Good Job, Brain!: Episode 31

This week, the Good Job, Brain! cast colors outside the lines. They’re expressing themselves, y’know.

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Good Job, Brain! — Episode 31: Color Me Bad! (2012-10-01)
Roses are red / violets are blue / we can’t talk about color / without mentioning poo. We dive into the world of color: weird color names, chameleons, the legitimacy of purple, cheddar cheese vs. flamingos, color character name quiz, Crayola crayon controversy, heterochromia, and why we’d want to take Monet to a rave party. ALSO: Animal collective nouns, and wine quiz. Starring Karen Chu, Colin Felton, Dana Nelson, and Chris Kohler.
Running Time: 47m 29s
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The Comedy Button: Episode 48

Milk Duds are awesome. That is all.

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The Comedy Button — Episode 48 (2012-09-28)
This week, we talk about impossible expectations for journalism, play “Indian Food or Star Wars Character,” discuss the wild and wacky goings-on during the average San Francisco morning, get bored with our futuristic toys, reminisce on how crazy New York can be, laugh at dumb pigeons, laugh at dumb cartoons (and their marketing campaigns), choose between our theoretical daughters banging either Bret Michaels or the high school football team, read the worst revenge letter ever, hate on bad candy, talk about our froo-froo toys, and investigate some bedroom mysteries. Starring Scott Bromley, Brian Altano, Anthony Gallegos, and Ryan Scott.
Running Time: 1h 17m 39s
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The Geekbox: Episode 187

Sorry for the delay this week — I had some weird, random FTP upload issue with LibSyn last night. Anyway: Local listener, ginger, and Simon Pegg lookalike Josh Young joins us once again tonight for an extra-long episode (we got so wrapped up in conversation that I lost track of time — oops!).

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The Geekbox — Episode 187 (2012-09-25)
Wherein we discuss World of Warcraft: Mists of Pandaria, Cave Story, wannabe Nintendo role-playing games, La-Mulana, Mark of the Ninja, Limbo, PlayStation Plus perks, zombie costume contests, Rat Race, Mr. Bean, mobile phones and their horrible map programs, self-driving cars, and Doctor Who (spoiler warning!), Hyrule Historia, 12-inch cows, and our new game reviews. Starring Ryan Scott, Adam Fitch, Ryan Higgins, and Josh Young.
Running Time: 1h 35m 2s
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Pre-Order Hyrule Historia!


In January, Dark Horse Comics will be releasing the English translated version of The Legend of Zelda: Hyrule Historia, and you can buy it directly from The Geekbox! For $40 (which includes shipping), you get this beautiful hardcover book, as well as an original print from The Geekbox: The Web Comic artist Leann Hill, signed by the artist and the entire cast of The Geekbox. Please use the Paypal button below if you’re in the United States. For international shipping prices, please contact Ryan Higgins, or use the contact forum on the main page.

Hyrule Historia

Dark Horse Books and Nintendo® bring you The Legend of Zelda: Hyrule Historia, containing an unparalleled collection of historical information on The Legend of Zelda™ franchise. This handsome hardcover contains never-before-seen concept art, the full history of Hyrule, the official chronology of the games, and much more! Starting with an insightful introduction by the legendary producer and video-game designer of Donkey Kong™, Mario™, and The Legend of Zelda™, Shigeru Miyamoto, this book is crammed full of information about the storied history of Link’s adventures from the creators themselves! As a bonus, The Legend of Zelda: Hyrule Historia includes an exclusive comic by the foremost creator of The Legend of Zelda manga—Akira Himekawa!

* The full history and making of the The Legend of Zelda™ franchise, never-before-seen concept art!

* Introduction by Shigeru Miyamoto!

The Comic Conspiracy: Episode 76

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The Comic Conspiracy — Episode 76 (2012-09-24)
Full table this week, and we discuss Castle Grayskull, comic backups, Judge Dread, sorting issue #0s, Fables, disappointing popular titles, double-shipping and variants, the ending of Punisher, the big Stan Lee rumor, Batman Live, and Omar’s big HeroClix update. Starring Ryan Higgins, Omar Brodrick, Brock Sager, Toby Sidler, and Charlie West.
Running Time: 1h 12m 05s
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Good Job, Brain!: Episode 30

Psssssh, video game trivia. What a bunch of noobs. They’re just lucky I wasn’t on!

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Good Job, Brain! — Episode 30: ALL QUIZ BONANZA! #6 (2012-09-24)
SWEAT. Flex those Adonis mental muscles, because it’s another All Quiz Bonanza! Video game trivia, “Belgium or Not Belgium?,” Tarantino flicks, famous scientist anagrams, name that X-Men power, rockstar alter egos, and movie trivia GALORE. This episode is dedicated to our superfriend and superlistener Fred G, who’s our top Kickstarter backer! Starring Karen Chu, Colin Felton, Dana Nelson, and Chris Kohler.
Running Time: 47m 2s
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Geekbox Reviews: Black Mesa

I’m happy to announce that we’re gonna start doing some game reviews on the website here and there, in a two-man conversational format that basically repurposes some of the coverage I used to do back at GameSpy. It’s a fun, casual format that my pals and I are fond of, and I’m hoping you all might enjoy the occasional review. For this first review, two of my longtime writers and former Geekbox podcast guest-stars, Eric Neigher and David Wolinsky, tackle the fan-made Half-Life remake, Black Mesa. Let us know what you think in the comments or on the forums; I’d love to get some feedback on the format and the overall idea of having written content on the site.

