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

Felix Threepaper wrote:

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

It sounds like it to an extent, except that it's third-world ruins instead of post-civilization ruins. I need to pick it up... someday...

Felix Threepaper wrote:

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*

I didn't listen to the podcast yet, but that was correctly attributed to GameStop, right? I literally heard that out loud while in a GameStop. I didn't know if GameStop...

A) Didn't know about that joke / meme.

B) Was trolling its customers

Also, Fallout 4 is just Skyrim with Guns. Elder Scrolls 6 is Fallout 4 with swords.

DSGamer wrote:

I didn't listen to the podcast yet, but that was correctly attributed to GameStop, right?

I'd tell you, but SPOILERS

DSGamer wrote:

Also, Fallout 4 is just Skyrim with Guns. Elder Scrolls 6 is Fallout 4 with swords.

Actually, I would like to see a VATS style melee system in the next Elder Scrolls game -- it can't be worse than the janky melee they currently have.

I loved the discussion about spoilers on the podcast. As someone with what has been described as a photographic memory I have long since given up on avoiding spoilers. I even let my friends tell me the ending of the game without reservation. I find that my experience with the game and ending is often different enough that even though the ending happens in the same way it means something different for me.

I always ask people when they get upset about spoilers if they like art. Everyone knows what the Mona Lisa or A Bar at the Folies-Bergere looks like but people still go in droves to see them in person. Why? Because there are details and the experience of seeing the painting yourself that color the enjoyment. This is no different for a movie or game. I would even argue that there is a sequential experience of a painting based on how the artist created it to move your eye across the work.

I would also bring up the example travel. You see pictures of the Grand Canyon, Paris, or London all the time. Does that mean you spoiled the experience of going there? No, because you will have your own enjoying experience and journey through the location. Just go out and enjoy the game. Besides; I often find that the spoilers I hear are inaccurate or misjudged anyways.

Eleima wrote:

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.

I still don't understand this concept of a "larger" spoiler when talking to a bunch of dudes who listen to video game podcasts and post comments on a gaming site. Asking for courtesy seems absolutely insane when you, the gamer, are going out of your way to listen and absorb 'game stuff.'

Especially seeing as most podcasts/forums/article headers have the subject and bullet point details as to what they will be talking about.

When the great people at GWJ and other sites/podcasts opt to do it, it definitely is a courtesy. They really don't have [nor should in my opinion] do it. If you are that big of a fanboy to download a gaming podcast. Then you should be that big of a fanboy to play a game at launch [which is ridiculous, but I'm calling it how I see it].

I'm a huge fan of the Wire. You'd never see me going to forums...listening to podcasts or playing audio commentaries prior to watching an episode. But hey, that's just me.

Oh, and me being 30 year-old black male in America is plenty relevant. I'm giving you more information about myself though it wasn't required. Spoiler.

Bboy, too many personal attacks and name calling. You can make your points without it and they'll be much stronger than way. You need to correct that or you won't be participating.

Higgledy wrote:

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.

And I stand by this, when you were a kid and didn't have a bloated ego that dwelled on expectations and commitment...this helped in the consumption of media. When you got older your tastes became more narrow and understandibly more finite. Which is sad, because there is a big difference in spoiling a Call of Duty story than say a Walking Dead.

And I don't subscribe that one story is more poetic than others, but I am in the camp that thinks it's equally fair to 'spoil' both if it's a current topic and you're with present company that have interest in it.

When you were a child, having Legend of Zelda spoiled for you wasn't a big deal. You just wanted to play the game [probably, sorry...again...at work grasping for examples].

Now if you spoil a game of your particular, extremely refined, and totally awesome interest. HUGE LET DOWN. WORLD ENDING. That is something...I'll just never get.

Higgledy wrote:

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.

As someone who has worked at a video rental and smut dispensary for about 4 years I can tell you the average amount of movies going from film to DVD is 3 months [in the US]. In most cases the DVDs are made [as in printed and ready to ship] around the time of a films release.

Now for 'specialty' or at my old job "custom budgets" for say a Lord of the Rings or a Dark Knight. Movies where studios really want to juice the consumer. They'll release a basic DVD in one region [usually the US, EU, or JP] a special edition/delux edition 3-6 months after that release and a collectors edition follows a year later.

Blu-Ray typically works at a slower pace. But the average film that isn't doing 200+ million in a box office comes out within 3-6 months. To learn more feel free to check out HomeMedia or BoxOfficeMojo.

Higgledy wrote:
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.

Gravey - I am vindicated! I was right!

TheHipGamer wrote:

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?

If you have opted to shelter yourself in a community of majoraly sheltered males. There really isn't much I can say that could convince you that what you're doing is both counterproductive and ... yeah, [edit: not smart].

If you don't want to know anything about the game that has a gazillion dollar budget, has plastered ads all over youtube/twitter/internet website of choice, then blaming your peers for one of Earth's loudest echo chambers is... yeah, [edit: not smart].

