GWJ Conference Call Episode 537

Comments

00:02:40 Hexar.io
00:05:41 XCOM 2: The Long War 2
00:14:36 Rise & Shine
00:17:32 Endless Space 2
00:25:41 Your Emails

Re: gaming kitsch

I'm mostly not one for collector's editions, but I /did/ purchase the Fallout 4 Pip-Boy package from another GWJer. The Pip-Boy is super neat, but I like the Vault-Tec crate. Seriously, the box is amazing.

I /do/ have a ton of Skylanders and Amiibo. I actually played Skylanders (and Giants), but I don't have any Nintendo systems to use my Amiibo on. Oh, and I've got some Disney Infinity figures in the mix too. I couldn't pick my favorite amongst them though. They're all my favorites.

Answering in reverse e-mail order:

I find it greatly amusing that you guys hazily remembered choosing that same thread as thread of the week before.

In terms of wiping a game out of existence, I also find it interesting that you guys brought up titles like Custer's Revenge and Postal, but Hatred had completely escaped your memories. Of course, the censorship issue would be a bit ironic since that's what the developers claimed to be fighting against (that's the kindest I'll word their motivations), but it goes to show that a lot of games worth forgetting just end up being forgotten anyway. Yes, there will always be historical documentation, such as with Custer's Revenge, or some small remembrance of that bygone era or fandom such as with Postal, but none of these shock value offensive games have really become iconic to the industry's collective memory.

So it kind of sorts itself out.

---

As for Hot vs. Cold, I think there's a lot of elements of heat that are either harder to convey or simply require more cues than many video games provide. For the cold, developers have gotten good at portraying not just snow, but also the frost upon clothes and equipment that develops over time. A character's movement being slowed down by trudging through the snow brings to mind the feeling of wading through such a pile yourself. Tomb Raider, Final Fantasy XV, and the upcoming Breath of the Wild pop swiftly to mind as games that portray characters shivering from the cold and even have teeth chattering. Not to mention sound effects of howling wind.

Heat, though, as Sands noted, has different types of heat. How do you convey humidity? In Final Fantasy XV, when Noctis complains "it's hot" and Gladio says "Then take off your jacket" in jest, the specific heat that often comes to mind is that of standing outside with the sun beating down. This is a heat that you can feel in Spring or Fall, very different from a general summer sweltering heat. This only happens, of course, when the sky is clear and blue, and thus the environment is equally bright.

But that itself is not enough to convey heat. How about sweat? Well, hair physics have improved, but you never really have a character's hair matted down to their forehead from it all. There may be a sheen to their skin from sweat, but the clothes aren't damp in key (and embarrassing) spots. Shirts don't seem to cling so tightly to bodies. No one is grasping the collar of their shirt and using it to fan themselves. There's no increased pace of breathing or continual wiping of sweat from the brow. What about the sound of bugs all around? In anime the sound of cicadas are often used to coincide with summertime heat. Approaching a building, how about hearing an over-worked AC generator? Upon entering the building, the audio is overwhelmingly an air conditioner at work with the character sighing in relief. Upon leaving the building, you are suddenly left without such noise and are instead back in the outdoors, with the noise of insects buzzing around and a panting protagonist.

In general, I think it takes more to convey summer because, when you get right down to it, there's so much more that's alive in summer. Winter is a season where the world kind of sleeps for a while, so all you need to represent it is snow, breath, shivering, and frost. Heat has many forms and results in a lot of different physical, environmental, and behavioral changes. FFXV does a good job of conveying a lot of different effects (hair's still a bit too gelled in the rain, but it definitely slumps a bit and you can see the damp in everyone's clothing and shine on the soles of the boots), but for all the little touches there are still so many that probably cannot be processed or they simply lacked the development time to convey.

I also wouldn't be surprised if there's something going on between our brains and body chemistry. I feel like there are a lot of psychological influences that can cause us to feel cold, such as being afraid, whereas there aren't many I can think of that cause us to feel much beyond warmth. It's possible that our brains can trigger something in our bodies to drop our temperature or something. I dunno, science is magic.

