GWJ Conference Call Episode 363

Conference Call

GTA V, Pikmin 3, Special Guests Jeff Green, Dean Tate and Owen Macindoe, Launching Captain Bubblenaut, GWJ Donation Drive Update, Your Emails and More!

This week Shawn and Elysium are joined by Jeff Green and Dean Tate to talk GTA V and more! We also have an interview with Dean Tate and Owen Macindoe to talk about launching Captain Bubblenaut! We also update on the GWJ donation drive!

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
00.03.57 Gone Home
00.07.13 iOS7 update
00.09.27 Elysium's hour count in Europa Universalis IV
00.11:25 Pikmin 3
00.12.32 Animal Crossing
00.15.00 GTA V
00.49.29 Interview with Dean Tate and Owen Macindoe!
01.13.49 Your emails!

  • Subscribe with iTunes
  • Subscribe with RSS
  • Subscribe with Yahoo!
Download the official apps
  • Download the GWJ Conference Call app for Android
  • Download the GWJ Conference Call app for Android

Show credits

Music credits: 

Luminous - Broke for Free - http://brokeforfree.com/ - 49:00

One And - Broke for Free - http://brokeforfree.com/ - 1:13:23

Intro/Outtro Music - Ian Dorsch, Willowtree Audioworks

Comments

I'm really glad you guys talked about the dichotomy of rigidly structured story missions in open world sandbox style games. I was just recently playing Assassin's Creed: Brotherhood and very early on there is a mission to pay some pirates who had kidnapped a whorehouse madam.

I run to the dock to get to their ship and there is a bright glowing spot where I have to stand. So, I do so and there is a cut scene where I hand them the money, but they kill the madam anyway. Oddly enough, the mission is still a success. But I said to myself "I can do better than that".

So I reload, get to the same ship, but instead of standing on the big glowing spot I find a way to sneak around the back of the ship. From there, I find a way up the ship to the railing and then jump up and assassinate the guy holding the madam. Suddenly, the screen fades and I get a Synchronization Failed message. I did nothing that I hadn't done countless time before when assassinating guard captains. But because this was a story mission, I HAD to do it this way. It was very jarring. I was a bit upset that an open world game where I could, in theory, do all sorts of things, had a mission that had to be completed only one way.

maverickz wrote:

I'm really glad you guys talked about the dichotomy of rigidly structured story missions in open world sandbox style games. I was just recently playing Assassin's Creed: Brotherhood and very early on there is a mission to pay some pirates who had kidnapped a whorehouse madam.

I run to the dock to get to their ship and there is a bright glowing spot where I have to stand. So, I do so and there is a cut scene where I hand them the money, but they kill the madam anyway. Oddly enough, the mission is still a success. But I said to myself "I can do better than that".

So I reload, get to the same ship, but instead of standing on the big glowing spot I find a way to sneak around the back of the ship. From there, I find a way up the ship to the railing and then jump up and assassinate the guy holding the madam. Suddenly, the screen fades and I get a Synchronization Failed message. I did nothing that I hadn't done countless time before when assassinating guard captains. But because this was a story mission, I HAD to do it this way. It was very jarring. I was a bit upset that an open world game where I could, in theory, do all sorts of things, had a mission that had to be completed only one way.

Maybe I'm wrong but when Desmond is in the animus he is experiencing the events in the life of Ezio. These are Ezio's memories and can not be changed. That is the whole point of the synchronization system. You have to stay as true to the memory as possible in order to achieve 100% synchronization. If the madam is supposed to be killed then there is nothing for you to do differently. The animus is what allows Ubisoft to have an open world system but still have a completely linear story that makes sense within the context of the "Matrix" type world.

blackanchor wrote:
maverickz wrote:

I'm really glad you guys talked about the dichotomy of rigidly structured story missions in open world sandbox style games. I was just recently playing Assassin's Creed: Brotherhood and very early on there is a mission to pay some pirates who had kidnapped a whorehouse madam.

I run to the dock to get to their ship and there is a bright glowing spot where I have to stand. So, I do so and there is a cut scene where I hand them the money, but they kill the madam anyway. Oddly enough, the mission is still a success. But I said to myself "I can do better than that".

