S2E11 - The Witcher 3: Wild Hunt

Yennefer or Triss? Emperor or Witcher? This game gave us a lot to debate!

Episode Notes

We tackle another behemoth of a game this week with The Witcher 3! We walk you through the story beats of the main quest, summarize some of the bigger side quests, and analyze what the game has to say about fatherhood, political action, and interdimensional factionalism. We also talk about the unique challenges this game tackles in setting an open world RPG in the world of a licensed property.

Check back each week for a new discussion of a video game story! As always, catch us on Instagram and Twitter at @playervsplot, send your questions and comments to [email protected], and check out our website, http://playervsplot.com!

Time Stamps

  • 0:00:00: What's The Witcher franchise all about?
  • 0:18:15: Important characters to know
  • 0:27:45: The inciting incident
  • 0:39:35 Events in Velen
  • 0:57:40 Events in Novigrad
  • 1:09:35 Events in Skellige
  • 1:20:00 Locating Ciri, Kaer Morhen
  • 1:50:40 Final Quests
  • 2:09:40 Finale and the Endings

S2E10 - Frame Narratives in Video Games

Stories within stories: a game technique more common than you may think!

Think of today's episode as a story within a story - because we're doing framing narratives! We discuss games that have you playing out a story being told in-universe like Prince of Persia: the Sands of Time, Dragon Age 2, Final Fantasy X, and more. It's a classic narrative technique, but how does it fare in the realm of video games? Tune in to find out!

Check back each week for a new discussion of a video game story! As always, catch us on Instagram and Twitter at @playervsplot, send your questions and comments to [email protected], and check out our website, http://playervsplot.com!

S2E9 - Metal Gear Solid

Can love bloom on the battlefield? Is the Colt Single Action Army really the greatest handgun ever made?

Episode Notes

This week's episode is a doozy. We tackle the hotly requested Metal Gear Solid! We summarize the major story beats and discuss its meta elements, our treatment of soldiers, and whether your genes really determine your future. This is a long one and a bit on the goofy side so sit back, suppress your stomach acids, turn on your stealth camouflage, put away your Murakami novel and get in your box while we walk you through one of the weirdest game stories we've tackled yet!

Check back each week for a new discussion of a video game story! As always, catch us on Instagram and Twitter at @playervsplot, send your questions and comments to [email protected]ail.com, and check out our website, http://playervsplot.com!

Time Stamps

  • 0:00 Our relationship with the game and Kojima
  • 19:45  What you need to know from Metal Gear 1 and 2 
  • 38:12  MGS1's mission briefing
  • 44:15  Introducing the support staff
  • 53:25  Infiltrating Shadow Moses and finding the hostages
  • 01:17:20 Nuclear weapons storage Building
  • 01:52:50 The finale
  • 2:11:00 How the game discusses genetics, autonomy and heritage
  • 2:27:50 Further reading

S2E8 - Shadow of the Colossus

This game's reputation is as enormous as its enemies! How does its plot hold up in 2020?

This week on Player Vs Plot we tackle a game that may seem to have a small plot but in the end is full of colossal themes to unpack. That's right, we're discussing Shadow of the Colossus! Join us as we talk about how this game connects with others games, the myths it taps into, and the overarching messages it sets out to convey.

Check back each week for a new discussion of a video game story! Catch us on Instagram and Twitter @playervsplot, send your questions and comments to [email protected], and check out our website at http://playervsplot.com!

Time Stamps

  • 00:00:00 Introduction, what kind of "art" games existed in the mainstream at the time?
  • 00:22:28 The premise and basic plot
  • 00:52:00 Are the Colossi sapient?
  • 00:58:20 The climax
  • 01:17:00 Dormin and the ending
  • 01:25:00 Analyzing the ending
  • 01:44:25 Fan theories and the last secret
  • 01:59:15 Listener questions

S2E7 - Street Fighter II

Fighting games have been telling good stories for decades! We tackle the template for the modern fighting game.

This week, Player vs Plot covers an unusual source of compelling video game storytelling: fighting games! How does a competitive arcade game tell a story when the player experience is always different? How does a match between two players fit into the game's "canon" plot? And how much storytelling can you get in with just animation, endings and win quotes, anyway? We tackle all of these questions using Street Fighter II as a case study!

Check back each week for a new discussion of a video game story! As always, catch us on Instagram and Twitter at @playervsplot, send your questions and comments to [email protected], and check out our website, http://playervsplot.com!

Time Stamps

  • 0:00:00 Our relationships with the arcade
  • 0:17:00 Fighting games before Street Fighter
  • 0:21:00 Plot of the original Street Fighter, what is a Street Fighter?
  • 0:38:25 Street Fighter II, context of release
  • 0:44:00 Sources of canon in Street Fighter
  • 0:46:12 The player's narrative in Street Fighter II
  • 1:22:22 Chun Li
  • 1:40:00 Guile
  • 1:45:10 Blanka
  • 1:46:32 Zangief
  • 1:48:24 Honda
  • 1:48:55 Dhalsim 
  • 1:54:30 Ken 
  • 1:57:55 Ryu

S2E6 - Animal Crossing: New Horizons

We unpack the narratives of home decorating, mortgages, museum curation and talking to your neighbors!

