New Podcasts for January by John J K Morris

The end of the first month is already upon us and here are the newest episodes of the podcasts I've hosted in January this year.

I just sneaked in JPG Podcast episode 26 - 'Get Chicken', for this post (and month). Charmaine joins me and we talk a bit about Game of Thrones season 4, episodes one and two. We are changing the format to make the episodes shorter, but also it gives us something to do while narrowing the gap until season 5 comes out. 

JPG Podcast episode 25 - 'Golden Pantaloons', we started by talking about with faffing around with USB cables because there are no decent USB 3 hubs and with ordering coffee. Adam for some reason has never played any Forgotten Realms' games, in this episode Jonathan convinces him to do so now that Beamdog have brought out the excellent Enhanced Edition of IceWind Dale.

The main topic starts with our earliest consoles and our first RPGs. We tackle some of the biggest titles from the PC during the turn of this century like Baldurs Gate, Baldurs Gate II, Icewind Dale, Icewind Dale II, Planescape Torment (mentioning the kickstarter sequel), Diablo I, II, III and Fallout 3.

We remember the moments that make these games so memorable for us and hopefully after 16 years, I’ll get Adam to try a game from the Forgotten Realms franchise again. There is also an after show.

JPG Podcast Episode 24 - 'What Bear', brings Charmaine and myself to the second half of season three for Game of Thrones. Jump in with us for some nitpicking and critiquing of the events and characters that happened. We also spend a few minutes talking about Star Trek:DS9 towards the end.

All episodes of JPG can be found on my libsyn page as well if iTunes is not your thing.


This month in 'Prick Me', we released four episodes of our five part critique of Suzanne Venker from her appearance on the Art of Charm podcast (episode 219 to be precise).

The direct links to the first four episodes can be found below.

'An Anti-Feminist, Side A'.

'An Anti-Feminist, Side B'.

'An Anti-Feminist, Side C'.

'An Anti-Feminist, Side D'.


Somepoint in February, I'll be launching my third podcast series. This one is more political in nature (they seem to get more and more serious) and focuses solely on Hong Kong and it's current political atmosphere. Each episode will be an interview with somebody who lives in Hong Kong and we will talk about Hong Kong's past, present and future. 

Icewind Dale Enhanced Edition Review by John J K Morris

(This article was previously posted before, on the old website, 11/17/2014 14:39, just FYI, this is not a newer review).

Following on from my last game related post (from the old website), I forgot to mention that I bought without hesitation, Beamdog's 'Icewind Dale' for my iPad. This is my review which mostly concentrates on the accessibility and nostalgia regarding these games. Readers can find performance reviews with in-depth opinions elsewhere very easily. This is from is more personal, we know these games are great. I spent some digital gold for it because I love older RPG's (mostly for the sprites and top down perspective) and I have always thought ever since the inception of the original iPad, that RPG's games would be a perfect game for such handheld devices.

I wasn't wrong when the Baldur's Gate series eventually did come out as its own enhanced edition and I don't feel I'm wrong this time either. The nostalgia has struck twice because of Beamdog. The accessibility is definitely easier than it is on the PC because of the portability and even easier considering the touchscreen we all take for granted. I contain within myself a bit of buzz when carrying these classic adventures with me all day and choose to play them whenever I want, at a doctor's appointment or on the subway.

I remember installing these games from multiple CDs and then needing to store them safely. Can't believe we all use to do that, along with returning video tapes and DVDs (some of you already don't do that right?).

My level 8 Dragon Disciple, also my first. I never made one in Baldur's Gate.

My level 8 Dragon Disciple, also my first. I never made one in Baldur's Gate.

Icewind Dale was first released 14 years, being 20 years old back then meant I grot bored and frustrated quickly after trying to loot the first dungeon and never played it again. Today I am more likely to finish it, I'm already past the first dungeon I quit on all those years ago. 'Icewind Dale II', I enjoyed more, played more, and my method for finishing it, was more of the same meaning I didn't actually finish it.

My hope is the sequel is also enhanced later down the line. It's been my fault for not being able to finish these games. I always have this problem with these RPGs, but at the same time I like putting down these games that I can pick up weeks or months later. The accessibility offered has a sharper edge to it than any Swashbuckler's sword!

YOU GOTTA ROLL WITH IT.

 

Accompanying the release of IWD are of course the usual comments and criticisms. Some regard the lack of story (there is a story, but whatever), group interaction or no NPC's as weaknesses. I don't, they are a strength in two ways. I'm writing this review from the perspective of somebody who loves the Forgotten Realms and the Baldur's Gate games, but that same somebody who needs a break from all the story quests, the side quests, the character quests and the general management of my party members as and when they start fighting or romancing each other. 

Compared to the BG series, IWD is far more refreshing at the moment because it is easier to get up and running (no Irenicus dungeon here*). Icewind Dale is on equal terms for character creation, gameplay wise it's a leaner, more linear game so that the mental overhead required is far less than that for BG1 and BG2.  A temporary fatigue has set in with the BG games as I'm just in the mood to kick arse with a +3 something, repeatedly (sorry, I don't know what the good weapons are yet in IWD)!

Dungeons, dungeons and more dungeons! So many indoor spaces, being outside is rare but a welcome break from the claustrophobia that IWD gives you for the most part.

Dungeons, dungeons and more dungeons! So many indoor spaces, being outside is rare but a welcome break from the claustrophobia that IWD gives you for the most part.

Also because IWD is mostly combat orientated, that actually makes it something far more casual for new comers to take an interest in, this strength is backed up by the new Story Mode (which I have tried when I couldn't get past this particularly hard boss that was a little girl but turned itself into a giant lizard casting magic, sorry i don't know the name) where party members are invulnerable and gain double experience point rewards! 

This makes me wonder how the Diablo and World of Warcraft games are vastly more popular, it's probably down to their accessibility and arcade mechanics**. I'm happy for this type of feature as maybe it will get other players into the Forgotten Realms setting as it expands (Trent Oster, the lead developer of Beamdog is on record saying he wants to do Baldur's Gate 5!).

*Really wish there was a way to skip that part of the game for seasoned players.

** This makes me wonder why Adam my co-host on JPG Podcast doesn't play any forgotten realms title, but gets engrossed in his Diablo series. Something which I played myself, but I was attracted to the history of the Forgotten Realms and its complexity. I'm a dice chucker at heart rather than a mouse clicker.

Hello (again) by John J K Morris

You probably wanted to see something on Jonathanjk.com. 

This IS now jonathanjk.com, my new website, same writer. If you are looking for anything on the old site you can contact me from the contact page. Not everything I've written is here.

My existing portfolio website can be found here until I integrate it into the site - jonathanjk.viewbook.com.

In the meantime, everything else is getting updated at the moment.