GWJ Conference Call Episode 132

Conference Call

Demigod, theHunter, Uniwar, Endgames, The Nefarious Digirati, Your Emails and more!

This week it's all hands on deck for a special conversation about how games end and what some of the best and worst are. We also spend some time listening to Cory and Julian tell us how they're absolutely not elitist. They were kind of snobs about it, though. 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

"Alpha" - (Workbench) - www.workbench-music.com - 0:46:26
"Cosmos" - (Workbench) - www.workbench-music.com - 1:13:04

Comments

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Wow, freaky good timing for me on the discussion topic this week.

I just finished the game Shadow Hearts: Covenant. This was a prime example of a twist ending for the sake of a twist:

spoiler wrote:

[color=white]The game has a fairly straightforward love story plot - girl likes guy, guy doesn't like girl (or doesn't reciprocate) because the guy's last lover died a year earlier to save the guy's life. Instead of resolving this in any way I could have fathomed, in the last minutes of the game, the girl is sent back in time and is found by the guy's father. It is then heavily implied that the girl goes on to become the guy's mother.

Oedipus Complex for no reason but a last minute plot twist ain't cool. It just ain't cool man.
[/color]

so Gaald, hows ya cousin?

Don't knock the Gilbert and Sullivan!!

A local Gilbert and Sullivan society asked me to design and paint their scenery at short notice last year. I did it (cos I love painting) but, unfortunately, it meant I was duty bound, out of politeness, to actually go and see the production. I hate musicals and I really wasn't looking forward to it but in the end I was blown away by the humour, playfulness and sheer creativity of the show. If, in the future, you are dragged along to see one don't resist too much, you might be in for a treat.

The ending of Shenmue 2 killed me. It was a 'To be continued....' style ending when I knew a sequel was unlikely. I'm ok with unresolved endings if I know I'm definitely getting a sequel. I really liked the ending of Assassin's Creed *Puts on tin helmet and ducks behind sandbags.* To me it was full of 'Lost' style mystery. The revelations and new mysteries got me excited for what would be coming in future games. Also, I felt I'd killed the bad guy and had had my revenge. My reaction is probably what the developers were shooting for.

With all the trauma Elysium's been experiencing from the Witcher and now The World Ends With You, I have a feeling next year he might have a horizons avoiding project in which he just plays WoW for a year and then rights an article about it afterwards.

Half Life endings**Spoilers**:

[color=white]I think the ending to Half Life 2 struck a good balance between finishing the story and leaving enough open for the episodes. You achieve your goal, you blow up the Combine Citadel and then you get that fantastic freeze frame moment when the G-man walks in. All the immediate story threads are tied up, but there are still loads of questions left. The episodes have done it pretty well too, Ep2 in particular gave you that wonderful cathartic sequence of beating the striders, walking back with everyone cheering, seeing the rocket launch and then that incredible ending sequence out of nowhere.[/color]

Poor, poor Sean. I absolutely adore The World Ends With You, but I have trouble explaining why. Basically, I have pretty much the same reaction to it as is detailed in this comic.

I propose a simple psychological test. I will describe an aspect of the game, and you can tell me what your first thought is. Here goes: every area in Shibuya has a chart of different brands of clothing that are popular, and you have to pick out your fashions according to the trends in your area in order to get combat buffs, or you can affect the trends by wearing something unpopular and doing well. Before you can wear more bold outfits, however, you must level up your "Bravery." Also, to get the most out of your fashion, you need to make friends with store clerks by visiting their shops and spending money - they will then give you tips that unlock secret abilities in the different clothing items. When I first read about that system, my reaction was to immediately drop everything and go buy the game. If your reaction was utter revulsion, maybe you won't love it in the same way that I do.

Zelos wrote:

Half Life endings**Spoilers**:

spoiler

Yeah, in hindsight the Half-Life 2 ending was amazing. At the time, though, when we didn't know if we would see another Half-Life at any point in the next 5 years, it made people very understandably want to scream.

I don't know why, but I continually get Demigod and Battleforge confused. They both give you conttol of big monsters with strategy gamepaly and they were released around the same time. That's about the only reason I have, other than not knowing much at all about either.

I think we could classify Fable 2 as not having a very good ending. I mean, it gets built up from the beginning to be a very personal encounter for the hero, and when it finally arrives, it just isn't very satisfying.

Summary: Gilbert and Sullivan incest.

Xeknos wrote:

I think we could classify Fable 2 as not having a very good ending. I mean, it gets built up from the beginning to be a very personal encounter for the hero, and when it finally arrives, it just isn't very satisfying.

I actually found the "final boss" to be extremely satisfying. It emphasized that behind all the scheming and trickery and ambition, he was just a man.

I don't know, maybe I'm just sick of all the epic boss fights and monologues and cliched action hero stuff. I like the silent hero who just does what needs to be done.

