We're bringing back GameCritics After Dark, and to kick things off it's a special Zelda extravaganza! We assemble a crack team of experts to give their take on The Legend of Zelda: Skyward Sword, then we debate an even more enormous question: what is the future of the Zelda franchise? Featuring Richard Naik and Mike Bracken, plus special guests Jeffrey Matulef and Brainy Gamer's Michael Abbott.

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Richard Naik

Richard Naik

Born and raised in St. Louis, MO, Richard received his first console (the NES) at the age of six, and from that point on games have been an integral part of his life, whether it's been frittering summers away with the likes of Mario, Mega Man, and the Zerg or partaking in marathon sessions of Halo, Team Fortress 2 or Left 4 Dead. After being a longtime reader of GameCritics, Richard joined the staff in March of 2009, and over the years Richard grew into the more prominent role of part-time podcast host.

In 2016, he spearheaded a complete rebuild of the GameCritics.com website, earning him the title of Chief Engineer.

His gaming interests are fairly eclectic, ranging from 2D platformers to old-school-style adventure games to RPGs to first-person shooters. So in other words, he’ll play pretty much anything.
Richard Naik
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Odofakyodo
Odofakyodo
8 years ago

Hey cracka, I found your post interesting. [quote=”crackajack”]depends on the the goal of the game, if it emphasizes on the challenge or on the experience.[/quote] I think we need to be careful about our terminology here. No matter that media, the consumer is going to be “experiencing” something. I have an “experience” when I read a book, listen to a song, or watch a movie. Saying that the “experience” is the goal of the game doesn’t really differentiate from those other media. They are all shooting for an experience. It’s the type of experience that I am concerned with. [quote=”crackajack”]so… Read more »

crackajack
crackajack
8 years ago

[quote=Odofakyodo]If everyone is a winner, then winning is meaningless.[/quote] depends on the the goal of the game, if it emphasizes on the challenge or on the experience. challenge games letting everyone win on easy in a racing game is fine. i still know that it was just easy, but i saw probably most of the tracks and was able to try at least some of the unlockable cars. and the better ones know that they won on hard. every winner knows what he achieved. everyone got content for his money instead of reducing the content to a limited demo where… Read more »

TickTock
TickTock
8 years ago

@Odofakyodo Thanks for this comment, yesterday I was just about to write a rant about just that part you addressed, but thought better of it. But now that you’ve said it i can’t simply can’t hold back. I think it does games, literature and films a great disservice if artists restrict their work in favor of “easy consumption”, because most people (including me) simply conform to expectations. If you treat people like idiots they will conform and think that they are “wasting their time” playing a “hard” game. I don’t mean hard in the “traditional” sense — I’m not even… Read more »

Mike Bracken
Mike Bracken
8 years ago

I was really tired that evening and skype kept dropping me from the call. Swearing was at an all time low on the show.

Odofakyodo
Odofakyodo
8 years ago

I’m about 13 minutes into the podcast and felt compelled to respond Michael Abbott calling Nintendo “genius” when gauging the difficulty of their games. Michael says “there is a pretty small subset of people who can actually handle those [hard] games”. He then gives the original Super Mario Bros. and Legend of Zelda as examples. Yes, those games were far harder than any recent Zelda game, but to claim that only a small subset of people can handle those games is not true. First, you have the anecdotal evidence that myself and all of my childhood friends (and probably Michael… Read more »

RandomRob
RandomRob
8 years ago

? I would LOVE to hear the same panel or a different one finally do a discussion panel of this older adventure game, and you were going to at one point, yes?

Great job with this, Richard. I think you have a certain reverence for gameplay that makes this single topic format shine. Keep it up!

Also fascinating to hear Jeffrey and Michael Abbot’s opinions about the game. Lots of sensitivity and insight to the games qualities.

And Mike B didn’t swear? What’s going on?

Anonymous
Anonymous
8 years ago

Superb show. Michael Abbott and Jeff Matulef are some of the best guests one could have on a podcast.

They both make for a great show.

My like for the Zelda franchise has been left in the past where Zelda has resided for 10 years now.

Richard Naik
Richard Naik
8 years ago

[quote=Pedro]Richard – I apologise for inferring in another thread that you would be ‘too pedantic to host a podcast’. Very nice job here, sophisticated and urbane, like that guy who hosts Inside the Actor’s Studio. ;-)[/quote]

This is the single greatest compliment I have ever been given.

To everyone else, thanks for listening. The show is being received better than I could have hoped, so expect to see more of these in the future.

Pedro
Pedro
8 years ago

What an excellent podcast; personally I found nothing to like in this game, but it was great to hear the differing takes on its strengths and weaknesses from a nicely-judged panel. It was particularly nice to hear the Brainy Gamer on here, but kudos to all.

Richard – I apologise for inferring in another thread that you would be ‘too pedantic to host a podcast’. Very nice job here, sophisticated and urbane, like that guy who hosts Inside the Actor’s Studio. 😉

Hopefully this series will continue. I also would love to hear Dark Souls get the treatment.

Zolbrod
Zolbrod
8 years ago

Great show, guys! I really enjoy all the discussion around this game. I finished it myself only recently and my final verdict is that, though it has its faults and down points, it’s probably one of my favorite games in the series, and it succeeded in reviving my faith in the franchise, to some extent at least. People seem very divided on the controls. For me, they worked fine for about 90% of the time. The only thing that I had severy difficulties with was the forward thrust, which just wouldn’t register very well. Everything else worked fine and never… Read more »

sleeve
sleeve
8 years ago

Great podcast, guys. It was nice to hear some different viewpoints on Skyward Sword. As for me, I still have the collector’s edition sitting on my shelf, complete with gold Wiimote, waiting to be played. One of these days when I finish Dark Souls, perhaps I’ll try it.

Speaking of Dark Souls, I agree that it would be a good subject for a similar “after dark” podcast. I, for one, have a ton of things to say about it that haven’t really been covered in previous podcasts. I hereby volunteer to participate in such a podcast, if there’s interest.

Mike Bracken
Mike Bracken
8 years ago

I had the same problem with the pointer going to the wrong options on more than one occasion too. Interestingly enough, I never played in a room with natural sunlight. I keep the shades drawn and the room dark save for the overhead light (sometimes I played in the dark), but I still had the issue. I didn’t experiment like you did, though, so maybe there’s something to it. All I know is that I certainly had troubles with the controls and I’m baffled as to why other people didn’t. Glad you dug the show, and thanks for sharing your… Read more »

awkward_ghost
awkward_ghost
8 years ago

Great show, everyone! This is the first After Dark I’ve heard and I really enjoyed it. I’d love for you to perhaps do one on Dark Souls in the future… On the subject of the Wii Motion+ controls in Skyward Sword working better for some people than for others, I’d like to share my experiences. Despite the game seemingly not using the Infra Red sensor (and sensor bar) for the most part, I am convinced that game does use it on occasion, and it was the cause for my problems. You see, I had a potentially game-breaking issue where every-so-often… Read more »