Wednesday, September 12, 2012

EXP Podcast #188: Slightly Off

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Have you ever been playing a game and suddenly come across something that is a little bit..."off?" I'm not talking about an NPC clipping through a wall or the weirdness you find in a Suda51 game; I'm talking about the little (or not so little) details that take you out of the experience. For example, Sam Machkovech wrote a recent article about how, as resident of Seattle, Deadlight's depiction of the Emerald City left him cold. We use his discussion of fictitious billboards and erroneous geography as a starting point and go on to discuss the ways in which small details impact a game's ability to foster a sense of place. Do you have an eye for detail? Have you played any games set in your hometown? Feel free to jump into the comments with your thoughts!

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.
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Show notes:

- Runtime: 33 min 45 sec
- "Dead Wrong," by Sam Machkovech via Unwinnable
- Music provided by Brad Sucks


  1. While there have been no games set in Portland, Oregon (that I know of), we do have TV shows that film here (Grimm, Leverage). Grimm, from the episodes i've seen, takes place in Portland and uses real street names and Portland locations. Leverage, on the other hand, takes place in "Boston". Watching Leverage is hard because they can frequently cut to a scene that takes place in Iraq and it takes me out of the experience. I know that's not Iraq; That's 39th Avenue near the Dairy Queen.

    I understand Sam's gripe about the billboards because seeing things that you know are wrong take you out of the experience and remind you that your playing a game and not actually running away from zombies.

  2. That Dairy Queen example is a classic Southern California problem too. So often, colleges or high school scenes will be filmed at USC. Exotic deserts are actually in San Bernardino, etc.

    And, of course, there's a relevant Arrested Development scene: