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Episode 15: The Indoor Kids
Beloved Games That We…
The Indoor KidsThe Indoor Kids

The Indoor Kids #15: Beloved Games That We Behate (With Stephen Johnson)

G4’s Stephen Johnson (Feedback) comes over to tell us about playing video games for a living, and the weird artscience of reviewing video games. Then we get into a discussion of games that everyone loves but we hate. We bare our souls here people. We expect the trolling to begin immediately.

Follow @steveajohnson, @kumailn, and @thegynomite on Twitter!

And email us at [email protected]!

Special thanks to Carvin for supplying us with the equipment we need to record this podcast! Check out for more information on recording equipment, guitars, amps and more!

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  1. Jeff says:

    I remain convinced that I am the only person in the world to totally hate Okami. That is the only game that, while playing it, I’ve fallen asleep twice.

  2. Adam says:

    I’d like to make a confession: I never liked Sonic the Hedgehog. I thought I did, but that was because it was my very first video game. I’m sorry Sonic, you’re just not good for me.

  3. Gwif says:

    Thanks for expressing some of my frustration. I also get annoyed with cutscenes and ads for video games that don’t show gameplay.

    But what really pisses me off is a cutscene that you can’t skip over. That makes me want to smack the game designers. How hard is it to let people hit a button and skip it? Especially the ones where you have to wait while it’s loading…………. . . . . . . . . . only to wait some more while it plays, and then wait some more while the next level loads. HULK SMASH ANGRY MAD!

  4. Matt Gr says:

    To Emily,

    Emily, I thoroughly enjoy you and your Husband’s podcast.
    But don’t take to the soap box about racism and sexism in video games, simply stop. You compared to Final Fantasy to a current meme called “It Get’s Better” which addresses the duress of young gay people, and said that it doesn’t and followed it up with “It Doesn’t” and suggested people kill themselves. Cheap joke, but I laughed because it is funny, a joke, and entertainment. Which I acknowledge. Why don’t you do the same when addressing and analyzing games. No? Fine, I tried.

    – MG

  5. Mr.Busta says:

    By the way I think the mini episodes should be called “Bonus Content” in honor of the think you’ve spent your time complaining about, and the fact that you don’t charge for it 😉

  6. Mr.Busta says:

    Hi, Im very glad I found this podcast after I heard Kumail on the Adam Carolla show. I must say that Kumail spoke to me because I also am an immigrant that loves games, I also live in LA, and I also co-host a video games podcast called “The Patriotcast”.
    I LOVE the MGS series! There I said it! I’ve also been playing Assassin’s Creed and I LOVE climbing buildings and jumping backwards and upwards! Thanks for your time guys and keep doing the same great job you do!

  7. Matt Vee says:

    I also have to add that ‘Bro Games’ as a genre definition is inspired!

  8. Matt Vee says:

    I’ve been giving more thought to Kumail’s aversion to RPGs. I wholeheartedly agree with BluShine’s hypothesis that without a D&D background, users can be missing a fundamental first lesson. I also wonder if gamers who are raised solely on consoles, and didn’t play a lot of computer games, would have the same problem?

    Zelda is called the “first console RPG” but it doesn’t use any of the stats or levelling I associate with an RPG. I grew up playing games like Bard’s Tale on the C64 which game me a good basis of understanding on how stats relate to actions and classes.

    When starting a new game of Fallout, KOTOR, or Deus Ex, it’s important to have an idea of how you’re going to play (Melee, Tank, Ranged, Magic) and knowing what stats will benefit that role. If you don’t know what you’re doing, you’d set your STR stat at 9, AGL and DEX at 2, and then not know why all the guns suck and no one will die.

    Taking that one step further, gamers who want to skip the character creation parts all together (X, X, X, X…) and get straight to the killing will also find themselves unprepared for the wasteland/republic/alternate future.

  9. Tiffany says:

    Catherine was such a weird game. I loved it so much. It’s definitely not for everyone and I can’t think of a single person I know who would truly enjoy it, but it managed to hit all the right buttons for me.

    FFXIII was definitely polarizing. There were people who hated the linear part and liked it better once it got past the point where the world opened up and became more like what you’d expect from an FF game; I believe that was what you were referring to during the podcast. Then there were others who liked the linear part and hated it later on. I didn’t really like that both elements were there; if it had gone either completely linear or completely open, I probably would have preferred that. All that said, I thought the plot was OK, I really liked the battle system, I spent way too many hours playing it and I’m planning on spending many more hours on its sequel.