TheHipGamer wrote:

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.

I get it man. It's cool. We can have a great conversation about whatever "thing" you don't want to know that much about. But it's just as valid to remove yourself from the conversation instead of asking of others to be courteous and shout "earmuffs" whenever the grown ups are saying something you hold so dear in experiencing for the first time.

I actually don't care to be called a jerk, or any other name for that matter. This is the internet and I've lived long enough to have grown a thick skin to it. I live in a world where people are going to call me names, blab about things I don't care about, and 'prefer' to engage in idiotic behavior.

TheHipGamer wrote:

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

Sorry, I couldn't hear you, I was paying my bills and working an 8 to 8 shift. What's this about you being mature and calling me a dick in the same breath?

Certis wrote:

Bboy, too many personal attacks and name calling. You can make your points without it and they'll be much stronger than way. You need to correct that or you won't be participating.

I edited what I thought was personal. Is it cool to call people dicks and jerks or am I responsible for having him stoop to my level?

Great episode, as always.
My first thought was that it would be good to have Rob Borges on the call, since he is the most zealous anti-spoiler person I can think of, but I understand the fear of having a zealot on.
My take on spoilers is just that people should be considerate when it is something that matters. It's been a very long time since it came out, and it is well known now, but the scene in Empire Strikes Back where Vader reveals that he is Luke's father loses a little bit when it doesn't come as unexpectedly to us as it does for Luke. "Would you kindly" is another example, if given context, that I would consider a spoiler, but without that context it is just a harmless phrase.
I think you can see the silliest example of spoiler-phobia in the Walking Dead (tv show) threads here. A whole thread exists to discuss the episodes as shown, saying the word "comic" in there gets a nasty response. The bad part is that that thread is where the bulk of the conversation is taking place, so if someone who has read the comics wants to chime in on the show, they have to be careful or they anger the spoiler-phobes. Of course, the nature of spoilers is that it is easy to accommodate people who don't want to hear spoilers, and I think this podcast does a great job with that, so bravo.

Jayhawker wrote:

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.

I'm way in the camp of spoilerphobes ruin the fun of discussing things.

I mean, I can respect the desire to go in with a clean slate, discovering things and being surprised.

But it's up to you to make sure that happens.

I can understand someone being frustrated that someone spoiled the reveal that Bruce Willis was a woman in the Sixth Sense during a discussion of something completely unrelated, but if you complain about that in a thread discussing the movie after it's gone into general release? If you're that spoiler-phobic, the onus should be on you to stay the f*ck away from the thread until you've watched it, not on everyone else to hamper the discussion for the sake of your viewing experience.

Games I can understand people wanting to separate discussions of mechanics from discussion of the plot, but even the spoiler threads are filled with spoiler tags these days. Utter madness.

If you click on a spoiler thread and get spoilt, the problem is not with the person revealing the plot point. It's you.

Bboy_Izilla wrote:
Certis wrote:

Bboy, too many personal attacks and name calling. You can make your points without it and they'll be much stronger than way. You need to correct that or you won't be participating.

I edited what I thought was personal. Is it cool to call people dicks and jerks or am I responsible for having him stoop to my level?

Playground rules don't apply here. You're responsible for your own content, everyone is dealt with individually.

Blondish83 wrote:

[...]
I always ask people when they get upset about spoilers if they like art. Everyone knows what the Mona Lisa or A Bar at the Folies-Bergere looks like but people still go in droves to see them in person. Why? Because there are details and the experience of seeing the painting yourself that color the enjoyment. This is no different for a movie or game. I would even argue that there is a sequential experience of a painting based on how the artist created it to move your eye across the work.

I would also bring up the example travel. You see pictures of the Grand Canyon, Paris, or London all the time. Does that mean you spoiled the experience of going there? No, because you will have your own enjoying experience and journey through the location. Just go out and enjoy the game. Besides; I often find that the spoilers I hear are inaccurate or misjudged anyways.

I saw the Mona Lisa and was a little disappointed by it, and I think that is a common reaction. I had already seen it so many times, and had built up expectations. Also, seeing it in person isn't the optimal viewing experience because of the way it is set up and the size. My best experiences viewing art have been the random discoveries of artists or paintings I have never heard of, not the viewing of the classics.

Similarly, imagine if you had never seen or heard of the Grand Canyon, and you were just driving across country and came across it. It would be a stunning moment. I used to eat up travel books trying to optimize my trips. Now I try to avoid overplanning, and travel looking for the serendipitous experience.

I think some of the defenders of spoilers are conflating it with "ruining" when I think it is more that spoilers just lessen the experience. The Grand Canyon is still great.. ;}

On the subject of romance, and making a game rooted in romance, I'd agree that it's a dicey proposition if you expect the protagonist to be a player surrogate, but I'd say it's much easier if the protagonist is a character apart from the player, with whom you have to emphatise.

