Pascual and I threw Patrick in the back of the Amateur DumpTruck and talked about Phil Fish, Patrick getting hit on by all the ladies in college for wearing Leather Pants, GiantBomb's status, Godzilla, and more!
This is only my 4th podcast produced and one of about a dozen things I've been in. I would appreciate any feedback.
We got more interviews coming this week. I'll be out of town for the next month, so I'm just front loading a lot of scheduled interviews. Thanks!
I struggle to call Ryan a colleague. My internship was so short I was practically gone before I even started. Nevertheless he was an inspiration. He was a talented host and simply a giant in this industry. Ryan has done nothing but inspire me as I drive closer and closer to cementing myself in this business.
During my internship he always yelled at me to maintain the constant flow of coffee and always appreciated me checking up on what sandwich he wanted before I went on lunch break.
Ryan was also incredibly supportive of me during my deployment to Afghanistan. We had several email conversations throughout my deployment and he even sent us dozens of hours worth of content from the site. With no Internet or TV that was very valuable to us.
So lets raise our glasses and have one for Ryan, the industry has lost one of its bests but we have to keep pushing forward.
I'm also glad to of captured his greatest moment on my phone:
I grew up on Godzilla movies and always wanted a really good game that let me play as famous monsters like Mothra, Mechagodzilla, and Rodan. Well, I got a game. Godzilla: Save the Earth is the second game in a "fighting game"..."trilogy". It has most the monsters you would care about and is probably passable enough for fans of the series, aside from those awful mini-games which you'll see.
So watch me try and piece together 50 years of stupid Godzilla fiction and get my ass kicked by shitty UFOs.
My quest through the 360 launch line up continues today with a look at one of my favorites, Condemned. Amateur Bombastica, like the 360 at launch, is proud to announce that we're now in HD!
Condemned was a hidden gem at launch and arguably didn't get the attention is deserved. I loved the insanely violent combat. While the game only had one real mechanic which was the combat, it was strong enough to carry the player to the end.
Myself and half the Daily Dota crew got together for a chat about hard-hitting topics like Dota vs. League of Legends, Kessler walking his 360 like a dog, discovering awesome coke machines, Mechagodzilla 3, and more!
I would post the podcast player here, but Giant Bomb doesn't recognize PodOmatic. Just hit the link below.
With PAX Australia coming up, controversy hit today regarding one of their panels.
Tami Baribeau wrote a piece summarizing her problem with this. She got the impression that these panelists, whom of which aren't employed by Penny Arcade, are claiming that the videogame industry is exempt from criticism.
I didn't get that impression from this short bit of text describing the panel. Instead, it struck a cord with me on exactly what's wrong with our industry: We're all too sensitive and letting emotions cloud judgement and compromising the integrity of having a real conversation.
Of course this panel isn't necessarily the best launch case for this topic, but it is something that has been on my mind lately so after seeing this whole debacle I decided to write this thing. The bulk of the controversy was in regards to Gabe's arguably offensive remarks towards transgenders, but the other side of people getting pissed off on the Internet (weird, I know) was the text describing the panel.
You got the Anita Sarkeesian side of this industry of super pre-feminists that instead of opening up conversations, they just assume they're 100% right and while they're fighting for a social issue, they're just throwing a tantrum instead of being mature about the topic.
Some folks tweeted comments about shutting PAX out all-together.
Above is the same woman that said folks should automatically block anyone that disagreed with Phil Fish on a statement he made complaining that there aren't enough female protagonists in games. Most of the tweets to Fish about that topic were pretty constructive. Yes, you have the handful of assholes trolling with kitchen comments of course. Then of course I had to be an asshole and say, "Isn't Gomez a male?"
...I couldn't resist.
Back during the #1reasonwhy movement, a friend of mine saw a developer state an issue she had with a friend not getting a job "on the grounds she's female". My friend was attacked on social media for simply asking if the woman applying had qualifications, previous work history, and so on. The female developer responded with something along the lines of "that doesn't matter". Of course she retweeted his "sexist" comment and he was bullied for a good day or two.
My point is that of course I would love for more female representation in games. From an outsider's perspective I saw a lot of progress this E3. Most press outlets had females covering the event and I saw a lot of female developers on the floor talking about their games.
