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Episode 38

The Indoor Kids

The Book Report Episode!

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The Indoor Kids #38: The Book Report Episode!

The Indoor Kids get smart and take a break from playing video games to read books about playing video games. Man, we read so many books. And then we compiled an awesome report to tell you guys about them. Reading about video games. Because we… are The Indoor Kids.

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31 comments

  • I just wanted to say that Bioware changing the ending of ME3 isn’t unprecedented. Charles Dickens changed the ending of Great Expectations so that it was less sad.
    Sorry if someone else has already made this point.

  • Speaking of Ender’s Game and video game books, the Halo: CE prequel novel, The Fall of Reach is really great. Like Ender, Master Chief gets taken away for military training as a child to combat an alien threat. Tons of common threads, was almost certainly inspired by EG. Definitely read it if you’re into the Halo games.

  • One more recommendation I would definitely include is the sci-fi classic Ender’s Game by Orson Scott Card. It definitely challenges the way we view video games and violence and its applications toward military strategy and training. It’s such a good book! It was ranked #3 on NPR’s Top 100 Sci-Fi/Fantasy Book List, right in the middle of Hitchhiker’s Guide and the Dune series.

  • To the guy who recommended “A life well wasted” podcast, THANK YOU SO MUCH!!!!! I had no idea it existed! Now I have something to listen to on commutes to work on days other than monday when the new indoor kids come out. *sidenote potential plus: Maybe they wont start their podcast with a denouncement of everybody’s spiritual belief.

    Fingers crossed.

  • Emily asked about how King Kong fell into the public domain. The short version is that it’s very complicated. Basically, the creator of King Kong got in a fight with RKO over whether he had sold them the rights or simply licensed the rights to them. Eventually a lawsuit decided that the creator had sold his rights and so the movie rights were owned by RKO. However, the court also found that the creator still owned the rights to a novelization of King Kong done without RKO. Later, when Paramount got in a fight with RKO over the new King Kong movie in the 70′s, Paramount’s lawyers figured out the novelization had fallen into the public domain because the creator had failed to take the necessary steps to renew the copyright. Because the book was in the public domain, Paramount could base its new King Kong movie on the book and as long as it doesn’t take anything that’s uniquely in the RKO movie – they are in the clear. Of course that little trick bit them in the butt with the Donkey Kong lawsuit.

  • a couple of other good video game books

    Racing the Beam – a book about developing games for the Atari 2600. Not just the technical side, but how the basic concepts of gameplay that are commonplace today, came out of the ether in the 70s and early 80s.

    Game Over – a history of the Rise of Nintendo. a must read to see how a Japanese company resurrected a dead industry in the US and the rest of the world.

  • I’m SO frustrated with you guys. 38 episodes in and, i mean come on!, 38 episodes and no episode called “Naked Times with Kumail and Bagel” uggh… I’m forming a petition group to FORCE you guys to have Kumail and Bagel naked on the Indoor Kids.

    Would be awesome if Kumail’s in the Gala that’s usually in the local tv channel on Australia. :D looking forward to watching that IF Kumail is in it.

  • These aren’t so gamey, but if you want more cyberpunk, you definitely should track down a copy of the Mirrorshades anthology. Also, any book that has John Varley’s “Press Enter”

    Just don’t read that second one too close to bed time.

  • If you’re trying to find a “This American Life” of Video Games, try this show (A Life Well Wasted): http://alifewellwasted.com/

    I think Emily and Kumail would like this because it is all about the stories of the people who play and who create video games. Compelling stuff, even if they haven’t had a new episode in a long time. Robert Ashley should be one of your guests because he is a compelling podcaster who enjoys the culture of gaming.

  • Thanks for expanding your thoughts on ME3. By your comments, I think guys still may not support changing the endings but I think you’ll understand why people are pissed.

