Sunday, October 30, 2011

EPISODE 8: Horror Gaming

EPISODE 8: Horror Gaming
A discussion of Pac Man ghosts. (For the curious few, the four Japanese Puck-Man Ghosts are Akabei, Aosuke, Guzata and Pinky.)
Department 1: What We've Been Playing
 - Lots and LOTS of Dragon Age 2 (98 hours at last count, according to Raptr)
 - Ascension for iPhone
 - Merchants and Marauders
 - Revolution! by SJG
 - Warhammer 40K Space Marine Demo for 360
 - Nationstates (my region is the Dominion of Asylum; just say you're a fan of the podcast and you're in)
 - A quick perusal of OGame (which I later joined, as it's da bomb)
 - Gears of War 3 (since I might not have said it clearly on-air, in Beast Mode I played a bunch of 'Tickers')
 - Marvel vs. Capcom 3
 - Aliens: Infestation
 - - "Wilco Command, Fox-Six is Oscar Mike."
 - Smash Land
 - Starfox 64 3DS
 - And a special mention to (ugh) Freshly Picked Tingle's Rosy Rupeeland and a reference to the webcomic Ctrl-Alt-Del
Department 2: Wins and Fails (or, in Orwellian Newspeak, "Winfail")
+1 Cthulhu, Call of Cthulhu and Vampire, for hitting some awesome anniversaries
+1, I mean Skylanders
-1 Steam, for continually demanding bandwidth-boggling updates
-1 Vampire: the Requiem for being too far away from Masquerade and still reminding us of it
+1 Each character in Ultimate MvC3 (except for phenomenally bland Nova)
-1 World of Warcraft for pumping out the portion of Azeroth that is Kung Fu Panda
-1 Myself for a terrible Black Friday Financial Paralysis
+1 Stainless Games for Magic 2012, a great remake of Duels of the Planeswalkers
+1 DLC "Season Passes" by Rockstar/Team Bondi, Turn 10 Studios and Epic Games
-1 Bethesda Softworks, for continually pushing his XBox into happy-happy-crash-land
-1 Tiny Tower for temporal vampirism
-1 (he cheated) Zynga for their transformation from money-hungry weasels into money-DEMANDING weasels
Then there was a brief discussion of Judge Dredd.
Department 3: The Topic Main
(Author's Note: My expertise is NOT horror. Enjoy my neophyte comments interrupting these passed masters.)
The Nyan Deemer
A Brief Moment of Terror for L4D fans
Contact us at:
Be sure to stay tuned after the credits for a super-secret teaser of a new project by one of the hosts!

Sunday, July 10, 2011

Episode 7: Narrative Role Playing

This episode got mauled by some random editing, so everything other than the topic got mauled. Luckily, the topic remained, and is actually really good in our opinion. We hope you like it as much as we do.

Seven divided by two is three and a half. High school education, you fail me once more.

How to make a narrative RPG (or as Mark likes to call it, how to play Dread right now)

The Mystery of the Stick

Add Native Americans to people Michael accidentally offends

Our exposure to narrative role-playing (Also, our more quick listeners will pick up on my ultra-ninja code-talking)

I'd like to note that I had, and still have, no clue whether the term 'gimped out' means overpowered or underpowered. Feel free to send hate mail to Your mail will be read aloud on the show if it is in limerick form.

Michael's narrative experience and it's necessity from the story he tells (about D&D god kings of space winning everything forever)

Mark's Long History with Role Playing Games

Mary Sue's adventure

The Psychotic Dice


Shavage Worlds (Show email) (Michael) (Jeff) (Mark)

Sunday, May 29, 2011

Starting Next Week: Contemplations

Okay, the name is a work in progress, but next week will mark the release of the first Contemplation, a singular/compilation of individual works by each host in which they have a monologue about some topic of game design.

Sunday, May 8, 2011

Episode 6: Fear the Con

WARNING: This episode includes medium levels of cursing. Listener discretion is advised.

What We've Been Playing


- Resident Evil 5 Year Old
- Street Fighter 4
- Masher vs. Capcom 3
- Working on games


- Culdcept Saga
- The 'Villes
- Some sculpting of where his RPG group wants to go


- Demon's Crest for the SNES is old school. Who would've guessed?

