GWJ Conference Call Episode 165

Conference Call

Lego Indiana Jones 2, Dragon Age, Super Mario Bros Wii, L4D 2, Travel Gaming, Exercise, Japan, Your Emails and more!

This week Cory and Sean return to regale us with tales from their adventure on the Arabian Sea. We also talk about what we're thinking when it comes to Japan, laptop gaming and a good bit more. Don't forget to send in your Christmas stories! 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

"Carving Away Stone" (Ian Dorsch) - www.willowtreeaudio.com - 0:36:29
"Washaway" (Ian Dorsch) - www.willowtreeaudio.com - 1:01:17

Comments

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Spreading the hate mail to foreign shores! Go team!

I think you're misunderstanding how Quick Save works in NSMB. It's a temporary save. When you load it, it deletes (signified by the balloon floating away on the save screen). So if you do a Quick Save and then your kid loads it up but doesn't make any progress, he can't just turn it off. That Quick Save is gone. Got to make another one or else you're going back to the last castle you beat.

This is to prevent save-abuse. They want you to get through half a world at the very least with the amount of lives that you have. They also don't want you to immediately reload if you fail to get a coin that requires a particular suit or something.

Some people still feel that it should be Save Anytime (which you unlock when you beat Bowser), that fair is fair and if I beat a level it should immediately be etched in the annals of Mario History. It's debatable.

Man, wish I didn't sell my Wii a long time ago because I thought New Super Mario Bros. on the DS was too easy.

This is to prevent save-abuse.

This phrase makes me very, very angry.

It's debatable.

To some. To me, it's not. It honestly, and I'm not exaggerating, makes me never want to turn on the game again.

Dear Rabbit,

This is how you run in the winter:
IMAGE(http://farm4.static.flickr.com/3495/3252024808_f7dcf834b8.jpg)

Up here in Canada we call them "touques" and "balaclavas". They stop your face from freezing!

You look so happy and fulfilled!

Puffy eyes not withstanding, I was feelin' pretty happy when I took that picture. I'll probably have that same look tonight before DRYH; I gotta go for a run before we get together tonight

Why am I both picturing and horrified by a "Deliverance" mod for the Hunter? And if someone doesn't say "X-COM" in next week's Games You Can Play Now segment, I'll be disappointed.

Elysium wrote:
This is to prevent save-abuse.

This phrase makes me very, very angry.

It's debatable.

To some. To me, it's not. It honestly, and I'm not exaggerating, makes me never want to turn on the game again.

It's all part of the Puritanical "earn your game" crap. This is why I actually FAR prefer achievements as a way of establishing e-Peen. Since I don't care, and someone else does, about whether they manage to clean some SMB level on one life, give them an acheivement for it, but don't deny me the content because I suck.

Old, old argument around here. I won't be convinced.

It just depends on what the game is designed for. In Demon's Souls, a save system beyond the temporary quick save that happens when you quit a game would fundamentally change the experience. You're meant to die and experience the tension permanent loss of resources brings.

In Mario, I think a save anywhere system would ultimately reduce the play time quite a bit. For a decent player it's only a six hour game as is. If you could save right before a tricky part, you'd be done in half that time I bet. Tough value proposition for a full price Wii game.

I'd prefer save anywhere be an option in Mario right from the start rather than a prize for finishing the game. Like vita-chambers in Bioshock, players could choose how much they're willing to replay a section.

On the other hand, it's pretty damn clear after immersing myself in Demon's Souls that fighting to increase your player skill through repetition and tension is rewarding in its own way. Given the option to save anywhere, I'd use it because like most people I don't like losing progress, but the game would be half of what it is now.

I can't help but wonder about the alternate universe where Cory indeed got to go first... what are we all like there? Did humanity survive?

rabbit wrote:
Elysium wrote:
This is to prevent save-abuse.

This phrase makes me very, very angry.

It's debatable.

To some. To me, it's not. It honestly, and I'm not exaggerating, makes me never want to turn on the game again.

It's all part of the Puritanical "earn your game" crap. This is why I actually FAR prefer achievements as a way of establishing e-Peen. Since I don't care, and someone else does, about whether they manage to clean some SMB level on one life, give them an acheivement for it, but don't deny me the content because I suck.

Old, old argument around here. I won't be convinced.

I have to say, I find insisting that no game is allowed to make the players "earn the game" far more hateful and puritanical. Some people like games that challenge them. Some people like games with an "I win!" button.

