First off, a bit of technology housekeeping: I’ve messed with the awful WordPress Podcasting system some more. If you follow the podcast via RSS, then check out this RSS feed. The one we’ve been using is maintained by listener ydant, and requires direct human input to update. This new one – assuming this works – should update automatically. Currently, it should show this podcast and the previous one. (I’m not going to go back and add tags to the previous 86 episodes. Sorry.) Please let me know if it works for you.
On with the show:
This was supposed to be our 2014 retrospective. But then half the cast didn’t show up, I was sleep-deprived, and none of us were feeling the magic. We decided not to do the show. Then we sat around talking about videogames for 45 minutes and realized we were once again pissing away a show’s worth of conversation. So we decided to tackle the mailbag, which has been overflowing lately. And then we only managed to answer a couple of questions.
Also – just to make things extra-fun – my internet connection was abominable. I was getting lag spikes of 15 to 30 seconds, which made it very hard for me to participate in the conversation in a sensible way. You’ll hear me seem to react to things long after they’re said and interrupt the other hosts most than usual. (Although I tried to smooth it out a bit in post production.) Oh well. The episode is unfocused, but we made up for it by also making it overlong.
Here are the questions we supposedly answered, but probably didn’t because we didn’t read the question carefully before we ran off on an unrelated tangent:
1:00 “Your choices matter” means “you fight some guys”.
Dragon Age: Origins uses cost-effective ludic divergences to give emotional weight to its big decisions. Siding with the werewolves added a combat sequence, but that sequence used an existing map and existing character models. Defiling the Ashes could lead to a fight, but again used only pre-existing character models.
You can see the hand of the accounting division in the mechanics, but still: Doing these fights with your own hands gives visceral weight to your choices. It didn’t feel like picking off a menu; it felt like betraying someone to their face, then having to follow through by getting your hands bloody.
Where did these things go?
18:00 Good ideas ruined by poor execution.
What would you say are the most interesting and unique games that you’ve played that were ruined by poor execution, that you’d most like to see tried again by a better studio or just the same studio w/ the experience of it’s past mistakes, or just the same studio period but w/ a bigger budget and no externally imposed deadlines?
31:00 Chris tells the best planogram story ever.
How did we get on this topic? It doesn’t matter. This is where you learn what a planogram is, and why yours will never be as cool as the one Chris made.
37:00 Pizza recipe time with Chef Josh!
For some reason.
40:00 Let’s talk about books!
Dear Diecast, what books do you guys read, or are you too busy playing video games to read?
Actually we talked about coding. We tried.
1:00:00 Critic’s Regret
Have you ever thought (or worse been on record declaring) such and such game needs to do X, or there needs to be a game with X in it only to later find that the game or a game later did that thing and you were wrong to want it? Do you have any “Critics be careful what you wish for” stories?
Wide And Nerdy