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

You poor, poor Apple users. At the very least you can hold on to your warm-blanketed claims that OSX has a superior UI while the rest of us are playing amazing looking games at high res and max detail

Back in the day when Macs were running on IBM chips you had that as a differentiating factor to harp on about (and boy did you), but now that they're running on Intel like everything else can't you see that you're paying a premium for a nice looking sh*tty PC?

Overlap12 wrote:

I'm with you - I have almost the exact same iMac model and I can't even max out some games from like 2007, although most games look decent on my machine. As much as I love the stylish iMac, I'll probably go back to buiding gaming rigs for my future pcs.

Ultimately, I think the ideal solution for OSX fans is a Mac Laptop and PC Desktop.

harrisben wrote:

You poor, poor Apple users. At the very least you can hold on to your warm-blanketed claims that OSX has a superior UI while the rest of us are playing amazing looking games at high res and max detail

Back in the day when Macs were running on IBM chips you had that as a differentiating factor to harp on about (and boy did you), but now that they're running on Intel like everything else can't you see that you're paying a premium for a nice looking sh*tty PC?

Really?

Because I switched to a Mac because I was tired of the crap I had to go through to play games on my PC.

I have to admit that listening to Corey talk about his set-up had me reminiscing about setting up a nice desktop PC to play some games. It would apparently cost me at least twice as much as a 360, and from what I gather in the Tech & Help forum, cause me even more headaches than the red-ringed menace.

On the other hand, my 20' iMac still does everything I really need a PC for with far less headache than Windows, and damn nice Unix based OS that I still prefer of Windows 7 (although 7 really is the real deal, and nice OS).

But yeah, if one wants their computer to be a gaming rig, it is clear that a Mac will never be sufficient. I would never recommend to anyone that Boot Camp is an acceptable option if gaming is a priority. It's fine for me, in that I am happy with the the very few games I play, and only count on my consoles for real gaming.

Jayhawker wrote:

[...] I switched to a Mac because I was tired of the crap I had to go through to play games on my PC.

I suppose you don't have to go through as much crap to play games when there aren't any to play.

Hans

hidannik wrote:
Jayhawker wrote:

[...] I switched to a Mac because I was tired of the crap I had to go through to play games on my PC.

I suppose you don't have to go through as much crap to play games when there aren't any to play.

Hans

Eh. I play games on my Apple laptop and my Windows desktop. Absolutely, the desktop has more power. I think I view my Windows machine the way some other person might view his '70s muscle car: it's fun to drive, but keeping it running is a hobby unto itself. Sometimes that's half the fun. Other times it's nice when things just work.

hidannik wrote:
Jayhawker wrote:

[...] I switched to a Mac because I was tired of the crap I had to go through to play games on my PC.

I suppose you don't have to go through as much crap to play games when there aren't any to play. :)

Yeah, I think you missed the point...

Gamerdork UK is quite a find. Nice recommendation

I heart Scottish accents.

Switchbreak wrote:

On No More Heroes 2 - I definitely don't disagree with you on the way the series treats female characters. It's pretty shameless. Even though I don't excuse that stuff, though, I do like the game. The variety of influences, from anime, from Kurosawa films, from westerns, and from 70s surrealist film is really appealing to me. If your game intentionally references Takeshi Miike and Alejandro Jodorowski, you have discovered one of the keys to my heart. I could draw a parallel to Metal Gear Solid here; while both games have flaws, they both feel like games where the passions of the author shine through rather than a stale design-by-committee triple-A title, and I can respect that.

Plus I really like inventive boss fights in brawlers and this game is busting at the seams with those.

So what do you think? Anyone want to lay odds that Certis will be pimping/defending the game in two weeks?

It's already traded in, so not likely.

Man, I don't need Certis to validate my opinions. I'll leave that up to every other published video game critic :p

schmendrick wrote:

Eh. I play games on my Apple laptop and my Windows desktop. Absolutely, the desktop has more power. I think I view my Windows machine the way some other person might view his '70s muscle car: it's fun to drive, but keeping it running is a hobby unto itself. Sometimes that's half the fun. Other times it's nice when things just work.

