For your Let’s Plays, you don’t have to settle for hipsters who are no good at the game cutting wise for an hour. Or some cynical YouTube personality with an accent and an absurd pseudonym. Because Double Fine has launched a new series called Devs Play, which features someone good at a game sitting down to play with someone with unique insight into the game. In the first episode, Double Fine brand manager Greg Rice sits down with Westwood co-founder Louis Castle to play through the godawful infernally difficult 1994 Lion King game for the Genesis. It’s like director’s commentary for a movie, with an informed movie critic and the movie’s director!
Stick around for a cameo shortly before the one-hour mark. “My god, this looks hard,” he offers from his back seat. Indeed. Among the many things I learned from this excellent episode is that The Lion King is way outside the threshold of what I’ll tolerate in a game these days. 1994 was a long time ago. As Greg Rice notes, “It was a period when you’d buy one game and play it all summer and figure it out.”
The series continues with five more episodes to be posted weekly.
Check out the schedule after the jump.
The Lion King – Featuring Greg Rice with guest Louis Castle
Double Fine’s Greg Rice is joined by Louis Castle, co-founder of Westwood Studios, for a full play-through of the classic platformer The Lion King. Louis tells the story of how, with a small team and a tight schedule, Westwood developed the spiritual successor to the classic Aladdin at a time when action platformers were still king and the Disney Renaissance was in full swing.
Earthbound (The Mother Trilogy) – Featuring Ben Burbank
Programmer on Costume Quest 2 and Mother superfan Ben Burbank shows off selected scenes from the entire trilogy and explains the complicated history of this beloved cult series. Featuring a mix of Japanese and English releases, fan translations, and imported hardware, Ben takes us on a journey through the bizarre cultural mashups and heartfelt story that define Mother.
Gauntlet DS – Featuring Anthony Vaughn and Geoff Soulis with guest Mike Mika
Massive Chalice producer Anthony Vaughn and artist Geoff Soulis take a trip to the legendary game dungeon of Backbone Entertainment head Mike Mika to play the unreleased Gauntlet DS. The plug was pulled on Gauntlet DS shortly before its release after unfortunate events caused the title to be bumped from one publisher to another. In true Gauntlet fashion, Mike, Anthony, and Geoff tackle the campaign in multiplayer wireless before jumping in to some local deathmatch action.
The Legend of Zelda – Featuring Brandon Dillon and Matt Hansen
Hack N Slash creator Brandon Dillon and producer Matt Hansen get to the roots of Brandon’s inspiration by cracking open the NES classic The Legend of Zelda, literally. After taking apart the cartridge, de-soldering and dumping the rom, and booting the game up in an emulator, Brandon sets about altering the running memory of the game to cheat his way through and unlock some unexpected secrets about how the game was developed.
Doom – Featuring JP LeBreton with guest John Romero
Doom history enthusiast and Spacebase creator JP LeBreton joins id Software co-founder John Romero as the two play though the first episode of Doom, “Knee Deep in the Dead,” in its entirety. John Romero’s run through each level turns up fresh and encyclopedic insight into how this genre-defining title was designed and set the stage for first-person action games for years to come.
Psychonauts – Featuring the original development team with guest Stephen Kiazyk
This very special episode features many of the original members of the Psychonauts development team watching in frustration and amazement as speed runner Stephen Kiazyk blows through the entire game faster than they thought possible. The creator of many popular techniques used for running Psychonauts, Stephen takes the team through many of his tricks step by step, explaining what he’s doing while receiving insight from the team as to how the glitches are possible in the first place. Perhaps most upsetting to Tim Schafer, much of the dialogue is skipped.