Episode 140: High Hopes

This week on Pause Screen, Kyle talks Darksiders 3, GoNNER, the Dead Cells update, Creature in the Well, and Contra: Rogue Corps, while William continues in Fire Emblem: Three Houses, and Kaz is as ready as she’ll ever be. In the Hype Train, we talk Borderlands 3, Link’s Awakening, free games (for a limited time!), the Planet Zoo beta, and more. Then, to wrap it up, we discuss Valve cleaning up the community in Dota and the baffling E3 pitch document that was leaked. Come pause with us!

HYPE TRAIN – *toot toot*


Valve banned a bunch of players for life from Dota and is stepping up their matchmaking/smurf detection game. 


The ESA had their E3 pitch document leak, and it’s fantastic in all the wrong ways.

They’re positioning it as a ‘fan, media, and influencer festival’, complete with ‘experience hubs’ and a desire to create ‘exclusive/appointment only activations for select attendees who will create buzz and FOMO’. Yep.


Episode 139: Ab Guard

William is out this week, but that doesn’t stop Kaz and Kyle from talking about their time with Deadly Premonition, Darksiders 3, and Super Smash Bros. Ultimate! In news, we talk about our new understanding of Death Stranding, dating fast food mascots, foiling bodybuilder dragons in Ring Fit Adventure, and Gamestop’s troubled future. Come pause with us!

HYPE TRAIN – *toot toot*

Episode 138: You people and your phone games

We’re all back and didn’t have any technical difficulties! The crew highlights some of the things we’ve been playing over the past week (month). Kaz is killing it in the mount hunting arena, Kyle is killing it the game collection arena, and William is very happy with Collection of Mana. After we highlight our favorite announcements from the Nintendo Direct, and make fun of our not-so-favorite announcements too. And in discussions we briefly talk about the Me too uprising in the Indie Game scene and the sudden departure of Ikumi Nakamura from Tango Gameworks. What is going on? Anyways, Come pause with us!

HYPE TRAIN – *toot toot*

  • Nintendo Direct
    • All dat Smash goodness. Terry, another season of DLC, Banjo out now, Sans
    • SNES games on NSO, and you can buy an SNES controller for $30 to go with it
    • Doom 64 port (surprisingly nice. 64 is a completely different game and has never seen re-release)
    • Weeb Simulator Tokyo Mirage Sessions is getting a Switch port
    • Deadly Premonition is somehow getting a sequel (subtitle: A Blessing in Disguise)
    • Xenoblade Chronicles is getting a remaster that finally makes the game look nice instead of like everyone really enjoys vaseline
    • Trials of Mana release date April 24, 2020
  • Reggie is going to teach at Cornell starting this year, which is neat.
  • New Wii fit peripheral for the switch? https://www.polygon.com/2019/9/5/20851960/nintendo-switch-fitness-controller-exercise-video 


Many prominent figures in the industry have had abuse and other allegations levelled at them in the past few weeks.

I don’t know that we want to dwell on this one (particularly Alec Holowka), but a good 5+ prominent devs had victims step forward in the past couple weeks. Looks like it might be the start of a long ride.

Ikumi Nakamura has announced she’s leaving Tango Gameworks.

It’s a pretty big deal given her introduction by Mikami to talk about Ghostwire: Tokyo; she was clearly being set up as his successor. Details are sparse on why she left so suddenly in the middle of production on the game she was writing, directing, and everything-ing. It’s not even for another gig, she has a call for work in her resignation tweet. https://twitter.com/nakamura193/status/1169350900772564992

Episode 137: If You Didn’t Pick Blue Lions, You’re Wrong

This week on Pause Screen, Kaz is out, so Kyle and William talk about playing Smash, Fire Emblem: Three Houses, and Hollow Knight. For news this time, we talk about new team composition rules in Overwatch League, the International, console unity against loot boxes, WayForward’s upcoming games, and more! Then, to finish up, we talk about the recent Stadia announcements and how terrible they sound. Come pause with us!

