GWJ Conference Call Episode 322

Conference Call


Farcry 3, Lego LOTR, Bioshock Infinite Impressions, Persona 4 Golden, Special Guest Jeff Cannata, Much Ado About Spoilers, Your Emails and more!

This week Jeff Cannata joins Shawn, Elysium and Julian to talk some Bioshock Infinite and whether or not spoilers (in general) are such a big deal.

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.

Chairman_Mao's Timestamps
00.03.09 Far Cry 3
00.16.19 LOTR: Guardians of Middle Earth
00.25.28 5 minutes+ on Bioshock Infinite
00.32.50 Sean's new piece of kit: Galaxy Note 2!
00.36.38 Persona 4: now with background music!
00.38.20 Baldur's Gate (iPad version)
00.41.13 This week's sponsor--takethisproject.tumblr.com. Board member Elysium explains!
00.44.36 This week's topic: Spoilers!
01.02.01 Your emails!

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Show credits

Music credits: 

Like a Dream Come True - Persona 4 Golden - http://www.atlus.com/p4g/ - 36:41

Tell Me a Story - SGX - http://sgxmusic.com/ - 44:06

Composer - SGX - http://sgxmusic.com/ - 1:01:35

Intro/Outtro Music - Ian Dorsch, Willowtree Audioworks

Comments

Great show--love it whenever there's passionate disagreement in the topic discussions.

Great conversation.

My read on the spoiler issue is that there's pleasure to be had in experiencing media both for its novelty and for its realization of strong gameplay or narrative arc. The weight given to each may be personal, which explains why some people prefer to see a game or movie "cold", and others enjoy building the anticipation more than they do the realization.

The harm is in spoiling the story/game because you fall into the latter camp. Seeking out previews and plot analysis is a private activity; discussing it without forewarning is a public one. Moreover, once someone has revealed a piece of plot, the cat is out of the bag; barring early onset dementia, you cannot "unknow" what you've been told. I think that part of why folks (myself included) get frustrated with spoilers is that it feels like the spoiling party has decided, "this game is old enough that your desire to not know about it is worth less than my desire to talk about it without using a spoiler warning/tags/whatever".

That feels like an unfair decision to make, and blend that with the disparity of perceived damage (to the "spoiler", little harm has been done; to the spoilee, irreparable harm has occurred) and you have the makings for a disagreement.

Great podcast, it was really nice to hear you guys disagreeing and discussing this issue (spoilers) at length. As for me... I'm not a huge fan of spoilers, but as long as they're not major things, I don't mind too much. I didn't skip over the segment about Bioshock Infinite, for example (which I didn't find all that spoiler-y, to be honest). However, some spoilers are just evil. Some doofus spoiled the ending of The Walking Dead for me, I'd only played up to episode two, and while I still enjoyed the game itself, I was still upset that I'd been robbed of that "journey of discovery".

About Baldur's Gate: Enhanced Edition, it was great to hear your opinions. I like playing it on my computer with mods like BGTutu, the BG1NPC Project, and the like. But!... Looks like I'm getting an iPad for my husband this Christmas, and let's be honest, I'll be using it too, so I'm definitely considering getting it...

Great show.

I'm with Jeff and Julian on the spoilers. Much like Jeff, I'm very relaxed on spoilers for games because I don't play games for the story (with the exception of The Walking Dead) and seeing environment and characters doesn't worry me. I do like to have some surprises and some stuff I haven't seen. When it comes to movies I've actually stopped watching movie trailers because they are now so revealing and, like Julian and Jeff, I tend to connect the dots between scenes and when watching a movie I am constantly waiting for the next scene from the trailer.

An example of a film that was killed by a spoiler for me was The Matrix.

I wasn't going to spoiler this but, considering the circumstances I thought I'd better:

Spoiler:
I watched a movie review show that had an incredible scene from the movie with Neo in full 'Matrix' mode. It was mind blowing and I couldn't wait to see the film. Watching the movie itself though was a bit of a let down. Though the long section of the film with 'mundane Neo' there was no tension or intrigue I felt mildly impatient that they weren't getting to the action. In the training scenes, similarly, I already knew the guy was 'the one.' Get the guy trained already! Then he went to visit a little old lady :|. When the film FINALLY arrived at the scene I'd loved it had no impact. I'd seen it eight time (yes I rewound it and watched over quite a bit.) Occasionally, when the film is on, I wonder what my experience would have been if I hadn't seen that review show. It got me to see the film, when I might have waited for it to come out on DVD, but it also may have ruined the experience for me (who knows it may have fallen flat for me anyway.)

