Men in Gorilla Suits
Men in Gorilla Suits Ep. 65: Last Seen…Playing Video Games

If Christopher had his way, this episode would have been called "ALL HAIL GOAT SIMULATOR!!!" But that would be a bit limited in scope -- especially when the world of video games practically knows no bounds.

We live in a time when many who complain about how much time their children play Call of Duty spend just as much time on their phones playing Candy Crush and other mobile games. Lines have been blurred from the days of the Atari 2600 and arcades full of cigarette smoke and stand-up cabinet games. Today, almost everybody in America plays digital games of some sort.

We start out in the 70s and 80s, discussing the first video games we remember seeing...and asking if they were actually the first game we ever played. Then it's a hop to the future, asking what the last game we've played is. (Hint for Christopher's last game played: "BAAAAAAAAAAA!!!!")

Video games have come a long way, crushing movie box office totals and pushing well beyond what we could imagine in their infancy. We dedicate some time to discussing whether or not video games can be art.

Since we both write, we take a side road into the writing of video games, which is often secondary...but have some games hit on great writing? What's the future of writing in games? In this section we talk about:

  • The influence of video games on our writing.
  • If video games can even be as interactive (or more interactive) than a novel, evoking the same experience one gets from reading a great work of fiction.
  • Our general feelings about writing in video games.

Putting writing aside, video games get a bad rap for being the same old things. Is there truth to that, or are there original games? After that, we talk about how mobile devices have changed the way we look at video games.

Many people view video games as frantic, loud things, but...can they be a meditative experience? We also devote some time to these questions:

  • How have video games linked us socially?
  • Is there a place for video games in education?

We close this episode out listing some of our all-time favorite video games and discussing what we think the future of video games looks like.

So grab a handful of quarters and listen. If you're so inclined, share some of your thoughts about video games in the comments.

Direct download: migs65.mp3
Category:Pop Culture -- posted at: 9:48am EST

Men in Gorilla Suits Ep. 64: Last Seen…Being Violent

There's never been a more violent time to be alive than RIGHT NOW!!! Watch the news and it's clear: we are a doomed species, and it's all because we are violent. Never have we seen such horrible acts of crime and cruelty. Only...that is not at all true.

The truth is, we do live with violence in society, but just how bad is it? That's our topic this week.

We begin with the and you can easily believe "OMG, VIOLENCE IN AMERICA IS OUT OF CONTROL! I'M MORE LIKELY THAN EVER TO BE A VICTIM OF VIOLENT CRIME!!!" We discuss whether or not that's true. It is true that violence in America does exist, and that we have a reputation for being very violent. But are we any more violent than England, Greece, or really anywhere in Europe?

After that, we move on to ourselves, discussing whether or not we are, or have ever been, violent individuals. Find out where we stand on violence in media (television, movies, video games, and music). Can these things influence violence in society? Then we move on to this question: "What do you think causes someone to be a violent person or to commit a violent crime?" (Does one necessarily have to be a violent person to commit a violent crime?)

There's no denying that some people have a certain obsession with violence, whether it's being violent themselves, or attracted to violent things. We ask each other why we think that is before talking about the first violent thing we remember seeing.

The stories of some lives are told in scars -- we can both point to scars on our bodies as reminders that we were once young and stupid and willing to try things we knew would most likely fail. But do we carry any scars obtained through violence? Find out! Also find out, on a scale of one to ten, how much we fear violence being committed on us or on someone we love.

One cannot deny America's obsession with guns. Does gun ownership or a lack of gun control contribute to violence? Also, will humans ever grow out of being a violent species (or are we even a violent species now)?

We close out the show with two questions about violence:

  • Is violence a necessary evil?
  • Is violence necessary at all?

We'd love to hear your thoughts about this episode and your feelings about violence. As always, feel free to comment!

Direct download: migs64.mp3
Category:Pop Culture -- posted at: 11:54am EST

Men in Gorilla Suits Ep. 63: Last Seen...Working

There's a good chance you're listening to this podcast at work...or on your way to or from work. If you saw any social media posts about this episode, you probably saw them during work hours, on breaks from tasks at hand. Most of us work a lot; it's something we've talked about on Men in Gorilla Suits quite a bit in passing, but we've never dedicated an entire episode to working. That changes today...

We kick it all off by talking about the first job we ever had, and then we roll into the best job we've ever had. Of course, if we talk about the best job we've ever had, we really should talk about the worst job -- and we do!

