GWJ Conference Call Episode 256

Conference Call

Deus Ex: Human Revolution, Madden 2012, Crimson Steam Pirates, Red Orchestra 2 beta, Overclocking, A Deus Ex Spoiler Section After The Credits, Your Emails and more!

This week Shawn, Elysium, Allen, Julian and Rob Zacny catch up on your emails and do a Deus Ex: Human Revolution spoiler section after the credits.

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.

Sponsor

Tech Thing Daily
Game Thing Daily
Good Old Games

Elysium's Deus Ex: HR Impressions
Deus Ex: Human Revolution Catch All
Duex Ex: Human Revolution Spoiler Thread
Madden 2012
Red Orchestra 2
Crimson Steam Pirates

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Show credits

Music credits: 

Intro/Outtro Music - Ian Dorsch, Willowtree Audioworks

Beautiful Women - Secret Mountain - http://www.sans-concept.com - 43:07

Deus Ex: Human Revolution Main Theme - http://deusex.com/ - 1:19:40

Comments

Perhaps it's because you're always playing the new shiny and treating games as an ephemeral media like television (more ephemeral, even) that you don't see the problem that some of us have with the direction things are going. The vast majority of games have little value to you more than six months or a year after its release.

Part of the value of a game for me (and, I imagine, for some others here) is the re-enjoyment of it years later, like a good book or movie. This re-enjoyment nets a publisher no additional income, so it's in their interest to prevent it if possible.

These new DRM measures are a way for them to do that. It starts with games that go exclusively through the publisher's multiplayer servers. When the next sequel for such a game comes out, they shut off the servers and voila! You want to play Bond multiplayer, you can't play Everything or Nothing any more, you'll have to buy From Russia with Love instead.

The next step is to introduce similar server requirements for single player games, under the argument that it's to prevent piracy, cheating in the multiplayer portion of the game, and so on.

Once the initial kerfuffle over that has passed, the next step is to turn off those single player authentication servers when the sequel comes out, under the same arguments used to justify turning off the multiplayer servers - that running those servers costs money and hardly anyone is playing the game any more anyway. But the real benefit to the publisher is increased sales of the sequel now that the old game is dead.

I'm not outraged over this; it just means that any game I buy with these kinds of DRM is not worth as much as one lacking it, since I won't be able to revisit it in the future. It means that if I want to buy any Ubisoft game, it's going to be the console version as that will continue to play as long as my console holds out, regardless of Ubi's server retirements.

It also means that I won't be buying these kinds of games and putting them on my backlog meaning to play them later, as playing them later may not be an option. No, any game with publisher-controlled playability will only be purchased if I'm going to play it right away, play it through, and never care about it after that. Like going to the arcade, just way more expensive.

Hans

Elysium wrote:

Jeez, you'd think reading this thread and the one following my article that every major label game that gets released is a travesty of human kind. In the past 3 weeks I've played 4 big budget games. I suppose each of them does at least one thing that is now apparently considered some form of sexual assault, given the hyperbole of the day, but the reality for me has been something very different.

The language of victimization is pretty thick these days. To sum up my recent statements, please pardon me if I have the audacity to spend my time in my hobby enjoying it instead of carping about the evils of the industry,

I've been thinking about my days when I would listen to anarchist punk rock and break a lot of things. I don't have the energy to be that person anymore, but I think that even then I saved my ire for things like multinational organizations causing famine in the third world.

I mean, I guess DRM is a form of oppression. It just seems like less of an offense than, say, math class or hall monitors.

Bookmarked.

Thanks, Brad!

bcummings wrote:
Flying_Norseman wrote:

I missed the site Rabbit mentioned with Touch Arcade. Anyone know it off the top of their heads?

Hi Flying Norseman,

I am actually the co-founder of the iOS Board Game Blog on Board Game Geek which Rabbit mentioned.
I started listening to GWJ a month ago and then wow my blog gets mentioned. Very cool.

I just registered so I can't make these hyperlinks it seems, but you can reach our blog at:
http://boardgamegeek.com/blog/164/io...
www.iosboardgames.com

As someone said we also cover some android (though less often).

