Wednesday, November 14, 2012

EPISODE 78: "Press Played"

IT'S HERE! "The Adventures of The Game OverThinker" makes it's big debut on Blip, as The OverThinker takes on "Dorito-Gate," introduces new viewers to his world... and meets a mysterious new character!



Incidentally, for those who were wondering: I went with Blip partially because the monetization options are better and it's a more "prestigious" venue (they have to "accept" a show - you can't just put up anything and use their bandwith); but primarily it came down to YouTube being INCREDIBLY difficult to deal with re: fair use claims and flaggingm which makes a commenting-on-entertainment-products show difficult to do there.

90 comments:

Popcorn Dave said...

HAH! So your "topical" show is covering 20-year-old NES games and your non-topical show is covering a controversy from the past few weeks. Gotcha.

MovieBob said...

@Popcorn Dave,

Yeah... I'm not 100% thrilled with how that particular bit of scheduling worked out, but you WILL see the two shows come more into their own distinct identities as they get their footing.

As it is "OverBytes" is 'topical' mainly in that it's the show where I can, if I so desire, react to something newsworthy with a fairly quick turnaround; where as "ATGO" by it's nature is a broader-picture, hindsight sort of thing - hence "covering" Dorito-Gate in the aftermath rather than in a "here's what I think RIGHT NOW" style that I would've use for an "OverBytes" take on the same material.

Lambwatt said...

Good episode. Loved that overbites episode too. But who was that guy in red, and why does everyone already know him. I feel I may no longer be in on the joke...

Andrew said...

@Lambwatt

Monster-voice guy?

Sabre said...

I'm not normally one to get aggressive, but this video pissed me off no end. So this comment is directed at Bob.

First, you accuse people of grasping and straws and extrapolating to a ridiculous degree, when YOU do it more than anyone else. I can smell your hypocrisy from here.

2, you say that the audience is at fault, and that sites should go underground report the truth. However, that doesn't work. The reason being that such a sight would collapse financially pretty quick. Why put time, money and effort into getting the big scoops, when Kotaku will just copy paste it within 10 minutes of it being posted? And as this story shows, anyone who dares say anything bad about the corporations or journalists, the other sites would just circle the wagons.

3, journalist are more accountable here. Of course the companies are bad and shouldn't offer the bribe, but it wouldn't be an issue if the journalists said no. If anything, every time the journalists are offered a bribe, it should be a news story, a big scandal of "Publisher tries to pay for review!" and it has been in 1 or 2 cases, but no, instead, the journalists are more than happy to take it. If journalists said no, and then called out anyone who did take it, the problem would vanish. We know they can do this, see point 2. It's not just that journalists take the bribe, they to actively seek them out. Also, companies don't claim to be impartial, journalists do. The companies are still doing something wrong. They shouldn't offer the bribe, but that's a drop in the sea compared to the journalists competing for the biggest bribe.

On a related note, is there any downer event or news story that you won't immediately blame on Halo/CoD fans? Here we have a story of massive corruption in the gaming press, and somehow, it's all our fault? Give it a rest. Not every problem in the world is caused by Halo.

One final thing. Rob did an online show back in the day called Consolvania. It was a review show with skits and story arcs. Unlike TGO, they were entertaining and didn't consume the entire show. His joke about throwing shoes on rooftops in Oblivion was even referenced in an expansion.

John M Osborne said...

Left this via Facebook on blip, but thought I'd add to the discussion here:

I completely disagree about Harry Knowles. In fact, AICN BECAME the very press outliet you're saying about mainstream publications. After being sent swag and the like, he now over praises places and gets a lot of access. In short, he BECAME the very controlled media he suppossedly went up against. I do agree about"going rogue" though - to an extent. I actually think the problem could be solved with mainstream acceptance. We need personalities and reputations tied to those personalities. They need to value their own integrity and stay there - like a Roger Ebert, a Gene Siskel, a Susan Sontag. People who earned their reputations for their tastes, and became taste-makers. The closest thing the gaming community has to it is Yahtzee, possibly you, possibly Jim Sterling, possibly Angry Video Game Nerd. Yahtzee's the only one I could think of who was hired specifically to drive traffic. TotalBiscuit is getting close.

John M Osborne said...

@Sabre:

"On a related note, is there any downer event or news story that you won't immediately blame on Halo/CoD fans? Here we have a story of massive corruption in the gaming press, and somehow, it's all our fault? Give it a rest. Not every problem in the world is caused by Halo."

He didn't blame it on CoD and Halo fans. He's implied that it's been a problem with the gaming audience for a long time. It certainly was a problem with Nintendo Power.

Crimson said...

@Sabre: On a related note, why are you so ticked off? Seriously. The only one obsessing over Halo and CoD is you. It just happens to be the case that this swag scandal coverage is based around the same time and starting with the same advertising as Halo 4. Call of Duty isn't even on the radar. There is such a thing as coincidences, yeah?

Though, I will agree that journalists do carry a little more of the blame than Bob calls them out on... but he DOES have a point. There is no need for gaming companies to create this kind of shit; they already have so many other ways to generate press and hype. Now, journalists DO have the ability to say "no thanks" on contests like these... but not much else. Corporate developers do hold far too much power when it comes to access of most everything in this business. Perhaps if you had more experience in this kind of situation, you would comprehend.

... about the episode? Yeah, I think it's okay. The credits are NOT new, Bob. And I really think that the cast is getting quite a bit large; it was good satire with the Anti-Thinker, it was cheesy fun with the twin ninjas, it was a chilling reminder of our history with Necro/RetroThinker. But now it's starting to get just a wee bit old and dated.

After whatever resolution you have for this arc, presumably with the fourth stone (Final Fantasy, anyone?) and OmegaThinker, can we cull the herd a little bit? I remind you of your dissertation on Sonic and his future; you're running head-first into his spiked wall, Bob. Just a thought.

Crimson.

Anonymous said...

Y'know, that last scene was a little confusing spatially, it might be time to incorporate a little screen geography.

Anonymous said...

Being at work, I could only listen, not really watch, the show, so just now, I can only comment on your topic... and really I do have a problem with the "blame the company" answer.

The companies really can only buy ratings if the reporters let them and vice versa, they can only offer a bribe to reporters... it's up to them to take it or not.

I also do not believe every story has a villain... or even needs one. This is especially true in real-world events.

Though I agree with you about the solution... completely. If more voices outside the system can be heard within, it can only make things better.

- Megabyte

Sabre said...

Megabyte- The problem with Bobs solution (and pretty much all the rant show) is that it's an obvious, ideal solution that doesn't work when you apply it to reality. In this case, it's all well and good to ask for 'rouge journalists' as Bob puts it, but it would never work.

Any site that put meaningful time and effort into reporting would go broke pretty quickly, because the story would be copy pasted by Kotaku, IGN, and all the other big news sites in the time it takes to read the article. Even that assumes those said sites don't band together and crack the whip to get everyone back in line as was seen here.

Pat said...

In response to the people saying that the reporters shouldn't be accepting bribes in the first place, you seemed to ignore the part where Bob basically said that in the current environment of gaming journalism, it's basically the only way they can even GET the exclusive stories in the first place. The problem is that the gaming journalists need their reviews more than the game developers do, so the developers have the leverage. The journalists are only doing what they need to do in order to keep their jobs and keep their publications alive.

Case in point, my personal favorite gaming journalism site is The Escapist, mostly because they don't seem to be beholden to their advertisers. I've seen Yahtzee give scathing reviews for games with banner ads all over the site. That being said, I remember how shocked I was during the whole "Extra Credits" scandal where it was more or less revealed that the Escapist had been writing IOUs for the majority of their content producers for the better part of a year, and the biggest reason was a lack of advertising support.

Gaming journalists aren't swimming in gold, and the ones with financial security are the ones that make exclusive deals with the developers.

The integrity of the journalists is a symptom, not a source. The fact that we as a public are more concerned with metascores and finished products and internal scandals and the fact that the gaming companies themselves are more or less left alone in the whole shuffle is what puts the pressure on the journalists to sell out.

If the journalists refused to make a deal, the companies would just shrug and find another patsy. If they all refused (which would probably never happen), then the gaming companies would just release the game without exclusive media coverage, which honestly wouldn't hurt their sales all that much. Gamers usually get their recommendations more from their friends or from whether or not a game looks fun or from metascores, and the reviews themselves are more just for validation. We read or watch reviews to either have our opinions confirmed or to disagree with the reviewer in question. I can count on one hand the number of times I can remember a review actually convincing me to buy a game.

So even if the gaming journalists were bastions of integrity, it wouldn't be enough to actually change anything and it would most likely result in their financial collapse. That's why it makes no sense to act like this is all their fault.

Anonymous said...

The show was well done, the points were thought out, and the issue itself is deep and multi-sided. That being said I just want to comment that I am so happy the "Ivan likes donuts" bit is part of the opening credits.

Unknown said...

I don't know who that guy in the red suit was, but from the moment he said, "Hiiii!" I liked him. Looking forward to seeing more of this guy in future episodes.

darkmage0707077 said...

@Sabre

In response to your points:

1) Please site references when you accuse someone of something, otherwise you sound like you're attacking for the sake of attacking. Not saying you're wrong here, just looking for more specifics to go off of.

2) You're right, me-too sites WOULD rip a rouge article off immediately. Why can they do that so easily? Because due to how the market works right now, it would currently be freely available stuff instead of being behind a paywall or similar to help prevent such shenanigans, or at least help prevent it initially when it's the most relevant and useful. Why isn't it behind a paywall? Because not enough people are willing to pay for it if it is, probably decrying such as some kind of insult because the news sites can't make do with advertising and tip jars like all the other "free" sites out there, ignoring the fact that just because it works for one type of site and organization doesn't mean it works for all of them. And I believe that would be Bob's point: the audience must change and be willing to offer money before the press culture can. Granted, a rouge site has to appear first before we can give them our money, but we have to change our behavior and show at least a sign of willingness to give it before any sane journalist would be willing to risk throwing their career and money away on being a gaming news pariah.

