GWJ Conference Call Episode 56

Conference Call

The Witcher, Ratchet & Clank Future, Guitar Hero 3, Conan, Scary Games!, A Special Halloween Treat, The Rock Band Contest Winner, Your Emails and more!

Welcome to a spooktacular Conference Call this week as we celebrate Halloween in style! We have a special treat for our faithful listeners penned by our own Karla "Brennil" Andrich, some music by Jonathan Coulton and our contest winner in the "Name Our Band" contest! Get to downloading!

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.

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Show credits

Music credits: 

Intro/Outro Music - Ian Dorsch, Willowtree Audioworks

"Re: Your Brains" - Thing A Week Two (Jonathan Coulton) - 0:33:12
"Bloom Fugue" - Provenance (Ade lun sec) - 0:53:30

Comments

Fatal Frame 2 on the Xbox in first person mode scared the crap out of me a couple of times. I never finished it though.

7th guest had some reall creepy moments.

I know the "Feeling lonely?" gets tired and repetative, but you can't say it didnt get ya the first few times.

I'm south of Mason Dixon. We just have nothing worth writing about.

Alien Love Gardener wrote:

Scariest game? Thief. At least before yuo get the hang of the system. The terror of a guard, and probably certain death, getting closer and closer was like nothing else.

I totally agree. Much like the guys were talking about in the podcast, atmosphere can make even a dated game creepy as hell. The Thief games had me on the edge of my seat as I sat in the shadows waiting to make my move. I felt as though I was in the game, crouched and waiting with baited breath to move ahead undetected. The feeling was deliciously intense. (Bonus points to Thief's "soundtrack". I put it in quotes because the music was so ambient that it just blended in with the whole setting [i.e. it didn't have standard music composition structure]...man I wish I could get a copy of that soundtrack.).

I notice that the Resident Evil series comes up a lot when talking about scary games, and quite honestly they lost their scare factor for me pretty early on. Yes, I jumped out of my chair when the dog jumped through the window in RE1. But beyond those few "closet monster moments" the games always struck me as too over the top in character design to draw any kind of real emotional fear response from me. Sitting and watching a person morph into a 15 foot monster was interesting in a John Carpenter's 'The Thing' kind of way, but it never made me scream in horror. As such, the unrealistic & fantastical nature of the cast detached me from any real sense of danger, doom and dread. It's like the more outrageous a situation/character is, the less scary it is, because it's so unbelievable. The RE series is awesome but it feels more like playing an action game than anything else, if that makes sense.

Conversely, I'm surprised that Condemned wasn't mentioned in the podcast. Even though it had a supernatural nature, the characters and environments were rooted enough in reality that I was able to be emotionally drawn into the setting. As mentioned above, that all-important atmosphere was so thick in Condemned that I was helplessly captive and on edge though most of the game. I think the sound design did a lot to creep me out in Condemned also...it was just perfect, imo. It seems as though hearing things up ahead that you can't see yet can be more frightening than the actual confrontation. Finally, thinking of water-cooler moments like the department store manikins quietly surrounding me, the high-school gym locker room body, and the basement of the farm house still give me the willies just thinking about them.

Bring on Condemned 2!

EDIT:

That RE sketch was hilarious. I love how it 'broke the 4th wall' between games and gamers. Great stuff.

Rob is my Accordion Hero!

IMAGE(http://www.gamesetwatch.com/ahero.jpg)

There is a reason for jabbing the needle in your arm in Bioshock, it just takes the whole game to find out why. That's all I'm saying.

Edit: I had to play through the beginning again and I was wrong! BIOSHOCK SUCKS!

zeroKFE wrote:

In Halo 1 and 2 you would just have a one or two second hiccup when passing from one area to the next, but in Halo 3 the decided to give you a little piece of backstory each time they needed to load.

Wow, I think I would've preferred a loading screen. At least then I'd understand why I was being slowed down instead of just getting pissed off.

They only mentioned Silent Hill for the nurses (was this referencing the movie or the games?), but I recommend Silent Hill 2 for the scariest game. I got the game for cheap (buy 2 greatest hits, get one free) and knew almost nothing about the Silent Hill series. I was expecting a Resident Evil clone where I would be some sort of cop or soldier running around shooting zombies, but what I got was one of the creepiest games ever. I was freaked from the start of the game when you are walking down the dirt path in the fog, you can hear a second set of footsteps, but when you stop, they stop. I was totally expecting something to jump out from the fog. I could go on forever about how great this game is, but I won't . The only thing that is annoying is the combat feels kind of clumsy, but it is well worth the slight frustration to experience this game.

Edwin wrote:

I'm south of Mason Dixon. We just have nothing worth writing about.

Basically, the canucks talk too much. Shut up and play!

Aaron D. wrote:
Alien Love Gardener wrote:

Scariest game? Thief. At least before yuo get the hang of the system. The terror of a guard, and probably certain death, getting closer and closer was like nothing else.

