Effusive praise for new GOTY Bombcast format

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#1 Posted by KickahaOta (171 posts) -

As a Bombcast fan from way back, I just have to say that new format for the Game of the Year podcasts is my favorite change that you've ever made -- it was awesome enough to make me insta-renew my Premium subscription even though I already had almost a year on it.

The GOTY podcasts have always been a double-edged sword for me. I love the discussions of the year's games, but it makes me really sad to hear people I care about arguing, especially over something that seems inconsequential in the scheme of things. There have been a number of years where I've stopped listening to the deliberationcasts very early on because the flaring tempers made it too painful for me to listen to.

With the new format, I've gotten hours and hours of enjoyment from the Giant Bomb crew just talking about one interesting game after another -- occasionally with some strong differences of opinion (notably RDR2), but still expressed in a really interesting and positive way. I've learned a lot and picked up several games that I hadn't previously paid attention to but that sounded intriguing. And when I'm done listening to Day 3, I can cheerfully skip the episodes where you do the horsetrading and pick the final winners, and be happy that the people who enjoy that style of stronger debate can still enjoy it while I'm off trying to finish those last few levels of Exapunks.

Thank you so much!

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#2 Edited by nutter (2394 posts) -

I’m mid-day 2 and not digging it. I’m hoping to hear some knives come out in days 4 and 5 (when the actual awards happen). If so, all will be well.

I agree on the last bit. I have no issues with more content for more people so long as they don’t jettison the stuff I love to listen to.

I think it’d be cool to just separate them into Year in Review podcasts and Deliberations podcasts. From what I hear (which may be wrong) that’s basically what this year is anyhow. Seems like a reasonable way to keep folks happy, if the content generation isn’t too much work.

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#3 Posted by sparky_buzzsaw (8956 posts) -

I think I dug the days of talking about the games they liked (and didn't) more than the actual awards themselves. That's not to say the latter wasn't entertaining too, but the lengthy rundown of the year's best showings was a great addition to all of this.

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#4 Posted by liquiddragon (3553 posts) -

I think it's a good change, the right change, but I think if they could get through the year in 2 days and have 3 days of categories, it'd be perfect imo.

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#5 Edited by ez123 (2162 posts) -

I'm ready for the regularly scheduled programming because GOTY stuff is my least favorite part of the site but yeah, the first couple of days seem much more positive.

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#6 Edited by Stephen_Von_Cloud (1696 posts) -

After finishing it all: eh. I mean I did enjoy the group chat on games in theory but it made for a lot of aimless podcasting and then the categories were more or less the same as ever. The end was just as contentious as always and heel Old Dan for example showing up in an unfortunate showing.

I have looked forward to GOTY a lot less the last few years when much of the creative quality was lost and this year I am left feeling the same, all said and done. It wasn't as annoying as last year to get through but in the end it didn't provide much entertainment. Some good video content but a lot of the podcasts are just grating to listen to, especially the final list one.

I actually think the fun and off the wall categories like character you'd want to party with were the best part of the old GOTY and them leaving was another blow to making it a very dry and sterile affair.

Their effort for all this is really not worth it for me. All the tons of lists on the front and I read 5 of them at all I think (and I visit GB a lot). I would enjoy just some fun group content instead. Give more more Hitsmas.

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#7 Posted by Relkin (1222 posts) -

I really dislike the changes they made. They just rehash a bunch of conversations they already had earlier in the year and hold off from much in the way of new discussion, as they save that up for the actual deliberations later in the week. It's mainly just hours and hours of recap; which is fine if that's what you want, but it came at the cost of things I liked about GOTY, so of course I'm not happy about this, and probably won't be happy for the people who like these changes.

I'm also disappointed that even with all these hours of everyone getting to say their piece about a game before the deliberations start, they still keep halting the show every time something gets cut from the list so they can once again say their piece on it during the deliberations. That's always been something about GOTY that sticks in my craw, and I was hoping that those would be gone as a result of this new format, but no luck there.

While I have been and continue to be pretty negative about the format change, I will say that I think that the general quality of the discussion in Day 4 (as far as I've made it) is a substantial improvement over last year. They still suffer from the two main issues from last year, which are that there are just too many people in that podcast, and that there's too much confusion around category definitions, but I think the deliberations (or at least what I saw from Day 4) are a marked improvement over 2017. Brad's eloquent praise over various aspects of RDR2 has just about convinced me to try a game I'm almost positive I'm going to hate, and Abby's initial argument for Gorogoa in the Best Styyyyyyyyyyle category got me to buy the game outright. Alex describing his chosen moment for AC: Odyssey has me excited to see some reallll bullshit in that game, and Vinny made a touching case for Florence in the Story category.

I could go on, but the point is that I didn't really have any of these moments last year.

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#8 Posted by thebeastwithtwobacks (152 posts) -

After listening to the first podcast of this year's GOTY for like 30 mins, I realized that I'd rather just watch them sit around and play some games that they were into that year. Having categories and winners and ranking games will kind of always lead to a lot of negative conversations and nitpicking. I get that a good deal of people come to the GOTY stuff for the impassioned arguments and such, but, to be honest, listening to like four hours of arguing kind of bums me out. I really didn't feel like this new format made the discussions any more positive or negative; it just kind of made it all feel a little aimless.

I think I'd be super OK with them just doing an all emails bombcast (did they do that this year? Honestly, with the format of the new site coupled with the myriad guest top tens I wouldn't be surprised if I missed a regular bombcast in there somewhere) and a few goofy videos. I guess all the GOTY stuff just seems a little needless. I already kind of new everybody's thoughts on all these games anyway.

GOTY has become needlessly stressful for all involved.

