Weekend Confirmed Episode 55

By Garnett Lee, Apr 08, 2011 11:00am PDT

Scheduling challenges make it a three-chair show this week. On the upside, that means there's plenty of room to spread out for Jeff, Garnett, and this week's guest Andrea Rene, host of Mahalo Video Games Today. They get right in to Whatcha Been Playin? with The Dishwasher: Vampire Smile, Ratchet and Clank All 4 One, and more. An unexpected debate on whether survival horror games must be scary spills into the Warning before taking up the question of "narrative dissonance" raised by the Sword and Sorcery developers Superbrothers, who also drop a tune from the game's soundtrack on us for this week's featured music. We wrap it all up with videogame news in the Front Page and Finishing Moves.

Weekend Confirmed Ep. 55: 04/08/2011

Subscription Links:

If you're viewing this in the GameCenter application, you can play Weekend Confirmed Episode 55 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: 00:27:15

  • Whatcha' Been Playin Part 2: Start: 00:28:061 End: 00:58:40

  • The Warning: Start: 00:59:50 End: 01:31:40

  • Featured Music "COM-64" by Jim Guthrie: 01:31:40 End: 01:32:58

  • Front Page news: Start: 01:32:58 End: 02:14:44

This week's featured music is the track "COM-64" by Jim Guthrie from the iPad (and soon iPhone) game, Sword and Sworcery. Guthrie (jampants on Twitter) is a composer/singer/songwriter in Toronto with a legendary solo discography, he's a veteran of bands like Royal City & Islands and an acknowledged influence on other Canadian success stories like Broken Social Scene, Feist, Arcade Fire, and Owen Pallett (formerly Final Fantasy).

The Sword and Sworcery EP is available in digital form through iTunes and Bandcamp or as a 12" vinyl. Get all the details from the game's music page. And of course, the game is also out now on iPad and should be soon for iPhone/iPod Touch.

Big thanks go out to Craig (the1console on Twitter), artist, animator, and writer on Sword and Sworcery, for connecting with us.

Original music in the show by Del Rio. Get his latest Album, The Wait is Over on iTunes. Check out more, including the Super Mega Worm mix and other mash-ups on his ReverbNation page or Facebook page, and follow him on twitter delriomusic.

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.

Click here to comment...


  • Garnett has talked about the pricing of games on the 3DS and how that gamers expect mobile games to match the price of games on the iPhone, but where does that put the NGP? The NGP is exactly the handheld device I have been waiting for, a mobile full console experience. As entertaining as Angry Birds or Bejeweled is, it doesn't compare to a GTA, a Mass Effect, or a Call of Duty game. Why not spend your mobile gaming time playing a great game rather than a good game? Would I rather play on my 100" projector at home rather on 5" OLED, sure, but I have a limited amount of gaming time and a mobile system fits into those moments of free time during the day. In fact I would prefer to play Fallout 3 or Skyrim on a mobile device given the amount of time these games demand from you. Or maybe play it on both the PS3 and the NGP at the same time. And why should we expect it to cost less than $60 like its home console brethren? If GTA 5 comes out and is available simultaneously on the PS3, Xbox 360 and the NGP and is identical to others with the exception of the screen size, why should there be a price difference? If I finally get a mobile device with the control scheme I want and I end up getting 99 cent iPhone ports because you lot don't want to spend allot on mobile games, I will be mightily put out. However given that the bestselling games on the PSP were "real" games (GTA, Socom, God of War) I don't think that I am alone.

  • A couple of point I'd like to make towards female characters in video games

    As far as female leads go i think that the best game that has had one and even treated the fact, is the original No One Lives Forever back in 2000. I think the writing in that game some of the best from back in the day. It was set in the 60's and was used as environment of social change for some of the themes (as well as the Spy thing obviously). Cate Archer had to deal with fact she was a woman in this era, as well as other adversities in her life.
    Yes she is a good looking character, but in the game Cate Archer has to actually deal with the fact she is seen to be nothing more than a good looking woman. Some of the other characters treat her as such and nothing more, such as one of her own bosses, so she (you) have to prove yourself to. This also created great (and often humorous) dialog between the characters in the game, even to the point when, as a dude, i felt "yeah take that you sexist twerp" when she made a sarcastic comment back to someone. Also the main antagonist reveal at the end was great as she was similar but handled her adversities differently. Its not the (only) reason to play this game, but it was cool this stuff was there, in my opinion. A great game for one made in 2000.
    Interestingly, the sequel, while a good game, didn't really tackle these things the same. It may have been "to much" over two games, but interestingly they changed the facial features of Cate to a more universal attractive look, as not everyone thought her attractive in the first game.

    Which brings me to my second point which is if you are not worried about money and interest, but making the most possible money and interest in the short term, then things aren't going to change and you aren't going to make something that will. If a game maker is not willing to make something that in terms of characters, themes etc, wont cater to all or even most people, then chances are that it wont do anything significant in these areas. Obviously indie and mobile seems like better fit for something like this to happen, while big studio/publisher titles that have done this (e.g. see NOLF above) haven't seen the rewards they like to see. But even with indie and mobile getting more populous and competitive, I worry about it ever happening there, as journalists, publishers and business people are validating the existence and success of these for consumers by measure of popularity (e.g. charts), thus starting the cycle of expectation. Basically in order to change the characters (e.g. female), themes etc in games, someone needs the prepare/plan for modest and measured audience expectation/reaction and, ironically, grow some balls.