    It’s the conversation about the group amongst journalists that’s just ridiculously uninformed and reactionary. The actual Retake Mass Effect people are very nice and well-behaved. They’ve already raised $80000 for charity and now they’re even working on a cupcake drive. They’re planning on sending Bioware’s office a couple hundred identical cupcakes where the only difference is that the frosting is blue, green or red. (It’ll make sense when you beat the game.) Agree or disagree, that’s the most adorable form of protest ever.

    Also, the precedent for changing the ending of something retroactively due to fan outcry was set at least a century ago. The previous commenter mentioned Fallout 3 but you also have Arthur Conan Doyle bringing Sherlock Holmes back from the dead (spoiler alert!) because readers got epicly pissed. Charles Dickens also changed the ending of one of his serials when people revolted against it. Not to mention Stephen King, George Lucas, Steven Spielberg, and Ridley Scott all messing with their works after they were finished. The only way this Mass Effect controversy will happen again is another developer makes a story-focused game that is built around player choice and then blows the ending. This really is a unique situation. So if you’re worried about crowd-sourced games or devs being to scared to try a “tough” ending, don’t. The slippery slope argument is just silly.

  • Hey guys regular listener, I will say that one of your assumptions towards the ending of ME3 is correct. I’ve spoiled the endings for myself long time ago, and currently playing through the third game after importing my character twice from the previous two games. Also changing or altering the ending via DLC (Broken Steel) was already set with Fallout 3. Instead of you sacrificing your life, they change it so there could be more DLC chapters. The debate among people is weather or not the original ending was done in a way that it was going to be retconned via DLC, or if it was the intended ending and was changed due to fan outcry because common sense choices were removed all the way at the end.

    That being said with the comments on the new Ninja Gaiden that Kumail had talked about, maybe an episode in the near future on recent game trilogies. Specifically the third game and how it tries to wrap itself up. Uncharted 3, Modern Warfare 3, Gears of War 3, I guess Assassins Creed: Revelations could be considered the third in the Ezio trilogy, now Mass Effect 3.

    What I’m trying to get at with all of these games with the exception of Call of Duty, were story driven games with the first two games giving focus on narrative, dialogue, investing time in the characters you interact with. By the third in my opinion the focus has shifted entirely from the single player experience to the cooperative and head to head multiplayer experience because that is how companies can get more and more revenue back with map packs, player skins. There’s nothing inherently wrong with that, but more and more resources go towards the multiplayer and the single player becomes more and more generic and unsatisfying.

    That being said I am kind of against ME3 gimmick to have you play multiplayer to impact the single player, it’s still extremely early in the fan outcry and flame wars, but there’s no indication that Bioware wasn’t going to just keep pumping out new maps, player models, weapons to buy anyway without adding anything to the single player in new missions. Alright I think I’ve nerd raged enough, thanks for the book recommendations!

    P.S. Oh also once you initiate Galaxy at War the less you play your galactic readiness slowly starts to go down, unsure about the percentage, but it is considerable. Just thought I’d throw that out there.

  • I think I missed something, was this episode specially focused on books? I couldn’t hear a guest at all, perhaps it was a failure of the recording equipment. I just though you should know that they podcast doesn’t have a guest, which is difficult to understand, because you always have a guest, and you usually talk about video games, instead of books. It was a real mind-bender.

    Also: Books.

  • Actually, doesn’t Ira Glass say something like “Each week on our show we choose a theme, and bring you different kinds of stories on that theme. Today’s ___.” after–like–every Act? So, Kumail, Emily IS like the Ira of this show!

  • @Will E
    “Ready Player One” by Ernest Cline is also in that picture above.

    Another:
    “Reamde” by Neal Stephenson
    –still haven’t listened to the podcast (so maybe they mention it) but its another book with a lot of video game discussion

  • You guys are selling yourself short. You don’t want to be This American Life for video games. Ira Glass is having an argument RIGHT NOW about how he wants his show to be The Indoor Kids for boring sh*t.

  • Where can I find a written list of the books disucssed here? So far I have:
    Neil Stephenson “Snow Crash”
    Tom Bissell “Extra Lives”
    Jane McGonigal “Reality is Broken”
    Jeff Ryan “Super Mario”

    Any others?