Weekend Confirmed Episode 38

By Garnett Lee, Dec 10, 2010 12:00pm PST Two hallmarks of the season come together this episode of Weekend Confirmed. Brian got hit full force with the flu this week and is out recouperating (get well soon buddy). But this time of year always brings people together and in that spirit, joining Garnett and Jeff this week are David Ellis and Billy Berghammer. A massive show ensues. All four have been playing Cataclysm and share their different experiences both with the early and high-level content. But this isn't Warcraft Confirmed and there's more Gran Turismo 5 talk and Assassin's Creed Brotherhood to round out Whatcha' Been Playin? Your insights on the future for Modern Warfare 3 lead the Warning, where the topic of whether our expectations have risen too high for games in general. Big time game announcements in advance of the VGAs anchor the news in the Front Page.

Weekend Confirmed Ep. 38 - 12/10/2010

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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: 00:29:57

Whatcha' Been Playin and Cannata-ford a New Game: Start: 00:30:54 End: 01:06:03

The Warning: Start: 01:07:05 End: 01:41:47

Music Break featuring "Shake the Heartbreak" YUG: 01:41:47 End: 01:45:07

The Front Page: Start: 01:45:07 End: 02:24:42

NFL 'Tailgate': Start: 02:25:42 End: 02:34:02

Music Break this week features 44th and Filth artist YUG with "Shake the Heartbreak". It's a massive track with a serious beat, fantastic vocals, and a great drop. "Shake the Heartbreak" is available now in both the iTunes Store and from Beatport (please support the artists who generously let us feature their music each week if you like what you hear). Connect with more from YUG at his artist page and from all their artists at the 44th and Filth Facebook page.

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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38 Threads | 160 Comments

  • I just want to continue on from a response TylerAshcraft made with regards to a gamer's expectations from a developer.

    I believe the examples given were essentially the fallacy of comparing Alpha Protocol with Mass Effect, and that the expectations were not realistic in that comparison, but pointed out going a different route where games like Minecraft that doesn't compete in the same way as COD:BLOPS and Mass Effect 2 in terms of emergent gameplay, and that they won't compete on that front unless the developer really knows what they're getting in to.

    Essentially the point seemed to be to embrace the differences rather than fixate on short comings (and give credit where it is due).

    Firstly, I understand the point given, but I felt the examples given with minecraft isn't so apt here since the games used as examples are of differing genres, thus difficult to compare in this regard.

    However within the same genre type (like Alpha Protocol and Mass Effect), its not all that bad to 'copy', so long as the developer puts their own flavor and spin on it. For instance, Shadow Complex and Metroid. Shadow Complex basically flaunted its tributes to the genre and essentially was competing within that same genre. No excuses were made, yet that turned out to be an excellent game. Dante's Inferno and God of War is another comparison. While God of War to many is the superior one, Dante's Inferno (despite the 'interesting' art direction) is itself another solid title too.

    It is entirely possible to create something that doesn't innovate or evolve from its forebears, but still become good-solid titles that is able to hold it's own. Like the artist Banksy. I don't feel that his art is innovative in the technical sense, but the way he pieces things together to create the art. That's what's special. You can be as equally creative by working within confines.

    Speaking of changes however, there is a saying that is apt here: "Change is good, when change is good.". Sometimes its a pitfall to be different for the sake of being different. For instance, everyone in the industry knows of the vast creativity, ideas, and of course humor, coming out of Tim Schafer and crew. However as shown with Brutal Legend, sometimes you can do too much for change. Having read his recent interview with EGM, it seems that he was adamant about the RTS element for the game, yet it can also be argued that that was decidedly the worst element of the game. The game could've done away with that in my opinion, but it seemed that Tim really wanted to add whatever came to mind.

    Then you have the good changes from subtle innovations like AI (Halo:Reach, L4D), to quite drastic ones (Gears of War combat/cover system). For those games, the changes were there from the foundation up, and was thought of very carefully before proceeding, versus some others where the idea for appearing different comes out mid-development, and thus ends up either feeling forced, or jarring.

    Either way, is the developer's responsibility to get the quality up to top notch, and while its easy to complain about gamers becoming too spoiled for quality, I think its worth noting the extra appreciation the gamers have towards the developers in creating the satisfying game. It usually shows when a sequel sells better than the original title ;-).

    But seriously, I generally feel that "the customers are always right", and the good-great developers listen, and thus work hard to come out with something that improves their last. I feel that allowing a pass on creative quality generally provides less incentive for developers to work hard to improve... like Dynasty Warriors.

  • My submission for the warning.

