Weekend Confirmed Episode 15

By Garnett Lee, Jul 02, 2010 12:00pm PDT It's a holiday weekend in the US and Weekend Confirmed celebrates with a massive show that includes the debut appearance of Shane Bettenhausen. He slips right back into form with Garnett, Brian, and Jeff and they launch into Whatcha Been Playin with a quick catch up on Final Fantasy 13 and few other releases from earlier this year before moving on to current games like Singularity, Crackdown 2, and Puzzle Quest 2. The group tackles the PlayStation Network Plus offering and getting the right pace to creating sequels in the Warning, along with some of your responses to last week's show. And has a full Front Page to close things out with everything from the opening of the WoW: Cataclysm beta to what may be up with Lionhead's Milo project, and a quick Starcraft 2 features round-up. Remember to hit the official show story comments to join the conversation.

Weekend Confirmed Ep. 15 - 07/02/2010

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Weekend Confirmed comes in four segments to make it easy to listen to in segments or all at once. Here's the timing for this week's episode:

Whatcha' Been Playin: Start: 00:00:00 End: 00:31:02

Whatcha' Been Playin and Cannata-ford a New Game: Start: 00:32:25 End: 01:08:51

The Warning: Start: 01:09:53 End: 01:43:06

Music Break featuring Sab with "Lookin at Girls": Start: 01:43:06 End: 01:46:39

The Front Page: Start: 01:46:39 End: 02:21:45

Music Break features Musab "Sab" Saad. For the last 2 years Sab has been working on his new album HGH (Heaven, Girls, Hell) with Ultra Chorus, consisting of Jeffrey Lorentzen and Chris Heidman of Minneapolis, MN. The 3 have been fusing together Hip Hop, Pop, R&B, and Electronic sounds for this project. You can keep up with Sab on Facebook, Twitter, and YouTube. Or better yet, go check him out live. Sab is out on the Awful Truth Tour with Abstract Rude about to hit Salt Lake City, Park City, and Denver this week before heading into over 20 more dates throughout July and early August

Big thanks to our guest Shane Bettenhausen of Ignition Entertainment publishers of Deadly Premonition and Muramasa out now and the upcoming Arc Rise Fantasia and El Shaddai.

Original music in the show by Del Rio. Get his latest single, Small Town Hero on iTunes and check out more at his Facebook page.

Watch Jeff on The Totally Rad Show. New episodes come out weekly on Tuesday.

We've also started an Official Facebook Weekend Confirmed Page. It's a work in progress but go ahead and hop in. We'll be keeping you up with the latest on the show there as well.

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  • Hey, everyone. I have another long question I've been thinking about. I ramble a bit so if you don't want my examples just read the first and last paragraphs and let me know what you think. I'm curious if anyone else here agrees with me on this. Here:

    There's something I've been thinking about for a while now. Obviously difficulty in mainstream games has been steadily diminishing ever since the Super Nintendo, partially due to smarter game design and somewhat due to lack of demand from most audiences. I find it interesting that some games seem to strike the balance of finding appropriate difficulty levels by utilizing sandbox game design, or the "make your own fun" approach. This is something I've always loved in games, but many critics seem to either despise it or overlook the possibility of its use due to some weird sort of OCD which inhibits them from playing a game in any way other than the most efficient for beating it.

    One of the more notable games to use this technique recently was Splinter Cell Conviction. The game, as I believe Brian pointed out as a criticism on the podcast, is incredibly easy to complete. And frankly, he's right. Staying hidden from guards at a distance is remarkably simple. Combine that with the ability to pull off pistol headshots at a hundred yards and the Mark and Execute mechanic and you have yourself a pretty pathetic game. Initially I was disappointed in this, but upon my second playthrough, I discovered that like the other Splinter Cells before it, Conviction was so much more interesting, challenging, and rewarding to play through without firing a gun. Though it is designed as a core gameplay mechanic, playing through the game without using the Mark and Execute was much more fun. Sam's arsenal of gadgets and moves suddenly become so much more useful and engaging. The level design suddenly seemed much more complex and well thought out. It seemed like the developers intentionally designed the game before throwing in that "noob" mechanic.

    Something similar happened to me when playing through Bioshock. Like many, I was aware that the easiest, and in terms of efficiency, "best" way to play the game was wildly swinging the wrench with plasmids backing it up. However, with the long list of tools made available to me, playing that way seemed so monotonous and uninteresting. I took my time creeping through Rapture, using telekinesis to throw makeshift bombs into Big Daddies and setting up elaborate traps to spring on unsuspecting Splicers. This was a hell of a lot more enjoyable to me than just mashing the right trigger, but it took a sort of gamer's honor.

    I noticed that these sort of games seem to employ an honor rules approach to difficulty. Rather than lazily bumping an enemy's health up and the player's down, or rather than making optional sections of gameplay that are controller-twistingly frustrating, these games seem to add mechanics that can be exploited in times of immediately difficulty. In other words, they give the player a crutch to lean back on. And its up to the player whether to continually fall back on that crutch.

    So how does everyone feel about sandbox mechanics and how they effect the challenge of games? Do you feel it is the duty of developers to avoid the use of such simplifying mechanics, or do feel that you can learn to ignore the feature to self-challenge yourself? Is the design lazy or poor in these cases, or does it simply integrate the difficulty curve better into the actual gameplay?

    Thread Truncated. Click to see all 5 replies.