Thanks,
Brad

For the GWJ guys...
Someone on the podcast mentioned using HDMI extenders with networks. I've looked up information on Monoprice and across the internet but can't find any reviews on how well this works for gaming.
I have about 70 feet I plan on running Cat 6 with the HDMI extenders from my Alienware in the basement to my dual monitors in my office on the second floor.

I can't remember who mentioned setting it up in his office...but does it work? How well? Is it gaming worthy?

I would love to get this heat engine (Alienware PC) down into my basement and away from my office.

Thanks
Rob S

Something like the Aten VE800 might work. Note that I haven't used it myself, so I'm not sure how many FPS it can push and at what resolution. Julian runs a long DVI cable from his basement to this office, so I don't think he's tried one either.

About the always-online requirement thing: There's a pretty good article about the practical impact to non-pirates here: http://www.vg247.com/2011/09/08/the-day-i-realised-always-on-drm-moaners-have-a-point/

Hans

I agree with Rob that the final boss battle in Deus Ex was actually quite good. For me it was because I only died a couple of times, and only because I was being careless. The rest of the boss battles… yeah f*ck those people.

The most satisfying moments for me in Deus Ex were chaining double take-downs. That was some serious kung fu sh*t right there.

I think by "flip your sh*t" he meant "reload your last save game." I was all about that.

"Little niggles like that." Hey, hey, hey… careful.

"So I picked up Madden 12…" That was the spot where I powered down like C-3PO.

"I don't like leaving the house or having to think about stuff." Amen. Really though, hating Steam for what it does (or whining about the challenge of the Deus Ex boss battles, as I have) is just another way of saying we have White People Problems. Everything is going to be fine.

A franchise name on a game is like cleavage on a woman. It might get your attention, but it will not guarantee a good experience.

doubtingthomas396 wrote:

I'd like a little clarification from the podcast crew on their response to this. It sounded an awful lot like the general consensus was

nutshell wrote:

It's okay that we don't own our games anymore, because they all ship broken or incomplete and if we don't own them it's not our problem.

Unless I misinterpreted something, this strikes me as a horrible, horrible, most horrible way to look at an industry. I realize people who are bad at math lease cars for this reason, but I am constantly dumbfounded not only by the gaming industry's habit of releasing broken crap, but also by the gaming consumer's willingness to bend over and accept that This Is How Things Are.

...As my grandfather used to ruefully say of a certain kind of person: Never time to do it right, but always time to do it over. That this seems to be the software industry's motto is bad enough. Using it to justify draconian EULAs that basically say that the product you paid actual cash money for could be modified or downright taken from you at any time at the whim of the producers or distributors just doesn't sit well with me. That sounds like a broken industry, not something that needs to be justified because everybody wants to play the latest Deus Ex game without leaving the house.

I missed this earlier. First, you're putting words in our collective mouths that ignore the context of our comments. We can lament the fact that the industry often drops the ball on releases and functionality, but the topic was Steam and ownership. If your number one concern is whether your games are safe on Steam, your priorities are misplaced. There are a dozen other potential factors that will ruin your gaming before Steam does.

But why aren't we angrier about those factors? Because that wasn't the issue at hand. I have over a hundred games on Steam, and probably another fifty on Direct2Drive, GamersGate, Impulse, and Origin. Only three games have given me serious problems in the last year, and they were all titles from smaller developers. I'm not having serious problems gaming.

I wish we didn't have to put up with DRM and those absurd EULAs, but they are required to play games these days, and so far no publishers have deprived me of any of the games I have purchased. I understand this apocalyptic fiction is important to demonstrating why our answer was so very horrible, horrible, horrible, but it's still fiction. We make compromises to enjoy our hobby. I suspect you still click "I agree" when the EULA pops up. In the context of our answer, digital distribution is a pretty small risk compared to the other compromises you make when you buy a PC game of any sort.

Quick question for the crew (and everyone else): I'm interested in trying the "big HDMI cord from your computer to your TV method of gaming," but was wondering what input devices were being used. Bluetooth keyboard and mouse? Long USB extensions (that seems silly)?

Thanks!

