The HotSpot - 11/16/11 - Let's keep this short

The HotSpot crew gets cut off a bit early in our discussion of run-time length in games, namely Elder Scrolls V: Skyrim and Assassin's Creed: Revelations. Blame CNET!

In a cruel twist of irony, Kevin VanOrd, Tom Mc Shea, Shaun McInnis, and Tom Magrino are booted out of CNET's studios early (eff you, Google and your new music whatsitsname!) during a discussion on excessive run-time length in games. The context? The Elder Scrolls V: Skyrim, Assassin's Creed: Revelations, and yeah maybe a bit of Rayman Origins, too. Also, what's this? The 3DS is topping the Nintendo DS in first-year sales? Nintendo, you so crazy!

The HotSpot - 11/16/11 - Let's keep this short by gamespot


iTunes, oh how we have missed you! Our iTunes feed is totally 100 percent operational, so long as all you care about is audio. This is a step in the right direction, people. Audio above, video below!

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80 comments
zemorg77
zemorg77

Just want to give a shout out to you guys. I absolutely love your podcast. I work as an electricity meter reader which involves walking from house to house through suburbia for several hours each day. There is nothing better than having you guys to listen to on my mp3 player as I go about my monotonous duties. Always entertaining & informative and your conversations intelligent & constructive. Makes me proud to be a gamer! Keep up the great work. Zemorg from Australia.

SHERNEE
SHERNEE

If I'm paying $60 for a game.. it better be long enough and my money's worth. I don't understand people that want shorter games for the price we all pay for games. (Even more so for some countries)

FreedomPrime
FreedomPrime

I find the glitches in oblivion and skyrim to be awesome, to me they make the game more fun to play. But then again I am kinda weird.

Thelibarr
Thelibarr

Next weeks gonna be sooo interesting!

hrothgar99
hrothgar99

@TomM_GScom : great show you guys have got me hooked to this :D

Magrino
Magrino

@ptrpedrohung As far as I know, GameSpot's just fronting the money for it. Bunim/Murray Productions (of Real World/Road Rules fame) is handling production and what not. None of our editorial staff have touched it.

ptrpedrohung
ptrpedrohung

@TomM_GScom Hi Tom. Love the show. Great Job as usual. My question is that are you guys a part of the making of that Controller reality show at all? Thanks Peter

ptrpedrohung
ptrpedrohung

[This message was deleted at the request of the original poster]

giantming
giantming

@TomMcShea I believed one of your teammates in Battlefield 3 said "history is written by the effing victor" and he referred to similarities in the American revolutionary war. And you even get to play as opposing Russian troops too.

Magrino
Magrino

@forest4 I would love to play an excellent 30 hour Assassin's Creed game! However, Revelations is not an excellent 30 hour Assassin's Creed game.

Magrino
Magrino

@Mellowcow The iTunes feed is working. If you're having issues, people seem to be finding success by unsubscribing from the current feed and then resubscribing.

Garbage943
Garbage943

@TomM_GScom boo, it was too short this week! This is what gets me through the boring morning hours at work! @TomMcShea -- I really enjoyed your Zelda review and I for one am sick of the negative feedback on it. I like that you can put the hype aside unlike most reviewers and tell it like it is. Keep up the good work. You are becoming one of my favorite on the site (Watch out Kevin V!)

Mellowcow
Mellowcow

Where's the damn iTunes feed? How hard can it be to set this up?!

forest4
forest4

Magrino, I was getting a bit peeved at you this podcast. If you do not want to play en excellent 30 hour Assassin's Creed game, then by all means, quit your job. I can not believe you guys compared AC to GTA4. Those games are nothing alike whatsoever. Open world means nothing anymore, it is common in games now. Movies are overpriced and too long, but I think they are also completely different. That comparison does not work. Keep your filthy hands off my Assassin's Creed! If you do not want to do all of the extras in AC, you have the option to skip them. And the cheap shot at the lower score of Revelations, oh, dude. Am I right in that you like to ruffle feathers? You seem to have that as a personality trait, Magrino.

DrAmazinDood
DrAmazinDood

look ate the lamp behind Tom McShea on the left of the big tv and tell me that doesn't remind you of something dirty

Magrino
Magrino

@THUGDRAFT Yeah, this thread is for the SD version. The HD version has its own thread. No, I don't know why. But the blame probably lies with @LarkAnderson. Probably.

endorbr
endorbr

@THUGDRAFT - Exaclty. It's kind of an odd thing for reviewers to say they're scale is constantly moving and evolving but at the same time trying to say that a good game stands the test of time. There are some games that I played 20 years ago that I would still pick up and play today with no complaints. If the formula is right then the formula is right. Pesky little things like improving graphics and technical benchmarks don't matter when everything jells in a game.

