Episode 12: Special Guest, Mike Vallas (Part 2)

Here we are again! Gaming AM returns with our longest episode EVAR! Clocking in at a MASSIVE 3 hours, I decided to leave this one together rather than split it into a third part. The reason? 'Cause Mike Friggin' Vallas that's why, and you deserve it all at once! We had an absolute blast with Vallas, and we can't thank him enough for taking the time to hang out with us in the multi-million dollar Gaming AM studio. We covered a wide range of subjects over the course of the night, and there's bound to be something in here for everyone! If you're a Mike Vallas fan and new to the podcast, we hope you enjoy what we have to offer.  Please enjoy, then Like us on Facebook, follow us on Twitter and Subscribe to our YouTube channel. Also please leave us feedback, positive or negative, let us know how we're doing! It means a lot! Without further delay...  The greatest podcast in the world, featuring Mike Vallas!



Episode 11: Special Guest, Mike Vallas (Part 1)

The greatest podcast in the world just got even greatester! It's our first special guest, Mike Vallas! He's a former EGM editor with many stories to tell, so I'll shut my trap and let him get to it!



Berserk: Why I Love It (Part 2)

In the first part of my now three part blog on Berserk, which is the greatest thing ever, I detailed my growing disenchantment with the current state of anime and manga.  Not only its current penchant for pernicious pervy fan service becoming the sad and depressing focus of the medium but also the current spate of pretentious and visually overwrought ‘slice of life’ genre that is the utter bane of my existence (with a few notable exceptions, to be fair).  If you want to know why I feel these things, go read the first part of this blog here.

This chapter of the blog is going to partly deliver on the premise for this series of articles and (to some extent) outline what it is that makes Berserk so special to me.  I’m going to try and keep this concise, although I imagine that my observations may morph into an apostle-like abomination ere its transformation is complete. If you understand that reference, good on you.  You are a Berserk fan.  If you don’t follow, then you need to become a Berserk fan before you’re consigned to the scrap heap of wasted human effort.  

Trust me, Berserk will make you a better human being.


Episode 10: Hail Hydra!

Well, here it is, the big ONE-O! Episode 10 of the greatest podcast in the world. This highly anticipated episode was delayed by an unforeseen computer failure, which we're sure was somehow Denny's fault. Repairs of said computer took some time, but now all is well, and here we are again! This one was recorded on the same day as our live stream about Captain America being an Hydra agent, so some of the subject matter carries over, but a wide range of other subjects are also tackled. Some of the items under discussion are a few weeks old now, but it doesn't matter because when we talk about them, it's the real deal. I'll keep you surprised, tune in to find out what's on the menu for today's very special episode number TEN! Also, Hail Hydra.



Berserk: Why I Love It (Part 1)

Whenever anyone asks me what my favorite ‘thing’ is, that thing I have the most irrational passion for, the answer is always easy.


This answer usually takes people aback.  Not so much that I give that answer, since people that know me know I have great affection for it.  It’s more that there’s no hesitation in my answer.  I don’t even have to weigh options. 

Nothing else comes close.

The inevitable next question is exactly how much I love Berserk.  My response is always the same:

“If I could only keep one nerdy thing in my life and had to get rid of all the rest, it would be Berserk.”

People can’t believe that it wouldn’t be something like Captain America, Star Wars or even my other anime fixation, Mobile Suit Gundam.  There are a LOT of things I’m ‘into’ on a level that could be described as obsessive.

But in the end, Berserk would be the last man standing.


Gaming AM LIVE! #1: Hydra Cap is Hydra Crap

We just did a live stream via Facebook. Thanks to everyone who tuned in! For those who missed it, here's the HD version via YouTube.


Episode 9: Captain America: Civil War

In observance of Memorial Day, here it is: Our last episode in the single digits! Today on the greatest podcast in the world, we discuss The 80's Transformers Marvel comic as well as our experience watching the 80's Transformers animated series for the first time (via The Bozo Show here in Chicago). I keep stressing "80's" because I don't want to lose listeners who may be confused and thinking we discuss Michael Bay movies. We also talk about that one movie... You know, that one that came out... um... Captain... Crunch? Something about a War? I don't know, whatever... there might be spoilers or something. Listen! Love it! Lose your shit!



Episode 8: Pop Culture Stream of Consciousness

The title of this episode is more of a slogan for Gaming AM, as this episode encapsulates what we're all about. In the editing process we listen to the episode back, and this time I thought it would be fun to bust out the flowchart in an attempt to connect the dots and figure out this little show we call Gaming AM...

