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Negative World Podcast 026 - Franchide Mose On Madden
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February 03, 2012, 08:39:36
 


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Fashionably late to the party, it's Episode 26 of the Negative World Podcast! Rob (Mr_Mustache), Anand (Anand), and Lewis (Ludist210) join their host, Stephen (DrFinkelstein), in discussing some hot games being played right now such as Mutant Mudds, Radiant Historia, Kirby's Mass Attack, and a whole slew of games from deep in the past from a year known to some as 2005.

Soon after the guys dive into the real meat and potatoes by discussing the Community factor in gaming, Storytelling, RPGs, and Licensed Games!

As usual, the theme music comes from Negative World's owner and dictator, Zero. The music throughout the podcast is taken from a mixed assortment ranging from Okami to Tiny Toons.

Comment on the topics, the podcast, the guests, the host, etc. on Negative World! Or, be go ahead and post them on Facebook or Twitter instead.

You can find an enhanced version of this podcast with chapters and art at Negative World Podcast Enhanced or on iTunes.

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Posted: 02/03/12, 08:39:36  - Edited by 
 on: 02/03/12, 08:49:43    
 
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@Zero
Actually, I never played Kong. I meant to, but Beyond Good & Evil kind of scared me off.

@Guillaume
To be honest, I only have scattered memories of playing Little Nemo and Chip'n'Dale. I just recall them being decent. And that Little Nemo had a cool atmosphere.

@DrFinkelstein
Maybe, but I'm a comics nerd, so it kind of works out!

Did you guys ever play Dororo, that PS2 game from Sega? It was based on an Osamu Tezuka manga about some samurai who had all of his body parts stolen by demons, so he's made up of random pieces of stuff. And he has to find the demons and get them back. Sounded pretty cool.


Posted by 
 on: 02/07/12, 18:27:41  - Edited by 
 on: 02/07/12, 18:28:07
I haven't finished the podcast yet, but I had to chime in on the "story telling" part. YOU GUYS! Story in games aren't the cut-scenes. They aren't now, they weren't back in the NES days, and they never will be. Those are just "fluff" to further drive context for the overall plot. The STORY in video games are when the player is actually playing the game. When you're interacting with stuff, actually DOING something. It's not the old, archaic way of story telling as seen in books and movies. Those are passive forms of entertainment. Video games are INTERACTIVE, and they do their best story telling when the player is actually engaging the game. Nothing can replace the feeling of being scared to go down a hallway in Resident Evil, or slying sneaking past the guards in Metal Gear Solid, defeating M. Bison in Street Fighter IV, or finally solving a dungeon or temple in The Legend of Zelda. Because YOU, the PLAYER are actually doing it. Not some actor in a movie or character in a book. And that interactive way of story telling is unique to video games. Trying to compare stories from movies to those in video games is ridiculous. They are like night and day. It's IMPOSSIBLE for a movie or book to replicate those feelings, because even if you sympathize or empathize with an actor or character as much as you can, it'll never be able to top the innate feelings YOU feel WHILE something is happening, TO YOU. Seriously, more people need to realize this. I'm kind of baffled as to why this isn't common knowledge yet, but I'll keep repeating myself until people understand. I may be blue in the face by the time that happens, but... so be it. Maybe I'll join those Blue Men in Vegas and make some money. It doesn't seem like what they do is very hard at all. *shrugs*

Did you guys watch those "Sequelitis" videos that Brick posted not too long ago? Go watch the one about Mega Man X. There's a part where the guy is explaining your first encounter with VILE in the intro stage. You are playing as X, and your (hopeless) battle with him is profound because YOU are actually experiencing it. That kind of interaction cannot be reproduced in any other art form.

Not that cut scenes in games are bad. They can actually be good, and help explain stuff that would otherwise be boring or impossible in-game. And if nothing else, it just adds further context to what you, the player are doing. So it "feels" better when you beat the bad guys, save the princess, or whatever. Look at Kojima's games for example. Why is Metal Gear Solid seen as one of the best examples of story telling in games? Is it because of all the cutscenes and dialogue? NO. No, it is not. All those scenes are great and are fun to watch (for the most part) but they don't make a game. They illustrate goals and add context to the actions the player is making (or going to make). It gives better reasoning and explains what is going on, and adds depth to the characters. It makes the game more fun to play.

