Show Notes 08: Mushrooms Are Scary

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This podcast contains adult language and spoilers for The Last of Us (including the Left Behind DLC), Metal Gear Solid 3: Snake Eater, Resident Evil 0, Portal, Alan Wake, Mass Effect 3, Pokémon Gold & Silver, Dark Souls II: Scholar of the First Sin, Zeta Gundam (the movie version), Silent Hill 2, and The Lord of the Rings.

3:14 – One source for the comment that Crash Bandicoot 3 is “just right” is Game Informer‘s 100th issue listing of the top 100 games of all time, where Crash Bandicoot: Warped placed 26.

4:34 – That sound is a cuckoo clock. We’ve actually removed that sound from previous episodes.

5:18 – I highly recommend checking out The Last of Us: One Night Live.

07:18 – By “this year” I mean 2013.

7:57 – This is a reference to Home Improvement. We used to love that show.

11:27 – Here’s the article I mentioned comparing scarcity in The Road with The Last of Us.

15:00 – Radical Statement!

24:59 – “The Gallant Forty-Twa” is a Scottish folk song I remember from my youth. It’s about the 42nd Royal Highland Regiment of Foot, a.k.a. the Black Watch. These guys appear in Assassin’s Creed III as giant, kilted Scotsman with “42” embroidered on their packs, and they are the second-toughest enemy type in the game.

26:10 – Mark of the Ninja.

27:11 – While we’re talking about stealth, I’ll also point you to Extra Credits’ video on the subject.

35:36 – Here’s the (unfortunately, agegated) E3 2012 demo. And here’s a smattering of viewpoints on the 2012 E3, apparently the Year of Too Much Violence, most of which mention the brutality on display in that demo, especially its final execution-by-shotgun.

Interestingly, more of these than I remembered actually do defend The Last of Us for the terrifying effect of its brutality, the context in which it’s placed, and the counterpoint provided by Ellie’s uncertain reaction to that violence.

37:29 – Bill’s lover’s name was Frank. Incidentally, it struck me as a deliberate irony (or something) that Bill (whose social relationship with religion would have been strained, pre-apocalypse) chose to live in an abandoned church.

40:24 – For a very different approach to this kind of generational divide, look at SyFy’s (now-cancelled) Defiance. It’s a core thematic point that the young characters only know the world as it is, while the adult characters are all to some extent trapped in mourning the worlds they grew up in.

41:42 – The title is “Re: Your Brains.”

49:09 – “You’re gonna carry that weight” is the last line of the great 90s anime Cowboy Bebop. One rumored interpretation of that phrase lays the grim events of the final episode at the feet of the show’s fans, who fought for the show to get a second half-season after its initial cancellation.

56:26 – The Teens React video we talked about can be found here.

1:01:39 – Check out the links below for all seven (not nine) parts of’s Lord of the Rings movie review:

Fellowship, part 1:

Fellowship, part 2:

Fellowship, part 3:

Towers, part 1:

Towers, part 2:

Return, part 1:

Return, part 2:

1:02:48 – Here I’m talking about fridging. I think three things about fridging: (1) it’s a real issue, and we should be aware of it, but (2) it’s over-diagnosed, and (3) it gets a bad rap.

First, I think a couple of key elements of the definition of fridging are oft-forgotten. Fridging or “stuffing into the refrigerator” means when a female character is hurt or killed for the development of a male character. Thus, when Wonder Woman loses her powers in her own series, because it was thought that her comic would sell better if she were a secret agent instead of a superhero, that’s not fridging. That’s for Wonder Woman’s development, not for anyone else’s.

As well, I think an unspoken element that should be part of that definition is that the woman in question should be an established character – someone who’s in the story for their own development, not to serve a short-term purpose. That leads into why I think fridging sometimes gets a bad rap: there will always be minor characters whose purpose is to develop major characters, often by suffering or dying. While I absolutely agree that our culture in general and video games in particular overuse the device of opening with a woman being raped or killed to provide motivation (and justification for violence) for a male hero, forbidding minor characters in this role from ever being female would vastly reduce the number of female characters.

The Last of Us is about the relationship between Joel and Ellie. If Sarah didn’t die, the groundwork for that relationship wouldn’t exist. If Sarah had been a boy, Ellie would also have to be a boy to strike the same chord with Joel, and we would lose one of the most complex female characters in gaming.

1:06:56 – The “alternate ending” we discussed can be seen here. If you’re following along and you don’t know what this is yet, I recommend pausing our show and watching this cold for maximum impact.

1:13:24 – For more on Rogue Squadron, check out our episode on Star Wars games.

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