Jimquisition: Damn Fine Coffee

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Damn Fine Coffee

How do you like your coffee? Blacker than midnight on a moonless night? Or is that just what you want people to think?

Watch Video

Jimothy Sterling:
Damn Fine Coffee

How do you like your coffee? Blacker than midnight on a moonless night? Or is that just what you want people to think?

Watch Video

Didn't you talk about a similar point in your "creepy cull of female protagonists" video in which you reference Malcolm Gladwell and stated what people believe they want and what they buy actually contradicts each other?

Dark roasted coffee is just burnt, anyway. Never buy Starbuck's charcoal. Idiots say they like a dark roast when they want to sound like they know what they're talking about when they really have no idea.

Real coffee has a roast level that is unique to the bean. Some need to be darker, others need to have a lighter roast. A place that only dark roasts their coffee do so to cover up or burn off the imperfections in the beans.

Also, that "priest with his pants down" comment is epic.

That Overstrike video looked cool, too. Maybe the developer will make it after all a la Far Cry 3 Blood Dragon and watch how the cheesy spinoff game outsells the real one. They still won't learn anything, but maybe publishers will retard themselves to death.

Izanagi009:

Jimothy Sterling:
Damn Fine Coffee

How do you like your coffee? Blacker than midnight on a moonless night? Or is that just what you want people to think?

Watch Video

Didn't you talk about a similar point in your "creepy cull of female protagonists" video in which you reference Malcolm Gladwell and stated what people believe they want and what they buy actually contradicts each other?

Yes. This video is a sequel of sorts to that one and the pasta episode.

Izanagi009:

Jimothy Sterling:
Damn Fine Coffee

How do you like your coffee? Blacker than midnight on a moonless night? Or is that just what you want people to think?

Watch Video

Didn't you talk about a similar point in your "creepy cull of female protagonists" video in which you reference Malcolm Gladwell and stated what people believe they want and what they buy actually contradicts each other?

Yep, I was right. Geez, developers, get a bloody backbone and make the games that YOU want not what the rest want. You will get more love from gamers and more appreciation from the community as a whole.

Jimothy Sterling:

Izanagi009:

Jimothy Sterling:
Damn Fine Coffee

How do you like your coffee? Blacker than midnight on a moonless night? Or is that just what you want people to think?

Watch Video

Didn't you talk about a similar point in your "creepy cull of female protagonists" video in which you reference Malcolm Gladwell and stated what people believe they want and what they buy actually contradicts each other?

Yes. This video is a sequel of sorts to that one and the pasta episode.

I said it already but it's worth saying again. DEVELOPERS, GROW A BLOODY SPINE. i will start to sound like an otaku but look at some of Vanillaware's or Platinum's work. They are full of vibrance and energy and even if they aren't the best, we still love them because they are unique with mechanics that are fun and characters that are over-the-top insane to see.

I think, in a certain sense, the online community circlejerk also has it's own social desirability demands.

What do *you* want from games? "Innovation" seems to be a popular demand, that makes us all sound refined and knowledgeable, but it's one of those cases where the word ounds good on paper, but in practice, most of us would rather play a comfortably familiar genre with nicely fine-tuned mechanics, and slightly curious setting, than something with no familiarity at all.

by the end all I could think of was

and yeah, I'd noticed this very thing that you were talking about. Back when the Wii came out I was part of a few focus groups, and discovered that most of the people in them were a bunch of idiots who clearly had no idea what they wanted. I felt like the only person there who actually had an opinion on the system, and everyone else was just kind of following the interviewers lead.

To be fair in regards to "Remember Me," the publishers probably just saw it as a mediocre game and didn't want to bother.

Damn Jim, stop making sense. You're on a roll.

With milk and lots of sugar.

People don't know what they want. Most of the times they want a dream, but not the actual product. They think they want something but sometimes you just need to smack them on the head and tell them no. That's not what you want. You want this. Now if you want it hand over the money or fuck off!

If you build it they will come. If you ask them what they want you to build they will ignore it when it's done!

Bioshock Infinite is the game it is because of these focus groups. Fuse is the game it is because of these focus groups. Stop using these goddamned focus groups or get an actual focus group, which involves members of all your target audience.

