CGF Podcast Episodes

#63: A CGF Retrospective: Looking Back on 8 Years

bruary of 2022. In this episode of the podcast, we look back on this community project which has spanned almost a decade in the city of Chengdu, China. Over that time we’ve:

  • Hosted about 140 events in at least 8 different venues
  • Published more than 60 podcasts on dozens of subjects
  • Evaluated, analyzed, and forecasted China’s evolving game industry
  • Been a major contributor to local game design culture and appreciation

We’ve been looking forward to having the opportunity to look back on some of the most memorable CGF memories and experiences, including a list of the games which we remember most fondly as local multiplayer stand-outs. We also discuss some of the challenges and hardships of running an organization like this in a place as unstable and exotic as Chengdu, China.

Lastly, we say thanks to all of the listeners, gamers, collaborators, and friends we’ve made over the years. It’s been great!

February 2022

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#62: CGF 2022 Games of the Year

Another year, another podcast episode discussion about our favorite games of the year. As with previous years, this episode is a discussion not limited to games released in 2022, but all of our favorite gaming experiences of the year (in Austin’s case, a lot of Steam library spelunking).

Games Mentioned

December 2022

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#61: The Challenge and Joy of Achievement Hunting

In this episode we discuss the challenges and merits of achievement hunting (or trophy hunting, as some refer to it). Strictly for skilled gamers who seek competence and mastery.

Topics Discussed

  • What guides and motivates achievement hunters
  • The easiest and most difficult games to collect achievements
  • How the culture and practice has evolved over time
  • Some of our favorite achievements and games

October 2022

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#60: Creeping Through the Swamps of Hunt: Showdown

In this episode of the podcast we share our love and experience getting dirty in the 1895 Louisiana swamps in which Hunt: Showdown is set. Unlike most other popular online FPS games, Hunt is a competitive online shooter which is all about using environmental details to outsmart opponents.

Topics Discussed

  • The origins of Hunt: Showdown
  • What distinguishes Hunt from its modern FPS contemporaries
  • The incredible sights and sounds of the Louisiana swamp
  • Quiet tension, explosive shootouts, and Hunt’s unique character
  • Reward structure, live events, and DLC featured in the game

August 2022

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#59: Comic Book Adaptations & Games

In this episode of the podcast, Austin has a discussion with old CGF friend and comic book enthusiast Demick. Here we talk about the spectrum of comic book video game adaptations, from NES titles up to recent blockbusters like Spider-Man on PS5.

  • What makes comic book adaptation games great & terrible
  • Our favorite games based on comic books
  • The history and heritage of some of our favorite adaptations
  • What’s coming in the future for the burgeoning comic book game space

May 2022
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#58: The Outer Wilds & Majora’s Mask

In this episode of the podcast Austin and Josh discuss The Outer Wilds and compare it to the N64 Zelda game Majora’s Mask.

  • How Majora’s Mask (2000) relates to Outer Wilds (2019)
  • What makes Majora’s Mask so dark and unique
  • The “time loop” game mechanic

Games Mentioned

March 2022
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#57: Microsoft’s Gargantuan Acquisition

In this episode of the podcast we talk about the largest acquisition in the history of the gaming industry: Microsoft’s $86 billion pickup of game industry titan Activision/Blizzard.

  • Overview of the acquisition
  • What this means for the future of Xbox, Steam and Playstation
  • Movie adaptations and the forthcoming Uncharted movie
  • Sony’s recent $3 billion acquisition of Bungie
  • Activision and Blizzard’s treasure trove of IP
  • Consolidation in the game industry and larger economy
  • Transition from console wars to subscription wars
  • Steam vs Gamepass for PC gaming distribution

Games Mentioned

  • Blizzard classics: Warcraft, Starcraft, Diablo
  • Activision classics: King’s Quest, Hexen
  • The Long Dark

February 2022
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#56: CGF 2021 Games of the Year

Another year, another podcast about our favorite games of the year. Not necessarily games released in 2021. Outer Wilds, Factorio, Hades, Paradise Killer, Inscryption, The Long Dark, Doki Doki Literature Club, Ghost of Tsushima: Legends, Luck Be a Landlord, Islanders, Westerado, Broken Reality, Void Tyrant, Underhand, Data Wing.

