GameSpot GamePlay Episode 46: Banana Hammock

Host Kevin VanOrd asks Tom, Peter, Tyler, and Andy to contemplate The Last of Us, State of Decay, and the kind of stories games are best at telling.

GameSpot GamePlay Episode 46: Banana Hammock

Andy Bauman: "F*** Tekken."

Peter Brown: "You've got to be a dog before you can become a lion."

Tom Mc Shea: "I would send her hate mail every day and attach garbage to the letters."

Tyler Winegarner: "You fail as an economically viable person."

Kevin VanOrd: "Why do I invite these people to this show?"

GameSpot GamePlay Episode 45: Popular Tarts

GameSpot GamePlay Special Edition Spoilercast: The Last of Us

GameSpot GamePlay Episode 44: Movement to the Beat

GameSpot GamePlay Episode 43: Slow Boat to Ireland

GameSpot GamePlay Episode 42: Put Some Pants On

GameSpot GamePlay Episode 41: A Boy Named Xbox

Written By

GameSpot senior editor Kevin VanOrd has a cat named Ollie who refuses to play Rock Band because he always gets stuck pla

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76 comments
jeditay34
jeditay34

Thanks for the great show. It is the best podcast. We don't get a au podcast any more in Oz. Keep up the great work.

Fenlig
Fenlig

I love this show, pitty Danneh's no longer on it! 

Everytime I hear the opening music I see with my minds eye a cheesy introduction to each member of the podcast were they're fake talking to someone only to notice the camera and give a smile and a approving hand gesture.

The_Deepblue
The_Deepblue

Nothing wrong with sharing philosophical ideas on gaming, but I am sure glad that the Last of Us tells its own story only, for it was one of the most satisfying experiences I had ever had with a game in that regard. It would be SO frustrating to have one character die in that game permanently. How would that even work? You would have to create a bunch of different cutscenes that follow the unique scenarios that occurred while you were playing, and that is asking a lot, especially considering the phenomenal character interaction/development and the top-notch cinematics already in place. What if I wanted to see the ending with both characters but lost one? Boy, I'd be mad, especially if it were at the very end.

And I think it's bad argumentation to say that since perma-death works well in an RTS such as Fire Emblem, that it could translate into a game like the Last of Us. No way. The Last of Us, as the one man said (Tyler, I think?) focuses on telling the story of two characters:Joel and Ellie. It is not littered with characters that can be easily replaced or who do not play a major role in the plot. Games like Skyrim work for telling your "own story" because it is a game designed for that. It's highly customizable, but I bet you'd not get the depth of the interaction and development as you do in the Last of Us. If some of the ideas mentioned were implemented into Naughty Dog's latest, it would be an absolute frustration in the gameplay department and nowhere near as impactful in its storytelling.

harry4herms
harry4herms

Yet another awesome episode. Of the 46 I've not missed out on one (except the Last of Us spoilercast, for obvious reasons).

The show is all kinds of epic awesome. So many different personalities, ideas and perspectives in the same room. After an episode I always walk away feeling that my thought paradigm has been challenged.

It is not only an interesting (factual) podcast, but it is a good learning school for people that want to learn how to look at games critically. I myself learned a lot from listening to this podcast.


Thanks Kevin. Hope the show won't get cancelled. It is too awesome to end in such a way.

X-Robert
X-Robert

Guess the real reason Mcshea consider Mass Effect 2 as the worst part of the trilogy is that ME2 is a pure power fantasy,  it's a serveable shooter and Normandy landing crew in that game is a totally badass army of three, while ME1 is more purely RPGish and ME3 shows that no matter how powerful Shepard's army of three is, the Reapers can still kill in billions and it takes Shepard a personally sacrifice to solve the crisis. By the way, I agree with Bioware when they said that one of reasons leading to the ME3 ending outcry is the bitter-sweet nature of it, we gamers just don't like to die in the end.

Yukeshime
Yukeshime

@JusticeCovert

Gamespot Gameplay is awesome and the highlight of my week. Please appear on it more often and never kill it.


Sincerely,

Yukeshime

eiji1
eiji1

Also, an example of a linear story with plot being signifacant to an otherwise open gameplay: Freelancer.

Plot happens in main story missions, and in between (let's call these bits intermissions) you travel the area which is available to you, trading resources, bounty-hunting, salvaging (which I think is just another type of bounty hunting), etc.

