Forgot password?  |  Register  |    
User Name:     Password:    
Nerds Without Pants   

Nerds Without Pants Episode 54: You, Me, and the ESRB

This episode was rejected by Wal Mart because of its AO rating.

Hello there! This week we are once again joined by the talented John Gholson to talk about some games, comics, and absolutely nothing controversial at all. Except for Gamer Gate. And the ESRB. Yeah, this one is gonna be divisive…


2:15 John’s recent doings; Spider-Man Unlimited iOS; free-to-play games

12:02 Digital comics; the future of digital readers; John’s choice words for Patrick about Aqua Man

28:42 Patrick plays Sports Friends; Riot Fest; Patrick asks for purchasing advice for Destiny

40:20 John talks about growing up geek in East Texas

46:48 All about the dreaded #GamerGate


1:22:08 TOPIC: The ESRB

1:29:38 Is the ratings system effective; the difference in descriptors between games and movies

1:33:35 The lack of education for game ratings; finding the right compromise for young gamers

1:43:30 Some of the flaws in the ESRB

1:50:45 Remembering GTA San Andreas Hot Coffee

2:01:10 Looking into possible improvements in parental controls


The Pretty Reckless- Heaven Knows

Danny Elfman- The Little Things

Poets of the Fall- War

Poe- Not a Virgin





09/19/2014 at 10:28 PM

I've been consuming lots of Orange is the New Black the past week, trying to finish the second season still.

Haven't had as much time to game as usual because of homework, but I've been getting through more of Borderlands 2 this week. A lot of the core gameplay is still fun but I'm pretty sure I don't actually like the game as a whole. It's too big of a game for me to finish in any reasonable timeframe, and I'm playing alone so there are difficulty spikes that were clearly meant to facilitate some more firepower and angles of attack. It's a neat game in short bursts though, and I wanted to play a shooter this week. Destiny came out and I lost most of my interest in playing it once I watched all the Giant Bomb content on it and got a better sense of what that game actually is. Looks gorgeous, has one of the better UIs I've ever seen in a console game, and the gunplay looks fine, but everything else seems like it's not a game I want to play right now.

Being a huge Halo and Bungie fan it's odd I don't want to play the new game, but I'm not necessarily disappointed or sad about any of it. Destiny looks like it'll be a great franchise for some people but I'm not sure I'll ever get on board. I'd actually rather go buy the Diablo 3 Ultimate Evil edition. I'm definitely going to grab Diablo for console, but I want to make sure I'll be able to afford Alien Isolation and Dragon Age 3 first.

Of all things, I'm actually really excited to get the new CoD, Advanced Warfare. Super dumb name aside, and the brand confusion with Tom Clancy's Advanced Warfighter aside, the new one looks genuinely cool when they demo it, both the campaign and multiplayer. My relationship with the franchise is similar to Julian's relationship with Assassin's Creed, I tend to skip a few before hopping back in, so when I see one that piques my interest I don't have to worry about feeling burnt out. I think I enjoy CoD games more than Julian enjoys Assassin's Creed, but the general idea is similar.

Most shooters are going for more sci-fi now, and almost all of the big ones are changing up movement mechanics pretty dramatically in ways I think are more fun. Titanfall, Destiny and CoD all have jetpacks, more verticality, and generally more interesting horizontal and vertical movement. They're all similar on paper but each of those games seem to have unique feels to them.

One thing that excites me is seeing the grenades that have thrusters on them, which causes the grenade to hover once you throw it, and then it seeks out an enemy to hit in the direction you're pointing towards. Meaning you don't have to worry about the angle of throwing with that type of grenade, and you can hit somebody behind cover. Using grenades in most shooters is a pain, especially in CoD historically, because they're only effective in specific situations and then only if you're good at guessing the angles, timing, and throwing strength on the fly. The new grenades look way more fun. Within reasonable limits they can basically do half the work for you and you get right back to sighting up new baddies, making combat faster and more exciting.

Also, you can double jump and jet to the sides in midair. In general it seems to have the tight controls, low latency, and satisfying sound design/particle effects that make CoD snap, crackle, pop, and feel sharp, but now you have some fundamental changes to movement that give you some more agency in firefights. How good they actually use it, and how good the level design offers you ways to exploit the new mechanics is yet to be seen, but it at least demos super well. Genuinely excited for the new CoD. This year is full of new shooters with dumb throwaway stories, sci-fi aesthetics, and sweet new movement mechanics. CoD looks like a pretty rad one of those.

The only reason I didn't comment on gamergate is because Angleo said everything I needed to say. Loved the discussion on the ESRB, it was fantastic to get John's perspective on it and see how game ratings compare and contrast with film and comics. This was a really good episode.

Julian Titus Senior Editor

09/20/2014 at 04:48 PM

I'm glad you enjoyed. I'm not sure if we conveyed everything about Gamer Gate that I wanted to, but hopefully our points came across, anyway.

I was heartbroken to hear Morello's backstory. She's easily my favorite character.

Super Step Contributing Writer

09/20/2014 at 10:10 PM

Too bad I have no idea where to get comics in present-day Nacogdoches, TX. There used to be a shop right next to campus, but it was replaced by a store called Not Just Games that didn't last too long and is also shut down. 

Being a gamer here isn't too bad though, there's a GameStop and a Game X Change at least, and Wal Mart at least gets the major titles. As for movies, I'd have to drive to Dallas and the Angelika to see some of them, the way John went to Houston. Again, Lufkin probably has more, but that's a 30 minute drive versus arguably walking distance. 

As for the ESRB, there's a website called I think Netflix cited a few times when I looked a while ago. You guys ever seen it?

Julian Titus Senior Editor

09/21/2014 at 09:56 PM

I could probably survive with a Gamestop and Amazon, but that wouldn't change the isolated feeling. Of course, I don't have any gamer friends, so I guess it's the same thing.

I just checked out that site, and it seems like a fantastic tool. I like the way it mentioned that Destiny is less violent than most shooters. That's info that parents should have if they don't play games themselves.


09/30/2014 at 09:49 AM

I'll admit it, I thought this topic seemed dull before I listened to the show but it turned out to be quite interesting. I was especially intrigued by what everybody thought in the bit on age-appropriate gaming. My son is just two right now but I know I'll be dealing with this stuff before I know it.

John touched on one of my fears when it comes to game ratings. He was saying how NC-17 is basically dead because of being able to release unrated movies. I worry games might catch on to something like that eventually. Our industry has a bad enough image to the ignorant public (you know, those folks who don't need to know anything about a subject to have a heated opinion on it). I don't think we're close to that yet but triple-A gamemakers tend to be so obsessed with hollywood Undecided

Good show, guys, keep it up!

Julian Titus Senior Editor

10/02/2014 at 10:29 PM

You know, the concept of games somehow having "unrated" content bolted in after the fact never occurred to me until it was brought up in this episode. I would like to think that having that stuff behind a secondary paywall would keep people from freaking out, but I think you might be right.

Thanks for listening even if the topic sounded boring. Glad you enjoyed! The next episode was a tough personal journey for me, so I'm apprehensive at people's thoughts.

Log in to your PixlBit account in the bar above or join the site to leave a comment.


Hot Story

Nerds Without Pants Episode 159: Nemesis

Welcome to a combative episode of Nerds Without Pants! This time, we are joined by Gabe, the host of the Arcade Memories podcast, and co-host of the Inter Party Conflict podcast. We get all warm and fuzzy about memories of our greatest video game foes…and then we annihilate them! Also, Clayfighter 63 1/3 takes on Killer Instinct Gold in the steel cage, so, you know, that should be an interesting match…