Conference Call

GWJ Conference Call Episode 327

Nier Round 2, Kentucky Route Zero,Minecraft, Persona 4 Golden, CES Hardware Oddities, Jon Shafer's Chilling Future, Your Emails and more!

This week Shawn, Elysium, Julian and Jon shafer talk about some of the weirdness out of CES and Jon's chilling view of a keyboardless future. We also have a new reading by Graham Rowat!

To contact us, email! 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
00.01.34 Persona 4
00.04.48 Minecraft
00.10.34 Nier
00.12.37 Kentucky Route Zero
00.16.16 Rabbit's Shameful Poker Con
00.19.12 This week's topic: Technology!
00.35.33 Jon Shafer's Chilling Future
00.49.47 Graham Rowat Reads Managing to be a Gamer by Elysium
00.57.27 Your emails!

Jon Shafer
Kentucky Route Zero
Gabe Newell on Steam Box

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Show credits

Music credits: 

Tomato Soup Is For Winners - Michael Hermes - - 19:27

Stop It - Creative Commons Vol. 2 - Dexter Britain - - 51:18

Intro/Outtro Music - Ian Dorsch, Willowtree Audioworks


Elysium wrote:
Are you guys just not that into the Grand Theft Auto series?

It came up after the show was over, and we all agreed that none of us were particularly looking forward to it. I'm open to being pleasantly surprised, but no. Just not that into it at this point.

Elysium is on record calling Rockstar a blight on the industry.

An entire discussion of Myst and namedropping point n' click games, and no one mentioned Jonathan Blow's upcoming game The Witness?

PyromanFO wrote:
merphle wrote:

[size=18]Uncle Rabbit needs YOU![/size]

Let's see if we as a community can help get something justifiably awesome promoted onto Steam. There's NO risk or actual commitment to buy on your part -- just click the "Yes" button on the Pinball Arcade Greenlight page, and help make this a reality.

Yes! I really want to see this Greenlit

As do I!

McIrishJihad wrote:

While I like the voice controls in ME3 and Skyrim, the extra layer of abstraction always seems to work against me.

If voice control continues to be a "thing" in games and computing through products like Kinect, Dragon and Siri, I have to wonder if we, the current generation of users, are just bad at it because we didn't grow up with it. Maybe the next generation won't have the same "oh, I have to say what I want to do" holdup that we do?

That marriage advice email was great.

Hey GWJ. I've been listening to your podcast for quite a while, and been enjoying very much.

I wanted to comment about your discussion regarding "Controllers".

As a society, of gamers and non-gamers, using the computer has become a second, if not a first, nature to most. The mouse and keyboard are, for better or for worse, a must-have extension of our bodies.

Think about this: if you take an older person (I mean 70-80) and tell them "Click on this icon" they would not automatically get to "move the mouse over the icon, and hit the left-mouse-button twice" on their own. Same with little children or anyone who used a computer just once or twice, and just really dependent on them (though, I doubt THOSE people still exist).
But if I play a video game with any of you, I could say "Jump, turn around twice, aim down sight, shot and duck" you wouldn't have to think about which buttons to press, it would just translate to "space-bar, W-A-S-D-W-A-S-D, right-click mouse, left click moue, left-ctrl". You wouldn't even have to think about it. You wouldn't even think about what keys you would have to hit. In your head, it's just "Jump" not "Space-bar".

It gets to a point that interacting with a game, preforms like any other basic motor-functions. When you want to run in real life, you think "run" and you just run. You don't have to think "left calf, left thigh, right calf..."(that would be bad, because we all know how EASY qwop is...). You just think "run". Within your computer, the same applies. If it's jumping and shooting in Halo, or throwing yourself through portals in Portal, we don't have to think. We just do.

Now those are just some simple functions. But typing, moving a mouse. That's direct output from the brain. I want a letter typed on a screen. It's there in a matter of milliseconds. Our brain accepts that as direct output.
If you make me scream the same word 10 times at a voice recognition software, I no longer feel the direct output my brain has with the keyboard.
Same thing with "Betty write this down". She can't listen and write down what I have to say if it's longer than 4 or 5 words. Not at the speed I say it (I have nothing personal against Betty).

