Reply to All

A Conversation About Discourse: Let's Have OneAfter reading the many heated comments on both the Metroid: The Other M Review and the Talkabout for the same game over the weekend, it seems clear that we should all have a quick conversation about appropriate discourse on G4tv.com.  We have a few simple rules, designed to make the site an awesome place to celebrate and discuss games, the people that make them and (most importantly) the people that play them (that's you and me).  As always, reviews are intended as guides for your video game purchases, and after reading one, you should be better informed as to whether or not you want to pick up the game. Sometimes you'll disagree with our reviewer. That's ok. Read several reviews. Talk to your friends. Make your own decisions and opinions and feel free to share them.
We knew the Metroid review would be a hot topic, and everyone is welcome to and strongly encouraged to have their own opinion (though how someone can complain about a review score for an unreleased game that very few of you could have possibly played is beyond us), but the amount of mean-spirited, hateful commentary offended me as a human being.  So here's the deal:

  1. Don't be an asshole. Seems simple, but behind the anonymity of the internet, folks just seem to forget how to be decent.
  2. Don't bash or flame the editors or each other.  There is zero tolerance for hate speech. Think before you speak or be banned.
  3. Understand and appreciate that different people have different opinions, and that's totally ok. If you're looking for a games site that you agree with 100% of the time, G4tv.com is probably not the place for you. We have many very talented editors and hosts that come from a variety of backgrounds. Their (and your) varied opinions are something we want to celebrate here.
  4. Don't be an asshole. It's worth saying again.

We're going to go through and clean up the comments on the Metroid: The Other M Review and Talkabouts post. I apologize to anyone offended or embarrassed by the user commentary on those pages. Sometimes people suck.

I look forward to discussing this further with you all in the comments below.  You can also email me directly at webmaster@g4tv.com.

Reply to AllIt's that time of the week where I need you to help me do my job: letters for the Reply to All mailbag! Also known as "The Best Way to Start Your Saturday." (I'm still tweaking the slogan.)

This week's Conversation Kindling(tm):

  • iPad iSchmad. Forget whether or not you're going to buy one -- what kind of games would you want to play on it if you had a free one? What kind of games would you design for it, if you had such talent? Me, I would make a two-player combat-based Flight Control, where you draw attack runs for offense and aim anti-aircraft guns for defense. I'd also make a 2D version of that holographic missile game James Bond plays in Never Say Never Again.
  • I'm thinking of stalking Patrick's digital self as he investigates PlayStation Home, interfering with his carefully planned social experiments. Good idea?
  • Anyone else already falling behind on 2010 games? I need to quickly finish the first Mass Effect before tackling part 2, I've got No More Heroes 2 in my bag ready to go home, and enough of my contemporaries are talking positively about Darksiders that it warrants a look. Granted, it's my fault for rewatching the entirety of a certain television show before...
  • OMG ONE MORE WEEK UNTIL LOST OMG. Also, you should be watching Archer on FX. It's the new Adam Reed show, whom you might know as the guy responsible for SeaLab 2021 and Frisky Dingo.

Type in your thoughts using your physical keyboards in the comments below, or send your letters to webmaster@g4tv.com. I read everything (after a highly-refined filtering process spits out only the best/craziest contributions).

Reply to All: The G4tv.com Community Mailbag

A couple of weeks ago, I took Jimmy Page and Jack White to task for their anti-Rock Band stance that it diverts interest away from kids learning to play real instruments. The comments they made sprung out of a promotional tour for a documentary called “It Might Get Loud,” which features Page, White, and U2 guitarist The Edge holding a conversation about their love for the electric guitar. After watching the film this week, I see Page and White’s argument in a new light. I still don’t necessarily agree that every kid who decides to play Guitar Hero or Rock Band does so at the expense of learning the real thing, but their passion for the six strings is such a huge part of who they are as people and artists, it’s hard to fault them for viewing the plastic play-along versions as inferior. “It Might Get Loud” is highly recommended, by the way, if you have any interest at all in rock music.

For those about to write, I salute you!

Arrow RightLet's say you have a friend entirely new to Rock Band and he/she only has 15 dollars or the Microsoft point equivalent to download tracks. What 15 songs would you recommend? -- JTHMROCKS

Right ArrowOoh, good one. I’m going to answer this purely from a “this is music I like and would recommend to people” perspective, rather than a technical/chart layout recommendation. These are the first 15 songs I’d buy (prepare to gain insight on my musical tastes):

1901 – Phoenix
I’ll Stick Around – Foo Fighters
Piece of My Heart – Janis Joplin
Don’t Stop Believing – Journey
Are You Gonna Go My Way – Lenny Kravitz
Hair of the Dog – Nazareth (“A son of a bitch!”)
Use It – The New Pornographers
Porch – Pearl Jam

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Reply to AllI think I've finally flushed out the remnants of the chocolate chip grilled cheese from last week (did anybody else try it?), and I'm ready to take on more mail. I'm up for experimenting with wild recipes, just as long as they sound edible and potentially amazing. And if you guys behave, I might share my family's famous Beer Cheese Soup. Might.

