Is the game industry in a state of arrested development? We present our take on Heather Chaplin's incendiary GDC presentation. Plus, the proliferation of co-op, the viability of OnLive, and lessons learned from Leisure Suit Larry. With Chi Kong Lui, Mike Bracken, David Stone, and Tim Spaeth.

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Tim Spaeth

Tim Spaeth

Cleveland native Tim Spaeth grew up in a happy household – a household with a father whose major client happened to be an Atari games distributor. This led directly to Tim's first nickname: "The kid who got Atari games before anyone else." Indeed, he knew Pac-Man and E.T. were colossal bombs weeks before the rest of the world, and the resulting celebrity brought him great pleasure.

Through the years every aspect of Tim's life has been touched by gaming. He mastered typing thanks to Space Quest, honed his poker skills on The Sierra Network, and learned to hate after a particularly traumatic game of Tecmo Super Bowl.

Today, Tim lives in Chicago with his three kids and strives to find that perfect balance between family, career, and Warcraft. He enjoys broadcasting, martial arts, rock and roll, growing and shaving his beard, singing show tunes to the homeless, and losing at Mario Kart to his lovely, talented, and amazing girlfriend.

In late 2008, Tim became the producer and host of the GameCritics.com Podcast, and he's thrilled to be bringing GameCritics' unique editorial voice to a brand new medium.
Tim Spaeth

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19 Comments on "GameCritics.com Podcast Episode 14: OnLive, Co-Op on Resident Evil 5 and Do Game Developers Need to Grow Up?"

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David Stone
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David Stone
7 years 4 months ago
[quote=Chi Kong Lui]Whether or not its due to ignorance, you are in a backwards kind of way justifying what Chaplin saying. Unfortunately, the perception is often the reality so even if its not an 100% accurate picture of the industry, she’s right to make the point based on the perception. Which is why I don’t understand your point about “booms sell.” To play a little devil’s advocate, I could also argue that Chaplin perhaps only concerned with taking the “leaders of the game industry” to task.[/quote] Not at all. To simply say “perception is the reality” is simply throwing your… Read more »
Chi Kong Lui
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Chi Kong Lui
7 years 4 months ago
[quote=David Stone]The adolescent games and gaming ideals are the ones that grab regular folks more than, say, the latest version of Dream Chronicles (which, btw, is poised to sell buckets in the next few days). This is due to the general ignorance of what’s actually going on in the industry right now. You yourself said, “Have you been to your local Game Stop lately. The shelves are more over run with Carnival mini-games and petz sims for the Wii than guy-centric games.” And yet, the fact that this is out there – for better or for worse, which is another… Read more »
David Stone
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David Stone
7 years 4 months ago
Richard answered this quite well before I could get here, but essentially, “big booms sell” (like I said in the deleted footage) means that it – big booms – has both marketshare and mindshare of the industry right now. Which games are ALWAYS in the mainstream news? Sure, you get the occasional news bite about Wii Fit, but reporters are still referencing the original Mortal Kombat from the early 90s! The adolescent games and gaming ideals are the ones that grab regular folks more than, say, the latest version of Dream Chronicles (which, btw, is poised to sell buckets in… Read more »
Richard Naik
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Richard Naik
7 years 4 months ago
There’s a lot of immature garbage coming out in the industry, no question. I also have no doubt there are a fair amount of attitudes that Chaplin describes within the industry. But remember that these games are multi-million dollar productions with tons of marketing behind them that pushes it towards the exact type of person that Chaplin is referring to. So let’s face it, games like this will continue to sell because people want it and are buying it, not because the industry has some burning desire to produce it. So while I agree with Chaplin’s claims of a “stunted… Read more »
Chi Kong Lui
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Chi Kong Lui
7 years 4 months ago

And Mike, Transformers was not a crappy movie! πŸ˜‰

Chi Kong Lui
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Chi Kong Lui
7 years 4 months ago
[quote=David Stone]None of us disagreed with the premise that many of the top attention-getting games (i.e. Gears of War, God of War, GTA) are machismo-filled games. But, like the news, big booms sell. There’s lots going on in the industry (I went on a big tangent about casual games that unfortunately didn’t make the cut; I think Tim said that it would be in the bonus podcast) and she never went across the hall to see it.[/quote] Dave, I’m still not seeing the relevance of “big booms sell.” Who is selling what to whom? What does big sales and hype… Read more »
David Stone
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David Stone
7 years 4 months ago
Agreed with Chi. This podcast is going to be like Blade Runner: Director’s Cut. Wait until you hear what didn’t make the initial run. I think it will spur further discussion, and should hopefully be as fun to listen to as it was to talk about. None of us disagreed with the premise that many of the top attention-getting games (i.e. Gears of War, God of War, GTA) are machismo-filled games. But, like the news, big booms sell. There’s lots going on in the industry (I went on a big tangent about casual games that unfortunately didn’t make the cut;… Read more »
Chi Kong Lui
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Chi Kong Lui
7 years 4 months ago
[quote=boy]Videogames aren’t the only genre that has a ton of best-selling lowest-common-denominator material. It is, however, the only one where almost the entire catalog of popular, low brow products are adolescent male fantasies. And I think there’s nothing wrong with calling the industry out on that.[/quote] Have you been to your local Game Stop lately. The shelves are more over run with Carnival mini-games and petz sims for the Wii than guy-centric games. [quote=Dale Weir]How seriously would it have been–would anyone even pay attention–if it could be boiled down to: “The games industry already has many great quality titles and… Read more »
Mike Bracken
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Mike Bracken
7 years 4 months ago
[quote=Boy]Mike later made a point that he didn’t feel the need to explain the merit of games to those who weren’t interested in it, in the same way that no one needs to explain to him the appeal of Romantic Comedies. But the thing about that is Romantic Comedies is a sub-genre of movies. There are still tons of movies out there for any kind of person to see and to like. Games aren’t like that, I would argue that IS a fault of the medium.[/quote] That was a bad example on my part because I wasn’t trying to make… Read more »
Tim Spaeth
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Tim Spaeth
7 years 4 months ago
In which your humble podcast producer shares riveting behind-the-scenes tales and secrets, Oprah-style. This week we were excited to welcome back Mr. David Stone, who would play an instrumental role (get it?) in my Grand Plan for the Heather Chaplin segment. I wanted to take advantage of having both David and Mike on to dismantle Chaplin’s comparison of the games industry to the music and film industries, and they both nailed it. In retrospect, we probably bit off more than we could chew, because my the time we got to the second part of my Grand Plan, that being our… Read more »
Tim Spaeth
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Tim Spaeth
7 years 4 months ago

