Weekend Confirmed Episode 21

By Garnett Lee, Aug 13, 2010 12:00pm PDT Before Garnett and Brian head to Texas for QuakeCon, they sit down with Jeff to record this week's show. It's a broad swath of gaming in Whatcha' Been Playin? ranging from more Madden and Starcraft 2 to Arc Rise Fantasia and even Minecraft. Your thoughts from our conversation last week about the viability of female characters leads the Warning before the subject turns to the line between fun, engaging game design and frustrating compulsion to beat a game. And in the front page there's news of new Borderlands DLC and the celebrity voice cast in Fallout New Vegas. Due to travel we recorded early this week but we'll have Jeff's reaction to Bioshock Infinite and look at July's sales figures next week.

Weekend Confirmed Ep. 21 - 08/13/2010

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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: 00:31:40 End: 01:03:29

The Warning: Start: 01:04:38 End: 01:36:58

Music Break featuring "Quid Pro Quo" by Civicminded Start: 01:36:58 End: 01:40:14

The Front Page: Start: 01:40:14 End: 02:12:19

Music Break this week comes from Civicminded, winners of the Best New Artist honors in the Omaha Arts and Entertainment Awards. The track "Quid Pro Quo" comes from the band's debut effort, Sequence. You can download the full song for free on the Civicminded Facebook page. You can also catch up with them on MySpace. Civicminded’s own Phil Reno also composed the soundtrack for the Giant Bombcast.

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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56 Threads* | 229 Comments

  • Jeff, I definitely think you could like Minecraft. The lego description of it is pretty good, but it goes a little deeper than that, I think.

    Basically, the way that I can best describe it, is that it's being able to do all of the things that you imagined doing as a kid building forts with pillows and blankets. Or at least that's very much the same feeling that I get from it. It's this kind of child-like feeling of exploration and fun danger. It's very tough to describe it well, because it's a very unique experience. What I can say is that it's very neat.

  • Listening to the segment regarding guys playing female characters in games, I'm reminded of why Garnett Lee one of my favorite gaming journalists, because when it comes to this subject, I back it up 100%

    I think that it starts with the idea of being in love with the concept of a badass woman. For me, that's Uma Thurman's character in Kill Bill. Kill Bill is practically my most favorite film(s) of all time. Shortly after watching that, I recall hearing Garnett just praise the hell out of Tomb Raider Anniversary back on 1up Yours, and when I checked that out, it just grabbed me and dragged me in like no other game. The mechanics, sheer volume of content, and adventure alone was enough to make me swear by Tomb Raider Anniversary.

    I went and picked up Beyond Good and Evil based on just constant praise by everyone on the internet for the game, and I adored that. Years after enjoying Indigo Prophecy, I finally decided to hunt down a copy of Dreamfall: The Longest Journey on Xbox, and that, too, had me by the tie, leading me to get The Longest Journey on PC, which is by far the greatest adventure game ever.

    It doesn't hurt that I absolutely love Mirror's Edge for both aesthetic and concept, along with WET for essentially being Kill Bill the videogame, despite its own downfalls.

    I guess what I'm saying is this: If you're a dude gamer who avoids games with female protagonists (and I've heard nothing but good things about Bayonetta), then you're a dumbass who's missing out on some of the best damn games of the past two decades. Not to mention, who can forget Portal? Is it just me, or are there a whole lot of "hardcore" games with female protags that are nothing but the best of their genres?

    And on a side note, I love Nausicaa: The Valley of the Wind.

    I would've mentioned FFX-2, and mind you, its my favorite FF game thanks to its combat system, but I wouldn't call it a shining example of awesome female characters. FFXIII is another interesting anecdote of female leads in games, but let's face it, she's basically a lady Cloud with a "caring older sister" archetype mixed in. The Cloud part is enough for people to latch on to the game.

  • Great show fellas. Regarding the inflection point of challenge vs. inane grinding, I think I have a solution. I think developers who create achievements do so from the perspective of what could a player get if s/he plays the way the developer imagined. I think when you find yourself confined to one solution to attain a certain task, a game changes from fun to frickin' annoying. As an old-school gamer who enjoyed the challenge as a kid, I must say that challenge is more a product of play style than skill.

    I enjoyed a game with extended playability and possessed a higher tolerance of excruciatingl difficulty as a kid. Lifestyle as a 30-year old father with family, fitness, work, and other responsibilities, I just want the experience. I enjoyed Dante's Inferno until I reached the point of inflection. Developers should realize the various play styles of their consumers and create reward systems accordingly. Too often the myopic perspective of "playing the game the way I want you to" is blurred in today's gaming landscape.

  • Game difficulty and the excitement of challenge is ultimately based on moment to moment basis. People's lives are dynamically changing all the time. People play games based on how they feel.

    For example, a Sunday might be a great day for a person to join an epic 4 hour World of Warcraft raid because he or she has a lot of time to spend on that day. That's not the case on the coming Monday where that person only can spend 15 minutes to play Peggle at the lunch break from work. After a long day of work, he or she can just sit down on the couch and have a relaxing journey into a Flower experience.

    A person wants challenge if they are mentally up for it. I personally don't invest in a challenging game when I know I'm working 6 days a week with overtime. That's why I put games on easy when I want to experience the story, and set it on hard if want to experience the challenge.

  • On the topic of role-playing games and gender choice:

    I lack the narcissism to create a character that looks like me. Instead, I've always seen RPGs - pen-and-paper or otherwise - as a chance to role-play a totally different being. I've played the role of a human commoner for 25 years; so why sacrifice the chance to play the part of a 4' gnome warrior tank and imagine what it would be like to be in her shoes?

    This is probably why I utterly enjoy most games with robust character customisation: not just in terms of looks, but - more importantly - playstyles and mannerisms. Seeing a game react one way to my halo-wearing kleptomaniac sniper and another to a 1 Int Mentats-addict Bruiser is all it takes for me to spend over 2 years (accumulated) playing the same game.