Ghost of Tsushima

GWJ Conference Call Episode 719

Games: Ghost of Tsushima (PS4), Valve Index (PC), Gorn (PC), Avocuddle (Switch), Bloodborne (PS4), Fell Seal: Arbiter's Mark (PC).

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Amanda, Glendon, Greg and Rich talk about Dogs in Video Games.

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00:02:11 Ghost of Tsushima
00:31:12 Valve Index
00:41:49 Gorn
00:46:53 Avocuddle
00:50:45 Bloodborne
00:53:14 Fell Seal: Arbiter's Mark
01:03:42 Dogs in Video Games
01:28:34 Your Emails

Good news about A Plague Tale.... you CAN pet the dog!

Bad news about A Plague Tale... Dogs aren't really a match for infinite hordes of flesh-eating rats

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my desktop backgrounds aren't gaming related, but usually one of Stjepan Šejić's artworks, either from Sunstone, Fine Print or whatever other enviously amazing art he makes. Fair warning - it is INCREDIBLY not safe for work a lot of the time, so i wont share here, but feel free to google on your own time and at your own risk !

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Funnily enough I just started playing Fell Seal myself. Seems fun. Probably wont stick though because i'm leaning heavily on shorter experiences i can fit in between other things right now rather than hours-long strategy games, but what i've played so far is pretty good.

Fell Seal has become my "have it on in the background while I work from home" game and less an experience that is taking front and center gaming time. Weirdly, it makes me significantly more productive.

Taking five minutes here and there to update character abilities, make some moves, etc. > taking five minutes here and there to go to the office kitchen and plug caffeine into my blood.

I could also see it as a good "shut your brain off and cool down from a day of horror and anxiety" game (which is why I kick myself for not getting it on the Switch.)

Loved, loved, loved this topic! Would totally play a dog RPG. <3
I can’t believe no one mentioned the Mabari in Dragon Age (DA2 as well but DA:O specifically). I loved that the other companions talk with the Mabari and generally acknowledged him. He was a full party member in DA:O but not DA2, unless I’m misremembering.

Really enjoyed Rich’s unique perspective. Just so much fun!

Regarding desktop backgrounds, it will surprise absolutely no one that I have Mass Effect wallpapers. Several of them. On a cycle. And no icons aside from the recycling bin.
I’m with Rich. I feel a need to personalize my space. And even at work, I have several Kandinsky for my backgrounds (Mass Effect wouldn’t fit in at the hospital).
I’m not sure what you all are taking about regarding Win10 resetting the background resetting, though!!!! It’s never happened to me!

Glendon said rather than wrote:

Duck Season.

Rabbit season!

Rat Boy wrote:
Glendon said rather than wrote:

Duck Season.

Rabbit season!

IMAGE(https://i.ytimg.com/vi/cDubEIcOWUE/maxresdefault.jpg)

I'm telling you, this dog, he is *not* a Good Boy

This was a fun episode!

"That that that that that" made me chortle, and I think Mr Lovejoy sold me on Fell Seal: Arbiter's Mark.

Also, you can pet the foxes in Ghost of Tsushima.

I think Glendon made a very good point about photo modes being a lot better if they are directly bound to a single input. Forza Horizon has been doing this for a while now. No idea if they were the first to do that, but that series has an awesome photo mode and that's also one reason why.

About the petting the dog Twitter account, [[Note: minor spoilers about Lair of the Clockwork God]]

Spoiler:

I loved how Dan Marshall tried to troll them and failed.

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Also, my current wallpaper is the victory screen of Dicey Dungeons, a game I have really enjoyed this year.

My desktop backgrounds come courtesy of Wallpaper Engine, readily (and cheaply) available on Steam. I've never had any issues with the software, and there's a huge online library of animated desktops available for download. It's also compelled me to record my own video scenery from the likes of Morrowind, Final Fantasy XIV, The Secret World, and Elder Scrolls Online.

When it comes to a static background, I absolutely love this splash screen that was once used in Elder Scrolls Online.
IMAGE(https://i.imgur.com/1Ad4hVh.jpg)

I feel like the call missed something pretty critical in their iconic characters discussion: graphic fidelity. Video game characters from the 80's, 90's, and even 00's had to be very simple and communicate a lot of information with very limited color and shape. Because of that, designers of the time were almost forced to create iconic characters with simple but strong themes that scaled up or down to any size. Nowadays, a lot of the information about a character in a game is communicated through detailing. You don't have wide swaths of color, big logos, or even very bright colors, because that might "interfere with the realism."

You can see this in the Final Fantasy franchise, which from about VIII onwards slowly loses its graphical touchstones, to the point that it often reaches back to reference the mages from earlier games--to the point that you'd be hard pressed to distinguish several of its characters from XV unless you'd spent a lot of time with them.

As for iconic characters that might be remembered in twenty years? The only one I can really pull from the 10's is Hollow Knight. Any other potential character I can think of is a 2009 debut.

I have thousands of wallpapers that get changed every 15 minutes. I also have them rotating on my phone and even the screensaver on both my Roku and Chromecast. They are mostly landscape and art pictures, plus around 1000 game screenshots. I have a "to-do" to add to that a curated collection of family photos.

