Category Archives: Discourse Dojo

Discourse Dojo: Invisible, Inc.

Hey everyone, Ninjustin here. The audio for this podcast was recorded a few weeks after the release of Invisible, Inc., which means I’ve needed to edit and upload this damn thing for literal months. So long, in fact, that our friends at the Diecast have now talked about the game firstLife is hard.

Direct download (ogg)
Direct download (mp3)

And in Youtube form:

Note from Ninjustin:

Man, I really should have uploaded this when the game was just released! But I stand by everything I said. If you haven’t played a game like Invisible, Inc., you haven’t played a game quite like it. It delivers a whole new breed of stealth gameplay that works fantastically and delivers consistently unique and interesting levels for sneaking, hacking, occasionally stunning/killing guards, and dashing to the exit. All this is conveyed through a pitch-perfect cyberpunk lens, under the framework of rebelling against a corporate regime using cunning tactics. Thematically, tonally and mechanically, the game just works so well. I love it and so should you.

Jibe from Jarenth:

Those of you who’ve been following my work for a little longer now probably know that I’m usually not big on repetition. I know a lot of games build themselves up on the joy of replayability, but that’s almost never been my jam. I much prefer one single good telling of a story over running through minor variations on the theme repeatedly, and I just tend to get bored with doing the same mechanical stuff over and over and again. As a rule, I’d much rather play something fresh (from the ever exponentially expanding list of available video games) than participate in the same experience twice, or thrice, or more.

I am really feeling the desire to go play Invisible, Inc. again.

Without wishing to repeat Past Podcast Jarenth, let me just say this: Invisible, Inc. is excellently built for repeated play. It builds up your staple of characters and tools to choose from, it has enough micro-variation in missions and corporations to feel fresh, and any single run through the game is both long enough to feel meaningful, and short enough not to feel like too major an investment.

In fact, looking at it like I do now, it’s almost a mistake to judge Invisible, Inc. as a story-driven game. It’s much more analogous to games like The Binding Of Isaac. Or sports games, almost. You have the same basic mechanics, goals, and tools every time, but it’s the actions — both yours and your opponents’ — that shape each individual narrative.

So yeah, Invisible, Inc.. It’s rad, it’s unique, it’s twenty dollars. Try it out, yo.


Discourse Dojo: 2014 Wrapup

Hi, Internet! A little late, I suppose, but here’s our 2014 denouement. We talk about what games we played most in 2014, and trail into several tangents. Fair warning: this one’s just above an hour and a half long. It’s longer than usual for us because we talk about many different games and topics instead of (mostly) sticking to one.

Direct download (ogg)
Direct download (mp3)

And as promised, here are the shitty graphics.

trophy ninjustin

And the Ninja Blues Ninjustin 2014 Award goes to… This War Of Mine!

Note from Ninjustin: To some it might just feel like a war-themed typical survival game, but This War Of Mine really felt beautiful, melancholy, and impactful to me. When you play This War Of Mine, you’re not experiencing one of a few pre-written story arcs carved out by a team of writers. What happens before you is your story, full of characters that you’ve either directed or dealt with, and you suffer their grievances and celebrate their catharsis.

And the Ninja Blues Jarenth 2014 Award goes to... Divinity: Original Sin!

And the Ninja Blues Jarenth 2014 Award goes to… Divinity: Original Sin!

Jibe from Jarenth: I should probably play This War Of Mine sometime, huh?

In all seriousness: I don’t know if there’s anything left for me to say about Divinity: Original Sin. It’s great, and glorious, and amazing, and horrible, and broken, and dumb, and everything in-between. It took almost six months of my life to play through it, and they were simultaneously the best and worst months I’ve ever spent on a video game.

In lieu of adding something meaningful, then, I instead give you this: an origami dragon I folded in honour of Divinity: Original Sin’s final boss, the Void Dragon.

Basically a mirror image of the in-game original: blocky, overly angular, broken, and it took me way too long to finish it off.

