Weekend Confirmed 131 - Wii U, Borderlands 2, FTL, Black Mesa

By Jeff Mattas, Sep 21, 2012 11:00am PDT

On this week's episode of Weekend Confirmed, Garnett Lee, Jeff Mattas, and Andrew Yoon are joined by Insomniac's James Stevenson. The show begins with some thoughts about the new PlayStation "Super Slim" console, and there are a number of games to talk about. Borderlands 2, FTL, Halo 4, and Black Mesa are just some of the titles the team discusses, and there's even some more pontificating about the upcoming Wii U launch lineup. And, of course, the crew's Finishing Moves bring it all home.

Weekend Confirmed Ep. 131: 09/21/2012

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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:

    Show Breakdown:

    Round 1 00:00:35 – 00:28:25

    Whatcha Been Playing Part 1 00:29:15 – 01:00:29

    Whatcha Been Playing Part 2 01:01:23 – 01:30:50

    Listener Feedback/Front Page News 01:31:41 – 02:04:11

    TailGate 02:04:55 – 02:16:00

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Garnett Lee @GarnettLee

Jeff Mattas @JeffMattas

Andrew Yoon @scxzor

James Stevenson @JamesStevenson

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Original music in the show by Del Rio. Get his latest Album, Club Tipsy 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.

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  • Regarding the conversation about being an early adopter, I have a perspective I'd like to share.

    After last gen, I felt the hype surrounding new games was getting too much. I decided that this gen, I would only buy a game at $20, maybe $30, and if there is story DLC, I will only buy a GOTY or complete version. In 2008, I bought an Xbox 360 Elite, and Oblivion GOTY and started on my little test.

    It has worked out wonderfully.

    One immediate benefit you'll notice right away is price. Go on Amazon and look at Dragon Age Origins Ultimate Edition at $20. By buying that now, you are spending $90 less than someone who bought the game and all DLC as soon as they could.

    Another benefit is that you don't play hyped up bad games. My usual method is to wait until a game has been out a couple of years or so, and go to various message boards posting "So was that game worth it"? You'd be surprised at how many games fall off the map after being proclaimed the best game ever, and a revolutionary step forward. Am I missing some games? Sure, but even at my vastly reduced rate of consumption, I still have more games than I can reasonably complete in my adult life.

    What about the downsides?

    Well as many people would say, I'm not in the thick of the release day conversation. Honestly, I don't mind. Usually immediate conversation is very shallow and full of memes and hyped by the fact that you just spend $60 plus tax on this game. It is much easier to have an intellectual discussion on truly memorable games, from SNES era to something recently past, like a Fallout 3 or Bioshock, now than the week they came out.

    That's really the only benefit I can think of (of course I'm excluding multiplayer games, I honestly don't find them very fun). Once I realized I was paying a $40 premium to understand the latest memes, and not feel left out on internet forums (a ridiculous fear if you think about it) the decision became easy. Of course if I was hosting a podcast, or had people to talk about games with in real life I may want to keep up, but not to impress anonymous strangers.

    The whole video game hype business seems so quaint now. A vast majority of a game's coverage is pre-release. People obsess over trailers, previews, interviews, little bits of information being doled out. The second a game is out, all those hours spent nitpicking trailers frame by frame and all that time spent scrounging around job hiring websites and such is null and void. I find no entertainment in being hyped.

    I find myself in a weird position. I'm certainly play "hardcore" games, just a few years later, and usually to more of a complete state than many early adopters. I like buying games at my price point, playing at my pace, and discussing them in a substantial way. There's very few communities for people like me and it's why I really liked the concept of Garnett's idea of going back to a game after release. It could certainly be possible that your guys' views and thoughts and a little skewed due to the sheer volume of games you have to play, and how you are never able to really dump dozens of hours into a game. Garnett, I really appreciated you talking about Lost Odyssey, not only because it's my favorite JRPG of this gen that I've played through twice, but because it represents a refined view of the game, and hopefully inspired some people to pick it up on the cheap.