There is a danger, much like with politics and religion, of the extremists queering the pitch (as we say in the UK) for us moderately spoiler adverse folk. Before I bought Mass Effect 2 I was able to read the thread ME2 thread for many weeks without having anything spoiled because the GWJ community was so meticulous about spoiler tags. For me, who was interested in the game but didn't own it yet, that was fantastic. I could read tips on playing, learn if people loved or hated the game and enjoy the conversation without worrying I'd be told what happened at the end of the game or that X died half way through. Occasionally something does get through on a thread or the podcast but I don't get irate about it because, in the end, I chose to listen to the podcast or read the thread.

I'm enjoying the romance stuff in Dragon Age Origins. I cheated on Leliana with Morrigan for her achievement (and am regretting it) and now Morrigan is making sly comments that Leliana doesn't understand. The tension in my exploration party is palpable.

for me spoilers come down to the way i grew up consuming media. The little trailers or previews for the next episodes of the shows i watch were so damn enticing. I couldnt wait to see the next episode based on those snippets. It's carried over to pretty much all media over the years.

Hah. I'm actually using a similar phone to what he has, the Droid DNA is a 5 inch screen, and I really like it.

This podcast needs more looping Persona soundtracks throughout.

On spoilers, I don't really avoid them much anymore. Figuring out the end of Persona 3 Portable ahead of time actually let me enjoy Persona 4 Arena more, when I finished that before I finished p3p. I still enjoyed P3P, I was still excited to see how exactly they worked their way to that ending I had heard about before hand.

With Persona 4, I accidentally spoiled one part of the ending, but now I'm even more interested in interacting with that character's social link to see what hints I can glean from it that I wouldn't have noticed before. Spoilers don't diminish my experience as much as it changes the focus of that experience.

I think Certis made some really good points in relation to spoilers, especially in relation to the blog he has been following that spoils all of The Walking Dead for him.

I came to a similar view of "spoilers" in that I chose to no longer consider them spoilers. I consider forums and blogs a part of how I enjoy TV and movies. When something is spoiled, I just see it as how I "discovered" whatever it is that I learned. It does affect how I view the story going forward, but I no longer choose to limit myself by calling it better or worse.

I really came around to this way of thinking when trying to avoid scores for Jayhawk basketball games. Invariably I would get a glimpse of a score, either a final or at some point in the game, before I got a chance to watch it via my DVR. But as I watched the games, found that the information I had actually enhanced my viewing by noticing more details and their affect on the game. While still prefer to watch unspoiled, the viewings where it was spoiled served to make all of my basketball viewing better.

Of the 20+ seasons of Survivor, I watched two of them with full knowledge of the bootlist. Again, I found that it altered my experience, but I also learned a lot about how the show works while watching with that knowledge.

I read the actual script of the Season 2 finale of The Walking Dead before it aired, and again, it didn't ruin anything for me. But it did sort of enhance my viewing. Of course, I did not come to the forums to ruin anything for anyone else, but I did not feel like the script spoiled me, because getting to read the script and then see how they filmed it was actually a cool experience in itself.

The point is not that we should spoil everything because it makes it better. It's that if we relieve ourselves of the burden of trying to watch everything as pure as possible, we open ourselves up to new ways to experience our favorite media, and possibly come to appreciate it more overall. The stress of being spoiler-free ruins a large part of how people enjoy media today.

This goes to what Elysium lamented in his comments on the podcast, that the spoilerphobes kind of ruin part of the fun when they ought to accept that their fierce rules about spoilers ought to keep them away from forums altogether. Because if the previews are considered spoilers, then you are asking way too much of folks in a forum.

Also, Leonardo DiCaprio is in Django Unchained, too!

Oh, and can we get a link to that blog Certis mentioned that discussed in relation to The Walking Dead?

I really enjoyed the topic this week. I feel similarly to Jeff/Julian about spoilers, and hearing the other perspectives from Shawn/Sean was good food for thought.

