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.

        • "you are not choosing what Lee would say, you are actively crafting who Lee is within the scope of time that the game presents."

          Outside of semantics, there is literally no difference between these two things, and they both coincide with my argument. You are indeed choosing how Lee behaves based on his existing traits as a character. But you don't change who he is as a character. The story changes him as a fictional person, because of his relationship with Clementine, and the need to cooperate with others to survive, etc. As I said, its like playing through a person's life groundhog day style. But you are not Lee, and Lee is not you.

          It was Jeff who said in the original WC TWD conversation defending its linearity, that when you watch a movie you root for Brad Pitt or whatever even though you aren't Brad Pitt. And of course what that actual experience is, is empathy. That's why actors are beautiful. They're designed to make you like them despite whatever crazy shit their characters do.

          As you concede games like Half Life, Skyrim, and Dishonored try to prioritize "roll playing" over characterization by making blank slates. But again, you're not making those ciphers into characters. You're just projecting your ego onto a cipher (if you're a geek. I think most people just are like "yay Medieval killing game time!"), and essentially "playing pretend" in the way a child does with a plastic gun, except there are 3D graphics on a screen, and you're not physically involved at all.

          I like your phrase that the "character is simply a window." Indeed when I'm playing a game like Portal I literally feel like Chell may as well be a walking video camera that I am controlling. The ironic thing about that game is that Wheatley looks like a web cam, but behaves like a person, and Chell looks like a human in reflections, but functions like one of those robotic vacuum cleaners or something.

          Roll playing as a table top experience is its own medium. I think the irony I find about the Jeff argument of "games are interactive therefore every game is a roll playing experience" is that the nature of video games being visual actually inhibits that idea in the same way a film adaptation of a book ruins the way people imagine characters in their heads. That's why games like Skyrim are so fuckin fugly.

          The developers are like "Lets make this as shitty looking as possible so that we don't offend anyone with our aesthetics" And that's the same reason Dan says when he sees like a giant robot landing in a village like in Xenogears it "puts him off." Its the same driving force behind the phenomenon that is Minecraft. Its like "Look at all this ugly lego shit! But its my ugly lego shit!"

          The ultimate irony is that this pursuit of one's own "player authored world" based on table top experiences where you do use your imagination, purveys a sort of fascist chauvinist attitude towards games that themselves have actual imagination.