I kind of cracked up when Anand mentioned that game and asked (referring to the cut scenes) "Would you guys watch that? Like as a movie?" And everyone kinda mumbled and hummed and hawed about it... but I was like (out loud, in my car no less): "What are you talking about? I HAVE watched that as a movie. It's called "The Rock" and it stars Sean Connery and Nicholas Cage."

Seriously, Metal Gear Solid and "The Rock" have so many parallels. An old outlaw/war hero is dragged out of retirement, in order to stop some renegade mercenary terrorist group from launching a nuclear weapon from an American stronghold that originally wasn't a military base, but has been converted into one. Also, the stronghold is on an island.

Which one am I talking about? The movie or the game?

Anyway, I have to listen to the rest of the podcast later. I just have to comment on stuff as it comes up. Otherwise I'll forget.

tl;dr version: Anand's wrong about stuff.


Posted by 
 on: 02/07/12, 20:31:01  - Edited by 
 on: 02/07/12, 20:35:47
Yeah, if you change the terms of the conversation!

Damn, Grant. Bringin' the heat. (I would've thought that you'd take more umbrage with my comments about the 3DS controls.)

You really consider that stuff the story? You consider sneaking in MGS to be the story? I dunno. That sets the atmosphere, I think, but the story of MGS still seems to be delivered through endless codecs'n'cutscenes. (One of us is wrong about that - we should take a vote to determine which!) Like, the story of Ninja Gaiden is that Ryu gets a girlfriend and then she shoots him and then he rescues her and then she dies and then he goes to hell and gets her back. Or something. It isn't "Ninja guy slashes stuff and clones himself." Is it?

But I think we're on the same page as to how story SHOULD generally be communicated through gameplay, and how only games can really deliver that. (Also, I forgot to bring up Manhunt as a positive example of story through gameplay, damn it!)

MGS DOES crib from a hell of a lot of movies, though. Escape from New York is the inspiration for the character. COUNTLESS movies have done the reluctantly coming out of retirement thing, most of them starring Arnold Schwarzenegger or Sylvester Stallone. And nanotech is EVERYWHERE.

Still, the Rock is awesome. How DARE you demean that classic piece of action film-making by comparing it to MGS?

(I was also thinking that movies like Commando and Die Hard kind of had 'bosses', but those probably existed in video games first. Or martial arts movies?)


Posted by 
 on: 02/08/12, 02:25:30
I never felt like I was Nathan Drake or I was Solid Snake or even I was Link (the mute one in 3D Zeldas) or Gordon Freeman. All of those guys are way too established as characters for me to feel like "this is MY story".

And I would say the reason MGS was hailed as having a great story and great storytelling WAS the cutscenes. If they're not, then why exactly differentiated the storytelling of MGS with that of every other game ever?

And you're going overboard with calling the storytelling in movies and books "archaic". Different, yes, but archaic? I can't take that seriously. I would also dispute reading being "passive". I am more engaged in the story when reading a book than I am playing quasi on-rails cinematic games like Uncharted, Enslaved or Heavy Rain, that's for sure.

Finally, I would dispute the cutscenes in MGS making the game more fun to play. Grant, did you somehow never encounter until now anyone who really, really can't stand the way the cutscenes in MGS games interrupt the flow of gameplay?


Posted by 
 on: 02/08/12, 02:43:29
@Guillaume
I agree with most of that, but I do think of Link as somewhat of a blank heroic slate, even though he is put into specific situations. That's an interesting question: Which game most makes you feel like you're the protagonist?

I guess an open-ended RPG would be the obvious answer. But what if you took those out of the running? What if it was just about becoming that character in a specific situation? I think the answer would come in the form of a game that has external events which trigger genuine emotional responses. Like Super Metroid, maybe?


Posted by 
 on: 02/08/12, 02:56:34  - Edited by 
 on: 02/08/12, 02:58:21
@Anand

They made Link into more of a character in the later games, or tried to, though. Have you really felt like you were Link since the NES games?

I don't feel I'm playing myself in open-ended RPGs either: Guillaume with his stats and his skills would die so quickly in Fallout's world! You do play more of a role in those games, though, than in games with defined characters.


