Weekend Confirmed Episode 41: New Year's Eve Special

By Garnett Lee, Dec 31, 2010 9:00am PST For this New Year's Eve 2010 show--the second of our two holiday specials--Shane Bettenhausen joins Garnett, Brian, and Jeff for one final 2010 recap and then a lengthy gaze into the crystal ball to see what may lie ahead in 2011. We catch up some with what Shane's been playing with friends back home from music games like Dance Central and Rock Band to developing thumb blisters at Super Street Fighter IV ... oh, and, uh, Sonic IV. Your responses from our SModcastle live show seed the conversations in the second segment with topics like why we really want to get our hands on the Nintendo 3DS. In the second half of the show all attention turns to 2011--the games, the trends, and, of course, predictions!

Weekend Confirmed Ep. 41 - 12/31/2010

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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: 00:30:24

Whatcha' Been Playin (cont) and the Warning: 00:31:28 End: 01:01:43

2010 Wrap-up and 2011 predictions: 01:02:45 End: 01:32:02

Featured Music "Shake Shake Boom Boom" by Those Crosstown Rivals: 01:32:02 End: 01:35:08

2011 predictions (cont): Start: 01:35:08 End: 02:13:08

In the Featured Music segment this week it's Lexington, KY based Those Crosstown Rivals with "Shake Shake Boom Boom" from their album The Day After Yesterday available now on iTunes, Amazon, and cdbaby. Show them some love if you like what you hear! Keep up with Those Crosstown Rivals on their Reverb Nation page, Facebook page, and Twitter.

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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40 Threads* | 174 Comments

  • There has been a lot of discussion this week about overlooking games based on review scores, and the different opinions regarding replaying a great game vs trying something new that might not be as good.

    Technomage made a good point that players who only stick to the "top level" games could very well be missing out on some fun titles. He also states that people who play games once and move on have the chance to try more titles, so there is less pressure to make sure every game played is a "9".

    However, I still feel he's missing something important.

    There is also something to be said for the enjoyment you can get out of a game that you really delve deeply into and spend a lot of time with. I'm in the camp that plays fewer games, but re-plays them often. Every now and then, I'll purchase 4 or 5 games in 1 month, and I actually end up feeling bad about it because I don't get to put the time into exploring each game that I would like to.

    I think my point is that these games are often the product of the combined efforts of dozens or even hundreds of people, over 2 or 3 years of hard work. To blow through the entire game in 8 hours is not only a disservice to the game makers, but it often doesn't give the player enough time to really experience everything a game has to offer.

    I'm not suggesting that every single game should be played over and over and over, but that if you play a game that really grabs you, you just might enjoy it MORE the 2nd time through, not less.

    I can't count the number of times I replayed Halo CE. I don't think there is a single pixel in that game that I haven't seen. When I think back to my fondest memories of the game, none of them came during my first playthrough. The highest levels of enjoyment I got from the game came from tackling the same encounters in new, inventive ways, or discovering routes I had missed in my previous playthrough, or from truly mastering all the different weapons in the game, learning the intricacies of the combat systems, enemy AI, knowing which way an Elite was about to dodge based on the animation of his feet. These are things that simply cannot be done in a single playthrough, and every great game is full of these kinds of experiences.

    I can't help but feel that people who only play games once are missing out on a lot of deeper enjoyment.

  • I'd love to hear why Brian, or any other people here for that matter, feel Starcraft 2 is a better RTS than Dawn of War 2. Cause, I gotta say, after putting solid time in Starcraft 2, I still find myself going back to tear it up in DOW2.

    I just love how every part of the DOW2 gameplay model pushes players to engage and actively participate in the combat. There's less micro-management and multi-tasking in terms of bouncing from combat back to base, and more in terms of positioning troops, and making use of cover and special abilities.

    Plus, I just think the universe is so much cooler. The art is better, there's a dark sense of humor, and I just find the factions more interesting than 'Warhammer Space Marines ripoff vs. Aliens ripoff vs. vaguely inspired by Predator'.

    So there's my take. Thoughts?

  • The discussion on game review scores at minute 50 in the second segment was excellent. In the past year, I've been getting more into indie games that are sometimes panned for various reasons, but I find that I can shrug off those blemishes, and get lots of enjoyment out of the other parts. One of my favorite games that didn't rate so well was Gunman Chronicles, back in early 2000; the setting and story of "the wild Western Spiral Arm" really grew on me, the gunplay was fun, the configurable weapons added an element of customization (back when almost no FPS games had weapon customization), and the tank driving was fun (back when almost no FPS games had drivable vehicles; Counter-Strike beta 7 had de_jeepathon2k, but that was about it for FPS games). I still have my Gunman directory, and despite the "goldsrc" Half-Life tech looking rickety now and requiring a few command-line switches to start up in high quality video settings, it still plays very well.

    I also remember seeing a site review Gran Turismo 5, and saying something to the effect of "it was a 9/10 driving game trapped with a 5/10 UI and tournament bracket mechanic." I'd definitely agree with that; additionally, it helps being a Japanese sports car enthusiast and being able to laugh at goofy "J-jazz" and "lounge music" composed entirely on Yamaha and Korg synthesizers.

    From all that, I only use numeric scores to track generic trends, whether a game is getting ridiculously panned, or universally praised, but I still have to read through pages and pages of review text, or better yet, listening to accounts of playing the game, or even better yet, watching a video of the reviewer playing the game, while talking about feedback reactions (whether the controls are responsive and intuitive, for example). I have to find the different types of gameplay personalities of various reviewers, and see which ones align the best to some aspects of how I play games. What I've found is that I have to consider various parts of multiple reviewers, but the easiest and most accurate way is to watch gameplay video and listen to podcast accounts of the game.

    Games are very different from movies, in that the initial consumer investment is much higher, and the consumer can't get accurate previews of the medium itself unless a demo is available (which is becoming much more rare nowadays, unless the platform holder strong-arms the developer into releasing a demo, or the developer launches a "beta" as a promotion of something else). It's pretty frustrating to drop $60 on something that you'll later wish you waited on for it to drop to $30 at GameStop or a Steam sale eight months later. Gaming journalists have the privilege of traveling to developer sites and press events to play in-progress builds of the game; I fear that this dampens the lack of demos on the consumer side, which I feel are strengthening the "this game better be outstandingly good, or I'm not buying it" mentality.