GWJ Conference Call Episode 222

Conference Call

Need For Speed: Hot Pursuit, Super Meat Boy, CES Gaming Stuff, Imagineering Our Tech Future, Your Emails and more!

This week Shawn, Cory, Elysium and Jonathan look at what CES brought to the gaming scene and imagine what the future may hold.

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!

Sponsor

CastMedium
Good Old Games

Mass Effect 2
Super Meat Boy
Razor Switchblade PC
Vizio Two Players One Screen
Onlive Coming Built In
Angry Birds Board Game
Lenovo Portable Arcade Laptop
Sony PSP Phone

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Show credits

Music credits: 

Intro/Outtro Music - Ian Dorsch, Willowtree Audioworks

Suicide Mission - Mass Effect 2 - http://masseffect.bioware.com/market... - 19:58
New Worlds - Mass Effect 2 - http://masseffect.bioware.com/market... - 51:12

Comments

ilduce620 wrote:

Either way, I love and own both games. If anyone didn't like Paradise, they should definitely give Hot Pursuit a try, but for the $20 download that Paradise is, I think it's well worth it. I tried the demo for Shift and liked it well enough, but that style of racing isn't really my focus. Seemed cool!

I do have the Paradise download for my 360, and it was not a wasted $20 but any means. It is far more than a solid racer. It does what it sets out to do really, really well. I just thought it was worth mentioning why some feel HP is a return to form, even though Paradise was really well made game. HP allowed Criterion to really make another Burnout game, but the NFS license gave them some interesting territory in which to craft a new experience. It was a really good match, because I think Burnout was beginning to run its course.

And I can totally understand Shift not being the game you were looking for. It is a radically different take on driving than Criterion does. Neither is good or bad, just different. Shift scratches the its PGR 2 did for me. It is that arcade racer that tries to look and feel sim, but doesn't go the same distance as Forza and GT5. I like the lack of boosts and power ups, and more straightforward racing events.

What I think is really cool is that after many years, EA has finally fund some developers that can make interesting games with the NFS license. There was some pretty horrible crap being shoveled out for quite a few years. I hope these games garner the sales required to avoid going back to what was really games marketed to the lowest common denominator.

LarryC wrote:

hbi2k:

Speaking from experience, it's actually a lot more like a "What If?" scenario where, for instance, Picard was replaced with Kirk or Blasto, the Hanar Spectre. Having the Shepards be different in key areas is key to having a different experience.

Engage this!

Jayhawker wrote:

What I think is really cool is that after many years, EA has finally fund some developers that can make interesting games with the NFS license. There was some pretty horrible crap being shoveled out for quite a few years. I hope these games garner the sales required to avoid going back to what was really games marketed to the lowest common denominator.

Damn. Straight.

I had the first Need For Speed Underground on Gamecube and enjoyed it. I think that was my first Need For Speed game, though I had played the original Hot Pursuit back in the day on PC (without a racing wheel....ug...). I liked the ability to upgrade the cars in Underground, a feature that isn't implemented in the current iteration of Hot Pursuit, but I don't really miss it all that much.

As long as Criterion is allowed to make whatever games they want to, in the way that they want to, I'll be buying!

Corey, I agree with you that developers are drawn toward the iPhone/iPad over Android because of ease of development. However, the chief complaint I've heard from developers is not that the various Android platforms have different hardware specs but that there's little consistence with regard to input methods. It's a pain to develop an application for a platform when you don't know how many keys it will have, whether or not it will have a multi-touch interface, etc. If that sort of feature parity can be worked out across Android platforms, it will become easier to develop for.

The main issue at this point is one of market penetration. Right now, everyone develops for the iPhone because that's where the money is. Angry Birds is a million-dollar success story that wouldn't have happened if the game had been released first for Android or Windows Phone 7. However, the Android platform has a good chance of winning out in the long run simply because it's less expensive and more widely available. Everyone who isn't an AT&T customer (or now Verizon customer) or who doesn't want to shell out for an iPhone can buy an Android phone instead. Their experience won't be as good, but it will be good enough for less.

Also, with regard to couch co-op, Portal 2 is supposedly going to have local multiplayer on consoles.

Just to add a little detail to the Autolog discussion.

I'm not a competitive person generally, but with Autolog I log on and I get the voice over saying, 'Autolog alerts. Friends have beaten you in 4 races' I just hit the right trigger, it pulls up those events, I select the event I want to do, then hit the right trigger again and suddenly I'm chasing down Certis' time.

It's not new, but it is really smooth and it's making me more competitive than I normally am. And it's great.

Pixel Junk Shooter is a great couch co-op game that wasn't mentioned.

I don't really understand the complaints about the male shepard voice. My main ME save is a male renegade custom shepard, and i think the voice fits nicely. I recently finished a female custom paragon shep ME2 run, and that voice was well suited for the role that i chose.

Part of my trouble with DefaultShep is that he's a gaming cliche. The game gives us the ability to not be that cliche, and yet a fair number (and the ads) either couldn't be bothered or actively chose that cliche.

For my part, I chose Female Shepard because I thought she would be better for the role - make more sense and all that. My wanting to view girl-ass rather than man-ass for the duration of my playthroughs has absolutely nothing to do with my choice.