Posted by 
 on: 02/08/12, 03:03:56
@Guillaume
Wind Waker Link is probably more of an external character, but Ocarina and Majora's and Twilight Link feels more like an eerie, speechless blank slate to me.


Posted by 
 on: 02/08/12, 03:06:29
@Guillaume
@Anand

You know where you REALLY feel like you?


Create-a-Player, every sports game ever.


Posted by 
 on: 02/08/12, 03:14:10
Guillaume said:
They made Link into more of a character in the later games, or tried to, though. Have you really felt like you were Link since the NES games?
Skyward Sword says hello.


Posted by 
 on: 02/08/12, 03:16:08  - Edited by 
 on: 02/08/12, 03:16:26
Anand said:
You really consider that stuff the story? You consider sneaking in MGS to be the story? I dunno. That sets the atmosphere, I think, but the story of MGS still seems to be delivered through endless codecs'n'cutscenes. (One of us is wrong about that - we should take a vote to determine which!) Like, the story of Ninja Gaiden is that Ryu gets a girlfriend and then she shoots him and then he rescues her and then she dies and then he goes to hell and gets her back. Or something. It isn't "Ninja guy slashes stuff and clones himself." Is it?

Yeah. It's different story telling. The whole bit about girlfriends and shooting and going to hell and back... that's all premise. Narration points. What actually *occurs* while you're playing, what you're doing before and after those narration points is where the story is. For video games.

@Guillaume

Now hold on, don't confuse what I said. I said that PLAYER feels what's going on during the action. They feel what the character feels. No, you may not suddenly feel like you're Nathan Drake or whoever - but you're experiencing what he's experiencing on a far deeper level than any book or movie could possibly deliver. Because not only are you seeing/hearing/being told what he's doing (or what he's done) - you're actually doing it yourself.

Seriously, go and watch "egoraptor"'s Sequelitis video on YouTube about Mega Man vs. Mega Man X. The part about the player feeling helpless in the first confrontation with VILE is profound on a level that's unmatched in any other medium. It's that kind of stuff that I'm driving at. Check it out, your eyes will be open afterwards!

Look, I'll even embed it here for ya. Enjoy! (btw, NSFW. lots of F-bombs dropped in a faulty attempt at humor)



Guillaume said:
And you're going overboard with calling the storytelling in movies and books "archaic". Different, yes, but archaic? I can't take that seriously.

Eh - "archaic" may have been the wrong word. I meant "old" or "really old." Video games are a new medium, and by comparison, movies and (especially) books are old. So their storytelling mechanics are also very, very old. Antique.

Guillaume said:
I would also dispute reading being "passive". I am more engaged in the story when reading a book than I am playing quasi on-rails cinematic games like Uncharted, Enslaved or Heavy Rain, that's for sure.

Pfft, WHAT? Seriously? seriously? How could you possibly be more engaged reading a BOOK?!? In a game, you're actually doing things, thinking about how to solve puzzles, use your tools, fight enemies... NOT DIE. Or in less violent games, figuring out which veggies or fruit to harvest, which goods you own will fetch the best price, etc. When you're reading a book, you're JUST SITTING THERE READING A BOOK. Words on paper. That's it. You're being held by the hand of the author and literally (see what I did there?) being told what to see and what to experience. I won't even get into how games are more engaging with all the multimedia stuff that's being thrown at you.

I can't take YOU seriously when you say that. Books are fine uses of one's free time, but c'mon. More engaging than video games? Even the ones you mentioned above? No way man, lol! Sorry, but no!

Guillaume said:
Finally, I would dispute the cutscenes in MGS making the game more fun to play. Grant, did you somehow never encounter until now anyone who really, really can't stand the way the cutscenes in MGS games interrupt the flow of gameplay?

I did, once. The kid had ADD. Not kidding.

I think the cut scenes in Metal Gear Solid were fine. They were longer than any other game at the time, but they really helped flesh out the world of Solid Snake. I dunno, my friends and I at the time really dug it. I'll fully admit that later entries in the series got far too carried away with those cut scenes (Guns of the Patriots, I'm looking at you!) but the original's not too bad. Peace Walker on PSP handled it great, too. They even threw in some QTE's so that you didn't just sit there and do nothing.


