GWJ Conference Call Episode 180

Conference Call

God of War 3, Darksiders, Pain (What?), Supreme Commander 2, Lots of Twittering Tweets, Your Emails and more!

This week we turn to Twitter for a pile of questions and topic ideas! 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

"Washaway" (Ian Dorsch) - www.willowtreeaudio.com - 0:28:12
"Impeller" (Ian Dorsch) - www.willowtreeaudio.com - 0:45:28

Comments

Heh. I appreciate a great nude shot or sex scene myself, but I'm not really sold on the melding of action and sexually charged nudity. In contrast, hacking a guy in half with a chainsaw is totally appropos for an action scene.

Don't know Rob's stance on it, though.

Baaspei wrote:

So Rob, I want to know if pummeling a guys face repeatedly in FPS mode in GOWIII is worse than a gratuitous screen filling caboose shot from Bayonetta?

I am always intrigued by people who have no problem chainsawing a head in half but can't stand seeing a nude shot/sex scene...

You mistake me for someone who has a problem with either. What I have a problem with is unnecessary and gratuitous use of either.

Basically the person creating the product has to convince through that product that the choices they made, whether it be sex or violence, were necessary to completing their final vision of that product. If I am not convinced than I consider it bullsh*t, unnecessary, and pandering to the lowest common denominator. Worst of all it's just plain lazy.

LarryC wrote:

Heh. I appreciate a great nude shot or sex scene myself, but I'm not really sold on the melding of action and sexually charged nudity. In contrast, hacking a guy in half with a chainsaw is totally appropos for an action scene.

Don't know Rob's stance on it, though.

My position on the whole "violence = okay (within reason) but sex = not so much" matter is that it's all about the narrative.

Conflict is the heart of storytelling. Man versus nature, man versus nature, man versus self. Often times those stories are violent, because such is the nature of man. Violence is a tool for conveying the story.

Because it has to do with conflict, then the violence can have moral content. You can play as the hero, and doing violence is the way to defeat the bad guys and defend the good. Doom is often cited as an example of a violent game, but ultimately the violence is in the service of a good cause-- the nameless, voiceless marine is defending humanity from an unspeakable evil.

Sex can't really do that. You can't really tell a story with sex, though sex can be a motivation. Using sex as a storytelling tool, however, becomes gratuitous more quickly precisely for this reason. There is rarely a good storytelling reason for an explicit sex scene-- nothing that happens in a bedroom has to be shown, and it's often more effective when it's implied.

This can work with violence too, but implied violence tends to be more disturbing, not less, because of the way the human imagination works. This is why Hitchcock was so effective. Our imaginations can conjure things that are much worse than anything any director can commit to film (at least mine can, which is why I'd rather see someone getting beat up than just hear it, but maybe that's just me)

There's no good reason that I can think of to show sex in a video game other than pornographic reasons. Violence, on the other hand, can have a good reason within the context of the story.

Of course, violence can be gratuitous too-- usually when it goes beyond what's necessary for the hero to accomplish his/her ends. There are grades of violence, and as the levels of brutality increase, the closer we get to the line between justifiable action and gratuitous violence. Games like Manhunt and (from the sound of it) God of War three approach or cross that line.

I'm fairly sure the devs got what they wanted out in Bayonetta. It was made by Japanese developers and in that culture, crotch shots and all kinds of other things I won't mention are about as common as Playboy.

Comparatively speaking, the crotch-shotting in Bayonetta is tame and somewhat comedic.

doubtingthomas396:

Sex can't really do that. You can't really tell a story with sex, though sex can be a motivation. Using sex as a storytelling tool, however, becomes gratuitous more quickly precisely for this reason. There is rarely a good storytelling reason for an explicit sex scene-- nothing that happens in a bedroom has to be shown, and it's often more effective when it's implied.

Ah. To be so innocent is a blessing. I used to think this way, too. However, sex can be used as a story-telling element. Viewed as merely another pleasurable human activity, there's no reason why a protagonist can't be a sexoholic and why he or she can't have conflict based around getting over this weakness.

