Satisfactory

GWJ Conference Call Episode 698

World Of Horror (PC), Them’s Fightin’ Herds (PC), Satisfactory (PC), Crypt of the NecroDancer (Nintendo Switch), Channeling Your Inner Protagonist, Your emails, and more!

Click here to download!

Amanda, Rich, Greg, and Glendon discuss Channeling Your Inner Protagonist.

To contact us, email [email protected]! Send us your thoughts on the show, pressing issues you want to talk about or whatever else is on your mind.

  • Subscribe with iTunes
  • Subscribe with RSS
  • Subscribe with Yahoo!
Download the official apps
  • Download the GWJ Conference Call app for Android
  • Download the GWJ Conference Call app for Android

Comments

Request for the "Games you can play right now" section:

Maybe it's recency bias and I am just imagining it, but there seem to be more instances now where a game is talked about that only one person on the panel has played. I think it's great you revisit old games and major updates, but there's something I really miss: People arguing.

It was always very entertaining to listen to friends have strong but always friendly disagreements on the relative strengths and weaknesses of the latest release. This game was great! No - it sucked, and I will enumerate the reasons why... When only one person has played the game we only get one side, and it's usually - but not always of course - positive...

Example: As a big Factorio fan who has also played Satisfactory, I would have loved to have heard a discussion on the relative strengths and weaknesses of the two games, and what being in 3D adds or doesn't add.

TLDR: More Siskel & Ebert, fewer uncontested love-fests! :p

00:02:22 World Of Horror
00:11:37 Them’s Fightin’ Herds
00:18:43 Satisfactory
00:22:08 Crypt of the NecroDancer
00:25:27 Channeling Your Inner Protagonist
00:45:18 Your Emails

I also have some meta thoughts on this weeks topic. Well I think I do - they are a bit unformed at the moment but I figure if I post them here - people will probably disagree with me - but at least I can get some feedback...

So first off: I suffer from my share of mental health issues and I think therapy can be very useful, but the discussion was just... hmmm... unsatisfying maybe? Not that the message wasn't good: Don't feel bad if you aren't great at games, and just like you get better at things in games with practice, you get better at things in real life. Yes - I agree!

But - who wouldn't agree? It wasn't a discussion topic as much as a daily affirmation. A bit heavy-handed on the platitudes, maybe? A bit superficial? I think it would have been more interesting to me at least if it had been more personal and less abstract - how playing games has specifically helped the various panelists (with concrete examples!), but on the other hand you have discussed that type of thing before... The upshot was that I sort of went "yep - that's right" and then had a hard time not tuning out...

Anyways, I don't want to come across as too negative (negativity being exactly the opposite of what was being discussed), and if people found this topic useful for them, that's great!

So I'll leave you with this pearl of wisdom from World of Warcraft general chat: Life is indeed a lot like an MMO - with fantastic graphics, but a pretty sucky respawn system. Also - if someone offers to buy your soul, they can't - it's bind-on-pickup.

I clicked on the Steam link for World of Horror and while Rich said there were no jumpscares, the autoplayed trailer with the sound off gave me a couple, "Jesus Christ, what the hell was that?!" moments.

I know you said sound off, but since I didn’t discuss it - the sound design is a fantastic blend of nostalgic and creepy.

In the interest of full disclosure: I’m having issues with getting sound on my laptop on x-box game pass games, so my initial few runs were without sound. I had popped into some let’s plays to hear what the game sounded like, but it hadn’t occurred to me there might be sound related jump scares! So, buyer beware on that.

The art is definitely evocative, and I keep marveling at how creepy 1-bit graphics can be! Having tooled around some more with it, it’s an early GOTY contender for me.

Yeah, sound on's even more terrifying. And is there an option to not click and drag to slide something open? Pretty sure there's something behind those doors that'll freak the bajeezus out of me.

Thanks for the feedback. Both your posts address similar things from different angles. I appreciate the sentiment of wanting to see deeper, more long-standing friendships play out like in discussions between people who have worked and played together for decades. Most of the regular crew did that, much like Siskel & Ebert.