Of course I'm not saying there isn't an issue, but clearly the game business is doing a lot better. I mean, I've been in a college environment for awhile and I haven't met a single female interested in computer engineering or any other educations that might lead to the game business. There's a larger pool of males that are interested in the business so of course it's going to be male dominated.
The issue lays with anytime someone disagrees with a statement made by someone supporting #1reasonwhy or Anita, they're labeled as a sexist and the champions of those pro-feminist messages just shut that person out of any potential conversation or purposely sets that person up for bullying.
I have yet to talk to anyone in person or on the Internet that says, "FUCK WOMEN BEING IN THIS BUSINESS, DICKS ONLY!". But people out there on the world stage are communicating these messages we all agree with, but their methods are questionable and rash.
Even if you have a good message, there's still potential for bullshit. Everyone needs to be prepared to be called out on their bullshit. Back to my example of the unemployed female developer, it's reasonable to look at her actual qualifications. Doing so however, makes you an easy target and makes folks afraid to challenge the people with the microphone.
Whether you think Penny Arcade is sexist or if Anita deserves a Medal of Honor or if you are some crazy lunatic that thinks a woman's only job is a womb, be prepared to open a conversation. For no matter what your motivations, no matter how morally right they are, we aren't going to make progress if you shut out everyone that disagrees with you. Turning into a bully to defeat bullying is not the answer. Instead we need to take a step back once in awhile, take a deep breath, and remember that we all love videogames and this industry's quality and integrity has to be something we all protect.
We started with Quake 4 on this quest to look back at the beginning of this generation to see how far games have come. Now lets look at the 360 version Call of Duty 2. This Call of Duty is probably my favorite WWII COD, if not my favorite in the whole series. It's also one of the first examples of playing a console version of a PC shooter without making a lot of technical sacrifices.
I just bought some capture equipment and wanted to use it as an excuse to look back at all the Xbox 360 launch games. It's amazing comparing games that came out in 2005 to today's releases. Historical context is sometimes important just to be proud at the industry's progression.
This is the first video I've ever made, ever. So I would appreciate some feedback, just be respectful. If you like what you see, you can look forward to videos on all the 360 launch titles minus the sports stuff.
Quake is one of my favorite franchises, but the forth entry came out to mostly mediocre reception. The 360 version suffers from atrocious frame-rate issues and simply doesn't look nearly as sharp as the PC version. This was back when you were typically insane to pick up a console version of a PC game. Now, it's usually totally fine.
I couldn't find anyone to play multiplayer with. Which isn't a surprise because that was even the case at launch because everyone was playing Call of Duty 2 and Perfect Dark Zero.
Sorry it isn't available in 720, but that would just take way too long to upload on my connection.
E3s of past have always been insane. They always capitalize on the alluring effect of getting a glimpse into the future. The past two years have been dull and I've always said, “Yeah, this was kind of a whatever show. Just wait until we get into the next-gen.”
Finally that happened.
Universally everyone is saying this has been a fantastic show thus far. While it's debatable if Microsoft really wowed gamers or if there were too many shooters or not, this whole show has proven that videogames are still very much alive. 2013 hasn't just given us a glimpse into the future, but solid evidence that this industry we love is about to get some fresh energy injected into it.
First we had Microsoft's Press Conference. They showed a shit ton of games as promised but I would've also enjoyed seeing some of the system-level stuff. We saw Sony demonstrate the PS4's UI back in February, yet I don't have a good handling of what the Hell a XONE looks like.
Despite being the first guy that would shit on a Kinect-heavy press conference, Microsoft could have been well served dishing out some details on Kinect 2.0 and demoing some games. Kinect 2.0 (is that even the official title?) is technically an entire platform itself. Two years ago the original Kinect was treated as its own platform with a unique identity and given the full circus any new console gets. I don't know if this is indicative of low confidence in the new(er) motion sensing tech or perhaps Microsoft knows people like you and me just want to see titles like Titanfall.
Microsoft started the show with a showstopper with MGS5. I think Afghanistan has a lot of environmental and historic elements that can play well within the context of a videogame. It looked gorgeous to boot! Metal Gear has always been very linear but has always held onto some fun elements that break linearity such as the memory card thing in the original MGS and the fight with The End in MGS3. I'm stoked to see Metal Gear break out of its very linear environmental design. With that, I feel Hideo Kojima is truly out of whatever sanity cage may have existed.