Being a stereotypical Dad, I replaced my cool games screenshot wallpaper with a slideshow of approximately 18 Googol pictures of my kids.

Now my kids hijack the PC and put weird animated wallpapers on there that I am forever undoing.

made this for myself back in the day...still on desktop

IMAGE(https://i.imgur.com/FS7jQNO.jpg)

I've been seriously mulling over in my head sending in a suggested topic about animal abuse in games, so when they said "dogs" was going to be the topic I thought that you all read my mind! However it turned out to be much more light, which is probably for the best haha!

As a veterinarian, I have a real hard time with killing dogs in games, especially as the graphics and AI get more realistic. A few moments that really sickened me were the beginning of Wolfenstein 2 where they make you shoot a cowering dog, and that scene in Last of Us Part 2 in the aquarium. Now Ghosts of Tsushima makes me kill dogs as well. Its getting a little infuriating.

But I don't have the same strong reaction to killing humans in games. Maybe its just the innocence of animals? I don't know.

EbonyPegasus wrote:

But I don't have the same strong reaction to killing humans in games. Maybe its just the innocence of animals? I don't know.

Maybe a person in a game feels like an actor portraying a role, while a dog in a game still feels like a real dog? When something happens to a human video game character, it's much more likely to feel like successful stunt in a movie than something that really happened. When it happens to a video game dog, it doesn't feel like a stunt.

Come to think of it, that's true of watching a film, too.

W e l c o m e !

I have no dogs in real life but still waiting for the videogame version of this. I guess I will try Tokyo Jungle at some point but do not have a PlayStation.

IMAGE(https://i.imgur.com/2DRf70i.jpg)

Also the dog in Dead of Winter has unrealistic OP abilities and I will not stand for it.

Loved the topic this week. I was surprised no one mentioned Dog Sled Saga, a little indie gem about racing in the Yukon. You can assemble a team of sled dogs of a variety of breeds, race them in teams of 3-5, and care for them (though no in-game petting). The pixel art dogs are kind of adorable.

Also, EbonyPegasus’ Stan reminds me of the pet in EarthBound, who you could name and would join you as a party member for the game’s intro “dungeon.” That beginning was a really effective tutorial, and set a perfect tone for a character who hadn’t yet come into his powers (Ness).

I'm happy to report that I finished Desperados III without killing any of the guard dogs, but I did have to knock one out and tie it up.

I always feel bad about the "Arooooo!" cry from the dog-shaped shadows when you ambush them in Persona 5. Poor pupper!

LastSurprise wrote:

Also, EbonyPegasus’ Stan reminds me of the pet in EarthBound, who you could name and would join you as a party member for the game’s intro “dungeon.” That beginning was a really effective tutorial, and set a perfect tone for a character who hadn’t yet come into his powers (Ness).

King was a very good boy. And could talk. Bonus points

cheeze_pavilion wrote:

Maybe a person in a game feels like an actor portraying a role, while a dog in a game still feels like a real dog? When something happens to a human video game character, it's much more likely to feel like successful stunt in a movie than something that really happened. When it happens to a video game dog, it doesn't feel like a stunt.

Come to think of it, that's true of watching a film, too.

I think that is a good take! Also when dogs are killed in video games, they are usually wimpering. Humans tend to grunt or scream in surprise/rage and it doesn't seem "sad"?

Since Meebs brought it up, screw Fable 2 and the mid/late game dog related choice.
I was ready to put the game down right there.
But I loved the topic overall.

Loved the episode this week!

Thanks for the insight into the Valve Index! I'm so close to clicking that reserve button, but trying to hold off until I at least know how much / if I'll be able to buy the new consoles this year! The PSVR is working fine enough for me for now, but damn the Index sounds amazing.

Re: Dogs in Games
I'm surprised nobody mentioned games that literally are just playing with dogs or dogish animals. Like Nintendogs, Kinectimals. I personally haven't played either, but it can't get much more about pet interaction than that.

Re: PC backgrounds
Once I upgraded to an ultrawide main monitor, it really messed with my setup. I downloaded a nice selection of ultrawide backgrounds that have many video gamey pics somewhere online, so it just rotates through the 300+ pictures everybody 15-30 minutes. I'm still discovering new ones here and there from that.

Wallpaper engine is great! Great way to keep your desktop backgrounds fresh and handles the slideshow part for you.

Oh thought of something else I wanted to mention about VR:

I feel like the exhausting part of VR is when things don't quite line up perfectly with physical expectations. The extra work your brain needs to do to figure out why things didn't quite work out as expected and correct appropriately is taxing mentally and physically. As VR gets better, there aren't so many micro errors to account for, and it becomes easier to get into long play sessions without needing to develop strong "VR legs".

Similarly, I found Tabletop Simulator exhausting to play compared to an IRL tabletop session. Everything feels like work at first: to move a little chip across the table and stack it on another would be very simple with your actual arm. But now it's a lot of steps that you have to mentally work through to do something so simple. A lot of these get better with practice, of course.