At a certain point (kinda spoilery) you are in a sense abandoned at the base of a group who you are very likely to have antagonized over the previous few story intermissions, and, because the game has a reputation system that affects the items available to you from certain groups and their prices, you are stuck with second- and third-rate ammunition that doesn't match your most likely current loadout.

It was a very cool thing to see the first time I experienced it, and to this day I find it an extraordinarily clever bit of gameplay influencing story influencing gameplay.

eiji1
eiji1

Another great episode (Except for all the MS-haranguing)!

I disappointed myself greatly by mistaking the "The World Ends With You" theme for a Persona 4 thing.

Sometimes I make me sad.

Lexicar
Lexicar

Had MGS2 by the time Kevin said shortly ^^ I actually bought a ps2 with ZOE just for the mgs2 demo back in the day. I'll probably do something equally silly with phantom pain and PS4.

zenstrata
zenstrata

I suspect the whole point about movies and games, was to express the idea that we expect a bit more from games these days than a completely linear experience.  Some of them can get away with it, but I think we can all agree that a game which gives its players the ability to change the story based on their own actions within the game, is always a more enjoyable option for gamers than one which simply tells a story and calls itself a game by having its players proceed through its story in a completely linear fashion - checking various gameplay boxes as they go, but never being allowed to venture off the beaten track into unknown territory.

The latest bioshock game felt like this for me.  I wanted the ability to make my decisions actually influence the outcome of the game.  I was pretty disappointed when I reached the end, and found that nothing I did really mattered, that I had come all that way just to receive a stock ending that allowed no option for player choice to change it.

MuggyTadpole
MuggyTadpole

"Who give a shit about movies?" Really? I mean really?! After Batman, The Godfather, Pulp Fiction, Django Unchained, Gladiator, the Lion King, Finding Nemo, Monstors Inc., Jurassic Park, American Gangster, Star Wars, Lord of the Rings, Forest Gump, The Green Mile, The Pursuit of Happyness etc. etc., you're telling me which should do away with movies because games can be more cinematic and hence serve the former's purpose in its entirety?

Andy Bauman, you have lost touch with reality.

Chiyou
Chiyou

I have lost all respect for you Tom. To say that just because a game isn't in a sandbox and doesn't have a story that you can customize is disturbing as you're supposed to be a game journalist. The one thing that i really understood while playing TLOU is that this is the exact story that Naughty Dog wanted to tell and they committed to it. That doesn't mean it doesn't belong on a console and I'm completely baffled that you would suggest that more cinematic linear experiences have no place in consoles. It felt like you were trying your hardest to hate this game though you scored it a 8.. Which leads me to believe that you're just a coward and didn't want to score it less then an 8 because of the rioting fan boys and that you went into this review knowing you couldn't fully appreciate the game (the uncharted games were all much more cinematic in tone then TLOU). 

Rodrigo_AA
Rodrigo_AA

Honestly I was really surprised when the guy sad that movies are irrelevant for him. It was Andy Bauman, I think. This person is just ignoring a hole form of art, imagine someone saying that he ignore books, music or games. It's just literally hundreds of awesome good movies and you are saying that you do not want to see them because of the language which they were made. 


Sure you can have your opinion and do wherever you want, but ignoring movies, that's silly.


Clastor
Clastor

Uh, your companion could die in The Last of Us.  It only happened to me once, but it happened.  In my opinion, some games work with perma death, but The Last of Us is not one of those games.

cerberusx4
cerberusx4

I'm a PC gamer so I wasn't able to play last of us, and I think I'm better off for it.  I watched a great let's play of it and basically got a wonderful "mini-series"  instead of a game.  I think some games work better as a movie than as a pure game. 

endorbr
endorbr

A lot of the discussion in this podcast honestly just made me want to hit my head against a wall...

Sun-Tzu-GE
Sun-Tzu-GE

I would gladly rate this and review it on iTunes but since I hate apple and don't use their products I don't have an iTunes account. 

DarkFrankhs
DarkFrankhs

AWESOME COMMENT.


Seriously it is my favourite podcast

g1rldraco7
g1rldraco7

Wait On the Spot was canceled?!?!?! Oh my life is ruined now.I was glad they knew the show Kablam and this was an excellent episode.