Take Lee from The Walking Dead. Even if you can can adjust his decisions, he's a character with a defined personality, very much apart from the player. I'm invested in his wellbeing, not in the sense of "this is my player avatar", but I actually care about the character as an entity apart from me. I think that's the way to make it work. Instead of making some character with whom the player has to fall in love, create a character with whom the player can emphatise that is in love,

If I'm at the Louvre, I'm making a bee-line for Hammurabi's Stele. The Mona Lisa's distinctly lower ranked in priorities.

SallyNasty wrote:

Gravey - I am vindicated! I was right!

About Anna Karenina?

Bboy_Izilla wrote:
Higgledy wrote:

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.

And I stand by this, when you were a kid and didn't have a bloated ego that dwelled on expectations and commitment...this helped in the consumption of media. When you got older your tastes became more narrow and understandibly more finite. Which is sad, because there is a big difference in spoiling a Call of Duty story than say a Walking Dead.

And I don't subscribe that one story is more poetic than others, but I am in the camp that thinks it's equally fair to 'spoil' both if it's a current topic and you're with present company that have interest in it.

When you were a child, having Legend of Zelda spoiled for you wasn't a big deal. You just wanted to play the game [probably, sorry...again...at work grasping for examples].

Now if you spoil a game of your particular, extremely refined, and totally awesome interest. HUGE LET DOWN. WORLD ENDING. That is something...I'll just never get.

I don't think we are as far apart in our views as you imagine. Not everyone who wants to avoid spoilers is a raving lunatic.

Of course people are free in real life or on podcasts to talk about games including spoilers. It's just that I personally, and I don't think it's anything to do with maturity or lack there of, want to try to go into games like The Walking Dead with as little knowledge of the plot as possible. Other games, Halo, etc, I don't care about spoilers at all really. I don't go out of my way to find out the endings but it wouldn't phase me to know them. It certainly wouldn't be the end of the world.

The system at the moment works for me. I can listen to the podcast and visit threads of games I don't own yet because people on this form are incredibly considerate. If that stopped, which is fine if the current system is driving people crazy, then I'd listen to shows after I've played the games and avoid forum threads (the later is a shame because I glean some great information from those threads including whether people, who I have similar tastes to, think it's worth buying or not.)

An example of a podcast that deals with spoilers brilliantly is the /filmcast.

Spoiler:

I'm also a fan of The Wire

Thank You for making me aware of Take This Project.
It is a huge relief to realize that people that I have something in common with are going through the same things I am. Reading about fellow gamers, parents, professionals is making it easier to consider getting help.

Jayhawker wrote:

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

I want to second this. The google has failed me.

I don't remember who said it in the podcast, but somebody mentioned that it's impossible to avoid spoilers completely "in our media-driven culture". My wife, however, succeeds admirably in this. She watches every trailer up until the moment she decides she wants to see this movie. From this point on - she begins talking to me and avoiding looking at the screen, so she won't get to see the rest of the trailer. In cases where she knows she will see the movie anyway, she tries to avoid trailers altogether. And she usually succeeds.

I try to follow her approach when dealing with games and movies that I know I want to play/watch (that's why I skipped your Bioshock Infinite segement), but the thing I really wanted to tell (which prompted me to comment after listening to your show for quite a long time) is a small tale about a friend of mine, who usually avoids movie trailers altogether, and whose approach is to say 'yes' whenever I invite him to see a movie with us without asking too many questions.

This friend knew nothing about Cloverfield before I invited him to come and see it with us, and he sat there for about ten minutes, not understanding what kind of movie I've taken him to. Some kind of... weird... found-footage... drama? comedy? huh?

He still remembers very fondly the shock that he felt when the movie 'kicks in'. I still remember the sounds of shock from him. And since then, he tries even more to just rely on his friends' recommendations, and avoid trailers and previews as much as possible.

Despicable Me was spoiled for me and my enjoyment was muted. Also, I can't unremember the ending to Ico even though I really want to because I haven't played it yet.

It's funny that you would bring up Eureka, because on multiple occasions character deaths on that show were spoiled for me and it has made me incredibly more spoiler-phobic than I was before. Both times it happened I feel it hugely affected my emotional reaction to the scene, and both times I ran across these spoilers in places that they had no business being. So, am I careful about spoilers? You better believe it.

That said, I listen to every spoiler section on the conference call, and in general I haven't played the games in question. In fact, some of my favorite podcasts are spoiler sections and things like the Rebel FM Game Clubs (RIP). The difference there is that in most cases I won't be playing those games, or if I do, it will probably be influenced in part by my spoiling myself on the plot. However, if it's something that I definitely will be playing/watching, I want nothing to do with spoilers and I do not think that they would enhance the experience in any meaningful way. If I want to experience the content with that a priori knowledge, I can always replay/read/watch it again, knowing the full plot. In fact, if I enjoy it then it pretty much goes without saying that I'll be doing so. If I don't enjoy it, then it's a moot point anyway.