GWJ Conference Call Episode 223

Conference Call

Ghost Trick, 1960: The Making of the President, Sly Cooper HD Remake, Prince of Persia: Sands of Time Remake, Just Dance, Favorite (and Hated) Game Mechanics, Your Emails and more!

This week Cory, Lara and Allen talk about some of their favorite (and most hated) game mechanics.

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

Ghost Trick
1960: The Making of The President
Sly Cooper
Prince of Persia HD

  • Subscribe with iTunes
  • Subscribe with RSS
  • Subscribe with Yahoo!
Download the official apps
  • Download the GWJ Conference Call app for Android
  • Download the GWJ Conference Call app for Android

Show credits

Music credits: 

Intro/Outtro Music - Ian Dorsch, Willowtree Audioworks

When I Grow Up (Just Dance 2 Trailer) - Pussycat Dolls - http://www.pcdmusic.com/ - 25:15

Tell Me a Story (Compendium Mix) - http://sgxmusic.com/ - 57:0

Comments

barbex wrote:

Prince of Persia: The Sands of Time (2003) can be played on the PC and it looks nice! I finished it recently and apart from the jerky face animations I found it very pretty (but I can't compare it to the recent HD-upped version of course as I don't have current console). But you absolutely must play it with a gamepad it is just so much better. The platforming is fun, the combat goes from unbearable to annoying and I did not notice any audio weirdness. It's a great game and you can run it on pretty much any PC nowadays.

Oh and re hated game mechanics: Jumping puzzles in FPS games need to die a fiery death! I'm looking at you, Half Life series! If I can't see my feet, jumping to a certain point in front of me is pure guess work. Hate it hate it hate it!

What gamepad did you use to play the game? By default, the 360 pad's left analog stick doesn't allow for enough range in the up/forward direction so you end up walking everywhere when you should be running. I haven't gotten very far in the game because of this. If you used a 360 pad, what did you do to get it working right? I've heard others had the same problem as me.

shiitake wrote:

So has anyone else experienced the same sound issues with the Prince of Persia re-releases on PS3 that Lara mentioned?

It's not just me. Google search and you'll find many, many other people having the same issue:
Gamespot Thread on the problem
Arstechnica forums
PS3 Trophies
Riddlethos.

Which sucks, because as I said on the show, when I played it on the Gamecube I had no issues whatsoever. The audio was enchanting.

A few things, folks:

1). The Prince of Persia HD Trilogy was a disc-based product first, but only released in Europe. It has since been announced to be coming to North America through GameFly, but I don't think it's been confirmed to be going to retailers. i don't live in Europe, so I have no idea if the sound issues are present on the disc, but regardless, it is indeed a disc-based product first, and then divided up onto PSN as individual pieces. I've heard this problem mentioned on other podcasts (Joystiq podcast, I think?), so it isn't just you.

2). What the hell is "wassad" controls? I know of WASD (pronounced "waz-dee"), but this extra syllable added makes it seem like you have to hit "s" twice to move backwards, and "a" and "d" at the same time to move to your right...

mrtomaytohead wrote:

What gamepad did you use to play the game? By default, the 360 pad's left analog stick doesn't allow for enough range in the up/forward direction so you end up walking everywhere when you should be running.

That's the first time I heard of a problem like that! I was running without problems.
I used a wired gamepad from MadCatz that has a 360 layout. I really didn't do anything special, just plugged it in and Windows recognized it and I'm still using the Windows drivers. I think I only calibrated it.

barbex wrote:
mrtomaytohead wrote:

What gamepad did you use to play the game? By default, the 360 pad's left analog stick doesn't allow for enough range in the up/forward direction so you end up walking everywhere when you should be running.

That's the first time I heard of a problem like that! I was running without problems.
I used a wired gamepad from MadCatz that has a 360 layout. I really didn't do anything special, just plugged it in and Windows recognized it and I'm still using the Windows drivers. I think I only calibrated it.

Hmm, looks like I'll just have to keep looking at running a 3rd party configuration tool, but it seems like x-padder and many others are no longer free.

Here's a thread going on about my problem.

I loved bashing barrels in Diablo II. The crunching sound was incredibly satisfying.

I'm currently playing The Witcher and I make sure I stick my head into every barrel and scrape the pennies off the bottom. I love the idea of hiding money in a barrel in the corner of my house.

KaterinLHC wrote:
AndrewA wrote:

Lara and Alan must not be big into RPGs if they want dialog trees that DO NOT lock you into long term consequences.

There are more RPGs in heaven and earth, Horatio, than are dreamt of in your single-choice dialogue trees.

Do I have room in my sig?

Polliwog wrote:

I loved bashing barrels in Diablo II. The crunching sound was incredibly satisfying.

