Wednesday, June 1, 2011

EXP Podcast #129: The Search for Sci-fi

Two weeks ago, I wrote about the state of Science Fiction in modern video games. It turns out a mere smattering of words is not enough to thoroughly explore the veritable galaxy of topics regarding this ripe genre. Joined this week by Grayson Davis of Beeps & Boops, Scott and I discuss the good and bad of science fiction, a bit of Star Trek, time travel, and sources of excellent Sci-fi gaming. As always, we encourage you to leave your thoughts in the comments section below.

Discussion starters:

- What are your favorite science fiction games?
- How should we approach the genre as it relates specifically to games?
- How do you see the state of modern science fiction games?

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 here. 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: 48 min 10 sec
- Beeps & Boops, Grayson's site
- Music provided by Brad Sucks


  1. Sorry, last comment was ipadified

  2. Just prior to listening to this podcast, I listened to the Irrational Interview with Brian Reynolds, maker of, among other things, Alpha Centauri. Ken Levine and Reynolds discuss Alpha Centauri and the effect the business aspect of the industry affects the portrayal of sci-fi in games. A perfect lead-in to your conversation. If you haven't already, I highly recommend giving it a listen.

  3. SMAC is a perfect example of sci-fi gaming beyond the factions - it's the extraordinary future tech tree.

    Where previous Civ games by Meier had broken down our history into component technologies, this one extrapolated forward. And got from just-over-the-horizon techs to the fantastic in short, logical steps. Worth hunting down and having a look through.

    Brilliant game, too.

  4. Hey Loberto,

    Thanks for the heads-up. The Irrational Games podcast is one of the better developer shows out there, so I'm looking forward to listening to it!

    Hi Jeremy,

    Thanks for the recommendation! Alpha Centauri is one of those holes in my gaming knowledge. I'll have to bump it up on my list.

  5. Intriguing discussion. You guys touched upon so many points.

    I too was a bit surprised to realized that Gears of War could be considered Sci-Fi. The thing is that I would usually associate Sci-Fi with speculative ideas. That's what most proper Sci-Fi books are about (Asimov, Clarke, K. Dick, Lem). That's also what shows like Star Trek are about, and that's not only because of budgetary reasons.

    Besides of exceptions like Alpha Centauri, Sci-Fi in games rarely informs content in that way. Gears of War is a visceral shooter that could easily work without it's Sci-Fi elements. That's why I wouldn't really regard is as a video game. Perhaps a "Futuristic Setting" or a "Sci-Fi Aesthetic" would be more fitting in this regard?