  • Garnett,

    As a long-time Roguelike fan, it bothers me that you (and others) try to take away this descriptor from something like FTL because it doesn't match your preconception of the genre.

    Now, it's true that FTL doesn't look much like Rogue, but many modern Roguelikes have moved away from the classic fantasy dungeon crawl that originated the genre. The main thing that sets FTL apart from most RLs is the real-time combat, but the ability to pause and give orders offets this somewhat, though it's probably enough to push it into the category of Roguelike-like along with games like The Binding of Isaac and Spelunkky.

    In every way that matters, FTL is a Roguelike and the things that people are finding engaging about are the things that Roguelikes have to offer. The sense of discovery and consequence. The stories that come out of fighting your way out of a dire situation. The unexpected interactions that you couldn't have predicted. These are all things that are characteristic of the Roguelike experience. So when you enjoy a game so much but try to separate it from it's brethren, I find that insulting to the genre.

    People often find the permadeath aspect of Roguelikes to be too punishing. But this misses the point. Without permadeath, you would miss out on so many of these experiences. In a game where death means nothing, you'd never get yourself into a horrible situation, have to think of something clever to escape and possibly go on to victory. You'd just reload from a previous save point and avoid the catastrophe altogether. Permadeath doesn't exist to punish you. It is there to give your actions consequence. To make every decision matter. I'm sure you noticed that in FTL.

    And in a game where you can play from start to finish in a couple hours, as you can in FTL and many Roguelikes, starting over isn't a big deal. And not to be too cliche, but the point of a Roguelike isn't really about getting to the end anyway, it's the journey. Though it's true that finishing a Roguelike can be one of gaming's most satisfying experiences.

  • This is probably the biggest waste of a question ever, but is anyone other than me gonna pick up "The Denpa Men" this Thursday?


    This is what I love about Japanese games: zany shit. Maybe the game's good, maybe it's bad, but it's that special kind of batshit insane that no Western studio would release to the world, not because of a lack of imagination, but because it takes a certain kind of mindset to show something like this in public with a straight face.

    When Western Devs do zany, we get things like Cthulhu Saves the World and Fart Cat! which are great, don't get me wrong, but when Japan does Zany, we get Tokyo Jungle, No One Can Stop Mr. Domino!, Muscle March, Captain Rainbow, and the Denpa Men.

  • There must be an internal contest at Square Enix to think of the strangest titles. Not having KH2 is a huge problem (Andrew is probably right, there will be another HD collection with KH2, the psp title and the cutscenes from the mobile game...cellphone...remake...yay?). Its like a love-hate relationship with this franchise. They release awesome versions of the games that never come here and now they don't include the best PS2 game in a collection of PS2 games and yet...I love the games. The HD collection is kinda like "okay...take my money".

  • Great episode, guys. James Stevenson was a great guest. And Garnette, props for mentioning Le Mans on Dreamcast. That game blew me away when it was released. I still think it's one of the best racers available, and was sadly overlooked by a lot of people.

    Regarding Jeff's question to James about Wii U games that was something along the lines of, "If you pick up the system later, but don't go back and play the games that were available at launch, then do you really care about those games?" I think James' answer was interesting. There is something fun about playing a game at the height of its hype, and being a part of the conversation surrounding current games. However, there's another reason that I personally wouldn't go back to many of the first batch of games if I were to pick up the system a year after launch. By then, there will presumably be dozens of other games to play. I buy older games that I missed at launch all the time, but it's hard to find time to play them. I don't want to miss NSMB WiiU, ZombiU, and other launch games, and I know if I wait until there's a price drop that I won't bother checking them out.

    This wouldn't be as much of a problem if I only gamed on one system, but I'm a giant nerd and play games on every system I can get my hands on. Shit, I even backed the Ouya.