Escapist Podcast: Escapist Podcast 002

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Escapist Podcast 002

This week's Topics: Console vs. PC, NextBox 360 rumors and how The Escapists got into games journalism and why.

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Damn it Susan! What did I ever do to you!?

As far as the Console vs Pc thing goes, my only issue is not only the over simplification of games, it's that console companies come off greedy and deceitful to a degree, forcing people to buy every little extra and proprietary gadget. With PCs your components come from various different manufacturers and are essentially universal, you are never limited to company X's product and have numerous choices in terms of control input.

I love Bioware and their games, but I felt they went too far with the simplification of Dragon Age. The simplification of Mass Effect wasn't bad, it actually helped. The problem is that they're slowly turning games that were RPG's into action adventure games.

Just my opinion.

Russ, some of us are old fogeys. Stop making us feel like old fogeys by flagging your references as old!:)

Nice one, will start looking forward to these! But why on fridays, all podcasts are on fridays!

GeorgW:
Nice one, will start looking forward to these! But why on fridays, all podcasts are on fridays!

Well, you could always just wait and listen to it on a Tuesday. :)

Susan Arendt:

GeorgW:
Nice one, will start looking forward to these! But why on fridays, all podcasts are on fridays!

Well, you could always just wait and listen to it on a Tuesday. :)

Ah, but I can't. I don't have much self restraint. I'm weird like that, see.

Aww, no Yahtzee this time?

WaaghPowa:
Damn it Susan! What did I ever do to you!?

Wait, did she call you out? I must of missed that.

Anyways, now a days I don't even play AAA games anymore, I pretty much live on the indie or handheld market.

Oh man, discussing Console Vs PC and Mass Effect 3 in a single podcast?

That's like throwing a can of worms at a wasp nest.

Hmm, maybe that's why they put the NextBox speculation and personal anecdotes afterwards, so we'd all have time to mellow out before hitting the comments...

Anyway.

*ahem*

Despite playing only on a PC, I really don't hold with the "Oh-no-they-dumbed-it-down" line. Yes, clearly some elements have to be streamlined, simplified or entirely removed to accommodate the limitations of a console controller. But that's not necessarily a bad thing. I know it's a huge cliché, but sometimes less can be better than more. Especially when a portion of that "more" simply isn't any good. To use a rather crude analogy, if you have a great big juicy steak and a dog turd on a plate, removing the latter is going to make for a better meal. It'll be a smaller meal, sure, but it's one I'd rather eat.

Most of the games I play on PC are basically console ports, and I have absolutely no problem with that.

Grim Dawn was the game by the creators of Titan Quest I was trying to recall in the podcast.

Jedi Sasquatch:
Aww, no Yahtzee this time?

That's a different thing, this is the staff one.

But, yes, it's very rarely that a podcast can hold my attention for more than a few minutes, so the fact that I listened to the whole thing without wandering off (literally or figuratively) speaks volumes.

Don't forget to send in your questions to podcast@escapistmag.com! (Seriously, we'd really like to have something to talk about.)

Susan Arendt:
Don't forget to send in your questions to podcast@escapistmag.com! (Seriously, we'd really like to have something to talk about.)

Does it have to be about video games or can it be anything deemed nerd culture?

Oh yeah, also before I listen to this podcast, is there a spoiler warning for Mass Effect 2 while talking about Mass Effect 3? I just got ME2.

You gotta make the Publisher's Club stuff easier to find. Didn't see this 'till today!

GreigKM:
You gotta make the Publisher's Club stuff easier to find. Didn't see this 'till today!

Firstly, this.
Also, not a fan of having a PubCLub ad next to the podcast as I'm listening. You already have my money!

I really hope Microsoft isn't revealing a new console. I really hope we stay with the current consoles for a while.

A new console would mean increased costs for everyone. Which would make me sad.

bdcjacko:

Susan Arendt:
Don't forget to send in your questions to podcast@escapistmag.com! (Seriously, we'd really like to have something to talk about.)

Does it have to be about video games or can it be anything deemed nerd culture?

Oh yeah, also before I listen to this podcast, is there a spoiler warning for Mass Effect 2 while talking about Mass Effect 3? I just got ME2.

