GWJ Conference Call Episode 178

Conference Call

Toy Soldiers, Darksiders, Heavy Rain, Games Marketing For Fun & Profit, An Interview With Irrational Games' Collin Moore, Your Emails and more!

This week the crew looks back on Valve's latest Portal 2 marketing (or was it?!) scheme and how it fits in with the industry at large. Cory also sits down with Collin Moore, the community manager for Irrational Games! 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

"Beautiful Women" (Secret Mountain) - www.sans-concept.com - 0:28:05
"Atlantis" - Sketchbook (Pneuman) - http://blag.linuxgamers.net - 1:04:56

Comments

I was as surprised as anyone to hear my first ever GWJ e-mail get read in successive weeks, and while I'm sure it might've come off as attention-whoring, I'd probably need to bribe the casters to get intentional air time in successive weeks. That said, I did enjoy the discussion it got. (:

For the record, I do listen to and enjoy the Idle Thumbs podcast, but have never written in.

Speaking of awful segues and JRPGs, I have a question.

I've finished FF 3 on the DS and quit about 2 hours into FF4 when I saw too many similarities to FF3. This is the sum total of my FF experience, and after hearing Lara's reaction to Cory's claim of sameness throughout the series, I realized I've written them off for the same reason and am considering giving it another shot. What would be the best way to get back into the series? All I ask is that it not play the same as FF3 and 4.

Demiurge wrote:
Certis wrote:

That's what we call a hosting fail. Rookie mistake!

Quiet, you!

Tell ya what, gracious audience: write a good enough email, and we'll read it three times. How's that for a challenge?

No, no, no. We don't need to hear *Legion* gloating like Cartman again.

I would li

psu_13 wrote:
barbex wrote:

I absolutely understand Laura. I have children and it was physically painful to watch the scene when the boy ran away in the mall, I decided there and then to never play that game.
Edit: Talking about Heavy Rain of course.

Me three.

Me four.

I watched the video of that segment of the game because it was linked at Penny Arcade. The father in it pissed me off royally.

Spoiler:

Look, you already know your kid is a bolter (that is, a kid who bolts, not a machine gun from the year 40,000). Your kid has already bolted on you once to look at a terrifying clown. What part of your head did a horse kick you in to kill the parenting instinct that says you hold that dang kid's hand when you're not looking at him? I don't care if you forgot where your wallet was. You don't let that kid move unless you're ready to go with him.

As the parent of a daughter who tends to be a bit of a magpie and will shoot off in a direction that looks interesting without warning, this is just so natural to me that I can't imagine what the father was thinking.

EDIT:

Laura: If you're interested, once I get a membership at my local gun club, you can come up to visit and we'll shoot holes in the disc if you want. Plinking CDs with a .22 rifle is fun, but you have to clean up the shards.

Guys, it's "Lara" not "Laura" in case you missed it. I know it can be a little hard to tell in audio.

Thanks, Certis. As long as they don't call me late for dinner.

Scuigi wrote:

I've finished FF 3 on the DS and quit about 2 hours into FF4 when I saw too many similarities to FF3. This is the sum total of my FF experience, and after hearing Lara's reaction to Cory's claim of sameness throughout the series, I realized I've written them off for the same reason and am considering giving it another shot. What would be the best way to get back into the series? All I ask is that it not play the same as FF3 and 4.

I will grant you that the earliest iterations of the series played the most similarly; until FFVII, each new installment was really just a refinement of a gameplay theme. FFVII broke the mold, however, and pushed the series away from the typical "stand in a line, input menu commands, wait for enemies, etc." mode, experimenting with Limit Breaks (which were present in VI, but not used to good advantage), active battles, very customizable and min/max-able character abilities. They even dabbled in racing games and RTS.

