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AE 417 – Interview: Hipster Coffee, Craft Beers, & the Holden-Ford Rivalry in Australia with James BuchanBy pete — 1 year ago
AE 417 – Interview: Hipster Coffee, Craft Beers, & the Holden-Ford Rivalry in Australia with James Buchan
G’day, guys! Welcome to this episode of Aussie English! Today’s an interview episode. I have some company today, because… you might be able to hear him in the background. I am currently living in Canberra and we managed to find a place to live with some friends for the first month or so, because they were going overseas. They needed someone to take care of their dogs. So, we’re in their house at the moment, but man, their dogs… They’re beautiful animals, but Jack, one of them, is really neurotic. He needs a lot of attention. He does not like to be on his own. So, any time I try and go and do anything on my own, such as record the introduction to a podcast, Jack comes with me, and he’s currently sitting on the couch, pressed up against me, resting. So, hopefully he doesn’t make too much noise, I guess, we’ll see, but yeah this is the first podcast I’ve done with a small dog next to me.
So, anyway, guys! Welcome to The Aussie English podcast, the number one podcast for anyone and everyone learning Australian English. It also obviously helps with English in general, but Australian English is the main focus here.
Today, I have a really good episode for you, guys. I sit down again with my mate James, James Buchan. He has been on the podcast at least two other times chatting about cars, which is probably… yeah, it would be his biggest hobby. He’s a massive rev head. Loves his cars. And today we talk about a few different things before we get onto cars, including coffee culture in Australia and how that has changed over recent years, I guess, maybe the last decade or two that we’ve at least experienced it as people in our 30s. We chat a little bit about beer and craft beers as well and these microbreweries that are popping up all over the place. There’s loads of different microbrewery beers that you can buy now that are sort of made in small batches in very sort of localised places that you won’t find everywhere in Australia, let alone overseas. So, we talk about that. And then, we get on to the rivalry between Ford and Holden. So, this is one of the biggest rivalries that doesn’t involve, I guess, a ball sport in Australia, and this one, unlike AFL and rugby, this one tends to be nation-wide. So, everyone in Australia in all locations tends to have a preference for either Ford or Holden, ok? So, we’ll get into that, guys, and talk a bit about the racing of V8s that is common in Australia and a bit of a pastime that lots of Australians like, and… yeah! We just shoot the shit, guys. We have a chat, pretty informal, sit back, guys, it’s about half an hour, and I hope you enjoy it.
So, anyway without any further ado, let’s get into it, guys! James, take it away!
Alright. Welcome back to the Aussie English Podcast, Jimmy.
Thanks, Pete! Good to be back.
Got a beer here for each of us. Open those puppies up.
Love a beer. Thank you.
So, you wanted the IPA.
I’ll have the IPA.
I’ll have the Summer Ale. Cheers!
Alright. So, I got you back today to chat about selling cars in Australia, and I guess we can chat about a few other things as well. ‘Cause you’ve been…You love driving around, don’t you?
Yeah, yeah. I’ve done a fair bit of it the other day. So… it’s good fun.
Maybe we can start with that. So, you live down in Geelong. I’m about to live down in Geelong. So, we live down in Geelong. We grew up here. Down this side of the coast, which I guess is the south west side of the… of Port Phillip Bay, what are the interesting tourist attractions down here, the sites that you can go to that are within, you know, a day’s drive or are a day’s trip?
Not so much locally within the center of Geelong itself, but out from Geelong you’ve got….you’ve got the You Yangs or I guess if you head down the coast, you’ve got Ocean Grove, Barwon Heads, Queenscliff. You take the ferry over, you can get over to Sorento.
And that’s on the other side of the bay.
That’s on the other side of the bay. Or you can go down The Great Ocean Road. You can go down as far as Apollo Bay or keep on going see the Twelve Apostles if you wanted.
How would you describe the towns down here? Barwon Heads, Ocean Grove, Point Lonsdale, Torquay. What do you like about them?
They’re funny because in winter they’re pretty quiet. They’re just little seaside towns and you just got the people who live there year-round. But as soon as it gets to summertime it just… the tourists, they come from everywhere.
It freaking explodes.
It freaking explodes, yeah.
And it’s really busy. It seems like there’s a lot of rental houses and the population doubles. But it’s good, though. A lot of people around.
We grew up here. I think Dad used to tell me he was like, “We used to holiday down here”, when it was probably the 60s maybe the 70s that they were coming down to Ocean Grove and it was a swamp.
Which is what I can look over my parents’ house currently and there’s a wetlands down there, and I think that the wetlands is probably a few acres of fenced off lake and surrounding bush that’s probably all that’s left of the swamp.
And if it wasn’t there, there’d be houses.
Exactly, well that’s it. And at the time when dad was coming down he was saying there were only a handful of houses on the terrace, the main strip, of Ocean Grove here.
That seems hard to believe.
And nowadays, it’s probably what, 20-30,000 full time inhabitants?
And then in summer it probably goes to maybe now upwards of 70,000.
Yeah, that would not be a joke.
It’d double or triple.
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And even on the way down you’re seeing all of these new housing estates being built. That’s the same when you head down to say Torquay, you’re seeing like Warralilly and all of these different subdivisions and estates being built. I guess, my issue with them is they don’t have a heap of trees and a lot of greenness. And I like that. So, yeah and that’s one of the good things about getting out of Geelong and, I guess, going for a walk or drive is that you get to see some of that.
So, what would you suggest people do? If they come to this seaside towns. What’s a nice day out? If you come to Ocean Grove or Barwon Heads.
What I would do is probably park the car somewhere. I’d find…
It’s free parking, by the way. Free parking, guys. We are out of the city.
So, I’d pick a good day, make sure the weather’s alright, and then I’d find a good park somewhere and either go for a walk or get fish and chips, grab an ice cream. If the weather’s good enough you could go for a swim or if you’ve got like sort of like a boogie board, I don’t know what another term for those are, but like, you know.
These are those thin foam or rubber boards that are kind of rectangular in shape, but the tip would taper in, right?
Almost pointy, but not really.
And you can ride waves on your belly.
Yeah. It’s like surfing, but not quite as…
It’s a little easier.
It’s a little easier.
You don’t have to worry about standing up.
Exactly. Yeah, no that’s a good… They’re generally pretty good things to do. It’s just a pretty cruisy kind of atmosphere you just sort of wander around, chill out, get food, relax.
I know, that’s it. And the coffee culture is really coming down here now and the last 5 or 10 years from Melbourne.
It has. Yeah. It’s sort of slowly started to seep down from Melbourne, hasn’t it? It’s almost impossible now to get a bad coffee within Melbourne, Geelong, Barwon Heads, Ocean Grove, Queenscliff.
Yeah, you almost have to go out of your way and hunt down the worst coffee.
You do. That sounds like something I should try at some point.
Where can we get the worst coffee in Ocean Grove or down the coast here? Yeah, that’s it. It’s really funny how that’s become such a cultural thing of café culture all over Australia, not just in Melbourne CBD, but out in the surf coast here. I’m sure it’s bleeding or seeping into the average as well.
