Weekend Confirmed Episode 52

By Garnett Lee, Mar 18, 2011 11:00am PDT

Weekend Confirmed celebrates our one year anniversary in style with your help, great games, and special guest James Stevenson, senior community manager for Insomniac Games. He joins the two Jeffs and Garnett for a massive show that wastes no time getting started in Whatcha' Been Playin? with games like Dragon Age 2, Homefront, Ghost of Sparta, and Tera to name a few. The Warning this week comes entirely from listener submitted questions and topics and it fuels some spirited discussions. And the news in the Front Page covers info on the impact of the Tohoku earthquake on the video game industry, February NPD sales figures, a couple of game announcements, and more.

Weekend Confirmed Ep. 52: 03/18/2011

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If you're viewing this in the GameCenter application, you can play Weekend Confirmed Episode 52 directly.

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 Part 1: Start: 00:00:00 End: 00:32:55

  • Whatcha' Been Playin Part 2: Start: 00:33:40 End: 01:04:54

  • The Warning: Start: 01:06:00 End: 01:41:58

  • Featured Music "Disconnected" by Living Illusion: 01:41:58 End: 01:45:10

  • Front Page news: Start: 01:45:10 End: 02:25:18

Living Illusion is an independent rock band hailing from Edmonton Alberta Canada (also the home of BioWare). The song "Disconnected - (Kenton Thomas Splice)" is a remixed track off their new album "Suffering". Both versions of the song and the full album are now available on iTunes. For more from Living Illusion check out their official site, myspace, youtube, 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!

Remember to join the Official Facebook Weekend Confirmed Page and 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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Comments

  • Just want to say this is my favorite gaming podcast on the web by far. It's the realization of everything the old 1Up podcasts hinted at, and what every other gaming podcast aspires to be basically. You guys stay on topic, take the discussion seriously, and don't derail into irritating self reverential humor and what not. So, thank you for that.

    On the topic of game's "loving" the player, I just want to point out (and I think Garnet and others were getting at this in mentioning Ico) that characters can be created through all kinds of stimuli. Dialog, music, aesthetic, animation are all things that go into making a character involving and believable. In fact, I would even say that accomplishing a character convincing enough through AI alone is such a complex prospect that it borders on the existential, and is essentially preposterous as a general expectation of game design.

    Thread Truncated. Click to see all 6 replies.

        • Sure, the characters are not fully realized AI. They don't have the complete range of emotional reactions an actual person would have (or even an animal would have). But that doesn't mean there isn't a difference in what games can do and have on a limited basis done.

          In Deus Ex is that I'm choosing which characters I want to relate well too and which ones I'm willing, or want, to anger/reject. More than just voice inflection there are actual dialog changes and in some cases players may treat me differently to the point of giving me different items.

          Sure these different reactions are contrived and one could do the same thing in a choose your own adventure style book. But with a book (at least the old paper kind) you would see immediately how much material you are missing when told to jump to another location, which would be distracting. In a game the choice flows seamlessly into it's consequence.

          Granted, the choices you make may be more about how you want to play the game than how you want characters to react to you. For example, I wanted to save Paul in the story as much because I wanted to see what would happen if he lived as saving him for the character's sake.

          For Deus Ex in particular the technology limited what could be done in choices and in making you relate to the characters. Also, the range of reactions from the NPCs was limited to the point of being binary in many cases.

          Another example where this played out interesting was in The Thing, the video game follow up to John Carpenter's movie. In an attempt to recreate the paranoia of the movie a mechanic was added that would cause the NPCs to distrust the player and question whether he was an alien based on player actions.

          One can debate on how successful this was (I liked the game but can see why others might be less fond of it) but it was an attempt at this that could not be done in a movie or book. You as the viewer cannot do anything to make the other characters in John Carpenter's The Thing trust MacReady (Kurt Russel). But in the game your actions do influence how much the NPCs are willing to trust the PC.

          I'm not sure that games can ever get to the point of making the player want to save the character for the character's sake (my example of saving Paul) or give a completely human reaction to trusting the player but I think they can get much closer to that point. But I do believe they can offer experiences in this area that movies can't and that books typically don't and maybe can't (with e-books it's conceivable but I'm not sure the next Stephen King is willing to write a 7000 page book to accommodate my desire for choice).

          Hopefully that makes my differentiation clear cause I'm not sure I can express it better.