Tuesday, May 8, 2012

Episode 70 Coming 5/12

Head's up! Episode 70: "Fall of Duty" will be viewable by everyone starting this Saturday 5/12 at 11:30pm CST.

Subscribers to ScrewAttack Advantage can see it a few days early starting right how HERE.

33 comments:

Anonymous said...

Phil: RACISM

James: POLITICS

Everyone else: SHUT UP!

There, now nobody has to read any part of this comment stream.

Second Anonymous said...

First Anonymous, you're forgetting that a lot of the stuff Bob has talked about has been pretty divisive in the past. Then again, most of the REALLY divisive stuff was when he was still talking about Mass Effect 3 - hopefully, that's finally out of his system for good. He said he didn't like talking about it, too, so that's as good a reason as any to completely drop the subject of RetakeME.

Sabre said...

I think it's less that they are divisive, but rather that in the cases where people get upset tend to be places where bob does no research, or deliberately ignores the raised points in order to keep using the same straw men over and over.

Mass Effect is one example, as he kept using the "Happy Ending" argument despite that not being the case.

Other times are his hatred/distaste for FPS, and his constant nostalgia.

Pat said...

This is probably one of your best episodes so far, I think. Sometimes your theses can feel a little under-developed, but in this case, I think you are really comprehensive and thought-provoking regarding not just why the Oliver North ads are awful, but also why it's indicative of a lot of really depressing things about modern gaming culture.

Also, I think you've really gotten the hang of including plot without seeming intrusive about it.

REPTILE 0009 said...

So, what is Bob going to call the gaming community to boycott Call of Duty? Good luck with that.

I have a seriously hard time listening to what Bob says because, to be honest, I feel Bob doesn't really respect his audience or the gaming community too much. How many times has Bob represented the COD community as macho jarhead frat boys? Not to mention that Bob has basically called anyone who support the Re-Take ME movement babies.

I'm pretty sure I can predict everything this episode will contain.
1. Demonizing of Activision
2. COD players are all macho jarhead douchebags (or something similar to that)
3. More crying and whining about how COD has ruined modern gaming (I find it incredibly ironic that Bob call everyone who complain about the ME3 ending are babies, yet he acts an awful lot like a baby when it concerns anything COD
4. Declaration that Oliver North is probably the most evil man alive (Yes, even more evil than Osama bin Laden)
5. Bob proclaiming that this will set back gaming for another 10 years.
6. Call to boycott Call of Duty Black Ops II (Even though it will obviously fail)
7. An angry lecture about why aren't gamers throwing as big a tantrum as Bob is over something so vile and despicable.

Did I get it right?

Sam Robards, Comic Fan said...

Bob,

We all know you're disappointed that the military FPS genre has been top dog in the industry for this console cycle.

Heck, I'm upset about that, too. I miss the time when platformers and RPGs were the big sellers in this industry. I think the last great console, in terms of diversity/quality of games/genres was the PS2.

I don't care for Call of Duty, Battlefield or any of the military FPS series.

Though I will admit that I love Killzone, but that series has nothing to do with real world events/settings whatsoever. They also don't pump out games annually like Activision does.

Despite my agreement with you concerning the general distaste for the reign of the military FPS, I'm kinda tired of hearing you talk about it so often.

I understand that the Oliver North issue is topical and that it's easy to write/talk about things that piss you off.

I also understand the idea that posting a (potentially) controversial episode relating to the biggest genre in gaming will get lots of additional/repeated traffic, thus helping the bottom line.

I understand and have NO problem with those things.

It just seems like you're going to the FPS well a little too often, especially since we all know neither Activision nor EA will change anything about their respective FPSes or marketing campaigns because they still sell millions upon millions of copies of these games on launch day.

Until the FPS boom finally goes bust, which it eventually will, they'll continue to sell millions of copies because the audience simply doesn't care about the lack of innovation in the genre or the (debatable) issues surrounding their marketing campaigns.

They just don't, and it's getting harder and harder for me to care about these issues since nothing's going to change.

I mean, look at that Dead Space ad we all got up in arms about that showed those moms getting grossed out by an M-rated game.

Yeah, it was deplorable in the fact that EA was openly marketing a Mature game to Teen audience, but guess what?

That outrage didn't affect anything because the game still sold millions of units.

Veering back to this episode, I just don't see how this will be any different, concept-wise (Necrothinker plot notwithstanding), than the Blackwater episode.

I guess what I'm asking, Bob, is that we get off the FPS train for a while. Yeah, you may miss some easy topics while you're gone, but I think it'll help you as a games commentator to get you out of your comfort zone a little bit.