Oh! Also! The Reply to All mailbag is moving to Saturday mornings starting this week, which gives me further opportunity to write about cereal and cartoons.

This week's conversation kindling:

  • How's your "game memory?" I've been thinking about this lately in prep for Mass Effect 2...my memory is pretty shoddy in general, so I frequently need reminders of what happened in previous episodes/installments/20 minutes ago (hence the Lost re-watch). I may have to start scheduling in regular revisits of games prior to the sequel, which of course takes up time that could be spent playing new stuff (or watching/reading/listening to new stuff). You?
  • The Apple Tablet approacheth, with raised expectations for it as a gaming device. Any interest in this? What would be your magic price point? What kinds of games do you think would work best for a multi-touch surface interface?
  • If you had to pick between New Super Mario Bros. and Super Mario Galaxy (essentially, 2D vs. 3D) from now until eternity, what would you go with?
  • This week I made it through my Lost re-watch up to beginning of season 4. I miss Mikhail. What's the most pressing question you want answered by the end of the show? Spoilers are in play, obviously.
  • Best Price is Right game: Plinko or Cliff Hangers?


As always, leave your message in the comments below or fire away to webmaster@g4tv.com. Yodelay-hee-ho!

Reply to All: The G4tv.com Community Mailbag

Something unfathomably horrible happened this week in Haiti, and the situation there continues to get even more horrible. I'm not one to lay guilt trips on others about charitable giving (comes from the heart, after all), but if you are so inclined, refer to Steve's post earlier in the week listing the places you can contribute to. I'll add another one here, Partners in Health, that has done substantial and valuable work in Haiti for years now. And props to Bungie for doing a special T-shirt fundraiser. If you can't give anything or don't feel compelled to, that's quite alright. But this weekend might be one of those “thankful for where I am and what and who I got” times.

On a cheerier note...letters! Financial relief goes to those in need...comedic relief goes to webmaster@g4tv.com.

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Is it just me or does Liam Neeson in the beginning of the A-Team Trailer. Looks a lot like Big Boss walking through the cemetery at the end of Metal Gear Solid 3... -- Thundrone

Liam Neeson. A great actor with a wicked throat chop (see Taken). However, I feel he's horribly miscast as Hannibal in the new A-Team movie. Will this tarnish a potentially thrilling revision of an 80s TV classic? Is this even a real dilemma? Discuss. -- Chris W.

George PeppardI'm with you. The problem with The A-Team remake is that the four core characters of Hannibal, Murdock, Face and B.A. are still closely associated with the actors who portrayed them in the show -- George Peppard and Mr. T especially. When I think of Hannibal and B.A., I can't envision anybody else playing the roles. I like Neeson and Cooper as actors (Cooper's probably the best casting decision of the 4, based on the trailer), but the problem is the material...rather, the era from which it originates. How have other 1980s revivals fared?

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Reply to AllLast week's Reply to All went swimmingly, thanks to your wonderful participation and potentially disgusting recipes for chocolate chip grilled cheese, which I haven't been able to attempt yet, but I do need a dinner menu for tonight. Let's keep the party going this week. Remember, anything (and anyone) is fair game for conversation, and submissions do not necessarily need to be in form of a question.

Starter topics? How about Conan vs. Jay (vs. Dave vs. Jimmy vs. Craig), Bayonetta and Army of Two: 40th Day, NBA Jam being for the Wii, and any other amazing recipe, be it good or bad, that you think I should try.

And, as always, Lost is open for discussion. I'm in the first third of season 3 of my rewatch. Pretty interesting going back and remembering how angsty we all were wanting answers, and then realizing that they were indeed giving them to us...even if it wasn't as fast or as clear as we wanted. And sorry about the lack of a spoiler warning last week, but you can go ahead and assume that any Lost discussion in the mailbag is going to have spoilers in it. I'll try to be better about specific warnings.

Submit your correspondence here, or fire off an email to webmaster@g4tv.com!

(Try to think of something today, if you can! I'm being sent up to San Francisco tomorrow on assignment so the schedule's being bumped up a bit.)