Wins and Fails:


+ Infinite Tower...for whatever reason (
+ Mega Man Upon a Star (
- The Nintento 3DS for resounding meh-nosity (also a FFXIII reference)
- Mark's completely wonderful worthless notes


+ Youtube username: Behrudy, and Youtube username: levelupseries (Warning, the former is very obscene) Also, for those who don't get my joke, Justin Wong is in the top-3 Street Fighter players ever
+ The Darkness 2 (Info at; buy the first one at
- Prey 2 (Info at, Buy first one at
- AP Epic Failure


+ Evil Hat for the Dresden Files RPG
+ Conformism! (Also, the failure of free)
- AT+T for a terrible router'
- Full House Poker featuring Bob Saget


Sunday, May 1, 2011

Whoa, whoa, what's with all this nothing?

Due to some schedule conflict and general shenanigans, we have had trouble with releasing content.


There is an episode in the hopper, but due to my studies, it may not come out until Friday/Saturday.

We are aware of our lack of content, and are planning some new directions for Gaming Asylum to keep you entertained and informed.

Sunday, April 3, 2011

Episode 5: Open World vs. Linear Gaming in Video Games and RPGs

What Are We Playing?:

Jeff is behind on the times, but finally finished Bioshock 1.

Michael hates basic physics, but loves Dead Rising 2 wheelchairs and snow (this was recorded back in February)

Mark knows some fancy Japanese games. Isn't he special? If you want the titles...good luck with that. One is called 3D World Runner in English

Main Topic: Open World vs. Linear

Michael gets some knowledge dropped on him on open world games

If we have any disabled listeners, we apologize greatly



WEAKNESS OPEN WORLD: So big, players are unaware of how things work

STRENGTH OPEN WORLD: Creation of Player Plots

STRENGTH LINEAR WORLD: Meaning Behind The Plot, and a lack of Jimmy McWaffleboys


STRENGTH LINEAR WORLD: Much Stronger Story than a User-Made One

Eternal Pac-Man? Pacternal Darkness? Wakka Wakka Wakka Insanity?

STRENGTH LINEAR GAMES: Possible Sanity Questioning

OPEN WORLD NECESSITY: Need for Universal Signals

WEAKNESS OPEN WORLD: Lack of Urgency, and Vice Versa with Linear World

Side Tangent on Being Timed

STRENGTH OPEN WORLD: Openness in Choices (Durr)

STRENGTH LINEAR GAMES: Importance of the Player's Actions Increases




STRENGTH LINEAR GAMES: Dependency on the Narrative


Linearity in Role-Playing Games

"In a Video Game, the game provides the go, the player provides the do. In an RPG, the player provides the go, and the GM provides the do."
-Mark Snyder

"The more the GM tightens his grip, the more players will slip through his fingers"
-Jeff Bailey stealing from Star Wars: The New Hope

Wins and Fails


+ Youtube dropping time limit
- Having watched two and a half hours of Worms (Dude, seriously?)
+ Apology Win to Every RPG ever made
- Him reading every RPG in a new light


+ Game Informer's Replay of Overblood
+ Ridiculous Texas Snow
- Green Lanturn (2011) and Ryan Reynolds


+ Visceral Studios for throwing in Extraction with Dead Space 2
+ Xynga for being like crack cocaine and SUCKING YOU BACK IN
- Google Docs for censorshiposity
- Indie RPG Movement for obliterating any ability for Jeff to keep track of news

Monday, March 28, 2011

The Dice Alternitives: Gimmick or Game-Changer

Dice. Every RPG gamer has enough to build a small model of the Eiffel Tower (that's a normal thing to do with dice, right?), but for some reason some games choose to forsake dice, and instead use some other device for determining randomness. While I can understand some of these, others I find stupid.

The most common alternative to dice, also the main tool to play the timeless 52 Pickup, are the dice-supplement/replacement that makes the most sense to me. Playing cards were also designed for creating randomness. Another cool thing that a card-based mechanic can do is that there are already hundreds of card games you can draw upon. Perhaps your conflict resolution works like Blackjack, or War, or Texas Hold-'Em. By doing this, a segment of your rules becomes instantly recognizable to the newest of RPG.

