GWJ Conference Call Episode 299

Conference Call

Endless Space, Quantum Conundrum, The Walking Dead Episode 2, Games For Kids (And Adults), Your Emails and more!

This week Julian, Cory and Elysium talk games that manage to be fun for kids and adults. I think. I'm on vacation posting from my phone, don't judge me!

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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Show credits

Music credits: 

Intro/Outtro Music - Ian Dorsch, Willowtree Audioworks

Alpha - (b-sides) - workbench-music.com - 26:35

Cosmos - (b-sides) - workbench-music.com - 43:34

Comments

@Julian - how do you think the Walking Dead game would play for someone who hasn't read the comics/has only seen the pilot episode?

Hello, I have not yet listened to the podcast but I will share a few ideas about the topic.

Firstly, my little sister is 6 years old but when Lara Croft and Guardian of Light came out she was probably jusy going on 5 years. She LOVES playing that game co-op as the Aztec shield-dude and we have finished the game at least twice. If she could play it completely by herself then I am sure she'd finish it at least a dozen more times. An absolute recommendation for a stellar game that also happens to be good for kids.

Second on my list is Magika. Kids love helping to finish a tough game and they know the character abilities are making it easier for whoever is playing which is an awesome responsibility. Any adult who plays will still feel like a total badass. This game rewards co-op use of the easy to grasp yet hard to master magic system.

Finally, Lego Batman is must. We both played this to the end of the Hero missions and then I let my sister finish the villain levels by herself. She can now plough through the whole game unaided. Lego Batman 2 will be arriving into her grubby little hands shorly.

P.S: Kids love watching someone play both Portal and Portal 2. Perhaps soon my sister will be able to play the Atlas and P-body co-op mode.

If Cory is still looking for a DDO static group; see http://www.gamerswithjobs.com/node/1...

The group is fairly casual, and is currently at level 7; making it the right time to join if you have the level 7 veteran status.

Tanglebones: I'm not Rabbit, but I feel safe saying that The Walking Dead game is easily played by people not familiar with the comic or TV show. There's zero dependency on the source material. If you're familiar with it, you can assume that it's all happening at the same rough time, but there's nothing that's presented to even make us ask, "Is this canonical?"

To be lost here, you'd have to be totally unfamiliar with the basic mechanics of zombie horror. Unlikely as that sounds, I don't even think that's an issue because there are barely any rules established as the story progresses. The zombies are almost a conceit, and the main theme is survival and human intercommunication. If that sounds up your alley, consider snagging a demo and trying it out. This is one of the best games of its type, the artwork's great, and the voice acting's pretty strong for something inexpensive and episodic.

It's interesting that you guys mentioned possibly playing as Joker at the ending of Mass Effect 3, it's actually a neat idea and not unprecedented, after all, we played as Joker momentarily in Mass Effect 2, and it was one of the better scenes of the game in my opinion. After playing the whole game as a one-woman army, playing as a guy who'd break every bone in his body if he fell over was extremely tense.

I think seeing the results of Shepards actions first hand as Joker would have been really intriguing.

This week's rundown, brought to you this week by special guest sponsor North Korea, where women can now wear pants anytime they want

00.01.49 Endless Space
00.05.57 Quantum Conundrum
00.15.31 Walking Dead
00.17.46 The new Mass Effect 3 ending (not spoilery)
00.18.46 Le Havre
00.19.14 D&D Online
00.23.06 Skyrim: Dawnguard expansion
00.27.04 This week’s topic: Kid’s games!
00.44.00 Your emails

There were bits of the Mass Effect extended ending that we're influcenced by your decisions, and they were enough to justify a second play through of the finale, for me. I can't watch YouTube of Mass Effect, because it is so weird seeing a different Shepard. I'm fine with not seeing the other 2 (now 3) endings, because I saw MY ending, and that's what matters.

Chairman_Mao wrote:

This week's rundown, brought to you this week by special guest sponsor North Korea, where women can now wear pants anytime they want

00.01.49 Endless Space
00.05.57 Quantum Conundrum
00.15.31 Walking Dead
00.17.46 The new Mass Effect 3 ending (not spoilery)
00.18.46 Le Havre
00.19.14 D&D Online
00.23.06 Skyrim: Dawnguard expansion
00.27.04 This week’s topic: Kid’s games!
00.44.00 Your emails

Wow this is excellent, thanks ! Wish every episode had this : )

For the curious, the free English AVN (audiovisual novel) Katawa Shoujo was released for free download earlier this year. While there has been some concern over the inadvertent use of the Japanese word "katawa" which is derogatory, the material is generally highly recommended.

There are five unique storylines and endings in the game; an example of what's possible without the animation and the voice-acting.

While Japanese AVNs are generally classified as "games," it's probably more appropriate to call them audiovisual Choose Your Own Adventure narratives.