Magrino
Magrino

@jazilla Expect a live spoilercast for Skyrim on December 2.

THUGDRAFT
THUGDRAFT

@Kevin-V -- "If we didn't recalibrate and look at every game in context, we'd be handing out 50 10s a year, because the games are better than games from five years ago. It's a very simple, and very important, concept in all criticism." I agree you have to recalibrate. But really, criticism for games is drastically different than criticism in, say, film or novels... or anything else for that matter. If you were a film critic, you could easily compare a summer blockbuster from 2001 to a summer blockbuster from 2011. The industry hasn't changed much as far as the medium itself. As you said, in the gaming world, things are constantly improving even just from a technical standpoint. You are simply technically able to create more complex and incredible worlds thanks to technological improvements which makes comparisons to older titles completely irrelevant. Ultimately, the industry still evolving at breakneck speeds, particularly in regards to shear diversity. A perfect example is the RPG genre, as you pointed out. The great games stand on their own and have their own niche. Because of that, I still feel like the 0 - 10 system is broken on an almost fundamental level. And not just for GS, but for all the review sites. But alas, what I like to call the "Metacritic Meta-Game" is still very much alive and well in the industry, despite how much I'd like to see it die a horrible, fiery death.

THUGDRAFT
THUGDRAFT

...Weird. This video is posted in two different places with 2 different comments threads. @shaunmc -- I actually think that the context and evolving standards are often much more important than the complaints we usually hear about games. "This part was boring/not fun"... verses something like, "When compared to other similar game, "X", game "Y" differentiates with "some specific game mechanic" which drastically enhances the overall experiences "in some specific form or fashion." Those comments along with the standard, "The texture quality/load times were great/horrible" and "the UI/camera movement design is awesome/shotty" I think, are the core of any true critique of a game.

Gh05t_
Gh05t_

"I'm not going to play a 30hr AC game until 3 comes out." I agree... to an extent. I did EVERYTHING in Brotherhood. Now I just want a story. So, when i dive into AC:R, im just doing the story.

soulink64
soulink64

theres always future updates for the glitches in skyrim, shouldnt take too long to fix.

kittygus
kittygus

I want to play on the Hobo Carnival map now!

chicknfeet
chicknfeet moderator

Damn why the hatred for the Zune? That is so messed up Lark...and by extension, Tom

AntiH3ro97
AntiH3ro97

I HATE gamespot's site mechanics, theyre really iffy. First i cant read the 2nd page of reviews, now I cant watch this in anything higher than 720p (as I ALWAYS do), yet for some reason I'm able to watch it in lower qualities

kittygus
kittygus

@TomMcShea This is totally off topic, but did you see the new Simpsons episode sunday? They went to E3!

KPKeeley
KPKeeley

I love longer games. More play value. And usually they are just awesome.

TomMcShea
TomMcShea

@MassaBR, I didn't realize Battlefield 3 did such a thing. Thanks for the info!

hoser81
hoser81

god that guitar solo at the end of the podcast sucks so hard. change your strings and tune up you MF

Hvac0120
Hvac0120

@Hvac0120 @TomM_GScom Okay... so I watched the episode here online and now I understand what's going on with iTunes. Thanks again! Another great show.... good Two Worlds 2 riddle from whoever that person was that sent it in

endorbr
endorbr

@shaunmc @Kevin-V - True enough. Explaining your positions helps give a better understanding of why you rate the way you do. I'm not one of those guys who complains that you gave my personal GOTY a score 0.5 less than I would have liked. I just find it a bit weird if a statement is made that says something to the effect of: "This sequel improved over it's predecessors in every way" but then it gets a lower score than the previous incarnations. I'm not saying you should hand out 10's to every game that comes along, but how do you validate having a scale from 0 to 10 if no game ever achieves a score at either end? It just seems that lately 9.0 has become the new 10, or that somehow no game is ever worthy of a 10.

jazilla
jazilla

I feel like you guys dropped the ball only dedicating 15 or so minutes to Skyrim. I know you had the marathon, but this game deserves its own HotSpot. This series has a release less often than the Olympics.

koorkoor
koorkoor

Magrino must be the coolest last name I've ever came across. It has an Italian feel to it. It reminds me of mafia crime families for some reason

Kevin-V
Kevin-V moderator staff

@TheGuardian03 -- I had bronchitis. Still recovering.

leeduncan
leeduncan

Kevin, you're awesome, I love the Zune software and I like the video podcast format can't wait to actually get it from my Zune podcast subscription again.

Kevin-V
Kevin-V moderator staff

@endorbr -- Games don't exist in a vacuum. As our review guidelines clearly state and have stated for many years, we are constantly recalibrating our scale to account for new expectations. A game that gets a 9.0 five years ago wouldn't likely get a 9.0 if it were released today in the exact same state.

