GWJ Conference Call Episode 393

Conference Call

Tons of Games From PAX, Film Noir in Gaming, Special Guest Kate Craig From Fullbright Company, Your Emails and more!

This week the fantastic Kate Craig joins the crew to talk about the Film Noir genre in gaming and lots more!

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
00.03.00 Dark Souls II
00.04.19 Below
00.09.36 Wealth of Nations
00.10.00 Evolve
00.14:57 Orcs Must Die Unchained
00.17.10 Diablo III PS4 expansion
00.17.42 Warlords of Draynor (WoW expansion)
00.22.20 Red Dragon
00.23.25 War of the Vikings
00.25.33 Night in the Woods
00.26.11 Monument Valley
00.28.44 The YoG
00.31.15 Curse of the Necrodancer
00.31.40 Deadrock Divide
00.34.01 Trials Fusion
00.35.31 Oculus Rift experience
00.38.58 This week's topic: Film noir in gaming!
01.01.25 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: 

Intro/Outtro Music - Ian Dorsch, Willowtree Audioworks

Hella - Broke for Free - http://brokeforfree.com/ - 38:25

Covered In Oil - Broke for Free - http://brokeforfree.com/ - 1:00:51

Comments

shoptroll wrote:
TheHarpoMarxist wrote:

(perhaps I should move to Canada?)

Just move upstate. I hear they have Tim Horton's near the lakes. That's close enough to being in Canada, eh?

Whoa, let's not do anything hasty. I believe Lara is still on the right side of the Great Lakes.

S0LIDARITY wrote:
Certis wrote:

Weird. No drama or anything like that. We're pals, we hang out and stuff. Lara just isn't super into gaming these days. She's always welcome! Why? She's the best.

When does Dragon Age Inquisition come out?

YOU RANG?

Aww, y'all are sweet. I had no idea I'd be so missed.

I don't want to distract from Kate's appearance on the show, but since people are asking: It's just as Certis said. There hasn't been any drama, and I'm still friends with everyone on the Call. Originally I fell off the podcast because my work schedule got too crazy to make the recording sessions, and nowadays I feel like I just don't play enough new games, or follow enough gaming news, to make my presence worthwhile.

Until Inquisition comes out, that is. Then you'll all probably be able to hear my screeching from space.

KaterinLHC wrote:
S0LIDARITY wrote:
Certis wrote:

Weird. No drama or anything like that. We're pals, we hang out and stuff. Lara just isn't super into gaming these days. She's always welcome! Why? She's the best.

When does Dragon Age Inquisition come out?

YOU RANG?

Aww, y'all are sweet. I had no idea I'd be so missed.

I don't want to distract from Kate's appearance on the show, but since people are asking: It's just as Certis said. There hasn't been any drama, and I'm still friends with everyone on the Call. Originally I fell off the podcast because my work schedule got too crazy to make the recording sessions, and nowadays I feel like I just don't play enough new games, or follow enough gaming news, to make my presence worthwhile.

Until Inquisition comes out, that is. Then you'll all probably be able to hear my screeching from space.

IMAGE(http://www.reactiongifs.us/wp-content/uploads/2013/06/fry_drooling.gif)

Just listened to this weeks podcast and it was great as always, i really like noir, and i a comic book fan, so i inevitably gravitated towards planet Ed Brubaker, Criminal is great by the way, sometime ago he wrotte an intro for the 4 TPB of scalped By Jason Aaron and R.M. Guerra (wich is also great) and this is what he has to say about Noir

[G]ood noir often has amazingly intricate twisty plots, but that's just icing on a dark, dark cake. Noir is about the characters moving through those plots, ricocheting like a banged-up pinball that only bounces

"Down

"Down

"Down

"Until — Game over. No match, no free play.

"And as you watch them move, you know their final destination, you recognize it ... because it feels inevitable. To me, that's the heart of what noir is, inevitability."

"For this reader, noir hits me hard in the stomach with an ending in which a protagonist goes knowingly to his or her fate. Call it resignation, even if that resignation is sometimes triumphant."

On other note that sense of inevitablity is what noir shares with a lot of the Sci-fi of the former soviet union and the countries on its spher of influence, that feeling that no matter what you do in the grand scheme of things the world is a miserable place an you are screwed .