Everyone you’ve been hearing from lately has been working behind the scenes, and have recently stepped in to take a seat and help out. All of us are adjusting to new roles, but we love it here and want to keep it going, and sometimes that can mean conversation can tread a little to far into “safe” territory which can turn some types off. Getting personal on a subject involves being vulnerable (not safe). Change, growth, and settling into new roles and relationships doesn’t happen smoothly or right away.

That kind of rapport takes time, and I hope to create space to allow people to build within that while the rest of our family can have a moment to catch a breath or three. It's been a few months, so I’m aware we’re not there yet, but I do deeply appreciate when the feedback is delivered kindly.

With regards to the game selection, well...great point. It’s been a lot of little one-off games while we wait for big releases to happen, so it’s a mixed bag of indie titles without a whole lot of overlap and old games while we wait for the new year to start rolling out games...eventually. Hopefully. However, it's still good to periodically re-examine how we're approaching titles as a whole.

I’m having a hard time saying this nicely, but honestly there really hasn’t been anything big enough or hot enough for multiple people to go deep on since the pre-holiday bangers like Disco Elysium, Fallen Order, Outer Wilds, etc.

I’m not a fan of having hot takes just to be spicy, people can taste the fakery. I'm wary of being contrary for it's own sake or having folks say things to create tension for "content." If something is interesting enough to generate that on it's own merit, great. So much of games journalism is forged from the fires of the hot take machine and I may have been leaning a little too far away from that.

Trying out different things means not everything will hit. We learn, we grow. Thanks again.

well tell Sean and Corey we miss them on the show anyway it'll be good for their ego or something

Keep up the good work guys

interstate78 wrote:

well tell Sean and Corey we miss them on the show anyway it'll be good for their ego or something

Keep up the good work guys :)

Love you! Succinct. Appreciated. Passed along!

Re: the "safe" discussions of the current hosts:

Personally, I've been enjoying hearing the new voices about the random things everybody has been playing, especially deeper cuts or older gems that had been missed since I tend to play 2-4 years behind everybody else. I'm not a big fan of direct conflict (I frequently felt uncomfortable with Corey's direct confrontation approach)... but I agree there's value in deeper discussion of dissenting opinions.

A possibility would be to make some new spoiler sections so people with strong opinions on a game could gather their thoughts together, while not needing to be so careful about spoilers as a typical conference call. Briefly skimming the articles section, it seems the last spoiler section was What Remains of Edith Finch in 2017. I think there had been some mentions of potential spoiler sections, perhaps on Slay the Spire? Still, it takes a lot of time and effort to make these things happen, so I'll leave it to the hosts to figure out what they can manage. It's easy to get burnt out quickly by new responsibilities you're not enthusiastic about, and it sounds like several of the hosts are taking a breather to avoid burn out already.

Besides, there have been a few "hot takes" recently anyway...
"I don't care for Smash. It is not a good fighting game. It is not a good platformer game. I'm not sure what it's actually trying to do."
-- Greg GWJ CC #698 @55:50

Ouch. ):

Re: Channeling Your Inner Protagonist

This was basically about gamifying your life, right? There have been apps to assist with making this happen for awhile. I've had some friends who swear by it (I think they were using Habitica?), but it just seems too artificial to me.

Re: so-bad-it's-good-game:

Physics glitches are this for me. I can't make it through this Skate 3 compilation without crying laughing.

Thanks, Amanda/Amoebic, for responding. Seems like you get what I was trying to say better than I did!

Having thought about it more, it maybe just comes down to "I want the discussions to be interesting". One way - but certainly not the only way - to make them interesting is to have an honestly-held disagreement. I absolutely agree that fake/manufactured disagreements are *not* the way to go.

