GWJ Conference Call Episode 164

Conference Call

Dragon Age, Mario Bros Wii, L4D 2, A Big Old Fashioned Email Show, A Special Christmas Request and more!

This week we catch up on emails as we recover from Thanksgiving. We also request Christmas memories from our listeners! 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

"Chloe" (James 106) - 0:21:14

Comments

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That was nice hearing so many emails get answered, good to change it up once in awhile.

That MMO question was one I had circulating in my formaldehyde-filled veins for awhile. Why aren't they more epic? And why do people find virtual gold to be of such importance that they are actually willing to part with real money for it? I don't play MMOs, but my feeling is that if a game can't have an ending, it can't ever really be epic.

And more fun stuff you can do to make a buck? Microtransactions! Sell GWJ shirts in Playstation Home, create GWJ LBP characters, Xbox Avatars, trendy t-shirts that say "XXXX, choose your tag!" In the words of the great Yogurt, "merchandising!"

Or you could just get a whole bunch of kitschy ironic pop art made that references your iconic status. Works for me.

L4D2 is indeed a hard game, especially on advanced or higher.
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But it did amuse me to hear Grant get called out like that:)

Now that mowing season is over, and I only have a 5 minute commute, I'm forever behind with my podcasts. I think I just finished the Conference Call with the guy from Hasbro (great show, btw!).

Anyway since it'll probably be the end of January before I actually listen to this show, could someone provide a little more detail about the "request Christmas memories?" Any memories? Gaming (I assume)? Email? Voicemail? Acted out in mime?

To be frank, I don't think any of the GWJ crew is knowledgeable enough to comment intelligently on JRPGs. I mean that just as it is - no ulterior motive, no put down. I think you guys don't know what you're talking about when it comes to Japanese games, so please do yourselves a favor, and don't. It damages your credibility with people who know better.

Case in point: Muramasa. This is quite transparently NOT a JRPG, but was repeatedly put down on the basis that it was. It's actually more like an action-oriented Castlevania. With ninjas. I think it's awesome, but I'd respect a dissenting opinion as long as that opinion is actually based on things that make sense.

Another Case in Point: sidequests. Final Fantasy from VII onwards is infamous for including a LOT of optional content in its games that are purely nonessential to the main plot, like running Chocobo farms and participating in Blitz Ball tournaments.

Likewise, with this podcast, you guys have pretty definitively crushed any right to criticize JRPGs on the basis that they're linear. Clearly, linear stories are okay with you, so whatever it is you don't like about JRPGs, it's not the linear story.

Moreover, Japanese gamers actually do have a genre of game that involves picking and choosing a lot of story paths - they're called AVNs (adult visual novel, not adult network video) and the infamously involve those games that give you porn storylines. (most such games actually are eroge or "hentai" to Americans) Of course, the design is not limited to that kind of content, and some of these games have no porn content, and have tens of hours of pure story-game based on decision trees.

Some such games have over 30 unique endings and various little mini-arcs of narrative within the overall story based on which choices you go with in the game. If you're really interested in this design and can overcome your xenophobia (;)) enough to at least give the games a fair shot, you might want to check it out just for the experience.

If you want an example, I might recommend Clannad, or Little Busters!

If you don't mind erotic scenes here and there, Rumbling Hearts is also pretty cool, though I understand an all-ages version was released, too.

To be frank, I don't think any of the GWJ crew is knowledgeable enough to comment intelligently on JRPGs. I mean that just as it is - no ulterior motive, no put down. I think you guys don't know what you're talking about when it comes to Japanese games, so please do yourselves a favor, and don't. It damages your credibility with people who know better.

I don't think you're knowledgeable enough about me to comment intelligently about what I do and do not know. I mean that just as it is - no ulterior motive, no put down. Do yourself a favor, and don't.