3) Yeah, you're right, the press deserves almost all of the blame here, not only for going along with the corporations' bribery but for being dumb enough NOT to turn it into the scandal it should become, which is short-sighted, self-defeating and ultimately even stupid since they could turn potentially ride off of one good scandal into the proverbial sunset made of internet fame and (maybe) money. So yes, they deserve about 95% of the blame here, but that doesn't mean the companies should be absolved and ignored of it since, you know, companies are run by people, too. People who supposedly were raised in an ethically responsible way and who should thus know better then to use such tactics to get the results they want. AGAIN, I AGREE WITH YOU ALMOST ENTIRELY HERE, but just wanted to say I also agree with Bob that companies shouldn't get away scot-free.

@Bob
Great episode Bob. Looking forward to RoboThinker getting his tin-canned ass handed to him!

Sabre said...

Pat- "In response to the people saying that the reporters shouldn't be accepting bribes in the first place, you seemed to ignore the part where Bob basically said that in the current environment of gaming journalism, it's basically the only way they can even GET the exclusive stories in the first place."

Except it isn't. Bob paints this picture of gaming companies having all the power. The companies set embargos and trailer releases, not the press. If the press said "no, we aren't going to give you a good review for an exclusive trailer and an early copy of the game" then the company would be screwed. They want those trailers and reviews out on release day. So, those trailers would be 'leaked' or hosted on the official site. The reviewers would get early copies from the publisher anyway. If they don't, they can get the game from a shop, and usually before the street release date. If some pirate can get Halo weeks before release, I'm pretty sure a game reviewer can get a game a few days early. If not, the review comes out a few days after release.

Darkmage- You want examples? Ok. Last episode, claiming Mario 2 was great because it was some kind of taboo crushing event when it wasn't. The episode before that, stretching an advert with the slogan "I am not a gamer" into some kind of conspiracy by Nintendo to get away from the foul mouthed Xbox live teenager stereotype. Or my personal favourite, taking a non canon Halo ad and the games deserve enemies, and using that to claim all Halo fans are either racist, fascist, or both (ie. Nazis).

To point 2, that wouldn't work either. It's a catch 22, there are no news sites worth putting money into, therefor no site worth putting money into will appear, and it won't appear because gamers feel there are no news sites worth putting money into, therefor- you get the idea.

Not to mention, 99.999% of the time, nothing is happening that is of interest. Hell, even with corruption and the bulk of the news being game releases and trailers. Even then they have a bunch of filler 'opinion pieces' and 'campaigns'. I don't care that some bloke went back and played WoW as a female character, banging on about how Braid is actually about the A bomb for the millionth time or that feminist such and so was offended by some card game having a character showing her bra. They are not interesting, relevant or entertaining.

as for 3, I already mentioned in this comment about how the press have the power, but choose to waste it. But yes, companies aren't completely blameless, as I said, they shouldn't offer the bribes, but even if they do, the press can stop them easily. As said, publish the e-mail and have a headline "Publisher X buying review scores". Again, as I said, the companies aren't blameless, but it's a drop in the sea. Trying to lay all this on the companies is like getting shot by a crazed gunman, then complaining that he used foul language in public.

Anonymous said...

I loved the episode Bob, however I must respectfully disagree with your stance. Firstly that Rab Florence passed over the PR companies responsible. The PS3 competition was organised by the GMAs which are themselves run by various games industry PR companies. Towards the beginning of the article he expressed some discomfort at the idea that such opposing entities, PR and journalists, were so cosy with each other.
Secondly, in your assumption that many journalists disagreed with the PS3 competition. Indeed many may have been against it and certainly many outlets reported upon it negatively. However following John Walker and Rab Florence on twitter, where they more openly criticized the organizers, they were met with a deluge of criticism themselves. This included journalists passing off their talking out against the GMAs as 'bitterness' and journalists saying that a hashtag isn't advertising (i paraphrase.) While this may not be a majority of them in any sense the sheer amount did surprise me and sis make me see why the articles, both by Florence and by Walker on his blog, were perhaps necessary.

As usual I found the discussion interesting and the story amusing (is the twist that red suit man is actually the senator who is actually an overthinker clone/twin/hologram/other?) and I for one like the lo-fi, slightly stilted appearance of the story segments. Thanks for the videos Bob, I hope more come soon.

Aiddon said...

interesting; games journalism in general is REALLY bad when compared to its contemporaries in music, film, and television. Putting aside how badly games journalists write articles (and they do) we do kind of need to tell companies to stop treating journalists and gamers like idiots. Though it'd also help if gamers stop acting like a bunch of rabid dogs if they go five minutes with out a game preview or so on

LegendofMii said...

Good episode. I had some trouble following it, but the point that game companies shouldn’t have a free pass on their promotions makes sense. Also, I will now make a prediction. Red Suited MovieBob is actually Senator Lieberson, with devil powers. If true, then his ability to swap between devil and ninja talents could make him a daunting enemy. He could otherwise just be a new devil character, but the actor choice is wholly redundant, and he doesn’t even have a “Home For Infinite Losers” (H.F.I.L.) symbol anywhere.

The Saarai'ari said...

I'm best guessing that the guy in the red suit was the "Monster voice guy." If so, what name will he go by? Devil-thinker? Demon-thinker? Dark-thinker? Anti-anti-anti thinker? Super anti-thinker? Also guessing that giving the stones to Omegathinker might be a bad idea since the Red suit guy looked to be doing something with them other than playing with the stones.

Also, is it only me, or did seeing the Red suit guy bring up the character "Azrael" from the film Dogma that Jason Lee played as for anyone else's minds?

Nixou said...

"If so, what name will he go by? Devil-thinker? Demon-thinker? Dark-thinker?

Darthinker?

Omorka said...

Well, he didn't introduce himself, but could it be - a man of wealth and taste?

Also, that color looks surprisingly good on you.

Not much comment on the actual content, except that I think we do generally have a "corporations will be corporations" attitude towards their bad behavior. And I don't think that's limited to the gaming world; I think that's culture-wide.

MovieBob said...

@Pat,

I just want to be clear here: I'm most-definitely NOT saying that game journalists "have" to take bribes, nor am I saying that anyone actually HAS (it's incredibly rare, despite what you've heard) - I'm simply pointing out that games journalism as a business doesn't really have the option of completely swearing off all associations with publicity departments.

In my circle of film critic friends, there are guys (and gals) who simply REFUSE to attend "press events," i.e. luncheons or receptions with stars/directors/etc because they don't like the scene, don't want even the potential IMPLICATION of over-coziness that attending them might bring, etc. I'm not one of them - I think my unbiased reputation and openness speaks for itself - but I understand their position. As film critics, they CAN do that because it's almost never the only way they'll be able to see and report on the films themselves. More often than not, Games Journalism doesn't have that kind of flexibility available to it. That's all.

Redd the Sock said...

Well, story wise all I can say is "the plot thinkers", but at this point, the one (occasionally two) man operation is starting to get ridiculous. Just please tell me if you ever feel the need to insert a she-thinker you'll find a woman for the role and not come out in drag (the lavender wig is bad enough).

As for the main issue, I honestly thought it was common perception that game journalism was largely an extension of corporate PR firms so incidents like these should have been as surprising as finding out Clay Aiken was gay. I imagine for most it was just the bliss of something resembling confirmation of a theory and justifying some deep conspiracy into why your opinions differ from the reviews so often, and why Jim Sterling seems to be the only one to rake companies over he coals without passing it off as a joke. It would be nice if the briber got more flak than the bribee though, particularly since I've known more than a few writers for the web that have to keep their day jobs. I've also heard some anecdotal accounts from now defunct anime publications about advertising being pulls in retaliation for bad reviews. Sorry Sabre, web mags don't do much that a few placed forum posts and youtube videos can't replace in marketing. There's a reason so many stories are copy pasted: it's hard for a web reporter across the country with no inside contacts to get any info the company doesn't want to get out, so most are left to rehash press releases.

We all want better, but I don't know how realistic it is for people afraid for their game writing gig (and perhaps hoping to get into the industry) to sleuth out why Square Enix is taking so damn long of FF versus XIII and not tow the line on hyping FF XIII-3

Nixou said...

"As for the main issue, I honestly thought it was common perception that game journalism was largely an extension of corporate PR firms"

Game journalism was originally an extension of fanzinism, which makes it quite vulnerable to PR tricks, since everytime a PR firm gives access to a game journalist, it's uncomfortably close to a musician or actor giving a groupie a glimpse of their trailer.

Sabre said...

" I'm most-definitely NOT saying that game journalists "have" to take bribes, nor am I saying that anyone actually HAS (it's incredibly rare, despite what you've heard) "

Incredibly rare? Really? Here's a video I found on the internet about it. It focuses of paid reviews, but alot of the stuff still applies. Remember, these are just the ones that were caught.
http://youtu.be/BwD2GgWKIrs

"Sorry Sabre"
What for?

John M Osborne said...

@Sabre -

That video is one of the stupidest things I've ever seen, and yet it really backs up one of the main problems with game journalism.

The perception of corruption, no matter what.

The only viable example of corruption were the repeated tweets (of which were games journalists saying "no" to them), and Jeff Gertsmann's firing. Which is - btw - the only concrete example in a decade.

The user scores example is from Dragon age 2, which was REVIEWBOMBED by 4Chan.

The rest is flimsy statements here and there.

That said -

1) Yes, there is a problem when you have a review and advertisements plastered all over.

2) Yes, more should be done to get games journalists respect for the kind of reviewing people evidently want to happen

3) The fanbase is also a problem, calling out reviewers when they give a bad review to a game they haven't played yet.

4) Yes, trading reviews for access is an issue, and it very much is one of those things PR companies due - but are RARELY called out on.

---

We need games journalists to be ina position to say no, not the other way around. Part of that is going to be talking to the companies that do these things in the first place.

fox said...

