GWJ Conference Call Episode 120

Conference Call

FEAR 2, Dominion, Puzzle Quest: Galactrix, LOTRO, Mario Party 8, Mona The Assassin, Your Emails, Voicemails and more!

With next week's Rabbit-Con show rapidly approaching we tackle extra emails and voice mails to catch up on the backlog. Gaming triumphs, losing yourself, the Zune revolution and much more. If you want to submit a question or comment call in to our voicemail line at (612) 284-4563!

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. You can also submit a question or comment call in to our voicemail line at (612) 284-4563!

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Comments

For the guy who wanted to ween himself from WoW. I suggest trying out awesome, free MMOs like Puzzle Pirates, and Pardus!
I play Union on the Orion server as Mixolyde, and Fed on the Artemis server as Mixol

Can't you re-download WiiWare titles at any time for no additional charge?

I can confirm this from experience.

That is also why if your Wii does happen to break you will have to mail in your Wii and have it fixed as opposed to Nintendo sending you another because everything is tied to the system that downloaded it.

Own two Wiis? (Not sure why one would though...)

Only one will have the downloaded stuff and there's no way to transfer if the downloader one breaks.

After the comment in the episode about reviews on the site I went and searched the articles. Where are the reviews hidden now? The last article under the 'reviews' drop down is from 2006!? Could users perhaps submit somehow and the reviews be... heh... reviewed?

free MMOs like Puzzle Pirates, and Pardus!

Excellent. I'll be trying Pardus this weekend!

Mixolyde wrote:

For the guy who wanted to ween himself from WoW. I suggest trying out awesome, free MMOs like Puzzle Pirates, and Pardus!
I play Union on the Orion server as Mixolyde, and Fed on the Artemis server as Mixol

Is the best way to cure yourself of an MMO addiction to play more MMOs?

The only cure is more cowbell.

adam.greenbrier wrote:
Mixolyde wrote:

For the guy who wanted to ween himself from WoW. I suggest trying out awesome, free MMOs like Puzzle Pirates, and Pardus!
I play Union on the Orion server as Mixolyde, and Fed on the Artemis server as Mixol

Is the best way to cure yourself of an MMO addiction to play more MMOs?

My uncle quit smoking by taking up pot a couple decades ago. Though, after a while, he couldn't stop smoking pot...hmmm...

My feeling is that if the MMO is free to play, like Puzzle Pirates, you don't feel obligated to get your monthly fee out of it. And Pardus has an solid turn/action point based system, so you can't really play it all the time, anyway. But you can chat all day for the social aspect.

I loved the mod talk in this show. I'm playing mona the assassin right now and it's kicking my ass. I'm doing the club section right now ... wow ... so hard. It's fun in a purely masochistic sort of way - this is what happens when you let the level designers make whatever the hell they want with minimal play testing.

To be totally honest, I would rather you guys did these shows where you talk about all the obscure games you've been playing as opposed to the new hotness that everyone else is normally talking about. I feel like mods get ignored and hearing you guys talk about them a whole bunch was a great eye opener. Who knew such a cornucopia of gaming awesome could be had for free!

Hey guys, I wrote in the email about console MMO's. I have a few follow-ups. You guys didn't mention champions online or DC universe online. Both are being developed for both pc and console. Based on your comments about needing to completely redefine the interface, do you think those games won't work on the console? You also talked about the need to have a system for communication. I haven't used the key pads for 360 or ps3, but the idea of them doesn't seem appealing. Do you think the communication problem could be solved by making the game focus on solo content for combat/questing with the community aspects more focused on non-combat aspects?

great show. I always look forward to it.

duckilama wrote:

The reason Elysium doesn't like PuzzleQuest is probably that it cheats.

Er, the AI doesn't actually cheat--it's just brutally efficient at finding combinations and maximizing probabilities. However, because so many people whined about it, the AI programmer said that he will make an anti-cheating AI in Galactrix. That is, the AI will actively "cheat" in favor of the player.

As for SF-themed interactive fiction, I recommend Gateway and Homeworld, which were two of the old Legend Entertainment games based on Frederick Pohl's Gateway books. Just before Legend Entertainment went under, it made its games available for download as freeware. Of course, now that they aren't around anymore, you'll have to track them down yourself.

- Alan

IUMogg wrote:

Hey guys, I wrote in the email about console MMO's. I have a few follow-ups. You guys didn't mention champions online or DC universe online. Both are being developed for both pc and console. Based on your comments about needing to completely redefine the interface, do you think those games won't work on the console? You also talked about the need to have a system for communication. I haven't used the key pads for 360 or ps3, but the idea of them doesn't seem appealing. Do you think the communication problem could be solved by making the game focus on solo content for combat/questing with the community aspects more focused on non-combat aspects?

great show. I always look forward to it.

