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

Parallax Abstraction wrote:
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.

And there are more PC gamers and 360 gamers (and probably PS3 gamers) than Wii gamers, but I don't remember any discussions about whether not too much time was being spent on MadWorld or Super Mario Galaxy. The point of the podcast, in my mind, is to draw attention to, and discuss, fun gaming experiences in a thoughtful and mature way.

I guess I'm with Cory in not really understanding what the objection is here. If the best games Rabbit has played in the last month have all been iPhone games, why should he be discouraged from talking about them? Even if a smaller group of people than usual are playing the same games as him, that isn't a criterion for ending or limiting the discussion for any platform except the iPhone.

kyrieee wrote:

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

To go hunting up here it is super easy to get a license. I think it was a one day class in gun safety for unrestricted guns (rifles and shotguns). Now to get a gun of my own is a different story, but that doesn't mean I couldn't have gone with a buddy who had an extra gun I could use. The only thing they care about with regards to a gun license is safety. You learn how to store, handle, and clear a gun so you don't accidentally shoot someone. They could care less how good a shot you are.

I'm disappointed that my patented term, "a kick-in-the-nuts" ending, wasn't used. KOTOR2, NWN2, Fallout 3 are all examples.

Gaald wrote:
kyrieee wrote:

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

To go hunting up here it is super easy to get a license. Just drink a lot of Molsen's and point your shotgun at anything on four legs.

Sorry Rob, I saw some typos in your post.

I am surprised you guys didn't mention BioShock as a great game that just completely bombed the ending. I loved the game, and the climax was perfect, but something just went wrong after that point.

adam.greenbrier wrote:

I guess I'm with Cory in not really understanding what the objection is here. If the best games Rabbit has played in the last month have all been iPhone games, why should he be discouraged from talking about them?

Well, I guess it depends on what these guys want their podcast to be about and what their audience expects.

If it's purely entertainment through entertaining personalities, then you're right - whacky iPhone rants make the show.

If it's in-part consumer information, then spending significant amounts of time on 0.99 USD iPhone games isn't very useful. I just spent 1.50 USD on a soda from the machine downstairs. It doesn't benefit me to know whether something that cheap is worth buying or not.

jaz147 wrote:

If it's in-part consumer information, then spending significant amounts of time on 0.99 USD iPhone games isn't very useful.

Can you elaborate on this?

Demiurge wrote:
jaz147 wrote:

If it's in-part consumer information, then spending significant amounts of time on 0.99 USD iPhone games isn't very useful.

Can you elaborate on this?

Sure. Thinking about it, I might also just be biased, since I have no interest in the iPhone whatsoever (whenever I'm in a situation where portable gaming makes sense, I'm working, not gaming. I own a DS primarily because it seems to be Atlus U.S.A.'s current platform of choice).

That said, from my perspective, whenever anyone talks about a game on GWJ, I need to map their interests to my own, and make an educated guess about whether that game is going to interest me or not. This is a worthwhile endeavor for a game that is a significant time/money investment. But for a < 5.00 USD game and/or a game that is a rerelease of something 15 years old that I've already played, I'm just going to buy it and come to my own conclusions. The conversation in that case is not very useful to me (although it certainly can be entertaining).

Demiurge wrote:

To go hunting up here it is super easy to get a license. Just drink a lot of Molsen's and point your shotgun at anything on four legs.

Sorry Rob, I saw some typos in your post.[/quote]

It's Molson, not Molsen. Thank you! Not that it really matters cause Moosehead is by far the best beer in Canada.

jaz147 wrote:

If it's in-part consumer information, then spending significant amounts of time on 0.99 USD iPhone games isn't very useful. I just spent 1.50 USD on a soda from the machine downstairs. It doesn't benefit me to know whether something that cheap is worth buying or not.

By your own admission, you're not interested in iPhone games. However, if you were, I think you would find their recommendations to be more useful. The question of cost when consuming an iPhone game isn't strictly one of monetary cost but also cost of time; there are a lot of games out there, and it can be difficult to separate the wheat from the chaff. If you're looking for a consumer information angle on the iPhone discussions, think of them as Cory and Rabbit doing the hard work of sorting through a pile of ninety-nine cent games so that you don't or someone else doesn't have to.

adam.greenbrier wrote:

By your own admission, you're not interested in iPhone games. However, if you were, I think you would find their recommendations to be more useful. The question of cost when consuming an iPhone game isn't strictly one of monetary cost but also cost of time; there are a lot of games out there, and it can be difficult to separate the wheat from the chaff. If you're looking for a consumer information angle on the iPhone discussions, think of them as Cory and Rabbit doing the hard work of sorting through a pile of ninety-nine cent games so that you don't or someone else doesn't have to.