Regarding: Getting into Demigod after the ship has sailed

The GwJ community rocks. What doesn't rock is the fast-pace that you all blow through games. Exceptions (for me) are Left 4 Dead and Team Fortress 2, which have enough people playing that I can still jump into a game.

This is why I don't buy a lot of the latest and greatest multiplayer games. By the time I would have purchased Demigod, most of you would consider it old news. This is not a complaint, just an observation. It's the price I pay for being in the presence of folks on the bleeding edge.

We are a fickle bunch, yes.

Throwing my character sheet was for comedic effect! Honest! It was my own damn fault for not buying potions and a shield.

Geez. Next you'll be telling people that I swept all the minis off the table in a rage!

I think the worst part was when you drop kicked my cat across the room and set fire to the kitchen. It was really uncalled for.

Great show guys, really enjoyed this one!

Okay to sum up the show topic: Star troopers, Gilbert and Sullivan incest!, Star craft and doody.....

I was going to make a few comments on game endings but it got too long and i made a thread instead.

[edit] Oh yeah, can we tone down the iPhone love please? I would have thought that after his rants over flower that Cory would have been at least measured in his opinions over that.....

Also, Certis' point about the games being remakes from other platforms is a good point. I mean, every time the same game comes out on the PS3/PC a year after the 360 version we don't start talking about it all over again... do we?

You were entirely chill about the whole thing, it's true.

edit: Well now my post just looks really sarcastic, thanks darling.

The one thing about the World Ends with You is that it really doesn't pick up until the 2nd week(which takes about 4-5 hours). The first week is pure JRPG-clicheness. Amnesia, androgynous character, save the world, etc. After that, the story really does get more interesting.

As for the game:
1. Lowering your character's level(the slider on the bottom of the start menu) only impacts your HP pool and pin drop rate. It doesn't change any other stats-those are gained through food(when you digest something completely, you gain a few points of stats) and clothing.
2. Battle difficulty(starts at normal, you then unlock easy, and hard later) determines enemy stats and drop tables. A harder difficulty does NOT mean that pins drop easier.
3. Pins are like pokemon(seriously). They have individual Exp pools, and level up accordingly. And, like pokemon, you want as many as possible. Since the descriptions are fairly bad, it's much better to experiment with each pin you get.

Battle system:
1. DO NOT equip anything that changes your partner's attack map(the arrow thingy). During battles, I generally just hit right or left constantly, and concentrate on using my pins on the noise.
2. Don't equip multiple pins that need the same action(tapping, slashing, etc.). They'll interfere with each other, and it's difficult to get the right attack at the right time.
3. The Light Puck(the green blob that goes between Neku and his partner) is incredibly important. Since it multiplies the damage the final attack of a combo does, proper use can give you some pretty insane damage. Get used to switching from Neku to the partner to keep the multiplier up. It's actually better to ignore the one without the puck-use that as your focus rather than just running Neku around.

Great show, gents. I laughed out loud several times here in my officle.

I think you missed a great opportunity, however — you could have launched into the Modern Major General's song from Pirates of Penzance to lead into the mail section.

Certis wrote:

I think the worst part was when you drop kicked my cat across the room and set fire to the kitchen. It was really uncalled for.

Listen. I told you that was a big misunderstanding. Out here in Crescentwood, drop kicking a cat is a sign of celebration! I was happy you guys won the battle! How was I supposed to know that you pacifist hippies in Osborne would have an "issue" with that?

Sorry about the kitchen though. Next time I'll build my mini's funeral pyre outside. Without gasoline. Sheeesh.

I have a feeling next year he might have a horizons avoiding project in which he just plays WoW for a year and then rights an article about it afterwards.

Tomorrow's Maximum Verbosity is laughing at you.

By the time I would have purchased Demigod, most of you would consider it old news.

This is really what I was saying. I think Julian found this to be a criticism, but it wasn't. Then again, Julian was pretty damn squirrelly this week, wasn't he?! Get that man some decaf!

I think you missed a great opportunity, however — you could have launched into the Modern Major General's song from Pirates of Penzance to lead into the mail section.

If I knew the words, I certainly would have. Comedic bad singing is right at the top of my Big-Bag O'Go-To Cliches.

[stealth edit to indicate playful ribbing instead of passive aggressive snottiness.]

jaz147 wrote:

Wow, freaky good timing for me on the discussion topic this week.

I just finished the game Shadow Hearts: Covenant. This was a prime example of a twist ending for the sake of a twist:

spoiler wrote:

[color=white]The game has a fairly straightforward love story plot - girl likes guy, guy doesn't like girl (or doesn't reciprocate) because the guy's last lover died a year earlier to save the guy's life. Instead of resolving this in any way I could have fathomed, in the last minutes of the game, the girl is sent back in time and is found by the guy's father. It is then heavily implied that the girl goes on to become the guy's mother.