Previous Annual Podcasts

January 2022
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#55: The State of China’s Game Industry in 2022

In this episode of the podcast we examine the state of China’s gaming industry, with particular focus on regulation affecting the global games market and China as a destination for Western games.

This episode follows on several previous episodes in which we perform similar analysis of China game industry conditions. As with most sectors of China, the central topic of discussion is central government, law, and regulation as it intersects with economy and culture.

Podcasts Mentioned

Other Links

January 2022
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#54: Exploring the Depths of Hades

In this episode we finally go deep into one of our favorite games from the last year: Hades. Considered by many to be the best game released in 2020, we share our favorite aspects of the game, our tips and strategies for defeating it, and why Hades has left such a strong impression on so many.

  • Behind Supergiant’s development of the game
  • What distinguishes Hades among a crowded cast of rogue likes
  • Voice acting, script writing, and music composition in Hades
  • Comparison to other Supergiant games: Pyre, Transistor, and Bastion
  • The uniquely addictive “one more run” quality of the game
  • Our favorite boons and strategies

April 2021
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#53: 2020 Games of the Year

In this episode of the podcast we discuss our favorite games from the last year. Unlike many other annual lists, ours is not exclusively about games released in the year 2020, it includes some previously released games as well.

  • Plague Inc’s new “Cure DLC”, which adds public health management features to the world’s most famous pandemic simulator
  • Ryan’s pandemic management simulator and the politics of distributors like Google Play and Apple’s App Store
  • Risk of Rain 2’s brilliant transition from 2D to 3D roguelike
  • Completing my three year long Red Dead Redemption 2 journey
  • Ghost of Tsushima’s captivating detail, depth and beauty and it’s “Legends” DLC
  • The sublime quality and consistency of Tony Hawk’s Pro Skater 1 & 2 Remaster
  • Monster Train and building on Slay the Spire’s roguelike card playing formula
  • Escaping from prison with a friend in “A Way Out”
  • Noita, the magical action roguelike
  • Playne, the meditation game
  • What happened with Cyberpunk 2077, the game we thought would be the crown jewel of 2020

March 2021
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#52: Lockdown Games with Edd

Joined here this week by good friend, and CGF Mortal Kombat champion, Edd to discuss his experience with games in lockdown. Talking about experiences with the Switch as well as upsides and hardships.

  • Family sharing accounts
  • Warhammer Vermentide and using an actual Mace
  • BotW systems and Master Mode

February 2021
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#51: Lockdown Games with Jason

The penultimate episode of the lockdown series, joined by Jason. We talk about dynamic multiplayer experiences and first person shooters and why he preferred multiplayer over single player experiences for a lot of the quarantine. He just got a playstation at the onset of the virus and dove deep.

  • The Battlefield series and other military FPS online games
  • God of War and difficulty in the game
  • Games within the Dark Souls universe and the systems at play in From Software titles

July 2020
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#50: Lockdown Games with Demick

In the second episode of this virus mini series I am joined by Demick. Discussing his love of PlayStation and what games he’s played during this trying time and how he’s made the most of it and maximized having so much free time.

  • The Evil Within and its challenges as well as the Resident Evil series
  • The Kingdom Hearts series and thoughts on the story
  • The Witness and it’s famous difficulty
  • The impact of trophies and achievements on games

July 2021
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#49: Lockdown Games with Aedan

This week, in the first of a series of episodes about experiences during Covid-10, Aedan joins us. Discussing his experience leading up to the outbreak and through quarantine as well as some of his CGF memories.

  • Shenmue and how its affected peoples interactions with Aedan
  • His ongoing love for GTA Online
  • How work was affected and time spent gaming

June 2020
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#48: The Best Games of 2019

In this episode we review our favorite games of the year 2019, both in terms of games released during the year and games we enjoyed and completed. This is an episode with a large volume of games mentioned, and while 2019 might not have been the banner year some were expecting with a number of high profile delays, there were some stellar surprises.

