GWJ Conference Call Episode 304

Conference Call

FTL, Orcs Must Die 2, Cinders, Theatrhythm, Zynga Vs. EA, An Interview with 10000000 developer Luca Redwood, Your Emails and more!

This week Julian, Lara, Allen and Shawn talk about Zynga copying game design. Cory also sits down with 10000000 developer Luca Redwood!

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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Chairman_Mao's Timestamps

00.02.43 Theatrhythm
00.10.07 Cinders
00.18.17 Orcs Must Die 2
00.28.36 FTL Beta
00.30.47 10000000
00.34.21 Interview with Luca, developer of 10 bazillion.
00.58.23 This week's topic: Stealing!
01.13.47 Your emails

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Comments

Only about halfway through the show, but figured I'd comment on Theatrhythm (two weeks in a row where games I actually played were mentioned! Hot diggity damn!)

Many of the development team were pronouncing the game like Rabbit, Theater + Rhythm. This is how I've taken to calling it. Evidently the creator pronounces it like Lara, though, which I'm not even going to try and spell out.

So I guess either way works?

The party/experience system is surprisingly effective, though. You don't realize just how big a difference it makes until you're tackling one of the higher difficulty tracks in the Chaos Shrine (which is where the hardest stuff is) and play it with Level 2-4 characters. In the end, I feel like nostalgia is the hook to try and tug you into the game, but there's a lot of interesting ideas there that I'd love to see them build off of.

Thus far one of my biggest dreams that will never happen is Squenix teaming up with Nintendo and Capcom for Theatrhythm: Legend of Zelda and Theatrhythm: Mega Man.

And for Lara and her shiny new 3DS, thus far we folks in the 3DS Catch-All seem to near-unanimously agree that Super Mario 3D Land is a must-have for the system. A lot of us were big fans of Kid Icarus as well, with a slight "but" in there since there are a few that could not get passed some of the controls (personally, I think that damn kickstand was the worst thing to include with the game, as it gave people the impression they needed it for the controls rather than the 3D, which is what I at least was under the impression it was for).

Runners up would be recently released Kingdom Hearts 3D, which sounds right up your alley, Pushmo off the eShop, Ghost Recon Future Wars and, one of my personal favorites, Resident Evil: Revelations (which does NOT need the second analog attachment to be playable and fun).

If I missed anything I'm sure Shoptroll, Clocky, Blind Evil or the other frequent posters on the 3DS thread can help fill in gaps.

Yay, Lara's back!

I'm mildly tempted to get Cinders and see what my wife thinks of it.

ccesarano wrote:

Many of the development team were pronouncing the game like Rabbit, Theater + Rhythm. This is how I've taken to calling it. Evidently the creator pronounces it like Lara, though, which I'm not even going to try and spell out.

Haven't listened yet, but I'm in the Rabbit camp.

My favorite mispronouncement prior to launch was Demyx calling it Threat-Rhythm.

Theatrhythm: Mega Man.

I would kill for that. However, I think it would make less sense grafting an RPG based rhythm game on Mega Man which is predominantly an action game. But a Mega Man music game needs to happen.

To me part of the charm of Theatrhythm is the how they integrated the music, the mechanics, and the presentation. It's completely ingrained with the Final Fantasy experience, and not just a "hey let's slap Final Fantasy into a DDR or Guitar Hero clone" sort of project. It's very clear the designers had a large amount of affection for the series and did an excellent send-up of 25 years of spiky hair, ridiculous phrases, and giant swords.

I think to do a proper Mega Man or Zelda derivation you'd need to have the same level of integration.

If I missed anything I'm sure Shoptroll, Clocky, Blind Evil or the other frequent posters on the 3DS thread can help fill in gaps.

KH3D so far is a must-have if you want a solid portable KH game. BBS is mechanically better, but given the hit/miss nature of the KH portable games, 3D is the best one on a Nintendo system to date.

Mario Kart 7 is pretty damn good too. Addressed a number of faults from Wii (except for the stupid way they handle multiplayer) and it's a great package. Only downside is that Nintendo didn't do a DLC pipeline to keep it fresh.

Tanglebones wrote:

Yay, Lara's back!

Yay! When's Rob coming back?

Threat-rhythm is what the game should have been called. After all, I'm threatening the monsters with my rhythm.

shoptroll wrote:
Theatrhythm: Mega Man.

I would kill for that. However, I think it would make less sense grafting an RPG based rhythm game on Mega Man which is predominantly an action game. But a Mega Man music game needs to happen.

A Mega Man music action game, where bullets and jumps are musical notes (or something) could be great!

Demyx wrote:

Threat-rhythm is what the game should have been called. After all, I'm threatening the monsters with my rhythm.

Rumor: Squeenix exploring a Final Fantasy dance battle Kinect title.

shoptroll wrote:

Addressed a number of faults from Wii (except for the stupid God damned mother f*cking c*ck mongering f*ck magnet Blue Shell raaaarurelfaskjdgl;askdjhf;alskdfjas;ldgkas;ldjhsa;) and it's a great package.

