E.4 – Hearthstone: The Boomsday Project

It’s been nearly half-a-decade since Blizzard Entertainment disrupted the card game scene with Hearthstone. Its community is still going strong, and is now enjoying one of its most fun & balanced seasons thanks to The Boomsday Project: an otherworldly expansion pack filled with mad scientists and happy accidents.

In our fourth episode, we discuss not only the state & direction of Hearthstone, but also revisit the foundation it was built upon: its accessibility, visual flare, skill-to-luck ratio, deck construction and more. Returning from our debut episode to talk through it all is my dear friend, Alex Koval.

We also welcome an additional and very special guest: concept artist & illustrator, David Kegg. David has had the unique pleasure of creating some of the excellent artwork found in Hearthstone’s latest set and trailers. Today he joins us to talk shop about the look & feel of the game, his artistic contributions and the process to bringing aspects of Hearthstone’s world to life.

Additional Credits & Notes:

  • Music in this episode is from the OSTs to both Hearthstone and its latest expansion, The Boomsday Project.
  • Alex Koval is a full-stack web developer, a student of both philosophy and psychology, and a fan of the horror genre. We’ve been best friends since 2nd grade, and some of his favorite games include Resident Evil, Final Fantasy Tactics, Eternal Darkness, and the childhood classic Banjo Kazooie.
  • David Kegg and I went to art school together at the Cleveland Institute of Art, and he has been a professional concept artist & illustrator ever since. His work can be viewed online through ArtStation, as well as on Instagram and Twitter (@DKeggArt).

E.3 – Uncharted: The Lost Legacy

Uncharted 4: A Thief’s End left Naughty Dog’s critically-acclaimed action adventure series feeling far more complete than most games are known for. Apparently, its creators felt otherwise.

Somewhere between an epilogue and a standalone chapter, Uncharted: The Lost Legacy managed to distill the best parts of the series without overstaying its welcome. And by handing the reins over to someone other than Nathan Drake, it discovers at least one more adventure worth taking.

Hilary Bovay returns to the guest seat to uncover what secrets Uncharted still has to offer, as series favorites Chloe & Nadine take the lead. Tune in for our conversation exploring the game’s mythological and cultural background, cinematic qualities, production methods, acting, writing, and more.

Additional Credits & Notes:

  • Hilary Bovay is an incredibly talented photographer from Aquidneck Island, RI, now based out of Cleveland, OH. She has a keen eye for aesthetics & visual storytelling, and her love for the original Crash Bandicoot is all you’ll ever need to know about her taste in video games.
  • Music in this episode is from the OST to Uncharted: The Lost Legacy, composed by Henry Jackman.
  • Outro bumper clips courtesy of YouTube user SuperNormalMode.

E.2 – Crash Bandicoot N. Sane Trilogy

It’s another deep-dive into another remake…of another classic Playstation series from the mid-to-late 90’s – and it’s on the anniversary of Crash Bandicoot N. Sane Trilogy. We might be a year late to the conversation, but we’re just too fond of the orange marsupial to let that stop us.

Originally created by Naughty Dog, the Saturday-cartoon-style platformer made waves in 1996, just as the industry was discovering the 3rd dimension. With its lush art direction, innovative gameplay, expressive characters and irreverent attitude, Crash Bandicoot cemented Naughty Dog as the world-class studio we still know it to be. But it’s Vicarious Visions’ remake that brought Crash to an entirely new generation last June — and to the center of our discussion today.

Not only is Crash’s makeover a piece of modern entertainment, but an important entry into the efforts of game preservation. By adapting & rebuilding the trilogy for modern consoles and players, Vicarious Visions brought a renewed clarity to a notable slice of gaming history. We look at what choices they had to consider, what they refined, what they changed, and what they preserved with an unwavering loyalty.

Being a year removed from the N. Sane Trilogy has its benefits, though. As three-games-in-one, this was no easy topic to digest nor keep to an hour. But our mutual hindsight keeps things sprightly and candid. My partner and guest, Hilary Bovay, is the only other person I know who grew up with a love for this trilogy to match my own. Join us for a myriad of perspectives as we breakdown the classic Crash Bandicoot trilogy and its gorgeously challenging remake.

Additional Credits & Notes:

  • Hilary Bovay is an incredibly talented photographer from Aquidneck Island, RI, now based out of Cleveland, OH. She has a keen eye for aesthetics & visual storytelling, and her love for the original Crash Bandicoot is all you’ll ever need to know about her taste in video games.
  • Read Andrew’s feature story on Engadget to learn more about Vicarious Visions’ process and determination behind their Crash Bandicoot N. Sane Trilogy, view exclusive concept art, and more.
  • Music in this episode is from the OST’s to Crash Bandicoot and Crash Bandicoot N. Sane Trilogy, composed by Josh Mancell. The title theme featured at the top of the episode was reproduced by Justin Joyner (Audio Lead at Vicarious Visions).

E.1 – Resident Evil 2 (Remake): First Impressions & Retrospective

Welcome to the inaugural episode of Screen Looking, a podcast where close friends take a closer look at their favorite video games.

We’ll be focusing on one game per episode from the perspective of its artwork, game design and storytelling, ranging from contemporary blockbusters to remakes and indies. Typically, we’ll unpack games we’ve already played through. But because this is our first episode, we decided to discuss something special: the newly announced remake of Resident Evil 2 (RE2).

RE2 was originally released in 1998 to critical acclaim as a two-disc game for the Sony Playstation, shortly following its breakthrough predecessor. Twenty years later, it’s finally getting the remake fans have been clamoring for since Resident Evil’s in 2002. The pair of survival horror classics defined a new genre and terrified gamers in their formative years. My guest, Alex Koval, and I can attest to this, as it’s a series we grew up playing together, bonding over, and thinking about ever since.

Join us as we look at what gave RE2 the status it earned in 1998, our impressions of the remake fresh off of its E3 reveal, and what we look forward to seeing next.

Additional Credits & Notes:

  • Alex Koval is an aspiring full-stack web developer, a student of both philosophy and psychology, and a fan of horror (especially H.P. Lovecraft). We’ve been best friends since 2nd grade, and some of his favorite games include Resident Evil, Final Fantasy Tactics, Eternal Darkness, and the childhood classic Banjo Kazooie.
  • Music in this episode comes from the OST’s to both Resident Evil and Resident Evil 2
  • Audio clips from Resident Evil courtesy of “Resident Evil – Voice Acting Horror – 10 Minute Cut” by YouTube user gamegoo