Mage Cast

By Little Fella Media

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Description

An ensemble podcast hosted by the Well-Red Mage and a rotating roster of guests casting their magical analyses on video games, one title at a time.

Episode Date
#026 - "Trigger Warning" (Chrono Trigger, pt.2)
6007

Our 2nd Chrono Trigger episode commences with Ryan from RetroGameBrews! It's time to talk storyline, the balanced seamlessness of Chrono Trigger and the lack of "the grind", the importance of player choice, rehashing the premise of the game, what we would do if we discovered an apocalyptic alien, primeval Twitch, if Chrono Trigger is really the GOAT, the most emotional scenes for us, time travel as both a story theme and a gameplay mechanic, the value of the NPC, the Chrono series as a whole, a word on Radical Dreamers and the beautiful world of Chrono Cross, the broken dreams of Chrono Resurrection and Chrono Break, the question of another Chrono game and whether we even want to see a sequel or remaster/remake, character etymology and making sense of their elemental affinities, the Entity mystery, why video games open with sleeping characters, schools of thought on what evil is, the sundry endings and New Game Plus.

Website: thewellredmage.com/2017/11/17/chrono-trigger/
Patreon: patreon.com/thewellredmage
Guest: @Retrogamebrews

Sep 09, 2019
#025 - "Corridors of Rhyme" (Chrono Trigger, pt.1)
6655

It is time to talk about the best: Chrono Trigger, in this first episode in a CT trilogy! The ABXY Mage I and discuss the re-launch of Side Quests podcast and a new focus on video game music, the happenin' 1990s, questioning if accurate criticism is possible near launch, my first mancave, "Just let me get to the first save point!", what Chrono Trigger IS and what makes it so special, "time" as a theme in both narrative and game design, multiple endings, the necessity for stories to breathe, seamlessness and polish, the Dream Team, the unprecedented length of tracks in this soundtrack, our favorite music from Chrono Trigger, Nobuo Uematsu, Yasunori Mitsuda's experience composing his first soundtrack, his list of works, his failing health, the mystery of "the Entity", music inspired by dreams, the scope of the soundtrack with its various time period themes, Gato karaoke, the Guardia justice system, singing along with the soundtrack, and of course, the matter of objective quality. We also take your questions!

Website: thewellredmage.com/2017/11/17/chrono-trigger/
Patreon: patreon.com/thewellredmage
Guest: @ABXY_Reviews

Aug 19, 2019
#024 - "Boom! Tetris For You" (NES Tetris)
6535

Zdrastvooyte! In this episode, I'm focusing on NES Tetris with streamer and competition host Retro Game Brews aka the Beer Mage and Tetris champion Mega Retro Man asking what Tetris is, describing Tetris in one word, the puzzle that changes with your skill level, the comforting, relaxing nature of fitting the tetrominoes together, why Tetris isn't an anachronism by now and what makes the game so appealing, the dopamine response and addiction to its gameplay, the pure balance of challenge with simplicity, kinder game design in modern Tetris, wading into the cultural discussion of games being too hard with the idea of practice, the hardest thing about playing Tetris (according to a pro competitor), DAS and the kill screen, having to think on your feet, the fascinating history of Tetris, the rare Tengen Tetris cart, comparing some different versions and how to ruin Tetris, tackling the question of whether Tetris is the perfect game or not, irreducible complexity, the World Championships, visiting the Soviet Union, and Tetris as an analogy for life.

