Scotch N' Games
Scotch N' Games is a podcast about scotch and video games. Hosted by Graham Barr and Will Orford.

Things get Christmas-y as Graham and Will review what is probably the most depressing game of the year, This War of Mine. But seriously, this is a great game and both of your hosts have a great chat about it. We also proudly announce the winner of our contest! 

Direct download: The_Singleton__This_War_of_Mine.m4a
Category:Video Games -- posted at: 9:38pm EDT

Will and Graham finally beat the Vault of Glass in Destiny in an attempt to stop playing the game for good since it has become all they do. And later, school is in! SNGAVGD, or, the Scotch N' Games Academy of/for Video Game Design has its first class and you are all enrolled. Pour a dram and open your notebooks for episode 25! 


Direct download: Glenmorangie___Vault_of_Scotch_Glass.m4a
Category:Video Games -- posted at: 10:42pm EDT

The video game world converged in a convention centre over two days in November to celebrate all things Blizzard. Blizzcon 2014 was the hugest yet, with 26,000 attendees, $750,000 in prize money awarded, and this year had one special, shall we say, distinguished, gentleman in attendance. That's right folks, our own Will Orford was on the scene in Anaheim and we devote our entire 24th episode to the pursuit of his Blizzcon adventures. WOW, Starcraft II, Hearthstone, Overwatch! It's all here in glorious sound! Joining us this episode is the Dun Bheagan, a very peaty but delightfully delivered single malt.  

Direct download: Dun_Bheagan___Blizzcon.m4a
Category:Video Games -- posted at: 10:06pm EDT

Overwatch is the newest creation to come out of Blizzard’s laboratory. It is the first exploration of a new universe in 17 years for the company, and in a very new genre for them. Blizzard has proven that they can move from genre to genre making quality games, so many fans are excited to see what they do with this new Hero-Based Multiplayer FPS.

Overwatch can be seen as a mix of Team Fortress 2 style gameplay and MOBA-based hero selection. Instead of having particular classes (ie: Medic, Scout, Sniper etc) Overwatch aims to add more personality to the game through heroes with fuller backstories. Blizzard announced that they will not be including the lore in the actual game, but will be exploring other avenues and mediums to flesh out the game’s story and characters. With its distinctive art style, Pixar-like opening cinematic, and all-age appeal, many people are considering a webseries, comic, toys, or even tv/movie to be the mediums of choice. One quote from a Blizzcon attendee was, “Remember, it’s not just Blizzard, but Blizzard Entertainment.” Speculators think that Blizzard is ramping up to become a challenger to other companies like Marvel in the entertainment industry - spreading out from games into movies and comics. The recently teased Warcraft movie could support this idea.

At the opening ceremony, and during the Overwatch panel, many of the games defining features were explained. The game will focus on 6v6 team objective maps, players will be able to change characters any time they die in a match, characters will play specific roles - rewarding strategic play and not twitch-based lethality.

The decision on team-size seemed to weigh heavily on the Overwatch devs. They had explored larger teams, and smaller teams, before deciding on the number six. In larger teams, they found that one player was fairly ineffective, leading to a game where one could not necessarily affect the outcome. In smaller teams, it felt like too much weighed on the individual player - if you were having an off-day, it basically meant that your team would lose. With six people, if one or two people aren’t performing at 100% it doesn’t necessarily weigh the team down. Conversely, one or two people on a larger team may not matter enough - hence the decision to stick to six on either side.

Blizzard also made the decision to have objective-based maps rather than team deathmatch. In fact, there will not be a deathmatch mode in the game at all. The Overwatch team explained that they wanted people to be able to play the roles they prefer playing, rather than reward lethality. This should give them more design space as well, now that not every character needs to be balanced for team-fighting. They have heroes that can buff your team, debuff the enemy team, create teleporters or turrets, heal and revive, many roles that will be played far from the firefight. When playing Overwatch, it really did feel like some of the characters had no business entering a firefight.

