GWJ Conference Call Episode 311

Conference Call


Borderlands 2, XCOM, F1 2012, Rob's New Job, Your Emails and more!

This week Shawn, Julian and Elysium pump Rob Zacny for impressions of the full version of the new XCOM!

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.

[size=20]The New Science[/size]

Tech Thing Daily
Game Thing Daily
Good Old Games
Tweaked Audio (Use discount code GWJ)

Audible

Chairman_Mao's Timestamps
00.01.52 X-Com
00.14.51 Borderlands 2
00.24.38 Fable 2
00.32.56 Rob's new day job--covering E-sports!
00.39.09 F1 2012
00.44.47 Show sponsor details: Kickstarter project The New Science, a boardgame project
00.46.38 Donation Drive update!
00.49.28 Catching up on all your emails!

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Show credits

Music credits: 

Synesthesia - Workbench Music - http://workbench-music.com - 46:11

Intro/Outtro Music - Ian Dorsch, Willowtree Audioworks

Comments

wordsmythe wrote:
Certis wrote:
maverickz wrote:
Just finished up listening to this podcast. And I'm really disappointed that when you all were talking about genre defining games you didn't mention Thief. Those games virtually created the first person sneaker. And they most certainly inform a large portion of the games that come out now.
Question was about defining games of the "current generation" which is still a bit loosely defined, but I'd say Thief is a last-gen (over a decade ago) game. Totally agree with you in general though. It spawned a ton of new game design.

Yeah, there's no lack of affection for that game around here.

Never heard of it.

Certis wrote:
maverickz wrote:
Just finished up listening to this podcast. And I'm really disappointed that when you all were talking about genre defining games you didn't mention Thief. Those games virtually created the first person sneaker. And they most certainly inform a large portion of the games that come out now.
Question was about defining games of the "current generation" which is still a bit loosely defined, but I'd say Thief is a last-gen (over a decade ago) game. Totally agree with you in general though. It spawned a ton of new game design.

Well, to be fair you guys did mention both Super Mario and Metal Gear Solid. By the way MGS was released the same year as Thief. But I could be mis-remembering, I'm running on 4 hours of sleep lately. Anyway, not trying to argue the point, like you said it's a fuzzy concept.

The question I would have related to this topic is where indie games fall into the spectrum. There have been some really oddball indies released that were pretty innovative, but I guess not canonical enough to define a generation of games.

Actually, that was in the email used as an example of past seminal games, which we repeated later.

Certis wrote:
Actually, that was in the email used as an example of past seminal games, which we repeated later. ;)

Touche'..... you win this round... -_-

But we all agree that Thief is better than Mom's apple pie so it's cool.

Gravey wrote:
wordsmythe wrote:
Certis wrote:
maverickz wrote:
Just finished up listening to this podcast. And I'm really disappointed that when you all were talking about genre defining games you didn't mention Thief. Those games virtually created the first person sneaker. And they most certainly inform a large portion of the games that come out now.
Question was about defining games of the "current generation" which is still a bit loosely defined, but I'd say Thief is a last-gen (over a decade ago) game. Totally agree with you in general though. It spawned a ton of new game design.

Yeah, there's no lack of affection for that game around here.

Never heard of it.

Of course you haven't, you taffer.

Keithustus wrote:
Holy crap, XCOM releases soon! Now I need to decide whether to play this or....what's that other remake, Xenogears? ....Xenonauts! Will listening provide the necessary criteria? Guess I'll find out tomorrow during my jog.

I think the worst decision to make about XCom being released is that Dishonored drops on the same day. I've pre-ordered both and I still haven't played Torchlight 2 because I've been playing so much Borderlands 2 and let's not talk about the drawer full of neglected Xbox games.

davemonkey wrote:
Keithustus wrote:
Holy crap, XCOM releases soon! Now I need to decide whether to play this or....what's that other remake, Xenogears? ....Xenonauts! Will listening provide the necessary criteria? Guess I'll find out tomorrow during my jog.

I think the worst decision to make about XCom being released is that Dishonored drops on the same day. I've pre-ordered both and I still haven't played Torchlight 2 because I've been playing so much Borderlands 2 and let's not talk about the drawer full of neglected Xbox games.