Seriously, I've played nearly every popular JRPG out there and games like Persona 3, 4 and Odin Sphere. We don't talk about them a lot because I'm usually the only person who has played them at any length. One mistake the guys made about the nature of Muramasa does not suddenly render all opinions invalid, especially since it was corrected.

Games like Final Fantasy VII ARE extremely linear in the sense that while there are side things to do, the plot progresses in a very tight path while the side stuff often takes you completely out of the main context of the game. Gambling, Chocobo raising, Blitzball, etc. To argue that on average, a JRPG is as non-linear as a game like Assasin's Creed 2 or Dragon Age is stretching the concept to the limit. Mentioning AVNs when we're talking JRPGs is well beside the point. Could just as easily point to Way of the Samurai in that case.

I take exception to your entire premise. It's insulting and patently false. *glove slap*

Cage fight!

I try to keep my mouth shut about JRPGs I haven't played (this one included), but the ones I have played (including most of the FF series) I have found to be extraordinarily linear. I don't consider "go raise chickens" or "play a minigame" to be non-linear. I consider that to be side-content.

That said, my experience in AC2 has been that the STORY is pretty much linear so far. I haven't really found any places where I have a set of choices to make. I'm just moving (delightfully) from point A to point Z.

DA, on the otherhand, has CLEARLY shut me out of various quest lines, NPCs and content based on certain choices and failures, and I assume I've got other parts of story that are open to me that might not be otherwise.

The whole choose-your-own-adventure thing i see as a distraction to the discussion.

Also: ProTip from Debate Camp. Big difference between saying "I respectfully disagree" and "You're an idiot, so you should simply never open your mouth again."

Good thing I didn't say that, then.

I said, "If you don't really know what the hell you're talking about, better not say anything about it."

As far as "side-content" does, I don't really see the difference. Raising chocobos in Final Fantasy is an interesting enough distraction and it leads to you playing the game for a while as a shopkeep and a jockey. Eventually, you can win the races and be a winning jockey. That certainly sounds as much of a side quest as anything I've seen in Dragon Age - it just doesn't give you explicit text windows to go with it, and it doesn't go out of its way to pat you on the back for being a race winner.

You can also hunt for various materia and treasure and such and uncover similar optional content. As I recall, Yuffie was not part of the central story of Final Fantasy VII and is a totally optional character to add to your team, assuming you get through the story to recruit her. Is that not a side-quest?

DA, on the otherhand, has CLEARLY shut me out of various quest lines, NPCs and content based on certain choices and failures, and I assume I've got other parts of story that are open to me that might not be otherwise.

The whole choose-your-own-adventure thing i see as a distraction to the discussion.

Why? DA is pretty transparently two kinds of gameplay awkwardly mashed into a single game. It clearly transitions between choose-your-own-adventure parts and tactical RPG parts. If we're talking about the story game parts of DA, how is it a distraction to compare it to games with similar design and content, as far as that part of it goes, anyway?

Chairman_Mao wrote:

Or you could just get a whole bunch of kitschy ironic pop art made that references your iconic status. Works for me.

Warhols of Certis with what looks like overdone makeup would be hilarious.

rabbit wrote:

Cage fight!

How does the "who has the bigger e-peen" fight work in work within the context of JRPGs? Are all JRPG e-peens hilariously oversized? How many hours of grinding does it take to unlock a larger one?

Also: I should probably finish listening so that I'll know what all this fighting is about.

I said, "If you don't really know what the hell you're talking about, better not say anything about it."

I guess we shouldn't engage you in conversation, then. Problem solved!

wordsmythe wrote:
Chairman_Mao wrote:

Or you could just get a whole bunch of kitschy ironic pop art made that references your iconic status. Works for me.

Warhols of Certis with what looks like overdone makeup would be hilarious.

Just wait for the Certis is Awesome stickers to hit the market.

I'm pretty sure I'm not the person of whom Rob spoke of in regards to Dragon Age, but I'm curious as to what room he's referring to.

wordsmythe:

Fighting? Who's fighting? I gave a bit of friendly advice. Hearing the off-stuff on JRPGs and the awful, awful inaccuracies was just getting a little too painful to hear, and I DO otherwise like listening to the podcast.