Yes, I know just how that sounds. You may not want to know how deep that rabbit hole goes.

Gaald wrote:
Baaspei wrote:

So Rob, I want to know if pummeling a guys face repeatedly in FPS mode in GOWIII is worse than a gratuitous screen filling caboose shot from Bayonetta?

I am always intrigued by people who have no problem chainsawing a head in half but can't stand seeing a nude shot/sex scene...

You mistake me for someone who has a problem with either. What I have a problem with is unnecessary and gratuitous use of either.

Basically the person creating the product has to convince through that product that the choices they made, whether it be sex or violence, were necessary to completing their final vision of that product. If I am not convinced than I consider it bullsh*t, unnecessary, and pandering to the lowest common denominator. Worst of all it's just plain lazy.

Fair enough. I believe I understand your standpoint.

It seems to me though that when the creator's vision IS extreme violence or over the top "everything", (crappy mechanics aside) your ability to determine what is unnecessary is almost reduced to zero. You don't have to like it (hell, you don't even have to play it) but I don't think you would be in a position to deem what is necessary and what isn't. Therefore I would say that if you are not "convinced", it has more to do with the discomfort you feel, caused by a particular scene/activity.

"Wow. Topless natives in Hello Kitty Island Adventure?"... gratuitous.

"Search for the prettiest flower minigame in GOWIII?"... unnecessary.

"Did Kratos really have to pull skin off the Minotaur after it was dead?"... maybe, not sure.

Of course God of War is utterly gratuitous. That's the whole point. If you are trying to convince yourself otherwise than I don't know why you are playing that game.

LarryC wrote:

I'm fairly sure the devs got what they wanted out in Bayonetta. It was made by Japanese developers and in that culture, crotch shots and all kinds of other things I won't mention are about as common as Playboy.

Comparatively speaking, the crotch-shotting in Bayonetta is tame and somewhat comedic.

doubtingthomas396:

Sex can't really do that. You can't really tell a story with sex, though sex can be a motivation. Using sex as a storytelling tool, however, becomes gratuitous more quickly precisely for this reason. There is rarely a good storytelling reason for an explicit sex scene-- nothing that happens in a bedroom has to be shown, and it's often more effective when it's implied.

Ah. To be so innocent is a blessing. I used to think this way, too. However, sex can be used as a story-telling element. Viewed as merely another pleasurable human activity, there's no reason why a protagonist can't be a sexoholic and why he or she can't have conflict based around getting over this weakness.

Yes, I know just how that sounds. You may not want to know how deep that rabbit hole goes.

I completely agree.

Something like Choke wouldn't even exist if sex couldn't be used as a storytelling tool.

lostlobster wrote:

I am HORRIBLE at creating avatars for myself in games. I'll spend a good hour or so and then finally give up. But, still, I refuse to use one of the pre-made characters.

My (female) Shepard from Mass Effect ended up being this pinch-nosed, lantern-jawed freak with bright red hair. And yet, it somehow made the character more interesting to me. I wouldn't change her now — even though I have a hard time looking at her face.

I was trying to RP a different viewpoint than usual when I played ME, as part of an effort to understand a type of person I usually can't connect with. As part of estranging myself, I made a fairly unattractive female Shepard on purpose. I think it worked out well!

Minarchist wrote:
Gaald wrote:

Yes, there's sex; yes, it's cheesy; and yes, it's a quicktime event.

rabbit wrote:

Oh, so just like real life!

This is so very sigged.

It's all about hitting the right buttons at the right time!

wordsmythe wrote:

It's all about hitting the right buttons at the right time!

I think the part that cracked me up the most was "quick", and if I had to guess that was the main joke Julian was trying to make. I was spinning at the time, and I almost fell of the bike I was laughing so hard.

garion333 wrote:
LarryC wrote:

I'm fairly sure the devs got what they wanted out in Bayonetta. It was made by Japanese developers and in that culture, crotch shots and all kinds of other things I won't mention are about as common as Playboy.

