Idle F***in' Thumbs Podcast

I tried playing SR3 and my response was basically the same as Chris's response to Danielle's summary of SR4: "OK... now can you explain to me why this is good?"

Also, it's not like IT don't play AAA games - they've talked about FC3, Sim City, The Last of Us, Bioshock Infinite, all in the last few months. Even Jake is playing The Last of Us! I don't think it's so much a AAA vs indy thing as it is that some types of games are just not to their tastes.

gore wrote:

I tried playing SR3 and my response was basically the same as Chris's response to Danielle's summary of SR4: "OK... now can you explain to me why this is good?"

I can't explain why it clicked for me. It feels like it comes together as greater than the sum of its parts, and I found the story and characters to be surprisingly interesting (which is essential to me for longer games like this). Especially the main character, which is amazing considering games with this degree of customisation usually have a fairly empty main character.

I played through once, experienced most of the missions types once, did some of the DLC, and then left it alone after that. I think it's best experienced this way, I don't think many of the individual parts would hold up after a lot of play, but experienced once, it was a joy.

gore wrote:

I don't think it's so much a AAA vs indy thing as it is that some types of games are just not to their tastes.

And while I don't necessarily share all of, say, Chris' tastes, I do share his attitude towards video games. So hearing his response to the SR series is pretty much exactly what I want to hear—and what I definitely won't hear in any other games venue.

(Tangentially, that's pretty much why I've stopped listening to the GWJ podcast—I've had enough of Ely, Demi, and even Rabbit's perpetual snarkiness and incredulity that anything indie, quirky, or otherwise not mainstream, could possibly be good or worth playing. I want interest and enthusiasm for what games are and can be—which the Thumbs often pair with rightful despair over what many games are—whereas the self-styled mature GWJ crew can barely manage a discussion of Cube World (much less ETS2 or Viscera Cleanup Detail) without outright dismissal ("Aren't you over Minecraft-type games yet?") but then not bat an eye about another damn zombie game (to suggest the episode that finally made me unsubscribe)).

Cobble wrote:
Dyni wrote:
oilypenguin wrote:

I think she fit in much better on IT than she did on JtS, that was a very enjoyable episode.

I agree. It was also nice to have perspective from someone that actually plays real video games ;)

I could not disagree more. While it was interesting to hear about more common video games a bit I appreciate IT because they play "different" video games. (Very real ones at that). I can hear about SR4 from every podcast under the sun. It's refreshing to not get that on IT as well usually.

I mostly agree with you, hence the winky face I very much appreciate the fact that these dudes play stuff that most other popular gaming podcasts probably haven't even heard of.

Except for Zuma. Come on, Remo! Enough is enough!

gore wrote:

I tried playing SR3 and my response was basically the same as Chris's response to Danielle's summary of SR4: "OK... now can you explain to me why this is good?"

Also, it's not like IT don't play AAA games - they've talked about FC3, Sim City, The Last of Us, Bioshock Infinite, all in the last few months. Even Jake is playing The Last of Us! I don't think it's so much a AAA vs indy thing as it is that some types of games are just not to their tastes.

I'm still listening to Idle Thumbs but I disagree that their attitude hasn't somewhat become about AAA vs. Indie when talking about large games. Whenever I hear them talk about AAA titles, every point of praise they give is usually countered with two or three negative counterpoints that are often given more discussion, something they don't usually do with indie titles. Tastes are subjective and whatnot and that's perfectly fine but they really seem to exude the attitude now that they have to be much more critical of the flaws in AAA titles (unless it's Far Cry 2 whose most glaring flaws they just ignore outright) compared to indie titles and they often glaze over similar or worse flaws in indie titles as if being made by a smaller team excuses them. Again, I continue to listen because what they have to say about indie titles and some of their other banter and stories totally make it worth it but it's pretty clear to me as someone who has heard the whole series to date, that they have a bit of a chip on their shoulder with regard to AAA titles and there is a double standard that's very clear to me. If I were to take a wild guess, I'd say this is due to their negative experiences working in that industry before now. It is really frustrating that they overly focus on the negative with those titles more than smaller ones. But it's their show.

That was a great episode! Danielle was a great fit. And robot news and everything.