So I reload, get to the same ship, but instead of standing on the big glowing spot I find a way to sneak around the back of the ship. From there, I find a way up the ship to the railing and then jump up and assassinate the guy holding the madam. Suddenly, the screen fades and I get a Synchronization Failed message. I did nothing that I hadn't done countless time before when assassinating guard captains. But because this was a story mission, I HAD to do it this way. It was very jarring. I was a bit upset that an open world game where I could, in theory, do all sorts of things, had a mission that had to be completed only one way.

Maybe I'm wrong but when Desmond is in the animus he is experiencing the events in the life of Ezio. These are Ezio's memories and can not be changed. That is the whole point of the synchronization system. You have to stay as true to the memory as possible in order to achieve 100% synchronization. If the madam is supposed to be killed then there is nothing for you to do differently. The animus is what allows Ubisoft to have an open world system but still have a completely linear story that makes sense within the context of the "Matrix" type world.

I understand the story conceit of synchronization. But the game itself is essentially an open world game. To then have such rigidly linear missions is incongruous.

**edit, strikethrough, the conversation goes there**

I haven't played any GTA games, so this is a more general statement. I had to pause the podcast to come in here to leave this.

I found it interesting that there was disgust, or disappointment, or perhaps outrage about the inclusion of lap dancing in the game.

Is it irony that people are disgusted by sex, and not by murdering people for fun? Without even breaking it down to being about sex, versus the sex industry which exploits the weak and unfortunate, the elephant in the room is still: how can you be outraged by mature sexual content and not by mass murder, and torture? I class pulling someone out of his car, beating him and urinating on him torture. Is that still in GTA?

Now, I'm not getting on my high horse. I've played the mass murdering protagonist on plenty of occasions. I just don't understand the outrage, or even disappointment. I do tend to stick to games in which the context for killing is military, or fantasy monsters.

Are we suggesting that there's something noble about coming into the game to just kill, and avoid the depravity which is nudity and sexuality?

This sounds like stirring the pot for controversy's sake, but the guest speaker specifically distanced himself from the strip club content, and I'm wondering why, as a player, he felt the need to do so for that content, but not for, say, the drug dealing, or other crime.

The short answer is probably that Western society looks more fondly upon killing than sex.

Back to the podcast to see where it goes.

re:museums
I think you overstate the accessibility of some of more obscure older stuff. For atari stuff, nes, sega, pc whatever, sure, but none of the Philips CD-i stuff is available digitally as far as I know and physical copies are probably hard to track down, much less the hardware to play it on.

Now, sure, you can say all the Philips CD-i stuff is crap and not worth preserving, but that (potentially, not saying it's likely) is like a contemporary of Picasso or Rembrandt's deciding all his stuff is trash and burning it, depriving future generations of the option of making that critical judgement for themselves.

Ghostship wrote:

**edit, strikethrough, the conversation goes there**

I haven't played any GTA games, so this is a more general statement. I had to pause the podcast to come in here to leave this.

I found it interesting that there was disgust, or disappointment, or perhaps outrage about the inclusion of lap dancing in the game.

Is it irony that people are disgusted by sex, and not by murdering people for fun? Without even breaking it down to being about sex, versus the sex industry which exploits the weak and unfortunate, the elephant in the room is still: how can you be outraged by mature sexual content and not by mass murder, and torture?

For the record, I've not played it either so this is not from first hand experience, but...

In my opinion the main problem with the lap dancing scene is that it's part of an incredibly cynical, misogynistic streak that runs through most of the game, from the mini-games to the main story and radio station ads. What few female "characters" (if they can be called even that) exist in the game are portrayed as either sex workers or as nagging, cheating wives & girlfriends just there to stop the menfolk from having a good time.

I'm all for more sexy stuff in games, but not if it's focus is women as toys to be played with then discarded or as mocked obstacles out to ruin the fun of privileged male sociopaths.

And when you have that sort of crap in an incredibly high profile game that sells millions of copies, a LOT of which are going to be picked up by underage young males unable (or unwilling) to recognise Rockstars attempts at "satire". Then I think THAT is a bigger problem than over the top violence.

Although the torture scenes are pretty vile also from what I've seen (especially since it seems to work and provide a successful outcome).

