Escapist Podcast: 022: Pizza, Modern Warfare 3 and VGAs

022: Pizza, Modern Warfare 3 and VGAs

This week, we discuss our thoughts on Call of Duty: Modern Warfare 3 and how it stacks up to Battlefield 3. We also talk about the VGAs nominations and interview another member of The Escapist Magazine staff.

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What is that? The dulcet tones of two women?


There's a little pizza place seven blocks from my apartment and they have ruined me for anything else. (Except on certain afternoons, because one of their cooks evidently doesn't understand what a topping is. I deliberately eat late when I eat there.) Everything else is cardboard with sauce on it or gum with sauce on it.


So games are doing the opposite of browsers and trying to make LOWER numbers?


Steve's Rocky mnemonic is both clever and absolutely horrifying in that it needs to exist.


Ah, stealing tanks. The only thing better than stealing a Goliath tank in Unreal Tournament is stealing a Leviathan, the great bringer of laser death. Except for that guy who was positioned right in front of his Hellbender to grab a gun on the ground. I hopped in and ran him over. It was AWESOME!


Ew, rats. I was outside the conference centre in Halifax, Nova Scotia with a Minor-League-class pitcher. He picked up a rock and said "Hey, watch this."

YOU NEVER WANT TO HEAR THE WORDS "HEY, WATCH THIS".

Before I could do anything, he pitched the rock, a perfect fastball right for a nearby dumpster. The rats that came out when the rock hit were like a Biblical plague, larger than some cats and present in the dozens. I have never run so fast in my life.


Thank you for the awesomeness, @MiracleOfSound .


Is there some sort of comedy monologue thing we could get Susan into? That Mudcrab routine was great!


When I'm about to get a cold, brushing my teeth becomes an unpleasant experience. It feels gluey.


Thanks for the quick summary of the survey we did, @s0osleepie ! Nice to know that I'm almost a complete outlier.:)


As to games being European.... Tolkien knockoffs are easy. Look at it this way. What's this mean?

+

People will generally say "plus" or "add" or "and", the idea being to add something to something else. What is it about two crossed lines that tells us "add things together"? Nothing, it's a cultural shorthand we use to communicate something complex. Semiotics. Now let's try this again. What's this mean?

Elf

You probably think of a tall, thin, pointed-eared person, maybe in a forest and carrying a longbow, with a haughty attitude. (Ah, the importance of a comma.) So if I need a tall thin humanish guy in a forest, there we go! Or if I need a tall thin humanish guy in a mine, I change one thing and call it a "Dark Elf" and I'm Gary Gygax. :)

It makes it easy for the creator if he can build on cultural touchstones. As an exercise, imagine yourself describing your car to someone you know. Then imagine describing it to someone from the 1600's.

I'm not saying it's not worth the effort to build on another mythology or build your own mythos, but damn is it easier to stick with what everyone is assumed to know!

Related....

As a teenager, I'd sometimes read the "Tell Me a Story" bedtime story segment in the Sunday paper. Some were novel because they came from different societies, some were well-treaded fairy tales, and then there was the WTFs. One of them was about a dragon in the basement a young boy had to defeat.
Only instead of deadly breath, its gaze was dangerous.
And instead of setting you on fire, it turned you to stone.
And it was small for a dragon. More of a large snake, really.

And now you've probably said one of two things: "It's a basilisk, not a dragon!" or "It's a cockatrice, not a dragon!"

But the story wanted to start from baseline the kids would understand. So it took the thing they knew, the dragon, and worked back until they got a cockatrice.


Brisbane: +10 GMT (Yahtzee's in Brisbane, right?)
Durham: -5 GMT std, -4 GMT DST

Yahtzee's a full 15 hours ahead. (Or 14 depending on time of year.)

When it's 9 AM on Friday for Yahtzee it's 6 PM Thursday for The Escapist.

Amusing trivia: Both of you are in a timezone the locals call "Eastern Standard Time"

(Not to sound like a know-it-all: I had to look it up. I knew it wasn't 12, though, so I was compelled to find out. Long dull story: I used to know a guy who called his mom in Perth, and that was exactly 12 hours away from Atlantic Canada. The extreme west of Australia is 12 hours from the extreme east of North America, so there's no way to maintain the 12 hour difference and remain on both continents, DST notwithstanding.)


Golf clap for Justin for the achievement of destroying an argument with one question. Even Socrates couldn't pull that off.:)


Happy Thanksgiving everyone.:)

Does Susan have the every article ever featured on The Escapist memorised? because her recall of them is insanely impressive.