  • High profile delays like Cyberpunk 2077, Spelunky 2, Ghosts of Tsushima, and The Last of Us 2
  • Left-field surprises, especially from Nintendo Directs
  • Josh’s 15 minutes of 2019 gaming fame, as a globally recognized Mario Maker 2 creator
  • Our favorites: Resident Evil 2, Super Smash Bros Ultimate, Mario Maker 2, Tetris Effect, Legend of Zelda: Link’s Awakening
  • Other games mentioned: Fire Emblem, Astral Chain, Gato Roboto, Forager, Cadence of Hyrule, and more

January 2020
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#47: Everlasting Life in Call of Duty: Zombies

In this episode of the podcast we talk about the 11-year long history of Call of Duty’s lesser-known game mode which has as cult following: zombies mode. Since being introduced as a secret easter egg with the 2008 release World at War, this mode has taken on a life of its own, spawning dozens of maps and a surprisingly deep narrative arc.

  • The origins of the zombies game mode
  • What distinguishes it from ordinary Call of Duty
  • Explanation of the complex puzzle elements in map design
  • Our favorite iterations and maps of zombies mode
  • Celebrity voice actors in zombies mode (Ron Perlman, Jeff Goldblum)
  • How to play the game lag-free if you’re in China
  • The zombies comic series
  • The upcoming Call of Duty Hollywood film

November 2019
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#46: China’s Growing Influence on Global Games

In this episode of the podcast we analyze China’s rising role in influencing the content of games and the behavior of game developers outside of China.

  • Recent Blizzard controversy and online protest around Hong Kong
  • Tencent and Netease’s acquisition of foreign developers
  • Mainland versions of popular international games like PUBG
  • Analysis of Mainland China’s biggest games and their success abroad
  • Breakdown of China’s domestic market by gaming platform
  • US overtaking China as the world’s largest gaming market
  • NBA & Hollywood controversies over Chinese influence

October 2019
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#45: What the Exploding Subscription Model Means for Games

With Apple Arcade and Google Play Pass among other game subscription services, we’re seeing an explosive new model in the games industry, but what does it mean? We review the latest developments and forecast what the future of gaming might look like with the industry divided by competing subscription services.

  • Overview of curated app subscription services
  • Apple Arcade, Google Play Pass, PS Now, Xbox Gamepass and more
  • The strengths and weaknesses of each of the competing platforms
  • What this means for independent games

October 2019
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#44: The Past, Present, and Future of VR Gaming

After existing on the fringes of the gaming industry for about three years, VR is going mainstream. In this podcast we discuss the past, present and future of the immersive new format while talking about every platform from SteamVR to PSVR.

  • History of VR, starting with the Sword of Damocles
  • Evolution of modern VR, starting with 2014 impressions
  • Platforms: SteamVR, Oculus, PSVR, Pimax and more
  • “Ugandan Knucles” and some technical details
  • Our favorite VR experiences PS5 and the future of VR

September 2019
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#43: Inside China’s Biggest Retro Game Exhibition

Right now Chengdu is hosting the “Game On” exhibition, which is the largest retro game collection ever exhibited in China. With over 100 pieces of authentic game hardware which visitors can play, from Missile Command and Ms. Pac-Man to Steel Battalion and Star Wars Arcade, it is an incredible collection. In this episode we speak with one of the event organizers, Leonardo Araujo, about how the exhibition came to be, how they select and maintain games in the collection, and what his favorite pieces in the collection are.

  • The origin of the Game On exhibition, which has been traveling the world for 18 years
  • How Leonardo maintains and repairs an enormous collection of vintage game hardware
  • Special inclusions in the collection, including extremely rare and valuable artifacts
  • What it means to educate average Chinese on the history of games
  • How the collection mirrors modern world history and culture with specific examples
  • Leonardo’s favorite pieces in the collection

August 2019
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#42: “Goombagate” & Mario Maker 2

In this episode of the CGF podcast, Austin is joined by guest Josh Lamm, creator of the Mario Maker 2 stage “Mario’s Remorse”. According to charges published on Ryan’s From Game to Brain blog, Kotaku editor Chris Kohler plagiarized elements from Josh’s stage in his own stage, titled “That Goomba Had A Family.” Austin and Josh explore the controversy and talk about Mario Maker 2, the latest hit Nintendo Switch release.

That Goomba had a family… The story behind the hit Mario Maker 2 level on From Game to Brain

August 2019
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#41: The CGF Trivia Podcast

This podcast is a follow-up to our recent CGF Trivia Night, an event which we hosted in Chengdu in May 2019. On that night we had five teams competing, with a single team emerging the winner after a Jeopardy-style trivia battle.

