GWJ Conference Call Episode 337

Conference Call

Our Live Panel at PAX East 2013

Shawn, Elysium, Julian, Cory, Jeff Green and Justin McElroy talk about why they game in front of live audience at PAX East. We must have caught the sound guys off guard because the first 20 seconds or so are missing. Sorry about that!

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
00.01.34 What was the tipping point?
00.09.49 What's the experience that draws you in today?
00.19.00 How do you manage your gaming time?
00.25.18 Is there something you wish that gaming as a whole would do better?
00.38.08 If gaming suddenly vanished from your life, what would you miss the most?
00.45.12 Audience questions

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Show credits

Music credits: 

Intro/Outtro Music - Ian Dorsch, Willowtree Audioworks

Comments

Aw man. For a second I read that as The Real Housewives of Westeros and got all excited

Tanglebones wrote:

Aw man. For a second I read that as The Real Housewives of Westeros and got all excited

Could you imagine Circe and Margaery throwing martinis in each others' faces and pulling out their hair extensions, with Tyrion trying to hold them back? Classic.

And disturbing...
IMAGE(http://24.media.tumblr.com/tumblr_m38usoKsQZ1rrwrpwo1_500.jpg)

I love the Internet: http://www.uproxx.com/webculture/201...

heavyfeul wrote:

I have never been successful getting my wife to play video games. At a certain point you just have to accept that not everyone is a video gamer. Some people just do not enjoy them. It is one of the reasons I spend so much time posting here. I know at least a few people will be interested in discussing games and all the cool stuff involved with gaming. My wife patiently listens to me drone on about about some game I am playing, but I know she is just flattering me...and I love her for it.
*snip*

Thanks so much for your kind words and good advice! I'm not entirely adverse to television, and we do watch Game of Thrones, Walking Dead and Top Chef and other shows together. He has played Assassin's Creed 1 & 2, and even played an insane amount of Civ 4 (I even got Civ 5 thinking he'd enjoy that, but nope, no luck! ), so he's not a complete outsider. I'm entirely willing to accept that he's not a big gamer, but I think I might just be frustrated because he's often dismissive and uncaring when I go on about the game industry and the complexity of this video game character or the intricacies of that video game's story or how my sister was at GDC's MGS5 presentation.

In the end, I think that maybe I just haven't found the right game to interest him.
Or maybe it's just saying something about genders and personalities that your wife will humor you and my husband won't.

And if worst comes to worst, I'll just resort to Civ 4 multiplayer and being pummeled into oblivion by stacks of horsemen (he plays on Prince or Warlord, can't remember, I play on Settler difficulty ).

Tanglebones wrote:

Aw man. For a second I read that as The Real Housewives of Westeros and got all excited

Also, I'd totally watch that show.

Playing an MMO with your partner is a great way to play together, especially if you are in the same room. Having your own screen helps, and an MMO doesn't have the stops and starts some other games do. WoW is great, and from my understanding Guild Wars 2 would work as well. If your partner likes Lord of the Rings, then go for Lord of the Rings Online (hint: start as hobbits).

Eleima wrote:

In the end, I think that maybe I just haven't found the right game to interest him. Or maybe it's just saying something about genders and personalities that your wife will humor you and my husband won't...

I think adults playing video games is still a bridge too far for a lot of people. Your husband's reaction is totally normal. It is something that has come up on the Conference Call before, although not specifically in this panel, but society's view of video games has not evolved with the industry and the players. The young Turks that gave birth to the industry are old dudes and the kids that embraced the medium as children are now married with children of their own.

I see a game like Bioshock: Infinite and the themes of American racism, jingoism, and evangelism it explores and how it presents them, and I feel like the game is designed solely for adults, yet, the larger society would likely see it as a standard shoot-em-up designed for bored disaffected teenagers. Unless you are a gamer it is hard to see beyond the surface.

Aristophan wrote:

Playing an MMO with your partner is a great way to play together, especially if you are in the same room. Having your own screen helps, and an MMO doesn't have the stops and starts some other games do. WoW is great, and from my understanding Guild Wars 2 would work as well. If your partner likes Lord of the Rings, then go for Lord of the Rings Online (hint: start as hobbits).

I already play GW2 quite a bit, so that was my first idea (and I didn't really click with LotRO when I tried it two years ago). GW2 is also really great because it makes grouping up, and questing together really simple, the level downgrade is really effective. Only hitch is that our computers are in different rooms, though... =/ Oh why can't we be like my sister and her boyfriend, happily playing LoL every night?

heavyfeul wrote:

I think adults playing video games is still a bridge too far for a lot of people. Your husband's reaction is totally normal. It is something that has come up on the Conference Call before, although not specifically in this panel, but society's view of video games has not evolved with the industry and the players. The young Turks that gave birth to the industry are old dudes and the kids that embraced the medium as children are now married with children of their own.
I see a game like Bioshock: Infinite and the themes of American racism, jingoism, and evangelism it explores and how it presents them, and I feel like the game is designed solely for adults, yet, the larger society would likely see it as a standard shoot-em-up designed for bored disaffected teenagers. Unless you are a gamer it is hard to see beyond the surface.

