Weekend Confirmed Episode 17

By Garnett Lee, Jul 16, 2010 12:00pm PDT The power trio of Garnett, Brian, and Jeff celebrate the sun finally making its presence felt in the SoCal summer with a sizzling show. Whatcha Been Playin kicks it all off with NCAA Football 11, BlazBlue: Continuum Shift, DeathSpank, Sin & Punishment: Star Successor, and more. For the budget-conscious this week's Cannata-ford a New Game includes a classic free Half-life mod. In the Warning it's role-playing versus roll playing and concerns over there being too many games; but that's after Jeff hears a little listener feedback on his Deadly Premonition rant. It all winds up in the Front Page with the 1vs.100 cancellation, word on new plans afoot at developer Double Fine, and all the rest of the news.

Weekend Confirmed Ep. 17 - 07/16/2010

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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: 00:30:55

Whatcha' Been Playin and Cannata-ford a New Game: Start: 00:31:58 End: 01:04:38

The Warning: Start: 01:05:46 End: 01:45:31

Music Break featuring "Patron" by Mista Perkins feat. David Ruffin Jr.: Start: 01:45:31 End: 01:48:41

The Front Page: Start: 01:48:41 End: 02:20:14

Music Break this week comes from Win Win Global artist Mista Perkins with "Patron" featuring David Ruffin Jr. Yes, son of David Ruffin best known from the Temptations. You can get the full track on the iTunes Music Store. For more from Mista Perkins check out his Facebook and MySpace pages. For much more also hit the Win Win Global official site and be on the watch for the Win Win team as they tour the country the summer.

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

45 Threads | 166 Comments
  • I don't know if it's possible to contact you on weekend confirm in any other way so I try it this way. You've mentioned a few times Garnet that you own a Nexus One, as do I, so therefore I would like to hear your, and the others, opinion on the android and it's potential as a gaming platform. Does market have the chance of being as big as iStore? Have you heard of anything on the platform that you're really excited about? What made you buy a Nexus instead of an iPhone?

    So, yeah, you probably don't need my help with the discussion. Really hope you see this and take it up on the show, thanks for a great show btw.
    Greetings from Sweden
    Alexander Örtenholm



  • Garnett, I think as someone working in the games industry, you might've lost touch with how it is for the "average gamer" out there. Truth of the matter is, because of your profession you get to play any game you really want to for minimal costs. The bigger commitment would be your time.

    Now as I don't actually know your spending habits, perhaps I am in the wrong here and you do actually spend a lot of your own personal dime on games. However I still think if you counted the sheer volume of games you play, for preview, review, feature, the show, etc, and let's say you HAD to pay for all those games, it would easily be in several hundred dollars a month, if not more. So whatever you may be paying for games right now, you're still playing WAY more games than any of us normal gamers could ever afford to (I'm not complaining or saying you shouldn't, hey man, you work in the industry, it's your right!)

    But my point here is, I think you might've lost touch with the fact that you sir are eating at a buffet of games. 99% of the population does not. 99% of the population has to spend a lot of money to eat ONE MEAL. So for us, money DEFINITELY factors into the experience.

    I think the problem in your argument that the "experience is the experience, cost be damned" is that you are in a sense arguing in an indirect, an I'm sure unintentional, way that experiences are objective things that just "are." But they're not, they're subjective to each individual user AND for a lot of people, the monetary value, the perceived cost of a game can shape that subjective experience. We live in a world of economics so how can you not tie cost to experience or enjoyment? For instance, I love myself a plate of spaghetti at my favorite resturant for $8.15, but I wouldn't like it so much if it we're double that.

    And Brian's point about Deadly Premonitions I think is totally valid and also I don't think Jeff's dislike of the game invalidates that argument like you seemed to be hinting. Brian was saying that a person will forgive a game at $20 that they might not for $60 and I believe that core argument is true with the modifiers that SOME people CAN FORGIVE a game if it's cheaper that they WOULD NOT if more expensive. But other people, like Jeff, can't forgive a game no matter what the price point. They are not conflicting ideologies, merely non-interlaping ones.

