Conference Call

GWJ Conference Call Episode 37

Just Cause, Quake Wars, Band of Bugs, Manhunt 2 Goes AO, Game Pricing, Thread of The Week, Emails and more!

We have a very timely show this week as we tackle game pricing and AO rated games. Sean Sands has some lovely things to say about Rockstar, a ton of emails and oh, much more!

Want to support the show? Hit the Digg link just above (it's fast and easy to register) or review us on iTunes! Read on for show notes.

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. You can even send a 30 second audio question or comment (MP3 format please) if you're so inclined.


The Links
Enemy Territory: Quake Wars
Just Cause
Manhunt 2
Band of Bugs

Threads of the Week:
1) GWJ Pile of Shame - Hemidal

2) Mission Improbable: Clear the Pile - Hemidal

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Show credits

Music credits: 

Intro/Outro Music - Ian Dorsch, Willowtree Audioworks

"Fallen Idol" Benoit Casey - 0:22:41
"Luna Machine" Benoit Casey - 0:49:49


Actually, I was doing quite well at the game. Please don't mistake my tepid interest as ineptitude. I was regularly ranked in the top three on my team in XP and kills (don't really care for playing support classes).

I'm just joshin' ya Elysium. You were just so good at pushing Certis' buttons on the podcast I figured I'd be a blight on the forum a bit

The REALLY weird thing is that i've had an urge lately to pick up BF2142. I've avoided it for a damn long time and playing ET:QW reminded me of the fun I had with the demo...

I don't remember exactly what I said, but here's the reality: yes, after 2 hours, the game went from a first-day must-buy to a wait-and-see. I spent the first hour of my experience with the game just trying to get it to run on my spiffy dirt standard new computer. After that, I pubbed perhaps another two hours, and while I get what the game is trying to do that's fun and interesting, I was frankly underwhelmed. Perhaps I expected too much.

How so? what was underwhelming about it outside of the graphics and sound that you touched on.. did you see something in the gameplay after 2 hours that made you say.. "yep.. this is underwhelming". From someone who played ET almost every night for hours for 10 months I can safely say that the ET faithful did not walk away underwhelmed from the demo.

So outside of the price ($60 vs Free) I'm not sure how this game is going to fail to deliver to its market... unless vehicles so craptacularize the game in the final product.. OR the mod community ends up not being there after the initial maps wear thin this should be a game that has long legs.

I'll admit, I'm concerned with the type of complaints about the Quake Wars Beta. There are certain things id has gotten right for years and years, even in their outsourced sequels, and comments like "movement is floaty" and "guns feel weak" are not what I expect.

New York Times comments on Manhunt 2.

I did not find Manhunt 2 particularly frightening or sickening, more like a violent interactive cartoon. But I'm used to games. As Mr. Zelnick suggested, I wanted to see how the game stood up against the latest horror films.

After visits to two Manhattan DVD stores I found an R-rated version of "Saw II." (For "Hostel and "Saw III" I could find only the more extreme unrated cuts.) With some trepidation I put it on and the first scene was of a young man in a bleak cell being taunted to find a key by digging into his own oozing eye socket. If he does not yank out the key in 60 seconds, his head will be crushed in a spiked metal "death mask" around his neck.

Later, after someone else is burned to death in an industrial oven, a character cuts a hole into the back of his own neck. As the camera cut in for a loving view of the gaping wound, it was clear why the genre is sometimes called "torture porn." Unlike the digital models in Manhunt 2, these were real people.

Banning the original version of Manhunt 2 may be a good way to demonstrate that the industry can police itself. Side by side, though, movies seem to be way ahead of games in delivering top-notch gore.

I'm just joshin' ya Elysium.

But, I like being defensive!

I'm not making any claims about ET's faithfulness to anything. I admit I was not a massive ET player -- during it's heyday i was still blowing crap up in 1942 and counter-strike more often than not. It wasn't my intention to do a full on review of the beta, and should I be writing one, I obviously would have spent a lot more time in the game, but in general, here are the things that come to mind that didn't do it for me. I'm not suggesting that these are somehow fundamental flaws -- I'm quite sure they will be exactly what a pile of people want out of the game.

Speed: Yes, yes, I know its a "Quake Game" and you can put the old man jokes to the side. I played (and still do occasionally) Quake 2 and love it, so I don't have a problem running around full speed. But to me ET seems like a 90 mile an hour race with non-stop sprinting. The side effect of this is that my limited experience on a few servers was that you were nearly always spawning right into conflict or within 10 seconds from it. Sure, entertaining in deathmatch, but not something I enjoy that much in a game where I'm supposed to be thinking tactically. Maybe that's exactly what you want.

Weapons: Seemed inaccurate and underpowered. Again, maybe that's exactly how they want them to be, but I got no positive sense of reinforcement that how well I aimed, led targets, etc, made any difference, and hit feedback seemed wonky, making the whole actual shooting part of FPS seem just off and not all that rewarding.

