Welcome to the first edition of Bombcast from the Past. Before we get started I want to take a minute to explain my plan and reason for doing these posts. As a recent premium subscriber, I love the fact that I can comb through years worth of content on a whim. My daily commute allows me plenty of time to consume podcasts, being all caught up on my recently released episodes, I decided to go back to the where it all started and listen to the Bombcast from the begining. As I was doing so, I found it very entertaining to hear the crew speculate and shit talk the gaming industry of 2008 knowing how it has played out afterwards. With these posts I will go back in order and highlight what was discussed and how it ended up afterwards, so please join me on adventure to the very beginning of the Bombcast.
Hosts: Ryan and Jeff
The first episode is being recorded over Skype, the audio is a little rough, Jeff sounds like he is talking through a tin can. After about a minute of introducing the show and useless banter, we get to what seems to become a major staple at the top of every Bombcast to come in the near future: The Drink of the Day! This episodes drink is Gatorade Tiger, a Tiger Woods themed re-branding of Gatorade. They spend a few minutes discussing the finer qualities of the drink, the flavors, and how it will turn you into a winner. They go on to talk about the many differences between Gatorade Tiger, regular Gatorade, and even G2. We get our first peek into how lazy Jeff can be, as he describes to us the struggles of 2008 grocery delivery. My favorite quote from this part is then Jeff simply asks, "Does it taste like golf?" After about 12 minutes of Gatorade discussion, they move on to another hot button issue, HD-DVD!
Off the bat, Ryan explains that buying the Xbox 360 HD-DVD drive was, and I quote, "Retarded." To refresh your memories, in 2006, there where two formats in which you could buy movies in HD, Blu-ray and HD-DVD. Home gaming consoles had a huge hand in deciding who would win this format war, as Sony's Playstation 3 had Blu-ray capabilities right out of the box, without any extra peripherals, while Microsoft backed the HD-DVD format, but the consumer would need to buy an extra disc drive to plug into their console, for a low price of $199.99 on-top of the cost of the console. Anyway, by late 2007 it was clear that Blu-ray would win the war and in late February 2008, Microsoft discontinued the HD-DVD drive. Jeff mentions here that, before CES that year, Microsoft was set to announce a new model 360 with the HD-DVD drive built into the console, but once Warner Brothers announced they would no longer support the format, forced Microsoft to cancel these plans. I find this very interesting, as it seems Microsoft has learned by its past mistakes and now is the only home gaming console currently that supports 4K Blu-ray with the Xbox One S.
After a short discussion on the topic of Girls Gone Wild on HD-DVD, we finally get to game talk. They start by discussing Command and Conquer: Red Alert, a game Jeff sounded pretty excited about, he would later give the game a 4/5. They talk about how hard it is to get RTS games to work on console and what they would like to see for the genre on console. Ryan jokes that he hopes they still feature 80's fixture Kari Wuhrer, saying "She's gotta be what, like 60 now?" In rides white night Jeff to defend his maiden's honor, proclaiming that it's impossible for her to age, and in hindsight he may have been right.
They move on to the topic of GDC 2008, they both mention having interest in attending a seminar lead by Bioshock writer Ken Levine that focused on storytelling. They express excitement on seeing the gaming industry from the side of the developers and not from a press point of view. I guess at the time writing was not a huge focus for many developers but became huge with the success of games like Bioshock and Mass Effect. Ryan sticks a dagger in my heart by bashing Lost Odyssey, saying that its just another stale JRPG. They talk a little about the CES award how they probably mean more to developers than the DICE awards (I have no recollection what the DICE awards where.) and Jeff seems to have some weird grudge against a coked up Jay Mohr. Ryan mentions a seminar with Bioware about dialog writing, and how he felt that was the best part of the original Mass Effect. in 2017, this gave me a good chuckle thinking about Andromeda and all its issues.
While still on the subject of CES, they get onto the topic of PlayStation Home. At this point, its still in beta, and wonder exactly what it will be. They worry that it will just be another vehicle for content creators to push more shit onto the gamers, or if it will actually be something useful. Warhawks was brought up, and how you would be able to use Home to launch a server with your friends in that game. This feature for Home eventually did launch, but after some digging around on the net, I was not able to actually find any more types of features for PlayStation Home like this, so I assume that it was not wildly popular.