Priest with his pants down?

Ouch. Wasn't expecting that analogy.

Arslan Aladeen:
To be fair in regards to "Remember Me," the publishers probably just saw it as a mediocre game and didn't want to bother.

Then why did they explicitly state that the problem is that there is a female protagonist?

http://www.joystiq.com/2013/03/20/publishers-rejected-remember-me-because-of-female-lead/

Well if there was one type of person you can count on to have an overly flattering opinion of themselves, it would be groupies.

I think a lot of the pretentiousness we see in games (especially "story driven" games) is also thanks to this social desirability bias. I think many people want to sound like the kind of person who wants to play a slow moving "story driven" game like Heavy Rain because then people might think they're not the kind of gamer that goes onto CoD shouting slurs.

It's probably the same reason everyone thinks all guys want a skinny girl with long hair and big boobs. I know for a fact that there are a lot of guys who try really hard to get that kind of girl just because they want to seem like an alpha male. I find that's it's the most obnoxiously vocal ones that are the ones trying to convince everyone.

I dig the merchandising Jim's decked in this week: nice mug & tshirt.

This reminds me of something I heard about movie production, probably from movie bob but I can't remember. It was about why we have so many sequels and remakes of movies. Really it came down to being able to protect one's ass. If someone tried to make a wholy original movie and it failed then they only had themselves to blame and be blamed but if they had a bunch of numbers from similar projects then it allowed them to point at those numbers and say "You saw the same stats I did, there is every reason this should have been just as popular."

Lighter the roast - less bitter/stronger flavor, more caffeine
darker - stronger more bitter flavor, less caffeine
medium - just right.

Games are like coffee - it never hurts to try different roasts and mixes. Both can be very addictive. I should probably stop drinking coffee, but that'll happen the day I stop gaming, so, yeah, but no.

Priest with his pants down? Hoo boy that gave me a good laugh.

OT: Do publishers really... really ... fill their focus groups with a demographic that they believe will have a reaction that they want? Like, guess we're gonna make this game more like CoD better make sure the focus group is 18-23 yr old Caucasian males hur dur.

Well, I suppose when the echo chamber is THAT far ingrained in the development cycle it explains a lot about the state of AAA games.

I couldn't help but think of Team Fortress 2 while watching the over strike video (similar art style), which immediately made me excited, then crushed by the Fuse video. Dammit Jim!!

Jimothy Sterling:
Damn Fine Coffee

How do you like your coffee? Blacker than midnight on a moonless night? Or is that just what you want people to think?

Actually I do prefer my coffee black, but how can I make you believe me :p

I would still love to play Overstrike. Seemed like such a fun game. Also about Overlord 2. I LOVE that series but I have never even seen the MP lobby.

Every time I see that Overstrike trailer I get a little sad, damn it Insomniac you used to be cool, what happened?

On focus groups, I don't now why anyone would seriously ask 12 years olds want they want. They're idiots and generally have no idea what they want.

And what's worse is they have no money to buy your games themselves anyway. What I'm saying if you need focus testers, ask me. I know what I want and have the money to buy it :P

Well chalk up video game development as yet another industry to move to the "human centipede" method of production. So instead of trying to bring us new and exciting types of pasta sauce they are all working on turning every game into a thin slurry of shit.

Worgen:
This reminds me of something I heard about movie production, probably from movie bob but I can't remember. It was about why we have so many sequels and remakes of movies. Really it came down to being able to protect one's ass. If someone tried to make a wholy original movie and it failed then they only had themselves to blame and be blamed but if they had a bunch of numbers from similar projects then it allowed them to point at those numbers and say "You saw the same stats I did, there is every reason this should have been just as popular."

On the other hand, the reverse of this is also true, if you imagine online movie geeks as a kind of focus group, that just weren't asked by studios.

The only reason why we tend to imagine "New IP" as the pinnacle of enjoyable entertainment, is because just like with my earlier post's example of "innovation", it's one of those things that we all like to repeat in an echo-chamber as it sounds very sophisticated and intelligent.