A lot of folks are excited for Project Spark. If it plays as advertised I will be the first in line for it. However, I'm awaiting to see how that game actually operates in a real environment before placing any pre-orders. I'm skeptical of how well it works or if whatever you create will be fun. Aside from that I'm excited to see Swery's new episodic game but everything else was kind of “meh”.
Microsoft showed up with what they thought were the big guns. While titles like Titanfall are impressive, the XONE doesn't appear to have any personality. Microsoft's robotic presentation and their idea of just tossing out game announcements like dog food is alarming. Not to mention the $500 price tag.
Next we had third parties. I felt EA's event was very by-the-numbers. Battlefield 4 was super impressive, but a known and familiar quantity. Seems like just a prettier more technically competent Battlefield 3, but for me that's enough for now.
Ubisoft was knocking out of the park with new properties.
Yet Assassin's Creed has simply run out of steam. I'm at the point where I'm honestly confused whenever someone is excited for a new game in that franchise.
Sony's press conference started out dull with “megaton” announcements like TellTale's The Walking Dead coming to Vita. But the conference slowly started gaining momentum until the Sony train couldn't be stopped. Not even by a price point of a new console.
After playing a 15 minute demo of Transistor at PAX East this year, I can confirm that it plays insanely well. That game's commitment to atmosphere is astonishing. SuperGiantGames is shooting for the stars with the full package of smart gameplay, awesome music, and a creative art style. So far, they look that they are going to be successful.
Of course there will be indie games on the XONE, but Sony positioned themselves as the console for the people. They won hearts and minds putting the likes of Octodad on stage and if the reports are true, this console is super easy to develop for and indies can self-publish with ease. Anything that gets rids of the behind the scenes clutter and paves an easy avenue for indie developers to express themselves has my vote.
Given all the games, Sony was clearly going for the kill. They virtually put up every bit of bad press Microsoft was getting and saying the PS4 will be the opposite. The shear insanity that ensued after Jack Tretton announced the PS4 will allow used games and not impose controversial DRM plans will probably go down as my most memorable E3 moment ever. My phone almost crashed with the Twitter response.
It was then GiantBomb moderator Marino tweeted: “If Sony says the PS4 is $399 the roof is coming off that place”. I instantly realized that Microsoft was down. Sony then went on for about 10 more minutes bullshitting. We were all awaiting the price. I could feel that at that point Jack Tretton felt on top of the world and was living in his moment. He knew he “won”. Tretton delivered his final blow that he technically didn't even need. Yet he unleashed that $399 blow.
At that point I stood up from my couch and just yelled, “WHHHAAAAATTTT!!!!! Shit this videogame machine down, it's over!” It was the equivalent of a flawless victory in a fighting game match. No videogame thing has ever gotten a verbel response out of me outside intoxicating Rock Band nights.
Don't get the wrong impression. I don't get into this “console war” bullshit. But I love competition. It's sexy to think that these companies are in a bloodbath for my dollar. I'll end up with both consoles anyway, but the show is entertaining. Simply how well Sony executed its middle finger against Microsoft was brilliant.
A lot of folks are asking me what console I'm getting. Right now there doesn't seem to be a big reason to get anything this November. Most of the PS4 and XONE's games are cross-gen. However, if you're crazy like me and want a new shiny toy, I'm getting the PS4 for the PSN Plus benefits and smaller price tag. I made the commitment to pre-order a PS4 and if I happen to find a XONE this holiday I'll grab it.
So who won E3? You did. We did. The game industry has been kind of lackluster the past two years. Thankfully the new generation appears to be pouring some energy in the mix and we're all getting great games out of it. What makes videogames amazing in this era is the incredible volume of options and power the consumer has. All major avenues to consume game are totally viable and offer their own uniqueness without heavily sacrificing anything.
So whether you share some weird allegiance to a corporation, sticking with Steam, or an insane person that just buys everything, sit tight because you have so many great things to look forward to.
Seemingly often I read articles or see news reports of the military using “videogames” to train soldiers for combat operations. I've been in the Army for 5 years and this isn't on the scale as one might think nor are we playing Arma to prep for war. More often than you might think I've even seen folks look at America's Army and say something along the lines of it being used to "teach soldiers how to carry out the real life mission."