Black Mesa
Publisher: Black Mesa Modification Team and Valve Corporation (via Steam Greenlight)
Developer: Black Mesa Modification Team
Platforms: PC (September 14, 2012)
Genre: First-person shooter
Official Website:
Reviewed By: Eric Neigher and David Wolinsky

Eric Neigher, Pimp Daddy: I’ll just say it: Half-Life hasn’t aged well. Ironically, this might be because other first-person shooters have since done to death the things that Valve’s original magnum opus originated: killer A.I. soldiers, secret weapons and technology, combat suits, zombies, and all the rest. Because so many others have perfected Half-Life’s individual aspects, if you’re coming at crowbar-toting scientist Gordon Freeman’s adventure for the first time with the loving Black Mesa fan remake (by way of the Steam Greenlight project), it’s gonna feel pretty dull. David, I know you’re not really much of a shooter guy yourself, but do you think that’s what you’re feeling when you play? Or do you just not like the game, period?

David Wolinsky, Master Chief: I am not making the comparison at all, but the phrase “Duke Nukem Forever” entered my mind a few times as I played Black Mesa. I don’t want to fall into a debate about whether fan-made projects themselves merit existing; let’s just zero in on Black Mesa itself. The fact is, the creators spent years remaking it in Valve’s Source engine, and it should stand on its own. So: Does it?

I used to be a huge shooter guy — and if I want to go and experience Half-Life, I will go and play the original game that Valve made back in the ’90s. I feel like I’m in an old house with a new coat of paint. The A.I. scientists and other folks you run into might look better, but they still act like vacant-eyed robots. This is more like a half-measure — why stop short of tweaking everything and updating it, if they spent this long on it?

But to answer your question, it’s not that I dislike it… I just don’t really like it. It’s pretty middle-of-the-road. I’m also just less inclined to like it anyway; I’d rather see new ideas done, not remakes of old ideas that were fine the first time around. Am I just an old coot who should go back to prison, or do you agree at all? Did you find yourself liking it more than the original? How did you find the experience to be different and/or better?

Eric: I wouldn’t say I liked it more, but I appreciated it more. It’s nostalgic to go back and play this, and it’s gratifying, in a way, if you’re a big fan of the game or series, to know that others out there are just as interested in keeping the flame alive. I guess the real question for this one, then, is: How much do you like Half-Life? If you’re a big fan, I think you’ll dig Black Mesa a lot. It’s a hell of a feat for some guys with a level editor and some graphical tools, and that’s great. Then again, just because it was hard to make doesn’t mean it has any value. It might be hard for me to make a life-size sculpture of Barack Obama out of belly-button lint and then launch it into space to declare his supremacy as the one and only master of America, but that doesn’t mean anyone wants to fund the project. I know, because I applied for grants. It’s a very complex process, really, and I feel I deserved the money more than the guy who wanted to invent steaks made of chicken… but, hey, to each his own.

The point of all this is, Black Mesa is more an exercise in nostalgia than standalone gaming. We’ve seen plenty of other such exercises: remakes of Ultima V and VI by way of the Dungeon Siege engine, a completely new fan campaign for Wing Commander made with the FreeSpace engine, even a remake of Street Fighter with the Jean-Claude Van Damme engine. So it’s not like this is an uncommon phenomenon. But what does it tap into? Why, David — WHY!?

David: What does it tap into? That same sense of wonder and excitement we felt as kids when we’d have our court-appointed guardian or wolf read us same story over and over again. Humans love repetition, and — as a collective culture — we have a tough time with just letting stuff go. We’re terrified of death and don’t even want to discuss it openly at funerals, wakes, or brisses (brie?). Remakes are nothing new, and they’re becoming more and more common in games — it’s just that we usually tend to call them “reboots” now. Black Mesa is pretty much a 1:1 high-definition remake of Half-Life. So. I don’t think this is going to convert anyone who doesn’t already love the game or the series. I also don’t think it’s designed to. I also don’t really care how anyone else is going to receive it. My opinion? It’s fine. What are your final thoughts on it?

Eric: Yeah, I’m with you. It’s nothing earth-shattering (or even earth slight-crack-in-the-paint-jobbing), but it serves its purpose: keeping us connected to our gaming past, and maybe, just maybe bringing in some youngsters to the games we loved without having to lock them in a room with an old 486 PC and lying to them about communism actually still working as a viable economic system somewhere in the world.

FINAL SCORE: 756 out of 1260 crowbars to the face

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