Weekend Confirmed Episode 16

By Garnett Lee, Jul 09, 2010 12:00pm PDT Everybody's been playing Crackdown 2 but from the sounds of it they won't be much longer. San Diego-based comic Christian Spicer adds his voice to the disappointment Garnett, Brian, and Jeff express over the sequel. But it fares better than Deadly Premonition did with Jeff. Not to worry, ArmA 2: Operation Arrowhead and DeathSpank help Whatcha Been Playin finish strong. A trio of awesome strategy games perfect for a long summer's playcation fills out this week's Cannata-ford a New Game. Your comments on 3DS pricing and requiring a complete game one save to play White Knight Chronicles 2 kicks off the Warning before getting to topics like what makes an MMO good and the viability of an honor system difficulty mechanic in open world games. Brian brings it home in the Front Page with news including the announcement of Dragon Age 2, four DLC packs coming for Red Dead Redemption, E3 Game Critics Awards winners, and more.

Weekend Confirmed Ep. 16 - 07/09/2010

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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: 00:30:37

Whatcha' Been Playin and Cannata-ford a New Game: Start: 00:31:39 End: 01:05:49

The Warning: Start: 01:06:53 End: 01:42:15

Music Break featuring Simon Jain's "Feels Like You": Start: 01:42:15 End: 01:45:42

The Front Page: Start: 01:45:42 End: 02:17:11

Music Break features Toronto talent Simon Jain's summer groove "Feels Like You". Beautiful vocals overlay an arrangement that speaks to what progressive house is all about. It's available now exclusively on the 44th & Filth label through Beatport and all other retailers including iTunes, Traxsource, Masterbeat, DJ Download, and Juno Download starting August 3. For more on Simon Jain keep up with him at the official Simon Jain site, Facebook, Twitter, or MySpace.

Big thanks to our guest Christian Spicer.

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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Comments

43 Threads | 159 Comments
  • I’m an avid listener of your show and I really enjoyed the segment you guys did on Onlive last week and I wanted to share my thoughts on that subject and maybe get you guy’s opinions on it.
    First of all, one thing Onlive could be the future of PC gaming for one simple reason; its piracy proof. If a developer decided to release its game on Onlive exclusively then the only way for it to be cracked and pirated is for it to be leaked. Smaller independent game developers can consider weighing the pros and cons of either releasing the game via download/boxed and risk being pirated or releasing it on Onlive to a smaller demographic. But consider if Onlive changed its business model to something like xbox live. Silver members can buy games and stream them without paying a monthly subscription. Gold members can get discount rentals, demos, multiplayer, and much more for a monthly fee. Also, Onlive could make a deal with cable internet providers to sell their service as part of a package like espn3.com.

    Take this idea even further, there are developers making games for the 360 and ps3 that forgo the PC market all together. Onlive and create an in-house or contract a developer to port some of these games. Ones that would be cost effective of course, not every game could work on pc.
    All it takes is one or two killer exclusives to make people sign up for silver. Indie sleeper hits would be perfect for this.

    Next, classic games: Most people (I’m generalizing and I don’t care) don’t want to or know how to fiddle with dosbox to play vintage games. Onlive can tweak it on their end and provide the game to its users. Now the cool part, older games run on SD or even lower graphics so it could be possible to stream these games on a wifi or 3g/4g connection. How cool would it be to play X-com on the subway to work? Or on an ipad.

    Older game’s license could be hard to obtain, but if Gametap could do it why not Onlive. And it would be cheaper and draw in new users who may not want to buy new games on a cloud service but have no qualms paying 5 to 10 bucks to get a game from the past.

    And finally Onlive’s current business model isn’t going to work; it needs to compete with companies like steam and direct2drive. As mentioned on the show, no one is gonna pay for something if they know they’ll lose or can’t play anymore it if they ever stop paying the subscription fee. So this is what I would do if I ran Onlive. (Aside from buying credit default swaps on my own company)

    -No monthly fee, even if this puts operation in the red so be it.
    -Set up a two tier licensing system, one for big companies like EA and Activision and one for smaller indie developers.
    -Make “indie” games stream only (copy protection) and copy the Iphone’s 70/30 profit sharing.
    -Copy Steam’s model for bigger games and allow for streaming as part of the package. Allow publishers the option of stream only and work with them for exclusive contents.
    -Do a podcast; give a voice to the company. Let members know what’s going on, self promote and relate with the demographic.
    -And finally, finally, the technology for this is already here and it’s only going to get better, internet is only going to get faster. Down the line release a premium 1080p service for 10-15 dollars, give every free user a month free trial with auto-renew. And Start profiting.
    -That or becoming a middle man or big companies. “EA Onlive” and “THQ Onlive” don’t deal with users, sell the service to the companies itself and let them deal with the marketing and selling.
    So that’s my rant. I really appreciate it if you read it, Weekend Confirmed is by far my favorite podcast and on Wednesdays it always makes me sad when I have to listen to something else on my commute to work. Thursdays are even worst when I have to listen to that panderer who shall remain nameless. Anyways, thanks for all you guys do and keep up the good work.