Reply to All: The G4tv.com Community Mailbag

Long period of time where the mailbag disappeared? What long period of time where the mailbag disappeared? Why, I don't know what you're talking about! If you could present some sort of evidence that this weekly feature went away without any explanation, I'd be happy to have a loo--what's that? Oh right, the search engine...well, you see LOOK OVER THERE AT THOSE LETTERS!

Arrow RightWho would win in a voice-off, Nolan North or Steve Blum? -- JTHMROCKS

Right ArrowI like this question, if only because it made me look up Steve Blum’s resume and realize that he’s been in every video game and English anime dub ever created. Both of these guys are going into the Voice Acting Hall of Fame when all is said and done, but for now, I’m going to give the edge to Steve just because he seems a bit more versatile -- and he wasn’t the lead voice in every game from 2009.

And now I’m thinking that an actual voice-off needs to happen:

Range: Participants must sing classic Barry White and early 90s era Mariah Carey to test the low and high limits of their vocal capabilities. Waveform comparisons will be used to determine the winner.

Versatility: A vocal game of “Horse,” where each participant performs a character or impersonation, and the other must do that voice to the satisfaction of a panel of judges.

Endurance: Each participant must re-create U.S. Senator Huey Long’s famous 1935 filibuster regarding the National Recovery Act. First one to take a bathroom break loses.

Performance: Karaoke, because it’s always time for karaoke.

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Reply to AllIf there’s one regret I have about Feedback, the weekly video programme we put on here at G4tv.com, it’s that we only have time for one big user question per show. That’s just one opinion in the spotlight…one user pulled from a community of millions*. Doesn’t seem fair, does it? When I started doing the “Reply to All” mailbag back in November, part of the motivation was to get more of you guys and gals (you’re out there, right?) to participate with a bit more prominance. And I’m happy to report that after a busier-than-expected December, Reply to All is coming back on a regular schedule.

* statistics not verified

What I need from you is questions, comments, diatribes, pithy remarks, challenges, tasty recipes, viewing suggestions, hilarious stories, PG-13 rated photographs, instructions to find buried treasure, curse words in foreign languages, and Twitter updates you think were direct messages but you mistakenly sent out to everyone. It could be about video games, but it doesn't have to be. Whatever's on your mind.

I will respond -- or I will find someone in our gigantic office complex to respond – in the Friday mailbag. Heck, I might even find some stuff to give away. All that needs to be done is either post something down below in the comments (there’ll be one of these posts every week), leave something in the weekly Feedback question post, or send direct e-mail to webmaster@g4tv.com.

Want a starter topic? Critique my Plan to Survive An Apocalyptic Event (beta) that I posted yesterday. After thinking about it some more, I’m not entirely convinced it’ll work.

Bonus starter topic: I’ve been rewatching Lost in anticipation of the final season. You have to pick one person to take with you on the raft: Michael, Claire (with her bai-bee!), or Ana-Lucia. Who’s going to annoy you the least? (No guns allowed.)

Reply to All: The G4tv.com Community Mailbag

On this week's episode of Modern Family -- the best new comedy of the year, by the way -- the lovable but clueless Phil laments his wife's inability to give good gifts. After running down a long list of desired items (one of which being a yogurt maker, which is totally practical), he declares "I can't not think of things I want."

We're now in that time of the year where it's easy to find ourselves falling into that mentality. Most of the year's major games have been released, and with all the enthusiastic coverage and discussion surrounding them, it's easy to get game envy. And while it's bordering on trite to say "be thankful for what you have," try not to get caught up in what you don't have. Next week, we're going to be putting up an article or two in the Thanksgiving spirit -- some touchy-feely junk about appreciation and family and sharing things about gaming, because we often forget how important that stuff is.

As my friend Shane Bettenhausen used to say on our 1UP Yours podcast, "it's nice to want things." While that’s completely true, it's pretty nice to have things, too.

On that note, thanks for reading, and thanks for writing in.

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Arrow RightI am a 27 year-old and I am working at Whataburger and I hate it. I am asking for your help. I love to play video games and I would like a career in that field, but I can't find anything on that out here in Arizona. So if you could please point me the way on where to get this job so I can stop flipping burgers. -- James M.

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Reply to All: The G4tv.com Community Mailbag

It's called "coverage fatigue," and it happens every year. Big Publisher announces Big Game at E3, spends the next few months making sure that Big Game gets news stories, previews, videos, interviews, TV spots, celebrity endorsements, pre-order campaigns, cross-promotional tie-ins, ridiculous collector's editions, and midnight launches. By the time Big Game finally comes out, it feels like you've already played it…but wait, Big Game: Downloadable Content is coming in a week, and Bigger Game: New Location just got announced in shareholder's conference call, and maybe we'll see something at E3…?

