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Nerds Without Pants   

Nerds Without Pants Episode 78: State of the Generation 2015

Or: NWP rates the 8th generation.

Welcome to the last Nerds Without Pants of the year! Hopefully you are getting to listen to this on your way to some holiday destination, or as you set up your shiny new PS4, Xbox One, or Wii U. Enjoy as the Pantsless Ones talk candidly about their feelings on the current generation of consoles. Now that the crew has access to all three machines we can finally evaluate the generation as a whole. While Patrick is still super stoked about his PS4 the bloom has started to come off of the rose a bit for Julian and Angelo.

We keep the discussion tight this time, and give some nods to the PS Vita and 3DS. Then we close things out with some talk about the VR future and some of the games we are most looking forward to in 2016. Also, please let us know if you notice an improvement in the audio quality, as we tried something new during the recording and editing process this time.

2015 was rough. Here's to a much better 2016!

FEATURED MUSIC:

Ninja Sex Party- Everybody Shut Up!

David Hasselhoff- True Survivor

Ninja Sex Party- NSP Theme Song


 

Comments

Nick DiMola Director

12/28/2015 at 04:22 PM

Took me a few days to get to listen to this one with the holidays and everything, but I just got through it, so I figure I'll throw my 2 cents in (in other words, grind my axe).

I'd say overall I'm pretty unhappy with the current state of the generation (well, to be more accurate, gaming in general). Might be because I'm getting older, might be because gaming doesn't have the same magic it once had for me, might be any number of other things that traces back to something about me in particular, but I feel more disconnected now then I ever have before with gaming.

Don't get me wrong, I'm still playing stuff on the regular, but so much of what comes out feels so... disposable. Most games have a distinct, been there done that vibe to them, others feel polished to such a sheen that there's no personality left. Hell, it even feels like indie games are starting to hit a very predictable stride where everything is a damn roguelike.

While I don't have an Xbox One, it seems plagued by the same issues I have with the PS4. Some of those issues were definitely touched on by Julian and Angelo (the death of true physical media, the commonality of the day 1 patch, the storage issues). But releases on the whole feel pretty thin across both and I haven't had much of a reason to play much PS4 since I got it earlier this year. Outside of Bloodborne, I'd say the machine has nothing of real interest to me. Many of its prime releases can be had on a past generation console at almost the same level of fidelity, other releases that don't fall into that category seem to be no noticeably different from our last generation of games.

Incredibly, I've played more Wii U than any other system, but again, many of those games are just prettier incarnations of things I've played before. A few games this year like Mario Maker and Splatoon really stand out, but other than that the Wii U is basically limping along with only Nintendo's support to prop it up.

My 3DS and Vita unquestionably get more play time than my home consoles and the game quality there definitely trumps most of what I've played elsewhere. But at the same time, 3DS support appears to be waning, Vita support pretty much instantly disappeared and has been relegated as a machine for playing PS1 games and top tier indies (which is fine).

The part which probably baffles me the most is that at this current juncture, and correct me if I'm wrong, is that gaming is bigger than it's ever been before. Is it just a glut of CoD/Madden gamers? Are the attach rates substantial? I just don't know what the heck people are playing.

In a lot of ways it seems like the big gaming giants (Activision, EA, Ubisoft, etc) have totally figured out how to deliver exactly what this group desires and have iterated on the products that they release on a yearly basis enough times that it's delivering exactly what the general crowd wants. From my perhaps completely elitist and pretentious standpoint, many of these games seem creatively bankrupt and utterly lacking in personality.

Compare that to the SNES/Genesis or PS1/N64 days. There were plenty of duds, for sure, but there was so much more risk taking and pursuit of creative endeavor than we see today. There's a certain amount of that in the indie games we see released today, no doubt, but even there I feel like the mark is being missed to an extent. The top tier of that market more closely resembles what I perceive to be the golden years of gaming, but even then, a lot of these games don't have the budget or resources to be as ambitious or polished as they could be.

Anyway, I'm just ranting at this point, but I've been a bit bummed about things in gaming for a while now and just needed to spit it out. I am glad that guys like Patrick are still enjoying things and it makes me think that I'm probably just a crotchety old man now and that's the extent of it. Regardless, good episode guys and I look forward to your next year of shows.

PS - Julian, I'm going to try to get Digital Mystery Tour integrated into the podcast page for you so you can make some more of those if you'd like with a bit more visibility. Also, I might even give it a go if I get some time since I love me some good VGM.