I totally agree. Much like the guys were talking about in the podcast, atmosphere can make even a dated game creepy as hell. The Thief games had me on the edge of my seat as I sat in the shadows waiting to make my move. I felt as though I was in the game, crouched and waiting with baited breath to move ahead undetected. The feeling was deliciously intense. (Bonus points to Thief's "soundtrack". I put it in quotes because the music was so ambient that it just blended in with the whole setting [i.e. it didn't have standard music composition structure]...man I wish I could get a copy of that soundtrack.).

Agreed. But then I would, I'm a massive fan of Looking Glass in general, and Thief in particular. There's a bit in Cragscleft Prison where the some drums start kicking in that sends shivers down my spine every time.

You can get the score to Deadly Shadows here, as well as some of the industrial music used for some videos in Thief 1 & 2 and various fan mixes. If you want the ambient stuff from the first two, you'll have to go digging in the sound.crf files. Which isn't as hard as it sounds, they're just renamed zip files, so winrar or winzip should manage just fine.

I really liked some of my band names:

Gamers With Chops
Big Daddy And The Companion Cubes
Red Swingline

Scary games: Resident Evil is good for some "cheap" scares, but they are going for a b-movie vibe so just plain scary isn't what it's best at. On the other hand, parts of Eternal Darkness and Fatal Frame got me too.

But I'm surprised nobody has mentioned Rule Of Rose. It was just mediocre as far as being a "game," per se; but they really put together an upsetting, frightening story. (Then again, maybe everybody knew better than to play Rule Of Rose... why I've found time for that but haven't opened any of the four Silent Hill games sitting on my shelf, I don't know.)

Alien Love Gardener wrote:

You can get the score to Deadly Shadows here, as well as some of the industrial music used for some videos in Thief 1 & 2 and various fan mixes. If you want the ambient stuff from the first two, you'll have to go digging in the sound.crf files. Which isn't as hard as it sounds, they're just renamed zip files, so winrar or winzip should manage just fine.

Oh man, you rock.

IMAGE(http://www.scrutinyhooligans.us/wp-content/uploads/2007/04/happy-dance.gif)

Thanks a 1,000,000!

Siren is a pretty scary game. It's a stealth survival horror game. I could hardly play it because it's scary and it's hard.

The scariest games that I played were Thief 1 and Stalker. Oh and I'm from the South, Arkansas

Rob really nailed the interval sketch. Kudos to you sir.
Certis: Stay away from fire. (At least you're man enough to admit it!)

I don't know about scariest game ever, but Bioshock definitely had its moments.

Bioshock Spoiler wrote:

[color=white]Like when you get the shotgun for the first time.
Granted they were basically scripted pieces, or monster closets, and eventually I expected the worst every time I got a new power or weapon, but it definitely created tension and kept me on edge. I think judicious use of the monster closets helps, overuse kills the effect quickly.[/color]

I can't really comment on horror games. I just hate feeling fear. Period. Horror games give me a lot of anxiety because I'm expecting the big scare at any minute. It actually prevents me from playing. And I feel no enjoyment when a "BOO!" senario makes me scream.

Alien Love Gardener wrote:

Also, I just finished Bioshock for the first time, on hard. Take that you wusses! :p You can hardly complain about the game being too hard when it gives you free infinite respawns everywhere, although I only used them a couple of times.

This is why I can't call Bioshock the scariest game all time. There was no tension because you literally can't lose. Why should you be afraid of anything when nothing bad can possibly happen to you?

Rat Boy wrote:

This is why I can't call Bioshock the scariest game all time. There was no tension because you literally can't lose. Why should you be afraid of anything when nothing bad can possibly happen to you?

While it certainly wasn't the scariest game of all time. I thought the tension was great in the game only because I refused to use the respawn chambers. Which meant if I died I had to go back to the last save, and sometimes if I was really into the game I would find myself in a bad spot only to realized I hadn't saved in a while. It was awesome.

Gaald wrote:

While it certainly wasn't the scariest game of all time. I thought the tension was great in the game only because I refused to use the respawn chambers. Which meant if I died I had to go back to the last save, and sometimes if I was really into the game I would find myself in a bad spot only to realized I hadn't saved in a while. It was awesome.

Yeah, but you're doing it, not the game. This was one of the main reasons why BioShock failed to resonate that well with me. The set-up they had for the SS2 version of the Vita-Chamber was so much better; you had to first find the things (if you didn't you were permanently dead), you had to pay nanites to use it (if you were broke, you also permanently died), and when you came out of it, you had only one health point. That added tension, it added a sense of virtual danger. With Bioshock, you could recklessly charge at a Big Daddy, die, respawn, and repeat until he was dead. It's almost like running around in the original Doom with God Mode on or being Tom Brady and the New England Patriots.

