Thursday, August 28, 2014

The Texture Pop: Episode 5: The Late Late Late Show

You guys are probably wondering why it took so long to post this episode. That is a perfectly valid question. The reason for that is that since Sam was late to the recording session, Chris had to take up the slack and perform hosting duties.

However, since Sam is the editor as well, Chris had to send him all of the audio files and has too busy to do it promptly. Once Sam got it, his work kept him too occupied to do much with it as well. That also explains why the title isn't that great this week either.

Further, since Chris's connection is worse than Sam's, there may be a drop in this episode's audio quality. I apologize on both my behalf and the behalf of the others for this.

Also, we have a guest today. My good friend Nick joined us for this cast. We'll likely consider bringing other guests in from our friends list because why not.

Having said that:

And the MP3 version can be found here. (When it goes up...)

0:00:00 Introduction
This rather unprofessional nature of this introduction can again be chalked up to the rather scatter-shot nature of the recording. We were kinda just winging it, which explains a lot of the awkward pauses and what-not.

0:03:00 We talk about seismic emergencies across the world.
And I'm honestly not entirely sure why.

0:04:45 We talk about the upcoming Fantastic Four movie (and Marvel comic books... and Hollywood)
Honestly, the thing about making Johnny Storm/Human Torch a black man that bothers me is that if they do that, than they might as well make Susan Storm/Invisible Woman (his sister) black as well. Feels like a wasted opportunity to me.
Like I said, I am okay with movie makers re-imagining old characters and putting them in new situations. However, this just feels a bit too textbook Hollywood to me. Far too safe for its own good, despite how different it is.

This does bring up a question though, why DOES Sony want the rights to Spidey so badly? It's not like he's bringing in a whole lot of money for them anymore. It would probably be best for anyone if they just stopped making Spidey movies.

The "laughing scene" I was talking about during this segment, in comparison to Spider-man 3's jazz scene, was the scene from Final Fantasy X. You know the one. My horrible voice combined with Chris's internet made that hard to hear.
Here is the picture of The Thing's look that Nick was talking about.

0:20:45 Chris's internet craps out and briefly ruins the Skype call.
Which is why Chris doesn't host often...

0:22:30 Nick talks about his week.
And we didn't really go into detail about much.
One thing we did go into briefly was Phil Fish. I hope that, for his sake, that he stays out of the industry. No matter what he says, he's going to get shit. That may be deserved on occasion, but not all the time.
We also talked briefly about X-Com and it's expansion.

0:29:30 Nick plays Elder Scrolls Online.
This goes into a broader discussion about MMOs in general.
Also, we go into an Elder Scrolls discussions briefly. For reference, the quest I'm referring to is this week. Like I said in the cast, I like Oblivion a bit more because it's quest design is a lot more interesting than Skyrim's.

0:40:05 Garrett talks about his week.
The train did come through, Chris. Choo choo!

0:40:30 Garrett plays Mass Effect 3 Multiplayer
And good god I hate this topic. I know it's been years since the controversy was a big thing, but Mass Effect 3 still gets under my skin. It was that perfect, critical mass, where everything went wrong in all sorts of ways at the same time.
The multiplayer was just a symptom of that in my opinion. While still good, it felt super tacked on. I had the impression that, like the weapon crafting in Dead Space 3, it exists only for the microtransactions. The article I mentioned (here) talks about the sliminess of them a bit more. Even worse is that it's not for a F2P game, but for a game you're expected to put $60 down for.

0:46:00 Garret and I talk about bows and archery.
I don't consider myself much of an outdoors-man, but it is fun to shoot arrows at a target. It's much more of a mental activity than a physical one, at least for me. I often think back to my physics classes when shooting.
We also went into a discussion about all the various recent games that used bows in some capacity.

0:50:30 Sam joins us.
And Chris's internet REALLY impacts the cast here.

0:53:00 Garrett talks about Clive Barker's Jericho
And likes it more than most people.

0:58:00 I played Project X Zone.
It's an interesting game, to be sure. If I'm being honest, the whole crossover thing doesn't hold my interest as much as I thought it would. It gets a little monotonous the farther you go, because every chapter is more of the same. I'll keep playing because I need something to do on my commutes, but otherwise I don't know how much I'd play it.