It was a small moment in the podcast, but you all dogpiled on Rob for the Eureka/Felicia Day incident. As someone who watched Eureka, I can defend his reaction, but naturally, it'll require spoilers...

Spoiler:
Throughout the last season of Eureka, a major plotline revolved around Felicia Day's character. At the time when she posted that she'd be back on the show, her character was, by all appearances, dead. So, by revealing that she was coming back, Rob jumped to the natural (and, as it turned out, correct) conclusion that her character wasn't really dead. Admittedly, there could have been other reasons why she was coming back (ex - flashbacks), but I agree with Rob that she should have resisted the (totally justifiable) instinct for self-promotion for the benefit of keeping her return a surprise.

I hope Rob will show up to defend himself. Team Borges!

I view spoilers this way: if you think unexpected things or surprises have value, and believe spoilers diminish surprise, then spoilers damage the value of your experience. Maybe if you are someone who consumes media in order to analyze it, then surprise doesn't matter. But I consume it to live in an experience it, and the last thing I want is to be analyzing as I play/read/watch.

Jeff was clearly surprised in an awesome way by the Bioshock Infinite spoiler discussed.

Spoiler:
(the baptism)

I will never have the emotional experience he had because now I know it is coming. Whatever analytical gain I get won't make up for that.

What bothers me most about spoilers is that they are rarely needed for the discussions. You can still have a great discussion about player agency in bioshock without discussing the details of the ending. You can talk about The Walking Dead and death and choice without talking about specific characters dying. I think a lot of spoilers are talked about out of laziness.

ps: not complaining at all about the Bioshock Infinite spoiler which is very minor, just using it as an example.

The real question of the show, is how long until Sean Sands gets a mini-mechanical keyboard for his phone?

There's a big difference between someone spoiling The Crying Game and someone spoiling Titanic. As Hip Gamer points out, the problem is that the spoiler is the one deciding on which end of the spectrum the information falls. I don't think there's any solution except for the holder of the information to use their best judgment and the receiver of the information to learn over time whether their preference aligns with the judgment of that particular source.

As to watching sports knowing the outcome, Jayhawker is nuts! I'm not a basketball coach--almost all of my enjoyment comes from the tension of not knowing who wins.

Finally, if Mao's timestamps are to be believed (I haven't finished listening), am I to understand that Jeff Cannata made another appearance without board game discussion? Unacceptable!

The following is in regard to spoilers and Dr. Who

[spoiler]
What is everyone's opinion of an entire character who's life (as depicted in the show) is one giant spoiler? River Song was killed the first time you meet her - talk about the ultimate spoiler - and she's the one always using the line "spoilers" with regards to the future. Do people's opinions about spoilers differ when the whole concept of a spoiler is the character?

Jayhawker wrote:
...the spoilerphobes kind of ruin part of the fun when they ought to accept that their fierce rules about spoilers ought to keep them away from forums altogether.

Alternatively, if you're revealing details about plot, take the extra second and click "spoiler". You can call it whatever name you like, but with one solution, a guy like me does not get to be part of the forums for anything I haven't finished without having my experience negatively affected. With the (existent, built-in) spoiler functionality, we can both be here, and at most you spend an extra half second clicking a button.

S0LIDARITY wrote:
The real question of the show, is how long until Sean Sands gets a mini-mechanical keyboard for his phablet?

FTFY

I'm of two minds about this issue:

On the one hand, I hate the idea of spoilers and I'm that guy yelling at people to shut the hell up and don't spoil it as I haven't seen/read/played it yet!

On the other hand, I agree with Elysium that in many ways the anticipation is half the fun. There are countless movies and games that I've had so much fun looking forward to over the years. Sometimes, the anticipation has been more fun than experiencing the movie or game itself. Should I deprive myself of that fun? What if the media turns out to be crap anyway?

I try to remain spoiler-free for "special" things. But now that I really think about it, things that I've actively spoiled for myself hasn't necessarily taken the fun out of it for me either.

Bottom line: I'd rather have the choice to spoil something for myself.

I always knew Certis was an ass man. Big props. This was not spoiled by anyone. I was pleasantly surprised to hear it.

Japanese visual novels almost always have a primarily romantic plot around a male protagonist. There's actually lots of games of this type, just not in the US market.