I'm currently playing The Witcher and I make sure I stick my head into every barrel and scrape the pennies off the bottom. I love the idea of hiding money in a barrel in the corner of my house.

Well make sure you grab it all back before you move on to the next chapter. If I recall, the city 'resets' after each chapter (every container in every house has new stuff), which means you'll probably lose your stash if you're not careful.

wordsmythe wrote:
KaterinLHC wrote:
AndrewA wrote:

Lara and Alan must not be big into RPGs if they want dialog trees that DO NOT lock you into long term consequences.

There are more RPGs in heaven and earth, Horatio, than are dreamt of in your single-choice dialogue trees.

Do I have room in my sig?

I think what I actually said was:

"There are more f*cking RPGs in heaven and earth, Ho-ratio McF*cklenuts, than are dreamt of in your motherf*cking sh*tsnozzle dialogue trees."

Please adjust your sig accordingly.

KaterinLHC wrote:

I think what I actually said was:

"There are more f*cking RPGs in heaven and earth, Ho-ratio McF*cklenuts, than are dreamt of in your motherf*cking sh*tsnozzle dialogue trees."

Please adjust your sig accordingly.

The profanity-laden version is MUCH more Arooooo!

Just wanted to say, I appreciate and totally agree with Alan's statement that the save system is part of the game mechanics. Demon's Souls would not have been the same without its relentlessly unforgiving save mechanic. Many hated it, and many loved it. I hope we see more experimentation with save systems in AAA titles!

KaterinLHC wrote:
wordsmythe wrote:
KaterinLHC wrote:
AndrewA wrote:

Lara and Alan must not be big into RPGs if they want dialog trees that DO NOT lock you into long term consequences.

There are more RPGs in heaven and earth, Horatio, than are dreamt of in your single-choice dialogue trees.

Do I have room in my sig?

I think what I actually said was:

"There are more f*cking RPGs in heaven and earth, Ho-ratio McF*cklenutsratio, than are dreamt of in your motherf*cking sh*tsnozzle dialogue trees."

Please adjust your sig accordingly.

Erik uses RED PEN!

wordsmythe wrote:

Erik uses RED PEN!

It's Super Effective!

I'm listening to this episode in chunks and this morning i just got to the warehouse part. My first thought was literal warehouse levels from the Deus Ex games. I have no idea how you guys could somehow connect connected (ala compare/contrast) with halo's driving levels.

Don't get me wrong, I'm not a big fan of the warthogs (or driving missions in general) but there was some weird anti-logic happening when those two got compared.

help me understand! i feel retarded!

Warehouses or mazes are tightly controlled environments, designers can know pretty much exactly what the player is going to encounter and how. Driving environments are fairly open, which allow many more possibilities, but the designer doesn't know what's going to happen, so often the combat is much more general. For every Halo (and the combat with vehicles has some care in the arena setup), how many generic shooters have tacked on a driving segment with generic 'two people standing and shooting at each other' combat in that open environment.

There's also the fact that most shooting in computer games is very short range, well within 50-100 yards and fast paced. More realistic shooting over long distances, the type of terrain you'll need to use a vehicle, is going to be slower and a lot of sniping.

The only thing worse than hearing Allen asking for more warehouse levels is hearing that he wants more warehouse levels that are mazes. I think those are my two least favourite things in gaming ever.

Also cut scenes. I hate those, too. Gaming is an interactive media, so why do games insist on showing clips to further the story? I don't mind the occasional 15-30 second ones that just drive things forward, but man. Final Fantasy? Your gameplay actually foists cut scenes on the player as a mechanic. God forbid you ever have to summon something. You may as well just go and make a sandwich while Bahamut is taking his sweet time flexing his space dragon muscles before killing the bad guys...

I say we bring back WWII! I don't know why, but I can never get enough of that era. It just has the right combination of burgeoning tech, grit, epicness and familiarity. Y'know, I'd settle for more period piece games in general. Games that are about people in the future remembering people in the past in order to beat some alien hardware toting megapope's secret organization's conspiracy doesn't count. I hate that game designers keep trying to "think bigger." I wish they would just think better instead.

DareX2 wrote:

I say we bring back WWII! I don't know why, but I can never get enough of that era. It just has the right combination of burgeoning tech, grit, epicness and familiarity.

Oh hey! There's two of us on this planet. When WW2 was the hot sh*t I wasn't gaming very much so I never got tired of it, but I loved CoD 1 & 2.

I like the feeling of being part of something bigger and real yet still a little distant. I didn't need to do Normandy again, but WW2 was a huge conflict in many settings, I could happily go back.

shiitake wrote:

I'm listening to this episode in chunks and this morning i just got to the warehouse part. My first thought was literal warehouse levels from the Deus Ex games. I have no idea how you guys could somehow connect connected (ala compare/contrast) with halo's driving levels.