You can ask anything you like. And there are no spoilers at all in the podcast, listen away.

I have to say, you guys really inspired me to actually pursue something I always deemed as a bit of a dream: writing about video games. Susan, your story really resonates with how I view video games, and I "fight" every day to push into the general consciousness that video games are more than just another entertainment medium. They can touch so much more people so much deeper.

Those podcasts should be available for download as mp3 (for everyone!).
sitting with the computer for an hour just for audio is really hard and annoying. I'm not really doing this...

That was great, guys. Very heart warming. I feel like working there now >>

Also, SOOOOOOOOOOOOO tempted to email cat pictures now.

There are console gamers who like complex games that require intelligence. I'm one of them.

What I don't like are games with overly complex and unintuitive gameplay mechanics. Stop talking down to me, if I might be smarter than you.

Speaking as an accountant who lives in a cube, not a cubeville or cube farm, some how I got the only real cubical in the entire office, I was so happy to hear that counsel gamers are not knuckle dragging neanderthals. I mean after working 12 hours doing spreadsheet and data entry behind a desk top, the last thing I want to do is get home and relax behind a game the plays like a spreadsheet on a desk top. I rather just play some mind-numbling simple like tetris or zuma or something.

Whow, I got to hear how Susan and Russ sounds like (It may not be a big deal to anyone, but hearing them talk is beyond mere words). I love how they discussed primarily the Xbox 360 and PC Gaming since I own bother (But again, who doesn't own a PC?) Anyhow, this was really well put and I would hate to sound dumb in front of well-known Staff or primarily people in general.

Oh and please remind me to ask questions in that e-mail link, I am tempted to but I must wait till I come up with good questions overall. That, and I am making this post while attending College Haha. No worries, I listened to the Prodcast while doing homework so I am not wasting my Education away :)

will just touch on this, but if the qualifier for already having a PC is "breathing", then the cost of getting a game capable computer should factor in that you'll buy "a pc" of some description anyway, just saying.

also, 6 months on the outdate cycle? really?
running a released game on some settings never (or almost never, I haven't heard of it though) requires you to upgrade every six months. same goes for high settings (with the occasional freak oddity like crysis exempt)
and you are almost certain to have one of those "computer people" to help you out if you don't feel up to being wise with your money solo.

Phew. 1 hour. I was afraid that you were going to cut down on the time. There were some complaining about it on the previos video. Glad you didn't.

EDIT now that I've actually listened through the thing:
Ooooh. Nice change of cast. Are you going to switch around who talks every week or is this just something you did to celebrate your Webby-awards?

Why can't developers simply make games for gamers instead of making them more accessable for everyone? If you are chasing a group of people that didn't like your game to begin with, it's quite unlikely they are going to follow your game unless you make large changes to the gameplay, and at that point you lose your original audience. This is not an acceptable compromise in my mind, especially when you are dealing with established franchises and sequels.

I would like to see a complicated deep game on the console myself. I got into PC gaming because they didn't exist. Why don't developers try to do it for a change? I know the ridiculous bags of money isn't in it, but there may be some riches, especially to cater to gamers that might want that sort of thing.

I think it is bad for the industry as a whole as it reduces all games to the same style and feel without bringing anything new. Plus, a deeper game is more capable of sustaining an add-on model, where you give the players more DLC to add on to your already large experience. With the simpler games, you can't really give them anything new, just more maps, guns or skins.

There is too much "porting" going on which definately makes the game feel more "dumbed down". Games are made for the "easiest" console and ported to the others, often without changing or adding anything, nor optimizing it for that console. This makes a person think that the developer is just begging for money rather an actually creating something worth giving them money for.

Are there more shooters than there were fighting games in the Street Fighter/ Mortal Kombat era? Developers just jump on bandwagons, because they can't afford to otherwise. They are spending too much money trying to emulate "the other guys" instead of doing their own thing, and in doing so they are furthering the same mentality everywhere else. Thus the clones that appear that are really nothing more than re-skins of other games.

I hope the game industry crashes sooner rather than later, mainly so it can be reborn "properly" so to speak.