A similar idea to this is what I call the "Inception mechanic", that is, a game within a game. This can be seen in Dread, a game whose decision makibg mechanic is a Jenga tower. The flaw I see with this is that the inner game must match the tone and function of the shell game. Dread is a game that relies on horror, a feeling that is complimented by the suspense of a mangled Jenga tower. This would be less successful is the mechanic was, say, based on Bop-It. Also needed is that the game doesn't begin to focus on an irrelevant mechanic. If you pull out Risk mid-game, you are no longer playing whatever you were. Now, people are going to focus on Risk.

An idea I also have heard of is scrapping dice all together, instead opting for a skill based conflict mechanic. Usually, to my limited understanding, this means that if a character is stuck in a situation they are not good at, they are going to shift it to something they are. The problem I see with this is that unless your system utilizes some form of umbrella skill (like a generic Combat or Tech skill) these links could be manipulated by minmaxier players, shooting wires in a computer to hack it or winning a fight by using embroidery to sew a dude's arms together. While this is a minor concern and could be irrelevant in lighter games,it is one that can still sometimes come into play.

Out of all of these, the one I want to experiment with the most is the Inception game. I personally want to try making a game with some sort of TCG-esque conflict resolution. While I think of that, other designers will be exploring the potential of card, diceless, and Inception mechanics, and others yet will be seeing conflict resolution in new forms. As a game designer, sometimes it is important to note randomness can be found in more places than a shiny little die.

Friday, February 25, 2011

The Real Episode 4: Gaming Accessories

Michael and Jeff have a “Who has the most video games to talk about” fight

John Cleese is ridiculously awesome

Michael has a memory challenge, and has only killed one hooker

The indie games I refer to are I MAED A GAM3 W1TH Z0MBIES 1N IT!!!1 and Epic Dungeon

Things get uncomfortable when talking about a certain indie game

Dice: Surprisingly Controversial

Sandwich: The Deliciousing

Cardboard Cutouts

Writable Maps

Mark gets cut off, and What Would You Bring to a Mystery Game?

Use of devices at the table

GM Screens

Mark wants to know everything ever and the Great Beast of Gsdefjgruh is ungrapplable

The Game Space

Michael’s a Jerk and a Mooch

This Modern Death is awesome, go listen\

Gaming Peripherals

Do the Hadouken Dance

The Internet is Stupid

WASD is Serious Biznizz

No One Listens to Mark

Mark Concurs

Hypothetical Peripherals

Michael’s Wins and Fails:

+ Deus Ex “Icarus” Trailer

+ Game Informer’s Replay

- XBLA Indie Market (also, akward again)

- marketing

Mark’s Wins and Fails

+ Retsupurae (I think)

- Marvelous Entertainment Pushing Release Dates

+- Mythos Cards and the Art of Playing It

Jeff’s Wins and Fails

+ GamesPlus in Chicago

+ Duels of the Planeswalkers for XBLA Magic

- Duels of the Planeswalkers for XBLA Magic

- The Enemy of All Mankind: Itself (Duh duh DUUUUUHHHHHHHHH)

An Inside Joke Put In To Torture You

Thursday, February 24, 2011

We Are Aware of The Issues With Episode 4

We are aware of the issues with Episode 4's length, and we are working on solving it. A full episode should be out by Friday evening. We apologize for any inconvenience this may have caused, and hope you used this time to listen to other excellent podcasts, or devise concepts for a show you would like us to do. Or, if you are mad, we hope you took this time to spell-check your rant. Thank you.

Monday, February 21, 2011

Episode 4: Gaming Accessories

This episode be SCREWED UP, with only 5 minutes being actually in it. This is because Audacity crashed while MP3inating the file, and I wasn't paying attention. For Episode 4, check the post labeled "The Real Episode 4"

Sunday, February 6, 2011

A Shorty: The Duty of the Player

This episode got cut short due to some connection issues combined with file loss. There should still be some good stuff in there though. There will be a full sized episode next week.

