GWJ Conference Call Episode 104

Conference Call

Brothers in Arms: Hells Highway, Elysium Gets a Wii, First We Will Break You Before We Rebuild You, Your Emails and more!

I'm going to go ahead and call this the triumphant return of Shawn, Sean and Rob. We talk about teaching folks to play games, how to run their lives and even the ramifications of the economic apocalypse. Just what you're looking for in a gaming podcast!

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

"Los Pistoleros" Ian Dorsch - 0:23:18
"Washaway" Ian Dorsch - 0:40:10

Comments

I give it a C-.

*Legion* wrote:

I give it a C-.

Sweet my average is secure!

Elysium doesn't like the divided Wii controller? It so comfortable to me, it now feels odd going back to standard controllers.

I too had an Everquest vs College battle. When you threw in women, well, let's say college lost. I wonder how many people actually (and will admit to) flunked out of college over EQ (and sex). It was for the best in the end, and I am a college grad now (8 years later and now also in grad school), but EQ at the time was just so damn addictive. They didn't call it evercrack for nothin! That and sex.

Did I mention women?

**EDIT

And Shawn (or Sean, I get you two mixed up) come over to the WAR side. There's plenty of people in tier 1 (1-11) plenty in 2 (12-21) some in 3 (22-31) and 0 in 4 (32-40). You haven't missed the "blushing" MMO month at all, and there's a HUGE case of alt-itis in this game. My main is lvl 10, and one of my alts is lvl 20. Then there's my other 10 alt, my lvl 4 alt, and my lvl 8 over on Rock. Let's just say, you haven't missed anything. We haven't even unlocked the ability to wear symbols on our cloaks yet!

I got pretty close to flunking out because of games. My second year at university was 1998-99, so between Starcraft, Half Life and the Union bar my grade average dropped from ~70% to ~30% (A to E, roughly). I agree with the general message of the podcast though, it's just something you have to learn from screwing up. Which is why I don't have WoW installed on my work computer any more (I'm self-employed).

Zelos wrote:

I got pretty close to flunking out because of games. My second year at university was 1998-99, so between Starcraft, Half Life and the Union bar my grade average dropped from ~70% to ~30% (A to E, roughly). I agree with the general message of the podcast though, it's just something you have to learn from screwing up. Which is why I don't have WoW installed on my work computer any more (I'm self-employed).

A classmate of mine, one with a lot of talent and potential as a programmer, dropped out of college because of Diablo II. He even snapped his disc at one point. Two days later he'd bought another.

Enjoyed the show, as always. The segment on teaching people to play games was thought provoking. Here are a couple of thoughts it provoked in me:

1) Wanting to play is the most important thing. If you want to play, you will figure out all the artificialities about gaming that gamers have subsumed into the experience (controllers and control schemes, 3D projection on a 2D screen, crazy-ass game conventions, stuff like that). My wife, whom I've known for 27 years, has never had any desire to play games beyond maybe solitaire on the PC. She views my hobby with probably the same outlook that my mother views my father's hobby (golf): thinly veiled disdain coupled with the patience that one exhibits towards small children. When we got a Wii last year, she was the only person in the house who was not interested in playing something and, to this day, has probably played the bowling game in Wii Sports less than a handful of times and nothing else - and that only because my children begged and begged her to. I long ago despaired of ever being able to share my hobby with her, because the interest is not there and probably never will be there.

2) Growing up exposed to gaming, and beyond that, to certain styles or modes of gaming has an enormous impact. I contrast myself to my children: I grew up (and still am mostly) a PC gamer. I find most games on a console to be frustrating because I have not been able to unlearn my dependence on the mouse and keyboard and I have very little incentive to do so because, when I get frustrated, I can quit and go play something on the PC. My children, having grown up with consoles, have no problem with this and indeed have problems using mouse and keyboard in certain kinds of games, 3D games mostly. What's intuitive to me is not for them and vice versa. And they love watching me try and play something like The Force Unleashed or Lego Star Wars - it's great fun watching dad flail around like a fish out of water, apparently, although I fail to see the humor in it. Lego Star Wars is especially humbling when I play with my 8-year-old. He tells me what to do and where to go and is very patient when I fumble around and don't help him out.

