GWJ Conference Call Episode 47

Conference Call

Bioshock, Madden 08, World In Conflict, Game Fans, A Small Surprise, The Press, Developers, Your Emails and more!

This week Julian, Shawn and Elysium take a dive into fan communities, the press, developers and how they all play together. Our (non spoiler) views on Bioshock, a bunch of your emails, keeping it real with our thread of the week and a little surprise!

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.

Sponsor
Liongames.com

Thread of The Week

(1) How real do you like your games? - Duoae

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Show credits

Music credits: 

Outro Music - Ian Dorsch, Willowtree Audioworks

"Welcome to Rapture - Bioshock Score (Garry Schyman) - Intro
"The Neverwhere" - Apoplexia (Benoit Casey) - 0:30:14
"Long Midnight" (Benoit Casey) - 0:56:52

Comments

I forgot! Here's the link to the Gal Civ 2 longest game session ever blog.

The BioShock score can be found at The Cult of Rapture website.

(A Breathy 38.2 megs

Breathy? ... Wait a second! Are you guys just randomly choosing adjectives instead of carefully selecting them each week?:shock:

edit: Hah, nice intro.

Indeed a nice intro.
Listening to the thread of the week regarding realism in games made me think of Desert Bus.
Excellent new musical piece too, but it's no Los Pistoleros.

LMFAO!

- Beginning.... was fantastic!

- Topic of the week: I believe that sales of Bioshock would have been affected by full knowledge of the DRM... i don't think that sales would have been affected by the story, at least not enough to matter. Not a significant impact as Rabbit (?) feels... In summary - i agree with Rob on that point

- I didn't think that i'd ever get thread of the week with that topic. After i posted i realised that it was treading familiar territory... perhaps too familiar

-Outro - I can't believe that Certis solicited porn in the emails....
I dreamt about bioshock too, well a bioshock inspired dream:


I was exploring through an abandoned building with a woman i'm with (didn't recognise her). We come to an indoor quad area and she decends down a ladder to explore the rooms off the ground floor. I explore the top floor. While she's down there i hear a zombie awakening and she's fighting it off. I race round to the window that's opposite the ladder and i see her climbing up the ladder but being caught by the zombie. The zombie then grabs her leg and pulls her down and starts to kill her. I don't have any weapons but i pull out my mobile phone and take a picture and then i jump down from the top floor and run to help her.... but it's too late.

Ill spare more of the fang podcast dominance (tm) and try to clarify my emails a bit here.

I agree with Rabbit (sorry Ely) that the gamer demographic has broadened to a point to support many thriving and distinct audiences. I do think, however, that the WASD controls wide acceptance among gamers like us is evidence that we are the avant garde that Elysium was talking about. The dilemna is, have gamers like us become too avante garde so that we are nothing more than the well reflexed, never satisfied fringe?
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I feel Nintendo is recouping its audience that it lost when migrating from the NES and SNES to the N64. A huge segment of NES fanatics didn't follow Nintendo to 3D graphics and the new more complex controllers such as the N64's (6 buttons, a trigger, 2 shoulder buttons, an analog thumb stick and a d-pad) and the psx dual shock (2 analog sticks, d-pad, 4 buttons, 4 shoulder buttons).

To this segment of NES gamers, the 3D graphics looked worse than current 2D visuals and it offered unwanted more complex gameplay. So the Wii offers this group much simpler controls and much simpler if not essentially 2D gameplay.
-------
Titan Quest is a perfect example of a near complete Diablo 2 clone that completely misses the mark. (yet still is a good game) Titan Quest and the myriad of action rpg clones before it have nailed the brawler and loot grab aspects of Diablo 2. However, they forgot that Diablo 2 is an arcade game and post level 20, Diablo 2 is a standoff or hit and run shooter. That means that the clones only got 20% of the game right since the level cap in Diablo 2 is 99.

Hellgate London will capture the magic of Diablo 2 because it nails the atmosphere and its 80% or more shooter and 20% or less brawler.
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The topic of the week is fantastic.