Sun-Tzu-GE
Sun-Tzu-GE

Another great episode.I just hope this doesn't get canceled like all my favorite gamespot shows. (I'm talking about you "My Esteemed Colleagues" and "On The Spot") ...Also I want to request a video version of the podcast.I like the audio too but I always found that seeing a person's facial expressions when talking is more engaging.

mehrdad19872010
mehrdad19872010

I personally don't care if the story is being told to me in a linear way, if the story is good and I am sold the settings, the characters, and the plot lines. The Last of Us had a great impact on me because that story and characters were sold by environments, movement, combat, and optional dialogues throughout the game. That's why I love it so much.

zenstrata
zenstrata

And I do like Gamespot Gameplay.  But I am not saying this because I want to win anything.  I simply enjoy the shows and want them to continue.

zenstrata
zenstrata

I would consider letting the player actually influence the story through their actions as one of the holy grails of gaming.  Forcing players into a completely linear story, where they have no real choice except to continue through the game as scripted is honestly getting old for me.  Maybe I am jaded at this point, i've been playing games for so long, i've seen them from their inception on intellivision/C64 and such to the present day.  But When I see a completely linear story now, I often get a bit bored unless the game has something else pretty major going for it.  But if I feel like I could have gotten the same experience by simply watching a movie?  Then I might as well have gone and watched a movie.  A perfect example of this is Halo 4.  I got the game for free when it came out.  But it sits on the shelf, and I Still have not touched it.  Because I know exactly what I will be getting when I do, and honestly that doesn't really excite my interest like it once did.

I guess my point is - giving the players more choice is always a good thing.

CatAtomic999
CatAtomic999

The best example I can think of for a game that allows the player to build their own narrative out of the game's systems is Crusader Kings 2. I always end up feeling like I'm playing some deleted chapter from the Song of Ice and Fire series. :D

X-Robert
X-Robert

Respawn had confered on Facebook or Twitter that Titanfall would not be Window 8 exclusive on PC, seriously the game had been in development even before Win 7 was out.

admotonic
admotonic

Oh my god, "The World Ends With You"!!! I need to play that game for the 5th time!

cosades2002
cosades2002

For the audio quiz how did you not include Metroid Prime. The soundtrack of that game is fantastic.

Licurgo
Licurgo

You guys are totally right about LBP!!!

Kevin-V
Kevin-V moderator staff

@eiji1 Every time I think of Freelancer's story, all I remember is all that copy/paste dialogue where lines were spliced together. "Hello! I am the member of the [sudden change in tone] Andromeda Pioneers." It drove me batty. 

Kevin-V
Kevin-V moderator staff

@MuggyTadpole Where do people keep finding this interpretation that by expressing that they don't prefer a particular thing that that thing should be done away with?

Kevin-V
Kevin-V moderator staff

@Chiyou Actually, he said he loved games like that (several times), and never said anything like what you are suggesting. The point of discussion was about the kinds of stories games can tell that are unique to games, so of course there will be opinions on the subject. What you wrote here isn't what Tom said--it's what you created in your mind. 

Edit: Also, did you notice that Tom gave a 9.5 to Uncharted 2? And a 9 to Uncharted 3? And a 9 to God of War 3? And thinks that God of War 2 is the greatest action game ever made? How did you convince yourself Tom doesn't like cinematic games, and do you seriously believe that Tom doesn't give games the scores he wants to give? If there's one thing that should be clear, it's that we give games scores that we believe they deserve, and are not swayed by any kind of pressure from any source. 

TomMcShea
TomMcShea

@Chiyou I never said that those games shouldn't exist or don't belong on consoles.

pal_080
pal_080

@Rodrigo_AA   He didn't say he ignored them.  I actually feel the same way about films lately, they just don't have any impact on me.  They are usually too short, too vague, too "hollywood" or just not engaging enough to keep me interested.  I love cinematic story focused games, but I find it very hard to sit down at watch a 2 hour film, they are usually disappointing or just "eh, that was okay".

Kevin-V
Kevin-V moderator staff

@endorbr Sometimes I actually do that in the studio!

endorbr
endorbr

Where have you been?  There hasn't been an episode of On the Spot in forever... :)

ExtremePhobia
ExtremePhobia

@Licurgo Indeed. I was super excited to play it (just got a PS3 in Jan) because of all the great things I've heard about it. I got bored pretty quickly.

eiji1
eiji1

@Kevin-VReally? That's what weirded you out? Not the pseudo-Animorph-esque aliens that go inside of people through the mouth and try to (and nearly succeed) take control of the governments of humanity?

And as to the voice acting quality, here's most of the relevant cast:

Ian Ziering (Yep, from 90210), Jennifer Hale, John Rhys-Davies, George Takei, Michael Weiss, Charles Shaughnessy (from The Nanny).

