GWJ Conference Call Episode 172

Conference Call

Spelunky, Bayonetta, Uncharted(s), Might & Magic: Clash of Heroes, Special Guest Kyle Orland & An Interview With Introversion!, Your Emails and more!

This week famed game journalist Kyle Orland joins Lara, Julian and Cory to discuss the dissolving of Crispy Gamer, the state of freelance journalism and more! Julian and Cory also sit down with Introversion's Mark Morris and Chris Delay to chat about independent game development and Darwinia+ for Xbox Live Arcade! 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

"Atlantis" - Sketchbook (Pneuman) - http://blag.linuxgamers.net - 0:23:25
"All That She Remembers" - Apoplexia (Benoit Casey) - www.cerebrimusic.com - 0:48:42

Comments

I've done 1vs100 with ~5 other people in the same room helping to all get the answer right but it's usually something we do in addition to something else. It's not captivating for that many people, it's not fast paced enough.

About Crispy Gamer - Kyle hit the nail on the head from everything that I understood after going into the office the day after the changes to talk about what would change as an intern. I was also really starting to think CG was going to move quickly towards profitability with how well the site was doing and the acquisition of GamerDNA. Sad to see it go

(Agnitio on Crispy Gamer)

Qualden wrote:

About Crispy Gamer - Kyle hit the nail on the head from everything that I understood after going into the office the day after the changes to talk about what would change as an intern. I was also really starting to think CG was going to move quickly towards profitability with how well the site was doing and the acquisition of GamerDNA. Sad to see it go

(Agnitio on Crispy Gamer)

Ironically, the very acquisition of GamerDNA was what gave the board a reason to move to an entirely editorial free business model. As much as it appeared a sign of health, it was also a way out of the money pit that they saw in the writing side.

Really enjoyed the Introversion interview. Very nice work. I get a huge kick out of those guys.

Troy Goodfellow wrote:
Qualden wrote:

About Crispy Gamer - Kyle hit the nail on the head from everything that I understood after going into the office the day after the changes to talk about what would change as an intern. I was also really starting to think CG was going to move quickly towards profitability with how well the site was doing and the acquisition of GamerDNA. Sad to see it go

(Agnitio on Crispy Gamer)

Ironically, the very acquisition of GamerDNA was what gave the board a reason to move to an entirely editorial free business model. As much as it appeared a sign of health, it was also a way out of the money pit that they saw in the writing side.

Their salvation shall be their doom!

I just finished listening to the podcast, and I have two comments;

First, this is why Rabbit isn't in charge. You read that exact email about facebook gaming being another platform (like iPods) last week. (I believe it was the first email of that show)

Second, I want to thank you for having a discussion about video games that uses the word mature in the sense of actual maturity, as opposed to the usual "this game has teh b00b13s!" definition of the word.

I have an observation about your discussion regarding "mature" video game writing.

Could one of the obstacles to creating a mature, intelligent video game magazine/website like Crispy Gamer be the seemingly inherent price sensitivity in some gamers? Lots of intelligent people on GWJ, who presumably would make up a good percentage of the target market, are seemingly unwilling to invest a lot of money in games. They never pay full price for a game, never buy any DLC, and wait for Steam sales or find used copies. Nevertheless, they are hardcore gamers.

I'd imagine that it would be quite difficult to convince this subset of gamers to pay $100 a year or more for a magazine subscription.

I don't understand the Crispy Gamer connection, it was a free site.

SallyNasty wrote:

What was it you guys enjoyed about it? To me it was one of those pretentious books that no one really enjoys, but they say they do so they can be smart (except you guys, I am sure<3).

I haven't read the book, probably never will, but it's something I've considered time and time again. Every time I think about reading the book, I end up over at Amazon reading people's opinions. From what you're saying, this guy hits it on the head:

[size=11]'House of Leaves' is a contortionist's daydream, and a conservative reader's nightmare. I fall somewhere in the middle of the spectrum and found myself admiring the new unhallowed ground Danielewski was breaking, but at other times longing for a more conventional, satisfying structure. ...

Maybe there's a sign out front. 'For Sale By Owner.' And under that, in small print, in French, upside down and backwards, 'Buyer Beware.'[/size]

I think that I personally get more enjoyment reading about the book than I would from actually reading the book. How do I know this? I've tried reading David Foster Wallace and can't stand his writing. This, I'm guessing, is much the same.

RE: House of Leaves.

I just finished that book, and could not have been less impressed.

To qualify - I have a Master's in both Russian Studies and Journalism. I am no stranger to print as art, or to difficult fiction.

That said - I just couldn't enjoy that book, and had to force myself to read it. The only reason I made it through all the way was because I was stuck at the hospital for 2 days(daughter's birth), and didn't have anything else to read with me. I thought it had a few good ideas, but so overdid them (seriously, how many fakey-footnotes do you need per page!?!?!?!?), that the book became difficult to read. Also, one or two of the changed angle pages (upside down, left or right) would have been artistic - but 20-30 page runs of them were just obnoxious and broke the flow of reading.