I'll wait on Dishonored until I hear their explanation about using Chicago Cease-Fire documentary footage in their advertising.

Hey guys, seminal games in the last decade...

No TF2? Seriously?

cube wrote:
Hey guys, seminal games in the last decade...

No TF2? Seriously?

Curious how you see it as being seminal. I see conflation (in my mind anyway) between listing really good games in a genre, vs. games that had impacts on the things that came after them.

Since I am not a big TF2 player, and all I see that has been born from it are hats and incidental items being achieved/shared, I am curious what impacts it's had on games.

As I wrote the "seminal games" question, I thought I should point out that Julian was supposed to take a shot if he mentioned Bioshock. That was kinda missed in the initial reading of the question.

I'll just have to hope he had a martini in front of him during the podcast, I guess.

Still, I liked your answers, guys. Uncharted was a great example, too. Thanks for reading the question!

Jonathan Downin is this week's hero for warning us about Spec Ops: The Line spoilers. The game only came out 3 months ago! You guys seem to be more careful about spoiling Bioshock

Not sure if I will ever understand why The Longest Journey receives the sort of praise it does.

Storytelling-wise it starts out not-too-bad, but is marred by some terrible puzzles which are completely at odds with the main character. It's been a while since I played so I might not have the details spot on, but I remember a sequence something like this:

You are trying to get into a place because you heard that someone you are mildly interested in speaking to might be there. It's closed or something for some reason, and so it seems that the only way you're going to get in is by causing a distraction. The eventual solution involves making a completely ridiculous contraption out of a rubber ring and some pliers in order to reach down under some train tracks and grab a key which unlocks a maintenance box somewhere. Leaving aside the question of why anyone would actually bother to go to such ridiculous lengths for the mere possibility of talking to someone, let's not forget that (unless the game did a very poor job of communicating this), I have no reason to suspect some random thing on some tube tracks is the exact key I happen to need in order to open this box.

Yes, adventure games have infuriating puzzles all the time, but the best ones at least try to match character motivations to what the player is being asked to do. In most LucasArts games you had to do some crazy stuff, but it seemed to be stuff (with a few minor exceptions) that the characters plausibly would do. During the start of the The Longest Journey, I get engaged in stuff that my character has almost no motivation to do except that she happens to be starring in an adventure game.

From what I remember, the puzzling settles down a bit, but then the plot goes off the rails in the final chapter. Again, it's been a while since I played it so I might be forgetting details, but I remember at the time being gobsmacked that a plot point that seemed very important at the time (all of your friends disappearing) was just dropped, never to be spoken of again by the finale. Baffling.

Combine that with some painfully lengthy dialogue that displays none of the concise, economic world building of, say, a Tim Schafer game and I find impossible to recommend to ANYONE's daughter.

HedgeWizard wrote:
cube wrote:
Hey guys, seminal games in the last decade...

No TF2? Seriously?

Curious how you see it as being seminal. I see conflation (in my mind anyway) between listing really good games in a genre, vs. games that had impacts on the things that came after them.

Semantic clarification time! Hedge is right. "Seminal," derived from the same root as "semen," is about offspring and influence on future generations. TF2 may come to fit that definition, but I don't know that it has generated that history yet.

kazriko wrote:
Tanglebones wrote:
My wife says that we're not ever allowed to get rid of our BC PS3 for this specific game

Hah. I still have my BC PS3 up on a shelf in my house in case I ever need it. It sucks nearly 300 watts of power compared to the ~80 watts of my current PS3 though, so I don't use it often. I'm happy that so many of my PS2 games are coming to PS3, PSP, and Vita though. Maybe I'll eventually be able to get rid of both my PS2 and BC PS3.

shoptroll wrote:
kazriko wrote:
It might be harder to find a PS2 to play that than it is to get a PS Vita or PSP for Trails though.

Huh. I thought Sony was still keeping the PS2 alive as of a couple years ago. Can't seem to find any new ones on Amazon or Gamestop though :(

They're keeping the PS2 alive... as a system they sell to Brazil and other developing nations. It had run its 10 year course 2 years ago here in the US. You can usually still find used ones though. I've seen Walmart or Alco have maybe 1 new unit left in stock occasionally.

In Japan, the PS2 still outsells the Xbox360 some weeks, but it seems in the last 2 years, 360 has sold more units overall.

wordsmythe wrote:
HedgeWizard wrote:
cube wrote:
Hey guys, seminal games in the last decade...

No TF2? Seriously?

Curious how you see it as being seminal. I see conflation (in my mind anyway) between listing really good games in a genre, vs. games that had impacts on the things that came after them.

Semantic clarification time! Hedge is right. "Seminal," derived from the same root as "semen," is about offspring and influence on future generations. TF2 may come to fit that definition, but I don't know that it has generated that history yet.

Thanks, Erik, for helping us put two and two together about "seminal" and "semen". I was really hoping we'd get to that after Shawn started this out with pumping.

Anyway, yeah, I just don't see TF2 having the same enduring influence as some of the other games we mentioned here. I think it's a brilliant game and likely still the best class-based competitive shooter out there, but it's not inspiring a lot of imitators and emulation. That might be unfortunate, but I do think it limits how much influence we can assign it in these last several years.

Hey, I played Out Time Days, too! I loved the worldbuilding in that one, probably more than the actual gameplay.

The commercial PBM scene is something I got into just a few years before online PC games finally reached a critical threshold, and the PBM industry collapsed. (Or at least, that's my impression of what killed it.) It's kind of funny how playing games with random strangers went from being something I paid by the turn for, to seeming worse than no gaming at all.

Rob Zacny wrote:
wordsmythe wrote:
HedgeWizard wrote:
cube wrote:
Hey guys, seminal games in the last decade...

No TF2? Seriously?

Curious how you see it as being seminal. I see conflation (in my mind anyway) between listing really good games in a genre, vs. games that had impacts on the things that came after them.

Semantic clarification time! Hedge is right. "Seminal," derived from the same root as "semen," is about offspring and influence on future generations. TF2 may come to fit that definition, but I don't know that it has generated that history yet.

Thanks, Erik, for helping us put two and two together about "seminal" and "semen". I was really hoping we'd get to that after Shawn started this out with pumping.

I'm just trying to help the two come together for you.

wordsmythe wrote:
Rob Zacny wrote:
wordsmythe wrote:
HedgeWizard wrote:
cube wrote:
Hey guys, seminal games in the last decade...

No TF2? Seriously?

Curious how you see it as being seminal. I see conflation (in my mind anyway) between listing really good games in a genre, vs. games that had impacts on the things that came after them.

Semantic clarification time! Hedge is right. "Seminal," derived from the same root as "semen," is about offspring and influence on future generations. TF2 may come to fit that definition, but I don't know that it has generated that history yet.

Thanks, Erik, for helping us put two and two together about "seminal" and "semen". I was really hoping we'd get to that after Shawn started this out with pumping.

I'm just trying to help the two come together for you.

IMAGE(https://encrypted-tbn1.gstatic.com/images?q=tbn:ANd9GcQrDwu-jcuakaH72-1Ny-ropGm1fWRIdjQSE98atJxvZ1b4OjCQ)

Hey, look! We were actually talking about whether anyone else has pre-ordered Xenonauts, because when we discuss that, I don't have to pour bleach into my brain.

Aristophan wrote:
Jonathan Downin is this week's hero for warning us about Spec Ops: The Line spoilers. The game only came out 3 months ago! You guys seem to be more careful about spoiling Bioshock :smile:

Not to distract this thread anymore than it already is by bringing this up, but I just wanted to +1 this by saying thanks to Jonathan for the preemptive spoiler alert. I am still interested in playing Spec Ops whenever it is on sale for like 5 bucks on Steam. Plus I never got around to finishing Deus Ex: HR either.

JD, a life saver like always!

Le0hart85 wrote:
Aristophan wrote:
Jonathan Downin is this week's hero for warning us about Spec Ops: The Line spoilers. The game only came out 3 months ago! You guys seem to be more careful about spoiling Bioshock :smile:

Not to distract this thread anymore than it already is by bringing this up, but I just wanted to +1 this by saying thanks to Jonathan for the preemptive spoiler alert. I am still interested in playing Spec Ops whenever it is on sale for like 5 bucks on Steam. Plus I never got around to finishing Deus Ex: HR either.

