Twitter Questions, Short Pause Answers!

If you follow @TheShortPause on Twitter and listen to our podcast (and why wouldn't you, really?), then you are probably aware that we had a little give-away on the last episode. We asked Twitter for podcast questions, and the two people whose questions were answered on the show won a $10 code for the service of their choice (PlayStation Network or Xbox Live). What no one knew was that even the losers would win!

We had some great questions, so we decided just before recording that we should still answer our loyal fans, but in text form. These are their tweets, along with our answers. 


Question:


Brent
@TheDude1979

I think it all depends on how you look at it, really. If you're looking at them as a whole, including all of the platforms covered by each publisher, it's not even close in terms of content. PlayStation Plus has been around for awhile, so the catalog of games that have been included since its inception is pretty extensive. Now, if you're referring to current-gen (Xbox One/PS4), it's a little bit closer because neither program has been able to put any major "heavyweights" in their line-up due to the fact that both consoles are still in their infancy. In my opinion though, I'd have to say that PlayStation Plus is still much more appealing than Xbox's Games With Gold program at this time, but let's revisit this after a year and see if Microsoft is able to narrow the gap. I doubt they'd introduced the program without having a plan to make it more appealing than PlayStation Plus.



Ben
@Piccolo930

I've been a PlayStation gamer for a long time — and I'll continue to be a PlayStation gamer for a long time — which means PlayStation Plus is far and away the better service in my eyes. Like Brent said, if you own a PS3, PS4, and Vita, you're getting six games a month via PlayStation Plus, with many of these titles titles supporting Cross-Buy functionality across multiple consoles. I've been with PlayStation Plus since its inception, and the sheer number of "free" games and content I've received through the service is extraordinarily unprecedented. I've saved hundreds of dollars subscribing to PS Plus, and I can honestly say its some of the best money I've ever spent on anything — gaming or otherwise — due to the overwhelming value inherent in the program. I also think the discounts offered through PlayStation Plus are often overlooked when people talk the worth of the service. Sure the free games are the main attraction, but I've purchased countless games available to Plus members at a steep discount, and I love being able to fill out my digital game collection with these often rock bottom sale prices.

Games with Gold is a new service still in its infancy, and while the quality of the titles being offered through the service has improved in recent months, the program still has a ways to go before it's on par with PlayStation Plus. Like its PS4 counterpart, the Xbox One receives two free games a month (sure Max: The Curse of Brotherhood was offered two months in a row, but that's water under the bridge), with Guacamelee!: Super Turbo Championship Edition being a recent standout offer available to Games with Gold members. Sony continues to crank out new games as part of PlayStation Plus (look at Road Not Taken and Metrico this month, as well as titles like Contrast, Resogun, Outlast, Dead Nation: Apocalypse Edition, and Mercenary Kings, which arrived free for PS Plus members day-and-date with their PSN release on PS4), and this is an area where Games with Gold will, hopefully, continue to grow in the future.



Eric
@bmbnbs

I think Brent and Ben sum things up pretty nicely here, but I'll add that, despite not currently owning a Microsoft console, I feel good about where their Games with Gold service is headed. Had you asked this question just a few short months ago, I would've said that PlayStation Plus is hands down the better of the two, but recent changes with the heads of Microsoft's state are proving to be precisely what the company needed for gamers to enjoy games on their gaming machine. Phil Spencer and Chris Charla are bound to do great things with Gold, it seems. As ever, time will tell.




Question:


Brent
@TheDude1979

I think the ideas behind both services are pretty interesting, actually, as they both provide more options for gamers when they are looking for new games to play. With EA Access, you can pay $30 a year or $5 per month (but why would anyone do that?). This gives you access to the Vault, which will feature older titles that you can download and play for free. EA recently announced that titles in the vault will NOT be rotated out monthly, so which games they add to the vault will ultimately affect just how appealing EA Access is. If it's just a bunch of older versions of Madden or FIFA, it loses its appeal quickly. If it includes other titles outside of their EA Sports catalog, then its appeal goes right through the roof. The other bonus of EA Access — one that was previously introduced in their Season Ticket program — is that you will be able to access new titles 5 days before launch. Sometimes it may just be a specific mode to try out, other times it could be the full game. Any progress made during a trial will carry over to the retail version should you choose to purchase the game at the 10% discount that members are entitled to. When it's all said and done, EA Access has the potential to be a great value for gamers on the Xbox One.