Not to worry ladies and gentlemen! Bob is here to tell you that yes, the current scandal concerning the gaming industry is mostly the fault of the audience, who is clearly immature, violent, shallow and everything you just know Bob himself isn't, being the superior godlike figure he is.

In all seriousness, Bob, stop yapping about how immature gaming culture is. If not for the sake of putting an end to your disgustingly condescending tone, for the sake of repetition. You made your point several times and it is beginning to get old. The people who think you are an overweight nerd who fancies himself a scholar are NOT getting convinced, and the people who actually believe in you and appreciate your effort will start changing teams if you don't change subjects.

Right now, I feel as if you only have one big thing to say: that gaming culture is immature and it needs to evolve so that the industry evolves with it. Every video seems to be variations on this overall argument and you know what? Your show is beginning to get BORING. No matter how many suits you put on and how many references to DBZ you put in.

Jerry "Bhaalspawn" Peet said...

@Fox

Maybe he might just get off the "Gamers are being obnoxious assholes" thing when gamers stop being obnoxious, whining, self-entitled little assholes.

ogre_of_magic said...

My guess is its the monster voice guy, who is actually the future version of the OverThinker. Ivan's mentioned the stones corrupting him a few times already. "Who does it look like"? Well, it does look like the OverThinker, and its obviously not the AntiThinker either.

Yes, I'm commenting on the skit and not the actual episode content. Wanna fight about it?

fox said...

@Jerry

I agree with you AND with Bob on the matter. But still, it IS getting a bit redundant, no? I am sure the whole "gamers are assholes" thing is an important battle to be fought and it is important that Bob's point of view be present. However, there must be one topic that doesn't boil down to "well, things are currently like this because gamers are a bunch of self indulgent morons!". Bob used to be all about variety, all about finding curious little links between things. Now, all he talks about is how gamer immaturity is holding the industry back. Is it true? Yes. Is it important? Yes. But Bob seems to be treating this argument like this big pot of gold, tha as long as he has this, he will always be edgy and relevant. And to me, it seems more and mroe that he keeps repeating this for the sake of being "that guy who keeps getting on everybody's nerve". Everything is beginning to get a little predictable and fake at this point.

Anonymous said...

at sabre - the companies do hold all the power. most game magazines relied on advertising to be published, and most websites that use video do so through adverts before, during or after the video... adverts the gaming companies pay for and can decline to sell if they don;t want to.

there was a case during the nineties of a games magazine being effectively crippled after a major publisher pulled all advertising fromt he magazine - because they had made a running joke out of how late a game was.

Anonymous said...

My question is "What gaming news can be acceptably pirated?" Most of the facts about various games are digital and do not leave the developers computers or the studios rooms before the games release unless revealed at a press event or to guide publisher.

There is no equivalent in the videogame industry of someone taking candid photos of an actors in costume at a film shootings.

John M Osborne said...

@Anonymous -

Great stories that Games Journalists could (or could have) followed but didn't:

1) The Sony Hack / PSN shutdown. I don't even own a Playstation and the entire thing was laughable. Here we had an actual, consumer issue and many games journalists complained they even had to report on it. No one went and said "Hey! Here's a story, why don't we investigate, get a statement from the supposed hackers, research what actually went wrong." This was clearly a case of Sony both mishandling press, and the press just repeating press releases without much effort after.

The BEST report was an after-the-fact set of interviews on Good Game on the ABC in Australia. It was a brilliant report on everything that went on around it all.

2) The Origin/Steam debacle. We had plenty of stories report the quotes on both sides, but guess what? We got no research on the subject. Why did EA remove these games? What changes did Valve place in Steam? What does it have to do with the opening of F2P games? What does this mean for the future of digital distribution?

Now it turns out that a lot of the reasons for EA removing it was about a change of the terms of service that we have no access to in an NDA. No one could talk about it and/or verify statements. You know what would have worked? Industry experts, outsiders looking in, etc. Other publishers with microtransactions. Etc.

3) THQ's and Zynga's current massive devaluation. These stories broke on Neogaf, not any of the gaming press - even if it's publicly available information. The stories found on it - speculation on the future, rather than any actual statements. Quotes out of context used to drive hits.

Only statements found on the subjects are those given by press release, or through PR.

---

These are just a few stories off the top of my head. Perhaps the Australian ratings system change, the Rockstar takeover/spinoff of Team Bondi, the expansion of PEGI, Apple's intentions on getting into the gaming market, a look at how Nintendo's chip rationing worked and its relationship on third party development today, gold-selling and it's possible relationship to organized crime, perhaps human interest style profiles on great game developers in our history.

That's the stuff that Journalists do. Reviewers and critics give their opinion of games.

You know what, the games journalism audience ISN'T interested in that stuff.

You know who is?

Film audiences DEFINITELY want to know about problematic shooting schedules, inner politics behind Oscar awards, companies buying up or spinning off other companies, rising theatre prices and trends like 3D and their future.

You hear about that all the time - in some cases to help hype a film (look at Jaws and Apocalypse Now!).

John M Osborne said...

As to what can be "leaked" -

Early design documents, VO acting schedules, the Half Life 2 leak...

I'm not a fan of AICN as I find they've become another PR outlet themselves. However, it's certainly possible to operate a "pirate" site with the right motivation and/or connections

Lordlundar said...

To start off with Bob, you're right. Developers/Publishers just plain aren't being called out on this and they should be. It's a bad precedent when the company is using media that touts itself as "independent" and "unbiased" as little more than an advertising source. It shouldn't happen and it should be fought against in every instance.

That's where the problem lies though. The Devs/Pubs are so detached from the consumer base that they don't listen and journalists need to serve as the intermediary. The PS3 and the Halo4 promo fiascoes however show that not only are the "independent" and "unbiased" media personas will agree to be spokespeople for the flavour of the week, they actually jump at the chance. They are as much of the problem but they also are more directly impacted by consumer opinions of them.

The goal of going against the PR division is a waste of time as they don't care if a journalist is considered "on the take" so to speak. The journalist loses their reputation, they move onto another one. The goal though is to make journalists reconsider if they're going to continue being a publisher mouthpiece or not by making them realize that being a mouthpiece is hurting their career and those around them. THAT is how you stop the PR bribery. Not by trying to make the PR division think they're being bad in doing it, but cutting off their ability to do it in the first place and that's why consumers go after the journalists. To tell them that they're choices just killed any integrity that they ever garnered.

Sabre said...

John- The one that jumps to my mind is the Infinity Ward/Activision case.

A bunch of people, you included, keep saying that gamers don't want to know the inside story, and don't care about analysis and critique. While that is true for me to a degree, I'm not sure how you can jump to that conclusion.

Look at what we have. All the "inside scoops" have been either PR, or stuff someone sent to wrong address or posted on twitter. Stories are rarely followed up on.

On the analysis and critique side, things aren't much better. Nostalgic retro gamers banging on about OoT over and over and over, indie games wanking each other into an early grave by pointing out how Braid is about the A-bomb every other week, and trolls like film critic hulk and feminist frequency wagging their finger and complaining about how this or that game isn't politically correct, and will twist things beyond breaking point to do so.

Aiddon said...

BTW, Miyamoto has just turned 60.

TheGerkuman said...

I have to say, though I may not have fully agreed with your points before Sabre, referring to FC-Hulk as a troll doesn't do you any favours.

Specter Von Baren said...

*sigh* It seems like, no matter what the situation is or what's going on, the only solution I ever hear from Bob is how gamers need to get their shit together.

Adam said...

I think a great example of what youre talking about has been with magic the gathering. For a long time spoilers for a new set only came from wizards of the coast and sites they gave a specific preview card to resulting in the players knowing rough 20-30 card of 130 card sets. Then a rumor site starting getting more and more leaks from wizards to the point where an entire set was leaked at once before they even started previews and from that point on they put the entire set available on their site a week before the release of it because people were going to see it anyways

Giuseppe said...

I have a feeling that things will soon change though.

Websites like Reddit and 4chan have set up parallel structures to make up for the dishonestly of professional games journalism.

With 4chan you have YouTube channels like Loudhouse and websites like Gather Your Party and with Reddit you have /r/games. Both websites even conduct their own Game of the Year awards.

If one of these guys are savvy enough to break the access to information barrier then thing will really be shaken up.

frogoat said...

I enjoyed this episode. That is all.

vlademir1 said...

@John M Osborne
You may want to add Angry Joe to that list too. He's still typically out striping TB in episode view count and provides the one service TB doesn't that one would want from games journalism... actual full game reviews.

Anonymous said...

And then this happens. Oops.

http://penny-arcade.com/report/editorial-article/mcv-ignites-more-controversy-by-ignoring-negative-hitman-reviews-re-tweets-

Nixou said...

"You may want to add Angry Joe to that list too. He's still typically out striping TB in episode view count and provides the one service TB doesn't that one would want from games journalism... actual full game reviews."

On the other hand, he endorsed the "Oh no Bioware destroyed our power fantasy at the end of Mass Effect 3 so the ending sucks so let's pretend that our rich kids' anger at seeing our masturbatory fantasy about being an invincible space marine is perfectly rational and let's keep bitching until they give us a lolipop" screed of the "hardcore" whiners. Pandering to the worst instincts of your audience is not a better alternative to pandering to the industry's PR departments.

Anonymous said...

Dear Nixou,

You're a fucking moron who needs to do some goddamned research.

Redd the Sock said...

@nixou

I think you just represented two reasons why game journalism won't improve. The first being why do anything but tow the company line if doing the opposite is called "pandering to the fanbase?" I mean, if no matter what side you take, those that disagree with it just write it off as pandering crap, you may as well side with the guys giving you a paycheck.