Have Australians become coffee snobs?
The standards have just been raised.
The standards have been raised. Well, that’s it. I was in Europe a couple of years ago, driving through Austria, and we stopped at this little roadside, you know, restaurant kind of little thing, and they had the waitresses and the waiters, and they were dressed in the typical kind of German-Austrian kind of outfits, and they brought us these cups of coffee, and they were just awful. And my hopes were really quite high and the expectation was… and I thought, has Australian coffee ruined me? I think it has.
I think is one of those things, though, where…there must’ve been, you know, one café or a small group of cafés that popped up all of a sudden, that just that combination of whatever it is that makes a good coffee nailed. They got it right. And then all of a sudden, people went there and were like, “I can do this!”.
This is really good.
“It’s awesome and I can do this!”. And they’ve just slowly just migrated out and it’s just spread everywhere. And it’s happening before our eyes. I’m sure you could still go into some pretty rural areas in Outback Australia.
And still get a decent coffee.
Or a bad one.
As well as maybe a good one, but I think you’d still be able to find average ones, where there’s just not the consumer culture. But the funny thing is the tourist attractions probably a really good coffee now too.
Like Uluru, in the middle of the… smack bang in the middle of Australia probably has good coffee.
They built an airport there. It makes sense that they have good coffee there too.
I know, that’s just amazing. It’s so funny that Australia has become such a coffee cultured nation. It’s really bizarre, isn’t it? When you think about out of all the world…
You don’t associate Australia with being, you know, amazing with coffee.
I guess another thing to talk about is the beer.
Yeah, I mean, that’s something that…
That’s only come up recently too, hasn’t it?
Only really come up recently.
All of these… what do you call them? Microbreweries.
Microbreweries, craft beers. I mean, if I want to sort of put them down a bit, you’d call them “hipster beers”. But there just seemed to be several years ago not much choice. You had VB, Carlton Draught. If you were in Queensland it might have been XXXX. And then all of a sudden, people started to, much like the coffee, think, “Hang on a tick!”, you know, “We can make our own!”, or… and again it’s just exploded. There’s just so much more choice. It’s not just beers it’s ciders as well.
I think it’s the hipster culture too that just bled into the entire nation with regards to these kind of small products that are home-grown home-made, you know, it was literally one man and his dog who found this thing and it turned it into something that could be consumed, that people almost never stray away from the really mainstream.
Yeah that’s it!
The big products no one wants the common stuff that everyone has.
It’s seen as untrendy.
They all want to be hipsters who bring the beer that no one’s heard of.
Or have the coffee that no one’s ever tasted. It’s so true!
I’ve went to a friend’s house recently and we were sort of joking about the beer a little bit, and it’s really weird. His brother loves VB, loves it.
They are a dying breed, aren’t they?
They are a dying breed.
People who stand by VB.
And I went to his house, and I said to him, “Oh, so what would you do if I brought VB?” And he said, “well it would probably sit in my fridge for a long time and not actually get drunk”. He said “I would actually prefer to turn up to someone’s house empty handed and than come round bearing VB as a gift for them.”.
It is an insult!
It was an insult!
That’d be like bringing ground, free ground coffee to a coffee connoisseur’s house.
Nescafé Blend 43.
Yeah that’s it. My grandfather was like that at Christmas he drinks a beer every now and then mainly wine, but he had all those VBs and he didn’t know where they’d come from and he was like, “They’re out because I want you guys to drink and get rid of them. I’m not going to have them”.
I was like well, I guess, I’ll have it. bBut it’s… Yeah, VB and Carlton Draught and XXXX, how would you explain them? They’re the most popular beers. Probably just ’cause they’re the most banal, like just really lacking in any kind of complexity or taste. You can drink them like water.
You can, they’re not a high strength alcohol. So, you won’t really get hammered off them, unless you drink a lot. They don’t have a huge amount of flavour. They’re not really light like a Corona. So, they’re just sort of in no man’s land. They do almost nothing for me. I’d rather have a glass of water or lemonade. And I guess, why a lot of people don’t like them as well is they’re owned by, you know, these big corporations like Carlton Draught, and I think that’s owned by like SAB Miller or something. So, a big multinational (company).
It is so funny that just that culture, I guess, too of Australia are just going towards the small guys, you know, wanting to support locals. I mean, I don’t know where this is… What’s this? John Boston beer, Australia’s first brewer 1796. Holy Moly.
But there’s some other beer that I’ve seen recently, and we went out to a pub in Queenscliff, you, me, Quel recently, and the beers we got were were made in Queenscliff.
Yeah, that’s right.
And I think I saw them when I was like, “Oh, yeah! Hell yeah! I’ll get those.”
One, I’d never had them. Two, they were made in this small town.
Exactly. It’s a good thing to support, like, a local business. I think especially in Geelong too, because over the last say 15, 20 years Geelong’s, I guess, manufacturing or employment scene has changed a lot. We had Qantas. They serviced the jumbo jets here. We had Shell, the refinery. We had Ford. They built cars here. And that’s all just disappeared. So, for someone to sort of set up their own brewery and Queenscliff and, you know, do something that’s, you know, is sort of handcrafted, that’s pretty cool
We need to start waiting for people to start making their own cars in their garage and selling them, you know, making one a year and selling their own cars.
I’ve always thought that would be pretty cool.
So, talk a little bit about what happened with Ford? Well, in Geelong. So, Ford was one of the biggest employers…
…Of people down here in Geelong. And Ford is probably Australia’s equal most or most popular brand company, brand of car. And so, what happened recently with that?
Well. I guess there were a lot of things. You could talk about the politics. The Australian Government not really wanting to put funding into Ford and Holden. So, you have local car manufacturers.
So, they saw that they were sinking? At least locally.
Yeah and I think from a really, really, really long-term perspective, we had a huge amount of car manufacturers or cars that were locally made in Australia. We had Mercedes.
Oh, really? They were made here?
We had Mercedes made here. We had Leylands, like Rovers and all of that kind of stuff.
Where they British?
They were British. We had Nissan, used to make the skyline here.
We had… we had all sorts of stuff that was made here. You know? You had the Mitsubishi Sigma, which then turned into the Magna. That was made here as well. You had all of these Chrysler products. And I guess, the writing was on the wall for a really, really long time, because…
During this time too, sorry to interrupt you, was probably that we had a larger part of our population working in factories, right? And doing labor jobs like that, because it was still affordable to purchase products that were made in Australia.
That’s right. And due to economics, due to politics… I guess… and I guess the more manufacturers that start pulling out, because they just don’t find it profitable, a lot of like the small supply chains that support these manufacturers they can’t sustain only producing for maybe one or two brands, and it just becomes unsustainable, and I guess, that’s really what sort of happened with Ford. There’s so many different little pieces to the puzzle, but effectively the writing was on the wall.