Another interesting factor to the gameplay side of things was the ability to switch characters during the match. Any time you died in game, you could select a new character. Blizzard included a few evolving objective maps where changing characters to fit each new situation seems like a great tactical addition. The Overwatch team gave an example of their evolving objective map. In the first half of the map, you have a typical attack/defend scenario where the attacking team must reach a checkpoint and capture it, at which point a payload is revealed and the attacking team must escort the payload through the second half of the map. Pretty neat way to shake things up during the match.

Overall the presentation on Overwatch was very cool, and we did get some time with the game during the convention. With that in mind, we can explore a few of the different points in relation to how they actually feel during a match.

Regarding team size -- six did feel like the right number, however many of the maps we played on were actually fairly small. This forced a lot of teamfights, and the two tank heroes seemed to really excel in these situations. At one point the enemy team all switched to the same tank character, and steamrolled our intrepid heroes. Blizzard may have to adjust how many people can play as the same character at once in order to balance this. In one of the featured maps, there was only one choke point, which made defending it incredibly easy with the turret building hero. These issues will most likely be addressed by the players’ skill and knowledge of the maps, however they’re still something to consider.

Many of the characters felt very underpowered. This could be Blizzard attempting to bring the focus toward the tactical gameplay rather than the player versus player fighting. However, there are still many characters who can initiate fights, and they can easily one or two-shot some of the non-fighting classes. This led to the majority of new players choosing the more combat oriented heroes. Possibly with more practice the tactical classes will gain more popularity, but for the uninitiated, combat was the way to go.

There were twelve playable heroes at Blizzcon, and each felt very different. The major differences among them all were mobility, deadliness, and their abilities. Each class has a distinct weapon, two main abilities, and an ultimate. Every hero’s abilities varied incredibly with some being able to teleport, create turrets, heal others, increase teammates’ damage, and create damage absorbing shields. This made for some very chaotic games and gameplay situations which lends itself well to the wacky nature of the game.

It will be exciting to see how Overwatch develops and addresses some of the issues already raised. It’s a foray into a genre that Blizzard is unfamiliar with, however they’ve been expanding their catalogue into new games over the last few years and each one seems to be a success. It is certainly a breath of fresh air into the genre as the last major release in hero/class-based multiplayer FPS was Team Fortress 2 seven years ago. We’ll see how Overwatch affects that player base, and if it garners as much fanfare and attention as TF2 has.

Category:Video Games -- posted at: 12:30pm EDT

OOOOooooOOO! It's the spookyist Scotch N' Games yet! Not content to simply let the most hallowed of eves pass us by like a couple of drunk nerds, we get down and dirty with some our past favourite scary games like Silent Hill and Resident Evil. Well, mostly Graham. Will is too scared. Later on we get in depth with Alien: Isolation. This episode's scotch, the Glenkinchie, is brought to you by scotch. Scotch! It's good. 

Direct download: Glenkinchie___Spooky_Games.m4a
Category:Video Games -- posted at: 10:49pm EDT

Have you ever wondered if you are doomed to simply repeat the past indefinitely? Well, the distinguished gentlemen of Scotch N' Games return with a classic attempt at remaining coherent through drinking. We re-up on the Tomatin 12 year and jam on our recent Destiny exploits, God of War Ascension and Wasteland 2. Hilarity ensues. 

Direct download: Re-Tomatining___Time_is_a_Flat_Circle.m4a
Category:Video Games -- posted at: 8:50am EDT

The distinguished gentlemen of Scotch N' Games get right down with it with our own version of the Pepsi Challenge, this time with scotch! We put our hopefully experienced palettes to the test with four returning champions, Auchentashen, Tomatin, Glenrothes and Glen Garioch and see if we can pinpoint the tasting notes in a blind taste test! Then, after 20 years, a seminal game of great importance gets the Scotch N' Games treatment; and that game is Warcraft 2. Take a trip down memory lane in our very special 21st episode! Work complete! 

Direct download: Pepsi_Challenge___Warcraft_2.m4a
Category:Video Games -- posted at: 8:43am EDT

With the release of Destiny, the distinguished gentlemen of scotch games dropped everything to play as much of the game as humanly possible in a week. We update our opinions and thinkings on Destiny from our previous episode on the beta. We are accompanied this episode by the Deanston, a 46.5% scotch that'll surely whet your whistle. Enjoy episode 20 folks! 