This year, Big Game is Modern Warfare 2. On TheFeed we use a Google spreadsheet to catalog our posts, and when I tried to count how many MW2 stories we put up this week, I got one of those formula errors. We've been reading your comments about the Call of Duty carpet bombing -- all I can say is that don't worry, we're definitely working on many other things for the rest of the year (for instance, I can't wait to get my hands on New Super Mario Bros. this weekend), and we have been posting other stories…it's just that Modern Warfare 2 is indeed a huge deal, and even though we might be sick of talking about it, there's plenty about the game to talk about. "No Russian," for instance. Last week I said that we'd have to wait and see how that airport scene played out before we could accurately judge. Well, now we can…let's start it with your thoughts. I've taken these comments from this week's Feedback/Sessler's Soapbox threads:

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Arrow RightDid anybody complain about The Departed? (I think it won an Oscar even.) I haven't played the game but it sound very similar to what DiCaprio's character had to go through to garner the trust of Costello's gang i.e. horrible terrible things he wasn't willing to do all in an effort to bring a mad man down. -- ltmebob

The scenario was tastelessly designed and begs the question why the player couldn't murder the terrorist leader standing right next to him in the airport. After all isn't that pretty much the goal with regards to infiltration? This isn't IW pushing the medium as an art form, this is pure shock value designed to generate controversy and more dollars. The fact that it is skippable and does not include children in the airport are perfect arguments that IW is doing this simply to push the almighty dollar. -- Nhojuhc

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Reply to All: The G4tv.com Community Mailbag

I stopped playing Madden after I left the confines of college housing, as I was no longer forced to provide human competition to my addicted roommates. And even then, using the term "competition" was a stretch. Even though I love watching the sport and I know how the game works, the deeper strategy of football play-calling has always eluded me, which is why I was one of those guys who always called a fake punt on 4th and 12. It usually didn't take longer than halftime for me to be excused back to my room and Unreal Tournament. I bring this up because I had to endure last Sunday's Packers/Vikings rematch, and watching Aaron Rodgers (whom I still kind of believe in, kind of) go down sack-after-sack reminded me of my own struggles on the gridiron. Slamming my fists repeatedly on the table wasn't a show of frustration, no…it was me frantically pressing the A button to get him to throw the damn ball already. I mean, how could he not see that Driver was wide open? What camera angle is he playing with?! And shame on Mike McCarthy for not attempting a 73-yard field goal. You can't win if you don't score.

In that spirit, let's get started with this week's Reply to All, which has absolutely nothing to do with the story I just told.

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Arrow RightSex in video games has become much more prevalent (especially in BioWare games). I've been reading reviews for Dragon Age: Origins and most of them mention awkward sex scenes, which I felt was awkward in Mass Effect. My question, I guess, would be do you feel sex in video games really contributes to the story telling aspect of the game or is it just there to bring about some notoriety or attention to the game? -- usemeup

Right ArrowHow much or to what effect a sex scene contributes to a story, regardless of the medium, is entirely dependent on the skill of the writers, directors, and actors involved. If done properly, it can contribute quite a lot...the ultimate expression of human love is indeed a powerful thing, but its meaning and impact is heavily dependent on the relationship of the participants. That's why it's much more challenging to get right in video games, where action frequently trumps meaningful character development, and it can easily come across as awkward or done simply for the shock value.

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Reply to All: The G4tv.com Community Mailbag

Welcome to Reply to All, G4tv.com's new community mailbag. I'm Andrew Pfister, Senior Games Editor of G4tv.com and the captain of this particular dinghy of the site. If you've got something on your mind (not just related to games), transcribe it to electronic mail and send it to webmaster@g4tv.com. Who's Webmaster, you ask? Webmaster is the guy who hates you. If you have a question for a particular member of the G4 crew, we'll try to make that happen. I'll also be cruising the weekly call for Feedback questions, much like I cruised down Highway 100 in high school looking for girls. Note that this is not the only reference to high school girls in this edition.

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Arrow RightHow do you feel about new PC games (most notably Infinity Ward's Call of Duty: Modern Warfare 2, but also Codemaster's Operation Flashpoint: Dragon Rising) that are being released without dedicated server support and which instead rely on peer-to-peer matchmaking? Personally, I think that the peer-to-peer system is inferior for technical reasons that date back to the inception of dedicated servers for the PC. -- 1234

Read More »

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