In this podcast three participants (Austin, Charlie and Ryan) participated in a trivia competition live, with questions provided by CGF member Josh Lamm. The format was simply a question asked, with a buzzer for participants to guess the answer.

In about 50 minutes we go over a total of 100 questions in 12 different categories, including a bonus round with video game music. Play along and see how you score!

CGF Trivia Questions & Answers

June 2019
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#40: Killing for Peace in Tencent’s PUBG Rebrand

In this episode of the podcast we discuss the latest wild development which has appeared in Mainland China’s game industry: the rebranding of smash-hit PUBG as “Game for Peace”. In this new Chinese regulator-approved version of the game players collect weapons and ammo and shoot at opponents who, instead of bleeding dying when shot and killed, kneel and wave goodbye before fading away. Game for Peace features a number of other unusual quirks, but what does this game say about the future of China’s game industry? We discuss that and more.

  • The regulatory gaming freeze, which China is emerging from
  • The sanitization and transformation of PUBG
  • How this new game feels and plays
  • Chinese player commentary on the game
  • Investors’ impressions and growth in Tencent’s stock price
  • Game for Peace’s record-breaking revenue
  • What Game for Peace says about the future of Chinese games


June 2019
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#39: Our Favorite Overlooked SNES Games

In this episode of the podcast we return to one of our favorite game consoles of all time: the Super Nintendo. Virtually everyone knows about the hits: Super Mario World, Mario Kart, Chrono Trigger. But beyond the well-known classics there are some amazing overlooked games. This episode is about highlighting and discussing those.

  • Terranigma
  • Legend of the Mystical Ninja
  • Clock Tower
  • Demon’s Crest
  • Super Tennis
  • Act Raiser
  • Evo
  • Zombie’s Ate My Neighbors
  • Sparkster
  • Super Smash TV
  • Rock n Roll Racing
  • The Lost Vikings

May 2019
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#38: Legal Weedcraft

In this episode we discuss controversy around the April 2019 Devolver Digital release, Weedcraft Inc. The game, which is about building a marijuana empire, presents players with the option to conduct their business legally and ethically or illegally and immorally, but this hasn’t kept developer Vile Monarch out of the crosshairs of online pundits and platform censors.

  • Overview of Weedcraft Inc’s mechanics, tone, and ethical choices
  • Why the launch of the game intentionally didn’t happen on 4/20
  • Online reactions to the game, and specific criticism from reviewers
  • Weedcraft Inc getting demonetized on Youtube, deleted on Facebook, and having difficulty advertising
  • What we like and dislike about the game itself
  • Social justice standards for violence and drug use in games
  • Comparison with “Breaking Bad” mobile games


April 2019
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#37: Two Launches, One Game: Carrier Commander

In this episode of the podcast I’m joined by Chengdu indie mobile developer Ryan, for the third podcast on his 2019 mobile game release, Carrier Commander. In this conversation we talk about launching the game twice – once paid, and once free to play – and evaluate the differences.

  • Recap of previous podcasts about Carrier Commander
  • Designing the game as a premium, offline strategy game
  • Results and metrics from the first launch
  • Assessing player feedback and making adjustments
  • Modifying the game for a second F2P launch
  • Results and metrics from the second launch
  • “Post Mortems” for games, and why they are useful
  • Monetization conclusions and advice for indie developers

April 2019
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#36: Reflecting on Reddit’s Favorite Short Games

In this episode of the podcast we discuss a Reddit post which gathered 500+ responses to the following question: “What’s your favorite game which can be completed in less than 8 hours?”

  • The Reddit post which inspired this podcast
  • Why we’ve gravitated toward shorter games
  • Evaluating game content versus free time
  • Managing a backlog
  • Reddit’s favorite short games, and our picks


March 2019
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#35: Analyzing the Explosion of Battle Royale Games

In this episode of the podcast we recap the 5+ history of the battle royale game genre which has proven that it’s much more than just a fad. We first started looking at this topic in 2017 with our PUBG Podcast, as the battle royale genre moved from the online gaming underground into the mainstream. While this space has rapidly developed in recent years, we’ve just seen another massive jump in popularity, as EA unexpectedly published a new free to play battle royale game, Apex Legends. We discuss the significance of Apex Legends, the history of the genre, and what the future might hold.