Oedipus Complex for no reason but a last minute plot twist ain't cool. It just ain't cool man.
[/color]

That was a beautiful game!

For all the crap Gaald gets for his "rage", it is hilarious to watching hardcore iPhone fans try to contain themselves when someone dares to criticise it.

Parallax Abstraction wrote:

For all the crap Gaald gets for his "rage", it is hilarious to watching hardcore iPhone fans try to contain themselves when someone dares to criticise it. :)

I have no problem with being critical about it, I was just feeling a bit annoyed that somehow we were questioning whether the entire platform should even be open for discussion. As if we were trying to wedge a discussion of car stereos into it or something. And I was way over-reacting, in retrospect!

rabbit wrote:

I have no problem with being critical about it, I was just feeling a bit annoyed that somehow we were questioning whether the entire platform should even be open for discussion. As if we were trying to wedge a discussion of car stereos into it or something. And I was way over-reacting, in retrospect!

I agree completely that the iPhone is a viable gaming platform that should be discussed and I don't believe it was suggested anywhere that it should never be talked about. It has very quickly cemented its position and an overnight industry has sprung up around it and the impact of that cannot be denied. I do however find that it tends to dominate too many discussions (and I don't necessarily mean on the Conference Call specifically but in general) for a device that not only has a very small market but also is completely inaccessible to a large portion of the planet's population. And I did find the argument about it not being as mainstream because of the price point (and that of the iPod Touch) to be completely reasonable which is something that was shot back at sternly. I do think that when you factor in how much cheaper iPhone games are as a whole, that ultimately the cost of ownership might be better or at least at par with something like a PSP where the device is cheaper but the games are more expensive.

I've just found that in general of late, the iPhone has a stronger version of the "cult of Steve" around it where people who point out any of its flaws (of which it has a number) in addition to the multitude of awesome things it does get smacked back and treated as if they "don't get it." I think it is a great and ingenious device, the likes of which only Apple could create but it does tend to get disproportionate representation at times is all.

Parallax Abstraction wrote:

I've just found that in general of late, the iPhone has a stronger version of the "cult of Steve" around it where people who point out any of its flaws (of which it has a number) in addition to the multitude of awesome things it does get smacked back and treated as if they "don't get it." I think it is a great and ingenious device, the likes of which only Apple could create but it does tend to get disproportionate representation at times is all.

Guilty as charged.

I don't see how the conversation revolving around iPhone games is any different than conversations revolving around PC-exclusive or console-exclusive games. It's a platform that two of the podcast commentators are very excited about, and if they were speaking exclusively about the technology involved and not the games themselves that would be one thing, but they're talking about the games they've been playing on the platform more than the platform itself just like with the other commentators and their preferred platforms. Rob talks almost exclusively about PC games; that doesn't make him a member of the Digirati because he's playing games on a platform that some listeners aren't.

rabbit wrote:

As if we were trying to wedge a discussion of car stereos into it or something.

But can't you hook it up to a car stereo via audio input (or even the ipod dongle) if that stereo, in fact has that input? Sounds completely tangental but relavent to iphone/pod discussion to me.

adam.greenbrier wrote:

Rob talks almost exclusively about PC games; that doesn't make him a member of the Digirati because he's playing games on a platform that some listeners aren't.

There are far more PC gamers than iPhone gamers on this site and indeed in the gaming population as a whole. As I said, I have no problem with iPhone discussion and despite having never touched an iPhone for more than 15 minutes, I find the discussion interesting. I just think it is a lot of discussion aimed at something only a minority of people are playing and that defense of that discussion seems to be a bit more rabid because it's the iPhone. I tell you, if they put in a replaceable battery and decent push e-mail support, I'd probably buy one.

Be hunting within a week?
What kind of crazy laws do you have over there?
Over here it is pretty much like getting a pilot's license. Well, not quite, but you need a really long education

lostlobster wrote:

I think you missed a great opportunity, however — you could have launched into the Modern Major General's song from Pirates of Penzance to lead into the mail section.

Don't think I didn't want to.

As an iPhone owner who's not super into it as a gaming platform (less to do with the phone, more to do with portable gaming in general) I also tend to feel like we've crossed some kind of line when we spend five minutes on games you can play in a browser or 15 years ago on the PC. I think Cory's takeaway in yesterday's article was the perfect tonic for this:

"Why don't we do this: I'll take a much more serious look at the games I decide to rant about on the iPhone. I won't bother you about two-minute time wasters like Uno or iBowl or whatever. But when I find something I think holds some serious value, I'm going to tell you about it. Shout it from the rooftops. Because if it's really good, you'll want to know."

Same goes for web-based games and some of the shorter download games, honestly. It's not that there's nothing to discuss there, but something free that takes 5 minutes to play probably doesn't need equal time to a 10 hour adventure game people need to make a purchase decision on. I know there are shows when all I've had time for is a "small" game and I kind of feel like I need to stretch it out like taffy to have it on the show

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