Website: https://thewellredmage.com
Patreon: https://patreon.com/thewellredmage
Guests: @Retrogamebrews and @MegaRetroMan

Jul 29, 2019
#023 - "Casual Discourse on Somniloquy" (Shadow Hearts)
6796

This episode we dive headfirst into the horrors of a cult classic: Shadow Hearts, discussing how to win a game of hangman, our take on Lovecraft's works and Lovecraftian themes present in Shadow Hearts, purple prose and classic literature, anti-anthropocentrism and cosmic horror, the technical word for fear of dolls (never use it, please), what the greatest scene in video game history is (hint: it involves a train), voice acting performances and how to measure their quality, actors treating their lines like they're in toy commercials, the distinction between loving something for what it is and critiquing a performance, good vs bad dialogue, the unique difficulties which translation presents in attempting to preserve original intent, the context of horror RPGs, favorite characters and their motivations, the harmony of ideas in the Shadow Hearts soundtrack plus Yasunori Mitsuda (!), sensible nostalgia for the 90s and what that decade accomplished in games vs crappy things that can be abolished to history books, the Judgment Ring and mechanical innovations in Shadow Hearts, and finally, why this game didn't do so great upon release.

Website: https://thewellredmage.com
Patreon: https://patreon.com/thewellredmage
Guests: @ArosElric and @TeacherBloke85

Jul 15, 2019
#022 - "R3turnJ0k3r" (DC Universe Online)
5107

It's time to get dark and gritty talking about DC Universe Online with fellow DC Comics fan, the Black Humor Mage!

In this episode we'll discuss the game that I played at the cusp of fatherhood, the superpowers of the game, swearing off MMOs, turning the Skype camera on accidentally when you have no clothes on, what to do when your wife becomes a pregnant narcoleptic, the endless pastime of the endless grind, video games as a former addiction and the bottomless pit of character creation, great voice acting and crap voice acting (plus impressions, unfortunately!), resisting guild tyranny, saving evidence on your phone, thoughts on a sequel, voice actors Kevin Conroy and Mark Hamill, dealing with roleplayers, Prof. Zoom and the worst person I've ever met online. Also, a bonus question at the end!

Website: https://thewellredmage.com/2016/03/05/dc-universe-online/
Patreon: https://patreon.com/thewellredmage
Guest: @blackhumormage

Jul 02, 2019
#021 - "Midichlorians" (Parasite Eve)
4579

I got to chat with my dad, the 16-bit one (@16bitdadblog), about Parasite Eve! We get into the differences in horror between the West and East and how Parasite Eve blends the two, how the story connects to the incident in Japan in the novel, and where the film, manga, and sequels figure in, theorizing why the game never came to Europe, combining survival and RPG elements, the weapons upgrading system and how to blow your hands off with a rocket-launcher-handgun, horrible, horrible body horror and John Carpenter's The Thing, mitochondria and real science, thoughts on remakes and remasters, the importance of preserving tonality, what Madonna has to do with this game, and the chances of P.E. popping up at E3. It's "ekshepshtional".

Website: https://thewellredmage.com/
Guest: @16bitdadblog

Jun 11, 2019
#020 - "Super Poemcast Special!"
2532

For our 20th episode special, we the mages are here to share 17 original poems of all shapes and sizes and styles, each one based on a single game of our choice from the 1000 Games list! The 1000 Games collab may be over now, but there's no reason we can't keep milking it. Enjoy this chill Mage Cast entry, a pantheon of poets for your peaceful perusal. Let us know which one was your favorite!

Guests:
The ABXY Mage - EarthBound (@ABXY_Reviews)
The Purple Prose Mage - Driver (@AlexSigsworth)
The Thunder Mage - Super Metroid (@BillTuckerTSP)
The Arcade Mage - Ms. Pac-Man (@TheArcadeCastle)
The Badly Backlogged Mage - Pong (@MrBacklog)
The Hyperactive Coffee Mage - Persona 3 Portable (@GameswCoffee)
The Sometimes Vaguely Philosophical Mage - Shadow of the Colossus (@overthinkery1)
The Mail Order Ninja Mage - Breath of the Wild (@mailorderninja)
The New Age Retro Mage - Mega Man 2 (@chrisbg99)
The Slipstream Mage - Titanfall 2 (@JTorto40)
The Valiant Vision Mage - Xenoblade Chronicles (@Lodestar_Valor)
The Regional Exclusive Mage - Resident Evil 4 (@TeacherBloke85)
The Bizzaro Mage - Persona 5 (@winstolf)
The One-Winged Mage - Link's Awakening (@GConsolers)
The Teal Time Mage - Suikoden III (@ArosElric)
The Blue Moon Mage - Hollow Knight (@wrytersview)
and The Well-Red Mage - Chrono Trigger (@theWellRedMage)

