Built for E3 2015

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Built for E3 2015

Our predictions for E3 and we examine whether this whole exercise was a waste of our time. 


THANKS TO THE FREE MUSIC ARCHIVE FOR  "raro Bueno" By Chuzausen, "Nature Kid" by Podington Bear, "As Colorful as Ever" by Broke for Free, and "Second Challenger" by Ipower.

BUILT TO PLAY IS A PRODUCT OF THE SCOPE AT RYERSON RADIO STATION IN THE HEART OF DOWNTOWN TORONTO. IT WAS PRODUCED AND EDITED BY ARMAN AGHBALI AND DANIEL ROSEN.

IF YOU LIKE THE SHOW PLEASE SUBSCRIBE AND RATE US ONLINE. IT HELPS MORE PEOPLE FIND THE SHOW AND GIVES US AN IDEA HOW WE'RE DOING. FEEL FREE TO COMMENT DOWN BELOW.

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Bit of Play: Cinema

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Bit of Play: Cinema

Dan and Arman look at Ninja Gaiden, Shenmue, Heavy Rain, and the concept of cinematic gameplay


THANKS TO THE FREE MUSIC ARCHIVE FOR  "watashi" by johnny_ripper. OCRemix gave us "The Night of Lukifell" by Verez.

BUILT TO PLAY IS A PRODUCT OF THE SCOPE AT RYERSON RADIO STATION IN THE HEART OF DOWNTOWN TORONTO. IT WAS PRODUCED AND EDITED BY ARMAN AGHBALI AND DANIEL ROSEN.

IF YOU LIKE THE SHOW PLEASE SUBSCRIBE AND RATE US ONLINE. IT HELPS MORE PEOPLE FIND THE SHOW AND GIVES US AN IDEA HOW WE'RE DOING. FEEL FREE TO COMMENT DOWN BELOW.

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Built to Play 60: Wins and Losses

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Built to Play 60: Wins and Losses

We're all about the things we lose and the things we win when we play games, including the life, artificial intelligence, and baseball. 

In this episode of Built to Play we have the following segments:

  • David Wolinsky tells us about Don't Die, his video game confessional, where he learns about OKCupid, burn out, and MUDs. Special thanks from Jenn Dahlke (Correction: Arman mispronounces her name. It's Dahl-KEY), Greg Zeschuk, and Shana Rosenberg (0:20 - 15:00)
  • Daniel and Arman discuss the recent crowd-funding campaign from Koji Igarashi and whether Kickstarter can produce original games. (15:10 - 27:50)
  • Tom 7 and Peter Lozinski discuss sore losers, both real and virtual, and if pausing ever counts as winning. (27:50 - 42:20)
  • Kiva Bay talks about alcoholism, monsters and Papo & Yo (42:20 - 55:00)

THANKS TO THE FREE MUSIC ARCHIVE FOR  "hey ragdoll" by Boyscout Discovery, "rest (johnny_ripper remix)" by alphabets, "inside my house; some place I keep dreaming about (johnny_ripper remix)"  by Ricky Eat Acid, "Betrayal, Lies and Disaster" by The Losers, "Pretend and Walk Outside" by krakatoa, and "Touching" by Souvenir Driving.

WE ALSO USED CLIPS FROM DON'T DIE, WARGAMES, MURDER SHE WROTE, AND FEMINIST FREQUENCY.

BUILT TO PLAY IS A PRODUCT OF THE SCOPE AT RYERSON RADIO STATION IN THE HEART OF DOWNTOWN TORONTO. IT WAS PRODUCED AND EDITED BY ARMAN AGHBALI AND DANIEL ROSEN.

IF YOU LIKE THE SHOW PLEASE SUBSCRIBE AND RATE US ONLINE. IT HELPS MORE PEOPLE FIND THE SHOW AND GIVES US AN IDEA HOW WE'RE DOING. FEEL FREE TO COMMENT DOWN BELOW.

