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Jack Gardner
The trio of adventurers follow the archaeologist Jezzmerelda into an ancient ruin to help her open a door. That's it. Nothing suspicious going on here. Just some good, ol' fashioned door opening. 
 
We Wanted Adventurers is a liveplay Dungeons & Dragons podcast that follows a motley trio of unlikely heroes as they bumble into adventures both big and small across the fantastical continent of Nevarrone. For the uninitiated, a liveplay podcast features an unscripted recording of a traditional tabletop roleplaying game, with all of the goofs and drama that comes with the territory.
 

 
"Nerves", "One of Them", "The Way Out"
Kevin MacLeod (incompetech.com)
Licensed under Creative Commons: By Attribution 3.0
http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/3.0/
 
You can download or listen to the podcast over on Soundcloud, our hosting site, and iTunes. You can follow the show on Twitter for updates. Let us know what you think of the show! 
 
New episodes of We Wanted Adventurers will be released every Wednesday
 
Don't forget to sign up for Extra Life to help sick and injured kids in hospitals around the US and Canada by playing games!

Jack Gardner
Who doesn't love tavern shenanigans? The trio of lovable doofuses kick back for a night of relaxation... but even relaxing comes with its social dangers.
 
We Wanted Adventurers is a liveplay Dungeons & Dragons podcast that follows a motley trio of unlikely heroes as they bumble into adventures both big and small across the fantastical continent of Nevarrone. For the uninitiated, a liveplay podcast features an unscripted recording of a traditional tabletop roleplaying game, with all of the goofs and drama that comes with the territory.
 

 
You can download or listen to the podcast over on Soundcloud, our hosting site, and iTunes. You can follow the show on Twitter for updates. Let us know what you think of the show! 
 
New episodes of We Wanted Adventurers will be released every Wednesday
 
Don't forget to sign up for Extra Life to help sick and injured kids in hospitals around the US and Canada by playing games!

Jack Gardner
Mewtwo returns to the spotlight in an upcoming reimagined take on the original Pokémon film, Pokémon: The Movie: Mewtwo Strikes Back. Released in 1998 in Japan and 1999 in North America to immense commercial success, its $30 million budget bringing in over $160 million. This spurred the creation of an ongoing film franchise of which the upcoming remake will be the 22nd. 
 
Pokémon: The Movie: Mewtwo Strikes Back tells the story of Mewtwo, a clone of the legendary Pokémon Mew. Armed with immensely powerful psychic abilities, the creature is used by Giovanni, the leader of Team Rocket, to absolutely obliterate anyone who stands in the evil organization's way. That is, until Mewtwo goes rogue and decides to take over the world. He lures trainers from all across the land to participate in a Pokémon tournament. Of course, it's all a ruse to use cloning technology to create his own army of powerful Pokémon. Ash Ketchum, the long-time protagonist of the Pokémon anime series finds himself and his friends caught up in Mewtwo's schemes and takes it upon himself to stop the Pokémon's ambitions.    
 
We don't know a whole lot about the upcoming remake, Mewtwo Strikes Back: Evolution, though the trailer posted today on the official Pokémon YouTube channel gives a feel for what the CG of the film will look like. Many fans have been comparing the cleaner, smoother look of the animations against the upcoming Detective Pikachu film's darker and more grounded visual approach to Pokémon. So far, there doesn't seem to be a consensus as to whether this is a better or worse direction to take CG Pokémon. 
 
 
With both Detective Pikachu and Mewtwo Strikes Back: Evolution releasing in 2019, we're about to have a year full of Pokémon. Thankfully, the two films won't be competing against one another as Detective Pikachu releases on May 10, 2019 and Mewtwo Strikes Back: Evolution will be hitting theaters in July. However, it will certainly be interesting to see how audiences respond to two very different visual approaches to the traditionally 2D anime series. 
 
I won't lie; this certainly scratches a nostalgia itch I didn't know I had. There was a lot of potential for the original Pokémon film that got muddled in its North American adaptation with cut scenes and altered dialogue that made Mewtwo more clearly into a villain than the morally ambiguous antagonist presented in the Japanese release. Also, the original film only had a runtime of 75 minutes due to the Pikachu short that showed before it in theaters. It's more than likely that Mewtwo Strikes Back: Evolution will expand on that story and better able to deliver on the original vision of the film than the version North American audiences received in 1999. Color me cautiously optimistic.
 
Mewtwo Strikes Back: Evolution will release on July 12, 2019.
 
Don't forget to sign up for Extra Life to help sick and injured kids in hospitals around the US and Canada by playing games!

