GWJ Conference Call Episode 250

Conference Call

Bastion, Runespell: Overature, Dungeons of Dredmore, Catching Up on Summer Games, The Resurgence of The PC Gaming Scene, Your Emails and more!

This week Shawn and Julian hold down the fort and talk about the ressurgence of PC gaming. Talk about a barn burnin' 250th show!

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

Panzer Corps
Bastion
Runespell: Overature
Steel Battalion
Dungeons of Dredmore

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Show credits

Music credits: 

Intro/Outtro Music - Ian Dorsch, Willowtree Audioworks

Calamity - Bastion - http://supergiantgames.com/?page_id=242 - 40:46

The Normandy Reborn - Mass Effect 2 - http://masseffect.bioware.com/market... - 1:00:10

Comments

And it was 250!? Damn you, power outage!

Two-hundred and fifty already? Man, you guys have been doing this forever.

Edit: Actually, that kinda reminds me of this.

Overature, curtains, lights,
This is it, the night of nights
No more rehearsing and nursing a part
We know every part by heart
Overature, curtains, lights
This is it, you'll hit the heights
And oh what heights we'll hit
On with the show this is it!

(parade of prominent Goodjers)

Tonight what heights we'll hit
On with the show this is it!

Great podcast! Bastion sounds very interesting. Is it me or does the world rebuilding around the main character sound like 'Never Ending Story 2' a great big white furry dragon doesn't show up does it?

Jonea wrote:

Great podcast! Bastion sounds very interesting. Is it me or does the world rebuilding around the main character sound like 'Never Ending Story 2' a great big white furry dragon doesn't show up does it?

Spelling the name "Bastian" would make it too obvious, I guess.

I can't help thinking that just as 'PC gaming is dying' used to be regularly on various news sites, now PC gaming is constantly news that it still has life signs and is bringing in money. PC gaming never went anywhere.

I can't wait until the consoles/motion gaming/handhelds get rediscovered.

I admit to looking for the big white flying dog all over the place.

Scratched wrote:

I can't help thinking that just as 'PC gaming is dying' used to be regularly on various news sites, now PC gaming is constantly news that it still has life signs and is bringing in money. PC gaming never went anywhere.

I can't wait until the consoles/motion gaming/handhelds get rediscovered.

I see a couple trends that I believe are causing PC gaming to come back into favor. As Rabbit mentioned I think the market in other parts of the world is certainly different, but in North America I feel that the concept of the big budget, epic game is starting to lose ground to smaller more affordable titles. This is not to be confused with the idea of 'casual' titles. While casual games make up a big portion of the small-budget market, I would never call Minecraft, Terraria and Dungeons of Dredmore really casual titles. I don't think we need to look for some deep reason that this is true either.
As the hobby of video gaming ages so does the average age of the video gamer. Overall tastes are evolving, and by and large we are also looking for more 'bang for the buck'. Plus the convenience of digital distribution, the lack of abstraction and ease in terms of payment (how much is 800 MS points again?) and the widespread ability of just about any computer to play just about anything nowadays really helps set up the PC as a platform where someone can impulse buy, take chances during sales, etc. The tight control of both pricing and advertisement that the console developers exert over their digital marketplaces is hurting them in this regard.

I also believe that the current console cycle is getting stale for consumers a good four years before Sony and Microsoft were ready for that to occur. Reduced disposable income or no, lots of people are ready for something new and neither MS or Sony are not ready to step up there. Nintendo is trying to hit that hole, but whether it works remains to be seen. I kind of think tablet gaming actually beat them to the punch there - the tablet is a relatively affordable multi-function platform that happens to do well at providing the type of experience that many gamers' tastes have evolved towards lately. While the 3DS is the more direct competitor there (and its sales have suffered as a result), I don't like to think of the 'portable' and 'home' market as two separate things. I know lots of people who pretty much only use their DS or iPad while sitting on the couch in front of the TV. In that case , time spent gaming on a particular platform is time spent not gaming on a different platform, regardless of the form factor of the device.

tagged

On the topic of games and the ability to dive into a system to master it -

One of the experiences I've found most rewarding over the years is the group discovery experience. When you have a new board game, or you're all diving into a new PC game together. You're learning the ropes, you're learning the strategies and you're sharing experiences and ideas. Nothing will drive a game into the disinterest pile faster than having someone who is already very experienced and knowledgeable who then dictates your turns or plays tour guide to everything. (Some players can be wonderful tour guides, but most end up controlling the flow the game too much for my taste.)

For this reason, I do like to turn over my board game collection fairly frequently. It's also the reason why I've found Men of War so enjoyable - we're all still really new to the game and are still discovering the tips, tricks and tactics which makes it very fun.

But as Rabbit noted, board game turnover & non-computerized board game playing means you only get to play that game a handful of times (maybe) in a year, so you never fully grok the mechanics. And also, like him, I tend to play in heavy social settings where I'm hosting a load of people and have host duties, kids, etc. I need to find a good balance somehow between exploration and mastery.

Bastion talks stops ~22 minutes. I'll have to come back to this episode later.

Edit: Julian made two comments about Empires & Allies that I just don't find to be true:

1) It's big and complicated? Compared to Farmville perhaps, but it's hardly anywhere near being as complex as even Panzer General.