I too would like to see games which explored some of the other cultures and myths that exist on this planet but I also understand why western developers tend to stick with the Celtic and Germanic ones. I'd imagine that it is because these are familiar to us. You set up the parameters and don't need to explain what these creatures are or if they are sympathetic or if they will eat you as soon as look at you.

I'd really like to see a western RPG style game where you play as a companion not as the Hero destined to save the world. You are just helping your buddy out or something. There must be games that already exist in this vein I'm just not familiar with any. Maybe someone else does?

Camaranth:
Does Susan have the every article ever featured on The Escapist memorised? because her recall of them is insanely impressive.

1: She's the editor, so she's seen them all.

2: She likes Jeopardy! and was a potential contestant so she has excellent fast recall.

So: She probably knows a lot of them and they come to mind very fast for her when a related subject triggers the memory.

Camaranth:
Does Susan have the every article ever featured on The Escapist memorised? because her recall of them is insanely impressive.

I too would like to see games which explored some of the other cultures and myths that exist on this planet but I also understand why western developers tend to stick with the Celtic and Germanic ones. I'd imagine that it is because these are familiar to us. You set up the parameters and don't need to explain what these creatures are or if they are sympathetic or if they will eat you as soon as look at you.

I'd really like to see a western RPG style game where you play as a companion not as the Hero destined to save the world. You are just helping your buddy out or something. There must be games that already exist in this vein I'm just not familiar with any. Maybe someone else does?

Dude, I commission and edit every feature we run. Naturally I remember them. :)

Your shift to monday releases of this podcast confuses and infuriates me!

(I still wuv you.)

I enjoyed that, and found the commentary actually intellectual.

I thought the Witcher 2 was garbage though, so I was kind of going, yeah top 4 RPG? Come on. The not a console argument was pretty rational though.

Oh and what was that when someone said something about BF3 being the greatest FPS or something? I remember it had a severe air of elitism to it. The player won't let me skip around to refind exactly what was said, but I had a little chuckle at that one. Plus the entire COD vs BF marketing war was just juvenile, and now whenever anyone tries to take potshots at the one and follow it up with why the other is the correct choice it bugs me. Sad to see an Escapist staff member falling into that trap. Can't we play both?

Great podcast so far, just on your stuff about metacritic user reviews. Here's one way of restricting review bombing. Steam integration. If you ensure that those reviewing the game actually own it then you'll get a lot more legitimate reviews. After all I haven't played MW3 so why should I be able to post a review of it?

Of course, not every one uses steam (yet) so you could add a subsection of user reviews where those who own the game can speak on the subject.

(Oh by the way, thank you guys for actually understanding what Battlefield is about, I think you handled both MW3 and BF3 very fairly. Freedom vs. Refined run and gun and the BF3 singleplayer is of course utter crap as always)

Rocky II plus Rocky V equals Rocky VII, Adrian's Revenge!

bdcjacko:
Rocky II plus Rocky V equals Rocky VII, Adrian's Revenge!

Glad to know I'm not the only old person here.

Steve Butts:

bdcjacko:
Rocky II plus Rocky V equals Rocky VII, Adrian's Revenge!

Glad to know I'm not the only old person here.

You can't quote classic simpson's without me being able to finish it.

bdcjacko:

Steve Butts:

bdcjacko:
Rocky II plus Rocky V equals Rocky VII, Adrian's Revenge!

Glad to know I'm not the only old person here.

You can't quote classic simpson's without me being able to finish it.

Ah! THAT'S were that's from, it was bugging me... I knew I heard that before. I haven't watched the Simpsons in years so my memory of it is beginning to fade.

20:40

I beg to differ.
You discussed this exact thing last week. It makes you all sound like massive hypocrites.

Last week you spent a lot of time on the subject of "10/10" and decided it was okay to give a game that clearly isn't perfect a perfect score.

But now you turn around and say that giving a game a 0/10 makes you a douche, even if you despise every single aspect of the game in question.

That is a ridiculous stance to take, I have lost respect for all of you.

Mikeyfell:
20:40

I beg to differ.
You discussed this exact thing last week. It makes you all sound like massive hypocrites.

Last week you spent a lot of time on the subject of "10/10" and decided it was okay to give a game that clearly isn't perfect a perfect score.

But now you turn around and say that giving a game a 0/10 makes you a douche, even if you despise every single aspect of the game in question.

That is a ridiculous stance to take, I have lost respect for all of you.

This might be true if reviews are only every fact or feeling. Arguing that Skyrim can be a 10 while giving MW3 a 0 based on similar emotions and feelings would be contradictory.