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Natalie Neill on the History of the Gothic

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Natalie Neill on the History of the Gothic

Natalie Neill is a English professor at York University in Toronto, Canada, with a specialty in gothic fiction. In our research on the history of the Gothic and the ways its been interpreted and developed in the last 300 years, she helped us learn more about the era and what it meant for the people living in that time. Gothic fiction has always been a pariah, representing the baser elements of human beings.  It has a history of being in the shadows, present as part of literature and routinely ignored by critics until fairly recently. Natalie Neill gives us a quick primer on this one segment of English literature and why it matters for today's media, including video games. 

Part of this interview was originally broadcast as part of Built to Play 58.


BUILT TO PLAY IS A PRODUCT OF THE SCOPE AT RYERSON RADIO STATION IN THE HEART OF DOWNTOWN TORONTO. IT WAS PRODUCED AND EDITED BY ARMAN AGHBALI AND DANIEL ROSEN.

The Header Image is from ivany86 on deviantart. His work is great. You should look at it.

IF YOU LIKE THE SHOW PLEASE SUBSCRIBE AND RATE US ONLINE. IT HELPS MORE PEOPLE FIND THE SHOW AND GIVES US AN IDEA HOW WE'RE DOING. FEEL FREE TO COMMENT DOWN BELOW.

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Built to Play 59: Film Grain

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Built to Play 59: Film Grain

Built to Play ventures into the wild west, junior high, and the trope tank.

In this week's episode you'll hear from the following people:

  • John Gottschalk and Jordi Boin on the relationship between the gun, the game and the western in Westerado: Double Barrelled. (00:00 - 10:30)
  • Daniel and Arman discuss Konami's transition into maybe never making another massive-budget game (10:30 - 33:30)
  • Nick Montfort and Andrew Plotkin tell us about the Trope Tank, studying the past, interactive fiction, and Pac Man. (33:30 -43:46)
  • Creator Miriam Verburg and story director Susanne Alyssa Andrew talk about life in junior high, the horrors of modern dating, and why it's okay to fail in their visual novel, Long Story. (43:45 - 57:45)

THANKS TO THE FREE MUSIC ARCHIVE FOR  "Fantasy" BY PODINGTON BEAR, "Toy Cupboard" by Bleak House, "No Home In This World" BY Shanghai String Band,  "Western Firefight 2" BY MC Cullah, "End of the Machine Age" BY Mobster, "Goosedance" by Paperclip Galaxy, "Western Chow Yun-Fat" by This One AND "La ere gymnopedie" BY Peter Johnson.

WE ALSO USED CLIPS FROM Django Unchained, Fistful of Dollars, Maginificent Seven, Degrassi, Pac-Man (Atari 2600, Apple II, Arcade) and KC Munchkin.

BUILT TO PLAY IS A PRODUCT OF THE SCOPE AT RYERSON RADIO STATION IN THE HEART OF DOWNTOWN TORONTO. IT WAS PRODUCED AND EDITED BY ARMAN AGHBALI AND DANIEL ROSEN.

IF YOU LIKE THE SHOW PLEASE SUBSCRIBE AND RATE US ONLINE. IT HELPS MORE PEOPLE FIND THE SHOW AND GIVES US AN IDEA HOW WE'RE DOING. FEEL FREE TO COMMENT DOWN BELOW.

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Built to Play 58: Dead and Dinosaurs

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Built to Play 58: Dead and Dinosaurs

Built to Play explores the legal realities of games preservation, the utter nonsense around Metal Gear Solid V and why we love to feel vulnerable.

In this week's episode you'll hear from the following people:

  • Kendra Albert talks about how games are becoming increasingly online, and why that means they may not live forever. (00:10 - 11:50)
  • Daniel and Arman follow a NeoGaf forum to a Metal Gear conspiracy involving clones, head transplants and a would-be supervillain (11:50 - 28:00) 
  • Rommel Romero tells us about why Minority Media is working on a virtual reality game that asks you to study dinosaurs. (28:00 - 35:45)
  • We talk to the designers of Darkest Dungeon and Sunless Sea, alongside an English professor, about the appeal of the Gothic, and why more games don't give us full control. (35:45 - 55:50)

THANKS TO THE FREE MUSIC ARCHIVE FOR  "Algo Natural Rhythm" and "DARK MATTER" BY PODINGTON BEAR, "hey ragdoll" by Boyscout Discovery, "Eileen" by Lee Rosevere,  "Positive Space" by Cosmic Analog Ensemble, "Buildings Stay Afloat" by Augustus Bro Gallery Six and "Oxygen Garden" by Chris Zabriskie.