May 25, 2019
#019 - "A Mist Opportunity" (Final Fantasy IX)
5915

SPOILERS, y'all. The last of the PlayStation One Final Fantasy games, I sat down to talk Final Fantasy IX with my own real laifu waifu! There are two kinds of people in this world: Vivi and Kuja. Hear us discuss this game's major themes, its placement in the context of the PS1 numerical trilogy, its wonderful treatment of miniature stories for its non-playable characters, our favorite musical tracks, the in-game places where we'd most want to live, the notorious evil that was PlayOnline.com, making sense of Necron, the brevity of life, passing on your memories, how to make living life valuable, death as a natural part of life, you could say this podcast is about... the melodies of life.

Website: https://thewellredmage.com/2016/09/07/final-fantasy-ix/
Patreon: https://patreon.com/thewellredmage
Guest: https://twitter.com/OutMage

May 06, 2019
#018 - "Clever Girl" (Horizon Zero Dawn)
7364

We're looking toward the Horizon for a new Dawn with Zero regrets! Episode "Clever Girl" wrestles with options and an over-abundance of choice, conceptual science fiction and mystery driving a story, Asimov's Foundation novels, the difficulty of maintaining narrative pace in open-world games full of side quests, meaningless vs meaningful missions, other PS4 exclusives and ranking Horizon Zero Dawn, inventory management *yawn* and how to minimize it, whether games will get too big or not, unitaskers vs multitaskers in in-game tools, that sweet weasel meat, Aloy as other than a player avatar, feminism and the matriarchs, if Aloy is a Mary Sue and her development through the game, ideas and wishes for a sequel, ways to ramp up the tension when wandering the wilds, smashing together HZD and BotW into a single game, machine designs, and why Ted Faro is a jerk.

Website: https://thewellredmage.com/2018/09/05/horizon-zero-dawn-complete-edition/
Patreon: www.patreon.com/thewellredmage
Guests: 
https://twitter.com/ProtoAvi
https://twitter.com/BillTuckerTSP


Apr 24, 2019
#017 - "Go The Way of the Dinosaur Land - Yosh in the Shell, or: How I Learned to Love the Star Road Warrior" (Super Mario World)
6821

I can show you a Super Mario World, shining, shimmering, splendid. In this detour into Dinosaur Land, featuring the inscrutable ABXY Mage and the ineffable Blue Moon Mage, we dig deep into this SNES launch title, its official story out of the original instruction booklet, our first time playing the game, challenge and incentivization, the benefits of competition in the industry (the Console Wars), whether Super Mario is really for children or not, why Mario is so enduring and the history of the character as the history of video games, the consistency of Mario's tonality, the underestimated significance of fun-factor, if Mario risks becoming an anachronism, the issue of timelessness and the question of immutable properties in games, methods to investigate game quality while circumnavigating nostalgia, innovations in Super Mario World, the origins of the names of the Koopalings, Tanuki anatomy, and all the best secrets!

Website: https://thewellredmage.com/2016/03/31/super-mario-world/
Patreon: www.patreon.com/thewellredmage
Guests: 
https://twitter.com/ABXY_Reviews
https://twitter.com/wrytersview

Apr 05, 2019
#016 - "Cowabunga Chronology" (TMNT IV: Turtles In Time)
5815

Pizza time! Hey, dudes, check out to our biggest episode ever in terms of guest presence, featuring the Beer Mage, the ABXY Mage, and the Hyperactive Coffee Mage. Listen as we chat about Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles IV: Turtles in Time and go on about psychoanalyzing Twitter, which of us is Leo, Don, Raph, and dying on the hill of Michelangelo, the game's pros and cons, its expression of the differences between the turtles, how to get the most points for a high score, our favorite villains and time periods, voice acting in the original 1987 cartoon (Liquid Snake?!), nostalgia-talk about the 80's, what kind of game we would make if we could create our own TMNT game, finally laying the Turtle Van to rest, Teenage Mutant "Hero" Turtles, and asking how much a Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtle weighs.