But reviews are not solely one or the other. They are a combination of individual opinion and unbiased fact and those arguments are targeting the two different aspects. So accepting that you could only have a "perfect" game in a subjective sense and arguing for the sake of an objective response are not mutually exclusive in my mind.

Slycne:

Mikeyfell:
20:40

I beg to differ.
You discussed this exact thing last week. It makes you all sound like massive hypocrites.

Last week you spent a lot of time on the subject of "10/10" and decided it was okay to give a game that clearly isn't perfect a perfect score.

But now you turn around and say that giving a game a 0/10 makes you a douche, even if you despise every single aspect of the game in question.

That is a ridiculous stance to take, I have lost respect for all of you.

This might be true if reviews are only every fact or feeling. Arguing that Skyrim can be a 10 while giving MW3 a 0 based on similar emotions and feelings would be contradictory.

But reviews are not solely one or the other. They are a combination of individual opinion and unbiased fact and those arguments are targeting the two different aspects. So accepting that you could only have a "perfect" game in a subjective sense and arguing for the sake of an objective response are not mutually exclusive in my mind.

If emotions can effect the review positively they can effect it negatively too.

If "Despite (X Y and Z) I still had enough fun to give (Game) a 10." is acceptable
why isn't "Even though (Game) does (X Y and Z) well it's still less fun than watching paint dry so I give it a 0."?

To me letting emotions effect a recommendation one way and not the other is the real contradiction. Also assuming people will have the same good experience you had and not the same bad experiences as you isn't fair to the readers of the review.

I'm not a fan of the X/10 review scale because putting all games in a system where a frantic multyplayer shooter could potentially get the same score as a slow story heavy RPG couldn't possibly be a reliable system unless the reader has a deep enough understanding of the person writing the review. And the only way to get that kind of understanding is if they get a clear picture of what they love and hate. Maybe you've never played a 0, maybe you never will. I have.

godofallu:
the entire COD vs BF marketing war was just juvenile, and now whenever anyone tries to take potshots at the one and follow it up with why the other is the correct choice it bugs me. Sad to see an Escapist staff member falling into that trap. Can't we play both?

I don't really play Fish or Best Friends, but I do think it's fair to point out what one game goes that sets itself apart from another, and why people may find that appealing. The whole discussio about destructible terrain appeals to me, while puttering around in a vehicle (even one with a "main gun") a lot does not.

So I believe there is a mature way to have the discussion on why one or the other. I think the Escapists crew did a fine job of that.

Mikeyfell:

Slycne:

Mikeyfell:
20:40

I beg to differ.
You discussed this exact thing last week. It makes you all sound like massive hypocrites.

Last week you spent a lot of time on the subject of "10/10" and decided it was okay to give a game that clearly isn't perfect a perfect score.

But now you turn around and say that giving a game a 0/10 makes you a douche, even if you despise every single aspect of the game in question.

That is a ridiculous stance to take, I have lost respect for all of you.

This might be true if reviews are only every fact or feeling. Arguing that Skyrim can be a 10 while giving MW3 a 0 based on similar emotions and feelings would be contradictory.

But reviews are not solely one or the other. They are a combination of individual opinion and unbiased fact and those arguments are targeting the two different aspects. So accepting that you could only have a "perfect" game in a subjective sense and arguing for the sake of an objective response are not mutually exclusive in my mind.

If emotions can effect the review positively they can effect it negatively too.

If "Despite (X Y and Z) I still had enough fun to give (Game) a 10." is acceptable
why isn't "Even though (Game) does (X Y and Z) well it's still less fun than watching paint dry so I give it a 0."?

To me letting emotions effect a recommendation one way and not the other is the real contradiction. Also assuming people will have the same good experience you had and not the same bad experiences as you isn't fair to the readers of the review.

I'm not a fan of the X/10 review scale because putting all games in a system where a frantic multyplayer shooter could potentially get the same score as a slow story heavy RPG couldn't possibly be a reliable system unless the reader has a deep enough understanding of the person writing the review. And the only way to get that kind of understanding is if they get a clear picture of what they love and hate. Maybe you've never played a 0, maybe you never will. I have.

Notice I didn't say feeling don't or shouldn't be able to effect negatively as well as positively, I was merely point out that the two points were not directed at the same thing. I can subjectively let my feelings dictate that Baldur's Gate is an amazing experience that I greatly enjoy, despite knowing its flaws. I can also objectively say that Gran Turismo is an excellent racing game despite having almost no interest in it.

