GWJ Conference Call Episode 86

Conference Call

Age of Conan Deep Thoughts, Penny Arcade's New Game, The Bad Boys of Gaming, Demographics, Multiple Endings, Your Emails and more!

This week we realize just how drunk we'd get playing the rabbit drinking game. From turtles to terrorists, we also talk about gaming bad guys through the ages and some of our favorites. Big thanks to Benoit Casey for the new tune! This podcast only has one ending, but Shawn wishes there were a few more.

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.

Penny Arcade Game
Age of Conan
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Thread of The Week

GWJ Demographics - nsmike

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Show credits

Music credits: 

Intro/Outro Music - Ian Dorsch, Willowtree Audioworks

"Unknown Wonder" - Apoplexia (Benoit Casey) - http://outtobrunch.blogspot.com - 0:39:41
"George" (Benoit Casey) - http://outtobrunch.blogspot.com - 1:06:03

Comments

The thing that always gets me about the "Fallout 3 has 90 endings!" discussion is that people seem to forget (or just don't know) how the endings in the Fallout series work. In both Fallout and Fallout 2 each town had two or three endings, depending on what quests you did and what the choices you made during them were. Then there were also the endings of the major characters in the games which also changed depending on what quests you did, if any, for them and how those turned out. Heck, in Fallout 2 it was possible that you'd get an ending talking about a character or town that you'd never even been to if you weren't through in your exploration. Each of these endings was a static screen and a voice over from Ron.

Say that in Fallout 3 there are four towns and five major characters that all have two endings a piece. That means that if you count each permutation as a unique ending that you have 9*2 possible endings. The marketing people will skip over that part and just go straight to the "18 POSSIBLE ENDINGS!" in the press releases, which is exactly what happened here.

Al wrote:

Say that in Fallout 3 there are four towns and five major characters that all have two endings a piece. That means that if you count each permutation as a unique ending that you have 9*2 possible endings. The marketing people will skip over that part and just go straight to the "18 POSSIBLE ENDINGS!" in the press releases, which is exactly what happened here.

With 9 entities having two possible states each you get 2^9, 512, different combinations, not 18.

Yeah, but the marketing people never get the math right.

That's why they're in marketing.

With regard to bad guys, am I remembering right (it's well possible I'm not, I was listening on the plane, I'd gotten up at 4:20 am, and I may or may not have had Ambien in my system at the time): did someone say Ultima 3? All the other Ultimas, sure, they had identifiable bad guys. Well, okay not 4 either. But in 3, the bad guy is just this Evil Computer that doesn't actually do anything except sit and wait for you to kill it.

With multiple endings, I'm all for them if they all give satisfactory closure to the story. Some might say it's not possible to do so; I'd disagree.

Ditto to wanting to know the name of the game store that was raved about. My fingers are poised to Google!

Eridanis wrote:

Ditto to wanting to know the name of the game store that was raved about. My fingers are poised to Google!

http://www.playntrade.com/

I've got notes around here somewhere, but I wanted to take the vg vs. film vs. PnP discussion from a tangent into a thread.

Elysium wrote:
It was interesting, because in the conversation Elysium said he'd prefer one GREAT ending to three GREAT endings.

I stand by that. But, additionally I _do_ believe that the very existence of equally alternative endings devalues all endings.

Not much of what I had scribbled on my breakroom napkin was worth actually typing out, but I figured I'd throw in my two cents on this.

If I were a game reviewer, I'd be really troubled by multiple, equally valued and valuable endings. Generally, games have a "good" ending which applies to multiple meanings of "good": more complete, better tailored to the story arc, the result of more complete game play, the result of more ethical choices, and obviously preferred by the game creators (this could be signaled directly in creator interviews or indirectly via obvious amounts of extra care and attention paid in creation).

I'm already very much focused on the story and narrative. If I felt obligated to write about the story and narrative of a game that was, in fact, a collection of 3 drastically different and equally valid and valuable narratives, I'd have a lot more work to do before I felt ready to write an informed article. Also, I doubt I'd be compensated as if I'd written three reviews.