Episode 19 - Refunds for Games

Refunds for games. The topic has been brought up before, but hasn’t really become an issue until just recently. Given recent concerns with games like No Man’s Sky, Aaron and Chris felt compelled to dive into the topic, approaching it with some unique perspectives not commonly shared. What is a reasonable refund policy for games? Has that changed with the decline in demos for more popular titles? How much of the burden should be shouldered by the consumer, the developer, and/or the publisher? We all play a role in this ecosystem, and understanding where the line should be drawn is a very important topic for discussion. Also, Chris shares another great Twitch streamer. Finally, the gamers discuss their latest gaming assignments: I Am Setsuna and Maximo: Army of Zin. Hint: If you like old school RPGs, check out this segment!

Show Notes:

  1. BCG Discussion Topic - Refunds for Games
    -Amazon, Steam, and Sony have been issuing refunds for No Man's Sky essentially regardless of reason or length of time played (despite their comments to the contrary)
    -Steam already has a refund policy for games that you've played for less than two hours
        -Is this reasonable? What if you've played it more?
        -Some people want to get a refund with No Man's Sky after 40+ hours played
    -We used to solve this issue with demos, but we're seeing fewer and fewer of these released
    -Allowing refunds for nearly any reason is completely unprecedented and will have a profound impact on developers and publishers alike
    -We've played many games worse than No Man's Sky and have also seen many releases that didn't live up to the hype (Spore, Brutal Legend, SimCity re-release), but we never thought we could get refunds for these
    -How many indie developers will suffer because they have to issue refunds for short/unpolished/experimental games that someone doesn't "love" and demands money back?
       -Think great, but controversial games like Gone Home, 3/4ths Home, and all other "games that aren't games" we discussed in the past
    -How many large developers will "play it safe" for fear of angering consumers to the point where they lose money -- will all games become the "Madden" development model of small iterations each year?
    -This is a pivot point where we either judge games as art or as software (more akin to Microsoft Office). Do we hold a pre-release feature list as a binding contract to deliver?
    -How does this really impact the messaging during the development of a game? Is it the responsibility of the developers to accurately convey what's actually in the game just prior to release, or is it the consumer's issue? Should they just wait to buy it?
    -What role do reviewers play in this process?
    -How does pre-ordering play into this?
  2. Found it on Twitch - Ducksauce - https://twitch.tv/ducksauce
    -Long-time streamer, part-time actor with voiceovers and the like
    -Great personality, funny, and a little crude
    -A general streamer, but tends to stick to a couple of core games
        -For many years, it was World of Warcraft
        -Now he also plays other popular games
        -Throws in some horror games every once in a while
    -Does a morning show for a few hours each weekday
        -Many just join to listen to him; the game is a secondary component
       -He's hilarious over time and really interacts very well with his audience
        -A take-no-crap kind of guy with a genuine personality
    -He's a big streamer, but not as big as some others due to the fact that he just puts on the show he wants to do; he doesn't really bend to others' opinions
        -Good to see someone create what they want to create despite controversy or issue
  3. Game Assignments
    -Last Episode's Assignments: I Am Setsuna (Chris); Maximo: Army of Zin (Aaron)
    -Next Episode's Assignments: Resident Evil 4 (Chris); Cities: Skylines (Aaron)

Episode 17 - Getting Back Into The Hobby

Have you or your friends ever considered getting back into gaming? Do you want to relive the games of your childhood, or perhaps show your friends and family what it was like? Where do you start? What’s the best bang for your buck? In this episode, Aaron and Chris help lay the groundwork for those of us who would like to get back into the hobby. Whether you’re looking at retro or newer-generation gaming, we have some input for you. In our Found it on Twitch segment, Chris introduces us to one of the most old-school and intriguing streamers in its history: DansGaming. Aaron gives his impressions of Kid Chameleon and Alex Kidd (double feature!), and Chris relives the past excitement with Earthworm Jim. In light of our “getting back into the hobby” focus this episode, the gamers choose some of their favorite games to relive: Katamari Forever (Chris’ assignment) and Super Mario Galaxy 2 (Aaron’s assignment).

Show Notes:

