Conference Call

GWJ Conference Call Episode 59

Assassin's Creed, Mass Effect, Mario Galaxy, Reviewing Games, Special Guest Michael Zenke from Games.Slashdot.Org, Your Emails and more!

This week Michael Zenke joins us with full, spoiler-free impressions of Mass Effect. Dousing the hype a bit, Michael fills us in on what's not so hot, what's good and what's great about Bioware's latest. He also offers hot tips for new players! We even have a special visit from Karla to talk about Assassin's Creed and Mario Galaxy coop. Let us friend you up. 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

"All That She Remembers" - Apoplexia (Benoit Casey) - 0:55:56
"Sunflower" - Zoo (Workbench) - - 1:30:09


Nice look on Assassin's Creed and Mass Effect. Having the guests on for those two games was really nice simply because it gives us the listener a different outlook on the game. The difference from the normal outlooks we hear and tend to anticipate from the normal group was refreshing.

So you can't get Rock Band in Canada. How far are you from the border? Do you have an up to date Canadian passport? Seriously if you are fiending that bad for a game then get it in the US. Or you could have someone in the US get the game and then FedEx it to you. Perhaps someone on the show or a friend of the show?

A review is an opinion as stated. A good review however covers the good and the bad in the same review. A lopsided viewpoint is also a bad review. A fact is that bad things are always remembered and are easy to state as they stick in our minds however good things are seldom acknowledged. We are a negative society and hence reviews will be more negatively based. That's just the way it is and at least here I don't believe it is necessarily the fault of the reviewer. We just need to make certain to give good points their due if there are good points.

You know bringing up the scoring system in the podcast is going to bring about another rather large thread for or against them. So for those that feel a need to chime in on that again please go to the original thread on the matter. (I can't seem to find that damn thing and BTW I vote for a 6 point system. heheh..)

Game of the Year... I would actually say World in Conflict but that's just me. UT3 just came out so I can't make my final decision on it but WiC would still in the top five.

And that's all I have to say. Good to go. *que music "I want to friend you up..." aye*

Star Bit B*tch

This is awesome. I need to give my husband this title.

On the 5 point scale I give this pod cast... Ahh screw it have fun with the 10 point scale. Screw "the review score hydra"!

You may insert the Certis score here - 2 Stars Bitches - Certis

You teases! *cries*

Awesome show, as per usual. I've occasionally played star bit bitch for my roommate, but it seems like I distract him more than I help.

Matt Perry would probably play me in the goodjer movie.

I intend to douchebag proof my home.
I will post signs saying any douchebags will be shot on sight.

Special note: "I Want to Friend You Up" will be the first single off of Interrobang's upcoming album.

"GWJ: New Games Journalism Since (year)"

I believe that Halo 3 game of the year awards will be a new low for the journalism industry. Consider them a scarlet letter, identifying only the most myopic collection of money-hatted hacks... But yeah, you said that already.

Certis, did your wife say "shank" and "blood spray"? How could you resist that? I'm surprised you were able to continue the podcast. You have an iron will.

Michael, thanks so much for the "wish I had known before" facts about Mass Effect. Excellent contribution to my eventual purchase of the game.

I've got an email brewing. Be forewarned.

Penny-Arcade has hailed the new Warhammer 40,000 demo for PSP as a sign of the second coming of X-Com.

Startopia was good, but unfinished. It was from Mucky Foot, the Bullfrog guys who left EA after EA ate Bullfrog. Some of the rooms in Startopia didn't do anything or contribute to the game, which is disappointing. It could really have been great, and the multiplayer was too binary. Either someone was dominating or not. I miss Dungeon Keeper and its sequel.

A sim I'd want to see remade? SimCopter. I have a thing about helicopters. I'd totally buy a Sim Copter remake on the PSN, even if it was remade as a Space Taxi-like clone. Zip around in 3D, do fire fighting missions, police missions, taxi missions, could be a really fun timewaster.

I liked the discussion about game reviews. I think reviews combine the objective and the subjective.

The discussion of The Witcher was illustrative. It was apparent to me that Certis and souldaddy both had the same experience, they just evaluated the experience differently.

Therefore, good critiques combine an accurate description of how a game works and how it plays, along with a subjective evaluation of how the reviewer feels about the experience.

Edge's experiment on review scores was interesting some years back. They gave the same game to several of their own reviewers and published all of the separate reviews. The game got a wildly varying score. All of the reviews sounded as valid as the next, depending on what the reviewer was concentrating on.

Ah well. I guess the teenagers just can't get over the idea that a videogame is a technical product which can be measured on a scale by an objective reviewer. GWJ's "perspectives" is the way to go in my opinion: just say what you think, whatever it is the game has sparked in you (or not), no need to go through a checklist (graphics, sound, music, AI, UI, minor niggels, story, writing...).

Certis wrote:

So if you want to meet some 13 year olds, you know here to go.


The lack of douche baggery and the resistance to it are what make me love GWJ so damn much. Not only do Certis, Ely, and the rest of the bridge crew do a good job of weeding them out, our members do a pretty damn good job too.

Here's a great example:

Two weeks ago was my first ever Zombie Skate. We were having a blast, but someone had to take off and left us with an open spot. A friend of a friend of one of the players was invited and greeted us all with a "Wassup homos*". No a lot of people said hullo back. A few rounds pass, we're back in the lobby, and dude says something just as derogatory. Danjo immediately says "OK, this dude has to go. Like now." and he was kicked.

* "Totally gay for the game"? Really guys? Cummon, you're better'n that.

* "Totally gay for the game"? Really guys? Cummon, you're better'n that.

That was Rob! I'll give you his home address and you can punch him in the teeth.

Certis wrote:
* "Totally gay for the game"? Really guys? Cummon, you're better'n that.

That was Rob! I'll give you his home address and you can punch him in the teeth.

[EDIT]: On re-read, my line wasn't nearly as funny as I thought.

Hmm... a punch might be a bit too much. How's about I drop off an unmarked copy of "The Best of The New Kids on the Block" instead? More pain, less physical damage

I think Rob meant gay as in happy, because that's what he was for the game.

I had to chuckle when Michael mentioned SimTower. Just a few hours prior to listening to the podcast I had reinstalled my copy of SimTower on my son's old PC. I think it still holds up pretty well for a Sim* type game....

Evil Genius was awesome. I loved it much better than Startopia. Granted I never played Dungeon Keeper or it's sequel.

Elysium: I hope your massive moneyhat crushes your big, bloated smug arse. o9 o9 o9

I hope so too. That would be a great moneyhat.

I also enjoyed the discussion on game reviews. I like the way we do it here. Upon finishing a read I can tell whether the game is worth checking out or not just by the tone you guys take. All I care about is whether or not the game is worth my time, not scores.

One re-make I'm supprised no one mentioned was Resident Evil for the Gamecube. Capcom upped the graphics, added new gameplay elements, and build on the origional level layout. I guess you could say:

Tomb Raider is to Tomb Raider Anniversary as Resident Evil(PS1) is to Resident Evil(GC).

Infinity wrote:

Penny-Arcade has hailed the new Warhammer 40,000 demo for PSP as a sign of the second coming of X-Com.

I followed that link - where it attributes Sean of GWJ saying "it's the next logical step of X-Com". It does mention the Penny Arcade blurb about it but they make no mention of X-Com.

This all ends up being very self-referrential. In a good way I guess.