GWJ Conference Call Episode 246

Conference Call

Shadows of The Damned, FEAR 3, Dungeon Siege 3, SPAZ, LA Noire, Special Guest David Heron, Changing the Direction of The Industry, Your Emails and more!

This week Shawn, Elysium and Cory are joined by returning guest David Heron to talk about how to shape the future of games and a ton of new releases!

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
Game Thing Daily
Good Old Games

Dungeon Siege 3
FEAR 3
Shadows of The Damned
Cross Country Canada
Space Pirates and Zombies

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Show credits

Music credits: 

Intro/Outtro Music - Ian Dorsch, Willowtree Audioworks

Track 1 - Shadows of the Damned - http://www.ea.com/shadows-of-the-damned - 51:40

Trailer 1 - Space Pirates and Zombies - http://www.spacepiratesandzombies.com/ - 1:17:22

Comments

Ummm... who's the guest? I think you repeated the show description from last week.

Whoops, all fixed!

Even though each show is pretty entertaining this was one went to a higher level.

Certis you sounded so excited about recommending a game I thought it was going to be The Witcher 2.

Also, did you ever go back to Demon's Souls? Last I saw you had only just started.

Also, did you ever go back to Demon's Souls? Last I saw you had only just started.

I probably sank 30+ hours into Demon's Souls, but I never got around to finishing it. Still love that game, though.

All games are educational. There is absolutely no exception. The content may not be accurate, or desirable, or reflective of things the academia would approve of, but thre is no doubt whatsoever that games teach you about something, and you learn. The learning process is central to what games are. If you're not learning anything when you're playing a game, you're not playing a game.

Examples: Tic Tac Toe. Even with this simple game, a child learns very, very basic strategy. Rock, Paper, Scissors teaches children the value of bluff and reading the opponent. Even something like GTA teaches coordination, basic math skills, and reading. You name a game, it teaches something. No exception.

http://m.youtube.com/#/watch?desktop...

Now I'm wondering what an 8-10h Rockstar game would be like. (Ignoring stuff like Max Payne)

Re: Games in Australia.

The reason game prices are still so high despite the Australian dollar being at parity with the US dollar is because they can charge that much and we actually pay. An even better example is Steam pricing in Australia

It's wrong and the only way to show that you won't accept it any longer is to import. Even with international shipping it ends up cheaper.

THANK YOU for speaking about Shadows of the Damned. I am freaking loving that game, and it's one that seems to be flying under the radar.

Thanks for the recommendation on Space Pirates and Zombies. I was on the fence on this one when I first heard about it, supporting indie games is a good thing but no one wants to but a lemon and... historically indie games tend to be lemons. But it is changing!

My only gripe is that its not available on steam yet (maybe cos its still in beta). So I might have to bite the bullet and go Gamersgate. I absolutely refuse to support Impulse after I wasted $60 on Elemental. I know Gamestop owns it now but... Nope no Impulse or Stardock for me ever again. Unless Diablo 3 or The Old Republic are only available on it which will never happen.

Thanks to this I'll probably be picking up FEAR 3 and Shadows of the Damned at some point. Filthy, filthy enablers.

Yay! SPAZ love. Such a cool game.

I won't go back to one desktop monitor. I use two for just regular stuff, but not gaming. I love having to not keep pulling stuff from the back to the front with all the applications I generally have open. I can have a browser window taking up most of my main screen, while having a lot of other apps on the second. I use two for both work and personal computers.

So I game on the main screen, and keep Vent open in the second along with tweetdeck, email, and media player.

So it's not so much about playing a game on the second monitor, it's just for everything else.

(I agree if I wanted to game on multiple monitors, it would be with three monitors).

Full disclosure: I hadn't hit the "Big Boner" section of Shadows of the Damned when we recorded. it almost single-handedly ruined the game for me. Not because Garcia shouting "Taste my big boner!" was too crass for me -- though it almost is -- but because it was extremely frustrating.

BUT! Now that I'm finally through it, I'm back to the good parts of the game. Cannot recommend this game enough.

I just wanted to note that Markus Persson, creator of Minecraft, is a very bad example of an indie who is "on the fringes, not selling a million copies", as Minecraft has already sold 2.6 million copies while the game is still in beta, making Persson a multi-millionaire.

Edit: Of course you did mention this later in the podcast. Shouldn't post comments before listening all the way through...

pekuja wrote:

I just wanted to note that Markus Persson, creator of Minecraft, is a very bad example of an indie who is "on the fringes, not selling a million copies", as Minecraft has already sold 2.6 million copies while the game is still in beta, making Persson a multi-millionaire.

Edit: Of course you did mention this later in the podcast. Shouldn't post comments before listening all the way through...

I know what you're saying. Just as everyone isn't Notch/Mojang, not everyone makes Madden/Call of Duty/WoW, but it shows that the potential is there.

Oh man, I'm with David on Army of Darkness for iPad—the difficulty spikes seem tailor-made to encourage microtransactions. Love the game otherwise, though.

LarryC wrote:

All games are educational. There is absolutely no exception. The content may not be accurate, or desirable, or reflective of things the academia would approve of, but thre is no doubt whatsoever that games teach you about something, and you learn. The learning process is central to what games are. If you're not learning anything when you're playing a game, you're not playing a game.

Examples: Tic Tac Toe. Even with this simple game, a child learns very, very basic strategy. Rock, Paper, Scissors teaches children the value of bluff and reading the opponent. Even something like GTA teaches coordination, basic math skills, and reading. You name a game, it teaches something. No exception.

http://m.youtube.com/#/watch?desktop...