The second is a little more complicated. Put Joe's video next to Bob's and you've got one guy calming giving reasons why he thought something was bad, and another ranting and raving how fans would dare to tell a paid writer what to do with their work even though he hadn't played it to know what they were talking about, and really didn't seem that interested in what they were saying. Bob wasn't alone, but I did find it odd how many people took a side without playing the game itself, while trying to rationalize how calling something shit people shouldn't buy, or arguing that sexist tropes should be toned down is somehow less intrusive into artistic integrity.

I don't wish to rehash that debate, but it illustrates something: actual journalism would have to listen to what re-take had to say and if it then still sided against it, tried to take it apart with what was said, not what you wanted them to say, or how you think they're acting. That is firmly in the realm of opinion, which is mostly what we get if for no other reason than it's easier. No interviews, research into claims, or attempts to understand an opposing view. No risk you whatever thesis you're pushing or have pushed. Just rant about whatever grids your gears this week and call it journalism.

I'm not going to say opinion shows and blogs aren't without merit, nor that more fact based journalism is without agendas. Just that it's easier to take a side and find or invent evidence to support it than to look at evidence and pick a side, and on the internet, people will usually take the easiest route. Hence, more opinion shows and less investigative questioning.

Nixou said...

"why do anything but tow the company line if doing the opposite is called "pandering to the fanbase?""

If the Mass effect meltdown demonstrated anything, it's that pandering to the noisiest part of the fanbase IS towing the company line:

For years, Bioware has produced the same story over and over again:
Baldur's Gate: A demi-God wins the day by becoming the strongest Bhalspawn Evar
KOTOR: an amnesiac Sith demi God wins the day by re-becoming the strongest force user Evar
Jade Empire: A spiritist demi-god wins the day by becoming the strongest martial artist Evar
Dragon Age: a overpowered demi-god of player determined origin wins the day by becoming the strongest gray warden Evar
Mass Effect: a space marine demi god wins the day by becoming the strongest Spectre Evar.

The pattern is so repetitive that it ends up hurting the good parts of the game: why care about the elaborate backstories and important characters' personal tragedies since we know that in the end the player-controlled Kung-Fu Jesus will come and fix everything through overuse of self-righteous violence?

And for years, Bioware has virtually never been called out for it. for over a decade, this company has wasted its writters talent by making them recycle DBZ's non-plot again and again and again: if Tolkien and Lewis wrote "Epic Pooh" stories, Bioware has, for most of its existence produced nothing but "Epic Porn" games, where the "money shot" are sequences showing the protagonist overpowering everything thrown at him.
And this earned them endless accolades and praises.This led to their games being presented as a shining evidence that video game is art.

And what happen when -finally- the writters decide to challenge the company line and write stories avoiding this patern? Their own audience revolt and demands to be fed the same junk food as usual. If anything, it reinforced the idea among game companies suits that the type of gamers who follow gaming press are idiots ready to be scamed into buying mediocre products forevermore.

Anonymous said...

Dear Nixou,

You're a fucking moron who needs to do some goddamned research.

Nixou said...

Hey, it seems that I just got my own personal little James.

Anonymous said...

@ The Gerkuman

Doesn't matter if it's true.

Sabre said...

Nixou has clearly never played a bioware game, is making stuff up, and for the 3 point conversion, doesn't realise the hypocrisy of what he's saying.

I would argue against each argument individually, but there doesn't seem to be much point, as he'd never be convinced anyway.

Nixou said...

Funny that: One day I'm a sycophantic fanboy who can't fault Bioware because I praised them for the endings of two of their recent games. The next day it is proclaimed that I never played any of their games because I delved into the detail of what I don't like about their older games conclusions.

This absolute disregard for even the most basic internal coherence demonstrate once again what's wrong with a very annoying subset of gamers: they treat video games as their provider of power fantasies, get very angry when they don't get their fix (hence the Mass Effect 3 fiasco) while at the same time being so ashamed of their reason to play video games (because they've been told that mature and responsible adults must not have fantasies about being a powerful dragon hunter, no siree) that they get agressive when someone dares to spell out their dirty secret in public.

Of course, it's also probably the reason why game punditry thrives: such an audience has simple tastes: makes sure that the repackaging of each new iteration of their virtual action figure is as glossy as possible and they'll remain happy: pundits are much more adapted to such a job than journalists and their pesky questions and analyses...

Redd the Sock said...

@ Nixou

Yeah, this is what I'm talking about. Sabre makes bold and dismissing statements ignoring what you've said in anger over what you've said. You have made bold and dismissive statements and a fair bit of conjecture because others have said things you don't like about the ending of ME3. Oh no, he's a specific console fanboy and anything bad said about it's competition must be baseless bias. Such and such a critic's just a troll making trouble. That lengthy dissertation about the plot flaws in a story must be cover for just wanting a happy ending. It's small wonder online commentators stick to punditry: how could real news with real facts permeate minds unwilling to accept ideas not in their worldview, so you may as well avoid the work and just pander to whatever group you have in mind: from the fanboy, to the guys wanting the industry torn into.

And yeah, this is pretty much the paradigm of real news as well. It's all the bias of Fox vs the liberal media conspiracy, and very few people willing to look at new information or opinions and say "maybe I'm wrong here". As such journalism is dead, and it's just re-enforcing facts to the converted with the only thought going into how to dismiss the thoughts of the other guy. It sucks, but we seem to be asking for it.

PS As someone that didn't like the original ME3 ending, this is my response to the allegation of only wanting happy endings with super heroes: I loved every bit of the depressing and tragic ending to Teltale's Walking dead adventure game and would not change a thing. No Spoilers, but I'll just say it's the first time a game has made be cry since Aerith died.

Anonymous said...

@Redd the Sock

Is that sarcasm? I can't tell in print without italics.

I hope it's sarcasm, because Nixou, Aiddon, and Sylocat are the three people I would absolutely feel no remorse for violently dismembering, because their sycophantic ignorance so offends me on a base instinctual level that I cannot know true peace until they are so thoroughly destroyed they disappear from photographs.

Sabre said...

I'm with anon in that I can't tell the sarcasm from the not sarcasm.

Redd, you are wasting your time. That's why I didn't bother with the point by point breakdown. Nixou has heard these arguments dozens of times before. The thematic consistency, the "bioware lied", it's just plain bad, the extreme shortcuts to save money throughout the game, and the card you played, that there are tons of games with sad endings that are celebrated. (personally, the horrifying ending to Klanoa is a favourite) However, just like Bob, no matter how many times they are corrected, all the long, rational arguments, they just ignore it and say "Dey just wanted der happah ending!". Hence why anons resort the "Dear Nixou, You're a fucking moron who needs to do some goddamned research." response, because that's as intellectual and rational as what Nixou and Bob do.

Redd the Sock said...

Yeah, sorry. This part

"Oh no, he's a specific console fanboy and anything bad said about it's competition must be baseless bias. Such and such a critic's just a troll making trouble. That lengthy dissertation about the plot flaws in a story must be cover for just wanting a happy ending."

would be done in funny sarcastic voices if I made a video. The rest I'm rather serious about. It seems more and more we're getting less interested in any information taking us out of our comfort zone and are more quick to rationalize away someone's validity that make a productive counter argument. Every time Bob is called a Nintendo fanboy is from someone not wanting to or is able to make a counter argument about something he said about shooters.

Am I wasting my time? Probably, but honestly, if I do otherwise I just become part of the problem. I could easily write off Bob's words on ME3 as being from someone wanting to make movies himself and doesn't want fanbrats telling him what to do when he does, but it's more satisfying to provide a decent counter argument and watch it being ignored or avoided.

Anonymous said...

Well it takes two to tango; If Bob isn't going to play fair why the hell should we?

Stalemate.

Sabre said...

Hmm, I'd say it's more of a case of calling Bob (and Nixou, and others) fanboys not because there is no argument to made. Instead, pointing out why arguing is pointless. It's why they make the claims that they do, and shows why they will never change in the face of evidence.

For example, I have pretty much stopped correcting Bobs CoD and Halo stuff in any detail because despite numberous corrections from me and others, he still plays the same "Wah wah wah! CoD and Halo ruined evwee fink!" card.

Nixous bioware comment is also a good example.

It's hyporcirical to call out bioware for making the same story when Nintendo have made the same few games over and over again.

He ignores that the "Hero saves the world" part is a minor point of bioware games. It's about the characters, stories, and adventures along the way. Hell, you can spend over an hour solving crimes on the citidel, to the point where it's been suggested that there should be a downloadable game where you play as a C-sec detective. To say it's all about being an unstoppable hero is like saying "Mario is all about going down pipes." or "Mario is about cutting down bridges and nothing else."

And that above point is obvious to anyone who has played a Bioware game. Made the tough choices, met interesting characters, ect. Much like Bob's commentary on the Mass Effect 3 endings, it shows ignorance of the subject. It makes his arguments as baseless and stupid as those news reporters who said Mass Effect was a porn game. Watching the trailers and reading about them on Wikipedia is not enough to become the absolute authority on them.

After all of that, he will either not respond, and if he does, it will be with a quip or an insult, not addressing the points. If we are lucky, he might pull more crap out of his arse and speak it as truth.

Nixou said...

"You have made bold and dismissive statements and a fair bit of conjecture because others have said things you don't like about the ending of ME3"

The thing about ME3 was that, after the initial "discovery" of the ending, two sorts of criticism arose:
• On one side, some people were unhappy with the ending because they felt it was too short, not detailed enough, that a 3 minute cutscene after over 100 hours of gameplay was to little a pay-off. They wanted a longer conclusion, some vignettes about their squad members, maybe a glimpse of the immediate aftermatch of the war without jumping immediately to the distant finale.
• On the other side, was the most puerile, entitled, uncaring, idiotic temper tantrum in Video Game History. Spoiled 20-30 tears old children who decided that they "deserved" a triumphalist ending, had the gall to pretend that their demands of a Yub Nub Dance was the most rational and well though response imaginable, then spent weeks stomping their feet, demanding an I am Legend rewrite because of course, Bioware and EA had the duty to make games which conformed to their preconceptions. It's the

I never had the slightest problem with the first reaction, it's the second one, namely the immaturity + the entitlement + the sheer dishonesty + the fact that they got agressive when told that they never were cunning enough to succesfully disguise their motive + using the web as an echo chamber which drowned the more resonnable comments and created the illusion that their mob epitomized the audience of Mass Effect, such encouraging EA's suits in their contempt for the average gamer I had a problem with.

