[PODCAST Episode 310] 'The Flower Collectors' is a Noir 'Rear Window' but With Animals

On this week's Waypoint Radio, Rob and Austin discuss Cloudpunk, a new cyberpunk adventure game with a cool aesthetic and interesting world building but more than a few writing pitfalls. Cado’s now on the XCOM Chimera Squad train, but he’s trying his best to not kill anyone, which is harder than you’d think in a game about cops. Austin is disappointed with the Streets of Rage 4 soundtrack, and it’s having an adverse effect on his time with a game he’s otherwise enjoying. He's also checking out The Flower Collectors, a gritty narrative game about post-Franco Barcelona where everyone is an anthropomorphized animal. You can read an excerpt and listen to the full episode below.


This is a companion discussion topic for the original entry at https://www.vice.com/en_us/article/pke799/the-flower-collectors-rear-window-xcom-chimera-squad-waypoint-radio

It’s Mimic 3: Sentinel in post-Franco Barcelona and everyone is animals.

Okay just have to say that Austin slipping into his gamemaster NPC mode to riff on ‘fabled puzzle doors’ was just a wonderful moment.

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That Colin Spacetwinks peice kicks ass as their work always does, but if you’re shouting out Sonic writing I gotta point folks towards Bobby Schroeders INCREDIBLE summary of her deep dive into Ken Penders’ contributions to the Archie comics:

The twists in this journey are truly jaw dropping, with an absolutely perfect punchline at the end.

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I gotta throw some love behind the OC Rob the Hedgehog, the description of whom almost made me cry. I thought with the lava blood he was just gonna be Shishio the Hedgehog, but wow. Get well soon, Rob. Have fun with those trucks.

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Instead of playing Streets of Rage 4, y’all should play the Streets of Rage game Sega doesn’t want you to play.

Streets of Rage Remake was a fan game that came out in 2011 by a group called Bombergames. It’s a faithful lovingly made game that knows what a remake/remaster to Streets of Rage should be. It doesn’t try to redefine the art style and in fact it’s hard to sometimes figure out what is original and what is new. The soundtrack is a mix of the original and remixes of the classics along with a few new songs.

Notable Features:

  • Engine built from the ground up for the game

  • 93 Stages that are branching. The branching really adds to it IMO because it can happen mid stage so replaying certain stages again and again can have fairly different outcomes. It’s interesting in that it tries to thread locations from the 3 games together.

  • 19 playable characters (first 3 games + some enemies)

  • 64 different enemies

  • Split Screen

  • Battle, Survival, Boss Rush, Challenges, and Volleyball modes

  • A shop where you can unlock cheats, a color editor, etc

  • It comes with an editor so you can create your own stages/campaigns along with cut scenes

  • It’s pretty hard

Game got taken down shortly after release by Sega and I was always disappointed Sega didn’t just have that group make them a new Streets of Rage.

The sound track is a mix of original songs remixed and some new ones and it slaps hard

Gameplay vid:

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Per the post-pod, I just want to say that the Archie Sonic comics are absolutely wild and had some great weird Sonic/fantasy story lines. Really cool example of some creators being given what appeared to be free reign to do what they wanted with an IP.

Edit: NY Mag has a good piece from earlier this year about the comics.

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Cado and Austin, talking about Game Music, and Cado said something along the lines of “I don’t see how people can listen to podcasts or other music while playing a game.” Anyone else do this? I almost always play games with the sound off. If I’m on my PS4, it’s while my gf is sleeping so ill put on a pod and headphones. If I’m on my Switch, we’re watching TV so I don’t want the sounds to overlap. If I’m on my PC, I will often put on other music or podcasts while I play games. There’s a few exceptions, like Outer Wilds, which brought me to tears in the opening menu. Otherwise…not much game music for me.

I try to listen to the native game audio unless say, its Giant Bomb E3 or End of Year coverage and I need to listen to like 9 hours of podcasting every day. Then I’ll play like Link to the Past again or a game that is generally a bit dull at times (Death Stranding) and use it for busy work while listening.

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Depends on the game. Tactics/strategy/puzzle or something mindless like say Warframe? Podcast or music. If I’m playing something story heavy, nah.

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I used to do this a lot more back in the day. As a teen, I had a TV in the bedroom where my computer was, and that would pretty much always be on the Discovery or History Channel or whatever. (Mind you, this was in the 90s when THC was still known as “The Hitler Channel” for showing constant WWII documentaries instead of being all about bigfoot hunting and ancient aliens or whatever they’re up to now.)

Now, though? I pretty much focus on whatever game I’m playing with nothing on in the background as a distraction. Sometimes I’ll play with a podcast going, but rarely. I think the year or two I spent playing LoL is what broke me of the habit.

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“The Flower Collectors” reminded me of another furry noir mystery, namely the ‘Blacksad’ comic series by Juan Díaz Canales and Juanjo Guarnido. In fact, this series got an adventure game adaptation recently, which was unfortunately mediocre (per the reviews, anyway. I have yet to play it, though I want to.)

I am now inspired to go back and re-read Blacksad, as it’s been a few years. I highly recommend it to anyone looking for “furries solving mysteries” Content. Though, fair warning it does contain a fair share of sex and violence, as well as exploring some pretty serious stuff like familial abuse and racism.

My first time reading blacksad I just stopped and laughed out loud because I’d picked it up because of a recommendation from like some npr list of the best comics or whatever, just this extremely middlebrow, milquetoast-type article and then the opening page was a leopard woman stripping, tits completely out, full page spread. Truly this is a furry’s world now.

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I have a couple of “podcast games” in the rotation. Overwatch and XCOM 2 are the staples. Animal Crossing was an excellent podcast game a few weeks ago when I was playing it for 4 hours a day. All the Pokemon games are excellent for podcasts as well. And if I’m replaying a game that I know well or in sections where I’m not really focused on the audio, I’ll usually put on a podcast for it. But if it’s something more story-driven or where the audio is a really integral part of the experience, no podcasts. As it stands, I’m a little afraid that I’m training my brain to be too hungry for multitasking, because my ability to focus down on one thing has definitely waned over the past couple of years.

In other news, that Rear Window++ game sounds like entirely my shit, and I will be getting on that —checks Backloggd, sees 79 games currently waiting to be played— soon. Definitely soon.