If you've watched the teaser for this week's show, you know that at least Christopher has had a lot of different jobs. Shawn is no different. Neither of us are strangers to manual labor. We devote a little time to discussing what we've brought from construction and warehouse jobs over to our office gigs. After that, we share some good job interview stories.

A good manager or shop foreman can make even a not-so-great job better. We talk about what makes a good manager and whether or not we've ever worked for people fitting our descriptions of a good leader in the workplace.

Work enough, and you're going to meet some people you'd probably never have met on your own. We spend some time talking about some of the more "interesting" people we've ever worked with and share some of our stranger on-the-job stories.

We spend one minute each in a lightning round, listing as many jobs as we have had in 60 seconds. (Christopher racks up over 30 in that minute. Check out this video for a sneak peek.):

Some people almost seem bred to complain about work. We devote a bit of time to why we think so many people complain about their jobs, and then we talk about our dream jobs...and why they are our dream jobs.

With many jobs being automated or shipped overseas, we discuss what we think is the future of jobs as we know them before wrapping it all up with the dreaded job interview question: "Where do you see yourself in five years?"

We'd love to know where you see yourself in five years -- feel free to share your work stories in the comments.

Now...get back to work!

Direct download: migs63.mp3
Category:Pop Culture -- posted at: 5:13pm EST

Men in Gorilla Suits Ep. 62: Last Seen…Talking Trek

Beam aboard this week as we talk about...Star Trek!

We begin by talking about our entry points into the world of Star Trek...and then discuss our first memories of the show. We round out our geeky intro with a few minutes dedicated to our favorite incarnations of the series.

After that we talk about how much of the approximately 727 hours of filmed Trek content still holds up. From there, it's on to the worst thing about our favorite versions of the show. Who's the best character (and worst) in the history of the show? Listen and find out! We close this section out with some talk about what frustrates us about Star Trek.

Find out why we think the franchise has survived as long as it has, and why it keeps going. The "What's the most fan boyish thing you've ever done in relation to Star Trek?" section is a riot when it's Shawn's turn to talk. He wasn't kidding when he said, "No matter how fanboyish you've been about Trek, Christopher -- I have you beat!"

If you listen for no other reason, listen for the answers to this question: "Why is Worf so easy to beat up?"

We close out the episode on a couple more serious notes:

  • Does the world Star Trek has created for itself actually work?
  • What do you think is the legacy of Star Trek, and is it any different to the legacy of other big science fiction franchises (Star Wars, Battlestar Galactica, Firefly, etc)?

Assimilation is futile; take a moment out of your day to talk about the best (and worst) of Star Trek in the comments.

Direct download: migs62.mp3
Category:Pop Culture -- posted at: 12:33pm EST

Men in Gorilla Suits Ep. 61: Last Seen…Celebrating

The human need to celebrate things is this week's topic. So many of us go through life jumping from celebration to celebration. We kick off this episode talking about why we have such a need to celebrate things...before asking each other if we look for reasons to celebrate anything and everything.

But let's slow down a moment and clarify things: what constitutes a celebration? Does it have to be a recurring, formal thing...or can celebrations be a small thing appreciated in a moment? From there, we move on to discussing the strangest things we've celebrated.

It seems there's some new celebration almost every week: Pi day, Pancake Day, and so many others. We devote some time to acknowledging social media's role in a myriad celebrations people mention online. (For example, today is National Peanut Butter and Jelly Day, meaning this!) More than social media, though, celebrations are big business. We spend some time discussing how money factors into so many celebrations.

Humans love having reasons to celebrate the things they do: we spend a little time talking about things we do to celebrate accomplishments like finishing another novel or ending big projects at work (Christopher spent part of last weekend after a big project playing this in celebration of wrapping up a big thing at his job). Even though we have celebrated some strange things, there are some celebrations we just do not get...and we discuss them for a few minutes.

Even death has become a celebratory thing in its own way, with many swapping out "funeral" for "celebration of life." But is that just a fancy way of saying funeral...or are people really celebrating after one is gone for good?

If you listen regularly, you know we don't stay maudlin too long -- we jump from talking about death to...weird celebrations like this one. After discussing some of the stranger celebrations we know about, we move on to discussing how celebrations differ in other countries; i.e. is St. Patrick's Day the rowdy plastic green fest in Ireland as it is in America?

Finally, we close out the episode by talking about our favorite celebrations.

We'd love to hear what you think about celebrations in the have at it!

Direct download: migs61.mp3
Category:Pop Culture -- posted at: 10:30pm EST