GWJ Conference Call Episode 217

Conference Call

Assassin's Creed: Brotherhood, Epic Mickey, Fable III, Bias, Sexism, Special Guests Ken Levine & Justin McElroy, Your Emails and more!

This week Julian, Lara and Allen are joined by special guests Ken Levine and Justin McElroy to talk about bias, sexism and how it effects both game blogs and game design.

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

Title Menu - Epic Mickey - http://disney.go.com/mickey/#/disney... - 27:18

Comments

carrotpanic wrote:
SoulRFlair wrote:

Thanks for playing my Hanukkah song.....

Adam Spamler

Enjoyed the song, great job!

I did find it weird that they kept in the vocal track of Rabbit or someone laughing over it, though.

I was glad they had some laughter over it because I really wanted to hear Ken and Lara's reaction since I wrote them into the song. They didn't comment about it but I'm glad they were on the show at least.

Gotta go, I'm prepping for my new movie with Pacino.

Other than the gratuitous f-bombs it was a good episode.

Awesome episode guys! A very RAW podcast, with carnal emotion and no holding back. It was like Orcs feasting on helpless hobbits, and the games were the hobbits. Makes me want to give up eating vegetables and eat nothing but beef jerky. Seriously though, awesome podcast!

I wrote the email about converting a CoD gamer. As soon as I saw that Ken Levine was on, I thought to myself, "Sweet, now they HAVE to read my email because I mentioned Bioshock." (-:

"I played a fair amount of World of Warcraft… in the Caribbean." I am ashamed to be a gamer right now.

Make sure you differentiate between Wow Haters and MMO Haters. I know both. My question is, why all the hate? Don't h8!

"Are we about to have a nerd fight?" Ha!

"Hey honey, while I play some EQII, get me a beer and a pizza, then go clean all the windows in the house. Then bring me another beer. Put some stank on it, too, eh?" See, THAT is sexism in gaming. Or as I like to call it, Friday.

"I think there are people that take video games too seriously." I know, right? You'd think something with the word "game" in it would be all about the fun.

"And I play the sh*t out of that game." Now that's getting your money's worth.

MacBrave wrote:

Because of the gratuitous f-bombs it was a good episode.

Fixed.

KaterinLHC wrote:

That's alright. Allen and I will go start our own podcast. With blackjack. And hookers.

In fact, forget the podcast.

YOU get left out for hating on World Ends With You. Hater.
It ties with the Phoenix Wrights as my top DS game.

Does anybody really keep up with the Kardashians?
juv3nal wrote:
Does anybody really keep up with the Kardashians?

I misheard that as "Cardassians" at first.

Unrelatedly, hbi2k's email reminded me of some discussions I've seen on (non-computer) RPG forums. There, it's "how can I get my friend who only plays D&D to try other games?".

I never listen to anything twice, but I started listening to this episode again last night. Got as far as Justin's impressions of trying to find your stuff on the lawn using the Epic Mickey camera.

I think I'm going to have to add MBMBAM into my rotation, his occasional guesting on the conference call isn't going to be enough.

And man, but Ken swears a lot. Is that a developer thing, or a personal thing? I swear a lot because I'm in the restaurant business. Tasmanian devils communicate through squeals, scratching and biting, swearing is kind of like that in my industry.

On the Irish accent issue, the accent in Bioshock is clearly a North Dublin accent and a bloody good one. I made the same point three years ago. that there are some outright crimes against us Irish and how we speak.

Funny thing is, probably the best one, Brad Pitts in Snatch, is viewed as one of the worst beyond our shores so I suspect its going to be a problem for now.

OMG Did you hear the latest about Kim Kardashian! Justin Bieber and Kris Humpheries from the New Jersey Nets!

check out the link
http://www.examiner.com/kardashian-in-national/kim-kardashian-s-busy-jingle-ball-from-justin-bieber-to-kris-humphries

Axon wrote:

On the Irish accent issue, the accent in Bioshock is clearly a North Dublin accent and a bloody good one. I made the same point three years ago. that there are some outright crimes against us Irish and how we speak.

Even if we accept for the sake of argument that the accent was bad, the fact that it's a non-Irish person FAKING an Irish accent probably ought to be taken into account.

And man, but Ken swears a lot. Is that a developer thing, or a personal thing?

It's just his sunshine and rainbows disposition. He once indirectly suggested to my seven year old that his grandmother was a woman of ill-repute -- true, if misleading, story.

I enjoyed the episode - I didn't have a problem with Ken's swearing. In fact I burst out laughing at work when Ken responded to Rabbit asking what he's been playing vacation.

Justin bothers me a bit though - on slow days Joystiq can be a bit like TMZ (from what I know of TMZ from The Soup) with pointless news stories. Then when people (DGR) rightfully criticise the Joystiq and Kotaku's of not providing sources it's not because Activistion said they're releasing a new Spider-Man game - it's because the "journalists" on Joystiq and Kotaku jump on Facebook and then announce Xbox Live is increasing the friends list count. Then they put an update a few hours later saying it wasn't true by a Microsoft source. That's why blogs like GJAIF call them out. He can call it a blog but people do use it as a news source. DGR's rants on games journos really nail it I think - check them out.

Man, after re-listening, it was a pretty damn good show, even without the Shawns.

HOWEVER: It was not the first time I've heard World Ends With You hate on the show, and THIS MUST BE AMENDED.

El-Taco-the-Rogue wrote:

Man, after re-listening, it was a pretty damn good show, even without the Shawns.

HOWEVER: It was not the first time I've heard World Ends With You hate on the show, and THIS MUST BE AMENDED.