Comparatively speaking, the crotch-shotting in Bayonetta is tame and somewhat comedic.

doubtingthomas396:

Sex can't really do that. You can't really tell a story with sex, though sex can be a motivation. Using sex as a storytelling tool, however, becomes gratuitous more quickly precisely for this reason. There is rarely a good storytelling reason for an explicit sex scene-- nothing that happens in a bedroom has to be shown, and it's often more effective when it's implied.

Ah. To be so innocent is a blessing. I used to think this way, too. However, sex can be used as a story-telling element. Viewed as merely another pleasurable human activity, there's no reason why a protagonist can't be a sexoholic and why he or she can't have conflict based around getting over this weakness.

Yes, I know just how that sounds. You may not want to know how deep that rabbit hole goes.

I completely agree.

Something like Choke wouldn't even exist if sex couldn't be used as a storytelling tool.

Violence and sex are both forms of communication between the people engaged in them. You can say a lot about the relationship by the way you portray the fight or the fornication. The sex scene from Sleeping With the Enemy, for example, made a lot of things clear about the main character's capacity for survival, her ability to lie with her face and body, her isolation and her fear. Of course most of the time sex is used solely to titillate but that's just laziness on the part of those storytellers, as Rob says.

Hear, hear. You hear that game devs!? We want no laziness from you. We want more sex scenes that have narrative power.

Er... ...that was the gist of the discussion, right?

If you look at an average modern person's life, you're probably going to find a lot more sex than violence. Stories skewing the other way are just unrealistic.

Switchbreak wrote:

If you look at an average modern person's life, you're probably going to find a lot more sex than violence. Stories skewing the other way are just unrealistic.

But who wants to be average?

garion333 wrote:
Switchbreak wrote:

If you look at an average modern person's life, you're probably going to find a lot more sex than violence. Stories skewing the other way are just unrealistic.

But who wants to be average?

Yeah, I'm a loveless superhero... like the Punisher crossed with boogle.

Gravey wrote:
garion333 wrote:
Switchbreak wrote:

If you look at an average modern person's life, you're probably going to find a lot more sex than violence. Stories skewing the other way are just unrealistic.

But who wants to be average?

Yeah, I'm a loveless superhero... like the Punisher crossed with boogle.

If I had the time, I'd be Photoshopping that one.

garion333 wrote:
Switchbreak wrote:

If you look at an average modern person's life, you're probably going to find a lot more sex than violence. Stories skewing the other way are just unrealistic.

But who wants to be average?

Elysium and whole lot of other Goodjers.
http://www.gamerswithjobs.com/node/4...

I was expecting lots of Lara-led FF13 discussion, and yet, barely a mention! C'mon, we have one die hard fan in the podcast-cast. Enquiring minds want to know!

Great episode otherwise. I listen on my car stereo, very loud, and that "bitches" made me jump out of my skin!

garion333 wrote:
LarryC wrote:

I'm fairly sure the devs got what they wanted out in Bayonetta. It was made by Japanese developers and in that culture, crotch shots and all kinds of other things I won't mention are about as common as Playboy.

Comparatively speaking, the crotch-shotting in Bayonetta is tame and somewhat comedic.

doubtingthomas396:

Sex can't really do that. You can't really tell a story with sex, though sex can be a motivation. Using sex as a storytelling tool, however, becomes gratuitous more quickly precisely for this reason. There is rarely a good storytelling reason for an explicit sex scene-- nothing that happens in a bedroom has to be shown, and it's often more effective when it's implied.

Ah. To be so innocent is a blessing. I used to think this way, too. However, sex can be used as a story-telling element. Viewed as merely another pleasurable human activity, there's no reason why a protagonist can't be a sexoholic and why he or she can't have conflict based around getting over this weakness.

Yes, I know just how that sounds. You may not want to know how deep that rabbit hole goes.

I completely agree.

Something like Choke wouldn't even exist if sex couldn't be used as a storytelling tool.

Let me be clear:

I never said sex couldn't be a motivation.(In fact I believe I explicitly said it could be a motivation.)

