Weekend Confirmed Episode 20

By Garnett Lee, Aug 06, 2010 12:00pm PDT It's anything but a lazy midsummer's show as a Whatcha' Been Playin? packed with heavy-hitters including Civilization 5, Starcraft 2, and Madden 11 gets Garnett, Brian, and Jeff off to rocking start. There's so much in there that Cannata-ford a New Game spills over to the third segment before giving way to the Warning. Your thoughts on why developers try and compete with the likes of Halo and Modern Warfare for multiplayer shooters starts the conversation which also includes choosing the right place to sit when gaming, and a brief look at the issues raised this week on Gamasutra concerning whether focus testing resulted in Activision abandoning female action heroes. News from EA's investor reports hits the Front Page along with one of our favorite games, Torchlight, getting the sequel we all hoped for announced.

Weekend Confirmed Ep. 20 - 08/06/2010

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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: 00:31:37

Whatcha' Been Playin and Cannata-ford a New Game: Start: 00:32:50 End: 01:01:40

The Warning: Start: 01:02:48 End: 01:38:25

Music Break "Weather the Storm" by Verbal: Start: 01:38:25 End: 01:41:26

The Front Page: Start: 01:41:26 End: 02:13:39

Music Break this week comes from Montreal-based hip hop artist Verbal. The featured track "Weather the Storm" is available on iTunes, Rhapsody, Napster, and Limewire stores. For more from verbal and the Northern Lights (NL5) hip hop collective check out the NL5 MySpace page.

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.

Jeff can also be seen on The Totally Rad Show. New episodes come out weekly on Tuesday.

Our Official Facebook Weekend Confirmed Page is coming along now so add us to your Facebook routine. We'll be keeping you up with the latest on the show there as well.

Weekend Confirmed will be taping live at PAX! Hope you can join us Saturday, Sep 4 at 2pm in the Serpent Theatre.

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43 Threads* | 159 Comments

  • Garnett,

    Long time listener, first time writer. Just wanted to say, I'm an Art Director for a Media Agency is Chicago; in the interview for my job, not only did I mention, talk about at length, and exchange gamertags/psn id's with the group of people I interviewed with, I was asked directly in the interview if I played video games. The fact that I did play games was a plus, not a minus. It was considered a point of camaraderie, and if you have similar instrests.

    My boss is in his Mid-30's and he's level 70 in MW2, as time progresses more people grow up with and are introduced to the new form of entertainment that are video games. As that happens, naturally it will be come more normalized and more acceptable, but there's a more important issue here, and that's self-confidence and self-esteem -- I think that's the true axiom of this discussion.

    To be frank, more than anything, no matter what circumstance, people need to be themselves, and enjoy, like and be proud of being themselves. There is no way to have an successful and honest relationship, whether personal or work related, if you're pretending to be someone else. People need to be comfortable with who they are, what they like, and what they're interested in. If they are, that's when they will truly find those who are their true friends and allies. I think far too often people try to act like what they *think* other people are looking for, when in most cases, they're looking for someone who's genuine -- that makes your more popular than anything else. Even if it doesn't make you popular, at least the relationships you do foster from such a construct are genuine and deeply rooted, that has more value, in terms of personal happiness and satisfaction that anything else.

    Just be honest and proud of who you are, why is that so hard?


  • A thought for the future generation of gamers.

    with prices of games so high i wonder if the younger folk who cant really afford games too often ever get the chance to just walk into a shop and browse, leaving with a title they'd never hear of before. I did this all the time when i was playing playstation one, me and my cusion did it just about everyweek and ended up with some of my best gaming memories judging only from boxart.
    The last time i grabbed a game i knew nothing about it was actually grabbed for me, Guilty gear 2 overture. Im not saying its a class A game but i loved playing it and it introduced me to the whole guilty gear franchise. I just worry that the non-mainstream games are going to be completely lost on the younger folk because nobody has the money and time to play every game but i try to play a fair varaity whereas i dont think theese guys have the oppertunity to. Aniway just give it a little thought next time a younger relative or freind asks to borrow a game

    full blog here http://gamehobo3.blogspot.com/2010/08/gamers-of-tomorow.html

  • not the thought ill be blogging about, but a thought non the less

    With all this talk of the female/male protagonist argument, i stepped back for a second trying to think of somthing to add and i ask, just how important is a protagonist?
    I adored playing turok on my gamecube, awsome guns, graphics and mechanics its a game id love to go back and play again but i cant for the life of me remember anything about the protagonist. Another example would be ninja gaiden2 im aware it has a decent story and that ryu isnt completely cardboard but i was too busy cutting up stuff to care about what he thinks. I spose at the other end of the spectrum there are games like alan wake where having a deep protagonist and all around great cast really carries the game along.
    best opposites i can think of would be assassins creed against assassins creed 2, loved both games about the same, but one protagonist was great to follow the story together with and the other seemed to be a guy who was just walking the same way as you

    starting to wonder if not caring about any of the cast affected my view of FFXIII cause i really didnt care about what was going to happen to any of them, exept for hope
    god i wanted hope to die

  • Ok, just one more comment on topic brought last week.

    I think that Jeff was spot on during the story in games discussion. Really all games have to be built first around the "thirty seconds of fun" mechanic and then have a story fleshed out around that otherwise it starts to become tough to call it a game. For instance, I loved Heavy Rain for what it was. But ii would be tough to call it a game instead of an experience.

    So that got me thinking. We all know that games and comic books are often link in our minds for no apparent reason. However, more and more comic seem to stand as a blueprint for video games as an industry. Comics are a relatively new for of art and have already gone through alot of the growing pains that we see games going through now and I think we can draw a parallel to storytelling as well.

