Wednesday, May 20, 2009

EXP Podcast #26: Spring Cleaning!

Every week, we add to a massive list of notable news, analysis, and opinion pieces related to video games, knowing full well that most of them will never make the show. We figured it was time to sort through some of the backlog for any gems that may have been passed over and fashion them into an auditory smorgasbord.

The topics vary widely, and range from art design, memory and history, dating, and even death. Be sure to check out the show notes for links to the articles. As always, feel free to weigh in on the discussion in the comments with your thoughts on the stories, or with links to some of the stories you've enjoyed over the past months.

Some discussion starters:

-How do you keep track of your past gaming experiences?
-Have you ever learned about history through gaming?
-What is the perfect "date game?" Does such a thing exist?
-Which games do you admire for their artistry?
-Do you have any life/death stories that took place in an on-line space?
-Which recent gaming articles have you enjoyed recently?

To listen to the podcast:
- Subscribe to the EXP Podcast via iTunes here. Additionally, here is the stand-alone feed.
- Listen to the podcast in your browser by left-clicking the title. Or, right-click and select "save as link" to download the show in MP3 format.
- Subscribe to this podcast and EXP's written content with the RSS link on the right.

Show notes:

-Run time: 31 min and 53 sec
-"Altars," by Lara "KaterinLHC" Crigger, via Gamers With Jobs
-"Can Games Handle History," by Luke Plunkett, via Kotaku
-"The Dating Game," by Wendy Despain, via The Escapist
-"Artist Wants More Diverse Game Graphics, Says Developers Should 'Believe More in Games,'" by Steven Totilo, via MTV Multiplayer
-"Death Leaves Online Lives in Limbo," by Peter Svensson, via The Associated Press, posted on
-Music by Brad Sucks


  1. Weird how it sometimes gets so empty in the comments for no apparent reason, huh? Because it's not because of the show's quality for sure - great job again! :-)

    Not being able to flip trough collections is a bit sad. It's sad in the same way as the fact that there are no real manuals or giveaways you could use to recall your experience later on. And with digital distribution, it's even worse, especially since it affects older games as well - like the downloadable Wii re-releases.

    I sometimes buy guide books for games I would like to remember as a substitute for giveaways and manuals but it's not the same.

    On the other hand, they are games after all and the nice thing about them is that you can re-discover by re-playing them and maybe even get a totally new experience out of it.

    I just thought - you were discussing Nintendo's new walktrough system in an older podcast. Maybe THAT kind of system would enable you to recall your previous experiences more easily. Maybe it would even record your playtrough for you to review later. How cool would it be if - for example - on the Xbox360 when you would get an achievement a small video would be stored that would show the situation in which you got that achievement. In some cases it would be those CRAZY multilayer matches, in some cases just the regular final boss fight.

    Your choices on the dating game are excellent! Boom Blox and Wold of Goo would be my candidates as well. You were mentioning a short point & click adventure? How about Zack & Wiki? Too bad it doesn't have cooperative mode ;-(

    I'm not so sure about Mario Kart. The problem is that it isn't cooperative so one would always loose which may be not so great for date chemistry. I thought of Mario Kart: Double Dash but then again, it didn't have the Wii version's accessibility and physical controls. Also, the cooperative aspects depended on both players knowing perfectly what their job is.

    Finally, here is a crazy thought: Gears of War. I think it works pretty well as a cooperative experience and it delivers action in manageable chunks. Also, it doesn't require too fast reflexes or precision. And even if the other player fails, that "saving the other player from being dead"-might turn it into an advantage in a date context. Too bad it's so ultra-violent and dumb. We need a Windwaker-version of Gears! Still, it could be an option - depends on the character of the other person (could be a guy after all).

    I totally second the final article. Game Designers really need some more visual competence. Right now, development is way too technology driven. The arguments you've given are excellent, there is hardly anything to add. Funny to hear how the artist came up with the levels. When designing content for my game(s), I sometimes look back and realize that the workflow of actually building levels has evolved into this insanely complicated process. It seems like doing it like this artist is not far away at all. So a programmer and an artist/designer might arrive at a very similar process. I guess the difference is that the artist/designer is aware that the process is insane, embraces and leverages it. The programmer treats it as a necessary evil.

  2. I like the idea of that walkthrough system saving some of those memories for you. I know I've personally stumbled upon old WoW screen caps and been reminded of events.

    As for the dating game, I think Gears might actually work. It also lets you set different difficulties for each player, which is a unique touch that levels the playing field while maintaining excitement. I think a good point & click would be a murder mystery. I'm sure there is one out there. The fear factor and suspense is perfect for a date.