I think the key to the difference between games and other media is its addictive nature and its complete demand of more senses. Video games are more addicting so if the marketing is successful, they've really got you for 15-20 hours at least. So word of mouth is a much better value with video games.

Movies require your sight and hearing for at best 3 hours. Music is shorter at ~70 minutes but has even more longevity than video games. A good album is still classic after decades, yet it only requires you to listen and often accompanies other activities. Video games demand your sight hearing and physical input for 5 hours a day for 3-4 days or months or years.

So the reason the trio of journalists, developers and fans are more intertwined is we are all much more involved and the time is much more valuable.

That beginning was beautiful. You can tell it's a sweeps month for GWJ.

fangblackbone wrote:
Titan Quest is a perfect example of a near complete Diablo 2 clone that completely misses the mark. (yet still is a good game) Titan Quest and the myriad of action rpg clones before it have nailed the brawler and loot grab aspects of Diablo 2. However, they forgot that Diablo 2 is an arcade game and post level 20, Diablo 2 is a standoff or hit and run shooter. That means that the clones only got 20% of the game right since the level cap in Diablo 2 is 99.
.

I'd argue against this because TQ was impossible as a brawler past level 25-ish (depending on your build) and became a stand-off and lure type of game... which i think is what you're alluding to in this "hit and run shooter" description?

[edit] The site is getting really screwy... are we going to see an unveiling of new features? Or is it just a server going down syndrome?

BioShock is a perfect example of why ignoring all hype is important.

One of the biggest complaints is how the "moral choices" don't live up to what was said before the game launched. That's only a disappointment if you sit there and gobble up the hype being shoveled out.

If you treat every game like a Peter Molyneaux game, you get to avoid a lot of complaints that aren't really complaint about the game itself, but complaints about exceptionally high expectations that weren't met.

*Legion* wrote:
BioShock is a perfect example of why ignoring all hype is important.

One of the biggest complaints is how the "moral choices" don't live up to what was said before the game launched. That's only a disappointment if you sit there and gobble up the hype being shoveled out.

If you treat every game like a Peter Molyneaux game, you get to avoid a lot of complaints that aren't really complaint about the game itself, but complaints about exceptionally high expectations that weren't met.


Expectations are utterly useless and I do everything I can to avoid having them. Well said.

All right, I think I missed it-- what was the suprise?

The only hype I gobbled up on this game was one of the Levine demo reels where he narrates a gameplay sequence and talks about how the game is such a kick ass shooter. I didn't really believe him at the time and I still don't after playing most of the game.

The game has fabulous presentation and superb production values, but it's hit and miss (so to speak) as a pure shooter IMHO. It really wants you to play with a certain mindset, and the game works very very hard to get you into that mindset. In this way it's an unqualified success, because it made me play the game in a way that does not fit my normal style.

I guess Gabe Newell has my willpower. That's probably appropriate since I will happily repurchase HL2 and HL2:EP1 to get to HL2:EP2, TF2, and Portal. Unless Steam lets me only buy the new stuff. Has it ever been officially confirmed that online purchases don't come packaged with the older stuff?

Is there ever a point when a fan community goes to far? I wonder at what point do the developers just pull the plug and let the bowl refill? Normally Community Managers try and jump in and do dmg control, but i wonder if it ever gets beyond what a CM can do?

If you've been on the AoC official forums lately you can see it getting ugly in there.

Great intro and I loved the topic of the week - top choice, Rabbit. It was a long and well rounded discussion of the issue, but if anything I'd like to hear or read more from you guys on it. From my casual fan point-of-view the unholy trinity can really only exist because of the unprofessionalism of the gaming press.

For my gaming news I usually just head straight for places like Kotaku, Evil Avatar and the GWJ forums and get a feel for what others are talking about. I don't regard them as news sites, and admittedly, a lot of the comments on Kotaku and EvAv are pure bilge, but they help provide the news with a context, something that's lacking in the "professional" gaming press.