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#9 Edited by NeverGameOver (902 posts) -

I'd like the changes if they limited the dialogue in that opening run-through to **positive** comments about the relevant games. If someone doesn't have anything nice to say about the game being discussed, then they should stay quiet during that discussion. Jeff says all the time that this entire process is intended to be a celebration of the games in a given year. It seems like they made the change to ensure every game "gets its time in the sun." In my opinion, that purpose would be better achieved by making that opening list a showcase of the GOOD things about those games and leaving the teardowns until they are arguing for/against inclusion in the final listings for specific categories. Criticism is necessary when debating whether one game or another deserves an award, but there really no point in debating whether any specific game is worth being added to the preliminary list for a category (to the point where they didn't even record that process until this year), so I'm not sure what function criticising games at that point serves. It just feels like needless negativity to be honest.

To be clear, this isn't really intended as criticism of any single staff member-- everyone did it one point or another. There were even times where the very first comment about some really good games (e.g., Celeste) was negative-- which, again, IMO, shouldn't really happen. Someone obviously liked each game enough to suggest it be included in the list, and that person should be the one leading off the discussion. I also know it's sort of natural to chime in with your thoughts when others are talking about something. It would have to be an informal ground rule that they established at the outset in order to work.

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#10 Posted by MagnetPhonics (88 posts) -

I like the new format a lot.

The best new addition by a country mile and it isn't even a competition award: The decision to include games released between the last GOTY deliberations and January 1

Biggest Loss award: I miss the silly and strangely hyperspecific awards.

My only major complaint isn't really an issue with the awards or even with Giantbomb itself. But this year is the most I've felt two things:

  1. Like the games I've played and/or found important have been way out of sync with GB coverage.
  2. I've gained little insight from podcast discussion or quicklooks.

Having the crew discuss at length every game they considered or considered considering just exacerbated this.

(The content is still excellent, but almost entirely strictly entertainment.)

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#11 Posted by mozzle (309 posts) -

I thought I liked it. At least for the first 3 days. But day 4 and 5 were emotionally exhausting. It was twelve hours of arguing, with few lighter moments, because those were all frontloaded in the first 3 days.

Plus, I didn't understand why certain people were just repeating everything they said in the first 3 days when arguing in day 4 or 5. It just felt like a lot of redundancies. Thankfully Jeff cut people off several times, saying that we've been through all this already.

Overall though, much better than last year!

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#12 Posted by LiquidPrince (17073 posts) -

I would rather they have the awards at the end of each episode. Discussing at length is fine, but then having to discuss those element again and again when you get to the actual awards portion was weird.

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#13 Posted by doombot13 (353 posts) -

I prefer the old format but both are good. I think my ideal would be if they spent a day talking about games that don't make any lists like Soul Calibur 6, so that those games can get a little shine. Then spend the rest on arguments.

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#14 Edited by Efesell (4632 posts) -

I liked the knives and it doesn't sound like there are many knives.

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#15 Posted by someoneproud (668 posts) -

Honestly, if it wasn't for the format change I wouldn't have listened to any of it, last year REALLY soured me on the concept and I just didn't enjoy listening to them argue like schoolchildren. Really happy there was some stuff for me to listen to where they just talk about what they liked from this years games without getting into the shitty internal politics and cyclical arguments. I haven't listened to all of days 1-3 yet but I'll certainly be skipping 4-5.

Glad the other stuff was still there for those that like it though, seems like the best of both worlds. Do miss some of the joke categories but I wouldn't expect them to subject themselves to GOTY for the extra time to cover them.

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#16 Edited by nutter (2394 posts) -

The “everyone gets a ribbon” days I can do without. I just don’t feel like it adds anything, as a listener. If they keep that going in 2019, I’ll skip it. I don’t skip any podcasting this site does, but it’s pretty much all stuff I’ve heard from these folks before.

Maybe if everyone just brought three games to discuss as a deep dive they’d get somewhere new?

The proper deliberations were solid. I could have gone for more knives, but considering the number of folks in the room, they kept it entertaining and managable. Good stuff.

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#17 Posted by warpr (216 posts) -

I'm glad they're trying something new.

I think those first three days could use some work though. Going through the year in release order makes sense on paper, but I found it turned out really boring and predictable (at least if you're a regular beastcast/bombcast listener you probably have some idea of which games came out when and what the crew thought about them).

I don't have a solution, but I hope they mix it up a bit somehow next year.

Days 4 and 5 were more fun to listen to, they seemed to be going less in circles than previous years (though that could be my imagination). Especially the RDR2 discussions were exciting, and had me going back and forth between "I have to play this game!" and "Oh that sounds like some Rockstar ass bullshit, this game would infuriate me, I better skip it" a bunch of times [1].

PS. I did end up not buying RDR2, as almost all Rockstar games have annoyed me enough to never finish them. The only Rockstar game I've finished was "The Ballad of Gay Tony".

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#18 Posted by FLStyle (6722 posts) -

I very much enjoyed the new format, toned down the negativity.

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#19 Posted by The_Greg (549 posts) -

I liked the old format of jumping straight into categories. It meant that every conversation had a very clear context and you knew exactly what aspect of a game was being discussed. I liked the negative bashing of games too, it was very true and honest. I don't want too much fluff.

However, and I don't mean to sound like a mushy old git when I say this, it makes me happy that the guys aren't getting wound up with eachother. It seemed to get a bit stressful last year and none of us want any falling out over something that's ultimately a trivial endeavour.

Disclaimer: I'm only 2 and a half days in.

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#20 Posted by mellotronrules (2629 posts) -

ultimately i think the changes didn't affect much. it was nice to have a rundown of the year's releases, but the actual award discussions felt like they moved at a similar pace. i do miss the goofy awards though.