Rob Zacny wrote:

I missed this earlier. First, you're putting words in our collective mouths that ignore the context of our comments. We can lament the fact that the industry often drops the ball on releases and functionality, but the topic was Steam and ownership. If your number one concern is whether your games are safe on Steam, your priorities are misplaced. There are a dozen other potential factors that will ruin your gaming before Steam does.

But why aren't we angrier about those factors? Because that wasn't the issue at hand. I have over a hundred games on Steam, and probably another fifty on Direct2Drive, GamersGate, Impulse, and Origin. Only three games have given me serious problems in the last year, and they were all titles from smaller developers. I'm not having serious problems gaming.

I wish we didn't have to put up with DRM and those absurd EULAs, but they are required to play games these days, and so far no publishers have deprived me of any of the games I have purchased. I understand this apocalyptic fiction is important to demonstrating why our answer was so very horrible, horrible, horrible, but it's still fiction. We make compromises to enjoy our hobby. I suspect you still click "I agree" when the EULA pops up. In the context of our answer, digital distribution is a pretty small risk compared to the other compromises you make when you buy a PC game of any sort.

I do have a Steam account, but the only games I own on it are Plants versus Zombies, Windowsill and the original Half Life. The only reason there's anything on there that cost more than $15 is because I didn't realize that the Half Life Anthology disc I bought was only a complicated key to unlocking the downloadable content.

I never spend more than $20 on downloadable games, because I don't want to be caught by the "horrible, horrible fiction" if it ever comes to pass. As for my disc based games, I play on the console, and those games still tend to be playable without online connections. For now at least. I know the console games have EULAs too, but at least if Sony decides it doesn't want me to shut down Little Big Planet or Infamous I can still go off-line and play them from the disc without losing too much (I mostly use LBP for the single player stuff anyway)

As for the horrible fiction that is still fiction, I'm too much a student of history to ignore which way the winds blow. The pressure in the media industry in general is to remove as much control from the end user as possible. We buy music that can only be played on two or three devices. We buy electronic books that cannot be transferred to other owners. We buy all sorts of things that the industries repeatedly tell us that we don't own. Now you can argue that we never did "own" the book or music CD back when we bought them in those formats, and you are technically correct. But we did have something tangible and unchangeable in our hands. That paper book or shiny disc may have gotten lost or damaged somewhere along the years, but it was not subject to the capricious whims of an industry that desperately wants to remind us that we don't have any control over what we think we spent money on.

The Plants Versus Zombies example is not egregious, but it is a warning. A shot across the bow, as it were. You don't own this. You never did. And we can do anything we want to it without your knowledge or consent.

I don't know what it is about Valve (for example) that breeds such trust in corporate entities. When Liberty Mutual sends you a letter telling you that a claim you thought was covered actually wasn't, you don't meekly accept it as the cost of doing business. If they're mistaken, you fight it, and if they're right, you still probably fight for an exception and if you don't get it you complain bitterly to your friends about how the industry is broken and they don't care about people and why can't we all be more like Europe?

I rail against the horrible fiction while it is a fiction because I want it to stay a fiction. The game companies will take as much slack as their customers will cut them, just like any other entity that is built around making money. They have their interests, and I have mine. Sometimes they coincide, sometimes I have to remind them where they get their money.

Rob Zacny wrote:

I missed this earlier. First, you're putting words in our collective mouths that ignore the context of our comments. We can lament the fact that the industry often drops the ball on releases and functionality, but the topic was Steam and ownership. If your number one concern is whether your games are safe on Steam, your priorities are misplaced. There are a dozen other potential factors that will ruin your gaming before Steam does.

But why aren't we angrier about those factors? Because that wasn't the issue at hand. I have over a hundred games on Steam, and probably another fifty on Direct2Drive, GamersGate, Impulse, and Origin. Only three games have given me serious problems in the last year, and they were all titles from smaller developers. I'm not having serious problems gaming.

I wish we didn't have to put up with DRM and those absurd EULAs, but they are required to play games these days, and so far no publishers have deprived me of any of the games I have purchased. I understand this apocalyptic fiction is important to demonstrating why our answer was so very horrible, horrible, horrible, but it's still fiction. We make compromises to enjoy our hobby. I suspect you still click "I agree" when the EULA pops up. In the context of our answer, digital distribution is a pretty small risk compared to the other compromises you make when you buy a PC game of any sort.

