Welcome to the grand premiere of CrossTopix! Get ready for a great debate this week as we discuss Conan O’Brien’s departure from the tonight show, the one-year anniversary of The Watchmen movie, the greatest gaming system of all time, and much more! Joining us this week is our friend Matt from Explicitgamer.com and here he is to introduce himself!
MattBWild: Hello Crosstopix! My name is Matthew Bosko, but I go by the name of MattBWild when writing for ExplicitGamer.com. Explicit Gamer is a great site for up and coming writers that will give you a more “raw” look at what is going on in the video game industry. The site has been open for a few months now and we are already expanding. On Explicit Gamer you can find gaming news, reviews, previews, editorials, a great podcast, and a very active forum community. I really suggest everybody takes a look at it. We have a lot of hard working guys (and gals) on the staff. I know everyone will enjoy it. (http://www.explicitgamer.com)
Thanks Matt!! Now it's time for discussion! Let the questions begin!!
1. What do you think of NBC paying Conan O’Brien to leave the Tonight Show and bring back Jay Leno? Will this incident hurt NBC in the long-run? What happens with Conan O'Brien once his contract is officially over in September?
STVO: Let me start off by admitting I only watched Conan O’Brien’s take of the Tonight Show twice (the first episode and the last.) Nonetheless, I liked his work on Late Night with Conan and the episodes that he wrote for The Simpsons and SNL. I think that he did get shafted, especially since both NBC AND JAY LENO came to an agreement for him to receive the Tonight Show in 2009. It is true that ratings were down after Conan arrived, but in all honesty, I’m sure Jay Leno’s Tonight Show wasn’t an instant hit (after Johnny Carson) and let’s not forget that the first season of Seinfeld wasn’t a hit either.
This may provide NBC with stiff late night competition, but no, it will not hurt NBC in the long run because right now, there are many other issues plaguing NBC ratings-wise (i.e. originally moving Jay to 9 PM central, lack of big hit shows, and stronger shows on other networks.) I think this was a bad move by NBC, but if they have good shows, I won’t boycott them (right now, except for Heroes and other shows I plan to rent, I don’t have any I regularly watch on NBC.) As for Conan, I expect him to get a late night show some point on Fox. Fox has shown interest and I think if they do get Conan, they’ll give him a late night talk show.
Charlie Cat: I think it a terrible decision. It really shows that the heads of NBC had, nor have, any idea what they are doing. They just messed with a landmark show and jerked around a host who probably would have gotten them more ratings in the future. Putting the Jay Leno Show at 9pmC/10pmE was a huge mistake. For one, it was just his version of the Tonight Show only an hour and a half earlier while most other channels show crime and medical dramas at that time, which is a proven success for that time slot.
Yes, I believe this will hurt NBC in the long run. First of all, they have to fill their 9pmC/10pmE time slots, Monday-Friday, and since their under the gun to do so and everyone knows it, I doubt shows of quality will make their way on the air. There were a lot of Conan fans, whether or not they liked Leno, they were happy with Conan on the Tonight Show and are pretty angry with the backstabbing and removal. I believe Conan will end up with the same one hour comedy variety/interview forum show, on Fox. Fox has never had a contender to go up against Leno, Letterman, and even Kimmel, and now they have their man. Plus, Fox is edgier than NBC so Conan can go back to his Late Night style. Sadly, though, NBC claims rights to all of the characters used on his show: Triumph the Insult Comic dog, Preperation H Raymond, and the beloved Masturbating Bear!
MattBWild: To be completely honest, late night TV has really lost its luster in my eyes. Conan use to be a favorite of mine, but after seeing him slide into Jay’s spot, it felt as if Conan couldn’t be himself. Yes, his snide remarks were still in effect, but at times it felt as if he was a 5th grader who was trying to impress me with his science project while looking off into the camera. Okay, maybe that was a bit farfetched, but it just didn’t feel genuine like it did when he was on late night.
Where NBC screwed up was not following the agreement set in place. They had two very good and what seemed to be profitable talents on their hands and now what they have done is turned Jay and Conan against one another. Conan deserves to have the spotlight. From comparing the two shows, Jay fell flat on many jokes and the format was just too short, while Conan was still adjusting to taking over the throne. Neither of them felt comfortable and that was the fact that was most apparent to me. Conan will probably end up on Fox. The speculation has been there for months now and it would give Fox something to rival Letterman and Leno. That added in with the fact that on top of Conan’s installed audience he has the public curious on how he will “bounce back” from the NBC dispute. It all lines up for a pretty epic debut when he gets back onto the small screen.
2. What is your opinion on DC's decision to kill off Bruce Wayne, the man who was Batman for decades? Was it a bad move in offing a staple character for their franchise or was it time for poor Bruce to join his parents? Is Dick Grayson, the first Robin and now former Nightwing the right choice to serve as the current Batman?