I'd wager it's because they prefer working on smaller titles and because those allow more expression with less financial risk, and not necessarily about bad experiences with AAA. I think they said they're willing to give a game a pass on its faults if it's trying something new or on the fringe.

Maybe they partially divorce budget from the work itself, in the sense that they seem to expect that just because a game has multi-million budget, it shouldn't be hindered creatively. It's an artist/creative guy PoV, I find. And now that they're all devs it makes sense to feel a shift in how the games are discussed in the podcast.

On the other hand, people in the game coverage business (like Giant Bomb) are positioned differently and tend to view stuff more broadly, since they can "play all the games".

As for the GWJ podcast, I think they usually don't give indie games a deeper look because their gaming time is much more scarce, and both AAA and indie compete for the same available slice. Since I'm in that same position, I relate. I won't play a game because it's attempting something avant-garde or to express a particular view on the world. If it does, great, it's a bonus. But I let that to film and literature and particularly music. I go to games for totally different reasons.

(not defending, just putting it as I hear it)

I think it's all about where you're sitting on.

EDIT: I can tell I'm tired because this was poorly written. Apologies.

And that's fine if that's the case. But that begs the question, if they're not interested in them any more, why do they even bother? They seem to have developer an innate dislike for anything AAA on spec now so why not just ignore it if indie games are where all the experiences they care about now lie?

Parallax Abstraction wrote:

And that's fine if that's the case. But that begs the question, if they're not interested in them any more, why do they even bother? They seem to have developer an innate dislike for anything AAA on spec now so why not just ignore it if indie games are where all the experiences they care about now lie?

I think you're make a broad generalization there. Clearly Sean and Nick are well into Dota 2 and I'd say that skews more AAA than indie.

I guess I mean in terms of more story-driven stuff. There's really no denying that Dota 2 is kind of it's own beast.

juv3nal wrote:
Parallax Abstraction wrote:

And that's fine if that's the case. But that begs the question, if they're not interested in them any more, why do they even bother? They seem to have developer an innate dislike for anything AAA on spec now so why not just ignore it if indie games are where all the experiences they care about now lie?

I think you're make a broad generalization there. Clearly Sean and Nick are well into Dota 2 and I'd say that skews more AAA than indie.

I also don't agree that there's any "innate" dislike for AAA—no more than there's ever been. Since they're all out of journalism and into development of the types of games that appeal to them, they're getting more exposed to more of those games; Chris at least has said as much. But they're still attracted to interesting games, regardless of budget or "tier": Bioshock Infinite, Metro: Last Light, The Last of Us, in recent memory. Of course they're very critical of AAA, and if they seem to give indie games a pass in that regard, I think AAA warrants a lot more criticism. But that's why I love Idle Thumbs bloom gold gatefold gold game.

juv3nal wrote:
Parallax Abstraction wrote:

And that's fine if that's the case. But that begs the question, if they're not interested in them any more, why do they even bother? They seem to have developer an innate dislike for anything AAA on spec now so why not just ignore it if indie games are where all the experiences they care about now lie?

I think you're make a broad generalization there. Clearly Sean and Nick are well into Dota 2 and I'd say that skews more AAA than indie.

Whatever. It's free-to-play and everybody knows that free-to-play games are garbage on par with mobile games.

I personally have AAA fatigue. And shooter fatigue. Not shocked that the Thumbs gang does as well. In fact, outside of my love for handhelds, their interests are tracking really closely with mine currently.

iaintgotnopants wrote:
juv3nal wrote:
Parallax Abstraction wrote:

And that's fine if that's the case. But that begs the question, if they're not interested in them any more, why do they even bother? They seem to have developer an innate dislike for anything AAA on spec now so why not just ignore it if indie games are where all the experiences they care about now lie?

I think you're make a broad generalization there. Clearly Sean and Nick are well into Dota 2 and I'd say that skews more AAA than indie.

Whatever. It's free-to-play and everybody knows that free-to-play games are garbage on par with mobile games.

Baby game!

Parallax Abstraction wrote:

I guess I mean in terms of more story-driven stuff. There's really no denying that Dota 2 is kind of it's own beast. :)

Again, I think it's the case that there are certain types of games that the Thumbs (and Chris specifically, as the guy who tends to steer discussion) don't tend to like. And even "don't like" may be too strong; Chris had some negative things to say about B:I but he was easier on that game than I would have been.