That was not sustainable. I think also with couple of the Ford engines they had emissions regulations that they needed to meet, and if they wanted to meet these new stringent emissions regulations, they would’ve had to have redesigned the engine. And I guess, for a company that only was producing for Australia the Australian market and not a worldwide market, it was really hard to justify, and perhaps when they were initially developing the certain car platforms, perhaps they should have developed it to be left hand drive as well, so it could have been exported. I know Holden did with some of their cars. Hindsight, the benefit of hindsight, should’ve, would’ve, could’ve. Anyway, that’s yeah, Ford finished up.
So, they were the last two big ones, right?
Ford with the last two factories or brands in Australia of car to be made here, manufactured here in Australia.
When did they close?
So, Holden produced their last car in October, 2017, or thereabouts.
So, that was this year, yeah?
That was this year. And Ford finished up, I think it was like a year or so before. Toyota finished also in October this year. So, I’ve got a colleague at work and her husband had just finished up at Toyota. So, I think he’s trying to switch his career to being an electrician, and have put a lot of people out of work, but then, I guess, if we switch it back to beers, you know, there’s a lot of people that have been… that did have other skills, that moved into perhaps one of their hobbies and were able to make a job out of it. So…
I guess, that’s one of the really good things about microbreweries or just that culture of, you know, people at home making something small time and getting it out there is a small-time business. It is really cool that they can do that as a living, and it is good that you don’t rely on companies like Ford or Holden that could go bust and leave you in the dark.
That’s right. And I guess, I mean, not that I… I don’t really blame some of these workers that have suddenly found themselves out of jobs, but I guess, the writing was on the wall for a long time with all of these manufacturers slowly over the years that were starting to finish up, and it slowly started to dry up. You probably could see what was going to happen. And the government was less and less interested to providing assistance for these car manufacturers. And as Australians I guess we also got a lot of choice with the cars that we have. I think we have almost more than any other country in the world in terms of new cars for sale.
Tell us about that. Did we talk about that in the last podcast? What are the different brands that are in Australia?
We might have done. We’ve got like 66 different brands. And so, I think as a country, we’ve just pretty much switched to an all importing country now, because such a small population of just didn’t really make financial sense to have car manufacturing located here.
For a population of only 22 million or so. So, yeah. That’s not necessarily a bad thing, I guess. We’ve got a lot of choice.
Too, does the fact that we have such big distances between cities and tourist attractions, has that affected the kinds of cars that you find in Australia, compared to places that are smaller countries like Britain?
I would say it certainly has. I mean, that’s what the Holden Commodores and the Ford Falcons have sort of marketed as. You know, they were developed here in Australia to cover big long distances. And I know when you go into the centre of Melbourne these days, if you go to the centre of Melbourne or Sydney, you will find a lot of small little cars. But I do know that, you know, when you go into the Outback, for instance, or you go to rural regional towns, we went to this little town called Hay, which is sort of in the centre of New South Wales a year or two ago.
And there was always that joke of “Hey, it’s Hay.”.
Exactly. And it was just full of Land Cruisers.
Literally, every second car was a Land cCruiser, and you can’t really blame them.
So yeah, like… That was the thing that, I guess, I came to be aware of, maybe in my teens, once I was thinking about cars and thinking about purchasing cars, was that Holden and Ford were uniquely in Australia, and that the cars that Holden and Ford made, or least Holden and Ford that were in Australia, the cars they made were uniquely here and you didn’t see them overseas or at least when they were exporting overseas they were kind of rebadged and sold in a different manner. Why were they so unique in Australia the way that they were? Why was that cultural difference with those cars and the requirements so different from say America?
We just… we have a big country. We liked a big roomy car. We like to drive… we still do, we like to drive long distances. And we had, at the time, I guess, you were talking about, you know, the labour force as well. So, it was economical to build and design a car here. And I guess, the Commodore, at least, originally started as a German car. I think it was like an Opel.
An Opel of some sort. And they brought it to Australia. They did some testing with it and it broke in half.
How did it break in half?
Our country just broke it. The Australian Outback. The roads, they were too rough. They were… There were too many stone, sand, dirt. You got in the car, it just broke in half. So, Holden, which I think was owned by General Motors at the time, economically it was viable at that point and they decided to redesign the Commodore for Australian conditions.
Can you talk about the Commodore and the Falcon? What exactly are those two and how are they rivals? Why did they become rivals?
They became rivals, I guess…
So, and, to put that in context, the Commodore is a type of car that is made by Holden, and the Falcon is effectively the equivalent type of car made by Ford.
This is this like entrenched competitive team, right? You’re in… you’re on one or the other. There don’t tend to be many people who care about cars and like them both.
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I was one of those people once.
So was I. I always went Holden. Love Holdens.
Me too. And now, I’m completely indifferent. I can see the merits of both of them.
The funniest thing is that for me, I guess, before we get into the nitty gritty, is that they were the same… it was the same shit. Like, it looked exactly the same effectively, but just had different badges.
The features were all the same. They were literally rip offs of one another, or you know, the same, twin brothers, that were non-identical twin brother.
Yeah, right, exactly. They drove the same. They looked the same. They had roughly the same size engines. But I guess, it’s like a football team, to put it as a British reference, for Arsenal and Manchester United, you know. You’re either one or the other. You can’t support them both. And you know every year, I think it was around October, you’d get Holden and Ford supporters, they’d go up to Bathurst, which is in New South Wales, and they’d drink a huge amount of beer or wine, they’d get absolutely messed up, they’d possibly start a fight and they’d be…
And what was Bathurst, though, for the context of listeners?
It’s a car race. So, much that the Grand Final or anything like that.
Is like Australia’s Formula One, right? But it’s in these bogan mobiles.
These taxis that were never really designed for out and out racing.
Souped up taxis.
And I can talk a little bit about that in a moment, but they would go up there they would drink an enormous amount of beer and they would these cars around and around and around for about seven hours. And so, it was a real endurance race and…
It was just like Australia’s… just, yeah, I guess, it’s our version of car racing was just Bathurst, right? Like, we didn’t really focus too much on rallying or the Formula 1 stuff. It was at least for the average battler working-class Australian…
They… it was something that they could relate to, despite the fact that if we gloss over in these later years these cars they were nothing like the cars you could go into a showroom and buy. They were tubular frames. They had hundreds of thousands of dollars worth of equipment, and they were nothing like what you…
So, what, they just had to look like it?
They just had to look like it
So, they had the casing, the shell, of a Commodore or Falcon.
But effectively, they were nothing like it at all.
And how did the rules work? Because, that race only had those two cars, right? Just had sedan Commodores or it just had sedan Falcons, and it was just those two cars.
And I guess it worked for a long period of time.
Was that the rule, though? There were no other cars allowed?
Initially, it wasn’t. We used to have the Minis, we used to have some Jaguars, we had BMW. Ford brought out this year a Cosworth from the UK. And then this and decided to bring out their Skyline GTR. And that was already, you know, that was dominating in Japan with their touring car kind of scene over there, and they brought it to Australia. It was sort of developed, I guess, in Adelaide, and I think they called it… Gibson Motorsport was the company that developed it, and they gave it a weight penalty to try and make sure that it would be somewhat competitive with all the other cars.