Fair enough, I can't argue about what I would or would not find useful with something I don't have.

However, with comparable services (Wii & Xbox 360 downloadable games, GOG.com, Steam), it doesn't take me more than 5 minutes to look through the list of new release and pick something potentially interesting on description and screen shots alone. I think it takes me longer to listen to the GWJ staff talk about it, which is my point.

Unless it just takes an inordinate amount of time to find something potentially interesting on rough information (which may be true on the iPhone, I don't know), I find it easier to just try something and make my own judgments when we're talking about games that cost less than a purchased lunch.

I don't see the big fuss.... if we can complain about the podcasters only talking about the 360 then we can complain about them over talking about any platform. The fact that Rob only talks about PC games doesn't really matter (though i'm pretty sure he doesn't) because it doesn't take up 30% of the show.....

Not that any of that matters.... what matters to me is having a balanced view. When Cory was talking about Flower's completely positively biased (without seemingly critical appraisal of the game) commentary resonated with me because when you only hear one side of the argument then your view of that thing, that aspect becomes obscured. Hearing the general blurb around the iPhone (not just talking about the podcast here or even talking about a specific game or multiple games as there have been on the podcast) you'd almost be forgiven for thinking that it walks on water and cures cancer through use. I've heard one bad thing about it and that's the multitude of games on the app store, stopping any kind of real ability to personally filter them. Surely all these games can't bethat great? On the podcast each game mentioned is fantastic, great, amazing, an absolute fit for the platform..... are we just seeing DS [insert new platform of your choice] syndrome again? In six months time will all games that take the time to implement a decent control scheme reach the same level of praise or will it settle back down to the normal level of review like it is for all platforms? That's the question that i would like to know....

I guess if the podcast gets turned into iPhone gamers with jobs weekly i'd probably still listen to the great personalities, not for the game content. Luckily i don't think we're ever likely to see that development so there's no real need to worry is there? Is there?

Parallax Abstraction wrote:

It's Molson, not Molsen. Thank you! Not that it really matters cause Moosehead is by far the best beer in Canada.

Sleeman's would disagree.

For great game endings the two that come immediately to mind for me are Grim Fandango & Planescape Torment.
I found both of those endings actually moving.

Certis wrote:

Talk about limiting podcast time relative to the size / length / platform of a game

I don't know, it just sounds like you are going the route of providing review services instead of just talking about what you have to talk about that has to do with gaming because it is genuinely worth your time. What I'm saying is, if it's fun and has something worth talking about, then by all means talk about it. I personally have no desire to get an iphone (or play MMO's, for that matter) but I know it's part of gaming, so by all means, take your time talking about it.

Switchbreak wrote:

Sleeman's would disagree.

More like...like...Slimean's! HA!

Actually, Sleeman is pretty good too. I'd actually never tried Moosehead until about a month ago and I don't know what draws me to it since I'm not normally much of a beer person in general.

mrtomaytohead wrote:
Certis wrote:

Talk about limiting podcast time relative to the size / length / platform of a game

I don't know, it just sounds like you are going the route of providing review services instead of just talking about what you have to talk about that has to do with gaming because it is genuinely worth your time. What I'm saying is, if it's fun and has something worth talking about, then by all means talk about it. I personally have no desire to get an iphone (or play MMO's, for that matter) but I know it's part of gaming, so by all means, take your time talking about it.

Trust me when I say, I always just talk about what it is I want to talk about. It's all we really do. However for the sanity of the rest of the crew Certis has a point. I don't think any of us want's to hear someone go on for 10 minutes about a game that takes 2-5 minutes to finish.

Where I live you need to study all the laws regarding hunting, you need to study ethics, ecology etc. There's also some practical stuff, not sure exactly what, and then you also need to be able to identify lots of different species (tons of birds).

It's not super hard but it's probably around 1000 pages you need to plow through

After listening to this episode I so want to produce the stage re-imagining of "HMS Pinafore" with a guy dressed up as Master Chief.

And frankly I'm all for more iPhone gaming discussion. I just ditched my Nintendo DS and DS game library because my iPhone has morphed into my choice for mobile gaming for a lot of reasons. I'm sure I'm not alone in that.

The outrage that gaming podcasts dare talk about iPhone games reminds me of the way GAF and the self-identified "hardcore" look at the Wii. They don't get it, so therefore it must not matter, even though its a 800 pound gorilla sitting right in front of them.

EDIT: Double posted, but we won't talk about that here.

Thanks for the shout out, the really brightened up my day and made my commute home full of smiles!

larrymadill wrote:

They don't get it, so therefore it must not matter, even though its a 800 pound gorilla sitting right in front of them.

