GWJ Conference Call Episode 321

Conference Call

Hitman: Absolution, Planetside 2, Billiards, Special Guest Shawn Elliott, Game Attachment Psychology, Telltale's The Walking Dead Spoiler Section, Your Emails and more!

This week former 1Up alum and current Bioshock Infinite designer Shawn Elliott joins the crew to talk about game attachment psychology! We also have a Walking Dead spoiler section after the credits!

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.

Jonathan Downin About.Me
Tweaked Audio (Use discount code GWJ)

Chairman_Mao's Timestamps
00.02.16 Planetside 2
00.20.38 Hitman Absolution
00.29.26 Billiards
00.38.00 Persona 4
00.38.53 This week's topic: Game Attachment Psychology!
00.58.14 Your emails!
01.17.34 Walking Dead Spoiler Section

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Show credits

Music credits: 

A Meal for a Whale - SGX - http://sgxmusic.com/ - 38:26

But Underneath All That - SGX - http://sgxmusic.com/ - 57:48

Intro/Outtro Music - Ian Dorsch, Willowtree Audioworks

Comments

MMOs are held to the standard and have many people expecting to have their actions to have an effect on the world around them because the early ones allowed this to happen. One of the things that games like WoW and other since then have done is taken that away. They replaced it with a focus on your individual character instead.

Writing this comment out as I listen. I will keep it all in spoilers since it regards the Walking Dead spoilers section.

Spoiler:

In terms of bugs, while I've joked in the forums here that I experienced nothing on the PS3, it's more that I didn't experience any issues with save files. However, in episode two there was a part where Kenny and Katjaa were supposed to be sitting, but when I spoke with them they suddenly stood up. They were clipping through the couch and the camera focused on their torsos. But the game still played fine.

The game breaker was on the train in episode three after I had shot Duck and before I had taught Clem how to shoot. When leaving the conductor's cabin the camera fell beneath the ground, and no matter what I did it wouldn't reset. I managed to go back into the conductor's cabin, but when I went back out the camera fell right back under the ground. That was the only bug that forced me to exit out and go back to a previous save point.

Spoiler:

Oddly enough, I only died once during the game, and it was when your foot gets stuck climbing the tower in episode four. I was expecting to be at a disadvantage using a controller instead of a mouse (something I rarely ever feel when it comes to gaming), but I was able to succeed at pretty much everything this game threw at me.

Spoiler:

Regarding the Super Cannibal Bros., I'm actually surprised you found that as the highlight. Because I saw the cannibalism coming from a mile away (no one is that nice in the post-apocalypse without being severely f*cked up somehow), anything that came after just didn't strike a chord. It was such a generic thing to include in a zombie story that I didn't buy into it until you got stuck in the meat locker. Then it was the whole sequence of events, from smashing a brick onto Larry's face (you're damn right I killed him), to killing the one brother and discovering Clementine saw me, to sparing the final brother. That was all fantastic, but I didn't care about the reasoning.

On second thought, though, trying to get Clementine to NOT eat and then watching as she shoved it into her mouth anyway...oof. So maybe the point was more to get the player involved in a cliche in a rather interesting manner.

Spoiler:

In terms of the ending and getting choked up, this game made me feel guilty at the end. I felt like Clementine's situation was all my fault, which is interesting as the logical part of my brain knew that this is how they wrote it and no matter what I did that is the situation Clem would end up in.

More so, though, I really feel like I need to go back and replay this game so I can study it like one might study a film. In conversation on another site someone mentioned a constant theme being how everyone's kids keep dying. Hershal's son Shawn dies. Crazy lady in episode two loses her daughter. Duck dies. Crazy Man that points out all your sins? His son had died. Then Christa turns out to be pregnant and you can tell she's not talking about it because of how worried she is over it. And then there's you and your efforts to keep Clementine alive.

It really is a story not only about parenthood, but about a parent trying to prepare their child. In particular, and I think the hobo hammers this home, preparing the child for a life without you. Think of your approach with Clementine, where you teach her to protect herself, versus Kenny's approach with Duck.

Originally I didn't want to replay this game for fear that "the spell would be broken". Now I want to replay it in order to grab all the thematic elements I didn't notice because I was so wrapped up the first time.

When I'm spotted in a stealth game it only takes one guy to shoot at me and I go into, "You'll never take me alive!" mode and fight to the death. If ever I'm being chased by the police I hope I'd have the sense to pull over a few seconds into it but I'd probably be the guy still driving in spite of the fact that sparks were flying from the cars bare rims and I was dragging a section of barbed wire fence behind me.