WE ALSO USED clips from Jurassic Park, True Detective, The Leftovers, and freesound clips from ermine and shepardr.

BUILT TO PLAY IS A PRODUCT OF THE SCOPE AT RYERSON RADIO STATION IN THE HEART OF DOWNTOWN TORONTO. IT WAS PRODUCED AND EDITED BY ARMAN AGHBALI AND DANIEL ROSEN.

IF YOU LIKE THE SHOW PLEASE SUBSCRIBE AND RATE US ONLINE. IT HELPS MORE PEOPLE FIND THE SHOW AND GIVES US AN IDEA HOW WE'RE DOING. FEEL FREE TO COMMENT DOWN BELOW.

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Not to Play

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Not to Play

Every year or so we release a horrifying blooper reel. Contained in this audio are our numerous follies and questions pertaining to the X-Men and Canadian media. At least there's nothing potentially libellous in here this year. I edited that out. 


THEse THEMEs are FROM THE FREE MUSIC ARCHIVE: "It Was" and "Positive Space" by Cosmic Analog Ensemble, and "Hungaria" by Latch Swing.

BUILT TO PLAY IS A PRODUCT OF THE CJRU RADIO STATION IN THE HEART OF DOWNTOWN TORONTO. IT WAS PRODUCED AND EDITED BY ARMAN AGHBALI AND WRITTEN BY DANIEL ROSEN.

IF YOU LIKE THE SHOW PLEASE SUBSCRIBE AND RATE US ONLINE. IT HELPS MORE PEOPLE FIND THE SHOW AND GIVES US AN IDEA HOW WE'RE DOING. FEEL FREE TO COMMENT DOWN BELOW.

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Bit of Play: Western Role Play

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Bit of Play: Western Role Play

We discuss Bloodborne, Pillars of Eternity and the role of the Western RPG

The role playing game can take a myriad of forms depending on where you go. Henk Rogers created the first Japanese-style RPG with The Black Onyx, while across the ocean, Sir-Tech developed Wizardry, the first Western style RPG. But these names are fluid, and don't represent a genre as much as a spectrum of role play. Despite its emphasis on shooting, Mass Effect feels more JRPG with its focus on conversation and world-building. Yet the original quintessentially foreign Dragon Quest takes after Wizardry, showing just how blurred the lines can become. 

No where is this more evident in Bloodborne, which is among the most North American style games to come out of Japan. Its lore is similar to Dungeons and Dragons. There's an emphasis on atmosphere and building a story as you going along. As opposed to being a passenger on a plot roller coaster, like in most recent Final Fantasy games, you're given an open world, only enough lore as you're interested in exploring and a focus on statistics and growth. 

In this episode, we take that role play and compare it against one inspired by an actual Dungeons and Dragons game, Pillars of Eternity. We see the parallels and where the games come together, despite vastly different origins.


The theme is from the Free Music Archive: "Ghost n Goblins" by Thiaz Itch.

BUILT TO PLAY IS A PRODUCT OF THE CJRU RADIO STATION IN THE HEART OF DOWNTOWN TORONTO. IT WAS PRODUCED AND EDITED BY ARMAN AGHBALI AND WRITTEN BY DANIEL ROSEN.

IF YOU LIKE THE SHOW PLEASE SUBSCRIBE AND RATE US ONLINE. IT HELPS MORE PEOPLE FIND THE SHOW AND GIVES US AN IDEA HOW WE'RE DOING. FEEL FREE TO COMMENT DOWN BELOW.