1:03:10 Chris, Sam, and I play Dragon's Crown.
Chris and I have even played a few matches.
This game's art direction is equal parts amazing and off-putting to me. On one hand, the environments are cool and some of the characters look really nice. On the other hand, many characters just look so disproportional that it's almost comical.
I still think it's silly that you have to unlock going online. I should like to ask the developers why they decided to do that. The answer is bound to be interesting. Other strange decisions also crop up, especially with regards to online play and pacing, which make it an interesting game to talk about.
Still, I cannot deny that the game is super fun. It's a great brawler/RPG hybrid. The animation is fluid and the gameplay is solid. Playing with friends is awesome, and the risk/reward system encourages you to keep playing as much as possible. It's a game that works in many ways, despite its polarizing art style.

1:24:50 I play Shin Megami Tensei: Devil Summoner 2: Raidou Kuzunoha vs. King Abaddon.
What many people may not know is that the Megami Tensei series actually pre-dates Poke'mon in the monster capture. Only instead of capturing cute animal creatures, you capture gods and demons from various world religions (which is more awesome in my opinion).
Out of all the SMT games, the Raidou Kuzuhona sub-franchise is one of the better games to introduce someone into the franchise as a whole. Having said that, it is still an SMT game and has some of their usability issues.
I do like how the game encourages you to have a party that is balanced between combat, investigation, and negotiation ability. Lacking in any one aspect will cripple another aspect in some way, so keeping them in balance is the key.

1:34:50 I switch from Twitter's site to Tweetdeck.
As much as I like Twitter, I'm getting tired of all the shit they are trying to do with it. I don't care about what other people are favoriting. I don't need them to censor my feed like Facebook does. All I need is for them to do what they've been doing. It's like YouTube in that every update is making it worse and worse.

1:40:10 Chris plays Diablo 3: Reaper of Souls
It's actually really interesting to note how much they've changed Diablo 3 since launch day. When that game launched, it was an absolute mess. I mean the DRM is still on it, but at least they got rid of the auction house.
It seems like every time microtransactions enter the equation, the developers make their game worse to help justify spending money. Not to say that developers are actively doing this, just that it subconsciously breeds that mentality.

1:48:15 Chris gets a really bad acid burn at work.
Fortunately, he'll be fine. I just hope that it heals quickly and it doesn't scar.

1:52:10 Sam picked up his Vita and played Muramasa: Rebirth
And we spend a lot of time just gushing about that game (and Vanillaware in general) without saying much of substance in this conversation.
We did mention how important it can be to consider usability and other features like subtitles and rebindable controls. It's amazing how not doing small things like that make things work so much better.

1:59:10 Sam talks about how the Vita is doing well.
Compared to how bad some of those old, launch window Vita games were (like Uncharted and AC: Liberation), a lot of the ports and newer Vita games are doing so much better. I can safely recommend the Vita now, because what it does, it does very well.

2:08:35 Sam talks about computer gaming accessories.
And I make fun of him. Can you tell which one of us more serious about PC Gaming?
We also talk stupid titles for PC Gaming Keyboards/Mice. I think "corporate cool" is the best way to think about these kinds of titles. It's clearly trying to look "cool" for younger audiences, but it gives off the impression of trying too hard.

2:17:45 Viewer Question
"Do you think Doom would be a better game if it stayed true to Tom Hall's vision, or do you think it's simplicity was one of the reasons it was so successful to begin with?"
Honestly, I think Hall's vision wouldn't have work. It was too ahead of it's time. In this era, it might work. Back then, it wouldn't have. I submit System Shock 1's failure as evidence supporting my opinion on this matter. System Shock 1 had something more akin to Hall's vision, and it failed. In retrospect, people enjoy it. At the time, it wasn't highly rated. As much as I don't like to admit it, the evidence supports that line of thinking.
Nowadays, that flat out would not work. Games need a story to tie them together today. As a result, the old school mechanical thinking no longer applies. Games have changed a lot in recent years, and their presentations have to change along side them.
The Super Bunny Hop episode Sam refers to is here.

And the podcast cuts off. Again, this is because of the "seat of pants" way we recorded this episode. I apologize for it and promise we'll make up for the low quality next week!

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