Regarding the economy and game buying, the downturn has had an effect on me. I'm playing more and more older games as well as online games more, things like TF2, where you buy once and get obsessed for many many months. The few games I do purchase I tend to play through more completely; whereas in the past I would buy a lot of games and not finish most of them, now I play through almost everything. This means that I also have to be more selective about what I buy and also live vicariously through others' gaming experiences. GWJ does a great job of that by the way - reading the threads on Conan, for instance, allowed me to "experience" the game (albeit second-hand) without actually buying it.

Anyway, keep up the good work on the podcast, it's great and I look forward to it every week.

Pirates of the Burning Sea just started 14day free trials

Shoal07 wrote:

I wonder how many people actually (and will admit to) flunked out of college over EQ (and sex).

(Sheepishly raises hand)

It wasn't so much flunking out (I had As in the three courses I actually completed, but Fs in the two I didn't complete) as deciding to take a semester off. Which turned into three years.

Yes, she was worth it. But it was a hard-earned lesson.

LobsterMobster wrote:

A classmate of mine, one with a lot of talent and potential as a programmer, dropped out of college because of Diablo II. He even snapped his disc at one point. Two days later he'd bought another.

I daren't think what my old (science/engineering only) uni is like now WoW is around and every room has high-speed internet. They must need special squads going round the halls making sure students remember to eat.

It was nice to hear you guys recognizing (and owning) your role as 'executive gamers.' As a result of the occupations of many podcasters I listen too (often gaming journalists) most of them are actually quite insulated from the experience of the vast majority of gamers out there. I think this is an important thing to recognize as it colors the gaming experience. It's refreshing to hear people talk openly about it.

Great show, as always. This podcast always displaces my morning ritual of reading my current book on the bus. I hope you guys are proud that you've stopped another person from reading, even if just for a moment.

Nightmare wrote:

I'm playing more and more older games as well as online games more, things like TF2, where you buy once and get obsessed for many many months. The few games I do purchase I tend to play through more completely; whereas in the past I would buy a lot of games and not finish most of them, now I play through almost everything. This means that I also have to be more selective about what I buy and also live vicariously through others' gaming experiences. GWJ does a great job of that by the way - reading the threads on Conan, for instance, allowed me to "experience" the game (albeit second-hand) without actually buying it.

I'm right there with you, Nightmare. I don't buy new releases, though I do spend a monthly charge on Gametap so I can play classic arcade and/or RPG games. Over the course of a year it is (obviously) $120 bucks, but I still think it's well worth it, since there are far more "one-off" games that don't require a huge investment of time (I still can't get enough of Frogger).

To tie this into the other subject of getting people into games, Gametap allows me to tempt my wife with games that are far more in line with her interests, like Puzzle Quest and those aforementioned classic games.

"MMO's are a sidequest to life." Fantastic quote... Love the show, keep it up! Nice to see everybody's back, not that there was anything wrong with last week's show!
Since I'm in Europe, the new podcast is always there waiting for me when I get up on wednesdaymorning and I don't have anywhere to be until the afternoon. I listened to it during breakfast and household chores like laundry and cleaning.

I find it interesting that some gamers find it hard to get into the Wii controls. But in all honesty, I did have issues with Metroid Prime 3 the first hour I played it while I tried to somehow control it the way I did the first two in the series.
It's just weird how we do something so much, that it becomes second nature and when something new (in this case, the Wii controller) comes along, that new thing seems totally unnatural even if it is in reality more natural than the original thing.

See, I "got" the Wii controller but whenever I use another console's controller (Xbox360, Gamecube, PS2) I want to throw it through the wall. I've read somewhere on the site (can't remember where, though) where someone made a comment about a game that was on both PC and 360 prefer the 360 version because they couldn't get used to using the mouse and keyboard. I remember reading that and thinking "damn, that's just wrong". But I guess it's whatever you are used to.