Another way to make something interesting is to tell a compelling story. I certainly like hearing about games I have never heard about before like "World of Horror" or "Them's Fighting Herd's", as long as the reviewer is also happy to point out negatives, which they did. But when you delve into the psychological, it not as easy to be interesting and it might require a lot of preparation research so you can tell the audience things they don't know already or be willing to tell a compelling personal story (which understandably not everyone is comfortable doing).

I am reminded of a recent-ish (a few months ago by now I think) Marc Maron podcast where he talks honestly about his 20 year journey quitting drugs and alcohol, and his missteps and false starts along the way. That was just one point of view, but the fact the we - the audience - know and care about Marc made it very interesting and deeply inspirational. He got follow-up e-mail in the subsequent weeks that his story was enough for at least one of his listeners to give them the final push to attempt to quit themselves.

A tall ask (I know!) - but I am trying - by speaking here publicly to you forum folks instead of just sending an e-mail - to get a better handle on what makes something "interesting and engaging".

Amanda,

Not too many communities could survive the loss of a voice like Shawn's. Thank you so much for keeping this place going and producing quality content for us each and every week. GWJ remains my favorite corner of the internet!

So to you, the new voices on the podcast, and all the crew working behind the scenes, THANK YOU!

If it's not interesting or compelling to you, not sure what else to tell ya, man. Best of luck finding what you're searching for.

My "so bad it's good" game is definitely any Earth Defense Force in co-op with a friend.

Pink Stripes wrote:

My "so bad it's good" game is definitely any Earth Defense Force in co-op with a friend.

OMG yes! Great example ... I recently picked EDF 5 out of a bargain bin and my son and I are loving it.

Felix Threepaper wrote:

OMG yes! Great example ... I recently picked EDF 5 out of a bargain bin and my son and I are loving it.

Nice! I thought of that because I'm playing through EDF 5 with a friend right now, and it's our third EDF game together. I can almost say there's something endearing about the framerate drops at this point. Not really, but kinda.

It never would have occurred to me to call EDF a bad game of any stripe.

Amoebic wrote:

If it's not interesting or compelling to you, not sure what else to tell ya, man. Best of luck finding what you're searching for.

Oh, but GWJ is interesting to me - in fact it's one of my two favourite podcasts I listen to every week! (And I listen to a lot of podcasts.) I was simply speaking out loud in an attempt to understand why I reacted the way I did to one particular segment.

I hope - and I think you did take it this way at least initially - that my feedback was at least a little bit constructive! (*)

- - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - -
(*) Personal story time on the theme of "constructive criticism" (totally off-topic):

Giving feedback to people who don't know you is really hard. I imagine it's equally hard for the people receiving the feedback. I once stopped Jerry Holkins (Tycho) from Penny Arcade at PAX Australia in order to give him what I thought was "constructive feedback" on one of his recent story lines and his posts in general. It did not go well. He was perfectly nice to me but I totally failed to get my point across and I think I inadvertently made him feel bad. This was reinforced by the fact that at the following day's Q&A session he brought up his encounter with me as an amusing but slightly troubling anecdote - so obviously it had been on his mind, too. I literally spent several nights afterwards anxiously lying in bed going over how things had gone wrong.

Ok, so it must be because I had only had a minute to express myself and I was nervous and he seemed busy, right? Things are bound to go better if I had time to compose my thoughts in advance...

So a couple of months ago I wrote an e-mail to the host of podcast I had been listening to for *years* (The Incomparable - great podcast, by the way). When you have listened to someone for that long, you can't help but feel you know them at least a little bit - not a lot, but maybe enough to guess how they might react to an e-mail?

I spent hours composing that message, making sure it was respectful but also got my point across, but again offering my apparently unique brand of "constructive feedback". :/ I honestly wasn't expecting a response. But I got one, and it simply said, paraphrased: "If you don't like our podcasts, don't listen to them." I was shattered - how could he have gotten the impression I didn't like the podcasts? Why was there a button encouraging feedback on the website? Is all anonymous online communication doomed to end in disaster?