Blake Turner Staff Writer

12/29/2015 at 08:10 AM

Gotta disagree with you there. Firstly, this year was fantastic. I mean, Undertale alone has taken my second favourite game of all time spot because it's full of personality, charm, experimentation and surprise.

 Indie games have always followed trends. When Braid came out everything was a pretentious puzzle platformer. When Super Meat Boy came out everything was a super hard puzzler. Everything wanted to be minecraft. Everything wanted to be Day Z. Indie allows hacks as much as it inspires creativity. But let's look at some indie games that do things really well.

 We'll start with this year's Invisible Inc, A game that mixed stealth with turn based tactics and utterly nailed it. Sure it has roguelike mechanics, but I think it should be forgiven on account of everything else it does right.

 What about Pillars of Eternity? It's a game that so utterly captures the feeling of 90s crpgs without most of the baggage that makes reinstalling Baldur's Gate cause for suicide.

 What about Ori and the Blind Forest, one of the prettiest games I've ever laid eyes on?

 Thats just this year. And that's just the indie games. The gems are still there. You just need to dig harder. Also, take a break. I avoided all ubisoft style games this year and now I've jumped into Mad Max and I'm having a blast. Sometimes it's just oversaturation that's the issue.

 P.S. I don't like Nintendo. I don't know why, but every game they make holds my attention for like 2 hours tops.

P.P.S the old generations had so many clones it wasn't funny. We just remember the good ones. Also, experimentation within the "AAA" market back then was financially viable. And it still happens from time to time.

Nick DiMola Director

12/29/2015 at 10:32 AM

Ori certainly looks interesting, so I'd like to play that, but I've got no burning desire. Same goes for Invisible Inc. Undertale might be alright, but frankly it looks like Earthbound and I'm not a fan of that series so that's been a deterrent for me. As for Pillars of Eternity, I can't stand CRPGs (or western RPGs in general), so there's no way that one is going to be of much interest.

To your other point, I've taken a very long break from Ubisoft-style games and actually all games from major publishers. Unless you count Bloodborne/Souls games, I couldn't even tell you the last game I played from one of those companies. They all feel so bland to me, I just don't care to waste my time with them.

As mentioned earlier, it could just be that I'm just old now and have grown sick of most games. There's an ever shrinking pool of games I tend to enjoy and I'd say this year it's hit an all-time low for me. Looking back the only game I played this year that I really loved was Super Mario Maker and that's mostly because it did something I've been wanting for many years. I also enjoyed Bloodborne, but I put it down months ago and have had no burning desire to pick it back up.

Blake Turner Staff Writer

12/29/2015 at 07:10 PM

Thats fair enough. Give Undertale a shot though, and play past the first hour. I hate JRPGs but I love this. It's more of a bullet hell than a turn based RPG anyway. It's really funny, and with it's meta overtones feels like the work of early Hideo Kojima.

transmet2033

12/29/2015 at 11:11 AM

I am not unhappy with the state of the generation, but reading through your comment is making me think back on the year and what I have actually played.  I have played big games like Arkham Knight, Bloodborne and MGSV, but that seems to be about it.  I have spent a lot of time with the Vita playing Rogue Legacy, Shovel Knight, Wild Arms, Chrono Cross, Ys and other indies.  I have also spent plenty of time replaying my favorite SNES games on the Wii.

I am starting to wonder if I am genuinely happy with this generation, or just the Vita.

Julian Titus Senior Editor

01/07/2016 at 10:10 PM

I only finished six games in 2015. That is an all-time low, and I typically finish anywhere from ten to twenty games a year. Granted, 2015 was an emotional wringer for me, but I found it very hard to find games that could hold my attention. I just finished all 15 hours of the Giant Bombcast's game of the year deliberations, and I just couldn't agree with so many of the games they were talking about, and even more of them were games I had never played (and in some cases, heard of).

Sometimes, I feel like I'm slowly drifting away from the gaming zeitgeist, and I've kept on top of this industry since I was 7.

Julian Titus Senior Editor

01/07/2016 at 10:07 PM

I've talked before about this, but I've been gaming nonstop since as long as I can remember. I never had that time after college where I fell out of gaming for a few years like most people did, and I think it's finally starting to wear on me. Honestly, I can still see more positive than negative in video games today. Even the big yearly releases do things that impress me and move the industry forward.

