GWJ Conference Call 600th Episode Questions/Reflections!

Hey folks! On August 1st, 2006 we launched the GWJ Conference Call and now we're rounding on 600 episodes! Recording that show tomorrow. We normally pick a thread of the week to draw more attention to our awesome community, so I figured I'd make one for this show since a big, round number is great for navel gazing.

When you reflect on the last 11 years of gaming and your relationship to it, what comes up?

How are have your playing habits changed? Do some things turn you off now? Some things even more appealing?

If you have any questions for the hosts (I think most of us will be on) you can drop those here too.

Bonus points if you can name the game the header image is from.

I remember listening to ep. 100 of this and thinking "wow that's a lot of energy."

Over time I have not always kept up with every episode, but you guys keeping it going still makes me think the same thing.

As for gaming in the last 11 years, all I really have to say is "Dark Souls".

I believe that's Dark Messiah of Might and Magic...aka the "kick things into spikes" game.

Joined the forums in July 2008 after hearing about GWJ on Drunken Gamers Radio, and was surprised to hear a voice from long ago on the podcast....albeit under a different name than back then

Back when I joined, I had just begun a slide into a dark time in my life. I ended up indulging in gaming far too much as a coping mechanism. While gaming was helpful in that sense, it was simultaneously helping me avoid dealing with the situation, which only drew out the downward spiral.

Eventually I turned my situation around (with a good bit of help from family and some really awesome friends) and climbed my way back out of the pit. Very full-time employment and many new family responsibilities leave far less time for gaming, but I still squeeze it in as best I can. Nowadays it's not usually burdened with the underlying guilt that I should really be doing something else, so it's more enjoyable in that sense. Slower reflexes and the constant exhaustion associated with work, age and a toddler usually preclude gaming marathons though.

As others have mentioned in a recent thread about the conflict of gaming and a lack of time in large part due to kids....I have found myself rarely playing anything multiplayer anymore (for years now, in fact) and appreciate pause-anytime gameplay.
I'd love to relive those heady days of all-night LAN parties, discovering online gaming in the wild west of Quake's early days, and those years of clan practices/hangouts/matches, but I also accept that that is very unlikely to return.

I have also lost much of the wonder associated with gaming that I once had (caveat: I have yet to try VR), such as:
The thrill of discovering what all was out there for my Commodore 64 (including incredible music that I sometimes just let play on loop), where every new game could be radically different from anything else you've ever played, and you usually didn't know until you load "*" ,8,1 and grabbed your joystick.
The awe of logging onto a server dozens, hundreds, or thousands of miles away from my doorstep and marveling at how it was even possible to be playing with these random strangers.
Discovering mods for the first time and realizing that the game I had could theoretically have unlimited content for it if I wanted it to. It was a sort of indie scene before the indie scene, even if many of the mods revolved around nudie skins and Simpsons taunts. Related - witnessing the birth of machinima via Quake demo recordings.

On the other hand, I'm very thankful for the narrative depth that gaming has grown into, and the incredible breadth of experience now on offer, in large part thanks to the indie revolution of the past 10-15 years. Without that scene, I wonder if, for example, walking simulators would have ever happened. Without digital distribution, would the adventure genre have resurfaced to any degree? Would Telltale Games and many others exist at all?
There is really something for everyone now, including games exploring how to navigate a world when blind or what it's like to suffer from psychosis, games offering tough moral choices (and occasionally pulling the attempt off successfully), new retro games for every taste, and even pigeon dating simulators!

In spite of the things lost, I think I'm ok with gaming as it is and continues to evolve.

Except non-cosmetic-only loot boxes and ads in full price games. They and their creators can go burn in a fire.

I think that's Dark Messiah of Might and Magic.

With getting older and slower, my days of competitive multiplayer is coming to a close. I look at things like Overwatch and think "that looks fun" and then I realize that all I would be doing is lose and get killed because of these slow reflexes I've somehow acquired. So, I stay away from it and leave it up to those dang kids on my lawn.

Playing less multiplayer online, I have turned more towards board games for the social aspect of games and I find that I like that better.

On the other hand, gaming now has never been more varied with the incredible amount of quality indie games that keep being released. High end worlds have never looked richer and fuller as studios pump more and more money into titles.

11 years ago I was playing... well, here's a list of notable releases that year. Scanning through that list I note the first Stalker as the game that I dedicated the most time to. I also loved Oblivion: Shimmering Isles as something that was daringly different from the rest of the Elder Scroll series before Bethesda starting re-releasing Skyrim year after year.

I mean, my biggest differences right now are (a) I'm at college full time on a student loan, so I haven't exactly been able to binge my way through a lot of big name games as much as I have in the past, and (b) a need for more social gaming has brought me back to card and board games in a big way. It's the only kind of multiplayer gaming that I'll even bother with.

Aside from that I think the most obvious difference is that I'm considerably pickier about the content of the game I play, in relation to the way minorities, women, QUILTBAG issues etc are handled, both in the game itself and by the developers. I see even a hint of "ethics in game journalism" or the like and I nope the heck out of there and find something more worthy of my time.

This isn't particularly a massive change from what I used to do, but I've found also that more than in the past I find myself favouring games that have a female (or customisable) main player character, with the odd notable exception. RPG's in particular I find very hard to justify buying if they don't offer up some means of customising a main character (or that default to the same bald male white dude, the way a lot of Euro CRPGS do). I think the only recent exception to that rule has been Witcher 3, and that's only because the game is so damned exceptionally made, and Geralt is a pretty well developed character.

I've also proven extremely resistant to the bullsh*t skinner box crap that's crept into mainstream gaming over the last couple of years. It will absolutely turn me right off your game 100%

Wow. A takeaway from my late-night post...I sound like a rambling grandpa

Forgot to mention the most important bit - CONGRATS on 600 episodes! Here's to 600 more and thanks for creating this great community and podcast!

After this long I think we’re all rambling grandpas(mas) on some level.

I don't know how much of GWJ's growth and success has been a result of planning vs. a reaction to community enthusiasm, but now that you're to this point what do you see (or want) for the future of GWJ? Have the various donation drive projects prompted new ideas? Or will you be content to just keep on keeping on?

Recording in an hour, thanks for the kind words and comments. We'll try and hit a few on the show