Yeah, what Ian said. Zero dependency, and I think the game is better then either the comics or the TV series.

Mousetrap wrote:

If Cory is still looking for a DDO static group; see http://www.gamerswithjobs.com/node/1...

The group is fairly casual, and is currently at level 7; making it the right time to join if you have the level 7 veteran status.

Just listened to the podcast on the drive into work. Yay for some DDO love.

We have had an increase in active GWJs in the past couple of weeks. Every night I am seeing active players at various lower level ranges. The guild on Orien is open to all GWJs and not just for static group nights. So if anyone wants to jump into DDO now is a great time because of all the activity in the community.

First I wanted to high five Cory for saying what I was thinking: Typing of the Dead.

Then I wanted to throw him out a window for saying 20-doz.

I'm actually trying to think about how to influence my niece in terms of gaming better. Most of the games she plays were purchased by my mom, in particular some Zhu Zhu Pets game. I think part of it is that it doesn't frustrate her. I got her New Super Mario Bros., but she eventually reached a bunch of levels where she kept on asking me to beat stuff for her. I told her if I just do it for her then the game will only get harder and she won't be any better at it, and next thing you know she'll be making me play the whole game.

I think the one thing that was different when we were kids was a lack of certain expectations, primarily the expectation to beat a game. I played the first four levels of the original Super Mario Bros. over and over again, and would either shut it off when I got to World 2 or just play until I died. This was the general pattern for most games, as I figured I simply wasn't good enough to beat them. Then again, I also had an older brother that helped me out. We played Contra together, Ice Hockey, Ninja Turtles, "da woiks". I not only had a sibling that had the time and willingness to play with me, but allowed me to understand these games were challenging and eventually I'd get better at them.

Even so, she is turning 7 this month. When I was 7 I was playing Super Mario World, discovering Final Fantasy II U.S. (a.k.a. FFIV), A Link to the Past and Super Metroid. I'm considering downloading Mario World and A Link to the Past onto my Wii so she can play them, but is this really the best choice? In addition, are there games on the DS that are similar?

She's decent at reading, and the original Final Fantasy and FFII helped teach me how to read growing up. So I'm wondering if I can go that direction or not. I'm never quite sure. I know she enjoyed Castle Crashers, and when she was 3 and 4 she'd play games like that and Wind Waker and insist she wanted the characters to go swimming.

Or perhaps I should give some of the indie games like World of Goo a shot and see if she enjoys those well enough?

I don't know. It seems the biggest difference is she gets frustrated if she doesn't succeed, whereas I remember being fine if I didn't succeed. Then again, I also played games more frequently than she did and had siblings. Never underestimate the value of two kids close enough in age that can occupy each other and leave you time to not give a sh*t what they're doing.

I'm not very far into Quantum Conundrum, but it really feels to me like it's the kid-brother to Portal, and that's a-ok because I agree with Kim Swift that there's not a lot of games that have a general appeal once you step outside of the Nintendo catalog. On a historical note, Al Lowe reached a similar conclusion back in the 90's which led to Torrin's Passage.

If I had kids I could see myself introducing them to the "genre" with QC before moving onto Portal due to the darker level of humor in Portal and its sequel. So far the writing hasn't resonated with me nearly as much as Portal, but the writing is nicely done.

As for the "genre"... I think Jerry Holkins hit it nicely. The "environmental puzzle solving" is fairly close to adventure games. You just have a much more focused/limited inventory which streamlines the puzzling and removes issues like using chickens and pulleys

The Braid comparison is interesting. Definitely think Braid is a lot more cerebral/brain-teaser style puzzling (like Myst or Professor Layton) expressed through platforming, while Portal / QC are a lot more gradual and informative to the player. I don't think the two styles are directly comparable.

EDIT: Julian's "embarassment of riches" with games for his kids sounds like an issue I'm going to have eventually... >_<

After 3 long games, Mass Effect was about more than just Shepard to me. So, for me, knowing her ending is not ending enough for the series. I need to know what happens to not just the universe but some of the characters that have been with me for over 100 hours. I realized this more with the new endings because I liked having just a bit more time with those people.

Maybe they should have done the ending like this:

ccesarano wrote:

First I wanted to high five Cory for saying what I was thinking: Typing of the Dead.

Then I wanted to throw him out a window for saying 20-doz.

As a kid, the only way I got through Contra was with the Konami code. Just sayin'.

McChuck wrote:

Maybe they should have done the ending like this:

4:40 = sick burn

Mex wrote:
Chairman_Mao wrote:

This week's rundown, brought to you this week by special guest sponsor North Korea, where women can now wear pants anytime they want

00.01.49 Endless Space
00.05.57 Quantum Conundrum
00.15.31 Walking Dead
00.17.46 The new Mass Effect 3 ending (not spoilery)
00.18.46 Le Havre
00.19.14 D&D Online
00.23.06 Skyrim: Dawnguard expansion
00.27.04 This week’s topic: Kid’s games!
00.44.00 Your emails

Wow this is excellent, thanks ! Wish every episode had this : )

I think Chairman Mao actually does do this every week, at least that I've seen. Keep up the good work, Mr Mao!

