my thing with the control. Here's the problem I have with it is that it doesn't look like a PlayStation controller. Going back to the first PlayStation, you mentioned in one of our previous episodes, Erik, with the PlayStation Classic, when they released that, they didn't release the one with the DualShock, Analog sticks. We prefer that version of that controller for the first PlayStation because it did come out with the first PlayStation.

Dan: But ever since that came out, all those PlayStation controllers have had a similar shape and feel. And this one looks more like an Xbox controller than anything else.

Erik: Yup.

Dan: It looks, and same with, I would say the same with the Pro Controller for the Switch. It all looks basically like the same controller. I think they've all kind of centered around this one design that basically is generic video game controller, is what this is.

Smitty: Well, it had blue lights on it, though. It had two little cool blue lights.

Dan: Well, yeah. And sure. And it has for example some benefits, it has a built-in microphone, which is great. Because you don't need –

Smitty: And a built-in speaker.

Dan: Well, you don't need a... That basically means you don't need a headset to talk to people while you're –

Smitty: Well, I don't think that's what the speaker's for. I think it's probably going to be for like sounds of like shoot – 

Dan: Oh, like the Wiimote did? That kind of stuff?

Erik: The Wiimote had that, though, yeah.

Dan: Yeah, that's not new.

Erik: No.

Dan: It also has haptic feedback.

Erik: Also not new.

Smitty: Yeah.

Dan: I'm not sure what that means, though. What is, is that different from the vibration?

Erik: No, that is vibration. But it's vibration done in such a way that it actually gives you more than just one type of burr... one type of motion. You're getting different senses.

Dan: Yeah, I think they're going to have multiple locations where the vibration can come from or it can be more intense from one side.

Erik: These things, the Joy-Cons have that, right? They've got all the different motors in it. Because if you played that little, stupid game that Nintendo released at the opening of the Switch, the release of that 1-2-Switch, it's got a bunch of stuff in there. And like, you can, one of the games has something where you move this and you try to figure out how many marbles are in the container.

And I got to be honest, when you play that, it does feel like there's marbles rolling around inside this Joy-Con. Same thing is going to happen on that controller. They're going to have a number of motors with different capabilities, sensitivity for that.

But they also talked about the adaptive triggers on there.

Smitty: Well, that's cool. That means if you pull it like halfway back, it will fire once. If you pull it all the way back, it'll fire all –

Dan: Automatic or something, yeah.

Erik: It will also change how hard it is that you have to actually pull the trigger. In a game like that, it might be easy to pull it about halfway, and then you really have to like –

Smitty: That might be the speed that you're pulling it –

Erik: Give it a tug –

Smitty: And then, you can actually like slowly –

Erik: Get a click.

Smitty: Like finesse something maybe. Yeah, that'll be interesting to see. I mean, eventually, who had done the glove? I forgot a long time ago –

Erik: Nintendo, the Power Glove.

Smitty: Yeah, the Power Glove. That almost seems like that still would be, if you had two gloves, that nowadays –

Erik: You would not be Michael Jackson, if you had two of them.

Smitty: Well, hey, listen, he was way ahead of his time. Let's just say, with the whole glove and the mask and the –

Dan: But let's be honest, the Power Glove was not the greatest thing.

Erik: No, but the technology wasn't there yet.

Smitty: Yeah, but the idea of it is –

Dan: But the idea, yeah.

Erik: Yeah, the idea.

Dan: You know, so I think –

Erik: But the tech wasn't there, man.

Dan: No.

Smitty: Still not there.

Dan: Just play, tilt your hand back and forth to play Ridge Racer.

Erik: I had one. I honestly did own a Power Glove. I had one. I got it as a gift from my parents. It was amazing for the time, and so dumb, I have to say.

 

[BREAK]

 

Dan: Well, it was a pretty good reveal, though. I mean, it was neat to have it kind of revealed this way, where you didn't have a big stage where we were watching the big reveal with a thousand other people watching. I think this time, everybody felt like they were inside that room, all getting to see it at the same time.