So the fact is, I was mostly relieved when Bioware's "extented ending" was, for the most part*, an harmless answer to the first reaction. At least the stupid wankers had not taken over the block.
And I'll say, seeing the "retake mass effect" spliting between those who realized that Bioware did not gave them what they wanted and kept on whining and those who wanted so much to believe that they had managed to make the Evil EA Empire their bitch via angry emails, youtube videos and cupcakes that they pretended that the new ending -which included an Oh-So-Sweet "Fuck You" directed at the morons who felt that "Why don't you just shoot the StarChild?" was the most sublime expression of wit ever produced- was exactly what they had wanted all along... Seeing this was both a very funny spectacle (Now they're fighting among themselves: Pass the Popcorn!) and the confirmation that my contempt was valid and well deserved.



*The three monologues still sucks

Nixou said...

"It's hyporcirical to call out bioware for making the same story when Nintendo have made the same few games over and over again."

Yes, My Hypor level is off the charts.
More seriously, story is not the main selling point of any game by Nintendo. Story is the main, if not the only selling point of games made by Bioware (If I want to play a game for its Chest High Wall Shooting segment, I'll put Uncharted in the console, not Mass Effect).


"It's about the characters, stories, and adventures along the way."
Didn't I write something about how using the same shonenesque power fantasy again and agains did hurt "the good parts of the game [...] the elaborate backstories and important characters' personal tragedies"?

"Hell, you can spend over an hour solving crimes on the citidel"
Wasn't there also a part where I wrote "Player-controlled Kung-Fu Jesus will come and fix everything through overuse of self-righteous violence"?

It's almost like Sabre is making the assumption he can disregard what I wrote in the very same comment section and no reader will be any wiser about it.


"And that above point is obvious to anyone who has played a Bioware game. Made the tough choices, met interesting characters, ect"

Ahhhh, yes, the "though choices"
There's none
Another thing which grates on me when it come to Bioware is how much their "choice" driven gameplay is a fucking joke.
In Kotor: many Dark Side choices are not simply evil, but idiotic. You'd think that the game would give you the opportunity to be somehow pragmatic in your villainy, even deceitful toward your party members, but nope: you get the Jedi path and the alergic to subtlety douche path (no wonder Palpatine fooled the Jedi: they probably had never seen a Sith making even an half assed effort to not appear completely evil from the get go).
In Jade Empire, the prologue gives you a master philosopher explaining the difference between the open palm and closed fist philosophy. During the rest of the game, the "closed fist" choice never fit the description of the philosophy they're supposed to represent: the choice is still between the generic knight and the generic jerk.
In Dragon Age, they promise tough moral dilemma: the result? Should you side with the Werewolves or the Elves? Wait! you have a much better third option. Should you sacrifice Connor or his mother? Wait! you can both. Should you choose to slaughter the mages of the circle or save them? Now, if some of the mage saved had turned into abomination later in the game, this would have made it an interresting dilemna, but it turns out that one option is s clearly better than the other.
In Mass Effect 2, you get two morally ambiguous choices late in the game: to destroy the heretic geth or reprogramm them; and to destroy the collector base or give it to cerberus: but all ambiguity about these choices is destroyed when Legion tells you in ME3 wether destroying or reprogramming the Geths was a good idea, and whatever you do to the collector base does not affect Shepard's standing with Cerberus nor the terrorist organization's firepower.
There's virtually never any "tough" choice, becaue there's virtually never any real moral dilemma: there is almost always a *better* choice made obvious. Which would be fine if the better choice could be obtained only through harder gameplay: then being able to make the "right choice" would be a reward in its own right, but since this is not the case and the right choice is most often merely on option in the the dialogue tree...

But of course, we then come back to the main problem: these flaws in Bioware games make them more enjoyable to a vocal minority, which then demands that these flaws remain central to the games and remain unchallenged.

Sylocat said...

I hope it's sarcasm, because Nixou, Aiddon, and Sylocat are the three people I would absolutely feel no remorse for violently dismembering, because their sycophantic ignorance so offends me on a base instinctual level that I cannot know true peace until they are so thoroughly destroyed they disappear from photographs.

Wow, I rated a mention! Awesome! I'm in rare company.

Sabre said...

Redd- You see? My point proved perfectly. Using a typo as a smoking gun to prove I'm wrong. Simply repeating his same, incorrect crap.

My favourite part is this
"the good parts of the game [...] the elaborate backstories and important characters' personal tragedies"?
the "..." and cutting the quote off early is him editing what he said to make it seem like he said something he didn't.

Should I correct him on the moral dilemma stuff? Point out the flaw that you can min max any game and end up ruining it for yourself? It would take a few paragraphs to explain, and he would just make another rage filled post and go back to using insults. (Notice how "his side" is all polite and well meaning, whereas those who don't agree are just given 3 paragraphs of insults with nothing said against the actual arguments that the ending is bad) Just sweep him under the rug and move on with the real discussion.

Nixou said...

"the "..." and cutting the quote off early is him editing what he said to make it seem like he said something he didn't."

You've got a very big problem, kiddo: you are very far from being as smart as you believe you are.
As a result, you quite obviously believe that misrepresenting what other people wrote on the very same comment section is a cunning way to fool a potential audience into accepting your claims.
It is not: try to bullshit people that way and not only will your target call you out out for it, but no one clever enough to use the text search of their browser (that is: most of mankind) will be fooled: they'll just press ctrl-F, copy-paste "the elaborate backstories and important characters' personal tragedies", read my original comment, realize that I reduced it simply for the sake of brevity, and realize you just tried to bullshit them.

***

"Point out the flaw that you can min max any game and end up ruining it for yourself?"

Did I talk about some min-maxing problem in Bioware's games?
Nope. I talked about how often, the "moral choices" were not much between competing viewpoints or even simply between good and evil but between smart and stupid. And I'll say it again: if you want to, say, roleplay Kotor as a "smart" sith, four times out of five you'll choose the light side options because the darkside options are just way too stupid.
They've gotten better at it recently, the problem is, the games with the best dilemmas are Dragon Age 2 and Mass Effect 3: the two statanic verses of Bioware's holy book according to the loudest "fans" of the company.

***

"he would just make another rage filled post"

With all due lack of respect, the raging homicidal and stalinist fantasies of dismemberment followed by un-personification did not come from me.

Redd the Sock said...

Nixou, I think you're lumping a different opinion in the whiner crowd. A lot of what I read was anger at the lack of choice in the matter in a game that was supposed to let us shape our own story. Dozens of hours of choices got tossed in lieu of a very limited and binary choice based on war assets. Yes, a happy ending is probably on most peoples' wish list, but any game that makes past choice irrelevant in favor of an unrelated choice or the author's whims is going to get grief for it. Walking Dead is getting it now for having most choices do nothing but alter immediate dialogue. The harder the wheel gets jerked, the more the complaining. ME3 reduced a lot of do the impossible shepherds into "okay character that just got introduced 5 minutes ago, if you say these are my choices then these are my choices." hurting narrative flow as bad if all sith choices were ignored in a Star Wars game because the author wanted a happy redemption ending. I guess the lesson to be learned is that if you want to tell entirely your story, don't give the wheel to the player during the cutscenes.

There's actually good room for debate about how much control to give and how to not hurt the story by yanking control away from the player at the last minute in this, but we didn't get that. We got yelled at a lot for the type of complaining that's commonplace online. I guess the written word is more sacred to some as I don't hear quite the levels of "whiny and entitled" labels being applied to people that wanted the proper fog back in the Silent Hill HD collection, or want fewer game characters with big breasts and little clothing. Then agian, I might just not be hearing them. The right forum and I'll be called entitled for complaining a system feature doesn't work.

Anonymous said...

Any chance of doing an Overthinker ep on Double Fine and their recent successes (Kickstarter, the Amnesia Fortnight public poll, ect?)

Sabre said...

Redd- I know this is getting off topic, but it's reinvent to your example.

Planetside 2 was launched recently, and if you are in the EU, it doesn't work. You can't log in. Assuming the game doesn't crash, you can go a long way around and create an American e-mail account, signing up on the Everquest website (made by the same company), downloading and swaping files and launchers, and eventually get in that way, but most people don't want to jump through that many hoops.

Not surprisingly, people complained on the forum, and were slapped down with the "whiny and entitled" label. Not that ever saw those words said directly, but it was alot of "You're just QQing!", "What do you expect for free?" and "Stop complaining, suck it up and use the workaround!" or making claims of minor balance issues should be fixed NOA! whereas a third plus of the games audience can't actually play is just a case of "Sucks to be them".

To me, it's more a case of "out of sight, out of mind". The people who don't play, (like Bob) or play without issue (such as the 2% of people who enjoyed the ending of ME3) don't, or maybe even can't understand why people are upset, so will dismiss all complaints as whiny, entitled, QQing, or whatever the word of the week is.

Redd the Sock said...

Since my ultimate point before going off on ME3 was how preconceptions can lead to prejudgment and dismissal of differing viewpoints, I don't consider that off topic at all (in fact a nice escape). This week I saw an article about one WiiU experience about how the Wii to WiiU transfer feature bawked up effectively trapping the VC software on the Wii, leaving the owner the choice of keep the old Wii forever or re-buy all the old software (about $400) because Nintendo can't or won't set up an itunes like account system. People on the Escapist were calling the writer entitled because if the Wii still worked then there was absolutely no problem.

It is enough to see why someone wouldn't want to in the quest to write on something like online passes, go to the trouble of compiling quotes, looking at financial information, and analyzing historical trends just to have it written off as corporate shilling or fanboy whining as quickly as if they just ranted whatever came out of their ass.