I have a soft spot for FFIV, as it was the first video game I ever beat on my own. But I fully acknowledge its weaknesses (particularly in its flat characters, although they were revolutionary for the time). FFVI takes that gameplay and speeds it up, makes it more customizable, gives each character unique abilities, and adds in a fantastic and surprisingly dark (for the time) story. IMHO, it's really the best game in the series -- but if you don't like that style of gameplay, you won't like FFVI.

As to which installment would suit you now, it really depends on your tastes. If you're an MMO player, check out FFXII (or the actual MMO, FFXI). If you're a customize-junkie, FFX is right up your alley. If you're OCD, and want all of your characters to be super powerful and be able to use everything available, and you don't care how long it takes, then FFVIII is worth a look.

But the fact remains: Apart from Chocobos and some guy named Cid, FFXII and FFIV are about as different from each other as lawnmowers and rainbows. I'd encourage you not to pass over the later games just because blue menus are boring and Cecil is an obnoxious pansy.

And just to clarify: Despite my on-air rant suggesting otherwise, I'm really not a rabid Final Fantasy fangirl. I haven't really liked any of the games that came out past FFIX, I never got into the MMO, and I'm considering giving FFXIII a pass entirely. The series evolved, and that's okay, but it left old-school players like me in the dust. IMHO, Final Fantasy peaked with VI, and it probably will never again recapture that simplicity and engagement.

I mention that because I don't want anyone dismissing my encouragements to revisit the other installments of series as the obsessive agenda of a blinded fan.

doubtingthomas396 wrote:

If you're interested, once I get a membership at my local gun club, you can come up to visit and we'll shoot holes in the disc if you want. Plinking CDs with a .22 rifle is fun, but you have to clean up the shards.

I'd be down for that. But I don't think wordsmythe would want to buy the game from me afterward anymore.

Scuigi wrote:

I've finished FF 3 on the DS and quit about 2 hours into FF4 when I saw too many similarities to FF3. This is the sum total of my FF experience, and after hearing Lara's reaction to Cory's claim of sameness throughout the series, I realized I've written them off for the same reason and am considering giving it another shot. What would be the best way to get back into the series? All I ask is that it not play the same as FF3 and 4.

To get an idea of the variety available in the Final Fantasy series, you really need to look at the later games. Depending on the platforms available to you, I'd try out one of the PS1 games and one of the PS2 ones. Say, VII and XII, or IX and X.

Edit: Or, read what Lara posted and go from there.

I'll also add the caveat that Final Fantasy IX was intentionally old-school and so is probably the most similar of the later games, in a gameplay sense, to III and IV.

Spaz wrote:

I'm pretty sure that STEAM won't confiscate your 2008-era PORTAL discs, so all it takes is registering the game with STEAM and then not updating it.

Disc? What's a disc?

Not to dismiss the idea that messing with games could be a bad thing... I just don't think the sky is falling with this one.

No apocalypse here -- it just suddenly occurred to me that digital distribution could eventually come to mean that the difficulties of archiving online games will apply to archiving games in general.

Scuigi wrote:

I've finished FF 3 on the DS and quit about 2 hours into FF4 when I saw too many similarities to FF3. This is the sum total of my FF experience, and after hearing Lara's reaction to Cory's claim of sameness throughout the series, I realized I've written them off for the same reason and am considering giving it another shot. What would be the best way to get back into the series? All I ask is that it not play the same as FF3 and 4.

Interesting. You see, I would actually argue that FF3 and FF4 do play pretty differently. With the job system, FF3 gives you a level of character customization that never even comes into play in FF4, but it plays much more like a by-the-numbers turn-based RPG. FF4, on the other hand, dispenses with any pretenses of customization and evolves the turn-based combat into a more suspenseful real-time affair. The similarities between the two are superficial; battles are presented from the same perspective, menus have similar layouts and options, but the actual battles that occur play out pretty differently, in my opinion.