So, what’s a weight penalty exactly?
So, what they did was they added weight to the car to make it heavier so that it would be viewed as comparable as the other cars that were racing around Bathrust at the time.
So, how has that done exactly?
They would put… I don’t know whether it was lead or quite what they would do. I don’t think it was concrete, but they would add ballast to the car, and they would put it in certain areas hoping that that would slow the car down, because it was more momentum that it had to carry around.
Just to handicap it to make it even.
But the Skyline was twin turbo. It was all wheel drive, and…
It was just… it was not an even race, it’s going to like having you know camels vs. horses and maybe putting weight on the horses to make it even in it’s like, they’re just different animals.
Exactly. And I mean, when you think about it, one of the cars… the Commodores and the Falcons, at that point, they were still sort of loosely based on a road car, you know, designed for touring around the country with a family and a big boot full of, you know, gear and…
Do you think that was the appeal, then? The fact that that people who were just everyday Australian battlers, like…
Absolutely, that was the appeal.
…working collar dudes, just blue-collar workers, would be able to go to the race track and see their car.
Racing Holden and Ford
That they thought “Yeah, that’s me! That’s me!”. And there was this mantra that was called “Win on Sunday, sell on Monday.”. So, what would happen, they used to sell a lot of them, if the companies, Holden or Ford, won, they would sell a lot of them.
The Skylon GTR, it came in and decimated. They added more weight to it. It still beat them. They tried to get to turn the turbochargers boost down. It still beat them. And there was one race at Bathurst where the Skylone GTR won. It was kind of controversial in terms of how it finished, and when the two winners got up onto the podium they were booed.
You can’t have a Japanese car winning an Australian race, mate.
Especially, over a Commodore or Falcon, like…
And the driver of the Skyline GTR, Jim Richards, he said… he was in New Zealander, I think. And he said to the audience on the podium “yYou’re all a pack of arseholes”, and after that, they couldn’t handle their beloved Commodores and Falcons had been beaten. So, instead of, you know, adding more weight to the Skyline, they just decided to ban them.
So, instead of making it competitive, just outlaw it. So, not all…
This is probably the easiest way.
So, no all-wheel drive, no turbos. It’s like alcohol prohibition or anything else, if you don’t want something, just make it illegal.
It just fixes it.
And so then they had only the Falcons or the Commodores. And, for me, like, that kind of ruined the racing, because you’ve got to see all of these different cars, and they all had different… their strengths and weaknesses. And by effectively having it as a two-horse race, you know, the two sides of the same shit, it lost a lot of the appeal for me, but for a lot of people, it didn’t. But then I guess, you could see the writing on the wall, because when Holden and Ford… the writing was on the wall for them that they were shutting up, finishing up production. The category V8 Supercars had to change, so they called it supercars. I tried to invite more brands. So, Nissan. They had Mercedes as well, at one point, and Mercedes is in it now.
Because of what, the AMGs or something?
That’s right. It didn’t really align with their brand strategy, because the consumer of a Mercedes Benz, an AMG, does not really align with someone who watches V8 supercars. They’re a completely different…
Someone who buys those really nice European cars doesn’t tend to go to Bathurst and sink VB whilst screaming at the Holdens and the Fords.
No, they’re in a slightly different income bracket. So, Mercedes, they partook for a while, but they’re out of it now. And as of the end of 2017, there will be no more V8s. So, they had to really readjust their sort of their marketing or their brand strategy. And I think we’re starting to see a swing back to what it was with all of these different types of engines. So, effectively, at least in my opinion, at least, the blanket ban on, you know, turbo charged, all-wheel drive, or different types of cars, just because their favorite cars were being beaten was the wrong thing to do and it was a knee jerk reaction and we sort of slowly seeing a swing back to, you know, a bit more of an open diverse field.
So, have you been to Bathurst before to watch it?
I’ve never been. No, it… Look… It’s something, I guess, if I was on holidays at the time, and I was in the area, yeah, I might go past, and maybe it might be on the cards for me in my future at some point. But, yeah.
Anyway, so that’s Australian car racing and in a nutshell.
So, do you think the fact that Holden and Ford have gone offshore, at least in their manufacturing and you just said, what, V8s are about to be no longer made, are they?
Not, not for this category for V8 Supercars.
Ah, ok. So, it’s not that the factories are stopped making them, it’s just that they’re just killing it for this this race.
So, they’re… effectively they’ve killed it for this race, and Holden and Ford will be importers only of the cars. So, if you want to buy a V8 from Holden or Ford, with Ford you’ll be able to buy V8 Mustang, you can buy them. There are already a few of them being sold here.
Yeah, I saw lots of them, I was wondering where they were coming from.
They are popular car. There’s a lot of them. And Holden is bringing in the Camaro from America.
It’s so funny that they just constantly match one another with the different styles. They try and get the equivalent on either side.
I think Holden didn’t really expect that the Mustang would really sell and it sold like hotcakes, and I guess, they were just sitting there sort of watching being taken completely by surprise. And they were sort of sitting on their hands doing nothing and they realised that they needed to have a competitor and they needed to get a piece of that action. So…
Do you think that’s a wise decision buying five to seven litre V8 in today’s day and age, especially with petrol prices in Australia?
Not if you’re going to use it every day. If that’s really your thing then, by all means, go ahead and buy it. I’m guessing if you can afford it brand new, you can probably afford the fuel. But it’s… look, it’s certainly not for me. And the trend is to slowly… to get smaller engines. They’re more efficient, and they…
Do you think that’s partly related to the increase in fuel price here in Australia over the last 5 or 10 years?
Yeah. And more globally as well, because it doesn’t make sense to make a car just for Australia even if our fuel prices are cheaper. So, if fuel prices are expensive everywhere else in the world, but the fuel price here is cheaper, it still makes sense to have, like, one global product, and, I guess, you can achieve similar kind of power levels these days with turbos or hybrids. So, it kind of makes sense to have, you know, a smaller engine that makes just as much power, and that’s sort of what we’re seeing here. So, yeah, it’s an interesting landscape.
So, can you talk, too, a bit about, I guess, how these two types of cars… what… how do they differ and what characterises them? How are they different from other brands? Can you describe Commodore and the Falcon?
Yeah, so they’re big and they’re comfortable. They don’t really handle all that well although they have made improvements over the last few years before their decline. So, big and comfortable. Good for covering long distance. The Ford had a… they had a straight six engine. The Commodores they had V6s. And then of course you had the V8 options from Ford and Holden. Holden had a couple of… They were using LS engines. So, the Chevrolet kind of crate engines. And then Ford, they were using a they used an engine called the Miami, which is a five litre supercharged V8, on their last Falcons before they sort of shut up shop. They were a pretty good engine. We had a friend that worked for Ford for a while doing some of the development for them. So, he was a test driver and, you know, he would bring out the cars and we would get to have a ride in them, and I guess, basically the goal was to just put kilometres on them.