Website: https://thewellredmage.com/2016/09/24/teenage-mutant-ninja-turtles-iv-turtles-in-time/
Patreon: www.patreon.com/thewellredmage
Guests: https://twitter.com/Retrogamebrews
https://twitter.com/GameswCoffee
https://twitter.com/ABXY_Reviews

Mar 20, 2019
#015 - "Original Sin" (Final Fantasy X)
7822

February is the month of love so for this episode, I brought on as a guest my very own real-lifu waifu, Blythe the White Out Mage! We talked on a game that impacted the both of us: Final Fantasy X, its firsts and lasts, its uniquely South Pacific influences, its characters, their themes and their development, coping with pain, overcoming prejudice, free spirits vs responsibility, voice acting in its infancy and the troubles of English localization, storytelling band-aids, outsider archetypes, falsifying religious concepts and the triumph of reason, and… voice impressions! We also take listener questions, address the sequel, FFX-2, briefly, and figure out exactly what Tidus really is.

Website: https://thewellredmage.com/2016/02/23/final-fantasy-x/
Patreon: www.patreon.com/thewellredmage
Guest: https://twitter.com/OutMage

Feb 25, 2019
#014 - "Keyblade Runner" (Kingdom Hearts)
5696

When you walk away you don’t hear me say pleeeeease listen to this episode! Featuring the verbose Chris of Overthinker Y (aka the Sometimes Vaguely Philosophical Mage), we dig deep into the labyrinth that is Kingdom Hearts, trying to untangle the maze that is the KH series while focusing on the first game. We also discuss the problems of online communication, Squaresoft and Square Enix, how Disney repelled or pulled us in, game rental stores, the similarities and differences between “heart” and “soul”, KH’s fusion of Western and Eastern philosophy, our favorite Disney worlds and films, the incredible compositions by Shimomura, and exactly why you need subtitles for Donald Duck.

Website: https://thewellredmage.com/
Patreon: www.patreon.com/thewellredmage
Guest: https://twitter.com/overthinkery1
Cited articles:
https://overthinkeryblog.com/2019/01/24/kingdom-hearts-is-light-the-under-the-radar-humanist-tale-part-one-humanism/
https://normalhappenings.com/2018/11/21/kingdom-hearts-the-game-that-defines-overthinkery/

Feb 05, 2019
#013 - "Sweet As Mango" (Grim Fandango Remastered)
6005

Hear us dance this Grim Fandango featuring Brent Mead the ABXY Mage and myself, the stuffy nose mage, talking this game's unique combination of influences, its concept of the afterlife, its interesting visual design, whether games as art is really the same thing as music as art, the difference between artistic and art form, the nature of jazz, death puns, championing memorable NPCs, personality world building vs exposition, our personal histories with adventure games, floppy disks, how adventure games lost their footing in the internet age and how to keep puzzles challenging, and that satisfying feeling of accomplishment when you complete one, the state of humor in games, and the false need for relief in the form of comedy.

Website: https://thewellredmage.com/2016/10/10/grim-fandango-remastered/
Patreon: www.patreon.com/thewellredmage
Guest: https://twitter.com/ABXY_Reviews

Jan 24, 2019
#012 - "Great Apespectations" (Donkey Kong Country)
5083

Ape puns coagulate in this Donkey Kong Country episode, featuring the dudes at The Pixel Meditations podcast! We discuss how to help games be accepted as an art form, showing people that there’s something to learn from video games, DKC’s quality of physics and weight, its sense of rhythm, the immediacy of its two player co-op, the variations between Donkey and Diddy, its place as the first title in the SNES trilogy, those dreaded mine cart levels, the Cranky Kong Run, and that great, great David Wise music, as well as which game most people prefer out of the original trio.