  • According to the guy in charge of policing XBOXLive speaking at Paxeast, the main offenders against thoughtful, polite society on the web are primarily boys 12 and 15-19. It was that specific according to their stats on penalties and bannings.
    This is what using real names is truly aimed at, the rude contingent subset of a subset. Because of this minority everyone is considering giving up their security blanket of anonymity to correct.
    Like a lot of folks here I try to give serious thought before committing anything to screen, namely, I don't write anything I wouldn't over my real name. As a result I don't need the screen name, just use one as it's more typical and kind of fun to see people's variety of handles to self-identify.
    That said, the WOW community, which I don't participate in, is the WORST place to start this. That entire experience is about anonymous avatars and fantasy. Strip away the anonymous and people will feel terribly embarrassed to geek out as much as they would like to normally. I could see that killing the enjoyment for a lot of people.
    Love the "Cannata-ford" selections. I still have my original "Freedom Force" disks, it's loaded on this laptop right now. Irrational Games is so brilliant that both it and "Third Reich" continue to play beautifully despite Windows' iterations in the years between. A real testament to that team.
    The games still entertain after all this time as well. Sweet.



  • I was shocked by Jeff's violently negative reaction to "Deadly Premonition." I would have bet money he would be the one to get what makes this game such a work of genius. Next-gen game hangover from E3 maybe?
    I have a quick litmus test for loving or hating what this game does. Early in the game, York has breakfast in his hotel's restaurant the first morning. If you find numerous elements of that meal experience so funny it's hard to breathe, it's for you. If you are simply annoyed by what's going on, stop immediately, this game isn't for you, it's mindset just isn't resonating with you.
    And Jeff, that means the game just isn't for you, NOT that it sucks, is horrible, and anything else you were shrieking during your surprising and uncharacteristic overreaction.
    And no, it's not a practical joke, those of us who love this game, really love it, mean it wholeheartedly. As the story unfolds, the myriad Twin Peaksy weird elements draped all over it, combine into a true work of videogame genius. But like a lot of edgy works, you hate it or love it.
    And love it while including the janky look and controls, NOT despite them. It all works together in a strange chemistry.
    I love it, possibly as much or more than my love for the Mass Effect universe and all it's big budget glory.


  • Okay, I've got a warning question for you guys. I can’t keep this shit short. Sorry. The actual question is the last paragraph.

    I've been playing through Mass Effect 2 again recently and I keep thinking about how strange it is to be playing a role playing game where the stats of weapons and abilities are never directly shown to you. Essentially the game lets you know that your upgrades are making you more powerful, but they shy away from specifying exactly how much. I'm assuming this is to keep you immersed in the game world.

    On the other end of the spectrum, you have recent games like Borderlands or Final Fantasy XIII, which literally have numbers pouring out of enemies when you do damage to them. While this may not be quite as immersive as what Mass Effect does, it does bring the player closer to the mechanics of the game, encouraging strategic thinking and providing immediate feedback to the player's actions.

    Now, in large part, the definition of a pure role playing game would be a game which reveals its mechanics to you. A game that tells you specifically what will happen if you do something before you actually do it. And while games that reveal mechanics to the player typically are more involved and complex, I also feel that it can hamper the immersion of the game world itself. Take another hybrid RPG for example: Bioshock. The first couple encounters with the Big Daddies in that game were terrifying. Not only were they rumbling, hulking monsters, but also, the first time you fought one, it was impossible to tell which weapon was going to be the most effective. Yes, the daddy had a life bar, but it was difficult to tell in the heat of a battle if what you were doing was the most effective way to dispatch the enemy. This brought you into the character: it made you feel unsure and uneasy. If numbers had popped off of him, it would have just been a matter of swapping weapons and counting until you found the highest number.

    Other games have used this to great effect as well. The old Silent Hill and Resident Evil games didn't tell you how much health your character had left or how much ammo was still in your gun unless you paused the game to open a menu. It made playing the game more tense. Some of the most immersive games I've ever played sacrifice surface complexity in order to bring you more into the world. Hell, in Shadow of the Colossus all you get is a jump button, a grip button, a sword, a bow, and a horse for a twelve hour game, but it is in my opinion one of the most immersive games ever made.

