This week in Editors’ Picks: Does Awesomenauts have more to do with “awesome” or “not?” It’s here, so you can probably guess! Comedy podcasts? WTF are you talking about?! And are you ready to um like, Adventure over to, uh, Time or something? Screw it. Max likes Adventure Time, OK? Go read about it.
James’ pick: Awesomenauts
If you like MOBAs, the genre of the oft-vaunted DotA, and are looking for a fresh take on said genre, look no further than the PSN and XBLA downloadable Awesomenauts. Translating the sometimes inactive MOBA gameplay to something much more active, and switching the overhead view to a side-scrolling one, Awesomenauts helps make the MOBA genre make a great leap to console play. The matches are quicker than traditional MOBAs, more action-oriented, and significantly reduces the number of playable characters in order to reduce the usually staggering learning curve.
For only $9.99, I highly suggest you give the thing a try, unless you specifically dislike MOBAs, and even then, Awesomenauts’ fresh take on and unique twists applied to the MOBA genre might make you a newly converted fan.
Eric’s pick: WTF Podcast
There is little I fear more than being left alone to stew in the horrid, corrosive acid of my thoughts. That being the case, I like to bombard my ear-holes with other peoples’ mouth-noises at any and all times. Podcasts are good for that, and I’ve collected quite a few, but Marc Maron’s WTF podcast is noteworthy both in quality and quantity. On the twice weekly podcast, Maron conducts funny, insightful, and incredibly personal interviews with all kinds of comedians and comedic actors you know, and some you probably don’t. Regardless of who a given interview is with, each roughly one hour episode is absolutely packed with deep, frank, and often obscene conversation. It’s *$#@&’n great.
If you’re looking for a good place to start, I might suggest the Michael Cera episode, the most recent one with David Cross, or the one where Todd Glass came out of the closet on air. Those, or any with someone you know. If you want to listen to the older ones, you will have to shell out for a premium app or per-episode downloads, but you can get a month of the app for $1.99, and once you get rolling, you’ll burn through old episodes fast. When it comes to the classics, the Louis C.K. two-parter is a must, and the episode with Todd Hanson features a staggeringly dark but totally enthralling discussion of what led Hanson to attempt suicide. Seriously, it’s riveting stuff. And if you don’t wanna pay for old ones, I don’t blame you, but be sure to keep an eye on his guest list; current episodes are always free.
Max’s pick: Adventure Time
I’ve got a lot of animation-nerd friends, so I’ve been aware of Adventure Time since creator Pendleton Ward created his homemade pilot back in 2008. However, I didn’t watch the show at all when it went into production at Cartoon Network in 2010. I didn’t have anything against it, I just didn’t get around to it. The show was brought back to my attention just a few months ago when Cartoon Network sent us a DVD of the series. After the first episode on the disc, the Emmy-award nominated “It Came From the Nightosphere,” I was completely hooked. Within days I bought the entire third season off iTunes. This past week, I impulse bought the second.
What grabbed me about the show is how the animators and writers seem to be going full-tilt on their imagination engines; using bold colors and free-flowing ideas. Characters bounce off each other and deform like rubber; outrageous creatures and situations abound; musical breaks are frequent and surprisingly good. But at the same time, it has a lot of heart. The main characters, Jake the dog and Finn the human, have so much love for each other and their friends, that I never doubt their sincerity. Other characters, especially Marceline the Vampire Queen, add a depth and mythos to the series that is surprising — and intriguing. It doesn’t have a canon, per say, but callbacks to other episodes are like little treats for the careful viewer.
Though I am late coming to the show, I love how it delights in the freedom of animation and the heart of good storytelling. Also, I have started talking like Lumpy Space Princess. Oh my glob you guys.