Firstl, another excellent and thought-provoking show. Always a pleasure to listen to the exchange of ideas between you two excellent hosts, and to get more perspective on those ideas by the details of your private lives that you share. As you will see below, my thoughts get very provoked by the show - so I'm deciding this time to share. (Yes, this isn't the usual way that someone comments on the show - but I've never been one to follow the crowd.)
Cheapy - Was there video monitoring in the love hotel? Or is it just a REALLY good place to take someone to murder them with no witnesses? (I think of this because I'm in the middle of a mystery book series, NOT because I'm looking for a good location.)
Cheapy - when leaving feedback to your show, if I look and find that there are already 200+ replies to the show post, should there be another way to more effectively communicate that feedback? (Note - feedback is a different concept than post-show conversation with the audience.)
Cheapy - you could get a mixing board to raise the pitch of your voice. Could raise the show up in the eyes of animal activists - "Wombat and Chipmunk, Gamer Mammals".
Cheapy - Indy in the fridge last week turned into coleslaw, and this week into mashed potatoes. A) Why does he never turn into ACTUAL MEAT (like meat loaf), and B) Have you thought about eating larger breakfasts before recording the 'Cast?
Cheapy - With the two guys choosing the money over the porn star on the Stern show (a RADIO show, I remind you), are we sure this is not a situation created by the porn star and not the economy? Not all porn stars look good close up.
Wombat - While Indy and Noah's Ark would have been cool, Indy and EXCALIBUR would have been awesome. Or even Siege Perilous.
Cheapy - "Magical Guy in the Sky" sounds familiar as a reference for Divine-Creator-Force. Are you a George Carlin fan?
Both - If you agree that Sony needs to go DLC-only for the PSP, why is the DSi online capability something you're not interested in (even though the stuff on it is NOW limited, it's a channel that will be used)? And why shouldn't MS, Sony and Nintendo just dump discs altogether? Defend discs in the wake of this statement that the PSP doesn't need them.
Both - Regarding hardcore gamers: hardcore gamers haven't needed love for fifteen years. Hardcore gamers have bought into games WAYYYYY past when they were just crap, and they *knew* they were getting crap. It is NOT just the long-dead memories of Sonic 2 that makes Sega keep pumping out Sonic 3D uselessness - it's that WE BUY THEM. I think the entire success of the Wii has been realizing that hardcore gamers *don't* need the love - but that casual gamers DO. After all, what's more hardcore as a gamer than to b!tch about the rise of casual gaming? Taken in a certain way, Wii Sports and Wii mini-game compilations IS love for the hardcore gamer. Because to be "hardcore" is to want to feel superior.
(Oh, and I've actually sold three of my friends on XBox because of the boardgamer connection - Carcassonne, Catan, Lost Cities, Ticket to Ride and upcoming hits like Puerto Rico and Power Grid. So there are other communities that can be reached outside hardcore besides the casual.)
Both - I notice that in responding to the comparison to Rebel FM, you didn't *really* respond to the "don't play games" criticism. Given the demands on your time now that you have children, is it too unreasonable to consider changing the site to "cheapassperson.com"? Remember that you took 50 minutes to even get to game shopping news, ya know. Give us an honest estimate of how many hours per week you spend gaming, and whether those numbers give you the credibility to still call yourselves "hardcore".
I *hate* that term, BTW. Hardcore in the gaming community has been generally synonymous with "uselessly narrowminded and self-aggrandizing". I consider myself a SERIOUS gamer, as I probably put around 24 hours a week into gaming (including portable gaming). But I'm generally a bit too open-minded to call myself hardcore.
Wombat - Braid ISN'T worth $10 - go you. (My take - Braid is designed for OCDs who want to play games where the jump has to be within two pixels to land safe, but don't like game load times.)
Both - Can we get a CAGCast Game Night for something OTHER than a 36-player game? How about a tournament organized through an XBox Live party run in brackets?
Both - How would you fix the GTA mission structure system? Maybe a mini-checkpoint or two inside the mission? Curious - let's assume for a second that Rockstar isn't out to just BF their players - what is the design imperative or goal that produces this rather frustrating mechanic? Why do you really think this happened? You're both seasoned game professionals with lots of experience in game design analysis - think on it for a bit.
Cheapy - Regarding RE5:
As to the defense by marketing - yah, that's crap. I think all that happened was that some exec, totally immersed inside the world of business markets and budgets, lost his grip on the reality that budgets are NOT natural law, but set in place by management. To him, the game's budgets ARE physical definitions. I'm not as willing to put it down to cold manipulation - people fool THEMSELVES far more often than they attempt to fool other people.
That being said - if the content wasn't on the disc because it WASN'T READY YET (and indeed, since it isn't out yet, it isn't ready NOW), then extra development time was spent after the game went gold, and that time was not included in the $60 pricetag. Would you rather Capcom charged $65 for the game, and told you that you were paying for content you couldn't get yet?
And lastly - the use of the XBox and PS marketplaces is to SELL YOU THINGS. Don't get confused. If something doesn't sell, that's a message back to MS/Sony. They adjust the price, free markets work, Adam Smith continues to feel you up with his Invisible Hand. But there's nothing noble or egalitarian about the marketplaces. They gives you the stuff *you* want if you pays the money *they* want. There is no set price for games except what they say you have to pay to get it. And the fact that games are selling so well at $60 - that gives publishers credibility to release games at $60 even when they (Legendary) don't deserve it.
I suspect that the multiplayer DLC won't sell well for RE5 for a different reason - most of your RE fans *DON'T* *LIKE* multi. See Wombat's comments about not wanting even an AI player there. And the players who like multi don't like standstill shooting - they want to bounce around the arena like a crackhead. But there is no right or wrong to marketplace prices, there's only buy and don't-buy. And while you certainly can tell us whether you bought, and why we should buy or not buy - all of that is economics, not ethics. Nobody is -wrong- here. It's not "you would *have* to pay $5", it's "if you WANT it enough to pay $5, then you're in luck."