What was it you guys enjoyed about it? To me it was one of those pretentious books that no one really enjoys, but they say they do so they can feel smart (except you guys, I am sure<3).

doubtingthomas396 wrote:

First, this is why Rabbit isn't in charge. You read that exact email about facebook gaming being another platform (like iPods) last week. (I believe it was the first email of that show)

Harsh.

Some people who didn't like House of Leaves wrote:

Something something House of Leaves Boo Hiss.

There is no accounting for taste. Truth be told, knowing a lot of people didn't enjoy the book makes me love it more. I'm perfectly comfortable with that.

Did Lara really say that there are really no new an original books? That is probably the dumbest thing I have heard anyone say on the internet so far this year. Post-modernism says hi!!!!!

Alexpkeaton wrote:

Did Lara really say that there are really no new an original books? That is probably the dumbest thing I have heard anyone say on the internet so far this year. Post-modernism says hi!!!!!

Harsh x2. Is all this anger coming out for the full moon tonight?

Re: House of Leaves

I enjoyed the [color=blue]house[/color] itself, and the storyline with the Navidson Record, but found Johnny Truant to be a trite and wearying character. But to each their own.

Alexpkeaton wrote:

Did Lara really say that there are really no new an original books? That is probably the dumbest thing I have heard anyone say on the internet so far this year. Post-modernism says hi!!!!!

Don Quixote says "hello" to post-modernism.

Demiurge wrote:
Alexpkeaton wrote:

Did Lara really say that there are really no new an original books? That is probably the dumbest thing I have heard anyone say on the internet so far this year. Post-modernism says hi!!!!!

Harsh x2. Is all this anger coming out for the full moon tonight?

I actually think Lara has the right of it. It's a commonly held idea in many creative forms that there is nothing truely original. Everything has something from which it is derived.

Lara's comments about Bayonetta made me cringe. It's just a fun goofy game with kickass combat. I love it.

Certis wrote:

Did Kyle say Crispy Gamer seed money was 8.5 million? What the hell do they spend that on?

The CG Game Room springs immediately to mind. Also, all the wigs.

mrtomaytohead wrote:

One more thing. As for kids playing with LEGOs, a coworker of mine wants me to build a wood box/chest (out of maple, which makes me happy) to hold LEGOs for his 3yr old kid

You're doin' it wrong. You build a chest for LEGO out of more LEGO!

Alexpkeaton wrote:

Did Lara really say that there are really no new an original books? That is probably the dumbest thing I have heard anyone say on the internet so far this year. Post-modernism says hi!!!!!

While I will say that my "books have no new ideas" was a misstatement that I immediately tried to address on the podcast (although it may have been edited out), the medium itself has had hundreds of years to mature and evolve, and as a result, there are FAR fewer innovations in narrative and the structure of books left, compared to the younger media of film and, to an even greater extent, videogames. Novels are a mature art form.

That's not to say that books are no longer interesting, or that we shouldn't read them anymore, or any other hogwash. In fact, that's the exact OPPOSITE of what I mean. Book narratives are well-tread and well-refined, and that means we've burned off what doesn't work, and kept the stuff that does.

And on another point: House of Leaves owes a lot to its predecessors, including my BFF, V-Dawg Nabokov. It didn't just spring entirely fully-formed out of the ether. The idea that it was "new" is misleading. Nothing in the narrative cylce is "new" anymore, in the sense of being entirely untested and without precedent.

KaterinLHC wrote:

my BFF, V-Dawg Nabokov

Thank you for this.

Demiurge wrote:
KaterinLHC wrote:

my BFF, V-Dawg Nabokov

Thank you for this.

Indeed. Represent.

Also, Katerin, it was a delight to hear you on the show. You should be on much more often.

KaterinLHC wrote:

And on another point: House of Leaves owes a lot to its predecessors, including my BFF, V-Dawg Nabokov. It didn't just spring entirely fully-formed out of the ether. The idea that it was "new" is misleading. Nothing in the narrative cylce is "new" anymore, in the sense of being entirely untested and without precedent.

This was my main objection to House of Leaves. The V-Dawg did it better, and more convincingly, than Danielewski.

I agree with you about books not reinventing the wheel, just improving on it. I just happen to think that House of Leaves did not further the medium. I am glad (although confused as to why) that other people enjoy it, but it wasn't for me.

I love books.

adam.greenbrier wrote:
Demiurge wrote:
KaterinLHC wrote:

my BFF, V-Dawg Nabokov

Thank you for this.

Indeed. Represent.

Also, Katerin, it was a delight to hear you on the show. You should be on much more often.

Don't say I've never given you anything, Adam, but here's more Lara.

Demiurge wrote:
KaterinLHC wrote:

my BFF, V-Dawg Nabokov

Thank you for this.