In fact, I had a conference call today scheduled for 3:00 and they canceled to move it to tomorrow because everybody wanted to watch the reveal. They didn't want to miss out on the news.

Erik: Of course.

Dan: As it broke. And so, it was kind of interesting in this new COVID version of E3 that's happening now this week and next week and the following weeks where everyone's making their announcements. And it's actually not an evolution or something. It's just a different way of watching it all and getting exposed. And I honestly kind of liked it.

It was like watching the Space Shuttle take off, or you know, we're all watching it at the same time, it's live. And we got to all enjoy it at the same time. It seemed like a cooler experience. It made me want to watch the reveal and sit there for the entire hour and watch everything with headphones on. Because it felt like you were a part of the news.

Anyway, good on Sony for putting together a really nice package and doing a lot of fun editing. And like I said, including developers, and I thought it was a pretty nice hour. It was pretty tight.

Erik: I'm rather excited about it. I think there's a number of games that I saw today that I would want to check out and I would want to play. Yeah. I'm probably going to pick one up if it's not a thousand dollars.

Dan: That's the key piece of information that they didn't let us know, is how much it's going to cost, right?

Erik: Didn't share. Did not share. Rumor has it, that based on some sort of supposed misposting on Amazon UK, where they posted it like 599 pounds or euros or whatever.

Dan: It's like $700 US or something like that.

Erik: Yeah.

Smitty: $699 US.

Erik: That's a lot of dough.

Smitty: I don't think they should go that high.

Erik: I don't know if that's going to be true or not. But if it's $500, $600, I still might pick one up, being a PS5.

Dan: They could do the, the digital could be five. The digital could be five, it's a cheaper version, like they could pull an Apple where they have like a higher tier quality one like the one with the disc drive is more expensive. They have a cheaper option for people. That could be what that is.

Smitty: Well, but you got all this ray tracing.

Erik: Keep in mind though, that this is going to be an Ultra HD Blu-ray player that's got a remote. It's going to become a part of your entertainment system. And so, if you start adding up the pieces there, it's going to have all the capabilities. It's going to have HDR capability for the brand new HDR TVs that people are picking up, that type of thing.

I think for the right person, that's not an issue, considering some of these people are going to go, "Gosh, I've been on the fence about buying one of these new Blu-ray players that I want. It's got the Ultra HD, well, this already has it, I'll just..." I mean, that's what got me to buy the PS3.

Dan: It is, yeah. That's exactly right.

Smitty: But I mean, on the pricing and the strategy of the pricing, no matter what they price it at, they are losing money on the hard drive.

Erik: Oh, yeah.

Smitty: It could be priced at $999. Right under a thousand dollars. And they'd probably still be losing money on the hardware, on every single thing you sell. Because they're at least going to include one controller, for sure. And but the hardware. I just got this new PC, right? And it had a smoking hot graphics accelerator in it, and it's the 11 gig NVIDIA GeForce RTX 2080 Ti, which is VR ready. That's what I've got in my PC now.

Erik: With ray tracing.

Smitty: Well, it’ll enable a hell of a lot of ray tracing.

Erik: I know.

Smitty: And so, I looked up, just how much, because this was part of this PC that I was getting, it was like a pre-built that didn't have all the components priced out. I went and looked at the RTX 2080 Ti, how much is that card? It's $1200, $1300 bucks. I think it's $1300 bucks.

And so, that's just the graphics card. Let me see. If the PS5 went on sale for $700, well, you just got $500 off a smoking hot graphics accelerator and got a hard drive and everything else around it for free. Yeah, it's going to be, if it is, I almost suspect they're going to have a thousand dollar version of it. But that's not the mass consumer version of it.

I think it's going to have maybe, let's see if we can predict the future. I don't think they'll have backwards compatibility across all Sony disc-based games out of the box, but I bet you they sell an accessory that might do that. It might be a disc player that will receive any disc.