I think the thing that has really begun to wear on my love of video games has been this GamerGate crap, which has now been going on for well over a year. It makes me feel disconnected from the gaming enthusiasts and gaming writers equally, and I find myself ashamed of this hobby that has been my number one passion since I was a little kid.

mothman

12/29/2015 at 11:46 AM

Having no current Gen systems other than my New 3DS and PS TV I don't know much about the home consoles and their games except from reading about them.

I must say though that the Wii U is still the only one I'd find myself buying many games for at the moment. I was going to buy one on Boxing Day but we'd already blown enough money on Christmas so it has once again been pushed off.

Yesterday as I sat playing Persona 4 Golden on my PS TV I started to wonder why I was playing a game I've already finished on the PS2 over again instead of playing something new. 

The day before I started Final Fantasy VII for the umpteenth time and I played some Silent Hill 2 over the holidays as well but nothing new.

My last attempts at getting into anything recent were Shadow of Mordor and The Evil Within (PS3) both of which I gave up on early realizing that I'd wasted a bunch of money on games I will never finish.

I think for the next while I'll try to catch up on all the indie games I have yet to play/finish.

A Wii U may be still in my future and a PS4 if anything I care about gets released exclusively for it.

If I ever get an Xbox One it will be used maybe even from a yard sale with a used copy of Rare Replay.  Nothing else interests me but I'm sure that's because Microsoft knows that their demographic skews towards the younger end of the teenage scale. It is they who make up the lion's share of the "glut of CoD gamers" Nick mentions in his post.

Julian Titus Senior Editor

01/07/2016 at 10:13 PM

To be fair, the last gen versions of Shadow of Mordor are missing the thing that made that game incredible: the Nemesis System. If that hadn't been in the game it wouldn't have held on to me and not let me go until I got the platinum trophy (my only one).

Of course, I can appreciate your comments. I am now 22 hours into Final Fantasy IX on my Vita, even as I have Fallout 4 and Xenoblade Chronicles X sitting on my shelf.

The Last Ninja

12/30/2015 at 07:41 PM

I certainly don't like the direction the game industry is going. I'm an oldschool gamer, so many of the games on PS4 and Xbone don't interest me. I love the Wii U and its fantastic games, but the current condition of Nintendo does worry me. 

I find the most fun in collecting old games and playing those (the good ol' days). Today is just too much of the same, which is why it's always great to go back to those old games, when things were so much more creative. And when you're a game collector, you can never find too many classic games. 

Julian Titus Senior Editor

01/07/2016 at 10:16 PM

I would argue that games are if anything more creative these days, simply because there are so many ways to design them now. In the past couple months I've played the 2013 Tomb Raider, which is as big budget and triple A as you can get. But I've also played Undertale on my PC, which is a breath of fresh air, doing new and interesting things in the guise of a tried and true RPG. As much as we (myself included) like to romanticize the 8 and 16 bit eras, there was a lot of derivative crap on those consoles, just like today. It's just that we've traded licensed platformers for military first person shooters. And those are falling by the wayside. The gaming industry is cyclical, and there will always be something that defines things for 3-5 years at a time.

daftman

01/01/2016 at 09:18 AM

First of all, congrats on the new Vitas, Julian and Patrick! My biggest complaint with that system is that I don't have enough time to play it haha (classic cop out answer). In all seriousness, though, I had hand cramp troubles as well while playing it until I ordered a controller shell for it. Best decision I ever made for my Vita. I couldn't tell you which one at this point and it's for the original version of the system anyway but I definitely suggest getting one. As for games I heartily recommend Gravity Rush. It was a PS+ game for a long time before the monthly rotation was put in place. If you don't have it, you might want to wait and pick up the remastered version for PS4 that's coming out in February but either way, you should definitely play that game.

I can't say I'm not happy with gaming right. Perhaps that's because I still spread my gaming out over several generations. The thing that frustrates me most is all the patches but that's because I sometimes sit on games for a long time. If those patches ever disappear, I'm in trouble. I do love how the PS4 downloads patches while in rest mode. Destiny has had some huge patches, for instance, and I've never had to wait for any of them.

I'm excited for quite a few games in 2016 and they all pretty much got mentioned in the episode...except Deus Ex: Mankind Divided. What's wrong with you people?!? That's the game I'm looking forward to most.

Julian Titus Senior Editor

01/07/2016 at 10:19 PM

I think getting a grip for my Vita will solve all my problems. I put a lot of time into it on my vacation, but never for more than 2 hours at a time.

I am excited for Deus Ex becase the last game was one of my favorite RPG experiences of the past few years. I guess I'm just a little concerned because of the way Square Enix is leveraging their Western properties. The way that Hitman is being handled doesn't thrill me, and I worry that the new Deus Ex will feel like part of a game.