Episode 135: Very Fun and Ethical

This week on Pause Screen: poor william and his grown up life doesn’t have time to play any games, Kaz is kinda in the same boat, just coasting along with Wow and Heroes. Kyle, our hero, played a lot: Momodora, Sky Force, Double Dragon Neon, Bloodstained and more.  On the Hype train we talk about Cadence of Hyrule which has been getting good reviews, Dota Underlords is now available in beta, and how Kaz needs to apply for Kaz Hirai’s vacant position at PS/Sony.  We also poke fun at the terrible choices that Pokemon Sword/Shield have been making and EA’s defense of their Loot Boxes. In our discussions we each pick out our top favorite things from this year’s E3. Do you have any excitement in common with the crew? Come pause with us!

HYPE TRAIN – *toot toot*

  • Cadence of Hyrule came out, is apparently good
  • Dota Underlords is definitely Auto Chess, was given out as a beta to Dota 2 Battle Pass holders. Is now in open beta on mobile and PC as of today!
  • Kaz Hirai has officially retired from Playstation/Sony
  • Everyone is in a tizzy about Pokemon Sword and Shield, mostly due to not including all Pokemon ‘for balance and cost reasons’, partly due to it being ugly and a little stale
  • In an oral session with the UK Parliament, EA called loot boxes “surprise mechanics”, and compared them to Kinder Eggs, Hatchimals, or LOL Surprise (which is apparently a kids’ toy brand?). Yep. https://www.pcgamesn.com/ea-loot-boxes
  • Microsoft established an Age of Empires studio on the down low https://www.gamasutra.com/view/news/344426/Microsoft_has_quietly_established_a_new_Age_of_Empires_studio.php
  • Microsoft is an official partner with CD Projekt for GOG 2.0, which probably means Game Pass integration https://www.reddit.com/r/gog/comments/c0h50i/


Bethesda has Orion, Microsoft has XCloud and Game Pass, Stadia is a thing, Ubisoft has their new service, and EA’s is still going strong. How do you guys feel about the all-digital future in this post-E3 2019 world?

Episode 136: Laggy Goodness

After a short break, Pause Screen returns! Over the past month, Kaz returned to guest-star on the 3bit Gamer Show as well as play some WoW, Archero, and Tales of Vesperia, William has picked up Hollow Knight, and Kyle limits himself to talking about Mario Maker 2, Blazing Chrome, Rhythm Heaven Silver, Dota Underlords, and some Smash. On the Hype train, we talk about the Switch Lite announcement, Luigi’s Mansion 3’s release, SGDQ, Wind Waker’s new barrier skip, and more! To finish up, we have a discussion about the sleaziness that is all of G2A. Come pause with us!

HYPE TRAIN – *toot toot*


G2A would probably be a used car salesman’s persona

Episode 134: Facetanking

On this week’s episode of Pause Screen Kaz talks some more PSVR and compares notes on Yoshi’s Crafted World with Kyle, who’s finished with Gato Roboto and Ninja Blade, and has started Team Sonic Racing and some Mario hacks. Then William chimes in to let everyone know he’s still playing Vesperia. In our news section, we talk Google Stadia info, Baldur’s Gate 3, the Pokemon direct, some new announcements, rumors, release dates, translation patches, and more! To finish up, we raise a glass and talk about GameStop’s woes and the apparent end of the 3DS era. Come pause with us!



Episode 133: kojima surprise

This week on Pause Screen Kaz did not projectile vomit on her first VR expedience, Kyle is just too good at platforms and gets himself stuck and William didn’t get to play much (except for mobile games, who want’s to hear about that?) On the Hype train we are all surprised with the release date of Death Stranding. We talk about the excrement or derision surrounding the game. Oh and the fetus in the expansion pack.  We all get confused at the new Call of Duty naming scheme and the new Pokemon Sleep game, but can still be excited about them.  In discussions we talk about the nature and future of Esports, are we doomed to just watch games come and go as companies pour money into it as a marketing tactic? Last of all we talk about the direction MIcrosoft is taking, will we see the end of console exclusives soon? Come Pause with us!