Either way, I think it's just a greater challenge to convey heat because there are so many factors required to really call the experience and feeling to mind.

Ha, when the Crew started to answer the memorabilia question, I thought "I don't really have any. No, wait, CLOTH MAPS." I'm glad I'm not the only one.

As for hot v cold, I played Skyrim and never really got a sensation of it being cold outside. I even thought about the fact that I was running all over Tamriel-Scandinavia, but just didn't seem to feel "cold".

As far as having to depict "hot", I can't really think of a game but a film (A Streetcar Named Desire) and a TV episode (Twilight Zone, "The Midnight Sun") both jump immediately to mind as doing so very effectively.

IMAGE(http://i52.photobucket.com/albums/g20/Kelly-Hrdina/Misc/streetcar.jpg)

IMAGE(http://i52.photobucket.com/albums/g20/Kelly-Hrdina/Misc/midnightsun.jpg)
Midnight Sun was particularly effective because of the standard TZ punchline:

Spoiler:

The Earth was actually going into permanent winter, and the hot spell was the fever-dream of the main character.

Thanks for the shoutout guys!!!

Zudz wrote:

Re: gaming kitsch

I'm mostly not one for collector's editions, but I /did/ purchase the Fallout 4 Pip-Boy package from another GWJer. The Pip-Boy is super neat, but I like the Vault-Tec crate. Seriously, the box is amazing.

I /do/ have a ton of Skylanders and Amiibo. I actually played Skylanders (and Giants), but I don't have any Nintendo systems to use my Amiibo on. Oh, and I've got some Disney Infinity figures in the mix too. I couldn't pick my favorite amongst them though. They're all my favorites.

I still got my Death Star from Star Wars: Empire at War within easy reach. And the battery still has a charge.

Yay! Not only did my email get read, but you plugged my podcast in so doing.

Good week!

EDIT:

Regarding gaming memorabilia, I still have a Kasumi Ninja headband that came with the game. It still fits.

Regarding memorabilia, what about the cool stuff that used to come in Infocom boxes? And, sometimes the boxes themselves (Suspended, I believe, came with the mask; never played it, no idea why the mask). I've managed to keep 5 boxes, with all their tchotchkes. For example, Bureaucracy (co-written by Douglas Adams!) came with "an official letter from your boss, a credit card application form (in triplicate!); a skinny pencil; a charter membership flyer for Popular Paranoia Magazine; and a helpful brochure from your bank." Good stuff, that added to the atmosphere and experience of the game.

When the question about what game you would want to erase from history, my mind immediately though of WoW. It isn't the game itself that makes me feel this way. It is what it did to MMOs. Since anything blizzard touches turns to gold, everyone wanted to emulate WoW and for the next 5-10 years almost every MMO was copying WoW. The class based characters, linear leveling system, etc... At the time I was playing Star Wars Galaxies which while flawed in some ways, was also a really cool leveling/skill progression system. When WoW was released they felt they needed to copy and moved to the NGE which got rid of all that and went to a 9 class system.

So yeah, WoW.

Loved hearing the answers to my question! (the one about wiping a game from existence) I was trying to think of something original and just with the opposite of the very classic question of "what five games would you bring with you on a desert island?" (If anyone's wondering what the heck I was thinking) I can totally see that doing so (wiping a game from existence) would pretty much amount to censorship. I myself struggled to find games I would deliberately expunge from
The only one that even remotely came to mind is the ET the extra-terrestrial game on Atari, which I haven't played myself, but everyone keeps saying it's the worst game ever made and that there are piles and piles of the game in landfills.

Eleima wrote:

The only one that even remotely came to mind is the ET the extra-terrestrial game on Atari, which I haven't played myself, but everyone keeps saying it's the worst game ever made and that there are piles and piles of the game in landfills.

And yet even that is a very important piece of gaming culture and history, to the point of inspiring a documentary on the excavation of the game and history of Atari that led to such a disaster.

It also very much contextualizes that, yeah, Ernest Cline is exactly the kind of guy that would write a book like Ready Player One.