That is the very core of how criticism works. If we didn't recalibrate and look at every game in context, we'd be handing out 50 10s a year, because the games are better than games from five years ago. It's a very simple, and very important, concept in all criticism.

Hvac0120
Hvac0120

@TomM_GScom Thanks Tom. I didn't have any problems. The episode just showed up this morning. However, it's still only audio. I was hoping that you guys were going to publish the video on iTunes as well as the audio. If that's not the case, then I guess I need to decide which way I am going to experience in the future (on gamespot.com or via iTunes download).

lazarius12
lazarius12

Sweet, I'm one of only four people in the world that still loves my Zune. At least Kevin isn't alone.

Magrino
Magrino

@darkspineslayer Things Lark tells me in his stroke-induced stupor: "got the podcast submitted to the zune store. it's just a 'suggestion' though. not sure when the 4 people in the world with zunes can get it there."

shaunmc
shaunmc moderator staff

@endorbr Every game that gets released is a product of its era. You can't ignore context. You can't ignore changing standards.

Magrino
Magrino

@Hvac0120 If you're still having issues with iTunes, it seems like people are finding success with unsubscribing from the HotSpot and then resubscribing.

assasinaaron
assasinaaron

I mean, Call of Duty puts out game every fricken year. And I personally think that ruins much of the feel of the game from one to another.

endorbr
endorbr

This discussion just brings up one of the things that Gamespot does that people compain about so much. Rating a game 5 years ago is somehow different than rating a game today? A 9.0 was somehow different 5 years ago from what it is now? The scale is 0 to 10. Those numbers haven't changed. Why would you try and say their value has somehow changed? It kind of makes your rating system invalid all together if you want to jerk around with the rules, at least as far as comparisons go. You can't validate your statement of saying this game improved on it's predecessor in every way and then give it an 8.5 when you gave the previous game a 9.0. That just doesn't make any sense and is the root of all the endless gripe comments on reviews.

Vince21C
Vince21C

Cont'd from ealier post (3rd page) I believe if you start off a, daunting game such as Fallout 3 with a definitive number of chapters people will; be able to see the game not as a treacherous, one hundred hour, single player, experience but as a story with multiple climaxes and plot twists to be found WITHIN each chapter and that the chapters, as a whole, make up a brilliant "novel". You will find that I am not alone in this though process *cough cough Uncharted 2 cough* but you can't really blame Bethesda since they aren't writers, they are video game PROGRAMMERS. It's true they need diversify their skills if they are to compete in this ever growing industry but they make up for this by creating a immersivly mind numbing world, Skyrim. It is obvious they have talent as the world itself is so grand that when you do see game glitches such as the 90 degree climbs it is easier to forgive since the game is on such a high level. This is why Shaun would find glitches like those amusing and alright in Skyrim but a flaw in others. Getting back to the point however... Long games, just like long novels, MUST have chapters. Hope you guys though this comment was interesting. Would appreciate a thumbs up, or down, just cause it's nice to know someone.... read my wall text crit.... =(

Vince21C
Vince21C

Cont'd from earlier post (2nd page) With mmorpg's there is a slight difference in the fact that it is more of a social experience than simply a, video game (though the definition of video games incorporates more and more now a day). This social aspect helps alleviate the "intervals" by providing continuous social interactions with others. We are social beings after all and this "resets" the clock. In addition to this there are also the significant gains in abilities//spells with every 10 level or so serving as both an interval closure and an achievement benchmark. Along with this 10 level gain are the dungeons, which provides a seemingly endless game with some form of chronological journey with a definitive end. These reason (and many more) is what makes mmorpgs, so dam addictive. With games like Fallout 3 however, there is no definitive end. The game, although grand, does not have "chapters" in which people can get that closure. The npcs all have the same dull feel to them and you can't really tell any differences between a side quest and that of the main story. Thus when you tell someone that a game such as Fallout 3 has over a hundred plus hours, they would cringe. There is a simple solution however... Cont'd next page

Vince21C
Vince21C

Hey hey hey I actually I have a very strong opinion on game length, if anyone is interested to hear... I think that Mr.Magrino is right to bring up movies because there is a certain attention span that people generally have. Near the end of this interval there MUST be some sort of closure otherwise the experience (with respect to the attention span) will feel unsatisfying. Most rpg (long game length) address this problem in the form of dungeons and/or bosses such as Dark Souls. It is intensely satisfying to end on a high note and Dark Souls hits your attention span interval with an epic BOSS BATTLE. Even if you did not defeat the boss, GETTING there is already enough to sate your need for some form of closure. Cont' next comment