Interesting tidbit - most people pronounce Nabokov with the stress on the first a - "nah-bah-kahv." This is incorrect. The correct pronunciation has the stress on the first o, with the second reduced to a soft 'ah,' thus "Na-boh-kahv."

The more you know...

SallyNasty wrote:
Demiurge wrote:
KaterinLHC wrote:

my BFF, V-Dawg Nabokov

Thank you for this.

Interesting tidbit - most people pronounce Nabokov with the stress on the first a - "nah-bah-kahv." This is incorrect. The correct pronunciation has the stress on the first o, with the second reduced to a soft 'ah,' thus "Na-boh-kahv."

The more you know...

Unless you're Sharks goalie Evgeni Nabokov (na-BAH-kahv). But maybe he did that on purpose so people won't confuse him with the author, as I often do.

garion333 wrote:

Don't say I've never given you anything, Adam, but here's more Lara.

I'm a shameless Lara Crigger fan. Thanks, Garion.

Re: Threatened Hardcore Gamers

Now this may be coming from an e-jock 360 owner, so you will have to bear with me for a bit.

There was a point brought up that expressed an opinion that hardcore gamers might be threatened by the prospect of the gaming industry shifting towards things like flash games or facebook titles; a prospect that made them overly defensive.

I may not be a professional gamer, but I have been a tournament player for multiple titles and game genres for about 15 years now, and throughout all my experiences with players from those scenes, I don't think I have met a single hardcore gamer that would actually believe that statement, let alone be threatened by it.

I don't think hardcore players are really threatened by casual gaming as much as they are insulted that casual gaming has a place in this world. Many hardcore players see the gaming world as a sort of meritocracy and that anything out there that doesn't abide by those rules is a joke.

Ultimately, casual gaming doesn't get respect from the hardcore crowd and I haven't gotten the sense that it's anything besides just pure disregard for that genre.

In the end, it is what it is... it's a combination of delusion, a huge ego, and an amazingly narrow perception that creates their reflexive laughter and disbelief whenever someone makes mention of the rising popularity of casual games.

Then again how much can I know? Owning a 360 and all.

Gravey wrote:
SallyNasty wrote:
Demiurge wrote:
KaterinLHC wrote:

my BFF, V-Dawg Nabokov

Thank you for this.

Interesting tidbit - most people pronounce Nabokov with the stress on the first a - "nah-bah-kahv." This is incorrect. The correct pronunciation has the stress on the first o, with the second reduced to a soft 'ah,' thus "Na-boh-kahv."

The more you know...

Unless you're Sharks goalie Evgeni Nabokov (na-BAH-kahv). But maybe he did that on purpose so people won't confuse him with the author, as I often do.

Most likely he did. Although, phonetically in Russian that pronunciation is impossible (In Russian you can only have one stress in the word). We westerners very often mispronounce Russian names. For instance, Anna Kournikova should actually be pronounced "Koor-nee-kah-va" with the stress on the "ni" (like the knights who say).

Either way, she is hot.

adam.greenbrier wrote:
Demiurge wrote:
KaterinLHC wrote:

my BFF, V-Dawg Nabokov

Thank you for this.

Indeed. Repra-zent.

FTFY

You're welcome.

Seattle Josh wrote:

I don't think hardcore players are really threatened by casual gaming as much as they are insulted that casual gaming has a place in this world.

I'm not sure which is sillier. Being threatened, or being insulted by someone else's hobby. Let them have it and carry on with COD19 or whatever it is the 'hard 2 da core' are playing these days.

adam.greenbrier wrote:
Demiurge wrote:
KaterinLHC wrote:

my BFF, V-Dawg Nabokov

Thank you for this.

Indeed. Represent.

Also, Katerin, it was a delight to hear you on the show. You should be on much more often.

Aw, thank you. But be careful what you wish for.

Seattle Josh wrote:

In the end, it is what it is... it's a combination of delusion, a huge ego, and an amazingly narrow perception that creates their reflexive laughter and disbelief whenever someone makes mention of the rising popularity of casual games.

My $0.02 is that the issue "hardcore" gamers have is that the games industry, like everything else, is a numbers game. Games like Disgaea and Psychonauts do crap numbers while games like Peggle sell millions of copies. Gamers who want more stuff like Disgaea and Psychonauts are afraid that the developers will look at the discrepancy and decide that they don't want to spend money to develop the next interesting "hardcore" game and will instead put their eggs in the biggest basket.

It's EA versus Activision. EA tried to do something for gamers with new IPs (Mirror's Edge, Dead Space, etc) and they're getting their collective backsides handed to them by Sequeltron 4000. Will Activision hang on and keep trying to make something interesting, or will they go back to cranking out the same pap every year? If I were an investor, I know what I'd want my answer to be.

Whether it's rational or not, the fear is that "real" games will go away as game companies pander to the hot new market of people who don't know what WASD means.