HYPE TRAIN *toot toot*


Blizzard’s Overwatch League commissioner has left for Epic Games.

Do eSports have a real future? Or are we doomed to just watch games come and go as companies pour money into it as a marketing tactic? https://www.pcgamer.com/overwatch-league-commissioner-to-leave-blizzard-for-epic-games/


Microsoft announced that they’re expanding Games Pass to PC, and that they’ll be putting their future releases—including Gears 5!—on Steam.

Interesting play, especially considering they’re set to announce new hardware in a couple of weeks. They’re really pushing having their games everywhere and building an ecosystem, rather than a strict console strategy. https://news.xbox.com/en-us/2019/05/30/microsoft-approach-to-pc-gaming/?ocid=XGP_soc_omc_xbo_tw_Photo_lrn_5.30.1

Episode 132: Predicting E3

This week on Pause Screen Kyle talks Sonic Forces, Bowser’s Inside Story, Legendary, and Mario Kart Tour, Kaz has finished up with Stardew Valley and ordered a PSVR, and William updates us on Vesperia, Furi, and FGO. In the Hype Train we have the Mario Maker 2 Nintendo Direct, DOTA OVERLORDS, Insomiac hiring sprees, Nioh 2, wacky handhelds, Nintendo pulling mobile games from Belgium, and more! We also discuss Epic’s poorly handled ‘mega sale,’ and Amazon’s attempts to ‘gamify’ the workplace. And to finish up, we talk our E3 predictions for this year! Come pause with us!

Discussion topics

HYPE TRAIN *toot toot*

  • The Mario Maker 2 direct happened, and it was fantastic. Ranked online multiplayer! Slopes! Adjustable water and lava levels! On/off switches!
  • Valve registered a trademark for DOTA OVERLORDS. Sounds like a spinoff game potentially, maybe the Auto Chess thing we know is coming?
  • World War Z has quietly sold 2 million copies
  • Sony is ramping up hires at Insomniac, presumably in the wake of Spider-Man’s success
  • Nioh 2 got a closed alpha announcement and a gameplay trailer, and it looks great https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=QmzW0IYhXlk&feature=youtu.be
  • The company that funded Firewatch made a new handheld console. The gimmick is that it has a hand crank. https://www.vice.com/en_us/article/j5wdep/this-new-gaming-handheld-has-a-crank-and-looks-cool-as-hell
  • Nintendo has pulled FEH and Pocket Camp from Belgium as per their anti-loot box law



Epic had a big sale, but didn’t tell publishers about it. Several publishers pulled their games in response.

The big deal was $10 off $14.99 and up, which effectively devalued a lot of games before they even came out. The money came from Epic’s pocket, but it really messes with your market strategy when stuff like that happens. Seems Epic still has a lot to learn.


Gamifying the workplace: Amazon makes a game to help productivity in packing wearhouses


Episode 131: Chinese Gameocracy

Kaz and Kyle have to go Williamless this week, but they manage to push through their emotional pain to talk about Stardew Valley, WoW, Smash tournaments, Kirby: Nightmare in Dreamland, and more. We also kick up a little pre-E3 hype by reviewing the conference schedule, talk even more about loot box legislation, get excited for Final Fantasy VII Remake, and are thoroughly whelmed by Medievil. Finally, we talk China’s rising status in the gaming world and the perils of animating Mortal Kombat. Come pause with us!

HYPE TRAIN *toot toot*


Gaming and China.

Ready set go!

Kotaku had an interesting piece on the mental toll of making Mortal Kombat 11.

Should studios have to provide extra support for devs in situations like that? How do artists handle that sort of thing, anyways?