Weekend Confirmed 147 - Resonance, Tera, Kentucky Route Zero

By Jeff Mattas, Jan 11, 2013 11:00am PST

With regular frontman Garnett Lee away enjoying the technological maelstrom of CES, Jeff Cannata helms this episode of Weekend Confirmed, with co-pilot "Indie" Jeff Mattas. The duo of Jeffs are joined by Joystiq's Xav de Matos and director Dan Trachtenberg to discuss a number of video games, both big and small. IGF nominee Kentucky Route Zero and Resonance get some love, Cannata and Dan rave about Tera, and Xav talks about his time with the multiplayer mech mayhem of Hawken. Finishing Moves brings the show to a close, but feel free to stick around for a short post-show playoff edition of the NFL TailGate.

Weekend Confirmed Ep. 147: 1/11/2013

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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 - 00:00:40 - 00:19:27

    Whatcha' Been Playin Part 1 - 00:21:16 - 00:58:24

    Whatcha Been Playin Part 2 - 00:58:57 - 01:28:28

    Listener Feedback/Front Page News - 01:29:09 - 02:00:28

    Tailgate - 02:01:15 - 02:09:57

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Weekend Confirmed @WeekendConfirmd

Jeff Cannata @jeffcannata

Jeff Mattas @JeffMattas

Xav de Matos @Xav

Dan Trachtenberg @DannyTRS

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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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  • So in The Walking Dead you are not "making decisions" based on what you think is right. The thing that makes the decisions compelling in the game is that you kind of can't know what's right. Whether or not you give food to Larry for instance is intriguing because as the game hints at even though he is an asshole, he is the strongest character of your group. Although other characters may be left hungry, and could get sick, in the long run it could be Larry's strength that saves their lives from some kind of attack. So that fact that TWD doesn't actually follow up that moral quandary with any varying outcomes actually quells the whole ethical debate, and that is why the decisions are functionally meaningless. And that ethical debate doesn't just drive the gameplay, it drives the drama of the story. The "weight with which a choice hits you" as Dan put it, is purely a result of his individual real life choice to project moral importance on something happening in a video game.

    Thread Truncated. Click to see all 5 replies.

    • Since Jeff decided to push this discussion further, I'd also like to reintroduce this mini debate Quentin Tarantino and a Huffington Post film critic had over Django Unchained. The debate is over the critic's assertion that the protagonists' scheme in "implausible." I think it is incredibly fascinating in reference to this Walking Dead discussion. Bear in mind there are spoilers for the film below.

      Excerpt (http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2012/12/20/quentin-tarantino-django-unchained_n_2340987.html)

      "Django and Schultz have $12,000 in cash at their disposal, but instead of simply offering Candie the $12,000 for Broomhilda, Schultz devises an elaborate plan that involves feigning interest in a fighter of Candie's named Eskimo Joe

      Interviewer: I contend that this plan, which takes up a good portion of the film, hinges on a lot of assumptions. ... Schultz is German. He heard on the street that there's a German-speaking woman being prostituted and now he's interested.

      Quentin: No, no, no ... that, you know, I mean ... that ... could work. That could work. Here's the thing: you have to think of who Schultz is. I see where you're coming from. But it does sound like you're thinking what you would do. You have to think about how Schultz would respond."


      Quentin: if Schultz was a straightforward guy, when he went into Daughtry, Texas, he would have actually gone to the marshal and said, "Look, your sheriff is not who he thinks he is, and I'm going to take him in."

      Interviewer: So Schultz likes the theatrics?

      Quentin: He likes the theatrics. He likes setting up these convoluted plans -- creating mayhem. And, inside of the mayhem, orchestrate ...

      Now there are other rationals as well in the full interview, but my point this idea of character vs. the player putting themselves in the narrative. What the interviewer demonstrates is that putting yourself in narrative first hand (as I like to say) is not a phenomenon unique to video games at all. It is facile way of relating to story telling across all mediums---film, video games, and books alike. But it is not the story's responsibility to account for every audience member's traits as an individual. It is the individual's responsibility to empathize with the characters as audience members.

      Video games are not about becoming other people. They are about play mechanics. Often times those mechanics relate to fictional people, and can even shape how to persieve those fictional peoples' character traits. But those people are not the player, and the player is not any of those people.

      What's at question---and worth discussing to a degree---is the ability of the audience to suspend their disbelief---to see and relate to the character's circumstances. It requires moral imagination. This critic felt he could look past the purest form of practicality and circumstance to fill in Schultz shoes. Does that mean that Shultz is a bad character? Does that mean that Tarantino should hand over the reigns of his films to random people on the street?