JD, a life saver like always!

I hate to say it, but it still isn't enough, for certain things. If I'm listening while driving, I don't have the option to fast forward without risking a major highway incident. Can spoiler sections continue to be added to the ends of podcasts, or maybe in a separate, smaller download?

For two minutes worth of spoilers in the middle of a conversation? Doesn't sound realistic. I think we're generally better than most at not spoiling things, I'm comfortable with this one.

Certis wrote:
For two minutes worth of spoilers in the middle of a conversation? Doesn't sound realistic. I think we're generally better than most at not spoiling things, I'm comfortable with this one.

This one, sure.. but the big spoiler sections are more what I was getting at. I'd rather see them continue to sit at the end of podcasts than be thrown in the middle with a short warning.

Of course. Not sure why you'd think we'd do otherwise? Spoiler sections are great at the end so there's lots of time to pull the ripcord.

Certis wrote:
Of course. Not sure why you'd think we'd do otherwise? Spoiler sections are great at the end so there's lots of time to pull the ripcord.

Too much praise for the short warning ahead of this one led to irrational fear. Carry on, then

Tanglebones wrote:
Le0hart85 wrote:
Aristophan wrote:
Jonathan Downin is this week's hero for warning us about Spec Ops: The Line spoilers. The game only came out 3 months ago! You guys seem to be more careful about spoiling Bioshock :smile:

Not to distract this thread anymore than it already is by bringing this up, but I just wanted to +1 this by saying thanks to Jonathan for the preemptive spoiler alert. I am still interested in playing Spec Ops whenever it is on sale for like 5 bucks on Steam. Plus I never got around to finishing Deus Ex: HR either.

JD, a life saver like always!

I hate to say it, but it still isn't enough, for certain things. If I'm listening while driving, I don't have the option to fast forward without risking a major highway incident. Can spoiler sections continue to be added to the ends of podcasts, or maybe in a separate, smaller download?

It's all an elaborate plan to have you killed, Tangle, in the most round-about Hail Mary "make it look like an accident" way. Someone wants you dead and has, for reasons still unclear, hired the GWJ crew to do it. My guess? Eccentric millionaire.

Gravey wrote:
Tanglebones wrote:
Le0hart85 wrote:
Aristophan wrote:
Jonathan Downin is this week's hero for warning us about Spec Ops: The Line spoilers. The game only came out 3 months ago! You guys seem to be more careful about spoiling Bioshock :smile:

Not to distract this thread anymore than it already is by bringing this up, but I just wanted to +1 this by saying thanks to Jonathan for the preemptive spoiler alert. I am still interested in playing Spec Ops whenever it is on sale for like 5 bucks on Steam. Plus I never got around to finishing Deus Ex: HR either.

JD, a life saver like always!

I hate to say it, but it still isn't enough, for certain things. If I'm listening while driving, I don't have the option to fast forward without risking a major highway incident. Can spoiler sections continue to be added to the ends of podcasts, or maybe in a separate, smaller download?

It's all an elaborate plan to have you killed, Tangle, in the most round-about Hail Mary "make it look like an accident" way. Someone wants you dead and has, for reasons still unclear, hired the GWJ crew to do it. My guess? Eccentric millionaire.

Luckily, the payments fall outside the donation drive time frame, so there's no evidence!

O.O

Gravey wrote:
It's all an elaborate plan to have you killed, Tangle, in the most round-about Hail Mary "make it look like an accident" way. Someone wants you dead and has, for reasons still unclear, hired the GWJ crew to do it. My guess? Eccentric millionaire.

Sounds like Bruce Wayne. Look for someone with a Batman avatar.

wordsmythe wrote:

Of course you haven't, you taffer.

I expect he was too busy watching the bear pits.

With regards to playing games with young children I cannot recommend Beyond good and evil enough. Played it all the way through with my eight year old last year and it was damn near perfect for us both.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Beyond_...

Fable 2 is an interesting choice. How would a very young child deal with being given the choice of torturing someone or being tortured themselves?