GWJ Conference Call Episode 71

Conference Call

Sins of a Solar Empire, Devil May Cry 4, Poker Smash, Panzer Tactics, EA Admits They're ... Wrong?, The John Denver Of The Gaming Industry, Your Emails and more!

This week Shawn, Elysium and Julian ponder the gaming industry and whether or not the creators will ever stand up for their games in the media. We also talk a little about EA's John Riccitello and his tasty serving of humble pie.

This Saturday we're going to try doing a live recording through Ustream at 7PM CST. If you want a taste of a live recording, or a total train wreck, be sure to keep an eye on the front page this Friday for more info!

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.

  • Subscribe with iTunes
  • Subscribe with RSS
  • Subscribe with Yahoo!
Download the official apps
  • Download the GWJ Conference Call app for Android
  • Download the GWJ Conference Call app for Android

Show credits

Music credits: 

Intro/Outro Music - Ian Dorsch, Willowtree
Audioworks

"Impeller" Ian Dorsch - 0:59:50
Special thanks to Tannhauser for the audio to his TF2 Video!

Comments

Right. Like I want to sit around and watch a gaming podcast on Saturday night. I've got a hot date that night ... a date that night ... dinner with friends ... dinner alone ... watching TV alone ... Alright! I'm gonna sit at home and ogle the ladies in the Victoria's Secret catalogue.

McChuck wrote:

Right. Like I want to sit around and watch a gaming podcast on Saturday night. I've got a hot date that night ... a date that night ... dinner with friends ... dinner alone ... watching TV alone ... Alright! I'm gonna sit at home and ogle the ladies in the Victoria's Secret catalogue.

This is killing me, I can't find a clip of that scene in the "Who Shot Mr. Burns Part 2" episode.

-40 Celsius is the same as -40 Fahrenheit.

I couldn't leave it unsaid, I'm sorry.

McChuck wrote:

Right. Like I want to sit around and watch a gaming podcast on Saturday night. I've got a hot date that night ... a date that night ... dinner with friends ... dinner alone ... watching TV alone ... Alright! I'm gonna sit at home and ogle the ladies in the Victoria's Secret catalogue.

Sears catalogue!

pneuman wrote:

Sears catalogue!

Ding!

The fundamental games PR problem is that we are fighting an entrenched stereotype. The assumption is that games are for kids, kids shouldn't play violent games, ergo violent games should be banned.

I think that the problem is partly just ignorance, but the other issue is that games don't really fit into existing recognisable paradigms. The closest cousin to games the media have are probably films; there's a narrative-based experience, and many games developers have recognizably been going down the cinematic route for a while. But films are a very misleading analogy if you try to look at games from an artistic validation point of view. Films are easily partitioned into different genres of maturity, and the difference between an arthouse movie and a big budget popcorn movie are easily grasped by even cursory glances of movies as an artform. Games, I think, are harder to analyse, because even the game equivalents of the arthouse films have lots of the features of the popcorn movies. So if you look at BioShock, for example, for all the objectivist background story the most common gameplay is not fundamentally different from a popcorn game like Gears or Doom: you are still shooting guns at baddies most of the time and glorying in the slaughter. The same is true of Mass Effect, Assassin's Creed and so on. Now, obviously, BioShock would have been a very dull game with no combat (but you could imagine a SCUMM point and click adventure set in Rapture released 12 years ago), but it makes it harder to make a case for games "growing up" in any sense since games genres just work differently from film genres by dint of the fact that they need to be interactive and exciting.

I'm not calling for games to change here, it's a perception issue and The Establishment needs to learn how to place games within the media spectrum. Ordinary people (I suppose I'm thinking of Joe Six-Pack here) aren't though worse of for watching the latest Michael Bay blockbuster in the way that they might be if a neighbour found them playing a lowbrowish violent video game, even though they have identical artistic merit from a "art" POV. It seems that they'd view it the same was as if they'd been found playing with his kid's toys. Until Joe Six-Pack plays games without being embarrassed about it, the Fox Newses of this world will always be able to get mileage out of this issue.

There's also a sneaky thought I've just had: Murdoch (Rupert, not Julian) doesn't have any computer game interests does he? Maybe that's the reason they go after games and not films all the time.

Dr_Awkward wrote:
pneuman wrote:

Sears catalogue!

Ding!

D'oh! I can't believe I forgot that.

I might want to mention this tip, since the problem was just mentioned in the podcast regarding EA Download Manager and its limited downloading time. What I've done with this program (and the EA Link one before it) is to download the program, let it decrypt but before you go to click the install button just go to the folder where you installed the Download Manager in the first place. I can't remember if its a separate folder to the downloader itself or merely a subfolder within, but it's a folder with a randomly generated name. In there you will find all the files necessary to install your downloaded purchase at any time. Merely copy them elsewhere, and use them again whenever you'd like. As if you copied them locally right off a purchased CD.