I think from a mechanical perspective they'll work on a console, if only because they're doing so much to make sure there aren't too many abilities and powers to juggle when you play, but I don't think they'll gain a significant player base. The real catch-22 is that a console game needs to work on a game pad with relatively limited buttons. An MMORPG needs enough layers and depth of player choice that it will keep you playing beyond the first month. The interface issue is more of a symptom of a larger hurdle when it comes to MMO's on a console.

As far as communication and a stronger focus on solo play, I could see that working to some degree (Hellgate: London, not so much) but then you gotta ask: who's going to pay a monthly fee for something perceived as a mostly single player or small group game? We have plenty of those to play online for free as it is.

I don't envy any developer the task, but whoever figures out that balance is going to be rich. Rich I tell you!

I just managed to listen to this last night and a few things occur to me. As usual I've forgotten most of them but there are two I remember.

1) Certis is right. Guild Wars would function perfectly as a console game. I've said in a thread before, with only 8 skills selectable at a time a radial menu would work perfectly. The only problem is chat, a chatpad would work, but as Elysium says, it would have to be bundled. A game best played with a peripheral needs to be bundled with it.

2) Citizen Kane. Honestly, I haven't seen the movie, but is sounds boring as hell. But if we take Citizen Kane as the peak of the 'artform' what does it achieve? It tells a deep, engaging story that sets the benchmark for all those that follow.

What is the peak of the game 'artform?' What does a game aim to achieve? A game seeks to make you play it. Story, character, whatever else are subservient to that. If used effectively they make you want to play the game, but they aren't the point.

I would say that the Citizen Kane of games would be the games that make you want to play them and nothing else. And we have had many. Civ, WoW, M&B and any number of others that through gameplay are totally compelling.

If people are wanting the grand narrative to supersede the game, then they are going to be disappointed because they don't want a game. It's like making Citizen Kane, the movie, without using pictures.

The day may come when there is a new kind of storytelling, but while we are depending on narrative it isn't going to happen.

MrDeVil909 wrote:

2) Citizen Kane. Honestly, I haven't seen the movie, but is sounds boring as hell. But if we take Citizen Kane as the peak of the 'artform' what does it achieve? It tells a deep, engaging story that sets the benchmark for all those that follow.

I think the reason that people refer to Citizen Kane is not the story, but the innovation. I believe it's seen as a watershed in movie making, because it pioneered a lot of modern film techniques that we take for granted these days.

One example from the Wiki page:

Welles also favored the overlapping of dialogue, considering it more realistic than the stage and movie tradition of characters not stepping on each other's sentences

That's part of the reason why older films seem so stilted and stage-like. When was the last time you saw characters interrupt each other in a game cutscene?

Zelos wrote:

When was the last time you saw characters interrupt each other in a game cutscene?

Maybe not in a cutscene, but any number of times in dialogue in The Witcher and Mass Effect. And I'm sure I've seen it in cutscenes too.

I still think that people looking for a good movie in a game are akin to people looking for a good radio drama in a movie. Games need to develop their own language which will be totally unlike anything we expect.

There's actually an interesting interview with the devs of Pathologic right here where they say something similar.

I'm a little late to the game here as I was on vacation, but I though I'd just inject that I use iTunes, but don't have an iPod. Just because someone uses iTunes doesn't mean they have an iPod.

Sorry if someone already pointed this out.

The console MMO thing is going the way of Planetside, Call Of Duty 4, Halo 3 and the like. I think the winner is going to pick an established formula and add enough persistence (is that even a word?) to it to make it feel like you're part of a greater whole. I'm really looking forward to what The Agency does.

My main problem with online gaming is that all of my time spent on the game does not amount to anything, apart from maybe experience levels or something, whereas in a single player campaign, I'm working towards a goal. If there was some sort of communal progression going on, I'd be a lot more interested. But at what point would I be ready to pay for a monthly subscription? Very hard to say. (In addition to the Xbox Live subscription? Probably never.)

For some reason the audio coming from Sean Sands sounded better this week.

Oh, and btw, another Zune listener here.

MrDeVil909 wrote:

1) Certis is right. Guild Wars would function perfectly as a console game. I've said in a thread before, with only 8 skills selectable at a time a radial menu would work perfectly. The only problem is chat, a chatpad would work, but as Elysium says, it would have to be bundled. A game best played with a peripheral needs to be bundled with it.

Don't forget being able to draw on the minimap. Not a big deal for single player mode I suppose, but very important in multi.