Things like FPS's and cover shooters? There's so little mechanically interesting to talk about in most of those, since at this point these systems are very well established and well understood. Really what stands out most is if a game gets something wrong.

I'll be interested to hear what they think about The Last of Us, if they can ever get Videogames to actually finish the damn thing.

Parallax Abstraction wrote:

And that's fine if that's the case. But that begs the question, if they're not interested in them any more, why do they even bother? They seem to have developer an innate dislike for anything AAA on spec now so why not just ignore it if indie games are where all the experiences they care about now lie?

I for one enjoy their critical discussions of AAA games and wouldn't want them to stop, because they point out things that I find are often glossed over in podcasts that are more receptive to that type of game. Their take on Far Cry 3, for example, served as an interesting counterpoint to that of GWJ, both in terms of an analysis of the design and from a consumer-oriented "should I buy this" perspective.

I don't think they go into an AAA game thinking they will dislike it, I think they've just disliked elements of a lot of the AAA games they've tried. I think they also judge AAA games more harshly than they would an indie game, for better or for worse. I enjoy their perspective and hope they keep giving it.

Dysplastic wrote:
Parallax Abstraction wrote:

And that's fine if that's the case. But that begs the question, if they're not interested in them any more, why do they even bother? They seem to have developer an innate dislike for anything AAA on spec now so why not just ignore it if indie games are where all the experiences they care about now lie?

I for one enjoy their critical discussions of AAA games and wouldn't want them to stop, because they point out things that I find are often glossed over in podcasts that are more receptive to that type of game. Their take on Far Cry 3, for example, served as an interesting counterpoint to that of GWJ, both in terms of an analysis of the design and from a consumer-oriented "should I buy this" perspective.

I don't think they go into an AAA game thinking they will dislike it, I think they've just disliked elements of a lot of the AAA games they've tried. I think they also judge AAA games more harshly than they would an indie game, for better or for worse. I enjoy their perspective and hope they keep giving it.

That's pretty much my thoughts as well. I don't mind their take on AAA games and if they buck the trend of other writers/reviewers/casters, then hey that's like their opnions man.

It's the same reason I read Tom Chick's reviews at Qt3 (and Polygon's reviews to a lesser extent as their scores tend to be "off" from the rest of the press more often than not lately). Sometimes it's just nice to have a reasonable voice of dissent in the mix. Especially when they can eloquently state the parts of game they didn't like. It's definitely helped me get a better understanding of why some games work and others fail to deliver.

shoptroll wrote:

It's the same reason I read Tom Chick's reviews at Qt3 (and Polygon's reviews to a lesser extent as their scores tend to be "off" from the rest of the press more often than not lately). Sometimes it's just nice to have a reasonable voice of dissent in the mix. Especially when they can eloquently state the parts of game they didn't like. It's definitely helped me get a better understanding of why some games work and others fail to deliver.

+1 to the rest, and I'll chip in that this is why I like British games writing better than any other, especially reviews and editorials, and even the bane of intelligent insight, the preview. They've a different culture and perspective that they view games through than Americans, whether it's more incisive, idiosyncratic, or just plain more entertaining writing; Edge, Eurogamer, and RPS are my only go-tos now.

Idle Thumbs talk about what they find interesting, not about what they like.

I think the stories and quirky behavior is much more apparent in games that try to do something completely different like Papers Please than in Borderlands 2 (which I love). The part that's a little weird about that angle is that the systems in games like Grand Theft Auto and Saint's Row are very complex an interesting. There are a lot of chain reactions and it's fun to see how the designers rigged the whole system up and how it goes off on it's own. I think that would provide the same sort of intrigue they would have with a game like Far Cry 2.

Gravey wrote:
shoptroll wrote:

It's the same reason I read Tom Chick's reviews at Qt3 (and Polygon's reviews to a lesser extent as their scores tend to be "off" from the rest of the press more often than not lately). Sometimes it's just nice to have a reasonable voice of dissent in the mix. Especially when they can eloquently state the parts of game they didn't like. It's definitely helped me get a better understanding of why some games work and others fail to deliver.

