GWJ Conference Call Episode 174

Conference Call


Mass Effect 2 Spoiler Section, MAG, No More Heroes 2(ish), Comfort Gaming, Sound Waves, Your Emails and more!

This week the crew tackles comfort games and what happens when a half deaf idiot discovers surround sound headphones. Sean Sands and Shawn Andrich also go way deep on Mass Effect 2 in a post-credits spoiler section. 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

"Anxious Tedium" - Ouranos OST (Tom Quinn) - http://thomashquinn.googlepages.com - 0:22:06
"The Way Your Journey Ends" (Tom Quinn) - http://thomashquinn.googlepages.com - 0:39:13

Comments

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re: spoiler section and Mass Effect not having a proper antagonist...

(warning : ME2 spoilers)

Spoiler:

Personally - if you exclude Harbinger who will probably turn out to be the main Reaper antagonist in ME3 - I would say the primary antagonist in the game is actually probably the collectors' ship.

- It turns up all throughout the game - killing you and the Normandy in the beginning
- You then see it hovering over the besieged colony, driving it off with the defence cannons
- It sets up an ambush for you later in the game which you need to escape
- It returns later to kidnap your crew
- ....before it finally confronts you at the reaper base and you blow it out of the sky with the Normandy 2.

Quite a satisfying piece of plot progression in my opinion, even if you don't directly interact with it.

About the Illusive Man and other spoilers:

Spoiler:

I'm actually quite happy with how they did not make the Illusive Man so antagonistic. To me one of the most interesting things in these kind of stories are the unsettling but necessary alliances between old enemies and how they might grow to trust and rely on each other. It plays around with the old idea that the enemy of my enemy is my friend. Same thing with Legion. The existence of overlapping but still sometimes conflicting goals is a very good basis to create choices that are hard to make.

I left the collector base intact because it did somehow make sense to me. Had the Illusive Man been a totally black and white evil dude then his endorsement of this idea would have probably made me destroy the base. So I was really unsure about what to do. His proposal made sense but I don't totally thrust the guy. I'm hoping they go even deeper with the alliance of these two characters but we'll see in two years.

As Harbinger goes, a little more of "him" would have been nice in the game. Even if there was no interaction, I wanted to see at least a scene where he is doing his stuff and maybe consulting with the rest of the reapers or something like that. Just generally giving "him" a little more screen time would have been good. Now he's a bit of a Darth Maul.

Great ME2 discussion.

Casey Hudson has been doing the rounds and appearing on quite a few podcasts. On one show (4 guys 1 up maybe in not sure) he said that certain characters from ME1 were moved to one side in ME2 because they were important to the over all story and needed to be alive for ME3.

Podcast wise 4 guys 1up is good and so is Active time babble.

Can someone tell me when does the spoiler section starts and ends? I'm currently playing ME1 and will be playing ME2 later this month so I don't want to have it spoiled.

liquid wrote:

Can someone tell me when does the spoiler section starts and ends? I'm currently playing ME1 and will be playing ME2 later this month so I don't want to have it spoiled.

The spoiler section starts right after the official show ends. Stop listening when you hear the outtro music.

Awesome, thanks

Can somebody please explain what the deal is with the drunken gamers? I don't listen to them so I don't know what is going on.
Thanks.

barbex wrote:

Can somebody please explain what the deal is with the drunken gamers? I don't listen to them so I don't know what is going on.
Thanks.

Both podcasts enjoy f***ing with each other. That's about it. If you listen to DGR, they'll most likely respond with more trash talk. It's a back and forth inside joke.

P.S.: Suck it, Hilden!

Re: the "unwinnable" fight in Dragon Age:

Spoiler:

If you're talking about the fight with Ser Cauthrien after rescuing the queen, it is perfectly possible to win it, and you can just go back to Arl Eamon's place.

Re: Game sound, The original Mass Effect had a terrible audio mix causing near constant situations where the voice of the person talking couldn't be heard over incidental game sound. It was so bad that I had to play the entire game with subtitles on.

The sequel was completely awesome for audio though.

DudleySmith wrote:

Re: the "unwinnable" fight in Dragon Age:

Spoiler:

If you're talking about the fight with Ser Cauthrien after rescuing the queen, it is perfectly possible to win it, and you can just go back to Arl Eamon's place.

Yes, if this is the encounter in question, I think that Dragon Age handles it perfectly.