I completely agree, it's definitely something that's been mentioned in previous podcasts. Video games are still seen as a largely puerile pastime, one largely inferior to reading, running, hiking, writing, whatever. It's seen as a waste of time. There's this pervasive fear of childishness, and it's why I love using a C.S. Lewis quote in my signature "When I became a man I put away childish things, including the fear of childishness and the desire to be very grown up."
I've definitely given up on convincing my parents (and my father's position on the matter really surprises me, because he's the one who introduced me to gaming!), but it's still surprising to see it. Without doubt, I have this reaction because I'm so thoroughly involved with the gaming scene (and why I hang out here all the time!).
But I do think that things are changing, and the change starts with us. We're now married with children of our own, and for starters, I'm raising my son in the geek way. He's 16 months old, and his "happy song" is Star Wars' Cantina song, and the lullaby I sing to him at night is Bastion's "Build That Wall". Yup, he's doomed.

Back on the issue of "feelies" that was mentioned a bit earlier, I heartily concur. Even though multiple moves have compelled me to go digital, I miss "feelies". I still have fond memories of receiving Baldur's Gate 2 as a gift, reading the manual (which was so thick it was spiral-bound), discovering the trading card which depicted NPCs and places. I love my Temerian Oren which I got my copy of the Witcher 2. I loved my Wing Commander ship blueprints. I really wish Skyrim had shipped with the cloth map it promised, because I'd missed out on the Septim that came with Oblivion. I just love these little pieces of the game that make it more tangible.
And I love my son even though he damaged my Borderlands 2 Marcus bobblehead. Marcus is now looking a bit upwards and to the right. I like to think he's daydreaming.

heavyfeul wrote:

I see a game like Bioshock: Infinite and the themes of American racism, jingoism, and evangelism it explores and how it presents them, and I feel like the game is designed solely for adults, yet, the larger society would likely see it as a standard shoot-em-up designed for bored disaffected teenagers. Unless you are a gamer it is hard to see beyond the surface.

I remember when I showed my old man the Bioshock trailer in excitement. The world, Andrew Ryan's narrative at the beginning, and then just the showcase of the fight with the Big Daddy. When it was all done, he said "All I saw was violence."

I've noticed that with television ads for games. Even if they're pre-rendered, it's all violence. While the Bioshock Infinite commercial is colorful and has hints of stuff going on, all you see is the violence of it all.

Marketing video games needs to figure out how to expand beyond the frat houses.

ccesarano wrote:

Marketing video games needs to figure out how to expand beyond the frat houses.

Did you happen to read about the reasoning behind BioShock Infinite's cover design?

shoptroll wrote:
ccesarano wrote:

Marketing video games needs to figure out how to expand beyond the frat houses.

Did you happen to read about the reasoning behind BioShock Infinite's cover design? :?

Yup, which is one of the reasons I chose that wording.

The logic is "How can we get everyone buying Call of Duty to buy our game?" It is one of the reasons Resident Evil 6 turned out how it did, but hopefully they're learning a lesson from that.

I know it is hard to convince non-gamers that they should play games, and perhaps it is a bit hopeless in terms of a game like Bioshock Infinite. But I really wish the Wii would have done a better job marketing a game like, say, Silent Hill: Shattered Memories. You have a device that's in a lot of homes and a controller that makes these games easier to play for non-hobbyists.

But 0 marketing later and a lack of sales and 0 interest from hobbyists and people say "No one wants these games on the Wii!"

Ugh.

That reminds me of something I said in the SquareEnix thread, publishers need their 'blue ocean' games like Nintendo did with the Wii. They need to move sideways, for a variety of reasons. I could see the potential for an alternate Bioshock Infinite without guns, but it wouldn't get made in this climate.

Scratched wrote:

I could see the potential for an alternate Bioshock Infinite without guns, but it wouldn't get made in this climate.

At one point Square-Enix (I think Wada in particular) was talking about packaging up their games in a way that the story could be presented without the gameplay (ie. on a DVD). Gamers, naturally, had their knee-jerk tantrum (because change) and it doesn't seem like they followed through on it.

I'm not thinking only chopping the violence out, but replacing it.

ccesarano wrote:
heavyfeul wrote:

I see a game like Bioshock: Infinite and the themes of American racism, jingoism, and evangelism it explores and how it presents them, and I feel like the game is designed solely for adults, yet, the larger society would likely see it as a standard shoot-em-up designed for bored disaffected teenagers. Unless you are a gamer it is hard to see beyond the surface.