    So basically, this is a question of preference. How forthcoming do you guys prefer games to be about their mechanics? Sure, you can answer (like I sort of did) that you like both, but what I'm trying to ask is this: if you want to get heavily involved in a game and immersed in its world, do you prefer having mechanics handed to you up front (like easily visible stats: if you do X, Y will happen every time) or do you prefer being required to sort of get a “feel” for each element? (I'm trying to phrase this in way where it isn't just RPGs versus everything else. I hope it makes some sense.)


  • Great show, I'm glad Garnett is back to doing this with a good crew. I have a question and from what I can tell this is the only way to get it to you for an answer so here it goes:

    There are a bunch of great XBLA games coming out this summer but shooter fans seemed to have a lot to be happy about with Blacklight: Tango Down, Breach, and Monday Night Combat all coming within a month or so of each other. Blacklight is out but the demo did not turn into a purchase and I know that MNC is part of the Summer of Arcade promotion but is there any word from Atomic on when Breach will be released? There are no updates via facebook, twitter, or the game's official website. Just the vague 'early summer' release date which is quickly passing by.

    Also since it's not part of the SoA promotion do you think they would release it during one of those five weeks? I would think the only game that would be released during the promotion are the ones being advertised but I don't remember what was exactly released the past couple of SoA promotions to get a better idea if they release other games as well. My fear is that if they can't get out in the SoA then the earliest would be August 25th; several weeks after Blacklight, just a couple weeks after MNC, and only a few weeks before Reach is released. I can't imagine Atomic would be happy about that kind of timing. Any information would be very much appreciated.

    Q


  • You guys need to discuss Guild Wars 2 on the podcast... Seriously, they keep releasing more and more info about it, and I would really love to hear your opinions on some of the big changes that they are bringing to the game and the genre. It seems to be taking a serious look at the MMO genre and just challenging the "standards" of the genre, really proposing to bring the first REAL change to the genre in the last decade. It is certainly the most interesting looking MMO that is on the horizon, and I think that if they pull off everything they are talking about then they stand to position themselves as a game that is better than WoW yet stands as a subscription free game...

    Tycho over at Penny Arcade summed up GW2 pretty well when he said
    "I've read and re-read every article that breaks the surface of the refurbished Guild Wars 2 presence. I don't care if they ever launch the game at this point. It's already contributed to the health of the genre simply by being a judging, omnipresent force."

    http://www.penny-arcade.com/2010/7/9/


    Also, their blog is freaking brilliant:
    http://www.arena.net/blog/category/guild-wars-2

    The game just BEGS to be discussed because it is doing so much to try to shake up a genre that has been stagnant for years.



  • I think it was two weeks ago that I was talking about how sad it is to me that games so rarely try to raise any sort of questions about the world or have even the faintest traces of thematic depth. Well, last night I finished playing the new Mass Effect 2 DLC called Overlord. I just wanted to say that not only was it a fantastically well designed 2 hour mission pack, but its ending was emotionally resonant and actually had something to say. Granted, ME2 already had commentary on the real world littered throughout its story, but I feel like the emotional climax brought to a head at the end of Overlord might just be one of the best Bioware has done.

    Its not a theme you haven't heard before, nor is it all that shocking, but it is executed so well that I feel it demands to be played. I think it just goes to show that if a game like Alan Wake had some sort of meaning behind its plot line, however simple, it could have done wonders for the dramatic elements of the story. My point is that you don't have to say something profound, just something relatable, or thought provoking to really pull the audience in and give the story weight.

    Anyway, has anyone hear beaten Overlord? What did you think of the ending? (Don't spoil it for anyone please.)







  • So when you had your discussion about White Knight and putting in a short (preamble?) before playing the second one, it made me think about Back to the Future. I don't know how or if it would work in video games, but if you want an example of a great use of the previous episode material to bring you into the story, that would be my choice. The second movie ends with Marty saying he's back, and the third movie starts off with the very same scene. Maybe if an RPG or other game that keeps a persistent universe did something similar, where you replayed the last few hours of the previous game, it would work really well.
    Personally, I still would rather see a system like what is in Patapon 2. If you played the previous game, or even the demo, you can carry your items through. That way you are rewarding the player who is a dedicated fan of the series AND giving new players an incentive to play the first game, while at the same time allowing a new player to start up without a penalty.