Don't get me wrong, I'm not a big fan of the warthogs (or driving missions in general) but there was some weird anti-logic happening when those two got compared.

help me understand! i feel retarded!

There's no connection other than where FPS games would have a generic warehouse level before they now have a generic driving sequence.

It's just a personal preference thing, but I've always found any FPS set in a more-or-less realistic depiction of a real-life war (WWII or otherwise) to be vaguely disturbing. I mean, real people fought and killed and died or got PTSD and went home and had problems relating to their family, and now I'm supposed to relive that for FUN? What's THAT about?

It may be a purely aesthetic distinction, but I need at least some layer of fantasy between me and the kill-em-all shooting to make it palatable to me. Give me a Gears of War or an Unreal Tournament over a CoD or MoH any day. At least those franchises seem at least partially cognizant of just how bullsh*t their macho posturing really is and play it over-the-top for laughs.

A few notes on mechanics:

My favorite warehouse level was the one in Half Life with the "Ninja Babes"...

The worst combination in the world is a dialog tree game that doesn't let you also save before making choices. I think the whole "making choices" mechanic in games is usually cheap and poorly executed and overrated.

By far my least favorite video game mechanic is boss battles. I realize what designers are going for with them, but so few are well executed that they usually just turn into tedious busy-work that makes me quit the game.

By bar the best horde-mode type mode I've played was the Mercenaries game in RE4. Turned RE4 into a completely different game for me.

hbi2k wrote:

It's just a personal preference thing, but I've always found any FPS set in a more-or-less realistic depiction of a real-life war (WWII or otherwise) to be vaguely disturbing. I mean, real people fought and killed and died or got PTSD and went home and had problems relating to their family, and now I'm supposed to relive that for FUN? What's THAT about?

It may be a purely aesthetic distinction, but I need at least some layer of fantasy between me and the kill-em-all shooting to make it palatable to me. Give me a Gears of War or an Unreal Tournament over a CoD or MoH any day. At least those franchises seem at least partially cognizant of just how bullsh*t their macho posturing really is and play it over-the-top for laughs.

I'm with you there, but for me WWII is distant enough in time and, thanks to many of my favourite movies, romanticised enough that I don't find it uncomfortable. More modern and realistic shooters though do make me uncomfortable.

I definitely can't criticise someone who doesn't like WWII settings for that reason though.

MrDeVil909 wrote:
hbi2k wrote:

It's just a personal preference thing, but I've always found any FPS set in a more-or-less realistic depiction of a real-life war (WWII or otherwise) to be vaguely disturbing. I mean, real people fought and killed and died or got PTSD and went home and had problems relating to their family, and now I'm supposed to relive that for FUN? What's THAT about?

It may be a purely aesthetic distinction, but I need at least some layer of fantasy between me and the kill-em-all shooting to make it palatable to me. Give me a Gears of War or an Unreal Tournament over a CoD or MoH any day. At least those franchises seem at least partially cognizant of just how bullsh*t their macho posturing really is and play it over-the-top for laughs.

I'm with you there, but for me WWII is distant enough in time and, thanks to many of my favourite movies, romanticised enough that I don't find it uncomfortable. More modern and realistic shooters though do make me uncomfortable.

I definitely can't criticise someone who doesn't like WWII settings for that reason though.

You are not the only ones. I much prefer shooting aliens or space marines to gritty modern shooters.

I don't think any setting is 'wrong', but each setting needs to be approached correctly. WW2, being within living memory and still having affected people who are alive, needs care that I would say earlier wars wouldn't need, because people are more involved. It seems to me when studios approach WW2 as some off-the-shelf environment for a shooting game, then they're starting on the wrong foot.

ilduce620 wrote:

2). What the hell is "wassad" controls? I know of WASD (pronounced "waz-dee"), but this extra syllable added makes it seem like you have to hit "s" twice to move backwards, and "a" and "d" at the same time to move to your right... :-P

Exactly what I thought at the time!

Good job on the unusual pod though, guys and gal.

Scratched wrote:

I don't think any setting is 'wrong', but each setting needs to be approached correctly. WW2, being within living memory and still having affected people who are alive, needs care that I would say earlier wars wouldn't need, because people are more involved. It seems to me when studios approach WW2 as some off-the-shelf environment for a shooting game, then they're starting on the wrong foot.

