Your hosts briefly detail how the polar vortex scraped their original plans for this evening, which involved a brewery and a night of music trivia. Michael introduces a topic that has been burning his mind, which is the various forms of nostalgia that seem to be spinning in the news. The possible looming death of GameStop is discussed including how purchasing trends of physical media seem to be declining to the point of extinction. Chris talks about some of the unpleasant aspects of the GameStop experience, and Michael ties this into other efforts to capture the attention of similar demographics with nostalgia efforts in games like Dungeons & Dragons and franchises such as Transformers and Star Wars. Chris and Michael detail their reactions to Bumblebee, which both agree was a quality movie that "felt" like it was right out of the 1980's. Michael inquires about the problems with nostalgia, and wonders if the glossed-over-the-rough-edges Queen biopic, Bohemian Rhapsody, is a sign of people being too keen to celebrate nostalgia in a safe way while overlooking reality.
We're back with an emergency episode about Weezer's Teal Album. We discuss our shared confusion about the aims of the artistic endeavor while going through the album track-by-track, and explore why a popular band from the mid-90's still inspires such blazing-hot takes across the internet. Chris and I talk about what makes a good cover album, or even a good cover song. We throw around the question, "What is the best Weezer album?" while being completely self-aware that Saturday Night Live already executed the best version of this conversation! As a bonus, I got to test out a new microphone and headset combo for the podcast, so it feels good to be back. Stay tuned for more episodes in 2019!
Your hosts recount a somewhat harrowing return trip from Montana and the hilarious Yacht Rock episode from the summer. Michael complains about the lack of instruction manuals in modern video games, and the hosts transition to discuss a recent concert they both attended to see Dead Sara. Michael talks about his appreciation for the band and thorough enjoyment of the intimate venue while Chris explains the "Minnesota Nice" politeness of Twin Cities' concert crowds. We review the Gritty phenomenon, and examine the costs and benefits of pop culture and news cycles moving so - damn - fast. Michael shares his initial shock at the adult themes and sexism that are presented for one character early in Octopath Traveler, and we close out the show by lining up future episodes.
A special on-location episode from gorgeous West Glacier, Montana! Your hosts sit down on a porch just outside of Glacier National Park to enjoy a drink and talk about a shared family vacation. We discuss how each night of the vacation was given a musical theme, and how everyone was looking forward to Yacht Rock Night. Mike talks briefly about preparing a session of Dungeons & Dragons for a group of 8-12 year-olds, and then our special guest joins the pod to talk about his appreciation of Yacht Rock. Our guest details an elaborate 50-point scale for determining just how smooth a Yacht Rock song can be. A summary cannot do his scale justice; you just have to listen to take in the magic and majesty. We unironically talk about our newfound love of artists like Michael McDonald and Kenny Loggins, and how the meaning of songs and music changes for us over the years. Listen as we celebrate our special guest's birthday, and swim in the wake of Yacht Rock's glory!
Chris and Mike briefly catch-up during the early minutes of the episode this week, and (2:00) Mike talks about his efforts to raise money and awareness for suicide prevention around the one-year anniversary of his brother's suicide. The hosts turn to (6:00) the demise of Toys R' Us, and talk about their memories of the store over the years. They explore (14:00) why the store failed, and lament (18:00) that they will not be able to take their kids through the store. A long discussion (28:00) starts about how Chris and Mike played with various lines of action figures over the years including G.I. Joe, Transformers, M.A.S.K., and He-Man. We celebrate the decades spent in Toys R' Us, and wonder what might come along that could replace that feeling of walking into a HUGE store of so many toys.
We return after another hiatus to talk about Father's Day and discuss the challenges of handling open-world games like Fallout 4 (6:00). Mike talks about his roadblocks in Horizon Zero Dawn while Chris laments his long history of leaving games like Grand Theft Auto unfinished (9:00). The hosts share tales of getting owned in Fortnite (17:00), and briefly provide some background on the State of the Pod (27:00). Mike details how he had to use Dungeons & Dragons to sweet talk an internet technician (30:00), and Chris looks for a reaction about the Chris Hardwick news (34:00). A long conversation about privilege and fandom ensues (49:00) including the limitations of online communication (52:00). We discuss how the current political climate overlaps with recent developments in fandom, and explore how responsibile we are as consumers of the same nerd/geek ecosystem.
The hosts catch up after taking a two-week break from recording the show. Michael talks openly about his brother's suicide last year, and describes how he is contacting family and friends to gather stories about his brother's life. At the 15-minute mark, the conversation turns to the new album by Jack White. The hosts express their confusion about the album, and ponder the motivations of Jack White for making it. A long discussion about fandom's relationship with art and artists ensues, and touches on numerous other performers.
The hosts talk about recent games they have returned to playing - Magic: The Gathering for Chris, and XCOM for Michael. The hosts explore how stress produced by a game relates to their level of engagement and enjoyment. At the 14-minute mark, the conversation turns to Ready Player One, and stays there for most of the episode. The hosts express their original reactions to reading the book years ago, and detail the growing backlash about the author and elements of the book. The hosts talk openly about being two privileged, White, straight, cis-gendered men, and how that creates blind spots. Other questions are posed during the episode. Can you enjoy a piece of art while disliking the artist? Can you listen to a song by Ted Nugent or John Lennon, and block out the problematic believes those men held? The show closes with another installment of What's On Chris' Turntable - and this week it's St. Vincent.
Michael talks about his excitement (and sleep deprivation) that resulted from the Olympic gold won by the Men's Curling Team. The hosts discuss how Michael's tabletop roleplaying game charactes seems to draw Chris' ire, including his most recent creation - a human Bard named "The Stone." A major topic for the show is the delightful combination of breweries and tabletop games, and the hosts explore how fans of games and beer can get the most out of this combination. Another installment of What's on Chris' Turntable? concludes the show with a review of The Grateful Dead.
Michael talks about completing Battle Chef Brigade, and the perils of getting stuck on a final boss and trying to watch endgame credits in a timely manner. Chris talks about recent success in the Eternal card game, and transitions into a conversation about the unbannings in Magic: The Gathering. Michael explains how he is focused on building a character for a new Dungeons & Dragons campaign, and decide that combining elements of D&D and MtG would result in a wonderful gaming experience. Chris speaks about growing up in the South in a culture of gun ownership, and Michael talks about the death of his father to a firearm, which is the foundation for strong beliefs about gun control. The discussion about guns in our culture starts around the 25-minute mark and lasts for some time. It is an important topic, and the hosts believe everyone should be open to communication about the subject - and take action like the survivors in Florida. The show concludes with another installment of Be Kind, Rewind!