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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.





Comments

61 Threads | 171 Comments
  • Ok.. I think I have finally heard this one time too many. The camel has climbed the mountain....broke back mountain - ok that was horrible I admit. But seriously.. we HAVE and if I could stress this more than caps I would ****HAVE***** to get away from referring to games as juvenile. The gameplay is not juvenile, the concepts are not juvenile, the characters are not juvenile.
    Think of it this way, there are hundreds of thousands to millions of dollars put into the creation of a video game. The money paid and earned is not juvenile, the time, blood sweat and tears put into the finished product are not juvenile... i understand most of us gamers dont really refer to games that way, but if you choose to listen to somebody else do it and just nod your head, then your perpetuating the problem. I found myself several times in the past couple of years trying to get a point across to people who still have that archaic idea that games are for kids or a waste of time. I toss some numbers at them so they might get a better understanding of the gaming industry. Big releases that cause 4 hour lines and produce millions of dollars over the course of a couple of days... MMO's that have millions of subscribers paying monthly fees.
    I feel like my point might be getting lost... im only 1 cup of coffee in today.. so I'll try another route.

    You dont typically hear people say something like.. "Oh.. movies are so juvenile... they are are not based in reality." or.. "The auto industry is so juvenile.. they just make four wheels and put put seats on them..." jeez... im losing my train of thought .. but basically most people respect other media outlets, or business based on the fact that they most likely know people that have been successful working there, created a life out of it in fact. Even those who dont know people in that industry still acknowledge it by seeing the masses support it.. Well guess what.. Gaming has masses... mucho mucho masses!! so start recognizing people... start setting nay-sayers straight.

    Games will never be innocent and golden and shiny again... we all grew up, and guess what, so did games - they are gritty, complicated and edgy.. the age of infancy for games is way over... we are smack in the middle of the teenage years of gaming !!!..... wait does that make them juvenile - - fuckit I give up.

  • GRAVEL NOPHICS!
    Hey guys, I heard you mention in episode 22 that one of your listeners is working on an independently published graphic novel. A couple years ago my brother and I created an independent graphic novel formatted specifically for the PSP. It's free and published under a Creative Commons license. It's a six issue cyberpunk story that shares some themes with works like Deus Ex (very excited for Human Revolution) and Snow Crash. You can download it for free to your PSP or read it online at nyc2123.com

    Let me know what you guys think.










  • I know Garnet won't be playing Dragon Quest 9 but I wanted to share this experience anyway.

    The whole thing about creating a team of your own in DQ9 was kind of weird for me too but I found a way around it though. I named my team mates after members of my favorite Jpop group and gave them jobs that fit their personality (or what I find that fit them from my perspective). Because of this I feel more attached to them than if I just made some random characters that make up a balanced team.
    The multiplayer is cool. I attended GDC Europe last week with my classmate (we are game animation students) and he had a copy of he game as well. He did started getting on my nerves because all he wanted to do was play multiplayer, meaning that i had to give up a slot in my team so that he could enter my world. This is because I was further along in the story than he was and the gear I could get was way better then where he was in the story.
    The best part was when we attended Gamescom. We only stayed for the first day, but we were able to canvass allot of people. this was because Nintendo has set up a download station for a special treasure map so there were allot of people canvassing for that and for other players. it was so cool chatting with other players around the download station on how far they were and stuff. We even met someone who is working at Nintendo of Europe at the WiiWare sales department who got a DSi XL especially for DQ9 and this event. He teased us that he has seen the 3DS and how awesome it is and how our minds will be blown when we finally get to see it. We tried to nudge him into giving us access but no go of course. But he was a cool guy and we exchanged contact information so it's all good. In the end I was able to canvass 31 people and my friend canvassed over 60, which is an amazing feat since you can only canvass 3 people at a time before you have to return to the in, talks to your new guest and and talk to Erin again so you can canvass the next three guests. It's a tedious process, but if you manage to pass 60 guest, you don't have to pay Erin anymore to stay at the Stornway Inn. All in all, I have to say that my experience so far with DQ9 has been a blast and I'm almost at the end boss so fingers crossed.

    As a side note, I have been using my DS (both Lite and since last year DSi) more for gaming not only on the go but at home as well. I just enjoy the library of good titles on the handheld console better and can pick it up an play any time with minimal effort. I have been playing DQ9 in my bed for hours at a time, especially when I first got it. I also use it to listen to podcast when I'm on the go as well. Sure I have to convert them in iTunes before I can put them on my SD card but still, it has worked for me for the past year and it's the main way I listen to Weekend Confirmed on the go (I don't own a iPhone...yet).