I remember when I showed my old man the Bioshock trailer in excitement. The world, Andrew Ryan's narrative at the beginning, and then just the showcase of the fight with the Big Daddy. When it was all done, he said "All I saw was violence."

I've noticed that with television ads for games. Even if they're pre-rendered, it's all violence. While the Bioshock Infinite commercial is colorful and has hints of stuff going on, all you see is the violence of it all.

Marketing video games needs to figure out how to expand beyond the frat houses.

Maybe. But I'm a hardcore-ish gamer: I know what BioShock is all about, narratively. But I know that in terms of player agency all my verbs are going to be "blow dude's head off", "throw grenade", "summon murderous crows", etc. So it's not like the surface viewing is altogether incorrect. Even if it's a superlative shoot-em-up, progress through the story is still "go there, kill them, repeat".

I just finished playing Dishonored, where despite having the tools and opportunities, I didn't kill anyone. That was refreshing. Now I see BI and all I can think is, "Been there, done that". No matter how good the narrative or commentary might be, I feel that moar killing just undermines that. If that's what I'm going to be doing, well I can do that anywhere else. Like Skyrim, where at least I'm personally attracted to the fantasy of being a sword-swinging adventurer, and there's no quality narrative to impinge on. Otherwise I'll wait for Thief. Violence, after all, is the mark of the amateur.

The part of me that still wants to be a game designer wants to shout "but you can do violence well!" I get the idea, though. Sometimes having to find an alternative to violence is a lot more fun than being able to just go in and kill folks.

I find it interesting how you describe the verbs, though. I very rarely find myself discussing games in that term, and when I do it is for Dragon's Dogma, whose violence is different from other games I played (for some reason I love telling the story of how I was on the wall of a fort and took a trebuchet to the face which spiraled me over the edge and onto the ground below). That's not how my friends and I discuss games anymore, though it really varies on a case-by-case basis.

Really enjoyed this live podcast, 8 days later. It kept the PAX East vibe going strong. Thanks for an awesome show! You guys should totally do a contest where the winner gets Justin McElroy to record your voicemail greeting.

killer_b wrote:

You guys should totally do a contest where the winner gets Justin McElroy to record your voicemail greeting.

That sounds like a great donation drive incentive

Gravey wrote:
ccesarano wrote:
heavyfeul wrote:

I see a game like Bioshock: Infinite and the themes of American racism, jingoism, and evangelism it explores and how it presents them, and I feel like the game is designed solely for adults, yet, the larger society would likely see it as a standard shoot-em-up designed for bored disaffected teenagers. Unless you are a gamer it is hard to see beyond the surface.

I remember when I showed my old man the Bioshock trailer in excitement. The world, Andrew Ryan's narrative at the beginning, and then just the showcase of the fight with the Big Daddy. When it was all done, he said "All I saw was violence."

I've noticed that with television ads for games. Even if they're pre-rendered, it's all violence. While the Bioshock Infinite commercial is colorful and has hints of stuff going on, all you see is the violence of it all.

Marketing video games needs to figure out how to expand beyond the frat houses.

Maybe. But I'm a hardcore-ish gamer: I know what BioShock is all about, narratively. But I know that in terms of player agency all my verbs are going to be "blow dude's head off", "throw grenade", "summon murderous crows", etc. So it's not like the surface viewing is altogether incorrect. Even if it's a superlative shoot-em-up, progress through the story is still "go there, kill them, repeat"...

You are absolutely right. It was the big disappointment of the game for me. Maybe the knee-jerk reactions of non-gamers are not that off when it comes down to it. We have seen the industry evolve in terms of theme, narrative, and character development, but gameplay is still "old school" to a large degree.

Bioshock: Infinite, for example, is a better shooter than the original Call of Duty (original), but Call of Duty had more impact on me, because the mechanics seemed to support the narrative in a substantive way. Bioshock: Infinite gave me a far better narrative/character experience, but the mechanics just feel out-dated in comparison to the world you are asked to interact with.

shoptroll wrote:
killer_b wrote:

You guys should totally do a contest where the winner gets Justin McElroy to record your voicemail greeting.

That sounds like a great donation drive incentive

I started listening to MBMBAM because of Justin's appearance on the panel. I know I've heard him in other things, but damn is that podcast a riot.

Just wait until you dig into The Sat Dish with Sydnee McElroy.

McIrishJihad wrote:
shoptroll wrote:
killer_b wrote:

You guys should totally do a contest where the winner gets Justin McElroy to record your voicemail greeting.

That sounds like a great donation drive incentive

I started listening to MBMBAM because of Justin's appearance on the panel. I know I've heard him in other things, but damn is that podcast a riot.

