GWJ Conference Call Episode 494

Revisiting Mass Effect, Rainbow Six: Siege, Factorio, Mom/Dad Rock Games, Your Email and More!

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This week Julian, Sean, Amanda and Rob Zacny talk about "uncool" games.

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.

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Show credits

Music credits: 

Melt - Broke for Free - http://brokeforfree.com/ - 44:26

A Beautiful Life - Broke for Free - http://brokeforfree.com/ - 1:04:45

Comments

EA actually tried a Free to Play version of The Sims. It didn't do very well, which was kind of a surprise to me. The Sims games have a store attached to them, selling individual items, and it seemed to me to be popular among the fans I forumed with.

I don't think I have a "dad rock" kind of game or genre I play regularly, but I did enjoy The Sims 3.

I do think that maybe I have an unnatural obsession with the Relic Warhammer games. I played A LOT of Space Marine. That's not really embarrassing, though, is it? I mean they were pretty popular games.

I haven't listened to this week's podcast yet, but I just want to say that it was a massive oversight to not have me on it.

I mean, I've only been banging the Duke Nukem Forever drum for five years now. Also, I played Mercenaries 2 three times.

(Just kidding. I look forward to hearing what the crew's thoughts on bad/uncool games are.)

00:02:10 Heroes of the Storm
00:03:15 Overwatch
00:04:50 PlayStation VR
00:09:58 Mass Effect
00:19:35 Endless Legend
00:21:43 Rainbow Six: Siege
00:27:52 The Witcher 3
00:31:06 Factorio
00:39:53 Dying Light
00:45:05 Secret Game Cabal
00:46:33 The Unmarked Podcast
00:48:14 "Uncool" Games
01:04:45 Your Emails

I'm not sure the "uncool games" discussion ever really came into focus (dad rock? or mom games? or teen girl stuff? or ultraviolence? or is this really just a general "guilty pleasures" discussion?) but that's okay, it was still a good discussion about games that don't get discussed often.

I was interested in Amanda's suggestion that Dying Light's focus on your limbs during the parkour stuff was intended to increase your fear and claustrophobia. I always assumed your view there served a purely mechanical function--helping you see what you're moving over, and clarifying when you've completed the animation and are thus able to take new actions--but maybe not (or maybe it's both). I put around 5-10 hours into that game a month or so ago, but I don't think I'll be back--I like the running around, but I don't like how incredibly under-powered I feel when I am forced into combat. And Amanda, if you found the regular game stressful, avoid the night time in that game at all costs--my one night time mission was the most effective a game has ever been in making me feel panic. I raced as fast as I could into dead ends again and again as extra scary, extra aggressive zombies swarmed me, had no idea where I was going, couldn't really see, knew that if I stopped moving I was dead...it was stressful! Not an experience I would recommend.

doubtingthomas396 wrote:

I haven't listened to this week's podcast yet, but I just want to say that it was a massive oversight to not have me on it.

I actually wondered if you were a guest on this show, or if you had suggested the topic. It seemed only natural.

for podcast suggestions, one that I think was missed was the British pc gaming show The Crate and Crowbar. I have to drive 6 hours every weekend myself, and this is one of my fave things to listen to.

http://crateandcrowbar.com/

Wired Game | Life with Chris Kohler is good for industry overview, too.

Sean Sands proves once again why he is the Game King with his description of Factorio. Completely agree - the game is awesome - highly recommended. I am a little surprised that Zacny was kind of cool to the game - he is the lead on 3MA after all. But, Sean, good call on Factorio.

Well, there was supposed to be an official announcement in today's show, but I guess it slipped since Certis was sick. (Feel better, boss!)

So here it is: in the month of May all of the TLDP reviews will be readers choice!

Between now and April 15th, hit up my Steam library and pick something that you'd like to see subjected to my patented ramblings. Send me a PM with your choice and I'll put all of your requests into a great big list which I will then email to ConCal Crew.

On the April 20th conference call, whoever happens to be on will select four games from the list in the way that they find most amusing. Then I'll get playing and writing, and the first request will air on May 6th.

A few rules for selections:

  • One to a customer please. If you send me more than one request, I'll just go with whatever one you sent last.
  • No gifts received after April 1 will be eligible for consideration.
  • If there's a game you want reviewed that I don't own, shoot me a message anyway. It might be one I'll consider buying for myself anyway.
  • Requests must be received by 8PM EST on Friday, April 15th. Shoot me your choice as you're waiting in line at the post office to file your taxes.

There will be a follow up announcement in this week's TLDP review.

