GWJ Conference Call Episode 166

Conference Call


Dante's Inferno, The Saboteur, PixelJunk Shooter, WoW 3.3 Patch, Dicks And Opinions, Your Emails and more!

This week what begins as a perfectly fine conversation about strong opinions turns into a vile ambush on Shawn Andrich by one Sean Sands. What a dick. 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!

Sponsor
Good Old Games

  • Subscribe with iTunes
  • Subscribe with RSS
  • Subscribe with Yahoo!
Download the official apps
  • Download the GWJ Conference Call app for Android
  • Download the GWJ Conference Call app for Android

Show credits

Music credits: 

Intro/Outtro Music - Ian Dorsch, Willowtree Audioworks

"PodunkStump" (Ian Dorsch) - www.willowtreeaudio.com - 0:32:18
"Los Pistoleros" (Ian Dorsch) - www.willowtreeaudio.com - 0:50:57

Comments

OzymandiasAV wrote:
I'm doing better this time, right? No quote boxes. And a lower word count too!

Slight derail, but Ozy, your posts may be long and you do use the quote boxes, but I've always found you to be in the not-dick category.

adam wrote:
Personally, I got the impression that Bayonetta was so over-the-top in its sexuality because it was meant to be simultaneously titillating and a parody of video game titillation. As others have said: how do you not laugh?

Hey, I'm with you on that point and said as much in the show. It's those other clowns on the you gotta convince.

I'm not with you on the Bioware stuff though. Like I said on the show, I consider that kind of view somewhat prudish given the fantastical nature of video games. I appreciate that style as much as I like more "realistic" women like Zoey in Uncharted 2. Comics have similar issues with how women are depicted and frankly, it's all about what the artist wants to convey.

Being OK with Bayonetta and not OK with Bioware's take would strike me as equally strange.

"Mass Effect has a bunch of naked women painted-up with slightly textured, skintight "armor" with their breasts nearly falling out, and Dragon Age has a bunch of women wearing leather bikini "armor" with their breasts nearly falling out."

I might give you Dragon Age, but Mass Effect has this visual motif for all of the armor. The men's armor is similarly skintight and streamlined, but I don't see you calling Mass Effect misandrynist. There's a difference between a woman's breasts existing in a game and a woman's breasts being shamelessly flaunted in a game.

I realize i was a dick last time i posted... earlier this week. Sorry.

But dear god i hate the quote quote quote quote. The sad thing is there are entire forums of existence where all threads are nothing but that. However some forums have a nice "ignore" feature, where it just removes the annoying posters from view without banning them.

Also, to boobs: Think of the games like bayonetta/dante and GTA as the Crank movie series. Totally over the top, totally awesome and silly, totally not No Country For Old Men. I think there is a place for both.

Dont forget bayonetta is from japan, the land where bayonetta is probably going to be a PG movie.

Boobs, dicks.

adam.greenbrier wrote:
Personally, I got the impression that Bayonetta was so over-the-top in its sexuality because it was meant to be simultaneously titillating and a parody of video game titillation. As others have said: how do you not laugh?

I'm going to pop on team Greenbrier here. Go team!

While other video games with sexuality are perhaps not as overtly sexualized as Bayonetta, the sexual content within them is still just as juvenile in the grander scheme of things. The issue for me is that these other games are asking us to take their juvenile sexual content seriously, while Bayonetta is winking at the camera the entire time. Bayonetta is just the logical extension of current video game sexuality taken to an extreme, but does us the favour of laughing at itself while doing so, instead of pretending to be some adult take on sex.

Certis wrote:
Being OK with Bayonetta and not OK with Bioware's take would strike me as equally strange.

I'm okay with both. I don't see how anyone could be okay with one and not the other. Most video games are crass and childish in their depiction of women in much the same way they're crass and childish in their depiction of war and violence. It just seemed weird to me that Bayonetta has been called out a few times for being inappropriately hyper-sexualized while no mention has been made about the similarly hyper-sexualized images of women in other games.

JonCole wrote:
"Mass Effect has a bunch of naked women painted-up with slightly textured, skintight "armor" with their breasts nearly falling out, and Dragon Age has a bunch of women wearing leather bikini "armor" with their breasts nearly falling out."

I might give you Dragon Age, but Mass Effect has this visual motif for all of the armor. The men's armor is similarly skintight and streamlined, but I don't see you calling Mass Effect misandrynist. There's a difference between a woman's breasts existing in a game and a woman's breasts being shamelessly flaunted in a game.

If the men's armor was as form-fitting over the asses and crotches of the men as it is over the asses and chests of the women, I'd give you this point, but it isn't.

Internet high-five, Dysplastic. You put it better than I did.

