Wednesday, May 9, 2012

EXP Podcast #171: Infuriating Interactive Experiences

We try to stretch, maybe do some breathing exercises, and envision that "happy place" in our mind's eye, but even the best of us experience game-related grumpiness. This week, thanks to Mitch Krpata's recent and refreshingly honest appraisal of his video game raging, we talk about games that make us mad. We touch on everything from specific games to the ways frustration manifests itself, while trying to keep fury-related flashbacks to a minimum. As always, don't just stew in silence; feel free to burst into the comments with your thoughts on angry gaming.

Some discussion starters:

- What specific games make you mad? Are there certain franchises that continually rile you up?

- How do specific games systems foment anger? Conversely, are there certain types of mechanics or dynamics that are naturally calming?

- Let's hear your horror stories: Broken controllers? Smashed monitors? Lifelong bans? What are the consequences of Hulking out?

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: 28 min 42 sec
- "All the Rage," by Mitch Krpata, via Insult Swordfighting
- Music provided by Brad Sucks


  1. For me, Kane & Lynch 2 created a bizarre meta-anger in me. The characters are constantly getting into worse and worse situations, their own anger rising with each passing level. By the time they were running naked through the slums of China, covered in gnarly cuts, the gunfights became so frustrating that it felt like the characters' expletives were coming out of my mouth, and vice versa. In the penultimate mission, they hijack a helicopter and have a brief moment of triumph that fit perfectly with how easy (relatively) the mission was. But the ending, both in gameplay and story (spoilers) was simultaneously tense and anticlimactic. The last run across the tarmac is stupid-hard, and when they finally reach the airliner, their mood is as desperate and uncertain as mine, wondering what possible good outcomes could arise from gunning their way onto a commercial airliner.

    Just another mediocre game? Or brilliant emotional exploration of the medium?
    Probably just mediocre.

  2. I've only ever played short bits of the Kane & Lynch games, but I got the same vibe you described. Something about those games is just so ugly, almost on a spiritual level. Whether it was intentional or not, those games just make me feel surly and gross.