Well, there was supposed to be an official announcement in today's show, but I guess it slipped since Certis was sick. (Feel better, boss!)

Ungh, sorry about that. We had to record on a Monday and the whole thing was a bit of a whirlwind.

We'll hit em' next week.

Certis wrote:
Well, there was supposed to be an official announcement in today's show, but I guess it slipped since Certis was sick. (Feel better, boss!)

Ungh, sorry about that. We had to record on a Monday and the whole thing was a bit of a whirlwind.

We'll hit em' next week.

No worries. I've already gotten a response just from the thread post!

Keep 'em coming!

Oh my goodness, I don't think I've ever wanted to play a game more than Factorio.... had to pause the podcast to go look up the trailer...

Factorio is indeed an amazing game and it was very well described in the podcast. It has that certain something, that Civ-like "1 more turn" feeling of just wanting to put this last little piece together... which then opens up the next little piece you have to get done. And the next thing you know you have 100 hours put into the game.

Highly recommended. And once you've done the tutorial campaigns and a freeplay session to completion, look up all the great mods they have for it and start again!

Instead of calling them "Dad Games" or "Mom Games", why not just call them "Parent Games" - since they're typically the only kind of non-commital gaming new parents are able to enjoy.

My first and most obvious thought, as someone who is a Dad, would be Facebook games.

When my son was born I found myself spending an enormous amount of time on the ubiquitous social networking site. Between the familial demands for photographic documentation on every minor milestone, the late night feedings, seeking the wisdom of our elders, and the total social contact deprivation, it's a thoroughly-modern parent's second home.

So naturally, you start to see those posts asking you to "Do your distant cousin a favor! Click here!" and suddenly you're hip deep in cookies to click, gems to share, dragons to fight, armies to command, gameshows to win, and cities to plan. For Free*.

I've since been able to ween myself from most of these skinner boxes, but even a decade later I still get requests from distant acquaintances asking me to send them some gems, or acknowledge their level up achievement. Every time I do, I think of sitting there at 3am, compulsively clicking on Castle Age, waiting for the timer that'll give me another chance at combat, shyly glancing at the "Buy 100 Power Tokens for just 9.99!" button, and deciding to pester my friends list instead.

Alz wrote:

Instead of calling them "Dad Games" or "Mom Games", why not just call them "Parent Games" - since they're typically the only kind of non-commital gaming new parents are able to enjoy.

My first and most obvious thought, as someone who is a Dad, would be Facebook games.

Heh - I was thinking the same thing when they were talking about 'Dad games...' Many many hours needlessly spent on Bejeweled and Candy Crush while walking back and forth with a colic-y infant.

Beckett wrote:

00:02:10 Heroes of the Storm
00:03:15 Overwatch
00:04:50 PlayStation VR
00:09:58 Mass Effect
00:19:35 Endless Legend
00:21:43 Rainbow Six: Siege
00:27:52 The Witcher 3
00:31:06 Factorio
00:39:53 Dying Light
00:45:05 Secret Game Cabal
00:46:33 The Unmarked Podcast
00:48:14 "Uncool" Games
01:04:45 Your Emails

Thanks for doing this, Beckett!

My uncool games are the various Magic Duels games. I've logged hundreds of hours of playing Magic: the Gathering by myself at home over the years.

Was trying to think of my uncool game before it struck me that I'm currently enjoying one right now on 3ds. Pokemon Art Academy.

I love it, I recently got into drawing video game characters so it is such a handy tool for learning how to draw. I don't care what you think, I love my edutainment

The talk of uncool games immediately reminded me of the time my cousin got a new PC while I was visiting, along with a wealth of great games now considered classics...and we spent more of my visit playing Richard Scarry's Busytown than anything else. We were 14.

These days, my uncool game tendencies skew more toward adventure game nostalgia - basically, I'm a sucker for Myst and its innumerable clones, (nearly) regardless of quality. I'm always on the lookout for late 90s - early 00s releases I may have missed from the likes of The Adventure Company and Dreamcatcher Interactive. As for Amanda's nod to hidden object games, I can vouch for their strange appeal - there's a series of holiday-related games that I'm always drawn to toward the end of the year, with their excessively ornate visuals and bizarre, overwrought plotlines.

There are SO MANY board game related podcasts out there!!! (aka Julian needs to step up his podcasting game =P)

To the listener who was asking for more tabletop podcasts - there is a multitude of great content out there! Here are my top recommendations:

The Dice Tower - one of my favorite podcasts in general. And I'd guess is among the most listened to board game podcasts. They also have a really great YouTube Channel.