Nixou said...

A lot of what I read was anger at the lack of choice in the matter in a game that was supposed to let us shape our own story.

Given the fact that Mass Effect is a video game and therefore bound by the technical limitations of the medium, it was to be expected, of course: your xbox can't turn into a GM/Hugo prize laureate and improvise events taking into account every minute detail of pasy choices, and the writers at Bioware can't write 80.000 stories..

Of course, everyone knew that: the "big" choices from previous games -saving the council or not, blowing up the collector base or not, letting Ashley or Kaidan die, etc- lead to nothing but very cosmetic changes in the story yet this did not cause any outrage, thus providing the evidence that "choice" never was that important to the audience.

And I daresay that had the conclusion been one where no matter which choices were made prior, Commander Mary Sue Shepard pulled a Chuck Norris on the Reapers, beating them handily in blatant contradiction with everything established about their firepower, the whiners, instead of complaining about Bioware "robbing them of their choices" would have been celebrating the "epic" conclusion of the Saga. "Choice" never was anything but a rhetorical smoke screen.

***

"ME3 reduced a lot of do the impossible shepherds into "okay character that just got introduced 5 minutes ago, if you say these are my choices then these are my choices.""

A big point of the trilogy is how hopelessly outgunned the organic species are compared to the Reapers. A recuring theme of the story during the first two episodes is "We're not ready", and the third episode drives the point home by cranking up the fatalism. The game starts with Shepard shouting at the Comitee that the Reapers are stronger, smarter, more advanced that the council species, wirtually every communication with Hackett and Anderson after that keep pilling on the "We have no chance to win a conventionnal war". It is meant clear several times that Shaprd knows that he/she is leading the losing side of the war, which means that once the Catalyst presents its three options, Shepard knows that rejecting them means dooming the alliance of species s/he leads to extinction.
That's actually what the Fuck you fourth choice, added in the extended ending is about: The writers thought that everyone would have caught the obvious implications of three games worth of foreshadowing, when part of their customer base started to play dumb, they provided them with a very blunt explanation.

***

"I don't hear quite the levels of "whiny and entitled" labels being applied to people that wanted the proper fog yada yada yada"

Non Sequitur are not arguments.
You put two games with faulty code and a defect in the transfer of data from Wii to WiiU on the same level than the lack of happy ending in ME3.
Do you do this kind of stupid equivalancy all the time? Do you tell people that having a car without brakes is the same thing as not having it painted in the color you prefer? Or is it a a quirck reserved to video games?

Anonymous said...

Hey Bob!

Kudos to you on your debut on blip. The subject material for this particular episode wasn't especially thrilling to me, but I do agree with the notion of having more "rogues" out there covering video games that aren't beholden to corporate sponsors and the like. In a sense, though, given the sheer amount of people who make blogs, sites, videos, and what have you out there about video games that aren't affiliated with a major outlet like IGN and GameTrailers or smaller outlets like Screwattack and the Escapist, the idea seems moot. By saying this, I'm probably proving your point right in the sense that I am sounding like I'm complacent with the idea of journalists and corporations in bed together, but as someone who is not in the industry in any shape or form, I'm not sure what else there is I can do about it besides support those journalists that, from what I can tell at least, are not so wedded to their sponsors as Geoff Keighly (sp?) was made out to be in that unfortunate photo.

Regarding the story portion of your show, I'm glad to see the arrival of another new adversary to TGO that actually has a bit of mystique about him, but please -- do give him a name that's not just the ____Thinker. I've been following your show since it debuted on Screwattack, and while I can empathize with your budget being perhaps virtually non-existent (as mine is for the brand new webseries I'm slowly getting out there), the fact that you play all the characters on the show and advertise that fact in a not-so subtle way by naming them all the ____Thinker is getting a little stale. When this trend started with the AntiThinker, his name at least made some sense since he is obviously the polar opposite of who you are. The advent of the rest, meanwhile, make it seem like you're looking to make TGO into a Mega Man game (which I suppose would not be a terrible set-up if you intend to resurrect all the ___Thinkers to fight yet again before doing battle with GuyInTheShadowsThinker a la the penultimate Wily levels). You've done quite the job of trying to keep things fresh with playing all of these different characters, but it would do you well to allow some new personalities in to mix things up a little. Again, I know that's easier said than done, but give it some thought for after the RoboThinker/OmegaThinker/RedShirtThinker/GuyInTheShadowsThinker arc wraps up.

Sincerely,
Jeremy

Sabre said...

Ok Redd, I'll do this your way. Serious matter of fact face. :|

"Given the fact that Mass Effect is a video game and therefore bound by the technical limitations of the medium, it was to be expected, of course: your xbox can't turn into a GM/Hugo prize laureate and improvise events taking into account every minute detail of pasy choices, and the writers at Bioware can't write 80.000 stories."

No one was expecting them to write 80,000 stories. Games like the Witcher and Silent Hill Shattered Memories (none of which I've played) aren't known for their choices, but in those games, there are entire areas of the game you will never see unless you choose certain things. About a third of Fallout New Vegas' 15 hour main quest is dependent entirely on which of the 4 factions you pick, and the independence faction you can choose who lives and dies. There are scenes like, if you manage to spare the explosive nutcases, they will provide a cool looking bombing run in the main mission. Even within those endings, you can win via speech, or by force.

Point is, games that don't sell themselves on choice, do much more with it than a game where that is arguably the main hook.

"Of course, everyone knew that: the "big" choices from previous games -saving the council or not, blowing up the collector base or not, letting Ashley or Kaidan die, etc- lead to nothing but very cosmetic changes in the story yet this did not cause any outrage, thus providing the evidence that "choice" never was that important to the audience."

Except it was. I remember a bit of moaning about Wrex living or dying being little more than a NPC on a chair in one area, or how people were disappointed there was no arguments if you kissed your current lover in from of your ex that you never actually broke up with.

There was anger, but some it was forgiven on the assumption that they were building towards something big. Iirc, the devs themselves said they were playing the first 2 games safe so they could go all out on 3 where they wouldn't have to worry about a sequel that would need to reference all those choices.

"And I daresay that had the conclusion been one where no matter which choices were made prior, Commander Mary Sue Shepard pulled a Chuck Norris on the Reapers, beating them handily in blatant contradiction with everything established about their firepower, the whiners, instead of complaining about Bioware "robbing them of their choices" would have been celebrating the "epic" conclusion of the Saga. "Choice" never was anything but a rhetorical smoke screen."

Just insults. Next.

Sabre said...



"A big point of the trilogy is how hopelessly outgunned the organic species are compared to the Reapers. A recuring theme of the story during the first two episodes is "We're not ready", and the third episode drives the point home by cranking up the fatalism. The game starts with Shepard shouting at the Comitee that the Reapers are stronger, smarter, more advanced that the council species, wirtually every communication with Hackett and Anderson after that keep pilling on the "We have no chance to win a conventionnal war". It is meant clear several times that Shaprd knows that he/she is leading the losing side of the war, which means that once the Catalyst presents its three options, Shepard knows that rejecting them means dooming the alliance of species s/he leads to extinction."

Except ALL the games did that. The first one had you as the first human spectre, and had little chance vs an experienced spectre with the council covering his back. The second game was about a SUICIDE MISSION. As in NO ONE WILL SURVIVE THIS!", as well as the sole survivor backstory which, again, shows that Shepard, if played a certain way, will always come out on top. Why do you think the other characters will put up with Renegade Shepards crap? Because he gets the job done.

That's not to say he should win. If anything, it could have alot of impact having Shepard kick the bucket if it was done well.

"Non Sequitur are not arguments.
You put two games with faulty code and a defect in the transfer of data from Wii to WiiU on the same level than the lack of happy ending in ME3.
Do you do this kind of stupid equivalancy all the time? Do you tell people that having a car without brakes is the same thing as not having it painted in the color you prefer? Or is it a a quirck reserved to video games?"

And a bunch of deflections trying to go off topic. Remember, this is not about the ME3 ending specifically.

Redd the Sock said...

Nixou

Funny how it either has to be one choice or unlimited ones. I get a great sense of consequence of my choices in a pornographic Japanese dating sim than ME3 gave me. Guess they're a little less predisposed to complaining about scripting and making 5 or 6 separate 3 hour stories. Conceptually it isn't even that complex: a numeric system for all choice made leads to several possible outcomes in the final battle, and those both positive and negative get a final tally for endings that run happy to tragic with minor script revisions based on who lived and romance. It's just a matter of a few more points jars and a bit more scripting.

As for the "can't beat the reapers" bit, the fact that any gamer with any history will probably brush such a statement off aside due to a history of hearing the same thing about just about every end / optional boss we've faced aside, Sheppard wasn't given much leeway to question what at least might have been written off as a blood loss hallucination, let alone it's validity and motives.

Unrelated note, but the extended cut wasn't even the final draft as the Leviathan DLC spliced in new dialogue to take into account the events of meeting the last of the race that became the first reaper which gave you the origin story. I don't know when it was scripted, or even outlined, but I'm not ruling out the idea hat it was pared out for DLC and as such necessary setup for the ending got left out at first under the mindset of "want to know what that kid was about, pay us ten bucks to find out."

And I'm not equating anything. Just pointing out you see someone else's complains as entitlement and that someone sees the same about yours. The tech things are extreme, but yes, want access to old games: whiny retro fanboy. Want more positive female characters: whiny feminist. Want a more pleasant online environment: thin skinned whiner. More attention to unique indy games: artsy whiner. Want a feature added: whiner. Upset one got removed: whiner. Word's like entitlement mean little to me any more as they get attached to anything a person doesn't want to give a shit about without questioning if a) they should, b) they have their own similar trivial soapboxes the get on, or c) they've actually made similar complaints about a different subject.

Nixou said...

"Conceptually it isn't even that complex: a numeric system for all choice made leads to several possible outcomes in the final battle, and those both positive and negative get a final tally for endings that run happy to tragic."

