Escapist Podcast: 013: PAX, GameStop & Origin

013: PAX, GameStop & Origin

This week, we discuss what we'll be doing at PAX and GameStop's decision to pull Onlive codes from Deus Ex: Human Revolution. We also talk about EA's Origin EULA and we answer some listener questions.

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Absolutely love your guys' podcasts. Also, I missed PAX this year. /tear

I'm sorry but Gameslop isn't exactly a struggling retail chain. Their profits are obscene.
Seeing how they get so many people to pre-order (pay them money for games months before they need to order from the publisher) and the used price/trade in value discrepency, I find it really hard to feel sorry for them. I understand they can't put all the games on the shelves but they're really just using that as an excuse for the gutting.
Maybe what they need to do is give their employees real benefits rather than free under the table game rentals. Expand (or just be more clever with) the space they have in the stores.
It's not like they can't afford to. Once again, look at the profits.

Can I just say, thank you guys so much for doing a podcast, you guys, the yogscast and bombcast complete the gaming week for me! :D

I had a problem with Steam when Duke Nukem came out, where I had a Steam account years ago, I have e-mails proving I have a Steam account from the LAST time I forgot what my password was... but I could not access it now, because my account seemed to not exist anymore.

I looked all over the Steam website for some sort of live help support, and everything I ever found in the way of contact information kept redirecting me to their e-mail.

E-mails are no live support. I wanted a chat or a phone number.

So now, I've had the games that I previously owned essentially taken from me by Steam. Their email came in like... 4 days later, but by then, I'd gotten tired of waiting for them to contact me and made a new account on Steam so I could get my thorough disappointment with Nukem out of the way.

And the worse thing about it. I didn't even WANT to interface with Steam at all... Nukem REQUIRED it, and the box never ones said "You need to download Steam in order to install this game."

I'm now, essentially at a point, were I don't want to buy PC games at all anymore, because of the BS I have to go through.

Eff Origin, Eff Steam, Eff Impulse.

Eff all of them. I'd give up gaming before dealing with that crap again.

On a side note... Seriously?! No live support!?

Woo podcasts, justhave to say really love these to keep me awake through night shift wish there was more. oh and that song is awesome.

Also damn far away ireland no pax for me :<

Gamestop in ireland only open some of the games so most of the time you can ask for a sealed copy or go to GAME who don't. But personally I don't like them open I'm paying their annoying prices for a new copy and I want to ensure it's new not just a new one someone returned.

Origin's desire to be safe from lawsuits is not at all a good justification for its EULA. I absolutely want to be able to take them to court, if they excercise the rights they grant themselves. And, actually, even with the EULA, they might very well be liable.

Draconalis:
I had a problem with Steam when Duke Nukem came out, where I had a Steam account years ago, I have e-mails proving I have a Steam account from the LAST time I forgot what my password was... but I could not access it now, because my account seemed to not exist anymore.

I looked all over the Steam website for some sort of live help support, and everything I ever found in the way of contact information kept redirecting me to their e-mail.

E-mails are no live support. I wanted a chat or a phone number.

So now, I've had the games that I previously owned essentially taken from me by Steam. Their email came in like... 4 days later, but by then, I'd gotten tired of waiting for them to contact me and made a new account on Steam so I could get my thorough disappointment with Nukem out of the way.

And the worse thing about it. I didn't even WANT to interface with Steam at all... Nukem REQUIRED it, and the box never ones said "You need to download Steam in order to install this game."

I'm now, essentially at a point, were I don't want to buy PC games at all anymore, because of the BS I have to go through.

Eff Origin, Eff Steam, Eff Impulse.

Eff all of them. I'd give up gaming before dealing with that crap again.

On a side note... Seriously?! No live support!?

For all of the trumpeting Steam gets around here, people forget they can be douches just as much as anyone else.

The problem with Gamestop opening PC game boxes (at least in my view) is once the shrink wrap is off a PC game you cannot get a refund. If the store is removing the wrapping what if say the game was bought by a grandparent and given to someone as a present and their computer doesn't meet the minimum system requirements how do they get their money back?