Certis:

That works, provided you also consistently follow it on the podcast as well. It was just a little bit of advice, meant well. If you really like spouting off about how Porsches are bad Malaysian cars, then I certainly can't stop you, can I?

PS: Just saw your earlier post. Please review my comment without the rage-vision. I never argued that JRPGs weren't linear. They certainly are. I said that they had sidequests, and that if you guys don't really mind games that have linear content, then you really should mind linear content in JRPGs either, right?

Rat Boy wrote:

I'm pretty sure I'm not the person of whom Rob spoke of in regards to Dragon Age, but I'm curious as to what room he's referring to.

I'm not sure either. At first I thought it was the first tower early in the game, but now I'm assuming it's err ... something Morrigan would like you to do.

I'm SO CLOSE to finishing the game. Maybe 6 hours or so depending on how much more side stuff I take care of. Once I do, we're doing a damn spoiler section. It's so hard to talk about Dragon Age since everyone is off doing their own thing right up until the end.

There's a Dragon Age Spoiler thread.

Certis wrote:
Rat Boy wrote:

I'm pretty sure I'm not the person of whom Rob spoke of in regards to Dragon Age, but I'm curious as to what room he's referring to.

I'm not sure either. At first I thought it was the first tower early in the game, but now I'm assuming it's err ... something Morrigan would like you to do.

That's the tough situation?

Man, if we're going to have to start talking only about things we're knowledgeable on, then I'm going to have to get myself a muzzle. Making disparaging comments about JRPGs and games that seem like they might be JRPGs even when they're not is one of my favorite things to do. Right up there with reading a thesaurus and growing a beard.

And poor wordsmythe won't be able to talk about anything.

Hm, suddenly this seems like a good idea.

Rabbit, it's great that the Dante's Inferno webpage has such great, respectful analysis on the actual literature. It sounds like they really do it justice.

The game has a badass Dante with a "dark past" and a giant cross branded into his chest, fighting a giant naked woman shooting evil babies out of her nipples. That's as the tower fills with sperm, right? I'm a little fuzzy on that.

Unlike you, I am unwilling to suspend my disbelief enough to see how that could possibly suggest anything near that level of respect in the game. Just because there's a nice webpage on the source material doesn't mean any of that will make it into the game. I agree with Certis's interpretation.

That said, Dante's Inferno does have fart jokes in it:

"ed elli avea del cul fatto trombetta" (21.139)

"and of his ass he had made a trumpet"

Rat Boy wrote:

I'm pretty sure I'm not the person of whom Rob spoke of in regards to Dragon Age, but I'm curious as to what room he's referring to.

It was me, and I ended up having to go back to camp, heal up, and reconfigure my party completely. Short version: Alistair's stats just weren't up to snuff.

Quintin_Stone wrote:

And poor wordsmythe won't be able to talk about anything.

You want me to only talk about grammar from now on?

Dragon Age Protip - those gems, runes, and herbs don't give you more dudes at the end of the game. They give you XP. Definately exploitable.

wordsmythe wrote:
Rat Boy wrote:

I'm pretty sure I'm not the person of whom Rob spoke of in regards to Dragon Age, but I'm curious as to what room he's referring to.

It was me, and I ended up having to go back to camp, heal up, and reconfigure my party completely. Short version: Alistair's stats just weren't up to snuff.

Only reason I ever brought Alistair along after about halfway through was only for plot purposes.

Bullion Cube wrote:

Dragon Age Protip - those gems, runes, and herbs don't give you more dudes at the end of the game. They give you XP. Definately exploitable.

According to a friend, giving runes and stuff to the envoys in the camp will give you more help in the end.

That was a rumor going around, and the flavor text stating "thanks, our dwarves are better supplied now" implies the troops are helped in some way. They're only good for XP though. Help at the end is capped at 50 for regular troops, and less for mages and templars. It's possible they could do more damage or have better armor if you help them, but we have player confirmation that troop levels aren't affected.

I semi-regularly listen to about 9 video game related podcasts, (I know, wtf is wrong with me?) and am always surprised at the amount of listener backlash regarding a podcaster's opinions. If you want to change the conversation, start your own podcast, sheesh. Aside from the positives, I've heard things I disagree with, things that are factually incorrect, and things that are just ignorant. So what? The fact is that I chose to listen to it for whatever reason.

So, a couple of things. First of all, a big thanks to Shawn for the killer plug for CastMedium. It was much appreciated by all the guys producing content for our site.

Secondly, I think I'm going to go ahead and pull the trigger on the 32gb iPod Touch. A follow up question... what resource do you guys use (if you use one) to find good iPhone games? Every source I've found seems to be on the really casual side of things and don't have a ton of informative things to say about games. Well, or they tend to be like the guys at the major publications who tend to all play the same games at the same time, so I could easily recall a game like Spider or Flight Control from conditioning.

And finally, where would I go to find Dragon Age mods and how might I go about actually installing them? I've only flirted with the mod scene a couple times before with little success, but the mods mentioned on the Conference Call sound fantastic. I've made plenty of bad decisions up until this point and I really don't want to start over, so the respec mod sounds fantastic.

We've got some good threads going on Ipod games and Dragon Age you should check out. Lethial is a forum member who's done a great overview of recommended mods and gives links on downloading and installing them.

Dragon Age Mods - http://www.gamerswithjobs.com/node/47705?page=32#comment-1313349 Lethial post halfway down the page

Iphone Game Catchall - http://www.gamerswithjobs.com/node/40000

Gaald wrote:
Bullion Cube wrote:

Dragon Age Protip - those gems, runes, and herbs don't give you more dudes at the end of the game. They give you XP. Definately exploitable.

According to a friend, giving runes and stuff to the envoys in the camp will give you more help in the end.

I was actually wrong about this - I had thought that I had more mages than 12 on the console but I got into the final battle on the PC after dumping tons of runes into the boxes, and guess what? 12 mages.

JonCole wrote:

Secondly, I think I'm going to go ahead and pull the trigger on the 32gb iPod Touch. A follow up question... what resource do you guys use (if you use one) to find good iPhone games? Every source I've found seems to be on the really casual side of things and don't have a ton of informative things to say about games.

Edge magazine had a Top 50 iphone Games feature a couple of months ago. Here ya go.

Full disclosure - I don't have an iPhone, so that list could well be garbage, but I at least recognised a bunch of the games that the usual podcase suspects have talked about.

Brennil wrote:
Gaald wrote:
Bullion Cube wrote:

Dragon Age Protip - those gems, runes, and herbs don't give you more dudes at the end of the game. They give you XP. Definately exploitable.

According to a friend, giving runes and stuff to the envoys in the camp will give you more help in the end.

I was actually wrong about this - I had thought that I had more mages than 12 on the console but I got into the final battle on the PC after dumping tons of runes into the boxes, and guess what? 12 mages.

Well that settles it.

Gaald wrote:
Brennil wrote:
Gaald wrote:
Bullion Cube wrote:

Dragon Age Protip - those gems, runes, and herbs don't give you more dudes at the end of the game. They give you XP. Definately exploitable.

According to a friend, giving runes and stuff to the envoys in the camp will give you more help in the end.

I was actually wrong about this - I had thought that I had more mages than 12 on the console but I got into the final battle on the PC after dumping tons of runes into the boxes, and guess what? 12 mages.

Well that settles it.

Yeah, at first I thought that was the case since I had fewer templars than the other armies, but I guess not.

Lotro is still a grind.

So, person who doesn't like WoW, you won't like Lotro. The story stuff is good, but it's still not like a non-MMO rpg.

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