2) E&A does require you to fill buildings with people in order to gain more territory, but (and this is HUGE for a social game like this) over time the game fills your slots with your AI "friend". I'm not sure how long it takes, but it helps keep the game moving forward and people no longer have to friend strangers just to keep their social games moving.

That said, E&A is perhaps the best Facebook game of this type I've played, but it still only managed to keep me interested for a couple weeks, at most.

Sam Elliott, not Sam Waterston.

Gravey wrote:

Sam Elliott, not Sam Waterston.

Oh man, did I say that. I'm going to have to check in my "dude abides" button at the door.

rabbit wrote:
Gravey wrote:

Sam Elliott, not Sam Waterston.

Oh man, did I say that. I'm going to have to check in my "dude abides" button at the door.

Not that Sam Waterston might not be interesting, he does narration. I've only played the demo so far, but might like a David Attenborough narration, describing the life cycles of Squirts and so forth.

Now I really want to play a game narrated by David Attenborough.

Man, Rabbit needs to do a whole episode in his 'Titus' voice.

El-Taco-the-Rogue wrote:

Man, Rabbit needs to do a whole episode in his 'Titus' voice.

The female population of the planet couldn't handle it...

... They'd go sterile.

Well, if you guys are going to make 250 podcasts for me to listen to, least I can do is post.

pseudoprime1979 wrote:

Well, if you guys are going to make 250 podcasts for me to listen to, least I can do is post.

Are you ok? Someone get this man a chair! Just stick your head between your knees and take a few deep breaths. You look exhausted.

Certis wrote:
pseudoprime1979 wrote:

Well, if you guys are going to make 250 podcasts for me to listen to, least I can do is post.

Are you ok? Someone get this man a chair! Just stick your head between your knees and take a few deep breaths. You look exhausted. ;)

Is space an issue?

Congrats on 250. Hopefully you managed to not only celebrate that monument to commitment, but enjoy the benefit of Sean Sands' post-surgery progress.

garion333 wrote:
Certis wrote:
pseudoprime1979 wrote:

Well, if you guys are going to make 250 podcasts for me to listen to, least I can do is post.

Are you ok? Someone get this man a chair! Just stick your head between your knees and take a few deep breaths. You look exhausted. ;)

Is space an issue?

Does it have to be a chair?

I kinda like these two man shows. It's actually kinda cool as it gives the show a different dynamic. Nice change up.

Congrats on the 250, guys. Always look forward to Wednesday after lunch time when I can grab the latest show. Look forward to many more to come.

Having just Shawn and Julian on the show made it feel like an old fashioned two-man radio show. I like it.

The demo for Bastion did not grab me the first time, but you guys make me want to give it another try. Maybe this time I will turn up the sound.

Dragon Age Legends is one of the only Facebook games that I am not embarrassed to play. If they were to offer a tablet version of that game for 5-10 dollars, I would buy it.

When I voted on my favorite female Shepard for Mass Effect, I just picked the one that looked like the character I created in the game. The only reason I built her to look that way is because lately I have been building all of my RPG characters to look like my wife.

Enjoyed this one, gents -- saw me through a long and otherwise boring flight home to Boston (my fair city) from Chicago, after a week of sales meetings. I skipped the Bastion bits, on your advice; might check that out soon.

I think you hit an interesting point in discussing the resurgence of PC gaming in terms of community; I wonder how much of that has to do with Steam, versus IRC or IM or whatever. We've been able to chat with other gamers for years, but I think the rise of a relatively ubiquitous distribution channel has created a common culture that has been lacking since the days when we bought our games from shelves. For example, how many of us are thinking/talking about/playing Vampire this weekend, on account of the Steam sale? Would the same have happened if, say, Amazon discounted some undiscovered cache of boxes copies? Probably not. Blend these types of events with Steam's "your friends are playing X right now!" feature, and you have an instant community.

Will the consoles catch up? Yes, but it likely won't be on account of input devices so much as de-fragmenting the market. My money is on the first console that seamlessly integrates Steam's digital distribution setup being heralded as the "winner" when the bloggers declare the PC dead again.

Congrats on the 250!!! Enjoyed the small bit on Steel Battalion as I am a fan.

BTW, what is the piece of music before you got into the discussion topic? Share, I say!

Deadpixel wrote:

Congrats on the 250!!! Enjoyed the small bit on Steel Battalion as I am a fan.

BTW, what is the piece of music before you got into the discussion topic? Share, I say!

music notes! wrote:

Calamity - Bastion - http://supergiantgames.com/?page_id=242 - 40:46

The Normandy Reborn - Mass Effect 2 - http://masseffect.bioware.com/market... - 1:00:10

The lack of a chat-pad doesn't have to be a killer for text messages on console. A USB keyboard will work fine with both 360 and PS3. A wireless keyboard with a USB base should also work fine.

And you could always respond with voice, using your headset. On the 360, anyway.

Hans

You mentioned not having the keyboard attachment for your 360 controller. Are you aware that a regular usb keyboard can plug in and work on your xbox no problem. This is much cheaper and, if you ask me, easier than the keyboard attachment. I got my used keyboard for a dollar. Sure its filthy and not the best keyboard, but its more than good enough to sit atop my xbox waiting for the occasional use.