A lot of Army training is half-assed and the virtual reality portion is probably the greatest example. I can appreciate a lot of it might be proof of concept and might just be planting the seeds for the Holodeck. However, most of it is an incredible waste of money and the soldier's time.
So what are my qualifications for critiquing a commonly used training device? I don't have a particularly unique or impressive career, but I've been around the block.
-I've been in the Army for 5 years, since I was 17.
-I'm a Cavalry Scout, a combat arms job that mainly deals with recon and is expected to be proficient with all the Army's standard weapons. Cav Scouts also have more tasks that they are expected to perform as a Private than most other entry-level military occupations.
-Deployed with an Infantry Company to Afghanistan 2011-2012. Conducted combat patrols and trained Afghan National Army.
The military have created the Engagement Skills Trainer (EST) in hopes to cut the crazy cost of actually shooting weapons. I don't know if the Army gets some deal with arms manufacturers, but a single .50 cal round on the public market costs around $8. Imagine a single soldier firing 200 rounds with .50 cal machine gun? And that's typically the minimum amount of rounds an individual will receive to fire at the range.
Watch this short video below to get an idea on what EST is:
Ok, and here a few more videos. But you get the point by now probably.
Soldiers show up to a building to practice shooting in an ideal environment. However, these artificial weapons might share the weight and feel of the real thing, but the air compressor doesn't allot the same recoil as firing the real deal.
The fundamentals of marksmanship the Army teaches are as follows:
Due to the lack of recoil, I can fire a rifle in this training without using any fundamentals. Hell, I was chatting with my friend next to me holding the M4 in one arm knowing it's pointed at the target that will pop back up in 3 seconds. I got a perfect score. Normally on the yearly real M4 qualification I will shoot around 35/40 targets.
I recently had to do my yearly M4 qualification. This comprises of using 40 rounds of ammo to shoot 40 pop up targets that range from 25m-300m using three different firing positions during daytime outdoors. It also comprises of using certain equipment for firing during the night.
For whatever logistical errors, I wasn't able to be hooked up with doing a real night fire qualification. Our Squadron set up an EST training sight. For the night fire, we shot at a small blinking light on a black screen...
...not exactly Special Forces training.
For me this is ok. I've had plenty of experience shooting at night. However, a lot of younger soldiers aren't well-versed with using the night time optics and infrared lasers. Those soldiers got cheated out of some possibly good training.
EST does have some redeeming qualities. One element I appreciated in Boot Camp was the Judgement Skills Training. Here, the screen will play an interactive video. Imagine this as a live-action first person shooter with moral choices. Mind you I have zero control over the movement, but with my rifle I choose when to fire.
One scenario was built to reduce hesitation seen in a lot of early Iraq operations.
My “squad” and I were conducted a search in a suspected insurgent building. We kicked down the door with weapons raised expecting contact. We saw two men in the house dazed in confusion as the result of our violent entrance. One of the men said he had a bomb strapped to him and said he'll blow himself up if we didn't leave the home.
The dilemma was that there was no evidence the man was strapped. He also had no trigger in his hand. However, the man to his left had his hands in his pockets. Did he have the trigger? The answer was to immediately shoot upon receiving a threat that severe. If the man is strapped, it would've killed the entire squad and possibly civilians outside.
When entering a room after kicking down the door all action happens within seconds. No one has the situational awareness to truly assess the situation well enough to see if the man is bluffing. You just have to believe the threat.
Of course there are other good scenarios for not shooting people like entering a room and a man jumps off his couch scared as shit. These scenarios try to help the soldier build quick judgement skills on what is a threat and what isn't. The ultimate lesson is that if someone can be captured/questioned then they shouldn't be shot. Or to put it more simply, shoot only if someone's life is in danger.
There are also a lot of virtual driving scenarios that soldiers will use often before getting on the road. I went through virtual training before getting my license to drive the MRAP vehicles. It placed me in the cockpit of the vehicle but the windows were TVs. This was good training because those vehicles roll-over easily and it taught me how to use the vehicle's features to prevent me from killing the crew inside.
I'm sure tankers and fighter pilots receive similar training.
The military is playing around with a lot of virtual reality training tools. Some of it is a huge waste of time, money, and resources. However, there is a place for some of it. Regardless, a soldier learns best with hands-on training. In order for any of this stuff to be successful, the military has to make sure these tools are accurate and give the soldier scenarios that can't be duplicated in regular training.