Spawning from the Home discussion, the get onto the topic of Xbox gamer pics. Why are some free, why must you buy other? What sets the standard of pricing for this sort of thing? Is it even logical to sell them? This truly was the infancy of micro-transactions, and if only 2008 Jeff and Ryan could see the gaming industry today. Ryan openly admits to buying the Command and Conquer picture pack just so he could have a gamer pic of Billy Dee Williams and Michael Ironside (I don't blame him.) Jeff thinks the whole charging for gamer pics is bullshit and that you should just be able to upload a jpg as a gamer pic and Microsoft should just work harder banning people who upload porn and such. He even says "If they (Microsoft) was Xbox Live to become this kind of ubiquitous service, they need to give gamers some control over it." As we all know, the Xbox Live platform has changed a lot to 2008 and its fair share of ups and downs, the custom gamer pic feature would eventually be adapted, but not until April of 2017.
They jump around for a little bit between Boom Blox, id/id tech, and the difference between id Tech engine and Unreal. It's kind of weird hearing now, because now in 2017, Unreal is probably the most used game engine out there and id tech doesn't seem to be used at all (the last game to use id Tech was 2016's Doom, before that 2014's The Evil Within.) The way they are discussing this, id Tech seems like something that was used a lot in the industry but I just don't remember it much. Then they lament on not working on 2nd street (Gamespot) anymore, and how they can't get Henry's Hunan as much as they want. Next it's onto Prototype and how you can't call it emergent game play after its already been released. During their next part, they discuss possibly going to a seminar about Fable 2 hosted by Peter Molyneux, in typical fashion they lovingly bash Molyneux, who deserves every bit. Ryan names it "Fable 2: Peter Molyneux lies about Fable 2" and mention the importance of customizable ham sandwiches in game.
They finally get to the thing that they both are the most excited about attending GDC weekend, a seminar about integrating writing and design into Portal. They mention just how refreshing it was to have such fun writing in a unique game like Portal, something that to this day has rarely been replicated. Before wrapping up their discussion on GDC Jeff expresses his need for Hatris on the XBL Arcade, only to be matched by Ryan's request for SimAnt.
At this point, Ryan is playing lots of Carcassonne "for no good reason" and Tomb Raider Anniversary, while Jeff plays Devil May Cry 4 and Uncharted, but wants to rush through them to get to CSI and Jumper (not joking.) New Releases they mention are The Club, which Jeff says in overly clunky, which I can attest to, and compares it to some old Sega games. Ryan decides that they will do this podcast weekly, Jeff doesn't sound so sure. Ryan also teases getting sponsors, doing giveaways, and setting up a call in line and email for questions, for which Jeff laughs at like Ryan is is a crazy person.
Games Mentioned this Episode
|Game||Release Date||G.B. Review Score||Units Sold* (mil.)|
|C&C Red Alert 3||10/8/2008||4/5 (Jeff)||1.47|
|Boom Blox||5/6/2008||4/5 (Jeff)||1.21|
|Audiosurf||2/15/2008||Not Reviewed||n/a **|
|Fable II||10/21/2008||4/5 (Vinny)||4.27|
|Portal||10/10/2007||Not Reviewed||n/a +|
|Tomb Raider Anniversary||7/5/2007||Not Reviewed||n/a|
|Devil May Cry 4||1/31/2008||Not Reviewed||3.21|
|Uncharted: Drake's Fortune||11/19/2007||Not Reviewed||4.93|
|CSI: Hard Evidence||9/25/2007||Not Reviewed||.99|
* According to vgchartz.com, complied all units sold accross all platforms.
** Steamspy.com claims 1,499,044 own the game on Steam at the time of writing.
+ Steamspy.com claims 9,884,825 own the game on Steam at the time of writing.
That's about it for the first episode of the podcast that would become something that we all know and love. If you made it this far into the post I would like to thank you for reading all my bullshit, and if you have any tips on how to improve this post, please leave them in the comments.
Next time on Bombcast from the past: Arrow Pointing Down Podcast 2-24-2008