Vehicles: As commented many other places, they seem floaty, inaccurate, and somewhat random in terms of how their physics work. This is indeed important to me, because in any game like this I tend to be a driver or an engineer.

Sound/Atmosphere/etc: I admit it unashamedly that these things matter a lot to me. I don't think they're particularly good and in many places flat out bad. Sure, this might all get fixed, but I don't think I would have enjoyed a beta of Oblivion done in silence with wireframes no matter how good the gameplay was.

So yah, maybe the game just isn't for me and I'll hold out for the next UT3 and TF2.

Nice post Souldaddy. I would love to see the banishment of these "torture porn" movies like Saw and Hostel. The very concept of the movies make me sick.

Melted Qumquats!? Edition

Hey, I never called you crazy. I seriously didn't know who that was. Most days it's a good thing that I have to take out my ID at the bank, because that way I have an example of my own signature to work from. Good luck with me picking out the difference between four different mid-tenor male voices with little accent scrubbed through Skype and your editing software. Sheesh. You guys start singing barbershop and I'll be able to pick you out.

Uzumaki Barrage of Games You Can Play

Tomb Raider Legend isn't horrific. But Pitfall is better.

And thanks for reminding me about my X-Brick and I can't play Pac-man yet.

Long list of other stuff I hadn't even heard about it...

If you're looking for something fun, I'd give Grim Grimoire a rental and see what you think for your PS2.

As long as the violence is in their imagination, I say hexs yeah! on the D&D comment.

Manhunt 2
From everything I know, the rating is not wrong. They earned it, and it's not like they didn't know they would do it when they designed the game. The guys above covered the difference between the British board and the ESRB.

The games industry needs to grow up from a business perspective. The perception of pricing issues would not be there if the games themselves were what it should be. We've been doing this for 30 years now, guys. The nonsense they pull in the development process, buggy releases, the schedule slips, their marketing and sales crap and all the rest of the problems is stuff the PC software industry got handled and found a better balance for about 20 years ago.

Threads of the Week
Pile of Shame - I'm ashamed to add my list it's so bad. The person who only plays games for four hours - I can tell you don't play RPG's. Hundreds and hundreds of hours are standard operating procedure.

Mission Improbable - Oh lord. Guilt on a stick.

Fang's email about PC Gaming - I like the points about atmosphere. Kinesthetics are far more important for immersion than blatant pixelwhoring.

Help also about PC gaming - He has a point, but it is easy to get around it if you're motivated. The problem is no one is developing games that way. Even with a keyboard and mouse available for the Xbox360 they haven't made Mechwarrior 5. Pricing is Europe is bad. But it's been bad for a long long time.

Braehole about addiction issue - It is dumb. No argument there. The AMA was talking about this for the DSMVI. The Law stuff is a good point, but there's another side to this you didn't consider. This is a very big money decision for psychologists. If you don't have a DSM code, you cannot bill an insurance company for treating it. Once it's listed there it's worth $85 an hour for every kid whose parents they can convince spends too much time playing WoW.

Mind if I clear a few things up seeing as everyone is running to defend the U.K. and us over here in Ireland living are living under a dictatorship and in mud huts

Concerning IFCO, yes it is a government body and it had a horrible past. Kissing used to be edited out of movies upto the 60'. Shudder. Yes, most Irish would be very uncomfortable with IFCO with it being a government body. However John Gallagher, the Film Censor ( I know, I know ), has infact defended games that people were looking to get banned. He has consistently offered his considered opinion that the likes of GTA are adult games with very black humor. Just to add to the debate that this guy also gave a rating to 9 Songs and received general release in Ireland. In the US is received neither.

Again not defending the body but I think your podcast depicted them a little unfairly.

And why the interest with Ireland? Well you may find it interesting that we are second only to Japan for consumption of technology. Console and mobile phone penetration are huge in my country and we are the European base for many of the tech-giants. Microsoft, Intel and Google for example. Little old Havoc is Dublin based. While we aren't a market is going to make a break any game or system we do act as a barometer for the rest of Europe and for that reason the banning was news worthy. We didn't ban it to follow suit with Britain, if that was your thinking.

Our broadband is sh*t though. Bloody privatization.

Remember, with a name like Sands, I have to be Irish.

To your point though, it mostly got mentioned because it happened right as we went to record, and it provided a nice illustration of the difference between a government body and independent body. I'm a huge fan of Ireland in general, however, and have photographic evidence that only, like, half of you are living in mudhuts.

The rest live in castles.

#2 for tech and #2 for alcohol?

Gears and Beers LAN party, anyone?

Family Guy got it spot on I think. Genius.

Rockstar *IS* a blight.

Have we learned nothing from the ping pong massacres of '06?

Stop the madness.