Dan: Once you get to a certain level, I think they might have it backwards compatible to PS4, because everyone still has their PS4 games.

Smitty: Well, sure that better be out of the box.

Dan: But yeah, but they have to do like when it comes to the older games, they can just have it like Nintendo has, where they have all their older games available online for people to play. And they can just do a similar thing with their PlayStation store or whatever and have all these older games.

Smitty: But do you have to buy them again?

Dan: But they're so small, you –

Smitty: You have to buy them again.

Dan: Yeah, you have to buy them again. Yeah, that's the problem, so people –

Erik: That's a shame, though.

Dan: Yeah.

Erik: If that's the case.

Dan: Or they'll be five bucks or something like that. It wouldn't be very expensive.

Smitty: But or, if you could put that disc into some device and it would authenticate that you do own it on disc and then maybe you got it half-off for a digital download –

Dan: That would be good.

Smitty: Something along the... I just have a feeling that there's going to be an accessory that allows for... And I'm serious. I don't know any of this. I am not privy to any kind of insight.

Erik: You heard it here first.

Smitty: No, no. I mean, no. This is not –

Dan: It's going to be a headline tomorrow.

Smitty: Bro, I'm not involved on –

Dan: IGN.

Erik: Sony lawyers are coming for you.

Smitty: Trust me, I have never, ever in my life had this discussion with anybody at Sony or anybody else. This is purely a consumer opinion here being expressed. But it seems like, because I've seen that before where they have an accessory, an extra disc drive, external hard drive. That kind of idea. I still think it could probably be around here because even though it's a terabyte hard drive, well, there is a two terabyte hard drive that does exist, you know?

Dan: Yeah, yeah.

Smitty: You can have more storage. And you could probably have... And so, the only thing that made me think about that was when they did advertise the fact that there was a HD camera, additional accessory. And then, there was this media remote. Probably an additional accessory.

Dan: Oh, of course, yes.

Erik: And headphones.

Dan: And headphones.

Smitty: That's right. And headphones.

Dan: And the charging device or whatever. All that stuff is going to be extra.

Smitty: And everything looks like the Tower of Sauron.

Erik: Yeah. With the eye. That's right. They have the HD camera, too.

Smitty: With the eye. If you put the camera on it, then that's the Eye of Sauron.

Erik: That's right.

Smitty: Then you've got a Lord of the Rings episode happening right there. But anyway –

Erik: Yeah, I honestly though, this was still a super exciting event I think. No matter what type of gaming you'd like, and if you're a fan of games at all, even if you're not somebody who goes and runs out and buys every single PlayStation, you're still probably going to tune in and check all these videos out just to see what's coming.

Dan: And we don't have a release date yet, though, right? No release date?

Smitty: No, they said later this year.

Dan: Okay.

Smitty: And at the end, they said, "We'll be releasing later this year." But then, at the very beginning, the very beginning of the video, it said, "2021." And so –

Dan: Wow. I think it's going to be December then –

Smitty: There was conflicting, well, I mean, if they're not doing a Christmas release, what are they doing?

Dan: Right.

Erik: I don't know.

Smitty: I mean, that's –

Erik: Nintendo is the only one that gets away with that.

Smitty: I am almost positive that COVID-19 is not going to cancel Christmas this year. You know what I'm saying?

Erik: We're way too far away from me to bank on that, though.

Smitty: Well, I mean it's not going to cancel Christmas. Christmas is still going to happen. It might be an online Christmas, but it's still going to happen. You know what I'm saying?

Erik: "You're going to FaceTime with Santa, kid, don't worry about it. Just sit here on Daddy's knee and look into the camera."

Smitty: And the other, just to have a moment of silence for 2020. This was the year because of leap year, everything got reset to cool, man. Christmas is on Friday. New Year's is on Friday. Halloween is on the weekend. My birthday was on a Friday. I mean, like everything was lined up.