I get the opinion (and this podcast lead me to say as much on Twitter this morning) that 2/3 main characters in GTA5 are part of an overall theme in the game wherein the character and even the game system keeps looking at itself and saying "I don't want to be like this anymore," but not necessarily finding an alternative.


More on this once Sean posts his article today.

juv3nal wrote:

re:museums
I think you overstate the accessibility of some of more obscure older stuff. For atari stuff, nes, sega, pc whatever, sure, but none of the Philips CD-i stuff is available digitally as far as I know and physical copies are probably hard to track down, much less the hardware to play it on.

Now, sure, you can say all the Philips CD-i stuff is crap and not worth preserving, but that (potentially, not saying it's likely) is like a contemporary of Picasso or Rembrandt's deciding all his stuff is trash and burning it, depriving future generations of the option of making that critical judgement for themselves.

Right on.

wordsmythe wrote:
juv3nal wrote:

re:museums
I think you overstate the accessibility of some of more obscure older stuff. For atari stuff, nes, sega, pc whatever, sure, but none of the Philips CD-i stuff is available digitally as far as I know and physical copies are probably hard to track down, much less the hardware to play it on.

Now, sure, you can say all the Philips CD-i stuff is crap and not worth preserving, but that (potentially, not saying it's likely) is like a contemporary of Picasso or Rembrandt's deciding all his stuff is trash and burning it, depriving future generations of the option of making that critical judgement for themselves.

Right on.

There's also more to video games than just the pixels on the screen. If you ever manage to make it to a retro game expo and play games in their natural habitat, even older PC games can bring alot of context with a 14" CRT, boxy mouse and clicky keyboard. It's like Sean said, the history of the thing is more important than the actual thing. And while gaming doesn't have a ton of moments that deserve to be in a general museum along with other great human achievements, there's some very pretty interesting context to many games that is just completely lost now.

We're of the generation that can still remember the birth of gaming. For the next generation, the context of that is completely foreign. What does an offline game even mean to a 12 year old? They can play it in airplane mode? They're the ones we'll need to build gaming museums for.

I hope you'll have Dean on again, he was great.

@StevenMack

You nailed it. That is exactly the problem with the portrayal of women in GTAs past and present!

On the video gaming museum question, here in the UK the National Media Museum is attempting to preserve "landmark objects" (their phrase). I think though that they're already too late. Much has already been lost

Re: museums....

Aren't you guys aware of the gaming canon?

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Game_canon

Keithustus wrote:

Re: museums....

Aren't you guys aware of the gaming canon?

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Game_canon

The very idea of a canon is predicated on someone deciding which games are important or influential, but while "history being written by the victors" is a thing that happens, it doesn't mean it's a good thing. A history of videogames shouldn't be just about the games that were "good" because there are fascinating stories to be told and lessons to be learned from the ones which are "bad" as well. ("good" and "bad" in scare quotes because, importantly: who gets to decide?)

Games are not racist or sexist. People are racist or sexist. Games may show racist or sexist elements or scenes.

juv3nal wrote:
Keithustus wrote:

Re: museums....

Aren't you guys aware of the gaming canon?

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Game_canon

The very idea of a canon is predicated on someone deciding which games are important or influential, but while "history being written by the victors" is a thing that happens, it doesn't mean it's a good thing. A history of videogames shouldn't be just about the games that were "good" because there are fascinating stories to be told and lessons to be learned from the ones which are "bad" as well. ("good" and "bad" in scare quotes because, importantly: who gets to decide?)

Yeah, I'd say the notion of a canon in any medium or genre is pretty outmoded. It was more normal when access to the works was much more controlled.

The problem with a canon is that what people thought was "important" or "worthy" in, for example, 1700 doesn't sync well with what we now find important or worthy from 1700. Canons were created as a way of prioritizing what was worth keeping, teaching and saving, any they tend to exclude what people at the time thought of as normal, which means we end up not having clues to what people thought was normal, everyday and unimportant in 1700.

RolandofGilead wrote:

Games are not racist or sexist. People are racist or sexist. Games may show racist or sexist elements or scenes.

This is a good point. I'm personally guilty of using something like "sexist" as shorthand for "problematic because it appears to model and may tend to reinforce, conventionalize or enculturate sexist views."

One of those classic videos: Jay Smooth on the difference between "what you just said sounded racist" and "you're racist."