I guess my point is simply even if you flat out dislike MW3, I can't see someone making the argument that it's more poorly constructed game than Thor: God of Thunder or some other equally broken/bad title. I could certainly see personal dislike knocking it down into the average range of 4-6/10, but 0 just strikes me as intentionally bias and not approaching it from both the subjective and objective angles.

Mikeyfell:
20:40

I beg to differ.
You discussed this exact thing last week. It makes you all sound like massive hypocrites.

Last week you spent a lot of time on the subject of "10/10" and decided it was okay to give a game that clearly isn't perfect a perfect score.

But now you turn around and say that giving a game a 0/10 makes you a douche, even if you despise every single aspect of the game in question.

That is a ridiculous stance to take, I have lost respect for all of you.

You're misinterpreting us. If you legitimately believe that the game is that bad, then fine, but what we were talking about was people scorebombing out of spite. Giving a game a score that they couldn't actually back up with rational criteria, but simply acting out in anger because something pissed them off. That's what we're talking about, not genuinely considered scores.

Games that would merit a 0 do exist, I suppose, but the games that tend to get scorebombed don't. Even if you don't like, say, Zelda or MW3 or Dragon Age 2, you can't legitimately argue that they're worth a 0. A game you don't personally enjoy can still have redeeming qualities.

Susan Arendt:

Games that would merit a 0 do exist, I suppose, but the games that tend to get scorebombed don't. Even if you don't like, say, Zelda or MW3 or Dragon Age 2, you can't legitimately argue that they're worth a 0. A game you don't personally enjoy can still have redeeming qualities.

This is the part I have an issue with. Why can't a game legitimately get a zero, or is it just those games that can't get a legitimate zero? What is the criteria that is universally keeping those games minimum legitimate score up? And how does it differ from the flaws you can find in perfect scoring games?

Taking into account that there really is no such thing as an entirely objective way to review anything, every person will weight different "aspects" differently. Some people weight story over graphics, some people want a fast action game, others want slower strategy games.
Is it impossible to believe that there are people who hate every aspect of Modern Warfare 3 and it running at 60 frames per second is no consolation for them? And on a far more personal note I'd expect more than a re-skin of their last big seller from a company that has (what must be) millions to throw at their flagship title. I'm not even going to pretend that doesn't play into it.

Moving away from MW3, what is it that stops a game from deserving a zero?

Mikeyfell:

Susan Arendt:

Games that would merit a 0 do exist, I suppose, but the games that tend to get scorebombed don't. Even if you don't like, say, Zelda or MW3 or Dragon Age 2, you can't legitimately argue that they're worth a 0. A game you don't personally enjoy can still have redeeming qualities.

This is the part I have an issue with. Why can't a game legitimately get a zero, or is it just those games that can't get a legitimate zero? What is the criteria that is universally keeping those games minimum legitimate score up? And how does it differ from the flaws you can find in perfect scoring games?

Taking into account that there really is no such thing as an entirely objective way to review anything, every person will weight different "aspects" differently. Some people weight story over graphics, some people want a fast action game, others want slower strategy games.
Is it impossible to believe that there are people who hate every aspect of Modern Warfare 3 and it running at 60 frames per second is no consolation for them? And on a far more personal note I'd expect more than a re-skin of their last big seller from a company that has (what must be) millions to throw at their flagship title. I'm not even going to pretend that doesn't play into it.

Moving away from MW3, what is it that stops a game from deserving a zero?

Is it possible that someone hated every single aspect of MW3? Sure, absolutely. Does that mean the game is a 0? No - it means it's a 0 for them. The multiplayer works quite well, as do the core mechanics of the game, etc - even if you don't personally enjoy it, you must be able to take an objective look at a game's elements in order for your review to have merit for others. (Of course, as you point out, objective is a relative term, but I think you get my point.) I personally cannot stand Ocarina of Time or Majora's Mask because of the graphics and sound. Something about the combination of the two - the angles of the polygons and the shrillness of the fairies' laughs - sets my teeth so on edge that immediately become agitated. I quite literally cannot bear to play those games - but giving them a 0 would be ridiculous, because I'm clearly having a very personal, emotional reaction to them. Looking at them while putting my personal issues aside, I can see why people love them, and understand why, despite the fact that I hate them, they're still not "0" games.

Based on our scale here, if a game works - that is to say it runs - then that alone brings it up to a 1. A game would literally have to not function in order for us to give it a 0.

Slycne:

Notice I didn't say feeling don't or shouldn't be able to effect negatively as well as positively, I was merely point out that the two points were not directed at the same thing. I can subjectively let my feelings dictate that Baldur's Gate is an amazing experience that I greatly enjoy, despite knowing its flaws. I can also objectively say that Gran Turismo is an excellent racing game despite having almost no interest in it.