  • I just wanted to comment on the talking about games with non-gamers (or at work). I wholeheartedly agree that there is definitely truth to the age gap arguement. This I believe will go away as the current generation of kids are growing up with games all around them rather than that being the exception.

    I do think you missed an angle on the story though. Instead of comparing gaming to the other activities you mentioned (going to a bar, drinking, etc.), comparison to other hobbies that result in learning a skill or personal benefit fits situations that I have encountered. Maybe it's because I have a family I am talking to other parents and my neighbors (ex. my neighbor restores old mustangs as his hobby). In these situations, it's been much harder to compare my hobby of gaming to those activities and not feel as though it's a bit shallow. Though I am hoping that all my time in L4D will benefit me in a forthcoming zombie apocalpyse. What do you guys think?



  • I actually put on my resume for one of my hobbies video games when I was applying for my current job. I was surprised when this was brought up by my current boss during my interview. He asked what type of games I played and at the time I replied halo 3 and MW. Then we had a 10 minute conversation about how hard it was to level up in halo once you reached a certain point. Currently about half the people I work with play some games and I would consider about half of them gamers. And I would not hesitate to put gaming on my resume for another job since it is what I do with a lot of my time outside of work that is.



  • Continuing with the gaming in the workplace discussion, I’m surprised that hobbies and interests even come up in interviews. I was always told that putting hobbies/interests on your resume was simply seen as filler by potential employees. I struggle to think of a single time I was asked about that kind of stuff during an interview.

    As for my experience with gaming in the workplace, I just recently had something interesting happen. Right now, I’m temping in the financial department of a city run ambulance service\emergency response team. In the middle of our entire office is a cubicle with a magna-doodle on it. Since everyone has to pass it at some point in the day, people feel compelled to write little messages to the office. On my way to lunch a few weeks ago, I noticed someone wrote “SC2-WOL. 7 days,” on the magna-doodle. So, naturally, I erased and replaced it with something along the lines of “Zerg Rush. 7 days.” Starcraft coded messages were passed for several days until I decided to propose a lunch meetup with my fellow gamer-in-hiding. It turned out to be an intern in the office. We ended up having quite a loud and spirited conversation about gaming in the office lunch room. A few days after the game was launched, the intern and I had another lunch meet up to discuss the campaign and multiplayer. In the middle of our discussion, one of the EMT deputies (all of whom look/sound like 30 to 40 y.o. blue collar stereotypes) came into the lunch room. We took it as a cue to quiet down, so we paused our discussion. The EMT quietly made himself a cup of coffee and then turned to us and said “So, how awesome was that level with the rising lava?” Several other staff members in various levels of the companies hierarchy joined us in our campaign discussion. We now frequently use game references to secretly talk to each other about things going wrong in the office. It’s great. We’ve even planned monthly game nights. I’m pretty sure my gaming relationship (and hard work!) with these people will lead to getting on a full time position, should one come available.


  • 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).


  • You guys nearly went down a very deep, dank, dark and [insert dictionary list of negative d-words] when you broached the topic of comparing spending one's free time gaming to other activities.

    As we all know, prejudice is the unholy spawn of ignorance. Governments who are ignorant of the new internet are prejudiced towards it and futilely seek to assert old-school authoritarian control over it. Marketing departments who are ignorant of Finance's worries futilely seek to circumvent and undemine their own colleagues. The same concept is applied to games.

    My temper is always tested when people scoff when they hear me talk about games, especially when I've refrained from jargon (e.g. DPS, apm, breakpoints, etc). My typical counter - thus far - has been to target their own hobbies. They usually leave me alone when I get them to read out the merits of a 4-2-4 formation, or gush over Federer's viral video, or name every contestant from all the seasons of American Idol.

    What people don't realise it that while we have grown up with games, games - as a whole - have grown up with us. The fact that such a topic is even discussed is proof enough! We have gone beyond simply playing games and talking about how to get Secret A via Method P, but actually have an intelligent debate about the culture of gamers and the business of game development. In my opinion, once we stop treating our games as "kids", we'll get over the self-loathing the community expects us to have.

  • Just wanted to comment regarding the talking about games at work thing.