-Mark is oddly existential, and plays hard to spell games that inspire other games that are disturbing

-Jeff likes board games

-Michael has lame problems, and cannibalized Julius Caesar

-The Duty of the Player, both to the other players and partially to the GM (before the audio explodes)

Thursday, February 3, 2011

Multiplayer Complexity and Staleness (Also, An Assassin's Creed Brotherhood Rant)

Bioshock Multiplayer had the opportunity to be amazing, but it was trite and boring
Recently, I’ve been playing a lot of Street Fighter 4 and Dead Rising 2, especially their multiplayer. This is mainly because before this I had a FPS stint, and now I’ve decided that I’m really sick of when “multiplayer” means, “those same 4-5 gametypes that have been around since Doom”. I honestly am getting quite tired of Deathmatch, Capture the Flag, and King of the Hill, and I’m starting to reach out to games that don’t have those. Street Fighter may be a fighting game, but it’s deviation from the usual. Dead Rising 2’s multiplayer I was hesitant on at first, but it’s uniqueness has drawn me in.

Dead Rising 2’s multiplayer comes in the form of a fictional Pay-Per-View-esqe program called “Terror is Reality” in which contestants fight in a variety of games that range from awesomely gorey to downright ridiculous. There is no Deathmatch or Capture the Flag here. Many of the gametypes involve, unsurprisingly, killing zombies, but the various twists on it keep me interested. One gametype, Slicycles (did I mention this game is quite punny?) involves driving your motorcycle pimped-out with chainsaws through zombie hordes, and it requires proper risk-reward factoring, as you must determine which path will bring you the most kills. My favorite game type is Stand-Up Zomedy, in which you must deck out zombies with a combination of silly hats, tutus, and impaled stick ponies to get max combos, while also ruining the other player’s silly outfits by combo-breaking with your own items.

However, these game modes are also generally minigames, and once you figure them out, it becomes more or less a match of speed. I’ve come to realize while playing DR2 that the reason that the usuals stay in multiplayer is that there is inherent complexity that comes with those game types. Dead Rising, while original, is too simple for it’s own good. One win and you’ve probably figured out the secrets of the game type. I need some sort of new multiplayer gametype that is enough of a deviation that it feels original, but not enough to lose complexity.

Enter Assassin’s Creed Brotherhood.

The core of AC: Brohood’s multiplayer is Wanted (Free-For-All). However, the team at Ubisoft has crafted these modes into something that probably has topped my top list of Multiplayer Games. For the uninitiated, in Wanted, every player has two factors of the match to deal with. They get a target player, and that player is the only person they are allowed to kill. That’s it. At the same time, they are being chased by anywhere from 1 to 4 people, and they must hide in the level’s NPCs (who are copies of the game’s players). Also, kills are not measured by themselves, instead they bring in point values, with each vanilla kill netting 100 points plus stealth bonuses, variety bonuses, and the like. Thus, the focus of gameplay is not the parkour that the series is famous for, or some sort of gung ho maneuver. Instead, the key is stealth. By being stealthy, the people you are chasing won’t know you are coming (plus, sweet sweet stealth bonuses), and people chasing you won’t pick you out of a crowd so easily. Running should only be used when your pursuer has gotten too close to you.

This guy has faked out his target with an NPC, and is about to own
With these factors, Assassin’s Creed Brotherhood creates a tense cat-and-mouse stealth game, and entices me with the prospect of learning whole new tactics for a whole new game. Those tactics that are useful in every FPS are pointless in Brotherhood. Camping is pointless, as you aren’t pursuing your target while your pursuers get closer. Sniping with the gun nets minimal points, and the gun in general is pretty much only good to clear out morons running in plain sight on the roof. You need to develop new tactics, like the Morph Crowd, or proper use of a Decoy, or, my personal favorite, picking out a person from a crowd of NPCs through slight giveaways. It requires stealth, it requires skill, it requires new tactics, it requires focus, it requires intellect, and if more games had such requirements, I’d have much less of a social life.

