Escapist Podcast: 038: Journey & Press Junkets

038: Journey & Press Junkets

This week, we discuss Journey, Epic Mickey 2 and the crazy life of a travelling game journalist.

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Great podcast, can't wait for the ME3 question podcast and the ensuing comments :p

Oh I loved Journey. I just finished my first play-through today, and had such an amazing experience. Especially with a few people. Especially with one player who was with me on the mountain. We just connected and were exploring together and helping each other. At one point we were going from cover to cover to avoid this enemy. And the enemy locked onto. As we tried to hurry to the next cover point, I knew we were going to make it. I also realized that the enemy was locked onto me instead of him. So I stop, just stopped so my friend would not be hit. The enemy charged at me and ripped off most of my scarf. And if you play the game you know how important it is. I was already hit once the time before that and spent time to collect all of these tokens to lengthen the scarf. After this past hit, it was just a nub. So I go flying backward down the mountain slope. It took a few moments for my friend to notice and when he did he turned around and couldn't find me through the cover of the snow. He starts running down the slop in order to find me all while quickly chirping showing panic. My guys slowly started to rise out of the snow, white, freezing, and clearly trying to recover from the trauma. He finally found me as I rose to my feet and he started to walk barely ahead of me, apparently shielding from the wind and keeping me warm as we slowly climbed the slope again. We continued like this up until the dramatic "ending" of the game. Which was one of the saddest moments in gaming I have had.

It was great and made me a new friend over PSN. Call me sappy or something, but Journey is a great experience. It is a great example of how you can connect with these people despite the minimalist approach.

Well Darksiders 1 saw fit to "borrow" the Portal gun so who knows, maybe if Journey is popular enough maybe they WILL add singing.

Hmm... that was kind of weird.

Susan's comments in the Hunger Games discussion about MovieBob's review seemed really strange. She said it wasnt fair of Bob to criticise elements of the movie without having read the books and understanding the underpinning? That was very unusual to hear after just having gone through the previous Press Junket section where everyone was talking about developers being too close to their games and knowing things too well to see the problems, etc.

To me it seems like those situations are kind of the same... Its unfair to have a problem with something in the movie if I havent read the books? That seems backwards. Id have said if I have to have read the books in order to understand the movie, that in itself is a problem with the movie.

Now, I can understand that sometimes there are certain things in the books that are necessary to the story - without them you have story problems, and yet they are hard to translate to a movie. But I still dont feel that thats an excuse... To me, if you have are making a movie based on a book that doesnt translate into a movie very well then you have a problem not just with how you are making your movie but with the very decision to make the movie in the first place. Problems with your underlying decisions and assumptions dont excuse problems you later encounter as a result.

I also felt like the point about names was a little off. Not that it was wrong, but I felt it somewhat missed Bob's point. Its true that names go in cycles... it is absolutely possible that the names could come up in some sort of society where names have cycled to something different; but I felt that Bob's point wasnt so much that the names were unusual as that naming had changed while nothing else had. Names go in cycles, but so do slang and phrases and other word usage. It can be very jarring if you present names as having changed while everything else is exactly the same - you could instead phrase Bob's point as saying the names were fine but that it was silly that in this supposed future the general use of language hasnt changed at all. Normally we might not notice that the language hasnt evolved, but when you present something that has changed you draw attention to the problem.

(I should say as a disclaimer that I have neither seen the movie nor read the book. Im only going by what Bob and Susan said, so something might have gone caraaaayzeh in translation and ill feel silly for putting so much effort into discussing it :P)

Also: I enjoyed the podcast :) I just dont have much to comment on for the rest of it.

No, what I said was it's unfair to judge the movie for elements of the source material. I don't blame Bob for not having read the books, but I don't think it's fair to say the movie is bad for things that come right out of the book. That's like saying the Lord of the Rings movies are bad because they're full of hobbits.

The design of the arena, for example, is all faithful to the book. So if it's dumb, it's because it was written that way. Same with the way the Capitol people dress, which they actually toned down for the movie, believe it or not.

I really did not like the ending to Journey. I don't think this is a spoiler, since it's only my opinion of it.

But maybe Spoilers.

You accomplish absolutely nothing and have absolutely no impact on the world. It made me feel like my Journey was all for naught.

But now I'm excited for Epic Mickey 2: Electric Boogaloo.