Speaking of kids picking things up quicker than adults, I saw a great documentary about a deaf school where the kids invented their own sign language. The older children, who started the whole thing, could talk slowly using the signing but the younger kids, who came after them, could sign fluently using the language at very high speeds.

I doubt that there is anyone who listen to GWJ who doesn't play games but I listen to iFanboy (who review monthly comics) and I don't buy any monthlies. I find I can enjoy titles, even very bad series, by listening to the podcast without having to buy the issues themselves. I do buy graphic novels for some series.

Nightmare wrote:

See, I "got" the Wii controller but whenever I use another console's controller (Xbox360, Gamecube, PS2) I want to throw it through the wall. I've read somewhere on the site (can't remember where, though) where someone made a comment about a game that was on both PC and 360 prefer the 360 version because they couldn't get used to using the mouse and keyboard. I remember reading that and thinking "damn, that's just wrong". But I guess it's whatever you are used to.

You're not thinking of me, because I'm new around here, but I preferred playing the Orange Box on my 360 than on my PC. I grew up playing PC games, but I find the keyboard to be unwieldy. I have yet to find a set of bindings for FPS games that doesn't leave my left hand in cramps after awhile. And I loved, loved, loved Metroid Prime 3's control scheme. I would have paid extra for a port of the Orange Box to the Wii just to play with the Wiimote.

adam.greenbrier wrote:
Nightmare wrote:

See, I "got" the Wii controller but whenever I use another console's controller (Xbox360, Gamecube, PS2) I want to throw it through the wall. I've read somewhere on the site (can't remember where, though) where someone made a comment about a game that was on both PC and 360 prefer the 360 version because they couldn't get used to using the mouse and keyboard. I remember reading that and thinking "damn, that's just wrong". But I guess it's whatever you are used to.

You're not thinking of me, because I'm new around here, but I preferred playing the Orange Box on my 360 than on my PC. I grew up playing PC games, but I find the keyboard to be unwieldy. I have yet to find a set of bindings for FPS games that doesn't leave my left hand in cramps after awhile. And I loved, loved, loved Metroid Prime 3's control scheme. I would have paid extra for a port of the Orange Box to the Wii just to play with the Wiimote.

If you have big hands (causing cramps) then space out the WASD controls to something like EAFX (middle finger back) or EAFC (index finger back), might be a little more natural/comfortable. I supposed you could stretch the F out to the G if you're like an NBA player or something. There's also special keyboard thingies like the Orb or whatever it's called that are designed to keep the ergonomic "cupped" shape of the left hand.

Eridanis wrote:
Shoal07 wrote:

I wonder how many people actually (and will admit to) flunked out of college over EQ (and sex).

(Sheepishly raises hand)

It wasn't so much flunking out (I had As in the three courses I actually completed, but Fs in the two I didn't complete) as deciding to take a semester off. Which turned into three years.

Yes, she was worth it. But it was a hard-earned lesson.

It was the combo for me, when I wasn't doing one I was doing the other... Man I miss those days...

adam.greenbrier wrote:
Nightmare wrote:

See, I "got" the Wii controller but whenever I use another console's controller (Xbox360, Gamecube, PS2) I want to throw it through the wall. I've read somewhere on the site (can't remember where, though) where someone made a comment about a game that was on both PC and 360 prefer the 360 version because they couldn't get used to using the mouse and keyboard. I remember reading that and thinking "damn, that's just wrong". But I guess it's whatever you are used to.

You're not thinking of me, because I'm new around here, but I preferred playing the Orange Box on my 360 than on my PC. I grew up playing PC games, but I find the keyboard to be unwieldy. I have yet to find a set of bindings for FPS games that doesn't leave my left hand in cramps after awhile. And I loved, loved, loved Metroid Prime 3's control scheme. I would have paid extra for a port of the Orange Box to the Wii just to play with the Wiimote.