Which is exactly what they did in ME 3: your choices affect your EMS score, and depending on it, you have access to one, two or three of the Catalyst's options while Erath is either incinerated, thoroughly ruined or damaged but ready to be rebuilt.


"with minor script revisions based on who lived and romance."

which was done in the sequence before the last battle in London, when Shepard says his/her goodbyes to the surviving crew members...

The system you describe was actually implemented in the game... Which leads back to the main problem: most of the people dissatisfied with the ending thought it was too short and did not "show" enough. But this complain was barely hearable because the spoiled brats decided to pretend that suddenly the limited choices the series had afforded them for three games -limited choices which they had deemed satisfactory up to this point- were suddenly not enough, basically basing their tantrum on an imaginary slight.

***

"As for the "can't beat the reapers" bit, the fact that any gamer with any history will probably brush such a statement off aside due to a history of hearing the same thing about just about every end / optional boss we've faced aside"

So much that it became a cliché onto itself.
But a flaw does not stop being so simply because it happens often. Ignoring the established backstory in order to give the player the triumphant power fantasy treated as a God-given right by the noisiest fraction of the gaming population may very well be the worse and the most recurring malpractice of video game storytelling.
I, like pretty much everyone else, was expecting the third episode to screw up the series lore. So the first review hinting at the fatalism of the last episode were for me an unexpected good surprise.

The problem is not that most people expected the third episode to concludes like pretty much every formulaic RPG, the problem is not even that many were ok with it: the problem is that the minority for whom the formulaic conclusion was the only conclusion acceptable managed, with the help of an often toothless, apathetic, we-shall-not-challenge-our-most-vocal-readers gaming press, to proclaim themselves the guardians of Video Games orthodoxy.

Redd the Sock said...

Actually I had hoped for more depth to my decisions beyond one counter. So many decisions came down to not just ethics, but could be applied to tactics. A simple example: sending Jack's kids to the front lines or holding them back not only carries the ethics of sending kids into battle, but can impact the actual expeiernce by trading an easier front line battle with poor rear defense getting other characters killed. The cracks actually started forming when what had on the surface appeared to be decisions based on tactics and balancing resources to one number, pick the side that boosts the assets highest. It's ambitious, but hardly undoable.

One thing about game story telling is it's hard to remove the game from it, and few want to play a game they don't have the ability to win. Heck, some take such things as a personal challenge. Even if we are made to lose, we'll still try, and some even find the way to beat the boss scripted to kill us.

As for the fan backlash, at least some of it was the opposition's fault. I saw several people saying they liked the ending (or at least didn't think it was that bad) be far less justification why. This was problematic enough as it set things up as without valid deconstruction of Angry Joe's or Tasteful Understated Nerd rage's videos it became a fight between fans that cared and people that already traded the game to gamestop. Then the crowd came out without playing the game to squash the fanbrats because anything said was just code for "I want a happy ending". Yes, Bob and others' comments came off like we would have no right to complain if the ending was nothing but Sheppard doing the Mexican hat dance. That somehow we're bad fans for even having expectations, preferences, tastes, and standards. The idea that our opinions don't and shouldn't matter to writers and other creators sent most of us into hyper defensive mode out of anger for being talked to like we're unimportant, and fear of more "out of nowhere, chuck the lore and narative structure" plot twists to suit an artists' whims should our importance not be asserted. Both sides had their asses looking for squatters rights.

I'd like to think things might have gone over quicker with more attempts to explain why we were supposed to like the ending rather than complaints about entitlement and articles advocating artists be sheltered from their fan's opinions and desires even if what they produce would be laughed off fanfiction.net.

Nixou said...

"So many decisions came down to not just ethics, but could be applied to tactics. A simple example: sending Jack's kids to the front lines or holding them back not only carries the ethics of sending kids into battle, but can impact the actual expeiernce by trading an easier front line battle with poor rear defense getting other characters killed"

Implementing such a system would be too costly: they would need to increase the production cost by spending more time scripting more events and variations then playtest the hell out of these. For this to be budgetizable, they would need either the Mass Effect franchise selling more, or EA doing to them what Nintendo did to Monolith's Xenoblade: give their subsidiary virtually unlimited amount of ressources and time to devellop a prestige/vanity project fated to never be profitable.

***

"This was problematic enough as it set things up as without valid deconstruction of Angry Joe's or Tasteful Understated Nerd rage's videos"

The thing is that I, for one, tried to expose -politely (at first)- why Joe's claim that the ending is filled with plot holes did not hold water.
Here
The reactions were predictable, and can be summarized by "Taking the backstory into account is throwing glaring asumptions, now fuck off you blind fanboy"
Once the extended cut was released and predictably confirmed everything I said, I went back and tried to remind this to his readership.
Here
The reactions were similar in nature.

Politely put, the "Retake" crowd was hostile to dissent from the very beginning.

***

"That somehow we're bad fans for even having expectations, preferences, tastes, and standards"

That's not what was said and written.
What the "retake" crowd has been accused of is having bad expectations, twisted preferences, shitty tastes and low standards. Standards which may become the industry standard if they are the only ones heard.

Redd the Sock said...

Okay correction, someone with some clout not buried in the middle of one of dozens of 800 post threads on the subject. The articles I saw on the subject tended to focus more on maintaining artist's freedom by limiting how much they should be expected to please fans, which again, would have gone down better with honest defense, not anger this issue came up.

Only read the first one but, honestly, you seem like the first to come off dismissivly angry there. Within 3 replies anyone that didn't share either your taste for filling in your own answers to unanswered questions, or not agreeing those were the most probably solutions was just stupid, and people that thought choice should have impact entitled.

Look, we will probably always disagree with the intended tone of this: you chalk it up in the scenes of desperation, others see more than a few impossible things already done (including one direct parallel to the catalyst's premise that really should have made anyone question that "alien logic" as you put it.) You like it, don't let other people's non enjoyment destroy that to the point you have to defend it to death, and take solace that your side came closer to winning things than re-take did. Otherwise all you do is come off mad that we're getting our way instead of yu getting yours.

Sabre said...

"Implementing such a system would be too costly: they would need to increase the production cost by spending more time scripting more events and variations then playtest the hell out of these. For this to be budgetizable, they would need either the Mass Effect franchise selling more, or EA doing to them what Nintendo did to Monolith's Xenoblade: give their subsidiary virtually unlimited amount of ressources and time to devellop a prestige/vanity project fated to never be profitable."

Except Alpha Protocol did it. Kill the arms dealer, and the enemies are poorly equiped. Hire mercs to do a sortie in the area, and there will be fewer guards. The game is full of stuff like this. Bribe an informant, and he will drop off some weapons in certain points of the level for you.

Nixou said...

"Okay correction, someone with some clout not buried in the middle of one of dozens of 800 post threads on the subject"

People with clout? You mean the very people who generated the "How dare these elitists refuse to show us Real Fans™ the respect we deserve"? reaction in the first place?

***

"The articles I saw on the subject tended to focus more on maintaining artist's freedom by limiting how much they should be expected to please fans"

I'm not a big fan of putting "artists" on a pedestal. That being said, behind the shallow pretense of analysis and invention of "plot holes" which where never here in the first place, what the spoiled brats demanded was the trivialization of the story, and no writer should be forced to dumb down their own work.

***

"take solace that your side came closer to winning things than re-take did"

Make no mistake: I am very satisfied that Bioware did not pull an I am Legend and ruined there ending by demagoguery, and I am also very willing to gloat about it.

But on the longer term, what happened with Mass Effect increases the risk to see game devellopers double down on dull stories because they're "safer", something I am most certainly not happy about.

Anonymous said...

Nixous, shut up.

You've already lost.

Shut. Up.

Redd the Sock said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Redd the Sock said...

Or they could not act like someone blaming their bad grades on their teacher hating them and learn from what is being complained about:

gamers like choice in more than weapon loadouts and who the main character fucks, and want those choices to impact the story in a way more than cosmetic. (at the very least, talk to the PR department more so they don't make promises you aren't ready to keep)

The audience is becoming less tolerant of characters moved for convenience without much thought or explanation to how they got there. An extra line or scene can save you a butt ton of trouble.

When doing something different (even even just against expectations), you have to do it well. You can't get away with Sketchy explanations, lapses in logic, ignoring conflicting plot points, and other flaws people ignore when they like what you write. Remember a shit sandwich would be different for most people, but few would eat it on those grounds

Nixou said...

"Or they could not act like someone blaming their bad grades on their teacher hating them and learn from what is being complained about"

Teachers are trained to be more knowledgeable and competent than their students in their speciality. PR and marketing professionals are trained and payed to outsmart their audience. It does not matter how much rhetorical arabesques one uses to hide their childish motives: marketers-won't-be-fooled.

The thing is, consumers do not give "bad grades" to companies: consummers buy stuff: if they buy more copies of an inferior product, then the inferior product is going to be the prefered template for the next games. People buy 3 copies of 2D Marios for each copy of Mario Galaxy sold: you get another 2D Mario. People buy more copies of FFX with it's corridor-like structure than FFXII: you get a corridor extravaganza for the thirteenth episode. People buy more RPGs with unchallenging (or, in the case of the Elder Scrolls, banished at the margins of the sandboxy game) plots than RPGs trying to push the envellope story-wise, then it does not matter how much pseudo-intellectual verbiage they provide to justify themselves: their pockets voted for bland variations of the usual power-fantasy, and as a result: we will all get more bland variations of the usual power-fantasy.

Now, if the AAA industry was not at the same time suffering from a self-inflicted aspyxiation of its own market and engaged in a pointless arms race between developers vying for control of said asphyxiated market, there would be a chance to see at least a few big names third party companies trying to increase their sales by pushing the envelope further in terms of interactivity. But given the current situation, where risk-adverse big third party developpers are vying for control of the same stagnant "AAA games" market dominated by the very predictable "hardcore" crowds, this is a very unlikely outcome.