为人民服务
(I exist to serve the people)

I would like mine medium rare with BBQ on the side.

LarryC wrote:

I would like mine medium rare with BBQ on the side.

Sorry I only work in the GWJCC timecoding department. You need to resubmit your request in notarized triplicate to the GWJ barbecue production and distribution department (GWJBBQPDD). Please expect a response in 2-6 weeks.

I just had to pause the podcast to type this. I haven't played Quantum Conundrum, I've only seen the videos, but from what I've seen and heard of it I would never have classified this as a game for kids. It looks even more complicated than Portal IMHO...

Good call on those, Jayhawker. I've thought of a couple others I wish I had mentioned.

Really enjoyed the podcast this week!

I was disappointed that two of my very favorite kid to adult crossover games were not mentioned, Toy Story 3 and Viva Piñata. Both worked on exactly the level Elysium and Rabbit discussed. They are open world and great sandbox games to play in.

The one videogame that enhanced my daughter's reading the most was Legend of Zelda: Wind Waker. It seriously slowed the game down for my wife and I, but I credit the game for exposing my kindergarten daughter to the value of an epic tale, as she read nearly all of the dialogue. If Rock Band turns kids into musicians, then video games can turn them into readers.

As for getting schooled by my daughter in Portal 2, there was one puzzle that must have taken me 45 minutes to figure out. I had beams going all over the place, and was pretty impressed with the intricate solution. When Jordan got to this map I warned her it would be a tough one. She proceeded to solve it about 2 minutes, as the solution was actually straight forward and simple. She just looked at me like I was an idiot. And I kind of was.

And finally, Cory could not be more right about endings. It's supposed to be about playing the game! Every year I read posts on sports gaming sites as gamers lament the final cut scene when your team wins the championship. It's as though it's not worth playing unless it is done really well. Blows my mind every time.

Thank you soooooo much for that segment on Games For Kids (And Adults)!!!! My son isn't even walking yet, but this is an issue that has come up a few times. I know I want to introduce him to gaming someday, but how and with what? And how do I ensure it won't rot his brain? Those were the questions I'd been pondering. Anyhow, was great insight on the matter!

I have a great example on how not to do it. One evening my daughter started watching me play Project: Snowblind. I was using a sniper rifle to clear out the guards before moving on.

Then, in front of my wife, she told me I was a really good man hunter. Instant doghouse.

Eleima wrote:

Thank you soooooo much for that segment on Games For Kids (And Adults)!!!! My son isn't even walking yet, but this is an issue that has come up a few times. I know I want to introduce him to gaming someday, but how and with what? And how do I ensure it won't rot his brain? Those were the questions I'd been pondering. Anyhow, was great insight on the matter!

Nintendo is probably the safest bet.

I want to introduce my son to gaming by letting him discover each new console generation like I did starting with an Odyssey 2 the first year, the Atari 2600 the next year, the NES the year after that, then the SNES, Dreamcast, PS1, Xbox, PS3, and so on, one each year. By the time he turns 18 we should be up to whatever the current gen of consoles is.

Spoiler:

I'm very likely kidding

Chairman_Mao wrote:

I want to introduce my son to gaming by letting him discover each new console generation like I did starting with an Odyssey 2 the first year, the Atari 2600 the next year, the NES the year after that, then the SNES, Dreamcast, PS1, Xbox, PS3, and so on, one each year. By the time he turns 18 we should be up to whatever the current gen of consoles is.

Spoiler:

I'm very likely kidding

I hope you're kidding, because children shouldn't be allowed to advance until they've mastered the current level.

Chairman_Mao wrote:
Eleima wrote:

Thank you soooooo much for that segment on Games For Kids (And Adults)!!!! My son isn't even walking yet, but this is an issue that has come up a few times. I know I want to introduce him to gaming someday, but how and with what? And how do I ensure it won't rot his brain? Those were the questions I'd been pondering. Anyhow, was great insight on the matter!

Nintendo is probably the safest bet.

Nintendo is a great choice. I'd also plunder the archives over at GOG. There's some great titles over there from Sierra, Maxis, Bullfrog and others that would probably be good for kids. Plus, they won't complain about the graphics/controls because they won't have a frame of reference

Jayhawker wrote:

I have a great example on how not to do it. One evening my daughter started watching me play Project: Snowblind. I was using a sniper rifle to clear out the guards before moving on.

Then, in front of my wife, she told me I was a really good man hunter. Instant doghouse.