If you or your friends, family, or clergyman have had problems downloading the show in the last 12 hours, please try again. There was a problem with the Libsyn feed and it’s been corrected.

Anonymous
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Anonymous
7 years 4 months ago

Wow that one guy sounds exactly like Kermit the frog.

Dean Siren
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Dean Siren
7 years 4 months ago
OnLive: According to Wikipedia, there actually is an OnLive console called the MicroConsole. I think there’s great convenience and economics supporting OnLive, but I’m worried that it could permanently slow games down. When internet connections get better, the bandwidth goes up, but latency doesn’t really go down, unless the servers are extremely close to the consumer. The twitchiest games on the market require some responses of 16 ms, but in online games, 100 ms is about as good as it gets. Input lag has also been a significant problem for HDTVs. How committed is OnLive to putting numerous servers close… Read more »
AnonymousDude
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AnonymousDude
7 years 4 months ago
She hit things spot on. Look at the comments on the page you linked to about her rant: http://g4tv.com/thefeed/blog/post/694389/GDC-2009-Smartbomb-Author-Heather-Chaplin-Tells-Game-Designers-To-Grow-Up.html ‘get back in the kitchen’ ‘Guy’s make these games because they don’t have a woman’s emotional roller coaster getting in the way.’ The list goes on and on. The fact is that there are a lot of self-entitled, sexist douchebags in the gaming world who get their panties in a bunch any time someone points out how stupid their video games are. The worst part is at no point did she say “stop making adolescent male power fantasies into games”. She… Read more »
Dale Weir
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Dale Weir
7 years 4 months ago
I’m inclined to agree here. A lot of people feel a need to defend the industry even when they agree wholeheartedly with the criticism aimed at it. It happens when Jack Thompson pops up, it happens when their mom, dad or other relatives criticize it or them for spending so much time on gaming and it happens when someone close to the industry takes it to task. Chaplin went to a panel where you rant. She voiced an opinion on whatever she had a beef with. I don’t see why everyone needs a criticism to turn into a thesis paper,… Read more »
Hargrada
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Hargrada
7 years 4 months ago
I don’t think what she said shouldn’t be challenged or questioned, only that a lot of times the discussions that people have about the topic can be broken down to simply “I sorta agree with what she said, but she didn’t have to be so mean about it!” Which I see as being counter-productive. [quote=Chi Kong Lui]I just thought it wasn’t a good strategy and I agree with Mike when he said it backfired in many ways because while many people are talking about it, almost everybody is talking about the wrong thing.[/quote] Did it really backfire though? The other… Read more »
Chi Kong Lui
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Chi Kong Lui
7 years 4 months ago
[quote=boy]And just a small correction, Madworld wasn’t from Suda 51. It was from platinum games, which is the current incarnation of Clover.[/quote] Funny behind-the-scenes story: I actually originally had this right, but I wasn’t sure and I asked for verification from the group who convinced me it was Suda 51 and not Clover Studios. Curse you guys! πŸ˜‰ [quote=Hargrada]In regards to Chaplin, I chose to take her confrontational and incendiary tone as a way to draw attention to what she was ranting about. You also need to take into context the panel she used: “Burned by Friendly Fire: Game Critics… Read more »
Hargrada
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Hargrada
7 years 4 months ago
OnLive has the possibility of stopping the much slower rat race of the console cycles as well as constant computer upgrades. You won’t have to worry about the PS4 or Xbox 720 or WiiHD if this idea suddenly takes off in the way they’re hoping it will. In regards to Chaplin, I chose to take her confrontational and incendiary tone as a way to draw attention to what she was ranting about. You also need to take into context the panel she used: “Burned by Friendly Fire: Game Critics Rant.” The panelists are encouraged to talk angrily (rant) about things… Read more »
Boy
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Boy
7 years 4 months ago
I just wanted to comment on the part of the podcast where Mike I believe was talking about Heather Chaplin. I can’t help but feel like he dwelt too much on the comparisons that she drew upon, and not the central argument, which is that games are still too wrapped up in male power fantasy. Whether or not her comparisons stood (I would agree that they didn’t), her point is still valid and needs addressing. Mike later made a point that he didn’t feel the need to explain the merit of games to those who weren’t interested in it, in… Read more »
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