GWJ Conference Call Episode 265

Conference Call

Uncharted 3, Tribes: Ascend, Elder Signs: Omens,Special Guest David Heron, Are Games Worthy of Introspection?, Your Emails and more!

This week David Heron joins Shawn, Julian, Cory and Lara to talk about Uncharted 3, whether games deserve introspection and much more!

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

Elder Sign: Omens
Tribes Ascend
Rocksmith
Uncharted 3

  • 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

Nate's Theme 3.0 - Uncharted 3: Drake's Deception - http://www.naughtydog.com/games/unch... - 48:23

Kalki (Uncharted 3 launch trailer song) - ES Posthumus - http://www.facebook.com/pages/ES-Pos... - 1:10:04

Comments

Tonight I finished Uncharted 3.

I can see why others might not dig it, but in my opinion, this is best one of the series, hands-down. It's sweaty palms, kicking feet, shrieking in multiple languages, cursing in made-up languages good -- if I listed all the things that are awesome about this story and the way it's told, I'd take up the entire Internet.

The only thing I didn't like was:

Spoiler:

I felt the end-game was a little rushed. I thought more would be done with the fire-demons; or that there would be a tougher firefight; or that you'd have to duke it out with Talbot a little longer--something, anything to make the game's final hour as epic as that plane crash in the desert or the sinking ship or HOLY CRAP your drugged out stumble through the Yemeni markeplace. Also: Spiders? Did they ever explain the spiders?

That aside, this is my favorite of the three so far, by a long shot. They're all fantastically satisfying games, but this is the only one I've actually restarted as soon as the end credits wrapped. Love!

(TAKE THAT HERON)

3:06 Games we're playing right now

3:10 new Tribes beta

10:59 Uncharted 3 - some minor spoilers, not plot related; WARNING A BRIEF DA2 REFERENCE IS MADE

33:25 NHL 12 (spoiler you can fight the goalies now. I hope that's really not a spoiler for anyone)

34:18 D&D 4th edition Facebook game, evolves into a nice discussion about social gaming

42:00 Elder Signs: Omens. Skip to this section to get a full dose of Demiurge's sexy voice.

44:45 Dave talks DARK SOULS and how it teaches him... calculus?

45:22 Julian gets in a quick jab for Rocksmith

46:00 A quick shout out for something awesome, but you'll just have to listen to find out what it is.

48:53 Topic begins! I assume no spoilers here, so I'll listen to this later and just go ahead to see where your emails and more starts before I head off for lunch.

1:10:35 Your emails begin!

1:16:21 Probably the highlight soundbite of the show. Just listen!

Chairman_Mao wrote:

10:59 Uncharted 3 - some minor spoilers, not plot related; WARNING A BRIEF DA2 REFERENCE IS MADE

And I didn't start it, I swear.

52:10 Julian cogently explains what English majors do.

RoutineMachine wrote:

52:10 Julian cogently explains what English majors do.

Get jobs in fields completely disconnected from English except that everyone around them is abusing the language in unholy ways? Or go teach English somewhere.

IMAGE(http://www.kruufm.com/files/162/evil_spock.jpg)

You may want to check that the good Julian isn't locked in a cupboard somewhere..... just sayin'

My plan for getting myself to play old backlog games is to tell myself I'm going to play the game for five minutes. That way I will either end up playing for hours and wondering why I stopped playing such a fun game or taking the game out after two minutes knowing why I put the game down in the first place. You can then proceed to remove the game from you backlog by either finishing it or selling it.

The same strategy works for those rather worthy films that sit on your hard drive recorder waiting for you to be in the mood for a subtitled film about Ukrainian goat herders. Within five minutes you'll either be enthralled or reaching for the delete button.

I'm so embarrassed.

Lara I want to publicly apologize for calling you by the wrong name for the entire show.

I know very well what your name is but seemingly my mouth wasn't following orders.

Shame on the gentlemen for not correcting me.

Zip_Zap_Rap wrote:

I'm so embarrassed.

Lara I want to publicly apologize for calling you by the wrong name for the entire show.

I know very well what your name is but seemingly my mouth wasn't following orders.

Shame on the gentlemen for not correcting me.

We were in the Google + chat, but I guess you weren't paying attention. Too busy dropping science!