  • About the dissonance in games, I don't think its just limited to killing (while it is ridiculous) but to the characters other abilities. To use Uncharted as an example again, what average guy can jump 20 feet in a single bound? I would love to see a game where the developers found out what a normal person could do and use that, make the levels for stuff that can be done by normal people but still cool. As far as enemies are concerned, do what Bioshock did with fewer more difficult enemies or Prince of Persia(2008) where each enemy is a mini boss, your a man not a god, to beat a dude to pulp with your fists should be hard! By also adding an endurance bar that drains during physical exertion so you would be tired, get hungry thirsty and take realistic damage would also help (i.e. 40 gun shot wounds should kill a man).
    Then if you want to provide that over powered experience for gamers, after so long of being a normal powered person, have your character get their powers which would showcase just how powerful in comparison to a normal person you really are, for instance if it were a Captain America game you would play as weak Steve rogers for some fights, training for the super soldier program, ect... then you get the X formula and boom! Super soldier and now you feel the extra power.

  • Based off Jeff's whole talk about action games having too much murdering, I do recommend ya to check out the recently released Gemini Rue.

    A pretty stellar adventure game in which you play as an ex assassin / PI in this Blade runner setting. There definitely are a few tense moments in which you have to do some quick thinking to prevent armed assailants from filling you up with lead.

    And it's probably the only adventure game that has a 'kick' command that solves a fair bit of puzzles ;)

    It is a pretty awesome "action" adventure game.

  • And also, regarding spoilers in more detail, why is it assumed that the first hour is a throwaway?

    When people say
    "The main character's brother dies"
    "It's ok, it happens in the first hour"

    Who cares? Why was that event even put in the game if it wasn't supposed to emotionally engage you or be a surprise?

    Why have we, as an audience, accepted that the first level or two of a game is going to be the same one we saw 4 times at trade shows, read previews on, and played a demo of? I realized a while ago, that I can't shake the feeling that I'm going through the motions when I've seen the level before. One of the reasons why I've decided to eschew videos and previews completely.

  • Regarding why every male character is the ideal one, I think you can't ignore the logistic benefits. Assuming it takes the same resources to make an ultra manly hero and a different looking one with the same graphical fidelity, the opportunity in games is great. I'm sure if you could clone the biggest action star in movies and he worked for the same exact pay as any other actor, you'd see movie studios doing what game studios do.

    Although the guest was great, I have some bones to pick with her.
    I think from here on out, the "It's just a game" argument should be invalid. Whenever there's a specific discussion on a game, I cringe when hear "Well, it comes down to...is it fun?". No, it really doesn't come down to that.

    Schindler's List is not a fun movie. It's not humorous, it's not uplifting and it's not upbeat. In fact, it's likely to make you pretty depressed right after seeing it. But that said, it's still an experience worth having for some of us. A game doesn't have to be fun, or an escape, or relieve stress to be a worthwhile experience. Have any of you played the flash game Every Day is the Same Dream? It's repetitive, it makes you uncomfortable, and it's not really fun. But it's an amazing interactive experience, which could only be told interactively.

    And regarding Mass Effect 2, being a listener of a couple of podcasts, I'm used to being derided for not buying games immediately, especially by the press, where a game is from the stone age within weeks. But realize that, yeah, there are some of us who are going to wait until the Mass Effect 2 Complete with DLC edition comes out. And some of us will even wait for it to get down to $30. Some of us have done that with Oblivion, Fallout and Dragon Age, as well as others. And we save a lot of money.

  • it seems to me pretty obvious that the lack of a female primary female protagonist in games is that there (aside from the unfortunately named studio referred to in the podcast) are no females that I know of in lead roles at development studios. It will most likely take a female in a primary game design position for such a game to emerge. As the medium ages more women will get interested in games beyond the level most (high stress on the word most) currently are, and at some point we will see in games development ,as we have seen in games press, an increase of women in game development and then in games in general.

    This isn't very different from other mediums of entertainment. Books only in the last two-hundred years saw literature on a popular level aimed at women. The same goes for movies as film has been around for over one-hundred, and it is only recently (within the last few decades) that women began to take a strong role in decisive aspects of film production and there were movies made specifically with women in mind first and formost.

    I'm not saying ONLY WOMEN can write for women but if we are honest with out selves it makes more sense that a woman will be able to write, direct, or create a product of entertainment in such a way that another woman will be able to empathize with the characters, story, etc. than a man can.

    The question we need to be asking ourselves really is. When will the major game companies feel there is enough women buying games where they want to either/or put out a game specifically aimed at women, or produce a game that a woman can get behind and feel represented without alienating the normal male market.

  • fellas, I got a question about the contradiction ya girl Andrea made,

    She is in favor of a videogame world where there is less "tits and ass", but feels that we don't need to steer away from the violent, unbelievable body count shooter games.

    I am confused on her vision.

    These fps action games are all about being super silly / over the top. We know the characters will have double d's and 14inch dicks on our characters (hopefully not on the SAME character....) because it is meant to be the 80's action shoot em ups. To have a compelling heroine that is believable and strong in one of these titles would be just like having you control Elena Fisher or Chloe in the Uncharted games. Yes, you have an empowering woman (or at least a different approach), but the message of 'female empowerment' would be muddled amongst the piles of bodies.

    To make a strong female lead (or male) that goes against the grain of a normal protagonist, you should try to put them in a game where violence is not emphasized. If SukerPunch had a Clarice Starling (silence of lambs) esq character, it would not matter because she was still is a contradiction (like we said about Drake and Bond).

    Throw them in a game heavy rain esq game where decisions and character development is crucial, and when killing is necessary, it is emotional and awe-inspiring.

    PS Batman does not count. Yes, he doesn't kill them, but they are still motionless on the ground, and has the same effect as a enemy being dead in any other game (same could be said for Bully) . The only difference between the two is the game saying they are not dead, but they virtually are.