  • Historical origins of “Battle Royal” going back centuries
  • The 2000 Japanese film “Battle Royale”
  • The Hunger Games mod in Minecraft
  • Brendan Greene and ARMA mods like DayZ
  • PlayerUnknown’s Battlegrounds and Fortnite
  • The latest entry: Apex Legends
  • Tetris 99 and unconventional spin-offs
  • Other games we’re playing: Toejam & Earl, Alienation, Dope Game, and Call of Duty Modern Warfare Remastered

March 2019
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#34: Artificial Intelligence in Games

In this episode I’m joined by by Ryan, independent developer of the mobile strategy game Carrier Commander, in a discussion about artificial intelligence in games. In development of his mobile game, Ryan created over 20 unique stages which each included distinct AI variations to create dynamic, unpredictable gameplay situations. In the discussion we talk about what game AI is, how it differs from general AI, what the purpose and role of AI in games is, and cover a number of the most important paradigms in game AI. If you’re an independent creator or seeking to just understand how AI works in games you’ve played, this is a great entry-level primer on the subject.

  • Definitions of general AI and gaming AI
  • Practical example: ghost movement in Pac-Man
  • AI Graphing
  • Emotional AI: Shadow of Mordor’s “Nemesis” system
  • Behavioral states in The Forest
  • AI architectures
  • “Push & Pull” AI in Starcraft zergling movement
  • “Finite States” in Broforce
  • “Adaptive AI” in fighting games


February 2019
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#33: 2018 Games of the Year

A year has passed and as we enter 2019, it’s time we reflect on our favorite games of 2018 in our second-annual games of the year review. While 2018 might not have been the barn-burner that 2017 was (our favorites were Mario Odyssey and Breath of the Wild), there was no shortage of greatness to review.

  • What defined 2018 in games
  • Platforms: Switch verses Steam and PS4
  • Big first party titles like God of War (2018)
  • Red Dead Redemption 2

January 2019
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#32: Developing an Indie Game in Chengdu, China

In this episode we’re joined again by Ryan, an American independent game developer in Chengdu, on the cusp of the release of his new game: Carrier Commander. Developed over the course of two years, Ryan shares the story of his game development, from ideation to publishing the game to the iOS App Store and Google Play. There’s a lot to learn from Ryan’s journey, from the resources and tools he used to plan and execute the project to why it’s important to collaborate with others in the production process.

  • What’s rewarding about indie game development
  • Tools and platforms for game production
  • Game design documents: construction and approaches
  • Cultivating a multi-disciplinary approach
  • Why Chengdu is and isn’t a good place for indie development
  • Development of the strategy genre in the touchscreen era

January 2019
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#31: The Hacked Switch Experience

This is a follow up to our episode published earlier this year, Hacking the Nintendo Switch. In this episode we discuss our experience hacking the Nintendo Switch, including problems and unexpected upsides, why you’d want to hack your Switch, and what the future of the Switch hacking scene looks like.

  • Quick overview of Switch hacking
  • Advantages and caveats to unlocking your Switch
  • Legality and ethics of hacking and Switch in China
  • Emulators and retro games on Switch, including Retroarch
  • The future of the hacked Switch
  • Diablo Immortal & recent Blizzard controversy

November 2018
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#30: Massive Losses in China’s Gaming Industry Explained

In this episode of the podcast we discuss what’s ailing China’s game industry as of late. As with everything China, politics are involved.

  • How and why Tencent has lost $160 billion in market cap in recent months
  • What’s behind China’s game approval freeze
  • How Chinese developers and publishers view this situation
  • How this situation might turn around, along with near-term effects
  • China’s regulatory structure
  • Gaming addiction in China, including notorious “treatment camps”
  • Recent lootbox and micro-transaction controversy

August 2018
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#29: Hacking the Nintendo Switch for Piracy, Emulation and More

In this episode we talk about the white-hot Nintendo Switch hacking scene. Initiated just a few months ago by the discovery of an exploit based on the Nvidia Tegra internals which power the Switch, things are moving quickly. We talk about the current state of Switch hacking: which tools are available, what’s coming soon, and what’s involved with hacking your Switch. The upsides, the downsides, and more.