Where EA Access provides gamers with a subscription-based service, PlayStation Now allows gamers to stream games on a per-game basis. The problem with that is the pricing; it's absolutely ridiculous at the time of this writing. There are currently 122 games to choose from, and the cheapest to rent right now is $2.99 (4 hours), but that's only on select titles. The most outrageous price point is the 90 day rental — with some games as high as $29.99! Chances are, you can find that same used game at a GameStop near you for half the price. At this time, that makes PlayStation Now seem pretty much irrelevant. Personally, I think they should just remove the ridiculous 90-day rentals, start the rental period options at 24 hours, and make the 7-day rental the longest. As far as pricing goes, they need to add a subscription option if they really want to entice gamers to buy-in. Otherwise, Sony runs the risk of missing a golden opportunity to capitalize on that $380 million dollar purchase of Gaikai.



Ben
@Piccolo930

I'm not really sure what to think about these services at this point. EA Access seems like it could be a cool idea, but like Brent said, it all depends on which games eventually end up in "The Vault." EA obviously has a large catalog of older titles, but most of these are not available on the Xbox One. Outside of Titanfall, Battlefield 4, and a few sports titles, EA doesn't have a whole lot of content to draw upon for the service right now. I think we could see this used as a sort of "hype machine" for EA's legacy titles. I'm picturing old titles entering "The Vault" in advance of their soon-to-be-released sequels. Imagine Titanfall joining "The Vault" a month before the inevitable Titanfall 2 is released, in order to build up anticipation in those that may have missed it the first time around. This is something EA has to be thinking about: leveraging the service to create excitement around the latest iteration of their big franchises. So the question remains: Is this service destined to become a repository for old sports titles, or will we see heavy hitters like Titanfall eventually join the lineup? I think the fact that Battlefield 4 is already in "The Vault" bodes well for future non-sports titles. Give it a year and we'll start to see the true value of EA Access.

As far as PlayStation Now goes, I think it's an awesome idea. I'm looking forward to it on my Vita more than anything else. My PS3 is still hooked up right next to my PS4, and it will be for the foreseeable future. I had something of an obsession with my PS3, and I have a ridiculous amount of games on both the hard drive (1 TB!) and on disc, meaning should I be in the mood to play a PS3 title, I can simply browse my collection. It's going to be cool to play titles on the Vita away from the big screen, however. I'm definitely looking forward to trying that out. Like Brent mentioned, though, they need to get their pricing in order first if they want this idea to take off. The one week pricing on the various titles available for rent is good right now, but everything else needs to be adjusted. I'm looking forward to the seemingly inevitable PlayStation Now subscription pricing as well.



Eric
@bmbnbs

I am, once again, late to the party in providing my answer, so Brent and Ben have taken all the steam out of what I would have said. I'll note here that, in my experience, PlayStation Now runs great, so if Sony can figure out that a four hour rental is useless and a 90 day rental is mental, then I think they'll be all right!

EA Access has potential to be a great deal, despite what Sony would like to tell us. And I swear on my father's grave that if Sony's short-sightedness prevented PlayStation gamers from getting to play Peggle 2... *deep breaths*




Question:


Brent
@TheDude1979

The first installment will always be my favorite of the Resident Evil franchise. I will never forget playing it for the first time on the PlayStation One. When that damned dog came crashing through the window, it scared the hell out of me and my brother. Even with the amateur cut scenes and sub-par voice acting, the original Resident Evil will always have a place in my heart.



Eric
@bmbnbs

I've never finished a Resident Evil game, but I've started a lot of them. That said, I'll just give each game that I've played an award and you can choose my favorite based on your favorite award:

  • Resident Evil - The Funnest Scares And Best "Worst" Voice Acting Award
  • Resident Evil 2 - The Better Looking, More Fun, Less Scares Award
  • Resident Evil Code: Veronica - The "Well, This Game LOOKS Good" Award
  • Resident Evil 4 - The Game That Changed Third-Person Shooters Forever Award
  • Resident Evil 5 - The "I'm Done With This Series" Award


  • Ben
    @Piccolo930

    The first Resident Evil holds a special place in my gaming heart, as it's the game that finally forced me to buy a PlayStation One all those many years ago. I remember renting the system from Blockbuster with a friend. (Remember when renting systems was a thing?) We picked up Resident Evil and something else I don't remember to go with it, and the rest is geek history. I watched in awe as we sat through the admittedly awful opening cinematic, met our first zombie in the hallway around the bend, and jumped out of our seat when that "damned dog" jumped through the window for the first time. I had never seen or played anything like that in all of my years gaming, and I knew right-then-and-there that I had to own this thing myself. Shortly thereafter, I was able to save up enough to buy a system of my own with a copy of Resident Evil, complete with the extra long case and foam insert that original PlayStation One games used to come with. I played the game to completion, and its mix of twisting story, puzzle solving, gunplay, and survival horror is one I still hold near and dear. Secret gaming shame #213: I've never actually played Resident Evil 4-6. Yes, I've never actually played Resident Evil 4 (*runs away quickly, paper bag firmly pulled down over head*).