I've tried both Shepards, and I very much preferred ManShep over Femshep. I couldn't get into Femshep; I disliked her voice regardless of whether she was being a calm and trustworthy paragon or a smoldering renegade.

I watched the YouTube video mentioned in the podcast that compared the deliveries of ManShep and FemShep, and I found that FemShep overdid it. When she was angry, she got this weird Clint Eastwood huskiness to her voice, and when she was compassionate, she didn't sound like a commanding officer who was also a first-for-her-species super special operative that kinda saved the universe - twice.

I have a renegade manshep and a paragon femshep, and I slightly prefer manshep. Maybe it wouldn't work so well in a paragon playthrough, but the slightly odd delivery on certain lines gives off the perfect amount of "hey, I'm kind of a dick". Not too much. Not too little. The dick-factor is just right. The creepy smile just adds to the charm.

I have a male Shep that I painstaking took two hours to change the facial features on to look 'pretty damn close' to myself in real life. So much so that my wife called the representation on screen 'creepy'.

I used the manShep to play the game as I would. High Paragon, same ideals as me, everytime I thought of doing something out of character for me, the onscreen likeness made that a difficult choice. It was a lot of fun, and added a LOT to my 1st ME play through.

I then tried a femShep. Renegade. AWESOME!

In my playthrough, femShep would leave Ripley and Sarah for dead. Both great gaming experiences, but I think that was because I played them through so differently. femShep is definitely worth a playthrough for those that haven't done it.

"Steam isn't connected to a certain brand"

This was mentioned (at about 28:00) as a reason why they'd be better positioned to offer games in a SaaS model. I"m not 100% clear on the reasoning; Steam is owned by Valve so it is conceivable they might be partial to games they develop.

That said, Steam has spent the past several years creating a great online gaming experience. Their aggressive sales and use of the cloud ame them really standout over other similar services on the PC.

It's fashionable to hate on Microsoft but on current consoles there is really no comparison between XBLA and PSN/Wii Virtual console. Microsoft has spent the past 5 years perfecting the online experience on their console - not only in the ease of purchasing games but also connecting and playing with other people. They are the only ones doing it but they standout over Sony and Nintendo.

My point is that both Microsoft and Valve may be on very similar similar ground as they both try to branch out (Valve and Steam onto the PS3, MS with growing the Games in Windows Live experience).

shiitake wrote:

It's fashionable to hate on Microsoft

Is that really still fashionable? I feel like that went out with swing revival.

Micro$oft

wordsmythe wrote:
shiitake wrote:

It's fashionable to hate on Microsoft

Is that really still fashionable? I feel like that went out with swing revival.

I guess the dudes on the call didn't get the memo...
"xbox is the only platform they have that we don't all hate"

Quintin_Stone wrote:

Micro$oft

I'm uncomfortable discussing this anywhere besides an AOL chatroom.

shiitake wrote:
wordsmythe wrote:
shiitake wrote:

It's fashionable to hate on Microsoft

Is that really still fashionable? I feel like that went out with swing revival.

I guess the dudes on the call didn't get the memo...
"xbox is the only platform they have that we don't all hate"

It's been a week since I listened, but if I recall correctly it was more a statement on Microsoft's apparent disdain for the PC as a platform.

Oh sure, MS keeps saying that they are going to start supporting gaming on the PC, but their actions never seem to support that.

Vista was supposed to be great for games, Games For Windows branding was supposed to be great, the store displays never happened, the new version of Direct X usually sucks, guys who bought Viva Pinata for $1 on GFWL still can't play it, Ensemble and the Flight Sim studio were closed.

MS needs to show some faith before people will have faith in them.

I think the point they were actually making is that microsoft, sony and nintendo all have so much invested in keeping the experience tied to their specific platform that it would be very difficult for them to pull something like this off.

In this regard Steam offers games that utilize the Steam online, Windows Live and several other 3rd party services for their online component. So Steam would conceivably have less of a stake in controlling the platform.

That said, I think that Microsoft and Sony both bring something to the discussion. Remember - this is all about an On Live type of service to a TV. Since Sony actually sells TVs they're in a pretty great position to do something like this from a hardware standpoint. And Microsoft is probably better positioned to actually deal with the software and networking components of this sort of endevor.

Not really sure where Nintendo might fit into this.

shiitake wrote:

"Steam isn't connected to a certain brand"

This was mentioned (at about 28:00) as a reason why they'd be better positioned to offer games in a SaaS model. I"m not 100% clear on the reasoning; Steam is owned by Valve so it is conceivable they might be partial to games they develop.

I think it's a testament to how far out of their way Valve has gone to NOT be partial to their own games on Steam that someone could say this with a straight face even though it's not literally true.

Yeah, also Valve is for the most part blemish free... with the exception of a few offhand marks by a few developers (wasn't it Gearbox last year?) they're almost universally adored. Of course wait until kids start having issues with Steam over PS3 and that will probably change.

I love my female Shepard who looks like my wife. She's a sassy lass who loves to bang black guys and blue, scaly aliens. (Does her husband know?)

Little Big Planet 2 makes me say, "Wow, that is really neat. I will never buy that." Kind of like the Dreamcast.