So now a day later, a thought occurs to me. Now I realize you guys weren't saying you are somehow better than people that are office zombies or shoveling dirt or whatever, I know that, it was more of a we are happy to be doing something we love and this where we came from. But something that just sticks out at me is the fact that I think it was like Russ's friend always ask him what he does all day. I wish the artsy-fartsy types (in general, not directed at anyone in particular) would return the favor and be interested in what the rest of us do. /whining

The lack of visuals bored me to death.

Even if my gaming to a 99 % is resident to my PC I probably seek the same problem that most consolegamers feel. I don't feel it necessary for games to be number-crunshing spreadsheets, even if I enjoy some of them like Fallout and Dragon Age. What I want is more challenging stories and dialogue that suggests that the developers think that at least some of your audience have gone to college, have a academic jobs or just generally like something relevantly intelligent.

Even if I like Fallout and Deus Ex for their rather complex gameplay, what really stood out was the fact that I could talk moleculebiology and philosophy with a supercomputer in a forgotten bunker while my hair was falling of in Fallout. The same goes for Deus Ex when you discover Morpheus and the historic quotes that perfectly resembles your choices at the games end. I loved those moments to bits.

Sure we can relate to BioShock and Portal for more recent examples but they never blew me away quite like Deus Ex and Fallout, given me the feeling of: "They did this 10 years ago? Why don't we got this in every game by now?"

RadiusXd:
will just touch on this, but if the qualifier for already having a PC is "breathing", then the cost of getting a game capable computer should factor in that you'll buy "a pc" of some description anyway, just saying.

also, 6 months on the outdate cycle? really?
running a released game on some settings never (or almost never, I haven't heard of it though) requires you to upgrade every six months. same goes for high settings (with the occasional freak oddity like crysis exempt)
and you are almost certain to have one of those "computer people" to help you out if you don't feel up to being wise with your money solo.

Ok, you have a fine point that you're going to be laying out some money for a computer anyway, but you can't deny that a computer for everyday use - which for most people is sending emails and surfing the web, little more - will last far, far longer without a single upgrade than a gaming computer will, and cost far less at the beginning. And despite what you may think, not everyone has a "computer person" handy to help them out - but even if they did, not everyone *wants* to get into the bits and pieces of assembling a computer and keeping it well tuned. They just want to turn something on, have fun, turn it off and go about their business. And that doesn't make them stupid, it simply means they don't prefer to put their energies into working on their PC.

Is it possible to maintain a gaming PC without spending a mint? Sure, if you know what you're doing. But not everyone cares to learn.

RadiusXd:

also, 6 months on the outdate cycle? really?

This, honestly. Since everything's going mulitiplatform, console hardware pretty much makes sure PCs don't need frequent hardware upgrades. Hell, BF3 is the only reason I'm going to change my 3 year old ATi HD 4350 (yes, gasp all you want, I ran New Vegas with all its glorious draw distance).

But otherwise, excellent podcast, I almost didn't miss Yahtzee. ;)

great job guys keep it up, loving the pod cast :D.

Susan Arendt:

RadiusXd:

snip

Ok, you have a fine point that you're going to be laying out some money for a computer anyway, but you can't deny that a computer for everyday use - which for most people is sending emails and surfing the web, little more - will last far, far longer without a single upgrade than a gaming computer will, and cost far less at the beginning. And despite what you may think, not everyone has a "computer person" handy to help them out - but even if they did, not everyone *wants* to get into the bits and pieces of assembling a computer and keeping it well tuned. They just want to turn something on, have fun, turn it off and go about their business. And that doesn't make them stupid, it simply means they don't prefer to put their energies into working on their PC.

Is it possible to maintain a gaming PC without spending a mint? Sure, if you know what you're doing. But not everyone cares to learn.

true, not everyone has the skills. But there is practically an army of computer skilled youth with the knowledge already at hand, who I'm sure would gladly save you a small fortune in exchange for a pittance. (if not for free)

If you play games much at all, you probably know one of (or someone who knows one of) said people.

It's true that office grade computers are cheaper and last longer then a game built computer, but towards the end of it's life cycle they almost always end up being a slow pain to use (and reach this state faster). of course if you can properly service a computer this isn't as much of a problem.

