GWJ Conference Call Episode 198

Conference Call

Limbo, Alien Swarm, Dr. Who - The Adventure Game, Dragon Quest IX, Your Emails and more!

This week Cory, Julian, Allen and Lara tackle the email sack and beat it to death with sticks. If you want to submit a question or comment call in to our voicemail line at (612) 284-4563. This podcast brought to you by TweetMTG!

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

Comments

"Mare-e-oh"? Who the hell is that, Rabbit?

Thanks for the DQ love, Lara. It really is a definition of Super Happy Fun Time (TM).

Lara finished the Meat Circus on her first try? Isn't that proof of some kind of demonic pact?

See also: laughing at children with cancer.

Sonicator wrote:

Lara finished the Meat Circus on her first try? Isn't that proof of some kind of demonic pact?

See also: laughing at children with cancer.

To be fair, I really, really suck at first-person shooters and fighting games. So it all balances out in the end.

Rubb Ed wrote:

"Mare-e-oh"? Who the hell is that, Rabbit?

I'm too old to change baby. Too old to change.

Sounds like a gringo trying to say the word "marry" in Spanish. Has anyone ever actually met someone named Mario whose name was pronounced that way? Where does that even come from?

And yes, nice to see someone representing DQIX. Considering how slim the pickings are for new games right now, you'd think it would get more love. I'm hoping to get to actually make use of the tag mode at an anime con next month; that's the only time I foresee finding myself in a dense enough concentration of Japanophile RPG nerds like myself.

I agree 100% with what Julian was saying about Limbo. I thought the animation is pretty unparalleled, and the visual style (how the light intensity and camera ever so slightly shimmers) makes you feel like your playing a version of your own dream.

But more than that I felt the sound design had an amazing amount of thought and effort put into it. I played it at a volume level so that pretty much all sounds would be as loud as they are in real life, and the intensity portrayed through the audio and minute detail is something else.

rabbit wrote:
Rubb Ed wrote:

"Mare-e-oh"? Who the hell is that, Rabbit?

I'm too old to change baby. Too old to change.

In all fairness to Rabbit, he is not the only one; I have a lot of east coast relatives who say Mario that way. See also Anthony, pronounced Antnee, or my name - Christopher, pronounced Christupha. Said relatives are all Italian as well, which makes it worse.

Also, my first generation Italian grandmother calls her homeland It'lee.

Gotta love the east coast!

Do my ears deceive me or did they really spend 10 minutes trying to sell Lara on Limbo? Because I eventually became tired of that segment - it ran way too long for me. It's not often I fast-forward the GWJ podcast, but this is the second time in 3 weeks.

trueheart78 wrote:

Do my ears deceive me or did they really spend 10 minutes trying to sell Lara on Limbo? Because I eventually became tired of that segment - it ran way too long for me. It's not often I fast-forward the GWJ podcast, but this is the second time in 3 weeks.

One thing I'd add to this, I guess you're responding to emails and comments a bit, but the DRM thing just keeps going around in circles and I don't think anyone is adding anything new to the discussion, but just restating their opinion every week.

I have feelings on DRM and the surrounding topics myself, but unless you're going to make it a big topic of the CC and go to new places with the discussion, a weekly DRM namecheck isn't what I listen to the CC for.

hbi2k wrote:

I'm hoping to get to actually make use of the tag mode at an anime con next month; that's the only time I foresee finding myself in a dense enough concentration of Japanophile RPG nerds like myself.

Actually that's a great idea. GenConners -- any interest in a DQIX meet-up during the GenCon Slap & Tickle?

Here ya go Julian, Space Hulk the game:

IMAGE(http://media.giantbomb.com/uploads/0/8829/501101-spacehulk15.png)

It wasn't a very good game, but I was 13 when it came out, so what do I know?