We begin with a discussion about Tom's experience at a screening of the 1979 classic Alien, and this rolls into a discussion about The Wizard of Oz, which leads to Oz the great and Powerful, and then to The Goonies, and from there we end up on Die Hard. As we discuss how Die Hard went downhill as it progressed through its sequels, that leads us to The Matrix, and then sends the conversation to Escape from L.A., then Last Action Hero, then finally to Escape Plan. The discussion about the cast of Escape Plan leads us to The Count of Monte Cristo, and why was there never a Contra Movie? Contra brings us to a conversation about my current fixation of collecting video game soundtracks on vinyl, and then we end up discussing Buckner & Garcia and Wreck it Ralph. Wreck it Ralph bounces us to video game documentaries then Atari games, then Seth Rogen's alleged connection to a documentary about the console wars, which takes the conversation to Toby Maguire's alleged connection to live-action Robotech, which takes us to a discussion about how anime characters looked better before, which takes us to Dragon Ball Super, Slam Dunk, Vagabond, then ultimately degenerates into "anime sucks now" and creators speaking out and apologizing. Speaking of content creators apologizing, we move the conversation to Mighty No. 9 and then to Blinking Light Win Kickstarter, which takes us to Little Player magazine for kids, and from there the conversation covers the early days of EGM. Finally, Tom shares more of his Dark Souls experiences having finished the game, we talk RWBY Chapter 3 even though we haven't finished it, we reiterate how awesome Vic Mignogna is, and that leads us to the mutual affirmation that we're both Agnostics, and George Carlin.

It's quite the wild ride as you can see, and don't think for a second this even scratches the surface. Give it a listen and get lost with us in a sea of pop culture references thoughtful repartee. Again, this is what the show is all about... Being awesome.



Episode 7: Captain Janeway Sucks

We're back again with Episode 7, in which we spend an hour discussing the many reasons Captain Janeway is the worst captain in Starfleet. Yes, worse than the captain of the U.S.S. Grissom (very nerdy Star Trek 3 reference; if you've seen it enough times, you know how bad that guy was, and Janeway is worse). It's not all negative, we also talk about some of the captains we love, plus general Star Trek nerddom (my spell-checker is flagging that word, nerddom... not sure it's legit).
In our second hour Tom introduces us (myself included) to the world of Dark Souls 3, and it seems pretty damn cool, so you should listen if you're not familiar... or even if you are, because it's awesome.
In the show's third hour, we chat up our experiences with tabletop role-playing, and detail the various games we've played together. (Warning: extremely nerdy)
In the fourth hour M. Bison pulls over his truck while Tom re-discovers some classic Kubrick flicks he recently had a chance to re-visit in the movie theater.
The episode isn't really four hours, it's called comedy you noobs. It is, however our longest yet, but it won't seem like it because we're the most interesting guys in the world, screw that Dos Equis guy. Gaming AM. The most interesting podcast in the world. #JanewaySucks



Rogue One Is The Star Wars Movie The Real Fans Have Been Waiting For

With the success of Star Wars Episode VII: The Force Awakens, the fans’ greatest fears (to that point) were put to rest: Darth Mouse knows how to take care of them. The movie was fun, if a bit too derivative of the first film, and had plenty of great and interesting characters despite a few all too obvious narrative missteps (which I’ve already talked about previously). For the most part, we’re in good hands, even if future installments don’t challenge convention as much as adhere to them moving forward.  It’s a business.  These things need to make money and Disney needs to recoup its four billion dollar investment.  I don’t think that’s even in question both of these goals will be accomplished at this point.

One of the ways in which they intend to ensure continual profits is by giving us Star Wars movies until we can’t stand them. They're going to do this by emulating their successful Marvel template for scheduled releases. If we’re lucky, that ‘can’t stand’ date will, like Marvel, seem to be somewhere in the realm of ‘never’.  They haven’t had a blunder yet, with the two Thor movies being the closest they’ve come to cinematic misfires.  And hoo boy, I can’t wait to write about those flicks (and Iron Man 3).  I want to be clear here; even the most underwhelming Marvel movies have been successful by and large.  It’s only people like me, that can see through the haze of the studio's ongoing honeymoon with general audiences, who can say which ones are actually good

But Marvel blogs are for another day.  This is the day of Star Wars (again).  The day of rebels and Death Star tapes (which, by the end of Rogue One will NOT be in the main computer) and Felicity Jones…rebelling.  Of Forest Whitaker warning about the veritable abyss looking back into a person’s soul and blind Donnie Yen beating up Imperial Stormtroopers and space stations becoming fully armed and operational.  Yes, this is the time to talk about Rogue One: A Star Wars Story.

And more specifically, why Rogue One may just be the Star Wars movie the long time fans have been waiting for.


Episode 6: You're on the Air!