    As a personal anecdote, as someone who makes alright, but not great money, I have to make value judgments for games all the time. I almost never ever buy a game unless it's on sale on Steam or some other digital service (mostly a PC gamer) and that's because I have come to the conclusion that for me, with my economic constraints, very very few games are worth $50-60 for me. Now I picked up Saint's Row 2 for $5 on a crazy sale they had and played it and LOVED it. ABSOLUTELY LOVED IT. In fact I was gushing about it to my friends for a long time. But can I admit that a big part of that is because I got that game for $5 freaking dollars which is a steal, even now? Yes. Does that mean I wouldn't have enjoyed the game if it were more than $5? No, I still would've liked it. But I'm pretty sure I wouldn't have liked it to the degree that I did. At $5, I felt like that game was a 10. If I got it at $60, I'd probably feel like that game was an 8 or an 8.5. Is that "fair" or "logical?" Probably not. But it's my subjective experience. And that fluctuates on many things, price being one of them.

    You made the point yourself that it's hard to do a value judgment on games because everyone is different and that's true, but I think you ignored the 2nd part of your own logic which is every one's individual value/enjoyment scale is different and thus subjective "experiences" or "enjoyment" of games are different AND equally valid. There is no ONE experience, value be damned, there are a multitude of different experiences which are affected by a number of things, price being a very important factor.


  • I've been listening for a while, but this is the first time I've felt compelled to post a comment. Anyway, I love the show and have followed Garnett and Jeff for a while, and they always entertain me.

    Now that that's out of the way, just wanted to chime in here regarding people killing Garnett for his comments about pricing not affecting the way he reviews games.

    I, for one, greatly appreciate that. For some of us, money isn't the major issue when purchasing a game - time is. I'm a med student, and while I certainly don't have unlimited funds, the point at which I run out of money is far outstripped by the point in which I run out of time. To put it in chemistry terms, time is the limiting reagent in the game-purchasing equation. I'm much more interested in the quality of experience I can get out of the limited time I have to invest in playing games.

    For example, the last three games I completed were Red Dead Redemption, the original Half-Life, and Heavy Rain. I'm now playing Half-Life 2. I paid close to $60 for Red Dead, nothing for Heavy Rain (borrowed it from a friend), and something like $8 combined for the Half-Lifes. I enjoyed them all immensely, but I was much more interested in the quality of the experience I would be having instead of some sort of enjoyment:price ratio - I would've paid as little or as much (within reason) as necessary. I basically only have time to play the very best games, and I rely on review sites like this one to tell me what experiences are worth my time, irrespective of how much it costs. Another example is that instead of getting Deathspank (which I hear is "great for a $15 game"), I'm going to spend my gaming time on finishing Half-Life 2 and then move on to Starcraft 2 or Demon's Souls (I'm late to the party pretty often with my games, as you can imagine).

    Anyway, I realize this is a long comment. Just wanted to throw it out there that while I understand that for most people value is a dollars and sense thing, for me it's more about the objective quality of the game, and I don't think I'm alone. I do suspect that my segment of the gaming audience is less vocal, for reasons that are easy to imagine.




  • Really great discussions this week! I had something I was hoping you would talk about in The Warning--

    It seems like there is a lot of backlash to the aggregate sites like Metacritic from many sites that review games. Some of them even have gone so far as moving away from number scores in an effort to... what?

    If you don't want to have your reviews put on Metacritic, you can do that. X-Play did. The guys at 1up (who I love and respect) seem to often want to complain about how Metacritic handle their scores, but isn't that a bit disingenuous when they don't take the extra step of having their scores removed from the site?

    In brief- If you can't trick Metacritic, shouldn't you either give in or get out?



  • Ok a couple things here.

    I have to say I really side with Jeff on the blizzard forums discussion. I share his frustration so much regarding people hiding behind the security of anonymity these days. The idea sounded so refreshing to me. I was a WoW player for several years and I never posted on the official forums more than a few times because the amount of crap on there is impossible to sort through. Most of it was like someones alt account agreeing with a point the main account made and a bunch of people just really disrespecting each other in many ways.

    There is a reason that I dont play 360 games on LIVE without people I know. The rare times I do are like Street Fighter and even in those moments on games I will not wear a headset because the anonymity allows people to be complete jerks and quite honestly I don't want to get sucked in to it. On top of that there are many young kids on xbox live that all of a sudden look up to these idiots and start patterning the behavior after them simply because the racist is getting a lot of kills.... its a really sad state.