Loved the show right up until the last email, which annoyed me so much that I created an account just to vent. The question was about developers flagging negative reviews on Steam as offensive in order to get them removed (i.e. misusing the system). It all ended with a horrible analogy comparing Steam to Walmart. First off, one of the benefits of shopping online is that you can read customer reviews. Steam decided to allow this, and as with any online retailer, if you only allow the good reviews then allowing reviews is meaningless. This has become increasingly important on Steam when you consider the number of games of wildly varying quality being released on a daily basis (one game the email mentioned, Day One: Garry's Incident, currently has 6% positive user reviews). What made the analogy even worse is the fact that Walmart has a website where you CAN leave a bad review for a Miley Cyrus CD or 8 Track if you like - no need to carry a sign into the store.

Steam has the right to take down the review section any time they like. That wasn't the issue, nor was that the question in the email. The issue comes from game developers flagging material as inappropriate that isn't because they are trying to get negative reviews removed. Saying that it's commerce and Steam should be worried solely about pushing every product on their storefront completely disregards the customer, especially when you're dealing with a product that can't be returned. Steam, Amazon, and even Walmart.com understand this. How is it that you don't?

First off, one of the benefits of shopping online is that you can read customer reviews.

It can be a benefit, but considering conversations I've had with friends about the quality of various cooking products, well, not every voice is relevant or should be heard. Some people come in with bias, some come in with a misunderstanding of how a product works, and others simply don't know how to follow basic instructions.

Basically, user reviews means you're giving voice to the sort of person that NEEDS the Pop-Tart box to tell them to remove pastries from wrapper before cooking.

Now you're opening that to something as subjective as video games, where we've already witnessed people bringing their socio-political baggage into user reviews and ratings. I may be willing to accept a variety of user reviews for, say, a blender on Amazon, but I don't want to touch the Depression Quest user reviews with a pole whose length equals the circumference of Jupiter.

Of course, that's just my perspective on the matter. I cannot defend the perspective of the Podcast crew, but I don't think their perspective shows a misunderstanding of the question or the matter at hand.

IMAGE(http://imgs.xkcd.com/comics/reviews.png)

[quote=ccesarano]

not every voice is relevant or should be heard. Some people come in with bias, some come in with a misunderstanding of how a product works, and others simply don't know how to follow basic instructions.

Who decides who's voices are relevant and need to be heard? In the case of the email in question it's the developer, and that doesn't sit well with me. It's also not what the intent of this particular review system. Everyone knows that any time something is opened up for discussion on the internet, people of any IQ are able to respond. I'm perfectly able to decide for myself if there is bias in a particular review. And to help out, Steam has a 'x% found this review helpful' feature, which is the first place I look. If you, or the GWJ crew have a problem with Steam allowing customer reviews, write them and with enough complaints they may remove the feature. If you don't think the Walmart analogy suggested a misunderstanding of the question, then you didn't get it either - which is the worst thing I can say because it immediately puts people into defensive mode. I'll repeat one more time what no one, including the GWJ crew have addressed: Developers are being accused of flagging legitimate bad reviews as offensive or off-topic in order to get them removed. I don't know if this is actually happening, by the way, I was just pointing out that they never actually addressed the question on the show. Pointing out that there are people writing poor, biased, or offensive reviews has nothing to do with the question. Pointing out that you can't sit in Walmart with a sign had nothing to do with the question. Kate getting her feelings hurt in the forums had nothing to do with the question. It wasn't my question, but I wanted to point out that it was never answered, and still hasn't been.

Consider my comments mostly cynicism with any online reviews. I assume that the amazing reviews are ones written by a product creators friends and family, and any incredibly crappy ones as written by people with some other axe to grind. My point is -- i don't trust ANY review system tied directly to the retailer, as I assume it's conflicted.

If you're waiting for me to say "yes, it sucks badly if someone is pushing bad reviews off the list" then sure, of course it does. Of course it's unethical. But I'm also entirely unsurprised, and don't actually care that much, as I assume they're mostly crap.

I trust people, not faceless communities. If *this* community gets behind something? I'm all in.

Punk0 wrote:

Developers are being accused of flagging legitimate bad reviews as offensive or off-topic in order to get them removed. I don't know if this is actually happening, by the way, I was just pointing out that they never actually addressed the question on the show. Pointing out that there are people writing poor, biased, or offensive reviews has nothing to do with the question. Pointing out that you can't sit in Walmart with a sign had nothing to do with the question. Kate getting her feelings hurt in the forums had nothing to do with the question. It wasn't my question, but I wanted to point out that it was never answered, and still hasn't been.