Jack Gardner
Back in August, I put together a short campaign with Dungeons & Dragons 5th edition called Dragonguard as a part of Extra Life Tabletop Appreciation Weekend. For Game Day 2018, we released a second set of episodes continuing the adventure. Now, to cap off 2018 in stylish fashion, I present a third set of episodes! Join Naomi Lugo (Nomsooni the druid), Marcus Stewart (Scratch Mangy the ranger), and Kyle Gaddo (Barphus the bard) as they don the armor of the illustrious Dragonguard, sworn to defend and protect the realm of Alterra from the dragons at its doorstep. Jack Gardner serves as the Dungeon Master, guiding our heroes through their journey.
 
Dispatched to the small town of Verne, the party began investigating rumors of draconic activity in the area. Learning of a kobold encampment deep within the Morrithil Wastes, they made their way into the vast swampland only to find a largely abandoned village built in the shadow of an ominous dragon skeleton. Encountering a number of old and infirm kobolds in the heart of the town, our heroes learned of an impending attack led by the vengeful dragon, Fallowfell. In an effort to convince Sir Rothurt to take the threat seriously, the party made an attempt to rescue his recently kidnapped son, Charles. Risking life and limb, they were able to save Charles only to be met with the awful revelation that Fallowfell had allies in the town itself. Now, Nomsooni, Barphus, and Scratch attempt to consolidate their power in the areas outside of town only to find themselves in ever-deepening danger....
 
If you want to get a sense of how great a time tabletop roleplaying can be, you're invited to enjoy the adventure along with us. Here's to the amazing things the gaming community accomplished in 2018 and to the even greater things we will all do together in the years to come! You can listen to the new episodes below or start at the beginning with this handy SoundCloud playlist. 
 

 
"Volatile Reaction"
Kevin MacLeod (incompetech.com)
Licensed under Creative Commons: By Attribution 3.0
http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/3.0/
 

 
"The Way Out", "Villainous Treachery"
Kevin MacLeod (incompetech.com)
Licensed under Creative Commons: By Attribution 3.0
http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/3.0/
 

 
"Villainous Treachery"
Kevin MacLeod (incompetech.com)
Licensed under Creative Commons: By Attribution 3.0
http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/3.0/
 

 
"Aftermath"
Kevin MacLeod (incompetech.com)
Licensed under Creative Commons: By Attribution 3.0
http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/3.0/
 
Intro and Outro music:
 
"Furious Freak"
Kevin MacLeod (incompetech.com)
Licensed under Creative Commons: By Attribution 3.0
http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/3.0/
 
You can download or listen to the podcast over on Soundcloud, our hosting site, and iTunes. A YouTube version is available as well.
 
Don't forget to sign up for Extra Life to help sick and injured kids in hospitals around the US and Canada by playing games!

Jack Gardner
MINImax Tinyverse releases on Steam Early Access today offering players a unique competitive experience that manages to find its own creative niche. The game itself plays like a cross between a guided NPC puzzle game a la Lemmings, a dash of the tower defense mechanics seen in games like Kingdom Rush, and the competitive sensibilities of League of Legends. 
 
This strange and intriguing hybrid of game genres comes courtesy of O'ol Blue Inc. Up until this point O'ol Blue has only released games for iOS and Android (RPG Mighty Quest) and casual Facebook games (RPG Hunters League). The small South Korean studio's MINImax Tinyverse will be their first PC release.
 
MINImax Tinyverse pits two players against one another with the goal of conquering their opponent's towers. Players can capture enemy towers by using soldiers spawned by their base, mighty champions that can be picked up and dropped to various locations on the map, and fantastical miracles that can change the course of battle. Before battles, players can customize the build order of their troops, choose which miracles to bring into battle, and which champion will take up arms in their name. Once the fray begins the environment of the map becomes very important as players can direct the flow of their troops (or the enemy's) by placing barricades and ramps in an attempt to subvert their rival's strategy.
 
 
“We wanted to make a competitive PvP gameplay version of Lemmings when we began creating MINImax Tinyverse,” says Kim Nam Seok, O’ol Blue's CEO & executive producer. “Warcraft 3 also helped us to crystallize some game mechanics, and we were inspired by the gameplay simplicity in Clash of Clans, too.” It's gratifying to see that not everyone out there has forgotten Lemmings. Those old PC games were the best!
 
The premise of MINImax Tinyverse holds enough appeal to me as a novel concept that also happens to scratch some nostalgia itches that I went and downloaded it. It is, in fact, downloading as I write these words. Impressions will be coming in the next few days. In the meantime, if it sounds at all interesting, you can download the game on Steam for free to check it out for yourself. This is the kind of game that lives and dies based on the strength of its gameplay and the extent to which the microtransaction economy feels intrusive. 
 