Oh, you didn't want to know? Oops.

garion333 wrote:

Here ya go Julian, Space Hulk the game:

IMAGE(http://media.giantbomb.com/uploads/0/8829/501101-spacehulk15.png)

It wasn't a very good game, but I was 13 when it came out, so what do I know?

Oh, you didn't want to know? Oops. :P

That is the first version and just for the sake of completeness, there was a later official remake / sequel too "Space Hulk: Vengeance of the Blood Angels."

Drunk Lara = win. That attempt at Wookiee speak was hilarious. Next time just click this button.

trueheart78 wrote:

Do my ears deceive me or did they really spend 10 minutes trying to sell Lara on Limbo? Because I eventually became tired of that segment - it ran way too long for me. It's not often I fast-forward the GWJ podcast, but this is the second time in 3 weeks.

I skipped ahead too, but I regularly do that when the crew is talking about a game I have no interest in.

The primary appeal of OnLive isn't convenience, as Rabbit put it, but rather its ability to turn any computer into a decent gaming rig. The experience is, yes, "okay," but it's "okay" on a high-end gaming machine and "okay" on my wife's netbook. The games are more or less locked in at medium settings, and you could do much better if you had a decent gaming rig, but with OnLive I can play Just Cause 2 on a laptop that struggles to keep up with Half-Life 2.

A lot of the conversation about OnLive on this website and other gaming websites has largely missed the point: OnLive isn't looking to be a competitor to Steam for space on your fancy-pants gaming rig; it's looking to make the components of your rig irrelevant to PC gaming. In the comments thread to Elysium's recent column about the narrowing cost gap between consoles and gaming PCs, a lot of commentators pointed out that most everyone already has a PC and that that PC could be upgraded to be a decent gaming machine. OnLive recognizes that everyone already has a PC but also realizes that not everyone has the technological know-how to upgrade their machine, the desire to upgrade their machine, or, in the case of laptops, the ability to upgrade. You already have a computer; for $5 a month, OnLive turns it into a gaming machine. They're trying to leverage the massive install base of the PC platform by circumventing many of the technical complexities involved in upgrading and maintaining that platform.

If I were pitching OnLive to Corey, for example, I would pitch it like this: for $5 a month, you can play brand new, AAA PC titles on your old Macbook Pro, including titles that don't even have a Mac version. That's incredible stuff, and I think the conversation on the podcast missed the tremendous potential OnLive has not with the hardened PC gamers who frequent this site but with everyone else.

Lara read my letter! I.feel.so.loved....

Carl

ClockworkHouse wrote:

That's incredible stuff, and I think the conversation on the podcast missed the tremendous potential OnLive has not with the hardened PC gamers who frequent this site but with everyone else.

I get that's what's OnLive is going for, but a couple of things I thought about as I tried it:

a) The demo usage I put forth doesn't really compete against it's primary business model. I don't think OnLive as primary platform is going to succeed but it may.

b) OnLive might like to get a cut of a Steam sale of a game I buy from playing an OnLive demo but wanting the game for one of my rigs. As I played Shatter on OnLive I just wanted to buy it and play it on my machine. OnLive deserves some kickback for that.

c) Why have they done the demo/beta program as they have? The only people who really know about the service are already gamers. The experience is not good for those of us with capable computers or modern consoles.

d) It auto-senses my wireless and refuses to run in wireless mode. Understandable, but how many people want to plug in their netbooks into an IP jack? How much longer are people going to have wired machines? I thought OnLive would be great on my laptop until I found out I had to be tethered and that killed that line of thinking.

e) BUT, the thing that really bugs me about OnLive is that it's not $5/month to play a AAA title, it's $5/month + the game's purchase price (that didn't seem discounted in any way). What happens if I don't keep my subscription going? (I admit I don't know the answer and haven't researched it.) There's no way I'm going to pay for a virtual licence for a game that just runs 'ok', especially if I may lose that license if OnLive goes in the tank. If I could play the games I buy from Steam/Impulse via streaming in addition to download/install, now I'm starting to see some value.

