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Archive podcasts | First Wall Rebate
Mar 9 2009

FWR Episode 017: A Return to Formlessness

In Episode 017 we construct a scattershot conversation, pulling in everything from N’Gai Croal leaving Newsweek to video capture features in games. We were joined by friend of the show, Netwurker Mez, who took the time to contribute comments in real-time via Twitter as we recorded. With her help, we take on Noby Noby Boy, Skate 2, and Street Fighter 4, among others.

We will probably try this live Twitter feed again in the future, so add us (Shawn, Shane, Trevor, FWR) and join in the fun. Thanks for listening.


Feb 23 2009

FWR Episode 016: Flower

In Episode 016 we focus on Flower, downloadable for the PlayStation 3. The game has been described as a poem, and we use that classification to analyze the emotions it communicates through visual, audio, and interactive cues. We talk about the game’s unique structure, player character, and control scheme, and aesthetic parallels to pieces in other artistic mediums.

Don’t forget to check out and send us your thoughts on Gamer Theory for our upcoming Book Club episode, and thanks for listening.


Feb 14 2009

FWR Episode 015: Ruben & Lullaby

In Episode 015 we talk about Erik Loyer’s excellent new iPhone game, Ruben & Lullaby. R&L makes us think about hardware potentials and limitations, methods for emotional investment, and player roles in interactive art.

We are preparing for a new Book Club episode on Gamer Theory, so take a look at it and send us your input. We have invited the author, McKenzie Wark, onto the program, so your thoughts will hopefully be conveyed to him. We look forward to hearing from you, and thanks for listening.


Feb 2 2009

FWR Episode 014: Margaret Chmiel

Margaret Chmiel, Director of Digital Media at National Geographic,  joins us for Episode 014 and a conversation about educational games. Marjee has been involved with the JASON Project, and we center our conversation on their excellent (and free!) game, Operation: Resilient Planet (you will need to make an account). We talk about the dynamics of working with non-profit as compared to for-profit organizations, possibilities for educational games as commercial releases, and Marjee’s prediction that everyone receives free giant robots within the next 3 years. Thanks for listening.


Jan 26 2009

FWR Episode 013: Possibility Spaces

In Episode 013 we discuss the holiday-weighted release cycle of the game industry. Looking forward to the next few months, we decide that independent games are filling the spaces left vacant by such a release schedule, also getting into the overreactions to Super Columbine Massacre RPG and Douglas Stanley’s Invaders!, Ian Bogost’s Jetset, and homebrew communities versus XNA and the iTunes App Store. Thanks for listening.


Jan 17 2009

FWR Episode 012: Left 4 Dead

In Episode 012, Shawn Rider assumes 1/3 of the hosting duties here at FWR. For his first official episode, we talk about Left 4 Dead, the differences between fear produced by games as compared to other mediums, and contrasts between zombie games, films, and comics. We ask why zombie fiction has resurfaced in American culture, looking at some of the social and political parallels that accompany its rise as a popular horror narrative. We look at the motivations and emotional qualities behind zombie narratives, and finally decide that all of the characters in Left 4 Dead are doomed because their plane/helicopter/boat is clearly destined to end up in a situation at least as bad as the one it takes off from. Unlike Bill, Zoey, Louis, and Francis, we escape from this episode with most of our limbs and sanity intact, if only barely. Thanks for listening.


Jan 10 2009

FWR Episode 011: Michael Abbott

Against the sad backdrop of the EGM/1Up gutting, Shawn Rider and Michael Abbott join us for Episode 11 to talk about the state of game journalism. Michael runs The Brainy Gamer, an excellent blog and podcast that takes an intelligent, contemplative look at gaming. We discuss bleak predictions for the future of print and its possibilities in a digital age, the potential and breadth of online communities, and the very particular role that 1Up and EGM filled. Overall, a hopeful episode as a tribute to the impacted staff and community, in which we explore possible futures for game journalism and criticism. Thanks for listening.


Dec 25 2008

FWR Episode 010: 2008 Under the Microscope

Shawn Rider joins us for Episode 010, in which we discuss the standout games of 2008. We get into iPhone gaming, Fallout 3, Metal Gear Solid 4, Mega Man 9, Grand Theft Auto IV, LittleBigPlanet, and Braid. Trevor finally gets that Red Ryder air rifle he’s been wanting, Shane recants his disbelief in Santa Claus when he endangers the town’s present supply, and Shawn helps a spunky young reindeer earn his rightful place at the front of the pack. Thanks for listening.


Nov 19 2008

FWR Episode 009: Shawn Rider

In Episode 009 we team up with Shawn Rider from GamesFirst! for a conversation on Braid and Little Big Planet. We also talk about the social potential of gaming, web games journalism, multimodal art, and some of the other titles we’ve been playing recently.

Check out Shawn’s social networking project, CrashBomb, where you can track and compare games with your friends. As always, thanks for listening.


Nov 1 2008

FWR Episode 008

In this episode, responding to Spore and Little Big Planet, we discuss user-created content and how it relates to questions of ownership and authorial distribution. We also drool over our new MacBooks, get excited about unnamed upcoming guests, and talk over the haunting sounds of barking dogs. Thanks for listening.