Don't forget to sign up for Extra Life to help sick and injured kids in hospitals around the US and Canada by playing games!

Jack Gardner
The RPG developer Level-5 is back with Megaton-Kyuu Musashi, their first original game in years. Level-5 made a name for itself creating original RPGs like Dark Cloud for the PlayStation 2, the puzzle/mystery solving Professor Layton series, the Ni no Kuni franchise, and Yo-Kai Watch.  No one is exactly sure what this new IP will be, but it has a snazzy new trailer to check out.
 
Megaton-Kyuu Musashi will be an RPG designed to launch a franchise across multiple media formats, much like Yo-Kai Watch. The company has plans to create an anime series, toys, and a possible manga with their partner, Weekly Shounen Jump. Megaton-Kyuu Musashi has been in the works for some time as it was announced back in 2016 during Level-5's Vision presentation that appeared to be running the game on a Nintendo 3DS and a potential PlayStation platform.
 
Here's what we know: Megaton-Kyuu Musashi translates to Megaton-Class Musashi. The game combines high school drama with apocalyptic conflict. The story follows the events in Shelter, a last refuge for humanity following the decimation of Earth by an alien force known as Dractor. Life inside Shelter continues almost as normal, but that normalcy covers up dark secrets as the battle for survival wages outside its fortifications.
 
 
The trailer stars Yamato Ichigodoji as the protagonist of the upcoming mecha JRPG and pilot of Musashi Unit 1. Yamato is accompanied by his friends and co-pilots the thuggish Ryugo Hijakata and freakishly calm Teru Asami, who pilot Unit 2 and 3, respectively. The three units can combine to form Megaton Musashi, the strongest humanity could create to fight the Dractor scourge.  Will these three be able to work together to liberate Doughnut Earth (so called because Dractor have drilled their hive into the very core of the planet)?
 
There's no word yet on what platforms we can expect to see Megaton-Kyuu Musashi debut on. The trailer certainly doesn't appear to have the game running on 3DS hardware. With the handheld system slowly easing out the end of its lifespan and Level-5's past relationship with Sony, it could be fully on PlayStation 4 or perhaps Nintendo has snapped it up as a Switch exclusive. We also don't have a release date for the title, but Level-5's willingness to show it off means that there's likely one in store for the not-too-distant future. 
 
Don't forget to sign up for Extra Life to help sick and injured kids in hospitals around the US and Canada by playing games!

Jack Gardner
In the aftermath of freeing the necromancer Vildark, the party continues toward a previously unknown smuggler's port and Arakiel makes a connection with the divine along the way. 
 
We Wanted Adventurers is a liveplay Dungeons & Dragons podcast that follows a motley trio of unlikely heroes as they bumble into adventures both big and small across the fantastical continent of Nevarrone. For the uninitiated, a liveplay podcast features an unscripted recording of a traditional tabletop roleplaying game, with all of the goofs and drama that comes with the territory.
 

 
"Industrial Music Box", "Loopster", "Rynos Theme", "The House of Leaves"
Kevin MacLeod (incompetech.com)
Licensed under Creative Commons: By Attribution 3.0
http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/3.0/
 
You can download or listen to the podcast over on Soundcloud, our hosting site, and iTunes. You can follow the show on Twitter for updates. Let us know what you think of the show! 
 
New episodes of We Wanted Adventurers will be released every Wednesday
 
Don't forget to sign up for Extra Life to help sick and injured kids in hospitals around the US and Canada by playing games!

Jack Gardner
Alfonso Ribeiro, the actor who played Carlton on The Fresh Prince of Bel-Air, and Russell "Backpack Kid" Horning have filed lawsuits against Epic Games for their use of the Carlton dance and "The Russell" dances in the popular battle royale game Fortnite. With Fortnite recently surpassing 200 million players, the game has hit the kind of general cultural penetration of which even the largest gaming franchises can only dream. Given that many of the signature dance emotes in-game are being sold as microtransactions, some of the originators of those moves want a small slice of that colossal profit-pie.    
 
It was reported in July that Fornite's in-game microtransactions alone had earned Epic Games over $1 billion in revenue. One of the biggest sellers on the platform happens to be different emotes and dances, too, which makes the irritation many of the sources of inspiration for the dances seem pretty understandable. It becomes even more understandable when you learn that many of the originators weren't even asked or compensated for their moves being used beat-for-beat in-game to earn a lot of real-world dollars.  
 