I've done this with two BF2 expansions, the BF2142 expansion and Hellgate: London. I download, decrypt, copy elsewhere and burn them off. Every other time I've needed to format and reinstall these games, I use the CD backups I've made and do not need to depend on the Download Manager or the limited download window for my purchased games whatsoever (unless it's required for playing like Hellgate in single player mode).

Hope this helps!

I think they nailed the idea on how the Videogame industry needs to take itself more seriously. But in another way, they kind of need to take things less seriously too.

There seems to be this attitude that prevails on the pro-game side that it's a sign of weakness if anyone agrees that certain issues bear serious discussion. It's like people think that agreeing to discuss the points that Jack Thompson brings up beyond ad-hominem attacks means you're conceding that he's right. Ironically, by being defensive, the perception by the likes of Jack Thompson is that pro-gamers are conceding his arguments, because they won't discuss them.

There's a difference between engaging an argument and conceding it. Reasonable people can disagree, and the only way to hash out differences is through serious discussion, which will expose unreasonable people for what they are, and will lead to a more satisfactory solution for people who are reasonable. Once the videogame industry realizes this and steps up to defend themselves, we'll have our "John Denver Moment."

Son of a... apparently my office decided to block libsyn sometime between last Wednesday and today (they were already blocking all the other download options before). Now I have to wait a whole 6 more hours before I can listen to the podcast. It's JUST NOT FAIR!

FUD - Fear, Uncertainty and Doubt

Get thee to a corporate environment as quickly as possible!

Re: EALink

In the root of your c:\ there is a hidden folder called ProgramData that holds all the executibles from EALink. Just turn on the option to show hidden folders and copy the installer data. That's how I backed up my Northern Strike install.

In case the listener doesn't read the forum it might be worth mentioning on the show.

Edwin wrote:

Re: EALink

In the root of your c: there is a hidden folder called ProgramData that holds all the executibles from EALink. Just turn on the option to show hidden folders and copy the installer data. That's how I backed up my Northern Strike install.

In case the listener doesn't read the forum it might be worth mentioning on the show.

Sorry yes, thanks for the clarification to my post above. I hadn't done it since October so I had forgotten where the files were downloaded.

Poker Smash is actually a new skin on a very excellent Nintendo puzzle game series that has been around since the SNES days, and is generally referred to as "Puzzle League" these days. Poker Smash changes the game from a color matching to a card matching mechanic, but other than that it is the same game. So if you want to play the game on different platforms, here what to look for:

Tetris Attack on the SNES
Pokemon Puzzle League on the N64
Nintendo Puzzle Collection for the GC (only in Japan)
Dr. Mario and Puzzle League for the GBA
Planet Puzzle League for the DS

Obviously, Planet Puzzle League is probably going to be the easiest to find and (as it is the latest iteration in the series) has the most refined version of the gameplay. Also, as you guessed, the game is wonderful to play with the stylus and is in all ways perfectly suited to the DS format.

Hey Certis,

Around 25 minutes in, you mention that you were going to drop a link to Bill Harris's Armageddon Empires starting guide. Apparently you were even going to make a note of it!

Also, I really enjoyed the full advert for "Rob's Rage Pills". Came at the right point of the day for me, as I was busy stressing with a Fedex delivery and a slowly evaporating box of dry ice. Ironically, the advert for the Rage Pills served to calm me down. Keep up with the podcast, and you should really get your corporate overlord, Jeff Green, back on the show.

Count me among the fervent lovers of Armageddon Empires, it's the only thing I've been playing all week, outside of web-games. (You can get Bill Harris' five-part guide that our FUD-spreading CEO lied about linking to in the podcast here, here, here, here and here. And a demo is here.)

While rabbit is right in saying luck plays a part in it, I've never really felt that I've been irrevokably shafted by the dice rolls. If I attack when my forces have a distinct advantage, I know I'm going to win, although not with what marigin. It's not unfair; the only times I've been left cursing the dice so far is when the forces have been pretty evenly matched. The card drawing is the part where you can really get cursing, but then anyone who's played magic knows that building versitile decks is an essential skill in any card game. You can always massage the odds in your favour.

Around 25 minutes in, you mention that you were going to drop a link to Bill Harris's Armageddon Empires starting guide. Apparently you were even going to make a note of it!

I'm making a note here huge success.

I think that in addition to the actions you guys stated that needed to happen, there needs to be some battles lost or blood spilt. We can't win a war of attrition by continually ceding territory before the main stream media asks for it.

Keighly's appearance is a start. He remained calm and got plenty of facts across despite the narrow window he was given. We will need a dozen more of these to get a foothold on legitimacy. That window will get broader and as we close on equal voice on Fox News, we will have won.

