Tuesday, September 2, 2014

The Texture Pop: Episode 6: Now With 20% More Buttons

No guest this week, so it's back to our usual insanity with The Texture Pop. Unfortunately, Garrett could not make it to the recording for personal reasons. Fortunately, the rest of us are completely insane.

Also, the reason we get no viewer questions is because last week's cast was so late in coming out. Hopefully, that will change next week.

The MP3 version of this episode can be found here.

0:00:00 Introductions
I feel the need to explain what the hell happened to the beginning of this episode. We spent 20 minutes before the start of this podcast doing something that WASN'T recording the podcast because Samuel decided to try to find a game to play during the cast. As he'll reveal later, it was an entirely pointless exercise because his chosen game crashed.
I also say Garrett hasn't arrived "yet" because he explained why he couldn't attend shortly after the podcast began. He'll be back, so don't worry too much.

0:01:32 We Talk About the New Nintendo 3DS (And Its Stupidity)
At the time of recording, the New Nintendo 3DS story was only a day old, so it was fresh in out minds. There are unfortunately just too many reasons why this is a bad idea for me to support it.
  • The 3DS is still relatively new in the portable console space.
  • Since games will be exclusive to it, it is dividing the install base of the 3DS needlessly, in the same way map packs divide the player base of the First Person Shooter.
  • The new stick does not look very comfortable, and some of the new extra buttons are questionably placed.
  • The name is incredibly confusing, as it is a new console and not a updated 3DS (which revives the problem the Wii and Wii U had).
This just isn't something that should work. And I'm not going to lie, this makes me REALLY sore I bought a 3DS only a few weeks ago.

0:19:30 Chris plays Counter-Spy
Chris description of the game catches my interest in a big way. The premise of the trying to stop two large nations from nuking each other sounds really interesting. Combined with the tone and aesthetic, and Counter-Spy sounds like a game that would be theoretically up my alley.

Further, the fact that detection is a gradient rather than a binary is a great idea. As someone who plays a ton of stealth games, that's something that many such titles lack. The only downside is that the game does not sound like something that one could do well at while ghosting.
Modular level design is also another clever way to keep repeat playthroughs fresh. Overall, it sounds cool and I might try it out when I've eaten through my backlog a bit.

0:39:23 Chris relapses into his Marvel Heroes addiction.
True story, Chris has tried to talk me into playing Marvel Heroes with him every once in a while (not too hard, mind you). I sometimes feel weird declining because I do get the feeling that I might enjoy that game. Having said that, Marvel Puzzle Quest really destroyed my desire to play Marvel-based F2P games.
I know that's totally unfair to Marvel Heroes, but that's how I feel. I remember liking Marvel Puzzle Quest a lot when I first played it. Hell, there's a reason I have several hundreds of hours clocked on it both on Steam and my phone. However, they kept adding and changing element after element and the direction they went was not one I was okay with supporting. My fear is that if I join Marvel Heroes, that game will face the same fate. I just cannot do that to myself again.
Maybe one day, I'll write about my experience with that game and why I quit, but not today.
One the subject of Marvel Heroes, based on what Chris said, it is a lot less P2W than Marvel Puzzle Quest was, and the microtransactions sound a lot more fair to consumers. My inner researcher would be interested in comparing the profits of Marvel Heroes with Marvel Puzzle Quest, to see which model is more financially successful. My gut says that despite Marvel Heroes seemingly treating players more fairly, Marvel Puzzle Quest is the biggest cash-cow.

0:47:30 I played Project X Zone
And have nothing more to say about it.

0:48:10: I finished the Walking Dead: Season 2.
Overall, this season wasn't all that great. It's kind of like the Transistor to Season 1's Bastion. It's good on its own merits, but if you compare the two, it is simply inferior.
Having said that, the finale was easily the best part of the game. One thing I would like Telltale to try to do to actually let choices you make have an effect on the plot. The "choices feel impactful, but aren't" doesn't work anymore because players are starting to catch on. Further, having no real "gameplay" kinda hurts the pacing because without those sections, there is no downtime to let players digest what they've seen in the game. The last few sections go a long way with that, but it still could use some refinement.

0:51:55 I played more Devil Summoner 2.
And I have to admit that I am getting a little sick of how long JRPGs take. I've talked about game length several times before, but RPGs are the worst at this crap. It's like they have no concept of making a dungeon a decent length.
I think most of it comes down to their D&D inspired roots. In a D&D game, having a long dungeon crawl is acceptable because it's easy and you have the chemistry of all the players to work off of. Essentially, the game is a framework to create your own enjoyment with your friends.
In a single player RPG, that is no longer the case. The game is a framework for the story being made in collaboration between the designer and the player. As a result, you cannot feed off the energy born from friends in the same room. In this scenario, a dungeon slog is much less acceptable, and I wish that more designers could understand that.

0:52:55 I played an indie game called Hand of Fate.
Like I said in the cast, I find this game to be very fascinating. I just wish in ran well on my computer. The concept is cool and I think that, with some refinement, it could become a very interesting game. If and when it eventually comes to the Vita, it would be a perfect game for that device.
I also mentioned this comic from Grey Carter and Cory Rydell on The Escapist.
Also, to be fair, this is a $600 laptop that is over 3 years old. I have no business playing games on it. Somehow, it's worked like a champion for so long. If it can just last one more year, I'd be happy.
Unfortunately for my laptop, a new mattress and a PS4 come first.

1:00:00 I went back to college (and so did Chris)
I am just going to repeat what I said in the cast. If you can avoid it, NEVER go to the campus store to buy textbooks. You are pissing money away by doing that.
And fuck loose-leaf textbooks too. That's a scam if I ever saw one.

1:05:39 Sam worked a lot.
And Chris takes the time to tell us exactly what he thinks of several former employers of his. XD

1:10:45 Since Sam works at a pizza place, we start talking about pizza (and health?).
We've said before that we were inspired by the GiantBomb-cast to do this show. There is no truer way to demonstrate that inspiration that with the conversation that occurred at this time stamp.
Also, you have never tasted pizza before until you've dabbed the grease out of it. It's just so much better that way, both in health and in taste.
Cutting soda is also a really good way to improve your health. Even if you just switch it with fruit juice, it's much better.
Diets are such a hard thing to correct. Part of it is that the worst food for you is cheap, so for a struggling family it can be the only option. Further, someone who grows up on that food (like myself) doesn't really acquire a taste for the higher quality foods, which means we stick to the unhealthy shit.
Also, I misspoke here. When I said "the world is not designed for us to be skinny", what I mean to say was "stereotypically healthy." *sigh* Don't you love body-image issues?

1:22:00 We talk about Sony Smash Br.. I mean Playstation All-Stars: Battle Royale.
It has bad net-coding, which makes us talk about Internets and connections.
And Chris talked about troubleshooting, which made us talk about Google.
Which made us talk about Bing
Which made us talk about paid-sponsors in movies/TV?
Which made us talk about Ad Block
Which made us talk about YouTube
Which made us talk about Amazon buying Twitch
And this is how a typical conversation goes for us. I'M SORRY!

1:37:00 Conclusion
This was a podcast.

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