GWJ Conference Call 913

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Rich, Daryl, and Amanda get into the impact of discourse on gaming.

Games: F1 23, NecroSmith 2, Balatro, Unicorn Overlord, Dragon's Dogma 2, Stellar Blade Demo.

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00:03:30 F1 23
00:17:33 NecroSmith 2
00:20:44 Balatro
00:23:21 Unicorn Overlord
00:33:44 Dragon's Dogma 2
00:34:07 Stellar Blade
00:55:32 Impact of Discourse on Gaming

Really good episode this week; just finished listening on my way into work this morning. I cross-posted a shorter version of this to Discord, but the character limit is higher here, so: text away!

A few thoughts:

  • For me most of the "game discourse," especially these days, is listening to the conference call and occasional participation in these forums and the GWJ Discord server. I highly recommend this approach! I cannot recommend highly enough the practice of just getting off of Facebook, Twitter/X, and similar algorithmically-driven platforms.
  • I also highly recommend using a credible news grading service (I use Ad Fontes Media) to figure out a bunch of credible news sources and switching to an RSS reader for news. I assure you that even in *that* case, there's still plenty to alarm and disturb you in the world today, but at least you'll be less at the mercy of the algorithms.
  • The first time I remember "the discourse" really influencing my interaction with games media was Gone Home, which was a bit pricey for as long as it purportedly was, but the curiosity (because everyone was raving and nobody was really saying anything about it other than "PLAYITPLAYITPLAYIT") just ate at me until I picked it up. It lived up to that hype, so that worked out well. The other early game that the discourse sold to me was Spec Ops: The Line. In both of those cases? Money well-spent. I think it's awful that the music licensing issues have resulted in Spec Ops: The Line being delisted, because that game was/is important.
  • I'm probably a strange outlier, but I often enjoy analysis and criticism of things at least as much as the things themselves, occasionally more. I really like listening to knowledgeable, thoughtful people break down the key components and messaging of a piece of media. Side note: I really wish I had discovered/accepted this about myself as a teenager. My grades would have been better and I'd have enjoyed school more.

As far as genres go for May:

  • My three great genre loves for multiple decades are the turn-based squad tactical genre (XCOM, Jagged Alliance), roguelike deckbuilders (Slay the Spire, Beneath Oressa) and the CRPG genre (Pillars of Eternity, Baldur's Gate 1, 2, and 3, Wrath of the Righteous). I'd love to hear a discussion of either or both.
  • I'm not as much into soulslikes (the only ones I've successfully gotten any length into are the Lords of the Fallen games) or racing games (pretty much the only one of those I haven't bounced off of is Burnout Paradise), but I love hearing about them!
  • I used to be into point-and-click adventure games back in the 80s and 90s but kind of fell off of that. I'd definitely be interested in hearing someone who's a huge Sierra/Wadjet Eye aficionado break those down too.

Nice writeup, Mr. Spike!

I am only partway through the episode, but I wanted to check out Nikke for my own personal "research." It's downloading now, but I am amused that one of the advertising pics in the Google Store noted its "one-handed control", so you know it's going to be good.

Also, can you really call a game "mobile" if you're too embarrassed to play it on public transportation? Pretty sure this game violates the MTA's ToS.

Balatro cannot come to Android fast enough.

The first time I can clearly remember discourse influencing me into a purchase was during the 1993/94 congressional inquiry into video game violence, led by senators Joe Lieberman and Herb Kohl. I was so incensed by this perceived attack on a hobby I was so passionate about, that it led me to purchase a massively overpriced copy of Night Trap for the SegaCD. $59.99 plus sales tax...in mid 1994! This was definitely not pocket change for me.
Obviously, Night Trap was not a great game - I knew this going in, but insisted on making a statement with my money. No doubt a statement nobody cared about except an accountant at Sega and Digital Pictures. I bought the 25th anniversary remaster on Steam a few years back - perhaps I will finally finish it with mouse-driven controls, instead of having to slowly move a cursor about with a Genesis d-pad.

I also picked up Mortal Kombat for SegaCD (specifically this version for the blood and it being on a CD meant it had to be better than the cartridge, right?), but I would have gotten MK, congressional hearings or not.


Coincidentally, Joe Lieberman just died on March 27th, exactly 3 months after Herb Kohl. I only discovered this while looking up info for this post.

Regarding genres, I show my age when I say my favorites are - and have been for nearly 3 decades now - arena shooters and real time strategy. A more recent addition has been walking simulators, which have been responsible for some of the most affecting moments I've had in gaming (hello Edith Finch!).
I also love me a Metroidvania or three per year.