    Garnett said that he didn't want to risk exposing people to the 10% a$$hats. Well just like you said Garnett those people will go out of their way to be bigger a$$hats. You really think those people couldn't get this info today if they tried based on just a LIVE ID instead of a Full Name? It can be done.

    The bottom line is that the forums are optional just like a country club. if you hate the rules so much join a different club or forum. I'm sad to hear Blizzard back pedaled on this. If any company could have started a trend it would have been the one that sells crack to its users.

    Oh BTW my real name is Adam Spohn. There is that so hard?


    On the Roll vs Role playing....
    You guys mentioned Street Fighter. I just wanted to point out that if you go to the street fighter menus you can set up custom UI. You can move around the super/ultra meters, as well as the life bar and timer. You can even move them off screen completely! This gives that fight night/UFC feel. Its scary to not know when you might die in a series we take that info for granted in for years. Try it out! I'm not saying its how I play the game, i'm just saying it was fun to play that way with buddies for a night!


    Lastly how in the world can Alien Swarm NOT be this weeks Cannata FORD a new game??



  • I've been thinking recently, we are almost at the five year anniversary of the launch of the Xbox 360 and the beginning of all this "Next Gen" gaming. Remember all the hype? Games will look on par with Toy Story! No, on par with The Incredibles! The Killzone 2 trailer! The nonsense Sony executive talk about the PS3 being the best thing since the internet! And games will make you cry! The horizon was so bright you had to wear suntan lotion on your retinas.

    So, last generation, after about 5 years in is when we really started seeing some of the best stuff those consoles had to offer. Now, I'm sure this generation will still be around for at least a couple more years uncontested, and I'm sure we'll see plenty more great games, but I felt like reflecting a bit on this.

    In what way do you feel this generation has let you down? Is there something you expected games (or the industry) to have achieved by now that it hasn't yet? What part of that next gen hype do you wish would have come true that you feel hasn't?

    And also, so this doesn't get too cynical and depressing, include something that games have done in the last 5 years that has surpassed your expectations.

    I'll keep mine simple. The thing I'm continually disappointed in with games of this generation is AI. I feel there was little to no noticeable enhancement to most franchises' AI with the transition of consoles. Shit, I mean, when the most popular first person shooter of all time (Modern Warfare 2) has artificial intelligence akin to motherfucking Time Crisis, you know that advancement has been slow. Part of me wonders if the growth of multiplayer gaming has led to this, or if it is simply not something that is demanded (or noticed) as much as things like graphics, framerate, or sound. Also, where as graphics are built on common engines, I assume AI are typically written specifically for each game, which makes it more difficult for every developer to have enemies as smart as in games like Halo 3 or FEAR.

    And the thing that has totally surpassed my wildest expectations is animation. Specifically, facial animation. Seeing how characters move in recent games like Mass Effect 2, Red Dead Redemption, Assassin's Creed 2, Uncharted 2, Heavy Rain, and Final Fantasy XIII has consistently blown me away. Remember how stiff video game characters used to be during cutscenes (hell, even during gameplay)? Pull up a Youtube video of a GTA: San Andreas cutscene followed by a GTA IV one, I dare you. Though I don't think our graphics rival those of Pixar (which is a silly thing to want anyway) I do feel that some of the best animators in our industry are challenging them in that territory.

    Anyway, once again, that turned out longer than I wanted it to be, but I had this conversation with a friend a few months back and thought it would be really interesting to hear everyone's responses here. :)



  • Speaking on dollar value of a game taken in account of a review, there is certainly a perception that consumers have when they want a product. This perception is very much a driver of how much the consumer wants it. I definitely agree with Garnett that regardless of price, the contents of the game should be judged without being based on a price point; however, people are paying good money for a game and, most of the time, have to decide based on price point.

    I have two great examples.

    I got Portal at launch (which I think was $10-15) because the gameplay had always looked fun from all of the press release. When I actually came to play it, I was actually unhappy with it. The game mechanics of the portal gun were excellent, and it made very interesting puzzles, but I couldn't get over the lack of challenge it provided me because I finished the entire game, on first playthrough, in about an hour. I really couldn't justify spending $10-15 on an hour worth of gaming.