While WWII is turning the historical corner and leaving living memory, I think that this is a second hitch to pursuing "realism," beyond the problems of simulational realism. When a setting is realistic, there are not only issues of fidelity and the uncanny-valley, but there's also something (I feel) of an ethical imperative to approach the subject seriously. That may not mean that the final product is truly realistic—and certainly not that it will be objective—but when you're creating something that speaks about real people, I think you have to respect those people more than you would respect a fictional character. Or at least there's a higher minimum standard.

hbi2k wrote:

It's just a personal preference thing, but I've always found any FPS set in a more-or-less realistic depiction of a real-life war (WWII or otherwise) to be vaguely disturbing. I mean, real people fought and killed and died or got PTSD and went home and had problems relating to their family, and now I'm supposed to relive that for FUN? What's THAT about?

agreed.

It may be a purely aesthetic distinction, but I need at least some layer of fantasy between me and the kill-em-all shooting to make it palatable to me. Give me a Gears of War or an Unreal Tournament over a CoD or MoH any day. At least those franchises seem at least partially cognizant of just how bullsh*t their macho posturing really is and play it over-the-top for laughs.

I'm tracking with you 100% - it's this aesthetic layer of aliens/bugs/mutants that ultimately provides the distinction between these games being "play" and "murder fantasies".

I don't know if the fantasy shooters are fully aware of their over-the-top posturing. Just like I don't know if historical shooters like MoH/CoD are fully aware that their 'realism' is limited only to the weapons and uniforms looking/sounding accurate; they generally miss their target in understanding what it means to actually end the life of one enemy (let alone the 100-1000 that you kill in a typical shooter).

Chairman_Mao wrote:

Agita

I thought she was talking about Angina.

SallyNasty wrote:
MrDeVil909 wrote:
hbi2k wrote:

It's just a personal preference thing, but I've always found any FPS set in a more-or-less realistic depiction of a real-life war (WWII or otherwise) to be vaguely disturbing. I mean, real people fought and killed and died or got PTSD and went home and had problems relating to their family, and now I'm supposed to relive that for FUN? What's THAT about?

It may be a purely aesthetic distinction, but I need at least some layer of fantasy between me and the kill-em-all shooting to make it palatable to me. Give me a Gears of War or an Unreal Tournament over a CoD or MoH any day. At least those franchises seem at least partially cognizant of just how bullsh*t their macho posturing really is and play it over-the-top for laughs.

I'm with you there, but for me WWII is distant enough in time and, thanks to many of my favourite movies, romanticised enough that I don't find it uncomfortable. More modern and realistic shooters though do make me uncomfortable.

I definitely can't criticise someone who doesn't like WWII settings for that reason though.

You are not the only ones. I much prefer shooting aliens or space marines to gritty modern shooters.

I tend to agree, though I do play the occasional military-esque sim (not COD, but the original Ghost Recon or RB6) in part because I have a real world connection to that training in my past, but also because it delivers some things seldom seen in other genres of FPS. I would love to see the sort of fidelity to CQB and teamwork required in the modern military sim-style FPS in other settings, most notably sci-fi.

One traditional game mechanic that I always look for in games is clear nonlinear level design. I appreciate a game design that allows me a wide choice and variety of levels to explore, without constraining me to exhaust all levels to get to a narrative climax.

Hi Lara!

Lara is right about the dance and music games. No sitting aloud. In fact, if I am hosting a Rock Band party, anyone who just sits on the couch and never actually tries the game needs to get the hell out of my house. Just go, because you are sucking the fun out of the room, and drinking my beer.

"Non-optional"… wait, I think there is a word for that.

I don't care what mechanic a game uses, just stick to it. Starting a game off as a really neat hack and slash, only to later add in RTS elements, jumping puzzles, shooting elements… no, that is not that game I signed up for.

When Lara brought up levels 6-1 and 6-2 from the original Ninja Gaiden, I found myself feeling hateful towards birds.

Hearing all the nerdy moments that Lara and George share is just the cutest thing.

burntham77 wrote:

Hi Lara!

Lara is right about the dance and music games. No sitting aloud. In fact, if I am hosting a Rock Band party, anyone who just sits on the couch and never actually tries the game needs to get the hell out of my house. Just go, because you are sucking the fun out of the room, and drinking my beer.

"Non-optional"… wait, I think there is a word for that.

I don't care what mechanic a game uses, just stick to it. Starting a game off as a really neat hack and slash, only to later add in RTS elements, jumping puzzles, shooting elements… no, that is not that game I signed up for.

When Lara brought up levels 6-1 and 6-2 from the original Ninja Gaiden, I found myself feeling hateful towards birds.

Hearing all the nerdy moments that Lara and George share is just the cutest thing.

Hehe. I know it's never going to happen, but it would've been interesting if DS2 released as an action-horror game, but then halfway through, Isaac gains a fluffy powderpuff suit and the levels transform the game into a cutesy platformer.