PaladinTom wrote:

...
On the other hand, I agree with Elysium that in many ways the anticipation is half the fun. There are countless movies and games that I've had so much fun looking forward to over the years. Sometimes, the anticipation has been more fun than experiencing the movie or game itself. Should I deprive myself of that fun? What if the media turns out to be crap anyway?
...

I definitely had more fun anticipating The Phantom Menace than I did consuming it. One might get more enjoyment relishing in the anticipation and spoilers for something that turns out bad. But it is pretty pessimistic to approach everything that way.

Higgledy wrote:

An example of a film that was killed by a spoiler for me was The Matrix.

I saw that movie without having seen anything, including trailers. I don't even remember seeing a poster. I just had friends tell me weeks later that it was good and I should go see it. I think about that movie often as an example of how I should consider a self-imposed ban on content ahead of time. Everything in that movie was a surprise to me. That was cool.

I've just had an interesting thought. I finished A Song of Fire and Ice last week, and promptly proceeded to watch the first season of Game of Thrones after that. Which means I know exactly what's going to happen in the series. Does that diminish my appreciation of it? I guess not, in fact no, I'm really enjoying it. I'm not sure what to make of this, since I've always been a "spoiler free" kind of person, and that's precisely why I've avoided watching the series up 'til now, until I'd finished the book. But it is interesting to see this kind of thing in the movie or series adaptation of a book, for example.

Eleima wrote:
I've just had an interesting thought. I finished A Song of Fire and Ice last week, and promptly proceeded to watch the first season of Game of Thrones after that. Which means I know exactly what's going to happen in the series. Does that diminish my appreciation of it? I guess not, in fact no, I'm really enjoying it. I'm not sure what to make of this, since I've always been a "spoiler free" kind of person, and that's precisely why I've avoided watching the series up 'til now, until I'd finished the book. But it is interesting to see this kind of thing in the movie or series adaptation of a book, for example.

It is an interesting phenomena. I did the same. I read the book and watched the series and enjoyed both. The question is what if someone had told you the ending of the book as you were reading it? That probably would have ruined my enjoyment.

Spoilers for Anna Karenina:

Spoiler:
I was reading Anna Karenina and a friend casual said, "She gets run over by a train at the end." I didn't get much further with that book. There didn't seem any point in reading it.

Possibly it is the way the spoiler is delivered that makes it ok or not. If you learn 'spoilers' through a different telling of the same story, or through a fascinating article or a self motivated search for information and that give the same pleasure the story would have then it is a reasonable trade off. If the spoiler is a casual mention of a vital plot point by a friend or stranger, a deliberate outing of an ending or a random series of snippets delivered by someone desperate to sell their film then perhaps that's less of a fair trade.

Love the Persona 4 love. It's fighting it out with Crusader Kings 2 for my GotY choice right now.

Re: Bioshock Infinite - the few spoilers I got from Jeff pushed the game from "will buy eventually on Steam Sale" to "pre-order and have on day 1"

Great topic this week. I'm pretty vehemently anti-spoiler my own self, but I've found them easy to avoid, so life is good. I'm not so crazy that knowing Felicia Day was in an Eureka episode would ruin that episode for me. That's just borderline right there.

Also, Take This looks amazing, thank you. As a former sufferer of both depression and anxiety, can I help/contribute at all?

As a 30 year old black male in America I'd like to say something about spoilers.

Grow up. You're not a kid anymore. It's not gonna be "that way" like it was when you were a child. The harder you try to keep yourself pure and fresh to an experience, the more neurotic your general self becomes. And even that frames your experience differently.

It's also not the damn 80s-90s anymore. It doesn't take a movie in the theater two years to make it to television. Also, who still watches television?

Get over yourself enough to know that knowing about a game's twists and turns doesn't take much away from you actually playing it, or maybe it does because of whatever fantasy world you live in.

Yes. Aeris dies. What about those parts before and after it? [I'm sorry it's the only example I could muster while on break]

We as grown ups kinda have to let go of this "idea" that we will remember every sentence, pixel, and typed word on the internet related to something we love. I'm sorry. You won't. Okay, maybe if you're one of those dudes that can count cards and rig Jeopardy. And even then, you have bigger stuff to worry about than what happens to Kratos [spoiler: NOTHING].

And it was addressed in the podcast. It's actually quite easy to avoid "spoilers" ... whatever that word means now. Just stop being an idiot fanboy. It is possible that you could like something and not consume any-and-all content about it.