Maybe... It's very hard to be critical and not to offend. My personal lesson was realising that I was writing these pieces of feedback as much for myself as for the recipient, in order to simply get something off my chest, and that I need to be super careful about making sure things I say can't be misconstrued. As is evident here, it's still a work in progress...

[ End of off-topic personal story time ]

doubtingthomas396 wrote:

It never would have occurred to me to call EDF a bad game of any stripe. :shock:

It would never have occurred to me not to. They're enthusiastically B-movie games.

Spoiler:

I tried so hard to avoid making jokes about them being "buggy" too.

While I've got your virtual ear, Greg, I checked my 360 game box to see if my copy of Shadows of The Damned was still in there, which i would have happily sent your way, but it seems I sold it on at some point. It's not a bad game, mechanically - the developer, Grasshopper Manufacture (and it's founder Suda 51), has a rep for mechanically tight action games, and it definitely aligns with that.

However, they also have a rep for problematic misogyny. A well deserved rep, and Shadows of the Damned definitely fits in there too, having a tone and humor with all the sophistication or a 14 year old wannabe edgelord who takes all their inspiration from 1980's hair metal album covers. It's what ultimately turned me off my brief foray into their catalog (e.g. No More Heroes, Killer is Dead), and ruins what are often interesting departures from the norms of game design.

What we see (or rather hear, as listeners) is only the public persona. It’s only the surface. We all have different masks and different faces, depending on the context and occasion. As a content creator myself, I definitely have my “game face”.

And as a woman, there’s also a lesson I’ve had a hard time learning (and teaching). It’s that -beyond basic respect and empathy - we don’t owe each other anything. It’s extra emotional labor, it can be super costly spoons wise. It’s wrong to expect to be owed anything. And remember that it’s all subjective anyway. One person’s yuck is another person’s yum and the beautiful thing about the era we live in is that there’s so much out there, there’s something for everyone!

I’ll give you a concrete example. I was streaming some Dishonored 2 and some dude came in chat and started offering what he also called “constructive criticism”. Basically, I was playing ghost/clean hands and he started explaining how the “right way” would be to go on a killing spree.
*sigh* I’m exhausted simply remembering it.

Finally, I want to give a huge THANK YOU to the crew for the kind words regarding the community GOTD. Especially Staygold for delightfully teasing the top ten and the praise, I’m truly humbled (he’s done his own data mining that’s quite awesome so check that out!!!). I love doing it, it’s truly a labor love. It’s always so wonderful to see the community come together in this great celebration of gaming and I’m really looking forward to the 2020 GOTY!!!

Amoebic wrote:

I’m not a fan of having hot takes just to be spicy, people can taste the fakery. I'm wary of being contrary for it's own sake or having folks say things to create tension for "content." If something is interesting enough to generate that on it's own merit, great. So much of games journalism is forged from the fires of the hot take machine and I may have been leaning a little too far away from that.

There's also a cost to contrary opinions for the person expressing them and arguing in their favor. It's utterly exhausting to butt heads with your friends over something they like but you don't, much less with the people who aren't your friends and pop in to accuse you of holding an opinion in bad faith just to get attention. Some people—especially in things adjacent to geek culture—can take it as a personal affront when you don't like something they value (or the opposite: love something they discard) and they're more than happy to make it personal when they respond. They'll hold your opinion against you and will carry it forward into future interactions.

I've learned all this the hard way.

So before your agitate for more conflict or debate, remember that you're asking people to argue with their friends for sport and to open themselves up to replies from people who can be downright awful because you, say, disliked the wrong Valve game or loved the wrong Star Wars. Some people thrive with that kind of conflict but even for them it can be costly. You're asking a lot, and sometimes people can't make that payment and so don't put their opinions out there even if it would make for better listening for someone else.

I've been listening for 7 years, and created this account to make this post.

I'm not sure why people can't be more straightforward. Everyone walks on eggshells in this place, like, you might hurt someone's feelings. If nobody's willing to speak up, nothing will change.