Go to a specialized TV show or game or movie fandom, ask people what they want, and they will admit "More of our favorite thing". But ask them all in front of the Escapist forums, and they will all say "New IP", because none of them wants to admit to being That Guy who cares more about a franchise than about the Freshness of the Industry.

the antithesis:
Dark roasted coffee is just burnt, anyway. Never buy Starbuck's charcoal. Idiots say they like a dark roast when they want to sound like they know what they're talking about when they really have no idea.

Real coffee has a roast level that is unique to the bean. Some need to be darker, others need to have a lighter roast. A place that only dark roasts their coffee do so to cover up or burn off the imperfections in the beans.

Huh. That makes sense. See, I thought I preferred darker roast and was about to get all uppity with you and say some of us do genuinely prefer it without wanting to be seen as cool. Then I realised that I like Boston Tea Party's dark roast, and that Starbuck's darker stuff is indeed chuffing awful. So there we go. I've learned something new about coffee.

Also, were I ever asked this question in some sort of focus testing, I like to think I would reply truthfully and say it honestly depends what time of day it is. So there's that too.

the antithesis:
Also, that "priest with his pants down" comment is epic.

That Overstrike video looked cool, too. Maybe the developer will make it after all a la Far Cry 3 Blood Dragon and watch how the cheesy spinoff game outsells the real one. They still won't learn anything, but maybe publishers will retard themselves to death.

Well, here's hoping. Won't be holding my breath though. Damn, I hadn't really seen much of Overstrike until looking it up after this video. Looked ace. Fuckin' EA.

OT: Jim, please don't take this the wrong way, but if you've figured this out, why the fuck haven't the developers? I mean, you spelling it out there makes it seem like the simplest fucking thing: the best games are the ones made by the developers who give a shit about following their vision. Just like every other sodding piece of art or craftsmanship. I just wish it were possible for developers to make games with expensive engines and decent voice talent without the big motivator being to make that investment back.

the antithesis:
Dark roasted coffee is just burnt, anyway. Never buy Starbuck's charcoal. Idiots say they like a dark roast when they want to sound like they know what they're talking about when they really have no idea.

Preach on. I can't stand Starbucks mudwater. I prefer light roasts anyway, they generally have more caffeine. Actually, I can tolerate Starbucks' new blonde roast for this reason, if I must go there. But I trained myself to drink coffee black--I don't need the extra calories from milk and sugar. It took gradual steps over a couple years to go from two cream and two sugar to black, but I don't look back.

Entitled:

Arslan Aladeen:
To be fair in regards to "Remember Me," the publishers probably just saw it as a mediocre game and didn't want to bother.

Then why did they explicitly state that the problem is that there is a female protagonist?

http://www.joystiq.com/2013/03/20/publishers-rejected-remember-me-because-of-female-lead/

Cause no one admits their games is not that great and they wanted to seem like they were champions in a topical cause, probably.

I like my coffee... coffee flavored. Black, no sugar, coffee flavored.

But, on the other hand, don't give me cover and co-op in video games. I want "innovation" despite the fact that it can be statistically proven that 9 times out of 10 anything "innovative" in a video game is going to suck. Sorry, devs and publishers. If you want to please me, you're going to have to fail a lot.

Jim did you seriously talk about beating a dead horse while bitching and moaning about EA?
Seriously Jim? Your teaching the same lesson with a new spin every week now.

Dear God man Diversify.

Not saying it sucks, not saying it's bad.. it's an awesome lesson... And i like reputation Lord knows i play diablo 3,

But come on man Just a little something else. I swear to God we won't all start magically respecting EA 1 week later if you shelf bitching about them just a little bit.

Pretty please?

Jimothy Sterling:

Izanagi009:

Jimothy Sterling:
Damn Fine Coffee

How do you like your coffee? Blacker than midnight on a moonless night? Or is that just what you want people to think?

Watch Video

Didn't you talk about a similar point in your "creepy cull of female protagonists" video in which you reference Malcolm Gladwell and stated what people believe they want and what they buy actually contradicts each other?

Yes. This video is a sequel of sorts to that one and the pasta episode.

Shame on you Jim! Sacrificing your heart and your creativity in the name of pumping out calculated sequels to episodes you've already done, just because you know they were popular. For shaaaaaaaaaaaaaammmmeee!