Didn't mean to go on so long. Peace out!

Sabre said...

Sam-

Not seen the episode, so I'm not sure of it's contents. However, the military FPS bubble may have already burst, or about to. Even FPS fans like myself, stopped caring for CoD. BF3 was big with MP people, and most people who played MW3 did so because they wanted to see how the trilogy ended.

Given that WW2 is still a still hated by most, assuming that the rumours of FPS numbers starting to drop is true, and given the success/hype for Sci-Fi themed games, I wouldn't be surprised if plasma rifles became the next M16 within the next few years. That's not a prediction, but it wouldn't surprise me and personally, I'd welcome it.

antecedentless said...

@REPTILE undah NINE THOUSAND!!!!
Given the comments of those who seen it, I somehow doubt it. Sure, he might lean toward some of those points, but I doubt leaned on them ;)

If this episode is as good as some commenters claim it is, I might just earmark some of my next paycheck for an advantage membership. (For now, I have a cap and gown to pay for. Finally getting a degree. WHOO-HOO!)

Sam Robards, Comic Fan said...

Sabre,

I haven't seen the episode either. I was mainly talking about what I imagine the episode entails.

I hadn't heard about the potential signs of an FPS burst: that's interesting.

I can certainly see the hype surrounding sci-fi as of late with both Halo 4 and Starhawk getting a lot of good press. I think it'd be neat if that genre usurped military FPS as the next big craze.

How great would it be to get another Colony Wars?

Jannie said...

Halo 4 is going to outsell everything because it's Halo and almost an entire two generations of gamers raised themselves on Halo multiplayer. Nearly EVERYONE is going to buy Halo, that's not signs of any 'bubble' burtsing however. That's like saying the fact that Avengers did well means that non-superhero movies are now a dying breed...who DIDN'T expect it to do well, and why would they?

The sign of something like that would be if Black Ops 2 came out and sold less than 1,000,000 copies since both Saints Row 3 and Gears 3 was able to top at least three million and the last Black Ops was double that. Now if that happens then, yes, you could realistically make that claim. But of course for that to happen a huge segment of the gaming world would have to either die, disappear or stop playing altogether because FPS fans and Nintendo fans are two of the most ardent groups in the fandom so far, and most loyal. It'd be like a Mario game tanking: it speaks less to the genre and more to the medium itself being damaged somehow.

Though I guess the uproar about used games getting locked down on the next console cycle or piracy could would, hypothetically, that though.

I'd like to actually see some of these rumors, because I'm not someone who follows gaming news very closely since all the major sites on the subject make me want to hurl myself from a roof.

I'm curious how would that even be established though, no major "military FPS" (which, frankly, is a redundant term, since Halo and Bulletstorm are just as militaristic as any) has been released since Battlefield 3 so what were they even comparing it to?

Aiddon said...

@ First Anonymous

Who the hell is Phil?

RaikuNH said...

I don't like CoD. It's mainly because of two guns only and regenerating health. I did play Doom for the first time last year(just got a gaming PC, shut up) and I loved it. I saw basically the birth of FPS from it.

I don't think the series is evil or anything. In fact when I heard that MW3 broke Avatars record or that BLOPS2 preorders already broke MNW3's. I said "Good for them." I'm glad gaming is helping with the recession.

There are two things I don't like about CoD though.

1. Everyone HAS to copy it. Like what Jim Sterling said "Why do you need Call of Duty when you have Call of Duty?".

2. The hypocrisy from some very vocal fans. I love JRPGs and I hear CoD fans bash the genre because "They're all the same" yet praise CoD to hell and back. Yet if I point that out with CoD, they treat me as if I just threw their mother into a wood chipper feet first. Ring, ring. Hello, hey Pot, its Kettle. He wants to call you black.

Steven said...

@Sam Robards, Comic Fan

FPS games will stop selling millions when Mario games stop selling millions in other words NEVER.

REPTILE 0009 said...

Well somebody answer me this, why does Bob call this episode “Fall of Duty?” Does that have any relevance to what he talks about the video, or is it simply a play on word on the title “Call of Duty?"

JPArbiter said...

@Reptile

Because the overall thesis is that by contracting such a controversial figure, that some would claim represents the worst in the United States Military's officer corps, is a failure on the part of Activision.