Tuesday, February 1, 2011

Uniqueness in Video Games

This is going to be the first in a series of video game/role-playing game blogs.
By: Michael Burdick

We need more of this. Well, not exactly this, but you get the idea
I am a major hipster when it comes to my video games. I don’t tend to pick up games like Call of Duty or Halo, because they generally are tired concepts that, although are at the top of their specific genres, their ideas, both in gameplay and general concept, are generally stagnant. I like games that tread some sort of new ground, either in story, gameplay, or settings. I am by no means thrashing CoDs or Halos, I am merely stating this: games are expensive, and why should I buy Reach when I already have a copy of Halo 3? They are both a fairly generic space opera setting, and their plots do nothing special. The only vast change is the inclusion of some semi-original game types and Armor Abilities. Here’s the kind of change I enjoy, and am very willing to shell out cash for.
Great Story
I’m a sucker for a good story. If you, as Mr. Hypothetical Game Developer, put time and effort into the tale your game weaves and don’t make it ridiculous, I will enjoy it. I like a good story, and I like it better when I can’t tell the twists. Mass Effect 2 is my typical example for this. It combines general space opera goodness like Halo, but it adds in a nice Lovecraftian twist and also mainly centers on 10ish generally (cough all the humans cough) fantastic stories that you as a player can twist and bend to your desire. These side plots are what takes the good plot to greatness. There are grand plot twists, including a few on the mysterious Collectors and soulless Reapers, that kept me on my toes, kept me interested, and when that was combined with the investment I felt in the game thanks to the choices, and I was hooked.

Gameplay Revolutions

For this example, I use a game that, without it’s Gameplay Revolution, would have fallen to the wayside: Left 4 Dead. The L4D series made by Valve hinges on having an amazingly teamwork based Co-op system. The game is built so that a team must work together in order to win, or else even a slightly more organized team will steamroll them. This is especially true for the Infected team. A single Infected, with the exception of the Tank, will get crushed quickly under concentrated gunfire. That’s why that team needs to work together, with each member working in tandem to take out the team. The Smoker drags Coach away from the group. When one person tries to get them, they get pounced by a Hunter. A Boomer quickens the death of the Smoked person, and finally a Charger either stuns or completely drives away the standing two. Boosh, ¾ of the enemy team is dead. This teamwork was unheard of before Left 4 Dead, in an age where a single lone wolf could destroy a sizable chunk of the enemy team.
New Settings/Mythologies
Space opera is good, and so is WWII, and everyone loves a zombie apocalypse. When a game takes from a completely new source of inspiration, or better, creates a unique image, then we are talking my style. For instance, Condemned (1, at least) is a mostly realistic tale of following a serial killer’s mad journey, something generally untouched. Darksiders is a fantasy retelling of the Revelations Apocalypse. These things have been untouched by gaming for the most part, and the sales of these games reflect that the gaming populous does have plenty of space for new ideas, ideas that allow a player to explore a story that has never before been explored. However, my favorite example of this is Bayonetta. A ridiculous story made by Platinum Games, Bayonetta explores a future-esqe setting in which two clans of spellcasters fight for either Paradiso or Inferno, somewhat based on the Christian Heaven and Hell. This game is in a totally unique setting with a hellish twist (Bayonetta is an Umbran Witch, i.e on Team Inferno), and altogether the enemies, settings, and especially bosses are unheard of and will make you swear in amazement. Don’t believe me? The final boss of Bayonetta is this game’s supreme deity, and it is ridiculous. The only more amazing thing is how you kill it.

Sunday, January 23, 2011

Episode 2: Urban Mythology

This episode was recorded a long long time ago, around Thanksgiving, so that'll explain those puns and comments. Also, I'm still iffy on intro music, plus I forgot :D

What We're Playing

The History of the Use of Urban Mythology

The Categories and the Implementation of Urban Mythology

Wins and Fails:


+ Minecraft

+ The Walking Dead

- Left 4 Dead Space 2

- CoDBlOps and AC: Brohood


+ Battlestar Galactica Board Game

+ Shear Panic

- Fantasy Flight for Overmilking BG

- Open World Games


+XSEED for making sequels