  10. K2theM says:

    My “Shoe” game is Gears of War. I played the first one a bit, and watched friends play #2, but I could never get past the character design. It’s an odd thing to get hung up on, but it gets to me. I also never really got the hang of a third person shooter till I played Dead Space.

    I also never got into the COD games. I didn’t like the Iron Sight mechanic. I know it’s considered “more real” to do it that way, but I didn’t like spending 90% of the game looking at half the world and half the butt end of a gun.

    As for the KoToR thing: don’t feel bad about not getting into it. All the Bioware games take at least 2-3 hours before they get any good. They all have wonderful and engaging stories (the twist near the end of KoToR is one of the best) but require more time and focus to really enjoy than the average game. This is probably also the game you missed out on as far as understanding leveling in concerned. As BlueShine mentions above most RPG games are based off Dungeons and Dragons in some respect. KOTOR was the game that really made all of that stuff click to me because you can’t level everything to the max by the end of the game. Some skills you couldn’t even learn if you didn’t have the prerequisites from the beginning of the game or were willing to severely sacrifice leveling in other areas. Mass Effect (1) did this as well.

    Deus Ex is more like Mass Effect 2 where you can more or less max out (or achieve high levels in) all the available skills by the end of the game. The strategy with these types of games is more about “what order do I level in?” as opposed to “Do I want to Intimidate, or Charm? Do I want to jump in guns blazing, or Sneak up from behind?”

  11. Kierstyn says:

    I did a soda-spray for the comment about not knowing how to use the different weapons in Call of Duty! That was *so* me!

    I’m not really a shooter player – the Civ series is more my milieu… but some friends invited me to a call of duty party, and I went. And then I proceeded to spend the entire time trying tos neak up on people and stab them in the head with the knife, because I couldn’t get the hang of the complex controllers! I’m a PC and Wii girl – the 56 buttons and two thumbsticks were a bit too much for me.

    Too funny, folks – that comment made my day!

  12. Kumail Nanjiani says:

    Thanks for listening everyone! Glad you guys enjoyed it.

    Morgan Sess. That is actually a good analogy. I play NBA 2k My Player mode, so maybe I should approach rpg’s with a similar mentality.

    BluShine. Wow. That is tremendously helpful. No one had ever actually sat me down and told me that stuff. Goes a long way in demystifying these games for me.

    Rob O. I am obviously not against intelligence in games. But CoD seems like a dumb guy who keeps yelling “I am smart!” while using big words. Examples of games that are genuinely smart without trying too hard would be Portal or the Arkham games. The quotes in CoD do not reflect the way the game is played at all. If it was a strategy game where you decided whether or not to go to war, the quotes would work. But there is a huge disconnect between the high falutin’ quotes and the gameplay. To me, it seems like they are thrown in there just so they can claim to be dealing with issues of war responsibly. Hope that explains my opinions on these games better.

    And thanks again everyone! We actually recorded a mini-podcast also, which I think we will be debuting tomorrow. We realized that people wanted to hear more about current games and news, so we decided to do sort of a review bonus ep where we review Ico and talk about some DLC issues. If you guys are interested in this kind of thing, we’ll try and do them as often as we can. I definitely wanna do a 10 minute in depth review of Gears of War 3 and Arkham City in the very near future, and these mini-sodes may be a good way to do it.

    Thanks again everyone!


  13. Spraynard says:

    Do not read the rest of this comment if you don’t want to get bummed out. It’s strictly informative.

    “I don’t think troops in Iraq are looting their opponents… Oh I’ll just take your kalashnikov…”

    I hate that you’re wrong.

    Someone I know and trust who served as an officer in Iraq told me his troops would often loot AK 47s off terrorists. What would they do with them? If they shot someone who turned out to be unarmed, or someone they just felt like murdering, they’d throw an AK on their corpse and say “Oh, he was going to shoot me.”

    And of course, anyone who’s seen Band of Brothers knows there’s a long tradition of soldiers taking pistols as trophies. I doubt that’s still allowed, though, unless you’re President Bush and you keep Saddam Hussein’s pistol in a display case in your house.

  14. Robbie Keizer says:

    @Rob P Yeah I do like Rose but I’m bit more of a Dart fan myself.