I'm not disagreeing with you, but I think OnLive is in for a rough ride and they should investigate other ways to weather that storm. As a demo platform OnLive is simply too cool for school. I can put up with the lag and grainy visuals to get an idea if I like a game.

hbi2k wrote:

Sounds like a gringo trying to say the word "marry" in Spanish.

Casarse?

ClockworkHouse wrote:

A lot of the conversation about OnLive on this website and other gaming websites has largely missed the point: OnLive isn't looking to be a competitor to Steam for space on your fancy-pants gaming rig; it's looking to make the components of your rig irrelevant to PC gaming.

You wound me, sir.

carljetter: The thing about OnLive is that it has most value to people who don't have the option of playing the game outside of OnLive. You said your experience with Shatter via OnLive made you want to purchase the game on Steam; OnLive's target customers wouldn't be able to purchase the game on Steam because their computers wouldn't be able to run it. Going strictly by system requirements, my computer couldn't run Shatter; maybe it could, but I'm not likely to purchase it to find out. I understand that in your case, OnLive is losing a sale to Steam, but you're not the customer they're interested in.

At least, I don't believe you are. OnLive has had a bit of a strange marketing push. It's gotten some coverage in more mainstream publications, but you're right that as of now, the people who are primarily aware of it are PC gamers who, frankly, don't have any use for it. However, the impression I've gotten is that OnLive has been courting corporations behind-the-scenes and is primarily interested, at this point, in proving that its technology works before it attempts any sort of larger rollout. What would kick it into high gear? OnLive discs in Walmart.

As far as the wireless is concerned, I've read in a number of places that they're working on solutions that would allow for wireless.

To the subscription fee: I understand your concerns, but I think you should again consider that OnLive isn't of much value to someone who is in a position to buy games on Steam or Impulse to run them locally. $5 per month isn't that onerous of a price tag, and it's $5 per month to be able to run games that someone would never have a chance of running without that subscription fee. That might not be a good value proposition for you, but it is to me; I'd rather pay $5 per month plus the cost of the game to play Dawn of War 2 on my laptop (which currently chokes and dies if I try to play it) than to pay however much it would cost to get a machine capable of running the game on its own.

(So far as I know, if you cancel your subscription, your account information is saved. Should you choose to subscribe at a later date, you'll have access to the content you purchased previously.)

I really want to see the Unicorn Parcel Service game now..

Was it just me, or did someone turn up the gain on the podcast? I might have to drive home with the top down to really test it.

ClockworkHouse wrote:

I understand that in your case, OnLive is losing a sale to Steam, but you're not the customer they're interested in.

I think their problem is that the customer they're interested in won't really be interested in the service. The vast majority of people who have given up on PC gaming have already grown accustomed to and prefer the console experience. They have a console to play the almost every single AAA release already, and enjoy playing it at their couch on a big screen TV. Onlive can target a mainstream audience, but if I'm in the mainstream audience, I'm asking "why would I use this over my Xbox?"

I'd say that those like you, who are interested in PC games but don't have the computing power - are a sliver of the gaming base compared to those who have stuck with the PC platform and don't need Onlive, and those who have moved away from it and don't care.

But I suppose the proof will be in the pudding. Their subscriber base after 1 year, if they every release that number, will be very telling.

My diamond in the rough game is Mount & Blade. I heard about it from this podcast and got it when it was on sale for $7.50 on steam. That game has some weird quirks and terrible interface but the feeling of leading an army in battle is just great. Eventually I'll get Warband and relive the magic all over again.

I think Steam could make great use of OnLive's technology, but not for demos. When I download a PC demo, I'm doing so to check out the game and see if it's worth buying, sure. But I'm also doing it to make sure that the game will run okay (or at all in some cases) on my computer. Streaming demos run from a server don't do that.