Download Mass Effect 2. See if it works.

I'm sorry for starting the whole mac/pc thing. If whatever platform you choose fits your needs then you're all good

Jayhawker wrote:
hidannik wrote:
Jayhawker wrote:

[...] I switched to a Mac because I was tired of the crap I had to go through to play games on my PC.

I suppose you don't have to go through as much crap to play games when there aren't any to play. :)

Yeah, I think you missed the point...

It's a joke son, yer supposed to laugh.

But since you need it explained to you, I was making a dig at the lack of game availability on the Mac. Switching from a PC to a MAC to have a more turnkey gaming experience is like switching from VHS to Beta to have a higher-quality movie-watching experience. Yeah, you'll have a better experience in the new format... on those occasions you can have an experience.

Hans

Edited for dickishness. - Certis

Jayhawker wrote:

Edited for dickishness. - Certis

Someone is going to sig that.

heavyfeul wrote:

Someone is going to sig that.

You're probably right.

Gravey wrote:

You got some 'splainin to do. Is it the video card, the Win7-ness? I have the identical iMac you just bought ('cept 4GB RAM, not 8GB, and running XP), and I can't max anything on it that I didn't buy from GOG.com. I have to rock 1280x720 and medium settings, and any reasonable degree of effects brings the FPS noticeably down in games from L4D2 back to STALKER. How you do it?

I was referring to two separate systems: mine and my wife's new one (I haven't tested hers with any gaming yet, but she has the 8GB of memory).

Mine =
3.06 GHz INTEL CORE 2 DUO
4GB 800MHZ DDR2 SDRAM
NVIDIA GEFORCE 8800 GS W/512MB

Granted I don't play many games on it these days:

*Company of Heroes (some hitches when there are a lot of onscreen units exploding/fire effects, etc.)
* Dawn of War II - max settings & resolution, no probloms
* Dragon Age - "", no problems yet...
* L4D & L4D2 - ""
* Sins of a Solar Empire - ""

I typically run in the ~1920 x 1200 range resolution.

I just upgraded a week ago from 32-bit Vista to 64-bit Win 7

I am about to hook up Battlefield Bad Company 2 and I'll see how that goes...

I used to custom build gaming rigs for myself, but when my child was born and my gaming time significantly reduced AND I spent more time working in specific OS X applications, I just made the switch and so far the gaming has been just fine. I imagine some of the new and upcoming games are going to require I reduce down the settings, but I honestly have been more than satisfied.

Rumor has it the Radeon chips in the new iMacs aren't super great. If you get a chance to test any performance on your wife's new machine, Hedge, I'd love to hear how it does.

That said, I'm not about to get into a flame war about Macs and PCs. Pretty soon you'll have Linux dorks showing up, trying to rm -rf us out of the discussion and going all sudo on our gaming habits. Have you ever played a game in Emacs? Nobody wants that.

Let's just be friends.

I built a PC and I run OS X on it with PearPC; I do all of my gaming with Wine. I browse the web by using My Mobiler to remotely view my Windows Mobile phone running SkyFire, and I keep my netbook in the closet to use as a fileserver. Clearly all other configurations are inferior to mine.

HedgeWizard wrote:
Gravey wrote:

You got some 'splainin to do. Is it the video card, the Win7-ness? I have the identical iMac you just bought ('cept 4GB RAM, not 8GB, and running XP), and I can't max anything on it that I didn't buy from GOG.com. I have to rock 1280x720 and medium settings, and any reasonable degree of effects brings the FPS noticeably down in games from L4D2 back to STALKER. How you do it?

I was referring to two separate systems: mine and my wife's new one (I haven't tested hers with any gaming yet, but she has the 8GB of memory).

Mine =
3.06 GHz INTEL CORE 2 DUO
4GB 800MHZ DDR2 SDRAM
NVIDIA GEFORCE 8800 GS W/512MB

I realize that, sorry, I meant I have the same machine as your wife's (9400M), which is getting killed by your own 2-year-old Mac. And now I see why.

Linux dork here.

I love Ubuntu Linux for everyday stuff. But I fully recognize that as sparse as the Mac game selection is, compared to Linux it looks like a cornucopia.