I've heard a lot of good things about MBMBAM, and the panel definitely put it back on my radar, I just need to remember to add it to iTunes one of these days. Unfortunately, I listen to shows at work so I'm not sure how well it's going to go with coding.

shoptroll wrote:
McIrishJihad wrote:
shoptroll wrote:
killer_b wrote:

You guys should totally do a contest where the winner gets Justin McElroy to record your voicemail greeting.

That sounds like a great donation drive incentive

I started listening to MBMBAM because of Justin's appearance on the panel. I know I've heard him in other things, but damn is that podcast a riot.

I've heard a lot of good things about MBMBAM, and the panel definitely put it back on my radar, I just need to remember to add it to iTunes one of these days. Unfortunately, I listen to shows at work so I'm not sure how well it's going to go with coding.

WARNING: You will be snorting coffee the whole time.

Also, I'm referenced at least twice on the show, Certis at least once

McIrishJihad wrote:
shoptroll wrote:
McIrishJihad wrote:
shoptroll wrote:
killer_b wrote:

You guys should totally do a contest where the winner gets Justin McElroy to record your voicemail greeting.

That sounds like a great donation drive incentive

I started listening to MBMBAM because of Justin's appearance on the panel. I know I've heard him in other things, but damn is that podcast a riot.

I've heard a lot of good things about MBMBAM, and the panel definitely put it back on my radar, I just need to remember to add it to iTunes one of these days. Unfortunately, I listen to shows at work so I'm not sure how well it's going to go with coding.

WARNING: You will be snorting coffee the whole time.

If by "coffee" you mean "tea", then sure. Seems like a better show for the commute in that case.

Tanglebones wrote:

Also, I'm referenced at least twice on the show, Certis at least once

Internet famous-off?

Tanglebones wrote:

Also, I'm referenced at least twice on the show, Certis at least once

I remember one of your references. Certis' episode sponsorship was epic, it made Justin so uncomfortable.

MBMBAM became my daughter's and her friend's favorite podcast when I drove home. The only problem is, they can go pretty blue in a way that I'm not comfortable listening with my daughter, let alone another teen I am responsible for. And I don't mind my daughter hearing it, but there is a creeper vibe in listening with her.

The ads for the sex shop certainly didn't help.

But otherwise, there were times when my daughter and I were laughing so hard we had tears, and I had to pull over. Pizza Roll Suicide is an all-time favorite.

Yah,there is no world in which MBMBAM is going to be teen friendly. Just don't even try.

But my daughter is a pretty cool baby.

PaladinTom wrote:

My reboot idea: King's Quest. First person perspective. Heavy on exploration/discovery. Some basic combat, but not the main focus. Moderately open-world, but advancing the story would open up new locations. And puzzles. Actual intelligent puzzles beyond the basic quests offered by most RPGs of today. Engaging characters, mysteries, story twists, multiple branching story lines.

Did you play Mask of Eternity?

Gems134 wrote:
shoptroll wrote:

Mirror's Edge sold a little over 2 million globally across all 3 platforms according to VGChartz. No idea how much they spent to make it, but considering Battlefield 3 sold over 7x more copies, it's obvious where EA (or their shareholders) would rather allocated DICE's resources :(

To be fair, Mirror's Edge was and still is a pretty unusual game, even without taking the non-caucasian female protagonist into account. I don't remember any games from 5 years ago which had a AAA budget and didn't focus on some form of combat. That's not to say that the protagonist had nothing to do with it I just don't think it's the whole story.

It was, however, pretty awesome. It's one of the few games that I grow fonder of with time.

shoptroll wrote:

Has anything been said about Telltale's upcoming King's Quest game?

WHAT.

WHAT.

Tanglebones wrote:

If I was going to pick something to get rebooted, it would Torment.. no Ultima.. no Wasteland..

But seriously, Alpha Centauri, Tie Fighter.

These are all great ideas, but I think I'd go with Krondor. In my heart, it's always Krondor, or Ancient Art of War.

ccesarano wrote:

The part of me that still wants to be a game designer wants to shout "but you can do violence well!" I get the idea, though. Sometimes having to find an alternative to violence is a lot more fun than being able to just go in and kill folks.

I find it interesting how you describe the verbs, though. I very rarely find myself discussing games in that term ... . That's not how my friends and I discuss games anymore, though it really varies on a case-by-case basis.

Talking about mechanics and player volition in terms of verbs is a pretty classic mode of analysis for games, and one that all punk kids should learn!

As for doing violence well, I think step 1 would be making violence less prevalent in the game, making violence more special.

I dunno about Krondor. I think Betrayal was one of the great games of the decade, but Antara & Return were both decidedly inferior for various reasons. I'm happy to let it lie in the past, along with my happy memories of REF's books.

Antara doesn't count.