Weekend Confirmed Episode 35

By Garnett Lee, Nov 19, 2010 12:20pm PST

Thanksgiving might be a week away but the new release feast is in full swing. After a couple of quick follow ups to last week's Black Ops coverage, Garnett, Brian, and Jeff serve up Need for Speed: Hot Pursuit, 007: Blood Stone, and Donkey Kong Country Returns as the main dishes in Whatcha' Been Playin? The reactionary commentary of ESPN's 1st and Ten cast in response to Kobe's appearance in the Black Ops ads starts off the Warning. Your thoughts on shooter fatigue, urgency without a ticking clock, and more take the conversation right up to the Front Page. October's NPD sales numbers and Bizarre Creation's uncertain future headline a full slate of news.

Weekend Confirmed Ep. 35 - 11/19/2010

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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: 00:31:07

Whatcha' Been Playin and Cannata-ford a New Game: Start: 00:32:10 End: 01:03:58

The Warning: Start: 01:05:08 End: 01:37:16

Music Break featuring "Never Get 2 See U Again": 01:37:16 End: 01:40:30

The Front Page: Start: 01:40:30 End: 02:11:14

NFL 'Tailgate': Start: 02:12:15 End: 02:20:42

Music Break this week features "Never Get 2 See U Again" by Beta. Chris Contreras aka Beta is an emcee and aspiring filmmaker hailing from Southern California. The Hip Hop culture and movies have made a huge impact in his life, and to his work. Beta is also an avid gamer. "Never Get 2 See U Again" is a collaboration between Beta and his brother Brandon Menace (who is currently in the military stationed in Japan). He has known and worked with Tak/Ribkat from the acclaimed groups Fort Minor and Styles of Beyond, for many years. For more from Beta, keep up with him on Soundcloud, Twitter, Facebook, and YouTube.

Original music in the show by Del Rio. Get his latest single, Small Town Hero on iTunes. Check out more, including the Super Mega Worm mix and other mash-ups on his ReverbNation page or Facebook page.

Jeff can also be seen on The Totally Rad Show. They've gone daily so there's a new segment to watch every day of the week!

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.

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  • Oh yeah, also to comment on the urgency thing: I don't mind the ticking timer, especially when their is a hud on screen that already takes away from full emersion.

    For those games that do try and sink you into an experience by removing the hud, they can just give you something visual in the environment, like water rising or an object coming closer to you, to tell time.

    So an avalanche is coming, you have 3 minutes to evac, BUT you don't want that ticker on screen. Well first you make sure that the avalanche is visible. Then you give the player a set amount of time, like someone says over intercom, "Oh crap! An avalanche is coming!! You have approximately 3 minutes to evac!!! Get that computer chip and get out of there!!!!". So now you have a mental time frame, you can see the avalanche slowly creepy towards you, you have an objective to complete within that time frame, and now you should feel some urgency.

    As for a bomb exploding, i'd just have a guy yelling over intercom, "you have 30 secs"....."you have 10 secs". Or in the environment, place screens in the map every so often that'll give allow you to see the time that's left. Of course that need to be in the right context, like a command station that has a self-destruct button and screens that displayed the self-destruct time but yeah....you get my point hopefully

    So yeah thats my solution Making it an environmental timer, rather than a obvious clock above your head would deal with Jeff's problem i think.

    Thread Truncated. Click to see all 2 replies.

    • I'm not going to argue that clocks, or time-sensitive actions can add a significant amount of tension to a game, but my problem is when the timer on-screen is either completely irrelevant or totally implausible.

      More games than I can even remember have applied a timer at the top of the screen to a situation where knowing the exact amount of time is simply an attempt on the developer's part to add a false layer of immediacy. Hearing someone scream "get out of the building, it's coming down!!!" is enough incentive for me to get out as fast as I possibly can. I will always, always get out as fast as I can. Does the developer think that hearing an in-game, in-context character inform me to "get out" is not the necessary motive for me to do just that? While adding a completely unnecessary timer at the top is meant to add an extra layer of suspense and tension, it actually ends up taking the player out of the narrative or scene in the game, and instead focusing on the fact that they are doing just that: playing a game.

      As for implausible, no one needs details on games which place ticking clock at the top of the screen when your character has either no way of knowing the time remaining, or when a specific amount of time is impossible to know. I've never served in the military, but I'm fairly certain that troops serving in forward areas are not able to predict the arrival of support troops down to the second. Even down to the minute is a bit implausible. But allowing that, wouldn't defending an area be incredibly more tense and immersive if you only knew that help was on the way, but were unsure if they were miles away or mere seconds?

      Brian's argument seemed to hinge on the notion that players want to know the exact demands and requirements of any given mission, and would become frustrated if this level of ambiguity was present in timed actions. I have to agree with Jeff that creating a way to place a countdown completely in context would undoubtedly make the game far more gripping and intense.

      One game that you guys didn't mention (either on the last episode or when it was teased in the introduction a few weeks ago) was Spider-Man: Shattered Dimensions. One specific timed event sticks in my mind, and that was the race against the incoming tidal wave in the Deadpool stage. The rush to get to higher ground was completely timed, but the developers had created a situation where a timer was completely unnecessary since players could see the wave approaching for themselves. Having the player directly facing the impending wave kept me on edge from the first moment I realized what had to be done. If there had been a timer, my attention would have been focused solely on the ticking clock, and completely ignored the actual wave.

      Life may be full of ticking clocks as Brian suggested, but the fact is that we almost never see them. It takes 20 minutes to get to work, but I know for a fact it's never the same amount of time each time, and a thousand different variables can all come into play.

      My personal dream is for military games to convey a sense of urgency without completely breaking any sense of immersion by imposing a clock that was clearly put into place by the game's developer. Tell me to get out of a building, and have opposing enemies get in my way. Then the decision falls to ME to decide if I have time to take them out before proceeding, or if running-and-gunning is absolutely necessary. Show me the building is coming down by actually showing that the building is coming down, don't give me a countdown. Then the world I'm in is informing me, and I'm not slapped across the face when I realize I'm just playing a game.

      Awesome show you guys, first time posting. Been listening since the beginning, so my first comment was going to be a biggie :) We are Ghost!