GWJ Conference Call Episode 278

Conference Call


Diablo III Beta, The Darkness II, Jagged Alliance: Back in Action, Ghost Trick iOs, Syndicate Coop Demo, Shootin' Real Guns, The State of Game Preservation, Your Emails and more!

The state of game preservation. Shawn visited the Pinball Hall of Fame and it's brought to mind the state of video game archives and what the digital future may hold.

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.

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Good Old Games

Diablo III Beta
The Darkness 2
King Arthur 2
Ghost Trick iOS
Jagged Alliance: Back in Action
Syndicate

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Show credits

Music credits: 

Intro/Outtro Music - Ian Dorsch, Willowtree Audioworks

Comments

We occasionally call 'slot machines' fruit machines in the UK.

Hey Rob, regarding Terra Nova: Strike Force Centauri, I actually bought a brand new copy of it on ebay a few weeks ago (there are still thousands of unopened copies on the market). It fires right up with Dosbox with just a little bit of tweaking. And it's still awesome.

Oooh, I know what Valence87 is getting for Valentine's Day.

Seriously, though, are there some good guides for getting it up and running?

So good to hear the Pinball Hall of Fame mentioned! My parents live in Las Vegas and I make it a point to go there at least a couple times when I visit. Took my husband there for the first time last visit and he fell in love as well. They had moved locations from when I was there last and seemed to have more to choose from.

Medieval Madness is my ultimate favorite with Cirqus Voltaire being a close second. Unfortunately on my last visit, Cirqus Voltaire was out of order. Shoot the castle!

Rob Zacny wrote:
Oooh, I know what Valence87 is getting for Valentine's Day.

Seriously, though, are there some good guides for getting it up and running?

I think as long as you mount your hard drive and your CD drive (so it can read those lovely cutscenes) with Dosbox, it should all install and run just fine. Worked for me, anyway.

Failing that, the cats at TTLG have some good documentation.

http://www.ttlg.com/forums/showthrea...

I'm disappointed that the only email you read on the podcast about used games was one that agreed with you. I'm sure there were people that wrote in with credible arguments as to why the used game market is a good thing for the consumer, and you chose to ignore them.

How can you develop a community by silencing dissenters?

Says the person posting in our public comments section? Lots of good discussion in the show thread

We got lots of emails regarding used games, all of them novel length and/or repetitive of points already raised in the show. Much as I read and appreciate all emails, I'm not going to spend hours editing down emails for the sake of fair and balanced representation. I'll take well researched info over that.

Our community of dissenters seems plenty robust despite my iron fisted tyranny of our email section.

Heh, not reading emails is somehow "silencing dissenters".

Quintin_Stone wrote:
Heh, not reading emails is somehow "silencing dissenters".

Didn't you know? The show is supposed to be like five hours long and they're supposed to read at least one email showing every possible opinion. It's only fair. It's like a rule... or something.

Thin_J wrote:
Quintin_Stone wrote:
Heh, not reading emails is somehow "silencing dissenters".

Didn't you know? The show is supposed to be like five hours long and they're supposed to read at least one email showing every possible opinion. It's only fair. It's like a rule... or something.


Rise up oppressed gamers!
#occupygwj

Thin_J wrote:
Quintin_Stone wrote:
Heh, not reading emails is somehow "silencing dissenters".

Didn't you know? The show is supposed to be like five hours long and they're supposed to read at least one email showing every possible opinion. It's only fair. It's like a rule... or something.


Fair and balanced, in fact.

As a Canadian, I have never heard a slot machine called a "VLT" before. At first I thought it was some kind of vegetarian sandwich.

The Gun Store (which I've never been to but a friend of mine has, and can verify the Hello Kitty gun) does have the "Coalition Package", so you can fire an M4 (called a C8 in the Canadian Forces), M249 (C9), and an M9 (well the CF doesn't use the M9—but they do use the Sig Sauer, so you're still covered).

I would have settled for two emails. One stating the case for used games and one against. Instead there was only one stating that Gamestop makes $3b in profit and game studios don't. While I appreciate that Gamestop at times operates in ways I don't approve of; there is a reason they are succeeding. They are obviously offering a service that gamers want. But those services were not discussed at any length, other than "I don't see the point of saving $3 on a game."