When you say you haven't found a 'set of bindings' are you talking presests, or something your arrange yourself? I know with mice that have 5+ buttons and a wheel, the typical wsad and when not a assigned to a mouse button, q for use and e for reload. Then I put lshift for crouch and space to jump. I think placing jump as the space bar is the single most important thing for me as it allows more free use of the jump command instead of some innacessible placement like ctrl or possibly shift. But what I just went through points out the problem with PC controls... not everyone is working with the same setup even from an interface perspective so even button mapping can become an obstacle to overcome.

I can't imagine enjoying Orange Box with dual analog. Wiimote, is a possibility.

Higgledy wrote:

Speaking of kids picking things up quicker than adults, I saw a great documentary about a deaf school where the kids invented their own sign language. The older children, who started the whole thing, could talk slowly using the signing but the younger kids, who came after them, could sign fluently using the language at very high speeds.

You wouldn't happen to know the name of the documentary would you?

So uh, let's hope you're wrong, but it's pretty obvious you're not.

I bet part of the reason the GWJ crew (even me) have avoided TFU is the demo and how cold it left most of us.

On stigma: Oh yes it's still there. I think it depends largely on age group. I'm 45, and regarded by my peers in age as something of an oddity, as if someone my age were using swingsets and slides at a playground.

On gateways: So y'all think of some games as gateways into gaming in general, especially RPGs, and most especially MMORPGs. Interesting choice of words. Is that like a gateway... drug? I started to write, "Marijuana is to Heroin as World of Warcraft is to...," and realized that WoW is the gaming equivalent of heroin.

On sidequests: I'm surprised nobody brought up Oblivion. That had some brilliant sidequests, where playing the quest was way more fun than any supposed collectible reward. Two that come to mind immediately are Paranoia and Whom Gods Annoy, of which I will say no more lest I unleash spoilers.

Hans

Masturbate or go to work? I didn't even realize it was a mutually exclusive choice. I've been doing it wrong all this time.

Shoal07 wrote:

I wonder how many people actually (and will admit to) flunked out of college over EQ (and sex).

I would have *gladly* flunked out of college over sex and I was born too early for online games to be a factor in anything, as they barely existed - Moria was the closest thing and it never got a hold on me. Sadly, I graduated instead.

Shoal07 wrote:

...come over to the WAR side. There's plenty of people in tier 1 (1-11) plenty in 2 (12-21) some in 3 (22-31) and 0 in 4 (32-40). You haven't missed the "blushing" MMO month at all, and there's a HUGE case of alt-itis in this game. My main is lvl 10, and one of my alts is lvl 20. Then there's my other 10 alt, my lvl 4 alt, and my lvl 8 over on Rock. Let's just say, you haven't missed anything. We haven't even unlocked the ability to wear symbols on our cloaks yet!

Shoal, you need to stop that now. I've been hovering on the brink of getting WAR or re-upping my WoW subscription just so that I can have something I can pop into now and again. The only thing that has stopped me is the fear that I'll flunk out of school if I do, so stop waving at us from the pool and telling us that the water's fine!

AmazingZoidberg wrote:
Higgledy wrote:

Speaking of kids picking things up quicker than adults, I saw a great documentary about a deaf school where the kids invented their own sign language. The older children, who started the whole thing, could talk slowly using the signing but the younger kids, who came after them, could sign fluently using the language at very high speeds.

You wouldn't happen to know the name of the documentary would you?

I don't know of the documentary, but it sounds like the Nicaraguan sign language case. Really interesting look at how children create and evolve a language in relative isolation.

edit: Hmmm, I was able to find a clip on PBS that may be part of the documentary in question.

double edit: And what the heck was that at the very end of the podcast?

Nightmare wrote:

Regarding the economy and game buying, the downturn has had an effect on me.

Oh man, me too. I work for a super-huge-mega bank managing business analysts, and while I think my job is safe, bonuses will be pretty lean this year. That means I'm saving more, and spending less on things like booze and games...

Always happy to hear Instant Action brought up, but I was surprised with what followed it: "Instant Action was good." It's still there, alive and kicking, and as far as content goes it's fairly high quality, if a bit low in quantity. I'm really surprised that they do next to no marketing; it seems like it should have a lot more followers than it does.

I try to avoid these one-comment, nothing-to-add posts, but: great show, guys.