GWJ Conference Call Episode 176

Conference Call

Bioshock 2, Dante's Inferno, The Misadventures of P.B. Winterbottom, FIFA 10, Trials HD, Saving The World is So Exhausting, A Contest (Starcraft 2 Beta Key In The Prize Pool!), Your Emails and more!

This week we lift an awesome thread from the forums and discuss saving the world fatigue. It's not mentioned in the show proper, but I've just received word from our good buddy Devmani that he has a Starcraft 2 beta key up for grabs for the content winner. Deadline is this Friday to submit your entries! 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

"Los Pistoleros" (Ian Dorsch) - www.willowtreeaudio.com - 0:28:10
"PodunkStump" (Ian Dorsch) - www.willowtreeaudio.com - 0:46:32

Comments

hubbinsd wrote:

I can't believe nobody snickered when you mentioned the one-handed mode for Bayonetta. Was that a joke?

No, it's not a joke. You really can enable a mode where you only need to press 1 button for combat. The rest is up to your imagination.

ahrezmendi wrote:
hubbinsd wrote:

I can't believe nobody snickered when you mentioned the one-handed mode for Bayonetta. Was that a joke?

No, it's not a joke. You really can enable a mode where you only need to press 1 button for combat. The rest is up to your imagination.

Of course, in other games of the type, like Devil May Cry, the same mode is present. It just becomes a bit deal in Bayonetta due to presence of boobs.

MrDeVil909 wrote:
ahrezmendi wrote:
hubbinsd wrote:

I can't believe nobody snickered when you mentioned the one-handed mode for Bayonetta. Was that a joke?

No, it's not a joke. You really can enable a mode where you only need to press 1 button for combat. The rest is up to your imagination.

Of course, in other games of the type, like Devil May Cry, the same mode is present. It just becomes a bit deal to straight men in Bayonetta due to presence of boobs.

Anderkoo wrote:

Love the discussion about how wearying saving the universe is - it's how I felt all through ME1.

I had the same thoughts during the first Mass Effect.

Epic storylines are such a cliche in games, that the word "epic" itself is often used as some sort of all encompassing word that describes all that is good within gaming. Limiting our gamer vocabulary with “epic” as some sort of catch all for a good game really limits our range of gaming experiences. A lot of interesting stories don’t necessarily fall within the realm of “epic”. I agree with a lot of what was said on the show, especially that often it's better to save a village than a planet. You're emotional connection to a games story, is more defined by the characters you interact with, rather than some overarching plot.

Also a lot of games suffer from this requirement by gamers to be epic in scale. Mass Effect (the first one) would have benefited from scaling back it’s “epicness”, it takes a lot of copy and paste and repetition to fill up that “epic” amount of space.

Thanks for fielding my question about excessive use of progress in all types of games. To be honest I hadn't considered multiplayer games while writing the email, and found that aspect of the discussion quite interesting.

I really REALLY want that Starcraft 2 beta key. It's too bad I don't know many of the sounds in the contest. Now, if you had a trivia contest about Starcraft, I'm your man.

Anyway, another great show guys. I really enjoyed the discussion about saving the world (much like everyone else here). However, I think the thought that saving the world/universe isn't that played out. The problem is with the science fiction genre, I think. I can't recall a good science fiction or fantasy game that somehow didn't escalate to the fate of the universe. I would really like to see a smaller, more intense character-driven story set in a sci-fi world. The problem with this, though, is that when you create such an interesting and believable world, you want to explore that world. Then in order to continue the story there, you have to escalate the central conflict to that level. Also, the issue specifically referenced Mass Effect so much since it's so prominent in our recent minds right now. Bioware just doesn't know how, or want to do intimate smaller stories like that. If we're tired of saving the universe, then we don't have to play games that we know are going to be just about that (Mass Effect). Other genres like survival horror, a lot of shooters, adventure games, etc. have many more personal journeys to be experienced.

Just after playing a bit of ME1, doing all the little sidequests does make some sense. Besides fleshing out the world and providing details in a way other than reading background notes, it does give the saving the universe part something to scale against. Helping a couple decide about gene therapy or helping a traumatised soldier also gives your character some degree of humanity and not just a space marine with no time for the problems of the little people.