I get it, I really do. The games industry as a whole has an issue with used games. But writing it off as a racket does not help the community. And while it would take a large amount of time to go through all the emails, it wouldn't take too much time to find one pro and one anti. That is all I'm saying. And yes, I do feel that not giving voice to those that disagree with you is the same as silencing. Harsh? Maybe. But that is my view.

It might be a knee jerk reaction, but it was a topic that really sparked my interest. And it was glossed over to spend some more talking about how the "Freemium" business model is awesome in the iOS market. If this were such a heated topic that gained so much traction with the GWJ community, and is a huge issue for the games industry as a whole, then it deserves more attention and representation from the community than it received.

Wait a minute. You wanted us to read your email! I see it's the same as the comment you made in the show thread. It's a good email/comment and well thought out. I think I would have actually tapped that one for the show, but you sent it Sunday and we recorded on Saturday. Your point of view is actually unique compared to the rest the the letters.

I was starting to wonder where this amazing ability to know what emails we got was

You could have read my email. And it would have been awesome. But then again, you could have chosen another email that was Pro-Used games. I'm sure people brought up DRM comparisons, failure of game rental retail locations, etc. Anything really, just something to show that there were people who thought the used game market was a positive thing for the consumer.

As older gamers I think we are in a unique position to be able to advocate for the consumer without sounding silly. We can discuss things in a way that would make the games industry see that it is not just broke college/high school kids hounding the used game market. But if we simply say, "Well Gamestop is running a racket and their earnings performance during the last fiscal year was 1/4 for the video games industry without actually producing anything." Is this a problem? Yes. But can we as adults look at this and ask ourselves, why are they able to have this racket?

Will the video games industry listen? Maybe. But I think it is important to try anyway.

Was my comment the same as my email, yes. I'm chatty and I like to talk about these things. Am I mad that you didn't read my email? No. I'm annoyed you didn't read any email that was pro-used games. I might be beating a dead horse but there it is.

As for knowing what emails you received, you did describe the slew of emails you got on the topic a "kicking the hornet's nest". That would lead me to believe that I wasn't the only one that was pro-used games.

Again, the decision on what to read isn't based on some balance one way or another. We generally pick the four most interesting e-mails we get regardless of where they fall on any given spectrum. Sometimes we pick four e-mails because we only got five, so we're less picky, other weeks we get a lot and we're looking for things that are interesting, well thought out, entertaining or just lead us down a discussion path we have input on or haven't already explored.

Sure, we got pro-used e-mails, but I don't recall any of the ones we received before recording as standing out or exploring a new angle. In other words, had we read one of those we'd have just been doing it to check off some kind of box on a list -- yup, we have given lip service to a dissenting opinion. Just to go ahead and clarify, I don't think we'll make that decision for that reason often if ever.

I'm comfortable with the many times we have featured e-mails that called us class A morons, but did it in an interesting way, or a way that made us look at things differently. If we'd gotten that e-mail, then we'd have read that one instead. As it stood, we felt like the most interesting e-mail we got on the topic was the one we read. That's pretty much all there was to it.

You mentioned on the podcast that The Darkness 2 had a cel shaded look.

I just looked up some screen shots. Am I misunderstanding what Cel Shaded means? I thought it meant Jet Grind Radio and XIII.

00.01.48 Ghost Trick (iOS)
00.03.34 Syndicate Co-op Demo
00.07.20 King Arthur II
00.16.48 Jagged Alliance Back in Action Demo
00.20.15 Diablo III Beta
00.27.56 The Darkness 2
00.36.40 Topic: State of Game Preservation
00.55.37 Your emails

*Note the new Jagged Alliance game is Back in Action, not 2. GWJ correct me if I'm wrong.

Out here in Gatineau, what with 2 casinos nearby, plus VLTs being permitted in bars and the like, I knew exactly what you were talking about Certis.

So it's Gamestops fault. The downfall of the industry because one retailer understands the concept of lower prices. I don't like shopping at Gamestop, hate there constant preorder and magazine pressure, but I spend plenty of money on used games from Amazon at a much deeper discount than $5.00. So is it also Amazons fault? Or are the prices just too high for new games in the first place?

We're suckers for numbers, that's really it. We got some wonderful emails on the topic calling us idiots, but they were all very long and explicitly about unholy family relations, so we kind of skipped those. What Sean says about volume, however, is correct. We got just an unbelievable email response on that show, and there was no way we're going to read all of them. Instead, we read the one that actually did some new thinking on it. That it was in one direction or another was incidental.

