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GameCritics.com Podcast Episode 51: Gaming Exchange Program II, "Middle-Class" Games

Tim Spaeth's picture

We're joined by Wowhead.com Community Manager Rhea Monique for another round of our Gaming Exchange Program. This time, Tim endured Team Fortress 2 while Richard suffered through World of Warcraft. You'll never guess the results! Plus, our take on The Death of Middle Class Gaming, and the coach from the Major League movies takes over Tim's hosting duties. Featuring Mike Bracken, Richard Naik, and (sort of) Tim Spaeth.

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Platform(s): PC  
Developer(s): Valve   Blizzard  
Genre(s): Shooting   Online/Multiplayer  
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Rhea pwned Richard. Hotness of the week.

Personal quibble: If you're going to talk about B movies and B games and put Singularity in that category out of some 'not good enough to be enjoyable because it wasn't a better game' stance- then I strongly suggest you watch TIMECOP with Jean Claude Van Damme, then make a serious attempt at pretending you ARE John Claude Van Damme, and try playing it again. You will enjoy yourself and the whole experience will make a lot more sense.

Seriously, I think Rhea was right on this one. The distinction of B game exists in our heads. They ARE all A-list in the work that goes in, but I would argue that it's niche subjects that consign games to the B-list. War on terror? A game. Sci-fi game loosely based on chinese folk novel sortof? B game.

Meh. It's really not a useful comparison, for anything other than stimulating dialogue. Anyway- Van Damme.


Agree with the comments so far about pricing. It's not like the less-than-AAA releases can't make some money by dropping prices. PC games for years have been $10 less than the console counterpart versions.

One of the better regarded sub-AAA games of last year, Deadly Premonition, did well in terms of sales with a $20 price tag plus that Amazon.com sale. It had a small development team so costs I assume weren't very high. And they still managed to come up with a very inventive game.

- Chris

Game recommendation

To Richard and Rhea: based on everything you said about TF2. I would highly recommend trying the game Heroes of Newerth, which seems to have many of the similar qualities TF2 has.


I didn't know what she said until I listened to the show since I was so into my grand diatribe. I will go hang my head in shame now.

no man, it was hilarious.

no man, it was hilarious. You know you're loved!

I think there's more to the

I think there's more to the the difference between Tim and Rick's attitude about online gaming than just something generational.

Like Tim, I consider myself steadfastly relegated to the single-player sphere, and if any multiplayer happens its going to be strictly co-op.

The lone exception was Metal Gear Online, which was a competitive shooter, but I found myself devoting hundreds of hours to it. There hasn't been another competitive multiplayer game to captivate me in the same way since.

I'm not sure if I can account for _why_ MGO had such a strong draw for me, but to me it still stands as evidence that there's something more to enjoying competitive gaming than just age.

I have to disagree on the

I have to disagree on the idea of the distinction between A and B games existing in our heads. If we take the film comparison as an example, A movies are big budget studio films that spend 20 million bucks on a leading actor and have a higher catering budget than the entire cost of making the average B film. A films get huge numbers of the best technical people doing very specified things. B movies often get one guy trying to do three jobs to keep the project going.

I don't doubt for a second that guys working on B films put their heart and soul into what they're doing (maybe more of it than the guys working on big studio films because they appreciate the struggle more since they experience it firsthand). Heart and soul can get you pretty far, but it's rare to find a film like Evil Dead that can compete against Transformers.

That's what I'm getting at when talking about a game like Singularity. Raven makes decent games -- but they don't have the production budget and staff of a Bungie. Because of that, they have to cut some corners here and there and be less ambitious. I don't doubt they put their best effort into every game, but the financial realities ultimately affect the product and keep many of their games from being AAA titles. That's pretty sad when you think about it.


Just finishing up listening to the podcast and I find myself very much in Tim's arena in where I see no distinct value in killing strangers - jerks or otherwise. But that's also my attitude in competitive sports (I play tennis mainly), in where I go out for the fun, but my mind shuts off the moment my opposition gets too competitive, and the game ceases to be fun.

I don't identify winning and a great kill score as something I should point to and say "look how great I am". I play all games for the fun of it, and I get more of a kick out of losing but thinking "geez, I still did alright" over winning with what nefarious tactics I could employ.

Besides, I've also learned that when you start pointing out how awesome you think you are, it makes you more of a target... some people live to crush egos

And it's the same with tennis. If I lose, but feel I played well, and my opposition had fun, I will come off happy. If I lose and the other guy is a puffed up, self absorbed imbecile, I find myself losing that element of "fun"

Perhaps I'm old fashioned that way...

@ Mike B.

I remember Carpenter's comment of something to the effect of B-movies being the home of daring ideas because most often, big studios won't risk challenging their audience too much... 'Dark City' is much bolder science fiction than 'Avatar', yes? It seems the same with games.. bigger studio, bigger budget = prettier visuals and more generic, standardized gameplay; FF XII, which was awarded mostly 8s and 9s by the corporate game world and called a 'great' game. But to me, FF XIII IS Avatar. Both are beautiful and flat as pancakes for deeper themes and subtexts, and therefore crap BECAUSE of the expense.

I guess this is really a quality versus expense argument, isn't it?

About prices

It has been funny listening about what you explained about games prices in the "quote of the week" section of the podcast.

If had already realized that on Amazon(UK) the price of games drops after a month or so.

In the other hand, we have my country: Spain. Although videogaming is nothing new over here (I started playing Pong almost 30 years ago, as many of you), there is still a huge gap between you and us, relating to how games are considered when it comes to apply reasonable prices to them.

Just to let you know what is the sad situation here, I will tell you that AAA-games use to have a price around 60-70€ (that means 85-100$). And the most unbelievable thing about this is that the price can be kept this high during several months, until they decide to change it to 40-50€ (lol). To enjoy a game paying less than that you have to be patient and wait for a year or even more (when maybe a sequel of the game you were waiting to buy has already been released). (lol^2).

And this happens in spite of having many many different videogame shops in any of our cities or towns. It's not difficult to find 3 or 4 different videogames shops in just one mall. What's the result of this situation? Many of us, poor spanish players, buy games from english on-line shops, and even paying the delivery we can get prices that are below 50% of ours. Actually I only buy games in physical shops here when I find a true bargain (if you are lucky you can find something some interesting games at a nice releasing price). What I use to do is to buy 3 or 4 games at the same time from Amazon(UK) or another english website, to take profit of a single-delivery price.

My question is... Who is the responsible of these super-high prices? The company that produces the game? The dealers or distributors? The shops? Are taxes a point that has a real impact on game prices, which could explain such great differences in price between countries? In Spain we tend to blame the government for almost everything we don't like (even videogames prices, belive it or not), and I could say this is actually our national sport (it is fun, you should try it!), but at this moment I really don't know who to blame for this insane abuse, it's a mistery for me and I would like to know what secret is hiding under this carpet...

thumbs up for inviting

thumbs up for inviting females.
nice to hear some other voices.

getting colds occasionally is also a refreshing idea.^^

just recently had that conversation:
"I can hardly understand you, the connection is terrible."
"eh, that's me, i'm having a cold."

Enslaved price drop

Just an FYI to anyone who sees this, the following deal is currently on Amazon:

Enslaved for $14.99 on PS3, and $18.75 on Xbox 360 - brand new - and the game only came out six months ago!

And this is why I cannot bring myself to pay $60.00+ for a new game these days, except for that rare occasion.

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