Yesterday, it came to light that the mother of the 16-year-old Horning had filed a lawsuit in her son's name as they are in the process of copyrighting the iconic dance move. Details about the lawsuit remain unknown and the damages specified haven't been revealed as of yet. Concerning Alfonso Ribiero, his lawyer, David Hecht of the law firm Pierce Bainbridge Beck Price & Hecht explained the reasoning behind the lawsuit saying, “Epic has earned record profits off of downloadable content in the game, including emotes like ‘Fresh.’ Yet Epic has failed to compensate or even ask permission from Mr. Ribeiro for the use of his likeness and iconic intellectual property,” The same law firm is also representing Russel Horning and the rapper 2 Milly who announced earlier this month that he would be suing Epic Games over the in-game use of the Milly Rock dance. 
 
For those wondering if the dances used in Fortnite are really that similar to those performed by the people filing lawsuits, check out the video below for a side-by-side comparison courtesy of YouTube channel Cinema of Gaming.
 
 
So, does this lawsuit have a case? Well, the answer isn't really straightforward. A large part of it could revolve around the technical ownership of the dances themselves. For example, the Carlton dance might technically belong to the producers of The Fresh Prince of Bel-Air depending on the contracts Alfonso Ribiero signed. It could also be that no one technically owns the rights, making the dance a work in the public domain. Depending on how long it has been since the dance was created, it might be impossible to prove who really created the dance and thereby impossible to prove ownership of any copyright. It could also be that a freelance choreographer was hired, making the work technically someone else's entirely. 
 
All this means that a legal battle over the ownership of these dances could be a long and complicated legal battle. That might make Epic more interested in settling out of court for undisclosed sums of money or a share in the profits, especially given that in at least some of the cases the company never asked for permission. It will be interesting to see if more of these dance creators appear to claim some share of Epic Games' $1 billion in revenue. 
 
Don't forget to sign up for Extra Life to help sick and injured kids in hospitals around the US and Canada by playing games!

Jack Gardner
This week we talk about Mario Party. It's a game about parties that has Mario in it. There are also other characters from Nintendo games.
 
Sometimes
when you stare into the abyss 
Mario Party stares back.
 
Each week we will be tackling a video game, old or new, that at least one of us believes deserves to stand as one of the greatest games of all time. We'll dive into its history, development, and gameplay, while trying to argue for or against the game of the week. Sometimes we will be in harmonious agreement, other times we might be fighting a bitter battle to the very end. However each episode shakes out, we hope that everyone who listens will find the show entertaining and informative.
 

 
Outro music: Super Mario RPG: Legend of the Seven Stars 'Mario's Tropical Paradise' by Dr. Fruitcake (http://ocremix.org/remix/OCR01108)
 
You can download or listen to the podcast over on Soundcloud, our hosting site, and iTunes. A YouTube version is available, as well!
 
If you want to have your opinion heard on air, share your opinion in the comments, follow the show on Twitter, and participate in the weekly polls: @BestGamesPeriod 
 
New episodes of The Best Games Period will be released every Monday
 
Don't forget to sign up for Extra Life to help sick and injured kids in hospitals around the US and Canada by playing games!

Jack Gardner
Kingdom Hearts III game director Tetsuya Nomura has released a statement to the Kingdom Hearts community asking fans who might come across leaked videos of the latest installment in the series not to share them on social media. This comes after a number of copies of the game, set to release next month, made their way into the hands of a select few players who have been putting out videos of their progress. 
 
Nomura has long been one of the most talented people working in game design. He worked as the graphic director, character designer, and wrote the story for Final Fantasy VI. He went on to design the characters for Final Fantasy VII, VIII, and X. Following that, Kingdom Hearts became his baby, as he shaped the story, crafted the 2D art, and directed just about every single entry in the series. The leak of the game he's spent over a decade creating was bound to provoke a response.
 
Nomura's message comes just as Kingdom Hearts III's latest trailer drops. Titled "Final Battle", the teaser gives a brief overview of what's going on in the series (though you're still able to feel a bit lost even if you've played one or two games in the series). It was originally slated for release tomorrow, but it may have been moved up in an effort to drown out the leaked videos appearing online. You can read the full message below to all the Kingdom Hearts fans out there from Tetsuya Nomura, relayed via Twitter.
 