I think it was Elysium in the podcast who mentioned journalist integrity and pointed out just how rare it was to find a good case of gaming journalism and this is sadly all too true. So many of the major games news sites breathlessly regurgitate the games publishers' fluff that they have become little more than cogs in the PR machine. They also lack editorial integrity in that don't keep themselves at arm's length from their subject. Hosting a developer's blog on a website that's ostensibly about reporting on that person's work is surely a conflict of interest. The occasional opinion piece from a developer, sure, but to have a periodically updated gushing on how cool their upcoming game is going to be? Nice.

I think this lack of professional reportage is what gives rabid fanboys the influence that you guys talked about in the podcast: when the vocal minority is the only/main source of criticism, the feedback to the developers and publishers will of course be unbalanced, the insecure among whom will be negatively influenced while the others will be dismissive and stop listening.

It's called the Fourth Estate for a reason, I think it's time the game press stepped up and acted like it.

I was hating on Cubs fans long before it was cool!

So it's hard to be a games journalist? And here I was just avoiding it because a nick like "Wordsmythe" seemed too pretentious for journalism.

Realism: I think maybe that realism is better when the game's setting is such that you can't expect to have the experiences in your normal life. If Guitar Hero was completely realistic, I'd feel a lot lamer not just buying a guitar. But realism in a shooter is more important, because I don't get many chances to run around shooting people. I guess it comes down to a necessary element of the fantastic in any game if there's going to be any fun. If the setting is mundane, you need to have something above and beyond reality in the gameplay or physics. If the gameplay is completely realistic, you're going to need things going on in the story and setting that are above and beyond daily life. So ultimately, there's a need for some reality so that we as players can relate to the game, but if the game is entirely based on mundane life, those silly enough to buy it are just going to end up feeling silly for sitting on their couch, virtually waking up, making coffee, showering, scowling at the reflection of their naked body, etc.

And here I was just avoiding it because a nick like "Wordsmythe" seemed too pretentious for journalism.

I'm named for a version of eternal joy and heavenly bliss. You got nothing on pretentious.

Oh, I've got plenty on pretentious.

Continuing with the 'cast: PC Gamer? "O, what a noble mind is here o'erthrown!"

Also, I made a new thread about some thoughts I had when hearing about the NMA discussion in this week's podcast. It's over here.

More Canadians DAMN IT! That's what makes this cast the best.

Seriously....you talk about fan sites and fans who still live in a basement aka Social Misfit. You failed to mention that a lot of them have some great folks on them and how awesome it is to get together with them in "Meat Space" occasionally and just game. Maybe you get more of that feel from the Euro-gamers side and not so much from video games. Board gaming/RPG is about the social experience. I don't get that from my Atari 2600.

-Bad Chris

Yay Bad Chris! Join the dark side my friend! It's so much nicer up here, eh!

Bad Chris wrote:
More Canadians DAMN IT! That's what makes this cast the best.

Seriously....you talk about fan sites and fans who still live in a basement aka Social Misfit. You failed to mention that a lot of them have some great folks on them and how awesome it is to get together with them in "Meat Space" occasionally and just game. Maybe you get more of that feel from the Euro-gamers side and not so much from video games. Board gaming/RPG is about the social experience. I don't get that from my Atari 2600.


I thought they noted more than once that the majority of NMA members were decent, rational people.

Gaald wrote:
Yay Bad Chris! Join the dark side my friend! It's so much nicer up here, eh! :)

What isn't gaming and partying with you dark side enough?

Thanks guys for going back into my dream topic and giving me credit after a guy that rhymes with Tertis was so smug when I emailed it in. Usually it's a beat down for the old Braehole. But not this week, not this week....

The intro was a fresh, funny piece Certis. Nice Job.

I agreed with you on not talking about Titan Quest much. I watched a guy at work off and on for about 6 hours a day all week. Nothing changed from day one to day six. He was still doing the same thing over and over again. . Back in the day they were fun but now you have to bring way more to the table to make me happy, like having something fresh added in to the mix.