One thing the email glosses over is that the fight is obviously designed to be lost; upon death you're taken to a cutscene instead of the typical "YOU SUCK" loading screen. It's very clear that failure was always an option.

What I love about this fight is that it can be won, and the game isn't "broken" in any way if you do so (as the email seemed to imply). How many games hand you instant defeat via a cutscene? Or at the hands of a boss monster with a million hitpoints that you can't scratch? Dragon Age wants none of that bullsh*t. It lets you be the badass that you are, at least in this particular case.

Cory joins the dark side!!!!!! Muhahahahahahahahaha!!!!!

Certis, that experience of over stimulation with the audio, that's what autistic people experience. I'm not pointing this out to be flippant, but that maybe you can take that experience and apply it to the current discussions about autism ... if you are even interested in that sort of thing. Just a thought.

garion333 wrote:

Certis, that experience of over stimulation with the audio, that's what autistic people experience. I'm not pointing this out to be flippant, but that maybe you can take that experience and apply it to the current discussions about autism ... if you are even interested in that sort of thing. Just a thought. ;)

I've got an autistic uncle, when I say "over stimulation" I wouldn't say it's anywhere near that level of feeling overwhelmed. A brief moment of sitting in my computer chair, mouth agape isn't anywhere near the kind of out of control outbursts he's had when there's too much stimulus. Interesting logical leap, but not even close to what he has to deal with on a daily basis. It's rough.

Mystic Violet wrote:
liquid wrote:

Can someone tell me when does the spoiler section starts and ends? I'm currently playing ME1 and will be playing ME2 later this month so I don't want to have it spoiled.

The spoiler section starts right after the official show ends. Stop listening when you hear the outtro music.

I haven't listened to the episode yet, but I would just like to chip in with some positive feedback for editing the show so that those spoiler discussions are at the end of the podcast.

I always get a bit irritated whenever podcasters (Podcast People?) just preface those kind of comments with a quick "spoiler alert - skip ahead six or seven minutes or whatever" because I don't really want to mess around with my mp3 player while I'm driving (or even in general) and, even if I do feel like doing it, there's no guarantees that the discussion actually went that exact length of time.

It was pitch-perfect for the BioShock "spoiler" discussion a few shows back -- which was hardly topical anyway, since it had been so long since that game released -- and I definitely like it in this case, especially since I haven't really played ME1 or ME2.

I had a similar experience with noticing "new" sounds in games when I picked up my 5.1 headset, and this was despite having a very nice set of Yamaha 2.1 speakers on my desktop. I finally ended up realizing that it wasn't necessarily that the headphone speakers were so much better, but rather that the circumaural headset design blocked out enough random household sounds to actually allow me to hear the things I'd been missing. Filtering out background noise appears to be much like determining a sound's direction in that it requires functional hearing in both ears.

Glad to hear the upgrade has worked out well for you.

Certis wrote:
garion333 wrote:

Certis, that experience of over stimulation with the audio, that's what autistic people experience. I'm not pointing this out to be flippant, but that maybe you can take that experience and apply it to the current discussions about autism ... if you are even interested in that sort of thing. Just a thought. ;)

I've got an autistic uncle, when I say "over stimulation" I wouldn't say it's anywhere near that level of feeling overwhelmed. A brief moment of sitting in my computer chair, mouth agape isn't anywhere near the kind of out of control outbursts he's had when there's too much stimulus. Interesting logical leap, but not even close to what he has to deal with on a daily basis. It's rough.

True. I wasn't so much trying to say that you had an autistic experience, just that you might have more insight into autism now. Clearly with an autistic uncle you already have that. I should have added "similar" instead of saying that what you experienced is what autistic individuals experience.

Anyway, perhaps I did read too much into what you said on the podcast.

Demiurge, I'm right there with you on PC cases. I have yet to see a PC case that doesn't look simply atrocious. Every time I think about building a gaming PC, I start shopping for cases and despair about how ugly the poor thing would be.

This is the case I use that Cory mentioned. No windows or any fancy blinking lights, just a nice brushed metal and sound proofing inside. Cooler Master Silio 500.

IMAGE(http://img64.imageshack.us/img64/1452/top1hr.jpg)

I think my Antec Sonata III is pretty tasteful:

IMAGE(http://www.antec.com/catalog/SonataIII_L.jpg)

Wanna see some ugly cases? Try these.

