Giant Bomb Bomb-All

I haven't listened to the entire final GOTY discussions yet (still over two and a half hours[!!] to go somehow), but from what I heard so far one of Dan's main arguments against Dream Daddy was that only Abby was really passionate about it, and the others had mixed feelings on it, and so a game like Uncharted that everyone who played it liked it should go higher. That came off as kinda hypocritical to me, since he benefited from the "one person's passion for a game beats everyone liking a different game" argument to get Stardew Valley onto the top ten list last year. I remember Jeff even saying last year that he prefers games that someone has a passion for. Alex did the same with Thumper, and I sort of expected Alex to point this out. Maybe he does later.

Apparently they forgot the legendary Austin Invisible Inc defense.

The bottom three spots have always been where the singular passion games go. It’s realky something they just need to acknowledge and accept. Jeff knows it creates a more interesting and diverse list that represents Giant Bomb.

Watching someone play Bloodborne again and I have to say I'm still not over the Bloodborne debacle of 2015. The game looks so amazing and the gameplay is so tight. Alas, GB just likes different games than me.

From the Day 3 podcast...
IMAGE(https://static.giantbomb.com/uploads/original/9/90838/2986637-abbyisright.png)

I thought Abby & Ben made a fantastic debut this year.

Both were eloquent and descriptive in backing their faves. Neither were pushy, willingly relenting their picks when they sensed they weren't going to make the cut.

Holy crap their whole communication style is so refreshing compared to the petulant, "We're not leaving this table until Destiny 2 gets the nod." shenanigans from some GB vets.

Really enjoyed the podcasts this season.

I just got through Day 2, and I have feelings about the Best Soundtrack section.

Spoiler:

As a Nier person, I was super psyched to have almost everyone absolutely losing their sh*t over Nier. I was kind of sad that Abby seemed to dislike it so much, but I can kind of understand. Nier's score works on two levels: the emotional and the technical. The rest of the crew did a good job covering it from the technical level, and I think that's ultimately what got her to agree to giving it the win. They didn't touch at all on the emotional, which is where I think Abby bounced hardest. She didn't finish the game, and it seemed like she bounced pretty hard off it. If you bounce on the emotional side, I can see that score not working as well for you, but it was surprising to hear her dismiss it as "just generic manipulative JRPG music."

I like the Cuphead soundtrack a bunch, but it's not even in the same league as Nier. Possibly that has something to do with basically hearing every piece on repeat while I bash my head against whatever level it is. Hearing any song 30 times in a row is gonna make me not want to go listen to it again.

The "Best World" discussion is... something.

I had like four moments where I felt like I'd heard roughly three very specifically different interpretations of what Best World even meant, and then right about the moment where I'd get to that mental point Jeff would say "SO WHAT IS THIS CATEGORY EVEN?" again and I could go Oh, ok, I'm not crazy then, this category is just an ill-defined meaningless mish mashy mess. Got it.

It's the first time I've ever skipped a category.

I think it's a fine category, and think Jeff is a little OCD which caused him to derail. The category didn't need to specifically be best world building, or best exploration, or best open world. Take all three elements into account. "Which world did you enjoy being in the most?" is a much less open ended question than "what was the best game of the year?"

Man Nier didn't get the love it deserved.

Chaz wrote:

I just got through Day 2, and I have feelings about the Best Soundtrack section.

Spoiler:

As a Nier person, I was super psyched to have almost everyone absolutely losing their sh*t over Nier. I was kind of sad that Abby seemed to dislike it so much, but I can kind of understand. Nier's score works on two levels: the emotional and the technical. The rest of the crew did a good job covering it from the technical level, and I think that's ultimately what got her to agree to giving it the win. They didn't touch at all on the emotional, which is where I think Abby bounced hardest. She didn't finish the game, and it seemed like she bounced pretty hard off it. If you bounce on the emotional side, I can see that score not working as well for you, but it was surprising to hear her dismiss it as "just generic manipulative JRPG music."

I like the Cuphead soundtrack a bunch, but it's not even in the same league as Nier. Possibly that has something to do with basically hearing every piece on repeat while I bash my head against whatever level it is. Hearing any song 30 times in a row is gonna make me not want to go listen to it again.

Yeah I disagreed so hard with her on the whole it's just "manipulative JRPG music thing"

She didn't connect with Nier, and only played 8 hours of it. That's not insignificant, but means she didn't even get to the parts where it starts subverting the things it was setting up in that opening section.

It was frustrating listening to Dan push back on Dream Daddy when his argument was basically "I didn't like playing this game, and don't really like the genre, so I stopped early, and it didn't do anything different, so it shouldn't be as high as you're saying it should be." Then it was more frustrating when she made very similar arguments against Nier.