  • The hardware vulnerability in the Switch
  • The SX Pro and ethical questions surrounding it
  • The imminent release of Atmosphere, and what that is
  • The risk you take by hacking your Switch
  • Current status of emulators and homebrew
  • Porn in Mario Odyssey
  • Sacrificing online play on Nintendo Switch

Games Mentioned

  • Octopath Traveler
  • Dead Cells
  • Event [0]
  • Enter the Gungeon
  • Doom
  • Skyrim
  • Stardew Valley

August 2018
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#28: Explosion of the “Roguelike” Genre and Our Favorites

In this episode we talk about the origins of the “roguelike” phenomenon and our favorite recent games which fit into this category. Some common features of roguelike games are dungeon crawling, procedurally generated stages, and permadeath, but this formula has been applied to a huge variety of game types.

  • Origin and namesake of the roguelike phenomenon
  • How we were introduced to roguelikes
  • Major recent roguelike games
  • Surprising examples of innovation
  • Our favorite roguelikes

Games Mentioned

  • Rogue
  • FTL
  • Spelunky
  • Binding of Isaac
  • Nuclear Throne
  • Enter the Gungeon
  • Dead Cells
  • Death Road to Canada
  • Heavy Bullets

July 2018
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#27: Will the 2008 Steam Summer Sale Be the Last One for China?

In this episode we look back on the biggest Steam sale of the year, and what is perhaps the last Steam sale that we can enjoy with accounts set to the China region. Will Valve’s new arrangement for China, in partnership with Perfect World, destroy Steam sales as we know them to comply with increasingly tight regulation?

  • Introduction to the 2018 Steam Summer Sale
  • Recent news that Steam is “officially” launching Steam in China
  • What the new Steam in China might look like
  • How we, as expats in China, expect to react to a new Steam China store
  • Purchases we made in the Steam sale
  • Reflection on the games mentioned below

July 2018
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#26: The Beauty of Zelda’s Master Mode

In this episode we share our experience completing Breath of the Wild’s Master Mode, which is a hard mode included with the option DLC pack. Is Master Mode worth playing? Absolutely, but it includes some qualities you might not expect, which we reflect on.

  • Introduction to Master Mode
  • Background on both DLC packs for Breath of the Wild
  • The value of replaying the game a second time
  • Review of Amiibo card sets purchased on Taobao
  • Master Trials, Champion’s Ballad, and other DLC content review

May 2018
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#25: Our Favorite Horror Games

In this episode we share our favorite horror games of all time along with the history of the genre, including some recent releases available on Steam and modern consoles.

  • Description and overview of the horror and survival game genres
  • What makes suspenseful horror games so immersive
  • Origins of the genre, from Sweet Home to Resident Evil
  • The “Golden Age” of survival horror games, from 1996-2004

Games Mentioned

  • Resident Evil & Silent Hill game series
  • Dark Souls & Bloodborne
  • Alan Wake
  • Castlevania
  • Dead Space
  • SOMA
  • Friday the 13th
  • Dead by Daylight
  • Splatterhouse
  • Call of Duty: Zombies
  • Penumbra
  • Alien Isolation
  • F.E.A.R.
  • Blood (3D Realms)
  • The Evil Within

April 2018
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#24: Examining the Civilization Series, Plus Civ VI Expansion

In this episode of the podcast we talk about the nearly 30-year history of Sid Meier’s Civilization series, and discuss the imminent first expansion of Civ VI, Rise and Fall.

  • Definition of Civ and the “4X” strategy genre
  • Changes to the series, going back to the 1991 original
  • Sid Meier’s role in Microprose and Civilization
  • Civ VI’s progress since its 2016 release
  • Civ VI on iPad at the $60 price point

February 2018
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#23: Rise of the Survival Genre

In this episode we discuss the explosive popularity of the survival game genre, typified by PUBG. An exploration into the mechanics, themes, and settings which underpin some of our favorite recent survival games. 

  • General themes of the online survival genre
  • History of survival games, on Steam and otherwise
  • The prevalence of Early Access survival titles
  • PUBG in China and abroad
  • Games like: Rust, H1Z1, The Long Dark, Minecraft, Ark, and more

February 2018
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#22: Game Platforms: Inside & Outside China

In this episode of the podcast we discuss merits of the most popular gaming platforms around the world, from Steam to WeChat, and more.

