Weekend Confirmed 81 - Rage, Dark Souls, television on Xbox 360

By Garnett Lee, Oct 07, 2011 12:00pm PDT

Billy "plan B" Berghammer joins Jeff and Garnett on a show that sounds like it would be full of angst. Rage and Dark Souls both came out this week, and there's a lot to talk about, including how the guy who "loves loving things" takes to a game renowned for its bleakness. Microsoft's additions to the television offerings on Live also become a hot topic, but the group doesn't seem nearly as impressed as the press release would lead one to believe. The iOS update and iPhone 4S also spark some debate on how mobile gaming continues to grow, as does the news that Unreal Engine 3 runs in Flash 11. The rest of the news of the week, a few other games, and your feedback and questions round out the show before wrapping up with Finishing Moves and the weekend football tailgate.

Weekend Confirmed Ep. 81: 10/07/2011

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If you're viewing this in the GameFly application, you can play Weekend Confirmed Episode 81 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:

    Show Breakdown:

    Round 1 00:00:00 - 00:30:20

    Whatcha Been Playing 00:31:07 - 01:01:33

    More Playing and the News 01:02:30 โ€“ 01:29:12

    Featured Music Break: 01:29:12 - 01:31:42 -- "Sun Dog" โ€“ Thunderhead

    Listener Feedback 01:31:42 โ€“ 02:05:43

    The Tailgate 02:06:25 - 02:13:34

Weekend Confirmed is brought to you this week by Random House Audio where you can experience books like you've never heard them before. That includes titles like the excerpt in this week's show:

Stand by Me and Star Trek: The Next Generation star Wil Wheaton reads Ready Player One by Ernest Cline.

Wade Watts escapes his grim surroundings by spending his waking hours plugged into OASAIS, a virtual utopia that lets you be anything you want to be. When the OASIS creator hides a series of puzzles in the game, will Wade be able to complete the challenge and stay alive in the process?

Featured music this week comes from Thunderhead, a 17 year old drum and bass and soundtrack producer from Edmonton, Canada. Get all of his latest tracks for FREE on Soundcloud.

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 Cannata 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!

Follow the Weekend Confirmed hosts on Twitter! Garnett Lee @GarnettLee, Jeff Cannata @jeffcannata and Xav de Matos @xav.

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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  • Regarding the conversation on Dark Souls, two things surprised me:

    1) Everyone on the podcast treated Dark Souls like it was the first game in history to use difficulty and challenge as a way to funnel players down the appropriate path. True, there are many games that rely on locked doors and other similar methods to block off more advanced areas of the game until the gamer is 'ready,' but is it really all that uncommon for a game to allow you the freedom to figure it out for yourself? Just off the top of my head, Bethesda games are a perfect example. In both Fallout 3 and Oblivion, you could find areas in the beginning of the game that would hand your ass to you on a silver platter, no questions asked. This should trigger the obvious response: "Huh, maybe I shouldn't go that way right now." This is nothing new.

    As for Jeff's commentary about enjoying the risk but not finding the reward, I hope that he's played the game a bit more now and found a good rhythm. He seemed pretty down on the idea of losing all of his souls in the Catacombs, but I was having a hard time figuring out why this was such an issue for him. He had already leveled up using his souls from the Asylum, so how many souls did he actually have on the line? A couple hundred? Also, by his own admission, he sprinted past mobs of enemies he couldn't kill with (apparently) a stockpile of souls he wasn't willing to lose. The idea of doing something like this should really raise some alarm bells in your head in a game like this.

    2) There was no discussion at all about the multiplayer aspects of the game. Sure, they commented upon the ability to leave messages for other players, but one part of the game that really, truly shines is the sense of community and comaraderie that it creates. Pushing through an incredibly difficult section, though enjoyable, can be a lonesome and stressful experience. Catching a glimpse of another player's phantom as he/she runs up a nearby staircase or battles his/her own invisible demons is like an oasis in the desert--unexpected, and it helps to propel you forward on your own journey. Or, dying in your attempt, seeing the ghosts of other players huddled around the bonfire as you respawn... you know you're not alone--this section is handing out grief to a host of fellow gamers.

    Even little environmental cues like the ringing of the bell at the top of the chapel... I struggled for hours on end to reach a point where I could ring the bell myself, but it gave me reassurance to hear that bell ringing in the distance as I died repeatedly. Other gamers were doing it, so I could, too. When I finally managed to ring the bell, I had to smile and wonder if other gamers were sitting in the dark somewhere, dying in game, but listening to the sound of the bell and deciding to give it one more try.

    And that doesn't even touch upon the feeling of fellowship and goodwill that can be had by actually inviting other players into your game. Tackling a challenging boss together that has given you a lot of trouble? Really, really satisfying. I don't wax ecstatic about many games, but Dark Souls is really something special and I hope the WC Crew gives it the fullest chance they can.

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