I did some Googling and the first relevant story to come up was this one on Train Simulator 2014, which explains the system as being fairly similar to YouTube's copyright bullsh*t. Basically, the creator can flag a review, but not remove it. It is up to Steam moderators to review it.

I'm not much of a PC gamer so this is the first I'm learning of it, and I cannot defend the Conference Call crew aside from these conversations quickly leaving the main topic quite often, but all I can think to say is that I'd be more pissed at Valve than developers if legitimate negative reviews are disappearing. Valve and Steam have the final say, and if a legit review vanishes then it is their bad judgment call allowing a developer to game the system.

I guess what it boils down to for me is that if the alternative is not allowing developers to flag reviews for removal (including genuinely abusive reviews), then what is the recourse when someone tells a developer they should die in a fire or worse?

It was touch and go whether Depression Quest was going to end up on Steam precisely because of stuff like that. You take away one of the few tools available for developers to defend themselves from this kind of abuse and maybe the developer of the "next Depression Quest" decides self care is more important than developing video games at all.

If the price of preventing that is user reviews becoming fundamentally untrustworthy, I'm OK with that. It's better than the alternative.

sixpackrules wrote:

Just listened to this weeks podcast and it was great as always, i really like noir, and i a comic book fan, so i inevitably gravitated towards planet Ed Brubaker, Criminal is great by the way, sometime ago he wrotte an intro for the 4 TPB of scalped By Jason Aaron and R.M. Guerra (wich is also great) and this is what he has to say about Noir

[G]ood noir often has amazingly intricate twisty plots, but that's just icing on a dark, dark cake. Noir is about the characters moving through those plots, ricocheting like a banged-up pinball that only bounces

"Down

"Down

"Down

"Until — Game over. No match, no free play.

"And as you watch them move, you know their final destination, you recognize it ... because it feels inevitable. To me, that's the heart of what noir is, inevitability."

"For this reader, noir hits me hard in the stomach with an ending in which a protagonist goes knowingly to his or her fate. Call it resignation, even if that resignation is sometimes triumphant."

On other note that sense of inevitablity is what noir shares with a lot of the Sci-fi of the former soviet union and the countries on its spher of influence, that feeling that no matter what you do in the grand scheme of things the world is a miserable place an you are screwed .

I think there's very much a prevailing notion that "the game is rigged" in noir. Drawing from detective fiction as a genre, what makes the protagonist special is that they—well, usually he—see the system more intimately and at more levels than most. I think what characterizes some of the really good stuff as well as the Soviet stuff is that the system is wider than even the truly savvy can understand and manipulate.

I might also venture to say that that breadth and complexity of systems is really what the 21st Century condition is all about. Which is also why I think that the systems thinking required to function in this environment is why games are such an important medium right now.

Also, if someone really wants to write a bad review of something, they have a TON of outlets. They can blog about it. They comment on another review on game review site. They can post about it on their facebook page, and that's just scratching the surface. I think the Walmart metaphor is pretty apt - Valve is a storefront.

Punk0, I know you created an account just to vent about this particular thing, but I hope you poke around here and get to know the community - it is really great and very welcoming to new comers. I'd absolutely trust the community here more than I would any user review on Steam.

TheHarpoMarxist wrote:

I'd absolutely trust the community here more than I would any user review on Steam.

But would you trust our user reviews on Steam?

shoptroll wrote:
TheHarpoMarxist wrote:

I'd absolutely trust the community here more than I would any user review on Steam.

But would you trust our user reviews on Steam?

IMAGE(http://overyonderlust.com/wp-content/uploads/2013/04/head-explode.jpg)

I take a more statistical analysis approach to customer reviews.

I look at what's the most common score across the distribution, and then I look at the comments left with the worst scores. Primarily, I'm trying to judge the context around such a low score, and weed out those who had an axe to grind, those who expected too much or had buyers remorse, and those who are speaking factually about a poor product.

With all that being said, I'm also much more likely to leave a negative review than I am to leave a positive one. To me, items that live up to their expectations are good, but items that straight-up fail deserve my time to leave a negative review and hopefully someone else doesn't wind up making the same mistake I made.

I thought it was an XKCD, but I could be wrong, where the comic basically asserted that you want to read those lower-end reviews and assume that the best scores are sock puppets.