Also, if you actually want your email read on the show, it's super helpful if you can keep it succinct, or break it out into a "this is the tl;dr part to read." Remember, it takes 1 minute to read 100 words aloud. Nobody wants to listen to us read for minutes at a time, so if the meat of your email is longer than 50 words, it better be pretty awesomely interesting.

doubtingthomas396 wrote:
You mentioned on the podcast that The Darkness 2 had a cel shaded look.

I just looked up some screen shots. Am I misunderstanding what Cel Shaded means? I thought it meant Jet Grind Radio and XIII.

Go watch the gametrailers review and you'll see. It can be really subtle at times, and blatently obvious at others.

Best part of the show: "You just throw a beaver at things" - Elysium

It was fun hearing about Certis doing some real shooting. I haven't been able to get to a firing range in a couple of years, and I have missed it.

In answer to a question that came up: Fully automatic weapons are legal to own only with a special federal permit that is almost impossible to get. So those full-auto bursts you were firing were strictly rental only.

The Sig Sauer is a nice pistol, but I prefer the Browning High Power for 9mm. But that's just me.

Also, muzzle loaders are indeed fun to shoot. Less so to clean, depending on the kind of powder you used. (An authentic musket wouldn't be able to use modern smokeless powders, which shoot filthy.)

To the emailer who works in manufacturing and wondered about why the games industry can't follow suit: I think the guys started off with some good reasons why game development isn't as easily managed as mechanical production, but there is a lot more to be said on the topic.

First off, ALL software development suffers from an inability to correctly estimate completion time. As much as people want to claim "software engineering" as a profession (myself included), there simply isn't enough of a history to draw on to really achieve that. A feature that sounds like it could be implemented in less than a week could uncover a bug that literally takes a month of developer time to track down, and no one is able to know that until the bug is found. Removing the feature would have been a better option at some point, but there isn't a well-known metric for making those kinds of determinations with entertainment software.

The games industry also faces challenges unlike other entertainment industries. Movies are the most common comparison made, due to the massive number of highly skilled (and therefore highly paid) contributors. In a direct comparison, games usually require far fewer people, but they tend to be much better paid due to the skills needed being in high demand in other fields, and a generally higher cost of obtaining those skills. Games fall far behind the movie industry when it comes to long-term income models, however. Only in the last few years have we seen a strong resurgence of secondary markets for older games, and I don't think these markets have been getting money back to the creators (see Rock Paper Shotgun's article from last week). Movies get the initial theatrical release, just like games get release-day income; but once that initial burst is gone, the similarities trickle off. Second-run movie theaters and Steam sales line up nicely, but the DVD/rental market doesn't exist with games - the rentals for games are part of the initial blast, and not many games can pull off a "Collection of the Year" version to get a new round of interest. Past that, movies have television rights, which could somewhat equate to a game being available as a download on the next version of the console it was released on.

I think book publishing is probably the market that most closely mirrors games. There is one release point, with that being the source of the bulk of the sales. The publisher gets most of the income from this, and shares the rest with the distribution and content creator. The content itself is consumed, and then forgotten: shelved or traded away. After that initial sale, no element of the creation chain sees more money from this. The biggest problem with this model is that normally no more than one person authors a book, where there can literally be hundreds of people who create a video game.

I personally feel that used game sales should not be illegal, or cracked down on, but I will not participate in that market. I cannot abide a service where I am offered 40% of my purchase so that someone else can save 10% on the initial purchase price, and the people who made the game get nothing. Obviously, the game makers need to find a way around this, and DLC is the best tool they have to work with right now. I find it funny that people choose to see packed-in DLC codes as a punishment to used-game customers, and not as a bonus to new-game customers. It is really just a matter of perspective.

How many movie rental services buy more copies after the initial boom? If anything, I would anticipate the service wanting to get rid of some of their copies as demand dwindled. Rare as rental stores are, I don't think any of them really want to be stuck with 30 copies of an action sequel from 2006.

wordsmythe wrote:
How many movie rental services buy more copies after the initial boom? If anything, I would anticipate the service wanting to get rid of some of their copies as demand dwindled. Rare as rental stores are, I don't think any of them really want to be stuck with 30 copies of an action sequel from 2006.
True, but the rental movies come out roughly six months after the theatrical release, so it is a second initial boom. The studios get the income from the second boom, even if it costs some money to make it happen. Most games don't even get re-released after a 6 month gap, usually only the ones that did well in the first place, and have added DLC to the releases in the meantime.