Weekend Confirmed 163 - Far Cry 3: Blood Dragon, Monaco, Marvel Heroes

By Ozzie Mejia, May 03, 2013 11:00am PDT

Hosts Garnett Lee and Jeff Cannata are here to confirm your weekend and welcome in "Indie" Jeff Mattas and Shacknews' Ozzie Mejia. The show starts with some talk about Nintendo's E3 news from the last week and where the company goes from here. That's followed up with the crew sharing stories from Monaco: What's Yours Is Mine, the Marvel Heroes beta, Poker Night 2, Game Dev Tycoon, and (of course) Far Cry 3: Blood Dragon. The show wraps up with a breakdown of all the latest Grand Theft Auto V news and a new round of Finishing Moves.

Weekend Confirmed Ep. 163: 5/03/2013

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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 - 00:00:37 - 00:13:50

    Whatcha Been Playin Part 1 - 00:14:32 - 01:01:11

    Whatcha Been Playin Part 2 - 01:02:22 - 01:32:40

    Segment 4/Finishing Moves - 01:33:30 - 02:08:42

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Weekend Confirmed @WeekendConfirmd

Garnett Lee @GarnettLee

Jeff Cannata @JeffCannata

Jeff Mattas @JeffMattas

Ozzie Mejia @Ozz_Mejia

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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 I think Jeff's issues with GTA really bring to mind issues with sandbox design vs linearity. My biggest qualm with the GTA franchise, and all Rockstar games has been the mission design. The advantage of linear level design, is that all the elements that make the experience fun are assembled right in front of you.

    What GTA always lost me on was the experience of failing a mission, then waking up in a hospital or police station, and having to find the trigger point for the mission to restart. What happens is that it makes the playing experience very inaccessible. This is a problem with sandbox games across the board. Garnet often speaks about how too many choices in a game can be overwhelming, but for me, its more a matter of becoming bored and frustrated.

    To me the lost art in game design today, is the simple joy of game mechanics themselves. Designing a mechanic that works in a specific way, and testing that against a wide variety of obstacles is the whole point and essence of what gameplay is. When people talk about wanting choice in games, I can't help but shake my head because of this. To me, running to a mission prompt through a lifeless world is not anymore gameplay than watching a cut scene. Putting the sandbox between me and the mission, doesn't give me choices, it limits the degree to which I can use the mechanics in a way that makes playing relevant.

    There's really nothing remarkable about the worlds of a sandbox games either, and being there in and of itself is not "fun." Elders Scrolls games have pretty much always been ugly. Skyrim was probably the closest to not being outright hideous to where I want to vomit, but I mean at the end of the day even that is just a bunch of snowy mountains and generic stone buildings. And the same goes for Rockstar games for the most part.

    This is also why I don't really acknowledge the notion of "ludo narrative dissonance." I disagree with Adrian Chmielarz' premise that you can bifurcate video games between simulations and toys. Neither a simulation or a toy stem from concepts that "video" and "games" do. A lego block is not the same thing as Monopoly. In this analogy, a more accurate comparison to "toys" would be the game controller itself, or the game console. In this sense, the concept of "ludo narrative dissonance" doesn't have to do with what appears on a tv screen, its what happens when you take your playstation controller outside and pretend its an air plane by making motor noises with your mouth and moving it through the air in arcs.

    So if you were to look at Lego video games honestly, you would probably call them mediocre platformers with a cute art style. And that makes sense because they're licensed products. They're designed to appeal to our knowledge of the brands they're associated with---not the products those brands produce. But through Adrian's prism, its like the standard of what "the platformer" doesn't even exist---even though that is genre title totally unique to the medium. Its like "Lego Star Wars is just a toy. Isn't that cute?" So in this culture naval gazing culture, we have forfeited what truly makes up video games' identity. Its all pseudo intellectual non sense.

    Thread Truncated. Click to see all 2 replies.

    • So to the second p's point, I prefer a version of GTA where the missions are just assembled for you, were you can easily shoot through and restart them without issue. If there was a game called "Highway Racer Mob Guy" and it was broken up into levels, it could very easily be more fun than a GTA3, while incorporating all the relevant mechanics, and making them more polished. I mean GTA4 and RDR are the only Rockstar games I've bothered to beat because its easier to get through the campaign paths without getting lost in some spastic 5 minute loop of nihilistic mayhem and waking up outside a video game hospital.

      You know its like, why don't you go to jail for life when you kill someone in GTA? That is a really overt examlpe of narrative dissonance. That's why I think people who complain about linearity just have short attention spans, or a low tolerance for actual gameplay. They use these pseudo intellectual theories as well to cloak their own child like inability to content with unique mechanics, or engage with a narrative with actual characters and thematic ideas.