I totally get that Nier is a long game, rough mechanically, has some questionable costume design choices (which she rightly called out), and is a time commitment. It asks a lot of the player. I have a lot of conflicted feelings when someone who bounced off it and someone who finished it and connected strongly with it get into an argument about the relative worth of the game.

I'm through Day 4 and so far the only conversation I found to be just bad was the aforementioned first thirty minute chunk of Best World that made me jump ship and skip to the next category.

I was expecting Dan to be a problem for a specific game or two when the Best Game list came up based on the discussions so far. Seeing people say he's being stubbornly obstinate about Dream Daddy does not surprise me in the slightest after hearing his few bits about it during the best character and best story discussions.

Can't say I'm looking forward to that, but these things are always quite the ride.

I've never really figured how how I feel about debating a game that's in a genre or style you either actively dislike or just don't care about at all, when you're trying to do one of these group lists. Like, I don't like MP shooters, haven't played PUBG, and probably won't because I know it's not for me. Everyone else in the group has and liked it a lot. Do I push back against it because it's a very specific genre that not everyone will care about? Or do I acknowledge that there's strong reasons to keep it on the list, but mostly sit out of the debate because I'm not in a good position to judge?

Unfortunately, Dan usually decides "I don't care about this style of game, so it's bad and shouldn't be on the list", and makes that argument constantly. We're talking about a guy who skips cut scenes and "doesn't like emotions and crap when I'm playing games." There's probably a less Dan game than Dream Daddy, but I can't really think of one.

boogle wrote:

Abby for best bomber of the GOTY casts.

Ben and Jan are runners up.

Dan is worst for his "but its a dating sim" line of argument that was insulting once, and infuriating the 20th time.

I'm listening to this now. I get absolutely nothing out of dating sims. From a "is this game for me or not" standpoint I'm probably in the same camp as Dan. They aren't at all.

I'm still sitting here wishing he'd just shut the f*ck up. He just has nothing of value to add to the conversation. He's acting like it's his personal top 10 and everyone else's input should have less value than his does.

GOTY discussion spoilers in case you care:

Spoiler:

Abby's, and to a lesser extent Vinny's, arguments in favor of Dream Daddy were impressive because they managed to sway Jeff, who played it and didn't like it, and someone else who I can't remember over to putting it on the list. That's how it should go. You personally may not like a thing, but you can be convinced if someone else in the group makes a good argument for it.

Dan obviously doesn't subscribe to that. That'd be one thing if you make a strong counter argument. Dan being Dan, that obviously didn't happen, and his argument came down to "I thought it was dumb and I haven't played any other dating sims, but I assume it doesn't do anything different, which is somehow a metric now, so this shouldn't be on the list. Reading words is hard why can't I skip them and punch some dudes?"

Yeah Dan can get annoying at time I don't think he should really say anything if he can't add anything constructive to the argument. I hate walking simulators with a passion but I'm not gonna sit there and just say they're bad because I don't like them.

GB's approach to GOTY is always interesting and frustrating. I like that it's not just a straight-up vote, and appreciate that pushing for a consensus sometimes allows for the passion of one or two people to be enough to get a game on the list, but the downside of this is that if someone is going to be particularly stubborn about their pick (e.g. Brad with Destiny 2) or if there is relatively equal support for a handful of choices (e.g. the 2-4 places in "Best Surprise") the determining factor seems to be who is the most stubborn/who is quickest to say "fine, drop my thing so we can move on." I always found the way Patrick talked about GB GOTY stuff (cackling about some imagined Machiavellian strategies of back-stabbing and vote-swapping) to be really off-putting. I like a good debate, but a good debate does not include people repeating the same arguments ad nauseam, or threatening to make everyone stay all night. Especially as the staff expands, I think it would be wise of them to set a time limit on this stuff--allow enough time to discuss every game, let everyone make their arguments, and if they still can't come to a consensus then put it to a vote or even just say Jeff's the EIC and he gets to make the call (based on his sense of the staff's view, not his own preference). I doubt they'll ever do that, but man, when they just go in circles for hours on end about the same arguments--especially when it's not even for the winner of a category--I start to wonder what I'm getting out of listening to this.

mrlogical wrote:

I start to wonder what I'm getting out of listening to this.

The correct answer is "26 hours closer to death."

Abby argued from a personal POV the entire time which is problematic from a rhetoric standpoint. She starts a lot of her statements with "I feel", "I think" and "I [verb]", which inherently makes it sound like what she's talking about is applicable to herself, but not others.