We just, I am really keeping my fingers crossed that Sony comes out for Halloween, you know? And you got plenty of time to get things and the great games to come out for Christmas. But also, one of the biggest buying sprees comes the two weeks following Christmas. Leading up to January 15th.

That's another big extravaganza for a lot of games to hit. Never fear, what you're seeing doesn't come out before Christmas, I'm betting you it's going to come out right after. Get, start saving your money now, kids.

And one day, maybe Special Reserve, we might even have a PS5, a physical game to talk about. Maybe sooner than you think.

 

[BREAK]

 

Dan: We're going to do another developer spotlight this week. And this week, we're going to focus on a previous release from Special Reserve Games, and that is Minit.

Smitty: Minit is a great game where you actually, I don't want to say die. But you cease being able to play actively every single minute. It was a fun concept, it's black and white. It's kind of got that Fog of War elements in some of the areas. And you basically have to figure out where you want to go in a minute. Now, Minit is spelled M-I-N-I-T, if you're going to look it up online.

It was developed not by a house, but by four individuals. JW, Kitty, Jukio, and Dom. And oddly enough, when we were putting together the jacket cover for Minit and everything that represented the logo of the developer, that we put on the jacket covers or anything, the cartridges as per the template for Sony or for Nintendo, they all pushed back and said, "Well, we need a developer logo, because these are just four people's names."

And we said, and they still don't. And I said, "Well, that is the logo." And so, they said, "Well, you're going to have to at least stack them. Two by two." And so, if you look at any of them, we still could put the developer logos on the front of the cases back then, and it didn't just have to be the publisher.

And so, anyway, just a little side note about Minit. It is one of the only games I've ever seen where every member of the development team is listed on the front of the jacket cover.

Dan: Very cool. Here's a conversation that our very own J Ball, shall we tell people who J Ball is?

Smitty: Yeah, that's Jonathan Ball. He's been with the team kind of in private. He's a professional writer. He actually is. That's what he does for a living. He writes books. He teaches things about writing and linguistics and language. And we're lucky to have him on the team. But he actually interviews some of the developers we work with.

Dan: He's actually talking to Kitty and JW in this interview.

Jonathan Ball: Thanks very much for talking to me. What I really like about Minit, it has that very clear engine or clear mechanic. I'm wondering how you kind of settled on that core mechanic of dying every minute. And if there were other ways that that was operating earlier. Did you have a different way that that worked early? Or different kinds of constraints before you settled on that particular constraint?

Kitty Calis: Minit kind of came from Adventure Time. We really love Adventure Time and how every episode is a different adventure. Taking that core of having a different adventure every time, we turn it into a minute. Like, you have a minute to explore and –  

JW Nijman: Whatever direction you go.

Calis: Yeah. You had in, there was always a new adventure waiting for you. In the forest, you have a minute, but for us it's just like we can, can see how fast you can go in a minute for like, what really is it that you can explore. And to be really honest, the game is designed to go over in 40 seconds, so we know for sure that every puzzle we created is possible.

Nijman: Yeah. I think that also, and looks back to what you said about, it's like boiled down. Or we sometimes called it like a condensed game. Because we have that minute constraint, it allowed us to cut out all the fluff. Because you don't want to waste any one second. Every second is precious, so we don't want people replaying stuff. We want every minute to kind of feel fresh and exciting, so you're not fighting the same enemies over and over again. Not solving a hundred different box squishing puzzles.

Calis: And it, yeah.

Nijman: It's super fun to work like that. I think it, what, you want to say?

Calis: I think for me, it's super fun to watch. When you see people playing, you can have two people playing the same game, and then, as soon as they're finished, some people finish with 40% secret slots or others finish with like –

Nijman: No coins or something.

Calis: No coins or their completion, yes. And they finished a full game including all secrets. And I think it's really fun to see each play cell.

Nijman: Yeah.

Calis: We literally went over every single screen and said, "Okay, I want something fun to be in here. Like, something to be moving, some secrets." And like –

Nijman: Something exciting. Yeah.

