Weekend Confirmed Episode 22

By Garnett Lee, Aug 20, 2010 12:00pm PDT This weekend gets confirmed with a powerful show that rocks from start to finish. Kane & Lynch 2: Dog Days, Lara Croft: Guardian of Light, Monday Night Combat, and a QuakeCon report get the party started on the right foot in Whatcha' Been Playin? Your thoughts on maturity in games and balancing difficulty with reward lead off the Warning before the question of whether it's okay to leave games unfinished finally gets discussed. Gamecom announcements alone could fill the Front Page but there's also a quick review of the July NPD sales figures and, of course, Jeff tops it off with a little excitement for Bioshock Infinite.

Weekend Confirmed Ep. 22 - 08/20/2010

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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: 00:31:21

Whatcha' Been Playin and Cannata-ford a New Game: Start: 00:32:47 End: 01:04:33

The Warning: Start: 01:05:36 End: 01:37:20

Music Break featuring "Yaa I Get It" by Shad K Start: 01:37:20 End: 01:40:10

The Front Page: Start: 01:40:10 End: 02:16:21

Music Break this week comes from Shad K with his single "Yaa I Get It" on Black Box Recordings, which is available now on iTunes and Shad's worldwide store. Shad can also be found on MySpace and Facebook. Don't miss his The Old Prince Still Lives at Home video

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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  • You know, the constant criticism of video games in general for resolving down, in most cases, to simple violence and shooting is really getting on my nerves, because it's a discussion that could be easily and handily dismissed if you think about the basic elements required of a game. All games that we can understand as games MUST have rules, a loss condition, and implicit competition, either with the system itself (Super Mario Brothers) or with other players (Team Fortress). Once you remove the loss condition and the end point, you've exited the realm of anything that we can understand and discuss AS A GAME and moved into the realm of toys and sandboxes (free play systems).

    Shooting is a remarkably easy interaction to implement in a virtual environment, because it really just boils down to pointing at an object and pushing a button. It requires the least amount of abstraction for a generic, average human to understand, and that's a good thing. From a first person perspective, it's arguably the ONLY interaction that you can implement - try to count the number of first person games you've played that DON'T involve targeting something in the environment and pushing a button. We should not be surprised to see shooting show up in lots and lots of video games. If you're going to criticize games for implementing that mechanic, you should at least sack up enough to realize that you're criticizing the inherent artistic potential of the medium and that it's NOT a shortcoming of the game designers.

    Similarly, competition is an unavoidable and critical element of any game that we can discuss as a game. While it's certainly possible to create a virtual environment that you interact with freely that doesn't have any built-in goals or challenges that you can fail to accomplish, it makes little sense to discuss those objects as "games" in the same sense as, for instance, football or Candyland. Competition is inherent to any and all games. It might be true that this limits the expressive potential of games, but, again, that's not a failure of design, but instead a fundamental shortcoming of the medium itself. Faulting a video game for trying to be a game, and for suffering from the limitations inherent to that aspiration, seems to me to be entirely wrong-headed.

    If you want more "video games" that don't involve competition or shooting, you need to consider expanding the language and the discussion to include environments and products that don't implement games. Personally, I don't think that those products will sell particularly well and that only the absolute best even stand a chance of success, but we'll never be able to talk about them properly until we stop calling them something that they simply are not (games).