  • Desktop gaming platforms: Steam, GOG, Humble Bundle
  • Mobile gaming platforms: Apple’s App Store, Google Play
  • Emerging platforms like WeChat and mini-programs
  • Steam’s complex relationship with China
  • Recent banning of Steam Community in China
  • Proprietary platforms like Ubisoft’s Uplay and EA Origin
  • Controversy surrounding rights and DRM management

January 2018
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#21: 2017 Games of the Year

In this episode we complete our year-end roundup of our top games of the year. Including some of the usual suspects mentioned everywhere (Mario, Zelda) along with some others you might not expect to hear about.

  • Why 2017 was a pivotal year for the game industry
  • Which company we think dominated the year
  • The emergence of the online survival genre and PUBG
  • Games mentioned in this podcast: Zelda: Breath of the Wild, Mario Odyssey, Cuphead, Sonic Mania, Shadow of War, What Remains of Edith Finch, Tacoma, Getting Over It, Resident Evil 7, Wolfenstein II, The Evil Within 2, and more.

December 2017
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#20: Nintendo Switch: Mario and Zelda

In this episode of the podcast we discuss the Nintendo Switch, the recently-released Mario Odyssey, and Zelda: Breath of the Wild.

  • Recent developments on the Nintendo Switch as it heads into it’s first holiday season
  • Zelda: Breath of the Wild & Mario Odyssey as potential games of the year
  • Sonic Mania and the Switch’s growing catalog of indie games
  • What’s coming next for the Switch
  • What we’re playing recently

November 2017
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#19: PlayerUnknown’s Battlegrounds in China

In this episode of the podcast we’re discussing the global smash hit PlayerUnknown’s Battlegrounds and its complex and strange relationship with China.

  • Introduction to PUBG
  • Banned in China status
  • Unscripted moments in the game
  • Playing PUBG in internet bars
  • China & cheating
  • Creator of the game, “PlayerUnknown”
  • What we’re playing recently

November 2017
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#18: Free to Play Game Mechanics

In this episode of the podcast we’re joined by Ryan in a conversation about the mechanics which underpin the free to play business model.

  • Introduction to the F2P business model
  • User acquisition
  • Retention
  • Monetization
  • Layering & abstraction
  • Variable rewards
  • Difficulty spikes
  • Whales & ecosystems

November 2017
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#17: Gaming Myths & Urban Legends

In this episode we talk about some of the most well known myths and urban legends in gaming. Including Polybius, Earthbound, Ben Drowned, Braid, and more.

  • Polybius, the psychological experiment arcade game
  • Ben Drowned, the haunted Majora’s Mask cartridge
  • Hell Valley in Super Mario Galaxy 2
  • Street Fighter 2’s hidden character
  • Earthbound’s Mother conspiracy
  • Cows in Diablo II
  • Braid and the atomic bomb

October 2017
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#16: The SNES Mini & Beyond

In this episode we talk about the recently-released SNES Mini and highlight our favorite SNES games which were not included among the 21 game library included with the console.

  • About the SNES Mini
  • Why Chrono Trigger wasn’t included
  • Our favorite omissions: Metal Warriors, Actraiser, Sim City, Harvest Moon, Final Fantasy II, Pilotwings, NBA Jam, Tales of Phantasia, UN Squadron
  • What we’re playing recently (Cuphead!)

October 2017
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#15: Killing Nazis in Videogames

In this episode we talk about killing nazis in video games.

  • About recent events in Charlottesville, VA
  • The history of nazis as villains in games
  • Morality & video game nazis
  • The old & new Wolfenstein games
  • Bionic Commando, Punch Out, and others
  • What we’re playing now

August 2017
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#14: 20XX & This War of Mine

In this episode of the podcast we discuss two games which we recently raced to complete: 20XX & This War of Mine.

  • About This War of Mine
  • The moral anguish and hardship of survival
  • Overcoming obstacles in Eastern European war
  • About 20XX
  • What happened to Mega Man?
  • What’s going on at Capcom
  • Mighty Number 9 and 20XX exiting Early Access
  • What we’re playing recently

August 2017
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#13: Emulating Retro Games

In this episode of the podcast we open up about our arrangements and thoughts on emulating classic game consoles.