Happy 2014, Divinity: Original Sin, you magnificent bastard of a game. Never come by my house again.

Think I’ll stick to smaller dragons next time around.

Discourse Dojo: Early Access

Ninjustin here! Our latest podcast  covers the subject of “early access games” and many different concerns relating to it. We bring up Don’t Starve, Crypt of the NecroDancer, Sunless Sea, Invisible, Inc., and others that I don’t feel like linking to. We also reference this very relevant video by George Weidman.

Direct download (ogg)
Direct download (mp3)

Note from Ninjustin:

First of all, sorry it took so long to upload this. I was considering whether I should leave in or take out that part Jarenth told me not to listen to. I mean, the part I didn’t listen to. What did he say there? I didn’t listen to it.

I’ve heard people say, “Games are never finished — they’re abandoned.” The idea is that from a dev’s standpoint, there are always things you can add or alter in your game, and unlike books or movies, you can alter it after its release. So the point when a game’s development is over isn’t really when there’s “nothing left to add,” it’s when you’ve decided to stop adding.

I can agree with that argument in a semantic sense, but in this context, it’s kind of a red herring. When people say they don’t buy early access because they want a “finished game” most of them don’t mean they want a game that will never be updated again. They mean they want a game that feels fleshed out enough to have its desired appeal, regardless of what might be added or changed in the future. Obviously there’s some subjectivity there, but many early access games have definitely crossed the line into territory that most gamers wouldn’t hesitate to call unfinished.

Also, I don’t know why but I repeated the word “precisely” and the phrase “… don’t know how to deal with that” too many times. Sorry about that.

Jibe from Jarenth:

Yeah, that’s what you’re gonna get from leaving a podcast to lie fallow for a while: new thoughts. Or, in my case, largely forgetting what was brought up.

It’s worth noting that in the time between recording this podcast and releasing it, Sunless Sea has revealed its actual release date. So if you were at all interested in playing it, but still on the fence about the whole Early Access thing… ceteris paribus, you should be good to go in Februari 2015. I, for one, am looking forward.

That whole ‘I’m busy folding things’ angle wasn’t a joke, either. Look at the cool paper shapes I made while podcasting:



DO as the heart COMMANDS!

DO as the heart COMMANDS!

In fact, you know what? I’m making that second heart the header image for this podcast. And Justin can’t even stop me.

And if you want to learn to make them yourself? I got you covered.

Discourse Dojo: Hatred

Happy Friday, dear Ninjabluers! Ninjustin here. If you were wondering when or if we’d ever do Discourse Dojo again, the answer is now. Well, the answer is actually like a week ago, but it took me until now to actually edit and upload, so there.

Direct download (ogg)
Direct download (mp3)

Here’s the Youtube version, if you’re into that:

On this episode (is that what you call these? Episodes? Or do we call each of them podcasts? Or is the whole series one podcast? I dunno) we talk about the controversial trailer for Hatred, which is apparently an upcoming video game.

Note from Ninjustin:

This is just… just… ugh. Like I said again and again, I am not against the idea of a game tackling the subject of shooting massacres. If done tactfully, with respect for the subject matter, it could achieve a lot. But this? This looks like A) murder-porn, B) a cynical attempt at garnering controversy, C) a slap in the face, or D) all of the above. And we weren’t kidding, by the way — the game’s being made by Neo-Nazis.

Jibe from Jarenth:

Here is the sad current state of our beloved industry: I’d entirely forgotten about this game between when we recorded this podcast — one week ago tomorrow — and the time I’m writing this. There’s just so much ugh going on, it’s hard to keep track.

But yeah. I still entirely stand by the statement that Hatred provides, as its primary engagement fantasy, ‘viscerally murdering anyone and everyone you want’. Not just power. Not the high life of crime, or the anti-hero tale, or even the villain’s ascent to dominion. Just straight-up murder.

I dunno. I think there are better games we could be playing.