Posted by 
 on: 02/08/12, 07:10:35  - Edited by 
 on: 02/08/12, 07:13:07
Also....

Anand said:
Yeah, if you change the terms of the conversation!

Damn, Grant. Bringin' the heat. (I would've thought that you'd take more umbrage with my comments about the 3DS controls.)

Eh. Everyone has preferences with controls. I've long since realized you and I have different priorities when it comes to controls and/or controllers. I know you think the GCN pad is like, the best controller ever - and you hate the "diamond" face button layout on every other controller. And while I agree the GCN controller is super-comfy (except for that out-of-the-way-Z button!) it doesn't really lend itself well to one of my favorite genres: FIGHTING GAMES. You know what controller set up *does* lend itself well to that genre? Yup. Diamond layout. (okay, the "three buttons on top of three buttons is best, but how often does THAT happen?) But anyway... yeah. Whatever. When it comes to controls, to each his own. I personally have no problem with the 3DS's controls, but my hands have long since mutated to perfectly fit Nintendo's dual-screen handhelds.

Anand said:
But I think we're on the same page as to how story SHOULD generally be communicated through gameplay, and how only games can really deliver that.

Agreed!

Anand said:
Still, the Rock is awesome. How DARE you demean that classic piece of action film-making by comparing it to MGS?

What? I really liked 'The Rock'.

----------------------------

Finally, it almost felt like you were the only gamer on the podcast this time. You'd mention game after game, and when you asked if anyone had played any of them, everyone was like, "Uh... no. Sorry." LOL, those guys didn't play anything!

I so wanted to jump in and be all like, "Anand's right! Astro Boy: The Omega Factor is an awesome game! You guys should play it! Maybe you and I are the only ones who have? That'd be sad. Treasure did a bang-up job on that one.


Posted by 
 on: 02/08/12, 07:24:16
Right, when you read, you just experience what you're told to experience. That's why literature doesn't get analyzed, criticized, and never sparked any discussion.

I think you need to read more. It is absolutely active and engaging. You're basically building the world you're reading about in your mind, and you're interpreting the characters thoughts, words and action through the filter of your own experiences and past readings. Video games can't match that, and the prettier and more detailed they get, the farther away they get from being able to deliver that kind of experience.

Books hold you by the hand!? Games SHOW you exactly what the characters look like what they act like... there's no place for you to have an input in that regard. Nothing left to the imagination. And in certain quasi on-rails games like Uncharted, you don't have liberty of action either. They totally take you by the hand and direct you where they want you to go.

Another example: if I had read Vanille's dialogue and actions in a book, there would have been a chance for me to empathize with her. I probably wouldn't have imagined her as annoying as she was in FFXIII. But she was prefab in the game, she came with an annoying voice, annoying mannerisms, annoying everything. Instead of feeling engaged, there was this barrier between the character and me that I couldn't overcome.

Books are the most immersive medium there is. I absolutely believe that.


As far as digging the cutscenes in MGS at the time, I believe it. They were something novel and new, and people were ga-ga over "multimedia". They were buying Encarta 98 and Virtual Springfield and all that crap which hasn't aged well.

But now I'm thinking you're joking when you praise QTEs. It's as if you're writing from a decade ago, haha.


Posted by 
 on: 02/08/12, 07:38:44  - Edited by 
 on: 02/08/12, 07:42:27
@GameDadGrant
@Guillaume

Books are THE most on-rails experience one can have, haha. You can't alter ANYTHING. And unlike a roller coaster, you can stop at anytime (and go back a sentence to catch something you didn't quite understand at first glance) to make a phone call, answer the door, or take a pee.

We're not talking Choose Your Own Adventure here, are we?

@GameDadGrant

I play TONS of stuff! None of those guys play anything I play! And have you seen/heard about Anand's "game collection." The majority of it is in shrink wrap!


Posted by 
 on: 02/08/12, 12:51:01
@Guillaume

Books being engaging, because you feel you need to imagine EXACTLY WHAT THE AUTHOR IS TELLING YOU? Pah. No sir. That does not compute. Remember, games are interactive. Books are not. That fact ALONE proves that games are more engaging. Period. If you can't accept/realize that, then we are at an impasse.