We can't fight fire with fire here and we can't continually ignore its relevance. We need to build a foundation of people with hoses until the tiniest fire becomes irrelevant.

I agree with a lot of what was said, but I think that the 100s involved in game creation argument is specious. Motion pictures also have a lot of people involved, but the vision falls on the director. If lead designers, producers and game directors (Cliffy B, Jaffe, Dyack, Raymond, etc...) were positioned more in line as equivalent to a movie director, then you could have a single person (maybe two) who would carry the torch for the project.

I completely agree with N'Gai in regards to Bioware's answer to the whole Fox news "SeXXXbox" story. Saying that they'll let the community sort it out first makes you look like the kid at the grown-up's table following the, "Only speak when spoken to," line. If you want your work to be considered as something other than a consumable, you have to get some of that righteous indignation misunderstood artists have been doing for centuries. Until then, you're an 21st century Gepetto crafting interactive toys.

I like games. I don't think they're toys, but I'm not sure everyone making them feels the same.

Jaunty wrote:

-40 Celsius is the same as -40 Fahrenheit.

I couldn't leave it unsaid, I'm sorry.

Sunny skies and 70 degrees out here.

Edit: And James Bond music? Brilliant!

Rat Boy wrote:

Sunny skies and 70 degrees out here. :drink:

Just you wait until you've got heat-stroke, we'll see who's laughing then.

Rat Boy wrote:

Sunny skies and 70 degrees out here.

You, you go to hel...

/runs away crying icle tears

Hey, after the near-hurricanes we got last month, this is a welcome change of pace. Besides, every February 'round these parts we get a freak period of spring-like weather before Old Man Winter remembers what time of the year it is.

Man, I never guess which forum thread will be thread of the week.

Wow, I can't believe how negative you guys were towards Sins of a Solar Empire. I couldn't tell if you just weren't feeling like a more complicated game, if you were expecting something more like a classic RTS, or if you really think it's a really complicated game (which it really isn't).

I still don't understand the inseparability of video games from children that seems to stick in the minds of the media. Maybe because it's an easy story? Maybe because you have to play them?

I'd love to see some kids try to grasp Sins of a Solar Empire, or hell, even Starcraft. How many would lose patience with it before even learning the core elements of RTS gameplay?

When you see a preview for an obviously violent movie that has the potential to have a sex scene, how many people rationally think, "Well, hell, I'm taking my kids to that one!"?

I realize that games and movies are generally hard to compare, as far as an experience goes, but when you're looking at the surface comparison of content, why on earth do people think these are marketed and made for children? Is it because in the past it was predominantly children who played video games (nevermind the fact that we've grown up now and still play them)? Is it because the older adult generation just doesn't see their contemporaries playing or understanding games either, and they only see their kids playing them, and have the narrow-minded view that if it was appealing to adults, they'd be able to and be interested in doing so?

No intelligent, rational person should be able to look at some of these games and think, "Yep, that's for kids." Yet they do. Somehow the idea that video games are for kids has superseded the content of these games. In their minds, rationally, the idea that video games are for kids comes before a look at the content. This is ass-backwards. There isn't any other form of entertainment that I can think of that is perceived this way. Logic would dictate that you look at the content of the game first, and the rating, before determining that a game is or is not for children.

I also think that maybe the ESRB needs to update their ratings graphics. The MPAA ratings are simple, plain text, designed to be easily readable and grab your attention. There is something cartoony about the ESRB rating graphics. It certainly doesn't help that the rating graphics look like they're meant to be read by kids.

Sarkus wrote:

Wow, I can't believe how negative you guys were towards Sins of a Solar Empire. I couldn't tell if you just weren't feeling like a more complicated game, if you were expecting something more like a classic RTS, or if you really think it's a really complicated game (which it really isn't).

Not negative, it just hasn't clicked. I know I *will* get into this game, allt he pieces are there. It's just fallen into a crack at the moment.

rabbit wrote:
Sarkus wrote:

Wow, I can't believe how negative you guys were towards Sins of a Solar Empire. I couldn't tell if you just weren't feeling like a more complicated game, if you were expecting something more like a classic RTS, or if you really think it's a really complicated game (which it really isn't).

Not negative, it just hasn't clicked. I know I *will* get into this game, allt he pieces are there. It's just fallen into a crack at the moment.

Yeah, after we'd recorded the show I'd played a four hour session with a few people. It's great!

I thought you guys were all on Xanax or Ritalin or something. Maybe just stoned. Every comment was so laid back and so forgiving and benefit-of-the-doubt-giving and it's-not-you-it's-me.
It was very odd.

duckilama wrote:

I thought you guys were all on Xanax or Ritalin or something. Maybe just stoned. Every comment was so laid back and so forgiving and benefit-of-the-doubt-giving and it's-not-you-it's-me.
It was very odd.

The comedown off of Rob's Rage Pills is a bitch.