Wednesday, December 30, 2009

EXP Podcast #58: The 2009 Year-end Extravaganza

As 2009 draws to a close, it's time to take a step back and reflect on the games we played over the year. Being the rebels that we are, Jorge and I are even letting pre-2009 games get in on all the GOTY action played numerous games this past year that were not even released in 2009. Instead of abandoning them to the sands of time, we decided to do a super-sized show that highlights both our favorite 2009 titles as well as our favorite gaming experiences from the past calendar year (release dates be damned!).

As always, feel free to offer your assessment on the year and share your top gaming moments from 2009. Thanks to everyone who visited the site over the past year; without you we'd just be yelling at the screen. Have a great New Year, and we'll see you in 2010!

Some discussion starters:

- First thing's first: What were your favorite 2009 titles? Which games are we missing out on?

- Regardless of release date, which games hooked you over the past year? Did you find a hidden gem in your back catalog, or are you still pouring hours into a game like Roller Coaster Tycoon?

- We didn't have enough time to touch on this in the podcast, but what were your favorite gaming trends or surprises from 2009? What are you looking forward to in 2010?

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: 49 min 19 sec
- Music provided by Brad Sucks


  1. Hey, happy new year guys.

    Nice thing that you mentioned Mirror's Edge and Metal Gear Solid 4, I also played that games this year and thought about them lately when doing a small 2009 recap.

    The funny thing is that I came to the same conclusion with Mirror's Edge, beeing that it's a game that I personaly love, but also seeing why it gets criticised for some of its design decisions. Btw Mirror's Edge 2 is coming, loved to hear that.

    I also thought about Metal Gear 4, but other than Scott I wasn't completely satisfied with the way they tried to tie up all of those loose story ends. For me it felt a little bit like they just wanted to get it over with, beeing afraid of asking too much of the player. So instead they gave us a somewhat cheesy final battle(although I loved that change of the interface, going through a the previous MGSs) and ending sequence.

    I was also surprised to hear that Scott hated MGS3 so much, since I personaly think, that it's maybe the best of the MGS titles.

    Overall 2009 felt a bit like "2007, the sequel" and this will continue in the first half of 2010.

    Personally I already see me playing games from 2009 this whole year long, since I touched almost literally none of them yet. However, Alan Wake and Halo Reach are two '10 titles that I'm looking forward to in particular.

  2. Hi guys. Happy new year!
    I've been listening to your podcast throughout the last year, and it is without a doubt the best game design related podcast I've found so far. I'll try to explain why. :) Let me highlight a couple of points that I think are often overlooked..

    - To the point: The EXP podcast is usually straight to the point, with minimal smalltalk. And yet you manage to keep a light and entertaining vibe. Your arguments are well thought through and you look at things from different and interesting angles.
    Other podcasters may spend 5 minutes just talking about the weather before they get on topic. And even then it's a lot of personal opinions and smalltalk, not much real insight.
    Some other podcasts are basically just consumer reports, reciting lists of new games that are coming out.
    I'm trying to learn something here, and your podcast has been a great source of insight into game design.

    - Sound quality: The EXP podcast sound is always clear, crisp, and the volume is relatively constant, which makes it easy to listen to in noisy environments (like on the bus).
    Certain other podcasts have guests phoning in via really bad Skype connections, with stuttering and lots of compression artifacts. There's really no excuse for that nowadays.
    Or some of the people in the conversation may sound much louder than the others, which means I either have to adjust the volume constantly, or turn it up until it hurts my ears, or not hear one side of the conversation.
    And then there are some people who lisp, or talk muffled, or too fast.

  3. @ Christian

    I would say I'd be playing the 2009 games well into 2010, but I don't think I see that happening. Bioshock 2, Heavy Rain, Last Guardian (hopefully), FFXIII, Splinter Cell Conviction. I think I need to commit to every other game being an older title if I am to get anything done.

    @ Øyvind

    Happy new year to you too! We're glad you've been listening and enjoying the podcast. It means a lot to us that we are doing some things right. We'll be happily supplying more thoughts well into the new year. Enjoy.

  4. Hi Christian,

    Happy belated New Year!

    I had no idea that Mirror's Edge 2 is on its way. Welcome news!

    Out of curiosity, did you play MGS 3 "Subsistence" or the original release? I played the original release, but I've heard they made drastic improvements/changes in the re-release.

    I also completely forgot about Alan Wake. That thing's been in the works for a long time; it will be interesting to see how things turn out.

    Hi Øyvind,

    That's really nice of you to say. Thanks so much for visiting the site and for the complements. Hopefully we'll continue to live up to the praise. :-)

  5. I played the original release, but since you mention it, I assume that you had issues with the camera(they changed it into a more Splinter Cell like, controllable camera in Subsistence)

    I know that a lot of people had this issue, personally I thought of it as a "that's just the way MGS has to be" but maybe thats a lame excuse.

  6. @Christian

    As you guessed, my major issue was with the camera. It was the first time that MGS really took place in mostly outdoor environments, and I felt that the locked overhead camera unfairly limited the player's vision. I also experienced some pretty bad load times while paging through the menus, which really bothered me since a lot of that game takes place in the menus (what with all the camo, eating, etc.).

    However, in its favor, it is MGS at its craziest: the most surreal bosses, the most meta-gameplay, the most ludicrous dialogue. I'll never forget the endless ladder sequence; I think I could hear Kojima laughing at me!

  7. Dude, I loved that ladder sequence!

    I seem to like those moments in games, when nothing really happens, at least gameplaywise except music and...what? Atmosphere?

    Remember that scene in Gears 1, when you walk through that village of the "Stranded" people and the designers slow you down to actual walking, no matter how far you push the analog sticks? The complete opposite of what the rest of the game is about, however the most memorable scene of the entire game for me.

    Maybe thats one of the reasons I like Halo so much, it has a lot of those scenes, especially in the streets of New Mombasa in ODST.

    While others cry out "Boring!" I find myself liking those scenes.

    Hate to mention it, but The Darkness is also one of those games ;)