This Was An At Work Rant by
Isaiah

Bboy_Izilla wrote:
As a 30 year old black male in America I'd like to say something about spoilers.

Maybe I'm missing something, but... what does being 30, black or living in America have to do with it?
And I'm not entirely disagreeing with you, mind you, it's really hard to stay spoiler-free, it's just nice to have some courtesy regarding larger spoilers.

Higgledy wrote:
It is an interesting phenomena. I did the same. I read the book and watched the series and enjoyed both. The question is what if someone had told you the ending of the book as you were reading it? That probably would have ruined my enjoyment.

Well, actually, I'd stumbled upon a major spoiler in another geek/gaming podcast, and I already what would would happen to one of the major characters (
Spoiler:
Ned Stark being beheaded
), but I still enjoyed it, nevertheless.

Eleima wrote:

Well, actually, I'd stumbled upon a major spoiler in another geek/gaming podcast, and I already what would would happen to one of the major characters (
Spoiler:
Ned Stark being beheaded
), but I still enjoyed it, nevertheless.

This is exactly why my husband refuses to get into this series. He heard about it ahead of time. There's a lot else there to enjoy, I tell him, but I have to admit that knowing this ahead of time would really bother me too.

Nipsey Russell! But I'm old.

Bboy_Izilla wrote:
As a 30 year old black male in America I'd like to say something about spoilers.

Grow up. You're not a kid anymore. It's not gonna be "that way" like it was when you were a child. The harder you try to keep yourself pure and fresh to an experience, the more neurotic your general self becomes. And even that frames your experience differently.

It's also not the damn 80s-90s anymore. It doesn't take a movie in the theater two years to make it to television. Also, who still watches television?

Get over yourself enough to know that knowing about a game's twists and turns doesn't take much away from you actually playing it, or maybe it does because of whatever fantasy world you live in.

Yes. Aeris dies. What about those parts before and after it? [I'm sorry it's the only example I could muster while on break]

We as grown ups kinda have to let go of this "idea" that we will remember every sentence, pixel, and typed word on the internet related to something we love. I'm sorry. You won't. Okay, maybe if you're one of those dudes that can count cards and rig Jeopardy. And even then, you have bigger stuff to worry about than what happens to Kratos [spoiler: NOTHING].

And it was addressed in the podcast. It's actually quite easy to avoid "spoilers" ... whatever that word means now. Just stop being an idiot fanboy. It is possible that you could like something and not consume any-and-all content about it.

This Was An At Work Rant by
Isaiah

Your response to someone else's preferences for a hobby being different from yours is to call them an idiot, compare them to a child, and insult them?

That's just being a jerk. I dislike spoilers. Some folks -- folks I like, and respect, and enjoy talking to about games -- don't mind them. We can have really good conversations without either one of us thinking the other is an "idiot fanboy", at least in part because we're cool with not crapping on each other's approach to a shared interest.

Since you brought it up, I'd say that being able to disagree without being a dick is the real mark of adulthood.

Bboy_Izilla wrote:
Grow up. You're not a kid anymore. It's not gonna be "that way" like it was when you were a child. The harder you try to keep yourself pure and fresh to an experience, the more neurotic your general self becomes. And even that frames your experience differently.

Actually when I was a kid I didn't care about spoilers and regularly went out of my way to find out details about films I hadn't seen. Now I'm an adult I'd rather not know because I've realised I enjoy movies more when I'm not waiting for the thing I know is going to happen, to happen.

Bboy_Izilla wrote:
It's also not the damn 80s-90s anymore. It doesn't take a movie in the theater two years to make it to television. Also, who still watches television?

It seems to take plenty of time for movies to make it to DVD and it even takes quite a while for movies in the US cinema to make it to the UK cinemas.

Nice cast, when you guys disagree it spices things up nicely.

I'm on Team Certis/Sands regarding spoilers.

I don't do it with every game, but with some games I am particularly pumped for (Fallout 3) checking previews and gameplay footage before release gives me a pre-enjoyment cache that carries over into the game itself and can even innoculate me against the games flaws or bugs (Fallout 3).

Also, if Far Cry 3 is Skyrim with guns, that does make it Fallout 4? *gets coat*

EDIT: double post, oops