Calis: Yeah, I feel like every, hopefully, if you go somewhere and you haven't found anything yet, you'll be able to find something that you haven't seen before or noticed.

Nijman: At first, it was like, "Ay, let's make a game and it's going to be really fun for the players to have to figure this out with the time pressure." And that is true, but I think over development what became more true is that those limits really helped us as developers be more creative and come up with more unique things. And what started out as kind of a challenge for the players became this really fun challenge for us.

Calis: Yeah.

Nijman: At putting the game together. And I think that really helped the project a lot.

Calis: Yes, it definitely made shining the light on the creative side.

Ball: When I teach creative writing, I tell people if you're stuck, just make some rules, and so, you can do less things. You have a great core story concept, it was just this idea that you can find a cursing sword that kills you every minute. And then, you have to go to the sword factory to file a complaint, more or less. I love that initial story idea.

I'm wondering what led to that initial story idea, when you started to hang a story on this mechanical concept?

Calis: I think a lot of the story of Minit is based on like our personal lives. Would I pick up the sword in real life? I don't think so.

Nijman: It's a bad idea. That was like the basic premise.

Calis: And if you have something that you got and isn't working or it's affecting you in a bad way, you'll probably go and like return it.

Nijman: See if you can get a refund. And then, customer service is always really annoying, so that became a part of the game. Or like just random people we met. And I think as game designers, I think we're better at building a world than at telling a story. It's hard for us to do proper story structure or things like that. But we can build a world with cool, funny characters and little jokes.

And I think the game allowed us to focus on that as a strength. And then, getting the real story as simple as it is together was just super iterative, finding, "Hey, what, who did we meet yesterday and can we work them somehow in the game?" And then, by the end, that kind of, we did some cutting, some characters or adding a little bit of text here to just make it all work together well, which is super fun for us as, and I think that was also a part of having limitations for us. We're not writers. But we can write a funny tweet. The format of the characters and the emphasis in Minit really suited our personal way of writing well, I think.

Calis: Yeah. And even when it came down to localization and stuff, we worked together with another company and for example, if you encountered a turtle in the game, it talks very slowly. And we basically said, "Hey, it doesn't really matter what he's saying. Only if like the last bit is this part." Because that's part of the puzzle and that's what everyone needs to know, but it has to be the last bit. And like constrains there. For me, it's really fun to work with.

Nijman: Recently, we actually went over all the turtle dialogue, like the slow talking turtle in every language and put it through Google Translate to see the differences and it was all like vaguely nautical talking about boats, but all very different. That was like super funny to see.

Calis: Yeah, like in some versions, he said, "Wait, I would love to go in a boat." Or – 

Nijman: And the other was like, "I love the smell of the ocean." Or something.

Calis: Or, "I wait for the boats." And I felt like it's so funny.

Ball: How do the four of you actually get together to make this game? How did the four of you come together and how do you decide to work together on a game like this?

Calis: Jukio is someone who knows JW and Jukio met like a long, long time ago, and they worked together on a project like –  

Nijman: Luftrausers.

Calis: Luftrausers, Nuclear Throne.

Nijman: Yeah, I'm actually. First time I heard of Jukio's existence was on a forum we were both at when we were like 15 or something. He was user #2000, so it's like, "Oh, let's check out user #2000," there was a blog post on the front page about him or something. And then, I saw him, I'm like this guy, he's nice. And then, we kind of stayed in touch ever since.

Nijman: Kitty and I also go way back. We met like nine years ago, pretty much. We met Dom on a bus once on the way back from an event, a games event and he was just there. He was also a game developer. And we had a really good conversation. And then, by the time we were all wrapping up our bigger projects, and Kitty and I had the idea to take this little Adventure Time idea and turn it into a full game.

Everybody just happened to be available and it just naturally came from there. It seems like our skills would work well together.

Calis: Yeah, I guess timing is everything.