Higgledy wrote:

My plan for getting myself to play old backlog games is to tell myself I'm going to play the game for five minutes. That way I will either end up playing for hours and wondering why I stopped playing such a fun game or taking the game out after two minutes knowing why I put the game down in the first place. You can then proceed to remove the game from you backlog by either finishing it or selling it.

If only Steam had the ability to tag games with different labels and filter the game list based on those labels. I'd love to be able to tag as game as finished or ignored and never have to see it again.

Zip_Zap_Rap wrote:

I'm so embarrassed.

Lara I want to publicly apologize for calling you by the wrong name for the entire show.

I know very well what your name is but seemingly my mouth wasn't following orders.

Shame on the gentlemen for not correcting me.

It's okay. You were wrong about many things that night. Like Uncharted 3.

/zing

(and no worries; I didn't even notice until someone pointed it out. Having too much fun. :D)

Not sure if it's still available since he's published it as a book, but the Mechner PoP diaries were up on his blog for quite a while, made headlines on Gamasutra and the like. They're incredibly insightful and interesting.

Zip_Zap_Rap wrote:

I'm so embarrassed.

Lara I want to publicly apologize for calling you by the wrong name for the entire show.

I know very well what your name is but seemingly my mouth wasn't following orders.

Shame on the gentlemen for not correcting me.

You said something on the podcast you regret? Congratulations, you're a full-time part of the panel now. We'll teach you the handshake.

Another interesting podcast folks, I like it when there's a diversity of opinion.

I wanna +1 David Heron's tip for listening to old podcasts to get into the backlog -- that works for me too.

Sometimes it works the other way, eg listening to old GWJ podcasts made me dig out Red Faction: Guerrilla and I had a blast with it, whereas the first time round I had given it short shrift. Same thing happened with Idle Thumbs and Far Cry 2. The only side effect is you get a weird desire to email in to podacasts that are 2 years old...or defunct.

I haven't actually met anyone else in the GWJ community, but after the fundraising drive, Rabbit's piece this week and the chat about GWJ in this podcast, I'm feelin a lot of love for you guys and am grateful that you all exist.

Hi all,

Thanks for the email mention. I loved David Heron's ad hoc critique of Fitocracy. There's a lot of validity in his concerns about everyone starting at the bottom. Someone who's never exercised versus someone who's, say, buff (like Rabbit) definitely do begin at the bottom.

They will level differently, of course, but that's where they start, because that's how a system that you join for the first time has to work. But, mechanics aside (and the fact that you can flat out lie if you're a douche), Rabbit keyed in on the main reason I find it interesting: It's group reinforcement.

I'm naturally a mediator/supporter. Though I'm motivated to work out (since medications don't work well for me, this is my medication - more's the pity I didn't figure this out earlier in life), I'm more interested in giving my love and support to those who maybe aren't as fit but want to be. Lots of us in the community are no different.

Just climb some stairs, do a little walking, and I'll fistpump you (the Like/+1 button of Fitocracy), because I want my fellow Goodjers (and humans) to feel better about themselves. Leaderboards be damned; the "shame and support" angle is real and I need all the help I can to make it work.

Bonus facts: It interfaces with Fitbit (I think) and Runkeeper (I know), so you can use those cool GPS-fueled trackers to automatically add in running, cycling, hiking, etc. into your daily activities. All you have to do is use those programs and then go to Fitocracy tracking and it'll just get pulled in.

Currently we're at 14 members, but I know that will climb. Here's our group info:

Group Code: D42DM
Group link: http://ftcy.co/toIJHP

There's still a lot more to be done, too. Fitocracy totally feels like a work in progress, but it's a step in the right direction. I love the fact that I can comment about my personal struggle and gain the support of Aperebus, Astrocreep, DuckiDevi, Jonman, and all the rest of you.

In a world of super-sized fries and commuting, it's about whatever system can support each of our different aims. Sure, you can game it. You can get nuts about the leaderboard. But if you go in with honest intentions, you can get a lot out of it. That's my hope, anyway.

Again, all my love to our community.

What's "gamification" anyway? The way I've read it is to mean that you apply gaming tropes to activities in real life.