If I had to give you a recommendation, I would probably have to go with Final Fantasy XII. As Lara pointed out, I'm not sure you can get any farther away from FF4, since FF12 plays out as a single-player MMO: no random encounters, no cutting away from the overworld to do battle, and much more emphasis on things like buffs, debuffs, and aggro. I'm actually not as big of a fan of it -- I admire it's ambition, but it definitely plays like a game where the director left halfway through the development process at times -- but I think it makes for an effective contrast against the rest of the series.

Listening to it now, thanks guys

I don't see how any of the final fantasies are any different. They all have ridiculous grunts to express emotion instead of actual dialog and facial expressions, they have millions of fist pumps, pre-teens dressed in skimpy outfits, and they all possess in incomprehensible melodramatic story that only makes sense if you are really high. I'd rather watch 80s movies for my fix of this. In fact, I think that the designers at Square have Footloose on loop in the break room.

That said, I'm enjoying FF13, but I do love me some Kevin Bacon.

doubtingthomas wrote:

What part of your head did a horse kick you in to kill the parenting instinct that says you hold that dang kid's hand when you're not looking at him?

Oh god yes, I almost screamed out loud!

This FF discusion reminds me of my experience with music... specifically metal. Until I actually started listening to metal I definitely categorized all metal as loud, non-musical crap-ola. The more I got into listening and playing metal I started to discover the wonderful uniqueness within metal. I think it is similar for FF. Anyone who doesn't normally play FF titles might lump them all together as "lineup and take turns smacking each other in an effort to thwart those seeking to restart the world" (with a love interest thrown in). But if you love the FF series you probably really enjoyed the gambit system in FF XII.

I guess the lesson is... you can always go deeper to find the differences.

Baaspei wrote:

This FF discusion reminds me of my experience with music... specifically metal. Until I actually started listening to metal I definitely categorized all metal as loud, non-musical crap-ola. The more I got into listening and playing metal I started to discover the wonderful uniqueness within metal. I think it is similar for FF. Anyone who doesn't normally play FF titles might lump them all together as "lineup and take turns smacking each other in an effort to thwart those seeking to restart the world" (with a love interest thrown in). But if you love the FF series you probably really enjoyed the gambit system in FF XII.

I guess the lesson is... you can always go deeper to find the differences.

That's the best comparison I've heard on the subject. +1 to you.

Using a big LCD TV as a computer monitor... that is a great idea, mainly because a 30 inch LCD monitor is at least 1000 dollars, but a 32 inch LCD TV is maybe 600 bucks at most?

Plants vs Zombies is a stellar tower defense game, but the one that truly drove me to play it start to finish was Defense Grid: The Awakening. With the voice-over that sounded like a British butler, slick-looking graphics and a nice mix of towers to choose from, that game was far more engrossing than I ever thought it would be.

Lara, I am so glad we agree on "Eff Heavy Rain". No I do NOT want to shake my controller so this guy can use his inhaler. I have to do that in real life. I do not need to do it in a game. My dislike of Heavy Rain comes from them trying to force things into a video game that do not belong there. They seem to want to make it a "cinematic experience" or like a long episode of a crime drama show, but it's as if they forgot to put a game in there. To quote Peter Griffin, it insists upon itself.

By the way, consider Darksiders my next console buy (once I beat or get tired of the GOW Collection).

BF:BC2 feels like an apology to the PC fans that were let down by the original BC. Really great stuff, even if the campaign is kicking my ass on NORMAL! Is it time for me to give up and play on Easy?

Problems with an Nvidia card? Buy an ATI card!

Dying of a screaming orgasm at age 150... there are so many things that are right about that scenario.

Think smart!

Forgetting or not realizing your mic is on is a common problem in EQII guild. Those moments can be highly entertaining, especially if we hear a parent yelling at their kids, or couples arguing. Good times!

"Playing with other people in the room has made me realize what an asshole I was." Classic!

"Somebody's wrong on the internet, people!" I love it!

This is surely one of the better gaming-related podcasts around. Nice to hear a cast of folks that don't lisp. Consider me a fan.