If you were a fan of the fantastic (but, sadly, late) Joystiq Podcast, or are a fan of the McElroys in general, they have a really fun live play podcast called The Adventure Zone where the brothers play through a D&D campaign with their father. (There are many other great RPG podcasts out there, including one from some guys you may recognize...but I don't have an opportunity to play any RPGs, so listening to other people play them usually just makes me sad...haha)

The Dice Tower also gathers and curates some of the best board gaming podcasts available - that list can be found here. Julian mentioned the Plaid Hat Podcast, but my two favorites are the first two on the page I linked - Ludology (a discussion on game design, and interviews with designers) and On Board Games (one of the longest running board game podcasts).

The last board game podcast that I listen to day of release is the Podcast of Nonsensical Gamers. They have great rapport, pretty diverse tastes in games, and have a good mix of news, reviews, and general topic discussions.

Some honorable mentions:
Rich Sommer's late (in hiatus?) podcast, Cardboard. He isn't recording at the moment (as far as I know), but it is super well produced, Rich is a joy to listen to, and he was able to get other celebrities on with him who are either just as geeky as him or knew nothing about board games before they met him (both equally interesting).

Drive Thru Review - my favorite YouTube reviewer puts all of the audio from his video reviews out through a podcast feed. You definitely lose something on the reviews without being able to see what he is showing, but he also puts out general videos with Top Ten Lists and musings on games and the industry.

I'm not going to link to the rest of these because I just got the new Star Wars Rebellion game - and it isn't going to learn itself. =P

Boards Alive
Garrett's Games and Geekiness
Heavy Cardboard
Low Player Count
Rahdo Talks Through
Cardboard Jungle Podcast
The Long View

One last resource for board game content : Board Game Links

Many of the sites listed also have podcasts. Hope this helps with your commute!!! =)

I'm a bit surprised no one on the Conference Call listens to Match 3. It's grown into more than just a games podcast, but the discussions about games and other pop culture by Gita Jackson, Patrick Klepek and Sam Phillips is always excellent.

Otherwise yeah, Idle Weekend is beyond great.

I thought the uncool games discussion was funny, but I thought it was a bit strange. I love my games, but they are so fundamentally uncool that the idea of a hierarchy of coolness was dissonant.

If the 'not a game' crowd is given any credence then Amanda's are probably closest to the spirit of the idea, but f*ck those guys. Love what you love.

I thought Rob's idea that hyperviolent shooters are uncool was kind of funny. They are not critical darlings any more, but it's kind of like saying popular blockbuster movies are uncool. It's only "uncool" to a certain type of person if you like Avengers, and that type of person isn't actually a cool person.

Uncool games? Time to link this:

Clicker Games Click-All

i was in the R6 Siege Beta and I liked the game, but for me was not a full price game, after Rob recommendation I may pick up sooner

Love you guys how you don't care about the latest hotness game, and can speak about Mass Effect for 15 minutes, love you guys!

I've been away, so I'm just getting caught up on my podcasts.

Oh you Goodjer powers that be, you broke my heart. :'( Kaidan sure was the right choice for me!
I've ben following Amoebic's plunge into the Mass Effect series via Twitter, and gosh, I envy her so, so much. Mass Effect is one of those series I wish I could scrub from my brain just to reexperience all over again. ME2 definitely has one of the best openings in a game ever, and the series is just really, really special to me.

And Grey Matter was just amazeballs, for the record.

doubtingthomas396 wrote:

Well, there was supposed to be an official announcement in today's show, but I guess it slipped since Certis was sick. (Feel better, boss!)

So here it is: in the month of May all of the TLDP reviews will be readers choice!

That is amazing!!! You'll definitely be hearing from me!!

Oh and hope you feel better, Certis.

Every time I listen to people speak about the Mass Effect series I realize just how off the pulse of common opinion I am. While there were some gameplay improvements in the sequels, I felt like it failed to fix what was broken, kicked interested but flawed concepts to the curb, and then forgot how to write a good story. Basically, after Mass Effect 1, the entire series was downhill for me.

I will not link Shamus Young's massive retrospective again... I will not link Shamus Young's massive retrospective again...

I'm in a weird spot when you use a phrase like "Dad Rock". Like, I sort of get what you mean about it, but my Dad listened to Yes, Kansas, Boston, ELO, and similar rock bands that I enjoyed and listen to even now. If it's "Dad's music you don't like", then I have to go with "Dave Matthews Band", which all the cool kids and frat boys listened to so clearly that's not Dad Rock. I even like the first Hootie and the Blowfish album. I had to really dig into the reservoir of my memory to remember that my Dad actually spent money on that one Spin Doctors album.