Fixed that for you.

SocialChameleon wrote:

Rumor: Squeenix exploring a Final Fantasy dance battle Kinect title.

I would buy a Kinect for this. Get on it, Square.

grobstein wrote:

A Mega Man music action game, where bullets and jumps are musical notes (or something) could be great!

I was thinking that, actually. Although I was also thinking of a 10000000000000000000000000 styled puzzle game where the icons are dodging, attacking, weapon changes, e-tanks, etc.

EDIT: I can sympathize with Lara getting distracted by the FMVs in the Event stages. I'm having a hard time staying focused on the notes during the Field and Combat stages. I always want to look at the sprites I'm killing or the locations I'm walking by on the field. It's a shame they didn't put the standard Bestiary feature in this game (although I think the monsters don't have stats).

---

RE: EA v. Zynga

This falls square in the realm of conspiracy theories, but would a protracted legal spat between EA and Zynga run the risk of EA buying out Zynga? EA is trying hard as hell to be the #1 in the social space and they've made several high-profile acquisitions (Playfish and PopCap) to catapult themselves into that position. Could a legal battle drive Zynga stock further down enough for EA to make a hostile takeover? Or does EA not have enough cash reserves to really make such a play?

That said, good points about derivative works and cloning in regards to the creation of genres and conventions. How are such issues handled in other creative industries? Is the problem of "cloning" an issue in books, art and music in the present day?

With regards to happy places in games, some locales in WoW come immediately to mind. Floating islands in Nagrand, lonely hilltops in the Barrens or small, isolated plateaus where I spend a fair bit of time just hanging out and talking to friends. If I stop and think about it, it can be a little bittersweet. Some of these places that I associate with my buds can never be visited again - what with a lapsed subscription or said nooks being destroyed in the latest expansion. They're pretty much off the table at this point, and maybe that's part of the appeal.

Regarding the other Zynga lawsuit Lara was trying to remember, they're being sued for insider trading.

First insider trading lawsuit filed against Zynga after executives cash out

Your weekly rundown, brought to you by Old Man Zhou's Mantou House, China's most auspicious mantou maker since 2009.

00.02.43 Theatrhythm
00.10.07 Cinders
00.18.17 Orcs Must Die 2
00.28.36 FTL Beta
00.30.47 10000000
00.34.21 Interview with Luca, developer of 10 bazillion.
00.58.23 This week's topic: Stealing!
01.13.47 Your emails

Oh Rabbit, I feel kind of terrible now since I'm pretty sure I'm the one that directed you to go watch that LoL commentary. I was just trying to help, not scare you away from the game!

And just for the record, I think Cory is great as an interviewer. Kudos to you, sir, for getting me to sit through an interview for a game in which I had little interest.

Chairman_Mao wrote:

Your weekly rundown, brought to you by Old Man Zhou's Mantou House, China's most auspicious mantou maker since 2009.

00.02.43 Theatrhythm
00.10.07 Cinders
00.18.17 Orcs Must Die 2
00.28.36 FTL Beta
00.30.47 10000000
00.34.21 Interview with Luca, developer of 10 bazillion.
00.58.23 This week's topic: Stealing!
01.13.47 Your emails

I love these, by the way. I'm going to try and include them in the show notes from now on.

And just for the record, I think Cory is great as an interviewer. Kudos to you, sir, for getting me to sit through an interview for a game in which I had little interest.

I know, right? To think he was exhausted before he did that interview and Luca had just woke up. You wouldn't know it.

Certis wrote:
Chairman_Mao wrote:

Your weekly rundown, brought to you by Old Man Zhou's Mantou House, China's most auspicious mantou maker since 2009.

00.02.43 Theatrhythm
00.10.07 Cinders
00.18.17 Orcs Must Die 2
00.28.36 FTL Beta
00.30.47 10000000
00.34.21 Interview with Luca, developer of 10 bazillion.
00.58.23 This week's topic: Stealing!
01.13.47 Your emails

I love these, by the way. I'm going to try and include them in the show notes from now on.

And just for the record, I think Cory is great as an interviewer. Kudos to you, sir, for getting me to sit through an interview for a game in which I had little interest.

I know, right? To think he was exhausted before he did that interview and Luca had just woke up. You wouldn't know it.

Making it official? [terrified]The pressure to perform will be the second death of me[/terrified] (but really, great to hear!)

Keep talking, I'll start feeding you the show before it goes live so you can get a head start. If you're on Dropbox, send me a PM.

shoptroll wrote:
If I missed anything I'm sure Shoptroll, Clocky, Blind Evil or the other frequent posters on the 3DS thread can help fill in gaps.

KH3D so far is a must-have if you want a solid portable KH game. BBS is mechanically better, but given the hit/miss nature of the KH portable games, 3D is the best one on a Nintendo system to date.

How many of the previous Kingdom Hearts games will I need to have played to play this one? I've only finished KH1 and KH2, although I gave it the good college try on Chain of Memories.