Where I think it could be more useful to Steam-- or more accurately, where Steam or a Steam-like service could be more useful to it-- is shoring up the problems with OnLive's business model. The big objection most people have to OnLive is that you have to pay full price (or very near to it) for games, which you won't be able to play if you ever want to stop paying the monthly fee. But what if Steam and OnLive could combine, either by Valve buying OnLive, OnLive starting a Steam-like download service, or Valve starting an OnLive-like streaming service for a monthly fee?

What if I had the option to pay $5 a month for a Steam streaming service in addition to what they already offer? Every game I buy, I have the option of downloading and running on my own hardware, just like I do now. But as long as I keep paying the monthly service charge, I ALSO have the option of playing the streaming, OnLive-like version? When I'm at home, I run the games on my own PC and take advantage of all my hardware. When I'm on my netbook in a hotel room, I run the streaming version and still get a usable experience. Saves are synced between platforms on Steam Cloud so the whole experience is seamless. Maybe once my PC gets all out-of-date, I keep on buying the latest newest games because I can just run the streaming version until hardware prices come down enough so that I can upgrade. And if I ever decide to nix the monthly fee, I can't play the streaming version any more, but I can still use the download version all I want.

Lots of opportunities there to maximize sales and reach customers they wouldn't otherwise be able to reach.

rabbit:

There is a PC conversion of the Space Hulk board game, which has been cease'n'desisted but is still available to download (stalled at v1.0). After the C&D the developer, TearDown, "filed off the serial numbers", as Rock Paper Shotgun put it, and continue to work on it under the name of Alien Assault:

IMAGE(http://teardown.se/games/alienassault/www/images/screenshots/3.jpg)

KaterinLHC wrote:
Sonicator wrote:

Lara finished the Meat Circus on her first try? Isn't that proof of some kind of demonic pact?

See also: laughing at children with cancer.

To be fair, I really, really suck at first-person shooters and fighting games. So it all balances out in the end.

Fine, I'll put down the torch and pitchfork. For now.

On the Bobby Kotick thing, I have to say that while I totally respect ethical consumer choices, I tend to start my boycotts with the big stuff: Banks who fund military coups and arms dealing; oil companies; industrialized agriculture. You know, stuff that actually affects people I haven't met.

In terms of flexing your consumer muscle there's much, much bigger douchebags in the world running much, much more evil companies.

Maq wrote:

I tend to start my boycotts with the big stuff: Banks who fund military coups and arms dealing; oil companies; industrialized agriculture. You know, stuff that actually affects people I haven't met.

Why does boycotting something that affects people you don't know take precedence over boycotting something that affects you personally? No snark, just wondering.

I have nothing to say about boycotts, but I will say that anyone who thinks the Xbox 360 d-pad is in any way better than the Dual Shock d-pad, or, in fact, is in any way not a completely useless piece of crap, is a bit wierd in the head IMHO.

I agree that overall the 360 controller is a better shape and size, especially for shooters. But the d-pad is garbage.

One thing I think is important to remember is that while Kotick is the public face of Blizzard-Activision that we all love to hate and vilify, he's the man responsible for the business side of things. Activision has thousands of employees, and the vast majority are probably creative people who take pride in what they produce. To label the entire company as evil and immoral seems somewhat unfair, especially considering that were a boycott actually successful in hurting Activision's bottom line, the lower level employees would be the first to get laid off, the newer IPs would be the first to be canceled, and Kotick would retreat more into the defensive, business-centric mindset that's managed to piss everyone off in the first place.

To be clear, I'm not a fan of Kotick's approach to management either. But if I don't buy a game, it's because I'm not interested in playing it. If his approach generates games I find interesting and engaging, why would I criticize said approach? Likewise, if his approach generates games that are dull, uninspiring, and a rehash of things we've seen thousands of times before, I'll spend my dollars elsewhere.

Anyway, thought I'd throw my two pennies into the mix. On a different note, I want to go to a bar with Lara, load her up on scotch, and watch her put half a dozen bikers in the hospital for saying that the DS is for pansies.