Ollie North is a Solider who had Fallen from grace such as it was. so while it is a play on Call of Duty's Title, it is an apt one, much Like Crass Effect and AfterMass

JPArbiter said...

as far as your list
1. Demonizing of Activision- Not so much, more like a "What were you thinking.
2. COD players are all macho jarhead douchebags (or something similar to that)- no, though there is a valibd point about maturity
3. More crying and whining about how COD has ruined modern gaming- not so much, usual commentary about how it was not until Online Gaming that all the usual "isims" have come out in style
4. Declaration that Oliver North is probably the most evil man alive- believe it or not, no. he does not lionize the man, but Ollie North is given his fair day here, facts are laid bare. it is clear that Bob views him as guilty of the crimes accused, but no extreme demonizing
5. Bob proclaiming that this will set back gaming for another 10 years.- nope
6. Call to boycott Call of Duty Black Ops II (Even though it will obviously fail)- nope
7. An angry lecture about why aren't gamers throwing as big a tantrum as Bob is over something so vile and despicable. not really, because from the get go Bob acknowledges how OLD the Iran Contra scandal is, and how a large sum of gamers might be entirely unfamiliar with it in light of these ads.

REPTILE 0009 said...

@JPArbiter
Proved me wrong. Well, what kind of “depressing things” are in store for modern gaming according to Bob?

TheWest said...

I kinda miss when Bob used to overthink stuff like Luigi and Daisy's relationship.

It seems like he is over-saturating his videos about these kinda subjects as much as the video game market is with FPS games.

Anonymous said...

@RaikuNH

A lot of people generalize whole genres they dislike, not just FPS fans.

Heck, Yahtzee openly despises JRPGs, and he is hardly a FPS fanboy.

Pat said...

@REPTILE 0009

You could just watch it yourself on Saturday and develop an informed opinion, but since you insist on complaining about an episode you haven't seen, allow me to summarize the points.

-What Oliver North did.
-How his presence in the ad campaign makes no sense since there are plenty of other military officers Activision could have used without as much baggage.
-Either Activision did something really stupid or they picked Oliver North intentionally because of his baggage.
-If Activision picked Oliver North intentionally, then either they are stirring up controversy for the sake of promoting a game, or they actually subscribe to Oliver North's bullshit.
-He talks about how right-wing pundits sometimes perceive video games as the right-wing alternative to "liberal" Hollywood. Bob opines that it's less about political leanings and more about maturity about the subject matter.
-He talks about how using the ever-popular military FPS genre as a catalyst for the worst aspects of political culture draws parallels to the worst aspects of gaming culture, and how COD fans probably don't want to have to deal with the political baggage that Activision is potentially dumping on them.

The episode goes in a lot of really interesting directions and never really demonizes anybody. It's more asking if Activision really wants to force the COD franchise and its fans into representing a political clusterfuck that they didn't ask to be a part of.

So let me ask you, REPTILE. Do YOU want Activision mixing up this franchise in a culture war just so that maybe the game will get some free advertising on pundit websites and Fox News? Or worse, because they actually believe that this franchise is well-suited to being an active part in that culture war? Or do you just want to play a fucking video game and wish they'd shut the hell up and stop pretending the COD franchise actually has any believable element of realism?

If you think the latter, then you'll probably largely agree with Bob's points here. So take a chill pill. Not every episode about FPS's is about how awful they are. If anything, this is mostly just about marketing.

REPTILE 0009 said...

@Pat
Um.. I wasn't really complaining about the episode. I was simply making predictions based on what I've seen from older GO episodes.

Zeno said...

"-How his presence in the ad campaign makes no sense since there are plenty of other military officers Activision could have used without as much baggage."

There remains the possibility that Activision chose him for reasons wholly unrelated to the controversy that surrounds him.

"-Either Activision did something really stupid or they picked Oliver North intentionally because of his baggage."

I'll concede for the sake of the argument that hiring him to do this was bad marketing("really stupid") if it was unintentional. Does Bob really think that bad marketing is worthy of this kind of vitriol? Salesmanship may be an art but he doesn't strike me as the Glengarry Glen Ross type.

"It's more asking if Activision really wants to force the COD franchise and its fans into representing a political clusterfuck that they didn't ask to be a part of."

Four words: Death of the Author.

Sabre said...

Jannie-

It depends how you define bubble, or more specifically, the size of the bubble.

Let me be as clear as possible. Army games are never going away. FPS is never going away. The comparisons to Mario, Zelda and JRPGs are perfect.

JRPGs used to rule the world. Try and find any 20-30 gamer who hasn't played Final Fantasy 7. JRPGs ruled the world and there were more knock offs than I can name. Now only JRPG fans talk about them. They still sell millions, they still are made on a regular basis, but they are not as big as they were. On a similar note, everyone had played Zelda on NES, SNES, and N64, but now it's rare outside of Nintendo fandom. Music games are another example.