F1r3inth3H0L3

01/01/2016 at 01:55 PM

Great podcast guys, good to see you back on the regular. I definitely agree that it is frustrating that these days you cannot buy a game at the store and go home and put it in and play it. My brother got Black Ops III and I knew he wanted to play online co-op together and I pre-warned him about the 3GB  update that he was going to have  download. It's just not the same. 

One thing I like about where gaming is going is that companies are listening to what gamers want. Final Fantasy 7 Remake, Resident Evil 2 Remake and Shenmue III are perfect examples.  I also like that current systems incorporate social hooks into their UI.. The "share" button is awesome on the PS4.

Julian Titus Senior Editor

01/07/2016 at 10:20 PM

I hope that the FF VII remake is actually a case of listening to what gamers want. I have a very sinking feeling that this will be a case of "be careful what you wish for".

Super Step Contributing Writer

01/13/2016 at 03:00 AM

Left it at 25:00 mark cause I have to be at work in 3 hours and after that chat I don't trust myself not to buy a Vita in that timeframe. Was only considering a 3DS until now, will see what you guys say about it later.

Super Step Contributing Writer

01/14/2016 at 01:33 AM

Games I've Patrick'd: DK64, Snowboard Kids 2, Spirit Tracks, and I'm sure some others.

I really want to go to Barcadia here in Dallas. Miss arcades, love beer. Glad to hear pinball coming back. I prefer physical too, but not gonna buy a machine. lol

I would LOVE NX to be console/portable, but I'm with Angelo I only see 3DS library growing for at leas the near future. 

I feel silly buying portables only cause, while I play them, I basically just play them at home. EBA probably doesn't even work with travel, since it's so touch-sensitive. I actually tend to go handhelds instead of TV though when I have a new game; less loading and prep involved in jumping into handheld stuff.

Stopping at the Hoff for tonight. Digging the comedic music choices thus far.

Julian Titus Senior Editor

01/16/2016 at 10:11 PM

I love that Patricking a game as become a thing. I am probably about to Patrick Undertale. More on that in the next episode.

Super Step Contributing Writer

01/14/2016 at 09:27 PM

I've rented ESO and Call of Duty III Black Ops from Red Box on PS4. You CAN go ahead without the updates, but I have waited in both cases. But yes, it's really annoying, I had to delete stuff to play BlOps III and then restart when it didn't recognize I'd deleted stuff. It's not worth it and if anything I'd go GameFly. 

I am not sure re: deleting PS4, but I guess Patrick does. I have re-downloaded stuff and only had to get NEW patches if I want to or go ahead with unpatched game, but those were smaller titles like Rayman and Guacamelee (actually, don't think those had patches upon redownload). 

My library of PS+ games is giant and I am set if I ever buy PS3 or Vita, but I really wish they would just automatically get me those games without me having to go to the library and say "yes, I want this free thing I am paying for." I've been lucky in never really having server issues with PS4, so I'm with Patrick more than Julian there. Julian, where in TX do you live though? I have my issues with Time Warner and usually they are the problem, but I seem to recall you having more Internet trouble than most outside of consoles? Achievements can glitch on a game-by-game basis too though. I know Arkham Knight had a couple that took a second to credit despite the servers being fine.

Google Fiber sounds so tempting. Dallas has TWC and Nacogdochjes Suddenlink as straight-up monopolies. I never had as many issues w/ Suddenlink as my parents have had w/ TWC, but bleh. 

I had the same thing w/ my free Last of Us; didn't mind the disc not being there (well I did, but not as much as) having to set up the Internet to get my game ... what if I didn't have Internet at the time (which for college ppl in Deep East Tx happens)? I wouldn't have a free game. Or I'd have had to drag my PS4 to campus. Didn't happen, but what if? They should maybe tell you these things. And yeah, PS4 downloads take FOREVER. I wouldn't mind if I didn't put my console in rest mode while it's downloading and then come back to "oh hey, downloading stalled, you want to keep trying?" Yes, you fucking assholes, I would like you to rety. If I have to sit here and babysit a download, what is the point of rest mode?

I've always preferred cel-shaded to muddy realism. Colorful realism is cool though. I like colors. 