Not thrash them… or both.
Or both, I guess just to see what…
As long as it was legal.
As long as it was legal. Just to see what would happen. If anything broke, if any issues cropped up, so that by the time these cars were put into production that they would have, I guess, sort out all all of these little bugs. So, yeah, I remember we went for a drive to Anarchy and, you know, we would just go drive around in these cars. Sometimes it was a little small Ford Focus or it could have been a Falcon, but primarily the Falcons were just really great for covering long distances. They were really comfortable. The interiors were quite nice on them towards the end with the leather interior. The engines had a lot of power. But they were a big car.
That’s the trade off, right? The turning circle.
The turning circle, the fuel economy.
They gonna be a bitch to reverse park.
Yeah and, you know, you might not want that. I guess, if you’re a single person or you’re a young couple, especially, if you’re in the city of Melbourne or Sydney. That’s not really… that’s not really all that great anymore, because I guess, you know, the cities have changed as well. Parking spaces in Melbourne, as well. That’s… There’s not so many spaces to park. These cars big. So, it makes sense to get something smaller, but if you’re out in the country, then I guess, if you were driving between Melbourne and Sydney, then that that’d be a great car.
Yeah, they’re tops.
We did that a couple of years ago. We went to Sydney to buy a car for a friend, and we took up my parents Commodore. We just put the cruise control on 110. That was a really easy drive. We switched drivers a couple of times just to make the trip a little bit easier, but you just put the cruise control on and the music, and the car was good for that. That’s what I maintain they were designed for.
And they can take insane amounts of kilometres, right?
That’s right. Provided they’re looked after, they can keep on going and going and going. We had an ex-taxi, so, an AU Falcon taxi, that we bought and that went for 750,000 kilometres.
I think it was like 800+, wasn’t it? I think your brother said, I was chatting to Dave the other day, James’s brother, and I think he was saying I was above 800.
It could well have been. It had a truly insane amount of kilometres on it.
It’s three quarters of the way to a million kilometres.
But the engine… it was still the same engine. It had just been looked after I guess the parts that needed to be replaced. So, let’s say the radiator might have failed at some point. You replace the radiator or you’d do general servicing on it, but just kept on going. And that’s the great thing about them. And I think there’s a real sort of stigma behind buying a car and seeing the numbers click up on it, thinking, “Okay, it’s got over 100,000 Ks, now. It’s time for me to get rid of it, because it’s going to break.”. I mean, if that was… you know, that might have been true 30 years ago if you had like an old British Leyland, where, I guess, manufacturing tolerances weren’t as good, but these days, you know, I guess, like, the cylinder wall clearance, the piston clearance, all of that kind of stuff, it’s a lot more tightly controlled. The engines are a lot better built.
And the good thing is, I guess, especially if you get Ford or Holden, is that they’re just cheap as chips.
They are. And they’re so easy to work on as well. And the other good thing is, because they did sell so many of them, there’s parts everywhere.
Yeah. So, it doesn’t really…
It’s the kind of thing that you could break down in the desert and the next mechanic you get to can repair it.
And that’s exactly what my brother and I did. We bought one… bought that are you fully aware that we were going out to remote New South Wales…
In the middle of butt fuck nowhere.
But if the car broke down, we were going to have parts in order to fix it, because I… we did a similar trip several years before that. My brother and I foolishly bought an Alfa Romeo. Ask me how that worked out!
It’s an Italian car?
The wrong kind of Italian car, though. James. It’s not a Ferrari.
It isn’t. You get none of the power and all of the unreliability.
So, you know, let’s say something broke on that and you’re in, I don’t know you… Good luck trying to find a radiator or, you know, some other part to keep it going, you’d be well and truly screwed.
Awesome, guys! Well I hope you enjoyed that interview episode with James. Once again, James, massive thank you for coming on the podcast. There’s quite a few interviews that I’ve done with him talking about a bunch of other things. So, I am sure that you will hear from him soon in the future. And I know that he has a pretty general accent that is easy to understand. So, hopefully you guys enjoy hearing from James.
Just a quick message, remember, if you would like to support the podcast and everything that I do, guys, don’t forget that you can sign up to be a patron via my Patreon on page. The link will be in the description or in the transcript here. You can choose to donate anything from a single dollar per month, upwards, it’s totally up to you, guys, you can cancel at any time, but it helps me do what I’d do. So, if you’d like to give back that is one way you can do so.
The second way is, obviously, by signing up to The Aussie English Classroom. This is an online classroom. It’s a website: theaussieenglishclassroom.com. This is where you get all the bonus content that goes with episodes from the podcast, whether it’s the expression episodes that you get on the weekends at the moment or whether it’s these interview episodes. And for today’s episode, you will get a 5 to 10-minute transcript. We’ll look at the vocab and the interesting expressions and slang that we use in that sort of 5 to 10-minute excerpt from today’s interview. You’ll then get a listening comprehension exercise where you can test your listening abilities on the website with a quiz, and you’ll get access to all the previous interviews as well. So, if you’re trying to really get your head around, wrap your head around, all the different Aussie accents, this is the best way to do so, guys.
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Anyway, guys! That’s enough for today. Jack says bye, even though he’s sort of just nodding off in the background here lying on the couch. It’s been a pleasure chatting to you as usual, guys. And I should mention, don’t forget to check out the videos on YouTube as I’ll be doing a little breakdown of the most interesting expressions for this episode on Youtube. So, keep an eye out for that. Anyway, guys, enjoy your week, chat to you soon!
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By Admin — 3 months ago
AE 530 – Interview: Growing Up as a Gamer Down Under with Rory Douglas
G’day, guys! Welcome to this episode of Aussie English! Today I have the pleasure of interviewing my brother in law, Rory. So, today we went out for my sister’s 30th birthday so, we went to a vineyard and brewery. I think they brew cider, a place called the Flying Brick, which is near Ocean Grove where we live on the ballerina peninsula. So, we went out there. It was really good. Got to see my grandparents, my folks, obviously. Kel and I went and my sister Annika and her partner Rory and their daughter Isabel were all there as well. So, yeah it was pretty good fun, we got to hang out, and it reminded me that I needed to put this interview up on the podcast with him. So, today we chat all about gaming and I thought he would be the perfect guy to get on the podcast to talk about what it’s like growing up being interested in games or somewhat addicted to games, which I was back in the day when I was younger and had a lot more free time. And yeah, he’s very much into his games. He has also learnt Japanese and I thought he’d be the perfect person to get on the podcast to give you guys more access to more Aussie English accents. Now I do want to apologize that I haven’t sort of gotten into a rhythm yet this year with staying, I guess, in a rhythm with the podcast episodes, the expression episodes in particular. Now, I’ve been working on a lot of different things in the English classroom. I recently put up the Shadowing Course.