    Taking on another Valve game, I felt the same for the first Left4Dead. I played it at a friend's place and found it lacking content. Of course they added more later on, but it was a full price game for five levels of gameplay. But then Left4Dead2 came out. This time, they justified the price. It had five campaigns with a lot of interesting gameplay modes, and it felt like it was worth it. I definitely bought it when I looked at the list of its offerings.

    I appreciate and love great games, and I might even join in on buying Flower for $200 if I had disposable income, but I don't. There was a time when I did have disposable income, and I bought the original World of Warcraft collector's edition for $600. That is the truth. I've been on both sides of the spending budget, and I think that if you are tight on the dollar, you will want to know the entertainment value of the game for its dollar.

  • On 1 vs 100 and it's apparent failure. What if the whole thing was simply proof of concept for the new ESPN features they announced? Xbox to ESPN "Look, we can show you that people will tune in at a certain time, and participate in trivia games."

    It makes the partnership agreement between the 2 a lot more even (even evener you might say) if MS is bringing something to the table as well instead of just streaming ESPN content through live.

    I'd be shocked if Netflix isn't looking at it as well for some type of movie based trivia game. Just off the top of my head, at 9pm on Fridays everyone tune in to watch Bladerunner (or whatever) and there's running trivia (ad-supported) going on along the bottom with leaderboards etc.








  • With regard to 'value' in games, both sides clearly hold water. Creative merit clearly exists extrinsic to the cost of the product, the Mona Lisa isnt a better or worse painting depending on the admission fee to the gallery.

    However, gaming is passtime. People have budgets. People read reviews to decide how to spend their finite budgets (oh, and for validation). I think its actively the responsibility of a well written review to call out whether what the game delivers is notably more or less than competing titles.

    Its the balancing act of communicating the pure experience of the game, call out any reasons for pause, both techinical and financial, without straying into the absolutes of "do not buy this game".

    Broadly, neither books films or any other medium I can think of has as diverse a pricing structure as games. Movies and novels pretty much cost the same regardless of their length or nature, so they have the luxury of being freed from arguments of value, games do not.

  • Sorry, posted this on ep. 16 reposing it here.

    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.

    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 (Major Nelson) 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 middleman 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 that I’ll have to listen to something else on my commute to work. Thursdays are even worst when I have to listen to that panderer Major Nelson. Anyways, thanks for all you guys do and keep up the good work.


  • I'm curious about how everybody feel about this. I'm posting it here because it might make for a decent discussion on next week's show.

    One of the last rental stores in my town was shut down this week. We lost eight rental stores in the past year. This seems to be happening all around the country. How do you feel this will effect gamers and the game industry?

    I can't help but wonder if this trend has made game reviews more important. I seem to remember that I stopped renting games around the time I started paying attention to review sites. It put me in a place where I really didn't have to try-out and judge a game for myself. I used to stroll through rental stores, and if I saw a game with an interesting cover-art and box description, I'd pick it up without knowing anything about it. It was a low financial risk, so, if I ended up not liking the game, big deal. I really can't do that if I'm spending $60 on a game or even $20.

    As I started paying attention to reviews, I started to rely less on my own experience with a game. I'd buy the games that got positive reviews, wait for games with average reviews to go down in price before I purchased them, ignored the games with poor reviews, and just stopped renting altogether (this changed quite a bit once I got to know what each reviewer was into. More on that in a bit). How many of you have had that experience? If so, how do you feel about it? Do you miss discovering if a game was good or bad on your own?

    A question for Garnett and the crew: Do you think it would be beneficial to a gamer to try out a game before hearing too much about it and form their own opinions on it?

    With rental stores closing, how likely will gamers be to try out average scored games since it's a higher financial risk to have to buy them ranther than renting? (A lot of times, I would hear about some game through word-of-mouth, rent it, and if I liked it, I would go out and buy it.) How could that effect the industry?