Wombat's responses to these kinds of issues, where he basically outlines a scenario that might have made the publisher more MONEY and made the gaming community happier at the same time - these are much more thought-provoking and deserving of discussion.
Wombat: Regarding Hasbro Game Night (HGN).
A) These are all games that have sold millions of copies over the years. THAT is their credibility for being on a console. EVEN Connect 4.
B) Again - the free market will decide here. Yes, Connect 4 online is lame. We'll tell them that, and they'll answer (probably by some kind of deal or bundle). I suspect the same fate is in store for Sorry Sliders.
C) The other two reasons for people to get these games:
1) Yes, many of these have a visceral feel to them and should be played physically. However, sometimes people are far away from each other. If only they could be played in some ONLINE way... :P
2) Many of these games capture experiences from our youth (or our gamer youth). But that being said, they don't always demand shelf space. Being able to play it whenever, for ten bucks, and not having to break out tables or what-have-you - this is not a valueless benefit.
Let's splice together a discussion here: What is the potential for modular game purchasing? Consider this:
RE5 lands on shelves. It's $20. It allows you to play the basic game. It also allows you to download access keys for:
Insane Difficulty Playthrough: $5
Extra Weapons: $5
Online Co-Op: $5
Offline Co-Op: $5
Extra Costumes: $5
Side Missions: $5
Something Else: $5
This is essentially the same type of approach that HGN has taken to using the Marketplace. You're DAMN right that I don't want to pay for Connect 4 - most adults without children won't. But I have friends with whom Scrabble, Yahtzee and Boggle (which you forgot to mention) will be really cool to play with using these online applications. Can I go to the store, get the Wii version that only has those three games, and pay 60% less? Nope. Can I do this on the 360? Absoooo-lutely.
The HGN/RE5 issues raise an issue similar to the one the PSP-online issue did earlier - what is the place of physical media and inseparable game content in today's game market? If games were totally DLC, and you could download EXACTLY the components you wanted to pay for, then the marketplaces would seem to be at their full utility in passing market information from consumer to publisher. Did the people who played Mirror's Edge like the story more (in which case, some extra story mission would be the hot ticket), or did they like the mechanics more (which was tested when the Time Trial levels went up)?
I think it is appropriate for the sheer power of the marketplace to determine what we gamers (both serious and casual) want out of our games, and for game publishers to offer us new options that we have the ability to accept or decline at our pleasure. I will be picking up just those games for HGN that I like, as a testament of my support for this model of game publication. And I am -excited- that the virtual shelf in the HGN home base appears to have a LOT of empty shelves.
And honestly, I think there is a large UNDERESTIMATION of the people who would want to buy Half-Life 2 and Resistance 2 *WITHOUT* multiplayer, if it would save them $10 or even $5. Not everyone enjoys the sheer volume of prejudice, hate speech and unpleasant in-game behavior that the online community offers. I bought Halo 3, Gears of War 1, Grand Theft Auto 4 and The Orange Box. I've played each online for approximately 20 minutes. I've played each offline for several hours. If I could have saved money by not getting multiplayer, damn straight I would have.
And I am NOT alone, however small a minority I may be included in with this statement. So having the marketplace honor this difference with different pricing is a STRENGTH. If I liked RE5, having the option to pay $65 for multi or $60 for offline would be valuable.
Cheapy: So now that you're playing Peggle, have you changed into a 50-year-old grandmother? Huh?
As someone who has dumped 110+ hours into Fallout 3, finished the storyline of Dead Space once and started again, finished two playthroughs of Mass Effect - and YET has put significant time into Lumines, Peggle, Puzzle Quest (a variant of Bejeweled, yet another 'casual game') and even Pipe Mania, I would humbly request an apology from your pimp-a$$ self to those who enjoy casual gaming for the addictive yet relaxing gameplay they offer. Casual games are as appealing to serious gamers as to casual gamers, and are just as viable a commercial offering on that basis. (Yes, it doesn't tickle hardcore gamers - but they'll go on marching to their own testosterone-drenched beat regardless of what happens.)
Cheapy - Razor blades. While the process of designing a game IS a high-end, high-talent effort of gargantuan proportions - they ARE in fact as a physical product manufactured in a factory. And while razor blades sound simple to design, the research into new technology in even such basic fields as razor blades isn't free nor easy. From metallurgy to laser physics to ergonomics and medicine - the DESIGN of a razor blade is not a given, nor is it free. While it *IS* a bit misleading to compare games to razor blades - it's not as much BS as you would purport it to be.
Both - Yeah, limiting access to demos is stupid. Unless it's a crappy demo, or a good demo of a crappy game. When the publisher HIDES a demo behind a money commitment - it's a bad sign. Marketing at Gamestop is not as cost-effective as launching a universally-available demo.
Both: As far as celebrity lookalikes go, Telly (a young Telly) is in fact best shot for Cheapy. For Wombat, I might go with maybe Philip Seymour Hoffman. Just me.
Both: One thing needs to be changed in 90% of Gamestop retail outlets to make them better. Make them SQUARE. All these stupid rectangles where the counter faces a wall two feet away just screams bottleneck. (Yes, I am a...um..."robust" gamer, much like Wombat. How did you guess?
Cheapy - It was REALLY weird seeing Ship's white-van-and-candy Twitter *before* hearing the CagCast.
Again - great show, followed you for a long time now. Decided this was just the time to start speaking up a bit.
(And yes, A BIT. Go ask Shipwreck - this is *A BIT*.)