There is no activity more attuned to gamification (in the manner defined above) than physical activity given that humans have actually made true blue, real life games out of it. In fact many video games (like NHL) are games that are about these games. Applying video game logic to physical activity at this point is merely retroactively applying new game ideas from new mediums into the old mediums.

There is such a thing as a leaderboard in sport. This is normally a finish ranking in track and field, a season ranking in team sport, batting average, what-have-you. There are achievements, too! There's "4-minute mile," "Century Ride," "First Marathon" "Iron Man Finisher," and so on. Granted, it doesn't usually come with the nice sound byte, but if you really wanted that, it could be arranged.

Right now, I'm running with a tri group. I'm trying to take it easy to avoid injury, but it's the group dynamic that makes it all fun and engaging. It's easier to suck when there's a bunch of other people sucking right alongside you.

I've played a couple of games of Elder Sign and gotten my ass kicked royally by Eldritch horrors. Still, it's a great representation of the Arkham Horror experience. My one beef was with the big download upon opening it the first time, which was repeated after I patched it this morning. Hopefully I won't have to do that every time it patches.

LarryC wrote:

What's "gamification" anyway? The way I've read it is to mean that you apply gaming tropes to activities in real life.

There is no activity more attuned to gamification (in the manner defined above) than physical activity given that humans have actually made true blue, real life games out of it. In fact many video games (like NHL) are games that are about these games. Applying video game logic to physical activity at this point is merely retroactively applying new game ideas from new mediums into the old mediums.

There is such a thing as a leaderboard in sport. This is normally a finish ranking in track and field, a season ranking in team sport, batting average, what-have-you. There are achievements, too! There's "4-minute mile," "Century Ride," "First Marathon" "Iron Man Finisher," and so on. Granted, it doesn't usually come with the nice sound byte, but if you really wanted that, it could be arranged.

Right now, I'm running with a tri group. I'm trying to take it easy to avoid injury, but it's the group dynamic that makes it all fun and engaging. It's easier to suck when there's a bunch of other people sucking right alongside you.

You have got to be the busiest person on GWJ.

SallyNasty wrote:
LarryC wrote:

It's easier to suck when there's a bunch of other people sucking right alongside you.

You have got to be the busiest person on GWJ.

Context - life is funnier without it.

Very, very big props for the Uncharted discussion. After finding my sense of measured discourse offended by a mix of overly-hyperbolic reviews, and, even more so, some very troll-like yellow journalism and forum posting designed to fuel fires between the more hardcore fans of the franchise and the outspoken (and, if I may slip in a slyly opinionated comment, far too righteous) haters, it was incredibly refreshing to hear a discussion that, cleverly and without pretension, peeled back the layers of the game to explain the guts of its potential and to clearly explain why it wasn't fully reached.

A perfect example of actually explaining why something that looks totally genius on paper somehow feels, to many people, like it's missing a 'certain something'.

On another note entirely, could I possible have a medal for writing what may be the longest sentence in GWJ's history? The medal could take the form of a peanut-butter cup if so desired.

Try it without the personal attacks. Thanks. - Certis

ClockworkHouse wrote:
RoutineMachine wrote:

52:10 Julian cogently explains what English majors do.

Get jobs in fields completely disconnected from English except that everyone around them is abusing the language in unholy ways? Or go teach English somewhere.

Hey, I'm a writer. It's not totally disconnected from English...

Just got to the discourse on conversations about games sometimes just becoming marketing.

It is very much why I continue to listen to Gamers with Jobs, DGR and even Giant bomb. When you talk you don't sound like you are trying to suss out how to market something, nor how to get good quotes in there for easy hits. It feels genuine when you talk about this stuff and whether I agree with it or not is irrelevant (down with Dragon Age!).

I especially liked the fact that you mentioned that you feel like you are writing an IM to some friends, just that it happens to be a lot of friends. From the way you write and talk, it always felt that way.

Shaping up to be another excellent podcast.

NSMike wrote:
ClockworkHouse wrote:
RoutineMachine wrote:

52:10 Julian cogently explains what English majors do.

Get jobs in fields completely disconnected from English except that everyone around them is abusing the language in unholy ways? Or go teach English somewhere.

Hey, I'm a writer. It's not totally disconnected from English...

There are a few jobs out there, most notably editing, which basically amounts to reading material in which the English language is abused in unholy ways. So ...