Jannie said...

I'd like to wait until I can see the episode to speak to it directly, but that being said:

Pat:

"Do YOU want Activision mixing up this franchise in a culture war just so that maybe the game will get some free advertising on pundit websites and Fox News? Or worse, because they actually believe that this franchise is well-suited to being an active part in that culture war? Or do you just want to play a fucking video game and wish they'd shut the hell up and stop pretending the COD franchise actually has any believable element of realism?"

That entire question is bundled up in a bunch of unproven assumptions. You have no reason to believe Activision is involved in any culture war, you have no reason to suspect this is anything but a PR stunt, or that any ulterior motive exists whatsoever, and even it that were shown to be the case there are games and movies that act as punditry for both sides of the culture war so it's simply disingenuous to imply one is worse than the other somehow.

It also assumes that EVERYONE views this the SAME way that you do, that everyone feels the same way about North (I for one don't give a shit about him and was unaware he was even still alive until now) and that somehow that "universal" opinion is universally negative.

It's all well and good to spout about right wing punditry but the question WHY right wing punditry (or any other kind) is wrong or unwarranted is unanswered. And the bigger question is why should it matter. And that, if anyone cared about just playing a video game, then no one would even care about it since it's an ad campaign and has no impact on the game AT ALL.

Moreover, while we're discussing punditry, yes it does have "believable elements of realism" in that it involves things that actually exist. As opposed to dragons and space lasers and cyborg minotaur demons. "Realistic" isn't a curse word and it doesn't mean "perfectly reflects reality", it just means it has things in it that exist. And if that's the problem, that being realistic is a huge issue now, then why always come down so hard on Halo--a game about Catholic space aliens, artificial planets, cyborgs and laser blasters--which is so far from possessing even the remotest feeling of realism it beggars belief.

Unless they started kidnapping infants to train as cyborg warriors for an interstellar war against the Space Catholics and I was left out of the loop.

Pat said...

@Zeno

It's stupid because there's no shortage of military personnel that Activision could have tapped that would have accomplished the same apparent goal of grounding the games marketing into a sort of reality without bringing in that baggage. Bob likens it to hiring O.J. Simpson to sell cutlery.

And yeah, I guess Bob does see this as worthy of his vitriol. I'm inclined to agree with him. You don't have to, I guess.

Pat said...

@Jannie

I don't know if you have been playing the same COD games I've been playing, but since Modern Warfare 2, the series has kind of left realism in the dust. It's about as realistic and mature as a Schwarzenegger movie. Not to say they are BAD games, just that they certainly aren't serious examinations of modern war. Hell, even the Metal Gear games are more serious examinations of war and they involve a fucking vampire.

COD may have realistic elements, but it is no longer based enough in the real world to have anything compelling or serious to say about it. If it did, maybe I could forgive the concept of involving a figure that more or less embodies the moral ambiguity of warfare in the real world as a way of provoking an interesting question. But they pretty clearly aren't.

This isn't about right-wing punditry specifically, it's about punditry period. Why do we need a pundit, specifically a pundit with so much inherent controversy, shilling a video game? Why drag this game into real-world politics at all? If they just wanted a real-world military person to talk about the future of modern warfare, they could find one who doesn't have a muddy history and a controversial talk-show. It's pointless and just stirs shit up for no good reason. COD is currently the biggest franchise in gaming. Mixing it up in politics for no reason, or worse, for a stupid reason, just negatively affects its community of players for the sake of publicity and potentially reflects certain aspects of that community in a negative light to certain people. It's irresponsible.

Anonymous said...

Eagerly looking forward to the episode on Saturday. I didn't think Bob's outrage (or that of some commenters) was suitably explained in the previous posts on the subject. A lot of it seemed highly personal / subjective - I got the impression that the problem was moreso North's politics than his actual activities.

While I respect the difference of opinion in values, I'd like to see a more thorough analysis of the situation and its implications. So far, I've seen his work on Fox News and had the opportunity to listen to his radio show once or twice. While I don't agree with everything he says, my assessment is that he has a distinct presentation style that I have not seen in others in the media. I understand why - creatively - someone would think of him as a good choice for advertising the game.

I'm very curious to see what else Bob and everyone here has to say about him, as well.

The Karligarchy said...