That's fine.

There's room for games of both kinds. Every game doesn't have to be everything to all people, it's ok to cater to a specific audience.

Great Show,

With respect to Japanese games. I can relate to Sands, but I'd say my dislike is more focus onto a narrow stereotype of Japanese games.

BEGIN RANT(); OverGeneralizing="true";
That would be Square RPGs and anything that is remotely like Square RPGs. FF7 was popular, but please stop! How in the heck am I supposed to take your game seriously when every other character looks like they were trying to reach a space-disco fashion show and got trapped in my Playstation? The last "JRPG" I liked was Chrono Trigger, and I'm pretty sure at this point that it was because the sprites were so simple, and the dialogue so well localized (not just translated) that it didn't come across as overwhelmingly Japanese. This is not to say bald space-marines are automatically better than large-breasted-she-looks-12-but-she's-really-21-so-it's-ok-cat-girls. I think the bald space marines get somewhat of a pass just because of the culture difference of "I'm more comfortable feeling like a psycho-path while blowing skulls off of torsos than I'm feeling like a pervert watching a squeaky anime girl bounce up and down during a 20 minute cut scene."

I think most JRPG fans will consider the wild character designs and lengthy cut scenes a bonus, and sure, that's fine for them, but I think these sorts of games could reach a much wider audience if they held back just a little. Maybe come up with a plot reason why party member X is fighting in a dress made out of belts instead of, like, armor. Maybe think twice before putting that cat-girl in there.
END RANT();

I have to say, I find insisting that no game is allowed to make the players "earn the game" far more hateful and puritanical. Some people like games that challenge them. Some people like games with an "I win!" button.

That's fine.

There's room for games of both kinds. Every game doesn't have to be everything to all people, it's ok to cater to a specific audience.

Familiar territory here, but let me say this -- these guys creating a game that would appeal to a six year-old and then getting all bitchy about saves is, in my world, a total dick move. It's the same reason I think Little Big Planet is a great game wrapped around an obtuse, restrictive and annoying lives system.

I don't play that one either. The hell with those guys.

I don't play that one either. The hell with those guys.

Surely you mean "The hell with that game."
The Media Molecule guys are actually very nice.

Elysium wrote:

Familiar territory here, but let me say this -- these guys creating a game that would appeal to a six year-old and then getting all bitchy about saves is, in my world, a total dick move.

I find kids often tend to have a lot more patience with, and be better at, games than adults. At least when it comes to reflex-based ones.

The Media Molecule guys are actually very nice.

I happily separate the actions of a team who develops a game and their real life personas, so let me be more specific.

Individually, I'd love to sit down to a nice dinner with the Media Molecule individuals to discuss the finer points of game design.

If, however, the entire team formed into some kind of Voltron like entity, I'd punch it right in the face.

Glad to hear Elysium (and Cory) back on the show. His input/stance during the JRPG segment is a good example of what he adds to the show, of which I miss when he's gone. No more extended traveling for you, sir.

Looking forward to the Xmas show.

I can't wait for Shawn's description of Bayonetta to be used as a box quote for the game.

"Bayonetta is holding firm." - Shawn Andrich, Gamers With Jobs

We all know where it would appear next to the main character's picture as well.

Elysium wrote:

Familiar territory here, but let me say this -- these guys creating a game that would appeal to a six year-old and then getting all bitchy about saves is, in my world, a total dick move.

I haven't listened to the podcast yet, so I'm sure I'll get more context and have more comments yet to come, but I can't help but raise my eyebrow at this comment, if only because it so completely clashes with my own personal experience.

As a six year old, I was getting my @$$ handed to me by Legend of Zelda and Castlevania; to me, challenge (and, most importantly, failure) is not only a part of gaming, but one of the key parts of what makes the content in the games compelling in the first place. Simply experiencing the defeat of Dracula in Castlevania offered a little bit of pleasure as a kid, but it was the additional context - the realization that I've fought my way through this long, arduous game - that really made it that much more satisfying.

By contrast, I feel like what I've played of the Lego series (the pre-eminent "play this with your kids!" recommendation) with my daughter has been nothing but pablum, just mindless game mechanics carrying us across the game. She likes Lego Indiana Jones, sure, but she also likes Super Mario Bros, Bubble Bobble, and Pac Man...and the difference with the games in the latter is that she seems much more engaged in the actual game itself, the act of playing it.