I had a friend request waiting for me when I finished Journey, and a note saying that I'd been the best companion they'd had! It was REALLY touching to see that after our adventures together, even if we never play anything together again.

Playing that game, I found myself just referring to whoever the other companion was as 'friend' - gotta love shouting at the TV because you don't know where your friend is and you're worried about them.

Susan Arendt:
No, what I said was it's unfair to judge the movie for elements of the source material. I don't blame Bob for not having read the books, but I don't think it's fair to say the movie is bad for things that come right out of the book. That's like saying the Lord of the Rings movies are bad because they're full of hobbits.

The design of the arena, for example, is all faithful to the book. So if it's dumb, it's because it was written that way. Same with the way the Capitol people dress, which they actually toned down for the movie, believe it or not.

I feel like that still goes towards the same sentiment I was getting at when I talked about if there were plot elements from the book.

That is - if you include elements from the source material into the movie and those elements end up being bad, the fact that they are from the source isnt an excuse that makes them exempt from criticism. Rather, it shows a more fundamental flaw in either having chosen to use that source material at all or having chosen those elements from the source material.

The example that many people use (since you mentioned LotR) is Tom Bombadil. If Jackson had chosen to put Tom Bombadil into the movies and it was silly, that would have been completely valid to criticise him for choosing to include it. People were also understanding of the decision that it would be removed because of its silliness. It sounds like the costumes and arena in this case are similar to Tom Bombadil - they were included without change and didnt work (or at least, didnt work for Bob). That is a decision made by the filmmaker, and I dont see any reason why it should be exempt from criticism.

Choosing what parts of the source material to use is still something the film-maker is responsible for, in my opinion. "It was dumb even before I included it" is not an excuse for including something dumb in your movie, if anything it is an indicator that you should have known better...

The Freakonomics film had me--more or less--until the final segment (going by wikipedia and fuzzy, rage memory), where I seem to recall it just shooting itself in the face. It may have also had fatal flaws all along the way that I'm forgetting, but the "argument" of the final segment was, iirc, complete rubbish. Perhaps I'm too uptight about these things, especially in a world where the History Channel airs little more than alien conspiracy theory shows, but I cannot tolerate (read: feel like Susan sounds after someone mentions "Amy") people or films that present a complete garbage argument as if it is completely valid.

Yikes. Hey, Escapists, regardless of anything else you talk about in future podcasts, could you avoid bringing up Freakonomics and/or morgan spurlock in future episodes (unless Dr. Clouse is around, at least). Apparently they're my berserk button and the show is much less fun when filled with rage.

Good Hair was interesting--what I saw of it, at least (watched a random 30-60 minutes of it at a hotel at the end of a conference day)--and very depressing. Maybe it was mentioned in a part that I'd missed, but it bothered me to not know what concentration/final pH of sodium hydroxide (aka NaOH, lye) was used, as "she put sodium hydroxide in her hair" is about as meaningful as "she got shot". Both are probably bad, but could range from extremely mild nuisance to fatal--if you're using a very dilute NaOH solution, it's quite different from a 1M NaOH solution. Kind of like getting shot by a nerf gun is different from getting shot by an AA12. It didn't ruin it for me--obviously, at least in a good number of cases, it was a sufficient concentration to cause effing chemical burns--but do wish I'd seen something about that.

On the topic of documentaries--any of you seen King of Kong? Not sure if it's come up on the podcast before or not, but it is superb.

At 2:00, you mention the Vita remembering current game state even when it's turned off. The PSP did that too.

A problem with that, however, is that (at least the PSP) takes up energy even when turned off. I remember being displeased when somehow I couldn't turn it on right when I felt like playing some Ape Escape or Medievil Resurrection.

EDIT: So Journey, in terms of its length and emotional weight, is basically Portal.

Lockerbie joke? Seriously?

Abdelbaset al-Megrahi is, not well but, alive in Libya guys.

Susan Arendt:
No, what I said was it's unfair to judge the movie for elements of the source material. I don't blame Bob for not having read the books, but I don't think it's fair to say the movie is bad for things that come right out of the book. That's like saying the Lord of the Rings movies are bad because they're full of hobbits.

The design of the arena, for example, is all faithful to the book. So if it's dumb, it's because it was written that way. Same with the way the Capitol people dress, which they actually toned down for the movie, believe it or not.