I do have a Steam account, but the only games I own on it are Plants versus Zombies, Windowsill and the original Half Life. The only reason there's anything on there that cost more than $15 is because I didn't realize that the Half Life Anthology disc I bought was only a complicated key to unlocking the downloadable content.

I never spend more than $20 on downloadable games, because I don't want to be caught by the "horrible, horrible fiction" if it ever comes to pass. As for my disc based games, I play on the console, and those games still tend to be playable without online connections. For now at least. I know the console games have EULAs too, but at least if Sony decides it doesn't want me to shut down Little Big Planet or Infamous I can still go off-line and play them from the disc without losing too much (I mostly use LBP for the single player stuff anyway)

As for the horrible fiction that is still fiction, I'm too much a student of history to ignore which way the winds blow. The pressure in the media industry in general is to remove as much control from the end user as possible. We buy music that can only be played on two or three devices. We buy electronic books that cannot be transferred to other owners. We buy all sorts of things that the industries repeatedly tell us that we don't own. Now you can argue that we never did "own" the book or music CD back when we bought them in those formats, and you are technically correct. But we did have something tangible and unchangeable in our hands. That paper book or shiny disc may have gotten lost or damaged somewhere along the years, but it was not subject to the capricious whims of an industry that desperately wants to remind us that we don't have any control over what we think we spent money on.

The Plants Versus Zombies example is not egregious, but it is a warning. A shot across the bow, as it were. You don't own this. You never did. And we can do anything we want to it without your knowledge or consent.

I don't know what it is about Valve (for example) that breeds such trust in corporate entities. When Liberty Mutual sends you a letter telling you that a claim you thought was covered actually wasn't, you don't meekly accept it as the cost of doing business. If they're mistaken, you fight it, and if they're right, you still probably fight for an exception and if you don't get it you complain bitterly to your friends about how the industry is broken and they don't care about people and why can't we all be more like Europe?

I rail against the horrible fiction while it is a fiction because I want it to stay a fiction. The game companies will take as much slack as their customers will cut them, just like any other entity that is built around making money. They have their interests, and I have mine. Sometimes they coincide, sometimes I have to remind them where they get their money.

Many games get recommended when listener questions are answered. Since those aren’t included in the show summary on the web site, here’s a list of the games and links that got recommended in this week’s episode.

Uniwar
http://itunes.apple.com/us/app/uniwa...

Great Little War Game
http://itunes.apple.com/us/app/great...

Sites with solid strategy game reviews:
boardgamegeek.com (See Orphu's post on the first page of comments with the blog link)
toucharcade.com

Civilization Revolution
http://itunes.apple.com/us/app/civil...

Carcassone
http://itunes.apple.com/us/app/carca...

Death Rally
http://itunes.apple.com/us/app/death...

NBA Jam
http://itunes.apple.com/us/app/nba-j...

Pirates
http://itunes.apple.com/us/app/pirat...

Battleheart
http://itunes.apple.com/us/app/battl...

Ascension: Chronicle of the Godslayer
http://itunes.apple.com/us/app/ascen...

Majesty: The Fantasy Kingdom
http://itunes.apple.com/us/app/majes...

Dodonpachi Resurrection
http://itunes.apple.com/us/app/dodon...

Pinball HD (there are several on iTunes)
http://itunes.apple.com/us/app/pinba...

Crimson Steam Pirates
http://itunes.apple.com/us/app/crims...

Board Games
Ticket to Ride
http://itunes.apple.com/us/app/ticke...

Puerto Rico
http://itunes.apple.com/us/app/puert...

Settlers of Catan
http://itunes.apple.com/us/app/catan...

Neuroshima Hex
http://itunes.apple.com/us/app/neuro...

Amazing, thanks gorilla!

gorilla wrote:

Many games get recommended when listener questions are answered. Since those aren’t included in the show summary on the web site, here’s a list of the games and links that got recommended in this week’s episode.

Thank you for doing this.