There’s also now a spoken English course in the Aussie English classroom so, I’m putting up a lot more content focused on improving your accent, improving your spoken English, the use of contractions, the use of your pronunciation in general and so, that’s why I’ve sort of been out of kilter, out of rhythm, a little bit with the different kinds of episodes that I put up. Anyway, that’s a big intro, guys, I kind of just wanted to tell you what I’ve been up to give you an update. Now let’s get into it and I give you my brother in law Rory and me chatting about games and growing up in Australia. Let’s go!
Welcome to this episode of Aussie English, guys. I have my, I guess you would say brother in law, right?
Yeah, I guess so.
You aren’t married, but yeah, is that position.
So, I thought I’d get Rory, my sister’s husband. I don’t, it’s not really right to say boyfriend, right?
Partner is good.
I thought I’d get you on to chat about video games in Australia and growing up with them because you’re a bit of a gamer.
Just a bit.
I was a bit of a gamer, but I just haven’t done it in a long time.
You’re on a hiatus.
Exactly, well, that’s it. Does it ever stop, right? Does it ever wear off? Is it like alcoholism?
It’s a bit like that. You regress from time to time.
So, what was it like growing up? What was your first introduction to gaming? Do you remember at all?
Yes, my dad was big into I.T. so, he always had a good, for the time, a good computer and used to sit me on his knee and play some little rudimentary video games with me. Little MS DOS games.
Yeah, far out, I think I remember going across the road to my friend’s house and he had like an IBM. I don’t know if it was Microsoft back then or not…
(??) was a really popular computer at the time.
And he had so many of these old school video games that were like that arcade type thing and I remember just blowing my mind and like always wanting to go over and we’d just be like ”can we just play the game straightway?”
We used, I think it was like even Snake like, the MS DOS version of Snake, that used to be on the phones, used to play that.
Yeah, yeah, yeah, my mum used to play that a lot, she loved it.
And then went on to like the Aladdin game, The Lion King game. All the little kids games.
And so, do you remember being in primary school and the first person to introduce you to the Game Boy or did you get one of those?
No, I didn’t actually get one, but I remember seeing some of my friends getting one and the Game Boy color, the semitransparent ones, they used to play Pokémon on. I never got one.
You never got one?
It’s disappointing. I remember when I was in primary school there was a kid called Jared who was the first person had one of those old black and white Game Boys and he brought it in and I remember that he had Pokémon Red, the very first version of Pokémon and he used to allow us to play it if we paid a dollar to get like five minutes.
That’s amazing! What a great business idea! How old was he?
He would have been like grade four or five and like I remember Mum and Dad would give you a few dollars each day to go to the tuck shop and buy a packet of chips or a potato cake or something, right?
So he was running an arcade in the primary school?
Yeah exactly and so, we would go and pay him to use his game and play his game, though, right? It wasn’t like we could start from the start and have our own. It was his game that he’d already like leveled up a bit.
Not only Is he getting money, he’s having his game played for him by other people.
Exactly. He’s getting other people to pay for the right to level up his Pokémon. So, that was, I remember that was my first introduction to poke my read and I decided after that I had to have it and I think within like the next six months the Game Boy Color came out and we I had a purple one and I think Annika had a green one, I can’t remember which one she had, my sister got one, and she got Pokémon blue and I got Pokémon red and I think that was my first introduction to sort of gaming, gaming. Did you ever play those games? Did you ever end up with one?
Well, I never played them on the computer as an emulator. I think my first console was the PlayStation one.
Wouldn’t get a console for a long time. I guess when you talk about these things it’s always generational, right? ‘Cause I… we were 90s kids so…
I had a PlayStation 1, too, I would’ve got that think after the Game Boy. What games were you playing on PlayStation 1, Crash Bandicoot?
Yeah, we had so many games because dad went over to Vietnam and he bought all these little games for two dollars, one dollar, all those pirated ones, and we had a mod chip in the PlayStation.
So, we had hundreds of games.
Because it used to be a thing, right? Where you could get your…you could buy a PlayStation for several hundred bucks and then each game would be like 60 to 100 bucks and then I remember at least with the PlayStation 1 and the PlayStation 2 that there was a business where people could mod them or like you would send your PlayStation to a friend’s house.
It cost about 40 dollars or something like that.
And they put some sort of chip in. I never actually saw how it was done, but I remember friends doing that and it meant that they could play games from overseas or something or.
You could burn them yourself. You’d borrow games from the local Video Ezy or whatever and you could, if you had a CD burner on your computer, you could burn the games and then play on your PlayStation.
Far out, that’s right! Yeah because there would be, back in the day, that was when there were video like VHS stores, right? Renting out videos and I guess DVDs too at the end.
And consoles, and video games… I think, yeah, I remember going in borrowing videogames like Tekken, the fighting games, before we actually ended up buying them, but yeah I remember that and thinking that my friend had a lot of games that he’d somehow acquire without buying them and then he was like ”oh I just borrow them and burn them”.
Yeah, they were all good, but it was sort of like… I always felt like the 64, the Nintendo 64 was the better quality, the better-quality games on the Nintendo. Now, some my friends had that and we would end up just all night playing Super Smash Brothers or.
And James Bond, right?
Bond. Yeah, Perfect Dark. And so, I always wanted one of them as well. But yeah it was good having lots of games because you’d just play five minutes at least one, but I think the quality was really on the 64.
That was a difficult one too, you’d get bored pretty quickly, right? You play…. This was before the time of like those really addictive games like Call of Duty and Battlefield where you could be on there playing, I think as soon as they brought in that online component where you could interact with other people, before then, these games or relatively… you could play them, but you couldn’t really sit there for an eight-hour binge, right? You’d get really bored.
I think they sort of… they realized that if they put in a levelling system that doesn’t really end, you just keep getting experience, you keep getting points the more you play, people just got addicted to it. Whereas before I was sort of like you play to unlock a bunch of stuff, it might take you know 20, 30 hours and then you’ve got everything and you’ll play it because it’s fun, but you’re not playing it to unlock everything else like in Call of Duty when they figured out you could give people a slightly different variation of a color on their weapon and they’ll spend hundreds of hours trying to get that.
Or even pay for it, right?
Nowadays you can unlock things like that in these games, but you can pay to have those things and that was when it clicked, right? When they were like ”oh my Gosh, we can sell the game, but then it’s all the other added components within the game like expansion packs, everything like that that we can make all of the money on.”.
And it’s so insidious now, but back then it was just… it’s nice to think of those times, it was a bit more quaint, but…
So, were you always a PlayStation guy, you made the switch, didn’t you? I was always a PlayStation, I bought a PlayStation I, I bought a PlayStation 2, I bought a PlayStation 3. I never got a 4. Unfortunately, that was when I fell off the wagon and was just like… I don’t have time for this anymore, dammit and Kel won’t let me spend that kind of money on a PlayStation anymore.
We don’t even have a TV! But did you make the switch, because I know you got an Xbox today, right? Well, you got the computer too.
I’ve got so, I got a PlayStation 1, aside from my computer which I’ve always had, PlayStation 1 and then I got a Game Cube instead of a PlayStation 2, which the game keeper is the Nintendo console and then I got an Xbox 360 so, I’ve had all three and then I went back to… now I have a switch.