Now while sure they can pull the game from the shelves and not sell it that should of been their first reaction not removing the wrap that they themselves have required to be totally intact for you to get a refund if you wanted to return it for the last 2+ decades.

As to Origin yes they are doing much the same thing Valve did with Steamworks back in the day of the Orange box. The difference being the way EA started the whole ball rolling seemed to be stop all support for a select few of titles hey had on Steam and then point the finger at Valve to say it was all their fault. Sure it won't stop those people already decided on they are going to buy Battlefeild 3 from buying it anyway but it's given those on the fence on weather to buy it or not a reason to lower it on their radar. What ends up happening weather it had an actual effect or not is going to be really hard to determine though if it doesn't do as well as hoped it gives detractors something obvious to point at.

I dunno I get the feeling EA could of gone about it in a douchier or God forbid a less douchier way but that would of required a couple of minutes more thought and a little more effort so they didn't bother.

Of course Ms. Arendt doesn't care about Origin; she said herself that she doesn't play PC games.
I am a pc gamer, and i'm personally sick of downloading intrusive and utterly useless DRM clients. Steam, GFWL; it's all bullshit (Although Steams shit is at least much more tolerable). I'm not downloading another one. The only EA game on the horizon that I even care about is ME3, and if it does require Origin, I'm absolutely certain that an Origin-free crack will be made eventually.

O_o Id Recognize that song anywhere.

Sorry but it is probably this most awesome Album ever just had to point that out .....

Also Im really sorry for the LoL Community........... As a all around nice guy it kinda of annoys me at times.... Hit me up if ya want to play ^_^ (same ign here)

Russ Pitts @ 50:43:

... utilized the 3D hardware that was very popular at the time....

I sincerely hope you meant software, Russ. Hardware accelerated 3D didn't come along until the Quake era, post-Doom engine and post-Build engine.

(I'm a certified Old Fart.)

I have an issue with the talk on the topic of the blank slate character. I understand how Susan says she knows who her character is and how she would act, the problem I see with that is that, like she said, she knows who she is in all of the games which allow you to do that type of character, ending up with Shepard, The Warden and the hero in Oblivion all sharing a brain and acting similarly. In fact, that a Specter, a gray warden and a prisoner who we know nothing about all would act the same is quite immersion-breaking and doesn't make sense.

I can see how you can make up your character's back-story and childhood and stuff but the fact remains that all of those things will NEVER be actually part of the game. You may imagine them to be true but they will never actually affect what you'll be encountering from the game, only what you'll be pretending to encounter when the game gives you an ambiguous option. To me, that's just lying to yourself rather than role-playing, since if you were role-playing then the events in the past of the protagonist would actually be part of the game in a more serious manner than just in the perception of the player.

Dreiko:
I have an issue with the talk on the topic of the blank slate character. I understand how Susan says she knows who her character is and how she would act, the problem I see with that is that, like she said, she knows who she is in all of the games which allow you to do that type of character, ending up with Shepard, The Warden and the hero in Oblivion all sharing a brain and acting similarly. In fact, that a Specter, a gray warden and a prisoner who we know nothing about all would act the same is quite immersion-breaking and doesn't make sense.

I can see how you can make up your character's back-story and childhood and stuff but the fact remains that all of those things will NEVER be actually part of the game. You may imagine them to be true but they will never actually affect what you'll be encountering from the game, only what you'll be pretending to encounter when the game gives you an ambiguous option. To me, that's just lying to yourself rather than role-playing, since if you were role-playing then the events in the past of the protagonist would actually be part of the game in a more serious manner than just in the perception of the player.

While you can never change what's been programmed into the game certainly, you can however let those ideas influence what you do. For instance, there is a moment somewhat early on in Mass Effect 2 where you chase off some looters. You can then produce to either take what they were planning to loot or leave it. I might be slightly fuzzy on the details, but I don't even think theirs a renegade/paragon hit for either one. So mechanically there is no particular reason not to take it, but if you were roleplaying a "good" character it would be hard to justify it to yourself to steal these peoples savings.

