E.5 – Spider-Man

If a video game is going to let you experience life as Peter Parker in 2018, it ought to feel amazing. Thankfully, it does.

Strength, grace, and a taxi-driver’s understanding of Manhattan are just a few of the advantages that Marvel’s Spider-Man affords players. Surprisingly, it’s also filled with heart, laughs, and a gravity-defying means of traversal that never grows old. After a tumultuous history in video games, the iconic character is finally done justice in the hands of Insomniac Games.

My brother, Nicholas Kuhar, and our longtime friend, Ryan Ward, join me for an extended chat about the wall-crawling adventure we’ve been waiting for. We break down what makes Spider-Man a thoughtful adaptation through its relationship with its source material, web-slinging physics, commitment to the character, and clever yet jaw-dropping presentation.

Additional Credits & Notes:

  • Spoiler Warning! Around the 30 minute mark, we start discussing major narrative and plot details.
  • Nicholas Kuhar is my brother, bandmate, and frequent donor of graphic novels. When I’m not asking him for advice, I’m usually asking about Marvel lore. He is also the Director of Innovation at St. Edward High School in Cleveland, OH, helping young students unlock their creativity through new-media and technology. Some of his favorite video games include The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild and Final Fantasy VII.
  • Ryan Ward is your go-gettin’ friendly neighborhood Spider-Fan, equipped with a heart of gold and a myriad of ways to help you not take life too seriously. His knowledge of Marvel Comics is extensive, and the Metal Gear Solid series has produced some of his favorite video games. Since growing up together in Northeast Ohio, these truths have remained the same.
  • Special thanks to Megan Kuhar for lending her audio engineering expertise & support — without it, we would have not been able to record this month’s episode.
  • Music in this episode is from Spider-Man: The Animated Series, and the OST to Marvel’s Spider-Man (composed by John Paesano).

Polygon Opinion Piece: ‘The Last Guardian’

Polygon graciously allowed me to write this intimate opinion piece for them, which explores my experience playing the long-awaited The Last Guardian and the parallels I drew between it and our bond with animals. It serves as an analysis of the game’s design, as much as it is a personal essay and investigation into the ways we all encounter animals in need.

Here’s an excerpt from the piece:

The Last Guardian doubles as an interactive metaphor for the discovery and rehabilitation of animals in situations of abuse or neglect. For being such a fantastical setting, it plays host to a cautionary tale that is grounded in reality. By offering us an extended glimpse into an abused animal’s perspective, The Last Guardian asks us to empathize: What does it mean to spend time in their environment? How are they a product of it, and how much can they change?

The full article can be found here, and I invite you to share your own story and/or takeaway from The Last Guardian.