    I hope I don't sound like I think game reviews are a bad thing, quite the contrary. Especially if you really get to know the reviewer's tastes. I know that my taste in games is very similar to Shane Bettenhausen's. Generally, if a game was getting poor or average reviews, but Shane gave it a recommendation, I always knew it would be a safe purchase (I've been kinda lost since he left the reviews business). I like odd and creative games, so, when Garnett talked about how amazing games like Pixiljunk Eden and Flower were on Listen Up, I didn't hesitate to make those purchases because when it comes to bold, crazy games that take a lot of risks, I full-heartedly trust Garnett's oppinion. I think that when you really get to know a reviewer's tastes, is when reviews best serve the reader. (This is where metacritic and number scores fail the reader. There have been several times when a game was mostly getting 5's but Shane gave it a 7 and described a game I might enjoy in his review, I ended up having a lot of fun with a game I probably would have skipped without Shane's review. Someone only looking at the number scores and metacritic could, potentially, miss out on an experience like that. Know your reviewers.)

    Any way, We all have different tastes, so, although I'm very happy to have reviews (especially when I know a reviewer's tastes are similar to mine) and I think game reviews are generally handled better than most movie, book, or music reviews, I do kind of miss the days of renting random games for $3 and going in to them without knowing what anybody else thinks of them. Does anyone else feel that way?

    Sorry for rambling. That went all over the place.

  • Jeff, I love both your shows, but I had to register on the site this week just to tell you about a realistic problem with a Cloud service -- at least, one that runs like OnLive.

    Picture this scenario. Two guys purchase Just Cause 2, Jeff's favorite game of all time. A week later, both of these guys lose their jobs. Both of them have to cut costs where they can, and that includes cutting subscription services (cable, Netflix, etc). One of them purchased it at a brick-and-mortar store. With his abundant free time, he has plenty of time to 100% Just Cause 2. The other guy "bought" it from OnLive, and now that he's cutting his subscription, that $60 was a total waste. He paid the same amount (plus a bit for the subscription), but while one purchaser gets to keep playing, the other one doesn't.

    In this economy, it's not all that unrealistic, right?

    Now you could argue that Netflix poses the same problem. If you lose your job and have to cut subscriptions, you can't watch movies from them anymore. The difference is that Netflix is all-you-can-eat. If I have to cancel my Netflix subscription, it's not as if I wasted $20 every time I decided to stream a movie on InstantWatch.

    Paying for the goods on top of the service is problematic, especially if you're paying retail prices anyway. It's not an unrealistic problem; people have to cancel subscriptions to all sorts of things for all sorts of reasons.




  • If Blizzard chose to police their forums more thoroughly from the beginning, they wouldn't be faced with their current trolling problem. Take a look at sites like NeoGAF or, for a WoW example, Elitist Jerks. Those types of sites have next to no trolls on them due to the fact that they are closely monitored and the posters realize that posting there is a privilege. Members begin to point out things to people acting out of line telling them that what they're doing isn't how things are done around here essentially leading to a user-policed state where moderators are a last resort.

    Blizzard's solution to the problem is "Don't do something bad, or else somebody may find out real information about you and use it to harm you in some way" which is an awful and condescending way to crack down on problems on their forums. Real life should never be brought in to the equation due to people ceasing to address the person's internet avatar, which basically means nothing, and beginning to attack their real life personality which could lead to a whole host of consequences due to past experiences of the victim's life.

    I agree that the internet needs to grow up, and really feel sorry for females having to hide behind a one-sided window in order to fit in, but there really isn't anything that can be done at the moment and Blizzard needs to deal with it just like any other web site.

  • Price is Access and Access only Reviewers need to stop talking about price its disrespectful to the both the players and the designers.

    Cooking shows and car shows base price of regions .. game reviewers are international

    so please please please! Stop using the most simplistic language of value... that of money... and talk of the value of design.

    Your making generalizations on acceptable price based on you'r groups of friends in your towns in your states in you're country's .. it makes you look like really really naive ./... stop doing it your narrowing your audience



  • Another great show... a few things:

    -I loved Blue Velvet from the start... any problem with oddball shit was offset by the obvious mastery of the medium the director was showing. By the time it started to make sense, that was just icing.

    -I thought Jeff rocked this week! I found myself agreeing with every point he made, and felt he was both clear and flexible in his points.

    You're right Jeff, it would make the internet a better place with less anonimity... studies have shown that when people are hiding behind that veil, it brings out the worst in them. That's good news for people who are kind online :)