Do we have to assume that sexual content is necessarily juvenile? Or a bad thing at all? I'm a 29 year old male, and I like boobs. When I think of myself, and the ways in which I might act in a juvenile way, enjoyment of Oogaba is not an item that makes the list.

What I don't necessarily enjoy is a poorly executed setting. If the nudity seems out of place then it catches your eye and distracts from what you are trying to do - enjoy the game.
Example:
When I'm playing Dragon Age, and see Morrigan's clothing, her character, background and mission all support her look (that sultry minx). The execution here is fine. If I'm playing DA and Tiger Woods shows up in a bar, hitting on the wenches while wearing a Nike t-shirt, then I have some issues. Tiger Woods doing that in GTA V - that might be appropriate.

Dysplastic wrote:
adam.greenbrier wrote:
Personally, I got the impression that Bayonetta was so over-the-top in its sexuality because it was meant to be simultaneously titillating and a parody of video game titillation. As others have said: how do you not laugh?

I'm going to pop on team Greenbrier here. Go team!

While other video games with sexuality are perhaps not as overtly sexualized as Bayonetta, the sexual content within them is still just as juvenile in the grander scheme of things. The issue for me is that these other games are asking us to take their juvenile sexual content seriously, while Bayonetta is winking at the camera the entire time. Bayonetta is just the logical extension of current video game sexuality taken to an extreme, but does us the favour of laughing at itself while doing so, instead of pretending to be some adult take on sex.

I think the thing that is annoying about Bayonetta is exactly what you're saying, it's explicitly emphasizing the juvenile attitude towards sexuality that the rest of the gaming industry portrays constantly. While I guess it's refreshing that Bayonetta actually pokes a little fun at this, the real problem is that we don't have counter-examples to hold up to prove to other people that it actually is satire.

It feels like man-boy juvenile wankery because most of the gaming industry's portrayals of sexuality are just that, juvenile wankery. If we had a little depth to the conversation about sex in gaming, then this would be perceived as the simple hypersexualized satire it really is. As it is though, since almost every game conditions us to expect this juvenile attitude as legitimate, even when someone explicitly tries to poke fun at that it can come off as a bit desperate. With a few counter-example games under our belt that treat the subject with maturity I think everybody would be alot more comfortable about the whole thing.

adam.greenbrier wrote:
If the men's armor was as form-fitting over the asses and crotches of the men as it is over the asses and chests of the women, I'd give you this point, but it isn't.

This is absolutely splitting hairs. One could argue that the armor is as form fitting to the crotch, because to be honest, it pretty much is. I don't want to get obscene, but I don't think it should be surprising that there's a little bit more form to fit on a woman than a man.

That said, I agree with Bullion cube as well. Sexual doesn't have to equate to juvenile. Furthermore, I think that levity doesn't necessarily preclude juvenility.

Edit: I also doubly agree with Pyroman, because as I said, there are no clues other than the levity itself to suggest that Bayonetta is being satirical. You're free to interpret it that way, but it really isn't well supported by other contextual clues as in the case of GTA.

Demiurge wrote:
Certis wrote:
I played the Dante's Inferno demo after we did the show. It was excessive and over the top in the same way the God of War series is.

I think it's more excessive than God of War. Maybe that's because it's playing with Judeo-Christian themes instead of Greek myths and it touched a latent Catholic nerve in me, I'm not sure yet.

I'll have to go back and listen, but I'm not sure I got my issues with the game across. It plays fine, but its presentation has me troubled.

It's the religious stuff that bothers me most about it as well, though I suspect for different reasons (100% athiest here). I'd rather not play a character that blasts 'sinners and demons' with cross-shaped energy bolts ta very much...so I suspect this is one I shall avoid.

The whole dick topic happened because of my Mac thread, didn't it?

I get what team Greenbrier is saying here. It's like what the first eight or nine seasons of the Simpsons did; they pointed out flaws in society by hyperbolizing them. Take things just a little bit farther so that people think they're ridiculous, and then reflect back and say "wait a minute..." The use of it in a satirical form isn't meant to simply be entertaining, to foster prurient interest, or to condone said behavior; it's meant to be a commentary. Of course, I haven't read any interviews with the developers, so they could just like this kind of stuff and we could all be totally off the mark.

Also, no one mentioned adventure games for genres you'd like to see revived? *emo tear*

Regarding Bayonetta:
Sean's point about seeing worse in comic books and such is true, but I don't think we want gaming to become comic books. Attending Baltimore's Comic-con a few months back was an eye opening experience. Almost every book or poster there featured a big breasted, scantly clad woman striking some pose that could just as easily be a stripper move as a fighting stance. It was hard to find a place to put my eyes without seeming like a total shut-in pervert. There's a place for sex in media, but it's not "pasted behind the backs of my eye-lids".

I think the critique of Bayonetta can be summed up simply as "I don't want to look and feel like a pervert while I play this game in my living room." Not saying it shouldn't exist, but it is a reason why I'll probably pass it by.