 
 
There's conflicting opinions out in the wild regarding leaked footage that intensifies around popular releases. On the one hand, streamers and video creators tend to view time as a particularly valuable resource. Being able to get a piece of valuable media like Kingdom Hearts III out into the wild before everyone else is guaranteed eyeballs on their work that could mean a huge influx of subscribers or a nice cash bonus. On the other hand, it can be a pretty disappointing occurrence for both the studio and fans with a big investment in the series. The studio wants to be able to coordinate its marketing efforts as much as possible in the lead up to release. Fans want to anticipate together as a community and then enjoy the release together. Putting out content of unreleased media before its officially ready can disrupt all of those goals. 
 
All of that being said, let's listen to the game director - don't share spoilers of a game that isn't even out yet.
 
Don't forget to sign up for Extra Life to help sick and injured kids in hospitals around the US and Canada by playing games!

Jack Gardner
The deep sea survival game Subnautica is free for a limited time through the Epic Games Launcher. This follows closely on the heels of Epic's announcement of an Epic digital distribution service that begins with their launcher. And even better? Epic says they will be releasing a free game every two weeks until the end of 2019!
 
Subnautica debuted to the world four years ago as an Early Access title through Steam. After years of additional development, the seafaring title released fully in January of this year. The game places players in a dire survival scenario: Their spaceship has crashed, seemingly with all hands either lost or dead. Players end up having to fend for themselves on an uncharted ocean world. Securing resources, salvaging gear, upgrading equipment, researching upgrades, and constructing a base of operations all become engrossing activities. It only recently launched on consoles, and unfortunately the free version seems to be exclusive to PC for now.  
 
Announced via Epic Games, the company has launched its year-long free game service with Subnautica, an offer which will disappear on December 27 to be replaced by a new free title. The service itself is free - all that you need to do to download the free biweekly game is to download the Epic Games Launcher and download the free title from there. From that point on, it's yours to keep with no strings attached. While a schedule of the games coming to the platform have yet to be announced, we do know that the next game heading to Epic users for free will be Team Meat's classic platformer Super Meat Boy.  
 
 
This move to distribute free games doesn't come out of the goodness of Epic Games' heart, however. The company is making an effort to capitalize on the 200 million people who play Fortnite through their service, a number that absolutely dwarfs juggernauts of the industry like Steam, which boasted a record 18.5 million users in January of this year. If even 10% of Epic's user base begins to use Epic Games as their go-to digital platform of choice, things could really begin to shake up in the slowly crowding digital distribution market. Undoubtedly, the allure of free games for an entire year will keep people opening up the Epic Games platform and building a collection of titles that could potentially include a few games they picked up on the storefront beyond the free games. It's a perfect way to rope in people who are already playing Fortnite and bring in new blood who want free games. 
 
Overall, this will likely accelerate some degree of competition between the biggest digital storefronts like Steam, Good Old Games, and Origin. With free games bringing in users and a better cost sharing arrangement than other platforms, Epic really does have a shot at securing a spot as not one of the most used but the most used digital games platforms in the world. This could be the beginning of an entirely different digital ecosystem.
 
Be sure to grab Subnautica on PC before December 27! 
 
Don't forget to sign up for Extra Life to help sick and injured kids in hospitals around the US and Canada by playing games!
 

Jack Gardner
Today marks the official release of Capybara Games' Below, which first appeared at E3 2013 and then went dark for years. Between the official announcement and Below's release, the studio released Super Time Force and OK K.O.! Let's Play Heroes, but now their highest profile game is out in the world.
 
Capybara Games made a mark for itself when it released Superbrothers: Sword & Sworcery EP for mobile and PC back in 2011. The title wove a magnificent soundtrack by Indie Game: The Movie composer Jim Guthrie into a mysterious RPG adventure that just felt great to play. Below seems to follow in those footsteps while relying on a set of roguelike dungeon-delving mechanics that include punishing combat and perma-death.
 
The tag line, according to the developers, is, "Explore. Survive. Discover." Players take on the role of an enigmatic explorer of The Isle, a small island in the middle of the ocean that holds the entrance to an underground ruin and cavern system that spans an unfathomable distance into the earth. The long abandoned ruins are home to all manner of perilous traps, deadly monsters, and rich rewards. As players proceed, they'll pick up many scavenged materials that can be used to craft tools and elixirs that could prove the difference between life and death. No one knows what awaits at the bottom of The Isle's ruins, but perhaps your journey will be the one to make it there in one piece. 
 
 
Below has launched on Xbox One and PC. While there are no announced release dates for PlayStation 4 or Switch, it's safe to assume that those will be coming sometime in the future as Capybara has only signed a timed exclusive deal with Microsoft for the game to release on their platform first. 
 
Don't forget to sign up for Extra Life to help sick and injured kids in hospitals around the US and Canada by playing games!

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