All communication communicates something.

Also, Sean, I can't say enough about Appshopper for finding great stuff for the iPad. Their app is great; by filtering by type of app (game), price (free), and recent changes (price drop), I've grabbed probably 25 games on one-day free promotions.

Demiurge wrote:

Full disclosure: I hadn't hit the "Big Boner" section of Shadows of the Damned when we recorded. it almost single-handedly ruined the game for me. Not because Garcia shouting "Taste my big boner!" was too crass for me -- though it almost is -- but because it was extremely frustrating.

I hated that section too. The first round was fine, but the next two took multiple tries. Not fun.

The reason game prices are still so high despite the Australian dollar being at parity with the US dollar is because they can charge that much and we actually pay. An even better example is Steam pricing in Australia

As another Aussie gamer, I agree. Apparently Steam keeps prices high so as not to show up the retailers, which really boils down to cartel behaviour.

It's gouging, pure and simple. I heartily endorse importation and wish more Aussie gamers voted with their wallets on this score.

Felix Threepaper wrote:
The reason game prices are still so high despite the Australian dollar being at parity with the US dollar is because they can charge that much and we actually pay. An even better example is Steam pricing in Australia

As another Aussie gamer, I agree. Apparently Steam keeps prices high so as not to show up the retailers, which really boils down to cartel behaviour.

It's gouging, pure and simple.

Or it's matching local market prices.

wordsmythe:

Touche.

I think that there's something to be said about the state of so-called "educational games." There's a reason why gamers rightly scoff at the efforts of the company behind VTech. Frankly speaking, their product sucks.

A game designer doesn't have to go out of his way to make a game educational. It already is. He just has to make it a good game, and then make sure that his information is accurate and in all the right places. I learned a lot about history from Civilopedia, even though Civ itself isn't really an accurate historical sim.

Or it's matching local market prices.

It is, but it doesn't have the overheads of physical stores. I can understand Steam's position though, because people still pay. If the market will pay X, why bother charging any less than X? The real shame is that Aus gamers put up with it.

Consumers unite!

*heads off to the meeting at the docks*

Felix Threepaper:

The reason Steam might want for Aussies to pay less than X is because X might be suboptimal from a supply-demand curve. You want to maximize profit along the curve rather than just charge the highest price you can, and this is particularly effective for a distribution platform like Steam because their distribution model means that their diminishing returns penalties don't come down as fast as on a physical supply chain.

As far as I can judge, Steam's losing money by charging Aussies prices in line with that of physical stores.

As far as I can judge, Steam's losing money by charging Aussies prices in line with that of physical stores.

I hope so, LarryC, and thanks for the economics mini-lesson (not being sarcastic).

I heard somewhere (no source, so grain of salt) that Steam agrees with the publishers to charge regional prices. I don't know what arrangements are made behind the scenes.

Games in NZ are as pricey as, if not pricier than Australian ones. I just import and Steam stuff.
Great episode as usual.

I've been finding ways around our stupid pricing for the most part, getting US goodjers to gift me games I like or importing them, but I really shouldn't have to jump through hoops.

I wish our government was a bit more helpful in that regard, like Certis said, for the most part they treat video gaming with barely restrained contempt, and our media is mostly happy to help them demonise gaming too, it's irritating to say the least.

Re: The large scale game with lower production values at a budget price. Wasn't that why the DS was so strong before iOS ate its lunch? Dragon Quest IX retailed brand new at $35. A PS3 Dragon Quest would have come with huge expectations, but on the DS the lower production was accepted and that happy middle ground was found. The ground shifted however with the new perception that portable games are only supposed to cost between .99 and 10.00 so building your mid tier game for DS/PSP/3DS is no longer the viable option.

In my opinion either one of two things needs to happen consumers on mobile platforms need to see value in paying more (i.e. $30) for a deeper experience that does not quite hit the level of a console game or PSN and XBLA become the home of these mid tier games. In that situation consumers do get a clear concept Mobile = low investment, lower production values and simple gameplay for on the go, Console Download Platforms = Mid Tier Middle production and moderate pricing that is easier to get more of, Disk Release = Blockbuster.

This relies on educating the consumer that this is the ecosystem and that could take more time than we have.

It's interesting to me how some people can be so down on L.A. Noire. I think it has some major flaws (which Clemenstation did a wonderful job of lambasting), but I find myself really enjoying the game despite them.

David's gripe about pacing rings a bit hollow to me; if you let your partner drive and you don't get distracted, the cases all flow well in digestible little chunks, with the occasional big payoff to tie everything together. This is a game where you can just sit down, do a case, leave it, come back, and keep going. I absolutely love that.

When somebody thinks: "hey, the pacing in LA Noire is bad," what are they really comparing it to? Somebody said Law and Order; is that even fair? How could it be paced like a TV crime drama? Isn't it better to compare it to other video games?

I hear comparisons to Heavy Rain, which I can't comment on since I don't own a Playstation 3. My only real point of comparison in the incredibly thin "modern detective adventure game" genre is the Sam and Max series, and I personally find L.A. Noire dramatically more satisfying in all ways but humor (which it obviously doesn't even try to do).

I wonder if L.A. Noire suffers an uncanny valley effect of its own: it's so close to becoming a cinematic experience, and so outside of the box when compared to modern games, it tends to get compared more to film. Given that comparison, it just can't help but fail.

"Like hobos around a garbage fire."

I like it, despite not being clear who it insults more.