Bullion Cube wrote:
Do we have to assume that sexual content is necessarily juvenile?

Not necessarily, but in my experience it's certainly been so. The "relationships" you form in games like Mass Effect and Dragon Age have seemed to me to be really, really shallow pathways to a CG sex-scene. I'd be interested to hear some examples of video-game treatments of sexuality that you consider mature, in the non-juvenile sense.

Bullion Cube wrote:
Or a bad thing at all? I'm a 29 year old male, and I like boobs. When I think of myself, and the ways in which I might act in a juvenile way, enjoyment of Oogaba is not an item that makes the list.

Here I'm totally with you. As much as I recognize that Bayonetta is a parody of juvenile sexuality, I still love it. She's hot, her outfit is hot, her moves are hot, and that's cool.
I'm jut not cool with putting Bayonetta apart from other games if you're actually going to criticize it for its sexual content.

Following-up a bit on Certis's mention on the show, I wanted to put up a link to the new, forum-driven Horizons Broadening Project for 2010. We may very well all flame out like Elysium did, but I think his idea was a noble one and deserves another chance.

I think what the end of this podcast could have used was Lara whispering "Dicks." True, she wasn't on the show at all, but it would have tied a nice bow on it.

"I'd be interested to hear some examples of video-game treatments of sexuality that you consider mature, in the non-juvenile sense."

I don't think that mature and juvenile are binary attributes, instead they form a spectrum. I honestly don't find Bioware's relationship mechanics as rudimentary as you, Dys, but I can definitely see your point of it not being "mature". Instead, I think it's less juvenile than something like Bayonetta because the female characters have depth (from what I can tell, obviously I haven't played all the way through Bayonetta) and exist for a purpose other than just being sexual objects.

Rat Boy wrote:
I think what the end of this podcast could have used was Lara whispering "Dicks." True, she wasn't on the show at all, but it would have tied a nice bow on it.

Laura wasn't available. Would you have accepted Rob as a replacement?

Dysplastic wrote:
Bullion Cube wrote:
Do we have to assume that sexual content is necessarily juvenile?

Not necessarily, but in my experience it's certainly been so. The "relationships" you form in games like Mass Effect and Dragon Age have seemed to me to be really, really shallow pathways to a CG sex-scene. I'd be interested to hear some examples of video-game treatments of sexuality that you consider mature, in the non-juvenile sense.

I thought the relationship stuff in Baldurs Gate 2 was actually fairly mature and had satisfyingly epilogues, particularily with Jaheira (although I remember the character I was playing at the time was human - and thus dramatically less long lived - so the ending was not a particularly happy one in my case ).

But yes, I agree that in more modern Bioware games the relationships all seem to gear up to "the sex scene" and then fizzle out afterwards, when really that's the point when they should start to get interesting (again, for example in BG2 ,

Spoiler:
later in the game, your beloved gets kidnapped by Bhodi(?) the vampire as revenge for your interfering with Irenicus. I can't remember much of anything happening in Mass Effect, Jade Empire or even Dragon Age that was similar.

Minarchist wrote:
Also, no one mentioned adventure games for genres you'd like to see revived? *emo tear*

Really? I look at the past, what, three years of Telltale Games and feel like the adventure genre is safe.

See also: Emerald City Confidential.

Demiurge wrote:
Minarchist wrote:
Also, no one mentioned adventure games for genres you'd like to see revived? *emo tear*

Really? I look at the past, what, three years of Telltale Games and feel like the adventure genre is safe.

See also: Emerald City Confidential.


I ask for caviar, and you give me grilled cheese!

I wouldn't exactly say the genre is on life support, but I'd love to see more talent and prominence in it. The Telltale stuff is nice, but short and, well, rather campy. Which works for Sam & Max, but not so much for other games. The Longest Journey was probably the last truly great adventure game we had, and that released over ten years ago at this point. People still make the games, mostly in Europe, but toil in relative obscurity and aren't getting enough money to really draw top-tier talent. I'm just surprised no one pines for the LucasArts/Sierra days where you had major studios duking it out in the adventure realm, that's all.

I would like to think that the fantastic setting, the guns on her shoes, and stupid dialog would be clues that Bayonetta is meant to be taken as a satire.

What's worrying me is how this is even in discussion. Are games really so bad that something that I see as obviously satirical, is actually serious content in other games? Are there serious games that have protagonists storing their weaponry in equally ridiculous places?

stevenmack wrote:
Demiurge wrote:
Certis wrote:
I played the Dante's Inferno demo after we did the show. It was excessive and over the top in the same way the God of War series is.

I think it's more excessive than God of War. Maybe that's because it's playing with Judeo-Christian themes instead of Greek myths and it touched a latent Catholic nerve in me, I'm not sure yet.