But how can he know what comes from the source material or is from the director if he has not read the book?

I noticed someone else defending the names in Bob's review thread and all I can think of is.

"Yeah, first names have cycles... but Last names do not." Granted some people's last names were changed when they came to America... but in general, it seems to me that people's last names don't really change much.

Actually I know 6 Susan who are in their 20s...

ManupBatman:

Susan Arendt:
No, what I said was it's unfair to judge the movie for elements of the source material. I don't blame Bob for not having read the books, but I don't think it's fair to say the movie is bad for things that come right out of the book. That's like saying the Lord of the Rings movies are bad because they're full of hobbits.

The design of the arena, for example, is all faithful to the book. So if it's dumb, it's because it was written that way. Same with the way the Capitol people dress, which they actually toned down for the movie, believe it or not.

But how can he know what comes from the source material or is from the director if he has not read the book?

With specifics, sure - he can't know things Katniss doesn't get the pin from her sister if he didn't read the book. But he was taking issue with the overall premise, which is naturally going to be from the book.

Like I said, he has plenty of problems with the movie as a movie, all of which is fair to me. I enjoyed the film personally, but I think it has a lot of holes in it if you didn't read the book. That might be my perception, though.

Draconalis:
I noticed someone else defending the names in Bob's review thread and all I can think of is.

"Yeah, first names have cycles... but Last names do not." Granted some people's last names were changed when they came to America... but in general, it seems to me that people's last names don't really change much.

I don't think "Everdeen" and "Mellark" are particularly odd last names. Certainly no weirder than "Arendt" or "Chipman". :)

Susan Arendt:

Draconalis:
I noticed someone else defending the names in Bob's review thread and all I can think of is.

"Yeah, first names have cycles... but Last names do not." Granted some people's last names were changed when they came to America... but in general, it seems to me that people's last names don't really change much.

I don't think "Everdeen" and "Mellark" are particularly odd last names. Certainly no weirder than "Arendt" or "Chipman". :)

Also I maybe be slightly bias here but I know 6 Susan in their 20s. Granted 2 of which I'm related to (Cousins and such).

Susan Arendt:

Draconalis:
I noticed someone else defending the names in Bob's review thread and all I can think of is.

"Yeah, first names have cycles... but Last names do not." Granted some people's last names were changed when they came to America... but in general, it seems to me that people's last names don't really change much.

I don't think "Everdeen" and "Mellark" are particularly odd last names. Certainly no weirder than "Arendt" or "Chipman". :)

Also I maybe be slightly bias here but I know 6 Susan in their 20s. Granted 2 of which I'm related to (Cousins and such).

Akisa:
Actually I know 6 Susan who are in their 20s...

Unfortunately, an n of 1 doesn't mean anything.

Susan Arendt:
But he was taking issue with the overall premise, which is naturally going to be from the book.

I may be misunderstanding you, Bob, and/or the film/book (which I've not seen/read), but it seems like Bob's problem with the premise is that--in his experience of watching the film--the rationale for the actual story made no sense. That seems like a pretty big problem, at least for people who might go into the film without any knowledge of the books.

Susan Arendt:
I don't think "Everdeen" and "Mellark" are particularly odd last names. Certainly no weirder than "Arendt" or "Chipman". :)

Now I'm hoping someone around here is bored (and motivated) enough to write "The Angry Sports" about Katniss Arendt and Peeta Chipman.

Susan Arendt:

Draconalis:
I noticed someone else defending the names in Bob's review thread and all I can think of is.

"Yeah, first names have cycles... but Last names do not." Granted some people's last names were changed when they came to America... but in general, it seems to me that people's last names don't really change much.

I don't think "Everdeen" and "Mellark" are particularly odd last names. Certainly no weirder than "Arendt" or "Chipman". :)

Point.

I suppose in connection with the first name, it sounded sillier than it was.

In other news, just to let you know... I bought Journey last night after listening to the podcast and your review.

Edit:

You can't break Minecraft :)
(except with irresponsible modding)

Once on a plane, the dude in front of me was playing Civ 5.

I will say that I think Hunger Games was very much meant for fans of the books, and isn't overly accommodating for those who haven't. You'll still parse what's going on, of course, but a lot will seem pretty thin.

 

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