Here, I'll start. This is what the vast majority of listeners are thinking: the podcast quality has taken a massive nosedive since Shawn left. It's clear he isn't coming back anytime soon, but it doesn't mean all hope is lost. Please, please bring back the regulars who have a great rapport, who play off one another, and who can riff and joke with each other without holding back in fear of offending someone's delicate sensibilities.

All this podcast needs is:

Julian
Sean
Corey
Allen

Where are they? Are they coming back? It's gotten to the point where I skim the notes to see if they're on. If not, I delete and wait until next week. Pretty soon I'm gonna stop checking at all...

I remember when Ryan Davis died and I couldn't listen to Giant Bomb anymore. It was just too sad and to my mind he was a linchpin to their whole dynamic balance. You know, things change one way or another, that's just inevitable.

Giant Bomb carried on. New voices, new faces and even whole new podcast structures with their east coast team. Things take time to fall apart and come back together. GWJ was never going to continue if the same people in the same roles were clinging to it out of fear or what's comfortable or easy. As a group we've been in that valley before and I promise you, it may feel like a warm, weekly blanket to wrap yourself in but internally we weren't always full hearted in showing up. Breaks are good. We've all being doing this for a very long time.

I've been quiet here and pretty hands off with Amanda and co. while they find their feet. They've done an incredible job and I'm really grateful for that and impressed with how everything has come together in the mere five months I've been gone. Trying to compare a new dynamic with one that played out over a decade is pretty silly. It's not even a question of better or worse, it's just different. You're watching something new grow in real time, every week. How cool! Even better, when things open up there's opportunities to have a real impact and step into something fresh that you can be a part of in the early stages.

I understand missing things as they were, but a community needs to grow out of its founders eventually and elevate fresh voices and ideas. It doesn't mean anyone is gone forever, I'm still very much up in the air in my own life right now, so I'm eternally grateful not just to Amanda and all the new folks on the podcast and in the Writer's Guild coming in with a lot of enthusiasm, but pillars of the community offering their own support and encouragement.

ql1 wrote:

This is what the vast majority of listeners are thinking

This is what you're thinking. Our download numbers don't bear that out and I think it's pretty gross to make a new account to frame things this way because you miss the way things were. It's ok to be sad about that, it's not ok to let that sadness turn into inflicting negativity on everyone else. If you've been listening to the show this long, you know that's the last thing any of us would want for you or the people creating new things.

ql1 wrote:

I've been listening for 7 years, and created this account to make this post.

I'm not sure why people can't be more straightforward. Everyone walks on eggshells in this place, like, you might hurt someone's feelings. If nobody's willing to speak up, nothing will change.

Here, I'll start. This is what the vast majority of listeners are thinking: the podcast quality has taken a massive nosedive since Shawn left. ...

Dude, you don't speak for everyone who's listening. You don't speak for a majority of us. And if you've been a major fan of this podcast, you've probably also heard Shawn, and Amanda, and a variety of other people talk about GWJ as a special community. That community arises, in part, because people make an intentional effort to be kind to and care about each other, and recognize that we can all share a common, geeky culture while loving different things.

You can like the old stuff better. It's totally fine. And you've been listening to the podcast for a lot longer than I have. But in my limited time here, it seem like some of the things you did in this post -- creating a brand new account to call out people for "walking on eggshells," and then being dismissive of the new(er) podcast hosts, and their effort to create something great and fun -- misses something fundamental about what makes this place great.

All I'm going to say at this point is the next show was already done and in the bag by the time this thread "took off." Just to clarify should anyone think anything in the next few shows might be (or should be) impacted by posts from this thread.

Fun fact: I had basically stopped listening to the podcast for several years because, (with respect to the old guard <3) , it had nothing new to tell me and i had no real investment or representation with the voices there. With a bit of fresh blood injected in it, - ESPECIALLY, the Nonbinary and women contributers - i'm absolutely invested again.

Obviously i can't say that's the same for the majority of listeners, i can only speak for myself...because clearly there's no way i would know that without seeing any figures and so would be very silly of me.