You know, I´m just going to straight up request a break from the topical installments of GO for an episode or two. I miss the explorations of a genre or history of a franchise or company. Maybe an update on gender in games or something. Maybe an installment that involves a more overthinking, academic style critique, a return to sonic or something. I like the topical episodes I´m just requesting some not so charged, fun overthinking, episodes to break them up. This is like what four in a row now if not more. This is a request, lets have fun next time please? Side note: Foreign Policy Magazine just did an article about this. It concerns the involvement of the Brookings Institute with BLOPS2 http://www.foreignpolicy.com/articles/2012/05/08/call_of_duty_black_ops_interview

The Karligarchy said...

Correction: The article is an interview with Peter W. Singer who works at the Brookings Institute and was a consultant for BLOPS2. If that interests you at all.

Joe said...

@The Karligarchy:

"As I watched the YouTube trailers of the game with all these exotic weapons, it struck me that even though terrorists hijacked them, the weapons themselves seemed to work perfectly. But the history of warfare is replete with weapons that didn't work as planned. Don't video games portray a technologically idealized vision of warfare?"

Foreign Policy has some sharp interviewers working for them. Bravo, Michael Peck, bravo. Now someone has to tell Tom Clancy this; Mission Impossible: Ghost Protocol was more realistic than anything he's written in 20 years.

The Karligarchy said...

Maybe the next innovation in FPS military gaming is randomized equipment failures programmed into the game, i.e. gun jams, vehicle failures, electronics problems, occasional friendly fire, etc. Can you simulate human error, and equipment failure in an FPS? Those real world wild cards.

Jannie said...

That would be a very interesting gameplay mechanic. Though, basically, that's just "weapon degrading" which is done in most RPGs I'm not sure it's ever been done in an FPS.

I can imagine how it could be done but not completely randomly because it would remove even the slightest bit of strategy from the situation--even in the real world equipment failure isn't random, it's usually caused by environmental factors or neglect. Like if you fire a light machine gun for too long without switching out the barrel it runs the risk of warping it, or if you're in a heavily muddy environment the chance of a gun jam goes up dramatically. In a city, for example, it's rather unlikely. With proper servicing even less so.

I could easily see how to integrate that into a game though.

Gears of War already does something like this: you can let a gun reload on it's own, no chance of jamming, or you can try and go for a "perfect reload" which is faster and affords you greater power for a short time...however if you fail, it causes the gun to jam which is typically fatal, for obvious reasons. Similarly their machine guns require the venting of heat lest it overwhelm the gun and shut it down for a while to recoup.

It wouldn't be that hard to concoct some kind of system, though again not completely random, wherein the environment or even attachments can hurt or help in some way. Almost like an RPG--like buying a weapons cleaning kit means chance of the gun jamming is twice as unlikely, or having overloaded ammo (that is, bullets with more powder than they should have, custom filled) gives you three-times damage but also three-times chance of a jam or barrel warp and you need gunsmithing skill to fix it or have to buy a new one.

Though that's not the same idea you couldn't make it completely random without rendering strategy obsolete. At that point it becomes a melee when everyone just falls back on a trusty, jam-proof knife. Besides no gun just ceases to function at random intervals if it's made properly, it needs some environmental cause or internal damage in some way.

If random is what you want procedurally generated events like artillery barrages or sneak attacks could do that, similar to the "instances" touted in The Old Republic or Guild Wars 2. But that would require a big enough open world to make that possible and FPS games have never done that as well as other genres.

Interestingly Black Ops 2 is supposed to have open world elements, or so they say, and so does Prey 2 if it ever comes out, so who knows.

Hypershell said...

I'm with Ivan on this one: It's just not fun.

I get what you're saying Bob. I wholeheartedly agree with how moronic the ad campaign is and I don't really think any higher of the FPS genre than you do. The problem is how difficult it is to talk about without it turning political.

Despite the disclaimer at the beginning it's more than a little disheartening to see lines being drawn between the political left and right in video game analysis, which really should have no place for that. Extremists are bogus no matter what side of the fence they're on, and presenting their opposition as the "balanced" viewpoint just because you're comparing the moderate version of one side to the extreme version of the other, well, even if both are particularly relevant to your discussion it's still going to look fishy. Whether intentional or not, that is exactly the tactic used to justify propaganda.

You were onto something with the whole "maturity" topic, although doing so after referring to the "right wing extremists" yourself will put the not-so-extreme-right viewers (such as myself) into a bit of a defensive mentality. But you're right, it IS a matter of maturity. I don't believe for one moment that every racial/sexist/obscene remark on X-Box Live via the hottest selling games are a result of people who hate all things liberal. Rather, it's a result of people, of any political mentality whatsoever, who take no responsibility for their own conduct. While a de-humanizing game atmosphere probably doesn't help any, internet anonymity in and of itself is a powerful factor.