STVO: I didn’t know much of this issue going in but upon hearing that Dick Grayson replacing him, I’m mixed. To me it’s like Dick Grayson getting a promotion or a passing of the torch in the series to someone who has proven to be a loyal sidekick which is very unique. In my personal opinion, I think that they should have used a regular Batman villain to have put an end to him as opposed to a Superman villain (AKA Darkseid.) It works better that way in my opinion because when Superman died, he died through a villain that was regular in Superman, so why not have the death be by someone like Joker, Bane, or perhaps Clayface?
Going forward, I’m not sure if I’m the kind of person who would continue regularly reading without Bruce Wayne being the true Batman. Bruce had such a fascinating background story that built him up to be known as “the man behind the mask.” On the other hand, I know it’s not cannon to the main series, but I did enjoy the Batman Beyond TV show storyline of Terry McGuiness being Bruce Wayne’s successor as I was surprised that I enjoyed it. Overall, I’m leaning towards that I don’t like DC’s decision.
Charlie Cat: DC decided to kill off a legend of a character in late 2008 early 2009: the Batman. And when I say Batman, I mean Bruce Wayne. Fried by Darkseid's omega beams, nothing was left but a scorched skeleton in the bat suit, in the cataclysm DC universe event, “Final Crisis” He lived a violent life and met a violent death. It fits; however, I don't feel this decision was wise or necessary. DC comics had already killed off many of their top tier characters, at least more than in any other decade (Elongated Man, Martian Manhunter, Superboy, and all of the New Gods.) Later on, they brought some characters back from the dead: Barry Allen (The Flash), giving us at least three Flashes, and Hal Jordan (Green Lantern), giving us four human Green Lanterns, oh I wish they would kill off Kyle Rayner.
They gave the task to one of the greatest comic writers of the past twenty years (maybe even the greatest), Grant Morrison (“Arkham Asylum: A Serious House on a Series Earth”, and “Batman R.I.P.”). However, he is very pretentious and abstract. I did not feel him the best choice to handle this great tragedy either. Looking at what DC is doing now, Dick Grayson is the right choice to succeed as the Batman, but he'll never be a true Dark Knight, whom I dearly miss.
3. Has the addition of trophies/achievements for game consoles diminished the whole game play experience?
STVO: "I'm not a big fan of using the carrots to motivate people to play. I want people to play because they enjoy playing and want to play more," said Shigeru Miyamoto in an interview with IGN. This man has made many great games (Mario, Pikmin, Zelda, etc.) and I often agree with his opinions on gaming, but this one I don’t. While it is true you should buy video games because you like them and not to build your gamer credibility, I think the achievements on 360 and the trophies on PS3 add to some games. For example, after I beat every level on Pac-Man Championship edition, I found more replay and challenge by trying to get every achievement (there was a total of 12.) In addition, if you do have the internet on Xbox and PS3, you can check out your friends’ score and see how much they have finished in a game and how much of the achievements they have completed. To me, it provides a fun sense of competition and I like how it lets you know how high up the gamer chain you are. Achievements and trophies aren’t what people should buy games for, but it’s a very fun extra that I think should be kept in future game consoles.
Charlie Cat: Let me start of by saying I like leader boards. I think that is great to have an online list of rankings for wins and losses, but the trophies/achievements are nonsense. I hate it when playing a game and then a little message congratulates me for getting the “shooter master” trophy! What?! Who cares?! If this is to increase replay value then I think they need to go back to the drawing board. Unlockables (new characters, weapons, levels, etc.) were always what was worth playing the game again, or it was just that good. If I'm playing a car game and I crash a lot, earning the “reckless driver” achievement does not enhance my game playing experience nor does it serve any purpose. Leader boards and unlockables. That's it.
MattBWild: Ah, I love this question. I have struggled back and forth on this topic. I feel that it hasn’t diminished the entire experience. Should there be trophies or achievements in the games single player campaigns? Defiantly, it stretches the playability of the game. Say a game normally takes 15 hour to beat. Trying to complete all the trophies or achievements may add an additional 10 hours onto the game play. You have almost doubled the length of time and enjoyment you can get out of your gaming experience. On top of that it is also cool to see where you rank compared to your friends. I always am excited to see if I have accomplished more than a rival or buddy of mine.
Now, when it comes to the multiplayer of a game, which is where it will ruin the experience. Too many times I have been in rooms where people will complain of “stolen kills” or they will be “boosting” just to get their digital reward. When I play online I just like to win. I don’t want to worry about some guy having to kill himself 5 times in online game for a reward and hurting the chance of my team winning. Trophies and Achievements in the multiplayer settings deviate from what online gaming is about, working together for the good of the team as opposed to the good of the individual.
That's the end of Part 1! Tune in this Wednesday as we discuss the best game systems of all-time, soundtracks to TV/Movies/Video games we love, and... the one-year anniversary of The Watchmen movie!!! Until then, leave us some feedback here or log onto Facebook and join our fanpage and discuss this week's show, suggest topics, or ask to be a guest!
OBAMA ACHIEVEMENT IMAGE CREDIT: theportablegamer.com