Discourse Dojo: Shovel Knight

Hi, Internet! Were you hoping for a second Discourse Dojo? Well we made one anyway, because you can’t stop us. And this time we have an intro theme, courtesy of incompetech! So now there’s something on Ninja Blues that actually involves blues.

This episode is about Shovel Knight, a retro throwback to the side-scrolling action platformers of old. It is available on Wii-U, 3DS and PC.

Direct download (ogg)
Direct download (mp3)

We had technical issues hosting the audio last time. We’re trying it again this time, and if the issues persist, we’ll put on our safety goggles and dig into server support. If you’re having trouble listening to the full podcast through our site, here it is in Youtube form:

Note from Ninjustin:

That story at the beginning was honestly not planned. We did a bunch of rambling before we properly started the show, most of which was cut out, but I felt that particular bit was worth keeping in. The echo from last recording seems to be gone here — I turned my voice activation detection on Teamspeak down just a bit to make sure it didn’t pick up Jarenth’s voice coming out of my headset speakers.

Also, I know we griped a whole bunch, but Shovel Knight is a very fun and charming action platformer and you should play it if you’re into that sort of thing.

Jibe from Jarenth:

Unfocused rambling is how podcasts are supposed to start. That’s just basic science fact, yo.

Be honest, internet: do you like my fancier mic? I dug it out specifically to sound my best for you. I dressed up in my Sunday best, too, but you probably didn’t see that. I… I think?

Shovel Knight was quite fun! It’s flawed, in ways, but also pretty and interesting and pretty interesting! It’s definitely a game I would recommend playing in bursts, maybe one or two levels per play session, but it manages to entertain pretty consistently throughout that. Even if the siren lure of the Phase Locket never really goes away.

I can’t believe we didn’t mention Mario 3’s overworld as an influence on Shovel Knight even once.


Discourse Dojo: Unrest: Youtube Edition

Justin here. We’ve been pelted with reports about the podcast not streaming and only partially downloading. That’s likely a problem with our server hosting, but I’m not a tech wizard and Jarenth has a busy schedule, so for the time being I’ve taken the liberty of uploading it to Youtube with our logo as a still frame. If you all STILL have trouble, then the universe must be conspiring against us.

Again, let us know what you think!

Discourse Dojo: Unrest

Ninja Blues readers, would you like to also be Ninja Blues listeners? Well, for the first time ever, you can be! We would like to graciously introduce you to our new podcast, Discourse Dojo. Our first episode is about a recently released Kickstarter-backed game called Unrest, by Pyrodactyl Games.

Direct download (ogg)
Direct download (mp3)

UPDATE: We also uploaded the podcast to Youtube since streaming/downloading is not working properly for most.

Let us know what you think! (Of the game and of the podcast itself. This is our first attempt at hosting a podcast, and we’d like to improve our formula however we can.)

Note from Ninjustin:

Unrest, Unrest, Unrest. It’s really hard to nail down how I feel about the game. Sometimes I want to sing its praises and sometimes I want to incessantly slap it on the wrist. Jarenth says it’s well worth the asking price despite its shortcomings, and I agreed at the time, but looking back, well… $15 is a lot for a two-to-three-hour game that nails the worldbuilding but fails to deliver on the roleplaying potential that it makes you expect. But it’s certainly notable for its efforts.

As for the audio, I’m sorry about the occasional echoing. I’ll try to look into that for future recordings. And good lord, did I ramble. I’ll try to reign that in.

Jibe from Jarenth:

Well, I still think Unrest is a decent-enough game for fifteen bucks. I appreciate intent and effort a lot, even if the actual outcome is… let’s say different from what I’d hoped. Plus, I hope support towards Unrest at least partially goes towards supporting Pyrodactyl Games’ later games: just because this game doesn’t use Unrest’s engine and possibilities to their full potential, doesn’t mean a second game won’t.

As for the audio, I’m sorry my voice sounds so godawful. It’s genetic.