  • Our emulator setups
  • Front ends: Hyper Spin, Launchbox, Attract Mode, Retroarch
  • Emulation on the Raspberry Pi
  • Handheld emulation on the GPD Win
  • Benefits of Emulation
  • Glitches & Problems
  • CEMU & Breath of the Wild
  • Romhacks
  • SNES Classic
  • What we’re playing recently

July 2017
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#12: Game Development in China

In this episode Ryan and I talk about our experience working in China’s game industry.

  • China: “World’s Gaming Capital”?
  • How Ryan and I Got Started in the Gaming Industry
  • 996 and Overtime
  • Mimicry & Creativity
  • Mechanics & Monetization
  • F2P & Whales
  • Foreign Game Developers & China
  • Censorship & Regulation
  • Ryan’s Indie Game

July 2017
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#11: The GPD Win: Windows 10 Handheld

In this episode of the podcast Charlie reviews the GPD Win, a handheld Windows 10 gaming device.

  • Introduction to the device
  • Steam as a platform versus consoles
  • Hardware & build quality of the GPD Win
  • Running games on the device
  • Having a tiny Windows 10 computer
  • Downsides to the GPD Win

July 2017
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#10: Steam 2017 Summer Sale

In this episode we talk about the 2017 Steam Summer Sale, which we are right in the middle of.

  • Introduction to season of miracles
  • Psychology of the Steam Summer Sale
  • Steam China Store
  • Games on the GPD Win
  • Steam & Persistence
  • Recommended Games
  • Resident Evil 7 & Horror Games
  • This War of Mine Challenge

July 2017
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#09: Zelda & Breath of the Wild

In this episode we talk about Zelda & China, including the latest iteration, Breath of the Wild on the WiiU and Switch.

  • The scarcity of Zelda in China
  • How to buy Zelda
  • WiiU & region locking
  • The Switch launch & Breath of the Wild
  • Our favorite Zelda games
  • Breath of the Wild’s open world
  • Zelda’s horse temperaments
  • CEMU & emulating Breath of the Wild

June 2017
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#08: Games of Spring 2017

In this episode of the podcast we discuss recent releases in early 2017.

June 2017
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#07: Social Gaming & 75 CGF Events

In this episode we reflect on what makes a great social game, plus our 75th event.

May 2017
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#06: 25 Years of Mortal Kombat

In this episode we recap our Mortal Kombat X tournament and talk about the series on its 25th anniversary.

  • The beginning of Mortal Kombat
  • The Mortal Kombat movies
  • 1990’s arcade culture
  • Missteps of the Mortal Kombat series
  • The story and lore as it has spread across 22 titles
  • Violence controversy and the U.S. Congress
  • Rumors of a 2017 Mortal Kombat film
  • The latest iteration: Mortal Kombat X
  • The potential future of Mortal Kombat

May 2017
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#05: Our Favorite Sega Genesis Games

In this episode of the podcast we share our favorite games on the Sega Genesis platform.

Charlie’s Favorites

Austin’s Favorites

April 2017
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#04: Gaming in China

In this episode we talk about gaming in China specifically. Platforms, games, and China’s culture of gaming.

  • Steam & gaming platforms in China
  • Tencent’s newly-rebranded WeGame platform
  • China’s history with consoles
  • China’s legal and regulatory landscape
  • Publishers like Tencent and Netease
  • Western developers publishing games in China
  • Playing games online in China
  • The Great Firewall (GFW)
  • Internet bar culture in China
  • China’s Mobile Games

April 2017
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#03: Our Favorite NES Games

In this episode of the podcast we discuss our favorite NES games along with news of the NES Classic being discontinued.

Charlie’s Favorites

Austin’s Favorites

April 2017
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#01: CGF Podcast Introduction

In this, our first episode of the Chengdu Gaming Federation podcast, we introduce ourselves.

  • Neo-Geo, SNK, and fighting games popular in Asia
  • League of Legends and China
  • How CGF started
  • 2-year history of the event in Chengdu
  • Tournaments we’ve hosted
  • Our personal backgrounds
  • DJ game music mixes
  • Game we’re playing now: Downwell and Darkest Dungeon

April 2017
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