Which is Nintendo, right?
So, what were the benefits and why did you go back and forth? Were you following games or franchises that you really liked or was there some other aspect to the different gaming systems that made you think these ones are way better, like the way it feels in my hands with the controls all of? What was it?
It was… I got a PlayStation 1 because, like I said, we got all the burned games. And then because I like the 64 so much, I thought, right, I’ll get a Game Cube this time and then the Xbox 360 I bought on a whim because it was on sale on JB (HiFi). That was when I moved out of home, so it was pretty late in the Xbox lifespan, I think. Then this time I went for a Switch because all the standard PlayStation, Xbox games there were a couple of exclusives, but for the most part they come out on PC as well.
And it’s cheaper, is it or you’re just used to that system?
It’s usually cheaper, but the PC has a lot of other benefits so, I’ve got a PC. For those sort of games and then the Switch offers are a completely different experience.
So, what are the benefits of playing on PC, because I remember they used to be those sort of two factions. You would have your console kids who would play on things like Game Cubes , PlayStations, Xboxes and then you would have your computer kids and it always seemed to me like… for some reason I got sucked into the consoles, but the computer kids were always a lot more full on.
We call them PC master race.
What was the difference between the two and what were the benefits of playing on computer compared to console?
Without mentioning any of the downsides, which there are some, it was always like you don’t upgrade to the next console and lose all the games that you had on the last one.
I remember that being really irritating.
So, I’ve still got really old get games, I’ve at Commander Keane, from the nineties on my computer now.
And you can still play it?
Yeah and in 20 years I’ll still be able to play it.
Yeah so, the operating system is the same which means you can play all these games.
Yeah and they just sort of keep them running on the latest operating system, but it’s also that games were a bit cheaper and you can use any input device, you can use mouse and keyboard, which is much more accurate for (?).
Are they cheaper too because you can just download them on the computer, right? You don’t need to get CDs or any kind of DVDs?
Actually, digital games are usually more expensive.
So, say, on the Switch. If I walk into J.B. Hi-Fi and I buy a brand-new Nintendo game, it might cost me 80 dollars, but if I buy it through the Nintendo store online it will usually cost about 100.
What? How does that make sense?
It makes no sense because you think the distribution and the production of the CDs and everything would be pretty expensive.
Yeah. I’m not sure. They just, they get away with it because they can.
Is there just fewer people doing that too and maybe they don’t have to compete with as many other different consoles that have games at are similar price point or?
That’s very weird.
Yeah, I’m not sure that’s a very good I guess is that the retailers themselves aren’t involved.
Yeah, the retailers are competing with each other. So they want to keep dropping the price. Whereas if you’re selling it through your store, the Nintendo store, just have this box, you can buy it.
I would so be just like… I’m just going to go down the store and buy them, and screw you.
Well, it’s also that like… I’m so lazy, I hate going up to the TV and swapping the disco, swapping the disk or swapping the cartridge.
I’ll pay twenty dollars for this, you know, less of an inconvenience.
Exactly and particularly with the switch because it’s a portable. So, I hate having to carry a little case of games with me everywhere. It’s much easier to have it all on there.
Far out! So, what are the other downsides of playing on a computer then? Because I know that the other positive side is having loads more people, right? Because the computers are way more powerful than consoles with RAM and speed and internet connection, right?
Yes, so you can have much better graphics.
But what are the downsides then?
And the other thing I should mention is you can use any controller, so I could use a PlayStation controller.
You can connect it up to the computer?
Yeah, I can you just a switch control, even I can use some old USP Nintendo, Super Nintendo controller or a joystick or whatever you can think of, they’re pretty much all supported, but the downsides are that you have to like usually a lot of those games now that are on consoles as well have a smaller player based on PC, for the multiplayer and also you can, it’s not as prevalent as it used to be, but you can run into errors. Say, you… games might crash and then you’ve got to go why is it crashing? I don’t understand, I might have to change some settings on my PC.
So, do the games tend to be a bit more buggy on the computers instead of the consoles? Because they can be sort of updated and everything online as opposed if it comes out on a CD it’s pretty hard to…?
It’s more that, because everything’s updated online at the moment, on consoles it’s more that you’ve got one set of hardware. So, if I’m developing an Xbox game, there’s one set of hardware to optimize it for, whereas with the PC who knows how many combinations you could have, it’s like Android apps vs. iPhone. You’ve got so many different versions of an Android phone that you have to optimize it for all these different things and you’re always going to miss some and make some mistakes. So, I think it’s the same with PC, but it’s not nearly as bad as it used to be. The downside is that you’ve got a lot of launches so, you have like say the steam is the main one. So, you have the online store fronts that you purchase your games through and launch your games through. There’s not just one, you might have say like Fortnight, which is really popular that uses the Epic Games Launcher, and now you’ve got Steam and Epic, and if you want to play Overwatch, then you have to have the Blizzard Game Launcher. So, you’re managing your games through all these different fronts and there are certain launches you can get that sort of bring them all together and it’s just a bit more complex, is a bit less user friendly than the consoles.
Far out! So, where do you see it going? Like, do you see it all sort of moving on to one console? Is one console going to win out or computer or do you think there’s going to be this, you know, I guess compartmentalisation of all these different games on different consoles, on consoles, and that’s going to maintain each of them because of their own individual popularity?
Well, they’re talking about… the game consoles are moving more towards PCs in that they upgraded more often and then they’ve got, they’ve been playing around with having changeable components and things like that, but it’s also that the main game companies are all talking about cloud gaming as the next big thing where you won’t have a particularly powerful console, you’ll just have one that connects to the Internet and you have a subscription like Netflix.
Yeah. So, everything is in the cloud. You can access any game, anywhere and as long as you get the internet connection you can play it.
Yes, all the processing, you won’t have to have an amazing graphics card or anything like that on your local, on your local computer or console. So, it’ll all be done by sort of a computer farm.
So, this just depends on the fact that you have a really fast internet connection, though?
Basically, yeah and I think in Australia especially we’re going to struggle with that.
Yeah. So, do you think we’re going to be left behind a bit if America gets to that point?
Probably. The idea is that all the processing is done offshore and then you’re just essentially getting the images and sending the inputs through your controller back to the server.
When is that going to that going to come in, do you think?
There are experiments with it right now. You can play…there was a project we could play Assassin’s Creed, the latest Assassin’s Creed, through Chrome on your computer.
Through Chrome? Wow, just your Internet browser.
Yeah, I don’t think it was available in Australia. It might have been in Japan or something like that, but it’s pretty impressive what they’ve been able to do with it.
