GWJ Conference Call Episode 126

Conference Call

Empire: Total War, GTA IV: The Lost & Damned, Killzone 2, Matt Hazard, Special Guest Robert Ashley, Gaming Culture, A Life Well Wasted, Getting Into the Game Industry, Your Emails and more!

This week we're very pleased to be joined by Robert Ashley, the man behind the sexy hot A Life Well Wasted podcast. We discuss gaming culture, the worst day of Robert's life and a great deal more. We also have a special audio answer from our own Sephirotic on game development schools and what to look for. 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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Show credits

Music credits: 

Intro/Outtro Music - Ian Dorsch, Willowtree Audioworks

"3 across 4" - PixelJunk Eden Soundtrack (Baiyon) - 0:13:58
"Sunflower" - Zoo (Workbench) - www.Workbench-music.com - 0:37:13
"Crocodile Tears" - Zoo (Workbench) - www.workbench-music.com - 1:03:58

Comments

BOBITO?! WIN!

Robert Ashley, apparently doing a podcast PR circuit to promote A Life Well Wasted.
Not that it doesn't deserve it. Simply excellent.
/plant

So what was this story that everyone so promptly insisted you didn't tell? Is it in an older podcast?

I'm downloading right now. If Robert is drunk like that ridiculous Rebel FM podcast, this is going to be a real treat!

Hey Gaald, thanks for "sharing" the end music from PixelJunk Eden - what you put in the podcast was quite long enough to be irritating (irritating enough for me to comment on!), I can't imagine 5 minutes of it, I think it would make me more insane than I already am.

As usual, an excellent show! I meant to comment on last weeks' show, but I like how you've started to embed sounds and music into the flow of the conversation where appropriate, nice touch! I guess you want to work in radio too...

the segment with the dean answering the user question. was great. not interested at all about going into the gaming industry but yeah, great segment.

i think bobito was amazing. "can i give a word word answer to that?" hahaha and to the music thing, i don't know about everyone else, but i'm iTune's ideal customer, i hear something and i just buy it. it'll be stuck in my head for 2-3 days then i'll hate it and never listen to it again.

i figure everyone's a bit of a game solver. i'm a final fantasy fan, so it always pains me to not get 100% in the games. i always end up some where close, was missing 1 sword in kingdom hearts… but i never, successfully, get back into it. i tried but long-ass cut scene, time spent "well" wasted training, thats kinda the reason i don't play wow, the game-solver in me wants to make it a "perfect" experience. Anyways…

btw, you guys talk about sins of a solar empire too much

and newage… rhymes with sew-age?

also i loved the pixeljunk music, eden is one of best music games out there, granted theres not many. but still.

[edit] sorry just realized i should of edited my last post.

Robert Ashley! I can't wait to listen!

In response to the caller about niggles in games getting to you after an initial favourable impression, I've played a bit of Killzone 2 recently and the squad making slightly condescending remarks about my combat ability before dying and screaming over and over for assistance is intensely irritating.

These guys don't shut the hell up, they're either barking profane orders at me or plaintively moaning about being downed due to their inability to avoid being shot. Despite their complete cackhandedness they still feel qualified to dispense advice on when I should be taking cover, advice that is always late and never helpful.

All the time I have to balance this hatred of the interminably unpleasant AI and the beautiful smoke and fire effects.

If you have problems with the Sixaxis controller that means you should buy a Dual Shock 3 as it feels way better. It's still lighter than a 360 controller, but the Sixaxis is entirely too lightweight. Hand cramping may still happen, but that's the way it's always been with a Playstation controller.

Or if you don't want to spend whatever outrageous amount of money Sony wants for it's controller, there are always the Real Triggers that help a lot . . . they're only $5.

IMAGE(http://ecx.images-amazon.com/images/I/41cSzuq-LFL._SS400_.jpg)

Certis wrote:

Would you sign up for a service where every day just a random iphone game is thrown onto your phone and you have no idea what it is going to be, up until that point?

Rabbit wrote:

In a heartbeat.

Well, when you are so into something, you are always searching for more of something that feeds your need, and are willing to take some risks that just seem odd to outsiders. That's why people buy the question mark Doritos.

also:

Did you just call it newage!?

I almost spit out my water! Actually, that whole segment around then made me laugh.

Is it just me or does Robert sound like one of the frog brothers?

Bobito Bobito BOBITO!

*puts on his Chimp of War t-shirt and prepares to listen.

Finally found time to listen to the new ep of A Life Well Wasted at the gym last night, great work yet again. Loved the piece on the Lucky JuJu Pinball guys, if you live in the bay area you have to check this place out. I went there a couple of years ago, it was truly fantastic.

My ear, my ears! Make the bad music from games stop! Damn you and your editing, Rob!

DH_Jin wrote:

and newage… rhymes with sew-age?

I noticed that last week. Haven't listened yet, but I'm assuming that's rabbit.

I hope Certis has a comfy couch for tonight.

Rob, you are wrong in every way. That music from the end of PixelJunkEden is fantastic. Did you find it for download somewhere, or did you capture it straight from your game? Because, man, it's beautiful, and I'd love to have it.

A question for Elysium: how's The Witcher going? Did I miss your Horizons Broadening Project post for the end of February?

I really enjoyed this week's show. Great interview. Great topics. The time went by too quickly while listening to this one.

Irongut wrote:

I really enjoyed this week's show. Great interview. Great topics. The time went by too quickly while listening to this one.

I will never cease to be amazed by where your posts start and where they end up post-edit.