    Also want to point out that this was a great podcast, its about time some gets the message across that everybody has a opinion about what games they like and what they don’t. Cause frankly I’m getting sick of hearing about how the really big franchises like COD and other “Bro” games are always being worshipped like as if a reglion or something and they feel the need to say, “Oh your so stupid Assassin’s Creed is like so gay” blah blah blah…..

    Have you played the game? Did at least rent or play it at a friends to see for yourself if you like it? No? Then STFU, because COD isn’t as great as you might think either ‘BRO’. No game really is its just matter of perspective is all as well what your into with video games and what not into.

    So yeah great podcast, keep them coming @Kumail & @Emily they’re always fun to listen to 🙂

  15. Tom L. says:

    The sub-plot with Leo’s wife was the only thing I couldn’t get behind in Inception. I mean, how could you mistake a world of your own creation that could turn in to a James Bond movie just as easily as it could explode around you for reality? It felt like a lot of unnecessary nonsense dragging down what was otherwise an intense scifi-heist.

    As for Deadly Premonition: it’s f-in’ nuts. It has a lot in common with Alan Wake in that it’s pretty heavily inspired by Twin Peaks– though, where Alan Wake is an homage, Deadly Premonition is a ripoff (only at face value, though).

    It’s probably the craziest game I’ve ever experienced. The main character is constantly breaking the 4th wall and all of the other characters see and hear it, but don’t seem to find it strange. And why would they? Everyone else in the game is insane, too.

    The sheer awfulness of every element makes the game difficult to describe without turning people off to it, but I do feel it makes that rare circuit from “awful” to “so awful it’s amazing.”

    It’s sort of like if a Japanese Tommy Wiseau decided to make a PS2 adaptation of Twin Peaks.

  16. Rob O. says:

    A few episodes back, some game that I can’t remember (or maybe you were generalizing), was brought up and essentially condemned for featuring large-breasted women and then you went on to say how games (or this game) was much better than that; you also touched on how games are and have been evolving to provide us with more beyond just flashing lights and button pressing.

    And now you call Call of Duty “pretentious” for trying to round out their game with the occassional quote?

    Com’ on Indoor Kids podcast. You’re better than that.

  17. 220games says:

    kids are mostly like this type of games. In this games are playing by indoor kids. so children’s are playing this games at inside the home. so they won’t go to outside.


  18. Vincent S says:

    Always thought Stephen Johnson was the fun-est (or one of the better writers) in G4. Good job on getting a non-comedian (is Carlos Ferro a comedian?)! :P. Mind getting more G4 staff on your podcast?

    If this podcast was an ice cream flavour, it would be Rocky Road because Kumail is brown and Emily’s a marshmellow… no. But I bet they’d taste as great… no. You guys have to be kept frozen? Maybe? But I love Rocky Road and this podcast… no.

  19. Ian Prettyman says:

    Big ups to Dr. Phibes!

  20. BluShine says:

    Kumail talks about the “thing that he missed” that introduces you to all the RPG concepts. That thing is Dungeons & Dragons. Most games follow the D&D formula to some degree, and the bad thing about this is that the D&D formula is complex. But, I’ll try to condense it for you.
    First, everything is about classes. Even in a game like Fallout, there’s certain play-styles that the developers build the game around. Everything from Elder Scrolls, to Fallout, to Borderlands, even Pokemon to some extent is built for these classes. The class list can vary a bit, but here’s how it generally works:

    Warrior: Put points into stats called things like “strength”, “defense”, “fortitude”, and get skills like “rage”,” smash”, etc. Use the biggest melee weapon you can find. Run up to things and smash them until they stop moving.

    Rogue: Put points into stuff like “charisma”, “dexterity”, “sneak”, “stealth”, “speech”, and get skills like “lockpick”, etc. Use a dagger or a silenced pistol. Hide and back-stab things.

    Archer/Ranger/Sniper: Put points into things like “dexterity”, “speed”, “accuracy”,and probably some other stuff, and get skills like “snipe”, “haste”, etc. Use a bow, a sniper rifle, or something similar. Find high places and try to kill stuff before it gets close to you.

    Anything else is just a variation of those. Wizards are just Archers with less HP and more skills. Monks are Warriors with no weapons and more skills. Tanks/Heavies are warriors with more HP and less skills. Medics/Clerics are a bit of a wild card in that they can be any of those three, plus healing.

  21. Justin says:

    I agree about the soccer games. Don’t like soccer or tennis really, but like playing the games. Sometimes sports games or movies get me more into the sport than the sports themselves do.