I'll have to go back and listen, but I'm not sure I got my issues with the game across. It plays fine, but its presentation has me troubled.

It's the religious stuff that bothers me most about it as well, though I suspect for different reasons (100% athiest here). I'd rather not play a character that blasts 'sinners and demons' with cross-shaped energy bolts ta very much...so I suspect this is one I shall avoid.

Well, the Catholic gets condemned to hell for his crusading ways in the first cutscene, so I have a feeling the game isn't pushing the Catholic agenda here.

"Are there serious games that have protagonists storing their weaponry in equally ridiculous places?"

Squall's "gunblade" says hello.

Squall's gunblade has ridiculous proportions, but gunblades aren't ridiculous weapons. There ARE real gunblades, you know - from when guns weren't powerful enough to use as stand-alone weaponry.

Minarchist wrote:
Demiurge wrote:
Minarchist wrote:
Also, no one mentioned adventure games for genres you'd like to see revived? *emo tear*

Really? I look at the past, what, three years of Telltale Games and feel like the adventure genre is safe.

See also: Emerald City Confidential.


I ask for caviar, and you give me grilled cheese!

I wouldn't exactly say the genre is on life support, but I'd love to see more talent and prominence in it. The Telltale stuff is nice, but short and, well, rather campy. Which works for Sam & Max, but not so much for other games. The Longest Journey was probably the last truly great adventure game we had, and that released over ten years ago at this point. People still make the games, mostly in Europe, but toil in relative obscurity and aren't getting enough money to really draw top-tier talent. I'm just surprised no one pines for the LucasArts/Sierra days where you had major studios duking it out in the adventure realm, that's all.

The only difference I can see between The Longest Journey and Emerald City Confidential that would make the former "truly great" is the fact that there was a big publisher behind it who paid to have it put on a shelf. I'm not sure what difference you're seeing between them.

Evo wrote:
stevenmack wrote:
Demiurge wrote:
Certis wrote:
I played the Dante's Inferno demo after we did the show. It was excessive and over the top in the same way the God of War series is.

I think it's more excessive than God of War. Maybe that's because it's playing with Judeo-Christian themes instead of Greek myths and it touched a latent Catholic nerve in me, I'm not sure yet.

I'll have to go back and listen, but I'm not sure I got my issues with the game across. It plays fine, but its presentation has me troubled.

It's the religious stuff that bothers me most about it as well, though I suspect for different reasons (100% athiest here). I'd rather not play a character that blasts 'sinners and demons' with cross-shaped energy bolts ta very much...so I suspect this is one I shall avoid.

Well, the Catholic gets condemned to hell for his crusading ways in the first cutscene, so I have a feeling the game isn't pushing the Catholic agenda here.


But neither am I. Maybe I sound pious on the podcast (waits for laughter) but I'm pretty much a filthy heathen in the eyes of the Maker.

I don't have a problem with religious imagery in any medium. In fact, some of my favorite pieces of visual art are explicitly religious. There's an exploitation factor in Dante's Inferno that I'm having a problem with, though... as if throwing crosses at demons makes religion into a Mt. Dew commercial. Is it hypocritical of me to feel like this about Dante's and not about God of War?

I wonder how I'll feel about Assassin's Creed 2 when I finally pick it up.

PyromanFO wrote:
The only difference I can see between The Longest Journey and Emerald City Confidential that would make the former "truly great" is the fact that there was a big publisher behind it who paid to have it put on a shelf. I'm not sure what difference you're seeing between them.

Well, firstly, it's one game, and one game does not a genre make (Wadjet Eye has a couple other good games, but for the sake of argument). Secondly, it could have been done on King's Quest VII's engine, except Emerald City has even less graphical flair in cut-scenes and the like. The plot got a little loose at times, although the characters were strong and easy to empathize with. Again, as I said in the previous post, it's not to say that there aren't flashes of brilliance from small indie studios still in the genre, but it's missing the general level of steady competence that larger teams can bring. Not to mention the overall boost that bigger budgets can give in writing, graphics, etc.

But now you're just making me repeat myself. I'm going to start sounding like a dick.

Demiurge wrote:
I don't have a problem with religious imagery in any medium. In fact, some of my favorite pieces of visual art are explicitly religious. There's an exploitation factor in Dante's Inferno that I'm having a problem with, though... as if throwing crosses at demons makes religion into a Mt. Dew commercial. Is it hypocritical of me to feel like this about Dante's and not about God of War?

The first thing that comes to mind here is that Cristianity is YOUR religion, whether you follow it or not, and God of War followed a mythology more thoroughly recognized as fiction.

Kratos beating up Ares has a different feel to our society than Dante beating up Lucifer. One's a lot closer to home. In a way that's exciting, if not a bit more uncomfortable.