And please. Using Final Fantasy XIII as a talking point against games? C'mon man. C'mon. Should I point to some trashy romance novel in the corner of your local bookstore and reference how bad the storytelling and characters are in that? lulz.

I've read plenty of books in my time (currently reading through 'Moby Dick' actually). Don't think I'm making baseless arguments contrived from mislead opinion. I know books aren't as engaging because... well, I've read them. I'm not as look as I dumb!

We're going to have to agree to disagree, I think.


Posted by 
 on: 02/08/12, 17:49:06
I watched that video. That guy really likes Mega Man X. It kind of makes me want to actually play it. I've played Zero and Battle Network and Network Transmission, but never X or the original. Crazy.

And, yeah, Omega Factor could always use more love. I wasn't really 100% sold on Treasure's potential until that game.

@Mr_Mustache
Sports don't count. Sports never count.

GameDadGrant said:
Finally, it almost felt like you were the only gamer on the podcast this time. You'd mention game after game, and when you asked if anyone had played any of them, everyone was like, "Uh... no. Sorry." LOL, those guys didn't play anything!
I know! Except for StarFox Adventures. Everyone's played that. (But my dirty secret is that I play everything and finish nothing.)

Mr_Mustache said:
I play TONS of stuff! None of those guys play anything I play! And have you seen/heard about Anand's "game collection." The majority of it is in shrink wrap!
You've played a decent amount of pre-2005 games, but I dunno about the post.

GameDadGrant said:
How could you possibly be more engaged reading a BOOK?!? In a game, you're actually doing things, thinking about how to solve puzzles, use your tools, fight enemies... NOT DIE. Or in less violent games, figuring out which veggies or fruit to harvest, which goods you own will fetch the best price, etc. When you're reading a book, you're JUST SITTING THERE READING A BOOK. Words on paper. That's it. You're being held by the hand of the author and literally (see what I did there?) being told what to see and what to experience. I won't even get into how games are more engaging with all the multimedia stuff that's being thrown at you.
I always used to use the same logic when people questioned why I played games. I would retort, "At least my medium is interactive! You're just sitting there like a goon while people feed stimulus into your receptors!" It's the reason why, when I'm really tired (i.e. ALWAYS), I'll choose a non-gaming activity. I do think books (and comics) require more engagement than movies and TV, though.

And, like I said on the podcast, I don't think games are well-suited to conveying a traditional narrative. Games have their own unique narrative methods that they can offer, but to really capitalize on them and create a valid, powerful medium for storytelling, developers/gamers are going to have to get over their obsession/inferiority complex with the film industry. And that definitely includes our old friend Hideo. (In his defense, though, like Guillaume said, the 'cinematic game' was actually quite a novelty when the first MGS came out.)

That's another point that I should've made during my remarkably unfocused and scatter-shot segment.


Posted by 
 on: 02/08/12, 23:55:57  - Edited by 
 on: 02/09/12, 00:01:19
Anand said:

You've played a decent amount of pre-2005 games, but I dunno about the post.

I have over 70 Wii games!! Stop spreading your smear campaign fog!

I didn't play handheld (surprise) or HD stuff (surprise). You didn't mention anything on a Nintendo home console.


Posted by 
 on: 02/09/12, 00:21:56
Prince of Perrrrsia.

Do you really have 70 Wii games? I wonder who on this board has the most...


Posted by 
 on: 02/09/12, 00:29:38
@Anand

I've owned as many as 60 at any given time, but rarely paid full price for them when I bought them.


Posted by 
 on: 02/09/12, 00:39:07
@Anand

My discs (60)
most of Nikki's discs, newer ones missing (23)
My WiiWare

EDIT- Oh, and I have the OTHER Prince of Persia game. Rival Swords? --Apparently I'm the only one here who owns it? How dare you, why haven't you played it?


Posted by 
 on: 02/09/12, 00:47:19  - Edited by 
 on: 02/09/12, 00:51:00
Anand said:
Do you really have 70 Wii games? I wonder who on this board has the most...

I'd wager he'd have the most... probably.

I'd be surprised if anyone here owns more DS games than I do, though.


Posted by 
 on: 02/09/12, 02:32:37
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