2) Citizen Kane. Honestly, I haven't seen the movie, but is sounds boring as hell. But if we take Citizen Kane as the peak of the 'artform' what does it achieve? It tells a deep, engaging story that sets the benchmark for all those that follow.

Citizen Kane is significant mostly because it represents the first use of quite a few cinematographic techniques. Also, it's worth pointing out that film isn't simply a medium for telling stories--the focus on storytelling movies is mostly an American phenomenon. Thematic movies are also popular in some countries, etc. For example, I don't think anyone would dispute the assertion that Kieslowski is a fantastic filmmaker, but you'd be hard pressed to find a compelling story in any of his films.

What is the peak of the game 'artform?' What does a game aim to achieve? A game seeks to make you play it. Story, character, whatever else are subservient to that. If used effectively they make you want to play the game, but they aren't the point.

Well sure, but one could also assert that the goal of a book is to make you read it, the goal of a painting is to make you look at it, etc. That doesn't say anything about the game as art. You might change that claim to be "a game seeks to be fun," but the same claim for movies: "a movie seeks to be entertaining" excludes popular genres like drama and horror as well as many art films more aimed at evoking a reaction. Personally, I think the discussion of what constitutes art is largely pointless because the concept is so nebulous. A famous sculptor sticks a urinal on a wall and it's considered art, but if an unknown artist did the same thing he'd be laughed at. Does that make the urinal on the wall art or not? Ultimately, what constitutes art is as much a matter of perception as intent.

I would say that the Citizen Kane of games would be the games that make you want to play them and nothing else. And we have had many. Civ, WoW, M&B and any number of others that through gameplay are totally compelling.

Heck, may as well start with Pong. Are there any games that the author didn't intend people to want to play? If so, could they even be considered a game?

complexmath wrote:

Are there any games that the author didn't intend people to want to play? If so, could they even be considered a game?

SCMRPG.

IUMogg wrote:

Hey guys, I wrote in the email about console MMO's. I have a few follow-ups. You guys didn't mention champions online or DC universe online. Both are being developed for both pc and console. Based on your comments about needing to completely redefine the interface, do you think those games won't work on the console? You also talked about the need to have a system for communication. I haven't used the key pads for 360 or ps3, but the idea of them doesn't seem appealing. Do you think the communication problem could be solved by making the game focus on solo content for combat/questing with the community aspects more focused on non-combat aspects?

For a mostly tactical game, communication could work by using the chat tree approach from Tribes. But the MMOs we're familiar with all have a heavy social element that couldn't be filled by canned phrases, no matter how large and diverse the catalog.

By the way, would you say that Little Big Planet is an MMO? Why or why not? That aside, what about something like The Sims Online as a console MMO? Does it qualify? I'd think it would, and the model is such that it might just work without the need for a keyboard for player interaction.

complexmath wrote:
MrDeVil909 wrote:

1) Certis is right. Guild Wars would function perfectly as a console game. I've said in a thread before, with only 8 skills selectable at a time a radial menu would work perfectly. The only problem is chat, a chatpad would work, but as Elysium says, it would have to be bundled. A game best played with a peripheral needs to be bundled with it.

Don't forget being able to draw on the minimap. Not a big deal for single player mode I suppose, but very important in multi.

That is a nice feature, but I don't believe it is in any other MMO I've played, so it doesn't seem to be considered essential.

complexmath wrote:
What is the peak of the game 'artform?' What does a game aim to achieve? A game seeks to make you play it. Story, character, whatever else are subservient to that. If used effectively they make you want to play the game, but they aren't the point.

Well sure, but one could also assert that the goal of a book is to make you read it, the goal of a painting is to make you look at it, etc. That doesn't say anything about the game as art. You might change that claim to be "a game seeks to be fun," but the same claim for movies: "a movie seeks to be entertaining" excludes popular genres like drama and horror as well as many art films more aimed at evoking a reaction. Personally, I think the discussion of what constitutes art is largely pointless because the concept is so nebulous. A famous sculptor sticks a urinal on a wall and it's considered art, but if an unknown artist did the same thing he'd be laughed at. Does that make the urinal on the wall art or not? Ultimately, what constitutes art is as much a matter of perception as intent.

I would say that the Citizen Kane of games would be the games that make you want to play them and nothing else. And we have had many. Civ, WoW, M&B and any number of others that through gameplay are totally compelling.

Heck, may as well start with Pong. Are there any games that the author didn't intend people to want to play? If so, could they even be considered a game?

How about 'a movie seeks to be watched?' A movie can be compelling, like in the examples you cite, without being 'entertaining.' A movie that stops you from reaching the end is a failure, unless Damien Hirst takes up film-making, then he may consider that a success.