  1. BCG Discussion Topic - Getting Back Into The Hobby
    -The BCG community can be a resource for friends, family, and coworkers that are getting into video games either for the first time or returning after being away for a while
    -Why would we want to get back into games?
       -Ability to effectively tell a story is increased from earlier times
          -Examples: Last of Us, Uncharted, Gone Home, Shadow of the Colossus
       -Ability to bond with others via multiplayer; less of a barrier to entry
       -Music, art, and overall environmental factors are much more compelling
           -"Art in motion"
       -The "ice breaker" - a good way to quickly bond with people and break down barriers
           -Commonalities are apparent when playing games together
    -There are primarily three (3) categories of people that we meet in this group, and each needs different advice:
       -Former gamers who want to play the games they remember from their childhood
           -This gamer is solely interested in retro games, but has often sold off their hardware/games in the past
           -The cost of reacquiring original hardware/games can be shocking, depending on how far back they go. The SNES is a common point where people drop off, and may of those classic games are well above the cost of a new release.
           -Focus needs to be on getting them the games they want in the cheapest way possible.
        -Brand new gamers or former gamers that are drawn back in by a new release
            -This gamer knows what they want today, but often has questions about what else they might play on the console they're buying
            -You have to understand their tastes and give them some reassurance of other games on the console they might enjoy to convince them to take the plunge
       -Brand new gamers or former gamers that skipped console generations, now wanting to play the classic games that they missed.
            -This gamer isn't necessarily interested in playing new releases, but needs some guidance and recommendations of what to get
            -Often the hardest to work with because tastes vary widely and you really have to work hard to personalize a list of games that would appeal
            -Most of these gamers only want to buy one console, so you have to recommend one that has the greatest possible number of games they may like
  2. Found It On Twitch - DansGaming
    -Dan's Gaming - https://www.twitch.tv/dansgaming

      -Variety streamer
      -Old school streamer, in the best sense possible
         -He's been streaming for over seven (7) years, from Justin.tv to Twitch
            -Chris has been watching for at least six (6) of those years
         -Really down-to-earth, nice guy playing lots of games
            -He's the very definition of "your best friend that streams" as opposed to "that crazy guy on Twitch" -- all have their place, but Dan is authentic, and it shows
       -Very laid back, not a "screaming streamer" or someone with an overbearing personality
       -Just sit back and chill with him!
  3. Gaming Assignments
    -Last Episode's Assignments: Chris - Earthworm Jim; Aaron - Kid Chameleon and Alex Kidd (bonus!)
    -Next Episode's Assignments: Chris - Katamari Forever; Aaron - Super Mario Galaxy 2

Episode 11 - The Twitch Effect and its Influence on Gaming

Aaron and Chris tackle a controversial, yet interesting topic: in what ways do video streaming sites like Twitch and YouTube contribute positively or negatively to gaming culture? In light of recent controversy surrounding Let's Plays, how are they impacting both the business and our own perspective on gaming? Chris shares a great YouTube channel focusing on the retro game hunt, and the gamers reflect on the state of gaming for arguably the biggest name in the industry: Nintendo. Finally, Chris and Aaron share their opinions of some unique titles on the NES: Wizards & Warriors and StarTropics.

Show Notes:

  1. BCG Discussion Topic - The Twitch Effect and its Influence on Gaming
    -Does streaming gaming videos help or hurt gaming, and in what ways?
    -Games come and go from the spotlight faster than ever; is this just the market, or is popularity driven by streamers?
    -Does this portion of gaming need to mature, and if so, in what ways?
    -Is the frustration over Let's Plays from developers reasonable?
  2. Found it on YouTube - The Game Chasers (http://www.thegamechasers.com)
    -Two primary hosts: Billy and Jay, accompanied by many friends along the way
    -Six seasons so far covering the game chasing adventures
    -Fun episodes comprised of seeking out games in all sorts of unique places
    -Billy and Jay are very dedicated to their craft, including producing quality content for the show
    -Disclaimer: Slightly off-color humor, so not recommended for kids or those with a aversion to that style of humor
  3. State of Gaming - Nintendo
    -How has Nintendo grown/changed over the past 15 years?
    -Are they stronger or weaker than they were in the 80s, 90s, 2000s, and now in the 2010s?
    -What were their biggest failures and weaknesses?
    -What's in store for the future?
  4. Game Assignments
    -Last Episode's Assignments: Chris - Wizards & Warriors; Aaron - StarTropics
    -Next Episode's Assignments: Chris - Fez; Aaron - Bravely Default

Episode 10 - Arcade Memories and Culture

In this episode, Chris and Aaron discuss their favorite arcade memories and the culture that went along with them. They examine what arcades did for the gaming culture prior to their subsequent decline in the US during the early 2000s. The gamers discuss how arcades are kept alive in present day (on a global scale) and ponder how their greatness may live on in slightly different implementations. Also, Chris takes note of one of his long-time favorite streamers on Twitch.tv: LethalFrag. Finally, the gamers evaluate their previous assignments in Guacamelee and Braid.

Show Notes:

  1. BCG Discussion Topic - Arcade Memories and Culture
  2. Found it on Twitch - LethalFrag (https://twitch.tv/lethalfrag)
    -Ex-cook turned live streamer to test if he could make a living off of it
    -All-around great guy, very nice and laid back
    -Completed the first two-year livestream challenge (broadcasting every day for two years)
    -Variety Streamer covering oldies, goodies, pinball, as well as "Cooking with Frag" streams
  3. State of Gaming - Arcades
    -Where are they going?
    -Contrast between arcades and the modern equivalent where you rent consoles per hour
    -What killed them? Better hardware, online gaming, or something else?
    -How do modern arcades compare from a culture, cost, and technology perspective?

  4. Game Assignments
    -Last Week's Assignments: Chris - Guacamelee; Aaron - Braid
    -Next Week's Assignments: Chris - Wizards and Warriors; Aaron - StarTropics