  22. TeriyakiUnknown says:

    Cant wait to listen and be severly upset when I found out games you guys dont like

  23. Amy D. says:

    I had the same moment in Fallout 3. Damn cockroaches, killing my interest.

  24. Livius says:

    My shoe moments always happen with Valve games(except Portal)
    I still haven’t finished Portal 2, been to busy with Fallout:NV.

    I totally understand what you mean with Knights of the Old Republic Kumail. I got a fer hours into that game hope it would get better than stopped.
    As for Alan Wake, I think I got to chapter 4.
    I never finished Gears 2. The only reason I played was for co-op with a friend and we got to the part where you go underground.
    Final Fantasy XIII made me regret buying it. I’m really tired of the old RPG formula they keep rehashing. The way it blurs when you touch an enemy and goes into a battle system. With all the completion screens and ratings after each battle. It has me lloking forward to Versus XIII where its streamlined action like Kingdom Hearts.

    I really enjoyed this episode. Keep it up.

  25. Rob P says:

    @Robbie Keizer

    its an amazing game the more you play it the more it gets .
    if FFXIII did not exist that would be my favorite RPG of all time .
    Rose is the best huh?

  26. Rob P says:

    Ben Z
    I KNOW! it would be so awesome but pff i think we would need to wait a while for that one .

  27. sam says:

    I am also not partial to Halo’s storyline in any way. I just enjoy shooting the bad guys.

  28. sam says:

    Speaking of polarizing games, I’d say Dead Island is one.
    I kinda love it but I also realize I am very tolerant of it. Stephen’s issue with Left 4 Dead (the zombies regenerate) is one of several issues that I just put up with while playing Dead Island.
    My other gripe is that all the zombies level up with you. I never really feel like I’m getting any more powerful because the shitty zombies I took care of earlier with a broken stick are now badass zombies that need my brand new badass weapons to kill.

  29. Max G. says:

    Another great episode. I am with you guys. There are so many different things that I hate that people love and you know what, it is okay. It’s okay to feel the way that we feel and it’s okay to say what exactly we feel. If people don’t like it, well that is too bad. It is our opinion but if they want to be mean assholes about it, well then I say to them to, “Go Frak Yourself”.

  30. Bobby G says:

    My “shoe moment” for a game is Rage.

  31. Robbie Keizer says:

    @Rob P I literally have been playing Legand of Dragoon for like the past two weeks now, I wnet got at a video store that has tons of old games and movies.

  32. Pat says:


  33. Morgan Sess says:

    @Kumail If you think about it the “Be a Pro” features in sports games have RPG element to it.

    I’m not a big RPG’s fan but the only RPG game I really like was Vagrant Story, seriously it’s the best RPG ever made.

  34. Ben Z says:

    @Rob P
    I still want Sony to make another Legend of Dragoon.

  35. Rob P says:

    regarding FFXIII i loved the gameplay but i missed the open world , that is the main reason i love rpgs and its the one thing this game was missing .

    @Kumail if you ever have time for an RPG there is one called
    legends of dragoon / since you love dragons try that one out for PSX you will like the story and as far as power up you get a freaking dragon armor! its awesome atleast watch a gameplay or trailler for it.

  36. Ben Z says:

    I completely agree that Alan Wake was just kind of “blah.” It started out kind of cool, but it just got repetitive and boring. Maybe my hopes were too high.

    If you don’t like Star Wars, why did you play KoTOR?

  37. Liam says:

    I’m not trying to troll you guys I really “wubwubwub” this podcast since day 1, I know Emily & Kumail was not trying to offend anyone but the Final Fantasy “it gets better” joke was a little awkward to listen to. I’m a fan of “comedic rough housing” but for some reason I didn’t like that part.

    I really like this ep just have it was really fun to listen to a guess who works in game journalism & I liked the “shoe game” & the “bro games” discussion.

  38. Kevin says:

    Kumail, how do you not like KoTOR or Star Wars? KoTOR is such a good game.

  39. I love the idea of “a shoe moment” where, as Emily says, you’re just like “fuck this game” and move on. I’ve had several of those — the one that jumps to mind right now was in King Kong on the Xbox 360, a few years ago. I was already annoyed from running out of ammo repeatedly, and because of this I had to repeat a section a couple of times, and on the third try the game scaled the number and difficulty of the enemies down in a pity gesture. That felt tremendously insulting to me, and I turned the game off, and have never touched it since.

  40. Livius says:

    Downloading now.
    Looking forward to another great podcast.