While it certainly wasn't the scariest game of all time. I thought the tension was great in the game only because I refused to use the respawn chambers. Which meant if I died I had to go back to the last save, and sometimes if I was really into the game I would find myself in a bad spot only to realized I hadn't saved in a while. It was awesome

I did the same thing. The chambers felt like cheating.

Yeah, but you're doing it, not the game. This was one of the main reasons why BioShock failed to resonate that well with me.

Well... you could have done it too.

Gaald wrote:
Rat Boy wrote:

This is why I can't call Bioshock the scariest game all time. There was no tension because you literally can't lose. Why should you be afraid of anything when nothing bad can possibly happen to you?

While it certainly wasn't the scariest game of all time. I thought the tension was great in the game only because I refused to use the respawn chambers. Which meant if I died I had to go back to the last save, and sometimes if I was really into the game I would find myself in a bad spot only to realized I hadn't saved in a while. It was awesome.

I did the same and really enjoyed it.

Never understood that argument.. the Respawn chambers are really nothing more than quick save/quick reload. It didnt detract in the slightest to me.. just saved me the time reloading all the time.

Woo! I'm famous among GWJ podcaster listeners...eh, it's a start. Did I get the gig?

I'm a bad judge of scary things. The only horror movie that has ever scared me was the first Alien, every other one makes me pee with laughter. I've been thrown out of movie theaters for laughing so hard. I LOVE the Hellraisers, but they don't scare me at all.
Most 'scary' video games just frustrate me with controls so I don't play them for long. I did really love Alone in the Dark, though.

As for a game mash-up, I'd love to see a well done MMO Battletech game that can actually make the various types of mech sizes and loadouts useful for different situations. 24-hour maps with faction based equipment and repairs and such. Just take any of the battletech muxes out there and make it a 3d game, that's all I ask.

TheGameguru wrote:

Never understood that argument.. the Respawn chambers are really nothing more than quick save/quick reload. It didnt detract in the slightest to me.. just saved me the time reloading all the time.

But the damage you inflicted to enemies before death never resets. The game doesn't force you to develop a strategy. When fighting a Big Daddy, you can just unload your ammo and respawn until his life bar is depleted. Doing a reload yourself adds to the challenge. I'd rather learn to engage a Big Daddy and defeat him without dying continuously. That would save players a lot more time and ammo.

TheGameguru wrote:

Never understood that argument.. the Respawn chambers are really nothing more than quick save/quick reload.

If the enemies healed as well, I'd agree with you, but they don't, so it's even more of a blatant "I WIN!" thing than quicksave/quickload spamming.

I much preferred the System Shock games' approach as well, and the overall waltz down easy street annoyed me in general. It sucked most of the tension out of it for me.

But I should really go dig up a spoiler thread for tnis.

Mystic Violet wrote:
TheGameguru wrote:

Never understood that argument.. the Respawn chambers are really nothing more than quick save/quick reload. It didnt detract in the slightest to me.. just saved me the time reloading all the time.

But the damage you inflicted to enemies before death never resets. The game doesn't force you to develop a strategy. When fighting a Big Daddy, you can just unload your ammo and respawn until his life bar is depleted. Doing a reload yourself adds to the challenge. I'd rather learn to engage a Big Daddy and defeat him without dying continuously. That would save players a lot more time and ammo. :D

Then your probably running out of ammo... I mean sure you could pummel a big daddy with your wrench eventually but man I'd have given up and probably played something else doing that over and over.. that would have been deadly dull.

I'm different though.. I never feel that games "force" me to do things.. If I felt a particular strategy was to cheesy I simply just ignored it.. I never feel compelled to do that strategy simply because the game allowed me to do it.

But then I rarely take the easy way out in most aspect of RL as well.

Much like the CoC, I blatantly ignored the rules of the contest. Do the losing entrants retain the rights to their names? If not, then you and your bourgeoisie lawyer friends can riot. We're Death Star and the f*cking Kidney Stones!

My mash-up idea I've wanted to see for a while: a Dungeon Keeper-esque multiplayer game wherein one player takes on the role of a Dungeon Master-style figure and play a lite RTS, while all the other players comprise a team of heroes and essentially are playing a first-person shooter. In other words, it's a co-op FPS game, but with a human building and controlling the baddies. Obviously, there would need to be some limitations on the God-player to prevent turtling, etc - perhaps a World in Conflict style of building would work best, and the player characters have to be slowed down in their goals otherwise it'd be an easy win.

It sounds almost like Left 4 Dead is going to be a step in this direction, with the zombie players being rather weak but having much more information than the human players.

(Edit: Ack, sorry about the double post.)

Certis, if you really liked the kind of turn-based squad tactics on display in the new Warhammer game, you might want to take a look at the original Jagged Alliance series, or even Silent Storm. They've did the "X-com at the next level", including deciding if you want to spend more action points perfecting your aim, although not using futuristic weaponary.