So trying to figure out the video game equivalent to the Spin Doctors is kinda rough. Especially since most of the games I play that, based on my childhood and modern sensibilities would be considered "uncool", are uncool for totally different reasons than "Dad music".

I'm just going to go ahead and assume that some Nintendo game in my collection is my Dad game. That's about as close to Video Game Spin Doctors as you can get.


As for "are reviewers worth a damn", I think it depends on the purpose of the reviewer. I've spent a lot of time discussing this sort of thing with Erik and on my blog, and I come down to two camps: you're either there for Consumer Advice or Academic Criticism. The latter is what I prefer, and in the latter the entire purpose is to simply think more deeply of games as an art. It's not intended to inform if the product was good or not, but to comprehend successes and failures and why something may sit somewhere in-between. This is irrelevant to consumer advice, which I think is there to determine the probability of someone enjoying it.

I think Roger Ebert sat on a fence between consumer advice and academic criticism, which I think is also where many newspaper entertainment reviewers have sat. Even thinking back to, say, Rattatouille, where Anton Ego is rating food on a completely different level than the average consumer. Who is his review of food for? Is it truly for the average person going to eat there? Is it for upper-crust clientele that are used to eating more pricey and extravagent dishes? Or is it only for other critics? I think this is the mess that consumer advice gets into, and why I think a scoring system's end result would best be used to figure out the percentage chance someone in your target audience will like it (and even then, it is best that your publication have a clearly defined demographic, because the more broad you get the more of a coin toss any one game will be).

In terms of YouTubers, my primary concern is that you don't have people that take these sorts of things into consideration. I'm reminded of when I was seeking out game journalist social networks and such, seeing all the other aspiring writers whose only thought towards creating a new website was to have news, reviews, and previews. The same content every other site already head, with no unique spin except to rely on their own personality. To me, most people trying to write about games were simply people that loved playing games, so why not write about them. They weren't writers first, nor did they have any deeper appreciation of game design or narrative than any other average gamer.

YouTube is much the same, only it puts the personality front-and-center. It makes it easier to say "Hey, this YouTuber is just like me", and to essentially project yourself onto the personality (or to be amused by their antics). But this means you're getting a LiveJournal post in video form. You're getting a personal opinion with little to no sophisticated education or knowledge to back it up. Just knee-jerk emotional responses without the question of "why does it make me feel that way?". And now PR companies are giving these YouTubers things, and these YouTubers react as any consumer or fan would react. They don't respond like professionals.

Now, this is generalizing, as there are plenty of YouTubers that do. But honestly, if I am a curmudgeon over Let's Players and YouTubers, it is largely because I see an even greater lack of standards, both in output and what those consumers desire. But, we're also in the growing pains stage. Eventually these Let's Players will grow up. Many will fade to obscurity as newer, younger YouTubers appear. Those that will remain will learn from past mistakes. And, eventually, YouTube, Facebook, Twitter, all these things themselves will go the way of LiveJournal and MySpace, to be replaced by something new.

But people will always look to someone to inform them if they should be excited about something, and there will always be those that want something a little more substantial. The only difference will be where and how that stuff is discussed.

Wow, Chris, I wish I read this before we recorded the podcast last Saturday! Good points.

Mass Effect 1 was my favorite of the trilogy -- the feel of it is so distinctive, and the ending was by far the best of the series. (That set piece in the Citadel!)

I enjoyed the gameplay and even liked the loot, if not the inventory screen. And then Bioware decided the sequels should be cover-based shooters with character-driven narrative, and I was a little confused.

Connecting 3 dots from this podcast:
- Dad Rock (if U2 can be considered Dad Rock)
- Google Cardboard
- Virtual Reality Thread of the Week

When my non-tech friends want an idea of what the VR hype is all about, I give them a demo of U2's Song for Someon in the Vrse application in Google Cardboard.

The Vrse app is so much better than the demo Google provides and lots of people recognize Bono and The Edge during the fade in. Most respond positively and walk away with a hint of the promise VR holds.

Wanted to throw in my two cents about "Mom games" or more specifically those mystery/puzzle point and click type games.

I haven't played a game like this in a long time but for me these type of games do illicit a type of nostalgia and harks back to games I played growing up such as Discworld and Sam and Max.

I also think theyre gaining popularity and becoming a bit more mainstream, or at least elements of the point and click/puzzle genre are. Take a look at some modern popular examples such as The Witness, The Room Three or (to a lesser extent) Keep Talking and Nobody Explodes.