The return of podcasting

Season 3 of the Space Quest Historian Podcast might be done, but I’m not done with podcasting. I’ll never be done with podcasting! Uh … ahem.

My other podcast, Back Seat Designers, has just started its 4th season. Along with my co-hosts, Fred and Gareth, we’ve decided to break out of our comfort zone and start doing interviews with people who actually know what they’re talking about.

The first episode is out now, and it guest stars Steve Gaynor, the writer and producer of Gone Home — a game that I absolutely love to bits. The second episode comes out this Sunday and has another special guest who is very special indeed.

New Back Seat Designers episodes will come out every Sunday from now on until we either get sick of doing them or game developers of the world stop speaking to us.

screen-shot-2017-01-20-at-15-03-46
Back Seat Designers: three faces only a mother could love.

On the broader side of the nerd spectrum, my other-other podcast, Nerd Against the Machine!, is back following a hiatus dating back to October 2016. Whereas the SQH and BSD podcasts are squarely about gaming, the Nerd podcast has co-host Robert and myself talk about everything under the nerd sun — from games to music to movies to anime to how to eat a pizza in New York.

Episodes of the Nerd podcast don’t have a set schedule, but we plan to do something at least once a month. We won’t go another three months without an episode, that’s for sure.

Last but not least, I promised Joe of the Upper Memory Block podcast that I would do a guest episode for him. I wanted it to be about Steel Empire (known as Cyber Empires in the U.S.), one of my favorite games when I was a child.

General Shit-For-Brains, take the command chair!

To that end, I have been in contact with the game’s original creator, Silicon Knights founder Denis Dyack, with the hopes of getting his recollections about the game’s development “on tape,” as it were. That proved more difficult than anticipated, since the idea hit just around the end of November, and then all sorts of holiday nonsense happened.

But I finally get to sit down and have a chat with Denis tomorrow, which will then be worked into a full-length guest episode for Joe’s podcast. I’m really excited about that!

Other than that, I just finished my latest music album, so I now have the time to concentrate on doing Space Quest Historian: The Adventure Game, as foolishly promised as a Patreon milestone goal. Yes, that is a thing, and it is happening. But it’s also not a podcast, so I will say no more of it in this post …

I re-recorded a fan game soundtrack I made 15 odd years ago

I can’t remember the exact year or circumstances, but back when I was a wee Space Quest Historian I had the good fortune of being asked a couple of times to write music for various Space Quest fan games. I’d been doing weird renditions of the Space Quest theme for a while and putting them up there to, mostly, annoy people, first as .MOD tracker files, and then moving on to General MIDI.

One such project was by a guy who called himself Menbailee. He’d been frequenting the Virtual Broomcloset forums, who back then were a buzzing hive of activity, and he seemed like an okay sort of bloke. I want to say he wanted to do a Klik-n-Play game, because that’s what I remember, but I might be wrong about that. He was calling it The Goliath Series.

It was going to take place after Space Quest V, when Roger was still briefly commanding officer of the SCS Goliath. And then something something evil guy called Khar’n haha funny pun something, and that’s really all I can remember about it. I think you shot something at one point.

Yup, that Goliah.
Yup, that Goliah.

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Happy new year! Have a cheesy mug

Hope everyone had a great New Year! It’s finally 2017 and we can stop blaming four random digits for everything that goes wrong in our lives.

While I’m being such an endearing person, maybe I can share a bit of news with you. As of just two days before the new year, my Patreon shot past the $80 a month milestone mark. Thank you so much to all these lovely people!

The milestone meant that I now had to look into merchandising — well knowing that probably not a single soul on this planet would be caught dead wearing or decorating their house with anything that resembles me.

But I said I’d do it, and by god I did it. Behold! The official SQH Swag Store!

Yup. You made that happen. Aren't you proud of yourselves?
Yup. You made that happen. Aren’t you proud of yourselves?

The store has all the usual shit, like t-shirts and a hat and some posters, like this cataract-inducing hippie shirt:

My eyes!
My eyes!

And this fill-in-your-own-death-at-the-hands-of-CyberCedric poster:

"That rat-bastard owl set my house on fire."
“That rat-bastard owl set my house on fire.”

I honestly don’t think anyone will truly buy these, and I’ll be the first to admit it’s a bit pricey (even though I’ve set the profit margin as low as Zazzle will let me). But they were fun to make!

And if anyone does go ahead and buy any of these items, please send me a picture and I will post it flagrantly across the social media landscape!

In other news, 2017 is also the year where I finally get a semi-decent, somewhat professional recording setup! My wife gave me a kick-ass camera for Christmas, and I now have my own little room with my own bright-as-a-thousand-suns light set up, so my videos finally won’t look like total, utter ass.

You can't tell if I'm wearing pants in this picture, and that's intentional.
You can’t tell if I’m wearing pants in this picture, and that’s intentional.

If you’ve watched my last couple of videos, you’ll have seen how this is a much needed improvement over the old stuff I used to record in my bedroom with my laptop’s onboard webcam. I’ve also found ways to improve the audio quality of my commentary (I discovered auto-gate in Audacity), although I do realize that the sound is now a bit echoey — I’m going to look into some echo-dampening stuff soon.

What’s coming in 2017 from me, you may ask? Well, more of the same, really.

The live streams are going to pick up again, starting this Wednesday with part 2 of my Beneath A Steel Sky playthrough. And there will still be edited Let’s Play videos every Tuesday and Thursday.

One thing I plan to do more of in the coming year is blogging on the very site you’re reading right now. And I also plan on finally concentrating on getting the promised Space Quest Historian: The Adventure Game finished. We’ve got a story/design doc ready to roll, written by long time friend of the show Josh Henry, and it’s looking mighty fine!

Oh, and I’m working on a little special musical treat that should come out in a few days … stay tuned for that one. I’ll post about it here when it’s ready.

Well, that’s pretty much it! Happy New Year, and I hope to see you for another year of bigger and better things in SQH land!

BUY SOME SHIT!
BUY SOME SHIT!

Game of the Motherfucking Year: Nelly Cootalot – The Fowl Fleet

It was actually hard to name a “Game of the Motherfucking Year” for 2016, but I’ve decided to go with Nelly Cootalot – The Fowl Fleet for two simple reasons:

  1. It was a good game.
  2. It made me laugh.

Game of the Motherfucking Year 2016: Nelly Cootalot - The Fowl Fleet

By “good game,” I mean it had well-designed puzzles, had a good story, and completing it felt like a worthwhile accomplishment.

By “it made me laugh,” I mean it honestly made me laugh. You know when you write LOL online but didn’t actually LOL? Most of the time when we say something made us laugh, it didn’t actually make us physically laugh; it just triggered that part of your brain that goes, “That was funny,” and we recognize it as funny.

They do.
They do.

Nelly Cootalot made me laugh. Like, out loud. Loud enough to wake my wife, who was sleeping when I was playing it.

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