So they can have an effect on the game.

Now I want to see a Battlespot Duty Modern Faction 4...

I am totally agreeing about the opening the box story. If it is opened, I want some kind of discount or I ain't buying it.

Slycne:

Dreiko:
I have an issue with the talk on the topic of the blank slate character. I understand how Susan says she knows who her character is and how she would act, the problem I see with that is that, like she said, she knows who she is in all of the games which allow you to do that type of character, ending up with Shepard, The Warden and the hero in Oblivion all sharing a brain and acting similarly. In fact, that a Specter, a gray warden and a prisoner who we know nothing about all would act the same is quite immersion-breaking and doesn't make sense.

I can see how you can make up your character's back-story and childhood and stuff but the fact remains that all of those things will NEVER be actually part of the game. You may imagine them to be true but they will never actually affect what you'll be encountering from the game, only what you'll be pretending to encounter when the game gives you an ambiguous option. To me, that's just lying to yourself rather than role-playing, since if you were role-playing then the events in the past of the protagonist would actually be part of the game in a more serious manner than just in the perception of the player.

While you can never change what's been programmed into the game certainly, you can however let those ideas influence what you do. For instance, there is a moment somewhat early on in Mass Effect 2 where you chase off some looters. You can then produce to either take what they were planning to loot or leave it. I might be slightly fuzzy on the details, but I don't even think theirs a renegade/paragon hit for either one. So mechanically there is no particular reason not to take it, but if you were role playing a "good" character it would be hard to justify it to yourself to steal these peoples savings.

So they can have an effect on the game.

I understand that and I myself do indeed follow a pattern of action (for example, my Fallout 3 character was an opportunist "chaotic neutral" type character, basically just me putting myself in the shoes of the guy and doing what felt "right" all things considered) but anything more than that and it's too removed from the game's reality for it to have any effect on my experience.

Say for example that in my made up role playing fantasy my Skyrim character is being lead to his execution due to killing a royal guard who tried to have his way with my character's wife. Wouldn't it be sorta odd for the existence of the wife that, according to what was said in the podcast, is experienced as real as everything else in the game, a person loved so much by my character that he was willing to kill a guard KNOWING he was to be executed if caught, to suddenly stop mattering.

Doesn't the fact that nowhere in the game does the character show any hint of care for his love that I imagined in existence instantly shatter the illusion of her actually existing? If I truly were the main character of Skyrim with this past first thing I'd do would be taking her to safety and being assured by my actions that no harm could come to her by either dragons or horny guards or anything else. But no, alas, my love doesn't exist in Skyrim, I can never actually be myself while having any sort of imagined back story or past in that game cause the game won't let me do what I'd do with the baggage I'm carrying. I think it's best to simply not imagine anything and just play the game, that way you can do what you'd do, even if the scenarios are much more limited.

Awesome podcast as ever, but since when were horror movies considered nerdy? I just thought it made everyone else chicken, thus maiking you the 'manliest of men' etc.

Dreiko:

Slycne:

Dreiko:
I have an issue with the talk on the topic of the blank slate character. I understand how Susan says she knows who her character is and how she would act, the problem I see with that is that, like she said, she knows who she is in all of the games which allow you to do that type of character, ending up with Shepard, The Warden and the hero in Oblivion all sharing a brain and acting similarly. In fact, that a Specter, a gray warden and a prisoner who we know nothing about all would act the same is quite immersion-breaking and doesn't make sense.

I can see how you can make up your character's back-story and childhood and stuff but the fact remains that all of those things will NEVER be actually part of the game. You may imagine them to be true but they will never actually affect what you'll be encountering from the game, only what you'll be pretending to encounter when the game gives you an ambiguous option. To me, that's just lying to yourself rather than role-playing, since if you were role-playing then the events in the past of the protagonist would actually be part of the game in a more serious manner than just in the perception of the player.