Julian's description made me smile. I shared it with all the English majors I work with. They nodded sagely in agreement. Masturbation it is.

Of course I have a degree in Philosophy, so I know a thing or two about masturbation.

I'll just leave that there if anyone wants to sig that.

Hedge, bro, just adopt Cory already. I'm sure under some obscure California tax law you can claim him as a dependent.

Edit: And as a total aside, think those of us at Turkeycon can get ahold of this if only to hear Hedgewizard's legendary impression of Simon Pegg's Scotty?

Very much enjoyed the discourse on fitocracy and completely agree with Julian's point regarding group and social dynamics of getting fit and how it engages people to stay with it and not backslide.

Having getting fit turn to the form of a game or online resource provides a method for those people who don't have fitness partners to compare and contrast and have a group to support them which I think is a very powerful motivator, I personally am in an another online communities fitocracy group and we all support and back each other and suggest different exercises when one person is just tired of doing X push ups every week.

I think as in all activity oriented groups there will be the people striving to be at the top of the leader board while most will be content to be engaging in a rewarding social environment where you are witnessing results in your physical form.

I have noticed a trend recently of geeks turning to fitness and really enjoying the challenge of it, most recently in my space a considerable number of guys and gals from the 2k Canberra office (that's in Australia) have signed up for a local biomechanics based gym program and we're all enjoying being able to offer our shared pool of advice, knowledge and experience to help each other achieve the most of our their time and money and I think fitocracy lends itself to that community based goal very nicely.

I like this David guy. Anytime the podcast wants to spend time talking about how great the articles and editing process at GWJ are, they are more than welcome.

LarryC wrote:

What's "gamification" anyway? The way I've read it is to mean that you apply gaming tropes to activities in real life.

It's about feedback systems, mostly.

In regards to Fitocracy, I felt like David and the rest of the crew were arguing two different points.

The crew was saying that social dynamics are a motivator. I don't think David was disputing that, but was making a point that there no valid way to measure what routines equal better scores. The point system is arbitrary in that respect.

For example someone who doesn't need to lose weight could work out and actually gain weight in muscle. Would that work against him in points? Is running a mile more points then doing 200 situps? It all depends on what is best for the individual. The P90x wasn't a great example b/c everyone was doing the exact same routine and there was no point system attached. If your all running the same race a leader board makes sense. But who's to say who deserves the silver and who deserves the gold when comparing Michael Phelp's swimming to Usain Bolt's sprinting.

Correct me if I'm wrong as I haven't tried Fitocracy yet.

Edited.

EvilDead:

That's what a triathlon is for.

Quick follow up: Fitocracy doesn't actually award points for having a certain sized waist-line or being at a certain weight or BMI. It's focused entirely on what you do.

I've noticed, on days where I'm doing a lot of walking and my daily 2 mile run, I'm getting roughly the same total points as a bodybuilder focused mainly on weights. Did 25 crunches? You get 12 points. Did 10 dumbell press reps at 14 lbs per arm? You get 7 points. It's stuff like that.

Also: You can evaluate running pretty well if you're using Runkeeper, since it uses GPS (and even heart rate monitors, if you have 'em) to capture data, which is then imported into Fitocracy. In other words, you can tell if your friends did better than you, because you have exact metrics.

The system rewards activity, not how sculpted you are. That's a plus. However, it's not without its balance issues. In spite of our many differences in ability, there are activities that clearly need to be buffed or nerfed. There's a pinned forum thread there dedicated to that. I found out, just today, that I can't locate, in the exercise list, a single machine I used at the YMCA today.

But, on balance, it's still useful for all the reasons discussed. Plus, I'm confident that the team and the community are pretty motivated. A bunch of geeks are, indeed, getting into fitness. They will be highly motivated to smooth out the rough edges of this system.

What was great about the Uncharted 3 discussion is that not once did Lara say, "Suck it, Trebek!" Not once.

If something is running in your pants, might be time to ease up on the booze.

I rarely buy new games because I already have such a big back log. This year, the only time I bought (or will buy) games on release day is if I am really exited about the title (Deus Ex, Batman) and/or there is a multiplayer element that I want to play with friends (SWTOR, Gears of War 3). Other than that, I don't mind being the guy in 2011 asking people if they've played Planescape: Torment.