Direct download: Deanston___A_dram_of_Destiny.m4a
Category:Video Games -- posted at: 8:29am EDT

In a way, podcasts are like time machines. We record in the past and you listen in the present! Trippy. This classic SnG episodes opens with a scotch tasting of a 12 year old Glenfiddich, a quick retrospective on FTL and a review of the desert golfing game, Desert Golfing! Later in the episode, we feature the newly released Super Time Force. And inspired by Super Time Force's epic time travelling gameplay, we then reminisce on other games that feature time travel as a central mechanic! 

Direct download: Glenfiddch_12_yr___Time_Travel.m4a
Category:Video Games -- posted at: 12:01am EDT

The distinguished gentlemen of Scotch N' Games bravely played some bad games and then embued ourselves with some bad scotch in an episode we are bravely calling: Bad. Get ready for some hilarity as we drink the Cutty Sark, a blend that produces some interesting effects on the human body, and talk about some recent poor attempts at interactive software: Ride to Hell Retribution, Air Conflicts: Vietnam and our feature game, Aliens: Colonial Marines - a game that is, at its very best, incomplete. Enjoy! 

Direct download: Cutty_Sark___The_Bad_Episode_1.m4a
Category:Video Games -- posted at: 5:50pm EDT

The Destiny Beta enchanted both Will and Graham so much they devoted most of the episode 17 to it's deep discussion! Make sure to stay tuned to the end of the show for a interview with Bluish Green Productions, a Toronto game developer with a kickstarter for their upcoming game, "Robo's World: The Zarnok Fortress"! Grab a wee dram and enjoy the episode, folks! 

Direct download: Writers_Tears___Destiny.m4a
Category:Video Games -- posted at: 10:23pm EDT

After beating around the bush for a few episodes, Graham and Will finally sit down for a true Scotch N' Games breakdown of Irrational Games' Bioshock series. We hope Ken Levine listens to this one! We are joined this episode by the Glenrothes, a very light 12 year old single malt that is deceptively tasty. Grab a seat and enjoy our sweet, sweet sixteenth episode. 

Direct download: The_Glenrothes___Bioshock_Breakdown_1.m4a
Category:Video Games -- posted at: 10:59pm EDT

Now that the dust is well and settled on E3 2014, Will and Graham dissect the multitude of teaser trailers, tech demos and lofty promises that the convention always delivers - hilarity ensues. Scotch-wise, we re-visit the Aberfeldy 12 year to see if our pallettes have improved from Episode 2. We also jam on the certifiably classic Bioshock and the completely bonkers The Stanley Parable. Pour a wee dram for this one folks, it's a good one! 

Direct download: Aberfeldy_Redux___E3_Lag.m4a
Category:Video Games -- posted at: 10:04pm EDT

Will makes his triumphant return in an episode we're calling 14! Your humbled co-hosts enjoy a dram or two (or three) of Auchentoshan, a 12 year scotch not for the feint of heart. Episode 14 demonstrates what happens when you get two nerds in a room.. they talk about video games! Megaman X, Risk of Rain, Dark Souls, Watch Dogs, Wolfenstein, Bastion, Transistor... this episode is chalk full of it folks. Enjoy! 

Direct download: Auchentoshan___Risk_of_Rain___Wolfenstein.m4a
Category:Video Games -- posted at: 12:18am EDT

Graham is all by himself this week while Will galavants south of the border! Graham welcomes some old friends, family, co-workers and scientists on the show to talk all we really ever want to talk about, scotch and games!

Direct download: 10_year_Malts___The_Call_in_Show.m4a
Category:Video Games -- posted at: 12:23am EDT

The dozenth episode brings you the Cardhu, a fruity, mild but still rather good 12 year single malt. This episode features the results of our “We don’t want to play that game very much” challenge! Will and Graham then get down to the nitty gritty of modern 2D platformers and, like the warm embrace of a wee dram, revel in the brilliance of Guacamelee, Braid, Super Meat Boy, Cave Story and even more! Hilarity ensues. Music: Melimontant by Latche Swing, Evidence Song by the Good Lawdz.

