GC Podcast #67: Timely Topics

Alex Jedraszczak, Anna Bryniarski, and Michael Gray join forces to discuss recent news in the world of gaming! Assuming "recent" means, "in the last 30 years".

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GameCola Podcast New-Crew Alex Jedraszczak, Anna Bryniarski, and Michael Gray joined forces this month to discuss recent news in the world of gaming! Michael Gray even LIVESTREAMS a playthrough of the 1981 hit game Ulysses and the Golden Fleece! What, is that not recent enough for you? Well, we also talk about Interplay’s 1990 PC classic The Lord of the Rings: Volume 1. Fine, I swear, we talk about the 2DS! That’s at least only a few months old…

Here, I’ll just list all of the topics we discussed:

  • Call of Duty fans are technically casual gamers
  • Anna LIVESTREAMING the #1 Catholic iPhone game of 2010, The Falling Age
  • Toy Story Activity Center
  • Michael Gray doesn’t know Yakko’s Nations of the World
  • Bad puns to memorize state capitals
  • Michael and Jeddy are old
  • LIVESTREAMING The Falling Age! Finally…
  • Will mobile devices replace handheld consoles?
  • Is Miles Edgeworth British?
  • The joys of setting up games for DOS
  • A comical anecdote about old text adventure games
  • LIVESTREAMING Ulysses and the Golden Fleece

That’s right! We play not one but TWO games LIVE on the podcast! That counts as live, right? Oh, fine, just listen to the podcast already.

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About the Contributor

Since 2007

Alex "Jeddy" Jedraszczak is presiding Editor-in-Chief at GameCola, not only editing content but often writing it as well. On top of all this GameCola work, he also develops indie games.


  1. The proof that Edgeworth is British:
    In JFA (I think) Lotta Hart calls Edgeworth a “red coat”. I mean he wears a coat that’s red (I personally think it’s magenta, but whatever), but still, she used it as an insult…kinda.

    1. The voice actor in the new Phoenix Wright game does a British accent for Edgeworth, so I think we can officially confirm this rumor as true.

  2. You seem to have overlooked the fact that parents often watch cartoons with their children. Animaniacs is brilliant for crafting a show that’s perfectly entertaining to little kids and has an entirely separate level of humor for the adults that’s way over the kids’ heads. Try watching Rocko’s Modern Life as an adult after having seen it as a kid; same deal there. All the references and jokes that only the adults would get (or SHOULD get, anyhow) make the show more tolerable, if not downright GOOD, for parents who can’t stand another minute of Barney.

    1. Animaniacs does a better job than most shows, in making jokes that can appeal to adults and children. But I still protest whenever there’s a joke/reference that does NOT make sense unless you’ve seen the original material. The show’s target audience is children, and it is unrealistic to expect them to be well-versed in pop culture. (Especially today, when all Animaniacs’ pop culture references are badly dated.)

      I dunno. Maybe I’m just a crusty old adult, who’s mad because kids shows STILL have references to 1980’s movies that go over my head.

      1. Well, there are really three approaches here:

        (1) Get upset anytime anybody makes a reference that goes over your head, and become jaded against references in general.

        (2) Recognize when somebody’s referencing something you don’t get, and look it up afterward. There are only so many ’80s movies people can reference; eventually you’ll get to know them all.

        (3) Concede that you have no idea what they’re talking about, acknowledge that you might not be the target audience (even if the target audience SEEMS pretty obvious), and enjoy what you’re watching at face value. This is how kids enjoy shows that contain references for adults. Who cares if the last few sentences didn’t make sense? Talking pigeons are funny!

        I get a lot more enjoyment out of my entertainment with a blend of approaches 2 and 3, and I’ve even discovered a few things I’ve really liked and had no idea existed because of looking up what some of these references were all about. Space Quest has done wonders for expanding my sci-fi knowledge. 🙂

        1. In my experience, looking up references is more difficult, when they’re joke references. It’s easy to find what you’re looking for when you search for “Madonna music video”; it’s not so easy to find what you’re looking for when all you have to go on is “music video of woman with funny-looking outfit”.

          I think the ideal is to write jokes which are funny in and of themselves. References should support the humor, not supply it. So when Bugs Bunny dresses up like Cher, it’s funny to everyone because he’s cross-dressing, but it’s extra funny to the people who understand the Cher reference. There’s a world of difference between that a joke whose humor depends solely on foreknowledge of Cher.

          Remember, one of the traditional rules of comedy is “a joke isn’t funny if it has to be explained”. Which is why GameCola includes hyperlinks to obscure references. I think.

          Granted, I only remember being confused by two Animaniacs references, to Siskel and Ebert and to the Who. So they must have done a pretty good job of including jokes which were still funny, even to people who didn’t get the reference. Or they distracted kids from all the Goodfellas references with heavy slapstick. Fighting pigeons are even funnier than talking pigeons!

          1. I agree with a lot of what you’re saying, though I’d point out that it’s easier than ever to look up information about the show itself to see what a particular episode was referencing.

            The aforementioned rule of comedy is a good one, but I think there’s an underlying flaw: in order for a joke to be funny to all audiences without explanation, no assumptions can be made about your audience.

            Idioms and clever wordplay might be lost on people who aren’t native speakers of the joke you’re telling. People from wildly different cultures might not understand what you mean when you joke about certain institutions and social structures that you take for granted. Heck, maybe your pie-to-the-face gag is lost on the person who’s been blind since birth and has never even tasted a pie. Even the most universal humor requires some sort of assumption about the audience for it to be effective.

            I mean, tell an average modern American middle school kid to read one of Shakespeare’s comedies without looking anything up and then ask him/her if he/she thinks Shakespeare is funny.

            The key, I think, is to know your audience well enough to tell jokes they’ll get and recognize what impact a potentially over-their-heads joke might have if it fails to connect. This is similar to what you were saying with the Bugs Bunny example, but it allows for some wiggle room with jokes that really don’t make any sense without the proper context but are worth making anyhow.

            I think of all the Mystery Science Theater 3000 episodes that make extremely obscure pop culture references; they’re either hysterical or completely over your head, but it’s mere seconds until they’re onto the next joke, so it’s OK if you miss them. MST3K works under the assumption that the viewer is also a movie/TV junkie, but there’s usually enough non-referential poking fun at the movie they’re watching to make the show accessible to a broader audience.

            At the end of the day, a joke is only as good as its audience. Pearls before swine, and all that. Appealing to the broadest audience possible is ideal, but sometimes alienating part of the audience is the only way to tell a truly fantastic joke. As long as the humor is relatively consistent in who it alienates or appeals to, then I think the writer is probably doing the right thing for his/her intended audience, even if it falls short of more traditional rules of comedy.

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