This week we tackle the Animal Crossing series, with a particular focus on its latest entry: New Horizons. We discuss its peculiar "communication" genre label and try to pin down what common stories will emerge from the game's many activities. We also discuss the movie adaptation and some popular fan theories!

If you're an Animal Crossing fan or just wondering what story we could possibly be pulling from this series, this episode is for you!

Check back each week for a new discussion of a video game story! Catch us on Instagram and Twitter @playervsplot, send your questions and comments to [email protected], and check out our website at http://playervsplot.com !

Time Stamps

  • 00:00:00: Intro, release history of the series
  • 00:12:30: Main concept of Animal Crossing, discussing the "communication" genre
  • 00:25:30: What's the player character supposed to be?
  • 00:34:45: Animal villagers, their role in the game, and their personality types
  • 01:23:00: Exploring common narrative threads in an Animal Crossing experience
  • 01:32:45: The Animal Crossing movie adaptation
  • 01:47:15: Development of the original Animal Crossing
  • 01:52:50: Fan theories
  • 02:09:00: Further Reading

S2E5 - Power Progression Mechanics in Video Game Narratives

What does it even mean to level up, and why do we love it so?

Episode Notes

This week we chat about the many ways in which video games make the player character stronger over time. What forms can it take, what does it accomplish for a story, and what kind of new challenges and solutions has this narrative technique brought to the medium? We discuss all this and more!

Check back each week for a new discussion of a video game story! As always, catch us on Instagram and Twitter @playervsplot, send your questions and comments to [email protected], and check out our website at http://playervsplot.com !

Time Stamps

  • 00:01:45 What is power progression?
  • 00:07:20 Why do we like it so much? What do we get out of it?
  • 00:14:00 The dark side of power progression
  • 00:18:10 Power progression in sequels
  • 00:23:00 How experience points and currency tell a story
  • 00:31:00 Prescriptive vs Descriptive power progression mechanics
  • 00:33:30 Losing progression to serve design
  • 00:37:00 Has power progression become less part of the narrative voice of games?
  • 00:53:00 What kinds of narratives are best served by progression mechanics?
  • 01:12:38 "Increment games" (Progress Quest/Cookie Clicker) and their implications
  • 01:30:00 Summary and wrap-up

S2E4 - BONUS: Interview with Sauna 2000 creator Amos Sorri

We chat with Amos Sorri about his entry on the Haunted PlayStation 1 Demo Disc and the future of Sauna 2000!

Episode Notes

Amos Sorri joins us this week to discuss his new horror-comedy game Sauna 2000, which is nearing the end of its Kickstarter campaign! We talk about the importance of saunas to Finnish culture, how comedy and horror are more similar than you might think, and many more topics in this interview special!

Check out the Kickstarter! https://www.kickstarter.com/projects/madpuppeteer/sauna-2000-sauna-simulator-with-retro-aesthetic

Check back each week for a new discussion of a video game story! As always, catch us on Instagram and Twitter @playervsplot, send your questions and comments to [email protected], and check out our website at http://playervsplot.com !

S2E3 - Lightning Round: Rogue, Binding of Isaac, and Slay the Spire!

This week, Player Vs. Plot takes on another lightning round. That's right, it's three games packed into one episode! In this episode, we focus on the namesake of the genre: Rogue. Then, we share two of our favorite modern installments in the genre: The Binding of Isaac and Slay the Spire. We take a look at what tropes of the genre are present across all three games and how each game uses the roguelike elements to tell a unique story.

Check back each week for a new discussion of a video game story! As always, catch us on Instagram and Twitter @playervsplot, send your questions and comments to [email protected], and check out our website at http://playervsplot.com !

Time Stamps

  • 2:24 - Rogue
  • 36:00 - Binding of Isaac
  • 1:17:56 - Slay the Spire

S2E2 - The Last of Us

As usual, the undead are the least of your problems in this post-apocalyptic zombie game

Time Stamps

  • 00:00:00 - 00:30:30 Brief overview of the zombie genre
  • 00:30:30 - 00:48:00 Prologue
  • 00:48:00 - 01:25:25 Summer
  • 01:25:25 - 01:58:15 Fall and Winter
  • 01:58:15 - 02:25:15 Spring and Ending
  • 02:25:15 - 02:45:30 Discussion of Joel and Ellie

Show Notes

Join Player vs Plot for a recap of The Last of Us Part 1 before jumping into the sequel! As we summarize every story beat, we discuss the implications of participation in video game violence and different perspectives on morality in a post-apocalyptic world.

Check back each week for a new discussion of a video game story! As always, catch us on Instagram and Twitter at @playervsplot, send your questions and comments to [email protected], and check out our website,

  1. http://playervsplot.com!