There's a subtle difference between:
"I had a lot of fun. I enjoyed the music. I engaged with the mechanics"
and
"The game was a lot of fun, had good music and engaging mechanics."

The former is a passive opinion stating ones experience. The latter is an active argument stating the "objective" merits of that experience.

Incidentally, this passive style of debate is more widespread among women than men (according to rhetoric professors I've taken courses with / books on presence/speech delivery, it's an issue of society conditioning women to bias towards politeness). I think most of the GB guys recognize this and actively worked to engage with Abby's intent rather than her delivery.

Dan (much as I love him) did not.

Rhetoric is a fascinating art. I wish schools still taught it as part of core curriculum.

Grubber788 wrote:

There's a subtle difference between:
"I had a lot of fun. I enjoyed the music. I engaged with the mechanics"
and
"The game was a lot of fun, had good music and engaging mechanics."

The former is a passive opinion stating ones experience. The latter is an active argument stating the "objective" merits of that experience.

The thing is, those first statements are true. There is no "objectively" fun game.

Valmorian wrote:
Grubber788 wrote:

There's a subtle difference between:
"I had a lot of fun. I enjoyed the music. I engaged with the mechanics"
and
"The game was a lot of fun, had good music and engaging mechanics."

The former is a passive opinion stating ones experience. The latter is an active argument stating the "objective" merits of that experience.

The thing is, those first statements are true. There is no "objectively" fun game.

There is also no objective person, which applies both ways. My antipathy for Dan's whole shtick certainly colored how I receive what he's saying even when I agree, and him saying "BotW is a masterpiece" is colored by him using the same word for Mario Parties 1-9.

Don't forget that he really loves Mario Sunshine.

And he picks popcorn containers out of the trash to scam free refills.

He's entertaining, but I'd be fine if his vote wasn't counted for GotY.

Abby definitely resorted to the "it was very fun to me" kind of statements a bit too often, I agree, but I think it's because she's not used to defending her subjective tastes as much as everyone else is. I think by the end she was learning from Vinny and Alex how to give specific examples to describe why something works well for you, and hopefully she will be able to punch harder next year.

SpacePPoliceman wrote:

There is also no objective person, which applies both ways.

Huh? All I'm saying that that the value in any piece of entertainment is going to be subjective, so the sooner people stop being obsessed with the "objective" viewpoint when talking about things like "fun" and "engaging" the better.

Valmorian wrote:
SpacePPoliceman wrote:

There is also no objective person, which applies both ways.

Huh? All I'm saying that that the value in any piece of entertainment is going to be subjective, so the sooner people stop being obsessed with the "objective" viewpoint when talking about things like "fun" and "engaging" the better.

I'm agreeing with you, and adding a furthermore. Fun is subjective and people, even using the language of objectivity, are too. Abby saying "I thought this was fun" carries more weight with me than Dan saying "This was fun" because I respect Abby's opinion more.

SpacePPoliceman wrote:

I'm agreeing with you, and adding a furthermore. Fun is subjective and people, even using the language of objectivity, are too. Abby saying "I thought this was fun" carries more weight with me than Dan saying "This was fun" because I respect Abby's opinion more.

Ah.. Yeah, Dan frustrates me, but I'm glad he's on the podcast because he makes a good foil and adds needed conflict.

Valmorian wrote:
Grubber788 wrote:

There's a subtle difference between:
"I had a lot of fun. I enjoyed the music. I engaged with the mechanics"
and
"The game was a lot of fun, had good music and engaging mechanics."

The former is a passive opinion stating ones experience. The latter is an active argument stating the "objective" merits of that experience.

The thing is, those first statements are true. There is no "objectively" fun game.

Hence "objective" in quotes. As I said, the distinction is subtle, but not immaterial. Both statements are truth, but they are nuanced.

kuddles wrote:

Abby definitely resorted to the "it was very fun to me" kind of statements a bit too often, I agree, but I think it's because she's not used to defending her subjective tastes as much as everyone else is. I think by the end she was learning from Vinny and Alex how to give specific examples to describe why something works well for you, and hopefully she will be able to punch harder next year.

I agree. I work in consulting and have to coach our young associates on how to present in front of clients. Abby's got a lot of enthusiasm for sharing and defending her opinions. She just needs a little practice. But for someone so (relatively) inexperienced, she's killing it.

Grubber788 wrote:

Hence "objective" in quotes. As I said, the distinction is subtle, but not immaterial. Both statements are truth, but they are nuanced.

The "nuance" there is navel-gazing. A reasonable person should understand that those are the same statements, but that the second set is made without the admission of subjectivity.