    Question:


    Brent
    @TheDude1979

    I'm sure this won't come as a surprise to anyone, but the opening scene of the The Last of Us was easily one of the most emotionally impactful scenes I've ever experienced. I attribute this to the fact that my son was born two months prior to the game's release. Having a kid changes you in so many ways, and when you hold that baby for the first time, you naturally accept the role of protector. I had to pause the game shortly after the events that transpired on screen because I had to gather myself.



    Eric
    @bmbnbs

    The opening of The Last of Us will probably be on everyone's list here at Short Pause, and for good reason: It's devastating. But I have a couple of others as well.

    1. Journey. From the playful first moment you encounter another Wanderer and interact with them, to the exuberance of sliding down the majestic sand hill, to the struggles you endure near the end, Journey is a perfect and short example of how to build up emotion with simple gameplay, gorgeous graphics, and a score that only acts to enhance.
    2. The Unfinished Swan. This gem of a game made me a little misty eyed at the end.



    Ben
    @Piccolo930

    As my partners-in-internetting have already mentioned, the opening salvo of The Last of Us is a sequence I'll never forget. It's a heart-grinding testament to the level of craft and performance on display in Naughty Dog's best title to date. It was the first time I ever felt a game touch me, seemingly, in my soul. I, myself, am a father as well, and I concur with Brent's assessment of the scene through paternal eyes.

    It wasn't the only time I was emotionally drained playing The Last of Us, either.

    While the game is bustling with emotional consequence and riveting characters, from beginning to shocking end, Ish's Story deserves a special mention. Told entirely through environmental cues and notes found throughout your journey, Ish's Story is amazing in that you never physically meet any of the characters you're reading about. Search far and wide when you find your first excerpt from Ish's Story about mid-way through the game. I tried not to cry like a baby when I saw those drawings on the wall, but it was hard to hold the waterworks back.

    Man, The Last of Us is a hell of a game.

    While no game has ever hit me in the "touchy-feely spot" (I promise you that sounds way more dirty than it's supposed to) the way Joel and Ellie's story has, special mention goes out to the Final Fantasy franchise. Aerith's story in Final Fantasy VII and the entire twisting, winding narrative of Final Fantasy IV stand out as especially emotional moments.



    Taz
    @tazmeah

    Aeris' death in Final Fantasy 7 really bothered me. And the relationships in Final Fantasy 10 are very emotional, too. 😭😭😭😭

    Hey! Does Game of Thrones count?




    Question:


    Taz
    @tazmeah

    Awesome question, @JoeBoston617! My favorite games of all-time are the ones I can play over and over without them getting old. Castlevania: Symphony of the Night is #1 for me, in that regard. I’ve beaten that game so many times over the years, it makes no-damn-sense why I don’t hate it. Even talking about it now makes me want to fire it up again. The castle, the music, the magical abilities and transformations, the weapons, the items and accessories…I just love them all. I think I can play it in my sleep if I wanted to. That’s skills, son! (Damn it, Alucard! Why you gotta be so fun?) If you’ve never played ‘SOTN’, then why are we still talking? I mean, really. Pfft. Go play it, now!

    Next on my list would be Mass Effect 3, which is the greatest game ever made. The Short Pause staff gives me grief over that comment, but they just be hatin’. (You can’t say TLOU is the greatest game ever made without giving ME3 a shot…BEN!) I’ve put well over 700 hours into the online portion of the game, and no telling how many hours into the single player campaign. It’s the truth. I own it for Xbox and PlayStation.

    (So, why didn’t I mention ME3 first? Probably because I have WAY more hours in Castlevania, than any other game. I know; it's stupid.)

    Rounding out my list, I’d add Sim City (SNES), Grand Theft Auto V, Final Fantasy VIII, Skryim, Street Fighter (pick a number), Super Smash Bros. Melee, The Legend of Zelda: A Link to the Past, and Fable. That makes ten.

    Wait, I can’t stop there. Super Metroid. Chrono Trigger. Rock Band/Guitar Hero. Superbrothers: Sword and Sworcery. Urrrrrrgh! Do you see what you’ve started, Joey???? I’d play all of those games right now, for hours and hours and...

    [Editor's Note: Taz left to boot up his favorite games and wasn't seen or heard from again.]



    Brent
    @TheDude1979

    Well, my list may not be as long as Taz's list is, but I could easily write twice as much when it comes to talking about SOCOM 2. I can't even begin to tell you how much that game impacted my life when it first came out. Not only was it my first true online multiplayer title, but it also allowed many of my friends and family — who had moved away — to "hangout" in cyberspace. The amount of content featured in SOCOM is pretty impressive even by today's standards. It featured a lengthy campaign that included the ability to use voice commands via the headset (which was included with your purchase), and the authenticity and realism of the game was much more grounded than what we see today, in terms of military shooters.