Episode 6 is here, and this time we've done something new and different because hey, that's what keeps the show fresh! Last week we opened up the Gaming AM Hotline (773-492-2642), and some of you left us voicemails! In this way we're allowing you, our listeners, to shape the future of the show to your liking. So today's Gaming AM Hotline topic was Star Wars! Specifically, The Force Awakens home video release and extras. Next, we chat up the Rogue One trailer. Then we discuss some of the encounters we've had with other famous people out in the wild. Some of these encounters are pretty cool, some interesting, some sad, and a couple are downright strange. Finally, we throw some opinions around about guns that look like toys. It's our best episode yet, but then again, every episode is the best. Like, Follow, Subscribe, enjoy. Because greatest podcast in the world.



Badman V Stupidman

(Herein there be spoilers.  But honestly, if you haven't seen the movie yet, don't.  Just use my opinion as your own.  You have my permission.)

I hated Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice.

Now I know you’re probably thinking ‘stop taking it seriously, it’s just a movie’ or ‘you probably didn’t like it because it didn’t live up to your unrealistic expectations.’  Some people have actually said this to me in real life when I told them I thought the movie sucked.  They basically assumed that my ire for this garbage is tied somehow to my overdeveloped affection for comic books and my entitled expectations.

Well, before I continue, I am going to address these two arguments.  The people that said these things to my face were wrong, and if you’re thinking as they did, so are you.


Episode 5: NOT Batman v Superman

Here is Episode 5 of the greatest podcast in the world, where we spent two hours talking about our mutual disdain for Batman v Superman. Then we immediately threw that episode in the dumpster where it belongs, in favor of much better and meaningful conversations about topics such as: Resident Evil movies, The Marvel and DC TV universes, Sam Witwer, Vic Mignogna, David Hayter v Hideo Kojima, Ghostbusters trailer, Fatal Fury, The Room, Arslan Senki, Robotech and other anime, Street Fighter G.I. Joe figures, AND... more David Warner! Anything BUT Batman v Superman. Because regurgitating everything that's been already said online would be boring, so instead BIG AMERICAN PARTY! EVERYBODY DISCO DANCING! LOTS OF FUN, GOOD TIME FOR ALL! I AM HAVING VERY GOOD TIME! ROBOT DANCING? OH NO! POLICE! QUICKLY IN HERE! WHO IS DRIVING? OH MY GOD BEAR IS DRIVING HOW CAN THAT BE?


Gaming AM Podcast Commercial #2

We took some acting lessons and we're back with a new commercial! We may have gone too far in a few places...


Episode 4: The Retro Apprentice Continues

Happy other Monday! What's other Monday you ask? Well we here at Gaming AM like to post episodes every other Monday, so this being one of those "other Mondays" we have proclaimed it other Monday... day! So happy other Monday, or should I say happy new episode day? Or should I say this bit has run it's course... Episode 4, wherein we discuss a certain failed video game console, as well as a couple recent and decent sci-fi fan films we've been watching. PLUS... DAVID WARNER! Greatest podcast in the world. Listen, enjoy, spread the word, leave a bad review.


Episode 3: Sutorīto Faitā

As promised here is Episode 3 of the greatest podcast in the world, Gaming AM. This of course is the second half of Episode 2, in which we actually manage to get to the subject at hand, Street Fighter! We share our fond memories of playing each of its MANY iterations over the years, as well as discussing the history of the series we love so dearly. In addition, Tom discusses his feelings about the recently released Street Fighter V. This one is another epic two-hour extravaganza, which we'll just stop making reference to, as it seems like this is now just our standard episode length. Enjoy! Because it's awesome.


Star Wars: The Force Awakens-Fandom and Frustration

Star Wars means a lot to me.

As I stated in my first blog for Gaming AM, the way it influenced me as a child altered my perception of escapist pop culture forever and, more importantly, how I consume it.  This is one of the reasons I grew to dislike the prequels with such disdain the more I considered them.  Apart from their many narrative flaws, they suffered from a far more egregious problem:  their few strengths were not enough to overcome their numerous  weaknesses.

I couldn’t, in the end, forgive the prequels for their sins.  There was no redemption, no return to the light, for these three accursed Sithspawn.  Which isn’t to say that good things haven’t come from the wreckage of George Lucas’ misbegotten effort to whitewash our affection for the classic trilogy by burying us in prequel pap.


Capcom's Street Fighter V Lies

Yep, I’m talking about this.

In order to take you on the intended journey, I have to cover this from the top, and that means addressing content in Street Fighter V that a vocal minority have made some noise about and give some context as to why this happened. 

In the process of setting a larger stage, I hope to help further illustrate the real reason Capcom’s desire to have its cake and eat it besides is deceptive, anti-consumer and harmful to the legacy of this great series.

So, back in December, there was this whole kerfuffle about a few of the animations discovered while players were putting the Street Fighter V beta through its paces.  It turns out that gamers were witnessing Japanese puroresu sensation Rainbow Mika, or R. Mika for short, slapping her ass as the opening visual for her ‘Critical Art’, which is nomenclature for Street Fighter V’s ‘super move’.  