    With the transition of NBA Jam from downloadable to disc it got me thinking about the dynamic between the two mediums. It's amazing how greatly price and method of distribution can affect the success of a game both commercially and critically. For example, I recently bought Deadliest Warrior when my brother in law, a fellow gamer, came over with a few beers. Now, it's obviously a fairly bad game in normal circumstances but the price point and the ease of access led to us having a great time with it. The fact that it was purely ridiculous and unbalanced didn't matter cause it was just an impulse buy for a quick, few hour session of gaming and we ended up having just as much fun with it as we would with Halo Reach. And it's not one of those situations where you enjoy a game because of how bad it is, it was genuinely fun, $10, a bunch of beers and hilarious dismemberment really hit the spot gaming wise. Had this game been a disc product, even half price I'd guess it would have amplified it's flaws and shortcoming. On the same hand, Kingdom for Keflings was would have been terrible as a triple A disc-based game cause it really had no point or challenge but because of the price point and accessibility I ended up spending more time with it, wandering around with my friends and our avatars kicking sheep then I did with Assassin's Creed 2.

    So I was thinking about how much baggage, good and bad, goes with a game being retail or downloadable and how much the method of distribution can alter ones perception of a game. So, do you think there are any downloadable games that would have had an extremely different impact critically or commercially had they been delivered on a disc? And same question, roles reversed.

  • You guys do know the Shacknews guild is on Mal'ganis right? Stop plugging the TRS guild! = )

    Also, took me about 2 days (let's say maybe 20 hours play-time) w/o any dungeons and only playing semi-hardcore to get to 85, there's not a whole ton of content to get to cap, but the content that is there is some of the best they've ever done (i suspect that Jeff will find Uldum to be the best zone ever made (cos it is) especially if you were a fan of the old harrison jones quests in Grizzly hills). The heroics are way beyond what they've previously done too - they're really like little raids now.

    Anyway my queue just popped so i'm going to disappear again, but to recap: Shacknews guild Mal'ganis (shugashack), best content yet, best dungeons yet, not too hard to level to cap.

  • Great show guys, its nice to hear David and Billy again.

    On the subject of games closing the door after the main story arc is done, this is one area where I think that Japanese games have got it right: After you defeat the end boss, the story concludes, the credits roll, etc. The next time you load up the game, the player is at the point directly before the "end game" sequence started and, depending on the game, post game content is unlocked/things like XP are carried over. True, creating a semi- time paradox breaks the game's reality, but not any more so than things like a pause screen, etc.

    And yes, please be SSX! And as much as I love the skate series, I hope it retains the classic ssx gameplay with huge jumps, impossible tricks and crazy characters.

  • On the subject of why memorization is so much less excusable in shooters, I think Garnett started to make a very good point, and I'd like to finish it for him.

    The only FPS that I really played with any real amount of dedication was the SNES version of Doom, which was all I had access to at the time. I played the hell out of it (mind the pun), and before long, I had - at least in the early stages of each episode - the locations of all the monsters memorized. Once you know where the enemies are, it becomes really easy to get the jump on them, and to plan out your attack strategy in advance, and the game ceases to be challenging. Playing on the harder difficulties, the enemies themselves become much more dangerous and you can't afford to be reckless, but at the same time, you still know when and where each one is going to pop up, and after a while the whole thing ends up being completely rote.

    Stand here, strafe to the right, fire three shots, move to the other side of the hall, strafe to the left, fire three shots, wait a second, fire three more, walk up to the door, as the door opens, fire about four shots while walking backwards, backtrack to the previous hallway, lay and wait, and so on... (I'm sure most hardcore Doom players probably probably remember the steps needed to get 100% on the first stage of Knee Deep in the Dead off the top of their heads.)

    Now, this might not be the case with modern shooters, though I'm willing to bet that it is, but the thrill of a game like Doom came from the possibility of something threatening being around that next corner, and needing to constantly be alert to that threat and aware of your environment such that you have cover and/or an escape route in the event that things get hectic. When you know the placement of every enemy on the map, this ceases to be the case, as you have advance knowledge of the upcoming threats and are therefore much more in control of the situation. This is a big part of the draw of multiplayer, as other players are inherently more skilled and less predictable than AI that you ultimately do need to remain steadfast the whole time.

    In a game like Super Mario Bros, on the other hand, knowing in advance what lies up ahead gives you much less of a strategic advantage. Maybe you can get through a level faster once you know the layout, but even without that edge, you always have enough advance warning of any incoming obstacle that you can deal with it by the time it reaches you. (the exception being those maze castles, but that's a whole 'nother)

    That said, I think there are examples in other genres of games that rely on rote memorization in ways that are detrimental to the experience. Going back to the NES again, Battletoads made you memorize instant death traps, and sometimes entire levels to a degree that was inexcusable. And repeatedly dying so as to locate all the secret death traps is practically the stock and trade of so-called "platform hell" games like I Wanna be the Guy or Syobon Action.

    Any game where you need to execute a very specific set of actions with little margin for error will eventually lead to repetition and rote memorization. This is the main reason why I still haven't tried Super Meat Boy, because I know it's going to be one of *those* games.