Wednesday, June 24, 2009

EXP Podcast #31: Throwing in the Towel

Sometimes when the going gets tough, the less-than-tough just quit. At least that's what Sean "Elysium" Sands did when confronted with some ridiculously skilled players of Demigod. We here at EXP have immense respect for the talented writers of Gamers With Jobs, so we would never ridicule Sands' excellent confession in his Personality Flaws piece. On the contrary, this week Scott and I spring board off of the article to discuss unhealthy competition, victory through attrition, player tantrums and cooperative design in competitive games. As always, your thoughts are welcome in the comments.

Some discussion starters:
- Has competition ever soured your gaming experience? What about a need to keep up with other players?
- Is there competitive meta-gaming in gamer culture? Do you think this is destructive or healthy?
- What does a competitive game look like if it's designed to encourage cooperation and mutual learning?

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: 30 min 27 sec
- "Personality Flaws," by Sean 'Elysium' Sands of Gamers With Jobs
- Music provided by Brad Sucks


  1. i dont think theres anything wrong with expressing an opinion on a chunk of a game if thats all that was played. i put down killzone 2 and uncharted after about a half hour each. not that both games are without merit, but i had an absolutely horrible time playing each. whoever decided that a player would have to get shot in order to figure out where enemies are is a horrible designer. and fuck regenerative health. seriously.

  2. Biggest quitting regrets weren't due to competitive issues, but single-player experiences that just lost out because games I was more excited about came out before I managed to finish ones I was already playing. Main culprits: Knights of the Old Republic and Bully. I moved on and never went back. Shame on me.

    Just now discovering the site/podcast, nice work.

  3. I think Left 4 Dead is an interesting example of how more competitive tendencies can ruin the game. I was a week late in getting the Survival mode pack and by then there had already been exploits found for most stages that meant the high score tables were at a point where I felt useless even trying the mode out because I would never "achieve" anything. This was contrasted to the campaigns where skill differentiation often provided some of the games most memorable moments.

    New to your site/podcast but I am enjoying your stuff :)

  4. Anonymous:

    I'm playing through Uncharted now, and I definitely feel your pain regarding discerning enemy location. The gunfights get a bit frustrating. You could make the argument that having to stop a game due to frustration makes one especially qualified to criticize it.


    Thanks for the comment and for stopping by!

    Keeping up with the "rat-race" of new releases is always tough, especially since it seems like games come out in dense clusters. I'm still trying to play through Suda 51's GameCube cult hit "Killer 7." Talk about behind the times!


    Happy to have you stop by!

    That's a good example you bring up concerning Left 4 Dead. It's not always flat out skill that separates high-level players from new ones, it can also be the exploits veterans learn. Maybe this is a good argument in favor of continual patching in games?