BUT, if that was the case I would direct your attention to the fact that once your computer gets out of it's use-ability as a current game rig, just sell it to someone who just wants it for office applications, and use gathered funds to help with the next rig.

RadiusXd:

Susan Arendt:

RadiusXd:

snip

Ok, you have a fine point that you're going to be laying out some money for a computer anyway, but you can't deny that a computer for everyday use - which for most people is sending emails and surfing the web, little more - will last far, far longer without a single upgrade than a gaming computer will, and cost far less at the beginning. And despite what you may think, not everyone has a "computer person" handy to help them out - but even if they did, not everyone *wants* to get into the bits and pieces of assembling a computer and keeping it well tuned. They just want to turn something on, have fun, turn it off and go about their business. And that doesn't make them stupid, it simply means they don't prefer to put their energies into working on their PC.

Is it possible to maintain a gaming PC without spending a mint? Sure, if you know what you're doing. But not everyone cares to learn.

true, not everyone has the skills. But there is practically an army of computer skilled youth with the knowledge already at hand, who I'm sure would gladly save you a small fortune in exchange for a pittance. (if not for free)

If you play games much at all, you probably know one of (or someone who knows one of) said people.

It's true that office grade computers are cheaper and last longer then a game built computer, but towards the end of it's life cycle they almost always end up being a slow pain to use (and reach this state faster). of course if you can properly service a computer this isn't as much of a problem.

BUT, if that was the case I would direct your attention to the fact that once your computer gets out of it's use-ability as a current game rig, just sell it to someone who just wants it for office applications, and use gathered funds to help with the next rig.

I think you may be basing some of your assumptions on the fact that you and at least the majority of your friends are very computer savvy. If you're in your early 20s - or older, and have computer savvy kids of your own - yeah, you probably know someone that could help. But as you get older, that gets to be much more difficult. You maybe have a coworker who's kid could help out, but do you really feel comfortable asking them? Getting free computer help - of the kind to build a computer not just install some software - isn't quite as easy as you think.

Selling an old computer is also next to impossible. We *literally* can't give away old computers here. If you could get a brand new netbook for $400, why bother with a years-old computer that probably does roughly the same job? Computers have next to no resale value once they're a few years old.

Everything you're saying is possible, but why bother? Seriously, someone could do all of that or they could just go to their local Best Buy and pick up a 360. Why should they put themselves through all of the hassle you're describing? You may not see it as a hassle because you personally enjoy computers and/or prefer gaming on one, but not everyone has those preferences. There's just really no reason for them to go to the extra effort for a wee bit of gaming fun.

Susan Arendt:

RadiusXd:

snip

I think you may be basing some of your assumptions on the fact that you and at least the majority of your friends are very computer savvy. If you're in your early 20s - or older, and have computer savvy kids of your own - yeah, you probably know someone that could help. But as you get older, that gets to be much more difficult. You maybe have a coworker who's kid could help out, but do you really feel comfortable asking them? Getting free computer help - of the kind to build a computer not just install some software - isn't quite as easy as you think.

Selling an old computer is also next to impossible. We *literally* can't give away old computers here. If you could get a brand new netbook for $400, why bother with a years-old computer that probably does roughly the same job? Computers have next to no resale value once they're a few years old.

Everything you're saying is possible, but why bother? Seriously, someone could do all of that or they could just go to their local Best Buy and pick up a 360. Why should they put themselves through all of the hassle you're describing? You may not see it as a hassle because you personally enjoy computers and/or prefer gaming on one, but not everyone has those preferences. There's just really no reason for them to go to the extra effort for a wee bit of gaming fun.

yes, it's not for everyone. it's probably not even for most, but I do wholeheartedly believe that there are plethoras of people out there who would be better suited to having a PC as their primary platform, but sadly have been mislead by common misconceptions as to how costly/how shortlived a decent gaming computer is.

it wouldn't surprise me at all if this was in part due to dogma put out by certain companys, just saying.

PS. just forgot to mention that games are slightly cheaper on pc, so theoretically you save with enough games.

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