I guess my point is simply even if you flat out dislike MW3, I can't see someone making the argument that it's more poorly constructed game than Thor: God of Thunder or some other equally broken/bad title. I could certainly see personal dislike knocking it down into the average range of 4-6/10, but 0 just strikes me as intentionally bias and not approaching it from both the subjective and objective angles.

I do see your point about the Thor comparison. In order to respond to that I'd have to reveal my own bias. It partly has to do with expectations, like Steven Spielberg releasing a terrible film versus a student film being awful. Some companies responsible for these games have juggernauts backing them with mounds of money and their perfectly functional game is still awful (based on personal preference). Where smaller companies that don't get as many resources releasing a barely functional game, I think the former is worse.

If you add a point for everything a game does right and subtract one for everything a game does wrong you could easily get a zero score. Especially if you weigh each thing you rate differently.

Mikeyfell:

Slycne:

Notice I didn't say feeling don't or shouldn't be able to effect negatively as well as positively, I was merely point out that the two points were not directed at the same thing. I can subjectively let my feelings dictate that Baldur's Gate is an amazing experience that I greatly enjoy, despite knowing its flaws. I can also objectively say that Gran Turismo is an excellent racing game despite having almost no interest in it.

I guess my point is simply even if you flat out dislike MW3, I can't see someone making the argument that it's more poorly constructed game than Thor: God of Thunder or some other equally broken/bad title. I could certainly see personal dislike knocking it down into the average range of 4-6/10, but 0 just strikes me as intentionally bias and not approaching it from both the subjective and objective angles.

I do see your point about the Thor comparison. In order to respond to that I'd have to reveal my own bias. It partly has to do with expectations, like Steven Spielberg releasing a terrible film versus a student film being awful. Some companies responsible for these games have juggernauts backing them with mounds of money and their perfectly functional game is still awful (based on personal preference). Where smaller companies that don't get as many resources releasing a barely functional game, I think the former is worse.

If you add a point for everything a game does right and subtract one for everything a game does wrong you could easily get a zero score. Especially if you weigh each thing you rate differently.

If you're really dead set on giving a game a lousy score, you can certainly find plenty of ways to justify it. But that's having an axe to grind, not writing a review to be informative and helpful. Ideally, you review every game in a vaccuum, judging on its own merits and nothing else - not other games, not who made it, not what else is out at the time, nothing.

Susan Arendt:

Is it possible that someone hated every single aspect of MW3? Sure, absolutely. Does that mean the game is a 0? No - it means it's a 0 for them. The multiplayer works quite well, as do the core mechanics of the game, etc - even if you don't personally enjoy it, you must be able to take an objective look at a game's elements in order for your review to have merit for others. (Of course, as you point out, objective is a relative term, but I think you get my point.) I personally cannot stand Ocarina of Time or Majora's Mask because of the graphics and sound. Something about the combination of the two - the angles of the polygons and the shrillness of the fairies' laughs - sets my teeth so on edge that immediately become agitated. I quite literally cannot bear to play those games - but giving them a 0 would be ridiculous, because I'm clearly having a very personal, emotional reaction to them. Looking at them while putting my personal issues aside, I can see why people love them, and understand why, despite the fact that I hate them, they're still not "0" games.

Based on our scale here, if a game works - that is to say it runs - then that alone brings it up to a 1. A game would literally have to not function in order for us to give it a 0.

The way I see it who else are they supposed to be zeros for? It's your review if you had a zero time you should express that. Not everyone will agree but that's just more information about how well your critical spectrum lines up with those of your readers. After reading enough of your reviews I know how much your opinion matters to me. If you hate a game then write a review that says "The mechanics are fine and X Y and Z. You use a controller, it comes in a box." That tells me nothing about how you felt about the game, that makes it harder for me to compare our opinions.

Susan Arendt:

If you're really dead set on giving a game a lousy score, you can certainly find plenty of ways to justify it. But that's having an axe to grind, not writing a review to be informative and helpful. Ideally, you review every game in a vaccuum, judging on its own merits and nothing else - not other games, not who made it, not what else is out at the time, nothing.

I typically use reviews to help me decide what games to buy or movies to see. If I can read a review (that I trust) that will strait up tell me X is better than Y I'd appreciate it.

Also I count amount of fun had as a pretty important merit. Not so much who made it, like I said getting pissed at big developers that resell the same game over and over is my vice.

Good episode, I liked it.

 

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