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Built to Play 57: Soyuz Clear

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Built to Play 57: Soyuz Clear

BUILT TO PLAY FOCUSES ON FOUR SPACE-THEMED STORIES ALL ABOUT EXPLORATION AND SELF-DISCOVERY

Space is a weird place to go. It's wondrous, potentially beautiful, but it's not quite worth the price of omission. Send astronauts up to the moon, fly a rover to Mars, speculate about a colony on Venus, and you'll still have the problem that it's mostly empty and extraordinarily expensive. Yet, we still want to go there, as science fiction authors will tell you along with everyone who signed up for the Mars One reality show.  Video games have been a part of that fantasy since the medium's inception, and our collective fascination seems to be resurging. That desire for some great voyage beyond our current horizons speak to our innate curiosity as a species. 

Games focused around space travel seem to tell us more about ourselves than they can about their setting. It's rare that we'll learn something new about space travel from games. Thanks to Star Wars, most games represent space warfare like a World War II dogfight. Plus, if you're looking for a realistic simulation of a spacecraft, even the most technical games won't show you the extreme scarcity up there. Dogfights are fun, and worrying about supplies isn't, so that's fine, though it does tell you that we aren't truly looking to explore the "final frontier." 

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Built to Play 56: The Procedural

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Built to Play 56: The Procedural

Back from PAX East, we discuss isolation in space, handcrafted design, and how abandoned buildings can set the mood.

On our trip to Boston we discussed both the fruits and failings of procedural generation. You might risk sacrificing distinct worlds for the illusion of replayability.  But, if successful, you end up with a nuanced environment that makes you want to dive deeper into its world and its mechanics. If you want our opinions in depth, we rant for about 40 minutes on two earlier episodes, however, we did end up talking to a few people about having a world procedurally generated versus handcrafted design and wound up the episode you're hopefully about to hear. 

Procedural generation, by the way, is a fancy way of saying that there's a bank of possible design elements that the game places at random. That can be story, levels, enemies, artificial intelligence or animation. The process isn't truly random, otherwise the game would be an incomprehensible mess. Usually there's a sophisticated algorithm behind the scenes that builds the game, providing it with rules for how the game should look. If done well, the randomized element should feel distinct without being too alien.

The most common expression of procedural generation can be seen in the roguelike, which generally randomizes its levels and makes you restart the game each time you play. Though, it's hardly the only kind of game to use that process. In this episode, we'll discuss one or two of those special cases that got the process right, while espousing some of the benefits of handcrafted design.

On episode 56 of Built to Play you'll hear the following segments:

  • Tom Jubert, narrative designer of FTL: Faster than Lighttalks about writing a world that feel infinite, and how not to break that illusion. (0:25 - 11:20)
  • In the news, Game Freak leaves the nest, virtual reality goes wild,  the PlayStation 4 lands in China, and the end is nigh, because there are no games coming out in November. (11:20 - 34:00)
  • Mark Foster explains the inspirations and design of Titan Soulsand how developers have reacted. (34:00 - 41:35)
  • Alex Jansen shows us how to be Loud on Planet X, and why Tegan and Sara want to fight off an alien horde. (41:35 - 47:00)
  • James Primate and Joar Jakobsson of Videocult discuss the importance of mood in game design, and how the beauty of decay led to a world of rain. (47:00 - 56:40)
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THANKS TO THE FREE MUSIC ARCHIVE FOR "Is That You or Are You You" and "Oxygen Garden" by Chris Zabriskie, "Flying Pea v1" by Daddy Scrabble, "Rest johnny_ripper remix" by Alphabets, and "As Colorful As Ever" by Broke for Free.

We also used "Nightmares" by Patrick Ellis, Guns and Ammunition (Luke Lalonde/Born Ruffians Remix) by July Talk, and "hard-rain" by Barkenov on Free Sound.

BUILT TO PLAY IS A PRODUCT OF THE SCOPE AT RYERSON RADIO STATION IN THE HEART OF DOWNTOWN TORONTO. IT WAS PRODUCED AND EDITED BY ARMAN AGHBALI AND WRITTEN BY DANIEL ROSEN.

IF YOU LIKE THE SHOW PLEASE SUBSCRIBE AND RATE US ONLINE. IT HELPS MORE PEOPLE FIND THE SHOW AND GIVES US AN IDEA HOW WE'RE DOING. FEEL FREE TO COMMENT DOWN BELOW.

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