What I meant was is there's almost (<-- emphasis) no reason why sex HAS to be explicit versus implicit in a video game, whereas implicit violence in a video game is... well, not really a game at all.

spider_j wrote:

I was expecting lots of Lara-led FF13 discussion, and yet, barely a mention! C'mon, we have one die hard fan in the podcast-cast. Enquiring minds want to know!

Great episode otherwise. I listen on my car stereo, very loud, and that "bitches" made me jump out of my skin!

To be honest, I haven't touched FF13 yet. I have no interest in it. It looks pretty but poorly designed, as if the developers took everything that was awful about FF12 and magnified it by 100.

Also, every time I ask someone who has the game how they're liking it, they invariably respond with some iteration of "Well, I'm still playing it, I guess." Admitting that you're only playing the game out of inertia, well, that isn't exactly a ringing endorsement, and it doesn't get me too excited to play the game, either.

I'm sure I'll play it one day, when it hits the bargain bin or a friend lends it to me. But this die-hard Final Fantasy fan couldn't really care less about playing FF13 right now, which says a lot more than a full review ever would.

Also, I hate Leona Lewis. There, I said it.

I'd like to think I helped sew the seed of apathy Katerin is feeling towards the game.

Listening through the podcast now, I have a couple comments about the discussion of God of War and Darksiders. The first is that the violence in God of War is very off-putting for me; the whacking and hacking isn't such a big deal, but the finishing moves are enough to make me think I wouldn't enjoy it at all. The remind me of the boys' assault on the dead sow in Lord of the Flies: childish and brutal.

Oddly enough, though, the violence in Darksiders is a bother for me, too, despite its being more tame than the whacking and hacking in God of War that I said wasn't a big deal. Perhaps it's because of the game's strong Zelda drive, but I found that my enjoyment of the demo was lessened by the geysers of blood you'd get out of the enemies. I'm glad to hear I'm not alone in thinking that's a drawback to that game.

doubtingthomas396 wrote:

What I meant was is there's almost (<-- emphasis) no reason why sex HAS to be explicit versus implicit in a video game, whereas implicit violence in a video game is... well, not really a game at all.

I disagree. Plenty of games, especially strategy games, merely imply violence.

We all know the REAL reason why there's more violence than sex in video games, and that reason can be summed up in two words: refractory period. Video games are nearly always about performing relatively simple actions in quick succession. Imagine an FPS in which it took 15-20 minutes to reload and you could only fire 2-3 shots per day.

That reload time is much too long.

hbi2k wrote:

We all know the REAL reason why there's more violence than sex in video games, and that reason can be summed up in two words: refractory period. Video games are nearly always about performing relatively simple actions in quick succession. Imagine an FPS in which it took 15-20 minutes to reload and you could only fire 2-3 shots per day.

But there are only a couple real climaxes per game. The rest is just repetitive motions that are somehow still enjoyable, even addictive.

With God of War, I love the combat and voice acting. Sadly, it might be the jumping puzzles that will ultimately push me away from the series. Still, pummeling a guy in first person and shaking beds with wenches... that's super stuff.

"They went a little too far with the graphic gory details." Really? Oh you guys are a bunch of pussies. Lovable pussies, of course.

Language!!!

Mini-games in regular games are perfectly fine... IF THEY ARE OPTIONAL! I hate hate hate seeing a sweet action or RPG game grind to a halt so I can figure out some lame-ass puzzle. I want to main and murder, not move little blocks around until I can make the fire dance from one end to the other.

Lately, when I play a game that lets me make a character, like Mass Effect, I just make a female character that looks like my wife, because she is pleasant to ogle. I still get a kick out of name my party of characters in RPGs after close friends and family.

C&C 3 is a paned game that I loved?

EverQuest II might be one of those games that I love that most MMO players... well they don't hate it, but it does not get nearly the adulations that (the often over-hyped) World of Warcraft gets. It has become almost a cult MMO, but to me it is the best MMO out there. It foregoes some of the glitz of WoW but makes up for it with substance, especially the huge amount of content.