Citizen Kane is significant mostly because it represents the first use of quite a few cinematographic techniques.

Then maybe Tennis for Two really is the Citizen Kane of gaming. It represents the first use of quite a few gaming techniques.

Incidentally, I'm not being entirely serious here. My point was that I feel people are looking for the wrong thing in games. There will never be a successful game that sets all new standards for those that follow. Games are iterative in nature, ground gets broken in small steps, if a new game came out that broke all the rules it wouldn't sell.

We've already had hundreds of Citizen Kane's, 2001's and Pulp Fiction's.

FenixStryk wrote:
Elysium wrote:

I hate people who misuse decimate. It means reduce by a tenth, you clowns!

Googled it....

Dictionary.com wrote:

dec⋅i⋅mate [des-uh-meyt]
–verb (used with object), -mat⋅ed, -mat⋅ing.
1. to destroy a great number or proportion of: "The population was decimated by a plague."
2. Obsolete. to take a tenth of or from.

...looks like you need to get with the times, friend.

Elysium getting schooled on the English language. That's the single most awesome thing I have seen today.

Gaald wrote:
Can't you re-download WiiWare titles at any time for no additional charge?

I think so, but who would want to listen to that dam coin noise every time you downloaded the game again.

The other problem with this is the incredibly slow loading and navigation of the Wii Shop. I actually wouldn't mind the download time, it's usually only 20-30 seconds or so, but it takes minutes to load the Wii Shop, browse to the game you want to re-download, and start re-downloading it. Way too much of a hassle to do regularly.

The simplest idea I've heard to handle this (which of course means they won't do it, but we can dream):
(1) Have the user designate whether they want to back up their games to SD when their space fills up, or delete them and have to re-download them. Once this choice is made, the actual copying can be done seamlessly in the background.
(2) Divide the Wii Channels into 2 tabs, one that contains games actively in memory and one that contains games you own but that are either on the SD card, or available for re-download.
(3) If the user wants to download or add something they don't have space for, present them with a LIST (scrolling through icons is such a pain) and let them pick a thing to shift over to Tab 2. It will either be deleted, or copied to the SD card in the background, and then deleted.

That's it, you're done. When the user wants to copy something back from Tab 2 to Tab 1, just do step (3) again if there's no room, or simply copy it back / redownload it in the background if there is room. To the user, they never have to go into the Wii Shop menu or their system config menu to find channel data, and from Nintendo's point of view, the tech works exactly the way it's working now, just friendlier. A small system update could accomplish this.

We won't see it, but it'd be nice. I await with a Nintendo fan's wary hope whatever "storage solution" they finally do end up releasing later this Spring.

I thought 'decimate' meant to leave a tenth. Though, I suppose if you 'take' a tenth and destroy the rest it would come to the same thing. Did I mention, I don't trust dictionaries?

notomtolose wrote:

I thought 'decimate' meant to leave a tenth. Though, I suppose if you 'take' a tenth and destroy the rest it would come to the same thing. Did I mention, I don't trust dictionaries?

Decimate means to reduce by 10. This comes from the Roman Legion, where if there was misconduct in a century (100 soldiers), 10 of the solders in the century would be executed as punishment, apparently at random. So people didn't screw around.

Latin and math in one word!
It is....Awesome!

You leave me no choice.

http://www.etymonline.com/index.php?...

"Decimate" came into the English lexicon as a word associated with tithing (giving 10% of gross earnings to the Church).

And here I thought it came from looting, though I guess tithing isn't terribly different

wordsmythe wrote:

You leave me no choice.

http://www.etymonline.com/index.php?...

"Decimate" came into the English lexicon as a word associated with tithing (giving 10% of gross earnings to the Church).

You're going to trust a HACK source like that?

The OED acknowledges the date, but also points out that the root remains Plutarch, and thus the execution of every tenth member of a unit by lot.

The OED does not acknowledge the 'Oh noez weza all gunna die' meaning of the word at all.

rabbit wrote:
wordsmythe wrote:

You leave me no choice.

http://www.etymonline.com/index.php?...

"Decimate" came into the English lexicon as a word associated with tithing (giving 10% of gross earnings to the Church).

You're going to trust a HACK source like that?

The OED acknowledges the date, but also points out that the root remains Plutarch, and thus the execution of every tenth member of a unit by lot.

The OED does not acknowledge the 'Oh noez weza all gunna die' meaning of the word at all.

OED SLAM! It's Super effective!

I feel vindicated.

NSMike wrote:

OED SLAM! It's Super effective!

I feel vindicated.

In case there was every any doubt, we are the biggest f*cking nerds on planet earth.

heh.