To be fair, it's a gorilla with a monthly service fee ~$70/month higher than a cellphone. Yeah, it's a smartphone and silly to consider without the data plan, even before you get around to gaming. That does put some kind of upper limit on adoption rates. Don't think the limit disqualifies it as platform, but do understand service fee induced hate. I'm old and remember when the thought of paying $50/year to unlock multiplay options was sheer insanity.

Service fees, DLC, rentals, in-game stores, onLive... Definitely feels like the conclusion of the computer-gaming-as-fixed-cost era. I, for one, welcome our new distributed gaming cloud service overlords.

evildoc wrote:
larrymadill wrote:

They don't get it, so therefore it must not matter, even though its a 800 pound gorilla sitting right in front of them.

To be fair, it's a gorilla with a monthly service fee ~$70/month higher than a cellphone. Yeah, it's a smartphone and silly to consider without the data plan, even before you get around to gaming. That does put some kind of upper limit on adoption rates. Don't think the limit disqualifies it as platform, but do understand service fee induced hate. I'm old and remember when the thought of paying $50/year to unlock multiplay options was sheer insanity.

Service fees, DLC, rentals, in-game stores, onLive... Definitely feels like the conclusion of the computer-gaming-as-fixed-cost era. I, for one, welcome our new distributed gaming cloud service overlords.

iPod. Touch.

Seriously, it's okay if you don't think the iPhone is a viable gaming platform, but stop bringing up subscription plans as a reason for its illegitimacy.

EDIT: This isn't directed necessarily at you, evildoc. It just keeps coming up.

Shouldn't the singular of digirati be digirate or digirato (Like cognoscente, scampo, graffito etc.)?

For The World Ends With You:

I haven't been able to finish it yet, but to get through the J-pop, I have this advice.

Remember that the characters are not in J-pop Paradise, but in J-pop PURGATORY.

As you suffer through it, they suffer through it, so in a way, it adds to the immersion. You gotta pay your dues.

Oh, and the snotty shopkeepers made me laugh. Reminds me of teenage days, roaming the malls... which were kind of like purgatory at the time, come to think of it...

Maybe i missed it, but how could you spend all that time talking about demigod without mentioning Defense of the Ancients? The DotA crowd is clearly the target audience for this game, and if they can get so much replay out off a single Warcraft 3 custom map for over 6 years, I think you're underestimating the replay value of Demigod. The real question is whether this is "DotA-killer" or will players return to DotA when they get bored.

I really appreciate the conversations regarding iPhone/touch games. I don't own a DS, Xbox or PSP, but I don't complain when people spend time talking about those systems. An iPhone hater is no better than a console fanboy, only we're not "xbots" we're "digirati".

No other platform requires as much discussion either. Imagine walking into your local gamestop, and every game was in the bargin bin. They all run on the same console, but there's no way to tell the CoD4 from the Imagine Babiez. There's no marketing for these games, the appstore is a mess, and since most of the sites out there are garbage we rely on podcasts to hear what's available out there.

And as everyone else has mentioned, if "iPod touch" wasn't such a mouthful, people wouldn't be crying about subscription plans. IMO most people have spent more on their DS + crappy games than they would have on an iPod touch. And the longer you're spending 1 -> 10 dollars on games, the more you're making up for the initial platform cost.

Gaald wrote:

Trust me when I say, I always just talk about what it is I want to talk about. It's all we really do. However for the sanity of the rest of the crew Certis has a point. I don't think any of us want's to hear someone go on for 10 minutes about a game that takes 2-5 minutes to finish.

Flower, Peggle, Portal. People will talk about games based on their level of engagement, length isn't always a key factor.

New listener here. Great show.

My comments are about the iPhone/Ipod Touch vs. DS debate, I own a DSi and an iPod Touch. What's up with the "crappy games" comment for the DS? There are a ton of good games on the DS; Henry Hatsworth, Mario Kart, tons of JRPGs, etc. Personally, I don't think of the DS as a "mobile" gaming device much anymore. I consider it another home console along with the 360 or PS3. I think I play my DS at home more than my 360 or PS3. I like it because I can take it anywhere in my house and play it, and yes, it has a ton of good games to do that with.

The iPod touch I mostly use for quick games. Usually when I'm waiting around, like the waiting room of a doctor's office or whatever. I'll break out some Poker Quest Motion X or Flight Control. Quick games so that when it's time to leave I can just shut it down and be done with it. To me comparing these two gaming platforms is like comparing apples to oranges, at least in the way I use them to satisfy my game bug.

Is The Hunter a metaphor for sex? (Re-listen from 35:30.) I know, not the most original observation, but I couldn't help thinking it. "Cory you're going to have to experience it for yourself."