Hrdina wrote:

a TV episode (Twilight Zone, "The Midnight Sun") both jump immediately to mind as doing so very effectively.

A total classic. I think you could make an effective short game based on this premise!

Removing something like Custer's Revenge from existence is counter-productive. It also removes the lessons learned from that game from existence. Red flags are socially useful.

If you gave me the option to push a button and wipe Deus Ex: Invisible War from the universe, I would do so before you could finish your

ccesarano wrote:
Eleima wrote:

The only one that even remotely came to mind is the ET the extra-terrestrial game on Atari, which I haven't played myself, but everyone keeps saying it's the worst game ever made and that there are piles and piles of the game in landfills.

And yet even that is a very important piece of gaming culture and history, to the point of inspiring a documentary on the excavation of the game and history of Atari that led to such a disaster.

It also very much contextualizes that, yeah, Ernest Cline is exactly the kind of guy that would write a book like Ready Player One.

For what it's worth, I enjoyed ET on the 2600. I've beaten it a several times, but mainly I just liked levitating out of holes.

Eleima wrote:

Loved hearing the answers to my question! (the one about wiping a game from existence) I was trying to think of something original and just with the opposite of the very classic question of "what five games would you bring with you on a desert island?" (If anyone's wondering what the heck I was thinking) I can totally see that doing so (wiping a game from existence) would pretty much amount to censorship. I myself struggled to find games I would deliberately expunge from
The only one that even remotely came to mind is the ET the extra-terrestrial game on Atari, which I haven't played myself, but everyone keeps saying it's the worst game ever made and that there are piles and piles of the game in landfills.

I feel like the correct answer to your question is to make up a fake game, and expound on it's negative qualities briefly. Then, when someone points out that the fake game, in fact, does not exist you can pretend it's an Arbor Day miracle.

I'm just at work, so I don't have the time to actually be this inane at the moment.

doubtingthomas396 wrote:

For what it's worth, I enjoyed ET on the 2600. I've beaten it a several times, but mainly I just liked levitating out of holes.

This genuinely made me chuckle :).

Of all the games that the "Too Long; Didn't Play" guy actually played to completion, it somehow would be ET for the 2600. This is irony steeped in irony, with a side of irony.

doubtingthomas396 wrote:
ccesarano wrote:
Eleima wrote:

The only one that even remotely came to mind is the ET the extra-terrestrial game on Atari, which I haven't played myself, but everyone keeps saying it's the worst game ever made and that there are piles and piles of the game in landfills.

And yet even that is a very important piece of gaming culture and history, to the point of inspiring a documentary on the excavation of the game and history of Atari that led to such a disaster.

It also very much contextualizes that, yeah, Ernest Cline is exactly the kind of guy that would write a book like Ready Player One.

For what it's worth, I enjoyed ET on the 2600. I've beaten it a several times, but mainly I just liked levitating out of holes.

Heh - 10 year old me and you have something in common!

Alz wrote:

If you gave me the option to push a button and wipe Deus Ex: Invisible War from the universe, I would do so before you could finish your

I'd at least give you three buttons of varying hues to choose from.

As I've done repeatedly for the last year for most things graphical. I would like to offer Black Desert Online on how to handle weather and does heat, moisture, unkempt clothing and all that in glorious detail.

They have a desert zone where you can die from hypothermia at night or heat stroke in day. The more you fight the more your gear becomes visually unkempt and requires to be periodically fixed/repaired. When in the starting zones you can get rained on and the ground gets muddy, you slow down and people splashes when they walk and everything is drenched in water.

As for the email regarding the FPS declining numbers. This past year with the latest installment of CoD and Titanfall2 were issues due to bad game designs. They either changed up working systems and made them worse or didn't fix issues that were prevalent in previous versions so they took a hit for it. I honestly don't think it was due to twitch skill levels.

Jonman wrote:
Alz wrote:

If you gave me the option to push a button and wipe Deus Ex: Invisible War from the universe, I would do so before you could finish your

I'd at least give you three buttons of varying hues to choose from.

Let me guess, they'd all be on opposite sides of a tiny island, but there would still be two loading screens between each?