    I feel that the industry in question makes a huge difference. I work for a software company, int he R&D dept. and because we have lots of programmers, and people that work with computers, there is no problem talking about games.

    I also ran into this when I worked for a ISP - when talking to the tech people, games were talked about plenty, including trying to push our company as a games friendly ISP, but when it came to try and talk to marketing people, or people that are not tech related, we ran into a lot more trouble regarding this issue.

    I know that in my current company, when I suggested talking to console makers regarding projects, our CEO was very enthusiastic, but I imagine that in a manufacturing plant - there might not be as much gaming people around.





  • Jeff had a great point in comparing video games to summer action movies. The reason they aren't taken seriously by people outside the industry is because no matter how much control over your actions you're given it still boils down to shoot guy A to solve problem B. I immediately think of the episode of the Office where Michael is in improv class and for every situation they come up with he pulls out an imaginary gun and shoots everyone. No matter how intricate the scene could have been the story is moot because he just kills everyone. By the end of the scene everyone looks at Michael as if he's the crazy psycho and they basically tell him no more guns. I applaud any game designer that says the same...no more guns. Jeff suggested Flower as a nice change of pace, but you don't have to go to the other side of the spectrum to prove the point. I think this concept is what made adventure games great because if you had a gun in an adventure game it would break the entire story. Basically, not every movie has to be the Expendibles just like not every game needs to be MC2.






  • I was very disappointed to hear about the changes coming to the PC version of Dragon Age. I am currently 50 hours into the PC version of Dragon Age and I always play from the top down perspective when in combat, and about 75% of the time when not in combat. It is especially necessary when fighting in small rooms or narrow corridors. I love the game, but it would quickly frustrate me if I could only play from the close up perspective.

    I think some games are better on PC and some are better on console as they each have different strengths and weaknesses. The keyboard and mouse on a PC allows for much easier control of complex games where you need to keep track of and control many characters at once. The high resolution of PC monitors is also better for text and small high detailed characters, such as in many RPGs and RTSs. On the other hand the controller of a console is much better suited for action and fighting games. Consoles are also great for simple pick up and play games, such as those found on XBox Live Arcade or PSN.

    I play games on both PC and console and I think it is OK to keep the Dragon Age style games on the PC and the Mass Effect style games on the console. Trying to shoehorn one onto the other does not make for the best gaming experience.

    Sorry Jeff, but Dragon Age on the PC is the 'right' way to play it.




  • Hey guys, great show as usual! I'd like to go back to the topic of video game talk in the workplace for a hot second just to say that you all are definitely in your own fish bowl as Garnett put it.

    A few years back I worked at a mutual funds firm just outside of NYC, and despite the fact that I worked on a floor with 100 or so people in their early to mid twenties it was very clear that any talk about video games would be, (and was) met with laughter and ridicule.

    The place I worked was rife with former frat boy, type A personalities who spent just about every weekend, frequenting douche bag Manhattan lounges, bachelor parties, and strip clubs, if they weren't chilling out in Atlantic City, or tailgating at a Jet's game.

    When it came to haircuts these guys had two options, 1) military style crew cuts, (though I'm pretty sure only one of them had actually been in the armed services), or 2) hair gelled and slicked back, a la their hero Gordon Gekko, from the movie Wall Street.

    Speaking of which an ongoing debate that was I was privy to on a weekly basis was, "which is better, 'Wall Street' or 'The Boiler Room'?" These guys loved them both and had them memorized backwards and forwards. The whole debate was a ruse though because any true sales guy who wasn't a total pussy knew that the one and only correct answer was "Wall Street". Startlingly, it was completely lost on these guys that "Wall Street" criticized everything they had modeled their life after. It reminded me of that scene in the movie "Jarhead", where the troops are getting pumped for combat by watching "Apocalypse Now".

    One day the topic of video games came up. Somebody found out that one of the sales guys spent his weekend playing Halo instead of prowling around the city, bangin' chicks and getting train wreck drunk. This not too surprisingly set off a tidal wave of ball busting and cackling throughout the entire room. The Halo guy was surrounded by dozens of bro's piling on the humiliation. He rolled with the punches well enough but it was clear that he wasn't thrilled about the razzing.

    After a while the room settled down, but not before one sales guy asked another if he ever partook in such embarrassing activities as playing video games. The sales guys being asked the question knew it was a set up and was hesitant to take the bait, but for some reason he went for it.