Redd the Sock said...

Should I give the excuses I hear from adults on this: why boss isn't promoting me because he's threatened by how great I am. The cosplay award went to someone else due to favoritism or politics (a friend of mine gave up judging because of that bullshit). Obama only won by giving gifts to the electorate. I think we're predisposed to blame outside forces for our failure.

I won't argue your opinion on the industry, but here's my take on it: look to 2 Nintendo products in the 90s: Mario 64 and the Virtual boy. Both were risks as they were taking gaming in new directions, but Mario 64 worked very well. The game was fun, the controls, while a new learning curve were tight, and possibilities could be seen for the future. The VB, not so much as the games were sub-par to crap. By your logic, people interested in virtual reality should have bought the thing and kept quiet about what they hated so the medium could go forward. Nintendo didn't have to kill the idea, but I guess they elt it was too much trouble to bring things up to standards.

The things is, innovation is still something of a seller. Minecraft, portal, Metroid Prime, The walking Dead, the Wii and the WiiU, I could go on. It's not guaranteed sellers like CoD, but then, the whole medium exists today because someone stood up and said just because the industry crashed doesn't mean I can't make a go of it.

But I guess it's easier to blame fans and expect them to buy 10 copies of something they don't want or like, than it is to first tell your accountants where to stick their ledger, and second to remember that fans are finicky so if you are going to take them out of their comfort zone, it has to be done right, with an eye to making sure the experience doesn't scare them.

If Mario 64's controls stank because some developer thought only of what he wanted to play like instead of the end users' playability, we might not have made it into the realm of 3D.

Nixou said...

"I won't argue your opinion on the industry, but here's my take on it: look to 2 Nintendo products in the 90s"

Ha, but as much as Bob loves to say that the 90s sucked, the thruth is that these years a golden era for video games.
These were the years when the market was still a wilderness in expansion; when a game could be profitable when it reached 50.000 units sold; when the average age of the gamer was lower and therefore the market was not yet dominated by the young-adult-traped-in-his-confort-zone demographics; when a new generation of console or video cards meant more tools to allow video-game makers to perfect and expand their craft -instead of a death warrant sent to many studios too small to keep up with the arms race-

Yes: innovation used to be not only rewarded, but strived for. And chances are that innovation will be strived for again in the future -hopefully before the big devellopers completely wreck their own industry by imitating Hollywood when TV came hunting on its turf-.
But right now, this is not the case, and the exemples you give are only more evidence of it:

Minecraft is the brain child of one guy: it's a great indie success story, but certainly not the result of a bold decision by a big developper. Portal became popular because it was bundled together with much more well known games in the orange box: shrewd marketing on Valve's part, sure, and something I'd like to see done more often, but at its core, this is a textbook example of a safe bet: the experimental game is not expected to be sucessful on its own, so it's bundled with games much more likely to be sold. And The Walking Dead is the adaptation of an already successful comic & TV series riding on its success in other media: another safe bet: tie your game to an alredy succesful franchise.
As for what big N produced: Metroid Prime was a FPS. Sure, it turned to be one of the best series of FPS of the last two generations, but you can't make a more blatant attempt at pandering toward the "hardcore" crowd than turning one of your most well known franchise into an FPS. If anything, when I look back at Other M debacle, what strikes me the most is that the game was a result of exactly the same pandering logic. As for the Wii and WiiU, well, the WiiU is too recent to allow anyone to really assess its success, and while the Wii was seen as a very bold gamble, as is know aknowledged by insiders, Nintendo had reached the point where it was simply unable to keep up with the hardware arms race: taking the Wii gamble was simply the only viable alterative left to Nintendo at the time: so long as Sony, Microsoft, and the third party devellopers who make the bulk of their money on their system will believe that they have a chance to survive the harware arms race, they will not try to inovate: Nintendo did only because they were left with no other choice.

So in short: on indie success, two safe bets with tie-ins, one case of pandering toward the hardcore crowd, one unknown, and one case of a company ignoring its industry conventional wisdom because it simply could not afford to follow the "ant line": none of the exemple you've cited point toward big developpers deliberately choosing innovation.

Redd the Sock said...

Nixou I'm not one to write off innovation because it didn't come from the AAA industry, or they found a way to mitigate their risks (and for the record, given the reputation of licensed properties I'd pin the Walking Dead as riskier than you give it credit for), rather, I'm the asshole to point out to my fellow gamers that innovation does still exist, and to my fellow bean counters that there's always some idiot to turn down a mega success.

Gone with the Wind Was rejected.
The Beatles were rejected
Harry Potter Was rejected
star Wars was rejected.

But on the other hand, I'm not so much an idiot to not see why someone would be risk adverse. ET (the video game) was innovative to say the least, it was also garbage (I owned it back in the day, and no it's not in the infamous landfill). It doesn't have to be this way, but some people love to bet the farm without thinking, and when a loss comes up forget everything taught about hedging bets, mitigating risks, or developing and promoting investments, and just hide looking for easy money. As I've seen this damage done to just about any industry, I'd rather avoid just accepting it as fact and try and get their testicles to come back out.

As for the fans the mass anger at ET might have crashed the industry, but what's the other alternative? Pretend to Love it? Keep quiet and send the signal that people will buy and accept poorly designed games shat out in five weeks? I don't see that as being helpful in the long run. Much of the innovation we saw was due to that "arms race" as you call it as competing companies vied for our dollars afraid the other guy would have a better product first. If we stop demanding, they can stop innovating. Yes, that's why developers jumped to casuals and shooters with less finicky fans, but do we really want to join the people that only play farmvile, or jump for joy at Call of Duty 42?

Sylocat said...

Redd, not to analogy-police, but the ET game didn't seem like risk-taking at the time. Indeed, the reason so much was "gambled" upon it was that it didn't seem like a risk (this may have been due to the fact that the marketing team and the accounting team never actually talked to each other at any point during production, but what's done is done).

Now, I do agree that the triple-A gaming industry isn't entirely bankrupt, but I can't help but notice that all the innovation nowadays seems to be springing from the same one or two companies, which still isn't a problem but still.

I've forgotten where I was going with this.

Nixou said...

Step one: I say that innovation won't come from risk adverse AAA companies.
Step two: You say that I'm wrong because "innovation still sells"
Step three: I answer that innovation won't come from big companies unless they're forced to do it to survive
Step four: "Nixou I'm not one to write off innovation because it didn't come from the AAA industry"

If you agreed with me from the beginning, why did you keep playing the contrarian card?

***

"ET (the video game) was innovative to say the least, it was also garbage"

As Sylocat said: ET was a safe bet: programm an Adventure clone, put the brand ET on it,let the cash flow in.
"Safe bet" does not mean that there is absolutely zero chance that the bet will go wrong: ET is an interesting case because it is the licensed games which sucked so much that even its brand could not save it.

***

"As for the fans the mass anger at ET might have crashed the industry, but what's the other alternative? Pretend to Love it?"

You keep using bizarre comparisons to argue that the alternative to puerile outrage like what happened with ME3 is to "keep quiet" about a product flaws or to "pretend to love it".

This makes no fucking sense: the puerile outrage which followed the ending of the game will not lead to better gameplay mechanics because the spoiled brats who whined about the ending never wanted better gameplay mechanics in the first place: the "People complained because the story was not interactive enough" meme is a Krugmanesque zombie idea: it's a lie, everyone knows it's a lie, but some people obstinately keep on playing pretend about it.
For an event like this to lead to better games, you would need EA and its subsidiaries to have at the same time incompetents marketing departments willing to swallow any lie their audience tells them, and teams of designers, programmers, etc... talented enough to produce the lofty ideal their audience claims to strive for. Now I would be the first to jump for joy if this happened: as it would be like winning the consummer lotery, but realistically, such a scenario is not going to happen, ever.

Smashmatt202 said...

Okay... Sorry I've fallen behind. Now I'm TOTALLY going to catch up with your videos! Starting with this one!

The audio sounds weird... And obviously fake. Was that intentional? Also, yeah, congrats on the move to blip or whatever. Yeah, blip's pretty darn cool, a lot of shows I watch are on there, actually... Mostly TGWTG people.

You know, going through all this stuff has me wondering why you even bothered with all this? For fun, I guess? Well alright then... Also, maybe it's the audio, but I couldn't tell at first that it was Retrothinker talking there. Then again, it's painfully obvious that the Overthinker and Retrothinker are the same guy, so whatever.

You know, Doritos are flipping awesome, I love 'em. Not as big a fan of Mountain Dew, though.

Well, I think most of this is going over my head, since this is pretty old and the article in question is probably long gone or forgotten by this point, but this is all still awesome to listen to all the same. I've been watching a lot of thoughtful, insightful stuff as of late, it makes me feel smarter for watching it all.

You know, this actually reminds me of how people were hating on the advertisements on Game Grumps videos, even though that's basically how Jon Jafari and Arin Hanson get their money out of this. Yeah, that's kind of how the world works, guys.

"The audience for games journalism kind of sucks" Somehow, that feels like an understatement.

I like how the Game Overthinker addresses that this is complicated. After listening to a bunch of Extra Credits episodes all in a row for the past few days, I'm used to people just telling me shit and just hoping I'll get it. Bob's kind of doing the same thing here, there's a lot for me to take in, but it's nice to see that he acknowledges it.

Hearing Bob talking about how Gaming Companies are assholes and nobody calls them on it... it makes me feel like I'm watching an episode of the Jimquisition here. Which I love, because Jim says good stuff. Hell, the way Bob describes the typical gamer reaction to Game Companies pulling this shit is EXACTLY what Jim addressed in one episode! It's so weird that yeah, none of this stuff ever turns out to be a scandal, even though it feels like it totally should!

So yeah, good topic, well said Bob.

I like how Bob gets around being the only guy to work with by having so many people in his show look like him and coming up with weird-ass reasons for why that is.

But yeah, the plot thickens... if you can call this a plot. I'd like to know what's up with Red Bob, though.