I think it's one of those things that needs to be used in the right time and place, during the course of ME1 you're slowly uncovering clues to the nature of the threat and don't have any time pressure. Having a sidequest to help a kitten stuck up a tree while under attack from the enemy and a bomb is ticking down from 30 seconds is out of place. Games that are open ended have typically been rubbish at communicating time pressures and urgency (as seen towards the endgame in ME2) so usually split up the game into parts where you are free to do what you want, and 'tunnels' where you are only able to follow one direction but where freedom on the path wouldn't make sense.

AndrewA wrote:

Thanks for fielding my question about excessive use of progress in all types of games. To be honest I hadn't considered multiplayer games while writing the email, and found that aspect of the discussion quite interesting.

I think multiplayer progression is a more productive area of discussion here, too. Otherwise, it comes down to elevating our own personal preferences to the level of dictates for all games, or even to universal ethical condemnation of other types of (perfectly valid) play styles.

Though if anyone wants to borrow my Super Judgmental Man unitard, I could handle that. Just make sure to dry-clean it before you give it back.

I'm a bit surprised that Bioshock 2 didn't come up in the discussion of saving the world. Good example of the small scale story, since it's really just about saving one person.

Admit it, Certis, you got the comment about Silent Hill and saving the universe from me.

Good one-handed, baby-snuggling game suggestion: Final Fantasy Fables: Chocobo's Dungeon for Wii. Very approachable Rogue-like with a good deal of depth AND a one-handed controller mode (with no waggle.) I logged about 50+ hours grinding levels and jobs with what's basically a cosplay chicken during late nights with my now 5-month old son. If you can muscle your way past the gag reflex from the gratuitous cuteness, it beats all hell out of Solitaire at 3 AM.

Fire Emblem: Radiant Dawn also has a one-handed control option, but unless you're a fan of the series (or have at least played most or all of the previous title on GameCube) I'd give this one a pass. Pretty darn niche.

I never thought about it before, but it makes sense. Saving-the-universe fatigue is probably why I couldn't get into Oblivion, even thought I loved Fallout 3 (and am currently on my second playthrough with a different build).

I found Oblivion to be largely uninteresting, particularly the characters. It may have had something to do with the fact that the doors of hell were opening up all over the countryside, but everyone I met still wanted me to bring them twelve nirnroots.

In Fallout 3, you're not saving the world. You're looking for your dad.

Spoiler:

In the course of looking for your dad, you uncover a plot to steal important technology, but succeeding in the quest doesn't save the world, it just makes it a little better. Just like real life.

garion333 wrote:
Jonman wrote:
garion333 wrote:

@Jonman:*cough* Julian*cough*

Can I play my usual get-out-of-jail free card and claim ignorant foreigner status? You know, because all foreigners sound alike?

Well, Julian's American. :P

Sounds foreign enough to me.

I am Australian however and no I don't have a funny accent. Thats you guys.

I love how Certis says, 'Aboot.'

I never say aboot. Do I? Time stamp, damn you.

Ummm, it's near the beginning, I think, or maybe after one of the emails.

I've definitely heard the occasional "aboot" on the conference call. Not often, but at least twice in the past month or so.

Certis wrote:

I never say aboot. Do I? Time stamp, damn you.

Once and while, though I find the accent pops up more often in "out."

wordsmythe wrote:
Certis wrote:

I never say aboot. Do I? Time stamp, damn you.

Once and while, though I find the accent pops up more often in "out."

Yeah, then too.

I think it's Shawn's Irish heritage showing.

MrDeVil909 wrote:
wordsmythe wrote:
Certis wrote:

I never say aboot. Do I? Time stamp, damn you.

Once and while, though I find the accent pops up more often in "out."

Yeah, then too.

I think it's Shawn's Irish heritage showing.

Really? I thought that pronunciation was more of a Scottish holdover in most of Canada.

I don't know, I was making a joke. I seem to recall Shawn mentioning an Irish ancestry, unless I was drunk.

Ooooh. Jooookes.