    The whole room seemed to lean in waiting for the answer, looking for an excuse to restart the ball busting all over again. A sea of hair gel and crew cut clones all had beaming gleeful expressions on their faces as they could see their fellow colleague placing himself right in their cross hairs. "I can't believe this guy's going to fucking admit it!", seemed to be on everyone's mind as their shit eating grins collectively morphed into mouths agape.

    But the satisfaction they were looking for didn't materialize. The sales guy in the hot seat looked around at the captive audience and made a nonchalant mention of once playing a brief game of Tiger Woods with his little brother. And like a golf ball going in the drink, the moment was over. There were a couple of snort laughs, and some goofy grins, but for the most part the guy was off the hook. Golf video games weren't by any means cool to these guys, but at least it wasn't WOW, or Halo.

    At the other end of the spectrum, the guys who worked in the mail room did play video games and would talk about them amongst themselves though the only games they were interested in were Midnight Club and GTA. Everything else was deemed too dorky. These guys also loved paintball.

    So as you can imagine I didn't mention video games at that job. I kept my head down, did my work, and occasionally talked about television with the lady that I shared a cubical with.

    I am so glad I don't work there anymore.

  • I honestly have not been able to relate to the "game stigma" conversation we have been having over the past few weeks because I have never personally seen that at all. The age-gap probably plays into it quite a bit, but I'm 25, and when I was in highschool, the jocks all played Madden, the kids who were always in trouble played GTA, and even the preppy kids played Mario or at least Tetris on their phones. It was never like, "Oh....you play video games? You are weird!" (The kids sitting on the floor outside of the library playing Magic: The Gathering, using sound effects, "Fire ball! BOOOM HEHEHEHEH!" Those kids were weird. People don't make fun of video gamers so much these days because they have LARPers to make fun of.) It was just sort of a given that everybody was playing games in one form or another.

    In the work-place, if an older co-worker over-hears me talking about games with someone, they usually say, "Oh, my kids really like those a lot. I used to play pac-man. That was fun." Any stigma that might come in an interview would probably be positive. "This person plays games? They are a nerd? They must be really smart. I want smart people working here. They could probably help me with all of my computer issues."

    I'm sorry, but I have to wonder how much of this issue comes from our own over-defensiveness. Someone might say, "I'm embarrassed to play games around my girlfriend," but I'd be willing to bet that if you actually asked the girlfriend, she probably would not care. It seems like it's more the embarrassed gamer's issue than it is the girlfriend's issue. I feel this whole issue may be this way. It's more about our own insecurity than it is about anyone's actual reaction, because I honestly don't think too many people really care if you play games or not. That being said, if this is something you really are experiencing, and your friends or girlfriend make you feel ashamed for something you feel passionately about (games or otherwise), maybe you should consider finding new friends or a different relationship.

    The other side is that this may be the attraction of games for some core gamers (Not all core gamers. I'm not saying this about you, so, please hear me out). "Mainstream America does not like video games. That means it's rebellious to play them. I'm so alienated. Cool!" Once games become completely mainstream and accepted, they lose their appeal for these particular gamers. It's like when a fan turns against a lesser-known underground band when they start to gain some popularity. I think some gamers really do not want games to become main-stream, but they'll still bitch about it because they want to sound and feel like they are being held down by the man.

    It's a complicated issue with many different ways of looking at it. I can only share my own perspective based on the experiences I have had. If you disagree with anything I have said, I'm not going to say you are wrong, because it's one of those issues where there really is no right or wrong answer. This is just my take on it.

  • On the topic of talking about games at work (or in my case, school) I generally list games in the middle of my interests. I really couldn't care less is someone at school learned that I've spent that last week putting over 70 hours into Monday Night Combat, but I don't want to be judged by the fact right off the bat. I usually tell people, when asked, "I like to read, write, play videogames, listen to music, talk to my friends," etc. Casually dropping the "play videogames," like a more casual gamer might.

    When it comes to going out instead of staying in, I don't see why it should be more socially acceptable to go to parties and get wasted, and possibly laid, instead of just hanging out and chatting with people in IRC and LIVE.


  • I wanted to add my experience to the "To complete, or not to complete" discussion. I am a software engineer in the medical science industry. While I've not written actual games, I have an immense appreciation for game developers' craft. When I see something amazing happening on screen, I cannot help but think about the code which made it happen. This is one of my driving forces to see those credits (which I actually read). I want to experience everything that these craftsman have done--the art of bending an impersonal calculating machine to their will.