    The online — oh my goodness the ONLINE — was the main attraction to just about anyone that bought the game. It shipped with 22 maps (unheard of today) along with 7 unique and objective-based game modes that really emphasized the importance of teamwork. With developer Zipper Interactive no longer with us, many of us SOCOM vets are coming to terms with the fact that our favorite franchise may never return. Even if that's the case, I will always have the memories of spending hundreds of hours online with my closest friends, talking crap to each other, and playing all night into the early morning. RIP SOCOM.



    Eric
    @bmbnbs

    These are huge questions, bud. Like Ben says below, that's like picking a favorite child. I will say this: My immediate, knee-jerk reaction is to blurt out Bionic Commando on the NES as my all-time favorite game (or if you want to try it yourself but can't, Bionic Commando: ReArmed on PSN and XBLA is a tremendous remake) (additionally, that name could also be RearMed, which always hits my funny bone). The original, though, is the first physics-based, action platformer I've ever played, wherein you aren't able to jump, but can use a bionic arm to swing around from platform to platform, shoot Neo-Nazis (essentially), and travel around a map non-sequentially to complete the game. So good.

    As far as games I can always go back and play/waste a few? Two games shoot to the forefront of my mind: Burnout Paradise and Rock Band. Both are quick to load up and just jump into, and both never seem to get old.



    Ben
    @Piccolo930

    I'm not quite sure I can answer these questions with any sort of definitiveness. In my mind, picking a favorite game is like picking a favorite child or a favorite Short Pause partner; there are too many options that are equally as good as the next (I mean, it's easy to throw Felsing out of the mix, but it becomes more difficult when picking favorites between Eric and Taz). When I think about favorites, Metal Gear Solid immediately comes to mind, in particular, Metal Gear Solid 2: Sons of Liberty. I remember this being such a landmark game at the time. It had this crazy off-the-wall story with these insane, mind-of-Kojima-villains (Fatman!), and it was just so effin' fun to play! The graphics were unbelievable for its time, and the fact that you played as Raiden instead of Snake for the majority of the game was an honestly shocking story twist. The gameplay took the stealth mechanics of the original Metal Gear Solid and bumped it up to the next level, resulting in an engrossing experience that somehow managed to one-up the supremely awesome first series entry. While I still hold a special place inside for the first game's story and villains — quite possibly the best of the entire series — Metal Gear Solid 2 was a sequel that truly felt "next-gen" and it's definitely one of my favorite game experiences ever.

    There are so many more games I can mention here. I remember playing Tony Hawk Pro Skater 3 with my roommates in college for what must have been hours everyday for three months straight. Then there are the long Super Smash Bros. Melee and Brawl sessions that would last into the wee hours of the morning. I spent 200 hours doing and finding everything in Final Fantasy VII, while Pokémon Diamond sapped almost 325 hours out of me when I became obsessed with breeding the ultimate Pokémon. Castlevania: Symphony of the Night is the reason I love "Metroidvania" games. Oh, and I can't forget Super Mario World, Mega Man 2, Resident Evil, Street Fighter (all of them!), Final Fantasy IV, Uncharted, Super Stardust HD, Pixeljunk Eden, and on and on and on and on...

    So yeah, that's my long way of kind-of-answering the question.

    And a special mention to The Last of Us. I'm not sure it's been out long enough to top the "Best of" list yet, but it's quickly making its way up the ranks as the standout game of the previous generation.

    As far as games I can always go back and play, I think Street Fighter is probably the best answer for me. I can always boot up the latest entry in the series (Ultra Street Fighter IV in this case) and have fun going a few rounds. When playing with friends, I can go on playing match after match forever. I've loved fighting games since I was a wee lad, and I have Street Fighter II to thank for that. If I'm watching a match, or start talking about the game with someone else, the first thing I want to do afterwards is fire up the game myself and see if my Ryu can still hold his own.

    There are probably an infinite number of games I could fire up as a time waster to kill a few minutes. Housemarque staples Super Stardust HD, Dead Nation, and Resogun are all great options. Hotline Miami is one I can always jump into at a moment's notice and try to get one more A+. My go-to time waster may very well be Spelunky, though. It stays forever installed on my Vita, and it's something I can always revisit to try and improve my time and ability. I've yet to make a successful Hell run, so this little feat remains on my gaming bucket list.




    Congratulations again to @pixelator and @imperviousAPE, our two podcast give-away winners, and thank you to everyone who answered the call. We hope for this to be the first of many Q & A-styled posts where, if we're not answering your questions right on Twitter or through the podcast, we can still keep an open dialog going and have awesome interactions.

    Short Pause can be found on Twitter, on iTunes and SoundCloud, and loves you very much.