Direct download: Cardhu___The_Challenge___2D_Platformers.m4a
Category:Video Games -- posted at: 12:11am EDT

Scotch N' Games returns with more scotch and games! This episode features a 12 year old Speyside single malt which leads both Will and Graham to make an unexpected scotch-discovery. Game discussion abounds with the newly released expansion for FTL, the mind bending yet super pleasant Monument Valley and an extended discussion on the surprisingly cerebral third person shooter, Spec Ops: The Line. 

Direct download: Macallan_Gold___Spec_Ops.m4a
Category:Video Games -- posted at: 12:52am EDT

In celebration of the release of Metal Gear Solid: Ground Zeroes, Will and Graham bring you a hilarious breakdown of the history of the MGS series. Before that though, we jam on the Oculus purchase and the Threes/2048 controversy. Featured scotch is Tomatin, a 12 year single malt. Music: A Something Something and Evidence Song, both by: The Good Lawdz.

Direct download: Tomatin___Metal_Gear_.m4a
Category:Video Games -- posted at: 8:30am EDT

Will and Graham are joined by Aldis Sipolins, a graduate student focussing on using video games to train the brain to get smarter. Also, the SNG team talk about Will’s TitanFall launch party adventure and laugh about South Park: The Stick of Truth.



Orbiting a Distant Planet by Quantum Jazz

Chuuch by The Good Lawds

All About the Sun by Quantum Jazz

Direct download: Te_Bheag_TitanFall.m4a
Category:Video Games -- posted at: 11:38pm EDT

Your humble co-hosts take to the streets and drink a scotch flight and check out a Fancy Video Game Party. We then jam on Brothers, Hearthstone and Threes! Will also hoards The Last of Us. 

Direct download: The_Flight-Hearthstone.m4a
Category:Video Games -- posted at: 12:22am EDT

In this special Valentine’s Day edition of Scotch N’ Games, Will gives Graham a Valentine, Graham rambles about Jazzpunk and we tell people to leave Flappy Bird alone. We also wax poetic about the politics of DLC. 


Music (used under Creative Commons): 

Django Reinhardt: Charleston (1937) 

Django Reinhardt: Body and Soul (1937) 

Django Reinhardt: Baby Won’t You Please Come Home (1937)

Direct download: Glen_Garioch___Flappy_Bird.m4a
Category:Video Games -- posted at: 12:06am EDT

Scotch and games go great together. This episode marries the brilliant game, The Banner Saga with the rather passable McClelland Speyside single malt. Listen as both Will and Graham settle in for a saga of their own in the sixth episode of what iTunes is calling... New and Noteworthy.

Direct download: McClellands___The_Banner_Saga_2.m4a
Category:Video Games -- posted at: 8:53pm EDT

This episode is a battle! We drink 3 different Bowmore scotches and break down a Humble Bundle. We also give a shout out to Awesome Games Done Quick and preview a few games we are excited about.

Direct download: Scotch_N_Games_5_-_Bowmore_2_Humble_Bundle.m4a
Category:Video Games -- posted at: 2:35pm EDT

A modern classic, Will and Graham get serious with a bottle of Laphroaig. We talk Will’s newfound FTL obsession and, inspired by Doom’s 20th birthday, breakdown a hilariously simplified version of FPS history through the games that affected us most. Will also calls Newman from Seinfeld Nelson, and Graham invents a new gun in Halo called the BMR.

Direct download: Scotch_N_Games_4_-_Laphroaig___DOOM.m4a
Category:Video Games -- posted at: 2:22pm EDT


Making it a charm, Will and Graham relax with a 12 year Glenlivet in the third, yet very special “questions we made up” episode. Graham gets confused about narrative dissonance and forgets to reference Tom Bissel. Will decides to answer every question twice. 

Direct download: Scotch_N_Games_3_-_The_Glenlivet.m4a
Category:Video Games -- posted at: 10:08pm EDT