+1 to the rest, and I'll chip in that this is why I like British games writing better than any other, especially reviews and editorials, and even the bane of intelligent insight, the preview. They've a different culture and perspective that they view games through than Americans, whether it's more incisive, idiosyncratic, or just plain more entertaining writing; Edge, Eurogamer, and RPS are my only go-tos now.

Yup, love the Euro approach to games writing as well. Internet high-five!

shoptroll wrote:
Gravey wrote:
shoptroll wrote:

It's the same reason I read Tom Chick's reviews at Qt3 (and Polygon's reviews to a lesser extent as their scores tend to be "off" from the rest of the press more often than not lately). Sometimes it's just nice to have a reasonable voice of dissent in the mix. Especially when they can eloquently state the parts of game they didn't like. It's definitely helped me get a better understanding of why some games work and others fail to deliver.

+1 to the rest, and I'll chip in that this is why I like British games writing better than any other, especially reviews and editorials, and even the bane of intelligent insight, the preview. They've a different culture and perspective that they view games through than Americans, whether it's more incisive, idiosyncratic, or just plain more entertaining writing; Edge, Eurogamer, and RPS are my only go-tos now.

Yup, love the Euro approach to games writing as well. Internet high-five!

British high-five: Cheers, mate

Listening to another guest trying to sell SR4 to the Thumbs makes me feel like it's listening to Chris trying to tell people how good Far Cry 2 is just in reverse.

shoptroll wrote:

Listening to another guest trying to sell SR4 to the Thumbs makes me feel like it's listening to Chris trying to tell people how good Far Cry 2 is just in reverse.

It's weird as hell, because the actual words coming out of their mouths make the game sound stupid and lame to me, but then they just go on and on about how amazing those things are. I can so totally sympathize with Chris's skepticism.

I didn't like SR3 or Crackdown, so maybe it's just "not for me?"

I've been worn down. I'm interested.

I mean like Jake-interested though: hypothetically, but won't actually play it.

Gravey wrote:

I've been worn down. I'm interested.

I mean like Jake-interested though: hypothetically, but won't actually play it.

The weird thing to me is this. The thumbs gang recommends Papers Please and I go check that out. In fact in this year alone, despite doing my gaming on a Mac Mini, I've played Papers Please, Prison Architect, Crusader Kings II and many other Thumbs-approved games.

And I loved Saints Row 3. I think they're being stubborn. That's okay. If you like what you like and have limited time, then by all means. But I'm at least willing to give most things a try, even if it's "not for me". I can't imagine discounting heavily beloved games completely without any rationale.

Nevermind their gigantic blind spot with handheld games where they'll spend hundreds of hours on Super Hexigon, but won't give a look at Fire Emblem. I don't get it. I'm glad I'm one of those gamers that's happy to try out the quirky indie games and willing to pop in SR3 or COD once in a while.

DSGamer wrote:

Nevermind their gigantic blind spot with handheld games where they'll spend hundreds of hours on Super Hexigon, but won't give a look at Fire Emblem. I don't get it. I'm glad I'm one of those gamers that's happy to try out the quirky indie games and willing to pop in SR3 or COD once in a while.

Part of that, I suspect, is that they don't have any of the current generation handhelds (or at least latest Nintendo hardware) which they admitted on the latest episode.

gore wrote:

I didn't like SR3 or Crackdown, so maybe it's just "not for me?"

Yeah, I love SR3 and (obviously) haven't played SR4, but I feel if you've given those two titles a fair shake and don't like them, then SR4 is probably not for you.

I'm not bothered if the thumbs don't play SRIV, but I just think it would be hilarious if they have more guests on and every single one not only recommends it, but begins by describing it in comparison to the Matrix.

juv3nal wrote:

I'm not bothered if the thumbs don't play SRIV, but I just think it would be hilarious if they have more guests on and every single one not only recommends it, but begins by describing it in comparison to the Matrix.

IMAGE(http://www.gonehomegame.com/ghost/GhostGame.gif)

That's 4 babies. And you know what we do to babies around here, we baby-wall them.

The Thumbs, like most people, have less time than any other resource. Thus, they play the games that interest them. Sure, there might be other games that they would love, if they gave them a shot, but then you are basically asking that they try everything.