Website: https://thewellredmage.com/2018/03/10/donkey-kong-country/
Patreon: www.patreon.com/thewellredmage
Guest: https://twitter.com/pixelmeditation
https://thepixelmeditations.podbean.com/

Jan 07, 2019
#011 - "!" (Metal Gear Solid)
6259

Gravelly voices abound in this Metal Gear Solid episode on the origins of TWRM and the pun name, the PS1 Classic, a Metal Gear franchise overview, what’s canon and what’s not, the unique pitfalls of cinematic storytelling, stealth as a genre vs a mechanic, messing with people after getting optical camouflage, our favorite scenes and characters in MGS1, the importance of ESRB ratings as a parent, the embarrassing story of "the music room", Solid Snake’s ethics of killing and justification of murder, sympathetic villains and the legacy of a father, auteur theory, the growing chasm between critics and fans, Batman vs Solid Snake, and recording myself watching a trailer for the first time.

Website: https://thewellredmage.com/2016/03/02/metal-gear-solid/
Patreon: www.patreon.com/thewellredmage
Guest: twitter.com/BlackHumorMage

Dec 21, 2018
#010 - "The King of Second Fiddles"
1495

It's the MAGE CAST 10th episode mini-anniversary special featuring my biological anti-twin and second banana, Nathaniel Norton! Listen with rapture to the most melodious musical episode ever as we sing and belt our way through a Night on Bald Mountain, Zombies Ate My Neighbors, Sim City 2000, Storm Eagle, Monument Valley, Armored Core, Alabama Shakes, Olomana, and... a new MAGE CAST theme song??? Things get a little weird and laughter abounds, but hopefully this decennial makes you chortle at least once. Hey, 'tis the season to spend with family, right? Mahalo~

Website: thewellredmage.com
Patreon: www.patreon.com/thewellredmage
Guest: Nate Dog

Dec 08, 2018
#009 - "See You, Space Cowgirl..." (Cosmic Star Heroine)
6179

Co-founders Red and Timely sit down to chat about Cosmic Star Heroine, buzzwords in the gaming industry, true substance to retro throwback games, doing more than pandering, consciousness toward length and lean game design, old versus modern JRPGs, the shift away from strategy to button mashing, sincerity and genuineness in indie games evoking the classics, the place for traditional good vs evil storytelling, pure virtue characters and archetypes, the non-necessity of cynicism, the GOTY picks for 2018, and where we were in the golden age of the 90's.

And... announcing a launch date for MAGE CAST: Side Quests!

Website: thewellredmage.com/2018/08/18/cosm…ne-2018-switch/
Patreon: www.patreon.com/thewellredmage
Guest: twitter.com/ProtoAvi

Dec 08, 2018
#008 - "Breath Of Fresh Air" (The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild)
6887

So a red mage, a ninja, and a coffee guru walk into a podcast... On this episode, a tri-force of mages discuss The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild, its place within the context of the franchise, both its 2017 GOTY and controversial status, its unprecedented focus on the princess, its treatment of the open world structure, the place of fans in defining a series by expectations, demanding ingenuity and lateral thinking from the player, weapon durability and survival mechanics, talk of a sequel, and Zelda's legs.

It's not what you think.

Website: thewellredmage.com/2017/03/26/the-…th-of-the-wild/
Patreon: www.patreon.com/thewellredmage
Guests: homebuttongaming.wordpress.com/
gameswithcoffee.com/

Nov 22, 2018
#007 - "It's A Madhouse!" (Batman: Arkham Asylum)
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I am the night! This time, I got to sit down this time with the comics experts at Opinioneering to chat about Batman: Arkham Asylum. Our conversation turned to the literary and animated influences behind the game, Batman's humanity and vulnerabilities, the enduring versatility of the Dark Knight across media, remembering who the World’s Greatest Detective really is, the value in the focus of smaller games, Asylum as more than a cash-in or an adaptation of some movie, an exploration of the Bat as an inspiration, Batman vs the Punisher methodologies, how to become a Batman fan, heroism as doing the hard things, and the sad untold tale of bald Batman, plus, future Rocksteady DC video games (Superman?!)!