KaterinLHC wrote:

How many of the previous Kingdom Hearts games will I need to have played to play this one? I've only finished KH1 and KH2, although I gave it the good college try on Chain of Memories.

Previously my advice would've been to get a summary of the previous games and read that before trying KH3D. But now I've discovered that as you play KH3D, it actually provides summaries of previous games.

I'd say go for it. Especially because KH1 and KH2 are the most important. BbS is the only one you're really missing out on in terms of significant plot.

KaterinLHC wrote:

How many of the previous Kingdom Hearts games will I need to have played to play this one? I've only finished KH1 and KH2, although I gave it the good college try on Chain of Memories.

You can probably wiki for the plot beats on the other side games. BBS introduced some new characters (and the combat system used in KH 3D), while 358/2 fleshed out Roxas/Org XIII a bit. Based on what I've read, I believe Re:Coded is largely inconsequential since it was originally a cell phone game, but it sets up KH 3D at the end (and the setup is covered soon after you start 3D anyways).

Demyx found this morning/last night that KH3D does some refreshers on the plot of KH1 so I assume it covers the other games, which is a big help. I'm sure if I'm incorrect in my suggestions she'll correct me. EDIT: Or she'll just Tannhauser me.

To Allen's questions about UI copyright - the Apple Look and Feel case back in the days of Windows 2.0 is kind of precedent for that I think (Apple lost). And of course Gameloft makes a healthy living ripping off pretty much every game you can name and publishing them on iOS.

I think my objection to that kind of slavish copying is twofold: it dilutes the acheivements of the indies, and it seems like such a waste of effort. I've got no idea about the legal status, but the gamer community has plenty of other ways to make its feelings known.

Dyni wrote:

Oh Rabbit, I feel kind of terrible now since I'm pretty sure I'm the one that directed you to go watch that LoL commentary. I was just trying to help, not scare you away from the game!.

Officially my favorite episode yet.

Also, rabbit, apologies if my comments made you more nervous about playing. I like talking about this game and breaking it down, when I do that I tend to go on longer about things than necessary, in this case your midlane play.

Lara, I'm looking forward to your next Cinder report. I too love the idea of a game that's basically choose-your own-adventure. Unfortunately, my hatred for formulaic romance novels and movies is as strong as said love.

I'm crossing my fingers you'll find the subverted trope angle that will allow me to buy it.

How does Cinders differ from Japanese visual novels/eroges?

I love Luca's accent.

10000000 purchased.

I always listen to GWJCC and love it. But I have to say, as a female gamer, it's a nice treat to hear a woman's voice as well, esp. one who makes such thoughtful and intelligent comments. You guys are great. Hope she can make it back soon.

And what a nice coincidence to hear an interview with the developer of 10000000, which I just bought two days ago. And finished today! Whoever said (wish I could remember) that you're closer than you think when you hit 2000000 is right. The game that launched me to freedom was 13450000 or so. Looking forward to updates for this game, but glad to see an endless play mode.

Great to have you back, Lara!

Great show, as always, but especially good to get Lara's perspective on things again.

I should also note that I look forward to checking out 10000000 once it's on Android!

great episode like always guys

Super Mario 2 was ripped from IIRC Doki Doki Panic.

Cinders is a direct download for $22.95 through the official website.

From what I could tell from the trailer, the format is almost exactly like a Japanese Dating Sim. Of course, the content is different, but the game format is similar. For the curious a free English Japanese-style AVN can be downloaded here:

http://katawa-shoujo.com/download.php

for the sake of comparison.

LarryC wrote:

From what I could tell from the trailer, the format is almost exactly like a Japanese Dating Sim. Of course, the content is different, but the game format is similar.

This is what immediately struck my mind as well (which of course means I already know way too much about Japanese dating sims). There's a trailer and a demo at the actual Cinders web site so you may as well check the thing out.

This genre is a form of interactive fiction, ala choose your own adventure books, only with graphics. Think menu driven, and with static (or minimally animated) predrawn frames.

I would be curious to know why Lara was specifically drawn to this game. Her description of it on the 'cast did not seem overly positive, and it seems like a very... curious choice. I put a few minutes into the demo and do not find it overly compelling; this genre lives or dies on the writing, and I'm not impressed by what I've seen so far.

I think it's rather unfortunate that Dating Sims have gotten a squicky reputation just for including a few nude scenes here and there. It's appropriate for gamers and gaming sites, IMO, to be far more acquainted with the genre than I generally find on Western sites; to which GWJ is no exception.

While Katawa Shoujo is instructive in that it's fairly staid and normal for the genre; it's a bit of a bore in terms of structure, writing, pacing, and characterization technique. I think the values the game contains is spot on, but there are more innovative narrative techniques in more notable Dating Sims; that can really only be done in a format where you expect the player to replay the game for alternative narrative choices.

This allows you to use "what if" scenarios to flesh out the backstory and nature of a character in the story without affecting immediate pacing and present story events. In this case, however, it's not a "what if," so much as it is something of an alternative story.