And so, growing up as a kid and sort of obviously starting out, I guess, we would have been the generation after the Arcade sort of got up and running, right? That was the early 80s, when people start to have Pinball and everything or maybe even the late 70s. So, we sort of grew up and then slowly computer, laptops, consoles, gaming and Game Boys and all of that came out. Having lived through that, where do you think it’s going to go for your children, right? For the next generation, do you think it’s going to be even more invasive with regards to, like, obviously where originally you had to go to a location where they had these huge gaming things, now it’s like they’re getting smaller and smaller more and more powerful and they can be anywhere at all times, right? Like your phone is probably more powerful than the laptops we had as a kid.
Do you worry about that with your daughter and future kids as well? Do you worry about how addictive it could be or how insidious it will be in our culture?
Yeah, for sure. And I think the further we go, the more these game companies are coming up with sort of like the casino strategies to get you hooked and get you paying money again and again and again it’s getting a bit over the top and it’ll be interesting to see how much of a backlash there is.
Because that’s the thing that’s really started irritating me because of the pay to play games, where it’s no longer about skill and you don’t all start from the same position anymore, right? So, there is no… the game tends to be free. You can download it on your phone, at least with phone games, and I was whinging to you about this recently and it’s like you get to a certain point where you’re far enough in and you like the game and you want to keep playing and then all of a sudden the difficulty goes up exponentially and you have to pay to unlock certain things or to get to the next level. And so, they’re obviously setting up these games where it’s more about finding the one in a hundred that’s going to spend a heap of money on it.
The Whales. Yep
Than it is worrying about all of the dolphins, I guess all the small guys who just want to play it and aren’t going to spend that amount of money because I would probably spend 50 bucks on a good game, but the fact that it’s free and I think okay and I get used to that and then play it and they’re trying to use frustration to get you to sort of start lashing out a dollar here or 14 dollars there or just… here, buy a thousand dollars of, you know, online game currency that you can spend! How do you feel about that? Do you think it’s going to get to a point where it’s going to get regulated because people are going to be like this is gambling for kids or an addiction, you’re using gaming mechanics and addictive processes to get children hooked and spend money, whether it’s their money or not, their parents money on this stuff, and it’s getting out of control?
There is a bit of a case in Australia about this. I think it’s like a Senate inquiry on whether or not loot boxes should be considered gambling. So, loot boxes are where you have like a digital, digital box and you maybe pay for it or you pay for a key for it.
Or you unlock it or you get it.
And it opens and you get a random item, usually cosmetic, doesn’t really do anything in the game, but…
Or you’ll get like, at the moment, with angry birds that I’m playing, you get points or there’s certain coins or crystal that you can then use to unlock other things. But yeah it constantly asks me and prompts me like ”you’ve got this one box, but just pay five dollars and you’ll get this other one with even rarer items”. and t’s sort of randomises what you get.
Yeah, it’s sort of like the same thing as a booster pack in a collectible card game. That was the old school version of it, but it’s it’s worse, partly because it’s so available now and you don’t have to go down to the shops and purchase it physically, it’s right there on your phone or your computer and it’s also that they’re using those gambling strategies to make them more appealing so, that the lights and sounds like you’d get on a slot machine.
In a pokies.
In a pokies. Yeah, that’s exactly what you get when you open a loot box in something like Overwatch. It’s just…
It is pretty bizarre, isn’t? Because when I was growing up playing these games I never thought about, I never made the connection between those two things, but it obviously some entrepreneurial businessmen quickly realised we can just apply the gambling mechanics or, you know, gamification the same way that it’s done in casinos into these games and we’ll make a lot more money.
And they’ve got to constantly find the line for their particular market as to what people will put up with. So, like mobile gamers will put up with almost anything, you can do whatever pay to win strategies you want. People still, still play it, still play for it, whereas the console and PC game is a bit more savvy and probably more likely to give you a bit of backlash.
That’s really bizarre, isn’t it? Why do you think it is that there’s a difference between phoning, phoning, being on your phone and playing these games? I just made it a verb, and playing it on consoles. Why do you think people playing phone games are more, I guess, accepting of these ‘pay as you go’ strategies?
Well it’s partly because they’re not traditional gamers they haven’t you know maybe they mucked around with them a little bit when they were younger, but if you’ve been… if you’re a console gamer or a PC gamer, you’ve been playing a lot of it for a long time and you do remember when games weren’t like this and suddenly you go ‘Hold on. This is no good’. I’m not okay with this and I’m going to, you know, whether it’s complain on a forum or you know refuse to buy the game, there’s a bit more backlash. Whereas the mobile gamers are just happy to make the little lights go and click the button.
Far out! I wonder where it’s going to go and I think part of the problem too is that kids have more and more powerful phones, right? And especially phones that their parents have probably entered their card details and bank details into it so, they do have the capacity to just ”mum, can I use your phone?” and they get into a game and it’s like ”spend fifty dollars, fifty dollars!” and you’ll be like ”oh my Gosh! My bank account is emptied!”.
There’s some little features that, say like the Nintendo Switch, has some really good parenting features where you can, you can control the console from your phone and say ”Right, I want my kids to be playing this much per day” and when they go over the limit, it either gives them a warning, minus five minutes left or it just turns off the console and they can’t turn it back on.
So, they’re doing some good stuff as well, but yeah…
I wonder how much I’m going to have to sort of police that with my kids too because it’s so important to obviously encourage them to go outside, but you don’t want to at the same time control every minute of their life that they spend doing what activity.
And say something like Fortnight, which is so ubiquitous with kids, you don’t want to say to your kid ”you can’t play it” and they’re not cool because they’re not playing it, they don’t know what the other kids are talking about.
They don’t know what the other kids are talking about.
I always remember that as a kid, right? You had those parents who were like ‘we don’t have a TV. The kids aren’t allowed to play games” and you’d be like…’I don’t want to hang out with these kids”.
You don’t want to make you look like a secluded.
Exactly! An outcast, right? An easy target.
Yeah. So, that’s difficult. Well, I guess finishing up, what sort of games are the most popular games at the moment style wise? And which ones are you most into? Like, I know there’s, you know, you’ve got your shooters, your RPG. What is it? Role playing games, strategy games. What are you into?
It sort of depends on the console as to what’s really big at the moment, but I guess the new hotness is, not so new anymore, but over the past couple of years the most recent popular genre is Battle Royale, where it’s like you start with maybe it’s a hundred, maybe 50, maybe it’s 10 players, and when you get killed that’s it. You’re out of the round and you have to wait for another hundred people to play again.
So, it’s always like a, what is it? A death match? Where you have just the last survivor, right? And they get certain points by being the last person and there’s a series of those different rounds.
So, if you’re the final survivor you get, say in PUBG (Player Uknown’s Battlegrounds), you get ”winner, winner chicken dinner” on the screen and you get, you might get a whole lot of points. It is very satisfying to know that you’ve bested 99 other people and that’s what’s addictive about it.
So, you get that often? To beat 99 other players?
What do you do? You just have to hide for the entire round, right?
Yes, that’s actually one of the most effective strategies.
Come out at the end.
But there’s a whole range of different games under that banner that are all very different, but yeah that’s probably the genre that I’m enjoying at the moment is because it’s fresh.
Rory, thanks for joining me and chatting about gaming today.
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