Gamrfite!
I regretted ever purchasing that game. It was traded in alongside a heaping pile of scorn. It's like they took every anime trope and turned it up to 11. I couldn't get past the annoying characters. I stuck it out for almost eight game hours, hoping it would get better. The concept and mechanics are very cool, but the characters, dialogue, and story really soured this one for me.

awesomo316 wrote:

I enjoyed the episode - I didn't have a problem with Ken's swearing. In fact I burst out laughing at work when Ken responded to Rabbit asking what he's been playing vacation.

Justin bothers me a bit though - on slow days Joystiq can be a bit like TMZ (from what I know of TMZ from The Soup) with pointless news stories. Then when people (DGR) rightfully criticise the Joystiq and Kotaku's of not providing sources it's not because Activistion said they're releasing a new Spider-Man game - it's because the "journalists" on Joystiq and Kotaku jump on Facebook and then announce Xbox Live is increasing the friends list count. Then they put an update a few hours later saying it wasn't true by a Microsoft source. That's why blogs like GJAIF call them out. He can call it a blog but people do use it as a news source. DGR's rants on games journos really nail it I think - check them out.

I don't think DGR ever called them out for the single-source thing. That was an entirely different person. DGR's rant was basically about accepting favors and restrictions on their playtime then pretending to be objective, which I think is a good criticism.

GJAIF-style stuff is really nitpicky 95% of the time, and the other 5% they're just posting the same criticism as anyone else anyway. There's plenty broken about game journalism but the reason it stays broken is because so few people actually point out real abuses of the system and instead focus on inconsequential stuff.

It reminds me of the Star Wars prequels and Star Wars fans, weirdly enough. When it came out, the die-hard Star Wars fan forums were spending the entire time nitpicking about midichlorians and things like that instead of just stopping to realize that everything else sucked too. There's still people that think if Lucas had just done X, Y and Z they would've been great movies. Why do they think that? Because to admit the entire thing sucked is to admit it's pointless and they're basically wasting their time posting about it on a Star Wars forum.

Game journalism is like that. We nitpick about gaming midichlorians instead of stopping to admit that maybe the things we get so worked up about aren't important enough to have multiple sources and independently fly reporters everywhere to do. Because if we stopped to admit that, then our indignation is pointless. So instead we insist if Joystiq just had multiple sources for everything it'd be fine.

XBox Live Friends list rumor is a perfect example. Nobody gives a sh*t about that outside the hardcore enthusiast community (normal people don't have over 100 XBL friends. They're lucky if they have 5). Did sites post a rumor and later retract it? Yeah, sure. What did you expect them to do? Fly a reporter out with a Fedora and giant oversized microphone to accost Steve Ballmer about the rumor? Guess what, Ballmer doesn't give a sh*t. Neither does anybody else except a hardcore section of nerds (which includes me, but I realize nobody else cares).

Is this a failure of "gaming journalism"? If you insisted that gaming journalism held itself to a standard higher than that of a blog that posts rumors, there would be no gaming journalism. If you insist previews be objective and publishers don't try to influence reporters, there would be no previews. If you insist on multiple sources for everything there will be very little to post about.

"Fine!" you say? "I don't care about biased previews, rumors and news!" Then why do you read any of this in the first place?

PyromanFO wrote:

XBox Live Friends list rumor is a perfect example. Nobody gives a sh*t about that outside the hardcore enthusiast community (normal people don't have over 100 XBL friends. They're lucky if they have 5). Did sites post a rumor and later retract it? Yeah, sure. What did you expect them to do? Fly a reporter out with a Fedora and giant oversized microphone to accost Steve Ballmer about the rumor? Guess what, Ballmer doesn't give a sh*t. Neither does anybody else except a hardcore section of nerds (which includes me, but I realize nobody else cares).

I expect them, if it's a "story" with such a weak source as that and the only people who could confirm or deny it have either denied it or refused to comment, not to run the story. Because it's a non-story. It's a space-filler.

Of course, without such space-fillers, they wouldn't have enough material to make 50 posts a day. They'd have to make fewer, longer, more thoughtful posts at less regular intervals. Of course, that would mean that they probably couldn't support as many full-time employees, if any, and their writers would have to get real jobs. Hmm... "Game Journalists With Jobs"... there's a nice ring there somewhere, but it seems a bit long. I wonder if we could lose a word.

1. I stop playing video games when I get bored with them. I throw them away. Sell them on Ebay. Toss them out the window. I have no guilt. No regret. No emotions whatsoever. Life is too short.

2. Plants vs. Zombies is arguably the best video game ever made, because the person I know who hates video games the most played it to completion multiple times on multiple platforms. The iPhone/iPad version is particularly excellent. I think boxing Popcap into the "casual" ghetto is unfortunate. They make some of the best most polished games anywhere and should get more credit IMHO.

I think more developers should take Ken Levine's comments about polish to heart. Too many games have a lot of potential destroyed by crappy mechanics, poor art direction or any number of other issues that boil down to a lack of polish (epic Mickey? Any Tim Schafer game?). Life is also too short to put up with that.

Axon wrote:

On the Irish accent issue, the accent in Bioshock is clearly a North Dublin accent and a bloody good one. I made the same point three years ago. that there are some outright crimes against us Irish and how we speak.

Chicago's got some strong Irish ties (not all of them good), but I still find myself a little confused when I hear a Dublin accent. I've been told that this is because Chicago Irish are mostly from around Cork and Galway.

juv3nal wrote:
Does anybody really keep up with the Kardashians?

This was my favorite part of the show. Plenty of good parts (ignoring the "too seriously" nonsense), but this quote is top of the heap.