A controller is good if it can react, and bow down to my will, quickly and accurately. Those are 2 parameters. Because we don't want a light gun situation as well. You might remember them fondly, but even though a lightgun would react as quickly as any mouse, it was inaccurate and stupid and I hate that thing! (if you don't believe me, give it to any child right now. You would hear 10 minutes of silence and concentration, followed by exactly what I just said... give or take a few swear words).

Any controller or device, in order to be successful, is: Exactly what we tell it to do, when we tell it do it, immediately, and no dilly-dallying.

Thank you guys for making the show, love listening in whenever I get the time, keep up the good work.... oh, and have Jeff Cannata on more. Big fan.

great show as usual just two comments -

1) steam greenlight - criticism on target. its a big mess. like someone else said above, greenlight at this point is just a big popularity contest, but without a mechanism to push the quality games up to the top.

no different from the chaos of apple's itunes app store.

no different from complaints heard on "indie game" the movie when their game wasn't marketed properly on release date for xbox arcade. really? how the hell is the casual gamer suppose to know the game got released if there's no way to present that?

case in point - theHunter. This is a solid game. you all know this and brought it to my attention. it needs to be on steam, but can't because its stuck in greenlight.

that's f-in stupid for steam and for the consumer.

2) xi3 piston / potential kind of steam-box - i disagree with your criticism. ya'll are missing the point

a. modularity - this is a game changer. about time someone decided that a motherboard could be chopped up like everything else within a computer. why should i have to change the whole damn thing out just because i want USB 5.0 or some other future wiz-bang feature?

b. price point - yes you are correct... it is a 900-1000 machine right now at the top end (top end is what's required to play current games). however, common, lets be fair here... how many units do you really think they're selling right now... of course they have to charge that much. but with economies of scale and a semi-exclusive deal with steam, massive orders would drive down the cost.

as a hardcore gamer would i buy this? probably not. but frankly, who cares because that market is saturated enough, so no one cares about me anyhow.

as a casual gamer who has never entered the pc game market because its so damn complicated and scary, would i buy this for 500 dollars?

you betcha.... especially if they maintain the cool form factor and the "greenness"

i do think steam should stick with this to target the casual less-hardcore gamer and not try to come out with multiple rigs... stick with this to pull the newcomes in, and allow the gamers with our own crazy rigs to do what we've always been doing...

The Sword Art Online mention is kind of funny, especially because(spoilered because it deals with the last few minutes of the last episode):


Kirito is given a "seed" that turns out to be basically the world code and assets for SAO, which he puts entirely into ALO. He also mentions that releasing the seed code has allowed anyone to create their own, interconnected MMO system, where players can freely pass their avatars(with all of their invested skills and traits) between the games.

This sounds a LOT like what Chris Roberts is proposing for Star Citizen, where you can experience the universe through the single player game, the official MMO shard(s), or with a local, private shard. It's a case of life imitating art, I think, because the original light novel was written in 2010.

Interesting observation that in order to create something we intuitively begin by using hands. I can remember one book that talked about this aspect of creativity, called "The Thinking Hand" by Juhani Pallasmaa. Here's a quote from Amazon's description:

"In our current global networked culture that puts so much emphasis on the virtual and the visual, the mind and the body have become detached and ultimately disconnected. Though physical appearance is idolised for its sexual appeal and its social identity, the role of the body in developing a full understanding of the physical world and the human condition has become neglected. The potential of the human body as a knowing entity – with all our senses as well as our entire bodily functions being structured to produce and maintain silent knowledge together – fails to be recognised.

It is only through the unity of mind and body that craftsmanship and artistic work can be fully realised. Even those endeavours that are generally regarded as solely intellectual, such as writing and thinking, depend on this union of mental and manual skills."

I believe it was Lost Lobster that asked about turning your tablet into a mobile console in the final email. I have some input on this as I have turned my Asus TF101 Transformer into a version of one.

My more recent adaptation has been to use a DosBox app that you can find on the Play store called DosBox Turbo to play older PC games using touch interface. GoG has a good library of these games including Master of Orion 1+2, Master of Magic, and the Ultima Games.

The other option you have is to use an older console emulator. I have had the most success with the NES and SNES emulators which have an extensive library of games that all fit on a 2GB card for ease of storage. Then, there are Apps available such as Wiimote Controller that allow you to sync a Wii controller with your tablet via Bluetooth and play much like you would Virtual Console on the Wii. It will also support the Wii Classic controller for SNES games. There are also applications that allow for syncing of a Sixaxis controller on the store, but I have not tested them.