I keep a Windows XP partition for a reason. Even with Wine and Crossover Games, there are very few modern Windows games that will run on Linux with any kind of playability, and without an awful lot of tweaking and patching and workarounds. That stuff is only worth one's time if one gets a thrill out of getting a Windows game working on a platform it's not meant to run on (a meta-game, if you will).

As for playing a game in Emacs... I'm sure there's an elisp macro for that. Besides, real geeks would do it with nano macros or vi, not emacs.

Hans

I have to say that World of Warcraft is the perfect ongoing example of a game shaped by the whims of its player base. For good or ill, players' classes go through a lot of ups or downs over the course of several patches.

Gravey wrote:
HedgeWizard wrote:

NVIDIA GEFORCE 8800 GS W/512MB

I realize that, sorry, I meant I have the same machine as your wife's (9400M), which is getting killed by your own 2-year-old Mac. And now I see why.

Yeah - there is a decent difference between the two. I just set her up yesterday, and I am interested in testing how it handles the gaming aspect (which isn't her priority admittedly).

Jayhawker wrote:

But yeah, if one wants their computer to be a gaming rig, it is clear that a Mac will never be sufficient.

I don't think that's the case. The Mac Pro with an appropriate video card would make an obscene gaming rig (while leaving an equally obscene hole in your bank account).

Demiurge wrote:

That said, I'm not about to get into a flame war about Macs and PCs. Pretty soon you'll have Linux dorks showing up, trying to rm -rf us out of the discussion and going all sudo on our gaming habits. Have you ever played a game in Emacs? Nobody wants that.

Let's just be friends.

Dude, we're already here. I'll kick it up a notch: real men play their editor-based games in vim, not Emacs.

OzymandiasAV wrote:

...
As far as unwinnable encounters go, I do think they can have some value as a storytelling device if they're used properly (specifically, to give the player a little extra juice of refresh when the player wins the inevitable "rematch"), but I agree with Certis's comments that the game has to make it abundantly clear to the player that failure is an acceptable (and, in fact, the expected) outcome for this battle from a narrative standpoint. ...

As I recall, DA gave a dialog option in the conversation leading up to this battle in which you could basically opt-out. For the habitual quick-reloader this may not be enough, but in general do we need more clarity? The game played out perfectly well whether you won/lost/surrendered as it was designed to let you go down any of the three paths and end up at the same place.

I recall, near the beginning of one of the early Wing Commander games the played loses a wingman in a scripted sequence, no matter how well one does in the battle leading up to that moment. Still irritates me I guess.

Shawn has way too much free time today.

Good episode.

As far as unwinnable encounters go, I do think they can have some value as a storytelling device if they're used properly (specifically, to give the player a little bit of revenge when the player wins the inevitable "rematch"), but I agree with Certis's comments that the game has to make it abundantly clear to the player that failure is an acceptable (and, in fact, the expected) outcome for this battle from a narrative standpoint.

And, along those same lines, I thought it was interesting that Lara brought up the "bad DM" situation as an example of how not to do it, since I can directly trace my own disenchantment with tabletop roleplaying to that kind of a situation.

We had been RPing these characters in AD&D for the better part of a year, on-and-off, chasing and eventually encountering the Big Bad in what appeared to be a climactic showdown. And this Big Bad, in fact, had been such an engaging character that I had decided to include him via hallucination (not the real "definitive" character itself) in another campaign I was running, out of homage. This didn't sit well with the DM -- and, in retrospect, he might have had a point, since I didn't technically ask permission or anything -- but the way that he chose to deal with this "situation" was to have us fight the Big Bad in an unwinnable battle that killed our characters, effectively ending a long-running campaign in absolute defeat. If there was ever a more clear and punitive example of the DM's total control over your characters, I'd like to see it.

EDIT: "extra juice of refresh"? Did I start drinking early today? That should read "revenge", not "refresh."

Certis wrote:

This should be what you post when you edit someone's post.

Unwinnable encounters are like Lucy pulling up the football. Like 'oh, you got me, good one. I mean, I was really trying there, but you made me look kinda stupid.'