Conference Call

GWJ Conference Call Episode 184

Splinter Cell: Conviction, Sam & Max: The Devil's Playhouse, Strategry, Collaborative Storytelling, Your Emails and more!

This week the crew bands together to discuss collaborative storytelling in games and they totally get along! 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

"Twilight Bay" (James 106) - 0:25:41
"Chloe" (James 106) - 0:53:45


OzymandiasAV wrote:
wordsmythe wrote:

If I may, I think the answer I'd give has been touched on--that it's an engine for collaborative storytelling with a wide-open set of mechanics that surpasses even the free-form abilities of open-world engines while allowing for unexpected, organic story progression that the best pre-scripted games could never match.

The problem is that this doesn't really address the concerns about the medium, does it? You can attribute those same strengths of unexpected, organic story progression to any improvisational/collaborative storytelling game, whether it's a video game or a board game or a face-to-face roleplaying ruleset.

Full disclosure: I initially shared Lara's skepticism about the game and its place within the medium. And, in fact, I do still think the game's capability for storytelling is drastically oversold, somewhat, if only because the sparse (re: crap) presentation effectively takes out the possibility of stories that require more expressive fidelity.

However, I turned around on the game a little bit once I stopped questioning why a collaborative storytelling game was so ingenious within the realm of video games and, instead, considered how such a video game could be a cool way to do collaborative storytelling.

I think this is where Rabbit's enthusiasm brought things off the rails. If the initial claim in a discussion is that something is "ingenious" (to use Ozy's word--I think Rabbit's tone conveyed this belief more than his actual words), then we're put in the awkward position of justifying a 10/10 (or similar) review score--and that before we've even properly looked at what the "game" is.

So maybe it's better to back up, see what it is and what it does, and then see if it appeals to us or if we think it might appeal to anyone else.

I do get Rob's issue with the voice actor thing.

I struggled in Mass Effect 2 with the Illusive Man not looking enough like Martin Sheen, at least initially. Even in Mass Effect, the voice actor for Captain Anderson is Keith David who to me will always be the guy who in Requiem for a Dream turned Jennifer Connelley into a live sex performer.

Eventually I acclimatised, but initially it is an inescapable association.

It probably helps that I know Keith David as a voice actor first: I might think Goliath or Spawn, but I never think of an actual human face. (-:

Probably does help, I just keep hearing him go "Ass to ass!"

Sorry to the Shaun/Sean's it was Rob who did say that...

I agree with Lara - I don't think they need to. Nolan North talked a bit about appearing in a lot of games in his interview with PlayStation Chat ( I was surprised at some of the voices he's done over the years. He doesn't think there is an issue with him appearing in so many games and compared it to actors who appear in movies. Robert De Niro or Tom Cruise don't change their voices in movies and no one says anything - that's how he justified it. It was a great interview.

If this was the first game in the series I could probably understand the comment - but this is the fifth game in the series. It doesn't make sense. As for David Keith - he also appeared in Saints Row and the guy in that didn't look anything like him but it didn't take anything away from the game. Same with Michael Madsen as Tanner in Driv3r (had to use that as an example), Chris Penn in San Andreas or even David Hayter as Solid Snake.

I think this topic has run its course though so I'll just move on to the next podcast. Check out the PlayStation Chat interview though - definitely worth a listen.

As an anime fan, I'm also pretty used to hearing the same dozen-odd voices in everything anyway. And especially in a big dialogue-heavy game with lots of voices like Mass Effect, I pretty much expect that I'm going to recognize every third voice from something or other. "Hey, that Normandy crew member is ALSO Spike Spiegel! Ooh, that Krogan is Worf! Was that security guard Colonel Tigh?" It's just something you get used to.

I honestly hope Kiefer Sutherland appears in more COD games, DAMN IT

Hating on Burt Bacharach! BLASPHEMY!!

Lara, you say you did a lot of drinking and eating chocolate, as well as played games. Perhaps you were in full-on crash mode when you started playing FFXIII? So you admit you are an alcoholic! Murderer!

This whole discussion about FFXIII makes me want to go back and play FFV, FFVI, FFVIII and FFXII. Then maybe when its on sale I will try FFXIII. But before all of that, Darksiders.

Never before has an "ahem" had more impact than it did during the email reading section.

Can a brother get some Halo 3 on the PC? Cmon man, help a brother out. How bout you just pour the game into my hand for 15 cents?


When it comes to tension in games, like F.E.A.R. or Bioshock, sometimes knowing that you are not actually in danger is ok when you allow yourself to get lost in the moment. You know in the back of your mind that the first Splicer is not going to attack you until you get a weapon, but you can choose to ignore that and just enjoy the scare. You know, the way Lara did.