Uggh. I was found out. I thought I may have slipped that change past the review board. Oh well, in full disclosure...

Irongut originally wrote:

Wow. Sephirotic has a deep voice. I'm just about the polar opposite, I think. I say I think, because I avoid hearing my own voice like the plague.

Adam, I'll get you!

You know what really hurt physicality, Certis? Broadband. Sounded the death knell of LAN parties.

Back to the whole topic of monetizing podcasts (i.e. being able to make money from them) I think what Adam Carolla is doing with his podcast / internet radio show is the one to watch. Sounds strange that the future of podcasting is in the Other Guy from Loveline's hands, but he's got a massive audience (supposedly close to three million now) and has actively talked about how he is going to make money from his podcast once his contract with CBS Radio is up.

If he can figure out a way to make money from his podcast and retain most of his audience it will probably prove to be a template for everyone else. If he can't, or if his audience just bolts afterwards, then I doubt podcasting will ever be a profitable venture (at least in the near term).

A question for Elysium: how's The Witcher going? Did I miss your Horizons Broadening Project post for the end of February?

It's not going well. I've fallen behind, but I'm still committed to the Witcher. It's just going to be March instead of February. Commence giving me a hard time in 5, 4, 3, ...

Robert Ashley's A Life Well Wasted is a real treat. I sincerely hope NPR takes an interest, I'd love to hear him do a segment on an episode of This American Life, or even get A Life Well Wasted picked up in its entirety by an established radio broadcaster. Maybe now is the time for those of us in the videogame generation to go spam Ira Glass about this?

For me, I rarely read anything about videogames anymore, there's just no time for anything other than 'information browsing' and e-mail while online, and offline the only videogame magazine of substance I've found is Game Developer Magazine.

That said, I always have time for decent podcasts and radio shows. I was a long-time devotee of 1up for a good long time purely on the strength of their audio and audiovisual shows (sad to say, but I hadn't read EGM since the 1980s and I had never read Games for Windows). My videogame industry work-week pretty much revolves around podcast release schedules, and I'm especially appreciative of the folks who go to the trouble to create and publish them out of the goodness of their hearts (like the selfless Gamers With Jobs crew - THE 1 CONSOLE salutes you!).

If, as Robert Ashley seems to be suggesting, videogame podcasts and internet radio shows are generally replacing feature articles in videogame magazines, and if they are also encroaching on other long-form discussions, reviews and news related to videogames (as in RebelFM's Backlog and ListenUp's industry gossip round-up), then it follows that we'll see a significant broadening in the type & format of shows that are available, as more energy and imagination are applied to these programs. If this is the case, then A Life Well Wasted is ahead of the curve, pioneering a great, fresh approach matched with unparalleled production values.

That said, there's certainly nothing wrong with the 'usual' videogame podcast format. Sometimes nothing beats getting a handful of opinionated, characterful, well-spoken nerds together to just shoot the breeze and crack wise.

* * *

I might as well toss in a question here, it's something that is closely tied to my own interests as a videogame enthusiast and my ambitions as a videogame creator:

Videogame creators are starting to really mine the potential of radio: there was Bioshock's background radio drama, Portal's intimately contextual GladOs, and perhaps most strikingly, Night of the Cephalopod's tightly integrated adaptive narration system (aka 'Lovecraft 3000'). How long will it be before we see top tier radio production (WNYC's "Radio Lab", Chicago Public Radio's "This American Life", Robert Ashley's "A Life Well Wasted") as the foreground element of a videogame experience? What might that be like?

Elysium wrote:
A question for Elysium: how's The Witcher going? Did I miss your Horizons Broadening Project post for the end of February?

It's not going well. I've fallen behind, but I'm still committed to the Witcher. It's just going to be March instead of February. Commence giving me a hard time in 5, 4, 3, ...

Oh, no, it's completely understandable. I can only imagine how much time it must take to read through The Last Wish, Blood of Elves, Times of Anger...

Seph, thanks for the discussion about breaking into the game industry. Too bad you didn't record that 7 or so years ago when I was still wanting to get into the industry.

OzymandiasAV wrote:
Elysium wrote:
A question for Elysium: how's The Witcher going? Did I miss your Horizons Broadening Project post for the end of February?

It's not going well. I've fallen behind, but I'm still committed to the Witcher. It's just going to be March instead of February. Commence giving me a hard time in 5, 4, 3, ...

Oh, no, it's completely understandable. I can only imagine how much time it must take to read through The Last Wish, Blood of Elves, Times of Anger...

What? No. He asked for it, he's gonna get it! [Insert berating comment here]

Seriously, though, I would just dump the game. If you haven't gotten into it in a month, then it will just drag you down if you let it continue this way. You are probably better off just chalking it up as a loss of a game than trying to push through. That is, unless everything else got busy in life and video game time was pushed out. Then consider keeping it around.

DH_Jin wrote:

the segment with the dean answering the user question. was great. not interested at all about going into the gaming industry but yeah, great segment.

Glad you liked it. I could talk about it for hours, but I know that you, like many others, have no desire to go into games as a career. That's why I didn't mind doing it as a one-off, and I KNOW that the conference call gets a lot of questions along this line.

Irongut wrote:

Uggh. I was found out. I thought I may have slipped that change past the review board. Oh well, in full disclosure...

Irongut originally wrote:

Wow. Sephirotic has a deep voice. I'm just about the polar opposite, I think. I say I think, because I avoid hearing my own voice like the plague.

Adam, I'll get you!

I wondered what that was about.

Genetics is to blame. I'm no Vin Diesel, but it gets the job done.