Not an insignificant cast (well, maybe Ziering and Shaughnessy aren't that awesome a get, but still!)

MuggyTadpole
MuggyTadpole

The man says between 29:45 to 29:55 that "you don't even need to make a movie, you can do it in a game..so fuck movies". I would let that comment pass, if this were a Saturday night discussion over a few beers but this isn't. This is a discussion between senior journalists at a very reputable games news company. Even if he said "for me" at the end of his sentence, that doesn't make it right.

Dismissing an entire medium of entertainment, when acting as representatives of another form of entertainment, is not only extremely immature and arrogant, it devalues the speaker's opinion and brings the standard of discussion down. I really don't mind potty humour or crass language; what I can't stay silent about, is dismissiveness or oppression towards an industry, and hence of the people who are attached to said industry.

Chiyou
Chiyou

@Kevin-V Okay I might just be angry because I loved the game and felt like Tom was attacking it pretty directly (he was). For instance he talks about the difficulty of the game saying it wasn't much of a challenge and that your party members can't die and are invisible (that's not true at all). If he had played the game on survival he would have had that challenge that he wanted. The game is great at presenting to you a puzzle in the form of a bunch of guys to kill between you and your objective, you can go through and stealthy go by everyone without using a bullet (in some of the cases not all) or you can go in and calculatingly assassinate the troops on patrol one by one. 


But him reviewing Uncharted 2 as a 9.5 speaks volumes about him not needing much challenge because Uncharted 2 on crushing difficulty wasn't nearly as challenging as TLOU on survivor mode. I'm assuming he enjoyed the character development in uncharted and not the gameplay which makes him even more of a hypocrite. 

endorbr
endorbr

I can believe it Kevin. :)

Granpire
Granpire

@eiji1 @Kevin-V I think you're confusing voice acting ability with the production of the game dialogue. The dialogue is fine up to the point where it cuts out and plays the specific line for the situation.

Spitz6860
Spitz6860

@MuggyTadpole

  Andy Bauman said fuck movies. Andy Bauman is a "senior journalist" (which i don't think he is, last i heard he's doing video production for gamespot?) Therefore the game industry is dismissing the movie industry?  While I don't agree with what he said, I don't think it's necessary to exaggerate things to the level of "dismissiveness or oppression towards an industry" either. 

Spitz6860
Spitz6860

@anne_1230 people like to voice their opinions, especially when they are on the internet, and especially when they are upset, nothing you or me can do about that. 

anne_1230
anne_1230

@Chiyou what I was really finding problem with was your last sentence, "I'm assuming he enjoyed the character development in uncharted and not the gameplay which makes him even more of a hypocrite". Just because *you* found the game simpler, does not mean *Tom* found it to be lacking in gameplay. If you go read Tom's review, you'd see that the reason he gave that game a high score was actually largely because of the gameplay - combat, co-op etc. are highlighted as the pros, along with the idea of exploring - all of which incidentally are things that only possible in video games, whereas the pro he gave for TLOU had things like "Ellen is a great character". (And also gameplay stuff too, but hopefully you see why he thinks that the game would also work great as a movie, especially since he also found trouble with the combat not working together with the story, but rather breaking immersion)

While you may not agree with his opinions (surprise! We may have different opinions on what's good), I think it's not a good idea to say someone is a hypocrite and inconsistent in *their* view based on *your* opinions of what these 2 games were like, especially if your idea is harder game means good gameplay because that's not automatically true. I find Tom to be full of opinions I don't agree with (and some I do agree with), but in this case he was quite consistent in which of these games work better as a game and which would work as a film.

TomMcShea
TomMcShea

@Chiyou The Last of Us would be just as impactful in other forms of media because it's a linear story with no player agency. I do believe the story is strong enough to have worked as a movie, but it doesn't showcase why games can be a fantastic storytelling medium.

Chiyou
Chiyou

@anne_1230 His main complaint and reasoning behind why the game should be a movie instead of a game was that it wasn't challenging and it didn't have instadeath.

anne_1230
anne_1230

difficulty is not automatically a synonym to good gameplay

thermalmotion
thermalmotion

I will say that I played quite a bit of it and it had a few neat moments. But I never lost myself in the wold, or lost track of time, which is the holy grail of gaming for me.

thermalmotion
thermalmotion

@Pulfasonic Big time, I thought Pikmin and Viva Pinata were charming, and Sacrifice and Portal were creative. That game was just generic and clunky as hell.