    When comics were first written the story arcs were not extraordinary by any means by the "fun" was there in the form of the origins, the supervillian arch nemesis, the superpowers. These things laid the groundwork for the amazing stories we see in comics todays which are often very deep and rewarding for the reader. In the same vain it would make since that many of the games we see today are trying to nail the "fun" in form of gameplay and once that is cemented into our culture the focus will shift as it did in comics to story. To me it seems like is the road that makes since for games. We are alerady ssing it working. I use Bioshock as an example. At this point the FPS has perfected its "thirty seconds of fun" as long as it is in the hands of a competent design studio. Therefor the essential framework was already in place. It allowed for the story to written without the need for reinventing the wheel for the gameplay. I believe that in many cases developers have to start getting out of thier own way and stop trying to reinvent the wheel, instead take something you already know works and wrap an amazing story and world around it.

    What do you guys think?

  • My thoughts on the "female lead" issue:

    1) I'm a huge fan of "strong and not-super-sexualized" female lead in fiction.... this is strongest for me in books and movies, but also applies to games.

    2) I agree with Brian that most lead characters in games are so thin, it hardly matters... what he didn't say, was that this is very much on purpose in most cases. Think of how many RPGs start you out with some kind of amnesia.... the point is that if the lead is really going to be "you" the game cannot tell you who you are... that's for you to determine via game play.

    3) But the issue is complicated, because some games do allow you to play more fleshed-out characters. Heavy Rain, for example, allows you to play a weak male character, a strong female character, a hard boiled male character, and others. These characters were richer, but note that being male or female wasn't an issue. They were just characters.

    4) Ultimately, the whole women's movement thing is still confusing simple issues, in my opinion. I suggest seeing people as people and also allowing people to be sexual and sexy: both male and female. Humans are sexual creatures, and there has never been anything wrong with that.

    For me, the issue of talking about gender is similar to the "race" issue: some things get to the point that talking about them does more harm than not talking about them. The reason is that true equality means realizing that pointing differences out is part of what stops the issue from being equal, and simply allowing people to what they are.

    The essence of any person will always be much more important than their skin, genitals, or other surface issues.

    Any well written characters will be interesting, and the sex is irrelevant. Which is essentially what Brian was implying.

  • I really enjoyed the discussion about why so many games try to tack on multiplayer or take on COD. I know this makes me sound like a total fanboy, but hearing my online name said on a podcast always gives me a small thrill. This was great, maybe not as good as when Shane read my story from working at Gamestop and the lady who said I was probably fat and going to die of a heart attack, but this was close!

    I just want to come back to my point about the press a bit. I feel like I get on a pedestal way too often about the press, when in reality I respect so many in the games press so much (especially the guys on this show and the guys at Bitmob). I think in general the games press does a good job, even if there are outliers or specific situations that make me raise some serious questions from time to time. I think it is a responsibility of gamers to raise questions about how the press operates, but I also think people can take it too far and paint the whole of the press as bad. I don't want to be one of those people!

    As far as multiplayer goes, the Chronicles of Riddick sequel is one of the first games I remember getting knocked for not having multiplayer and then adding it while specifically saying they were doing so because it was one of the only things they got knocked for. Thinking about it more I don't know if that is the fault of the press as much as it is of the developers.

    I have to think that the worst possible way to develop a game is to base your development off of a checklist of things the press/fans complained about. That should always factor in to a degree, but the driving force behind development should always be to make something you personally believe in first... at least in a perfect world.

    I guess I should stop before I go onto too much of a tangent.

  • You know. I was thinking about how Garnett was so mysterious about the narrator for CIV 5. And it got me thinking, sure, I'd personally love to Nimoy back. He's got a great voice, and he did an excellent job on CIV 4. But I started thinking about other possibilities, and all the big names in narration out there. And one guy came up. Morgan Freeman. Yea I know. He's probably as expensive as they come, and even I doubt it. Just something to think about. I mean, how friggin awesome would that be!!! I just love the idea. So anyways, anyone else have thoughts as to who the new narrator is? Or do you think Nimoy is making a return?

  • It does seem like a lot of developers go around bashing their heads into brick walls trying to get into the Xbox Live most played games, but it's this sort of thing that leads to innovation. When you have a studio like Infinity Ward who comes up with an idea, players want a more streamlined version of that for the next game in the series, not a complete retooling of the mechanics. I'm not saying that Singularity's time altering sniper rifle is going to catch on, but someone had to think of regenerating shields and go out on a limb to implement it at some point. We, as players, never know what we want until we have it.

  • I love the way new podcasts (especially a Garnett Lee special... of which their have been quite a few already) slowly evolve and grow up over time. When you guys sat down for that first episode it was cool to be hearing a Garnett lead Shacknews podcast... it was good and I enjoyed it... but it was a little bit awkward and in the end you were just some dudes talking into a microphone about games (and honestly it just made me miss 1up Yours all the more). BUT (that's a big but) over time I can tell that you guys are getting to know eachother better (in a.. you know.. non-sexual way I hope) and are forming a more casual rapport . As the episodes pile up, the three core members seem to be getting used to podcasting together, you have your little inside jokes and musical lead-ins... it all comes together and becomes it's own thing. I feel that after about 20 episodes this Shack-spawned mutant podcast baby has matured to a level where it has grown some teeth and a few slimy tentacles and stands on it's own six feet in the video game landscape of weekly audio outspewings. I guess what I'm trying to say is... good show guys. I'm really enjoying it and look forward to it every week.