I think some may be confusing normal cases with modded ones. The modded are 99% pure sh*t, but some of the 'default' cases are great as posted above.

I think Sean and Shawn are as bad at video game dating as Cory.

Edit: I'm also disappointed that neither of them talked up Mordin. I was all prepared to be annoyed by him ("For God's sake, take a breath!") but he turned out to be one of the more interesting, complex, and humorous characters in the whole game.

I am fairly OS/System agnostic; I run windows, OS X, Ubuntu and FreeBSD each for their own specific reasons. However, my home system is (presently) a ~2-year old 24" iMac.

I bootcamp windows 7 on it, and I have yet to find a game I can't max out the settings on. Plus I have the nice form-factor of the iMac. No tower, no jumble of cables, etc. Just a nice big, gloriously vibrant monitor to play games on. I am surprised, given Cory's predilection for all things Apple, he didn't go a similar route?

Spoiler:

Seems like I am one of the few that actually liked Zaeed. His loyalty mission is fairly simplistic, but the ending scene is a good payoff. His loyalty power is absolutely amazing when you see a clump of enemies together. I thought he had some good quips of dialogue. When he mocks Grunt for going through puberty on Tuchanka, I had a good laugh. Why do so many people dislike him? Is it because he is too flat or boring?

Here's my ugly case, the NZXT Lexa S that I got on sale as a package deal. At least it's really we ventilated w/ 4 fans, and room for another 140mm on top. I'll probably try to find a way to destroy all the blue lights as soon as I power the thing on.

HedgeWizard wrote:

I am fairly OS/System agnostic; I run windows, OS X, Ubuntu and FreeBSD each for their own specific reasons. However, my home system is (presently) a ~2-year old 24" iMac.

I bootcamp windows 7 on it, and I have yet to find a game I can't max out the settings on. Plus I have the nice form-factor of the iMac. No tower, no jumble of cables, etc. Just a nice big, gloriously vibrant monitor to play games on. I am surprised, given Cory's predilection for all things Apple, he didn't go a similar route?

I was also a little surprised by this. Not to mention, the cost shook me a bit; he said $700, right? Not even including a hard drive? Does that include Windows? I can't really figure why you'd need to spend that much.

About two years ago I got a Dell dedicated for gaming, a Q6600 system (then pretty high end) with 3 GB RAM, a DVD burner, and a totally reasonable 500 GBish drive. I paid $350 plus tax for the machine, slapped in a $125 video card, and I was good to go. I could run every existing game at high settings without any trouble.

Last year, I noticed that some newer games had issues at maxed out settings, so I slapped in a new $125 video card and I've been fine.

I think there are some real misconceptions about how much horsepower you really need and how much money you really need to spend. The iMacs should actually be quite capable.

gore wrote:

I think there are some real misconceptions about how much horsepower you really need and how much money you really need to spend. The iMacs should actually be quite capable.

I think the same. I think it's just one of those stereotypes that seem to have stuck, like "PC gaming is dying". It's probably not helped by the fact that the PC platform is flexible and it can be as much or as little as you want, and how there's always an outlier like Crysis that somehow remains the benchmark of what a 'proper gaming PC' can handle.

Re: game audio -

Last year I came in to some birthday money and bought Astro Gaming's A40 audio system; the headphones, amp, whole 9 yards. I figured if I'm going to go there, I'm gonna go whole hog. Also, I'm an audio stickler. (I work in voice over.)

I love the whole thing. I figure the only drawbacks would be the cabling, (going to get some extra long optical cables to fix some of that), and a little lackluster bass. (But if you want bass, you can get those Dr. Dre beats things for a similar amount. Not that you'll hear much more than the bass, but if that's your thing...then again, the iPod doesn't exactly provide the power those things probably need for accurate sound produciton.)

But the downplayed bass is so you can cleanly hear the mids and highs, something necessary in gaming, especially the online competitive space. I was amazed at what I could hear with the A40's. The amount of detail as well as the accurate surround production is fantastic. I was picking up things in Modern Warfare, Fallout 3 and ODST I hadn't heard before. They were like playing whole new games. (especially online multi. hearing those punks coming around behind you is a great asset.)

I got the cans out of necessity, (don't annoy the wife or wake the toddler) and found true joy in them. Never want to go back.

Not done with the podcast, but I came here looking for a link to the headphones Certis was pimping.

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