Couch versus is more my speed than couch co-op. I was actually disappointed when my friend and I played Borderlands and only co-op was there. I prefer versus for FPS and so does he. Co-op felt like playing 1 player with half a screen. I also wish Wolfenstein had 2P but knew it didn't going in. As for BlOps III, it got confusing working the controllers and figuring out who was on what screen and  ... i dunno, I hate signing in to play two-platyer games. Can I just set it so that 2nd controller becomes guest once turned on? And maybe they don't get their own screen of the exact same content when they push PS button? Since that just confuses things. 

I don't own Cel Damage, but I loved that they had an ad for it touting couch versus and co-op. If I play 2player or more, I honestly am doing it at home and no way I'm buying two games or coordinating buying the same game just to access such a feature. How hard can it be to just have the same maps on local and split the screens? I'm 25 and love getting to play 2player when I can. But even my friends don't have same console so I also wish cross-play was a thing between Xbone, PC, and PS4, if not Wii U. My friend wanted me to play Destiny, but he has Xbone and I wanted PS4. Such a bummer. 

DLC I may be writing a textbook chapter for if my colleague asks me to do something than my proposed chapter about some of the economics behing YouTube gaming and the relationship between them and publishers. So far, only DLC I bouht was the Arkham Knight Season Pass, as a thank you for having bought the other two games for $5 and paying $15 for Origins oin Steam. Had I not felt compelled to reward Rocksteady for games I would have paid more for, I'd only have bought some of the Batmobile stuff and Season of Infamy. I'm still happy with it because of why I paid foir it and it is a lot of content that doesn't feel as though it needed to be part of the main game. I'm also considering buying the character DLC for Guilty Gear Xrd, both as a thank you to Arc System Works for a game I bought on sale in a series I love and because hey, more characters. That one kinda felt like it should have been part of the game, but again I paid sale price and want to support the company. But yeah, DLC is good when it adds, bad when it takes from main game. 

Is a lot of this stuff problems from last generation? Since I skipped that aside from Steam? I wouldn't know. 

I am all for VR, just not for everything. I don't like motion controls, but I think VR is so much more immersive. I do think there could easily be some implementation that alerts you to real world stuff, but yeah not for parents who need to watch their kids. I am not one of those people, so I'm excited. AS long as you don't have headphones on though, I think it might be ok. You could hear game but also real envirnment. 

I'm gonna go out on a limb and say there are plenty of comapnies with your GPS signal as it is. Your mobile phone has it if you use any kind of directions and I am sure consoles and your PC do as well. Can turn it off or on, but still. It'sd at least possible already. 

Cost is going to keep me out of VR for a while though, so if I get shot it'll be because I live in Texas and people have guns. 

I actually don't have very "social" online experience aside from one time I played Rocket League with an old frioend. Mostly, people have their mics off and it doesn't feel like I'm interacting with people, just playing the same game with usernames over the avatars' heads. VR is gonna get soooo much porn though. 

Horizon I am hyped for, as well as Last Guardian. I'll have to pick up Nathan Drake Collection on sale before Uncharted 4, but it does look good. I'm waiting for E3 to see if Zelda will be a NX release. I may buy one. FFXV looks good to me because it's action rather than tunr-based right? Yeah, sorry I'm that "average consumer" messing up your FF experience so I can get into it easier. Ratchet and Clank is another big one for me. This is the first time I have gone Sony instead of Nintendo, but I still may buy a Wii U. Because of Zelda and possibly Star Fox. There's a new Doom? Huh. Kojima is exciting as well. And uh ... if I ever am around Julian in real life, remind me not to be around him when he plays VR not Silent Hills. SFV is another one, but I kinda want a 3D fighter while I'm content with BlazBlue and GGXrd. I do not trust Capcom not to release Super Duper Flooper SFV. Not one bit. It's standard practice for games like that even outside of SF and I think it might be standard practice because of Capcom if I am not mistaken. SFIV is too slow for me. Especially as a guy who played SFIITurbo growing up and GG games now, I like flashy and speedy. SFIV feels sluggish and I honestly feel there's too much delay after inputs at least with the PS Now version I played. 

And with that, back  to p[acking. 

Julian Titus Senior Editor

01/16/2016 at 10:13 PM

Likely the lag you're feeling with SF IV is because it's the PS Now version. That said, if you feel that it's slow you aren't going to want SF V. It reminds me of Third Strike, where it feels like there are too many frames of animation per move, which slows everything down.

Super Step Contributing Writer

01/17/2016 at 12:29 PM

Third Strike never felt slow to me, but I was using a LAN for my PS Now sub when I played IV. Hmmm ...

Also, Red Box game rentals still suck, but I'm gonna get a free one now, so I'll see how long Fallout 4 takes to DL. lol

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