Demiurge wrote:
evildoc wrote:
larrymadill wrote:

They don't get it, so therefore it must not matter, even though its a 800 pound gorilla sitting right in front of them.

To be fair, it's a gorilla with a monthly service fee ~$70/month higher than a cellphone. Yeah, it's a smartphone and silly to consider without the data plan, even before you get around to gaming. That does put some kind of upper limit on adoption rates. Don't think the limit disqualifies it as platform, but do understand service fee induced hate. I'm old and remember when the thought of paying $50/year to unlock multiplay options was sheer insanity.

Service fees, DLC, rentals, in-game stores, onLive... Definitely feels like the conclusion of the computer-gaming-as-fixed-cost era. I, for one, welcome our new distributed gaming cloud service overlords.

iPod. Touch.

Seriously, it's okay if you don't think the iPhone is a viable gaming platform, but stop bringing up subscription plans as a reason for its illegitimacy.

EDIT: This isn't directed necessarily at you, evildoc. It just keeps coming up.

This part of the segment got me too. How many people do you hear talking about ipod touch games? I'd be really curious to know what the breakdown between phone/touch owners is at the app store.

I know this makes me more of a digi-pariah, but I don't own an ipod of any generation. I have a flash based MP3 player that cost me $50, not the $230 an ipod would.
I use a prepaid cellphone that costs me ~$30/month rather than a plan that starts at $50 a month, which would be $75+ if I wanted a data plan.

I'm not trying to argue that a market for iphone games doesn't exist - it clearly does. But the people buying it are okay with paying the early adopter tax. I have the same aversion to subscription MMOs that I do with cellphone contracts.

It's not an imagined issue, and stating a concern for some of us shouldn't diminish the enjoyment or provoke the ire of iphone owners out there.

The initial cost on an iphone has come down quite a bit from the $500/600 launch price, down to $200/300. It's harder to take you guys seriously on cost when you get basic price info wrong, like a PSP - it hasn't cost $200 since it launched. It's had multiple price drops and sells for about $160 now.
Rabbit got the price of his brand new DSi wrong the week he bought it. It's retailing at $170.

I trust you guys on a lot of things, but I don't rely on you for pricing info. I don't think we really need you to talk about price too much - I just want to know whether a game is worth my time. Then I will figure out if it's worth the cost to me - the point at which a game/system becomes "worth it" is entirely subjective, and is a decision that can't be made for someone else.

I guess the point I'm trying to make is that apple customers and iphone users in particular are okay with a higher cost. That's a self-selecting group that's also well represented (justifiably) in online news sites. But if iphone games were more than $1-5 I think you'd have to cry bloody murder for your wallet's sake. That's how monthly fees work - once you get over the initial resistance to the high price, small additional costs seem like a bargain - and that's entirely a matter of perception.

Forbin wrote:

Maybe i missed it, but how could you spend all that time talking about demigod without mentioning Defense of the Ancients? The DotA crowd is clearly the target audience for this game, and if they can get so much replay out off a single Warcraft 3 custom map for over 6 years, I think you're underestimating the replay value of Demigod. The real question is whether this is "DotA-killer" or will players return to DotA when they get bored.

I really appreciate the conversations regarding iPhone/touch games. I don't own a DS, Xbox or PSP, but I don't complain when people spend time talking about those systems. An iPhone hater is no better than a console fanboy, only we're not "xbots" we're "digirati".

I agree with all of this, actually. After hearing from a multitude of sources (including some discussions in the forums here) about how Demigod was a trumped-up version of DotA, I was very surprised that it never entered the discussion at all. Considering that DotA is a free mod for Warcraft III, there's got to be some kind of comparison or justification for paying the extra money for a retail rendering of (mostly) the same game, right?

That being said, I also don't mind the iPhone discussion either because I think it's actually very topical and I enjoy getting the lowdown on what's going on in gaming, even though I don't have an iPhone myself. I don't know that I agree with somebody like John Davison (brilliant as he is) when they say that the iPhone is a "disruptive force" or a harbinger for the future of gaming or whatever - and I would suspect it's actually that evangelization which, to be fair, is happening outside of this podcast, that has brought upon the backlash - but I think it's a little too relevant to be completely sidestepped, especially given that the audience here seems more likely to own an iPhone than the more-teenaged demographics that follow other podcasts.

I mean, sure, I'd personally love to see more old school console discussion; my eyes lit up like a christmas tree when Cory namedropped Simon's Quest during the conversation about game endings. But I also understand that's not exactly a topic that is at the forefront of what's new and exciting in the "mature" gaming space right now (especially given how much of the community here is rooted in the PC side of that culture), so it doesn't really irk me at all. I just think it's a matter of being realistic about the audience for the podcast.