While you can never change what's been programmed into the game certainly, you can however let those ideas influence what you do. For instance, there is a moment somewhat early on in Mass Effect 2 where you chase off some looters. You can then produce to either take what they were planning to loot or leave it. I might be slightly fuzzy on the details, but I don't even think theirs a renegade/paragon hit for either one. So mechanically there is no particular reason not to take it, but if you were role playing a "good" character it would be hard to justify it to yourself to steal these peoples savings.

So they can have an effect on the game.

I understand that and I myself do indeed follow a pattern of action (for example, my Fallout 3 character was an opportunist "chaotic neutral" type character, basically just me putting myself in the shoes of the guy and doing what felt "right" all things considered) but anything more than that and it's too removed from the game's reality for it to have any effect on my experience.

Say for example that in my made up role playing fantasy my Skyrim character is being lead to his execution due to killing a royal guard who tried to have his way with my character's wife. Wouldn't it be sorta odd for the existence of the wife that, according to what was said in the podcast, is experienced as real as everything else in the game, a person loved so much by my character that he was willing to kill a guard KNOWING he was to be executed if caught, to suddenly stop mattering.

Doesn't the fact that nowhere in the game does the character show any hint of care for his love that I imagined in existence instantly shatter the illusion of her actually existing? If I truly were the main character of Skyrim with this past first thing I'd do would be taking her to safety and being assured by my actions that no harm could come to her by either dragons or horny guards or anything else. But no, alas, my love doesn't exist in Skyrim, I can never actually be myself while having any sort of imagined back story or past in that game cause the game won't let me do what I'd do with the baggage I'm carrying. I think it's best to simply not imagine anything and just play the game, that way you can do what you'd do, even if the scenarios are much more limited.

Ultimately you do need to "play in their world" a bit though. To make an extreme example, just because I thought that my character used to be a jedi sniper ninja before the events of the game doesn't mean it's the game's fault for not catering to that.

IT'S A TRAP!!!!!!!!!!!!!

I'm sorry but the situation I described is basically the early parts of Braveheart, it IS right up their alley and nowhere near as removed from their world as a jedi ninja. No you can't really imagine anything beyond very basic and general themes that are imagined by design so as to not conflict with the nature of the game. I find this much less conducive to roleplaying than simply stepping into the shoes of a well defined character and experiencing the world through his eyes.

A good journalist ALWAYS leads with the bull semen!

I think the bigger issue with regard to flat versus fleshed-out characters has less to do with your personal backstory and more to do with inconsistencies between the gameplay and the character's overall attitudes and ethics. Like Justin said, Mass Effect 2 has an early sequence where you get all righteous while putting down looters. Then the game expects (and even rewards) you for going into houses and stealing everything that isn't nailed down.

The same thing happens in the new Deus Ex. Without giving any spoilers, there's a bit at the end where you can make this big impassioned plea that a certain group of people aren't responsible for their evil actions and should therefore be pitied. Then the game puts you in a position to murder dozens upon dozens of those same people. It's a contradiction within the context of the game, regardless of the player's personal outlook.

"The bus did not know it lost its load"
BAHAHAHAAHAHAAHAHAAHAHAAHAHAA! :)

Susan Arendt I disagree with you about the customization of characters. What I think the listener (Alex Reynolds) was saying was that if you are going to give players the option to customize your character then make it worth it (Like Oblivion, Fallout 3 or Dragon Age Origin) and not a half ass intention (like Alpha Protocol). I think you can get a lot of role playing without any customization, like in Red Dead Redemtion and the character of John Marston, whom players feel automatically engaged without changing anything besides clothing and stuff, and in the other hand, John Marston is a flesh out character, wich is always compelling.

I promised I would let people know in the previous thread going forward, but no podcast this week. Steve is out at the COD:MW3 event and I'm putting the finishing touches on my Acrhon review. Everyone else though is thumb twiddling, the lazy bastards.

No, not really.

We did get the unexpected opportunity to host one of our PAX panels here. That will have to hold you over until next week.

 

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