Hi, (former) fighting game tournament player here

What tournament are you going to? I'm really interested in your experience! I hope you have / had fun (depending on when this tournament is) and I hope we get to read/hear a followup on it!

No amount of attachment will keep a game on my shelf if it runs dry of compelling things to do, or simply reaches a saturation point where I find myself numb to it and have to finally flush it from my system (see: Mass Effect). Elder Scrolls games tend to stick around quite a while with me. The expansions are substantial but also well-timed. I can walk away, return, and so on for a couple of years easily.

Cory was slurring like Drunk Uncle from SNL. Still more coherent than I could have managed under the circumstances, however.

Quick note on kicking people out of vehicles and being a jerk for no reason despite "It's all in good fun." I'm going to paraphrase one of the great philosophers of our time, a one Wil Wheaton, "Don't be a jerk."

Dear lord, Corey was pretty slurry during this podcast hahah

thinkklinck wrote:

Dear lord, Corey was pretty slurry during this podcast hahah

Yeah, I was a bit concerned. Hope he was okay the next morning.

thinkklinck wrote:

Dear lord, Corey was pretty slurry during this podcast hahah

Lol, I loved the loosy goosy Corey.

I thought Corey was surprisingly cogent while trying to talk around his drunk tongue.

Cory is a pro. Note the lack of an "e" in his name. Now who looks drunk?!

maverickz wrote:

Quick note on kicking people out of vehicles and being a jerk for no reason despite "It's all in good fun." I'm going to paraphrase one of the great philosophers of our time, a one Wil Wheaton, "Don't be a jerk."

Instead of the rant that came to mind when I heard that, I'll just say: +1

Excellent spoiler section. Good to hear about some of the really horrible things I missed doing while doing equally horrible but slightly different things.

Certis wrote:

Cory is a pro. Note the lack of an "e" in his name. Now who looks drunk?!

That's what I get for trusting the person who posted above me. Thanks a lot Rooney Fan!

What I learned on the podcast this week...

Bromance + Billiards + =

Created an account to revel in Corey's drunkenness! Wow. Normally I find slurs to be offensive but this was hilarious.

"almosht shold meh ah veeta"

Certis wrote:

Cory is a pro. Note the lack of an "e" in his name. Now who looks drunk?!

I have been caught!

Cory made me laugh so hard. He's a sweet and mushy drunk which is honestly the funniest type.

Attachment wise; I have to talk about the MMO universe. Your game is no different than anyone else that purchased. A warrior is a warrior even if you build your skills a little differently but people get insanely attached to their character. Some people even tattoo their MMO character to have it with them always. I feel that the critical factor that considers how much people value object is the temporal element. The more time I spend on an MMO character or game translates to me valuing it greater.

Loved the podcast, and particularly the spoiler section on The Walking Dead. I got it during the Thanksgiving sale on Steam, and just couldn't put it down.

Spoiler:

I was super surprised to hear about all the bugs you guys have been having. The only hiccup I ran into was a graphical glitch in episode 3 with Katjaa holding thin air instead of Duck... Aside from that, zip, zilch, nada. How odd.
I was really surprised you guys didn't mention the boy in the attic in episode 4, that was definitely one of the most heartbreaking moments for me, to know he'd died of hunger alone up there and had subsequently turned... Awful, just awful...
I also didn't amputate Lee's arm, I figured he was done for anyhow and would suffer more from pain and blood loss then from the zombie plague, so not cutting it would actually give him more of a fighting chance. That's how I figured it, anyhow.
Funny about the handcuffs, it sounds like you all used them to chain Lee to the radiator. I actually knew that I would ask Clementine to shoot Lee, so I had her use them on the zombie in order to grab the keys and gun unhindered. And yeah, that didn't work so well, he still made a grab for her...
I agree about the gaming symbolizing parenthood, about preparing your children for the world out there, for a world in which you don't exist anymore. But good grief, is it heartbreaking...
Brilliant game, nonetheless.

On becoming attached to things in games, I get very attached to characters I create. There have been many times when I've had a character I wanted to play stranded in a game I didn't.

FeralMonkey wrote:
maverickz wrote:

Quick note on kicking people out of vehicles and being a jerk for no reason despite "It's all in good fun." I'm going to paraphrase one of the great philosophers of our time, a one Wil Wheaton, "Don't be a jerk."