For reasons that anyone familiar with social media in this hypersensitive age well knows, some took offense to the animation, feeling that it was yet another example of the sexual objectification of women in video games. 

Capcom, like so many other companies in the past year or two, caved to the pressure and decided to alter the camera angle during R. Mika’s Critical Art animation so that the butt slap isn’t visible.  She still performs the motion, but at its ‘mysoginistic’ peak the view shifts up so you hear, but do not see, hand smacking rump. 

Out of sight, out of mind?  Congratulations?  A winner is you?  Pics or it didn’t happen?  Whatever colloquialism you wish to use for turning a blind eye , go right ahead.  


Episode 2: Attack of the Jabrones

We present for your consideration, Gaming AM Episode 2. Yes, it seems this is going to be a regular thing despite your belief that we were one-off rage-quitters. We're back again, this one is titled "Attack of the Jabrones", because it's Episode 2, and it sort of rhymes with Attack of the Clones. Why would we want to rhyme with arguably the worst Star Wars movie, which could be further argued that it's the worst "movie" period? Because f*** you that's why. Good news, it's another two-hour event just like our first episode! Wait, is that good news?

In all seriousness we hope you enjoy this one, despite the fact that we never actually made it to the intended source material. This week was to be all about Street Fighter. But then it wasn't. The format of our podcast is to chat up current events briefly, then move on to the subject at hand. Unfortunately Tom and I both suffer from a serious affliction called "Diarrhea Mouth". Whenever we talk about stuff we like, we don't stop, and it makes our podcasts long. Like it or lump it, we're here to stay. We did actually record the Street Fighter material, but rather than subject you to a Peter Jackson-esque four hour podcast, we snipped off the core material and left you with the current events portion which we believe is still a great listen for those of you into the same kind of weirdness we are.

Next podcast, Street Fighter. This week, us talking about stuff. Enjoy! (...and if this isn't enough, be on the lookout for something else we're going to post tomorrow. It's epic.) UPDATE: it's here!


Guile-Best Character in Street Fighter II

Of all the characters that have appeared in the Street Fighter series of fighting games, none of them capture my imagination and continues to hold it as strongly as the air force pilot with the flag tattoo named Guile.  Even today, 25 years later, I always get a little excited to find out that this grim avenger is making an appearance in a video game-any video game. 

But why Guile?  The cast is so rich and varied, each with their own particular strengths. From ‘the strongest woman in the world’ Chun Li to the psychotic sadist Vega/M. Bison/Dictator to the sumo strongman E. Honda to the green dynamo Blanka, there is no shortage of inventive character designs in this series.  And if you add in the fairly recent inclusion of characters from Final Fight such as the ninja warrior of justice Guy, the mad mercenary Rolento and the enormous, Andre The Giant inspired Hugo, the cast has only gotten bigger and more varied.  There is something for everyone here.

So why is Guile the coolest to me?  What separates him from the pack?  What I want to do with this look at the character is go back to the beginning, and his first appearance in the original Street Fighter II: The World Warrior.  This examination of Guile and my love for the character stems from those early days, and it has nothing to do with the technical aspects of the gameplay itself (although Guile is very effective) so I am not going to talk about footsies, cancelling, poking, priority, invincibility frames, hit boxes, handcuffs, throwing combs or 100% combos.


Why It Still Matters

I’ve been a nerd for nearly 40 years.

Well, actually, probably longer than that if you count a four year old kid loving Spider-Man and Batman as being a nerd.  I wouldn't, but that's a reflection for another day.

It might have gone different for me, had a couple of things happened (or not).  I could have outgrown it like so many othes, gotten more into sports (although I am a sports fan-love my Chicago teams and follow them regularly), dirt bikes, cars, partying, getting drunk/high, high school athletics…the whole deal. To speak plainly, these are socially accepted norms in America, probably a lot of the rest of the world too.  The kinds of things I enjoy, like comic books, video games and so forth, are considered hobbies one ‘matures out of’ as they get older, seek gainful employment, establish careers, start families and settle down.

The well worn path of Joe Average was never for me.  That is not meant to disparage the millions of people that have done this very thing over the years.  They are happy, successful and can provide for their loved ones.  Good on them.  It’s just not my path. 

And I think I have Star Wars to thank/blame for that.


Episode 1: Where It All Began

After two years of talking about it, we finally did it. It's a Podcast! Gaming AM is here!

Here is Episode 1, entitled "Where It All Began", and it's a special two hour premiere event! If you make it to the end, then you are truly ready for what lies ahead in the coming weeks and months...

In the first hour we discuss who we are, how we got here, and why were doing this. The second hour we get into our actual topic, which this week is (appropriately) game music. We hope you are entertained, informed, and that you laugh a lot. Thanks for giving us a listen!