All of this, of course, is completely anecdotal. And maybe, after a while of playing more Lego Indiana Jones, she'll come to like it more. But I'm convinced, at this point, that her appeal with Lego is the actual Lego universe itself and not her ability to wander around it with impunity.

EDIT: And apologies if I'm retreading old arguments, either on the podcast or on the forum at large. Just wanted to throw my own specifically-personal take on it.

Elysium wrote:

If, however, the entire team formed into some kind of Voltron like entity, I'd punch it right in the face.

IMAGE(http://img230.imageshack.us/img230/146/voltron1.jpg)

Wil Wheaton will be our Billy Crystal.

Does Evochron do trading (like Freelancer) or is it only combat (like Starlancer)? Otherwise I'm surprised EVE wasn't at least mentioned. Maybe it's jumping into the deepest of deep ends, but what else is there that contemporary and successful in the realm of space sims?

As for a board game that's easy for non-geeks but satisfying for veteran players, won't take all night, replayable, co-op, and lots of fun? Last Night on Earth!

Citadels (one of my absolute favourites) would also be a good idea, and can accommodate up to eight players. It's quick, easy to learn, and has a big and familiar poker-ish element of bluffing and double-bluffing that could mitigate any non-geek's apprehension over a game about city-building with cards.

I played almost all of Twilight Princess lying on the couch, left arm hanging off the edge with my hand holding the nunchuk inches from the floor, right arm curled at the elbow around the top of my head to point the wiimote at the screen when needed and barely waggling to sword fight. I don't get why you guys can't play like that. It was perfectly natural for me. The gaming posture I'd been waiting for my entire life.

As a six year old, I was getting my @$$ handed to me by Legend of Zelda and Castlevania; to me, challenge (and, most importantly, failure) is not only a part of gaming, but one of the key parts of what makes the content in the games compelling in the first place. Simply experiencing the defeat of Dracula in Castlevania offered a little bit of pleasure as a kid, but it was the additional context - the realization that I've fought my way through this long, arduous game - that really made it that much more satisfying.

I don't think there's much comparison to be made between the games we were playing as kids and the games of today. I just think the complexion of the industry, the size of the player base and the ability for developers to make age-appropriate content has changed too much. I also believe statements like this are made through the distorted lens of memory.

I know a lot of six year olds. A by product of having one. Here is one thing I can say confidently. They suck at video games. Maybe the ones you know are fueled by some illegal local eugenics program, I dunno.

Enforced artificial difficulty is a byproduct of an immature industry. It is a cancer that should have long since been excised.

Elysium wrote:

I don't think there's much comparison to be made between the games we were playing as kids and the games of today. I just think the complexion of the industry, the size of the player base and the ability for developers to make age-appropriate content has changed too much. I also believe statements like this are made through the distorted lens of memory.

All fair points. As I said in the post, I completely understand that I'm only speaking from my own experience; the "evidence", so to speak, is completely anecdotal. I think we still have a core disagreement about "age-appropriate content", though...

Elysium wrote:

I know a lot of six year olds. A by product of having one. Here is one thing I can say confidently. They suck at video games. Maybe the ones you know are fueled by some illegal local eugenics program, I dunno.

Hey, I never said that my daughter was good at Pac-Man.

(In all seriousness, though, my post wasn't meant to be a "my kid is smarter than yours" commentary and I sincerely apologize if it came off that way.)

Perhaps this gives us a clear crystallization of our differences in opinion. My daughter is absolutely terrible at video games, yet she still enjoys playing them. Is "winning" required for kids to have fun in gaming?

If you like Demigod you should come over and play League of Legends with a bunch of us. You're able to play for free.

Eastern European RPGs like Gothic? Germany is considered to be eastern Europe now? That's interesting, didnt know that. And I live here.

X3 is also a great space shooter, if you're into the whole trading thing.

(In all seriousness, though, my post wasn't meant to be a "my kid is smarter than yours" commentary and I sincerely apologize if it came off that way.)

I didn't take it that way. No worries.

Giftzwerg76 wrote:

Eastern European RPGs like Gothic? Germany is considered to be eastern Europe now? That's interesting, didnt know that. And I live here.

It's east of France and I'd hazard that's the furthest into Europe most of us in the States consider mainstream, and that only because of Ubisoft.

In response to the exercise talk, who would've thought so many people would be interested in starting an exercise routine the week after Thanksgiving?

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