Instead of the rant that came to mind when I heard that, I'll just say: +1

+2

Really good episode!
(Still listening though but, before I forget)

With regards to the ownership aspects - you can see this any time you're in a team where you either have feedback and/or joint ownership. Just think of writing a document for your company and having the other people you work with edit and change your document/ideas.

You feel that same sense of worth and annoyance at the changes and interference. That's a reaction that I've learnt to push down and control because it's not conducive to the creation process.

This is just normal human nature.

Slumberland wrote:

No amount of attachment will keep a game on my shelf if it runs dry of compelling things to do, or simply reaches a saturation point where I find myself numb to it and have to finally flush it from my system (see: Mass Effect). Elder Scrolls games tend to stick around quite a while with me. The expansions are substantial but also well-timed. I can walk away, return, and so on for a couple of years easily.

I think Elder Scrolls is a special case though because they really let you own and roleplay your character much more than Mass Effect ever lets you roleplay or choose outcomes (even on character development and rewards for advancement). ES games are, I think, unique in the single player experience at the moment as I've only encountered the same level of attachment in an MMO (planetside or City of Heroes, for example)... Even Fallout 3 didn't give me as much of a sense of attachment as Morrowind, Oblivion and Skyrim did because, somehow, it felt more limited in terms of building and roleplaying my character.

I've lost characters to HHD crashes/wipes etc and the only games I couldn't face going back to were ES games because I had lost "me".

Totally agree with Cory on ME3 ending throwing it back in your face. I don't need multiple endings - I just need them to be good. They don't even have to make complete sense from your experience, your perspective (like in some films) but they have to work. Which is why I was completely fine with TWD style of storytelling.

Oh; and not 100% sure if this is a Walking Dead spoiler, but to be safe.

Spoiler:

The creator of The Walking Dead has multiple times stated that the title of the series refers to the living and not to the zombies.

Higgledy wrote:

When I'm spotted in a stealth game it only takes one guy to shoot at me and I go into, "You'll never take me alive!" mode and fight to the death. If ever I'm being chased by the police I hope I'd have the sense to pull over a few seconds into it but I'd probably be the guy still driving in spite of the fact that sparks were flying from the cars bare rims and I was dragging a section of barbed wire fence behind me.

Goodness, Higgledy, please pull over if a peace officer is chasing you! You will not be able to open the cop's car door, pull him out, get in, and drive away simply by pressing the "F" key. Or if you can, you are very l33t.

Higgledy wrote:

When I'm spotted in a stealth game it only takes one guy to shoot at me and I go into, "You'll never take me alive!" mode and fight to the death.

Much like when I am inconvenienced by government paperwork, getting caught in a stealth game generally flips off the safety for the part of my brain that screams "This whole system is broken and I will tear it down with my bare hands!"

I've yet to actually say that within city hall, though. So +1 for me.

Spron wrote:

Goodness, Higgledy, please pull over if a peace officer is chasing you! You will not be able to open the cop's car door, pull him out, get in, and drive away simply by pressing the "F" key. Or if you can, you are very l33t.

I'll have to watch more Police Interceptors (a police show in the UK) and remind myself how horribly all those chases end.

wordsmythe wrote:
Higgledy wrote:

When I'm spotted in a stealth game it only takes one guy to shoot at me and I go into, "You'll never take me alive!" mode and fight to the death.

Much like when I am inconvenienced by government paperwork, getting caught in a stealth game generally flips off the safety for the part of my brain that screams "This whole system is broken and I will tear it down with my bare hands!"

I've yet to actually say that within city hall, though. So +1 for me.

If you do flip out next time you're in city hall remember to wave your arms about and run around in small circles.

Higgledy wrote:

If you do flip out next time you're in city hall remember to wave your arms about and run around in small circles.

Good, making it more complicated lets my laziness factor in more heavily.

In other news, I'm not sure I buy the character customization as pulling the same strings as the psych studies that Mr. Elliot mentioned. I mean, there might still be that feeling of valuing the creation, but I don't think the tie between the creation (character or story, as built and customized) and the physical object (the game disc) is going to be nearly as strong as physical objects that the test subjects created (or failed to finish creating). The disc is, I think, more like a gateway to the creation, rather than the creation itself. The creation is saved on your HDD, not the disc. So while players selling games back to a retailer are losing access to their creation, the transaction isn't about the value of the creation, it's about the value of that access. So if GameStop lowballs you, you don't feel like they're insulting the work you put in as a player.