Nijman: Yeah. And it would've been a super different game if we would've worked with different people. I'm super thankful for the good team. I'm really happy with what we managed to put together.

Calis: Yeah, I feel like everyone put so much of themselves into the game.

Ball: Why is it important for you to have physical copies of this game? And those booklets and so on?

Calis: Nowadays, everything is digital. And whatever you're on, that's fine, too. But it's just like having something in your hands and holding it, it's, I don't know, it's a special feeling. Usually, I don't know, every day, how many things do you hold? It's probably your laptop or like your phone. It's nice to have, like, get a text message from a friend you like. But if you get something in the mail, which is already, and like a super sweet experience. Because nowadays, if you get mail, it's probably only bills.

Nijman: Right. And that enhances the whole experience of playing it, too. Yeah. It's not like you go on some slick gamer looking website, you know? And then, you have to wait for an ugly download bar and then you can play the game. It's like you actually get something in the mail, you get to open it. It makes it a way more fun experience. But yeah, I also really love that people like our game so much that they're willing to have it take up space in their house. To me that's amazing.

That is so nice. And the fact that people actually are as excited about it as we are, that they actually order this and buy it, to me that's really incredible and heartwarming and also kind of makes you like, "All right, we have to make something really cool and beautiful and..." I mean, that's why it was also so nice collaborating on this because everybody wanted it to be just really high quality.

I don't know if I can swear on it, but no bullshit. No throwaway bullshit. It's something really pretty and nice and that suits the game. And I think it also fits the game itself well, in terms of the adventure happening. Like the basement filled with weird maps and rusty artifacts. You could probably put the copy of the game in the basement and it wouldn't feel out of place. It's like – 

Calis: If they collect this it's cool, it's fun.

Ball: I wanted to make sure I ask you about a map that was created for the Special Reserve Games pre-order. What can you tell fans about that map?

Nijman: I think for me personally, that's one of the things I was the most excited about when we got this opportunity. When we were working on the game, we hacked together a little tool for the team, basically that made a map of all the screens that were in the game. And just seeing that grow during development was really exciting. And just I think it's kind of this really tightly knit world.

And just once the game was done, we realized, like, oh, man, this was a cool thing. I wish it was more fancy and like a real map. And then, the fact that we got to turn that into a reality was, for me personally was, really exciting, and I'm not very nostalgic usually. But that's like the kind of stuff I loved as a kid in video games.

Calis: Yes. Having like a physical edition, like with a booklet and going through it. It's like I don't know, it brings back good memories for me.

Ball: Thanks so much for talking to me. This has been really great and helpful. And I appreciate your time.

Nijman: Thank you so much, too.

Calis: Yes.

Erik: During the last episode, Nintendo goes head to head with Lego, and walks away a winner in the courtroom, but a loser in the world of plastic bricks, and the N&B Block toys are put to rest in 1972. However, a new partnership with electronics manufacturer Sharp, could potentially be the spark that ignites the imaginations of a company poised to enter a brave new world filled with electronic entertainment. Join me as we see where this new partnership takes the big N during this installment of Fire Flower: From Paper to Pixels.

The Kösenjû SP series of light guns and targets were a hit with the children, young and old. And Nintendo kept the action coming with their follow-up called the Kösenjû Custom Series. These new light guns, although more expensive, really upped the ante, increasing their effective distance from the mid-twenty foot range, to nearly 300 feet. However, at that range, it is nearly impossible to hit the smaller targets.

This series introduced both new guns and new targets, including the custom gunmen, who would fall when shot. But after collapsing to the ground for a bit, would stand back up on his own, to continue the fun. A high priced wall mounted target and lever action rifle were also part of the Kösenjû Custom Series. Released in 1971, the rifle is a full-size replica, is made of metal and plastic, and has a wood grained look to its stock. An optional scope attachment was released that is now quite rare.

Light gun entertainment wasn't relegated to small time home entertainment either. Around the same time that the Kösenjû Custom Series was released, Gunpei Yokoi added a new team member to Nintendo's R & D2 team. Recent graduate, Genyo Takeda, was teamed with Masayuki Uemura, the former Sharp engineer, now an employee of Nintendo.

