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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  • 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.

    Thread Truncated. Click to see all 2 replies.

    • "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"

      --I'll reaffirm the spirit of what I said, since I don't want it getting muddled with details I've overlooked. Alpha Protocol is not Mass Effect, although they share similarities. Only comparisons can be made on ground they cover respectively, where ground not covered (where they differ) are exempted from the comparison. Moot point.


      "Minecraft [...] 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."

      --Absolutely! The crux of my statement. We can't ignore that my context was: forgiving game designers for their shortcomings due to logistical limitations and factoring it into our expectations. Still, you're right about the point you're making. Games compete on different levels in inherently different genres. It's all as arbitrary as we want it to be, but I'm sure most would agree that an FPS should be considered along side other FPSs, rather than say, an RTS. Still, there are plenty of criticism ideologies we can use that throws limitations like genre out the window, but we'll stick with some common ground.

      Minecraft arguably has more and different emergent gameplay than COD:BLOPS. It's not fallacy to compare them where you can, but we'll not compare them and stick to their genres (Minecraft's kinda an FPS... haha). I'll make clear that my point was: I don't like gamers to experience the finely unique themes of Minecraft and transfer the expectations over to COD:BLOPS and vice-versa. Where something gets something right, I like to congratulate the effort and the success. Playing through MW1 recently, I found the single player experience wasn't exactly my cup of tea in what I want from this type of FPS, but I enjoyed it where I saw it tried to do it's best. MW1 iterated on previous tropes and expectations set by its predecessors. It delivered, iterated some, not so much in other areas, but the point is I don't condemn what it didn't do, I give credence to what it did do.

      Shameless iterations that either completely ripped off a style, theme, etc. and did not try to "call-back" to something or develop on an idea get the attention it deserves. Bubsy 3D was NOT a good 3D platformer for all the mechanical, visual, and thematic reasons that we're familiar with. It tried no groundbreaking, no innovation, and no attempt at a call-back to a previous incarnation. It attempted to capitalize on a growing trend of 3D platforming and ascribed to the "me, too!" market strategy and failed like most things do when they abide by that strategy. We as the consumer are entitled to condemn the product, because we paid the money. We're the consumer, and we're always "right".

      Just because we are right doesn't mean we know what we want. This is the magic of the "performer", if you will. I won't get too heavily into the esoteric details of the artist and the audience, but essentially: we don't know what we want (per se) but we know what we don't want when we don't want it and we know what we like when we like it. The magic of this is that our expectations can be blown away by the creation of an artist and change our world forever. The opposite can happen too, where our expectations are shattered and we leave scarred and broken from the experience. It's risky business and developers know this. They put so much out on the line for us sometimes it's crazy. Because they know that if they fail, they'll pay for their crimes against us. And ya know, I'm willing to give them a little slack sometimes. But not too much. Fuck you, Bubsy. I want my 40 bucks back.


      "[...] 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."

      --I loved the shit out of Shadow Complex and I can't wait for more. Copying is, indeed, not a bad thing hardly at all. Why ruin a good thing? I never played Dante's Inferno, but I'm not always looking for groundbreaking. As Jeff put it one time, if game developers were always "maxing out the volume to 11", so to speak, and were always trying to set the next bar we'd get tired after a while. It's still good that some are trying to break ground all the time, though. I like that there's always this "pushing forward", but luckily it's not so stifling that we can't relax with drink in hand over a quiet night with FF(insert number here).


      "Then you have the good changes from subtle innovations like AI (Halo:Reach, L4D), to quite drastic ones (Gears of War combat/cover system)."

      --Exactly! Iterations are fun, interesting, and we as an audience generally are excepting of a little spice, not a whole new recipe. My point in my previous post as to why it's so fantastic to be a gamer now is that we have this selection. Mind-blowing new territory being discovered in games while others have minor iterations that keep our pot simmering. It's amazing.


      "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."

      --I'll postulate they have a lot of responsibility. More than us, surely. "Quality" is kinda subjective, but in your general usage here I agree that there's all kinds of quality everywhere that a developer would want at it's best (whatever that entails). In the end, what I've come to learn is that our gamer satisfaction and us voicing it as individuals and as a collective (especially our wallets) make the biggest impact on developer's inspirations for making games. They're making games for US, so let's be constructive.

      "It sucks!" Why does it suck? Be specific.
      "I like this!" Why? What exactly?
      "More Tali!" Well, duh.

      And the list goes on. Each product delivers an experience and I like being positive where I can. Without being constructive in our critiques and having a little positive outlook or being open to our game's abilities to deliver us a myriad of experiences, developers won't know what's working and what's not. They're making it for us and they need us.

      So, yeah. Conclusion paragraph. Let's see...
      Don't confuse "expectation" with "anticipation", be open-minded with our game experiences, but don't pull punches. We're not entitled to the product, but we paid money (well, hopefully you did) so you better damn-well deliver. Especially since I'm going out on a limb to like it.