Love you really. :)

Gamers are getting older and are increasing in wealth and net worth. Why are they focus testing poor college students still? Do they not know what their demographic is? You start off by designing a game most of us will buy because it sounds innovative, not the same old crap we've played 20 times, and then you let focus testers that aren't even us turn it into that repetitive nonsense!?

Even after Jim's video I do not understand why. Why do they do this? That needs to be a video. I do not understand. Doing the same junk over and over again and expecting to sell like call of duty? Have we not told you the definition of insanity?

Lets abuse the coffee analogy. I drink dark, and I also drink coffee I've basically turned into ice cream. Starbucks abuses this by periodically coming up with new ridiculous ways to sell me dessert disguised as coffee.

Call of Duty is our preferred dark coffee. We are not going to buy any other brand of it. We keep bringing it up because it is popular to do so.

You need to come up with the drink of the month. You need to repackage coffee with some personality. You need to make what we actually want. It's so stupidly simple that I fear it is going to remain a rare occurrence.

Nice video, as per usual. One very related issue you may want to think about or address in a future video is something I've seen little critique or discussion of.

Telemetry.

Game devs seem to be relying more and more on it, and it's pernicious for several reasons. Say what you will about market research and focus groups, the problems with them are known.

Bioware trotting out its stats on people who played ME3 is emblematic of the issue.

It encourages "always online" policies because it saves EA from having to pay a ton for market research (because why bother when you can just datamine your consumer and record every decision someone makes in a game?)

It lessens the possibility of new IP being developed because all telemetry tells you is what someone /did/ like, not what they /will/ like. (Your pasta sauce analogy.)

The largest danger is that it's a ton of data (which investors and risk averse CEOs love) with no context. It doesn't tell you why players did what they did - just that they did something.

Anyway, thank God for you, you sexy madman.

I don't even like coffee.
Anyway it's a sad day when the madman is talking more sense than anyone in the industry.

Some people don't like coffee; I drink hot chocolate instead. Starbucks knows this, and that's why they sell it. If Starbucks only sold lattes and completely suspended the selling of their food and other beverages, then I'm pretty sure their profits will fall significantly. This same example can be applied to video games: If first person shooters are the only type of games a publisher will make, then they are not going to be able to realize their full profit potential.

Entitled:
I think, in a certain sense, the online community circlejerk also has it's own social desirability demands.

What do *you* want from games? "Innovation" seems to be a popular demand, that makes us all sound refined and knowledgeable, but it's one of those cases where the word ounds good on paper, but in practice, most of us would rather play a comfortably familiar genre with nicely fine-tuned mechanics, and slightly curious setting, than something with no familiarity at all.

Yeah. You make a good point. Also reminds me of the "Innovation for innovation's sake" episode. Changing or adding things without thought on if it is really needed, or how it will affect the whole game's experience.

I'm glade we're seeing more "fun" looking games now. Things like that borderlands 2 Tiny Tina Assault on Dragon Keep DLC, and the Far Cry 3 Blood Dragon DLC. Those things were made just cause the devs wanted to have fun making something. From what I hear it's working so far. Hope we get more stuff like that in the future.

thaluikhain:
Priest with his pants down?

Ouch. Wasn't expecting that analogy.

HA! :D What are you talking about? This is Jim. He can compare anything to pedophiles.

In defense to focus groups (Which Jim did well at the end), I think they can be useful as a way to listen to the community. Being creative all the time is hard, but what fills creativity is inspiration and/or ideas. Getting ideas from a focus group could lead to a potentially great game, or take a familiar genre of games and add a unique spin on it to make it unique.

But it sounds like publishers are only allowing a niche audience of gamers that are the "Call of Duty" fans into the group, rather than a diverse group of females, "Dark Souls" fans, and middle-aged gamers for testing. Plus it sounds like the output from these focus groups is used as a base-line for a game, not as a way to get feedback from the community. Of course these games are going to be bland and repetitive to "Call of Duty", because you are just making a mediocre "Call of Duty" game to meet the "Call of Duty" fan boys expectations.

Although the discussion on how a person's opinion is influenced by the group is interesting, and unfortunately does lead to poor results. Are these focus groups meant to give their answers as a group or individually?

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