Website: thewellredmage.com/2016/03/24/batm…-arkham-asylum/
Patreon: www.patreon.com/thewellredmage
Guests: twitter.com/opinioneering

Nov 22, 2018
#006 - "Do Reploids Dream of Electric Guitar?" (Mega Man X)
4616

What ever happened to the Blue Bomber? In this episode, I chat about Mega Man X with Ryan from Retro Game Brews Podcast and Brent aka the ABXY Mage and we unpack our thoughts on the chronology of X and the classic Mega Man series, the distinguishing features of the X series, which robots get free will, literal verticality in level design, what kind of voice Mega Man should have, and our appreciation for the incredible soundtrack (I also make my guests sing their favorite songs from this game!). Also, listen for a SPECIAL ANNOUNCEMENT from the ABXY Mage!

Website: thewellredmage.com/2016/08/14/mega-man-x/
Patreon: www.patreon.com/thewellredmage
Guests: twitter.com/Retrogamebrews
twitter.com/ABXY_Reviews

Nov 22, 2018
#005 - "What Nintendidn't" (Sonic the Hedgehog)
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Traveling back in time at high speeds to the first Sonic the Hedgehog game, Matthew from Normal Happenings and myself talk the blue blur's concept, design, and execution, Sonic's development history and future, Project Defeat Mario, the epic console wars, Sonic Tuesday, and Sega's legacy. This is our first episode ever to feature a 1 vs 1 discussion from two very different perspectives. Do sparks fly? Idk, but Tails does. Too bad he's not in this game.

Website: thewellredmage.com/2017/05/20/sonic-the-hedgehog/
Patreon: www.patreon.com/thewellredmage
Guest: normalhappenings.com/

Nov 22, 2018
#004 - "Fuzzy Pickles" (EarthBound)
4991

In this EarthBound episode, I jumped last minute in front of the mic with Ryan the Hyperactive Coffee Mage and Brent the ABXY Mage to talk about a real SNES cult classic. Our discussion circulated around the idyllic vision of America, the death of innocence, the lost art of memorable NPCs, disturbing 16bit imagery, the meaning of the series title "Mother", successful video game humor, and lots of Poo.

Website: thewellredmage.com/2018/03/05/eart…gs-mother-1989/
Patreon: www.patreon.com/thewellredmage
Guests: gameswithcoffee.com/
twitter.com/ABXY_Reviews

Nov 22, 2018
#003 - "Perfect Organism" (Alien: Isolation)
4802

In this episode, the founding members of TWRM shiver in fear before Alien: Isolation by Creative Assembly and Sega, discussing the game in the context of the Alien film franchise and other Alien video games, the addictiveness of horror, the value of good lighting, AI that's smarter than you, lo-fi tech, and just why the Xenomorph is so terrifying (hint: pregnancy and childbirth).

Read more: thewellredmage.com/2016/05/12/alien-isolation/
Patreon: www.patreon.com/thewellredmage

Nov 22, 2018
#001 - "Sand People" (Journey)
4517

In this primal episode, the founding members of thewellredmage.com discuss Journey by thatgamecompany, the meaning of minimalism and the risk of superficiality, spirituality and video games, the journey(s) of life and Journey as a mirror, the human need for friendship, and Journey's place in the gaming industry!

Read more:
https://thewellredmage.com/2016/02/22/journey/

Nov 17, 2018
#002 - "The Zodiac Killer" (Final Fantasy Tactics)
5417

In this episode you can enjoy our Final Fantasy Tactics talk with the Timely Mage and Nick-the-Employee-of-the-Month, wherein we discuss the Final Fantasy series and Tactics' uniqueness, Final Fantasy spin-offs, historical facts and the nature of truth, grounded dark Frenchiness, the Dead Sea Scrolls, themes of equality and corruption, and how the heck you are supposed to pronounce "Beoulve", anyway.

Read more: www.thewellredmage.com/2016/03/20/final-fantasy-tactics/
Patreon: www.patreon.com/thewellredmage

Nov 17, 2018