Their task was to develop a larger-scale electronic shooting range system that could be installed into abandoned bowling alleys. In 1973, the laser clay shooting system was born. Players would stand near a kiosk where their light rifle was attached. And in front of them, a large mural of a nature scene was displayed across the wall.

A projector system was used to portray pigeons against the mural with reflective surfaces. When the rifle hits the target, the projector would change what was displayed accordingly. Legend has it, that on opening day of the first laser clay shooting system, filled with an anxious crowd, a technical glitch caused the system to not register the scores correctly based on the players' shots.

Takeda himself is rumored to have gone behind the scenes to update both players' scores and what was projected manually on that first day just to keep the game running and the crowd happy. The first few locations for the laser clay shooting system were a success and Hiroshi Yamauchi was poised to continue expanding the new game to other interested buyers.

The Nintendo Leisure System Company Limited, a new subsidiary of Nintendo, was created to handle the manufacture, installation and maintenance of these systems. However, in late 1973, a tragic turn of events occurred as the Organization of the Petroleum Exporting Companies or OPEC, moved to inflate oil prices nearly 400% globally. As a nation, Japan imported approximately 90% of their oil, causing gasoline and goods prices to skyrocket.

The economic impact of the oil crisis in turn caused many businesses who had ordered the Laser Clay Shooting Systems to cancel their orders, leaving Nintendo holding the bag to the tune of nearly $64 million. Clearly, a new strategy was needed if Nintendo was to survive.

Although expensive, the system was quite popular. Nintendo went back to the drawing board with the overall concept and decided to shrink the system down. This move would make it more affordable and easier to install into more locations, especially arcades, which were recently gaining attractions like Pong. This new version of the light gun system used 16 mm film projectors, which became the basis for further development of arcade-like gun machines.

These new light gun games started with a name some of you may be familiar with, Wild Gunman. In Wild Gunman, the player wears a holstered gun and faces off against one of four actors projected from one of the two 16 mm projectors onto the screen. When the gunman points, just before drawing and firing his weapon, the player needs to shoot the gunman down. Depending upon the outcome, the gunman either falls, having been shot, or completes his shot at the player.

Wild Gunman would return 10 years later as a launch title for the NES, as well as one of the games available in Nintendo's VS. arcade series, which plays a short role in Back to the Future 2. The format used by Wild Gunman was also used in a number of other games. In 1975, the game Shooting Trainer was released, where the player would accumulate a high score by shooting bottles that appeared on the screen.

The top score that could be achieved in Shooting Trainer was 40. In North America, this was released by none other than Nintendo's future competitor, Sega. A sequel to Shooting Trainer was released a few years later called New Shooting Trainer. That's right.

Nintendo's habit of sticking the word new in front of something didn't start with the successor to the 3DS. In this improved version, there were some visual differences, a screen in the middle that showed your score, and the top score possible was now 50. However, if you made it to 46, you won a free play.

A slightly different cabinet design, still with 16 mm projection is used for the 1976 release of Skyhawk, where the player shoots down enemy planes with a two-handed gun. The system was further shrunk down from 1977's release of Battle Shark, a similar game to Skyhawk, but on one. And redesigned yet again for 1978's release of Test Driver, the first of these releases not to feature a gun, but a steering wheel as the controller.

Nintendo also developed a more risque game called Fascination, where the player would shoot at a woman in a dress. Whenever she struck a pose and the player shot her, a piece of her clothing fell off until she was without clothes. For obvious reasons, the game never saw the light of day. But Nintendo's venture into light sensor technology paired with toy guns and 16 mm film projectors blazed a path into arcades that was soon to pay off in a big way.

 

[BREAK]

 

Erik: Well, it looks like Ray has broken his No. 2 pencil and he's got no more lead, so he can't trace any more. That means, it's game over.