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.

      • I don't know how you can say that there aren't games that invite the player to inhabit the place of the main character in the game. I mean the position that TWD gives you is like the little voice whispering in Lee's ear. Since you are given options and there is no fail state associated with those options, you are not choosing what Lee would say, you are actively crafting who Lee is within the scope of time that the game presents. That's not the game presenting you with a static character who you are manuvering through the expression of the game's mechanics. In fact in that game the majority of the mechanics are either puzzle solving or expressions of pure survival, which have little to do with the expression of who the character is.

        You are also given blank slates like the voiceless survivor of Fallout, the Dragonborn of Skyrim, and the masked man of Dishonored. These characters are purposefully created as observers into the world of the game that we are then interacting with no connection to past events other then some basic back story of parentage or origin. When asked to make decisions in such an environment the player can only make the decision as if they themselves were placed into the position of the character presented. Essentially the player is the character. The character in this instance is simply the window. However, you are not required to play that character as yourslef. You can create a character far beyond the moral and societal bounds of the player. My most recent run through of skyrim produced a murderous thieving lesbien vampire mother of two which was very different from my first play though of blacksmith obsessed viking white guy mage. The narative that those two characters experienced was not really all that different, but the resulting character had very different choices made and people effected.

        On an unrelated topic, I would like to suggest that the next place video games need to explore, which is partially explored in a game like Journey, is story without conflict. Western story telling is very much, "if you got a problem yo I'll solve it," but other cultures have non-plot styled narratives that can offer other avenues of exploration based story telling without the need for an over plot or arc. Take kishōtenketsu which is a four point story telling method from japan and china that has no plot or climax drivent story to limit it. Even perspective is something that hasn't really been experimented with. Why do we always take story from the first person and singular perspective of key character interatction? You could play the part of omnicient observer or fourth wall observer. Eventually we will want our games to explore all of the narrative constraints of modern fiction and then also grow beyond them.